Archive for Kim

Boston Parent Bloggers Welcome Smashburger to University Station in Westwood

A group of Boston Parent Bloggers were invited to sample the menu at the new Smashburger at the brand new University Station in Westwood.

Here’s a peek.

According to @grouchymama these are the best fried pickles. I love fried pickles! These are top notch. #hosted

A photo posted by Leah Klein (@ohbabyboston) on

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Boston Parent Bloggers and Listen To Your Mother Plus A Giveaway

ltym_9

Today, we have a special guest post by a Boston Parent Blogger member, Phyllis Myung, blogger at Napkin Hoarder and Producer of the Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) show in Boston. LTYM is an acclaimed series created by founder and National Director Ann Imig in 2010. Just in time for Mother’s Day, the LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER show returns to Boston for its second year featuring 12 local writers sharing personal stories of every aspect of motherhood.

“Giving motherhood a microphone,” the Boston LTYM show is one of 39 being held on or around Mother’s Day in cities across the United States. Audiences will hear personal narratives that span the complex relationships, challenges, joys and struggles of motherhood that unite and define us all.

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My history with Boston Parent Bloggers (BPB) begins before I was even a part of BPB. I was in midtown Manhattan, standing in line at the Starbucks at the BlogHer conference hotel. I overheard someone talking about cities in MA and immediately asked them if they were from Boston. They were some of the loveliest people I met at my first BlogHer. After I got back home, I immediately looked up Boston Parent Bloggers and joined the group. I was still shy about my own personal blog, but I knew I wanted to be connected to these amazing blogging parents!

It took me a year before I made a comment in the Facebook group. The post that I commented on was a post about the Listen To Your Mother show’s auditions in Providence. I knew I had to take part in this incredible show, and I also knew that I had to meet more blogging parents!

After being a part of the Listen To Your Mother show cast in Providence, I got to know Jessica Woodbury better and she connected me with Cheryl Stober. Then, Listen To Your Mother Boston happened with these two fabulous Boston Parent Bloggers!

We are thrilled to bring Listen To Your Mother back to Boston again for its second year! It’s been an amazing privilege to be able to produce an impactful and meaningful show of local writers and bloggers to celebrate and give Mother’s Day a microphone. We hope that you will join us on May 9, 2015 at 2 pm. The Old South Church in Copley Square will be filled with stories that will have you laughing, crying, and saying, “Me, too.” We also hope that it will be a day that you will treat yo’ self, especially if you are a mom. If you know a mom or have a mom, treat them to an afternoon out to celebrate them and show them how much they mean to you.

Tickets are on sale now at http://ltymboston.bpt.me at $15. Prices will go up after Friday, April 17th to $20.

For more information about the Listen To Your Mother show, please visit our site: http://listentoyourmothershow.com/boston/.

As an official media sponsor of Listen To Your Mother, Boston Parent Bloggers is giving away two tickets to this year’s Boston performance on May 9, 2015 at 2 PM in Boston. Enter below to win!

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Boston Ballet Shades of Sound

A few members recently attended a dress rehearsal and then opening night of Boston Ballet‘s Shades of Sound which is running in Boston through March 29th.

Read below to get a sneak peek at their coverage.

Boston-Ballet-Shades-of-Sound

Photo Courtesy of Nikki Amara Myers from Nikki Myers Photography.

