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Posted by & filed under Food.

Thanksgiving is here! I can’t wait to enjoy my favorite dishes and family time this Thursday.

One thing that we don’t have during our Thanksgiving dinner is a nice strong sangria. I recently put together a fun fall sangria for a party. After everyone loved it, I decided it would be a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner. If you are looking for a fun (strong) sangria this holiday, try the recipe below:

Boozy Thanksgiving Sangria
Boozy Thanksgiving Sangria

4 sliced Small red apples
1 cup Cranberries
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Spodee White wine {See my Spodee Red review here}
1.5 L bottle of Woodbridge Pinot Grigio
1 cup Red Grapes
Rosemary garnish
1 cup water
1/4 cup of Seagrams white gin

Add water and sugar to a saucepan on the stove. After a few minutes, pour in the cranberries. Continue to stir and reduce heat as soon as the cranberries begin to pop. This takes about ten minutes.

Next, allow the simple sugar mixture to cool.

I added half a cup of Spodee White wine and the Seagrams white gin over the sliced red apples and grapes. I set this aside as I prepared everything else. If you have time, feel free to put this together a day ahead or a few hours prior to your party. Add the cooled sugar and cranberry mixture to a pitcher. Next pour half the bottle of Woodbridge Pinot Grigio in. Stir this mixture while slowly adding in the Spodee and fruit blend. Add the remaining half bottle of the Woodbridge Pinot Grigio. Continue to stir the mixture. Finally, add in the rosemary sprigs at the top of the sangria. Refrigerate before serving or pour the sangria over ice and enjoy! Just a warning: this makes a strong sangria don’t use the gin or top the sangria off with club soda if you’d like something less strong!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

I can’t believe that it is November!

Where has this year gone?

I’m spending this month working on my goals for 2016. Around this time last year, I worked on my plans and vision for 2015 and I think things went pretty well for this year. I hope to share more around my upcoming plans soon here on the blog. I definitely want to get back into the swing of things here.



Finish all holiday shopping – I picked up fun souvenirs from my summer travels as Christmas gifts. I still need an item or two. I organized my holiday list in Trello months ago and it’s been a great place to track spending and purchase. I’ll share more on Trello soon!
Pick a Thanksgiving dish – I hope to one day host Thanksgiving and I see each year as a time to test out a new dish to take with me for our family to enjoy. I’m thinking about taking Brussels sprouts and a fall salad. Most of the other dishes are already covered!
Beef up my LinkedIn profile – I would like to add more presentation samples to my LinkedIn profile. I have already updated my summary and added a few presentations, but I’d like to add more. Check out my profile if you’d like to see my progress.
Finalize Birthday plans – I have a birthday right between Christmas and New Years. I have been going back and forth about planning something for my birthday this year. I need to really decide this month.
Get back on schedule – Before I started traveling this summer I had a good routine going. I was meal prepping on Sundays, cleaning on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Running about three days a week and other workouts in between. Yeah, I fell off of that for a bit, but I’m bouncing back with a vengeance this week.
Find a pair of boyfriend jeans – I have wanted to find the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans for a while now. I hope to try on a pair or two this month.
Make a cake – I am determined to discover a signature cake that I would like to begin bringing to every holiday and family gathering. I have a Pinterest inspiration board to help me pick one out and I’d like to test out one recipe this month.
What’s on your November bucket list?

Posted by & filed under Marketing & Social Media.

{From Instagram}
If you haven’t heard yet, Beyoncé is on the cover of the September issue of Vogue! Don’t go pick up the issue expecting to read a full on interview. The thing about this year’s issue is that Beyoncé doesn’t give an interview to the magazine. Instead, there is an opinion article covering her celebrity status. For anyone out there that has literally grown up following her career from the days of Destiny’s Child to Drunk in Love and the present, it’s not a secret that Beyonce guards her privacy. In the age of information overload and the overshare, this is almost counter culture.
– Establish a direction and clear goals for your social media efforts
Over the weekend, I read a guest post on my virtual mentor, Michael Hyatt’s website by Wayne Stiles. One of the things that Wayne says is, “If we lose our why, we lose our platform.” I know from experience that this happens to be true. I lost my why for a while and got off track. If you forget why you want to grow an online presence, it is easy to get lost in the deep, dark, downward spiral that is the internet. If you don’t have a why, dig deep into your goals and desires to find it.
– Based on your goals, select which social channels make the most sense
If social media is the place where you turn to for having fun, then that’s cool but if you have specific goals set around what you would like to accomplish through online channels, then write them down and act accordingly. There are so many social channels out there where you can choose to make things happen. Do your research and make it happen!
– Be focused on growing those specific channels
After you identify what channels that it makes sense for you to grow, take it to the next level by creating intentional and purposeful content that supports your goals.
If social media is the place where you turn to for having fun, then that’s cool but if you have specific goals set around what you would like to accomplish through online channels, then write them down and act accordingly.
– Keep your mind on the present
It’s great to focus on where you want your social efforts to take you, but there’s something about this present moment.
Take a cue from Beyoncé and focus on creating content and measuring deliver specific results instead of posting just for entertainment!

