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Teen Health and Myths

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

 

 

peer pressure kidsBeing a teen is difficult enough, managing self-esteem and self-confidence at time when peers can be judgmental and mean.  With one teen child and two tweens following closely behind, our family is in the thick of that challenge. I decided to help my kids focus on health and wellness to strengthen their confidence and part of our journey involved creating a dental health strategy. As a member of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had the opportunity to learn about Invisalign as an alternative to braces. Below are our top priorities for our teen’s health and wellness, including a dental health strategy, along with some myths and facts about Invisalign from a company press release.

 

1. Focus on Exercise:  We were shocked to learn that while some sports are great for a team experience (baseball), they may not satisfy a teen’s daily exercise needs. So we looked into setting up regular activities to help with daily fitness training including running, a rigorous work out at a health club, and aerobic sports including swimming and basketball.

 

2. Focus on Healthy Eating: Each of our boys has specific healthy food preferences but all three of them favor junk food when socializing with friends. In response, we talk about finding ways to fit healthy foods into their daily routine.

 

3. Focus on Mindfulness: We researched mindfulness to help our kids learn techniques to deal with stressful situations. One of them is a simple 5 minute meditation at night where they focus on their favorite place (i.e. the beach) and listen to the sounds of that place (waves).

 

4. Focus on Emotional Intelligence: We have regular talks with our kids about recognizing their own emotions as well as the emotions of others to help develop emotional intelligence. We then stress the importance of engaging with “positive” friends while disengaging with negative people (such as school bullies).

 

5. Focus on being Healthy instead of what peers think:  Being a teen brings with it certain social pressures to look a particular way. We try to help our kids understand that real beauty lies in being healthy, not “peer” determined standards. This includes getting sleep as well as exercising and eating well. My teen has been successfully managing Eczema (moisturize more) and addressed dental health by properly brushing and flossing his teeth as well as using Invisalign to fixing the crowding on this teeth. In a prior post I talked about the thousands of dollars I have spent on dental problems caused by my overcrowded teeth (that could of been fixed if I had braces). Fixing my son’s overcrowding during his teen years gives him a better chance at a healthy dental future. It also really helps that the Invisalign are clear so his friends don’t even know he is wearing them!

 

When I first research using Invisalign for my son’s second round of braces as a teen, I had many questions. The wires on the metal braces he used the first time around routinely broke, causing significant discomfort and maintenance challenges. As part of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had a chance to get some answers – setting it straight on the myths of Invisalign.

 

Here are some of the information I received from Invisalign to help me understand answers to my questions:

 

 

Invisalign Myths/Setting It Straight

Myth: Invisalign can only treat minor or cosmetic issues.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign effectively treats a wide variety of orthodontic issues including severe bite issues. From underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded to widely spaced, advancements to Invisalign’s patented technology continues to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated.

 

Myth: Invisalign is more expensive than metal braces.

Setting it Straight: The cost of Invisalign is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign just as they would braces.

 

Myth: I won’t be able to tell if my child is wearing Invisalign often enough for it to be effective.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended.

 

Myth: If my child loses their aligners, it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace.

Setting it Straight: We know kids lose things, even their aligners! That’s why you get up to six FREE replacement aligners with Invisalign Teen.

 

Myth: After Invisalign Teen, my child’s teeth may revert back to their original position.

Setting it Straight: Studies show that without retainers straight teeth can gradually shift back towards their initial position. This is a common occurrence with all orthodontic treatment including braces, but is one that can easily be overcome. Ask your doctor about Vivera retainers from the makers of Invisalign.

 

Myth: I don’t need to take my child to see an orthodontist until they are a teenager.

Setting it Straight: The American Association of Orthodontics recommends taking children for their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The American Dental Association says this is because, “Your child’s dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.”

 

Myth: Invisalign takes longer to complete than braces.

Setting it Straight: The length of Invisalign treatment is comparable to braces. The average Invisalign journey averages about 12 months for adults. The length of treatment time for teens may vary depending on the severity of the case and can only be determined by a doctor.

