Archives by Year: 2008 // 2009 // 2010 // 2011 // 2012 // 2013 // 2014 // 2015 // 2016 // 2017 // 2018 // 2019

9/24/2019

Endless Summer

Work's been busy lately. But what else is new?

We've planned more events this year than ever before.  So, our big summer shin-dig actually happened in September.

No matter when or where it takes place, it's always a massive undertaking to host thousands of social media influencers for 2 days. And it's a pretty small group of us who work on it.

This year also marks the 15th anniversary of this conference. We chose a venue in Brooklyn, far from its roots in the Bay Area, but the spirit remains the same -- to help inspire women from all walks of life to elevate their voices and turn their side hustles into their day jobs.

I'm still amazed by how forward-thinking the #BlogHer co-founders were. Back in 2004, blogging had been around for maybe 5 years, and Facebook was literally just invented. They brought together 300 women to start a community, and the rest is history.

Anyway, this event started a week ago, as all good things do... with pizza.

Take a look...

The most noteworthy thing about our setup day was this pizza from Paulie Gee's
across the street. A Greenpoint institution. Yum.

Oh and the sunset was pretty cool too.
It almost made me forget how much more work there was to do.

Somehow, 1500 gift bags were assembled and transported here to the
Brooklyn Expo Center. My colleague and her husband, who lead the
bag-stuffers, are actual magicians.

After days of setup and months of planning, we were finally ready to roll.

I usually have a nightmare the right before an event that no one comes.
It's always a relief to see a line outside in the morning.

The past few events, I've been running the main stage, which means
I actually get to sit on a stool the whole time.
(Don't tell anyone I wrote my scripts about 2 mins before I said them.)

We kicked off Day One with Connie Britton,
who told us, in her best Tami Taylor accent, that there would
NOT be a Friday Night Lights revival. Poo.

Then, she took a selfie on stage with my friend, who is also her friend.
So like, we're basically best friends, too. Right? 
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

Next was Sarah Jessica Parker, and I couldn't help but wonder,
was she the sweetest celebrity I've ever met?
(The answer is yes.)

Hi SJP! Pretty sure she's waving at me. 

These students were adorable. I love helping to inspire the next generation.

This was such a cool booth, but nothing is as cute as this little nugget!

Our events aren't complete without a giant flower wall. 
This one was gorgeous -- created by FOX for their new show, Almost Family.

Keke Palmer was a total delight.  And so humble!
You'd never know she starred in the #1 movie last weekend.
(Hustlers - with my fave, JLo.)

We had a little garden party after Day One.

Cornhole, anyone?

We brought in Joe's Pizza for everyone to snack on.
$1300 was a bargain for all this cheesy Brooklyn goodness.

We also had a custom swing built. Awesome to see it come to life.
(The flowers aren't real, but they sure are pretty!)

Day Two started bright and early with the Dunkin' mobile.

They brought pumpkin munchkins as far as the eye could see (my dream),
and their new egg sandwich (my nightmare). But the people loved it!

The co-founders of The Skimm took the stage first to talk about
building a business. I adore their daily emails!

Later, Julianna Margulies presented an award to the author of The Farm.
That was cool and all, but really all I wanted to do was ask her
if Josh Charles is as adorable as he seems. I didn't. (But I bet he is.)

We closed the event with Diane Guerrero, from Orange Is the
New Black and Jane the Virgin. She looked ah-mazing in her
black lipstick and gold dress. She gave really great advice, too!

Our attendees are the coolest.

Our closing party was a BBQ,
and I now believe every event should end with a big, fat burger.

Apparently, there was a White Claw shortage, but we had tons of it.
I had a sip of the Black Cherry -- tasty and refreshing.
And loaded with alcohol.

Sunset selfie with part of the team that creates these events.

The last pic of the night -- and we're still smiling!
I'd call that a success.


9/14/2019

Eleven

Hi! Did I get your attention?

Unfortunately, this post is NOT about the iPhone 11. But it honestly should be because I got one in midnight green aaaaand it's awesome.

Also, if you stumbled in here thinking this is an appreciation post for Stranger Things and Millie Bobby Brown, I'm about to disappoint you.

This IS about my blog turning eleven years old today. 

If my blog were a kid, she'd be a 6th grader (shoutout Mrs. Tubbs!). Can you believe it?  It seems like just yesterday I started... 

I'm kidding.  

It seems like a REALLY freaking long time ago that I started writing this blog. But I've loved having this outlet for my random thoughts. And I'm glad a few people still read it!

As we've done in 20092010201120122013201420152016, 2017 and 2018 let's take a look back at the last year...

Total Posts I've Written (including this one):
318

Average Number of Posts I Write Per Month:
0.7 (UP from 0.5 last year -- still not great, but a tiny bit better!)

