Archive for Jodi

Sticky: Boston Parent Bloggers Visit Harvey Building Products

Guest blogger Leah Klein lives with her family of four in Cambridge, MA where she and her husband are slowly bringing their house out of the 1970’s and into the present.  She writes as the Boston Family Foodie and blogs at Pearls and Oysters.

Boston Parent Bloggers are handy when it comes to juggling schedules, baby gear, screen time, homework time, but what about around the house? Well, just like with parenting we all have our strengths! Luckily, the bloggers who attended the Harvey Building Products Showroom in Burlington didn’t have to also don hard hats and pick up tools of any sort.

As most home owners are, we were all in different stages of redoing, repairing, or upgrading our homes from minor details to major overhauls. Bloggers were given a chance not only to tour the Harvey showroom, but also to hear from the Boston Globe’s Handyman on Call, Peter Hotton, who has been the Boston Globe’s Handyman on Call for over thirty years and had plenty of great stories and handy anecdotes to share.  Since Peter answers questions in a variety of ways he hears from all sorts of homeowners. Savvy homeowners who tend to be older and know quite a bit about taking care of their home usually call in (from 1-6 p.m. on Tuesdays at (617) 929-2930. Then there’s the chatroom (Thursdays at 2 p.m.) where everyone is young, enthusiastic and don’t know anything about their homes. It was great to hear from someone who knows his home inside and out speak honestly about everything from his former dislike of the original, now much improved, vinyl siding to his Harvey windows that he is extremely satisfied with.

Then, it was on to exploring the show room. It was great to see the windows in mock houses and get a real feel for the options. Windows and sliding glass doors was a focus for me, because the windows in our Cambridge home are all from the 1970’s and as the chill in the air outside becomes more and more pronounced so do the drafts through our house. It was great to learn that the Harvey classic windows are guaranteed for 20 years. It’s also nice to know that you’re supporting a company that is respected by its employees and that manufacturing happens just one state over up in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

As we were walked through it all, it was nice to see outside clients coming in, sent by their contractors or neighbors perhaps, to look at materials in person so they knew what they’d be getting. Harvey works directly with contractors and not the general public, but you can always find a good recommendation for a contractor through your parent webgroups, in person groups, neighbors, or sites like Angie’s List.

Lastly, I learned about the Mass Save programs that will help you make improvements to your home. Since Harvey windows have very clear Energy Star ratings, they qualify and will save you money especially if your windows are as old as ours.

Thank you to Harvey Building Products for taking the time to walk us through the showroom and host us.

Editor’s note – Also thanks to UrbanSitter for providing a babysitter to watch the kids who attended the event.

Harvey Building Products
Burlington Showroom
1 Wheeler Rd.
(overlooking Rt. 128, Exit 32 Middlesex Turnpike, former Tweeter building)
Burlington, MA 02803

Here are posts from attendees:

Boston Parent Bloggers Attempt Aerial Yoga with TD Bank

TD Bank Aerial YogaLast week, TD Bank challenged Boston Parent Bloggers to learn more about freedom and flexibility with aerial yoga.  Why aerial yoga?  Well, TD Bank is all about freedom (offering free checking without the requirement of high balances) and flexibility (many checking options and extended branch hours) – two characteristics that aerial yoga embody.

Personally, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was amazed that I was actually able to do most of the moves, once I got past my fear of falling.  The instructor was great at walking us through the steps, and it was fun to do the class as a group.  I was also impressed that the TD Bank execs were right along with us – doing the aerial yoga while wearing their work clothes.  That’s dedication!

South Boston Yoga offers this intro class on a regular basis – but it’s not something I would have done on my own.  So, a big thanks to TD Bank for getting me out of my comfort zone, and for my fellow Boston Parent Bloggers for being brave enough to try it out!

Disclosure: TD Bank engaged Boston Parent Bloggers to help coordinate this event. 

Photo credit: TD Bank

PR Panel Springboard

The First Springboard Conference in Boston was a Success!

PR Panel Springboard

Photo Credit: Judy Petraske

Last week, Boston Parent Bloggers co-hosted the first ever Springboard Conference in Boston, MA.  Springboard brought bloggers in from as far as California, all to get hands-on information on how to improve their blogs.  With sessions from App Development to Monetization, Photographer to Stop Motion Videography, the conference truly offered something for everyone.

The conference started with a Zero to Business pre-conference on Friday, with a dinner cruise aboard Entertainment Cruises’ Odyssey.  While some guests drove to the event, many stayed overnight at the nearby Westin Boston Waterfront.  Conference participants had the option of starting their day with gentle yoga before the sessions started.

