Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

A Sign of Things to Come?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Right before New Year's I went to Rubios for takeout. I gave the cashier a $10 gift card. He commented on it and I told him I won it on Twitter. We started talking Twitter vs. Facebook and at one point, I told him that social media is my job. Later on I replayed the conversation and wondered why I phrased it that way. The words just slipped out. I've never referred to blogging as my job before. When people ask what I do, I usually say I'm a SAHM. Sometimes I mention blogging, sometimes not. 
VisionBoardArtofWellnessphoto © 2010 Nanette Saylor | more info (via: Wylio)

I believe in signs and signals from the universe. I believe some things happen for a reason. I've been thinking a lot about this space, making plans for another and generally wondering what I need to do to 'up my game,' so it's not lost on me that I chose to say those words, out loud, when I'm at such a cross roads. 

Methinks a vision board is in order, pronto.

The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbok: Hot Deal on Amazon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I met Erin of $5 Dinners when I went to General Mills last year. Erin is one of the reasons I started taking couponing more seriously. I had been reading her blog for awhile and was excited to meet her in person.

Me and Erin in the General Mills Test Kitchens
Her first cookbook came out at the end of last year. I've been meaning to buy it and I'm glad I came across the great deal on Amazon today. It's only $5.42 and ships free if you have an Amazon Prime account (or if you're buying $25 in qualifying merchandise). Erin is a doll in person and I'm so happy for her and her success!

I try to be supportive of my blogging friends whenever I can, especially in ways that help their bottom line. Heck, I ordered The Pioneer Woman Cooks and I don't even read her blog. But I think it's amazing and wonderful that so many in the blogging community have been able to turn their passions into viable careers.

The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook has a limited quantity at this price. At this price it's a great book to have on hand for the holidays as a hostess gift, teacher gift or an I-didn't-know-you-were-going-to-get-me-a-gift gift. Get it before it sells out! 

Other books by some of the bloggers I read:

Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats by Angie from Bakerella (I got to meet her at General Mills too!)

(I met Chris and Scott at Disney Social Media Moms. We sat at the same table during the sessions. It was one of the highlights of the conference for me.)

Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment by my friend Denene from My Brown Baby. She a rockstar and I totally want to be her when I grow up.

Have you read a book by a fellow blogger that I should know about? 
Let me know!
*All links are Amazon Affiliate links.

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.

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!

A Very Bossy Night (No) Book Tour San Diego

Thursday, May 13, 2010

 Friends are relatives you make for yourself - Eustache Deschamps

A few weeks ago I met up with old friends and made a few new ones. San Diego was a stop on Bossy's No Book Tour and Jenn was gracious enough to host us. We used her Magic Vibrator for margaritas and checked the Couch of Doom for corpses from her last party.

As usual when bloggers get together the laptops and iPhones are always close by. Matthew had a great idea that we could celebrate my 10,000th Tweet at the party. If you were on Twitter that night, I apologize for all the inane, useless things I said just to make it to that milestone, only to give you more inane uselessness.

We ate, drank, laughed, Tweeted and played a game of Happy/Crappy all while Cameraman Scott was filming. I hope he got my good side.

I don't know how it happens, but I usually find myself in a conversation about shoes at some point in evenings like this. Curious. My new Michael Kors beauties from Ross got their 5 minutes of fame, which means they've totally paid for themselves.

And there was cake. It deserves a sentence of it's own because it was so good. This was not a 'oh, I'll only have a little sliver' type of cake, this was 'two honking slices please', type of cake. Or maybe that was just me. I'm pretty sure it was just me.

After everyone else left, Deb and I tried to help clean up. Jenn said, no, we said OK, and plopped back onto the Couch of Doom and talked poor Bossy's ear off until she was practically asleep in her chair.

Photo from I Am Bossy's Facebook page

From left: Kelly, Cameraman Scott, Jenn (who doesn't blog but we like her anyway), Christina, Katy, Jenn, Deb, Jacquie, Matthew and Bossy who only had 4 hours of sleep the night before. Her gene pool is brimming with awesome.

It was a good night. I think. Just kidding I remember almost all of it. Thank you again, Jenn, for opening up your home and sharing your drink making sex toy (read the details of the inside joke here.)

