Sunday, July 26, 2015

You are cordially invited to join me for the #CelebrateCheesecakeSK #TwitterParty 7/28 @ 8pm EST! #ad

This post is brought to you by The Cheesecake Factory and SheKnows Media:

The Cheesecake Factory Logo

Guess who loves Cheesecake and is a contributor to an upcoming twitter party devoted entirely to the subject? That's right, ME!!!!

I hope all my butterflies will join in on the cheesecake fun and goodness, here are all the deets:

What: A twitter party to talk about all things cheesecake deliciousness in honor of National Cheesecake Days 7/29 and 7/30

When: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - 8-9pm EST

Where: Twitter - If you don't already have a twitter account, get on that PRONTO! (I like using software such as hootsuite to help me keep track of my outbound and incoming tweets that are directed at me in real time!)

Twitter Accounts to Follow@TheRebelChick (Jennifer is the host) and the party is organized by @SheKnows and yours truly is a contributor, my twitter is: @Tracy_Iglesias

Sponsor@Cheesecake

Hashtag: #CelebrateCheesecakeSK

RSVP: NONE - Come as you are, just make sure you are using the hashtag on all your tweets so you can gain entries for the sweet prizes!

Plus wait there's MORE:

(1) The Cheesecake Factory is offering any slice at HALF PRICE from July 29th to July 30th in honor of National Cheesecake Day!

(2) Watching your weight? Check out their low-calorie options on their 'SkinnyLicious' Menu

(3) There is a CONTEST! Take a photo of yourself with a slice of any of The Cheesecake Factory's Cheesecakes and then post that photo on social media using the hashtag #SayCheesecakeContest on Instagram or Twitter. You can also enter on Facebook by posting your photo in the comment section of the #SayCheesecakeContest pinned Facebook Post on The Cheesecake Factory Facebook Page, the entry period is from 7/29-7/31. Approved entries can be viewed HERE, official rules HERE, guests will be able to cast their vote on their favorite photo, whoever gets the most votes is the Grand Prize Winner and gets a $1,000 Grand Prize AND nine runner ups will receive The Cheesecake Factory eGift Cards worth $100 each! - Pretty Sweet right?

The Cheesecake Factory's White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake
The Cheesecake Factory's White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

MY TAKE:

If you haven't tried The Cheesecake Factory's White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake, your taste buds are in for a treat, that one is by far my favorite flavor, although in all fairness I haven't tried them all, and I may end up finding a new flavor during National Cheesecake Day this year!

I would love to  keep track of how many of my butterflies/readers will be joining us, if you plan on attending make sure to include your twitter handle as a comment (not required, just an informal way of knowing how many of you will be there), and if you have a favorite Cheesecake Factory flavor, please let us know which one it is!

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FTC Disclosure: While this post is NOT sponsored, I will be compensated for my participation in the twitter party as a contributor, this post and the party are brought to you by The Cheesecake Factory and SheKnows Media.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Highlights from #GettingGorgeous 2015 in NYC + join the twitter party 7/22 at 1pm EST!

Getting Gorgeous Logo

New York City is an amazing place to be based. It keeps me super busy being based here, and the perks of living in the city that never sleeps are great, and with this month being the busiest July I can remember, I have a LOT to share, it's been challenging to find time to organize my photos and my thoughts!

Last week I attended one of my favorite annual events, Getting Gorgeous and I wanted to be sure to share the highlights with you! (Stay tuned butterflies, this recap has a little 'something-something' for YOU too!)

The team behind Getting Gorgeous did it again, and in something akin to alphabetical order, here are the brands that were in attendance:

The Backyard Food Company on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: The Backyard Food Company both awakened and delighted my taste buds!

