Hello, May

Hello, favorite month of mine. I love your blooming flowers, I love the wardrobe colors you bring out, I love your deliciously seasonal fruits, and I love that you hold my birthday. This month is already my favorite of the twelve, but with my dearest husband gone with the Marine Corps, I’ve gone a bit overboard and jam packed every week full of fun things to do. Road trips and weddings, marathon scrapbook crops and house hunting, new business projects and girls nights out.
Yes, May… You are my favorite!
GOALS FOR MAY:
  • Get into a solid routine every day for eating, juicing, & exercising
  • Work on my business ideas, new website, & B-School homework
  • Start running outside again
  • Set a new budget and stick to it!
  • Review my priorities & adjust them as necessary
Lastly. Is there anything in particular you’d like me to blog about this month? I’m feeling creative and the writer’s block has finally gone away! Send your suggestions or requests in the comments below… I’d love to hear it!

The Time My Blog Got Hacked

I spent months… months moving my blog over to WordPress, redesigning it, working on CSS coding and getting everything to work just as I had envisioned. And then… I lost everything.

Thanks to Blogger, I was able to restore most of my entries and photos from prior to my move over to WordPress. For that, I must say DEAR BLOGGER, I LOVE YOU SO!

I also don’t hate WordPress. You see, WordPress wasn’t the issue. I can tell you what I think the issue was, but that would be speculation. Either way, the whole thing was very disheartening and I’m very sad I lost a lot of hard work (and recent blog entries).

With that said, I will no longer be continuing Hard Corps Love. I will leave the blog online for a awhile, but eventually I will remove it from the interwebs. In its place, I have already been scheming up ideas for a new blog outlet for inspiration… and I’m bringing it back here to Blogger!

It’s where all my friends are, so it only makes sense.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments, shares, encouragement, and love over the past 3 years, dear readers!

#BloggerFail

Sooo… as it turns out, I’ve made a mess of my RSS feeds. I guess I had one when I started with Blogger, then I got a new one when I moved it to a .com, then I thought I had one when I moved to WordPress, but somehow I ended up with two more.

Do you use an RSS reader (like Google Reader) to keep up with the blogs you read? If you do… and mine is one of the blogs you follow… please update your feeds to this RSS:

As of right now, I have all these feeds with different “followers” or subscribers in all different places. Talk about a mess! The correct feed has the fewest subscribers… we’re talking close to 200 followers versus 6.

Oops!

http://hardcorpslove.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

http://www.hardcorpslove.com/feeds/posts/default

http://feeds.feedburner.com/hardcorpslove/CPeb 

All of the above are going kaput. Or… they’re staying there, but they won’t be updated. I totally recommend checking out your own RSS feeds too! #ineverknew

Why is RSS so confusing?!

BlogHer’12: Part II

Now that I’ve filled you in on the first impressions of a BlogHer newbie, I’d like to share what I learned at each of the 6 sessions I attended over the 2 days of the conference. Believe it or not, I’m going to have to do a Part III next to share all the keynote speakers, parties, and fun NYC things we did! Information overload? I think so!

The sessions at BlogHer were really good. Though I didn’t know any of the panel speakers, I came away with a new appreciation for women bloggers as a whole, especially those who are influential in some way or another.

These are the sessions I attended. They were broken down into several different paths: The Personal, The Political, The Professional, The Technical, The Visual, and Room of Your Own.

It was recommended at the Newbie Breakfast that we choose at least one session out of our comfort zone. For me, that was “Erotica Out in the Open.” And no, I won’t be blogging anything erotica anytime soon, but please read on for more details about my thoughts on that sesh.

I’m just going to share a couple notes and quotes I took from each session. Oh, and I’m giving each session a rating out of 5 stars, so look for that below too. Here we go!

The Personal: Blogging for the Love of It
Panelists: Bon Stewart at Crib Chronicles, Dorothy Snarker at Dorothy Surrenders, & Alexandra Rosas at Good Day, Regular People
My rating: ★★★★

