General

  • Big Toy Giveaway – Toddlers

    giveaway-toddlerI love the holidays – but I know they are expensive. I’m happy to announce that I am offering 3 toy giveaways – this one for Toddlers, but there are also giveaways for girls and a giveaway for boys.

    These toys were given to me by the toy companies. My nephews are at the age where they only care about video games and my niece  just turned 1, so she isn’t ready for big kid toys yet. I want these toys to go to a child who can play with them and appreciate them.

    Here’s what’s included in the Toddler Giveaway:

    How To Enter: Just leave a comment on this post! That’s it! For an extra entry, you can tweet about this (your tweet must include a link back to this post). Be sure to come back and leave a comment, so I can verify your tweet. (Don’t forget to follow me @indiebizchicks). I’ll be picking the winner at random at 5pm Eastern on December 4. Good Luck!

    Disclaimers: I admit – the giveaways are not equal in retail value. Remember – these toys were given to me by the companies. I have no control over what was donated and what wasn’t. Also, I did separate these into Toddler, Girl, and Boy to make this a little easier. I am not trying to discriminate against gender. If you think your daughter would rather play with the toys in the boy giveaway, go ahead and enter that. If you think your son would rather play with the toys in the girl giveaway, it’s fine for you to enter that one.

    Thank you to these small businesses for sponsoring these giveaways and helping me to cover the shipping charges: Lil’ Alice, Enchanted Fairy Soaps, Run Leap Launch, Work From Home With Kids, Coconut Palm Designs, Serenity Coaching Alliance, and Books For Kids With Shannon

    BONUS: I’m also doing a giveaway for a $25 gift card to ErinCondren.com, so if you want a little something for yourself, be sure to enter!

    P.S. Sign up for my mailing list to be the first to hear who the winner is!






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  • Erin Condren Giveaway

    condren I am very excited to be offering a $25 gift card to ErinCondren.com to one of my readers!

    I am a paper person. I especially love pretty, colorful paper. When it comes to sitting down and planning, I still prefer to write things out on paper. I like to send (and receive!) cute cards in the mail. I love buying new gift wrap each holiday season…

    Does this sound like you? If so, you’ll LOVE the products – and the super cute designs – that you can find on ErinCondren.com

    You’ll find awesome life planners, greeting cards, call me cards, gift wrap, lesson planners, iPhone cases, a luggage collection, and more! Of course, there is a great holiday collection, including these foil trays!

    And did I mention that you can personalize your products?? I love to personalize things. My iPad has my initials engraved on the back of it. And of course I have coffee cups, candles, etc with my initials on them…

    I was given a $25 gift card, as well, and I ordered a life planner. I cannot wait to start using it! I stumbled across some videos on YouTube of people talking about their Erin Condren planners and how they use them. Seeing all those videos made me more excited to get mine!

    How To Enter: Visit ErinCondren.com to check out the products, and then come back to this post and leave a comment, letting me know which product you’d like to get, if you won the gift card.

    Get an extra entry for tweeting about this giveaway. Be sure to leave a comment with your Twitter handle, so that I can verify your tweet. (and don’t forget to follow me, @IndieBizChicks)

    I’ll be selecting the winner (at random!) at 5pm Eastern on December 4. Good Luck!

    You can connect with Erin Condren on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

    (I also have some great toy giveaways happening right now – one for girls, boys, and toddlers! If you have kids in your life, please enter those!)

    P.S. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear who the winner is!!!






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  • Blogtober: 31 Days Of Blogging Tips And Tricks

    5-blogtober300 copyI’m changing “October” to “Blogtober” – and I’m offering you 31 days of blogging tips and tricks!

    The areas of focus will be:
    – Defining your blog’s purpose
    – Your blog’s appearance
    – Creating content
    – Getting more traffic

    I’ll be delivering you a new guide each week, with daily blogging tips and blog post ideas.

    You can download the first week’s guide right now, and then you’ll get the next week’s guide each Monday.

    You’ll get 5 guides for just $5 – AND I’ll publish a text link to your blog in a blog post on my site. The text link will never expire, and that alone is a value of $100.

