Author: Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons

Social Media Trends Maine 200

Social Media Trends: Maine’s Bicentennial 2020

Maine’s 200th Birthday is well underway and businesses all across the great Pine Tree State are looking for ways to tap into the celebration as a marketing tool.

Here are 2 trends that can help you TODAY in making the most of this special event in your social media marketing.

Trend 1: Share UGC -User Generated Content & 3rd Party Links

What is UGC you may ask?

“User-generated content (UGC) is any content—text, videos, images, reviews, etc.—created by people, rather than brands. And brands will often share UGC on their own social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels.” Hootsuite

A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule when using UGC and 3rd Party links for your content calendar.

It goes a little like this:

  • 80% of the content you share on your social media sites should come from other resources.
  • 20% of the content you share should be your original stories, photos, and videos.

Why you may ask? Well, it’s as easy as this: NO ONE likes to hear someone talk about themselves all-the-time.

There is also evidence to back this up. Sharing content from 3rd party sources and UGC:

  1. Builds trust and authority. Social Algorithms love when you are relevant, post current events, and are “shareable.”
  2. It serves your community with relevant and useful information.
  3. Clients LOVE LOVE LOVE to share their feelings and opinions.

Hear more from the team at Social Media Examiner about UGC and how it can benefit your business marketing.

So, now that you know about UGC & 3rd Party Links, where can you find things to share?

First, do an inventory of your social media feed and email inbox, and look for the following: client posts, comments, tagged photos, testimonials, emails, hand-written notes, etc. This is GOLD and you can share this in your feed WHEN you ask for permission from your clients.

Follow this rule: Make sure to give credit and celebrate the fact that your customers are acting as ambassadors.

It’s easy and here’s a sample:

 “We loved what you posted on Instagram.  We would like to share it with our users and give credit to you. Would you be comfortable if we shared it on our Facebook page? Please contact us at info@samplemaineresort.com” and then post away dear friends!

You can also share content from reliable 3rd party resources. These will help you to look like you are in-the-know (which you are dahling!) and will serve as resources to your clients and customers.

You can position yourself as the business who cares about sharing the best with their clients. And all you have to do is copy a URL link, add a note, and ask for comments…and then voilà! Your audience engagement increases.

Great places to find content to share about Maine’s Bicentennial 2020:

  • Maine Public has a HOST of resources including its daily series called, “On this day in Maine,” as well as radio shows, interviews, stories, and links to the Maine Archives. Find out more here.
  • The Maine Office of Tourism has an MOT Partners Website with a WEALTH of information on upcoming events, as well as resources like photo downloads, links to regional websites, a community calendar and more. Find out more here.
  • Maine200.org is the HUB of all Maine events related to the Bicentennial. Here you will find out how to submit our own event, links to Bicentennial products for sale, and a bounty of Maine Stories. Find out more here.
Visit the Maine200.org website for a comprehensive resource guide.

Trend 2: LIVE Video

You have heard it over and over again: LIVE video is taking over the internet. It is estimated that by 2022, 85% of all content on social media will be video content.

Read more at Social Media Examiner on “3 Ways to use live Video for your Small Business.”

Video content is KING on the internet. Why should you use it?

  • Our clients LOVE video when our content is of service to THEM and when it helps to extend the customer experience.
  • Video boosts your ability to be seen in social feeds by both your current audience and potential customers.
  • All you need is your iPhone & a tripod. (Trust me, your hands are NOT that steady.)

Easy ideas to share on video for Maine’s Bicentennial 2020:

  1. Why do you love living and working in Maine?
  2. Fun Facts about Maine’s History.
  3. Short tours of the services you provide.

Step 1 – Take a class. (Yes, I teach this class – and I think its really valuable.) I am also a die-hard believer in hands-on practice and a supportive community when it comes to practicing and mastering Live videos.

Sign-up for the 2/12/2020 workshop in Portland, Maine here. This course is a primer on how to use Facebook and IG Live for your social media marketing.

Step 2 – Watch other people’s live videos and learn what you like (and what you don’t). I watched hundreds of videos and I realized that I like short-and-sweet tours and heartfelt testimonials. I also took a media training course and IT CHANGED MY LIFE.

Here’s a quick video I did about the Rockland Breakwater in Rockland, Maine. You will see that it is HOMEMADE and all it took was my iPhone and my courage to get out there and do it.

Have you been to the Breakwater Lighthouse here in Rockland, Maine? It’s the perfect day here in #mainesmidcoast . This region is the heart of Maine’s Art scene and he inspired generations of painters, sculptors, and photographers. The Breakwater is the perfect place to enjoy the sweeping views of the Penobscot Bay. #visitmaine #rocklandmaine #hosted Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce Visit Camden-Rockland, Maine

Posted by Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons on Monday, May 6, 2019
You TOO can make videos that your guests and customers find valuable, shareable, and fun!

When you are ready to take your video marketing to the next level, (think news-worthy segments and beautifully shot and edited spots) it is worth your time and energy to work with a film and video production professional who can help you put your best foot forward.

I love the Tips & Tricks from the Burdo Media Group. Find out more about her here and sign up for her Newsletters. Her actionable tips are great for everyday use AND in planning out more formal, high-level videos.

For professional video series production, custom video creation, and presentation development, contact Michelle Burdo of Burdo Media Group

Let us know how you are marketing for Maine’s Bicentennial 2020. We would love to hear your ideas!

Want to stay in touch and stay up-to-date on current posts & workshops?  Sign up here.

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Header Image “Maine 200 Leading the Way” is courtesy of Maine200.org

Why Star Wars Matters?

WHY STAR WARS MATTERS?

I laid my head down and I tried to get to sleep. I was both restless and exhausted.

I kept thinking of Ben Solo and Rey, sitting face-to-face in their final scene together in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. An epic battle of light-and-dark ensued, where the pair fought the evil Sith Lord, Emperor Palpatine.

