Category: Blog

Content Marketing Strategy In The North Bay

Content Marketing Strategy – 5 Keyword Tricks For Content Marketing Bliss!

Content Marketing Inspired By Search Engine Optimization In The North Bay

~by Millicent Skiles

Having a strong Content Marketing Strategy in Marin or the North Bay is just as important as if you have a national brand and audience. Content Marketing is now critical to establishing a vibrant digital presence for your business. A beautiful website is a powerful tool, but providing quality content is what drives traffic to it.

Used strategically, content paves the way to a sale by creating and distributing relevant and interesting messages that attract a target audience. This content usually takes the form of text, imagery, audio, or video and can be found on websites, blogs, and social-sharing platforms.

Tucked inside this content are keywords commonly used by people when they search a particular subject. And that’s where Content SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play. Technical SEO is important, but this year your content will be in the spotlight!  You need to optimize your content for search engines because that means you are optimizing your content for people. When you are looking for Search Engine Optimization in the North Bay or Bay Area, be sure that your provider has an accompanying process for Content Marketing.

Future Bright

Algorithms Are A Reflection Of What People Are Searching For

Understanding how keywords are used provides valuable market research into the minds of customers. What are they looking for specifically? What keywords are they using?  

Search engines like Google or Bing use algorithms to rank web pages based on the keywords people use the most. These evolve constantly, so it pays to check them regularly. It is, after all, people’s search behavior that defines these algorithms.  Google looks at your content and your business location to match you with people doing searches nearby.

Two Types Of Keywords

There are two types of keywords to consider when developing a Content Management Strategy. 

Short Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords contain no more than three words and tend to be broad, such as “baby food.” 

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are combinations of four or more words that people might use to narrow the focus of their search, like “baby food recipes for 8-month-old vegan.” 

A good Content Management Strategy pays attention to both short- and long-tail keywords. Tailoring content to what people want is more likely to be read – and shared – and this will rank it higher in future searches.

Five Tricks For Finding Good Keywords

So, if keywords are so important to a Content Marketing Strategy, where do you find them? Here are five places to start: 

  1. Wikipedia ~ If you type “baby food” into Wikipedia’s search bar and scroll down to the table of contents, you’ll see a list of topics that include “picky eater” and “nutritional needs.” These topics are recognized by industry experts as highly important and can be mined for keywords. Be sure to check out the “see also” section, which provides a wealth of other related topics to explore.
  2. Keyword Search Suggestions ~ Conduct a search on Google, Bing, or YouTube and you’ll notice a drop-down menu suggesting popular search-phrase combinations. Type in “baby food,” for example, and “baby food recipes” and “baby food delivery” pop up. This tells you what’s important to people. While you’re there, take note of web pages that earned the highest rank. Study the first 100 words of this content to learn the keywords they’re using.
  3. Reviews of Products and Services ~ Customer reviews do more than make you look good (or bad.) As readers discuss a product, they will include specific keywords. Take note of this. While you’re at it, check out the reviews on your competitor’s website. This is an especially good way to find long-tail keywords, which can help identify niche audiences. Including these reviews on your social-media platforms can also improve your ranking, as Google recognizes social sharing.
  4. Google Keyword Planner (advanced) ~ Google’s free Keyword Planner is meant to drive Google’s ad sales, but it is highly worth investigating. This tool refreshes daily and can introduce new keywords related to your business. It ranks the effectiveness of keywords (low, medium and high) according to competitive ad placement, which can give clues to what customers are attracted to.
  5. Keyword Planning Tools – Free And Paid ~  There is a wide range of available tools that will help you identify keywords including short and long-tail.

By this point, you probably have a hefty list of keywords, and this is a good starting point. But as SEO expert Neil Patel points out, “There is no such thing as SEO without content. You need words, articles, substance, keywords, verbiage.”

How To Turn Keywords Into Content

This is where the art of SEO informs your Content Marketing Strategy. While you want to sprinkle essential keywords throughout your content, the trick is to do so naturally, without resembling a sales pitch. 

