Entries Tagged 'Bloggers' ↓

Elf The Musical (And My Affinity For Elf Culture)

If you know my family, you know what kind of freaks we are for the movie Elf. I loved it when my first son was only a baby and used to HOPE my children would enjoy it just as much as I did someday.

(Because. You know. “It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.”)

Well, wish granted. My kids have already watched the entire movie start to finish this season and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

A few weeks ago, I heard that Elf The Musical was coming to town. Imagine my reaction. Can’t? Cue another Elf quote to illustrate my enthusiasm: “SANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW HIM!!!”

(Oh, yeah, the quotes. We rock them constantly during the holidays. I’m not sure any of my family members can burp without adding a “did you HEAR that?” afterwards. But I digress…)

Matt Kopec (Buddy) and Gordon Gray (Santa) in “Elf The Musical.” Photo by Joan Marcus.

I could not believe my luck when The Straz Center very graciously invited a group of Tampa bloggers to watch Elf, The Musical. My 9yo son and I went tonight, armed with our favorite quotes and all kinds of musical Christmas cheer cued up and ready to go.

However. Before I officially launch into my review, I want to set some very clear expectations first. This is particularly important for those of you who are thinking about going and are as much of a fan of the movie as I am.  So, listen up.

1) Buddy is fantastic. But he is NOT Will Ferrell. (Who can be?) Don’t go in expecting any hint of a Will Ferrell imitator, either. Buddy isn’t Will, so let that go. THIS Buddy is extraordinarily talented and may even be more earnest and singy and dancy than Will. But it’s a musical and this is theater, so Buddy should be those things. Embrace the new Buddy.

2) Elf The Musical will not copy the movie scene by scene. That would be impossible to do. It does follow the story for the most part, but with a little twist. And the majority of that twist would be original music (but not the tunes from the movie). Like I said, let the movie go a bit and you will be fine.

3) There will be quotes from the movie, for sure. But it won’t cover ALL of them. (Brace yourself, there is no enormous burp and a “Did you hear that?”) And that’s OK. It works out just fine. In fact, this version adds in a few NEW funny quotes of it’s own. Appreciate it as an original piece of musical theater, because it is.

4) Be prepared to get into the Christmas spirit with a whole lot of song and dance.

If you go in with those expectations, you will love it. Honestly, the music was very good and the dancing was fun. It’s a great cast and I ADORED the live orchestra. I think that really adds a lot to the show. The set is great and I was impressed by how they wove the story together on a stage. I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it, either. It got a standing ovation at the end.

OH, and here’s the most important part. My 9yo loved it. He laughed and recognized it and read the playbill carefully at the intermission and then raced back to his seat. On the way back to the car, he leaped around and rehashed his favorite parts. (“You smell like beef and cheese!” “You sit on a throne of lies!” “Just cool it, Zippy.”)

If you can reign in your Elf movie obsession and refrain from being too literal, and if you are prepared to just ENJOY theater that gets you into the holiday spirit, go. It will make you smile. And after all, isn’t smiling your favorite?

Elf The Musical is playing at The Straz Center in Tampa, November 20-25.

Tampa WTSP A-List: Best Local Blogger

All I can offer here are lots of words, a few amateur photos and some attempt at connection. But I have a whole lot of faith in words and connection. And, it seems, some readers have some faith in me, too.

I’m very honored to share that I have been voted “Best Local Blogger” for a Tampa A-list contest on WTSP DealChicken.com.

Thank you.

No, really.

I don’t do this for anything other than fun and, like I said, connection. My only reward is that amazing feeling of satisfaction when I have WRITTEN… and someone kind of liking what I have to say.

I feel like I just got a HUGE payout. Your vote of confidence means that much.

Again, my humble thanks.

And I hope to keep seeing you around these parts.

- Caroline

Best Local Blogger Nominee

Hold on. A nomination for best Local Blogger in Tampa?

Say what?

