Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 Reasons Why your Business Needs Bloggers

5 Reasons Why your Business Needs Bloggers
We all like to think that we can do everything ourselves, especially us small business owners. We don't need any additional help. Let's overextend ourselves and be less productive. Does this sentiment feel familiar? But in the end, after feeling exhausted and agitated, we did do it ourselves! That is no way to run or grow a business. Sometimes you need help. Professional help. Someone that cares about growing your business as much as you do. You need professional bloggers. Here are 5 reasons why your business needs help from professional bloggers.

1.) Small business owners like to do-it-themselves, which is sometimes bad for business. Small business owners sometimes think, "I can learn how to run my social media and be successful at managing it myself." That prior statement might be true if they did nothing else but manage their social media, but the truth is that their social media starts to fall to the bottom of the priority list as time goes on.Working with professional bloggers ensures that your business's social media sites gets top priority all the time. Because in today's online marketing world, if you are not properly posting several times a day across your social media networks, you are rendering yourself virtually invisible.

2.) Professional bloggers make their livelihoods out of building a niche audience, they blog consistently to stay visible, and they have a network that extends beyond the inter-web. Tap into a professional blogger's large and developed network by having them share your products or services through their networks. It is, however, up to you(the small business owner) to figure out how to creatively maximize those blogger's efforts to pay huge dividends for your small business. I will give you a tip: pay them. There is no comparison between giving someone a trinket versus money to write and promote for your business. Money is a great incentive for most people.

 3.) Running your social media takes more time than you think you have. I would recommend to any growing business that they find someone to manage their social media accounts full time, because it takes time! You need to be on social media,  but you also need to be doing other important things too. If you are just starting out, find a blogger or group of bloggers with a solid network and work with them over an extended time period. If  your budget allows, work with several bloggers at once and repeat. Using different bloggers and rotating allows you to continue your growth(tapping into other networks in your niche) while the initial blogger you worked with is continuing to grow his/her network. Come back to your initial blogger in 3 to 6 months.

4.) Genuine communication with your audience. Bloggers are a genuine form of advertising. Your business should have a blog associated with it, but when it comes time to talk about what you do well it should be coming from someone else. Of course you are going to say your product or service is the best in town, but will anyone believe it? Bloggers have a network of friends. We trust our friends to tell us where we should eat, what we should buy, what movies to see, etc... Need I say more?

5.) Most bloggers charge a modest rate. You are not going to kill your marketing budget by occasionally hiring bloggers for marketing campaigns. Professional bloggers give you access to hundreds or even thousands of potential customers. All you need to do is connect with the best professional bloggers in your niche(or local area) and convey to them your marketing goals. Finding the best bloggers is not always easy, but if you live in the DMV(DC, MD, or VA) area then you have The Virginia Bloggers Club.

The Virginia Bloggers Club seamlessly connects you with top-notch bloggers in your industry that have thousands of local followers and small business connections to help grow your business faster. How do we do it?

First, we have a local community on Facebook called The Virginia Bloggers Club. Say you need 5 incredible foodie bloggers for an upcoming marketing campaign or event. I will go to our group and verify that they are interesting in working with your company. This is also a good time to tell the bloggers what you are going to require of them and how you are planning to compensate them in exchange for their services. What's next?

We connect you to your bloggers via e-mail and you work out your own terms of contract with those bloggers. It is that simple. You get quality bloggers to spread the word and they get paid. Everyone wins. But, you have to take the first step and e-mail us at virginiabloggerclub@gmail.com to get started! We are here to help you grow and prosper.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blood Drive with One.Love.Loudoun

Blood Drive with One Love Loudoun

Let's start off 2016 by saving a life or 3! One.Love.Loudoun is hosting a blood drive on January 30th to help those in our community who need the life saving measures of blood. The Zone is generously sponsoring this event as well as the Virginia Bloggers Club.

This blood drive will be held from 10 am to 2 pm and giveaways will be held all day! So bring out the family and include "making a difference" in your New Year's resolution for 2016. Need additional information? Visit oneloveloudoun.org and learn how together we can make a difference.
Blood Drive with One Love Loudoun

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
Blaire Ring and I have been working together for a long time. She is one of the most talented, professional, and creative photographers in Northern Virginia! She will try just about anything to obtain an interesting and creative shot. Blaire is my kind of gal. My fellow Scorpio friend and owner of Second Ave Photography kindly gave The Virginia Bloggers Club a fresh + modern look for 2016. Yes, 2016 will be here before we know it and we are already thinking about where we are going next year. Did you ever think about taking photos in a parking garage? No?! Well, I believe in taking something beautiful and putting it in an industrial(non-pretty) setting. The end result is quite striking. Striking is just what I am going for.

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
These photos were taken on first Friday in Leesburg and I would have liked to sit on a random car or lay down in the parking garage, but we may have been tased or ran over(or both). I really love stairwell shots and it took about 20 minutes to get them, because so many people were going up and down the stairs. Don't people know we are trying to have a photo shoot here?

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
A part of me, okay a big part of me, loves to climb on things during a photo shoot. Let's get crazy! This looks relatively easy, but in heels this is a bit more challenging then it actually looks. Carin, the sensible one, stayed on low ground.

