Why Tweetup’s & Social Media Events Are So Great

Today I attended the “Techlicious” presentation on 3D TV’s at Mrs. G’s on Route 1, Lawrenceville, NJ. This was part of a 5 part blogger series that Mrs. G’s has been so grateful to offer.

Debbie Schaeffer the owner of Mrs. G’s gave a warm welcome to the group and briefly stated how she thinks it’s so great to have events and Tweetup’s because you are finally able to meet the individuals you are connecting with online.

It got me thinking. That is so true. If you’ve never been to a Tweetup, it’s incredible. It’s not like going to a party where you don’t know anyone and you are scared of feeling awkward. Most people at the Tweetup are people you’ve been following, or vice versa. So you already know them, but from a distance.

The moment you walk into a Tweetup and tell people your Twitter handle, they usually react with a “oh I think I follow you.” It’s an opportunity to finally come face to face with people you already know that you find interesting. Sometimes at a party you end up talking to someone you maybe have no interest in talking to, because it’s forced interaction. At a Tweetup, you’ve more than likely already had a conversation with these individuals.

You follow people on Twitter because you find them interesting, or find a value or benefit in following them. So there is already an interest. Coming face to face and sharing stories and getting to know the individuals in person, is unlike anything.

I’ve never felt uncomfortable at a Tweetup. Every time I’ve attended one, I’ve walked in and immediately ran into someone I already knew (on Twitter that is). The conversation comes easy. Usually they are held at a fun location, with food and drinks. Sometimes there are ice breakers like speed dating. Other times, there may be a presentation on a social media type subject or from a company who has a large presence in the social media community.

As you know, I recently planned my own Tweetup for the NJ unemployed. Tweetup’s are typically geared towards a specific area i.e. Central Jersey, mom’s, bride’s, anyone can host a Tweetup and its simple and easy to do.

Find a local meeting space that will be able to hold the number of people you expect. Try and get some free grub, if possible. It’s always a plus. Then put together an invite (I like Twtvite). All that’s left is inviting people and letting them know about your event. This is simple, because you’re on Twitter, so you just have to post about your event and let your followers know.

If you’re not ready to host your own Tweetup, you definitely need to at least get to one. You can search http://www.twtvite.com for Tweetup’s in your area. Everyone is always looking for something. Whether it’s a job, a service or advice on a particular subject. And networking is key. So get out there and see what’s going on in your area.

Why an NJ Unemployed Tweetup?

Why an NJ Unemployed TweetUp?

I sent out a tweet on Twitter asking who else was unemployed in NJ and received an incredible response. I figured I had to do something.

When I received this response from my Twitter followers that so many are unemployed in NJ, I felt the immediate urge to do something to help the situation. How can I put a positive spin on being unemployed? Society has given unemployment such a negative stigma. Why not turn it into a positive.

So in an effort to help the community and change the stigma of unemployment, I decided I was going to host a TweetUp. I thought about when and where and figured during the day would be best, since we all have no jobs to go to anyway. It’s an opportunity to get out of the house and do something. Where? I secured Panera Bread in West Windsor on Route 1 since it’s central, easy to get to, plus inexpensive (hey, we have no money). I reached out to everyone that contacted me about their unemployment and let all my followers know about the event that I had set up using Twtvite.

This first TweetUp will be a way for NJ Unemployed Twitter users to get together, share experiences and stories and find a way to help each other. I have tons of ideas for upcoming TweetUps which include inviting employers looking to hire, inviting press, etc. This is an opportunity to turn something that is perceived as negative into something positive.

I’ve received a few responses so far and looking forward to more people signing up to attend. If you are interested in attending the first ever NJ Unemployed Tweetup on March 29, 2010 at Panera Bread in West Windsor, NJ please visit http://twtvite.com/NJUnemployed and make sure you follow hashtag #NJUnemployed on Twitter and myself @kdevito.

If you are interested in hosting a NJ Unemployed TweetUp at your establishment or are interested in press coverage on this story please contact me.

Unemployed Take 2

  

On February 26, 2010, I was laid off from my job. As you know, I was unemployed for a year and finally landed the job of Communications Coordinator for a company in December. 90 days later, I was laid off. So I’m back to square one again. Back to the grind of scouring employment ads and spending as much time as I can networking. I really feel that networking is the best way to meet people, share your experiences and potentially land a job.  

However, it’s always uncomfortable when you are at a networking event or party and someone asks “so what do you do”. Your palms start sweating, your mind starts racing. Why? All because saying “I’m currently unemployed” seems so negative. Maybe you fess up and say you’re unemployed, maybe you say my background is xyz, but the truth remains the same. You are without a job. It can be a depressing thing for many individuals.  

