Traveling With a Toddler – 5 Tips to Keep You Sane!

Traveling can be taxing and difficult on its own, nonetheless, traveling with a toddler. In order to ensure a good, fun, and happy trip, here are a few helpful tips!

1. Bring A Special Bag

My daughter is currently obsessed with Dora and Diego. So in preparation for a recent trip, we purchased a Diego backpack for all of her toys. Not only was my daughter thrilled with the backpack, but she was also able to wear it while traveling, so freeing my hands for something else!

2. Pack Lots of Toys and Drawing Supplies

Being prepared is the key for pleasant travels. You can never have enough books, coloring books, crayons, stickers or toys for a toddler. To make sure that it's really special and new, start buying supplies in advance. That way there is extra excitation and eagerness to read a new book or use new crayons. A great place to find inexpensive and small items is the Dollar Store.

3. Bring the Favorites

A great tip I learned from a season mom is to start putting away favorite toys before a trip and then re-introduce while traveling. Not only are the kids excited to see the toy, but you already know they will happily play with it!

4. Do not Forget The Snacks

Food and drinks are always a necessity while traveling. Juice boxes and goldfish are an essential; however, bringing new items may also work. Try making trail mix and have two bags … one for the trip there and one for the way home. And be prepared, if you are flying, security may seize your opened containers. I found that they allowed my daughter's sippy cup with juice, but that might not be the case at all airports. Bottom line, have a "plan B" in place!

5. Maintaining A Schedule

Although you're on vacation, following your typical schedule and routine can be comforting to a toddler. If your child is use to taking a daily nap, do everything in your power to maintain that schedule. Otherwise, you could be vacationing with a cranky and unpleasant child … which is not relaxing or fun!

Traveling with a toddler can be lots of fun, but be sure to plan ahead. Be prepared and expect the unexpected! If you can roll with the punches, everyone is sure to have a great time!

Back to Basics Cooking, Baking & Grilling

keeping your area clean while you cook is a chore in its self. My husband always laughs about the after math when I'm done baking. Here are some helpful ways to improve on making less of a mess in the first place. Use a bowl for your scraps and garbage as you go saving you time running to the trash making you more efficient. Using a thin flexible mat for your cutting board makes transferring vegetables to your pot much easier, by using the flexible mat as a funnel.

Getting into the habit of using a splatter screen when sauteing or shallow frying will save you a lot of time on your clean-up later. Measuring ingredients and using cooking spray over the sink will keep messes confined to an easy to clean area. Keeping a bottle of soapy water handy make it more likely that cleaning up as you go will become part of your cooking habits. Another tip is to cook more slowly. Be a deliberate in measuring, chopping and wiping between each step. but this is one tip I often do not follow my own advice, often trying to do to many task at one time.

With Spring just around the corner what better time than to take stock of what is in your pantry. Consolidate and organize and take note what you're low on. It is also a great time to check those expiration dates and dispose of any that expired. Make a list of items that you can stock in your pantry that will help make a meal quickly without a lot of planning. It is also a good time to add those family favorites.

Now that you have your pantry all organized it is time to turn your attention to the fridge. Do not be afraid to those bowls way in the back that have been forgotten about for weeks. It is a good time to check those condiments with cookouts just around the corner.

With everything clean and organized and Winter still here comfort food is the way to go. A pot of soup on the stove with grilled cheese sandwiches or a stew in the crockpot is the way to go. With Spring not too far away get those recipes out and start planning for fresh salads and garden vegetables. You will be amazed how time and clean-up will be and the fun of cooking, baking and grilling will not become a hard task but a lot of fun putting love in all the recipes for family and friends.

Increase Your Conversion Rates With Product Photography

High-quality product photography is an essential tool for driving sales to your eCommerce store. It compensates for customers’ inability to touch and feel the items that you’re selling.

In bricks-and-mortar shops, people would usually try the products on display racks before deciding whether or not to buy them.

When it comes to online shopping, they weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a product based on what they see, not feel.

Unfortunately, sometimes the actual look of a product is different from its picture on a website. When a customer experiences this, they end up disappointed and returning the item.

To avoid returns and increase your conversion rate, create visually-appealing product images that are almost tangible.

5 ways to create quality product photos

Proper lighting can be the big difference between a spectacular product image and one that is, well, second-rate.