Blogging can be funny. I’ve had lots of unique experiences thanks to it, but like everything else, some of these experiences start to look and feel like each other. THEN sometimes you get a *very* unique opportunity. I had such an amazing opportunity last week. It all started with an invitation to attend and photograph a dress rehearsal for Boston Ballet‘s latest production called “Shades of Sound.”
Editors Note: Boston Ballet’s current production is the perfect date night or girls night out. It runs through March 29th. Special thanks to contributors Diane Thies of Dollops of Diane and Nikki Amara Myers of Nikki Myers Photography for this review and the sneak peek on stage.
Last week, I had the opportunity to head out to opening night of Shades of Sound performed by the Boston Ballet. The show consisted of three different works featuring Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, George Balanchine’s Episodes, and Hans van Manen’s Black Cake that were all amazing in their own right.  It was my first trip to the ballet (ever!) and a great night out.  Here are some pictures of just some of the amazing moves that we saw… Chroma Episodes Black Cake You can check out my full review of the show HERE over at the Family Friendly Boston website. Shades of Sound will perform at the Boston Opera House until March 29th. Get your tickets HERE!
When I think about the ballet, I think about the tutus, the pointe shoes, and lots of leaps and pirouettes. My mind immediately pictures The Nutcracker or Swan Lake. How about you? When the Boston Ballet invited me to attend their spring show, Shades of Sound, I said yes immediately because I knew it was going to be something very different from what I pictured ballet to be in my head. I’m highly intrigued with ballet programs that are more modern or are different from the classic ballets we know like The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.
Until recently — Sunday, to be exact — the only ballet I had ever seen was “The Nutcracker.” Twice. So, truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect when I was offered the opportunity to attend Boston Ballet’s “Shades of Sound,” a brand new production made up of three wildly different works: Wayne McGregor’s “Chroma,” and the company premieres of George Balanchine’s “Episodes” and Hans van Manen’s “Black Cake.” But the idea of a Sunday afternoon catching up over brunch with my friend D, following by a girls’ afternoon at the ballet, sounded so delightful that I couldn’t pass it up.
Last week I had my very first trip to the Boston Ballet. My first trip to see any ballet since far too many trips to The Nutcracker as a teenager. I’ve been immersed in reading about ballet for months and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see one live. I chose to attend the dress rehearsal so that I could bring my camera and maybe get a few pictures of the Boston Opera House and the dancers on stage.
When the invitation from the Boston Ballet arrived, it took me about a nanosecond to decide. “Would you like to be our guest at the opening of Shades of Sound, the Ballet’s brand-new show?” the message read. Yes!
For our March date night Vit and I were privileged to “awaken our senses” and celebrate the (calendar) beginning of spring with the Boston Ballet’s Shades of Sound. (Thank you, Boston Ballet, for the tickets, and thank you, mom and dad for babysitting). Shades of Sound (runs March 19-29 at the Boston Opera House) is a program of three distinct pieces from three different generations of choreographers. The pre-curtain talk with several dancers was very informative, but no talk could prepare us for what we were about to see and hear. So without spoiling your own experience with the program, let me share some highlights of the evening:
Boston Ballet’s Shades of Sound, as I mentioned in my previous post, is a three course meal. For me, watching Episodes, was like biting into something familiar but then not quite understanding what it was. Episodes was choreographed by George Balanchine (Mr. B) and premiered in May of 1959 with the New York City Ballet. Episodes is made up of four pieces. For, Symphony, Opus 21, Concerto, Opus 24, and Ricercata in Six Voices from Bach’s “Musical Offering”, the dancers are in a sort of “ballet sc…
Ballet companies, just like museum curators, symphonies, opera companies, put together a menu of sorts for their seasons.  They offer familiar favorites, seasonal treats, and, like most contemporary chefs, try to give their diners a taste of something new, exciting and different.  Shades of Sound is an interesting program.  For me, Chroma is the amuse bouche that you wish you could extend into a 12 course tasting menu.  This one, bite is seemingly simple but you can’t get enough of it and you wa…

Boston Parent Bloggers Race to Back Bay Verizon Destination Store

A group of Boston Parent Bloggers celebrated the opening of the Verizon Destination Store located at 745 Boylston Street in the Back Bay.

Take a peek at some of the fun stops they visited while participating in a scavenger-hunt-type race.

Verizon Wireless Amazing Race #VZBoston #VZWBuzz Boston Public Library w friends

A photo posted by Nancy (@capabilitymom) on

More Amazing Race #VZBoston #VZWBuzz Verizon!

A photo posted by Nancy (@capabilitymom) on

Having fun in selfie booth at new Verizon Destination store. #VZBoston

A photo posted by Jenn Mitchell (@comebackmomma) on

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Big Apple Circus Comes to Boston: Giveaways and Ticket Discounts

Big Apple Circus In Boston Ticket Discounts

Big Apple Circus is bringing an all new show called METAMORPHOSIS to Boston’s City Hall Plaza on March 24th.

To save 20% per order for select performances, use the code APPLE* when buying tickets online at http://www.bigapplecircus.org/ by phone at 888-541-3750, and at the box office.

*Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Other conditions apply. Children under 3 are free on the lap of a paid adult, one child per lap.

Check out the Boston Parent Bloggers’ member sites below for a chance to win a set of tickets and also to save on tickets!

