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TrueTwit Validation = Spam

TrueTwit Validation = Spam

Lately I have been trying to build my Twitter followers. I have a love-hate relation with Facebook since they seem to be changing their algorithm every couple of days. Just when you think you've figured it out, they change it up again, and you're back at the beginning. Lately, in order for your followers to see your posts, you have to pay for a Facebook promotion, which means spending money so people who were supposed to see something in the first place, can see it.

So what do I do? I decided to now focus on Twitter and start building a relationship on there. Twitter USED to be one of my favorite platform before I started blogging. My personal account had hundred of followers and we would chat back and forth with each other all day and night. It's amazing how much you can say in 140 characters, and how creative you can get when you want to say it all at once.

However, lately I've noticed that whenever you follow someone, you get an inbox notification, a direct message (DM) or private message per se. Let me tell you something. Private messages are supposed to be just that! PRIVATE MESSAGES. It's where you talk to people when you don't want the entire world knowing what you're saying. It's where you chat with companies that you're trying to build a relationship with. It's like your own private little diary.

When you follow someone you don't need a private message in your inbox saying "hey, it was great of you to follow me, now check out my other social media pages and my website". Keep those sleazy sales pitches to yourselves. If someone wants to follow you, it's probably likely they've already checked out your website, your social media pages, liked what they saw, and now they want to follow you. It's really not rocket science!

Here's something you may not know, for those of you who use services such as TrueTwit Validation. You're spamming us with your messages and NOBODY LIKES SPAM! I'm sure that you don't either. I get it, you want to weed out the fake accounts, but you're also weeding out the real accounts like mine, who would pass you over and move on to the other person who doesn't need me to waste a few minutes of my time verifying that I'm not a robot.

Know what that does to you? It makes YOU come across as a spam account and it's also stunting your growth on Twitter. And now you wonder why your account isn't moving from the measly 5,000 followers it's had since you joined TrueTwit, and asked that each and every one of your followers verify themselves.

If you're a blogger and you're using TrueTwit, take my advice and get rid of it! You'll thank me.

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Annmarie John
Show Your Gratitude on National Teachers Day - #Teleflora #ThankATeacher

Show Your Gratitude on National Teachers Day - #Teleflora #ThankATeacher

May 2nd is National Teachers Day, so make it a point to show the teachers in your child’s life how much you appreciate them, with a bouquet of flowers from Teleflora, just as they’re counting down to that almighty summer break!

Our kids see their teachers 40 hours a week, about nine months out of the year. That means our children spend fewer waking hours with us than they do with them! And teachers aren’t expected to shape the lives of just our kids, but of about 30 other kids, too! It’s a pretty big task. Combine that with handling a few challenging students, some difficult parents, and pressures from testing authorities and it’s not exactly a job I want to take! How about you?!

Teachers make an average of $55,000 a year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, teachers spend between $500 and $1,000 out-of-pocket on school supplies each year. They are expected to arrive at least an hour before the school day begins, many of them work through all or part of their lunch breaks, and they stay up to five hours after the school day ends, not only to help students and to grade papers, but for administrative meetings. In short, they aren’t compensated nearly enough for the hours they work and the impact they have on our children.

What’s the best way to thank them? They likely have tons of “World’s Best Teacher” paraphernalia and handmade items from students already. Here are a few inexpensive gift suggestions to show your gratitude on National Teachers Day.

Gift cards - You can at least afford to give a $5 gift card to their favorite coffee shop! If you can go bigger, go for it! He or she spends plenty on your child, whether you realize it or not! Because this teacher is a person like anyone else, think of restaurant, entertainment and even spa gift cards that you would give a friend, and not just gift cards relevant to the job. Although, a gift card to an office supply store, music store or art supply store means less out of his or her pocket during the school year!

Gift baskets - Use what you know (or find out more) about this person to put together a themed- gift basket. If she’s a tea drinker, get a cute mug, some tea bags and a box of biscotti, put it in a container that she’ll actually reuse (perhaps for classroom organization) and voilĂ ! You can do the same for a book lover, a beach lover, a nature lover, and when all else fails, prepare a basket that’s representative of the subject he teaches.

