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Sleep Safety Tips from @MAMbabyUSA for #BabySafetyMonth

by Desiree Miller on September 7, 2016


As a new parent, my number one worry was whether my baby was still breathing each night. I think I shared that concern with most new parents–we want our babies to thrive and grow and we can help make sure that happens watching them all day–but at night, well, there’s a real fear in letting your guard down to sleep–which we all know we must do to function all day long–but, you also want to do everything you can to make sure your baby stays safe all night, too.

That’s part of why I’m so glad the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) sponsors Baby Safety Month each September. This month-long event increases consumer awareness of baby safety issues, and helps parents decide on the safest products for their child.  One of the companies that gets behind baby safety is MAM–now producing products  for the past 40 years with the top priority of developing items for the well-being, safety and health of babies.

I work with MAM each year on the Atlanta Baby and Child Expo, so when they asked that I share important information with our readers about this month, of course I agreed.  So, here’s their release–word for word–so that you get the best information possible on baby sleep safety. Please pass the information along to anyone you think could benefit.

Thank you! -Desiree

Safe sleep ranks at the top of every parent’s list of worries with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) the leading cause of death in infants between 1 month and 1 year of age.  Each year, about 4,000 infants die unexpectedly during sleep time, from SIDS, accidental suffocation, or unknown causes.  By providing infants with a safe sleep environment it is possible to help reduce the risk of SIDS. 

As parents, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our babies. In observance of #NationalBabySafetyMonth @MAMbabyUSA shares some recommendations to provide infants with a safe sleep environment and to help you and your baby rest easier at night:

  • Always place baby to sleep on their backs. Because babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to accidentally roll onto their stomach, the side position is just as dangerous as the stomach position.
  • Consider pacifier usage when placing baby down for sleep and remember that the pacifier may not be reinserted once the infant falls asleep. Pacifier use is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.  MAM supports the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published guidelines for pacifier usage.  In addition, MAM recommends before placing a pacifier in baby’s mouth, check to see if there is any damage for signs of weakness.  Pull the pacifier nipple in all directions and throw away the pacifier at the first sign of damage or weakness.  Pay extra attention to your child’s pacifier as teeth emerge, which can occur as early as 1 month.  Replace pacifiers frequently – every 1 to 2 months. See more at
  • Avoid letting baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. One of the best ways to ensure your baby can regulate their body temperature while they’re asleep is to dress them in natural fibers, like cotton, bamboo and merino.ergoPouch swaddles, wearable sleep bags and suits are a great choice when it comes to correctly dressing your baby for sleep as the entire range is made from natural fibers with tog (warmth) ratings to suit every temperature and season.  If you choose the correct, tog-rated swaddle or wearable sleep bag/suit, your baby won’t require blankets which can place them at risk of SIDS.  Set the room temperature in a range too that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
  • Make certain baby is sleeping safely in a crib that meets the latest U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Ensure that nothing in your nursery including the paint and furnishings contains harmful chemicals or toxins. Micuna offers a collection of safe and stylish cribs made of sustainable materials like solid Beech Wood from sustainable forests.  Place the crib away from windows, where direct sunlight and drafts can make your baby uncomfortable. Keep baby’s crib or bassinet away from blinds or drapery, which are strangulation hazards.
  • Place baby on a firm mattress, covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards.

One of the most important purchases for your nursery is the crib mattress, as a newborn can sleep up to 16 hours per day!  Look for a breathable crib mattress designed for baby’s health, safety and comfort such as the Newton Baby Wovenaire Crib Mattress which is Greenguard Gold Certified.






(Note to regular readers: I know many of you aren’t as interested in the blogging side of life, but every now and then I hear that you want to get started blogging, too, so if you’re in that boat, this might be beneficial.  Others always want to know how we make money doing what we do…this will help them, too.  And bloggers, well, this is gold for you, so enjoy!)

