Archives for June 2011

The CleverDuo Takes On The Evo Conference!

By this time next week, I’ll be packing and prepping to take off to the Evo Conference in Park City, Utah. It will be the first time I’ve ever left the kids this long (3 nights, 4 days), and believe me, I’m looking forward to it!

Eating without having to share my meal. Having a conversation…with other grown-ups!…without constant “Mom, mom, mom” interruptions. Sleeping in. Okay, that last one? Is not gonna happen – from what I understand, you don’t get a whole lot of sleep at these conferences because of all the fun you are too busy having. I will be having FUN, people!


By now, you probably know that Gigi from Kludgy Mom are representin’ Clever Girls Collective at Evo, and that we had a few surprises up our sleeves. Maybe you have seen our #CleverDuo tweets or remember me talking about it in my post about how Clever Girls Collective has given me the opportunity to work with some AMAZING brands, and get paid to do it.So let me tell you the details of what the Clever Duo has in store for everybody attending Evo…

Saturday morning, Gigi and I will be manning a table at the Evo ’11 Meet and Greet Breakfast.This will give us a chance to talk to attendees about Clever Girls and why both of us love being a member of the Clever Network so much that we actually begged pitched them to let us represent them at Evo!

We are also going to collect business cards of attendees interested in becoming a Clever Girl, take some video clips of what being a Clever Girl means to them or why they want to become a Clever girl, and oh yeah, did I mention we were gonna giveaway an iPad2 after the conference?

No? I didn’t already mention the iPad2? Well, guess what…if you’re going to Evo, you could win an iPad2!!!

So, how do you win? Simple. If you are at Evo, find the Clever Duo (remember, that’s me and Gigi!), introduce yourself, hand over your business card, and let us film you telling us what makes a good Clever Girl. That’s it! That’s all you have to do!

And after the conference, the iPad2 winner will be selected randomly a week or so after we get back from Evo.

Cool, right?!

If you are attending Evo, we will be looking forward to meeting all of you current and potential Clever Girls! If you aren’t attending the conference, you know I’ll be tweeting all about it like crazy!

Disclosure: Yep, Clever Girls is sponsoring my trip to the Evo Conference, but you know that all opinions expressed are completely my own. I honestly LOVE being a Clever Girl myself, and am both proud and honored to have been selected to represent them at Evo!

Why Aveda Doesn’t Suck (Even Though I Told All of Twitter That They Do)

Back in April, you probably don’t remember, but I threw a fit on Twitter after receiving some exceptionally crappy customer service from Aveda.

Here’s the short story: A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law gave me an Aveda gift card for my birthday. I had it in my wallet, must have switched wallets at some point, and completely forgot about the gift card. In April, I found the wallet and the gift card and thought: Perfect timing! I need to get my hair did and so I can use the gift card towards the cost!

So I jumped on the computer to find the salon’s phone number. And then found out that they went out of business. So I called another Aveda salon and was told that they don’t accept gift cards from other Aveda salons…huh? I was then told to try to call Aveda headquarters to see what could be done to help me.

I called headquarters and spoke with someone who was very nice. She really was. However she basically told me (obviously not in these exact words) that I was screwed. Turns out that each Aveda salon is individually owned and operated. There were many customers in my same boat and Aveda (the real Aveda, not the individual salons) couldn’t possibly afford to give us all our money back or make another salon honor the card since they didn’t get the money for it. My only option? I could try to sue the owner of the individual salon that had went bankrupt.

Um, here are my issues with all of this:

1. What the hell kind of customer service is that? They wouldn’t honor half of the card’s value or even have something as a way to say sorry?

2. Every Aveda salon I’ve ever walked into looks the same, offers the same services and products, is all Aveda-branded…how would I as an everyday consumer have any idea that it wasn’t Aveda I was handing my money over to?

I very nicely told the headquarters lady what I thought, she again apologized but could do no more for me. So I told her I would go ahead and share my story with everybody on Twitter. She got nervous then, but I said goodbye and hung up.

And went to Twitter.

