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Kickoff to Social Media Summer! Blogging Like Crazy with #SoMePGH

Kickoff to Social Media Summer! Blogging Like Crazy with #SoMePGH

I got a comprehensive hours report yesterday, and lets just say I could probably take off the entire month of June and I’d still be at/around target. It’s been that kind of spring. So when I say I need a break, I mean I NEED A BREAK.  Good thing one is right around the corner (OMG LEAVING FOR AUSTIN ON WEDNESDAY)

Today I had “vacation light” by playing hooky from work and spending the day at the ever-awesome Visit Pittsburgh Like, Tweet & Be Social! Social Media conference.  This is my second year in attending, and although it is geared toward marketing professionals, hobbyist bloggers are equally welcomed.

The big takeaway today was AUTHENTICITY.  Be true to yourself. Be true to your voice. Be true to your message. If you are genuine, your content will be compelling, and readers will become advocates.  They will naturally want to share your work, and your reader base will grow.  Also, everyone seemed to be SUPER excited about Vine.  I have heard of it, but didn’t think much about it, and because of how excited everyone was today about it, I’m excited to try it out.

The opening keynote was an inspirational presentation by the brilliant women behind eatPGH. It was fascinating to hear how they followed their interests and their hearts, collaborated so skillfully with goal in mind, and had great success.  It was so obvious that they blog for the love of it (not for the fame of it), and because their humor and passion are so apparent, readers come to them. During a break I had a few minutes to meet Sarah Sudar, and we chatted about the things we like best: food and Pittsburgh.  I couldn’t help but gush about my excitement over my trip to Austin for BlogHer Food next week and to The Big Summer Potluck later in the summer.  Such a food enthusiast herself, she totally understood my excitement.

The eatPGH ladies and their "PUBLISHED!" cake

The eatPGH ladies and their “PUBLISHED!” cake

I also attended a very insightful workshop on personal branding by Aire Plichta of Modcloth.  The key takeaway, again, was authenticity.  Personal branding is not about creating an image and projecting it out to the world.  A brand, instead, is the perceived amalgamation of all the thoughts, images and experiences you share with the world.  Being true to yourself will generate a genuine brand.

The SEO workshop by eyeflow I attended was also fantastically helpful.  The theme was “Old SEO vs. New SEO” because apparently Google’s SEO algorithm has changed significantly.  I never knew much about the “Old SEO” to begin with, so any SEO help is a plus for me.  The driving theme of this talk was QUALITY.  Quality writing, that interests readers, and that readers feel inspired to share with their own contacts, is what gives you high SEO marks.  Three high-quality posts a week is worth far more than 7 mediocre posts.

Fuelin Up Proper

Fuelin Up Proper (any event that includes “snacktime” is a winner in my book)

I also enjoyed listening to a talk by Visit Pittsburgh representatives about social media frustrations and how to work with them.  I’ve faced a frustration lately– instead of promoting my BeezusKiddo posts on my personal facebook site, I’ve only been promoting them on the BeezusKiddo page on facebook.  As a result my site hits have gone way down, and I think it’s because facebook’s algorithm is pushing out my personal page status updates to way more newsfeeds than it is pushing out the updates from the BeezusKiddo site.  I was afraid it would be duplicative and annoying, but I am going to promote the posts on both facebook pages for a while and see how that goes.  When I asked the panel about this, the consensus was that it probably won’t be duplicative (if no one is seeing the BeezusKiddo page updates anyway, promoting on my personal page isn’t going to get the BeezusKiddo page sites on the newsfeed).

The conference wrapped up with a closing session by Belinda Yeager Carter, who eloquently summed up the themes of the day (AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY! AUTHENTICITY!) and shared innovative thoughts about the brand/social media integrative experience, and possible things we might see with social media on the horizon.

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Social media is more of my hobby than my business, but events like this get me so excited to work harder to make this blog better.  I work really hard to try and make this blog the best it can be, and I love learning new skills to make it even better.  With the two food conferences coming up and PennWomen in October, the next several months will be so full of growth.  I am incredibly excited.  Despite my nerves about approaching people I don’t know, I confidently marched up to some new people and proposed some new collaborations that could be very exciting.  I met new people, learned new things, and can’t WAIT for my next conference!  (Good thing I’m feeling inspired, because my next Legal Intelligencer article is due Monday! Boy do those deadlines come up fast!!)

