How to make money on Kik?

Kik (or Kik Messenger to be more precise) is a mobile app that became a real hit during its launch in 2010. This app managed to get more than 2 million users in about three weeks. Today, there are more than 320 million people around the globe who use this application. Their number is constantly growing.

Kik messenger is not used only as a chat app (which was the developer’s intention in the beginning), this app has become a real social media network used on mobile devices. With the help of Kik, people can send pictures, share videos or engage in group conversations. One of the main reasons why this app became so popular is its availability- people can use Windows, Android and iOS-based mobile devices in order to use this application.

In the recent period many people have started using Kik in order to make money. The good news is that there are more than one ways to do that, so make sure to try all of them and see which one suits you the best.

To start with, you can use the power of paid link shortening services. There are many services that allow link shortening and pay users for every successful click. The first thing that you should do is to select a reliable, established and secure service. Use the major search engines to read reviews and browse some forums to find out more about the options you have. Once you create an account, it is crucial to find valuable content. Don’t try to fool users because this action will only get your account removed from Kik and from the link shortening service. Since most of the users found on Kik are young, you should focus on entertaining images, trending news and viral videos. You will have to do some thorough research before you find such content. If you have your own website you can use this service to drive traffic and to get money too. You can share this link with your friends, but also with other people who are not your friends because Kik is actually a social media network. Focus on getting more views because these paid services usually pay per number of clicks, not by the user’s location.

Furthermore, you can also use an affiliate marketing program. This is not very difficult although it sounds daunting. Kik is a powerful network and it can definitely help you make money. In its essence, affiliate marketing is promotion of your own or other people’s/ companies’ products or services. Try to find the right audience and start your campaign.  Find kik usernames to reach out to a wider audience. Use engaging messages in order to get Kik users interested in your offer.

Finally, you can use some Pay per Download or PPD networks too. Like we’ve said before, Kik is mostly used by young people. They are the category of people who are always interested in downloading video and audio files and applications and this is exactly what you can offer by using a PPD network. Find some trending topics and try to find files that should be interesting for the audience.

Juniper’S 1st Birthday

Our girl turned one a few weeks ago. One! Year! Of age. It boggles the mind. After all we’ve been through to get to this point, we wanted to celebrate this enormous milestone with our immediate family and closest friends. Here are some photos from our little party in the park.

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We tried to keep everything pretty simple and low key. The park is a beautiful green spot on the ocean in our town. It was free to have the party there. The tablecloth and runner were the cheapest fabrics I could find: burlap and muslin. I bought them for a few bucks a yard to cover two 8-feet long picnic tables pushed together. My mom bought a bunch of bouquets from Trader Joe’s the day before which I arranged into blue Mason jars we bought on Amazon, plus some of our own vases. Also from Amazon, the jumbo jungle animals we spray painted gold (that are now scattered throughout our house on bookshelves and side tables!).

I couldn’t find a cake I liked at any local bakeries so I made this gluten free cake recipe myself with vegan frosting that was simply vegan shortening (blend of coconut and red palm oils), powdered sugar, and dehydrated strawberries for the pink color. I also made the ’1′ decoration out of some gold glitter paper, thin cardboard, and a wooden skewer. The cake stand is from Pier 1. It had a really beautiful, tall glass dome that Juni accidentally tipped off the counter a few weeks before her birthday, shattering it into a million pieces. So I kept the cake in my cake caddy until it was time to serve it. I bought a little 6″ cake pan and baked two layers. It wasn’t very much so I also made a dozen or so cupcakes with the same batter and frosting. But first for lunch, we ordered sandwiches for everyone from a local market that came with chips and pickles, and brought San Pellegrino sodas and bottled waters in a cooler.

All in all, it was such a success. One of those gathering that everyone leaves feeling full of joy and contentment. After a rainy night, the sun broke out right as the party got going and the sky cleared to the piercing blue you see in the photos. A beautiful day for a beautiful girl!

