Saturday, September 29, 2018

Global Citizens Festival in NYC with Verizon Up

 Verizon Up is a free rewards program from Verizon Wireless that gives you the opportunity to earn rewards you actually want. Get access to exclusive experiences through the Verizon Up app – from mind-blowing seats for your favorite artists and sports teams to other incredible live events. 
Events like the Global Citizens Festival in NYC, featuring awesome artists like Janet Jackson, Maroon 5, and Shawn Mendes!
Tune in TODAY September 29th from 3pm ET.
At Verizon, they have one mission: to give humans the ability to do more in this world. It’s why we’re partnering with visionaries from just about every industry you can imagine, using technology and data to turn innovative ideas into realities.
If you are a Verizon costumer why not utilize their Rewards program! The festival will be live-streamed on Twitter go check it out. If you are in NYC also check out the Reward Up program because you might be able to score FREE tickets!!
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Our 2018 Halloween Costume Suggestions

 This post has been sponsored by Dr Seuss and KidzVuz.com. All opinions are my own. 
 Halloween is an exciting time around my home. I get excited to decorate the house, plan for our annual Pumpkin party or pick out costumes! I personally love dressing up! Maybe I want to hold onto the playful child spirit by dressing up. Maybe it is the look in our son's eye when we go all out to create a costume. It's honestly just plain good old fashion fun for a day!  
 Through the years you can easily find a us reading to Mac. Every night before bed he picks out a few book or after school before I make dinner. His GO TO book (series) have always been Dr. Seuss!! I remember reading him these books, practicing them really, when he was still in utero! This year we decided to try out these fun Thing 1 & 2 Costume and Cat in the Hat Bricky Blocks Build-On Snapback for you all.
  What kid (or adult for that matter) wouldn't recognize this beloved character?? 

"Designed for rainy day play and hours of fun, this soft polyester bodysuit features a printed patch with attachable numbers 1-4 so your little one can be any 'Thing' they want".

Can I just say, we had a LOT of fun changing the numbers for these photo ;).
The Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Thing 1&2 Costume also includes: the bright blue fuzzy wig to make sure they can fly kites in doors in true thing fashion.
 
 Next up let's talk about the Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat Bricky Blocks Build-On Snapback Hat Kit.
As my son gets older costumes become more "kiddish". When he wants to dress up but not full on wear a costume this comes in handy!!

 "Inspired by the beloved children's book, this black snapback features soft black and white ears which frame the iconic white and red stovepipe hat. In the center of the hat is a white brick plate, compatible with most major brick building systems, which is perfect for crafting a variety of designs". 

My son has LOVED creating designs with the bricks and plate on this hat! Each day he creates something new to sport outdoors.
This adorable hat includes: Hat, 122 blocks, and Template
Perfect for a school costume party, trick or trunking or fun Sunday after noon of costume play!!
What are you being for Halloween?
Do you enjoy dressing up in Family themes??
Any guesses what I am dressing up as this year??
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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Laundry Room Makeover

 I have ALWAYS wanted first floor laundry. When I bought my home (12 years ago) it was located in the basement. That is two flights of stairs down and two flights up, EACH load of laundry. After years, let me tell you, it has gotten OLD! This year we decided to tackle refinishing our basement and moving the laundry upstairs, FINALLY!! I have partnered with Mean Green to bring you these DIY related posts!! Hope you continue to enjoy them; 
you can check out our last project: refinishing our basement here.
**I received free products to help facilitate this post. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
The first step, to our new laundry room, was moving the appliances upstairs. Ok, I hired someone to do that because it required electric and plumbing hookups. Next we needed to clean out the old extra "3rd bedroom". The fact someone ACTUALLY considered this room a "bedroom" is laughable! You can't even fit a bed in it let alone furniture. It does come with a walk in closet which is nice. Other than that it has always been a "catch ALL" room. 
Here are the few things I used to get this little laundry room makeover underway:
Gloves 
Face Masks 
Paint (we used the color Grey blue from Kilz)
Decorative signs
Bins (found these at the Dollar store)
Metal shelf to house our detergents (you can find it here)
This room was an AWFUL green color (see above). 
 We decided to go a little lighter and use a neutral color. 
This paint was fairly inexpensive at around $7 a half gallon. Believe it or not it actually brightened the room up a bit. Even though it is a grey blue it still pulled light into the space. I also added 2 mirrors in the room to make it look larger!
I also started to paint a mural on one of the walls. I love to encourage reading where ever we go. After seeing a few Laundry signs, I knew I just had to continue our love of the Wizarding World and reading into this room!
It is not complete just yet but well on it's way. I was also lucky enough to have my Mother-in Law create these two Laundry signs for us! The first helps tie the Magical theme ( House Elf Liberation Station) and gives us a practical place for our mismatched socks!
The other sign (LOVED) was a gift she gave to us last Christmas that gave me the inspiration for this room.
With our new Laundry room made over, it was time to fill it with quality products! I have to say when you do anywhere between 5 to 8 loads of laundry a week (like I do) products matter!! Above are just a few essentials like, the BIZ laundry collection, that have helped us keep the Hockey smell out of our clothes and house!!
PLUS this DRYEL makes cleaning delicates at home so easy! I can have the guys suits cleaned without making an extra trip to the dry cleaners.
Do you have a Laundry Room Theme?
What house projects are you tackling?
Ever used Mean Green products before??
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

