5 Must-Have Online Tools for Every Small Business

Like any office, factory or agency, there’s a LOT of work to be done here at BumbleBar! In order to accomplish everything, our small team relies on several amazing online tools to get the job done. Let’s take a look at our favorite resources, who uses them, and why!

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Grammarly: We use Grammarly in our office quite frequently. Grammarly is a free online tool that spellchecks and detects grammatical issues within your writing. If you’re a student, copywriter, or anyone who spends a great deal of time typing we highly suggest using Grammarly.

Asana: Our team heavily relies on Asana to assign jobs, keep track of tasks, communicate with clients, and much more. This is an outstanding web-based tool for any business, small or large. The interface is really very lovely and user-friendly. Bonus – they even have an app for your phone! Personally, my favorite feature of Asana is the flying unicorn that soars across your monitor if you’ve completed multiple tasks throughout the day.

Podio: Podio is an equally great tool that’s just as beautiful and even more versatile than Asana. We use Podio to create apps, web forms, and store information. For example, we created a content planning app in Podio so that we could keep track of our blog posts and newsletter updates. With so many awesome features, we really recommend taking a look at all Podio has to offer here.

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JumpLead: For those of you who have your own website and are interested in discovering more about your site visitors, we suggest learning more about JumpLead. You can chat with your website visitors, capture them as leads and hopefully… convert them to customers!

BuzzSumo: We use BuzzSumo to find the most interesting articles and talked about news stories, that fit with our interests and values as a company. We love sharing positive, uplifting stories with you – especially on Facebook and Twitter. (Psst…if you don’t follow us, you probably should! ;-] ) This online tool also provides a daily competitor analysis and influencer content alerts, keeping us up to date!

 

5 Things You Might Not Know About BumbleBar

BumbleBar has been around for 21 rockin’ years, and we’re still going strong! But do you know everything about your favorite, gluten-free snack bar? Let’s find out!

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1. When founder Liz Ward set out to build her gluten-free snack brand, she initially came up with the name Harmony Organics. (Her first logo was designed with cool purple tones, very different from the bright reds and yellows in today’s current logo.) However, after she realized the name Harmony Organics wasn’t available due to trademarking, Liz decided to call her business BumbleBar instead!

2. Now this is by far my favorite BumbleBar fact. The numbers in BumbleBar’s UPC codes actually reflect the dates of when Liz’s children were born – how awesome is that?! It’s a Barcode Birthday Bash!

3. When BumbleBar’s business was very first beginning, Liz hand sealed the packaging of every single snack bar by herself! Yep, that’s right! Every. Single. One. She used the machine pictured below to heat seal the ends of the wrapper together. By pressing on a pedal with your foot, the heat seal clamps shut around the packaging and that’s how the bars are wrapped! Before she owned the slab line, Liz would stomp away on her little machine and rock out to her favorite Grateful Dead songs!

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4. As you probably already know, the sesame seed is the primary ingredient in all of the delicious BumbleBars. But what you didn’t know, is that Liz’s original idea, back in the 90’s, was to use soybeans in order to create an entirely different product! She had planned to combine brewer’s yeast, tamari, and the soybeans, to make a snack mix unlike any other. But after giving it some thought, she eventually decided to use the powerful sesame seed to create what is now known as, the BumbleBar.

5. In today’s busy world, we market ourselves through social media, such as Instagram and Facebook. Well, in 1995 we didn’t have Instagram. Liking each other’s photos, comments, and products consisted of nothing more than forming a fist and sticking our thumbs towards tliz-glenn_-yoga-event-in-bouhe sky. So, without the share button to help her, Liz recruited Glenn to pack up her BumbleBars and take marketing to the streets! Passing out BumbleBars to passersby, he visited festivals far and wide across the Pacific Northwest. A few years ago, Glenn and Liz both got to sell BumbleBars at the Hanuman Yoga Festival in beautiful Boulder Colorado!

