The Best Thing about Being a Mommy Blogger

This post is written by me on behalf of Liz Lange and Ergobaby.  Product was provided.

As you know, a couple of weeks ago I was able to escape for a few days to sunny rainy San Diego, CA to attend the SITSgirls’ Baby Bloggy Boot Camp.  A special blogging workshop just for mommy bloggers!  I arrived a day early, hoping to enjoy my first trip to California by being a tourist.  However, the weather had other plans and it rained for my entire weekend out there!  I was able to grab a few minutes at the beach in between rain showers though…

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

The water was freezing, but my ankles were swollen from the flight…so it was totally worth it!

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

I was lucky enough to stay at the Bahia Resort over in Mission Beach.  They treated me like a queen, going above and beyond with extra {like 10!} pillows for this preggo, and post-its to compensate for my lack of business cards!

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

I was bummed that I forgot my business cards at first, but the silver lining was that handing out post-its was a great conversation starter, and the sticky backs ensured that no one misplaced them! The conference itself was invaluable.  Tiffany and Francesca did a fantastic job of balancing networking, humor and workshops to make the whole day really enjoyable, as well as educational.  They also do a great job of ensuring that new bloggers know their worth, and teach them how to turn their blogging “hobby” into a business that is fulfilling and financially worth it.  And of course, as a mommy blogger, how to balance IT ALL!

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

And then, of course, there was the SWAG.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like getting free stuff.  Pens, water bottles, and keychains are the norm.  But not the SITSgirls.  They treat their mommy bloggers RIGHT! =)  They had some fantastic sponsors at Baby Bloggy Boot Camp that gave us samples of products, and some very helpful demonstrations!

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

Since I’m only 8 months pregnant, I haven’t been able to personally test most of this stuff out on a real baby yet.  But, I can tell you that now that the weather is nicer, I am living in my Liz Lange Maternity dress.  It’s flattering and soooooo comfortable!  And since you can buy that brand at Target, it’s price point is perfect as well.

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

And then there was Ergo Baby.  Every mom’s best friend!  And they were kind enough to bring me Ergobaby swaddlers, an Ergobaby wrap AND a brand new Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier {not even on shelves yet!}.  I simply cannot wait for Baby Boy to arrive so I can wear him all over town.  For now, I’ll Dave will be practicing with Mongo the Monkey.

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

And since I accidentally grabbed a “girl” pack of diapers from The Honest Company {and they were size 3}, I sent them to Betsy to try out on baby Rosie.  She LOVED the adorable prints and stretchiness of the diapers for Rosie….especially now that Ro is all over the place!  I kept the samples of baby wash, laundry detergent and hand soap for myself!

Bloggy Boot Camp for Mommy Bloggers in San Diego #LizLange #ErgoBaby #ad #swag

It was a whirlwind of a rainy weekend, with the sun finally coming out on my flight home.  But every second I had out in CA was worth it, from the much needed “me time” cooped up in my hotel room, to the “polar bear plunge” that my toes made, to the new friends and great information I gained at the conference.  ‘Til we meet again San Diego!

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This post is written by me on behalf of Liz Lange and Ergobaby.  Product was provided.

Why You Need a Blog Tribe, and How to Get One

They always say that it takes a village to raise a child.  I wholeheartedly agree with this…but I think it can be applied to more than just children.  Everyone needs a tribe.  A support system.  People to lift them up, and encourage them.  The same is true for bloggers.  I’ve been officially blogging for almost 4 years now.  I still consider myself a newbie to blogging, purely because it’s still a hobby for me, and I’m still {on a daily basis} learning the ins and outs of the industry.

But one of the most important things that I have learned this past year, is the importance of a blogging tribe.  I had no idea what a Tribe was until I attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Charlotte, last spring.  There, I met a group of women who all live in the south, and have blogs who are about the same size as mine.  AKA: not intimidating mega-blogs.  These ladies have ended up being my primary support system this past year as I accomplished some major blogging goals.  And although I still consider myself a “small” blog, I know that the numbers I’ve achieved, and the confidence that I’ve built this year can all be attributed to them!

