This year I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to improve my photography skills. I have a great camera and finally learned how to shoot manual, thanks to a class by the wonderful Kerry Goodwin. I’m excited to partner with other bloggers and 42nd Street Photo on a giveaway for the Canon Powershot G15 digital camera. Life flies by fast, especially when you have kids. Especially young kids. It’s vital to capture our time with them while they are young and be able to share it with them when they are older.

42nd Street Photo is a camera store based in New York City and they have a vast selection of digital cameras and camcorders. They have been in business for over 40 years, established back when we used to capture memories on film! It’s convenient to shop there as they have great deals and sales, a variety of ways to pay, free shipping, and a free cleaning kit with your purchase. 42nd Street Photo is generously sponsoring this giveaway for the Canon Powershot G15, a small camera with big performance. This camera is a great step-up from the average point-and-shoot with a lot of features of more expensive DSLR cameras in a compact package. It also receives raving reviews from users!

Our Favorite Features of the Canon Powershot G15: 
  • Fast 5X zoom lens
  • 12.1 MP High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor, enables rapid continuous shooting, no lag!
  • Exceptional low-light performance to ISO 12800, 1.8 to 2.8 aperture
  • 1080p HD Video Capture
  • High speed automatic focus
  • Intelligent image stabilization
  • Bright, high-resolution LCD
  • RAW image capture capability
  • Hot shoe for optional flash in addition to build-in one
Purchase: You can purchase the Canon Powershot G15 digital camera at 42nd Street Photo

Win It! 42nd Street Photo is generously blessing one winner with the Canon Powershot G15 digital camera!

Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to and all the fabulous participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends September 3rd at 11:59 pm, open to residents of US and Canada, ages 18+. See detailed terms and conditions on entry form. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below (see directions on how to enter here). Thank you!

Disclaimer: AnaB Social and all participating event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. I did not rece

Blissdom Conference Random Recycling

Blissdom was always the blogging conference I was most curious about as some of my favorite bloggers always attended the event. This year I finally made it and there were wonderful bloggers I got to meet who made the whole event worthwhile and inspiring.

Our picture with Chris Mann and Amber Riley

Our picture with Chris Mann and Amber Riley

I travelled to Blissdom with my friend Nikki, who writes from the heart and has a totally different blog than I do. Together we are able to get a good feeling for the overall conference, both for the writer/photographer and from the business side of blogging. We made our way through BlogHer NYC last summer and throughout the weekend we made lots of comparisons. As a green blogger, I appreciated the sponsors approach to swag at Blissdom. It was just right and (mostly) relevant items. Plus I know now not to just accept things to be nice; it only makes it into the luggage to come home if I think I can use it.

GoGo Squeeze

They have organic options which I didn’t know about! My kids do love these as a treat.

Here are some of the highlights from the trip…


Pink flower RandomRecycling

Nikki taught me how to shoot in manual and I learned about what ISO actually controls. I have a lot to learn, but I’m getting there.


Here I got a lesson in capturing motion.



The weather was freezing in Dallas, just like Boston. Not exactly what we planned for, but it was lovely to enjoy some beautiful flowers inside the atrium at the Gaylord Texas.

Scott Stratten

His opening keynote was so jammed pack with tips that I wrote a whole post about it.

John Michael Morgan

I love talking about branding and being true to your message. As a healthy living blogger, it would be strange for me to partner with McDonald’s. Be consistent with your brand message. John Morgan said, “the only difference between you and your competition is your brand.”

Wendy Scherer

Wendy provided some interesting tools and tips to represent your blog statistics in a creative manner. My big takeaway is to create a page where I share quotes from the brands I have worked with in the past so future brands understand my commitment to providing a quality blogger/brand relationship experience.

Jeff Goins

While I don’t typically consider myself a writer, I guess that really is what I am doing here in this space as I share commentary, recipes and stories. My favorite quote from Jeff, “Just because it happened doesn’t make it interesting.”

Better Life Bags Random Recycling

Handmade Marketplace

This was a wonderful opportunity to help support small businesses, social good business and just enjoy some cool new items. My sister is the lucky one who will get a beautiful gift I found at the market. I liked it so much from Better Life Bags I may just have to order myself one.

Minimalist Parenting Random Recycling

Me and fellow Boston Parent Blogger Christine Koh, co-author of Minimalist Parenting


Jon Acuff

Jon’s love for the Blissdom Conference experience is just sweet. He knows how to talk to this audience, which certainly had a Chri

stian influence in it. He was kind enough to share his newest book with us, and I’m going to share it with you!

Two lucky readers will get a copy of Jon’s new book, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters.

