The SXSW Experience

Heading to SXSW last month was quit the experience. I joined the Collective Bias crew in Austin, TX for the SXSW Interactive week.

Enter the  ”Jambulance”, which is an old ambulance that was souped up with music, cooling machine and seats inside.  There was a charging station on the outside and used it as the hub for our “Cantina De Social”.  From Friday, March 8th until Monday March 11th, we had the Jambulance set up in a parking lot  with picnic tables and food trucks, from which we were able to offer food from. Being able to invite people over to have a meal, have something to drink and eat some awesome ice cream sandwiches, was an easy way to find out what their companies did, and let them know more what Colletive Bias is and what we do.

The CB crew giving us a “Awkward Stretch” in front of the Jambulance.

The culture at CB is like no other. How many CEO’s do you know that have fun doing an “awkward stretch” and encouraging it do you know?

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Inside the Jambulance. Seats, music, pillows, more music.

jambulance

The culture of SXSW is outlandish. There are SO many people, that you see all kinds of interesting get ups, trying to get your attention. The pedi-cab drivers were no exception.

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south by

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These guys were promoting a new cab company that was coming to town. Where individuals drove their own cars for pick ups. They were offering piggy-back rides. Melissa took them up on it. One offered for me to get on… I told him that I’d never do that to him. {I’m sure he was relieved!}

consumer queen

We got to try and dunk one of our Vice Presidents, Brad Lawless

Brad lawless

Brad Lawless

Our CEO Co/Founder, John Andrews

John Andrews

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And our Chief Social Marketing Officer, Ted Rubin. All in the name of Charity! What great sports these guys are. Keep in mind it was only in the lower 60′s on these days… it was cold!

ted rubin

ted rubin

On Monday, March 11th, we ended our time at SXSW with a party at the Bungalow. It gave us a chance to invite clients, potential clients, associates,  and bloggers  to join us for a great evening with food and fun.

cb party

I play photographer most of the night. I did miss having bloggers there. We were hoping to see more, but there were very few. Courtney, Melissa and I had a great time.

courtney melissa sandy

Christine Young showed up after she saw a picture of us on Facebook and realized we were in Austin. She and her husband were there on a visit, not for SXSW, but they came by to say hi.

christine and melissa

We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. I think everyone had a wonderful time, enjoying the company, food and friends.

cb party

Yes, I had fun taking pictures of the cupcakes.

cupcake

And yummy food. I stopped Brad Lawless before he could take a bite of this, so I could get a picture! Mine, was too boring looking to take a picture of.

taco

Courtney with one of the CB pillows. You can’t see the whole pillow here, but they are little talk bubbles, so it looks like the CB logo.

courtney velasquez

We had another “awkward stretch” moment at the party.  Notice the photo-bombers outside the window.

awkward stretch

SXSW is a different kind of conference to go to from the perspective of a blogger. This was the interactive portion of SXSW. You probably won’t find more techies together in one place, then you will this week. I was thankful for the experience of being there with CB, as I went as an employee.

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Collective Bias Company Retreat #cbias

Great Collective Bias Retreat In Branson

This was my first trip to Branson, Missouri – what a fun location for our Collective Bias company retreat. I flew into Bentonville, AR and spent a couple days in our offices, before we all drove to Branson together. Thanks Jon Lemire for being the chauffeur to a truck full of woman, what a trooper!

Collective Bias

We had a few fun surprises waiting for us.  Our first evening there, we were treated to the Dixie Stampede Production.

Dixie Stampede

We weren’t allowed to get pictures inside.. which was a real bummer, because there would have been some awesome ones.

dixie stampede

Monica Johnson @MonicaJohnson and Melissa Garcia from ConsumerQueen.com were waiting to go in.

collective bias

Wouldn’t this be a fun dress to wear? lol… I’d love it.

dixie stampede

I had a great evening with everyone, and you can’t imagine how much food they served us! I was extremely full!  There is no silverware! You had to eat it all with your fingers, including soup (the bowl has a handle to drink from)! I have to admit, that made it a lot of fun.

The next day was a day of meetings.  We were all together and I thought it was time well spent.  We heard from each department on what they did and what their visions were for the coming year.

John Andrews from Collective Bias, started us off on the right foot.. an emotional and heart felt one.

john andrews

I got to meet some of the team that I’d not yet be able to meet. Kristen Brown who is running our newly established Minnesota office was someone I hadn’t had a chance to meet yet. Can’t wait to spend more time with her.

kristen brown

We had some great laughs from the Production team.

collective bias

They did some skits from a “Day in the Life of an Account Executive”

collective bias

collective bias

branson

collective bias

While John is capturing it on his ipad

john andrews

collective bias

We took some photos of how Collective Bias has grown from the the beginning with Amy Callahan, Brad Lawless, John Andrews and Jay Thornton (on the screen) in 2009

collective bias 2009

To the growth in 2010

collective bias 2010

To 2011 (Yay.. the year I came on)

collective bias 2011

To the current group in 2012.

collective bias 2012

The pictures were a spur of the moment idea, and clearly my camera was not set up for the lighting in this room. I’ve told them… I’m no professional photographer. lol

There were “Awards” given. Amy Callahan presenting Mailena Urso her award.

collective bias

The Dev team also won an award. lol.. You just never know with Collective Bias!

dev team

We got to rock our new Collective Bias t-shirts around Branson.

collective bias

branson

A group of us went to dinner together and had a great meal, by the water.

dinner

We were able to go to see a Live version of the Price Is Right show that evening if we’d like. There was a big group of us that did go.. and had a great time. None of us were called to “COME ON DOWN”.  Bum! We were all so psyched and ready to go!

The next morning we were all busy connecting with our Social Fabric members.

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Our SoFab community is the heart and soul of Collective Bias, and we wanted to thank them and give them some support.

collective bias

 

courtney rix

 

mama bzz

 

randi and brad

jerra

 

collective bias

Yes.. I was there too.

sandy jenney

Here are a few other fun shots from the retreat.  Kim Janocko Crafty Mama of 4

kim janocko

Mel Lockcuff from Mama Buzz

mamabuzz

And of course… I couldn’t forget the awkward stretching pics!

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joan

Great Retreat Collective Bias!

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Blogher 2012 Impressions

Sharing My Thoughts On The Blogher 12 Conference

I really enjoyed Blogher this year. It was very large, yes… but I always think of Blogher as huge… so I didn’t necessarily feel like it was So much bigger than before.

blogher

I did not get the conference pass this year, I only got the expo/party pass.  Why, you might ask?  This was the forth time I’ve been to Blogher, and the first two years I did get the full conference pass.  I quickly learned that with so many Brand events and networking going on… I was so caught up in those, that I did not have much time for the blogging sessions.  That seems a bit backwards, I know. It should be that the blogging sessions to learn more about blogging should be first on my list and networking with fellow bloggers and Brands, should be last on my priority. Right? No, not in my book.  I have been to dozens of conferences over the last four years, and love every one of them.  I have learned SO much and have oodles more to learn! But I believe that the smaller conferences pose a much more valuable space to learn in.  Smaller rooms, plenty of space to sit, amble opportunity to ask questions, hands on workshops, and no problem hearing the speaker.  That is a much better learning environment for me.

blogher

With that being said, I can evaluate Blogher 12 for their sessions this year, or the actual conference, because I wasn’t truly a part of it.  I had a an objective of networking and meeting our Social Fabric bloggers and meeting new bloggers. If there happened to be a Brand that I really wanted to work with personally, or I thought was a fit for our Collective Bias company, then, so be it. If you have noticed, I do very few reviews now, unless it is something that I REALLY want to review. So trying to chat it up with all the Brands was not something I was terribly worried about.

I did visit the expo… and got to see things like Melissa @ConsumerQueen in the Chuck-e-Cheese ticket booth!

And  Courtney posing with a “Greek statue”

Being able to increase the bonds with those I work with was also vitally important to me.  Since I am a remote employee, we don’t get to see each other in person very often.  I think it is important in any company to have a good working relationship with other employees and often times that can be built through fun/work related activities, such as traveling & rooming together for conferences.

This is Courtney Velasquez (One of the VP’s at Collective Bias), Kim Janocko (Senior Community Manager at CB), Mel Lockcuff (Community Coordinator for CB) and me. We had adjoining rooms and had so much fun meeting members of our Social Fabric Community!

wicked

I was really excited to see friends I’ve met through blogging and meet new friends.  That is really the coolest aspect of blogging. We meet so many people online, and you can get to “know” them …. to a point. But there is nothing like meeting them face to face…. giving them a real hug rather than a virtual one…. and really getting to know them.   I think the relationship is what grows your brand. The relationship, not only in real life… but through twitter, Facebook and through comments on our blogs.  Ted Rubin says it in regards to Return on Relationship™ and business, and even though I run Organize with Sandy as a business… I often don’t feel like a business, I feel like me… and I want to be able to take that same stance on a personal level…. it’s the relationship that is most important.

Here are some of our Social Fabric bloggers that we ran into at one of the parties we went to.

