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Dress: Aryn K / Scarf: J.Crew (sold out, but I like this one) / Jacket:  J.Crew

I thought I’d do a behind the scenes walk thru of what it’s like to be a brand ambassador.  This post will show you what bloggers who are approached by brands experience, the kick off of the partnership, and our duties.  You may wonder why bloggers tweet, Instagram, or constantly post on social media.  It is work, but it’s the most fun work I’ve ever done.

Bloggers are selective with the brands we work with, it’s like choosing your friends – you want quality over quantity.

I figured I’d tell you what I did last week as the perfect example.

First, you are flown out to the destination, all expenses paid – it is typically to where the company’s corporate headquarters is based.  In this case it was Dallas where the TGIFriday’s headquarters is located.  Eight bloggers across the country came together.  In my case, I had a 7 AM flight.  Quite early for this Sleeping Beauty.

photo4aFlats: Sam Edelman Felicia Ballerina Flat Fuchsia (sold out, love these, another option) / Jeans: 7 for all Mankind

Side note: I finally found pants that are just as comfortable as my J.Crew Saturday pants.  If you are in the market for quality designer denim, I highly suggest the these.  They are like old worn in jeans.

When you arrive into the new city, a driver meets you at baggage claim by holding a sign with your name.  He gets your bag and you get into a nice car – a Cadillac, a Lincoln towncar, something like that.  I decided to be discrete and take a photo of my feet, cause taking a photo of him looking back at me while driving would have been so weird.

photo1aLeather handbag with gold monogram initials: Cuyana

You are then taken to a nice hotel.  For this trip, it was at the NYLO.  Clearly I could tell I was in Dallas, their state flag was everywhere. I love their patriotism.

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Typically when you check in, there is a gift bag waiting for you from the brand.  My little self just loves this part.

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Then you start walking around and taking selfies of yourself (I’m wearing Kokoon’s Kanga Poncho).  You also take selfies and send them to your girlfriends so they can share in the excitement.

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Unpack, change into my travel hotel slippers.  I totally rearrange everything to make myself at home.  Am I the only one?

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Then I get ready and change into new clothes for the kick off event – our first event was at 4 PM.  One more to show you the bed.  Oops, I just so happened to be in it.

DSC05161Polka dot Blazer: J.Crew (sold out, another option) / Jeans: 7 for all Mankind

There is a “party bus” or stretch limo that awaits for the days ahead because it’s much easier to move a group of bloggers around.  So in we went, and headed to the nearest TGIFriday’s!

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And then, the feast begins.  What I was most impressed was hearing the new menu that will be coming out May 14.  All of the appetizers we tried were clean food – that’s right, fresh and no preservatives.  This means it’s like homemade freshness only you don’t have to make it!  Music to my ears, as the kitchen continues to be my least favorite room in the house.

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We had loads of staff attention – the chef came out with every meal and presented it to us, telling us that TGIFriday’s invented the potato skins!  Each dish was presented and explained which makes you feel like you are a food critic about to devour the most delicious looking platters.  Oh, and drink up.  Gulp.  These are non alcoholic by the way, since I get the Asian Glow within two sips.  The bottom right tastes like an orange Creamsicle.  I die.

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That was only a few snapshots of what we ate.  I could barely breathe.  Do you drink?  If so, oh let me show you something… cause I really really wanted it after I saw it.

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And all the girls who love the color pink, especially pink drinks, began to squeal.  Seriously, wouldn’t this be a great IG video? #TGIFridays #HappyHour #mydrinkiscoolerthanyours

After food there is usually a fun activity to get to know each other and a way to feel the culture of the company.  So, after bellies were full that we couldn’t breathe, we headed over to the Dallas Arboretum for an outdoor concert.  Who played?  A crazy amazing cover band.  I dug the Bruno Mars songs!  It’s an amazing park by a lake and it was so picturesque.

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We sat on blankets and chatted.  One blogger is missing below.  Oh, and best unintentional photobomb ever, lady.

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I loved the conversation, just tips on blogging, sharing life, these ladies were the absolute sweetest and I felt so at home.  Then, it became late and we were tired and we had to catch our party bus back to the hotel.

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We sit in the bus on our phones, tweeting, checking email, working basically until we reach the hotel.  That concludes the first half day.  Off to bed for a 9 AM day to start day two which always involves going to corporate.

The bus arrives and takes us to TGIFriday’s corporate headquarters!  I have to admit, I thought the exterior would look more like a GIANT TGIFriday’s restaurant, but I forgot, it’s a corporate office.

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But of course the inside is anything but boring!  We got a little historic tour which was like a TGIFriday’s museum by a woman named Judy who had been working for the company for several decades!

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Oh dear…this cracks me up.  This was 1989.

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Is anyone with me that the 1975 uniforms are darling?  So country farm girl!  I would totally think this would be cute!  And apparently I was the only one.  Can’t help it, I just love vintage.

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Did you know in 2015 TGIFriday’s will celebrate its 50 year anniversary?  And, I’m so glad I was born after 1974 so I didn’t have a time in my life without potato skins.

