Top Takeaways from BBNYC16

As a Blogger Bash Ambassador I was compensated for my involvement prior to, during, and after Blogger Bash. Regardless of compensation my passion for this event has run deep for 3 years now and I would absolutely highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. The opinions below are my own. 




It was a whirlwind of a few days last week, and it’s hard to believe it’s all over! It is amazing how many powerful connections were made within such a short amount of time, relationships with fellow influencers as well as sponsors were established. Most of all seeing the amount of effort, attention to detail, and all of the moving parts that went into hosting a successful event of such a caliber in such a unique setting was astonishing!

While there will be several other recaps in store to summarize all of Blogger Bash, here are some of our top take aways from this year’s event. You can definitely say that everyone Rocked That Boat!

Embrace Yourself & Go Forth With Confidence

Jude Connally Collection

I was so honored to be styled by Jude Connally. The time and consideration that their stylist spent to actually pick pieces that were tailored to my personality. That is a feat within itself, I cannot stand to go shopping for myself because I get so overwhelmed and usually don’t think I look great in anything.

Within the very instant I slipped on one of Jude’s dresses, I felt beautiful. The colors alone made me smile when they were in the box, I was squealing with delight as soon as I saw them on. I felt radiant, and was beaming!

The Jude Connally brand is inspired by real women. With a fit for every body type, every woman’s spirit will shine when wearing Jude Connally. Whether you are heading to the market or into a business meeting, you will feel your best! The line began as a dress collection and has evolved to include sportswear and separates, all made in a luxurious, easy-care fabric in bold and bright prints.

Proudly made in the USA, each and every garment is wash and dry, no dry cleaning necessary. Like literally, you could roll them into a ball, shove them in your purse, take them out, shake them out and then put them on with no wrinkles at all!

Jude Connally's Brand gives every woman confidence in fashionMy Big Bonus was in that moment I still felt beautiful on that very hot and humid day. While we met with Jude and her team, we got to see her in action and watch her work with each of us individually.

While we were in the thick of hustle and bustle I exclaimed that I had to pull my hair back and didn’t think it was doing the dress any justice, Mike said “Jude wears her hair back, you can rock it back too.” So I did!

My statement jewelry from One Savvy Mother also helped to accentuate how beautiful I felt. I received so many compliments on both of the necklaces that I wore. I was happy to let everyone know that they were from One Savvy Mother.

NEC_103d_1024x1024Lara is beyond talented in curating these incredibly on-trend eco-friendly accessories. The mint color of my Terra necklace by Zsiska was a perfect contrast to the navy of my Jude Connally Julie dress in Sail Geo Navy. On Thursday, the berry colors of the Bolas necklace also by Zsiska was a fantastic contrast to the light blue of the Rachel Dress from Jude Connally in Star Lattice Sky.


Preparation is Key

There are some things that you can prepare for ahead of time, here are a few things that I did not foresee, and was not prepared:

adult-productWhile you know that you will be at a conference, ON A BOAT, for 2 days, and you think you are prepared – chances are you aren’t! I was so thankful that the team was prepared, and Sea-Band was a sponsor that provided us with sea-bands. Thankfully I also did bring some backup of their Ginger Gum that I would often chew when I was pregnant with Abby. Actually, they make Sea-Band Mama for just that. I do not know if I would have survived without those trusty (sea-)bands!


Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! I know that I did not, and I can say this in retrospect. I wish that I drank more water, I should have brought my refillable water bottle with me, and didn’t think to pack it. I was constantly on the go, and should have made it a point to drink more.

speck candy shell clear with glitter casePROTECT your precious connections – meaning your PHONE! When your tempered glass cover breaks, don’t say “oh! I’ll be okay” chances are – you won’t! Then you’ll shatter your screen and you will spend half of a day in a dark depression because most places want $240 to fix your iPhone 6S Plus. I’m pretty sure had I already had a speck Candy Shell Clear with Glitter Case on my phone like the adorable glitter one that I received on Thursday – there may not have been a shattered screen. #truestory

Lyft is a god-send! I’m beyond thankful for the friends that suggested the use of this great service. I’ve never tried Uber and truth-be-told the concept kind of freaked me out. After having been a passenger with a friend using Lyft throughout the conference, on Friday I was so grateful of her sending an invite/credits to me to use. Feel free to use my affiliate link to receive $50 in Lyft Credits.


Kindness Matters


jessica-we-care-bearsKicking off the event set the tone. The #ShareYourCare Brunch was incredible, and not just the face time with my most favorite Care Bear of all time, Funshine Bear! Jessica Carscadden has been doing just that since 2012 when she founded We Care Bears.

