Monday, June 25, 2012

Social Media Lowdown

Lets face it, social media is everywhere. Its becoming more and more a necessary part of every one's life. Professionals, students, and stay home parents alike all turn to it to keep up with friends and colleagues. Odds are good your Grandma uses it. The same Grandma that needs help turning on her own cell phone can get on Facebook and post embarrassing stories about your childhood or inappropriate comments on your pictures. I speak from experience.

Thing is, there are so many options out there that it can get a bit daunting. So I decided to come up with a list of the ones you hear about the most and do a comparison on each of them. Pit them against each other in a match to the death so to speak. Talk about an intimidating feat. So, in the end, I had my list but I couldn't choose which were best for everyone. Seriously, every one has different needs. So, here you have the lowdown on the most heavily used social media sites and what they are about. Some you may not have heard of personally, but I guarantee you someone you know has.

Professional Networking:

Facebook- If you are here and don't know what Facebook is, you might should turn off your computer. Facebook is the kind of all powerful social media powerhouse for the time being. The place to connect with friends and collegues from all walks of life and a PR haven for business and bloggers alike to share information about pretty much anything and everything. Facebook does get flack for changing things around without any input from users but it is still the number one social network in the world.

Twitter- Is a micro blogging network. You 140 characters or less to get your point across. The short format of the tweet is a defining characteristic, allowing informal collaboration and quick information sharing. The Twitter atmosphere tends to be a lot more candid and entertainment based than the more personal feel of some social networks. 

Google+ - The newbie of the social networking sites, this one is also run by Google. The identification by some as Google's attempt to topple the Facebook empire is not entirely accurate.While it will be used as the general public as a basic social network tool to keep up with friends, it also has some powerful business networking applications as well. Much like LinkedIn.

LinkedIn- The biggest business and professional networking site reporting more than 120 million registered users, spanning more than 196 countries. Chances are, if you have worked with someone, they have a LinkedIn profile. This is a perfect way to keep track of references and maintain your resume with updated information. Its a great way to make new professional connections as well, whether its looking for a new job or the right person to complete a project for you.

Ecademy-  A membership organisation for entrepreneurs and business owners who want belong to a community that connects, supports and transacts with one another.  Ecademy prides itself on "connecting business people" through its online network, blog and message-board chats. A more personal approach to business networking. This one has gotten a lot of flack in the past for their staff being.. less than approachable.

Reddit/ Digg/ Stumble Upon- Places to upload stories and articles to drive more traffic to your site or blog. The trick is to upload often to keep your page fresh and at the top of peoples list. Can be pretty time consuming but usually worth it in the long run.

YouTube- Kind of like Facebook in if you haven't heard of it, you might shouldn't be reading this. YouTube, owned and operated by Google, is the place online to host your videos. If you are posting the video online, you need it posted on YouTube. Great for personal "vlogging" or more in depth behind-the-scenes video or even just pictures of your kids being cute, YouTube is the place to get it noticed.

SoundCloud- An online audio distribution platform which allows collaboration, promotion and distribution of audio recordings by anyone with a computer. This is a great resource for bands to share and collaborate as well as a platform for musicians to distribute their music, by allowing recording artists to react more nimbly with their fans. It has quickly replaced MySpace as the place to have a band page. Something that sorely needed doing.


Personal Networking:

Path- The first cell phone only based social network created by Dave Morin (previously of Facebook) aims to create a more intimate connection among its users. Path limits each user's social network to 50 "friends" in order to encourage users to select only high-quality connections. Sharing is simplified and easy to control with no messy settings to configure.

Foursquare/ Gowalla/ Location Based Apps-  Location based (geotagging) mobile social networks that allow you to share your location with people of your choice including publishing to your social networks. The safety of these type of networks, allowing people to see when you are away or where you are, has been questioned by some and rightly so but like with all public information, just be careful what you share.

Cafemom -  This is a place for moms to connect. They can find information regarding all walks of life with kids from pregnancy to adulthood. One of the key draws about this site is the groups which provide a tight network of like minded moms depending on topics they choose.

Classmates.com- A site that allows you to search for your old classmates and connect with them through various outlets. This was huge awhile backbut the only problem is, not everyone got around to creating any type of profile before Facebook took over.

Flickr- A photo networking site which allows you to connect with others based on type or style. Also a place for amateur photographers to be discovered and sell a few pieces.

Meetup.Com- Meetup is an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world. It makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.


