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Come to the Cheese Party!

by Jamie Sanford on September 9, 2021

I haven’t been super active here or on most of my personal social channels as of late, and that’s because I have been focusing on my new channel!

I don’t know if I actually coined the term “cheese party,” but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. I started using this phrase after a life-changing cheese experience at the New York Fancy Foods Show in 2014.

I am mostly focused on generating content for Instagram at this time, but I am also developing content on the cheeseparty.co website.

I am so happy to have an outlet to continue experiencing new cheeses. I have been pursuing cheese education and a few weeks back, took a Sensory Cheese Tasting virtual class!

Please follow @cheeseparty.co on Instagram!

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Estate Sale Survival Kit

by Jamie Sanford on April 22, 2015

It’s been at least 2 years since I started going to estate sales here in New Jersey. I don’t know what it was that led me to EstateSales.net, but I fell into the vortex and was quickly hooked. Last year, after my BFF David moved back here from California, we started a weekend ritual of trolling all of the local estate sales for treasures. You contact experienced estate planning lawyers if you are wondering how to write a will and the need of writing one. Will joined in soon enough, and we have had 2 guest sailors who have come to visit and requested to come along with us.

My preferred term is “estate sailing.”

So, in the midst of going to more than 100 estate sales in the course of a year, you start to dial in on the things you need to have with you when you go. And so, I now give you the official JamieSanford.com Estate Sailing Survival Kit.

1. Hand Sanitizer

You are going into houses that have sometimes not been lived in for some time, and you will inevitably touch a lot of stuff. The first thing we do upon getting in the car is to all use a generous amount of hand sanitizer before we move on. You may just want to go ahead and carry around a travel bottle, because we have had a few circumstances that made us want more immediate access to hand sanitation, such as when there was dank water under the cap of a camera lens.

2. Mini Flashlight

I specify the mini for ease in putting it in your pocket when you don’t need it, but we have run into more than a few homes where we forgot the flashlight and regretted it.

3. Measuring Tape

This is for both measuring items at estate sales, and also for measuring the spot at home that will be the new home of whatever item you are purchasing. You definitely do not want to go through the process of buying and transporting something, only to find out that it does not work in your intended space.

4. Mobile Device or Smartphone

Take your phone! First of all, estate sales make for WONDERFUL Instagram photos, and second, you never know when you will need to research the artist on a painting you are checking out. Before he was coming with us, I would also text Will pictures of things and ask him to research them for me. The phone-a-friend is a good solution, particularly if you aren’t having the best time surfing for information on your phone.

5. Bottled Water and Portable Snacks

We recently went to 7 estate sales in one day, all without stopping for lunch until after we were done. Sometimes we span something like 50 miles in a day, and when sales start at 9 and end at 3, and you have all of that driving to do, it is important to stay hydrated and not be starving. For the summer months, you may want to use a small cooler as well, to avoid drinking hot water and melty snack bars.

There you have it – my Estate Sale Survival Kit. My post on the weekly process of planning your estate sailing is coming up soon!

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WordPress Plugins I Use And Why

by Jamie Sanford on August 6, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#68)

JamieSanford.com has been built on WordPress since the beginning. My previous blogs were also on WordPress, and I built The Noritake Dish using WordPress as well. I also use Thesis on JamieSanford.com, and used to use Genesis on The Noritake Dish (since removed since the WordPress blog is now built into the site within Magento).

SIDE NOTE: I use and love Thesis but I am on version 1.8 or so. I am not impressed with Thesis 2.0, I find it a million times harder to use.

On to the plugins!

1. Akismet. Kick-ass spam comment killer.

2. Hello Dolly. It puts quotes from a musical in my WordPress dashboard. What is there to dislike about that?

3. LinkWithin. Find relevant posts in the blog and links to them from the bottom of each post. I have seen lots of other bloggers using this, and it is a great way to find other content on a blog and start cruising around.

4. Scribe. This is a paid plugin, and well worth it. All of the content I’ve created using Scribe has performed better than the content without it. Scribe guides you to better keywords, titles, and post descriptions than you’re probably writing on your own, and it has trained me to do things properly in all blogs.

5. SEO Facebook Comments. I use this for the Facebook comment form that gets attached to my posts. Much easier for people who don’t want to provide other login credentials to comment.

6. Super-simple Pinterest Widget. This is pretty straightforward. I plugged in my Pinterest account information, and a few of my recent pins show up in the sidebar. Much better than just a link, readers can actually see what I’m pinning.