Good, relevant content engages, informs, and even entertains customers. Quality content earns a customer’s trust and establishes you as an authority. And that, in turn, encourages customers to do business with you.  In our keyword research for this article, we learned through discussions on Reddit (another great source for finding relevant keywords) on the topic of Content Marketing that people are searching for a process for developing good content.  For this reason, we have created a free checklist to help you get started.

Elsie Green Table

This Article Is An Example Of Long Tail Keyword Use

If you do a Google search for “Content Marketing Strategy” you will likely see 4-5 ads (they are paying $27 per click), and the top listings may be Hubspot, SEMRush, Neil Patel, and other top content providers.  We can’t compete with that.  But if you do a search for “Content Marketing Strategy In Marin” there is very little competition.  This works well since most of our clients are in or around Marin County, and we love supporting our local businesses!  It can take two weeks for Google to start showing your content in search results, so while you wait for them to catch up, you should be promoting your content on all of your other platforms.

When crafting content, strive to include your keyword(s) within the first 100 words. This will give it more weight in the algorithms. To ensure you’re sufficiently hitting the keywords, run your content through an online service that will scan text and create a word cloud highlighting your most frequently used keywords.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the keyword and SEO strategy, just remember that your customers want to hear a real voice. Be authentic, be real, and remember that your customer is a human being, not an algorithm.

Millicent Skiles - Content Marketing Specialist

Millicent Skiles
Content Writer & Editor

415-235-1205

millicentskiles.com

Future Bright Wendy & Stephanie

What Is The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager

The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager And How To Use It

What Is The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager

Are you going crazy trying to figure out the difference between Facebook Business Manager and Facebook Business Suite?

The purpose of Business Manager is to act as a CONTAINER for Facebook assets and manage users for the container.  It is possible to give users access to a Business Manager container without first “friending” them.

What Are Assets?

First let’s define assets.  A Facebook asset, for the purpose of this article, and using Facebook terminology, is one of the following:

  1. A Business Page
  2. An Instagram Account
  3. An Ad Manager Account

Three Ways To Give Users Access To Facebook Assets

Method 1

Individual Access

User access is given to assets one at a time.  No Business Manager Accounts.

Facebook Business Manager Method 1
Method 2

Agency/Large Portfolio

Assets for all brands are placed in one large Business Manager Account.

Facebook Business Manager Method 2
Method 3

Brand Managers

Business Manager accounts are created for each individual brand.

Facebook Business Manager Method 3

What Business Owners Should Do – Use Method 3

If you are an individual business owner, plan to be very active on Facebook and Instagram, and will have someone on your team or an external vendor assisting you with your Facebook and/or Instagram, you will want to create a Facebook Business Manager account.  You will need to create your own Business Manager account.  Your vendor should not do that for you.  Once created, give your vendor access to your Business Manager account.  It will be one of several managed by your vendor, as illustrated in Method 3.  You will place your Facebook Business Page, Instagram Account, and Ad Manager inside of that Business Manager container.  In most cases, if you are a small business, it is important to not allow anyone to put your assets in their Business Manager account, as you will not be able to get your assets back without the vendor releasing it.

What Agencies Should Do – Use Method 2 or 3

Typically an agency has clients with a wide range of technical expertise and ability.  Because a client needs to set up their own Business Manager account, you will need to decide if it is possible to walk them through that, or if it makes more sense to just take their assets under your wing.  You also may have contracts in place that relieve any concern for the client if you take on their assets.  Each client situation will be unique, and you may end up with a mixture of all three methods.

Facebook Business Suite – Yet Another View

Facebook Business Suite is yet another way to view assets that you have been given admin or editorial access to.  Instead assets being grouped by business, you view them by Business Page.   It is a much more visual interface, and it may have been created to assist with gaining an overview that includes Instagram activity.  Facebook may unexpectedly start forwarding you to Facebook Business Suite when you try to go to Facebook Business manager.

Facebook Business Manager Home Screen

Facebook Business Suite Home Screen

How To Switch Between
Facebook Business Manager & Facebook Business Suite

If you need to switch from one to the other, below is a screenshot showing how to do that.

