a bit of (free) friendly advice

Twitter has been an ugly place the past few days with blogging moms and lady bloggers with no kids bombarding the Twitterspace with obnoxious updates about what they’re doing at Blogher ’09 and what they’re getting for FREE! and what fun they are having with their parties and how many tears they’ve shed over one another’s AWESOME! AMAZING! LIFE-CHANGING speeches.

puke.

I will say with all honesty that you are wrong if you’re thinking I’m just jealous of all of them and wish I were there and had so many cyberfriends I couldn’t count them all. I am not jealous. I don’t want to be there. (Though I do love Chicago and would love to be there … just not for that.) I am not impressed with their illusions that they are changing the world and their opinions are golden and that the world cares whether they are eating deep dish pizza or getting FREE! swag bags and FREE! iPhones and FREE! belly ointment to prevent stretch marks (that shit don’t work.)

I will also follow that up with a disclaimer that I DO like some of the women who have gone to this event and I DO consider a couple of them “acquaintances” and I DO admit I’ve met at least one or four of them IN PERSON at least ONE TIME.

But that being said, I do have to point out to all of these women a few things:

* People value your opinions more if you are honest and open about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you got to do it in the first place

* I want to know things YOU LIKED BEFORE you were offered the chance to get something for FREE!

* If you do a review and you get something for FREE! by doing it, it IS A PAID REVIEW in that you were COMPENSATED for your efforts. You should say that. Just because no MONEY changed hands does not mean you weren’t compensated.

* I would actually believe you more if you came clean and just admitted you started blogging to TRY TO MAKE MONEY, not because you think you are a good writer or the world cares that your right boob is smaller than your left.

* I like to hear your REAL stories, your REAL opinions, your REAL dreams and REAL family drama. I am sickened when I read something that is bloated with BS and full of smoke and mirrors. Be honest with yourselves. Be honest with your readers. Enough of trying to be something you aren’t when your fingers aren’t on the keyboard.

That being said, for the three people who read this blog, I give you a few of MY OWN THOUGHTS on things I love. Things I think you would love. Things I AM NOT BEING PAID TO PROMOTE. Things that, as a mom, woman, friend, sister, daughter, etc., I think are fun and awesome and worth your time.

Take it for what it’s worth.

My favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor and pick it up on the summer reading table at your local independent bookstore. If you don’t have an independent bookstore in town, DO NOT BUY IT. Go to your library or ask a friend. Surely someone you know has a copy.

A great family beach: Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. While I DO NOT want this beach to become even busier with tourists, even though I am one myself, I will share that it is the best quiet little nook ever. We love it for its wide, clean beaches and grassy dunes. It’s fun to look for the turtles that nest in the dunes and to eat THE BEST CRAB CAKES EVER at The Oceanic restaurant. We love it here. You will, too!

Favorite money-saving item at Costco: We love the bagged, frozen salmon at Costco. The fish cuts are excellent and grill up great with sauteed spinach and some rice. Mmm. No way our family of five could eat this kind of meal at this cost any other way.

Favorite large family car that isn’t a mini-van: Honda Pilot. Hands-down our favorite car EVER. Seats 7 comfortably and has tons of space if the back seats are folded down. Three kids fit across the middle seat IN CAR SEATS. That says something. Get the leather seats for easy cleaning. 🙂

My camera of choice: NIKON. I got my first Nikon a few months ago and LOVE IT. Have used Canons in the past for work (never owned a Canon) and do not like nearly as much. I use the Nikon D40 and have absolutely nothing bad to say about it. Easy to use. Nice size. Great quality. Affordable for a digital SLR.

Coke or Pepsi: Coke. Absolutely.

Best movie you might not have seen: Roman Holiday. Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Come on!

Somewhere you might never have thought of going but should: The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. America’s largest home just got larger with the unveiling of some never-before-open-to-the-public rooms. I can’t wait to go again! And kids get in FREE ALL SUMMER LONG. Breathtaking from the minute you enter the gates. Dudes, the DRIVEWAY is incredible. It’s about 3 miles or something crazy like that. It’s larger than you ever, EVER would imagine. Do yourself a favor and GO.

Most over-rated restaurant chain ever: Melting Pot

Best chain restaurant that doesn’t feel like a chain: Bonefish Grill

Most unnecessary baby item on baby registries: Baby wipe warmer thingee. Spare me.

What you need that everyone says you need and you really do need for babies: LOTS of onesies, cloth diapers to use as burp cloths and butt ointment

Easiest meal that tastes great and smells great and will impress your family: Salsa chicken. Take boneless, skinless chicken breasts, throw into dish sprayed with Pam, pour an entire jar of salsa over top. Put on lid and bake for an HOUR AND A HALF on 350. With about 5 minutes left, open lid and add your favorite shredded cheese. Serve with sour cream if you’d like. YUMMY. Chicken FALLS APART it’s so juicy and good. Also goes well with Spanish rice and corn. Mmmmm ….

OK. I’m out of control now. This has been fun.

My point? Nikon didn’t pay me to say they’re great. Honda didn’t give me a Pilot to drive around and blog about. But even if they did, I WOULD TELL YOU THAT.

I would expect that others do the same. It means a lot to me to know the honest truth from my friends and fellow bloggers … what you really, truly like means something.

Stay true to yourselves and your readers. That’s all. It shouldn’t be too hard. RESIST the urge to dive in and elbow your way to the free stuff. People will appreciate your words more if you do.

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4 thoughts on “a bit of (free) friendly advice

  1. Well said. I love hearing your opinions and know when I read, you are writing from the heart and speaking the truth. I have been reluctant to review anything on my blog because I don’t think I could give something a great review unless I really really liked it, free or not. : ) I am getting tired of those tweets too, and haven’t been on twitter as much the last few days because of it.

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