Am I a Funny Girl?

It’s easy to #PartyOrganically with custom VitaFrute cocktails

VitaFrute cocktails logoI love coming up with my own cocktail concoctions, so when Veev asked if I’d be interested in checking out their new ready-to-drink VitaFrute cocktails, I was totally on board.

I received the whole product line, which is four flavors; Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Lemonade and the newest addition, Coconut Colada, which is made with coconut water! All of the flavors use an açai liqueur, which I didn’t find imparted a particular flavor to the drinks; it’s a pretty flavor-neutral liquor, so there are unlimited options when you want to start using the VitaFrute as a base for more fun cocktails!

4 bottle VitaFrute cocktails

While pouring straight from the bottle and drinking it is fine, I think the best part of VitaFrute is its versatility. My friends and I put together a little fruit bar over the 4th of July weekend, and everyone was able to make their own cocktail exactly the way they wanted it. Some preferred sweeter, some wanted more of a kick. There are so many options with VitaFrute, the sky’s the limit!

We tried *ahem* all sorts of variations, but this Tropical Strawberry Lemonade I came up with was definitely my favorite. We also talked about how delicious it would be as a float of sorts, with a scoop of pineapple sorbet on top.

PartyOrganically Veev VitaFrute cocktial Coconut Colada

Want to have your own #PartyOrganically celebration with VitaFrute? It’s easy, and I’ve made this handy chart to help you get started:

party organically vitafrute cocktail chart

If that seems like too much work, you can just enter to win the VitaFrute Ultimate Summer Party, brought to you by VEEV and Evite. It’s easy to enter on Facebook, and one grand prize winner will get everything they need to throw the Ultimate Summer Party for up to 30 friends! Check out the website for more details. Also, ten Runners Up will receive the “Ultimate Hostess Cocktail Kit” with a bar cart, mason jars, and more!

What are you waiting for? Enter to win the VitaFrute Ultimate Summer Party now! (And promise to invite me, OK? OK.)

vitafrute cocktail coconut colada

Keep in touch with VitaFrute by following them on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and by liking them on Facebook. You’ll be in the know for all the latest information about products and contests!

This post was sponsored by VitaFrute by Veev. I received products and compensation in exchange for this post, but all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

A selfie can change your life. Mine did.

selfie<– Not a life-changing selfie. Just a recent one in case we haven’t met yet, so you know what I look like for next week.

It’s a week until BlogHer14 kicks off, and this very blog turns nine years old this month! I didn’t have dates on my original posts, but I do remember that it was mid-July sometime.

Nine years.

I had been blogging along, writing as I felt like it, actually thinking I was late to the trend, for just over 5 years, when I came across something called Reverb10. It was a posting challenge that I found on Twitter, post daily for the month of December, in 2010.

I was home recovering from my second kidney transplant, so I jumped in and completed the challenge.

I met lots of amazing people in that month, and found my love of writing again.

And then, in January, 2011, I got an email from Rita at BlogHer. She had seen my “Roadmap of My Life” post, which featured, you guessed it, a self-portrait I’d taken.

syndicate on blogher email Hold up.

Someone will pay me for my words? WHAT?!?! Money? Just for saying stuff I think? On my blog? Are you kidding?

I didn’t even know it was a thing. Also, someone I don’t know is reading my blog? OMGWTFBBQ.

Fast-forward to BlogHer11. I’m getting a plane to San Diego, meeting these blogger friends for the first time. I’m still intimidated by many of them, unsure of what to expect, but excited at the potential and the prospects.

I had an amazing time, an the people I met there changed my life. I didn’t even realize that people “did” social as a job. Didn’t even know it was a possibility. For me. Coming home from BlogHer11, I had a new community, a new tribe, new friends. A group of us met for dinner one night, and we each laid out our plans, and brainstormed how we could help one another reach those goals, no matter how lofty. And about 8 months later, I was offered my dream job, doing social for a startup in San Francisco, and here I am today.

All thanks to a selfie.

9 tips to help you be a better blog conference attendee

I know there are lots of first-time attendees coming to BlogHer14 next week, and lots of nerves and questions being thrown around, with people looking for guidance and advice for all things conference going. These are some things that will help at most any blog conference you attend.

I wanted to share a few etiquette tips and suggestions on how you can be the best attendee when you’re in a session.

Here’s how many of the sessions go down:

5-10 minutes before scheduled start time: People are wandering into the room, finding seats, trying to find a place to charge their phones/tablets/laptops.

At scheduled start time, the speaker will say something along the lines of “We’ve got a lot to get to today, so please take your seats so we can get started!”

If it’s a solo speaker, he or she may just stand and wait; if it’s a panel, they’ll be taking last minute sips of water and cracking jokes to one another before the mics are live.

