leftovers.

It’s been a while since I have written (you know, life and all), and I promise I am not turning this into a recipe blog, but I do have one that I must share due to popular request.

If you’ve read this post, you’d know my feelings about Halloween. If not, don’t worry- you won’t miss anything. I digress. 

This year I had a bunch of leftover Halloween candy. Big bars. I pondered what to do with the leftovers (I was shocked to have leftovers, considering I let people take 2), so instinctually I thought of my colligate step son, Gunnar. I feel bad because the moment I text him about mailing it down to him- to which he replied “YES!”- I already had another idea for what I was going to do with it. Oops. Sorry, Gunnar. Next time. Maybe. 

Disclaimer: it doesn’t have to be “leftover” Halloween candy to make these. You can totally make them on purpose with purchased candy bars from the grocery store.  I’ll allow it.  

Katie’s Left-Over Halloween Candy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients:  (caveat: I do NOT measure, all sizing is approximate)

Before we begin- preheat that oven to 375. If you have access to music or a Kitchen TV, please put on your favorite background noise. I believe I was watching Nurse Jackie at the time. It very well could have been Gossip Girl, but I’m pretty confident it was NJ. 

NOW, what you’ll need:

  • 3 cups of Oats (I mean really, start the day with Quaker)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Flour 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla extract. To me, you can NEVER have enough vanilla- as it cuts the “floury” flavor.  Also, if you click the link, there are apparently healthy benefits of it as well.
  • Brown & White Sugar (recipes will say 3/4 cup of each, but I do a cup of brown and 1/4 of raw sugar)
  • tsp of baking soda
  • 2 eggs (no link for this- mine came from my back yard chickens)
  • 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of butter.  I discovered THIS BUTTER at Market Basket- and I will never use another.
  • Salt.  Most people will say 1/4 tsp, but I like the salt with the chocolate, so I add a little more. Perhaps you are on a diet without salt. No harm no foul. Simply omit this step.
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • Extra Halloween Candy chopped.  For mine, I used Snickers, Reese’s Fast Break and Reese’s Outrageous Pieces. Don’t chop them tiny- I suggest once down the center and then in 1/4 inch cuts. I believe I used a bout 4 BIG bars in all.

I like to melt the butter, then blend the sugar until its smooth. Add vanilla and eggs. In a separate bowl- combine flour, salt and baking soda. Then add oats to the powder mix.  SLOWLY combine the powder to the sugar/butter/vanilla mix until all combined.  NOW add our chocolate chips, then finally the candy pieces. Should be a nice thick mix of wonderfulness at this point. If I missed anything, just add it. 

Put tsp or TBS spoon size portions on a baking sheet (cookie sheet silicone is a miracle)- about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool on cookie rack. They WILL be mushy right out of the oven, so be delicate about getting them onto cooling rack. That will change to a chewy deliciousness you can hide in a cookie jar or do something a little more adventurous.

Enjoy.

these are not fat free.

 

enough!

I’m in an “accident prone phase” and I don’t like it one bit. Sigh.

I won’t deny that clumsiness runs in my family because it totally does. My father has had fireworks blow up in his face, my mom face-planted onto a sidewalk and my sister used to get into her own bits of accidents. I have done a damn good job of avoiding it, until recently. I have always believed that things come in 3s- and in this instance I REALLY need to believe that the third annoying, painful, frustrating and downright stupid third thing has already occurred. Meaning: I am safe now. Nothing else can go wrong.

Side note: I use to think that if you get pulled over by police for speeding, that you are solid for a while because you had your turn. I thought that, until I was pulled over 3 times, 3 weeks in a row. You might remember my letter (Well, okay, Laura’s letter) to the great state of Maine? 

I bring you to the phase: I have sciatic pain in my legs. It gets really annoying when trying to sleep, sit still at all, go to the movies, work, drive, etc. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. I know, I know “stretch more, Katie.” Yeah, no. Won’t happen. I can lie to you and say I will, but we all know I won’t.  Anyway, my father told me to buy this cream: Capsaicin. I have used it and while it burns like hell, typically it’s no issue for me. That is- until the phase started. I took a bath one night after work and applied the cream. No big deal. 15 minutes passed and I found myself standing over the freezer, putting ice on my legs. 20 minutes later- I find myself in the bathtub, with freezing water. All of a sudden, my face is equally burning. Brad walks upstairs because it has been a while since I have been seen. Where does he find me? Butt-ass naked in front of the fan in the bedroom- trying to get the air to blow on my legs that felt as if the skin was burning off of them, bawling. Awesome. And hot. (note sarcasm and the tricky pun I used there) “Did you get it on your face too?”  Yes, Brad. I did. Next thing we have Brad on the phone with poison control, trying to figure out how to make it stop. Note: there is no cure. You have to wait it out. Fanfuckingtastic.

