Speck Products Giveaway

Speck-CasesI haven’t forgotten about you! I mentioned when I went to the Speck store party, that I had some products for us. Ya including you.

Speck Products are still new to me, as I only found out about them a few weeks ago, but a few of you’ve proven that you have been fans of them for some time. I’m happy to report that I have a couple of giveaways coming up. One being a double-whammy today where the winner will receive two iPad mini cases. Speck-iPad-cases

This will especially be great for parents with little ones, as the ShowFolio can strap to the seat in front of them and they can stay occupied wherever you are driving. The DuraFolio is a regular iPad mini case that prevents your iPad from getting smashed or shattered when it gets thrown around. Because that’s bound to happen, when you have kids.

The ShowFolio retails for $69.95.Speck-ShowFolio

The DuraFolio used primarily for every day use retails for $59.95Speck-DuraFolio

Giveaway is open to residents of CANADA & USA ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Speck Store Party

I would call this week a success, so far. I mean, I haven’t gotten lost yet — touch wood. Thank YOU blackberry maps.

Tuesday I drove to Los Gatos for an appointment, Wednesday Jessica and I drove to Half Moon Bay, and earlier this afternoon I drove to Palo Alto for a Speck store party. Speck-Store--Party

Being my first blogger type of event, I wanted to get my outfit sorted through last night. Taking selfies, sending it to my friends and husband asking their advice. Anyone else do this? Looking put together on the cheap, was my goal. Is that bad? Saves me the dollars, that’s for sure.

Speck party selfieForever 21 necklaces /// H&M top /// JC Penny brand white jeans
Cynthia Rowley Wedges /// Fossil Purse

I haven’t worn wedges in forever. They were more uncomfortable than I remembered.

Facebook has a community for the local bloggers down here, which I found, and joined. That’s where I received the contact information for Lindsay, who invited me to the Speck event. Hooray for new faces! I’m trying to meet a lot of people, because I’m currently not working, and I want to meet new friends. Bonus if they’re bloggers!

I think I could cruise around in my little car for hours, and embrace the warm sun that California has to offer. The drive to Palo Alto was no exception, just as beautiful.

Speck-Products-partyThe Speck Store Party was a private event, launching their new store in Palo Alto. I didn’t know anything about Speck products until I got the e-mail invite just a week prior. They sell a lot of creative cases that are fun to accessorize your  iPhone, MacBook, iPad and other cell phones/tablets.

Their cases are heavy duty, yet not bulky, if they’re branded with the stamp of “Meets or exceeds military standards”. One guy there was demonstrating it by flicking his phone across the store, and it didn’t break. Made my heart drop a little! I think I need one of those cases for my BlackBerry Z10. Still representing good ol’ Waterloo.

Speck recently launched a new case for your phones called Candy Shell Amped. There’s little holes on the side of your case where you can freely listen to your music 2x clearer and louder,  without it being muffled. It’s pretty nice.

Speck-BagsSpeck hooked US up big time.

Selfie-with-Speck-ProductsI left with a goody bag filled with all sorts of cases. I’m a little outdated with the products that I use, so I picked out an iPad 2 case for myself and got two cases for my husbands two laptops. I know, he’s spoiled at work.

Speck products are sold at major retailers.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about living in Canada -vs- USA, so come back for that!

Have you been to a blogger event or conference before?

What’s the weather like, where you are today?

Taking blog photos indoors

Let’s face it. Photos add interest to one’s blog. If I see a volume of text on one’s website without photos, I’m less inclined to continue reading more than one or two posts. Simply out of visual boredom.

I rarely take my blog photos outside, and prefer not to use artificial light. I’m here to help you how to make the most of your time, and tell you my tips I’ve learned along the way.

Know when and where to take your photos

When I worked, I took blog photos on the weekends for the upcoming week. My balcony was the only place that had decent light so I worked between 11am − 1pm. I’m not working now, but I still only take blog photos once a week, and try to get it done within an hour. At our new place, the perfect time of day for photos like these are between 1pm − 3pm on the upstairs landing.

Make your photos visually interesting

Clean up your area before you photograph. Garbage in the background, dirty plates, stacks of paper, it doesn’t add much to a photos appeal. You don’t have to style your images as they do in magazines, but have fun with what you’re photographing. Be unique, take photos from different angles.

Use a backdrop

When you see that I have a plain white background in photos, it’s because I’m using a painters canvas as the background. Something more cost efficient but not as durable, is plain white printer paper. You could also grab a colourful placemat, a piece of wrapping paper, or even books.

Edit your photos

If you’re stuck inside with artificial light, try your best to light your subject with light bulbs that don’t have yellow undertones. Then go into Photoshop and play with the layers. Here’s an example of a photo edit before and after.before-after-poutine

Hope these tips help you out!

Branding and Blog Re-Design

Surprise! My blog has a completely new look.

out-with-old-in-with-newOut with the old, in with the new.

For the past 8 years, I have had the same template on my blog. I thought if it wasn’t broke, I shouldn’t fix it. I loved the design and it worked well for me. Thing is, new people visiting my website didn’t seem to think so. Nobody knew what ‘spiffykerms’ was all about, let alone how to pronounce it.

In a community blogging thread over at Facebook, a friend notified us all about this free website analyser called Peek User Testing. A person visits your site for the first time, films their 5 minute visit to the site, answering 3 questions. First being their first impression. Two, describing their experience. And lastly, if they’d be back.

I can’t stand listening to the first video of my website being reviewed. I entered my website in twice, and both times the new visitors could not tell what kind of site they were visiting. The users equally suggested branding, proper navigation and an about page that was more of what the blog was about — not who I was. Mind you, I did tweak my about page to cater to both.

Upon watching the two videos, I became apprehensive of their reviews. I inarguably cursed on them a few times but it was evident to take the constructive criticism and change spiffykerms.com for the better. Second guy had some valid points to offer, without sounding condescending.

Hence, the branding and blog re-design of spiffykerms! What do you think of it all? Definitely cleaner, and easier to navigate through, right?

Finally I decided to go through and submit my blog for a final review after the re-design. Not impressed by what this woman had to say about my site for the first few minutes. The name sounds crazy and looks obscene? Therefore, she doesn’t know if she wants to continue reading? What?

I can’t win.

Not everyone will like what you have to offer, I understand that after 3 not so positive reviews. Is all this site for criticising? Or do they ever like a website they visit.

The turn-around for getting your site analysed on Peek User Testing is around 2-3 days. Think you’re ready to give your website a try?

This is clearly not a sponsored post. Thought I’d let you in on why I decided to randomly revamp my entire blog.