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Annie

Colorado Local

Best Denver Date Night: Marcella’s Ristorante

Imagine if you could take a weekend trip to Italy without the 12-hour plane ride and trip down the A-line? Thanks to Denver’s newest Italian restaurant Marcella’s you can.  Brought to us by the same restaurant group who perfected Ocean Prime in Larimer Square, Marcella’s marries Italian classics with modern culinary flair. 

Located just at 18th and Central, the outdoor patio lights your way into the modern Italian dining room. If the weather is nice, you can even dine alfresco looking out at the Denver lights or watching the fireworks during a summer Rockies game. 

Drew and I visited Marcella’s shortly after they opened and we were blown away by how amazing the experience was. 

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Marketing

Sorry I’m not Sorry – Facebook’s Killing Brand Pages

Yesterday Mark Zuckerburg announced that the Facebook newsfeed will be shifting to share more content from your family and friends, instead of content from brands / bloggers and business pages. Since this announcement went live I’ve seen dozens of posts from bloggers, photographers and business owners up in arms.

Facebook’s killing my community! What am I going to do? Etc etc etc. Even one of my favorite mom bloggers Baby Sideburns has an open letter to the Zuck protesting her dismay about the changes.

I’ve been working in marketing and social media my entire career and from this announcement the only thing I have to say is THANK GOD.

If you are in any type of business you’ve known for years that using Facebook’s tricky algorithm to boost your engagement is a cruel mistress. The first bloggers and businesses into the world of Facebook pages got huge, fast. People liked / shared / clicked and filled your pockets with money from sponsors and customers. Slowly but surely Facebook realized that they were missing revenue and instead of charging their users, they started charging these folks who were making money off of their FREE platform.

Next came the latest round of how to trick the system. Instead of just posting your content to boost your numbers: Post Meme’s, Post Videos, Post Gifs asking people to describe their day in a Gif response. This garbage is literally collectively lowering all of our iq.

Last month, Facebook said hey guys, this is trash, let’s stop promoting it and if you don’t we’re not going to show your trash to anyone.

Again, Thank you.

So that said, how does a blogger or a brand survive on Facebook? The same way they survived before social media became a gravy train of free ‘impressions’.

CREATE GOOD CONTENT. Build your website with SEO in mind so that readers / customers can find you. Be a good steward of your community and only share your very best work. 

If you are good at what you do – people will naturally share your content giving you better, more engaged, authentic engagement. Isn’t that what we all want?

To all my blogger friends. Let’s stop trying to find a way to trick the system and bemoaning how facebook is making life harder. Let’s all just accept the challenge and BE better.

Photo Credit: Karolina from Pexels 

Home Decor & Projects

Four Reasons Why You Should Cook With Stainless Steel

Cooking with Stainless Steel pots and pans is different from cooking on non-stick surfaces like teflon or ceramic. I’ve found that there are some meals that I prefer to use stainless steel on, specifically to help my meats brown nicely, or to be able to really scrap up the bottom of the pan without worrying about damaging the non-stick surface of the pan. I was recently given the opportunity to try out one of the Stainless Steel Frying Pans from Made In and it has since become my go to pan for perfect fried eggs every time.

Four Reasons Why You Should Cook With Stainless Steel

Reason 1 – Stainless Steel Is Durable

No matter how much you baby your pots and pans, life happens and even if you remove all metal utensils from the kitchen someone is going to use that metal spatula on your treasured non-stick pan. Stainless steel holds up for years and doesn’t show the wear and tear from everyday use as easily. If you NEED that non-stick finish, make sure to check out Made In’s PFOA-Free Coated Fry pans that won’t leach chemicals into your food. 

Reason 2 – Better Heat Distribution 

Have you ever cooked a piece of meat to discover that while one area is burned another looks completely raw? I have. That’s what happens when your pan is not conducting heat properly. Made In pans are made with five layers of thick aluminum, ensuring that your pans heat evenly for the life of the pan. 

