Since the Ink from Chase national ad campaign launched on July 5th, I’ve been on a roller coaster of unbelievably high highs with new amazing opportunities coming my way and also dealing with tough situations and a heart breaking tragedy.  So on a high high note, the TODAY Show called me on Wednesday to invite me on the show on September 17th for cupcakes and wine pairings with Kathie Lee and Hoda. I am beyond thrilled!  Folks have been asking me how the Ink from Chase ads are affecting Sweet Revenge®.  I’m a real-life case study of the effects of a national ad campaign on a local business.  It took a week with the national ad running on tv, radio and in print before the first patron showed up saying he had read the NY Daily News story “Cupcakes, Wine, Stardom”.

Ink From Chase ad

My Ink From Chase ad

A second week went by.  A patron came in on a blind date because he’d seen the Ink tv ad.  In the third week, a couple came in for cupcakes and beer because the guy had heard the ad on an ESPN podcast.  He googled Ink, cupcakes and beer and found out that Sweet Revenge® was in his backyard.  He told me my cupcake, beer and wine bar was the perfect date spot for his girlfriend.  During the last two weeks, almost every day at least one patron comes in and says “I saw you on tv”.  Seriously, how awesome is that?

It is majorly rewarding to see my little business start to be busier.  I know in time this Ink-redible campaign will translate into a critical mass of new patrons who then become a critical mass of regulars.  I refer to this as the funnel effect.  The campaign is creating, driving and accumulating awareness, ie developing the top of the funnel.  As the awareness builds, patrons make their way down the funnel.  They take action on having seen or heard the ad by visiting Sweet Revenge®.  The day is coming in the near future that I will be a thriving, busy business as a result.

In other superfun news, the Cooking Channel filmed me and my lovely pastry cook, Angelina, last week for a November episode of “Unique Eats”. Angelina took them though the Crimson & Cream recipe and how she styles it out.

Crimson & Cream cupcake

Crimson & Cream cupcake

Lurpak, the award-winning Danish butter we use at SR

Lurpak, the award-winning Danish butter we use at SR

She shared our behind-the-scenes international ingredients.  Some of the secrets she shared included Lurpak, an award-winning Danish butter.  Similarly she explained our emphasis on other imported ingredients that make our baked goods so delicious such as our use of Valrhona chocolate and our Mexican vanilla.

I demonstrated my cupcake, wine & beer pairings.  It was a fun day – a 9 hour shoot.  I was crazy tired at the end of the filming, went home to change and then returned to bartend later that night until midnite.  Talk about being a little zoned out like a zombie.  On a high high note,  I’m super excited to watch the show this fall.

CBS’s The Early Show filmed patrons who attended a GirlFriendCircles event at my wine bar two weeks ago.  The segment got bumped due to breaking news but should air next week sometime.  Fingers crossed!

Earlier this week I took a meeting with Zero Point Zero Productions which produces Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” show on the Travel Channel.  I went corporate-old-school and prepared a powerpoint pitch page on show concepts starring youguessderchester me and Sweet Revenge®.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

As I’ve been typing I’ve been very reflective.  When the ad campaign launched on July 5th, which was such an exhilarating day, I had just returned to NYC from a long weekend home in Columbus, IN where I was visiting my step-dad Tom in the hospital.  He is the world’s greatest step-dad, and I always start every phone conversation with “Is this my favorite step-father?!?!” just to rib him as if there were any other.  Tom has congestive heart failure.   His ticker sucks.  His spirits have been very down since suffering merciless health setbacks this year.

My and my fave step-dad Tom, Dec 2009

Me and my fave step-dad Tom, Dec 2009

Although my Mom and I got to bring him home, he shouldn’t have been discharged from the hospital.  He couldn’t get out of bed unassisted or get dressed.  He was incredibly weak and unstable on his feet even with his walker.  His leg was horrifically swollen with hideous bruising.  While he was home, he fell in the bathroom, and my mom and I couldn’t get him up off the floor. We called a family friend Don for help. It was very scary and sad.  He slept almost the entire time.  A few days after I left, he told my mom he wanted to be admitted into an assisted physical rehab facility, and he has been there ever since.  A few weeks ago he told my mom he didn’t think he’d live very long and he didn’t want to go home.  My Mom is now sorting out a move from Silver Oaks where he has been staying, into The Four Seasons, which has options for assisted and independent living.  She is moving in with him to care for him, make sure he gets proper nutrition, and sleep in the same bed again with the love of her life.  Her whole life is changing in ways she doesn’t want and never imagined.  She is handling everything with calmness, strength, a get-it-done attitude and incredibly, a sense of humor.  I really am in awe of her.  I want my step-dad to get better, to be himself again living his life with optimism and happiness. I hope like hell that he fights like hell to recover.  She used the horrible D word this week about what’s happening with him.  I’m booking a ticket home for Labor Day. Ugh, serious case of the sads.

On Thursday July 9th, my very good friends Rick and Gabby lost their little boy CJ to SIDS.

Me and CJ at SR, Summer 2009

Me and CJ at SR, Summer 2009

My staff and I were devastated.  We all love CJ, and Rick and Gabby are our fave regulars at Sweet Revenge.  It was a nightmare.  Slowly Rick and Gabby are somehow making their way, and they are surrounded with the love and support of family and friends.  I pray for peace and healing for them.

CJ’s death and Tom’s downward health spiral have kept things in sharp focus for me.  Although I am so very excited about the Ink ads, these tough times make me stay firmly grounded as to what’s important in life and where meaning and purpose are derived.  Family is paramount, and good friends need to be kept close.  It’s important to celebrate the littlest things and just be appreciative of all that is good in life.  I say my gratefuls on walks, runs, in the pool, when I’m in bed at night and sometimes just randomly walking down the street on my way in between home and SR.  For all my loved ones, I pray for health, happiness, stability, strength, confidence, peace, hope and love.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” (Helen Keller)

Teaser Taste of Sweet Revenge®:    Meet The Regulars:  Shiatsu Master Jim



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