The Hottest, I Mean, Happiest Place on Earth

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We're headed to Disneyland today. We're trying to get in a few last hurrah's before Tyler goes back to school on Monday.

Let me pause just a moment to enjoy that last sentence again.


Okay. I'm good. 

I'm not sure how late we'll be there but I hope late enough that we can watch World of Color again. The show is UH-mazing! I saw it for the first time at the world  premiere event and was blown away. How they managed to synchronize water, light, music, fire and movie is a mystery. If you go to the park it's a definite must-see.

Hopefully I can figure out what the best settings are on my camera on to capture the images projected onto the water more sharply, and I'm bound and determined to find the perfect picture taking spot for short people. Most of my shots look like this:

They're blurry and have someone else's camera smack in the middle. If I get any video I'll post it because the musical score is great too. I have better pictures on Flickr (including me with one of my favorite TV stars!)

If you're going to Disneyland here's a little World of Color info from the Disneyland blog:

*World of Color is playing nightly through Labor Day (check the Disneyland site for specific times)
*A third 11:15 show was added to accommodate all the fans
*Disney California Adventure will be open until 11:00 through September 6th

How to see World of Color:
*Picnic Meals 
*Pre Fixe dinner packages

From the two times I saw the show I think getting there early will offer the best viewing. You can stand on the bridge to the left of the show but all the images are best seen head on and you need to be there fairly early to claim a prime spot.

It's going to be fry-eggs-on-the-sidewalk hot today so there's a good chance I'l succumb to the heat and this will be my last post ever. Thank you for reading.

*I was not compensated for this post. Disneyland did provide tickets to the park and lodging for me to attend the premiere. My opinion that World of Color is spectacular is 100% my own.

BlogHer 2010: Pre-Wrap Up Part Two

Monday, August 16, 2010

I hope to do an actual BlogHer post but I need to get this off my chest too.

I didn't go to many sessions but there was a definite theme running through the ones I did attend. Perhaps it was because, in my opinion, there were a lot of very new bloggers in attendance. Maybe it was just the session I went to. Whatever the reason I heard things like this over and over again. Someone would stand up, say their name and blog name and start off their question with:

"My blog is really little"

"Only my family reads me"

"I don't have nearly the traffic/comments/readers/subscribers as you do"

"My blog is just..."

Et cetera, et cetera.

Can I ask a favor? 

Knock that shit off. Please?

You decided to be online, be a part of this digital community for a reason. You established a presence and put your words out there for all eternity. You wouldn't have done it if they weren't important to you. Stop telling the rest of us they're not.

Every time you belittle the work you do (particularly with 'just.' It bugs me to no end when people say they or their blogs are 'just' anything), you are diminishing your space. Why would you make the effort to go to a conference and then tell everyone how unimportant your space is?

Claim your space. Own it. Stop telling us what it isn't and show us what it IS.

Picky Eater? Advice for Walking the Breast Cancer Three Day

Thursday, August 12, 2010

To say I am a picky eater is just as much of an understatement that the Empire State Building is tall. I could, and do, happily eat the same things over and over again and I don't like to experiment. I bring things I like, rather than crowd pleasers, to potlucks because then I know there will be at least one thing I will eat.

I was a little worried about the food situation at The 3 Day last year. I knew the types of things available at the Pit Stops and Grab and Go's because I've been to several with my mom. But I never bothered to ask her about the actual meals. I'm happy to report I shouldn't have worried. The buffet line has something for everyone. Some examples of the offerings:

Lunch in La Jolla


Hoping for wheat bread this year

Grab and Go's:
Smuckers Uncrustables 
[these are like gold, take them when you see them!]
String cheese
Orange slices

Mom's first Jello Shot!
Plus, if your city is anything like mine, your walk route will be lined with supporters offering everything from cookies and candy to Jello Shots! You will not go hungry during The 3 Day! Some people have gained weight because of all the goodies. But I wouldn't know anything about that. *ahem*

Do you have any questions for me about the Three Day? Please ask! 
Melanie, a Three Day Online Ambassador,  is walking her second San Diego Three Day in November 2010 along with her mother who will be walking her 10th! Help Melanie reach her fundraising goal of $2,300 by donating through her personal page. More photos from day one of the 2009 San Diego 3 Day on Flickr.

BlogHer 2010: A Pre-Wrap Up

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I want to do another more thorough wrap up but I had to get this off my chest. This is in response to some of the sanctimonious, preachy things I've been reading about BlogHer and the parties.

A few weeks ago I made a phone call I was a little nervous to make because I wasn't sure how it would be received. A year ago after BlogHer '09 I was invited to work with a company (along with many others), but haven't because I didn't see myself well represented in their products. I had asked questions and requested more information but wasn't getting much of a response. This call, to the marketing director, was a last ditch effort of sorts. If I got a good response, the conversation went well and I felt I was really being heard, I'd make more of an effort and would feel good about the partnership.

I made the call and felt much better about the company and the brand afterward. I gave my honest opinion (hopefully not in a mean way) and voiced my concerns. I got an honest answer, not marketing bullshit. I appreciate that. It goes along way. I told myself I'd get more involved, see where things go and continue to push for a change I really feel was needed.

Fast forward to the pre-BlogHer scheduling craziness. I saw that this company would be at BlogHer again. Not only that, but I had invites to both places they would be. I take this as a sign. Now I will have an opportunity to talk face to face, look at new products and offer myself up for any future consulting on products for women of color.