The Backyard Food Company Rhode Island Red Hot Relish on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: I got to try the Rhode Island Red Hot Relish and the Wholly Jalapeno, hopefully this will make sense, but they were a good spicy. When I eat hot stuff whose only goal seems to be to burn off every last tastebud on your tongue, I don't like that, but The Backyard Food Company has the balance just right, yes, it is spicy, but it's a tasty spicy and it's REALLY good. I totally wish they would have been in the gift bags as I wanted more the moment I got home!


BALI Intimates on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City, bras, lingerie, one smooth U
Above: BALI Intimates displayed their latest and greatest bras and we got to select our own size and style to be shipped to us later which they did last year, I picked the same style actually, it's called one smooth U! (I have the one called 'Ultra Light Illusion Neckline') - this year's model offers a bit more side support and lift so I am looking forward to trying this one and reporting my findings back to you butterflies.

Chobani Kids on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: It's not just adults that are having all the fun with Chobani, Chobani Kids was in display, and they were thoughtful enough to provide samples in a bag that would keep them cool until we got home!

Chobani Kids on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City, butterfly decorated lunchbox
Above: We got to decorate our own lunchboxes as a keepsake and needless to say I drew a butterfly on mine!

Holland Kamp's Cocktail Caviar on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 New York City, blueberry flavor cocktail caviar
Above: Holland Kamp's Cocktail Caviar was an interesting find, on display is the blueberry flavor!

Holland Kamp's Cocktail Caviar on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 New York City, peach flavor cocktail caviar
Above: On display is the Peach variety of Cocktail Caviar - they are 'burst-able' pearls of naturally flavored spirits. Like a pearl at the bottom of a glass of wine or they can also be used as top-shelf cocktail ice as well. This would go great in a bellini in my book!

@ivanaMUA a freelance makeup artist here in NYC was offering attendees #GorgeousLips at the Galderma station at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above@ivanaMUA a freelance makeup artist here in NYC was offering attendees #GorgeousLips at the Galderma station, I had to nab a shot of her sign as I thought it was super cute, like those I see outside cafes, restaurants and wine bars here in the city!

kevita drinks lemon ginger probiotic drink


Above: KeVita Drinks was sampling their Organic Probiotic Drinks, they have been featured on our pages many times before, and this time I got a chance to try out the Lemon Ginger which I really like! (Photo Credit: Thirstydudes.com!)

Liquid Oxygen breakthrough oxygen science for Acne products at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: Liquid Oxygen offered a well presented and packaged kit which contains their breakthrough oxygen science for Acne products. Aren't the tassles on these kits just plain EVERYTHING? I can't wait to try the products but I am also putting that tassle on my favorite leather handbag for Fall that matches the color on that tassle to the tee! They also had a 'face reader' at their booth, who by looking at your face can you tell you things about yourself and your future, I have to admit I found this fascinating. I need to look for the handout she gave me after my reading, that might have to be a whole post unto itself! Things she said - like for example that I always land on my feet stood out, she says she sees me living to a very old age (past 100 YIKES!) and 'well off' financially. Hope some of that dough ray me starts rolling in SOON!

My KODAK MOMENTS App on display at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above:  With the My KODAK MOMENTS App, you can effortlessly create a real, premium-quality photo book from your favorite pictures on your favorite smart device or from Facebook. I got to experience a demo and printed out a cool picture I took while in Madison Square Park. I was actually stoked how easy the whole thing was to do, considering I never had luck when wanting to print pictures or create photo discs at the pharmacy (which I would mostly do when I'm traveling anyway, but with this I wouldn't hesitate to do it!)


Psychic Readings by Eva at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: I also stopped to have a Psychic Reading by Eva and this was INTENSE. Her line was long but I totally got why when I sat down, she hit on stuff she had no way of 'guessing'. So if you are a skeptic, have a go and give her a call, she just might surprise you. And I truly hope much like the 'face reader' that the stuff shown to her by the cards come to pass. She sees me in a relationship by Fall, with a younger man no less, TRES JUICY my friends! I will of course keep you posted butterflies!