I had the honor of presenting my Show me the money – Tips to monetize your blog NOW session toward the end of the day, and found that the audience was still lively and excited to learn.  I was also energized from a day of learning and networking.  I already can’t wait for next year’s Springboard Conference.

Check out the links below for the experiences of other attendees.

Dr. Panda

Boston Parent Bloggers Review Dr. Panda! Teach Me

Dr. PandaThis past April, 20 members of Boston Parent Bloggers had the opportunity to participate in sponsored posts and reviews of Dr. Panda! Teach Me.  This fun iPad/iPhone app, focused on kids aged 2-5 years old, teaches kids with fun games and puzzles. Our members played the app with their kids and then wrote thorough reviews on their own blogs.

Check out our members’ reviews, linked below!

Disclosure: This campaign was sponsored by Dr. Panda!

Boston Parent Bloggers Take On the Mom 2.0 Summit in Key Biscayne, FL

Boston Parent Bloggers

Charlene, Melanie, Jodi, and Annie (Roxanna not pictured) Photo credit: Melanie Feehan

This past week, several members of Boston Parent Bloggers attended the Mom 2.0 Summit in Key Biscayne, Florida.  This conference, known as a “conversation between moms and marketers”, is in it’s fourth year, and I’ve been thrilled to attend all four.  This year, the conference offered fabulous speakers, amazing parties, and a thought-provoking environment.

I enjoyed the keynote discussions, which featured such notable speakers as The Bloggess, Liz Lange, and Brene Brown.  The breakout sessions were also wonderful, and I came home with so much to ponder.  But, the highlight of the event was the party held at the former Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive in South Beach.  The party, sponsored by Intel (who was surprisingly absent throughout the rest of the Summit), featured a DJ, a delicious buffet, and some fabulous desserts.  It was a great way to end the conference on a high note.

Other sponsors of the conference included Hallmark (who offered a wonderful card-giving suite), Honda (who offered test drives of their newest vehicles), Bounce, LG, Pom, Sargento’s, Aldi, and Lawry’s.

Next year’s Mom 2.0 Summit will be held in Laguna Beach, CA, and I plan to be there for #5!



Meet Our Members: Kim from The Girl Is A Mom

Starting today, we’ve got a new feature here on Boston Parent Bloggers – Meet Our Members!  First up is a conversation with Kim from The Girl is a Mom.

What do you write about?

I write about motherhood and being a stay at home mother. Relationships with friends, with your children and with partners. What it is like to have 2 children and not lose yourself :) I talk about events in the city and I do reviews and giveaways for baby/family products.

Where do you live?

Boston, Massachusetts

How long have you been blogging?

In this form I have been blogging for 3 years, since my first pregnancy.

Do you have a favorite blog post of your own?

Madness of Motherhood A Rebuttal

What are two or three of your favorite blogs to read?

Girl’s Gone Child
Melanie in the Middle
Trees Will Bend
Making it Lovely

What inspired you to start a blog?

When I got pregnant, I felt like there was nothing out there that spoke to me. I felt like I didn’t fit in with the communities of pregnant mothers out there. I wasn’t married, I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, I didn’t look anything like someone who was going to be a mother…I thought there must be others out there like me. It quickly became an outlet to share all the things I was learning about pregnancy and babies that I didn’t see anyone else honestly writing about. I try very hard to continue that theme of complete honesty, even when a subject is a bit tough to be truthful about.

How many children do you have?

2, aged 2 and 6 months.

Why did you join Boston Parent Bloggers?

I really wanted to extend my circle of friends to those awesome like minded mamas who were local and not just living on the internet :) The prospect of being able to meet and hang out with the people behind the blogs I read, that is awesome.

What are some of your favorite blogging platforms, plugins and/or tools?

I love all the usual things, twitter, facebook. I personally use Squarespace for The Girl Is A Mom, I pay monthly for it but in the end it saves me tons of time and energy which is better spent with my girls. Before I would spend way too much time on the design and upkeep of blogging and not enough time writing or spending time offline. For the Growing Up blog I use WordPress, which is something that works well even though it is new for me. I’m also a huge fan of Picnik, for graphics and doing things myself.





Combining Multiple RSS Feeds to One RSS Feed

Do you blog in more than one place?  If so, you may be looking to combine these blogs into one single RSS feed – either for a widget, a Twitter feed, a Facebook feed, or a page on your professional site (see mine here). Yahoo! Pipes is one way to do this, and while it can be complicated, once you get it set up, it runs on its own. Check out the video tutorial below for full instructions.

