Posts Tagged ‘parent blogger brunch’

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Amy Mascott

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Amy Mascott is the creator of teachmama.com, where her focus is to share the tools and resources parents need to be the best teachers for their children. She’s not a full-fledged homeschooling mom; rather, she capitalizes on learning opportunities in the every day and uses games and play to get her own children prepared for school and excited about the world around them. Amy is paving the way for a more modern ‘lifestyle of learning’, empowering all parents to take a stronger role in supporting their children’s education.

In February 2010, Amy created We Teach as a forum for parents and teachers to connect, share ideas, and grow into better educators—no matter the classroom. We Teach has grown quickly into one of the most successful and highly-trafficked educational forums on the web.

A Reading Specialist, freelance writer, former high school English teacher, and mom to a 7, 6, and 4-year-old, Amy’s work has been featured on dozens of online and print publications, and she has handed over many teaching tools to parents during speaking engagements. She is a contributor for Scholastic’s Parents Online, PBS Parents, readwritethink.org, and Mom’s Homeroom, and she has been a literacy contributor for Washington Times Communities and columnist for Rockville Patch. Amy is currently an editor and contributor for The DC Moms.

Offline, Amy sits on her children’s Preschool Ministry Board, she created and facilitates the Family Mentoring program at her local elementary school, and she runs the school’s Kindergarten Orientation. On Twitter, she’s @teachmama, tweeting about education, literacy, books, dog-walking and everything in between.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
The material on my blog is inspired by my children, what I do with my children, and what they’re going through at the time. Since the focus of teachmama.com is ‘learning in the every day’, I really try to keep the content centered around the things we do at home to keep learning fun, relevant, and real.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
The most interesting people I’ve met through my blog–through the blogging world–have to be The DC Moms. The women in that group have become some of my most dear and cherished friends, hands down. But blogging has also allowed me to meet other really cool people like Maxine Clark, CEO and Chief Bear of Build-A-Bear, Paula Dean, Mickey & Minnie, Miss Frizzle, SuperWhy!, and more.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers?
The best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers is some sort of take-away. Everyone is so busy that I feel readers want something and deserve something–for the time they spend reading our blogs. That take-away can be a tiny piece of advice, news on a sweet deal, some sort of activity to do with their kids, or a good laugh; it can even be a riveting, thought-provoking piece that gives them a new perspective on something. It can be anything, but if bloggers want readers to return, they have to make it worth their while.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
I have a lot of favorite posts because most bring back memories of time spent with my kiddos, but I’d have to say that I have two favorites: one on pretend play and one on books as gifts. The pretend play post [http://teachmama.com/2011/01/remembering-the-importance-of-pretend-play.html] was just a really fun time with my children–we set up our basement as a restaurant–the Red Checks Restaurant–and really played restaurant for a good, long while. We started by creating menus, then organizing the play kitchen, then taking turns being the cook, server, and patrons. It was fun. And the second post I love is one about finding the gifts in every book [http://teachmama.com/2011/03/the-gift-of-reading-finding-the-gift-in-any-book.html]. It just forced me to take a minute to really look at why I love certain books and what they ‘give’ to readers. It was a chance to share some of my favorite titles and explain why I think they’re awesome.

What is your favorite blog to follow? Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
I used to be really great at keeping up with blogs and reading blogs, but now I can barely read the newspaper at breakfast–so my blog-reading has suffered. But I do subscribe to some of my best friends’ blogs–A Parent in Silver Spring, Tech Savvy Mama, Toddler Planet, No Time for Flashcards, Pink and Green Mama, Frugal Family Fun Blog–and I love them each for different reasons. I was inspired by Allie’s No Time for Flashcards and MaryLea’s Pink and Green Mama–they are both incredible teachers and close friends of mine.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be?
My advice to a perspective blogger would be to stay focused on something that you know a lot about and that interests you, and to write because you love to write, or because you love to craft, you love to ride horses, plan kids activities, cook, or whatever. And blog for you–not because you want to make money or be famous or something; blogging is a labor of love, and the best bloggers I know put their heart and soul into nearly every post–and that’s what brings readers back.

Visit Amy’s blog, teachmama.com, and follow her on Twitter at @teachmama! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Leticia Barr

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Leticia Barr is a DC Metro area dwelling mom of two elementary aged children with a background in classroom technology integration and school administration who uses everything she learned from teaching children,teachers, and principals as a professional blogger, social media strategist, and freelance writer.

Leticia founded TechSavvyMama.com, a site that assists parents in finding the best technology products, websites, and resources for children of all ages, from personal experience of bringing a computer into her home for her daughter.  She uses her experience selecting software and online resources for one of the top 15 largest school systems in the country, knowledge about issues concerning screen time and children, and ability to evaluate educational sites to assess new products and services.  Leticia also loves sharing honest feedback with her large community of faithful readers.

