Build Your Influence In Less Than Two Weeks

 I am a Brand Ambassador for Build Your Influence and am sharing my thoughts and opinions of attending this event in the past and sharing an affiliate code as a part of my ambassadorship. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Build Your Influence

In the past 8 years that I’ve been in the influencer space I’ve attended many different workshops, classes, and conferences. Some are great social events where we can meet with different brands and sponsors one-on-one and get the inside scoop on some of our favorite brands. Others are more into the technical side of curating and publishing online content.

Community, Connections, and Lots of Learning

Last year I attended Build Your Influence Summit and left with so many amazing benefits. Community and connections to other influencers just like me, knowledge in various aspects of the technical side such as optimizing your site and income by working smarter and not harder, and a better sense of direction for Friendspired.

Working full time (and then some) outside of the home, being a parent to a 3 year old sassy, spirited little one, and managing everyday life tends to leave me feeling overwhelmed and unfocused when it comes to the direction and content for Friendspired. I look forward to Build Your Influence because it helps me to devise a game plan and roadmap for the future of the site.

Join Us With A Discount

This year Build Your Influence Summit is a little bit closer to home, which I love. It will be held on September 24, 2016 at the Conference Center of Valley Forge, Valley Forge PA. Tickets are still available, and you can purchase them with a 20% discount using my affiliate code ‘JenniferGaffney’ at checkout.

Discount Code for Build Your Influence Summit

Learn From The Experts

I am very much looking forward to learning from colleagues and leaders in their own areas of expertise. Some of which I have the pleasure of being friends with, and others I’ve had the pleasure of hearing speak previously.

Maria-Bailey-Headshot-New-300x240I am most excited to learn from Keynote Speaker: Maria Bailey. I have had the honor of attending SheStreams in 2011 and learned so much from her. She is a driving force in influencing and marketing to Moms. She is certainly the leader and trusted authority to today’s top brands. Her latest book, “Millennial Moms: 202 Facts Markets Need to Know to Build Brands and Drive Sales” is spot on and definitely provides amazing insight into how to reach and work with influencers.

headshot-2016-Colleen-Padilla-smallColleen Padilla, a local influencer that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since I started blogging a million years ago because of Philly Social Media Moms. Colleen is the founder and editor of – Colleen and the Classy Mommy website have been featured on The Today Show, Fox News, Good Morning America, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, The New York Post, local Philadelphia ABC, CBS, and NBC programs. Colleen has appeared in a TV special about Alpha Moms on South Korea’s NBC affiliate SBS. She also co-authored The Digital Mom Handbook, which is a great tool. I referenced this countless times when it was released.

Joyce-Shulman-Profile-Pic-higher-res-203x300I think one of the topics that I’m looking forward to learning about is Avoiding Burnout from Joyce Shulman. She’s Chief Macaroni Mom! So she knows a thing or two about juggling it all and then some. A self-proclaimed Idea junkie, Entrepreneur, Addicted skier, & Recovering lawyer!

I often struggle on trying to find a balance to doing it all – working full time outside the home, mama to a 3 year old, wife to supportive hubby – and reality is, we are all so close to that dreaded burn out. So don’t mind me if I’m taking copious notes or in a tweeting frenzy during this session!

Reesa-LewandowskiI definitely cannot wait to learn from my friend Reesa! I will admit I’m a pinterest junkie, but I haven’t got the slightest method to my madness. None! I just #pinallthethings. Reesa is one of the most down to earth and honest women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

Reesa found it her passion to enlighten fellow parents on how to take time to enjoy their lives and take the stress out of parenthood. She started blogging in 2010 after staying home for a few years with her son and missed the everyday conversation of adult life.

Anne-ParrisI have found the most community and connections in private Facebook Groups. So I’m definitely looking forward to Anne Parris’s session on just that. Anne Parris is a recovering corporate accountant, a blogger at Not A Supermom, and the Managing Partner of Midlife Boulevard, an on-line magazine for women over 40 and 50. Anne is also one of the partners behind the BAM conference, the only event focused on women bloggers in midlife. Anne lives with her husband in their half-empty nest near Richmond, Virginia.

saramerritt-768x513For those attending that are looking to leave the 9 to 5 and become their own boss, Sara Merritt’s session will highlight on how Use Your Skills to Start a Freelance Social Media & Writing Business. Sara Merritt is owner of Sara Merritt Creative Services, a social media marketing & web design firm in Lewisburg, PA.

