Staying Safe

Last week I blogged about preparing myself mentally for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®. Another important aspect of mental preparation is being informed -- knowing beforehand what you'll be doing and where you'll be going. We all start out knowing we'll be walking 60 miles in 3 days, but then what?

That's why the event website, www.the3day.org, is one of the most valuable preparation tools I can think of, whether you're thinking about joining or have already signed up. The site is filled with information about what to expect during the 3 days, how to sign up, what you need to do, what you need to bring, how you can prepare, etc.... There are FAQs, videos, a calendar, contact information and more. Once you register, you'll have access to even more information, like a training schedule and safety videos.

Frankly, I can't say enough good things about their safety video. Every single person who participates in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® has to watch this video so they know how they can avoid injury and what to do if an injury does occur. I'm not a big online video watcher, so I thought I'd play the video and multitask (i.e. check email, fold laundry, etc..), but it was so interesting that I couldn't help give it my full attention. The video gives some excellent advice all Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® walkers; in fact, it's advice that anyone doing long-distance walking or running should take. For example, did you know that.....


* The two biggest medical problems that walkers are likely to experience during the event are blisters and dehydration. Both could render a walker unable to complete his or her mileage for the day -- yet both can be prevented. To help prevent dehydration, it's important to keep drinking fluids throughout the day (don't forget to drink fluids with electrolytes, like sports drinks, so you don't lose too much salt when you sweat all those fluids out). If you aren't urinating every 3-6 miles, you should increase your fluid intake. To prevent blisters, make sure you lubricate your feet with petroleum before you stick those tootsies into your socks and shoes. And speaking of socks, carry an extra pair so that you can change into them when your first pair gets too sweaty.


* We're not walking in a vacuum: throughout the 3 days, walkers will be sharing the road with cars, trucks, bikes and each other, so observing safety rules and practices is more important than ever. Look both ways when crossing the street (it's surprising how many streetwalkers I see who don't do this, and I don't mean the tarty kind!) and follow all traffic signs.


* There will be pit stops along the route, around every 3 miles. Practice the Three R's every time you get to one -- Refuel, Rehydrate and Relieve. And remember to stretch for about 5 minutes every hour so your muscles don't cramp up.


I've really taken these guidelines to heart; for example, I never set out for a walk without a bottle of water, and I always stretch my heels, calves and legs for each hour that I walk. The longer my walks last, the more of a difference those tips make to my body afterwards! And the longer I walk, the more I remind myself to look both ways when I cross the street, because after walking for several hours my mind and body are tired, and I find that I tend to stumble blindly off the sidewalk unless I keep road safety at the front of my mind.



Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay    Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Bloggy Bootcamp -- What I learned

I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. ~Eartha Kitt


I've been blogging for 4 years now, and when I meet bloggers who've been at it for a year, six months, three months, they take it as a sign that I know it all. "Wow, you must be an expert at this!". "You must know everyone in this room". "

Um, no. I'm still the blogger who hides in a corner and pretends to be occupied with her phone, peering out occasionally in the hope that she'll see a familiar face. And I still feel like I have so much to learn! I started my blog with no deliberate intention of growing traffic, making money or pursuing world domination. I just blogged.

But even though I still feel like my main priority is putting up posts and saying what I have to say, it hasn't escaped my attention that there are tons of simple tricks and tips you can follow to get more people to pay attention to what I have to say. I'm starting to wake up to things like SEO, hits, and Google Analytics. And I've been receiving all kinds of IRS forms from people I've worked with on my blog, which means I have to start considering tax implications. So in many ways, I'm still just a newbie who needs to listen to the wisdom of the bloggy gods and goddesses out there.

That's why I signed up for Bloggy Bootcamp, a one-day blog and social media conference held in several cities around the US (I attended the San Francisco event). From the name, it seems to suggest that it's a crash course for new bloggers, but I thought it was a great experience for bloggers of any level.

