For the Love of Haiku – A Poetry Game

I am stealing and copying in abundance this weekend; additional imitation and flattery.

All About Lemon has started a blogging game called, “For the Love of Haiku.” Using the Japanese poetic form (17 moraes; syllables of  5, 7, and 5), poets add meaning to Ms. Lemon’s art collages that are updated and changed weekly.

Once you link up, you’re added to the list of haiku contributors. At the end of the month, votes are calculated to find the winner with the most likes.

Blogging good fun!

Here is my contribution …

Princesses beware

Bored extraterrestrials

Roll like bullet trains

————————

Wear your bunny ears

Smile wide as the train rolls by

Rats can’t dim your shine

M.

Too deep? Think you might give it a try? Not a blogger? Leave your contribution in my comments!

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Technology Fail

Apparently WordPress is being fussy, posting a terribly boring beginning of a poem I’d written (ages ago) without my consent.

If you received the erroneous email, please disregard.

I’m now off to delete every other ancient draft (out of pure fear that it could happen again), while wallowing in the embarrassment that anyone believed I thought the content in the piece entitled, “Lemonade,” was good enough to publish.

The horror!

M.

Has this ever happened to you? Could it have published from my phone? I haven’t even visited the WordPress App today!

Since we’re discussing lemonade, how about this yummy-looking concoction? Pink Lemonade Maragritas from Barefott Contessa.

A Blogging Thingy Called UMV

For the third time in as many days I’ve been led to opportunities that require me to disclose my blog statistics, including my unique monthly visitors; the number of times one person clicks on your site, as opposed to overall clicks (if the same person came back 10 times, your UMV would be 1, not 10).

WordPress.com (my publishing platform) is great in so many ways. Primarily it’s easy, and I do have access to my statistics, only not to the UMV. In addition (and much to my dismay), WordPress.com doesn’t allow the use of Google Analytics, which is what everyone off of WordPress.com uses (it seems) to gather such information and more.

Folks in the business and marketing worlds want information like UMV (as well as other numbers like Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, etc.) to help them decide if it’s worth their time to invest in you. The good news is that readership in this little blog is growing as I continue to snuggle into my niche (writing as a practice over a single focus like mom blogging or fitness blogging).

But moving to another platform (like WordPress.org, which would give me more creative freedom and financial opportunities) is daunting and can be expensive. Self hosting can be a security risk, which (let’s face it) would send me straight over the edge should I get hacked.

So many decision must be made everyday. This one’s got me in a muddle.

M.

My purpose was to use the blog as a writing outlet, but if I’m missing out on opportunities, wouldn’t it be wise to make the change? What would you do? If you are a WordPress(dot)com blogger, have you made the switch, or are you happy where you are?

Social Media Icons
While searching for an image to go with this post I came across Angie Makes on Etsy. Her artwork is amazing. I especially love her flower clip art, which looks a lot like my Twitter background (but prettier). It’s yet another example of how I could have more freedom with self-hosting … To be able to have more creative freedom in imaging across the site.

Well Hello There, Tumblr!

I have recently discovered Tumblr.

Yes, I am late to the party, but finally, I’ve arrived!

If you haven’t yet ventured over to Tumblrland, here is what you’re missing:

1. Imagery, images, imagination.

2. Youngins with clever thoughts and the inclination to express.

3. Pretty templates; much prettier than Pinterest. Less categorization than Pinterest too.

4. Another avenue to expand your reach. We’re not calling it a brand anymore, are we?

Grow with Stacy posted a great piece about how refusing to add photos to your blog can kill your traffic. In it, she covered a lot of information in regard to imagery that I didn’t know (i.e. how to use Flickr to your advantage), and she’s right; humans are visual and images are important.

Since Mommyland (writings, musings, opinions) leads my parade of social media, I will continue to use imagery to create added interest, much in the way that Stacy describes.

Adding Tumblr to my list of social media stopping points (after Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Reader) gives me one more destination on the daily Interwebz calendar of events. The benefit, it appears, is in its ability to open up the window to my soul from a purely visual perspective (there are poems, etc., but the words are far more image rich than the typical blog post).

If you like the idea of a younger audience (be warned, you will come across many a pouting teenage girl – “I vant to be a star”), and love the idea of a visual stream of consciousness approach, log on to Tumblr and follow me.

Hope to see you there …

M.

Why Blog?

If you are not a blogger you might not be aware of some of the fun things that your “publishing platform” can monitor for you.

In my case (on WordPress) I am able to see how many hits my site has had for the day, the month and the year. I also have access to cool information like the top posts for the day, which can be surprising if and old post gets a ton of hits from out of the blue.

One of my favorite sections is the search engine list which lets me in on the searches that have led readers to my site.

