It’s my favorite time of [the bloggy calendar] year! Time for…
The World’s Most Amazing Halloween Contest*
*according to me
The rules are always a little different, but the prize remains the same: A custom jack-o-lantern, designed and carved by yours truly. I base the design on you/your entry, and am so excited to see what this year will bring.
Sometimes Frankensteining (eh? Get it?) a recipe together goes awry, other times it blows your mind.
To enter the contest, simply tell me about an unusual food or drink combo you’ve invented or sampled. You can a) leave it in the comments section below, b) blog about it and link back to this post (note: this contest is open to everyone – not just bloggers!), or c) email me: Julie.Davidoski@yahoo.com.
I’ll pick a winner based on insanity originality – it doesn’t matter if the recipe fails or flourishes, just that you gave it the old college try.
A custom jack-o-lantern designed and carved by Go Jules Go.
Oh and Uncle Jesse says there might be an autographed picture in your future.
Monday, October 28th, midnight EST. Winner announced at 7am EST on Halloween, October 31st.
Once upon a time, I drove a sparkly VW convertible, Aquarius blue with a gray soft top and interior. By sheer nepotism luck, I’d scored a well-paying job in Big Pharma right after I graduated college, and in May 2005, I bought her.
Named for her annoying ‘alert’ sound, Nudge had a habit of wailing the instant you sat down without your seatbelt, left the door open, or felt too smug for your own good.
Now don’t misunderstand me: I hate to drive. No interest in cars. If I won the Mega Millions, the first thing I’d do is hire a chauffeur. But Nudge, well, she was special. A sign of independence, financial and otherwise.
Before Nudge, I had a series of hoop-dee cars. I never minded; I was grateful for my parents’ hand-me-downs, already used when they bought them, barely worth $1,000 combined by the time they were in my possession. I couldn’t stand the idea of high school kids getting brand new cars for their 16th birthdays. How would they ever learn the value of a dollar, or the thrill of gluing ‘NSync bobbleheads to the dash of their 1987 Chrysler Le Baron (“Toaster”) without consequence?
When Peppermeister (Current Husband) and I decided to buy a house in 2010, I sold Nudge and paid cash for a used 2006 Hyundai Sonata with a buttload of miles on it. Aside from being in my price range, it handled well, had great pick-up, 4 doors, and most importantly, unlike Nudge, excellent visibility. At 28 years old, it was my grown-up car.
Two weeks ago, I met up with a few lovely blogger friends for brunch: Rache from Rachel’s Table, Misty from Misty’s Laws, and Julie Maida from MaidaSomeArt. Julie had driven to Rache’s house in Delaware from Virginia, and Dash and I had come from New Jersey.
We traded war stories.
“So my heat knob’s not working now,” I began, as we I poured champagne and put Rache to work making delicious frittatas. “It used to work on the 1 and 4 levels, but now nothing. Which means I can’t use the defrost. Luckily, it was sleeting the whole drive here, so that was fun. I need warmer gloves,” I finished with the casual laugh of someone who knows all too well what it means to drive a car with the roof lining dangling on your head, loosely kept in place with multi-colored thumbtacks.
Julie replied, “Did you have a bottle of water, at least?”
I looked at her quizzically. She explained, “To thaw the ice. I took my husband’s car, and the windshield wiper fluid doesn’t work. And you know it was misting just enough where the wipers only smudge up the windshield. Luckily, I had a bottle of water in the car, so I tossed that on the windshield when I stopped to pay the tolls – which is also when I had to open the car door because the window won’t roll down.”
It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite hoop-dee stories. Peppermeister drove a real winner when we started dating in 2003: A 1987 Chevy Blazer. There was an issue with the lock, but he was able to open the doors with… a dime. A dime in the keyhole. A dime he kept hidden in the rust hole at the bottom of the driver’s side door.
Let me repeat that.
He opened his car using a dime that he stored in the rust hole of the car door.
What’s your favorite hoop-dee car story? I really can’t wait to hear.
A few weeks ago, I asked readers to submit wacky hat pictures, either hats they owned, or ones they designed. The winner would receive a jack-o-lantern (designed and carved by yours truly) and Sun-Staches mustache glasses, and the runner-up would also get some ‘stache glasses.
And now the time has come to announce the winner(s).
So. Let’s not waste any time here, Chipmunks. There’s candy to steal and kids to traumatize!
Congratulations, Ladies! Now, let’s kick this Monster Mash up a notch… Misty, here is part one of your prize, a custom jack-o-lantern from yours truly – featuring your favorite mac and cheese maker! (Wait for it…)
This will all make sense soon. If you know Misty. If not, it’s still cool. …Right? Well hey. Ha. I had fun.
While I designed this pattern, I used the Pumpkin Masters method of poking holes into the pumpkin to transfer the pattern. And no, they didn’t compensate me in any way to say that. In fact, never mind. I transferred this pattern using only the powers of my mind.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
There are So. Many. Jokes. about Cracker Barrel here. But I won’t. Because I love Misty. And mac and cheese is delicious, wherever it comes from.
Congratulations, Misty and Speaker7! I’ll be in touch via email to award you with all that is ‘stache-y.
Thank you so much for playing along, Chipmunks! This contest is one of my faaaavorite things. EVER.
