Blogging Break is Over, New Year Seems Full of Possibilities!

January 8th, 2012

I’m soooo glad I took a long blogging break to enjoy Advent and the full twelve days of Christmas. We just wrapped up the holiday season yesterday – yes, that’s right, not until Saturday, 7th January …with a trip to see “Merry Madagascar” topped off by a Three Kings Day party with some old friends.

So now that the Christmas cookies and The Three Kings cake are eaten, I’m focused on new year’s resolutions. I tend to make the same ones year after year: lose weight and get more organized.

This year I decided to get more help in achieving my goals.  On the organizational front, I’ve actually hired a coach – and I start working with her tomorrow! I’m very excited about this. I’m hoping to organize my life in its entirety: family, work, spirituality and the greater Green good, physical activity / health /fitness  and then finally, me-time. (Yeah, I know…what’s me-time?)

Back in 2010, I blogged that I was going to “tackle the big one – weight loss.” I even started a twitter feed – @weight_loss2010.  Here it is, two years later and I weigh about the same. So what’s different? Why will it work this time?

I’m hoping that getting better organized – via the coach – will lessen my stress levels. I KNOW I eat when I’m stressed. I’ll eat a very healthy day’s worth of meals and then just completely blow it during the “witching hour” that every Mom knows so well. All it takes is a few handfuls of cookies or  goldfish(R) or a beer (or what the heck, all three!) at 6:00 p.m. to undo all those salads, whole grains, and lean proteins.

I’m trying a new twist on the online support I looked for with @weight_loss2010. With the encouragement of Sommer Poquette, aka Green and Clean Mom, I’ve agreed to join Shaklee’s “#Cinchspiration” campaign. I’m hoping that the combination of online support, Sommer’s infectious enthusiasm and winning weight loss results (22 pounds!) and a free initial supply of Shaklee’s meal replacement shake will be just the ticket to losing weight.

I also made a trip over the holidays to the Reebok outlet to finally replace my old, worn, holey sneakers.  And I also picked up two pairs of very cool work out pants, which I’m wearing right now, since I just returned from the gym.

And finally, as far as this blog goes, you can expect to see a greater emphasis on climate change. Time is running out to reverse the damage climate change has already inflicted – and the weather-related horrors that most leading scientists predict are yet to come. In fact,  “Resolutions to Fight Climate Change” will be the topic of our first Green Moms Carnival of 2012, which will run at Strocel.com on  January 23.

So stay tuned, enjoy the beginning of an exciting new year, and tell me – what are you up to that’s new and different in 2012?

– Lynn

Thanks Again to All Who Helped @GreenMoms #SaveGreenMoms

December 10th, 2011

Some of you know that we had a crisis with the @GreenMoms Twitter feed over the Thanksgiving holiday. It disappeared.

Poof. 72,000+ followers, just gone…in Twitter Hell Account Suspension-Land.  Which, it turns out, is a pretty mysterious place, without any instant communication – 140 characters or not.

It was incredibly frustrating to deal with this, especially coming as it did during our Black Friday carnival.  (We resisted the temptation to think our ill-timed suspension was a corporate plot to block our anti-consumerist messages on the biggest shopping day of the year! Although Lisa of Condo Blues did blog, “Does Twitter Hate Green Moms?”).

But thanks to a lot of support from our friends online  – one of whom, Maryanne Conlin(aka MC Milker), even intervened behind the scenes at Twitter HQ – and a diligent Twitter customer service rep, we finally got our account back on November 30th. On December 7th, I received an email from Twitter support explaining that @GreenMoms had been caught in a spam filter.

It was frustrating on a personal level, and frankly, scary on a professional level. I thought of the many Twitter accounts I’ve launched for clients – accounts that are now lifelines for many non-profits and green businesses.  What if a mysterious “account suspension” happened to them?   Or what if it happened to an activist relying on Twitter for communications during a crisis situation?