Next portion of my phase was this past weekend. This is about 4 days after the Capsaicin incident. I was not feeling well at all, in fact, I even stopped at an urgent care on the way home from work Friday. Well, carry that feeling into the weekend. You with me this far? Okay, so Sundays are Brad’s “Officer Von Haden” days- leaving me home alone. Typically I will go grocery shopping, clean, do laundry, meanwhile binge-watching Netflix. Usually, I like my Sundays. Usually is over; I did not like this Sunday. 

Gunnar needed to leave for work and he asked me to move my car, as I was blocking him in the driveway. Sure. No problem! Well, my stomach had started to really hurt me. Like stabbing pain. I tried ignoring it, and decided that instead of moving my car, I would go grocery shopping. That made it worse. I got home and found myself laying down, trying to get it to pass. UGH.  My leg pain was making it hard to lay down. I shall wash the dog! This would help.

deep down, i know she loves baths.
deep down, i know she loves baths, despite the face i always get from her.
Washing the dog went fine, but she left a trail of water all over the house- that I could not see. Think black ice on a winter morning, but worse. 

black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term "black ice".
black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term “black ice”.
Fast forward to me, walking down the stairs, in flip flops… that hit the water, causing my feet to slide out from under me. The entire weight of my back SLAMMED on the stairs, and proceed to fall fast, SLAMMING me against the front door, one stair at a time.

Julius Caesar would have been disgusted, as I did exactly the opposite of him: I paused. I felt. I CRIED. I think I was hyperventilating by the time I was able to crawl over to the phone and call Brad.  You know that ugly 2 year old cry you never thought was possible past that age? Well, it is. As I am typing this, I feel the pain of my back, butt and the bruising all up my arms.

Feel bad for me yet? It gets worse.

Last night we got home from back-to-school shopping and dinner, and were all watching TV. I decided to get my bunny to snuggle with me before bed.  (yes, an actually pet bunny, this is not a strange nickname I have for Brad). Well, as bunny is being sweet, licking my neck, being the cute little woodland creature he was meant to be, I decide to give him a kiss on his belly. Well, before you think I am giving TMI of my snuggle-session, out of NOWHERE, Mr. Bunny decided to KICK. My face. My eye. I saw stars. Not wanting to draw attention to what just happened- I slowly get up and put bunny back in his enclosure. I then walk upstairs, and proceed to see blood and scratch marks dripping down my face.

Brad had no words when I called him into the bathroom other than, “you want me to take care of the bunny for you?” Nice. And no.

I’m going to go ahead and be more careful for the next few days. You know, until the phase passes.  Scarlet O’Hara said it best: After all, tomorrow is another day. 

that's all folks.
that’s all folks.

UPDATE: 2 days post attack.

#selfie #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown
#selfie #seriousface #streetcred #aintnoshameinabunnybeatdown

#2.

Derek Jeter: His existence has caused me a couple of frustrations in my lifetime and I should be angry at this guy, but I’m not. Why? I’ll explain it all.

1. For some reason, the University of South Carolina lured many people from the greater New Jersey/New York area.  Many of them were my friends, and all of those friends LOVED baseball.  Side note: I also loved and adored my southern friends, but they were more into Carolina football WHICH ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME KNOWS I APPRECIATE, so watching baseball was reserved for the “yankees” of the school. I digress. Now, there will always be the rivalry within with The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  This caused for some interesting interactions at Sharky’s (I tried to hyperlink this to the site, but as anyone who has worked, drank or driven by could assume- they don’t have a website). One particular evening, I was feeling saucy and decided to take the bet of “whoever loses has to take a shot of the winner’s choice.” Well, we all know what happened during that game in 1999 (ACLS series): Thanks for the shot of Everclear, Jete. Ouch.

A term and nickname created by Southerners and Confederate Civil War soldiers for a personwho is from the North (Midwest/Northeast). It was especially given to Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, usually havingto go into into The South in order to engage the enemy in combat. The Union forces invading Southern territory and also incidents where a few groups of soldiers pillaged and destroyedproperty and people’s lives resulted in making this nickname derogatory by some.
Ex. Northerners and Midwesterners get called “Yankees” a lot by many Southerners.