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So, to bring this back to Blogher 12 this year.  I had a wonderful time… meeting some clients at a CB client dinner, meeting several of our Social Fabric Bloggers at our coffee meet up, and a few at some of the Blogher parties… but most of them I saw and met as we were going to different Brand events, walking into the hotel lobbies of The Sheraton or The Hilton, and wondering around NYC.   I didn’t feel stressed to run to every event, and I even bowed out of several of them (very unlike me, if I have RSVP’d.. not proud of that), but having some down time to get some work done, chat with friends and rest my feet (ouch!) also was on my agenda.

blogher

I actually was not looking forward to going to Blogher this year in NYC. I was overwhelmed at Blogher 10 in NYC (I’m not a big city girl by any stretch of the imagination) racing from place to place… trying to be at two events at once, and not being able to figure out how to get from here to there. I couldn’t hail a taxi for the life of me (they make it look so easy on TV!) and without my subway navigator, Kim @CraftyMamaof4 I would never attempt that method of transportation on my own. (yes… total whimp here!)  This is Kim and Mel @MamaBzz as we had been down in the subway waiting for a train for about 20 minutes. It was SO hot down there…. but these two are the subway queens, I couldn’t talk them into a taxi for this trip. lol

kim and mel

I’ve seen many blog post this year on how big Blogher was.. and it has grown too big … and they didn’t know anyone… and they didn’t want to return…. and that’s ok for them.  Personally, I don’t see that as a negative. There were plenty of familiar faces to me, and new bloggers means new relationships. I think we always need to be growing our circle of friends.   But, I kept my Blogher experience smaller, by only choosing the expo pass, by not feeling like I had to be at every single event, and by making the relationships my priority…. rather than connecting with all the Brands, as my priority.

I of course didn’t take pictures of all the Social Fabric members and new blogging friends I met while at Blogher…I think half of them I was using Courtney’s phone to get pics of her with them! lol   I love this fun picture of Courtney @CourtneyRix

Here are a few other pictures I have of sites around New York City

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Bryant Park area

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I am not as scared of New York City as I was… and do look forward to returning at some point.  The conference next year is in Chicago and I’m really excited about it.  I do plan to go, and look forward to all the new faces I will meet and all the hugs I’ll get from faces I’ve met before!

 

Collective Bias, my employer; sent me to Blogher this year.

 

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The MegaBus

The Megabus – What an Experience!

Riding the megabus to New York was an experience and thankfully we didn’t have any accidents, like the megabus did in Chicago!

megabus

I undertook the adventure of going with two of my best blogging friends and co-workers to ride the megabus from Pittsburgh, PA to NYC for the Blogher 12 conference.

Why in the World Did we Take the Megabus?

Because the tickets we got were only $10 each way!  Yes.. really!  My round trip bus fare from PA to NYC was $20.50.  lol!   I know I didn’t want to drive  or park in New York City, and airfare was pretty hefty.

I was very concerned about getting sick on the bus, because I suffer from that lovely affection called motion sickness. That pain in the butt thing that keeps me from trying a cruise, doesn’t let me ride in the back seat of a car, and often people try to tell me is only in my head.

Kim has ridden the megabus several times back and forth from NYC… because she LOVES NYC and she is able to sleep the whole way.  Because she was the seasoned megabus pro, I listened to her guidance (not that I didn’t grip about it… right Kim? lol)

We did get to sit in the front, on top.. both ways – so that pretty much solved that problem and I was ok.  You can see Kim @CraftyMamaof4 and Mel @MamaBzz up in the front seats we had.  We made it there at 5:30am so that we were the first in line for our 6:40am bus trip.  Kim and I got on in Pittsburgh and we picked up Mel about 3 hours into our trip in another part of PA.

megabus

I drove to Pittsburgh the day before from my home in Ohio and spent the night at a hotel, since we had such an early bus.

The ride was very bouncy…. especially on the way home. (Different bus… different bounce).  As we were coming into NYC, we hit a bump and the bottom of the bus evidently hit the ground. It was SO loud and scary… everyone on the bus screamed and you just waited for that moment that you knew the bus was going to lose control…. or pull over because we had a flat tire.  Neither of those happened and we continued on our way…. a little more frazzled than we had before.
It took 8 hours from PA to get to NYC.  I was not able to sleep at all. Even though we had a little more room in those front seats, I was not able to get comfortable enough to go to sleep.  It was a LONG ride.

It was the funniest/scariest thing.. once we hit New York City, our bus driver turned into a NYC driver! We were laughing & screeching  so hard!  We were sure that we were going to either hit a car or run down people!  Keep in mind the front of the bus is flat and we were looking straight down from the 2nd story of it. Our bus driver was beeping his horn like crazy… and was bound and determined that everyone should get out of his way!

Once we got to NYC…. you should have seen me (so pathetic) trying to lug my big suitcase and heavy backpack from the bus stop to the subway…. down all the stairs… maneuvering through the turn styles (thank you Kim for helping with that) … onto the packed, standing room subway…. then back up all the stairs (one … at…. a…. time…. lol) and to the hotel.  OMG… I was dripping wet with sweat and bright red.  I think it took me about 45 minutes to cool down once we hit the air conditioned lobby of our hotel.  Now granted… if I was in better shape… it would not have been such a sorry sight!

Mel and I were bound and determined we were going to rent a car and drive home, rather than repeat the performance.  It also didn’t help that we had just heard about a deadly megabus crash that  happened in IL on August 2, while we were at Blogher. From one report I heard, the woman who was killed, when the bus blew out a tire and hit a bridge embunkment had been sitting in the top front seats (where we sat).  But we soon learned, after multiple calls that you can not rent a car from a local company and drop it off at another local company going just one way.  I think we could have done from airport to airport, but that wasn’t workable for us. So we finally gave in to the fact that we were going to have to return on the megabus to get home. As I looked for the article on the August 2nd bus crash in IL, I found this article from the Chicago Tribune that there was another accident and a pedestrian was killed by a megabus in Chicago. omg! That is so horrible… and yet, after experiencing our driver in NYC, I can very easily see that happening!

Plus, one of our good friends Beth, @plussizemommy and her family came in the day after we did on the megabus… from Pittsburgh to NYC. They were supposed to get in at 2:30 pm like we did… only their bus kept over heating. It finally broke down 2 1/2 hours out of Pittsburgh and they had to wait inside the hot bus (no air) and did not get to NYC until 11:30 pm that night!!! We felt so terrible for her!!

One of my requirements was that we were going to take a taxi from the hotel to the bus stop (not station .. remember). I paid for it… and it was NO big deal. $9 including the tip. I wish we would have done that one the way to the hotel!

Here we are…. at 5:30 in the morning, waiting on a “not so nice” street, near the Hudson river.. for the megabus. I took this picture and Kim said… “Put that camera away Sandy… we are NOT in a good area and I don’t want someone mugging us for your camera!” oops!

megabus

We were first in line again, and rewarded with the front top seats.  We were praying we didn’t have a tire blow out! The return bus was a little newer, and somewhat nicer… but much more bouncy.  Considering in 2010  there was another megabus accident (one of several in the last couple years) on it’s way to (or from… not sure) NYC.. where the bus driver went under a bridge that was not tall enough… and 4 people were killed in that bus accident….  we were just a little leery when we went under the bridges… and there were bumps.. and the bus would bounce!

We were able to get a few pictures (most of them were blurry because we were literally bouncing that much!) since we were in the “good seats”.  It was a really cloudy, rainy day when we went home.

megabus

Going through the tunnels was a little scary, we just had to remind ourselves that the buses took this route every day…. and we would fit just fine.

megabus

We had a lot of rain on the way home…. and just like the bus driver on the bottom….. we had wind shield wipers on our window too!

megabus

I was SO excited to see the Pittsburgh skyline …. here is my tweet!

megabus

It is an experience that Kim, Mel and I will share….. laugh at and enjoy (now that it’s over)… and one that I don’t foresee ever having again!

 

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Social Fabric Meet Up at #Blogher12

The Social Fabric Community in Collective Bias Met at Starbucks

We love our Social Fabric community and so many of you we’ve never met in real life!  We feel like we know you because we interact online and in our Social Fabric forum, but there is nothing like a face to face hello and a real live hug!

Social Fabric

From L to R: Back Row: Mariah Moon, Michelle Kay, Courtney Velasquez, Kim Janocko, Mel Lockcuff, Hanan Webster, Lela Davidson, Yolanda Machado  Front Row: Melissa Garcia, Staci Salazar, Carolyn West, Caryn Bailey

We planned our meet up ahead of time in the Social Fabric forum. Anyone who was in NYC was welcome to come and meet up!  Kim Janocko found the largest Starbucks for us to meet.  It was in Time Square, about 10 blocks from the conference hotel. But we wanted to be sure to have enough room for everyone!
Social Fabric

From L to R: Daniel Garcia, Melissa Garcia, Mel Lockcuff, Carolyn West, Kim Janocko

I know there were many more Social Fabric members that weren’t able to make it. There was SO much going on at Blogher and being in a zillion places at once isn’t always possible.  Even though we all think we can do it… reality hits!

social fabric

Courtney, Mariah and Staci

It would have been great to have had a place to sit down and relax while we drank our coffees. But I do think the standing caused us to mingle a little more and meet everyone.  It was fun to see others walk in and match up their avatars to the real live person.  I’m sorry we didn’t get a group picture at the end, when everyone was there.

