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See You in September!

The PinMe Team Blog has been a great success so far! We hope you have enjoyed the fun and informative posts. We have certainly enjoyed your comments!

So now it’s August and Victoria is moving across the country and Candice will be taking some time to work on her Etsy shop and take a family vacation.

Please be sure to vote on the Dessert Challenge so we can determine the 5th recipe that Candice should test!

We’ll be back in September.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and be sure to visit our shops to see what’s new for the holidays!

Regards,

Victoria & Candice

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The Pinterest Dessert Challenge

Cake Batter Rice Krispy Treats

Over the last 6 months, I have assembled quite a collection of pins on my Sweet Treats board. While I was pinning last night, I realized that I have not made a single one of the desserts I have pinned! So when I came across a recipe for Cake Batter Rice Krispy Treats, I decided to make a batch for my daughter and her friends who were rehearsing

Homemade Snickers

for the musical Footloose from 10am to 10pm on Sunday. I made two trays, one for the kids and one for the family. It is amazing to me that I can find a recipe on Pinterest by chance and have a batch made within a few hours! There were five ingredients required…mini

Peanut Butter Banana French Toast

marshmallows, butter, rice krispies, dry cake mix and rainbow sprinkles. There was no prep work required and the instructions were accurate and easy to follow. The whole process took 15 minutes! They were delicious and will be a staple in our household from now on.

I am a baker at heart. My family loves my baking and I usually bake only in the fall and winter. But it is a shame to let this pinboard full of recipes go to waste so I have made a

Mini German Pancakes

decision…I am going to create a pinboard called Test Kitchen , where I will pin the items I plan to test. I will select the recipes that require the least amount of time and the fewest ingredients so we can compile a list of easy and delicious recipes. I think a few of these receipes are even no-cook–including the Rice Krispy Treats! I will write a post summarizing my findings in September.

Here are the recipes I will test:

1) Grain-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

These cookies are no-cook are made with chick peas, sweetened with honey and have no added fat like oil or butter. Sounds yummy right? We’ll see…

2) Mini German Pancakes

This recipe makes mini pancake cups that are filled with fruit compote. There are six ingredients in the receipe and it bakes for 15 minutes. Mmmm….can’t wait!

3) Homemade Snickers

‘nough said

4) Peanut Butter and Banana Stuffed French Toast

Rated “One of the Best Things I Ever Ate” by Bobby Flay….oooooohh!

5) You decide…take the poll on this blogsite to

Cocoa Dutch Certified Organic found in Etsy shop

help choose the fifth item I will test (the choices can also be found on my Sweet Treats pinboard).

So you say, “how will I know if the recipe Is really good” You won’t…you’ll just have to trust me 🙂

Measuring spoons found in an Etsy shop

And if there is anything I need for my baking marathon, I will of course look to my Etsy friends first. You can see some of the many baking-related items I found in Etsy shops on my Baking 101 pinboard.

Check back in September for results!

Colored sprinkles fund in an Etsy Shop

Vintage inspired apron found in Etsy Shop

Yours in Pinning,

Candice

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Pinterest Goes to the Movies

The other day, my 15 year old daughter and her friend asked if I would take them to see the movie Magic Mike. Knowing that this was a movie about male strippers, I thought I would take a look on Pinterest to see what information I could find. Hence the topic of movie reviews.

The first pin I found was a link to pluggedin.com. What struck me immediately was how thorough this site was in its review. Among the topics were positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, profanity, etc. Becuase of pluggedin.com’s review, I found out that the f-word was used 150 times in this movie! Maybe not a great movie for 15 year old girls.

After looking up Magic Mike, I decided to look at one movie on several review sites I found on Pinterest. I chose the Hunger Games because it is a tween movie that is also of interest to adults.

The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem, established in North America after the destruction of the continent’s civilization by an unknown apocalyptic event. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight to the death in an outdoor arena until only one individual remains. Can you believe that this horrible ritual takes place on a reality TV show? Of course the show is apptly named The Hunger Games.

The Pluggedin.com review shows that this movie “references and invokes modern struggles, raising questions of government abuse and cultural clashes.  Its themes of government overreach, corruption of the powerful and the struggles of the common man ring true throughout.” One of the the main characters in the movie, Preeta, demonstrates the intellectual struggles of the characters in Hunger Games when he states, “I don’t want to be another piece in their game. I don’t want them to change me into something I’m not…if I’m gonna die, I want to still be me.” Clearly, this is not a movie to see when you are depressed and need a laugh!

5 Real Moms says that “even movies ‘made for kids’ seem to contain plenty of crudity and messages that parents would not want to be pushed onto their family.” They recommend that parents visit pluggedin.com and/or commonsense.org. When I visited commonsense.org, I found a rating system that rates movies in categories such as positive messages, role models, violence, drinking, drugs and smoking among others. You can also find parent AND kid reviews of movies with ratings.

