Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Behind Every Great Musician, There's A Great Team

When it comes to our favorite musicians, we’re often blinded by the person in front of the camera. After all, personality is often as important as voice. Blame shows like X Factor, which have shown us that a great character can make up for a multitude of sins. On top of which, the general public now knows that talent isn’t everything. You could even go as far as to say that musicians nowadays are brands. 

But, as with any enterprise, the musicians are the face of a larger operation. You may only see Taylor Swift up on that stage. But, a whole load of other people have gone into the making of her. Which begs the question of just who is behind our favorite musicians?


Music teachers

If you want to go right back to basics, we should start with music teachers. Often, our teachers are the people who spark the interests we pursue in life. After all, they’re the first people who actually lead us in the direction they think we should go. And, music teachers often play a huge part in making a musician. Whether they spent years at university, or honed their craft with online courses like those offered by Kent State, you could argue that teachers are the most important people in the music industry today. After all, we wouldn’t have musicians without them. And, much to our satisfaction, many stars still credit their high school music teachers. Pop babe Ella Henderson even went as far as to say ‘I guess Mr Smith always has credit for why I’m here now.’. Well done Mr Smith!

Vocal coaches

Let us not forget that any singer also likely has a voice coach to thank for their well-oiled pipes. While you do need raw talent, most stars only reach the vocal heights they do through the help of coaches. In fact, those killer notes and varied tones wouldn’t be possible without this. Stars like Christina Aguilera have so much to thank their coach for that they’ve taken the mantel themselves. In fact, it’s only thanks to masters like Ron Anderson that we can still enjoy the dulcet tones of Adele. She's suffered severe voice injuries through her career. She got through it though. All because of her vocal coach!

The band

Debates have always been rife in music about whether the band deserve more credit. Whatever your stance, though, our musicians wouldn’t be the same without them. Florence would just be Florence if she didn’t have her machine behind her. And, the same stands for near enough any ‘solo’ singer you see. Just because they have good voices doesn’t mean your favorite musicians can play instruments. While many can (think Ed Sheeran with his killer guitar), this is by no means a given. And, no matter how good their voices might be, no artist could kill it without a little something to back them. So, you might want to search out the band before giving away all the credit.




Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Personal SafetyPIN

This is a sponsored post in partnership with BraVoMark and SafetyPin Technologies. All opinions are my own.

We live in a virtual world. It's quite different from the world I grew up in, considering the online world didn't exist until I was in my twenties. 

We do everything online these days! From dating to shopping to finding child/elder/pet care to paying bills, there is nothing we can't do online.


I am a serious bargain hunter. I cannot stand paying too much for something if I can find it cheaper somewhere else. Craigslist, Ebay, and all of the other various garage sale type apps are my best friend. I have gotten so many things for next to nothing from these places! 

Some people would say I'm cheap, I say I am frugal.


Eventually, the online world can spill over into the offline world. If you find a massive deal on say Craigslist or Let Go, you have to meet up with the person to get your item. With so many care services available, you can easily find someone with just a few clicks. And, of course, there is the dating world. A lot of people meet their life partners, like both of my children, online. 

As you can imagine, safety is paramount in these situations. How do you know you are going to greet a new friend, potential partner, or someone qualified to care for your pet or child?


Well, there is a new safety officer in town....uh, online...you know what I meant.

SafetyPIN is a new service that is like a virtual badge of trust. It is the perfect way to know if the person you meet online is safe. 

SafetyPIN offers an array of checks and balances, so to speak, for anyone who is looking online for a specific service. SafetyPIN offers a 4 part screening including criminal background check, financial background check, identity verification, and a behavioral questionnaire developed by criminal profilers and clinical psychologists to weed out dangerous people who may not even have a criminal record. SafetyPIN holders are regularly rescreened to make sure they continuously meet all of the requirements.


All of your information is encrypted and your private information is never shared with another party. YOU control who can verify your SafetyPIN that you share through messaging or on your profile. It is quick and easy to sign up and most applications are approved within 24 hours. It costs $1 to apply, $6 for the first 6 months, and it is less than $5 a month thereafter. You can cancel your membership at any time.

It's a wonderful service, in my opinion, for our digital world. You already know before you venture out that the person is trustworthy and that your safety is guaranteed.

For more information, go here to watch this video by CEO/Founder Jenny Thompson.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

The silence surrounds me
The storm has
faded

The Kraken has released its
grip
upon my very soul

The blanket of years
things left unsaid
This silence
has become

comfortable

as I watch the ripples in the sea
it leaves
grow
still.




Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Data Collection And How It Can Be Used

There are a lot of people on the internet. A LOT.




As you can probably imagine, a lot of people means a surplus of data. Meta data, hierachial data, reference data, it goes on and on. There are social media sites, blogs, vlogs, and various other websites that are collecting data every single second of every single day.

That's a lot of data.




I was wandering in my brain the other day and got to wondering how all of that data is just swirling around out there in the ocean of the internet and the internet, for the most part, hasn't collapsed upon itself because of all of the information it carries. 

Basically, I imagined mountains of humming, whirring servers plotting to take over the world.

My brain is a weird place, always.



So, to The Google I went to find out how exactly that works. What I found is that there are quite a few data management tools out there that offer solutions for companies with all of this data. 

I'm never going to be able to invent ANYTHING because people think of these things before I do.

Anyway, I fell way down that rabbit hole and kept on digging.  Data and how companies handle it has been in the news quite a bit recently. Many companies are trying very hard to not make the mistakes of Facebook. It was a mistake no one wants to make again. It was a huge event in history with a gargantuan effect on how data is handled, NOT shared, and managed. The impact of that catastrophe has shockwaves that are still spreading throughout the internet and will continue to spread for many years to come. I'm not sure what that means for the future of Facebook but I've always been partial to Twitter, anyway.



The way data is influencing AI is another interesting topic I came across. Microsoft recently announced that they are learning how data, advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI are able to optimize operations and drive innovation. In this case, the collection of data is being used in a positive way to bring better products to customers while keeping the internet speedily winding through its tubes as we are used to. In a sense, the internet is evolving with us.

I came to the conclusion that data collection can be used in a positive way or negative way. Obviously, we would prefer the positive way, as we all learned the hard way. If the *positive* collection of data means better and faster response to health concerns, smarter computers, and better ways to facillitate solutions to problems generally handled by computers, it would be the best thing for the internet and us as a whole. 

As long as it does not begin the mass overtaking of humans by machines, I'm alright with it.




What do you think about data collection? Has it personally affected you? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Sweet Find - Wyldlife Pungent Pet Products!

My son is visiting for my birthday, so I had bought some new treats and toys for his dogs to try.  

I could not believe Cooper's reaction when I first opened these Bully sticks! He started jumping and hollering until I gave him a stick. These dog treats are pretty fragrant (read pungent) but I have never seen him so excited! Let this video serve as a warning to you: 



Grab them for your dog(s) by clicking below!



affiliate link


Friday, June 15, 2018

Fashion + Dating? Yes, Now It Exists!

As a creative introvert, I can understand the struggle people go through to find their perfect person. When inspiration hits, your attention is focused on your work and dating or relationships can take a hit. Not to mention, it is incredibly difficult to find someone who understands what it's like or is in a similar field.

It can be especially lonely.



Malaka Pickens has found a solution.

Style-Mate.com is a brand new fashion entrepreneurship and dating platform. The website offers a place where you can set up your own shops, cross promote with your fellow designers, customers, and social media followers all while providing fresh content. Your customer base can register and interact with you directly. In the process, you can meet and find your perfect partner.

I, personally, think it's brilliant.



While I am not in the market for a partner (I'm married to the most patient man in the universe), I did spend some time perusing the new and creative fashion on the site. The prices are absolutely competitive and the designs are fresh, new, and exciting! I love that I was able to find one of a kind fashion designs to try and fall in love with




The site is still building so luckily you can get in on the ground floor! Some of the two hardest things as a creative person, in my opinion, are being able to get your creative enterprise out to the public and find that perfect person, just for you. Style-Mate is a fun and original concept that has you covered! It's free to set up a shop and there are no commission or fees off your sales. Style-Mate is for designers by designers!



After you sign up, I'd love to hear about your experience. I'm always rooting for people finding love in this crazy world and, of course, awesome and interesting new fashion designs! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Wifey Box: A Special Subscription Box

My husband and I have been together a long time. 

Over twenty years. 

We were very young when we began our life together and started our family right away.

What can I say? The man is hot.


As you can imagine, I am constantly looking for ways to keep our marriage fun. I found the neatest new subscription box and I had to tell all of you other wifeys about it!


The Wifey Box comes in two sizes, Petite and Grand. I subscribed to the Petite because I'm cheap (lol) but I'm thinking I might switch over to the Grand. I am so in love with everything in this box!


