#BlogHer13.

30 July 2013 | 9 Comments

I’m trying to wrap my head around the 48 hours I spent in Chicago and provide some kind of cohesive explanation for all of you.  I’m a little afraid that one doesn’t exist.  It’s kind of like a shitton of emotion, shoved into one little package.  A little package full of big ideas that leaves you reeling and completely exhausted in a good way.  Or maybe I should say exhausted in a you’re still mainlining coffee two days later sort of way.  I am a bit thankful that I had a wedding to be home for on Saturday.  And the wedding?  It had a llama delivering jello shots.

You can see why it was important for me to attend.

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Truth be told, I took a bit of a leap of faith in going to BlogHer by myself.  I mean, I knew people, but I didn’t know anyone.  I think even if you do have close friends at BlogHer, it just works out that everyone has their own schedule.  You have to be willing to walk into a room alone, say hello, and extend yourself regardless.  Something that my friend Sarah pointed out, can be really difficult to do, especially for those of us who sit behind a screen all day. 

With our imaginary internet friends.

I was incredibly fortunate that when I took that giant flying leap of OMG ALONE AT BLOGHER, the likes of Kate Canterbury and Fadra Nally and Tracy Morrison and Anne Hogan and especially Kristin Shaw and Zakary Watson were waiting with a hug and a smile and a hey, hang out with us.

There were introductions to people like Heather of the EO, who is such a kind, warm individual until she calls you an open-faced sandwich to your face... errr your Facebook.  I met Dani Faust, re-introduced myself to Barbara Jones, and talked shoes with Marie LeBaron.  I ran into Gigi Ross and didn’t get nearly enough time to chat.  I had a lunch discussion with a few spectacular women.   At one point, I was standing in a party checking my Twitter notifications from Elisa Camahort, one of BlogHer’s founders, I looked up and she is standing right next to me.  So, I stupidly blurted out, that I was just reading her tweet and isn’t that weird?

That right there is why I’m behind the screen.

BlogHer is a lot to handle.  I don’t think people share that.  They tell you about the squeeing and the fun and the parties and the sessions and the swag and the crazy people.  Or they tell you how awful something is or how things should be the way that they want them.  They neglect to tell you it’s a heck of a lot to deal with all at once.

A LOT of people and parties and socializing.  A LOT of information and learning and working.  A LOT of staring into faces that you know you should have names for, but that escape you for several terrifying moments.  A LOT of Tweets and cameras and non-stop everything. 

A LOT of sensory overload.   

And it’s also a whole mess of bloggers who just get you.  I didn’t once have to explain to someone why thirty or forty thousand people come here every month to read the things that I write… they already get it.  They know.  I didn’t have to answer questions like, “and they really PAY you to do that?” because these people, they already understand the value of what I do each day.  There is something strangely comforting in that, despite the sea of six thousand people washing over you.

Voices of the Year was by far one of the biggest highlights for me.

I laughed loudly, cheered my friends, and had tears in my eyes listening to Kelly.  These twelve writers are getting up in front of a thousand… two thousand? peers and delivering pieces of themselves in their own voice.  It takes balls. 

Huge ones. 

One after another, they just stood up and opened their words to our ears, to our judgment, and let us feel the weight of what they were saying.  I chided Casey on Twitter before BlogHer, but that woman, dear Lord is she amazing at a podium.  Zakary killed it.  When she delivered her last line, people around me were howling with laughter and the tweets began immediately. 

That is really what BlogHer was about for me, all 48 crazy, “A LOT” filled hours of it.  It feels great to be reminded that there are so many talented, supportive women in this medium I’m lucky enough to call work. 

Maybe later, I’ll write that post of tips, or talk about the swag, or about the fashion, or the brands who got it just right, or the things that could have gone differently. 

For now though?  I’m just going to let it be about the bloggers.

It Can’t All Be Queen Latifah + Roses, But It’s Close.

24 July 2013 | 5 Comments

Last week was kind of a goat screw. 

I’m going to go out on a new-agey limb here and tell you who is to blame. 

Mercury.  That’s who. 

