Brandcation: It’s The Destination, Looking for Sponsors!

emerald_grande

I am very excited to announce that I will be attending my second Brandcation event!  This one is taking place in Destin, Florida from May 9, 2013 through May 12, 2013 and it is being put on by MomDot and Brandfluential.  This is a smaller event with just 36 women attending and we will be spending 3 fun filled days touring the Destin area, networking and talking a lot about brands.

How can your company get involved and have your brand front and center? Well I have several sponsorship levels for you to take advantage of to help cover my costs and get your brand in front of 36 very influential women!

  • Brandcation Ticket:  $125.00
  • Lodging: $200.00
  • Food:  $125.00
  • Fuel:  $300.00

The approximate total of this Brandcation event is $750

Sponsorship Options

I have four sponsorship options for you to choose from or please feel free to contact me with your own sponsorship suggestions!!  I’m always open to ideas!

Full Sponsorship:  $750

  • One original post about your company that will be a minimum of 300 words, published before the event.  Each post will have 2-3 links with keywords of your choosing and any images you provide for the post.  Your post will be shared on all my social networks.
  • An ad on my sidebar for 6 months.
  • Acknowledgment of your sponsorship in all posts I write before and after the event.
  • Facebook updates and Tweets done weekly announcing your company as my sponsor, leading up to the event.
  • Your business will be presented and marketing materials will be passed out to each member at Brandcation.
  • Optional:  Promotional item(s) that you provide will be included in goody bags handed out to each member at Brandcation (36 in total)

Tier One, Partial Sponsorship:  $500

  • One original post about your company that will be a minimum of 300 words, published before the event.  Each post will have 2-3 links with the keywords of your choosing and any images you provide for the post.  Your post will be shared on all my social networks.
  • An ad on  my sidebar for 3 months.
  • Acknowledgment of your sponsorship in all posts I write before and after the event.
  • Facebook updates and Tweets done weekly announcing your company as my sponsor, leading up to the event.
  • Your business will be presented and marketing materials will be passed out to each member at Brandcation.
  • Optional:  Promotional item(s) that you provide will be included in goody bags handed out to each member at Brandcation (36 in total).

Tier Two, Partial Sponsorship:  $300

  • An ad on my sidebar for 3 months
  • Acknowledgment of your sponsorship in all posts I write before and after the event.
  • Facebook update and Tweet announcing your company as my sponsor, prior to the event.
  • Your business will be presented and marketing materials will be passed out to each member at Brandcation.
  • Optional:  Promotional item(s) that you provide will be included in goody bags handed out to each member at Brandcation (36 in total).

Tier Three, Partial Sponsorship:  $100

  • Acknowledgment of your sponsorship in all posts I write before and after the event.
  • Facebook update and Tweet announcing your company as my sponsor, prior to the event.
  • Your marketing materials will be passed out to each member at Brandcation.
  • Optional:  Promotional item(s) that you provide will be included in goody bags handed out to each member at Brandcation (36 in total)

Please contact me if you are interested in one of these sponsorship opportunities.  I look forward to working with you!

Check out where we will be staying:

emerald_grande2

Friday Faves: My Favorite Quotes

Welcome to another episode of Friday Favorites! I am participating in a weekly vlog prompt with my friend Toni from JustStopScreaming.com and several other blogging friends. This week’s topic is to tell you about our favorite quote. I have two faves that I just had to share:

Never argue with an idiot. They’ll just bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

And

As you wander through life, whatever your goal, keep your eyes on the donut and not on the hole!

I’d love to hear about your favorite quote, please leave me a comment below. I’ll look forward to seeing you again next week when I’ll be talking about my favorite eye shadow. Thanks so much for watching!

Friday Faves: Favorite Lipstick

I’m participating in a weekly vlog prompt with Toni from JustStopScreaming.com and several of my other blogging friends, and this week we’ve been asked to talk about our favorite lipstick. I’ve made a couple of confessions in the video and I hope you’ll watch!

I have a basket full of different lipsticks, lip balms and lip stains and the funny part is that many of them aren’t even open and I tend to stick with just one at a time. You’ll have to watch to find out my favorite, but I’d really like to hear about yours as well! Leave me a comment, and don’t forget to come back next week for another fun video. Thanks for watching and have a great weekend!

Friday Faves: Favorite Music Decade

I’ve been having a lot of fun participating in a weekly vlog prompt with Toni from Just Stop Screaming and some other blogging friends. This week’s topic is to tell you about our favorite music decade.

I’m a huge music lover and have hundreds of songs in the playlist on my phone and literally over a thousand more on my desktop computer so I thought it would be pretty hard to pick just one decade.

The cool thing is, the playlist on my iPhone actually shows the number of times that each song has been played so I scrolled through my list to see what that would tell me – as it turns out, I apparently listen to music from the 80s most often.