All while cleaning her room, she realized that she could donate her stuffed animals to first-responders to give to children in emergency situations as a source of comfort. Today, We Care Bears, has donated over 3,000 bags of stuffed animals to first responders and other organizations that work with kids in unbearable situations all across the US.

With those aspirations of such a young girl to make a significant difference to those who need it most, it’s obvious that all of us can do a much better job about being kinder to those around us on any given day, especially those in need.


photo credit Monica Pruett


monica-jenn-modelingOn a much smaller level, if you aren’t always the best about meeting new friends, or perhaps even nervous (yes, believe it or not – I am). Why not create an all-inclusive Buddy Bench!

We had a great time meeting new friends at the cocktail party Tuesday night, and we had a buddy bench! You never know, you could always make a new friend – and end up modeling – or get the best hugs.


happy-salmon-northstar-gamesYou also never know who you may make friends with during a rousing game of Happy Salmon! Talk about an addictive, fast-paced, hysterical ice-breaker game!! We loved every single minute of it and could have continued to play forever.


Learning Through Imagination is Priceless

Learning Through Imagination is Priceless
The moment that made all of my BBNYC16 Dreams Come True was at the Kate & Mim Mim Breakfast. Yes, while I was super excited and beyond happy to have met my favorite friend Mim Mim the night before, it was at the breakfast that I had to contain my excitement.

Meeting Julie & Scott Stewart

In the moments leading up to the breakfast, I was helping out and make sure that everything was set for the day. It was in that moment, that Jimmy Chang of Just Play Products introduced me to Julie & Scott Stewart at the Kate & Mim Mim Breakfast. That moment was the highlight of my entire conference experience, let alone year.

I was most looking forward to that portion of the event from the moment it was announced. Kate & Mim Mim is such a huge part of our every day routines with our daughter. As if we really needed an additional reason to love Disney. We watch it every single night before bed time, and have for the past 2 years.


Abby always reminds us of Kate with her spirited, anything is possible, boundless imagination. That is one of the qualities about her personality that we love most.  My husband and I actually have frequently joked that Mimaloo is definitely a place that Abby’s imagination would visit often. This show actually helps us to prompt discussions with her when we see any challenges she may be facing or fears she may have, and reminds us that our playful and fun personalities can help her navigate through those times as well.

She has a big personality in such a little body. One of our favorite Kate quotes that sums up Abby’s thinking is “He showed Mim Mim and me, no matter how small you are, you can do BIG things if you try!” (when referring to her friend Tiny the ant that was able to make a big difference in Mimaloo).

You can imagine the child inside of me freaking out as I was able to meet, and speak with the creators of such a huge part of our lives! That 10-15 minutes that I spent with them was worth more to me than all the contacts of the entire conference. 


Successful Event = Killer Behind The Scenes Planning & Execution


As an Ambassador, this year I was privy to a bit more than I’d typically be aware of. I signed up to work “shifts” during the event. I was able to be a part of the crew that helped sponsors set up for Sweet Suite – The Biggest Night of Play! While I may not have all the business cards, or have been able to get around to each sponsor during the event, I do know that we helped assemble display units, made sure they had all of their boxes, helped erect signs, and made sure they actually ate!

It may not sound glorious to some, but being able to play a very small role in helping sponsors, brands, and influencers make lasting connections that night was very rewarding. (Even if I did get stuck with Glover in the elevator after the event was over). I cannot even put into words the amount of work that Charlene, Laurie, Marissa, Ali, Maddie, and the ENTIRE team put into this event. There are no words!


charlene-judeIn case you didn’t know, Charlene is an actual influencer just like us – you can find her at Charlene Chronicles, Clever Luxe, and Metro West Mamas. Prior to this event, she was already a walking spokesmodel for Jude Connally, a brand she already wore on a daily basis!

laurieLaurie happens to be The Toy Insider Mom and owner of Adventure Publishing Group. Marissa and Ali are both senior editors at The Toy Insider. Maddie (#myfriendmaddie) is an associate editor, also at  The Toy Insider.

We also cannot forget the rest of the team that worked so hard throughout the whole event; Jackie, Joe, Steven, Varuni, Bill, Stephanie, Melanie, Kristina, Paula, and Lori! (sadly I do not have an awesome photo of them, because they were too busy working so hard!!)



Jenn GaffneyTop Takeaways from BBNYC16
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Summer Fun & Savings at Garden State Discovery Museum

Summer Fun & Savings at Garden State Discovery Museum

GSDM Summer


Savings Every Week

Not heading to the shore this summer? Stuck trying to think of things to do with the kiddos. The Garden State Discovery Museum has so many great ways to have hands on fun.