There are conferences every time you turn around in the blogging world…some big (Blogher, anyone?)…some small (ROAR 2014 will forever be my favorite for that)…some that require invites (the Disney Social Media Moms events) and hand out honors (Type A ‘We Still Blog Award is a lifetime highlight)…then there are those that you don’t have to leave your house to attend—like HELLO LIVE, the conference I just sat in on over the past few days.

The beauty of a virtual event is I can still be available as a mom when needed (there was no way I was missing my daughter’s first cheering event), while still getting to invest in myself a bit. I could say there’s the benefit of no travel, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t have loved heading off to Park City, Utah, where HELLO LIVE was based, in a penthouse suite at a Wyndham Resort. Yeah, that sounds dreamy, but there’s only so much time in the day, and mom duty trumped my travel bug in this case.

So, in between running to games and a dinner out honoring a sad anniversary, I was on my computer watching—or on my phone listening to—experts in the world of livestreaming, sharing their secrets on everything from being camera ready to how to make some serious bucks through your video streams (yes, yes, yes!).

The videos were recorded, so I can go back in for a few weeks and listen to any sessions I want to hear again, or, you can buy the post-conference ticket and soak up the knowledge I just absorbed. This is the link for that: (they brought me in as an influencer to attend at a much reduced rate for the event so that I could spread a little of the info to followers and friends).

My main reason for wanting to watch: I love hosting events and have considered something similar—a virtual meetup of sorts—but beyond Skype and the now-defunct BLAB (such a great idea—but with heartbreaking technical glitches), I haven’t made the leap. I wanted to see how it went for them, and find out if it was something I could duplicate in some way. There were technical issues along the way, and lessons learned, but I think this is the way events will be held in the future—and the organizers for HELLO LIVE did a fabulous job pulling this together. In my book, if I can walk away with any new info I can easily implement into my business, it’s an event worth my time and money. I got several things out of HELLO LIVE that made me glad I attended, and will—without a doubt—be working at least one new aspect into my business—an aspect that I think will be earning me big bucks by the end of the year. So, yeah, win. Thanks for that HELLO LIVE!!

I’m assuming by now you want to know what I learned. Well, I took a few notes to refer to later, so I’m going to give you the highlights on each session I watched.  Apologies to the speakers who feel I might have missed their point–feel free to jump in the comments section with more details!


Gina Luker – The Shabby Creek Cottage & Blogging Over Breakfast Group

This was supposed to teach me how to grow my Facebook following, but what I got out of it was more inspirational than informative, so that is my takeaway here. If you are not having fun doing what you are doing, stop doing it. Follow your heart and the money will follow, too. There are ways to do what you love AND make money if you are determined and willing to put in the hard work it takes to get there. Gina has a great story behind her success, but the nuts and bolts are that she stayed true to what she loved, and when she was feeling burned out, even though she was making money, she walked away from it…and you know what? The universe lined up in a way to bring her back to the thing she wanted most to begin with. I think that is how life works when you stay true to your passion.


Jesse Stay: When you create ads (for Facebook or anything else), know your when, what and why. I think we all know this, but it never hurts to be reminded. He shared some examples of things not to do, like showing a janitor cleaning a bathroom in a job listing. Unless you are looking to hire janitors, you will want to find another image.

Sean and Crystal Escobar: My takeaway on this was not to be intimidated when going live—to just share and roll with it. People are about relationships—building trust—and using social media to share your life and philosophies, especially via live broadcasts, makes building connections easier. Live brings a new level of authenticity. Do not be afraid. Make it happen. Commit to it—she did a periscope every day for six months. That will help you get used to it.


Benjamin Lakey – Ben Lakey Law: Ben reminded us that even live video requires disclosures if you are going to discuss something you were given to promote. That is common with written blogs, but people may forget with a live videostream.


Jenna Wood – Hello Fab: Her main point was you need to focus on monetizing the things you love. If you invest hours into a blog post that pays $20, it probably is not a good return on investment. However, if you livestream, it probably takes less time than a blog post to put together. That is one more reason to livestream.


