Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm scared...

Of BlogHer. I'm so freaked out right now that I can't sleep. Every worry I put in the back of my head is now in the front of my mind. I keep thinking what if people don't like me? What if I miss out on something important? What if I'm not a good enough blogger? What if... As we speak I'm panicking over the fact that I can't find some of the things I need and don't know what suitcase to bring. I'm worried that I'm packing too much and not enough all at the same time. I'm worried that my suitcase will be to much trouble to lug around. I'm going to BlogHer solo. I know a few people and have every intention of making new friends but I'm scared I'll be all alone. Luckily I'm not scared of NYC. I'm not scared of fashion. Not only do I know what I'll be wearing but I know it looks good. I guess I'm just scared of the unknown. It doesn't help that this comes on the heels of coming home from grad school and I'm Hollins sick. Sad part is there's not many people in my life who get why I'm so anxious. I guess that's why I'm telling all of you. Wish me luck. I'll be posting a ton on twitter and Facebook. I'm sure I'll be fine. But for now... I'm scared.

Monday, July 30, 2012

CLOSED: Signs on the Cheap #Giveaway: EXTENDED!!!

Due to limited entry I am extending this for one more week! Enter now. It really is a fab giveaway! I think any of us would love to have an instagram pic on canvas. (edit 8/8/12)

Alright Guys and Dolls! I promised you a giveaway and a giveaway you shall have. I guess I should start with the messy "Disclaimer" bit.

I am writing this post in return for 100 free business cards (which I received recently and am in love with!) I haven't tried any of the other products on the site but if they are the same quality as the business cards then everything is awesome. Entering this giveaway is completely up to you and the prize will be sent virtually (email) via Signs on the Cheap...

Yeah I hate that part but it has to be done. So I have been hopping around Signs on the Cheap and their various sister sites. Gotta say I like what I see. There are lawn signs, car magnets for business, and banners for events and business. There is also a Photo on Canvas site where you can take your instagram (YAY) pics and put them on canvas. All of the products and sites look awesome!

What I need you to do is site hop (links at the bottom of this post). Go to each one of these sites and check out the products and see what you like. Come back here and leave a comment telling me how you could use a product from each site in your life (Get creative! Maybe you need a car magnet telling the world how awesome you are. ;-) Also tell me which product you like best. Each complete answer (Yes I will read them.) will be entered into a drawing.

The winner will receive a virtual gift card so they can buy the product of their choosing (hence why you need to tell me your favorite!) Sound good? The giveaway starts NOW and ends August 15th at 3pm EST (edit 8/8/12). One entry per person.

Good Luck!!!

Car Magnets

Cheap Signs

Photos On Canvas


Winner of the Doc McStuffins DVD...

is Cindi T.  Please email thedragynslair@gmail.com with your address. Sorry it took SO long to pick a winner. School took over my life.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hollins is over...

And I am sad. Hey Guys and Dolls. Today is my very last day at grad school this year. I'm beyond sad about it. I have so many great friends here and it's hard going from seeing them every day to not seeing them at all. It's not over yet. We still have meet ups and parties. But it's still really sad. I guess the good news is I'll be home soon and back to blogging more regularly. And in less than 5 days I'll be at BlogHer. Which you all know I am stoked for. I'll do a post soon detailing my schedule and all of the parties and events I'm going to. But today I just wanted to talk to you. I'm glad I have you. And maybe this year I'll visit my Hollins friends more.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Macaroni Kid Travel Blogger Conference Recap

Thank you @macaronikidhq! And yes that's me with cocktails!!!
There's a reason I should write recap posts as soon as things happen. No not because I forget (Especially with this. You don't forget something that changes your life.) But because it's just pure emotion if I write it fresh where now it's had time to sit and stew in my brain (eww). Macaroni Kid Expo and Travel Blogger conference was one of the most epic moments in my blogging career to date. I felt like a real blogger. Like I found my tribe. My people. They, like me, are writing about what they love and are trying to figure this whole blog thing out. I learned more in two days than I ever thought possible. And yes it's cheesy but I even learned about myself.

