The Process of Product Reviews (Nothing is Free.)

I have been doing product reviews for years. And this is a very long and complicated process. I got an email reply to a pitch that kinda irked me because PEOPLE DON’T KNOW that this is my full time job. That when I get a product that’s my payment. I don’t work for free. So I hope this helps you to understand, all of you that when you’re going through the process of getting products for review you’re actually working.

First off you have to build up your content and have the numbers. The google gods are real. Once you work your blog and brand up by posting daily or at least three times a week, getting a social media fan base then you can start to pitch.

So you pick the company you want to work with you and you email with with a message stating that you want to work with them to review their product and in exchange for getting their product you get give an honest review. This means using the product, taking photos and then writing up a detailed honest review for your blog. In the mean time you also have to advertise said blog post on:
Facebook
Facebook Fan Page for your blog
Blogger groups that you may or may not be apart of that will allow you to advertise your blog posts.
Twitter
Instagram with the photo of the product
Often times you’ll have to do an entire YouTube video on the product itself.
Now that periscope is a big thing you’ll have to do that as well.
G+
And on top of all of this depending on the product you may or may not have to do extra write ups for gift guides, more videos more pictures, more advertisements. Plus all of the links above should be broadcast no less than once a day every day. If you’re doing a giveaway then that triples. Then there’s the side bar links or images, and the research on the product itself on how other people use it, what other people thought of it, the good the bad and the ugly and why this product worked or didn’t work for you despite of what everyone else said.
Also you’ve also got the review process on Amazon.com if that’s part of the deal or Etsy.

Now. Let’s go over the anatomy of the blog post itself because everything above is advertising the actual post.
First there’s the picture. And it better be a good picture. No cellphone pictures allowed guys. If you can’t afford a good DSLR camera at least get a good point and shoot and at the very least GIMP or edit your photos on an online website such as PicMonkey. Also you should water mark every single one of your photos so that way someone else doesn’t take them. Photo taking can take upwards of an 1-5 hours at least because your’re going to want to get the product packaging, the product, the product with the packaging (so the brand name shows.) then you using the product. This also includes the editing time.
So now you’re inserting the images into Flickr or your photo hosting site of choice and placing that link into the blog, then you’re writing the blog post. This is the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How much? Where did the product come from, how much it costs, a disclosure that you did get this product IN EXCHANGE for your honest review. IF the company OK’s a giveaway then you add that to the END of the product review. Every single question you could possibly think of will have to be answered.
Then you edit it, take notes, edit again, search the product’s other reviews as stated above and pick one or two key statements or very low 1-3 star reviews and dispute them if the product did prove amazing, and working. If you have problems with shipping which I did just have a problem with one of the products for my gift guide you have to include that, any customer service exchange you have to include that.
So my pretties, nothing is free. We may be getting products but we are also doing a lot of work for the companies we are working for. Even Influenster boxes have To-Do lists that you have to do. Its part of the job. And influenster.com isn’t even as detailed as a blogger’s product reviews. So if you’re going to say to a blogger that “Yes we’d love to work with you, but we aren’t willing to send you the product.” Be prepared to pay. Some bloggers have package deals. Others by the hour. Plus compensation for the monies spent on the product to begin with that you the company could have just sent for the said work written in this blog post.
Until next time my darlings!
XOXO
~ GeekyMamaPlans

And 2016 starts off pretty good…

I hope I didn’t just jinx myself with that title. Seriously, 2015 was terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for me and I just want 2016 to BE GOOD. And so far it has been. My surgeon signed off on me having to see a home health nurse FINALLY 6 FREAKING MONTHS LATER, and several abscesses, ER visits and hospital stays later. But my original nurse got a new job so I got a new, not as good and basically bitch nurse that was very rough and made my wounds bleed a lot more than they should have been bleeding. So for me to finally having the OK to be discharged is a relief.

DJ is working full time, which means bills are getting paid, slowly and steady they are getting paid. Sometimes its weekly, others its bi weekly. But we are getting caught up. We even treated ourselves to a stereo system through Aaron’s and a new bedroom set (we needed a new bed, I was waking up in pain every day from that bed frame being broken.)