Benjamin and Kirsten Tyrrel – Amazon FBA & Affiliate Marketing for Influencers: This is the session I think will make the biggest difference in my business. They teased us with a little info about how they have turned $150 into $1000, but if you want to know the details, you really have to sign up for their class. I think I will. I plan to poke around a little first, to make sure it is not info I can find for free, but I liked what they offered. This concept is totally new to me, so I would say this was my best takeaway from the event.

Lippe Oosterhof- CEO Busker : If you are doing a live video, be authentic and make sure you interact with your live audience. Cross-promote it before you go live. Entertain the audience. Offer something other livestreamers do not. If you have a talent, share that. If you blog about shoes, talk about that—whatever you are an expert in and do it on a regular basis, ideally at the same time. You can then turn it into a revenue stream.


Amiyrah Martin – Four Hats and Frugal

Show off your style!! That means your personality, your special outfit, whatever makes you feel most confident. She stresses you need to be mentally ready, too.

A few tips:

  1. If you are getting dressed to go to the store, you are camera ready. You do not have to get fancy. An accessory is all it takes sometimes. Make it your own show.
  2. It is important to connect with people. You can share info about what you are wearing, etc.
  3. Do not stress too much about worrying about lighting, etc. If you take a picture with your camera before going live, you can see if you are washed out or too dark. If so, change your shirt or your background.
  4. If you are afraid of being on camera, focus on what it is you are talking about. Get the space camera ready instead.
  5. Being mentally ready is just about nervousness. Knowing what you are going to talk about will make it easier. Start with the things you are already doing well—on your blog or otherwise. The more you do it, the better you will be.


Mario Armstrong- Roker Media

He built a massive following on SocialCam. Which then shut down. Which taught him some very valuable lessons.

So, lesson #1: Do not chase platforms. Chase community. Figure out where your audience is. He says focus on the big ones: Facebook live, Periscope, Busker, YouTube, YouNow

  1. You need to collaborate intensely with the right intent. If you want to build your growth, collaborate. Work with others who are not competition. Make sure there is good energy. Have awareness and care about collaborating where you both benefit—and both audiences benefit, too. Remember, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
  2. Create consistently. Try more and you will fail less. Livestreaming gives you plenty of ways to experiment. Experiment more.
  3. Embrace transparency. Be comfortable being uncomfortable—it will lead to success faster. Be vulnerable. Do not worry about the trolls. Go into it wanting to share and give. Be the same person in the conference sitting next to someone as you are on camera. Find your lane and own it.
  4. Move audiences to something you own. Get them from the platform you do not own to something you do own. Get them to your newsletter, your blog site, somewhere where you can reach them if that platform fails. Text messaging list. Membership site. Think outside the platform. Learn from his mistake.

He shared some other really great news about a project he’s working on –NeverSettle.TV, but I need to look into that a little deeper before I say too much.  I will say it’s exciting!


Lippe Oosterhof- CEO Busker and Emily Meyers– The Freckled Fox

Periscope was the first livestreaming option to take off with some people gaining massive followers. It is more about the connection than it is the content sometimes. It is an ongoing conversation with the viewers.

Facebook Live offers a similar option, but with your Facebook followers/fans. It is possible to grow followers in massive numbers. It offers a great way for followers to get to know the person behind the page.

Busker offers the livestreaming option with a way for the speaker to earn money from the info they are offering. It offers a tipping function. Another unique option is the ability to schedule livestream sessions in advance and promote them. And—there is a feature where you can give someone a minus-one if they are being a troll or negative during your broadcast. If they get enough minus ones, they are blocked for good. Busker is a great hangout for artists and people with a big talent who want to be compensated for their skills through what Busker calls tips, but will be offering more options in the future that will make it a money-maker to others. It links back to your business in a way that other channels do not.  Expect me to be popping up on Busker quite a bit soon! (Also–he made a big announcement about an important feature coming soon that will allow you to use a ‘buy button’ in your livestreams–can’t wait for that!)


