I booked my daughter’s first behind the wheel driving lesson and not two hours later I got a save the date email from her school. It’s time to meet the college counselors. I am convinced that this daughter of mine learned to walk away from me and will never walk back toward us.

I’m also a little sick and therefore overtired and glum.

Then I went over the mountains of things that I’m overdue in sharing on my blog and saw this series of images


You see I’d been invited to a decidedly baby event and brought my friend and her baby. The first table was Corolle dolls and Analisse was mesmerized. She carried that doll everywhere with the stroller nearby. When we were looking at the most beautiful high chair in existence (it’s part of MoMa’s permanent shop collection) the baby had to come with us.

And as I was feeling neglected by my own child I remembered that I’d been to a zillion events in December and that I have an ergobaby Baby Carrier to give away from the same event. I don’t have experience with this but it was pretty and fluffy (hello handwarmers!) and the moms with tiny babies seemed to love it.

So here. It’s December. Let me give you something.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Could Have Bought 25 New Dogs for that Price


That I love Junior goes without saying. He’s sitting on my right foot at the moment because he’s a little codependent and when you work from home dogs end up expecting even more from you. Unlike humans I enjoy Junior’s neediness, he’s like a little baby that snuggles but doesn’t require diapers or sleepless nights. He specializes in adorableness.

Junior the poodle

I’ve made some mistakes with Junior, the biggest one being dental care. I just didn’t bring Junior in for a scraping every year. I was busy doing things like, oh I dunno…. running a household and raising two children. Unfortunately Junior paid the price for that in pain and I paid the price in cash. I knew I was going to write about canine dental care today so I called the vet and asked them to fax over (they don’t email) some of Junior’s bills.

I could have bought 25 dogs for the price of two dental emergencies.

vet dental work bill

vet 2

And yeah, I microchipped Junior for no apparent reason. Understand that if I hold his leash he walks next me. Let’s face it, that dog is going nowhere solo, I spent $70 extra because I was swimming in guilt.

So after all this work the vet was super sweet to me and explained that little dogs can have more severe dental issues than big ones because when they scrape their teeth if there’s any decay the tooth will sometimes just break apart. To be fair their version of kindness didn’t leave me feeling better but they did their best. I’d ignored the first five years of his dental care and these enormous bills were indicators of how much pain my sweet dog had to experience.

In addition to getting junior to the vet for cleanings every 9 months or so he now gets treats to help maintain his teeth. I’d walked past those things for years not understanding that for a few dollars a month Junior’s teeth could have been getting cleaned with treats. The folks at Vet IQ sent some Minties for Junior to sample and he (predictably) loves them. Oh also, Junior is wheat and grain free and Minties are too.

An added bonus with Minties is that they use natural breath fresheners so Junior no longer smells like an animal that spends a good bit of his day licking himself. There’s something about the density and shape of Minties that cleans Junior’s teeth while he chews. Also I was looking at ingredients and Minties includes chlorophyll, parsley, dill, peppermint oil and fennel… am I the only person who seems to remember these ingredients being in Breath Assure (which frankly some humans around me could use). 

Since Junior loved Minties enough to dance I’ve arranged for a giveaway from VetIQ where one lucky reader will get a prize pack of at least $100 of VetIQ products, everything they make is veterinary quality made in America. I know our house could use some VetGuard this time of year to keep the fleas away.

Entering is easy, good luck! Your pets will thank you and so will your wallet.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Growing Your Blog Traffic


This morning I read a post about how to get more traffic. It’s a good post, and like any blog post it’s a good beginning. Because blogs are short… they’re so short that blog isn’t even the word, they were Web Logs but bloggers can’t even be bothered to have seven letters and a space involved.

I digress. Everyone wants to know how to get more traffic to their site.

I don’t know with great authority, no one does. I know that if you try to do what someone else is doing it won’t work.

I can’t be like Ciaran because only one person can be Momfluential. I can’t be like Debbie because if I said Throat Punch it would be weird. I don’t disagree with Helen Jane, but she’s a vague about how to create that train wreck.

I might have hyperlinked back to those women because they have significant audiences and my hope is that my link baiting them they’ll share this post with their audiences.

I can help you avoid pitfalls that I’ve personally experienced.

Giveaways are incredibly time consuming and will not bring you a community or readers. You’ll get passers by who are unlikely to read you again.

Images are a great way for people to find you and should be well named. I do not use images because I’m slow to learn.

Do not automate twitter to share every post. The only person who can break this rule is Guy Kawasaki. I don’t know why Guy can overshare and no one else can, I just know that’s how it works.

Don’t join a StumbleUpon group. Those kids at StumbleUpon are smarter than any blogger, their algorithm will start ignoring you and StumbleUpon traffic is so delightful you wouldn’t want to lose that.

Don’t reprint a press release. It doesn’t count as quality content and I’m not visiting your site to get the same content that 2,000 other bloggers are publishing.

The things that you can do to get readers:

Tell people you’re a blogger. Add a signature to your emails.

Generously share other people’s content on your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. Share different stuff on each channel.

Say something outrageous, memorable or poignant. Make your audience love your community.

Write every day, or as close as you can.

Respect your audience and don’t bullshit them about loving a product that no one in their right mind could love.

Above all else every blogger should know that they’re incredibly privileged that anyone wants to read anything they’ve written. Assume your audience is smarter than you are and never pander to them or to advertisers. People want, and deserve, honest writing that you can’t get from a glossy sell out space.

Don’t be an asshole. People will read.

BlogHer Day One: It’s Not Stalking If I Give You Gifts


Once again, my feet are aching and I’ve smiled and nodded and guffawed more than my share. I’m surrounded by bright, inclusive, kind and creative women. I don’t quite have words for the entire experience just yet, but I’ll get to it.

I spent about an hour today giving gifts to women, and I’m just getting started.

Brainy Baby put together a very generous gift set. It includes music, videos, toys, a onesie, books and rattles. I adore Brainy Baby from pages to projection, and it was really fun for me to share their product line with some of the most amazing Moms you’ll meet. I got to meet, hug and gift to Emily, who I’d not met before, but when I saw on Twitter that she’s a Friend of Maddie, I realized she’s automatically a friend of Mine. Next was Rockin Mama who is another LA Blogger, how is it that I’m meeting LA bloggers in Chicago? Tanis cruised by, and explained to me that these items were perfect for her son, who has major developmental delays. Oh, and yeah, that made me grateful, hopeful, sad and happy all at once. CentsibleSawyer swang by and I gifted her right up. FluffyPendleton is somewhere beyond adorable and I can’t wait to watch her.

Giving away the 10 Again tees was so much fun. The owners (like Brainy Baby) are friends of mine, so it just felt really great to introduce people to their brand. Everyone commented on how soft and fun the shirts were. Since it’s almost midnight here in Chicago, I’m going to list the Ten Again winners tomorrow, when I’m not bleary eyed.

If you want to see the giveaways and how cute everyone is, here’s the Whrrl story.