BlogHer Sponsors: Thank You!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to send out a huge thank you to all of the amazing sponsors who helped me board a plane today, put gorgeous media cards together for me, provided inspiration and photography, designed incredible outfits, jewelry and tutu's....

Without you all, BlogHer'12 would be but a dream for me. You helped make this possible!







Why BlogHer?

A few weeks ago, I engaged in a #mombizmondays chat where we got talking about conferences...

Who's going to what conference?
Will you blog while you're there?
What social media tools are you going to use?
Are you bringing a laptop?

Then the big question...

Why did you choose the conference that you're going to?

This led me to think about why I'm going to BlogHer'12 and what I hope to get out of it. Of course I want to promote myself as a freelance writer, artist and excellent, quality blogger, but at the heart of it I want to...

Connect
Engage
Network

I want to meet the people who inspire me to blog like Mrs. Gloves, Jenni From The Blog, and Goober Monkey. I want to have a blast with my roommates Baby Shmizz, Living With Peanut and Never a Dull Moment and tour the sites of NYC.

I want to picnic in Central Park with Shizz on the Thursday, kick up our feet on a rock, and be silly.

I want to go to Tiffany's and treat myself to something for my 30th birthday.

I want to live...and experience every piece of BlogHer that I can. I want to soak it all in, write it all down, and blog about it when I get home and am able to digest the most influential weekend of my professional career.

So...why did you choose BlogHer'12?

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Michele and Mary Kay


One thing I have learned in getting educated about my new beauty regimen from Michele, Independent Mary Kay Consultant, is the importance in your tools.

Similarly to being a painter and sculptor, the tools of the trade make every bit of difference in how you complete your masterpiece.

Take the amazing Mary Kay brush collection.






The set includes Powder Brush, Cheek Brush, Eye Definer Brush, Eye Crease Brush, Eyeliner/Eyebrow Brush and Lip Brush - all with sleek black wooden handles. They are oh-so-soft, made of 100% Pony and Goat hair...so you know that when the brush sweeps across your canvas, there is zero tugging, smudging, or damage like other brushes on the market that are composed of synthetic materials and sponges.


The brush set comes with an awesome rollup bag - all of the brushes have their own little spot and there are compartments for your compact, lip gloss, bronzer and mascara. Everything you need, and everything that I will need to put my freshest face forward at BlogHer'12 in just a few weeks! 



I love the entire ensemble. The roll-up takes up literally no space...it's smaller than the makeup bag that I used to have, that was a hot mess to say the least before Michele gave me some lessons, which means that it packs up nice an tight and leaves room for shoes, outfits, media cards...the essentials of BlogHer'12!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Atutudes Handmade Tutus


Add a touch of shimmer and shine to your summer whites and blues with the new {and oh so fabulous} handmade floral rosette bib necklaces by Atutudes!

Ms. Kristal has been busily dreaming up gorgeous combinations of shimmery material, handling the edges and curves with precision to create beautiful works of art to adorn your neck and spruce up your every day.


Add a little sparkle to the centre, and the necklaces go from day to night in a snap! Pair it with a little black dress and BAM!

These beauties would be perfect for a little party I know going on...called Sparklecorn. Have you heard of it? Have you planned your outfit? Do you know what bling you're wearing? Look no further!


BlogHer Sponsor Love: Kristine Cook Designs



Details,details...it's all in the details!

Kristine Cook has done it again in her design for my brunch dress for BlogHer'12!

When we first met, we talked about my love of neutrals, stripes and a pop of colour. She captured my style so absolutely perfectly in this dress.


Slate grey, paired with a white and grey stripe that is so delicately draped from one shoulder down to the opposite hip and falling ever so femininely down the skirt. The detailing on this dress is simply divine!

For the pop of color, Kristine chose to bring in the same coral of my tailored jacket by putting a sash at my {rather high} natural waist and up on the shoulder in an abstract draped manner. It reflects who I am as an artist, all in one beautiful dress!


Now I need to find the perfect shoes!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Tina Dean Designs




I am so pleased to be the first to blog about a new product hitting the shelves at Tina Dean Designs!

