Jamie L. Watts

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Online Advertising Opportunities at Lake Onondoga Vineyard

The newly formed Sales Team at Lake Onondaga Vineyard has created a list of possible online advertising opportunities and have asked me to share them with you. We are looking for advertisers from local companies with a good reputation (ex. Destiny USA, Armory Square, etc.) and especially those who would benefit from a partnership with us and vice versa. We hope that by highlighting local companies on our website, we will encourage visitors to Lake Onondaga Vineyard to stay a bit longer and explore the local community, benefiting the economy of the entire area.

Here are a few of the ideas the Sales Team is promoting:

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Getting To Know Each Other!

Since I feel like we’ve been slowly getting to know each other over the past few months through this blog, I thought I’d take some time and tell you all a little bit more about myself and my time here at Lake Onondaga Vineyard!

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Our Deepest Apologies

*Lake Onondaga Vineyard’s CEO Apologizes to Dutch Community*

In an interview published in today’s Syracuse Daily Tribune, Lake Onondaga Vineyard’s CEO, Sarah Walker, made unsettling and insulting remarks towards the Dutch community.  We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to everyone for those comments. Ms. Walker has personally met with leaders of the Netherlands American Society of Upstate New York, located here in Syracuse, to apologize for her comments.  She has also released an official statement expressing her regret over her words:

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Leftover Wine: 5 Fun Recipes to Use Up Every Last Drop

Here at Lake Onondaga Vineyards, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is what can be done with any leftover wine in an open bottle.  We find the best thing to do with wine is work it into a recipe.  Here’s our five favorite recipes using wine:

1.  Chicken Thigh Braised in Garlic and White Wine


Photo Credit:  Real Simple

Serves 4


  • 2 teaspoons dried organo
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 small chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 small yellow onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 jarred jot cherry peppers, seeded and roughly chopped, plus 3 tablespoons of the brine
  • 1 cup dry white wine (We recommend Lake Onondaga Vineyard Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice


  1. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season with the spice mixture, and dredge in the flour. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the onions to the pot and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cherry peppers and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper brine, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package directions. Divide among individual bowls

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Lake Onondaga Vineyard – Our Blog!

Welcome to Lake Onondaga Vineyard, Central NY’s newest vineyard located just northwest of Syracuse.  Joining the rich tradition of wine making in the Finger Lakes region, Lake Onondaga Vineyard hopes to provide the people of Syracuse and it’s surrounding area with a fine variety of white and red wines, as well as the full wine tasting and vineyard experience!  Here are few fun tidbits about what we have to offer you and to help you get to know Lake Onondaga Vineyard!


wine_300x338Best Whites

Reisling – Our Dry Reisling consists of aromas of rose petal, tangerine & lemon zest, followed by flavors of citrus fruits- lime, grapefruit & pineapple.

Chardonnay – This barrel fermented Chardonnay has hints of toast, vanilla, ripe pear & butterscotch.  This wine has flavors of sweet & tart apples, as well as hints of butter & creme brulee.

Gewürztraminer – This wine has a nice weight to it with notes of spice & lychee.  Nose characters include rose petal, honeysuckle and tangerine.

Photo Credit:  La Yoga Magazine

Best Reds

Pinot Noir – Our Pinot Noir is an elegant bouquet of sweet cherry, mocha & vanilla.  The hints of strawberry & cranberry create a wine that is “delicate yet powerful”.

Cabernet Franc – Cherry & strawberry characters with light hints of watermelon make this a great wine for Spring/Summer celebrations!

Merlot – Classic Merlot aromas suggesting plum jam, blackberries, cedar and spice greet the nose. In the mouth, this wine is rich and velvety, with enough fine-grained tannins to make the taster aware that this is a serious, age-worthy red wine.

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Emerging Trends in Blogging

As the world of blogging continues to evolve, new trends continue to emerge.  In the case of my cookie decorating/baking blog, the emerging trends that will impact me are mobile, video and demographics.


cell phone

Photo Credit:  Ken Peterkin

With mobile traffic increasing steadily, it’s important that readers are able to get access to my full blog via their phone.  Before making any drastic changes, I will be check my Google Analytics to verify that many users are accessing their blog through their phones.  If so, I will make my blog incredibly mobile friendly by balancing my graphics and videos, and if my blog continues to grow, I will look into creating a separate mobile site or a mobile-optimized theme so my blog is easily readable on a mobile device.



Photo Credit:  Real

Video is incredibly important for a cookie decorating/baking blog.  I will be posting a lot of video tutorials of new techniques, videos of new recipes, etc. and it’s important that my blog can handle that many videos.  I will also post my videos through my social media pages so my Facebook fans and Twitter followers have access to them as well.  I will use tools such as tagging and editing to make my videos more viewable and accessible to my readers.



