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bloggers

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards

I am in the airport in Atlanta, coming off the high that is Type-A Conference. This was my first time attending the event and I loved the community. I’ve never felt so among “my people” as I did this weekend.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

The feel was casual and easy going and the people were fun, open and laid back. It just felt like we were all there to grow, not just a brand or as a writer but as people. I have never had so many ‘real’ hugs, real conversations and felt so at ease at a conference for that I thank you Kelby and I thank each and every one of you who I met, shook hands with, shared a meal with, a laugh or just a friendly, sincere hello.  You made this trip. I felt safe.  And I’m glad that I did because it came in handy on Sunday afternoon.

A few months ago, on a whim, I submitted a post to the We Still Blog Awards. I wasn’t going to win because, let’s face it. I drop a few too many f-bombs and sometimes can be a little too controversial for some people’s palate. I get that. I’m a bit of an acquired taste but I had to try because, well, if you don’t try, you fail. Imagine my shock and awe when I found out that I was to be a finalist. I mean, this was a big freaking deal to me to be one of 10 people chosen.for.my.writing. This was an honor and to be chosen by my peers, to have the honor of reading to my peers was indescribable. It was incredible.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

Just so you all know, I am an extrovert in every sense of the word BUT I get a little nervous when I have to speak in front of large groups, especially when the group is a bunch of talented writers/bloggers and even more so when the piece is something deeply personal.

One by one, phenomenal blogger after another approached the podium to read their post. They made me cry, then they made me laugh, then I cried and laughed again. Then Amanda Henson read and we all cried. All I kept thinking in my head was, “PLEASE GOD don’t let me go next. NO ONE can follow that!” Plus, I was sobbing and snotting all over the place. Every writer that took the stage, moved me. Words are powerful. They called the next name. It wasn’t me. WHEW!

That reader wasn’t there. Then, they called the next reader. IT.WAS.ME. I wiped my snot nose, tried to tidy up my mascara and made my way to the podium. I began to read, slowly because everything was feeling a but heavy and fuzzy and my voice started cracking and the eyes started leaking.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

I made it about two paragraphs in and then I just sobbed. I couldn’t speak. ME. I .WAS.SPEECHLESS.If you know me. have ever met me or been in my general vicinity, you KNOW that never happens. Cecily came to my rescue and I will always hold her in special place in my heart for doing that.

My heart broke, right there on stage. Right in front of everyone. I was surrounded by the only people in the world who could understand what that moment was like for me; the people who process life’s moments with words, by writing it out.

To all the attendees of Type-A, it was an honor to share my piece with you. To my table, my tribe, my cheering squad, tissue handing, nose wiping, hugging me as hard as I needed to be held and Cecily, helping read when I could not regain my voice….YOU ladies are more special than I can ever tell you. We came as friends, but we left as family.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

To the people who I was allowed the privilege of sharing the stage with that Sunday afternoon in September, your words touched my heart. You are what blogging is about for me; people connecting through words and shared experiences. Last but not least, Kelby, thank you for hosting such an amazing conference and the We Still Blog awards the honor of being a finalist is something that I will always hold dear.

Here are all the We Still Blog Nominees:

I urge you to take the time and read everyone of the written pieces above. Each one of those writers are a rock star.

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
Today, I am honored to welcome my dear friend, Lori Garcia aka MommyFriend to This Blogger’s Life. Lori is a very talented writer with an always half-full personality and an infectious smile that shines through in her pieces. She is the woman who walks into a room and instantly brightens it up and her writing makes the Internet a better place.
When I first “met” Lori, we were both newbie bloggers who were just trying to figure all of this out. We knew we loved to write and blogging allowed us connections and community at a time in motherhood when we were craving friendships and connections like the air we breathed. Lori is and has always been the kind of person who every woman needs as a friend; she is kind, genuine and sincerely a good person who loves her family and looks for the good in life. We need more people, more writers, more friends like Lori.
Lori is also known as MommyFriend and it suits her perfectly because she is truly a mommy friend that every single one of us needs in life. Her passion for the stories that she tells coupled with her optimistic perspective, always leaves me wanting more. The one thing that always radiates from Lori’s articles is humanity. She tells her truth with wild abandon and unrestrained honesty.
Lori can write about anything and make it interesting but my favorite stories that she shares are her love stories for her family; her boys. The pride and love that she has for her family inspires me to be a better wife and mother. She is one of the kindest and most tenacious women I know and it makes me so happy to see her enjoying such amazing success as a writer, all over the internet.
I’m honored to call Lori my friend and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.