After attending the first Build Your Influence Summit, Sara took a cannon-ball sized leap into web design, social media marketing , and freelance content creation as a full time endeavor.

gloverSaving the best for last, I say this because I’m definitely biased as she’s one of my very closest friends – Stephanie Glover. Not only does she crack me up on a daily basis, is a mentor in many ways, enables my Hamilton obsession, and encourages me to #planallthethings but she’s a pretty incredible person. (Remember this after she kills me for using this image for this segment.)

Stephanie will be showing everyone how to Rock Their Cameras! Her session is a hands on, in-depth, up close and personal learning experience to assist you in producing some incredible photos for your site.

You also have to give credit where credit is due to the ladies behind this amazing event. Megan Galko of NEPA Mom and Jenna Urban of Bucktown Bargains. The Build Your Influence Summit is the brainchild of these two bloggers and friends who realized that their Influence is more powerful when they work together.

With that in mind, they created the Build Your Influence Summit.  This conference is geared towards bloggers and entrepreneurs looking to successfully grow their influence by developing skills needed to grow their audience and cultivate relationships with brands and other entrepreneurs. I can promise you that the conference does just that! AND MORE!!

We would love for you to join us, it is an event that is well worth the investment of your time and money. The connections, community, and knowledge that is cultivated during this event comes back and encourages in so many ways!

In less than 2 weeks this event will take place. Tickets are still available, and you can purchase them with a 20% discount using my affiliate code ‘JenniferGaffney’ at checkout.





Jenn GaffneyBuild Your Influence In Less Than Two Weeks
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Celebrate #ShareYourCare Day with Care Bears



cb-carechallengeSharing is Caring!

We shared with you a few months ago about how we enjoyed the Share Your Care Brunch at Blogger Bash sponsored by American Greetings/Care Bears. This event is always one of our favorites, we learn about what’s new in store for Care Bears from plush, toys, games, apps, to even new Netflix Episodes. But the best part of this event is that we learn what foundation/organization will be supported in the upcoming Share Your Care Day! (Which is today September 9th.)

It makes sense because Care Bears are the original sharers. For nearly 35 years, Care Bears have taught children of all ages about sharing their feelings and caring for others. The Care Bears toy line was originally introduced in 1983 to caring fans everywhere and they’ve never been out of the heart and minds of fans since. Recently, the huggable Cousins have been reintroduced for digital natives on Netflix in the Netflix Original Series: Care Bears & Cousins. They also have a variety of fun apps for your family to continue sharing on the go! You can even make your own Care Bear at Build A Bear.

At their core, Care Bears have heart and are all about love, caring and sharing with others. Care Bears also support charities around the world that help families in need, including We Care Bears, ZachKapCares, Fathom/en-ABLE, United Way, Operation Smile and many more.


This Year #ShareYourCare With We Care Bears

Today, on Share Your Care Day, Care Bears is participating in an event donating 500 Care Bears plush to help this year’s Care Bears Kid Ambassador, 13-year-old Jessica Carscadden and her mission to help kids in “unBEARable” situations via We Care Bears Project.

Jessica Carscadden is one incredible and amazing young lady. She has such a genuine soul and sweet spirit. We are happy to support her and are so excited that Care Bears chose to support her foundation.

One day I was cleaning out my stuffed animals and a lot of them were almost new, many still had the tags on them.

The fire department comes into contact with children at fires, auto accidents or EMT calls.  The kids they meet are often scared.  I thought kids would be less scared if they fireman had a stuffed animal to give the kids.  The fireman didn’t have any stuffed animals and they were happy I donated mine.

I am only one girl and I took all of my animals to the fire department but I know the police department also come into contact with kids who are scared so I made a plan.