One parent wrote of Hunger Games:

Appalling… maybe. Important… yes. I don’t really understand why some think that his movie glorifies teens killing teens. I think quite the opposite is true. Is there violence?… yes. Is it a movie that is just too scary for young children?… yes. Are the themes too complex for most young children?…. yes. That being said, this movie does anything but glorify teens killing teens. Indeed, the heroes of the movie actually risk their own lives to save others that they should be trying to kill. A movie or book series that can get that message across to adolescents without being preachy (preaching never works with teens) gets an A in my book.

This parent gave the movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommended for kids age 12 and up.

A 17 year old kid reviewer wrote:

Incredibly, the Hunger Games movie has stayed extremely close to the book, with only a few minor changes, and several larger ones that, while it didn’t quite happen that way in the book, it’s about as close as they could get without making a 5-hour movie. The violence is toned down somewhat. Most of the deaths were slightly off-camera, though in many cases you can still see the blood fly.

This kid gave the movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommended for kids 13 and up.

These are reviews that would be hard to find without the power of Pinterest.

Commonsensemedia.org also suggests topics that families can discuss. For example, “how the Hunger Games’ ‘ last man standing’ premise (minus the actual killing, of course) compares to current reality shows. Which shows pit people against each other? Why is it so much fun to watch the alliances and the voting off and the cattiness of these programs? How far do you think shows like this could go?”

Where pluggedin.com and commonsense.org review movies from a moral perspective with specifics about moral content, other reviews have more entertainment value and editorializing. A pin to Roger Ebert’s reviews  in the Chicago Sun Times gives us his opinion of the quality of the movie with little or no moral review. He states, “The story centers on the two tributes from the dirt-poor District 12: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. The 16-year-old girl hunts deer with bow and arrow to feed her family; he may be hunkier but seems no match in survival skills. They’re both clean-cut, All-Panem types, and although one or both are eventually required to be dead, romance is a possibility.” Ebert’s dry humor makes the review of such a serious movie more fun and entertaining.

Joyce’s Choices focuses on character analysys. She describes Katniss as “a woman of few words, looks best unmade up, and can shoot a bow and arrow straight through the heart. Her character and superior skills are immediately understood by everyone in the room.” How refreshing to see a young woman portrayed in this way, and how annoying that it’s still enough of a rarity for me to point out..” Although Joyce touches on the topic of sexism in our society, she will also send you updates on movie reviews via email and gives her readers the opportunity to win free movie previews.

Blogs have also become a source for movie reviews on Pinterest. It can be a lot of fun to read the opinions of our fellow bloggers and to throw their opinions into the decision-making mix. You will surely find perspectives you would not find on mainstream review sites. On the splashofourworlds blog, the blogger focuses on the violence in the movie. He states, “Well if you don’t know what Hunger Games is, you are probably living under a rock..I mean it’s everywhere!” He goes on to say that there “were small details that weren’t explained about the districts, the games, the war…seriously.. i don’t even know how many people asked me what the ‘3 finger farewell move’ was and stuff like that…the boys would probably want a little more violence or excitement, but in general, there is no doubt it’s one of the good ones.” All of the reviews on this site focus on the more juvenile aspects of a film.

Another fun way to find reviews at your fingertips when you’re out and about and away from your newspaper (the old-fashioned way to get movie times) is Flixster. This Android app allows the user to get instant movie times, movie trailers, reviews and more. Flixsterlets you search for movies by what’s coming out soon or by your favorite local movie theatre.

On the way to the movie theatre, Flixster lets you play the trailer, view photos, and even rate the movie. After the

Popcorn toppings found on Etsy site (click on picture)

Movie themed purse found on Etsy (click on photo)

movie, when you’re dying to find out when you can get the movie on DVD, Flixster has a section with a list of movies and their DVD release dates.

You can find my movie review pinboard here.

Wall hanging found on Etsy (click on photo)

And when you decide to go to that thoroughly-reviewed movie, you can order discount movie tickets and snack packages from bulktix.com! As always, I have included a few movie ‘must-haves” from my Etsy colleagues here.

Popcorn sampler found in Etsy shop (click on photo)

Happy viewing!!

Yours in pinning,

Candice

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Under the Sea!