*I posted a few more pictures on my Flickr page.

Conflicted: When Business and Home Collide

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My little man has inherited his mother's Gift of Gab. The kid starts talking as soon as his feet hit the floor in the morning. Unfortunately, Chatty Patty is getting in a little bit of trouble at school. We've talked with him about it. Hopefully it's sinking in that disrupting the class is not OK. 

Tonight is Open House at school. I also have an event I agreed to before the date for the open house was set. I feel that I need to go to school to set up a meeting with Tyler's teachers. He's also really looking forward to showing us his PowerPoint presentation (is anyone else's kid doing PowerPoint in second grade?!). 

I want his teacher to know that we're involved parents. I also want Tyler to know we're proud of him. But, this event is a good networking opportunity. It's hosted by a really good local ad agency and there are several people working there I'd like to meet. 

I don't know why, but now that I'm home, it feels harder to juggle all my roles. I decided to stay home to be more available to my family and to make our lives less chaotic. But, the more involved I get in social media, the more opportunities I have and I'm spending more time trying to (hopefully) create a business.

I feel stuck in the middle. Should I be a good mom and go to Open House or think of my professional goals and go to the event?

What would you do?

Neediness and Accolades

Monday, March 22, 2010

I've said before that external validation matters to me. I know it shouldn't, but it does. It's a hurdle I face almost daily. It's not necessarily what other people think of me, or whether they like me, but more about whether I'm noticed. That sounds incredibly egotistical but I don't mean it to be. When I say noticed, I guess I actually mean "do I matter."

Does it matter to anyone that I did two loads of laundry today? Does it matter that I got caught up on my emails? Has anyone noticed the bathroom sinks are clean? That I made the bed? I went to the store for orange juice, milk and bread so we wouldn't run out. Etc. etc. etc. 

It's needy and insecure. I know that. I wasn't this bad before I became a SAHM (at least I don't think so). When I was working, I could expect feedback from my co-workers and bosses. Good or bad, at the end of the day, I knew where I stood. 

Now that I'm home, I still need that feedback. When I get a, "the house looks great," or "hey, key lime yogurt, thanks mom!" I know that what I've done and the time I've taken to do it, has been noticed. The same goes for this blog. For the most part, I'm OK with the traffic and lack of comments. I have to earn those. 

But it's so nice to be recognized by your peers, and even better when those peers are some of the best in their fields. I put a lot of effort into this site. I think about it more than I should. It's so nice to have someone say that what I do here matters.

I want to thank the people from InflunceSD for the recognition. It means a lot to me and I can say with all honesty it's an honor just to be nominated. I'm in excellent company too, which makes it even sweeter.

Thank you!

Marketing to Mom Bloggers: What Not to Do

Monday, March 8, 2010

I've been cleaning up my dashboard, getting rid of posts I started but never finished, and came across this one from almost one year ago today. It's amazing we're still talking about stats, what they mean and how companies should do their own initial research. I wonder how many PR and marketing firms are actually listening? The successful campaigns seem to be the exception, not the rule.

I left a long, kind of angry comment on a marketing blog recently and I feel badly for taking over the conversation. The post is directed at PR people and focuses on what mom's who blog would like PR people to know about working with us. Rohit lists some excellent points as did others in the comments section. His post touched a nerve and brought back a bad memory for me. This is my comment, copied and pasted in full:

"Very good points! Another stumbling block I run into is companies who only want to play "the numbers game." Please don't assume that just because our numbers haven't made it to the level of other bloggers, that our opinions aren't just as valid. I would much rather read a review from someone who had a real, legitimate need for a product over someone who was given the opportunity just because they have 'X' number of subscribers or 'X' number of unique visits per day. Also, please consider that someone who does a lot or reviews and giveaways may have big numbers, but not a very engaged audience (people who only subscribe and comment for the giveaway for example).

I had a company agree to work with me on a brand-new site I contribute to. There was no free product involved, just a feature in an article I was putting together. When the PR person asked for the site stats I was very honest that the site had only been live for less than two months and that we were trying to build a readership and had not started using any analytics features because it was too early. I never heard from her again. Needless to say, I now have a very poor image of her, her company and their product and can't see myself buying from them let alone offering to include them in a national event I have coming up that they might be a really good fit for. Can you say, burned bridge?! Sorry to hijack your comments with my rant but this still really upsets me!"

