Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Focusing on Hockey Thanks to Fizzique

I remember the first time I stepped out on the ice. I fell straight away.....right on my bum! After getting up I suddenly wasn't afraid of falling anymore, because well, I had already done that. I learned to figure skate throughout my high school years. Competing and even wining medals. When it was time to head off to college I traded my skates in and headed into the work force. Fast forward to 2 years ago when my son came home from school one day asking if he could "learn how to ice skate".
 **I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
We signed him up for lessons and I dusted off my old figure skates. He caught on extremely fast and last November we took him to his first Hockey game. It was sort of a last ditch effort in fighting his high fevers. We figured if he spiked a fever we were already in a nice cool ice arena. After his first game he was HOOKED! He has spent the last few months getting ready for hockey season.
 
Each week I watch him conquer more hockey skills and get better on the ice. Most days I have to drag him off the ice much like my younger self so many years ago! To keep me energized while on the ice I found a fabulous new sparkling drink, Fizzique
 Fizzique combines liquid protein with healthy bubbles with only 20g of protein, only 80 calories, and zero net carbs, it’s the perfect grab-and-go option that helps satisfy hunger between meals. A great (and mess free) healthy alternative to ordinary protein drinks and sugary protein bars! This drink allows me to keep my focus on the ice not on my hunger or unhealthy drinks at the rink.
Save 10% with code "LIZFIZZIQUE" 
to try these tasty drinks out for yourself over here.
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Saving a Fortune at PetSmart

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #fortunaforall #cbias #collectivebias
Our pets have always been like family to us. They have been with us through many things in our lives. We like to spoil them! I know I am not alone, raise of hands who likes to save money and spoil your fur babies?? When our PetSmart store opened we found ourselves visiting weekly. On a shopping trip this week I learned of a few money saving offers I thought I would share with all of you pet loving families. 
In case, you were interested George's food is the Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend. Did you know if you Spend $20 on your first transaction you will get a $5 PetSmart gift card?! When you are ready to check out give them your contact information (which will give you an entry into the Grand Prize Sweepstakes) and upload your receipt on PurinaFortunes.com.
Next, I needed some litter. Cats can go through litter if you do not find the right kind that suits them. I am no expert but that is what I have found over the years. I use the Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Scoop kind. George never has any litter out of his box and we have no lingering smells! Make sure you check because several of the containers had $3 off coupons!! Since you can redeem for multiple gift cards for every $20 purchase, now is the time to STOCK UP! Just make sure to Make your purchases from 4/3/18-5/18/18 (Promotion ends 5/31/18).
Need some of the items pictured above? Hover over the photo to click through and shop these products!
Note: The first $5 gift card awarded requires the $20 purchase be on one receipt. Subsequent receipts can be of any value and when $20 in Purina products have been accumulated. These are considered a “gift with purchase,” so you cannot redeem them for gift cards!
 While PetSmart is running some great offers on products, you can earn more savings and gift cards! Just play the Play the Paws of Fate game (located here>>PurinaFortunes.com) to instantly win prizes including Save a Fortune tarot cards and PetSmart gift cards. There is No purchase necessary to win and you can play on both your mobile device or desktop!
If you are interested in more information check out the Social Hub. While there you can find the Instant Win website!! Good Luck because the grand prize is a Dog/Cat Dreams of Fortune bed. 
George has been with us for almost 14 years. There is really nothing I would not do to ensure he has a continued healthy and happy life with us. 

Do you like to spoil your pets?
Have you Played the new Instant Win game??
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Friday, April 20, 2018

