Parenting Healthy

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Plan & Maintain a Holiday Gift Guide on your Blog

This post will tell you how to plan, where to find brands and how to maintain a Holiday Gift Guide on your Blog. Below is an image that is attractive enough for your post shares on Facebook or Pinterest.

You see them on Blogs- Holiday Gift Guides! I don't typically write Blog Resource posts as I am a healthy parenting blog, but this will be my 4th year doing a Holiday Gift Guide (year 1 I worked with another Blogger) & I want to share what has worked to make my guides successful. I will break this post into categories that you can read depending on your own questions or curiosities you have. There is a lot that goes into a Gift Guide and I want you to leave feeling you have everything you need to give it a try this year. When should you start pitching? NOW!! August and into September as your guide should be live in October!

Style & Theme

There are 2 main styles of gift guides. If you are ebook or publisher savvy, you can do an actual guide. This is where you create 1 downloadable guide (think JC Penny catalog) and have an image, short write up and link to the brand and break the guide into chapters. You can use this guide as a Free Download you send to your readers. Brands may enjoy this, but they also know it will not produce an actual review post and you cannot hold giveaways through this style. One idea (I have never done this style) is write your product review posts as normal AND create a guide downloadable for your readers.  More work for you, but you can also charge brands to be in the guide on top of the review for revenue. Just make sure the guide is FREE to your readers.

The second style (the one I use) is an entire section/label on your blog for your Holiday Gift Guide. You will solicit brands and post reviews. This style would mean that as a reader lands on that post, they KNOW this is a Holiday Gift Guide post. Create 1 high quality Holiday Gift Guide image and make it your top image in every gift guide product post. Use your Holiday Gift Gift title you choose (mine is '2014 Happy, Healthy Holiday Gift Guide') and use this title in every post title, image and within the first paragraph of your post. As well, use this same image that is in all posts as a sidebar image linking to the labels that contain these posts and don't forget to add a 2014 Holiday Gift Guide label to your header. Look above, because I titled my label to start with 2014 it is first in my labels.

Connecting with Brands

Oh, the most asked question! Every blogger you ask may have their own sites and own sources and I still find new avenues myself. However, the right way to ask is "How do I get brands to notice me?" There are over 20 million female bloggers right now and you are competing for the brands attention. Soliciting is easy. You google 'media contact for______' and find a name. You keep an eye on PR sites and post inquiries through PR Newswire or Coyne. You browse Tomoson or other review sites. I am also a member of many sponsored posts groups-SoFab, SITS Girls, MBS and more. Those are great connections to brands, but that brand still has to say Yes to you! Before you start anything at all in a way of a gift guide-clean up your webpage and make sure you are writing in a ratio of about 30% sponsored posts and 70% organic posts. I say this and have to keep reminding myself too! I get so buy with sponsored campaign requests, I wait too long to post organic content in between. Brands want to know you have enough organic content to keep your readers engaged for the reason you write! 

Cleaning up your sidebar and header is something I do every quarter or even more often. Make sure your header is in correct dimension to your Blog and that the header image has words-a descriptive of your blog. If I look at your header I should know that I can come to 'ABC' Blog and find 'ABC' content! Have labels! If you are soliciting clothing brands, make sure that they have no doubt your blog works for them. By this I mean that if I were selling jewelry and I visit your blog and you have a label a reader can go to and find all of your jewelry posts, I am more likely to think my product will not get lost n your blog in time. My labels run horizontally below my title image. Up top and easy to find and click on. Fonts are easy to read and colors are consistent throughout my blog background and images. Get those spammy ads off your sidebar or at least create categories-put them all in one section and move that section to the bottom of the sidebar or footer. Many bloggers who are ad junkies may disagree, but if you write for content, you cannot spam your sidebar! If you notice on my sidebar, I have 1 adsense in header using colors I customized to blend well with  my site. I have another adsense near upper sidebar and all the rest are shoved to the bottom. 

Now you are ready to pitch. I mentioned some sites above to connect with brands. As you read blogs and see products that fit your guide theme then google media contacts for that brand or use their contact from their website! That's all I do. I know these products already work with bloggers as that is where I discovered them. Like a product? Pitch them. I recently was at a Mariner's game and we were handed samples of a delicious snack and I went home and email them using the contact from their website. I have more product on the way to me as we speak from them. They responded. Why? I told a story and made sure they knew that I don't just share their product, I tell a story and have high quality images. That was all I said! I do not send quotes, just a short paragraph introducing my Blog and niche, how I found them, how I organize my posts and a link to my media kit for them to visit. I just connected with them, told them what to expect and invited them to my Blog. It is really that easy!

Maintaining your Gift Guide

No matter what Gift Guide style you choose, make sure you commit to each brand. Use high quality images and tell a story. Have share links available to your readers can easily pin or share your post to their own files for reference later. Communicate often with the brands. Once I receive their product, I give a quick email telling them I have it and invite them to send images, hashtags, links they want used. Make them help you work. You are partners now and let them bring the information to you! NEVER copy and paste a thing-nothing! Your post should be your words! A brand will pick up on this and you will most likely never work with them again! 

