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Top 12 Must Have Items for Traveling to BlogHer 2017

This post is sponsored by Dramamine and SheKnows Media

When I heard BlogHer 2017 was going to be held in Orlando, it brought enough excitement for me to overcome my social anxiety and buy a ticket as fast as I could pull out my credit card. Spending the weekend learning with some amazing women in the middle of a city that is packed with family fun on every corner has me thrilled!  I have been planning since I bought my ticket; which sessions to attend, what outfits to wear, how to get there without getting car sick, and of course, what attractions to visit before and after the conference.

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Must Bring Items for BlogHer Orlando

While my suitcase will be packed full of the usual travel must haves such as cute outfits, swimsuits, makeup, toiletries and some snacks for the hotel room, I also pack a conference tote that doubles as my travel bag.

In my travel/conference tote these are my must have items that will get me through the long drive over to Orlando and keep me on the top of my game during the conference.

  • Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals: I get motion sickness when I travel. Whether I’m flying, driving, or boating I always get that yucky feeling.  And I already know that the drive to Orlando will surely cause me to get car sick along the way.  The thought of showing up to the resort, with three children in tow, after having to pull over on the side of a hot and humid Florida highway does not sound like the way I want to start this exciting weekend.  However, I also can’t show up feeling groggy and in need of a nap. Luckily Dramamine® introduced me to their first non-drowsy solution to motion sickness, Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals, which have been a game changer when I travel.
  • A Neutral colored scarf: my husband likes to crank up the AC in our car making it feel more like we are back in Boston than in Florida. So, I need something to throw on in the car.  Hotel conference areas are also cold so I like to have an extra layer available during the day.
  • Notebooks and Pens: I am old school when it comes to notes. My heart flutters for a pretty new notebook or finding a pen that writes perfectly.
  • Smart Phone: this is a given, right? I can’t imagine a day without my phone as a blogger, but if there is a time you’re going to need it most, I would say it’s at a blogging conference.  From taking pictures and posting on social media to following all your new friends, you’ll need your phone constantly.
  • Extra Battery: even the latest phone models are unlikely to stay charged all day at a conference and being close to an outlet isn’t always an option so pack an extra power bank. Honestly, I’ve packed two.
  • Business Cards: you exchange a lot of business cards at blog conferences. With meeting brand reps at the expo and new bloggers to follow, business cards are being passed out all over the place.
  • Energy bars: for when you get a little hungry between meals and don’t feel like going all the way back to your room.
  • Gum: you will be eating, drinking, and talking with brands and new friends all day. The easiest way to freshen up your breath quickly is with a piece of gum.
  • Laptop: I know it is a divided issue on whether you need to bring your laptop to the conference. A lot of bloggers like to take notes on their laptop and have it with them all day.  While it’s not a necessity for me inside the conference, I do like to have it while traveling and inside my hotel room so that getting work done is still an option.
  • Power strip: you will be in rooms with hundreds of bloggers and only a few outlets. If you think you’ll need to use a wall charger for your laptop or phone, bring a power strip.  Also, if you’re sharing your room with other bloggers (or children who have just as many devices as a blogger) A power strip is a necessity.  You’ll want to be sure your phone and power banks are fully charged for each morning.
  • Camera: at past conferences I only used my phone for pictures and while phones can take great pictures, they never seem to come out as crisp and bright as when I have my camera. However, lugging a DSLR camera around a conference didn’t seem like fun either; this year I have a mirrorless camera that gives me those crisp images with a quarter of the weight, so it is on my must pack list.
  • Small cross body bag/wristlet with ID, some cash, and credit cards: At BlogHer, I will be trying to sneak in some pool time with the kids during conference days and exploring more of Orlando after the conference.  So having a small bag that I can pull out with all my essentials in it is perfect.

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With my tote packed and organized with everything I need, I know I will feel confident throughout the conference.  Then when it is time to hit the town with my family, I can throw my phone, gum and Dramamine® Non-Drowsy into my crossbody bag and be ready for all the attractions.  I am counting on the leading brand in motion sickness prevention to get me through Orlando, where the city’s Ferris Wheel is 400ft tall and the fastest roller coaster goes 73 mph!

One dose of Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals contains the full clinically-tested ginger dosage for the prevention and treatment of motion sickness. Since it’s made from natural ginger, it is safe to use every day you travel.

