I arrived at BlogHer, the world’s largest conference for female bloggers, excited to write a parting post about how to find cheap, eco-friendly gifts to bring back to the kids as souvenirs of our time away in Chicago.
I was going to include this photo of the postcards and maps my husband brings back as gifts from his meetings in far flung places.
And I was planning to include this picture I took of the many great free maps and guides that could be picked up around Chicago.
And I even snapped photos of local “Chicago chocolate” in case some greenies just couldn’t resist the impulse to bring back more of a traditional gift for the kids – a little box of something consumable. Hey, at least it would be local and cheap (although not fair trade).
I never wrote that post – it didn’t seem appropriate at BlogHer. And I’m embarrassed to confess that I left the conference loaded down with “BlogHer swag.” (Swag= stuff we all get).
My children? They’re getting the Chicago maps and brochures I picked up at the train station. But they’re also getting a teddy bear, a DVD about puppies, and a book about Spiderman. My husband? He gets a new backpack (eco-friendly of course, made of recycled plastics). And me? Books, a T-shirt, and a new water bottle.
And that’s considered a “light load” from SwagHer. (I mean, BlogHer).
I didn’t really need any of this stuff except for the backpack. My husband’s backpack is hanging by a shoulder thread – he’s been putting off that purchase. The kids? Yes, they’ve wanted to visit Build-a-Bear, but I’ve never taken them. Now we have discount coupons and bears to “dress.” And me? All I really wanted was an autographed copy of my friend Jennifer Taggert’s new book, Smart Mama’s Green Guide. (Thank you, Jennifer!)
Call it the “herd mentality.” We follow others’ leads. And there were very few women at the conference who didn’t participate in the conspicuous consumption. At times the blow-out parties and swag made me wonder if it was ’99 instead of ’09. It sure didn’t seem like the Great Recession at BlogHer.
Hey, I knew my kids would love those teddy bears even though they already had bears at home. Everyone else was taking bears back to their kids! And they were blogger bears! And I was right, wasn’t I? Doesn’t Boo look cute cuddling that bear?
The notion of feting women bloggers, of celebrating their achievements, and of giving gifts to women who may not treat themselves to much in life (especially the Moms) – was heartwarming. But with so many extravagant parties and suites, the evening scene at BlogHer turned into a combination of Halloween trick-or-treating and Mardi Gras. And with so many sponsored bloggers interrupting others conversations to give a product pitch, heck, at times BlogHer seemed like a crazy reality TV show that was interrupted by sponsored programming! Don’t get me wrong…a lot of it was fun. Who doesn’t like parties? But somewhere, somehow, things seemed to become a bit…excessive.
Aside from the environmental implications of all “that stuff” we really don’t need, the other major impact of “SwagHer” was that for many women, all that time lining up to get into swag suites came at the expense of deeper conversations with the women we commune with online everyday. It’s sad that so many women left Blogher bemoaning the fact that they didn’t have time to really talk and connect with the women they met. What were we doing?
I think next year BlogHer will be different…many of us “greenies” — and even those who don’t consider themselves “green bloggers” have been emailing and tweeting about options for next year – everything from a new track within BlogHer to swag-free conference to a separate online or “in real life” conference. We’re in the brainstorming stages.
Still, BlogHer was a fabulous experience. Although I personally thought some of it was over the top, everyone is different. In fact, one of the great things about BlogHer was to see how diverse the blogging community is – something you could get a sense for at the “Birds of a Feather” luncheons. (No, it’s not all about Mom bloggers…And full disclosure, I’m co-authoring a marketing report about the conference with Maryanne Conlin, aka @mcmilker. )
Here are some pix of the fabulous women I enjoyed so much at Blogher .
Photo: Some of the Green Moms Carnival Members at BlogHer: Top Row, LtoR – Lynn of OrganicMania; Micaela of Mindful Momma. Bottom Row, L to R: Maryanne of Not Quite Crunchy Parent; Lisa of Condo Blues; Beth of Fake Plastic Fish and Diane of Big Green Purse. Missing: Sommer of Green and Clean Mom and Jennifer of The Smart Mama.