Anyone can take pictures using a mobile phone or an instant camera, unmindful of the unsightly elements like shadows, but product photography should always produce shadowless photos.

Ample lighting captures not only the shape of an object but also its actual colour and texture.

Now, remember we mentioned the “touch-and-feel” aspect of shopping and how it matters to a shopper? Taking close-ups breaks the invisible barrier between your product and customers. A close-up allows them to scrutinise your product down to its tiniest detail.

Still on the subject of touching and feeling a product, shoot from as many angles as you can to give customers a three-dimensional view of what you’re selling. That way, they can experience the item as if they’ve walked into your shop and touched it.

Also, you’ll want to add a responsive video, which shows how the product works, alongside your multi-angled photos. Not only will it give your customers a clearer picture of your product, but it will also boost traffic on your website. Besides, who doesn’t love videos?

Most important of all, you have to keep it real because a potential customer will want to see how your product can be used day-to-day. Instead of over-editing a picture in Photoshop until it looks extremely fake, apply it to a real-life situation.

If you’re selling a ball gown, for example, how would you present photos of it to a woman with a nine-to-five job? She’s unlikely to buy it if she only sees a tight shot of the dress, but if you show her when and where to wear it, then you have her attention.

More than increasing traffic on your eCommerce website, these tried-and-tested photography techniques will surely lead to a higher conversion rate.

How do you come up with beautiful product images for your site?

Next-Level Marketing With Business Cards

Merely walking around with a few business cards in your pocket isn’t going to get you the number of leads you necessarily want. It will more likely be worth it to your business to take a thousand cards and strategically placing them – in the right place or with the right people.

Here follows a number of easy tips to improve this section of your marketing mix. Keep in mind that these may be adjusted to suit your target demographic better or even to work WITH your product or service. A crucial part is to know your business and your target market and to keep thinking beyond the obvious.

Simple Tips for Effective Business Card Marketing

1. Get permission to leave your business cards at local restaurants’ welcome desks. In some cases – you might have to pay for this.

2. Locate local businesses that have products or services related to yours and place your calling cards at their counters.

3. Bulletin boards on college campuses or community centres are a greats spot to pin up these handy little numbers, and it’s usually free.

4. Produce your own viral image or video and feature your business card in it.

5. Leave them in post boxes or local houses’ doors.

6. Hand them out on various local campuses by a few students, for a little remuneration.

7. Negotiate with hotels to place your cards in their guests’ rooms.

8. Make use of a mailing list comprised of your target audience and send one along with other forms of direct mail.

9. Take advantage of areas with much traffic and pay people to hand them out on your behalf.

10. Ask your friends and family to keep a few business cards with them, in case they can give them to a prospective client.

11. Network and swap business cards with local business owners.

12. Offer a finder’s fee to people that hand out cards for you that results in a deal.

13. When doing the handing out – give more than one. Having copies makes it possible for recipients to dish your contact details out to other interested parties.

14. Consider a print design that look like miniature greeting cards.

15. Offer discounts via promotional codes attached to cards.

16. Form your own ‘street team’ to do hand-outs to people together with promotional items or hampers.

17. Leave a bunch of business cards in areas where people queue in your place of business. Some of the most likely individuals to be tempted take a business card are those who are currently using your products or services and wish to see what else you have to offer.

18. Use one as a notepad, when you are making a note for someone else.

19. Ask cab companies or drivers to keep a stack somewhere visible or reachable in their vehicles.

20. Attach your cards to your invoices and estimates etc that you send out.

21. Ask community groups that hand out welcome packs to new members to include your cards.

22. Find out if any of your local estate agents have a list of recommended or local services that they give to clients and ask to be added to the list, as well as giving them enough stock to hand out to their clients.

23. Use a digital version and upload it to design galleries, for example, CardObserver.

24. Upload your digital business card to online classifieds, such as Gumtree or the like.

25. Print standard or personal business cards for all your employees. As an added extra -it can improve employee confidence and team spirit.

26. Place a one in all your product shipping parcels.

27. Go to, network and hand out your calling cards at local or community events.

28. Negotiate with shopping centres and get permission to leave your cards on vehicle windows. Make sure to find out beforehand that it’s not illegal in your city.

29. Join forces with estate agents and get them to give new/ prospective homeowners your card.

30. Make sure you partner with a reputable and efficient printing company to print your business cards.

I hope these quick tips have inspired you and that you’re ready to start your marketing campaign.