women

Post BlogHer Post

20120812-091118.jpg

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!

May Day…as in the first of May, not Mayday as in help…

although some days I do need an assist, this is about the celebration of May Day. No, not all the political worker stuff but the pagan celebration – that’s more my thing.

Photo: Wendell T. Webber

A friend is putting together a May Day Breakfast for our walking group tomorrow and I am making blueberry muffins from the Flour cookbook. No, they won’t be as good as Joanne Chang’s – no matter how closely I follow the recipe – that woman is magic – but I did a trial run yesterday with blackberries and the muffins were delicious (if I do say so myself) and I can make the batter today and bake tomorrow morning. I’ll let you know how they come out -I used fresh blackberries but wanted wild blueberries so I bought frozen packages at Trader Joe’s.

Here is the recipe – and yes, I did not have creme fraiche on hand yesterday and used Greek yogurt (is Joanne Chang reading this and freaking out? Sorry! Now I have three containers of creme fraiche in the house and ready to bake it the way you intended it!)

Blueberry Muffins

3 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (it calls for kosher – use it if you have it)

2 eggs plus 1 yolk

1 1/4 sticks butter, melted (I melted in in microwave and let cool slightly before mixing with the other ingredients)

1 cup milk (okay, I had 1% but bought whole for next batch)

1 cup creme fraiche (no idea yet how many containers this will be – bought three – thought two would be slightly under – yes, I do not do conversions so I have no idea and evidently guessing is risky in baking).

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup frozen raspberries (I used a handful of blackberries – some people in my family like their muffins berry-freeGreat recipe for picky eaters.)

1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and then add the sugar, butter, milk, creme fraiche, and vanilla.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and fold gently using a spatula.

Fold in the berries gently. The batter is a little lumpy but don’t worry.

Spoon into the muffin tin to fill the cups.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the muffin tops are golden brown and let cool for 20 minutes before removing the muffins from the pans.

Now I am off to make a Martha Stewart craft for May Day. You probably have everything already, too. Paper, ribbon and flowers from your garden. I have left over paper from a project, ribbon that I am compelled to save (Every holiday my mom calls out, “Save the ribbon!” Now I have to. It’s that ingrained now.) There are some decorative scissors somewhere in the house but don’t stress that detail. You aren’t really Martha, after all.

 

Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Flower Cones by Martha Stewart

 

 

 

Shopping for the Holidays with blogger extraordinaire, Pragmatic Mom

Last year, Pragmatic Mom and I shared a wildly popular (said modestly, eyes downcast) series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. This year we are a little more on top of things and are starting earlier.  We covered those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. How can you be your best centered self (not self-centered self) if you are distracted and driving around searching for gifts? We’ve got you covered. This was such fun and worked so well last year that we are formatting it the same way this year. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. We even have a giveaway thrown in the mix this year, too, from Botanical Paperworks – Check out their Green Gifts Guide and enter to win Eco Coil Calendar and Pop Garden Pocket Notebooks at Pragmatic Mom on December 4th and Poppy Notebook Pad and Mittens Card Set here on December 5th!

So here is a preview: The 12 Days of Shopping

Thursday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts

Friday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft

Saturday, December 3: Personalized Gifts

Sunday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Monday, December 5:  Tutors/Teacherscapability mom scrounges sales racks for tea towels from Sur la table and anthropologie

Tuesday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Wednesday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Thursday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Friday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List)

Saturday, December 10:  Pets

Sunday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Monday, December 12:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

 

A Mom’s Guide to Everything…really

That was my tagline when I started this blog because my intent was to provide a Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Foods, Outing, Playdate…yes, Everything. Well, I quickly realized that I was out of my depth. First of all, I started writing this when my youngest was 10 and by then my knowledge and advice was almost as dated as my mom’s (sorry, Mom). Two of my younger sisters were reading The Baby Whisperer and I had not even heLianne's Quick Guide hosted by Capability : Mom blogard of it (What happened to Sears and Leach?) and I was dumbstruck by how out of the loop I was. Plus, I really decided that I didn’t feel like writing about the how-to – Could I  even remember what an outing with a newborn was like?  So I changed direction and for a while wrote about anything that crossed my super hyper monkey brain. Then I settled down and started to focus (after a blog intervention by Pragmatic Mom at our favorite coffee/tea shop L’Aroma Cafe where I wrote her many wonderful suggestions on a napkin – I still have it somewhere).