 

 

Crusher’s in Cali

Remember Angela Boone, AKA Crusher, the amazing woman who has been hiking the PCT and munching on BumbleBars along the way? Well, she’s made it through Washington, Oregon and she’s now in California! Recently we were sent an update letter from Crusher. To read her first update letter, click here. To read her most recent update, check it out below:

Greetings from CALIFORNIA!

I’ve made it over 1000 miles. It’s still hard to believe that Washington is behind me, and now Oregon!  Starting out in Washington I was averaging 18-20 miles a day. By the end, 20-22 miles a day. In Oregon I was able to increase daily mileage a bit. It’s easier to do 25 a day, and 27/28s are manageable. I have even pulled off a couple low 30 mileage days. Those days were necessary to get to my desired camp spots and make the next day work in my favor. BUT they were not fun…leaving camp with the sun and getting to camp when it’s dark, quickly scrambling to set up your tent, clean yourself and your dust covered feet that turn one wet wipe black after only cleaning your pinky toe, and force yourself to eat dinner before you pass out from exhaustion. Those are very long days and my body tends to reject any movement on the following day. Those big mile days have been “mind over matter” situations – a mental switch I more recently have been able to turn on. It’s a confidence booster to know that I am capable of it. It’s all been a good lesson in pushing my limits while also knowing how and when to listen to my body. More recently though I’ve felt a little run down. We’ve had to sacrifice some sleep in order to get more miles in. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but south bounders are starting to worry about making it through the Sierras in time. Some have considered skipping ahead to do them, or flip flopping – going to the southern end of them, heading north to where they stopped in Oregon and then down to Southern California. My group of hiker friends and I hate that idea. We’re in this for a straight through hike and don’t want to skip around because it’s easier. So we’re going to do our best and take what weather comes our way. Unfortunately, and maybe fortunately for our Sierra concerns, there is a huge fire in  Seiad Valley in northern California, just east of the PCT. Technically one could continue hiking the trail, but the 10,000 acre fire is zero percent contained right now and the smoke is so bad we were seeing it up in Ashland, OR. A group of us decided to be safe and skip 100 or so trail miles south and continue on. We didn’t want to get stuck in the fire if it were to spread and be the people firefighters risk their lives to rescue. So maybe this is the trail providing a way for us to get to the Sierras in time? We’ll take it. It is bittersweet, however. We don’t get to walk across the OR/CA border and take a selfie, or even see the 1000 mile marker that’s shortly into California. Finishing my second state and starting my last as been rendered quite anticlimactic.

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Crusher’s photo “View from Devil’s Peak.”

You can follow Angela's journey on Instagram by following @ang_boone

You can follow Angela’s journey on Instagram by following @ang_boone

Oregon was a great state. Some of us were discussing how to compare the 2 states and decided that Oregon has a more simple, humble beauty whereas Washington had more magnificent views. While Washington offered snacks of salmon berries, raspberries, huckleberries, and baby strawberries that littered the forest floor, Oregon introduced some blueberries and blackberries for a bit. The terrain has been much more rolling in Oregon, whereas Washington was either up or down. There have been beautiful open forests and a plethora of lakes. I finally went for a swim one day when we stopped for lunch at a small lake. Oregon had its own set of challenges as well though. There are a lot of burn areas which leave us without any shade in the blazing 90 degree heat. There was a section with lava rocks, which was a new type of beauty we hadn’t seen but very hard on the feet. There was another section of down trees, but not as bad as Cut Throat Pass in Washington. The section between Shelter Cove and Crater Lake had a 16 mile dry stretch and then a 20-ish mile dry stretch. Luckily there were 2 water caches in the 20 mile stretch that some Trail Angels have been keeping well stocked. We had a few shorter water carries towards the end of Oregon as well. You really have to plan those wisely. I came upon an older gentleman one day laying on the ground on the side of the trail with his round belly sticking out from under his shirt. I asked if he was okay and he made a comment about how hot it is. He asked what we PCT hikers do about water in these sections. I told him where the water points were and where I expected a water cache. He then questioned the water cache, saying that it’s not good to drink the water from plastic that’s been sitting in the sun. While I agree…dehydration was my other option. As we parted ways he told me to be careful because “it’s not safe” out here, and then returned to his physically defeated position on the dusty forest floor. We’ve noticed a couple different types of nobos. There are some that are the mile pushers and love to talk about all they miles they’ve done and who they’ve passed. Then there’s another group that seems to be more relaxed, averaging around 20-25 miles a day and planning a “day for drinking” in the next town. Those that we see at this point we question if they’ll make it to Canada before snow in the Cascades.