I’ve been typing away on this here blog for over four years now. By now, I consider this space on the internets my dear, sweet friend. From the start, it was a place to use my brain while I raised my babies, kick around a couple ideas and, most importantly, connect with others kind of like me. I’ve found friendship, adventure, cool products to try out, a love for social media and even, in a round about way, a job and new career.

But no matter what fun it has brought me and no matter how hard I’ve worked on this little blog of mine, it has always existed because it was fun and enjoyable and therapeutic for me. And if it wasn’t fun or seemed like too much work, I took a break. I write when the feeling moves me and don’t let anyone call the shots here but me.

So, when I get any kind of public recognition for the work I do here or the way that I connect with my community, I stop, look all around and then ask… “Who, me?”

It’s kind of like when I was 12 and lip-syncing to “Like A Virgin” in front of my dusty and stickered bedroom mirror. I thought I was pretty bad-ass, and if they were going to pick the coolest Madonna wanna-be then, well, that would be moi. But if someone were to storm into my room with a big smile and slap an award on my shirt and tell me I’m awesome for my unmatched Madonna lip-syncing skillz… I’d say exactly the same thing.

“Who me?”

The local CBS news affiliate WTSP and DealChicken.com have nominated me as one of the best local bloggers in Tampa.

I am very honored. Really. I truly appreciate the recognition.

I like what I do here. But it’s all kind of blush-worthy when someone else OTHER than my wonderful (however, far from objective) family members like what I do here, too.

Anyway.

If you want to vote, click on the button below. Your recognition means more than you know.


If you feel the need, leave a comment so that I can thank-you properly, too.

Because it’s not everyday that something I do — simply for the sake of JOY — actually gets recognition. But when that day happens along, it is always a very good day.

 

Tampa BlogHer: Blogs, Beer, Men in Kilts

I haven’t stuck with blogging all these years because I like the sound of my own voice. On the contrary, I like people a whole lot more than yacking ceaselessly in my own plotted out space on the Internet. And people, many many people, with their own plotted space on the Internet, are actually behind all of these blogs. Blogs discussing side by side, leading to real interaction, leading to community. What you say matters, affects another, they respond, you connect, you have found someone like you and conversation and change and all kinds of crap you never expected would ever happen, HAPPENS. And you never even have to leave the house while your child naps in the other room, either.

So, knowing that community is what this blogging beast is really all about, I took my blog out of the house to meet some people behind the online connections last Saturday. I met a group of folks down at The Pub for Tampa BlogHer.

It’s an amazing thing, this blogging social media world. Because, while I had only met a few of those folks “in real life” before, I was greeted with hugs and familiarity and comfort. I know these people. We’ve known each other for years. Through this community we’ve built.

I’m excited because we’re going to really work on building up our local Tampa blogging community more. Another get-together is being planned for March. There is chatter of a Facebook page for local area bloggers — a place to keep networking, reaching out, making sure one has another’s back, maybe passing on event updates and tweet-up info. or which conferences are good or maybe some suggestions for reviews.

I love blogging. But I love people even more. I love media and words and information, but I love being social about it even more. When I can, I want to keep prioritizing the community part of this blogging beast. It’s important. It’s networking with heart. It reaches places I never expected it could.

I had a fantastic time seeing everyone that night. Tampa has a wonderful core of real and talented bloggers and writers. I can’t wait to see everyone again. But, really? I can’t wait to see what we’ll do next.

Oh wait. I forgot to talk about the men in kilts. So. There were very nice men who worked there dressed in kilts. And before I say something very double standard-ish and contrary to my usual non-objectifying tendencies… just make your way to The Pub yourself and come to your own conclusions about why I felt the need to give “men in kilts” the honor of being in the title of this blog post.

Picture courtesy of our host, Denise of @denisermt. Read her great wrap-up post here.

Others there?