Tina is hitting the nail on the head with these designs. She combines colour blocking with an eco-chic fold over clutch design, and is even dabbling in adding texture, stripes and vintage fabric!


I'm so excited with this direction that Tina is taking her work, and have been privy to some new colours and designs including ruffles, bows, dripped texture. Truly unique and artistic, yet functional all at the same time!

The eco-fused line is the perfect compliment to your snazzy dress for a girls night out, date with that special someone or even with a lovely summer dress for a brunch with the girls!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Amber Bryce


Words cannot express how in love I am with this pendant that Amber has designed for me, which I will be wearing during the daytime at the sessions and workshops.

When Amber was designing the piece, she was impeccable with her attention to detail. She asked me what patterns I love, what textures speak to me...I picked paisley. It reminds me of my husband since he loves paisley ties, and I really love the flowing lines and intricate detail in the pattern.

Then, she asked me if there was a phrase or initial I would want etched on the other side. Hmm...immediately, I thought about having my son's O engraved, but my heart strings were tugged in another direction.

Let It Be.

For anyone who knows me personally, it was my Dad's favourite song, and the one that was played at his funeral seven years ago. It's also the memorial tattoo that I have for him on the back of my neck.

It's perfect...and Amber designed a piece so amazing...I'm absolutely in love with it.


Amber has captured something truly unique in this piece...the relationship between a father and daughter.

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Kristine Cook Designs

One of the biggest trends this spring and summer is peplum, and Kristine Cook Designs is taking it up a notch with jackets and cocktail jackets!

I am absolutely overjoyed to unveil the design for my BlogHer cocktail dress....

original design by Kristine Cook Designs
It's a fabulous geometric pattern of taupe and black, with solid black illusion panels on the sides and the peplum detailing.

Peplum.

I was unfamiliar with the trend and term until I met Kristine, and I have to say that she has completely changed my outlook on it. I thought that it would be a trend that would make a curvy girl more curvy...but au contraire! It emphasizes a tiny waist {especially with the black out panels on the sides} and gives a funky edge to the design. I have the hourglass, so why not flaunt it?

Peplum zipper front jacket by Kristine Cook Designs

The peplum doesn't stop at dresses, oh no...Kristine has taken the trend into her amazing structured jackets like the one seen above. How amazing is that!? Dress it down with a pair of jeans for the daytime, or with a fantastic pencil skirt for an evening out...all the while flaunting the shape that you were blessed with!

Thankfully, Kristine knows just how to implement these design techniques and flatter my body...a body that has changed a whole lot since having a baby and finding curves I never knew I had. She is one incredible designer who knows how to make you feel not just good in your own skin, but absolutely ravishing!




The MAD Awards...Transatlantic Blonde style!

Have you heard of the MAD Awards? No?


Well it's this really cool thing run by Parentdish that celebrates the best in Mum and Dad blogs in the UK...and I know someone who was nominated for the Best Fashion Blog award!


That's right!!! Little Miss Transatlantic Blonde, with her uber cute Blondey Boy, has been nominated as the best fashion blogger and I couldn't agree more with Parentdish's selection! Could you help a mama out??

Click on the The Mads 2012 logo above to be taken to the voting page - simply fill out your name and email, then choose Transatlantic Blonde under "Best MAD Fashion Blog" {about halfway down the categories!}

Good luck Melaina!

BlogHer Sponsor Love: Michele from Mary Kay


Remember a few weeks ago when I was showing off my {lack of} makeup arsenal? Yeah…it was pretty pathetic right?

Well, that’s when I sent an SOS to my fabulous friend, Michele Thomson who happens to be an amazing makeup artist and Mary Kay Independent Sales Director!

I showed her my blogpost, and she agreed; I needed help. 

I was so excited to have our consultation...I laid out all of my makeup and took a {little} inventory.

My makeup and my skincare...that Rimmel is about 8 years old...
Eye compacts that are at least 6 years old, mascara that is about 2 years old, lip gloss from my wedding (which Michele did my makeup for and made me look, and feel, stunning!) which was nearly 4 years ago…noticing a trend?

Then a before picture, no makeup. This is pretty much what I look like every day.

Well, hello there!

And we got to work. I showed her the amazing outfits that Kristine Cook Designs is creating for me and we started talking about trends.

