I've been entering (and sometimes winning) sweepstakes, contests, and competitions for a long time. There is a part of me that LOVES Las Vegas and the thrill of the win. Luckily I can deal with the disappointment of losing, but when artistic skill is involved, depending what it is, it could increase my chances.
So when my fellow former LEGO Master Model Builder friend and Freelance LEGO Artist available for hire, Eric Hunter, suggested I enter Chinet's #ratemyplate2win contest, I immediately knew I was going to enter one of my veggie sculptures. I brainstormed a brand new idea, one that I had never done before, and with the help of my hubby watching our little guy, I spent 4 hours last Saturday, creating a veggie iguana on a Chinet paper plate.
The prize was a $2000 backyard makeover. Although I think my sorry/scary backyard could use a lot more than $2000 for a makeover, every little bit counts in this house, so I was all over this - "on the Money!" We've been working on finishing our front yard and have not even made a dent in the back, yet.
The rules stated that the Chinet contest was going to be judged and I entered an older creation on twitter, first - my veggie chick, because the rules stated you could have multiple entries. I was worried that I wouldn't have time to do something new, and I just wanted to get something out there...
Then my hubby came through and took our two year old to the Lowes and worked in the front yard all day with the little guy "helping" while I got to work on my latest creation. I've been blogging about Hubby's creative labor of love in the front yard, too. LOVE him and love his work! (Oh and he was a Master Model Builder, too! Us creatives stick together...)
Armed with my paring knife, sculpture tools, a touch of vegan cream cheese from Trader Joe's and a whole bunch of fresh organic veggies, I got to work!
Here's where I used the cream cheese...
I'm not going to lie, being a SAHM the past few years made me a little "hungry" for a paycheck. I am Mommy on the Money. I would LOVE to be compensated $$$ and recognized for cool things that I do. I'm always looking for a little extra cash. As a Master Model Builder, I was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, CBS Sunday Morning, among other shows and prior to that I was doing celebrity weddings and parties in LA with my own business. A little attention couldn't hurt, either.
I was important. I made money. I got attention. I was special. But now I'm just a mom. A (horrible) housekeeper. A laundry loader. A left sock loser. Burning dinner since 2011. Oh and I'm a blogger, so I make money, right?! Hahaha. Fellow bloggers - you know how it goes... Minimum wage sounds real good right about now, doesn't it?
So I put some of my chips on the table and spent 4 hours doing this...
I read the rules to the contest over a few times and checked every day until today, 7/18, when the finalists were supposed to be announced. And they were.
Go ahead and vote. I did. Someone has to win. Was it a random drawing? I'm a little confused. The bacon wrapped thing, well I don't really know what is in that. Is it a loaf of bread? Worlds fattest sausage? A groundhog? That nasty neighbor's forearm... The american flag is cute. The bbq skewers are pretty. The strawberry shortcake looks kinda yummy.
From the rules: A panel of qualified judges (the “Judges”) will select the top five Entries (“Top Five”) from among all eligible Entries received during the Contest Period based on the following criteria applied to each Entry: (i) overall appeal (34%) (ii) creativity (33%), and (iii) quality of composition (33%) (the “Judging Criteria”).
I'm not sure how the qualified judges scored these or any of the other entries. I probably would have chosen different finalists, but c'est la vie.
One thing I've learned over the years of my "sweeping" and entering contests and giveaways is that the odds are usually stacked against you. Just like Vegas, you usually are not a winner, but if you know this going in, you can still have an awesome time! Just make sure you see a Cirque show, drink a lot of free booze, and wreck your diet in an all-you-can-eat buffet... or two.
Don't get me wrong, I had a great time making this project.
I just wish I hadn't made it on a PAPER PLATE. I was trying to use the brand. However, the concept gives me some bigger and better ideas of unlimited ways you can position veggie iguanas and make an amazing, edible work of art. Believe me, I can already picture it in my mind.
So who wants to pay me for it?
My backyard still needs a makeover. My knife is ready, and I just got my CSA box this morning from Farm Fresh to You. Make me an offer. No offer is too small. I make roughly $.06/hr as a blogger. I'm a glorified Third World factory worker who never has to shower or change out of her sweatpants to go to work!
Are you ready for back to school? The time is almost here and you probably need the gear! Summer is Right now, zulily is having a Back to School sale! Check out all the cute stuff they have for sale, from re-usable lunch bags, backpacks, and gear, to clothing and shoes!
Which search engine do you use when you want to look something up? Google, Yahoo, maybe you use Bing...
I have an insatiable appetite for information and I used to "google" everything until I found out I could earn Amazon gift cards and other rewards for searching the exact same things on Bing.
Bing is Microsoft's version of a search engine and not only does it pay you to search but they don't have all the ads in your search results that the other search engines rely on. That's right, NO ads!
Simply sign up for Bing Rewards, HERE, and start searching.
I recommend making Bing your home page on your laptop and mobile devices so all searches in the search bar at the top of your screen are automatically credited to your Bing account.
They also have daily searches you can click on and earn a few more points here and there, and bonuses that pay out when you reach a higher status or get your friends to join.
Just another way to earn gift cards here and there, and I love this because it doesn't add any extra work to your daily activities and you earn while you are doing normal searches and getting ad free results.
Blogger friends - I'm sharing one of my favorite affiliate programs to make a little extra cash here and there. Tea Collection offers bloggers small incentives to post sales and advertisements from time to time and this is a great addition to any blogger's bottom line!
Just join their affiliate program and keep an eye on your email for when the offer bonuses! You will also earn a commission when anyone buys anything with your link or clicking on an ad you place on your site.
Their kids' clothing is so cute, they look great on my blog, so I highly recommend it for other cute mommy blogs out there! They are also offering me an incentive if anyone signs up with my link, so leave a comment if you sign up so I can be sure to thank you!
I can't believe it! My husband went out for more landscape barrier with the little boy and came home and they worked even more on the front yard, today! It has been pretty hot out, here. I didn't think he would push this hard to get more work done, this weekend, but he put down so much more gravel and it is looking beautiful.
You can actually see our wimpy little olive tree next to our son in this photo. I hope this thing grows quickly!
I helped clean up and prune some of the plants in front the other day and it is really coming together.
You can see the only area that is left to cover is on to the right of the house. We purchased a few more large rocks that should help with erosion control because the grade goes a little higher over here.
I don't know if I LOVE all the plants we've put in or the places we've put them, but I feel like once we are done with all the WEEDS that used to cover the front yard, I can start seeing things in a different light and really start adjusting the layout to make it absolutely perfect.
The little bug just loves to help his daddy. I'm so proud of them!