{Photos by our amazing friends and wedding/life photographers, Allegro Photography}

Right now

Right now, we’re sitting in our shared hospital room, both absorbed in our phones as we listen to our roommate’s family prepare to be discharged today. He was born only four days before Juniper and today he goes home.

Right now I’m still trying to absorb everything that’s happening to me, to my new daughter, to my husband, to us. I’m still trying not to feel the urge to cry every time I think about the fact that she needs another surgery in seven weeks. And that there’s a chance her bowel obstructions will be so bad that she’ll need even a third procedure and we’ll be here for many months more.

Right now I’m trying to find my way back to thankfulness and positivity, as Andreas and I vowed to do a few days ago. But it’s hard. To not feel sorry for us and envious of others. To not wish more than anything for my daughter not to have a non-functioning g-tube coming out of her stomach that caused her to throw up everywhere yesterday while Andreas and I tried to take a rare break from the hospital at home. And caused her to get her NG tube threaded back through her nose into her stomach.

To not wish she didn’t need the central line going straight into the center of her tiny chest, keeping her alive on liquid nutrition instead of the breastmilk I struggle to pump 8 times per day. It’s hard to ignore the urge to feed her, to hold her without the tubes and wires, to take her out of this place and let it be breeze and sunshine that furrow her brow, not the flicker of florescent light over her face or the annoyance of yet another group of vital signs being taken.

Right now I watch my husband watch over his daughter, paying meticulous attention to every aspect of her care, making mental notes for tomorrow’s rounds, protecting and loving her so fiercely that even I, who knows his heart better than any other, have been taken aback.

I watch my parents do their best to support and protect me as I’m hurdled against my will down this terrifying path.

I watch my daughter take it all in stride and patience. Her chubby cheeks, her perfect lips, her bright gray eyes observing all in calm wonder.

That’s what’s happening right now.

Mt. Auburn.

We spent some time on Saturday wandering around one of my favorite places in the Greater Boston area, the beautiful and serene Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

It may seem strange that I enjoy the company of, well, the dead, and I myself admit it seems odd, but this is so much more than just a cemetery. This is a national park, in fact the first landscaped public park in the U.S., and its rolling hills and lush greenery make it one of the most peaceful spaces I’ve ever experienced. And there is something to be said for the solemn silence you sense, walking amongst all those resting souls. Some quite famous ones too. Mary Baker Eddy. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Oliver Wendell Holmes. And my personal favorite, my idol, Isabella Stewart Gardner.

Here she rests:

Along this quiet little row of lovely tombs, many unmarked.

I love the old tombstones, some so elaborate and ornate, others simple and humble. Some surprisingly modern looking in design, despite their age. I love reading the old names, love the stories you can imagine when you calculate their ages, the way they used to write the epitaphs, “Born in Boston, Died in Boston.”

The pathways all have these lovely names, Oster, Camellia, Catalpa. We saw rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, countless birds, so much life among the tombstones.

I can’t help but feel happy here, at ease with the circle of life. Andreas and I don’t want our bodies buried in the ground but there’s something to be said for having a physical place where your successors and strangers alike can come visit a part of you. I like to say hello to some of the oldest souls as we pass them. I wonder the last time they had a visit, if anyone is left to visit them at all.

Unfortunately we had to leave earlier than we wanted as we were politely informed by a kindly groundsman that dogs are not allowed, which is fair enough (neither are bikes and joggers by the way though, both of which I think are a pity). But it was still lovely to be there again. I highly recommend this place to anyone who’s never been, and if you’re in the market for burying space, they do (often) take the liberty to point out that space is still indeed available.

We’re happy just to visit for now.

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Introducing… Boston Lacquer!

Hi friends. So sorry I haven’t been around much lately. Been a busy few weeks getting settled into my new gig at Kel & Partners and working on a new project with my friend (and former co-worker) Kristen!

Just a week and a half ago, Kristen and I met up for drinks at the colorful Fat Cactus on Route 1. And there we caught up on many things, among them our love for nail polish and our latest color cravings. Through that conversation an idea was born: that we should start a nail polish blog together. And soon after, the name followed: we’d call it, boston lacquer.