2. During the summer of 2005, my friend Mardi and I found ourselves in the VIP area of Whiskey Park (I guess it is closed down now). Well, us and the entire starting line-up of the Yankees. Don’t worry, A-Rod didn’t stay, as he was leaving as we walked in the establishment. However, we got to bond with some Yankees, as they drank and made strange conversation. Jeter sat with his K-Swiss sneakers and proceeded to try to hook-up with one of our friends, until he decided he didn’t want to talk to her anymore and my glasses were more amusing to him. Mardi and I had successfully avoided direct contact with any of them, aside from conversation, and merely accepted the free drinks (you know you would have too). He asked if he could try on my glasses. Mind you- the seeing kind, not sunglasses; I’m not that hip. I said no, to which everyone laughed. He had a HUGE head, and they were new, so I wasn’t about to have them ruined. “Like he can’t afford to replace them,” I believe came out of Posada’s mouth, to which I snapped back “LIKE I AM GOING TO SEE HIM AGAIN?!” I finally caved, he tried them on, stretched them- tried to fix them and “snap.” Thanks again, Jete. Those were Prada.

Frustrations and BAD relationship stories aside (Mariah Carey), I have a lot of admiration for the guy. He is an amazing athlete and has loyalty to his team- and seems to be a regular guy from my interactions. Okay, so there was this moment:

ahh, memories.
ahh, memories.

Lately, the news (and his PR team) have done an excellent job at showing the “real” him. I gotta say, I respect it.  In this world of beatings, natural disasters, crazy people with guns and knives, war, and beheadings; I am appreciative of positive/happy and uplifting news. ESPN did a piece on him here.  But the thing that you know warms my heart is the recent Gatorade ad. My eyes watered. I simply LOVE this commercial. Watch it with the volume on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfgS1lvqX8I

His last game of his career in Boston is this Sunday. Bittersweet. It won’t be the same watching the Boston/New York games without #2, although now some of our rookie pitchers will have a chance to get better, without being scared as hell to throw to him.

I wish you the best, Jeter, and if you happen to read this post- can I have the money for those glasses?  Thanks.

 

 

good karma.

kar·ma
ˈkärmə/
noun
  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
    • informal
      destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

If I can remember anything from high school, it was the sole value my principal was trying to instill into the student body: integrity. For some reason, this was the one word I remember from every single time he would speak. He was that principal who would make the varsity basketball team practice on one half of the gym, so his spoiled, obnoxious sons could take foul shots on the other half the day before a game. I once got yelled at and called to his office for calling him an asshole, during class, for saying to Vanessa Kermick that women were never going to be as smart as men. I’m not even a feminist. I just remember the look on her face when he said it, and the words came out. My point in telling you this is that my principal wasn’t the nicest man, but he did teach me about integrity. Regardless, the word integrity has become part of something I have always admired in people- and the most attractive quality someone can have. Good thing Brad has more integrity than anyone I have ever met. Perhaps that’s why I love him so much.

With integrity, comes living your life well. Brad said something to me once that has always stuck out. “At the end of the day, the only one who has to look in the mirror at yourself is you.” So, for the almost three years we have been together, I have striven to live my life with the utmost integrity. Not for the return on investment, but because it’s true. I’m the one who has to look at myself at the end of the day. I can’t tell you how fantastic it has been to smile every day I do so.

This past weekend, however, I have learned that my actions have resulted in FANTASTIC karma! I shall relay the past 24 hours to you, as it’s insane.

This weekend, we decided to go to see Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols.

Side note: The history of the name “Lady Antebellum” stems from pre-Civil War, before the north won and celebrating the south.  A little surprised that name went over so well, especially given the omnipresent racial war. Being I was raised in NH, I didn’t know the meaning of the Confederate flag, much more than that was the decor of the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee, but I learned very quickly the real meaning of it once college came. Don’t judge my lack of knowledge, my history teacher wasn’t that great- and New England tends to focus the curriculum on Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party.

just a good ole boy.
just a good ole boy. Never meanin’ no harm.

First act of good karma: I was looking for a hotel room in walking distance to the venue. Not only did someone cancel 5 minutes prior to me calling, but the woman was so nice she gave me an additional $20 off the room.

Second act of good karma: It started to rain like something out of a comedy. We got lawn seats, and of course assumed that we would be in the 20th percentile when it said there was an 80% chance of rain. I went to buy us ponchos and of course they had just sold the last one. Well, the woman behind the counter gave me one look, and simply reached into her bag and gave me her own poncho to take. “Seriously? What will you use?” I asked. “I have an umbrella.” I was in awe of her kindness.

advice: invest in an umbrella.
advice: invest in an umbrella.

