Category: Facebook


A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Dakota’s Personalized Gifts. She asked if I would be willing to do a product review for her company, and I was more than happy to oblige.

I chose the Engraved Photo Marble Keepsake and sent in a picture of Isabella for them to use. Within a few days, I had this item in my hands. I was really surprised at the quick turn around. They have some great photo gifts on the site.

When I opened the package, I found a nice, solid piece of marble with a beautiful engraving of the photo I sent in. The edges have a really cool ‘wavy’ texture to them, along with a black and white marble combination. I am really pleased with the quality of this product.

You’ll notice our star model posing with her picture throughout this review. Isabella approved of this product as well. It was originally her Christmas picture. Here is the original and the finished product.

Here is a bio from Dakota’s Gifts;

We started in a spare bedroom about 5 years ago more as a part time hobby than a business with The Anniversary Rose making roses for the traditional anniversary gifts (i.e. 1st year paper, 2nd year cotton, 5th year wood etc) cutting rose petals by hand with scissors. It quickly grew from a part time hobby to a full time business, adding help and equipment to keep up. Then, we started expanding into personalized anniversary gifts. We started getting many requests from our customers for personalized wedding, Mother’s & Father’s Day and Christmas gifts etc. That’s when we started Dakota’s Personalized Gifts. Soon the business took over a second bedroom and the garage, the following year it occupying two bedrooms, the garage & a full basement. With no room left to expand we were forced to move into a commercial location in 2009. We continue to expand with new products and updated equipment all the time which allows us to produce most of the personalized items in house.

Buy It: Engraved Photo Marble Keepsake retails for $31.95. Use the following coupon codes on your order:

10OFF50 for $10 off when you spend $50

15OFF75 for $15 off when you spend $75

GRD-OCT31 for free ground shipping when you spend $35

Win It: Dakota’s Gifts has been kind enough to offer a $50 gift certificate and free US shipping to one of my lucky readers.

If you’d like to enter to win this prize, please follow this link to my new blog site to enter.  I am migrating all further posts over there.

We started in a spare bedroom about 5 years ago more as a part time hobby than a business with The Anniversary Rose making roses for the traditional anniversary gifts (i.e. 1st year paper, 2nd year cotton, 5th year wood etc) cutting rose petals by hand with scissors. It quickly grew from a part time hobby to a full time business, adding help and equipment to keep up. Then, we started expanding into personalized anniversary gifts. We started getting many requests from our customers for personalized wedding, Mother’s & Father’s Day and Christmas gifts etc. That’s when we started Dakota’s Personalized Gifts. Soon the business took over a second bedroom and the garage, the following year it occupying two bedrooms, the garage & a full basement. With no room left to expand we were forced to move into a commercial location in 2009. We continue to expand with new products and updated equipment all the time which allows us to produce most of the personalized items in house.

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Yesterday, I attended the Liberteks Smalbany 5th Annual Small Business day at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.  I was invited to be a Guest VIP Blogger and take some pictures for the event.  I didn’t get to take many pictures, but I did get to sit in on some pretty good seminars about how social media can help grow your business.

I was going to sit down and write a long, drawn out blog series about what was said, by whom in each seminar.  I decided against that, because almost everyone said the exact same thing:

Your business needs to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As someone who has been using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for a few years, this was not news to me.  For those looking to drive more traffic to their company, this was an excellent place to spend the day learning how the web can work for you.  It was nice to see that these methods have been effective for many other businesses and continue to drive business to their sites.

I wanted to highlight some of the key parts of the seminars that I thought would be of importance to my readers and keep this from being a novel that no one wants to finish.  So, here are some of the best parts, in my opinion, of course.

The first speaker I heard from was Lisbeth Calandrino.  She was full of spunk and looked nothing like her claimed age of 70.  Lisbeth told us that being partners with your customers is a must.  She also mentioned that Sam’s club asked their small business customers what they need to stay in business, and they replied “money”.

Lydia Kulbida led a panel of bloggers and also offered a very important piece of advice for using online media to sell your product – Read it out loud to yourself.  Would you want to buy it?  Great advice.  Plus, she like LOST, so she’s OK in my book!

Mary Darcy from All Over Albany backed this theory up by saying “would you tell this to someone else?”  I really enjoyed Mary’s feedback on how she gets information to post on the AOA blog.  I wish she had more time to talk, as it was not only informative, but very interesting.

Mike Huber led a panel called Local Social Media and Your Customers.  He asked about blogging and tweeting – why would you want to do it, and why would people care?  Sonya Stark said to create lists.  People love lists.  Lisa D’Aquanni and Vic Christopher shared some great  information about blogging and what it can do for your business.

