Posts Filed Under Bringing Home the Bacon

Giggle, Don’t Grieve

posted by Momo Fali on April 22, 2012

“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” -Erma Bombeck

When I tell people what I do for a living, it is inevitable that they will ask, “What do you write about?”

My usual reply is, “I write a humor blog. A lot of the posts are about my son who has sub-threshold autism, congenital heart disease, moderate hearing loss, a missing tear duct, and he often chokes and vomits.” Then I’ll follow with, “Isn’t that hilarious?! Just wait until I tell you about all of his surgeries!”

One of the best things about attending the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop this weekend was that no one looked at me like I had two heads when I gave them that answer. They understood that it’s okay to laugh at bad situations.

Sure, humor can come from light, but quite frequently it comes from someplace dark. It is how many a comedian or author has coped with tragedy and pain. It’s how I cope with mine. That, and peanut butter, but that’s another story.

Let me ask you a few questions: Are you going through a tough time? Are you laughing anyway? Why the heck not?

At the closing keynote of the Erma workshop, humorist, Gina Barreca, talked about motivational quotes; specifically, the one that says, “Bloom where you’re planted.” She urged us NOT to follow that advice.

Instead of being forced into the ground where someone else has decided to plant you, she told us to pick up and plant ourselves where WE choose. I agree. If you want to grow, move to an open, sunlit area free of all of the suffocating dirt. And, worms. Unless you like worms, in which case you should move yourself to a compost pile.

For me, laughter is the sun. It is where I go when I need to pull myself away from the weeds and it is what has saved me from going mad because of all the curve-balls life has thrown my way. Don’t worry, I won’t go from gardening metaphors to baseball metaphors. Well, other than that curve-ball thing. And, to be honest, it’s kind of killing me not to say something about line-drives.

My point is that it’s good to laugh. It’s good for for the heart, the soul, the mind and for laundry detergent manufacturers. Don’t tell me you’ve never peed your pants while laughing. No, really. Don’t tell me. *pauses writing to concentrate on kegels*

Listen to Erma, Gina and me (please excuse my lack of modesty while I insert myself into a sentence with those two legends), especially when I tell you that you owe me money. Or, when I tell you to laugh.

Because if you can laugh in the face of adversity your plant will flower through every season.

And that, my friends, feels a lot like hitting one out of the park.

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It’s How You Play the Game

posted by Momo Fali on July 23, 2011

My husband comes from a family of poker players. A family gathering isn’t complete without a Texas Hold-’em tournament…or two.

One of their favorite games is Omaha Hi Low. If you’ve never played it, it can get confusing. Actually, even if you have played it, it can get confusing. Trust me.

What you need to know is that it can be a split game. It’s always good to have a high hand, because it can win the whole pot or half the pot if there is a low hand that qualifies. A qualifying low hand is one where all five of your cards are under an eight and the cards can’t be paired. The best low hand is Ace through 5, which can also be a high hand. See? Confusing.

Why am I explaining this to you? Because my last week has been one constant game of Omaha High Low. Let’s review, shall we?

Royal Flush – I find out that I was chosen to speak at the BlogHer ’11 Conference Community Keynote. This is like the blogging equivalent of the Oscar…or the Heisman…depending on what you’re into.

Three 3’s and two 2’s – I realize that being chosen to speak at the Community Keynote means that I have to stand onstage, in front of thousands of people. It appears to be a low hand, but it ends up winning the pot as a high one.

4 of a Kind – I am picked for three, big, exciting campaigns, two of which may benefit my local community.

Ace through 4…and a 9 – Two campaigns are set to be unveiled (and therefore WORKED ON) the week before I attend the BlogHer ’11 Conference where I will do my job on Twitter with 30,000 people following what I say and where I will speak (again with the thousands of people). Almost a low hand, but not quite.

Straight FlushA friend of mine, who knows I have been either sleeping on our couch or on top of six pillows because our 30 year old mattress hurts my back, tells me she’s going to make it her mission to win me a new bed. AND SHE DOES! I had to promise to give up liquor and Ambien, so you KNOW I want it bad.

