Friday, December 23, 2011

Motorola Xoom and Verizon Wireless Campaign Wrap-up

In just another week, the Verizon Wireless #MidwestMoms will come to an end. I've really enjoyed using the Motorola Xoom I received as part of the program. Unlike 99.6% of mombloggers, I'm not in the habit of having internet on the go, and have actually avoided being connected everywhere, all the time.

But it's pretty handy.

As the program finishes, I'm debating whether to continue the Verizon data plan on my own. I need to look beyond whether it's simply fun being able to Tweet/Facebook/check emails on the go to considering the business case for such access, especially now that the new house finally has internet service and I'm not sure how much traveling I'll be doing in the year ahead.

Regardless of how I move ahead, it's been an interesting journey. I noticed that pretty much wherever I went with the Xoom (including my son's doctor's office this morning), someone comments on my "iPad."

"It's not an iPad. It's a Motorola Xoom." I replied this morning and so many times before.

And then I go on to show a few great features of the Xoom that are not available on the iPad (at least not version 1).

I show off the front and rear facing cameras that capture still shots and video. I demonstrate how I can rotate the screen in any direction and be able to read and type. I may even take them on a trip to the Android App Market.

And then, because I'm a disclosure nerd, I talk about the Midwest Moms program with Verizon Wireless, which often leads to a whole different conversation about bloggers and blogging. Though sometimes it just leads to looks of befuddlement.

The Xoom has definitely been a conversation starter--so I guess you can say it's connected me in more ways than one!

Thanks to Verizon for inviting me to be a part of this fun program.
 I'll be giving away my very gently used Motorola Bionic smart phone before the year's end, so be sure to look for that *soon* now through Dec. 28, 2011on Reluctant Renovator.

Disclosure: I was not paid to be a part of the program, but I did receive the Xoom and Bionic as well as an unlimited Verizon data plan for the duration of it. I will be keeping the Xoom and, as noted, will be giving away the Bionic to a lucky reader.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Speaking Engagements

Blissdom Conference Community Leader (February 2012)

Publicity Club of Chicago, Panelist, Gaining Critical Exposure with Mommy Bloggers (January 2012)

Social Media Master's Summmit, panelist, Bloggers and Brands (October 2011)

Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago, featured speaker, Monetization and Social Media Success (August 2011)

Blissdom Conference Panelist, Bloggers and Worth (January 2011)

Type A Mom Conference Panelist, "Using Your Blog to Get Gigs" and Moderator, "Monetizing Beyond the Widget" (September 2010)

Social Media Masters' Summit on "Brands and Bloggers Working Together" (August 2010)

Sweets and Snacks Expo featured panelist for "Newest Products- Hottest Trends" (May 2010)

Featured citizen speaker at a Capitol Hill press event with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (March 2010)

Blissdom pre-conference Wisdom Workshop and Conference Session, Business Track (February 2010)

Blogalicious Conference Panelist "Marketing to Women of Color: The Real Deal" (October 2009)

Family Farmed Media Meet-up Panelist on discussion for producers on how to gain media coverage (November 2008)

Ad:Tech Chicago Panelist "Reaching Moms Online" (August 2008)


After dipping into video blogging in 2010 with her not-ready-for-HGTV house hunting series, Property Sluts, Kim caught the vlogging bug and has continued on with a sequel named after her new house blog, Reluctant Renovator.

In December 2010, featured Kim's vlogging efforts in their Smart Series Interviews.

As on December 2011, Kim's YouTube channel has grown to include how-to, travel, and product review clips, and a few school concerts. The channel's 62 videos have been viewed more than 65,000 times, with roughly 2500 views in a typical month.

Kim and her children have sold several videos to the Johnson and Johnson's YouTube Health Channel. Videos featured at JNJ Health include:
Hoop Fun for Kids
Old-fashioned Face Painting
Halloween Safety Tips
How to Make Butter

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Despite Thanksgiving, the ultimate foodie holiday party and other seasonal festivities, not to mention massive quantities of renovation stress, I'm down 7 or 8 pounds from where I was in August.

{pats self on shrinking rump}

But the final weeks of the year mean more parties, latkes, candies and cookies. Lots of cookies as I'm coaching the Food Science team for Science Olympiad and we plan to bake the school break away. Yikes! What's a weight watching mama to do?

Check out these great tips for preventing holiday weight gain from Esther Crawford over at The Dish, the new blogger resource site from ConAgra Foods.

{While you're there, take a minute to register for First Look, First Taste to receive samples of new products before they hit the supermarket shelves.}

What helps you keep the pounds off during the most wonderful eating time of the year?

Disclosure: As a member of The Dish Advisory Board I am compensated for my time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Small Business Owner Whose Gift Certificate Has Expired

Dear Small Biz Owner,

I was thinking that my dusty old gift certificate for your services might come in handy now that I *finally* (almost) have a house again. I was also thinking that maybe, given that well over a year had passed since I received said gift certificate, it might have expired. However, the certificate is not dated nor is an expiration date listed.

I wrote you a nice note explaining that I had been holding on to the certificate and was hoping I might  redeem it because after a year of house hunting followed by many months of home renovations, I am ready to "nest" and your services would come in handy.

Admittedly, I gave you an out, explaining that I understood if the certificate no longer applied. (Perhaps I should have stressed the lack of an expiration date.)

Your clipped response, "Yes, those certificates are void," left me cold, though.

A short apology, i.e. including the word "sorry," might have been nice.

Etiquette aside, a smarter business move would have been something like, "Sorry, the certificate is void. However, if you want to purchase 3 hours of my services, I will add in one additional hour for free."

I could have been a customer. I could have been thrilled by your expertise and referred my friends to you, written about you on my blog, left you good marks on Angie's List.

Instead, I'm shredding the gift certificate.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mom, Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby

The renovation has become my job of late, but when I saw this book sitting in my growing Pile of Neglected Items, I gasped. I did not mean to ignore this book (or the laundry pile--also growing--, or my children--who may have stopped growing due to lack of care). Mom, Incorporated is a fact-filled book of business know-how that comes with free hugs.

Danielle Smith and Aliza Sherman wrote a supportive and informative book that came along a few years too late for me, but is sure to be an asset to women, especially moms, who are just starting out.

I'm fortunate to know both of these talented woman in real life, but I tend to think that even if you don't, the book still reads like a helpful conversation with friends. Perhaps that's because the authors freely share their lessons learned and highlight so many real-life mompreneurs throughout the book.

Getting down to business, the Mom, Incorporated provides tips and worksheets on the kind of business to start and how to budget and plan for that business to launch and grow. It also shares insights on what kind of professional advice to seek and what questions to ask.

With moms in mind, the authors discuss finding workspace amidst the chaos of your home and where to get real-life support and encouragement.

Mom, Incorporated is a good book for any mom who's ready to give birth--to a new business.

Note: I received a copy of this book to facilitate a review.