My 31st birthday is the 24th. when did I get old? I mean old enough to have my child hood icons start dying off? Robin Williams? David Bowie? ALAN RICKMAN? I just can’t. I’ve been a fan of Rickman since he was the voice of god in Dogma. I fell in love with the tortured character of Severus Snape, and he brought it to life with his velvet voice that no other actor could, I had feels upon feels for the depressed robot in hitchhickers guide through the galaxy.

I woke up the night he died, at midnight and I couldn’t get to sleep until around 2 am. I felt a shift in the universe. A disturbance in the force, that the world would never be the same. First the Goblin King passed away and I’d been watching the Labyrinth with my kids, and listening to Bowie’s soundtracks and treasuring that he embraced the weird and accepted the oddities of life.

Rickman played the Villain. Or the Sarcastic. Or the Depressed. But in real life he was a kind man, he was generous. He was the kind of human being that I hope my sons grow up to be like. Daniel Radcliffe wrote that whenever you needed him (Rickman) he would drop whatever it was that he was doing and he’d be there.

The world lost a truly great man. This week we are all Slytherin.

And Alan Rickman is apparently watching a kickass concert up in heaven with Lenny, Bowie, and Queen’s lead singer… Just saying.

To import or not to import….

I was digging around my external hard drive getting rid of all my ‘free’ printables for the 2015 calendar year for my planner addiction. (Seriously they may be a free download but the Pretty Pretty Planner literally cost me $60 in printer ink and paper because it kept screwing up. I’m taking that bitch to staples next time.)

Well I was searching “2015” and I found my export of mama-uncensored.com’s database from WordPress which means that karyn.nu’s database is also there. THREE YEARS worth of posts. My son’s birth story… memories that I want to keep.

And some I don’t. Some I don’t want to remember, posts about my alleged step son’s behavioral issues, his assault on my son, him calling me a F*ing B*tch, dealing with his psychopathic lying mother…

I could important and go through and delete those posts, but that would be time consuming. Or I could import them and immediately archive them right?

I dunno. I’ve been struggling with this for a few days. I mean three years is a lot of work, a lot of memories, a lot of stuff to just store on a hard drive collecting dust. I mean I know that this is a free blog and that one day when we are more financially sound I will get my domain back again and I will get back in the swing of things- I mean I already am. I’ve collected a few vendors that’s apart of my gift guides. I’m planning pitches to various cruelty free companies, and even have a blog planner in an arc mini (8×5) that I keep at my desk. I’m also getting a desk put upstairs so that way I can work while the children are sleeping at night. Which will be awesome.

There’s a lot that I decided I want for the year 2016. Planning my wedding for one, and for two.. just being happy and healing with the memories of surgeries up surgeries and medical emergencies.

I’m also doing the #resetgirlslistersgottalistchallenge and that’s been incredibly amazing. Getting back into crafts in general has been one of the best things for my mental health and healing. I just wish I could get rid of this writer’s block for fictional writing.

I used to write fanfiction and had a pretty good fan base. But its Chapter 13 and I just can’t continue with the story I mean, its been several years since I’ve even tried to read the story let alone type it up. I may have to fix that at some point.

My Simple Stories, Carpe Diem planner is finally all set up. It took forever to get the final order from the etsy shop. It was sent to the wrong post office over an hour away and then it was lost for like two days in the mail, but it finally came over three days late, but I love every bit of it. I won’t be ordering from that etsy seller again but instead the Reset Girl team, but I love the Simple stories line. YAY!

365 Blog Challenge… So far so good.

Geek Powered So I blogged yesterday in the midst of child wrangling and doing house work (read:Dishes.) and making sure that things were taken out for dinner so I didn’t actually get a chance to link the blog post. I’ll do that after this post.
My goal is to do several gift guides this year, Mother’s day, Father’s Day, and of course next Christmas. I have one product on its way here that I and DJ are reviewing as a team which is super exciting. I’m also going to be adding the Simple Stories Carpe Diem Planner to the gift guide as well because even thought I purchased it 100% out of pocket I absolutely love this product and the rumors are that there is a new line coming this year.
All in all things are pretty quiet around here. Between not feeling well and just all around child shenanigans nothing really of report is going on.
I did go to Target and over spent just a tad so I’m going to have to wait on the planner society kits that I wanted for my birthday. Which is fine because bills do come first. That’s my big goal this year is to pay bills first before play and to set up a savings account. I really want to get a good amount going for my surgery this coming summer and for our wedding next year.

