#RanchLB Romance Twitter Party!

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Disclosure: I am participating in a sponsored partnership with The Ranch at Laguna Beach. All enthusiasm regarding the below prizes is 100% authentically me. 

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is a brand new resort secluded within a peaceful blend of canyon and sea, where guests get to stay off the beaten path while still experiencing all Laguna Beach has to offer.  Would you like to go? Yes?  Join the #RanchLB Romance Twitter Party for a chance to win some romantic prizes just in time for Valentine’s Day! Read on for how to join us…

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Are you ready to see what you could win next week? Can you imagine how fun it would to surprise your Sweetie with one of these prizes for Valentine’s Day? Let me share the The Ranch at Laguna Beach #RanchLB Romance Twitter Party prizes.

1-night romance package stay at The Ranch at Laguna Beach which includes a 1-night stay with couples massage and your choice of paddle boarding or golf  (3 prizes available)

Round of golf for two at The Ranch at Laguna Beach (1 prize available)

Dinner for two at The Ranch at Laguna Beach (1 prize available)

How to Be a Part of the#RanchLB Romance Twitter Party

1. Register for free to participate by clicking here. To be eligible to win, you must register and answer the questions correctly during the #RanchLB Twitter party!

2.  Hop on Twitter on Wednesday, 2/10/16 at 7:00pm sharp and follow the hashtag #RanchLB to join the party.

–> To be ahead of the game, follow The Ranch at Laguna Beach on Twitter now. And follow me!  I’m @TinyOrangesOC and will be partying with you along with sharing some of my favorite local Laguna hot spots.

3. Study ahead of time to have the answers to the questions prior to joining the party so you are ready to ROCK it and win one of those awesome prizes.

All answers can be found here on The Ranch at Laguna Beach website.

Questions:

– Name one of the charitable organizations that Chef Camron supports
– The Treehouse Romance Package @ranchlb includes a romantic chef-prepared dinner. How many courses is it?
– How many holes does Ben Brown’s golf course at The Ranch have?
– Name one of the items included in the romance kit as part of The Ranch Romance Package.
– Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. Which breakfast item at The Ranch is at the top of Jill Simonian’s list to celebrate?

For a complete run down of all the fun details of this party click here.

Have a great, beautiful weekend. It’s supposed to be crazy beautiful here in OC and I look forward to partying with you on Wednesday night!

xo

Jen

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Facing a Fear to Save Lives

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Facing Blood Donation Fear to Save Lives

Facing Blood Donation Fear to Save Lives

Was it Eleanor Roosevelt that said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”?

Well, last week I did something that has scared me for my entire life when I put on my big girl panties and donated blood for the very first time and I DID IT!!!  Man, does it feels good to conquer a fear!

Now that I know what to expect, next time will be easier, and for anyone who has feared donating blood, I am writing this post to share the real scoop on exactly how it works.  You too can do it! It’s really not that big of a deal. But first…

Why Is It Important to Donate Blood?

From www.redcrossblood.org:

* 1 pint of donated blood can save 3 lives
* Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
* Approximately 41,000 blood donations are needed every day
* 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer yearly, many will need blood sometimes daily, during chemotherapy
* A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood
* Donated blood has a shelf life, which is why continuous donations are needed

blooddrive Facing Blood Donation Fear: I Did It for Ben

This beautiful boy, Ben, lost his life last year at the tender age of 4-years-old to rare forms of leukemia.

Over the course of his treatment, he received over 50 blood transfusions as well as a bone marrow transplant from a donor that was a match in Germany.

Ben’s family goes to our elementary school. His passing affected our community deeply.

One of his mother’s friends organized an American Cross Blood Drive and Be the Match bone marrow registry collection at our local elementary school.

When I saw the flyer and heard about it, I knew this was my chance to face a lifelong fear, donating blood. I might not have been able to do it before, but I could deal with facing blood donation fear for Ben and for any people who might need my blood.

How to Donate Blood

First off, here is information eligibility. All good? Time to find a drive!

1. Find a Blood Drive Near You

It’s really easy and blood drives are going on every day. All you need to do is visit www.redcrossblood.org, then put in your zip code under “Find a Blood Drive” and you will see all the blood drives close to you.  Select the one you want, then make an appointment that is most convenient or drop in during operating hours.

2. Prep Your Bod for Blood Giving 

I was told it is important to eat a healthy meal beforehand, not too heavy or greasy, and drink an additional 16 oz of non-caffeinated fluids before as well. Also, pay attention to getting some iron-rich foods in your diet in the days before and get a good night’s sleep. You can find out more tips on how to prepare here.

3. Save Time with Rapid Pass 

The day of the blood collection ONLY (has to be the day of) visit www.redcrossblood.org/rapidpass and you can complete the health questionnaire online before going. You will also be fascinated with the types of questions you will be asked.

