And I’m back (back) back in a New York groove….errrr…a Maine groove?! Nope, it just doesn’t have the same ring to it. But anyway, I’m back in Maine after an extra long weekend down in Hotlanta (translation for my mom…that’s “hot Atlanta”) for the Haven Conference. Just what is the Haven Conference? Good question! I’m glad you asked! Here’s the “official” definition straight from the Haven website:
Haven is a two-day conference August 1-3, 2013 that will allow people to learn from and gather with some of the most notable DIY/Home bloggers in blogland. Conference sessions will focus on DIY instruction with a mix of blogging and social media.
But how I like to put it, it’s a weekend with my people. It’s like having 300 other Angie’s over for a weekend of DIY, blogging, photography, and working on a creative business. It was so crazy to be surrounded by SO many people that “get me”. It was a strange but oddly exhilarating feeling.
I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous before going to Haven! Nervous nervous. Like a sometimes I get nervous Mary Katherine Gallagher smelling her pits kind of nervous (random side note…someday ask me about the time I “played” MKG in a talent show…it’s a doozy of a story and I LOVE to tell it). But the second I stepped off the plane and hooked up with cab ride buddies, Linda of Oh So Shabby and Michelle from Our Rosey Life, I knew I was in for some serious fun times. The entire conference I couldn’t shut my mouth…ever…seriously…just stop talking. Even with the sponsors. Who is this girl just walking up to Home Depot and expressing her desire to work with the mega store?! It’s like I don’t even know her?!
This is where I could start going into a ginourmous play by play of all the dirty details but I kind of want to go to bed before 11:00 pm tonight and you guys would probably crawl up under your desk just so you can take a nap since the blog post is getting all run on style and you just can’t make it through the whole thing without a nap, or strong cocktail, or both. So I’m going to leave you with my top ten moments of Haven:
- Ana White I love you even more! Seriously! Not only can that girl rock some serious heels while building furniture that she designed, but she is now my blogging idol after listening to her keynote speech. Her theme was “brick by brick” and that blogging (or business) success doesn’t come overnight. Just focus on building great content and it will come. Be great at the one thing that sets you apart (like great content) and be just good enough at everything else (SEO, photography, etc.).
- There was a flash mob…it was called the DIY Shuffle…it was epic! I’m now a firm believer that every conference should have their own flash mob and I am now judging whether or not I will attend conferences based on the shear fact that there is/isn’t a flash mob.
- I limited myself to just one palm/forehead moment. You see…there is this blogger…her name is KariAnne at Thistlewood Farm…she has taken the blogging world by storm (and she’s a doll)…and I didn’t know who she was. I’m pretty sure I was the only person at the conference that she had to introduce herself to. But I did get to take a picture with her.
- Did I mention flash mobs rock?!
- I got to meet some of favorite blogging buddies including Lindsay of Life of Splendor and Kristin from Bliss At Home (fellow Inspired Design Challenge co-bloggers…pic stolen from Lindsay’s blog).
- I took a class on growing your creative business, focusing on Etsy shops, put on by the fabulous Jennifer Rizzo of Jennifer Rizzo and Gina Luker of the Shabby Creek Cottage. My favorite takeaway was when to judge if you’re ready to make the jump from your creative business being your side gig to the full time job: when all you want to do is curl up in a corner and cry because you’re so busy/overwhelmed. Hmmm…been there…several times!
- Another class I took was on working with chalk paint and milk paint with Marian Parsons otherwise known as Miss Mustard Seed. Changed my life! I now want to paint/repaint every, single thing in my home including the dog. Poor Goose.
- Swag…oh the swag! Ryobi power tools were going home with just about every blogger there! And we were each given a gorgeous Ballard tote filled to the brim with goodies!
- Because it was that awesome…again…the FLASH MOB!
- And finally, most importantly, the people! I made so many new blog friends and my must read blog list has nearly doubled! The entire conference was nothing short of smiling, bubbly, amazingly talented women and I will never forget my experience.
So here’s to Haven 2014! Do you have your ticket yet?! A little birdie (Rhoda) has mentioned that the conference looks like a go for July of next year. I’m in! And not just for the swag…but maybe just for the flash mob!
Pssst….alright Haven Mavens…what did I miss? What were your favorite parts of Haven?
