Half-assed free ways to promote your blog posts

Just because I know 20 ways to promote a blog post doesn’t mean I promote my blog post 20 ways. It is a big huge blogging world out there and it can be hard to find your audience if you are a half-assed blogger. Here is a numbered list (because the blog gods like them) to work with if you are motivated, organized, and patient. My blog is a self hosted WordPress blog. Some of these things work only for WordPress. Some work everywhere. Some may work nowhere.

Low Hanging Fruit (Easy)

  1. Stumble thumbs up your own post. I do this 100% of the time. SU is my third biggest referrer and the absolute easiest thing I do. I also make sure I thumbs up pages that I like in the world outside of my blog. Then SU thinks I am useful. I have my stumble bar open all the time. I don’t have many followers and I still get clicks on my posts.
  2. Have each blog post pushed to your Facebook Page. The Facebook WordPress plug in does this for me. I don’t remember angsting over setting it up so it must have been super simple. Facebook is my second biggest referrer.
  3. Share that Facebook post onto your own timeline. AFTER you have clicked through to the post. Facebook math penalizes promotion that happen without link follows. I don’t know how they know or why they care but they do and they do.
  4. Tweet your blog post from within your blog. I have tried lots of social share buttons. None seems to work better than the other. Right now I am running Ultimate Social Deux. Because it sounds fancy and, like, the best.  Feel free to do this every day for a while.Those twitter feeds can handle repeat tweets. Also use hashtags like the ones in this article. My favorite hashtag #amnotwriting. It hasn’t caught on yet though. Want to follow me?
  5. Share your post on Linked In. Try to skip the ones with swear words and drug use if you might someday be using linked in for professional reasons. I hear people do that. Linked in is pretty low on my click back list. But then again I only share the posts without swears so that limits a whole bunch of what I write. Want to link up?
  6. Share your blog on G+. I share to the public. It is less effective than Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Facebook. and Reddit. It is easy though. Particularly because I do this through my Buffer dashboard. What is buffer? I will tell you about this at the end. So keep on reading.
  7. Share your post on reddit. It is easy because there is a reddit button to add to your browser. It is difficult because readers there are intense. You need to select the correct subreddit or people will tear you a new one. I posted a sex post on the wtf subreddit. My post was called Fuck your husband. It seemed like a fit. IT WAS NOT A FIT. They let me know. In fact they let me know so clearly that I have started a new account just today.  That said it does send readers over even if they are an angry sort.

Takes Set Up but is free (Medium)

  1. Share your blog on Medium. I started. Then I stopped. Now I am going to start again. I plan to post only my posts that feel literary or are about writing. I love the clean look and unlike all of the other cluttery content sources out there my feed is unspoiled and of great interest. Here I am.
  2. Flip your blog onto a flipboard magazine. I have a magazine for my blogposts and then topic magazines so I flip each post twice. Or I theoretically do. I often forget to go back and re-flip. I am very new at using flipboard so I can’t give a huge review but I can say it is better than google plus. Which is praising with faint damn. Want to follow me?
  3. Share your post on IG. This is frustrating to me because you are supposed to use all 30 of your hastags #writer, #blogger #parenting #parentsofinstagram #petsofinstagram #someotherthingsofinstagram AND people have to click to your bio to see the post. This annoys me. So I pretty much just take pictures of flowers and cars an small dogs. Zero of my traffic comes from here. Follow me if you like cats, dogs, flowers, cars and architecture. Oh, and graffiti. Also food. If you like none of those you are obviously some sort of heathen.
  4. Pin your blog onto Pinterest. Elena is the expert at maximizing pinning strategy. I pay for someone to design my pins and Tailwind to pin the shit out of them. See below.
  5. Share your blog on Bloglovin’ I have an account. I try to follow people in my niche. I usually forget it.
  6. Share your blog on Blogher. This takes bios and copies and pastes. It does send some traffic back. In 6 months I had 233 click backs from the few posts that I shared. That said I stopped doing it. Like so many things it might have been a slow climb to actual effective promotion but there are only so many hours in the day.
  7. Add click to tweet boxes to your posts. Click on them. I use Easy Click to Tweet Boxes by Cheeky Apps. (Not an affiliate link. That would be difficult to set up.) I do this less than 10% of the time. I don’t track its efficacy. Try to remember to add your twitter handle in your click to tweet box. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Add click to tweet boxes to your posts. Click on them. via @annawritesstuff[/Tweet] Classic. It is not working. I’ll leave it here to remind us of the real life of blog promotion. Maybe I will update the plug in.
  8. Share your blog on Facebook Group Boards. Before you click on over you need to be ready to read, comment and share other people’s posts. This is the honor system and there is no honor in pasting your link and flying out of there. Here are my top three group boards. 1. 2. 3.
  9. Share your post on Triberr. I set this up. I never went back.