Stokke High quality baby products and accessories at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: And while "I don't know nothing about birthing babies" (did you catch what I did there? LOL) I do know quality when I see it and was happy to see STOKKE back again this year, their products actually grow with your child which is a great investment as they won't easily outgrow the products too fast! I am just glad that none of the psychics predicted kids, don't have any, not planning on having any either!

Trollbeads allow you to create a piece of jewelry that fits your style, memories and personality.
Above: Do I spy a DIY opportunity with my one little eye? LOL So of course the word 'leather' stops me in my tracks. What is this? A create your own Bracelet station from Trollbeads!

Trollbeads allow you to create a piece of jewelry that fits your style, memories and personality. Ascending Butterfly's Trollbeads bracelet made at Getting Gorgeous 2015 in New York City
Above: I posted the final result on my instagram and you guys definitely responded positively to it! Trollbeads allow you to create a piece of jewelry that fits your style, memories and personality. Your bracelet will be as unique as YOU are and there is just something you have to dig about that! They are conversation starters that's for sure, I just wish they had brought along more color combos in my size for the leather bracelets since I tend to wear darker colors more than light ones. But I was super stoked with how it came out and got a ton of compliments on my way home.

MY TAKE:

My apologies to The Spa Chick (I didn't stop at the nail station as I tend to visit those at the end so I don't have my polish smudged while shaking hands but I didn't have time to squeeze them in.) and to the Title Sponsor Restylane Silk (they were offering lip plumping/filler treatments and since God blessed me with the perfect kisser and I also have a fear of getting needles that are NOT absolutely mission critical to my immediate health, this was NOT quite for me).

I had a great time as always, but this time the words of the two different psychics - The Face Reader and The Tarot Card Reader are all playing in my head, 'be more nurturing', 'be open to dating younger and taller' and finding myself in a long term relationship soon. I find this all both exciting and scary all at once, especially the living past 100 part. I'm not sure it's going to look cute me at 100 dating a younger man, but we'll see, maybe I make it work!

I enjoyed the variety of brands in attendance, and how no two Getting Gorgeous events are ever the same yet at the same time offering a little something for everyone!

But Wait my Friend's there is MORE!

A TWITTER PARTY TODAY AT 1pm EST!!!!

Where: Twitter
Date: Wednesday, July 22nd
Time: 1pm
Hashtag: #GettingGorgeous (I suggest following along via Hootsuite so you can see the host questions, answers, and any at replies directly to you!) - be sure to follow the hosts so they can DM you if you win. I am NOT a host or co-host so please be sure to direct all questions to the hosts who are listed below.
Hosts@Audrey McClelland and @vera sweeney

But Butterfly are there going to be goodies you ask? But of course, sponsors include: @TrollTweetsUS, @KeVitaDrinks, @Chobani, @luvliquidoxygen, @BALIIntimates, @StokkeBaby, and more!

Will you be joining this super fun twitter party? What brands featured above caught your eye the most and why? Hope to see you at the party butterflies!

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FTC DisclosureThis is NOT a sponsored or compensated post and all opinions are 100% my own!  This post does enter me in a contest to win a prize!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Monday, July 20, 2015

{#MotivationMonday} July 21st is national No Pet Store Puppies Day! Look at the cutie from @ASPCA I met at #BlogHer15



Did you know that tomorrow, (July 21st) is No Pet Store Puppies Day? This is a holiday whose goal is to raise awareness about the fact that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Tens of thousands of 'breeding dogs' spend their lives in these mills. Often times they are subjected to tiny, overcrowded cages in very unsanitary conditions, most do not receive proper vet care or even adequate food and water, with so many sadly living their entire lives without any kind of human affection. The Female dogs are bred at every opportunity giving their bodies very little time to recover between litters of puppies.