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Jacqueline Cromwell and Melissa Pezza

We even had a beautiful baby join our meet up! Hanan had her darling little girl with her.

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Hanan Webster & her baby girl

We met from 9am – 10am. The time really sped by (time also spent standing in line to get some yummy coffee) and I’m sure there were several others who would have loved to have had more time together.

social fabricMelissa G., Jacqueline (in mid blink) and Melissa P.

Even though we live in on “on line” social world and our relationships are usually online, there is nothing that compares with meeting the real person. Being able to see personalities, hear voices and see expressions.

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L to R: Carolyn, Hanan, Lela (tucked back there) and Caryn

We had to retreat outside after a little while as we were taking up the standing room area.

social fabric

Lela, Courtney, Melissa and Hanan

I met Margarita at Blogher 2011 for the first time. She joined our community after we met. She is also a professional organizer and She drove here from Canada.

social fabric

Margarita Ibbott, Sandy Jenney

If it wasn’t so hot outside, I think we could have all visited for a longer time. Oh, except for the fact that we all had places to be and other people to meet!

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Melissa G and Leanne Heilman

We saw several of these ladies throughout our several days going to different Blogher parties and Brand events. A little more visiting and pictures and we were then on our way to find our way around New York City and the Blogher conference.

social fabric

L to R: Melissa Garcia, Leanne Heilman, Lela Davidson, Courtney Velasquez, Melissa Pezza and Hanan Webster.

Thank you to all our Social Fabric bloggers that made their way to the Starbucks to meet up with us! We know it was a bit of a walk/ride to get there and we really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedules to come out.  There is nothing like meeting each of you in person!

A portion of my Blogher trip was sponsored by my employer Collective Bias. 

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Organizing for Blogher

Are You Going To Blogher This Year?

Blogher is a conference for bloggers.  This year it is being held in New York City.  It tends to be a conference in it’s own league for bloggers.  It is big and busy and oodles of Brands show up.

blogher

Why are all the Brands (Companies) there?  They realize the value of the blogger and they want awesome bloggers to try, review, experience and hopefully write about their product or service.

Blogher has been known not only for it’s awesome classes to help bloggers learn more about bloggers, but also for many Brand events and parties which also yield  swag.  Not just a little swag…. but a whole LOT of swag.  Why is this important?  Because it brings on an entirely different slant when you are packing for a trip there vs packing for a return trip home.  Does everyone like this component to this conference? Of course not, many people wish that they did away with all the swag (and maybe one year they will).  Like it or not, if you are a blogger, and you attend events, you will be handed bags full of swag. (If you choose not to accept them, that is your decision). You need to prepare ahead of time on how you will get it home. If you are flying or taking a bus or driving in a car full of other bloggers, and you want to keep most of the swag, I can guarantee you will not have enough room.

Planning ahead will help.

Make a packing list

Being prepared ahead of time, makes packing a simple process.  I prepare mine on excel.  Think through all the items you will need.  I also like to make a selection of items that go in my backpack or purse when I fly or travel.  It’s easy to forget things like clearing out your purse of any items you can’t take onto a plane, like nail clippers or mace.

blogher packing list

Charge Electronics Before You Leave

Because we are all involved in social media, we have a lot of electronics we deal with. Phones, laptops, ipads, cameras and video recorders. Of course all of these items need to have chargers and or batteries.  I always make sure to charge everything before I leave home, so that I will be able to work on my flight or bus ride.

Be sure to write down all the devices you will need, including chargers, connectors and download cords.  I suggest bringing an extension cord and power strip if you want to use your laptop or ipad on the go.

Label all your cords & connectors!

Gather Your Business Necessities

blogher packing

Bring your business cards, and plenty of them!
I also suggest either having all of your events and conference pass, hotel confirmation, flight confirmation printed out for safety. I keep them in a sleeve for easy access. I know that most of you keep them on your phones, and that might be enough for you. But consider if your phone was lost, broken or the connection lost. What would you need to have (confirmation wise) that you would not be able to access?    I print mine out and keep them in a folder in my backpack.   I also have a calendar of all the places I’m supposed to be and when I’m supposed to be there.

 

Packing

 Suitcase

Decide what your travel regulations are for the size and weight of your suitcase.  Most airlines charge for your bags and if you go over their weight limit then you pay a premium on top of your normal fee.

Since I’m taking the Megabus to NYC from PA for the first time, I’m learning their regulations are even tighter.  There is a 50 pound weight limit and size limit.  If your bag weighs too much or is too big, it isn’t as easy as paying more to take it – they simply won’t let you even ride the bus! You will be booted!  I also can probably take my backpack on the bus, but I can’t carry my backpack and a purse.

Packing

Plan your outfits to reuse as many clothing items as you can (without being all stinky and dirty of course). Jackets, skirts, pants and shoes.  Check into laundry facilities or service at your hotel before you leave to see if this is an option to reuse some of your items that need laundered first.

Be sure to roll as many items as you can to fit down along the edges.  This can be a real space saver.

I pack my heaviest bulkiest items on the bottom and then work and fit in the smaller items.

If you think you will not have enough room for some swag to take home, you might want to consider throwing in a roll of packing tape and maybe a broken down box, and sharpie marker. It will come in handy in order to mail items home. It will also give you a limit on what you can mail home.

Once you have prepared yourself completely, you can relax and enjoy Blogher with all your social media friends!

blogher

This post is also posted on the Collective Bias blog.    I am attending Blogher12 as an employee of Collective Bias and also as a blogger.

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Disney World

Who Doesn’t Love to Go To Disney World?

Just about one year ago today I was posting about Disney World on a trip with Murphy USA and Collective Bias.  This post was originally posted on my Chat with Sandy blog on 1/30/11. Enjoy the sites of Disney again.

disney worldI was asked to attend the Murphy USA National Manager Meeting in Orlando FL (Disney world Coronado Springs resort to be exact) this last week, you might have seen my last post.
They asked six blogger to go to their meeting so we could help educate and sign up their mangers with whrrl and discuss how social media could benefit their business.

We were all paired up with a manager from Murphy USA that we would be traveling with. We were asked to be sure to take lots of pictures and whrrl them along the way. I was paired up with a manager from my area and met her at the airport. Jennifer Davis was my manager.

Disney WorldI had no idea there were 40 Murphy USA gas stations in Ohio. I only know of 2, one in Newark in front of the Walmart and one in Whitehall.  (I’ve not been to that one)

We arrived in Orlando and were all staying at the Coronado Springs Resort. There is a convention center attached to it, so it was perfect. It was so beautiful.

coronado springs resortWe had a meet and greet with some of the managers before dinner the first night. I am not sure if it was the regional managers, but it wasn’t a huge group (and there were over 1000 managers there). I know the president Hank Heithaus was there and the new president Tom (from Scotland) was there. Hank is retiring and just announced it. This picture was at one of the general sessions where Hank (left) is basically saying goodbye and introducing Tom on the right.

Disney WorldTheir theme was “We The People” because they were making sure their managers knew that it was all of them that made Murphy USA successful.

murphy usaJay Staggs who I had a picture of in my last post, was in charge of running the show.  They had a good time with it, bringing in Tammy and Tommy through out the conference along with “their parents” for comic relief.

Disney WorldThey had a speaker Peter Wahl do a speech/painting… lol  He is a motivational speaker and he painted these 3 paintings during his talk. He would have a music video on the screen while he was painting (in like 2 min) these paintings. He used his fingers (Bruce Springsteen’s hair) and spattered paint… really incredible to watch.

peter wahlEach of us bloggers had to work a 2 hour shift in the Murphy Whrrl booth in the expo hall on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun. Teaching the mangers how to sign up for Whrrl and helping to try to get them to understand how it could help their business. This was my manger Jennifer on the left.  She had been signed up for FB already and I think even signed up for whrrl.. or did it at the airport. But she was all for it and was great to travel down with. We ended up not getting to really see each other much once we were there. It was crazy for both of us.

murphy usa boothWe had managers signing up via their smart phones, via text on their phones, or by computer. They could also sign up for a Facebook or Twitter account.