Switch From Facebook Business Manager To Business Suite

App Grid > Mange Business:  Business Suite

Switch From Business Manager To Business Suite

Switch From Facebook Business Suite To Facebook Business Manager

Give Feedback > Switch To Business Manager

Facebook Creator Studio

Facebook Creator Studio allows you to view assets by Business Page, and then upload and schedule posts and ads.  You can also view engagement stats.

Future Bright How To Start An Online Business

Start Selling Online – Fast and Low Cost – Wendy’s Recommendations

Start Selling Online Fast

Time Needed:  3-5 hours – tasks can be completed at any time of day.

This page will tell you exactly how to quickly start an online business. On April 8, 2020, the New York Times wrote an article titled, Tiny E-Merchants May Be Huge For Local Economies.  Small e-commerce businesses pull cash into local economies, and may be key to the recovery that can begin now when you start or move your business online.  Your idea, product, or service is CRITICAL to your local economy’s repair, so go for it!  You should do the steps in this exact order.

Instructions:  Follow the below steps, and record your account and other information in the document provided below by clicking on the red button “Get The Checklist”.  If you are unable to print, record your information in a notebook following the format in the document.  Take a photograph of your pages in case you lose the notebook.

Dear You,

I believe that the world needs your ideas, and that the small businesses that emerge from solutions like yours will rebuild our economy.

All my love,

Wendy Louise Nog, Founder
Future Bright Digital
wendy@futurebrightdigital.com
415-275-0970

Recommended Mobile Apps:

WordSwag – adds text to images

iMovie – can crop video & add sound

MixCaptions – adds captions to video

Recommended Tools:

Zoom – Video Conferencing

THE STEPS

1. Choose A Business Name, Register A Domain Name – $20

  • GoDaddy – do not purchase anything else no matter how hard they try to sell it to you

2. Create All Three Core Payment Accounts – Free to set up

Note:  If you do not have a Tax ID for your business, use your personal social security number and bank account until you do.  Set up is free. They will take a 2-3% chunk of each sale.

3.  Products & Prices – Identify just a few – start small

  • Product Name
  • Problem Product Solves
  • Product Description
  • How To use
  • Price

4.  Write your Content:  Images & Text

Don’t spend more than an hour working on this content.  You can always change it later.

  • Images:  A logo is good to have but can come later
  • Images:  Select a main image to use on social media profiles
  • Images:  Select one or more images for each product.  Start with just a few products.
  • Identify Keywords & Phrases:  What will people be searching for when they find you?*
  • Paragraph About Your Business:  Describe Your Products Generally In One Paragraph:  What problem do they solve and how your products make people feel.
  • Paragraph About You:  What inspired you to create this product?   Tell your story in one or two paragraphs

5.  Create A MailChimp Account – Free up to 2000 subscribers

Mailchimp will be used to collect email addresses of people who want to hear from you.  You will be able to send out newsletters, special offers, and more!

6.  Create the following Social Profiles – Free

7. Create An Online Store (Website)

Be sure to add links to your social media profiles and connect your MailChimp account to the platform.

  • Shopify – for manufactured products like bags, clothing – $30/month
  • Etsy – For items made by hand by you – about $.20 per product listing
  • Square – Not Pretty But Functional Website – Free
  • BentoBox – For food & restaurants – $79-$150 – Call Future Bright For Deal
  • Wix Store – sell anything – $30/month
  • Teachable – Online Courses – $29/month
  • Affiliate (sell other people’s products)  Free WordPress.com site*
  • DO NOT use GoDaddy website builder

*To create an affiliate site, you sign up with affiliate programs, and then put links that are made for you onto your website.  You do not need to take payment, the businesses who provide the links for you will handle all transactions.

You Can Start Selling!

8.  Promote your product(s)

  • Share to your personal Facebook/Instagram pages – Free
  • Share on Facebook/Instagram business pages – Free
  • Facebook Ads – Can spend $20+
  • Google Ads – Wide range from $20-$10,000/month

Note:  Manage Your Reviews

Testimonials and reviews are an important part of the customer journey.  It is important that you respond to reviews, and encourage ongoing dialog between yourself and your customers. The below platforms are the main hosts of reviews used by customers:

  • Yelp
  • Google My Business

**Information About Keywords & Phrases

Your content should be written with this in mind:  searches people make on search engines generally fall into three main categories:  Informational (just looking for info), Navigational (trying to find a specific entity or place), Transactional (ready to buy).  To boost your ranking, you should identify key phrases used in those three categories where your business could appear, and then incorporate them into your content.