 

Myth: If my child’s dentist or orthodontist recommends braces over Invisalign, I should trust their opinion.

Setting it Straight: Not all orthodontists specialize in Invisalign Teen. Visit www.invisalign.com and select “find a doctor” to locate experienced Invisalign and Invisalign Teen doctors in your area. If you are told your teen is not an Invisalign candidate, it may be worth getting a second opinion from more than one orthodontist. Doing so may help ensure that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision.

 

Myth: Braces work better than Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen was developed with leading orthodontists to correct the most common teeth straightening issues – from severe cases to more minor, cosmetic adjustments. Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are removable and can straighten teeth without a mouth full of metal and all the disruption and sacrifice that comes with it. With Invisalign, teens look better and feel more confident than they ever could in traditional braces.

 

Myth: We can’t afford Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen is covered by many dental insurance policies just like traditional braces — up to 50% of the cost may be covered by insurance. Even if dental insurance doesn’t apply, many doctors will help parents find options to make straightening their child’s teeth more affordable. Many offer flexible and affordable monthly finance plans that can be as low as $99 per month.

 

Myth: Braces are a rite of passage.

Setting it Straight: Virtually invisible aligners, mean there is less social awkwardness to impact teen’s confidence and self-esteem during an already vulnerable time. There’s no need for teens to hold back or feel they’re missing out on anything when straightening their teeth with Invisalign.

 

Myth: Invisalign treatment will disrupt our lives.

Setting it Straight: With Invisalign, Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue cheerleading, musical instruments, acting and singing with little to no interference. And because its removable, brushing and flossing is easy and no food restrictions to worry about either. Invisalign is much less disruptive for busy moms and dads too. Invisalign Teen eliminates emergency ortho visits for broken wires and brackets and requires fewer appointments since several aligner sets are provided in advance.

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

 

Taking on Family 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. Is it Possible?

*sponsored series

 

2014 Family New Year ResolutionsWhen it comes to annual New Years Resolutions, taking better care of myself and my family’s health  always tops the list. This year we are focusing on finding ways to fit regular exercise into our busy schedule, cooking more plant-based foods, practicing stress-management, spending more quality time together (unplugged!) and advancing my kids’ oral health. Assembling the list was the easy part. Actually doing the list, well, that’s the real challenge. So, following the rules in my book, The Parent Plan, we started putting together the family plan.

 

Exercise: Our family looked at our busy schedule and activities and determined that the best way to fit in regular exercise was to identify flexible exercise options. Was there a year round exercise class for my 11 year olds that focused on overall athletic conditioning? My boys enjoyed baseball, but it did not give them the overall conditioning they needed.  Their favorite gym had a great class and fortunately also offered a workout program for my 15 year old (one drop off).

 

Plant Based Foods: After examining the various medical challenges of our extended family and looking at our own diets needs, we decided to start making plant based foods the staple of our diet. But being a family of 5 healthy eaters, everyone had different tastes.  I found several great plant-based recipe websites, blogs, books and a holistic nutritionist and set out to identify different options that fit our family’s eating preferences. This goal especially overwhelmed me because I quickly discovered just how challenging it was to find recipes everyone liked. I also needed more tools to make cooking fresh plant based foods fit into our busy schedule, including a crock pot and blender. We decided to take one week at time, including new plant-based foods in our weekly meals but still cooking family favorites as well.  We also realized we needed to give our kids a chance to get use to the tastes of some new foods (to go from “yuck” to “yum”). One of those was almond milk and I am thrilled to say they are happy to drink it now, after only a few weeks of adjustment!

 

Stress: Let’s face it, the modern family schedule is so overscheduled that it is hard to dodge stress. With adults managing home and work, and kids balancing school, homework, sports, music lessons and more – even a scaled down schedule is like running a weekly marathon.  What happened to the innocent childhood of yesteryear when kids just played with their friends after school? We decided to prioritize school-week activities to only include high-priority items close to home. For example, instead of driving 30 minutes for music lessons we found a local teacher who was giving lessons to a neighbor and asked if he could stop by our house as well.