To help raise awareness the ASCPCA wants to spread the word with this super cute video where a little girl named Molly and her shelter dog Joey explain why you shouldn't shop at pet stores that sell puppies that come from puppy mills:



They are not leaving out kittens either, here is an informative infographic featuring interesting facts you may not know about adoptable baby kittens:

While at the BlogHer conference I got to meet this cute girl who literally everyone wanted! It was hard to pin her down to get a shot without motion/blur, but meet Dollie:


EVERYONE wanted her! Myself included!

MY TAKE:

I highly encourage families seeking a pet to visit a shelter and not buy from a puppy mill. Shelter employees are also knowledgeable in taking your lifestyle into account and matching them with a Dog or Cat that will best match the entire families' lifestyle, not to make a 'sale', but to help get the pet and the family the best possible match. If matched correctly there is less likelihood that the dog or cat will be brought back to the shelter and that's the goal!

I am traveling too much right now for a pet, but when I am ready, I am definitely visiting the ASPCA and adopting a Shelter Dog and I hope you will too! (By the way the folks at Rover where also there with Dogs and you guys definitely responded positively to my doggie instagrams while at the BlogHer15 Conference so thank you!)

Do You have a Shelter Dog or Cat? If not, will you consider adopting from a shelter next time?

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FTC DisclosureThis is NOT a sponsored or compensated post and all opinions are 100% my own!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Monday, July 13, 2015

{#MotivationMonday} Can you have #SwitchersRemorse and still feel GRATEFUL? #Inspiration

Hasty Judgements Begets Remorse, German Proverb

I was on a very different career path in life.

I was very young while watching the news one night around dinner time and the reporter announced that more people had died of heart problems that year than murders (and in New York City for murder to NOT be the number one killer/taker of lives that is quite rare indeed!).

I marched into the kitchen and told my mother quite matter-of-factly that I wanted to fix hearts when I grew up. (As I also had a passion for horses and was also sure I wanted to be a cowgirl, I'm sure she was amused to say the least). I told her about the news story, and she told me there was different types of doctors who worked on the heart, some that diagnose and others that did the surgery to repair it.

Childhood happened, but my interest in medicine never really waned and eventually she took me to the  library to read up on Cardiology and Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. In high school I even got the chance to sit in on the actual Gross Anatomy class. I watched as adults ran off and puked their guts out and wondered how on earth they'd become doctors if they couldn't handle that class! I wasn't allowed to do anything but observe the first year med students on the first day of this class and for some reason I didn't feel nervous.

Later on doing the frogs in anatomy class in school was a breeze for me. I got to work on bigger animals in a College Course I took knowing that this was all leading me to my dream of becoming a Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon someday.

But College was a whole different ball game, and various circumstances forced me to switch majors and I went from being a Biology Major with a minor in Psychology to a Mass Media Communications Major.

And from there a chain of events was set in motion:

(1) I interned for a Newspaper

(2) I took my first Television Course

(3) I interned for a local cable television show

(4) Became a film critic for a local paper

(5) Got to head up a science section as an Editor for the same local newspaper (My reporting skills led to a beloved community doctor getting additional exposure in various outlets until he eventually re-gained his practice, I have to say this was the moment where I personally felt just how powerful one voice and one simple 'human interest' assignment could be....)

(6) Freelanced for one my favorite magazines

During that process something else happened. Communications classes forced me out of my shell. Unlike my science labs, which on ocassion did have me partner up, communications classes were all about partnerships on deeper levels, especially the courses for Televison. I learned what being a fish out of water felt like. This wasn't my strong suit, with the exception of the writing. My love for writing was always there all along, but it wasn't coming out as much in the sciences in the same way it did when I switched to communications. It gave me the confidence to enter writing contests and when I took home first prize and cash for a writing contest in College just after I changed my major I must admit I felt quite validated by my decision!

A recent totally random conversation on my bus ride home this weekend (ironically from a blogging related event) got me to talking to the bus driver. His daughter is studying to be a nurse and I told him I wanted to be a Doctor when I was younger but life sort of 'veered me off course'.

