COM0012 – Developing a Social Media Strategy

Tips on Caring for a Dog With Visual Impairments

Taking care of a dog with disabilities is difficult yet rewarding.

Mira as a pup

Hello, My name is Amanda. Nine years ago, I was blessed with this beautiful little girl. I got a call early in the morning from a breeder that I knew. She basically screamed “Amanda! I got a puppy for you.” I was confused because I wasn’t looking for a dog at the time. Then, she goes on to tell me that the puppy has the same disability that I do. So, of course now I’m intrigued. Turns out she was blind in the same eye as me, which is the right eye. Also, she had a nystagmus in her left eye again same as me. Well, needless to say a few weeks later I had my pup.

Sometimes it can be difficult and a little scary. She has been rushed to the animal hospital in the middle of the night a few times. On top of the sight impairment she has a few more issues.

I am hear to help ease the panic a little bit, sometimes its not always as bad as you think. In saying that always go with your gut feeling. if you fear the worst, that’s were the Animal Hospitals come in. I have worked for a local vet but that doesn’t give me doctor status. Just like there is no such thing as Dr. Google. I can only help from experience.

So, if anyone is interested in learning some tips and tricks on how to handle specific situations with your new or old pup follow along on our journey.

The miracle pup

ATTENTION BUSINESSES: FOUR STEPS TO FOLLOW FOR A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

With COVID-19 pandemic impacting various industries around the world, companies are searching means to keep their business up and running. Therefore, business leaders are investing more into social media to promote their products or services. The narrative of turning social media button on and expect direct results is false and can backfire. The key word is ‘strategy’ to have social media work for companies. The real question lies on how to build the strategy and what aspects should be considered. I will be demonstrating the key elements of building a social media strategy and acts as a guide to firms in different sections.

What is a social media strategy?

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Some might misinterpret a social media strategy and define it one what they desire to accomplish. To try to simplify it, social media is the big puzzle and other things are pieces that formulate it including goals, tools, tactics, and plans. The strategy is what you are trying to achieve, and all other things act as mean.

Where to start:

Now we defined social media strategy. The next step is how to get the ball rolling. Here are the 4 steps for companies to build a solid one:

  1.  Define your goals:  

What are you seeking from using social media in your business? It can range across increasing sales, boosting business leads, reaching a wider audience, strengthening brand awareness, help in recognizing a cause, among others.

  • Know your target audience:

As a business, you should be able to know the direct target audience, which are the type of clients you reach out and interaction frequently to create revenues.

What about the ones who share common interest and can be reached via social media? What is the process of their selection? To help you answer these questions, you need to look into the below criteria:

  • Interest: There is no point in approaching an audience who has no interest of what you are offing. It will be a waste of time and effort that can be used in other areas of your business.
  • Location: The last thing you want as a business is to have an interested client and cannot be reached due to logistics reasons. Therefore, identify the locations of your audience based on your ability to reach.
  • Demographics: Which group of people eye on your product and able to use or purchase it. These can vary from age group, gender, occupation, purchasing power, etc..  
  • Select your social media tools:

Once you know who are you targeting , the next stage is to work upon it and figure out which social media they use the most . This can vary based on age, culture, location among others. Do some research on what the top 3 social media tools are used and you will know which channels should be applied. For example, if you live in the Middle East and targeting GCC residents , you should be aware that consumption of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok had increased as a result of social distancing, according to a new report : “How the Middle East Used Social Media in 2020.

  • Measure your work:

This part is where you start posting content on the companies’ social media platforms based on the above three points. You will not be able to calculate the ROI from social media, however, you should be able to work out if your business is impacted positively, negatively, or not at all. This can be done from monitoring the targeted goals pre and post social media activation, after a certain period.

Monitoring is key and servers as a learning curve for your social media narrative. It also allows you to have a feel on what type of content works best and the most suitable timing to reach your audience.

Creating social media strategy is key and provides a clear direction of where you are going. I will be posting in my following blog about the type of content that should be posted to have best the best engagement. Stay tuned! For now, do let me know your opinion, in the comment section below, about the four steps stated above to build a successful social media strategy.

