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Keep the Faith

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 02:06:01 +0000

If you were given a list of available children to adopt, which one would you pick? Would you look for the cutest, youngest, happiest little boy or girl? Or would you choose an older child... say around 15 or 16 years old?

 

My husband and I are currently going through this right now. Last year, we were chosen...yes, I said chosen... to adopt a child (or children). We have a natural son already but realized that adopting a child would make the most sense for us.

 

For anyone wondering, because I get asked this question a lot... Yes. We are able to still have children. We just chose not to have anymore after we had our one and only son. And why are we adopting?? Have you ever looked at your state's website listing of foster children waiting to be adopted? Have you ever thought about what actually happens to those children you see on the television that were left at home alone with their crackhead mom after mom got stoned, burned down the house, and went to jail? Yeah, those kids that you said "I can't believe the state didn't do something" or "I'm so glad they took those kids away from those horrible parents"... those kids are all waiting for someone to step up and actually be parents to them.

 

You see, when the kids are taken out of those horrible places that you see in the news, they make their way into the foster care system where they are either transitioned back into their natural parent's home or shuffled to foster parent(s) who may or may not be able to adopt them when they become available. If the foster parents can't adopt them, they're put in a database where they wait... and wait.... and wait... and wait... and depending on their age when they enter the system... they wait so long that they can't wait anymore and they age out of the system at the ripe old age of 18 when they are supposed to miraculously become productive, responsible adult members of society, even though they've had no real up-bringing.

 

I was adopted as an infant and was raised by the most wonderful parents anyone could've asked for. But that is only a small part of my draw to adopting. I believe that we were chosen. We both believe this. And I also believe that no matter what criteria for potential adoptees we may have, the right child (or children) will choose us, not the other way around.

 

I don't know the reason why we've been lead down this path. But I can tell you that the more real it becomes, the more nervous and... apprehensive.... I become. I've thought about backing out and wiping my hands of the whole thing, but I can't. New situations scare me and give me ridiculous butterflies... but if I don't help at least one chilid, who will? Will you? Your neighbor?

 

For now, my husband and I have faith in God that everything will go the way He has planned... and what is that? Well, it's not for me to know... at least not yet. But we will keep the faith.

 




For Every New Facebook Fan of Big Heart Baby Clothing Co, 6 cents is donated to children’s charities.

Mon, 25 Oct 2010 21:34:16 +0000

Starting Today, October 24th, 2010 Big Heart Baby Clothing Co. will Donate 6 cents to children’s charities for every new person to “Like” Big Heart Baby on Facebook.

Go to the Big Heart Baby Facebook Page, "Like" and suggest it to friends.

The people behind Big Heart Baby are working hard to inform as many people as possible about their products, and the positive impact each purchase has on the lives of children in need.  In an effort to minimize marketing expenses in order to maximize donations, they are launching a “Spread the Word” Campaign, turning advertising dollars into donation dollars.  For every person, who “Likes” Big Heart Baby on Facebook, they will donate 6 cents, spread evenly amongst their 6 children's causes.  The more people to “Like” Big Heart Baby, the more direct donations they make. 

Please do your part and suggest it to all your friends, and tell them to suggest it to their friends, because the more the word spreads, the greater the positive impact we can make.  Along the way,  everyone can do even more, simply by purchasing Big Heart Baby quality products.  With every item purchased on their website, $5 is donated to a children’s charity of the buyers choice.  And US Shipping is always Free!

Check out all the Big Heart Baby baby, toddler, teen and adult apparel.




BlogHer Conference in Pictures: 2007

Fri, 23 Jul 2010 21:57:52 +0000

Updated with new photos!

We're putting up your 2007 conference photos as fast as we can. Here is what we have so far.

We want your pictures! If you would like your photo added to the collection, please include the names and blog names of each person in the photo, left to right, and e-mail it to Rita Arens at rita@blogher.com. You can also send your Flickr sets -- please tag the people in the pics if you know their names. Anything not tagged will be placed in a miscellaneous gallery at the earliest available time.

If you'd like to add your pics to BlogHer's Flickr group, it is here.

