So.... I got this idea to organize a blog swap. The idea being to let a blogger walk in another blogger's shoes. What would happen when a single girl had to write for a mom blog? When a mom had to create a glunten-free recipe post? It gave a handful of bloggers an opportunity to mingle in new spaces.
I asked bloggers from one of the networking groups I'm in to sign up on a Google doc and then I got to sorting. I initially assigned everyone a number and then just drew numbers from a hat. I mean, literally -- I sat at my desk and drew numbers out of a baseball cap. But then I had people guest-writing posts for similarly themed blogs and that just didn't capture the spirit of what this was all about so I had to trade a few.
Once that was done, emails went out. Instructions were given. Follow ups made. And, since I like to make things pretty, badges were created -- and there were choices!
The open-toe black and gold pumps were picked the most, followed by the red-bow polka-dot shoes.
If you're a blogger, read on for a great bit of advice. If you're not a blogger, you may very well find this to be interesting insight into some of what we do (but I won't be offended if you're like "no, I'm not reading AJ's blog just this once").
There are so many blogger "collectives" out there now. Organizations like Clever Girls and Massive Sway who collect up blogger members so that they can partner with brands and subsequently recruit appropriate members to evangelize those brands. (Non bloggers - so you know - we often get paid for these opportunities but we are always allowed to be honest. No one is bribing us. In fact, Markerly is paying me for this post, but I talk about them all the time so I was like "money for something I'd do happily anyway? Um, ok.")
Markerly is one such network - one of many I belong to (I display many badges on my site but do, in fact, belong to quite a few more collectives) - and has really become one of my favorites to work with. They are certainly the most on their game. It is a full-service managed network with 24/7 blogger support. I've been able to reach them via email and twitter with super-fast response time. It's probably my favorite feature of working with them.
Of course, my second-favorite feature is, they pay you within 48 hours of completing your obligations to the campaign. 48 hours! As a blogger, you know that's ridiculous. Some of these networks take three months to pay out.
They've put the focus on top quality brands, authenticity and engagement. Working with brands like Levi's, Super Bowl, TruMoo, Jaybird, eMeals etc., Markerly membership is open to any blogger that has over 10,000 page views a month or an average of 3 comments per post (but I've seen them make exceptions). Really the focus is on engaged audiences. To that end, Markerly even gives you heat maps of your entire post so you can see what people were clicking on -- how frickin' cool is that?!
And you don't even have to take my word for it because there's even been a lot of press on Markerly.
Look how friendly they are! That charming lady among the man-candy is co-founder Sarah Ware, who is delightful.
Oh -- one last thing. They're giving away $250. Yep. You read that right. $250! Enter below using the Facebook widget. Not to worry - they are not tapping into your network. (In my experience, in some internet browsers, sometimes this widget takes the form of a pop-up in the lower right corner. Look around if you don't see it.)
You know, I was thinking to myself not so long ago about how truly bored I am lately* and decided I really needed** a new project.
*Not really bored, just crazy/** Not needed at all. Again, just crazy.
So there I was. With a twitchy thumb, a jumpy tummy, an interest in learning Wordpress (BTW, kicking myself for that now) and a desire to utilize Dreamhost for web hosting, which had been highly recommended to me by many other bloggers.
The thing is, I love brunch. It is my favorite meal. As a very wise man once said (okay, it’s from “The Simpsons,” but still): “It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end.” I mean, who’s on board for a post-meal slice of melon, y’all?
Here in Los Angeles – and even in its near-neighboring cities – brunch is not just a meal, it’s a culture. It is where deals are brokered, new friendships are formed, and $15 can score you a bottomless Mimosa or Bloody Mary. It is valet parking for seven dollars because you’re too hung over from the night before to bother looking for street parking. And when you do find street parking, it’s as if God himself parted the clouds to bring the space to you. Brunch is a side of bacon and more bacon. It is “white, wheat, whole grain, sourdough, rye, an English muffin or bagel.” It is gluten free, egg-white, skim milk, paleo-friendly and any other diet trending at the time. It is big sunglasses, sun dresses in November, people watching and rosemary garlic potatoes.
So I decided to create the Hollywood Brunch Blog. The go-to online destination for all things brunch in this crazy town. People arealways asking me for brunch recommendations and it blew my mind that a site solely dedicated to brunch culture did not exist. Furthermore, it's something I can involve friends and fellow bloggers in. I'm not discriminating -- if you want to review something for Hollywood Brunch, I would welcome it.
And there you have it. My newest baby. Now that I've told you about it, I guess I really have to get to it, don't I? The people demand their brunch!!! And so I will bring it to them. Please bookmark that site and keep an eye out, won't you?
Disclosuring stuffs: Dreamhost totally threw me a bone for posting this but I was launching the site anyway and had already spent some money on it, so basically I was like "yes, please."
Some people know this about me -- I have Anglophilia. I love all things British. Well, maybe just British pop culture. I don't know. I love the accents and the slang. The pop music and shiny black taxi cabs.