We both went home buzzing with inspiration and we hashed out the details over a zumba class the next day. We knew we weren’t going to be the first nail blog, and certainly not the most knowledgeable. But what we hoped to do was bring more of a modern, hip edge to the nail polish blog world, something that harnessed the power of social media, something that was shareable.

Anyways, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to our new blog, boston lacquer!

Fine art

Hello my dears, I hope you all had lovely weekends wherever you were (and happy belated Easter to those who celebrated). We mostly laid low this weekend though we did enjoy the new Pinkberry that just opened in Harvard Square and managed to have a lovely sunny breakfast outside at our neighborhood cafe before the sky got all cloudy. And despite the dismal weather on Saturday, I did drag myself out of the house for a little mani-pedi pampering (am currently sporting Essie’s Coat Azure on my hands and Big Spender on my toes).

Just wanted to start the week with these incredible animated GIFs or “cinemagraphs” as created by engaged couple photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg (as seen on their Tumblr, first spotted here). Aren’t they gorgeous?! I love how they effortlessly capture a moment in time in a living, breathing way.

Happy Monday!

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NYC Photographer Jamie Beck

Singing Beach.

For the past few months, we’ve  been taking Ava to Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Singing Beach almost every weekend.

It is the perfect place to take your dog, and lots of other pups go there. It’s a long, clean, soft sandy beach, bordered on one side by a rocky slope. Dogs are allowed off leash there from October thru April and it’s one of the few outdoor places you can take your dog in the winter that isn’t waist-deep in snow.

Ava absolutely loves her beach time. It’s been a great way to socialize her with other dogs and it gets her nice and tired from running up and down (and up and down) the beach.

Some of the residents of this town don’t like dogs on the beach, mainly because of a few irresponsible owners failing to pick up after their dog. They are proposing a measure this week to cut October and April as months when dogs are allowed on the beach. I don’t live there, but if I did, I would vote against it.

This is one of the few places where dogs can just be dogs. It’s so important for them to have this time to run around with each other and have fun. Most of the time, they’re pets. But here? They get to just be dogs. (Our dog, by the way, hates going in the water, as you can see here. We’re curious to see if that changes come summer.)

Singing Beach is a great place in any season. I just hope it isn’t lost for the dogs for even more months of the year. Whenever we go now, if we see some poop, we pick it up. If any of you enjoy this beach or any public, off leash place with your dog, I hope you do the same.

All I know is, when we leave here, our girl leaves happy.

Scuffins

When I was in San Francisco in May (jeez, that feels like forever ago), I discovered a delectable little treat called the scuffin. What is a scuffin, you may ask? Well it’s really quite simple. It is a scone, in the shape of a muffin. (Scone + muffin = scuffin, get it?)

And at Frog Hollow Farm bakery in the Ferry Building, they stuff their scuffins full of their incredibly yum conserve (in this case, nectarine plum). It was flaky and moist without being delicate, and it was clearly made with some blend of whole grain flours because it had a coarser, nuttier texture to it. Needless to say, I was more than a little impressed with the scuffin (in the background, below. That’s a blueberry tart on the left.).

Scuffin

And yet the whole time I was eating it, I was thinking “I can make this.” I thought, if I can get a whole wheat scone recipe, bake it in a muffin tin, and stuff it full of jam, it could be pretty darn close.

And so, I did. Last weekend, when my mom was visiting. It was my first attempt at replicating another bakery’s work and overall I think they turned out pretty well although I might tweak them a bit next time.

For one, I couldn’t find any type of plum jam or conserve. The closest I got was beach plum jelly, which is delicious, but to me, the mealy viscosity of jam is part of what makes a scuffin, a scuffin. Also, a deeper muffin pan like this one would have allowed for more jam to fit inside. Finally, because I had whole grain pastry flour and buckwheat flour on hand in addition to whole wheat flour (thanks to my new favorite baking book Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Floursby Kim Boyce), I sifted those into the mix as well. Next time I might skip the pastry flour though. It did add a delicate, flaky quality to the scuffins that was delicious but that veered away from the original that I was so desperately trying to mimic.