The more you label and sort your pictures, the faster we can put them up. You can sort them by:

  • Year (ex: BlogHer 2006)
  • Speaker pictures
  • Party pics
  • A category (ex: the famed Shoes of BlogHer)

We can't wait to see you! (Stop back often, we'll keep adding pictures as they roll in.)

You can check out all BlogHer conference photos at our conference photo archive.




Mommy Guilt (aka Baby Withdrawal)

Mon, 22 Jun 2009 20:28:46 +0000

A friend of mine, who does not have children, asked me to explain “mommy guilt”. I have to admit this is a difficult subject to discuss without a common frame of reference. But, on behalf of all the CareerMamas out there and for the benefit of those who do not have children, soon-to-be mothers, and men, I will give it my best shot.   The bond you form with your children is unlike any other bond you may form with another person. It is not stronger than the bond you form with your spouse or partner; it is just different. It begins well before you see your baby, which is an amazing experience. When your baby is born, you realize just how fragile he is and that he is completely dependent upon you for nourishment, comfort, and protection. When you and your baby see each other for the first time, when your baby is in what has been called a state of quiet alertness, you make a vow then and there to do everything in your power to support, care, and protect your child. Many of us think this means we can never let the baby out of our sight. I’ve talked to a number of moms who, desperate for some rest after delivering their baby, attempted to sleep in the hospital while trained nurses cared for their newborn baby. However, they were unable to part with them out of fear the baby would stop breathing if they were not watching them. I tried this after I delivered my son. No more than 10 minutes went by before I was out of bed and wandering around the maternity ward frantically searching for my baby boy. Three years and another baby later, I am still kicking myself for not taking advantage of the nurses at my disposal and getting the rest when I had a chance. So, did I have the nurses watch my daughter after I delivered her? No, of course not. A mother has a psychological and physical need to see and hold her baby. Therefore, the prospect of not seeing and holding her newborn for any great length of time can really frighten a new mom.   For my career, I have to do a bit of traveling. I waited until my son was 6 months old, however, before going on the road again. Even then, it was very difficult to leave him. With my daughter, I only waited 4 months before going on a business trip, which was only a day trip. On the way back home, my scheduled flight was canceled. I then discovered that some of the remaining flights were double booked (of course), that there was an eruption of an Alaskan volcano (causing the grounding of planes in that state), and that mechanical failure knocked out the remainder of potentially available planes. So, I was one of many tired and grumpy people at the airport who now had to attempt to get home by flying standby on another plane or airline. I was supposed to leave at 5:30pm, which means that I would have been home in time to give my son a good night kiss and give my daughter her last feeding. But, that ideal scenario flew out the window when I discovered that not only would I not be able make the 9pm flight, but I would be lucky to make the 10pm flight and would probably have to stay the night. What happened then can only be described as an anxiety attack. I had to do everything I could not to ball my eyes out at the prospect of not being with my 4 month old daughter that night.   My situation that night is not unique. I’m sure many CareerMamas have experienced something similar and understand the pain I went through. We sit at the airport and try to read or work or do something to take our minds off of how awful we feel. We admonish ourselves for going on a business trip this early in our baby’s life and envision our baby looking around for us and crying inconsolably for his mommy. This situation is even worse if you are breastfeeding. Just ask any breastfeeding mom what happens when she thinks about her baby. You feel as though you are going to explode or you lactate all over the place (hopefully you remembered your breast pads), or both. So, not only are you feeling guilty for not being available to hold and con[...]