Right now I’m imagining all of you charming little chipmunks scurrying around, cursing the copy machine, looking for your red staplers and hating The Man.
Meanwhile, I’m kicking off my first two-week vacation in a thousand years. Instead of doing this yesterday and scheduling it to publish at 6am EST today, I decided to write this post when I got up and see what happens.
Wow. I feel so daring.
In case you missed my fancy sidebar widget and my last post: I attended my first blogging conference, BlogHer ’12, on Saturday. I left bright and early to take the train from New Jersey into Manhattan, armed with ‘stache glasses and a lightness of heart only vacation time can bring. By 7am, it was already as hot as Hades, so I went to that special place in my mind. You know the place – it’s normally reserved for Second Husband and talking animals.
I was more excited than nervous. I’d met JM from Accidental Stepmom twice before, but was meeting Thoughtsy from Thoughts Appear and Misty from Misty’s Laws for the first time. Of course I worried I wouldn’t match up to their expectations (and maaaaybe stressed about all of the unflattering pictures they’d take and post on their blogs), but we’d
already established a bond online, and had the bloggy business in common.
At the Hilton, I registered and waited for Misty and JM to find me. Misty is anonymous on her blog, so I had no idea what to look for. A purple-clad vision of loveliness suddenly accosted me. Thank gawd for Misty.
She’d been there since Wednesday night and knew all the ins and outs. There were several sessions throughout the day, in different ‘break out’ conference rooms, as well as tons of expo centers where you could stock up on free swag.
After the gorgeous and altogether badass, JM, showed up, Misty said we should
skedattle to make sure we got seats in our lectures of choice. We split up and I went to a session on ‘branding your blog.’ Thoughtsy joined me there, and let me tell you she’s one sweet li’l chipmunk. First of all, she gave me these:
And THEN she gave me this:
I love you, Thoughtsy. Look how happy we are (we’re even happier later. In the bar):
I didn’t learn anything new in the lecture, except that I really need to start a Go Jules Go Facebook account. Apparently Facebook is the number one way bloggers get traffic and buzz. The other advice will probably sound familiar to you, too:
Be consistent both in voice and lay-out
Use the same name across all social media sites (if only that Mexican dude would give up his @gojulesgo Twitter handle! Por favor?). In other words, make it easy for people to find you
Keep your design/lay-out simple and fresh (no colored font on black backgrounds, I’m afraid, and no music playing!)
Don’t be self-depricating; believe people want to read what you have to say
The second lecture I attended was about when to spend money marketing your blog. The advice can be boiled down to:
Consider your time as money
When you find yourself spending more hours on marketing your blog than you can ‘afford’ to, it might be time to invest in someone to help you (if you don’t think you market, remember that every time you read and comment on another blog, you’re advertising yourself)
If you’re on a self-hosted platform (like WordPress.org), hire a web designer (it sounds like it’s a few hundred bucks)
After that it was time for lunch and guest speaker, Katie Couric. Katie defies the laws of nature; she is ageless. We were all the way in the back, so I didn’t hear much, but got to meet some other wonderful bloggers at our table (this is where the business cards came in handy!).
Thoughtsy, JM, Misty and I weren’t really interested in the next panel of ‘celebrity’ speakers, so we loaded up on swag instead.
This was my favorite swag piece. Uncle Jesse immediately claimed it as his own:
My favorite part of the day was hitting the hotel bar to chat (why do you assume I suggested this? Well… you’re right). We plopped down in a circle of comfy chairs around a low table; it was mellow and quiet – the perfect atmosphere for caring and sharing.
This was exactly why I came to BlogHer; not to network or take frantic notes, but to meet JM, Thoughtsy, Misty and a few of their bloggy friends. It was divine.
JM and Thoughtsy had to leave in the early evening, so I crashed a sushi dinner with Misty and the beautiful and hilarious Johi of Confessions of a Cornfed Girl. It was the perfect end to an altogether satisfying outing.
In fact, I even saw Michelle Williams on the walk back to the train station! We made eye contact and I should have said hello. We have history.
And now, as promised, I’m about to stalk the shiz out of you and your blogs. I love you. (I really do. Well, some of you. Some of you I just like a lot and we’re not there yet. But I bet we’ll get there if you compliment me enough.)
P.S. – I apologize on behalf of both NJ and NY to any out-of-towners visiting lately. Yes, it really IS this humid and NO, you are not inside someone’s mouth.
Misty really wants everyone to put their best foot forward, especially her family. She reminds people to stay on track (and out of stretch pants) in her always-amusing Friday fashion disaster feature, Weekly Whacked. For even more hilarity, check out this recent post that is as humorous as it is horrifying.
You may remember Erin from her recent victory as a runner-up in the GoGuiltyPleasures gift basket giveaway. Her guilty pleasure submission, along with her AMAZING photo accompaniment, were simply breathtaking. She is a true chipmunk.
And her cat, Alex, may just be one of the cutest pets I’ve ever seen. Even if he is trying to mangle the greatest fashion look since side-ponies.
More slap bracelet pics to come next week! By the way, I still have some slap bracelets left, so email me ASAP., a.k.a., As Soon As Perfection-interests-you.