My fave artists and bands from that time include the Cranberries, Talking Heads, Prince, REM, Violent Femmes, Love and Rockets, The B-52s, Eurythmics, INXS, Cyndi Lauper and U2. I’d love to hear about your favorite music decade, and your favorite groups.

Thanks for watching! I’m looking forward to bringing you another video next week when we’ll be discussing our favorite lipstick.

Friday Faves: My Favorite Blog

I’m having fun so far participating in a weekly vlog prompt with Toni from Just Stop Screaming and some other blogging friends. This week’s topic is to tell you about our favorite blog.

There are so many blogs that I visit each week and it’s hard to pick just one favorite, but – if I’m ever in need of a laugh I head on over to ScaryMommy.com where Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy, entertains thousands on a daily basis. You’ll find lots of tips and confessions on marriage and kids for imperfect parents.

As an example, here’s an excerpt from a recent post by Anna Luther entitled “10 Unrecognizable Post Baby Parts”:

Having three kids has done a number on my body… and my life. From the giant elephant that used to be my vagina to the varicose vein that constantly gets snagged on the coffee table, there are countless parts of myself that I no longer recognize. The top ten…

1. My Elephant. You might call yours a vagina, but I made the mistake of taking a hand mirror down there for some post-childbirth exploration, and all I saw was a giant, weary elephant looking back at me. Sometimes I have nightmares that he’s trying to eat me. On Mondays, I can hear him sighing in exhaustion.

3. My Life after 10 pm. I used to be doing my first shot at 10 pm. Now I feel like I’ve been shot at 10 pm. Going to bed before midnight used to make me nervous that I was missing out on something. Now I start to twitch if I’m not in bed by 11 pm – because I know someone will be waking me up at midnight, one, two, three, four and five.

Between the elephant and the “giant vasshole” she describes in #9, all I can say is, I’ll take a C-section scar any day! So, if you’re a mom (or a dad) who could use a little laughter in your day, go visit ScaryMommy.com.

We’re Baaaaaaack! And an Announcement

Whoohoo!! After three days of server problems I’m SO happy that ShopperStrategy.com is back online. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you guys and doing new posts! I had big plans to change the blog theme and do a huge update right before the end of the year, then we had what they’re calling a “catastrophic server event” where our server went down hard and had to be wiped clean and the sites put back. Now that we’ve been down for a few days I’m more anxious than ever to get the new look going! Soooooooo – here’s a little sneak peak at the new site colors. You’ll be seeing more soon!

Thanks so much for your patience with me during this trying week! It is SO nice to be back!

It’s World Preemie Awareness Day!

Today is World Preemie Awareness Day so I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you about the birth of my now seven year old quadruplets. No known set of quadruplets have ever been born at full term so we knew pretty early on that we would be having preemie babies and we took every precaution we could and listened to all of the doctors orders. I was taking a large handful of specific vitamins every day and I spent nearly six months on bed rest. I was also very lucky to have a supportive husband, mom and mother-in-law who all pitched in to take care of me and our 15 month old son, plus I have the most understanding boss in the world (I’m self-employed!).

Not everyone is as lucky as we were to know in advance and have time to prepare and educate themselves about how to care for preemies and their issues. Have you ever heard of respiratory syncytial [sin-sish-uhl] virus, otherwise known as RSV disease? I hadn’t. I didn’t know that nearly 100% of babies will contract RSV before they reach two years old. I also didn’t know that while most kids will recover in a week or two, premature babies or infants with heart or lung problems are prone to suffering from serious lung infections and hospitalization. There were a number of kids in the ward with RSV while our babies were in NICU and it was very frightening to learn there is no treatment for RSV disease so prevention is critical.

RSV Infographic

The infographic above has lots of interesting tidbits about what RSV is and how you can prevent it, you can click the image for a larger view or visit RSVProtection.com for lots more interesting information about how to protect your family and loved ones.

Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Do You Know a Woman Who Shines?

Yahoo! Shine is looking for women who are blazing new trails in their community, changing lives and doing extraordinary things every day. They are accepting nominations through October 22nd and allowing visitors to vote for their favorite Woman Who Shines. Voters may vote for as many nominees as they’d like, however they can only vote once for each nominee during the voting period. The voting phase will continue through October 29th and the nominee with the most votes will win a $10,000 prize!

Dr. Theresa Harden, Principal of Rosinton Elementary

I have nominated Dr. Teresa Harden, the principal at my children’s school, because she does such wonderful things for the school, the students and for the entire community and she is definitely a Woman Who Shines.

There are slightly over 300 students who attend Rosinton Elementary School, which includes grade levels Pre-K through sixth. Sixty-eight percent of those students are considered at-risk. The school operates on a very limited budget and Dr. Harden has been instrumental in securing additional funds through grants and fundraisers to provide access to performing arts programs as well as playground equipment, computers and supplies for students. She works tirelessly throughout the year to support her students, their families and the community.

