Too Cute Tuesday: Lobster Ravioli

Too Cute Tuesday: Lobster Ravioli

Every Tuesday, it's friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To get involved, check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives, join Too Cute Tuesday on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday group (it's free and fun, we just like to coordinate!)

The whole shebang started on Saturday night when I got a phone call from my sometimes lobsterman boyfriend. "I'm bringing you six lobsters." It was a good catch day and so Dan got to take some (not a usual thing).

I tried to make my own ravioli dough. At the point, I left to buy won ton wrappers. Problem solved (and stressed diminished) for $2.50.

I began to cook. I made a garlic olive oil sauce and a scallion butter when I got another phone call. "I told Joe and Beth we'd go out with them tonight. Is that ok?"

Of course it was nice to meet some of Dan's friends but Sunday, we also had friends over for lunch who are 'sick of lobster' from serving it to out of town guests all summer. In other words, Sunday afternoon, Dan Dan the Lobsterman went back to fishing for the week and I still had two lobsters and a couple 'sauces' left.

I decided to make lobster ravioli so that I could use what I had created in terms of Saturday evening sauces and try something besides boil and serve. Sure lobster is good boiled (especially with rice wine vinegar and butter!) but Too Cute Tuesday is all about trying new things!

I ended up modifying this recipe on the Food Network for Lobster Ravioli to not have to create the dough (not to say I didn't try of course but see steps below to see where I went wrong). Tonight, it was just me crafting... in other words, nothing stopping me from consuming a large amount of pasta unattended.

My dog is scared of anything: her grooming brush, cameras, and we can now add tasty ravioli to the list.

Marketing Monday: Jet Blue

Marketing Monday: Jet Blue

Every Monday, Breaking Even looks at a business, website, or non-profit doing cool things online. Have an idea? Contact me and let me know!

It's easy to do the whole internet marketing bit when things are going well but what about when you have a PR disaster? How do you handle bad press about your company when you've made yourself very available online?

Jet Blue had an employee freak out on them last week. He's been getting tons of press and I don't feel a need to give him any more.

That said, I do need to say how Jet Blue has handled it seems really great.

They're keeping calm and carrying on.
The natural instinct when something doesn't go your way is to disappear for awhile. But JetBlue continues their Twitter customer service and Facebook notifications about news and events.

They briefly and professionally addressed it on their company blog.
It would be weird to completely ignore the controversy but what should you say when you don't want to be libelous or strangely silent? Read the great blog post solution called 'Sometimes the weird news is about us...' They aknowledged what happened and thanked their great employees.

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday, August 13. For me, it will always be the day I almost died.

It was 1993 and I was 12 years old, having one of those summers spent almost entirely in the water. I had biked to the town pool only to find it was closed for maintenance. Remembering that my mother was leaving the house, I biked home fast before I was shut out for the afternoon. I remembered looking both ways before crossing the street but clearly I didn't. I saw red and then it was dark. (Years later, I found out it was a red pickup that hit me when I was telling my mom I had felt uncomfortable sitting in someone's truck and I didn't know why. Yup it was a red truck!)

I don't remember any pain but it was dark and I couldn't move or open my eyes. I remember hearing people talk all around me and not being able to say anything. I was trapped in my body.

I spent three days in the hospital. I don't remember much but I remember my family being around and that I couldn't concentrate on anything. I remember trying repeatedly to make it through a half hour long television show or a chapter in a book but getting a headache before I could finish. I had a concussion. I had an MRI or maybe a CAT scan which I slept through. Overall, I was sleepy and a bit sick to my stomach.

The day I was supposed to go home, I had a seizure. It felt like some big invisible hands were holding me down and pushing my head backward. I tried to mentally overpower it, or at least say something to calm people around me down, but I was trapped in my body again.

This Week In Business: Why I Charge For Workshops And Seminars

This Week In Business: Why I Charge For Workshops And Seminars

I often get asked, "Why don't you give free seminars?" I've been thinking a lot about it lately and here's my response:

First of all, it isn't true that I don't ever give free seminars. Once a month, I do a free seminar for a business-related non-profit: chambers of commerce, Rotary, and other groups of that nature. If I get two requests the same month, I ask the person who contacted me second if they'd mind holding off. This is because I need to reserve time to do paid work so I can keep going as a business. Also, these free presentations are very general, usually introducing basic concepts as that's what time allows (and usually what the group wants).

Everyone else gets charged, whether it's a customized training session ($75/hour or $500, whichever is more applicable) or as a fee for a Downeast Learning workshop(between $25-$50/person). Am I just a money grubbing jerkface? Well, I might be... but even if I am, I have some good reasons for doing this:

1) It takes time to create workshops.
I spend on average of 10 hours preparing slides for a typical workshop. I usually create an outline, get feedback on it from colleagues, make slides, and then get feedback on the slides. If you've ever been to one of my presentations, I hope you can see the thought that goes into them!

In addition to the time making the presentation, I also write a press release, post the workshop on several online event calendars, post it over Facebook and Twitter, update my blog, put up posters, contact all the local chambers, and do other things to get the word out, probably to the tune of a couple hours per workshop.

2) It costs money to present workshops.
You'll notice if you go to my workshops, they are held in a space that isn't my home office. Since my house is tiny (not to mention ill equipped to handle 20ish people and their computers comfortably), I have to rent space.

Too Cute Tuesday: Bamboo Wind Chimes and Haikuesday

Too Cute Tuesday: Bamboo Wind Chimes and Haikuesday

Too Cute Tuesday is a weekly event involving a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To get involved, see all the TCT archived posts at www.toocutetuesday.com, join us on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday chapter in your town.

My friend John contacted me awhile back, asking if we'd be interested in doing a Japanese related craft to cobrand with a weekly tradition he has on his Facebook page called Haikuesday. (In essence, you ask him to write you a personalized haiku on a Tuesday and he will. Here's his Facebook page if you want to ask him about doing it for you!)

While the Bar Harbor branch of Too Cute Tuesday has opted to make a bamboo wind chime, Too Cute Tuesday Saint Louis is making paper koi. Here's the link to their craft (EnchantedLearning.com, the website is on, is ridiculously addicting just to warn... just start clicking some related links!)

Materials
tiki torches (made of bamboo)
saw (Dremel tool caused a bit of burning if you are considering that)
scissors
random bendable hardware

Cocktail of the Night: Limeaid and Pims

Marketing Monday: Meatless Monday

Marketing Monday: Meatless Monday

Every Monday, the Breaking Even blog takes on a business, non-profit, or website with a good marketing idea. Have one? Send it in!

This morning, I was listening to NPR (on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network) and heard about former marketer now turned non-profit marketer Sid Lerner talking about the Meatless Monday concept him and his firm started as a way to get people to eat healthier one day a week. According to the story, 20% of the American population was aware of the term. Personally, I've heard about it on a few blogs I read (I do like food) and I was surprised the recognition of the phrase was that low.

Not just a campaign but a website providing useful information and incentives to step out of their comfort zone one night a week.

Meanwhile, it turns out some college campuses have also bought in to the concept but most younger generation folks aren't going meatless for cholesterol but for the environment. (Which is a big reason why I eat meat only a couple times a week myself. Holy grain acres, Batman!(As a complete aside, you can read a whole nerdy though somewhat slanted article about grain acres here with neato diagram if you are interested.)