My So Called Conference Life – Conference Survival Tips

It’s conference season for many of us. Attending conferences really is much more than just making sure you have the flight booked, baggage packed and business cards in hands.

In my former working life, I worked as tour support in the music industry. My life was really one flight to the next. I became well versed in everything from booking flights, packing a week worth of clothes in a carry-on (with matching heels) and being ready for several days of twelve hours on my feet adventures from summits, to concerts to festivals to conferences. When I moved over to the tech reporter world, my travel slowed down a bit, but my conference schedule still had me traveling from conference to conference from January to usually about May.

No matter what industry you’re in, or work you’re doing, there are some tips that will have you ready to begin your own so-called conference life.

  • A multi-pocket well-sized purse. Something that can hold everything you need for the day. Having one bag to carry is a life saver. You don’t want to be carrying a bunch of small bags and backpacks area awkward in crowded spaces. Black-McKlein-Womens-Quincy-Leather-15.4-inch-Laptop-Tote-f31fa26a-9a0d-402e-a732-dfda3bcbec90_600

 

  • Before you travel, download the conference map. Know where you’re going.
  • Look at the map surrounding your hotel and from where you’re staying to where the conference is. Knowing your surroundings is important and saves you from losing time wandering.
  • Battery packs! I can’t say more how much two fully charged Mophie battery packs have saved my day. I didn’t have to endlessly search for a plug and then be stuck sitting at an outlet for an hour to charge my smartphone and tablet. I carry two Mophie Powerstation 4000mAh packs in my purse with small USB to phone cords.

2016-01-18_2328_001

  • Hotspots will save you the headache of bad conference center wifi. Plus it’s far more secure. The last thing you need is your computer getting hacked while sitting in a seminar about internet security.  I suggest and use the Verizon Wireless Jetpack MiFi. Best thing of all, it also acts as a third charger, should I run into a very long tech-heavy day.

2016-01-18_2328

  • Stylish flats. Yes, heels are the trend but between those “need to be seen” moments like when you’re sitting through a panel, slip on the flats to give your feet the needed rest they need. Plus, the large tote style purse will carry them just nicely for a quick slip on. Myself, I’ve learned to wear flats all day and save the heels for after five. Your feet will thank you.

2016-01-18_2329

  • Leave the laptop back at your hotel. There is no reason anymore to lug around a 3-6 pound laptop anymore. Go hybrid! I suggest the Surface Pro 4 from Microsoft. No worries about not being able to complete a work task on it unlike an iPad with has limited function. It’s light weight and does everything a laptop can. plus it slips nicely into the tote sized purse.

2016-01-18_2332

  • Gadget=pack them! My three devices I travel with; Surface Pro 3, iPad mini, and my HTC One M9. I can run a company and shine in a conference with these three, all are travel-size and fully functional devices. Plus the Mohpie battery packs keep them all charged for the day while the Mifi keeps them all connected.

2016-01-18_2328

  • Selfie stick. Yes, it sounds silly but it is for more than pics of yourself. Think of it as a mono pod too. Use it has a stabilizer when doing live streaming or taken photos. Then remember to get a lot of active group shots to show off the trip. I highly suggest one without a remote but instead as a Bluetooth button. You don’t need another thing to have in your hands. My favorite is the iPlanet Bluetooth Selfie Stick.

2016-01-18_2327

  • Save the drinking. Make a one or two drink limit for your evening. The influencers you need to connect with tend to rise early…and without hangovers. They are the most productive in the mornings and you should be too!
  • Snacks ready. Carry energy inducing snacks in your bag for throughout the day (especially late afternoons) to keep your energy up. Also, carry a bottle of water in your bag. It always comes in handy. Hail Merry is my favorite brand for snacks. I carry five at all times when traveling. They are great for afternoon energy crashes, airport waiting periods and those “oops I forgot to eat breakfast”, conference mornings.

hail-merry-snacks-300x225

  • Keep a few simple accessories ready for those times you may go right from the conference to a cocktail hour or dinner.  Going from suit jacket to cardigan and change jewelry. Touch up makeup, maybe add a bit more color to eyes with a quick eyeshadow touchup.

day-and-night-outfits

  • Keep your business cards handy at all times like in a pocket of your suit jacket or from the pocket of a purse. You should never have to the take time to dig for them. Also, make sure you get contact information from those you meet.

No matter what conference you’re attending, these tips will hold true.  If you have any other tips, please add them in comments.

 

Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon's Influencer Team - #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and
receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No
financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

 

Holidays are for Giving with #GivingTuesday and No Kid Hungry

You got up early and stood in long lines for holiday deals on Black Friday. You visited your local stores for Small Business Saturday and even though you were working, you grabbed up some more deals on Cyber Monday. You’re ready for the holiday gift giving activities. Now it’s time to give back.

Let’s all together now take a day to give back. Let’s all get together for #GivingTuesday.

What charity are you most passionate about? For me, that’s an easy answer: No Kid Hungry.

What is Giving Tuesday?

On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

What is No Kid Hungry About?

The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending child hunger a national priority.