 These speakers have spent lots of time preparing the information they’re going to share with you, and I can almost guarantee they’re nervous. Even if you’ve donhow to be a better blog conference attendee tipse it a thousand times, it’s still nerve-wracking and no presentation is ever exactly the same. So how can you help make the session better, as an attendee? Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Turn off the sound on your devices. Ring tones, Twitter notifications, all of those sounds are distracting and, even in a huge ballroom, they can come across as louder than you might think.
  2. Don’t chat with your tablemates during the presentation. Again, you might not think you’re that loud, but there’s a decent chance the murmuring will disturb those around you, and possibly the speaker.
  3. Be aware of where you put your stuff. These conference rooms can get crowded with tables and people and stuff, so please pay attention to where you put your bags and other things when you sit down. Tuck them under the table at your feet, try to keep them out of the way… and personally, I wouldn’t put it on a chair next to me, because that’s just discouraging someone to sit next to you, and you could miss out on making a great connection that way!
  4. If you have a question during the presentation, make a note of it. They will ask for questions, but it might not be until the end of the session, and nothing is more frustrating than not being able to remember what you wanted to ask! (Voice of experience there)
  5. Also, when you do get the chance to ask a question, just ask the question; there are lots of people with lots of questions, so keep extraneous storytelling to a minimum. Introduce yourself, give your blog name, ask your question, let them answer.
  6. At a big conference like BlogHer, all of the sessions are recorded and live blogged, so when you do have a question, a “mic wrangler” will come to you so you can ask your question into the mic for recording purposes. Don’t start speaking until the mic is in your hand!
  7. If you want to connect further with the speaker, approach them after the session and hand them your card. Don’t take it personally if they can’t stop and chat right there; speakers are as busy as you are, and may need to get elsewhere. You can also ask for their card and email later if you need to. I know that I love hearing from people who were in my sessions post-conference.
  8. Use the provided hashtag for those who are following along from home. The Blogher hashtag is #Blogher14, but some sessions may also provide their own hashtags. It’s also nice if you tag and properly credit the person you’re quoting, so check for their Twitter handle. When I’m done presenting, one of my favorite things is to look at my Twitter mentions to see what really resonated with people, based on what they Tweeted from my session.
  9. Yes, there are people following at home, but please don’t Instagram every slide they share. They’ve put this presentation together for conference attendees, and while it’s great to share tidbits that really hit home for you, sharing everything that they put up on the screen is a bit much, and takes away some of the benefit of attending and some of the speaker’s currency from their content.

None of these things are challenging, most of them are general common sense, but it’s so easy to be overwhelmed, especially as a newbie who hasn’t attended a conference before. There it tons to learn and be shared, if you just open yourself up to it!

Do you have any tips to add? Leave them in the comments below!
Looking for general conference-going pointers? Check out my “BlogHer Newbie Questions: The Truth” post for thoughts from a few veterans, some thoughts on that social awkwardness we’re all worried about in “Overheard in the Twitter stream for BlogHer” and then you can read my post-BlogHer 13 roundup post, which has some info as well. (And yes, I’m bringing the Hugger and Not a Hugger buttons again this year. Just ask if you want one!)

 

I almost missed it. #SixYears

I wasn’t paying attention.
In the frenzy of days between Type A last weekend and BlogHer14 next, it nearly slipped by without notice.
And then, killing time on the train home today, I was reminded.
That app people use, Timehop, pulled up my choices for today, and there it was:

max homecomingOh look, a baby! Oh wait, that’s Max.

The first time I ever saw his whole face. No tubes, no wires, just Max.

The moment I saw this photo and it registered in my brain, I remembered it exactly.

Station 17, where the nurse had placed him in the isolette after I had walked right past her, not even recognizing the sweet baby asleep in her arms.

I was busy balancing a duffel bag and my camera, because we were “rooming in,” spending the night in a family suite at the back of the NICU, a last step in preparation of his coming home.

Six years ago today.

I’ve been blogging since then, you can read my homecoming posts here and here.

max in car

That night we were surrounded by family. We toasted with champagne and played pass the baby for hours. Because the fear was gone and we could just revel in the rest of our lives.

And I almost missed it today.

Because with each passing year, those 91 days in the NICU become a smaller and smaller part of who Max is in this world, and we are able to focus on today, and look towards tomorrow.