I want to be able to represent myself as an artist, stay true to me, have a professional {yet quirky} look and represent my sponsors with a fresh faced. While, sure, I could do that without makeup…I want to…pull together a more pulled-together look and feel really confident at BlogHer’12.

Bold lips…dewy cheeks…smokey eyes…nude lips. We talked tips and tricks…and over the next few months, you’ll be able to learn how to….

Two eye looks...smokey peacock on the left and smokey pinks on the right

Create a gorgeous smokey eye…with a pop of colour!
Create a bold-lip-dewy-face look
Learn all about foot and hand care with a special Mama’s Time Out feature
And a few other tips and tricks that Michele has up her sleeve, like proper skin protection, favourite products and trends for fall and winter 2012!

Blogger{at}BlogHer12: Blogging Tips

Definitely late to the game on this bloghop for the week, but better late than never??

Hopping along with my roommate Shaun...





The theme for this week is blogging tips...you know you have 'em, so you might as well share 'em!

Quality

This is something that is incredibly important to me. I want to ensure that I'm staying true to myself as an artist, not compromising my ideals and values, and that I'm also presenting my sponsors in the best possible light. This all boils down to quality. What good is a blog that is full of giveaways, reviews, and very little content? Well...it's great if you want to win stuff, but it's not great if you're looking to build a relationship with your readers {like I am}. Food for thought!

Network

I've found that the best way to grow my readership is to have a close network of bloggers who believe in what I do, both as a writer and as an artist. Pushing posts to Facebook and Twitter only go so far if you haven't taken the time to connect with who will see those posts and tweets. Connect...engage...be real.

Scheduling

I try to stick to a consistent schedule. I know that my life as a fulltime mama and fulltime artist make for late night {or all-day-Sunday} blogging sessions, and without my themed days and schedule, I wouldn't know which post is going to go where...and likely would have writers block. it helps me stay focused, gives my blog consistency, and gives my readers something to look forward to when they know a certain theme is coming up in a day or two.

Those are my top three tips!! I can't wait to learn more and grow as a blogger in the coming months. This little dream of going to BlogHer is becoming more and more real, and it's such an amazing journey!

WAHM Wednesday: Two New Fabulous BlogHer Sponsors

Happy WAHM Wednesday!! I am very excited to announce two new sponsors that I have for BlogHer’12!

Kristine Cook is a local fashion designer from London, Ontario who specializes in cocktail dresses and structured jackets. Her pieces feature classic lines, bold fabrics and patterns. Kristine pays close attention to the fine details of her pieces, from the intricate stitching to the unique folds of her one of a kind jackets. Kristine Cook Designs is truly a rare and inspired find!


Proudly Canadian, The Printing House Ltd™ (TPH®) is a printing company with heart; they genuinely care about their customers, partners and the environment. Specializing in short to medium run printing, TPH® has unmatched quality and a quick turnaround like no other printing house. From large format and offset printing to personalized marketing and custom cutting, their team of Managers across Canada help their customers stand out from the crowd and win, every day.

Sponsored Post: Matthew Williamson and Style Passport

As I prepare for BlogHer’12, I’m having a great time looking around at different fashion designers and seeing what the current trends are. One designer that I’ve been gravitating toward for some funky summer fashion is Matthew Williamson at Style Passport.

Beachy and summery is the focus of the Spring 2011 line, and the trend carries straight through to this summer. Peacock prints, underwater scenes and flamingos dominate the prints on amazing swimwear and coverups.

The Peacock Print Bandeau Bikini is simply stunning. Teal and raspberry tones, with a fantastic peacock feather pattern…yes please! The ruching in the centre is super flattering, and it even has a detachable halter strap, so you can change up your look. Cross over the straps, take them right off, or leave them as a traditional halter. Stylish and versatility in a suit that you will wear over and over. I may need to find a rooftop pool in NYC during BlogHer to catch some rays this August!
























I really love that the Matthew Williamson collection is form fitting, and flattering. Perfect for my curvy shape, and stylish to make sure that I’m keeping up with the trends.

