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Friday, March 20, 2009

Photo Story Friday: The Best Part of On Is Off—The Friend Frenzy That Is Social Media!  

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Even though I published my first blog post in February 2008, I didn't technically jump into the social media world until the end of last July when I actively started writing on this blog. (Click here to read about what turned me into a blogging fanatic for 3 weeks in Pennsylvania.) And, I must admit I had no idea what I was in store for. What began as a digital journal has turned my life upside down in every good way possible. The best part? Friends! Glorious friends!

I started out, surprisingly enough to those of you who really know me, as a passive blogger—writing for myself. I didn't really start interacting with people in the social realm until mid August or so when I started reading other blogs and leaving comments thanks to my good and crazy friend, Carissa Rogers at GoodandCrazyPeople. OK, so it only took me 2 weeks for my extrovert tendencies to kick in. And, I'm so glad they did.

I discovered so many fun blogs, but wanted more. Shortly after I started blogging in earnest, I discovered twitter and the rest is a blur... First, Carissa and I started the #gno weekly Twitter parties, after that we formed Mom It Forward, then I started using Facebook like a maniac, formed a YouTube group, a Flickr group, started a Wiki, and officially got into all things online... and as you know, I'm hooked! Or, as my husband says, addicted!!!

I made so many friends in such a quick time and I won't lie to you, my IRL friends and family were a bit nervous thinking all of you were predators trying to pick up on me or get my data to use in damaging ways. So, when I started making the transition from on to offline, I discovered the best part of on is really off! What do I mean by that?

In early December, I joined a few other Mom It Forward (#gno) gals I had met online to join me in a service project at an assisted living facility in Utah. I knew these women from blogging or from twitter, but had never met them in real life. We met up with our kids and shared the Christmas spirit with men and women in our local community. But first, we had a planning meeting! Check out the three of us: Kristina from Pulsipher Predilections and Kristin from Domestically Sassy.

In December, I also joined the Social Media Club of Salt Lake City board and in January, I attended my first meeting and met up with one of my newst BFFs, Krista Parry. We had been tweeting for approximately 2 weeks, but when we met up IRL, we hit it off. It didn't even take until the end of the evening before people were asking us if we were sisters. I felt like I had been friends with her since Jr. High. Fast forward three months... we probably talk more on the phone or live now than we do on Twitter!

Since that time, I have met tons of amazing folks in the local Social Media scene as well as have been able to meet up with some of my favorite mommy bloggers there like Quinn from Created by Mom and Cecily from My Chaos, My Bliss (the co-founder of Photo Story Friday and a co-faculty member in the Fishful Thinking program).

In February, I went to my first social media/blogging conference—Blissdom—in Nashville, Tennessee. There, I met hundreds of gals, may of which I had been tweeting with during #gno—some since early last fall. Going to this conference was like coming home. Nothing can really explain the emotion of meeting someone and realizing it is @sugarjones or @rachel_ferrucci or @jessicaknows—women you feel so close to but have never met IRL. Even better is becoming real life friends with these gal and having a bond tighter than you did before.

Also awesome was meeting new folks at the conference and discovering that offline relationships translate equally as well to online. In other words, I met people at the conference I hadn't really interacted with online and we instantly became friends. Josh and Rebecca Unfried of the amazing Mom Faves site joined us for a service project at the Nashville Rescue Mission. Nothing like chatting over chopping vegetables to bond you for life.

The first weekend in March, I was very fortunate to fly out to New York and attend a parenting workshop as part of the Fishful Thinking program. Mr Youth, the interactive agency for Pepperidge Farm, selected 10 women across the US to help promote this amazing program on positive parenting. They must have known I really needed some help. I'm sure if I share the 5 ingredients of positive parenting with enough people some of it will rub off on me, right? LOL!

My point for bringing all of this up? While there, I met even more fantastic women in the program that were all in social media—amazing moms who blog, network, and manage all of their many roles while trying to be a positive parent! And to add to the fun, I even met up with tweeting friend and now IRL friend Katja Presnal from Skimbaco Lifestyle and her three children for lunch in New York City. Why we didn't have someone else take the pictures so Katja could be in it with us is beyond me. Next time, right?

And just last week, I attended a workshop with about 50 women—some I had met online, others I hadn't. We learned about how to have realistic expectations and how to be terrific moms. We hooked up with "old" friends, got to meet new ones, and even won terrific prizes all over chocolate!

But the treat of all treats, literally, was hooking up with a group of 14 other online women—mostly bloggers—in my local community to go out to eat at a fabulous new restaurant in Highland, Utah called The Blue Lemon.

Not only was there instant friendship, but terrific food! Let me share!

Oh! Yah! Nothing like discovering a new restaurant, going in with low expectations, seeing the sophisticated style, and trying nearly 8 dishes (that doesn't even include dessert) and loving every one of them. And, you know it is bad when you start getting protective of your tomato bisque even when it is really supposed to be a share and share alike type of an experience.

The highlights? The surpringly delicious... ok, delicious doesn't even begin to describe it... SCRUMPTIOUS! DELECTIBLE! AMAZING! (all rolled into one) butternut squash soup. I was so busy eating it that I forgot to take a picture (and it is worth seeing a picture of it even though it doesn't do it justice), but I did snap one of the chef preparing it (a little behind the scenes shot for you!).