Barbara Jones– One2One Network, Jyl Pattee– Mom It Forward Media, Moderator: Jenna Wood – Hello Fab

Barbara and Jyl want you may already be under consideration for paid posts, etc, based on what you are already doing. Working with networks (such as theirs) will help you get on the company radar. Once you are hired, it is critical to know and follow the brand objectives. If it is to build a following on a certain social channel, you should stress that in your post or livestream. If you do not know their end goal, you cannot plan properly or deliver success. Understand and practice how to feature those brands. If you are doing livestreams for brands, put time and effort to making it as good as possible. Make sure your lighting is good, your audio is good, and there is nothing distracting or contradictory in the background. Practice in advance. Be a professional. Disclose the fact that you are partnering with a brand. And know the job is not done until you deliver the results back to the brand after the fact.


Shelley Coates and Savanah Poulsen – They discussed doing Facebook live and the importance of planning for each broadcast. You should know what you plan to discuss and start by mentioning any special certification or passion so your viewers know why you are an expert. They also mentioned that FB viewers might not be as kind as your Instagram followers, for example. They also talked about being sure you are consistent about bringing quality content. If you can do that daily, great. If not, do it once a week or how ever often you can handle. They stressed how important it is to offer something of value and run with it! Your following will grow. Always have a call to action.

Emilie Daly – Pick Your Plum

Think about QVC. Now, follow what works for them, especially while livestreaming. If you are trying to sell a product—even if it’s you as an expert–repeat the message…present a problem, then sell them the solution. Sit and think about who is going to buy the product—then create the problem. So, for example, if you are selling a jacket, that leads to showing viewers a coat that is transitional from summer to fall and the issue of being cold in the morning, then hot in the afternoon, so they feel they have to have that transitional coat. Make the viewer think they discovered the solution. You create the problem. Then paint the scenario where they have a solution.

Create a problem for them—then don’t point it out—do it like you would to a best friend—you say everyone has the problem. Then, continue to repeat the same info over and over. Repetition sells. And so does humor.  She’s a funny one.


Holly Homer Quirky Momma & Kids Activities Blog

You are rewarded on Facebook based on engagement, so give them a reason to interact with you. Ask them questions—where are you from, are the kids back in school, etc–and go back to the comments throughout the broadcast and reference them in what you are saying. There’s a certain amount of selling yourself in the videos, so remember—every couple minutes say your name and recap what you’re doing and remind people they’re linked in comments. Reset what is happening frequently because they’re not watching the entire time—they’re coming in and out. The comments and likes will get it seen more on FB–and don’t be afraid to ask viewers to share it and tag a friend who might also enjoy the broadcast. She believes her readers now know who she is–the face behind the brand–because of her Facebook live broadcasts.


The big takeaway for the conference was that there are ways to make money doing this, that livestreaming is the future, and that it all boils down to being creative and being YOURSELF!!

Another event is planned for around the new year. I don’t plan to miss it. Hope you won’t either.



As soon as the hurricane would pass, I’d beg my dad to take me down to the ocean. Down to the shore, where I knew the sand would be freshly blown about, and there was a chance a treasure would be unearthed, just waiting for me, as if it had been mine for centuries.

This was life as a child growing up in Vero Beach, Florida, the famed ‘Treasure Coast’. We knew Spanish ships wrecked along our coast hundreds of years before, so we weren’t crazy to think there might be some precious coins laying in the newest layer of sand to see the light of day. We’d heard stories of people finding precious artifacts. Every now and then, I’d see the fancy metal detectors being swung back and forth, skimming the sand, and drool over the high tech tool, wishing I could also have something so fancy to help me find my share of gold. But we didn’t have money for such craziness. My only chance at treasure hunting came after a storm, when a fresh layer of sand was left behind for me to sift through without fancy tools.

I never found any, but someone else did. A fellow named Mel Fisher. He was—and is—the king of treasure hunters, at least in my book. This man dedicated decades of his life—as did his family– looking for sunken treasure, using much better tools than the metal detector I drooled over.