Create a folder in your email to hold all Holiday Gift Guide correspondences in one place. You can use this folder next year to connect with these brands again!

After your post is live, email  your post link and invite them to tweet, share your post from their social sites. Many brands have more followers than you and if you remind them to share also, your post is getting around to a relevant audience. ALWAYS tag the brand in every social share and state (twitter mainly) if your post is sponsored. Posts payed with product are NOT sponsored, but any money that is exchanged is and needs to be stated (use something like Ad: or Spon: right before the link to your post). Schedule your post in all social media to be shared at least 3 times or more during your campaign. ( I use Hootsuite except for FB-I only schedule right from FB).

I hope these tips help you feel more confident to give a Holiday Gift Guide a try! Pick a theme, clean up your site, pitch away and follow through many times with that contact! Remember, as I stated above that you are 1 in 20 million females bloggers (more if you add the men). Communicate often and have an attractive site!

#Adovia Exfoliating Facial Sea Salts Review

This is a product review on behalf of Tomoson

Just rub salts and rinse! That's it. Adovia's Exfoliating Sea Salts are a simple and natural product for an exfoliating experience that has only 2 steps! No unnecessary chemicals or ingredients, only 100 dead sea salts. I love to use this on my legs in between shaves for great looking legs. The summertime calls for some good exfoliating on those legs that were hiding all winter!

About Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts
  • Finely grounded 100% Dead Sea salts
  • Perfect for acne-prone and oily skin
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Each container is about a 2-month supply
  • Eliminates bacteria and excess oils
  • Stimulated circulation and tightens pores

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Big Book of Symptoms: A Guide Every Parent Needs To Own #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post for The Big Book of Symptoms

Do you have a go-to source for your urgent medical questions? If you were to have your child run inside with a swelling spot that perhaps is some sort of bite, would you know what to do or how to find out the possible cause? If your child came holding their chest complaining it hurts them what is your first reaction? Would you think indigestion or panic? The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide To Your Child's Health will become your go-to source. In fact, I can't help but keep this book in mind for any future baby showers I attend because this needs to be a gift every Mom should receive! 

This book is very well organized with charts on every topic. If you find a rash or discolored area on the skin and you head to the Chapter titled Skin Problems or perhaps Itching you will find both a discussion and coping suggestions as well as a chart to locate your concern and find possible causes and the actions you need to take. Below is an image from the book of the section for Skin Problems:

About The Big Book of Symptoms
  • Available August 2014
  • Offered by The American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Edited by 2 esteemed Pediatricians, Steven Shelov, MD FAAP and Shelly Flais, MD, FAAP
  • More that 100 common childhood to adolescent symptoms
  • Includes an illustrated first aid manual
  • Includes a CPR chart
  • Includes age-specific safety & injury prevention tips
Your child's Pediatrician is always the best source, but sometimes these ailments come at odd hours or when you are away and this guide will be your go-to for quick tips and insight. This is not just a book for emergencies. In this guide, you can learn about your teen's acne issues or get some insight to your older child's bedwetting concerns and much more. 

Look out for The Big Book of Symptoms: A-Z Guide To Your Child's Health available in August 2014 on Amazon, the AAP Bookstore and Barnes & Preorders are available now!

One lucky reader of mine will win their own copy of The Big Book of Symptoms. Enter below. Open to US. Ends 8/5/14

Disclosure: Parenting Healthy was compensated and received the above product. Any opinions are 100% my own

Mange Fresh Fruit Vinegars #Review #fruitvinegars

This is a product review on behalf of Tomoson

Until I was sent some Mange Fresh Fruit Vinegars, I had never thought to cook with a fruit vinegar. My first thought was what I would use these for. I was sent the Mango and Passion Fruit flavors so I thought I could use these as a marinade or in a salad. A fruit salad sounded best and in the recipe section of the Fresh Fruit Vinegars website, I found a simple recipe using both of my flavors. So I made this Passion Fruit Salad usinng equal parts of each vinegar and tossed it with fruit & nuts and it was delicious and healthy as there is no creamy dressings loaded with salts and carbs. Just fresh fruit and flavored vinegars.

Why should you begin cooking with Fresh Fruit Vinegars?
  • Versatile in its uses-marinades, cocktails, salads and more
  • No syrup or infusions-just fresh fruit picked at its peak pureed & preserved in vinegar
  • All natural
  • Gluten & Kosher-free
  • No preservatives or synthetic dyes
Learn more and see all of the varieties available at

Be sure to visit their IndieGoGo Campaign and show them support.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why we are #FamilyFanatics for our Seattle sports teams

This is not a sponsored post

Would you be surprised if I told you we are a sports fanatic family who live in Seattle? It is hard to not be. We have our Mariner's on a roll, Seattle Sounders are doing amazing this year, we sent our Dempsey and Yedlin to the World Cup and they played like champs for our US team and our Seahawks won the Super Bowl this year! This is Seattle's year and although we are still without a basketball team that we are trying so hard to secure, it won't be long. Give it a decade and I predict basketball will be back-we deserve it! 