On Monday, July 4th their $5 after 5pm promotion starts. Every Monday in July & August admission is only $5 after 5pm.



A Different Kind of Summer Camp

Looking for a unique summer camp experience, what about Fitness or Art Camp? Both are available at GSDM. This summer they are offering Kid Venture Fitness Classes with 4 different areas of focus! Future MVPs, Ninja Training, Toddle & Tumble, and Go Baby Go.


Kid Venture Fitness at Garden State Discovery Museum


Are your children into Art? If they are looking to master their craft and skills and have a creative outlet then the Art Series is for you!

Series One is on Monday and Wednesday afternoons between July 11-27, 2016 from 2-4pm.  Series Two is on Monday and Wednesday afternoons between August 1- 24, 2016 from 2-4pm. Students will learn and apply painting skills using a variety of medium and techniques, inspired by master artists from around the world. Students will make masterpieces they can take home and cherish forever!

Garden State Discovery Museum Art Series


Groove & Grub Every Wednesday!

On Wednesday, July 6, 2016 the Garden State Discovery Museum will be kicking off the 4th annual Groovin’ and Grubbin’. We’ve been big fans and have attended every year. The kids have such a blast between dancing and playing, and us grown-ups love all the food. We’ve had so much fun at past Groovin’ and Grubbin’ events.

Groovin' & Grubbin' GSDM


We love this free outdoor concert series and food truck festival. This year, the Museum is excited to announce Camden County will be partnering as a sponsor for the summer long series.  Local gourmet food trucks line the museum’s parking lot from5-8 PM and a different performer takes the stage each week for a 7 PM free family friendly show. Admission to the Museum it is only $5 after 5pm.

The weekly entertainment lineup will be sure to have you grooving in your seat. The wildly popular Ernie & Neal are returning to kick off the summer in style! Families will also see Tim Kubart, Suzi Shelton, Jeff Lyons and Community Rocks. The Museum’s own Discovery Theatre will take the stage outside to perform Robin Hood and CinderElliot, presented by the Horizon Foundation For New Jersey. Visit the for a full performance lineup.
The Museum’s parking lot is packed with a variety of food choices to satisfy every taste bud, big and small. Last year, there were nearly a dozen different food trucks that joined the event and this year there will be even more! This year’s lineup includes Waffles and Wedges, Tony & Tori’s Grill, Kona Ice, The Lunch Box Truck, Sweet Lavender, Cupcakes 2 GoGo, Baby Blue’s Rolling Kitchen, Eat-A-Pita, Dump N Roll, Not Your Mama’s Tacos and many more.  Love those summer nights with the Garden State Discovery Museum!
“We are so excited to be kicking off our fourth year of such a successful event with the support of Camden County!  We really loved seeing families gather week after week to enjoy the music, the food, and their neighbors and community,” said Jordan Blau, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Museum. “We have great pictures of toddlers sitting on hay bales with water ice dripping down their arms, big smiles on their faces, laughing and singing with the performers.”
Each Wednesday in July and August, grab some grub from 5-8 PM, jump around in the My Gym moon bounce from 5-7 PM, and catch a performance at 7 PM. With a different performer every night, come once, come twice, come every night!

The Schedule

7/6/16 Ernie & Neal 
7/13/16 Music Mania With Marcia
7/20/16 Robin Hood
7/27/16 Sara O’Brien & Community Rocks Kids
8/3/16 Suzi Shelton
8/10/16 CinderElliot
8/17/16 Jeff Lyons
8/24/16 Two Of A Kind 
8/31/16 Tim Kubart
*Up to date additions and changes can be found on their website.
Jenn GaffneySummer Fun & Savings at Garden State Discovery Museum
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Join Us for Pony Up!

Friendspired has been provided with tickets to this event and tickets to giveaway compliments of Breyer.





Breyer®, the number one name in horse toys, invites children to discover the world of horses at the first ever Pony Up! festival at the historic United States Equestrian Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ on Saturday, June 18, 2016.


Pony Up! is a fun, hands-on, family-oriented festival featuring some of the real local horses that inspired the Breyer models. Children will be able to get up close with the horses and meet their owners, take pony rides, visit a petting zoo, and participate in fun craft activities such as Stablemates paint-your-own-model-horses and play tables.

Special guest horses will include local Breyer portrait models Brookside Pink Magnum owned by Rebecca McGregor of Rebedon Farm in Phillipsburg, NJ and Oration owned by the Desiderio Family and Tranquility Farm in Chester, NJ.

Equine demonstrations in the equestrian center’s arena will feature Arabians, American Quarter Horses, ponies and draft horses.