•“If I were a doctor, every prescription I wrote would say, ‘start a blog.’” Alexandra Rosas
• Look 2 steps ahead of where you are now and envision where you want to go with your blog. Recognizing when you’re not getting what you need out of blogging is a pivotal point. Bon Stewart
• Questions to think about: What validates you? What constrains you? Bon Stewart
Alexandra Rosas asks her husband & kids first before posting about them, and she only ever makes fun of herself.
Dorothy Snarker blogs under a pseudonym. Being anonymous gave her the freedom to build her identity from the ground up.
• There is a big difference between being an anonymous blogger or a pseudonymous blogger.
• Can you be a little bit anonymous? Or is that like being a little bit pregnant?
• How we choose to connect our personal and professional self is a conversation that is coming to everyone. Bon Stewart
• Be aware that your online identity is an extension of your offline identity. Where are they different? How do they intersect? Bon Stewart
• “If anyone is going to judge me, let them judge me and get it over with.” Alexandra Rosas
• Make the decision to tell the truth through your blogging.
• We life in a culture that values & validates economy. There is economic & social capital. When blogging for the love of it and not making money, you earn social capital. Bon Stewart
• Don’t look outside for someone to tell you you’re good. If you keep looking out there for numbers to tell you you’re good, you’re never going to think much of yourself. Alexandra Rosas
• “No matter what your opinion, as soon as you have one someone will dislike it.” Dorothy Snarker 

My overall takeaway from this session was that it’s okay to be yourself. Blogging can be healthy, therapeutic, and a wonderful way to get to know yourself and be comfortable sharing that with others. 

The Personal: Blogging the Fine Line Between Your Identity & the Issues 
Panelists: Deb Rox at Deb on the Rocks, Faiqa Khan at Native Born, & Kelly Wickham at Mocha Momma
My rating: ★★★

• “Hot” issues: The things you aren’t supposed to talk about at dinner parties (religion, gender, race, etc.) Faiqa Khan
• “When are we going to stop pretending people don’t exist? It robs them of their humanity.” Faiqa Khan
• Speaking about issues should be a conversation, not one-sided. Kelly Wickham
• Visibility creates comfort and connection. Deb Rox
• Being awkward and uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing. We’ve become a society that only wants comfort. Sometimes you have to put yourself in an awkward or uncomfortable situation so you can grow. Faiqa Khan
• There are parts of stories that we own and parts of stories that we don’t own, and we need to be cognizant of that. Faiqa Khan
• You don’t have to publish everything you write. It’s okay to write it out, let it sit overnight, and then decide to publish it. Kelly Wickham 

I walked away from this session feeling empowered about things I didn’t even know I cared about, haha. Like— “hot” issues, and why it’s important to voice my thoughts on them. Clearly, I’m not a political blogger… but I do care about things going on in the world. I’ve done this in the past with posts about OPSEC and 9-11, and I think I’ll try to do that more.

Room of Your Own: Table for One
Panelists: Cari Bee at Busy Bee Blogger, Karen Malone Wright at The Not Mom, Kim Trimble at Live from the 205, and Robin Mills at Bella Venta
My rating: ★★

• As single/childless bloggers, we are not a brand’s one-night-stand. Robin Mills
• Our income is more disposable than bloggers with children so we can spend more money on product and/or advertising. • We don’t have kids, but we still love Disney movies. Plus, we have Platinum credit cards. • 1 in 5 women in America will not or do not have children. Karen Malone Wright 
• Your blog can have a business plan like any other business.
• Check out Single Edition Media, Social Course, and Savvy Auntie for advertising opportunities.
• Know your blog, understand your audience, and be prepared to fight for it. Robin Mills
• Be prepared to use unorthodox methods to get sponsors. Karen Malone Wright
• You have to be proactive. Make a list of your dream team celebs and brands. Robin Mills
• DINKS: Double Income No Kids, PANK: Professional Aunt No Kids

Okay, so while this session was interesting, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I felt that most of it was geared toward advertising, which I’m not interested in at this time. For anyone wanting to monetize, it would have been a kick-ass session. I will say that I didn’t realize that single bloggers get the shaft when it comes to deals with PR companies and advertisers.

The Personal: Erotica Out in the Open
Panelists: Twanna Hines at Funky Brown Chick, Arielle Loren at Corset Magazine, Lauren Fleming @ Queerie Bradshaw, & Sienna Jae Fein at Dating Senior Men
My rating: ★★★★

• Write about what you know. Your audience will appreciate it. Sienna Jae Fein
• “Sex is something that happens to you, not something you do. We tend to speak about it passively.” Why? Sienna Jae Fein 
• Writing as if no one will ever read what you write might make you more emotionally honest. Twanna Hines
• Blogging implies an audience. If you are writing for yourself, that’s a diary. Think of your audience. Sienna Jae Fein
• When dealing with haters… life is full of them and it comes with the package.
• For more on this session, check out this blogger who live blogged the whole thing! This was the session I took that was “out of my comfort zone.” I’m so glad I went to it! The panelists were hilarious and cool. The room was laughing so hard throughout the session that people came in from other sessions to see what the fuss was all about. They gave away sex books and vibrators to people that asked questions or contributed… I was not one of these people. I must say though… this is the most you’ll probably every see or read the words “erotic” and “sex” on my blog… despite what the name Hard Corps Love might be mistaken for!

