Monday, August 20, 2012

Austin to Boston Swap, Part Deux!

Last fall, we did a gift swap with our Austin, TX counterparts - the Austin Food Blogger Alliance - and it was so much fun that we’re doing it again! The purpose is to show off some of our favorite local food products, see what Austin has to offer, and make new blogger friends. (Last year, some participants even got to meet their swap partners in person when travel plans coincided!)

How it works:
  • During the designated sign-up period (8/20 to 9/1), bloggers from both cities sign up to participate in the swap. (Boston bloggers, sign up using this form. Austin bloggers, if you're reading this, get more info here. You guys have a separate sign-up process.)
  • Participants are paired up on a first-come, first-served basis (one Boston blogger and one Austin blogger in each pair). If the numbers are uneven, the lagging side will do an additional push after 9/1 to get enough sign-ups so that everyone can hopefully be paired, but please be aware that if you sign up on the later end, you might not get paired if the numbers don't end up matching up. Pairings will be finalized by 9/3.
  • Participants then have until 10/1 to get to know their swap partners via email, phone, smoke signal, etc. - be sure to find out about any dietary restrictions! - and to prepare and ship a box of local goodies.
  • Participants are encouraged to blog about what they sent and what they received.

Eligibility:
  • If you are already included on the blog list on BostonFoodBloggers.com, you are definitely eligible to participate!
  • If you are not yet listed but you have a food blog and live in Massachusetts, please feel free to sign up as well! (If you have already applied to be listed on BostonFoodBloggers.com but don't see your listing yet, it's probably just caught up in my extremely long backlog of site updates.) Any questions, feel free to shoot me an email!
  • Please be aware that due to the nature of this event, you should only sign up if you are 100% sure that you will be able to follow through, out of fairness to your partner and to anyone who wanted to participate but did not get paired.

What to include in the box:
  • The swap limit is $30, so please don’t spend more than that when purchasing items for your box.
  • While it’s encouraged to keep most of the items food-related, some participants last year added in some small local souvenirs or postcards as well.
  • Stay local, whatever that means to you. For some participants here in Boston, it might mean that you’ll only send things from Massachusetts. Others might want to branch out to other parts of New England. It’s up to you!
  • For some inspiration, check out the recaps participants posted last year. Taza chocolates and Fluff appeared quite frequently!
  • Many participants included homemade goods. Be sure to check with your partner about any food allergies or other dietary restrictions.
  • The inclusion of alcohol is not recommended due to the complicated shipping guidelines. If you do include alcohol, you’re on your own figuring out how to do it legally, but one thing is certain: do NOT use USPS.

Other info:
  • You’re likely to spend the least amount of money on shipping if you utilize the USPS’s flat rate boxes but feel free to explore other options as well.
  • Use the hashtag #atxbos to discuss the swap on Twitter. Share shipping tips, ideas for things to send, and any other swap-related thoughts with the community!

More information will be posted as the swap progresses, but this should be enough to start the ball rolling, so sign up now if you’d like to participate! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post or email me if you have any questions.

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