One piece that I am absolutely dying for is the Peacock Print smock shirt. It is so perfect for a warm summer day, and I could definitely see myself wearing it with a pair of skinny jeans and ballet flats during the day then switching it up with a pair of black cropped skinny pants and black peep toe booties for a night out with the girls!


Summer fun at its best, Matthew Williamson sure does not disappoint! The underwater and peacock prints have me so inspired to incorporate some key pieces into my summer wardrobe, along with some oversized sunglasses

*this post was brought to you by Style Passport

Talk-To-Me Tuesday....with Sarah Sloboda

Good morning everyone!!

I have a special treat for all you mompreneurs and mama bloggers out there! I'd like you to meet Sarah Sloboda, who is a brilliant photographer creates gorgeous heirloom inspired photos and runs fantastic workshops! She's here to help you all make the most with iphoneography! {note: she's seriously making me want an iPhone!}

iPhoneography for Business Owner Moms
by Sarah Sloboda

As a photojournalist-style photographer, I am enamored with real moments in
time. I love photographing kids because they’re so spontaneous! We adults can
learn a lot from their free-spiritedness. I see a lot of moms who want their kids’
hair to be brushed just so, for their clothes to be perfect, and for their smiles to be
practiced. However, none of those things speak to me of childhood. So, I
encourage the kids to giggle, to run, and to explore. Yes, I have to chase them
around a lot. But when they stop and catch their breath, I am ready with my
camera. And, they’re usually beaming.



If you want to take better photos of your family (and set your child up to be more
photogenic for life), think of yourself as a documentarian. Document what you
want, yes. But don’t manipulate. Don’t ask for poses. And, don’t fuss! Let the
kids enjoy themselves, and what you hold dear about this time in your life will
show through in the moments you capture.

The iPhone is an incredible tool for moms and business owners alike. I
recommend you turn the flash off, and pay attention to natural light sources in
the environment you’re shooting in. Make sure to arrange yourself so that light is
falling on your subject. In other words, if you’re facing a lamp and the baby is
silhouetted in between you and it, don’t expect the camera to give you a good
exposure. And, be sure you get low to the ground – you want to be on your
subject’s level.

Plus, the iPhone is something you already take everywhere you go, so using it for
social networking and marketing is a no-brainer. It’s an invaluable tool for giving
your audience that coveted glimpse behind the scenes.



iPhonegraphy tips for documenting your family and business
marketing:

1. Get on Instagram! If you haven’t already, sign up for an Instagram account.
It’s free! Just go to the app store and install. If you want to use it for marketing,
select a username that corresponds with your brand. For instance, my Instagram
name is sloboda.

2. Apply filters to your images before you share them. If you also install other
photography apps, you’ll have a whole bunch of one-click PhotoShop-like settings
at your fingertips. My favorites include Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Camera+, Iris,
and Filterstorm. They range from $1.99 to $5.99, and can seriously enhance just
about any image you take.


3. Mix and match multiple filters from various programs by saving to your photo
library and then opening in a new program. When you’re pleased with your
flashy new picture, open Instagram and click on “share,” to upload.

4. Get tagging! Hashtags are a great way to get followers of similar interests on
Instgram. Use @[username] tags to respond to someone who has commented on
yours or another’s photo. Link your profile to twitter and automatically tweet
your photo (with capture and hashtags – up to 160 characters, of course). To be
really savvy, use twitter tags in Instagram so your intended audience sees your
image.

5. Be yourself. Share your interests, and your day-to-day. Document moments
with your family. Get involved in an activity! Frame your shot and be ready to
snap when natural smiles (and all kinds of expressions) occur.

Sharing photos of genuine moments goes a long way towards communicating
your values to your audience. A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? That’s
like 41 tweets!

*****
Sarah Sloboda is a modern kids photographer. She has been featured in
numerous publications, and her work can be found at http://sarahsloboda.com.
Be sure to follow “sloboda” on Instagram.
All content and photos ©Sarah Sloboda 2012. These images were produced
exclusively on an iPhone.

Talk-To-Me Tuesday...with Stephi!

I have a guest blogger today that you all really need to meet. Her name is Stephi Williams and she is the brilliant mind behind Bleue Moon Web Design. I know alot of you mama bloggers out there sometimes struggle with formatting and you Etsians wonder about having your own .com and e-shop...well look for further for some words of wisdom (and crazy reasonable prices for a template overhaul!)

