We’re home from BlogHer 2011

What a whirlwind trip BlogHer 2011 was for my daughter Rachel and me.

We drove a total of 1563 miles in 7 days, slept in three different hotels, went out dancing and stayed up until 3am almost every night, and just in general had the time of our lives. As far as I could tell we were the only mother-daughter duo at BlogHer and more’s the pity because we rocked it.

Now it’s back to planet Earth (well, Planet Chloe anyway) where I’m completely exhausted and I have to work tomorrow.

I’m sure I’ll be processing this trip for weeks to come.

On Thursday, I attended the pre-Conference all-day Pathfinder workshop with Ree Drummond (aka:The Pioneer Woman, as if you need me to tell you that) and Kathryn Finney of The Budget Fashionista, and learned that neither of them had any initial business plan for blogging success whatsoever (HINT: anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something). What they had was vision that others didn’t have. They blogged because it was something they loved to do, period. And out of that passion came all the other stuff. I found what they had to say enlightening.

I have some really crappy pictures of them to share. I could have cropped the first one, but I left it as is so you could get the scope of the situation.

The Pioneer Woman and The Budget Fashionista

The second one is so blurry because I was shaking so hard from merely being in her presence.

I had all day to take pictures and this is the best I got

I did not go up and introduce myself to TPW, but let me go on public record that she’s DELIGHTFUL (this is where my naughty girl wants to insert: “The Bitch-I-think-I-hate-her”, but I can’t because it is simply impossible to hate Ree Drummond). Everything about her exudes grace and charm, humor and humility. In fact you ought to go read her blog instead. I don’t even know why I bother.

Kathryn Finney was energetic and so approachable. Her I met–by accident, we rode the escalator together–and I almost offered to drive her to Coronado because she wanted to see The Hotel Del Coronado, but I got nervous and didn’t. Apparently famous people make me act strangely.

Case in point: Gretchen Rubin.

Yes, I met Gretchen Rubin.  Since I wrote about reading her book and its impact on me here and here and hereI felt obligated to go up and do the awkward meet-the-celebrity thing with her because I thought she ought to know how much she really helped me overcome my sadness.

So I stood in line waiting my turn while she most graciously met other people. She’s a nice lady, Gretchen Rubin. It gives me hope in this world to see such nice people be successful. Here’s the live-action photo montage of my meeting Gretchen Rubin (untouched).

I introduce myself.

“Hi, I’m Chloe. Your book was terrific”
It’s going well. 
Next, she says something nice back, like, “Thank you, Chloe. I’m glad you liked it.”

Then I make some poignant point about how deeply her work about happiness touched my life while she listened attentively (even though she’s probably heard it a bazillion times).

And then……

I have a freaking seizure of something! HOLY HELL! Is this what I look like meeting people? No wonder I have social anxiety. I should. I act like an idiot.

I sort of berated myself for being too shy to go up and meet Ree Drummond but after seeing these pics of me meeting Gretchen Rubin all I can say is that I’m very relieved. 

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"Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer"

Life of a Blogger

Tick’s family is arriving from out of town today to celebrate his Big Birthday, so today’s post is really short, but really really sweet for those of you wanting to become better writers and stronger bloggers.

I recently had the very good luck of stumbling upon the book, Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer, by author and media consultant, Kristen Lamb. 

Kristin Lamb

I’ve found myself captivated by her friendly and informative advice.  If you are serious about blogging, I highly recommend that you check out her book and her blog.

And please don’t forget about entering the Christmas in July Olay Pro-X Cleansing System giveaway, I can’t wait to see which one of my wonderful readers will win. I wish I could just buy 90 of them and give them to each and every one of you who follows me. I appreciate you all very much.

Have a happy Thursday!

Getting Ready For BlogHer 2011-Pretty Toes

Pretty Toes

I was reading my friend KayKay’s blog yesterday and she gave a great SEO tip that I’m totally stealing today.  I’m not sure if she knew she was giving out a great SEO tip or not, but she sure as shootin’ was.

(If you don’t know what SEO is then grab your first born and sacrifice him or her in the name of the founders of Google. Because once you know about SEO you can’t unknow it. I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to eat that apple yourself.)