If you make your way past the awesome pics sent to me by Joyce aka MacaroniKidHQ you can read more about my experience and a few blog conference tips I picked up. PS more pics HERE.

Oh recap posts... I have got to get better at writing these. But that's what I have you guys and dolls for! See those questions I had you ask to enter the giveaway? I will now use them to help me write this post. Sneaky. ;-)

  1. What is a Macaroni Kid conference?
    • A Macaroni Kid conference is a blogger conference. What's a blogger conference you ask? It is a chance for people who create blogs to learn more about the craft as well as products and services to share with readers. For example there were key notes about travel as well as opportunities to test drive Chevrolet vehicles.  
  2. How did you find out about the conference and are you already plans to attend again next year? 
    • I found out about the conference from a friend who already works with Macaroni Kid. She tweeted me one day and the idea of doing something like this had been in the back of my mind for a while so I figured why not give it a whirl. And yes I am so planning to get to next year's! It might take some saving but I think it'll be worth it. I so wish I could take one of you with me!
  3. What would you have done differently?
    • I don't like to live in regret. So for the most part nothing. However I will use this experience to keep in mind that I should talk way more at the next conference. 
  4. Did you have the chance to network with other bloggers prior to the conference?
    • Thank you Twitter! Yes! And I did. Not only did I attempt to network with the other bloggers BUT with the people running the MacKid Expo. Because of this I was able to giveaway tix to the Expo on my site and Joyce (founder of Macaroni Kid and all around awesome person) knew who I was and hugged me like I was an old friend.  
  5. What was one thing you found to be helpful/would recommend to someone planning to attend such a conference? 
    • Plan ahead. There's a saying "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". When you decide to go to any blog conference check out their website, research blog posts about it, email the people throwing the conference! They want to help you. Let them.
  6. I want to know about your cute new necklace too. Did I get lots of comments? Was it comfy? Glad you had fun!! 
    • I LOVE my necklace! Lots of compliments. Mostly the DragynAlly necklace was a signal to other people at the conference that I was a member of the tribe. It was comfy but I am self conscious about my neck (iChubby) but everyone said it looks so fab!
  7. What did you wear? 
    • Luckily I did a post all about what I wore! :-) 
  8. Telll more about this conference? It intrigues me. 
    •  Oh there is so much to tell. It was a small conference. Probably no more than 100 people. It was great, fun and I learned a lot. Speakers were there talking about how travel is great for kids.
  9. What was your best experience at the MK expo?
    • Riding around in a Corvette and making a connection with the Chevrolet brand!  Why? Because I hadn't planned on doing it. I thought riding around NYC in a car I can't afford would be a waste of my time... WRONG! My driver was freaking awesome and the women who were the PR for the brand were so sweet. They even helped set me up to test drive a Corvette on my own in August! How cool is that?
  10. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about attending a blog conference? How much fun was the MK Expo? 
    • Do it! Stop thinking and take the leap. You will not regret it. You will have fun, make friends, and learn new things. I feel like after I walked away from the #MKExpo I had friends and mentors that I now can call if I need help or just need blog advice. I also learned things that inspired me to branch out my blog in new ways. And how fun was it... Scale of 1-10? 11!
  11. What is your best tip for staying sane at a big blog conference? I am going to my first this year.
    • Find one person to connect with at a time. There will be tons of people (yes even 100 feel like a ton to me). But if you connect with one person at a time it makes it a bit easier.  Don't think about introducing yourself to EVERYONE just introduce yourself to someone. And don't be upset if they seem like they aren't your instant BFF. They are probably nervous too.
  12. What advice would you give someone who has never been to a blog conference- I don't know where to start!? 
    • research. Google phrases like "blog conference tips" or "blog conference recap". You will find so much info. And look for the places where info overlaps. Chances are that's the best advice.
  13. What was the highlight of the MKExpo for you?'
    • The speakers. All of them. They are just so well traveled and interesting and smart. Honestly I wish I could have invited the whole group out to lunch just to chat it up. 
  14. Who was your favorite presenter at the conference? 
    • I hate to pick favorites (I really did love them all!) But Ted Rubin was particularly awesome! He talks about putting the social back in social media. Ted talks about taking online connections and making them real world connections. I really want to do that. 
  15. Have you been to many blog conferences? Do you think the conferences are good even if your blog is not for business? What was your best take away from the MK conf?
    • Whoa! Question overload! Let's take this one thing at a time. First no this was my first blog conference BUT not my first conference. I went to a few conferences while in college. About leadership and other things. Conferences are great for anyone who just wants to learn about the world of blogging and connect with other bloggers. Heck just being in a room with people who "get it" makes it worth every penny.  My best take away from the conference is that I am just as good as any blogger out there. Brands and PR people were just as interested in me as they were someone who might be considered a bigger name.
  16.  How was it compared to other blogging conferences? 
    • I'll let you know after BlogHer.
  17. What did the MKExpo look like? Did they have presentations or did you just get to walk around and talk to different vendors, etc.? 
    • There were vendor tables lined up in a large room. You could walk around and talk to different people. 
  18. Who were you most excited to meet or connect with at the MKExpo? 
    • Joyce Shulman aka the person who came up with this idea. She was as nice and awesome as I expected. BONUS I also met Nicki Hemby the second brain behind the idea. She became like my blogging big sister. In fact as I write this I have a sudden urge to send both of them an email. It was so nice to meet women who took a crazy idea and made it a solid reality. They are in essence living my dream. This gives me so much hope.
  19. What was the most important thing you learned at the conference? 
    •  That the Lair is a work in progress and that is ok. I have more to learn. More to discover and more things in this world I want to share with my guys and dolls (readers).
  20. Did the other bloggers who attended MKExpo share your love of Disney?
    • Some did. A lot did! But not all blog about Disney.
  21. What are blog conferences? Are they fun?
    •  They are gatherings of bloggers that allow for the opportunity to engage with brands, learn more about the blogging craft and connect with other bloggers. They can be. But that's up to you. I personally had a blast!
  22. I notice that a lot of the blog conferences appear to be niche focused. Would it be more useful to attend a blog conference that's tailored to my niche, or are the conference sessions general enough to be useful regardless of niche? 
    • I almost want to tell you to go completely outside of you niche. But that might not be the best advice. What I find is mingling with bloggers who are in areas completely different from mine help me expand my knowledge and help me refocus my own niche goals. Meaning by learning something new I learn more about me.  Also most conferences regardless of niche tend to cover a lot of the same topics. Just in different ways. 

