Showing posts with label BlogHer 2009. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BlogHer 2009. Show all posts

I Say Wear the Shoes: BlogHer 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Wearing Cute Shoes
You may have heard there's a pretty big blog conference coming up in a few days. Blogs and Twitter are all aflutter with conference talk, especially with advice from the veterans to the newbies.

The general theme of the advice I've read seems to be: don't stress, bring business cards, be yourself, it's a conference not the red carpet and for the love of Pete wear comfortable shoes! For the most part, I agree with all of that. However, I think I'm going to be the lone voice of dissent on one thing.

I say wear the fun shoes.

Yes, this is a conference. Yes, we're there to learn. But we're also there to have fun! For me, clothes and shoes are fun! And hello? New York! Will anyone remember what I was wearing? No. Will anyone judge me on what I'm wearing or not wearing? Maybe. * Do I care? No. Because it's not about everybody else, it's about me and what's important for my conference experience. And for me, clothes, shoes and looking nice are important.

I wore these to Mom's Nite Out
I don't know about you, but when I think I look good, I feel good. If wearing a spectacular** pair of shoes (or dress, handbag, favorite necklace) will make you feel good, do it!

I see nothing wrong with wanting to put your best face (or foot) forward. In addition to meeting other bloggers for the first time, we have an opportunity to meet ad agency reps, PR reps and celebrities. If, like me, one of your goals for this conference (or any conference) is treating everyone you meet as a potential client or business partner, why wouldn't you want to look nice?

I know it's not a fashion show, but I'm not gonna lie***. I've been shopping and I love the things I've found. Part of the fun of getting ready has been planning my outfits. I don't get to play dress up very often so I'm taking full advantage at BlogHer.

For me it boils down to this: do what makes you happy, what you'll be comfortable with and what will help you make the most of what will be an amazing weekend.

If you're going, please say hi! I'll be the one in cute shoes.

*Anyone who does isn't worth knowing.
**Spectacular is not always synonymous with towering or spike-y. There are so many awesome flats, sandals and wedges for the summer! Style does not have to be a sacrifice to comfort.
***In my opinion, women dress for other women. Not all, but most.

Advice for Newbies: Attending Blog Conferences

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Even though I'm not a seasoned conference goer I did learn a few things (read: made a lot of mistakes) from going to BlogHer and the two trips right after wards that I hope will help other newbies:

Your carry-on
My dad works for the TSA so I asked what I could do to speed up the security check through process. I bought an airport approved laptop sleeve and everything went into ziptop bags: cords, chargers and flash drives in one, breath mints, tissues, a pen, compact, lip balm, travel size hand lotion, a few individually wrapped Wet Ones and a granola bar in another. All my makeup went into the checked bag (I saw someone fighting to keep her expensive foundation - she lost). After all that caution it was my banana that got me pulled me aside! I wore my lace-up tennis shoes for comfort's sake and it was a pain. This time I'm wearing slip-ons with Peds and carry a pair of fuzzy socks.

Carrying your stuff around at the conference
I was fortunate to have TJ Maxx and Marshalls as sponsors and bought a laptop shoulder bag on one of my shopping trips. It was stylish, fit my laptop and had many pockets. But holy pedometer! I wasn't thinking about the amount of walking I would be doing. 

Between the laptop, cords, camera, Flip, notebook, my wallet, water bottle, snacks and things I picked up along the way, my bag was HEAVY. My neck and shoulders were killing me by the end of day one. I ended up transferring everything to the backpack I got at the Mom Select suite and it worked out so much better. It didn't 'look' nice (in terms of fashion) but it was much more practical and saved my hide when I was 10 pounds over my luggage weight limit for the flight home.

Extra bags
My mom suggested I take an extra duffel bag with me and I'm so glad I listened to her. She had several small, foldable handle bags that zipped closed and she let me borrow one. 

Again, totally necessary when I was over my luggage weight limit. I moved my dirty laundry to the zippered duffel and made it my second piece of checked luggage. I prayed it wouldn't open and my undies would would be all over the conveyor belt. In addition to a small bag I'm also planning to bring one of my re-usable shopping bags.