Erika of Southern Fried Lives

Angel of Cheeky Sweetie

Maria of Mommy Melee

Raffi of Betty Running

Brian of Digital Running

Kirsten of Gone Bananas

Karen of If I Could Escape

Susie of Hide and Go Scrap

Clarissa at TBO

Weekend Magic

I went away this weekend. I got to be with friends on an beautiful beach with warm white sand, rustling palm trees and orange sunsets. I know I only traveled an hour from my house, but places like these always seem part of some far-away Tom Cruise Cocktail inspired Never-Never Land in my mind, where drinks always have umbrellas and reggae plays in the distance.

I saw umbrellas in many drinks. And I heard reggae drift over the sand dunes.

Needless to say, it was pretty much exactly what everyone in the whole wide world needs what I needed to regroup a bit. And as we sat there wrapped in towels poolside, with dripping hair, scarfing down messy platters of nachos and sharing stories from our childhood – my soul sighed and put up her feet.

What a rare, magical thing to find a self-indulgent moment of time to connect with people like this. Smart, comfortable, confident, funny, kind women ground me and inspire me. They always have and they always will.  I am besides myself with gratitude for the 24 hours I had to recharge with each of them.

(Pic taken by Angie from A Whole Lot of Nothing because I was an idiot and forgot my memory card.)

And then, after hours of endless conversation late night in our hotel room, we finally headed to bed. And that’s when – oh yeah – I decided to check my phone. There was a message with this picture attached.

My seven year old had lost another tooth. I panicked a little. Did my husband have the whole Tooth Fairy gig down? It was well past everyone’s bedtime, so it was too late to check in. What to do. I just had to assume he had it covered. Ok. So I put the mommy guilt aside and tucked myself in for a rare restful night’s sleep without children sneaking in besides me to steal pillows and twirl my hair.

(…Of course, I had a stress dream about my high school headmaster yelling at me for not getting a certain assignment done in time – which is about right…)

The next morning, my husband relayed with confidence (and the teeniest bit of swagger) that he had, in fact, donned his imaginary fairy wings with pride and made magic happen. He even had our seven year old write the Tooth Fairy a note.

So while I “just let it go” this weekend (just like the Tradewinds Resort logo insisted), my husband made sure to capture a small moment of little boy wonder.

And I thought I would share it with you of course.

There is magic everywhere, if you look hard enough.

Blog Action Day: Remembering My Water Privileges

It’s Blog Action Day today. And this year’s topic?

Water.

I’ve written about water before. I wrote about living in Somalia and what it felt like to come back to the United States and be able to drink water directly out of a faucet again. I wrote how I understood what kind of privilege that was for me.

Interesting.

Water is a privilege?

Water is something we all have to have.

Well, surprise, surprise I have another story about water. One that reminds me daily, on a more personal but practical level, about the importance of water conservation. So here I go again…

I spent my high school years in Swaziland. And for a country in Africa, it was faring pretty well at the time. The level of hunger and poverty no where near matched what I had seen in Somalia as a child. Anyway, I went to an international school and in my last  year there, I lived on campus as a boarding student.

During that particular winter, Swaziland experienced the kind of drought that stops everything in its tracks. It’s hills were dirt-bone dry, the sun shone down day after day, cows lay dead along the sides of the road and homes everywhere were cut off from any direct water supply.

Our school’s water supply depended on our own reservoir found just up the hill from campus, but it was dwindling quickly. So water was rationed. And that meant very limited water for everything – which most certainly included showers. Until the drought was over, our school allowed students to shower only twice a week. And on a shower day, the entire dormitory wing had no more than 10 minutes to make it happen. That meant we had to take shifts – while one of us stepped aside to shampoo, another jumped in to rinse off. It was a quick, efficient, almost military-like operation. And for the other shower-less five days out of the week, we had to get used to either not being as clean or suck it up and have a “basin bath” (which used only one sinkful of water and a bucket to stand in).

(Think back to your narcissistic high school ways. Imagine how this might affect a typical high schooler. And that was just too bad. Because our showers were not more important than drinking water.)