Example Business:  Ceramic Baking Dish Maker

Informational Search:  “Best apples to use in apple pie”

Navigational Search:  “Baking Tools Store Nearby”

Transactional Search:  “Apple Pie Pan”

Wendy Plan For Pandemic

Plan for enduring the COVID-19 Pandemic

A plan and a timeline.

If you are like me, you need a plan.  I felt so confused and uncertain about even how each day would end until I sat down and marked out a timeline for the virus to run its course.  There are many unknowns, but there are enough knowns to create a general outline.  I recorded a video explaining that plan, and a printable document for you to hang on your wall, share with your children, and use as a guide during this very disorienting time.

Print The Timeline

Probable timeline for the covid-19 pandemic

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND OTHERS

Each day new information emerges about this virus.  It is now believed to be airborne, and also that you can be a carrier and have no idea or symptoms.   It is critical that you wear a protective covering over your nose and mouth.  This may protect you from getting sick, but most importantly, if you are sick and do not know it, will protect others.

  • wear some sort of face covering/ mask at all times when out, to prevent yourself from touching your face, and at home if someone is sick,
  • sanitize and wash your hands obsessively and multiple times while out, after touching anything, anyone and before entering your home, and while you are at home because soap destroys a virus,
  • sanitize objects that you bring into your home, and
  • stay six feet away from everyone outside of your home.
  • watch my video on how to shop safely.

Source:  Dr. David Price, a critical care pulmonologist caring for COVID-19 patients -Weill Cornell Hospital.  He explains how not to get sick, what to do if you are sick, and how to protect yourself and family if a house member is sick.  Watch The Video.

RESOURCES:

U . S. Government COVID – 19 Response Plan
Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19
CDC – Cases in the US
Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team Report

HuffPost – When Will Life Return to Normal? The Answer From Europe Is Emerging

We Will Rise

How To Not Get Sick – And What To Do If You Are

Theme Song

Predicted Infection Rate In The US

Corona Virus Chart
Chart Source: Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team – New York Times
Fabrique De Lices

The 2020 TEDx New Year Community Gathering

Fabrique Delices – French Artisanal CHARCUTERIE  fabriquedelices.com/

Our favorite table – duck prosciutto?  Yes, totally insane…ly delicious!

A festival of solutions!

As it is each year, there was an incredibly wide range of businesses showcasing their products and services.  It is just amazing to me how creative the human mind is, and to see the investment of time and energy that people put into their passions.  Participating businesses ranged from mini-homes to zero waste school products. This was a showcase of solutions.  Here are a few of my favorite booths!

Future Bright - Wendy Louise Nog
Wendy Louise Nog - Future Bright Founder, Digital Strategist

No Chocolate?!?

After recovering from the initial shock of learning that there was not a table that had chocolate,  we headed for the wine counter to order a glass of wine, and we began to explore the tables at the 2020 TedX Marin New Year Community Gathering.  We look for cool logos, delicious foods, and interesting products or services.

Wisdom Supply Co. – Zero Waste School Supplies

The emotional response that I had to this company struck me, and the phrase that kept going through my head is “we need to give kids these solutions.  They want these solutions.  They need them.”  I have three kids in school, and they are all learning about the utter wasteland humans have made of the planet.  They are motivated to do something!  Plastics became available for every-day use just since WWII, and in one generation’s time they have spread to the entire planet’s ecosystem, now overtaking the mass of fish in the oceans.  The Baby Boomer and Gen X generation have experienced complete domination of plastics in every facet of life.  We need to give the next generation an alternative.  They want an alternative!  Wisdom Supply Co. has developed a line of products that are either compostable, recyclable, or refillable.  I absolutely love their logo, and it emulates simplicity. To learn more about these products and find out how you can get them into your schools, visit them at www.wisdomsupplyco.com/.