Takes Set up (maybe) and money (Hard)

  1. Pinterest (the way I do it.) Make a custom pin for each post. I have a blog board. Then I have topic boards. Then I have many group boards. I share each pin at least 25 times using Tailwind. I set intervals so I don’t share the pin in a spammy way. I also pay someone to make my pins. As you can see in the last 6 months Pinterest has been my biggest referrer. If you want to include all of the UK, NZ and other international Pinterest boards you will be even more impressed.
  2. Promote your post on other blogs. I have paid two bloggers to link back to my work. It has cost 1.38/day. I earn $3.52 a day.
  3. Scoop.it  I have never tried it. I have a friend who loves it. Figured I’d throw it in here. For it to work you need to upgrade from the free trial. Let me know if any of you love it.
  4. BUFFER. Some of you love Hootsuite, some of you love co-scheduler, some of you love Edward, some of you love buffer and some of you are drowning in social media. I pay for buffer and use it for the facebook groups I admin, the middle school page I run (which I mix up and Gary helps set me straight) and all of my various twitter, linked in, google plus IG, etc etc etc. Not only can I share my post with a single click but I can schedule and re-post popular posts as well as get analytics. I would be even more grumpy without buffer.

So that is that.This list of ways to promote your blog is exhausting if not exhaustive.  [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]This list of ways to promote your blog is exhausting if not exhaustive via @annawritesstuff. [/Tweet] (Nope. still not working). I am going to use every one of these methods to promote this post. HA. I will use a few of them. Do me a favor…tell me how you got to this post, and add on your own blog promotion tips. Particularly if they are free and easy.

Make your blog go viral – 12 tools for the lazy blogger

I have never had a post go viral. So the first thing you can do as a lazy blogger is stop reading right now. Still, I have been blogging seriously for a year and have tripled my readership. I have regular gigs writing outside of my blog and make enough cash to offset all of the services that you see below. Particularly the free services.

  1. Headline analyzer
    I still haven’t nailed the headline

    Co Schedule Headline Analyzer.  I love puns. I love obscure shadowy references. But I also love traffic and shares. The tool I use to make sure my posts (for the most part) are optimized for clicks is Co-Schedule Headline analyzer. I enter my rough headline and scroll down for analysis. In a glance I know the type of headline I have chosen, the mix of words- power/emotion/ etc. It takes trial and error to improve my grade but in three or four minutes (faster than a Yugo) I can go from the red to the green. I have never scored 100. A girl can dream. Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer.

  2. Unsplash writer search
    Unsplash writer search

    Unsplash. I share this with a heavy heart. It is sort of like when you have an incredible baby sitter that makes your kids as happy as you about date night and you give his name to a friend. It is hard to share. I use Unsplash to illustrate almost every post I write. I’m sure they say it more poetically but I’ll sum it up as a simple site full of free high def images. You can use them anywhere for any reason without attribution. A few weeks ago I was generous enough to share this site with a small group of writers and one of those bitches talented ladies used some of my favorite images. I’m sure I will be just as understanding with all of you. Unsplash

  3. Buffer dashboard
    Look at all of those profiles in one place!

    Buffer.  I broke up with Hootsuite about a year ago. My relationship with Buffer has much less angst. It allows me to post to one or all of my profiles. It has an advance scheduler that I can view by the day or week or month. If I want to change the time it is drag and drop (so good, so easy.) Or I can allow Buffer to send out those things when they can get the most love. I can analyze the stats of my posts and simply click “re-buffer” to send things out again. If I want I can a/b test by changing up the call to action in the headline. It is a breeze. The only downside is that I have to have twitter going to read incoming tweets (unlike Hootsuite which has incoming streams as well as outgoing). I can’t imagine participating in social media without it. Wasn’t there some sort of headache remedy called “bufferine”? That can’t be a coincidence. Buffer.

  4. Blogging Anarchy facebook group
    Good tagline, right?

    Blogging Facebook Groups. There are 100s of groups. Maybe even thousands. At their worst they are time sucks. Frankly even at their best they take time. Some allow you to pimp your channels without real engagement, some have strict guidelines, some have bloggers with such specific niches it feels like an onion article, and some are a series of sales pitches. Yet there are a few special group that boost your traffic and build your relationships. My top three blogging facebook groups are. Blog Share Learn– BSL is robust and interactive with daily threads to share your own posts and additional opportunities to support your social media following. Bloppy Bloggers– BB is slightly quirky and always interactive with a small but super engaged group (and often humorous) writers. Blogging Anarchy– the name says it all. Do whatever you want. Post, don’t post. Share, don’t share. Comment, don’t comment. Despite (because of?) this attitude I have made some friends and followers from this new group of writers.