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The next stop was Shelter Cove resort, a gorgeous camping spot on a lake about a mile and a half off the PCT. Despite my resupply package not arriving and having to get all my food from my buddy Spice Rack (thank goodness she always sends herself too much food), it was a lovely spot to take a nero (nearly a zero mile) day. The day before I did enough miles to camp at lower Rosary lakes – a beautiful string of lakes with picturesque camping. It was actually an incredible day! The day before I did my first over 30 mile day, a 32 mile day, so I would only have to do 28 miles to make it to this camp spot. I was sore and tired in the morning but it was my lucky day. The Waldo 100k trail race was taking place that day. Runners flew in from across the country to run 62 miles on a course that crossed over the PCT at multiple points. There were aid stations for the runners throughout the day, and nobos passed me spreading word that I may be able to get some watermelon if I go ask about the event. Of course I wouldn’t pass that up. I headed down to an aid station, located at a lake where I planned to restock water, and was immediately invited in to help myself to treats. And man oh man were there treats!  The table was loaded with watermelon, grapes, bananas, Oreos, Cheese Its, chips, pretzels, jelly beans, Twizzlers, cooked potatoes with salt to dip them in, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Cliff bars and energy chews, frozen Capri Suns, and electrolyte enhanced water! It was like Christmas morning. I stayed and enjoyed it for a little bit, watching runners come through and get doused with water and get their hats filled with ice. Some just ran straight into the lake. While I was just as hot and working pretty hard as well, I was very content with my much slower paced 28 mile day.

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You can follow Crusher’s journey on Instagram by following @ang_boone

One night before coming into Ashland, OR I saw my first hunter. I smelled him before I saw him. I was looking at my feet and caught a whiff of detergent – clean clothes. I looked up and sure enough, there was a young man dressed in camouflage stalking quietly on the trail with a crossbow in hand. He let me pass and we nodded quietly to each other. I chuckled to myself because my group of friends play this game – “you know you’re a thru hiker when…”  One we’ve discussed before is “you know you’re a thru hiker when…you can smell a day hiker’s laundry detergent/perfume/deodorant for the next quarter of a mile after you pass them”. I guess it’s true for hunters as well. I made a mental note not to go to the bathroom off trail without my bright red pack by my side.

All of us ladies have been dealing with various physical challenges. At this point we all have had blisters and foot pain of some sort. I have fallen to the ground twice now! I’m honestly shocked it took me this long with how many times I’ve tripped. I’m thankful I’ve managed to catch myself with my trekking poles and not fall off a cliff. We all have our scrapes and bruises. We’re all managing our pains, working through it, and becoming stronger. As they say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”!

This is really hard. Mentally and physically. People love seeing the beautiful photos and are constantly telling us how jealous they are. I had a friend from college tell me “if you want a walking partner let me know”.  Another friend told me “if you do this again I’ll do it with you”. I love that I’ve been able to expose some people to backpacking and encouraging people to get out in the wild, but I also need to share some of the difficulty. It took us a while to be confident in saying “we’re going to Mexico”. None of us actually know if we can do this. We are definitely more certain that we are capable and know we are determined enough to try. We usually have a bigger goal of making it through these smaller states, and the focus is usually to just make it to the next town. Those 4-6 days are the most we can wrap our heads around. Honestly, some days we’re just trying to make it to a camp spot, other days I don’t even know if I’ll make it to my lunch spot. We always make it though, because we have to. But for now I just focus on a few miles at a time. I can’t even begin to think about doing this again!

