The Secret Word Is Plethora – Guest Posting at Coach Daddy

I celebrate a plethora of reasons to be happy every day but today is a particularly exciting one for me.

You’ve heard me talk about my blog pal, Eli at Coach Daddy, right?

Eli hosts the monthly 6-words challenge inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s belief that any story can be told in 6 words, a weekly feature called “Go Ask Daddy” in which he answers questions posed by his 3 soccer-ninja daughters, and frequently extends a generous invitation to fellow bloggers to guest post on his site.

So you’ve probably already guessed (maybe the title of this post was the first clue…) but today – in 6 words – my big news is:

I’m guest posting on Coach Daddy!

Please travel on over to Coach Daddy to see what I have to say about the word plethora.

And while you are there, take a buzz around and enjoy some of Eli’s posts. You’ll be very glad you did!

The Stormtroopers are most hospitable.

Guest posting on Coach Daddy

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Places To Visit

Hi folks! I’m currently working on an adventure that is keeping me away from the keyboard. Details to follow but here are a couple of clues:

Mocadeaux wine glasses


Mocadeaux - shell

No, we are not drinking wine on the beach. Keep guessing.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you just a few of the places I like to visit in blog land. For more of my favorites, check out the blogroll on the sidebar over there 

The Enchanted Home – Tina shares ideas on decorating and fashion. She has a shop featuring all sorts of gorgeous things for the home. I always look forward to her Seven on Sunday posts in which she shines a light on her favorite things. It’s Tina version of Oprah’s “O List” and it is fabulous!  Every week I discover new Instagram pages to follow thanks to Tina’s curation.

Preppy Empty Nester – It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of my dear pal, super-model trophy-wife Katie Clooney and her hilarious stories. You will also want to check the virtual tour of her Texas and Massachusetts homes and the photos of her adorable pups, Chowdah and Chili.

Kelly McKenzie – Just Typikel – This sweet and very talented Canadian spitfire is a self-described “Quirk Magnet” who tells tales about the pickles she has gotten herself into and her adventures with her 93-year-old mum. She is also a published author having, among other things, an essay published in Chicken Soup For The Cat Lover’s Soul even though she doesn’t own a cat. Just Typikel.

You May Be Wandering – This is my very favorite travel blog. The photos make me want to pack a suitcase and go! In addition to tempting destination ideas, Sandy posts great travel tips about everything from planning to packing and all things in between. Sandy is also a fantastic travel agent who can make your travel dreams a reality. That might be a hint but I’m not saying.

Coach Daddy – Eli writes about “Fatherhood, Futbol and Food”.  (I feel a kindred spirit-ness with Eli, having bonded over our love of pizza.) I especially love Eli’s “6 Words” challenge which requires participants to craft a 6-word answer to each month’s question. It is way harder than you would imagine. I love participating for that very reason because it is such good exercise for my old and addled brain.

That’s all for now. What about you? What are your favorite places in blog land to visit?

See you soon!

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Shotbox – My New Favorite Tool

Hi folks! Today I am excited to tell you about my new favorite tool: The Shotbox.

My Shotbox

Shotbox is an easy to use, portable, fully collapsable, powerful lightbox that gives a professional look to every photo I take. It is designed to take pictures with your phone but works equally well with a fancy camera and tripod.

I want you to know that I have an affiliation with Shotbox. This means that if someone purchases a Shotbox via links on my site I get a tiny commission.

That’s great and all, but you know what’s even more fabulous?

My Shotbox.

I was introduced to Shotbox last summer at a conference. At that time, the product was still in the prototype phase. I spent most of the conference trying out the Shotbox and peppering the inventor, Aaron Johnson, with questions.

The fact that Aaron was co-creator of the Cricut machine (an amazing product familiar to crafters and anyone who has ever stepped foot inside a Michael’s store), gave him serious credibility in my eyes.

By the end of the weekend, I had gone from being intrigued by the idea to being so sold on Shotbox that I joined their Kickstarter campaign.

Shotbox 120×600

Perfect for bloggers, scrapbookers, artists, crafters or anyone who wants to take crisp, clean pictures, the only limit to the Shotbox is the imagination of the user.

Even in the hands of an accountant like me, the Shotbox creates great shots.

The base unit sells for $129. There are several accessories, including the must-have SideShot ($40).

(You can see the SideShot hanging on the front of my Shotbox in the picture above.)

This nifty little number provides an extra light source to help diffuse shadows and a platform on which a phone can be positioned and adjusted to take pictures from an almost infinite number of angles. Beyond amazing!

