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Podcast 3: “Nix the Naysayers”

Click here to listen to this episode. (Right click to download.) Description: Award-winning blogger and FLBlogCon founder Bess Auer interviews Josh Murdock aka Professor Josh. They talk about how technology is more important than ever in the classroom and about the upcoming blogging and social media conference geared just for teachers and their … Read More

Podcast 2: “Tweets in Space”

Listen to this episode now Description: I discuss how NASA and Publix are wisely utilizing social media in saavy ways before chatting with Tom Jelneck about SEO for bloggers. I then talk about our next Tweet Chat, the MailChimp app Gather, Florida SwimNetwork’s next livestream, and my dogs. See links … Read More

Oh SwimmerJoe! Sneak Peek at the Ford F-150

As most of you know I’ve got a relationship with Ford – they have been wonderful partners for FLBlogCon and as a blogger, I’ve gotten to do some really neat things ranging from going to Detroit for a social media conference (where I got to rub elbows with Steve Wozniak) … Read More

Podcast: Shut Up and Do

Click Here to Listen to This Episode (Right Click on Player to Download) Items Mentioned in this Podcast: Samsung Meteor mic I used: FORUM 2014 Justice Mitchell’s “State of the Blog Address” Ben Reed’s “How to Self Host Your Blog”  Bess Auer’s “How to Create and Edit Video” Makayama iPad … Read More

Crowd-Funding in Cambodia and Other Things I Won’t Take For Granted

One of the things I like best about traveling is the perspective it gives me on my own life. I believe if everybody were able to travel the world and see different people and other cultures, then it would probably be a much nicer planet. And while there are many … Read More

MailChimp Has Got Swag

MailChimp is one of my favorite tools and I use it often to manage my email campaigns. Not only is it incredibly easy to use, but perhaps even more important, it is FREE. (At least until you get to 2,000 subscribers on your list. After that it is still reasonable!) … Read More

Asian Skinny vs. American Fat

Okay, I normally don’t use the word “fat” but it seemed appropriate in this context. When I was in Asia visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, we were hard-pressed to find one person who I would consider to be overweight. In some of the villages we visited,  underweight was the … Read More

Ha Long Bay = Heaven!

I’m on a trip of a trip of a lifetime to SE Asia with my mom and good friend Sandra. See my original post here where I explain the how and why of us coming halfway around the world. Special thanks to my many travel blogger friends who were loaded with advice … Read More

Highlights From Hanoi

I’m on a trip of a trip of a lifetime to SE Asia with my mom and good friend Sandra. See my original post here where I explain the how and why of us coming halfway around the world. Special thanks to my many travel blogger friends who were loaded with advice … Read More

Send My Love to Laos

I’m on a trip of a trip of a lifetime to SE Asia with my mom and good friend Sandra. See my original post here where I explain the how and why of us coming halfway around the world. Special thanks to my many travel blogger friends who were loaded … Read More

Cambodia is Calling!

I’m on a trip of a trip of a lifetime to SE Asia with my mom and good friend Sandra. See my original post here where I explain the how and why of us coming halfway around the world. Special thanks to my many travel blogger friends who were loaded … Read More

One Night in Bangkok (Well, three nights actually)

I’m on a trip of a trip of a lifetime to SE Asia with my mom and good friend Sandra. See my original post here where I explain the how and why of us coming halfway around the world. Special thanks to my many travel blogger friends who were loaded … Read More

Ford Fabulosity for the Holidays

Through my relationship with Ford, I’ve been able to attend some pretty amazing events, like the Go Further With Ford Conference in Detroit and the Drive Orlando event. So, I was thrilled when I was invited to a decidedly “girlie” outing of food and fashion hosted by Ford. And the … Read More

My Own Journey: Check Off the Bucket List

My Limited Travels In high school, I spent a summer in the U.S.S.R. I took 6 years of Russian and had aspirations of being a high-level translator for the U.S. government, believe it or not! (Alas, my international intentions were never realized, and I ended up being a teacher at … Read More