Average Number of Unique Visitors Per Month:
526 (UP from 478 last year)

Average Pageviews Per Month:
2,981 (about even with 2,967 last year)

Most Traffic Comes From:
Tie between Google and Pinterest

Most-Read Blog Posts This Year:
Most-Read Blog Posts Ever (in order of popularity):
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pinterest (December 2012)
Which Christmas Cookie Are You? (December 2015)
A Gluten-Free Holiday Feast (December 2014)
Farewell, Crawleys (March 2016)
Dear Stores that Close on Thanksgiving (November 2015)
Grease Is the Word (January 2016)
Election Eve (November 2016)
Freedom (July 2016)
New View (September 2014)
20 Apps I Adore (January 2012)

Posts Nobody Gave a Crap About:
A Star Is Reborn
Dear DMV

Most Comments:
Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

Most Popular Poll:
I didn't do any this year.  Poo.
Up in the Air (all-time)

Most Frequently-Used Tag for the Posts I Write:
Pop Culture

Most Popular Search by Visitors:
Dating

Lastly, My Favorite Post I Wrote This Year (tie):
City of Angels
Eat Blog Love



Next on deck will be a recap of an event I helped produce in Brooklyn, the Loveseat Potato's annual review of Fall 2019 TV shows and I officially need glasses... 

Thanks (as always) for reading!

8/04/2019

Packing Light

So I turned 46 yesterday...

Yeah, I'm going to need that Benjamin Button secret, because I'm reallllly not ok with being closer to 50 than I am to 40.

Barf.

Anyway, I'm in total denial that I'm middle-aged. So one of my best friends and I hopped on a jet plane to Nashville.  I'd never been before, but Tennessee sounded like a fun place to kick up our heels!

In my travels and in my life, I like to pack light.  I think small amounts of baggage are key to navigating any place, situation or relationship. Enough to be prepared, not so much that it weighs you down.

When I pack for a trip, I follow 4 rules:

RULE 1: PICK A COLOR
I always choose a main color -- usually either black or navy -- for all my clothes
and use that as the anchor for everything else I pack so I can mix and match. 
For Nash, in honor of Johnny Cash, I chose black.


RULE 2: ONLY BRING WHAT YOU'LL WEAR
As you see above, I lay out all my clothes so I don't bring more than I can wear.
For this long weekend getaway, I had 2 outfits per day, 1 pair of pjs,
2 pairs of shoes, sneakers, a few accessories and a jacket.
And everything fit in my favorite suitcase of all time from Away.


RULE 3: NEVER CHECK BAGS
I don't think I've checked a bag in 20 years. 
It's risky, a waste of time, and now with all these fees, a waste of money too!
That's another benefit to packing light, if you can't carry it, it can't come.


RULE 4: REPACK AS YOU GO
We woke up about 15 minutes before I took this pic. 
We're not scrambling around a messy room right here because I repack as I go. 
I unpack everything when I arrive and hang all my outfits together in the closet,
then as I wear them, they go right back back in my bag. 
My best friend does that too (nevermind all her clothes fit in a lunchbox).

So, there you have it.  My "wisdom" as I enter a new year: Make big memories and travel light.

Oh, and don't buy a cowboy hat in Nashville, no matter how tempting it may be...

2 old friends. 2 big hats. 1 late night, 0 filters.

Have any packing (or aging) tips? Drop them in the comments below!


7/27/2019

Dear DMV

I love driving in Jersey.

Our highways are great. I think the jughandle is a glorious way to make a left turn.  It's sheer bliss that we don't have to pump our own gas.  I even think our state smells good!

You know what driving stereotype I DO believe?

The DMV is the worst.

YOU. ARE. THE. WORST.

When you sent me a letter telling me my license was expiring, I cringed. You told me I could renew by mail and save time. But you know what?  I hate my photo.  It's terrible. I blame you!

So, my vanity overruled my logic and I decided to come in for a visit.

Mistake.

The only time I've ever been psyched to be at the DMV was on my bday was when I turned 17 and got my first license. In fact, it was at the very same DMV I visited today.  The place was old 30 years ago.

Now, it's a complete shithole. (See above.)

A trip to the DMV is like a day in purgatory. The one in Wayne is literally falling apart. Even the signs that say "pardon our appearance" are peeling off. (The jig is up - no one believes something new is coming soon.) Everyone stands in line for HOURS. Are chairs so expensive? There is ZERO air in the dead of summer. Would a fan kill you?

Oh, and all your employees are like hostile zombies. Even the woman emptying the trash wore a tshirt that said "enemies" across the front.

So, morale is obviously an issue.

You know what else is an issue?  EFFICIENCY!

I actually had to visit you TWO times and spend almost FIVE hours of my life to get a valid, in-state  license renewed. Shocked?  Me neither.

Last Saturday, I arrived at 1pm and stood in a line under fluorescent lights in a steamy side room for two loooong hours until you closed. A smiling man in a yellow shirt eventually turned us away and cheerfully said to come back on Monday.

I bet he gets punched a lot.

Do you think if I could come on a Monday, I'd waste my Saturday with YOU?

No.

Today, I came back because I am obviously insane. I arrived at 11am -- FOUR hours before closing.  This time, we stood in a line OUTSIDE, baking in the sun. I didn't think to bring my sunscreen to the DMV, but no doubt the SPF would have washed away in a river of my sweat.