Front lobby of their new offices
I had my first chance to meet with the people from e.l.f. on Friday morning at Getting Gorgeous. I asked if the marketing director was there, introduced myself and thanked her for her time on the phone. We chatted some more, she game me some material to look over and showed me some of the products. Again, I appreciated the conversation.

When it was my turn to get my makeup done, I told Kim, one of the e.l.f. makeup artists, a little bit of my story. Kim is a black woman and is fairly new to the company. She agreed with my perspective and asked if she could pass along my comments to the company president. I gave her my card.

New items plus the XBox Kinect
My next opportunity came at their sponsored party; Glamour and Games. This time, I got to speak with the creative director too. By now, I can tell that my concerns are being heard. I'm being taken seriously. How often does one get the chance to have the ear of top people at a company?* I definitely felt this was my opportunity to be the unofficial spokesperson for other women of color and I couldn't let it go by. Kim did my make up again, and I asked if she would use the mineral power since it was something I planned to order and I wasn't sure which shade to buy.

She chose Dark, which is what I would have ordered. Can you guess where this is going? It was ALL wrong. Instead of the matte coverage mineral foundation is supposed to give, I looked like I had reddish-pink blush all over my face. Kim called the marketing director over.

"See? This is what I've been trying to tell you. Black skin has so many different undertones. This has way too much red in it."

Now I know I have to order Dark and Warm and mix the two. I would not have even thought of doing that on my own. Not only did I get to tell people from e.l.f. that I haven't taken advantage of any of their offers because I was too unsure of how their products would look on my skin, they got to see it firsthand. 

I was impressed with the variety
If I had ordered the Dark and put it on at home with those results, (especially given my previous frustration) I would have written them off entirely. Would I have told others why I didn't use their products? Would I have sent out a frustrated Tweet or email? Who knows. But they would have lost me for good.

So yes, I was at a parties when I could have been in sessions or listening to closing keynotes. But, if listening to my concerns and seeing how awful my face looked with their product on it is even a small catalyst for change within e.l.f., (or better yet, gives Kim the opportunity to develop the line for women of color that she wants to do) then it was totally worth it for me.

YOU may not have had an interest in the sponsored parties but there's no reason to look down your nose at those who did. Not everyone goes to a conference for the same reasons. Since the conference ended I've read too many posts about what I should and should not have been doing at BlogHer. How dare I enjoy New York! There's learning to be done! MYOB.

I'm not here to police anyone. I won't tell anyone how they should spend their time at an event they used their own money to attend. It's not up to me to determine what value anyone gets by attending a conference. We all have our reasons for going to BlogHer (or any conference) and they're all different. That's supposed to be part of the beauty of blogging! Celebrating our differences! How sad that, immediately after an event that is supposed to inspire, educate and empower our community some people can only judge.

You do you and I'll do me, agreed?

*Social media has made us think we always have someone's attention. Most companies, if they're doing it right, are monitoring what we say but how many are willing to take action before it becomes damage control? 

Thank you to e.l.f. and XBox for hosting!

I Will: Be More of a Yes Mom

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tyler and I were at Henry's a few weeks ago getting supplies for dinner. He asked if I would buy a pack of mini blueberry muffins. I said no, we have mix at home, we can make them. His response stayed with me. It wasn't what he said, "you always say that," it was how he said it. He sounded so resigned and a little defeated. Then I lost my Mom of the Year hat because I totally turned it around on him. "Well, you can always offer to help me make them." 

Why did I say that?! It was a knee jerk reactionary and passive aggressive statement. It's not like he was accusing me of being a horrible mom in the middle of the grocery store (though that must be how I took it since I basically blamed him for the lack of fresh baked goods in our house). I felt horrible after I said it. Who blames the 7-year old for not offering to bake?

I thought about what he said for the rest of the day. He's totally right. I do always say we can make muffins but rarely follow through. It's just muffins. And not even homemade ones.* Why is it so hard for me to give him something so simple? I resolved to be a different mom for the rest of the summer. I posted on Facebook that I was going to be "more of a Yes Mom." Since I posted I think I've done OK.

We spent last week at the beach with Phil's family. I smelled like campfire smoke every day and brought half the beach home with us, but Tyler had a blast. Between the junk food, S'mores and candy he had more crap in a week than he's had in a month (probably longer).

Between Phil and I, Tyler has been to the park (many times), Disneyland, the zoo, three camps, our neighborhood pool (a LOT), the library and the book store (that's my boy!). There's been more TV, computer and Wii time and staying-up -until-11:30 reading time than I normally allow. I think we've given him a good summer. 

At the end of the day, when Tyler gets older he won't remember the exact things we've done for him, or the quantity of things we did. He will remember that we were there. When he looks back on the times he said, "today was the best day of my life!" we'll be woven into those memories. I don't want any of his best days tarnished by all the times we said 'no' to one of his requests.

When we got pregnant, we talked about not giving in, not letting our child control the house and drawing the line being being occasionally indulgent and spoiling. I think we've gotten so caught up in keeping Tyler grounded that we forget to let him have fun. 

Santee, Ca July 2010
I'm going to try harder to find the balance between giving him every little thing he asks for and keeping reasonable limits. I will continue to make him "earn" his treats but slip him a piece of candy once in awhile. I will bring a little more fun into our time together. I will make more muffins.

*I add a little vanilla and fresh berries to the mix so they could totally pass for homemade.
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