Other water conserving restrictions were put in place too. Toilets had a strict “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” rule.

Lead by school administrators, groups of us hiked up the side of the mountain near our reservoir and pulled plants called Wattle trees. They were not indigenous to Swaziland (read: weeds) but they used a large supply of water to grow. The rumor was 1 Wattle tree = 1 shower. I’m not sure how scientifically accurate that was but we pulled the plants out regardless.

I don’t remember how long the drought lasted. A few months, maybe more. But I will never forget being made so very aware of every drop of water I used. Every single drop mattered. And every drop I used I knew someone else was without.

Water is a right but it remains a privilege. Think about that every single time you turn on a faucet, run the hot water over dishes, or lounge under the shower shaving your legs.

  • Nearly 1 billion people don’t have safe water to drink.
  • A child dies every 15 seconds from a lack of clean water.
  • 1 in 4 children who die before age 5 worldwide, die of a water related disease.
  • Children often walk miles every day to collect dirty water to drink.

(Statistics taken from The Water Project.)

Type A Mom Conference 2010: Stating the Obvious

Thanks to deadlines, general parenting blah blah blah and a sick husband, this post has been late coming. In fact it was a week ago today that I took off for Asheville. But I suppose it has given me some time to let all of it settle in my mind and collect itself into a post.

So how would I describe my weekend at the Type A Moms Conference?

Well, I may have to state the obvious. And state it quite a few times, in fact. You see, this conference gave me a chance to look in the mirror a bit and consider some things that I really should know already. I shouldn’t have been so surprised. I should get this and own it and rock it all by now. But it seems I don’t, not yet.

(Uh-oh, I’m should-ing on myself…)

Let me explain. Here are some obvious bits of brilliance that you might already know but I am clearly needing a little review lesson on.

1. I need to be strategic about what I do. The wonderful and brilliant (and I could literally sit criss-cross applesauce at her feet for hours while she schooled me with her crazy smartness and to the core goodness) Deb Rox led a panel about being strategic about your blog. She asked us to think about what we’re doing, own what we’re really good at, and carefully consider how to make it work for us. She encouraged us not to trip up on our own limitations. Because our limitations can actually push us forward to learn more and BE more.

Of course I need to think strategically about what I am doing with myself and my blog. Of course I need to focus on how I can really fan the smoldering bits of this writing career. But have I been? Not really.

I also need to tack up over my desk a little reminder she gave us during the panel: In all that you do, make sure that it is always smart, fun or kind. Yes.

2. Companies are paying attention. My dear friend Ilina hosted a panel about the interesting way brands connect with consumers both online and off. Some do it well, some not so much. And I guess I knew this. But within hours of her panel, her points were clearly illustrated through a little licorice smack-down. You see Ilina and Deb both started a friendly debate over which were better: Twizzlers or Red Vines. And camps began to form, discussions over texture ensued and people whipped out their stashes of each. Twitter was involved (of course), twit pics were posted and before we knew it, @redvines was overnighting a fresh case of Red Vines to the conference. But Twizzlers weren’t on Twitter (silly people) so how were they supposed to know about this friendly rivalry? Well, a few women got on Facebook (of course) and the next day an enormous shipment of Twizzlers arrived in Asheville (it filled an entire closet, I’m not even kidding). WE ARE BEING HEARD. And it took a whole lot of licorice to tell me that.

3. Bloggers make for fantastic conversationalists – and friends. This fact doesn’t surprise me any longer, I just take it for granted I think. An online world is one I can power on and power off. But walking down the streets of Asheville truly connecting with women I’ve only just met or debating the future of blogging over local beer with brilliant minds late night only reminds me that YES, these women are real and affecting a world that I am very much apart of. I am honored to know each of them.