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Calling it Like it Is

Baby Beez’ last gymnastics class (for the time being) is this Saturday.  I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I feel relieved.  I was so excited to sign her up for Kinder Gym. It was perfectly scheduled for Saturday mornings– a time when even if I have weekend work obligations, I can reliably carve out an hour for an activity with her– the teacher was friendly, the location was good, everything seemed to be set perfectly.  Too bad Baby Beez just isn’t into it.

Don't let her fool you. She was pitching a fit at both ends of that balance beam.

Don’t let her fool you. She was pitching a fit at both ends of that balance beam.

We’ve been taking the gymnastics classes for about a year now.  They are “mommy & me” style. There is no technique, no focused instruction.  There are stations on a circuit, and the kids are encouraged to climb and explore.  At the beginning Baby Beez seemed to like it. She would climb and check things out.  Because the classes are in the late morning, she was always exhausted by the end (she’s an early napper), and would end up taking a 3-4 hour nap afterward.

In the last month she has lost interest entirely.  She spends 15 minutes running around in circles (if I’m lucky, she’ll sometimes try a slide or trampoline, but god forbid I ask her to try anything else), then she’ll plant herself on the floor, stick her thumb in her mouth and pout.  She really is tired, but sometimes if she’s interested in something, she’ll ignore being sleepy and will just explore.  Whatever interest she had is clearly gone.

The best part of gymnastics class is at the end of every class, we got to play parachute. YES THE GROWN UPS PLAY TOO.

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OH HECK YES

Last week, as the class approached its end, Baby Beez shouted loudly that she wanted to go home. HOME NOW. RIGHT NOW. And as much as I don’t like giving a yelling kid what she wants, I couldn’t very well ruin everyone else’s parachute time by forcing an angry toddler to stay in class.  She succeeded in ruining only my parachute time.

Despite my visions of my tiny Dominque Moceneau, Baby Beez didn’t go for it.  It’s stupid to re-enroll her in something she’s not enjoying, so we’re out for now.  I don’t plan to overload her tiny person schedule with sports and music and activities and so forth, but I do like the idea of us having a scheduled, consistent activity every week.  I just need to figure out how to replace it.  Options include: swimming, ballet class, music class, or I can just drop her off at the kids room in the gym and go workout myself (hey, she has a crush on Steve, the kids room attendant, and I need a workout, so everyone wins).

How do you manage to pick activities for your kids?

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Date Night: @BarMarcoPGH @AFLPittsburgh and @HoughsPgh

Date Night: @BarMarcoPGH @AFLPittsburgh and @HoughsPgh

Our Memorial Day weekend was full of work, more work, laundry and work.  It wasn’t the most of exciting of weekends, but at least we have clean clothes now.  Mr. Beez and I did manage to sneak out for a date on Saturday Night and had a lovely time.

I’ve been crowing over Bar Marco nonstop since I first visited there last summer.  Finally we had a chance for a visit, a cocktail and a charcuterie plate.
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Mr. Beez said this was one of the best Old Fashioneds he’s had, hands down.  I had the Louisiana and a Georgia Julep and they were both light, summery and awesome (of the two, the Louisiana is my favorite).
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We ordered the delicious small charcuterie plate. We really should have gone for the large.  Amazing.

Empanadas? Yes PLEASE.

Empanadas? Yes PLEASE.

Next up we went to a Pittsburgh Power game.  Honestly, never would I ever have picked a Power game for a date nite outing.  We were invited to the game by a work contact of mine, and I thought “what the heck?”  We had a CRAZY FUN time.  Even with the help of the internets on our phone, we couldn’t really figure out what the rules of the game were, but it was fast paced and fun.  Pittsburgh was up for most of the game, then in the third quarter we fell behind, OH NO!

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But we put it all back together, and then some, in a crazy exciting fourth quarter and ended the game with a V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.  The Pittsburgh Power is an awesome family event.  It has all the usual sports excitement, but is not nearly as crowded as a Steelers or Pens game. The tickets are far less expensive to boot, and at every game they offer $1 hot dogs and $1 7-ups. I perfect, reasonably priced family outing.  We can’t wait to go again and bring Baby Beez with us!

After the game, like usual, we were in need of late night munchies.  Despite having lived in Greenfield for SIX YEARS, we had yet to make it to the local neighborhood bar, Houghs.  Houghs is laid back, friendly and neither too hipsterish nor too much of a townie bar.  They have an amazing beer selection, both on tap and by the bottle.  Their menu is classic bar food, perfectly salty, meaty and hearty to round out those brews.