Melissa Garcia from the Consumer Queen had several managers recognize her from her picture being on the pumps or her fun Murphy videos.  Ok.. Melissa on the left.  The Red Strike girl on the right. Disney World

John Kim from Whrrl was there to help the managers and he also helped me… as usual with my problematic phone.

john kimThe managers could win a $50 gas cards and chances to win this autographed  Slash guitar worth over $900 just for signing up and checking into Whrrl.

murphy usaI took this picture of Casey from Murphy USA with the Slash guitar and then posted it to Whrrl.  The screen it came up on was just outside the booth in the expo hall.

murphy usa We had time to go and check out the rest of the expo hall. It was really huge and there were a lot of fun things to do. Wii games were set up, prizes to win… hippies to see

hippiesMars Candy  and Wrigley’s were there in a both together. Neither of them knew much at all about social media or how it could help their business.  Melissa and I talked to them about it and told them bloggers would love to work with them!

M&MI mean.. really? Who doesn’t love M&M’s?  They had a new candy bar for us to try, actually 2.  There was the new 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp and the Peanut Butter Snickers.

3 musketeersHere is my verdict.  Loved the 3 Musketeers.  I was actually surprised. Well… I mean I love # Musketeers anyway, but when I first broke it in half. It didn’t seem gooey and it almost seemed… well…boring inside. But… I took a bite and it was so light and it was like the chocolate was so creamy and just filled the whole taste. I loved it!  It gave you the feeling of Dove chocolate (not sure if I should say that or not… but that chocolate is about my favorite.. so it is a big compliment) creamy and light… oh… I WILL be buying more of these. Just not in high numbers since I have really been trying to not eat as many sweets.

I tried 1/2 of the Snickers bar. It was actually in 2 square pieces, so unlike a normal Snickers. I ate half on the plane on the way home and was saving the other half to take a picture of when we got home. But …. my dog found it first in my purse. Oh yeah.. nice.  It was good… the peanut butter wasn’t over powering. But do I think I would pick it over a traditional Snickers… no, probably not. I love the regular Snickers too much.

wrigley's and marsHere are the 2 reps that were in the booth. Nice guys, but they need to realize how social media can  help them!

Wrigley was giving out packs of their new gum, Prism.

prism gumThere are 15 pieces of sugarless gum in the pack. This was electric watermelon. I will tell you what. The smell of watermelon is strong, you can smell it as soon as you take the wrapper off the box.  The green foil that wraps the piece of gum looked kind of cool too. Different you know? My mouth was watering before I put the piece of gum in. I thought it was really going to be a gum for kids…. sour and all. But it wasn’t. As strong as the smell was, the taste was nice. I mean it was totally watermelon, but not a sour one. It is good… and with just a hint of that gum mint to it after you chew it for a little bit. (does that make sense).  I know the kids will love it, but it is a refreshing favor for adults.

iceeThere were ICEE’s there. I love Icee’s! I have always liked the Coke best. They are coming out with Root Beer float and a blueberry one (oops forget the name of it). I tried the root beer. It is awesome! It really tastes like a float. The foaminess of the Icee is just the right consistency.  I do have a new favorite favor.  You will have to watch for them to be released. (Try the root beer!!)

Dr. PepperDr. Pepper was there… giving away guitars and pictures with a couple cute girls.  What did I like? They had diet Dr. Pepper. It is one of my favorites. Really nice people too… also learning about social media and how it could benefit them. (Yes…. I had 2 diet Dr. Peppers that afternoon.. although there were other drinks I could have picked from.)

murphy usaAre you used to seeing gas pump handles?  I wasn’t.. I thought they were cool.

disney worldWhat about a full size gas semi?  I wanted to get in and see the cab… but I didn’t.

John Andrews from Collective Bias was there. This is who these people need to talk to about social Media.. he knows first hand how the power of bloggers and social media can benefit the Brands. (That is what Collective Bias is all about)

John Andrews

The announced to the whole group of managers that they were taking us all to Disney World on Monday evening. That was about 3:30 and we had about 45 minutes to get ready to be on the buses.

sandy with piglett

I got to have dinner with the Collective Bias team that was there, Jerra and John and also with Casey from Murphy USA and John Kim from Whrrl. Also Kerry and Kristine from Nomadic were there.

mamabzzUs bloggers ran around together at Disney. Mel Lockcuff from MamaBuzz and Leigh Caldwell from Theme Park Mom

collective biasAlong with Courtney Solstad from My DFW Mommy and Melissa Garcia from Consumer Queen, Jerri Ann from Mom~e~Centric was on the trip but didn’t come to Disney.

dole whipMel introduced us to Dole Whip.. it was good.

I also got a picture with Eeyore. what fun!  I don’t know… I guess there is still kid in all of us!

Disney World

Jerra from Collective Bias looked so cute with Piglet.

piglettWe had a full day on Tuesday and they announced all the Murphy USA Circle of Winners. After that they again surprised everyone with a trip to Sea World. I felt terrible because it was pouring rain, and storming.  But they had rented out half of Sea World and 2 roller coasters and I think everyone had fun anyway. Thanks so much Murphy USA, Collective Bias and Whrrl.. it was great fun!

Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Murphy USA and Collective Bias.

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Organizing Mission Monday Link Party – Week 47

Tailgating with Collective Bias

I had told you all I was doing a lot of traveling in the last few week. This was the last of my adventures. I went to Bentonville AR to the Collective Bias offices for several days.

We were invited to stay a couple extra days so that we could join in the Tailgating festivities with them!

razorbacks

Kim from @Craftymamaof4 and I got some duds to wear so we would fit in (and not be OSU or Stealers fans for the day).  I will tell you that living in the Columbus Ohio area all my life, I have only been to one OSU football game. That was before I was ever married. I’ve never been to a real tailgate party. What fun!

I was amazed at everything people had. It was a super windy day and many people couldn’t put up their tent things. (What are those called? lol)  But there were plenty of TV’s hooked up!

I had to laugh at myself because I couldn’t for the life of me remember to call this (their mascot) a Razorback.  I wanted to call their mascot a hedgehog!

razorback

We didn’t go to the game, but the stadium was right in front of us. We had a cool view of the ramps going into the stadium.

When Kim and I left to walk back to our car, we were able to get a better view of inside the stadium, although you could only see a little of the field.

I like this picture

Thanks for a fun evening!
Link up to My Linky Party

What is happening in your life this week? But as always you can link up any organizing or cleaning or DIY post to my link party.

Organizing Mission Monday

You can find the link for my button and also my “Proud to Be Featured Button” on my top “Buttons” Tab.

1) Link to your specific post – not your blog
2) Please Link back to my blog with my button or link (link just above underneath my button)
3) I’d love if you’d follow me on google and/or FB. The google is new and I’m trying to build it
4) Blog post related to Organizing or Cleaning or DIY or decorating
5) No sales pitches or web sites.
6) If I feature you I will use one or more of your pictures with a link back to your blog.
7) Feel free to link up more than 1 post.

Looking for other link parties? I have a whole list of them. Thumbnail via day above and keep scrolling down to find a more extensive text lists by day on my link party list. If you aren’t sure how to link up… see my link party tutorial here. It is simple. If You Are On A Reader and Want to View All the Great Link Up’s on this post please Click Here.
This party will be open until November 27, 2011

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Cheap Sally Party & Collective Bias

Best Party at Blogher 2011 This Year!

cheapsally That is simple!!  The #CheapSallyParty! It was slated to be the best party – that can be a bit scary! Expectations are high! But guess what?  There was no question. Hands down, this was the best party – and not by our accounts…. but by almost everyone who attended!  Collective Bias sent me to Blogher (loved it! I’ve never been to San Diego in CA before.. now I know why people love it so much!) this year as their photographer for several events. I was primarily behind the camera lens this trip, but had plenty of pictures with me in them too.

The atmosphere was amazing! We had the entire Stingree Nightclub to ourselves.  Three floors of awesomeness!

There were food stations, plenty of drink stations and no problems finding a place to sit, talk and relax.

cheapsally party

The rooftop was the highlight of the party! We couldn’t have had better weather if we had ordered and paid for it!

The Brands had exposure in the cabanas that gave them plenty of attention, but they weren’t in your face. This was Collective Bia’s cabana – our community of bloggers is called Social Fabric.

social fabric

Aren’t our Collective Bias pillows awesome! Love them!

collective bias pillow

It was a nice place for bloggers to come and know they would find Social Fabric members.  Here is Kim @craftymamaof4 and Michele @scrappinmichele

collective bias

Udi’s Gluten Free Food gave us a loaf of their bread in our swag bags. They also gave us some granola. Later that night I sat in my room and worked… I was starved. I opened up the loaf of bread, fully expecting some terrible tasting stuff (I don’t eat gluten free… can you tell?) I was completely shocked to discover it was moist, tasty and I really liked it. I didn’t have anything to put on it, like butter or jelly… and didn’t miss it. I ate some more the next morning along with the granola (dry) and enjoyed that too.  Totally recommend this.

udi's

I loved this space.  KMart is coming out with a new line of Gordon Ramsay kitchen accessories this fall.

Sears

Doesn’t this look cool? I’d love to try out some of those pans… they look nice.

Gordon Ramsay

I also loved that they gave away all the items they were displaying there to a local food pantry that helps the homeless. Really … so much cooler than giving it away to the bloggers (we get so much at these conferences)

The Bloggers were able to go and visit and talk sitting on comfy couches, pick up awesome swag at the cabanas as well as in their swag bags on their way out.