Fashion Show with Fashion Playtes and Boston Parent Bloggers

This past weekend, a group of Boston Parent Bloggers and our oh-so-lucky-and-excited daughters had the opportunity to get a “backstage” peek at Fashion Playtes, a local Massachusetts company that offers little girls the chance to design their own clothing.

Before our visit, we received a store credit so the girls could decorate their own clothing.  They were shipped directly to the Fashion Playtes office, so they’d be ready for our visit.  When the girls arrived, they each received a “backstage pass” which included a list of all of the stations they were to visit.

The girls visited hair and makeup (makeup optional, of course), an “interview” station, the dressing room, and a fun station, while the moms learned more about Fashion Playtes.  Each girl had the chance to be photographed with their fabulous outfit, and once everyone was ready, the girls were whisked away to practice for their runway appearance.

When the girls were ready, us moms headed down to watch the show.  As the girls headed down 2 by 2 or 3 by 3, they were announced.  My daughter was unbelievably excited by how real this runway show was, and she already wants to be in another fashion show!

Thanks so much to Fashion Playtes for providing Boston Parent Bloggers and our children this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Disclosure: Fashion Playtes hosted the event and provided us each with a gift certificate to purchase an outfit. 

Here are some other posts from Boston Parent Bloggers who were in attendance!

Should You Be Working For Free?

Thanks to this great article by Danielle of the Sway Group, a whole lot of bloggers are talking about when it’s appropriate to work for free.  It seems that there is a lot of confusion, because, let’s face it – a lot of what bloggers do is work for free.  So, when is it appropriate?  And when are you being taken advantage of.  I think it’s important to break this discussion out between content on your blog versus content on someone else’s site.

On Your Blog

First and foremost, I think you should use a five-pronged rule of thumb whenever deciding what to post on your blog.  If you are answering no more than yes, you shouldn’t post, regardless of pay.

  1. Is there value in it for your readers?
  2. Are you going to enjoy writing about it?
  3. Does it fit in with the existing content and strategy of your site?
  4. Is it somewhat exclusive to your site?
  5. Is it something you believe in?

Once you’ve satisfied the rules, then it’s time to decide if you should be paid.  The key question here is – Is it a purely editorial review?

If it’s a purely editorial review – i.e, you receive the product, use it, and write about it on your own terms, this should not be paid beyond the product.

If the company is asking you to include specific content, to highlight specific features, to include anchor text and links, to Tweet and Facebook, or do anything else beyond write your own opinion, then you should probably get paid for it (and disclose appropriately).

Content on another site

Sometimes bloggers are asked to post on another site (even this site) for no pay.  Is it worth doing?  In some cases, yes it is, but in other cases, no, it is no.

Here are a few key questions:

What are you being asked to do?

If you are signing any paperwork at all, you should be careful here.  Are you giving up your ownership of the content?  You should be paid.  Are you signing a non-compete?  You should be paid.

What are they offering in return?

Are you being offered exposure?  You should know what that amounts do.  If you are blogging for a micro-site, keep in mind that the micro-site may have almost no traffic.  If the site is asking for you to Tweet and Facebook, chances are, they are looking for YOU to offer THEM exposure – so how can you expect to get exposure from them?  I once agreed to blog for free, and look at what happened!

If you think you are going to get a reasonable amount of exposure, or are going to have a great learning experience, it may be worth it to blog for free.  But keep an eye on your stats and see if you are getting anything from it.

Finally, if you are a SOURCE of info for a television show, news program, newspaper article, or magazine article, you probably shouldn’t expect to be paid.

Boston Parent Bloggers Attend the Launch Party for

Kim T, Niri J, Sarah V, Cindy M, Charlene O, Jodi G, Andrew Shue, and Christine K

This past Wednesday, several members of the Boston Parent Bloggers community celebrated the launch of in the Boston suburbs with a party at Isis Parenting in Needham, MA. Local bloggers were invited to attend the media-only portion of the event, and had the opportunity to interview Andrew Shue (formerly of Melrose Place and co-founder of CafeMom/ before the party opened up to other attendees.

Andrew talked about why he co-founded CafeMom/ (because he saw the power of moms after founding his first charity, Do Something), why the Boston suburbs were chosen as one of the five communities for the launch (because of the economics and demographics of the area), and how he thinks can evolve into a powerful community for moms.

For a limited time. and Isis Parenting are doing a drive to benefit Room To Grow.  Sign up through this link and $2 will be donated to Room to Grow!

Jodi Grundig is a co-founder of Boston Parent Bloggers, and is the editor/publisher of Mom’s Favorite Stuff, Family Friendly Boston, and Family Travel Magazine.