Anne Geddes on Photographs: How Do You Do That?

by Desiree Miller on July 21, 2014

seahorse

The name ‘Anne Geddes‘ goes hand in hand with images of babies in unique settings, from sweet little flower pots to her next project, ‘Under the Sea’, and in this video, the world renowned photographer explains to a group of women during the ‘Blogger Bash Babypalooza’ event  just how she makes the magic.

She not only shares the images that will be part of her calendar and on top of credit cards (coming out this August), she also explains how she was able to capture the various pieces that came together to create the final product.

Take a listen, and check her site for more.

We have more information we’ll upload soon, along with a giveaway for the book!

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BLOGGER BASH BABYPALOOZA BONANZA–How to Win

by Desiree Miller on July 17, 2014

Courtesy Anne Geddes (Courtesy Anne Geddes)

 

Having Anne Geddes as a guest speaker pretty much makes any event worth attending in my book, but the BLOGGER BASH BABYPALOOZA also features some pretty awesome products for new parents, ranging from recently released strollers from Britax, BOB, Joovy and JJ Cole to fun bathing products from Boon.  If you’re not at the event on July 18th, you can still check out the items being featured by following the links below.  But if you ARE attending Blogger Bash Babypalooza, we have some fun ways you can win what’s on display!  Here’s all you need to do:

Open your Instagram account and follow your party hosts:

http://instagram.com/desmiller

http://instagram.com/childmode

Then, follow each brand offering a giveaway:

http://www.instagram.com/joovy

http://www.instagram.com/britax

http://www.instagram.com/DeltaChildren

http://instagram.com/booninc

http://instagram.com/jjcoleusa

Now, as you visit each booth, post on Instagram and tweet out a photo from each brand using our hashtag #BTBBaby to showcase which product you like best in each booth.  Remember to tag the account that matches the prize you want to win!  And, if you have a bite of sweetness from Sprinkles or get a mani from Jamberry, please send out a pic and tag our generous vendors! 

http://www.instagram.com/sprinklescupcakes

http://www.instagram.com/nochiptips

We will randomly choose a winner for each prize, but that winner must be someone who has completed all of the above.  Only those present at Babypalooza are eligible to win these prizes!  **Note—We will contact winners through their social media accounts. You must be able to take these prizes with you at the end of Babypalooza.  Those who do not physically claim their prize by 5:30pm forfeit their winnings. 

These are the prizes:

JJ Cole:

Out & About Prize Package: Broadway Stroller, Outdoor Blanket, Camber Diaper Bag, Original Bundleme ($600 total value)

Boon:

Bath Time Prize Package: NAKED Tub, RAY Drain Cover, ODD DUCKS, FLEET Stacking Boats,  LINKS 3-D Foam Bath Pieces, PIECES Foam Bath Puzzle ($150 total value)

Joovy:

Caboose VaryLight Stroller ($499 total value)

Delta Children:

Safe-n-Clear Monitor, Viaggi + Playard, Sutton Safe Sleep Solution, Lil’ Frog Walker, Max Stroller ($254 total value)

Britax:

Advocate convertible car seat (silver diamonds) and car seat travel cart ($460 Total value)

ENTRIES ARE UNLIMITED BUT MUST BE POSTED BY 5PM. GOOD LUCK!!  And if you don’t win or can’t win, definitely check out the products and spread the word about the companies.  This is the good stuff when it comes to kids!

 

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Every now and then, a toy comes along that amuses my youngest child (8 yrs old) as much as my oldest (almost 20 yrs old–yikes!), and the Wubble Ball, or Wubble Bubble Ball as we call it, currently has them both captivated, along with pretty much every other child and adult who sees it.

My youngest first saw it on a commercial during one of her favorite cartoons, and we agreed to order it in advance of her upcoming birthday, thinking it would be fun to have at her party.  It turns out a lot of other parents were convinced to buy the Wubble Ball, because a few weeks later, we got a note saying it was so popular that they were having to manufacture more (and we could cancel our order if we didn’t want to wait).

We were fortunate, because before that time was up, we were offered a Wubble Ball to review.

Whenever we have it out and about, the first question we get is: What is the Wubble Ball exactly?  Well, that’s a good question.  It’s like a few things, but different from all those things too.