Why No Kid Hungry Matters To Me

If No Kid Hungry had been around in the 80s and early 90s, I would have a recipient. I often as a child had to wonder where my food would be coming from. I was a “free lunch” kid which also meant I had to get up extra early to get to school for free breakfast. The free meal kids were often bullied for being in need. Nobody else ate breakfast at school but us.

For lunch, I attended a couple middle and high schools that had a separate line for “ticket” students. If you had cash you went in one check out line, if you had a meal ticket you went into another. Free lunch students were often the joke of the other kids.

I was glad to have this meal, but then summers came which meant no school meals. What that meant was all school year I would horde anything packaged like the cereal so I had food for summertime. I spent a large amount of my time as a child worried about food and when and what I was going eat next.

In a country of wealth and consumerism, childhood hunger should not exist. Children should not be burdened with figuring out how and when they are going to eat next. That is why I am a No Kid Hungry Blogger.

Connecting #GivingTuesday with No Kid Hungry

GivingTuesday_Image_4

This year, your donation can play a huge part in making No Kid Hungry a reality. Every $1 donated to No Kid Hungry can help connect a hungry kid with up to 10 meals.

Plus if you make a gift on Giving Tuesday, Hickory Farms & Kettle Brand will match all donations up to $100,000! That means we have the opportunity to help connect kids with up to 2 million meals – all from one day’s work. With your help, together we can make sure that every kid gets the healthy food they need to succeed, this year and beyond.

2015-11-30_2123

How Can You Get Involved?

How to Keep the Giving Going with No Kid Hungry After Giving Tuesday

Join #BakeItForward

Looking for another way to get involved? This holiday season, No Kid Hungry is teaming up with Food Network to #BakeItForward. Just bake something delicious, share your creation online, and nominate a friend using #BakeItForward and for every share of the hashtag Food Network will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry.

 

Coloring is the New Art Therapy for Adults

Ever needed a moment just to clear your mind, center yourself or just calm down before you scream at a co-worker or boss? We all have had those moments, some of us, several times a day.

You come home exhausted, mind full of tasks from work, bills to be pay and everything piling up on that endless “to-do”. Yes, that is many of our daily routines too.

It’s time to calm and settle yourself, and you know can do it digitally as well and traditionally.

Adults grab your coloring books, it’s time for coloring. Or grab your tablet or phone and use an app.

The Digital Coloring Break

No longer do you have to tote around coloring books and pencils to enjoy a moment of coloring. Now it’s just an app away. Digital coloring via an app, is a great way to take a moment of calm between tasks at work. Go sit in a cafe over a coffee and enjoy a moment of art. Have to wait in the reception area for your appointment that you’re anxious about? Trying digital coloring.

Currently, my two favorite applications are the Colorfy and Recolor.  Both are coloring by touch and work well on phones and tablets. It takes about five to ten minutes to complete a drawing. Great for work breaks, commutes, and waiting on appointments. Both are free to download and do have in-app upgrades.
Colorfy, is currently my favorite of the two apps because I can have it on my HTC One M( (Android) and my iPad mini 4.
It is also available in the Amazon App Market for Kindle tablets as well.

Color beautiful florals, animals, mandalas, and more

Choose your favorite color combinations.

Simply tap to paint and pinch to zoom

Share your creations with all your friends

When you’re done with a drawing you can add filters and artistic backgrounds to it. Also, the app has a built-in community and people can vote (heart) and share your work as well as you can share theirs.

 

 
 Recolor, is an iOS coloring app for your iPhone or iPad.

Style themes include Pencil, Marker, Acryl, Watercolor and more.

Recolor has over including 200 art illustrations to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Digital Break-Traditional Coloring

Remember, there’s also good old coloring. For those long days where you just need to put all the screens away and get off the computer. Many bookstores like Barnes and Nobles have large selections of adult coloring books ranging from $8-$20. I color with crayons and Sharpies. If you’re going to use Sharpie pens, make sure coloring books are thick paper and not double-sided.
 

 

I’m on Instagram, often sharing my coloring hobby. Hope you join along!

 

Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon's Influencer Team - #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and
receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No
financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

Domestic Violence Awareness Is An All Year Issue, Not Just October

October is Nation Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but the issue doesn’t just disappear because the month is at an end. Not only does the community need to educate on how to help someone in need, those involved in an abusive relationship need to learn the signs of domestic violence and how to get out if they choose to.

There are resources in the community and nationwide to help raise awareness about domestic violence, educate, and empower. Verizon’s Hopeline is just one nonprofit that works to end domestic violence, raise awareness and work with victims and families. Through Hopeline® from Verizon, Hopeline connect survivors of domestic violence to vital resources, fund organizations nationwide and protect the environment. They need your help ALL YEAR LONG, not just in October.

Domestic violence or abuse happens in every part of society, affecting those with lots of money and those with not enough. It happens to people of all colors, religions, and ages. It happens to both men and women. Domestic violence is a tragic, equal opportunity phenomenon.

dv_post_1
It is important to remember this: domestic violence and abuse are never okay. It doesn’t matter who the abuse comes from and it doesn’t matter what excuse is given for the abuse. Every human being deserves to feel safe. Every human being deserves respect. Every human being matters.