Lori Garcia, MommyFriend, This Blogger's Life, the people behind the blogs, blogging

This Blogger’s Life…Lori Garcia (MommyFriend)

 

Why did you start blogging? I always loved writing and after working in an uncreative field for a decade, I decided it was time to scratch that creative itch and begin sharing my stories.  



What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger? Decide what you’re willing to share and not share for the almighty dollar. It’s easier to make these important decisions and stick to them long before a financial carrot is dangled in front of you. If you’re unclear about where to draw the line when it comes to public consumption, spend some time thinking about it. What you don’t want to do is learn the hard way. Ask me how I know.


 
What are the three words that describe you best? Loyal, kind, dependable.


 
What is your favorite website? Ever? www.amazon.com. Come to Mama.


 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging? Binge watch formerly popular TV shows. I just finished Gossip Girl because I’m 37 years old and that’s totally normal behavior.


 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging? Not only learning, but learning and believing that I’m not alone in motherhood has been huge for me. My stories help mothers and their stories help me. I feel bigger and bolder as a mother for blogging.


 
How do you balance life and blogging? Honestly, not very well. The two are so intertwined, making a distinction is nearly impossible for me.


 
How has blogging changed you or your life? Blogging gave me confidence in the value of my voice, which has translated to so many aspects of my life. From my career to my relationships, blogging has made me the woman, wife, and mother I am today.


 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same? I think a successful blog and a great blog eventually become one in the same. Great content almost always rises to the top because we’re all hungry for it. 

 
 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life? First, completely remove myself from the grid. Imagine all the time I’d have! Of course, that would probably only last a week or so because I’m a social being and I’d miss everyone too much, but for that week – man, that would be glorious. I don’t know what I;d do. I’m really into home renovation with my husband, so probably more of that.


 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? This is a tough one. My tween son established blogging rules for me to blog by…what does that tell you?


 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed? I think I miss the excitement I felt before every publish. Will people read this? Will they like it? Will they comment? I love witnessing the climb of so many remarkable blogger friends who have made a respectable career in this industry. I love witnessing success. Love it.


 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content? The blogger’s mind is a funny thing. In time, it comes a bit of a machine, finding blog fodder in every aspect of life. From what we read to what we experience, what we overhear to what we desire, relevant, shareable is everywhere.


 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite? Ooo, Jesus, my Grandpa Charlie (most awesome man ever), Brandon Flowers (because yum), my husband (because double yum), Bob Villa (I have some home improvement questions), and Elton John.


 
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? Gosh, I don’t know. I’m pretty much what you’d expect, there’s not a lot of dark corners or secret passageways with me. Maybe that I’m a yell-y mom? I yell a lot. I do.


 
What’s the one post that you are most proud of? Probably this one. https://www.babble.com/mom/an-open-letter-to-my-gynecologist/

 

Thank you Lori for letting me interview you on This Blogger’s Life and thank you for always being such an amazing friend and inspiring writer.
XOXO

If you can’t get enough of Lori Garcia, check her out on MommyFriend, Babble and Twitter too!

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mom blogger, bloggers, mommy bloggers, over sharing, moms, GOMI, Instagram

I read a post by my friend Jessica, referencing a post by GOMI and the dastardly state of mom bloggers. The story goes a little something like this, mommy blogger pauses to take and Instagram a photo from the ER where her toddler is being held down by his father so that said toddler’s head could be stitched up. I am usually inclined to agree with Jessica on many topics, GOMI not so much.

However, when I first read this, I agreed with Jessica and GOMI. I really did and then I took a moment and thought about it; really thought about it. We don’t live in the world we grew up in. We live in a digital world and everyone over shares. TMI and inappropriate shares are the norm. For Pete’s sake, the Pope has a Twitter account. Women live tweet their births. Nothing is sacred any more. It’s just the way it is.

I understand the whole argument that she should have been spending the time holding her son’s hand instead of taking and editing a photo. I can see that it looks, from the outside, like it’s all very calculated and callous and maybe it was. I just know that many bloggers have been guilty of exercising impropriety in inappropriate times. Is it for traffic? Or is it force of habit? Bad judgment? Or maybe it’s the only way they know how to document their lives? At first read, it felt like this mom blogger should have put down the phone and held her son’s hand.