By the way, you can order Frog Hollow’s amazing conserves straight from their website. Here is the one from the scuffin I had. I’m just way too cheap for $9 plus shipping.

Shelley’s Scuffins

Yield: 10

1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup whole grain pastry flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (+ 1-2 tablespoons)
Jam or jelly of your choice

*Can use all whole wheat flour, in which case you would need 1 3/4 cups.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease your muffin tin.

2. Sift dry ingredients (flours, sugar, salt, baking powder), then cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or strong fork until it resembles a coarse meal.

3. Stir in the egg and just enough buttermilk for the dough to form.

4. Press a lump of dough into each cup of the muffin tin, so that there is a well in the center. Fill with jam or jelly of your choice. Place a few clumps or balls of dough on the top of each scuffin.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Immediately remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before enjoying.

6. Come back over here and leave a comment on how they turned out!

Cannoli Wars: Mike’S V. Modern.

Any Bostonian worth their salt can tell you where you go to get a great cannoli in this city: Hanover Street, the North End. But we tend to be divided on where you can actually get the BEST cannoli in Boston.

The top two contenders? Modern Pastry and Mike’s Pastry.

The golden standard has always been Mike’s. It remains top of mind as the best and is usually the first mentioned to tourists. I must have been a wide-eyed freshman in college when I got (what I thought was) the real scoop: tourists go to Mike’s, locals go to Modern.

And so, in an effort to do as the Romans, I tended toward Modern for most of my years in Boston. Yes, it was good, but whenever I’d find myself face-to-face with a Mike’s cannoli on special occasions, be it college graduation or Tuesday, I’d be surprised to find myself oozing with love for the confection. But surely, I thought, I can’t like Mike’s better. I’m from here now!

On and on my inner torment continued until Sunday night, when we had an hour to kill before meeting some friends to watch the game and decided to put the debate to rest once and for all. Which was better: Mike’s or Modern?

Andreas’ money was on Modern. So I dropped him off there to a moderate looking line (busy, for sure, but not out the door) and made my way up another block to the swarming sea of so-called tourists at Mike’s. Thinking Andreas would have surely made it through the line at Modern already, I was surprised to not see him waiting outside for me when I emerged victorious from Mike’s, single cannoli in hand.

I got all the way back to Modern and peeked in the windows, only to see him only HALFWAY through the line! Round one went to Mike’s for faster service. (Interestingly enough, as I was waiting outside Modern, I overheard several tourists going in, saying “I heard this is where the locals go instead of Mike’s!” Ha! Looks like the tables have turned.)

Then we sat down to the serious business of comparing the two very best cannolis in all of Boston.

Mike's (right) v. Modern (left)

Here are the results:

Price – Same. Both cost $2.50.

Size –  Mike’s was markedly larger and heavier. Markedly.

First whiff – Modern wins here. Theirs smelled of vanilla. Mike’s smelled of fried dough.

(Sadly, that was the only round Modern would win. It was all downhill for them from here…)

Shell – Mike’s. Landslide. Modern’s was denser (more like a cracker) and more tightly rolled (like a cigar). Mike’s was flaky, airy and open. Modern’s looked like it had been made by machine, again because of how tightly rolled it was (not saying it had been, just that it appeared that way in comparison). Mike’s definitely looked handmade.

Filling – Mike’s again. Modern’s was too smooth (seemed overly processed) and tasted too me of sweetened condensed milk. Mike’s had that deliciously light ricotta flavor and texture. Not to mention that Modern’s was much sweeter.

It quickly became clear to us (and even Andreas had to admit) that Mike’s has the superior cannoli. I’m not sure we would have ever realized it if not for the side by side comparison though, because for the record, Modern turns out a damn fine  cannoli. But Mike’s will always have my heart. To me, it is perfect in practically every way. Crispy shell filled to the brim with fluffy ricotta. Mmm. Just how god intended.