Recognizing Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence often begins with domestic abuse. That is why it is important to recognize domestic abuse before things progress to violence.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to recognize domestic abuse. In domestic violence, there may be outward signs to see, such as a black eye, or bruising. Domestic abuse, on the other hand, may not be visible to the eye. Difficult as it is to spot, it is crucial to recognize all types of domestic abuse and violence, because domestic violence and abuse are dangerous. Recognizing the signs of domestic violence and abuse is the first step toward getting help for yourself or someone you know.

Domestic abuse may begin with threats or nasty insults and then move on to actual violence. Getting injured is a serious thing, and probably the thing most people worry about when they think about domestic violence and abuse. They may even worry that lives could be in danger. Those who suffer under verbal or emotional abuse, however, can tell you that the psychological damage can be quite severe. Being in a relationship with someone who is emotionally abusive can leave you feeling worthless, anxious, depressed, lonely, and stuck because you may feel you have no way to escape the abuse and torment.

How Hopeline Helps Domestic Violence Victims

Verizon provides financial support to non-profit domestic violence organizations and agencies that are committed to creating safe environments for victims and survivors and sharing with them the necessary skills to cultivate and sustain healthy relationships.

Verizon supports educational initiatives that generate awareness of what domestic violence is, explain how to detect the signs of abuse and offer resources to help someone in need.

dv_blog_post_3

Signs of Domestic Violence and Abuse

So how can you know if someone you know is in an abusive relationship or if you are? The most obvious sign that things have gone horribly wrong is if you

  • Lives in fear of partner.
  • Afraid to speak, never knowing when something said will be used by the partner as a weapon.
  • Walking on eggshells.
  • Living in constant fear that something said will blow up into a huge fight.
  • Fearing physical violence from partner.

These are signs of an unhealthy, abusive relationship.

The Abusive Relationship Quiz

The more “yes” answers you have, the more likely it is that you are in an abusive relationship.

You:

  • Are you afraid of your partner most of the time?
  • Do you avoid certain topics of discussion because you don’t want to make them angry?
  • Do you feel you deserve to be hurt or treated badly?
  • Do you ever wonder if you’re the one who’s not normal?
  • Do you feel dead inside?
  • Do you feel helpless?

Your Partner:

  • Do they purposely embarrass you?
  • Do they yell at you?
  • Do they criticize you and belittle you?
  • Are you embarrassed for your friends and family to know how they treats you?
  • Do they ignore your successes or make fun of your opinions?
  • Do they blame you for their abusive behavior to you?
  • Do they see you as something they owns, rather than a person and partner of equal worth?
  • Do they have a bad temper?
  • Is their behavior unpredictable?
  • Do they threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Have they hurt you?
  • Have they threatened to take away or hurt your children?
  • Do they say that they’ll kill themselves if you leave them?
  • Do they force you to do things you don’t want to do?
  • Do they break or destroy things you own that are important to you?
  • Are they very jealous?
  • Do they decide where you can go and what you do?
  • Do they forbid you to see your friends and/or family?
  • Do they prevent you from using the car or the phone?
  • Do they limit how much money you can have?
  • Are they always checking on you?

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Economic Blackmail

Here are some of the ways an abusive partner may try to control you by way of money/livelihood:

  • They control your money
  • They sometimes or always doesn’t let you have cash or credit cards
  • They make you tell them how you spend your money, down to the penny
  • They withhold basic necessities such as food, medicine, clothing, a place to sleep
  • They have you on an allowance
  • They won’t let you take a job
  • They choose your career
  • They do things to sabotage your job (calls you frequently, makes you late to work with their demands)
  • They take your money without permission or steals your things

Domestic Violence or Abuse: Cycle of Violence

Domestic abuse tends to follow a classic pattern known as the cycle of violence:

Abuse—the abuser shows you who’s boss by putting you down, yelling at you, or acting violently.

Guilt—after they abuse you, the abuser will show they’re worried they might get in trouble for what they’ve done. They know they’ve done something wrong. They don’t feel guilty, but admits guilt, and fears getting caught.

Excuses—the abuser will make excuses for their behavior. They didn’t feel well, you were being stupid, anything to evade responsibility for what they did.

Pause in Abusive Behavior—the abuser is on their best behavior. They may pretend the abuse never happened. They may be charming and loving. The behavior is designed to fool the victim into thinking the abuser has changed. (They haven’t)

Fantasizes, Plans—the abuser begins to think about abusing you once more. They think about it a lot, thinking about all the things you’ve done wrong and how they will punish you. They come up with a plan so they can carry out their fantasy and abuse you.

The Set-Up—the abuser sets up a situation that puts their plan of abuse into action. For instance, they call you away to do something while you’re broiling their steak for dinner, and it burns. There’s the excuse for insulting and hurting you. You’ve burned their dinner again.

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Watch For Signs!