Today I have been located through searches for, “Sgetti honey boo boo,” “Emmy tits,” and “Miami 2013.” Yesterday  I gained a reader through the search phrase “make millet chips,” which I’ve never actually made, but all my talk about kale chips and millet and such makes it easy to understand Google’s minor confusion.

There have been endless interesting search phrases that have led readers to Mommyland and for each I am grateful.

Even the person who yesterday typed, “gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts,” is my reader….

Many people have asked why I still blog. My marathon has long ended; the main reason I started it to begin with.

There are a bunch of reasons that I continue.

But today, when the sun never shone and my kids spent way too much time in Crazyland (not to mention my own brain freeze caused by the paperwork pile of divorce affidavits), the smile that crossed my face upon the discovery of a curious reader’s search has proven to be reason enough.

Gorgeously dressed ladies with bare breasts.

I wonder if that searcher found what they were looking for? I wonder if they’ll be back?

Why do you blog? If you don’t have a blog have you ever thought about starting one? What would it be about?

XOM

Search number 4 on Google!

Blog Love

My real life bloggy friend Christine (from Love,Life,Surf) has inspired me with her weekly roundup of bloggers and posts.

In blogland there are masses of talented people with fantastic points of view.

Here are some of the gems I found (and re-discovered) this week!

1. She describes herself as a “teenager completely obsessed with fashion.” Living in New York City, she blogs at You’re a Tulle and writes for Huffington Post and Chictopia. I’m old enough to be her mother, but she’s my hero; channeling her passion and building a fantastic creative work life at such a young age! Odelia Kaly is a voice that I am convinced we will be hearing a lot from in the fashion circles of the future.

2. Months ago I stubled upon a blogger named Coco J. Ginger who blogs at Courting Madness. A poet, Coco had written about a breakup that spoke to me on so many levels. I tweeted her to tell her how much I liked her work, but as the days and weeks went by I forgot her name (it happens, sadly) and thus began my new search. How excited I was to find her again (I have since begun keeping a notebook of favorite blogs). Poetry is interesting; not always easy to understand as it’s rarely spelled out clearly. It’s also tough to write (my rhymy attempt). But Courting Madness has a great following with lots of likes! Her words resonate. Especially her words about love.

3. Having recently blogged about my diet overhaul (and writing about the task of removing sugar and gluten) I received a comment by a blogger named Vinny Grette (silly pseudonym?) over at Cook Up a Story. Currently writing about nutrition for children, he (or is he a she?) suggested I read his post about stevia. I read it and loved the writing style. So often, books and blogs about nutrition are as dry as Melba toast. Vinny’s work is clever and easy to understand without being preachy.

4. One of my favorite yogis, Lisa O’Brien from lifeyum believes in feeling good and doing good. She did so this week by sharing with her readers the work and words (guest post) of Elex DiSanto Scheels from Om Frog Yoga. Alex is a mom of triplets, a yogi, and her piece about sending the kids back to school is great! To say, “I relate,” would be an understatement.

5. Describing herself on Twitter as a ” former model who loves fashion and running,” Diary of a Dashing Fashionista has put together a great post about this season’s sportswear trends. From brands I know and love (Stella to Lululemon), to brands I haven’t yet discovered (No Balls and Wellicious), there’s a great array of information and images to excite any girl’s running fashionista within.

Happy reading!

XOM

8×10 print created by Jennifer Ramos at Made by Girl @Etsy. Check out Jen’s Made by Girl blog, too! She’s a New York City graphic designer and entrepreneur. Just fantastic!

Hipiti for Fashion

Paying full price is silly these days, unless of course you are rolling in dollar bills and buying the most high-end fashion straight from the runway (even then, I’m not sure those girls are paying full price).

For the rest of us who only dream of sitting in tents at fashion week, our hearts pine, but our pocketbooks do not. The creation of flash sale websites like Gilt Groupe (my favorite), Haute Look, and Rue La La have up to this point helped make us fashionable, while not breaking the bank.

This morning I received an early invite to a soon to be launched site called Hipiti created by co-founders Rama Katkar and Kristin Flink (friends from Stanford business school whose love for Internet shopping and finding great deals spurred the idea). Their website was built to simplify the shopping experience by collecting information about your favorite retailers and compiling a dashboard of recent sales (Gilt Groupe included) making the need to filter through mass promotional emails a thing of the past.

Even Lululemon is listed as a choice to add to your dashboard! Those of us always following the We Made to Much section recognize how fast LLL’s sales pieces are scooped up lightning fast only to be gone forever.

Even better (according to their Twitter feed), new companies and lines will be added as the demand grows.

Hipiti hop….hip fashion calls!

How about you? Will it be a site that will help you in your busy life?

