Bloggers VIP event at Anna’s Linens + GIVEAWAY!

Last month I had the honor to attend Anna’s linens Bloggers VIP event at their Chatham Village store on 87th Street. It was a delight to see the behind the scenes of a home decorating store and pick up a few tips to prepare for the Fall season.

They had tasty snacks, a raffle, how to class, and a cute gift bag for all the attendees. We went through different departments of the store and got to view all their new products as well as the best selling items.

The store manager was amazing she knew her stuff and was very excited to have bloggers checking the place out. Later in the evening we were escorted upstairs to their inventory location and meeting area and was given a organizing class by a personal stylist. They showed us cute and frugal ways to organize jewelry, clothes, and bulky items.

We were given a 20% off coupon to use for our shopping that night. I grabbed Dereon some new sheets and a cool Batman comforter.

I’m now a huge Anna’s linen fan not only do they have the latest styles for less they also have great customer service.

Here is the comforter set I fell in love with while shopping:

I want you to give you a chance to experience Annna’s Linens as well so here is your chance to win a $25 gift card!!

Three simple rules:

!. Like A Real Urban Mom on Facebook (I will check so make sure you like the page LOL)

2. Share this giveaway via any Social Media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc)

3. Comment below on what you would buy if you won the gift card and include the link to where you shared the giveaway.

Contest ends Monday Oct. 21st 2013 at 11:59 PM Cent. time. Enter today!!

Momma Cuisine & Sabra family fun #SabraFamPicnic

I was so honored to be invited to Momma Cuisine’s Sabra Family Picnic, weekend before last. The kiddos had a ball. We met other families, caught up with some of my blogging friends, and ate great tasting healthy foods. I want to thank Johanna and Sabra for throwing such a fabulous event.

Check out a few of our pictures:

The personalization was just so cute.

The kiddos loved the basket full of healthy goodies!

I’m a huge fan of mason jars so these just stole my heart.

Look at the spread! The Sabra bags were filled with footballs and Frisbees. The different varieties of hummus were super cool to try and the tasty salads, snacks, and hot dogs were so filling.

The kiddos didn’t even realize they were eating healthy! LOL. They enjoyed the food, company, and fun!

Thanks again=)

My day 3 recap: Social Media Week Chicago 2013 plus 5 tips every blogger should use! #SMWChicago

Day 3! I had a jammed packed day, less sessions than day 1, but more than I had on day 2.

The first session of the today was “Mommy blogging your way to success” and it was an early morning one. So of course I was running late. After I took the kiddo to school I kind of got into relax mode thinking “oh I have more than enough time” and ended up running to catch the train, literally. Thank God he kept the doors open I’m sure everyone on the West Side of Chicago saw me running. Even though I caught the train I would still be late because of the train stopping and going pretty slow so to avoid having to run anywhere else I made it up in my mind to cab it from the train stop. I made it to Tribune Tower with about 10 minutes left until start time which was impressive since I had just left my house only 30 minutes prior 😉

Like I stated previously The first session was centered around Mommy blogging and boy was it packed! I guess a lot of mommies want to start blogging. We all have stories to tell. The panel of mommy bloggers was very impressive and motivating and they dropped sooo many gems. One hour was not enough! Here are some tips I picked up that I feel every blogger should know and use:

1. Generosity IS currency in the blogging world. The best thing you can do is share, comment, & like. Let that blogger know you like what they are dishing out! We all love a pat on the back.

2. Write about what matters to you. What’s your passion? What can you talk about for hours and hours and not get bored? That’s your niche! There is somebody out in the world with interests just like you.

3. If you started blogging just to make money or to get stuff you may as well STOP right now. Sure a lot of people make good money off blogging, but guess what it started off as a hobby or something they loved to do and then evolved to a business. You can’t just focus on the dollar signs because you will lose sight of your readers and or content.

4. Write as if you are a celebrity. Don’t down yourself! If you don’t believe in yourself who will? You never know maybe Oprah will read your blog and you are a overnight sensation!

5. Privacy act! if you have children come to an understanding if you will post their pic, name, or even mention them. Also the same with your mate. Some bloggers share there children pics & name but keep their mate private or vice versa you just have to do what’s comfortable to you.

After the first session I caught up with my blogger friend One Haute Mommi and then ran to grab lunch before my second session started. I had one of the best burgers ever! From coast burgers. Yummy!

The Second session was at Tribune as well and it was about starting or saving your blog and it was a great class. Some of the things mention was a repeat of what I heard earlier of course in a different way. I also heard fresh information, but most importantly I left feeling empowered.

I went home after session 2 because I had a 4 hour wait before my next session and I missed my husband and son 😉

My boys drop me off for my last and longest session of the night it was about how to become Facebook famous (super cool title). The panel was super cute and had a wealth of real life experience. A Social Media tool I learned about and can’t wait to use is Flickr. The questions the audience asked were great too.

The three workshops yesterday gave me the fuel and info I needed to keep going. As I walked out of the Tribune last night I embraced the light walk and the wind. It felt so inviting yet limited so I cherished it plus I was able to capture a few shots.

Today is my last day of sessions with #SMWChicago and I’m super excited. Ii will do today’s recap tomorrow.