Blogging:

LiveJournal- This one is a community based blogging platform. Two users can have no relationship, they can list each other as friends mutually, or either can "friend" the other without reciprocation. Think a mix between Facebook and blogging (Nerd Factoid: they were the originators of the word "friend" being used as a verb). This was one of the original outlets for people looking to start a blog.

Tumblr-Combines the microblogging platform and social networking much like any other. Known more for a quick, short posting style, it moves more like Twitter in a longer format. You have the option to "like" or "reblog" posts within the Tumblr network which is something not offered by most blogging platforms.

Wordpress- A free, open source blogging tool based on PHP and MySQL, this is the only major blogging platform that utilizes the content management system (CMS) . It has many features including a plug-in architecture and a template system. Wordpress has a free and a paid option. The paid option has a growing reputation for being a money pit. Everything will cost you. In general you get what you pay for.

Blogger- Started by Pyra Labs in 1999, this is one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, it is credited for helping popularize the format. Blogger was then bought out by Google in 2003 and became a powerhouse for blogging. Exceedingly simple, Blogger's flexibility and low cost (mostly free) still draws a huge majority of new bloggers annually. 


Friday, June 22, 2012

Littles Makes A Friend

My Little K monster made a few friends at the aquarium a little while back!
 

Disney - Pixar "Brave" Hits Theaters Today! (Review)


You've been hearing about Disney's newest big summer movie for awhile now, right? That means you are either bursting with excitement on checking it out with (or without) your little ones as soon as you can get some tickets in your hot little hands. I know I have been itching to see it since the first trailer came out and have been following it like a hawk ever since. I am not usually one to seek out and follow kids movies but something about Brave caught my attention and held me in. I was lucky and got to experience Brave early. Its okay, be jealous. No really, be jealous because Disney's newest is just.. amazing.

The story of Merida is nothing like any other animated film I have ever seen. This is not your typcial, musical damsel in distress type thing. “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). It takes the princess type movie to a whole new level. The story of Merida and her fight to take charge of her fate by defying an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane) through any means possible. Merida inadvertently unleashes chaos, forcing her to discover the meaning of true bravery before it’s too late. It left me inspired and feeling oddly confident about some of the challenges I am facing. Strong and bullheaded but all in all, she has a good heart. Brave is about finding the balance between the two of them and making them work for you, not against you.

I took my mother to the preview and let me tell you, there wasn't a tissue between us by the time the movie came to an end. We laughed and cried pretty much the entire time. It was a perfect mother daughter film but it is also action packed enough that even the most discerning man in your life is sure to have a grand time. Lets just say it struck a chord with us. The strongwilled, tom boy daughter and the prim and proper, tradition hawk mother? Yeah, familiar to say the least. Plus, having spent some time in Scotland, we got a lot of the hidden jokes that pop up and the animation makes for a stunning rendering of the beautiful Scottish countryside. 


I'll admit though, some of the scenes are quite intense. While there isn't any gorey type violence, Merida and her mother get into some dark, villain type trouble. Think Maleficent kind of scary. Dark and evil that has been somewhat missing from the last few big Disney films. I am not sure that D would like it and I know that it would scare K. Just something to keep in mind if your younger ones are sensitive or prone to being scared. 


All in all, I have to say, this movie certainly did not disappoint. Start to finish it was a rollicking, powerfully good time. Safe to say it has made onto my favorite kids movies after having only seen it once. Which is huge. Its the kind of movie that I can see watching over and over again, catching something different every time. Its rich. Rich in detail, rich in plot, rich in soul. Perfect. 






Ready to pick up some tickets? Get them while they're hot!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Absence Repealed

I admit it. I've been rather absent the last few months. Lots of events and not much meat. Please, just trust me when I say that has been for the best. For all of us. My life right now is... complicated to say the least and while I would normally fill you all in with all its screwy detail, its just not the right time. Just suffice it to say that I am well on my way to being a single mama. The boys and I are okay. We have each other. All of your prayers and love has been heard though. Through email, Facebook and Twitter. You miss me (You like me! You really like me!), I get it. I appreciate it more than you will ever know.

Anyway, you are all due an update.

