Upcoming March Twitter Chats!

twitterpartyroundup_yellow

Spring has finally sprung, and what better way to celebrate than with these exciting spring-themed Twitter chats? Here are all the details you’ll need to know to join us. We hope to see you there!

#EarnItFrameIt

Wednesday, March 25 @ 1p.m. EST

Graduation season is right around the corner! After all the hard work, time and money spent earning their degrees, it’s a well-deserved moment of celebration for students and their families.

The Motherhood is celebrating this halllmark occasion during the #EarnItFrameIt Twitter chat! We’ll be talking about great gift ideas, and the professional framing company, Church Hill Classics, and how their custom framing options can help graduates preserve and showcase those hard-earned diplomas!

We will be giving away five prizes to randomly-selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only and include:

• Two (2) $100 diplomaframe.com gift card grand prizes

• One (1) varsity letter frame (valued at $94)

• One (1) graduation autograph frame (valued at $80)

• One (1) “class of” themed photo frame (valued at $28)

#SweetSwaps

Tuesday, March 31 @ 1p.m. EST

Who doesn’t love a new recipe to add to their collection? That’s why we’re excited to be joining SPLENDA® for a #SweetSwaps Twitter chat where we’ll be sharing spring-inspired recipes from the SPLENDA® SWEET SWAPS™ page along with tips to help you make balanced lifestyle decisions! Simple changes like substituting one cup of sugar with one cup of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener can save you more than 600 calories without losing the sweetness you know and love!

Prizes! We will be giving away five prizes to randomly selected participants who answer the trivia questions correctly. Each prize includes a $50 Visa gift card, an assortment of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products and a SPLENDA® branded apron and bag. Prizes limited to U.S. participants only. Official rules here.

TM Book Club: “The Beauty of Grace” Inspires

photo 2 (4)

No matter who you are or what your situation, every one of us has moments when we need to hear, “You are loved,” “There is a plan,” and most of all, “You are enough.”

The Beauty of Grace,” written by a longtime friend of The Motherhood, Dawn Camp, is an amazing reminder of these very things and so much more. With a compilation of stories that speak to purpose, perspective, surrendering and worship, this book is like a modern day devotional, made up of honest stories from everyday men and women.

Beauty of Grace Book Review

Dawn’s photography pairs beautifully with the inspirational stories she’s compiled. For example:

Arianne Segerman candidly speaks to a feeling many of us struggle with — inadequacy. From Pinterest-perfect homes to Facebook-induced feelings of competition, she reminds us that for each of us there is a different plan. Instead of trying to keep up, work to refine your edges, those very edges that allow you to forget how truly blessed you are. And most importantly, remember your blessings don’t have to look like others’.

Shannon Lowe shares her Sunday morning with us, and her strategy for getting through the week — from a heartbroken kid or the mess in the bedroom to a friend struggling with divorce or the dog that throws up on the carpet — she anchors herself in His grace because she knows “…in Him all things hold together.”

Rachel Anne Ridge reminds us that when we’ve come to a personal “stop sign” on our path, it’s just that — a moment to pause and assess what’s ahead. It doesn’t mean you stop and stay, or turn around or quit. Rather, stop long enough to “gather wisdom, get the lay of the land, look around and move forward slowly.” The road ahead may present you with unexpected curves, but that’s why stopping to assess your situation can help you to stay on track throughout your journey.

Beauty of Grace Book Review

Photo Credit: http://myhomesweethomeonline.net/

Positioned as an invitation to “slow down, take a deep breath and know that you are loved,” this book will inspire, enlighten and comfort anyone who picks it up.

The Motherhood was provided with a copy of “The Beauty of Grace” for review. All opinions expressed are our own. 

4 Tips for Spring Cleaning to Feel Refreshed

Spring

After the year of record-breaking snow and bitter cold many parts of the country experienced, it’s safe to say that we’ve been counting down to March 20 — the first official day of spring! Several months after many people made (and perhaps dropped) their New Year’s resolutions, the spring season brings a welcome sense of energy and desire to refresh many areas of our lives.

Here are four of our favorite ways to feel renewed as we usher in spring:

1. Do a Closet Clean Out

Take inventory of our closets and weed out unused clothing. Organization experts suggest eliminating wardrobe items that don’t meet the following criteria:

  • It currently fits
  • You have worn it in the past 12 months
  • You’re likely to wear it again
  • It’s in good condition (or you are willing to get it repaired)
  • It accurately represents your personal style
  • It makes you feel confident

If you can’t check those boxes for it, that item doesn’t make the cut! Make piles for items to keep, items to sell and items to donate to streamline your clean-out process.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Emily May.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Emily May.