Suite in Underwater Hotel

It always seems to happen…I’m looking for a specific item on Pinterest and I see something else that looks interesting and I pin that and so on and so on. That’s exactly what happened last week when I was looking for pins about bathing suits…in a moment of Pinterest A.D.D, a photo of an underwater hotel caught my eye. I pinned it and moved on. So this weekend, while thinking about a topic for my post, I returned to that photo and voila…a fascinating topic! I found hundreds of pins and repins of photos of underwater hotels pinned to boards called “Things that Amaze Me”, “Favorite Places and Spaces”, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”,  “Interesting and Unusual”, “Billionaire Toys” and “My Dream Vacation”, among others. It is clear from the number of pins and comments that my fellow pinners are fascinated by the idea of underwater hotels!

Imagine being submerged under water and being able to vacation with fish and sea coral around you. That may soon

Complete view of Water Discus Underwater Hotel

be a reality with the Water Discus Underwater Hotel. This past May, building company Drydock World announced that it would be building the Water Discus Hotel in Dubai. Although not the first underwater hotel, it is slated to be the deepest at a depth of 66 feet and the most expansive at 27 acres. This new trend, let’s call it sub-aquatic tourism, will allow guests to get the real sea experience. See video here http://vimeo.com/28859633. The hotel is comprised of two discs – an underwater and above-water one. This combination will allow guests to admire the depths of the ocean while making the most of the warm climate. The two parts of the structure are connected by five solid legs and a vertical shaft containing a lift and stairway. The size of each disc has been adjusted to local conditions.The hotel is designed with 21 rooms, a dive center and a bar, all 32 feet below the surface of the ocean. Each room is integrated with the underwater world as closely as possible, offering a surprisingly direct, yet safe contact with the

Video of underwater hotel

local flora and fauna.  A special lighting system of the area around the room and the miniature underwater vehicles which can be operated from inside will allow you to take a closer look at even the most microscopic underwater creatures using macro photography. Guests can protect their privacy whenever necessary. All rooms are sound-proof and have curtains of different levels of transparency.

The disc and its adjacent satellites located 5 – 7 metres above the water surface comprise a restaurant, a spa and a special recreation area. A multifunctional lobby built inside an enormous swimming pool shows the centre of the disc. The area around the underwater part of the complex and diving activities may be watched as they happen on the

screens hanging on the lobby walls. This part of the complex is connected to the satellites with awe-inspiring glass-walled tunnels cutting through a training pool for divers. Its rooftop includes seawater swimming pools (integrated

Another panoramic view from hotel suite

with the training pool). Finally, there is also an exotic garden offering a moment’s rest before going back to extreme experiences. The restaurant is located in one of the satellites of the upper discs. Like all rooms in the complex, it offers a panoramic view. How much will all of this cost you ask?

Another underwater hotel, still under construction, lists a package for seven days and six nights for $15,000 per person. A planned 7-star hotel, the Water Discus may just put you under water!

Below are some questions actually asked by persons staying in an underwater hotel (lol):

  • Do I still need sunblock?
  • Will my iPhone work underwater?
  • What if the hotel scares away the sea creatures?
  • If something goes wrong, can the evacuation system that lifts the underwater hotel to the surface really be

    Luxurious bath salts found in Etsy shop

    expected to work, as animated in the video

  • Is it a bad idea to watch Jaws 3—in which a man-eating shark breaks through the glass in a control room at an
  • Could I get seasick?

    Pillows found in Etsy shop

Moisturizing body lotion found in Etsy shop

A nod to my Etsy friends who could easily outfit this 7-star hotel with their beautiful quality items! You can see all of these items on by pinboard Things You Might Find in an Underwater Hotel  here.

You can view my pinboard Under the Sea here.

Decadent carrot cake bon bons found in Etsy shop

Vintage soap dish found in Etsy shop

Yours in Pinning,

Candice

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The Bathing Suit Dilemma

It wasn’t until I went shopping for bathing suits a few weeks ago that I realized I had teetered over into the plus size range during the course of this year. The definition of plus size is of course an individual assessment so please don’t think that I am directing this post at you. Actually, I prefer the word curvy when describing myself.

The options I found in the local department stores left a lot to be desired. There were big flowery skirts that no one likes or the sphanx knock-offs that suck you in until you cannot breathe. So basically my choices boiled down to ugly or unbearable. And for all of you men who are about to send this post into cyberspace with one click — not so fast!! These issues affect your wife, mother, sister and daughter. This tiny little blog could possibly keep you out of trouble when the dreaded annual bathing suit converation arises — and it will!