To wrap up our little “Blogiversary III” celebration this week, I thought it would be fun to do a little Day-In-The-Life post where you could follow me around for a “typical” day. Air quotes typical because it wasn’t necessarily a typical day for me (Wednesday), which was a work day and a slow one since I was still recovering from the madness that was the logger’s show (one of the biggest, industrial selling shows my company attends). Some of my favorite posts from my favorite bloggers have been posts that give me a glimpse into their everyday lives. So I hope you enjoy this post. But if not, we’ve got some major DIY projects coming at you later this week.
5:45 am – Alarm clock starts blaring. I subconsciously smack it and fall right back to sleep.
6:24 am – Realized I’m running REALLY late for work (I usually start my work day at 7:00 am). There goes any chance of having a good hair day. Oh, who am I kidding…a mediocre hair day at best. Off to “power shower” and bust out of the house in record time. (Note to self…maybe it’s time to upgrade the hot pink, rubberized alarm clock for something a bit more adult-like).
6:52 am – Miraculously finished getting ready for work and realize I’m out of my morning tea. The perfect excuse to run through the drive through at Tim Horton’s (like I really need an excuse).
6:58 am – Somehow make it to work on time on a rainy Wednesday. I was fully prepared to blame the rain for my tardiness. I don’t think a work day goes by that I don’t appreciate my under five minute commute to work. Essentially, I live just across the bridge from the office.
7:00 am – I settle into my office, boot up my computer, and review my to-do list/priority list for the day. Nerd alert.
7:25 am – After reading and responding to a ridiculous amount of emails, I’m starting to get hungry. I dive into my fave breakfast of blueberries with greek yogurt and suck down my “morning margarita”. For those of you unfamiliar with the “morning margarita”, let me explain. It’s the name that my bestie, Heather, and I gave to the Tim Horton’s iced cappuccino (made with milk not cream to save those crazy calories). It’s an instant pick me up and oh so delicious (and not too bad for you without the cream).
7:36 am – I start pouring through our Google Analytics web statistics to see if I can gain any insights from yesterday’s web traffic. Nothing new and unusual. Tap & die fluid continues to sell strong thanks to Google search, general traffic for the month is stronger than normal, Memphis Alycore gloves are still trending, and our Southern Maine web traffic is more rapidly growing than our overall traffic. I love stats!
8:06 am – My major task for the day is sending out the weekly NH Bragg email blast to our general mailing list. This week’s focus…Campbell custom chain slings assembled at NHB. I put the final touches on it, edit it extensively, and fire it off. I may have bias-ly picked the topic…Campbell Chain…my last name is Campbell…
8:25 am – Initial stats and responses to the email blast are already rolling in. I respond to a few customer questions, update our databases for undeliverables, and go through/delete the HUNDREDS of “out of office replies”. Apparently this week was a big vacation week with Memorial Day coming.
11:00 am – How am I still updating our email blast/customer contact databases?! Oh yeah…it’s because we just switched over to Constant Contact from a custom developed email blast program which apparently didn’t work very well. In the last few weeks I have removed over 2,500 email addresses from our distribution list AND updated our customer databases (with notes) on our enterprise applications. Hopefully the next round of emails goes smoother and we have finally cleaned up our database.
12:00 pm – Home for lunch to play with this dude:
Have I mentioned that I love my five minute commute to/from work?! I spend just about every lunch break home with the dog. If it’s nice we play outside and if it’s rainy and gross (or freezing) we play inside. Cookie tossing is our favorite game (ie. I throw a cookie, Goose runs after it, Goose eats said cookie). Goose hasn’t met a cookie yet that he doesn’t like (and immediately consume).
12:15 pm – After a quick round of outdoor cookie tossing, it starts to rain…again…it’s been raining for a week…ugh (and it’s still raining three days later). We go inside and I nuke up some leftover last-night’s-dinner of orecchiette with sausage in a swiss chard cream sauce. It’s one of those Better Homes and Gardens recipes that I ripped out of the magazine. They have the best recipes!
1:00 pm – It’s back to work for the afternoon. I’m really not feeling like doing computer work today, which as a marketing director is what I do about 98% of the time. Since my office was an absolute disaster zone after the logger’s show, I start cleaning it up. This is after my office space became “acceptable” (hanging head in shame).
It was worse…much much worse before. I couldn’t even bring myself to post the before picture. Just imagine boxes upon boxes of stuff…everywhere!
2:35 pm – After an hour-ish of cleaning my office I start to get bored. I start rotating office cleaning with adding Indusco chain and fittings to our website, building product headings, descriptions and adding photos. Also a boring but necessary task. I fight the urge to crawl under my desk and take a nap…George Kastanza style.
4:00 pm – My work day is almost, ALMOST done, but one more task looms. I have to clean the bathroom at work. That’s my amused face.