For one thing, the conference is kept small -- just about 100 bloggers -- which makes it much easier to socialize and network. Participants are assigned to different tables for each session so everyone gets to meet everyone and actually hear each other speak. I met some great bloggers, including a woman who's won one of my giveaways, the wonderfully talented Ciaran Blumenfeld (and I've actually won one of her giveaways), and a woman who's about to host her own cooking show on television. When I heard that, I immediately posed for a photo with her -- I wanted to make sure I got caught on camera with Miri Leigh, the next foodie tv celebrity!


TMZ, People, Entertainment Weekly, feel free to contact me about purchasing the rights to this one-of-a-kind "before they were stars" photo.


For another thing, the venue was awesome:

I felt like a princess in this gilded room, up on the 32nd floor of the Westin St. Francis. Who wouldn't be inspired by the sweeping views?

But really, the main reason that Bloggy Bootcamp worked for me was the speakers. Each one of them gave me something to think about. Here were my favorites:

* The hilarious Jessica Bern got serious -- sort of -- and gave some great tips for producing vlogs that people other than my family might actually click on and watch. Jessica rocked the house during her humor session at BlogHer, and even an elevator ride with her is entertaining, but it turns out she puts in quite a bit of effort into her vlogs -- sometimes one clip will take her up to 30 tries to get it right! My main takeaways from her session were Keep it Short, Watch the Lighting/Hair/Camera Angles, and Be Yourself.

* Ciaran Blumenfeld talked about ways to review products without selling your soul to the marketing demons. I'm well aware of the schism between "content" bloggers and "review" bloggers, and I happen to maintain separate personal and review blogs so I can comfortably do both, but writing a product review that people want to read is a tricky business, and I'm always looking for any tips I can get. Some great insights from Ciaran (pronounced Sharon): Get over the concept that review bloggers are swag whores (okay, I'll readily admit that I am a swag whore, but even whores have ethics, right?), Weave a story around your review, Don't be afraid to return a product if it's not what you thought it would be, and Don't review products that don't fit who you are. In other words, Be Yourself.

* Jennifer James is living proof that you don't need to be a bitch to build an empire. She's as sweet and warm as can be, yet her Mom Bloggers Club (of which I'm a member) is a force to be reckoned with. She spoke about the various social networks bloggers should explore in order to build their online presence, advising new bloggers not too get too overwhelmed and be active on the social channels that work for you (another form of Be Yourself). She kind of threw a bucket of water in my face when she reminded me that you get what you give, and if you want to build a community of followers, you need to participate accordingly -- respond to tweets, follow people who follow you, comment on other people's blogs, etc... So simple and yet so true. Jennifer, you've given me a great mid-year resolution!


* My friend Linsey Krolik, that kickass twin mom, runner, blogger and lawyer, gets my award for "Coolest Dressed Speaker", with her city shorts and flirty peeptoe heels, but it's the content of her session that really stood out. Linsey led us through some of the legal ramifications of starting a blog and taking it up to the next level -- copyrights, trademarks, business plans, Cease and Desist letters, incorporation, etc... -- so you can imagine how many hands shot up during Q&A time. No, she didn't say Be Yourself, but I'm sure she meant it.


Swag was kept to a minimum, and honestly, the speakers were so good that even a swag whore like me didn't miss the giant bags at all. Not that it was bad swag -- the Goldfish crackers came in handy at the end of the day when I was starving, and my kids have taken to the Mastermind game so well that they are all creaming me at it -- but it was sessions, not swag, that made the event memorable. So there's another lesson I learned: You don't need lots of swag to have a good time at a conference. Oh, and Be Yourself.

Going Mental

Preparing for an event like the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® involves a whole lot more than physical training. One has to deal with logistics (i.e. figuring out what Alfie is going to do with the kids for three full days), equipment (what I'm taking with me, and the all-important issue of what to wear??), and I'm not even going to attempt to go into the pre-event preparation that has to occur (at least not in this post).

One of the biggest things on my To-Do list is mental preparation. Every time I've done some organized physical event like a half-marathon or a daylong hike I've found (and every long-distance runner I've talked to tells me) that half the battle is really all up in your mind. Once your mind gives up, the rest of your body will follow.