Leticia relies on personal experience from blogging and her background in education to branch out to consulting, professional blogging, and freelance writing.  She provides social media consulting to companies looking to create blog ambassador programs and campaigns and has worked with PBS Teachers, Location Labs, The Mother Company, Marble Jar, BipperKids, BitDefender, and Comcast. Leticia is also a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Parenting.com, PBS Media Infusion, The Washington Post On Parenting, and Real Simple’s Simply Stated.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
Blogging about technology always provides new fodder thanks to new advances not only in devices, but also the need to ensure that we stay current in terms of privacy settings on websites, diligent about keeping passwords secure and antivirus protection up to date, and knowledgeable about the multitude of apps that are being developed every day.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
Blogging and communicating with people through social media have allowed me to meet individuals from all over the country who I have formed real lasting friendships with that I may have never met otherwise. I’m fortunate that my work in social media also allows me to champion causes that are important to me. I serve on the Blogger Advisory Council for the American Cancer Society and will be going to Haiti in January to visit artists who create products for the Heart of Haiti line and hear about how their work provides sustainable income as they rebuild their lives and communities following the earthquake.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers?
There are many things that bloggers can give to their readers. First and foremost, a true honest voice is essential whether you are providing an ah-ha moment in your reader’s day or a safe place to land and the knowledge that others share your story.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
I think my favorite post is the one that I wrote out of frustration when I found that my youngest was being bullied in preschool. I was horrified to know that a couple boys in his class, who were known to be bullies, had started targeting my son. Because we’ve created open lines of communication in our house, I was pleased that he told his sister who came to us. Nevertheless, I channeled my energy into writing a post that serves as a resource to other families who are experiencing the same thing by providing helpful links to great information.

What is your favorite blog to follow?  Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
I don’t have a favorite blog! There are so many that I follow to keep up with the happenings in my friends lives, read to stay current on the latest tech news or current events, or ones that I use to fuel my inspiration of my love of cooking and gardening.

My inspiration to start blogging was Jessica. We’ve known each other since our now 8 year olds were 6 months old having met at a Moms Club meetup. When she started A Parent in Silver Spring, I wrote to congratulate her and offered to help. She took me up on my offer saying she’d love my expertise on education and technology. As a guest writer, I wrote about those things but also favorite local restaurants because I love food! She always encouraged me to start my own site and as content as I was contributing to her own site, I started Tech Savvy Mama a month later.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be?
Don’t try to be everyone else. Just be true to yourself. Write about what you love. Your passion will be apparent to your readers and fuel new content as often as you want to write.

Visit Sandie’s blog,TechSavvyMama.com, like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter at @techsavvymama! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Monica Sakala

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Monica Gallagher Sakala lives in Montgomery County with her husband and 2 young daughters. After almost 15 years of public affairs work in DC, she decided to stop working full-time and instead focuses on blogging at Wired Momma, where she offers readers a snarky daily jolt of parenthood from the nation’s capital. Monica also contributes to Huffington Post DC, Washingtonian Magazine, TheDCMoms.com and freelances for PR clients. On Wired Momma, she covers DC-related parenting news, interviews local women who are experts in their field, reviews fabulous local events and rarely can resist a political scandal or mocking the latest celebrity baby name.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
My kids are always my first inspiration; the hilarious things they say, the challenges they pose and the creative way they view the world. Beyond that, issues facing parents today and news events inspire my topics.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
I try to write about local women around the beltway who are experts in their field. I really believe in supporting small business, especially ones started by moms because typically parenthood has inspired their new business. So interviewing this diverse group of female entrepreneurs has so far exposed me to some really interesting and amazing women.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers?
I suppose the answer is – a reason for the reader to want to come back and read again. I write honestly about parenting – life isn’t always sunshine and roses with kids and I’m never going to pretend like it is, at least in my house – and I think people appreciate that about my site.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
Probably a post I wrote for Washingtonian about my obsession with strollers, I had a lot of fun writing about the personalities of each of my strollers and confessing my addiction to finding the perfect stroller and the expense of it along the way.

What is your favorite blog to follow? Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
I contribute to TheDCMoms.com and am so proud to be a part of so many talented writers in our area – their individual blogs and areas of expertise never cease to amaze me.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be?
Write honestly and my general rule of thumb: if I’ve been thinking about something for 3 days, it’s a blog topic.