Make a Difference with #GivingTuesday

Second Harvest is one of my favorite organizations in Central Florida. I’ve written about them often and even presented at one of their social media luncheons about Blogging for  a Cause, because I feel so strongly about supporting their mission to end hunger. So, I’m excited to spread word about … Read More

ROAR – But Then Consider…

Before you condemn me for this blog post, please know that I am in the same boat. I am one of those women who used to be *skinny.* I used to be *in shape*… but after childbirth and several years of putting others first … er, okay, truthfully, after several … Read More

Passion – What It Means

It’s Thursday  and I am working from home with the morning television shows on in the background.  All the buzz is about Kanye’s recent appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and I see several of my friends are posting about it on Facebook. One friend, whom I greatly respect, held … Read More

Exciting News

My world has done nothing but get better and better since my final day as a school teacher. So far I have no regrets for taking that leap into working for myself. I’ve booked speaking gigs, designed websites for clients, consulted on social media, and even hosted an amazing FLBlogCon. … Read More

Start Your Engines!

Many of you know I used to work with Chevrolet. I was one of Chevy’s “Girls on the Go” for several different social media campaigns, where I blogged, vlogged, tweeted, and made appearances for General Motors. I was a Chevy girl through and through… or so I thought! Lately my … Read More

Blogging for a Cause

When Maria Diestro from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida asked me to be the speaker for a blogger open house, I was eager to help. Second Harvest is one of my favorite organizations. However, it then occurred to me that I was going to speaking to already seasoned, … Read More

Social Media for Coaches

I’m excited to be presenting to some world class coaches (including former Olympic coaches) at next week’s Hall of Fame Conference hosted by the International Swim Coaches Association. Although this is geared toward swim coaches, is applicable to coaches of any sport as well as educators. The purpose of this … Read More

Blog Bash ’13

Guest post by Kelly Green, aka SeaWorld Mommy Make Sure You’re Invited to Blogger Bash ’13 Give Kids the World Village, which welcomes children with life-threatening illnesses and their families for a weeklong cost-free fantasy vacation, is hosting a Blogger Bash on September 12 from 5-9 p.m. at their Kissimmee, … Read More

Glad I’m Not a Girl

I’m glad I’m not a girl. Oh wait, I am. Okay, so let me instead say I’m glad I am not raising a girl… No slight to all the daughters of the world, but I’m just fine with the challenges of being mommy to a teenage boy. You see, I … Read More

How to Host a Blogger Dinner

As a blogger who used to cover lots of local events for the Central Florida Top 5, I received my fair share of invitations to dine at restaurants as part of their blogger outreach. Some restaurants did an excellent job of reaching out and hosting, while others didn’t quite seem … Read More

The 3 C’s

Choice. Chance. Change. I wonder if it is irony, destiny, or just coincidence that I read this quote right around the same time that the last available ticket was purchased for this year’s FLBlogCon: “You’ve got to make the choice to take a chance in order to make a change.” … Read More

Facebook vs. Instagram

As most of you know, I also have a website called FloridaSwimNetwork.com. In addition to blogging about and promoting competitive swimmers from the state of Florida (think Olympian Ryan Lochte), we also livestream the University of Florida home meets and other major swim meets across the state. Reaching our fans … Read More

What’s Your Personality?

Before heading to Ford’s Go Further With Ford event this past week, I had to take a Myers-Briggs personality assessment. If you’re not familiar with this, Myers-Briggs supposedly tells you whether you are an introvert or extrovert, whether you tend to think things through or just go with more of … Read More

Trust Me…

I had the privilege of being invited as media to attend  the third annual Further With Ford conference in Detroit, Michigan. As a sponsor of FLBlogCon, Ford has become a near and dear company to me, although I currently do not own a Ford car. (Maybe my next car?) Full disclosure: Ford … Read More

Managing Multiples

I feel like maybe that should be the title of a post about twins, or triplets, or even a math blog! However, I am talking about multiple guest bloggers. My website FloridaSwimNetwork.com is in desperate need of some fresh content and so we’re revamping and adding a panel of guest … Read More

How Do *You* Do It?