Do you think a friend, relative, or colleague might be in an abusive or violent situation? Here are some signs you might be right:

Signs of Abuse

  • They seem afraid of their partner
  • They talk a lot about wanting to please their partner
  • They ask their partner’s permission for everything
  • What the partner says, goes
  • Often checks in with their partner to tell them where they are and what they are doing
  • Gets lots of loud, demanding phone calls from the partner
  • Often talks about their partner having a bad temper, or being jealous

Signs of Violence

  • Always having new injuries, calls them “accidents”
  • Often absent from the workplace or important classes or occasions without excuse
  • Wears clothing or accessories that may be hiding bruises or injuries, for instance, sunglasses indoors may hide a black eye

Signs of Isolation

  • May not be allowed to see or visit with friends or family at will
  • Doesn’t often go out in public without their partner
  • Don’t have free access to the car, money, or credit cards

Signs of Emotional Distress from Abuse

  • They have low self-esteem, though they may have once been quite confident
  • Their behavior has changed. For instance, they used to be outgoing, is now a quiet loner
  • They are depressed, anxious, or talks about killing themselves

Domestic Violence Can Happen To Anyone!

Even though women are statically more often the victims of domestic violence, all genders and sexual expressions of people can be victims. There is no “face” of domestic violence. 

 

dv_post_6

 

How You Can Help Hopeline Today

HopeLine collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries, chargers and accessories in any condition from any service provider to benefit victims and survivors of domestic violence. Wireless phones given to HopeLine are turned into valuable financial support for domestic violence awareness and prevention initiatives.

By donating wireless phones and services

Verizon donates wireless phones, complete with voice and text capabilities, to local domestic violence shelters and non-profit organizations and agencies for use by victims and survivors. These phones serve as a vital link to support services and provide a safe line of communication to family, loved ones and employers.

To find out about how to donate your phone: http://www.verizon.com/about/responsibility/hopeline/get-involved Links includes instructions on how to donate phone or host a phone drive.

Always Help Speak Up!

If you think your friend, relative, or colleague is in an abusive relationship, say something. You might just save her life. It’s always your business when someone is in danger.

Approach the person, tell her what you’ve noticed. Explain that you are here to support her or listen, whenever she is ready to talk. Let her know that what is said between you, will stay between you. Then tell her about these resources for getting help:

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Here’s Help!

If you work with or know of a community resource in your area

please leave information in the comment section for others who may need it.

 

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

 

Breaking Up is Hard to Do, My Most Important Relationship

You know the feeling. It’s time to break up. All the signs are there, it’s just not working out. But you stay, you stay because, as we all know, breaking up is hard to do. Making the switch from who you’ve been with to who might be better for you is a difficult choice and step to make.

Wait! Is this about relationships? You don’t blog about relationships, Miss Versatile.

Yes, reader, you’re so right about that. I don’t tend to blog about relationships, but this one time, I will.

The most important relationship you may have

I am writing about our relationship with our cellphone service provider. For me, it’s one of the most important relationships I partake in. It’s a daily relationship, it’s a relationship that affects so much of what I do. It affects my work life as well as personal life. It also affects where I travel to and how long I spend somewhere. If you think about it, you may spend more time “connected” than you do with an actual certain person, or your time with a certain person may also be time you’re digitally connected as well.

For me, my digitally connected work allows for me to spend person to person time with others. I can say take a coffee break in the middle of the day at a nice cafe because I am digitally connected. I can step away from my desk to enjoy a moment because I can still get emails, text messages and be a part of a video chat. The relationship I have with my wireless provider makes my lifestyle possible.

So in essence, my relationship with my wireless service provider is the most important relationship I have. It allows me to be me and to do what I do without fear of missing out (FOMO).

Cost vs. Quality, It’s Not You, It’s Me

I am a loyal person. I’m loyal to those I let into my life. I’m loyal to those I do work for. I’m loyal to the brands I give my money to. I’m also loyal to my wireless service provider. I need them, they need me. It’s usually a win-win relationship.

My loyalty from 2007 to 2014 was to Sprint. I wrote about the cost of their service which was the lowest of the top four providers. I was happy with their selection of phones. I tweeted to them and about them. I often sent my friends and associates to them for service. Why? Cost. It was all about cost. Plus I was lucky to live in big city with good service. Also most my business travel was to another city where they had good service. Yes, there was another provider that had better service, better data connections but that provider was more expensive so I shrugged them off.

In 2012, my business life drastically changed. I relocated outside a big city. I also began to travel to other cities that didn’t have good service from my provider. I still, out of loyalty, stayed. I stayed and I put up with bad service. Why you ask, easy to answer; cost. I liked the price. The brand, as well constantly through ads, shouted out how cheaper they were. So I stayed. I stayed and put up with dropped calls, dead service spots, and crappy data connections.

I thought maybe I am expecting too much. I was being a snobby consumer. I wanted greatness for the price of okay. I had high expectations. Maybe it was just me.

Stop the Madness, You Deserve Better

What changed my loyalty? Why did I finally have “the talk” with my service provider? I finally put my consumer powered “foot down” and I decided I deserved better. I was worthy of good service, and good customer service. I also deserved to not be stuck on the side of the road without enough “bars” to even call the roadside assistance service my wireless provider was charging me for every month.

I deserved better. I am worthy of LTE service everywhere I travel to as a mobile communications professional.

When I started the process to break up, of course, I was told how I was the issue. I lived in an area where they “were upgrading the lines”. In my resolve, I defended my stance, that I deserved better. If I was being charge full cost every month while living in an area they admitted didn’t have any coverage, why should I stay? Why should I stay in a relationship that obviously wasn’t working?

I finally said enough is enough. Someone (wireless service provider) should be treating me better. I have consumer power. I have influencer power. I deserve it.

