Posts Tagged ‘blogher’

Picture Your Dreams, Make Them Come True

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

I am officially 2 months into this crazy photography business idea and I am busier and happier than I’ve been in years. Convincing people to pay you to do what you love is old, cliched advice…but it’s repeated so often because it’s true. Never do I think “Oh no, I have a photo session today.” I always, always think “Yes! New people! New location! New light! I am so lucky!”

ginger snaps pictures collage

It’s been a long road to discover what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until I showed up to my first day of Biology 111 in college I was convinced I was going to be a marine biologist. Then I wanted to be a journalist, a tv anchor, a Pilates instructor, a human resources manager, a house flipper, a real estate agent, a thrift shop owner, and some sort of unnamed, unspecific job that involved being semi-famous and doing glamorous stuff all day. I was somewhat successful at a few of those, incredibly unsuccessful at others and never got past the just-dreaming-about-it stage of most. But once the idea to start Ginger Snaps Pictures took over a tiny piece of my brain, I couldn’t let it go.

Am I still terrified on almost a daily basis? Totally. What if the day gets crazy and I flake out on an appointment? What if I drop my camera and it breaks in the middle of a session? What if my client hates every single picture? What if my computer and my back up and my back up back up all fail? What if I’m charging too much? What if I’m charging too little? What if I am the worst photographer ever and everyone is just too nice to tell me?

Believing in myself might be my biggest challenge. It’s hard not to compare myself constantly to other businesses. There is always going to be someone better than I am. Always. My goals are just to work hard, constantly improve and make my clients happy. It’s really not that different from parenting – except the clients are a lot LESS demanding and easier to please! It’s super cheesy to say that because I believe in myself I’m making my dreams come true, but it’s the truth.

Working hard to make your dreams come true no matter what stands in your way is also the lesson in Monsters University.
collage 1 Monsters University-3

Monsters University-5

Monsters University-7

Monsters University-8

This is the face I make every time someone wants to hire me.

We’re big Monsters fans in our house – we own the first one and I took the kids to see the second in the theater this summer. We watch a lot of happily-ever-after-type movies, so learning that hard work, determination and doing your best are worthy endeavors too is something I’d like to emphasize. Of course the message is cleverly hidden in an adorable, hilarious movie that my 2 year old, 4 year old and myself all liked equally. Plus I hope the kids can see that lesson in real life as my business grows. Fingers crossed!

You can pre-order your copy of Monsters University here! And to celebrate the release, Disney is going to give one of my readers their very own Monsters University Blu-ray Combo Pack PLUS a $50 Visa gift card. To enter, leave a comment telling me about a time you believed in yourself to achieve your dream.   

 

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “”#SweepstakesEntry””; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 10/3/13 – 11/3/13.
Be sure to visit the Monsters University Page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

 

Magic Words: Free (And Worry-Free!) Coffee

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Green Mountain Coffee Keurig Platinum If you are a guest at my house, you’ll never have trouble finding the coffee in the morning. Now that Evan is in pre-K and Caroline’s going to preschool 3 days a week, my chances to sleep in are limited. Not that my chances to sleep in over the summer were great – since E works at least 6 days a week I usually get up with the kids all 7 days. At least in the summer I can throw an apple and the iPad at them and put a pillow over my head for half an hour. Now with 5 days of school we only have those two precious weekend days for fun or sports or birthday parties or getaways. It gets even harder now that I’ve thrown all this photography stuff into the mix. I’m not OMG SO BUSY for sure – my couch still has a pretty good butt dent since it’s where I “work” – but I do have to be awake and alert and on-task.

Thank GOD for coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. And especially for my upgraded Keurig® Brewing System, which has a travel mug sized option to make giant cups of coffee with just the press of a button. I’m pretty sure my parents come to visit 50% because they love their grandkids and 50% because they love those little K-cup packs. It’s so, so, so, so easy. And I don’t care that your hipster coffee press thing is easy too – nothing beats tossing those little cups and never spilling a single coffee ground on my floor.

