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Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

About to start writing copy for my new blog, Grocery Chick, I figured what better way  to learn than from the masters, in this case the top fifteen women bloggers – according to Technorati authority rankings:

The Huffington Post, of course! Arianna Huffington is my heroin, and not a day goes by without me paying a visit. Now a huge media enterprise, the Post still feels very much like a woman’s work. Love how Arianna paired up with the best in social media and business, to create a top notch Internet news source.

Dooce, Heather Armstrong’s deliciously irreverent brainchild. The woman is gooood, as in awesome writing. Plus, she’s got no hang ups, and shares it all. From the most intricate details about her latest ultrasound visit for her not yet born baby girl, to the ups and downs of her relationship with dear husband Jon, to the careful documentation of her days with five year old daughter Lela. Dooce is a ‘reality’ blog with some flair. Of course, it does not hurt that the whole family is blessed with insanely good looks.

In the same genre as Dooce, Ree Drummond,  The Pioneer Woman engages with her generous sharing of adorable family pics, tempting food photos, marital tales, and dreams of the Far West way of life. Baring it all  clearly pays off. Never mind that the reality shared is too perfectly imperfect – or imperfectly perfect? . . .

Reluctantly, I had to include Michelle Malkin in this list. Michelle’s got a captive audience with all her friends from Fox News.

Moving on, time to meet Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. Another really good writer, who oozes mommy goodness. Moms love to hear about other moms’ stories, and Shannon sure knows how to deliver.

If Martha Stewart had a blog, her name would be Gabrielle Blair, from Design Mom. Clean looks, design and motherhood have never gone so well together. She’s got her niche covered.

Over at Tip Junkie, Laurie Turk has created a place for all the ‘homemakers’, the still huge crowd of women into crafts and things.

Love the naked simplicity of Simple Mom, Tsh’s blog.

Bitch Ph.D‘s probably my favorite woman’s blog, along with Dooce – no offense Arianna, I put you in a separate category – A collection of anonymous feminist – in a good way – voices, Bitch Ph.D shines by its authenticity. These women are not in it for the fame. They are just sharing their whole utterly – not perfectly – imperfect selves. How refreshing! I can’t get enough. Plus, you’ve got to like the name of that blog . . .

Don’t Try This is an ordinary mom’s blog, with the added appeal of daily giveaways. Apparently moms line up for the stuff.

In the food department, come  Smitten Kitchen and Delicious Days. Great food shots, and recipe writing, with lots of personal references. And in each case, a woman, assisted by her man for all the plugins and other technical goodies that make a blog super nice. Men like these are priceless . . . Heidi Swanson, with 101 Cookbooks blog manages on her own. Very well.

A‘s got to be the shortest blog name ever. A’s for designer Ali Edwards, world’s scrapbooking expert. Scrapbooking is big!!!!

Yarn Harlot is for the knitting nuts. Women, young and old love to knit, it’s well known. Create the best knitting bog, like Canadian Stephanie Pearl-McPherson, and you are guaranteed blogging stardom.

Fifteen blogs, that taught me a few tricks.

  • Write about what you feel most passionate about. Cliche, but heck, very true.
  • If that’s about a topic lots of other women are into, even better.
  • Hot topics: cooking, home, kids, knitting, scrapbooking, crafts . . . not much has changed since my grandmother’s days.
  • Share your life freely. Shit and all. Chicks, your primary audience love drama.
  • Dreams sell. Show off your perfect body, perfect home, perfect family. If you’ve got them. If not, make up stuff.
  • At home moms love to read blogs – don’t you forget it.
  • Moms can’t get enough of cute kids pictures, and stories, and videos. Ad nauseum.
  • If you’re going to venture into serious business – like Arianna and Michelle, bring in your personality – assuming you’ve got one . . .

That’s  eight tricks altogether. I just caught myself thinking, come on you can come up with ten. Quickly, though, my better self stepped in. What’s up with ten? Be real, girl.

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A mail this morning from my friend Lynn Miller, at OrganicMania, made me realize I failed to properly close the chapter on all work that took place here on this blog, on critical issue of climate change:

I read your blog post on La M about the new direction, and really wanted to respond but felt like I should run this by you first….I am happy for you that you are on a path that excites you….but at the same time, I do really miss the old global warming focused La Marguerite. You were my main source of information and inspiration on global warming, and I felt a part of your community. I thought you were the top female voice on global warming, bar none, and one of the very top in the world (Ok, I really like Friedman, but you were up there!)   