At least I get to wear jeans to work on bathroom cleaning days (and my wedding sandals!!!!). Why do I have to clean the bathroom?! You see…back in 2009-ish, right around the time the market tanked, one of the cost cutting measures my company made was to fire our nighttime cleaning crew with the employees picking up the slack. Hence, the ladies at work (which there are only a few of us in the male dominated business) take turns cleaning the women’s bathroom.
4:30 pm – Hootie hoo it’s quitting time! Back over the bridge to home I go!
4:35 pm – Colby is already home from a day on the road as a mill work salesman. We crash on the couch to discuss our days which includes: (1) why can’t we win the lottery so we could just spend all our time traveling and not working, (2) oh yeah…first we need to play the lottery, and (3) breaking news on the bass boat front. We’re pseudo, casually looking to purchase a bass boat. Emphasis on pseudo.
5:00 pm – I toss in a load of laundry (the laundry fairy has been slacking lately), clean up the kitchen and make a batch of laundry soap. The Kitchen Aid is a
life knuckle saver when it comes to bar soap shredding.
6:00 pm – I crash on the couch once again, pull up the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy on the tv (via Hulu) and try to download Gimp onto my netbook to test it out.
6:15 pm – Contract a nasty computer virus. Awesome. It came bundled with the Gimp freeware. Colby to the rescue.
7:00 pm – Make a quick salad for dinner.
8:00 pm – While Colby is still trying to fix my netbook, I settle down on my Mac and start photo editing and resizing photos for the remainder of this week’s blog posts. My poor, ten year old Mac is super struggling trying to run Photoshop this evening. Not a good day to be my computer.
9:00 pm – Pound out a blog post, respond to blog comments and emails, and do my blogger due diligence for the night. Also check in on the Etsy shop and respond to a few potential customers…finger’s crossed we close the sale!
10:30 pm – I call it night and crash into bed. But first, Colby let’s Goose out to do his “business-es”. Goose gets a cookie for coming inside and “going to bed”, we tuck him in for the night in “his room” (the craft room…and I wish I was kidding), and head across the hall to tuck ourselves into bed.
We lead exciting lives, really exciting lives. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I love the blogging and Etsy shop work, the day job pays the bills, Goose is always entertaining, and I super love having Colby in my life! Cue up the “awwwww”! Sure there are frustrating days (hello…computer virus) but if that’s the biggest of my problems…I’ll take it!
Pssst…How about you guys? What is your typical day in a nutshell? Or all your days crazy different and exciting? Is it just me, or the older you get the more routine your life seems to become?! Right down the wake up time/snooze time?!
As if I don’t get enough web stats and analytics during the work day (I’m a marketer by day and blogger by night), we’re gonna nerd out on you on the blog this evening with a little statistical analysis. Wait…don’t go…these are fun stats! So instead of marketing stats like average time on site, click through percentage and average cost per impression, we’re bringing you average beer consumption, total number of posts, average post word count, and number of cookies Goose has consumed. See…we’re having fun over here.
557 – Number of posts we’ve amassed in our three years of blogging, not bad for a couple of part timers (wowsers! And you’re still with us?! We haven’t scared you off yet?!)
367,255 – Total number of words written to date
659 – Average number of words per post
3,408 – Lovely comments from all of you dear readers (warning….sappy alert…if it wasn’t for all of you we probably still wouldn’t be here chronicling our DIY journey)
1,761 – Number of comments caught in our spam filter (here’s to you Akismet…if it wasn’t for you I would be single handedly taking taking out all those spammers John McClain style, baseball bat in hand cuz “someone gonna get hurt a real bad” and by someone I really mean the spammer computers…Office Space style)
16 – Number of plants I’ve killed
2 – Number of plants that are currently on the verge of death (have I mentioned that my thumb is black?!)
41 – Trips to the lumber yard
12 – Trips to the lumber yard since opening up the Etsy shop a few weeks ago
1 – Lamps broken
13,871 – Goose cookies tossed and consumed (Goose is a machine and tracks down every…single…cookie that I hide or toss for Goose cookie loving fun)
3 – Sheets eaten by our old washing machine in two and a half years
0 – Sheets eaten by our new washing machine in (almost) a year
3 – Times I have actually sat down and used the craft room, but it sure is pretty! (this is changing…I’ve been using it alot more lately as I’ve been converting it into Etsy base camp)
4 – Rank of the word “Colby” in post popularity (just behind “just”, “room” and “like”…I’ve used the word “Colby” approximately 698 times)
17 – Where Goose ranks in word usage popularity
2 – Days the blog was down all day because I “tried something” in html code
16 – House guests we’ve housed without a proper guest room
1 – House guests we’ve housed from across the pond
1 – Glossy magazine that has contacted us about doing a feature (I can’t wait to spill the beans on this one…it was supposed to happen in June but didn’t make it…fingers crossed for July!)
