Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Market Your Biz & Giveaways #38

Happy Tuesday, my dear friends! Come on in and link up your family-friendly online businesses and giveaways. It has been long said that businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. Not only that, businesses really fuel the economy. This blog party, solely dedicated to promoting businesses and giveaways, is my way of giving back to the community so welcome to Market Your Biz & Giveaways!

Gina (who, by the way, already guest posted in my Blogging for Dollars Series) from the Shabby Creek Cottage said it best, "You may not get a sale directly from that site every single day – but you are building brand recognition. Pepsi does not advertise so that you stop what you’re doing and go directly to buy a drink – but when you do need to quench your thirst and you are shopping for a drink, Pepsi is going to be recognizable to you. Bottom line, you need to build your brand!" This blog party helps you accomplish build your brand.

Business owners, we wanna see your products. Giveaways are good because they create a buzz about your business. Giveaway hosts, we wanna join! Readers, here's your chance to win fabulous freebies. So come on in and participate in this virtual marketplace.

Featured Biz

Our featured biz today is Artful Rising, whose tag line is, Art Journals and Home Decor: Gifts for Your Spirit.


This Handmade Journal -- You Are Meant to be Whole, Tell Your Story -- is my first favorite


and this Art Journal - Believe in the Possibilities - is my other favorite.


Our Party

NO RULES! Just link up your etsy and/or family-friendly business, browse other businesses before you and after you. It's a great way to network with other business owners. For the giveaways, same thing. Just link up your giveaways and join the other giveaways that catch your eye. If you have a creative post and you want to increase your followers, the appropriate blog party for that is called Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

Link opens every Tuesday, 5:00 pm, PST and ends Saturday, 11:59 pm.

Here's the party button. Displaying the party button on your blog, while optional, is very much appreciated! For one, it will help you to remember to come back here next week. Secondly, we want to spread the word about businesses and giveaways so many can join in. Mentioning it on Twitter and Facebook will also make you totally awesome :)




MYBG Inspiring Comments

"Thanks for hosting. Linkys for biz and giveaways are far and few; your linky has helped me reach to people saying that Adithis Amma Sews has launched Custom Made Kids Clothing and 2 Skirts are already on sale!"
Creative Mama

"Thank you so much for hosting. I've made a recent sale and believe it is from your blog party! Thanks again!"
Elisabeth Davis

"Thank you for hosting this every week. I have noticed that I do generate a lot of hits from your site and I really appreciate a place that I can find other etsy shops that I might not have seen otherwise. So thank you again."
Kate

"I cannot tell you how much I agree with everything Gina said!! So true to the word! Also, a huge thank you to you for hosting. Ever since I started marketing my shop here I have had several sales and I believe that they came redirected from your blog! Thank you again and God bless!!"
Maya

"Thanks for hosting! Decent linky parties for giveaways and businesses don't seem to exist! So I appreciate this."
Kahli
Friends, network, buy if you must, join the giveaways, and have fun!

PS: I'm not a blog police but in the name of order and organization, you'll be my bloggy BFF if you link up in the appropriate links :D Please note that there are two links. Here's the link for your businesses. There's a second link below specifically for giveaways so how about linking up your giveaways in there? Besides, it's easier to find and join your giveaways if they're in the appropriate link. If you accidentally linked up in the wrong spot, don't fret. Just click the red x before your link to delete it, then link up in the correct spot.

Link Up Your Family-friendly Businesses Here



Link Up Your Giveaways Here
To bring maximum exposure for your giveaways, I'm collaborating with Brynn from MommyDigger so please feel free to link up your giveaways, too, in her party every Wednesday.






Sunday, February 26, 2012

Authentic Filipino Snack Called Banana Cue

This coming March 8th marks my 12th year of stay here in the U.S. and oh, boy! What a fun ride those 12 years are. My biggest adjustment when I came here to live with my husband was the food because even if they were cooked the same way, the ingredients are Americanized. I guess any immigrant could attest to that fact. Please don't get me wrong, I love American foods, but there are cases when I crave for foods that I used to eat when I was growing up. One of them is banana cue.

It has been a while since I had banana cue so when I saw the banana saba being sold in the Mexican store I visited, I instantly grabbed 3 pounds.

All that are needed are 1) ripe banana saba (actually, for me, overripe is much better because it's sweeter and softer), 2) brown sugar, 3) cooking oil, 4) skewers.

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The next step is peel off the bananas.

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Most of the time, we fry the bananas in the cooking oil whole, but in this instance, I sliced them diagonally.

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Fry until they become golden brown.

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Add brown sugar.

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Insert skewer sticks in the bananas.

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Enjoy!