 

Family Time Unplugged: Now that our oldest is in high school, we realized that our time together as a family is limited and more family time activities were in order rather than just running past each other each day. Our first step was trying to have family game nights, with electronics turned off. OK, in reality we did accept that types of technology used for games would be acceptable, but checking email or anything else was off limits! Humorous games such as Apples to Apples (we play the “silly” version) and Catchphrase worked the best to enable great bouts of belly laughs, and belly laughs are not only great for bringing our family together – but also for relieving stress. When we feel “serious”, Battleship, Risk and chess fit the bill. But we are always on the lookout for new game.

 

Oral Health: My family moved around when I was of “braces age” so I somehow missed the chance. Because of that, my teeth have some crowding and I have experienced some dental problems. So proper oral health for my boys is a high personal priority. One of my twin sons used a pacifier as an infant while the other did not. He sucked his thumb. Years later it seems using fingers is better than a pacifier because that son does not need braces while the other one does.  My 15 year old has Invisalign, (Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board), as the final touch to wearing metal braces when he was 11. He is in the middle of his treatment and it has been so seamless. He just wears the Invisalign aligners, washes them, takes them out when eating and then gets new aligners to swap out on a regular basis. I was worried about how he would feel wearing Invisalign while also starting High School and we are thrilled it has not been an issue (they are pretty much “invisible”).  My 11 year old has asked repeatedly if he can just use Invisalign.  Although he will likely start with metal braces, we know that the is there will be Invisalign for him as well in the future.  Now if I can just get my kids to floss with their regular brushing without nagging from parents.

 

We want to keep doing family activities that give back (like our regular cooking for a homeless shelter during the holidays), spending time with extended family/friends and setting goals to achieve our own personal best. Maybe I will be brave enough to attempt our household to-do list which includes finding new ways to organize the large quantities of stuff from our three boys. No matter how hard I try I will never be one of those perky naturally organized people that create those beautiful images on Pinterest (even though I find them totally inspirational). Or maybe it is time to realize that achieving perfect household organization may be something not to include so we can at least achieve the family resolution of reducing stress?

 

Organized kitchen

 

What are your 2014 family resolutions? Please share yours and any tips on achieving them while juggling a busy family life!

 

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align. The opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

Tips To Set Family Goals

Guest Post by Lisa Betts-LaCroix

I’ve had a love affair with goal setting all my life and planning the future has always given me a sense of possibility and hope.  Now that I’m a parent and a consultant supporting others to mentor life-long, self-directed learners (with or without school), I’ve come to realize that we just don’t build goal-setting skills early enough in our kids.  Perhaps, we think, kids don’t need goal-setting abilities since school will march them through necessary skills and content.  But if we want to empower our kids and encouraged them to take control of their learning (and later, their lives) it’s never too early to nurture self-trust and the skills needed to plan and execute on what THEY want.  And while you’re at it, maybe you have some of your own goals.  So why not work on this together?

 

Lots of families do sports together, travel together and share family meal times.  Here’s a chance to envision the future together.  To help each other design and create your lives–because it’s never too late to start.  Model the process, support each other and learn together as a family.  By doing so, you’ll find that deeper connections are forged and self-directed learners are made.

 

Family Meeting

 

In our family, we share a daily ritual simply called “Family Meeting”.  The focus of the meeting is to identify ONE goal per person for that day and to report back on the previous day’s task.  Family goals in our house must meet specific criteria. Our ideal goals:

 

  • Take more than 15 minutes but less than one hour.  If it’s a particularly busy day for someone in the family this may be adapted slightly to suit the situation.
  • Are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)
  • Qualify as “Relevant” if they contribute to the goal-setter’s development or the well-being of someone else or are accomplishments that would give the achiever a great feeling of pride
  • Would not have been done anyway (ie. I’m going to get myself to work today)

 

We also use Family Meeting time to encourage a growth mindset, modeling learning from our “misses” in a positive and celebratory way.  I find this often works best by modeling instead of trying to get kids to explore their own failure modes.  It’s effective for me to wonder aloud why I’ve failed three days in a row and then to notice that I have a habit of underestimating how long a task will take.  By then resolving to be more self-aware or change my goal-setting approach or implementation, I’ve learned and modeled at the same time.