Third act of good karma: I only got one poncho, so when I walked back to the completely soaked and smiling Brad, I had nothing to hand him, but the plastic bag the poncho was in. He smiled and proceeded to poke a hole and place it around his head. The people in back of us then handed him a brand new poncho to use.

Fourth act of good karma: 45 minutes in the pouring rain came an angle in our sight with an umbrella. “I have two extra seats inside if you would like them?”  So then our luck moved to the 4th row of the upper section- inside, out of the rain.

you deserve to be inside.
you deserve to be inside.

Fifth act of good karma: I had new earrings in- somewhere in between my dripping wet hair and the slow process of it drying, my earring ripped out of my ear and dropped on the ground. I found it within 3 minutes, directly in front of me.

Sixth act of good karma: I was waiting in a very long line, in the rain, for the bathroom. Upon entering, even though I was third in line to go, the women in front of me insisted I go- for no other reason than I made them laugh.

When things go shitty in your life you can get angry at the higher power or everything around you, even reflecting and blaming within, but it is these little moments of happy that give you hope that good karma really does exist. Either that, or I am one lucky girl.  If I am being honest, it’s probably a little bit of both.

Hope your weekend was as nice as mine.

 

 

 

 

sxm vacation.

the friendly island.
the friendly island.

Recently, Brad and I ventured out of the country to the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, for 8 amazing days.  We stayed on the Dutch side, and only visited the French side a couple of times. We met Wanda, the life-long bartender at the Buccaneer, steps from our hotel, and where we watched a World Cup futball match. I got heat stroke and thought I was going to be kidnapped the first morning of our trip. We swam in the sea and drank rum with the fish. I thought I would run through the TOP 10 favorite moments of the trip. Here goes…

1. 5pm the day before we left for the trip. I would say 3pm, as that was when I got the “I’m on vacation!” text from Brad, but that was actually a jerk move because it was then I had to stare at the clock for two whole hours until it was my time to shine. HOWEVER, come 5pm, I had absolute joy knowing that I not only worked my ass off at work, but I was about to be on vacation with my love. That was an awesome moment.

2. Our view from the hotel room.

enough said.
enough said.

3. The scooter. There are no words really to describe this, but I shall try. Imagine 2 fully grown people- one 6’5″ and the other (roughly) 5’9″ on a scooter built for one. This would have not been a problem if the island wasn’t filled with mountains, but it was filled with mountains. Rather than cruising along (which we did just fine going down hill), we ended up in a comical skit, many times, with the theme of “I think I can, I think I can” as we mustered 5MPH uphill. Here is the scooter (and Brad).  It doesn’t look as small as I describe, but trust me when I say we laughed a lot at this poor little thing’s expense.

the little scooter that almost couldn't.
the little scooter that almost couldn’t, at all.

4. The morning we decided to be healthy and hit the gym. We weren’t lazy the whole time while on vacation. We paid our “couple’s fee” of $10 and spent a whole hour getting sweaty! Well, I don’t really sweat, per se, but I totally ran 4 miles while looking at the ocean! Brad did a full body workout. Totally forgot to mention that when we decided to do this “athletic” activity, I couldn’t find my workout shorts. I opted for a black pair of Brad’s underwear and one of his huge t-shirts to cover the “obviously men’s underwear” characteristics. They actually worked quite well.  I found my shorts as I was packing for home. Figures. 

athlétisme (en francais).
athlétisme (en francais).

5. Anguilla and the catamaran. This was so well done I wish I had taken more pictures. $95 for a full day of open bar, snacks (which were amazing with Gouda, apples and baguettes), music, you’re on a freaking catamaran in the Caribbean, a gorgeous sunny day, snorkeling, a boat captain who I am pretty sure was smoking a joint (which was both entertaining to wonder if , indeed, that was what he was doing), a fully catered lunch with grilled and smoked Mahi Mahi, and two stops in the country of Anguilla. One on a little island off the coast called Prickly Pear, and the other on the actual island of Anguilla.

Side note: during the excursion to Anguilla Island (proper), a bunch of friends we had made, swam through a school of jellyfish and got stung. This prompted my panic attack…while swimming. I completely forgot how to swim, so I ended up doing this side-swim-half-dog-paddle thing from shore to the boat. Once on board, Brad let me know that he too was stung. This was the conversation: “I got stung too.” “YOU DID?! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?” (him, very calmly) “You were freaking out, I’m fine.” “I THINK I’M GOING TO PASS OUT.” It didn’t even hurt him. Figures. I digress. I will say, I have never seen so many people offer to pee on one another. It was sweet…

As I said, I didn’t take a ton of photos, as there was snorkeling, rum punch, jelly fish attacks, and applying and reapplying of sunblock involved, but I did take a couple.

