Tag Archive | "blogher 11"

What’s on Your Fridge?

It occured to me a few days ago that my refrigerator was telling on me.  How is that?  Refrigerators can’t talk!

They can’t, but they can sure call me out in many ways.  On the outside my refrigerator is a window into my family, my temperament, my habits, and more.  The disorganized photos, coupons, random magnets, and outdated calendar all tell a story.

Admit it: you go to a playdate/barbeque/dinner/party and find yourself looking at your friend’s refrigerator.  Intentionally or not you are learning more about that person than you might after weeks of conversations.  Lots of dental appointments probably mean their teeth are jacked up.  Drug problem?  Or maybe not.. let’s not jump to conclusions.  An organized family calendar full of soccer practice, church choir, recitals, etc is just a sign of a Mom who is far more in control of her life than I am.  We are looking at others through our own filters and comparing ourselves, but who doesn’t?

You can’t trust a person with nothing on their fridge. -Me

 

I would invite you all in to look at my fridge but I only know a few of you who live close enough!  Instead, I grabbed my camera and snapped a photo, resisting the urge to straighten up or remove anything incriminating.

A. Everett with his “1″ Pumpkin.
B. Random photo of my In-Laws’ neighbors
C. Fletcher with his Uncle in San Antonio
D. Suzanne from Bebehblog.com and I in the photo booth at BlogHer ’11.
E. My SIL and Future BIL at Disney
F. My SIL and Future BIL.  Great picture of them!
G.Fletcher last November for his “2″ Leaf photo.
H. Fletcher about 6 months old.
I. Fletcher and Everett in a brothers hugging pose.
J. Julie the “Cloth Diaper Geek” and I at BlogHer ’11
K. Everett at 11 months old.  I love his outfit in this one.
L.  Fletcher’s 3rd Birthday Party Invite
M. The boys with Santa LAST YEAR (photo has been up all year)
N. Our Family Portrait taken when Fletcher was 11 months old.  We were just a family of 3 then.
O. Fletcher and his Great-Grandmother 1 month before she passed away.  He was about 18 months old.

A. Snowflake Chip belonging to item K. to mark days until X-Mas.
B. 2 Food related ceramic magnets I got for X-Mas from my Aunt Tit. (Not her real name.)
C. Obligatory Pediatrician Magnet with contact numbers
D. Lion Butt and Lion Head.  Belongs to a set of heads and butts that are mostly lost.
E. GEN-Y “Save the World Cloth Diaper”
F. Orlando magnet from hubby’s work trip.
G. Savannah GA magnet from vacation when I was 7 months pregnant with Fletcher.  Ankles were tree trunks, it was summer.
H. “Happy Birthday” photo frame magnet.
I.  Fort Pulaski magnet.  Same Savannah, GA trip.  I almost passed out touring that place.  I was HOT.
J.  ”Aloha”
K.  “Countdown to Christmas”  At some point this will make sense.  It took up a massive amount of real estate but never made it to the Xmas stuff box in the basement.  Dec 1. is right around the corner.
L.  ”Kissed on Both Cheeks” magnet from my MIL
M. San Diego Magnet from the hotel gift shop when I went for BlogHer ’11
N. LeapFrog Fridge Farm with all of ONE magnet left.  ”purple purple purple cow.” You know what I’m talking about…
O.  Pumpease Breastmilk Storage Guidelines.  AWESOME and handy.
P. Gently Borne Midwifery contact numbers for my homebirth midwife
Q. Tampa Zoo from a vacation there when Fletcher was about 6 months old.
R. Shape of NC, my home state.  The front peeled off but I can’t seem to throw it away.
S. Cool Spiderman Magnet.  Fletcher loves it.
T. OCCRA letter opener
U. 4 Animal Shapes meant for a magnadoodle thingy but it sucked so I threw it away.
V. Another Orlando Magnet?  hmmm..
W. Green Baby Shoppe, semi local cloth diaper store
X. 3 Mario Bros themed magnets custom ordered from Etsy to be cupcake toppers at Fletcher’s 1st Bday Party
Y. 4 month old Fletcher made into a magnet.

a. Babysitter’s number/name on a Post -it.
b. Artwork by Everett.  Underneath are more works of art by Fletcher.
c. Painting by Fletcher that reminds me of an anatomical heart.
d. August calendar from Paper Coterie…. it is November
e. Sticker remains of a Pediatrician appt of yore
f. Fletcher’s artwork.  It was the first time he traced a shape (an ice cream cone)
g. BEST POSTCARD EVER.  A woman holding farm fresh chicken eggs, nude, with her bearded partner.  It’s an ad for my midwife.  Totally reminds me of the Yert SNL Homebirth Sketch.