 

Finally, we track every family members goal in a simple spreadsheet and mark successes with green and missed accomplishments with red so we have an ongoing record and at-a-glance feedback loop.

 

The Goal List

 

Where do the goals come from?  An ongoing list is a great treasure and is useful for quickly identifying goals more quickly.  If you don’t have a goal list, consider starting one.  It can be a complex database or just a list on paper.  But have a list!

 

There may still be times when someone can’t think of a goal.  Here are some Goal Setting ideas and strategies for getting over the hump.  Help each other:

 

  • Brainstorm -How many possible goals can you list without censorship? Go for quantity not quality.
  • Turn complaints into goals – Notice complaints and wonder if the dissatisfaction could be reworked into a goal.
  • Turn self-reproach into goals – If you notice pain, guilt or self-reproach see if there’s a goal to be uncovered.
  • Mine the past – Recall old stories, wishes, fears and memories as ripe fodder for future goals.
  • Maintain what you love about your life – Goals don’t have to come from lack, limitation or need.  If you identify and share what you’re grateful for you might find a goal nearby related to celebrating, maintaining or deepening it.
  • Piggyback on someone else’s goal – Be inspired by each other and people outside of the family.   Doing this as a family allows everyone to be the catalyst and creates an environment for others to express, support and be inspired by each other.
  • Invite Guests – We also invite guests and anyone who is at our house during family meeting to join us in the process.

 

 The Mindset and Foundation

 

  • Keep it light: Make time and space for good laughs and jokes
  • Share
  • Be Curious and ask questions
  • Listen (don’t interrupt)
  • Acknowledge and Thank.

 

What kind of strategies does your family use to learn practice the Meta-Learning skill of Goal Work?  And what ideas have you discovered best support your family’s Goal follow-through?

 

 

Lisa Betts-LaCroix is a speaker, writer and outspoken advocate for radical alternatives to learning.  She’s been featured in 100+ television, radio and news pieces including CBS News, the Financial Times, MGM, Universal and 20th Century Fox.  She’s worked with household names like Norman Jewison, Angela Lansbury, Adam Beach, Kathy Bates and David Carradine, yet Lisa’s deepest passion is in supporting families and self-directed learners reclaim the vision, design and control of their education.

 

 

 

Summer Plan: 5 Tips To Connect With Your Family

With July 4th coming up next week many families are going on vacation or to holiday social events. Summer may be a special time where families have less commitments (school is out, many sport leagues are over), but how can families make a plan to connect by living in the moment during summer family events?

 

Here are a few tips to engage with your family and live in the moment, but PLEASE share yours!

 

1.  Outdoor fun: Plan all types of outdoor fun events from simple family game of catch, family hikes, day trips to vacations. Use that time to put away technology and enjoy time together – maybe even keeping track of events in a “family” style Olympics.

 

2. Schedule Technology Time and Unplug Time: Either create a schedule or have daily discussions on when is screen time and when is family time. Before going to social events, discuss the family rules for using technology at the event. To help with unplugging, maybe bring a technology basket or bag that can hold devices during “unplug” time. In my book “My Parent Plan” I talk about rewarding kids for good behavior instead of punishing for bad. When it comes to unplugging, we try to reward our kids with positive words when they unplug. But they also know that they “earn” screen time by being present and unplugged during family or “outdoor” time. We also have our kids earn screen time by using educational apps before entertainment apps. Summer is a great time to plan for regular educational activities to prevent summer slide.

 

3. Plan For Facetime: During all the fun events going on during the summer, remind yourself and your family the importance of social time, which means actually looking someone in the face when they are talking. Facetime should not only be a term for video chatting! I have seen many other parents write about their techniques, including Maria Bailey who just recently shared during Disney Social Media Moms on the Road “I remind myself to make sure I can see the whites in their eyes when my kids are talking to me”. This is also an important skill to teach kids who live in a digital world where most of the communication exists on devices.

