Building personal connections through social media #ShareAwesome

Building personal connections through social media #ShareAwesome

My daughter doesn’t have a baby keepsake book, she has my blog. For the past decade, social media has been the family scrapbook, recording the bumps and bubbles along the way, with a bit of introspection here and there to frame, add context, and derive meaning from the stories.

confidence - CoffeeJitters.Net

Five years ago we celebrated the 20-year reunion of my high school graduation. I wasn’t able to attend the gathering, but still, it gave me pause…  My friendships with many of my classmates are more robust and meaningful now that we live thousands of miles apart than the were when we saw each other every day in school. Social media helped us to leap-frog over superficial variables like social status, that extra 40 pounds, or even proximity, and we began to connect over conversations, shared values, and even our differences.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, social media played another role in my life. One of the devastating impacts of cancer is the way it isolates us from the rest of the world: long, dark hours holed up in the bedroom, too tired for company, yet still lonely. Social media allowed me to chat with others and keep up with my friends at my own pace. Facebook and my blog allowed me to maintain contact with the outside world, update loved ones on my condition, and even coordinate some of the help around the house I so desperately needed. Now that I have completed cancer treatment, I use social media to help and encourage others who are dealing with cancer and it’s lingering side-effects.

McKinley Family Alaska 1947

McKinley family after the move to Alaska. 1947 – My mom is the little one in braids, peeking out from under her grandfather’s elbow.

This wonderful interconnected age also helps me explore my family history. Old photos brought down from dusty attics can be scanned in and broadcast to family members around the world, and the comments return with fascinating stories. Collectively, my family’s understanding of our past is enriched as we each participate in sharing these photos and stories. And as they are recorded, in the blog and elsewhere, they will be a resource for future generations as well.

With all this awesome of social media and digital technology comes some responsibility. We need to be smart about what we share about ourselves and others.  National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to share awesome ways families can create an open, evolving conversation about positive, safe decisions when using digital tools. It’s all part of having a happy, healthy lifestyle. For you, your family, your friends, and the whole world – everyone benefits when you #ShareAwesome!

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Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag!

Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!ShareAwesome Clever Gram

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A visit with

A visit with

When I stepped off the elevator into the Allrecipes offices, it opened up into a stunning kitchen and dining area. Food is the focal point of everything they do, and the kitchen is where that magic happens. kitchen

The stunning view from the kitchen looked out over Westlake Park, and across to the Macy’s building.


I had no idea that Allrecipes was in Seattle, a start-up born 17 years ago from a few University of Washington students bouncing around ideas for using this new internet thingy in conjunction with database technologies. I think they hit on a winner.


17 years is ancient in terms of social media, and they brought out their experts to give us some pointers

Social Media

  • Don’t simultaneously post the same update on all the social media outlets.
  • Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are used differently by media consumers, take that into consideration when posting.
  • Schedule posts in advance so they go out throughout the day, rather than bombarding readers with multiple posts hitting their feeds all at the same time
  • Kale and quinoa, and other healthy foods are hot right, but if you want a boost, cheesy casseroles are always good for a bump in shares.

Everyone loves grandma’s cheesy casseroles. People love grandmas. Grandmas are hot right now.

Food Photography

  • spritz food with water or olive oil to freshen it up during the photo shoot.
  • a sprinkle of salt or large grain sugar adds sparkle
  • if you are working with whipped cream, adding a little cornstarch during whipping will help it hold up better during the photography session

Of course, they fed us at the Allrecipes event: salad on a stick. That turned out to be quite the cute entertaining idea – the buffet line include kebab sticks with easily pierce-able foods such as ravioli, mozzarella pearls and cherry tomatoes. My favorite combo was watermelon, feta, and mint.


True to form, combining a bunch of bloggers with a food oriented event meant getting through the line took a minute as we all snapped away as we loaded our plates. Luckily I snapped a couple shots before loading my plate because I quickly realized that I am not graceful enough to juggle photography with a plate full of food.


Dessert was on a stick as well: strawberry shortcake on a stick. This was doughnut holes and strawberries. Chocolate sauce and whipped cream were provided for embellishing the treat.

a visit with

This was such a great event, and I want to thank Allrecipes and Seattle Bloggers Unite for putting this event together. I look forward to delving into all that Allrecipes has to offer, and you can expect more recipes to be highlighted on this blog in the future.

