Category: Lit

The Wayfair Heart Home Conference

The Wayfair Heart Home conference was a wonderful combination of speaker, panels, brands, and hands-on sessions. On Friday there were great keynote speakers, Maxwell Ryan of one of my favorite sites, Apartment Therapy, and Christiane Lemieux, of Wayfair and another fave site, DwellStudio. Great breakout sessions, sponsors and people!

The breakout sessions Saturday were all hands-on and all were informative and fun. My first session was iPhone food photography with noted photographer Brian Samuels (@MyFoodThoughts). And while I take pics of food all the time (my family is used to it by now), I was happy for some instruction. Best part about it? Our subject was pie from the incomparable Rosebud Kitchen. And, yes, we got to eat the pie after the class. Best class ever!

The other two sessions were also wonderful, Google Analytics and SEO. There was no pie, though, so as wonderful as they were in terms of information and presentation (fantastic, by the way), I am easily swayed by sweets. Because the sessions were so well-presented and comfortable, we had a few side topic conversations and I learned that you can shred chicken with a Kitchen Aid mixer! Seriously! Can’t wait to try this! Thank you, Wayfair, for an all around wonderful experience.

Think It Up! Staples Donates to Local Area Schools

Thank you, Staples, for making me like you even more. Truth be told you had me, years ago, with this ad:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz56prGBiS8
It’s not enough that you are our go to for all things school and office, but now this?

Staples and Joe Kelly Support Boston, Cambridge and MetroWest Teachers with Think It Up™

Joe Kelly, Kirk Saville

Staples announced that it has funded 214 local classroom projects in the Boston, Cambridge and MetroWest communities, as part of its recent pledge (in the amount of $10 million) to Think it Up™, a new national initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) is looking to start a new movement in support of students, teachers and schools, by creating a culture of excitement about learning everywhere in America. This fall, Think It Up, in partnership with DonorsChoose.org, will look to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in classrooms across the country.

Red Sox Pitcher and Think It Up ambassador Joe Kelly attended the announcement in support of Boston’s students and teachers. “It’s great knowing this generous donation will help make meaningful learning projects happen in classrooms throughout the Boston area, thanks to Think It Up, DonorsChoose.org, and Staples’ commitment to supporting students,” Kelly said.

DonorsChoose.org  was founded in 2000, and has helped fund more than 236,000 classroom projects for teachers and helped more than 14 million students. Today, in the Greater Boston area, Staples fully funded every project on DonorsChoose.org in Boston Public Schools, Cambridge Public Schools and MetroWest communities. More than $204,000 was donated to help 173 teachers fulfill classroom needs and helped 14,063 students across 85 schools in the Greater Boston area.

“We’re thrilled to fund all of the projects in the Boston, Cambridge and Metrowest communities and to work with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Think It Up initiative and DonorsChoose.org to ensure classrooms have the supplies and resources they need,” said Alison Corcoran, senior vice president, North American stores and online marketing, Staples. “Through our Staples for Students program, we’re proud to build on our rich history of supporting education with our $10 million pledge to Think It Up that will make a difference in America’s classrooms.”

I know a few teachers (I’m even related to a few) so I know it’s true that teachers spend their own money for their classrooms so this is an especially important initiative.

How can you help? Support Think It Up, you can donate a dollar at a Staples store or visit www.thinkitup.org to learn more.

I did receive a gift card from Staples (oh, happy day) which I plan on using immediately. Thank you, Staples. All opinions are, and always will be, my own, and my love for that ad is for always.

The Importance of Child’s Play

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This is a sponsored post and yet all opinions remain steadfastly my own. As always.

Long ago when all children were free range children, only we were just called children, unstructured play ruled the land. Granted, you could say it was an easier time, a gentler time, but was it, really? When I was young, we had to be in when the street lights went on, and that was when we were in elementary school. On those long, hazy summer nights we were covered in mosquito bites and a fine dusting of dirt from the street, or maybe some muck from the frog pond. We were always amazed when our mother knew we had been to the pond  (we weren’t supposed to go), and thought she was magic. Now I know that she could smell frog pond on us from 100 feet away. Anyone could, really, and that’s why it was off limits, not because we might fall in and drown, although I’m sure she considered that as a possibility.

Now, and I include myself in the ‘in control’ parent group, playtime is structured, scheduled and organized and supervised, but should it be? Classes are great, interests are wonderful, but where has the time for play gone? Here is a great article by Dr. Michael Patte, on the Genius of Play website.

Here is another article from The American Academy of Pediatrics, in case you like more data.

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

And, yes, my children had their share of scheduled activities from play dates to lessons to organized sports.  While I was not for letting my children wander off in the vague direction of a frog pond, they did have plenty of unstructured play. The swing set in our back yard has the typical worn down dirt under each swing and these patches of dirt became a magnet for their play, especially after a rain. Small plastic animals lived there (some, I fear, are still buried there), Barbies swam in the puddles with Polly Pockets, lions and horses, mud pies and castles reigned, and it was just the right amount of mess for my girls, and for me. As it turns out, frog ponds are really stinky.

So, sign your children up for a class or two, but remember that your backyard, local park or school yard has plenty of opportunities for play and the benefits for the children are enormous, so take the pledge to play. Don’t just take my word for it either.

Click here to take the Pledge to Play.

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Need more info on the benefits of play? Here are some stats and facts. Need ideas? Here are some great ideas for games.
Find the Toy Industry Association on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube for more great tips about, basically, child’s play.
I received compensation for this post. 

Almost A Lemon

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Not the car but fun pic.

Almost But Not Quite a Lemon.

When we first made the move to the suburbs from the city, my husband and I prided ourselves on the proximity of our house to public transportation – I took the T into Boston, and it was fine to share a car. We were mobile, young, and both worked outside of the home.

Fast forward to the birth of our first child, my husband was gone all day – most importantly, with the car – and we realized we needed a second car. We went to our local auto dealership with our three month old (always a good idea for maximum focus) and negotiated a deal for a lovely used station wagon with low mileage and a pesky engine light that seemingly always flickered and then stayed on. The dealership promised to fix the light, and while I may have had a fair amount of spit up on my shirt by the time we signed the papers, sign we did.

That night at home during the usual 3 AM feeding, I realized I was concerned about the cost and the dependability of the car. What about that engine light? What if something was really wrong with the car? Would I know or just assume the engine light was faulty? I grabbed a legal pad and began scribbling. Finally, exhausted, I finished my work and baby and I went back to bed.

When my husband woke up the next morning (both baby and I were still fast asleep), he found a three page analysis of why we should buy out the lease of our existing car instead of the station wagon with the wonky engine light. It was in a Pro/Con format (as I was taught, thank you Dad), and I even ran numbers. And because I never run numbers, or even really, make lists, my husband knew this was serious. Pretty much I had reasoned that our existing car was a known entity with a known record, and the newish car a sort of scary unknown vortex of breakdowns and hefty repair costs (this was before sites like CarFax, people).

My husband agreed with me and while we were a little embarrassed (well, I was), we cancelled the sale of the car (which you can legally do – here is the info) and bought out the lease of our car.

That car ran like a top and was great until we had two little ones, a more often than not messy dog, and needed more room, and we finally did end up with a station wagon (named Mommy Car) IMG_0758which I drove for the next eleven years. So my #switchersremorse was buying a car and then un-buying the same car within 24 hours. You can change your mind. Sometimes it’s easier than you think.

This is a paid post for Verizon’s #SwitchersRemorse campaign. If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information head over to your local Verizon store.