Cheap Sally announced an awesome giveaway! I mean … really awesome!! The Cheap Sally Bring Home The Bacon Contest!!

cheapsally

They are having a contest and the winner will get a contract for a year – to write one blog post a week on the Cheap Sally blog for $100,000 for the year! Can you say OMG!!

This is Brian Markley (a Top Chef and owns two restaurants in San Diego) beginning the announcement for Cheap Sally Bring Home the Bacon Contest.

Brian Marlarkey

We had several of our bloggers interview Brian at the beginning of the party.  Melissa had him laughing!

Brian Marlarkey and Melissa

Ok.. I wanted a picture too.

Melissa and Daniel (ConsumerQueen and ConsumerKing) are so sweet. I always love seeing Melissa and enjoy when Daniel gets to come to the conferences too.

Consumer Queen and Consumer King

One of the things I LOVE about any blogging conference is when we can meet people in real life that we are used to just talking to online.

One of my favorite people to meet in real life was Lily @MiliaryFamof8. I discovered that Lily is extremely shy and wasn’t real happy that I was taking her picture. But she is SO giving, has such a loving and giving spirit and looked absolutely hot! Her hubby bought her outfit for her to wear and she was very uncomfortable. She had not been to other blogging conferences and has a comfort behind the computer.. not in front of it (not unusual at all for many bloggers).  But she got to meet many people from Social Fabric… how could you not love her?

kim and lily Check out her shoes! Aren’t they great!!

shoes

Here are Amy’s shoes… love them too.

Amy Callahan from Collective Bias looked great. This is her and Lauren before the party.

Again at the end of the party with Kate Berg

Sears Style had a booth and the ambassadors that went shopping (that post will be coming soon). They were manning the booth and handing out some awesome swag too! Don’t they look great?

searsAnd more.. I’m excited about the age defining cream (I can use all the help I can get you know!)

sears

Liz from Smarties is the bomb! Can you imagine being a 5th generation candy maker and looking like this? I think I’d be a two ton tessy if it were me!

smartiesShe made a swag for her booth using the candy necklaces! lol

We also discovered that you can put Smarties into a Martini and it was dubbed the Smartini! Can I tell you that when your drink is gone… eating the martini soaked Smarties… was the highlight!

There was also Smartie appetizers all over!  (yum)

The evening  was beautiful…

Loved taking pictures of everyone! Mel from MamaBzz met Ted Rubin

Mel and Ted

Ken Barnett and his wife were there. Ken is the CEO of MARS Advertising.

Ken barnett

Debba from Girlfriendology with some of the UPS Store crew

Lifetime Moms was one of the sponsors

I don’t know who this is, but they were sitting in the Lifetime Moms area… and I love this peach dress! I felt like she looked so beautiful in it. I had to ask for her picture.

That was one of the things the bloggers loved. They felt they could relax, visit and have a space to visit with the Brands that was not pressured… not crazy crowded.

Amy Lowe looked so cute. She has been helping me so much writing tweets for cbSocially!

Amy Lowe

I was excited to meet Shelby @GlitterfulFelt  She and Steve did daily videos when we worked on the Lean Cuisine campaign. I felt like I already knew her because I saw her on video. She was so cute with her (fake) tattoo with Steve’s name on it!

These two wonderful ladies are from Canada.  It was fun to have someone be excited about having a picture taken with me!  Melissa @TimeOutMom on the left and Margarita @DownShiftingPOS (another professional organizer!!) on the right.

Kim, Monica and I posing inside the Social Fabric Cabana. Look at our cool Collective Bias QR code badges (Jay is the bomb!)

kim monica and sandy

Courtney, Kim and I out front before the party began.

Everyone left with plenty of swag (including these great flip flops from ViX Swimwear…these are no cheap little ol’ flip flops ladies!!)

They got a bag as they left which also had more goodies in it (other than what they picked up at the cabanas.) Like Peets Coffee! Yum…. good coffee!  I also found out they sell it at my local grocery store.. so it’s all good!

I had a wonderful time, even though I was running around taking pictures of everyone (that was fun!) and what was nicer was knowing that everyone else had a great time too.

Thank you to all the sponsors and Dawn and Elizabeth from Party BluPrints (thank you for your book in the swag bags!)  along with everyone from Collective Bias who put in so many hours and so much time to make this party happen.

 

Collective Bias sponsored my trip to Blogher11.

I was not asked to write this post. I did that on my own because it was so stinkin’ awesome!

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Evo Conference 2011

I Love Utah!!

Utah

I went for the second year to Park City Utah for the Evo Conference. I love it there!! I am SO going to bring Dave next year, and we are talking about bringing the kids.

We stayed at the Canyons Resort and it was the bomb!

resort

The Collective Bias group got a suite again, and I think there were like 8 of us in there. Three bedrooms, living room, kitchen and huge dinner table. So fun!

The conference itself was great! I love the workshops that Jyl Pattee has worked in so that we get hands on attention.

elevator friends

The sponsor suites were really nice… and we had plenty of time to get to them all.
Jenny from Kodak  – yes those are Cake Pops!

jenny from kodak
There were some that were so pretty and calm.

evo

Bert and Ernie were in the Sesame Street Suite

Bert and Ernie

cookies

We also got to Just Dance!

I went up to a photography workshop on the lift by myself… and just couldn’t stop taking pictures.

utah

utah

utah

utah
I wish you could tell how steep this was going down! If it was going fast I would have freaked! I was in the chair by myself and realized it was just too beautiful to be scary.

chair lift utah

We were able to go zip lining

zip lining
on the “roller coaster” that goes down the mountain – this was on our way up. Look at the deer to the left. I didn’t even see that until I looked at my pictures later.

We also went on the Alpine Slide, carrying our slides to the starting point.


Getting all ready to go (Kim Janocko – Crafty Mama of 4)

crafty mama of 4
And flying down. This pic was taken as I was going up the chair lift, so I have no idea who is going down. But it looks like the dad is having fun!

utah
Bush’s Bake Beans put on this night for us including a wonderful dinner and all these fun activities.

Our last night was also up the mountain. There was a storm going up…. wind and a chairlift going over the mountains is a scary thing! lol Monica was scared enough going on the chairlift – let alone as windy as it was. We were trying to distract her.

evo
But seeing the aftermath is worth it..a double rainbow

double rainbow

Doesn’t it look like the rainbow is going into the “pot of gold” cloud?

rainbow

Here is the most of us from Collective Bias!

collective bias at evo

I wanted to be able to tell Dave I saw a Moose…this was the best I could do.

sandy and a moose

Loved Evo!  Loved Utah.. can’t wait to go back!

Here are the list of sponsors of Evo.

I was sponsored by Collective Bias for this conference.  Thank you Collective Bias and cb.Socially!

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Gleek Retreat 2011

Holland, Michigan is one cute little town!

I loved the location for our retreat this year! Holland is on the west coast of Michigan, right on the water. It is actually a college town. A private Christian college called Hope College is there.

Holland MI

There is a fireplace always going and their brick walks are heated! Can you imagine? (So nice in the winter right?)

Holland MI

It was a six hour drive for me, but the weather and traffic cooperated and I got there on Friday about 5:30pm.  I met with Courtney Velasquez and we went out to dinner at a place called CityVu Bistro with a few other Collective Bias members. Some old, some new.. some yet to be. lol

Gleek retreat

From left: Sylvia Hubbard, Elena Wollborg, Elizabeth Edwards, Deb Steenhagen

Look at this spinach dip!

spinach dipCourtney, Elizabeth and I.  Thank you very much for a wonderful dinner CityVu, Courtney and Collective Bias.

Gleek retreat

It was a small group of us for the Gleek Retreat which was so nice. I think we were around 40 or so from what I heard. We all met in one room and we all heard the same speakers. The positive thing about that was that you didn’t feel like you missed anything.

Lisa Lehmann started things off. It is so neat to hear about the person behind the business.  She did a fabulous job.

lisa lehmann

We had some network time to get to know some other the other bloggers.

We also heard from an author of over 20 Romance novels; Sylvia Hubbard.  I don’t know why I didn’t get a picture of her speaking (ugh)… but she is up in my picture of when we ate at CityVu.

Brittany Gibbons and Heather Spohr gave us all the ins and outs of how to start and run a group blog.

gleek retreat

Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship talked to us about writing E-books. This was really useful to me. I have been planning on doing a couple, and she gave me some great info!

gleek retreat

We were finished up pretty early. I’m guessing around 3pm.  We had time to walk around the town… and go in a bunch of the cute little stores.