So there ya have it.  It is obvious by my fridge that I:

have kids.
have been to various gift shops and paid an arm and a leg for a souvenier magnet.
am not good at cleaning my fridge off.
do not use paper calendars.

If only I were brave enough to show you the INSIDE of my fridge…

What’s on YOUR Fridge?


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BlogHer ’11- The Highlight Reel

If you are tired of reading about BlogHer posts then I have good and bad news.

Bad news: this post is about BlogHer ’11.

Good news: this is my last Blogher ’11 post.

Now, get ready for Stream of Consciousness writing with no timeline.  Forget the rules of good blogging, grammar, spelling, and sense.

People:

A lot of our Tweeps in one place!

I was fortunate to meet some really amazing women (and men) at BlogHer.  One way that I got to meet (almost) everyone on my list was by attending the Haute Green Social Hour Party on Thursday.  I also happened to be a co-host.  I was able to hug @KatiesPickles, @TheEcoChic, @ClothDiaperGeek, @KellyWels, @HauteMommyBlog, @HygeiaSylvia, @MamaPearDesigns, @EcoNuts, @PhDinParenting, @BabyRabies, @DagmarBleasedale, and so many more it isn’t funny.  These are my TWEEPS!  I love them and I loved meeting them for the first time.  I met many more new people too, which is kinda the point, yes?

My friend came to visit me who is local to San Diego.  Unfortunately it was short but at least I got to hug her neck.  She is hoping for a Homebirth any day now and I am wishing her the best of luck and can’t wait to hear about it.  Thanks Lyndsey!

At the conference I also met @TwoPretzels and @TheGrumbles.  I think I want to run away with both of them.  We were at the same table for the Saturday Night Keynote.  Ricki Lake spoke about women in the media and about her little movie, you know, The Business of Being Born.  I was a wreck about being late for this one so my roomie and I took a PediCab for a 20 minute walk.  It was fun, and 20$ well spent.

That's me and Ricki Lake, Ya'll!

I mentioned before that I was hoping to meet Ricki Lake. I have been tweeting at her and her new show’s Twitter Handle @TheRickiLakeShow for a few weeks now.  Not in a stalkery way, I hope.  I was asked to meet up with Ricki and other bloggers after the speech at the Tequila Bar by the pool of our hotel.  Margaritas were dispensed and I felt positively minute in the company of some amazing women.  I knew that Amy Lupold (@ResourcefulMom) would be there as well so I took the opportunity earlier that day to introduce myself after her session on Professional Blogging.  This was a great decision.  I saw a friendly face in the crowd.  Later on others I knew made it, including Annie of PhDinParenting.  I was able to chat with Ricki Lake, have a photo taken (SQUEE), and then talk to folks from the show.  I may have talked the ear of of a producer for almost 30 minutes about cloth diapers.  He may have sounded very interested in them.  And I may be crossing my fingers that they decide to talk about them on her new show coming in September 2012.

Other Highlights:

In the PediCab with Julie

Watching my roomie, Julie AKA the Cloth Diaper Geek, dance the night away at Sparklecorn.  Eating part of a Unicorn’s butt.  Decorating a few adult toys with googly eyes.  Hopping in a Photobooth with @BebehBlog and making silly faces.  Getting tattooed and having an invitation to “Lick me” written on the back of my neck at Aiming Low.  Eating cheeseburgers taken from silverdomed servingware.  Being filmed eating sausage on a stick.  Taking a Pedicab with Julie (@ClothDiaperGeek).  Joining a Pumping Party.  And of course being a part of the 300 oz+ breastmilk donation.

If it weren’t for Twitter I would have missed the Queen Bee Market, anadorable suite at the Hilton, full of handmade goods.  It was seriously like Etsy threw up in a room.  I could have spent hours and hours there, and hundreds of dollars.  Luckily I only had 10 minutes to spare so I bought a flower for my hair and a ring for my finger.