Business cards
I had plenty to take with me, but what I didn't do the first day was carry enough on me. I borrowed a Gucci wallet from my mom because it's nice and slim. I thought it would be perfect for carrying my cards and storing the cards I received rather than just dropping them into my bag. It didn't quite work that way. I gave out all the cards I had on me and the skinny wallet was bulging after the morning speed dating session.

For Blissdom I'm going to carry a lot more cards on me (your conference badge has a pocket, keep some cards in there, too) and probably be tacky and keep a ziptop bag to store all the ones I receive. At least they'll all be in the same place and I won't be gathering cards from all my pockets at the end of the day. If you don't have cards yet, get to ordering! Plenty of sites offer free cards. I had those last year and was kind of ashamed not to have professionally designed ones, but I definitely wasn't the only one. Don't be embarrassed, it's not a big deal.

A lightweight wrap
I am ALWAYS cold (case in point, I have a room heater going at full blast at my feet as I type). BlogHer, the General Mills tour and MarMaxx event were in July and August and though the weather was nice, it was freezing in the conference rooms! 

(Katrina from Fickle Feline and Alli from Mrs. Fussypants. 
Sorry to Tricia and JoLynne, PicNik cut you off! )

I purposely stashed a wrap in my bag at all the events and I'm so glad I did. The wrap I have only covers my shoulders. I wish I'd chosen a slightly wider one, but I still plan to take it with me to Blissdom and Disney since it travels really well.

Contact information -keep it handy
I am pretty anal when it comes to details. I had every itinerary, contact sheet, flight schedule and parking reservation printed out. Those things were in my email too but several airports had really bad free WiFi that I couldn't access at all. If I'd relied on having access with my laptop or iPod Touch when I missed my flight to Boston, I'd have been screwed. I also sent the info to my mom, dad and Phil, just in case (See? Anal).

Don't forget to update all your Apps (especially the flight tracker if you have it) and download all your books and movies. I finished my book on the flight in to BlogHer and refused to pay airport prices for a new one.

If you're new to blogging as well as the conference scene, Melanie has a great post with links to other articles that will get you started.

If you have a tip for attending conferences or trips please share it!

Bloggers, Conferences and Sponsorships: Think Outside the Box

Friday, January 8, 2010

I think conferences are going to be really big again this year, possibly bigger than last year, both for attendees and sponsors (even with the new FTC guidelines). It seems many bloggers and companies started to see the value of learning and interacting in addition to the parties and fun. Conference season goes into full swing with Chicks Who Click in a few weeks and Blissdom and Mom 2.0 next month. There seem to be new conferences debuting this year, too (Mom It Forward has a good list compiled of almost all the conferences for 2010)

Last year, especially after BlogHer, there was a lot of "discussion" on the BlogHer site about sponsorships, what bloggers were doing to get them and how they were to fulfill their obligations once at the event.

Conference organizers have taken note of the attendees' concerns and changed or added to guidelines on sponsored bloggers and how they need to comport themselves while at a conference. I hope companies are paying attention and ready to start thinking outside the box in terms of how to sponsor a blogger, what they are going to require of the blogger and what types of things bloggers are going to offer in their sponsorship packages.

Last year, a company decided to sponsor a blogger and held a contest: write a post about why going to (insert conference) is important to you, link back to us and get people to vote on your post. That seemed to be the standard MO. Which, wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I was a finalist in the same type of contest and am thankful I had the opportunity. But, how many of those types of posts can one person write? When does it go from being authentic to copy and paste?

After I didn't win the sponsorship I was reluctant to enter any more contests.  I was afraid to turn off my readers who had zero interest in the conferences and afraid to seem so hard up to go that I would sell myself to the highest bidder (even though I was). Plus, it took a lot of time asking for votes and keeping up with my progress. Looking back, I can only remember three companies who offered to sponsor bloggers and I'm sure there had to be at least 10. I didn't buy their products either so really, how effective could that tactic have been?

If a company has the conference(es) in mind where they'd like to establish a presence, now is the time to start planning. I have a feeling there will be many more bloggers looking for such opportunities this year. Someone is going to be a good fit for the brand. Send out a query to your current contact list just to get an idea of who's interested. Start following the hashtags on Twitter, check to see if there are fan pages on Facebook, Mom Bloggers Club or Twitter Moms. The interest is there, and it could pay off really big for a company not afraid to do a little homework.