  5. Pinterest pin making service
    Look at those low low prices

    Pinterest Pin service. I found Katie in two (maybe even three?) of the above FB groups. She always had the best looking pins for pinterest and the traffic to match. Luckily for me (and you) she realized the rest of us needed her. For a super low price she will make you pins. I have opted for even more of her help and she re-organized my boards and even does some of my pinning for me using analytics to post to great group boards. My inbound clicks from Pinterest have gone from 2 a day to 65 a day. The best part is these readers have a 20% bounce rate. That is incredibly low. The pins have enough content to have interested them…so when they click to read more they actually want to read more. Additionally Pinterest, unlike other social media platforms is not time sensitive. Pins pay off long after they have been posted. Check out her services here.

  6. Beyond Your Blog logo
    You can’t quite see how much vital information is represented by this logo.

    Beyond Your Blog. This is the website that inspired me get my writing published outside of my blog. BYB has podcasts with editors from pretty much every publication you can think of explaining what they are looking for in a submission. BYB posts links to paid and free opportunities and has huge free lists of sites that accept syndicated content. All of these are arranged by topic area. Add to this anthologies and regular success stories and you have a place of inspiration and information. I can’t think of another site that combines all of the tools to make your words leap from your blog to the world wide web.   Start Here.

  7. Ad block stats
    9,000 clicks I didn’t have to make.

    Adblock. This chrome extension doesn’t actually help me get clicks on my blog. But it does keep me from throwing my laptop across the room from dealing with incessant pop ups so that allows me to continue writing. Which then allows me to continue posting. Which drives traffic to my site. Look at the 9,000+ clicks I didn’t have to make in the 3 weeks I have had Adblock installed. That probably equates to 100 eye rolls, 90 deep sighs, 10 screams of outrage, and at least 20 minutes of my life that I didn’t waste.

  8. Click to Tweet. Honestly this has probably brought me 28 clicks in the three months I have been using it. However it is a way to break of a block of text (which is always a good thing with you lazy readers) that might serve a function. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Click to Tweet: It takes about two seconds to add a tweet box and makes me feel like a pro. [/Tweet]
  9. Askimet stats
    I could watch Fletch. With commercials.

    Askimet. There was a time when I didn’t reply to comments on my blog. I know. I know. Blogging etiquette 101. The reason? The viagra ads. Its not that I don’t espouse a healthy sex life because I DO.  It’s just that the comments got lost in a sea of little blue pills. Or some less appropriate analogy. Askiment is a Word Press Plug in that seems to love viagra. It gobbles up all of those spam comments itself. Askimet.

  10. Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 4.01.31 PMSumome. Even though it looks like Sue me  Sumome is a free and super simple email subscriber plug in. You can customize the pop up to be more pretty and less annoying than most. I don’t sell anything so my subscriber list is worth $0 and 0 cents. Those of you who do though are supposed to value each email address at $1. I think I read once. Just ignore that last bit. Even though giving me your email doesn’t give me any actual cash it does send my posts to your inbox. Almost all of my subscribers read my posts. If I ever did sell anything stats say about 1% of them would buy it. So lets build our lists. Sumome.
  11. Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 4.18.21 PMMail Chimp. Sumome needs a friend. Its best friend happens to be a chimp. A mail chimp. This email tool is free (for most of us) and super easy to use. Plus you can look at a cute chimp logo. Mail Chimp. He is so little but so happy and see his hat? He will deliver your electronic letters for you.
  12. Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 4.23.45 PMTrello. Trello is a super flexible easy to use system for lists, assignments and more. I found Trello back when I was developing apps with a team (a cheap team) and we could watch each other accomplish what we needed to move a project forward. We could also watch each other forget steps and ignore the worst bits of the project. Used alone it is a way to track post ideas, add details and access all of the above from anywhere. Trello.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 2.21.05 PMTo reward those of you who made it all the way down here I will share my happy ending.

I now have a post that has gone viral. And no, it is not this one…yet.  This pin has sent me over 250,000 readers in a month.In fact I am such a basic user that I was never able to track down who to thank for all of that traffic. Scroll back on up to #5 above and for $5 you can be a lazy pinner with pins poised to go viral.

The headline analyzer told me it was a good headline. And I listened. I would not say that it is the best image I have on my author board. That thing is filled with bras and kittens. Yet somehow this is the one that took off.  Those are the sort of results that this lazy blogger loves.

Want to read more about boosting blog traffic? Here is a cheap book.



What we can learn from dogs…eye contact trumps icontact.