After much fighting, Ben was cast down to the bottom of one of Star Wars’ well-known “now-you-are-surely-dead-but-you-may-come-back-to-life” crevasses, leaving Rey to invoke the spirit of all the Jedi-past to empower her to defeat the darkness.

Copyright 2019 Disney Lucasfilm LTD All Rights Reserved
Source: https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-theatrical-poster

_____________________

She did so, in one of the most teeth-clenching, breath-stopping moments of the series, countering the evil emperor’s statement, “I am all the Sith!” with an ultra-empowering, “AND I AM ALL THE JEDI!” Light passed through her and the Emperor, his minions, and his temple were destroyed. 

It is a fully satisfying scene that replayed over and over in my mind. 

In that moment of the movie, we did not yet know if Rey would survive as a conduit for that much force power. 

We watched and waited as Ben Solo climbed from the crevasse (not dead) to see Rey lying before the now-destroyed Sith throne. He limped and stumbled toward her (a truly embodied piece of physical acting by the incredible Adam Driver) convincing us both his physical and emotional pain. 

It was heart-wrenching to watch. 

Ben Solo turned Rey’s lifeless body and took her up in his arms. We could see in his tender embrace what had been hinted and suggested at (and wished for my thousands of Force-Fans online) throughout episodes 7, 8, and 9: Ben Solo loved Rey deeply.  

There was NOW no mistaking it. 

He cradled her body close to his, laying his hand gently on her torso to transfer his life force into her. He closed his eyes and the movie’s music crescendoed. I could almost feel him breathing life into her, as I held my own chest in anticipation.

I replayed this moment over and over in my mind, and I was completely absorbed in it. 

It is these kinds of chest grabbing, tear-jerking, kick-ass, joy-filled moments that make up the body and soul of the Star Wars saga. I felt the same when I saw the Rebel fighters take down the AT-ATs on Hoth; when I saw Yoda reveal his face to Luke on Dagobah and help him complete his training; when the disguised Bounty Hunter, aka Leia unfreezes her beloved Han Solo; when the Rancor (the most misunderstood and hungry guy on Tatooine) tries to eat Luke at Jabba’s Palace; when Leia and Luke sped through the forest of Endor on the speeders…and on and on.

Star Wars is made up if these miracle story moments – the ones that as a child, were the springboard for my playtime; as an adult, a conduit for connection with fellow fans and the magic of imagination within. It laughed, I cried, and I learned how to catch my breath, fully absorbed in the characters and their stories.

 

This is the joy I feel about Star Wars!

 

I reached out to my friends as we celebrated the launch of the Final Chapter of the Skywalker Saga and asked them: “Why does Star Wars matter to you? What is it about the story that means something to you? What are your best Star Wars memories?”

Their responses were heartening and beautiful.

Chuck McLean: Ever Since I was a little child I loved the aesthetic of the Star Wars Universe. It was a real place to me. Star Wars sparked my creativity at a young age with playtime -a stick could be a lightsaber or blaster playing outside with my friends, or making silly movies with my family. Drawing pictures or building with legos always had some essence of Star Wars injected into it. Still to this day that has been a part of my creative energy. As I get older, I often think of how the lore of Star Wars starts to make more sense when I try to understand the world around me. While the top physicists in the world try to understand what “Dark Matter” is, or why there is gravitational attraction, I just rely on the words of Obi-Wan when he explained the Force to young Luke. “…an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together,” or any of the wise quotes from Yoda, the Jedi Master. “Do or do not. There is no try.” “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Or “Pass on what you have learned.” That is enough for me.

Bryce Hach: I was born in 1974 and Star Wars came out when I was not quite three years old. I saw it in back-to-back showings in the Ames, Iowa shopping mall theater the first time I saw it and it is my very first memory. I feel that my life and Star Wars kind of had a similar birth in that regard. When I was in kindergarten, a beloved teenage friend, Jim, from across the street, spent who-knows-how-many-hours to hand-make me a life-size X-Wing Fighter in my basement. That friend was in a terrible bicycle accident that left him forever mentally paralyzed not long after that. It was the best present I had ever received. When I was seven, I remember my dad putting the whole neighborhood of kids into the station wagon to see the original Star Wars when it was re-released in a local theater. When one of the kids started talking during the film, I stood up and said, “This is Star Wars and that that behavior was entirely unacceptable!” I wear the same 1977 iron-on “May the Force Be With You” t-shirt for the first showing of each new Star Wars movie in the theater since my early childhood. The shirt is a youth size and stretched to hell but it will be worn again come December 19th. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away is synonymous with a more innocent time in my youth that holds true no matter what stresses, responsibilities or challenges adulthood throws at me. As I have gotten older, there is something strangely reassuring to see that the characters of Star Wars have gotten older too. Mark Hamill was a teenage Luke Skywalker for so many imagination adventures in my childhood home, either in dress-up or with action figures, and now we all look a little worn for wear. Beyond the memories, I love the mythic good vs. evil (light and dark sides of the force) the film embodies but also how the films show so many tributary storylines of scoundrels, bounty hunters, warlords, rogues and the like, who operate on the fringes, opportunistically carving out niches throughout the film’s many narratives. I love the characters in all their many forms, languages, fictional cultures and nuances. I love the soundtracks with all the original music from John Williams. I love the many notable quotes from the film that are forever etched into my daily lexicon. And finally, I find the Star Wars films visually awe-inspiring. It is vast and panoramic and yet still intimate and approachable

 

Young and old, everyone loves Star Wars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Casey: Star Wars matters to me simply because it brings my family together. While I think the story is awesome, I think it is even more impressive to do what is done in episodes 4-6, then I do  in the prequels, then sequels, not to mention all the shoot-offs. It spans generations and is something my entire family can enjoy.

Patty Holliday: My parents didn’t have a sitter, so they loaded up 3 little girls and took us to the movies to see Empire Strikes Back. It’s one of my earliest full family memories. And that moment where Darth is revealed as Luke’s father? ZOMG 6-year-old me was shook! It’s the first fandom I ever had and the one I was most eager to pass on to my own children. And yes, my son’s name is Luke in part so I could say, “LUKE- I AM YOUR MOTHER” at embarrassing moments in his life. 😉 This ending? This ending is probably going to take me back to that 6-year-old moment because the ending of Star Wars is most certainly going to rock our worlds.

