The Time I Unintentionally Made Poop Emoji Cupcakes

I’ve been doing little sampling parties lately, and each time I try to have fun with a new theme or activity. When I got the chance to sample and share Miss Jones Baking Co. organic cake mix and frosting through MomsMeet.com, I got some crazy idea to try doing fancy frosting. I thought it would be fun to engage everyone with the product by letting them try out decorative frosting tips.

toddler and frosting
Nice display Mom…I’m about to ram it with my cars OK?

Am I a baker? No. Do I even know how to use a frosting bag? No. Did I go ahead and order a fancy 32 piece cake decorating set off Amazon? You bet I did!

I also went all out with a giant pan for 48 mini muffins. One box of mix says it will make 48 muffins, but I actually had a little extra! And I made sure I filled each tin at least halfway. The instructions say they may not rise as much as some brands since they leave out all the artificial ingredients, but mine puffed up nicely.

wonder-bakerThe icing instructions say to heat it for 5-10 seconds first for regular spreading. I needed it a little smoother to squirt out of the bag, so with the vanilla I heated it for ten seconds, then ten more and it was perfect. As I was trying to figure out how to get into the bag, my friend Bridget had a brilliant suggestion to put the bag over a cup. Apparently, she’s seen this done before!

frosting-coverMy vanilla icing attempts looked pretty decent as long as you take into account I’m making it up as I go along. Bolstered by this instant success, I popped the chocolate in the microwave for a straight 20 seconds.

And that’s when things got weird.

Heating it for 20 seconds was too much and it got really melted and just oozed out of the bag. We tried popping it in the freezer to harden it up a bit but every attempt looked like a little turd on top on a muffin. And then someone shouted “it looks like a poop emoji!” And that’s when I realized I’d stumbled upon some Pinterest level poop if I just stuck a couple eyes on each one.

poop emoji cupcake

Everyone enjoyed the muffins and getting up close and personal with the frosting experience. I stashed the few cupcakes that were left in the fridge and the next morning the chocolate icing had hardened up and was like a big Hershey kiss on top! Delicious! As a side note – you do not need to refrigerate any leftover frosting because it is dairy-free.

icing-cupcakes

I don’t think I have a future in cake decorating, but I did feel like I learned enough to take on some Pinterest board cupcakes.

*As usual, any link to Amazon is an affiliate link!*

Amazon and Their Genius Plot to Take Over Every Blog

Amazon_logo-9Just accept the fact that every Amazon link you see, anywhere, is connected to an affiliate account. Even that one I just put there. You click it, make any purchase, and I get a few cents. (It would actually make me SUPER happy if you did that. I could really use a few more cents.) Due to Amazon’s policies, you have to disclose you at are an affiliate any time you post something with a link.

I can’t count the number of blog posts I’ve read that begin with “I’m an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links blah blah blah….”

So not only is Amazon getting the sales links, but now they are getting mentioned first in tons of blog posts every single day!

They have lured thousands of bloggers to work for them on commission, creating free custom content built around the products they offer. Even I’ve sat and brainstormed ideas for posts that would lend to a lot of product recommendations so I could include affiliate links. I haven’t done much of it yet…but it’s probably coming soon. It’s just taken me a while to sit down and actually read through the program and learn the rules and how it works. (Still working on that actually)

I also have an Amazon Influencer page that I haven’t quite gotten the hang of promoting yet: Sew Geek Mama on Amazon. So far I’ve just randomly been adding things that I’ve bought and liked, or reviewed and liked.

Any suggestions, tips, comments about your own affiliate experience are welcome! Heck, include an affiliate link to something and I’ll spread the love by using your link next time I shop.

The Importance of Girl Time

When we get older and grow out of slumber parties, get busy with work and family, girl time gets more rare as it’s replaced by mom time, wife time and regular everyday adult woman time. Life takes the front seat and having girl friends over means planning around schedules, work and kids. It’s too easy to just put it on the back burner and forget about it.

I really missed my girl time, so recently I started having small get-togethers, centered around whatever products I was recently sampling. It gives me a great excuse to throw a party and provides great brand exposure for the companies I work with.

My latest girlie get-together was for Tryazon featuring Sagaform and their Scandinavian lifestyle brand focusing on thoughtfully designed products that make great gifts for friends. They wanted to show a few products in action and sent a multipurpose pasta tool, an herb pot, pizza cutting scissors and herb shredding scissors.

