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!

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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.

How to Make a Facebook Interest List

It has been said time and time again: Facebook is a dick.

This is true for many reasons but for the sake of this post we’re strictly focusing on why we aren’t seeing exactly what we want to see in our own Facebook news feed. According to Facebook, what we see in our news feed is based off of an algorithm that uses factors like number of comments, who posted the story, and what type of post it is to determine what’s popular and what you should see when you log onto Facebook.

I follow quite a few pages – hey, because that’s what bloggers do – and when I log onto Facebook I want to see what I think is most interesting. I am not particularly down for reading about baby poop even though that update received a staggering 300+ likes in under five minutes. I’d rather see the link to a blog post I know my friend poured her heart and soul into but there is sits at the bottom of the popularity totem pole because it simply cannot compete with baby shit.

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What I finally realized is that I can create a Facebook Interest List. I had no idea I could do this and honestly don’t know when this tool became available since Facebook is always updating their layout and functions. Apparently, neither did several of my blogging peers.

Super quick story before I get to how to do it. I belong to a couple of secret Facebook blogging groups. We all do, right? Anyway, I was having dinner with a few friends (who happen to be in one of these Facebook groups) and told them how I make it a habit of hitting each one of their pages each day to show my support. They had no idea that you could make a specific list of Facebook pages and see only those pages with a Facebook Interest List. Boom. I looked like a rock star (or a total nerd, whatever).

How to make a Facebook Interest List

From your personal Facebook page, you will see the option to create an Interests List on your left side bar. Scroll down past pages, groups, and apps. This is a screen shot of my interests list. I’ve made two lists specific to the private blogging groups I belong to (yes…those are acronyms and I won’t be spilling what they mean!).

step-by-step-tutorial-facebook-interests-listsClick on the word “Interests” where a new window will open. Click the + Add Interests button in the top right corner to start a new list.

how-to-add-an-interest-list To keep going, hit the + Create List button. Facebook offers up some suggested lists here as well based on your friends.

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Choose from Pages, Following, or Friends on the left. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am choosing pages but you can definitely create a combination of pages and friends into one list if you choose.

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Search for the people or pages you want to follow. Here I’ve searched for my friend Megan’s Facebook page MamaBub because I don’t ever want to miss her awesome updates.

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Name your list. I’ve added 8 Super Cool People to this list but you can add as many or as little as you wish. I generally make my lists private as well for no real reason other than I feel like it.

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My Facebook Interests List is now complete and I can see exactly which pages I want to see in my news feed. Look at that…not one baby poop update in sight!

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If this How to Make a Facebook Interest List was at all helpful, would you please consider pinning it or sharing with your friends? Happy list making!

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?

New Pinterest Format

First of all, I’m not a tech blog so don’t except a whole lot of techy talk about the new Pinterest format here.  I’m just a a really big fan — for business and for pleasure — so I wanted to talk about the new Pinterest changes coming in the next few weeks.

I cringed a little when I saw the notification about  upgrading to the new format.  Ugh…First Facebook and now my beloved Pinterest.  I am not a huge fan of change.  Change takes time to re-learn things.  Yes, I know…change is good.  The new format is expected to roll out in the coming weeks.  Pinterest CEO, Ben Silbermann, says “the users profile pages of social network will gain a new face” adding that this will “make interactivity in Pinterest even easier.”

These are a few things I immediately noticed when I finally decided to upgrade to the new format:

1. Bigger photographs with more visual information of where it was pinned to.  This is a win in my book.

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2.  Are we just pinning now?  Not re-pinning?  I swear the options were “Re-Pin” and “Like” before — am I wrong?

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3.  No more Activity button.  Boo!  This missing feature bums me out the most because if I don’t see your pins in my stream, I would click onto your profile to see what things you’ve been pinning.  Pfft…no more Pinterest stalking, I guess.  That’s my friend Ashley below — you can follow her at http://pinterest.com/itsafitting/

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4.  Uploading pins directly to boards.  I think this function was available before but it was difficult to find.  You ask “why would I upload pins to a board?”  This allows the pinner to upload a photograph or graphic that might not be included in the blog post.  All you would do is add the specific URL.  Smart.  This allows more pins for one URL but different images!  You won’t oversaturate your followers’ stream with the same image if it’s pinned to several different boards.

And now a shameless plug to follow Pin This Space.  This is a collaborative board I contribute to.  Great and diverse bloggers pin fantastic stuff here.

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Now that I’ve updated my Pinterest account to the new format, I should really get over there and clean up my pins.  This includes outdated pins (like that outfit I thought was really cute two years ago), checking links, updating my board covers, and reorganizing my boards so that they are follower friendly.

Why don’t you click on over to my Pinterest and check out what I’ve changed.  Follow me while you’re at it, ok?

Got a collaborative Pinterest board you think I should be a part of?  Invite me!

Note:  I wrote this post after I changed to the new format.  The changes reflected are based off memory — and I have a terrible one.  So don’t go too hard on me if I’ve made an error.  

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Delete and Simplify.

I feel like purging every thing around me. Do you ever get like that? It must be the new year looming that makes me yearn to rent a dumpster and say goodbye to the stuff cluttering up the corners of my life.  I need to delete and simplify.

But where should I start?

delete and simplify

Well, renting a dumpster is unlikely. So, I’ll need to start small. I’m thinking I should start here — behind the keyboard.

Facebook is probably the number one culprit. Yes, I’ve already started un-friending people I really don’t consider friends. Ok, I’ll wait while you click over to Facebook to see if we’re still friendly. Here’s a secret: I’ve got two Facebook accounts. One is full of photos I share with family. The other is purely for blogging purposes. And then there is the Facebook fan page. It’s all very time consuming. I log off of one only to log on to the other. And, the not-so-secret Facebook groups? I’ve already removed myself from most of them in an attempt to quiet the ongoing chatter.

I love this post my friend Chloe wrote about Facebook friends. (I’m going to add the link it as soon as I can find it!)

Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Le sigh.

The plan for those accounts is just to scale back. Except for Pinterest because I big puffy heart Pinterest. It’s just fun. But, I will re-organize my boards over the next few days for sure – maybe even deleting entire boards and starting all over! Gasp, I know.

My friend Nat did a great tutorial on how to easily clean up your Pinterest boards.

What about the blog? By the way, apparently the number one rule about blogging is that you aren’t supposed to write about blogging. I think that’s so dumb. Anyway.

I’m working on a couple of projects that have nothing to do blogging in the coming year. So, my plan is to focus my energy on those projects which means that my posts might not be all that regular. Ha! My posts have never been regular! But, I’m just not going to stress about getting a post published because I feel like I have to. I’m the boss, right?

I think this a pretty good plan that will ultimately let me work on some other priorities going on in my life these days. We’ll see how it goes.

So, what’s your plan to simplify? Or do you even want to?