Miles Hanson: To me, Star Wars represented a world filled with potential where you could be whatever you wanted to be. That a kid on a dusty planet, drinking blue milk could lead a rebellion. Or someone rough around the edges with questionable morals could still come through as the good guy.. or just because you came from high society, doesn’t mean you can’t play in the dirt. Their Universe is vast and lived in with rich history and mysticism, its easy to fall in love with.

Scott Luers: What an amazing piece of the hero narrative that hits us all to the core- good vs evil, with cool things like lasers (even without sharks!) and lightsabers. But in the end I think we all just love to see good triumph over evil even when the chips are down (and aren’t they always?). I think it parallels a lot of the struggle of our lives, as well as what we hope for in our country.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Ronto Roasters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us know why Star Wars matters to you? We would love to hear it. Share it in the comments below or on our social media pages. 

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This is a personal fan review and is not affiliated Walt Disney World, Star Wars, or the Walt Disney Company. Views and Opinions are my own

gratitude is magical

gratitude is magical™ | calling cards to share your thanks

Our philosophy:

We believe that what you put into the world, you get back. When you show your thanks, you give not only your gratitude, but also your appreciation, kindness, and thoughtfulness.

These actions have power. These gestures create change.

Gratitude is Magical™ Calling Cards to Share Your Thanks

Our story:

On a recent trip to a Destination Theme Park, I watched as a young guest walked up to one of the costumed staff and handed her a homemade gift card.

It was a sweet gesture, and the staff member bent down to greet the young boy to respond to his act of kindness.

In this beautiful moment, and I walked over to her, as I was touched by what I had just witnessed.

I said to her: “Do you mind showing me the card he gave you?”

She said, “Of course!” while wiping away a small tear of sweet emotion. She handed me the piece of paper. On it was a drawing of a robot and the words, “Thanks for working so hard!”

The staff member said to me: “This happens sometimes, and it means so much to me. We have SO many more times when guests are complaining or they are mad and it can be a challenge. It is SO nice when we get things like this. It really makes my day.”

I could see that she meant it and how much it refueled her.

I have always been a big fan of hand-written cards and small acts of kindness. After I returned home from the theme park, I asked one of my daughters to design a card that we could easily put in our day packs so that we could have quick access to mini “Thank You” notes.

I wanted to be able to quickly share a “Thanks for a great meal” in a restaurant check, or “We appreciated the room upgrade” & “You were so patient with us and all of our questions.”

She came up with the 1st Design: “A Galaxy of Gratitude™” with more to new cards to come.

We hope you will enjoy these cards and that they will inspire you to share your thanks with the people around you; at work, in the theme parks, in your neighborhood, or out on the town.

Online Store to launch Winter 2020

Find us on Facebook or on Instagram. 

Sign up for our email list and be the FIRST TO KNOW when your can order our mini calling cards. 

This artwork is original and the gratitude is magical™ is the trademarked property of Kristin F. Simmons Digital Media. This creative material is not affiliated with any other third party entities or businesses. Any questions can be directed to gratitudeismagicalcards@gmail.com

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: The Lifesized Playset You Have Been Looking For.

 

Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: The Lifesized Playset You Have Been Looking For. 

It was 1982 and I was standing alone in the front aisle of our local BEST department store. The sun shone brightly through the windows and the dust motes lazily floated to the floor through the rays of light. I turned around to look at the shelves, sparsely filled with toys, yellowed books, and bric-a-brac. It was there I saw the playset that I had been dreaming about: the complete Kenner Dagobah System from Star Wars Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The price tag read, “$3.99.” 

Kenner’s 1980s Star Wars Dagobah System/Photo courtesy of Web Archive

 

 

 

 

“It MUST be wrong,” I thought. I had a crumpled five-dollar bill in my granny-style, pinchable plastic change purse, and my heart skipped a beat. This was the size of playset usually reserved for birthday or holiday gifts – NOT something that the average 8-year-old could afford on their own. 

I started to have fully self-possessed AND out-of-body experience- a sensation that I would later come to know as being in the “zone.” I removed the box from the shelf and took it over to my mother who, at first glance, reacted immediately and said, “I’m not buying that for you!”

“But it’s only $3.99,” I said with excitement.

“No it isn’t,” my mother replied tersely. 

Then I showed her the tag and said with a firm mix of pride and tremulous fear, “I can buy it by myself!”

She looked at me with a mixture of emotions. I could see that she was prepared to either acquiesce or overrule me – both outcomes weighing in with a 50/50 chance. To my luck, she chose the former, and I placed the box on the counter and got out my crumpled bill to pay the cashier.

I played with that set for what seemed like forever and kept the original box until it fell apart in my late 30s. The foam that acted as the “swamp” became a sticky, disintegrating mush, and I lost the levitating boxes one by one. I still have Yoda, his snake, and the training backpack, along with Luke, Darth Vader and Obi-Wan, complete with retractable lightsabers. After decades of house and apartment moves, countless cats, dogs, and two children of my own, the Dagobah System playset stands as a reminder of my enduring love for Star Wars and what the stories mean to me.

———–

 

The fastest hunk of junk in the Galaxy. (No, not ME! I am talking about the Millennium Falcon on the planet of Batuu!)

 

 

 

 

I recently visited Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the Walt Disney World Resort. The Star Wars-theme land is deeply immersive and is meant to act as a LIFE-SIZE play and improv space. 

Everywhere you turn, images from the films and shows are made manifest – the centerpiece of which is a fantastic life-size Millennium Falcon. At first pass (and even second or third), guests need to take time to absorb all the details. It is a full sensory experience; every sight, sound, and every smell curated to match the setting. 