After this harrowing experience, and with a beach vacation rapidly approaching, I needed to find a bathing suit fast! So I thought to myself, there must be a better way to do this and I turned to my best resource

Body image cartoon found hundreds of times on Pinterest

when researching any topic: Pinterest of course! The first search phrase I entered was “finding a bathing suit” and I found at least 40 pins of the same cartoon expressing women’s frustration at finding a bathing suit that fits properly. Hallelujah! I am not alone. It was as if every woman felt the same way I did. I could just feel this pin going viral! But it was when I searched the phrase “I hate bathing suits” that I struck gold! There I found hundreds of pins on finding a bathing suit on pin boards called “Clothes I Like.” Perfectly Curvy,” “My Style,” “Lusciuous, Plus Size, Lady Fashion,” “Clothing Styles I Like,” “The Thick and Thin of It” and “Curve Appeal,” among others. There I found a whole world of gorgeous clothing for curvy women!

There were a number of online stores with swimsuits that were fashionable, flattering AND affordable! They can all be found on my pinboard here, but there was one store that I found to be especially helpful. This store does not simply sell bathing suits for curvy women, it actually helps you to determine your body type and clearly outlines the fashion dos and donts for each body type. The site even provides instructions on how and where to measure oneself (bust, waist, hips). Based on these measurements, you will fall into one of four categories: apple, hourglass, pear and busty. From there, you can decide which clothes work for you. I found this site in a roundabout way starting with Pinterest but it was not pinnable. You can find the store at http://www.evansusa.com. It would have been much simpler if I could have pinned this site back to my board. I can only hope for the day when the whole world will be pinnable….sigh.

A sex symbol in her time, Marilyn is considered a “plus size” woman today

And let ‘s not forget the curvy women who inspire us. Who knew that “bombshell”  Marilyn Monroe would be pinned as a plus size? I’ll be in that category with her…pick

Adele, a “plus size” woman on the cover of Vogue

me! Current singing sensation Adele has been labeled a plus size woman and she was on the cover of Vogue…move over Twiggy and Kate Moss! In case you didn’t hear, Seventeen Magazineannounced recently that they will no longer be airbrushing the 12 year old models that appear in their magazines (or any other age for that matter). Maybe there is hope for all of us….maybe our

Monogrammed beach tote found in Etsy shop

daughters will not grow up dreading the yearly bathing suit ritual like so many of us do. Finally, I have assembled a collection of swimwear accessories from a number of Etsy shops. From

Blinged out flip flops found in Etsy shop

cover ups and wraps to totes, anklets and hats, you can dress up your

Beach sarong found in Etsy shop

gorgeous new bathing suits with the perfect accessories.  And if you dont find what you are looking for here, search the Etsy sight for thousands of other choices.

Colorful beach hat found in Etsy shop.

NOW, get your hot curvy self to the beach!

Yours in Pinning,

Candice

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Note: I do not recommend any particular online store. This article should be used as an informational resource only.

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How to make a light box (on the cheap!)

The secrete to success on Etsy? Good pictures. It’s as simple as that. See, many shops spend hours a day or longer just to promote their brand. While this will always be a necessary part of the job as “Shop Owner” – You can make it much easier on yourself with this one simple change. Good pictures. See, if you have great pictures, people will promote your items for you. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that! This is especially important for Pinterest, considering it’s such an extremely visual site.

Keep in mind, the method in which you will eventually settle is right for your shop on the front of taking pictures will rely on many factors. Obviously you need to take the size of your items, your items substance (Glass is hard to photograph, but jewelry is generally easier – and good luck getting a light box large enough for a dress!) and what you need to show for your items to sell. This is simply one popular method – one  that is quite popular and works for a decent majority of shops.

Step 1 – The Light Box

The final product of a light box.

Light box is by far my FAVORITE method of improving pictures. It will leave you with professional images every time and is an extremely powerful tool to have in your etsy tool box.

What you need:

– A box

When selecting this box, make sure that it’s the proper size for your items, thicker boxes generally work better but anything will do. It should not be damaged.

– White Tissue Paper

The same tissue paper you get at a party store or grocery store, very thin and usually used to wrap small gifts. It must be white. Tissue paper will act as our light diffuser, this is the most important aspect of the light box (Well, obviously along with the box). It’s what makes your light source soft while evenly distributing it across your items. There are other fabrics and such people use as a diffuser, but I think tissue paper is the best. It distributes the most evenly from what I have used, it’s by far the cheapest, and overall works best. Tissue paper does, however, tear easily. With that, don’t be surprised if you find yourself ‘resurfacing’ it every now and again.

-Tape and glue.

I use masking tape. You can use packing tape, I just wouldn’t recommend normal office/scotch tape.  As for glue, I used Tacky glue. You could also use a Hot Glue Gun. Again, I don’t recommend office/elmers glue.

– Tools

Scissors, ruler, X- acto knife, a blade, anything that will make the job easier for you.

– White paper board

Unless the inside of your box is already perfectly white and even (Which, I doubt will happen),  you’re going to want to line it with perfect white paper.