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Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop 02.26.12

Last week, out of desperation in finishing our income tax return, I decided out of the blues to watch the movie UP with my girls. I needed to unwind so I can bring back my focus to our taxes afterwards. I'm so glad I did. The girls and I really had a great time watching it that we made a pact to watch a movie together on a weekly basis. (As a side note, the tax returns were efiled already - yay!) Yesterday, while hubby was golfing, the girls, my mother, and I went to the theater to watch The Secret World of Arrietty, bought a huge bucket of popcorn, and enjoyed ourselves to the max. Normally, I don't spend money to the cinemas for the simple reason that it's a lot more expensive than borrowing DVDs from the library, and/or we can record movies in our DVR. Fortunately, a few months ago when we had the truck serviced, we got free movie tickets, and ended up using them yesterday. It was a significant day for Princess Two because it was her very first time to enter the movie theater, which brought me back to the memories when I first entered the movie theater to watch the Ten Commandments by Charlton Heston. It was magical to see the wonder and awe in her face as she saw the big screen and heard the surround sound. Same situation a few years back when Princess One watched her first movie entitled Hoodwinked in the theater. Yesterday was one of those days where the payoffs of motherhood manifested well in my life.

Blog Tip
My Top 11 Blogging Tips by TSH from Simple Mom is worth reading. It'll help you determine your reasons for blogging and how to do it "right" according to your family's needs.

Favorite Blog
You clicked, inlinkz tallied. The readers' favorite blog post this past week, being the most viewed post, is Desire Empire's Top Ten Budget Tips and a Fabulous Weekend . She really shared sound financial strategies, which surely are very useful during this uncertain economic time.


Our Party
To the main course of this post.
For those of you joining us for the first time, we only have 2 easy, simple rules:

1) Link up your creative post - can be a DIY project, decor, photography, crafts, recipes, poem, thrift finds, link party, or that informative syndicated post that can make us laugh, or cry - in short, whatever you're proud of! And if you like to link more creative posts, go for it! We'd love to see them :) (No links to businesses or giveaways. We have another party for these exclusively every Tuesday called Market Your Biz & Giveaways at 5 pm, PST.)

2) Follow as many blogs as you desire, either via Google Friend Connect or Linky Followers, preferably starting first with the one who linked before you and after you, before branching out, and let them know by leaving a comment. (Following me will be very much appreciated, and I definitely follow back. Just let me know you're following.)

Displaying the party button on your blog, while optional, is very much appreciated :) It will help you remember to come back and link up to the the happiest blog party on the block (ahem!). It will also help others find their way to the party which we all love because the more the merrier :)

Link opens up every Sunday at 5:00 pm, PST and ends Friday at 11:59 pm.



Friends, go ahead and get to know each :) One followed blogger is one gained friend. And please, don't forget to join my Market Your Biz and Giveaways blog party every Tuesday at 5 pm, PST. It's your chance for free promotion of your family-friendly business and giveaways.

Now, let's party like no other!




Burning question: What's your family's favorite movie of all time? As of this time, my girls claim it's the movie UP. How about you?


Saturday, February 25, 2012

CBPH 46 and 47 Features

Hello, friends! How's your weekend so far? I am about to spread another creativity plague as I will be strutting now the links of the best features last week as well as this week. Hope you'll love them, too!

Mr. and Mrs. Spear coffee table makeover on a budget proved that another man's trash can be another's treasure. This lovely one was rescued from an alley.



Bella Creative made these cute baby room letters. What a fun way to personalize a room!



Are you wondering what to do with over-ripe bananas? Eat Cake for Dinner has the perfect solution with this yummy recipe of banana oatmeal cookies.



This combo necklace and earrings by Caroline of Artfully Caroline is such a nice blend of pink cube and silver beads.



Moonbeams and Fireflies shared captivating pictures of fireflies by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu. Just looking at them gave me goosebumps and reminded me of my own childhood stints with these lovely creatures.



Sarah from Life on Walnut Street is holding Photoshop Friday where she shares Photoshop tricks to enhance a picture's look. Here's one of her gorgeous Photoshop transformations.



I love how Shari of Turn Style Vogue shared inspiring stories of each of these boxes as she she walked us through in making them. The sources of her quote and the quotes themselves are really inspiring.



Jutta from Organized Living Solutions Creative Chaos shared her decadent macaroons mouth-watering recipe.



Lina from Fancy Frugal Life made one toddler happy. And if your little one seriously loves Elmo (oh, I remember those days when the dominating show was Elmo, and how I memorized all his songs for Princess One), having Elmo nails will be a fun activity to do.


Design Dreams by Anne has a unique take on a side table. She decided to use a tree stump to do so.



This funny bathroom post by Linda from It All Started with Paint is one you shouldn't miss. Isn't it true that the most visited room in the house is the bathroom? Amen to that.



Thank you very much for linking up and sharing your delightful projects.



