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Thanks for stopping by! Here on BECOMING LOLA I share stories on becoming minimalist, as well as living a pure clean life as a style-obsessed digital nomad with a no BS approach to ethical fashion + travel. Grab a glass of wine and start here: Building A Minimalist Wardrobe.

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Aug 27, 2012

fashion ceo: define your personal brand



Branding, what does that mean? In business terms, branding boils down to what you are trying to portray for yourself, your product, or your company. Think about some brands you recognize easily: Coca-Cola; McDonald's; Wal-Mart. What pops into your mind? Whether you're trying to portray tradition, family-friendliness, or value, the branding you choose will make a difference in how you are perceived. It also makes a difference in whether you are remembered!
Personal Brand
Your personal brand is the mental and emotional picture that comes to mind when a customer hears your company's name. If you are an artist, actor, model, or entrepreneur, your product and company is you. What the customer or client sees, is what they think of you. First impressions do matter! One thing you can do to ensure your first impression is strong, is to have professional head shots or entrepreneur portraits completed. Having a professional head shot can mean the difference between getting noticed positively by clients, or having them click past your website to another.
Think about current performers...when you hear the name, "Miley", what do you think of? A few years ago, you might have thought of sweet Hannah Montana from the Disney Channel. What do you think of today? A half-naked girl swinging from a wrecking ball? Yep, her image has changed because she essentially "re-branded". If you were looking for a sweet, innocent performer, the old Miley would have been ideal. But, would you consider the new Miley for a Disney Channel show? Probably not. While her talents haven't changed, her image and the emotions she brings are 100% different. That makes a huge difference to whom she may appeal.
How to Develop Your Small Business' Brand Image
New companies and entrepreneurs need to come up with a plan for branding as one of the first steps in a business plan. Your brand is that first impression. It makes you or your product desirable, or just "ho-hum". You want to stand out! Owners of existing businesses may choose to re-brand, to change an image that is no longer appropriate or applicable. One way or the other, branding is critical to defining who you are to your customer.
In order to come up with a brand image, you need to think like your target client or costumer, and portray yourself accordingly.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
• What is the purpose of your company or product?
• How will a client or consumer benefit by hiring you or purchasing your product?
• Do your clients and customers already have an opinion of you? What emotion does your name stir within potential clients? Are you happy with that image?
• How would you want to be described to others?
Resources for Creating a Small Business Brand
Developing a small business brand sounds simple, but there is actually a lot of consideration to put into the effort. Preparing a headshot and logo, templates, tagline, and graphics are all important considerations. You want to have a professional image that the clients can trust. And, it's critical that you use the branding that has been created consistently.


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Aug 15, 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: why we cook


Every year around this time I have a soul-searching-flip-my-life-upside-down-and-inside-out moment where I microscopically ponder where I am, who I am, goals, dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments, triumphs. They say there's such a thing as seasonal emotions, and perhaps 'they' are right. As soon as the annual spring cleaning time comes and flutters away, I'm left feeling like the little neglected closet in the attic that didn't get dusted, rearranged or cleared out. Maybe, and forgive of course my farm inspired poetic puns of late, but maybe just maybe, like the rain soaked earth and sprouting summer buds, I too am anticipating to emerge as something greater than the sum of my parts. Maybe every year is a chance to plant a seed of growth, renewal and change. Contemplating without over abusing the power of thought. I tend to get lost in myself, making too many plans and dreaming too hard (re: not too high) while burdening myself to even start with any one thing. Through it all though, I feel at peace when I cook.

So you may have already settled into the changes I've made around here. I want this blog to reflect where I am in life. I knew the title for this blog would always be fitting, because this isn't a cookie cutter perfect cooking blog like you read about in Lucky or Saveur magazine, where the pictures are always perfectly lit and the recipes have been tested my elves and the writing is like a future NY Times bestseller and the sidebar has little icons of awards its won from say, oh, Saveur magazine. Its always going to be a bit disheveled, as I slowly grow into who I want or need to be, while relating to you any chance I get. And its you, who I wonder about curiously, that I want to ask a silly little question.