I talked to the principal at my school, Dr. Newman, and asked him if I could ask the whole school to donate stuffed animals.  Then maybe we could have enough stuffed animals to put some in the trunk of all the police cars at our local Sheriff’s station AND in the fire trucks and ambulance.  Dr. Newman thought it was a good idea and that maybe if I presented it to the Monterey Ridge Elementary School Student Council they could help me with the project.

I talked to the Sheriff’s office and they have 6 cars, plus the fire station vehicles.  So my goal was to get stuffed animals in every vehicle and boy did we!!

With the help from kids all over the country we have donated about 3,000 bags of stuffed animals to first responders and other organizations that work with kids in unbearable situations all across the US.”

Jessica of We Care Bears with Funshine Bear


What Are You Waiting For

Jenn-Care-BearsShare Your Care Day should be EVERY DAY not just on September 9th! A constant motto in our house is “Sharing is Caring”.  This is something that the children also will say to their friends in particular situations, and we are proud that they understand the message and want to help to do their part to share. We also try to teach them that it’s more than just sharing your snack with your friends at school, or sharing a turn on a swing on the playground. Sharing is so much more and can turn around devastating situations and experiences, and make a person’s day or even life.

It’s not just a lesson for our children, it’s a lesson for every one. It’s something that we struggle with as parents too, trying to share ourselves with our children, with our spouses, and with our friends. Sharing is such a bigger gesture and is a part of our every day lives. We also strive to teach our children that sharing isn’t just about the material objects in our lives. Sharing can be a kind word, a moment of your time, your help, and because we try to teach them the difference that they make, they are excited to get involved.

Take The Oath

It only takes an oath and promise to become a Care Bear Ambassador! You can share your care with these intentions:




Join Us – Help Care Bears Celebrate the #CareALotChallenge

The #ShareYourCare movement is all about acts of kindness, big and small. Care Bears encourage you to do something nice for someone today, such as treating a friend to lunch, sharing a toy with your sibling, taking out the trash for your mom, helping an older neighbor across the street. Or inspire others with bigger acts of philanthropy like planting a tree, buying coffee or lunch for a homeless person or spending a day volunteering for a charity. Care Bears hope to embolden you to be kind, think of others and #ShareYourCare every day.

Share Your Care all month long and complete one selfless act every day of the month in the #CareALotChallenge – share with Care Bears via @CareBears on Facebook and Twitter.

Care Bears encourage fans everywhere to do something nice for someone all month long via #CareALotChallenge, such as treating a friend to lunch, sharing a toy with a sibling, taking out the trash for mom, or helping an older neighbor across the street. Bigger inspirations for the holiday could also mean acts of philanthropy like planting a tree, buying coffee or lunch for a homeless person or spending a day volunteering for a charity. Care Bears hope to embolden the nation to be kind, think of others and #ShareYourCare every day.



Jenn GaffneyCelebrate #ShareYourCare Day with Care Bears
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Too Much


Too Much

Today a friend posted an inspirational picture, it said “You will be too much for some people. Those aren’t your people”.

I saw it, read it, smiled because I understood that feeling all too well, hit like, and then kept scrolling. As usual just a thought to myself of a feeling I’ve felt quite often. Then my day progressed.

The usual routine of dealing with my kids, trying to get stuff done, and you know life in general. I go through my day being pretty confident in myself. Yet, there are days (this being one of them) that I get told I’m too much.

How many times have you been told you are being too loud?

Not talking about when you are at the movie theater or somewhere like that. But in everyday life? I’ve probably heard that several hundred times. I’m not sure the people who’ve said it to me realize how much they hurt me, or that because of their comments I’ve gone days without talking very much because they’ve made me so self-conscious.

I’m relatively young so it’s taken me a while to become comfortable with myself and who I am. Part of that reason is people who feel the need to tell me I’m too much. Too loud. Too much energy. Too much to handle. I’d love to say these were all random people who didn’t know me well, but the truth is these were friends. Friends who I really thought we were more than that. (And I’m all about being honest, but this is a bit different than that shirt doesn’t match those pants.)