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
One of my favorite types of photos involves blurred twinkly lights in the background. There is something so bright and magical about these shots. The glow from behind is ethereal and truly beautiful. Mysterious, dark, light, and strong. Such a great mixture of emotions going on in this photo.

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
Then there are times when being silly pays off. Spontaneous + silly photos are some of my favorites. Why did we strike a random pose? Because we could. It does appear very 70ish in styling, but I like it! You should never take yourself too seriously and this is a prime example of that.

Second Ave Photography + VA Bloggers Club
Looking for some creative shots for yourself or your family? Give Blaire a call or drop her a line at secondavephotography@gmail.com. Lastly, if you are a small business owner that needs help with short-term social media promotions or if you are looking to connect with professional bloggers for an upcoming campaign(or event) feel free to drop us a line at virginiabloggerclub@gmail.com. Our list of services and media kit is available for viewing at the top of the blog.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Business Motivation: Build it and they will come?

Business Motivation: Build it and they will come?
Remember the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner? Same concept. You are building something in the hopes that creating the "physical business" will automatically draw in the masses. You believe in your business model and have done your market research. Let's say for example, there is a true need for a donut shop within your community because there is absolutely no donut shop within a 100 mile radius. Does that point alone ensure that you will be successful as a small business owner? What if no one outside of a 10 mile radius knows about your donut shop? Will it still be successful? Doubtful. We live in a online marketing world. Every face you see is embedded into their smart phone and it is your job to be there too.

Did you take out a newspaper or magazine ad this year? I am certain you are not the only one. However, you need to be where your audience lives and it is not in a teeny $500 magazine ad that few people will ever see. Do you have thousands of dollars for a full-page magazine ad? For today's online marketing era, you have just flushed your money down the toilet. Do you want to find your audience, your voice, and more importantly your customer base? Locate someone who has already been building that base for years and then pay them to post about your business over their established social media network. Who or what am I talking about? Bloggers.

Not only do bloggers give you visibility using their platform of like-minded readers(or potential customers for you), but they can help you build your social media network at the same time. Yes, you can build it yourself, but that is the long road. Why not utilize someone who is years ahead of you and also a savvy social media professional? Bloggers can help you connect with the genuine voice of the people. Say you own a new and hip fashion boutique in town. Connect with the best local fashion bloggers and watch how that increases your exposure, following, and bottom line.  It is all about growth and fast growth at that. Your bigger competition is utilizing bloggers right now and it is paying off big time in sales and social media followers. More followers yield more visibility and more sales. So, how do you find the best blogger for your small business? Right here at The Virginia Bloggers Club.


Here is my sales pitch: the Virginia Bloggers Club hosts some of the best bloggers in the DC, MD, and VA area. We connect you with the right professional blogger for your brand and then you decide how they will best work for your business. We connect bloggers to write content, host promotional giveaways, and attend local DMV events for increased social media visibility. The bottom line is we have you covered. We are a small business working for your small business. Our list of services can work with any budget, but you cannot grow if you do not start. The journey of a thousand miles starts today.



Monday, October 26, 2015

Daily Dose of Motivation: Greatness

Daily Dose of Motivation: Greatness
My current read by Morgan Rice titled the Sorcerer's Ring has me contemplating the topics of both honor and greatness this week. It is something that few of us probably even think about. Greatness is not simply about personal status, endeavors of climbing the corporate ladder, or monetary gains. Greatness and honor goes far beyond tangible and weighed personal goals. Greatness is a true journey to the soul that is intertwined by our personal moral compass. Tales of brave knights and warriors that choose to lay down their lives for a cause, that has my mind reeling. They risk their lives and all they hold dear to "do the right thing". Not everyone is a warrior in the fighting sense, but you can adopt a warrior's mindset...that is within everybody's reach.

Personally, I believe greatness is cloaked in opportunities. We are given the opportunity everyday to do the right thing, to be great. However, few of us choose to take that path as we rush about are busy lives. When has holding a door for the person behind you or stopping at a cross walk to let a mother and her child cross the road become a rarity among men? We all have a personal responsibility to one another. Taking the road less traveled(I adore you Robert Frost) and taking care of each other IS greatness. Family, I have come to find, is what you make it. Humanity is my family and so is kindness.

So I ask you, or rather encourage you, to embrace greatness. It is the little choices we make each day to help and be kind to our fellow man that truly makes us great. Of course, you should also never be afraid to wield your sword when necessary.

Be great,

Heather Paulding
Founder of The Virginia Bloggers Club

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cooperative Preschool of Loudoun: A Sweet Deal.

Cooperative Preschool of Loudoun: A Sweet Deal.
The Cooperative Preschool of Loudoun(CPL) is the only cooperative preschool in Loudoun County. "Cooperative" meaning the parents are involved in running the preschool and occasionally helping the teachers in the classroom(about once a month per child). It was not until my eldest entered kindergarten this year that I appreciated how precious it was to see my child in the classroom both interacting and learning. I now stand on the sidelines and watch my son enter our local elementary school each day. I am often left wondering what he is learning and how he is doing. There is no price that can be placed on being involved first hand in your child's early education. It is the way that it should be...as parents we are the original teacher for our children. Being involved is a natural and beautiful thing for everyone.