Green Mountain Coffee Keurig Platinum

We’ve been Green Mountain Coffee® drinkers from the start, since that’s what my office stocked a million years ago when I worked in an office and a Keurig was still a magical thing you rented because they cost a bucket of money. Now that it’s much more easily accessible, we’re already hooked – E is a huge fan of the Caramel Vanilla Cream and I like anything dark, especially iced with lots of creamer. There’s a Fair Trade Certified™ Three Continent Blend that sounds delicious.

Green Mountain Coffee-7

Ice, milk, coffee and a little sugar-free vanilla syrup and suddenly 3 pm doesn’t look so horrible.

 

It’s part of a campaign Green Mountain Coffee is launching this fall called “Great Coffee, Good Vibes, Choose Fair Trade” to raise awareness of how buying Fair Trade Certified™  coffee is good for you, the environment, and the coffee growers. Green Mountain Coffee® offers one of the largest selections of Fair Trade Certified™ coffees in the U.S. (confirmed by Fair Trade USA). Buying Fair Trade Certified coffee doesn’t mean much as far as my budget goes – I’ve committed to the expense of K-cup packs and they cost about the same no matter what brand I buy – but it is one small way I can be a better global citizen.

It’s nice to know while I’m sipping my coffee that the family who grew the beans was paid a fair price that allows them to keep their farm, send their kids to school and invest in their business. Because they’re being paid a sustainable wage for their coffee, farmers can focus on quality, which means Fair Trade coffee is extra-delicious. It’s not like I’m saving the world by drinking coffee, but buying Fair Trade Certified™ Green Mountain Coffee® is supporting farmers and their families and that’s a good feeling.

Green Mountain Coffee Keurig Platinum

Can you smell it? I swear I can smell it just looking at the picture. You can learn more about Green Mountain Coffee, Fair Trade practices, and see exclusive videos of Kelly Clarkson visiting coffee farmers in Peru at ChooseFairTrade.com. You can also check out their Facebook page.

One of you lucky readers has the chance to win a Keurig® Brewing System and a Green Mountain Coffee® gift basket!

 Just leave a comment on this post answering the question: Are you a coffee drinker, and if so, would you consider buying fair trade coffee?

 

Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 09/19/13-10/31/13.

 

A Healthy Competitive Spirit {And a $100 Giveaway}

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

My husband has three siblings and two parents, all of whom really enjoy card and board games. They all play bridge and cribbage and this thing called Hand and Foot which is not a disease but a complicated card game you play with, like, eight different decks and points and a teammate. I’m less of a game lover. I play cribbage, badly, because my husband forced me to learn. I like Monopoly for the first hour or so and then get so bored I stop bothering to do math and just throw all my money at whoever has the most hotels.

 

I like playing video games as a family; Wii is fun, it gets us on our feet, and I’m pretty good at it. And I’ve learned to play Hand and Foot, even if I have to keep the cheat sheet in my lap. I feel like my game-playing skills have improved admirably and I should get points for effort. But when it comes to WINNING, E has no mercy.

 

To pass the time while I was in labor with our first child, E talked me into a few rounds of cribbage. He beat me every time. He couldn’t even let his wife who was literally in the middle of birthing his heir and namesake win a round of cards. Now we don’t play together as much as side by side (Candy Crush, anyone?) and he STILL gloats ridiculously when he beats my scores.

 

A few years ago, game shows came back as the big thing on network television. It was a good compromise for E’s healthy competitive spirit and my dislike of being soundly trounced at every game. We could watch OTHER people fail compete and neither of us went to bed grumpy.

 

The first time E and I watched Minute to Win It on TV, the show wasn’t even over before we’d gotten a beer bottle and a deck of cards to try playing at home. The game was simple: set the stack of 52 cards on top of the empty bottle and blowing the cards off, a few at a time, leaving just ONE card on top. It looked so easy! How come these idiots on TV couldn’t do it?! Jeeze, if that’s all it takes to win a game show these days, sign me right up, Imma be rich!