Additional activities for children include jumping competitions with fun prizes, face painting, magicians, and a craft activity tent.

Model horse hobby enthusiasts will enjoy the Hands-On Hobby booth where hobby experts will talk about collectability, model horse showing and customizing. Free model horse workshops such as Introduction to Customizing, Repairing model horses, Create Your Dream Horse, Making and Creating a Horse Suncatcher will also be offered.

Admission is just $10 and includes all activities with every child ticketholder age 17 and under receiving a free Breyer Classics® scale model horse to take home (a $20 value). Advanced tickets to Pony Up! are strongly suggested and are on sale now at

“We created Pony Up! as a great way for kids to discover the world of horses and model horses in a relaxed, welcoming environment,” said Breyer Events Manager Jaime Potkalesky. “The horse community provides great opportunities to teach important life lessons such as empathy and compassion. To get children started, we will send every child home with a Breyer model horse to play with and enjoy.”

Local barns will be on site with information about riding lessons and children’s programs and where to find local stables in the area.

One of America’s most iconic toy brands, Breyer Animal Creations has been dedicated to the creation of authentic and realistic model horses for play and collecting for more than 65 years. Its portrait models of horse heroes and animals like Secretariat, Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, RinTinTin, and Lassie have inspired children of all ages to love animals. Breyer is a division of Reeves International (, a family-owned toy manufacturer and distributor based in Pequannock, NJ.


Saturday, June 18 — 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.


United States Equestrian Team Headquarters

1040 Pottersville Road

Gladstone, NJ 07934

(just off Route 206)


$10. Includes festival admission and activities with child ticket holders age 17 and under receiving a free Breyer Classics® model horse ($20 value).

Free parking or 1-800-413-3348

Advance purchase strongly encouraged.




Friendspired is giving away 2 tickets to our readers for this Saturday, June 18th’s event. All you have to do is tell us why you would love to attend.


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Jenn GaffneyJoin Us for Pony Up!
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Start Your Adventure With The Hard Rock World Burger Tour This Summer

The following information, gift card, gift pack and giveaway have been provided to me by Hard Rock International.

Start Your Adventure With The Hard Rock World Burger Tour This Summer!


What Is The Hard Rock World Burger Tour?

Hard Rock Cafe locations are celebrating the start of burger season with a menu showcasing international Local Legendary™ Burgers

For a limited-time only, The World Burger Tour menu is available Sunday, May 1 through Thursday, June 30, 2016

This year, Hard Rock is also offering a literal World Burger Tour, a travel package that takes the most adventurous burger enthusiasts on the road (and the skies) to sample offerings from the World Burger Tour menu at Hard Rock Cafe locations in London, Athens, Buenos Aires and Seattle!

Get Your Backstage Burger Pass


Hard Rock gives chefs at their cafes the freedom to create a unique Local Legendary Burger that captures the flavors of their city.

This year more than 160 local burgers were evaluated by Hard Rock’s culinary team with fan favorites selected to headline the World Burger Tour menu. Throughout May and June, Hard Rock Cafe menus* will feature the following World Burger Tour offerings:

English Breakfast Burger (London, England) – a Certified Angus Beef® patty topped with sliced ham, a sausage patty, a fried egg, a portobello mushroom, arugula and garlic aioli and served with a side of baked beans

Java Lava Burger (Seattle, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty grilled and dressed in a house-made espresso rub and topped with lava sauce, crunchy java onions, bacon, melted Cheddar cheese and garnished with a fried jalapeño

Tandoori Chicken Burger (Mumbai, India) – a dark meat chicken patty seasoned with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, topped with mint mayonnaise and served with a side of cucumber

Jamaican Jerk Burger (Montego Bay, Jamaica) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with banana pepper rings, mango jalapeño cream cheese and jerk mayonnaise

ATOMIC! Burger (Las Vegas, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with Atomic beer-battered peppers, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic chipotle ketchup and chipotle mayonnaise

Tango Salsa Burger (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with andouille sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, chips de batata, a fried egg, salsa criolla and garlic aioli

Greek Burger (Athens, Greece) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with arugula, feta cheese and a tomato slice

Aloha Burger (Honolulu, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with SPAM, Monterey Jack cheese, a grilled pineapple ring with sweet soy glaze, guacamole and pico de gallo

*World Burger Tour menus may vary by location; guests should consult their local cafe for a full list of featured burgers.