The HorseShoe Curve, Altoona PA

Remember last week when I promised to give you an exclusive and in depth review of this place?? Today is your lucky day because we are talking all things train related!! Trains have always been a real fascination of mine. When I was younger we lived across the street from a set of train tracks. I can remember placing pennies on the tracks and waiting for the trains to go by to see what flattened treasures they would leave behind. I even had the privilege of being a "walking" child in the movie: Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring the late John Candy. The train station part in the movie was filmed in my home town located in Western New York (still standing today). It's several memories like this that started my curiosity about trains and steam engines. As I have gotten older my son has started to share that same passion. We both enjoy learning about the history of an area especially if it includes trains! 
I was given a complimentary tickets for my trip. All opinions are my own.
The HorseShoe Curve located in Altoona PA has been in operation since around 1854. It was built with the idea that trains could get over the Allegheny Mountains at a gliding incline. 
Once you see it in person, you will agree, that this place is breath taking! Just picture hundreds of immigrants creating this beautifully functional train way out of picks, shovel and horse draw machines!! CRAZY!! 
This area is well suited for both adults and families. With two ways of going up the mountain to the viewing station you can easily access it through the Museum entrance.  The conductors will even wave at you!! Something we found out after watching the first train roll through.
While you are not privy to a train schedule (Thanks 911) you can estimate trains will be passing every so often. We saw several on our visit and each one came from a different direction and was different in styles, shapes and colors! 
They even have an engine for you to enjoy as you sit and wait for the next train to pass!
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — 
an endless prospect of magic & wonder" ~ Ansel Adams
If I could give you a few pieces of advise while you plan your visit gauge around an hour. I know it might seem like a long time but I felt that hour went by so quickly! We could have sat and watched the trains roll in all day. Well....maybe... if it had not been snow/raining on that particular day!
Before you go I would also recommend a stop in their Museum. While it is on the smaller side my son really enjoyed all of the wonderful artifacts they had on display. They also have a video you can sit in and watch. My last suggestion is to visit their gift shop! We found some great souvenirs in there. They have a whole kid section of fun educational train related materials as well! I mean they have toys too but I tried to stay away (we have enough toys after all).
Do you like trains?? How about your kids?
Have you ever visited the The HorseShoe Curve in Altoona PA?? 
Tell us about it below!!
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to effectively Brand & Market your Blog

Enjoy these tips in collaboration with Profisee MDM.
Today I want to talk about behind the scenes of blogging. Let's start with branding and marketing first because that is a large part of the blogging industry. 

1. Decide whether you are a hobby blogger or a business.
At first my blog was a hobby because I was a stay at home Mom. When my son grew up and went off to school I decided to take the plunge and make it a career. ‘But, just because you decide something does not mean it will happen! It takes WORK!
2. If you decide you want a career remember it IS work. 
I work more now than I ever have in my life. My corporate job pales in comparison to the amount of hours I log now. I also have more rewards! I can travel with my entire family and experience new things before they are open to the public. I also can give back to our community shelters, soup kitchen and schools because of the wonderful sponsors I work with. 

3. If you decide to blog, as a business, you need to brand yourself. 
This is so important because it sets you apart from other bloggers. It let's everyone know what you have to offer them and why they should read YOU! 
4. Never let anyone tell you, you have to fit in a box! 
I have been told, only write one topic focus on ONE niche. My brain does not work like that. Bloggers used to tell me I could not achieve something but I knew I could and went after it anyway. 
5. Create a list of goals. 
Write an obtainable goal list and then write a ‘crazy off the wall I hope this happens in a million years’ list. I find I reach the crazy one’s first! 
6. Once you have found out what you will write, and your personal style, Market, market, MARKET! 
Let people know about you and your blog. If I could go back and redo this step it would have saved me hours of headaches! I started my blog first and then never started social media sites to market. My blog grew but my media sites were no where because I had not started them yet. 
7. Learn from your mistakes.
This may be my last tip but it is just as important as the rest! Learn, ask questions and be willing to take productive criticisms. Also be able to here "NO", from companies, bloggers well everyone. No, does not mean never just not right now.
If you are looking for more resources check out, Profisee MDM. They have over 30+ Best Master Data Management Tools!!
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Encourage STEM Learning with Circuit Cubes