Supplies drive - Reach out to the other parents and ask for classroom donations. Ask for the usual and unusual, like paper towels, sandwich bags, art supplies, office supplies, games, books, and electronics. School supply drives are popular in September, but by May, those supplies have depleted. You can even give the donations to the teacher in March or April as a gift for National Teachers Day (because it can be any day you choose, really).

Send a Bouquet - Nothing says I appreciate you more than a bouquet of flowers and everyone loves receiving them. They brighten up a dreary room and bring smiles to faces. This year Teleflora in collaboration with GLSEN wants you to deliver a bouquet of fresh flowers to celebrate teachers making differences in childrens' lives. During the week of May 8 -12, anyone who purchases Teleflora’s Be Happy Bouquet with Roses will receive 20 percent off their order. 10 percent will benefit GLSEN’s mission of ensuring safe and LGBTQ-inclusive school environment’s for all students to thrive to their full potential. Give a gift that gives back!

The Teleflora Be Happy Bouquet with Roses is a beautiful and cheery arrangement that will surely bring a smile to your favorite's teacher's face. Brimming with joyful yellow roses and playful daisies, they are arranged in a lovely keepsake happy-face mug for long lasting enjoyment.

To help you celebrate that special teacher in your life, Teleflora wants to offer one reader the chance to win a $75 gift code. Good on any bouquet sold at Gift Code expires May 16, 2017 and is one-time use only. Coupons cannot be combined. Winner will be randomly selected by PromoSimple and will have 48hrs to respond to the winning email. Failure to do so will mean forfeiting your prize and a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

How do you celebrate those special teachers in your life? 

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Annmarie John
What's New at Walt Disney World Summer 2017

What's New at Walt Disney World Summer 2017

Planning on visiting Walt Disney World this summer, we share all the new attractions, shows and new land coming this summer.

This summer season, guests can discover a magical mix of new and unforgettable experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort, with an all-new land and evening show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a dazzling new show at Magic Kingdom Park, epic entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and world-class dining at Disney Springs.

Here are the exciting new ways guests can explore Walt Disney World Resort this summer:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Guests can travel to an otherworldly destination this summer: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When it opens May 27, this new land will give guests the chance to explore a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.

Guests will discover two main adventures. Avatar Flight of Passage sends guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee, and Na’vi River Journey, is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location in Pandora, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.

And after the sun sets, Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can discover rich new experiences throughout the park, starting with the new nighttime show, Rivers of Light. This visually stunning after-dark experience celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans. It’s a dramatic visual blend of water, fire, light and imagery all choreographed to an original musical score.

Magic Kingdom Park
Starting May 12, guests will be treated to one of the most elaborate fireworks displays ever created – a brand-new show called “Happily Ever After.” It will feature the latest in fireworks, pyrotechnics and projection technology, plus fresh animation, and a new musical score and theme song.

“Happily Ever After” will take guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart and humor, as Cinderella Castle itself becomes part of the story. Dazzling projections bring heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic castle. The 18-minute spectacle will feature moments from beloved Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” as well as modern blockbusters “Moana” and “Zootopia.”

“Happily Ever After” will be presented nightly, with show times varying based on park hours.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
A new limited-time concert event debuts May 26. “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters” will showcase memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, with appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters. A live orchestra provides the soundtrack for this 40-minute concert that will be presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars (following regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”). The show also will include appearances by Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley, the Incredibles and more.

Day or night, new Star Wars experiences are immersing guests in the world of this iconic saga. Guests can now interact with BB-8, the loyal droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as well as other Star Wars characters inside Star Wars Launch Bay. New authentic props from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” are also featured in Star Wars Launch Bay, and the new AWR Troopers from “Rogue One” now appear in the daytime stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

Disney’s Water Parks
Guests can cool off on a whitewater adventure aboard Miss Adventure Falls, a brand new family-style raft attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Guests are immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her ship and treasures at Typhoon Lagoon.

At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, the “Frozen” Summer Games return from May 26 – Aug. 13. Kristoff and Olaf will be available for a special character greeting and photo opportunity, making Blizzard Beach the only place where guests can meet Kristoff at Walt Disney World Resort. During the friendly competition, guests will be able to participate in ice-pail relays, a snowball toss and much more snowy fun.