Will you still be writing about global warming under “social issues?” I felt like in your post you were a bit dismissive of the incredible work you did in global warming. I’m sure I’m not the only one  who feels this way…

First, let me apologize for my haste and for appearing ‘dismissive’ of all the work that took place on La Marguerite, regarding raising awareness and looking for behavioral solutions to global warming. It is one thing for me to decide to take a turn. It is another to not properly acknowledge the community that formed and contributed so much. There has been many ripples from the discussions held at La Marguerite. Sharing of information that would not otherwise have made it into the mainstream media. Connections formed that led to enduring collaborations outside the scope of this blog. Acts of activism. Personal awakenings . . . Lynn is right. 

Still, I am closing the climate change chapter for good. After eighteen months of being a voice and a community organizer for climate solutions, it is time for me to move on, and leave it to others to carry the torch. With the election of Barack Obama, I feel the stakes are different, and the path is more clear. What is needed now, more than ever, are new policies, quick, and the support of the people to pass these new policies. 

I am very much looking forward to the opening of  the next chapter on La Marguerite, as discussed in earlier post. My professional interests are now gravitating towards social media and social change ventures, and it is only natural for my blog to follow. 

Let me end with a big thanks to all who contributed to the climate change chapter on La Marguerite. I wish you to continue your awesome work in the many venues available to you, both online and in the outer world. 

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As reflected in the new tag line ‘A Girl’s View of Social Media, Sustainability, and Social Change‘, La Marguerite is getting reborn. From a green blog, to a more inclusive forum where to share my three main interests: sustainability, still, and also, social media, and social change. Social media has become a passion that’s become too big for just a few occasional tweets on Twitter. Social change touches upon my current forays into social entrepreneurship. All three embraced from a very feminine perspective:

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I am thrilled!

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ok, I admit it. I have been flirting with the idea of giving up La Marguerite blog altogether. Life and the need for action have been catching up with me, and taken away much of the energy I used to put into this blog and other places. I have also started to be a lot more discriminant about what I blog about. No more rehash of current events, or venting. No more sharing for the sake of sharing. Instead, only fresh, constructive thinking allowed.

This confession does not go without a mixed bag of feelings attached. Guilt, for ‘abandoning’ the people who got used to reading me daily. Unease from transitioning from one identity to another – avid blogger to passionate entrepreneur. And also, relief from being truly myself, and in touch with the reality of the moment.

My sense is, I am discovering the fluid nature of blogging. A blog is a living thing, with a rhythm of its own. One blog vanishes, soon to reincarnate into a new form, or on another topic. Once La Marguerite on WordPress, now La Marguerite on Twitter, and sometimes The Huffington Post. With a lot more to come, that I can’t share yet publicly.

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A Visual Post

A picture is worth a thousand words, or in my case a blog post. Here is a collage I did, that pretty much tells the story of what I am up too these days:

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Update

No, I have not forgotten about La Marguerite blog. I am just in the midst of thinking, doing, researching. And delivering on my recent slow blogging promises. It’s all good . . .

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In response to my last post, I was overwhelmed by a flurry of worried emails wondering what’s happening with La Marguerite, and my alluded identity crisis as a green blogger. The truth is, I have been posting a lot less frequently, and when I do, it is usually related to my new foray into cyberspace, a new website still in development, to do with food, sustainability, and grocery shopping. 

It is not just the new website however. I have also fallen into the slow blogging phenomenon, as described in last weekend’s New York Times, ‘Haste, Scorned: Blogging at a Snail’s Pace’. The article does a good job of capturing the shift taking place amongst bloggers, including the rise of Twitter as an alternative  blogging platform. For those of you not familiar with it, Twitter is a micro-blogging site that allows you to share, in 140 characters or less whichever thoughts come to you throughout the day, in response to question “What are you doing?”. Now, rather than sharing these small thoughts on La Marguerite WordPress blog, I go to La Marguerite on Twitter. And I save the blog for those rarer occasions when I want to expand on a particular issue.

Yet another reason for my decreased frequency in posting, has to do with a very practical consideration, and one that faces the majority of serious bloggers: the need to make money, and to spend one’s time wisely. This is a huge issue in blogging and social media in general. So far, there has not been a satisfying model for full time content providers such as myself to make money from their social media enterprises. Particularly in non commercial fields such as here on La Marguerite.

Last, it is my belief that blogging can only go so far in terms of its social impact. I have written about this before. At some point, action needs to take the relay of thinking and writing, and  I am not happy with just inciting others into action. 

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Want to Play Tag with Me?