The Professional: Protecting Your Blogging Rights, Respecting Those of Others
Panelists: Lisen Stromberg at PrismWork, Liza Barry-Kessler at Liza Barry-Kessler, Lindsay LaVine at Ehilarity, Divya Jayachandran at Heavy Browsing
My rating: ★★★

• Purchase your domain name so no one else can take it.
• If someone is impersonating you, go to whois.com to find out who it is and to send a cease & desist letter, if necessary. Lindsay LaVine
• Set up reminders for auto-renewal so you’ll never lose your domain name.
• Trademark: source of goods (i.e. logo), copyright: protects what you create (i.e. book). Divya Jayachandran
www.copyright.gov, www.creativecommons.org
• You are protected by common law rights the minute you start using your logo. Use the trademark™ symbol now, and the registered ® symbol after it’s registered. Divya Jayachandran
• Use Pinterest at your own risk. Lindsay LaVine
• Focus on websites that encourage pinning and always credit the original source.
The Style Confessions has an excellent copyright page.
• Put a copyright or disclaimer on each blog page or individual post.
Creative Commons encourages sharing with lawyer terms.
• Recipes are explicitly excluded from copyright laws. They must have “substantial literary expression” to be copyrightable.
• Defamation: public declaration that damages someone’s character. Lindsay LaVine
• FTC Guidelines prevent against deceptive advertising.
• Compensation = disclosure. You must include a clear and conspicuous disclosure when being compensated for anything you blog about, whether you are paid with money or product.
• Use a hashtag like #paidad or other on Twitter for disclosure.
• Imputed income: know that freebies can be taxed.

Check out the slideshow with all the links to resources provided from this panel here. Also, I found a great recap here with additional notes. Lot of info in this panel. My fave was learning that I can use a TM symbol, and that such a thing exists as common law rights. Who knew?

The Professional: How to Price & Value Your Services
Panelists: Monica Barnett at Blueprint for Style, Amy Bradley-Hole at Freaky Perfect, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco at Latina Lifestyle Bloggers, & Cecily Kellogg at Uppercase Woman
My rating: ★★★

• PR is not where the money is. Marketing is.
• Earned media is when someone asks you to do a review. Paid media is advertising.
• Until you can speak the language of ROI, there is no money in it. Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco
• Try Alexa and Quantcast to find out your numbers. Pay attention to your demographic, not just analytics. Amy Bradley-Hole
• Use Klout and Kred, depending on your industry. This is what advertisers are looking for. Know your numbers before you call.
• Take screenshots or copy/paste when others buy a product you’ve talked about or endorsed.
• Get or make a media kit, pronto!
• Track your Twitter analytics on Tweetreach or Hashtracking.
• End your post with a question to get engagement. Cecily Kellogg
• To make money, show that you are an influencer in your area. Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco
• Pay attention to your audience. Also pay attention to your competition.
• Be familiar with the term “added value” and let brands know about it.
• If you want attention, be worth it, stand out from the crowd, own it, and sell it. Amy Bradley-Hole
• Know yourself, your focus, what your audience wants to read, and what sets you apart from the others. • Sometimes the prestige is worth more than the pay.
• Price it so that it hurts a little. Monica Barnett
• Another great recap from another blogger found here.

This was another panel that was totally not what I expected. I was thinking, “Oh cool, I’ll learn how to price my freelance design work.” Um, no. Not so much. It was basically just how much to price for ads on your blog. Again… not my cup of tea. But I am already on Klout and Kred, if any of you are interested!

BlogHer’12: Part I

BlogHer’12. But where, oh where to begin? In a nutshell, it was not what I expected, but it was pretty freaking cool.
I’ve contemplated writing this post because I truthfully just needed a couple days (or a week?) afterwards to decompress and gather my thoughts. Because let me tell you— it’s a lotof information. Not only that, but it’s a lotof people. I haven’t been as interactive and open as I was required to be at BlogHer since college, and it’s funny what 5 years away from it can do to you.
I decided to go to BlogHer because I love blogging (cough-which you would probably never guess due to how infrequently I post-cough), and I thought it would be a fun weekend away to focus on something “just for me.”
For me, the weekend of BlogHer’12 started on Wednesday evening. I spent entirely too long over-packing (which I’m queen of, by the way), then another large gap of time debating whether or not I should bring my laptop or my iPad, or both, and weather or not I should bring my Canon Rebel XTi or Powershot Elph, or both. I ended up brining all four. Needless to say, my luggage weighed a thousand pounds, but I did use all 4 at some point or other during the trip.
This was my first year attending the BlogHer conference, and it was in New York City. Once upon a time during a summer internship, I lived in NYC. I had a roommate on the Upper West Side and I worked at a design agency at Union Square. A non-secret: I hated living in NYC. I hated the heat, I hated the smell, I hated the cost of living. I took a train home almost every weekend to Lake George to lounge on my family’s boat. But visiting NYC isn’t so bad.
NYC for a day trip = awesome
NYC for a weekend visit = tolerable
NYC to live = never in my life
After my late night of packing, my BlogHer date Shannon and I left for Union Station around 8:30am. Shannon’s husband Matt dropped us off, and our bus left the station at 11:15am. It was a not a bad four-hour trip, and even included a quick rest stop. But then the bus dropped us off at some random spot in NYC, and I had no clue where we were. When we attempted to hail a cab, the only driver who stopped quickly sped away when we told him our destination. So we figured, “Well, it must be close then!” and started walking.
Half an hour later, dripping in sweat and sore from overpacked luggage, we finally made it up to our room. A big shout-out to my daddy dearest for gifting me the most fabulous hotel room for my birthday— it was on the 33rd floor of the Marriott Marquis right in the heart of New York City: Times Square! What a perfect location for Shannon’s first time to New York.
After drying off and freshening up, we knew we would be cutting it close to make it up to the Hilton hotel (the conference site) in time to hear President Obama’s speech to the BlogHer attendees. And since it was via satellite and being recorded, we weren’t too worried about catching it later. For those of you who are also interested, check it out here! Instead, we caught a taxi up to the Hilton, checked in with the conference and got our badges, then got a quick bite to eat at Au Bon Pain.

Our first official BlogHer event was called Evening at the Expo. What a first impression. It consisted of several big rooms filled with brands, sponsors, and products. We’re talking everything from cookies to condoms. It was probably a sponsor-happy blog’s dream, but for me, it was a little overwhelming. Were I interested in advertising on my blog, it would have been a great opportunity to make connections and trade contact info. I mean, just look at this mob of eager women when I first walked in!

Instead… I focused on the swag. “Swag” is what the attendees affectionately refer to as free products that the sponsors pass out. I quickly learned that there were different “levels” of sponsors. The higher the level, the better the swag. It was fun bouncing around to pick up whatever I found fun or interesting, without the pressure of having to “sell” myself to the brands. Not to mention, the conference also had a Swag Exchange room to drop off or trade any of the items we got that we didn’t want. Great way to assure you don’t come home with a bunch of stuff you’ll never use!
After a long day of traveling and being bombarded with sponsors and people, that was it for Shannon and I. We took a cab back to our hotel room, went through all our goodies, and called it a night!
Friday morning, we woke up and went to breakfast in the concierge lounge at the Marriott. Thanks for that too, Dad! And for the complimentary Wifi. Then we headed out to the Hilton for our first full day of BlogHer sessions.
Our first stop was the Newbie Breakfast, but since we had already eaten, we didn’t stay very long. Welcome and Speed Dating immediately followed it with BlogHer co-founders Elisa Camahort and Lisa Stone. The speed dating part was a little cray cray. Basically, the entire room (not sure how many of the 5,000+ attendees were there, but you can imagine how big this BALLROOM had to be) lined up around the room in 2 circles facing each other. The inner circle moved every couple of minutes to the next person in the outer circle. This was where the whole “blog pitch” was necessary. You quickly say hi, describe your blog, listen to the other person’s blog (or in many cases, business), swap business cards, and then awkwardly stand there until it’s time for the next exchange. Unless of course you meet someone cool, like this awesome bloggerwho just moved to NYC from Australia. I’m a new fan of her blog, and she was pretty darn awesome. Although… she hasn’t posted since before the conference, so I’m hoping she hasn’t been scared away by all the crazy New Yorkers.

Finally, it was time for the first session! And this is where I break off into Part II so I can tell you all the things I learned, didn’t learn, wanted to know, and didn’t want to know. Hehe.
What do you think so far? I told you it was cool! Though pretty intense.
*Like the digital washi tape I used in this post? It’s a free download from Pugly Pixel. Too cute!