I was approached by Charlie of Never Been on a Second Date to see if I was interested in a little cross promotion. It sounded like fun to me so I quickly agreed. Plus, as he is from London and my age, I assume this means we are married in internet law. Charlie is just finding this out now. He is going to be SUPER excited, I'm sure. (In all seriousness, he probably knows I'm being sarcastic... maybe.)
So my new Brit husband and I swapped interviews about simple dating querries. Made for a good time and now I have a new pen pal. And maybe a new fan club of British men who want to take me to a Robbie Williams concert sometime. Which I am all about.
Meet Charlie. He is 34. He lives in London and has been stumbling through 50 first dates. His blog is his therapy.
Q: How many dates have you been on?
lost count after 50.
Q: Ideal nationality of your future wife?
And I’m not just saying that. I love Americans. Sooo soo optimistic. Unlike us
They also think I’m Colin Frissel.
Q: What’s your worst dating faux pas?
is embarrassing for saying it and embarrassing because it’s not even an
original line. But I once told an Astrologist “I’d like to see Uranus’’. Damn
my stupid mouth.
once took a girl to a Robbie Williams concert. She couldn’t hear a word I was
saying. Found out later she was deaf in one ear.
Q: The one date that got away?
lovely girl from Minnesota called Chelsie.
Q: Reason why she got away?
brought her mom on the date and took her back to America. On the plus side, me
and her mom are now friends on Facebook.
Q: One piece of advice for any budding daters?
Advice? From me? This is a joke I presume?
I'd also like to say that by now, Charlie has seen my marriage "proposal" and accepted his fate. He's SUPER excited about it and made this graphic for his blog to show his joy:
* * *
Meet me! AJ! (although Charlie likes to call me Amanda). I am 34. I live in Los Angeles and have been stumbling through a parade of horrible dates. Here is my interview with the blog-husband:
Q: How many actually
dates have you been on?
A: Oh dear god, I
couldn’t even begin to count. Also, counter-question, does it count as a “date”
if they make a lewd comment about my breasts ten minutes in and I leave soon
nationality of your future husband?
Though I’d settle for an Irish lad. It’s the accents. American girls are really
just looking for Colin Frissel. (You won’t get that joke if you’re not obsessed
with Love Actually. And if you’re
not, we can’t be friends.)
Q: Most romantic
first date you’ve been on?
A: I don’t think
I’ve ever been on a romantic first
Q: Do you have a
A: No. Your
gender remains a mystery to me despite its seeming simplicity, so I find it
impractical to have a routine.
Q: What’s your
worst dating faux-pas?
A: Ranting about
an ex on the first date. No one should have to hear that psychotic dribble.
Q: Reason why you
never saw a date again?
A: Because he
smelled. Terrible. Like aged beef. I do not recommend it.
Q: Reason why a
date never saw you again?
A: Well, you’d
have to ask him. I can only theorize.
Q: Worst place
you’ve been on a date?
A: First of all,
Charlie, if you took me to a Robbie
Williams concert, I’d marry you. But only after
I got to shag Robbie Williams. But the worst date I’ve ever been on was when a
gentleman told me to get all dressed up and then took me to the International
House of Pancakes. If you guys don’t have that overseas, think of it as Little Chef. And he
was dressed in an Adidas track suit.
Q: The one date
that got away?
A: Oh… my high
school sweetheart. I’m sure I should have fought harder or tried harder. Or
maybe even tried less.
Q: Reason why he
A: You’d have to
ask him. I stopped wondering a long time ago. Made me crazy.
Q: One piece of
advice for any budding daters?
A: Date Charlie.
He seems lovely.
* * *
Andd seriously, he is lovely and I enjoy his blog immensely so here is how you too can stalk him online:
After I gave birth to my son, I was more than 100 pounds overweight, and I wanted to get healthy, both for myself and to be a good example for my son. I started my blog for accountability and to chronicle the information I learned about healthy living as I got down to a healthy weight. I've lost 50 pounds now, and I want to lose 50 more!
What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
It's good to write posts once in a while that are just for you, but most of the time, it's important to write your posts thinking about what your audience will be able to get out of it!
What is your best blogging tip?
Join blogging communities - you will learn everything that way!
If you could meet one other blogger you haven’t met yet, who would it be?
There are a lot of bloggers I would love to meet! But if I had to choose, I'd love to meet Tom Naughton or Jimmy Moore from the low-carb community, because they have helped me in my health journey immeasurably!
If you could hop a plane today and go anywhere in the world for a week alone, where would you go?
I don't know if I 'd want to go alone, honestly, because I'd probably get lonely. But if I could bring a friend or my husband along, I'd love to go to Paris, France! Museums, culture, amazing food - what's not to love?
When you go to a movie, do you buy popcorn or candy?
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I lived in Bangladesh for four months after college and taught English. It was a pretty crazy thing to do, now that I look back on it, but at the time, I just wanted an adventure. :)
If suddenly you woke up and money was no object, what is the first thing you would buy yourself? (Can’t be for someone else.)