It is a land that demands interaction – much the same way that my Dagobah playset required that I get down on the floor and use my hands and my imagination to make the scene come to life. Galaxy’s Edge is NOT a passive attraction experience. There are no character meet-and-greets; nor EXACT replicas of scenes from the movies. Instead, the land is full of creative and immersive suggestions. 

There is an inherent tension that exists in that – one that asks us to PLAY by revealing the cards that we as fans have held so tightly to our chests. Star Wars is OURS and we have had YEARS since 1977 to build up our deeply personal fantasies and our attachments. 

As exciting and amazing as Galaxy’s Edge IS, I found myself wanting more… not from the land, nor the attractions or the cast members, but from MYSELF.  

I wanted to be able to fully let go and I wondered what it would be like to play in Galaxy’s Edge, much the same way that I played with my toy sets, or out in my yard, with a stick acting as my lightsaber.

I stood in the Batuu Marketplace and I wished that I could be there with my family and a director, costumer, and extended team of like-minded fans who were willing to go full-on-geek with us. I wanted to be able to let myself play; to be fighting for the rebellion, drinking at the Cantina, and helping Chewbacca repair the Falcon. 

I LOVE what Disney has created with Galaxy’s Edge and the challenge it presents to me. I sipped several drinks at the Cantina and sang the chants along with the cast members. I rode the attractions and marveled at the jaw-dropping detail and the role-play of the Imperial Officers and Storm Troopers. I squealed with delight as we punched it to lightspeed in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.

It was all quite wonderful and perfect.  I remembered and FELT that blissful state of childhood imagining.

Have you been to Galaxy’s Edge? Let me know your experiences in the comments below.

Find out more directly from the team at Walt Disney World Resorts.

Share your thoughts on Galaxy’s Edge. Did you experience anything similar? Did you want the land all to yourself? Or did you want something else?

Thank the maker for PANO shots on our smartphones. There is SO much to see in Galaxy’s Edge!

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This is a personal fan review and is not affiliated Walt Disney World, Star Wars, or the Walt Disney Company. Views and Opinions are my own.

Why you should visit Québec City NOW

Do you want to know why you should visit Québec City? 

Bear with me here, as it may take a moment for me to answer.

I just THINK the word, “Québec” and I am immediately flooded with happy feelings.

I may sigh a little and wish that I could hold your hand tightly, hoping that through the force of squeezing your fingers, you would begin to FEEL just how much I love this region in Canada.

Québec City IS MAGICAL!

I can list countless places to see that will take your breath away; hundreds of things to do that will spark your imagination and make you believe in the goodness of people; millions of foods to eat that will make you want to cry because your everyday diet will pale in desperate comparison. 

But Québec City is much more than all of that…

Everyone talks about how the region feels European, as if that alone is reason enough for its allure. Visitors say that going to Québec is “like going to Europe without having to fly to get there!” 

While true, these kinds of statements don’t do its magnetism or individuality justice. 

Yes, there IS an old-world feeling to Québec City and its environs. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in an intangible cultural legacy. 

The surrounding landscapes are marked with wild beauty and rolling, abundant farms. The Québec province is known for its diverse and exceptional agricultural products. You will be tempted to stock up on its cheeses, wines, breads, and maple syrup.

Colonial French stone architecture and colorful Mansard roofed-homes sit side-by-side with beautifully engineered modern wood, glass, and steel structures. You can see the centuries pass as you walk down any street or visit any farm. 

Listen and you will hear a distinct style of French being spoken. Around 50% of Québec’s residents are also bilingual (Frommers, 2018), making it an easy place for visitors from English-speaking countries to navigate.

And with all of that, Québec City is wholly its own; an amalgam of rich First Nation, French, British, & modern influences.

It’s uniqueness has a quality that will affect you entirely; you will feel as if you have come alive again. 

Why do we go to Québec City year after year?

The Safety & Comfort

Politeness rules the day in Québec City and across Canada. Canadians are known for their courteousness and congeniality. (There is a legitimate truth behind that oft-characterization.)

The Province of Quebec has the lowest crime rate in all of North America, and is home to one of the safest metropolitan regions in Canada. As family travellers, we feel at ease in the city and in the surrounding countryside. Locals always say, “Bonjour!” and make eye contact in a non-threatening way. It is customary to greet friends with a double air-kiss to the cheeks. 

Of course, common sense around safety is always in order. We navigate the region with our cell phones and mobile-based apps. Many US-based unlimited cell phone plans extend into Québec without roaming fees. We have let our teens navigate Québec’s Old City (Vieux Québec) on their own and we stay in touch via IM. Open WiFi networks are everywhere and are the best way to stay connected with your friends and family.

We appreciate the hospitality that extends beyond the hotels and restaurants. We have made friends in the region, as we travel there at least two times per year. The city is easy to navigate by foot, by car, rideshare, or by public transport. 

Find out more about “Getting Around the City” on the Quebec Cité website. Read up on the safety of Quebec City at TravelSafe.

The Food & Culture

At any time of the year, Québec is host to countless music, art, and food festivals. The city is filled with museums, restaurants, and galleries that beckon locals and visitors alike.

Over ONE weekend this past summer, we visited three major events in the city: the KWEI Festival celebrating aboriginal and indigenous people of Canada, the Flip Fabrique Circus just outside of the newly opened Grand Marché, and the Musée des Beaux Arts. The Musée played host to one of the world’s largest shows about Spanish Artist Joan Miró and was not to be missed. Its sister museum, the Musée de la Civilisation featured a spectacular exhibition of previously undiscovered colonial artifacts alongside its permanent collection. We adore the Aquarium du Québec – home to indigenous animals from land and sea, including a very large, whistling Walrus (“le morse” in French) named Boris, and a highly interactive display of sea rays. 

Québec’s Carnaval is the highlight of the winter season. The city comes alive with hundreds of snow-centered activities, from axe throwing and log rolling, to maple sugar-on-snow and enormous ice castles. Carnaval is the largest winter festival in the world. The Night Parades alone are worth the trip, and feature the avuncular Bonhomme De Neige snowman, and the circus and acrobatic stylings that Québec province is famous for. 