I’ve been working really hard to declutter and purdge what we do not use and what we do not need around here as well, and while its going fine, its also hard to do this with out DJ being here to make sure I’m not getting rid of something that he may want or need.

Such is life.

 

2015 a year in review.

Geek PoweredWhat can I say about 2015. To go month by month would be tedious and rather boring. I mean come on. I’m a stay at home mother that until very recently had a very big problem and very long story that plagued a lot of my blog posts. And since that issues has thus been resolved on our end, I’d rather not talk about it here. This is my safe haven from the world. My voice and I won’t let that part of my real world life tarnish here. So moving on.

2015 broke me. I was completely destroyed this year. I felt like I had failed repeatedly as a mother, because I was too sick to care for my children. I was scared of being put back into the hospital after spending 7 weeks, and having 8 surgeries to save my life thanks to a complication rare as it was for an RNY gastric bypass patient to have. (2% of RNY gastric bypass patients have had this issues over all.)

I almost died 4 times had several emergency surgeries to fix what was going on with my body and here it is January 1st and I am still in daily agony thanks to a strangulated and encased hernia. I am facing another surgery to repair said hernia this summer and because the loose skin was part of the issue with the hernia happening in the first place, it will be removed.

After almost dying so many times I finally stood up for myself. Granted a lot of terrible things had to happen first but once the last straw fell and the camel’s back broke it was very clear to me that it was time to move on wards and upwards with out looking back.

The gas industry in my area never did pick up the way it was promised over and over again so DJ had no choice but to go back over the road. Thankfully the company he’s working with is very good about home time and if he needs to get home he needs to get home. I’m very thankful for this in many ways because I can talk to him daily on the cell phone and I know that we have steady income coming in. We are still in debt pretty good which is why I gave up my domains and have cut down on a lot of ‘wants’ vs ‘needs’. I did get a little bit nuts over Christmas but that’s a given considering the season.

But I am setting goals both personal, financial, and physical. DJ is working with me wholeheartedly on this and we are as always a team. I am forever grateful for this man.

Christmas has come and gone

While I am happy that all the Christmas stuff is taken down and put away until next year, I am sad because this morning DJ left at 5 AM for work. The first night he’s away is always the hardest and I can’t seem to fall asleep for crap.

But Christmas was wonderful. We had an extremely hard year and are just now playing catch up with our fiances because of my health issues and him being laid off. We’ve both talked about it and we’re thinking that the company he’s running with now the perks are just too good to pass up with him being home every weekend and a guaranteed amount of money, things really are looking up.

Thanks to this wonderful little town we were able to get some seriously awesome gifts for our boys. The landlord hosts a toy party every year and collects children’s names and ages for families in need and we got a good sized bag from that party as well as three garbage bags full of toys from toys for tots. My heart was so full that the entire community pulled together to help out the family that moved in and their entire world went upside down.

I love this house. I love everything about this house. I loved decorating it, and most importantly I love the people living here inside it. I miss DJ when he’s away, I do. But in the end I know that we need to pay bills, save for a wedding and make sure we have a nest egg, emergency fund etc.

DJ with this pay check is ordering me my Christmas presents and all of them are planner related. *swoon* I’m ordering vinyl and a heat press to start to make shirts, mugs etc. So far I am loving my life.

New Dog Surprises

I wasn’t sure I was going to blog about this, but we have come to a firm decision with this so I feel comfortable with going ahead and blogging this.

Before DJ left we found a dog for free on Facebook Rummage Sale site one of the many for our area. The people seemed in a hurry to get rid of this dog and she was adorable. I messaged them and asked them questions that any dog owner would ask. What breed is she? They said Shar Pei/Pug mix. Is she good with kids? Oh yeah she’s super mellow. What about other dogs? Yup good with other dogs. She’s a companion dog and loves to be around people especially my 3 year old. GREAT! My 18 month old is not far from just turned 3 in the age group range of toddlers. Is she up to date on shots? Yes. Is she house trained? Yes.

