New Network TV Shows You Must See This Fall

watching-tvWhat better way to welcome fall than by watching some binge-worthy TV shows? Snuggle up, settle down and switch off your brain in front of the TV. We hope this will help you decide what to watch this fall!

Timeless

The concept: Can this group of travellers stop a villain from changing the past and thus changing the future?
Why you should watch: We are intrigued by this kind of twisty trope-filled time party.


American Housewife

The concept: This show is a comedy about a confident, unapologetic wife and mother of three, who raises her flawed family in the wealthy town of Westport, Connecticut, filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring.
Why you should watch: We like the way they are dealing with what it’s like to be an average-sized women with America’s super-thin ideals! The average American woman is 5’4″ and 166 pounds. The idea of a weekly reality check on what is normal, done with laugh-out-loud moments is something to be watched!


This Is Us

The concept: A drama about a selection of people with the same birthday whose lives unexpectedly intersect.
Why you should watch: If you are Parenthood fans, this show will fill the hole in your heart. “This Is Us” is, without a doubt, the fall’s most emotionally engaging TV show.


Designated Survivor

The concept: A terrorist attack has claimed the lives of the president and the members of his cabinet, except the secretary of housing and urban development. “Designated Survivor” is part political and part procedural.
Why you should watch: The cast is terrific. Kiefer Sutherland is a surprisingly good fit as a man thrust into a situation he doesn’t want to be in. Plus, you get all-around good actor (and real-life ex-White House employee) Kal Penn, playing a White House employee.


Speechless

The concept: This show features a mom on a mission, who will go to any lengths necessary for her husband Jimmy and her kids – Ray, Dylan and JJ, her eldest son with special needs. The family works to make a new home for themselves while they search for just the right person to give JJ his “voice.”
Why you should watch: This is a sweet show that is a little different from the other comedies on TV. You will really fall in love with this family. 🙂

What will you be watching this season?

What Every Tween to Teen Girl Needs. PERIOD.

This past weekend, I took my daughter on our annual mother/daughter getaway. This is a time where we eat lots of sweets, stay up late and talk a lot about dreams, aspirations and just life. Speaking of life, my daughter is 11 now, and I am aware that girls can start going through puberty, so it was time for me to start to have the PERIOD conversation. *sigh* Can time slow down right about now?! Ok, ok…back to reality. There’s nothing worse than getting your period when you are not expecting it, especially for your first time, so it is my job as the mom to get my girl prepare for life as a woman – especially since it is all a new experience.

So, during our trip, I decided to take a break from our shopping trip and stop in Müller drugstore. It was time to have a bag filled with everything she needs for that awkward or unexpected moment. This way, if I am not around to help her out, my daughter will never be caught without protection. Here’s what we packed – all the essentials a girl needs to prevent that embarrassing moment.

Cosmetic Bag
Bath & Body Works Sanitizing Hand Gel
Deodorant
Kleenex® On-the-go
Feminine Pads like Always
Lip Smacker

P.S. There’s a new trend of products called period panties like PantyProp. I have never used them, BUT I have heard amazing things about them, especially for tweens and teens.

Puberty comes earlier and earlier for girls these days. Make sure you tween or teen is never stranded without the essentials. PERIOD. 🙂

Celebrate National Waffle Day on August 24

Bacon-Cheddar-WafflesCelebrate National Waffle Day on August 24th with two of the greatest ingredient: BACON and CHEDDAR CHEESE! This recipe from FamilyFun Magazine offers the perfect combination of savory and sweet.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1¾ cups milk
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled

1. Heat oven to 200°F and preheat the waffle iron. In a medium bowl, help kids measure out and whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk the milk, melted butter, and eggs until incorporated.

2. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined, then stir in the shredded cheese and crumbled bacon.

3. Pour about ½ cup batter onto the center of your waffle iron and cook until golden and fluffy. Transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with maple syrup.