 As a mother you hear a lot about all the things you need to teach your child. Society, the education system, other parents and media flood you with advice on how to raise your child. One of the major educational focus teachers have in the last few years are STEM learning programs. What is the STEM approach people are talking about, you might ask? It centers around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. I like to encourage my son by learn through his play. When ever I can find a "toy" that does just that I like to share it with other parents!! Recently we have been all about Spirograph! While shopping around online I found this STEM focused Spirograph, Circuit Cubes. We have been hooked with creating new technology creations and doodling on paper ever since!
  **I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
What are Circuit Cubes??
Circuit Cubes are electronic building blocks that add sound, motion, light, and sensors to young Makers’ creations. Designed by STEM teachers, Circuit Cubes provide an easy-to-use platform that helps kids develop confidence while experiencing the joy of discovery. Whether a design uses your own building bricks, favorite vintage toys, or pool noodles — with three Circuit Cubes, you can create just about anything you can imagine!
In our box it came with instructions for a few different types you can create. Because this is a Art based box it helps you fuse Art with technology!
 By connecting the motor (via wires) you can move your markers around the paper creating different shapes. Each new "robot" creation draws different pictures. Like I said my son and I have had a fun time creating new ways to push the markers and create little artwork "masterpieces".
I think we both agree the one's that formulate the Spirograph are our personal favorites! This  Circuit Cubes kit came with everything you need and even a booklet of suggestions/instructions. Just simply charge the motor and you can easily get started! 
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Friday, April 13, 2018

24 Hour trip to Altoona, PA

This year we decided to break up the long drive South. I am so glad we did! We wanted to find more off the beaten path places and explore Pennsylvania (Instead of just simply passing through). I feel like we did just that! Enjoy our 24 hour trip to Altoona, PA. My first stop was dinner at Chipotle (we do not have one in our town, treat). This was the view from their patio (pictured above)....A-M-A-ZING.
I was given a complimentary tickets and accommodations for my trip. All opinions are my own.
We checked into to our "Family Suite" at the Comfort Inn in Duncansville, PA. Can I just say when we got to the room my son and I may have jumped on the bed a few times... Laughter is honestly the best medicine. What can I say...I'm a total kid at heart!
I have never stayed in a Family suite before but I have to say it's rather delightful! It housed two televisions one in the bedroom area and one in the "living room" area. Perfect amount of room so mac could watch morning cartoons. Worth a booking if you have a family and or just want the added space (in my opinion).
After breakfast the next morning we ventured out to the Horse Shoe Curve. I have seen some amazing captures of this area and was rather excited to see it first hand! I promise to give an exclusive and in depth review of the place shortly!
Little man was also rather excited to see the trains whiz by. Even in a light dusting of snow/rain we enjoyed ourselves. He even pulled out his very best Mary Poppins impression as the conductors waved at him!!
For lunch we headed to US Tavern Hotel. So much history in this place and it is located right next to train tracks. Grab a seat by the window and watch them roll in and out of the station.
Since, I am a bit of a history buff in training I ventured around with the owner. He explain this sign, pictured above, was the original sign from back when this place really was a Hotel. This building has been restored without taking away from the beautiful wood trim finishes. It even comes complete with a billiard room where a few ladies were enjoying a friendly game of bridge!
What about their food you ask?? I want to encourage you to listen to the house specials. I almost gave up my menu pick for one of them but settled on a out of the box burger instead. I would also recommend the Chicken and waffles because the Dr. Pepper sauce, YUM! 
Remember when I said you could sit by the window and capture trains? You can also tour their local train museum. Since we had a limited amount of time we did not get the chance BUT we will definitely be back to do just that! My son also wanted me to share this above picture with you all. Apparently they are doing away with cabooses and he is rather gutted about it! We managed to still find one though #MomWin
Our last stop was the Slinky Factory and Slinky Action Zone. I still remember the "everyone loves a slinky" ditty they broadcasted on television as a kid. It was so neat to share the love of this toy with my son. I would compare the Slinky Action Zone to indoor play area if you are unfamiliar. Think a place kids can climb, jump and run around in. They also have an arcade and food court area for parents to relax and recharge in!
Altoona, PA left us wanting to return and visit more of the local hot spots. Their jail resembles a castle, as my son pointed out, so we HAVE to come back to explore the area more!
Have you ever been to Altoona, PA?? 
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Meet the Voices behind the Western New Yorker Website

I think its time I sat down and had a chat with all of you! Right around this time last year I was heading to Buffalo Children's hospital with my son. I have kept most of what I am about to share out of the Media light for several personal reasons. While I do believe in sharing there is still a line I draw when it comes to my son/family and our privacy. We had been experiencing times with him that I would not wish on anyone. He gets high fevers (104-105 degrees) struggles with being run down and at one point lost the ability to walk all together. While I LOVE my job, this time was especially trying because it is when I started my traveling. I felt like I was having to choose between work and my son. 
Just so you know I choose my son every time 😉. 
As his condition worsened I truly felt maybe I should give up my website and find a "normal" job. I was just at a breaking point. My business has taken off from when I first started. Companies have wanted to work with me that I never thought possible. BUT my home life was falling apart as my son got sicker and sicker. I stuck it out because I felt it gave me the freedom to take him to doctor appointments and I believed we would find out what was wrong. Working from home gave me the luxury that maybe I wouldn't have had if I just gave up.