Mercury being in retrograde just screws everything up.  Stuff was JUST. going. wrong. I didn’t write because I was in such a foul, overwhelmed sort of mood. 

But this week?  As of Sunday, Mercury is charging full ahead instead of lollygagging behind, screwing with us.  I’m almost afraid to say it out loud for fear I will squash ALL THE GOODNESS.  Kind of like how every single time I’ve said, “oh Finn is sleeping through the night!” or “Tate hasn’t been sick all winter!”  BAM.  You’re slapped in the face with a wet noodle of awake filled nights and toddler vomit.  Then, Dave is pissed at me, all because I had to go and jinx it.

So hey, lean in real close, and I’ll whisper it.  OK?  The freaking good stuff is coming out of the woodwork and smacking me on the head.  Mercury needs to behave all the time.

AWESOME SAUCE.

As if BlogHer itself isn’t awesome enough?  Queen Latifah, yes, QUEEN LATIFAH is hosting the Voices of the Year keynote and one of my posts, is an honoree.  I get to hear Zakary of Raising Colorado, you know my adoration for years of her incredibly funny writing, read at Voices of the Year.  And also?  It’s her birthday on Friday. 

Me:  Oh hey, ZDub, what are you doing for your birthday?

ZDub: Oh not much, just reading my post and making a couple thousand people laugh.  And hanging out with Queen freaking Latifah.  Like a boss.

{This conversation only took place in my head, but I will definitely be hugging the shit out of her on Friday.}

If you see this girl, the one in the first photo, be nice and say hello.  Unless I’m hyperventilating with a paper bag and look like the second photo… in which case you can avert your eyes.  Kristin at Two Cannoli has graciously pinky sworn she will step in if she sees me fall on my ass wearing heels or otherwise embarrass myself and create a diversion.  I’m holding her to it.  {Miniature photo-bombing Dave on my shoulder not included.}

 michelle cell tate abc 646 michelle cell tate abc 455

If you’re so inclined and want some good peeks of the conference, I’ll be Tweeting and Instagraming the hell out of BlogHer13. 

Who Cares About an Outfit? We Have Wine.

22 July 2013 | 6 Comments
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Saturday at six, we realized how quickly the day escaped us which is slightly amusing because my mom had the kids most of the day.  They were ready for dinner, so Dave made some quick quesadillas and fruit for them.  After, we went shopping because I am stupidly freaking about what to wear to BlogHer.  {Yes, yes, I know that is ridiculous but this is what I do when faced with the prospect of going to Chicago with five thousand bloggers, none of which I know very well.  Are you going? If you are, please say hi.} 

Tate proceeded to have a screaming meltdown right there in Macy’s. 

She didn’t want to ride in the stroller.  Instead of telling us that, she screeched like a wild banshee.  Oh, and flailed.  How could I forget the flailing?  A loud, screeching, flailing wild banshee.  Just what Macy’s was missing, right?  I wanted to crawl under the rack of plus size dresses I was flicking through.

It just went downhill from there and suffice to say, I might be naked in Chicago.  Prepare yourselves.

By the time Dave and I realized that we hadn’t figured out anything for our dinner either, it was nearly nine and we made a quick run through the grocery on our way home.  Dave was hangry {hungry + angry, it’s a thing} and I was frazzled.

Him:  Nothing sounds good.

Me:  How about steak?

Him:  I guess, but only because I can’t think of anything better.

Me:  We could do chicken.  Or pasta.  I’m going to make a salad.

Him:  Steak is fine, I guess.

We could have called it a day and neither of us would have minded.  We were tired.  And peevish.  We could have said screw it and gotten something to pop in the microwave, turned on Netflix and sat in silence. 

And we have, on days like this, done just that. 

Instead, we came home and put the kids in bed.  I sliced mushrooms and he opened a bottle of wine.  I set the table.  He grilled.  And somewhere between the salad and Pandora playing Ben Harper, we both laughed and agreed this needed to happen more often.  Minus the flailing toddler tantrum. 

What are your favorite date nights in?

Duel at Midnight.