Best Paired With

Hard Rock Cafe has created cocktails that perfectly complement World Burger Tour offerings. Served in Hard Rock’s iconic mason jars, adult guests can order with the suggested pairing or mix it up with any other burger from the limited-time menu. New cocktails include:

All Jacked Up – created to balance the Jamaican Jerk Burger’s spicy flair, this cocktail features a mix of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, PJ, Orgeat and lime juice, garnished with orange and pineapple wedges and a cherry

Crisp Sipper – inspired by the Aloha Burger’s sweet and savory taste, this cocktail features a mix of Hendrick’s gin, Monin Cucumber, lemon, orange and raspberry, topped with tonic and garnished with rosemary and thyme

MelonPalooza – designed to complement the fresh flavors of the Greek Burger, this cocktail features a mix of Midori Melon Liqueur, Malibu Rum, Hard Rock’s house-made sour mix and PJ, garnished with slices of pineapple and strawberry

Sweet & Fiery – inspired by the ATOMIC! Burger’s spicy flavor, this cocktail features a mix of Absolut Peppar Vodka, Canton Ginger Liquor, Blue Curacao, lemonade and ginger beer, garnished with a red pepper

Black Cherry Melonade (non-alcoholic) – created to complement the rich espresso of the Java Lava Burger, this mocktail features a mix of Black Cherry Real and Monin Cucumber, topped with ginger beer, garnished with a cucumber slice and a cherry

Burger Tour for the Roadie

For those a little more hungry, Hard Rock will bring its menu to life and offer a unique burger experience that takes guests’ taste buds on an international journey
Hard Rock, in conjunction with global experience agency Infrared, is offering a World Burger Tour travel package that includes stops at iconic cities including London, England; Athens, Greece; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Seattle, United States. This four-stop, once-in-a-lifetime excursion celebrates the cities that inspired Hard Rock’s World Burger Tour

The World Burger Tour travel package is a private, 10-night trip that includes flights, first class hotel accommodations, ground transportation and exclusive dining and music experiences at Hard Rock Cafe locations in each city not typically available to the public.

You Can Win Too!

Want a chance to see if your favorite burgers are prize worthy? Tall is your favorite flavor combinations for a chance to win. A lucky reader will win the Hard Rock Cafe gift pack, which includes:

Hard-Rock-GiveawayOne (1) oven mitt

One (1) apron

One (1) spatula

Jenn GaffneyStart Your Adventure With The Hard Rock World Burger Tour This Summer
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Newly Renovated Talking Tom App Has Launched


Talking Tom Receives Fresh Upgrades

Talking Tom Cat, the app from Outfit7 Limited that created a viral talk-back sensation for families around the world makes an encore appearance today. The app features fresh upgrades including a modern new look, laugh out (ok, hilarious) animations, and noteworthy to us parents – an ad-free gameplay option.

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Upgraded App with Additional Safety Elements

Outfit7 has created additional safety elements to the upgraded app, including the removal of all banners and interstitials. In addition, further protections have also been provided to ensure young ones cannot leave the app through advertisements and are not exposed to paywalls when Child Mode option is chosen.

Talking Tom Cat and Outfit7’s family of apps under the Talking Tom and Friends umbrella are PRIVO certified, indicating they are COPPA compliant, protecting children’s personal information and guarding against sharing of information.

Virtual Legend Reimagined in 3D

Talking Tom Cat reimagines the virtual legend himself, giving Talking Tom Cat a contemporary 3D look, plus over a dozen new animations while keeping in tune with all of the classic repeat function and gross bodily noises. Kids will laugh-out-loud to Talking Tom Cat’s kooky reactions to eating new food including fiery chili, delectable ice cream and more.

Talking Tom Cat is available to download FREE on

iOS | Android | WindowsAmazon

About Talking Tom

A talking legend in both digital and pop culture circles, the Talking Tom Cat app CATapulted Outfit7 to its indisputable status as a leader in the digital sphere, earning its apps a spot on most mobile devices and tablets across the globe.  With over 3.6 billion total downloads across the Talking Tom and Friends umbrella, fans have grown to love each and every new release of the franchise. Over the last six years, players have spent an astronomical 945 thousand years playing with Talking Tom apps; knocking him down over 191 billion times.

Since Talking Tom launched almost six years ago, Outfit7 has built an ever-expanding suite of Talking Tom and Friends apps.  The franchise has amassed over 4.3 billion views of its various branded content online including Talking Tom and Friends: The Animated Series with over 470 million-plus views.  The 52×11 minute series airs weekly and features an all-star voice cast led by Golden Globe® and Emmy®-nominee Colin Hanks (“Fargo”) and Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants.”)  Join Tom and the gang while they shoot their own reality TV show in Tom and Ben’s app studio.  Perfect for fun family viewing.  Watch the wackiness weekly at

Jenn GaffneyNewly Renovated Talking Tom App Has Launched
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