Herbologie Teas and Nutraceuticals

There is something about the aroma of fresh ginger and turmeric that draws you in.  It’s as though you instinctively know that your body will be nourished by these ancient roots.  Herbologie Teas and Nutraceuticals are created by Monika Kathuria Tournis, who hosted the table.  She knows her stuff, and has been working with plants for 20+ years.  We love her logo!  To learn more about Herbologie you can visit their website at:  www.herbologieteas.com/

BACKYARD BUNGALOWS

Housing in the North Bay, and the Bay Area in general is needed badly.  With the loss of homes due to the fires adding to the shortage of housing, and an aging population that wants to stay put, building contractors are providing unique and creative solutions.  Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) are a way to increase the value of your home, and can provide rental income.  One company, Backyard Bungalows, is building these tiny homes and small structures to be modern and beautiful!  The Backyard Bungalows table was hosted by Melanie Cheng, who graciously explained what they do.  The company was founded by Barry Price, who moved from building large homes, to specializing in backyard bungalows in Marin County and the North Bay.  You can learn more and see their really beautiful portfolio of bungalows by visiting them at www.backyard-bungalows.net/  or call them directly at 415-971-3710.

My Favorite Packaging – Cult Cracker

Other Logos Of Note

Fabric Gift Bags

Fabric Gift Bags – Preserve Trees & Memories

Future Bright Fabric Gift Bags
This Holiday Bring Joy To The Forests!

At Future Bright we are passionate about preserving the beauty of our planet for future generations.  The Future Bright Fabric Gift Bag is one way that we are contributing to the solution.  By beautifying your life and bringing back traditions of old, we can preserve our planet’s resources.

Shirt Box Size Bag $2.99

Future Bright Fabric Gift Bags

Buy One – Gift One – Plant One $7

Fabric Gift Bags Gift One

Why Use Fabric Gift Bags?

Economic Benefits:

One bag can be used for multiple generations, becoming treasured mementos.  One bag can be used for 60+ holidays.  Our founder is still using bags that were created 45 years ago and they are still beautiful.  The typical cost for wrapping 20 presents:  $60 each year.  If you switch to fabric, you can have a life-time savings of $3500.

Environmental Benefits:

One family switching to fabric bags when their children are young will preserve an entire grove of trees, which will remove ten tons of carbon from the air each year.  One hundred families switching to fabric bags will preserve an entire forest and hundreds of tons of carbon.

Emotional Benefits

By now, all children are learning in school the devastating effect of waste and pollution in our environment.  By introducing fabric bags to their lives, you are allowing them to participate in the solution.  This will give them not only a feeling of taking action, but also a connection to the trees around them.

Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast.

How to get photos from your iPhone to your WordPress website FAST!

Save hours and even days of delay coordinating with your developer or waiting until you can get to your computer.  If you take photos on your iPhone that you would like to have appear on your WordPress Website or blog, follow the below steps:

Future Bright - Restaurant Websites

How to add photos to your Media Gallery from your iPhone FAST!

  1. Install the WordPress App on your phone, and log in to your website
  2. Select “Media Gallery”, and then the plus sign to “Choose From My Device”.
  3. Select the images that you want to upload.
  4. Click “Add” at the bottom right of the screen.

Important Tip:  You should have a plugin on your site like “Smush” that reduces image sizes as they are uploaded to within 2000×2000 pixels or another size that you designate.

Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast
Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website or blog fast

How to add photos to a New Blog Post FAST!

  1.  Install the WordPress App on your phone, and log in to your website.
  2. Tap the large + symbol at the bottom center of the screen to create a new post.
  3. Give your post a Title
  4. Tap on the body of the post, which will activate the small + symbol on the left of the tools bar
  5. Tap the plus symbol
  6. Select the images that you want to upload.
  7. Click “Insert”

Important Tip:  You should have a plugin on your site like “Smush” that reduces image sizes as they are uploaded to within 2000×2000 pixels or another size that you designate.

Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast.
Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast

Do you often take photographs that you later want to be posted to your blog or website?  Perhaps you have a food blog, or an events blog, or you attend a lot of networking events and want to get photos up on your site!

