I actually bought my ticket for the BlogHer 2012 conference in New York City months ago but I never announced it here. It’s not earth shattering news or anything. Then I figured that maybe I should make a little announcement just in case any readers or other bloggy friends were going so that we could arrange to meet in person. This is all part of my New Year’s Resolution to have more fun. It was a total blast to go visit Detroit earlier this year and meet up with dozens of other bloggers. In New York there will be a pool of thousands of bloggers to meet, chat up, and attend parties with. Plus, it’s the Big Apple. What could be more fun?
Well, actually I am not sure because it will be my first BlogHer but I am pretty sure it will be blast. I made a deal with myself that I would not do any business trips or blog conferences until my kids were older. That way it wouldn’t be extremely hard on them or anyone that I enlisted to help care for them. It made me sad to pass on opportunities to travel (which I LOVE) and be more sociable with bloggers and brands but the mom part of mom blogger had to come first. Anyway I started blogging when my middle child was a newborn and now my youngest just hit lucky number six last month. It’s time to get out there and have a bit of fun.
If you are going please leave a comment on this post. I would love to know who to look out for! I would also love to hear any tips you have if you have been before.
I am also looking for a sponsor or sponsors… maybe. I say maybe because I am pretty picky about who I work with, what with all the greenwashing that goes on, but I know there has to be a potential fit out there somewhere and I am willing to chat about partnerships.
Happy Valentine’s everyone! I did my Valentine’s date last weekend with my sweetheart and it was spectacular. In fact I had so much fun that I didn’t feel like blogging much this week. Just wanted to sit on the couch with my honey and snuggle. Oh well!
We went out for an early dinner and ate one of our favorites… sushi! We had a sushi place in Phoenix that we considered “our place” and had not had much luck finding a place like that in Columbus but I think we finally did. We got a sushi boat for two, salad, miso soup (which I picked the tofu out of), and mochi ice cream. All was delicious! After dinner we went exploring in Polaris mall and ended up getting a couples massage at an Acupressure place. Then we went to a theater and saw Chronicle. My husband got to pick but luckily we have the same taste in movies. It was really good and action packed. After the movie we both noticed how close we were to Powell and there is a Jeni’s Ice Cream in Powell so well, yeah we had to go out for ice cream… again. It was so nice to spend so much time together, just the two of us!!
This week I got my annual delivery of heritage seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange. W got a lettuce mixture, Dragon carrots, Tennis Ball lettuce, Scarlet Globe radishes, Five Color Silverbeet swiss chard, Kale, and Red Butterhead Lettuce. This year we plan to grow our own salad bar and not grow any tomatoes, like last year. We had way too many!
I also liked this article from a fitness blogger who took on the subject of bladder challenges after childbirth. I had my own issues after birthing three, 9-10 pound babies and then I ran across a doctor who told me that Kegels were the worst exercise you could do to tighten this region and that they actually made the issue worse! This article and interview with a biomechanical scientist says the exact same thing. Instead of kegels we should be doing squats and trying to firm up our bums and thereby our pelvic floor. All I have to say is that after almost a year of squats in the gym, I am a big time believer.
Along those same lines a good book I have been hearing about is Lose Your Mummy Tummy. It discusses the fact that the abdominal muscles separate to allow for a growing uterus when we get pregnant. For some 98% of women that split never closes up totally and you get a bulging tummy long after you have your baby/babies. The author advises that sit ups and crunches make it worse and she highlights some exercises that will actually help. After 3 babies and 2 abdominal surgeries (not c-sections) I am wary it could help me but I will give it a shot. ;)
Chobani Champions Yogurt Giveaway!!
Lastly I have a giveaway. Chobani yogurt recently sent me some of their Chobani Champions flavors for kids to try and they were big hit here. I have mentioned before that I am something of a Chobani addict. They are my favorite brand of Greek yogurt, or any yogurt for that matter. I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t buy the organic Greek yogurt that is out there but the flavor is just not as good so I hesitate to spend $2.00 a cup on something I don’t absolutely love. Chobani is pricey enough at $1.29 a cup and often times I am stingy with it for this reason. My kids loved having their own Chobani.
The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that the yogurt they sent is non-fat. I refuse to buy the non-fat Chobani varieties because I don’t believe our food should be non-fat. I refuse to jump on the low-fat bandwagon. If the folks at Chobani read this please provide full fat and organic options in the future please!