I’ve mentioned a few times that LadyBug loves the trapeze, but now both of my kids are taking circus classes. LadyBug is into the tricks, especially silks, trapeze, and stilts. Bug prefers the clowning, but now has taken to the silks as well. What I love is that with two vastly different personalities and skill sets, they’ve found an activity that they can enjoy together. The other day I recorded a special on the Big Apple Circus and they were both captivated. I have never seen the circus in per…


  Hurry, hurry! — Fly away to the magical ring, to the circus — to the Big Apple Circus! — where an All-New Show — METAMORPHOSIS — with astonishing acts and startling transformations will transport you to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top! PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus For its 37th Season, Big Apple Circus soars on wings of artifice and illusion, to a dreamscape domain where no one sits more than 50 feet from the ring, and nothing is impossible!  PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza from Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, May 10, 2015.


The Big Apple Circus is bringing an All-New Show – METAMORPHOSIS – to Boston’s City Hall Plaza starting Tuesday, March 24 and running through Sunday, May 10, 2015. The performance features astonishing acts and startling transformations that will transport the whole family to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top!


It’s that time of year again, the Big Apple Circus is coming to Boston at the end of the month! It’s truly one of our favorite events in Boston because of all the fun. It’s an easy in and out to the City on the weekend, the show is the perfect length and everyone has a ball!


We have received complimentary tickets to a performance of the Big Apple Circus in exchange for this post. All thoughts are my own. #BigAppleCircus Friends! YAY! The Big Apple Circus is coming back to Boston!! AND, I have a fantastic giveaway for you to win four tickets to see the show with your family {or friends!}!!! Here’s what you need to know about this year’s all new show, METAMORPHOSIS: Hurry, hurry! — Fly away to the magical ring, to the circus — to the Big Apple Circus! — where an All-New Show — METAMORPHOSIS — with astonishing acts and startling transformations will transport you to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top! For its 37th Season, Big Apple Circus soars on wings of artifice and illusion, to a dreamscape domain where no one sits more than 50 feet from the ring, and nothing is impossible! Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza from Tuesday, March 24 through Sunday, May 10, 2015.


Big Apple Circus Ticket Giveaway


Big Apple Circus METAMORPHOSIS Boston City Hall Plaza PHOTO CREDIT: Bertrand Guay/Big Apple Circus


The Big Apple Circus is coming back to Boston this spring with an all new show, METAMORPHOSIS! And guess what? We’ve got tickets to give away!


Every year we go to see the Big Apple Circus and the whole family loves it.  You get to be so close to the action and it is a fantastic show with awesome performers.  I am giving you the chance to win 4 tickets to their new show Metamorphosis in Boston at City Hall Plaza on March 29th at 4:30 pm.  The show runs from Tuesday, March 24th through Sunday, May 10th.  Read on for a discount code on tickets and for a chance to win! More information about the show: Hurry, hurry! — Fly away to the magical ring, to the circus — to the Big Apple Circus! — where an All-New Show — METAMORPHOSIS — with astonishing acts and startling transformations will transport you to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top! For its 37th Season, Big Apple Circus soars on wings of artifice and illusion, to a dreamscape domain where no one sits more than 50 feet from the ring, and nothing is impossible! Big Apple Circus presents METAMORPHOSIS in its annual Boston engagement at City Hall Plaza.

Quick Tip Friday: How To Backup Your WordPress Blog

How To Backup Your WordPress Blog

When was the last time that you backed up your blog? If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to do it again, and, while you’re at it, put together a process to keep it backed up moving forward.

You might be thinking that you can always get a copy from your host’s backup, but take our word for it, that is not always the case. Sometimes the backup is very old. Sometimes it just doesn’t exist it all. Sometimes it can be a copy of your site after something outside of your control has happened like a hack or a server issue.

There are a few options for ways to back up. Find out what your host does offer. Some hosts sell separate services for backups. Some managed wordpress hosts also create daily restore points. These are files that you could then download to your own hard drive or cloud storage for safe keeping.

You can also do a manual back up of your WordPress site using FTP and CPanel. It’s a process that should be fairly easy if you’re comfortable playing with the behind the scenes of your site. If not, it might be a daunting task.

Another easier option is to find a plugin to do the backup work for you. Research a plugin that will do the job and also not create too much havoc on the back end of the site (Daily backups by some plugins might be too much activity. Ask your web host for a heads up on any plugins that are on their block list.) Some plugins to look into are BackUpBuddy and Updraft Plus.