15 July 2013 | 6 Comments

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Saturday night, Dave mentioned that before bed, Finn asked him to wake him up when it was really dark so they could have a lightsaber duel.

Why don’t you?

So, he did.

I am pretty sure Finn thinks he has the coolest dad in the universe.

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Friday Finest | 07.12

12 July 2013 | 3 Comments

Friday Finest

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Have you taken a peek at your Facebook privacy settings lately?  Oh, and hang out with me on Facebook too, won’t you??

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Parents, it’s hot, accidentally leaving your child in a car alone even for a short time could kill them.  No one thinks it will happen to them.  But it does, it happens to 38 children a year in the US.  READ these great tips from Julie Harrison about how to remember your child is in the backseat.

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When I had Finn and found out that I was having a c-section, I fretted about not having the birth experience that I wanted.  Then, my mom pointed out that getting him here safely was the priority.  Erika talked about that very thing this week, The Soapbox of Natural vs. Not

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I can relate, I am sure many of my blogging friends will as well.

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The Best Man was one of my favorite movies and now they are all back… including my fake boyfriend Taye.  I know where I’ll be on November 15.  Can not wait!

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Have a spectacular weekend!  Hope you’re up to something fun! 

Paper.

09 July 2013 | 13 Comments

I consider myself a techie-ish kind of girl.  A social media fan.  Pinterest is my happy place.  I know my way around my Galaxy SIII and I’m hoping for the SIV, just because.  At any given time, there are three laptops, a tablet, two smartphones, and a wireless router working overtime at our house.

My job is online.

My calendar is not.

My name is Michelle and I keep a paper calendar. 

Go on ahead and close your mouth, it’s true. 

I’ve thought a lot about this, the reasons behind it, and why it probably makes more sense for me to keep it online.  It isn’t like I haven’t tried.  I just keep going back to the tactile high that I get from turning the page to find a fresh piece of paper to scribble those appointments down.  The back to school aisle and the array of choices.  The colors.  The size.  Lined versus unlined, week versus month.  Everything right there at a flip of my fingers.

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Don’t even get me started on the pens.

Is your calendar online?

Sidewalk Chalk Party.

08 July 2013 | 12 Comments

We had all of Tate’s favorite party things… balloons, sidewalk chalk, ice cream, and as she exclaimed at least a dozen times, “happy birthday cake.”  As far as ideas go, it could not have been an easier party theme to pull together.  I picked up Chalk – A – Doos, these cute little chalk holders in the hope that it would be less messy, but she was covered from head to toe in chalk by the end of the day.  We had plenty of space open for creating and tables on the lawn.

The result?  A driveway filled with chalk art and a very happy two year old.

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My cousins came over a little ahead of the party to make this giant two on the driveway that she loved.  You can’t tell from the picture, but it was enormous.

chalk art

sidewalk chalk art Disney Monsters University hat

I kept the menu effortless.  Lots of summery salads that could be made in advance and burgers on the grill.  I am definitely going to do a post on the great broccoli slaw that my friend Mara passed along.  It’s really easy and everyone loved it.

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make your own sundae bar

 Modified Martha Stewart Cupcake Stand Chalkboard Sundae Menu

We kept the flavors for ice cream simple, vanilla and chocolate.  Then we went a little nuts on the toppings bar with candies and syrups and of course, ice cream sprinkles.  A couple days before, I pre-scooped all of the ice cream and put it into cardboard ice cream containers and kept them in the freezer.  I made a label that looked like chalkboard with the ice cream flavor on it and added a spoon with washi tape on top.  We just brought them out when we were ready to make our own sundaes and let everyone go to town.

Cute Cardboard Ice Cream Containers

The centerpieces were just mini carnations in Ball Heritage Collection jars.  Love the blue color, it was so pretty with the pink and peachy color in the carnations.  Again, ridiculously easy idea that we did ahead of time.

092 Ball Vintage Collection Jars

The bunting was just picked up from Hob Lob ready made.  I added scrapbook paper and letter stickers to spell out her name.  I also picked up the balloon sticks there so we didn’t have to mess with helium.