Very seldom do I engage in blogging games, but today I am in the mood. Daryl Warner-Laux, over at Verda-Vivo green blog tagged me, and I am supposed to let you know seven random things about me. Here we go:

  1. I swim every day with the Stanford master swim team. Never mind that I am the slowest of all, I would not miss it for anything. 
  2. I am addicted to Twitter.
  3. Other serious addiction of mine: 85% dark chocolate from Cote d’ Or.
  4. I am in the midst of launching a community website for grocery shoppers.
  5. I am going through an identity crisis as a green blogger.
  6. I have frequent, secret conversations with the little Buddha on my desk.
  7. I am not into the holiday gifts frenzy.

The rules for ‘social-networking’ tagging:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Share seven things about yourself – some random, some weird.
  4. Tag seven people at the end of your post and link to them.
  5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog and/or Twitter.
  6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

Who I’m tagging – in no particular order:

  1. Lynn Miller at Organic Mania
  2. Nadine Sellers at Greenadine
  3. Jason Crawford at Scream To Be Green
  4. Colin Beavan at No Impact Man
  5. Jennifer Taggart at The Smart Mama
  6. Mike Wheets at Wheeties
  7. Kyle Schuant at Green With a Gun

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What the f…? This is the third time I see an ad for the new 2009 Silverado Chevy Truck. Not in a car magazine. Not in People magazine. Not on TV. No, I saw it in three very respected green sites, out of all places.

This brings up an issue that’s faced by green bloggers all the time. If you are going to take advertising, how can you make sure that the ads do not go counter to your message? Green certified ad networks are still few and far between, and sometimes have requirements, like Natural Path Media, that preclude the smaller blogs. Of course, there is always the option of handling one’s own ads. But, who has that kind of time?

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Today is Blog Action Day 2008, and we are all supposed to blog about poverty.

I could join the lament on the appalling world statistics, and flagellate myself for being so rich, and caring so little for all these  poor people in faraway lands. I could. What would it accomplish is the more important question?

Rather, I want to share the experience I had last year with Larissa, a nine year old girl who lives on the other side of the freeway. The other side is an euphemism for poor, crime-ridden, predominantly black and hispanic East Palo Alto, a town without sidewalks, and where I prefer to not venture at night. For a year, I was Larissa’s mentor. I had been warned to not set my hopes up too high. I wasn’t sure what that meant, and started dreaming about becoming Larissa’s second mom. Maybe we could even send her to college?

I did spend most of my Sundays with her. At first, six, seven hours at a time, going for walks, to the museum, the farmer’s market, the beach, shopping for shoes . . . Larissa was hungry for love and attention, and took everything I was willing to give her. She waited eagerly for our visits, and gave me the gift of her love, and her appreciation. I got involved with her school, far away in one of the wealthiest districts in our area, and soon started receiving emails from her teacher, asking me to help her with her homework. The only times I was willing and able to do so was during our Sunday times. I learned that Larissa had not done her homework for the last two years. Getting her to change became an uphill battle. Her mom was unwilling to help, and soon I felt, what’s the point? One day last Spring, Larissa announced that her mom was pregnant with her fifth child. The mom could hardly take care of her four children with three different fathers, all absent, and now she was about to have another one with a fourth father. This didn’t make sense to me. I shared Larissa’s excitement and kept my outrage to myself. With summer coming, I felt Larissa needed some times away from her crowded home, and a chance to play, and be in the outdoors. I signed her up for a one week away camp with the YMCA. She said her mom had plans to send her to another camp, and also to a day camp at the YMCA. I dropped Larissa off at the bus for her camp, and took off for my trip to Europe. When I came back three weeks later, I could not reach her. This had been a consistent problem, with her mom changing phone numbers every few weeks, and also moving from house to house several times in the course of the year. We were able to reconnect later in the summer. Her mom had lost the papers for the other camp, and had not bothered to  walk over to the local YMCA to register her for her day camp. I felt mad at her mom, for not taking these simple steps. Mad at the situation, for creating a culture of helplessness, and of fatherless children. Mad at a society, that’s making it almost impossible for a bright child like Larissa, to succeed. Since we met a year ago, Larissa’s gotten fat, and barely fits in size 8 adult clothes. There are no good grocery stores where she lives. She and her family live on white bread, peanut butter, junky cereals, and noodles. Their only access to food is a neighborhood store that’s overpriced, and poor in fruit and vegetable. Larissa has had her share of funerals. Her eighteen year old uncle got shot, and his body was found in the trunk of a burnt car. Her baby cousin died. That’s life in East Palo Alto.

Most difficult has been to witness my increasing discouragement, as time went on. The agency that matched us congratulated us for making it past the one year mark. Most mentors drop out after a few months. Still, I started with high hopes, and vision of a lifelong friendship. Now, I  keep in touch, but my enthusiasm is gone. I found that it is hard to fight an entire system.

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