4. Show Up + Go Through Registration 

Bring your photo ID, list of any medications you are taking, and budget enough time for the whole donation process, which for me was about 1 hour 15 mins total.  You will first be given a little mini physical…temperature, blood pressure, etc. and they will take a prick of blood from your finger to test and make sure you are eligible to give.

5.  It’s “Go” Time

I told my registration lady that I wanted the very best, most experienced person to do the needle since it was my first time.  She told me OK, and matched me up with someone. Now I have no idea if this really was the best person, but psychologically it helped me to think so. Finally the moment arrived, and it was time for me to face my fear. I was led to a bed and laid down.

It’s so mental.

It took several minutes to prep everything, and then finally I was given a little foam block and told to squeeze.  It was go time. The needle went in, little pinch, and I was told just to relax and lightly squeeze the foam thing about every 5 seconds for the duration.

If you are squeamish, just don’t look. I actually closed my eyes for the WHOLE ENTIRE TIME. I didn’t look one time at anything. I just tried to think of other things.  In the future I would bring headphones and listen to music or listen to something distracting.  I took the time to pray and so some deep breathing and relaxation. I tried to keep my mind off of it.

Next thing I knew, the guy said, “You’re done!”

I was DONE?! That was it? I asked him how long it took to actually get my blood they needed, and it was 8 minutes.  Interesting. I asked him the average amount of time, and he said 7 – 12 minutes.  It’s quick!!!

6. After You Donate Blood 

I was told to just lay there for a few moments after, and then slowly sit up. They gave me a bottle of water and told me to drink all of it while I was sitting on the edge of the bed. I felt a little light headed, but nothing terrible. However, I thought I was OK to get up finally, but one of the nurses turned me right around and told me to go sit down for a little while longer.  I must not have been as ready as I thought. I probably sat on the edge of the table for about 15 minutes.

Afterwards I transitioned to the snack station where I drank another bottle of water and had some cookies. By the time I was ready to leave, I felt pretty good, and then I made sure to go home and eat a meal and drank extra water for the rest of the day.

They told me no alcohol for 24 hours and no lifting or vigorous exercise after, so plan accordingly.

The rest of the day I felt a little woozy and out of it, that’s the best way to describe it, but could carry on my normal afternoon activities. By evening I felt almost 100%.  Overall, I was FINE!!! And I DID IT!!!!!

I felt so blessed to be able to face this fear. More than that, I loved feeling like I was a part of something good that came out of something so tragic.  Ben and his legacy are saving lives and that is so incredibly powerful.  Here I am with his beautiful mom, Liz, what an amazing event to be a part of.

Are you interested in hosting a blood drive for your community? Click here to find out how. It’s easier than you think!

meandliz

 

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Tackling a Massive Project: The Family Photo Book

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howtodoafamilyphotobook

Confession.

The last family photo book I did was 2010. My 2nd born’s baby book goes up to her 5th month. It has plagued me with guilt!

My lack of being able to manage my family photos and create books where my kids can actually enjoy the photos has at times, kept me up at night. Ridiculous? Yes. True? Yes!

I loved looking through my mom’s albums she did for our family when I was young. And although we now have the cool factor of being able to create some amazing books on our computer, I truly think it was way easier to do albums back then!  You printed your photos, glued the best ones in an album and you were done!

Now I have thousands and thousands of photos, many of which are 10 shots of the SAME thing, so to organize them and put them into a book is a massive project if you get behind. But mamas, I tackled the family photo book project this month, and I am 3/4 done! Can I get a Hallelujah?!  Not done with the past 6 years, but 3/4 done with ONE year, which was my goal.

How to Make a Family Photo Book  

If you are plagued with the same lack of photo album guilt and the massive project that ensues, here’s how I made it into a manageable project.

1. Start Now and Work Backwards

The thought of going back to 2011 and working up was overwhelming, so I decided I am going to do ONE year, 2015, from January – New Years Eve, and make a book for both of my girls individually.

2. Give Yourself a Deadline 

I have been unsuccessful in the past because it has not been a priority and there was no deadline to get it done.  I decided starting this year, I am going to make a book of the previous year for both my girls, and give it to them on Valentine’s Day.

3. Work in Small Chunks of Time to Edit and Create 

I have found working on the project in chunks of time has helped.  For example, when I sit down, I will decide to do a month or two at once, like Valentine’s to Easter, that sort of thing. Makes it easier to get my head around a small block of time.

4. Edit, Delete and Organize 

To start, go through all your photos in that time period and edit. Delete all of the shots of the same thing, with the exception of the best one, etc. so you can pare down the number of images.  Your computer storage will also thank you.