Much has been made of Twitter as today’s best source for breaking news and citizen journalism. But can Twitter live up to this ideal if well established accounts can be made to suddenly disappear, with no recourse, no response, no explanation for days? And what of the many organizations that have come to rely on Twitter as an integral communications channel?   As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Here’s where you can find GreenMomsCarnival on Facebook and on GooglePlus.  Here’s our Homepage, with listings of all of our carnivals. Our next one, on Green Gifts, runs Monday at Citizen Green.

BlogHer from Afar: BlogHers for Congress?

August 16th, 2011

For the past two years, I’ve attended the annual BlogHer blogging convention, but this August I was across the country in Manhattan, the site of last year’s BlogHer.

While I was too busy enjoying NYC to follow either #HomeHer or #BlogHer11, BlogHer was on my mind. At the Museum of Natural History, I sent twitpix of female science students to @WhyMommy, the woman who inspired this blog, and whom I finally met last summer at #blogher10.

I snuck a few minutes to google  “blogher + blogs,” and to email my green blogger friends, just back from BlogHer 11, to get the scoop.

As always at BlogHer, it appears there were some controversies. The “Anti-Green Movement of Bill My Parents?” – bad joke, overzealous marketing, or actually quite funny? Those Styrofoam plates – ditch them, Blogher! And the HuffPost women session? Whiners or honest sharings?

The fact is, BlogHer is as close as some of us will get to a slice of truly all American apple pie. No, BlogHer in some ways is not as diverse as America – it’s more affluent, more white, and better educated. But the fact is, it’s a place where for several days, in packed conference halls and on dance floors, women interact. The “Queerosphere” group of LGBT women is there, with their rocking party, open to all. So too are the  “Modern Marthas,” women who blog about  hearth and home. There are the Change Agents, radical Moms, activists who want to change the world. Then there are those who pack extra suitcases just for the swag, or come solely to  connect with brands. There are those who refuse to set foot in the exhibit hall because of the rampant  commercialism.  And there’s an entirely different world of private parties for those who serve as brand ambassadors.

But you know what? They all get along.

It’s a civilized gathering.

A joyful society. A respectful confab.

And as my train pulled into Washington, and I glanced at that beautiful Capitol dome, now a symbol of so much dysfunction, it occurred to me…Wouldn’t Congress be a better place if we got more of our BlogHers there?

– Lynn

The Royal Wedding Report: Awesome!

May 2nd, 2011

Yes, I was teased about my trip to London. I left my husband and the kids behind, begged forgiveness of my wonderful clients, and flew seven hours just to indulge a teen-age fantasy, as I blogged here.

“You’re crazy!” was the most common reaction I got.

But you only live once. And there’s nothing to measure mortality like the distance between royal weddings – 30 years. It was a joyful, happy, crazy, awesome experience.

Check out the following clip about the nighttime party atmosphere at Westminster Abbey – and let me know if you can spot me in this ABC News New York report.

 

More to come tomorrow evening…hope to get my pix up then!

– Lynn

He’s Darn Lucky I’m Not the #1 EcoMom, Top 25 Is Sufficiently Annoying!

April 5th, 2011

One of the peculiarities of the Mom blogger world is the near-constant parade of  Top Mom Blogger Lists. Immediately great debate ensues among the bloggers about who’s in, who’s out, if the award is bogus – a mere SEO ploy – or actually, a great honor.

So late this afternoon, as I relented to my kids’ whining for a snack while at CVS, I checked my phone for emails, and burst out laughing.

Here’s what I read: “Your blog OrganicMania has been nominated to the  Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms list on Circle of Moms! This is a great opportunity to gain new readers through our audience of over 6 million active users.”

I sure didn’t feel like a Top 25 Eco-Friendly Mom as I gazed over my phone at this image:

 

Can you see what he’s eating? That processed, assuredly non-organic and fully bovine hormone laden bright orange cheese stuff packaged with three crackers, all enshrined in a plastic tomb.  (Probably from the same lot manufactured back in the ’70s, the last time I ate this particular snack).

Why couldn’t I have received the email while I was at the CSA? At least I wouldn’t have felt like I was caught cheating in the act of attaining EcoSuperMomDom.