At noon, an officer told us that they might have accepted all the people they could see for the day.

Please note: It was still THREE hours until closing.

Ummm... what country are we in? What century is this?? What. The. Eff.

Please know, I speak not only for myself, but for the people I stood on line with. Twice. Inside and outside your flawed facility, my neighbors were very vocal as we experienced the 5 stages of grief together:

DENIAL
   "This shit costs how much?"
   "I'm not even supposed to be here. I'm going to Bloomingdales."

ANGER
   "Bitch, we not movin."
   "I'm about to say fuck it & drive illegally."

BARGAINING
   "You want to sit in the car? No. If I have to suffer, so do you."
   "I owe you. We're hittin up Sonic after this. Get some tots and a Coney!"

DEPRESSION
   "I wish I would have never lost my license."
   "This line is mad long. I'm about to die."

ACCEPTANCE
   "There is no amount of deodorant that can keep me from stinking right now."
   "This is the greatest day of my life!"

(That last kid was getting his first license and a convertible BMW.  He doesn't count.)

In a miraculous twist, they let more of us inside. When I finally sloshed up to the counter -- nearly three hours later -- I noticed the woman who processed my paperwork was wearing a sweater.

"The break room is so cold," she said.

Right then, my head exploded, which was unfortunate because I was about to take a pic.

You take BREAKS when a hundred people are standing in the sun? And you CRANK the air conditioning in the break room while every other area is a sauna? And your staff is STILL miserable?

I can't.

After all that nonsense, I did get my license.  When she handed it to me, she said, "Pretty."

Don't you try to sweet talk me. Get it together, DMV!

You are awful.
Jen

5/18/2019

Eat Blog Love

When I first started 10+ years ago, I thought about making this a food blog.

I like to cook. And everybody eats, right?

Then I realized it's a lot of work.

Like, a LOT. Too much for a hobby.

So I decided to write about random shit that's on my mind instead. But my food posts are definitely some of my faves. Especially the taste tests.  And my mom's eggplant parm recipe, which puts all other eggplant parms in all the land to shame.

Last week, I worked on an event for 500 food bloggers and it made me wish I was one of them.

Minus the hard work. Plus the snacks.

It was in Brooklyn, which I always think is a hassle to get to. But when I go, I'm glad I'm there. And for food, it was the perfect place.  Take a look...


The event was held at Berg'n, a hipster hangout in Crown Heights.
We brought the balloons.

No event would be complete without a mountain of gift bags.
That was the first of many treats in this room.  

While I hoped Dunkin' would bring a dumptruck of Munchkins to this event,
they brought their new egg sandwiches instead.
which I'm sure was amazing for people who can stomach eggs.

This is Gail Becker, she created Caulipower pizza because her kids have severe
food allergies. In an Oprah moment, she gave us all free pizzas!

The highlight for this TV lover was meeting Bethenny Frankel,
the original Skinny Girl and Real Housewife of New York.
She was taller than I thought she'd be, but maybe it was those killer shoes. 


Baked By Melissa came back too. Last year, they spelled our name in cupcakes.
This year, they made an infinity table full of them in every flavor under the sun!
(Don't tell anyone I had at least 5 of the PB&Js.)


Me and my friend, Deb, around lunchtime. If I look drunk, it's because I am.
Kidding.
I'd been to Orlando & Chicago right before this, and was running on about
4 hours sleep. I didn't bring any bags, except the ones under my left eye.

Yes, rose was, in fact, served all day.

Shenielle Jones from the Today Show walked in about 1 minute before this interview
and was a total pro. And the convo between Christina Tosi of Milkbar
and Gail Simmons of Top Chef was an inspiring one.

Christina also brought us cookies!
I always thought Compost was my fave for it's salty sweet goodness,
but the Cornflake Marshmallow one was ahhhmazing.

Speaking of cookies... this was a warm choc chip from our partner, David Leite.
He tried over 100 recipes before he perfected this one.
I think the dough sits in the fridge for 2 days. And there's sea salt involved.
It's magical.

The night before the event, I spent about an hour setting up 2 displays like this
for Smirnoff's launch of their infused vodkas.
They looked delicious. And dangerous. But mostly delicious!

Is there anything better than chips & guac?  Yes.
Chips & guac served by badass exec chef Ariel Fox from Dos Caminos.
She also won Hell's Kitchen. NBD.

Our happiest hour had lots of tasty bites, but this was my fave.
It was a butternut squash (or maybe sweet potato?) arancini drizzled with honey.
Fried food = yum.

Me and my partner in crime, Jen, at the end of the night.
We work together on all these awesome events.

Who ordered a photobomb? Me!

Me and our head of video, Reshma. This photo really sums up our friendship.
And that's Erika in the back -- my awesome co-worker and Hoboken co-pilot.

When I got home, I remembered I got a sweet gift from Dani B.
We went to middle & high school together, and now she's a talented baker 
who has a shop in Asbury Park. Check her out!