The Swag:

If you have heard of BlogHer you mostly hear about the swag.  I was either doing it wrong, or doing it right.  I came home with a suitcase full of a few samples and coupons, that is it.  Toothpaste, detergent, 2 bracelets, a DVD, some *ahem* toys, a water bottle, a sponge, stationary, Angry Bird Keychain, and a neti pot.  I didn’t win anything, I didn’t party hop to procure swag, I didn’t run through the Expo Hall grabbing stuff, and I stayed true to myself.  I’m going to be honest and say that I was a tad jealous of the cool stuff I saw, but it is a lot of work to swag it up.  The people with the most swag are either really famous and had it coming at them hand over fist, or good at party hopping.  They also probably missed most of the official stuff in order to swag hop.

More Photos:

At SparkleCorn with Molly

Yumm. I had a million Twizzlers

I would love to bore you with what I LEARNED at BlogHer but my kids won’t sit still long enough for me to make it coherent.

Next year BlogHer is back in New York City.  I am 2 parts excited, and 1 part nervous.  I have never been and I am terrified of traveling there alone.  San Diego is nothing compared to NYC.  Yes, I live 4 hours away from NYC and never go there.  Sad, yes?  See you next year BlogHer!

Thanks again to Swaddlebees and Boba for their generous sponsorship that got me to BlogHer and to the other companies that made my boobies weigh lesslook perkier, and be more productive!

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Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 2: Group Breast Milk Donation to EoF

Wasting breast milk should be a crime punishable by the Iron Maiden.  Breast Milk is the most amazing liquid on the planet.  It hydrates, it nourishes, it heals, it comforts, it is pure awesomesauce.

So when I decided to leave my son with his father while I attended BlogHer ’11 in San Diego I was immediately hit with the prospect of pumping milk for 4 days.  My first thought would be to bring it home with me because simply dumping it was out of the question!  Then I realized what an ordeal that would be.  Even if I somehow procured Dry Ice to pack it into a cooler for the 8+ hour trip home I would face the TSA.  Would I get an educated agent who understood how to handle breastmilk?  Or an agent who demanded I taste my milk or scan it in an X Ray machine?

Then it hit me: Donate it!  Yes! I would find a mother local to San Diego who had a baby in need of breast milk.  Even if I only had 50 ounces isn’t that something?  Of course it is!  And lightning struck again when I decided to blog about my donation plans to enlist other lactating mothers!  It was brilliant (in my humble opinion.)

For any of you unaware, there are various ways a person can donate breast milk.

One would be donating to a Milk Bank. A Milk Bank would screen the donor through blood tests and the milk is then pasterurized or otherwise turned into other forms of milk for babies.  Even though donors are not getting paid for the milk the banks do charge a (hefty) price for human milk.  A great read regarding Milk Banks and the human milk business is on JWOC {Swindled: The Ugly Side of Milk Donation} I would recommend reading this if you are considering donating to a Milk Bank in order to be informed about what happens to your milk in many cases.

Peer Milk Sharing involves direct person to person donations.  Utilizing online or in person connections women can donate milk to one another for various reasons.  It is really up to the donor and recipient to be honest and up front regarding health concerns or medications being taken. Reasons for peer milk donations range from intolerance to formula, adoptive parents, and help for cancer patients.

 

 

BlogHer Milk Recipient. CUTE!

I knew a Peer to Peer Milk Share would be the best in my situation. I was staying at a hotel so I would need to the recipient to pick up the milk.  I chose Eats on Feets and after a quick search, found their Facebook Page for Southern California.  After posting my plans on the page I quickly got an email from a mother who needed the milk.  Her son had been tongue tied and he was clipped but she pumped and was having supply issues.  The baby wasn’t doing well on formula and tolerated breast milk much better.

I responded that I would at least have my own milk but potentially the milk from a few other moms.

Word spread through the internet about my plan. I had comments on my blog post, tweets from other attendees, and emails asking to be involved.  Another mom created a Facebook Group for moms pumping at BlogHer (regardless of donating) and we kept in touch in this way.

At BlogHer I found even more moms!  Purely by coincidence I chatted with a mother at a party who was pumping and boy am I glad I did!  Molly of Milwaukee Mamas.com turned out to be our biggest “producer” and needs an award for her amazing supply!  Her milk was a large percentage of the total we donated!  Other attendees also spread the word in person.

I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the moms who donated. We had 1 time pumpers who were away from older nurslings and others like myself who had babies under a year old and lots of milk was still flowing!  1 oz or 100 ounces, these women took time to save their milk instead of the easy path of dumping it down the drain.  They have my gratitude!