Today, for instance, I received an auto-generated email informing me that there are 6 weeks left before the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® San Francisco walk. When I saw it in my inbox, I felt a rush of panic. OMG, 6 weeks to go! I'm not ready! I need to train more! I need to find a good duffle bag (and train more)! I need to make a list of things to take (and train more)! I need to get a new pair of shoes (and train more)! I need to think of some cool pink walking outfits (and train more)! What if I totally collapse halfway through the first day? How's it going to look if an Energizer Keep Going® Blogger stops? Oh, the shame!


See? It's all too easy to give in to a major freak out. The prospect of walking 60 miles in 3 days does sound daunting -- so I need to work on getting that positive frame of mind. I'm a big fan of The Little Engine's mantra: "I think I can", and I truly believe that thinking you can do something actually increases your ability to do it.

So I play little mind games with myself. It's not easy for me to find five minutes, let alone five hours, in the day to leave my life behind and go on a training walk, so I do what I can and tell myself that every mile counts. Every mile I walk is making my legs and lungs and heart stronger. When I've trained for events before, I've told myself that if I can get halfway through the mileage, the excitement and adrenaline during the event will see me through the rest of it. Whether that's true or not, it's a comforting thought, and I've finished every run or walk or hike I've ever done in less time that I expected. Of course, I've never been able to walk the next day, so I'll have to figure out a way to get up on Day 2 and Day 3 and walk that extra mile (or twenty).

Right now I'm going to get over my minor panic attack in the best way I know how -- go for a walk.

I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can.......


Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay   Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Aloha Friday - Back to School

About Aloha Friday: Aloha Friday is a fun, simple meme from Kailani at An Island Life. Every Friday she asks a simple question on her blog, invites participants to answer her question in the comments section, then invites participants to ask a question of their own on their own blogs. Every day feels like a summer Friday over in Hawaii, so I'm making Aloha Friday one of my summer blogging goals -- to join the meme every Friday until school starts!

Wow, I can't believe I've done the Aloha Friday meme for 11 straight weeks! It's such a low-key, no-fuss meme that keeping up was no problem at all. I'll definitely be doing the meme going forward, maybe not every week but every now and then.


The kids head back to school next week, so I'm asking a school-related question today.


Today's Aloha Friday Question: Do you buy your kids a back-to-school outfit?


I went to a private school with a uniform all throughout my elementary and high school years, so I never had a back to school outfit. I've never bought a back-t0-school outfit for my kids, but The Pea asked me if we could go shopping for one this weekend. She's in 4th grade now and getting more fashion conscious, but she doesn't really need new clothes; in fact, her closet is overflowing with stuff.

Is The First Day of School such an occasion that a kid really needs a special outfit? Or am I making a big to-do out of nothing?

The birds and the bees, the ducks and the daddies

3Po: Mama, I want a new baby in the family. Why can't we have a baby?

Me: Because I'm too old to have one.

Jammy: Really? You're too old? How old are you?

Me: Okay, I'm not too old. But Daddy is.

Jammy: But why does it matter how old Daddy is? You're the one having the baby.

3Po: Yeah, mama, Daddy doesn't lay people.

From me, dead silence and a straight face. Then,

Me: Lay? What do you mean, "lay"?

3Po: You know, like ducks lay eggs.


Where did they get the idea that I lay eggs? Whatever -- at least they don't know the other meaning of "lay". I swear, I will get to the sex education bit soon. Or some day.

Great Giveaways

Joined any great giveaways lately? Here are a few giveaways from my latest Friday Finds linky that caught my eye:

Win a iPad from FreeLunched, ends 8/23
Win a Nintendo DS Lite from Swimtown Pools, ends 8/30
Win a $30 Target giftcard from Anonymous8, ends 8/24


And here are some great giveaways I'm running on Bonggamom Finds:

Win a McDonald's prize pack, featuring a $25 Arch Card, a vintage tee, beauty products and more. Enter my McDonald's giveaway by August 25!

Win a $100 Visa gift card. This one has a lightning-fast turnaround -- just one week, ending August 23 -- so enter my Kellogg's giveaway #2 , pronto!