So, since I have officially committed to being a full-time blogger, I thought I should spread my wings a bit and get to know the growing tech community right here in Central Florida. (Pssst! Did you know that Orlando is building a Creative Village dedicated to techie things right where … Read More

Drumroll please…

So, I have done it. I have made the leap of faith that just about every blogger dreams… I have quit my job and become a fulltime blogger! I have left my teaching position of almost twenty years to go out on my own. *Gulp* Am I scared? Um, yes. … Read More

Priorities

One of my Facebook friends was griping about her children’s school. She wrote, “I was planning to send the kids to school tomorrow for the last day of the term but now I won’t get them there until noon. I figured they weren’t likely doing anything tomorrow except seeing friends … Read More

24-Hour Thankful Project

Social media is a great way to “Do Good” in the world, and a great teaching tool for our kids. What positive messages can we put out there in the Twittersphere as opposed to rants and anonymous potshots? If we can teach people to look for those opportunities to do … Read More

Parent Seminar – Register Now!

Monitoring the Teenage Playground; It’s easier said than done! Just like you wouldn’t allow your toddler to venture onto a playground without your careful supervision, you shouldn’t allow your teenager to wander unaided into the Teenage Playground, that digital world on the web where teens post photos, make comments, send … Read More

Open Letter to My Son

Dear Son, You came home today from school walking on air. All smiles. Talkative. This is rare for a teenager, whose normal state is to grumble something unintelligible in my direction. Last week you complained day after day about how unfair your math teacher was, how much homework you had, … Read More

October is Anti-Bully Month

Cyber bullying is fast becoming a favorite method due to the anonymity of the internet, but this video is an important reminder of how hurtful this behavior can be!

Favorite Math Apps

Depending on the grade level, the iPad has some wonderful apps to help students master the rote memory of basic addition/subtraction and multiplication/division facts as well as counting money. RocketMath ($0.99) <–My students’ favorite! Math Bingo ($0.99) Splash Math (Free) <–available by grade level Time Tables Warp ($1.99) Tic Tac … Read More

Google’s Project Glass – OMG!

Wowsers! The future will be here before we know it! And how will we teachers keep up with this? Google is experimenting with Project Glass, a concept where we would see our social networks right in front of our very eyes! So, imagine as a teacher, having a set of … Read More

Twitter for Teachers (and Parents)

Okay, you have certainly heard of “The Twitter” even if you have absolutely no idea what it means. Well, Twitter is nothing to be afraid of! Imagine it as sitting around chatting with friends, only in this case, your friends may be sitting in India, South Africa, or Iowa. And, … Read More

My Favorite App

TourWrist! I cannot tell you how much I am in love with this iPad app, which is also viewable on the computer! *Squee* So, if you have a Smartboard, you can throw up the images for the entire class to view at once! Or you can assign it as homework for … Read More

Titanic Sinks on Twitter

Twitter presented a unique history lesson this past week, when several Twitter accounts attempted to tweet in real time the sinking of the Titanic on the 100th anniversary of the doomed ship’s demise. The most impressive of these attempts was @TitanicRealTime, run by the British publisher History Press, and they … Read More

Students Publishing Books? Yes!

eBooks, also known as electronic books, are quickly replacing traditional books, and before we start mourning the loss of libraries everywhere, let’s look at the positives eBooks can bring to learning… instant publishing! When I first started teaching English, I actually required my students to go through the publishing process … Read More

Student Clickers – So Cool!

Fully engaging students is one of the most difficult tasks we teachers face, especially with the many distractions in the classroom. Years ago we had to worry about students passing notes, making faces at each other, and even a paper airplane or two. Now we have the covert electronic version … Read More

Fakebook for Real!