2 through 6 – I check email only to find out that my daughter’s summer camp starts in three days. Two days after her softball tournament and one day after a big event I’m planning for a sponsor. Camp involves laundry, last minute supplies, packing for a week and driving her out of town. All while I’m doing that Twitter stuff, and my regular job and planning these three campaigns. What? Oh, I’m going to a conference next week? The one where people fret over what they’ll wear and how good their business cards look and making sure your shoes are stylish AND comfortable. Oh, and I’m speaking? And, there’s stuff to fill out for that? And, I may want to get my roots done, and wax my eyebrows and have you seen my feet? There needs to be a pedicure.

Flush – My daughter’s softball team wins their league championship and the tournament.

2 through 5…and a 7 – The games are in 100 degree heat, my old dog gets overheated on her walk, sees a trash truck (which she is terrified of), falls over and pees all over herself, my son gets a booger and it makes him vomit and then I trip over the reins of one of those horse heads on a stick.

Ace through 5 – I realize that despite being so busy that my head feels like it’s going to pop off, I will live through all of it, see good friends along the way, experience something I have only dreamed about, then sleep in a fabulous new bed.

No matter how you look at it, I win.

The Twitter

posted by Momo Fali on June 13, 2011

Let’s talk a little bit about social media, shall we?

Mom, I’m going to get into the Twitter conversation now, so go ahead and turn off your computer. Wait…you don’t have a computer. Put down the paper with the blog posts I printed for you.

I have been working in social media for almost seven months now; which pretty much makes me an expert. It’s like that whole dog years thing, but don’t ask me to do the math.

My job is the best job in the world. Just ask me and I’ll tell you. Only, please don’t ask me when my husband is around because he isn’t living his dream of being a mean math teacher and I am sitting on the sofa with my feet propped up on the coffee table, reading the thoughts of brilliant people all across the web, occasionally stopping to hug my kids or pet the dog. This is a day at my office.

But this really isn’t about my job or how I make my husband jealous. This is about how I got here. This is for anyone who doubts the power of Twitter.

Just over a year ago, a childhood friend of mine held a conference here in Columbus for pet bloggers. Have you ever heard of BlogPaws? You should have heard about it. Well, unless you hate puppies and kittens…in which case you need to 1) Have your head examined and 2) Stay away from my children. You and your mean, hateful soul.

Though I occasionally write about my pets, I’m not really a pet blogger. Nor am I a mommy blogger, a tech blogger or any other niche blogger, but that’s another post entirely; title to be “Who the Heck AM I?” My point is that I didn’t know anyone at the conference. I talked to a few people in the lobby and I mingled with some folks in the bar, but I didn’t want to barge in on conversations between people who had wanted to meet each other for years.

Other than my childhood friend, who was kind of busy running the whole thing, the only other person I was remotely familiar with, and that I knew would be there, was the woman who would be giving the keynote speech, Elisa Camahort Page. Elisa is one of the founders and the C.O.O. of BlogHer, Inc. If you are a blogger, you already know that. She’s kind of a big deal.

I had never met Elisa, but I am a member the BlogHer ad network. That makes me kind of like Elisa’s honorary kin. Yee haw! I sent out a tweet saying, @ElisaC I can’t wait to meet you and hear your keynote speech. Well, it said something like that. You can’t really go back and search old tweets with great consistency. (Side note: This sometimes makes my job difficult and I would appreciate if one of you smart people would hurry up and develop something for that.)

After quite a few more tweets, I met Elisa. We had lunch together, I cried during her keynote speech (see above comments regarding puppies and kittens) and sat with her during a cocktail party that evening. I soaked in her brilliance. Then I went home.

Would I have met Elisa without Twitter? Probably. But, before I ever shook her hand, the ice had been broken. She knew what I looked like, she knew bits of my personality and she knew my sense of humor. I knew she was wicked smart, that she was a vegan and that she loved the theater. I was less intimidated meeting someone with whom I had already had numerous “conversations”.

And, a few months after that, when I took to Twitter and mentioned that I was looking for part-time work, saying something like, Looking for additional part-time job. My work history is in the now-defunct mortgage biz, I have a huge gap on my resume and I work in a school kitchen. Call me.

Guess who did?


The amazing C.O.O. of the largest community of women who blog (25+ million unique visitors a month – Nielson NetRatings) is now my boss and, for certain, I wouldn’t have the job without Twitter, because I never would have considered reaching out to BlogHer. Not a chance.

Instead, I put myself out there for the world to see. Okay, maybe not the world, but for my 2500 followers. So, it’s more like I put myself out there for a small, rural town. But, wow, are these townspeople awesome.