 

We never won. Not even once. Go try it, it’s way, way harder than it looks. And that right there pretty much sums up Minute to Win It. It should be their motto: This is way harder than it looks. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth checking out – and now you can, because Minute To Win It is back this summer on Game Show Network (GSN).

 

They got Apolo Anton Ohno to host, which makes sense since he’s one of the most decorated American athletes of all time. And not so hard on the eyes either, am I right? We got a special sneak peek of the show this week along with a list of challenges. The idea is they can almost all be practiced at home with stuff you have laying around…so of course we had to give it a try too.

 

There are various difficulty levels, and I figured we’d be pretty safe at Level 1. The challenge: stack 6 soda cans on a plate floating in a bowl of water. You’ve got one Minute to Win It. GO!

Here’s proof he eventually did do it, even if it miiiiight not have been for the 3 seconds required: minute to win it And it wouldn’t be fair to post that without sharing my attempt, as unsuccessful as it was. GO!

The gingers wanted to give it a try too. GO! (Please note, I know my child is actually 4, not 3, even though I said he is 3.)

1-Minute to Win It

Teamwork!

Caroline looks like that because she's Super Kitty Caroline. Obviously.

Caroline looks like that because she’s Super Kitty Caroline. Obviously.

 

Since that game was a big failure, I picked a level 2 game I thought might be a little more E’s speed. I mean, it involves wine glasses, and he’s definitely experienced with wine. The goal: spin a marble in an upside-down wine glass to carry it across the room and drop it into a bowl. E’s got one Minute to Win It. GO!

If we ever get called to be on the show, I’m just going to cross all my crossables that E gets that game. $250,000, here we come! Every. Second. Counts. A new season of Minute to Win It premieres Tuesday, June 25th at 8/7c on GSN. For more information, connect with Minute to Win It on Facebook and Twitter and visit the GSN website.


And to celebrate the return, Minute to Win It wants to give one lucky reader a $100 Gift Card. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me about your competitive spirit. Are you cut-throat, like my husband? Or more its-all-in-good-fun?
Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 6/18/13 – 7/17/13.

Dove Intensive Repair Review And $1,000 Spafinder Gift Card Giveaway

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


Back in high school I used to get super bored in classes like Physics and Algebra II. Is the anything more boring than Algebra II? I imagine there’s a room at most prisons where they lock prisoners in front of and endless loop of a video explaining the quadratic equation and exponentials and logarithms. Except that’s probably considered cruel and unusual punishment so we only make 9th graders do it. So back when I was facing that kind of torture, I used to stare at the ends of my hair, find my split ends, and slooooooowly peel them apart as far as they would go. It was horrifying and satisfying at the same time.

These days I can only dream of having that kind of time on my hands. There isn’t much time for sitting and staring into the distance as a mom. And even if I did, I’d be hard-pressed to find any split ends to peel thanks to the bottle of Dove Damage Therapy Intensive Repair conditioner I was sent to review. I was really skeptical when I saw “Up to 95% fewer split ends!” on the bottle, since I am not gentle with my hair. It goes up in those tangly hair bands by 10 am almost every day, gets sprayed with homemade sun-in on the regular, and I haven’t had a trim since…I don’t even remember. I’m currently trying to “grow it out”, which means I’ll let it get as long and unruly as I can stand and them chop off 6 inches, after which I’ll totally regret it and begin the process all over. But since I started using the Intensive Repair, the ends are much softer, much less damaged and almost split-end free.

dove intensive repair review

p.s. Want to see your husband look at you like a crazy person? Ask him to help you take macro shots of your hair since your arm’s not long enough to do it yourself.