DJ left for OTR and I had her alone. I was taking her for walks 8 times a day or more every hour on the hour from 6:15 AM to 10 PM and she still began to use the house as her potty. Her anxiety showed more and more. I slowly introduced her to the dogs, she attacked my senior Tiny twice for no reason, and Princess once over food. Let’s face it Princess is a bitch when it comes to food, I know this I feed them seperately for this reason but John slipped them something.

Well I went to get her on a leash to take her outside and she tried to bite me twice on both attempts to get her outside. I posted her to Craigslist with rehoming fee and to Facebook explaining I was scared she would go after my children and that these owners lied to me about everything.

Well a dog trainer emailed me from the Craigslist AD and did a Google Hangout with me and watched her interact with the other dogs, me and the kids. She said that for one that Daisy is NOT Shar Pei/Pug but a Shar Pei/Pit Bull mix and that she’s at best 6 months of age still a puppy and that she shows signs of being severely abused. Knowing her breed I couldn’t rehome her or take her to the pounds kill or no kill because she’d die there. Pits have a bad rap sheet as untrue as it is, so I listened and asked questions  on what to do with Daisy and I’ve been doing them. And she’s getting a lot better. She’s cuddling and showing affection not only to me but to the boys. She’s going potty outside again unless she goes to the door and I miss it because John or Jason is needing me RIGHT NOW and she has an accident. But its like having a totally different dog.

I messaged the original owners to take her back and they did not reply and I’m thankful they never did. I have turned their name over to the local animal shelters, dog warden and police with the conversation that the trainer and I had and when we take her to the Vet (Our appointment is middle of next month.) we’ll turn those over too.

Basically if you’re getting a dog off a non breeder or rescue/shelter site please have them meet you at their vet, make them sign the dog over to you at the vet’s office so the vet can talk to you about the health issue. Take the dog to a trainer for an evaluation to make sure that animal isn’t going to be dangerous and is actually the breed they are claiming.

Tonight we had a major break through. Not only did we have a day with no dog fights, but tonight when we went to bed, where I am blogging from, because really you can’t go wrong with blogging from the Macbook in bed.

DJ should be home Tuesday or Wednesday and I honestly can’t wait. Like I am counting down the days and praying it comes sooner and the time goes fast.

Important Toddler Things to do Mommy

 photo _DSC0007.jpg The other day it was so beautiful outside for a December day in North Eastern PA so I decided to let John go with me to walk Daisy and to let Tiny back into the house. Jason was in the pack and play asleep so we went out (I can hear Jason cry from the yard.) and walked the dog. We weren’t out for very long but I drug my Nikon D90 out with me because I was tired of it collecting dust and after deciding I was going to fight as hard as I could to beat depression. So here’s some shots from the short outing to our back yard.
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DIY: Christmas glitter ornament

 photo _DSC0089_1.jpgChances are, you’ve been on Pinterest right? Right. There have been epic Mommy craft wars because of that website. Any craft addict (*cough* Me. *cough*) will tell you, that website is the devil. The beautiful devil with such wonderful ideas, and recipes, and cocktails. It makes you want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS! COOK ALL THE THINGS! DRINK ALL THE THINGS! Oh wait chances are by the end of the day dealing with two tiny humans under the age of two you’re going to want to drink all the things some days like that regardless…

But I was on YouTube, Pinterest’s evil twin, and was watching Corrine Vs. Pin where she actually goes through how to’s on various Pinterest pins. Fair enough, some one has to have the balls to do it. You go Corrine!

Well she did a Christmas video where she, and her husband did several pins, and the glitter ball was one of them. I HAD to do this. #everythingsbetterwithglitter am I right?

Well I live in a fairly small town, (Census of 2013 tells us that my town has 1300 people living in it.) so I have to travel 32 miles to the larger city, and even there I could not find the Pine Sol Floor Polish. Am I looking in the wrong isle? I mean it SHOULD be in with the mops and mop stuffs right? Maybe I just didn’t see it while trying to wrangle two children, a budget, and a Mother who’s been running errand’s with me while DJ’s OTR.