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Are you planning on attending BlogHer this year?  What other amazing adventures do you have planned?

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Click here, and take advantage of this great coupon to save on Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals.

Enter to win a $100 Visa gift card!

What is your must have item when traveling?  Comment below to automatically be entered to win!

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#Sweeps” and “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from SheKnows via the sweeps@sheknows email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 6/12-9/12/2017

Be sure to visit the brand page on SheKnows.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Traveling to Blogher 2017!

 

Getting Stuff Done with the Samsung Galaxy Note5 and Sprint! #SprintMom

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received product to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
My newest tech love is the Samsung Galaxy Note5!  
If you know me, you know I love taking notes, the notes section of my phones is jam packed with everything from a grocery list to the next date a dermatologist will be at the salon I go to.  Everything I think I might need to remember, ends up in the notes section of my phone, and the Galaxy Note5 is so perfect for me.  I am obsessed with the S Pen that has made putting notes on my phone faster and easier than any of my previous phones.

Weather I am using the S Pen as a stylus to press on the keypad or as an actual pen to write on the screen, this phone makes the entire process so quicker.
Of coarse the note taking feature is my favorite, however as a busy mom who is always on the go and a blogger who is constantly thinking about new content and taking photos of everything, the Galaxy Note5 has streamlined everything I need.
The 16 megapixel camera takes awesome pictures with burst shot, 8x zoom, LED flash, and panoramic features.
Then once I want to transfer my notes and photos to my other devices so that I can create a blog post with them, I can easily do so with the SideSync 4.0 feature.  This helps me feel so much more productive, when I can sit down to my computer and already have everything I have saved to my phone during the day waiting for me.  I now feel so much more comfortable working while out and about, sitting in the car waiting for sports practices to end and sitting in waiting rooms at the doctors.
I’m also excited to learn about Sprint Global Roaming.  We visit Brazil a lot and loosing cell service is one of the hardest parts of our trip.  My family and friends worry about us, while being unable to reach me.  Plus I am suddenly completely unconnected which hinders my ability to work, and I am usually always working while traveling.  I am psyched to be able to take advantage of this service during our next trip.
This phone is amazing, Right?
Well Amazon has a deal that will make it even more Amazing!
The Samsung Galaxy Note5 Amazon Prime Promotion:
New and existing customers that purchase and activate a Samsung Galaxy Note5 by Nov. 30 get a year of Amazon Prime for free!  That means you can get even more things done on the go.
Amazon Prime customers get unlimited free 2 day shipping on more than 20 million items, unlimited streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes with Prime Video, access to ad-free streaming of over a million songs including thousands of curated playlists and personalized stations with Prime Music, unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos and much more this holiday season and the year after.
This Amazon promotion makes the Samsung Galaxy Note5 with Sprint the perfect phone for all my work and fun needs.

Self Employed, Health Care, and Your Taxes! What it all means.

The holidays will be over before we know and the 2015 year will be coming to an end.  It really feels like this year flew by in the blink of an eye!  With the new year comes the new stress of tax time. 
Back when my husband and I both had 9 to 5 jobs with a simple W-2 form, I never gave tax time a second thought.  I would jump on Turbo Tax as soon as the W-2’s came in the mail and have our taxes finished in less than 30 minutes.
Now that we are both self employed, things have changed.  Being self employed means we no longer have the luxury of W-2 forms. I no who thinks of tax forms as luxury?  However I can honestly say going from the once a year task of entering a few numbers into a space to the now daily task of tracking our income, expenses, and potential write offs, makes me realize how easy things were.
Being self employed also means no employee health benefits.  With 3 kids, one with autism and another with severe asthma, plus having chronic health issues myself, going without health insurance doesn’t seem like a smart or cost effective option for us.  Plus now that the Affordable Care Act is in place, the penalty for not having insurance goes beyond excessive doctor bills and hits you with a penalty at tax time.
Luckily we were able to find a great health plan that was affordable, this really allowed us both to pursue our dreams without one of us having to maintain a job that provided insurance.
It is currently open enrollment time, if you are looking for health insurance.
We file our taxes every year with Turbo Tax, and have since the year I started filing my taxes my self.  I love how they make everything an easy and streamlined process, whether I have a simple W-2 or own my own business.  They ask the questions and I click on the answers and provide my end of the year calculations.  Reporting health insurance for the year is no different, for nearly 80% of taxpayers it is as simple as clicking a box while filing with Turbo Tax.
Taxpayers who have insurance through an employer, government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid, or other private insurance will receive a 1095-B or C form. You do not need these forms to report insurance and file taxes, they are for your records only.
Turbo Tax also offers a lot of tools to help you understand how ACA effects your taxes, find out if you qualify for assistance paying for insurance, and if you qualify for an exemption.  These tools include;
Along with numerous video’s to help you decide what your best option will be when it comes to health care options.