I also hope more bloggers take a pro-active approach this year and go after sponsorships on their own. I was terrified to pitch to Foot Petals, TJ Maxx/Marshalls and Nimli* but it totally paid off. I got to work with brands I was excited about and had great new clothes, shoes and custom jewelry to wear. Think of businesses you frequent, products you already use or companies you admire and ask the question. Your passion for them will be your biggest asset. Think of what you have to offer and create a proposal. The worst that can do is the company says no! 

How do you forsee companies and bloggers approaching conference sponsorships this year? What do the FTC guidelines mean for those who are sponsored? 
*Those were my sponsors for BlogHer last year who provided products for me and for me to give away. I am going to Blissdom courtesy of the Tastemakers and US Potato Board. I'm speaking at Blissdom as well. We're attending Disney's Social Media Moms but it's on our dime.

Wordless Wednesday: Missing My Hometown

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For more Wordless Wednesday visit: 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell

BlogHer 2009 Recap: TJ Maxx Shopping Trip {Video}

BlogHer 2009: Connections

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I went to BlogHer with basically only one expectation: to have a great time. And I most certainly did. It was busy, loud, hectic, crazy and fun. There are so many bloggers I love and admire and I was hoping to get the chance to tell them so in person. I was fortunate that I met many of the people I wanted to meet, and others I was hoping to meet. I'm not a shy person by nature but there were a few times I backed away from introducing myself, and now that I'm home I'm kicking myself for not putting my big girl panties on.

It was important to me to make connections. To put names with faces and meet the person behind the avatar. Every one of these business cards is someone I looked in the eye, shook hands with and/or hugged. It's a good mix of bloggers, brands and PR people.

Some are people I've already met and got to reunite with. Some are people I already follow on Twitter. Some live on the west coast, a few are even in my neighborhood. All are people I'm pleased took the time to meet me, no matter how briefly.

And then, there was the unexpected connection. In all honesty, I didn't think I'd
get to meet Bossy. Not because I was afraid she wouldn't speak to me, but because I thought for sure I'd never get within five feet of her because of the crowd of admirers. Thankfully this was not the case (with Bossy or anyone else).

We first bonded on the dance floor at the MamaPop party. The DJ was on fire and when the unmistakable opening beat of Genius of Love by the Tom Tom Club came out of the speakers, we jumped into each others' arms like sorority girls. "I LOVE this song!!!"

And for the rest of the weekend, it was game ON. We went to the CheeseburgHer party, where apparently I was proposed to (the details are a little Mango Smirnoff-ed) and then out to the Hunt Club with people we met in the lobby over board games.

(I forget what this shot was called but it was nah.sty!)

And then there was Sunday. Both our planes left late in the evening so we spent the day walking the city. We walked, and talked (I. could. not. shut. up!) and ate and took pictures. I cried a little talking about Tyler. I want to tell you all about it because it was SO awesome. But then, I don't want to tell you because it was SO awesome that once I put it out there, it won't be mine anymore. Suffice it to say, it is one of the highlights of BlogHer. Thank you Bossy, for spending the day with me, for listening, indulging a childhood memory and being a friend.

I will share that a man was crossing the street in the opposite direction as us. He changed direction and followed us, offering this commentary:

"I'll be 56 years old this year and I've had the privilege of gazing on millions of beautiful women in my lifetime. You [me] are in the top 50 and you [Bossy] are definitely in the top 10."

I wholeheartedly agree.

BlogHer 2009 Recap: Conflicted

Monday, July 27, 2009

*I started writing this at BlogHer

Being at BlogHer is just what I needed. Blogging is getting a little harder and more time consuming for me as I try to expand what I'm doing online into my offline life and start the beginning of a business. I needed an injection of creativity, a boost in confidence and something to light a fire in blogging belly and I definitely got it at BlogHer.

But, I'm a little conflicted. I'm getting a lot out of the sessions (especially Marketing to Women of Color). And many of the sponsors present are brands and products I identify with and support. However, it also seemed that many were there just to reach "a room full of women." Sugar Jones summed up my feelings really well with a Tweet she sent out during the Friday morning opening remarks. The BlogHer founders were going over the major event sponsors and Sugar tweeted:

Listening to the sponsor list and wondering if marketers know that we're more than lipstick and vacuums."