First, I received the Freematic Eyeshadow Quad (Doucce) in Sweet Dreams, which is like a $35 eye shadow palette! I don't think I have ever spent that much money on all of my makeup combined, much less just eye shadow! I wore it out with the hubs the other night and I felt so elegant. It was a little thing, but it made me feel like one million and thirty five dollars. 

Thoughtfulls are adorable little pop open cards. Each one has an inspirational message of love to remind you of its power or to give as gifts to your loved ones. I put them under my husband's pillow when he's had a bad day because I'm a nerd.
The Iris Beilin Mis Amores Beauty clutch was a surprise! It's a pretty pink leather bag that is bigger than normal beauty bags. I have way too many brushes, so it's perfect to keep those in! Of course, it's great for travel as well.

Last but not least, is my absolute FAVORITE thing that came in my box! A mini Pineapple Mint Whipped Soap Sugar Scrub by Naiad Soap Arts. I.LOVE.THIS.STUFF. It's different from other sugar scrubs I have tried before. It starts out grainy, obviously, but it immediately gets SO SOFT. I could hear my skin singing with joy. It's a cleanser and moisturizer in one and I am going to buy out their entire inventory, I swear! I never would have known about it either if it wasn't for my wifey box!


You get a few more items with the Grand subscription, but the petite size works out great for my needs. It's just a monthly little gift for myself and my husband because if I'm happy, he's definitely happy. I can't wait to see what comes next month!


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Consulting The Stars: A Reading With Tori

Since I learned what astrology was, I have been fascinated by it. It's clearly because I'm a Gemini.



I have been incredibly apprehensive about our future now that the Navy isn't telling us where to move, what to do, when to do it. 

It was my life for twenty years, so I got pretty complacent with the nomadic lifestyle, but I have never felt so much freedom as I do now.

In searching for answers, I was lucky to meet astrologist and psychic, Tori Sheridan and get my very own birth chart reading!


Tori Sheridan is a second generation astrologer, following in her mother's footsteps, based in Chicago. She picked up her first book on astrology at 8 years old and began studying exclusively at 14.

Many, many years ago, I had a friend do my chart and it was pretty interesting but unfortunately because of moves and well, life in general, I misplaced it. So, I was crazy excited to get a new one!



After a few scheduling conflicts (did I mention Geminis can be a little disorganized? Yeah, it's a problem), I was finally able to get on the phone with the lovely Miss Tori and have my reading.

It was so amazing and interesting.

I like to pretend that I know all about astrology, but truth be told, I have negative zero idea what the position of the planets mean in relation to my sign or trines or anything like that. The only thing I'm sure of is Mercury in retrograde is a bad thing...I think. Mercury is my ruling planet so you do you, Mercury!



Some interesting things I found out from my reading:

  • For those of you who aren't aware, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 32. Come to find out, SATURN is the culprit! I rarely talk about my chronic pain issues online or with people so I was really surprised that came up!
  • Jupiter squaring Mars in my chart means I have a little bit of a temper. Heh. I'm a slow burn, but once it's ignited, BOOM.
  • The Moon in Pisces means I am extremely empathetic and sensitive and it causes a conflict between my intellect and emotions. TRUE.
  • Jupiter in opposition means I am lucky. 
  • And, to summarize, I lose myself in work and can get overwhelmed but will eventually learn to say no. I can often feel nostalgic and indulge in music and little luxuries. I'm a big baby, but I'm smart and see both sides of a situation always, almost to the point of indecisiveness (SO TRUE). All in all, things look pretty favorable and I am thankful for that!
But, here's where it got weird:

In the middle of the reading, she suddenly stopped and blurted out, "Why did you quit law?"

I was gobsmacked. Speechless. Shocked.

I hadn't mentioned ANYTHING about my law background with her. I hardly mention it ever to anyone. It's something I have put away on a little shelf that has gotten quite dusty with time.

When I was young, I wanted to be one of two things: a writer or an attorney. Life took some twists and turns, as it often does, and I wasn't able to begin college until I was in my twenties...and I started with paralegal studies in hopes that I would eventually go through law school. That didn't pan out for reasons I don't like to go into, but I did continue writing. According to Miss Tori, I am absolutely in the right career.

It was just so jarring (not in a bad way) that she knew that without me mentioning a word about it and it was all because it showed up in my chart!

All in all, a lot of my worries were put to rest and I learned a lot of new things about myself! I really enjoyed it!

If you would like your own reading with Tori Sheridan, right now she is offering a special! Just send an email to tori@astrologywithtori.com with "Stephanie" in the subject line and she will give you a reading for $1 a minute (20 minute minimum). You do have to be 18+ and know your exact time of birth.