Then I remembered that I am the same person who left the obstetrician’s office after being told that my baby had no heartbeat and in the midst of my heart breaking pain and through my own primal cries, I wrote it out. I felt like a trapped animal and I needed to purge myself of the pain, to make sense of it and I wrote it all down. I had 15 minutes before I needed to pick up my 4-year-old from preschool. I had to get my shit together. I needed to process the emotions. I needed to get a hold of my own breakdown. I know that to anyone who doesn’t blog, that probably seemed like an odd thing to do.

At the time I was blogging daily and I knew that this miscarriage was going to fuck me up mentally and it did. I knew I couldn’t skim over it or hide it from my regular readers or the people in my every day life. I hadn’t even told family yet but this wasn’t something that I could keep a secret from them for the rest of my life. I couldn’t write authentically and transparently while hiding a major life event. I couldn’t move through my real life keeping something like this from my friends and family. That night, I texted my family and told them what had happened but asked them to please not call me. I was too fragile to speak or even hear the sadness or pity in their voices.

The next morning before I left to the hospital for my D & E, I scheduled that note from my phone to go live. There was no thought or editing that went into it. It was a purge. I needed two things; to process and to purge. My world was collapsing around me and my first thought was to write it down and get it out.

What I didn’t do was share the last photo of my baby; the ultrasound taken at the request of my 4-year-old so that she had a photo of “her baby”. No, I never even considered sharing it because that is private. That is just for my family. That is one of my most precious possessions and it’s not for sell. Just as I am sure there are things that the mom blogger in question does not share. But everyone’s line in the sand is different.

Maybe for that blogger, she took the photo and Instagramed out of habit. Maybe she has become so accustomed to documenting every moment of her life via social media and her blog that it was the most natural thing to do. We are creatures of habit and there is comfort and reassurance in routine. In the moments of life when we are terrified, we go on autopilot.Would it have been okay had she written about it but not taken the photo? Would it have been fine if she tweeted about how scared she was instead of snapped a photo on her phone? Who decides? Why is one way acceptable and the other not? How are we supposed to blog like no one is reading when everyone is judging? I won’t judge this mom because no one knows why she did what she did and quite frankly, who are we to judge?

Do you think everything bloggers do is for traffic or is there a genuine compulsory desire to share their lives?

Why do you think bloggers share and over share their lives?

 

Image via Flickr/ Tom & Katrien

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Martha Stewart, bloggers

My Throat Punch Thursday this week goes to the lady with the disdain for the bloggers who work for her, Ms. Martha Stewart herself. You, my friends, are no experts and Ms. Stewart has a gripe about that. Well, I have a gripe with Ms. Martha Stewart and her condescending attitude towards bloggers and it all stems from this direct quote she gave in an interview.

“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. There are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of a popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.” ~ Martha Stewart

Last I checked, Martha Stewart’s degree from Barnard was in History and Architectural history not home décor, home furnishings, cooking, stain removal or fashion. Unless she’s gotten degrees in interior decorating, fashion and the culinary arts, what the hell makes her an expert in her fields? Experience? If it’s experience, maybe we have some of that too. Is it old age? I mean is it generally accepted that since she is an old, middle-class, white woman whose been cooking and cleaning for decades in Westport then she must be an expert? Maybe and maybe we’ve amassed some experience and wisdom with age too. I think Martha Stewart is full of shit. I think hurdling towards irrelevance at warped speed and realizing that with the invention of Pinterest, You tube, Instagram and blogs she is quickly becoming obsolete.

Of course, to be honest, I’m a blogger and I never claimed to be an expert on anything but my own opinions. Oh, and I do have degrees in Political Science, History, Sociology and Criminology and a masters in Liberal Studies. But I am not an editor at Vogue, nor have I ever claimed to be. If I were, I’d probably be working at Vogue on a fashion spread and NOT giving Martha Stewart a thought.

Anyways, I am derailing, the point is this Martha Stewart, you are speaking out of both sides of your face. You say you have a gripe with bloggers. Who the hell are we? I am not a trained editor at Vogue but I was a trained editor for 8 years. Since when did editors start creating recipes? Don’t cooks develop recipes? The thing is most of us are not qualified to lick your boots edit for Vogue according to you but we are perfectly poised to shill your products, earn you money via your ad network and kiss your ass just as long as everyone knows You.Understand.That. We.Are.Not.Experts!