Fast forward to today, he is worlds better by the way but the stress of this wonderful business is still there. To be honest I have been wanting to hire some HELP for ages but was to scared. I'm not sure if it was not wanting to let control go of my website or what. Let's face it we all need help. After talking with these lovely group of ladies each one encouraged me to take this leap! That's right I took the plunge and "hired" some help!! These ladies are going to be a fun addition to this website! It has been such an answer to my lost prayers that even they do not realize the tremendous burden that has been lifted off my overloaded shoulders! They all offer new perspectives and experiences! I thought it only fitting to introduce them to you because you will be hearing from them rather soon!
I'm Liz, you probably already knew that if you have been here for a long time! I'm still one of the voices behind this website, I just will be focusing more on the travel & food side of things now! I started this website 5 years ago as sort of a butt end of a joke. Someone said I couldn't make it in the industry. WRONG, here I am going strong!! And GROWING YIKES!! I want to prove the stigma wrong that writers and bloggers are a dying bread. While yes anyone can DO this, it's not FOR everyone. I want to continue helping companies reach their targeted audience while publishing quality content! With these ladies I can finally focus on that.

Without further delay meet my new writers:
Hi everyone if you don’t already know me from past posts I’m Tammy one of Liz’s best friends and a guest writers/reviewer/creative contributor and proofed reader when needed. 3 yrs ago my bio would have read single, fun loving, hard working gal who seeks to find ways to live life to the fullest. I have a Master’s degree in Education/Literacy yet work 50-60 hours a week in a engine factory as a technician. I enjoy reading,couponing, gardening, country music, going to church and drinking cold beer. Fast forward to today and you get Avary’s mommy. I’m a stay at home mom of a very active 2 yr old little girl. I’m engaged to be married sometime in the future (maybe 2019~who knows). I still enjoy all the things that made me who I am, minus a few of those cold beers because I’m tired y’all. I don’t really need to seek ways to live life to its fullest these days as my life is pretty full. I’m the friend you don’t put on speaker phone without warning, I can make any girls night out fun but I can also be the voice of reason or the shoulder to lean on when times get tough.
My name is Allison Slagle and I am thrilled to write for the ‘voices behind the Western New Yorker’. I was born and raised in Western NY, so you can certainly call me a ‘Western New Yorker’, as well ! I have two children (Chase and Leah) with my husband Patrick. My passions include photography, supporting small shops, and enjoying quality time with my family!
Hi everyone, I'm Brittany. I’m a mom of two, almost three 😉 I run a successful business with Younique, a natural based cosmetic and skin care company. Each day, I get to transform other women by empowering them through my business while staying home to raise my babies. 
Hi I'm Ashley Kaczar a Mom of 3.  Before kids I was chasing the corporate dream at our local paper. Shaking hands, sealing contracts and enjoying life with my now husband. I also bring the passion for food after managing and owning restaurants. Now, I devote my time and energies to homeschooling my children. I have a strong passion for play, travel and all things kids. 
I’m Gretchen Kleinfelder, a mother of 3 beautiful girls. I was born and raised in WNY and happy to be invited to join Voices of the Western New Yorker. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with an Associates in Marketing & Management. Starting at the bottom I have worked my way up in the workforce from cleaning rooms to being an executive assistant to a CEO. Currently I am taking a break from the workforce to stay home and take care of my newborn. I enjoy spending time with my family from arts and crafts to outdoor adventures and road trips and participating with my girls in Girl Scouts and community service.
From the bottom of my heart Thank you! 
Thank you for welcoming these lovely ladies who will be helping me in so many ways behind the scenes. Trust me when I type words just do NOT do them justice. 
Thank you for taking this website and making it the successful business that it has become. 
Thank you for all the long hours of work traveling planes, trains and automobiles worth it. Not just for my family but all of the many families we have touched along the way!!
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