Reason 3 – Improved Browning

Some recipes call for browning your meat as the first step and when you are cooking a roast or another red meat, that browning traps in the juice and flavor. Stainless steel is hot enough to ensure that your meat is beautifully browned with nice crisp edges. This beautiful look is called the maillard reaction.  Anything stuck to the pan after browning is perfect for scraping up and giving additional flavor to the dish. In a non-stick pan, it’s impossible to scrap up those flavorful bits without damaging the pan. Have you ever seen a professional cook use a non-stick pan? There’s a reason why! 

Reason 4 – Chemical Free

Most modern non-stick pans are chemical free already, but stainless steel is naturally so. You don’t have to worry about any cracked teflon or other nonstick coating flaking off the pan into your meal. 

Butter melts beautifully in stainless steel pans and is perfect for frying up eggs to making into a rich and wonderful sauce. As a home cook, one of the barriers keeping me from investing in an entire set of stainless steel pans is the cost. That’s one of the fantastic things I love about Made In Cookware. Your cooking tools are an investment at will last for a lifetime, and Made In has made it easy to start adding high quality pans into your cupboards at a fraction of what you might spend in a boutique store. 

 

By selling direct to customers through their website, all the extra overhead and cost that comes with selling at a store are gone. That means that the value you get out of your cook wear is where it should be – in the quality of the product itself. 

What are your favorite kitchen tools? Leave a note in the comments and let me know what other tools I should check out! 

Disclaimer: I received a product sample from Made In to inspire this post. All writing and opinions are my own. 

 

Colorado Local/ Event Planning

Hosting the perfect Denver Dinner Party

Denver Dinner Party

In today’s world of Pinterest perfect it’s hard to not want to be your own version of Martha Stewart when the holidays come around. Family and friends will be over for dinner and the cocktails are ready to go, roast is in the oven and all the disorganization in your house is sorted and cleaned away. Once you’ve hit this stage, setting the table is all thats left for the picture perfect gathering. 

When you’re entertaining, its tempting to buy a whole set of dishes, decor and stemware to suite the occasion. Outside of being an expensive choice, after the event storing a whole set of chargers and party dishes might be more than you can handle. 

I love entertaining and having family and friends over for dinner, so when I learned about the new Denver dinner party company Cloth + Gold, I was excited to try it out for myself. Cloth + Gold wants to bring the dinner party back into action and are doing so by providing stunning matched dinner party tablescapes as an on-demand rental experience. 

Currently only available in the Denver Metro area, Cloth + Gold launched after months of Beta testing with real home event planners just this last October. 

Booking is so easy! Each set is hand crafted for the beautiful Martha Stewart approved look we are all striving for and includes a centerpiece, wine glasses, charger, dinner plate, salad plate, runner, candle holders, napkins and silverware. 

Dinner party

The full kit is hand delivered directly to your door and is carefully packaged to ensure that everything arrives in perfect shape. Open up the kit, take our your ready to go tablescape and start making dinner! There is even an included recipe recommendation and day of playlist to help get the party started. 

Sets are rented in groups of 4. I was entertaining a group of 6 so I ordered two sets to make sure I had enough dishes and glassware. 

The set I selected is called Drift Away, and is toned in stunning lavender jewel tones and grey. I love the geometric candle holders and how they helped the more traditional bud vases offset the other colors on the table. Each element is high quality and combines perfectly for a beautiful Martha approved dinner party look. 

After dinner was through, all the dishes are scrapped and go back into the shipping boxes for pickup the next day. Anything really messy got a quick rinse but beyond that no other cleanup is needed. Cloth + Gold even handles the proper washing after everything makes it back to their processing center! 

Without the stress of finding the perfect table settings, it was so easy to invite friends over for dinner! I can’t wait to do it again. 

Cloth + Gold is the perfect solution for your next holiday party! If you want to order for a Christmas Gathering, the deadline is 12/17 (next Sunday).  

Looking for the perfect recipe to inspire your next dinner party? Try my smoky onion pork chops! 

Disclaimer: I received a demo of this product to inspire this post. All opinions, writing and photography are my own.