Why You NEED at Blog Tribe - Palmettos and Pigtails

So, what does one look for in a Blog Tribe?  Something in common.  Whether it’s your writing style, your niche, or your location, you can join or form your own tribe.  I currently belong to three active tribes.  One is comprised of the ladies who attended Bloggy Boot Camp in Charlotte last year.  The second is a small tribe of just 12 bloggers…all craft and DIYers.  And my third tribe is full of local, Lowcountry ladies…who are all over the board in what they write about.  But we all care about local happenings.   Both tribes have our own Facebook Pages where we communicate with each other.  If we are interested, then we subscribe to each other’s blogs…but I’ll be honest, that there are only a few I truly relate to, and want to read on a regular basis.  And that’s fine!  Most bloggers don’t care about building “superficial” numbers…they want readers who care about their writing.  I’d much rather have 10 loyal readers who leave comments, engage with me and truly enjoy my blog, than 100 readers who just delete me from their inbox every week.

The Importance of Having a Blog Tribe - Palmettos and Pigtails

But even if we don’t subscribe to each other’s blogs, we do follow each other in social media {Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, etc.}.  Not only do those numbers count a lot in the blogging world, but it’s a great way to support each other, and promote each other’s blogs.  We keep each other informed about giveaways, and advertise for each other on a regular basis.

The easiest way to do this {other than Facebook group messages}, is by having a Triberr account.  This website allows you to invite others to join groups {tribes}, and then it keeps track of each member’s posts.  And when you sign in, it shows you a snapshot of all your tribe members recent posts….you roll over a little green square as you scroll down the page and it automatically schedules those posts to be promoted on the social media of your choice!  So my Twitter account is linked, so I tweet out my tribe members’ posts throughout the day, and the whole process takes about 1 minute of time!  Awesome exposure for all!

Tour of Triberr and Why it's Essential to have a Blog Tribe - Palmettos and Pigtails

I love this site, and it’s a great place to search and find tribes in your general locale or niche.  So, hopefully I’e encouraged you to get out there….stop competing or comparing yourself with other blogs…and start working together!  Here’s one last image with a quick list of tips…feel free to pin and share!

Why you NEED a Blog Tribe and HOW to get one - Palmettos and Pigtails

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Coffee With A Side of Bloggy Boot Camp

Blog Conference, take two!

Remember when I went to Blissdom last year? Well, since they moved it all the way out to Texas this year, I was stuck looking for another {closer} conference to at which to hone my blogging skills.  Enter, Bloggy Boot Camp Blog Conference, put on by the SITS Girls in Charlotte, NC.

Bloggy Boot Camp

When I first arrived at the Doubletree in Charlotte, I just took a minute {or an hour} to appreciate.  In general.  I appreciate my husband for being Mr. Mom this weekend.  I appreciate the not-as-long-as-I-thought-it’d-be drive from Charleston, in which I listened to anything but Raffi.  I appreciated my humungous hotel room and the ability to pee by myself.  And I appreciated the SITS girls for giving me an excuse to hang out with 100 of my newest Bloggy Boot Camp friends.

Friday night, there was a cocktail hour sponsored by Collective Bias. Now, if you know me at all, you know that walking into a room full of women I don’t know is, well…pretty much my worst nightmare.  But {after a big gulp of wine}, I got up the courage to introduce myself to a few of the ladies, and we ended up having a fabulous time getting to know each other!  We even drove into the town for some late night snacks and cocktails!

Saturday morning started AWESOME.  And that would be because of our Keurig Brew Over Ice sponsor.  They had this amazing iced coffee set-up and provided all the mid-morning caffeine I could drink (including a few non-coffee drinks like Snapple flavors!).  It was delish.  And it gave me {many} chances to pee all by myself.Brew Over Ice Display at Bloggy Boot CampAnd I just may have to get one of these puppies since they sent us home with reusable Keurig mugs and K-cups!Brew Over Ice station at Bloggy Boot CampAnd because of the coffee, I did actually learn a lot at Bloggy Boot Camp.  Tiffany Romero, one of the SITS girls, was our host….or should I say MC?  She cracked us all up while inspiring us to be creative, original, and ambitious.  All while literally spewing out inspirational quotes left and right.  Here are a few of my favorites!  Feel free to pin!Inspirational Blogging Quotes from Palmettos and PigtailsInspirational Blogging Quotes from Palmettos and PigtailsInspirational Blogging Quotes from Palmettos and PigtailsThere were also workshops on blog design, SEO, Google+, Social Media, and taking photos.  It was exactly what I needed….a little bit of the basics regarding everything technical.  I HIGHLY recommend this conference for newbie bloggers, or for any ‘ole blogger who doesn’t know her SEO from her meta data {I know what both of those things are now!!!}.