As for our Modern cannoli, well, duh, we ate it. But due to its size, the Mike’s one lasted much longer and satisfied our craving much more.

So now it’s settled. We’ll go to Mike’s from now on and leave Modern for the wannabes.

Homeownership

So homeownership is a bitch. (Hey, why craft up some fancy introduction when that’s what I really want to say?) You’d think moving into your own place that you actually own would be the cat’s pajamas but let me tell you: it is SO NOT.

In the beginning, sure, we were punch drunk on homeownership. I remember looking around the bathroom one day thinking, I own these baseboards. I own this vanity. I own this little metal thing that holds up my toilet paper.

I own this toilet.

But then the shit started to hit the fan. For starters, it’s easy to forget that when you own a house, you’re responsible for it. There’s no calling up the landlord to tell them there’s a giant piece of siding hanging from the side of your house that bangs up against it everytime the wind blows and makes your heart race in the middle of the night because you’re SURE there’s a robber and Babe! BABE! Wake up! Do you hear those footsteps?

Nope, can’t do that.

Or how about if your house has this inexplicable tendency to let out what could only politely be called a loud belch every couple of hours but actually sounds more like a foghorn that you thought only you could hear inside your house but which is actually blasting straight in the direction of your next door neighbor’s house who happens to have a newborn baby but who also happens to be too kind to say anything about it? About your belching house? How about that, landlord?

Landlord?

Oh right. Heh. That’s me.

$%^$#%#&^!

This whole issue was only brought home (no pun intended) last week when our basement conveniently flooded with two inches of water when Andreas was conveniently out of town. It wasn’t until I was vacuuming up murky basement water with our neighbor’s shop vac (yes that same neighbor with the baby who is too polite to tell us that our house has taken to yelling at their house every so often) and sloshing that murky water over to a makeshift piping operation near the basement door that it hit me. Literally. In the face. The pipe leading outside burst out of the pump sending aforementioned disgusting basement water all over me and it was then that I realized that homeownership is a bitch.

And then, we’re doing our taxes at H&R Block (you know what’s not a bitch? The first-time homebuyer tax credit, athankyouverymuch Mr. President.) when we realize that we paid for our quarterly taxes to the city of Beverly when we actually didn’t have to, because our mortgage company was apparently covering that for us. Hi. Who was supposed to inform us of this? We’re just lowly first-time homeowners. We don’t know these things! Isn’t someone supposed to tell us these things? So now we’ve got to call the city of Beverly to try to get our money back. Groan.

And speaking of you, city of Beverly, thanks a whole bunch for not taking our recycling this week. I won’t even complain about the fact that you only pick up recycling every other week which, to me, seems pretty ridiculous because we generate more of that stuff than we do regular trash and we would generate more but we don’t have a place to store all of it because you only pick up every other week. (Okay so I did complain.) I’m sorry it wasn’t sorted for you. We didn’t even know you needed it sorted.

Not to get up on a high horse, but in Brookline, we didn’t have to sort anything. There, it was just like, “all recycling is good recycling so give us what you got.” And also, in Brookline, they pick up recycling every week. Just saying.

Sigh. I kind of miss renting. And Brookline. I know, I know. The house is a good investment, blah blah blah. You know what I think sometimes? I’m too young for this $%^&.

We haven’t quite bonded with Beverly yet either.  So far it just seems like it’s: 1. Far from Boston. 2. Lacking great restaurants and shopping. And 3. Being very difficult on the matter of recycling. I’m giving it until the summer though to really decide where I stand. Because like I said, Beverly is a shore town, a beach town. So you can’t really judge it in the winter, I say. And those few days last week when the weather was wonderful, I gave one of its oceanfront parks a chance. And then I went back three times in one week because it was just. so. beautiful. So there’s hope for you yet, Beverly.

But as for homeownership, well, we’re kind of stuck with it anyways. That was the other thing we learned at H&R Block. If we sell or even rent this place before we’ve lived here for three years? Adios tax credit. So, yeah. We’re stuck. Which leads me back to my original point: homeownership? Is a bitch.

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