Last weekend, we had our annual bake sale a Brambleton's Fall Fest. What a beautiful day indeed! In a cooperative fashion, the parents worked to bake a variety of homemade goodies to be sold. We are a non-profit preschool, so fundraising is an important part of what we do! We do fundraising to purchases important necessities for the classroom and to keep the school in tip top shape. The bake sale is a wonderful time to talk to the parents in the community. As I type, we still have some 3 year old "Junior" spots available at CPL. If you know of any parents with 3 year olds still looking for an incredible preschool please send them our way. We are happy to schedule a time to walk your family through the school, so that you may see how truly wonderful it is to be apart of the CPL family.

Family is indeed the right word. We are a community of friends. This is an environment that gives your child the best head start possible and it involves the most important person in their lives: you.

Cooperative Preschool of Loudoun: A Sweet Deal.
A big thank you to everyone who donated their time and talents to make the Brambleton CPL bake sale a success! A Big BIG thank you goes to Sugar and Spice Cupcakes here is Ashburn, VA. Her cupcakes are truly delicious.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Next Phase Fitness "Grand Opening"

Next Phase Fitness Grand Opening Next Phase Fitness is the next phase for your health and well being! Are you looking for a community fitness studio? Are you looking for personal trainers that will guide you through fresh and personally tailored workouts? Are you looking for that extra motivation in a group workout setting? Well folks, you have arrived! Next Phase Fitness boasts 60 minute fitness classes that accommodate all fitness levels and are based on exercise science! Think "group" personal training without the premium personal training prices. No matter what your fitness level currently is, Next Phase Fitness can take you to the next level!

Next Phase Fitness is owned by two hometown boys: Doug and Daniel Frantzen. These brothers are truly passionate about fitness, healthy living, and the science behind it all! Daniel is an active Army reservist and thus, they are a pro-military workout atmosphere. They hire military vets and incorporate military inspired training into their classes. I already spotted a personal trainer from their personal trainer lineup that I already know! He has earned the reputation as "The Preacher" for his positive motivational talks during workouts. Good staff is the key to happy clients and "The Preacher" is an incredible motivational trainer. Ready to check out the facilities?

Next Phase Fitness Grand Opening
Next Phase Fitness is having a Grand Opening event on September 19th. This event is open to everyone(that means you)! 98.7 WMZQ will be on location to host the Next Phase Fitness "Grand Opening" event and will be giving away some Fall Fest tickets. No classes will be held during the event, but there will be plenty of action to include tours, fitness challenges, games, food, and many vendors on site. Next Phase Fitness will also be giving away some "top secret" prizes of their own! You do not want to miss this special Grand Opening event September 19th from 1pm to 5pm. Like all that? Of course you do! It is time to sign up for a pre-sale membership packages discounted as low as 50% off.

Pre-sale discounts offer two primary options. You can get 15% off for life as a founding member or 50% off the 1st month. Next Phase Fitness also offers 15% off their session packages during the pre-sale period prior to September 19th. Classes officially start September 20th, so lock in those pre-sale savings right now! Also, please note Next Phase Fitness has no contracts. You are free to book sessions as you please. You can purchase single sessions, multiple sessions, or month-to-month packages. This is all about you, your fitness, and your schedule! See that photo below? That's right, one free session is coming your way! What do you have to lose....better yet, what do you have to gain?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

September is...Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is...Life Insurance Awareness Month
No one wants to think about the "unthinkable". However, the unthinkable happens everyday...without warning. Our children are the first people my husband and I consider when we are making any major life decisions. The first thing we did after having children was invest in life insurance and a living will. My husband is a former infantry man and I a former emergency room nurse. Due to our former professions, my husband and I understand that "things happen".  If indeed the unthinkable happens and we tragically have to leave our children, we both know that they will be cared for emotionally by our family and financially with our life insurance policy. Having life insurance is as close to "buying peace of mind" as one gets. When purchasing life insurance, it is important to find a trusted financial advisor. Someones that cares about you and your families needs. If you live in Northern Virginia or the DC metro area there is a trusted financial advisor located in your backyard: Peter Market at Market Wealth Management.

September is...Life Insurance Awareness Month
So, why get life insurance from Market Wealth Management? A good question with many equally good answers. First, they do not represent one specific insurance company. Based on your individual needs they shop the life insurance market to find the best overall fit and price. Speaking of lowest rates, Peter stated they often submit applications to multiple insurance companies and have them "bid" for a potential client. This results in the lowest price possible for their clients. Also, Market Wealth represents the client. That means they have no proprietary issues to push on behalf of particular life insurance agencies. You (the client) and your family are the sole concern. Feels nice for a change doesn't it? Market Wealth Management takes a holistic approach with their clients and considers their financial picture as a whole. This ensures that their clients get both the appropriate amount of insurance to meet their families needs as well as having the right policy.