Another fun option for pieces that are still in good condition is to host a clothing swap! Gather a few friends and ask them to bring a suggested minimum number of items. Create a festive party atmosphere with fun food and drinks (check out www.sweetswaps.com for some great ideas), and let the swapping begin! To make sure everyone gets a turn to shop, draw numbers and take turns picking one item from the selections. After a few rounds, you can open it up to a “free for all” so every item can find a new home.

2. Tackle Digital Clutter

Now is a great time to delete unneeded content and back up important files that are on your mobile devices. Not only will you feel more organized, but you’ll have the security of knowing your digital memories, such as special photos and videos, aren’t in danger of being lost forever. There are several simple ways to back up your files, and a quick search of some of these methods will yield some easy-to-follow instructions:

  • Import files to your desktop
  • Store your photos in the cloud using Dropbox or Google Drive
  • Upload your images to Flickr

3. Revamp Your Recipe Repertoire

A pantry clean-out is a great spring cleaning idea, but another way to refresh your kitchen this spring is to add some new recipes to your rotation! We love the idea of making simple lifestyle changes, such as swapping full sugar for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in recipes, to find balance and enjoy the sweet life.

Through the SWEET SWAPS™ Initiative, the SPLENDA® Brand is dishing out creative ways to swap full sugar for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products in order to save calories. SweetSwaps.com is a treasure trove of creative and delicious ways to use SPLENDA® Sweetener Products no matter what type of dish you’re preparing!

To celebrate spring and enjoy the sweet life without all the calories of added sugar, we’re loving the citrus flavor of freshly made lemon chiffon pie that swaps full sugar for SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener!

Sweet Swaps

4. Develop a “Spot Clean” Strategy

Every house has a “hot spot” or two — places that always tend to accumulate clutter. Common areas include your dining room table, kitchen island or entryway. To stop tripping over backpacks or feeling overwhelmed by piles of paper, take charge of these hot spots and develop a cleaning and organizing system that works for your family. By installing a mailbox organizer with a labeled slot for each family member, or placing a coat rack and bench with individual cubbies or even some canvas storage cubes just inside your front door, you can help stop clutter in its tracks.

We’d love to hear your ideas for simplifying your life this spring! Leave us a comment with your favorite tips.

This post is part of the SPLENDA® Brand Sweet Life blogger program by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. All opinions are our own. 

The featured image at the top of this post is courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Tristan Martin.

Keep Kids’ Minds Active This Summer with Brain Chase

Brain Chase

Every year, kids nationwide look forward to that final bell indicating that school’s out for the summer.

As parents, we’re usually less pleased when our kids begin their mid-year months of “freedom,” because we’ve seen the research showing that kids lose ground academically over the summer (according to a 2011 RAND study).

Help has arrived: Brain Chase, a five-week, summer learning challenge disguised as a virtual treasure hunt to keep your kids interested and motivated to learn, as they search the globe for a real treasure in the form of a $10,000 college scholarship fund.

The first-ever Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge occurred last year. See how it turned out for the 2014 winners:

You can sign your kids up now for a summer of educational fun! The treasure hunt begins on June 22. Get early-bird pricing until April 15, and use this code to take an extra 15 percent off: MOTHERHOOD15

Brain Chase requires kids to complete weekly structured math and reading challenges on sites like Khan Academy and myON, along with writing exercises that receive feedback from credentialed teachers, in order to unlock original, animated webisodes with a story line featuring a team of kid treasure hunters. Each webisode contains clues to help kids find the location of a real buried treasure (and $10,000 scholarship fund).

Parents get weekly progress reports on kids’ work throughout the five-week challenge, and in addition to the normal assignments, Brain Chase sends three “bonus challenges” through the regular mail. Last year’s challenges required kids to work with a decoder ring, compass and “magic” seeds to solve additional clues.

Based on a survey of last year’s participants, 93 percent of parents say that Brain Chase helped their children stay sharp over the summer, and 83 percent say it was more effective than other summer learning options they were aware of.

You can see the sneak preview for the 2015 Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge here:

Let the “adventure learning” begin for your kids this year, and share your progress with us along the way! You can sign your kids up here, and don’t forget to use the discount code MOTHERHOOD15.

Disclosure: The Motherhood is working with Brain Chase, along with a team of fantastic bloggers and their intrepid, treasure-hunting kids, on a blog campaign between March and June. Opinions are our own.

