Day 2: General Mills BTFE Blogger Panel - Lights, Camera, Action!


**somehow this post was lost in the drafts folder. oops!
Day two took place at General Mills headquarters. We were in for a full day with photography sessions, video shoots and the kick-off event for National Box Tops University.

The morning started off under a mask of grey clouds. From our view on the bottom level of General Mills headquarters, it appeared that the storm was going to consume most of the day. There was lightening, thunder, pouring rains...but great food. That alone was enough to occupy my thoughts from the chaos brewing outdoors. The conversation at breakfast bred a lot of creative ideas and inspiration. I even had the opportunity to meet Kelly, a member of the wonderful teams at Coyne Public Relations and (<~~~have you joined yet?!!).

One of my greatest memories from the trip was meeting lifestyle photographer, Joe Dickie (pictured above in the purple shirt). His passion poured out like a freshly-squeezed batch of lemonade, filling each person's empty cup with complete joy. Yes! He was that refreshing.

I already knew I needed to purchase a big girl camera, but Joe just solidified this goal of mine. His work is amazing. His energy is endless. He is someone you would want to be around. In fact, Joe found us later on in the day at the kick-off event for National Box Tops University and snapped a few impromptu picture.

As a blogger, pictures really are worth a lot. On those days where you are at a lost for words, a picture can tell the entire story. The halls leading to the photography studio of General Mills are lined with pictures that are nothing short of genius. One of my favorite pictures was of a gorgeous model wrapped in a dress made of Fruit Roll Ups.

We learned how to photograph food. Who knew there was such a science to this? I was amazed to see all the props they use to set up the scene for a great food shot. Everything from the design and color on the cloth to the shape and size of the dish to the amount of lighting coming through the window were all important details to capturing the perfect picture.

After all the delicious food talk and picture-taking, we were ready for lunch. We feasted on yet another great meal while we brainstormed and shared ideas on how to make the Box Tops for Education program even more effective in our schools.

We explored much of General Mills headquarters. It really is a tiny college campus. There is a salon, credit union, gym, store with groceries, a daycare and a host of other amenities. The environment was so inviting, it was easy to see why the employees were walking around with a little pep in their step. I wouldn't want to leave that place either. 


One of the coolest parts of the day (I can say this after the fact), was making a video to promote the bloggers and the Box Tops initiative. Thank goodness Lamar Tyler from Black and Married with Kids was the videographer. He packed a lot of patience. I can't tell you how many times I repeated my lines or how I flubbed during my interview. In the picture above, I'm waiting for the cameras to roll. I love my horrible posture and make-shift pocket in my belt to hold my lip gloss. I learned a valuable lesson while filming — I could not be in front of the camera. Maybe with a little practice I could, but it is definitely hard work. Kudos to those who do it for a living. You'll have to come back to see the final video. I know Lamar has worked his magic again.


The day came full circle when we headed to a kick-off event at the same place we had breakfast that morning. Hundreds of coordinators and supporters of the Box Tops for Education program gathered excitedly at a reception laced with drinks, food, a live band and networking opportunities. We were treated to samples in the Betty Crocker Kitchens and took a picture to capture the memory.




Day two was amazing. Can't you tell?

About Box Tops for Education

Box Tops for Education offers parents and kids easy, everyday ways to earn cash for their school . The program began in 1996, as more and more schools struggled to make ends meet. Each year enrolled schools receive a program kit to help them build their own comprehensive fundraising campaign. Most schools designate a program coordinator to develop ways to encourage students, parents, school staff and community members to clip Box Tops from participating products and bring them to school.

After the collected Box Tops are sent in to General Mills, the school receives a check, equivalent to 10 cents for every Box Top redeemed to spend on anything they choose. Thousands of schools have used the cash from Box Tops for Education to purchase items such as computers and computer software, library books, art supplies and playground equipment. Support our kids’ schools today at

Fan Box Tops for Education on 
Facebook at
Follow Box Tops for Education on Twitter at
Learn more at YouTube

Disclosure Information
I am a member of the Box Tops for Education® Blogger Panel. General Mills is covering all associated costs including airfare, hotel, and transportation. The opinions and views are my own.

**some of the photos are courtesy of General Mills, taken by Andrea Ellen Reed
Powered by Blogger.