To enter to win, please just leave a comment here sharing your Blissdom experience, comments about a blog conference you have attended or just say hello! Contest will be open until April 5th. US residents only, winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to confirm their address.

Thanks to all my friends, old and new, who made Blissdom a fun and relaxing experience. The pace was much slower than I expected, but at 30 weeks pregnant, it was probably just right for me!


My head is still swimming a bit from all the new information and people I learned from over my time at Blissdom last week. There were speakers, workshops, and great conversations at lunch. The highlight of the weekend though was the kick-off keynote speaker, Scott Stratten. I couldn’t write about Blissdom until I wrote about what I learned from Scott’s motivating talk.

Scott Stratten Blissdom RandomRecycling

  1. Brands shouldn’t just be awesome to influencers, they should be awesome to everyone.
  2. Marketing is not a task, it’s a verb.
  3. Knowledge plus passion equals profit.
  4. Don’t treat Twitter as a broadcasting tool. It should be about 75% replies.
  5. The secret to social is to be social.
  6. Branding happens in real-time. Don’t get burned by not having alerts set up to see if someone is talking about your business.
  7. Humanize your brand.
  8. The best time to post is when you have something to say.
  9. Pinterest works because of passion, not profit.
  10. Don’t use technology because you can, use it because you should.

Scott knew his audience was filled with bloggers and social influencers at many different levels. I appreciated his passion for making businesses better, while making sure his ideas are practical and thoughtful to a wide audience. If I get the chance to hear him again, I will jump on it.

In the meantime, you can find Scott on Twitter and I’m just getting started reading his book The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome. I’ll share a little more about the overall Blissdom experience in my next post.

This is My First Bliss!

This week I’ll be enjoying some fun (and hopefully some sun) in Dallas for the 2013 Blissdom Conference. It’s a blogging/social media conference primarily for women. There will be green bloggers, food bloggers, photography bloggers, craft bloggers, and bloggers who don’t really subscribe to a specific theme. I’m excited to visit with old friends and meet others I’ve talked with only online. Networking is one of the best things about a blogging conference. If anyone heading to Blissdom is attending their first conference, just keep your eyes and ears open for new conversations to join. Your new friends just may become your partner in some new endeavor.

If you are visiting Random Recycling for the first time, you can learn more about me here. I’m a green blogger, but my real passion is cooking healthy meals for my family. You can find my weekly meal plans here and some favorite recipes here. I try to mix in our stories of sustainable living in the modern world alongside product reviews and giveaways. I often put my kids to work in the garden or kitchen, so you will see some pictures of them included here. They keep me on my toes and I love them to pieces. I’ll miss them and my husband during my time away in Texas.

Emily RoachYou will be able to spot me at Blissdom with my sidekick Nikki from Days with Us, plus our other friends from Boston Parent Bloggers.

Oh, and I’m 29 weeks pregnant. Please don’t tell me to sit down, but do remind me to drink more water.

See you in Dallas!


Customized Mini Business Cards

In two weeks I’ll be enjoying some time away from home at Blissdom, one of the bigger blogger conferences of the year.  It kicks off blogger conference season for many people and one of the few things on the “must-pack” list is business cards. Whether you are a new blogger or a veteran, business cards are key for handing out to new contacts and businesses.  Today I’m partnering with to offer you $250 worth of products, including business cards, to get you ready for a blog conference. Not a blogger? Use the giveaway to order fun product labels for food gifts, order baby announcements, office organization supplies and more. And yes, 123Print has recycled business cards to choose from.

Customized Food Labels


If you are creating your blogging business cards for the first time, what you should include?  Here is my list of what to include and what is optional.

  • Your Name
  • Blog Name/Tagline
  • Email Address
  • Blog Website Address (skip the http:// part, and make an effort to ditch the “ or portion)
  • Blog Facebook Page Address
  • Twitter Handle
  • Pinterest, Google +, Instagram address are all optional
  • Phone number is optional
  • Personal Photo is optional, but helpful for others when they meet hundreds of people at a conference
  • QR code with a link to your media kit is optional.

It’s important for your card to highlight your personal brand and what makes you unique. However, you don’t want it to be cluttered. White space is golden so people can make notes on the card to refer back to when they are at home sorting through their collection. Also, skip the swirly lettering that is challenging to read. Make the card creative, but user-friendly.

Organize Business Cards

In terms of organizing business cards, I had success with packing small snack size zippered bags for each day of the conference. At the end of each day, I added the cards to a bag. When I wanted to go back and find a card it was easier for me to remember when and where I met them, and then refer back to that day’s bag. Second, people I know pack a large binder ring and a hole punch. They punch the cards daily and add them to a ring. For more blogging tips, you can follow my Pinterest board here.