Too busy to make these during the week?! Then grab a box of Van’s 8 Whole Grain Waffles and use good-for-the-body ingredients to create a happy face on top for your happy eaters. Kids can help with assembly—let them choose their toppings or match their waffle face to their mood. You can use blueberries for eyes and raspberries, cherries or a kiwi slice for a mouth. You’ll be smiling, too, as you watch how quickly they gobble it up! Good luck getting back to the routine of school and enjoy a delicious brunch on the weekend. 🙂VANS_Infographic_FINAL

Eight Road Trip Tips

Road-Trip-TipsThis weekend, my daughter and I are getting ready to take a road trip through a few countries. That’s the great thing about living in Europe, how small and close countries are to each other. What do you define as a “road trip”? For me, anything longer than 8 hours constitutes a road trip. 🙂 I LOVE road trips. Throughout my childhood, my family took TONS of them, and I looked forward to them every time. Of course not all of our road trips went smoothly. I mean, my brother got carsick, we would get lost, tire would blowout, etc., but let’s not focus on the negative. 😉 As we prepare for our trip, here are some things that I have learned on my many road trips and tips on how you can get the most out of your next one.

#1. Plan your route thoroughly first. Look at various routes and take into account tolls, construction and traffic.

#2. Have cash on hand. Stop by the ATM and make sure to have money handy. I usually have enough to fill up my car just in case the gas station doesn’t take credit card or I encounter an unexpected toll or parking spot.

#3. Pack a pillow! Don’t know about you, but long car journeys make me want to nap! Sleeping against the window is NOT comfy, so packing a pillow or blanket will make your journey more comfy.

#4. No matter what type of road trip you’re on, pack comfy shoes! For example, flip flops or walking boots will come in incredibly handy if you have to hike a little away from the road for a bathroom stop.

#5. Pack a mobile phone charger! Mobile phone batteries die so quickly nowadays.

#6. Bring bottle waters and other favorite drinks before you hit the road. Not all gas stations sell beverages, and then there is that problem about finding a place to buy something to drink when you are thirsty. 😉

#7. Pack healthy snacks! There are always plenty of places to stop for fast food, but you’ll soon discover yourself craving something a little more nutritious like granola bars, fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.

#8. Do most of the driving in the early morning and afternoon, so you don’t get too tired, it’s just not worth the risk! I try to begin driving before 8AM when most people are still drinking their first cup of coffee.

Am I missing any tips? Where have you taken a road trip?

Marriott Rewards Summer Travelers

DFWDT ExteriorSummer is quickly slipping away, but you still have time to be rewarded for a last-minute trip deep in the heart of Texas. Marriott Rewards® members can pack their bags and take a road trip driving to several destinations while racking up points to use at future destinations. Read more why a Marriott Rewards credit card is worth! From San Antonio’s Alamo Mission to Fort Worth’s Stockyards and renowned art museums, you can enjoy more points with more stays.

Enjoy finger-licking BBQ at Woodshed, seafood at Waters – Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine, homegrown fresh fruit pies and hand-churned ice cream, to name a few of our summer favorite foods. Texas’ major cities offer magnificent museums such as Dallas’ Nasher Sculpture Center in the middle of the largest urban art district in the United States and Fort Worth’s incomparable Arts District, which includes the Kimbell, Amon Carter, Modern Art Museum, as well as, the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.20130317_123941kimbellartamoncarter

Now through September 5, 2016, stay at a participating Marriott listed below, and Marriott Rewards® members can earn 2,000 Marriott Reward® points. It’s free to join the program and points are earned right away. Members also enjoy free standard in-room Wi-Fi and other exclusive offers and promotions just by registering for the program.

Participating Summer Splash Down properties:
Renaissance Austin Hotel
Renaissance Dallas Hotel
Dallas Marriott City Center
Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center
Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott
The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel *** OUR FAVORITE!!!
JW Marriott Houston
Houston Marriott Medical Center
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental
San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk
San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter

What’s Included:
· 2% discount during midweek stays, 5% discount for weekends
· Rewards Members may earn 2,000 bonus points for every stay between May 26, 2016 and September 5, 2016, starting on the second stay
· Rewards Members may qualify for 100 prizes of 100,000 points each; a 10 million bonus point giveaway during the summer to Rewards Members

Happy Trails to You!

How to Succeed as Influencer #SparkMe

Influencer“Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing channel, ” according to the latest poll from influencer marketplace Tomoson. Everywhere Agency‘s Founder and President Danica Kombol reaffirmed this at the first day of Spark.me conference in Budva, Montenegro. You can read more about her talk, “Marketing Under the Influence” here. Today, I want to focus on how you get noticed by people online through social media and blogging. It is not something that comes by accident.  It requires hard work and an innovative strategy. At its core, being an influencer is having the power to create an effect, change opinions and behaviors, and drive measurable outcomes online. Here are five effective ways to become more savvy and succeed as an influencer. There has never been a better time to get started.