I sent out a tweet on Twitter asking who else was unemployed in NJ and received an incredible response. When I received this response from my Twitter followers that many are unemployed in NJ. I felt the immediate urge to do something to help this situation.

The Boston (Bahston) Getaway

After the craziness of the holidays, along with the hubs birthday and the fact that I had a few comp days, we decided to take a long weekend in Bahston (Boston). We decided on Boston since the hubs is a HUGE Cheers fan, beer aficionado and history buff. We started looking into hotels and found The Bulfinch Hotel which seemed like a cute boutique hotel right in the center of it all, and the price was right. (*Note to all and to self, you get what you pay for.) We couldn’t wait to get to Boston and see the history, drink the beer and just enjoy each other’s company. As always, I developed a full on itinerary of where we will be visiting, eating, etc. along with our reservation times and address. I’m a little crazy like that.

Thursday – We drove through a blizzard, arriving late (according to my itinerary) to our destination, The Bulfinch Hotel. We pulled up in front of the hotel next to the valet parking sign. We waited and waited. Finally I got out of the car and went inside to say “We’re here and we are parked right outside by the valet sign, now what?” The gentleman looked up from his iPhone and said “Valet parking means, unload your stuff, drive to the stop sign, turn left and turn left again, park in the parking garage and walk back”. Hmmm… I mean I knew people in Boston had accents, but didn’t realize that not only  the pronunciation of words were different, but so were the definitions. I walked back to the car, told the hubs. We brought our stuff in and he walked up to the gentleman and said so now what do we do? His reply was “Like I told your wife, blah blah blah”. Ok not off to a great start. We have Mr. Personality at the front desk and have to park our car, walk, etc. We finish unloading, the hubs goes to park the car I turn to check in and the gentleman is now on the phone. So I wait. And I wait. My husband returns asking if I checked in and I say nope he’s been on the phone the whole time. Other people are now waiting in the lobby. Finally a gentleman named Corey comes out from behind a wall, he was early to work and able to help us all. We finally check in. Later on that evening we expressed our concern with the way we were handled during check in to Corey who assured us he would forward the information to his manager Liz. We had lunch at the Cheers Replica bar which had surprisingly good food. Took a nap and then headed to dinner at Turner Fisheries which was great. The food and service were wonderful. The maitre’d even walked us through the hotel to show us where we could catch a cab. What service!

Friday – We woke up to get ready and realized we have no hot water in our shower. Grabbed lunch at the Union Oyster House which is the oldest restaurant in the US. Of course we had to grab a cup of Clam Chowder (or chowdah). Went about our day, did the Boston Super Tour which was a fantastic way to see the city and I highly recommend it. So did @BostonTweet. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should. He is the be all and end all of everything you need to know Boston. I felt like he was my own private virtual concierge. One of our stops was the Original Cheers Bar, so of course we had to grab a drink. We did some shopping and then got ready for our dinner at Lucia Ristorante. Lucia Ristorante is on Hanover Street in the Italian section of Boston. It is the spot for Italian food. Everything we ordered was out of this world and all made to order. Our server’s recommendations were right on. I ordered a chicken dish and the hubs ordered the veal chop special. Even the coffee was wonderful. We will definitely be back there next time we are in town. At some point during the day, we met John the manager of the Bulfinch. He came over to meet us at the bar since we had chatted with them on Twitter. Turns out someone else does their Twitter, but big deal. (Oh forgot to mention… they promised us a special treat at check in for being a Twitter follower, yea that didn’t happen.) We told John about our experience checking in the day before and he seemed to feel bad, kinda.

Saturday – Another cold shower. I called to order room service for breakfast. They offer room service, but they don’t put menus in the rooms so you have to ask for one at the front desk. I wanted to order a waffle, but their waffle maker was broke. They were also out of a lot of wine the night before and waiting for a shipment. We ended up ordering their continental breakfast which was yogurt (which arrived not as described), bagels and coffee. It arrived after an hour and without sugar for the coffee. So the hubs went down to get me some. We ventured over to the Sam Adams Brewery by subway (super easy) and had a great lesson on the history of Sam Adams and beer in general. The hubs loved this part of the trip. We even ended up sitting with a guy who shared a birthday with the hubs. Crazy right? We travelled over to the Freedom Trail and grabbed a bite at The Purple Shamrock. Had a great reuben. Our arms were heavy from shopping and were carrying a number of bags. We went up to our room at The Bulfinch Hotel and guess what? Our keys don’t work. None of them. Luckily there was a phone in the hall so we called the front desk. Liz the manager came up and tried other keys, nope they didn’t work. She tried using some special machine, didn’t work. Finally she got us in. She went back down to the front desk to get another machine. She played around for a while on our door and finally was able to get keys to work in our room. Time for a nap! We rested and got ready to have dinner at The Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Let me just say we almost stayed there. Every President has stayed at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and most of them have eaten in the library of The Oak Room. The place is beautiful! We were ushered in and brought to the far back room, the library. It was quaint, charming and elegant. I put my purse on the floor and our server Pasquale said “wait let me get you something for your purse”. I thought he was going to come back with one of those purse things you clip on to the table so it’s not on the floor. He came back with a beautiful ottoman for my purse. I had a chair for my purse! The service was impeccable, the food was good but overpriced. You pay for the ambiance and the service there. But it was a great way to end our trip.