7. WordPress Backup to Dropbox. Hat tip to Shauna on this one, because I just added it. Quick and easy backup of your content to your DropBox account.

8. WordPress Editorial Calendar. I don’t know how I kept track of the blog without the editorial calendar! I wrote about how following a blog schedule has been really positive in my life, and this plugin gives a great view of posts I have written, those I have scheduled, and so forth.

9. WordPress Video Plugin. This one is wonderful for adding video content to your blog! Once the plugin is active, you just have to know where the video is posted, and what its ID is, and you’re all set. I use this for all of my Sights & Sounds posts, and will never go back to pulling sharing code from individual sites again.

I would love to hear what WordPress plugins everyone else is using. What’s your recommendation?

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Shopping for Holiday Gifts? 5 Tips To Get Moving!

by Jamie Sanford on August 13, 2010

I asked a group of my colleagues the other night if they had started their holiday shopping and they were shocked that I had suggested it. I had a similar encounter on Twitter where I talked about having started my holiday shopping already and getting messages back saying things such as “WHAT?”  I knew immediately that I needed to offer my tips on fulfilling your holiday shopping list to my readers.

The Tree at Rockefeller Center.

This famous tree will be up in no time!

Why is everyone so surprised by this? There’s no reason why holiday gifts need to be purchased around the holidays, unless you’re shopping for someone who must have the absolute latest gadget—some tech toy purchased in July may conceivably be outdated by December, sure. But most other gifts have staying power. In addition, I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys going to a store after Thanksgiving.

So, I’ve purchased 3 or 4 holiday gifts so far, smallish things but I’m working through my list. It’s not as if the major holidays won’t come around this year, so why not start gift shopping now?

Here are my top 5 tips for getting into early holiday gift shopping. (Note that these ideas can also apply to your year-round gift shopping, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)

1.  Keep notes! Your friends and family probably drop subtle and not-so-subtle hints all the time about things they like and are interested in. If you think someone is consistently hard to shop for, remember this tip and it will be much easier in the future. My husband saves emails that I send him about things I like and revisits them later when it is gift time.

2.  Expose yourself to opportunities for saving money! I have been having a ball checking out the daily sales from the following websites. The first 5 are mostly focused on product purchases, but Groupon has daily deals on things to do or see in your area – and most of the experiences you can buy can be redeemed within long period of time, completely making this viable for holiday gift shopping.

Ideeli
Gilt Groupe
RueLaLa
Beyond The Rack
Swirl by Daily Candy
Groupon

Leave a comment below if there are other sites in this category that readers should check out.

3.  Set a budget. This process is much faster in general if you have a hard number in mind as a budget for each gift you are going to give. It makes snap decisions very easy, especially when using the deal-a-day websites. If it is above your budget, let it go. If it is below your budget, great – this can work especially well if you get a really hot deal on something. Keep in mind that smart shopping means that a small budget can go a long way!

4.  Go “shopping” in a real store, or at the mall. As much as I love the Internet, you can’t see everything online. There is a lot to be said for window-shopping, and it can really help to jog your memory—passing a display of perfume can remind you that your mother-in-law mentioned liking/wanting it. I highly recommend doing this memory-sparking shopping early in the week, at night. This is the time I find the mall to be the quietest. Feel free to take notes (or photos with your cell phone if you prefer), and order the items online when you get home. You might be able to find a much better price online, but the experience will help you nonetheless.

5.  Have fun! I know I’m not the only one who really gets a kick out of giving gifts that really makes the other person happy. I’ve been told that I’m great at finding holiday gifts (hence this blog), but for the most part, anyone can do it if you put some thought into it.  It really does bring a great feeling and it is worth the effort—there really is no need to default to buying holiday gift cards!

Here’s a great 30-second clip from 30 Rock, where Jack discusses the beauty of gift-giving. It pretty much sums it all up. The clip is gone now and I can’t find it anywhere. The best quote from Jack Donaghy is this:

“Gift giving is the purest expression of friendship. I’m going to think about what I know and like about you and that will lead me to the perfect gift, and you do the same.”

Please post your early shopping tips in the comments!

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Hot deals from RentalCarMomma.com!

by Jamie Sanford on April 8, 2010

I just searched online for some rental car coupon codes for an upcoming trip to Florida, and I stumbled upon this site, RentalCarMomma.com.

Rental Car Momma

My price dropped by $300 when I booked through the link on this site.

I am not getting paid to endorse this, but since I was so excited about the price difference, I had to share.

Please leave a comment if you have any great resources for hot travel deals!

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