Martha, do you need a nap? Some coffee? Are you drunk? I’m not expert (though I am exceptionally well versed in the DSM) but I’d say you might be experiencing some sort of fugue because you have forgotten who you are and whose been helping you make money. You remember us, those lowly bloggers who you dismissed at BlogHer but took your payment in full for speaking. Then approached many of us under the cover of email to join your ad network. Then you publicly denounce us as having no value; no expertise. Basically we are good cheerleaders and that’s about it, in your mind.  But you are wrong, we are thoughtful consumers with a platform and really big reach and the reach many of us were using to earn you money will now be used to encourage other thoughtful consumers to not give their money to you.

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rise of the real, how to blog, blogger, blogging, daddy bloggers, women's rights

Bloggers are full of shit. Some of them anyways. I’ve recently noticed a trend among a few select bloggers who specifically go against the grain just to stir the pot. I am not bashing male bloggers, some of my favorite people on the Internet are dad bloggers but there are a few who have been hitting a nerve. It’s like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern had a devil baby who is a pathological liar. You know who I’m talking about. Bloggers are story tellers, some truth, some fiction and then sometimes a little bit of creative license (bullshitting if you will) mixed in just to keep things interesting.

I not saying that they post on the occasional controversial topic. We all do that. These particular “bloggers” are all drama, all the time. They’re so full of shit, I’m not even sure if they know the difference between what’s real and what’s made up anymore. It’s exhausting just reading. I can’t imagine how taxing it must be to actually be the one trying to keep all that shit straight. Controversial things happen and we have opinions that is natural and hey, if we’re being honest, it’s not being a troll to throw your name in the hat for consideration by the almighty Google. What I am referring to is the intentional and habitual abuse of salacious titles and creating controversy where there is none just for the sheer joy of pissing people off and increasing traffic. Stop fanning the flames of the mommy war or any war for that matter. Matt Walsh I’m looking at you.

We’ve all fallen prey to these sort of blog posts. It either turns out to be the old bait and switch or the post is so outlandish that you think your head might explode Scanners style while reading it, all while assuming that you must be getting punked. Surely, this is not intended to be taken seriously. When did the guy next door turn into a rabid Bill O’Reilly? Maybe he took some bath salts or got a bad batch of Krokodil before sitting down to type, either way, this dude is a little bit batshit crazy.

Look, I don’t mind a little creative license but fuck is any of it true anymore? Is everything just part of the “storyline” , added for effect? Stop superimposing yourself into the “mommy wars”, you don’t belong there. You are not a mommy. Stop creating controversy. We all know it’s bullshit and if you are going to keep writing it, for the love of God, man, can you give us a disclaimer that reads that this piece is fiction? I mean, at least do us the courtesy of not pretending that we are stupid and please stop writing press releases about it. It’s nothing personal guys, I just wish we could get something with a little more meat to it. Give me some of your truth.

It’s like when you are pissed at your sister, you can call her on her bullshit but nobody else better say a word? Well, it’s sort of like that. We women live as women and we may not walk in everyone’s shoes but at least we share the plumbing to have an inkling of what’s going on with other women, men do not; at least not from the firsthand perspective. Men are allowed to have an opinion about anything they want but if you don’t have breasts, a uterus, a vagina and clitoris,

I don’t care what you think I should do with mine because you have no point of personal reference.

*** I am only talking about ME, you are welcome to weigh in on your wives, daughters and loved ones.

Don’t tell me how I should feel about breastfeeding! Don’t tell me whether or not I should have a home birth or one at the hospital. Do NOT even try to give an opinion about whether my labor should be medicated or not. I don’t need your feelings on abortion, transvaginal ultrasounds, date rape, miscarriage, stay-at home, work-at-home or work-out-of-the-home. I don’t care what your opinion is about my breast size, breast augmentation or how, when, why I get pregnant.  I don’t need you to weigh in on what size my ass should be or how often I should be want sex. I don’t need you to intervene on our behalf to other women in the mommy wars. I’ve got it covered. I don’t need you to be my shining knight in this area. I have my husband for that. I don’t need you to tell me that I shouldn’t experience mommy guilt or worry about whether or not my perfect balancing act of helicopter mom and free-range mom are coming dangerously close to falling completely uncrunchy. I don’t need you to tell me how hard being a mother is, I know and I certainly don’t need any commentary from you on how I should feel or behave as a mother, me and my uterus got it covered.Thanks.