Disney Springs
The culinary scene at Disney Springs continues to evolve with more exciting food and beverage locales, including The Polite Pig and Paddlefish, both open now.

Featuring modern barbecue cuisine prepared in an open kitchen, The Polite Pig serves up Southern sides like mac-and-cheese and smoked corn and a hearty selection of craft beers and cocktails. There’s also a bourbon bar offering more than 50 selections. The Polite Pig is the newest concept from award-winning Orlando Chefs James and Julie Petrakis who own local favorite restaurants The Ravenous Pig and Swine & Sons.

Guests can also step aboard Paddlefish, Disney Springs’ iconic 1800’s paddleboat that’s been reimagined into a modern yacht experience. Paddlefish offers guests a delectable menu of fresh seafood, steaks and chops for lunch and dinner, as well as a delectable Sunday brunch. A new rooftop lounge serves up a late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Disney Resort Hotels
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort opens as the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort on July 17. Inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest, guests will come “home” to rustic elegance with these new studios, villas and waterfront cabins.

At Disney’s BoardWalk, there’s an enchanting new dining experience at Trattoria al Forno, the Bon Voyage Breakfast, featuring beloved Disney characters including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. Guests can make reservations by visiting or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Cost is $34 for adults and $20 for children.

What are you most excited for this summer at Walt Disney World? 

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Annmarie John
Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh Even with Cats - #LitterGenie

Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh Even with Cats - #LitterGenie

You can keep your home smelling fresh even with cats as long as you have the Litter Genie®.

As a multiple cat household, taking care of our furry family members is a top priority, but so is keeping odors at bay. Nobody wants to walk into a house that smells like a giant litter box! Even if it's clean, it won't seem that way if it stinks. Because we live with these critters 24/7, we often go "nose blind" to the smells that go along with them. You however, want to make your guests feel comfortable and keep your home smelling fresh even with cats. One of our biggest problems has always been our litter box. The kids are responsible for keeping the litter box clean, especially since it's downstairs in their bathroom, however having them do so is literally like pulling teeth. There has been days where the litter box have needed cleaning and you could smell it without even being near. I knew I needed a better solution, and I decided to take a trip to Walmart to see what my options were.

That's where I happened upon the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System. For those who've had kids, you may remember those diaper disposal systems, think of that, but for your cat's litter! Now whoever invented this genius product, I applaud you. Now why didn't I think of this? This is absolutely heaven-sent! It works in generally the same way and set up is a breeze. It has a very small footprint so you can put it in very small places. This is perfect for those living in tiny apartments. This also means that you can have quite a few if your place is bigger and you have more than 1 cat, and more than 1 litter box. The system comes with everything you need, including a scoop and a plastic bag refill which can last up to 6 weeks with one cat. So far we've had it for close to 3 and with 2 cats, we haven't run out. However, I also bought 2 refills so I won't have to worry.

We decided to put it in the bathroom near the litter box so that it will be easy for the kids to use. I set it up and taught each child that would be cleaning the litter how to go about doing so. It's a fairly simple 3 step process. First you need to scoop the clumps from the litter box. Since you're cleaning the litter box, you'll be doing this anyway. Next open the lid and empty your clumps in and close the lid. You're then going to pull the handle allowing the clumps to drop to the bottom in the enclosed bag thus sealing away odors for up to 2 weeks with one cat. Since we have 2 cats, we usually change it out in about a week, sometimes less. Now I can tell you that the kids bathroom smells so much better and the best thing is that we don't have to rush out to throw away the bags.

If you're a cat household I have a few tips on how you can keep your home smelling fresh especially with cats.

Get a Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System from Walmart. This easy-to-use pail has a 7-layer refill bag that helps lock odors away. It can hold up to two weeks' worth of litter for a single cat, which means fewer trips to the garbage for you. This hassle-free system will save you time and worry. Simply scoop, open the lid, drop in the dirty litter, and pull the handle after you close the lid. Smells be gone!

Give each cat its own box. The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box in the home for every cat you have. This doesn't mean that each one will only go in its assigned box. It just means that there will be enough room for everyone, and there will be less chances for accidents. However, if you don't have the space, the Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System will work great for both of them.