My favorite panelist was Rev. Al Rudnick.  I am not huge on religion, but he explained how people are using Twitter and Facebook during church and how they encourage it.  They even project it on a large screen so people can see it and participate.  I think I will try this on Sunday.  I bet the people in our church wont be as accepting…

Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken Media put on a great presentation about the Mobile revolution.  She detailed how Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare play a huge part in the mobile arena.  Rhea mentioned that you should protect your brand.  Make sure you get your company name on every outlet you can.

Alexis Grant (@AlexisGrant) held a great seminar about Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt.  She recommended three ways to make the web work for you;

Facebook – They are more likely to help you because you are already friends.

Twitter – Network outside of your friends.  Prove yourself as an expert.  Make connections with companies and employers.  Connect with people through Twitter that you might have been too intimidated to talk to at a job fair.

I think this event was a huge success.  It offered many great ways to promote your small business with social media.  Thanks to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for letting me be a part of this event.  I hope to participate again next year.

When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.

As some of you may already know, I currently have some of my photos hanging in a gallery in Kingston, NY.  I received word yesterday that next Saturday will be the gallery reception.

I would like to invite you all to come to Barista’s Espresso Cafe in the Hudson Valley mall on June 26th to view the work Angela and I have on display.  Angela is the co-organizer of my photo group, and a good friend.

For those of you in Albany, I know it is quite a hike to Kingston (about 45 minutes), but I would love to see you there if you can make it.  It would mean a lot to me.  The event is open to the public and children are welcome.

Place: Barista’s Espresso Cafe1300 Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY

Date: June 26

Time: 4-7pm

If you need directions, please do not hesitate to leave a message here or shoot me an email if you have my email address.  I hope to see you there!  See ya soon!

I am following up on a previous blog I wrote about some of the people I interact with on an almost daily basis. Some of these you will have seen before, but I have added a few others to the list that I have met over the last month or so.  I read a post a few months ago that said instead of clogging up Twitter with the #ff’s, make a list in a blog and have people follow from there.  So, here ya go…

The coolest of the cool

Dom P. – One of the funniest guys I know.
Jerry P. – Dom’s brother and the other funniest guy I know.  Check out his blog.
Cassie – Organizer extraordinaire of the Albany Tweetup.
Kelly – See Kelly for special ‘meat’ sales.
Emily – Kelly’s co-worker and photographer. Check out her blog.
John J. – Albany’s own celebrity. Everyone knows John.
Bill – Beer guru and tech dood.
Keith – Web designer and all around good guy.
Andrew – Code guru and blogger.
Rose – My honey. She also has a blog.
Brian – Shoots video like a pro with his Canon 7d.
Humbearto – Reporter for the Times Union. Moved to Seattle and Albany misses him greatly.
CuteElla – Heart of gold and she also has a blog
Jim – Phish fanatic
Stickfigureman – awesome Stick Figure posts
Angelos – Beer and wine brewer
Amy – PR, Social Media consultant and blogger
Kevin – No nonsense, tell it like it is kinda guy. He has a blog too. Also a self proclaimed “sex symbol”.
Terri – Our favorite Realtor. She is the best. Her blog rocks too.
Sue – Local 911 dispatcher.
AllOverAlbany – Great blog and good people.
John G. – Producer and voice actor in Albany
TonyWeb designer.
IrisiraBlog
Jaci Sabolsky
Jennifer McIntosh
Katie the Intern
Kate Birch
Trish – Painfully shy chick.  Go say hi and make her come out of her shell
Mike Bucc – News junkie and really funny
Di – Bangin’ Canadian and my 90s hip hop buddy
Roz – My source for good information
Goose – Entertainer extraordinaire and funny guy.
Mike Keane – Great guy.  Funny too!
Sue – Helped me in a huge way with the pool!
GoldWing987 – A fellow rider

Here’s a few categories of people or companies that I follow and interact with on a regular basis. Feel free to follow them if you’re interested.

Photography

Scott BournePhotofocus blogger and photography pioneer.
Trey Ratcliff – AKA Stuck in Customs. Some of the most amazing HDR I have ever seen.
Amazing Pics – They pick out great pics and share them.
Nikon – The best cameras in the world.
Alex Suarez – Photography and technology blog.
Adorama – Photography supplies.
Fluck – Photography blog
Canvas On DemandSite for great canvas prints. I had them print a 16×20 for me and it was gorgeous.
Peta Pixel – Awesome blog with tips and tricks for photographers.