SXSW Interactive 2015 Highlights

11902601036_dafcfd5c42_z

As SXSW Interactive comes to a close today, here’s a glimpse at some interesting highlights from this year’s event:

  • Dubbed “the most-talked about app at SXSW,” Meerkat is a live-streaming, location-based app that lets users capture video from their iOS device and, through Twitter, allows followers to stream it. On Friday, things came to a head when Twitter blocked the app’s access to its social graph. What does that entail, exactly? According to Fast Company: “While Meerkat users can still post videos on Twitter and log in using their Twitter credentials, the Meerkat app will no longer be able to automatically push notifications that announce the live event to all of a Meerkater’s Twitter followers. In other words, Meerkat will need to ask people to build their own social networks from scratch inside the app instead of using the network that its users already built on Twitter.”
  • Another breakout star at this year’s event is FireChat: a free text message app that doesn’t require cellular data or the Internet (though it does work with it). As Tom’s Guide explains: “The app’s big selling point is its Bluetooth functionality. While Twitter relies on an Internet connection and texting relies on a cell network, FireChat is not beholden to either one. If the Internet is available, FireChat will connect that way. If not, it will reach out to all other Bluetooth devices within about 200 feet and create an ad-hoc network, allowing users in proximity to communicate with one another.”
  • Last week, we touched on the evolving dynamics between the presence of startups and big brands at SXSW. While past sponsors such as Doritos, Subway and Chevrolet were absent, major companies such as Dell, Samsung Electronics and newcomers, McDonald’s, Visa and Mazda, were all active during this year’s event. Of the shift, Hugh Forrest, director of the SXSW Interactive Festival said: “We used to struggle to get mainstream brands…I guess this is an acknowledgment of the influence we have in jump-starting their message to the cool crowd. It’s exciting, but a little scary at the same time.”
  • It also turns out that not everyone was eager to interact with robots at SXSW. A small group of anti-robot protesters encouraged event-goers to be cautious of uncontrolled growth of robots and artificial intelligence. With media outlets such as TechCrunch and USA Today covering the protest, we’ll be interested to see how the debate continues.

Follow along with the conversation using #SXSW2015 or #SXSW for more updates coming out of the event!

Featured image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Katie Haugland

What’s in a Name? Why “Mommy Bloggers” Don’t Label Themselves

Over the past 10 years, while working with both brands and bloggers, The Motherhood has noticed an interesting trend: Marketers, almost universally, use the term “mommy bloggers” in referring to our network, while bloggers themselves don’t always seem to love that label.

Mommy blogger tweet 2

Last month, The Motherhood worked with Smith Brothers Agency in Pittsburgh to develop and distribute a survey to bloggers nationwide. Our goal: To gain a better understanding of how bloggers currently work with brands, and how they might prefer to partner in the future. (Our complete findings will be released later this year.)

So what did we uncover?

To start, it helps to know how to address your audience.

On the strength of more than 400 responses, we found that the majority of bloggers either dislike the “mommy blogger” label (41 percent) or feel neutral about it (50 percent). Fewer than 10 percent of respondents said they like it and think it’s a good description of who they are and what they do.

Mommy blogger tweet 1

When asked what they hear marketers call them regularly, more than two-thirds of respondents identified “mommy blogger” as the prevalent term. But, significantly, when asked what they prefer marketers call them as a group, only 3 percent chose “mommy bloggers.”

Obviously, there’s a disconnect between how these women would like to be known as a group, and how they are labeled by brands who truly value their influence online.

The majority of respondents (38 percent) said they would like to be known as “mom influencers,” and more than 1 in 5 bloggers would prefer to cut “mom” out of the term entirely. A few of the preferred alternatives included:

  • Blogger
  • Digital influencer
  • Social media influencer
  • Social media strategist

One respondent summed up much of the feedback when she said, “I feel like I am more than just a mom, so I don’t pigeon-hole myself with any term.”

Mommy blogger tweet 3

On the use of “mommy blogger,” another respondent noted, “It doesn’t sound professional. It’s hard to take it seriously.” Others agreed, sharing that “mommy” is a childish adjective that only their kids should use, and “mommy blogger” can have negative connotations — among them, that blogging is a hobby rather than a business.

We know the bloggers in our network are true professionals and take their work on behalf of brands seriously. Tell us how you feel about these labels!

Cooper Munroe Receives 2015 BusinessWomen First Award

FullSizeRender (1)

The Motherhood is proud to announce that co-founder Cooper Munroe has been named a 2015 BusinessWomen First Winner by the Pittsburgh Business Times.

Last night, Cooper was one of 26 influential women from the region who were honored during the gala dinner and awards ceremony. unnamed

Every year, the Pittsburgh Business Times honors the top female executives in the region, who work for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. The award honors those who are leading the way for other professional women while making a difference in the western Pennsylvania business community.

Congratulations, Cooper!

SXSW Interactive Is Coming Up: What to Expect

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.02.33 PM

More than 30,000 attendees are expected at this year’s SXSW Interactive. Whether you’re Austin-bound, or keeping tabs on the five-day event from home, here’s a quick look at what we’re sure to see.