Elsie Green Shelf

North Bay Getaway – Discover “The Barlow” In Sebastopol, CA

My view of Sebastopol being a retreat for aging hippie artists (note:  my mom is in that category) was turned on its head this week.  I am not certain at which point in recent history “artists” began to share the limelight with “artisans”, but I am certain that it must have been some time around the slow food movement, which led to the farm-to-table movement, which led to mason jar water glasses in Michelen star restaurants, and the rest is history.

The continuous gutting of small shops and downtowns by big box stores, and the lingering recession of 2008 resulted in thousands of vacant retail shops of all sizes in neighborhoods with shuttered and abandoned warehouses around the country.  This created affordable spaces for artists, craftspersons, and chefs to set up shop not only in cities, but in the outer reaches.

The Barlow
Elsie Green Boards

Photographs By Wendy Louise Nog

The artist retreat of Sebastopol was faced with a similar challenge of lost industry, and a twelve acre apple processing business was mainly unused and in disrepair.  Recognizing that this space provided an opportunity to develop a craftspersons and boutique retail area, it was purchased by local Barnie Aldridge, who planned and executed a revival and renovation of the buildings and area, and named it “The Barlow” after the Barlow Family of apple growers that had once used this space.

It is fascinating to observe that the further we advance technologically, the further back we reach to revisit the past, to a time before plastic when all that was made would over time return to the earth to be recycled by its systems.  There is something fundamentally relaxing to hold an object that is of completely natural materials.  I believe that even though we may not be aware of it, our brains are analyzing the objects we interact with far beyond identifying the color, but also where it fits into this complex system that it must interpret correctly in order for us to survive.  Our brains can recognize that a plastic container we toss into the trash has a life cycle that is not natural, and we experience this awareness hundreds of times each day.  This creates a sense of unease, and we may not even be aware of its source.  When we bring natural fabrics and materials into everyday use, there is a palpable change that takes place in our sense of well being.  This is why artisan products made with natural materials have become so sought after.

DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS FOR FOOD ARTISANS AND CRAFTSPERSONS

HOW TO WORK WITH FUTURE BRIGHT

Crossroads Cafe - Future Bright Website Design

1. Schedule A Consultation

2. Tell Us Your Story

3. Follow Our Recommendations

Sebastopol sits just West of Santa Rosa, CA an hour’s drive from San Francisco, and is the last large town when you head West, leaving way to farmland and then the rugged hills and coast of Mendocino.  The Wine Industry has spilled over 101 and headed towards Sebastopol, and you can now see vineyards where there once cows and old fences.  The Barlow is a modern shed experience on twelve acres of land right in downtown Sebastopol.  There are forty retail and industrial use spots in The Barlow, and as you wander along the streets you will observe wine tasting, the weaving of gorgeous fabrics, brewing of beer, the making of ice cream, and so much more.

As always, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so will not tell you everything about the wine tasting, the breweries, the galleries, but I will share with you three of the spots that we visited.  The first is a clothing and gift boutique called Scout.  As a logo buff, the Scout logo is a head turner for me, and I had to go see what was inside.  The Scout shop is a curated collection of simply designed, artisan objects to use and wear.  The shop features artisans from around the country and overseas, and you will certainly find something to bring home.

Scour West County Logo On Wall
Scout Store
Scout Infant Sweater

Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, Sebastopol, CA

A second spot we got to know very well was Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, because we spent the entire work day hunkered down on their open upper level, and it was fascinating to observe the clientele passing through.  There was a wide range of the before mentioned aging hippie artists, and also hipsters, farmers, young artists, and people who seemed to be in the wine and beer industry, which requires a whole swath of different types of people.  Creatives have been retreating further north from the high prices of San Francisco and Southern Marin.  The wine country has spread west over 101,  and there are expansive preserves of farmland to the south and west where cheeses of all types are emerging from creameries.  The now legal cannabis industry is filtering south from Humboldt County, and Sebastopol is the epicenter of all of these.