– ***Light***

This is by FAR the most important thing you can do for your lightbox. This is also the most expansive. What you need is a Daylite Light Bulb. These are the ‘swirly’ bulbs that give off extremely annoying, white light. You can’t just get any ‘swirly’ CFL lightbulb and expect it to work. It HAS to be the Daylite light bulb, which is also sometimes sold as a “Sunshine” light bulb. It doesn’t matter, but when it lights up it has to light up extremely white.  Personally – I generally hate these lightbulb’s as the lighting they give off is unflattering in any home, however they are the only ones that work for photography with the exception of extremely expansive photography bulbs.

Assembly:

Cut a square about 2 inches away from the border. Repeat this on the top of the box and all four sides of the box. Do not do this to the bottom of the box. The end result should look a bit like this:

2. Take your white poster paper and cut it exactly to the sides and bottom of the box. Cover the whole so that it’s white. You don’t want cardboard in your images.  You will want to glue these into the box.

3. Cut your tissue paper to fit around the spaces on the box. When you have cut and or folded it to proper form, make sure you tape it on properly and securely.

4. You may cut a bit more of the white poster paper to size the back, you may now ‘curve’ it into your box. This will create a backing for smoother upright shots. For most of my pictures – I don’t use this, but you will want to for taller items that you would otherwise see the tissue paper.

Your box is done!  And should look a little like my own light box –

Light Box Image

Picture of my completed light box

Using your light box:

In this picture I’m taking my pictures at night time. Generally a mistake, but you may have to play around with it. Some items early morning works best (When the sun is shining BRIGHT inside), and others middle day where you get just enough sun works great.

Play around with position/number of lights and settings on your camera.

Play around with your lightboxs position on general! You have to get a feel of the light box!

Eventually all of your pictures should come out something like this;

An example of one of my photographs taken in a light box.

Step 2:

My cliff hanger for you! Next week I will share with you the next step in optimizing your pictures with analysis of options.

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Destination London

Fine Art Photo of Big Ben found in Etsy Shop

My family is planning a trip to London in 2013. This coupled with the excitement of the upcoming London 2012 Summer Olympic Games and the recent celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee sent me on a Pinterest search to see what information I could find on this beloved country. London is known for so many things: the Beatles, William and Kate, Princess Diana, Charles Dickens, the BBC, Big Ben, the Thames and so on. When I searched

Fine Art Photo of London phone booth found in Etsy Shop

on the word “London,” I found pins on pinboards named “London,” “London, My London,” and “Places I’ve Been or Want to Go See,” among others. There were so many London-related pins that I have categorized them for enjoyment by the admirer of London and for reference by the future London traveler.

Accommodations — the first question you should ask yourself is “where do I want to be located when I am in London?” Eurocheapo’s article London: Which neighborhood is right for your trip?, helps the traveler to choose a neighborhood that meets their needs. For exmple, “if you want to limit the need to use public transportation and really immerse yourself in London’s buzz then Soho is your place.”Eurocheapo.com has also done all of the legwork for you by creating a list of 57 cheap hotels in London.

An iconic London alley located in Covent Garden

Scenic/Tourist Attractions —from Big Ben to Piccadilly circus and Buckingham Palace, London is not lacking in beautiful scenery and exciting places to visit. A pin of What to Do in London is a first-hand guide to

Kate and William

London written by a woman whose roomate is from London and who traveled to London many times. Each place she mentions has a link to the respective site. To me, this kind of information helps to make your trip richer and more authentic because you are visiting more than just the touristy venues.

Icons —From the Royals, Elton John and the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, Audrey Hepburn, Harry Potter and Agatha Christie, England sure has its share of icons. And Pinterest has a plethora of information on any personality that interests you!

Travel Guides —There are many places to see in London notwithstanding the usual — and might I say — beautiful tourist attractions. From europealacarte.com Our Tips for Things to Do in London, to markets, second hand bookshops and museums, there are numerous guides on Pinterest  to the must-see tourist attractions and to the off-the-beaten-path gems. The London Mapguide is a book of maps that do not need to be folded! The guide has information about London museums, theaters, markets, jazz clubs and cabarets, parks, river and canal trips, tourist information centers, and selected restaurants,

Tour Bus journal found in Etsy shop

cafes, and pubs. A guide to the London Tube (Metro Subway) will assist you with travel around London. This pin leads to a government website called Transport for London with a feature that helps you to plan the transportation for your trip around London. Also available are very specialized guides like Jewish London a guide to anything of Jewish

On the Set of the Making of Harry Potter Tour

interest in or around London. If you are a techie, you may want to try the Mobil Tech Review Forum with five apps to help you on your trip. One app uses your location to give rich and relevant content about the places around you via text, videos and photos. Cool!