After ranting and raving for a few minutes, I was contacted by someone from Aveda on Twitter. Someone who was actually very helpful! She went out of her way to try to find a salon who would honor my card, and ensured me that she would make it right.

And she did! She ended up sending me a variety of Aveda products and I’m more than happy with the outcome.

Nope, Aveda is not paying me to say this. Nope, they didn’t ask me to share this with you. But I wanted to also make it right on my end after slamming them on Twitter.

Aveda is back in my good graces now, and I will continue to visit their salons and buy their products…and I would recommend that if you haven’t tried them out, you really should! Every time I use their products, I feel like I’m at a spa!

So Aveda, thank you for helping me, for your incredibly fast response to me on Twitter, and for your amazing Digital Community Manager who bent over backwards to help me.  AK, I’m looking forward to meeting you at the Evo Conference next week!

To all of you, follow Aveda on Twitter @aveda, on Facebook facebook.com/aveda, and check out the Aveda website at aveda.com.

Also…who is on your Free Pass list? My Free Pass List post was such a hit that people wanted a linky for it! Write about your Free Pass List and come link up this week!

Klout: What Is +K and How Does It Work?

It is no secret to anybody that I have a huge crush on Klout. I tweet about it, I understand the basics of it, and I help promote it. I don’t know why, but I was drawn to it and have so much fun with it that I want everybody else to like it too!

I have already told you about what Klout is and how you can find out your score. I also told you all about Klout Perks and how you can get free stuff (I’ve gotten wine and gift cards!) simply by spending waaaayyy too much time on Twitter (my first love).

And then it started happening: people started looking at me for answers to their Klout questions! And people started telling other people to ask me about their Klout questions! I was ecstatic and so excited to be able to help people understand Klout!

Until Klout introduced “+K“. Because guess what? I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand what it was all about, why it would be important, if it affected my Klout score, or what the big deal about it was.

description of klout +k

Now here’s the lowdown on Klout’s +K that you probably see tweeted throughout the day. You might see a tweet saying “I just gave @xxxx a +K about (whatever) on @klout” and then a link to the +K. It would look like this:

(From @AKludgyMom): I just gave @mommyofamonster +K about klout on @klout http://t.co/uZPBXUN

Super cool, but what does it mean is exactly?

Another thing that so many of us don’t understand is how Klout decides what we are influential about. I was influential about “Minnesota Twins” and “Disease”, though I never blog or tweet about either thing! I wasn’t even sure that the Minnesota Twins were a baseball team!

So I went to the source. So many of you had questions that I couldn’t answer with 100% certainty. I reached out to @meganberry (Klout’s Marketing Manager), who had read and promoted my post about Klout Perks. I asked if she would be willing to answer some questions for me, and she said yes!

So here are your questions, and Megan’s answers.

@angiekinghorn: Would love 2 know the point of K+, and how that relates to Klout Perks.

Megan’s answer:
It allows users to vouch for their peers’ influence in topics. For example, if my friend gave me great marketing advice I might want to give them +K on marketing.

Klout Perks often do rely on topical expertise so as we move forward +K will be one of the factors we use to judge topical expertise.

@shellthings: Does it change our Klout score?

Megan’s answer:
It currently does not change your Klout score, but our team of scientists are looking at the data we get from it to determine if we should add it in (and how) in the future.

@mommyneedsvaca: I just signed up for Klout. When will I get topics that I’m influential about so others can give me +K? How is what you are influential about it calculated?

Megan’s answer:
It depends on your level of activity. We look at tweets that receive engagement for topics (i.e. get RTs or @messages) so some will get topics sooner than others.

@Mrs4444: How is what you are influential about calculated? Is it by certain words, hashtags, etc.?

Megan’s answer:
We perform semantic analysis on the tweets that get you the most engagement and then assign the tweet back to a higher-level topic. If you see a topic that doesn’t seem right you can remove it and our topical analysis will get smarter.

So there you go! I probably became influential about “Minnesota Twins” because I blog about “twins”!

Now another question I’ve been getting a lot on Twitter is “How do I give somebody a +K?”

It’s really easy!