We have always been Seahawks football fans and our entire NFL season revolves around where we can be on game day so we do not miss the game. My husband and I even skipped a half day at Disneyland on our Honeymoon years back to make sure we did not miss a game. Seattle Sounders soccer comes real close to that love affair that we have with football. I never miss a Sounders game and have their apps on my phone and my car radio pre-programmed to the game stations in the awful event I cannot catch a game! So when asked if we are #FamilyFanatics, I had to laugh to myself. Of course we are! We are Seattle! We love out teams! If you live and have attended sports events in Seattle, there is a common saying that comes from our stadiums-"If you weren't a (soccer or football) fan before attending a Sounders or Seahawks game, you will leave the stadium a fan forever". We are crazy, we are loyal and we have fun as fans at the games. Come to Seattle, if only to attend an MLS or NFL game and you will not forget the experience.

Our Super Bowl Parade Story

After Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl, they came back to town with a huge parade. I knew right away that taking the boys out of school for this was the right thing to do. In fact, Seattle closed schools for the day and my boys' schools were virtually empty in their classrooms. It was an event they will remember for a lifetime to have skipped school to welcome their Super Bowl champs home. We woke up at the crack of dawn and decided to bus in-so did everyone in the Pacific NW! 3 hours later we arrived 45 miles south into Seattle and found our way to the top of the Westlake Mall to get a glimpse of the parade. It was amazing. The streets were packed for miles. Those who drove spent HOURS getting out of Seattle due to traffic and many never made it in time only to turn around. You could not get in and out of town for hours and the busses were so jammed because they sat in that traffic, we had to get picked up from Northbound direction-opposite of traffic from Dad. Hotels sold out before the event and sold out again for those stuck in traffic when the busses became stranded. All this chaos and every person you came across had the best attitude despite the issues. That's Seattle! People opened business doors to offer water, a cupcake shop gave my son a free cupcake as we were stranded, a shoe store let me keep using their phone when my battery died, strangers on the street were rallying to offer rides to others needing to get to the other side of town. Yet, if you asked anyone around we all agreed we would do it again! Did I mention it was barely 40 degrees outside that day! I jumped into the chaos as a fan and came out of it prouder then ever to be a Seattle Family Fanatic!

As I wandered Seattle killing time & waiting for our ride that day we spent time in the Team store browsing around. It was packed in there and as usual, I admired the Seahawks and Sounders gear. I fell in love with a Seattle Sounders MLS jacket that cost a lot more than my budget allowed. Later, I was so excited to see that had that same jacket in stock (see below).  It was the Seattle Sounder Ladies jacket in the blue which was rare. I now have it on my wish list! Fanatics MLS gear is full of great selections!

Fanatics is an online sports shops that offer your team favorites from team clothing and scarves to keychains and gifts! You will find NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB, NASCAR, College teams, Olympics and more! They have items from men, women and children. Looking for some unique jerseys and jackets? I found my favorite and you can too!

Leave your bathroom naturally scented after cleaning #purecarehome Review

This is a product review on behalf of Tomoson

Do you have a child learning to become an independent brusher? I do and that is what my sink looks like twice a day after he brushes and tries to aim his mouth rinsing without success every time. This is not a stubborn mess. It wipes up easily with most cleaners. Why do I mention this daily cleanup in relation to the Pure Care Natural Non-Toxic Aromatherapeutic Bathroom Cleaner? It is because if twice a day I have to break out a cleaner, I can now trade they unpleasant bleach smell with a safer cleaner that has the pleasant aroma that carries throughout my bathroom. I can spray, wipe and leave my bathroom in a pleasant Eucalyptus Clove Cedar scent.

About Pure Care Bathroom Cleaner
  • All natural
  • non-corrosive cleaner
  • Removes calcium, magnesium, rust, hard water mold, mildew and more
  • Safe on tile, sink, faucets, walls, floors and grout
  • Non-toxic-infused with essential oils
  • No bleach. ammonia, MEA, DEA, VOC's or dyes
  • Not animal tested
  • Made in the USA
To learn more and see the other many scented products, visit Pure Care.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Naturally clean #laundry with Attitude

This is a product review on behalf Tomoson

What is your Attitude towards added chemicals in your household products? Many of these products actually contain carcinogens. Small amounts, but if you combine that ingredient from every product you use throughout the day it adds up! As parents, we are more cautious to what we use around and on our children. When a brand understands this and works hard to bring a safer product into our homes they get my respect and service. Oh! And the containers are recyclable too!

I have been using the Attitude Laundry Detergent-Sweet Lullaby and it woks great. I feel better knowing I am using a earth-friendly and natural product on the clothes we wear. I love the scent..almost a bit fruity. 

Benefits of Attitude Laundry Detergent
  • No carcinogens or by-products (IARC group 1 & 2)
  • Free of 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide
  • Vegetable-based and biodegradable (OECD 301)
  • Free of enzymes and optical brighteners
  • Fragrance derived from natural ingredients
  • Fragrance without CMR (Carcinogens, Mutagens or toxic for Reproduction) compounds
  • Designed to work in both HE & Standard machines
  • Not tested on animals
  • Vegan product
  • Certified eco-friendly by EcoLogo
  • Septic tank safe
  • Made in Canada

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.