Business Card Giveaway

Giveaway time! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Contest is open until 3/12. US residents only. Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I did not receive anything for this giveaway, just wanted to share with my readers as it’s a great value!

I recently shared a guest article at 360 PR about how brands can connect with Moms offline.  While I do my fair share of keeping up with social media, my  most important relationships are those with friends and family in real life. I am blessed to be part of a fabulous playgroup that keeps me inspired and gives me lots of great ideas for the blog. I hear their concerns and questions about how to live a healthy lifestyle and I try to answer some of those questions here.

Connecting With Moms Offline

For brands that are looking to partner with “mommy” bloggers, I encourage them to look beyond the traffic numbers of a blog. There is so much more to the person and their social influence than their blog statistics may indicate.

Here’s a clip of the article…

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to share new products with friends and bloggers in a variety of settings. I hosted a home party in collaboration with the Healthy Child Healthy World organization that featured Seventh Generation and Plum Organics. The discussion centered on how moms can keep kids safe from toxins, and the products provided actionable take-aways for moms to incorporate in their daily lives.

Click here to read the rest.

Let me know if you have a question you would love to see addressed here on how to live a greener lifestyle in your family.

NetZero MB Logo - colorAs a mom and a blogger, I like being connected. I like to know what’s going on with my friends, my family, current events and my Google calendar. Being able to connect to the internet whenever I want to is a key part of this.  Usually my iPhone is enough, but other times I would like to read through emails and such on my iPad or laptop with a larger screen. I tested out the NetZero 4G HotSpot and now I can get connected whenever and wherever I may be. To some it may be a curse, to me it’s a blessing.

Here is my favorite part about the Hotspot.  I can take it anywhere to get work done.  In addition to this blog, I co-manage a second blog, cover social media for our local farmers market and get way too many emails a day.  I try not to spend too much time at the computer, but it’s kind of a job requirement.  My most productive time with the computer is spent at a coffee shop where I can work undisturbed.  With my NetZero HotSpot, I can go to any coffee shop.  Happily I can go to the small, local shop instead of a big chain coffee shop. It’s quieter and I’m even more productive without the distraction of major people watching.


You can take the NetZero HotSpot to your favorite coffee shop, big or small.

One important factor in using a HotSpot is maintaining privacy.  The NetZero offers a private, protected internet connection. You can however, let a small team use the HotSpot. Up to 8 people can log in and use it. This offers great flexibility for people who work in small groups. Or, use it in a car that allows you to amplify a HotSpot for all passengers. Everyone can tune in to their own mobile devices while on the go.

Want to try it out?  Check out the NetZero website for details on all the many options available.  The hardware is on sale now for the holidays, plus the value-priced monthly data plans cover a wide range of needs. For any blogger than attends a conference, having your own wireless is a lifesaver.

NetZero is also offering a $300 value giveaway for one lucky reader. This will include 3 months of their Platinum Plan. Just think, you could be getting some work down while you sit in a waiting room, enjoy some fresh coffee or while your kids are busy at after-school lessons. The contest is open to US residents only, it ends December 20th at midnight. Please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided a sample from NetZero to facilitate my review. All opinions shared here are my own. This is part of a Mom It Forward campaign. 


The kids had a blast at the Royal Sonesta Hotel

I had the opportunity to check out the Royal Sonesta Boston hotel last weekend for a Boston Social Media holiday party. The hotel welcomed a group of local bloggers and their families for an afternoon of fun and great company. From the moment we entered the hotel, the staff was super nice and had the event well organized. I always love seeing hotels decorated for Christmas and took the opportunity to click a quick one of the kids in front of one the many decorated trees at the hotel.

Here are a few fun facts I learned about the Royal Sonesta Boston.

  • The hotel is great for kids. The indoor pool alone is a winner.

    Even the kids straws are special.

  • They have a composting program!
  • Lots of new green initiatives are in work for each hotel room.
  • They buy local when possible. The bar tools were purchased from a local shop in Somerville.
  • They make their own sodas. We had the Pomegranate Lime Black Pepper soda and it was amazing.
  • They give kids homemade play dough at their restaurants instead of paper and crayons.
  • The restaurants partner with local farmers to create farm to table inspired menus.

The event was a blast for both the kids and adults. The kids were entertained with crafts, play dough making, and cookie decorating. The adults enjoyed a civilized lunch while the babysitters from UrbanSitter watched our little ones. Ice cream sandwiches with homemade cookies finished off the  lovely afternoon.

Homemade play dough made in house.