1. Go to Klout.com and log in (or create an account and then log in).

2. Type in the Twitter name of the person you would like to give a +K to (example: If you wanted to give Megan Berry one, you would type her Twitter name “MeganBerry” into the “Enter a Twitter User Name” field at the top right of the screen.

3. Once you see the person’s profile that you want to give a +K to, you will see a section towards the top right that says “Influential About”…click “see all” and you will see all of the topics that Klout says that they have some influence about.

4. Once there, you will see to the left of each topic a “Give +K” button. Click on that and you just gave your favorite tweeter a +K! You can also tweet or share on Facebook that you think they have influence about  particular topic in the box that pops up after you give the +K.

*You can give up to 5 +K’s a day, and you can give them all to one person on various topics or spread the love around and give them to 5 different people. You DO NOT have to give +K’s away everyday, and whether you do or do not give them out, it will not affect your own Klout score.

Thank you again Megan (and Klout!) for your awesomeness and for taking the time to answer these questions…it really helps the entire subject of +K make WAY more sense!

For more information, visit Klout’s introduction to +K page, or if you have any questions about Klout or how it works, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will get you an answer!

Also…who is on your Free Pass list?My Free Pass List post was such a hit that people wanted a linky for it! Write about your Free Pass List and come link up this week!

Monster Mommy Moment – Kirsten Style

 MommyofaMonster

I am excited to have one of my favorite tweeters and readers sharing a Monster Mommy Moment with us…Kirsten from The Kir Corner!

Kirsten is honest, funny, down to earth, a wife and mom to twin boys. I think we were automatic friends because she understands my pain! I love her sense of humor, her genuineness, and if (when) we meet IRL, I know we will hit it off immediately.

So please help me welcome Kirsten so she can share her Monster Mommy Moment with us.

If you’re not sure what a Monster Mommy Moment is, you can read all about how my weekly feature came to be here.

Go grab a cup of coffee and a donut, ahem, I mean a low-fat muffin, or depending on the time of the day maybe some wine and chocolate, and sit back and enjoy the story!

———-

Ever since Natalie started doing Monster Mommy Moments, I’ve been quietly cataloging a list of them in my life.

The list is LONG my friends.

The times I’ve neglected, yelled too quickly or often, lost my temper and spanked (Yep I do it) or choosing my Evo Shift over them. All of these objectionable actions leave me guilt ridden and sad because I waited a long time, pushed through the hell that is infertility and In Vitro to bring home the sons that would complete my family.

You would think that I would be more grateful or patient or selfless, it turns out that even all that couldn’t save me from Monster Mommy Moments.

Six months after I went on bed rest and three months after my sons were born, I put a skirt and heels back on and walked back into the workforce. Sure some of it was financial, “me working” was a “smart decision” for our family financially but I bigger part of it was that I wasn’t cut from a cloth that espoused a stay at home status. I liked being needed, I liked working, and I knew my limitations with myself.

I commute and work with my husband, this gave me more time with him every day, and daycare was giving my sons, every single day, everything they needed to become social, to develop and thrive. Sure, I missed them, but I found such joy in picking them up each day, walking in to new milestones being hit alongside gummy smiles.

A true and perfect compromise for all of us, right?

So they grew, went from babies, to toddlers, to now, wow, preschoolers.

3 year old twins

Tantrums

Opinions

They fight our authority and make their own conditions, which change from one moment to the next.

Which, finally, gets to my Monster Mommy Moment, that happens, *ahem* every day.

I think I’ve established that I spend a lot of time out of the house.

(I wake at 4:30am, we ALL leave the house before 6:30am, John and I work, we pick up our sons around 5pm and we go home.)

I love having dinner with my sons, even when it’s a game or pushing and pulling, cajoling and bribery. Which honestly, it so often is

Sigh

So at about 7pm every night, I make an announcement that I am “going upstairs” and I do.

I take an hour while I leave my husband downstairs with my sons and I ignore everything.

I put our clothes out for the next day, I straighten rooms, I check my email, just one more time, I might “tweet”, but many times I just, um, “HIDE”.

