Melanoma Foundation of New England

Post BlogHer Post

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Well, I am back from a whirlwind weekend away at the blogging conference that is BlogHer and I haven’t written until now. It takes a lot of work to step out of our lives for even a little while, and while it is easier for me than for a mom with young ones, it was still challenging. I had (first time) sleep away camp to prep for (she packed herself while I was away – well, with help from Dad) and only forgot one thing which I actually had in the car. By the seat of my pants, I tell you.

Here is the thing, I started this post days ago and have hesitated to hit publish because I wasn’t expressing the over-riding feeling I have had from BlogHer. Gratitude. Exhaustion and Gratitude.

Sometimes I have a gratitude problem. It is true. Many of us do. It is easy to criticize, to correct, to suggest ways to improve on something (and I have plenty of suggestions for the organizers, if they care to ask), but here is the main takeaway:

I am lucky that I could go – it is an expensive trip and lucky that my family is supportive.

I learned things (about blogs, social media, conferences, expectations, how to present myself, how to give an elevator pitch).

I met interesting, kind and generous people willing to share their knowledge and experience at the sessions, on the expo floor, in a cab, in a restaurant. Everywhere.

I got to travel in a Blogher Bound bus (Thank you, McDonald’s) to an exciting place that I love and don’t get to often enough.

I won prizes. What? Prizes, you say? Yes. Prizes. Like what? Let me say that as a Blogher newbie, I didn’t even know there would be prizes. I had heard about the swag but really had no idea that it was anything and certainly not why I went.

But, what did I win? A $100 Best Buy gift certificate. I was walking down from the suites on the 42nd floor (TMobile, Hershey’s) because the elevators were so very busy when I got the call and I didn’t realize the expo floor was closing. By the time I got there, the super nice rep from Best Buy was alone in the almost empty hall waiting for me to claim my prize. So nice! Above and beyond, Best Buy! Thank you!

I also won a folding bicycle (a very sweet ride from Gotham Bike) from the lovely people at Advil for taking part in their scavenger hunt. It is really cool and I can’t wait for it to get here! I’ll take my own pictures when it arrives, and I think it has already been claimed by my children.

I got a ride with McDonald’s on their bus bound for BlogHer and learned more about them, and that was really nice. Thank you, McDonald’s.

More, yes, there is more. A $25 Pet Smart Gift card, and some Lysol products. bags, pens, notepads and zip drives. Am I done? Kind of. The stuff wasn’t why I went to Blogher but it’s what I tally when I get back. That and the stack of business cards I am still puzzling over (I did not write on them as I was advised to do. Next time I will).

I met people from Newton, Needham, Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, California and Canada. I enjoyed every conversation and meeting. I had two breakfasts on Friday, the one for newbies and one with McDonald’s. Here is a link to Honest and Truly blog and a transcript of the Question & Answer session at breakfast. I got a recharge massage at TMobile (their tech stuff is awesome).

I went to Getting Gorgeous, had my hair straightened (thank you, GG and CVS, and I love my Extracare card) and it held up in the humidity, and have some more great stuff there. Okay, I’ll share! Super cute dark wash boot leg jeans from Coldwater Creek that make me look smaller than I am, a pair of gorgeous shoes from Naturalizer, and a gift card from Diet Pepsi! There is more but I think that may be another post.

So…Blogher in NYC. Huge. Overwhelming. Loud. Crowded. Busy. Both the city and the conference, so imagine them combined. I like the chaos for a while (as the oldest of five, it is my natural state of being) but then I need a break which I took in the form of a run through Central Park on Saturday morning.central park imagine strwaberry fields nyc manhattan capability mom blog

It was wonderful to connect with bloggers from Boston Parent Bloggers some I met for the first time on the BlogHer Bound bus. We had plenty of laughs (especially at the rest area where seven other buses stopped at the same time, yes, I said seven) and we got to know a little bit about each other, and found out we shared some connections other than blogging (even though that would have been enough). I had a Martha’s Vineyard connection with one super nice, grounded blogger and learned about more about Kegels than I ever thought I would know), talked to another BPB Blogger who is running the Falmouth Road Race to benefit the Melanoma Foundation of New England (something I am into, too) and I met someone who is funnier than I am (it is rare because I think I’m really funny – ask my family).

Once we got there, it was super crowded and chaotic. The elevators were jammed and it didn’t help that FFaNY was in the building (all the rooms on our floor were shoe showrooms except for ours and one across the hall). What a confluence that could have been. Women with sore feet and 14 stories above people selling shoes. Next time, FFaNY, bring shoes to sell. Seriously. Twitter was full of people looking for other shoes because they only packed cute heels.

But I digress. The conference proper is kind of hard to tease out of the side events. While it was great to meet so many people with a shared interest in blogging, writing and playing nicely with social media, it it does seem like it should be easier to find and schedule things.

One of the sessions was so overcrowded (so great that so many people wanted to learn about turning posts into published essays) that I stood against a wall trying to find enough air to breathe, never mind trying to take notes. I think PhD in Parenting was there,too, but couldn’t confirm. That was my main celebrity sighting* and I’m not even sure it was her. I may have been lightheaded from lack of air.