Elsie Green, Sebastopol, CA

The third shop that we spent a great deal of time in is the Elsie Green shop.  This absolutely beautiful shop made me cry a little, that my life’s journey hadn’t landed me in an old French house with a kitchen filled with old wooden spoons and copper pots.  But I picked myself up by my bootstraps, or rather, sandal straps, and wandered through the store imagining myself cutting flowers on a big wooden chopping block, or setting the table before whooshing out to the garden to pick warm tomatoes and fresh fennel for a salad that I had to toss together quickly because I could hear my guests’ car winding up the hillside to my home, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Elsie Green Wall Hooks
Elsie Green Table

Fern Bar, Sebastopol, CA

My absolute favorite was the Fern Bar.  After going to a folk concert at nearby HopMonk, we walked back over to The Barlow to visit FernBar, where we were greeted by bartender Matt, formerly of SpoonBar in Healdsburg.  Matt was mixing up a delicious array of cocktails, and since I had already reached my three-is-really-all-I-can-handle limit, he created the most delicious mohito I have ever tasted…and there wasn’t even any alcohol!  A three-piece band consisting of a stand-up bass, piano, and since I had three beverages by then I can’t remember what the third was, but in any case, I was happy sitting on that bar stool in that beautiful space with a good friend, sipping a fizzy drink and listening to jazz.  It doesn’t get any better than that for me.  Alas I did not get any photographs, but all the better, so that you can find out for yourself.

Fern Bar Matthew
Fern Bar Drink
Future Bright Wendy & Stephanie

The author, and friend Stephanie Guaiumi, who introduced her to The Barlow.  Stephanie and her husband make their own wine, and she often brings the author preserves made in her kitchen. You need a four-wheel drive truck to get to Stephanie’s summer home, which is perched on a hill  behind their orchards in Lake County.

FOOD & ARTISTRY & DESIGN BLOG

Plan for enduring the COVID-19 Pandemic

A plan and a timeline. If you are like me, you need a plan.  I felt so confused and uncertain about even how each day...

Read More

The 2020 TEDx New Year Community Gathering

Fabrique Delices - French Artisanal CHARCUTERIE  fabriquedelices.com/ Our favorite table - duck prosciutto?  Yes, totally insane...ly delicious! A festival of solutions! As it is each...

Read More

Fabric Gift Bags – Preserve Trees & Memories

This Holiday Bring Joy To The Forests! At Future Bright we are passionate about preserving the beauty of our planet for future generations.  The Future...

Read More

Ariana Bundy Restaurant In Dubai

Persian Restaurant Ariana’s Kitchen To Open In Dubai

Ariana Bundy Restaurant In Dubai

 

 

My young daughter and I sat in an outdoor patio of a cafe whose entrance was piled with desserts and pastries of every color in the rainbow, and that looked out over the calming pool below.  Far below.  We were on the seventh level of cafes that line the edge of the Dubai Mall, and as we sat and breathed in the air, and wondered at the slightly orange tint that a distant sand storm gave the surrounding buildings, for the first time in two weeks, we felt totally at ease.

Our trip from California to visit family in Kolkata was punctuated by the extreme opposites that you experience when traveling anywhere in India, and we had arrived in Dubai fairly well shaken.  Being a woman traveling alone with a young girl had required a focused alertness that was exhausting.  We were very excited to have landed in Dubai, and of course had seen the Burj Khalifa as we approached from the air.  We took a pristinely clean train from the Dubai airport, exited at the great mall train stop, and walked along the never-ending corridors of moving sidewalks until we finally reached our destination and discovered a cafe where we could sit, relax, and take in this new environment.  As we sat in the sun listening to the ambient music surrounding us, I felt all of the worries, the stress of travel, the concerns about anything at all, completely melt away.  We sat there in wonder, experiencing together that feeling that can only be had in Dubai.

My purpose for visiting this incredible city was to connect with my Website Design client, Celebrity Persian Chef Ariana Bundy, who is opening a Persian restaurant, “Ariana’s Persian Kitchen” at the astonishing Royal Atlantis Hotel & Residences.  Her Persian cuisine is infused with rose, saffron, pistachios, and will feature an amazing menu of ancient recipes.  She is also renovating a 300 year old residence at a separate location to serve as a cooking school and destination inn.  Her story is one that reflects the story of Dubai.  It is a place where you can dream, and make those dreams come true.  It is a playground for architects and developers, chefs and designers, artists and travelers, and absolutely anything that you can imagine is possible, including creating a map of the world with islands.  Future Bright has been so honored to have accompanied her on this journey, and as a boutique website design agency that specializes in food, this was an incredibly special visit.

