The Blog Workshop - Review

This post is a review of The Blog Workshop's 2013 Conference.  I received access to the archives of the conference in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.

This month I was lucky enough to gain access to The Blog Workshop 2013 Conference's archives and materials.  I've been super busy this month, and wasn't able to watch the videos all at once, but that's the great thing about having access to the archives; I was able to watch at my leisure (and in my pajamas!).  I never would have had the time to attend a conference in real time, so watching at my own pace was a really great alternative.

The conference presented a ton of useful information, and there were 15 speakers who touched on all sorts of topics, the majority being about monetizing your blog.  Definitely information I'm after!  I would love to be able to stay home and spend more time with Jack without having a negative financial impact on our family.  Some of the information covered building relationships with the media, becoming a bloggerpreneur, preparing for ads and pitching, and the legal and tax aspects involved with monetizing.

I really liked the information about blogging basics.  I've been blogging for a while, but have never been very disciplined about it.  The blogging basics really hit home with me about branding, organizing/planning posts, SEO, and taking control of your blog.  Hopefully I can implement some of the strategies with this blog and really make this a success.

The best thing about the conference is having all that information organized and put together in an easy to access format.  The time savings alone would be worth the price for the access to the archives.  I've wasted more time on Google looking for answers to my blogging questions than I'd like to admit, and 100% of the things I've been wondering about were covered in this conference.

One thing I'm really like about The Blog Workshop is their continuing education on social media.  They offer regular online workshops in all sorts of relevant topics.  I'm particularly interested in the upcoming Blogging Laws workshop on July 24th.

on Vimeo.

The conference was sponsored in part by Lela, an advertising company that is donating $5 for every blogger who signs up to Wellspring Living, and the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children.  Here are a list of the conference speakers and sponsors:

I'm really glad I got a chance to participate virtually in this conference.  It was a great way to get my feet wet with the technical side of blogging and attending conferences.  I would definitely recommend this series to bloggers whether brand new or already established.


Monthly Wrap-Up: June

It's hard to believe we're at the end of June already!  I know I say that every month, but it seems May was a lifetime away.  I've been pretty busy behind the scenes of the blog and didn't post much this month.  I knew I'd suffer a posting backlash from the Blog Every Day in May challenge, but here's what I've been up to this month.

I neglected posting a lot this month because Dennis and I have been busy with the house, and I've taken on some contract work to make a little extra money for the family.  I visited my Mom (twice) and discovered a cool new hangout in my hometown.  I wrote my first sponsored post and virtually attended a blog conference, and attended a local Houston blogger meet-up and joined them to have an awesome giveaway.

Coming up in July is my birthday, the one year anniversary of buying our house (and hopefully a housewarming party--better get on that), and more sponsored posts/giveaways.  I hope to take charge with the organization of posts (behind the scenes), and juggle working at my job, doing the contract work, and blogging (hopefully regularly).

So that's what's been going on around here.  I need to catch up on some of my blog reading to see what everyone else has been up to lately.  Man, this social networking is a lot of work!!!  What do you have planned for July?

Win Your Own Pedal Party!

Yesterday (okay, really early today) I posted about all the fun we had at the Houston Blogger Pedal Party Meet Up on Sunday.  Well, all the bloggers who were there have teamed up to offer a giveaway of a two hour Pedal Party and a Little Soya prize pack to one lucky winner!!!  The giveaway closes on July 17 (the day before my birthday - wanna throw me a Pedal Party???), so get your entries in.  Tell a friend or two because the pedal bikes can hold 16 people!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Houston Bloggers Pedal Party Meet-Up

If you live in Houston and have ever driven down Washington Avenue on a weekend, you've probably seen these human powered party-mobiles either parked outside a bar or cruising down the street.  Every time I see one all I can think is how much fun all the passengers must be having!  So I was super excited when I found out Hello Houston! Media and Blog Free were organizing a meetup for local bloggers that was being sponsored by Pedal Party and Little Soya Soy Sauce.

this is what fun looks like
Sunday night, Dennis and I joined almost 30 other Houston bloggers for a bar hoppin' ride around the Heights.  We met at Pedal Party's secret headquarters and embarked on the Adventurous Route of the Washington Ave - East End Tour (guaranteed to be a calorie burner, and boy, are they right!).  Pedal Party provided us with two pedal bikes to accommodate everyone, and we were constantly racing each other all night.  The pedal bikes are street legal and we traveled on regular city streets the whole time.  If you go on a Pedal Party there are several routes to choose from and they can all be customized to include bars or stops of your choice.

bloggers travel in packs

The Adventurous Route was, well, adventurous!  Our Captain, Stephanie made sure to keep us all hyped up with a fun playlist of dance music and Dennis ended up being our bartender (how did I not end up with a picture of this?!?).  Yes, you can bring alcohol on your Pedal Party, just no glass containers or hard liquor allowed.  The entire evening reminded me of the best spin class ever!  Although I don't know why my arms were also sore the next morning; I think I was holding on to the bar for dear life (not that there was any risk of falling off, I just think I'm crazy - the seats are actually really stable).  Seriously, I had so much fun!!!

If pedaling your way around Houston with a group of your friends sounds like a good time to you, go reserve your bike now!!!  Be sure to tell them Hello Houston! Media and Blog Free sent you!  And if you want to check out all the tweeting that happened during the party, search for our hashtag, #HOUbloggerspedalparty

This meet up was sponsored by Pedal Party and Little Soya Soy Sauce.  All opinions stated are my own.