And what would dinner be without dessert?

And here's the best part of this long history of my meet ups with these online women (7 months is like 20 years in online time)... these women—every single one of them—are AMAZING. They have talents and skills and beauty (inside and out) and more talents and are funny and sensitive and are full of great ideas for the moms and online women and entrepreneurs so many of us are. Plus, they are energizing to be around, and overall... a huge addition to my life. In other words, they are exactly the opposite of the gals you meet on MySpace that are really weird men! LOL! They would have been my friends IRL had I met them IRL. :)

So now what... does it ever end. Oh! No! This is just the beginning. On Saturday, March 28, Mom It Forward and Make and Takes are hostessing a family-friendly service project for the Christmas Box House. I'm excited to meet more moms as we serve side by side with our families.

And, on Saturday, April 18, we will be having a huge benefit concert for these charities to help provide sustainable incomes and business opportunities for women in Kenya:,, and all under The Pope Foundation umbrella out of Provo.

Want in to see how "off" can be better than "on"? Want to experience the friend frenzy that is social media. Or, just want to connect with other moms? Take advantage of one of the upcoming activities that involve the Salt Lake City social media scene, moms, and more:

  • Meet some friends at The Blue Lemon Bistro (and invite me... unless you want to share the tomato bisque).
  • Attend Ignite and Pod Camp Thursday and Friday, March 26-27.
  • Join us for our March 28 service project.
  • Attend next the Social Media Club of Salt Lake City for its April 16 meeting at The Melting Pot.
  • Join the planning committee or attend the Moms Helping Moms charity event on Saturday, April 18 to help support women in Kenya!
  • Come party with the mommy scene at BlogHer in Chicago the weekend of July 24. I know, it's that or Pioneer Day in Utah, but seriously... think of all the fun, friends, and fabulous information!

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21 bits of juicy gossip: to “ Photo Story Friday: The Best Part of On Is Off—The Friend Frenzy That Is Social Media!

  • andrea
    March 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

    The next time you go to Blue Lemon....CALL ME! It is seriously about 5 minutes from my house....and I have yet to get there. Pathetic?! Yes. Especially because the owners are my old neighbors. :)

    I'm sort-of offended you didn't come by and say hello....snif. ;)

    Time to plan another cousins lunch?! Let me know when, you're the busy one!

  • Kat
    March 20, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

    WOW! That is all just so amazing! I would love to be off. It just seems that there is not too much in my area, and getting someone to watch the kids while Im' away for an extended period of time. I was hoping to go to BlogHer in summer since it is only 2 hours from me, but it is three weeks before my due date. Hmmm. Do I risk it? ;)

  • Kristina P.
    March 20, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

    You have been so busy and doing so many great things!! And those cupcakes look to die for!!

    Oh, and that picture of me sucks!

  • Alex the Girl
    March 20, 2009 at 9:16 PM  

    It is awesome to meet up with people you've been "chatting" with forever. Amazing photo story there.

  • Joy
    March 21, 2009 at 9:44 AM  

    This blogging thing sure turned out great for you! Well done!

  • Cecily R
    March 21, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

    Holy CRAP. You are the SM QUEEN. Truly. And I get to say I know you IRL...ahhhhhhh. My life is complete. :)


  • Krista
    March 21, 2009 at 3:53 PM  

    Amen, sista! Social media helped me find my new best friend. I truly feel like you are my soul sista.

    March 22, 2009 at 8:12 PM  

    Wow! of the 1221 partiers over at the Ultimate Blog Party, I happened to land just around the corner :) Small World!

    Best wishes - and a wonderful spot to visit. I'll come back soon!


  • Anonymous
    March 26, 2009 at 5:08 PM  

    Hi! Party hopping and participating too so stop in for a visit.

  • Anonymous
    March 28, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

    Hello! Poppin’ in from The Ultimate Blog Party…all the way from Queensland, Australia! G’Day! I hope you have time to visit my party soon.

    I'm giving away Pink Champagne Shower Syrup from Jaqua Beauty...stop on over and enter! Ends April 8. Open to USA.


    I want to invite you to the Mommie Daze Virtual Baby Shower that I am hosting May 15 to June 8. This is an international even and there are prizes! Stop by my blog for all the details.

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    I wonder if you'd be interested to exchange links with me? I'm mom to a 14-month-old boy and I love blogging about my experiences as a mom. My blog is at You can visit it and then let me know what you think.


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    April 6, 2009 at 9:38 PM  

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  • ParentingPink
    April 21, 2009 at 12:23 PM  

    Love u Jyl! What a wonderful story into how you became a Twittering Diva! Very inspirational! Sorry I've not been around as much in the blogosphere - trying to concentrate on Parenting Pink (main site) and less on the blog right's beginning to take off and I can't keep up (a good & bad thing I think!). Anyway, I really want to catch up with you sometime! I couldn't make the MIF in Fairfax, VA (daughter's best friend had a party I couldn't miss), but next time for sure! Btw, did a review of Basa Body and now I"m addicted to the stuff! The coconut oil is AMAZING! So good for my wintery cracked skin :-) Chat with you soon!

  • Amber!
    May 1, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

    So sad I just found this post today. Would have loved to participate in the activities! Looking forward to upcoming ones, though.

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