Giveaway: Back-to-School Palooza

Giveaway: Back-to-School Palooza

Welcome to the

Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza

Sponsored by: Failing Perfect, Dibsies Personalization Station, Zazzle, Fundanoodle, and Educational Insights


Hosted & Organized by: Failing Perfect

Co-hosted by: Here We Go Again, Ready?, Intelligent Domestications, Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains, Spaceships and Laser Beams, Peace and Chaos, and The More The Merrier

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again! It’s time to get those kids ready to go back to school. It seems like just yesterday when we were looking forward to the start of summer. Because we love our readers – and their kids – we want to help you get ready for back-to-school by helping one lucky reader get the year started with a bang. That is why we teamed up with our blogger friends and a few generous sponsors to bring you the chance to win this fantastic giveaway!

One winner is going to receive a prize package worth over $430! This giveaway includes something for everyone in the family from preschoolers through college students.

Here is what is included:

  • Kindle Fire HD 7″ Tablet, Wifi, 16 GB  & $100 Target Gift Card from Failing Perfect (Retail Value: $269.00)
  • Personalized Lunch Box & Personalized Backpack from Dibsies Personalization Station (Retail Value: $78.00)
  • $50 Zazzle Gift Code from Zazzle
  • Hot Dots Laugh It Up! Math Vocabulary Cards for grades 1-3, Hot Dots Reading Informational Text for grades 4-6, Hot Dots Pen, & GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope for ages 3+ from Educational Insights(Retail Value: $79.95)
  • The winner’s choice of one activity kit:  I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!, I Can Pound!, I Can Build Uppercase! or I Can Build Lowercase! from Fundanoodle (Retail Value: $32.99)

Back-to-School Palooza Giveaway: The Details

  • Giveaway will begin on August 18th, 2014 and will end at 11:59 PM, Mountain Time (US) on September 2nd, 2014.
  • Open to residents in the continental US, 18 years or older.
  • One entrant per household.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
  • No purchase necessary to enter or win.
  • Winner will have 24 Hours to respond to winner notification email, or prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
  • Winner will be chosen via
  • The winning entry will be verified.
  • Sponsors will be individually responsible for prize fulfillment.

If you agree to the above terms, then enter using the Giveaway Form below. Good Luck!!

Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza

Good Luck!

Disclosure:  This blog did not receive compensation and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. This post may contain affiliate links. By participating in the Sweepstakes, each entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these rules and the decisions of Failing Perfect (“Sponsor”), which shall be final and binding in all respects. Failing Perfect is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Entries and the overall administration of the giveaway. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, andor any other social media. Please contact with any questions, comments or problems related to the Sweepstakes.
If you would like your product or service featured on a similar giveaway, contact for more information.
Host a giveaway on your blog

Host a giveaway on your blog

Have you ever considered hosting a giveaway on your blog?

Every once in a while, I come across some opportunities for bloggers. I thought I might start sharing them.

host a giveaway on your blog


This opportunity is for bloggers who would like to participate in hosting a giveaway on their blog. The prize package for this giveaway is pretty fantastic, and includes a Kindle Fire HD and $100 Target gift card among other things.


Signups are now open for

The Back-to-School Giveaway Palooza Event

Organized by Michelle @ Failing Perfect

host a giveaway on your blog


 Signups Close at 8 PM EST on August 11th.

Event will take place August 15th – August 30th.

Open to residents of the United States.

One winner takes all: Amazon Kindle Fire HD, $100 Target Gift Card, Backpack full of school supplies, plus more.

Free Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest Link for posting giveaway. Must promote 3x weekly on social media accounts.

Additional links, host pages, co-host spots are available.


Does your blog need a disclosure statement?

Does your blog need a disclosure statement?

The term disclosure statement sounds boring, dry, like legalese.

It is.

It sounds like something complicated, that would be better put off till you have 6 or 8 hours of free-time to dedicate to the project. Or a week.

It’s not.

It’s really not that complicated. It wont take all that much time.

And it’s really important.

This may not be the fun stuff of blogging, but it’s important stuff if you are making a living (or even just trying to cover your expenses) while working on the web. It’s important even if you’re not making money from your blog. Just clear the air so everybody knows where you stand.

The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that bloggers must disclose all compensation received for their work on their blog. This not only for sponsored posts, but all kinds of compensation received for running your blog. This decision is not surprising as the influence of bloggers has increased, along with the opportunities for bloggers to make money using their blog as an advertising medium.

What is a disclosure statement?

A disclosure statement is information provided to readers of your blog that you are receiving, or may receive, compensation for the words you write, for hosing advertising or affiliate links, or for free products or services received in order to write a review.