Strive for your dreams

We are not alive if we stop dreaming

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is whatsapp-co-founder-brian-acton-759.jpg

(WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton repeats call to delete Facebook, 2019, March 19)

In 2009, the young American “Brian Acton”, who used to work as a programmer in the “Yahoo” company, decided to go to work in the “Facebook” company, which was still a new startup company. Brian is a young man who always thinks out of the box and comes up with brilliant ideas. he had a good position in the “Yahoo” company, but with a look that knows how to read the future based on the data in front of him, he would have seen that the crazy ideas in his brain are more appropriate for “Facebook”, the company that he is confident that the future will be for it! He presented his ideas and explained them extensively. Did they accept him? .. No, On the contrary, their response to him was entirely absurd, and they said his ideas were too futuristic. He wrote a tweet on his Twitter account in which he said: “Facebook turned me down … looking forward to life’s next adventure.” ..(Acton, B., 2009, August 03). He met one of his friends, a programmer like him, and he offered him his crazy idea. They start to work on the idea of Brian for Months until it came to light and turned the world! .. “WhatsApp”! .. Brian and his colleague were the ones who made “WhatsApp”. In 2014, “Facebook” communicates with Brian to buy “WhatsApp” from him … They asked him; how much do you want? , Brian asked for 22 billion dollars and indicated that about 5 years ago you would have taken it from me for free if You employed me with you, so for now you should pay as much as I wanted. They gave him the money he wanted, do you think he would take the money and sit in his house? … No …

Because he was the one who worked on “WhatsApp”, so he knew that there were some privacy problems with it. he locked on himself for a couple of years, then he came up with a new surprise.  What is it? .. Signal application, which the whole world has been running on now and downloaded because it is safer than WhatsApp and because all the defects and problems of privacy have been avoided in it!

(Success Story of Brian Acton.” Dailysuccessroutine, 10 May 2016.)

(Singh, Manish, 13 Jan. 2021 “Signal’s Brian Acton Talks about Exploding Growth, Monetization and WhatsApp Data-Sharing Outrage.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, )

(Olson, P. 2019, February 21. Exclusive: WhatsApp Cofounder Brian ACTON gives the Inside story on #deletefacebook and why he LEFT $850 million behind.)

(Bhatla, Prabhjeet. “How Eric Yuan ‘Zoom’ed His Way To Build a $50-Billion Business.” Entrepreneur, 7 Aug. 2020, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/354419.)

As long as we are talking about the technology, let’s say that in 1997, Cisco appointed a Chinese engineer who was still a new immigrant to America named Eric Yuan. He was working with great effort and without any boredom or laziness .. for how long? .. 14 years, he had a dazzling idea about a program through which people would make online meetings between them. He came to the director of Cisco and brought up the program to him but unfortunately, the director categorically refused.  

Eric resigned and locked himself with some other engineers who believed in him and began working on his idea. what do you think they called it ?? They called it Zoom, so today it is almost the only program that most people relied on when the Corona happened, and its marketing value reached 48 billion dollars! …

Why??? because one person insisted on an idea that was in his brain, has self-confidence, and the presence of someone who believes in him.

Lots of people stop their attempts after several failure experiences, If you fail, get up, fight and strive for your dreams. “In the end, some of your greatest pains become your greatest strengths.” — Drew Barrymore

(Zoom company story: How ERIC Yuan Defeated skype. https://slidebean.com/blog/startups-zoom-company-story-eric-yuan)

(Helfand-Rogers, C. (2020, January 7). 9 Motivational Quotes From Famous Women Entrepreneurs.)

Why Is It Essential to Develop a Social Media Strategy?

Image by Yan Wong from Pixabay

Why Is It Essential to Develop a Social Media Strategy?

By Miriam Lopez-Arbour

If you are good at it, people are going to read it – Seth Godin, best selling author

I would like to start by making a distinction between content and strategy.  You can publish content on your website, social media, blog or any other social media channel. Content strategy is analyzing your content, while social media is choosing the social media vehicle you will use to promote your program/initiative and creating a calendar of events to publish it.  Consider the following steps to implement a social media strategy:

  1. Identify the audience
  2. What issue does it address
  3. Develop a strategy
  4. Tools

About the audience

With the explosion of the internet, it is now possible to reach out to audiences around the globe.  It is important to determine if your audience is local or international, will it be receptive and how your program or product support the client journey.  Next, you need to analyze age demographics for example if your clients are very young, you might want to consider Snap Chat and Tik Tok.  Equally important is to understand who your competitors are.