 

4. Summer Toys: Schedule time to talk with your family on what summer toys are needed. Local sports stores carry 5 in 1 sports sets with volleyball, badminton, frisbee and more. I just picked one up on sale for only $24. Slip and slides may not last past the summer, but those are also available on sale and can offer fun family moments to slide and laugh.  Check the family bikes and scooters to see if any repairs need to be made. Then try to walk, bike or scooter to events during the summer as a way to catch extra time together. Board and card games are great to take on family outings and vacations.  If any of your kids say “paper” board games are really “bored” games (like my tech obsessed 14 year old), show them it can be fun by having them pick out some games at the store. They may be surprised that Words With Friends is not only a game that can be played on devices, Hasbro and Zynga made a classic board game as well.

 

Family friendly game apps offer families a summer activity that can be taken on the road, but screen time should be limited overall. Yet in a pinch while waiting for a flight at the airport, a game of monopoly on a tablet is a great way to enjoy time together. Taking family videos and photos can be a fun family event if the end result is working on a summer family album(s). Digital pictures and videos can be loaded to a cloud site that offers the ability to turn the pictures into an online or paper photo album at the end of the summer.

 

5. Live In The Moment: Try your best to live in the moment. To do this, I try to push all my lists, todo’s, concerns out my head and just focus on my family. I tell myself that all of that can just wait, but enjoying time with my family can’t. I have to admit, living in the moment is one of my biggest challenges. So I just decided to take it “one moment” at a time.

 

 

 

Dent The Future Conference 2013 Press Trip: Sun Valley

I was lucky to be invited many years ago on a magic bus ride to CES, which was the first time I had a fun adventure with the team from Parnassus Group (Steve Broback, Jason Preston and more). Over the years they always had the pulse of social media,  organizing events such as Tweethouse and It Won’t Stay In Vegas at CES.   So when I was invited to join the (pre) Dent The Future 2013 press trip in February (to check out the location) organized by none other then the Parnassus Group, of course I said yes!

 

Dent The Future (March 24-27 in Sun Valley Idaho) is a new conference that “explores the magic and science of visionary leadership and groundbreaking success. They aim to translate the success of great leaders in business, politics, or charity into a set of lessons for those who would “put a dent” in the future.”

 

While I had some scheduling challenges (including Spring Break for my kids) so I won’t be able to attend Dent this year, I already put it on the schedule for next year. I will look forward to bringing my whole family with me to enjoy Sun Valley while I experience Dent 2014.  Those who will be following the conference from afar like me can do so by following Dent on Twitter (hashtag #Dent2013).
 

 
Listed below are some of the details from the “Pre” Dent 2013 press trip in February. We had an amazing trip that was not only filled with fascinating discussions on social media, but also with the beauty and fun of the fabulous Sun Valley Resort. I will be writing another post with more details (and sharing my pictures) about Sun Valley Resort (which was a highlight of the trip!).

 

 

This is a picture I tweeted from Sun Valley on our last night of the trip – enjoying a great dinner at a local restaurant.
 


 

#dent2013  @sbroback @bikehugger @pop17 @scobleizer  @svalleysunshine  @techmama @visitsunvalley  @shaunacausey  @jasonp
 


 

Our group lunch on Bald Mountain included yummy food, beautiful location and lots of social media talk!
 

#sunvalley @sbroback @jasonp @scobleizer @chasejarvis @pop17 @shaunacausey ..@techmama @neilblecherman #dent2013 pic.twitter.com/qyOkry58

 

Here is a summary of some of the locations we visited (post with full details will be published soon):

 

  • Yummy places we ate during our trip included: Knob Hill Inn, Della Mano Restaurant, The Kneadery and the Konditorei for breakfast. But there are many other places to eat.
  • Zenergy Health Club is a great location for a workout and spa treatments! http://zenergyts.com/
  • Here are the two websites to find out more information about Sun Valley Resort: www.visitsunvalley.com  and www.sunvalley.com. We stayed at the Sun Valley Resort Inn and it was beautiful. There is a great transportation system to go to the mountains, it is not crowded and the weather is usually sunny (per the name “Sun Valley”).  The resort is very family friendly – and even has a mountain that is perfect for beginners or family skiing called Dollar Mountain. The other mountain (Bald Mountain) is great for Intermediate to advanced skiers.  The Sun Valley Snowsports School has lessons for all levels (and even family lessons). I was excited that they have a “fundamentals” day program for kids (8:30 – 3:30) that includes lunch. There are also programs for Intermediate or Advanced kids as well. There are other winter activities such as ice skating and sleigh rides.