In no particular order here are the moms I know who donated:

Jen of LifewithLevi.com

Kristen of CoolMomPicks.com

Jill of BabyRabies.com

Suzanne of Bebehblog.com

Elizabeth of MeasaMommy.com

Christa of LittleBCBG.com

Molly of MilwaukeeMamas.com

Jessica of MomEinstein.com

And One Employee of the Convention Center handed me a bag too (and was asked of any meds/etc first of course)

That is a grand total of 14 (including myself)

All I can say is Wow. I have tears in my eyes just typing out the list of Moms involved.  I am so amazed at the hugeness of this donation, the willingness of so many women to donate, and the overall positive outcome.  Most people don’t even know that breast milk donation is an option, so to have so many involved is truly amazing and such a testament to the caliber of women who attend BlogHer!

Just 1 of 2 Bags

In order to collect every possible drop of breastmilk I was able to wrangle Jill (Baby Rabies) to meet up with our milk recipient on Sunday morning.  I had to leave our hotel at 4:15 am so having anyone meet that early would have been crazy.  Instead, I collected as much milk as possible the night before (and ran back and forth from the North and South Towers of the hotel about 5 times!) then dropped it off to Jill at 12:30 am (after I pumped for the last time) where her fridge was already stocked with milk.  I have a feeling our baby recipient is going to gain a few pounds- let’s just say that Jill and Suzanne both make milk with extra cream!  It resembled yogurt- no lie!  And in case you are curious, we all wrote our names on our own bags of milk.  If Sam shows any sort of negative reaction to the milk hopefully it will be possible to trace to one mother and they can discontinue using those bags.

Jill met with Jen (Life with Levi) in the morning for her milk and the milk we pumped at the party.  They delivered the milk to our mom (I hate that I couldn’t be there myself but getting more milk was more important!) on Sunday morning and it all went smoothly.  I am so relieved!

In total we had 70 bags of milk.  Most had 4 ounces (or more) in each bag.  My guess is we had 350 ounces at least but to be safe let’s say 300 ounces were donated.

300 Ounces.

Suddenly, the inconvenience of pumping was replaced with a warm fuzzy feeling.  Sam, our little donor baby, has been drinking the breastmilk and Mom says his tummy is already acting better compared to the formula.  Luckily they had lots of room in the freezer!

Blissed out and in a Breastmilk Coma.

So next year, New York City, if you are going to be pumping at BlogHer ’12, just let me know!  We’ll be doing the same through Eats on Feets in August 2012.  I may not be breastfeeding by then (who knows) but I will be happy to coordinate another BlogHer Breast Milk Donation.

Anyone can donate breastmilk at any time!  If you have a freezer overflowing with milk, or have an oversupply, or just want to donate, locate an Eats on Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies Chapter in your area!

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Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 1: Logistics and Reflections

I returned home Sunday evening from attending BlogHer ’11, the largest female blogging conference around.  My goal was to learn new things at the numerous sessions that were held by leading bloggers and to network with/ get fan-girly over the many bloggers I follow or converse with.

I was able to do all of those things (and more) but this post has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the thing that hung over my trip like a {leaking} black cloud: My Lactating Boobs.

I chose to leave both of my children, including the nursing one, at home with their dad.  I pumped every day for a month and saved 140 ounces of breastmilk for him (my original goal was 100).  Then I had to leave him.  Unfortunately there is no such thing as a temporary “Shut Off”  valve for boobs.  They are on until the baby is finished.

I have said it before: I despise pumping. There is never a convenient time to pump.  At home it required the attendance of my husband to watch the kids so they didn’t get into trouble or the voo-doo magic of television.  Without kids, pumping is quite a bit easier in many ways but at a hectic and overbooked conference who wants to run to a hotel room and sit stationary while being milked?

I didn’t want to but that is what I did.

The journey began on Thursday.  I left for the airport at 3:30 am for a 5:40 am flight.  I made sure to nurse my son on both sides when he woke up at about 2:40 am.  I packed my Hygeia Enjoye in a purse along with clear plastic bags for parts, bags for milk, and the bottles and flanges in another bag.

Luckily the Hygeia Enjoye, when charged, can be used without being plugged in!

My first flight was only 45 minutes and by the time it was over I was so ready to pump!  The problem was that I only had half an hour between flights.  My next flight was in another terminal and required being shuttled over.  I rushed to the gate and it had just started boarding.  I had an important decision to make: Skip pumping and risk exploding all over the plane and/or trying to either hand express or pump in an airplane bathroom, or, pump in a small window of 20 minutes and risk missing my flight!