So, see…I am kind of a social media expert. I know that you have to be in this space in today’s culture, that you should let your personality come through in your tweets and that you need to put your desires out there. If there is something you want, just ask for it. You never know who is listening.

And, you never know…you just might get exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.


posted by Momo Fali on March 6, 2011

This post needs to start with a few disclaimers:

1.  I like parties.  My husband often says that I “don’t know when the party should end.”  This is a true statement and is why I usually have black circles under my eyes.

2.  I work for BlogHer as Social Media Manager.  The opinions I am about to share are opinions I have held since last summer, when I attended BlogHer’10 in NYC, before I worked for them.  This is also a true statement.  You can ask my friends, because they listen to me when I want to vent about said opinions and I shared these a long time ago.

3.  No one asked me to write this.  I should have written it in August, but didn’t want to insult anyone.  I am hoping, by writing it now, others will learn from my naiveté.

4.  If you’re not a blogger, you can stop reading now.  Unless, in your industry, you’re a frequent conference attendee.

(To my computerless mother, for whom I will have to print this blog post:  BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog with more than 55 million unique visitors a month. That means, BlogHer is a pretty big deal and they know their stuff.  Get it?  I didn’t think so.)

In less than five months, I will be attending my third BlogHer conference in San Diego.  A couple of days ago, I got the first of what will be many invitations for events and product giveaways from companies who are, in no way, affiliated with BlogHer.

When I went to my first BlogHer conference in Chicago, in 2009, there were suites throughout the hotel where I was sent to get free stuff.  I won’t lie, it was pretty nice.  I got a cute, buttery-soft t-shirt, a free pair of jeans (I loved them so much, I went to the store and bought more) and an awfully nice backpack.  At the time, I didn’t realize that the companies involved were not sponsoring the conference.

Conference sponsors at BlogHer are valuable to the attendees who buy a ticket at at the Blogger Rate of $298 (for the record, there was early-bird pricing of $198 through the end of February).  This Blogger Rate ticket is subsidized by the companies who are there to share their brand and products.  If it wasn’t for them, there would also be no Expo Hall where you can meet companies on your own time and there would be no food (and I, for one, really like food).

If you do not want your ticket to be subsidized (for instance, if you take issue with the policies or products of a sponsor), you are free to pay the Self-Sponsored Blogger Rate of $598.  I know, exactly, one person who has bought a ticket at that price.

Everyone I know bought early-bird tickets at $198, or $99 a day.  That price gets them fed, lets them choose from more tracks than any other blog conference, admits them to all cocktail parties and to the Expo Hall.  All of those things are part of the conference because of official sponsors.

This is why BlogHer made the decision to have non-sponsored events barred from the conference in NYC.  You can not question this move.  If it weren’t for legitimate sponsors, most people could not afford to attend and it isn’t fair to the companies who subsidize our tickets to have our attention focused elsewhere.  Mom, are you with me?

Non-sponsors curtailed this in NYC by inviting bloggers to off-site parties.  Attendees were sent all over Manhattan for everything from soap to manicures.  I chose not to attend these events, not because I’m high-and-mighty, but because I wanted to spend the time with fellow bloggers.  I take that back; I attended one, and that was only because someone else wrangled an invitation for me.  I spent over an hour being schmoozed, watching a presentation AND NOT TALKING TO MY FRIENDS.  All for a bottle of lotion.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not begrudge someone the life-experience of being taken via limousine to a private party held by a company they really believe in.  If a brand is giving away free vacuum cleaners, or those aforementioned jeans, then I say, “Go for it!” Also, get me some!  Just consider the time you’re investing before you do it.

If you had asked me in Chicago if I wanted to pay for a cab and spend a couple of hours away from invaluable socializing and conversations with intelligent and insightful women so that I could get a free backpack, I would have said no.  And, for real, it’s a super nice backpack.

If you know anything about blogging, you have heard of ROI (Return on Investment).  Personally, I get the best ROI by engaging with people who inspire me. For me, BlogHer is about igniting creativity, about sharing ideas, about connecting with friends and making new ones.

And, you can’t do any of that if you’re across town getting schmoozed with free lotion.

* This post was updated on June 12, 2013 to reflect my current position with BlogHer and the reach of the BlogHer Publishing Network