IMG_1462  (Video of Brad waving at me after he hoisted the sail on the boat)

6. Bang bang calamari at the Greenhouse Restaurant. I WILL figure out how to make this. Here is the menu for the restaurant, but this is the only thing I’m going to tell you to order, and then order seconds when you are done. It tasted of a Thai peanut sauce with a kick of some spice I want to have over for every meal. I didn’t take this picture, this is courtesy of a blog,The Wandering Sheppard” I found online.

please sir, may i have some more?
please sir, may i have some more?

7. When we decided to go to the grocery store and have snacks and drinks in our room, looking over the balcony. This was nice.

:)
🙂

7. The beaches. Because of the scooter, we were able to explore little beaches on the island that weren’t very populated. Okay, we might have visited the beach where there are people, but not very many of them have clothes on… but most of the island had these little spots with no one on them. And before you ask, NO, I didn’t take pictures. You weren’t allowed. Brad did have to tell me that I probably shouldn’t giggle if we were going to stay.  Brad would sleep and usually I would linger in the water until he would realize I was no longer next to him- and then he would come join me in the water. That was always a nice surprise.

"if there is a heaven for me, i'm sure it has a beach attached to it." -jimmy buffett
“if there is a heaven for me, i’m sure it has a beach attached to it.” -jimmy buffett

8. Laughing. We laughed a lot while on vacation.  That was awesome. I think we both needed that, as we both work a lot. To laugh and just be was really, really nice. One day on the beach, a woman asked what we had done since we had been on the island (this was like on day 6). I had to think about it because I really couldn’t think of anything “exciting,” especially when she kept naming restaurants and a rum factory and all these other notable things. I really couldn’t think of anything (past the scooter), but we just had a really nice time being together.  I think that is more important that having Clark Griswold’s schedule of stops along the way- don’t you?

9. Brad really liked this moment. He got my phone out to take it himself. We had many moments like this one, but this one stands out as it was his.

boat in the setting sun.
boat in the setting sun.

Obviously my most favorite I saved for last, as that’s what you do when you provide a top ten list…

10. Being with the man of my dreams on a island in the Caribbean for 8 days. Did I really have to spell that one out?

The last day, we went to breakfast and I saw this sign:

indeed.
indeed.

I don’t know that I will race to book a trip to St. Martin again. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we wouldn’t, as there are so many other places to see in this world. I think next trip will be someplace in Europe.

All in all, we went, we saw, we scooted.

snooze.

if only it were this easy.
if only it were this easy.

I have never been a great sleeper.  Even when blessed with mono through high school and into college, I wasn’t a great sleeper.  If I nap, I wake up groggy- and can’t seem to get out of the dazed state.  If I am woken suddenly, then I am in a horrible mood (and might just let you know how much noise you are making through the old fashion way of yelling at you). I’m a light sleeper, so if even the smallest noise should grace my ears- I’m up.  When I wake up, I can NEVER fall back asleep right away, unless medicated. In college, I had a phase where I would fall asleep anytime and anywhere- this includes the following places: while in the front row of a lecture of a CEO from a major NYC ad agency, while studying in the library, during class, sitting straight up (while watching a movie), come to think of it- I fell asleep during every movie I ever tried to watch back then.

Funny story: The first time I saw Braveheart, my college friend Brandon was CONVINCED I was going to watch a movie, without falling asleep.  I was sitting on the floor and he was in his bed, an arms reach away.  Every time I would start to doze off, he would WHACK the top of my head and yell “WAKE UP, SCHMIDT!” Abusive? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely.  End result?  I have seen Braveheart. Thanks, Brandon.

it's all for nothing if you don't have freedom, err, and sleep.
it’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom, err, and sleep.

I think too much, so my mind is never at rest.  I referenced my picky sleeping needs a while back, but needing the perfect comfort is only half my problem to a perfect sleep. Trust me, as annoying as it is to read this (I realize I sound high maintenance), it is more annoying to live through and experience personally.  I need the steady sound of my fan (even in sub zero temps outside), the perfect amount of blankets and my pillow just right: soft, but not flat, cold,  not rough to the touch and cushioned the back of my head into a perfect cup.  Good God, who the hell do I think I am?  It’s frustrating! 