Good W/omen making a difference [Vita's Guests] vitalingus - @ 10:32:am

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 11:50:56 +0000

Good W/omen making a difference [Vita's Guests] vitalingus - @ 10:32:am Part 3 interview with LIZA of Culture Kitchen. W/OMEN'S VOICES USING SOCIAL MEDIA AS A TOOL Women networking, consuming and producing in the 21st century... /p> VITA How have things changed for bloggers since the advent of media owned blogging sites? LIZA The game has changed, especially in the last two years.58% of blogs out there may well be w omen's blogs Yet if 90% of the traffic is only going to just 10% of those blogs.. Given that 10% is not only being funded by big media companies they are also increasingly being run by men. I question whether that 58% is really making a difference? A question I have yet to answer.... VITA ASIDE I guess to truly assess that question we need to to look at what the original research is being based on? What questions are being asked and who is assessing what is influence? (This statistic was sourced from PEW research) Mm mm what data is being assessed to determine these figures? How far is the reach? On the up according to "PEW" women's blogging sites have more longevity than mens blogging sites.. (See vita's links for PEW'research on that issue under 'USA internet research VITA Liza how has having a blogging website changed your sense of influence & impacted on activism by and for women? LIZA It has demystified the whole process of influence building and has shown me how old habits are hard to break even if you are a new media whiz. US politics is all about money as power. For some reason or another the bloggers who have taken to this 'reality' are the people who came out of the 2004 campaign blogs and most of them are male. The majority of feminist bloggers in the USA do not come out of that sphere of influence They do not fund raise, nor endorse specific candidates. In the game of mainstream politics, these things matter and the influence of feminist bloggers as a whole is not as dramatic as the self-described 'netroots." VITA ASIDE "Netroots" is a recent term coined to describe political activism organized through blogs and other online media, including wikis and social network services." (Wikipedia) LIZA Although Netroots are a small slice of the women blogosphere. In particular sites such as "Riverbend' have highlighted the cause for Iraqis who are against, the occupation of her country. linkriverbendblog.blogspot.com VITA Where is her voice now we may well ask? BLOGHERS INFLUENCE LIZA BlogHer is proof, there is a whole world of women blogging about a whole universe of issues. The influence of women in technology blogs has grown dramatically, thanks in part to women like Mena Trott (SixApart) and Caterina Fake (Flickr). linkwww.caterina.net/ see previous article for the SixApart site Mommy bloggers are not only becoming a force to reckon with in consumer activism but they are dispelling the myth that most internet users are male, white and under the age of 30. However we still have a huge majority of minority women, mostly women of color under 30, who are communicating online through cellular technologies yet not necessarily partaking of the blogosphere. This is not a problem of digital divides.It is a problem of digital exclusions, with the new majority of colored and ethnic under 30s not meshing seamlessly with what is happening on the blogosphere. If there is an ugly truth about the blogosphere that keeps me awake at night, this is it. VITA Do you have a belief that women are leading us into the 21st century..if so is this happening? Has the internet and blogging influenced that change? LIZA This is an interesting question. Do you mean to say that women will lead us into the 21st century as consumer or as producers? As consumers, there is no question about it. I believe women are actually more interested in the practical application of networking technologies than men are. There has obviously, been a major increase in the consumption, of computers and ce[...]



Happy New Year: Let's Drink (Gluten, Casein, Soy, Nut, Dairy, and Refined Sugar Free) Hot Cocoa!

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 19:50:25 +0000

(image)

Well, I hope that your New Year is off to a good start. We have gotten about a jillion inches of snow in the past few days, so we have been kicking the year off with snowmen and sledding. Accordingly, there has been an increased demand for hot chocolate around these parts. In light of Emma’s dietary needs, this has led Crunchy Mama to experiment in the kitchen to create a delicious cup of gluten free, casein free, sugar free hot cocoa. The recipe that follows is my current favorite cup. It is very rich and satisfying. It also happens to be soy free and nut free too in the event that you or those you love are avoiding any of the above in your diets. So here’s the recipe. Let me know your thoughts. All great things are open to tweaking.

Click here to read complete post with recipe.




Reminder! BlogHer Holiday Meet-Up Is This Thursday!

Tue, 11 Dec 2007 00:18:17 +0000

I don't mean to put any more pressure on you than you're probably already feeling, but I'm here to remind you that it IS already the second week of December.

But hey -- who cares if your shopping isn't done? Or if you still don't know what you're taking to that holiday potluck next Saturday? Or what on earth you're going to do on New Year's? There's still plenty of time for all that. (Ahem.) Whereas there's only THREE MORE DAYS until the BlogHer Meet-Up!

Where else will you go this holiday season where you can speak freely about CSS and RSS and ad networks and that time that commenter said that thing, and not have to worry about anyone's eyes glazing over?

Come, feel the blog love.

Of course, friends, colleagues, family are welcome to join, as are the blogless and blog-curious.