What Is A Blogger? Why I'm Not Considered One

What is a blogger? I often get mistaken for a blogger once people ask what I do for a living. It honestly seems that nowadays people label everything and everyone! I used to get so angry when this happened. In my mind they were basically saying, I was a work from home Mom, who NEEDED something to do (like stay at home parents have nothing to do haha). I should take a moment and say there is NOTHING wrong with being a stay at home Mom who wants a little side business hustle. Don't read my previous statements and think I have somehow judged you! It's more of the WAY people said it to me. As if my years in the corporate world meant nothing nor did my Masters Degree which I obtain through years of dedicated studying. I honestly do not know why I took this phrase, "blogger" so personally. In reality this Media industry is so new that really the term "blogger" was just a generalized statement. Half the people that call me a blogger really had no clue what I did but needed a label to slap on me. So thus a post about my definition of a blogger and why I don't consider myself to be one!
This post was in collaboration with useriq. All opinions are 100% my own.

With a bit of research I found the actual definition of a blogger: "a person who regularly writes material for a blog". I would take that a few steps further and say a blogger is also someone who does NOT get paid to write posts/reviews. This is a HUGE difference to what I actually do here on the Western New Yorker website! I get paid through ADs, you might even see some strategically placed along the right hand side bar----->>>>
Don't worry I am not Social Media platforms that listen in to what you talk about so I can pop ads up (yes that really happens). 
I write articles that endorse brands, companies and destinations in return for compensation. I am NOT a sell out though because if it's crap I WILL not recommend it. PERIOD. I have always been the blunt person you can rely on for an honest answer ( ASK anyone who knows me) and those opinions flow freely in my business life as well. I would NEVER loose my credibility for a paycheck, NEVER! I think I have established that I get paid and my website is a business not a blog. Did you know I track my followers to help figure out what articles to write?? I doubt bloggers even utilize things like customer churn (seeing who has unfollowed them and why). Nothing against bloggers...just curious if they use those types of services...
When you start getting into the realm of writers or members of the Media I think you start to realize there is a HUGE difference between them!! Not everyone can be a Writer/Member of the Media. I am pretty sure ANYONE can be a "blogger". 

Most Members of the Media have a licence and are backed by a publication of some sorts. They broadcast via TV, Radio, Online publications and print to reach the general public on all aspects of life. Even as I write this I am reminded how much legality is also put on writers. When we write, we are held accountable for our articles which includes proper quotations and credits. I can't "re-track" statements because ONLINE once it is PUBLISHED it is out there FOREVER!! So I better make SURE my sources are correct the first time. None of this half crap let's slap a story together nonsense then "re-track" it the next day. For instance, if I made a rash statement about a person I dealt with when reviewing a location. If it is not done properly, I can be held accountable, in court for things like "Defamation of Character". Trust me when I say the hobby blogger has nothing on my legal disclosures! My company contracts are about 8 pages long full of legal mumbo-jumbo. Don't get me wrong, I would never trade my job because I truly do love it but it does have a HUGE serious side.
After a few years of being a hobby my website became an authentic business. I do utilize things like customer churn and am required us to file Business taxes yearly. I hold business insurance, copyrights installed to help protect against any legal issues (You can see all of my FTC disclosures here) and even have my own accounting department! There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that maybe the everyday person might have missed. I hope this post was a little insight into my industry. And if we ever meet and you call me a "blogger" I promise to not take it so personally ;)....well maybe! 

Did you know what a Blogger was??
What would YOUR definition be??
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The New Sony Noise Canceling Headphones

Have you ever turned up your music to sing loudly when you were excited, happy or just needed a little pick me up? For some, including myself, music has a way of taking us out of our funky moods and putting us in a positive space. When I travel for work, you can find me located in coffee shops with my laptop and a pair of headphones jamming out!
This is a sponsored post in partnership with BestBuy.
Music is a way of expressing yourself and can be a catalyst to break down defenses to help facilitate, motivate and inspire us. Having the right quality equipment to get the optimal sound DOES make all the difference. I used to think it really didn't matter what I used to listen to music with....That was until I heard the crisp sounds flowing through my Sony Noise Canceling Headphones!
Can I just say, you only hear the music!! Nothing Else. Sony’s industry-leading noise cancellation evolves to further immerse you in your music with a proprietary noise cancellation processor, quick charge capabilities, and an updated comfortable design. Listen all day with up to 30 hours of battery life. Quick charging gives five hours of playback with just a 10-minute charge.
The best feature I have completely fallen in love with after switching headphones? Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control. It will automatically detect your activity and balances noise canceling levels accordingly!! Whether you are in the market for a new pair of headphones or starting your Christmas shopping early these are such a great option! I found mine at our local Best Buy in the electronic section.