For a very brief moment I did feel #SwitchersRemorse. I know I would have been a phenomenal Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, I am a good listener, I am compassionate and I am a problem solver and lover of 'puzzles', I could see me being a fantastic diagnostician and physician!

MY TAKE:

And while random moments have often made me wonder what my life would be like now had I pursued my original goal of Medicine, I do know that Communications changed my life in ways I am eternally grateful for. My creative writing found it's way to the light, and in the writing community I have found my tribe. In managing Social Media campaigns I have utilized every single thing I learned in Mass Media Communications courses. I sometimes have pangs of #Switchers Remorse, but I have absolutely no regrets, I am doing what I was meant to do, coach, inspire and help people, just in a very different way than I originally intended.

There are tons of quotes out there on the topic of Remorse:

Remorse - Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second, remorse quote


Remorse is a heavy burden, but in is weight, it has great power to awaken men's souls, remorse quotes, R. William Bennett


One Man's Remorse Is Another Man's Reminiscence, Ogden Nash, American Poet, Remorse Quotes


Remorse, The Fatal Egg That Pleasure Laid, Remorse Quotes, William Cowper, English Poet


In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take, inspirational quotes, motivation
Have YOU experienced #SwitchersRemorse? Have you often wondered what your life would be like now if you had done just one thing differently in the past? If so, what was it? Would you change your path and go back and change something if you could?

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FTC DisclosureThis is a paid post for Verizon's #SwitchersRemorse campaign. If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don't worry. They're making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, click here or head over to your local Verizon Store, all opinions are 100% my own!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Friday, July 10, 2015

{In Theaters TODAY} So little, So cute, So NAUGHTY?!?! #Minions #FamilyMovieFriday

Illumination presents Minions Theatrical Poster

If you didn't get enough Minions in Despicable Me, or in Despicable Me 2, they are BACK! In 2015's Minion Movie, our little yellow friends are back and are yellowier, cuter and naughtier than ever!

You guys all know I don't have kids, but certain things do bring out the little kid in me and I have been a big minions fan since Despicable Me, they are super mischievous and are on an endless pursuit for an evil leader to follow.

SYNOPSIS:

One Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he-alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob-embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill, the world's first-ever female super-villain.

The pursuit of an evil leader takes them FAR and WIDE:

Minions Movie Still
Above: With Minions the adventure is always half the fun!

Minions Movie Still, Orlando or bust hitch hiking scene
Above: Remember butterflies, hitch hiking is NEVER a good idea!

Minions Movie Still, Boo Ya!
Above: What is about NYC that makes everyone wanna let out a little BOO YA!

Minions Movie Scarlet Overkill Still
Above: After quite a few twists and turns they get to "Villain Con" and find themselves charmed by Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock)

Minions Movie Scarlet Overkill and minions Still
Above: And of course who wouldn't become equally enchanted by those cute little yellow faces?

Minions Movie Scarlet Overkill and minions Still
Above: Sometimes the 'high life' isn't everything you think it's going to be!

Minions Movie Still
Above: The Minions are bout that life! They are feeling Iggy Azalea 'fancy' right now!

And check out the official trailer to find out why I've been yelling BANANA!!! for the past two weeks:



MY TAKE:

The Minions Movie is in theaters today and it's my recommendation for #FamilyMovieFriday!

Who is your favorite Minion? Have you already The Minion Movie, if so what did your family think of it?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post, no monetary compensation has been received, and all opinions are 100% my own! Ascending Butterfly was given press passes to an advance special screening for Editorial Consideration. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Highlights from the #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall #LOVEYOURCURVES



The Celebrate My Size Expo was an official stop on The Ashley Stewart #LOVEYOURCURVES Tour in conjunction with Full Figured Fashion Week, #FFFWEEK.

FFFWEEK and Plus Model Magazine hosted a "Celebrate My Size" Blogger Experience that allowed us to 'sip and speak' with some of the many Full Figured Fashion Week Sponsors and with this being Wordless Wednesday across the interwebs I couldn't think of a better day to share my photo highlights!