The boys are amazing. Seriously you guys, every time I think I can't love these two little men more than I already do, my heart grows by leaps and bounds again. They still just adore each other and of course they adore Bob. Bob has fit into our crazy kind of love like a missing piece. He is seriously the most gentle, laid back animal I have ever seen. Almost too laid back sometimes I'm afraid. K loves to snuggle up with Bob in the floor and watch TV. Seriously, cutest thing you've ever seen. Of course Bob loves to run but that is kind of what he is made to do after all. We make sure and take him to the park to run with us as much as possible and the boys just love chasing him around. Of course when they chase him, he stops running and refuses to start again until they are in another area and the cycle starts over. He has become quite the celebrity in our neighborhood too with everyone knowing his name and always speaking to him and giving him some love pats.
D is looking more and more like a big kid all the time. I told my mother last night that he is looking more and more like a 5 year old all the time. Which is breaking my poor mama heart. Of course he still has those squishy cheeks that are just right for kissing and pinching. I hope he never loses them. I can't believe he will be five in a few months. FIVE. That's halfway to puberty you guys! What the heck! That is so not allowed!

He is, as always, my little man. He is serious and opinionated and loves with his whole self. D is seeing a counselor to help him deal with some of his stress regarding our situation and what not and it has really helped his personality evolve. Not that he needed improvement, he is just.. more HIM than ever.

D is smart and strong and opinionated (did I mention opinionated?) and awesome and perfectD has a huge imagination. He loves to play and dress up. His sense of humor has really started to show itself again. He is hilarious. The things he says and does sometimes just make every one around laugh. Its a side of him I haven't seen in... years? Too long for sure. 

K is silly as always too. He is my little lover boy who lives for kisses and snuggles but loves to run and cause mayhem whenever possible too. Of course, that is kind of what the is made for, kind of like Bob.

He talks all. the. time. Seriously. Its almost comical. K's inner monologue isn't so much internal as it is an external stream of thoughts kind of monologue. He is so smart though. You can just sit and listen to him play and he reasons things out so much better than his brother did at this age.

Of course if you displease him, he still turns into hulk baby. Hulk baby smash and rage! All I can say about that is we are working on it. His patience is evolving in every area except food. He has no patience when it comes to food. He is the kind of kid that doesn't always eat because he is hungry, he is an emotional eater.

Trip and bonk his head? Needs a cheese stick.

Fall and hurt his bum? Needs some crazies (craisins).

Had a fun run at the park? Needs a four course meal.

I swear, its all I can do to keep the kid fed. He is getting taller though so that is helping out with the silly fat kid stumble he has done for so long. In fact, K can kick a soccer ball while running better than any kid his age I've ever seen. Watch out Beckham.

I? I am surviving. I have been under extreme amounts of stress and it has taken its toll physically. It makes my OA much worse, even in the heat which is usually my "good" time of year.

Then there is the issue of my heart. Guys, it damn near gave out on me on my birthday. For reals. Not good. Some day I will try to type the drama revolving around my 31st birthday for you. It was by far the scariest day of my life.

Otherwise I am doing well. I have lost a little more weight since March. Not as dramatically but its more turning fat into muscle at this point. I am getting stronger, emotionally and physically, every day. I am learning to let things go and ask for help in order to preserve and persevere. Both of which have always been hard for me.

At any rate, thats where we are right now. As for RMM? There are changes a-comin'. I am going to be working on some physical changes to the blog as well as some content changes as well. Like I said before, I know its been mostly event related in the last few months, which is great and all, but I am growing restless and I know you probably are too. Reviews and events are great but I have much more to say. Some of the shenanigans that go on around here... Pure hilarity. That and I will have to start the obnoxious but necessary practice of watermarking my photos because unfortunately certain people think they are public domain. All I ask is your patience while I get back on my feet. Both literally and figuratively.

Thanks for your patience, your kindness, and your support. It means the world. Seriously.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mama's Birthday Cake #WW

My D made me a card. I think his handwriting is better than mine..

#ShutUpImOld
My candle blowing helper
Licking the icing off the bottom of the candles.

K though we were supposed to EAT the candles. He was sorely disappointed. 
The cake was better.
D liked the sprinkles the best.

*Disclaimer: My Birthday was a week ago but I have been essentially bed bound because of some health issues. More on that later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Big Adventure at @ImagineItCMA!



School’s out for the summer! Now what to do with the kids? Visit the Museum between May 26 – September 9, 2012 and experience The Big Adventure. This feature exhibit is a 3-D game board that will encourage children’s natural desire to explore and investigate while challenging their physical abilities with fun activities.


Children can explore Adventure Mountain and The Tunnels of Fun, where they will climb a six-foot wall of rocks, crawl through dark tunnels and, finally, reach the Crow’s Nest for a bird’s eye view of the other adventures throughout the exhibit.