It took me months to finally break up. Why? Because I believed still that it would get better. I saw the ads telling me how much cheaper they are, how they are LTE in some places. How they are expanding their service if I would just be patient. You know, they said all the right things. I heard on the phone from customer service, how if I stayed, it would get better. Plus if I left I might lose my number I had built my business around. If I left, I would be able to get the service package I had because it was no longer being offered. Also, if I left, I would be charged up to $375 to switch. This cost would be charged even though, they admitted I didn’t have service where I lived. In other words, I’d pay dearly if I left. I’d have switcher’s remorse.

The Day I left, I Found What I Needed and You Can Too

I left, I had to finally break up. I had just had enough. Not only at this point was I missing client communications, losing money, I was also putting my safety at risk. Being in the middle of nowhere on a rural road, not being able to call out to let anyone know to come get me. One of my worst fears happened; no service, at night, in the middle of nowhere. The only thing that saved me was the fact the person I was with that evening, had service. He had another provider. The provider,  I had often said “they’re so overpriced, what’s the point?”.

The point was; service quality. Service quality over cost. Service quality at the end of the day is in fact, the most important point of my big switch. After years with someone else, I walked into a Verizon Wireless location and say “enough is enough, I deserve great service.” I do acknowledge, that great service has come at a higher price. I’m okay with that.

In 2013, I took the step to switch. I thought I might have switcher’s remorse, but no, I haven’t. Not one day of it. Not only do I have amazing wireless service everywhere I go in rural America (including Upstate NY), I get great customer service. I don’t get dismissed, they listen. Listening to your consumers has great power. There is huge power in the act of listening. I wish more brands would get that.

When I leave my house, I no longer worry if I am going to be “out of range”, stuck anywhere with no bars, no service. I don’t worry about dropped calls or missed emails because I have data service. I no longer worry about my partner just getting my text hours later when I’m back in service range (that happened far too enough before).

I even was able to also convince my partner to break up with their service provider. They were also in a bad wireless provider relationship.

Yes, admittedly, every once in awhile, I think “I could use a cheaper bill. I could really use unlimited data”. Then I remember how that “unlimited data” is usually at a low-quality connection, that cheaper service comes with far too many “out of range” moments for my lifestyle.

In the end, it’s not you, it’s me. It’s “the me” that needs great service, great customer service and a constant data connection. I need power phones, company-owned stores nearby, and a welcoming, knowledgeable staff when I get to the store. Yes, it’s all me, the me that is now with Verizon Wireless.

The me that has no #switchersremorse

Disclosure: this post is a part of a campaign:  Verizon designed this fun campaign to further incentivize those people who may have switched away persuaded by the “shinny lights”.  As a member of a very cool team of influencers for Verizon Wireless I received compensation to think of this story in my life and write about it. I did, however, choose myself, to take part in this campaign. These are my words, my story.

If you’re interested in making the switch, back to Verizon or as a new customer, here’s a link for you: Verizon Wireless

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

 

#ChefCycle with No Kid Hungry


Summertime is the worst time for children in need of meals

“For kids summertime should mean food, friends and fun. But for many, summer can be a time of uncertainty about where and when they’ll get their next meal.
The summer meals program was created in 1968 to help kids in need get healthy food when school is out. Yet the current program operates under a set of one-size-fits-all regulations that don’t work in many communities.

Transportation challenges, inclement weather and bureaucratic hurdles means five out of six kids who may need these meals aren’t getting them.” – No Kid Hungry

SummerBarriers- No Kid Hungry

How Chefs are working to end childhood hunger this month

For nearly 30 years, chefs and restaurants have served as our most ardent supporters raising millions to help end child hunger in America. Now, from coast to coast, chefs are getting on their bikes  to raise awareness and funds for No Kid Hungry. Nearly 50 chefs and restaurant industry professionals are riding from New York City to Washington, DC and Santa Barbara to San Diego. 300 miles each!

You can follow along with the campaign by searching on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for the hashtag #ChefsCycle.

“As a child I never had to choose between the quantity or quality of food. I am saddened this is the case we face right now. I’m looking forward to strapping on my helmet and peddling out the miles to connect children with meals and communities with hope! Let’s do this #ChefsCycle4NKH” -Chef Jason Roberts

What is #ChefsCycle?

#ChefCycle #NoKidHungry

This June, 50 chefs will be leaving their kitchens, getting on their bikes and riding 300 miles to raise money and awareness for No Kid Hungry.

  • June 7-9 will take one group of riders from New York City to Washington, D.C.
  • June 14-17 will see another group pedal their way from Santa Barbara to San Diego.

Even a $10 gift can connect a hungry child to 100 meals.

 

Most important takeaway: $10 can get 100 meals to children in need by supporting No Kid Hungry and #ChefsCycle

What are you waiting for? If you think about it, that’s the cost of two Starbucks drinks. By foregoing two stops at Starbucks, you can connect a hungry child to 100 meals. That coffee drink doesn’t seem so important now does it?

Check out the Chefs Cycle site: www.chefscycle.org and see how can help support No Kid Hungry and their campaigns through the summer.