#1. Find your voice.
In any given field, there will already be big-name influencers who have been building their authority for years. Rather than trying to compete, find you voice in a targeted topic or field. You have a unique perspective and approach in how you look at things, so why not write about it. Do not underestimate YOUR story.

#2. Be authentic.
The entire notion of influencer marketing is built on authenticity. Tell YOUR story! Do not write for a brand or post pictures online for the whole purpose to be found by a brand. Brands hire services of an influencer though the purchase of your social media space. Brands that are great to work with will give you a lot of freedom to create content that is authentic to your space, but also creatively incorporates their product or service to your brand. However, there are ground rules as it concerns to being paid to represent a brand. Make sure that you use up-to-date disclosure information on your blog and social networks, according to the FTC’s list of ethics rules.

#3. Partner up.
Don’t be reluctant to find and partner with other bloggers or vloggers. One of the best ways to expand your reach outside your current audience is to guest post on high-traffic sites. Ideally, reach out and see if you can become a regular contributor to those sites. This will allow you to steadily build your audience while also receiving referral traffic to your own site. When using this strategy, watch your analytics carefully to see which sites are most effective in terms of targeted traffic. It may be tempting to post to high profile sites, but if you’re not getting results, you’re wasting your time. Note: don’t avoid smaller, niche sites just because of their size! Sometimes smaller sites with loyal audiences that can send the most targeted and enthusiastic visitors.

#4. Take it offline.
Most of your influence can built up online. That’s where you’ll be spending most of your time and investing most of your resources. However, most influencers also spend some time building their authority offline, through live speaking engagements, teaching classes or doing interviews. It is great meeting people face-to-face and hearing what they enjoy about your site or what stories they really connected with them personally. Writing a book can also be a huge boom to your career as an influencer.

#5. Be responsive and active.
Being active on social media is more than posting on your own accounts. You need to be engaging and participating in a variety of communities. This means showing up at other people’s Twitter chats, commenting on other people’s Instagram posts and tagging others on Facebook. Join Facebook groups and share insights with no expectation of getting traffic or any other benefit. In other words, get out there and make sure people in your field see you and get to know you as an expert.

People expect influencers to be approachable and responsive. This means consistently responding to emails, social media mentions and blog comments. While you don’t have to respond to every comment or question, it helps to let your readers and followers know that you are at least reading them.

Becoming an influencer doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a lot of time and a whole lot of hard work. However, if you stick with it and follow the five steps above, you have a reasonable chance at achieving influencer status… maybe sooner than you think!

What would you add to this list? What other strategies are you using on your path to becoming an influencer?

Can’t Stop the Feeling: Prepare for Spark.Me

Spark.me is less than a month away! And today, Justin Timberlake drops a new song that expresses how I feel. I may have modified some of the lyrics ;), but turn up the volume and dance with me.

“I got this feeling inside my bones. It goes electric, wavey when I turn it on. All through BUDVA, all through MONTENEGRO. We’re flying up, no ceiling, when we in our zone. I got that sunshine in my pocket. Got THIS good song in my feet. I feel that SPARK in my body when it drops. I can’t WAIT FOR END OF MAY, moving so phenomenally WELL. You gon’ like the way THIS CONFERENCE rocks it, so don’t stop. Under the lights when everything STARTS. Nowhere to hide when CONFERENCE getting you close. When SPARK.ME STARTS, well, you already know. So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine…SPARK.ME WILL MAKE you dance, dance, dance. Feeling good, good, SPARKING up on you. So just dance, dance, dance, come on. All those things I should do to PREPARE, but you dance, dance, dance. And YOU ARE leaving soon, so keep dancing…”

I CAN’T STOP THE FEELING! How about you? 😉

10-Tips-for-Spark-MeHere’s my TOP 10 checklist to help you prepare for Spark.Me, so you can continue to dance your way to Budva, Montenegro, on May 28-29, 2016.

