Weekend Round-up: The 4th of July in Boston

esplanade

The Esplanade:

Whether you’re a Boston native, or a family from central Kansas, Independence Day on the Esplanade can quite fantastic, yet overwhelming. That being said, following these simple steps will ensure that you get the most out of your 4th of July in Boston! Check the forecast: Around here, mother nature is incredibly unpredictable. Weather in July can range from rainy and in the 50s to humid and sunny in the 90s in just one day. To be prepared, watch the weather closely right before you go. Dress appropriately: The forecast might say 80 and sunny at 4 o’clock, but come 9 p.m., it can get chilly. Dress in comfortable clothes and bring a jacket. Comfortable shoes are also a must, so ditch those red, white, and blue stilettos. Figure out transportation: It is imperative to plan your mode of transportation before the event to minimize stress the day of. There are many road closures on Independence Day that make driving a nightmare. A good alternative? Take the T! The two closest T-stations to the festivities are Charles-MGH on the Red Line and Arlington Street on the Green Line. What to bring: In past years, backpacks have been banned. So, all personal items must be carried in clear bags to ensure easy inspection. But what should you pack in that bag you’re toting?
  • Food: Feel free to fill your handheld cooler with all of your favorite sandwiches, chips, dips and drinks. Keep in mind liquids must be carried in clear plastic containers and can’t exceed 2 liters. However, alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
  • Fun: If you’re spending the entire day at the Esplanade, pack some activities to stay entertained. A picnic blanket, cards, books, and frisbees can keep the whole family entertained.
  • For the show: To ensure that you don't miss a thing, pack some binoculars. If you’re bringing little ones, earplugs will be your savior. Oh, and don’t forget a camera to capture those precious moments!
Your recommended arrival time depends on where you want to sit and what you want to see. To schedule your day, check out this schedule of events and plan accordingly. pru

Other places to watch the fireworks:

While Boston’s fireworks along the Charles River are both a spectacular and timeless experience, some spectators want to avoid the crowds and traffic. If you’re looking to steer-clear of the Esplanade, here are some alternative firework locations in the area: Castle Island: Snag a good spot here and you’ll have a view of three different fireworks shows! Bunker Hill Monument: This Charlestown memorial is a great historic site to learn a little bit about history and watch the fireworks. If you’re feeling extra limber, you can even climb the 294 steps of the tower to see it all from above. Right by MIT: Stand by MIT, where there are speakers and a great view of the fireworks bursting over the Boston skyline. Museum of Science: An annual event the museum holds every year for its members, offers one of the best views of the Charles River during the fireworks. For a few more locations check out the full list. Do you have any secret spots?

More options:

Harbor Fest Harborfest is an annual tradition for Bostonians that welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors from around the US, per year. The five-day festival will begin Wednesday July 1st, and commemorate the colonial heritage of our city with patriotic events, concerts and historical tours. For more information and schedule of events, please visit: http://www.bostonusa.com/harborfest/ When: Wednesday, July 1st - July 5th Where: Various Locations Throughout Boston Price: FREE! Boston Harbor Fireworks Cruise and Dance Party On Saturday, July 4th, Massachusetts Bay Line Vessels are offering a Boston Harbor Fireworks Cruise & Dance Party. This three-hour cruise will tour around the beautiful Boston Harbor at sunset and stay on the water until the end of the firework display. There is dancing and drinks aboard, so you will be in for an amazing experience. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/fireworks-cruise When: Saturday, July 4th, 8:00pm - 11:00pm Where: 60 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02210 Price: $38 Summer Harbor Jam Boat Cruise with Eric Paslay If you’re a country lover, put your cowboy boots on and head down to Country 102.5’s Summer Harbor Jam Boat Cruise on Sunday July 5th. Eric Paslay (singer of “Friday Night” and “Song About a Girl”) will be performing for an intimate concert experience along the gorgeous Boston Harbor. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/1H3aeoA When: Sunday, July 5th, 3:00pm - 7:00pm Where: 200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA 02210 Price: $40  

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What Instagram’s Newest Advertising Capabilities Mean for Your Brand

  POV_InstagramAds_LinkedIn With more than 300 million monthly active users and nearly 70 million photos shared each day, Instagram has become an important aspect of any social marketer’s strategy. Until recently, Instagram has restricted advertising capabilities to larger brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung and Dove. In spring 2015, the platform announced they’d be expanding ad availability to brands of all sizes within the coming months, while also introducing new advertising formats and more relevant targeting. So what does this mean for your brand? kaz4