I made a rash decision and bumped my way to the gate attendants.

“Hi….. umm…..  I am on this flight.”

“Ok.”

So I need to pump.” I whispered to both attendants but made eye contact with the female.

“Ma’am I can’t hear you, speak louder.” Of course.

“I NEED TO PUMP OUT BREAST MILK BEFORE THIS 5 HOUR FLIGHT!”

The male gate attendant was the one who spoke up.

“Alright.  You better do it now.  I’m not kidding.  I’ll hold the flight for you but you HAVE to do it RIGHT NOW.  Go.”

“Thank you Thank You THANK YOU!” I said and ran away after he got my name and seat number.

A quick glance of the airport let me know that it was too busy to attempt pumping in a secluded corner so I went to the bathroom.  I have only nursed in a bathroom once in my life but pumping is not as discreet.

I packed myself, a rolling suitcase, and a giant purse into the stall and set about trying to screw in bottles, insert tubing, put on my Hands Free Nursing Bra from Pumpease, and keep the pump balanced on my suitcase.  I turned the dial to ON and relied on the quiet pump coupled with the busting bathroom to disguise what was going on.

That experience turned me into a permanent believer in, and cheerleader of, the Pumpease.  I actually stood there and was pumped while Tweeting and taking photos of myself since I wanted to share the hilarity.

Right as I began squeezing Lefty to get the rest out since he is a bad pumper I heard the intercom announce that everyone on flight blah blah needed to be on board bound for San Diego.  Shit.

I put my parts back in the bags, threw myself back together, washed my hands and ran!  The male attendant and I smiled at one another and the next leg of travel began.

I strongly considered trying to pump on the plane since my seatmate was snoozing and I had a pleasant position in the bulkhead but I held off until landing.

Once on the ground I booked it to the nearest bathroom to relieve myself.  This time I saved my milk since freshly expressed breastmilk can stay out before being refrigerated/frozen for 4 hours.

The rest of the weekend and conference I had the luxury of pumping in my hotel room.  I even took my pump to another attendee’s room (Jenn of Life With Levi) who held a Pumping Party in her room.  many of the participants also donated their breast milk along with me (more on this tomorrow, but read more about my initial plans here).  I will admit to missing out on quite a few things due to the pumping.  I don’t regret it but it is part of the package.

Admittedly, I was a bad pumper.  On my busiest days I only pumped 4 times when I should have gotten to it at least 5 times.  The first full day and night in San Diego I woke at 5 am totally engorged since my son nurses at night.  I hand expressed in the bathroom enough to let me go back to sleep until a more reasonable hour to pump!

The biggest lessons I learned from being an EP (Exclusively Pumping) Mom for 4 days:

  • Breastfeeding is Way Easier.
  • Pumping takes more Prep Time and Clean-up time.
  • Working Moms who Pump have a ton of logistical challenges, especially when faced with nowhere to pump.
  • Traveling and Flying Moms who pump have it even harder.  There is no telling where your layover will be and what facilities you will have to pump in.
  • To avoid washing parts all of the time store them in a freezer bag in your fridge between sessions (reader tip)
  • Hand compressing your breast while pumping is helpful if you have a stubborn boob that doesn’t want to drain.
  • A great Double Electric Pump is needed and a battery powered one is worth every penny.
  • A hands free nursing bra will save your life.
  • Keep a dribble cloth handy.

Pumping is HARD work when you consider the alternative of either breastfeeding a baby directly, or bottle feeding a baby formula.  In the earliest days of my first son’s life a pediatrician told me that it was OK to give up, some babies just don’t ever latch properly.  I could do as his wife did and just pump and bottle feed.  (Yes, a Pediatrician actually told me this!)

I thought hard about his statement.  My baby would still be geting breastmilk afterall, and I could skip the torturous nursing sessions that were leaving me shaking and crying from the pain.  Instead, I decided I would work with the Lactation Consultant and use a Nipple Shield until we had this thing figured out.

Even though I was about to breastfeed successfully there are certainly warranted cases of mothers who need to pump full time, and those who pump while working or away.  I already knew how admirable that was (seriously, pumpin’ mamas get my respect) but after experiencing EP first hand for 4 days I admire them even more!  Pumping gives the baby the benefit of breastmilk but requires so much more work.  It also made me understand a little more why some mothers end up switching to formula after they return to work.  I am so lucky to get to stay home with my boys and that makes breastfeeding so easy.  I honestly don’t know what would happen if I had to work for it.