The Intensive Repair conditioner goes on really thick and feels super indulgent. It also does what conditioners are supposed to do – gets out and prevents tangles. (Remember when the thing you put on after shampoo was called cream rinse? This conditioner feels like that, but without the oily residue to weigh hair down.) The Fiber Active technology actually penetrates each hair strand, helping rebind damaged proteins to prevent future split ends and damage. That’s just fancy hair-care product talk for “Dude, it works.” I’m 100% planning to make this a permanent product switch and buy this on my own from now on, I like it that much.

You can enter the BlogHer giveaway below by following their directions (and get the coupon for your own bottle of Intensive Therapy), but feel free to comment on this post telling me I’m not the only weirdo who enjoyed peeling their split ends. Because that feels maybe I’m only one step away from being the strange girl who ends up in the hospital with a ball of hair in her stomach from chewing on it.

Enter to win a $1,000 Spafinder gift certificate!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY

COMMENTS TO THIS POST ARE NOT SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES. PLEASE SEE BELOW FOR ENTRY METHODS FOR THIS SWEEPSTAKES.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 9/4/2012 – 9/30/2012

Be sure to visit Dove®Hair.com to get a coupon for $1.50 off Dove Hair Therapy products.

The Dish/First Look, First Taste for Bloggers

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012


I’m not a food blogger, but I play one on the internet. I love reading blogs about food, pinning recipes on Pinterest (my Food and Drink and Dessert boards are my fullest by far), reading articles about food photography and – every once in a while – try my own hand at creating recipes.

I’m not an expert by any means, but when BlogHer told me about two new programs from ConAgra I knew they could feed my love of food blogging.

Before I tell you about ConAgra’s site, I wanted to say when I first read the email I was a little doubtful about working with them. But once I realized how many of their brands I had in my kitchen right at this exact moment (Alexia fries, Gulden’s mustard, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National hot dogs, Hunt’s tomato sauce, Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, and Reddi-wip) it seemed silly to pass it up. If this isn’t your thing, that’s totally cool too and feel free to skip it.

The Dish is an online resource center for all bloggers who post food content or who WANT to post food content.

In their Seasonal Spotlight section you can find tips for keeping your blog content fresh and seasonally relevant.

Under Ask Our Team, they have put together an expert panel that includes Phil Lempert, savings expert; Dan Skinner, editor-in-chief; Abby Penich, ReadySetEat Community Manager; and several bloggers.

The Recipe Resources section is just what it sounds like – a round up of some of the best recipes from ConAgra’s recipe site ReadySetEat. Free tip: do NOT go look at the recipes when it’s 5:43 pm and you’re starving. Seriously, how much do I want this corn on the cob now? SO MUCH.

But in my opinion, the best part of their site is First Look, First Taste. Through the site you can sign up to receive coupons, samples and other exclusive content – and all you need is a blog URL. It would a great way for someone looking to expand into food blogging to find new ingredients to include and for seasoned food bloggers to get expert advice and tips to share with their readers.

There’s some great content on The Dish already, but I’m hoping they plan to expand in the coming months. I’d love to see even more focus on fresh, local ingredients that can be used in conjunction with their products to make easy family meals.

ReadySetEat has tons of great, fast, easy recipes that can be sorted by very useful categories (vegetarian, healthy, etc) but I’d like to see The Dish feature more of them, especially grouped by type – for example, Mexican recipes featuring a veggie option, a beef option and a chicken option.

Or even one recipe that can be used all three ways. Hey, that’s actually a great idea for a recipe series – see, The Dish has already started inspiring me to blog better!

Does The Dish/First Look, First Taste sound like something you’d be interested in? You can visit The Dish here, sign up for First Look, First Taste here and follow them on Twitter at @ConAgraDish.

Want to be entered for a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card from BlogHer and ConAgra Foods? Just leave a comment below telling me which section of The Dish sounds the most interesting to you!

Rules:

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion with hash tag #sweepstakes and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 8/22/2012-9/8/2012.

Be sure to visit ConAgra Foods’ brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!