I still refuse to give this company any of my money and won't recommend them for business or personal occasions. Small isn't synonymous with non-influential.

Do you feel bloggers and PR/companies have made any progress toward working better together in the past year?

Blissdom 2010 Recap: Blissfully Inspired

Monday, February 8, 2010

What to say about Blissdom? If I only could only use one word it would be fabulawsome. In the airport on the way home, I wore my tiara from the pajama party because I wanted the feeling to last just a little bit longer.

Alli, Paula and Barbara wanted to create a welcoming, comfortable environment and they succeeded in spades. Even in a space as ginormous as the Opryland they managed to make it an intimate experience (seriously, I was having 3 Day flashbacks with all the walking we did!).

Even though I didn't know too many people before the conference, now I feel like I have a whole new circle of friends. It's always so nice to meet the people behind the avatars and blog posts. And can I just say, y'all were an amazingly beautiful and well dressed bunch of women! (Southern nod to Rachel and Robin)

I will have a lot more to say about Blissdom in future posts, but here are a few of my highlights:

*The workshops. I went to Vlogging and Editing, SEO, Advanced Social Media and caught the tail end of Media Training. I got a lot out of all them and hope to put what I learned into practice and make this a better place for you to hang out.

*The opening keynote. Man, did Kevin Carroll knock it out of the ballpark! We laughed, we cried and then laughed some more. I will never look at a soccer, basket or kickball the same way ever again.

*Hanging out with my fellow Tastemakers and watching Jessica showcase her inner cheerleader (someone, please tell me they got that on video!?). The event (the whole experience) was fun and different. I appreciate the chance to participate and embarrass  myself in front of a live audience. Congrats JoLynne and Rachel!

*Getting to see Renee, Danielle, Christine, Stacie, Casey, Audrey, Julie, Melanie, Erin (and her adorable baby!) and so many others again. A virtual hug just isn't the same as a real one.

*My first (but hopefully not last) speaking opportunity. It was slightly out of my comfort zone and all the faces in the audience made me want to faint but I'm so glad I did it. Having people ask me questions at the end of the session was incredibly gratifying.

*Being alone in the hotel hallway with Harry Connick Jr.! He was on his way backstage and I didn't want to bother him, but holy regrets I should have asked for a picture. Listening to him sing wasn't too bad either.

*Finally meeting Redneck Mommy (more on that later, she threatened me, and I liked it).

I learned so much at Blissdom and have so much to think about, both personally and professionally. I must also give a special thank you to Liz Strauss. At the Personal Branding session, she answered my question about bringing more of myself into the blog and her answer smacked me over the head and was exactly what I needed to hear. 

There will be way more Melanie coming out on these pages soon. I hope you'll like her, I hope you'll respect her voice and appreciate her desire for increased authenticity. I hope she doesn't scare you away. But, if she does, she will have to be OK with that. She'd rather lose traffic and followers than to keep losing any more of herself. She learned that at Blissdom too.

Other things I took away:

We are powerful.

We are trendsetters.

We are trail blazers.

We are loyal.

We are experts in our own rights.

We are amazing!

What did you take away from Blissdom?

There are Blissdom recap posts all over the place. JoLynne and Tamara are hosting link ups.Christine has a giant linkfest. There are tons of Flickr photos too, including ones for Annissa. If you feel the need to know about every spectacular moment, search the #blissdom hashtag. Pictures coming soon!

Thank you to everyone who made attending Blissdom possible: To Alli and Barbara for asking me to speak. I am still beyond flattered. To Jessica, Liz and Brittany; Fleishmann-Hillard and the US Potato Board for sending and taking such good care of me!

Blog Stats, Traffic and Followers: The Only Way to Measure Reach?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are your blog stats holding you back?

A few weeks ago I submitted my blog to be considered for a product testing opportunity. I was really excited because the product is something I feel I need, I can see myself using for more than just its intended purpose and really feel would impact my life greatly.

