Summer Reading

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We've moved!

We’ve moved!

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own, but I may be compensated if you make a purchase through my links. 

The internet seems all abuzz with people talking about what they are reading this summer and I guess that makes sense. Summer seems to be a time when things slow down and there is more time to read. There are car trips and beach trips which lend themselves perfectly to getting engulfed in a good (or trashy!) story.

Unfortunately this year it looks like I am busier than ever! Even with the break from school activities I am still a full time working lady with 3 kids and an amazing husband…and a lot of pregnant friends! This weekend alone I went to 2 baby showers! I don’t think that I am going to be dipping my tootsies in any beach sand this summer, so I am trying to to get my reading in how I can, through audio books!

I recently started using Audible about a month ago when I really wanted to “read” the Wicked series. I do a Once Upon a Time fan podcast  and the Wicked Witch and Oz were pretty important this spring I wanted to learn more about the world.

Since setting up my Audible account I have read Wicked, started The Husband’s Secret, and am nearing the end of Dogboy: Den of Thieves and it has made my commutes fly! It’s not so bad sitting in Atlanta traffic when you have something interesting to listen to.

I’ve decided to giveaway ONE free audiobook code to Audible. Enter below in the Rafflecopter (ending on June 25th). GOOD LUCK and make sure to tell me what book you are going to download.

Dogboy: Den of Thieves By Bill Meeks

Dogboy: Den of Thieves By Bill Meeks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter Here ^^^^^^^^^ (I’m working on getting the Rafflecopter to display properly)
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This post is linked up on the Ruffles and Rain Boots: Thank Goodness its Thursday Linkup!!

A Dream Come True

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Last weekend was AMAZING!

A) I got to spend some much needed time with some of my #PinkPeople! Atlanta is pretty spread out and many of my friends live ITP (in the perimeter) so between jobs, kids, and various commitments meet ups are tough to schedule. We made sure to make the best of our night before the crazy work began.

I ordered a Corona...it was a double!

I ordered a Corona…it was a double!

My friends had never done Washington Apple shots...they can't say that now!

My friends had never done Washington Apple shots…they can’t say that now!

B) We raised oodles of money for the Greater Atlanta Affiliate of the Susan G Komen!! As with any event there were ups and downs, but overall we had a great Race! The rain decided to hold off until after we were done and cleaned up. So awesome participating in this event as a committee member. I can’t wait to get involved more. I am still working on getting some great pictures to share.

C) I GOT TO MEET QUEEN ELSA AND SNOW WHITE. *Squeal* As a Co-Host of Greetings from Storybrooke (A Once Upon a Time fan Podcast) this was huge! I knew that Elsa would be there, but then when I saw her show up WITH Snow White I was overwhelmed. Snow White has always been one of my favorite princesses and is probably my favorite character on OUAT! Then Sunday night was the season finale of OUAT and they introduced ELSA in the finale scene as a major character for next year. My heart was literally beating out of my chest. (Feel free to catch our episode about the finale HERE .

So awesome!! I wonder if this weekend can beat it? I have to clean 😦

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Why Reviews Matter (and How to Leave One in Less Than 2 Minutes!)

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So since I have been crazy busy lately (hence the lackage of posts!) I asked Bill Meeks of MeeksMixedMedia.com and DogboyAdventures.com to help me out. Full Disclosure…Bill is also my husband.

Bill Meeks

@billmeeks on Twitter

Hi, readers of Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated! Anne Marie asked me to talk to you about a matter that is important to many online content creators like myself: reviews.

You might be the next Picasso, Bach, or Kanye but if people don’t know your content is out there you might as well be the next Gilfred Gondry. What’s that? Don’t know about Gilfred Gondry? That’s because nobody can find him!

Gilfred has a problem. He pours his heart into each and every custom-painted Adventure Time iPad cover he sells over on Etsy. It’s not that his customer are unsatisfied with the product. In fact many of them send him e-mails with pictures of them enjoying their covers along with very kind words.

Adeventure TimeThe iPad covers are very well reviewed, just not on the Etsy site itself.

He wants to share these covers with other Adventure Time fans, but the show is very popular and competition is stiff. Even if it wasn’t the lack of reviews might turn a lot of potential customers off, sending them to a competitor instead.

Gilfred tries a lot of different things to get his customers to share their experiences with new customers: giveaways, personal outreach, even Youtube tutorials on how to make your own custom iPad covers. Nothing helps. It seems like people hate leaving reviews, and if Gilfred doesn’t get some soon he’ll have to pack up his paints and go back to his 9-5 at the post office.