1 – Reporter who has contacted us to write an article about one of our projects and submit it to the “wire” (essentially the AP for magazines)
112 – Blogs I subscribe to (And finding new favorites regularly…I may have a problem)
29 – Cases of Sam Summer (our project beer of choice) we’ve drank
13 – Cases of Sam Summer we drank in just the first summer of house project madness
2,369 – Words in our wordiest post “What We Did In Puerto Rico”
122 – Words in our shortest post “Merry Christmas From Angie’s Roost”
51.5 – Pounds that Goose weighs
8 – Pounds that the average human head weighs (according to the knowledgeable little boy on Jerry Maguire)
3 – Number of blog themes I’ve been through, and I’m already getting the itch for a new one with a responsive theme (one that conforms to smart phones and tablets)
So there you have it, a little breakdown of where we’ve been, numbers wise, with the blog and house projects over the last three years. I still can’t believe we’ve kept up with this for three years! I tend to be the person who gets bored with something and ditches it for something new and exciting (Except you Colby, baby…no worries….I’m not ditching you…just thought I should clarify for you). Although I haven’t been terribly serious about blogging until the last year or two. I consider the first year a wash since I was working full time and working on my MBA. Needless to say…I was busy. But blogging and house projects have always been a fun hobby of ours so here’s to lots more to come in the next year! Maybe next year I’ll do another post like this and make one of those cool “by the numbers” word art graphics to visually display all our stats (cough cough…nerd…cough cough).
Pssst…How about you guys? Do you count things? Or find great pleasure in nerding out with stats? Or enjoy random fun facts (like how much the human head weighs)?
Pssst…And we’re logging in slightly above average with this post clocking in at 769 words.
When I first heard of BlogLovin‘ all I could think of was the Mariah Carey song Dreamlover…except replace “Dreamlover” with “BlogLovin’” in the chorus. You know, so it kind of goes like this: “BlogLovin’ come rescue me, take me up, take me down, take me anywhere you want to baby now, I need you so desperately, won’t you please, come around, cuz I wanna share forever with you baby!” Here’s the link to the YouTube video of Ms. Carey for those you not down with their 90′s pop. And those lyrics couldn’t be more appropriate due to the recent announcement that Google Reader is closing its doors on July 1st.
Image source: Examiner.com
I’m not gonna lie, as an avid Google Reader user, I was pretty bent out of shape about the announcement. I even went through the 5 stages of grief:
- Denial: Psssh…it’s not going away, it’s too important. Warning message when I login to reader…ignore. It’s just some weird Google joke.
- Anger: WTF Google? What are you doing to me?! Start writing angry message to Google. How do you email Google?
- Bargaining: Found a petition to bring back Google Reader…signed it. Used my real email address. Big mistake. Now I get weird petition signing requests.
- Great Sadness: Cried myself to sleep after I couldn’t figure out how to email Google.
- Acceptance: Goodbye Google Reader…hello BlogLovin‘!
Before making the switch from Google Reader to BlogLovin, I dabbled with Feedly. Feedly is another reader that’s free for now, that alot of Google Reader users are flocking to. But me no likey. Then I heard of BlogLovin’ and it was love at first sight. For a blogger, who loves to follow other bloggers, and find new, amazing bloggers, it was the perfect switch. With BlogLovin’ you can be a lot more social with the posts/blogs you read. As a reader you can like posts, save posts for referring too later, and see who your favorite bloggers are following. As a blogger, you can see who is following you, the blogs they follow, and are notified when someone likes one of your posts. I love it! I’ve already found a few new fave blogs because of it, like Decor And The Dog, Newly Woodwards, and Domestic Adventure (who just so happens to blog in a physical location close to mine….whoot whoot…shameless plug for a fellow Maine blogger!). Anywho…are you ready to make the switch?! Here are the easy steps to switch from Google Reader to BlogLovin:
- Setup your new BlogLovin’ account, which is as easy as name, email address, quick about me, and a blog link (but if you don’t have a blog you just leave it blank)
- Upload your Google Reader feed by clicking on the “Import From Google Reader” button that pops up after you confirm your email address
- Claim Your Blog if you have one by following Blog Lovin’s easy steps to confirm that the blog you say is yours really is yours; it’s pretty much just putting a “follow me” button in one of your posts
- Find blogs by using the search feature, or by cruising who some of your favorite bloggers are reading
It’s seriously THAT easy to flip the switch. Now go out, set up your BlogLovin’ account, and go follow me (shameless plug for me)!