Ready to get started? Contact Peter Market at Market Wealth Management today for a Complimentary Life Insurance Evaluation or a Life Insurance Compare and Review.

This is a paid AD for Market Wealth Management, LLC by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Securities offered through Parkland Securities Company, LLC member FINRA and SIPC.  Investment Advisory services offered through SPC,a Registered Investment Advisor. Market Wealth Management, LLC and Parkland Securities Company, LLC are independent of one another.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Take Back Your Health Conference

The Take Back your Health Conference is going into its 11th year! You will be learning from some of the best health coaches, wellness instructors, and physicians. Before you start to learn from leading experts, you will kick off your day off with some gentle yoga. Now that is taking back your health! Get ready to learn about alternative wellness, the science behind long-term health, and information about chronic health conditions for those living in Northern Virginia, such as chronic Lyme Disease. The goal of Take Back Your Health is to raise money for the Farm to Consumer Defense Fund as well as bring awareness to the many alternative wellness opportunities for people with chronic illness in Northern Virginia.

Topics that I am excited about this year? Nourishing adrenal and thyroid health with Andrea Beaman: Increase your energy & vitality and balance your hormones without going broke! I am also looking forward to Five steps to starting your edible garden with Debby Ward: Learn 5 proven steps to creating your edible dream garden that fits your lifestyle. The topics are cutting edge and exciting! Beyond all the great knowledge you will obtain? The finishing Happy Hour will boast green juice, Organic wine, and many raffle drawings!

Are you ready to get your tickets, check the schedule, and see the experts? Visit the Take Back Your Health Conference website to purchase tickets and view vital conference information.

*VA Bloggers Club is an affiliate for Take Back Your Health.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cycle Scene SPIN Studio in Ashburn, VA

Cycle Scene SPIN Studio in Ashburn, VA
Did you know that we have a SPIN studio in Ashburn, VA called Cycle Scene? Now you do! Intense exercise is truly a satisfying thing and to be honest I did not know you could get a total body work out from a SPIN class! 45 minutes of non-stop cycling action with energetic and enthusiastic instructors. For those of you who also adore a luxurious atmosphere, perhaps you will find the chilled eucalyptus towels and spa grade amenities to your liking! They also have key-less lockers in their locker room and plenty of showers! No need to elbow your fellow spinners out of the way when exiting class.


Welcome Loudoun County to the Best Spin Studio in Northern Virginia!

Last Thursday was my first SPIN class ever at Cycle Scene! I am truly hooked. I cannot wait to go back! The workouts are motivational, inspirational, and sweaty(in the very best sense). While "spinning" you get to rock out to fresh beats that make you feel like you are hanging out at the best nightclub(aka spin studio) in town. After your work out concludes, they have bottled water, replenishing granola bars, and an entire vending machine filled with an array of healthy snacks! Honestly, I just wanted to hang out with everyone after I was done with class. Cycle Scene has a true community feel with positive vibes all around.

Are you a local blogger or small business owner? Looking to take Cycle Scene for a SPIN? We are having a private class and networking party on Sunday, May 31st at 11:30 AM. If you are interested in joining us please e-mail Jenn at info@cyclescene.com. See you there!

This is a paid AD for Cycle Scene by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sweet Clover "Back to Style" Event

Sweet Clover "Back to Style" Event
Join us for the "Back to Style" event at Sweet Clover  the weekend of September 5th and 6th from 10 am to 5 pm each day. Summer is over and it is time to reclaim your space! Their picturesque two story barn and dairy cottage is filled with vintage finds and home decor to inspire your personal decorating spirit. They will have a variety of LIVE demonstrations that weekend including: painting demos, style mixing demos, paper flower making demos, and much more!

Be sure to check out Sweet Clover's website for their 2015 sale dates, because they are typically only open once a month. The owners Cassie Bustamante and Sarah Zullo are constantly working to house a variety of unique and stylish vendors, so you are sure to find exactly what you need for your vintage-modern inspired home. The gorgeous landscape paired with Sweet Clover's eclectic vintage home decor will leave you feeling inspired and ready to create your perfect space.

Sweet Clover hosts a variety of vintage home furnishings and stylized pieces that include industrial, cottage chic, mid century, and many other eclectic vintage styles. So what are you waiting for?! Mark your calendars and get "back to style" while the kids are getting back to school. Sounds good doesn't it? Visit Sweet Clover's website to sign up for e-mails so you never miss a sale!

Wait one minute! Do you love to DIY? Sweet Clover has recently stocked it's shelves with General Finishes milk paint, gel stains, and glazes. See you at the barn!