Leaving an honest review is the #1 way you can help independent artist bring in new fans. Hitting a star rating and typing a sentence or two doesn’t seem like it would be much help, but it’s the best way to ensure things you like stick around.

Helping your favorite content creator “go viral” isn’t really the point here (although it doesn’t hurt). The point is to help level the playing field in an ever-increasing landscape.

So why is it so hard to get people to leave reviews? Most people have put up “blockers” to leaving a review. You’re probably guilty of this too.

The biggest blocker is assuming it’s more complicated than it is. Leaving a review for a product/piece of content you want to support is simple. So simple in fact that you can do it in only two minutes.

How to Leave a Review in 2 Minutes

  1. Choose a star/number rating
  2. Answer three of the following questions with a sentence (or more if you’re motivated):
    1. What was your favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    2. What was your least favorite feature/use/character/etc.?
    3. Have you been able to use the product in your everyday life? How?
    4. Is there anything about the product that makes you uncomfortable?
    5. Have you recommended the product to friends?
    6. If the creator offered a similar product in the future would you purchase it?
    7. Does the product remind you of another product? In what way?
    8. What was the fulfillment experience like? Did it ship in a timely manner? Arrive in one piece? If not how did the creator handle it?

These are some general springboards for you when leaving a comment, but feel free to come up with your own. It’s simple, isn’t it? It’s not about writing a textbook critique, or sounding like you’re part of the marketing team. It’s about giving an honest assessment to help other consumers while supporting the artists you want to see succeed.

Another blocker I hear is that customers who liked the product but didn’t love it might think they’ll offend the artist (especially if it’s a friend). People who create something out of nothing should have a thick skin, even if the criticism is coming from somebody they care about. If they don’t they should probably find another way to pay the bills. Besides, I love it when I get less than stellar reviews on my books and podcasts. It helps potential new fans see that I didn’t just “stuff the ballot box” with 5-star reviews from my buddies. It feels more “real”.

For Gilfred Gondry (you’ve heard of him, right?) a few minutes of your time means the world by setting his iPad covers apart from those chintzy ones you can find at Hot Topic. He puts his heart into his product, scraping by because he cares about what he does.
Is it worth 2 minutes of your time to help his business succeed? I think Gilfred would answer a resounding “Yes”.

 

Now go and REVIEW Bill’s novels on Amazon and podcasts iTunes! (BTW…I am the co-host on those podcasts!)

Dogboy: Den of Thieves
Greetings from Storybrooke

Legends of Gotham

Take Care of YOU!

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Work.

Husband.

Kids.

House.

Commute.

Volunteer work.

Kid’s School Stuff.

Blog.

Friends.

Podcast.

I have a few things going on and sometimes it all makes me want to pull my hair out! BUT there is one thing that I am starting to put at the top of the list…ME! I’ve never been good at putting myself ahead of anything, but I am working on that.

There are many different ways that I am putting myself first and trying to take care of ME!

1) Actually take my lunch break. – Now mind you I am usually blogging (ahem) but I am not focusing on work WORK and I am getting better about checking my work email while on lunch. (Full disclosure: I have taken no less than 3 calls in the 20 minutes I have been writing this! FAIL!)

2) Eat healthy. – Being back on Paleo (mostly) has made me feel so much better! I know that it doesn’t always show (sorry for the meltdown this week, honey!) but I feel healthier. I am really proud of myself for NOT eating some of the breakfast pastries that were sitting in the kitchen this morning when I forgot my breakfast! 🙂 BONUS: I am down 8lbs in less than 3 weeks since fully committing to being back on Paleo!

Cauliflower and Bacon...need I say more?

Cauliflower and Bacon…need I say more?

3) Go to bed at an acceptable hour. – This one is hard because here is my day. My alarm goes off at 5am M-F so that I can get up, showered, and dressed before getting the kids up at 6 and out the door by 6:30. I then sit in traffic until between 7:30-8am where I work until 4pm and sit in traffic for another hour before picking the kiddos up from 2 different locations (ASP and day care). We finally walk in the door around by 5:30-6:00pm where we scrounge up some dinner. I REALLY try to get something in the crock pot a few times a week, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen…or we really need to go grocery shopping and my 2 yo eats Funyuns, applesauce, and grits for dinner! The kids finally get into bed by 8pm so in order to get a good night’s sleep I need to be in bed no later than 10, which doesn’t leave much time for fun things like crafting and watching tv!

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

I have to wrangle my blanket from her some days

4) Schedule friend time/exercise. – I recently started scheduling time with my best friend every week were we take her precious Great Pyrenees for a walk at the park for an hour. This is one of my favorite times of the week because I get fresh air, exercise, and some girl time! Also, I get puppy snuggles!! This week we even snuck into the dog park for a few minutes to let him run and there were these 2 ADORABLE bulldogs!! I wanted to snatch them up!