This Latina Full Figured Fashionista got to meet:

Ask Fashion at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: I thought the display from Ask Fashion was cute, 'Don't Guess Ask'

Amanda Koker Designer of Ask Fashion at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: Ask Fashion Designer, Amanda Koker proudly displays her designs!

Cameo de Boré at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: Designer of Cameo de Boré Clutches modeling her design! We have invited them to join our Featured Handbag in the Spotlight Feature, so stay tuned butterflies hopefully we will have something fun to present you with soon!

Fruit of the Loom’s Fit for Me collection at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
AboveFruit of the Loom’s Fit for Me Collection put the emphasis on comfort and fit for their plus size underwear

Artist Lena Jackson Cast of Empire Caricatures at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: I am HUGE fan of Fox's television series Empire, so this stopped me in my tracks! I HAD to know more!

Artist Lena Jackson creating full figured fashion week "Glam-a-catures" at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: I stopped to watch Artist Lena Jackson in action. Nothing better than a photo of an artist at work!

Artist Lena Jackson creating full figured fashion week "Glam-a-catures" of Tracy Iglesias Editor in Chief of Ascending Butterfly at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: I just had to stop and get a "GLAM-A-CATURE' by Lena J! She NAILED it. I love mine and made mine the profile picture for my facebook page!

TIH True Indian Hair at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: TIH - True Indian Hair was on display at the Celebrate My Size Expo!

XPANDASOX at #FFFWEEK Celebrate My Size Expo & Community Town Hall
Above: XPANDASOX caught my eye as they are socks that accommodate those of us with Wide Calves. Just like you shop for boots with Wide Calves, why not make sure your socks are too?

MY TAKE:

My apologies to designer Cherie Christmas and to Ashley Stewart for some reason my photos of their collections on display came out super grainy which is odd because I did bring my pro-cam and was pretty proud of most of my shots!

The Town Hall discussed the #DropThePlus/#KeepThePlus campaign debate, delving into maintaining the mainstream exposure for the need for plus-size fashion and the future of  plus-size representation in consumer marketing. No matter where you stand on the issue, it's an important debate!

I greatly enjoyed being exposed to such great brands, and being curvy girl myself, finding brands that cater directly to my fashion needs is super helpful!

Are any of the brands above new to you? Which would you most like to try for yourself?

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FTC Disclosure: This is an event recap, this is NOT a compensated post, no monetary compensation has been received, Press Passes to the Celebrate My Size Expo were provided to Ascending Butterfly for Editorial Consideration and all opinions are 100% my own! I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

{#Entrepreneurs Alert!} #Franchise Opps to Watch from @MFVExpositions International Franchise Expo #IFE2015


The one thing I was always sure of about myself is that I marched to the beat of my own drum and liked to lead and never follow. I have actually studied Franchising since late Junior High and have always kept my fingers on the pulse of what was happening with the Franchise Industry as a whole and the specific Franchises that matched my personal interests. I think my problem has always been the same, they ALL sound good to me! I do totally agree with the expression that if you do something you LOVE you won't work a day in your life.

My interests have always been diverse, at one point with my love of music I swore I would I would open a Music Store Franchise (sadly both of the ones that peaked my interest are now defunct, so in this case my procrastination on picking which Franchise is right for me may have actually been a good thing!).

While I love blogging I have seriously been toying with the idea of Franchising again but realized I may need to start from scratch in terms of trying to narrow down my decision on WHICH business opportunity is right for me. Thankfully the International Franchise Expo hit New York City and I immediately hit the expo!

Don't get me wrong the sheer volume of Franchises that were on display were incredibly impressive, and I didn't get the chance to connect with every single one of them. Like most tradeshow floors some things just stand out more for vastly different reasons - unique displays, eye-catching displays you can't possibly ignore, or sales reps that are total hustlers (in a GOOD way) and pull you in.

