The Roaring PJ - A Social Media Blog

Favorite Holiday and Christmas Traditions, from our Roaring Pajamas Family

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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As we wrap up a fantastic – and sometimes frantic – 2016, our team reflected on some of our favorite holiday and
Christmas traditions. Those big, little, crazy or seemingly silly practices and routines that we bring back year after year. The family traditions and customs that remind us of past holidays and the best part of the season, spending time with loved ones and caring for others.

Many holiday habits revolve around food, and our team’s favorite Christmas traditions prove no exception. Of course, given Roaring Pajamas’ digital marketing origins as an organic outcome of a gourmet food business, we found it particularly fitting that we all shared stories of food!

Among many Christmas traditions, Gretchen’s family bakes cookies and her children make their own gingerbread houses every year. Her mother is Norwegian, and each year she makes krumkakes for the family. Similar to a crepe but baked in a krumkake iron, which has a beautiful design, krumkakes are then rolled to make a delicate cookie. Sweet, light and delicious, krumkakes remain a family favorite. Gretchen and family carry on another Norwegian tradition, offering a smorgasbord for Christmas Eve. A smorgasbord includes salmon or gravlax on toast with creme fraiche, capers, dill, sweet mustard and onions; pickled herring; lots of different types of cheeses; and whatever else others bring. On Christmas morning, Gretchen serves “Christmas Casserole,” an egg, bread and cheese casserole dish. Interestingly, both she and her husband grew up with that casserole, so it fits to pass it along to the next generation. During Christmas day, the family participates in yet another Norwegian custom; a large pot of warm oyster artichoke soup sits on the stove and family helps themselves when they are hungry between breakfast and dinner. Sounds delectable, no?

Kelly and family enjoy tamales every year for Christmas Eve dinner, then start Christmas morning with her family-famous “Christmas Morning Hash Brown Quiche.” It’s a secret recipe, so we will all just have to imagine how amazing it must taste! A turkey dinner for Christmas evening rounds out Kelly’s food festivities. We also love her family’s Christmas tradition of watching the movie “Christmas Vacation” while trimming the tree. It is such a deeply ingrained tradition, in fact, that one year they postponed decorating until they could find the movie! Good thing on-demand video arrived on the scene; they won’t have to put off their holiday decorating ever again.

A San Francisco Bay Area girl, Wendy and family appropriately enjoy cioppino for dinner on Christmas Eve. Cioppino, a fish stew created in the late 1800s by Italian immigrants who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, provides a warm and easy make-ahead meal. Her family serves it with warm sourdough bread and a large salad upon returning from their traditional Christmas Eve church service. Christmas morning typically includes a large breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs; a flurry of gift unwrapping; and Facetiming with relatives on the east coast. Christmas dinner sometimes includes turkey or ham, but they also make it a tradition to sometimes be non-traditional on December 25. We will see what this year brings to the table!

Last but not least, my family food festivities always include pierogi, kielbasa and turkey for our traditional Christmas fare. My family is Russian, and we grew up with my Nana’s homemade pierogi. As an adult, I purchased them from my aunt who made them every year at the Orthodox Church in Stamford, CT as a church fundraiser. More recently, I found Millie’s Pierogi in Massachusetts. They ship pierogi and kielbasa nationwide that taste just like what my Nana used to make. Our favorite flavors are cheese/potato and prune, if you can believe it! My mom enjoyed prune pierogi for dessert when she was a child, so we happily continue that habit. And, the best part of pierogi? They’re baked on a bed of butter and caramelized onions. Oh, my! I can hardly wait for my Millie’s order to arrive on my doorstep this year!

My mouth is now watering, how about yours? Time to start working on those holiday grocery lists!

From our Roaring Pajamas family to yours, “Cheers!” We wish you wonderful holidays, joyous times with family and friends, delightful continuations of meaningful holiday and Christmas traditions and – of course – scrumptious food! See you in 2017!

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The Top Five Holiday Gifts on Our List to Give This Year

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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How can it possibly be time for yet another installment of our annual list of favorite holiday gifts? This year has absolutely FLOWN by, hasn’t it? Makes me think it is high time to find a way to slow time down! But, since we haven’t figured that out just yet, check out

Roaring Pajamas’ Third Annual List of Holiday Gifts for
Business Owners, Social Media Gurus and, well, just about Anyone!

As you will notice, this year’s list does include some holiday gifts befitting those of us with little time, no time or disappearing time. And, in some cases, a little sense of humor!

approved-lumee-blog-imageLuMee Two Phone Case: Wondering how Kim Kardashian always takes the perfect selfie? Wonder no longer. The LuMee Two phone case, available for both iPhones and Samsungs, features a ring of lights that softly illuminate your face so that your selfies will be on point. The LuMee also helps improve your video chats, Facebook Live sessions and your Instagram Stories. Definitely a holiday gift that will keep on giving!

BlueParrott: Know someone who spends a fair amount of a day on the go, but still needs to talk on the phone all the time? While mobile phones, earbuds and Bluetooth-connected cars have come a very long way, you know how one can really never escape the fact that they are talking in the car, in public or someplace other than a quiet office on a landline? Well, we’ve got an answer! Made for truckers, the BlueParrott mobile, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling headset just can’t be beaten. Calls will be crystal clear; callers will understand everything said and no one will know where a call is taking place…  be in on the bus, at Starbucks or in the bathroom! Sure, one may look like a retro Time-Life operator while sporting the headset, but we guarantee they will get over the geekiness once they hear the difference. Check it out; Polly wants a headset!