Thank you to the Royal Sonesta Hotel for hosting us, and Niri and Isra for coordinating it all. Go team #BSMHoliday! To hear more about our Boston Social Media parties, here is my friend Lori from Groovy Green Livin’s recap. She shares more about what this group means to all of us.

I also want to mention our group has partnered with three charities for the holidays. Toys for Tots (we packed the bins at Burton’s Grill on Tuesday night!), Pediatric Cancer research and we adopted two families who were devastated by Superstorm Sandy.  If you are a tweeter, if you send out a tweet with the hashtag #Aflackids, Aflac will donate $2 towards pediatric cancer research for every tweet this holiday season.

Disclosure: We attended a complimentary event at the hotel. All opinions shared here are my own. 

Last weekend I attended my third blogging conference.  Turns out, third time really is the charm.  Springboard Boston was a new blogging conference, but it certainly didn’t feel that way.  It offered a full day of educated and honest speakers in an intimate workshop environment.  I took in-depth notes at each of the sessions I attended.  Real, actionable ideas and strategies to apply to my blog to make it better for all of my readers.  I came home and printed out five pages of highlights and that doesn’t count all the tweets I sent out under #SpringBoston throughout the weekend.

I’m trying to make some changes and develop a stronger business plan for the blog.  Yes, it really is becoming a business.  This stay at home mom has this new opportunity to harness the strength of social media to do some good, for both my readers and also my family.  It feels good to be a part of such an exciting new arena of marketing.

On to the conference recap…here are my top 10 favorite takeaways and quotes from the event.

1. Don’t flake (Cat Lincoln @DearBadKitty… aka the owner of Clever Girls)
2. Create a one page media kit.  Be proactive and share it with PR (Laura Tomasetti from 360PR)
3. It’s not all about page views.  Harness both your online and offline influence.
4. Klout is less and less accepted as a benchmark of your media presence.
5. Video is becoming more and more important.
6. Consume the content you want to create (@Shareaholic: Janet Aronica and Ginny Soskey)
7. Place a period before a new tweet to someone to ensure it is seen by the most people possible
(i.e. “.@RandomRecycling, what’s for dinner?”)
8. Brand your visuals  (check out Pinstamatic for Pinterest worthy list visuals!)
9. Focus on what you can offer a company when you make a pitch  (Jodi Grundig)
10. Going to the blogging conferences is an investment and it shows that you are invested in growing your business.

After attending Blogher and Blog Better Boston, this was by far my best conference experience yet.  Dinner on the Odyssey Boston and Maggiano’s wasn’t too shabby either. Yes, it helps knowing a large number of people in the room, but I still met new people that I hope to see at the next conference.

Thanks for being part of this community. I look forward to seeing how it can grow.

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It feels like ages ago when I first thought about going to BlogHer, the BIG blogging conference.  I had so many conflicting thoughts about going.  Am I worthy enough to go? Is my blog big enough to get noticed by brands? Is this the best next step for my blogging growth?  Will I know anyone there?

Here is the good news.  I think I will know a lot of people there.  Despite being attended by over 4,000 women, I will know a large handful of them.  Thank you to the Boston social media groups that have helped me through this maze of BlogHer preparation.  I am going prepared with contact lists, party invitations, session recommendations and more importantly, lots of friendly faces to look for.

Will going to this conference help me achieve my next set of blogging goals?  Well that remains to be seen.  I’m trying to build a balanced schedule of class sessions and time to meet up with the brands I would love to work with.  I am resigned to the fact that I can’t do it all, but that is ok.  I am a green blogger focusing on healthy living choices.  Does it make sense for me to talk with every brand? No.  The best thing I read this week was to be true to yourself and not get caught up in the hype of BlogHer.   I’m sure it is easier said than done, but at least I know I’m walking in open to the whole experience, wherever it takes me.

Did I mention Martha Stewart is speaking? MARTHA.  I love Martha and it was my nickname in high school since I spent more than my fair share of time in the home ec room sewing and cooking.  I’m delighted to finally hear her speak in person.

Oh, and the President is going to share a message too.  Guess he thinks BlogHer is big too.

The list goes on of celebrity attendees. I know the next few days will be a rush, but I’m counting on Nikki, Amanda and Lollie to keep me grounded.  Thanks for taking this ride with me!  See you on the other side.

Are you going to BlogHer? What are you looking forward too?

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I love to hear your feedback and comments. Stop by and visit FacebookPinterest or Twitter for more conversation!  Or get posts delivered via Email or RSS Feed.  

Plan It, Don’t Panic ~easy, nutritious recipes and meal planning strategies
Healthy Snacks to Go ~ healthy granola bars, lara bars and more snack recipes
One Bite at a Time ~ organizing, one task at a time