Without further adieu...welcome Stephi!

Bonjour! My name is Stephi and I'm a wife, mother, homemaker, aspiring artisan and web designer. There's this one amazing quote that sums it all up:

"The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” I have been designing blog templates since 2004 and usually when I was supposed to be spending my time somewhere else. I have watched morning sunlight peak through my window blinds more times than I care to admit. To say that web designing is a passion of mine might be an understatement. In March, I was invited to join The Artisan Group and in April the founder, Valerie, contacted me about designing the group's blog after seeing my personal blog’s template.

After the group’s blog was unveiled, Tina Dean Designs asked me to help her with her shop and blog too. I never ever considered shop templates but I'm not one to say no to challenge either. And I'm so happy that she took a chance on me because as they say, the rest is history.
Today I proudly help growing artisans take their business to the next level whether it be a stand alone online shop, blog template or splash page at Bleue Moon Web Design. It brings so much happiness to my heart when the project is complete and I see them brag about it to bits! I love helping other people get a little closer to making their dreams come true, I really, really do!

So the million dollar question is always "What do you suggest for a beginner?" Now I'm a self-taught designer for the most part so anything I say is simply personal opinion. With saying that: Do what's right for you! Some might tell you that you can't have a colorful background because it's unappealing. I say you can have that bold background but just know that you need to dial down the rest of the site. A bit like accessorizing, yes? Design with thought and care.

I also believe in the mantra of K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Keep your header and sidebar clean. You don't have to cram all your information in those areas because that's the ideal place for side pages. The sidebar should quickly sum up who you are and/or business along with easy to see navigation for new viewers. I also think a good logo or header is visually important. If you want to be seen as professional, a high quality graphic is a good start.

That's one big reason that I say it's okay to hire outside help... ya know, not just because it helps my business! Do what you do best, right? I have full faith that you could design your logo or site, but think about the time you would have to spend to make that happen. I can make my way around Photoshop, but even I hired Fancy Designs to create my logo. Why? Because the hours I would have spent creating that graphic would have been hours I could be working. If you have limited time to spend on your business, a designer can take the stress away from you while you're creating products and networking. Win-Win! And I do realize that there are plenty of templates out there to choose from for all sort of site platforms, but why wouldn't you want a site that is as unique as your voice or the products you offer? Support small businesses including us designers! :-)

MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Review & Giveaway

Welcome to the Sweet Stella's Anniversary Celebration!


I have had the pleasure of playing with, and reviewing {and loving} the MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Software.

Are you a scrapbooker? Blogger? Graphic Designer? Well this is the software for you {and you'll have a chance to to win it at the end of the post!!}

I'm not exactly the best with graphic design and making this pretty. Give me paper, scissors and glue...I'm your girl. But a computer, eek! Or at least, that's what I thought...

The MyMemories software makes digital scrapbooking SO easy! The program is incredibly user friendly, gives a step by step and has really amazing layouts!

First and foremost, the installation process is a breeze. I could let it run in the background, and come back to it when it was finished...but still be able to work on things that needed my attention...and not have to reboot when I was finished.

I LOVE that I can select any template, add in pages to make sure I have enough for the album, then select pictures from my computer to fill in the spots. This makes organizing all of the special events in my son’s life so incredibly easy! The first album I did was all about his first birthday party, and the On The Spot template was perfect for his Mickey theme!

The Control Panel at the side makes it really easy to add word art to customize your pages, which means that you can journal literally anywhere to tell a story. I especially like that you can save and return to your projects at any time. For me, I’m on the go with my son so much that I only have a few minutes here or there to work on projects like this (very much the reason why I have printed pictures for a physical scrapbook that hasn’t even begun to materialize over the course of 16months!). Ease of use, and ease of time! Brilliant!

And this isn’t just for scrapbooking folks! Think about the possibilities….books customized for your children, calendar’s for the Grandparents, gifts for everyone! Which is perfect with the holidays just around the corner!

I played around with…

Christmas cards – simple and beautiful, and I can share it digitally with our family! Eco-friendly! How cool is that!?