     

    Click Here To Register Now For Just $5

  • BlogHer ’13 – Post Round Up

    bh3Coming to BlogHer ’13? Read up on what others are saying about the conference. Of course, you can still read these posts (and live vicariously through them) if you’re not going…

    How To Rock The Expo, by Kludgy Mom

    The Official (And Unofficial Party) List, by Mom Spark

    A “Q&A” with some BlogHer Veterans, from Am I A Funny Girl 

    Blog Conference Packing List, from Southern Spark

    BlogHer ’13 – What To Expect (A post I just wrote)

    Getting Around Chicago (again, by me)

    5 Tips For BlogHer (I wrote this in 2012, but the info is still good.) 

    BlogHer Survival Tips (I post I wrote in 2011, but info still applies) 

    Coming To BlogHer ’13 – Come See Me! (again, by me – plugging the session I’m speaking on. Come see me!)

  • BlogHer ’13 – What To Expect

    bh2BlogHer ’13 is less than two weeks away – and many of you are probably wondering what it’s like to attend the biggest blogging and social media conference…. Well, let me fill you in!

    I’ll be up front and let you know that I’m not one of the people who has been there every year. And there are some people who have. But I have been there. I went in 2010 with some of my local friends and I spoke at BlogHer Handmade in 2011.

    So, this may only be my second “big” BlogHer event, but I have learned enough to share some insights with you on what you can expect:

    It’s going to be big. The main BlogHer Conference is huge. Of course, I heard it was huge before I went. But could I really imagine what over 5,000 bloggers looked like in my mind? No. You just have to see it.  It’s going to be big. But in a totally fantastic way.

    Don’t be scared. Yes, I just told you it’s huge. But really, don’t be scared. The BlogHer staff knows what they are doing and they know how to throw an awesome conference. There will be signs posted. You can download the app now and there are maps within it. They’ve taken care of shuttle buses to lead you from the hotel to the convention center. And there are going to be lots of volunteers to help you, as well as thousands of other bloggers. If you have a question about where something is located, ask someone for help.

    You’re going to meet new people.  Walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself can be scary. I get a little anxious about it, too. But, I’m going to suck it up and do it when I’m at BlogHer ’13. And I’ll be doing it a lot. Over and over. This will be the first time that I’m attending a blogging conference without someone I’ve already met in person being there. When I walk into breakfast and lunch, I’m going to feel like the new kid in the school cafeteria, trying to find a seat. But, I’m going to do it. And so are you. Why? Because…

    Some of them are going to turn into real, actual friends. Yes, for real. I met my friend Beth when she came to The IndieBizChicks Conference in 2008. (yes,  a conference named after my website!) Beth and I hit it off and she introduced me to several of her friends, including Lish. Beth, Lish, and I went to BlogHer ’10 together and that’s where we met Rachel. When I spoke at BlogHer Handmade, Rachel went and we shared a room together. Are you starting to see a pattern? Some of the people you meet will become your real life friends.

    You’re going to get some free stuff. Oh, my goodness. There is swag to be had! There’s a whole expo hall of sponsors, and the vast majority are going to be giving out free samples. Unless you’ve declined them, you’ll also get “room drops,” where more stuff magically appears in your hotel room. So, yes, there’s lots of free stuff. But don’t get crazy, okay? There are lots of stories about the pushy, shove-y women who are all in a tizzy over free gum. You don’t want to end up as one of those stories!

    Try to look at the opportunities, instead. Instead of thinking “I’m going to get free stuff!” try thinking “This is an opportunity to meet some potential partners or sponsors for my blog.” Look, I like free stuff just as much as the next person. But free stuff doesn’t pay my bills. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a job. I have a blog. I support myself with my blog, and if you want to start earning income with your blog by working with brands, go to the expo hall with that in mind. These are people that could hire you, so to speak. Don’t go there with the idea that you’re their free samples. Go there to meet them, learn about them, and see if you’d be interested in working with them.

    You’ll get treated very nicely. You’ll be getting a gorgeous hotel room. You’ll be fed well at breakfast and lunch. There will be some great parties. BlogHer is going to be rolling out the red carpet for you.

    And you’ll hear about some “private” stuff, too… In addition to the official BlogHer parties and sponsors, there are private events that are sponsored by other brands. These parties and events are invite only. You’re going to hear people talking about them, and you may see some of the swag that was gifted to the attendees. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get an invite. I didn’t get invited to any of the private stuff during my first year at BlogHer. But I have more invites than I can shake a stick at now.

    Remember what you’re there for. You’re not going to BlogHer ’13 so you can compare invite lists with other people. You’re going so you can learn new things (remember, this is a conference full of sessions!), listen to wonderful speakers, meet the people you talk to on Twitter in real life, and network with brands (again, not to get free stuff but to find opportunities to potentially work with them in the future!)

    Soak Up The Energy / Motivation … And Have Fun. Really. I’m being serious. When I leave BlogHer ’13, I am going to be sooo motivated and energized. You will be, too. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious!