If you really want to contribute to the conversation be a more interested husband, engaged father, committed boyfriend. Worry about you. Treat women like people, not china on the highest shelf in the cabinet. Go commiserate with your fellow penis people. Just write about something real that you actually have experience with and if that includes miscarriage, abortion, breasts, stay-at-home parenting, work-at-home parenting or whatever else that may include go for it. But leave the stupid controversy on topics you have no experience with to someone better equipped to understand the situation.

End rant.

Has anyone else noticed this happening? What happens when the blogging veil comes down and you realize that the blogger you used to love is full of shit?

***Update, those of you who know me know that I am not a feminist, angry bitter person and I don’t mind sharing traffic so, per the advice of many dad bloggers, I added the links to those full-of-shit bloggers that I was referring to so you can all know I am not speaking to the general population. In fact, I even linked to a couple of my favorite dad bloggers just so you know they rock. You who have read me before today know that the Big Guy, my husband,  is my favorite person in the world and he is involved in every facet of parenting our children and he is my trusted confidant in all things in life. He gives me his honest opinion about everything because I respect what he thinks and he is usually my voice of reason and when it is something that he cannot personally relate to..like how it feels to give birth or labor for 13 hours or have your body fail you in a pregnancy, he is there to support me and reassure me that it will all be alright, as I am for him. I’m really not the C U Next Thursday, you all believe me to be.

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BlogHer, Tracy Morrison, Erin Margolin, Jenni Chiu, Nicole Morgan, Deborah Cruz

As you might remember, for about a month and especially the week prior to my first ever BlogHer, I was quite the hot mess mentally. I was overthinking everything. I wasn’t necessarily nervous about going to the conference and being a newbie because I am not a newbie. I have been blogging for over 4 years and I was mostly having some anxiety about whether or not I would live up to what people were expecting. I know it sounds so high schoolish when I say it out loud. It is. High school is exactly what the anticipation of my first BlogHer felt like. Luckily, it was nothing like that.

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BlogHer13

This is me, the first night of BlogHer13!

I am lucky because I have the good fortune of knowing a lot of people online and even more fortunate that they extended invitations to me to hang out in person. I will always be forever grateful for Tracy Beckerman for inviting me to a dinner on Wednesday night with a wonderful group of men and women that are not only funny, they are some of the most wickedly down-to-earth, awesomely humble rock stars I have ever met.

BlogHer

I was afraid that even though we’ve “known” one another “forever” online, they were going to take one good look at me and ask “Who the fuck are you?” Surprisingly, they did not. Each one grabbed my neck and hugged my genuinely and pulled back with a knowing smile and instead of feeling like an overwhelmed newbie, I felt like I was at a reunion, returning to my blogging home. I mean these people GET.ME! They.Really.Get.Me and let’s be honest, they know more about me than most people who I see everyday. I don’t give people I know the url to my diary. It doesn’t happen. That set the tone for my entire experience. It only took one hug.

jenni&I

Then my roomie showed up; the phenomenon that is Jenni Chiu; Vlogger Extraordinaire and wickedly awesome wordsmith. She got in late Wednesday night. I was asleep but promptly woke up when she walked in. The first thing I saw was her smiling face (now that I think of it, she was probably laughing because I was most likely snoring like a boss). She hugged me like a long lost sister and we talked into the wee hours of the night. We were instant best friends and it only took one hug.

Sure, there were parties, events, dinners and meetings but it all boiled down to one thing for me; being myself and leaving myself open to getting to know a whole lot of amazing women. Putting faces to voices, seeing the knowing in their eyes, people who know all your secrets and still read you and want to meet you is a beautiful thing.peoplesparty

 

There were a lot of awesome people and amazing things. I won’t name them all because honestly, I don’t want you to be jealous of all the fucking amazing women I got to spend 5 days in Chicago with. My experience is not your experience and yours is not mine and I am sure you had your own amazing women you spent your 5 days with.

But I did learn a few things:

Don’t over pack! Dear Lord, did I ever. Seriously, you don’t need to take 15 outfits for 5 days. And don’t pack more than 3 pairs of shoes but pack loads of undies because these are some funny people.

Unless you are photography blogger, leave your ginormous DSLR at home.

You do not need your laptop. I am a pen and paper kind of gal.

Bring lots of water.Lots.Of.Water!!!

Take more photos! I got so wrapped up in meeting people that I completely forgot to capture the moment in photos, which is good because they had my full attention but bad because now, I have no photos of their gorgeous faces.

erintracymejennicole

Do not attend everything you are invited to. Honestly, I was triple booked every day all day long. I had to miss a lot. Pick what is a good fit for you and your blog and then focus on a few more intimate gatherings. Believe me the conversations that I had with women in the middle of the night in hallways and lobbies were awesome.

