Welcome to Just Ask Priscilla! For tips on marketing, events and more!

Hi! I'm a lover of life, people, and fun! I have a 23-year professional background in Marketing - Communications, as well as substantial event planning experience. I'm out and about several nights a week in S. Florida. I've lots of good information to share! I'm always being asked all sorts of things - so it made perfect sense to start blogging! I seek to help people with the information I provide -- whether it be to help them market their business; hold a fabulous event; choose a restaurant; or have an incredible weekend in my area! Sometimes I just seek to inspire you, or make you think. Thanks for reading and sharing. CHEERS! P-

Monday, September 23, 2013


Yes, social media and other technologies have lead to new ways of marketing. Sure you can now blast text messages to prospects or post something on Pinterest. BUT -- traditional marketing still works, and any good marketing effort has to include the complete mix of promotional activity.

Marketing is a pie, and one piece is direct mail/ targeted mailings, another piece is networking -- attending and holding events. Another piece is utilizing press releases and blog articles for awareness, still another is collateral materials and handouts, emails and enewsletters -- and the pie would not be complete without social media, of course.

Nearly every time someone tells me their marketing efforts haven't worked, it's because they didn't consider all the pieces, and the need for continuous, COHESIVE marketing efforts that cover all media and all audiences. There is no single promotional activity that will bring you a bunch of new customers. JUST mailing a postcard, or JUST attending a networking event, or JUST posting something on Facebook won't sell that special offer you created. BUT doing all 3 during a one-week period - now that will get the ball rolling!

Consistency is key. But so is being comprehensive in your promotional efforts.

Til next time....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I have been going to Fantasy Fest in Key West for 10 years now. I love Halloween—the crisp, chilly air, images of the full moon and wispy clouds, jack-o'-lanterns glowing, fall leaves rustling in the breeze—I enjoy the feel of it. I also love getting dressed up—I never understand why people don't want to put a costume on or it least a silly wig or hat. It's just plain fun. So Fantasy Fest is an incredible opportunity to not only dress up in a costume but to be able to use anything as a costume—walk around in your pajamas, wear your favorite string bikini with a bunch of beads, wrap tin foil or caution tape around yourself, anything goes. And it is entertaining and hysterical to see all of the many outfits and costumes and body adornment that people come up with.

Often when I mention that I'm going to or have been to Fantasy Fest, people's reaction is "not me!", or "no thanks", or "what's that like? I heard it's absolutely insane". Or my favorite one to respond to: "isn't that just a big gay party"? The fact is, Fantasy Fest is a mixture of people, parties and places. You can do it anyway you like. You can be in the thick of it at the tourist end of town—Duval Street near Malory Square—jammed into bars with a bunch of partying people and yes, some of them are quite drunk. Or you can be in midtown where it is still lively and crowded but not as jammed and not as crazy and you can actually shop, sit and eat, and walk around a bit. Or you can get off of Duval and go to all the places around Key West that are delighted to have you on the weekend when everyone else is on Duval Street. If you don't want to be in the melee, you simply go to the bars that are off the beaten path and you still see the occasional person in costume and get a taste of Fantasy Fest, but many people will be in regular clothes and many locals will be hanging out there.

As for nudity and sex—I've had people think that you just see people having sex in the streets. I've never seen that. I've never seen someone nude that wasn't painted and wearing a thong. I have seen people kissing and making out but you can see that in lots of places when you go out at night. You do see painted bodies—the large majority of them are upper body, so women with their whole front or breasts painted. 90% of the time the painting job is tasteful and covers them really well—if anything they are works of art. You'll see breasts painted like a boustier or a vest—or mermaid or princess—it's actually very cool and you will find yourself complementing people who got painted. Only a few people do full body painting and they're usually excellent, like one year I saw four women all painted as big cats—Tiger, cheetah, and Leopard with the fourth girl having zebra stripes. They looked amazing.

At the opposite end of Duval Street—yes this is the area where there are a few gay bars and where the gays tend to frequent—is actually loads of fun and not near as crowded and messy—less drunks and trash than the tourist end. I find this end of town a wonderful respite from the craziness at the other end and I enjoy being able to actually get an open bar stool and be waited on quickly. The gay community has their own parties and things going on in the street like drag queens running through an obstacle course and lip sync contest. All of it is a lot of fun and you will see straight couples watching and you will see the man laughing and having a good time, and probably his girlfriend or wife had to drag him up to that end of town.