The food of Québec is an attraction in itself. Just 10 minutes from downtown Québec sits the Île d’Orléans, home to some of the region’s best produce, wine, bread, cheese, and maple syrup. Take a drive around the island and stop in for free tastings and tours with the producers. 

Learn everything you need to know about where to eat in Québec City, and the stories of the local farmers and chefs on Youtube at Foodie Quebec. Watch as local broadcaster and writer Allison Van Rassel shares her tips about the cuisine of Québec. Her warm manner and journalistic style help showcase the best food stories of the region. Read her weekly roundups at her Foodie Quebec website.

The Accommodations

Québec hosts a wide range of accommodations – from small boutique hotels and B&Bs, to AirBnBs apartment rentals, and the world-famous luxury hotel, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

As Québec is an immensely walkable city, and small bakeries, cafés, and grocery stores are around every corner, (even in the Old City), we highly recommend apartment rentals for those travelling with large parties. If you are in the Old City, there is plenty of inexpensive overnight parking, as most AirBnBs do not have parking as part of their fee. Find out more about where you can park here

AirBnB has a large variety of rentals to choose from at every budget. You can see the listings right on their website. The pricing allows large groups to travel and stay together on a budget, and for you to try your hand at cooking up some of the regional specialties.

For mid-priced hotels, we love the Le Hotel Vieux-Québec (HVQ). Its rooftop gardens and beehives are lovely to see in the summer, and its own produce is used at the in-house restaurant, Bistro Tournebroche. The hotel stay includes a hearty breakfast that comes in a basket delivered to your door. HVQ is centrally located in the Old City and the street outside perfect for people-watching year-round.

We enjoyed Hotel Chateau Laurier, just outside of the walls to the Old City. Walk out of the back doors onto the Plains of Abraham to take in some fresh air, incredible views, and a bit of local history, or make your way into the adjacent tony neighborhood of Montcalm. There you will find museums, local bistros and wine shops that will welcome you like a local. 

If you want to splurge, Le Chateau Frontenac is singular and boasts the best view of the Saint Lawrence River AND some of the finest restaurants in the Old City. The rooms are beautifully appointed and the beds are heavenly. Its room service menu is hands-down our family favorite. We still talk about the pasta with cream and local cured ham, and the pizza made from brioche dough and Charlevoix cheeses. 

For more information about all-things-Québec, go to the Québec City Website. Not only is it a WEALTH of information, but also serves as a portal to start a live chat with someone who can help you with any questions you may have. 

We would love to hear your tips about visiting Québec City and what you have enjoyed in your travels! Bon Vacances!

-Kristin et Famille

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Rockland Maine – The Art Capital of Maine

The Coast of Maine.

It is a part of the world that has inspired and motivated artists for centuries.

Visit just once, and you will immediately know why it serves as both muse and escape; as refuge and lover. You can see it in the landscape and taste it in the air. The rolling mountains wind down to the shoreline; the craggy rocks and islands are marked with tall evergreens that stand sentinel over its harbors.

The village of Rockland in Midcoast Maine cherishes its reputation as a mecca for artists. It celebrates and supports classic and contemporary work – showcasing both in local museums, galleries, and shops.

Rockland is a short drive from Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. There is so much to do that you can plan a full, active weekend, or a leisurely vacation. 

Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons Mural Farnsworth Art Museum
Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons Mural Farnsworth Art Museum Center for Maine Contemporary Art CMCA
Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons Mural Farnsworth Art Museum Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons Mural Farnsworth Art Museum Center for Maine Contemporary Art

ART

The Farnsworth Museum

Its mission states that it celebrate’s “Maine’s role in American Art” and that charge is on full display in each of the Farnsworth’s beautifully appointed galleries. A signature institution in Maine and across the United States, the Farnsworth’s collection features works from American masters including The Wyeth Family, Louise Nevelson, Alex Katz, and Robert Indiana.  Rotating exhibitions like  “Slab City” and its progressive children’s school programs, bring the legacy of Maine’s impact in the art world to life. The museum is a must-see while in town.

The Caldbeck Gallery

Exit the Farnsworth and you will find yourself face-to-face with the charming Caldbeck Gallery. Artists like Katherine Bradford and Sam Cady have their work on display in rotating exhibitions. The charm of the gallery comes not only from the art, but the connection and accessibility to the proprietors Cynthea Hyde and James Kinnealey.  You can easily end up in a wonderful conversation about color and light, or the playful use of brushstrokes.

The CMCA

The Center for Maine Contemporary Art moved from neighboring Rockport in 2016 to a refurbished section of the Rockland working waterfront. Architect Toshiko Mori designed the space to seamlessly fit into the downtown lot, successfully capturing the feeling that the CMCA has “been there forever” and is also new, breathtaking, and deeply original. 

Exhibitions at the CMCA are outstanding, the likes of which locals and visitors are known to exclaim: “THIS is in Maine?!” The CMCA answers with an astounding, “Yes!” Chief Curator and Executive Director Suzette McAvoy and her team work to support contemporary artists and local school programs with their open house classes and rotating exhibits. You will know what “Wow!” really means when you visit the CMCA.

Friends of Maine Coastal Islands – The Visitors Center

Find yourself in an engaging visitor’s center that successfully combines education, engagement, and the arts – all of which support programs to renew and protect Maine’s precious shore wildlife and habitats. Situated just off of Rockland’s Main Street, the center features a life-sized coastal habitat that brings a shore bird sanctuary to life. Children and adults alike can play in dories and on the rock ledge, placing eggs and models of birds in stone nests.

The main building is home to an education center and gallery, filled with work by professional artists and local children. Educational programs run year-round and guests can learn how to visit the coastal bird sanctuaries. 

Rockland-Maine-Friends of Maine Coastal Islands Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons
Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons Mural Farnsworth Art Museum Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Rockland Maine Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Friends of Maine Coastal Islands

EAT

Bixby Chocolate

This historic Ice-House-turned-Chocolaterie is the home of Bixby Chocolate. Owner Kate McAleer is an outstanding confectioner, and the fruit of her labor can be seen in the tasting room and on the shelves of the Chocolate Store.