As you’ll see in the video, it’s a bit like a balloon, but doesn’t pop like a balloon if it hits the ground, or a bush or other prickly things.

It’s a bit like a ball, except it’s much, much bigger (it’s inflatable, so you can control how big you want it to be, but it is supposed to be filled to about 30 inches high.

It’s light as air, but strong enough for you to sit on it (not for long, though, because ours did pop when my youngest sat on it for about ten minutes while watching TV…and yes, it startled both of us!).

But, it has a pretty cool replacement policy.  You just send a portion of the ball back to the company, with a check for about seven bucks, and they send you another).  Considering the original ball (which comes with a battery operated pump) costs about $20, I think it’s a pretty good deal.

Another cool feature is the ability to deflate it, too.  That means you can take it on trips, or to the park and back, or anywhere else you’d like.  That’s a good thing because it’d be tough to get the fully inflated ball inside most car doors.

You can buy the ball online through Target stores or through the Wubble Ball web site.

wubble ball outside

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out of office laptop

There are people who look at my life and think I’m incredibly lucky: I get to travel to amazing places—sometimes with my family, sometimes without, hosted by resorts or visitor’s bureaus who want me to write about the experience and tell others what they should know if they want to visit…I have a great job in TV news that I love, a job that fulfills my need to learn something new every day…I have an amazing family which, although they aren’t always easy or without challenges, fills my heart with love and pride, kids who know I will be there for them in a heartbeat…so those people who think I’m lucky, well, they’re right.

But I also work hard.  Very hard.

A lot of people aren’t aware of all the balls I juggle in a day to live the life I want.

It’s a bunch.  I’d be a great circus act.  And trust me, I drop those balls every now and then.  But I am good at picking them right back up and doing better the next time.

An essential part of being able to do all this is the fact that I work from home.

My office is wherever I am based at the moment.

So, if I’m doing a travel review, you can bet I’m going to be sitting up in the bed until the wee hours, working on my laptop while others sleep.

And when I’m home, you can bet I’ll be on the computer before 9am and well after 5.

I may stop for a bit to handle dinner or errands, but then I’ll be back on later that night.

That’s the price I pay for the flexibility of leaving my ‘work’ for a few hours in the middle of the day to watch a movie with my kids, or have lunch with a friend, or whatever else the schedule demands.

It’s a delicate balance and I don’t always get it right.  But the ability to work from home has opened up so many opportunities, I can’t imagine ever going back into an office.

You think you want that same option?

I suggest you read this book before you start: Out of Office, by Simon Salt.

It’s a great guide for anyone even considering the life I’ve learned to love.

The work from home life…it’s not for everyone.

I remember when I first started—13 years ago!!—my mother told me she privately thought it would never work.  She thought I was way too social to find happiness being alone all day long.  She didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be alone…I’d have my friends on the Internet…on the phone…and I’d still create a social life with my friends and neighbors.

Working from home requires initiative—and discipline.  If you are prone to sleeping until noon, you probably won’t do well getting yourself up at 8am, or earlier, to tackle your to-do list of the day.

Salt outlines all of this in his book.

He spells out ‘how to work from home, telecommute or workshift successfully’.

Salt points out the challenges of working from home, or on the road (as I tend to do), shows you how to get organized, and shows you tools—and tech–to help (I will say the tech part is my downfall…it’s easy to get help with computer issues when you’re in an office…but having someone walk me through a problem over the phone is essentially useless—I am not a techie…not by a long shot).

He shares stories of people who have ‘been there, done that’.  And the book is balanced in its approach, because, in all honesty, as great as this work from home thing can be, it is absolutely not for everyone.

I realize I am very lucky to be able to do all I do, but even that luck is balanced by a whole lot of very hard work…from wherever I may be on any given day.

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Courtesy Tiffany Wong, http://realmomtalk.com/ Photo Courtesy Tiffany Wong, http://realmomtalk.com/

Nobody wants to spend their holiday weekend sick from something they ate, but that may end up being the case if you aren’t careful.

In fact, cases of food poisoning go up in the summer months.  Experts say because that’s because the warm temperatures cause bacteria to multiply faster.  And it happens more often than you’d think:

The CDC estimates about 1 in 6 Americans (about 48 million people) could suffer from foodborne illness this year. The result:  an estimated 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations!