Sunday – We checked out and headed home. I messaged The Bulfinch Hotel on Twitter to let them know of our disappointment, but no reply.

Since then I have tried to reach out to them, but not only does the hotel have “great customer service” but so does their Twitter consultant who blocked me from writing them.

Word to the wise… you get what you pay for, not everything is what it seems, if it seems too good to be true… it probably is. Don’t stay at the Bulfinch Hotel. There are plenty of amazing hotels in Boston that are so much better, have better customer service, prices and hot water. Oh and valet does mean valet everywhere else in Boston.

Stop and smell the roses!

October 8, 2009

Stop and smell the roses! By: Katie DeVito

(Follow me on Twitter @kdevito)

When was the last time you took time to smell the roses? I did on Tuesday when I visited with Georgianne Vinicombe the Founder & Owner of Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co. nestled in Princeton Forrestal Village. Monday Morning is an adorable boutique flower shop where you can run in and purchase a beautiful bouquet (a few are even available in a case to grab if you’re in a rush), pick up some adorable vases or meet with the owner to discuss arrangements for an upcoming event. They also have tons of beautiful fall decorations to accessorize your home, office or give as a gift.

Monday Morning Staff

Monday Morning flowers staff I fell in love with a gorgeous arrangement, which consisted of calla lilies, hypericum berries, and birds of paradise among others, that really said “autumn.” Perfect to bring as a hostess gift for a nice fall dinner with friends. It would also make for the perfect centerpiece (on my dining room table if my husband is reading this…).

Georgianne has been in business in Princeton for over 21 years and at her Yardley location for 12. She loves being around flowers and truly enjoys working with her phenomenal staff and fantastic customers.

Georgianne literally started her company by delivering flowers, plants and vases on Monday mornings. She was attending school and cleaning offices and realized quickly flowers might be a good business for her. After delivering flowers and plants on Monday mornings for a while, she decided to rent space in downtown Princeton, which led to her current location in Princeton Forrestal Village. The company was such a success that she opened a second location in Yardley, PA.

Georgianne loves to work with brides-to-be and even has a special space to meet with them. When the bride comes in to the store, she leads them around to her secret bridal nook. Ok, it’s really not a secret now that we told you about it. The room has many photos and books to look through and an abundance of vases and stands to choose from. There is even a couch for the groom, bridal attendants or family members to hang out on. It’s a nice private area where there are no distractions and customers are able to sit there and discuss their wedding or upcoming event.

Monday Morning works with FTD, Teleflora and 1-800-FLOWERS. Not only do they handle floral event orders and walk-in bouquets, but they also do balloon work and corporate events. Monday Morning Flowers and Balloon Co. have been featured in numerous print magazines, including every bride’s favorite “The Knot”.

Not sure if Monday Morning will deliver to your area? Visit their website which provides an extensive list of the areas they service as well as companies and facilities they work with http://www.mondaymorningflowers.com.

Georgianne is always on Twitter and interacting with her customers. Follow her @mondayflowers and see what she’s up to. She always posts photos of projects she is working on and events she attends. Stop in to Monday Morning Flowers, mention Princeton Scoop and receive 10% off your purchase. You may also use the code SCOOP to save 10% with any online purchases at http://www.mondaymorningflowers.com.

Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co. Princeton Forrestal Village 111 Main Street Princeton, NJ 08540 1-888-497-7363

Written for Princeton Scoop (www.princetonscoop.com) by Katie DeVito

BLC – BeautyLand Couture “It’s all about the fun”

October 5, 2009
BLC – BeautyLand Couture “It’s all about the fun”
By: Katie DeVito  (follow me on Twitter @kdevito)

BLC

Tucked away in Princeton Forrestal Village is BeautyLand Couture or BLC as the locals refer to it. It is a trendy, cool, boutique beauty store that sells great products and has wonderful customer service. “It’s all about the fun”, as their motto clearly states.

I’ve shopped in BLC numerous times, their hot pink, black & white, fun flirty atmosphere gets me in there every time. However, recently I heard they do parties, so I had to check it out. I walked in and was greeted by the owner Nina, who is “personality plus”. I mentioned I was looking for a new facemask, I explained my skin type and what I was going for. She was completely honest with me and said she thought I’d love the Grape Seed Extract peel-off masque by Queen Helene.  It was only $4.  Four dollars for glowing skin?  I had to try it.  I love that I wasn’t “oversold” at BLC. They are honest and sell you the products they love and what they think works best for your needs.