Holland MI

There has to be a cute coffee shop in a cute town right?

holland MIYou also can’t forget the fudge shop. I guess they also have awesome milk shakes.  There was SO much I wanted to buy there, but I was good (for me) and only got a caramel covered pretzel stick.

kilwins

I loved this cute little shop – it had some really creative hand made items in it.  The owner had made these cake pops.. and they were awesome!  I almost bought the book by Bakerella… and I wish I had. I am going to get it, either in a book store or online. These were just too cute. When I do get the book, I’ll make some and share it on my blog.

cake pops

There were five of us walking around.Shanda, Jodi Michelle, Stacey and Courtney. Jodi and Stacey both live close by, so they knew the stores well….. especially Jodi! Heck, they know her by name when she walks in!

gleek retreat
After our run around town, we got ready to go on the Holland Princess dinner cruise.  It was only a short bus ride there, in the rain….

holland princessThank goodness there was a closed section downstairs.  We all got two drink tickets… hee haw!

dinner cruiseWe were served a lovely dinner (well…. not really very good. The chicken was cold, cheese not melted and noodles dry and it was salsa instead of tomato sauce… but the roll was good! I didn’t eat the dinner, but I did eat my roll and Courtney’s roll.)

gleek retreat

But my drink was good!

gleek retreat

Courtney, Shanda and I went on top of the boat after the rain and it was so nice and cool and the view was great. Shanda was saying how she didn’t have a good profile picture…. so we decided to try and get one. Here are several I took.

Shanda

shanda

 

shanda

and here is one more

shanda

The lighting was being a pain. But we had fun. I took a whole lot more than those… lol

Guess where Courtney and Shanda pretended to be?

gleek retreat

Here are a few other fun pics from that night.  (I was trying to hide my band-aide on the side of my nose. But I just photoshopped it!)

courtney and sandy

I love walking around with Shanda!  If you have met me, you know I’m 5’10″ tall.  Shanda is obviously taller than I am and I love that! lol

shanda and sandy

I think this picture of Courtney and Shanda is so cute!

courtney and shanda

There was karaoke on the boat… and Heather and Meredith from Life’s Crazy Joke were such a hoot! You can’t fully appreciate it if you weren’t there. But ….there were plenty of video cameras going, so it is possible the rest of the world might get to experience the fun of these two at some point down the road.

karaoke

Sunday morning started at 9am. I was already checked out of the hotel and ready to go. There were three speakers today, Cynthia from Nap Warden,  spoke on blog design. She showed some great examples of what to do and what not to do with your blogs. Ok… so this isn’t the best picture. I mean, it isn’t a bad picture, I just wish I would have gotten a smile!

 

nap wardenI also realized I didn’t get Kris from Little Tech Girl talking! What the heck?  All I can figure was that I was too nervous about talking myself. Sorry Kris! She was full of awesomeness as she always is. I wish I could just “steal her tech brain” for about 24 hours and I think of all the stuff I could get done on my site etc during that time.

Up next…. me and Andrea from Simple Organized Living.  I went first and discussed organizing your blogging life. I discussed making a blogging binder and I gave two of them away.  I’ll be getting them ready before long so that you will be able to download the printables or get an entire notebook already prepared.

After looking at these pictures of me, I realize more than ever that a face lift, neck lift and eye lift are well in order! Getting old really sucks! ugh.

sandy jenney

Andrea took the stage as our last presenter. She discussed how to organize your life and family as a blogger.  She said she could talk about five hours on time management, but would talk only as long as Julie wanted her to.  lol

andrea dekker

Julie from Dutch Being Me organized the retreat this year.  Lots of work. wow

dutch being me

It was nice to have a few sponsors there. The “Bissel” guys were there and had carpet cleaner with them (I got some for my sad carpets that need to be replaced… but that we will try to clean and have last a little longer since we have 7 of us and 2 dogs here..{breath})  and also some coupons to rent a free steam cleaner!

Christina from Therapon was also there. She was giving free facials. I needed one, but didn’t get one because I didn’t want to put my make up back on, plus I was sporting such a fashionable band-aide on my nose (the basal cell thing ya know).

Mabels Labels provided the bags and also their cute bag tags. (love those)

Last years organizers were there… Jodi and Stacey

gleek retreat

Courtney also suggested that we get a 2010 Gleek retreat reunion picture!

gleek retreat 2010

Thanks ladies for a fun weekend and thanks Holland MI for such a cute town!

 

 

 

 

 

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Disney Social Media Conference – Epcot Day 3

Disney Magic of Healthy Living Evening Event

Today was basically a free day!  There were a couple things planned in the morning if we wanted to sign up. There were three options. There weren’t enough spots for everyone and they were venture that were not including the family.  I had Zippy (my sis for the weekend) here and decided to hang out with her.

We got up and took our time, sitting by the water and relaxing with our coffee at the Grand Floridian in the morning.

Grand Floridian

This is also where we sat and watched fireworks the night before.  It is such a nice view. You can see Cinderella’s castle straight through just above the tree line.

We decided to go to Downtown Disney and explore. I learned how the world of trading pins works.  I had no idea that you can trade any pin for any pin with the Disney staff.

downtown disney

Zippy had fun looking for champagne, wine and martini glasses with Mickey’s on them.  It may have even started a new idea for her blog Champagne Living, you’ll just have to read it to watch for it.

mickey martini glass

We then took the bus from the Downtown Disney to the Boardwalk. I realized I had never been there before. It was very much a taste of New England, the Cape where I went many times as a kid.
board walk
I thought this made a neat picture
Disney

We then hopped on a boat to go over to Epcot.  It is so nice that when you stay in a Disney property you can use all of the transportation to get around Disney without any charges.
Epcot
They were having the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. The flowers were just beautiful. I can’t imagine trying to keep all these flowers looking so great!
Epcot

I have to show you a couple more

Epcot

Check out the blue heron

epcot

There were all kinds of figurines made out of flowers around Epcot

Epcot

We were hot and thirsty! But Zippy and I did plenty of walking today. We then went over to the Disney Magic of Healthy Living dinner.

We walked in a little late to the interview session, so I didn’t know the people who were up front. I did find out that three of the girls were winners of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living contest, there was a Disney Chef and 3 Disney TV stars.

disney

They were up on the stage for a question and answer time with us bloggers.  It was all based on eating and living healthy and how to help our kids to embrace that style of living.

Disney Magic of healthy living One of the things that was said was to make the food pleasing to the kids, to encourage them to eat it.

After the Q&A we were released into a huge room full of tables that looked wonderful.  There was a stage set up.

disney magic of healthy living The tables were all labeled and unfortunately finding tables that were close enough to the stage for the Social Media Moms was nearly impossible.  So we ended up giving up and ended up sitting in one of the back corner tables.disney magic of healthy living The whole idea of what they were doing was great.  I do have to admit that this did not seem like a meal for children.  All the places set were the same.  It looked fantastic for a fancy restaurant you’d go to.

disney magic of healthy living This was geared for kids – they had participated in an outdoor physical activity and had winning teams. At least those kids that were brought in for this contest had. But the Social Media Mom children were also there for dinner.  Believe me when I said there were a LOT of children there!
Here is the menu:
disney magic of healthy living It doesn’t look like a meal for kids to me. But it certainly is healthy!

cous cous
egg roll
I know they were highlighting healthy cooking.  But if doesn’t taste good… kids aren’t going to eat it (and adults can get past the looks more than kids…. but if it doesn’t taste good…. healthy cooking isn’t worth much either)
disney magic of healthy living
I’m going to be perfectly honest, with no offense to the wonderful treatment Disney has given us, but this meal was really not for kids. As an adult I actually ate very little of it, as did most of my table. But our table had a good time.  I was sitting with Zippy, April, Katja and her husband, Lisa and her husband and Danielle and her husband.

This is Lisa with one of her six children.
crazy adventures in parenthood

Katja listening to her son.
katja

Can you believe I didn’t get any pictures of Danielle?  I can’t. I always get pics of my bud Danielle at conferences. She is just too cute! Here is Lisa’s daughter who has had a full day on Daddies shoulder.
disney magic of healthy living
We left there and wanted to find something to eat. I know… not so good, I feel sad that there was so much wasted food between not only the kids, but also the adults.  As good as Disney is at catering to the kids, I feel like they missed the boat on this meal.  Being healthy is one thing, but it has to taste good too.

Zippy, April and I split off and wandered around, trying to decide what to eat.
april atwater

We ended up in the French district of Epcot and went into the bakery right before it closed.  We went from healthy food to very unhealthy food (but oh it tasted good).
We had a nice evening of enjoying the beauty of Epcot, a nice boat ride and bus ride back to the Grand Floridian.

epcotDisney we had a wonderful time!!  Even though I didn’t full appreciate the meal that was prepared, I sure did appreciate all you did for the winners of this contest and for us as Disney Social Media Moms. Thank for for a beautiful evening at Epcot and for working to encourage kids to eat healthy.

I love your comments!

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference – Day 2

Conference Day 2 at Disney World!

We got some fantastic information from our speakers today, and had a great dinner with dancing afterward at Hollywood Studios Disney Junior. I’ll take you through the day and evening.

disney social media moms

The main portion of the conference was on Friday March 18th – which just happened to be my birthday! It was so much fun to be in Florida, at Disney, with my blogging friends, where it was beautiful sunny and warm… on my birthday! The only negative part was that my own family wasn’t able to be with me at Disney.