Have you ever had a birth chart reading? What do you think about astrology?

Monday, June 11, 2018

MyGiftStop.com $300 Gift Card Father's Day Giveaway!

Father's Day is coming and I am so excited to bring you guys a $300 gift card giveaway from MyGiftStop.com!



MyGiftStop.com is an awesome online retailer of luxury items at crazy, insane low prices.

You guys know how much I love an awesome bargain

Well, not only could I find another awesome gift for my husband at an amazing price, every purchase donates 5% to Direct Relief, a global medical relief nonprofit


Sometimes, being a blogger is no fun because I ruin every single surprise (pretend to be surprised when you open this gift, Christopher, pleaseandthankyou. Also, if you are reading this, take the garbage out).


They don't have just watches, though.  I know the running joke is that women are obsessed with shoes, but I am totally not. I will, however, go bankrupt over a gorgeous bag or alluring perfume. I spent a ridiculously long time browsing the site looking for gifts, and then I spent just as much trying to choose which ones I was actually going to purchase.

One for him.
One for me. 
That's how it works, right?


Totally.

Once you are done "window" shopping...(is it still called "window" shopping online? hmmm)... Anyway, after you are done looking around and picking out all of your goodies, CLICKETYCLICK HERE TO ENTER THE $300 GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY and hopefully, you will win all of your lovely items. They are also having a Father's Day and Graduation Sale so right now you can get an EXTRA 10% OFF with coupon DADGRAD2018Make sure you come back here and tell me in the comments which items you liked the best!






Friday, June 8, 2018

8 Ways A Writing Career Benefits Your Kids


Today, I am honored to bring you a guest post from Samara over at TinyFrySamara Kamenecka is a Virtual Assistant specializing in SEO and writing, based in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her computer, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids, and their dog. You can find her blogging about everything from pregnancy tips to parenting hacks over at Tiny Fry



8 Ways A Writing Career Benefits Your Kids

Some people think that writing is an easy way to make a living working from home, but if it was easy everyone would do it. The truth is that making a living from writing can be challenging, but if you’re good at it, many rewards come along with writing as a career. My favorite part of being able to work from home is how it benefits my kids.

       No Daycare

Not having to pay a daycare provider is two benefits in one. First of all, daycare is not cheap, and many parents seem to work just to pay for someone else to care for their kid(s). Secondly, you know exactly who is raising your child, and you never have to worry about what the daycare provider may or may not be teaching them.

 Flexible Schedule

Having a flexible schedule is the best benefit for you and your kids. There are not many people in this world who have the flexibility to pick up and drop off their kids from school, attend mid-day school events, and still be around to have family dinner and help with homework at night. It also doesn’t force you into a panic whenever your kid has a sick day, or the daycare cancels out of nowhere.


      
Grow Together

Working as a writer takes a lot of hard work and growth which can get a bit  frustrating at times, especially when there are little ones tugging at your pant legs while you’re trying to focus. Though some days can be tough, it allows you and your kids to grow together and understand each other better. You will both probably learn lessons in patience and time management while building a stronger bond.

       They See a Role Model

A lot of kids don’t understand the importance of work because they simply don’t see it. By seeing you working to provide for your family you are setting a good example for work ethic and helping them understand an important part of life as an adult. As a work from home mom, you are also setting the example that women are an equally important part of the workforce as men.



      No Commute

Some people spend two hours or more of their day commuting to and from work. Not having to commute is a benefit for anyone who works from home, but especially parents who get to spend that extra time with their kids. It also saves money and the environment, which is yet another benefit to your children.

       Financial Contributions

Some parents decide to start writing after they have decided to stay at home. So hopefully, that income can be used in surplus to the budget to do things like save for a child’s education or enroll them in enrichment classes. The money could even be used for a vacation potentially, and since you’re a writer, you won’t have to worry about taking time off!



       A Safe and Clean Home

One of my favorite benefits of being a writing mom is that I can take a break from work to clean a room or throw in a load of laundry. Being able to care for the home while working helps keep a strong work/life balance and also keeps my home cleaner and safer for my kids to play.

      Mental Wellbeing

This is perhaps the subtlest benefit for children with work at home parents. Just knowing that there is going to be someone home to talk to when they need it offers confidence and lowers stress. Being around all the time to offer a hug for a scraped knee or an emotional bruise goes a long way in the happiness of a kid. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have come and sat by me in silence while I worked just to be around me. Being this available builds an unbreakable bond between parent and child that not every parent gets to experience.