Dog looking at the cameraAll around me people are running with their dogs. It is Denver after all. I am taking very small steps trying not to slip on the ice. When I moved here I was told the city didn’t plow because the sun took car of the snow in a day or two. Last winter that was brilliant. This winter…not so much.

As I take my next tiny step a dog pulls very close to me, straining against his owners leash. I am not a dog person. Yet I find this dog charming. He is so gangly and charming. It is as if he is grinning at me as he tries to get closer. I am the best thing he has seen all morning. In fact I might be the best thing he has seen EVER.

I look at his owner, hoping to give her a smile to show her my appreciation for her side kick but she is looking at her phone. She gives him a sharp tug and he returns to her side. His large neck cranes back at me, his lost love. What a thing we could have been.

It the the most eye contact I have had all morning. After ordering my ginger peach tea and veggie empanada at the coffee shop I sat with my head down in front of my laptop. If I had looked up I would have seem a room full of me. Taller, more like a man, blonder, but all as committed to their computers as I was. Its not the work I wonder about. For many of us this is a virtual office. Its the time between, the walks to and fro. The bathroom breaks and bus tubs. Why are we making more “icontact” than eye contact?

cat staringWhen I got home I decided to ask my cat. She simply stared at me. Then stared. Then stared some more. I tried not to blink but like usual she won. I used my eyes to communicate to her the difference between staring and looking. I was attempting to model the  communication that comes from eye contact rather than the weird icy feeling that her endless stare brings to me. She would only stare back. It was like we were at a cocktail party and she was peering just a tiny bit over my head, showing me my lack of importance in her world.

I wonder why I am not a dog person.

In the not so distant past people fell between cats and dogs in the warmth of their eye contact. It wasn’t exactly love at first site like my canine Romeo, but we didn’t used to look at each other with such doubt and derision.

smart phoneThen the smart phone came along and our casual social interactions got a lot more dumb. When we look up from our devices it takes a minute to exit the virtual world and enter the world of 5 sense. By the time we have landed back on the planet that person walking down the street has passed without a smile.

These days I think people don’t fall between cats and dogs, but are more like fish, swimming around in our world of one, almost unaware of the beings around us.

I’m doing my part to change this…I am putting down the device when I am in public and am opting for eye contact rather than icontact. I am even less of a fish person than a dog person.

crowded fish bowl

What about you? Are you most like the dog, the cat, or the fish? Do you want to join me in trying to increase eye contact?Learning from pets

How to find 112 extra minutes in your day

Slice of clockI know there is something you are missing from your day. Perhaps it is meditation, reading an actual novel, taking a long walk,or sorting through your files…well maybe not sorting through your files. We all need a little extra time for ourselves. Think of the difference an hour would make.

  1. 7:00. Skip the snooze. Just admit when you get up and set your alarm for that time. Put the alarm across the room and get your butt out of bed. No snooze button means no sneaky second snooze. Studies also say that snoozing makes you more tired so not only have you gained time but energy too. (8 minutes)
  2. 7:00. Ditch the top sheet. Its useless. It tangles in your toes and dangles off the bed. You know you are washing the duvet anyways so having a top sheet increases your laundry without any real benefit. Most importantly it saves time making the bed. (1 minute saved)
  3. 7:15. Stop following instructions. Lather, rinse, repeat. One of those three is bull. Should I repeat myself? (3 minutes saved)
  4. 7:30. Write on your white board. Don’t nag the kids. Let them list their morning routine and move through it on their own. Focus on packing your own lunch. They are more likely to eat what they choose for themselves, and you are more likely to say goodbye rather than good riddance as they leave for school. (10 minutes saved)
  5. 7:45. Let breakfast be the main event. Instead of ipads, computers, or even magazines try to have your plate keep you company.  In addition to finishing more quickly you will taste and enjoy your food, get a better handle on portion size, and get get mentally set for the day. (5 minutes)
  6. 12:00. Bring your own lunch. Hopefully eat outside with friends. This is the time for eye contact rather than icontact. Skipping Panera keeps down the calories, cash, and seconds. (15 minutes saved)
  7. 2:30. Designate a break. This is the time to go online. Experience the magic of the internet. Or nap if you have one of these. (this is the best part of the whole post so go on and click.)  Keep it to 15 minutes to stay fresh. (5 minutes saved by limiting your time.)
  8. 5:30. Save the surfing for the summer. As your concentration dwindles at the end of the day stay offline. Make some stacks of papers, write tomorrow’s list, go over your calendar, and cross an i or dot a t (or the opposite.) Staying offline gets you out the door and gives you a jump start on tomorrow. (15 minutes saved.)
  9. Shop on Sundays. If you plan your meals and shop on the weekend for lunches snacks and dinners you can save those crowded exhausting last minute food shop stops. (25 minutes saved)
  10. 6:00. Follow your meal plan. It helps to be realistic. If you often eat our or order pizza then only plan 3 dinners. If one is fish you will be forced to cook it or smell the consequences. Not having to think of the meal at 6:00 saves time and patience. (10 minutes)
  11. 6:30. Establish an evening routine. A small block of time that becomes a habit saves a lot of angst and arguing. By now our family has dinner, contributions, homework down to a 60 minute span. There is little to no discussion or procrastination. (infinite amount of time saved. Lets call it 15 minutes.)