#ChefsCycle End Childhood Hunger

Part 1: The Technology Side of Your Job Search

Let’s talk job search. Yes, in 2015, technology is a great help in finding your next career move. Technology will only take you so far. Personality, determination, skill set and confidence will get you the rest of the way. Starting with the technology for part 1 of this three part series, I’ll highlight the technology side of your job search.

Technology for Your Job Search

  1. Smartphone

A flip phone is just not going to cover it anymore. Many careers want you to be able to be connected and be able to work, even as you’re walking down the street. That takes a mobile device that can handle Microsoft documents like Word and Excel, email, and even app use. “Away from my desk” or “Out of the office” isn’t a valid excuse anymore to not being able to access documents, make edits, change calendar information and many other tasks.

Currently my favorite smartphones on the market are: HTC M8 Windows, iPhone 6+ (like carrying a mini tablet), Samsung Note 4, Motorola Droid Turbo, Samsung 6 Edge, and the HTC m9.

You’ll also need a good smartphone during your job for the apps you can use in the search and apps you can use to network, to build a personal brand, and stay connected on the go for interview calls, video chats and more. An investment in a good smartphone is an investment in your career.

  1. Good Wireless Service Provider

Look into who has good service in your area, look at work and home and everywhere in between those two locations. You’ll be commuting and being out of reach completely during commute isn’t a good idea. Also being home isn’t an excuse anymore for not being reachable.

I’m not going to tell you who to go with, I don’t know your budget or your experience with providers. I can tell you, I have Verizon Wireless. Here’s why; LTE service all throughout my area. I work in rural upstate NY and I live in small, upstate city about 45 minutes away from work. I commute between the locations. My service has to be good at work (very rural), commuting and home. I tried the “cheaper” providers and all it got me was lots of dropped calls, no data access in my own home or at work and other headaches. I went with Verizon Wireless in the end. Yes, it costs me a bit more than the “unlimited” plans you see blasted on TV commercials, but I also get a lot more service and no downgrade in data during the month.

  1. Laptop

Gone are the days of ten-pound laptops and needing a desktop to do anything meaningful. Today’s laptops are light weight and can handle all the work your tower desktop model can if you buy the right model for your needs. You can choose from “Chromebook” style (models with little hard drive space but are connected to the cloud), moderate models that are good for the average students and personal use, the business owner powered and configured models or “creative beast” laptops like the MacBook Pro.

Right now, I’m super drooling over the Lenovo Yoga Pro. As a mobile professional, this laptop packs all the features I need for my day job work and my personal content creation work. You can read more about it here: Lenovo Yoga Pro 3

My other recommendation is skip the laptop and tablet (double purchase) and just go for the Surface Pro 3 (this site is now run by one). It really is the only tablet that will replace the laptop. This is because it runs a full Microsoft Windows 8.1 (soon to upgraded to Windows 10) and you can run as a tablet with apps or turn over to desktop mode and use as a fully functional laptop. It’s super light, super portable and very useful. I’ve used it at conferences and the battery lasted me all day even while using the touch screen. Read more about it here: Surface Pro 3

  1. Online

LinkedIn

Linkedin is a good place to set up your professional profile and online resume. It is a good place to follow the companies you’re interested in working for and see when they publish hiring announcements. Putting together a good profile is the first step.

Next is to becoming seen by using the LinkedIn Publishing part of the site. This way people will see your writing and ideas. This is an excellent way to become seen by hiring personal and industry leaders in the industry you’re interested in working in.

Here’s a good group of tips for beginners on LinkedIn for job searchers: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-31-best-linkedin-profile-tips-for-job-seekers

Twitter

Twitter is where you can actually “talk” to people at the companies you’re interested in. You can see who works for them and network. You can follow industry organizations and leaders in the niche industry you’re looking at. Follow trade magazine and news outlets as well. Unlike LinkedIn, where you have to be connected somehow to the person, on Twitter you can just hop right in and say hello.

Many people can now say they’ve made an impact in their career from connections they made through Twitter which they were able to carry further into a job, new client, or other new opportunities. My first marketing agency position was acquired through my use of Twitter for networking. I went right to the owner of the company and start tweeting with them directly. Later when I would see him at marketing events I had already developed a professional relationship so we could talk further. My continuous communication led to him offering me a job. Twitter is an amazing tool for your career.

Look up Twitter chats for job searching, industry topics, and personal branding. Twitter chats will help you network and get you noticed online. When I was in my job search phase, #jobhuntchat was a good networking chat. I got to tweet with recruiters and learn how to beef up my resume to get that interview I wanted. #LinkedInChat is another one for better use of that platform.

There are other social media platforms and online spaces to look at, it all depends with what you’re looking for. I suggest starting with these two platforms and building from there.

Don’t have a website? You can build a simple web presence on about. me and use the link in your social media profiles. On about. me you get to highlight yourself and your work then link all your digital spaces in one place (LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Twitter profile, etc).

If you have a question about anything I didn’t cover or want to dig deeper into anything I did talk about, please leave your comment or question below. I look forward to talking with you more about this topic.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

Finally, home security for renters! Get a Canary and You’re Set.

There are so many home security systems on the market BUT there’s one big downfall for renters. They are not available or renters, only home owners. Maybe you might get lucky enough to rent a house or apartment where the owners have had a security system installed, but even with that as the renter, you rarely have complete control over the system. How to solve that? Get a Canary from Verizon Wireless.