So I was looking on various Cricut groups for free SVG’s and How To’s (again with the How To’s! I get bored easily) and low and behold I found someone had used watered down Mod Podge! Well I dug through my craft hoard, I mean supply and no Mod Podge paste, but I DO have Mod Podge Spray. Same thing right? So I tried it and it worked amazingly well. Even several days later it worked. And they look pretty darn good.  photo _DSC0087.jpg

So with out further ado here’s what you’ll need:

A plastic ornament from Wal-mart or the like

Mod Podge Spray or watered down Mod Podge

Glitter both Chunk and fine

Paper (cardstock to do everything over)

Step 1: Take the metal stop part of the ornament off. This should come apart very easily by gently pushing the circle part of the opening together and pulling. Set this aside. Now take your Mod Podge spray, Glitter, Plastic ornament and card stock and set it out.

Step 2: OPEN A WINDOW I don’t care how cold it is outside, unless you want to get high, and have a head ache you’ll want a well ventilated area.

Step 3: Spray the Mod Podge into the ornament until there’s a good puddle and swirl around the ornament, tip upside down onto the card stock to let drain for about a minute or two. Longer won’t hurt as this stuff takes a few days to dry. Poor the glitter in. The chunkier glitter did work best, but I mixed them together as well for a varied obre look and that went over well. Cover the top opening with your hand and shake. Hard. Make sure every inch is covered and tip the remaining glitter, if any out onto the paper. Put the metal cap back on and you’re done.

If you have a Cricut or other cutting machines you can get a free SVG and make these:
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Which are the same steps above, just adding the extra steps of cutting the SVG out of the M&M face and gluing it onto the ball. And there you have it! Easy DIY non breakable Christmas ornament. Trust me my 18 month old got ahold of one right off the tree and bounced it across the floor and it did not break. I was pretty impressed.

And they were a lot of fun to make. I’ll be honest I’ve had one speed lately and that’s DO ALL THE THINGS! Since DJ’s been gone. I’ve been working on getting the house cleaned up and getting the house organized from the move that never happened because of me going into the hospital, and since I don’t want him to come back to a filthy house and a depressed me, I’ve been keeping myself very, very busy with things around the house. So far so good.

XOXO,

Karyn

Keep on Keepin On

So Sunday R, Dj and I went down to the Greyhound station about 32 miles south of where we live to drop DJ off for his orientation Monday in Ohio. DJ had packed the night before, and gotten everything together. I sat on his lap and cuddled with him Sunday morning before his shower and we had John on our laps having some family cuddles as well and I noticed that my cheek was pretty wet, but I wasn’t crying.. yet.

Here I thought all this time that he was so excited to go back over the road, that he missed the life style so much and we’d been fighting so much over finances and such that I thought he wanted to.. but he didn’t. He was crying, literally falling apart because he didn’t want to leave me or the boys.

Well he got into the shower and went upstairs to get dressed and he was up there for awhile and I was down stairs with the Jason, John was upstairs with Daddy and I finally went up to see what was taking so long because it was getting close to time to go and here he was finding every excuse not to get on that bus, texting everyone he could think of for work ideas that were local and not over the road.  While he was doing this he was crying, he didn’t want to go.

I kept telling him that it was only temporary and that this was a necessary evil right now but that I loved him very much and that I wasn’t going anywhere and that seeing him so emotional oddly made me feel better about losing him to the road, and the life style because I knew he didn’t want to go.

After I kissed him goodbye I went back home with R and had dinner and came home to put the kids to bed and got packed. By packed I mean, we still have to pack bandages into the drain sites of the penrose drain and the newly formed drain of the recently lanced fluid pocket site, walked the dog and went to bed.

I haven’t cried much at all, however the nightmares have been terrible. The first night Jason slept with me because he didn’t know what was going on and last night I got the bed all to myself which was nice, but at the same time was lonely. But the boys are handling things alright and so am I. We talk to DJ daily and we tell him we love him all the time. So until local work picks up this is life, this is the way things will be. I’m not pleased with it, but we will survive.