Posted by & filed under Marketing & Social Media.

The thing I like most about Snapchat would have to be the simplicity. Using Snapchat reminds me of what Facebook used to be. I say this because Snapchat is slightly mysterious like Facebook was when it came around just for college students. Remember those days? I know that Facebook has evolved since then by leaps and bounds, but I miss the simplicity. There’s something about being part of a big thing before it becomes a big thing. Most importantly, as a marketer, I’ve been using Snapchat in order to learn how to strategically leverage it for business. One of the most challenging parts of working in social media comes with the arrival of new platforms and how to get justification for using them on behalf of organizations. I’m pitching a case for Snapchat soon, and it got me thinking about all of my favorite ways to use it.


Snapchat Tips | thegreatdanaj.com

– Don’t believe that Snaps disappear
I don’t believe that anything posted on social media ever really “disappears”. Use that same caution when uploading snaps. Screenshots are easy to obtain even if your snap does disappear. Remember that SAE fraternity racist rant? Following the SAE fraternity revelation, a football player posted a snap with his immediate reaction. CNN videotaped his reaction and even had him on air being interviewed. I’m positive he didn’t expect that snap to ever make the news. Or how about the girls who robbed Dairy Queen then bragged about it on Snapchat? Yeah, not a good idea. I’m sure that won’t be the last time that a snap lives on forever. My point here, exercise caution with what you post.

– Follow the right group of people
Following the wrong folks on Snapchat is like showing up to a party with boring people and who wants to do that? It happens often where I run into a group of people who talk about how they just don’t get Snapchat. I ask them who they are following and the reason why they aren’t enjoying the platform is easily found. I follow a combination of family, friends, brands, Viners and bloggers who are just having a good time. I learn from or find entertainment from each of them.

– Check out the Discover Tab
The Discover tab has an assortment of things to engage with. From Cosmopolitan articles to Comedy Central Clips. I even watched a Madonna music video premiere a while back. If posting snaps isn’t your thing, some of the exclusives happening on the Discover tab are best for you.

– Watch scripted shows
Yep, you read that right. You can watch scripted shows on Snapchat. The first ever scripted series is “Literally Can’t Even” written by two daughters of Hollywood legends.

– The Live Event Feed
Whenever a live event is happening, there’s a special Snapchat feed for that.
I’ve watched snaps happening live at events like Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage, Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day celebrations, college Cheerleading Nationals, March Madness and even St. Patrick’s Day live from Dublin. It’s fun to see what people are doing across a themed holiday or event. I love watching the Atlanta snaps live daily.

On my Snapchat I like posting food, what I’m up to day in and day out and also what I’m reading.



Favorite Celebrity follow – Brandy (thenextbrandy). She’s on Broadway and snaps her workouts and daily shenanigans. She sings, works out, acts and makes jokes during her snaps. Love her sense of humor!

Favorite Cooking snaps – Fadia Kader (fadiakader) I like her step by step snaps of recipes. They inspire me to get in the kitchen and try something new.

Favorite Vlogger follow – Fit Men Cook (fitmencook) I like watching Kevin go through his daily routine from the gym to the kitchen.

Favorite Blogger follow – Gabi Gregg (gabi.gregg). I love her confident snaps. It’s nice to see a true behind the scenes view of her life. Her outfits are gerat too.

Favorite thing to Discover – Warner Music Group for the scoop on new music and new music videos and Cosmopolitan for fun stuff.

Favorite Company – GE (generalelectric), they have the most fun snap stories. They take themes and make them into informative stories. One of my favorites was about wind powered energy. They made it cool! Whoever makes them deserves an award. Seriously.

Favorite Restaurant – Taco Bell (tacobell), I love the way that they use Snapchat to promote new product launches and tell unique stories.


What’s your favorite thing to do on Snapchat?