Disclosure. I only follow 5 of the 11. If I add one more I will break 50%. That sounds like a win to me. What about you? Do you do any of these things? Can you add any other tips?

Freedom v Security

Oliver asked me which I valued more, freedom or safety.

I asked him what made him think of that question, assuming I would have to revise my opinion about the level of discourse amongst third graders. Nope. It was from a Pokemon movie. Perhaps I need to revise my opinion about Pokemon movies. The plot was about cloned Pokemons who were being targeted for not being natural Pokemons. From his rambling description he told me that they were then being corraled to be protected. He wouldn’t tell me the end because I “have to watch it.” But I imagine they slanted towards freedom. Because that was his answer when I put the question to him. “Definitely freedom.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this question lately, which made it particularly odd to have Oliver pose it to me.

I’ve read these two articles.

This one. Where a female journalist with a strong online presence receives death threats and reveals how incredibly common that is amongst female writers.

And this one. Where a male journalist takes on the task of fixing online misogyny.

If it were simply a question of freedom versus security I would choose freedom every time. However, as the internet becomes the main marketplace, workplace, and match meeting place we need to revisit our ability to provide any security at all.

The question of internet freedom has been front and center with Snowden, but whistleblowing on the government feels so separate from our day to day lives that I’m not sure many of us consider how that legislature can and will effect us.

Amanda Hess’ story of serial stalking and threatened beheading is not singular but is certainly frightening. Mostly for her, but also for those of us who put ourselves out there, and for all of us as we continue to contemplate what people are thinking about in their private moments.

I wrote yesterday about my own outburst that borders on abuse. I think there is a dark side to all of us and the internet allows people a seemingly anonymous way to express it. The fact that these expressions rarely lead to actions might calm us in general, but not in particular. Amanda carries her cyber stalker’s restraining order with her, and some of her colleagues have stopped promoting their online events.

It will only take one brutal real world case to turn theory into fact and create a response beyond the “report abuse” button. That button erases tweets and chat threads from view and (hopefully) files them in a place where they can be accessed by investigators and police. I imagine there is a time that those flagged entries will be viewed without a subpoena.

It comes back to the question of freedom versus security. For there to be real cyber cops, and increased safety, there will be less privacy, and ultimately less freedom.

I want Amanda to feel safe. I’m not sure I believe in the efficacy of policing the entire internet.

I don’t have an answer, but when in doubt I lean towards freedom rather than security. Just like Oliver. And Pokemon.

What about you?


Frozen Caveman TV prescription.


I had dinner with a friend last night. The rare, one on one, for no reason at all, bread breaking. Neither of us were at our most animated but we covered lots of ground. I expected to leave and write a post about motivation, the difference between translation and interpretation, and how running is absolutely not like flying.

Instead I find myself coming back again and again to her throw away comment that she hadn’t watched any TV in 20 years. None. For the past few years she has begun to dip her toe in the water of current TV. So I will focus on 1990-2010. Good years.

Its a lot like the frozen caveman situation…but just about TV, which obviously is almost as critical. So I will prepare a prescription that will take not entirely 20 years. I’m  factoring in that she (and I) like relationship driven talkies. What that means is I have 90210 on here, and not Breaking Bad. Think of this as the chick lit of TV lists.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.24.51 PM