As always, NYC is a great destination and there could never be enough city love time. I wish that some events were “off campus”, as in not in the Hilton (as nice as it is). It is a shame to not explore such a fabulous city.

Pragmatic Mom and I found a great local restaurant (Thank you, Hilton concierge) and had a wonderful dinner where we met some lovely shoe people from FFaNY. We may even have a shoe giveaway with them – Stay tuned!

Best things about BlogHer? The people, the sessions (although they need a better system), the location (more recess time needed if you are in the city), and the sponsors are interesting and varied, which is always good. I saw Advil, Clorox, Lysol, CVS, Verizon, Best Buy, Disney Jr, Poise, Dannon, Samsung and so many more. I’ll go into it later or this will be the longest post ever.

I liked connecting with people, brands, bloggers, seeing new things, learning something new (so like Martha), trying something new, and sharing it all. Did I love every minute? No, I am no Pollyanna. Some things were size and location related, some easy fixes, some more complicated. If you really want to know, comment below! I promise to share and even over share!

*Correction – I did get to see Jeannie Mai, host of The Style Network’s “How Do I Look?” She looked great. I was in a button down and a pencil skirt. Ehh.

Lest this post makes it sound like I was careening hither and yon getting swag, I was not. I went through the Expo Hall and stopped at booths where I engaged in a dialogue with brand representatives and happened to get lucky. I found great new finds and will write about them when I sort through the bag of note and paper…too much paper!

Keeping Safe in the Sun and A Great Giveway: Stylish Sun Protection

bulletin board posting at community boating boston capability mom blog
On the bulletin board at Community Boating Boston

community boating inc boston ma capability mom blogNow that my kids can (and do) apply their own sunscreen, mornings go a bit faster…okay, a lot faster. I know it adds time to your morning routine but it is so important to apply sunscreen every day. Here are a few other reminders and resources about the importance of sun protection.

SunAWARE is a sun safety awareness program from the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, the Dermatology Nurses Association and Melanoma Foundation of New England to provide SunAWARE™ education nationally. Great tips in an easy to remember format and just last week they featured an awareness day at Community Boating in Boston.

SunAWARE
Avoid exposure to sunlight, seek shade, and never indoor tan.
Wear sun protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year-round.
Apply recommended amounts of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sunburn protection factor (SPF) greater than or equal to 30 to all exposed skin and reapply every two hours, or as needed.
Routinely examine your whole body for changes in your skin and report concerns to a parent or healthcare provider.
Educate your family and community about the need to be SunAWARE.

Also check out Be Eye Smart in the Sun from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I know my dermatologist shares this suggestion: Wear a hat along with your sunglasses; broad-brimmed hats are best so much so that Krauss Dermatology (my derm) is giving away a super cute sun hat from and some Elta UV Pure Sunscreen – a gift set valued at over $70.

Plus, while you are entering the giveaway, you are also helping the Melanoma Foundation of New England because Krauss Dermatology will donate for every Facebook “Like” $1 to the MFNE. Enter to win and help out a great non-profit that helps educate and assists patients and their caregivers struggling with melanoma by offering free support groups, educational programs, and Billy’s Buddies, a one-on-one patient advocacy and support program.

Follow the easy directions below and you could win this very nice gift! Click on a Rafflecopter giveaway for more chances to win!

sunhat and sunscreen from krauss dermatology sunsafety giveaway and capability mom blog

Ready, Set…Go! Time to Make Summer Plans

Yesterday was a busy and fun day. First, a friend made me (it was 20 degrees out) run around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir (more than once) while our children did a great soccer program called Junior Academy at Boston College. My friend was so nice and encouraging that I didn’t feel bad that I was probably slowing her down (okay, definitely slowing her down).

After the session we went to the Teen Life Fair at the Mall at Chestnut Hill and so at least 20 neighbors and friends. What a tremendous resource for teens for community service, camps, internships and more. It was fun to connect with people and organizations that we know and learn about new places and opportunities. The Melanoma Foundation of New England had a table with a small covered apparatus that showed sun damage to your face. Umm, yeah. I think I need to make an appointment with my derm (Krauss Dermatology) who, coincidentally, is donating $1 for each Facebook like to their page to the Melanoma Foundation of New England. I know! Small world! I got a pencil and a nice lip balm and the girls took the no tan pledge (it may have helped that I let them see the amount of sun damage to my face in the screening area). You are welcome, girls. Everyone else, do something easy and good – Go like this page on Facebook – Krauss Dermatology. You did? Great, many thanks!

I saw so many people I knew there – like Lauri Meizler of Joos –  I got a nice and much needed pick-me-up from the Green Lemonade (I’ve tried them all – and once upon a time even did the cleanse).

Other great organizations there included The New England Baptist Hospital, REI, The Munroe Center for the Arts, Land’s Sake Farm and the Enviromental Science Program (known as Envi Sci) of Newton.

Teen Life partnered with several companies to make this event happen and the goodie bags were wonderful (each had a sample of Coach perfume, a lip balm and a YA fiction book) and were just right for holding all the paperwork and great information. Wonderful event – many thanks to all!

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