The outfit grinds and conches its own chocolate, creating a signature coverture that is unique to Rockland, Maine. Kate and her father Gordon McAleer purchase cacao beans from Fair-Trade purveyors around Central and South America. Take a tour and learn how the Bixby team makes their signature sweets from bean-to-bar.

Clan MacLaren

This sweet Main Street Café serves up fresh sandwiches and signature salads in sizable portions. Proprietors Jackie and Glenn Lawrence combine their love for their family’s Scottish History and cuisine at the café. The menu is themed around the names of their family members. Salads like the “Lorelei” made with  chicken, apple, grapes, feta, walnuts, red onions, and spring greens are sensational; the “Breton MacLaren” is piled high with turkey, provolone, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and olives, is deeply satisfying. 

Get your lunches packed to-go and take it out to the Breakwater to enjoy views of the harbor.

Archers of the Pier

Chef Lynn Archer opened this signature Maine Coast restaurant in a former corporate boathouse. The menu is comprised of hearty New England classics, made from scratch daily. Archer’s food is gorgeously executed – the crab rolls are packed with fresh meat and are served up with hand-cut french fries. The chowder is creamy and light, full of littleneck clams, herbs, and diced potatoes. Take a stroll to Archer’s from downtown along the Rockland Harbor Walking Trail. Ask for a table on the deck and enjoy views of the Breakwater and working waterfront.

Café Miranda 

Get your “Flamingo On” at this staple of the Maine Midcoast. Beloved Chef and Author Kerry Altiero is a fixture on the seacoast for good reason: His food and hospitality have been pleasing guests for over 25 years. Café Miranda was at the helm of the region’s food renaissance. The portions are markedly generous and the menu is beyond extensive. There is something for everyone.

Try the “LET’S GET DANGEROUS” -fire roasted house cured tamarind glazed leg of duck spiced with Szechuan peppercorn & clove, served with Asian egg noodles, garlic, ginger, basil & spinach in a coconut curry peanut sauce. Share a signature pizza like the “SLEEPER” – topped with cured smoked beef, artichokes, red onions, parsley, mozzarella & romano cheese.

The side porch is great for pre-dinner drinks and taking in the signature flamingoes that are part of the café’s decor.

Rockland Maine Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Bixby Chocolate
Archers on the Pier Rockland Maine Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Waterfront Maine
Cafe Miranda Rockland Maine Cait Bourgault Photography Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons Writer
Cafe Miranda Rockland Maine Cait Bourgault Photography Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons Writer

STAY

Rockland is home to the Ferry Terminal that takes locals and visitors to Vinalhaven, North Haven and Matinicus Islands. Find out the daily schedules here. 

ROCKLAND HARBOR HOTEL

This newly rebuilt, refurbished, and reconstructed hotel has been a mainstay for ferry-goers and day-trippers to Maine’s Islands. Now, after its total refresh, it is the perfect weekend home for visitors to Maine’s Art Capital. Every room overlooks the harbor and the sunrise is spectacular. The beds are heavenly, as are the linens and pillows – you won’t want to get up even though the sunrise and fresh coffee are calling. Enjoy in-room coffee from your deck, and fill up on a full, hot complimentary breakfast in the lobby that includes, waffles, fruit, cereal, eggs, muffins, bacon and eggs, juice and of course, more coffee.

A short walk from all the downtown attractions, the Rockland Harbor Hotel is a traveler’s delight. Find out more about the room rates and availability here.

Rockland MAine Kristin Fuhrmann SImmons MAine Midcoast Where to Stay

Have you been to Rockland, Maine?  We would love to hear your tips and must-see-do-eat-stay suggestions. Share your comments on Facebook and see more photos of my trip to Rockland on Instagram.

A big hug to Cait Bourgault for her gorgeous photography. MOST of the photos herein are credited to her. Read her blog post on our trip here and see more of her incredible photos.

A special thanks to Maine’s Midcoast and Islands for supporting me on this trip. An extended hand goes to the team at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber, The Farnsworth Museum, The CMCA, The Rockland Harbor Hotel, Bixby Chocolate, The Caldbeck Gallery, Archer’s on the Pier, Friends of Maine Coastal Islands, Clan MacLaren Café, Rockland Main Street, and Café Miranda,

Rockland-Maine-Art-Capital-Maine-Kristin-Fuhrmann-Simmons

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Belize Digital Media Summit Materials and Presentations 2019

Attention Belize Digital Media Summit Attendees! 

Here are the materials by Kristin F. Simmons for the Belize Digital Summit | July 19, 2019. 

For more information about the seminar and to sign up: BELIZE DIGITAL SUMMIT.

~

Remember: Our goal is to help you feel confident, competent, and creative online.

Sign up for our email list, LIKE us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram, and Twitter.

Scroll down for the materials.

Belize DIgital Summit 2019 Kristin F. Simmons Social Media Tips and Tricks
Kristin's workshop helped me navigate the new Instagram technology in a matter of minutes. Saving time, enhancing my online profile and engaging my followers...could not ask for a better return on investment!
Lana Wescott
Lana Wescott Events

Kristin F. Simmons, Digital Media and Visual Storytelling is dedicated to making the process of marketing outreach one that is in alignment with who you are and what you love about your business.

Reach out for a consultation, 1-to-1 or group training, or social media management services.  

Special rates, services and in-kind trades are available for businesses in Belize.

 

All materials enclosed are the property of Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons| Kristin F. Simons Digital Media.  They cannot be reproduced, sold, or distributed without consent. Send inquiries to Kristin.f.simmons@gmail.com

Study Abroad – A Parent’s Perspective

Study Abroad – A Parent’s Perspective on travel & letting go

My oldest daughter just landed in Shanghai for her first Study Abroad program.

I am happy she is in China safely. I have been watching the clock and calculating the 12 hours ahead, following happily along with her initial itinerary. I imagine she is full of excitement and exhaustion from the long flight.