Just Dropping By

Just dropping by my blog to say hello!  I haven't forgotten about you, I've just been busy this month.  Busy doing what, you might ask.....well, I'm suffering a little from the backlash of the Blog Every Day in May project last month (like I was afraid would happen), I've been spending more time focusing on the family and house, and I've been lucky enough to get some contract work to make a little extra money on the side.  But I have not forgotten about you (really, I think about you every day)!  Hopefully I can get back on track and come up with posting schedule (I know, I've said that before), but I promise I want to.

Some things going on around here that I haven't posted about (but might someday):

  • Jack is now older than the length of time I was pregnant with him; I've been trying to write his birth story to mark this milestone, but it's getting to be a looooonnnnnggggg post and taking much longer to write than I expected.  I'm working on it, though.
  • Dennis and I have been working on the house, but it feels like we're spinning our wheels.  We want to have a housewarming party next month, and at this point, I have no idea how we're going to pull that off.  I think things are finally hitting a critical mass to come together, but it seems like we have so much to to.
  • My schedule at work has changed and I'm adjusting to the financial and logistical challenges that have come from the change.  The change is good, I just need to adapt to it.  Including working out when to write.
  • Jack is sitting up on his own and wants to walk so badly.  He's also eating lots of new things.  I actually think he's managing to eat some of the food we give him; his poop is starting to change, though....I could tell some stories about that!
  • I'm trying to do some blog organization behind the scenes to keep myself on track.  Obviously that's not really working out so well.
  • I'm trying to find time to review The Blog Workshop 2013 Conference.  I'm really looking forward to that!!!
So that's where I've been.  I know I'm not the only blogger to fall off the wagon, so to speak, I just need to catch up to it and jump back on!  What are some ways you motivate yourself to write or to get back into writing?

The Blog Workshop

It's no secret that I'm still relatively new to blogging.  Even though I've been doing it since 2011 I still feel like a newbie.  Back then, I was just using this blog as a way to find myself (I'm still doing that), but life has changed for me, and I really want to make The Reinvention of Jessica a successful blog where I can make a little money to help support our family.  That's where The Blog Workshop comes in, and their 2013 Blog Conference (the conference already happened, but you can get access to the archives).  I'm excited to learn how to take my blog to the next level.  I can't wait to listen to all six sessions from the Conference and I can't wait for the workbook.  I'm ready to become a serious blogger!

I also signed up for The Blog Workshop community where you get access to the forums, groups, blog, and directory listings.  It's a great community to build relationships and network with other bloggers/vloggers to learn from each other.  And here's the cool thing:  The Blog Workshop has the TBW University!  It's a year long intensive program all about making your blog a success and sounds amazing.  They also have workshops available if you prefer.  I'm definitely interested in the Surviving SEO workshop coming up.

I'm receiving access to the Conference archives in exchange for writing this post and a follow up post.  This is my very first sponsored post!  I guess I'm on my way to becoming a successful blogger!

Rhino Coffee - Shreveport

I love getting to discover new places when I go home to visit Mom.  Jack is getting big enough to go out and about with us more, so we always try to do something different when I go home (my hometown isn't that big, so we'll see how long we can keep that up, lol).  This visit, one of the places we went was Rhino Coffee, a real life independent coffee house!  I spent my formative teen years hanging out at one of the first coffee shops in my hometown (the only one at the time) and I have a soft spot for independent coffee houses.  My Aunt Margo invited us to check out a drum circle/open mic night at Rhino and we had such a great time!

Jack, Aunt Margo, and Mom
The atmosphere of the place is great, the music was fun (and Jack was fascinated with the drumming), and the coffee was delicious.  I'm happy to see a place like this in my hometown.  Rhino is in a house that was once a bridal shop and they have a nice tribute to the original shop. 

The drum circle/open mic was outside, and the weather was perfect!  It's rare to have tolerable temperatures in Louisiana in June, even at seven in the evening.  Jack really wanted Margo's cup to chew on; I wonder if teeth are eminent?

Have you discovered anything new in your hometown lately?


Day in the Life, June 1, 2013

I'm really excited about this month's photo an hour post because I'm in my hometown visiting my Mom.  It's nice to get a little variety with what I'm taking pictures of.  We had a really busy Saturday.  We woke up early to go to the Shreveport Farmer's Market, my cousin's son, Johnathan, had his third birthday party, and my Mom had to go in to work.  It was a great day.  As usual, I took all my pictures using Instagram, and, yes, my profile is private.

6 am
I do not want to get out of bed

7 am
I can do nothing without my morning cup

8 am
packing the diaper bag

9 am
managing the poop-splosion that happened as we were leaving

10 am
baby wearing at the market

11 am
Texas Street Bridge

12 pm
dropping Mom off at the bookstore

1 pm
Uncle Martin fixed the Harley for Johnathan

2 pm

3 pm
Jack loves windchimes

4 pm
birthday boy

5 pm
on the road again

6 pm
drive thru daiquiris
yes, they exist

7 pm

8 pm
playing with Jack

9 pm

I didn't make it to 10 pm myself.  After such a hectic day I fell asleep right after Jack.  I usually take a picture or two when I wake up the next day to capture 24 hours, but we slept in until almost 9 the next morning!  It was so nice to sleep in!
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