    P.S. I’ll be speaking – some come to my session and say “hi”

     

     

  • Getting Around Chicago

    bh1BlogHer ’13 is less than two weeks away! That means thousands of people are going to be descending upon Chicago – and for many of you, it may be your first time at a big blogging conference. You’ve got enough to worry about, such as remembering to pack your business cards and phone charger. And now you’re worried about navigating Chicago, too, right?

    If you’re staying at The Sheraton, the official BlogHer ’13 hotel, there will be free shuttle buses that will be running all day to and from  McCormick Place, where the meals, sessions, and expo hall are located. So, you’ll get up at the hotel, take a bus to McCormick Place and have breakfast, go to sessions, visit the expo hall, and then take a bus back to the Sheraton for closing keynotes and parties.

    If you’re just doing the official BlogHer stuff, you won’t need transportation for much else…

    If you’re going to the offsite private parties, or want to do any exploration on your own, you’ll need a way to get there… and that could be where the fear sets in.

    Don’t be nervous. I’m from Michigan; I live about 6 hours away from Chicago. I’m not a Chicago expert – but I’ve visited enough to know that it’s pretty easy to get around the city!

    Transit System

    Chicago has a great public transit system, which consists of trains and buses. The train system is known as “The L” which stands for “elevated.” Most of Chicago’s trains are above ground, unlike New York’s subway system, which is underground. That being said there is a portion of Chicago’s train system that runs underground, but it’s mostly above ground. Just look up – and you’ll see it.  (When I said “elevated,” I meant “elevated.”)

    But seriously – the trains are quick and easy. You can hop on and hop off and they’ll get you pretty much everywhere you need to go. I have heard some people say they are scared to take the L. I’ve never had anything bad or shady happen to me on the L train. I’ve been on it during the day, night, weekday and weekend. I’ve been with friends and by myself.  All in all, I’ve always felt much safer on the L than I have on the subway in NYC.

    And yes, I mentioned the buses. I’m not going to lie.  I’ve seen some looney tunes on the bus, but the bus is a normal part of public transit and millions of people in Chicago regularly ride the bus. You may see a weirdo or two. But you’re going to see a lot more normal people than weirdos.

    Best of all, taking public transit is super cheap. You can get unlimited passes; a 3 day pass is $20 and a 7 day pass is $28. Click here to buy in advance and have it mailed to you.

    Here is a link to the CTA Website (Chicago Transit Authority). You can get maps and much more info there.

    Walk

    Yes, you can actually walk to places. Chicago is a great walking city and the people who are planning stuff are smart about not planning things too far away. Many of the private parties are a little over a half mile to a little more than a mile away from the hotel. You can walk that!

    And if you want to explore, there are many things to see – all within walking distance, including the Chicago Riverwalk,  The Magnificent Mile and Millennium Park.

    Get out there on foot and see the city! If you’re worried about walking alone in an unfamiliar city, remember that there will be THOUSANDS of women attending BlogHer. Find someone who wants to walk with you!

    Cab Share

    If you don’t want to take public transit or walk, then you can always share a cab. Hey – I’m going to be doing it, too. I don’t want to drag all of my luggage on the L, either. Use Twitter or Facebook to find people who might want to share a cab. You can also use this tool to estimate how much the cab fare is from location to location.

  • Coming To #BlogHer13 ? Come See Me!

    bh4Are you coming to BlogHer ’13 later this month? If so, come see me! I’ll be speaking!

    You’ll find me at  The MultiMedia Blogger session , which is on the Beginner Tools and Technology track.

    I’ll be joined by Jenny Ingram and Briana McCarthy. We’ll be giving you the goods on the 4 parts of blogging – including writing, photography, podcasting, and vlogging. We’ll give you tips to help you figure out which one is right for you, and go over the skills, equipment, and time you’ll need for each one. And we’ll also tell you how to use each of these to connect with your readers.

    It’s going to be awesome. Hope to see you there!

  • #indiebizchat – Holiday Marketing Tips

    indiebizchatJoin me (@indiebizchicks)  for an #indiebizchat Twitter Party on Tuesday, June 25 from 9 – 10pm Eastern time. We will be talking about Holiday Marketing Tips!

    I recommend using TweetGrid to keep track of the discussion. You can log in by clicking here.

    Remember to use the hashtag #indiebizchat when you enter in your tweets.

    ** Not sure how to join the Twitter Party? Click Here to watch the Twitter Party Video for instructions.