Here are my top unique Franchise Opportunities to watch as seen at this year's International Franchise Expo: (in NO particular order this time)

Chocolate Hazelnut BeaverTails pastry, International Franchise Expo 2015
Chocolate Hazelnut BeaverTails Pastry
Above: BeaverTails was offering samples who am I to turn down a Chocolate Hazelnut BeaverTails pastry? If I could only offer you guys 'taste-o-vision', this was so GOOD!!!! Their hand-stretched pastries that resemble a Beaver's Tail have been tempting tastebuds since 1978 and franchising since 1993. They are seeking entrepreneurs to operate treat trucks or open storefronts or shops in leisurely waterfront and historic districts. They currently have 100 Franchised Outlets and the Investment Range is $125,000 - $250,000.

Bose Professional, International Franchise Expo


Bose Professional, International Franchise Expo

Above: Bose Professional was there, more in a B2B capacity than as a Franchiser. Most of the hotels I travel to tend to offer Bose Audio Systems in the room and as #TheOfficialTwitterPartyDJ and a mega Audio Enthusiast I wasn't going to pass up hitting Bose's booth!

Burger Bistro, International Franchise Expo


Above: Burger Bistro caught my eye, I think grown folk are looking for Grown Folk burgers, no places where burgers come with a toy! More like Burgers where you can also get a beer or some wine!

The Fun Bus, Fitness Fun on Wheels for children, International Franchise Expo

Above: The Fun Bus, Fitness Fun on Wheels for children definitely caught my eye, I mean you can't possibly miss a HUGE bus on a tradeshow floor! Be sure to follow my link, if you google this, you might get a whole different kind of bus! You can get the bus for special events, camp, birthday parties. I think it's a great idea, who wants a boatload of kids running through the house with all that pent up sugar energy messing up your stuff when you can just rent a fun bus and keep them busy and off your hardwood floors. (#JustSaying)

sweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt, International Franchise Expo 2015

AbovesweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt allows you to create your own combo of soft-serve premium frozen yogurt finished off with the toppings of your choice, and I personally love that the F.R.O.G. in sweetFrog stands for 'Fully Rely On God' and they make it a point to become a part of the fabric that wraps their local communities. With so many things taking 'God' out of out of the fabric of our day-to-day lives, I love that they aren't afraid to put it IN and let their core values be God-Centered!

Jani King aka 'The King of Clean' Commercial Cleaning Services, International Franchise Expo 2015

Above: Jani King aka 'The King of Clean' Commercial Cleaning Services is definitely a smart Franchise Choice to consider, offices do NOT clean themselves darlings. It's a 'dirty' job but somebody needs to do it! They have over 10,000 unit Franchise owners in over 14 countries worldwide! They have been in operation 44 years so I would definitely label this opp as 'stable', the Investment Range is $16,250 - $100,000 which is pretty affordable.

JDog Junk Removal and Hauling, International Franchise Expo 2015

Above: JDog Junk Removal and Hauling owned by Military Veterans and Military Families and exclusively  franchises to Vets which I thought was pretty unique! It's an easy to operate business that has pretty high gross margins and that's what you want in a Franchise, especially if you are new to Franchising, picking something that is easy to learn and easy to train your team your to do helps you to get started faster and start making those profits! They offer free onsite estimates!


Above: When I approached this booth, they had just run out of a particular sample and they were in the processing of making more, there was a lady there that insisted I wait for the fresh batch of Black Raspberry Smoothie, and while we did chat while we waited, I didn't get to catch her name, I did return the favor and introduced someone else to it and now I'm introducing them to you. Maui Wowi wins hands down for best smoothies EVA! With 450 locations across 7 countries I'm not sure how I never encountered them in my travels, but I'm certainly glad I did now! The investment range is from $75,000 - $350,000 and there are currently about 450 Franchised Outlets. I don't know butterflies, but I'm thinking the 'flip-flop lifestyle' as they call it, is definitely calling my name!