Side note: before all you health nuts go crazy and judge my lifestyle (as I realize that affects sleep), know that I work out almost every day, do not drink coffee, and eat right (by whatever standards “eating right” are these days: no red meat, gluten free, organic, etc). I don’t eat sweets because I gave them up for lent (and slept this way even before giving them up), I haven’t been drinking since Brad gave up alcohol for lent (Okay, I have had some wine a couple of times, but a glass here and there does not make me an abuser of the stuff), and I go to bed reasonably early (8-9pm nightly). It’s probably stress related.  I digress.

Well, I have a new observation/frustration that I thought I would address: the snooze button. We’re all guilty of abusing it. We set our alarms for that perfect time, with our list of what we must accomplish in order to begin the day. However, come morning: birds chirping (don’t even get me started on nature sounds), cue soft music, and then it happens: the ALARM. Immediate response: snooze. You rest and relax as you realize you have more time to sleep, like finding a $20 in your ski parka, then just as your eyes shut again, ALARM. This process goes on and on for the next half-hour or so, completely debunking your original “get up and at ’em” plan from the previous evening. So I ask this: why not just set the alarm for when you know you will get up?  Why put yourself through the pain of the ups and downs of the snooze, alarm, snooze, alarm cycle?  The whole thing seems like torture to me. Then again, we are human and drama is in our nature.

I’m not going to name names, but a certain someone did it for a whole hour this morning. If he were not so damn cute, and if I wasn’t happy about the fact that he was staying in bed longer, I would have complained- or even yelled.

worst invention, indeed.
worst invention, indeed.

End result: an hour lost of sleep, is an hour of snuggling gained.  Either way, I’m smiling.

tidesmarticles

My agency created a new blog called TideSmarticles. It’s a play on words with the company name + articles.  Get it? We like it.  Anyway, I wrote one of our first posts and I thought I would share. Mild brag: I not only won this business for the agency, but I was the account lead on the event I am about to describe! We have a full schedule of events for many of their labels for 2014, but this first event for The Seeker Wines was the kickoff to a beautiful relationship.

How Experiential Marketing Made A Simple Tasting Event An Event They’d Never Forget

Recently EMG3 was posed with the task of assisting our new client, The Seeker Wines of Kobrand Corporation, with an event they were previously scheduled to attend: The Aspen Food and Wine Festival.

Seeker Food Wine Marketing

Usually what happens at events of this nature: The participating brands will set up a table, within a tent.  Attendees of the event will stand in a line to sample a taste, then move on to the next. Done and done.

The Seeker Wines wanted to increase their presence within the event, aside from the tasting table.  Their goal was to build brand recognition, but potentially grow their customer base within the small Colorado city– and overall make the most of the weekend marketing dollars.  Larger advertising options were presented, such as branding the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain, but didn’t seem like a fit for the desired goal.  EMG3 was eager to the task.

Seeker Food Wine MarketingOur solution: hire a team of brand ambassadors to spread the fun and worldly experience of The Seeker Wines all over the city outside of the event.  The Seeker Wines have done an amazing job of building their brand’s identity with Steampunk décor, so we used this to our advantage within the costuming and event set elements. The “Seekers” saturated the market place with sweepstakes contest entries and free glasses of wine. Word of mouth spread quickly about the “Seekers” and soon they were the talk of the town, with increased popularity and brand recognition.  The “experience” also increased the distribution of the brand in many local establishments.

Overall the experience was one Aspen, the patrons, and The Seeker Wines would never forget!  (See for yourself) The Seeker Aspen (video)

How could your brand increase its presence and brand recognition with an experience?

when in doubt: consult with laura.

Okay, so since my horrible dining experience, it has been a while since something struck my fancy enough to post about- until today.  I’ll start.

On my way to work this morning, I had an inkling that I was supposed to attend traffic court today for a speeding ticket I was given back in January of this year.  I was positive the time was 1pm, so I went to work as usual for 8:30am.  Well, that little feeling in my stomach (I guess it was more my head because that would be strange if my stomach was talking to me) told me it might be in the morning.  So while driving, I waited until the court house was open (8am) and called. I didn’t get through until about 16 minutes later.

(8:16am) me: Hi! I think I have court today, but have no idea what time it is for, do you mind checking?  My name is Katherine Schmidt.

lady who answered the phone: “Katherine Schmidt? Please hold. Yes, I see your name on the list for 8:30am.”

me: Um. I’m in Scarborough at this point (40 minutes from the courthouse) can you tell them I am running late, or like bump me to the next time? (only I would say something like that) Or does it not work like that?

lady: Doesn’t work like that. Do your best to get here.