Win $1000. Yes, my Crystal Light giveaway, hosted on BlogHer, is still going. Enter by August 31 for a chance to win!

American Girl Cafe, New York

It's kind of sad that my first time at an American Girl Cafe had to happen without The Pea, but when you're invited by American Girl (as a thank-you for participating in their recent Shine On Now campaign), you don't say no. A week ago today I was invited to brunch at the American Girl Cafe in New York with four other bloggers and representatives from American Girl. The American Girl Place in New York was just a five minute walk from the Hilton NY, where I was staying for the BlogHer conference, so I arrived early enough to walk through the store.


Posters at AG Place promoting Innerstar University


The store displays and layout were completely different from what they were on my last visit to American Girl Place NY. This time around, the main focus was their latest version of the Just Like Me doll -- My American Girl, and her online counterpart on American Girl's new online world, Innerstar University.


Posing beside the Innerstar University poster

As usual, I took lots of photos so The Pea could see what everything looks like (I'm just glad she's already been to the AG Place in Chicago, so she doesn't think Mama is having all the fun. Even though Mama is having all the fun.).

All my previous photos of the American Girl Cafe have been ones that I managed to take from the entrance, but this time, armed with a reservation, I was actually able to walk in and snap to my heart's content.

The beautiful place setting at AG Cafe

The place settings are adorable, matching the pink-black-white decor perfectly (no doubt some of the parents already knew that, since their little girls were dressed to perfection in black and white outfits that would look great in their photos). The napkin ring is actually a girl's ponytail holder, which we were allowed to take home as a souvenir (so at least The Pea got something to remember my visit).

The cute black-and-white dotted box contained little conversation cards that girls could use to keep themselves entertained until the food arrived. I don't know whether we were allowed to take those home or not; if I had been there with The Pea, I confess I might have been tempted to try, but I was too shy to do so in front of all the other bloggers. It might have not looked too good if one of American Girl's Shine On Now parent partners were thrown out of the American Girl Cafe for petty theft!

Yummy cinnamon bun appetizers

These tiny cinnamon roll appetizers were delicious! Not that we needed appetizers given the huge meal that was to follow, but hey, for $20 per person I'm glad the cafe pulled out all the stops.

For brunch, cafe patrons can choose from a number of selections. I warned the other bloggers that I was kind of weird about obsessively photo-documenting everything at the American Girl Place; being bloggers themselves, they completely understood, and allowed me to photograph their orders, thereby saving me the embarrassment of having to approach strangers at other tables and asking them if I could take photos of their food.

Breakfast quesadilla at AG Cafe
This is the Breakfast Quesadilla. This was one of two vegetarian selections, but I opted for the Veggie Quiche, which came with fruit.


Eggs benedict at AG Cafe
Here's the Eggs Benedict, which came with fruit and hash brown potatoes.


French toast sticks
The French Toast sticks looked and smelled amazing. They were ginormous slabs of toast, served with two fat sausages and a generous helping of fruit. When these arrived, I kind of regretted not ordering them myself.


My order -- veggie quiche
That is, until my vegetarian quiche arrived. The quiche tasted heavenly, with just the right amount of cheese and cream in the filling, surrounded by a flaky, buttery crust. All portions were huge (I was only able to finish half of the quiche) and I cannot imagine any little girl being able to tackle it all. I wonder if they offer doggie --or dollie -- bags?


Dessert  -- chocolate mousse and a cookie
If you ever get a chance to eat at an American Girl Cafe, don't forget to leave room for dessert! The chocolate mousse in its little flowerpot, with plastic daisy decor and accompanying butterfly sugar cookie, is almost too pretty to eat -- but it's so cute, you just have to.


With my brunch date, Rebecca
The best thing about the brunch was the company -- not just the human company, but the inanimate diners! Little girls brought their own American Girl dolls, but if you don't have one the Cafe has a huge selection that diners can borrow while they're there. I asked Rebecca if she would like to be my brunch date, and she smilingly agreed (I think). Rebecca got to sit in a little pink booster seat that attached to the table top. She even had her own little ceramic plate and mug! The Cafe stopped short of actually serving AG-sized food, but Rebecca assured me she didn't mind, because she was on a diet.