About the problem

Determine what is the problem and the solution you bring to the table. Say for example that you want to promote a Government program targeted to Canadian women-owned businesses interested in exporting.  You would need to understand the Canadian ecosystem at the Federal and Provincial level and dive deep into the needs of this segment of clients.  You would need to understand what are the barriers women-owned businesses face.  Is it lack of funding? Is it lack of mentorship? Is it bias? Who are the key players in the field, in Government and private organizations and what are they doing in support of women-owned businesses.  What is your value added?

To position yourself as a respected leader in whatever problem you are trying to solve, you are going to need to put the client at the center of your strategy, provide solutions, complement existing resources and understand your competition.

Developing a Strategy

Using women-owned businesses as an example, let us assume that you know your audience and you understand the needs of the community.  You discover that there are several programs out there in support of women-owned businesses.  However, there is a need for “portal” or a 1-800 # where Canadian women owned businesses can find out how the Government of Canada support women owned businesses.  What steps would you take to develop a social media strategy and what social media strategies would you incorporate?

Tools

  • Develop a website.  Information must be organized, structured and labelled in a way that will serve users’ needs and help them achieve their tasks.  Monitor touch points, how are you onboarding clients, how are they learning about you, raise curiosity
  • Develop rich content and make it user-friendly.  Content must be scalable to modern mobile devices, privacy concerns and inclusive of people with disabilities.  Include testimonials and make information available in both official languages
  • Build the social media plan to promote the launch of your website and prominently include the URL link, you can do this via E-mail marketing, think also of including traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers
  • Websites are static, social media tools give you the opportunity to engage with your audience
  • Ensure you have the Human Resources in support of the social media strategy
  • Choose the platform that your clients use more regularly
  • Be consistent regardless of the social media platform you use.  Think of Google and Facebook, the websites look identical no matter where you are in the world
  • Develop a calendar of events and use a scheduler such as Hootsuite, make sure the information you are promoting is updated across all platforms, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat
  • Write a blog
  • Design an award recognition program or a loyalty program
  • Join organizations that promote diversity, inclusion and women entrepreneurship
  • Develop a marketing campaign on International Women’s Day on March 8th

Here is an example of a video promoting diversity and inclusion and the Business Women in International Trade at Global Affairs Canada

To conclude, essential to a successful social media strategy is to understand your audience.  Have a clear value proposition in plain language so that clients can easily understand what it is that you are offering.  Be consistent in your message and branding.  Lastly but most importantly, social media, if used appropriately and monitored, is an amazing tool in support of your marketing strategy.  Spend the time and effort to determine what is the best social media platform for your initiative, program or product. 

What is your favourite social media platform and why?


#social media #strategy #content #plan

Follow me on twitter: @miriamlopezarbo

Follow me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/miriamelopzarbour-5723614b

End of Lockdown, Start of New Career

COVID has put a lot of people’s lives on pause. It stood in the way of people’s plans and ambitions, including mine. My name is Ben Kelly, and I graduated from Humber College for Film and Media Production in 2019. I graduated thinking I had the whole world ahead of me, and while getting a career in my field would be tough, it would eventually happen. I applied for job after job, eventually finding a short-term contract at the Toronto International Film Festival (my dream job spot), which lasted until January 2020. I received praise for my work and was offered another contract to start in June of that year. I, of course, accepted. Then COVID-19 happened.

Credit: Illustration by Eva Bee

Everything began shutting down including my retail job, which I had been working since 2016, and suddenly I was laid off. Getting to know me, I’m someone who likes to work and keep busy. On my days off I get antsy and bored from not having anything to do. I was one of the lucky ones in April 2020, as my retail job reopens for curbside and online orders. Suddenly I was working more than ever and making more money than I was before, and the impossible was true: I was benefitting from the COVID-19 situation. Before I’d be lucky to get 20 hours a week, and suddenly I was working 44 hours a week. During this time, I continued to apply for jobs, but the pickings were slim.