(image)
Who: All Bay Area BlogHers
When: Thursday, December 13th
Time: 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Cafe Royale, 800 Post St. @ Leavenworth in San Francisco

Our holiday event is a great opportunity for you to meet, mingle & jingle with the ever-growing BlogHer community.

The event will take place at Cafe Royale, the cozy cafe in downtown SF where we held last year's meetup. Once again we'll be offering complimentary hors d'oeuvres along with a fine selection of wines, beers, and Soju cocktails (no-host bar).

So join the party, and eat, drink, and be merry!

Please RSVP in comments here, or send an email to let us know to expect you.




Advertising Slogans Gone Wild: Scotland,Virginia and DHL

Sun, 09 Dec 2007 14:57:18 +0000

Advertising slogans are supposed to state the main benefits of the brand. Good slogans, make that great slogans, have a distinct personality of their own and are  hard to forget. Scotland used to have such a slogan. It was,"Scotland, the Best Small Country in the World." But that slogan was created by the last party in power and the new government found the slogan offensive saying it was too downbeat and typified the "Scottish cringe." Okay, so I'm not sure I know what "Scottish cringe" is,but I'm assuming it's something to do with an inferiority complex. So much for the back story.  After six months and about $250,000 (U.S.) Scotland unveiled its new super duper slogan. It is: "Welcome to Scotland." Oh, and  each sign will also include a local factoid like " Home of Golf" and " Home of Europe's Fastest Growing Life Sciences Community." To many, its no more than the advertising equivalent of The Emperor's New Clothes. From the BBC, Responding to the new catchphrase, Labour's Jackie Baillie told BBC Scotland: "I am so stunned." "We've waited with great expectation, we were promised something creative, imaginative to replace the slogan for Scotland that used to exist and I woke up this morning to 'Welcome to Scotland'. "If this is what the creative talent can bring to us and this is what SNP government is crowing about, frankly, I am astonished." Former first minister Jack McConnell launched the first slogan Liberal Democrat tourism spokesman Liam McArthur said: "Nationalist MSPs have spent years regaling us with tales of how fantastic Scotland is. Now, when they have a chance to create a brand for Scotland they give us this bland statement." Gavin Brown, the Conservative enterprise spokesman, said: "Next, Alex Salmond will be telling us this is the best small slogan in the world." Scotland is not alone in messing up a perfectly good slogan. The State of Virginia recently tweaked its " Virginia Is For Lovers" slogan by adding the phrase "live passionately."   To bring that message home they added a hand gesture of a heart. When they discovered that the Chicago-based gang "The Disciples" have a very similar hand gesture, Virginia tourism removed the gesture from their branding. In August, I challenged Virginia on that decision. Earlier last week,when the Tourism Office thought that the hand gesture was used by a small gang in South Carolina, they still  planned to go ahead with the promotion. Only when they learned it was the Chicago Disciples that the decision to remove the heart sign was eliminated. What's the real problem here?Are they concerned that the Disciples are going to be offended? Was the Commonwealth concerned the Disciples were going to haul them into court for copyright infringement? Are they concerned that the Disciples will think this is an invitation to visit to Virginia? Instead of kowtowing to a gang in Illinois why not should start a campaign " Bring Back Our Heart."  The idea would be that people who want to have a good time in Virginia should own the hand gesture and not worry about what goes on in the streets of Chicago.  If the Disciples want to use a similar gesture fine. But the message should be they don't own it. While the Commonwealth of Virginia never intended for their brand to provide a double entendre for gang members, you have to wonder exactly what DHL was thinking when they launched their "All The Way" slogan in Asia Pacific this year. There is an online game spoofing the slogan. Very Australian humor. It's a maze to collect packages with this warning, " But makes sure you look out for the secretaries! If they catch up to you, you'll cop more than just an earful."  Oleh Petra Di offers up some Subtitles that DHL could include in their marketing. We'll still respect you upon delivery Prov[...]



Conference site and registration update: Look for both NEXT week

Mon, 26 Nov 2007 21:55:07 +0000

Hi everyone, I come bearing an update on our new conference web site and imminent conference registration launch.

For those of you keeping score, we had originally planned to launch those both today, however, it may have been a little over-optimistic to plan on such a launch on the day after a four-day weekend.