I think that's it. In summary there were keynote speeches that were amazing, panels that helped us learn what PR people want and how we can work together, and break out sessions on photography (iPhone photography to be exact), videography (maybe I'll vlog one day) and writing. AND there were brands that wanted nothing more than to connect with bloggers. 

Most importantly there was a little Dragyn making a name for herself... Trying at least. We'll see if I can take everything I learned and apply it to BlogHer. Wish me luck!

Last week...

It's the last week of my grad school summer. Part of me is excited to get back home and start packing for BlogHer... The other part of me doesn't want to leave. I really do love it here and for 6 weeks out of the past 4 summers it has been my home. My heart is here. My life is here. And even when I leave a part of me is still here. It doesn't help that I get so attached to the friends I make here. After the 6 weeks is over we are all scattered around the country and sometimes the globe. I got a little nostalgic as I was stuffing my clothes into my suitcase. I feel like I just got here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

iCandy Stroller Giveaway

Alright guys and dolls. I know some of you have kids (in fact, according to what info I have on you, most of you are parents. So I consider myself Auntie Dragyn!) Ok I got off track. The point is that a friend of mine, Megan, is doing a group giveaway of a stroller. I've never tried it (no kids) BUT I hear good things. Besides it's free!
My disclaimer is simple I am not responsible for the how the winner receives the prize or any issues with it. I hope one of you wins this but this giveaway is open to a lot of people. Good luck!

Megan, who blogs at Behavioral Child and Megan Blogs, was a guest of the CBS TV show The Talk when Dr. Gadget was on, and among other things, she was given the iCandy Cherry stroller, in the liquorice color. She is giving it away to one lucky, random winner.