Photo Credit:  123RF

With women 55+ being the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, a cookie decorating/baking blog is right up their alley.  With baking being primarily a female activity, a baking blog will often have many readers that fit into that demographic.  I will post all of my blog posts on my Facebook page in order to reach out to that demographic, as well as women in general, and bring those people over to my blog.  I will also use my blog to promote organizations and charities that women will be interested in, as well as reach out to more women through the BlogHer network of blogs. This way, I will be able to reach as many women as possible, and take advantage of that fast growing demographic.

For any other bloggers out there, what emerging trends do you think will most impact your blogs? Do you have any tips on how to prepare?

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Blog Statistics

The focus of my blog is baking and cookie decorating.

The three statistics most important in growing my blog audience are:

1.  Inbound Links


Photo Credit:  Bliss SCO

In the cookie world, being linked to by a “famous” cookie decorator can mean hundreds or thousands of new hits.  It’s really important that other bakers and cookie decorators link to and recommend my blog on theirs as it can help grow an audience quickly.  Also, the more my blog is linked to or mentioned on another blog will increase my search optimization results, leading to a better ranking on search engines.  In turn, I will increase outbound links as well, creating a symbiotic relationship with other cookie blogs.

2.  Time on Page

Clock 1

Photo Credit:  BRCCU

I want my blog to be as interactive as possible.  I want readers to comment on my posts with questions, recommendations, recipes, etc.   I would also like them to post photos or videos of their creations, whether they are from my recipes, or their own creations.  Therefore, the time they spend on the page is very important.  The longer they are on my page, the more likely they are interacting with me and other readers, which should lead to a growth in my blog audience.

3.  Returning Visitor


Photo Credit:  SMCSSA

Finally, one of the most important aspects in building an audience is that you need visitors to not just come to your blog once, but to return and come to your blog over and over again.  I want to keep track of my readers and how many of them return to my site after the first visit.  I’d like to know how many of them come back and what areas of the blog they are specifically coming back to look at.  If I know that, I can use that information to target specific posts towards those interests, and hopefully have those visitors returning again and again.

Some tools I will use to track my blog’s statistics are:

1.  Google Analytics


Photo Credit:  Click Conversation

Google Analytics will provide me with a great deal of information regarding my blog and it’s visitors.  It can tell me how many people came to my blog, where they came from, and with it’s real-time reporting, it can even tell me what readers are viewing right now, letting me know if a new post is successful or not.  It can even show me exactly how readers navigate my blog, allowing me to, if necessary, rearrange some things to make the viewing experience easier and better for my readers.  This will be a great tool for me, especially as I am beginning to build an audience.  It will let me know exactly who is visiting my blog and what they are actually using my blog for (which pages are visited the most, etc.).  I can then somewhat tailor my blog to their needs and requests, which will in turn, hopefully encourage them to return often, allowing my audience to grow.

2.  Klout


Photo Credit: Klout

I plan to post each blog post on my blog’s Facebook page and Twitter account as soon as it is available for viewing.  Social media is huge in the world of cookie decorating, and many cookie fans find new cookie blogs via sites like Facebook.  Klout will allow me to track how well my social media posts are helping my blog gain an audience.  Facebook and Twitter also allow another venue for readers to interact and engage with me and my blog, and Klout can also help me track how often readers interact and how engaged people are with my posts.  This can help me learn what interested my readers the most, and I can use that information when creating future blog posts.

The one statistic that could be an issue or a problem, especially in the beginning is:

Reader Engagement


Photo Credit:  Small Business Trends

I think it will be difficult as a new blog to get a great deal of reader engagement. I think once comments start coming, they will continue to come and come in greater amounts, but it’s difficult to get that going as a new blog.  One possible solution is to encourage comments by asking for participation.  Asking what my readers think of a topic, or encouraging them to list their favorite recipes or tricks and tips in the comments could lead to readers commenting.  One idea to keep this consistent is to have a day of the week where I ask readers for recipes.  For example, every Wednesday may be Recipe Wednesday.  I would provide a theme or ingredient in my blog post, give my favorite recipe using that theme or ingredient, and then ask my readers to share.  I could even take this one step further and ask for readers to also vote for their favorite shared recipe in the comments, and reveal a winner the following day.  This encourages engagement on two levels, with the reader commenting and sharing their favorite recipe, as well as voting on the recipes of their fellow readers.