Having a disclosure policy simply means that you are being straightforward and honest about the information you are presenting on your blog. It is a mark of integrity.

A disclosure statement acknowledges that the words you write on your blog are benefiting you financially, or at least in terms of product and services.

Does your blog need a disclosure statement?

Why do I need a disclosure statement?

If you receive any compensation for your blogging, or even receive free products or services about which you write reviews, then you need a disclosure statements. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. It’s the law.
  2. You really don’t want to have to pay the fines.
  3. It’s just the decent thing to do, and it makes you look like a professional. Bloggers are influencers. If you are influencing other people, you should reveal what is influencing you. Yes, material gain can be an influence. One of the things we do as bloggers is build trust with our audience. That’s why readers return. This kind of transparency is integral to building trust.

Other posts with great explanations of the disclosure requirement

5 Ways to Comply with the New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers

Disclosures for Bloggers and Brands

A Screamingly Effective Blog Disclosure Policy: How and Why to Get One

Examples of disclosure statements on other blogs

David Lebovitz

Famous Bloggers

Four Hour Work-Week

John Chow

Macy Writes

How do I write a disclosure statement?

I wrote my disclosure statement by examining those listed above. I pored over each one, and created a document that covered the requirements, and still reflected a bit of who I am.

If creating your own disclosure statement feels a little daunting, head over to They have a disclosure policy generator. Simply answer a few questions, and they will generate a disclosure policy for you.

Go to the source for more detailed information

The Federal Trade Commission makes the rules on this issue, and they created a document (PDF), .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, to address the rules around disclosure statements.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, although I did once set foot in a law school. If you need legal advice, please contact an actual lawyer who actually attended law school.

Disclosure: I didn’t so much as get a free cup of coffee for writing this post. However, there are a few ads along the sidebar, and if enough of you click on them, I might get a few pennies.

WordCamp Seattle 2014

WordCamp Seattle 2014

The first thing that struck me at WordCamp Seattle was the inclusive sense of community. People from all walks of life, hobby bloggers and coders, grandmas, hairdressers, and hackers, came together to discuss WordPress, how to use it, and how to improve it. People were so friendly, no snobbery, no cliques, no standoffishness…

wordcamp seattle 2014

I have attended small scale blog conferences before, but this was the first time to attend an event of this kind for me.

What is WordCamp?

WordCamps are non-profit conferences that are organized and run entirely by volunteers. No need to break the bank on wardrobe or ticket prices. This is definitely a come as you are event – be yourself, no one is there to see your shoes – and the amazingly low ticket price of $20 is offset by the many sponsors who make these conferences possible. I spent some time speaking to reps from the sponsors, and these people really get the community focus of WordCamp, and WordPress as a whole.

Nearly 700 people converged on the HUB at the University of Washington for WordCamp Seattle this year. It was huge, and so well run. There were panels for rank beginners and seasoned developers, and everyone in between.

So many useful sessions

The schedule was packed, so many talks from which to choose! Here are the sessions I attended (slides used by the presenters linked below):

So many great talks, and of course, there were four different talks going through most of the sessions. But the slide shows and video of the events has been made public, so you can see what you missed at a later date. A note about the videos, there is one long video for each of the three rooms that covers all of the talks that took place in the room, so get yourself a really big cup of coffee before sitting down to watch.

This conference was just so rich with useful information and resources that two weeks later I am still processing everything in my head.

But that was just day one. Day two upped the community aspect in a completely different way…

Contributors Day

I wasn’t really sure what they meant by Contributors Day, but it turns out they take the community built and open source aspects of WordPress pretty seriously.

word camp contributors day

Contributors day took place in a smaller shared workspace called the Impact Hub Seattle in Pioneer Square. Participants gathered together to  contribute to the WordPress product. The group divided into teams to work on everything from documentation to help desk questions, to directly addressing bugs, to working on updates. No need to have advanced programming skills. People contribute as they are able to, and there is place for everyone who wants to participate.



OK, so obviously, I’m new to the world of open source, but the more I learn, the more I want to learn. I’ve been using WordPress since 2008, but until now, I never bothered to learn much about how it was built. Now that I’ve seen that process in action, I want more.

WordCamp Seattle 2014 Contributors Day

I love this world I stumbled into.

WordPress Meetups

I learned that there are regular WordPress Meetups here in Seattle (also, around the world for those of you not in Seattle). I will be checking these out, so look for me at a Seattle WordPress Meetup soon.