We began the morning by walking into this beautifully decorated huge room where the speakers would be.  They even thought to have a power strips at every table! Awesome extra!

disney social media moms

Look how pretty the table arrangement was! You can’t see that the clear castle has a blue light that glows at the base.

disney social media mom conference flowers

The first speaker was Meg Crofton, the President of Walt Disney World

meg Crofton

We also heard from Matt Jacobson, head of marketing for Facebook.  I realized how much more you could do with FB. I’m going to have to work on that. He took loads of questions from us bloggers and admitted that most of the groups he talks to, do not use it the same way we do. He was surprised by a few of the questions asked and didn’t realize some of the issues that we have problems with.  I think he was educated a bit himself.
Matt Jacobson from Facebook

Rene’ Syler was an awesome speaker. She got a standing “O” from us bloggers! She was real, she was inspiring and she has been through the ringer.  This isn’t a great picture of her.  I wish I had gotten her great smile. She had us in stitches and tears.    She has a blog called Good Enough Mother that you should check out.
rene Syler

They had some raffles going on and gave away some Dooney & Bourke Handbags and also a night in Cinderella’s castle!  The Fairy Godmother got to present it to Andrea Deckard from Savings Lifestyle! She got to take 5 other bloggers with her to stay the night. You can read about her experience here.

Fairy Godmother
Fran Capo posed as a blogger before she got on stage. She is the worlds fastest female talker, comedian, author and motivational speaker.
Fran Capo
We had a yummy lunch and when we went back to the room after lunch we had this little cutie gracing each of our seats!
duffy the disney bear

Minnie Mouse Princess Leia dressed and ready for Star Tours – The Adventure! It is coming back to Disney Hollywood Studios on May 20th, 2011.

minnie mouse
Chris Brogan was great as always. I love listening to Chris speak. He has some great insights and just says it like it is.
Chris Brogan

We were served champagne!  That is a different kind of afternoon snack for a mom conference! lol  Probably better than chocolate, because I didn’t drink much champagne, but I would have been up for the chocolate!
champagne

We were then treated to Susan Egan who sang most of her speaking time. She has such a beautiful voice. She played Bell in Beauty in the Beast on Broadway for two years and she is also the voice of Meg in Hercules, along with a zillion other roles.
Susan Egan

Also playing and singing with her was Georgia Stitt who is an award winning composer and a lyricist. They had great harmony on some of the songs they sang together.
georgia stitt

The great table center piece they said would go to the blogger at each table who had the closest birthday to today’s date which was March 18th. Guess who?  lol  One fun thing about having a birthday while at a conference.  But – there wasn’t any way I could take this on an airplane!  It just so happened that Amy Hodges at our table was local and she had just been admiring how cool the light up castle was in the arrangement.  So I took a picture to remember it by and gave it to her.
flowers from Disney SM Moms
Then someone at our table suggested we all get our picture taken together.
disney social media moms

From left top: Maria Strong from Saving Queen; Connie Robers from Brain Foggles; Kim Janocko from Crafty Mama of 4; me; April from Simply the Sweet Life Magazine; Amy Hodges from A Million Boxes and in front is Jennifer Leet from The Dirty Shirt

After the conference sessions my roomie Zippy from Champagne Living came! She tried to get into the conference, but like so many others who tried that afternoon, she wasn’t able to get in.  But.. since it ended up that we just couldn’t afford the airfare for the whole family to come, I was able to invite Zippy to stay with me. She got to come as my family member. lol (sis!)
zippy sandlerWe had a wonderful time talking and eating and walking and talking and eating.. lol

Friday night was Hollywood Studios!  All gazillion of the bloggers, mostly with families loaded onto buses and headed out.
disney junior
So many tables were set up. I don’t know the exact number of how many people including families were there… but it was a lot!
junior disney

They had it all set up for the kids.  Lots of food and then they had food set up for the kids. I love how they make sure the kids have food they like to eat.  I snuck over to the kids table to get a cupcake. I figured.. it was my birthday and I wanted to have some birthday cake. lol
cupcake

I love these pictures of Kim’s  kids.  Doesn’t that just epitomize a kid after a day at Disney?  Tired eyes, blank star, Mickey ears on crooked, eating a Mickey rice krispy treat. lol
disney

Her younger son enjoying his also

disney

The kids all got to dance and have a great time with music and characters

disney junior
With kids trying to see over crowds and having a little help from their dads -
disney junior

To Quatro Mom and Dad from 4tunate feeding their boys.

quatro boys

Everyone loves the characters at Disney
captin hook

And Donald Duck
donald duck

I had to get a picture of Daisy Duck for my step daughter.
daisy duck

And I think this is one of my favorites.  Look at the little girl on the left! Arms spread out, ready for a big hug!  How precious is that?  I love it!
daisy duck

If you happen to know who’s daughter the little girl on the left is, please let me know. I’d like to send them this picture.

Thank you  Disney World, Maria Bailey and Amy Lupold Bair,  and Susan & Janet from 5 Minutes for Mom and all the sponsors.

This trip was heavily sponsored through Disney Social Media Moms, but I did pay the required charge for it and full air fare.

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference

I was lucky enough to be able to go to the most sought after conference of the year. The Disney Social Media Moms Conference in Disney World!

Mickey and MinnieI wanted to bring the family in the worse way this year. But after doing the finances and seeing what it would cost us all to fly here, and eat and stay at least 1 more night (in a less extravagant hotel), we realized we just couldn’t swing it. Ugh!

So I came by myself and Zippy Sandler from Champagne Living is going to meet me here tomorrow and have fun with me and the rest of the gang.

I got in today (March 17th) and came to the Grand Floridian Resort. omg! This place is beauuuttiiful!

Grand FloridianThis has always been one that I have seen when I have been to Disney and thought to myself, wow…. I’d love to stay there!  lol (yippee!)

Look at the view from my room!

Then out on the balcony

Grand Floridian

I got a short nap in, but long enough to miss the beginning welcome reception that took place before the presentation.

Off to the Wedding Pavilion I went.  We were given Minnie Bride Ears (loved that!) and got to go into the place where Disney Magical Dream Weddings take place.

wedding pavilionThere were brides everywhere!

wedding bride

We got to hear the Vice President of Alfred Angelo Wedding Dresses; Michael Shettel speak.  Then we got to see the new Cinderella inspired wedding gown. (although because of where I was sitting, I didn’t get any good shots of the dress.

alfredo angelo dress

Look at all the cameras us Social Media Moms have! lol

Walking back with Michael Shettel

michael shettelWe got to hear from Carley Roney from www.TheKnot.com and we also got to see and hear David Tutera from a show called My Fair Wedding. (I’m going to have to find that and watch it now!)

Then we got to witness a vow renewal from a couple that was married here 2 years ago.  She had always wanted a Disney wedding in this chapel ever since she was a girl and saw it looking down from the monorail.

But it wasn’t just any wedding vow renewal. This was a “flashmob” kind of wedding, with dancing down the aisle!

flashmob wedding

Here comes the bride

bride

It was fun watching a real life wedding.

disney wedding

What I loved was the Cinderella carriage picking them up. How cool!

cinderella carriage

Wouldn’t this be fun?

cinderella carriage

Here they go (after fireworks as they came out of the pavilion)

disney wedding

This event was being run my Fronk the Wedding planner and his assistant

disney

Then we were off to dinner on the Grand Floridian lawn.  It was so beautiful there. The families were invited to this event.

disney social media moms

So guess who was there for them to see and take pictures with? And those of us who didn’t get to bring our kids…. got to be kids too!

Sandy Jenney with Mickey Mouse

I took this picture of Goofy for my Z. He likes Goofy!

goofy

Kim @craftyMamaof4 and I

crafty mama of 4 and Organizer SandyHere were just a couple pictures I took of the table decorations.

roseThey were just so pretty

flowersThanks so much Grand Floridian for hosting such a wonderful event!

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Blogher 2010

August 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Conferences & Events, Travel

Collective Bias Friends Together in New York City

I had such a great time in NYC for Blogher.

Much of my time other than the Brand parties was spent with all my friends from Collective Bias. They are my Social Media family.

sandy jenney

Courtney Velasquez

sandy jenney and courtney velasquez

Melissa Garcia

blogher 2010

Monica Brady

sandy jenney and monica brady

John Andrews and Ted Rubin

john andrews and ted rubin

Enjoy my video

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Zip Line

Zip Line in Utah at Evo  


I think my husband was shocked the most to hear that I was going to go on a zip line adventure!  I was in Park City Utah and had the opportunity to do this Zip Rider and thought….”I’m going to go for it”.

I had thought that I would go with some other Evo buddies….but I lost Zippy (she couldn’t go up the zip line anyway….that would have been a good title though…Zippy does the Zip line!!) I heard there was an hour line at the top and my ticket said I had to do it between 6-7pm. So I thought…I better go!  Most of my concern or worry was over how I was going to go down this zip line cable ride holding my big purse, big camera and jacket!!??  I was able to fit my camera into my purse…got my little camera out so I could still take pictures…and of course my flip.  It got a little colder out of the sun, so I put my jacket on.  They just strapped my purse in with me.