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The brand immersion begins and we are given our stripes and more goodies as we prepare for a few presentations in the meeting room.

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Then before you start your brand immersion, you have every blogger’s Twitter handles, the hashtags to use, and you have your social media apps open. It’s a meeting you can have and be on your phone at the same time – explain that to your next corporate job meeting, but I’m working boss, marketing!

As a blogger you can sit in the car or in a room in utter silence on your phone.  This is not considered rude – this is considered working.

Then PR is watching our hashtags and trending and monitoring our social media platforms.  It’s working everyone!

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After learning the history of a brand, it was lunch time.  Where should we eat?  How about “Little Fridays”.  Yep, in the office they have a TGIFriday’s!

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The second feast continues.  I ate like I was going to the chair.

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This time we had a different menu because day one was happy hour.  So this time it was lunch/dinner.  A ton of plates are passed around and you take a slice because you can’t possibly have enough stomach space to eat all the dishes they are about to serve.  Yes, that is lobster.  Amazing.  We were also briefed on each plate as it came out.  May 14 everyone, you will all DIE at the food and I will be at the nearest Friday’s to eat this food all over again.  Steak, chicken, lobster, chicken nuggets – all handcrafted.

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Oh but wait.  Being amongst the like minded, you understand that you don’t touch the food until every blogger takes the photo she needs for social media and blogging.

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And you continue to eat…

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And drink. Like I said, as if it were your last day on Earth.  Above are calamari fries.  My mouth is watering now.

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Take pictures, eat, tweet, post all of that.  Then, a video presentation and a bartending lesson by a finalist at the World’s Bartender Championship.

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I did not participate since I did not do sports in high school and I have no hand eye coordination.  Did you know TGIFriday’s invented the Long Island?

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Oh, and they also invented Happy Hour.  The first HH took place at the 63rd and First location in NYC.  That with the invention of potato skins, we have to thank TGIFriday’s for so much.

After the food coma, we thank those who prepared the meals and served us.

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Then we head back to the meeting room to learn more about the brand so we can understand what they stand for and their branding goals to reach customers and how we can help them reach customers.

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Then we get more goodies!  I got a piece of “flair” – I know, they probably don’t like that word since Office Space, but pins really are cool at TGIFriday’s, it was so neat to hear the stories and the awards given out.  The culture is amazing.  The clappers are used by employees when a bell is rung on the first floor.  When that happens, everyone gets up from their desk to head downstairs and claps to celebrate – an event, people who attend management training, that sort of thing.  What a great bunch of people!

My USB has blogging slide shows, an internet badge, and instructions to help us come up with content on our blog.

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After a day of presentations, eating, and fun of course, it was time for us to catch our flights.  So off to the airport in our carriage we went.  My friend Crystal Reagan, is a friend I met from being in Sony Club and I was SO happy to spend time with her some more!  We clicked so well at Sony San Diego. We were trying to find each other through Terminal E before our flights and guess what we found?  We had a chuckle.

Could we do meal three here?  Oh, I think we can.

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I don’t know what it is, but photobombers just gravitate towards any shot I’m in.  At least he’s smiling.

Then after a flight back, I come home and cuddle my bratty bunny London who hates when I touch her.  Too bad, I’m bigger, I win.  Kisses for London.

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You might be wondering why companies invite bloggers to be a part of an exclusive club or why bloggers choose to participate.  While I am still in awe over the blessings I have received since I decided to take on blogging a bit more seriously thanks to two friends (Club MED), I know I am so blessed. I didn’t blog more to go anywhere, get an income, or have any perks, just to share my heart, and encourage others.

For me, I enjoy working with brands for the opportunity to help a company I believe in, and help my readers with their lifestyle.

I worked many years as a marketing girl, I love to write, I want to use my journalism degree, and I use my blog as my own little magazine.  I’m the content editor, writer, editor-in-chief, and photographer (of course!).  My past as a graphic designer and freelance marketing director has helped me dabble with brands and strengthen them. I don’t have to own many businesses, I just get to be a part of many that I love and if you love it, you share it – just like life.

So when bloggers are a part of a club for a company it simply means we believe in the company, it fits within our lifestyle, and it’d probably be something we’d talk about anyway.  We get to enjoy the perks and share them with you in hopes you will enjoy it too, that is our purpose.  We are simply voices who are chosen to share it because the company likes our readers.  Yep, they like you!  Also reviews are always honest, in fact there’s a lot of dialogue behind the scenes with bloggers, PR, and the company about working together for things that would be beneficial for readers, customers, and if there are tech problems (if say a blogger reps a tech company).

I’ve had to pass on some opportunities that just wouldn’t be a fit, some just not for me or you.  That’s it!  Just thought I’d show you a glimpse of what it’s like in the blogging world when invited to work with brands.  It’s one of the most honorable and fun things about it, and also the people you meet from all over the country, or world.

Enjoy your Monday.  Don’t you wish it was Friday?  Well I know a place where it’s always Friday

Diana Elizabeth says don’t forget to enter the Kokoon $150 giveaway.  Comments close at 5pm MST tonight!