Motorcycles

Harley Brother – Harley events
Joe Rocket – A motorcycle junkie with some great links
Harley-Davidson© – The motorcycle company, silly.
Kurt Sutter – Executive Producer of Sons of Anarchy.
Motorcycle Fans – Awesome news and a daily photo blog

News

Kristi Gustafson – Times Union’s OTE blogger.
Amanda Talar – Times Union’s East Greenbush blogger.
Naomi Seldon – Times Union’s Simpler Living blogger.
Mike Huber – Times Union’s Interactive Audience Manager
Channel 10 News
Metroland

Cars

Top Gear
Keeler Motor Car

Blogs (Those not mentioned previously)

Rude Cactus Blog
GreebleMonkeyPhotoblog
WordPressBlogging platform
Christa WatsonIt’s Like Christ with an A
Albany InsuranceAlbany Insurance Professional
Rob MadeoMan of a Certain Age
Kari VanAlstineChronicles of Chronic Pain and Wreckless Abandon
Jen HernandezSweetly Tart

Miscellaneous

Uncommon Grounds – Coffee house in Albany and Saratoga
Price Chopper – Grocery shopping
511 Traffic – Local traffic
Boob Emancipate – Who doesn’t like boobs?
InTune GP -My cousin’s husband. He makes guitar picks for a majority of the rock bands out there.
Newegg – Computer parts at great prices.
Woot – Daily deals.
Wootoff – Crazy specials.
Shawn KingYour Mac Life
Alyssa Milano – Yes, the actress from Who’s the Boss.  She has some really great Tweets.  I really enjoy reading them.

That’s quite a few of the people I follow. I know I have missed a bunch, but this is a good start.  Please feel free to add people or businesses that I missed or that you think would be good to follow. Please follow me at TCRPMG and subscribe to this blog. See ya soon!

**Image borrowed from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/ ***

A few nights ago, the TCRPMG members had a model shoot in Hudson, NY.  As we were shooting, my eye wandered up an enormous flag pole to see the flag among this gorgeous blue sky.  I couldn’t help but shoot it.  It was so gorgeous.

You see, ever since I was a kid, I have been in love with the flag that represents this great country of ours.  I always try to get good shots of it to share.  That flag represents our freedom.  That flag represents those risking their lives so we may keep our freedom.  Many have given their lives for us. Unfortunately, a lot of people take that freedom for granted.

Kristi was tweeting and talking on Facebook the other day about people that wouldn’t stop talking during the National Anthem.  It made me pretty mad.  I have noticed that people have become incredibly rude and just don’t care anymore.  And it’s not only during the National Anthem.  There have been a few instances where I was probably sitting in my chair with my mouth wide open, amazed at how rude people are.

My cousin’s wedding was a great example.  My cousin and his wife were at the altar and the priest was doing conducting the ceremony.  There was a crowd of people in the back of the room that were carrying on a loud conversation.  I was getting pretty angry.  They were disrupting the service and didn’t even care.

Last week, at Baseball and Bloggers, the panel was speaking and the people in the back of the room were so loud I could barely hear the speakers.  It baffles me that this is becoming so common.  Why would you go to an event and ignore the lecture just to chat with your friends?  Pick up the phone and call them.  Go to a bar.

I know that I have no control over the way people act in public.  I am just saddened by the lack of respect that seems to have become OK in society.  What happened?  I can only assume it’s because parents can’t (or wont) discipline their kids anymore.  The world is going to be a very scary place in another twenty years.

Now that my whining is over, I want to add one more thing.  Find a Vietnam Veteran, an Iraq Veteran or a current military member and thank them for protecting this great country of ours.  It’s because of them that we have the freedom we have.  And don’t forget all of those that have lost their life fighting for us and those that are POW-MIA.

See ya soon.

Last night, Rose and I went out to the monthly Albany Tweetup.  According to Urban Dictionary, a tweetup is “A group of friends on Twitter (social network) that are planning to meet up. A request by a user to meet with friends via Twitter.”  That is one of the definitions they list on their site.  I kinda like the nerd one the best.  Each month Cassie chooses a location and a bunch of us gather to hang out, catch up and make new friends.  It is a lot of fun, and so far, they have all been at great restaurants or bars.  My personal favorite was the Sushi Tweetup, but that’s just me.

While we were there, Cute Ella mentioned something that got me thinking.  I missed the beginning of the conversation because it was loud in the bar (and because my hearing is horrible), but I heard the part about ‘you’ve gotta know your readers’.  She was dead on and the lightbulb flickered above my head.  I am not sure how many readers I have, as a lot are just lurkers and never comment.  This made me wonder about some of you sitting there reading this and think – what do they like?  What are their hobbies?   Favorite color?  I have no idea.

So, I want to put you all on the spot.  I would like to know a few things about you.  Tell me a few things about you that I might not know, and I will in turn answer a question from you.  Please keep the questions work safe, as this is a family blog and I’d like to keep it that way.  I will do my best to answer your questions, so long as they are appropriate.  Ready?  Let’s go!

See ya soon!