Swag is nice but it is NOT the reason to attend a conference. I prefer hugs and smiles, long conversations with new old friends over anything else.

Don’t drink too much. There were a lot of people trying to summons their liquid courage; it ended with dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld, slurring to complete strangers that you love them and crying in the bathroom. I don’t recommend it. I hear the morning after hangovers were epic.

Go to VOTY! It is the most important part of BlogHer. It is what we are all about; the writing. I hope.

Wear comfortable shoes!!! 5-inch heels have no place on the expo floor. Well, unless you are one of those awesome broads who has no feeling in her feet and can do that sort of thing. I, myself, have a tendency for my feet to mutiny and hyper-extend. Even in wedges, I wake up with punishing Charlie Horses in the middle of the night.

Give feedback! Don’t be a complainer, give BlogHer constructive feedback. For instance, I feel there should be an even more advanced track for bloggers who have been doing this for a long time. I also feel that a couple of my sessions that I really looked forward to, fell flat and were disappointing because the speaker didn’t focus on her topic. That was frustrating after a paid all that money to learn something particular and the speaker failed to share her knowledge in a helpful way.

Don’t be afraid to join the conversation. Say hi! None of us bite. I think by nature most of us are a little bit introverted (we work online from home, we are not the most outgoing people) but I swear, I will hug the shit out of you if you come up to me and tell me it’s nice to meet me, you read me or you follow me. Just ask Nicole.

Embrace the fan girl. We all have one and we all are one, on some level. We write online. For me, I write completely openly and honestly because, in my mind, I am alone on my computer but that actually creates a connection with my readers (your readers) as I found out this past weekend. So when a fan of your work comes up to you and squeals and squees about how great you are…grab that girl and hug her out do.not.give.her.the.blank.stare. If you do, you are the asshole in this scenario, not her.

Take time to make people connections, it is NOT all about the swag, or how many “famous” bloggers you can meet and cross off your list (even though FULL DISCLOSURE, I did go completely FAN.GIRL. on Ree Drummond. It’s embarrassing but I may or may not have completely body checked her when we were going into VOTY. Sorry Ree!)

Be yourself!!! OMG, the best thing said to me at the entire conference was a blogger who told me that I was completely the same person online as I am offline. I hope that was a compliment. Either way, I am taking it as one. Of course, she may think I am a complete asshole online:)

BlogHer. Vikki Reich, Lizz Porter, Jenni Chiu

Bottom line is BlogHer is for connecting; faces and voices with blogs was the connection I wanted to make and I did. I tried to see everyone I promised to hug and if I missed you, I am sorry. I honestly, loved meeting each and every one of you, even the woman who said hello, threw a card at us and ran away. Come back! I don’t bite. I might hug you hard and kiss your cheeks but I do not bite.

Jenni Chiu, Alex, BlogHer

Thank all of you who I met for making BlogHer an unbelievably amazing experience. I feel renewed in my blogging. I don’t feel like I am alone in a room anymore because I know there are people out there, connecting with me and to my story and they care. All this started from one hug.

What was your greatest take away from BlogHer13 or any blogging conference you have attended?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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blog, blogger, blogging

blogging, blogger, blogI wasn’t sure that I should write this piece about blogging practices because it will probably piss some people off. I’ve been blogging for 4 years and over the years, I have made some truly great friends; women who have virtually held me when I was having my greatest breakdowns, shown me the blogging ropes and commiserated with me when I had lost all control of my household, had no sleep and was covered in spit up and baby shit. They’ve become my sisters. You know who you are and I love you ladies.

In these 4 years, I have also learned that blogging is not just about the sisterhood, it’s a business and there are a whole lot of ladies trying to be king of the mountain and that summit if pretty fucking small.

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angels, national pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, miscarriage, parenting, friendship

angels, national pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, miscarriage, parenting, friendship

Sometimes something unexpected happens, when you least expect it. Awhile back, my dear friend, Jessica Watson, asked me to join in on a pregnancy and infant loss memorial. I was happy to join in but when it came time to contribute my photo of me holding the last ultrasound of the baby that we lost, I just couldn’t do it. I’m still muddling through the muddy waters of loss and just when I think I may be getting to a point where I am less affected by our loss, I’m slapped  upside my head with the realization that it’s still actually a gaping wound on my heart. But this is not about that open wound, this is about the amazing women who have held my hand, cradled my heart and come to my rescue. There are angels among us.