Amen, sister.

While I applaud the companies at BlogHer for being a part of such a great event and wanting to connect with bloggers in a social media setting, it would have been nice to see a bridge between our online lives and home lives that could benefit us far longer than a sample of laundry soap.

After the opening remarks I met Sheryl and Kim-Marie (@LuxuryTravelMom and @MktgMvn) and we had a short conversation about this. I told them about Sugar's Tweet and we agreed how great it would be to have a really powerful speaker who could motivate us as women, or sessions that could help those of us who need to re-enter the workforce, go back to school or figure out how to send our kids to college. (Now that I'm home I'll add to that become better writers, finding our voice and how to be consistent with it once we do.)

I met up with Sugar and told her I had a post forming and she echoed another sentiment I was feeling in that when things in our offline lives are in balance, our online lives will be too and our blogs will reflect that.

I was hesitant to post this because I'm still on sugh a high and I don't want this to seem like a knock against the BlogHer team, any of the participating sponsors, people who had sponsors or a rant about the swag* because it's absolutely not. The many things I LOVED about BlogHer, like the chance to meet my idols face to face, learn something new, share my opinion and make new friends, far outweigh the few I didn't and I will post about them too.

I know sponsors are necessary to make a conference (especially one on this scale) possible and affordable for its attendees. I also know so many people could not have attended BlogHer without their sponsors (myself included). There weren't any sponsors there who didn't fit, and, after all, we're their target market. Hence my conflicted nature. It just seems there could be more balance between the marketing, products and life outside of social media. (I tried to link to comments on Mom 101's post but am too lame to figure out how. Read the post and look for squaregirl's and Jozet's comments. Loved 'em.)

*But to the people who walked into a party, took the swag, walked out and told those of us who were on the way in that the swag wasn't worth it? Or those who outright stole swag? Or tackled people to get swag? Or Tweeted how awful a company was because you didn't get swag? Or who took sponsor MONEY to hand out swag but DIDN'T? Shame the fuck on you!

BlogHer 2009: I'm here!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I haven't been to Chicago since Phil graduated from boot camp at Great Lakes. I forgot how totally cool this city is! I have tried not to overwhelm the blog with BlogHer talk, partially because I didn't want to set my expectations too high. I'm looking forward to the sessions, meeting new people and re-connecting with friends I haven't seen in awhile.

The energy in the hotel is amazing. The number of laptops rivals any electronics store, the WiFi signal is strong and I'm already coveting these really cute bags I see people with! I'll try not to overwhelm you with all the activities. I remember last year how much it sucked to be on the other side of the screen. ;D

Getting Ready for BlogHer with Foot Petals {+Giveaway}

Sunday, July 19, 2009

*Giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Tanya and Ginny!*

*I've extended the entry period for this contest. Between BlogHer and the trip to Boston, I was not able to promote it as it deserved*

I'm not really sure when my love affair with high heels began. It could have been an unconscious response to being the shortest person in my family, a nudge from the universe (who knew I'd end up marrying someone over six feet tall) or a typical girl thing.

When I was in junior high, one of my mom's friends gave me a pair of heels that she had to wear in a wedding. Today, I'd think they were ugly as sin, but back then, I was happy to have them. Mom wouldn't let me wear them to school. She thought they were too high. So, I did what any other girl would have done and snuck them to school in my HUGE purse (it was ridiculously large). Whatever the reasons, I've always gravitated toward them and now have a closet full of stilettos and wedges.

I tried to pinpoint when I first started using Foot Petals in my shoes but it's been to long. I think the first pair I used them in is my Nina satin heels I bought more than ten years ago for a wedding. They're a product I believe in, and there's real science behind them. The company founder, Tina Aldatz, burned her feet on hot coals when she was a child. Her feet have been overly sensitive and prone to blistering ever since. She received certification as a pedorthist (fancy term for a person who is trained to fit and modify shoes to medical guidelines) after leaving BCBG and a brief time at an internet start up.