Tomorrow’s Post will be about the 300+ Ounces of Breastmilk collected from over 10 moms at BlogHer to be donated.  Rock on.

Even though I’m being sponsored by these companies in some way I am telling the truth when I say that I love them!  Thanks again to Swaddlebees and Boba for their generous sponsorship that got me to BlogHer and to the other companies that made my boobies weigh lesslook perkier, and be more productive!

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Wordless Wednesday: Dress Shopping

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Pumping at BlogHer ’11? Consider Donating Breastmilk!

One of the hardest things about planning to go to my first blogging conference- BlogHer ’11 in San Diego this August- was deciding to leave my nursling at home with his father. My son will be 10 months old when I go.  Many people think 10 months is almost time to wean but not me.  I’ll be nursing my son until he is ready to wean, whenever that is.

Other than physically leaving my two boys and husband, the next cause for concern came when I realized I needed to pump enough milk to last for the 4 days I would be gone. Yikes!  That is a tall order, especially since I only have a single pump.  And pumping while gone with a single?  That would be a nightmare!  It would take twice the time to relieve my breasts.  Instead, I’ll be pumping with a Hygeia Double Electric. {Full Disclosure- they are sending the pump free of charge as my Pump Sponsor for BlogHer}

And what about while I’m away? Traveling with breast milk is something I am very afraid of.

I’ve read the stories of women who have had to fight with the TSA about their breast milk and in many cases they either missed their flight or had their milk X-Rayed.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

All because of breast milk.  You know, that amazing fluid designed for babies that meets all of their nutritional needs and is formulated to suit them at every age and stage? Yeah.  It just so happens to be dispensed through a nipple on those jiggly things men like to look at called Boobs.

Even though theoretically the law and TSA regulations are on my side I just don’t want to chance it.

That is why I have decided to donate the milk that I pump while in San Diego to a local family through a peer milk sharing program (Most likely Eats on Feets Southern CA).  I will have 3 full days worth of breast milk which will translate to about 80-110 ounces.  I’ve never exclusively pumped but I am just guessing based off of what I get from each breast when I do a single pump, and have multiplied that by how many times I will likely pump while away each day.    I realize this isn’t a ton but I know it can be of help to someone. I would much rather donate it than risk losing it or contaminating it at the airport. Plus the logistics of a full day of flying with a cooler of breastmilk makes my head hurt.

If you are pumping at BlogHer and want to skip the hassle of traveling home with milk, don’t let it go to waste! We can all donate our milk together to one family or you can find a family to donate to individually. I will create a group either on BlogHer or on Facebook if there is enough interest, just let me know in the comments.

I do not have a recipient lined up yet for my milk in San Diego.  In case others wish to donate with me we could potentially donate all of our milk to one family.  As a reminder, peer to peer milksharing (more on this) is something both parties will willing go into fully aware of the risks involved. There will be no money exchanged and the milk will not be screened.  It is up to me to be forthcoming about what could be in my milk (dairy or other ingested foods that could cause an allergic reaction in some babies, or even alcohol) and the recipient to understand those things.  If I do drink while away chances are I will dump the milk I pump after since I am donating it.  I do feel comfortable breastfeeding my own baby after one or two drinks but others may not.

I am absolutely terrified of coming home to a baby who no longer want to breastfeed but multiple people have reassured me that he will go right back to the breast when I get home.  At least I know that my milk won’t go to waste while I’m away.

Are you a Lactacting Lady going to BlogHer ’11?  Would you consider breast milk donation?  If so leave a comment!  If enough people are interested I’ll create a group to help plan this potential multi-donor transaction with a local San Diego family.

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Announcing my BlogHer 2011 Sponsors!

I’ll be Child Free at BlogHer '11!
Making the decision to go to a blogging conference seemed like a no-brainer but it was hard. I have two babies who need me. Initially I was going to make it a family affair but since BlogHer is in San Diego this year I was worried about the time change and the short stay so they boys are staying home with their Dad.

Other than my children my next concern was the expense.  Travel, hotel, ticket, miscellaneous expenses- these all add up! I decided to seek sponsors to offset the cost.