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New ads, calls-to-action & what they mean for you:

As of June 2015, Instagram has already begun testing their new ad formats inclusive of photos, videos and the newly introduced carousal ads which enable brands to share multiple photos in a single post. They’ve also introduced call-to-action buttons which encourage fans to shop, learn more and sign up with ease, also helping brands increase website traffic, e-commerce sales and more. These call-to-action buttons are especially important for advertisers since the platform natively doesn’t support clickable links within photo captions, making it difficult for audiences to follow through when prompted to shop, for example.

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[Photo source]

Facebook helps refine targeting & expand advertising availability - In the near future, Instagram will work with their parent company, Facebook, to refine targeting based on demographics and interests, as well as utilizing existing customer information. With the ability to capture a more relevant audience, brands will be able to reach valuable users and inevitability see a greater return on their investments. Instagram’s union with Facebook will also allow them to leverage Facebook’s infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads, opening sponsored posts to businesses of all sizes.

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So…Is Instagram advertising right for your brand?

Several types of businesses can benefit from Instagram advertising from entertainment, e-commerce and consumer packaged goods, to tourism, tech and lifestyle brands. But before any brand invests in this functionality, it’s important to:
  • Understand Instagram’s user demographic, which largely consists of 18-35 year olds
  • Optimize your Instagram account with all appropriate information, and have a substantial amount of previous pieces of content
  • Ensure you have a large audience that actively engages with posts
  • Create and execute a clear and strategic content plan
  • Craft messaging that aligns with your target audience’s passions as Instagram is a lifestyle-oriented platform
  • Experiment with different types of images and analyze which photos and captions perform the best for your brand
As Instagram continues to roll out these new features, how will you utilize ads as they become more available for your brand?

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5 Tasty Ways to Celebrate July 4th in Boston

image1 Looking for something to do on the 4th? Whether you’re looking to party poolside with friends or enjoy a special five-course beer dinner, there’s a little something for everyone to celebrate the US of A this Fourth of July. Come celebrate our founding Fathers this Independence Day at these Boston-Area Hot Spots.

Bear in Boots

If you’re headed to Cape Cod this Fourth of July weekend, be sure to stop by Falmouth-based Bear in Boots Gastropub for a cocktail special that’s guarenteed to make sparks fly. The beverage team is kicking it up a notch with the Watermelon Firecracker cocktail that features house-infused habanero tequila, fresh watermelon and lime juice with a lime to garnish. bear in boots Location: 285 Main St., Falmouth, MA Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday: 4:00 PM- 10:00 PM Price: $$ Reservations: 509.444.8511  

Bistro du Midi

Executive Chef/Partner Robert Sisca and t  he Bistro du Midi team invite guests to celebrate Franco-American independence with the 714 menu. Beginning July 1 through July 14, Bistro du Midi will commemorate both American Independence Day and French Independence Day, commonly known as Bastille Day. Throughout the duration of this celebration, guests can indulge in this 714 menu, named for its 7 options, 1 prix fixe, and 4 courses. This menu will be available in the main dining room, with magnificent views overlooking the Public Garden. The menu selections are as follows:  

Amuse Bouche Chilled Corn Soup, Corn Croquette, Espelette

First Course Halibut Crudo, White Anchovy, Nicoise Olive, Freeze-Dried Corn or Pork Pate, House Accompaniments

Second Course Pan Roasted Hake, Calamari, Fregola Sarda, Bouillabaisse Broth or Duck Bolognese, Garganelli Pasta, Whipped Ricotta

Third Course Gianduja Chocolate Beignet, Lavender Crème or Dulcey “Blond” Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Sorbet

  bustro du midi Location: 272 Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay Hours:  Monday-Sunday: 11:00 AM- 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM -10:00 PM Price: $49/person (not including tax and gratuity). Reservations: 617.426.7878 or visit www.bistrodumidi.com  