The pedestrian parade on Friday night is my favorite, most fun thing that I do all year. You get into costume and walked through the streets along the parade route with several thousand other costumed fun people. We are all in a festive mood and complementing each other on our outfits (or lack thereof ;-). You see really creative stuff. The parade route is lined with people who enjoy seeing all the costumes and they hand you beads, drinks and other goodies. Marchers in the parade follow a flatbed truck which has a band on the back of it. There are host homes along the way who put out refreshments—anything from lemonade or ice tea, beer or shots, to cookies or granola bars.

On Saturday night is the big parade with all the floats and I don't think you can see better floats anywhere else except maybe the Macy's parade. For Florida this is the parade to see. One incredible float after the other. And you will be weighed down with beads by the end of the night. It is not difficult to get a spot—you simply walk up to Duval Street one hour before the parade and join the crowd.

 I can't recommend Fantasy Fest highly enough. But I realize it's not for everyone. There are people that don't enjoy the crowds or would be bothered by walking through a beer puddle or seeing two gay guys with their butt cheeks exposed wearing caveman costumes. I'm not offended by anything and I don't mind people being drunk and loud—I don't mind the trash in the streets—it's all part of being at a big party. The little negatives are far outweighed by the positives. This is Mardi Gras and Halloween combined—and the weather and the setting couldn't be better. What a blast!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Little Ways to Save the Planet

The rapid rate at which we are consuming resources and filling landfills should be of concern for every person who occupies planet Earth.  Polar bears are drowning because they swim toward ice that is no longer there.  Our plastic water bottles would reach to the moon and back.   Emissions from cars continue to make holes in the ozone layer that protects us from the sun. Yet, if you practice green activities and attempt to encourage your friends to do so, you seem radical. I can't tell you how many times I've asked someone to stop using plastic water bottles and carry one permanent bottle instead, and had them roll their eyes at me. Or when  I'm at someone's house who does not recycle, and I comment that they should— they shake their head and wave their hands like it's a silly suggestion.

Frankly, the lackadaisical attitude that most people have toward preserving the environment makes me sad. I should not be considered "radical".  It should be normal to frown upon ungreen practices and to encourage others to care about the environment enough to change their ways. Every time someone throws out a vacuum cleaner or an old television and sits it at the end of their driveway, I think of all the parts and plastic in those appliances that could be recycled. Probably the item itself could be repaired in many cases. But we are a 'throw it out' society. It is easier to toss it than to fix it. We complain about our economy, yet buying new is cheaper than repairing most consumer goods. Our market has made it easy for companies to sell things at a low price—but think about this: if a vacuum cleaner cost $500 instead of $90, you'd repair it, wouldn't you?

I write this blog hoping that just a couple of people who read it will make a vow to themselves to care more about the future of the planet—about the future of their nieces, nephews, grandchildren. Here I share some simple small ways to be more green. Every little action counts. This is important for everyone to remember, because often I hear that 'it's too late' or 'what impact can one person, one bottle make?'  Remember how popular smoking was? And now, if someone lights up, everyone around them frowns and shakes their finger at the person?  This is how it should be when you see someone drinking from a plastic water bottle or purchasing a case of bottled water.  I recently signed up for Crystal Springs home delivery, and it is very inexpensive. They come twice a month with giant jugs of water that you place onto your cooler machine. For the same amount of money or less than you spend on individual plastic bottles, you can have fresh, chemical free spring water to drink that you can easily put into a permanent portable container and take with you.  Even better, just run your tap water through a filter. The cost of a filter to put on your faucet is a fraction of the cost of a year's worth of plastic water bottles.