Social, Social Everywhere: The essence of SXSW Interactive over the years, and one of our personal favorite topics: Social media will be ubiquitous at the event. In fact, did you know Twitter was introduced at the 2007 conference? Whether you’re interested in content marketing, cyber-bullying, data and security, social commerce or even how NASA uses social media, there’s a session on almost every imaginable topic.

Robots, Automation and A Petting Zoo: With automation becoming increasingly popular, several events at SXSW Interactive will explore the future of these technologies, and where an automated approach works to improve efficiencies and where it might hinder progress. This year also marks the first-ever SXSW Robot Petting Zoo, where visitors can operate, pet and program terrestrial and aerial robots.

Wearables and Connectivity: We predicted that wearables would continue to be big this year. With SXSW Interactive coming on the heels of the Apple Watch news, it’s no surprise that there will be hundreds of diverse events dedicated to wearables and The Internet of Things (IoT). Among them: a session on the fundamentals of IoT, one on preventing data overload and a panel about brands introducing advertising to wearables. 

Good Ideas: SXgood is the event’s platform for causes and social innovation. Under the SXgood umbrella, the United Nations Foundation (a frequent client of The Motherhood’s) will be presenting a two-day Social Good Hub with collaborative events and opportunities for attendees, including nonprofits, to swap ideas to drive positive change.

More Space for Startups: One criticism of the event in recent years has been that more mainstream, big brands began to dominate the conference where startups used to thrive. This year, though, SXSW has doubled the amount of space devoted to these innovators at Startup Village – the destination for entrepreneurial programming that has been around since 2012. Not to be missed: the startup competition, SXSW Accelerator®, on March 14 and 15.

What technologies and ideas do you predict will come out of this year’s SXSW Interactive? Share with us in the comments!

Featured image source: SXSW Interactive

Blogger Spotlight Series: International Women’s Day Edition

Blogger Spotlight Graphic

Today is International Women’s Day (#IWD2015), and we’re celebrating all of the amazing women we get to work with who are Making it Happen (#MakeItHappen) each and every day!

To mark the occasion and highlight one of the many smart, dedicated online influencers we partner with, we’re sharing the March Blogger Spotlight featuring Meghan of JaMonkey. Get to know her better via the below infographic, and give her a shout out at @JaMonkey.

Meghan-Cooper

 

In Case You Missed It: Each month, The Motherhood team nominates and selects one of the amazing bloggers from our network to be profiled in a custom-designed graphic that is widely shared with The Motherhood’s social network, blogger friends and clients. We launched the Blogger Spotlight Series in February and will continue to share a monthly spotlight throughout 2015. Nominations are based on outstanding relationships and stellar program results, and the Spotlight Series gives The Motherhood a chance to recognize just a few of the many accomplished professionals we get to work with each and every day.

Stop back in April to check out our next featured blogger!

Industry News You Can Use: How “The Dress” Went Viral

industryroundup_red

Here’s a look at a couple of topics that set online communities abuzz this week.

What #TheDress means for BuzzFeed’s ad revenue

Last week, the social media world was divided on the colors of “#TheDress.” Was it black and blue, or white and gold? No matter which colors you saw, one thing is certain: “The Dress” speaks volumes about BuzzFeed’s ability to make content go viral.

The post, which took only five minutes to create, earned 28 million views in 24 hours (more than 37 million views to date) and the hashtag #TheDress trended at number one on Twitter in the U.S. As more brands and advertisers look to replicate that kind of ubiquity, could BuzzFeed’s content plus distribution model be the key to unlocking such success?

Gian LaVecchia, managing partner, digital content marketing at MEC says, “It’s simply the latest example of how BuzzFeed owns, sustains, propagates the viral distribution game. They have clearly and consistently perfected the art (creative plus content) and scientific precision (algorithmic distribution) of this space and basically owned the internet for hours.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 4.48.04 PM

(Image courtesy of BuzzFeed)

How the latest Pinterest monetization rules affect influencers

Recently, Pinterest eliminated the use of affiliate links in pins, causing much dismay among Pinterest influencers who frequently work with brands and agencies to create content. This once-lucrative business model for influencers is in jeopardy on Pinterest, since compensation from affiliate links has often relied on traffic driven to a brand’s website from an influencer’s pin. According to Pinterest’s data, approximately two-thirds of pins on Pinterest are related to brands.

Pinterest claims that their decision to ban affiliate links was because they were “becoming spammy and hindering user experience on the site,” and the social media powerhouse has no plans to replace affiliate links with its own system.

Tell us you feel about the new Pinterest rules and what it means for influencers.

Page 2 of 4712345...102030...Last »