 

**My next post will share more details about the beautiful and family friendly Sun Valley Resort.

 

Disclosure: Travel related expenses were provided to the press covering this event.

 

BlogHer ’12: How To Prepare And What to Wear

 

BlogHer’s 8th annual conference will be held in New York City on August 2-4, 2012 and for the sixth consecutive year I am heading out to join in the fun, connect with my fellow bloggers and hear about the latest blogging & social media tips, tricks, trends and strategies. As I shared in a recent post about what people learned from previous BlogHer conferences: “Because blogging is an isolating activity – BlogHer also invigorates me by connecting with the amazing network of “BlogHers”!

 

I will be speaking this year (i.e. getting my geek on) at the BlogHer 12 Geek Bar.
Check out the schedule and make sure to sign up for some great sessions. I am leading the discussion titled, “ Managing Social Media Via Mobile: Android OSMaximize your mobile device to get the most of social media! Learn best practices, top apps, and security precautions you need for Android”. ANDROID OS users – PLEASE SHARE your favorite ways to use social media on your Android device by commenting on this post. I also look forward to hearing tips from others at the conference.

 

Because I’m a BlogHer veteran, here are my tips for how to prepare and what to wear to BlogHer 12 – NYC version!

 

STEP 1 – “The Schedule”:  The first step is to confirm all of your travel arrangements including hotel and transportation. Many of us made plans months ago (especially those of us traveling to New York City). Five weeks before BlogHer, I always like to circle back and confirm my travel arrangements. One year, I realized that I had made an airplane “reservation” but not purchased the tickets (luckily I still was within the month before so I made a new plane reservation).

 

The next step is review the BlogHer12 agenda and start putting together your schedule. Check out the official BlogHer ’12 party plan and update your schedule with some nighttime fun. It is important to make sure you plan time to visit the BlogHer Expo to see the exhibits and interact with the sponsors. Those who want to start early can attend the BlogHer Evening at the Expo Hall event the night before the conference. If you are new to BlogHer, there are official parties every night that offer additional opportunities to network. Those who have been to BlogHer before may attend one of many other social events that go on around BlogHer as well. But my key piece of advice is to network as much as is comfortable – but not overdo it.  Don’t pay attention to all the crazy plans that everyone else is setting up – create a schedule that works for you and allows you to connect with the bloggers most important to you. Also make sure to reach your hand out and introduce yourself to people you don’t know and make new connections.

 

 

Step 2 – Take Your Schedule Mobile: To prepare for the busy conference schedule, make sure your personal schedule is not only organized but also on your mobile device via an online calendar or mobile app. One important mobile app to download is the official BlogHer12 mobile app that is available via iTunes for iPhones or the BlogHer12 app for Android phones on Google Play. The CrowdCompass page will also have other mobile apps that are available for BlogHer12. For those with Windows Phones, The Windows Marketplace also has great mobile apps for networking.

 

I also like to have “backup” paper printouts of my schedule just in case my battery runs out (but some prefer not to use paper). On the topic of batteries – I suggest everyone bring a mobile battery charger because batteries can run out and you will not have time to charge during the day. I will do another post on battery chargers – but I am always happy to help people find one that works for them. The key is not to buy the cheapest – but buy the one that really works. While there are budget friendly mobile device battery chargers that work well, the key is to test it before you leave for the conference and keep the packaging/receipts just in case it does not meet your needs.