Sagaform USA products

I decided to do big salad and three different pizzas, with each half featuring a different herb and topping combo. I used thyme, basil, oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary and cilantro. I picked all the herbs fresh from my garden except the cilantro. It didn’t survive the winter!

We all got to snip herbs, marvel at the pizza cutting scissors in action (all the wine may have encouraged some oohing and ahhing), and check out the handy pasta tool. I also got to put my new felt letter board from Shiny Vita to good use to encourage everyone to use their hashtags.

We ate, we drank, we snipped and we checkout out the Sagaform website. But most importantly, we hung out and had fun just being together and catching up. And my friend Heather from Geek Chic Photography showed up with her fancy camera that blew away my iPhone pics, so I’m wrapping up with some favorite shots that she took that evening:

* Post contains an Amazon affiliate link. I might make money if you click on it and buy something. I know, shocker, right? Good thing I made this disclosure.

 

I Sold My Soul for a Free Pillow

sleep number pillowIt’s all fun and games until you turn it into work, and that’s exactly what I did when I signed up for this mission from Smiley360 and Sleep Number. I was having fun, sampling stuff left and right, but high on the prospect of free goodies I took on too much and that was my downfall.

I’m cool with the usual free stuff requirements – a blog or video and a few social shares. Something totally natural that you can work in without bugging people and looking like you totally sold out. And then, lured in by the promise of a free $90 pillow, I accepted the invitation to join the Sleep Number campaign.

Here’s what they want:

  1. Visit a Sleep Number store and get your number
  2. Share a photo to Facebook 4 times
  3. 2 Ad tweets
  4. 4 Photo shares to Twitter
  5. 2 Comments on Smiley360
  6. Report on sharing with 10 people face-to-face
  7. 2 Posts on Pinterest
  8. 2 Posts on Instagram

Visiting the store is quite a time investment for a busy mom. I was lucky they had a little Lego table set-up, but there were moments the toddler was zooming around the store squealing.

But the real killer is the social shares. One Facebook post, OK. People actually paid attention and posted their Sleep Number and it was kinda fun to see. But again and again…I’m probably losing friends and credibility with every post. Most of the time I feel like nobody is paying attention on Twitter so I loaded up my feed with as many tweets as I could.

And then this happened: In my rush to get it done, I tagged CrowdTap instead of Smiley360 and my posts were rejected! So not only did I already bug everybody, but I was going to have to do it AGAIN if I wanted to complete my mission. I had gone this far for the darn pillow, I wasn’t going to let it go, so I did it with an added apology to friends that I had let this happen.

I’m still waiting to see if my last posts were accepted, so fingers crossed. This better be the most wonderful damn pillow in the world. (and maybe I will post a photo of it because I Want to this time)

Getting my number at the Sleep Number store
Now give me my fancy pillow!

Under the Influence – finding a new blogging niche

toddler in sunglasses
My son, ready to be a toddler influencer superstar

Back in the day, influencer positions mostly belonged to actual celebrities like movie stars and famous models. Thanks to social media, the new influencers on the block are regular people that like to post their stuff online, like me.

I fell into the influencer niche because I’m a sucker for free samples. Like honestly, if you are giving it away, I’ll try it. I love trying new things. I’m also the person hoarding those little bottles of shampoo and shower caps from hotel rooms just because they’re free for the taking.

When I started blogging, it was from a very personal angle and I didn’t intend to do product reviews. When offers started coming in, I wanted to find a way to satisfy the campaign requirements without turning my blog and social media pages into big boring ads. I’ve made an effort to craft honest, informative and entertaining reviews from my own personal perspective.

There have been a few things I’ve turned down. There was a campaign for new tampons and I just couldn’t see myself posting stylized pics of tampons on my Instagram and discussing my personal flow details. And I think we’d just skip the YouTube review for that lol. And then there was the dating site for people seeking sperm donors. For real.

If you are thinking of giving the influencer thing a try, these are the companies I’ve enjoyed working with the most:

Influenster

CrowdTap

Smiley360

I’d love to hear your recommendations of companies you have tried!

And now I’m off to go try out a new stinky shoe cleaner. Because this influencer life is straight up glamorous. 😂