Dining —making sure that all of your meals are enjoyable and affordable is key to a pleasant vacation. There is nothing worse than walking into a restaurant with no clue of the quality of the food or how much the tab will be. Pinterest is jam packed with first-hand accounts of restaurants in London. Peruse ratings of fast food restaurants to fine dining and everything in between from people who have actually dined there! You can go to London prepared to visit pre-screened restaurants that meet  your family’s needs.

Family — Start with a selection or two from London Adventure Walks, a book of 25 carefully devised, imaginative explorations of London, all starting from points easily accessible by public transport – specifically designed to appeal to children.  Next, try an adventure from the eurocheapo.com website guide London wth Children: Kid Friendly Activities on a Budget. On to a healthy meal to fit your budget at London chain restaurant Eat, followed by a visit the St. John Bakery for a custard or jam-filled donut! Back to the hotel for a nap followed by the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio

Nightime in London

Tour. The tour showcases the real sets, props, makeup, and special effects used in the eight movies! If you are not completely exhausted, check out the Planetarium at the Royal Museum. The London Pass website (could not be pinned) has discounts, guides and other tourist benefits http://londonpass.com/how-it-works/what-you-get-with-the-london-pass.html

Nightlife — One of my favorite pins was of a guide to museums at night. An annual event held in May, the Museums at Night London features an exciting line up of nocturnal activities in museums and galleries throughout the city. Or try the Ritzy Cinema, with a cafe/restaurant in and outside and an upstairs section that houses open mic and other entertainment.

London travel journal found in Etsy store

Shopping for Your Trip

As always, I have turned to my Etsy colleagues for travel-related items for my Travel Store and they did not disappoint! I found a variety of travel items including London and 2012 Olympic-related items! You can visit the store to find a variety of

London cosmetic bag found in Etsy shop

London-related items from handcrafted travel journals and passport holders to luggage tags kindle cases among others.

After all of this pinning of things London, I can’t wait until my trip in August 2013!

Yours in pinning,

Candice

Destination London Pinboard

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Pinterest in correlation with other websites #1

I don’t know about you,  but I can recall more than one time that I sit in front of the computer – trying extremely hard to think of something – anything – to pin.

That’s when I decided to do something that seemed a little crazy – but it will require a little back knowledge. Please keep in mind while reading this – this is entirely my account on the subject, and shouldn’t be taken as hard fact. My opinions of all of these websites were strongly shaped by all of the teams I was a part of, and I didn’t even join them until October (Hence the october start date O.o).

Do you remember (I’ll say about) October/ November/December of this year when the whole fad was Stumbleupon?

If you were on Etsy and you didn’t hear of stumbleupon, it was a bit like pinterest, you were bound to eventually.

Most ‘random’ and ‘chat’ teams started out with simply threads dedicated to the subject, as a bit of fun, and before long there were entire teams devoted to ‘Stumbling’. It was actually a bit of a game, as SOON as you mentioned stumbling in a thread, someone would ask and you would hook them in…. With that they would introduce it to a new person and so on ETC.

One thing I notice with StumbleUpon vs. Pinterest – I think shop owners had  more fun  promoting their items, however nobody had as much fun  discovering them. I just remember the talk, and the threads, shop owners just seemed to have more fun with the actual promotion of their products. Just an observation.

You may be asking – What happened to this fairy tale?

StumbleUpon’s old logo in comparison to it’s new logo.

Well – Stumbleupon got a huge update over my Christmas break. When I returned I was the only idiot starting “OFFICIAL JANUARY STUMBLEUPON THREAD” as everybody had scrambled to move on and I didn’t get the memo. Nobody liked the updates, and as they rolled out (and rolled back the “Change to original” option) people just sort of left. People also started realizing that all the stumbleupon views that your items got were entirely arbitrary and therefor meant nothing by way of promotion except maybe a joy of seeing that you had 700 more views in a day then you usually would. All of this was topped off with the fact StumbleUpon became over ran by many raunchy porn addicts – and it was all over for SU.

StumbleUpons new interface.

Sure – hard core, devoted, or general promotion teams still use stumbleupon as a viable promotional source – but for the general Etsy shop owner, housewife, or web surfer it was gone.

At the time, there were two major competitors, while I can’t speak on a large scale, at least in all of the teams I was associated with, those were Wanelo and, predictably, Pinterest. All the self righteous noobs (Okay, read me) started an account on all of the potential competitors, thinking I’ll keep up with all of them no matter what happens. (See how long that lasted? I don’t even know what my wanelo password is…).