4. Twittertinis are blue. Talk about stating the obvious. Of COURSE they are blue. (Except when they run out of ingredients 10 minutes before the free drink cut-off and so to keep bloggers from turning into rioters they combine some other something to make them a lovely bluey-purple color but just as delish.)

5. One mom blogger is not like the other. I decided to attend a session about non-traditional moms who blog – but I went in unsure whether I even fit into this category really (yes, yes ironic, I know). On the way in, Kelby said “Yeah, you’re not traditional” and I said “Exactly, I’m totally not…” but walked in still questioning what side of “traditional” I fell. It was a great session. But I sat there thinking about how the rest of the world views mom bloggers. How do they know – or how do we know, really – what a “traditional” mom blogger is? Would that be the Betty Crocker, Soccer Mommy, Susie Homemaker, super reviewers chattering on about their baby’s full diaper? Sure. Go for it. But can we be so many other things too? And still fit some category of “Mom Blogger”? I don’t want to be pigeon-holed or limited with what I do or what I am expected to write about. But who does? The more we can push the envelope of what is “traditional”, the more that will be expected of all of us.

6. We are trail blazers. Blogging is evolving and changing in a way no one could have foreseen. And at the speed things change around here, we certainly can’t assume we know where it will go either. But Laurie Smithwick (who someone  described on Twitter as the “Mr. Miagi” of blogging women – and I wholeheartedly agree) used an analogy in her panel about Community vs. Competition that made me sit up straight. She described blogging as a road we are currently creating. As we put our feet down and decide the direction we want to head, we are determining the future of this medium. And if we make some wrong turns or set up negative expectations for those following, blogging will suffer. We need to be very smart about how we do this thing we’re doing. It’s our road after all.

7. Be constructive about controversy. As Jennifer James so wisely put it while she discussed controversy online, “Unless it’s something that will shape our community in a positive manner, let it pass like the clouds”. Because really, will all the hub-bub over whatever it is even matter next year? And if controversy is not helpful, if it will ultimately only tear us down, stop giving it a platform. Let’s be constructive and keep our focus on the bigger picture.

8. Bloggers can be writers too. I got to spend some time with Rita Arens. She’s a blogger. And she can write her ass off. And now she’s working on her second book. Enough said.

9. There’s no such thing as a parent-work balance. I plunked my self right up front for a panel about mommy guilt and trying to make it all work. Hello, someone tell me how to make it happen. Tell me how to do it all without feeling like I am letting anything slip. Tell me how to be better at it and make more money doing it. Well. Not so fast. Turns out the balance will always tip one way or the other. It won’t be still or “just so” in any perfect little way. And I will always be disappointed with myself. But usually those are only my disappointments. So I need to check myself before I wreck myself before I make myself insane over it. As one panelist noted (and this one needs to get tacked up over my desk too): We all need to stop should-ing on ourselves. Because I’m sure we should have done whatever the hell it was, but we didn’t, so be kind to yourself and move on.

10. Biltmore Wine is fantastic. Especially when it comes in many glasses all lined up for your tasting pleasure. Yes please, delicious and thank you.

11. Dad bloggers are part of this community. I have always said I need to connect with more of these guys at conferences. Luckily, my group of friends and I had the chance to get to know a few out to dinner one night. We discussed moving from blogging to paid writing over pitchers of local beer. We swapped pictures of our kids. We made social media jokes. We shared french fries. We connected as bloggers and friends. Dad bloggers are awesome and duh.

(Wait. Stop everything. You need to read this post written by one of the dads I met over dinner. It’s about his experience at Type A Moms. BRILLIANT. Hysterical. Loved it. Ok, carry on…)

12. Asheville is beautiful. I love that city. I love the vibe it has, the mountains surrounding it, the beer it makes, the art it creates, the graffiti on its walls, the food it serves, the music in the air and the people walking its streets.

The conference was fantastic. The friends I made and reconnected with had my back, lifted me up, and pushed me to be more. But the lessons I learned – no matter how well I should have known them already – were the kind I will carry with me for many many years. Or at least until I need another reminder, and back I go again…

Type A Mom Conference Bound and Sponsored

I got pretty lucky this fall.