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Someone asked us once if we just wake up every morning and are super excited. We all laughed uneasily at this… I wouldn’t say I’m ever excited to unzip my sleeping bag, let the cold air greedily overtake the newly exposed space, painstakingly crawl out, frantically change clothes before I get too cold, attempt to make my protesting body work and get going. I often lay in my sleeping bag for a bit, curling my toes and rolling my ankles to make sure my feet didn’t dismember themselves and escape in the night, checking my Guthooks app to look at the elevation for the day and hope that there’s very little uphill. The days are often a struggle. We’re doing the same exhausting thing every day. And this is why snacks and breaks have become the favorite parts of the day. A nobo from Ireland was talking with us about one of his hard days. He said he sat down to eat a bag of Skittles, looking for happiness at the bottom of the bag. When he didn’t find it he decided to eat another bag of Skittles, but they were the wild berry flavors so maybe it would work. It didn’t work, so then he ate a snickers bar. We were all laughing so hard because we have all been there. Often times you think to yourself “if I eat this bar while climbing this maybe it’ll be better”. We’ve also met a few hikers who are named after their love for breaks. Siesta, Many Breaks, Breaks – to name a few.

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Porcupine Lake – Photo by Angela Boone

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Inside of a Pine-cone. Follow @Ang_Boone on Instagram.

The daily physical struggle is a hard thing to get around mentally. My nobo friend said it well when he admitted, “some days ya just gotta cry on trail”, after telling us how he got in his tent and just cried one night. We’ve all had breakdowns of various sizes out here. Some days it’s the silly toddler pity party of “I don’t wanna climb this mountain”. Other days it’s much more – exhaustion, self doubt, frustration – all piling on until you’ve overwhelmed yourself and need to just go cry in your tent. Spice Rack and I were recently discussing how mental states like these often keeps us from appreciating the day. It’s good that we have conversations like that to remind ourselves to appreciate it, because we know when we’re back to our front country life, stuck in traffic or dealing with work frustrations, we’ll be wishing we were huffing and puffing up a 2000 ft climb instead.

Sometimes the trail gives you a little extra magic as well. There’s this saying that “the trail provides”. A lot of us have encountered this in various forms. My friend wasn’t warm enough in his sleeping bag, but one day he found an abandoned sleeping bag liner at a campsite far out in the woods that no one would go back to. He was finally warm enough to sleep. My shorts were starting to get holes in them, but then I found perfectly good shorts in the hiker box at Shelter Cove! Another friend didn’t finish her northbound hike last year because of a knee that kept giving her issues. She tried finishing Washington this year, but again had to stop. She started to admit that she needs to find another way to appreciate the outdoors that isn’t damaging to her knee, so she started considering foraging. When her knee gave her issues in Washington and she was trying to get off trail, she was able to get a ride into Seattle from a guy at a trailhead. This guy ended up being an author and expert about foraging. She got his book and is now hoping to get more into it! It’s little things like this that make the trail even more magical. Sometimes it just knows what you need. Other times it just kicks your ass.

I just made it to Castella, CA yesterday late afternoon and will be heading back to the trail shortly. I’m hoping to be better about more frequent updates… More to come!

 

Best,

Angie

Puzzled Produce

Did you know that many of the plants we eat on a daily basis are often categorized as something they’re not? When you were a child, you were probably shocked when someone first explained that a tomato was actually a fruit! (If no one told you that…well, you’re probably shocked right now!) Let’s uncover the other produce we’ve wrongly identified throughout the years….

1. The Tomatillo

Most people think of green Tomatillos as an unripe tomato, but in fact, they’re a different plant all together! Tomatillo is a small spherical shaped berry in the tomato family of fruits.