Once I knew I would be going to BlogHer, I asked a friend for some tips and she said, "wear comfortable shoes." That negates about half my closet! I took a chance, wrote to Foot Petals explaining that I didn't want to sacrifice cuteness for comfort and asked if they would be willing to help. And yeah for me! they said yes. Every pair of shoes I take to BlogHer (last count: seven) will have at least one Foot Petals product in it. I'll also be taking product with me to bestow upon anyone who looks to be in need. Kind of like a Guardian Angel but for feet.

And because I love you, I have two Foot Petals kits to give away. Two winners will receive one Stiletto Stylist Kit. The kit includes Killer Kushions, Heavenly Heels, Strappy Strips, Sole Stopperz, Tip Toes and Haute Heels.

If you don't win, you can purchase your own products at a 15% discount with code MELBLOGHER. Free shipping on all US orders over $20.

To enter:
1. Visit Foot Petals and do any of the following:
-Look through their collection
-Read through any of Tina's Tips on proper fit (lot's of good info!)
-Watch the video of Tina on HSN demonstrating the difference between Foot Petals and other shoe inserts (fast forward to 3:20)
-Tell me your worst blister or shoe pain story

2. Leave a comment on this post with your favorite product, tip or any other observation from the site. Is there a product you'd like to see? (enter me! and I want to win! aren't gonna cut it) This is required.

3. I MUST have a way to get in touch with you! I will have to delete comments with no contact info.

4. Because of BlogHer I will leave this contest open for awhile. Comments will close on Monday, August 3rd Monday, August 10th at 11:59pm CA time.

5. I will use to draw the winner and post the results/notify winners via email and in a "Winners" post. (US only, I'm sorry!)

6. For two extra entries: (not required) Tweet, and/or blog about this contest and leave each of your links in a separate comment (three contest entry opportunities total). You will need a free Twitter account.

7. You do not have to follow me or subscribe to this blog as a method of entry (but you're more than welcome to!). Tweet as often as you like, but only one Tweet will count as an extra entry. Leave one comment for each entry method. Here is the URL to this post:

Thank you to foot Petals for outfitting me for BlogHer! Good luck!

Traveling With A Laptop

Friday, July 17, 2009

My dad works for the TSA in Los Angeles out of LAX. When we bought my laptop Wednesday, he was telling us stories about how many laptops are lost and stolen in the airport. I asked him what steps I can take to help keep my laptop secure when I'm traveling to BlogHer. I told him I was going to purchase LoJack and he kinda talked me out of it.

He said his office has tested the LoJack system on laptops, cell phones and other electronics and it doesn't work. Actually, he said the system itself works, but only if the item with LoJack is outside. Once it enters a building, the GPS is useless. In his words, "I have LoJack on my car, but if it gets stolen and put on an 18-wheeler, it's gone." He also said if the thief takes the car into a parking structure the LoJack isn't really helpful.

So, I called Absolute Software and asked that question. The LoJack for cars is a GPS based system, but for laptops, it's software and internet based. The software works once a person reports their laptop as stolen AND the laptop connects to the internet. Once the computer is on the internet, the software allows the trace to start.

The company gets the IP address, they call the internet service provider to get the physical address, give the physical address to the police who then obtain a search warrant. That's a lot of steps! But, it seems like a good back up and it's definitely better than nothing. The service is pretty affordable so I might do it anyway.

Basically, common sense is the best way to safeguard your stuff. I have my business card taped to the bottom of my laptop with neon orange duct tape. I have the laptop serial number stored in my iPod touch and I bought a
laptop sleeve from Amazon, which hopefully meets the TSA's Checkpoint Friendly guidelines.

Please keep your eyes peeled and (double and triple) check your bags in the airport. Let's all come home with the same amount of stuff we left with!

Laptop images from here and here.

Oh. My. God! Isn't it Beautiful!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Kevin made this pendant (and several others) just for me. I love it!

Bathing Suit Shopping Could Be So Much Better...

Monday, July 6, 2009

...with Mimosas and babysitting. Am I right? How lovely to be greeted at the fitting room with a champagne flute and someone to entertain your child.

The suit I bought last year is holding up OK but I knew it wouldn't make it through this summer. Our vacation has been scrapped and I'm embracing my neighborhood pool so new suits were definitely in order.

I was able to get three designer suits and I'm happy with what I found. I don't know why I'm more embarrassed to show pictures of me in a bathing suit than I was to be naked but I am. No comments from the peanut gallery!