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica and Thumper

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

Jessica, Thumper and Me on our weekly walk!

 

5) Say NO! – When I start to feel overwhelmed I just start saying no to things! Unfortunately it is starting to be the laundry that I am saying no to and that just leads to stinky socks for everyone. I am going to work on this.

So that is what I am working on to take care of myself. If I do not take time for ME then I will be useless to everyone in my work life and my personal life. I will try to update in a few weeks on how this is working out for me 🙂

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture...we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

I love my family!! Pardon the old picture…we need to get someone to take new ones for us.

Greetings from Storybrooke…LIVE

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Greetings from Storybrooke – Wonderland Wrap Up LIVE!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I do a couple of podcasts with Bill Meeks of MeeksMixedMedia and Dogboy Books. We do weekly fan podcasts about ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time: Wonderland called Greetings from Storybrooke where we offer a bit of a wrap up and discussion about what happened that week, as well as theories and news for upcoming episodes.

Well last week was the final episode of OUAT:W as it was only a 13 episode series and we wanted to do something to wrap things up. Our fans (so weird to say something like that!) had been asking us to do a live or video episode for a while, so we finally decided to oblige!

So last night we hosted a roundtable of about 8 other podcasters and friends of the show and we hashed it out…for 2 hours!! We each had our beverage of choice (or “Magic Juice” as we call it on the show) and most people were drinking from Disney Princess cups (again, it’s a thing we do) and we had a ton of laughs! Discussions ranged from “shipping” the Cheshire Cat with, well, everyone to the Red Queen’s horrible Botox lips to which storyline just felt like it never developed.

Now I know you may not be a fan of the #OUAT Universe, but I invite you to give it a shot! It was an AMAZINGLY talented panel and each member is doing different and great things. Please take a few minutes to check it out!

Oh, and in case you are curious…I am HIGHLY CAFFEINATED during this episode!!! We were drinking a jug of coffee, almond milk, Bailey’s and vodka! SO DELICIOUS!

Greetings from Storybrooke – Wonderland Wrap Up LIVE!

OUR PANEL:

Annemarie
Amy P. life of a bookworm on tumblr
Daniel J. LewisONCE and WONDERLAND podcasts
Bobby Hawke
Jeff Roney and Colleen Roney of Once Upon A Time Fan Podcast
Patty Mourohttp://sage-earth.tumblr.com/
Wynn MercereCity of the Gods
Hope Mullinaxonceuponanobsession.tumblr.com

 

 

 

Apparently I Need to Drink More Coffee…and a Giveaway

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This week the unthinkable happened…I was basically told that I do not drink enough coffee.

GASP!

Me in my natural habitat!

Me in my natural habitat!

While recording a podcast (Greetings From Storybrooke) I was a little sleepy and yawned a bit. I was also suffering from a VERY high pollen day here in Georgia (pollen is evil!) so I had the sniffles on top of the yawning. Neither of these make for very interesting podcast listening so I apologized profusely to our listeners because I typically have a dose of caffeine before recording! Unfortunately, one listener called me out on it on our blog!

My feelings were hurt! My co-host and I both apologized in the comments and apologized on our next show! I was even a bit embarrassed because I do claim to be a Highly Caffeinated person!  I even record my caffeine intake! Seriously!

A few weeks ago I saw a post from 2 Wired 2 Tired. She posted a review for a phone app called Up Coffee. I was highly entertained! You enter all of your caffeine intake over the course of the day and it tells you how “Wired” you are! It also tracks where you are in relation to being “Sleep Ready.” It can also be linked to a Jawbone Up which I was unfamiliar with.

Per the Verizon website it does the following:

  • Track activity, calories burned and sleep quality
  • Wear around your wrist in the pool or shower
  • Access your information from your mobile device and set goals

I think that this sounds super cool and like something I may have to put on my wishlist!

In case you are curious the Up Coffee app rated me as a Heavy Drinker!

Heavy Drinker

Like there was ever a doubt…

I am moving on past having my feelings hurt. I need to learn not to take EVERYTHING so seriously! So to show that there are no hard feelings I am going a COFFEE giveaway! Leave me a comment with a link to your favorite brand of coffee and next week I will send out a bag of Whole Bean Dunkin’ Donuts coffee! Entries end 4/14/14 at NOON EST.

 

This post is sponsored by no one! I just wanted to share my feelings and my love for coffee and cool apps with others. If you would LIKE to sponsor a post email me at crunchycraftyandcaffeinated@gmail.com