This is a paid AD for Sweet Clover Barn by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Back to Preschool Style with CPL

Back to Preschool Style with CPL
Back to school and yes, back to preschool! The Cooperative Preschool of Loudoun has been our preschool for going on three years now. We are a community and a family. There is no other preschool in Loudoun county that gives you the opportunity to be involved in your child's early education. A few times a week, I get to be in the classroom and assist the teacher. I get to see my child interact with his peers and learn. It has been an invaluable experience for me and I hope it has been an enriching one for my boys. They do so look forward to their "special days" and that is when I am in the classroom. It is their special time with me. I cherish it. Back to school means: shopping!! It also means the kids are going back to school.*happy parents dance*

Back to Preschool Style with CPL
When you are shopping for your back to school necessities, I encourage you to shop local! One of my favorite local businesses for back to school is Little B Love Designs. Owner Brandi Thomasson creates shirts for both mama and child that are unique and totally adorable! My favorite design by far has to be the "Hangry" tee. Everyone can relate to the "Hangry" monster. My boys absolutely adore the "Too Cool for School" tee! They feel ready for school and cannot wait to wear this shirt for their 1st day back to school! When you purchase a tee from Little B Love you are supporting a local Loudoun county mama too! What could be better than that?

Back to Preschool Style with CPL
Back to school shopping advice? Buy local and supplement with a thrifty main stream store, such as Old Navy. Old Navy holds up to little boy abuse, is trendy, and is relatively inexpensive. I also patronage local thrift stores during the months leading up to school. You would be incredibly surprised what is thrown away to the thrift stores our well-to-do area. I find brand new clothes and shoes with the tags still on them! I shop weekly at Resourceful Women and Blossom and Bloom in Leesburg. The best part? Most of the funds go to charity. Remember to shop local and if you are looking for the best preschool in Loudoun county, look no further than CPL! Have a great 2015-2016 school year kids!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Best of Suburbia Winner: Market Wealth Management

Best of Suburbia Winner: Market Wealth Management
Market Wealth Management, LLC, and President Peter J. Market, CFS, are well known within the local Northern Virginia community as financial advisors with that personal "small town" touch.  I did some research and found that Peter and his team have a reputation for going the extra mile to best serve each of their clients. They understand that their clients need flexible financial planning and if you cannot come to them, they will come to you! Market Wealth Management takes a personal approach with their clients and believes that the first step to success is educating their clients about their current financial situation. Education, strategy, and focused financial planning at your convenience - that is the Market Wealth Management way. Their team will keep you focused on your financial goals and get you to your dream financial destination.
Best of Suburbia Winner: Market Wealth Management
Market Wealth Management was recently awarded the Best of Suburbia winner for the "Financial Advisor" category - 2015 by PoshSEVEN Magazine. Peter is a well known insurance and investment planner whom has served the Washington Metropolitan area for over a decade. In speaking with Peter, I found him to be caring, detailed oriented, and very focused on his clients' success. He hosts a wide variety of clients, but his special area of interest is women in transition. More specifically, women that are going through a major life change such as divorce, loss of a spouse, a change in employment, or retirement.
A team of professional financial advisors is awaiting you at Market Wealth Management! You do not have to go it alone. Call them toll free today at 844-627-5896 for your complimentary consultation.

This is a paid AD for Market Wealth Management, LLC by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dog friendly places in DC and Northern Virginia

Dog friendly places in DC and Northern Virginia
Hi Hey Kerri Blog readers! I'm Alanna and I blog over at Alanna & Company, where I write about dogs, food, and all things in and surrounding D.C.

Summer is a great time to get out and do things outdoors. And with so many things to do in and around the District and Northern Virginia, why should you leave your four-legged family member at home? I've been trying to find as many places as possible that I can bring Starla and we have located many "fur friendly" spots!

Go to the Shirlington Dog Park. If you have not been here you are missing out! The park is huge and even has a river that your dog can cool off in. It is Starla's favorite place to go. It's kind of tricky to find, but there's parking off of Four Mile Run Drive. 

Dog friendly places in DC and Northern Virginia
Grab a drink at Hotel Monaco in Alexandria. They host a doggy “Yappy Hour” in the hotel’s courtyard every Tuesday and Thursday evenings from April through October. You can enjoy a refreshing drink while your dog can enjoy some social time, doggy treats, and fresh water. 

I also just discovered Cantina Marina on the Southwest waterfront. The whole downstairs is an open air bar that you can bring your pup in. When I was there, we met three other doggy friends. Careful, their margaritas are strong!
Dog friendly places in DC and Northern Virginia
Wineries are also another great option. I haven't been to a winery yet that doesn't allow dogs. My favorite one to go to with Starla is 868 Winery in Purcellville, about an hour out of the city.

Take a Potomac river evening cruise with your canine. Sailing out from Alexandria, the cruise is an hour long and free for your dog. $15 for you. Enjoy seeing all the sights of the city with your pup. 

Of course, there's always Pups in the Park at Nationals Park. What better thing to do than enjoy America's favorite past time with man's best friend? You're out in section 143 in the outfield and it is $26 for you and $10 for your pup. Their $10 ticket goes to the Washington Humane Society.

Barktober Fest is coming up in October for it's second annual beer festival. It is $35 for general admission(free for your pup) and it includes unlimited beer tastings and a tasting glass. There's also food trucks, a doggy costume contest, an agility park for your dog, and much more.

After all your drinking fun with your dog, you definitely do not want to be driving. Red Top Cab of Arlington and Diamond Cab in DC happily take dogs in their cabs for an additional $1 surcharge. I'm sure there are more cabs that will take dogs, but these are the two that I've found so far. 