For good or for ill, I do know about SEO. I also know about Alexa and Klout. Klout’s now my Gangsta Pimp and I’m his dirty, low self-esteemed whore. Just for kicks I went to see what Klout’s Gangsta Pimp name would be and wasn’t surprised to find out that it is:

On a daily basis, Cow-Tippin Monkey Hunta lets me know what the other kids on the playground people in social media think about me.  Every day Monkey Hunta sums up my social worth in a random number based on some inexplicable metric that nobody really understands.

Yesterday my magic self-worth number was 54.  Here’s Monkey Hunta’s Social Media advice to me based on this number:

Now the truth of this is that my Klout went up day before yesterday, but does Klout reassure me that I’m Okay, You’re Okay?  NO!  Monkey Hunta is quick to remind me that the other kids are less likely to trade their HostessTM Ding Dongs for my bologna sandwich today because I SUCK. But it holds out the carrot that if I just try harder maybe the other kids WILL like me. Maybe.

Since I learned about this number out there that rates my social value, I wake up every morning and promise myself that I won’t care what Klout says about me. But every day I look and I end up caring. But that’s not our topic.

Our topic today is our new SEO: Pretty Toes.  I figure if I can become the Pantyhose Queen, over and over, again, then the title of Pretty Toes Princess is within my grasp. Maybe I can lure some more guys here from Google’s search engine to come and ogle my blog and make vaguely suggestive comments that scare me a little bit.

I’m not a total sell-out. I needed to do a pedicure anyway. That’s because I’m going to BlogHer and I know for a fact that the other women there will decide in 3 seconds whether I’m a person of worth or not based on my feet.  Having my worst fears confirmed, I know that my entire blogging future rests not on my ability to turn a phrase or make links out of images but on the appearance of my feet and the footwear I place upon them.

Men don’t have these problems. My husband has never anguished over the state of his feet or the cuteness of his footwear. EVER. And he never, ever will. But then he’ll never get to know the joy of having his genitals ripped wide open giving birth to another human being or having sore and bleeding nipples either. Poor man.

Now that I blog like a demon, meaning that I live in terror of waking up one day and having nothing to say, not that I’m actually a demon, everything in my life is a potential blog topic. And today’s topic is feet. Pretty feet.  Specifically, pretty toes.

Of course, you are saying to yourself, “Hey, Chloe, go get yourself a salon pedicure!”

I used to love getting salon pedicures. That was until Paul (I don’t think that was his real name since he was Vietnamese and didn’t speak a lick of English) gave me an STD-FF (Salon Transmitted Disgusting Foot Fungus). While Paul’s magic hands were bringing me more pleasure than should be legal in a shopping mall, he was also giving me a nasty fungal infection that took months to cure, leaving me to lament that while there is Safe Sex in this world there apparently is no such thing as Safe Salon Pedicure. So, just like the 80s all over again; I’ve had to learn to do myself.

Since it was a rare lovely warm summer day on the Mountain, I decided to do the deed on my front porch.

So here it is, the obligatory humiliating before picture:

Looks like a foot mug shot from this angle.

I keep all my nail supplies in this little organizer.

I lay out my supplies real neat-like:

And then the cat that I hate comes and ruins everything.

You’re thinking, “Oh, what a sweet little cat, why would Chloe hate him?” But I do. One day I’ll tell his sad tale of woe, but for now let it be known that I HATE this cat with the heat of a thousand suns. Maybe you’ll understand why in a minute.

And here’s the money shot:

Yes, you can keep your cat-loving ASPCA-threatening hate mail. I’m not the one picking him up this way and I’m not the one who took the pictures. It is just what happened.

And then I could soak my feet in peace.

Then my daughter graciously did the polish for me.

But the cat came back and nearly ruined my polish.

But he still wouldn’t leave.

Now this is the part that gets really real. I thought it would look great to get a picture of my feet from my hammock, but my daughter just thought it was hilarious. I almost messed up the polish again. Don’t look at the part where I’m bra-less and wearing pajama bottoms at 3 in the afternoon, okay?

I hope these feet are good enough for Blogher.

I can’t wait to see if I end up with +Cow Tippin’ Monkey Hunta for Pretty Toes.