The start of summer began, and my TIFF job was cancelled due to movie theatres not being allowed open and there would be a lack of work for me to do. I was crushed, but I knew I was surviving and doing well compared to others out there. I continued to apply and apply with an occasional Zoom interview that would go nowhere. I was starting to feel in a rut. I was a year out of graduating and I was still in retail, a place I didn’t want to be. COVID-19 had put my life completely on pause and I was just trying to make it to the other side without going insane.

December 2020 begins, and Toronto is announced to be going on complete lockdown again after Christmas. At first, I was fine with it, I had been overworked for months working 5-6 days a week, and I was excited to be seeing my parents in Ottawa. I went back home as the lockdown began, and suddenly I was in the same funk I was before not being able to work. This time was different as I began to reflect on my life and what I wanted. I wanted to leave my retail job in 2021, despite COVID. I began to focus on applying to new jobs until someone would see me and the skills I have. I even decided to enroll in this social media program through Algonquin to boost my skills. The stars all aligned when I got hired for a new job as an Office Coordinator for a commercial production company once the lockdown was over. My life was finally moving forward, and I was going to work again, but in a field that I cared about.

I always view my life in chunks that are separated by major life incidents. These major life incidents push me to new world views and situations. In my mind, I see the end of the lockdown and the new career as the next major life incident. I’m less stressed about COVID with the rollout of vaccines, slowly but surely going, I’m travelling and working downtown (something I’ve always wanted to do), and I’m looking at apartments to live with my significant other. The direction life is going in is completely different from what it was a year ago.

Being enrolled in this social media program has forced me to strategize my life, in the same way, I would apply to social media. In the Introduction to Social Media course, I learned that your personal brand is what you sell to the world. What do people see you as, and what do they expect of you? I reflect on my life and I have always complete strategies to get what I want, but since finishing college, my strategizing has stopped. I wish I could blame COVID, but I’ve been drifting through life, waiting for something new to start. This new career path is my new start, but I refuse to just drift my way through it. I need to engage and learn, and take the skills that I learn in this course about social media strategy and apply them to every aspect of my life. No more drifting, anymore.

How has COVID-19 stopped you? Has it put your life on pause? Have you ever felt yourself in a rut, and what strategy did you do to escape it? Let me know in the comments down below.

Just In Time: Delving Into Social Media Strategy

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

The timing of this course could not have be better! The small business that I work for is endeavouring to increase their presence on social media and to better understand how social media can work for their brand. I work for a boutique but in the past year, due to Covid-19, I have been working from home managing their social media presence. I have been posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram for a few years now with some positive response but not great reach. The Facebook page is 7-8 years old and is close to 1000 followers. There is also an Instagram account that is about 2-3 years old. The owner is looking to improve engagement on both Facebook and Instagram and drive more traffic to the online shop and website.

The tricky part will be creating a strategy for a company that has always looked at marketing options as a last minute effort. The idea of a ‘strategy’ has been pretty non-existent. Already, through the course readings I can see many holes with the sharing of business plans and ultimately social media marketing plans. It will be a challenge and one that I am already expressing concerns over. Social media planning is new to the company and quite new to myself as well.

The owner has hired a social media marketing consultant to guide us through this process. They are there to give tips and help with the planning process. At this point, we are working together planning monthly schedules and brainstorming lots of ideas for posts in advance.

I will be using my current work experience as an example in the discussions and assignments of this course. I look forward to combining the two to help understand how beneficial and necessary a social media strategy can be to a small business.

What are your thoughts on social media for small business?

From Dreams to Reality

Hi, welcome to my blog! My name is Audrey-Ann and I’m a 19 years old student. I am the kind of person that always had, even when I was a child, a lot of ambition in life. When I was around 8 years old, I wanted to become a popular singer. I wanted to sing in front of thousands of people, live in Los Angeles and just in general, live my best life! My biggest dream has changed over the time but a part of me wanted to accomplish big things no matter what.

When I was in my senior year of High School, I found this Influencer named Elisabeth Rioux. She is from Québec (like me) and she owns a swimsuit company named Hoaka Swimwear. She really inspired me to start my own brand even if I was considered young to create a business. I’ve always been interested in fashion as well. When I was younger, I had a fashion book where I drew dresses and cute outfits. I looked at it the other day and I’m glad that my fashion sense has changed! 