I then created two folders for both girls and then dragged the images I wanted to use in their books into their individual folders. This made it easy to upload since they were all in one place.

5. Pick Your Photo Book Site and Create Your Project

I went with Shutterfly (affiliate link) because I am familiar with the site and it is pretty user-friendly. But there are a ton of sites you can choose from. Once you pick a company, select the photo book you want, and create your project.  Then upload the photos from the chunk of time you are working on and start designing.

I find that it is good to mix up the editing and organizing with the creating, because it gives you a break and avoids project burn out. Going through a year’s worth of photos to edit at one time is a nightmare, but doing a couple months of editing, and then putting your favorites from that block of time into a book and getting to create is a nice balance. Then, back to editing the next chunk of time.

6. Schedule Time Each Day to Work on It 

Schedule little bits of time each day to chip away at the project has helped. Once you get on a roll, it’s easy to keep up with momentum.

7. Stay on Top of it Throughout the Year

Doing one year for two girls at one time has been a LOT of work.  Once 2015 is done, starting next month I am going to try to stay on top of it and do the project throughout the year so I can be working on the book as the year goes on.

Maybe then I will have some time to go back and tackle 2011. Ugh. And my videos. Hold me.

Hope this helps! If anyone else has any tips on how to create family photo books I would love to hear your advice!

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Thank You Note Tips for Kids By Emma

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Thank You Note Tips for Kids

Thank You Note Tips for Kids

My name is Emma and my mom let me write this guest post for her. I hope you will share it with your kids. I am 9 years old and in 4th grade. I noticed that adults get really happy when you show that you appreciate your gift. When we receive gifts my mom is always asking for me to write a thank you note. I have had lots of experience writing thank you notes, so I decided to write a post on how to write the perfect thank you note for kids.

Step 1.

When you write your thank you note you always have to write the date in the top right hand corner. Not just 1-6-16 you want to actually want to write it out. For example, January 11, 2016.

Step 2.

To show that you are writing to them you want to start with dear. Like this, Dear Emma. After you write your dear whoever you are writing to you add a comma. For example, Dear Emma,. Then you skip a line and indent. Indenting is when you don’t start at the end of the line, you start your word two fingers in from the edge.

Step 3.

To start your thank you note you start with an opener. For example, Thank you so much for whatever they got you. After that you could just go on and say why you like it, but I think it is nice to say something like, I appreciate you getting it for me, or I use it all the time. So the person that is reading it will think that you really enjoyed it!

Step 4.

You should always tell the person why you loved the gift so much, or what you love to do with the gift. You could say, I wear my new dress all the time! Or I love to draw with my markers all the time! But don’t just copy me, say what you loved about your gift.

Step 5.

You need a closer. A closer is a sentence that wraps up your writing. You could say, thank you so much again! Or you could say, I hope I see you again soon. Whatever you want to say to wrap your writing up.

Step 6.

End you writing with Love, Emma, but with your name. You could also say sincerely, gratefully, your friend, or yours truly. There are so many other things you could say but I couldn’t name them all because there’s so many. Thank you for reading my post! I hope you share it with your kids!

Here is an example of one of my thank you notes:

thanksnote

 

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Increase Your Happiness in 2 Minutes a Day

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increaseyourhappiness

Before Christmas I was bedridden with the flu and unable to do anything except watch endless T.V.  I watched countless Sex and the City reruns, episodes of Hoarders (which made me feel like I actually am pretty organized), This is 40, the comedy which I actually found to actually be a little depressing, then I happened upon Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions on the OWN Network and

I

was

hooked.

You guys, please DVR the shows or watch the speakers online, INCREDIBLE. And

Get

ready

to

be

inspired.

One speaker I fell in love with was Shawn Achor who spoke on The Life-Altering Power of a Positive Mind < – watch it now. Please.

I am a total believer in the power of positive thinking and found his research and points to be SO powerful. We can transform our lives at any time, with the power of our thoughts and the renewing of our minds and optimism is a daily spiritual practice.

Increase Your Happiness in a Daily 2 Minute Positive Habit

One of the biggest take aways I got from this session were simple ways we can increase our happiness in just two minutes a day. That’s all! Fast forward to about the 27 minute mark in the talk if you are short on time, but please go back and watch the whole thing when you can.

Here is my favorite 2 minute daily positive habit:

Take a moment to send a positive email or text, thanking or praising someone you know.  Like he says on the video, after doing it for 3 days you will be hooked. And maybe, just maybe you will start a ripple effect of happiness.

Thanks for letting me share this.

Here is my 2 minute positive email to all of you taking the time to read this sentence right now. I want you to know just how deeply I appreciate you taking your time to read my words and how much I appreciate your support. More than words can even express, THANK YOU!

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