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RFP for Apple Response

In response to a RFP for Apple, I’ve come up with the following ideas in which to advertise for Apple on my site.  As my blog’s target audience will be mostly bakers and cookie decorators, there are plenty of Apply tie-ins that can be utilized.  Here are just a few:

1.  Apps


Photo Credit:  iTunes

Apps that could be useful for bakers will be featured monthly on my blog.  I’ll recommend the ones that I find the most useful, such as The Baking Sheet or Baker’s Percentage, and link back to the app on iTunes.  I’ll discuss what I like best about these apps, as well as ideas to make the apps even more helpful.  I will also urge readers to suggest their favorite baking apps and/or recommendations to current available apps.

2. iBooks


Photo Credit:  Barnes and Noble

Every baker needs cookbooks!  And these days, more and more people are purchasing those books in ebook fashion.  Twice a month, I will feature a new book, linking back to the the book via iTunes.  These books may be ones that provide the basic baking information everyone needs, or they may be more specifically linked to projects I am working on at the time, such as decorating cookies, or baking gluten-free baked goods.  Additionally, should my blog ever translate to a book, I would utilize iBooks to sell the book to my readers.

3. Music


Photo Credit:  Ask Dave Taylor

I always listen to music while baking, especially when making a lot of dough at once, as it can become quite tedious.  For each project I post, I will also post my playlist of songs that got my through that specific project, linking back to the iTunes page for each song so readers can purchase the music should they choose to do so.  Another idea would be to connect music for a project with the theme of that project.  For example, as shown in the photo above, while working on summer or beach theme cookies, my playlist could be all Beach Boys songs.  This way, Apple, iTunes and specific songs will always be linked back and connected to my projects, and extremely visible for all my readers.

4.  BlogHer


Photo Credit:  Solar Sister

As a member of the BlogHer Publishing Network, one of the largest and highest quality publishing networks of blogs authored by women, my blog will be connected with over 3,000 other blogs. Because of that connection, my traffic can increase, which will in turn, provide Apple with more views of my posts featuring their products or tie-ins.  Additionally, being part of this network will increase my SEO, and provide opportunities for cross-promotion and linkage with other blogs.  In turn, this will continue to increase my traffic, and the more views of my blog, the better for Apple, as their products and services will be featured frequently.

5.  Sponsored Posts – “Apple” Tie-In


Photo Credit:  FanPop

A fun and different way to promote Apple products via my blog is through sponsored posts by Apple.  These posts would be clearly sponsored by Apple, and would feature recipes and projects featuring apples.  These recipes could include apple pies in the fall, apple shaped cookies for a favorite teacher, or caramel covered apples, amongst others.  This would be a creative way to tie in the Apple sponsorship, yet keep the focus of the blog on baking.

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Top 5 Ways to Use Keeley Krackerz This Summer!

With summer and the heat upon us at last, no one wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen!  Here are five quick, simple and refreshing recipes using Keeley Krackerz that will make you the hit of the neighborhood picnic or family barbecue!

1.  Cool Cucumber Cracker Appetizer


Photo Credit:  Snackpicks


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 16


  • 32 Keeley Krackerz® Original crackers
  • 1/2 cup Ranch Veggie Dip
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced very thin
  • Finely chopped radishes (optional)


1. Spread each cracker with Ranch Veggie Dip and top with cucumber discs. Sprinkle with chopped radishes, if desired. Serve immediately.

Click here for more summer recipes!

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Join Us for the 5th Annual WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display!


Photo Credit:  Comment Nation

It’s that time of year again!!

If you are in the New York City area, please join us for the 5th Annual WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display, being held on July 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm in Astoria Park.

The WiseKrackerz Comedy Competition and Fireworks Display has something for everyone in the family to enjoy including:

  • Carnival games and rides for the kids
  • A variety of food vendors
  • Local bands and performers
  • Even the chance to meet everyone’s favorite kangaroo, Mr. Krackerz!


Photo Credit:  CultureMob

The Comedy Competition kicks off at 7:00 pm on the main stage.  This year we received over 100 audition tapes and have narrowed it down to 5 finalists.  Each comedian will perform a 20 minute set and our celebrity judges will determine a winner.  Clips from each of our 5 finalists audition tapes can be found on our website, www.keeleykrackerz.com.  Be sure to check it out and come support your favorite!


Photo Credit:  Broadcast Engineering

Following the announcement of the winner of the Comedy Competition, the Fireworks Display will kick off promptly at 9:00 pm.  Everyone’s favorite part of the day, our fireworks display features over 40,000 fireworks coming from four barges in the East River and will last for approximately 30 minutes.  Don’t miss out!

Cost is $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for kids, and all children under 5 are free.  

100% of the proceeds benefit Keeley Krackerz “Krackerz for Kidz Foundation” which supports children diagnosed with cancer and their families.  Last year’s event raised over $300,000.

Looking forward to seeing all of you there!

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