Hoaka Swimwear official website

So, during my senior year, I decided that I wanted to create my own clothing brand. It was now my new goal. After I graduated, I decided to go study in a business program. After one year and a half in this program, I felt like I wasn’t in my element. I wanted to create an online shop but we never learned a thing about online marketing or even online businesses. So, I left the program. I thought that It would be better if I learned everything I needed through blogs and YouTube videos.

Young lady typing on keyboard by Vlada Karpovich

I was all by myself through this whole process. All I had was me and the Internet. I started looking for a factory that would produce my designs but it ended up being harder than I thought. It took me months to choose the right one for my needs. I was also on YouTube for hours watching videos about other entrepreneurs starting their own businesses. It really helped me to know what I needed to do before I buy my inventory. I also spent hours analyzing big fashion brands: their history, what made them blew up, their values as a business… I had ups and downs like everyone else but the thing is, I didn’t know how to solve some issues I had. Some of them took me months before I really knew how to solve them.

Logo of Audrey-Ann’s business, Rêve Bodysuits

What I want to do through this blog is to help young boys or girls like me to start their own businesses. There is a lot of competition in this industry and I know how hard it is to start with only an idea and nothing else. I wish I could’ve had someone when I started to guide me through this whole process. That is why I want to share my experience with you. Things that seem simple but are actually important like finding the right clothing factory for your needs, how and where to register your business, how to save money to buy your inventory… It’s easy to give up when you’re young and doing everything by yourself because you don’t necessarily know where to start. Take your time and make sure you understand a minimum what you are doing before launching your brand. See you in my next post!

So you were an Athlete, so What?

So you were an Athlete, so What?

Calling all former competitive athletes!

Durham West Lightning vs. Team China

So you probably just spent essentially your entire childhood and teenage years rushing off to games, practices, personal training and team events. Sometimes 7 days per week during the season, and maybe got some *slightly* more free time in the off season (but lets be real, you were probably on a strict training schedule still to stay in shape). You probably also juggled school sports along with your competitive sport of choice. The time management skills of young athletes could be taught to most adults.

Unfortunately you have graduated and moved on in life, you are an adult now and need to find a career. But how are you to find a job post graduation when your sport schedule probably has never allowed for any part time jobs? You feel lost with the sudden amount of free time you have and worry that your skills aren’t relevant.

That was me. After playing competitive hockey growing up and into my young adult years, it was such a big part of my identity, I was so lost at first. Applying to office jobs, I had a great education but no experience, who would want to hire me?

For background I am a 27 year-old former athlete. I played hockey beginning at five years old – it definitely was my favourite! I was constantly travelling to tournaments out of province and out of country and had to juggle my school, family and friends with hockey as the priority. I also loved to play on school teams, joining the volleyball, basketball and soccer teams. On a normal high school day I would get up, go for a run, go to school, go to my after school practice for whichever school team was playing at that time, go home, eat dinner, take a nap and then go to hockey. Repeat. This teaches at a very young age time management, self-discipline and being able to work with other people (a.k.a be a good teammate!). I went on to play sports at the University of Toronto while maintaining a full course schedule.

So what happens once your sporting life is finished? That’s the purpose of this blog. You can use your sport experience to your benefit yourself at work!

Once I figured out that so many of the soft skills employers really value are taught through team sport, I began utilizing hockey experiences on my resume, cover letter and in interviews. Once I started to use my hockey background to my advantage – every job I’ve applied to I have gotten a call back for and every interview I have participated in I have been offered the job (not even to brag, before utilizing my athletic experience, I got approximately zero calls back).

I invite you to follow me as I share tips and recommendations on how to show employers the value of your sport background. Hit like and follow and come with me on my journey, I’ll be posting multiple times per week on specific uses for certain skills, including how to include your athletic experience on a resume!

Do you include your athletic past on your resume? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

Scatterbrained Mom-Scatterbrained Life

I’m not even sure where to start. November 14th was my last blog…I had energy, I talked about tackling one goal at a time, I talked about learning one new thing every week, cleaning off my dining room table and teaching myself how to use TikTok…..its December 8th, and I haven’t done 1 of those things. In fact the pile on my table has gotten bigger, my to do list keeps growing, and I can’t even seem to find the focus to scratch one damn thing off my list. Why does it feel so hard to accomplish anything these days? I’ve always been somewhat of a scatterbrain, but I feel like I’m spiraling out of control and don’t know how to fix it. I’m not even sure what I’m thinking most of the time….there’s 8 zillion things running through my brain at any given moment, and I can’t seem to slow it down to focus on anything. I feel like my life is a landfill of both mental and physical clutter…..and I feel like I’m drowning.