My goal was to work with companies that I already knew and loved.  I don’t do “sponsored” posts (posts where I’m paid to write about a topic) because I do value the mission of this blog and the trust that you have in my voice.  While I do accept items to review and have participated in a few cloth diaper related blog parties that were compensated with- you guessed it- cloth diapers, that is the extent.  My monetary income is derived from my amazing advertisers and my affiliate sales. That is it.

I emailed my top picks for brands that I loved.  I was escatic to hear that they wanted to work with me as well. So who do you think I’m representing at BlogHer?!

-And-

Boba- My Favorite Soft Structure Carrier for toddlers and Swaddlebees- makers of my new favorite sized side snapping diaper!

I would never represent a brand or company I wouldn’t recommend to my best friend.  And considering how often I have told people about the Boba, and am already telling people about the new Simplex, this is a natural fit.

So what does this mean exactly?

Boba and Swaddlebees are helping with the cost of my trip (they are not covering the entire cost so unless I find another sponsor this will be out of pocket *hint *hint) and in return they are getting advertising space on my blog.  I’ll also be sharing some of their promotions or news on my blog, Fanpage, or Twitter.  Any posts about them will have a disclosure since it would be considered a “sponsored” post however I would never post something that I don’t feel is worthy of being shared.  I have other exciting ways to promote their brand in store as well.

I can’t even say enough good things about these products. I love my Boba for Fletcher these days.  He thoroughly enjoys riding on my back and especially enjoys being tossed onto my back using the Superman Toss.  The Simplex is one of the first diapers I grab and it makes a fab trainer for Fletcher too!  Plus. they are wicked trim!

Thank you Boba and Swaddlebees for helping send me to BlogHer!  You rock!

What about you guys?  Are you going to Blogher?  If you are and you consider yourself a Green or Cloth Diapering Mama join the Facebook Page. This will be a great place to connect before the big event.  I know I will want to feel like I “know” people there!

Posted in Blog LifeComments (2)

Zazzle Skinny Cards Versus Moo Mini Cards

I never thought I would need business cards, I’m just a blog!  Well, it turns out my blog is a business too.  Occasionally I will go to a conference or expo and need to give out my information.  And sometimes I will meet someone who wants to learn more about cloth diapers so I hand them my card in case they want to check out my website to learn more or email me with questions.

Mom Bloggers (and moms who want to connect with other moms for play dates) need to have cards on hand.  You really never know when something will come up!

I have used 2 popular card services, Zazzle.com and Moo.com.  I prefer the “skinny” or “mini” cards because everything tiny is cute.  Babies are tiny and they are cute, this applies to all things as well.

My first card order came from Zazzle.com.  I needed cards for a conference I was attending.  I asked on Twitter and many bloggers suggested this company.  No one said Moo at the time so I am guessing they weren’t around back then.  But my most recent batch came from Moo.com.

Zazzle Skinny Cards

Pros:

  • Very unique and adorable pre-designed cards to choose from.
  • Easy to customize
  • Front and back designs
  • Comes with stick dispenser (HUGE wow factor when I whip these out, they make a memorable impression and I KNOW businesses would connect me/my card to my follow-up contact email.)
  • No minimum orders
  • Cards come in packs of 20 for 6.95 or 1.99 per pack in bulk.
  • Skinny cards are 3″ by 1″ (they also sell chubby and standard size)

Cons:

  • The cards are “flimsy” compared to the stock used by Moo.
  • Can’t use multiple designs within one pack.
  • Too many designs to choose from!  Users submit them and it can be overwhelming sorting through and choosing (could be a pro depending on your nature)

Why Choose Zazzle?

Moo Mini Cards

Pros:

  • You can import photos from many websites including Flickr, Facebook, and more.
  • You can choose 2 images per pack for the front, 1 for the back.
  • Quality is extremely high and cards are made from hefty card stock that is sustainably sourced and the color is gorgeous.
  • You can upload a finished file and design our entire card on Photoshop using their template.
  • Cards come in a sturdy and quality mini box.
  • Can buy holders in felt or leather for additional charge.
  • Many design possibilities and even the ability to print promo codes for dispensing.
  • Seamless integration with Etsy shops.

Cons:

  • Their interface was very hard to use and I went in 100 circles trying to design and upload my images.  I was beyond frustrated by the end.
  • Not a huge fan of the designs available.  Many are just geometrics and florals, nothing innovative.
  • Cards do not come with a dispenser, they are an additional 5.00 for plastic.
  • You must order larger quantities (100 for 19.95)

Why choose Moo?