And we learned not to even bother using grainy cell phone photos on blog posts…terrible for SEO and pinnability. {is that a word?}

Ooops.Bloggy Boot Camp Cocktail DressI remember being so stressed about what I should wear to Blissdom…it was my first conference and I had no idea what to expect from the 400 odd women there.  Bloggy Boot Camp was different.  There were only about 100 people there, and all of them were relatively new to the field…and extremely approachable.  I didn’t even blink about attire….I didn’t even pack any extra in-case-that-shirt-wasn’t-cool-enough clothes.

Maybe I’m growing as a person and a {semi} confident blogger?

Either way, I made some great friends this weekend.  I had a ton in common with these girls…and because they were all bitty-blogs too, we were ALL looking for some new networking and friends.  In fact, I learned that close-knit groups of bloggers are called Tribes. Bloggy Boot Camp CharlotteDo you think all Tribes are a goofy as we are?

Collective Bias had us stretching awkwardly at Bloggy Boot Camp

Laurel from heartofwander.com and I hung out most of the weekend. Future Tribe member perhaps? :)

Who snuck that terrible awkward picture on my blog??!?!?! Collective Bias had us taking photos of “awkward” stretches with their pillow.  And apparently I was the most awkward stretcher at the conference, because I won a $200 gift card for my pose!  I think that deserves a badge for my sidebar, what do you think?

Palmettos and Pigtails

How to Support a Blogger You Love

I’ve been blogging for over two years now!  Crazy huh?  I feel like I have come a long way in my posts…..I’m branching out, trying new things {and then blogging about them!}.  Hopefully, you are still enjoying what I write!  What started out as an easy way to post stories and pics about the kids for my family, has morphed into my passion and my second job.  And I LOVE my readers!  I get giddy when I get a notification of a new subscriber, or see a new “like” on my Facebook page.  And I literally jump for joy at each and every comment I get {even from you, Mom!}!  And I try hard to stay connected with my devoted followers…..I try to reply to comments, answer emails and interact with you on Facebook and Twitter.

And still, it’s hard to get more followers….especially without posting shamelessly about how to support your local blogging mommy!  But, then again, even I’m still learning, so I know that some of you don’t know how easy it is to support me Mommy Bloggers.  In a nutshell, advertisers look at numbers….subscribers, Facebook page “likes”, Twitter followers, etc.  They even look at how many pages each of my viewers look at, and how long they stay on each page.  Complicated stuff, but every little bit helps!  Here are four quick ways you can help!

How You Can Help Support Your Favorite Blogger from Palmettos and PigtailsRead my posts and give me feedback:

  • I know I blog about a variety of things {family, Disney, crafts, DIY, recipes, etc.}, I’d love it if you’d read {or at least scan} my posts.  And let me know if there is something you’d like me to write about..  Love or hate a topic?  Let me know!  You can email me or leave me a comment on my blog or Facebook page.  I love my readers and want to continue writing content that’s relevant to you!
  • In addition to me learning more about what you like to read about, the more comments you leave on my blog or on my Facebook Page, the more “activity” the blog world says I have, which leads to more sponsorships, more readers and hopefully more money down the line!  Easy-peasy!
  • And finally, subscribe!  You can click on the “subscribe” button {right under my picture on the right sidebar of my blog}, to add each of my posts to your RSS feed.  Or, you can click on “email” to sign up to get an email from me each time I post {generally, Monday/Wednesday/Friday}.  This is convenient in order to get the latest post, but when you read my whole post on your email, it doesn’t give me credit for your view, so if you can, it’s always better to click to get to my actual webpage to read the post.

Spread the word!  Tell your friends about awesome blogs you find!  Encourage  them to subscribe by email or RSS:

  • Share: When you see a blog post show up on your Facebook news feed, hit SHARE, and it will go on your newsfeed too (which will let new people potentially read the post as well).  If you have Twitter, RETWEET blog posts that you love.  If you have Pinterest, please PIN and REPIN my posts and pictures.
  • At the end of every post I write, there are buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, click on any and/or all of those buttons to easily share the post with others.