I had heard about their “Princess Parties” though the grapevine and had to inquire. The Princess Parties are for ages 4-8 and includes 1 ½ hour use of the BLC party room, a party hostess, nail application or makeover, princess jewels, a goodie bag for each “princess” and a special gift for the birthday girl. Cost?  Under $17 per child (and the avoidance of cleaning your house before OR after). Not only that, but they supply all the necessary party products like cups, plates, tablecloths, etc.  with their signature pink style that little girls adore. Partygoers can watch their favorite movie on DVD or play their own music on their iPod through the BLC sound system. How cool is that? I’m guessing Hannah Montana or the Jonas trio rock the house for these events.  The staff is very helpful and always at your service and are more than willing to help orchestrate your catering needs. They will order your pizza or sushi if that’s your flavor.  Did I mention that the party princess gets a tiara? I think I know where I’m having my party next year – you are never too old for the allure of a tiara!

BLC is also a hit for the slightly old crowd. Their ”Girls Night Out Package” works for a Baby Shower, Bridal Shower or just an excuse to get together with the girls for a bit of beauty. For under $23 per guest it even includes a cheese platter and wine.

BLC sells makeup and hair products for every ethnicity. They even sell some beauty products for pets. Go figure! Their products range from high-end brands to inexpensive brands that work. Like I said, they only work with products they love and will be completely honest with you as to what they think would work best for you.

BLC is currently developing “Madison K” which will be an interactive cartoon answering questions and giving advice to children and teens, reminding them that everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way.  Ahhh technology!

Did we pique your interest?  If you head over to BLC, mention “Princeton Scoop” and receive you’ll get a free gift. While you’re there, pick up the Grape Seed Extract facemask. Not only does it smell fantastic, but it left my skin feeling clean and silky smooth. It’s my new “go to” product without a doubt.

BLC: Princeton Forrestal Village: 116 Main Street: Princeton, NJ 08540:  (609) 452-7400
http://www.beautylandcouture.com

Written for Princeton Scoop (www.princetonscoop.com) by Katie DeVito.

“You Know You’re From Princeton…”

September 28, 2009

You Know You’re From Princeton…

By: Katie DeVito (Follow me on Twitter @kdevito)
Recently we polled our Twitter and Facebook friends on the following question…

“You know you’re from Princeton…”

Here’s What We Got:

…when you know the better, less trafficked Thomas Sweets is in Palmer Square.
…if you ever carved your name in a table at PJ’s Pancake House.
…if you’re a regular at the Princeton Record Exchange!
…if you’ve dumped your cd collection at the Princeton Record Exchange to get extra scratch.
…if you know Dick Swain.
…if you know which store houses the “Albert Einstein Museum”.
…when you almost ran over Cornel West because he likes to jaywalk. Stick to the crosswalks Cornel!
…if you remember The Annex.
…if you know what the Dinky is.
…when you shop at Merrick’s for a big event.
…when you show up at a dinner party with cupcakes from Bent Spoon as a hostess gift.
…if you’ve skateboarded in the parking garage by the old Gap store.
…if you park for free on PU campus on nights & weekends.
…when your pizza delivery guy shows up in a BMW!
…if you are on a first name basis with Chris at Lahieres.
…when it takes a Trader Joe’s to get you to cross Route 1.
…because you know how to eat in your car when there’s no parking in town.
…if you’ve watched a number of movies be filmed in Princeton (Beautiful Mind, IQ, Transformers 2).
…if you know what “spices” are at Hoagie Haven.
…if you have a “default” favorite at Hoagie Haven.
…if you’ve eaten a cheesesteak from Hoagie Haven at the “fountain”.
…if you’ve broken into Princeton classrooms to eat your Hoagie Haven.
(*Princeton Scoop does not support breaking and entering)
…when you take a bag of Small World Coffee with you on vacations.
…when your little league victory party ends up at pizza star and dairy queen.
(from @blues_traveler)
…because you follow Princeton Scoop on Twitter @princetonscoop and Facebook for everything Princeton.

**Responses were compiled from our Twitter and Facebook friends.
Special thanks to the following Twitter friends: @dynowright, @ginamonari, @IVRepresents @kdevito, @njdevito, @njspice, @princetonscoop, @SermonOTheMount, @visitprinceton, @blues_traveler

Special mentions: @hoagiehaven @Princeton, @cornelwest, @blues_traveler

Written for Princeton Scoop (www.princetonscoop.com) by Katie DeVito.