  1. Search Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for anyone talking about #SparkMe. You can then determine if you want to follow them and start conversations ahead of Spark.Me. This works amazingly well for people who might be a bit shy. Make sure you are also using #SparkMe hashtag, so can people can also find and engage with you.
  2. Visit the speakers blogs or youtube channels for ideas of how things are going in their lives or in their businesses. Before meeting them, maybe you’ll read that they just closed a B round of funding, and thus might have budget for a project with you. It’s free intelligence before a conversation.
  3. Check out the partners for Spark.Me. Visit their web pages. What do you know about them? Are they a prospective vendor for you? A client? Do you see some business value in meeting any of them?
  4. Write some of your best work in the days leading up to Spark.Me and have a great post launch on the day of the event. The likelihood of people checking out your blog during or just before an event is high. JUST DO IT! 🙂
  5. Consider writing posts that might help you form conversations at Spark.Me. For instance, if you’re looking to work with startups, write a blog post about how you’d help startups get funding. Thus, people who might investigate your blog ahead of time might also know what you’re thinking about and will engage you.
  6. Consider making a video about something and posting it to your blog. Videos will give people an even better opportunity to observe you and see what you’re about. It might also help with the people recognition factor, as seeing you in motion might improve their chance of seeing you at an event. 😉
  7. If you’re going to take lots of photos or videos at Spark.Me, check your gear to make sure you’ve got everything (charger, media transfer tools, spare things, etc.). Consider any extra batteries or power supplies you might need to bring with you.
  8. Backup your laptop before you travel. You might not think about it, but there are many chances to destroy your data once you’re on the road. Make sure that’s not going to happen.
  9. Pack business casual clothes and comfortable shoes for two days and a nice black dress or button-down shirt & nice pants for the cocktail party! And, DON’T FORGET YOUR SWIMSUIT to wear while you enjoy the Bečići beach. 🙂
  10. Practice, practice, practice your elevator pitch explaining who you are and what you do. Be crisp. Make it easy to say. Be very clear. If you’re looking for work, be clear that you’re available for a few extra projects. It seems that lots of folks beat around the bush or don’t exactly know how to have a beginning, middle and end to a conversation. REMEMBER, YOU ARE AWESOME! TI SI SJAJAN/SJAJNA!

Look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. For now, make sure that we are connected on all these social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Pinterest.

How to Throw an Epic Captain America: Civil War Party

captain-america-civil-warMy son loves the Avengers…like LOVES the Avengers. I could not tell you how many times that I have seen that movie – well, I digress. The excitement has been building in our house for the newest movie, Captain America: Civil War. Naturally, when I asked my son what he wanted his birthday party theme to be, he yelled: “Marvel!” This year, we threw an epic birthday party for his friends, and I am here to share how his party has just the right amount of epic awesomeness to get your family pumped for Captain America: Civil War. The only question remains is, are you for #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan? 😉

Themed Snacks Instead of Flashy Decorations
I am all about themed snacks. They can double as decorations, and since the point is for you and your guests to eat the snacks, it can cut down on your cleanup time after the festivities are over. Here are a few snack ideas to help get your creative juices flowing.Hulk-Juicecaptain-america-pizzateam-cap

Bring the Entertainment Home Instead of Paying for a Playhouse
Next, I had to figure out what entertainment to provide for 9 year-old boys. Thanks to my friend, Facebook, I discovered a piñata company in Kotor, Montenegro. Angela is amazing and made us an Iron Man head. We just added some hard candy into the piñata and grab the nearest scarf and broom stick – an the party festivities went up to an epic level. Then, we added a “pin-the-star on Cap’s shield” game and much fun was had. Here’s are some of the fun pictures.Iron-Man-Beforeiron-man-pinatairon-man-blastcaptain-america-shield-gamepin-the-star-captain-america

Why Bloggers Should Takeover Another’s Snapchat

How-To-Do-Snapchat-TakeoverWith over 7 billion video views per day and close to 200 million users, Snapchat is becoming the go-to platform for bloggers looking for new ways to increase brand awareness and connect with a younger (at heart 😉 ), creative and engaged audiences. Read my top 10 Snapchat Tips here. For creative bloggers, you are beginning to see an effective new strategy called a Snapchat Takeover.

What is a Snapchat Takeover?

A Snapchat Takeover is when a blogger allows another blogger to “take over” their Snapchat account and create a story from her unique perspective. Takeovers typically happen for a day, and both bloggers start telling their fans across all their social media channels to watch her “take over” story on Snapchat. By leveraging the attention of their audiences, it also helps bloggers gain new audiences with increase exposure.

5 Steps to Takeover a Snapchat Account Effectively

#1. Establish Goals.
Before developing the campaign or approaching a popular snapper, you should determine what you want to accomplish from this Snapchat takeover. Goals and objectives such as “increase Snapchat followers” or “drive awareness for a product launch.”