Clean each box daily. Scoop each box daily to lock away their business and keep odors from dispersing throughout the whole house. Cats are finicky about their bathroom habits, and if the box isn't clean to their standards, they will be tempted to go somewhere else in the house. Switch out the liter entirely about once a week. Take the time to disinfect the box before pouring in new litter to keep your furry feline from contracting any nasty viruses. (And consider that its little feet will be wandering your house, spreading germs over every surface, so it's important to keep that box as clean as possible.)

Don't let wet cat food sit out. This is not only hygienic for your pet, but will also cut down on any fishy odors. Pick up remaining wet food as soon as your cat walks away from it.

Vacuum regularly. Regardless of whether you have a short or long-haired cat, you need to vacuum the floor and the furniture regularly. Cat dander carries odor, and your guests will appreciate not having to clean too much hair off of their clothes after a visit to your place. Empty the vacuum bag or canister as soon as it's full, but if you notice a smell before it's full, empty it sooner. Vacuums tend to trap odors, so throw a scented sachet in where you put the bag. This way the closet where you keep the vacuum won't smell like cat! Consider sprinkling an odor eliminating power on any carpeted surfaces before vacuuming (you can make one yourself by shaking together baking soda and a little essential oil).

Mop afterward. Remember the bacteria I mentioned earlier? Take a couple of minutes to disinfect your floors (the bathroom or area with the litter box in particular), to be sure any leftover messes that couldn't be picked up by the vacuum have been washed away. A vinegar and essential oil solution is not only pet safe, but should get rid of any bad smells.

Now guess who enjoys sleeping in the bathroom? Stripes does! While before she would avoid the bathroom unless she had to do her business, she now enjoys lounging in the shower because the bathroom now smells amazing. You too can keep your home smelling great, even with cats when you purchase a Litter Genie® Cat Litter Disposal System available at Walmart.

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Annmarie John
Denim on Denim

Denim on Denim

You can totally kick butt in a denim on denim look, and a really cool charm bracelet from Soufeel.

Denim, the fabric of my life! Whenever you see me, I'm almost always in something denim. Whether it is a denim shirt dress, denim jacket or even denim pants, I'll be in it. Since it's spring, I have been thinking of adding a bit more color to my wardrobe, a bit more dresses and skirts, and do away with the denim look. However, that has yet to happen, but it will, gradually.

There is one rule to a denim on denim look, and it is possible to do a denim on denim look flawlessly, just be sure to contrast. I have seen quite a few people wearing the same denim color from top to bottom, not good! Contrast your colors, so wear a dark top with a light bottom or a light top with a dark bottom.

I have denim in quite a few colors but I tend to buy mostly dark colors for my bottoms. I have a 5yr old who doesn't care too much whether her hands is dirty or clean, so she'll touch me with her hands, and wearing something light will be sure to show up her tiny paw prints.

At 5'10 I also like my jeans to go all the way down to my ankles. It can be difficult to find jeans that fit me right, so I tend to stick with designer brands. True Religion, 7 for all Mankind and Joes Jeans are my favorite and I have a closet filled with them, but you can jeans at your local GAP or J.Crew. My advice is to go and try them on and make sure they fit right. Jeans run differently so "test" your jeans out in the store if you can.

Now while my jeans are almost always designer, I can totally spend $20 on a top if it looks cute enough. For me it's easier for me to find tops that fit right compared to bottoms. For this look I paired my darker rinse jeans with a much lighter denim top.

To make your legs look longer than they are, I always recommend wearing as high a heel as you can. Although I'm 5'10, I wore a pair of 4" heels and then topped it all off with a Marc Jacobs quilted cross-body and a pair of aviator sunglasses. You can never look too cool. (Just in case you're wondering, they are the UGG Black Leather Calf Hair Peep Toe Platform Clog Heels and are no longer available.)

I once again kept my accessories at a minimum and only added a charm bracelet from Soufeel. Charm bracelets will always be style and they have quite a variety of charms to choose from without the expensive price tag. They make great gifts as well. Think Mother's Day. And today all AnnMarie John readers get 10% off your order with coupon code SHS10.

Get the look!

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Annmarie John
[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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