If you are choosing to pull double duty as a parent and a writer, make sure you are prepared with everything you’ll need to keep your babies and kids safe and occupied. Writing from home benefits your kids in many ways, but it is still a job and one that can get a little tricky to balance if you’re not careful. At the end of the day, it is one of the best careers in the world to have when it comes to the perfect balance between finance and family.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Treat Yo'self Tuesday Take Care Of You Giveaway WINNERS!

I want to thank all of you for entering my Treat Yo'self Tuesday: Take Care of You Giveaway to celebrate 15,000 readers! You guys are seriously the coolest.



I don't want to leave you in suspense any longer so here is the winner of the Take Care of You gift basket!



Congratulations SHEILA RESSEL send me an email here: suburbanferal@gmail.com with your address so I can send your prize out!

Thanks so much, again everyone! I hope to host a giveaway again soon! 





Saturday, June 2, 2018

I took my
serenity
back

Quietly

I claimed my
peace
back from

Eternity.

A song to light
In the distance calling me

I am holding
my life hostage
from
me.


Kwame Baah - Handmade Sandals From Ghana

You guys, I have to tell you about these awesome handmade sandals I received for review from Kwame Baah! I am 100000% in love with them!





Kwame Baah is a shoe company from Ghana that makes handmade sandals. The company's founder, George Kwame Baah, grew up in Akim-Oda in Ghana. After being able to come to America and find success, he started to wonder what he could do to help the people of his impoverished home. He remembered that as a child, he made shoes from recycled tires in order to get by and decided to start a shoe business with the sandals being handmade by the citizens of Ghana.

 In 2011, Kwame Baah Brand was formed with the mission to provide sustainable, and economically just employment for skilled artisans in Ghana. By blending contemporary design with traditional fabrics from Ghana, Kwame Baah is able to provide beautifully handmade sandals that are durable, stylish, comfortable and affordable.



Since we had errands to run and a get together with friends afterwards, I decided to try out my new sandals. 

They are SO comfortable.

I live for comfortable shoes these days and these definitely didn't disappoint! I walked all over the grocery store and a few other stores and these sandals fit me like a glove! They are sort of like Reef sandals in that the more you wear them, the more they mold to your feet. Awesome.

Once we were out and about, I got so many compliments on them! Not only my friends, but other people at the venue asked me so many questions about them and where I found them. I don't always "dress up" when we go out, so the extra attention was welcome this time as I was also wearing a new dress and actually put makeup on my face for the day, ha!


The detail and craftmanship that were put into these shoes are amazing! You don't have to wear a fancy outfit like I did, you could definitely wear these with every day outfits as well. Seriously, they are that comfortable! I love the traditional fabrics woven throughout with the leather, it's so stylish!

If you would like to read the story of Kwame Baah or check out their other shoes and sandals, you can find them right here: https://kwamebaah.com/women/sandals/. I also have a 10% off coupon code for you to use, because I know you will love them. Just type in SS1FD890G into the coupon code box for your 10% off!

 I highly recommend these sandals and have my eye on a few other pairs as well!

What do you think of handmade items? Tell me in the comments!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Blog Conference Newbie

For the first time ever in my life, I will be attending a blog conference in September. I am beyond excited about it!

I've never been to one before so I am not quite sure what to expect. Hopefully, I will get a lot of new tips and meet lots of new people in my industry.



I have been looking into various things about conferences and think I've been pretty thorough. I've even fallen down the trade show rabbit hole of trade show decorators to make sure I know EVERYTHING about it. 

Yep.

Maybe a little too thorough, but hey, the more you know!


This conference is being held by the BloggyMoms Network at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. I cannot wait! I've never been to Ohio and I have never been to Cedar Point.  My husband is tagging along so that gives him something to do while I am at the conference all day. Because, I am going to be BUSY.

A quick scan of the agenda shows that from 9am until the evening, I am going to be filling my brain with anyandeverything blogging. Social media strategies, design (which I am WAY excited for), SEO, all of it!


I have been wanting to go to a conference for blogging since I first started over ten years ago. I am so very happy that I finally get the chance to go. I am hoping to become an even better blogger that way. I pretty much have the writing part down, it's all of the other stuff that I definitely need help with. Hopefully, I will get a plethora of knowledge there and have some fun while I'm at it!

Have you ever been to a blogging conference? What was it like? I'd love to know all about your experience! Tell me all about it in the comments, please!