Which brings me to today. Another night, out of ideas of what to pin, when I saw glaring at me a little “Stumble” button that I never got around to removing. I typed in the subject of my pinboard (In this case), “History” and found a TON of extremely interesting articles that could eventually be pinned. Then it dawned on me – Stumbleupon is virtually useless on it’s own, but used WITH pinterest is an extremely powerful tool. I couldn’t imagine a better way to gain followers than to always be the first to discover the most odd, interesting, intriguing, new, and otherwise would have never been found articles?

An example of StumbleUpons new add on for Chrome.

I should interject something- as a consumer and web browser, both of these websites did the exact same service. They helped you discover items on the web and surf the internet. The method in which they do them are extremely different. Pinterest takes the virtual magazine approach, and Stumble took the literal, enter a subject you like and it randomly generates a website approach.

To get to my final point – I feel like savvy pinners should create stumbleupon accounts. Even if you don’t stumble anything, the discovery opportunities are amazing.  Stumbleupon allows you to generate original pins (As in, not repins from other boards) and discover relevant information.

As far as signing up it’s pretty straight forward. There are no real hints that I could offer you, and since you don’t actually need to stumble anything the only tip I can offer is this – Don’t get caught up in stumbling. Only use it for the purpose of discovering items for your Pinterest, which is the real focus here. Trust me, you won’t feel as cheap as it sounds you will. Stumbling can be addicting, and, can lead to another waste of time.

To Sign Up:

Go to www.stumbleupon.com here and hit “Sign Up For Free” – Which should take you to a page that looks like this:

As you can see – from here you can fill out the short form (And reply to the usual confirmation email) or use Facebook.

What exactly is it? What do you do?

Stumbleupon is a discovery website, you can find more information/links on it’s actual website, but, essentially you can download the website bar (or, if you don’t want, you can just use the website directly) to type in a subject of a pin board and hit “Enter” or if your using the bar, “Stumble” – As “I’m feeling Lucky” on Google, it will automatically generate a website. You can keep doing this until you find what you want. The only button you need to worry about is the “Stumble” button. The “Like” button takes you to a page where you add that web page to the stumble database if it hasn’t been discovered before – not a good use of time.

You may notice the #1 in the post title – and that is because I think I see future potential here. In the future, you can expect to see how you can use Pinterest with other websites to grow your content/followers.

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How to Gain Followers on Pinterest

My Tuesday post – as promised in my updates post 😉

At any rate, Pinning for your business or your pleasure is relatively pointless if you don’t have followers. Sometimes it can be very off putting… staring at your follower count hover at a low number. The main ingredient to gaining followers is, as with anything in life, patience – However there are things you can do to speed up the process and increase the quantity.

http://pinterest.com/deweysnook/ – Only 88 Followers

1. Sync. With Everything.


This is something to keep in mind with everything you do on the internet. If your in marketing, business, advertising, or, in my case, an Etsy shop, you want as large of an internet footprint as possible.  You want people to easily be able to find you by your business name and name you conduct business (Example, I am Victoria Benenati from Dewey’s Nook).  Not only that, you reach the largest possible audience.  Not everybody follows you on all of your internet presences,   so take your information and spread it! Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, everywhere you possibly can. I know I’ve gained quite a few followers on Pinterest from my Twitter.

2. Check all of your links.

Okay, this seems one of those “Captain obvious things”, but let me tell you how many times I’ve been put into this scenario (Caution, don’t read this at night time, It’ll scare your socks off!):

It’s the middle of the night, I can’t sleep because my room mate is rambling on about something or other, so I crawl to my computer and hop onto pinterest. Out of no where, these delicious pecan pie bars pop up on your screen, your mouth immediately waters.. You click it desperately trying to get the recipe to bookmark for the next morning… and you find

AHHH!

Nothing, and I mean nothing makes me hit the “Unfollow” button faster. In short: Check. Your. Links! Every so often, especially if you have a favorite source, just check a few of them every so often to make sure it’s still valid.

3. Describe your pinboards!

I’m just as guilty of this with some of my pinboards, but,  it doesn’t make it okay. You have a huge area on the top of each pinboard to optimize how you appear in search engines. Use it! There are so many powerful keywords that can be placed in that spot that is so often left empty. If you fail to do that, at the VERY least categorize your pinboard. It looks very unprofessional when your visitors have to do it for you.

4. Unique Ideas for Pinboards.

This is probably one of the hardest things to do, but, you have to think outside of the box. Come up with a pinboard that is unique! Something a potential follower couldn’t find anywhere else! This is probably the best and most successful way to market on Pinterest, because if people like what they see, they’ll advertise for you. It doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

5. Utilize Pinterest’s Many Features!

Pinterest has many very functional, very useful, and very helpful features. Use them. That means hash tags, @’s to your favorite pinners and shoutouts to your fangirls. If you notice Sally (fictitious name)  really likes your stuff, to the point where they repin your pins, comment on your pins, favorite your pins, etc try to find something special for Sally – and give her a shoutout @Sally! If she seems to like avocado recipes, find a brand new fun avocado recipe! Chances are she’ll appreciate it! For more on Pinterests Features, read my blogpost here. It’s a nice basic blogpost that has a wealth of pinterest information.