It is a TOUGH call to choose between the two services.  Zazzle is so user friendly and economical, however there are more design opportunities with Moo and their cards are a higher quality.

It really depends on the impression you are wanting to make (Zazzle dispenser wins for the cool, thumbing out factor and it is simple to do one handed too) but Moo cards feel nicer to the touch and can really make a “quality” impression.  Both allow you to use a tiny logo or picture on the card.  I did for Zazzle but not for Moo, but I will be using one of thee services again for my BlogHer cards and this will include my photo.  This really helps put a face to the name, literally, for a representative or person who has been handed hundreds or cards.

Who will I choose for my next order? I’m not really sure yet!  I prefer the dimensions of the “skinny” cards from Zazzle but love the look and feel of the Moo cards.  You will just have to wait and see me at BlogHer in August to find out!

I wrote this post on my own, there were no incentives from either company, just wanted to share!

Posted in Product ReviewsComments (4)

BlogHer 2011 Here I Come! DDL Needs Sponsors!

BlogHer 2011 Here I Come! DDL Needs Sponsors!

I am finally committing to a blog conference for this year. In August I will be hitting the skies and flying out to San Diego for BlogHer with my family in tow!!! I wrestled with the decision, mainly due to the controversy surrounding the sponsors and swaggyness, but in the end I knew as long as I keep my head on straight and plan my sessions accordingly it will be educational and worth the trip.
I'm Wearing a Cute Baby to BlogHer '11!

Besides, all of my bloggy friends and tweeps are going.  It will be a huge cloth diaper party!

I have decided to get very serious about my blog this year.  It was a hobby, then it became a side job, and now I am working on optimizing it to be worth the time I put into it.  I have a sitter come once a week which allows me time to work on posts and videos, but she costs quite a bit of money!

So, if you are looking to have your brand represented at BlogHer and be promoted on my blog, won’t you consider sponsoring Dirty Diaper Laundry?

My site receives 16,000-30,000 visits a month, depending on the events going on.  My readers are very engaged and usually spend about 3 minutes at each visit.  And my traffic is always growing!  There are over 1,100 Google Followers and over 1,000 people receive my blog daily in their email!  I am also currently in the process of starting a monthly newsletter.

I also have a wonderful and active Facebook Fanpage! 1,700 people “like” me, but hopefully they really like me too!  I also have 2,700 followers on Twitter. On YouTube I have a rapidly growing number of subscribers to my video reviews and informational videos.  Right now I am at over 400!

Because my audience is fairly specific (female, mostly 25-34, mothers, cloth diaper lovers, a little crunchy) I am looking for sponsors in that same vein.  This will be the best fit for everyone!

I have to say, I love my readers!  And since they are reading this too, let me promise you that I would only represent a brand I am familiar with and love.  You won’t start reading tweets and posts about Licorice Bites or something. Blech!

If you decide to sponsor I will:

  • Put your logo on my business card which will be passed out to hundreds of people!
  • Put your logo on my beautiful purple laptop for the conference.
  • Periodically make posts about your brand until BlogHer.
  • Every post about BlogHer will include a link to your website and mention you as my sponsor.
  • Put your ad on my sidebar for the period of 4 months (May-August) which in itself is almost worth the cost of a partial sponsorship!
  • Tweet and Facebook important information and sale updates to my followers.
  • I will adhere to BlogHer Sponsor guidelines, and hand out information and swag on your behalf at areas deems safe to do so.
  • And, if I can wear it or show it (cloth diapers, nursing attire, etc) I will!  I will have my 10 month old son with me who I will be wearing around so keep that in mind as well!
  • If it is logical to do so, I may even do a few videos for you to put on my blog and on YouTube.

The total estimated cost of attending BlogHer is $1,800. This includes 3 nights Hotel Stay, cost of ticket (already purchased), and round trip airfare for myself.

Ideally I would like to split the cost 3 ways which means each sponsor will pay $600.

I am not a mega mommy blogger and I am ok with that. I do stand behind the integrity of my blog, the purpose, and the quality of the content.  I am so very excited to have to opportunity to learn how to make my blog a better one.   I love what I do and want to continue to blog for a long time!

If you are interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities with me in greater detail, including the different levels of sponsorship, shoot me an email! kdrosas at gmail dot com.

Posted in Blog Life, Personal PostComments (2)



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