Part of my issue is I wouldn’t say anything because I am not good with conflict. When you keep hearing something about yourself in a negative tone it starts to be hard not to believe it. Being hit at something that is such a part of who you are isn’t always easy to understand. I promise I have some thick skin, but when people feel the need to say it over and over, you need to learn to move away.

Learning to move away from people is hard

I’m a very loyal person, but in the end making yourself happy is way more important than making them happy. It takes a lot for me to tell myself that it’s ok to move away from people who might think you are too much, because maybe, just maybe they aren’t enough for you. It has taken me so long to realize it’s ok to be me-big mouth and all. That by allowing others to make me feel this way was giving them some power over me they didn’t deserve.

So while it may have just been a passing quote on my Facebook feed, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels like they are too much, and it pushes me to find  “my people” where laughing loudly is seen as a good thing rather than being told I’m being too loud.


Lana BrennanToo Much
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Party With Pottery at Garden State Discovery Museum

Party With Pottery at Garden State Discovery Museum


All of our fans and friends know how much we love the Garden State Discovery Museum and all of the fun benefits it has to offer. There are so many things for families to do, play at the museum, attend special events like Groovin & Grubbin, or any of their theatrical productions, and special camps.

Lets Get Creative

We have previously hosted a birthday party for our niece there when she turned 3 and most recently hosted a Pottery Party for Abigail’s 3rd Birthday. We were so excited to have a party in their brand new space. They recently opened Milly’s Which Craft Art Studio sponsored by AC Moore. A.C. Moore also sponsored four free teacher workshops this summer that included training teachers with specialized hands-on strategies developed with the Museum’s Education Department to use art across all curriculums.

Garden State Discovery Museum Pottery Party

The Art Studio celebrates Milly and Herb Iris and their artful life together. Their passion for the arts and belief in Art as a powerful force in transforming lives is reflected in every facet of this new, exciting hands-on exhibit.” Said Garden State Discovery Museum founder, Roree Iris-Williams, “An engaging creative venue for families, school groups, and communities to enjoy crafting and art-making together, the Art Studio is a fitting tribute to my Mom, Milly Iris, who will continue to inspire the next generation of young artists and Art-repreneurs!”

Picking The Pottery Party

Abby is a creative kiddo and loves arts and crafts, so this was a no brainer unique experience for her and her friends to enjoy. It was actually the first party that we invited friends from her day care – as we typically only do parties with family friends.

The Pottery Party that GSDM offers is incredible. Children get to pick and paint their own piece of pottery!  Party guests can choose from a mug, bowl, or plate and give it their own creative spin!  Once the children have painted their masterpieces GSDM takes the pieces and actually fires them in their kiln on-site and then call you to let them know that they are ready to be picked up the following week!


A Team That Cares

One thing that I can say about hosting a party at GSDM is that THEY TAKE CARE OF YOU! Every step of the way. The staff is absolutely amazing and they jump right in and help the entire time. That starts from the moment that you book your party. The reservation department give you all the information that you would need and are great in assisting you in finding the perfect type of party for you. Jordan, Jenn, Doretta and Melissa took fantastic care in making sure that we had everything we needed taken care of.

The best part is, if you want to have a personalized and fun theme, it doesn’t take much.  Garden State Discovery Museum takes care of it all with the themed parties they offer at the museum.

More Than Art

I was excited to run with the art theme and created cute paint splattered invitations that we sent out to all of our friends that we invited. Then we ran with that theme, paint splatters on water bottles, colorful juices, and a paint palette to put all of the cupcakes on display.

Art Party Invitation

A typical museum party is 3 hours in length. For Abby’s pottery party, the first 2 hours were spent in the room – the first hour would be for painting the pottery, second hour would be to celebrate with food and cake, and then the final hour would be for the kiddos to play in the museum. We booked a 10am party on a Sunday. We loved that time frame because it meant that those attending would be able to stay and play in the museum once the party was over offering the guests and their family a fun family day together!

