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A Trip to the Jersey Shore

The Jersey shore is open for the season!  The beaches are beautiful, the weather is amazing, and the small business owners are ready to cater to your every wish.  How do I know?  I was there to experience it first hand!

 

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I was thrilled to be invited on a SOCIAL GOOD trip.  The purpose: Share some love with New Jersey, experience all the coast had to offer, and spread the word that the Shore is OPEN!  I had the privilege of being with 39 other social media savvy  women, and we had a fantastic time!

Since Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey business owners have been working around the clock to clean up, rebuild, and restock.  It was an amazing experience to meet some of these people, hear their stories, and feel their passion.  They are proud to call New Jersey home and they are DEFINITELY much stronger than the storm.

For me, this trip wasn’t about me.  However, it was all made possible by some amazing sponsors.  I’d love to take the time to introduce you to them!

We stayed at the lovely Caesar’s Palace  (in Atlantic City) where we were treated like royalty!  Caesar’s gave a place to rest our heads, fed us delicious food,  shared with us all they had to offer, and encouraged our efforts to help the Jersey Shore.  We couldn’t have asked for a better sponsor!  Thank you Caesar’s Palace!

We were excited to team up with D6 Skimmer for our day in Belmar!  The D6 SurfSkimmer is an amazing new product….. a must have for all families who spend time at the beach!   Here is what they have to say about this new product:

“D6 Sports introduces the SurfSkimmer, an innovative skimboarding product that’s perfect for an entry-level water sports fan.  Offering kids a hands-on skimboard experience that is both fun and safe, the SurfSkimmer is designed with gripper technology, a stable handle and sleek design allowing the board to glide effortlessly over the white wash giving kids the opportunity to experiment and excel in skimboarding within minutes on the water.”

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D6 gave so much to make our trip possible and they were excited to work with us as we helped launch their new product – the SurfSkimmer.  Make sure you check them out….. you won’t be disappointed!

 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate New Jersey and  all the shore has to offer.  I hope you find your way this summer!  You are in for an amazing time.

 

 

                   

Virtual Piggy …. and an iPad mini giveaway!

For years, Chris and I have operated our household budget using cash only.  Even when things are tight,  we have stressed living within our means and our kids have witnessed it all.  As a parent, that wasn’t enough for me.  I want our girls to know what it means to plan ahead,  tithe, save and spend.   We have debated giving the girls an allowance, and hope to introduce that in 2013.  In the meantime, we’ve been teaching our girls how to manage money they’ve been given or have earned through various small jobs.  It’s funny how cash adds up and our girls really have had to make money choices.

This year as we began to Christmas shop, Caris sat with me as we made some online purchases. She never knew you could buy things on line!  It was a great experience for her and for me.  I have loved the “natural” conversations that have been born out of these experiences.  As I was thinking about these conversations, and how to take the next step, I was introduced to Virtual Piggy.

VirtualPiggy_125x125Virtual Piggy provides a safe place for children to save, donate and spend money.  Virtual Piggy is literally just that…. an online bank for kids.  When I use this with Caris, I will be able to issue her an allowance.  She can save this allowance for bigger purchases and donate as she wishes.  When she decides she wants to spend her money,  the money she spends will be taken out of our checking account (or can be charged to your credit card if you choose that route).   To quote  Virtual Piggy, “ Your credit card information is kept under our PCI-DSS Level 1 Certified security, the highest level available. Because this information is stored under your parent account, your child never has access to it.”

Virtual Piggy offers an array of opportunities for families to talk about money matters and for kids to get hands on experience when it comes to shopping online. Youth can also make “wish lists” … helping parents know what they desire for Christmas or birthdays!  There are so many neat things about this company, and I can’t wait to use more of their features!

If that wasnt sweet enough,   Virtual Piggy wants to make your Christmas a little more merry!  They are giving away an iPad mini…. and just in time for Christmas!  First you’ll need to set up an account with Virtual Piggy and then go HERE to enter!  Do it now!  You only have until 10 pm (EST) tonight!

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This is a sponsored post from Splash Creative Media on behalf of Virtual Piggy. All opinions are my own.

                   

Raising Money for Great Causes – Fundraise.com

Chris and I volunteer at a local health care clinic.  The goal of the clinic is to provide fantastic, free health care to those who can not afford it.  We volunteer in many ways but one of the ways we give our time is to help with fundraising activities.  While the clinic depends on donations from individuals and organizations, we’ve also participated in all the “normal” fundraising activities.  We’ve cleaned out our basements to help host large garage sales.  We’ve put on our Sunday best for fancy meals with silent auctions.  While all of these efforts have been profitable and well accepted, I have often wondered about using online tools to help raise money.  Not to necessarily replace our current fundraising events, but to aid our efforts.

The goal of Fundraise.com  is to “help great causes raise more money.”   I was excited to read the stories that were shared with me of individuals and organizations who had raised money to support their causes.  On November 2nd, a gala was held to benefit the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness.  Potential attendees were invited to purchase tickets through Fundraise.com.  I was so impressed by how attractive the invite was while being very informational.  I learned everything I needed to know about this event and I was enticed to go ust by looking at the invite.  You can check it out HERE.

There are so many impressive things about Fundraise.com.  Some of my favorites include:

*  They allow organizations to create an unlimited amount of fundraisers, activities, and events.