From there, visitors might decide to brave Out on a Ledge where they appear to be three-
stories in the air, moving from building to building on a thin beam. Looking down, children
will see firemen ready to catch them, but by keeping their balance and using their smarts,
adventurers will make it safely to the other side.

Next, children can fly through the air on the Virtual Flyer, a kid-size airplane that requires team
work. Children work together to dodge a flying saucer, hot-air balloons, ducks, mountains and
even an oversized monster looking for dinner!

The adventure continues as children escape alligators when visiting River Crossing: Bridge
Out! and cruise The Main Drag, where they will explore a variety of surfaces and vehicles.

For a mental challenge, adventurers can try Charlie’s Web and create a six-and-a-half-foot web challenge of their own.

The interactive activities which make up The Big Adventure provide fun, dramatic, exciting,
unique and challenging experiences that are great for young minds and bodies. Children will
have the opportunity to choose adventures that appeal to them, identify challenges, solve
problems, make decisions, set goals, enhance creativity and gain confidence.


Museum hours: Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $12.75 plus tax for adults and children ages 2 and above; children under 2 are free. Imagine It! is located in the Lucky Marietta District at 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Atlanta Baby Shower Expo


Its coming and its bigger and better than ever! The Atlanta Baby Shower Expo is hitting the Gwinnett Convention Center this weekend! Expecting, have a new baby, or even a toddler? Come out to check out one of the many exhibitors including big names like Aveeno, MAM, and Babies R Us and get all of your comparing and shopping done in one afternoon!

While your there be sure and jump in on the huge Diaper Party being hosted by Atlanta's very own Atlanta Diaper Relief! Let them shower you with Diapers and information about Diapers. Sat and Sun 2pm-3pm in The Baby Shower Theater, come early because there are no assigned seats! With limited seating available you'll want to be sure and get your tickets and seat early! (Deluxe admission ticket is required.)

After all that excitement, you'll want to check out the Mom Spa Indulgence area. A perfect time for mom-to-be and her guest to be pampered, Featuring massages and prenatal massages to ease lower back pain, relieve tired legs or simply enjoy being nurtured. Plus milk foot bath ritual (courtesy of Milkology Beauty).

Want to learn from the masters? Check out a session by the infamous Dr. Oz or Liza Huber while the daddy to be checks out the Dad's Zone, complete with games and activities tailor made for dad, including- the dad relay for the chance to win great prizes.

With this much to do you are going to have your hands full! Not just with fabulous information but maybe even some awesome take home swag! So be sure and invite the grandparents to be, aunts, uncles, sisters and cousins to check it out with you!

Ready to grab your tickets?

Tickets start at $10 online and are $15 at the door (Kids 12 and under FREE). First 500 PEOPLE TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE will receive a Vera Bradley Bag filled with samples and products from our Sponsors.(Dolphin Organics, Enfamil, MAM, Baby Legs, Northwest Naturals, Maty’s Health Products, Enwrapped, Premama, Cryo-cell international, Aveeno and many more!).

Want to win a set of 4 tickets for you and your family? Check out the Rafflecopter below! The best part is that TWO families will win!! Hurry though! The winners will be chosen and emailed Friday Morning and you will only have one hour to email me back!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tweeting in the Garden at @ATLBotanical


Cocktails in the Gardens just got a new twist! 

During June, guests at the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s 10th annual Thursday night “social irrigation” party may be admitted for only $10 (regular $18.95 admission) bytaking advantage of a special discount offered only to Twitter followers. They simply follow the Garden on Twitter @AtlBotanical, ReTweet the offer posted @AtlBotanical and then show proof of the RT on their smart phones at Admissions. Details at cocktailsinthegarden.org.

From May - September, guests enjoy specialty cocktails, live music from the city’s hottest deejays, and tantalizing cooking demonstrations by the Garden Chef every Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. Each month, the Garden creates a fun theme by pairing a cocktail with a plant; June’s theme is Hydrangeas and Honeybees.

In addition, cash bars throughout the Garden offer an array of other cocktails as well as beer and wine, and dinner may be purchased at the MetroFresh in the Garden cafĂ©. As the only opportunity to stroll the Garden at night -- when romantic sunsets and fragrant blossoms cast an alluring spell – Cocktails in the Garden makes for both the perfect date night and a fun outing among friends.

Admission is $18.95, which includes one free-drink coupon (not valid with Twitter offer); Garden members are admitted for free. For more information, visit atlantabotanicalgarden.org.

The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. The Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE and open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and until 10 p.m. on Thursdays.

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