I had a great time at the American Girl Cafe, and I can understand why parents are willing to splurge on a meal there. The only thing missing from the whole experience was The Pea! Next time, Pea, next time.....


For more photos of the American Girl Cafe at the American Girl Place in NYC, check out my Flickr photoset.

My new Walking Companion

Here I was, thinking I'd have to do the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk in San Francisco all on my own. Not that it bothered me; I'm perfectly comfortable with the idea of spending 3 days by myself. Besides, as Energizer's Keep Going Blogger for the event, I'll figured I'd be socializing over at the Energizer tent after completing the day's walk. And I get to share a tent with someone (who I hope does not turn out to be a knife-wielding sociopath, but I doubt if that kind of person would be raising money for breast cancer research anyway). And I'm hoping I meet lots of new people on the walk, hear all their stories and learn about why they're walking.


But I when arrived home from BlogHer on Sunday night, this furry little guy was waiting for me. Energizer sent me a travel companion, inspiration and sleeping-bag warmer to keep me company during the event! I like to pack light, and luggage space for the 3-Day for the Cure will definitely be at a premium, what with the sleeping bag, extra socks, and fifty-one adhesive bandages I need to take with me. But I think I will definitely need to make some space for the Energizer Bunny.




Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay  Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Aloha Friday - Go to Bed!

About Aloha Friday: Aloha Friday is a fun, simple meme from Kailani at An Island Life. Every Friday she asks a simple question on her blog, invites participants to answer her question in the comments section, then invites participants to ask a question of their own on their own blogs. Every day feels like a summer Friday over in Hawaii, so I'm making Aloha Friday one of my summer blogging goals -- to join the meme every Friday until school starts!

In the summer the days are longer, the weather is warmer and our schedules are looser. The kids go to bed a little later and sleep in a bit longer. With their return from the UK, jetlag is playing even more havoc with our schedules. I'm not looking forward to getting back to our normal schooltime routine, but the first day of school is just over a week away and it's got to be done. Just the thought of it is making me want to crawl back into bed for another half hour of sleep.

Today's Aloha Friday Question: How firm is your kids' bedtime?

In theory the kids are supposed to be in bed at 8PM. In practice, we're usually still in the middle of our bedtime story at 8PM -- and often we're just starting. Many nights, especially in the summer, 8PM finds us still rushing the kids in and out of the shower, or worse, still driving home from dinner out. I know some parents who have a firm 7:30PM deadline and I have no idea how they do it. I also know some parents whose kids are awake at 10PM and I have no idea why they do it. I guess every family is different.

What time are your kids supposed to be in bed? And what time do they really get into bed?

Giveaways I've joined (or would love to join if I could)

Boy am I glad I started my Friday Finds series of posts on Bonggamom Finds! I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be to have a great giveaway but low entries, so having the linky gives other bloggers a chance to promote their giveaways. Some of the giveaways that people list down are so great, I just have to join them too! Here are a few giveaways from my Friday Finds linky that are too good to keep to myself:

Win a Casio camera from A Gal Needs...

Win a $160 gift certificate to CSN Stores from Linda Gerber (don't forget, I've also got a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to CSN Stores on Bonggamom Finds!)

Win Adobe Photoshop Elements software from Mocha Dad



And since we're talking giveaways, I want to showcase some of my own -- I'd totally join these giveaways if I weren't hosting them myself :)

Win a McDonald's prize pack, featuring a $25 Arch Card, a vintage tee, beauty products and more. Enter my McDonald's giveaway by August 25!

Win a $100 Visa gift card. This one has a lightning-fast turnaround -- just one week, ending August 16 -- so enter my Kellogg's giveaway #1 pronto!

Win $1000. Yes, my Crystal Light giveaway, hosted on BlogHer, is still going. Enter by August 31 for a chance to win!