How to turn any image into a link with HTML on Blogger

As you might have noticed, I’ve been playing around with this tool quite a bit lately in order to create a Menu for my blog. This is so easy to do; anyone can do it. Today I’m going to teach you how. We’re going to take the little teapot in this post and make it into a link.

This will work the best if you open your own blog and play along in another window.

I want this teapot to send us somewhere nice. Since this was the teapot at our apartment in Rome, and Rome is somewhere nice, I’m going to make it take us to the Trevi Fountain in Rome.

In your own Blogger window, if you open “New Post” you’ll see a “Compose” tab and an “Edit HTML” tab.  “Compose” is in human-speak, but “Edit HTML” is the computer-speak, and we’ll have to speak a little of both today to do this tutorial and make our image-linky work right.

Here’s the HTML code for this teapot image exactly as it appears in my own Blogger “Edit HTML” Page:

Here’s a closer look:

Now if I “Publish Post” as it is here we’ll just get another post with an image of the teapot. But we want our teapot to become a link and not just an image. To do that we have to fix the HTML code.

In “Edit HTML” we paste in our teapot gobbledygook, but we’re going to look at this part that I’ve emboldened and enlarged here:

<a href=”https://chloeofthemountain.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/img_0068.jpg” imageanchor=”1″ style=”margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;”><img border=”0″ height=”238″ src=”https://chloeofthemountain.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/img_0068.jpg?w=300&#8243; width=”320″ /></a>

That bolded part is the part of the code that tells your computer where to go when you click on the image. We can put ANY PLACE ON THE INTERNET here and when you click on your image it will take you there.

For instance, let’s go to the Trevi Fountain over at The Virtual Tourist.  Here’s the addy: http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Rome-144659/Things_To_Do-Rome-Trevi_Fountain-BR-1.html

We go to “Edit HTML” and into our teapot gobbledygook, between the quotation marks, we substitute the above website address for the part I emboldened.

It should look like this:

Here’s a closer look at the change we made:

And here’s what it will look like in “Compose”

If we “Publish Post” now our image will work as a link.

Try it now:

Click on the Teapot to go to the Trevi Fountain

See?

You can do this with any image that you upload onto your blog. Just replace the gobbledygook between the first two quotation marks with the internet addy where you want your readers to go and they’ll go there.

Was that easy?  Did that explain it?  Please let me know. Writing directions is one of the hardest things to do. If some part didn’t make sense or didn’t work I really would like to know. If it did work for you then I’d love to know that too.  Now go have some fun making images into links.

And please don’t forget to enter the Christmas in July giveaway.

I ordered business cards today.

Crazy, huh?

After reading notasupermom’s suggestions, I ordered business cards today from Vistaprint.com so I can give them to people when I try to explain what it is I do here in my spare time. Don’t tell me anything bad because they are done and ordered and that’s that.  (By the way, I do own my own domain name, but it’s just not that easy to move, so for now I’m here on blogspot.)

I’m sure after BlogHer 2011 I’ll have better ideas, but for now that’s what it is.

Choosing the Right

Where’s the Snooze Alarm?!?!

I’m in the midst of my back-to-back 12 hour work days right now, so when my alarm went off at 4:45am this morning the very last thing I wanted to do was get up and work-out.  The only thing I wanted to do was to hit that snooze button and sleep for another 30 minutes.

Good habits, like exercise and eating right, usually are the sorts of habits that will make us happiest in the long run, while the bad habits only lead to pain or illness or even an untimely death. So why is it is so easy to fall into bad habits and so hard to develop and maintain good ones?  
Usually the good habits involve some sort of short-term discomfort while the bad ones offer some sort of short-term pleasure, and being the short-sighted creatures we are we choose the short-term pleasure NOW over the potential for long-term gain tomorrow or years from now.

When I’m confronted with the snooze button, and I’m tired, it doesn’t work for me to I think, “Oh I want to be healthy when I’m 90, so I better get up and go work-out.” At 4:45am I don’t care if I live another day, much less to 90.

To motivate myself, I set achievable short-term goals. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what my current one is.  Today, you tell me one good thing you did for yourself and why you did it.
Have a Great Wednesday!