So… I have a case of the new flavors (3 packs Orange Vanilla/ 3 packs Vanilla Choc Chunk) to give away to two readers. To enter just leave a comment and tell me if you eat yogurt in your house and what your favorites are. For an extra entry “Like” the Chobani Champions Facebook page and leave a second comment telling me you did so. Good luck and have an awesome weekend and Valentine’s Day!!
I don’t usually post about all the various pitches and requests I get (via this blog) that are seeking donations to further a cause or a charity. If the cause sounds good I might tweet about it or post on Facebook but I get so many of these requests and I don’t want to inundate everyone with them. But this week one caught and held my attention. It wasn’t about clean water for third world children or feeding the homeless but it is still something that pulled on my heartstrings and made me open my own wallet. I guess maybe that is because the email sent to me had the secret words in it… Appalachian Trail.
I am thinking that perhaps the email was sent to me specifically because I am an Ohio blogger and Emma Gatewood was from Ohio. I don’t know if the sender had any insight into my love affair with the Appalachian Trail or not, either way they had me hook, line, and sinker with any mention of the AT. It has been my dream since my late twenties to thru hike the AT, which is a 2,181 mile long trail that extends from Georgia to Maine. It takes about 6+ months to hike it start to finish and I want to do it so very badly. Every year I dream of the day when my family and I can pack up and hit the mountains together for that once in a lifetime experience. And sometimes I acknowledge that it may have to wait until my kids are grown but either way I don’t think I will ever consider my life complete until I have done it. It’s at the top of my bucket list.
Anyway, Emma Gatewood was the first woman to ever thru hike the trail solo. That is an amazing and courageous accomplishment. I would never consider hiking it alone (to chicken) and I admire any lady that has the stones to do that. BUT there are several other wow factors to share as well. She made this hike in 1955 at the age of 67 and after raising 11 children!! She also ended up becoming a pioneer for ultralight backpacking because she made this trek with only a pair of Keds sneakers, an army blanket, a raincoat, and a plastic shower curtain which she carried in a homemade bag slung over one shoulder. If you are familiar with what long distance hikers are toting around nowadays you will understand how amazing this woman was. But that is not all. She ended up hiking the AT two more times after that initial foray, she hiked The Oregon Trail (2000 miles), and she helped start The Buckeye Trail (1,444 miles) in Ohio.
Eden Valley Enterprises is a not-for-profit corporation that specializes in living history programs and storytelling through theater, usually about historical figures that accomplished amazing things. They recently premiered a storytelling program about Emma to a sold-out house at a community center in Ohio and that spurred them to try and bring Emma’s story to life as a film documentary. It will be produced by Peter Huston of FilmAffects and WGTE (PBS Toledo) has agreed to be a broadcast sponsor and production partner for it.
If this sounds like a worthwhile cause to you, donate via Kickstarter or directly via PayPal or check to Eden Valley.
Never heard of the Appalachian Trail? Let me suggest some of my fave books!
Am I the last green blogger to see this? Probably. But thanks to Netflix… yeah I must be the last person to try Netflix too… I am catching up on all those green documentaries I have been wanting to see and for dirt cheap I might add. Netflix rocks!
Anyway, Food Inc is a documentary about our food, where it comes from, the true cost, why junk foods seems to cost less than the good stuff, and why looking at our food chain can be a terrifying experience. Factory farms and Monsanto are the stuff of nightmares I tell you.. I was agitated for days after watching it. Here were some of the main things I got out of it:
Monsanto is dark side of the force all the way. In the documentary we follow an elderly gentleman who runs a seed cleaning business that is being sued by Monsanto. He has to PROVE his innocence rather than them prove his guilt. Whereas he used to be one of 3 cleaners that existed in every county in his state, Monsanto has now sued and run every single one out if business in the entire state, save 3. Monsanto also regularly sues other companies that sell seeds, even though they have no basis for a lawsuit.. they bankrupt the companies with legal fees before a verdict can even be reached. At this rate Monsanto will be the one and only company you will ever be able to get seeds from in the future and since they have been allowed to patent seeds you will be sued for millions if you save any of their seeds. It was seriously scary enough for me to immediately start Googling places to get heirloom seeds and this year I WILL be saving seeds. My grandkids might need them!!
A mother whose child died from ecoli from a hamburger meat at a factory farm cannot tell the name of the company who sold the tainted meat or she will be convicted of a felony. The story of her son’s death had me bawling… bring the tissues. He died a painful, horrific death as a result of an irresponsible industry and yet every year the the government makes it harder for us to to grow/raise our own food.