I’ve known these women for quite some time. Mostly we know one another through our blogs and social media. We’ve never met in person. I’ve never had the honor of hugging them or thanking them for what they have done for me. They are beautiful, humble and genuine to the core. We are connected, some through our shared wound and some who just have hearts so big that they completely envelope you when you are in animalistic pain and they soothe your soul with their kindness and caring.

They don’t know me. Not really. I am practically a stranger by most standards but it didn’t matter. They are not restricted by time and space, they are angels. What have they done, you ask? They are the type of women who see past what you are saying and see what you are feeling. When I had my miscarriage, so many wonderful friends online and in real life, sent me condolences and cried for my loss. They shared their stories and they eased me gently back into the world of the living when all I wanted to do was curl up and disappear. You can’t imagine how badly I wanted to just disappear from existence. I just felt like part of me had died on that day.

But these women have never forgotten. They check on me periodically, ask how I am doing and genuinely care what my response is. Erin (@ErinMargolin) is my first angel. This lady has done so much on so many different occasions that I will never be able to repay her kindness to me. There have been cards to make me smile when I thought I never would again.We may have never met but make no mistake, she is my sister. She is truly one of the most amazing human beings that I have ever known. You all know I don’t gush, so you realize that she must really be someone special and I am sure if you know her, you know this already. She is just a really great person. I don’t know how else to explain it. She is the standard by which all people should hold themselves to.  @mommaKiss sent me a card, in the mail and to my house. I know it sounds like such a simple thing but for someone to take the time to choose a card, sign it and mail it is a big deal these days. It meant so much to me and it made me feel connected when I felt disjointed from the world. Jessica (@JessBWatson) this dear and beautiful soul, who deals daily with the pain of her own loss, made time in her life to check on my during mine and , more importantly, to check on me still. She knows the lingering pain of loss. Sunday night, she participated in a lantern launch in memorial for our babies in heaven and I had no idea that she was going to include me until I received a photo via tweet of the lantern this sweet woman launched in memory of our baby that we lost before we ever got to hold. This small gesture has renewed my faith in humanity. It meant  more to me than words can ever convey.

Believe me when I tell you that my online friends are real and there are angels among us.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Watson/ Four Plus an Angel

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online persona

online persona

Online Persona; Who’s Really Behind the Screen?

Online Persona~ What does that even mean? What does your online persona say about you? Does online persona mean that we are not who we say we are? Does it mean that we are like the great and powerful Oz and we sit behind the cloak of our computer screens and pretend to be someone or something that we are not? Or is online persona simply a version of ourselves that we feel safer sharing with the world at large? For me, my online persona is ME…magnified.  You can ask anyone who has met me in real life, I am just as loud and opinionated in real life as I am on the internet but I am also as caring and loving.

Of course, I am also quiet and subdued when you first meet me. After all, I am a lady not some rodeo circus clown just spouting silliness to make the world laugh. I am also very passionate and I love my friends and family in a big way. The way I love my readers on here in a big way. You, boys and girls, are my tribe. You know most of my deepest and darkest secrets and you’ve seen me at my best and worst. Hell, you know things about me that not even some of the people who know me in real life know about me. I feel safe with you. This is one of the great things about blogging; my online village.

Online Persona; Who are We Really?

Then again there is a not so great part and that is the part where a writer can be taken out of context, misinterpreted or scrutinized. One post taken out of context can seem barbaric to a first time reader but if you knew me, you’d know that it was just vulnerability ( because I feel safe enough with you to be myself transparently). Writing online is like moving into a community, meeting your neighbors and making friends. You grow together, you know one another’s stories and you support one another.

But if you write at a new venue or someone comes to your blog for the first time, you are the new guy again. Of course, if they have found your blog, they are technically in your house. If they found you at a new venue, it’s something different  entirely. You’ve just moved into an entirely different part of the online universe, some place across the online world and nobody knows you. If you go in and act like you own the place with your bold and loud antics, you may turn some off. After all, these new neighbors haven’t had years to find you endearing. To them, you may be like damn sandpaper. Really loud and obnoxious sandpaper. You might be taken out of context. Hell, when you speak to them about Throat Punching, they may take offense and not know that you are trying to right the wrongs in the universe. They may think that you are a judgmental asshole because you are new and they don’t know you. Keep that in mind the next time you read a new blogger, maybe they are not so bad. Maybe you’ve only taken them out of context or they were having a bad day. Remember a blog post is just a snippet, a moment out of a lifetime.