Pssst…How about you guys? I’m totally curious, how do you prefer to read your favorite blogs? Are you an email subscriber type? Or have a reader of choice? Or are you a traditional, go to your favorite blog sites to read their posts type?
Psssssst…On a completely different note, I debated not posting this tonight due to what’s going down in Bean Town right now. It just seems so trivial to post about being sad about Google Reader going away when people are hurting in Boston. But I ended up posting my regularly scheduled post. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this afternoon’s tragedy. And this one really hit home for us since we LOVE Boston and frequent that section of Boylston every time we head to Fenway. Such a sad day…I’m pulling for you all, Boston!
As many of you may or may not have noticed, there’s a new
sheriff blog header image in town. I’ll pause for a moment while you spend a little time ooooh-ing and aww-ing over the awesomeness that is our new blog header image. Pausing…..continuing to pause…pausing just a little bit more. And if you want to see the header image taken to another level…check out the Angie’s Roost Facebook page (and while you’re over there, you might as well like our just-launched-it-page). The word bubbles on the Facebook page are my favorite…maybe I’ll switch out the quotes content periodically.
Anywho…Colby and I had a blast putting together the new header image and even more fun shooting the pics used for the new headers. And since I’m a big fan of over sharing, I thought I would share some of the outtakes with you. Believe it or not, it only took about twelve takes to get “the one” which is so NOT in Colby and Angie fashion. Usually it’s more like 3,758 takes like when we shot our Christmas card photo. Enter outtake number one:
Nailed it! Well…almost. Seriously, one take?! I couldn’t believe that we could both look like normal human beings in just one take. Usually it takes at least a dozen pics to warm up our over smiling, ear to ear grins. A one and done photo shoot just didn’t seem like the right thing to do so we kept snapping away (using the camera’s automatic timer function) “freestyling it” to see if we could come up with something better. This what Colby came up with…take two:
I instantly loved where Colby was going with this. Pointing the Paslode nailer at the camera was SO Vanilla Ice Project like:
Don’t lie, you know you love his show too. It’s right up there with Rehab Addict, Sarah’s House and Design Star in my list of DIY/home decor shows that I can’t stop watching. So after I raved about how Vanilla-Ice-like Colby was with his freestyle, and awkwardly talked about Vanilla Ice like a tween with a Bieber crush, we channeled our inner rapper-turned-contractor and really tried to ice it…take three:
Except Colby smiled…so not Vanilla-Ice-like…take four:
There we go…those are the awkward faces we were looking for! Check out Colby’s eyes in this pic…take five:
I think we need to work on our rapper attitude. Anyone want to give me lessons in popping a good ‘tude? Take six:
Colby just looks scared and I don’t even know who I am. Then, since Goose can’t stand to be away from us for more than three point eight seconds, he proceeded to start photo bombing us…take seven:
So we thought Goose should get in on the action since he is a part of this ol’ blog too. After all, he does stand guard and protect us from evil corn squirrels while we peacefully work on projects. Goose is not impressed…take eight:
But at least the dog rocks a better ‘tude than we do. So we tried it again to get one decent pic with a squirmy dog without a single cookie available to coerce him to hold still…take nine:
No luck…but we tried one last time for good measure…take ten:
We were going for the holding paws look but instead got more of a “this is my junk” look from the dog. Oh Goose…you’re such an exhibitionist. At least it’s the dog and not Colby with the exhibitionist problem. Especially since we live so close to a school!
Not bad, only ten takes to get a couple “winners” (I use the term loosely). We decided on outtake number two as the official Angie’s Roost blog header image, but you’ll notice I snuck in a cropped up version of take number three in the sidebar. And did you notice that we took the pics in the freshly painted guest room?! It’s so nice in there these days even though we still need a floor, trim and a door. But we’re getting to that. We’ve got lots of DIY projects to share with you, including our Pinterest Challenge project. Stay tuned!
Pssst…Speaking of the Pinterest Challenge, did you guys all get your projects done? Mine’s done! And I LOVE it! I think it may be my favorite project yet! And Colby can’t stop talking about it either so I know it’s good! We’ll be revealing our project tomorrow so come back for all the dirty little details.