Why do we cook?

I don't come bearing gifts, a giveaway, or a nationally sponsored prize for those who answer the most profoundly. Again, this isn't that kind of blog. But maybe you are twirling your hair at work, maybe you are sinking into the couch with a cup of tea. Wherever you are in the world, garner a thought. Draw out the memory of your first significant moment in the kitchen. What was it like and why do you still get back in the kitchen now?

What I am most grateful for so far while experiencing life as an organic farmer, is that whether its a family farm by definition or not, we certainly are family. And most days, these days anyway, I find that I cook simply to dress the table. I hadn't quite noticed before how prolific this habit is, and how much of a peaceful halo surrounds me as I do it. But the difference between me and everyone else in the farmhouse is that fine line between dinner and communal dinner. If ever there was a time to feel incomplete, it would certainly be me, standing before a table piled high with mail, keys and notes, plates strewn across from nights prior, and not a utensil in sight. You'll find me quietly yet keenly, fidgeting about, removing each unwanted article off the table one by one, giddily replacing them with the choice dinnerware of the night, utensils atop folded napkins, and serving dishes with their matching spoons and spatulas. I stand back, and my eyes are always aglow. Pride. That's the word. Now everyone can come to the table I have set and feel something. They might feel warmth from the welcoming sight. They might feel special, as if they are the only ones at the table. Or even relief, that they themselves would have done the same were it not for how worn down they feel from the long day's work. And then I approach the table with a platter of warm steaming goodness. A pot of summer risotto perhaps, or an Italian style heirloom tomato pasta. Or maybe its brunch on a Sunday and its a fried egg sweet potato hash with spinach. Yes. For me, I cook... just to set the table.

How about you?
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Aug 13, 2012

MEATLESS MONDAY: white bean roasted garlic hummus

Ooops, I might have forgotten to post a Meatless Monday recipe last week. Lola was already worried, or maybe thought I eloped and will never return, laugh.

Truth is: I had the chance to go on a mini vacation, so I went to Sylt. Sylt is an intriguing northern German island, not unlike maybe the Hamptons (I've never been but been told there are similarities). The stay on the island was too short, but long enough to take in the beautiful nature. Soft green hills, sandy dunes, rose hip with bright purple flowers and heather bushes as far as the eye can see, a dark green sea, strong winds with giant seagulls floating it, deserted beaches, only vivid thanks to the scattered, cheerful blue beach chairs. What struck me most is the beautiful silver light that adorns the island day in day out. It's typical for the island. The conclusion: Sylt is the ideal setting to find the way to relaxation, to listen to the heart more intently and to enjoy being together. More pictures of Sylt can be found here.

Of course, after one lazy week, I'm now also back with a recipe: white bean and roasted garlic hummus. You can use it either as a started, with some flatbread, or in other dishes. I used this hummus in soft tortillas - and it was the divine combination.


WHITE BEAN & ROASTED GARLIC HUMMUS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dried white beans, cooked according to directions, or 1 can cooked white beans
  • 1 fresh garlic bulb, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 drop harissa or chili paste
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • fleur de sel
  • sumac, sweet pepper, olive oil, and 3 sprigs thyme, for garnish

METHOD
  1. If you use dried white beans, soak them overnight in water. Drain and cook according to directions (I added an onion, a carrot, one leek and some herbs to the boiling water) for 50 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool. If you use tinned beans, drain and clean under the running water.
  2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to highest heat. Wrap both garlic halves separately in aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until garlic is tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and the foil and let cool. Remove each bulb individually with a fork.
  3. Combine the beans, garlic, tahina, lemon juice, harissa and olive oil in a blender. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the yogurt, combine well.
  4. Season with salt and, if necessary, more harissa for spice. Pour in a bowl.
  5. Decorate with sumac, a dusting of sweet pepper and an extra drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Serve with warm flatbread or together with various salads in a tortilla.
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    © Beconing Lola • by Maira G.