These bottoms are mine. The top is Kenneth Cole and was only $5! Is it too maternity-ish?

I didn't think this suit was going to fit. But I couldn't leave it on the rack. Not my favorite color. I wish it helped the girls a little more but for $15 I can live with a little droopage.

I don't normally wear bikinis because of the whole muffin top, slow metabolism, mid-thirties thing* but I like this one. The fact that it's Tommy Bahama, was originally $116 and I got it for $25 made me like it even better! (I tried to soft focus my tummy and sharpen my bewbs to distract you from the stretch marks. Did it work?)

What about you? Have you had any luck with swimsuits this season? Where did you find them?

*Dear Picnik, please develop a stretch mark removal tool, thanks!

Thank you to Marshall's and TJ Maxx for helping me with my Swimsuit Spendervention!

Good News!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm sorry I've been absent. I've sat down at the computer several times this week and nothing I've tried to post has come out readable. Today I've been going back and forth between my mortgage company and the county tax office. I'm so frustrated and I cried a little while talking to either the third or fourth person, I can't remember.

Anyway, I needed a little pick me up. And I got one in my email. Disney offered me a scholarship to BlogHer! I'm so excited! Our mortgage situation has me a little stressed about the conference. I've wondered whether I should bow out, find a way to make it up to my sponsors and look ahead to next year. But now I have some breathing room.

The relationship I have with Disney is so important to me. I'm so happy to be a part of their blog family. Leanne and Laura, thank you so much. I'm so grateful!

May the (Shopping) Force Be With You

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Looking back, it probably wasn't a coincidence that I chose the dollar store right next to Marshalls to buy the gift bags for my National Mom's Night Out party tonight. I've had such good luck at that store finding something to wear at the last minute and not spending a fortune.

I went in looking for something to wear with my brown gladiator stilettos and trouser jeans. Nothing jumped out at me and I was about to give up and *gasp* wear something I already had.

Well, the Shopping Gods must have heard my pleas because they turned their benevolent eyes upon me and led me to this:

It's hard to tell but the ruffled cap sleeves and tiny lavender buttons are SO cute! It has my favorite color, purple, and teal, taupe and cream. For $19.99 all thoughts of brown disappeared PDQ. Of course, then I did a mental slide show of all the shoes in my closet. I set aside two pair of lavender heels to try on and headed for the dressing room.

I was chatting with mom
(who will be leaving tomorrow for a 4-day Mexican cruise, $89 per person!!!!) and the Shopping Gods were feeling extra generous because they had me wander past these

And I'm in love! I said to my mom, "OK, try to talk me out of spending any more money," and she said, "that's not my job anymore, and by the way, I need your address to mail your Mother's Day card" which I took to mean, "I'll slip a little something in it," and put the shoes in my cart.
There's nothing quite like a shopping high. I'll take it over sex and chocolate
(almost) any day.

(Follow @momsniteout tonight on Twitter for all the parties. I believe there are over a thousand!)
This post is sponsored by
Marshalls who are providing my clothing for BlogHer.

Hey! Guess What?

Friday, March 13, 2009


I'm going!

Chicago Ink- Maybe

Friday, February 20, 2009

My girl crush Mr. Lady posted yesterday that a tattoo shop in Chicago is prepared to offer BlogHer attendees a discount and possibly a free drink or dinner during the conference weekend. I'm taking this as a sign. I've wanted to get a tattoo for awhile and I'm a finalist for a trip to Chicago! But... A few things are standing in my way.

I hate needles. Loathe needles. Abhor needles. Prolonged exposure to needles is my version of hell. Mr. Lady did volunteer to hold my hand, which would definitely help. Also, there's my scar to consider. I'm not sure I want to pay for a tattoo just to have it scar over. Speaking of paying for one, I don't exactly have a tattoo fund and saving for one is not the highest of priorities. And I have no idea what to get or where to put it. Details.

I've been thinking I should get something representative of the number three. We are going to be a family of three and three is a magic number (Schoolhouse Rock. Please tell me you remember?!). Since we're going to be a family of three (not ready to discuss, please don't ask) I think a permanent symbol of the power of three is fitting, no?