Lastly, dogs are great running partners. You can take your pup along Mt. Vernon trail or even the W&OD trail, but keep make sure it's not too hot for your dog and that you keep them well hydrated!

Where are your favorite places in DC and Northern Virginia to take your pup? What should Starla and I do next next?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

National Capital Lyme + Colour Bar Charity Event

National Capital Lyme + Colour Bar Charity Event
National Capital Lyme has a chapter right here in Loudoun County! Their mission is to build support, increase awareness, and find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne related diseases. Next week, you have the opportunity to get a beautiful haircut at the Colour Bar Studio in Vienna for $100 and have 100% of the proceeds go towards National Capital Lyme! Call Colour Bar Studio at (703) 848-2000 to make your appointment for Sunday, July 19th from 11 am to 4 pm.


Wanna learn more about Lyme disease from the experts? During the National Capital Lyme and Colour Bar Studio event, join special guests Susan Greenberg, FNP-BC, and Debbie McCabe, Holistic Practitioner, whom will be discussing prevention and treatment of Lyme disease.

Can't make it to the big event? No worries! You can still make a donation to National Capital Lyme and help them to continue their important work. Donations can be made on their website. 

Many prizes will also be raffled during the course of the event courtesy of Lynx, Modern Luxury DC, Nostos, NIHA, Tamjidi Skin Institute, and of course National Capital Lyme!

National Capital Lyme + Colour Bar Charity Event

This is a paid AD for National Capital Lyme by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

High Heeled Happy Hour with National Capital Lyme

High Heeled Happy Hour is a Northern Virginia staple for charity and networking events held in collaboration with small business owners. July is a very special networking month with the local Loudoun county National Capital Lyme Association. The Virginia Bloggers Club is proud to co-host this event with one of our very own bloggers and lyme disease warrior Amy Pop Fitzgerald of Twingles Mom.

This event will be held Tuesday, July 14th from 6 to 8 pm at the picturesque venue of Clyde's Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn. There will be appetizers and many local vendors. 10% of any purchases you make from the vendors that evening will go to the National Capital Lyme Association. Be sure to register today and save your spot. Ticket prices are lower online and I am told this is typically a sold-out event, so don't wait! Wear your most fabulous heels ladies and you could be entered into one of many door prizes that evening.

The best part? Helping a local charity that is doing good in our community. You also have the opportunity to network and rub elbows with some of the best of the best in Loudoun county. Carin and I hope to see you there!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

#BikiniChallenge1073 Recap with Sarah Fraser

#BikiniChallenge1073 Recap with Sarah Fraser
It is the summer of the bikini challenge, at least it is for DC's 107.3 Sarah Fraser. For the first time in 33 years, Sarah Fraser(literally showed the world) that she is not afraid to wear a bikini and more importantly she is now openly accepting of her body and all that is "Sarah Fraser". Read more about Sarah's body image struggles on her personal blog.

As I write this, it reminds me of a wonderful local blogger María José of a Very Busy Mama that is cheering for the same "self love" amongst herself and her peers. She has no idea that I am doing this, but I also wanted to share her post and her story, because it fits so well right here.

We scrutinize over our looks and as Sarah Fraser put it, "The bikini controlled my summer". Or used too! Free of her chains, I am stoked to see Sarah Fraser - in a bikini - spreads her message of body positiv - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG video(the recap of Sarah on Good Day DC from yesterday) and to hear how she personally feels about the experience herself. Maybe she'll call me to chat or have me on her show...a gal can dream can't she? The smile on her face tells me she is happy to be standing in DuPont Circle wearing a bikini. Kudos Sarah, you rocked it!

Monday, June 15, 2015

4th Annual Young Women's Breast Health Day on the Hill

Tigerlily Foundation 4th Annual Young Women's Breast Health Day #DC
 *The bulk of information seen here was provided to me by the Tigerlily Foundation.

Tigerlily Foundation's Young Women's Breast Health Day on the Hill was first held in 2009, in response to creating additional advocacy and awareness about the issues young breast cancer survivors faced. The Young Women's Breast Health Day was launched after Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz signed into law the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young(EARLY) Act in 2010, which created an education and outreach campaign administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) to highlight the breast cancer risks facing young women and women of higher-risk ethnic and racial backgrounds, while empowering them with the tools they need to fight the disease.


Join us in our nation's capital on June 17th from Noon to 2:00 pm for the Tigerlily Foundation's 4th Annual Young Women's Breast Health Day on the Hill. Be involved and informed about organizations that are impacting the lives of young breast cancer survivors. This event will take place at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-338 on 45 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. For additional information and to register please visit Tigerlily Foundation's event website. They encourage and welcome young breast cancer survivors(YBCS) to attend, connect, and meet other survivors.

This important event for breast cancer issues will bring together members of congress and congressional staff as well as policymakers, corporate healthcare entities, advocacy and health care organizations to raise proper awareness about specific issues facing young women with breast cancer. This committee will also feature speakers who will discuss their efforts of outreach to the young breast cancer community as they provide education and awareness. They will be highlighting the efforts of those YBCS at high risk and also facing disparities.