The PR company sent a survey asking about my traffic, other stats and any accolades I have received. Basically, they wanted to know how popular I am. I submitted my answers and knew I probably won't have a shot at participating. I'm bummed because I know I can give a really thorough review based on the areas I see myself using this product. I've already got several post ideas as to how I would use it. Now I'm not so sure I'll get the chance.

The panel I'm participating in Saturday at Blissdom is about advertising. Working with the other panelists on the presentation got me thinking about blog stats and traffic and how those things are measured. In my mind, blog numbers don't always paint an accurate picture of a person's influence.

So many of us have smaller, personal blogs with low numbers comparatively. But, so many of us are on the PTA, lead girl scouts, are active in our childrens' classrooms, on their sports teams, we volunteer, we have busy social lives, etc. etc. And, if we're active within our social media circle, then there's even more of a chance something we talk about will also be talked about by other influencers. 

I hear so many times that PR and brands want to develop long lasting relationships with us, but the first questions I'm asked are almost always about my stats. It's frustrating and I feel like I'm caught in a vicious circle: my blog isn't big enough for some opportunities but the chance to talk about those opportunities could help my blog grow. I'm not sure what the formula needs to be to include other avenues of influence, but I hope someone figures that out soon.

I'm hoping some of the things I pick up at Blissdom will help me find a way to make the most of the opportunities that do come my way, and open the door to new ones. How have you overcome the stats challenge? What have you done to help you get noticed?

Photo from Google Images and

I Know You're Out There: Delurker Day 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm pretty average when it come to leaving comments on other people's blogs. I have 162 subscriptions in my reader. I try to comment since I know how much they mean to me, but it's challenging. Sometimes a post doesn't warrant a comment but more often than not I lurk because I can't think of anything to say. I feel this pressure to be funny or insightful, not piss anyone off too badly, appear knowledgeable or appropriately sympathetic. I realize that's my own hang up, but it's there nonetheless. 

We can all see how many people are stopping by. For me, it's frustrating sometimes not to have comments at least somewhat closely match the visitors. But then I think of my issues and wonder if the people who read me feel the same way. 

So, in honor of Delurker Day, I want you all to know I have no expectations whatsoever when it comes to your comments, other than just leave one. I appreciate everyone who stops by my little square of the web. Thanks for sharing part of your day with me. You keep me going in more ways than one. 

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

We stayed at my mom's house for a few days and I did something I haven't done in years. I went to church. Midnight mass at that. I was pleased that the lapsed Catholic in me still knows all the words to the prayers and when to stand, sit and kneel.

2009 seems to have kicked our collective blogging butts. I think that's part of the reason why I felt I needed to go to church. I wanted to let go of the negativity and sadness and open myself up for whatever this new year has in store for me in a place of peace and worship.

When it was time for communion I stayed in the pew and prayed. I said prayers for Anissa and Shellie. I prayed for everyone in our community who was touched by tragedy this past year. I can only hope that 2010 has better things up its sleeves.

Thank you all so much for sharing your time and thoughts and with me. I appreciate it more than you know. I wish you happiness and love in the coming year as well as peace and prosperity.

Happy New Year!


(image from Flickr)

I'm Tired of All the Ugliness in Social Media. A Letter to Those Determined to Ruin the Internet for the Rest of Us

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One of the reasons I started blogging was because the community totally blew me away. When I was only reading blogs and hadn't started my own, I was impressed, awed and inspired by this group of people I didn't even know existed but was so happy to discover.

They were forging friendships, relationships and support networks that spanned the country and even the globe. This group had formed a community that was willing to support, encourage and help one another. They were totally vested in each others lives. And that was something I wanted to be part of.

But times are changing and not really for the better. The community and the sense that "we're all in this together," is being replaced with divisiveness, attitude, holier-than-thou, anger, finger pointing and a general ugliness that is really detracting from what we've worked so hard to build. Some days, blogging is not even fun anymore.

I read several blogs whose authors are so candid and revealing. They get much more personal than I do here. It's refreshing to read other people say the things I often think but feel I can't put here. Some of the bloggers have recently recounted the emails, comments and Tweets they receive that are so incredibly negative and insensitive. Which, really? Don't do a whole lot of good. Sometimes an actual conversation or dialogue takes place, but more often than not there's nothing but defensiveness. I'm all for discussion and debate. Hell, sometimes I wish I could write the type of post that really gets people talking. But the spite and hatefulness are just not necessary, and it's bringing us all down.