Stood in line by myself – well..I mean not knowing anyone else in the line waiting to go on this “cloth seat hanging from a cable flying down a mountainside ride” LOL

You can see my purse in my lap…but it is all tied in.  It was the best view looking out over the gate!

I’m ready to go!!!  Watch my video…

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Gleek Retreat 2010

Small Conferences Can Be Great



I had a great time at the Gleek Retreat in MI this last weekend.  It was a 6 hour drive for me…which I did on Friday.  I got there about 3pm and helped Jodi and Stacey put together some wonderful Swag baskets.  The location was perfect.  Into the Woods Retreat was located back in the woods and was a lovely large house that was made into a B&B for retreats.
Here my recap picture video of our weekend.

There were 30 people in attendance.  When I first heard only 30 people I thought…wow that is small.  But it was great.  I got to meet so many of them and actually talk to them. LOL

There were several very new bloggers there and for some it was their first conference. How perfect!  Courtney Velasquez had requested that I speak with her for the presentation on “Connecting Social Media and In Real Life”.  Considering there was another session going on at the same time (and remember only 30 people there) we had half the crowd at our session. I think it went fine and there were many questions, so we were thrilled.

Thank you to Collective Bias for Sponsoring me to go.

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Bike Carts at SXSW

Transportation around SXSW

Riding in style in Austin

We were loving all the bike carts that we saw riding all over the streets.  Melissa (the Consumer Queen) and I decided to take them a couple of times.  It was fun….but a little scary. These guys fly through traffic, between lines of traffic  - coming within inches of car mirrors. They work for tips only. There was no set rate.  These drivers all said the love sxsw because they do so well.  This was Armond. This is his full time job.

going across lanes

One of our drives ran a “hot pink” light. We were cracking up….”We’re running red lights in a bike cart.

 

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Give a Day – Get a Disney Day

Give a Day – Get a Disney Day Promotion

Breakfast for Disney Social Media Moms

Breakfast for Disney Social Media Moms

We were really excited to see what was in store for us this morning. We knew it was geared around the “Give a Day – Get a Disney Day” promotion.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Disney Social Media Mom’s event in Orland Florida at Disney World.  Our first morning there we were given a very nice breakfast and got to hear a great speaker, Guy Kawasaki.

From there we were walked over to another part of Disney Epcot (and for Florida it was a cold walk).  We were ushered into a huge room with a balloon filled stage and hundreds of chairs set up.  Yeah….we were here! To learn more about the Give a Day – Get a Disney Day There was all kinds of media in the back and cameras. The middle section was empty at that point and the Social Media Mom’s (us) had sections just for us.

Ty Pennington at Disney to unveil the can sculpture

Ty Pennington at Disney to unveil the can sculpture

They brought in a family from every state (except 2 that got held up by the winter storms) to represent the volunteerism that has been taking place. Disney started a promotion this year that you can give a day of service at participating places and get a free Disney park pass in return. Their hope was to get 1,000,000 participants and just 6 weeks in they have had 600,000 participants! Better than they ever expected. I think that is great. I knew someone who signed up at our local zoo to help take down Christmas lights. The projects don’t have to be big and scary. One of the points they kept making over the couple days we were there is how much better you feel and how just giving a day of service somewhere benefits not only those that you are helping….but it benefits you.

Disney's Largest Can Sculpture

Disney's Largest Can Sculpture

There are enough cans here to make up 70,000 meals for people who need them. Wow…is that fantastic. They then used many volunteers after this presentation was over to pack up the cans into boxes to take to those needy people.

They had these cool cans all over

They had these cool cans all over

They were colorful, decorative and had a message:

The back of the Volunteer Disney Can

The back of the Volunteer Disney Can

They really decorated and had the Volunteer theme going all around. Great

How can you help?  Check out the Disney site and see how you can also Give a Day – Get a Disney Day yourself!

If you liked that, maybe you would like to see this also:

Disney Social Media Moms

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference

 

Thoughts on the Disney Social Media Moms Conference

As I write this post I am sitting in the Orlando airport waiting to board my flight home from the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and I am reflecting on how much I got from it.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it due to the weather and some other factors…and after missing my initial “great flight that would have had me there by noon” I spent 12 hours getting to Orlando and got into my room about 11:30 pm this last Wednesday.  But it was worth it.  Getting home is another story since I had one of my “old lady brain farts” when I scheduled my trip and instead of arranging my flight for Saturday the 13th at 7:30pm I scheduled it for Sunday Feb 14 at 7:30pm. (Yes…Valentines day). I changed that flight so that I at least get home by 10pm instead of 11:30pm tonight. Just because I’m an organizer doesn’t mean I don’t mess things up. (for sure)

Guy Kawasaki giving his presentation

Guy Kawasaki – Founding partner of Garage Technology Venture & Co-founder of Alltop.com

Our first speaker of the trip was Guy Kawasaki. He gave me some new insights on twitter.   He discussed twitter  and how he uses it and how we can best use it to further our businesses.  He shared that he was originally against it, not caring that “Jimmy was drinking his coffee” , but realized that it can be an invaluable tool in your business.  Some of the tips that I gained from listening to Guy was that we should tweet out 4  times each thing we tweet.  He schedules them about 6-8 hours apart so that he doesn’t lose page views.  He states that more than 4 times is too much, but less than that we are losing valuable page views.  He also doesn’t tweet what he is doing during the day and he is not talking about tweeting out responses to people 4 times.  He is constantly searching for information that others will find interesting and informing us of that on which is linked to his All Top Site which of course then brings him more traffic.  The site is a pure meca of information!  He also stated that we need to have a tweeter-feed. So that each time we post something new…it shows up on twitter. (I need to do that)

Maxine Clark founder of Build a Bear

Maxine Clark – Founder and Chairman of Build a Bear

Maxine if my new idol I think.  She is the founder and chairman of Build A Bear. She shared with us how she has a love of bears and how much her bear meant to her as a child. Persevering and believing in your dreams and working to achieve them was her message.  She was truly amazing. She told us about her 2nd customer and how neat it was that a boy can get a Teddy Bear and dress it up in Army gear and it’s acceptable for him to get that and be a kid too.  She has kept in contact with these people. She listened to a little girl in Canada who e-mailed her and told her she would like a Build a Bear store in her town and why. That little girl was at that store on opening day along with Maxine. How cool is that?  She manages her own Twitter account, e-mail account and answers people back. She is a very busy running a Build a Bear empire….but she still has time to talk to her customers and friends…she is real. She is a gem.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan – Eleven year veteran of Social media and Author of Trust Agents

To be honest I was excited to listen to Chris Brogan at our conference, but I didn’t know how entertaining  he would be. When I saw him at Blog World speak….he was on a panel with a few other people and no offense at all….he didn’t really get to “shine” like he did when he was on his own. I didn’t expect to be laughing as hard as I was. But he also passed on some really great information to us. Listening….Connecting…Publishing… The 3 pieces to Social Media that Chris spoke to us about and the importance of them.

Marissa Jaret Winkour

Marissa Jaret Winkour

Marissa Jaret Winkour – Tony Award winning Broadway Actress and Veteran of Dancing with the Stars

You may remember Marissa on Dancing with the Stars. I never saw her in Hairspray the Broadway play she won her Tony for.  Since she was on Dancing with the Stars she has dyed her hair blond and lost a lot of weight and has a son. She told us she was due to have a baby 2 months after she was on Dancing with the Stars. She shared that she was a cancer survivor and before she under went her treatments she froze some eggs and her surrogate was 7 months pregnant with her child. She then went on to tell us about her life as a actress with a baby and how difficult it was.

Kathy Ireland showing us a pose (more as a joke)

Kathy Ireland showing us a pose (more as a joke)

Kathy Ireland – Surprise guest appearance

Kathy Ireland was not on our programs and we didn’t know she was going to speak to us. She came out looking beautiful as ever. She told us about her work ethics and a business she began going bankrupt, her 22 year marriage and her new book about daily devotionals due to come out soon. (She didn’t push her book, I think someone knew about it and asked her the question…and she answered)

Maryellen Hooper absolutely cracked me up.

Maryellen Hooper absolutely cracked me up.

Maryellen Hooper – Veteran in the world of Stand-up Comedy

I can’t tell you how hard I laughed. She was cracking me up.  Her act was about motherhood and life as a wife. She has a blog called  Stinky Flowers that you will have to go visit. You will have to get her DVD…she is really entertaining.

Disclosure:  I was not sponsored to go to Disney Social Media Moms conference.  I paid for the conference on my own. We did however get a discounted rate on the conference, our room and Disney tickets, and some of my meals as that was part of the conference package I purchased. I was not asked to blog on it, so any blogs or pictures I post are because I have chosen to do so.

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