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2. The Cucumber

Wait a second…really?! Yes, the cucumber is also a fruit! The seeds inside the gourd make it an official member of the fruit family. “Why have we been calling it a vegetable our entire lives?” you may be asking. I guess you can chalk that up to culinary tradition. Does that mean pickles are a fruit too? Well, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, because they have seeds, pickles are also technically a “fruit of the vine”. (See source here.)

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3. The Pumpkin

Just like our friend the cucumber, pumpkins also grow on a vine and contain seeds inside the gourd. There’s no mistaking it – pumpkins are most definitely a variety of fruit. It really makes a lot of sense, if you think about it over a plate of warm, vegan pumpkin pie!

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4. The Avocado

This beautiful, delicious piece of produce is always on my grocery list. A great substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches, a yummy dip for other vegetables (or are they fruit…?), and perfectly tasty on their own, avocados are downright heavenly. You would think that an avid avocado eater such as myself, would know whether or not this was a veggie or a fruit. Alas, I had no idea. After doing a bit of research, it turns out that this humble green snack is also a fruit. If you think about it, the large pit inside is very similar to that of an apricot or a plum.

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5. The Watermelon

If you’re waiting for me to tell you that the watermelon is a vegetable, I’m sorry but no, that’s not the case… although that would be very exciting news! The watermelon is indeed a fruit, like most of us (I hope) have always known. A fact that you may have been unaware of however, is that these giant melons are actually considered “berries.” According to Wikipedia, a melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with sweet edible, fleshy fruit. Botanically, a melon is a kind of berry, specifically a “pepo.” Very interesting!

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Keep The Kitchen (And Planet) Clean!

The kitchen is the headquarters of any home. It’s the hub of the house, where everyone can gather, talk, and relax. The kitchen can be a comforting space, where you can cook your grandmother’s favorite recipe time and time again. Or it can be an inspiring space, a place for you to invent a new dish, innovative and delicious. Whatever the case may be, we all need a clean, comfortable kitchen! Here are a few of our favorite “kitchen accessories” that are eco-friendly and earth conscious:

Method All Purpose Cleaner 

 Method uses the chemistry of PowerGreen® technology. Each squirt of cleaner, in all its lovely non-toxic glory, delivers a mighty cleaning punch with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients. Its cleaners, derived from corn + coconut, break down dirt naturally, so every spray leaves nothing behind but a fresh scent + gleaming clean. Knock out dirt with the power of plants! At BumbleBar, we use this Beach Sage scent to clean our desk and computer workspaces, because it smells incredible! The scent is clean and fresh without any trace of chemical odor.

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Full Circle Tidy Organic Dish Cloths

These cute little dish cloths are made with 100% organic cotton, keeping things clean and green. They’re also made with non-toxic dyes!

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Bamboo Trio Utensil Set

These kitchen utensils are just beautiful. And to top it off, they’re certified organic bamboo, FDA- approved food-safe, chemical and pesticide-free; no bleaches or dyes, and the packaging is made from recycled or FSC paper and vegetable inks (just like BumbleBar products!)


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Beet Red Food Coloring Packet

Naturally vibrant decorative foods colors that are artificial dye-free! ColorKitchen’s non-GMO, vegan pigments are sourced from plants—not harmful synthetic substances made from petroleum. Bonus – this awesome food coloring comes from a fantastic, woman owned business!

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Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap

This soap is 97+% naturally derived and it smells amazing.

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Mixed Nut Medley BumbleBars

And last but not least, we have to mention our favorite Kitchen must-have! BumbleBars! And this month, our top pick is Mixed Nut Medley because it’s on sale for only $11.99! The perfect balance of roasted almonds and cashews makes for a bar with a rich, nutty flavor.

Organic, gluten free, plant based BumbleBars!

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What are your favorite eco-friendly kitchen products? Let us know in the comments below! Have a great week everyone!

Love,

The BumbleBar Team

Delicious, Nutritious, Gluten Free, Ethically Sourced, Kid Approved, Vegan Approved, Organic Energy, Sesame Snack Bars!
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