So no one in the history of imdb has voted this onto a top 100 list. At least not the two lists that I used to steal the bulk of the images for this post. I understand this. It is not really good TV in any critical sense. As in…what critics might sense. But in the way that these kids (or the characters because the actors were famously in their thirties) were exactly my age, and I could totally hang out with them every thursday night whether I was popular or ostracized…that is critical TV. I will never go back and watch every episode of this show the way I did West Wing, My So Called Life, Veronica Mars or a few others…but I’m not sure any of those other great shows have ever made me feel quite the kind of nostalgia for a summer trip to Paris with a boyfriend who went on the be Superman that 90210 did, either. Plus I never had to light a float on fire to show my inner pain because…been there, done that.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.47.06 PMI’m trying really hard not to call this the show about nothing. We all imagine we are imminently interesting to the people in our lives (see blog, Shelburbia) Jerry actually IS. Because he is fucking funny. Without Seinfeld we would never have had status updates, and social media would not be what it is today. Yada Yada Yada.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.47.51 PMMy love for Blue Velvet led me to Twin Peaks, and the first season was everything I never knew I wanted in TV. After a while I went from feeling as though I was watching a masterpiece to thinking maybe I was down the rabbit hole with the puppet master…but the performances, music, tempo, staging, timing, and strange midgets dancing are worth a season at least.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.48.28 PMThe smoking man’s in this one! Compelling as a weekly procedural because of the relationship between the leads (scientific skeptic, v believer with all the sexual tension you need) this show was the first to teach me how compelling a conspiracy theory threadline can be. Equally great stoned and sober.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.49.07 PM It is possible that MSCL has stood the test of time because there were only 19 episodes, so they never had to endure the irritating aging of cast members, or writers strikes. I watched it on network TV, and began running on my hamster wheel to create VHS tapes by episode 3. I had worn out these tapes by the time it aired for the first time on MTV about a year later and I finally got to record the first 2 episodes. You complete me. I was precient enough to know there would be a time that I would re-watch the show and relate more to Bess Armstrong’s character than Claire Danes’. That time is now. Perhaps that time was a little before now, but it is for sure still now. Oddly, I still want Jordan Catalano. Remember when we found out he couldn’t read? And “Brain” tutored him? If you don’t remember I gift you the utter wonder of My So Called Life.

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.51.06 PMThis is why I don’t loathe Sarah Michelle Gellar. She’s Buffy! She slayed vampires way way way before they were cool. The scary stuff isn’t so scary, and the daytime stuff is so bright and sunny they just as well could have named that high school Sunnydale high. It was so fun and fluffy that I got sucked into the dark and dank Angel sequel. A fate that twenty years later has kept me from watching “The Originals.” Pretty sure I made the right choice there.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.51.50 PMSo I had forgotten Billy. This show didn’t weave itself into my inner consciousness like some of the others…but if you can get around Calista Flockhart the other characters are all slightly cartoonish and FULLY awesome. And it helped me teach Leo what a wattle is. Even if I am not confident in the spelling.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.52.36 PMI almost left this one off, because the horrible movies have brought it past our era of TV darkness…but it is the best 20 something single woman material ever produced…and my friend who was 20 something and single during this era somehow survived without it. Doesn’t seem possible, but color me Mulder.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.53.26 PMNoel….Ben…. I was on team Noel all the way. Every freaking mumbling Ben minute. That only made the show better for its frustration factor. A super young Jennifer Garner makes a more than cameo…and it will also make you understand the the heat on Scandal has been simmering for a long long time.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.54.25 PMI thought I would like the freaks.

Instead I liked the geeks, but they made each other so much better.

And isn’t that the point? I mean, its the ultimate High School lesson. That and forging your parent’s signature.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.31.09 PM

Dawson’s Creek

If it hadn’t had Dawson this show would have been first rate. But that little wanker had a name check, so every episode required between 12- 33 minutes of misery. The rest was the best though…and now there is pausing and fast forwarding ON TV. So go ahead. Give it a try. Pretend it really is Cape Cod.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.56.19 PMNow everyone knows who POTUS is. Not so at the beginning. When I watched West Wing in real time I read the paper every day. So I could understand the facts behind the incredible moral high ground that the show takes. Plus walking and talking, and Donna and Josh, and CJ.

I would vote for any of them.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.33.24 PM

One Tree Hill. The step brother of Dawson’s Creek. It tries to be edgier, and admits that everything is filmed in NC. But it is worse in every way. With my big love for high school TV I can’t just ignore it.

If you watch only the first season you will not hate me. Anything after that is on you. Not good my friends, not good at all.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.57.38 PMThe Sopranos is the reason I can talk about being in therapy. Tony is a total badass and he benefits from therapy. Plus it features such touching family tales, with a little cheating and getting whacked for good measure. The show that made HBO, and was great almost until the end.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.58.30 PMThe first show to glamorize being 16 and pregnant, Gilmore Girls’ central fast talking relationship is between a 32 year old mother and a 16 year old daughter. Guess what? They are both old enough to date! Their small town has all of the charm and comfort of every other imaginary small town, with the wackiness you riff off. And Melissa Mcarthy waaaaaay before Bridesmaids.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 7.59.13 PMSkins makes American teens seem prude, or American media seem hopelessly naive.Both may be true.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of skins then. It was like the movie Kids. But for longer, so you knew these kids, which made things even harder for you.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.00.26 PMI loved it. From the opening death scene, to the credits I was fascinated by the world surrounding death. How some characters were in the midst of grief while the others were just in the day to day grind. Weird to think about these actors in their new roles on Parenthood, Dexter, and that Sally Field show that just went off the air. You could play a pretty fun six degrees of six feet under game. If you wanted.