Each and every day, he’d wake up and declare, ‘Today’s the Day!’

silver clump

He never doubted he’d find the treasure from the Spanish shipwrecks peppering our coast. And ultimately, he did. Not on the shore, but in the water.  One was discovered right there off the shore of my hometown…in those same waters where I swam throughout my childhood. They called it the ‘1715’ wreck, because the ship went down in 1715, but locally they called it ‘Corrigan’s Wreck Site’ (I was always told it was because of its proximity to the Corrigan home nearby—others say it was because Corrigan was the guy who discovered the site). You have to understand, I went to school with a Corrigan. This was a small town, with one high school for our city and those nearby, so we all pretty much grew up together, knew each other, and this made the connection to these ship wrecks real for many of us. To me, it made it all the more sentimental when Mel Fisher’s family started selling the coins, and I knew one day I’d have to have my own.

At one point, my father even worked on Mel’s son’s car, fixing it knowing he wouldn’t be paid, because all of their money was being poured into their treasure hunting, then fighting to keep the treasure they found from the government (which insisted it should get to keep 25% of it–a judge ultimately decided otherwise on the Atocha because it was found in international waters, not Florida waters). My father was good with a promise that he’d be paid with a coin when they found the famed Atocha, another ship that sank during a hurricane back in 1622, and was said to have more treasure than any other ship that went down. And you know what? When the family did find that treasure, down near the Florida Keys, Mel Fisher honored that promise, even though his son was gone, having died when their boat sank during the quest for the treasure, just one week after having found the first cannon confirming it was the Atocha wreck site. Mel Fisher honored his promise, paying with a coin from the wreck, which my father promptly passed along to a relative who had loaned him money for the down payment on our house. Sadly, that’s as close as I got to a coin for many years.

The famed Treasure Hunter Mel Fisher made his home in our area, and to this day, the museum honoring his finds and his family is still open to visitors who want to take the time to learn more about the adventure. You may even be lucky enough to meet one of the Fisher’s while you’re there, as I did on my last visit. Mel’s grandson, Cam, was working in the shop, and it was fun sharing stories with him. I highly recommend you give it a visit.  You can even hold a gold bar while you’re there. I can’t even imagine what that’s worth (and yes, they have a guard on property to protect the treasure).

lift a gold bar

holding gold bar

That museum is also where you can buy a coin or two, if you can find the funds. I had to wait until I was much older, but I did finally buy  a coin from the 1715 wreck. I wear it around my neck nearly every day, a reminder of where I come from and the lesson to keep pursuing my dreams with that same Mel Fisher attitude that ‘Today’s the Day’.

coin front

coin back

There’s another museum in Key West, where Fisher brought up most of the treasure from the Atocha, and it’s possible to also invest in the treasure hunting that is still going on at the site, decades after the original finds.  If you invest, you can even go out to the treasure site and become part of the crew.  They’re still bringing up emeralds from the part of the ship they now call ‘Emerald City’.


I’ve bought coins from the Atocha, too, and consider them not just a great investment, but a treasured piece of the past.  But it’s not about how much it’s worth in financial terms.

I am a fan of the history of the treasure–and the story about finding it. The fact that it’s all a part of my own history in some small way just makes it that much more priceless.




Carpool Karaoke with the 2016 Olympic Swim Team (Video)

by Desiree Miller on August 8, 2016

2016 Olympic Swimmers carpool karaoke

There are certain things that bring me great joy in life…singing along to the radio at the top of my lungs is one of them, and judging by the faces of the 2016 USA Olympic Swim Team members in their Carpool Karaoke video making the rounds, it’s something they love, too.
It turns out the team recorded the video while spending time in Atlanta before heading to Rio, taking a page from James Corden’s famous fun during his CBS program, “The Late Late Show”. That makes perfect sense, because if you spent any time at all in Atlanta, you know you can be stuck on the highway for a long, long while if you don’t time it right. Carpool Karaoke is the perfect way to pass the time.
Watch the video (below this article–just click on the arrow)…all of it…and I dare you not to sing along.
I personally love their stop at Chick-fil-A, though they clearly have never tried the honey roasted barbecue sauce since I never hear them request it (and you know if you’ve ever tried it that this sauce is life-changing stuff—there’s no way to eat chicken or fries without it after you’ve had it once).
Oh, and the Pokemon song…you know most of those guys memorized that song back when they were little guys just learning to swim.
And the lobster…not sure what’s up with the lobsters, but I don’t see what could be wrong with singing lobsters, so…