Take action on this tip and get at least a current download of your blog as of now. You don’t want to get in a predicament where it’s too late to rescue the work that you’ve put into your blog for weeks, months, or years.


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Quick Tip Friday: Start Using ALT Tags

Image Reminder To Use ALT Tags on your Blog Posts.

Let’s talk ALT Tags for your images.

ALT tags are pieces of HTML that give an alternative description for an image. This is helpful for anyone that may be “listening” to the site due to a disability, and it also tells search engines about the image (and hopefully your topic).

In addition to using it for search engine optimization, Pinterest pulls in the ALT Tag for an image as the default description when someone pins a photo or graphic for your page.

What should you write? Keep it short. Five to fifteen words is ideal. Describe the photo and its topic and don’t forget to include the text if there is text in the image.

Where do you write it? ALT is an attribute in the IMG tag. In WordPress, when you use “Add Media,” there is a box called ALT Text where you can type it in.

Do you need to go back and fix all of your photos on your site? Not a bad plan, but for this quick tip, commit to diligently adding an ALT tag moving forward.


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Quick Tip Friday: Delete Unused Plugins

Delete-Unused-Plugins

Today’s tip is a reminder to take a few minutes to delete any plugins that you aren’t using.

Letting those plugins that you don’t need hang around can cause your site to load slower, and they can also be an invitation for a hacker to exploit an old plugin’s code.

Make sure you need the functionality of the plugins that you have left, and also make sure they are up-to-date.

Commit just a few minutes to doing this now, and it will be a huge check off your list for blog maintenance.


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Quick Tip Friday: Remove admin As A Login

Remove-Admin-Login-From-Wordpress

Today’s tip is for WordPress users in particular but also a good reminder for those that use blogger that logins and passwords are important business matters.

The reason you would do this is to make it harder for someone to hack your site using the combination of your login and password. If you’re still using “admin,” which is the default login, you’ve done half the job *for* the hacker.

First up, backup your blog. That’s a good idea anyway. But it’s a really good idea before you make big changes.

Next, you’ll need to create a new username for yourself and assign an administrator role. Then you’ll need to actually delete the “admin” username making sure to assign all the posts you’ve done to your new username.

Here are a Step-By-Step Instructions.

If you’re not sure about this process, contact your host support to see if they can help walk you through the process.

If you’re not a WordPress user, be sure that your username and password are not an easy password to guess. Here are some tips on how to pick a strong password.


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Quick Tip Friday: Install Google Analytics

How To Install Google Analytics

Already have Google Analytics installed? Pat yourself on the back and skip down to our advanced tip to find out even more about your visitors.

Statistics are a bloggers best friend. They can be used to get insight about the visitors that are currently coming to your site and they can also be used to help make decisions on next steps if you are looking to increase traffic.

If you are beginning to engage with brands that want to work with bloggers, you’ve likely been asked for statistics about your site traffic. Unique Visitors per month (UVM)? Or maybe page views? Many will ask for those statistics that are reports from Google Analytics (GA).

If you don’t have Google Analytics, the first great piece of news is that it’s free! It’s an online tool offered by Google, and it measures your traffic based on a little snippet of code that you put on your site.

It’s not just beneficial for working with brands though, you can find out a lot of information about your audience in Google Analytics which provides perfect research for planning content that will keep your readers engaged.

Now, let’s get to work.

Step 1: Visit the Google Analytics web page.

Follow directions for creating an account. You’ll need to link to a Google account (it will walk you through creating one if you don’t have one.)

Once your account has been created, you’ll add your site information.

Google gives you a tracking ID that begins with a UA. They will also provide you with some code. At this point, you can do one of two things.

Option 1: The code needs to be on every page of you site including any new page that is created moving forward. Some themes make this easy by offering up an custom field for you to input your tracking ID (the UA number). Check out your theme if you are using wordpress. Or your options if you are using blogger or another platform. If it’s offered, use that. You can also sometimes include this code in a header or footer code.

Option 2: You can also use a plugin to achieve this on WordPress. Something like Google Analytics by Yoast. Plugins can slow down your site and need to be kept updated, so if you can insert the code in your theme, that’s the way to go first.

You’ll be on your way to knowing more about your blog in no time! Have any tips for great ways to use stats to improve your blog? Leave them in the comments!

Advanced Tip: Already have Google Analytics installed and running? Check out this post about how to use it to dig deeper into the behaviors of your visitors.


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