Tigerlily Foundation's main goal is to further engage the members of the healthcare community and stake holders in the work being done for YBCS and to create additional collaborations, partnerships, as well as opportunities to reach more young women, healthcare providers, and to provide the general community with vital information.

Do you know someone with breast cancer? Do you know someone close to you that has died as a result? I can guess your answer to both of these questions is probably "yes". We have all been affected by breast cancer. Get involved and understand what is happening right now! Get ready to understand how the policy makers of today are going to shape the future of young breast cancer survivors tomorrow. Together we are powerful. One person CAN start a movement. Register for the 4th Annual Young Women's Breast Health Day on the Hill today.
 This is a paid AD for Tigerlily Foundation by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bloggers: This is Why You Need a Hip Media Kit

Do you want to generate more income from your blog? Of course you do! What Blogger doesn't. But without a truly standout media kit, it's unlikely that you'll get very far.

If you've already done the hard work of finding the brands, clients, or organizations you want to work with, you don't want to drop the ball on the easiest part: showing your value.

When delivering your pitch, you need an attractive, succinct method for communicating what you bring to the table.

If you aren't using a media kit for your blog, you could be missing out on a lot of potential income.

And if you're using a media kit, but it's lackluster, you could be pushing opportunities out the door instead of bringing them a knocking.

The 411 on Media Kits

A media kit is a snapshot of your blog's statistical information that sponsors and advertisers use to make decisions about whether your audience and influence will be a worthwhile use of their resources.

It can be a one-page or multipage document that you offer as a link on your site (normally under the headings of Advertising, PR, Work with Us, Media Page, or Media Kit). You can also send your media kit to potential sponsors and advertisers when pitching a campaign or responding to an inquiry that you've received.

Any size blog needs a media kit to show interested parties what you have to offer and how they can benefit by working with you.


Here's what some of The Virginia Bloggers Club members had to say about media kits:


I love having a Media Kit. I send it out every time I get a pitch and let PR people know about my readers' demographics and interest so we're working towards the same goals. It makes me feel more professional and is a place to catalog my achievements.
- Gina Lincicum, MoneywiseMoms.com

I think that media kits are a great way to let companies know that you take yourself seriously as a blogger. I love that it gives you a chance to creatively show off your assets!
- Aubrey Griffin Johnson, Homegrown & Healthy 

I think it's definitely important to have a media kit to show your reach, what makes your site unique, and your level of professionalism. Templates can be a good starting point but you'll want to customize it to be sure your media kit aligns well with your site. I gladly share my media kit with sponsors, publicists, and media organizations.
- Patricia Lee Hall, Fairfax Family Fun

I look at a media kit as a resume of blogging. I like mine to be short and simple with all my highlights on one page as "cliff notes."
- Ashley Recio Langston, Frugal Coupon Living


You don't have to start from scratch! The good news is while you definitely need to have a media kit, you don't have to start from scratch when creating it.

You can use a proven template that already has all the elements your kit needs, and can be easily customized to fit your blog and brand.

Introducing... Hip Media Kits


Hip Media Kits is a collection of five super affordable media kit templates.

You buy them separately, or you can get a discount when you grab all five.

Sidenote: They are all so awesome, it's hard to choose!

There are one-page and multipage formats that you can choose from.

The templates are easily customizable to fit your brand essence - and ensure consistency with the established colors and feel of your site.

The best part about the templates is the formatting. Everything is done for you. 

You don't have to spend hours googling "what should go in my media kit" or trying to get everything to fit on the page correctly.

All the required information is there. You just have to replace the sample language with your personal stats, narratives, and pictures.

These templates are great for a brand new media kit and for a refresh.

You could easily create a new kit or spruce up your existing kit with these super cool templates.



Click the picture below to check out our new media kit for The Virginia Bloggers Club. I used the Moon Media Kit Template for this one. And it was so easy, finished in about 30 minutes.



You can view the complete collection of Hip Media Kit Templates here


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of this site!


From Blank Space to Blogging Brilliance A Step by Step Guide to Start and Grow a Successful Blog




Friday, May 8, 2015

What is STEM and why do our children need it?


This post is a sponsored post for Nova Enrichment Academy. Most of the information seen is being provided by Nova Enrichment Academy. First things first, what is STEM? It is a way of thinking that combines science, technology, engineering, and math in an organized fashion. Our education system has become utterly disconnected. Right now, our children go to individual and distinctly separate classes(social studies, English, math, etc...). Math is math and English is English only. STEM is integrated learning in which one study also applies to another and is also applicable to the world our children live in now! STEM does not teach our children how to think. It simply gives them the tools they can use to solve any given problem. There is a big push for STEM integration in our education system. Below is an interesting CNN video on future jobs with STEM as the main topic of discussion.

It is clear that STEM is the education of the future. The time is now! The next step? Get your kids introduced to STEM and give them a true head start in their early childhood education! The more pressing question, however, is which "STEM focused" education facility is right for your children? Not all "STEM programs" are created equal. Here are a few things you can look for in a high quality STEM program that will help you(as a parent) choose the best facility.