Party Bunting

For all of the signage, I downloaded a free chalkboard background from Foolish Fire.  James also has blue and green for free as well as some great premium chalkboard backgrounds.  I just made a jpg of each sign and sent it to Costco for quick printing.

chalkboard-happy birthday

{All links to products I used and loved are Amazon Affiliates which means if you buy something I recommended I make pennies!  Pennies, I say!}

Friday Finest | 07.05

05 July 2013 | 5 Comments

Friday Finest

4th of July

Hope you had a great fourth and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

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I am one of the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year honorees.  There were 2,600 entries this year.  2,600.  And only 3% get chosen. 

Complete shock would be an understatement.  And then I cried.   

There are some awesomely talented writers in that bunch.  I’m about halfway through the list of reading all of them. 

Give. is the post that is being recognized.

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My mom has this awesome Christmas tradition to get us all pjs as one of our gifts.  We look forward to it each year.  I know, I know… Christmas is a million months away, but think about these adorable freaking PJs for your kids.  You pre-order right now and Kristina will embroider their name on the front and send them to you in September/October.  Perfect timing for those Christmas card pics!  Oh, did I mention that you can also order them in doll size to match their favorite little friends? 

Awesome AND it supports a small business.

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This guy, you know, the one without kids, he gets it.  He really gets it.  On flying with kids

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He’s funny.  He’s adorable.  He saves animals.  I want to be Cory Booker’s girlfriend.  Don’t tell Dave.

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Could you travel with only your undies?  Check out this great Ted Talk from Jessi Arrington.

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Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer + Giveaway!

01 July 2013 | 66 Comments

You know that feeling when it’s sweltering hot and you feel that lotion pooling on the back of your knees when you sit in the car?  It really is the worst.

More sun exposure, leg shaving, and swimming means you can’t skip out on the moisturizer, especially in the summer.  But, it’s so hot here right now.  The very last thing I want to do is put on a thick lotion and then sit under the ceiling fan in my towel waiting for it to dry.  Who has time for that?  Then, you walk outside in 60% humidity suddenly you feel greasy or worse, sticky.

So, you can imagine that I was super intrigued to try Vaseline® Spray & Go Moisturizer (I got to try the Total Moisture® variant!).

Here is how it works.  You spray the lotion on your skin, then rub it in.  To apply, spray up, switch hands, spray down, and then rub in. And when I say rub it in, I really mean run your hands over it quickly.  It takes me less than two minutes from start to finish.  The mist feels cool and light going on.  It absorbs so quickly that, by the time you are done rubbing it in, you’re ready to put your clothes on.  I love how FAST it makes my morning routine.

Vaseline® Spray & Go® Moisturizer Vaseline® Spray & Go® Moisturizer

The bottle uses compressed air and it sprays 360 degrees, so you can spray over your shoulder to get your back too!  I was a little concerned that the spray nozzle would clog, but I am happy to report that there haven’t been any issues.  Vaseline has noted on the bottle that if this were to occur, you can run it under hot water to unclog.  I also didn’t have any overspray issues, but you probably would want to use a towel or bathmat to stand on as a precaution so you don’t slip.

I also use it on the wiggly toddler, who giggles and says it tickles.  She loves it so much that I have to mention another feature of the packaging that I love: the top twists and locks.  Great for throwing it in your bag AND for two year olds that want to spray themselves.

I also liked the Total Moisture scent.  The scent is light and clean and doesn’t compete with perfume when I wear it.  Your skin feels so soft--not sticky, filmy, or greasy in the least.    It also comes in Aloe Fresh with pure aloe and Coco Radiant with cocoa butter.  Both sound perfect for summer.  To learn more about these products, just visit their Facebook page.

Vaseline is giving one So Wonderful, So Marvelous reader a $1,000 SpaFinder gift card.  Just leave a comment telling me how Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer would maximize your morning. Entries will be pooled from participating blogs and one winner chosen.

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 7/1/13 - 7/31/13.

Be sure to visit the Vaseline® Spray & Go page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

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