I went to the school one morning this week and hung out with Dr. Harden for a couple of hours while I learned more about her background, interviewed her and asked questions for this post and I found out a lot of interesting things that I didn’t know. I knew she was passionate about her students and providing a fun yet challenging learning environment for them, I did not know that in order to accomplish this goal she works very hard to bring in grants, donations and other funding sources of at least $30,000 per year to supplement the regular budget. I also didn’t realize that she was a special education teacher for years before becoming principal and was instrumental in developing alternative programs for special needs students in the county.

While I followed Dr. Harden around and talked with her she stood in front of the school and greeted every single student entering the campus by name and with a hug or some other positive greeting. She told me that she did this regularly because there are a couple of special students who really need an extra boost in the mornings to get their day started off right, however I don’t know which students she meant because you could tell they were all special to her.

If you would like to nominate a Woman Who Shines from your community, head on over to Yahoo! and submit your nominee. I’d also like to encourage you to vote for your favorite nominee whether you’re nominating a special lady or not.

Disclosure – I was compensated for this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

How to Make the 2nd Talk Better Than the First

I clearly remember the “first talk” with my mom. She was driving down the road in the family van with my older sister in the front seat and me in the back when my mom broached the subject and asked me if there was anything I wanted to know. With my sister grinning at me I answered back “nope, I pretty much know everything!” Of course I didn’t know anything, but how do you know what you don’t know?

Poise Fab 5 Products #PoiseFab5

Now that I’m older, with kids of my own, there is a whole new set of issues to deal with like premenopausal symptoms that can be just as embarrassing (if not more) to talk about. We had some problems getting pregnant due to my issues with endometriosis, which also caused me to have a hysterectomy not long after the quads were born. Since I had the surgery at a relatively young age I began dealing with menopause in my mid to late 30s. My symptoms were mostly hot flashes and night sweats which I’ve since learned to control somewhat through diet and supplements, however those uncomfortable symptoms can and do come back when least expected.

Poise Fab 5 Products #PoiseFab5

I recently learned that Poise has come out with a whole new line of products that combat the symptoms of menopause. I went shopping at Walmart and purchased all five – Poise Roll-On Cooling Gel, Poise Body Cooling Towelettes, Poise Feminine Wash, Poise Panty Freshener, and Poise Personal Lubricant.

Poise Fab 5 Products #PoiseFab5

Hoping to have a better “second talk” I invited my mom, mother-in-law, and a couple of friends over for a Take a Meno-Pause Party where we checked out the Poise Feminine Wellness products and swapped tips and stories about our menopause experiences. My two younger friends didn’t want to be caught on camera as they were a little embarrassed by the topic but I think it’s important for all women to know what to expect because I sure wish I had an inkling. They asked good questions and we all got good tips from the others like sleep with a chilling pillow and keep a small hand-held fan in your desk, car or purse.

Poise Fab 5 Products #PoiseFab5

We actually all had a good time, learned a lot, and enjoyed checking out the Poise products. We all agreed that the cooling towelettes were perfect in more ways than one. The reclosable package was handy to use and carry with you and they worked really well. Since we live in the hot humid South we thought these would be excellent to keep on hand for frequent use. I also really liked the panty fresheners – they are small round stickers with a light scent that you place anywhere on your panties and they last for four hours or more.

Poise Fab 5 Products #PoiseFab5

Do you have any tips for dealing with menopause or having the second talk? I’d love to hear about them! If you’d like to learn more or you have something to say on the topic then you should join the Poise 2nd Talk Twitter Party on Thursday, September 20th at 1:00 PM Eastern. You can RSVP here and have a chance to win $100 spa gift cards and $50 Walmart gift cards. You can also find Poise on Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to grab this $1 off coupon before you head to the store.

Disclosure – I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Poise. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own. #CBias #SocialFabric #PoiseFab5

My Roller Coaster Relationship With Money!

My kiddos on their favorite roller coaster

I’ve had mostly a roller coaster relationship with money.  During my life I’ve gone from having very little to having more than plenty then back to having very little again before leveling off.

I’m an “Air Force brat” with five siblings and as we moved from base to base throughout childhood money was always tight so we learned early on to either make things ourselves or make do with what we had. Those skills served me well over the years, although I fell off the frugal wagon during college when credit was easy to get but jobs weren’t. I learned my credit lessons the hard way when it took a decade to pay off all my fun college purchases like clothing, a stereo, clothing, DVD player, television and more clothing.

After college I started a successful business during an economic upswing and I actually began to feel guilty about how much money I was making. It was the first time in my life that I had any real money left over at the end of the month and I didn’t want to get into debt again so I started putting away as much as I could. After the Gulf oil spill the economy crashed in our area and I closed the business in 2009. Having an emergency fund, combined with living as frugally as possible, has kept my family of seven afloat for three years! Hopefully the twists and turns are behind us, but we know we can withstand the ride!

Disclosure – I wrote this post as an entry for a judged contest from Wells Fargo. I received no compensation for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own.