My next tip: purchase your laundry detergent in the cardboard boxes and recycle the cardboard. Stop using those thick plastic jugs that liquid detergent comes in. If you must use the liquid detergent, at least recycle the containers.  Dryers are also a big offender of global warming. Think of all the dryers running across the country right now. All that hot air being vented into the environment. I get teased for hanging clothes out on our back fence or my clothesline. Yes your clothes will be not quite so soft. So be it. Shake them out or toss them in the dryer for one minute to fluff them and they'll be fine. Turn your refrigerator to only as cold as you need it to be to preserve the food. Most of us have our refrigerators up higher than necessary. The same thing with our freezers. You'll save electricity costs as well. This one you will find odd--give your leftovers to your pets. I've had cats and dogs my entire life and yes, they can have people food. Vegetables, rice, pasta, gravies and sauces, soups, meats—once these items are too old for us to eat, a dog's stomach can handle it. Obviously you don't give them large quantities and you mix it in with their dog food.  Think of how wasteful it is to toss out your leftovers, then open a can of dog food.  I recently read an article that having pets greatly increases your environmental footprint. The reason is, it takes resources to provide pet food—and Americans consume tons of it. Animals are raised, grazed, and slaughtered to make pet food. A certain amount of pasture land and farm land is taken up by pet food animals when it could be used for people. I'm not saying we shouldn't have pets. I just think people should be aware that their pets make a footprint too. Something I had never thought of. I've always shared people food with my pets in moderation and they have been healthy and lived to an old age. They enjoy the taste of good food just like we do. On that note I will sign off and wish you a happy, prosperous, green day.  ( Hey—that's a great band, too! I haven't thought of them in a while—I will have to pull up Green Day on iTunes and take a listen.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

About Europe - after a recent trip to Holland & Belgium

Two days ago, I returned from a five-day trip to Europe during which I visited Amsterdam and Brussels.  in the past 20 years I have been to Europe nine times and have been to most of the major cities (Paris, Munich, Prague, Copenhagen, Venice, London...)   on every trip, you can't help but notice the differences between European people, ways, norms, and lifestyles and American people, ways, norms and lifestyles. I love America and am proud to be American. But there are some things we could learn from the Europeans—things we could do just a little bit differently and a little bit better that would make things nicer for everyone. Some examples:

-Things are sold without all the packaging. For example, if you walk up to a deli window and order a ham and cheese baguette, the server  hands it to you on a napkin. They don't put it in a box or Styrofoam container. They don't give you a plastic fork and spoon that is wrapped in plastic. We 'overpackage' everything here in the U.S., with no thought for the landfills and the shrinking room for garbage.

- When you order a coffee or tea, it always comes with some little tidbit—a small cookie, a piece of chocolate... I love this.

-When you walk into a crowded pub, café or restaurant—it is perfectly acceptable to sit down with other people. Their comfort zone allows this whereas Americans would find it strange to have another couple sit down right next to them to dine.

-They are respectful of one another and of service people. You hear 'please', 'thank you' and 'excuse me' constantly. This is something that has faded in American culture. And you don't hear the F word - swearing is part of our everyday language now, but you rarely hear them swear or use foul language.

-They ride their bikes! They ride bikes to the market, to work, and to meet friends for a beer. The majority of people use public transportation, whereas here in the US—only a minority uses public buses, trams, subways etc. Now granted, their public transportation system is much better than ours, but maybe ours would improve if we embraced it more and used it more. And maybe obesity wouldn't be a major national problem if more of us rode our bikes sometimes.

I'll stop there. Although there are many more things like this. It seems that we have forgotten or lost some of the kinder, more socially conscious ways of being and thinking that still exist there. Of course it is easier for them, because their countries are so much smaller than they are less diverse. I don't want anyone to think I'm bashing America. I'm just pointing out that we are quite set in our ways, and not all of our ways are the best ones.  I found it a bit embarrassing to see and hear other Americans demanding and expecting fast service, large beverage cups or larger portions, and other American conveniences. We have come to expect everything to be quick and the Europeans hear this, and they shake their heads, feeling a bit sorry for us that we are always in a rush.

 I will now share just a few of the things I find wonderful about Europe. I absolutely love to be there and love the feeling that I get walking around a European city. There is an air of history and sophistication mixed with a zest for life and excitement for food, wine and friends. Groups of six, eight or 10 "mates"  will commonly meet after work to take a beer or coffee, laughing and joking before they head home or to run errands that they might have. They aren't on cell phones, they are all engaged in each other.

 The streets are narrow and usually cobblestone, and window boxes with bright colored flowers adorn most windows. There is no litter—you just don't see it. People do not throw anything on the ground.  Shopkeepers smile and nod as you walk by and the variety of shops and goods is amazing.  From a little shop that sells flowers and plants to a shop that sells only lace and porcelain, there is a quaintness to these businesses that I find so charming. If that shopkeeper saw a super Wal-Mart, I do believe they would keel over!