BOKX 109 American Prime

Celebrate your freedom all weekend long at the BOKX Pool’s Fifth of July Pool Party, featuring festive decorations, adult-slushes (with flavors like Rum Punch, Lemonade, Margarita), specialty cocktails, live entertainment, and more poolside Independence Day fun. Guests can also indulge in the BOKX 109 Poolside Menu featuring summertime favorites like Fried Oysters with guajillo remoulade and grilled lemon; BOKX Tacos; and the Decon Burger with aged cheddar, arugula, tomato, bacon, special sauce and fries. A variety of fresh salads, wraps and flatbreads are also available. bokx109 Location: 399 Grove St., Newton, MA (inside of Hotel Indigo) Hours: 11:00AM-4:00PM guests must be 21+ Price: Tickets are $30/person (including one drink ticket) Reservations: Tickets can be purchased here. For more information, please visit www.bokxprime.com or call 617.454.3399.  

Restaurant dante

Chef/Owner Dante de Magistris is teaming up with Jack’s Abby Brewing to present a special 4th of July celebration featuring an Independence Day inspired five-course prix fixe menu, with pairings of refreshing brews from Framingham-based Jack’s Abby. After dinner, guests can enjoy the perfect view of Boston’s famous fireworks display, just steps off of Restaurant Dante’s patio. restaurant dante Location: 40 Edwin H Land Blvd, Cambridge, MA Price: $100/person (this includes the five-course dinner with beer pairings—this excludes tax and gratuity), Hours: Will begin at 7:30PM Reservations: call 617.497.4200  

The Tap Trailhouse

This Independence Day, guests can celebrate the red, white, and brew at The Tap Trailhouse with a number of Colonial-inspired eats and a selection of ice cold beers from the extensive list if locally-crafted brews. With options like the Noble Dog (8 oz. all-beef dog poached in brown sugar and signature Freedom Trail Ale with Boston Baked Beans), the Colonial Burger (smoked bacon, red onion marmalade, aged cheddar with fries), and more, guests have every reason to head to The Tap Trailhouse to celebrate our founding fathers in style. tap trailhouse Location: 19 Union St. Boston, MA Price:$$ Hours: Monday-Sunday 11:00 AM- 2:00 AM Reservations: call 617.367.0033

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Marriage Equality, Antibacterial Blackberry, Flir, Boston Public Market

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Top Story: Marriage Equality in all 50 States

AP_supreme_court1_ml_150626_4x3_992 On the morning of Friday, June 26th 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples in all 50 states have the Constitutional right to marry! In a 5-4 decision, history was made, and support for the ruling exploded across social media. Even Obama weighed in: https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/614435467120001024 Hillary Clinton tweeted out this "new" map of the United States: https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton/status/614439551491264512 Today's ruling ends the battle that many have said is the “defining civil rights challenge of our time." Here's a timeline of how far we've come in the past 11 years:
  • In 2004, Massachusetts was the first state to allow same-sex marriage.
  • In 2011, the Defense Department's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was ended.
  • In 2013, same-sex spouses were allowed the same rights as other married couples.
  • June 25th, 2015: as of yesterday, same-sex marriage was only legal in 36 states and the District of Colombia.
  • June 26, 2015: Same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, and support is at an all-time high of 61%.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated this past week,
“After decades of untold struggle, unyielding advocacy and unfathomable bravery, it is clear that we are in the midst of a national awakening. Of course, even as we celebrate remarkable advances, it is clear that we still have more work to do.”
For more on the history that was made today, check out this ABC News article.

Under the Radar: Antibacterial Blackberry

blackberry bacteria According to researchers, mobile phones hold about 18 times more bacteria than a restroom flush handle...GROSS! However, there is good news for all germaphobes. Blackberry has announced they may develop a bacteria-free smartphone in the future. The company CEO, John Chen, announced Wednesday that BlackBerry is partnering with ThoughtWire and Cisco Systems Inc. to provide hospital workers with a new mobile messaging and alert system. The bacteria-free smartphone would be designed for hospital personnel, rather than regular consumers, Bloomberg reported.  Because they work in such a sterile environment, health care professionals are encouraged to wipe their cellphones down with alcohol to prevent the spreading of germs. But according to an NHS study, many do not. Chen said on Wednesday, a bacteria-free smartphone would be "one less thing to wipe down.” The company is only considering the idea of said device, and is not producing one at the moment.