This British-made stroller is very popular in Europe and is sold only in exclusive stores here in the US. Its retail value is $400.

{Disclaimer/Disclosure: I have not used this stroller so I can’t vouch for it. I have it in its original/new packaging and will ship it to the winner in the exact same condition. So essentially, I’m re-gifting it :) The Talk has no idea what I’m doing with it, nor would it probably care. By entering this giveaway, you agree to indemnify me, The Talk, and iCandy from any responsibilities of all issues arising from the receipt and use of this prize. Thanks for participating and good luck! - Megan Broutian}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

#BlogHer12 Fashion Help!

Hello Guys and Dolls!!! Long time, no write. In my defense grad school has made me a very busy Dragyn. But that really is no excuse for neglecting you!

And now that I am writing you it's actually to beg you for help. It's getting down to the wire when it comes to me and my soon to be BlogHer '12 adventure. For those of you keeping track I got invited to several great parties including Social Soiree and some other great things.

I am also very excited to go to BlogHer just for the conference and all  that it entails.

My problem is there are parties and this little Dragyn needs a dress! I need something as fabulous as me to wear to all of the fun events I'll be going to. Here's the catch. I'm a size 20 so that limits the stores I can shop at. I love bright colors and sparkles. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to find me a dress and post a link to it below.

That's it really. Whichever dress I pick will be purchased immediately and the person who picked it for me will get a small thank you gift.

To help you on your search I usually shop at: LaneBryant.com, Torrid.com, DressBarn.com, and OldNavy.com.

Thank you for your help!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Silly Saturday: Wall-E Harry Potter Mash-Up!

I honestly have no words for this one!

I found this HERE

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

CLOSED! Doc McStuffins DVD giveaway!

I'm bored. And I have a DVD of 4 episodes of Doc McStuffins lying around. I say it's giveaway time!!!

From now until July 11 at 3:00pm est you can enter to win it. How? First leave a comment below telling me you're participating in the giveaway.

Next from now until the 11th you can leave a comment on any other post in the Lair for extra entries. Up to 2 post per day so up to 14 extra bonus entries! Up to 15 total entries per person.

Sound good? As always your comment MUST be relevant to the post it is on. Do not comment 2x to the same post please.

All entries will be put into a randomizer and one person will win. Good luck!!!

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 2, 2012

Planning for #BlogHer12 Blog Hop!

BlogHer '12

Ok I am so totally supposed to be writing... And I will! Eventually. :-)

But for now I wanted to set something up. For those of you doing the math we are about a month away from BlogHer12... YAY! And with that in mind the planning has gone into full swing!

I am all about helping people plan. I love having a plan. I don't always have a plan, but I know plans are good.

 In this post there is a linky. In that linky you can post links to specific articles on your site that you believe will help others plan their BlogHer12 experience.

Please make sure that the post is useful to BlogHer people. Do not just post a link to your site. Contests are fine as long as they are BlogHer related. Remember this is about planning. Think about the kind of stuff you wish you knew.

Thanks all! (PS if you want the linky for your site email me! thedragynslair@gmail.com)

You are all very Brave!

Adding a new label to my blogging arsenal and that's "Guys and Dolls".

The Brave giveaway has ended and a winner has been drawn. But I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for the comments you posted.

You were open and honest and shared real excitement about seeing Brave (or even why you didn't want to see it.) And some of you told me your bravery stories. Some of those stories brought tears to my eyes. I feel as though we connected through your stories of triumph and bravery but most importantly your openness. I feel so honored that you would share your stories with me. Thank you.

I love you Guys and Dolls. I truly do!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Disney Gone Wrong...

So wrong it's right!!!

Let me start this post by saying I hope you can keep an open mind...

These are videos that are either dubbed versions of Belle or a whole new performance with actors and singers. I find them hilarious but they do play to stereotypes and other things that I usually avoid discussing in the Lair. As I said when we started... Keep an open mind. Also consider that Beauty and the Beat was made by a dude that works for Pixar.