Turbo Tax has always been my go to tax resource.  When I was 18 and filing my own taxes for the first time, and now as a busy working mom who wants the peace of mind of knowing her families health care is covered.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A Day in the Life of a Mommy Blogger ~ How I’m Remixing My Coffee Routine! #RemixYourCoffee

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Folgers. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”
As a stay at home mom of kids that are in school, I constantly feel like I am being judged.  People question what I do with my days and I constantly get the “You can do this for me right, you’re home all day” statement.  The thing is, I feel like I am busier now than I ever was as a mom working outside the home or a mom of babies.  My days are packed, I wish I could say yes to all the needs people place on me, but my days feel like they are never ending and when I take just one day off to go for lunch, I fall behind.
The kids school’s schedule was changed this year, which has me up before the sun rises.  My 9 am bus stop waits have turned into bus stop waits before 7 in the morning.  This adjustment has been a huge struggle for all of us.  I am not a morning person and niether are my kids, so waking kids up when I’m barely able to keep my eyes open myself is no easy task.
An average day starts with me stumbling into the kitchen to press the start button for coffee.  That button gets pressed over and over through out the day to keep me going.
Once i have my coffee, I have three kids to get up, dressed, fed, and off to school.  Plus they are on different schedules so I am constantly making trips to the bus stop. 
Once all the kids are off to school, the house may feel quiet but it is certainly not still.  The laundry starts, house cleaning needs to be done, emails need to be checked, and dinner needs to be planned.  Once the house is in order, I try to make myself presentable for they day and then start to take care of any errands that need to be done.  This means calling doctors, emailing teachers, paying bills, getting prescriptions, grocery shopping, and endless appointments.  
Plus in between all the average daily to-do’s, I have to work on keeping my social media updated, promoting prior blog posts, and take as many blog photos as possible while the natural outside light is best.
Before I know it, the clock starts dinging telling me it is time to start the mommy run around with cross-country, science, soccer, dance and what ever other activities happen to be going on each season.  Once we all get home it’s a whirlwind of a night schedule.
Homework needs to be done, dinner made, bath time, and trying to squish in some fun time between the repetitive nightly needs.
Once the kids are settle in bed it’s back to work for mommy.  I try to clean up a little and then it’s my writing time.  I try to answer as many emails as possible so that my inbox doesn’t become overwhelming, I edit pictures, and then I write.  I blog for hours and then I look up at the clock every night without fail and curse myself as I realize it’s past midnight and the next day will be starting before I know it.  Lights out!
I love being a work at home mom however there is a  constant feeling that I need to prove I am not home eating bonbons all day watching TV.  
The truth is that my coffee time is my only down time, and that coffee is what keeps me on my game.  
I love my coffee!  I look forward to my morning cup up coffee, and I enjoy every time I can sit down quietly through out the day and sip another cup.  My coffee routine is calming and relaxing, and I am thrilled when I find new ways of making that coffee routine yummier!
 Folgers is doing just that with the new Folgers Flavors.  I drink a lot of coffee, and I love finding fun ways to mix it up.  Being able to change up my coffees flavor anytime I want with just a squirt of these little containers that I can take anywhere with me. 
They don’t need to be refrigerated and make any cup of coffee delicious, hot or iced.

They’re available in 4 flavors, Vanilla, Hazelnut, Caramel, and Mocha.  I’ve been remixing my coffee, YouTube star Mike Tompkins has been remixing his coffee, now it’s your turn.  Enter to win two samples of Folgers Flavors

Giveaway:
Two Samples of Folgers Flavors
Ends November 10th 2015
Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.
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Make sure you try these fun little containers full of flavor next time you do your coffee shopping!