Social Media Week Chicago 2013 Day 1 recap #SMWChicago

This is my first year going to Social Media Week here in Chicago and I am super pumped! I have a full agenda planned.

Here is a quick blurb from their Facebook page in regards to what Chicago Media Week is:
Social Media Week is a global initiative to explore the cultural and economic impact of social media. The event highlights expert discussions, workshops and networking opportunities, with most events free and open to the public.

The Google sign

My Social Media Week agenda started off with Google. The Google+ session was fantastic! Just the whole thought of being at “Google” was pretty inspiring. Oh and the cute green dot pen they gave us was petty cute. The host was Interactive Amy and she was funny, well informed, and pleasant. The information she presented was helpful, well organized, and relevant. I struggle with totally understanding Google+ so this workshop gave me a little more knowledge and the motivation to really figure it out.

Inside the Google conference room

Google’s office space is innovative, fun, and engaging. They have different themes on each floor and I just fell in love with one of the floors they decorated from the theme of Chicago in the 1920’s. They have a Speakeasy! How cool is that? Let’s not forget the view! The office is dead smack in the middle of beautiful Downtown Chicago and the view of the skyline is priceless from their floor to ceiling windows. Thank you Google!

The view...

MorningStar

After leaving Google at 3:55 (Google doesn’t think any meeting should be a total 30 minutes or a full hour so all their meetings are either 25 minutes or 50 minutes so you can have time to get to your next meeting). I rushed to my session with Morningstar. Since I was running late I took a cab. I was only about 5 minutes late, but it seemed like the class was in session for a while because the presenter was deep into his personation. The whole auditorium was packed so I struggled to find an open seat once I secured one and took out my notebook it was only a few minutes left. Although the session was slotted for 1 hour the presenter only used 35 minutes and wanted to save the other 25 minutes for questions. I picked up a few gems out of the class, but I believe this class was for business owners trying to get their websites noticed.

Thank God for Aleve

As the session ended I was hit with a blinding headache. I believe it was from hunger and also looking at computer screens and power point presentations for over two hours. Thankfully there was a Walgreens across the street from Morningstar and I was able to grab a travel size of Aleve. I then quickly walked a block and a half to McDonalds to grab something to put on my stomach before I took my pain pill. I was able to kind of gather my thoughts and prepare for the other planned events that ware less than an hour away.

Food from #foodiechats created by Yolk

After I took my pill, ate my food, and took a breather I took a Cab to Yolk for the #foodieChats event and was pleasantly surprised with the food and drink selection. Everything was well organized and the food was tasty. They had giveaways and I even won a $25 gift card to an upcoming boutique! I made a mental note to check out Yolk again, next time with my husband.

Mimosa!

I'm a WINNER!

After the tasty Banana French toast skewers and fresh strawberry orange juice mimosas, I hiked to Billy Dec’s Rockit Bar and Grill for Social Media Week Chicago’s opening party. The walk wasn’t bad, but since I had a pretty full day I just wasn’t feeling it. I was carded at the door (yes I have a baby face) and I entered to see tables full and the bar packed. No one came to seat us or lead us to an open table (if there was one) so I just looked around one good time and left. I was exhausted.

Crossing the Chicago river on my way home..

But overall day one was pretty cool. Great experiences and I am excited for the rest of my week exploring Social Media Week Chicago!

Blogging 101 aka Blogging for dummies

Before I started my blog I wanted to know all the Do’s and Don’ts of blogging and how I could merge it into the social media world that I’m addicted to. Of course the first place I went to get information is Google, I read many articles and blog entries on blogging and how to start off as a blogger. After I read enough I ventured over to YouTube and watched a few guru’s explain the industry and some key points. With all that information swimming in my head I sat down and started my Blog – A Real Urban Mom! Finding my name wasn’t hard because I wanted a name that would sum me and my writing point of view and I believe A Real Urban Mom does just that.

Now that I had a name what was next? Since I have been addicted to social media for a while I have a wide range of online friends and associates, some of them happen to be bloggers. When my local blogger friends post events I normally attend if I can because I have always thought it was a cool profession and since I am a lover of all things social how could I miss an event filled with social people like myself? Days after I started my blog and had added a few entries I seen a post in one of the Facebook Mommy groups I am a member of about an upcoming Chicagoland Blogging Workshop with Kris Cain! I registered Instantly and started to jot my questions down. Since I had attended a social event hosted by Kris and T-Mobile before I honestly knew I would learn a lot about blogging and have fun while doing so.

When I arrived at the workshop Kris had snacks, a projector and screen with a in-depth PowerPoint presentation. She informed the group on the varies blog conferences, proper blogging protocol, which social media groups to join on Facebook and online networks to register with. Kris also pointed out ways to make money while blogging, but explained we shouldn’t starting blogging to just make money or think that we would start off making thousands of bucks being a newbie. What sold me about the workshop is she pulled up my blog on the projector screen and showed me ways to instantly improve my blog and make it more user-friendly.

Every question was answered in detailed and she showed example of some of the worse blogs she has witnessed as well as some of the best out on the World Wide Web. The workshop was extremely helpful, fun, informative and addicting. I can’t wait for her next workshop. Check out her website and let her know Keyonda sent you!