 

 

Step 3 – Prepare Your Networking Materials: With all the technology available to share contact information, I still prefer good old fashioned business cards. Therefore, my next tip is to make sure you schedule time to print business cards before you leave for BlogHer. I usually print around 500 to have enough for passing out to old and new friends and at the BlogHer Expo hall. Some of my colleagues prefer to print even more. At past conferences I have seen bloggers use creative ways to share their own professional brand by giving away branded screen cleaners, business card holders, bags, bracelets and tee shirts. I have also seen creative business cards that fold and have headshots printed on them. When preparing materials for BlogHer, it is important to comply with the guidelines for sponsored bloggers.

 

But there are also technology options that can enhance the sharing of contact information. For example, if you print a QR code on your business card then those with QR code readers can scan it to load your contact information. Or even have your QR image on your mobile device to share. Many mobile apps (even SMS applications) share contact information, but when sharing contacts via mobile devices it is also important to consider the security implications. I will cover some of my recommendations in another post  and please do share your favorite contact sharing mobile apps if you have some recommendations.

 

 

 StI'll be wearing cute shoes to BlogHer '12ep 4 - What to Wear: When attending a conference one of the key questions is what to wear. For social media conferences, all outfits should be camera appropriate for all the pictures and instant uploading that takes place. Personally, I also focus on comfort for my feet to survive all the walking of long days in big conference halls.
I’ll admit it… I love wearing heels. I’m always on the hunt for comfortable, stylish shoes and went through years of trying different brands of shoes with heels. I have even tried to find comfortable flats and stylish sneakers. While sneakers are of course the most comfortable, I did not want to give up on my search for the perfect pair of heels. Luckily, several years ago I bought my first pair of Sofft shoes and they passed many years of walking miles at the Consumer Electronics Show. After I had already decided that Sofft shoes were my comfortable and stylish shoe of choice and filled my closet up with different pairs, I did get the opportunity to review some of their new 2012 Spring Summer shoes (disclosure – I received shoes as part of that review, but all of my words are my own). I had already been a Sofft Shoe customer for years before the review opportunity.

 

Here are 5 of the 7 pairs of Sofft Shoes I have purchased over the years…

 

 

My clothing strategy is to plan something comfortable for the day, that can withstand the heat of New York City in the summer -but also has layering to adjust to air conditioning indoors. Sometimes I will bring a dressy top to change into if I don’t have time to switch clothes before the night events. I also bring some dresses to change into for those nights I feel like taking it up a notch. I try to choose outfits that fit within my personal style, but also feel comfortable when I am sitting on the floor at sold out conference sessions. I have also learned that just because I love silver sequin tank tops together with a jacket does not mean that it photographs well on me (sequins can accentuate a twin mom’s tummy). I realized that for my shape I like to have solid black or jewel tones, throwing in accent pieces with patterns that works for photographs. I also like to layer with either a shirt, wrap, sweater, jacket. Lately I have been obsessing over the look of women’s tailored jackets over tee shirts as a great way to have outfits with clean lines.

 

 

 

Step 5 – At the conference, have an open mind to learn, network, have fun and meet new people: Go to BlogHer 12 with an the goal of learning, networking and having fun. Set a goal to not only connect with old social media friends but also meet new ones. Introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. Check the pictures of some of the social media BlogHers you read about online but have not yet met and introduce yourself. Take the time to meet new people and ask them about their site and interests. At the same time, try to catch up with your existing social media friends because social networking is not complete without the “live” connection.

 

I look forward to connecting “live” at BlogHer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentines Day

After visiting my 3rd grader twin boys valentines day party and seeing all of those cute valentines, I decided to share one with my readers. I think I had some influence from my tween son who regularly shows me pictures from the site “Damn You Autocorrect” (making fun of how phones “autocorrect” text’s people are sending to change what the sender had intended to say). But I have to warn anyone that reads that site – there are lots of inappropriate texts shared. The concept is true: auto correct does lead to some funny texts. So here is mine along with a meme on Twitter today where people are sharing candy heart reject sayings.

 

Happy Valentines Day to all.. Just don’t text your feelings to your loved ones – share it the old fashioned way with cards and telling them with a “live” conversation (or video chat only if they are far away). As I said on Twitter for another sharing theme on LoveNotes in honor of the Samsung Galaxy Note Facebook challenge: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I will shut off all of my electronics tonight just for you.”