Tool of the Week: Flir

flir2 Flir, a thermal imaging device that promises “to bring innovative sensing solutions into daily life through our thermal imaging systems, visible-light imaging systems, locator systems, measurement and diagnostic systems, and advanced threat detection systems,” is evolving into a full-fledged consumer gadget. Having attracted a variety of users with its thermal imagining device, the company has decided to release a smaller and sharper version of its Flir One plug-in camera accessory for iOS. Weighing only 2.75 ounces, the device produces thermal images that allow users to see in the dark, view heat sources, find water leaks, and see through fog. The Flir One iOS app, features nine color palettes, still and video capture, a temperature spot reader, and an automatic thermal shutter. How much is it to purchase one of these water-leak-finding, electrical-overload-spotting devices? Well, Flir One for iPhone is available for purchase on the Flir website for $249.99. The first generation Flir One for Apple’s iPhone 5 and 5s is available for $149.99.

Around the Hub: Boston Public Market

Bostonians, the much-anticipated moment is almost here (no, we are not talking about a Red Sox winning streak). The Boston Public Market has announced they will officially open their doors on July 30, 2015! The 28,000-square-foot Market is just over a month away from providing us with the best produce, poultry (and food in general) that New England has to offer. Boston public market It will become the only locally-sourced market of its kind in the US to stay open year-round. Everything sold at the Market will originate in the Northeast. Some of the local vendors you can expect to see are Appleton Farms, Boston Honey Company, and Red’s Best. For an entire list of the vendors, check out their website. The Boston Public Market, located at 100 Hanover Street, will host activities such as hands-on cooking demos, lectures, various family activities and exercise classes. We hope you're just as excited as us!

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8 Necessary Ingredients for Good On-page SEO

blogpost.6.23.title   Search Engine Optimization is the combination of both on-site and off-site tactics to help ensure that a website is accessible to both humans and search engines and improve the chances that the site will be found by search engine users. The higher a website ranks naturally in the organic results of a search results page, the greater the chance that the site will be visited by a user. When people search for your products and services, you want to appear as high in the search results as possible so users will have more of a chance of clicking through to your website. By continually showing in a high ranking position in search engine results you are gaining more and more mindshare with each of your potential customers or clients. We’ve put our heads together to come up with an easily-digestible SEO recipe (pun intended) to help increase your rankings.

Prep Time: 1 - 2 months      Cook Time: 1 - 5 years      Yield: Organic Visibility

 

TOOLS NEEDED:

INGREDIENTS:
Computer Internet Website Site Crawler Microsoft Excel   

Title Tags Meta Descriptions Header Tags Alt Text Analytics Code XML Sitemap Robots.txt File Google Search Console

STEP 1 – Fire up your favorite site crawler (we prefer ScreamingFrog). Enter site URL and allow agent to crawl site. Export completed site crawl. Open in Microsoft Excel. Format data as a table. Separate 400 status code and 300 status code pages from 200 status code pages. Save http 400 and http 300 pages for later. STEP 2 Review http 200 webpage Title Tags and Meta Descriptions based on information from site crawl. Write >70 character title tags for each individual webpage based on content. Stay consistent with formatting. Also write unique, compelling and relevant Meta Descriptions that are less than 155 characters. Do not keyword stuff or your recipe will taste like a "black hat." STEP 3 Optimize Header Tags on each page. Make sure there is only one H1 tag on each page that includes relevant keywords based on page content. STEP 4 Ensure all images on webpages include appropriate alternative attributes (alt text) with keywords. This can be done through most website CMS systems. STEP 5 View source code (CTRL+U) on your website and check if you have any instance of analytics code. Make sure code is the most up-to- date. (We prefer Google Analytics.) Check if code is located in the proper place (before the closing </head> tag if you are using Google Analytics.) This will help you measure the success of your recipe. STEP 6 Create XML sitemap, capture URL and submit to Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools.) This will help insure indexing of your website. STEP 7 Make sure your robots.txt file allows access to JavaScript, CSS and image files that your pages use. STEP 8 Optional, but recommended: Map 404 pages to pages that exist on the site. Redirect using a 301 permanent redirect. STEP 9 Stay up to date on industry knowledge and make changes as necessary. Google has made more updates in the last 3 years than in the last decade. To successfully influence your customers, we make sure you’re there when and where they are already looking for information. We have the knowledge, experience and expertise to optimize your website, drive qualified leads and increase sales using the most up to date SEO techniques.   Have questions? Please contact us to learn more.

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