Quality of content. High quality programs focus on their curriculum. Their should be many hands-on activities, team work, and the latest technological innovations. Look for programs that have "true" integration and go beyond building simple kits.  

Delivery matters. Meaning teacher delivery. Ask your potential STEM facility about the instructors that are teaching your children. Their resumes should speak volumes.  

Program Stability. High end STEM programs offer year round classes.  

Community Involvement. High end STEM programs will offer free events, private events, field trips, and introduce active members of the STEM community to induce creative thinking by both parents and children alike.  

Transparency. High quality STEM programs will lay it all on the table. They will introduce you to instructors, go over day-to-day policies, content, and prices without having to be prompted. Nothing is hidden and you should know exactly where you stand.

In short, quality content, instructor delivery, program stability, community involvement, and transparency are the most important elements when assessing a potential STEM program. Also, the best time to introduce your children to STEM is when they are young and their imagination is boundless. Kindergarten is the perfect time to start your child in a quality STEM program. STEM is integrated learning with real world applications. STEM is now and STEM is the future!

What is STEM and why do our children need it?
Interested in learning more? Visit Nova Enrichment academy at one of their upcoming events, visit their website, or give them a call!

May 9th - Nova Enrichment Academy in association with LCPS and ERMS PTA is hosting a talk on Saturday, May 9th by Mr. Tom Dubick  discussing “New Trends in STEM Education for Parents and Teachers.” This event is FREE to attend and is open to Parents, Teachers and Students. The talk will be held at Eagle Ridge and Broad Run School. Details of the event are available on their website

June 20th - Nova Enrichment Academy will be hosting an open house for the benefit of its students and local school officials only. There will be a private talk with a NASA executive at this event.

This is a paid AD for Nova Enrichment Academy by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grand Opening Premier Laser Spa Richmond

Welcome to Premier Laser Spa! Right here in Virginia YOU CAN obtain affordable, comfortable, safe, and beautifying laser hair removal services. The legs are coming out of hibernation and you want them looking their very best. You may already know that Premier Laser Spa has a location in Virginia Beach and now there is a NEW location in Richmond. For a limited time, you can join the Friends & Family Event and get four body areas for the price of one(Expires Wednesday, April 15, 2015)! That is an amazing offer that you and perhaps your spouse will enjoy during these warm weather months.

Premier Laser Spa’s LaserFast™ hair removal system eliminates unwanted hair through a process called selective photothermolysis – the matching of a specific wavelength of laser light and laser pulse duration to obtain optimal effect on targeted hair follicles with no effect on surrounding skin. LaserFast provides a safe and effective treatment to all areas of the body and on all types of skins.
Premier Laser Spa caters to men and women a like. So, guys don't be shy! They can eliminate unwanted hair from your chest, back, legs, arms, neck, underarms, face and your bikini areas. Check out some of these amazing before and after photos. Still not convinced? Call and schedule your free consultation today! You have nothing to lose except undesired body hair!












This is a paid AD for Premier Laser Spa by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Grow Your Health Festival - Fairfax, VA



Grow Your Health Festival - Fairfax, VAGrow Your Health Festival - Fairfax, VA
 
@GrowHealthNoVa #GrowYourHealthFest
Our mission is to teach people how to grow their own food or identify sources of locally grown, organic farm-grown food for a joyful and nutritious diet! The Festival will provide tips on how people can garden their way to good health, understand what “organic” really means, find sources for local organic food and make sustainable, healthy food and wellness choices!
On Saturday, March 28, 2015, from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm the Northern Virginia Whole Food Nutrition Meetup Group will host its 3rd annual Grow Your Health Festival at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia. This is not your average wellness festival. There will be many exhibitors showcasing everything from doTerra essential oils to local wellness centers, but the main focus of Grow Your Health is teaching. You will find a large list of gardening and nutrition classes here.

There is really something for the entire family! My kids are looking forward to the "Gardening with Kids" class where their will be activities and gardening information geared specifically towards youngsters. Check out the scheduled classes in advance so you do not miss the topics that interest you the most! There will also be a very interesting movie called "GMO OMG". Check out the trailer below. The movie starts at 3 pm and you do not want to miss it!



The awesome and surprising twist? There will be healthy dining options available for you and your family courtesy of Bonita Woods Wellness Institute and other carefully sourced vendors. If you are a gardener or a wellness enthusiast in Northern Virginia, then you cannot miss the Grow Your Health Festival! The Virginia Bloggers Club will also be there sharing our top DIY, gardening, and wellness topics. Be sure to get your tickets online to save money at the door! Also, just so you know children under 16 are free! Get ready to kick off Spring with a fun, entertaining, and educational experience at the 3rd Annual Grow Your Health Festival. See you there!

A special thanks goes out to Karmalades, Oh So Good Organics, Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, Carin Kilby Clark, Beagles and Bargains, Goodie Godmother, Blue Crab Martini, Blooming Secrets, Mindful Healthy Life, Jeanne Grunert, Second Ave Photography, and the whole team at Grow Your Health!

This is a paid AD for Grow Your Health Festival by Virginia Bloggers Club, LLC.