 

Ok, maybe no electronics just during dinner at least.

 

 

Social Shield: S.O.S. for Parents Trying To Understand Social Networking Terms

SocialShield Releases the Top Social Networking Terms Kids Don’t Want Their Parents to Know

Sheds light on the latest lingo kids are using to hold illicit, risky or secretive conversations


As a parent of a tween, I am well aware of the language and terms tween/tweens use to communicate with each other. But add on to that technology – and the dangers of their terms increases exponentially.  From watching what goes on – I can see that it does not matter if your child has their own phone or not – these terms are used across devices – including computers. They can be used for social but they can also be used to bully or harass other kids.  Parents need to stay ahead of these dangers by educating themselves and then having honest conversations with their kids. Education and communication is key; if your kids are not talking to you about social networking, they are surely talking to their friends.

 

Through MommyTech Summit at CES I was introduced to the folks at Social Shield, social network monitoring service for parents, who sent me this press release with information about social networking terms kids use. The press release is below. But the image above summarizes some of the top (and scary) social networking terms used.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Continue reading

 

Test Drive: Using VoIP for My Home Business Solution

Many work at home moms use their home or cell phones for their business calls. I just recently had the chance to review another alternative for work at home communications (or for any businesses): VoIP. VoIP is not a word many recognize, but it simply means a communications protocol over the Internet. So when using VoIP, instead of make calls using a cell services, an internet connection is used.

Alteva is a cloud (or internet) based communications solution. The phone I am testing is a wireless business phone that will be using the Alteva solution. I am excited to try it for a couple of reasons.

Continue reading

 

Organizing Online Content With Pearltrees

While on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, we had the opportunity to meetup with a French company called Pearltrees. This was our first stop on what was a busy day meeting an exciting group of French companies. Beyond hearing about the companies, I was just happy that I made it on and off the Paris Metro without losing my ticket.

Pearltrees is a collaborative way to share interests online. I was intrigued by the concept of a new way to organize (in real time) my content and find additional content online. I also appreciated the visual nature of Pearltrees, each unique content link is considered a “pearl” while groupings of pearls are “pearltrees”. I even imagined using Pearltrees to organize the links I share on Twitter and my other social network platforms, to bring life to archived posts on my blogs that have related topics, find new content and organize interesting conversations that take place online. To better understand the functionality, I started using Pearltrees.

Here’s the process I followed to explore Pearltrees:

While on the Traveling Geeks trip I decided to use Pearltrees to organize some of the posts about our trip to Paris (I plan to add more):

TravelingGeeks

After returning to California, I went back to my Pearltree to find a picture to use on my post of the Traveling Geeks group meeting. I revisted that Pearltree to find more pictures for this post.

Traveling Geeks Paris 09 - a set on Flickr

Not finding the pictures I wanted in my own Flickr set, I then searched Pearltrees for more Traveling Geeks content and found Pearltree stories in English. From that, I found fellow Traveling Geek Olivier Ezratty’s Picasso albums.

Some photos...

I could of also found that Pearltree via a Google search for Traveling Geeks. Here are the results when I performed a Google Search on “Traveling Geeks Pearltrees”:

“Traveling geeks !!!! by PED – Pearltrees
PED created the pearltree Traveling geeks !!!!. Check out: Pearltrees Beta Launches on Wednesday: Will Let You Archive the // down the avenue: Pearltrees: A …
www.pearltrees.com/PED/1501612/ - Cached”

I checked those albums and found these pictures of the Traveling Geeks meetup with Pearltrees. The Traveling Geeks getting ready for the briefing. The briefing started with an explanation of how Pearltrees works from Patrice Lamothe. The Pearltree team and one their workspaces.

My next step will be to create some posts with tips on what I have learned about Pearltrees. More to come..

Disclosure: I met the Pearltees team while on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris/LeWeb where I first started using Pearltrees. Disclosures about the Traveling Geeks can found here. After using Pearltrees, I wanted to learn more so I spent some time using it. Recently I started advising Pearltrees.  What I blog about are my own opinions.