I have to admit: Sending her off for her study abroad was somewhat of a relief. The days and weeks of planning amidst all of our other life events made for a wee bit of stress.

Well, maybe MORE than a wee bit of stress…

It was at times fun to plan, pack, and fantasize about the sights and food in China. It was also fertile ground for power struggles, family sit-down chats, and self-check-ins about my OWN energy that was clouding the planning process.

I am feeling all-the-feels, as it is de-rigueur to say. I am happy. I am a wreck. I am filled with excitement, and riddled with anxiety-based-what-if travel scenarios.

This is not the first time that we have been apart for long periods of time. Both of our girls have gone away to camp for several weeks each summer. I loved the time to myself to breathe and rest, as much as I appreciated all the new and fun experiences that they were having.

Right now, summer camp feels like child’s play compared to the preparation and planning for a study abroad in a majorly far away country.

Study Abroad - A Parent's perspective on meeting go and trust by Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmon

To backtrack for a moment…

Both of my children study Mandarin Chinese. I KNEW that when they picked this course of study (and yes, it was a decision that the girls discussed and debated with us at-length before making their choices), that a study abroad program in China would be in their future. I, myself have studied several Romance languages and I lived in both Mexico and Italy for long periods of time and LOVED it.

Immersion was THE THING that took my language skills from perfunctory classroom recitation to fluency. I was confident that my girls would undertake the same kind of program in their own lives.

The China trip was announced over two years ago, as her teacher and school knew that we needed time to plan, to fundraise (travel ain’t cheap!), and to get everything we needed together. My daughter began a plan to babysit several days a week during the summer, and socked money away week-after-week. She launched her own “Go Fund Me” campaign (with a little parental help) and asked for donations.

She raised the required $4,500 for her trip. We felt so proud of her efforts and the seed that was planted began to grow into full-blown excitement.

For ME, stress began to mount over what felt like a huge burden of “What-Ifs.”

It went a little something like this:

We live rurally. Will my daughter know how to get on and off a city bus? Will she know how to handle her money? Will she look both ways before crossing the street? Does she know how to carry her bag across her shoulder to keep it snug and safe from pickpockets? How will she cope with the huge crowds? Will she need to use her kickboxing skills in real-time? Will she put on enough sunscreen?  We she dress modestly? Will she stay hydrated? Does she know how to treat herself if she gets diarrhea/nausea etc? And on, and on, and on….

Any scenario, I have imagined it.

I found myself getting mired in a feeling of inadequacy that I had not better prepared her for EVERY LIFE SCENARIO that could possibly come her way. (Yes, I know how insane this sounds! Hooray for Mom Guilt!) ……Like there was some kind of international boot camp I should have put her through in order to be properly prepared for study abroad and also wilderness and city survival.  

I was gently and lovingly reminded by my patient-as-a-saint-husband, that our lives together have been the training she needs. We have travelled A LOT with our children and they have paid attention. We have included them in the preparations. We talk to our kids about safety. We model and LIVE the kinds of relationships we want them to have.

My daughter is smart-as-a-whip, compassionate, and highly organized.

I needed to SEE and ACKNOWLEDGE that about her.

Our daughter is beautiful, strong, and amazing. We love seeing how she grows.

My husband also reminded me that travel IS also the bootcamp. That these experiences are how she will learn to trust herself.  

He also reminded me that the gift of OUR TRUST would help set her on that path of self-awareness and connectedness that comes from travel.

Ahhhh………That was it: TRUST.

I found myself reaching out to friends who have studied abroad, and who have experienced similar emotions with their own families.

My friend Marina shared with me: “I always felt that they [my parents] had the trust in my abilities to figure it  [Travel Abroad] out, they are very proud and supportive of me and honestly, it made our relationship so strong and special. I absolutely love my parents. Now, as a mom myself I understand how hard it must’ve been for them to let me fly into the unknown and let go of control.  It is the ultimate parental sacrifice to let go of your child.”

She articulated about TRUST so well.

My friend Jude stated in regards to her son’s travel abroad: “I love watching it. It is filled with the beauty of being young so far away from what you know, and the joy of being together in the experience of what you don’t. What a time this will be for your baby who has grown like a glorious flower opening to welcome the warmth of the sun.”

I am grateful for have they have shared.

So… have you been through something similar in letting your child study abroad? Did you, yourself travel far from home and feel a range of emotions? I would love hear from you.


Want to stay in touch? Like us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our email list to follow along for the latest updates and social media storytelling classes. My goal? To help you feel confident, competent, and creative online.

Business on Social Media

How to share your tourism destination on Social Media.


What is the best way to share your business on social media? I don’t know about you, but when I lay in bed at night, scrolling through my iPad, searching for the next latest-and-greatest place I want to visit, I tend to stop and linger at pretty pictures and videos or real people doing fun and engaging things.

I am not alone in this.

Over 45% of the world’s total population are on social media, spending on average, 2.5 hours per day on social networks and in messaging apps.* (Hootsuite, 2019)

Social media users love travel photos and destinations profiles.

Travelers want what is REAL and RELEVANT. They want to be shown what it would truly be like to travel to a destination, and what to expect along the way. Travelers want to connect with the EMOTION of the experience, long before they step foot in the hotel lobby, or get in their car to the airport.

How can YOU, dear gentle business owner, benefit from this knowledge and cater your social media marketing to potential tourism and hospitality customers?


It’s as simple as 1-2-3 to market your Tourism and Hospitality Business on Social Media.


1.PLAN AHEAD

I promise you, your marketing outreach will be SO much easier if you do a bit of planning ahead. You KNOW that the “spray and pray” method of throwing up a social post here and there does not work. It is ineffective and causes social media burnout. It makes you question, “Why am I doing this at all?”

A little creative brainstorm and a quick run-down list can make all the difference in your staying power on social media.

Download the Quick Draft Post Calendar here and follow these steps:

Jot down the answers to the following questions: (Sample Business Draft for the purpose of demonstration: Fairwinds Coastal Resort in New England)

What do we share for sales and specials for our Tourism and Hospitality Business? Pre-Memorial Day 40% for stays more than 2 nights; 25% off stays in June or July of 7+ continuous days.