Enter contests and giveaways….even if you don’t want the SWAG:

  • I can’t speak for others, but I appreciate each and every entry I have for a giveaway.  Usually, giveaways are held in conjunction with a company or brand that has sought me out.  The more people that participate {and get exposed to the brand} the happier that brand is with me….and will be more likely to want to work with me again!
  • Even if you aren’t interested in the prize, feel free to enter anyway….if you happen to win, just let me know you don’t want it, so someone else can win it!  Again, the more entries there are in the giveaway, the happier the brand is with me!

Support my affiliates:

  • Just to let you know, I spend between 2-4 hours a day working on blog-related work.  Between editing pictures, writing original blog posts, scheduling those posts to be advertised on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest, researching future blog topics, answering blog-related emails, and actually creating and executing those recipes and crafts that I write about……it takes up a lot of time.  Time I generally don’t get paid for.
  • Don’t get me wrong, I love it, and still do it even when I don’t get paid.  But, obviously, I’d rather have something in it for me!  Cue advertisers and affiliates here.
  • When you see the words like “sponsor”, “affiliate”, “advertisers”, etc. on your favorite blog, it means that if you click on one of those links or pretty pictures, the blogger will most likely get something in return.  Quite often, a check!  Same for the ads you see on our sidebars….if you see something that strikes your fancy, by all means, click on the box!  We get paid by clicks.
  • Giveaways, reviews and feature articles are either paid for by sponsors, or the blogger is getting something from the sponsor.  For example, when I worked with Smart Balance Kids, I advertised for them on my sidebar, got paid when you clicked, got milk samples to try and review, and got coupons to give away to YOU, my readers!  Bloggers will rarely advertise for free, so help a Mama out by checking out all of the advertising!

How to support your favorite blogger from Palmettos and Pigtails{source}

So, hopefully you read {at least} my first tip, and skimmed down to this point….bottom line, bloggers want more readers to get their voice out there, so please help us out by sharing the blogs you love with your friends!  Help us get a tiny bit of compensation for our time by checking out our sponsors.  And send us some love {even if just in a comment}!  We love you too!

Palmettos and Pigtails

 {Look below to see the buttons that oh-so-conveniently allow you to SHARE this!}  Thanks!

{House Manager} Monthly Blog Planning Worksheet

With our impending Disney trip, and spring holidays coming up, I have a ton of ideas for blog posts.  Currently, I have a little notebook that I jot my ideas down in.  But lately I’ve been thinking it would be handy to have a calendar handy as well to actually schedule some of my posts {and keep track of those I’ve scheduled!}.  So I came up with a planning sheet that will let me keep track of my ideas and schedule my posts….all on one page.  I plan on printing out 12 of these ahead of time for my House Manager, so I have one ready each month.

{House Manager} Monthly Blog Planning Calendar by Palmettos and PigtailsHere’s an example of how I plan to use mine:{House Manager} Monthly Blog Planning Calendar by Palmettos and PigtailsAnd here’s a copy for you to download and use*: House Manager: Monthly Blog Planning Worksheet from Palmettos and Pigtails*Here’s my little disclaimer:

Because I’m making these for my own personal use, I’m gonna give you access to the files, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to edit them.  But feel free to print them out and use them for your own personal use!  I got all the little buttons as free downloads from the digital scrapbooking site, Shabby Princess.  And I got the fonts (Pea Carol) from Kevin & Amanda…also free.  So technically, you can make your own version of these as well!  And if you decide to pin them, please link them back here!! Thanks!

What section should I work on next?  Do I need to add anything?

House Manager:

Family Information
Cleaning and Organization
Food and Meals
Emergency Resources
Car Maintenance
Projects and Blogs
Holidays
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Linking Up this Week!

How Do You Like Me Now?!?! {New Blog Reveal!!!}

 
Hey Y’all…..notice anything new?
I know I’ve been promising a new look for awhile now, but it was totally worth the wait, huh?
 
Creative Kristi Designs was kind enough to fix, well, everything!  Hopefully my new look will be easier to read and more fun to look at overall.  Check Kristi out!
 
Creative Kristi

And leave me some feedback….what do you think?

 
 

How to Reach Me: A Social Media Synopsis

One of the linky parties that I participate in is called Natasha in Oz…a fabulous lady over in Australia who has some great ideas on social networking.  This week, she is hosting a networking party….a place where you can link up with all of your info.  So, here’s mine!  I love comments….so please leave me some.  Really. Whenever you want {just be nice!}.

Wanna check the party out?  Click on the below picture:

 Poofy Cheeks

So, I’d love to be your friend!  Here’s how to connect with me:

Ugh. More Facebook Updates!