Because six years ago today, he came home.
photo-12

37 things about me for my 37th birthday

selfieI had plans to make this a video, but I’m a slacker. So instead you get a list with bonus animated gif.
In honor of my 37th birthday, here are 37 things you may or may not know about me…

  1. I hate mushrooms. I just can’t wrap my mind around eating fungus.
  2. I think BBQ potato chips dipped in cream cheese is delicious.
  3. I don’t eat meat off the bone… I don’t like being reminded that it was an animal.
  4. I have spent the last 10 or so years teaching myself to eat more foods. Unagi is my ultimate culinary goal.
  5. I’ve never seen Titanic.
  6. My signature karaoke song was One Week by BNL.
  7. I have a signature karaoke song.
  8. I’ve had a crush on Jamie since high school.
  9. I still do.
  10. My first “real” job was shoveling popcorn and tearing tickets at a movie theater.
  11. I’ve never been to Disney World.
  12. I can do this:
    hand-thing
  13. I’m tongue tied. (I won’t post a photo because it’s weird looking, but I’ll totally show you in person if you really need to see it)
  14. I refer to my red streak my “suburban mom rebellion”
  15. I collect antique cameras, specifically Kodaks.
  16. I had a mullet for a while in 4th grade.
  17. I also had floral print satin capri pants.
  18. I own 52 pairs of shoes.
  19. I spent more on my wedding shoes than my dress.
  20. I don’t like ice cream with chunks in it.
  21. I thought the parades and fireworks were for me until I was about 10.
  22. I was in a band and we recorded 3 CDs when I was in high school.
  23. I’d rather go to a chilly, overcast beach than a hot sunny one. This is good because Northern California.
  24. The first person who knew I was pregnant besides me was the cashier at a Taco Bell drive thru, and it’s part of why I think Taco Bell was such a big pregnancy craving for me.
  25. When we were in 5th and 7th grades, my sister and I could perform Les Mis in its entirety from beginning to end
  26. I’m a sucker for a dress or skirt with pockets.
  27. I love roller coasters, but didn’t go on an upside down one until I was 12, and I didn’t know it went upside down, but my 8 year old cousin was going, so I figured it couldn’t be too scary.
  28. I still remember the whole end of day ritual from my childhood day camp.
  29. I can do “You Light Up My Life” in ASL.
  30. I took four years of French in high school, and still try to think sentences in French when I’m out in the world.
  31. I lost my first tooth while eating a bowl of cereal with a fork.
  32. I need a manicure.
  33. I love to eat frozen peas. Cold little nuggets of deliciousness.
  34. The disease that caused my kidney failure, Goodpasture’s Syndrome, was mentioned on three episodes of HOUSE, but it was never the final diagnosis.
  35. I was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri when I was pregnant. Yes, that means “fake brain tumor” It’s totally a thing.
  36. My Girl Scout camp name was Derby.
  37. I have the same middle name as my dad, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather.

Not just any awesome kid, he’s my extraordinary kid

I’ve always thought that Max was extraordinary.
Even when the neonatologists stood alongside his isolette as he fought for breath, even as I was unable to look at his frail body covered in tubes and wires, I knew he was something special.
Born at just 28 weeks gestation, that 2 lbs 4.8 oz was enough weight to shift the axis of my world.
bestday2We’re incredibly lucky. He has had no long term effects of his early arrival. All of the scary statistics have bypassed us, and for that we are eternally thankful.
He amazes me every day.
He’s a reader and a jokester, loves sushi and recently discovered that avocados aren’t so bad after all.
His awe at the world around him is infectious, and it has made me find beauty in things I would otherwise overlook.
“Look at the sparkles, Mommy! So pretty! Sparkling like the stars!” He was talking about the sidewalk in front of Moscone Center when I took him to work with me.
“This is the MOST delicious grilled cheese ever, Mommy! Do you want a bite?” It’s the usual sliced cheddar on the usual storebought bread.
“Listen! Listen! I think I hear a bird! Or maybe a squirrel? Or a bear. It isn’t a bear, is it? It’s OK. You’ll protect me from a bear, right?” At summer camp in the redwoods.
And often, if I’m really lucky, I’ll realize how amazing he really is, and I’m able to join him in that moment. That bliss, that excitement, that joy of discovery.
And I give thanks for him.

My Extraordinary Kid

Things aren’t always perfect in this world, and kids aren’t always healthy… it’s hard to talk about, but there are people and organization doing amazing things when things aren’t perfect. Both Stanford Children’s Health and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital fit that bill; they’ve been the top-ranked children’s hospital in Northern California for over a decade, and they are the largest healthcare provider that focuses on children and expectant women . On a personal level, sweet glitter girl JLK received treatment and her family got the support they needed from Stanford, and I will forever be grateful for that. The heartbreaking reality is that kids get sick, but when they do, you want the very best care for them, and Stanford provides it.

Lucille Packard’s Your Extraordinary Child campaign is helping parents realize and appreciate how awesome their kids are, regardless of what else might be going on, because EVERY child is extraordinary.
If you head over to their Extraordinary Child site, you can make a video to share with your child, telling them just why you think they’re amazing. (You can take a peek at the video I made for Max right here.) Just click this link to go over and make one of your own; I’ll warn you though! Set aside a little time to do it! I got sucked into looking over photos from the last year or so, as I looked for the perfect ones for my video.

Your kid is extraordinary. Show them how much you enjoy every moment together by creating a special video of your own!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.