Rewind to about a year ago when I ventured off to Asheville for last year’s Type A Mom Conference. It was an incredible experience. While not quite the same hustle and bustle of BlogHer conferences, TAM attendees have the luxury of really getting to know one another. A lot of learning and connecting happened. I left inspired and proud to do what I do, even if it’s for peanuts (sometimes literally).

This year I figured out how to scrape it together and negotiate childcare to make it to BlogHer10. I had an amazing experience and I was beyond grateful. But I assumed one conference a year was about all I could ask for. So I put Type A Mom aside, sighing wistfully, bidding my blog friends adieu as we parted ways and they planned for Asheville.

And that’s when the fantastic people at Dr. Smith’s Ointment stepped in. I’ve mentioned here that I’m writing for them now, and it’s been a lot of fun. They are good people, with a quality family friendly product, so it’s a nice set up. Well it turns out they are blogger friendly too because a couple weeks ago they offered to sponsor me at this year’s Type A Mom conference.

*tap dancing across my kitchen, past my kids’ unfinished cereal bowls*

*tap dancing back across my kitchen, past my kid’s unfinished cereal bowls*

So I’m going!!!!

Dr. Smiths have also put together a set of t-shirts for me to wear while I’m there. I cracked up when I saw the designs. For example, one asks “Is your baby living in (R)asheville?” Ha! Love it.

Anyway, you’ll be able to follow my Type A Mom escapades on twitter of course. And you may even see my pic posted on the Dr. Smiths Facebook page at some point. Oh and if you have a baby, and like home grown family friendly baby products, consider following them here or here too.

A huge HUGE shout out goes to my husband and the four – yes, four – friends of mine here who have coordinated their schedules to watch my kids while I am away. Child care is as big a deal as affording to go anywhere in the first place – so I am forever grateful.

Also  many*cheers* and *whoops* and *hollers* for companies like Dr. Smiths who support pathetically paid bloggers like moi just trying to get a little professional development where ever and when ever they can.

Like I said, I got pretty lucky this fall.

BlogHer (Part two): Questions and Answers

I promised a second BlogHer post. You know the one where I tell all of you what I learned there? So I think I’ll start by sharing the questions that I had rattling around in my brain when I arrived. Not that there are clean answers to anything. But understanding the question is the only way to figure out an answer, right?

So here we go.

  • What am I doing here?
  • Can I really justify being at this fancy shmancy blogging conference?
  • Is blogging just a hobby or a real professional gig?
  • Can bloggers who write (rather than strictly review) succeed as writers? And I mean as real, legitimate writers?
  • How are bloggers really perceived by the outside world? Are they considered writers? Or as people who just write their opinions about products and what their kid just did in his pants?
  • How much skill is involved to succeed as a writer? Or is it more about persistence? Or luck? Or perception?
  • How much change can a blogger affect by writing? Is writing blog posts about something you feel passionate about enough? Or should you practice what you write more often, so to speak.
  • Do companies ever want to engage with bloggers because of their writing? Or do they want us for our readership? Or both?
  • How much do bloggers need to brand themselves? Is branding yourself the only way to create a perception that you are kind of a big deal? Does the writing ever speak for itself?
  • Does blogging spoil a writer? Is posting everything she thinks a bad idea (rather than work on an idea, expand on it, edit it, perfect it and submit it to something real)?
  • If a blog post falls in the forest, does it make any noise if no one is there to hear it? In other words, is blogging ultimately about readership and outreach?
  • Can bloggers succeed without being their own PR and legal rep? Or will we all be taken advantage of and wind up blogging for pennies in dingy basements never to see the light of a real, true, “I can pay my bills now” paycheck?
  • Does blogging ever give you enough return on your investment? Is it worth all of the hard work?
  • Which leads me back to my first question: what am I doing here?