I've been looking online at different meanings, religious beliefs and cultural ideas about the number three and have liked a few:

*Three is the strong number in Taoist symbolism because it is the center point of equilibrium.

*Japanese: The Three Treasures are, Mirror, Sword and Jewel--that being Truth, Courage and Compassion.

*Africa Ashanti: the moon goddess is three people, two black, and one white. (I can fudge a little here I guess)

*Pythagorean three means completion. (Really like this, but not sure I want the symbol for Pi as a Tramp Stamp)

*The symbol of three is the triangle. Three interwoven circles or triangles can represent the indissoluble unity of the three persons of the trinity.

*Three is a moving forward of energy, overcoming duality, expression, manifestation and synthesis.

*Three is the first number to which the meaning "all" was given. It is The Triad, being the number of the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle and an end.

It seems that three is the way to go but I have no idea how to put those ideas into a piece of art. Do you have any ink? Did you have your tattoo drawn up by someone? If you have any ideas or suggestions for me I'm all ears!

Picture from here (man, I wish I could Photoshop like that!)

Mabel's Labels BlogHer 2009 Contest

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I've made some really good friends through blogging, both online and live and in color. Saturday night I went out for dinner and coffee with Deb from SanDiegoMomma. It was a lovely evening. We talked for hours about almost everything. We're alot alike. And apparently so are our husbands. It's almost eerie. Deb is my bloggy twin. She's my sister from another Mister.

And I may never have met her if I hadn't started blogging. The same goes for my other blog friends. If I hadn't decided to give blogging a try I would never have saved Jamie's son from a bee. I wouldn't have commiserated with Jenn about our lack of angst, watched my son be fearless in Cheri's pool, defended Kate from a nasty commenter or developed a bit of a crush on Aaryn.

I also wouldn't have met the wonderful ladies I refer to as the Disney Crew, or Maria Bailey who I look up to and respect. These relationships are so important to me. With my friends, I'm not just Drama Kid's mom, Or Drama Dad's wife. I'm Mel. And I can let my hair or my guard down depending on the situation. With them I can be myself. And that is the sign of a true friend.

Blogging has given me more than just great friends. I've also regained my sense of self. I think our society places a huge emphasis on jobs and career. When introduced to someone, I'll bet that "so, what do you do?" is one of the first questions asked in conversation. Back when I was a "working" mom, I could answer that I was in marketing. Before that I was in radio admin, before that it was retail management and before that I was a student. In between some of these stages I also added wife and mother to my titles.

But then I lost my job and I was at a loss as to how to answer that question. I could be honest and say I "do" laundry, grocery shopping, wiping pee off the floors, scooping cat poop and any of the other things on my To Do list that had started to define me. But, I decided to apply the KISS method and reply that I was a stay at home mom.

I can't speak for other moms but for me, "what do you do?" started to feel like a really loaded question. Depending on who was doing the asking, once I answered that I was an at home mom, I started to notice that some people would check out of the conversation right then and there. I could see that moment where suddenly I didn't matter quite as much as I did in the few seconds before I gave my answer when there was still hope that I'd have a conversation worthy career.

And it got worse when the other person asked if you "used to" work and if you went to college. It's as though I've thrown away all my potential just so I can take my kid to practice.There is nothing more humiliating, degrading and demoralizing than to have another person write you off because you stay home with your family.

This blog changed all that. Since I started adding Mom Blogger to my title, people don't disconnect as much anymore. People want to know what I write about and how I like it. They're interested in me. I know I shouldn't need the external validation. It shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks. But I do and it does. I'm more than "just" a mom and this blog has been a way for me to show it. I started this blog as a way to connect with other people, get my thoughts out and use the creative side of my brain that was bored to tears by the endless lists and tasks that the other half was always making. But it has morphed into something much bigger.

It feels strange to say that I’m grateful I lost my job but I am. I really feel that this was the path I was meant to take when I walked out of the office for the last time. Who knows what else is in store for me or what other roles this blog will play. I know it will keep getting better and better and I’m so excited for the journey ahead.

This is my submission to the Mabel's Labels BlogHer 2009 sponsorship. Thank you for your generosity! Good luck to all the participants.