I've seen the site; it's looking pretty cool, and it's going to be so much more functional and helpful than any conference page or pages we've had before. But it still needs some work, both on the functionality side and on the content side.

As for registration, you are going to see a big improvement in our conference registration solution too, but again, not quite ready for prime-time.

So, for those of you who marked your calendars (and yes, I know there are some of you out there, because i've gotten the emails) you will have to wait another week for all these good conference-y gifts to be available to the entire BlogHer community.

Thanks for your patience, and I look forward to your feedback once you see the new site and try the new reigstration process.




12/13/07 BlogHer's Very Merry Holiday Meetup

Wed, 14 Nov 2007 01:04:14 +0000

It's time to get your festive on!

What holiday calendar would be complete without a little BlogHer revelry? Certainly not ours...and we'd love for you to join us!

(image)
Who: All Bay Area BlogHers
When: Thursday, December 13th
Time: 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Cafe Royale, 800 Post St. @ Leavenworth in San Francisco

Our holiday event is a great opportunity for you to meet, mingle & jingle with the ever-growing BlogHer community. Members and non-members are welcome, as are friends, family, and colleagues.

The event will take place at Cafe Royale, the cozy cafe in downtown SF where we held last year's meetup. Once again we'll be offering complimentary hors d'oeuvres along with a fine selection of wines, beers, and Soju cocktails (no-host bar).

So join the party, and eat, drink, and be merry!

*Due to the venue's capacity limits, we do need you to RSVP if you intend to join us. Please RSVP in comments below, or send an email to let us know to expect you!




BlogHer in 2008: Reach!

Thu, 27 Sep 2007 16:13:00 +0000

Today we are proud to announce our entire 2008 schedule of events, centered around one unifying theme: Reach! BlogHer in 2008 will include a second annual BlogHer Business, the fourth annual BlogHer Conference and the introduction of a brand new BlogHer event: The BlogHer Reach Out Tour. The BlogHer Reach Out Tour will stop at 6 cities on the East Coast and across the South. Yup, we're growing from 2 events in 2007 to 8 events in 2008! Read on to get the details on all of these events. And stay tuned, as we plan to launch a new conference web site and registration for our 2008 schedule of events on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Monday November 26th. Now, let's dig in... BlogHer brings BlogHer Business back to NYC this April! After last year's inaugural and very successful BlogHer Business we are returning to the scene of the crime. We'll be at the Affinia Manhattan again, this time for two full days of case studies, networking, expert consulting and perhaps an ice sculpture or two. What: BlogHer Business '08 When: April 3-4, 2008 Where: The Affinia Manhattan Last year we had an amazing line-up of speakers including the women behind the corporate blogging efforts at Google, Yahoo!, Cisco and Wells Fargo, the women who run such media outlets as the Washington Post.com/Newsweek Interactive, iVillage and Redbook Magazine, and women who are technical experts at everything from blogging software applications to traffic building, monitoring and measurement. The Venue: The Affinia Manhattan Conveniently located near Penn Station, The Affinia Manhattan is an all-suite hotel that treated BlogHer and its attendees very well last year. We will have a room block available with rooms at $279/night and complimentary in-room internet (regularly $10/day) for all BlogHer attendees. This year we're expanding our programming to start in the morning on Thursday April 3rd, so you might think about coming in the night before. On Friday night, April 4th, after the conference closes we will host a meet-up for the New York blogging community. As an extra carrot, please check out the Blogger Social that prominent NYC business bloggers CK (aka Christina Kerley) and Drew McLellan are co-organizing with the community. If they get enough enough sign-ups by November 15th the Blogger Social is on, and we may be able to join forces with them for one powerful closing night party! [Note: Updated to credit CK's co-organizer at her request.] The Affinia will be putting up a BlogHer online reservation page soon, and registration for BlogHer Business will open on November 26th. Look for tiered pricing that lets bloggers and independent consultants attend alongside representatives from larger corporations. It's that kind of cross-pollination that enhances the quality of the learning and the conversation for all attendees! BlogHer '08 comes back to the Bay Area! The community push to bring BlogHer back West was pretty powerful, and when combined with better affordability and better weather...well, that's a hard combo to beat. What: BlogHer '08 When: July 18-20, 2008 Where: The Westin St. Francis Hotel on Union Square We will follow the same basic schedule as this year's BlogHer, with a 2-day conference followed by an Unconference on day 3. Some changes you can look for in response to attendee feedback: a mixer the night before the conference for first-time BlogHer attendees, more time for networking and free-form connection during the conference...and bigger break-out rooms! We plan to continue to be the blogging conference that features every facet of blogging, from the intimately personal to the intensely political to the purely professional. The Venue: The Westin St. Francis on Union Square Right on Union Square in San Francisco, it is hard to beat the Westin St. Francis for charm and[...]