Did You Know THIS About the Statue of Liberty?

by Desiree Miller on July 31, 2016


lady liberty paris

Pretty much everyone knows the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States, but did you know there’s a version of our statue still in Paris, positioned on the Seine River?  That statue has her arm raised as if she’s waving hello to her twin in America, who happens to be facing her, also with an arm raised (yes, they are both holding a torch, but I can’t help but think they’d be waving non-stop if they could see each other across the ocean and beyond).   I’ve now had the honor of seeing both firsthand and truly believe every American should find a way to get up close and personal with the USA Lady Liberty, sitting next to Ellis Island off New York City, at least once in his or her life.  There are quick boat tours and special trips offered to get you over to Liberty Island (I personally recommend the Circle Line cruise, which is what I took with a friend on a recent sunny afternoon).  You’ll be impressed with her massive size–and, if you work it out to stop at Liberty Island, you can even go inside the statue and climb to the crown area, just as you would a lighthouse. lady liberty wide

lady liberty france close




The Insider’s Guide to the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Tennis Tournament

July 23, 2016

So, you have your tickets to the BB&T Atlanta Open, the third stop in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, and are counting down the days until you can go watch the best of the best in tennis face-off in your backyard…perfect! Now, read up on some important tips that will make this a memorable experience—for all the right reasons! These are tips from people who have been there and learned a thing or two. For example, it will be HOT!! You want to prepare for that…but you’re not allowed […]

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Back to School Time Means Time to #StufftheBus (#Back2School)

July 21, 2016

As July comes to a close, parents around the Atlanta area are already thinking about their children going back to school. Many counties start back to class on August 8th, while some head back as early as July 28th. My own children return August 1st. That means the parents are making the rounds looking for school supplies, and one local station is making sure ALL students will have the supplies to succeed. WSB’s Back to School kickoff event, Stuff the Bus, takes place Saturday, July 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the […]

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Lobsters, Lighthouses and a Roadtrip in the 2016 Ford Explorer (Video)

July 19, 2016

Lobsters and Lighthouses. Two of my favorite things. And traveling with my adventure-seeking ten-year old daughter. So, imagine the fun we set out to find when we dreamed up a plan to drive up the East Coast, eating lobster, and climbing as many lighthouses as we could along the way. We were going exploring, and the only auto that made sense for this epic road trip was the 2016 Ford Explorer. Yes, it was more room than we really needed for just the two of us, but other family was […]

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An Open Letter to My Friends of Color: Black Lives Do Matter

July 7, 2016

To My Friends of Color, I am sorry. I am sorry you now live in fear. Fear that your husbands, brothers, fathers and sons may not come home tonight because of some action that is misconstrued by another. Fear that you might also be pulled over and harassed, jailed or hurt, based not on your behavior, but some false assumption. Fear that your child’s hoodie might lead someone to believe he is a criminal. Fear that your husband’s temper might set off an officer with too little patience and too […]

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Lineup Announced for 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Tennis Tournament

June 21, 2016

This year’s BB&T Atlanta Open lineup includes four of the top 25 tennis players in the world, and 10 in the top 50, allowing Atlanta tennis fans to see firsthand what’s sure to be some of the most impressive, exciting competition in years. Those players include fan favorite John Isner, Fernando Verdasco, and Kevin Anderson. You can expect some passionate play from currently ranked #18 player Nick Kyrgios, of Australia, who will be joined by Lucas Pouille, Jeremy Chardy, and Borna Coric, among others. That action will be complimented by […]

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