The Best and Worst of BlogHer 2010

Last year it took me so long to write up my BlogHer 2009 recap post that when it posted, people were already looking for sponsors for BlogHer 2010. This year, thanks to the wonders of mobile broadband and the nightmare of delays at the airport, I've been able to sit down and get some thoughts together about BlogHer 2010. And since my plane is boarding and about to leave me behind, without further ado or embellishment, here is my Best and Worst list for BlogHer 2010:

Best Panel
Without a doubt, the Humor Blogging panel. It left everyone in stitches!

Worst Panel
I didn't attend all the panels, and I enjoyed all the panels I attended, so I'm not naming any Worst Of for this category. Besides, I'm not about to slag any of the panelists off after all the effort they made to inform, educate and entertain everyone. But I did hear reports of bloggers filing out en masse from a couple of sessions because they weren't what people expected, or they turned into gabfests between the panelists with little useful information for attendees.



Best Official Swag
If I were a still a parent of a preschooler, I would award Best Offical Swag to the gigantic bag of Play-Doh, but since my kids are older now I'd have to say I like the Hillshire Farm sandwich keeper the best. Since I don't use plastic bags to store the kids' sandwiches any more, the sandwich keeper makes the leap from tchotchke to useful. (Note that I'm only talking "official" swag here, that is, swag that was in the BlogHer conference swag bag. As far as "unofficial" swag goes, that's another story and another series of posts!)

Worst Official Swag
The Jimmy Dean alarm clock -- cute, but not worth the precious suitcase space. Judging by the number of alarm clocks I saw in the swag recycle room, I'm guessing many other bloggers felt the same way.

Best Outfit
Loralee Choate of Loralee's Looney Tunes runs away with my Best Dressed Award for her wacky, whimsical tutus-and-tiaras running outfit. Loralee, you should wear that outfit every day. Or at least to your weekly grocery shop. The best thing about her outfit is not the rose on her waist that's as big as a baby's head. Nor the vintage decals on her white tank. Nor is it the confidence with which Loralee wears it. No, the best thing about it is that all that Loralee's wearing all that pink and froth not just to look awesome (even though she does), but to help out a very special little boy and his family.

Worst Outfit
Sorry, Jimmy Dean, I seem to be ganging up on your company today, but your humongous, puffy sun-guy wandering around the BlogHer Expo Hall, holding cooking demonstrations, looked a bit dingy and dirty. Second runner up would have to go to a very, very, very big-headed (and I don't mean conceited) Dora the Explorer. Are they going back to old preschool Dora after all the hoopla about tweenie Dora?

Most Useful Conference Service
The shipping suite, which allowed bloggers to ship their extra swag home via UPS. I arrived at BlogHer with only a carry-on bag, so the shipping service was a lifesaver!

Least Useful Conference Service
The shipping suite, which allowed bloggers to ship their extra swag home via UPS -- after all the Ground Shipping labels had run out. Bloggers were forced to use labels for 3-Day Shipping and 2-Day Shipping, which cost waayyy too much. Faced with the prospect of paying $$$ to ship things like shampoo, toothpaste and plush Pillsbury doughboys, many bloggers opted to leave their swag behind, or lug their box to one of the local UPS stations. Next time, don't bother with 3-Day, 2-Day or Overnight labels and just bring lots and lots of Ground Shipping labels!

Best Food
At last, I get to say something nice about Jimmy Dean. I loved their breakfast sandwiches, and can't wait to use the coupons they handed out! Runner-up goes to McDonald's for their awesome oatmeal.

Worst Food
I didn't like the cookies they served during one of the snack sessions -- they weren't worth the calories. And the Extra Dessert Delights gum in the official swag bag wasn't too great either.



What did you like or dislike about BlogHer 2010?

Walking around Manhattan



I'm in New York this week, attending the BlogHer 2010 Conference, and the streets of Manhattan couldn't be more different from the dirt paths of Marlborough. In most of my walks around Alfie's parents' town, I encountered just as many animals and plants as I did people, but around Manhattan the wildlife is decidedly of the human variety.