I walked in the door at 8:45 (yes I understand I probably sped to get to traffic court on time for a speeding ticket, but it was necessary and not ironic at all).  They had not called my name yet.  phew.  I will note- to the rather large guy who made the “great timing” sarcastic comment as I was standing in the hallway- mind your own business.  I digress.

Back story: I started working in Maine while still living in NH, so the hour and a half drive was killing me.  I decided to up my MPH to 85-90 and cut the drive by 30 minutes. I had not received a speeding ticket since I was 20 years old, so it never occurred to me that it was possible.  I mean, I’m driving to work- not trying to break the law.  Well, I got one.  Then another one a week later.  SERIOUSLY?! I decided to slow down, and seek guidance from my brilliant lawyer friend in DC, who HAPPENED to work with traffic related issues.  Can’t hurt to see legal counsel, right?  Laura (my brilliant lawyer friend) proceeded to construct a letter for me to mail to the state of Maine, defending my case. What I received back in my email inbox was nothing short of Pulitzer Prize winning legal jargon!  I immediately put it on my letterhead, and with and stamp and a smile it was in the mail! Ho-ray! I would be saved from the land of increased insurance and silly points on my license!

Fast forward to today. When they called my name, I was to meet with the citing officer. I walked over and immediately remembered how nice he was when he first pulled me over.  Well, as he was reviewing the ticket I see paperwork attached to my name.  I scanned the materials in his hand- until I saw it.  The letter.  OMG.  He has it. I froze.  He was reviewing it with a huge smile on his face.  When he was complete he gives me a look and says, “What would you like me to do?”  I told him I would gladly pay the fine, as long as my record could stay clean.  He agreed (as long as I don’t speed for 6 months). Success! I immediately want to call Laura at this point and express my love for her.

So, as I am waiting to get my final paperwork, I look up.  The officer is reading the letter again off in a corner.  Smiling. I’m telling you- it was an AWESOME letter.  I mean I didn’t even understand half of it to be honest. 🙂

You want to see the letter, don’t you?  Okay, okay- and you’re welcome.

January 4, 2013

To the Great State of Maine:

Please accept this letter as a proclamation of my protest to the moving violation citation #XXXXXX issued to me on the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013.  Setting aside issues of appropriate calibration of the speed detection device used by the citing office, I believe the illustrious and exalted State of Maine should release me from liability associated with the alleged violation of exceeding the posted speed limit on the basis that (i) I was operating my vehicle during rush hour traffic at the rate of speed considered by leading researchers to be optimal for improved highway safety and (ii) I have no history of prior moving violations.

First, Dr. Stephen Johnson of the University of Arkansas Transportation Research Center is the nation’s leading research expert on highway safety, particularly in the area of speed differentials.  Dr. Johnson’s research indicates that the vehicle interaction rate (aka accidents) increases by 227% for every 10 miles per hour speed differential present on rural highways.  Allegedly, (again I am phrasing this in the hypothetical as I do not accept that the citing officer had a properly functioning and calibrated speed detection device) my vehicle was traveling 14 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Considering this was during heavy rush hour traffic, I was simply operating my vehicle at the rate of speed which was the safest for the conditions at that moment and that was with the flow of traffic.  Should I have slowed the vehicle down to the rate of speed where the officers “gun” would have registered compliance with the posted rate of speed, my chances of being involved in an accident would have exceeded 227%.  Surely, the State of Maine has a history of making exceptions for law violations where common sense are safety are so obvious to reasonably minded folk that it far exceeds the impetus of the underlying law so much so that compliance with the underlying law becomes non-sensical and in fact jeopardizes our collective well-being.  For example, do we support the issuing of citations during a blizzard where the motor vehicle operator has slowed the vehicle far below the minimum speed compliance rules?  Certainly not.  The State recognizes that conditions demand safety to surmount pre-determined speed limitations which are designed to be in operation during usual conditions.  On the morning of January 4, I respectfully submit to you that I was simply operating my vehicle under conditions that any reasonable person would have deemed to be the safest which was the rate of speed with the rest of the heavy flow of traffic.

Secondarily, the State must consider my stellar driving record while operating within its boundaries.  As a frequent, if not daily, traveler of the great state for nearly seventeen years, I am immensely proud of my prior safety record, which fails to include not only any history of moving violations, but any trace of criminal activity whatsoever.  Surely, upstanding citizens with such a dedication to safety, so much so that they are willing to read and cite leading research from one of the most reputable transportation research centers in the world, should be encouraged to continue to travel on the State’s highways and not discouraged.  If I may be so bold I am, in fact, the sort of safe operator the State wishes to embrace.  Therefore, should the State wish to not outright dismiss the citation, I would suggest that we reduce the violation to a warning so that I may reflect upon this as a learning experience and we may all move forward…safely.