As I try to get through this blog entry, my brain is spinning, I need to call the vet for my dogs prevention, make a list of what I still need to buy for Christmas, I should be doing all the reading for school that I’ve gotten behind in, I have to pick up my daughter in an hour and a half, stop by the vet and pick up my dogs prevention pill, get ready for work and stop at the library to pick up my daughters book, get home in time to get the little 2 off the bus….. I should really fold the laundry, make sure my husbands work clothes are out and ready for tomorrow (since he’s at 1 of his 2 jobs right now), bills need to be paid, oh crap, the Christmas tree….its still sitting outside, I need to cut the bottom off and bring it in the house, it’s been out there since Sunday, I worked all day yesterday got home after dark and made dinner, today got up at my usual 4:45am walked the dog, got everyone ready for school, took my daughter for tests on her knee she hurt a few weeks ago, dropped her off at school and have been working on this and trying to read since…..I have an assignment due on Monday (that I’ve had a good couple weeks to complete but have busied my myself with everything but school) I still need to get 2 secret Santa gifts, and find time and money to finish my Christmas shopping I feel like each item on my to do list has 8 others attached to it….I just can’t do it all, yet it all needs to get done. It’s all just so over whelming. I think you get the drift….there’s so much more, I could go on and on…..my brain doesn’t stop spinning. There just isn’t enough time in a day. How does everyone else do it? Seriously? You work. have money, you’re good parents, your houses are clean, and beautiful, you do your jobs well, your blogs are awesome, you have social lives……WTF am I doing wrong?

The Balkan Cuisine Guy

Photo by Mile

About the Balkan Cuisine Guy

Through some miraculous act, I was born into a Macedonian family, thrust into this planet a few decades ago. I love food. At age 4, I realized that I had a deep lust for traditional Macedonian dishes, such as stuffed peppers and grashe (white bean stew). A bit biased to say the least. This quickly morphed into a passion for all sorts of Balkan cuisines the older I got. Greek, Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, you name it, I ate it. But, I thought to myself, how much more amazing would it be to be able to prepare such feasts for friends and family? What an invaluable piece of skill to possess.

Inspiration wasn’t difficult to obtain after many years of eating my grandmother and mother’s delicious recipes. Before I knew it, I delved into the realm of the kitchen to try and capture culinary nirvana. My journey began with three dishes.

Zelnik

Photo by Panacomp

This traditional Macedonian dish involves stretching out thin layers of dough (more appropriately filo pastry) that are drizzled with a little bit of olive oil. Then, pieces of feta are crumbled onto it, or even thinly shredded potatoes. The dough is then rolled into one long stringy piece that is wrapped in a large, flat, circular pan. Once the pan is completely filled, it is placed in the oven for 1hr15 minutes, with the last 5 minutes set on broil to leave a golden colour on the top. It’s a meticulous process, but as the late Julia Child once stated, one must have a “need for patience in cooking” (Tomkins, 1974).

Moussaka

Photo by Rouxbe

Probably the most popular serving in every Greek household is moussaka. A combination of minced beef or lamb, it is cooked in a tomato based sauce and is as delicious as it gets. What makes this dish especially tasty is the creamy béchamel sauce and eggplant layers that would leave any food connoisseur itching for more. A great recipe that I enjoy cooking once a month when friends come over for dinner.

Sarmale

Photo by RGBStock

The Romanian dish name for cabbage rolls, which is real comfort food and is commonly served at weddings, but is also a household favourite. It is usually made with minced pork, along with rice, spices, onions and is rolled up in sour cabbage leaves. Once these steps are completed, all rolls are placed into a large baking pot with sauerkraut or tomato juices where they bake for a couple of hours. You won’t feel guilty eating sarmale late at night, because it’s a healthy mix of ingredients.

Although I’m still far away from being Julia Child or Lidia Bastianich (two inspirations besides my mother and grandmother), mastering one recipe at a time is certainly the tastiest way to learn about the rich culinary attributes each country in the Balkans has. Come and enjoy this journey with me!