Neither of those things bothered me as much as the temperature change: the cool morning air and cloudy skies are far, far away now. Yesterday I walked over 50 blocks in the sultry summer heat. It was like walking into a hair dryer! You'd think that a Filipino like me would toss my frizzed-up hair and wonder what all the fuss was about, but years of living in the cool climate of California have wimped me out. Actually, Filipinos avoid being outdoors as much as possible and seek out airconditioned homes, offices, malls and cars. No sane Filipino would walk around in the sun -- which was my precise thought as I trudged up and down midtown Manhattan. Then again, walking 60 miles in 3 days is not quite sane anyway.

In any case, whatever the ground is like, whatever the weather is like, I have to make like the Energizer Bunny and keep going, going, going. The San Francisco leg of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® is less than 8 weeks away!


Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay  Area 3-Day for the Cure!

Aloha Friday -- BlogHer edition

About Aloha Friday: Aloha Friday is a fun, simple meme from Kailani at An Island Life. Every Friday she asks a simple question on her blog, invites participants to answer her question in the comments section, then invites participants to ask a question of their own on their own blogs. Every day feels like a summer Friday over in Hawaii, so I'm making Aloha Friday one of my summer blogging goals -- to join the meme every Friday until school starts!

I'm keeping this post ultra-short because I'm in the midst of the BlogHer 2010 conference. I don't want to miss a second of this event! My question today is inspired by how much fun I'm already having: my mind is racing forward and wondering about other blogging conferences out there.

Today's Aloha Friday Question: What amazing blogging conferences do you recommend?

This is my 3rd BlogHer conference and I'd recommend it without a doubt to any blogger I know, beginner or expert, male (yes!) or female, young and old. I've heard Mom 2.0 Summit and SXSW are great, as is Blogalicious, but are there any you really love? If you haven't been to a blogging conference, which one would you most like to attend?

Walking around England

Our trip to the UK is over, and I've had a fantastic month of walks around some of the most beautiful countryside on the planet:










I've got more than 8 weeks of walking until the San Francisco leg of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®, and I'll be doing most of it along the streets of Palo Alto. It's not the ugliest place on the planet, but I've got to admit I'll miss walking on dirt paths and green meadows, in the fresh country air, with hardly a soul in sight. Somehow concrete sidewalks, crowds of people busy tapping on their iPhones, and storefronts like Starbucks or The Gap, just don't compare.


Energizer is sponsoring my participation fee and fundraising requirement for this event, but I would love to be able to raise more for breast cancer. Please help me reach my goal of $1000! Any amount helps and is greatly appreciated. You can click on the widget below to donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen San Francisco Bay  Area 3-Day for the Cure!

How do you say "One Big Mac, no pickles" in French?

The whole family had a great time chowing down on all kinds of foods during our trip to Paris: crusty baguettes, croque monsieurs, camembert, croissants, pain au chocolat, crepes and more. Sadly, we didn't get a chance to have snails or frogs' legs, but we did manage to sample some new cuisine -- at the local McDonald's.

I know what you're thinking -- eating at an American fast food restaurant in France?? It's not as crazy as it sounds. I've always known that international McDonald's restaurants often carry menu items customized to local palates -- fried chicken with rice and spaghetti with sweet sauce and hotdogs are top sellers in McDonald's Philippines -- so I wanted to see (and taste!) for myself what sorts of things Parisiennes were ordering with their French fries (or frites) and drinks. And during the McDonald's Family Getaway I attended in June, I learned about all the healthy menu items available in kids' Happy Meals in other countries, so I knew the kids would be able to eat a well-balanced meal. Besides, we had been driving all day and wanted someplace fast and inexpensive to eat (in a city where you can spend 30 Euros for 5 drinks at a cafe, that's important!).


Alfie and I had a beef patty on something that looked like ciabatta bread, with tomatoes, cheese and -- oh yummy, yummy day -- sauteed mushrooms. Instead of ketchup, we got little packets of frites sauce (it tasted like aioli or garlic mayonnaise).


I always knew Alfie was directionally challenged....


Overheard last week, just before we were about to drive our car onto the Eurotunnel train and cross the English Channel into France:

Alfie: Are you excited? We're going overseas!

3Po: No, daddy, we're going under sea.