Veggie Libel laws exist in several states.. aka if you speak badly about food products you can be sued. In Colorado it is a felony even. If your apples made you sick or you were sold tainted beef you are not allowed to talk about it because that can cause “harm” to the producer. Remember Oprah was sued in a 6 year court battle because she said on TV that she could not stomach eating hamburgers due to mad cow disease. Talking bad about hamburgers is a “crime”. How can the free market be free if you can’t speak out (good or bad) about the products you buy?
Instead of changing their products to meet consumer demands when certain ingredients fall out of favor… these corporations opt to use their politician friends to pass laws so that the companies are not required to label those ingredients anymore.
Junk foods are subsidized by our government so that the costs can stay cheap. This is why you see a family buy two hamburgers at McDonalds for their kids instead of buying some veggies. If you add health and environmental impact though, those foods are not so cheap.
If you decide to boycott an unethical company you may be out of luck because that one company likely owns 10 other companies that make the same product under a different brand name so that you never know it is the exact same company. Those same companies are also buying up organic food and natural products companies left and right. Tom’s of Maine is now owned by Colgate and Burt’s Bess is owned by Clorox. The company you love to hate may now be the owner of some of your favorite products and if you continue to buy you are funding their bad behavior.
Food Inc. movie gets a big A+ for me for being interesting, thought provoking, and incredibly important. I highly recommend it!
Did you miss the drama on Twitter? I did. I don’t hang out on Twitter much anymore and I don’t read most of the popular mommy blogs because I have nothing in common with the moms who write them. I may start out reading and then get bored by all the sponsored posts and reviews of processed food. Sadly more and more of these blogs might as well hang a “For Sale” sign on the front page because clearly they are being compiled in PR lists for moms who will sell a favorable opinion to the highest bidder. I say this only because I see so many of the same names on these different campaigns.
Remember the firestorm that erupted when a group of mom bloggers chose to promote a popular brand of bubble bath? They were promoting a children’s product that has cancer causing chemicals in it. I am not sure what they got in exchange but I hardly think it could be worth it. I wrote about the issue here… Toxic Bubble Bath.
I have done many reviews of companies and products on this blog and often times I get free product but what many people don’t know is that I get around 50-100 emails each day that ask me to review or endorse a company or product of some sort. Some try to lure me with a cash payment or a free trip to “dialogue” about their product. 99% of the time I ignore or flat out refuse their offers. When the only thing I want to tell them in a dialogue is “You Suck!”, somehow I think I would be wasting my time. Sometimes I accept the opportunity to review a product but I make no guarantees it will be favorable and I usually flat out refuse money in compensation. Why? Because my opinion is not for sale and my name is not for them to associate with their company unless I 100% approve of their company and their product. I sure would LOVE to have a free trip to California but I would hate to lend a helping hand to an unethical company and disappoint all the people who read this blog.
Nestle asked a large group of mom bloggers to fly out to California this week for a sponsored event. The moms got a free trip and a free hotel stay. What they did not antcipate is that MANY moms would be really dissapointed by this. Nestle is a lot more than cookies and coaoa. They also control 40% of the worldwide market for baby formula and some of the attendees are breastfeeding advocates. They also have NUMEROUS unethical marketing tactics and their pushing formula on women in underdeveloped countries is actually resulting in babies dying. Women there believe the hype that formula is better for their babies and they mix it with dirty water, resulting in sick children. They may also not have enough money to keep a steady supply so they use less than the recommended amount of formula and water it down to make it go further… resulting in malnourished children. These women are being spurred to formula feed when clearly breastfeeding is better… but Nestle doesn’t make any money when women choose to breastfeed. The anger against Nestle in regards to this has been boiling since the 1970s with boycotts. It is still goes on today. There is also the issue of slave labor in reference to their other products.
I am not perfect. I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect but.. I don’t know… dying children and slave labor… those don’t seem like oopsie offenses that can be taken lightly by anyone being asked to lend a hand to their marketing campaign.
I hope mom bloggers start to see that we have a responsibilty to the people who read what we have to say. Why would we ever choose to influence them to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Frito Lay, TV Dinners, J& J Bubble Bath, or Nestle no bake cookies and baby formula? What value does that bring to them? NONE. If it has no value to your readers, don’t do it. And in these cases… if it can harm your readers or promote a company that in turn does harm… especially don’t do it.