BlogHer in 2008: Call in to get the scoop this Thursday at 9AM

Tue, 25 Sep 2007 01:13:57 +0000

We reviewed the survey, compiled the poll results, read your blog posts and comments, and we are ready to unveil our BlogHer in 2008 plans...this coming Thursday, September 27th at 9AM Pacific time.

And we'd like to do it live and "in person" on a community conference call. We'll take about 15 minutes to outline our entire schedule for 2008, and then we'll have time for Q&A as well. As soon as the call is over we'll push the info live in a blog post and press release too, so don't worry if you can't make it. You won't have to wait too long for the info.

But we thought it would be fun to talk with folks live.

Now, the conference call system we're using maxes out at 150 calls in, so please leave a comment if you intend to call in, so we can figure out if we need to improve the service.

Meanwhile, here's the call-in info:
Date: Thursday September 27th
Time: 9:00AM Pacific
Primary Number: 1-800-610-4500 (Toll Free in USA and Canada)
Secondary number: 1-702-851-3339 (for callers outside USA and Canada)
Participant Access Code: BH2008 or 242008

Wil you be on the call?




My thoughts on BlogHer07 on ZDNet

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 10:56:21 +0000

Hi all...

I posted my thoughts on BlogHer07 at ZDNet BlogHer07: A 2.0 human community . Thought you might wish to read.

E-Communications & Community

Never let the urgent crowd out the important.




Confusing Personal with Professional at Blogher '07, OR the Root Word of Networking is WORK.

Sat, 11 Aug 2007 19:22:18 +0000

Although I have a category for blogging about blogging (I call it "Streaking the Quad") I try to use it sparingly. It quickly gets a little like like the kid on the cereal box holding a cereal box with a kid on the cereal box. Know what I mean?

I said that last week's Blogher '07 wrap up post would be the last space given over to the conference on Notes to Self, and I meant it.

But then I discovered that some conference attendees are hurting over the perception they were being overlooked or left out based on a social hierarchy.

I had two reactions to this:

  1. sympathy
  2. bewilderment

The first shouldn't require much in the way of annotation. Feeling less than is never fun. To a greater or lesser degree, we've all been there. And I would never dispute the verity of someone's emotions. Your feelings are your feelings.

What puzzles me is how people can be taking the professional networking so personally. Yes, the social aspect was fun, often silly. But we were all there for a conference, weren't we? I understood this was a professional event (at least, that's what I'm telling my tax accountant!). I went with the expectation that there would be socializing, and new friends to make, but principally I was there because blogging is my venture ( I don't advertise on my site, but it is part of my portfolio as a writer). I expected that I would attend sessions to improve my blog, and that I would be networking strategically to promote my blog.

Eight hundred attendees, two mostly scheduled days, one little old me. Let's do the math. Did I make a calculated attempt to meet and spend time with bloggers with valuable influence, experience, and/or content and audiences similar to mine? You bet I did. Does that mean I used or sucked up to those people, snubbed or avoided others? It did not. Did I forget my manners for a minute? Well, once, at Real Simple, but it was after hours and they were rude to me first. :-)

Many of the commenters on the posts I read in this vein blame women en masse for the hurt feelings. As in, this kind of clique-ishness is just what happens when you get a bunch of women together. WTF??? What kind of skewed, self-hating attitude is that? Why does networking become something Machivellian and scheming when applied to a conference of women? If it were 800 professional men hustling themselves and their talents at a weekend conference, you think anyone would be crying in the bathroom? How does it make someone a sellout or a phony to attend a professional conference with a professional objective?