I turn on the TV, I wash my face, change my clothes into my PJs, I wash my face and brush my teeth, I might pick up Entertainment Weekly or In Style and get lost in an article, movie or book review. I might peruse my DVR queue and spend some time with “The Glades”, “Covert Affairs” or “Drop Dead Diva” but I don’t call for those boys until I’ve settled in myself.

Selfish, right?

Not very “motherly” at all
I mean I spend more than 11 hours away from them daily and then I want Just.One.More?

Yet, here’s what I know: I love my boys more every single of the day, I believe that knowing my limitations and taking those moments for me give much more back to them as people, it cuts down on the OTHER Monster Moments of yelling and lost patience, it teaches me to look forward to the sounds of little feet pounding up the steps, yelling “Mommy” to me.

A sound I’ve waited my whole life to hear.

Thank you Natalie, for letting me share my Monster Mommy Moment with all your wonderful readers. It’s always fun to be in your space, I feel so honored to be here. Xo Kir

———-

Kirsten, thank you for sharing your Monster Mommy Moment with us…and for reminding us all that taking time for ourselves is not only natural, it’s necessary…and I think most moms would agree it is required for us to keep our sanity! I couldn’t even imagine working outside of the home, being a mom, AND trying to make time for myself. Kudos to your husband for giving it to you.

Now go swing by The Kir Corner and say hello to Kirsten, and if you’re new there make sure to tell her that I sent you. I know you’ll really enjoy her blog!

I’m also over at my friend Allison’s place Mama Wants This answering all kinds of questions for her Guest Star post! Thank you Allison for asking me, it’s an honor!

Also…who is on your Free Pass list?My Free Pass List post was such a hit that people wanted a linky for it! Write about your Free Pass List and come link up this week!

Monster Likes #24

Photobucket

Every Saturday, it’s Monster Likes time! I list my favorite selection of posts I found throughout bloggy land over the past week.

If one of your posts is listed below and you want the badge, just shoot me an email or leave me a comment and I’ll send you the badge to put on your post!

And now on to the good stuff….

Tonya over at Letters for Lucas had a hilarious post about things overheard at the park. I swear it’s like she was with me and my kids!

KLZ at Taming Insanity stepped outside of her normal writing style and wrote a post that took my breath away and gave me chills. She’s one of my blogging friends I’ve none the longest, and I love everything she writes (she might even be more sarcastic than me!), but this one moved me.

Julie at by any other name wrote one of the most moving posts I’ve read in a long time! Bring tissues 🙂

Nichole from In These Small Moments wrote a post about her BEAUTIFUL daughter…and the picture is breathtaking!

Naomi (as in CoolWhipMom) wrote a hilarious post about camping over at Aiming Low…HILARIOUS people!

Ilana over at Mommy Shorts has a weekly Caption Contest where she hosts a picture that a reader submitted, and then everybody has a chance to come up with a caption for it! (You might remember Lila giving The Business and the PERFECT caption for the picture!) This week’s picture is so funny! I laughed out loud…head over there now and see if you can come up with the perfect caption for the picture!

This is one blogger who doesn’t need any help getting traffic, but OMG! Did you read The Bloggess And That’s Why You Should Learn To Pick Your Battles? No really, go read it now. I seriously had tears rolling down my face.

Over at Confessions of a Dr. Mom, Melissa is sharing tips on how to get your kids to take medicine…my kids HATE taking medicine, so her post was right up my alley! I stumbled it and bookmarked it too!

Last week, I told you about how you can support our troops overseas simply by clicking on a Taste of Home recipe. I want to share another way that you can help, and it’s just as easy (and doesn’t cost anything!). From now through July 4th, Gillette will donate $1 for every picture or story posted to Facebook about a service member…that’s up to $100,000 to the USO! All you need to do is visit Gillette’s Facebook page (or bitly.com/ShareAStoryUSO) and share your pride in a salute, message, photo or video about a loved one in the military. The post can be a message, a military headshot or a personal story. Please help spread the word about both of these amazing projects!

Yesterday, I wrote a post about my Free Pass List and by popular demand, I created a link-up! So if you’d like to write about your Free Pass List, make sure you link up!

And if you like s’mores, check out my current giveaway for your chance to win everything you need to make s’mores!