What do you do? You want to be yourself and be transparent but you also don’t want people to want to lynch you for being taken out of context. How do you make your online persona reflect the person you truly are without leaving yourself open to being attacked for being YOURSELF?

What do you want your online persona to say about you?

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Mommy Bloggers of the world unite, mommy,blogger, blogging social media, brands

Call to action: Mommy Bloggers of the world Unite.

I have the greatest job in the world. I am a Mommy. On top of that, I am a Mommy Blogger; triple bonus. I adore my life on most days. I can’t even tell you how much I love combining two of my greatest passions in the world.  But there is only one problem, financially speaking, being a Mommy blogger is almost as thankless and unpaid a job as mothering. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing both (on most days) but thus far it seems there is a lot of assumption that I owe people something.

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Mommy Bloggers of teh World Unite, bloggers, mommy, social media, blogging

Photo courtesy of Google image/ Photographer name not available

I love being a Mommy and parenting. I may not be paid in money but I am certainly compensated in hugs and kisses, “I love you”s, pride and joy. There is something about giving and receiving unconditional love that transcends any monetary value. It is truly priceless. So, really, parenting may be some of the hardest work that I’ve ever done but it is not without its reward. It has changed me in ways that I could not have ever fathomed and it has made me a better person in the world. Truly.

Being a Mommy blogger, I really enjoy meeting new people and connecting via social media. Seriously, these connections have saved my life on many occasions. Being able to share my journey of motherhood through blogging has been a dream come true in many ways. Many of the Mommy Bloggers that I know are quite frankly brilliant. These women know the ins and outs of social media, can light up Twitter like a Christmas tree, get a cause out on Facebook in lightening speed and blog change better than any so-called professional. It’s because we have learned by hands on experience. We are living social media. For so long, moms have needed a connection to the outside world while being home all day with little people. You can’t teach the social media savvy we have. It comes from experience and a place of authentic enthusiasm. We love what we do and we are good at it. We are influential through our connections via our loyal blog communities, our Facebook friends, Twitter followers and all the other social media outlets we allow ourselves to become productive members of on a daily basis.

Mommy Bloggers of the World Unite

My issue is that for some reason, many brands think that we should work for free. It’s insulting! I have been approached to write dissertations in exchange for lip-gloss, spread drug propaganda for FREE and plaster my sidebar with widgets in exchange for dildos. What am I? A whore? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting a brand that I love. Hell, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. Why wouldn’t I spread it like wildfire if I had the world’s best camera or tried the universe’s best weight loss program? I’m not greedy. I want to share the good news with my friends, family and readers.

But if I take the time and effort to truly experience your product/brand and write an honest product review don’t I deserve to be paid in actual money? Seriously, you are not my children so you can’t pay me in hugs, kisses and ‘I love you’s. You will never compensate me in pride or grandchildren. No thank you on the dildos, lip-gloss and the toilet paper, for that matter. And if one more person asks me to write a post for coupons I may reach through the computer and across the Internet and choke someone out. If I do it for free that’s called a favor and I’m pretty sure that we are not friends, so what would motivate me to write about your product for free? Would you ask your doctor to operate on you, as a favor? Would you ask the waiter to let you have your food gratis, as a favor? Would you ask your dentist to do your root canal, as a favor? No. Hell no, you wouldn’t and you’d feel stupid for even considering asking it. But why is it OK for you to ask me to spend my time, my effort and my skill doing you a favor? Bloggers are people too. We deserve to be paid for our skill, for our marketing capabilities and for our reach. Because remember, we have something just money can’t buy..loyal readers, earned trust and WE CAN BLOG IT with integrity.

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Mommy Bloggers of the world unite, mommy,blogger, blogging social media, brands

Image of Rosie the Blogger, © Michael Licht

So, fellow Mommy Bloggers please stand united with me and demand that you be compensated for your time, your effort and your skill. Let the world know that we may be cheap but we are not easy and we’re certainly not free. Every moment a Mommy blogger spends writing about your brand is a moment we are sacrificing with our children and that time is precious and should be compensated accordingly. (*Thank you Lauren for reminding me of that important point.)

Mommy Bloggers of the World Unite

Button can be found under the “buttons” tab  at the top of page.

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