Family collage of my maternity and newborn photo shoots with a buttercream background, I love it and will definitely be framing this one for our new house.

Product collage for Sweet Stella’s with cool backgrounds, screw embellishments and string!

A birthday invitation for Owen's 2nd Birthday! LOVE IT!

You can even add media and video! How cool is that?! We have alot of family that is out of town, so being able to share the moments when Owen first rolled over, crawled and walked is something that is really special, and MyMemories makes it so easy!

MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking Suite is giving away to one lucky reader of Sweet Stella's a full version of their amazing software!

AND for you lucky, lovely people a special code which provides a 10% discount off the purchase of the MyMemories Suite software, and a $10 coupon at the MyMemories store! A $20 value!

Code: STMMMS4024
   

Mama Blogger Monday: A Grande Life

Happy Monday indeed around these parts! Our weekend was full of cupcakes, weddings, gardening and family time...a nice treat from being swamped with Emmy swag and birthday orders lately.
Link
Today, I'd like to introduce you to the wonderful Mrs. Gloves of A Grande Life.

Some of you already know her, and know her well. To some, she's Mrs. G...to others, she's Steph. to many, she's an amazing mama, and spectacular photographer!

Hey everyone!

I'm Steph from A Grande Life. I am a mom to two boys {bless my soul}, ages 3 and 2 months. They sure do keep me on my toes! I face the every day with the help of my sidekicks: coffee and my camera. I am still trying to figure out this thing called motherhood and I use my blog to help sort things out. I started blogging back when I was pregnant with son #1 {E} and I haven't stopped.



My blog is my therapy {hey, it's cheap} and I love the support that I have found through the blogosphere. When I am not capturing my own family's memories, I am busy capturing others. I am a momtographer turned pro {which is still weird for me to say out loud}. Needless to say my sidekicks are always with me!

Grab a cup of Joe and swing on over


Y3W #2: Stylish Blogger Award


Wow...I'm so incredibly flattered! My good friend over at Baby Shmizz nominated Sweet Stella's for a Stylish Blogger Award, and now it's my turn to return the favour.

The rules?

1) link back and thank the fabulous person who bestowed said amazing award on you
2) share 7 things about yourself
3) award 15 other deserving and great bloggers
4) contact said bloggers to let them know of their award!

First and foremost, THANK YOU, lovely Shizz, for giving me this award. I have been so blessed by your friendship and encouragement, words cannot thank you enough!

Now...7 things about myself? Oh gees.

1) You all know my obsession with paper, but did you know that I also have an obsession with soothers? Yes..that's right. Soothers. My dear little one will only take a certain kind, so when they are on sale, or I can find them in the right size (what 7month old still prefers newborn soothers?! mine!) I scoop them up!

2) I feel as though you can never have enough Bath & Body Works foaming soaps in your home. I adopted this from my best friend.

3) In highschool, I was into punk music and would have my best friend put my hair into knots (think Gwen Stefani in Return of Saturn)

4) I am a reality show junkie. I blame this on my father, who got me hooked on Survivor and Big Brother, and my husband, who got me hooked on American Idol. (and yes, we are watching Season 10 intently!)

5) I cannot draw people to save my life. I've tried and tried and tried, but I just can't do it. They always seem to look like cartoons.

6) I was a tomboy growing up, but I still loved my Barbies. I loved to paly in the forrest across from our house, play in the mud with my brother and his friends, and always wanted to be in with the guys. However...give me a Barbie...and I was in heaven!

7) I absolutely love making baby food. I know that I post it in the how-to's every few weeks, but seriously...I love it. It was always more important to me to make my son's food than even to breastfeed (which didn't turn out so well.) I'm starting to experiment with my own combinations and recipes, and having such a blast doing it. I know what's going in him, I know how it's preparred, and I know that it's healthy. Yes, I even make his cereal!

Now to the nominations! Check out these bloggers!

2) Rosnia at Roses and Teal
4) Andrea at Expecting Baby K
5) Melania at Transatlantic Blonde
6) Cat at My Eggs and Ham
9) Censie at Building our Story
11) Melissa at Our Journey
13) Mrs.M at Mama Plain and Tall
15) Rachel at Organic Colours