Thats it for this week – Check back next Friday for another enriching post, remember we’re now optimized for all your mobile devices for your convenience. You can also follow our blog via your email, to find out how just check the top of the sidebar to your right.

Like what you see? There’s a sharebar just underneath this post (And all our posts 🙂 ).

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A Guide to College Resources on Pinterest

Gates to Rutgers University
My Alma Mater

If your family is like mine, you have attended several graduation parties this month. With a teenage child who is a sophomore in high school, we will be looking at colleges before I can say “second mortgage”, so I thought I would test out Pinterest as a college planning resource. I have found that when I perform a search on Pinterest, not only do I almost always find what I am looking for, but the results are richer than on regular search engines. Because the information has already been pinned, the researcher finds information that has already been vetted and “recommended” to others. For example, when I search by the word “college” in a popular search engine, I get the usual college-preparation guides, college guides and financing information as well as information on some individual colleges (Harvard appears on the first page). But I don’t get results that include information on the best schools for home schooled children, the top black colleges, a guide to online universities or a guide to colleges for students with disabilities. These pins are based on individual circumstances and preferences but can still be found in a general search on Pinterest.

I found my pins on boards named “College & Careers”, “College Info.”, “College Tips”, “Favorite Colleges” and “Colleges” among others. As I did in my last post, I have classified these pins into categories:

College guides — these pins lead to hardcover guides for sale or to online guides. A pin of the Princeton Review 2012 Book of Colleges leads to ebooknetworking.net where the book can be purchased online. A pin of Online Universities and Colleges leads to a website with information on attending an online college and how to make an informed decision about whether this option is the right one for that student. Pinterest contains a wealth of information about this fast-growing continuing education option. A pin for the Best Colleges Online.com leads the pinner to an online college finder. “In 3 easy steps you can find the perfect college.” Another pin leads to an article on Prestigious colleges with the lowest tuition.

Pin of College Guide

College rankings these pins provide the pinner withinformation regarding the ratings of various types of colleges. A pin called 2012 Top Colleges leads to an article in the Huffington Post entitled U.S. News College Rankings 2012: The Top National Universities. Princeton and Harvard were tied, by the way, for the #1 spot. An ezine article gives the pinner information on accreditation. “Students studying in the U.S. can be reassured of the quality of education they receive through a process called, ‘accreditation’. Accreditation is one of the most important factors to consider while deciding on which college to attend, be it online or on-ground.”

Pin of College Prep Guide

College Preparation There are hundreds of pins to SAT and ACT preparation guides as well as guides and websites that provide information for students on step-by-step planning throughout high school. The College Preparation Checklist found on the Federal Student Aid website is one of the most popular resources for students and parents. Knowhow2go.org has tips and information on preparing for college from the types of classes to take in high school to finding financial aid. A pin of Quintessential Careers gives the pinner a month-by-month College-Bound High School Senior Planning Calendar and Collegechecklist.com is a complete guide of what to bring to college.

Financing Options college financing can be a daunting task. Pinterest provides a wealth of information about scholarships and financing a college education. The Federal Student Aid website is the first resource a prospective college student should visit. From this site many other resources can be found. Finding scholarships is made infinitely easier with resources like the Scholarships.com and Scholarshiphunter.com where the

Pin of Financial Aid Website

visitor can complete a profile and receive a list of scholarships for which to apply. A must read for any prospective student is Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents.

College merchandise — No college guide would be complete without information on where to purchase

Rutgers U. scarf found in     Etsy Shop

college merchandise. And who better to look to for college gear than my fellow Etsyans. From hand-painted Toms sneakers to hand-made pillows and lamp shades to scarves and wall-hangings, Etsy definitely came through when I created my “College Store” pin board. http://pinterest.com/silkflorals/college-store/. Also available on this pin board is a link to a discounted college textbook site.

Oklahoma State wall hanging found in Etsy shop

What I love most about finding information on Pinterest is that I can pin anything the moment I find it and organize my pins into topic areas immediately or later (so as not to slow my momentum) I can add, delete and move items easily. This allows me to organize important events in my life and my family members’ lives making them more manageable AND more fun! Happy searching!

Hand-painted University of Houston Toms sneakers found in Etsy shop

http://pinterest.com/silkflorals/college-resources/

Yours in Pinning,

Candice

Convo me here

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