I would also like to note that the ticket issuing officer was very professional and kindhearted about the ticket and alerting me to the safety of the cold and its effects on the roads.  I was appreciative and, in return, I would hope the State would provide him with a properly functioning radar gun. It is a shame to have such a nice fellow be continuously wrong on how fast vehicles are traveling.

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Katherine Dawn Schmidt.

My advice to anyone reading this that gets a speeding ticket: fight it with facts, wit and have an attorney (you know, if Laura is unavailable) construct it for you.  A smile won’t get you everywhere (trust me, I tried that first), but a brilliant retort just might.

the year to date.

It’s been quite a busy year thus far- and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.  I’m not complaining.  It’s been wonderful, but have you ever taken a step outside your self and realized you are spreading yourself too thin?  I did that just now.

i wish.
i wish.

 

 

So, if you have read any of my blog posts before this, you’ll know I am in a healthy adult relationship with an amazing man.  He works too much and too hard, but I have never respected someone for such an amazing work ethic- and that isn’t even his best quality.  What’s also great is he is actually doing what he says he is doing…which has caused me to TRUST someone for the first time (applause).  It’s fantastic and does wonders for your stress levels.

Relationship aside, I am in grad school for my masters.  This would be fine if it weren’t for the 3 hour class every Wednesday after a full day of working 72 miles from where I live.  I know that the end result will be worth it- but for now I am going to be a little grouchy at this self-inflicted commitment.

I am the marketing chair for Catapult Seacoast– a networking group for young professionals in NH/ME/MA.  This requires many emails, meetings and the added energy to get a bunch of people motivated.  I would be lying if I wasn’t honest with the fact that our events seem to be without purpose (aside from alcohol and networking banter), but the team is working hard to change this- and I am here for the ride- and leading my part best I can.  We’ll see.  I’m moderately hopeful.

My boyfriend’s son is a freshman at my alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas.  It’s really cool because most of the teachers from my time are still teaching there- and I’m fortunate they remember me and my “one hit wonder” musical, Guys and Dolls (I played Adelaide).   It’s exciting to be an adult and get to mingle with people who probably put you in detention every single day of high school (hey, I cannot help it if they do not make skirts that go to my knees!  I am 5’9!).  However- I refuse to call Mr. Collins, Kevin, or Mr. Holtz, Ron.  Sorry, not going to happen. That being said, I have joined the “parent” committee!  I even made the Facebook page! So far, I helped plan a parent social and am currently on the board for the upcoming fashion show.  It’s exciting, but I would be lying if the looks I get when I walk into a meeting form the other “moms” didn’t bother me.  Hey- I may not be officially a mom, but this is my school…back off.  🙂  Besides, I am a VOLUNTEER!  The coordinator, Sarah, makes it fun to be a part of it all- she’s awesome.  I have got in the habit of calling her on my ride to work to vent.  Sometimes she does the same- so all in all a friendship was formed, which is nice.

alas, the one hit wonder- me.
alas, the one hit wonder- me.

The house we live in is a 250 year old colonial.  I will not tell you how much money we have spent on heating this house- and I will not tell you how many times the oil thingy (technical term) has broken, but as of last night it is fixed.  Sigh.  I hope it is fixed.  This house drives me nuts.  The warm water is so temperamental I have not successfully taken ONE bath since we moved in (MY FAVORITE THING), and if you use the water downstairs in the morning while someone is in the shower, the water immediately goes to downstairs and you’re left with ice.  The fireplace, while romantic and very aesthetically pleasing, only seems to heat 1′ of space in front of it.  So if you want to get warm while the oil thingy isn’t working- you have to sit your ass directly in front of the fire- causing you to smell exactly like you think you would smell sitting in a fire pit.  The pipes freeze and break.  The cabinets don’t close.  Not one window was properly installed, so there is a constant breeze.  There is a train.  OMG I can’t believe that isn’t the first thing I mentioned.  The train.  This train has a wonderful schedule that goes all night long.  It shakes the house so much that when we had a mild earthquake- it had nothing on the train.  Did I mention I am a light sleeper?  We are moving to a nice, big 3 BR house on April 1st in York, Maine.  Needless to say, April cannot come soon enough for us!

Of all the tasks my schedule is filled with, of all the commitments I say “yes” to on a daily basis- it’s the phone call I just received that makes it all seem like white noise.  Nothing could possibly bother me when I hear his voice.

In case your curious: I’m picking up vegetables on the way home for dinner- and he loves me.  🙂