Party Day

Set Up

On the day of the party we arrived 30-45 minutes prior to the party time to set up. From the moment we checked in at the front desk we had party attendants and staff ready to assist us. They helped by bringing a big cart to put all of our party supplies in from our car to bring into the museum. They led us to the room and helped us set everything up. When we arrived they already had all the aprons, palettes and art supplies set up at each of the tables/seats for when the kiddos arrived.



assorted brunch items

Paint Time

Everyone started to trickle in around 10/10:15. As they trickled in we offered them drinks and showed them to the snacks/brunch items. They also picked out their seat and got ready to get creative. After they put on their aprons on and received instructions they went to pick out the pottery they’d like to paint. Before starting, they put the initials of the child on the bottom of the piece. A lot of the children picked out jewelry boxes, banks, and surprisingly the horse figure was a huge favorite.

party guest picking out pottery

picking out pottery

When they were ready to start they wiped down their pottery. Then it was time to get creative and messy while they painted their masterpieces.

prepping the pottery for painting

prepping the pottery for painting


painting a rocket ship bank

painting a rocket ship bank

All the pieces were put individually on paper plates with the child’s name and parent’s phone number for pickup purposes.

Time to Sing

Once they were finished painting and cleaned up their area everyone grabbed some more snacks, and when everyone looked to be finished we sang Happy Birthday and had cupcakes.

Garden State Discovery Museum Pottery Partytime for cake

Time to Play

Everyone got to enjoy the hands-on fun after we sang Happy Birthday.  There are so many different exhibits at Garden State Discovery Museum, one of Abby’s favorite exhibits is the Diner sponsored by the Silver Diner.


Less than a week (actually 5 days) later I received an email letting me know that all the pieces were complete and ready for pick up. I stopped by and checked in at the front desk. I was greeted by the friendly staff and they let Jordan know that I was there to pick up some of the pieces. He lead me back to where the pieces were being stored and I grabbed the ones for the immediate family members that I knew I would see. Other guests were called and came in to pick up their piece at their convenience.

Why We Loved Our Party

We had an incredible event as always. The best part about hosting events at the Garden State Discovery Museum is knowing that from beginning to end, the team and staff there are super helpful and supportive through the entire process. They are so helpful and knowledgeable. If you are interested in birthday parties or any other events at the Garden State Discovery Museum, they are not limited to just a Pottery Party.

I will say, that at 3 years old, while they definitely enjoyed painting their masterpieces – they definitely had limited attention and wanted to go play. The older kids that attended definitely had more focus and attention on the artwork they were creating.


The best part = We had fun too! We were able to create wonderful memories with all of our friends and family.

Book Your Event At Garden State Discovery Museum



  • Basic Discovery Party – A Basic party includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Art Party – At a GSDM Art Party you can let your creativity shine by making homemade moldable dough to take home and other crafts to celebrate the season. Also includes includes 1.5 hours in the party room creating art and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Construction Party – The perfect celebration for children to learn the nuts and bolts of fun!  Each party goer will create their very own masterpiece with hammers, glue, and nails.  This party is recommended for kids over 5 years of age. Also includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Dino Party – Have a dinosaur lover? Everyone is sure to dig this prehistoric party. Join the museum’s paleontologists as you search for hidden dinosaur bones, reassemble the skeleton of a miniature T-Rex and make your very own fossil imprints to take home. Also includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Pirate Party – Have your very own adventure to uncharted territory!  With the help of our resident pirate, the kids will customize their own pirate hat and participate in a treasure hunt that is sure to result in plenty of loot for all. Also includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Princess Party – Become a member of the GSDM Royal Family as a resident Princess. At this party all the kids customize a crown and decorate a wand to take home. Also includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.
  • Spectacular Science Party – Make sure you have your lab gear on for this one!  The Crazy Chemist will be joining this party to do some mind-blowing science demonstrations with the kids’ help.  Each child will make their own Gak to take home! Also includes 1.5 hours in a party room and 1.5 hours of hands-on fun.