What can we post seasonally? Staff profiles; Photos of rooms types; Wedding events; On-site and off-site catering

What special events, including charity events do we do? Our Local Brews & BBQ Weekend; Our Kids Fairy Festival in May; Our Lobster Roll Festival in August

What are some behind-the-scenes parts of our business we can share? Set up for a wedding; Opening of the pool; Videos of the chef prepping in the kitchen.

Then, fill in your month of social media posts ideas:

Week 1: Share photos of the past Local Brews & BBQ Events with a link to ticket sales; Share a series of photos from a couple who were married on the property with a link to the sales team phone number.

Week 2: Share our seasonal sales specials with a direct link to our booking page; share photos to the property to get people exciting about the upcoming season.

Week 3: Share photos and brief bios of the staff. Share photos of the newly refurbished rooms with link to booking page.

Week 4: Post photos of the Fairy Festival with links to the gift shop and our collection of fairy house books; Share photos of our chef making lobster rolls and ask guest to share their photos of when they ate lobster rolls on property.

One of my favorite quotes: “Chance favors the the prepared mind.” The same goes for YOU and your social media planning. The better the outline and plan, the better your chance of reaching your marketing your goals.

Credit -Louis Pasteur

2. SHARE USER GENERATED CONTENT

Guess what? You don’t have to do all the work. That’s right, you heard me!

You can look up what people have posted about their stay, and then SHARE that on your social media. In fact, this is a GREAT way to fill up your social media posts as both a regular part of your weekly plan AND when you are feeling that low-motivating-oh-dear-I-feel-so-uncreative-kinds-mood.

Here’s what you need to know:

YOU MUST get permission. YOU MUST credit the photo and/or source link that you repost. As a business owner, you need to follow the ethical guidelines set forth by all-that-is-respectful in the world.

Share what is referred to as “User Generated Content” in your social media posts. Make sure to give credit and celebrate the fact that your customers are acting as ambassadors. It’s easy and it looks like this:

Sample outreach to client —-

“We loved what you posted on Facebook. We are so happy you enjoyed your stay. We would like to share it with our users and credit you and your account.  Would you be comfortable if we shared it on our Facebook page? Please contact us at info@fairwindscoastalresort.com.” And then post away dear friends!

3. Be of SERVICE

Let’s face it: The WHOLE point of social media is to be of service.

Before the sales, before the song-and-dance, we are here to be of SERVICE and to help our clients.

Ask yourself this question: Is what I am posting online helpful? Does it help my clients see the full range of services that we offer?  Does it help them make a decision about booking with us?

To put it another way, are you walking into the room and using a bullhorn to brag about your business and then walking away? Or are you purposefully asking questions, introducing yourself, and listening to what is going on? If its the latter of the two, then you are being of service.

Everything you post for your business on social media should be planned and purposeful, providing both future clients and return guests a chance to share and shine.

Have any questions or need further help?  Like us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our email list to follow along for the latest updates and classes. Our goal? To help you feel confident, competent, and creative online.

A very special thanks to Cait Bourgault for her photo at Cafe Miranda in Rockland, Maine, and to the Sebasco Harbor Resort for hosting me for a wonderful press trip.

5 Tips for Amazing Social Media Posts

5 Tips for Amazing Social Media Posts.

I have a great solution for you when it comes to what to post on social media.

We ALL — and I MEAN WE ALL have times when the words don’t flow as easily from our fingertips as we had hoped; or we have impostor syndrome and we don’t think we are good writers; or we just don’t feel like posting..and blah blah blah.

5 tips for Amazing Social Media Posts What to Post on Social media with Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

I get it.

I fall back on this simple formula of 5 Tips for Amazing Social Posts ALL-THE-TIME. It helps me to stay focused and get creative even when I feel as juicy and exciting as a piece of cardboard.

These steps help me to stay-on-task as a business owner who uses social media as one of my primary marketing tools. It is crucial that my posts be purposeful and a means-to-an-end, whether it be feel-good branding or targeted sales. (The “Spray-and-pray-haphazard-method of social media posting is a sure-fire way to burn out and lose, rather than engage, an audience.

5 tips for Amazing Social Media Posts What to Post on Social media with Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

I remember the mantra: “All you need is already within you. You are creative and powerful” and then I take these steps:

5 Tips for Amazing Social Media Posts

  1. ENGAGE

    Start with a hook in the form of a question or quote.

  2. INFORM

    Share your personal perspective and expertise.

  3. SHOW

    Add great photos or video to bring your posts to life.

  4. LINK

    Include a link to your business/booking page.

  5. INVITE

    Ask your followers to share & comment.

Formulas help me know that I am on-task and on-target in my business goals, and this outline does the trick.

I invite my community in by asking a question; I share myself, which is an important part of my connection to my customers; I show a photo or video because I know this is part of getting good visibility; I make sure to link back to my business; I invite them to share and be part of the conversation.

For example:

Have you ever driven a vintage truck? (Tip 1)

I drive an old Ford F150 all through college that I bought for $500 cash. I called it “Beatrice” because it meant “blessed.” That’s the way I felt in that old truck and I loved it. (Tip 2)

You can see all of the vintage truck we have on our lot here: ArundelFord.com  (Tip 4)

Did you ever drive a vintage F150? Do you have a photo? We would love to have you share it in the feed below. (And let us know if you had a name for it!) (Tip 5)

And make sure to jump back to Tip 3 to share a photo with every post you do. It doubles your engagement!

Do you have a post formula you like to use? You can download my mantra and my 5 Tip Outline here for your desktop when you sign up for my mailing list. CLICK HERE. I don’t spam or sell your information ever.

Let me know your tips and tricks for great posts on the Facebook Page.

Happy Posting!

A special thanks to the team at Arundel Ford for letting me share one of their posts. They are incredible clients I Iove helping them tell their stories on social media.