“Why are you laughing?” my son asked.

After I explained about the email, he got to the heart of the matter: “So are you number one?”

“No,” I responded, noting that (at that time) the honor was reserved for my pal Tiffany of Nature Moms, one of the real-deal original pioneers of Green Mom blogging.   “And you’re lucky I’m not number one.”

“Why?,” he asked, genuinely surprised.

“Because the Number 1 EcoMom would never let her son eat that processed stuff!”

At that time, I was somewhere in the top 25, but as word is spreading, the field of nominees is growing rapidly. (That’s how these ranking contests or honorary lists or whatever you want to call them work).

But if you’d like to help me stay in the top 25 (which I do confess I think would be kind of cool), you’d make me smile again if you went right here and voted.   Thanks! And on a serious note, do check out some of the blogs you may not be already be familiar with…there are a lot of women out there doing some amazing things to green up their lives.

 


– Lynn

A Valentine’s Ode: The State of My Love Affair with Blogging

February 12th, 2011

This Valentine’s Day, the @GreenMoms of the Green Moms Carnival will be blogging about ….affairs of the heart and blogging. Why do we blog? Karen asked us, “Where does all this voice and passion come from? Why do we do it?”

I wish that like Karen I could simply blog about my love for blogging, about how OrganicMania opened new doors, introducing me to a wonderful community whom I never would have met otherwise. Like a starry eyed lover, I could dwell on my blog’s good points: creative release, fun, self-expression, and service to others.

But that would be only half the story. We’re no longer in the throes of first love, as on Valentine’s Day 2008, when this archive shows I blogged nearly every day.

The desire is still there, the bloggy thoughts come, but now other loves beckon. I can tweet my thoughts more quickly, and without an empty page staring back at me as I write. 140 characters: so easy!  I can post a Facebook update in a second and soon see the friendly faces of old friends as they respond.  After three years, my bloggy friends are real friends, and like all friends, we call, visit and email – all without visiting each other’s blogs.

The demands of everyday life can be overwhelming at times, making a personal cause-related blog seem like a luxury I can ill afford.

I’ve thought about quitting, leaving my blog behind. But everytime I’ve thought about it, the blog nearly instantaneously – magically – delivers an incredible gift that makes it impossible to leave.

Increasingly, I look at OrganicMania as an old friend rather than a new love, one that will always be happy to see me when I find the time to visit. And one that’s not jealous of my new companion – my second blog.

Or so I hope.

Check out the other bloggy love lorn posts over at Best of Mother Earth on Monday – Valentine’s Day!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2011

Towards A Better BlogHer

August 15th, 2010

As someone who blogged last year about SwagHer, decrying Blogher ‘09’s excessive  swag and pushy promotions, I feel compelled to report on the atmosphere at BlogHer ’10.

What a difference a year makes.

It’s to BlogHer’s credit that they actually practice what they preach – they listened to the community’s feedback and implemented changes that vastly improved the feel of the conference and resulted in some noticeably greener changes.

Was it perfect? No. But as I told those who complained to me, BlogHer is not a green conference.

Here are just some of the improvements at BlogHer ’10:

Pur Waterphoto

1. The water stations were clearly visible (much more so than last year), as were the water bottles. (Thanks, P&G).

I especially liked the bathroom rugs that the organizers placed under the water jugs to absorb the water overflow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had discussions with event organizers about how to handle the “drip” problem. Bathroom rugs? That’s a cheap, simple, green solution that anyone can implement.  Now we just need P&G to figure out how to recycle those water filters, like Brita does — (thanks to the Take Back the Filter action campaign led by blogger Fake Plastic Fish!)

2. Sponsors were barred from accosting approaching conference attendees to ask, “Would you like my swag wonderful sample of ….?” “Can I interview you about how much you love my wonderful brand and how we will change the world?”