Garden State Discovery Museum even offers Weekday Birthday Party Specials

Incentives for a Weekday Birthday Party

Basic Discovery Party – $12.95 + tax per child from 3:30pm-5:30pm, 1 hour in party room, 1 hour play on Museum floor

• Theme Party – $14.95 + tax per child from 3:30pm-5:30pm, 1 hour in party room, 1 hour play on Museum floor. (Pirate, Princess, Art Party, Spectacular Science, Construction, or Dino)

• Stuffin’ Party – $19.95 + tax per child from 3:30pm-5:30pm, 1 hour in party room, 1 hour play on Museum floor. Based on a 10 child minimum.  Members will receive discount

Garden State Discovery Museum is a valued partner of Friendspired. Friendspired was provided with a party  for the purposes of sharing our experience with our readers. All opinions expressed are our own. 

Jenn GaffneyParty With Pottery at Garden State Discovery Museum
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BBNYC 2016 – Styling & Sharing

In this year’s BBNYC 2016 experience I recently left off with our Tuesday evening Cocktail Party. We woke up the next morning ready and excited to start the day. Knowing that we had a long day ahead of us we packed some water, made sure we had a change of shoes, and were armed with any other necessities we may have needed throughout the day. We were ready for our Care Bears #ShareYourCare Brunch!

Styling with Jude Connally

meeting-jude-connallyI was over-the-moon excited to finally meet Jude Connally. Jude and her team styled all of the BBNYC Ambassadors. The level at which her team analyzed each of our personalities and styles to ensure they styled us properly, leaving us looking and feeling confident, is of a level I’ve never experienced before. Stephanie and I were beyond lucky to be able to partner with their team to bring this amazing opportunity to the rest of the ambassadors. 

I’m not someone who loves to shop, and through various life events like a tragic car accident and the birth of my daughter, I don’t really see my body as I should. When I received the box from Jude’s team with selections for me, I was nervously excited. Every single item that I tried on looked fabulous and I felt incredible. You can read more of our experience over on the Blogger Bash Blog.

Once our style session was over we invited their team to join us for the official start of Blogger Bash.


Care Bears #ShareYourCare Brunch

Toy Insider Mom Welcomes Care Bears Share Your Care Brunch Attendees #ShareYourCare

photo credit: The Toy Insider

One of my favorite events is the official kick off for the past 2 years at BBNYC. I don’t see how we could start off with anything better than the #ShareYourCare Care Bears Breakfast. I am a proud Care Bears Ambassador!

I’ve heard “bigger” bloggers from past events talk about how they cannot be bothered and that all it means is that you are on their media list – THEY COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG! Being a Care Bear Ambassador means you are part of a movement that’s bigger than you. It’s all about spreading the word about sharing, caring, and compassion for others – something that I strive to do on a daily basis.

Care Bear Ambassador Oath #ShareYourCare

photo credit: The Toy Insider

friendspired-care-bear-ambassadors-#shareyourcareBeing a Care Bear Ambassador is an extension of who I already am. It costs us nothing to treat others with kindness, and in return seeing how much it means to others is a gift in itself. That is one of the most rewarding experiences we can ever receive.

This year was a celebration, Funshine in the Sun, with my favorite Care Bear – Funshine! Next year is a big year for them, 2017 means 35 years of Care Bear Fun! We learned about how this nostalgic memory for us is more than that, it’s an icon that transcends generations and cultures.

Jessica We Care Bears #ShareYourCare

photo credit: The Toy Insider

We also got to meet a pretty incredible teen named Jessica Carscadden. The difference that this young lady has made in her lifetime is incredible. She is founder of We Care Bears. This amazing girl started a non-profit at 9 years old and has donated plush to put in first responder vehicles across the country to help kids in unbearable situations.

It was wonderful to listen to her tell her story about why she started this foundation and how she is so excited that Care Bears will be donating 500 Care Bears plush to Jessica and We Care Bears on #ShareYourCare Day! #ShareYourCare Day is on September 9th and is a great opportunity for you to make a difference as well.

We also learned that Care Bears have partnered with Build A Bear and have your very own Care Bears that you can help create for your family.

Once brunch was over I was excited to start my work behind the scenes in the set up of Sweet Suite! We headed back over to the boat and were ready to go.

Keep up with the latest on Care Bears:






Jenn GaffneyBBNYC 2016 – Styling & Sharing
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