Think it can’t happen to you?

Well, when you cook a burger, how do you know it’s done?

Some people assume it’s ready to eat when it’s brown in the middle.  However, looking at the color and texture of food is not enough— you have to use a food thermometer to be sure! According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature. Meat and poultry need to be cooked to a safe temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present and color is not a good indicator of safety.

New research just released by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) indicates nearly two-thirds of Americans are not using a food thermometer regularly to check the temperature of meat and poultry, but a food thermometer is the safest way to ensure meats have reached a safe minimum internal temperature.  When a hamburger is cooked to 160 F, it should be safe to eat.

Want more tips on food safety?  See below.  And if you have questions about preventing food poisoning and how to keep your family safe this 4th of July and all summer, check out the free resources on FoodSafety.gov. The online database, Ask Karen, has answers to nearly 1,500 questions related to foodborne illness.  You can also call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday. Both are available in English and Spanish.

Here are some more tips:

  • o   Never thaw or marinate foods on the counter: Many people are surprised at this tip. But since bacteria can multiply rapidly at room temperature, thawing or marinating foods on the counter is one of the riskiest things you can do when preparing food for your family.
  • Food Safety Myth: To get rid of any bacteria on my meat, poultry, or seafood, I should rinse off the juices with water first. 

    Fact: Actually, rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water can increase your chance of food poisoning by splashing juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counters. The best way to cook meat, poultry, or seafood safely is to make sure you cook it to the right temperature.

  • Food Safety Myth: Marinades are acidic, which kills bacteria—so it’s OK to marinate foods on the counter. 

    Fact: Even in the presence of acidic marinade, bacteria can grow very rapidly at room temperatures. To marinate foods safely, it’s important to marinate them in the refrigerator (or in a cooler with ice—chilled to at least 40 degrees).

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Tips to Save Money on Gasoline

July 3, 2014

Getting ready to take a road trip for the 4th of July?  Even if you’re not, I have some interesting ways to save money on gasoline that apply anytime. They come from Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation. Faulkner says the gas prices this weekend are the highest since 2008 when they hit more than four dollars a gallon.  They could adjust dramatically this weekend based on several variables, ranging from the Israeli military response to the killing of the kidnapped boys (which will raise Mid-East tensions even more), […]

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Supporting ‘the Girls’ this Summer: Intimacy Bras and Bathing Suits

July 2, 2014

(Note to readers: I was invited to an Intimacy event where I was professionally fitted again for the sake of a review.  I was compensated with a bra and panty set, but decided to purchase a bathing suit on my own, because, well, read below and you’ll understand.) It’s not easy finding a bathing suit you can love when you are ‘big up top’, or ‘well-endowed’, so to speak, so when you find a place that stocks bathing suits for women with big boobs (let’s just say it), it’s a […]

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Your Backyard Ocean: The Inflatable Option Can Keep You Cool

July 1, 2014

(Note to readers: Backyard Ocean sent me an inflatable pool to assist with writing this post.  I passed the pool along to a friend who I thought needed a bit of summer relief.  I was not otherwise compensated and my opinion remains my own.) I know you probably think inflatable pools might be for little kids, but I beg to differ, especially as the summer heats up in the southern states and we forget quickly just how cold last winter was. Nobody likes being hot.  Nobody.  And take it from […]

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Football, Concert and Theater Tickets for Less: Score Big #Review

July 1, 2014

I’m feeling like I’ve just scored big with a new site I discovered that hooked me up with tickets to the Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins football game in the fall…a game that I know would have cost at least a hundred bucks a ticket by the time I got around to buying them, but through the site, cleverly called ScoreBig.com, I got both tickets for $100 total. It’s a double win in my book because I intend to use the tickets as a birthday gift for my son who […]

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How to Keep Your Phone Charged All Day on the Beach: Sun Power 6000 Charger

July 1, 2014

The next time you head to the beach, or anywhere outdoors actually, you’re going to want to throw one of these in your bag:  the Sun Power 6000 Charger, a device with a fold-up solar panel designed to charge electronics from Secur Products. I have several phone/battery charging devices, but with four kids who all have their own phones, my charging sticks always seem to (ahem) walk away, or the charge is gone by the time I get to use it.  But I took this Sun Power 6000 Charger to […]

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