We put our hearts and souls online. And to be slammed by the very people who are part of our community, people we should be able to trust, is such an insult. The spaces we create are for our thoughts, hopes, dreams, hesitations, insecurities, fears, triumphs, joys and sorrows. Our spaces are whatever we need them to be, when we need them to be it.

For someone to step into another person's space and be disrespectful is almost unconscionable. So many blogs read as though we're sitting in a kitchen, having a conversation. If someone came into my kitchen with no other purpose than to spew negativity and vitriol? They would be permanently uninvited. Mind you, I'm not talking about disagreeing with me. I'm speaking of the hostility and judgement that I've seen lately. It's mind boggling. And sad. And disheartening.

It seems that for some, the other side of the keyboard creates this magic force field of righteousness. There are ways to have a conversation without name calling. There are ways to create a dialogue without getting on a soapbox. There are ways to express an opinion or disagree without resorting to, "I'm right, you're wrong."

When I first started blogging, a lot of the advice to newbies on what makes a "good" blog was: keep your blog real. Be authentic. Be honest. No one wants to feel we're getting smoke blown up our asses day after day because life just isn't like that. We want the good and the bad. So many bloggers took that advice and do just that, and then they get hammered.

From where I sit, I hear, "I want honesty, candor and realty, but not too much honesty. I want someone to share the nitty gritty, but take note: If I don't agree, I'll absolutely let them know in no uncertain terms just how wrong they are."

There are people who really seem to think their shit doesn't stink and they have every right to judge. Well guess what? Light a match because I can smell it from here.

I fear that many people I read are going to clam up. They'll get so tired of all the negativity they'll start to edit themselves. That's not honesty, that's self censorship. Who wants to read that? I know I don't. Even worse, what if these people putting their hearts and souls into their work get so tired of the abuse they shut their sites down altogether.

What a travesty that would be. For all of us.

I don't know where this change is coming from. When I first appeared online there was this sense that we're all here to support one another as women, men, parents, entrepreneurs and writers. One minute we're all in a circle, holding candles and singing the Coca Cola song and the next we're tearing each other down. Disagreement doesn't have to equal disrespect.

For what it's worth, I do still see a lot positivity. But the negativity cloud keeps getting bigger and bigger and the few rotten apples in the basket are making it harder and harder to keep perspective and focus on the good. It feels that there used to be a lot more 'unity' in our community. I close my reader sometimes and feel like I need a shower.

Remember Dirty Dancing? "This is my dance space, that's your dance space." In this modern age of 'unfollow,' 'unfriend,' 'unsubscribe,' and all the other 'uns'; if you don't like what someone is doing in their dance space, you have a lot of options. If what I'm doing on my space isn't interfering with yours, then we're all good.

So here's a question for the soap box standers: why are you giving up your power? In my mind, the more time someone spends complaining, pointing out another person's flaws (as you perceive them) and operating in a space of negativity; that's counterproductive. You're giving someone else an awful lot of control over you and your emotions. I'm trying not to speak for anyone else, but I've spent much of my adult years trying to keep my power. Take care of your own business before you tell someone how to take care of theirs.

This post has been in my mind for awhile. It's been floating so long I figured it's best to get it out and hope that I can move on. I'm not linking to anyone or any of the instances I've observed because there are many. I'm not trying to point fingers. This is just a 'state of the blog world as I see it.'

I'm hoping next year is different. I'd like to see a return to courtesy and respect. I think there will always be controversy and asshatery (especially from those who need to hide behind the Anonymous curtain). But I hope whatever feelings people are bottling up can be let out without there being so much ugly and bitterness.

We ask other media outlets to take us seriously. We can't expect them to if we don't take ourselves seriously and behave accordingly. We have a whole new year in front of us. Can we start with a clean slate? Can we all remember there are real people on the other side of the screen?