XOM

Hipiti
Marchesa Spring 2013 RTW photo by Marcus Tondo. Vogue.com Fancy.
Band of Outsiders Spring 2013 RTW photo by Fillipo Fior. Vogue.com LOVE… almost practical… LOVE!
Creatures of the Wind Spring 2013 RTW photo by Monica Feudi. Vogue.com. A wearable collection, but I’m unsure of price point. I imagine that top is more than my monthly fixed expenses, though, since even their collection for J. Crew was pricey.
Marc by Marc Jacobs RTW Spring 2013 photo by Marcus Tondo. Vogue.com. Could be sweet, not so layered.
Rag and Bone Spring 2013 RTW photo by Fillipo Fior. Vogue.com. I love this line!
Tory Burch Spring 2013 RTW photo by Fillipo Fior. Vogue.com Terrific Tory. Her line is always wearable, but I don’t know if I always agree with her price point.

It Turns Around

What began as a pretty somber morning (with matching post) has turned into a pretty great day full of stupendous things to make any lady happy.

1. Gluten free me is feeling fab. Sugar; a thing from my long distant past. I cannot believe I’m not struggling!

2. A full hour on my Manduka before picking the kids up from school gave me the opportunity to do some seriously deep backbends, which opened up the heart, which zip zipped me along. There was even time for a few inversions (there’s never enough time for inversions, it seems). Get this girl upside down and things start to happen…

3. The handsome and talented Zach McGowan, Jody from the Showtime show Shameless, responded to a tweet I’d sent asking for permission to use his image on the blog. He said, “yes.” He didn’t have to say anything. I practically did a cart-wheel I was so excited that he’d read the post and liked it. Small satisfaction for the “work” that I do.

4. Anna Paquin, otherwise known as Sookie our favorite fairy, has had twins. No word on the flavor of the babies as no names have been released. It probably seems silly to consider the birth of babies to a person I do not know a highlight of my day, but as a mom of twins I know what an unbelievable day that is. Twin pregnancies are hard. Twin babies often have more problems in utero. I’ve been there and I know the relief of finally having them born. Congratulations to her and her vampire husband Bill (Steven Moyer).

5. It goes without saying that the weather outside is just perfect (sunny, mild, lovely). Everyone is talking about it, shocked that it finally turned so after the brutal never-endingness of our Southern Summer. What was more perfect than the weather was watching the children on the playground for almost two hours under our favorite tree. Talking to the moms for that long was like the frosting on the cake that I won’t be eating anytime soon and haven’t an urge to eat anyway.

Happy me.

Happy you?

How has your Tuesday shaped up?

XOM

Got this tweet after the yoga. It must have been the energy I conjured with all that heart opening. If you build it, they will come!

Stumbling Upon StumbleUpon

For months now I’ve been told to check out StumbleUpon, a social media searching site for bloggers, business builders and average Internet users alike. Unlike google+1, which I couldn’t quite figure out (thus never earning a place on my social media work calendar), after a quick registration and a good deal of poking around, I’ve gathered enough information to deem the site incredibly effective in its purpose; useful to those who take the stumbling plunge.

Like anything new there’s a learning curve, but the best new technological tools are the ones that don’t take too much time to decipher and pack a powerful punch in what they can do for you.

Here’s what I found…

1. You have to sign up.

A lot of people are hesitant to put their names and information into any site for fear of over abundant junk mail or opening themselves up to some sort of evil hacking computer nightmare.

Fear not. I have yet to receive anything weird in the way of emails or evil hacking nightmares and I signed up in June.

2. It’s like Google, only different.

I google everything from telephone numbers to recipes to images for Mommyland (though that is changing due to the legality issues involved).

But often when searching google in larger categories (like mom bloggers or running or healthy eating), the search is too broad which leads to more and more clicks, never quite getting exactly what I was looking for.

Once you’ve registered with Stumble and begin to search your interests, blogs (articles and sometimes pictures, too) will pop up onto your screen for your review.

If you like what you see, you click the like button, upon which time the search engine finds more content similar in focus. As your likes grow, the site has a better idea of the content that you are searching for, thus putting more of the web at your fingertips. The introduction to things you may not have so easily found on your own is a plus.

If you do not like what you’ve seen, you simply click the stumble button in the upper left hand corner and new content will come up; still under the umbrella of your category search.

Is it a little “Big Brother?” Maybe. But Big Brother is inevitable with an Internet that can track our every move (I’m not saying I like it). It’s par for the course and we’re not talking about inputting social security numbers or anything (because that would be dumb, not to mention unsafe).