No, I’m not talking about the cute little yellow bird (although those do add  a splash of color & life to the rental). I’m talking about the Canary, smart home security for everyone.


I’ve been using the Canary for two weeks and I’m finally much less nervous leaving my apartment. I’ve always been one of those people who worries just a bit about home security even when I’m home. I’ve had my home broken into and the feeling isn’t anything I want feel again. But as a renter my whole adulthood, I’ve never been able to get a home security system. Instead I do what many renters do, I have dogs. Dogs who bark loud when people enter my apartment.


Not sure how thrilled my pup is that I have replaced his only job though. Yes, the Canary will replace your guard dog. Sorry dogs.

No wiring, not installation technician to come set it up, NO monthly monitoring prices. Also no annoying keypads with security codes to remember. Your control is through your mobile device (app available on iOS and Android).

The best feature: the Canary is one piece and many would mistake it for a harddrive or not even notice it. It blends right into the home environment. It took me less than ten minutes to set up. You can connect to your wifi (not for use with local location wide public wifi) or throughout a direct Ethernet connection to your internet modem.


With your mobile device handy, you make an account, connect via a cord provided to your device for a few minutes and BOOM. All set up and ready to monitor people coming and going from your home, what is going on in your home via 1080p HD video live video feed with audio.

Best yet, it auto arms the alarm when you leave your home. Have more than one person at the residence? Each person can have a Canary account and connect to the device. When everyone leaves (even not all at once-after the last person) the Canary will activate the alarm.

Canary has no installation fees and no monthly fees. The app will alert you when there is movement in your residence, sudden temperature changes and air quality. The Canary can also loop in your emergency contacts for alert. This is especially awesome for travelers!

canary features

The camera is high quality too, you’re not sacrificing video quality with this product. 1080p HD, 147° wide-angle lens (for me that means the whole hallway) plus it has night vision and motion detection. For audio, the Canary has a built in speaker and high quality microphone plus 90+ dB siren.

Have a big place to monitor or multiple floors? Yes, you can add additional Canary devices as well to create a remote of monitors. If I get the loft apartment I’m planning on, I’m definitely adding one more camera. It is even good in the nursery or playroom for parents.

And yes, when home you can turn off the video record and audio recording feature. This is a concern of many who don’t want their lives being video taped. I completely understand. When I am home during the daytime I keep the audio and video off at times.

At a price point of $250 per unit, it is a great investment in your home’s security. If you do get one, remember to let your rental insurance agent know, you may get a discount on your monthly insurance bill. The Canary come in white, black and silver. I like the all black unit the best as it blends effortlessly into my home decor. You can order Canary at: Verizon Wireless


Welcome to having home security, renters!

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

 

 

Going Forward-I blog on Fridays.

I wear pink on Wednesdays, and now, I blog on Fridays.

We all have busy lives, work 40 hours or more at work, then maybe have a family to care for as well or a personal life to care for. With content from the 100s of websites we follow, every day we get pushed content ALL DAY LONG. Between email updates, notifications on our mobile phones and tablets plus the feed of each social media site we are connected to. SO MUCH CONTENT!

How much of it do you really get to read? I try to read as much as possible to stay up-to-date with information I need for my work and life. It’s a job in itself.

SO…

I blog on Fridays. My promise to my readers: I will not push you content all day everyday. Bloggers, fyi, you don’t need to publish a post or multiple posts everyday, your readership won’t go disappear. Your readers might actually appreciate if you don’t. I’d rather have a community that pays attention to my writing, that appreciates it and looks forward to the next week. Also this helps me focus all reviewing products we all can actually use to be more productive and get our lives organized. I can focus deeper on subjects of wellness and patient care, we all want to read about. I can better cover conferences if I’m not in a rush to publish “something” everyday. I will instead, use my social media channels to talk to you everyday.

Note: Giveaways will post on Mondays and go for eight days (Mondays-Tuesdays). I do promise to you, to stay on a Friday schedule. It may mean on Fridays, you might get two-four new posts, but don’t feel rushed to read them all at once. Promise they aren’t going anywhere.

Instead let’s connect in the comments, and then on Twitter and/or Facebook.

aussie

April Showers Brings May Dating

 

We’ve made it through winter, which most of us know is the hardest time to casually date. So much pressure over the holidays and weather not cooperating with travel. It’s spring and dating season is on. Now the days are bringing out the sun which means more ability to dress date appropriate plus opens up more activities.

Now the next question; as a digitally connected person, where to start? Do you run your fingers to the app market of your mobile or tablet? Do you do it “old school” and go out to your favorite bars, hoping to run into someone worth having a drink or three with?

With digital dating on the rise and it seems a new dating app coming to market every week, it’s hard to choose where to start. I’ve picked out five dating apps to highlight that I’ve found useful and fun in my dating life.

After the app highlights, I’ve also added a few good online dating safety tips. So let’s get this date season started.

1. Cheekd

This app is one of my nerdy tech-driven favorite dating apps. It’s also cool to know the founder, Lori Cheekd, who has worked really hard and dedicated her time to make sure you have a great dating app experience.