When we put our minds and hearts together we are a powerful force. I hope we can continue to use that power for good. I'm really looking forward to 2010. I want to be proud of our community again, not ashamed to tell people I'm in it. Please don't let me down.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I lost two subscribers recently and it's been bugging the crap out of me, wondering what on earth I could have possibly said. The subscribers I lost came just after I posted about how hard the mornings can be getting Tyler to school and that sometimes he pushes my buttons so much he's thisclose to getting a spanking. I would be lying if I said that losing subscribers after I posted something so personal and 'real' doesn't sting a little. Maybe that's not why they left. Maybe I'm just getting really boring.

It's made me wonder though just how much of myself I can reveal here. The "real me" hasn't made too many appearances on this blog. I'm not really sure why. I'm not controversial on here even though I've got an opinion on
everything. I've never dropped the F bomb here even though I do in real life because sometimes it's the perfect thing to say.

There's been a lot going on lately that it would be nice to air out, and get my thoughts and feelings in order. Some of it is still too raw to talk about, some of it I may never get to since it's about my marriage. I won't invade my husband's privacy. Knowing how many people say they like to read about the good and the bad, then losing two people after I share some of the bad gives me pause.

I've said before this blog is a work in progress. Hopefully I'll always feel that way because it means I'm continuing to learn and grow. If I ever get complacent that will be a sign that maybe it's time to walk away.. I left this comment on Angie's blog recently:

"Delurking to say I think everyone's blog goes through some sort of evolution. Our sites are what we need them to be, when we need them to be it. You can really tell who your friends are by the ones who stick with you through all the stages."

I guess I just want to say thanks to everyone who's stuck with me so far, and thanks to those who decide to stay should anymore of the "real me" decide to make a visit.

I'm Here, But I'm Not *Here* (picture it in italics)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hello! You're still here? Awesome. Thanks for sticking around! This week has been Cuh-Razy! I am a perfect example of be careful what you wish for. I am in the weeds. I'm treading water and barely keeping my head above the surface, but it's been stimulating, exciting, challenging and fun. I hope it's a sign of good things to come. Bullet points of my week (sorry, I know that's so lazy):
*Met with an event planner I know from my book club. She actually asked for my advice on marketing, PR and social media (sucker!). We talked for several hours and I think I gave her a lot of ideas on things she can do going forward.

*Met with my friend's boss about her medical spa and also talked marketing etc. and created a flyer for them for a Spa Week they're having soon.

*Started on our homework from the financial advisor who's helping us for the magazine article. We each pulled our credit scores from one of the three agencies. Hello 880! Pam gave us a lot of good advice and we're hoping she's right about several things that can lower monthly payments and allow us to funnel money toward debt management and savings.

I am hoping to get back on track and resume regular blogging next week. I'm contemplating sneaking out of the house one day this weekend with Phil's* laptop and squirreling away somewhere with free WiFi so that I can get caught up on all the things I owe people.

What's been going on with you? Miss you guys! Have a great weekend.
*Yep, that's his real name. He gave the OK. Photo from Google Images.

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.

National Delurking Day- Show Yourselves!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I had no idea there was such a thing as National Delurking Day but apparently there is, complete with its own logo. To all you secret repeat visitors: come on out! I'd love to get to know you. And if I haven't been by your blog please let me know so I can return the favor.

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*

Coming Attractions

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

For the past few weeks. I've been in a blogging funk. (Here's the part where you say, Really? I hadn't noticed!).

I've sat in front of the computer with nothing original coming to mind and said ah, screw it.

Hopefully having some quiet time will help and if nothing else I can use a distraction from missing my baby.

Here are a few things I've written in my notebook that I hope to get to soon:

1. The fall TV and movie schedules and how I'd love to be a couch potato.
2. Cascade vs. Electrasol
3. Adding to my reading list and the books I've purchased recently (I think it's becoming an addiction. I just can't stop!).

4. My adopted soldier and how I'll need your help (it will only cost you a stamp).

5. The 10 Things About Me meme Steph tagged me for.

Very ambitious, I know.

Where the Magic Happens

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Latte Mommy wants to know where we do our blogging. We have three bedrooms in our house. The computer is in the third room (aka the catchall, junk, throw it in there and close the door room).

I don't like being tied to this chair. I love it when Drama Dad brings his laptop home from work. Then I can sit upstairs on the couch (closer to the kitchen).
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