My trip to BlogHer was made possible by my sponsors. Last year I missed BlogHer. And as I blogged here, I wasn’t even planning to go to BlogHer until Stonyfield Farm approached me about a sponsorship. Getting to a major conference and back is expensive – especially for someone with a small business still in “upstart” mode. So a huge thank you to wonderful @StonyfieldSarah from Stonyfield Farm. It was great meeting you at BlogHer! And thanks to my other sponsors – my former client Mom Made Foods and Snikiddy, a local Mom-led company based right where I live and work in Bethesda, Maryland. Thanks to them, thanks to Blogher’s corporate sponsors, and thank you to the founders of BlogHer for pursuing an incredible vision of blogging community that has brought so much to so many.
See you in New York! I think we’ll all be treading a bit more lightly on Mother Earth at the next conference!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog | Wordpress Comments (8) |
Hear that groaning and moaning? It’s a long, low whine coming from husbands all over America as they realize that they get to watch the kids for a night or two – or even three – while the wives are away at the BlogHer ’09 conference in Chicago.
“What?,” he says.
“But I don’t remember you telling me!”
“Where is it on the calendar?”
“But I have a meeting..I have golf..I have…”
A few weeks ago I blogged here about how hard it was for me when my husband left town for a ten day business trip. I felt like a single Mom.
Paybacks are hell. (Evil grin).
Back in the rip roaring ‘90s, when I was single and childless, I was one of the “tech road warriors.” Flying across the country every week, I’d often settle in to my airplane seat next to some mild mannered middle aged man who was on the phone with his wife or kids.
Later we’d chat and he’d say, “Oh, my wife has it much harder than me,” as he mumbled “Diet Coke” to the flight attendant.
Sure, I thought dismissively, in my know-it-all 20-something way. She’s at home with the kids. What’s so hard about that?
Flash forward 15 years and now I know what’s so hard about that.
And I have a feeling that the men of America are about to find out what’s so hard about that too.
So here’s my first tip about helping your husband to cope while you’re away.
Isn’t that a gorgeous castle by the sea? Actually, that’s the view my husband enjoyed from one of the wonderful resort hotels he stayed in for 10 days while in Italy.
That photo came through on my iPhone just as I was finishing up dinner with our 2-year-old and 6-year-old boys. This was my view.
That’s the bunch of hair and dirt and spaghetti and feta cheese I swept up after our dinner.
I didn’t feel too great when I compared his view to mine.
My wonderful husband says he wants me to have fun in Chicago, he hopes I have a great time, and I can send him all the crazy photos I’d like and he’ll be fine with it.
But still…I’m not so sure. My advice? No matter how beautiful Chicago is, gals, don’t send your husbands pix of the great time you’re having while he’s dealing with your wonderfully mannered children who will be on their best behavior while Mommy is gone.
Check out OrganicMania tomorrow for more tips to share with your worried spouse as he prepares to be a single parent. And leave me a comment with any tips to share on how you’re preparing your spouse!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Blog | Wordpress Comments (5) |
Twitter was buzzing on Friday about a new BrandWeek article on the power of “Digital Moms.” Another Nielsen Online study was out, and I was thinking that I really needed to read it for the benefit of my clients… Imagine my surprise when just a few hours later I received an email from my green mom friend @mcmilker with subject line: You Power Mom – You!!
Of course, I was thrilled too, to be named to this list of influential bloggers. What a great Mother’s Day gift!
But Power and Moms? Those two words are rarely used together. The Moms I know all feel just the opposite – powerless. Powerless over the craziness that comes with raising kids. The unpredictability of a good night’s sleep, the near-certainty that if you purchase non-refundable tickets to anything, your child will fall ill…the sudden realization that once you have kids, you really can’t control anything anymore.
But the fact is, Corporate America knows the power of moms’ collective purchasing power. Nearly $2 trillion a year is spent by Moms, who control 85% of household spending, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition.