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Party Down is awesome and funny and if you are a male person or in a relationship with a male person they will hurdle beyond tolerance to enjoyment of this show.

Crazy LA parties, real comedy, cater waiters…

Plus Jane Lynch.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.02.37 PMJason Bateman was my original crush. The first guy I kissed looked so much like him that I tried to convince my friends that he WAS him. You can imagine how well that went.

About as well as the kiss.

Putting that aside this is a wicked, wacky, madcap good show.


Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.03.15 PMA long time ago, we used to be friends…but I HAVE in fact thought of you lately. Like today in fact when I read my kickstarter update. And yesterday when I wore my i heart KB t shirt, and the day before when I thought about a friend who I forced to watch the show who didn’t believe me that she would love Logan but obviously she loved Logan. Because. Logan.



Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 8.04.51 PMIts a medical mystery tour. As long as you dont border on the hypochondriacal…or get annoyed by medical mumbo jumbo…you should enjoy House. Hugh Laurie is brilliant. As is the character he plays. Its a bit of a weekly formula: Odd symptom, inconclusive tests, first treatment, precipitous decline, dual treatments one will save the other kill. Critical choice. Recovery. But the drama!



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I saved the best for last. I’m not going to say anything except watch it.


Clear Eyes, Full Hearts…




Everything itches. And before you start…no its not lice, or anything else lice-like. I’m assuming its not the sometimes fatal rash side effects of my new mood stabilizer. That really would be the ultimate mood stabilizer though…I mean she was feeling pretty bad but look at her now…I can do anything and she doesn’t get upset. (Imagine picture of dead body being poked by vintage yard stick.)

The night of gratitude has come and gone. Family and friends and food. Lara and I created an amazing new cocktail- the ginger snap. Just ask her whats in it because I am lost already at the main ingredient (snap- some sort of grain alcohol that tastes good) plus ginger, plus lemon, plus seltzer. I guess I do remember. So if you know what snap is, and have it on hand mix those things in equal parts and add a ginger candy.

I’ve found the best ginger candy is the one with the cartoon ginger guy who is giggling as he breaks off bits of himself to eat.  Perhaps he needs a mood stabilizer. That sounds like an unlikely response to self-canibilization. Even if you are a sugar coated candy version of a root.

Our thanksgiving party ranged from 8 months to 87 years and we all had iPhones. Except the 8 month old. I mean, I gave him an iPhone but he only cared about the box. That last part was absolutely true if you substitute “set of wooden cars” for iPhone.

But from age 7- 87 (like an invisible ink book) we all had iPhones.

So we had something to talk about. I introduced the 13 year old to pet rescue. As far as I can tell she is stylish, practices violin even on holiday, and writes critical essays for fun. If she can’t peel off some time to calm the nerves of shaking turtles and fish I don’t know who can. Not me obviously. I am inventing cocktails.

It was a lovely holiday. So much food. The only real disappointment was that one of the guest dogs came really really close to killing my peeing cat. I know that would have been a downer for many of the guests but it would have solved a pretty big dilemna for Steve and I.  So right after the close call of caticide we took to the table. There were even good vegetables. Have I mentioned how good the food was. Two turkeys (deep fried and roasted) two stuffings (bagged and hand cut from Vergennes laundry baguette) squash and sweet potato and regular potato and cauliflower with cheese sauce (in a good way) and kale salad and three kinds of cranberry brightener. The only casualty other than the almost cat was the gluten free quiche which I (whoops) left in the warming drawer. The hazards of the well equipped kitchen. Some of the dishes were warmed on the fire. We remembered those.

Any time the event is an eating event I feel remarkably well prepared. I remember last year, before I gave up facebook, (that is only like one hour old that news so don’t feel bad if you are reading it here first.) I posted a picture of my beautifully set Thanksgiving table with the caption. “My whole life has been training for this moment.” Most comments interpreted that as a nod to my table setting prowess. In fact it was not. It was in reference to my eating ability.

Here I am pausing wondering if going into facebook to get a screen shot of that picture from my timeline counts as giving up facebook. What kind of break am I taking? What is my motivation for this break?

Dunno. On average I feel a lot more annoyance with the links and status updates and images that I see there than I do affection. Affection may be an unreasonably high bar until I remember that facebook is supposed to be communication between friends. I have been pretty slutty on facebook. So I don’t care what 2/3 of my friends are up to. (Of course I don’t mean YOU.) Thinking about the path in to get that picture I realize I don’t want to go there. Facebook and I are having a break. I’m sure we will get back together soon.

Goodbye links of unlikely animal friends

Goodbye pictures of your cat

Goodbye questions about getting a baby to sleep

Goodbye airport check ins pushed from foursquare.