*  They are fully integrated with Facebook’s Open Graph and an organizations page  is automatically generated with Twitter, Facebook and Google social widgets.

* Fundraise.com works on every mobile device.  Not only can fundraisers be created from a mobile device, but donations can be made from them as well.

*  This online platform allows people from around the world to support meaningful causes in a safe and secure way (All activity is done over HTTPS and they are PCI compliant).

* After a  fundraising event, organizations can send  thank you messages and reach out to those who participated through their email system.

* The fees for these services are minimal (4.5% Transaction Fee and only a 3% Credit Card Processing fee for merchant accounts, no cost if you use your own.)

 

It’s free to register at Fundraise.com and the benefits from using this service are too many to count!  I am excited to share what I’ve learned about Fundraise.com with the clinic where I volunteer.   I really do believe that they help provide the answer for “fundraising and event solutions for nonprofits, organizations and people like you.”

 

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A huge thanks to Fundraise.com for working with me.  While I was compensated for this post, my opinions are my own.  Fundraise.com is a fantastic resource for anyone raising money for a great cause.

 

 

                   

Picmonkey adds Holiday Flare!

My girls love the Holidays.  What’s not to love?  Decorating the Christmas tree, baking delicious goodies, and listening to Christmas music.   They also love running to the mailbox ~ searching for cards with pictures of friends and family!  These pictures hang on our wall and refrigerator where we are reminded how much these loved ones mean to us and how important it is to document life.  Okay, maybe that last part is the mom in me speaking…. but pictures are important.  Right?

This year I was especially excited about our Christmas pictures.  I knew wanted to do something really awesome for my Facebook Cover.   I wanted to make a collage and include a large family photo and smaller pictures of our family.  On my own, I would fail at this.  See, I’ve tried to create a Facebook cover photo before and it never looks great. The picture seems to never fit just right.  I had heard how awesome Picmonkey was but had never used it until now.

Picmonkey is an amazing site to use for photo editing, and they also have an easy way to make Facebook cover collage. SUPER EASY.  It’s as easy as uploading the pictures, choosing their place in the collage, saving this new image to your computer and uploading it to Facebook.  Now that’s easy!

Here’s how it came out:

Awesome, right?  Beautiful, SIMPLE, and easy to upload.   So, then my wheels started turning.  Wouldn’t it be fun to add some Holiday flare to my Twitter profile picture?  Picmonkey has an awesome “theme” called Wonderland.  With a simple click, you can add a little magic to any photo!

Here’s my new avatar for Twitter:

There are all kinds of cool, “wintery” things you can do …. and Picmonkey makes it possible!

 

What are you waiting for…. go add your own Holiday flare!

 

You can find more Picmonkey awesome here:

Check out PicMonkey blog : http://blog.picmonkey.com/
Pinterest Page for inspiration:
Winter Specific:  http://pinterest.com/picmonkeyapp/winterland/
General:  http://pinterest.com/picmonkeyapp
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I was so excited to be able to team up with Picmonkey for this post.  While I was compensated, all opinions are my own.  Thanks Picmonkey for being so awesome.

                   

Changing the Way America Sells: the eBay app

Chris and I have always sold items on eBay.  In fact, selling on eBay helped us pay our bills through graduate school.  See, I’m no dummy.  These sales provided food for our table, heat on cold nights , and the occasional date night.  I wrote about our past eBay adventures in this funny post.  Even now, selling on eBay pads my Paypal account for the extras this life could otherwise not afford.

When I heard that eBay had a mobile app I was thrilled!  The first thing I did was go HERE to download it (you should download it there too).  Then I let my fingers do the talking.

Selling on eBay has never been more time efficient or as easy as it is now.  All you need is your smart phone and the item you are selling.   In minutes, I took my auction photos, wrote my product description, and added details about shipping.  With a simple touch my auction went live.

In the past, I never looked forward to listing my items on eBay…. it just seemed too time consuming.  Not any more.  Now my children are afraid I might try to sell them too. Okay, not really.   But let me tell you … once you start selling you won’t want to stop!

You can check out my latest listing here (done using the eBay mobile app): http://www.ebay.com/itm/230888331916?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

 

**** While all opinions are my own, I was hired to write this post by Splash Creative Media on behalf of eBay.

                   

AboutOne … A new way to organize

I love organization.  In fact, I thrive on it.  So does my family.  Organization, done right, always seems to take a lot of work and usually involves a ton of paper ( lists, notes, bills, business cards, planners, etc.).

Recently I was introduced to AboutOne.   They have an AWESOME introduction video… and introduce themselves better than I ever could!   Watch THIS.

How amazing is this company?  AMAZING, right?  AboutOne is a comprehensive  online organizer that makes organizing life so much easier.  Everything you need is at the touch of a button and your information is safe and secure!

Always losing business cards?  NO problem….add the info. to your AboutOne  contact list!

Hate keeping receipts?  Get rid of them… but first take a picture to add them to your AboutOne account!  Perfect for storing all the information you will need at tax time.

Have a busy family?  Sports practices? Girl Scouts? Sync your calendars and get busy planning!  AboutOne will help make it all possible.

I am excited to use AboutOne as our family organizer and hope you will too!

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I was compensated by AboutOne to review their online organizer. All opinions and text are my own

                   

Wordless Wednesday