Playskool

Of course, in the expo center, that kind of thing still went on at BlogHer ’10. But if you choose to step foot in the exhibit hall, you need to expect that the exhibitors will approach you and try to entice you with swag, giveaways, contests, etc. That’s the deal. If you don’t like it, don’t go to the exhibit hall.

3. A Swag recycling station (sponsored by P&G) was a big hit.

swagexchange

Even more swag could have been exchanged if it had stayed open a bit later (or if attendees had been warned that it would close up late Saturday afternoon).

4. I’m not sure if it was the conference lay-out or the way rooms were assigned, but there seemed to be far less of the “swag trick or treating” atmosphere that prevailed last year.

And as I’ve previously posted, I had a great time at BlogHer ’10. I’m looking forward to returning to next summer’s BlogHer ’11 in San Diego. But I hope to see some further “greening” of the conference.

What improvements would I like to see at BlogHer ‘11?

1. I had a hard time swallowing the “BlogHer Goes Green” slogan when there was no effort made to offset the carbon footprint of the conference. Many (most) conferences I attend offer carbon offsets,  and it’s something BlogHer could easily explore and probably even find a sponsor to cover for the attendees. In fact, last year  Michelin offset the travel for the attendees at the green session.

2. I’d like to see a diverse committee of BlogHer attendees offer a “swag vetting” service for BlogHer sponsors. (And yes, these women should be compensated for their time – not expected to volunteer).  Through a swag vetting service, sponsors could get early feedback that a proposed  giveaway would be a dud. Think of the time, money, and resources saved, as well as the improved blogger relations that would come from gifting a truly appreciated token rather than a spurned offering.   Does the Salvation Army really need all those leftover Jimmy Dean alarm clocks? (But believe it or not, I brought mine home for my son to replace his broken Thomas alarm clock!)

3. On the same note, BlogHer should re-evaluate the all-conference giveaway bag. Frankly, that’s where most of the discarded waste bound for some hapless homeless people came from!

4. BlogHer sponsors could run more experiential programs with attendees rather than offer gifts.  Some sponsors excelled at this, notably Liberty Mutual Insurance and their PR agency Ketchum, which offered a media training program for bloggers; Ecco Shoes, which pampered attendees with free pedicures; and P&G with their hair styling and make-overs.

makeoversP&G

But there’s still room for more creative experiential marketing programs with bloggers.    How about a leisurely brunch for the late owls who could never make the 10 a.m. breakfast cut-off (including yours truly?) What about some fresh fruit or veggies at the Recharge Lounge?   Or a goodbye brunch? How about  keeping the dance floor pounding all night long? I didn’t want Sparklecorn’s dance floor to close at 11 p.m. – did you?

5. Sponsors would profit from exploring more sustainable gifts. There is an enormous variety of creative, upcycled, recycled and fair trade gifts which would be unique and appreciated by the conference attendees.

6. I’m hopeful that next year, with the conference in California, we’ll see organic food and local, sustainable wines for conference goers to enjoy.

7. BlogHer could encourage sponsors to offer women an option of swag or donations to a crowd-sourced social change project or pet cause.Imagine the real impact of BlogHer if we were able to opt out of swag and reallocate those dollars to The Afghan Women’s Project, Tutus for Tanner, The American Cancer Society or Breast Cancer Fund, Bloganthropy, or another cause dear to the BlogHer community?  With 3500 attendees projected for Blogher ’11, and an estimated $100 per person spent on swag (my own  arguably conservative WAG), we could take funds otherwise spent on “sponsor gifts” and donate $350,000 to causes that make a real difference to our community.

After all – wasn’t that the real message of the keynote? Did you not hear what Gloria Feldt and Marie Wilson said? Women have power. We have economic power. And our voices matter. So what are we doing with that power? Mr. Potato Head or a Crowd-Sourced Cause Donation? Think about it.

And for those who say it can’t be all or nothing, fine. How about letting attendees opt in or opt out of swag from specific brands? That way those bloggers who take samples for review purposes are happy, brands’ products continue to get exposed to new audiences, so they’re happy, and we should all be happy because perhaps we could get to a near-zero waste conference – where we’re not expending resources to ship leftover  notebooks, plastic cups, alarm clocks, and paper – oh, the paper! -  to the Salvation Army.