Above: Shoney's - OK so the chef's winning smile and that Teddy Bear totally drew me in! After speaking to them I immediately thought of a favorite vacation spot of mine that could use one of these, sorry not mentioning where just in case I opt in for this Franchise! Get your own territory! They give back to at risk communities, and offer discounts of 15% for students, military, police, fire and EMT in Uniform. Their investment range is $103,000 - $3,725,000 - this depends on your territory and whether you are opting for a Shoney's or Shoney's On The Go.

Smoke's Poutinerie International Franchise Expo 2015

Above: What pulled me in was the rocking music! With Guns and Roses blaring on the speaker, and the most laid back place to hang on the entire tradeshow floor, they definitely drew me in! Smoke's Poutinerie offers over 30 Poutine Menu Items, they are taking the authentic Quebec classic to rest of the world and they were certainly the hit of the show. Their truck was parked outside so you see it when you walked in, but like everything in life, tasting is believing my friends and this was un-describably delicious! Fries, Gravy, Curds and toppings - I chose the bacon loaded and I got them on my way out the expo and attacked them on the cross town, the bus driver actually asked me what it was on my way in because it smelled so good!

Some honorable mentions that I didn't get personal shots of (tradeshow floors aren't always the easiest places to nab great shots!):

dippin dots logo, International Franchise Expo 2015


Dippin' Dots - I know, I know, I had heard of them, but never actually tried them until now. They are really good! They have been Franchising since 1988  and the minimum capital required is $80,000

Spherion Staffing, International Franchise Expo 2015


Spherion Staffing - Back in my College Days I actually temped through them and I did spend some time doing high-volume recruiting for another staffing agency post College so I am familiar with the model and while I had never thought of opening my own staffing agency (I think after I escaped doing it and working such long hours I never really looked back), I will say they did make me think twice about considering a Spherion Franchise. Minimum Capital Required is $75,000 and they have been franchising since 1961.

Island of Treats, International Franchise Expo 2015


Island of Treats - I could swear I took pictures of their super sweet candy display, but I can't seem to find my shots, perhaps I was too busy eating candy! LOL This bulk confectionary offers  72 choices of sweet goodness ranging from gummies, chocolates, nuts and more and you can mix and match all for the same price.  They started Franchising October 2014 and the minimum capital required is $60,000.

Woops, International Franchise Expo 2015


By Woops offers macarons and pastries and coffee!

HipPOPs International Franchise Expo 2015


HipPOPs offers handcrafted dessert treats including gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt this micro creamery offers handcrafted all-natural high quality ice cream POPs.

Marilyn Monroe Spas, International Franchise Expo 2015


Marilyn Monroe Spas - They offer Nail Lounges and 'Glamour Rooms' they have been offering Franchises since 2014 and minimum capital required is $100,000, if the Beauty Business sounds like your thing you should definitely consider them!

MY TAKE

There were of course a lot of the larger and more 'well-known' franchises in attendance, but for me it was all about finding the unique, sampling as much as possible, and enjoying some of the international franchises that are not even ready for US Franchisors yet. This definitely re-awakened my interest in considering owning my own Franchise and the chance to speak with the Franchises directly and ask questions was completely priceless for me! Explore your entrepreneurial spirit you never know where it will lead or how far you can take it!

Are you a Franchise Owner? If so what has your experience been like so far? Do you own multiple franchises? Did you know that 92% of Franchisees report that their Franchised Businesses are profitable? Do any of my 'ones to watch' appeal to YOU?

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FTC Disclosure: This is NOT a compensated post, no monetary compensation has been received, and all opinions are 100% my own! Ascending Butterfly was given press passes to the International Franchise Expo for Editorial Consideration. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255 - Guides Concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, you may check our Giveaway and Disclosure Page for additional information regarding Ascending Butterfly Disclosure.
 
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