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Hough's on Urbanspoon

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I’ve Been Waiting for this Day Since I was 18 Years Old

Although I’ve fallen off The Office bandwagon the last couple years, I finally caught up and watched the series finale today.  Stanley receives his retirement cake and proclaims “I’ve been waiting for this day since I was 18 years old!!”

That is my life.

I look at the partners, the seasoned lawyers, the gray hairs, and I wonder “how did you make it there?”  How do they make it through year after year of the 4am panicked wake-ups, and the sunny Saturday afternoons spent hunched over the computer, and emergency after confused emergency? How do they make it through without totally losing their minds?

Where does the inspiration come from? How do you stay eager and energized where the reward for all that hard work is an annual week out of town, where there’s no hope of entirely avoiding work, because your job involves deadlines and expectations that are outside of your control, and there’s always an enormous chance that your trip away will have to be called off anyway, for some unexpected work demand.

I’m finishing up year six. This is around the time where people make it or break it. They peel off from the practice or they get driven out or they take some other direction entirely.  Some days I feel proud.  I feel like I’m really starting to get the hang of things, from the legal skills to the business building and all those things in between.  Other days I drag through my exhaustion, unsure how to convince myself that the endless cycles of flight-or-flight are worth it.  The practice does get easier over time.  I sleep most nights now, which is something I could not say a couple years ago.  I am better at estimating the time for completing a particular task.  I can better manage my time and workload. I don’t know how to do every assignment that ends up on my desk, but I’ve more skilled at figuring out how to do the things I don’t know how to do. I tell myself that next year will feel better than this year, and the year after that will feel even better.  That self talk has little meaning, when I’m exhausted right now.

I’m tightly wound, always.  The past two weeks I’ve been wound even more tightly.  A spring, about to pop.  I haven’t run in months, but twice this weekend I went to the gym and ran for nearly a half-hour.  I ran this morning, and if the gym didn’t close early today, I would want to go back tonight and run again.  The stress winds tight in my chest and pulses through me in a low, unshakeable agitation.  The treadmill burns the agitation off.  The quiet is temporary. And by the time the red has receded from my cheeks, I’m wound tightly again, ready for another run.

There’s no dissatisfaction with what I’m doing.  I’m not a creative stifled in a corporate job. I don’t find my work meaningless or soul-sucking.  It’s fascinating most days– learning secrets, examining theories from different angles, piecing together concepts into larger themes, challenging myself to learn entirely new subject areas in short periods of time.  But all of that comes with the overwhelming pressure of the practice.  It’s hard to see that carrot dangling ahead, and sometimes I doubt it is there at all.

Where do you find your motivation?

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Last Post of our Crazy Busy Girls Weekend: Kennywood’s Open!

Last Post of our Crazy Busy Girls Weekend: Kennywood’s Open!

And for the final adventure of Girls Weekend, we made our first trip of the year to Kennywood!  Pittsburgh collectively exclaims “Kennywood’s Open!” when spring arrives, and a visit to this historic amusement park is a must for every ‘burgher.

Our visit was part of the Easter Seals Walk with Me event, which started off with a 1-mile walk around the park.  It was a good distance to stretch the legs but not be so long as to bore the little ones.  There was a bit of a delay between the walk ending and the rides opening, but we managed to fill it with all kinds of cookies and chips and sugary treats.  What the heck, it’s Kennywood day!

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We took Baby Beez to Kennywood once before, but that was when she was a teeny tiny baby and literally the only thing she could ride on was the carousel.  This time she was actually big enough for the kiddie rides.  I was very glad that her brave friend Elena (daughter of Sandy and Ben) was there with us.  (Of course I was glad that Sandy and Ben were there too!!) If it were just me and Baby Beez, she would have probably been all clingy and refused to go on rides by herself.  But she rode on many rides with Elena, or followed Elena’s lead and climbed onto the rides herself, and she showed confidence and independence.  Most of all, the girls had great fun!

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The elephants were by FAR her favorite ride!


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Baby Beez loved most of the rides, but the coaster was not her style.

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We stayed until just after lunch, and then Baby Beez was exhausted and I had work to attend to (lesson one in lawyering: every day is a workday).  She was enjoying herself so much that it pained me to leave, but she again had reached that point of being exhausted and wild, so leaving really was in order.  We live very close to Kennywood, and a return visit is in order.  After all, we could go ride some rides in the morning, come home for a long afternoon nap, and return for more rides in the evening.  It would be perfect.


With the little ones in tow, we didn’t get to ride any of the grown-up coasters.  That really didn’t matter, because the girls were having such fun.  We had fun seeing them smile and laugh and love Kennywood as much as we do.