And where did I fit into all this? If anything, I’ve slowed my spending since leaving corporate America behind to start my consulting practice. But I spend a lot of time – on Twitter, through the Green Moms Carnival, during interviews, and here on OrganicMania and other blogs- advising women on which green and organic products are worth purchasing.
OrganicMania was included in Nielsen Online’s Power Mom 50 “mamaste” category of “mom bloggers who stretch beyond their spheres to explore going green, travel and spirituality,” along with fellow Green Mom carnival member Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom and several other bloggers I’ll have to get to know: Traveling Mamas, Mormon Mommy Wars, Travel Savvy Mom, More than Words, Mom of Faith, and Happy, Healthy Hip.
I’m thrilled to be a “Power Mom.” Thanks to all who have supported me on this blogging journey, especially my sisters-in-arms at The Green Moms Carnival and @GreenMoms. Check out Nielsen’s Power Mom 50 report here.
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog, Consulting Business, Green moms, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (7) |
Thanks to Stonyfield Farm, I’ll be heading out to my first BlogHER conference this July in Chicago. I’m not sure which I’m more excited about – finally getting the chance to attend the big BlogHER conference, or the sponsorship from Stonyfield.
Stonyfield’s PR firm offered me the sponsorship, which is actually in return for promoting their new yogurt, Oikos, the only organic Greek yogurt on the market. They sent me some product pix to feature here on OrganicMania.
So who’s that guy? Why is his photo posted instead of the product beauty shot?
That, my friends, is Gary Hirshberg, otherwise known as Stonyfield’s CE-Yo. And although I do enjoy Stonyfield Farms yogurts, I really love what Stonyfield stands for. As I blogged just yesterday, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years of studying the green and organic market, it’s this: organic does not always mean green and sustainable, and green and sustainable does not always mean organic.
But Stonyfield is an organic company that operates its business sustainably. In fact, Gary Hirshberg was an environmental activist and windmill maker back when he first got involved with biodynamic and organic farming methods. The company started buying carbon offset credits more than 10 years ago, before most people had even heard of global warming. They do great things like donate funds to one of my favorite organizations, The Environmental Working Group, work hard to reduce waste, support and mentor other sustainable businesses, conserve energy, and make sustainable packaging choices.
There’s all kinds of consumers out there. I’m the deep green type. Show me a company that’s making a difference, and I’ll gladly buy their products.
And now for the next question…how do I get to Chicago? Hmm….anyone have any connections to Amtrak? I have visions of another sponsorship…this one to promote rail travel as having less environmental impact than air travel.
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog, Marketing, Organics, Product Recommendations, Sustainable Packaging | Wordpress Comments (5) |
Be sure to check out the more than twenty submissions about green ways to clean at this month’s Green Moms Carnival on Spring Cleaning over at Tiny Choices.
— LynnFiled under Blog, Green Cleaning Products, Green Ideas & Stuff, Green moms, Green Moms Carnival Home Page & Calendar | Wordpress Comment (0) |
Many thanks to fellow Green Mom Anna Hackman of Green-Talk who felt moved to put together this tribute video to the Twittering women of The Green Moms Carnival in honor of our winning the Shorty Award for Best Green Content on Twitter.
The video is 5 1/2 minutes long and provides an introduction to 15 of the 30-odd women behind the Green Moms Carnival. Among us are authors, environmental activists, Moms taking a break from the workforce, businesswomen, marketing consultants, LEED-certified attorneys, green building experts, entrepreneurs, educators, and more. We are Moms and we are “Mothers of the Earth” — no children of our own, but a responsiblity to everyone’s children to leave the Earth a better place for future generations.
Anna is a LEED certified attorney – she’s not a marketing or video whiz, but she took it upon herself to create and execute this video. What you’ll see is proof of an enormous amount of goodwill towards the Green Moms community and all we have accomplished and hope to accomplish in our fight to leave a better Earth for future generations.