NoNestlephoto

There was a lot of controversy about the Nestle sponsorship. It led to the boycotting of the conference by some speakers and attendees, and to silent action coordinated by PhDinParenting, who through her blogging, increased  BlogHer community awareness of Nestle’s violations of the WHO’s  International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.   I proudly wore one of the #NoNestle stickers that Crunchy Domestic Goddess handed me.

crunchydomesticgoddess

But to hold BlogHer’s founders to that same standard is not realistic. BlogHer is not a private endeavor. It’s not a B-Corporation. On the contrary, BlogHer is a rare example of a successful venture-capital funded start-up led by a female management team still comprised of the original founders. Jory des Jardins, Elisa Camahort Page and Lisa Stone don’t air their business issues in public, but take it from me – someone who worked for venture backed tech start-ups for years – these gals must be under intense pressure to grow revenue and show profit. They can’t turn away the big bucks that a company like Nestle offers to the conference.

Instead, BlogHer took Nestle’s money and paid for incredible speakers and a wide range of progressive programming. But BlogHer’s not a green or progressive conference, per se. And that’s not all bad. Because while I admire my deep green blogging buddies, I don’t want to spend my time preaching to the choir. I want to move people along the spectrum from light green to a deeper shade of green – and that’s best done by mixing at a conference like BlogHer, which appeals to a very diverse group of women from across the spectrum of ideologies, income levels, religions, and races.

What did you think about BlogHer? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

The Top 10 Things I Loved About BlogHer

August 9th, 2010

I had a great time at Blogher. Some people in my circles asked why, given all the controversy about the Nestle sponsorship and the excessive, sometimes reckless consumption which marred BlogHer ’09.

So here’s why. Here’s a list of the Top 10 Things I Loved About BlogHer.

  1. It’s the only time I get to see my tribe: the members of the Green Moms Carnival and the many other bloggers whose work I respect so much. I tweeted that I was up “partying” with The Smart Mama, Condo Blues, Fake Plastic Fish, Mindful Momma, and The Soft Landing. But actually, we’re a little nerdier than that. Sure we love to party. But you can do that anytime. Looking up municipal water tables and calculating the amount of time a glass of water stays fresh before bacteria breeds? I just can’t do that with my friends at home in Bethesda!

Siel, Jennifer, LynnphotoGreen LA Girl Siel, left; Jennifer Taggert of The Smart Mama and Yours Truly Relaxing After a Session

gmcphoto

Ok, Ok, this pic was taken last year at BlogHer ’09. Can you believe we don’t have a group shot from this year?

2.   I loved seeing all the women. It’s a very special experience to be at a conference for women, by women, particularly if you’ve worked in fields, like I have, where there are few women on the conference circuit.

doppelgangersphotoDoppelgangers? It’s been said that Alicia of The Soft Landing and I look alike. What do you think?

3.  It was a better BlogHer than last year from a sustainability perspective. Would I call it a Green Conference? Or even say, “BlogHer Goes Green?” Uh….no. But it was a huge step in the right direction. And I’ll have more to say on that in my next post.

swag exchangephoto

4. Great speakers. My favorite this year was the ending keynote. When I listened to the beautiful 70-year old Marie Wilson of The White House Project and Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was inspired.  Her vitality made me think,  “Wow, I’ve only just begun. I’m not so old after all. I have a lot yet to do and to give.”

MarieCWilson

5.  The Babies of BlogHer

6.  Great dancing. The dance floor rocked. How often do most of us get out dancing? Uh…never. (Except for my recent college reunion!)

7.  Pampering.

8. Never being asked to stop tweeting.

9.  Interesting people. The opportunity to strike up conversations is right in front of you all the time. Every woman there has a story. What’s hers?

bloganthropy photoWith Debbie Bookstaber, co-founder of Bloganthropy.  (Thank you, Corolle dolls for your sponsorship of Bloganthropy!)