Okay, we aren't men. We do relate differently. And I think that's usually a good thing. I don't think women should have to act just like the boys to succeed in business, politics or the arts. But you have to understand the boundaries between personal and professional and learn to navigate them appropriately.

That's not sacrificing integrity, that's a mark of maturity.




VEGAS, BABY? Where should BlogHer '08 be and more: Take the BlogHer '07 survey

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 20:36:11 +0000

It's here in all the excruciating (but mostly optional) detail you could ever want: The BlogHer '07 Post-Conference Survey.

Can you skate by giving us your high level opinions on most aspects of the conference? Yes.

Can you give your granular ratings and opinions on every single speaker and session you saw, on sponsors, on hotels? Yes.

Can you take this survey even if you weren't there, because you'd like to give your feedback on what you hope we'll do in the future? Yes.

Can you take this survey anonymously? Yes.

Can you vote on a location for BlogHer '08? Oh, yes. Please do.

So, get ready, get set, GO take The BlogHer '07 Post-Conference Survey.

We appreciate it very much :)




Synchronicity

Tue, 07 Aug 2007 15:46:23 +0000

So this is my much overdue Blogher '07 wrap up. Honestly, I'm still absorbing it all. There is so much that has happened in my life this past year that took its toll on my spirit, and this conference was just the inspiration I needed.

For starters, my lab session was fantastic. I've always worked in an on-site team environment since my very first "real job", up until last year when I accepted my current position with Squarespace. I love it, don't get me wrong -- there's no commutes to downtown, I can show up for work in my pjs, I do a great deal of development collaboration, and I have a lot of creative freedom in my work -- I wouldn't trade it for anything. But during my session, it was really awesome to talk about design and CSS in that group environment, swapping tips and joking about how we still break our sites regardless of our expertise level. Just feeling that energy and seeing the excitement on everyone's faces as we dorked out on code was fabulous.

I was also fortunate enough to be part of the Small Is Beautiful panel with Rachelle and Jen. This was a last minute opportunity for me -- originally my co-mama Elaine was a panelist on this one, but she couldn't attend due to a medical emergency. While I was truly, truly disappointed she wasn't there, I couldn't help but feel like the universe had somehow aligned the planets and pushed me to be in that room. And if there was anyone who would have wished that into happening, it would have been Elaine.

In that room, and with some frequency during the week -- in the photo booth, over sake bombs, during dim sum excursions, in late night hotel room hang out sessions, and even while dancing to Journey in front of the taquitos -- I found myself in the company of people who felt like long lost friends. It was something completely unexpected, but so, so welcome.

When I finally landed home on Sunday night, Myriam called with the strangest story. She had just talked to a friend who recently moved to San Deigo, and at the local coffeehouse, this friend had met a really cool gal who brought up Blogher. Myriam's friend was lamenting about her friends being in Chicago having a great time, and this gal was lamenting about the very same thing. And this friend turned out to be Elaine, the very same Elaine that should have been in Chicago with me.

If that's not synchronicity, I dunno what is.







CONFESSIONS OF A RELUCTANT TECH DIVA

Sun, 05 Aug 2007 02:17:44 +0000

It's been a week since I was at the 2007 BlogHer Conference and my tech life has taken off warp speed ever since.

Listen folks. All I ever wanted to do was write. That's it. My computer has always served as a means to an end in fulfilling that objective. I had no desire to know software terminology or master any principals with regards to computer hardware.

However, ever since I returned from Chicago, something about me has changed. It's as if I am experiencing a classic case of an invasion of the technology body snatchers.

According to my daughter - who I have always put in the class of technology genius with the rest of her other 2 billion 14 and 15 year-old MySpace and Facebook friends - I now know far more about online technology, especially when it comes to user generated content, than she does. I didn't believe her.

Then, on one of the posts of my fellow bloggers, she referred to me as a tech diva. I was quick to correct her because I was so busy trying to learn from her - the very woman who built her own web site from scratch - no templates, no nothing!

Two weeks ago, I still didn't really understand RSS feeds!

Now, as of yesterday, I broke into the top 100,000 sites on Technorati. This for me is exciting. I also have ads up on my site with the hopes of making some money on this virtual real estate called a web site or a blog.