Thank you, Anna, thank you for your hard work, kind words, and thanks to all the other women of the Green Moms Carnival, and thanks to those who support, inspire, and encourage us in our work.
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog, Green Moms Carnival Home Page & Calendar | Wordpress Comments (2) |
UPDATE: SINCE THIS POST WAS WRITTEN, WE’VE LEARNED THAT IN FACT WE DID WIN THE SHORTY AWARDS COMPETITION! THANKS TO ALL WHO VOTED FOR US AND PLEASE JOIN US IN NYC FOR THE CELEBRATION ON FEBRUARY 11TH!
I’m just recovered from a late night of campaigning for a brand new award: the Shortys. The Shortys aim to honor the best content producers on Twitter. It appears my posse, my community, my gals – the Green Moms of the Green Moms Carnival ended up in second place among all the green twitterati on Twitter. It’s still a bit early to tell, but preliminary results make it look like the winner is Dr. Greene, whom we all adore anyway!
Thanks to everyone who voted for us.
Looking at some of the comments about why people voted was humbling. We’re so thrilled that you enjoy our tweets, learn from them and are inspired by them.
The Green Moms Carnival members are a very diverse group of bloggers who are united by our desire to help Mother Earth. Some of us are Mothers, some of us are child-free. Heck, we’ve even had some “Sons of Mothers” participate in our carnivals!
We’re published authors with popular books in the green space, stay-at-home Moms, law firm partners, business owners, grant writers, Sunday School teachers and non-believers. A few of us were at the forefront of the environmental movement 30 years ago, others came to understand the dangers of environmental degradation far more recently. Some of us blog for the sheer pleasure of it and refuse advertising on our blogs, whereas a few of us support our families with the money made through affiliate programs, advertising, and consulting.
We believe that together, our voices can make a difference in our collective stewardship of Mother Earth.
We thank you for your encouragement.
Members of the Green Moms Carnival: *
- Best of Mother Earth*
- Big Green Purse*
- Crunchy Chicken*
- Crunchy Domestic Goddess
- Eco ‘Burban*
- Fake Plastic Fish
- Foodie Tots
- Going Green*
- Gray Matters*
- Green and Clean Mom*
- Green Bean Dreams*
- Green Style Mom*
- Green Talk*
- In Women We Trust*
- La Marguerite*
- Milkweed Mercantile/Eco-Village Musings
- Mindful Momma*
- More Green Moms
- Non Toxic Kids
- Surely You Nest*
- The Green Parent*
- Tiny Choices
- The Not Quite Crunchy Parent*
- The Smart Mama*
*Denotes Founding Member
Please join us or help spread the word! (Please bear with us if we don’t respond right away…this is an all-volunteer effort ).
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Blog, Green moms, Green Moms Carnival Home Page & Calendar | Wordpress Comments (6) |
If you’re like most bloggers, you’ve agonized over posts, debated how often to ask for a Stumble, and analyzed your web traffic more often that you care to admit. All that time adds up – in fact, according to Technorati, about half of all bloggers spend more than five hours per week on their blogs. Five hours per week? Those numbers actually seem low when you think about activist bloggers – those blogging about a cause near and dear to their hearts.
We lose ourselves to blogging and social media because there we find like-minded souls who encourage us to pursue those causes most important to us.
But as you make new friends amongst the Twitterati and in the Blogosphere, don’t forget the real world outside your door.
Too often this past year, I neglected real world friends and obligations because of my fascination with this alternate universe. The fact is, as wonderful as cybersupport can be, it only goes so far. You still have to trudge to the 7 p.m. PTA meeting, organize the Green Group at your school or office, or knock on doors to elect a political candidate.
This morning, as my first act of ’09, I organized a meeting to help green things up around my son’s school. I’ve reached the point where I stopped blogging about green schools – a cause near and dear to my heart – because I felt I wasn’t doing enough real work in my own neighborhood.
