Archive for September, 2014

Meet the Specialist- BnB Finder

Monday, September 29th, 2014

bnb waybackAt PeKu we work with an assortment of specialists who provide knowledge in their area of expertise.  On Think Tasty we work with two- Elizabeth Skipper, a personal chef, and BnB Finder, which provides us with a weekly recipe from one of their bed and breakfasts.  We began working with BnB Finder in February of 2012 on a monthly basis. Their recipes proved to be so popular that we changed to the weekly format in January 2013.  We have published 112 delicious BnB recipes and look forward to many more.

I was able to speak with Mary White, CEO of BnB Finder.

MPK: Our readers know you as “BnB Finder”.  How many bed and breakfasts are in your business/family/group?

MW: Approximately 2,000

MPK: Where are your bed and breakfasts located?  All over the US? Beyond?

MW: We are worldwide with the majority in North America, primarily in the US.

MPK: You have such a wide array of recipes, from sweet treats to savory side dishes.  Do you have a favorite?

MW: WOW, I don’t think you could have asked a harder question.  If I have to pick, I think it would be Brownies on Steroids at the Andon-Reid Inn in Waynesveille, NC. (Click here for the recipe.)

MPK: What is the best part of your role as the CEO of BnB Finder?

MW: I enjoy many aspects of my role including helping innkeepers, small business owners like myself, to make their businesses more successful. However, I think my favorite part is spreading the word through the site and interviews about the unique features bed & breakfasts offer, and then hearing stories of wonderful guest experiences when they stay at a B&B for the first time.

MPK: What fun fact would our readers be surprised to learn about BnB Finder?

MW: Perhaps what the site looked like when it launched in July of 1999.  I’ve attached a screen shot.  The Internet has come a LONG way!

Beauty Is Where You Seek It

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

SONY DSCThere are many places that we expect to find things of beauty: on the seashore, at an art museum, in the night sky.  However, as I was watching a football game yesterday I was struck by the beauty of a well-executed pass.

Let me start by explaining that I am not a football fanatic.  I enjoy watching my children play and my husband coach football.  I also enjoy watching the Patriots in their weekly game and playfully harassing my husband as he roots for the Ravens.  Outside of that, I don’t need to spend any additional time watching football.  But as I sat watching both the Ravens and Patriots games yesterday, I saw a pass thrown for many yards down the field. The gentle arch of the ball, spiraling down the field, and landing perfectly in the receiver’s hands truly had a look of beauty to it.

Was it a technically sound pass? I honestly don’t know, but what I do know is that it looked effortless, a made for tv sort of pass that made me pause and consider its eye appeal.

Driving to the office this morning, I thought about that pass and how my brain found it to be beautiful.  I think we sometimes look too hard, searching for beauty instead of simply recognizing it in its various forms.  For example, well done wording can be beautiful.  As I read Jason Lightner’s wine review last week, his wording, “the dark ruby wine dashes around the wine glass” oozed with beauty.

The architecture of a lamp post. A classic piece of music played on violin. The first cup of coffee poured on a chilly morning. There is beauty in all of these things.  In fact, it is located in many places, if you look.

Here’s to seeing, rather than seeking, beauty.



Creativity- A Key Ingredient for All

Monday, September 15th, 2014

princess penguinWhen my children were little, their days were filled with many games of imagination. My daughter loved to create scenarios involving princesses, ball gowns, and fancy parties. My son would build Lego structures and create adventures for the people and animals that lived within.  Whether playing on their own or having other people partake (I did a fine job as both princess and adventurer), the stories they told were creative and detail-oriented. I quickly learned that they had visions for how the stories were to be told and gladly let them take the lead in these games.

They’re teens now and don’t play these games of make believe anymore.  I see their creativity in other aspects of their lives- the outfits that my daughter assembles, the way my son delivers a monetary gift to a sibling, the way both of them engage with younger children and animals.  Although school, extracurricular activities, and work take most of their time, it is good to see them utilize their imaginations.  Putting a spin on an essay or long-term project makes the work not only more bearable but also more enjoyable.

At PeKu, or any other job, it is easy to get caught in the day-to-day routine and lose site of creativity.  A typical day include:

  • Review last week’s stats.
  • Fill in the empty spaces on the editorial calendar.
  • Check the status of engineering projects.
  • Read daily articles.
  • Monitor expenses and revenue.
  • Meet with team members.

Sometimes I get caught in this cycle of completing tasks, checking the boxes, and repeating daily.  While there are certain things that do need to be done on a daily basis, there also is a need to be creative, step outside of the normal role, and use a little imagination. For me, I find this is most likely to occur when I set aside some time in the morning.  Once I know that everything is running smoothly and my inbox has been emptied, I can take a couple hours and mull brand new ideas or small tweaks to current projects.  In fact on a recent weekday morning I had a brainstorm, which has led to a handful of hours researching this idea.

Over the coming weeks I will be sharing this brainstorm with several members of my team. If it is an idea that is embraced by my team, there will be some major (and exciting!) changes in the coming month or two. Even if we decide to put this idea on the back burner, the time spent on this project is sure to spur other goals, making it time well spent.

It may not be the same as pretending to be the princess who saves the day, but creativity sure keeps PeKu growing!

PeKu Milestones- September 2014

Monday, September 8th, 2014

rsz_cake_candlesEvery month we take a look at anniversaries that are being celebrated by both PeKu and its team.  This month we have two to recognize.

First, we have a writer that is in a class of his own. Joe Lawrence began writing for PeKu when we first launched in July 2008.  He wrote for us while deployed with the US Air Force and while starting a family of his own.  In March 2011, Joe decided it was time to focus on other aspects of his professional and personal life.  Much to our delight, he returned to PeKu in September 2013, looking to share some of his fitness knowledge with our readers. Joe has been writing weekly columns for My Fitness Tunes over the past year and continues to be a valuable member of our team.

Second, we are marking the first anniversary as an editor for Kimberly Hays.  Kim has written for PeKu for over two years. Last year she added the role of associate editor to her title.  Kim oversees the content in the Active Living, Entertainment, Home & Garden, Technology, and Style sections.  In addition to editing she also sets the monthly themes in many of the sites, choosing our outdoor destinations, book topics, and more.  Kim provides a new level of interest and excitement on all of the sites that she oversees.

As many things are starting now: the school year and football season just to name a couple, so does another year for these two team members.  Here’s looking to many more years with Joe and Kim!

Whole New Look for PeKu

Monday, September 1st, 2014

September-HighlightsExcept for when PeKu was a very young company, we have redesigned our publications constantly.  Typically it takes about eighteen months for us to work through all of our publications, and then we start the cycle again.  Creating new looks for each property keeps things fresh, interesting, and engaging.

This summer we decided to redesign PeKu, the corporate site, even though it had gotten a new look in the spring. Working with our newly hired marketing coordinator, she and I decided that we needed to tweak the new design a bit more.  Once that look was complete, we wanted to find a way to make the PeKu brand even more cohesive.

Although we’ve had branding that identifies all of our publications as part of the PeKu family, it didn’t seem to be enough.  Thus, we decided to give all of our publications a homogenous design.  Of course, redesigning twenty-one publications isn’t an overnight project.  Especially when each site has its own characteristics that makes it unique.

If you want to take a peek at the redesign, you can visit Holidays Helper, which we launched with the new look in late August.  Over the coming months, the other twenty sites will be updated.

I think this new design will give a great interrelated feel to our publications.  Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.