I am glad to say, someone more capable than I has developed a guide for the new mom – or the not so new mom – it would make a great gift for grandparents, too! Lianne is a mother of four and currently living in a small village outside of Amsterdam (she’s originally from Canada). I only wish I had her Quick Guide when I had little ones! It is a reassuring read of the most basic questions and you can stash it in a handbag quite easily. I love it for the lovely, calm tone, the sensible answers, and thoroughness. All in all, a guide I wish I had written!

Here is an excerpt from her Quick Guide:

Babies 0-6 months

This booklet is full of questions & answers that cover almost all of the daily encounters that you and your baby will experience in your first 6 months. It is based on my experience and that of other mothers and should help you feel like you are not alone in this new and exciting but sometimes overwhelming world of motherhood.

Here are a couple of Questions & Answers that can be found in the booklet. I will change them periodically.

Newborn:

1- I have a baby!!!! What do I do with the baby during the first couple of weeks?

During the first weeks, the baby will be adapting to its new environment and will be sleeping most of the day and night. If she’s not sleeping she’ll be drinking and if she’s not drinking or sleeping then she’ll be looking around, usually quietly before falling asleep again.You’ll be changing her diaper regularly, bathing her and putting her clothes on (which can be time consuming while you get used to her little parts).You will also need a lot of rest – so take advantage of her sleeping time to sleep yourself.Your baby will slowly have more “awake” time and will start to engage with you and be more interested in looking around and exploring with her eyes.
>Link to 39, 42, 66, 70, 120

72. My baby is 6 months old and still not sleeping through the night…

By the time your baby is starting to eat solids there is really no reason other than habit that they should be feeding during the night. This can be a hard habit to break however. If you are sure that your baby has eaten enough during the day at this stage then you may want to experiment with letting your baby cry and fall back to sleep without a feeding… Try this for 3-4 nights in a row. They say 3 is the magic number in breaking a habit with small babies…

126. I find myself talking in a high-pitched singsong voice to my baby. Why do I do that automatically?

This phenomenon actually has a name called “motherese”. This helps babies learn to discern sounds and understand how our language is built. It also helps keep their attention while we talk since babies seem to respond better to higher pitched sounds. It’s an automatic thing that people do around babies. Don’t worry; it’s not permanent and totally natural!

51. Tips for sore nipples?

You can use 100% Lanolin cream or try soaking in a bowl filled with salty warm water or buy hydrogel pads (you can buy at a drugstore). You can also express a little milk onto your nipples (contains a lot of antibodies) and let them dry before putting your feeding bra back on. Try exposing your nipples to air as much as possible. If you are dreading the next feeding because of the pain, see your doctor and he/she can prescribe a healing nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman creates a good one that you can buy.

Lianne also has a lovely blog and she is full of energy and great ideas. Her tagline is Personal balance is my challenge. 

She is also so nice that she is offering a Lianne’s Quick Guide (Babies to 6 months) to a reader of Capability : Mom.  Thank you, Lianne!!

For a chance to win Lianne’s Quick Guide – Babies 0 to 6 months, please leave a comment below.

For additional chances to win, follow Lianne on Twitter, and like her on Facebook and leave a comment for each action below.
Winner will be determined by the super fancy plug-in called And The Winner Is…  and listed here. Lianne’s Quick Guide will be mailed to you. Lianne is offering this first booklet in her series of booklets, next up is lianne's quick guide to first aidLianne’s Quick Guide to First Aid and to Digital Photography (pre-mom life in digital photography and new media).lianne's quick guide to digital photography

1 2 3

%d bloggers like this: