Officially Nuts: A Second Blog

megan and wendy blogMegan and I have been making videos over on our YouTube channel – Long Story Short with Megan and Wendy –  for almost 18 months now. It started out as a fun side project considering we both have blogs and lives outside of the internet. But, it turned out being the one thing we liked doing the most.

The past year has been crazy in terms of growth. No, we don’t have a million YouTube subscribers. We actually have less than 1,000 but it’s all relative. We have worked with some great brands, we signed with a multi-channel network, we’ve collaborated with other channels, and we’ve made new friends.

The best part has been that we’ve laughed a lot. We spend at least one morning a week cracking each other up in front of ridiculous lighting and cursing at the camera for always turning off at the 11 minute mark during recording.

When we started we vowed it would just be video. Then we decided we needed an Instagram to help promote the channel. And then Twitter. We finally added a Facebook page to round out the social media insanity.

That was it we said.

Then a regular viewer suggested we needed a blog and we love viewer feedback. So, we created a blog.

What’s great is we are in love with the blog. We embed our new videos there each week plus we add new and additional content almost five days a week.

So friends, I invite you to come over to Megan and Wendy and see what’s happening over there. We’ve got a holiday gift guide, top ten list, behind-the-scenes and OH! we have a great giveaway happening too!!

I’d love to see you over there.

 

 

Top 5 Favorite YouTube Channels

If you would have asked me two years ago what I watched on YouTube I would have told you that I didn’t watch YouTube at all. Why would I want to watch cute cat videos or kids playing video games? It wasn’t until I wrote this post about makeup that I learned about haul videos and beauty tutorials.

Megan and I just published our 100th video last week over on Long Story Short and we love what we do. We have our fingers crossed for exciting things in the coming year.

People are always asking what I watch so here are my favorite YouTube channels.

Youtubefavorites

Tati from Glam Life Guru
If you want to learn anything about makeup, this is your channel. Tati uploads videos Monday – Friday with tips and tutorials, hauls and product reviews for both drugstore and luxury makeup brands.

Essie Button & Essie Button Vlogs
Estee Lalonde has two channels that she regularly publishes on. Essie Button is beauty tutorials, hauls and favorites. Her vlog channel is more about life in London with her boyfriend and dog.

LeighAnnSays & LeighAnnVlogs
Another beauty and makeup YouTuber. Are you seeing a trend here? Her vlog channel is fairly new and it chronicles what she does on the weekend. She’s young but I think she’s really funny.

MamaKatTV
Love her weekly Pinterest drink videos. Love more when her friend Marci sits in on a taste test. Plus, she’s just really good people and supportive of our channel.

Claire Marshall from Hey Claire
Incredible editing, incredible content. Claire create beauty and fashion videos but shares so much more than that. This video about her mom was heartbreaking.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you watch any of these YouTubers and what you think. You should know that there is much more on YouTube than beauty videos but these are my current favorites.

I Went to VidCon and All I Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt

Megan and I attended VidCon 2015 last week in Anaheim, CA. It was a no-brainer that we should go since the conference exists for YouTube creators and fans. Plus, we are local so we could both attend without committing to major travel.

But, I went to VidCon and all I got was a t-shirt.

VidCon2015tshirt

It pains me to write that I didn’t really enjoy the conference because there were definitely moments of fun and laughter and making new friends. But, our intent in going was to learn. VidCon added a new creator track this year and its purpose was to be educational. However, every session we attended turned into a Q&A with a panel of successful YouTubers that satisfied the fans but fell flat for those of us really wanting concrete tips or advice.

Watch our VidCon 2015 Vlog

We ended up attending very few sessions overall.

The highlights were meeting up with our friend Jessi from SHUGGILIPPO.  I throughly enjoyed our hallway chat on day two where she shared advice and her experiences. I also really enjoyed that she got us into a pretty swanky party where we day drank and shared the same air as John Green and Grace Helbig.

I loved meeting Deva from My Life Suckers and Hollie from Baby Gizmo. Both were lovely, transparent and engaging. Megan and I also made a collab video and lunched with Marianne and Julia from HGTV Handmade.

Watch our Green Tea KitKat Taste Test with Marianne & Julia

Will Megan and I attend VidCon 2016? Never say never but for now I’ll just enjoy my new sleep shirt.

We would love for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel, if you aren’t already! Hit the red subscribe button when you watch one of the videos above and you’ll never miss a new video.

Almost Like Beatlemania

Last month, I went to San Jose for the 10th annual BlogHer blogging conference. This was the fourth BlogHer that I’ve attended and most likely, my last. There were a ton of highlights as well as a few low but I’m focusing on the fun today.

Several of us met in San Francisco before traveling to San Jose. We stayed at the Ritz in Union Square and it was lovely but we wondered why a good three-feet of our hallway was re-carpeted and re-wallpapered in a totally different pattern than the rest of the hallway. I’m convinced something murderous happened there but couldn’t find anything on Google.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

We knew what the next few days held for us so we tucked in earlier after sightseeing and several Moscow Mules. After breakfast at Sears Fine Food, we headed to San Jose. First stop in SJ: Starbucks. Gotta love Anna and Jess for supporting my coffee addiction with their own.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

We met up with more friends that afternoon, sweltered in the ungodly heat at the official conference kick off party and then settled in at the hotel lobby bar to meet even more friends. It was during our time at the lobby that I learned my favorite podcasters – and Cooking Channel personalities – Alie and Georgia would be guests of Dulce Gusto during the conference. Before we knew it, I spotted the two walking through the hotel lobby. This is when I might have stood up at our table, pointed and shouted “THERE’S ALIE AND GEORGIA!” My friend Ashley and I cut them off at the pass right before they got to the elevators. Looking back, I am horrified at my Beatlemania behavior. But, they were super friendly and knew who we were since we had been tweeting at them for a straight hour. They were equally as nice the following day when we sat front row at their cocktail demo in the Dulce Gusto booth. Super fan moment for me and they didn’t disappoint!

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Alie Ward, Ashley Fitting, me, Georgia Hardstark and Cori George.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Alie and Georgia from Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia (iTunes)

I sat in on a couple of sessions at the conference, met with a few brand reps that could potentially turn into something and covered the Count Us panel (more details about that later this week).

In previous years, there was always too much going on at BlogHer. Too many events and too many meet ups to fit into three days. This year there was a lot of wondering what the heck to do – with the exception of the Speck Suite – which was hosted by some awesome new friends. Stay tuned for a killer Speck giveaway coming soon!

The selfies were in abundance.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Me and Ashley from ItsFitting.com

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Jessica Ferrara from ChaosandLove.com

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

COMING SOON: Long Story Short with Megan (mamabubblog.com) and Wendy on YouTube!

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Cori George of Let’sEatGrandpa.com and Ashley Fitting of ItsFitting.com

Even the late night elevator selfie made its 2014 appearance.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Anna Hartman of InTheNext30Days.net and Jessica from ChaosandLove.com

BlogHer delivered with their closing party. I got as jiggy as I could get at the dance party DJ’d by Rev Run from Run DMC. Bet you didn’t know, Run DMC’s song It’s Tricky was a very big part of my wedding reception. So, I was excited to see him. Missed It’s Tricky but did catch about 40 minutes until the San Jose police shut him down. Guess someone didn’t get the proper noise permits. Oops.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

Rev Run

It was definitely a fun party but after a long day of afternoon drinking and talking and laughing and learning with those who share the same passions as I do…I was exhausted. We hit up San Jose’s Psycho Donuts, grabbed a couple more glasses of wine and bounced blogging ideas off each other.

Have I attended my last BlogHer conference? Maybe. But what if there is another night like this year's Beatlemania moment?

It’s called a working lunch – with Megan from Mamabubblog.com

I love leaving a blogging conference feeling inspired to go home and implement some of the big ideas I’ve learned. Sadly, that didn’t happen with this year’s BlogHer. Instead, I left a little jaded and wonder if I’ve outgrown this conference. I love getting together with the women who get what I do here on the internet but maybe next summer we’ll skip the conference part all together.

I’m Co-Hosting Girls’ Lunch Out Orange County

I was introduced to Mirassou Winery last Spring while attending a conference in Arizona. A handful of us were treated to a lovely food and wine pairing hosted by owner, David Mirassou. We learned about the six generations of Mirassou wine making in between bites of triple chocolate cake and sips of Cabernet  Sauvignon. It was heavenly.

While Chardonnay is usually my jam, I fell in love with the Mirassou Sunset Red that night in the desert. Sunset Red is a new blend with flavors of pomegranate and dark cherry with spicy notes. The winery suggests pairing this wine with sweet potato fries or cherry bread pudding. I suggest pairing it with friends who like to sit around a tell stories!

On Sunday, May 4th, I will be co-hosting the west coast debut of Girls’ Lunch Out in Costa Mesa, California. Mirassou Winery is the official wine sponsor of this event! Come give the Sunset Red a try!

Join us for a Girls’ Lunch Out! See the details below!

girls-lunch-out-OC

Girls Lunch Out is a place for socially savvy women to connect, learn and lunch. It’s your opportunity to network with other professional women from Orange County, a chance to mingle with local sponsors, great door prizes, courtesy professional head shots from Hanbee Photography (what blogger doesn’t need a new head shot?!), and the fabulous Rebecca Woolf from Girls Gone Child will speak on the art of storytelling.

This is an intimate luncheon and it will sell out. Grab your ticket HERE before they are gone!

Mirassou Winery is an official sponsor of Girls Lunch Out. I did not receive additional compensation to write this post. All opinions are my own.

Lessons Learned : In The Next 30 Days

Do you belong to any Facebook groups? I’m over at In The Next 30 Days today talking about my experience creating and managing a blogging-specific Facebook group. Anna is using these 30 days to talk about blogging: How to get started, design, finding your tribe, photography and so on.

I am certainly no expert, but these are the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Facebook-Groups

BlogHer vs. Girls Weekend

“You’re going to Chicago?”

“Why? What’s in Chicago?”

“What kind of convention?”

 “A what? What do you do there?”

“Are you going alone?”

“Have you met these Internet friends before?”

Yes. And I loved every single minute.

blogher13-1

blogher13-2

blogher13-3

I think I’m ready to ditch the conference though for a good old fashioned girls weekend away.

Old School Blogging

I have a confession: I sometimes like participating in blogging memes.

I saw two in my Facebook feed this morning and then a third this afternoon.  I might be in meme overload by the time I’m done but what the heck.  Memes remind me when I first started blogging; a time when I was trying to figure out my niche and wondered who the hell was even going to read my blog.  Old school.

Which brings me to The Miss Elaine-ous Life.  She hosts a monthly meme called Old School Blogging and for June we’re supposed to follow the alphabet in this meme.  Just for fun.

Alphabet Meme

A.  Attached or single?  Attached.  12 years next month.

B.  Best friend?  The husband.

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C.  Cake or pie?  Cake.  With lemon meringue pie in close second.

D. Day of choice?  The one when I’m told “There is no evidence of disease.”

E. Essential item?  I want to say lip balm or hand lotion but really… it’s my iPhone.

F.  Favorite color?  Purple.

G. Gummy bears or worms?  I recently ate a shit ton of gummy bears and still remember the stomach ache so neither.

H.  Hometown?  I grew up in Anaheim.

I.  Favorite indulgence?  A pedicure with an extra long foot massage and a trashy tabloid in hand.

J.  January or July?  January because it’s the month my daughter was born!

K.  Kids?  Just one little girl who happens to be graduating from preschool next week.  Hold me.

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L.  Life isn’t complete without?  Friends, family, pets, good food, and great music.

M.  Marriage date?  July 7th

N.  Numbers of brothers & sisters?  2 brothers, 1 sister.

O.  Oranges or apples?  Oranges

P.  Phobias?  Flying

Q.  Quote?  “When a task is once begun, never leave it until it’s done.  Be the labor, great or small, do it well or not at all.”

R.  Reason to smile?  I don’t think I need one.  I like to think I’m always smiling.

S.  Season of choice?  Spring.

T.  Tag 5 people:  I don’t expect anyone to do this but tagging Megan, Erica, Amber, Jessica, and Ashley.

U.  Unknown fact about me: I used to love reading and analyzing Greek tragedies.  #nerd

V.  Vegetable: Beets

W.  Worst habit?  Procrastination

X.  X-Ray or ultrasound?  Ultrasound.  Lord knows I’ve had a ton of radiation.

Y.  Your favorite food?  I’m not really picky.

Z.  Zodiac sign?  Pisces

Ok, one meme down.  Tell me – what’s your sign?

Why You Should Set Your Social Media Profiles to Public – by Steph Calvert

It’s been an incredibly busy week and this is why I’ve been MIA on the blog!  It’s Friday and I’m so happy to introduce you all to the fabulous Steph Calvert from Hearts and Laserbeams in today’s Friday Take Over.  Steph is the designer of my blog and she’s working on some new things for me that I can’t wait to show you!  She’s genuinely sweet and super talented.  Today she’s talking about online privacy with a cute pinnable image (I’d love for you to pin this post, would ya?).  Enjoy and I’ll see you Monday.  Promise.  

The Myth of Online Privacy, Or How to Keep Your Sanity on Facebook

I’ll be honest. Iím not really all that concerned about my online privacy.

Stay with me here – I’m not talking about the potential for being hacked. I’m super concerned about being safe online. I cracked down on my passwords hardcore last year, and wrote a long winded blog post about how to create a strong password, even.

What I’m talking about is who sees what I post on social media networks. I just don’t care.

Every week it seems, I see an online friend post something on Facebook about how things have changed on Facebook, and the settings are out of the blue letting everyone see everything. Even strangers! That creepy guy from the library last week! They can all see what’s being posted!

It’s just not worth the stress, guys.

keep-calm-and-set-it-all-to-publicI personally take the set it and forget it approach. Every possible setting that can be made totally 100% public, I do it.

Is it safe? What about your online privacy?

If you’re on social media, online privacy is a myth.

We have to globally accept that we have no control over the web sites we frequent on a daily basis. We don’t own these sites, we don’t have any say in how they’re run, and ultimately it’s just plain out of our hands. When we start posting online more thoughtfully, keeping in mind our settings could be changed at any moment for strangers to see what’s being posted, the stress over that event actually happening disappears.

Set it all to public, and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.

I don’t want my boss to happen upon pictures of what I did last Friday night!

Taking the set it and forget it approach in terms of your social media settings definitely comes with some guidelines.

  • Don’t post anything you don’t want your boss, your family, or your church to see.  Sure, this means filtering what you post a bit. It takes a little self control. But let’s be honest ñ having a little bit of a filter online can be a good thing.
  • Let everyone keep their dignity.  It kind of sort of really makes me cringe when people post pics of their kids in the tub on Facebook. I get it, itís a really cute moment. But it goes back up to that first point. If you have your privacy settings set up so that creepy guy from the library canít see what you post about your kids, what happens when the privacy settings get changed and he has access?
  • Watch the online ranting.  When you’ve got a select group of people that are the only ones that can see a post, it gets really tempting to vent to them about something annoying a mutual friend does. Stop doing that.What happens when privacy settings are changed out of the blue and that friend finds that post?Awwwwwwkwarrrrrd.

But how do I share the stuff I don’t want anyone else to see?

I like the old fashioned route – pics you don’t ever want strangers to see should never be posted online. Share em through text messages, or maybe print the good ones via Snapfish and mail em in an old fashioned letter.

Talk to your kids about online privacy and safety.

Make sure your kids understand that while they may have privacy setting in place so people outside their circle can’t see what they’re posting, that those settings can change at any time. Make sure you’re monitoring what your kids do online. Sure it seems a little fascist. But those are your kids, and it’s their online safety you need to keep on top of.

How do you handle your online privacy on social media?

Share what you do, what you don’t do – do you have any tips for online safety to share with us?

steph-calvert-by-natalie-moser-photography-2-square-350

Photo by Natalie Moser Photography

Steph Calvert is the work at home mom, graphic and web designer, and illustrator behind Hearts and Laserbeams. Her work has been seen worldwide on apparel, in print, and online. She’s been writing the Hearts and Laserbeams blog for over 10 years, and is a contributor for Moonfrye.com. Steph lives in Savannah, Georgia with her hilarious partners in crime, husband Josh, son Phil, and mom in law Carole. She enjoys coloring with her son, karaoke, and a good glass of wine every now and then. (But preferably now, thanks).

Steph designed some adorable art for the Help Make it OK fundraiser for Oklahoma tornado victims.  I encourage you to check out to see how you can help!  Trying to figure out how to get more likes on Instagram?  Steph has an excellent tutorial: Likes on Instagram: How to Get More Fast & Easy.  Following the latest trends in pattern?  Definitely check out Chevron Pattern – Updating a Trend Board.  

Find Hearts and Laserbeams on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Blogging Conferences & Cartwheels

I spent last weekend in Phoenix at the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp blogging conference.  Ok, yeah…so right now you either have a crinkled up nose and are questioning why the heck I’d spend a weekend locked up in a hotel ballroom talking about blogging.  Or, you’re like “Hell yeah!  Tell me what you learned!”  My blogging peeps get it.  They get that it’s socially acceptable in that space to look at your phone while someone is talking.  They get that we can talk hours on end about tweeting and blog comments and how Facebook is like a bad boy we can’t dump.  It doesn’t matter if they are a DIY craft blogger, a mom blogger, or a fitness blogger – we all have the same goals:  like how the heck to use Google+.

There were a ton of takeaways from last weekend’s conference.  I mean, huge.  Life changing.  Cartwheels.

 

girl-turning-cartwheels

Yes, cartwheels.

This came at the end of day two.  Tiffany Romero – the founder of SITS – was doing a presentation with Danielle Smith from Extraordinary Mommy about how to keep it together while pursuing your passions.  I was zoned in.  Tiffany told a story about her husband, a trip to Hawaii, and cartwheels.  I can’t remember the specifics of her story but I remember cartwheels.

My friend Erica from No Sleep ‘Til College calls me a cheerleader.  She’s right.  I’ll hoot and holler because I want you to succeed.  I’ll gladly turn cartwheels for my friends because I love and adore and respect what they do.

I realized as Tiffany and Danielle wrapped their session that I need more people in my life who will turn cartwheels for me.  Luckily, I found them…right there, locked up in a hotel ballroom, in Phoenix.