We were able to easily take Uber everywhere, and every driver we had was kind, friendly, and open to share about their origins and family.  We also felt completely safe.  Like most of the residents of Dubai, the drivers were all from somewhere else, which is very much like our residence in California.

Our gracious host Paul Hughes, husband and partner of Ariana Bundy, gave us a tour of the area around where we were staying, and it was simply mind-boggling to suddenly come upon another and yet another cluster of 100 skyscrapers.  The construction of new buildings was happening everywhere, and it was exciting to see and imagine how they would be when they were finished based on the impossible angles that seemed to be emerging beneath towering cranes.  We had dinner at Jumeirah Al Qasr, a five-star resort, and sat in a lounge overlooking the canals lined with palm trees.  The entire structure was built of beautiful marble and granite.  The food was incredibly flavorful, and the wine completely unfamiliar, which is disorienting and wonderful at the same time.

The always futuristic World Expo is to be held in Dubai in 2020, and construction has already begun, with countries building astonishing representations of their most creative architecture.  It is tempting to list all of the details of our time spent exploring the amazing city of Dubai, but it is so much more fun to discover it yourself.  We will definitely be returning, and can’t wait to taste a saffron infused ice cream from Ariana’s restaurant overlooking the salty expanse of the Persian Gulf waters.

Wendy Louise Nog, MSTMWendy Louise Nog is Founder and Digital Strategist for Future Bright Interactive, a website development agency based in Silicon Valley, CA.

WeWork Mill Valley Lounge Area

WeWork, New Coworking Space In Marin – A Review!

Conference Room WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork Mill Valley.  If the giant boulder, or the portraits of Tupac and Janis Joplin don’t make you catch your breath with nostalgia, the overall feeling of this new WeWork space in Mill Valley will at least cause you to stop & pivot in a full rotation in order to take it all in.
Future Bright WeWork Mill Valley

TASTY + MIGHTY

WEBSITES, SEO, SOCIAL MEDIA

CaNORML Leaf - Future Bright Website Design
freida banks - Future Bright Website Design
St Francis Fountain - Future Bright Website Design
Crossroads Cafe - Future Bright Website Design

WeWork, 1 Belevedere Dr., Mill Valley, CA

A mixture of Sea Ranch meets 1970’s Mill Valley meets the gig economy meets cafe/winebar culture.  These create an ambiance in the 1 Belevedere Dr. WeWork location that is both cozy and expansive, high-tech yet sand-between-your-toes.  This new addition to the now global WeWork network of shared workspace is an exciting and adventurous arrival at a fresh look for WeWork office interiors:  matching the design with the surrounding geography, history, and culture.  Perched up on a hill in one of the most beautiful counties in the world, rather than going with even a dab of black, this location has floor to ceiling glass with tons of natural light.  They are offering private offices, access to all common spaces, called “Hot Desks”, conference rooms, very 1960’s sci-fi-looking phone booths, and a gym.  HotDesks are $650 per month and include…well…a lot.  Call or drop in and ask for Cameron, and let him know that you read about WeWork on Wendy at Future Bright’s blog article!  You just might be glad you did!

WeWork's Cameron Perry and Wendy Louise Nog, Founder of Future Bright, in WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork's Cameron Perry and Wendy Louise Nog, Founder of Future Bright, in WeWork Mill Valley

It is tempting to tell all, including an off-hand mention of the speakeasy but… it will be so much more fun for you to discover the space on your own!  Marin’s native son, the eternally smiling Cameron Perry, will be in charge of you if you pop in for a visit.  You can call WeWork Mill Valley at (646) 491-9060. Bring your laptop, because you won’t want to leave, you will want to find your spot and stay for a while.  Bring your dog too just in case, as dogs are also welcome.   Spoiler alert, there is complimentary Equator Coffee and beer on tap at all times!  Do you feel like you need a reason to stop by?  Make an appointment with me (Wendy) to discuss your next exciting digital project!

WeWork Mill Valley
WeWork Mill Valley

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