#2. Find the Right Blogger.
Finding the right snapper to host the Snapchat Takeover is more complex than simply reviewing vanity metrics (e.g. number of followers, impressions), though these baseline metrics are useful in forecasting a campaign’s reach. To determine if a blogger is a good fit, watch their stories and see how they engage with their existing audience across other social channels.

#3. Coordinate and Plan the Date.
Prior to the Snapchat Takeover, the person taking over the account should develop a campaign outline. We think Snapchat Takeovers are best when you have something happening that day, like an exclusive event, product launch or unique experience. Mention it at some point in your story. Remember: authenticity is key to a successful Snapchat Takeover, so overly-scripted material should be avoided whenever possible. Be sure to allow enough time (1-2 weeks) to promote the campaign.

#4. Promote The Takeover.
Both the blogger taking over the account and the Snapchat account owner should promote the Takeover extensively across all social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and on their blogs) in the weeks and days leading up to the campaign.Promote-Snapchat-Takeover#5. Takeover and Document.
Give the snapper access to your Snapchat channel, so they can create their story. Watch the campaign. Record any engagement that occurs. Screenshot “snaps” and download the story within 24 hours of the beginning of the Takeover. Snapchat erases all stories within 24 hours, so don’t forget to document your campaign. Here’s an example of how Jovana Biga also known as atomski_mrav3 took over our account.

Why You Should Participate in a Snapchat Takeover

Snapchat Takeovers offer bloggers a way to authentically connect with audiences and increase brand awareness in a fun, creative way. Because Snapchat doesn’t currently have a way for users to find new channels, Snapchat Takeovers are also an effective way for bloggers to grow their followers and gain exposure. Lastly, Snapchat’s storytelling format lends itself exceptionally well to covering events, etc. As such, many bloggers // snappers are giving their audiences an intimate, authentic experience that would otherwise be impossible to create on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

10 Snapchat Tips for Bloggers

snapchatSnapchat is getting bigger and bigger, and it’s quickly becoming a favorite tool for a lot of bloggers. Why? Because it’s the perfect way to engage with your followers on a more personal level while promoting your blog. Here are 10 tips that will help you become a better Snapchatter.

#1. Snap daily.
Snap often, but always keep in mind the message you are sending. Always add to “your story.” Adding to your story allows your followers to view your snaps for 24 hours, rather than the 5-10 seconds as a direct-snap allows.

#2. Share “uncurated” moments.
Share some parts of your daily life, behind the scenes at events and your process of writing a blog post. The more authentic it is, the more your followers will appreciate you and continue to follow you.

#3. Don’t go “snap cray-cray.”
It can be tempting to start snapping everything at first but limit yourself if you can. Generally, people will unfollow if it share more than 3 snaps of the same thing // subject. I don’t show every single moment of my life, but rather the moments that are either entertaining or bring value to my brand.

#4. Talk to the camera.
This can be hard at the beginning, but your followers really like to hear your voice. So, talk to the camera, and let your personality shine. 🙂

#5. Chat with your followers.
Ask some questions and chat with your followers. This allows you to connect with them in a very powerful way, since it’s a direct line of communication.

#6. Watch other people’s stories and engage with them.
At the end of the day, I usually sit down on my couch and watch people’s stories like i would watch a sitcom. I might not have time to do it more than once a day or even daily, but this is one of the reasons that I love Snapchat. It reminds me of the early days of Twitter. I feel like I am getting to know the personalities of the people, and I have some great laughs at people’s creativity — and I tell them!

#7. Have fun.
The beauty of Snapchat is that allows you to show your true self, so don’t overthink it and have fun. I may have had a “hammer time” in my story one day. 😉 Vogue!

#8. Partner with fellow bloggers and takeover each other’s accounts.
I first discovered this concept while listening to a GaryVee exclusive video as a newsletter member. What a great concept of promoting a fellow blogger and widening your brand. It was great to see what my followers thought and how much the fun my fellow snapper had sharing her launch of an event for work with my followers. Here’s how to do a Snapchat Takeover.

#9. Share your blog posts.
Don’t forget to tell your Snapchat followers every time you have a new post on your blog. This way you will get more attention on your post.

#10. Use Other Social Media to Promote Snapchat.
Snapchat doesn’t have a public friends feed that will show people that their friends are viewing and engaging with your content. As such, a great way to build your audience is through your pre-existing followers on other networks.

Also don’t forget to follow Real Posh Mom on Snapchat (realposhmom)! We’d love to hear from you in the comments, too. How have you been using Snapchat? Any tips you’d like to share?