Do you like geolocation apps? Have you used Foursquare or Swarm to meet up with people in your area? Well, Cheekd is like that. It uses Bluetooth and GPS to match you up to other Cheekd users, real time based on where you are. You control when the app is on of course. It starts the conversation online through the app, then you control when you actually would like to meet up.

“Cheekd ensures you ‘Never Miss a Connection’; thanks to this new Bluetooth technology, the app works on the train; on a plane…anywhere—You’ll get a notification if someone who meets your criteria is within 30 feet of you. If you’re near a potential spark, Cheekd makes sure you know about it.” -Via Cheekd.com

Cheekd screenshot app store 1cheekd profile screenshot 1screen322x572-2screen322x572-3screen322x572-4

 

Currently only available on iOS. It’s free to download. Go get Cheekd!

App Market: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cheekd-online-dating/id807619613?ls=1&mt=8

You can also find out more at Cheekd.com  Facebook or Twitter

2. OkCupid

This app has the bad stereotype of the hookup app. Well any app (even Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) could be a hookup app if that’s how you use it. However, with OkCupid, you can certainly meet quality people. With the ability to have a full profile and also answer a lot of interesting questions. You can learn a lot about the person you’re talking to. A plus I find is it’s LBGTQ friendly as well. I actually have had great success with the app. I met my current person through the app and we’ve been happily dating for two years.

How the app works best is that the more questions you answer, the more the app can get to know you and through an algorithm can match you with people who have similar scores.

screen322x572 screen322x572-1

screen322x572-2 screen322x572-3

screen322x572-4

Available on iOS and Android for free.

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id338701294

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.okcupid.okcupid

3. How About We

This app is really fun when you think about how to find a date. It highlights users based off their idea of a great first date. How fun is that! With the Tonight feature, you’ll be able to get set up for a date that same evening if you’d like to take it that fast. Or with The Pool feature, you can now message people for free if you both like each other. The newest features to the app; Speed Date and Date Map make the date finding process even more “game feeling”. Speed Date allows you to browse photos and dates that you can skip over, or double tap if you’re interested. Date Map helps you search and find all those local date ideas on an interactive map.

screen568x568 screen568x568-1

screen568x568-2 screen568x568-4

screen568x568-3

 

Available on iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/howaboutwe/id439078709?mt=8

 

4. Grouper Social Club

Group dating is now available through an app. I’m really excited about this because not only is it more fun to go out casually with friends, but it’s also safer. Grouper sets up drinks between 2 groups of friends: 3 and 3 (also supports same-gender groups!). How it works: anonymously choose friends-of-friends to meet. When you mutually match, the app will plan a Grouper for you, which is drinks between your friends and theirs. Grouper also gets rid of the awkward messaging stage on online dating by planning everything for you with their scheduling tool. It finds the perfect time and place. It even coordinates with your friends.

screen322x572 screen322x572-1

screen322x572-2 screen322x572-3

screen322x572-4

Note: Currently, it’s live in New York City and invite-only, but Grouper will be rolling out the new app to other US cities soon.

Available on download on iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grouper-social-club/id628057178

5. Hinge

Hinge uses an already established circle of friends via social media profile linking. Meet people in pretty much the same way you would offline, through your friends. Everyday, the app delivers a list people hand-selected from your own social circles.

screen568x568 screen568x568-1

screen568x568-2 screen568x568-3

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hinge-free-dating/id595287172?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.hinge.mobile.android

 

Why Not Tinder, Grinder, or Down?

I didn’t touch on these three because I’m not a fan of dislike/like only date finding. That means you just get a photo and from that photo you decide if the person is worth talking to. I’m just not a fan of approaching dating that way online. At least if I see someone in a bar or coffee shop, I can see how they act, how they talk to service workers, etc. Yes, that’s still a first look way to decide to talk to them but to me it’s way more information than just a single photo and pass or connect feature.

Extra: Safe Online + Offline Dating Tips

1. Talk a lot through the app first and don’t give out personal information at first. That means no work info, no information about your kids or even what part of the town or where you get coffee every morning and when. Don’t post photos of you and the kids on your online profile if you have children.

2. Google Voice numbers are best at first. I think it is a really good idea to have a to have a Google Voice number that you use at first before giving out your personal phone number. A lot can be found out through a personal phone number if the person is online savy.

3. Meet after work, while still day light in a very public place where you know the staff. Be it your favorite coffee shop close to your work or your after work happy hour stop. Some location that isn’t around the corner from your home (you can be followed home) but where you’re safe and know people.

4. Have your girlfriend come meet after. This is a great way to let the person know you’re meeting up with people after date, so you’re not going to be alone plus it’s a great time to dish about your first date to your girlfriends AND you’re not walking home or traveling home alone.

5. Have an out call during the date or text message. Have someone to check in to make everything is going safe. Also let someone lie a roommate or bestie know this is all happening, when and where.

6. Even better-get to know the person first before letting them into your life too soon.

 

 

I’m also on the lookout for new dating app, so if you have a suggestion, please leave a comment and let the whole community know.

 

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.

*Disclosure: I am a member of Verizon’s Influencer Team – #VZWBuzz and receive phones and other accessories from time to time to review. No financial compensation is provided and opinions are always my own.