3. Who has time anymore?

When I first started blogging I spent a ton of time reading other blogs. Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes, personalities and styles, and it takes time to find the ones who speak to you. You could (and I did) search all day, from dusk ’til dawn, but this will inevitably ensure that the rest of your life will quickly fall apart (i.e. hungry kids, messy house, children with glazed over television eyes).

With StumbleUpon I’ve been able to quickly search categories of interest leading me to places I’ve never been. It’s a time saver in some ways, but in other ways it takes an extra bit of effort.

4. Sharing is caring.

For example, say you are blog reading and come across a really great post that you want to share. Once you hit the stumble icon, you will be directed to a page that asks you some pertinent information about the post.

Yes it takes a minute to fill in whether or not its suitable for work, what category it falls within and maybe if you’re feeling generous, the tags that will link the post to other more specific searches (the whole point of tagging).

But if you do it, even just once a day when you find really unbelievable content, you will be helping out your neighbor who may have been searching for the very same thing from in front of their own magical Mac.

It’s a win/win, for the reader and the writer.

5. From the other side; how to use StumbleUpon to grow your business.

After writing a blog post and submitting your work by clicking the Stumble icon (which you must add like you would a facebook or twitter link) you are adding your content to the StumbleUpon search engine giving new viewers a chance at discovering your work.

A few months back I met a blogger who suggested that most of her traffic and monetary leads had been coming through the site. My curiosity was peaked at which time I signed up, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I conducted my own experiment and saw for myself the reach of the site.

The number of readers who liked my work after stumbling upon me added about 10% to my overall viewer statistics for the day. I’m still small over here in Mommyland, but no intelligent blogger would balk at adding that kind of percentage to his/her daily stats. All bloggers want readers, so it’s worth the effort to submit your work after it’s been published.

Worth noting, too, through Twitter I engaged with users who were seeing increased interest in their sites based on clicks through Stumble. Sarah Pardieck from Notice the Dirt was kind enough to tweet me a response to my query about the stumble experience and mentioned that she gets “quite a bit of traffic, but only stumbles certain categories of posts.” She also suggested that using lots of images up top (“above the fold”) would seemingly catch more attention and increase the likelihood that a stumbler would stay to read what you’ve got. Smart girl, that Sarah!

6. Mix it Up? In what category do you find success?

To be honest, I still consider myself a newby (less than a year in) and am still working out the best way to categorize my work to get more views. Like everything social media related it takes time and patience (and work and effort) to find that magical component that helps a blogger find success among the masses. If what they say is true, that being yourself, having your own clear voice and working hard is the key to long-standing success, then continuing to find my way in regard to categorizing myself is an important piece of the puzzle.

At this point I blog about running and healthy eating, motherhood and kids, and so I have submitted my work as such. This post, however, will be entered under “social media” and I’m looking forward to seeing the results in my stats.

No matter which way you look at it, as a simple searcher or a calculated endeavor to grow your business, I do believe that Stumbling is a useful tool for both groups.

Tell me what you think? Will you try it? Do you use StumbleUpon already?

XOM

Sorry about the fuzzy and less than beautiful photo. I searched for free stock images, but my desire for a somewhat aesthetically pleasing website negates their use.

Hiatus Shmiatus

A hiatus from old style blogging must be maintained, but new and future blog posts must be shorter, easier, to the point.

My social media realm feels incomplete without the pink bordered Mommyland page, so I’ll take the lead from other successful bloggers and focus less in the way of words.

Words must be saved for the novel. Dare I say novels?

My book has progressed and stories have been put down, though much too unorganized as characters keep forming and situations twist into each other.

My voice is clear; a comforting sign.

But the task to organize is harder than it seems. It feels a lot like your mother telling you to clean your room.

I whine, “But why? I’ll do it later!”

I’ve started to think about a sweet and easy love story. A story that blooms like new love and flows by the seat of my flowered board shorts.

We leave for Maine in about a week. Summer sun and wind that pulls the sound of laughing children to our front door does not call for serious writing. It calls for a story of a boy and a girl and lazy days and hearts aflutter.

Maybe the anthropologically tough stuff should wait for Fall?

My girls pilfered the book shelf while I was out running yesterday and left my reading assignments all over the house. They do this sometimes. I view their choices as research guided to me by my messy makers and the pull of our Universe; published works that have put their authors on best seller lists.

And so it continues; writing, reading, blogging, pinning, tweeting, cooking, laundry, husband managing, children tending, packing, kissing, yelling, tidying, yoga, running, running, running.

Toes tipping in all areas remembering that balance is key.

Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell. The stories of dating and looking for love in 1990’s Manhattan. Funny considering I was there in the 90’s, but all I was looking for was myself.
Corelli’s Mandolin found next to the purple pillow pet. Louis de Bernieres book is described as a classic novel full of love, loss, war, truth. Deep. Much too deep for now.