Don’t get left in the dust!  Facebook made more changes so that my blog posts don’t automatically show up in your news feed.  I’m trying to remember to add the links manually, but sometimes it’s just all I can do just to get the post written!!!  So, here’s how to set it up on your Facebook….these directions are courtesy of I Heart Faces.  You can read more about the Facebook changes there too.  So, do me a favor and update my Page on your facebook account!  Thanks!

Click below to go to my Facebook Page! And spread the word, will ya?  I love new friends!!!

SWAG Rocks

I just needed to give a shout out to the Bliss Chicks who put on Blissdom 2012. I was so smitten when I arrived at registration only to receive a cute canvas tote (Courtesy of OWN network) full of SWAG. And folks, we aren’t talkin’ no keychains here.
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And by the end of the weekend, I had also aquired this:
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Did you see the shoes? Cute huh? And comfortable too! Who gives away free sneakers anyway?!?!?! (Uh…Famous Footwear does!)

Not to mention that I happened to stop by the Famous Footwear booth again at the last minute (to get yet another cup of their yummalicious White Mocha from their barista), and what do you know….they were trying to get rid of sneakers! So I got a second pair. I’m tucking those bad boys away for a rainy day. Or a giveaway…..Stay tuned….

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Starstruck at Blissdom

So, here I was….surrounded by 700 of my closest online friends, feeling utterly alone. I mean, its intimidating to be in a crowd of creative, inspirational, beautiful women who have eloquent words, stunning photographs and a gazillion followers. Each.

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And P.S. This is a terrible photo I took on the first night of Blissdom…..I kind of snuck it at the welcoming cocktail party. You know, casually holding up the camera….a quick snapshot where you hope no one sees you and thinks you are such a dork for taking that obvious crowd picture while you are supposed to be mingling at the party….and then casually slinging the camera over your shoulder to give off the impression that you didn’t even really mean to take said picture. And then you remember that this is a blogging conference and EVERYONE is taking photos and you are not alone…or a dork.

That picture is not good for many reasons, but the biggest thing about it is that it only shows about 1/20th of the amount of people at the conference. I arrived early to the cocktail party and had I waited another 20 minutes, it would have been a much more crowded photo!

Ok, back to my insecurities about being surrounded by awesome bloggers. For those of you who don’t blog, you may not realize that there are celebrities within the blogging community as well. You probably have never heard of them, but then again…maybe you have! I mean, several of my personal idols now have shows or are involved with HGTV, FoodNetwork, Dave Ramsey, and The Nate Berkus Show. Amongst Others. So, I was thrilled to get to meet (and get photography tips from) the oh so entertaining Me Ra Koh, who is the photographer for the Nate Berkus Show. And then there was the keynote speaker who started the whole conference out….you may have heard of him (Jon Acuff) or his books (“Stuff Christians Like” or the new one”Quitter”). He was hilarious and oh-so generous by giving us all signed copies of his book.

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And then there are the not-so universally known Blogebrities. My own personal one was Edie from Life in Grace….one of the very first blogs I ever followed, and who is a personal inspiration of mine. I actually met her yesterday, and hugged her neck….and I’ll totally blame it on the pink eye, but tears came a little. Read her blog and feel renewed. Read her friend (The Nester)’s post, about what happened to Eddie and you will feel so blessed and so inspired by Edie’s faith. And I got to finally meet her!! (*tiny little squeal!*)

But, I have to admit that I was completely in awe of what the Bliss Chicks arranged for our evening entertainment. Not only did we have several personalized video messages from Oprah, Zac Efron, and Paula Deen, we also had a song written just for us by Jewel (I think it will be officially released to the public soon…it’s called “Hope”). AND. We got performances and meet and greets with Nathan Pacheco, (a very handsome guy who happens to be a famous opera singer too!), The Lorax, Joe Jonas, and Rascal Flatts!!!

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I got to meet all of the above. And as much as I’d like to say I was cool as a cucumber around the celebrities. I was not. My new friend Megan and I were giggling like schoolgirls over Joe Jonas (even though neither of us knew of any songs he sang….or if he was even of legal age to giggle over), and completely dumbstruck when getting photos with Rascal Flatts (although I did manage to sneak in a hug and thank them for “Broken Road”….our wedding song!). The Lorax, however, I felt completely comfortable around. Hmmm.

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