10.  Wonderful venues. New York, of course, was amazing. So was Chicago last year (my first BlogHer conference). And next year, BlogHer ’11 will be in San Diego. I’ll be there. Will you?

newyorkphoto

– Lynn

Copyright 2010

The Babies of BlogHer: The Second Annual Round-Up

August 9th, 2010

In the second of what I hope to be an annual series of posts, I pay tribute to the Babies of BlogHer. Last year, I attended my first Blogher conference, and I marveled about how I’d never attended a conference with babes-in-arms. I spent twenty years working in the tech industry, where women at conferences were definitely in the minority. Babies? Fuhgedaboutit!

photo1_babyJoGreepHow appropriate that the first pic I snapped was of a doula – @outtajo aka of JoGreepChildBirth

As I blogged then,

Much has been written about BlogHer. How over-the-top everything was.  The big sponsors. The huge bags of swag. The blow-out parties.   The larger-than-life amazing, inspirational speakers. The networking.  It’s true – all of that was amazing.

But what really blew me away was something much smaller.

The babies. The babies of BlogHer.

They were everywhere you looked.

Though there were fewer than last year, the sight of all those gorgeous babies with their intrepid Mamas still blew me away.

photo6_babyatblogherunidentified

One of the first Mommy-Baby duos I snapped, Jen from Baby Making Machine and her Lil’ J were gorgeous! Those flowers make Lil’ Baby J look like a tropical goddess! (She’s only a month old!)

This year, I tried to include name tags in photos so that I could link back to the Mamas’ sites, but I’ve still fallen short! If you can identify one of the anonymous Mamas, please leave a comment so we know who she is!

EmilywithbabyBeautiful red-headed Emily (of ??) with her little sleeping moppet.

When I asked why there seemed to be fewer babies than last year, I was told it was because of reports about a baby being bumped at Blogher ’09. What a shame. BlogHer is a great place for babies, and I hope to see even more of them at Blogher ’11 in San Diego! (Particularly BlogHer co-founder Jory des Jardins’ baby!)

MorraAaronMele&friendwbaby photo

Morra Aarons Mele, right, and The Mama Bee with her adorable baby

Did I spot your baby? What was it like to bring your baby to BlogHer? Would you recommend it to other Moms? Leave a comment and share!

And if I snapped your pic, and it’s not posted…check back. I’ll be adding more to the post (including my own tykes) but I want to get up some other posts too! Oh…and real work!

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

The Babies of BlogHer

July 31st, 2009

Much has been written about BlogHer. How over-the-top everything was.  The big sponsors. The huge bags of swag. The blow-out parties. The larger-than-life amazing, inspirational speakers. The networking.  It’s true – all of that was amazing.

But what really blew me away was something much smaller.

babyphoto

The babies. The babies of BlogHer.

They were everywhere you looked.

I’m old enough to have  graduated from college at a time when I thought I needed man-tailored suits, a leather briefcase, and  short hair to make it in the Big Apple.  My first byline was the androgenous “L.A. Miller,” lest I appeared like a “Southern Belle” for using my full name – Lynn Anne Miller.

I remember being one of the few women in the room at most of the 300 or so conferences I attended during my years in corporate marketing.

I’ve never, ever been to a conference with babies.

It was amazing.

Amazing to see women free to pursue their own interests, all while caring for their babies.

mombabyphoto

So now you know who I am. I was that woman running all over the place taking pictures of the babies of BlogHer. I wish I had captured them all. But here are eight of the wonderful babies of BlogHer, some pictured alongside their smiling mothers.

If you recognize the babies (or their mothers) please leave a comment so I can add a caption to each picture. (Or similarly, if you would like a picture to be removed, just let me know!)

babymomphoto

mom-and-baby-photo

baby-5photo

baby6photo

baby7photo

photo8

baby4photo

This last picture is of my Big Boys and their Dad at the airport, soon after my return from Blogher. After looking at all those little babies, it  made me realize that my boys truly are not babies any more. They’re growing up much too fast.

familyphoto

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009