To top things off, I was hit with a scary revelation today. On my way home from running your typical Saturday errands, I was listening to a radio talk show host named Leo Laporte of The Tech Guy Radio Show. Without conscious, I left the radio on this station and wind up listening to it for 15 minutes and understood everything he was talking about! On everything from installing your DSL software and the benefits of a router to ways to get your CD out of the computer when you can't eject it manually.

It was like all of a sudden finally understanding Spanish after watching Spanish language novella/soap opera for years.

When I realize what was happening, I almost had a car wreck. When did I become able to comprehend tech speak? All I wanted to do was know how to write.

I must admit; in this rapidly changing technological age, understanding technology can only serve me well down the line. I must admit to feeling blessed because stats show that most people over 40 still don't know what blogging is or how it works.

Anyway, I still wouldn't refer to myself as tech diva. I'm just glad I can get updates to my computer and re-start it without loosing all my previous data.

Who knows, maybe now even I can qualify to serve a president of the United States.




The W. Lakeshore responded positively to feedback!

Fri, 03 Aug 2007 17:51:49 +0000

Many times when I travel I'll receive an email asking me to evaluate the service given. I received an email from the W. Lakeshore the day after I returned home and I wrote back with what I felt was constructive criticism as well as praise for what I liked.

I enjoyed my stay at the W. Lakeshore. I slept like a baby in those beds. The rooms were a quiet getaway from a very busy week, I loved the two meals I had at The Wave, and even the club atmosphere of the lounge didn't bug me.

However, I was frustrated to pour a cup of coffee in the lounge and be charged $4.00 for it. It was just a simple cup of self-served coffee ... we aren't talking Starbucks. I had to fix it the way I liked, it was in a to go cup (lids didn't fit correctly), and I was truly taken aback when the bartender leaned over and said, "One cup of coffee?" Aack!

So, I wrote about this in my feedback and I was pleasantly suprised when the General Manager, Heather Steenge, responded.

As we have received a lot of feedback regarding the charge for our coffee we are now offering complimentary coffee in the Living room for all of our hotel guests starting on August 1st. Feedback such as yours does make a difference. Thank you.

At any rate, I wanted to compliment the W. Lakeshore publicly (will cross-post with my blog) for the quick response to feedback given following the BlogHer conference.




BlogHer in Second Life-514

Thu, 02 Aug 2007 20:51:00 +0000

I think it is safe to say you liked the Second Life version of BlogHer '07. 514 is my new favorite number. I'll explain why shortly.

When I brought the idea to Elisa, Lisa, and Jory a few months ago, we agreed the virtual BlogHer was an experiment. The idea was to offer bloghers unable to travel to Illinois a way to attend and be a part of the conference. We were not sure how many of you would "attend" and in all honesty, we were not sure how it would all turn out. I'm not normally a numbers person (or avatar) but in this case, I'm making an exception for some amazing stats:

Paul Clevett of http://www.hypserstring.net, our virtual conference site, tells me 514 connections were made to our video server as avatar after avatar logged in to watch our keynote speaker, Elizabeth Edwards, live from the BlogHer '07 conference at Navy Pier in Chicago. 514 connections. WOW.

Keep in mind registration was going to be capped at 300 avatars.

We had to franticly close registration on Thursday after word of our live music kick off got out (thanks http://www.twitter.com ) before hyperstring.net found a way to squeeze in 200 party crashers. I won't lie to you, we thought about kicking out all non registrants, but this was a free conference and the decision was made to make all welcome, not to mention see what sort of damage we could do to the grid. I'm going to have to guess next year, many of you will have to go the more legit route into the party though.

Our panels on Friday and Saturday exceeded expectations. Amazing speakers http://www.blogher.com/node/22273 on great topics with discussions that not only lasted the time alloted, but in many cases went over-to NO complaints. The Second Life exclusive sessions really set us apart, I think.

I'm very anxious to hear YOUR feedback on the BlogHer in Second Life experiment. If we do this again, what would you like to see? What would you add to the panels? Topics for discussion? Speakers you'd love to hear? What about the office hours leading up to the virtual conference...were they enough? Did you need more? Was Second Life the right or wrong venue for us?

Leave me a comment-and if you were one of the 514 say hello!