BlogHer had every assortment of panel to sit in on and learn from. And so many amazing people were crammed into those rooms to attempt to answer some of these questions. Conversations were had in hallways, over meals at outdoor cafes, while recharging laptops, rumbling through town in taxis, up in hotel rooms sprawled out on beds and on top of cheeseburger shaped furniture.

Were my questions answered?

Um. Well. Here are the conclusions I’ve come to. For what they’re worth.

  • Blogging can be just a hobby. But it can definitely work to your advantage in your profession, whatever that might be. It’s up to you.
  • No one will hand you a writing career on a silver platter, no matter how many posts a week you crank out.
  • Blogging for and about stuff is most certainly not the same as blogging for the sake of writing. But both are blogging. And that’s ok.
  • Yes, perception (yours, your reader’s, the non blogging world’s) absolutely matters.
  • Writers get better by writing. So keep writing. Where ever, whenever. Writers also get better by reading so don’t forget to read and connect with other writers.
  • Companies really really like your readership. But. They might like the magic you write to make that readership come to you in the first place too. And they hope you can spin a spell about their stuff with your words. That is valuable. If you want it to be.
  • The number of comments or size of your readership is most certainly not an accurate reflection on the quality of your writing. At least that’s what they keep telling me.
  • Bloggers CAN affect change just by writing. They really, truly, without a doubt can. (And I adore all the women who tackled me to say so after I asked that question at a panel.)
  • Decide what you want from blogging. Then decide if pushing your own “brand” will then get you what you want. Bloggers blog for many different reasons so how you approach blogging does not need to be the same.
  • People should read your posts and hear your voice. Because blogging is not just about your writing but most importantly about conversations, connecting and reaching out to an important community.
  • Yes blogging is worth it for the friendship, the growth, the self-evaluation, the support, for so so much we just can’t put a price tag on. But is it worth it for the money? Um. No.
  • Yes writers can make money writing. Or so I hear.

So what am I doing here?

My blog is my home. It is my most comfy chair, with my most comfy blanket thrown over top, with a cup of cocoa, a really good movie on and my cat curled at my feet. I love it here. I’m not going anywhere. It is here where I will practice this concept of “writing” – I’ll kick it around, try it on, spin it in front of a mirror and see how it looks.

As for writing as a profession, I’ll just keep plugging away at other venues and see where it takes me – one itty bitty paycheck at a time.

So was being at BlogHer worth it? Yes, I think so. It’s breath-taking to be part of something so incredible with such a powerful voice. And I adored seeing all of my friends. It was as if my twitter stream had come to life – all of those avatars had grown legs and were passing me left and right in the hallway. It was kind of great. Plus I think justifying anything empowering for me – when I give myself so little most of the time – is totally ok.

Sure, I still kind of struggle with my blogging identity. But that’s ok too. Because the minute I get too comfortable I won’t challenge myself, I won’t grow, I won’t get better at any of it.

So, one more time, what am I doing here?

I writing. And connecting. It’s as simple as that.

21 Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z Giveaways

Consider this a summer time gift. And maybe a fun little “heads up” too.

We have another contest coming – another really big, BIG contest.

Remember when I reviewed the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z? If not, go take a look. Really. You’ll want to. Trust me…

Ok, remember that? Yeah well there are 21 blogs giving one of these PCs away starting now until July 24th. I kid you not. Check out the schedule for our giveaways here:

(Be warned however. Feel free to enter any of these contests but we don’t expect that one person will win more than once. We’re keeping track of everyone. So be cool, people. I’m just saying.)

An in case all the excitement made you miss it, Morningside Mom is on that list. So get ready. My contest runs July 7th – July 11th. Each blog will run their contest differently so I will post details about how to enter right before my contest dates.

And I hope you enter. I get a twisted kind of glee over giving away cool stuff to nice people.

Summer fun. There’s nothing better. So stay tuned.