I will miss you.

In the meantime I will have more time to scratch my itch (es.)  And if one of you wants to dig through my timeline to grab that Thanksgiving photo and email it to me that would be great.

But then again none of you will know that I have even written this, because I am not going to promote it on facebook.

Isn’t life an itch?



14 summer weeks.

Summer is coming, and I am scared.

It is our last sodden week of school, and field days and picnics are being relocated inside. School trips are mud baths, and the ark building elective is full up. I cant remember such drear.

My fantasy summer with the boys is being reimagined as a rainy nightmare. Substitute iPads for treasure hunts, building houses of cards instead of forts in trees, Swimming in the puddles in our yard instead of the pool at the club. Or most realistically never leaving the house at all. Those 14 short weeks seem so so so long.

Lets be honest. Even in full sun a summer of stay at home parenting can be anything but golden.

We start with images of art projects and tree houses and neighborhood tag. S’mores and late night movies with pop corn.

Then day three arrives.

Thats my pokemon. How come you have the longer turn on the computer. This is the worst family evah. You are SO MEAN. I will NOT go to tennis. You can’t make me. This dinner is disgusting.

Such small phrases. Its death by 1000 cuts to my imaginary super mom.

Bathing, always a tenuous situation at the Palmer house is over. Chlorine is clean, right? But if it rains we won’t swim. Does that mean we need to wash with soap? Do we have soap?

The summer brings me face to face with the ultimate stay at home parent question. How can all of the planets align in such a way that my kids BOTH want to leave the house? With the beach, and bikes beckoning  no other season makes stay at home parenting seem so stay at home-y.

First we need to find the time to leave the house. Any time before 10:30 is out of the question, because we haven’t yet glazed over in front of our collective screens. Too close to noon is tough because there is obviously no place OTHER than our kitchen to eat the piles of crackers that make up lunch. Any time between 2-4 is rough because my internal clock seems to think I am European and wants me to nap then. Between 4-6 might work…unless we have a dinner that needs to be prepared. After 6 is impossible. Despite the blinding light and kids waxing energy levels my parenting abilities are over by then, so a public appearance is simply not in anyone’s best interest. From 6-whenever they fall asleep my parenting goal is simply to keep them alive. Which they can do on their own now as long as they are not trying to wipe each other off the planet.

So assuming 11-11:45 or 12:45-1:30 works we are all set to go. But then…we have weather limitations to contend with. Rain, grey, cold, or heat…any of these things can stop us from leaving the house. Factoring in all of our preferences I have found that between 72-76 degrees with partial sun and a light breeze are our effective parameters.

OK, so its 11:15, 73 degrees and we are ready to go. Two of us are ready at least. The other one probably needs an outfit change. Perhaps some long underwear and bog boots? Sure. Now he needs to painfully collect each individual pokemon card from whatever hidey hole he has squirreled it away in. Inevitably the MOST SPECIAL ONE is missing. By now Oliver and I are roasting in the car. Can you feel it? The clock ticking closer to lunch?

So we are off. Except he has hidden the car keys. Lets search. Lets retrace our steps. Lets be distracted by things we find on the way. Keys recovered in his brothers backpack (Obviously.)

And I realize…we have no idea where we are going.

When in doubt…

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And I get a picture. And I save it to Notabli. So we can all remember these perfect summer days.


Burlington Social Media Day

We launched out Burlington Social Media Day day with a breakfast Round “table” event.

Our not table round table
BTVSMD "round table"

Here are some broad notes.

Gahlord Dewald.

Gahlor's twitter bio
Gahlord's twitter bio

Typically social and SEO are pitted against each other.

Google webmaster tools, can make sure google knows that all of the pages exist. Use twitter, etc to add links to your deep pages, anything written before 2003.

1. Let google know  2. Use social signals

3. Add plus one button to your page…google will start to add these to analytics.


PR with Nicole Ravlin pmg

Nicole's twitter bio
Nicole's twitter bio

1. HARO. Free service, sends queries for searches. Keep your pitch very short. 3-6 sentences. Fletcher Allen is now the NE regular medical source. Sell the sizzle, appealing and on topic. Try to sleuth out the journalist, figure out their style and pitch to their style. Include your email, telephone, website. Respond within the first hour or two.

2. MuckRack. You can find journalist’s twitter handles and what they are tweeting about. The “top” journalists are talking about ….. then you can help pitch a story.

3. When you have a specific target ie: Mashable: they want links to examples. Find which journalist writes the stories that are like yours. Ditto for huffpost.

4. When you do get a news mention, make sure you repurpose that across the social media channels. Re post on Facebook, twitter, personal linked in and business linked in.