 I love the sense of style that nearly everyone has—even if they are just going to market, they throw a scarf about their neck or put on a fedora. The men are less concerned about looking feminine or being labeled as gay. They wear bright colors, scarves, pointy toed or unusual shoes, and carry zippered bags—man purses I guess, but they are masculine looking and don't seem gay at all over there. The men are simply better dressed - you don't see hardly any t-shirts or tank tops, which was refreshing.

I love the soft sound of an accordion or flute carried on the air across the square and then I walk until I find the source, which might be a pub or café—or might be a street musician. I love the differences in the food—the unique way that things are prepared, the sauces and seasonings that I never get to taste here at home. I love the fact that the house wine at restaurants and bars is better or as good as a fine wine here at our restaurants. And that every beer you order comes in a unique glass with the beer logo on the glass (if bars did that here, people would steal the glasses).

I enjoy taking the subway and watching all the working people jump on and off, and it shows on their face that this is a normal part of their day. I love that you can walk down to the train station in the city center and easily get a train to any other major city, with several trains leaving every day. It's great. We took the train from Amsterdam to Brussels and it was beautiful scenery—farms and windmills and green forests—mixed with the occasional rundown buildings and graffiti.

I love that people in the bars—women, men, couples, groups of college boys or grandparents—all talked to us, joked with us, welcomed us into their group. My friend Mary Beth and I commented on how we go out in Boca or Delray Beach all the time and often the entire evening passes without anyone speaking to us or approaching us. It was an interesting difference and it made our visit there much more fun—the interacting with everyone that we came across. They would offer to take a picture of us, they would suggest beers or food to try...

 Long blog so I will wrap it up. The bottom line—it doesn't matter which city in Europe you visit, it just matters that you try to visit. Choose wherever you can get the lowest fare to. Stay in a youth hostel, no matter what your age (we did, and loved it!)
A visit to Europe will stimulate you, amuse and entertain you, frustrate you, enlighten you, and humble you. It will be an experience that you never forget. I am happy to advise anyone on travel tips and recommend cities, places to stay, etc. If this blog inspires one person to visit Europe, I will be delighted. Until next time…
 With respect to all,

Friday, April 22, 2011

So many events, so little time

I don't just love creating events  -- planning them, hosting them, promoting them. I like ATTENDING events, too. I go to at least one event a week but usually 2, in addition to my own events. Is it me or are there more events in 2011 than any year past? I get an invitation a day!

Of course, when you are an event planner and you attend other events, you can't help but critique them. And I have to admit, very few events measure up, in my book. I always find things that should have been done, could have been handled better, details that would have enhanced the event or given people a better experience. I see things others don't see and notice things average event-goers don't notice. Sometimes I envy them their innocence. Ahhh.h-h-h..to attend an event and not CARE that the bartenders aren't smiling, and not NOTICE that the banner is in an unlit spot and can't be easily read... Sigh... but it's who I am and I'll always notice the little things. Those small details, planned and executed properly, are actually what makes the difference between a pretty good event and a great event. I DO sweat the small stuff, and I like to!
:)  Until next time...
Enjoy the events you attend. And if they stink, come to mine! They are all online at JustAskPriscilla.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring Fever in Florida?

It took a long time to feel the change of seasons here. But today I woke up, went outside, and felt that 'spring day' feeling I used to get when I lived up north. Coolness in the air but sun shining bright, a sense that you want to go do something/be outdoors rather than work. It's a neat feeling and I guess if you lived in S. Fla your whole life -- you wouldn't have ever felt it.

I also get a feeling that is distinctly "fall" and noticed myself feeling that this past Sept/October. Crispness in the air, leaves rustling on the breeze, a craving to watch football or take a walk. I do love the change of seasons and it's probably the thing I miss most about not living in PA or MD.
BUT -- would I want to scrape ice off my windshield again or worry about having weight in the back of my car so I don't slide off the road?! Heck, NO!

I feel very happy that now, after all this time in Florida, I DO feel the seasons. It's a subtle change but I'm outside a lot, and I sense it. And it is good.
Enjoy the season you are in, wherever you are!