Friday, February 24, 2012

Blogging For Dollars Series - Guest Post by Heather from Dollar Store Crafts

If there's one blog that had me by its name, it's the Dollar Store Crafts. This blog is my daily crafting-vitamins because of the inspiring projects simply created from dollar stores items. I had this strong urge last year to contact Heather but I felt like it was such a daunting to ask from an A-list blogger who generates close to a million pageviews a month. I finally got the courage to ask her this month and you know what? Her reply was so quick, and it included this post that you're about to read. Ok, friends, I'm sure you want to read her recipe for blogging success so let's make noise and welcome Heather!


1) Can you please share how you started earning income from your blog?

I started with a love of crafts and writing, and focused on blogging on my topic (Dollar Store Crafts) for more than a year (one post per day) before I even put Google Adsense on my blog. Well, I tried Adsense for a week at the beginning, and I decided to remove the ads because they only made about a dollar, and it wasn't worth it to me to have the ads on the sidebar for $4 a month!

After a year, I had a good amount of monthly pageviews (a good number to shoot for: 50,000 pageviews a month), so I tried Adsense again, as well as signing up with an ad network, BlogHer. I placed two large ads (a banner ad across the top and a 300x250 in the sidebar), and a small ad at the bottom of each blog post. You shouldn't have more than 3 large ads on your page at one time.

The way most traditional online ads calculate pay is by 1000 times the ad is shown - this is called "CPM." If your blog gets a $1 CPM, then you can expect to get about $1 per 1000 times that ad is shown. If you get 50k pageviews a month, you might make $50 from an ad box per month.

For the first couple years, I also used Project Wonderful, which is an ad service that allows advertisers to bid on ad space on your blog. You won't get rich from this, but you will accrue a little money and then you can turn around and advertise on other blogs using Project Wonderful, if you want to use it as a way to promote.

Selling things is the quickest way to make a buck, so consider having an Etsy shop and using your blog to promote it... if you can balance it.

2) Can you give advice on how bloggers can attract advertisers without turning
off readers at the same time?

Everyone has to figure out their own way to monetize, through trial and error. What works for my blog won't necessarily be the golden ticket for your blog.

Being very frank and honest about what you are doing, and how, is a great way to inform and embrace your readers. If you decide to start using advertisers, or hosting paid giveaways, write a dedicated blog post telling your readers what you have decided, and what your thought process was behind your decision. One person who is REALLY good at this is Shannon from MadiganMade.com. She wrote a great post called "Why I Want to Monetize," sharing the inside scoop with her readers.

3) Can you please share other tips you want to impart with us?

Be kind to others, whether they are bloggers or readers. Always assume the best intentions - if someone leaves an unpleasant comment or makes a craft that looks very similar to yours, don't assume the worst. Be yourself, do what you are interested in and ignore the things you aren't interested in. Be generous with your promotion of others, and avoid furthering your own interests at the expense of others.

I host a weekly Twitter chat about all things blogging, so come join us on Mondays at 4pm Eastern using the hashtag #crafterminds. You can also visit Crafterminds.com for more blogging resources. Oh, and if you fail at a craft project, snap a pic and submit it to me for my other site, CraftFail.

Thank you for this meaty and inspiring post, Heather! You've given us so much to think about and we applaud you for it.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out what other A-list bloggers have shared about their money-making ventures through their blogs here.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Market Your Biz & Giveaways #37

Come on in and link up your family-friendly online businesses and giveaways. It has been long said that businesses are the lifeblood of the economy. Not only that, businesses really fuel the economy. This blog party, solely dedicated to promoting businesses and giveaways, is my way of giving back to the community so welcome to Market Your Biz & Giveaways!

Gina (who, by the way, already guest posted in my Blogging for Dollars Series) from the Shabby Creek Cottage said it best, "You may not get a sale directly from that site every single day – but you are building brand recognition. Pepsi does not advertise so that you stop what you’re doing and go directly to buy a drink – but when you do need to quench your thirst and you are shopping for a drink, Pepsi is going to be recognizable to you. Bottom line, you need to build your brand!" This blog party helps you accomplish build your brand.

Business owners, we wanna see your products. Giveaways are good because they create a buzz about your business. Giveaway hosts, we wanna join! Readers, here's your chance to win fabulous freebies. So come on in and participate in this virtual marketplace.

Featured Biz

Our featured biz today is Crafts by KeriMae, specializing in cute needle felts and crochet.

This crocheted handbag purse in green and white is one of the many excellent products in her shop.


Our Party

NO RULES! Just link up your etsy and/or family-friendly business, browse other businesses before you and after you. It's a great way to network with other business owners. For the giveaways, same thing. Just link up your giveaways and join the other giveaways that catch your eye. If you have a creative post and you want to increase your followers, the appropriate blog party for that is called Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

Link opens every Tuesday, 5:00 pm, PST and ends Saturday, 11:59 pm.