Do you use quality headphones??
What features do you look for in your headphones??
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Benefits of working for yourself-Why I took the plunge

How neat would it be to get FREE stuff sent to you?? Or travel the world in exchange for writing about it?? How about selling your talents through a consulting business?? I know I talk a lot about the hard work behind this website. I talk about the long hours because I wish I had known how much work was behind the scenes before starting. Would it have changed my mind about starting this business/website?...... NO! I just wished someone had told me these things because I would have focused on things a lot differently. If you are ready to blog or start your own consulting business this post WILL help you!
This post was in collaboration with consulting business. All opinions are 100% my own.
I first started blogging on a whim. I was teaching finance classes and sold things on eBay as my full time job. Many people took my classes and I was traveling to different cities every weekend. It became VERY overwhelming. I decided to then start THIS website. I figured this way I could reach more people and help them rather than continue to travel with a small child. Thus, my consulting career started in conjunction with this website. Funny, to look back on it now, as I travel the world with my son while writing. 

I love my job but in the beginning it was simply making money on the side that made me leave my corporate job and having my son! If you have not decided to really get into blogging or working for yourself.... I suggest starting off doing it as a hobby first. Gaining a following takes time. I wish I had a secret magic way to instantly become famous but that is just not how it works. You either buy followers- I DO NOT SUGGEST DONG THAT- or you get them the old fashion way...hard work! 

Honestly there are so many ways to make money these days. I would be lying if I said it was not easy to land jobs in the consulting world. You just need to know where to look. If you excel in Social Media offer to help other bloggers who are less Tech Savvy. Become a VA or Virtual Assistant! They makes some serious cash by helping do online tasks other people don't have time for!! I know several people who help out with LINK threads on Facebook and average $15 each. To simply ReTweet, PIN or Share someone's content on social media. If you did 20 groups at $15 each that is $300 a day!!  Not really a techy person? More of a artsy type, offer to create Media Kits. Again, I have friends who sell those templates for $25-50 EACH. You find 20 bloggers who need a professional Media Kit and VOLA money in the bank.
Blogging/consulting is about about connections, companies, content and readers. I have read so many “How-to” books saying you have to choose ONE niche. I tried this “one niche” idea and found I burnt out quickly. I can only write about gardening posts for so long before I have run out of ideas. I have so MANY talents/interests that I can sell. At first, I focused on Parenting, Traveling and Recipes. Nowadays they call it “lifestyle” writing. I can umbrella several topics under one title. This allows me to work with several companies and write several different types of content. I do not get bored AND I can really focus on my passions! If you are going to work for yourself you NEED to stay focused and passionate about what you are doing. 

Why did I take the plunge into the consulting business world? My reason WHY is nine years old and has the cutest dimples you ever did see. We never had to hire a babysitter because I worked from home. I never had to miss doctor appointments or waste my life away in a thankless job. We travel the world together because my "jobs" has these benefits!! While he grows so does my business empire setting an example you can do anything you put your mind to! If you are thinking about taking the step into self-employment....make sure it fits your family. From someone who already has....I can honestly say I would 100% do it all over again! 
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

My secrets to the New York side of Niagara Falls

 We have had the privilege of living rather close to the Canadian border. Because, of this we have vacationed to Niagara Falls several times. This past weekend we took a trip to the New York side of the falls and learned some new tricks I think you should save for a future trip!
If you are traveling to the New York side from Niagara you will notice the toll booths have been pulled. They now require a EZPASS or mail a toll charge through your car registration. I suggest following the scenic way which brings you next to the Niagara Park. 
Once down town we found the BEST place to park your vehicle!! It's called Goat Island! Welcome to the secret that has alluded us for years. We have paid up to $25 to park and walked long distances just to reach this place. The parking here is $10....PLUS it skips all the extra hiking!
They do have trolleys that run daily. Again because of the great parking we did not have to pay for any of that. If you are interested just click here for their rates.
As you walk around you will see various statues. For example, Chief Clinton Rickard (pictured above), the founder of the Indian Defense League.    
   Many people ask which side do I prefer: the New York side of the Falls verses the Canadian HorseShoe Falls. My answer will always be hands down the New York side. Not because I am from this state BUT because you can get so close to these magnificent sites!
The mist literally sprays you CLOSE! Over the last few years they have paved the trails making this so easy for you to walk around.
 As you walk to the different Falls you can stop at several look out points for different angled views.
 They also have some great gift shops and food vendors to stop at.
 Because it is a State park, you could easily bring a lunch with you.
I would suggest also bringing some quarters because they have several looking glasses to operate. Another tip I can offer is patience. People from all over the world flock here to look at these attractions. Waiting for a photo spot can be frustrating. Many people do NOT want to move once they have it. Just be patient eventually people will move and you can score the good views!
 
The Canadian side is always are next stop. If you are visiting the Canadian side I have several places I would suggest you also visit. You can check some of  them out here. While this is the larger of the two water falls you have a harder time seeing it from the New York side. The best view I have gotten of it was in our Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls, Canada tour.
From the New York side you can only see a small piece of it. 
 The picture above is an example BUT worth a trip in my opinion!
Do you want to visit the Niagara Falls?
If you have which side is you favorite? 
Let us know in the comments!!
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