Rules, sponsorship details and how to enter found

**ETA: I'm a finalist! I'm having a contest to say thank you for supporting me and my blog. Read the details here.

Label Daddy BlogHer 2009 Sponsorship Opportunity

Monday, February 2, 2009

I know so many people, myself included, who want to go to BlogHer this year and can't afford all the costs. MomDot and Label Daddy have partnered to give away five sponsorships. Generosity like that deserves a little publicity! Click the logo to go to MomDot for rules and how to enter.

New Year, New Blog (I Hope)

Friday, January 2, 2009

*I couldn't stop tweaking this post and trying to get it to make sense so I missed the opportunity to submit for The Queen of Spain's BlogHer giveaway and I'm kicking myself but I'm posting anyway because it was hard to write and shows where my head is right now *
I can't believe the holidays are over. Did they fly by or is it just me? I enjoyed my time off and it's hard to adjust to being back online. I will admit it was nice not feeling pressure to come up with something, anything, to write about every day.

I did some soul searching over the holidays. I thought about the direction I want this blog to go and at times that lead me to adding a review page and others towards shutting the whole thing down which is where I am right now (but only a little). But I missed you guys and the relationships I've made and couldn't just walk away.

One thing I did come to realize, is that if I'm going to continue, I need help. Asking for help isn't something I do well. Just typing that out was hard! I tend to go it alone, reading and researching and often end up frustrated when things don't work out the way I hoped.

I need to step out of my comfort zone and make more connections within the blogging community. I need to stop being afraid to ask questions of the "pros". I need to continue doing my research but try to narrow the focus instead clicking all over the web. I need to find a mentor. I need to think more positively about this space and get rid of the "little fish" attitude I have and toot my own horn once in awhile. Basically, I need to go to BlogHer.

The more I read about this year's conference, the more I'm convinced it's exactly what I need. I've heard so many good things about what going to the conference has done for some bloggers and how helpful the BlogHer team is. I made a Blog To Do list and now have so many things I want to do with this space I'm not sure where to begin:
  • Have the blog re-designed
  • Learn more HTML
  • Learn Photoshop
  • Better branding
The list is actually pages long and it's overwhelming and possibly even holding me back because I have yet to cross off anything major. I'm frustrated because there's no forward progress. In my mind, attending the conference has become some sort of lifeline. I may be elevating this year's conference to mythical hobbit-like proportions (sorry, that was lame!) but the fact that it's in my home town of Chicago and that there are so many topics on the agenda, like the session on finding balance, that appeal to me makes me believe I really, really need to be there this year.

There are so many reasons I want to go: I want to network and meet other bloggers. I want to ask questions. I want to learn what I can and should be doing better. I'd love to meet the authors of some of my favorite blogs (like my girl-crush Mr. Lady). It would be great to see Casey again. I want to eat true deep dish pizza and walk The Miracle Mile. I'm not sure how I'll get there, or if I even will because of the financials, but I'm determined to try. Am I crazy for wanting to go so badly? Is anyone else totally obsessed?

Erin at The Queen of Spain is giving away a registration package to BlogHer and when I read that I was so excited and took it as a sign that I should submit a post. Erin asked for our reasons for wanting to go to BlogHer and what we'll do to support other women in the coming year. I've been composing this post in my head for days but since my main reason for wanting to go has almost no logic to it I changed my mind.

But then I changed it back again. No matter how much I feel the need to be at BlogHer, I can't make it there on my own. This getting laid off thing has been an adjustment for us. We're doing fine in that we're able to pay the mortgage, bills etc., but any "extras", especially something as big as this just isn't in the financial picture. Plus, it's hard for me to convince hubby to spend money on my "hobby." So, I'm back to asking for help, and asking for money no less which even harder for me than asking for help.

As for how I'm planning on paying it forward, I wasn't going to say anything this early but I think my way of giving back and supporting women is a pretty good one and is something I feel very passionate about. I signed up to do my first 3-day breast cancer walk! I'm excited, nervous and scared but after all the years cheering on the sidelines and volunteering this past November and it being such an amazing experience, I'm ready to see what those three days are like from streets.

*This is as far as I'd written when the deadline hit. I'm so mad at myself I could spit, whatever that means. I haven't given up on going to BlogHer, I will just have to work smarter not harder at coming up with a plan*
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