Here's the party button. Displaying the party button on your blog, while optional, is very much appreciated! For one, it will help you to remember to come back here next week. Secondly, we want to spread the word about businesses and giveaways so many can join in. Mentioning it on Twitter and Facebook will also make you totally awesome :)




MYBG Inspiring Comments

"Thanks for hosting. Linkys for biz and giveaways are far and few; your linky has helped me reach to people saying that Adithis Amma Sews has launched Custom Made Kids Clothing and 2 Skirts are already on sale!"
Creative Mama

"Thank you so much for hosting. I've made a recent sale and believe it is from your blog party! Thanks again!"
Elisabeth Davis

"Thank you for hosting this every week. I have noticed that I do generate a lot of hits from your site and I really appreciate a place that I can find other etsy shops that I might not have seen otherwise. So thank you again."
Kate

"I cannot tell you how much I agree with everything Gina said!! So true to the word! Also, a huge thank you to you for hosting. Ever since I started marketing my shop here I have had several sales and I believe that they came redirected from your blog! Thank you again and God bless!!"
Maya

"Thanks for hosting! Decent linky parties for giveaways and businesses don't seem to exist! So I appreciate this."
Kahli
Friends, network, buy if you must, join the giveaways, and have fun!

PS: I'm not a blog police but in the name of order and organization, you'll be my bloggy BFF if you link up in the appropriate links :D Please note that there are two links. Here's the link for your businesses. There's a second link below specifically for giveaways so how about linking up your giveaways in there? Besides, it's easier to find and join your giveaways if they're in the appropriate link. If you accidentally linked up in the wrong spot, don't fret. Just click the red x before your link to delete it, then link up in the correct spot.

Link Up Your Family-friendly Businesses Here



Link Up Your Giveaways Here
To bring maximum exposure for your giveaways, I'm collaborating with Brynn from MommyDigger so please feel free to link up your giveaways, too, in her party every Wednesday.







Sunday, February 19, 2012

Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop 02.19.12

What project have you been working on this week? As for me, crafting and DIY went to the back burner of my priorities this week because I have to tackle the dreaded tax return. Dreaded not because I have to pay taxes (well, Uncle Sam already made sure that he gets his share first before we get our paychecks) but because I really have to sit down without any interruption (which in my household is impossible to do) and analyze what documents needed to claim our deductions so we can get a refund (fingers crossed). I'd rather blog or go through all your creative links than prepare our income tax return, believe me. On the other hand, I should be thankful that we have an income tax return to prepare because that means the Lord blessed us with jobs that became sources of income for the family... Ok, friends, moving on to the rest of the post.

Blog Tip
I caught wind about Photoshop Express Editor when my friend tipped me about an apps that I can download for my Samsung tablet (which I did) so I can edit pictures like the Instagram. Then yesterday, I read from Susan of Between Naps on the Porch that it's one of the alternative softwares that can be used on or before Picnik's demise on April 19th. I tried it and even if it doesn't have the bells and whistles yet that picnik has to offer, at least it can do some quick fixes that are so easy to do. I'm loving it so far.

Favorite Blog
You clicked, inlinkz tallied. The readers' favorite blog post this past week, being the most viewed post, is my Domestic Imperfection's pantry reveal. Her very organized pantry is to envy for!


Our Party
To the main course of this post.
For those of you joining us for the first time, we only have 2 easy, simple rules:

1) Link up your creative post - can be a DIY project, decor, photography, crafts, recipes, poem, thrift finds, link party, or that informative syndicated post that can make us laugh, or cry - in short, whatever you're proud of! And if you like to link more creative posts, go for it! We'd love to see them :) (No links to businesses or giveaways. We have another party for these exclusively every Tuesday called Market Your Biz & Giveaways at 5 pm, PST.)

2) Follow as many blogs as you desire, either via Google Friend Connect or Linky Followers, preferably starting first with the one who linked before you and after you, before branching out, and let them know by leaving a comment. (Following me will be very much appreciated, and I definitely follow back. Just let me know you're following.)

Displaying the party button on your blog, while optional, is very much appreciated :) It will help you remember to come back and link up to the the happiest blog party on the block (ahem!). It will also help others find their way to the party which we all love because the more the merrier :)

Link opens up every Sunday at 5:00 pm, PST and ends Friday at 11:59 pm.



Friends, go ahead and get to know each :) One followed blogger is one gained friend. And please, don't forget to join my Market Your Biz and Giveaways blog party every Tuesday at 5 pm, PST. It's your chance for free promotion of your family-friendly business and giveaways.

Now, let's party like no other!





Burning question: Do you e-file your income tax return or do you send it by mail to the IRS? Ever since I used Turbo Tax, I've been e-filing since. I love the ease, speed, and the quick issuance of refund because of e-file. How about you? Is it a yea, or nay for e-file?



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