Of course, you could just do what I did and purchase the deluxe Shotbox bundle for $199. The bundle includes the lightbox, the indespensible SideShot, a fancy carrying bag and four backdrops (white, black, blue and green).

The heavy vinyl backdrops hang from the top of the back wall and extend all the way to the front of the box floor creating a great, clean stage for photos like this from my post about planning a wine tasting party.

wine tasting party tips wine charm

Once you start playing around with your Shotbox, you will come up with all sorts of creative ideas.

I picked up a bunch of colored and patterned scrapbook pages from Michael’s to use as a background.

I hung the scrapbook page on the back wall of the Shotbox using painter’s tape for easy repositioning and removal, then took some random things from around my house to create these:

A collection of corks –

Collection of corks

We always have plenty of corks on hand. The box is the holder for a stack of coasters.

Or how about this?

Shotbox wine bottle photo

Looks like a wine bottle sitting on a table against the exposed brick wall of a café, right?

Imagine if you were an artist or crafter with an Etsy shop.

Shotbox art display

Or if you were a blogger writing a post about your favorite things.

It could be a Nest candle “resting on the grass”.

Shotbox Nest candle on grass

Maybe a more zen-like, spa type feel.

Shotbox Nest candle

With a little editing on PicMonkey, I created this fun graphic for my post about choosing your own house wine.

I prefer French Chardonnay

These photos were all created by using items around my house and a couple of dollar’s worth of scrapbook pages from Michael’s.

Shotbox supplies

And, they were taken using my iPhone 5s. Easy peasy!

Are you starting to see all of the possibilities?

Among the many great qualities of the Shotbox is that it takes seconds to set up and take down and folds up compactly for easy storage.

Shotbox collapsed

My entire Shotbox bundle…

Shotbox bundle equipment

fits neatly into the carrying bag for easy transport and storage – though in truth, I use it almost every day so it rarely sees the inside of a closet.

Shotbox bag full of equipment

Friends, I’m not a salesperson – I’m terrible at it. I’m just a fan who LOVES her Shotbox and wants to share this fun tool with you.

This video from Shotbox does a great job showing how the product works.

Check this out:

If you have any questions, let me know. And if you are interested in learning more, check out the Shotbox website.

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Shotbox Kickstarter Campaign

I’m fascinated by clever new products and businesses. Shark Tank is one of my favorite TV shows.

So it’s kind of surprising that I hadn’t yet jumped on the Kickstarter train. I guess I just hadn’t been drawn in by the right idea.

Until now.

At the blogging conference I attended recently, one of the presenting sponsors was a company called Shotbox.

Shotbox Kickstarter Campaign

Being a diligent conference goer, I did my homework ahead of time. I wanted to know what Shotbox was all about.

This nifty invention looks simple but after watching the Shotbox Kickstarter video, I was intrigued. After meeting the inventor, Aaron, and seeing his presentation at the conference, I was sold.

Check out the video for yourself. You will see what I mean.

(By the way, Aaron was also the co-inventor of a fabulous machine that revolutionized DIY crafts, the Cricut Cutting Machine. He’s the kind of proven inventor I can get behind. Kickstarter – count me in!)

I am so enthusiastic about Shotbox that I signed up to be a Founding Affiliate. This means that if you join the Shotbox Kickstarter campaign using links in this post, I will be compensated for the referral. Read my complete affiliate disclosure here.

So much more that a simple light box that folds up for easy storage, the Shotbox is a brilliant design that allows even terrible photographers like me to capture beautiful photos using just a camera phone.

The original idea for Shotbox came about out of frustration with trying to figure out a way to scan a 12 inch by 12 inch scrapbook page.

We all know that scanners are a pain in the neck no matter what you are trying to scan. Prior to Shotbox, it was virtually impossible for regular folks to scan oversized documents.

With Shotbox it is not only possible, it’s easy!

Certificate "scanned" with Shotbox

Family history document “scanned” using Shotbox

But scanning is just the beginning.

Think about the applications for online shop owners, crafters, food writers and bloggers like myself.

Shotbox Education and DIY

Education and DIY

Shotbox jewelry

Perfect for shop owners.

Shotbox using a different background

You can even use different backgrounds for different effects.

The possibilities are endless! I can’t wait to get my hands on my Shotbox.

But Aaron and his team need your help.

The Kickstarter campaign for Shotbox lasts only a few more weeks. This is a product which needs to make it to market. Will you please consider joining me in supporting Shotbox?

Head over to the Kickstarter page for more information.

Then you, too, can start imagining all the ways in which Shotbox will improve your creativity and your productivity!

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