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.
Thoughtsy, of the very giggle-inducing blog, Thoughts Appear, recently tagged me to answer 11 Questions. As I told her, I’m normally a party-pooper about these kinds of things, but since her answers were so funny, and 11 is my lucky number, it seemed like I should roll with it.
The Rules (which I Will follow…Mostly)
You must post the rules.
Post eleven fun facts about yourself.
Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
Tag eleven people and link them on your post.
Let them know you’ve tagged them.
Here we go! Oh and I’ve made this a drinking game. Take a shot every time I say the word a…or chipmunk. … A Chipmunk!
11 Fun Facts About Me
I really, really wish I could raise just one eyebrow at a time. I mean, I can’t grow a mustache, so it’s the least my face could do for me.
I panic and pass out when getting blood drawn. (Don’t worry. I still love vampires.)
I think feet are cute; I love me some flip-flops.
I spend a lot of time thinking about what holes in my body bugs crawl into while I’m sleeping.
I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge. But I’ve never been to DisneyWorld (or Land).
I was born 2 weeks early, on April 30th, just so I could guarantee that diamond would be my birthstone.
One of my favorite sounds is the sound of a can of soda being opened. It sounds like a contented sigh, like unbuttoning your pants after Thanksgiving dinner. Only fizzier.
I would give up any ability I have for the ability to sing.
I’m really good at shuffling cards.
Ooh. That reminds me. I can never, EVER remember the rules to any card games.
I think anyone who litters should have to face Voldemort. Or a dementor, at least.
As long as he’s not drinking my vodka, I don’t give a scratch where Waldo is.
5. What’s your favorite quote?
It probably goes without saying, but, “Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”
6. Name one food you’ve never tried…and don’t want to.
Durian, that crazy, stinky fruit that’s supposed to be one of the most unpalatable things in the world.
7. Do you believe in the tooth fairy?
If I say yes, is there any money in it for me?
8. If you could change your first name, what would it be?
I’d want to change it to something that would really mess with people. Like DUCK!!! “Mom, have you met my friend, DUCK!!!”
(I didn’t have another blonde moment and steal this joke from some comedian, did I? …Do you ever get those moments? No? Well…hey, now you know TWELVE fun facts about me: I am often paranoid about unwittingly stealing jokes…er…A CHIPMUNK!)
9. If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Allow me to answer this question with a picture (of A CHIPMUNK):
11. How much money would you need to quit your job for one year?
Enough to make you want to throw up in your mouth a little. I’m living well beyond my means, and if I must be more clear, know that New Jerseyians pay in annual property tax what many people pay in mortgage for a year. Commence reverse peristalsis barfing.
Now here’s the part where I break bend the rules a little. Instead of naming 11 bloggers who may or may not love me for doing so, I invite anyone who reads this to answer my questions (below) on your blog. (And please let me know if you do!) Or you can answer any of them in the comments section below!
Your 11 Questions to Answer (you know, only if you want to)
What wouldn’t you do for a Klondike bar?
Is it more important for someone to be nice or smart?
Do you think doilies make any occasion a fancy one?
Is it a deal-breaker if someone has bad breath?
What would you be embarrassed for your co-workers to find out about you?
If I told you I could draw your portrait, would you want me to? And would you pay me?
Do you think scorpions are scary? (Because THEY ARE.)
What kind of Chia pet makes the best Chia pet?
Do you think Zac Efron is as nice in real life as he seems?
I’ll be honest. I sensed in my heart of hearts that chipmunks young and old, or in that strange in-between age where you know you should stop making PowerPoint presentations about a certain “Glee” cast member but you just can’t seem to help yourself, and you genuinely wonder if maybe you never really embraced your childhood and you’re a victim of this unstoppable regression and pretty soon you’re going to start sucking your thumb and eating cake while smearing icing all over your face because you think it’ll get a laugh…wait….what was I saying? Oh, right: I knew bringing back slap bracelets was a shoo-in.
So I wasn’t surprised to hear from many of you once I announced my slap bracelet giveaway. After shipping out several dozen, I waited patiently for you to hold up your end of the deal – to send me a picture of you/your loved ones/pets wearing the slap bracelet(s) so I could post it on this very blog.
I was not disappointed. The pictures I’ve gotten so far are…well, you’ll see. I’m going to share the photos in installments, to ensure that you, and your blogs (where applicable), receive the adoration they deserve. To be fair, I’m posting them in the order in which they were received.
After you see this picture, I don’t think I’ll have to say much else to convince you Renee is a true guinea pig chipmunk, but you should also know that Renee is co-author of “Saving the Best for Last” and “Invisible No More,” which you can learn more about here. Not only is she an accomplished writer, but she is funny as all get-out, and much like slap bracelets, her humor transcends age.
I first spotted Peg commenting on The Good Greatsby‘s blog; she was always coming up with captions for his caption contest that were better than mine, as evidenced by her constant ‘winner’ and ‘runner-up’ status. It took me a little while to shove my ego aside and drink the Peg-o-Leg Kool-Aid. After witnessing a lively, and hilarious, competition between Darla and Peg over said caption contest, I poured myself a nice, tall glass. Peg’s blog always makes me laugh out loud. She really understands the power of illustrating a joke, which you need to see for yourself.
Here’s the message that Peg sent along with these fab pictures. Bottoms up!:
The slap bracelets arrived, and were a GODsend over the New Year’s holiday. Here are just some of the things that happened because of them.
1) My normally feeble morning coffee was definitely more robust and richer tasting when I was wearing the bracelet.
2) Its secret powers inbued me with the strength of will needed to tackle the dreaded post-Christmas task of tree put-awaying.
3) When my GPS went out on the highway, the magnetized core of the slap bracelet drew my hand to true north, thereby allowing me to make it to my destination safely.
4) No less than 3 college-age hipsters fought for the privilege of wearing the uber-cool slap bracelets of style.
5) As for my cat, Beeby, well…I won’t lie. She didn’t like them. Her response was something like “get this torture device off me, you sadist!”
So except for Beeby, it was all good. Thank you for saving New Years for the entire Peg-o-leg family!
I am new to Thoughtsy’s blog, but I can tell you right now I am falling in love. For one thing, she currently has a picture of a kitten inside a box of Pop Tarts on her Facebook widget; for another, one of her recent posts was dedicated to dessert-flavored vodka. I am really excited to learn about what else we have in common, and to find out more about her relationship with Kiefer Sutherland.
Thank you SO much, Renee, Peg and Thoughtsy! You have officially been upgraded to Chief Chipmunk status.
And believe me when I say – you are NOT going to want to miss the next installment(s)!