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Over the past few months, I’ve been super focused on establishing a functional morning routine. I’ve been starting my day with a cup of hot lemon water. I  was a skeptic at first when reading about all of the benefits, however, I can confirm that positive things come out of incorporating lemon water in your morning routine.
I heat my water in a Breville One touch tea maker. I love my Breville One touch, I’ll share more about it later. It also has a hot water setting so, I simply fill it up to 10 oz and set it on the base to begin. When I purchase fruit, I bulk wash everything after purchasing. So, I rinse off the lemon of choice for the morning. While the water boils, I roll the lemon underneath my hand for a few seconds to loosen it up and make sure that it will be squeezable.  I cut a lemon in half and use a lemon press to squeeze out the juice. Next,  I cut each half again and drop it into my mug of choice for the day. I usually add one teaspoon of local honey to balance out the tart taste.
5 Benefits of Starting the Day with Hot Lemon Water | thegreatdanaj.com
Here are the benefits I’ve seen so far:
– Soothes your stomach: sometimes I wake up in the mornings with an unsettled stomach. Hot lemon water helps to soothe things. Lemons help release the toxins from your body.
– Calms me: Hot lemon water helps me feel a sense of calmness and relaxation. A sense of stillness. Before jumping into the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s nice to slow things down for a bit. It’s so worth it to have that moment of doing nothing before my day gets overwhelming!
Don't ever undersestimate the value and power of doing nothing sometimes | thegreatdanaj.com
– Sets the tone for my day: Lemons are high in pectin fiber. Pectin fiber helps to decrease those hunger pains throughout the day.
– Brightens my skin: I’ve noticed a brightness in my complexion. This probably comes from the vitamin C in the lemons.
– Gives me energy: After drinking, I get a slight boost of energy that helps me make it through the morning. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I need to get my boosts elsewhere.
If you haven’t tried lemon water in the morning, give it a chance! The positives outweigh the negatives for sure.

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

I haven’t been around much lately on my blog. I’m sorry for that! I’m back, with renewed focused and goals and ready to share in this space again. For real. I decided to start with an update on what I’ve been doing lately with the latest survey floating around.
Lately Survey
Watching Young and Hungry on Netflix. I love this show! Emily Osment is hilarious as a young chef just starting out in her career. Plus Kim Whitley is also a star. It’s funny and light and features great style.ReadingCraving God. I joined a group where we are doing a 21 day virtual book club together. I never thought about how sometimes the things we crave (food, attention, etc.) are often distractions from the fact that we should be seeking God. This book has definitely opened my eyes.
Making soaked walnuts. I’ve read all about the benefits of soaking your nuts. Just last week, I tried soaking my walnuts for the first time and I noticed a big difference in the taste and my level of fullness after eating. Definitely something I’ll keep doing in the future. I soak mine overnight in a mug or plastic container. I enjoy them over yogurt or by the tablespoon. A little bit fills me up!
Loving this season. I am enjoying where I am right now and feeling grateful for the now
Listening to my summer playlists. I love making new ones with different themes on Spotify and sharing them with friends. Here are two of my latest a summer workout mix and my summer single ladies mix.
Pinning outfits for summer. It’s so hot here in Georgia, and I’m really looking for more breezy rompers and dresses to beat the heat
Enjoying photographs of my family that I haven’t deleted off my memory card. This is one of my favorites of me with two of the youngest members of my family. Love them.
Jones Family
Going to yoga classes. From core focused to morning energy and evening rejuvenation. I really enjoyed them all. I always leave class with a level of calmness that I can’t even begin to describe.
Trying new things. I just started sharing my favorite marketing moments via this app called HearMeOut. See all of the previous moments here.
Want to share what you have been up to? You can get started by selecting a question (or five) and play along below!What have you been:


Posted by & filed under Events.

YP recently launched a new campaign encouraging people to Make Every Day Local. The purpose of the movement is to support the businesses that make the community around us thrive.

Over brunch with fellow Atlanta bloggers and influencers I had the opportunity to learn more.

YP is the new name for Yellow Pages. Remember the old phone books that used to be our reference for businesses? Well, now Yellow Pages goes by YP and they are much easier to use. There’s an app for YP that does everything and more than the big yellow book ever did.

YP iPhone App.thegreatdanaj

More importantly, the app helps:

– Identify local business
– Shows ratings for things nearby
– Show coupons nearby (because we are all trying to save money, always)
– Nearby gas pries
– Syncs with Uber to get you where you want to go (win)

Clearly, YP is in tune with helping us get to the coolest places close by! I tested it out a few times since brunch and plan to use it the next time that I travel.

For brunch, we enjoyed French toast (my personal fave), couscous salad, shrimp and grits and southern style biscuits with sausage/bacon/ham and eggs in addition to yogurt parfaits with blueberry toppings.