Visit Monica’s blog, Wired Momma, follow her on Twitter at @Wired_Momma or like her Facebook page! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Sandie Chen

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Sandie Angulo Chen has been writing about movies and pop culture since 1998, when she landed her first job after college at Entertainment Weekly.com. From there, Sandie moved to AOL’s Moviefone.com, where, as a content editor, she wrote features, conducted celebrity interviews, and tracked upcoming blockbusters and indies. Since 2007, Sandie has contributed as a movie critic and writer to Common Sense Media, The Washington Post, Variety, AOL’as Moviefone, and MTV’s Next Movie.com. As a blogger, Sandie has a personal journal-style blog called Urban Mama and is the Editor of the collaborative local blog, The DC Moms. When she’s not running after her three children or at a movie screening, she enjoys crisscrossing the DC area in search of memorable museum exhibits, concerts and standout restaurants.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
On the collaborative blog it’s sometimes difficult to keep 25-30 writers motivated, so we have several categories that are easy to brainstorm and write for, because we all have a favorite place to hang out in DC or a celebrity we’re in love with or a special place to go on a Date Night.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
Honestly? The other women on this panel and dozens and dozens of writers I’ve met from across the country at various conferences and events. My sister and I started a YA book blog a couple of months ago, and I’ve already corresponded with several published YA authors on Twitter and through the blog, and that is so much fun — to see how these published novelists are interacting directly with their fans and taking amateur reviewers seriously.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers? Truth and passion. Before the FTC regulations came out, it was ambiguous for a while when a blogger was telling the “truth” or being paid to prop up a product or service. I stopped reading several blogs once I cottoned on to the fact they weren’t disclosing their associations. Passion is the obvious key — write about what moves you, whether it’s a celebrity you’re crushing on, a cause that motivates you or your family whom you adore.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
I don’t have a favorite post, but I guess the one that I love to reread the most is the story of my youngest child’s homebirth. It was a dream come true for me, and I loved sharing it with my readers. Then there’s the post I wrote the night my mother died. It was so difficult to write, but I wanted to describe my mother and the joy it was to be her daughter with everyone.

What is your favorite blog to follow? Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
I love all of my friends’ blogs, but because I appreciate humor so much (and can’t write it very well myself), I look forward to reading Stimeyland, written by our friend Jean, on a regular basis. She never fails to make me laugh.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be? Decide why it is you want to blog — if it’s to write because you love to write, don’t worry about monetizing and book deals and trips and product reviews you see everyone else scoring — write with passion, with integrity, with love, and the other stuff is just icing.

Visit Sandie’s blog, Urban Mama, and follow her on Twitter at @urbanmama! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.

Parent Blogger Brunch Preview: Jessica McFadden

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Over the next week, we’ll be sharing interviews with bloggers to be featured at our Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9, co-hosted by Jessica McFadden of A Parent In Silver Spring. Meet members of the new media and sign up for the brunch now!

Jessica McFadden writes the popular parenting blog, A Parent in Silver Spring.com, which has gained attention locally as a resource for Washington-area parents, and nationally as a parent blog must-read. Over the last four years, A Parent in Silver Spring has become Montgomery County parents’ top stop on the web to find a fun outing, activity or performance to share with their children.

Jessica has also served as an editor at Nickelodeon ParentsConnect , a contributing blogger to TLC’s Parentables, written the Mom of a Million Mistakes column on Montgomery County Patch sites, and has contributed to The Washington Post Weekend and other publications.

Before taking up the laptop as a writer and blogger, Jessica worked in public relations at Hill & Knowlton and as an aide to two United States Senators. She received her B.A. in political science from University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica is a mother of an eight year old son, a five year old daughter and a baby daughter born in April.

What has inspired your new material on your blog, and how do you keep generating new material?
Input from my local community is the number one source of material and innovative posts on A Parent in Silver Spring. As my personal life gets crazier daily due to my and my family members’ busy lives, I am so thankful for the great relationships, post suggestions and feedback I receive from area organizations and individuals.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have met through your blog?
Fellow parents and spouses who are passionate about their careers and causes, while still successfully balancing their families, always awe me. I am thankful to have met many such gifted people in the arts organizations, small businesses and educational institutions in our community.

What is the best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers?
An honest voice and candor, hands down, are your greatest assets. Your readers do not want to read a press release, a news article or a shilly commercial. They are coming to your URL for your words, opinion and unique perspective, and every time they visit your site it is an honor.

Which post of yours is your favorite and why?
About once a year (usually when school is out of session in summer and I did not secure enough childcare) I write a ranty, blubbering post about how I am a horrible failure of a mother and have bitten off more than I can chew professionally and personally. These posts are my favorite not because of my wussy words, but due to the supportive and hilarious comments from other working moms who chime in that they have been there and survived.

What is your favorite blog to follow? Are / were you inspired by someone else’s blog?
The first blog I read from start to finish was The Washingtonienne, so every blog after has been a dramatic step up. But seriously, I am daily inspired by The Bloggess because her humor is unlike anything anyone else in the world is producing, Toddler Planet for bravely chronicling her battle with inflammatory breast cancer, and every innovative first-person site that fills an information and entertainment void. The Washington, DC area is blessed with a wealth of fresh voices, especially in the parenting blog community.

If you could say one thing to a perspective new blogger, what would your advice be?
You can’t do it for the money. You know those little old ladies at craft fairs selling hot pads? That’s how much you will make…if you’re lucky.

Visit Jessica’s blog, A Parent in Silver Spring, and follow her on Twitter at @jessicaAPISS! You can also meet her at the Parent Blogger Brunch on December 9 – sign up now.