What do you care about? What do you blog about? Now what do you actually do? This year, keep blogging, but make something real happen in your own neighborhood.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Happy New Year!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Blog, Holidays | Wordpress Comments (5) |
It’s the day after the election, and I figured by now I’d be exhausted from staying up so late watching the returns. Or perhaps I’d be practicing the remarks I’m making on Green PR at DC’s PRSA meeting tomorrow.
Barack Obama is not the only one who immediately turned his attention to setting the agenda for his administration. My group of green online activist friends is already planning how to best advance the green agenda in the next administration.
This morning I received an email from Big Green Purse author Diane MacEachern, who has become a good bloggy friend since her interview on OrganicMania. Diane was reaching out to all of the Green Moms Carnival participants to invite us to participate in a new online forum she created called “The Prevention Agenda.”
Diane is hoping to create an agenda (or series of agendas) focused on preventing environmental and human health threats, rather than just cleaning up after them. As she says, “My hope is that the forum will help create a groundswell of support for changing our approach to threats to human health and the environment. Hopefully, response to the forum will be strong enough to lead to a series of Prevention Agendas on specific topics that can be presented to the Obama administration before the inauguration.”
I immediately jumped online and registered (Member #1), posing a question about one of my main concerns: the chemical soup of ingredients that are allowed in our personal care products. You can read and respond to my question here.
The emails started flying. The Green Moms are charged up. You ain’t seen nothing yet!
Come check it out The Prevention Agenda. Because as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What do you think about this? Leave a comment and share!
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog, Cancer, Consulting Business, Green Ideas & Stuff, Green moms, Green Moms Carnival Home Page & Calendar | Wordpress Comments (4) |
I normally approach the Green Moms carnival topics with gusto. Global warming? I’m all over it. Back to School? Sign me up. But when my bloggy friend Karen of Best of Mother Earth asked the Green Moms to blog about gratitude, I paused. I procrastinated. As the days ticked by and the deadline passed, I found myself making excuses. I’m sick. The boys are sick. DH has been away on travel quite a bit lately. I’m behind. I have major deliverables for three different clients due within a few days of each other. Oh, and we’re bidding farewell to our well loved nanny of six years and transitioning my youngest into a part time day care situation. I’m stressed.
Busy, behind, call it what you will, but I wasn’t feeling particularly gracious or full of gratitude. Sure, I went through the motions. In our family, we say grace before the evening meal. We go to church Wednesday evening and give thanks again. And sometimes, when we don’t oversleep, we all make it to church on Sunday.
But the fact is, when things aren’t going the way you expected, no matter how good things are – no matter how much better off you know you are than so many others – it can be hard to feel truly grateful. By truly grateful, I mean something deeper, simpler and more profound than that twisted form of Schadenfreude that strikes Moms who think “Well, the whole family has been sick for two weeks but at least it’s not cancer.”
At times like this I think of my friend and rector Margaret Guenther, who in her many books has written about the need to be still. You have to get away from all the everyday madness before you can look inside yourself and have the capacity to truly think, reflect, and yes, appreciate.
Perhaps that’s why one of my favorite green things (back to the Carnival theme!) is to steal away to my CSA. I love the simplicity of the place. The clean garage stocked with bins full to overflowing of fresh, mud splattered produce. Sweet beets, stocky carrots, fresh baked bread and more. A chalkboard with the day’s share carefully written for all to see. Old fashioned hanging scales ready to weigh our shares. I always feel refreshed by the time I leave there, canvas bag filled to overflowing with biodynamic produce. It’s like a trip back in time.
But that’s just one green thing for which I’m grateful. The other two?
OrganicMania and the Community of Green Moms who participate in the Green Moms Carnival. Why? Because of the wonderful people I’ve come to know through both of these online communities.
And I know, I know…I have lots to be grateful for. It’s just that sometimes, it’s hard to stop and really, fully appreciate all that we have been given. But I did stop. Finally. And I do appreciate these three green wonders and so much more…
What about you?
Leave a comment and share!
And don’t forget to check out all the Green Moms carnival posts on Monday over at Best of Mother Earth.
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog, CSAs, Green moms | Wordpress Comments (9) |