I also enjoyed a cup of chamomile tea. The French toast had this great crunch to it and tasted like the maple syrup was baked in. I also liked the flavor of the couscous salad which was light but filling and had a flavorful zest to it. While indulging in the great food options we had the opportunity to hear from the chef and partner of Empire State South, Hugh Acheson. I appreciate how he told us what other chefs in Atlanta he admires and also other local restaurants that he supports. It really made me brainstorm of ways that I can be more aware of supporting more local businesses!

After lunch, we received autographed copies of his latest book, The Broad Fork. I was pretty excited!



Test drive the YP app: iPhone or Google Play.

What can you do to begin making every day local near you?

Posted by & filed under Food.

Ever consider having a food truck come by your house?

Yep. It’s a thing!

I got together with a few local food bloggers for a Sunday afternoon with Tex’s Tacos Food Truck.

Tex’s Tacos is a Nueva Texicana food truck.



I started things off with the lime fries. They are officially my new favorite thing! The margarita salt and lime flavors add a unique twist that make them hard to stay away from. Too delicious!

Limefries.thegreatdanajI also tried the chicken quesadilla which was cheesy and tasted great with salsa on top! I wanted to taste the veggie quesadilla but my stomach politely said no more. If you run across Tex’s Tacos at a food truck park or party, it won’t take much to fill you up!

Learn more about Tex’s Tacos Food Truck here.

Thank you to Tex’s Tacos for treating us to Sunday Funday right in the front yard. Huge thanks to Lauren from prettysouthern.com for the hosting all of us.

Disclosure: I was invited to try Tex’s Taco Food Truck for free. As always, all opinions are my own!

Posted by & filed under Marketing & Social Media.

Being in marketing, I always see the Super Bowl as a holiday. I always look forward to the commercials, but this year was totally different. The game had a devastating end, in my opinion. I didn’t see that Patriots win happening, but it’s the first Super Bowl where I actually was into the game from start to finish. They both fought until the end. I loved halftime!

I’m a big Katy Perry fan. Remember my review of Part of Me? I see her album Teenage Dream as a pop classic in my book. And of course, Missy Elliott is the best.

I was so excited to see her up there. Her music is just classic and it still sounds like the future despite being almost twenty years old.

That was a lovely surprise! I can’t really think of many Missy songs that I don’t like. The first game where I wondered what was going on with the commercials. There wasn’t much creativity at all. I was disappointed. A few of the commercials that I DID love?

1. The domestic violence commercial with the actual 911 call. It definitely got my attention. It gave me chills.

2. The Chevy 2015 Colorado commercial where it looked like the power went out. We definitely had a momentary freak out! Well done Chevy.

3. Kim Kardashian for T-Mobile. I like how the campaign was well thought out. After the commercial, the data stash continued on Twitter and kimsdatastash.com. Plus, the hashtag was sponsored through yesterday and Kim participated in a Twitter chat with T-Mobile as well. I’ve seen T-Mobile ads on Google and YouTube too. Well done.

4. Kia Sorento – the car looked so nice against that snow! Plus Pierce Brosnan. Yes.

5. BMW i3 – This was a cool ad with the flashback footage featuring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel 21 years ago. And who knew Katie Couric could twerk. Lol.

As always, there were some odd commercials like the Nationwide one. Very strange that one with the child being dead. Had me thinking about that movie The Sixth Sense. Super Bowl ads are supposed to be light hearted, in my opinion. That Lindsay Lohan ad was a miss in my opinion too.

And of course, I loved the Like a Girl commercial from Always! That phrase is so loaded with negative connotations. It was nice to see them put a positive spin on it. I always see my running photos post race and think that I should look more like a super star when I’m running. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing my post race photos to professionals who some how make running look effortless. It’s definitely not an effortless activity for me. But I like running and I’m glad that I started doing it a few years ago in preparation for my very first half marathon. It’s better to do it like a girl than not at all! More power to the ladies.


 Me at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2013

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Yesterday, at church we found out that today is the most depressing day of the year. It’s the end of January and New Year’s Resolution efforts have died down. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can speak for myself and say I definitely slipped up on some of my goals during the second week of this month. Most importantly, I was able to identify the reason I failed:

Over scheduled: During the week, I spent my mornings exercising and writing. Then after work I had a packed schedule as well. I didn’t schedule time for reflection, reading, being social and it really caught up to me.

So, I’m not ready to throw in the towel on my resolutions, but I am ready to make changes and improvements based on this discovery. I’ve been reading this new book lately called Manhood by Terry Crews. Don’t worry, I’ll give you guys a full review soon. Just wanted to share some of his words of wisdom on today for those of you out there who have given up on your resolutions or dreams because of setbacks.




What resolution are you motivated to pick back up? It’s not too late. Happy Monday!