Subscription Box: approved-stitch-fix-blog-imageWho doesn’t love a surprise package on their doorstep? And
especially one that arrives each month with new goodies! For that hard-to-shop-for person on your list, consider a holiday gift of a subscription box. Seems there’s a box service out there for every interest and every need, from simple to sublime, and everything in between. For makeup lovers, our team loves to recommend Ipsy. For the dapper man, check out StitchFix for Men – a delivery of five clothing pieces chosen just for him, based on his style profile. And for the gamer or nerd in your life, GeekFuel just may be a must-have!

Tomato Timer: Who could possibly need a tomato timer? Believe it or not, everyone, and especially someone who spends lots of time heads-down at a computer (like a social media marketer, for example). Tomato-Timer.com is an easy to use, flexible Pomodoro Technique timer. Created by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a method for a more productive way to work and study. According to TomatoTimer, the technique comprises these five basic steps:

  1. Decide on the task at hand
  2. Set the Pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
  3. Work on the task until the timer expires; Record with an X
  4. Take a Short Break (5 minutes)
  5. Every four “pomodoros,” take a Long Break (10 minutes)

Since everyone wants to be more productive, introducing the TomatoTimer to a friend, colleague or loved one serves as a priceless gift – both literally and figuratively. Given the low (ok, no) price tag, you may consider adding a little something to it. Perhaps stay with the tomato theme for this holiday gift idea and whip up a batch of our favorite Roasted Tomato Basil Soup by the incomparable Ina Garten? Or maybe some grilled cheese and tomato soup socks to keep someone tootsies warm while they work hard? You choose!

Insulated Water Bottles: As Zoolander reminds us, “Moisture is the essence of approved-swell-blog-imagewetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.” Kidding and not-so-bright models aside, we all know the importance of water for our health and well-being. We also know that drinking anything out of a nice, pretty or well-designed cup or container always makes that drink taste better. Give the holiday gift of an insulated water bottle to someone who might need more moisture in their life! Our team recommends a couple of favorite brands that keep cold water cold, hot water hot and a smile on our faces:

  • S’well: beautifully and gracefully designed and in a range of colors and designs, a S’well bottle should please your chicest thirsty giftee. Also consider this similar beautiful water bottle from one of our favorite athletic-wear designers, Nancy Rose Performance.
  • Hydro Flask: sturdy and practical, a Hydro Flask will delight a more rugged sole.

Cheers!

What do you think? Do any of these holiday gift ideas sound appealing for someone in your life? Anything you added to your list – for you or someone else? Do tell!

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What do Social Media Strategy, Barbecue Sauce and LinkedIn Have in Common? It’s our Secret Sauce!

Posted on by Melanie Yunk

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Roaring Pajamas is participating in the LinkedIn #ProFinderContest with this post. Curious about the contest? Want to submit your own small business story? Here’s the 411: https://lnkd.in/SMB-Contest

In January, Roaring Pajamas celebrated seven years as a social media and digital blog-main-image_li-contestmarketing agency. Interestingly enough, our small business story started not with social media strategy, but with barbecue sauce! We detailed our digital marketing start on our blog earlier this year, so here’s the quick version of our story.

I spent over 20 years as an electronics engineer and was eager to shift gears and pursue a personal passion. I mixed my business acumen with my love of gourmet food and, in 2002, created Melanie’s Fine Foods. Over the course of marketing barbecue sauces from Big Acres® Gourmet Sauces, the brand owned by Melanie’s Fine Foods, my team and I gained considerable social media savvy. As the brand grew – in no small part as a result of our social media strategy – others in the industry and community engaged our assistance. Thus, Yunk Consulting, now Roaring Pajamas, was born in 2009. We operated both businesses simultaneously for a couple of years. In 2011, though, I sold Big Acres Gourmet Foods to focus solely on Roaring Pajamas.

My husband, Kent, an SEO expert, joined the team so that Roaring Pajamas could offer digital marketing, social media strategy and search consulting to businesses across many different industries, including not-for-profits and community organizations. We work with clients to research, build and execute on thoughtful, thorough and effective marketing programs that include a comprehensive marketing mix of marketing strategy, SEO, social media engagement and social media advertising. We revel in helping clients increase reach, engage new audiences and grow their businesses via social networks. Our proudest moments come when we see tangible, positive growth in customers’ businesses as a result of our work.

These past (almost) eight years running a small business have taught us a multitude of lessons about managing time, clients, workload and life. The key advice we give to any entrepreneur is this: finding trusteblog-secondary-image_lid lead sources ranks as imperative for growing and sustaining a business. To that end, LinkedIn always provides an excellent platform for us to connect with others in our industry and in our clients’ industries. We receive many valuable leads through direct contact to our personal profiles and inquiries via our business page. And, LinkedIn ProFinder also serves as another fantastic lead source for our services; we’ve answered many interesting and legitimate proposals that have come our way from ProFinder.

At Roaring Pajamas, we’ve figured out our secret sauce. In addition to a social media strategy and a passion for our business, we know that a trusted resource – like LinkedIn – for lead generation and finding resources is a must-have to grow and sustain any small business. Oh, and scrumptious barbecue sauce always helps, too!

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