Even if you aren’t on Facebook, chances are your students are… even those as young as third and fourth grade! Facebook’s policy states users must be 13 years of age or older, but just as many parents will disregard this requirement as children will lie about their age…yikes! Despite its … Read More

Look, Ma – No Hands!

I recently heard a technology “guru” discuss how students don’t really need to learn to write anymore, that handwriting is more or less obsolete with all the technology now readily accessible. As a former English teacher (and world citizen) my heart broke to hear her misguided view. To take this stand … Read More

7 Steps to Setting Up Class iPads

Great news! You’re being given a class set of iPads! Bad news – several students will have to share, as classes come and go… so how do you set up and maintain all the iPads? Well, here’s what I did and it worked very well. 1. OtterBox it! Kids are … Read More

Use Technology for Good

For those of you unfamiliar with me, in addition to teaching, I am the founder of the Central Florida Blogger & Social Media Conference. Nicknamed CFLBlogCon, it is a one-day gathering of the area’s biggest bloggers and social media enthusiasts. This year, we are expecting 250 attendees to converge on … Read More

Networking at Its Best

As a writer, I’m extremely involved in the blog scene here in Orlando. I founded the award-winning Central Florida Top 5 blog in 2009, even teaming with IzonOrlando.com, before moving on to Florida Swim Network. Through these various sites, I met a great variety of bloggers ranging from mommy bloggers, … Read More

Who is Holiday Shakespeare?

Who is Holiday Shakespeare? Well, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and FourSquare, but don’t try to meet her in person…unless it’s on the pages of her new novel: Beware the Ex-Varto. To put it simply, Holiday Shakespeare is a fictional character who’s breaking out of the literary … Read More

It’s in the Genes

My father passed away this past weekend, one week before his 75th birthday. I’m usually a fairly private person. I walk that fine line of balancing privacy that all social media enthusiasts do; I actually don’t tweet too many details about my family, while giving the appearance that I do. … Read More

Picture = 1000 Words

Unfortunately the saying “A Picture is worth a thousand words” is becoming more and more true, especially in today’s technological world. While I lament this fact as a writer, I embrace it as a marketer! There are so many great marketing tools that allow a writer to help readers picture … Read More

Banning Dr. Seuss

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday. One of the most beloved children’s authors, libraries all over America are celebrating the writings of this wonderful wordsmith. So I feel it is appropriate to take time on this blog to pay homage to the master. In this case, however, I’d like to … Read More

Distractions and the Art of Writing

Okay – think back to your childhood… I bet playing outside was a pretty big part of it. I know it was for me. We lived on an acre and my mother consistently chased us outdoors to climb trees, ride bikes, and chase the chickens. (Yes, we had chickens right … Read More

Eternal Love- Really?

I recently tried my first contest via Pinterest. The idea was for people to pin their best idea of eternal love, the theme from the first Holiday Shakespeare novel: Beware the Ex-Varto. Now, when I say eternal love, I really mean it…kind of!  You see, Holly Shakespeare falls in love … Read More

The Death of the Written Word

I have spent the last 15 years teaching children how to master and ultimately cherish reading and writing. I am also an author, so my life is the written word. But even I can see the writing on the wall. I came across two interesting posts yesterday that illustrate the … Read More

Free Book for My Valentine!

Amazon is running a special with my book Beware the Ex-Varto for Valentine’s Day: free download today through Wednesday! What better way to celebrate this special day of love than by reading about the ultimate love story – where love lasts f-o-r-e-v-e-r! (Really, in this book it does. Immortality is … Read More

Handling Criticism

Handling criticism is always a hot topic on blogger and author forums and tweetchats. Simply put, a negative review is difficult to handle no matter where it comes from, but it is unfortunately a fact of life. I taught English for far too long, watching how differently my students reacted to … Read More

Are You on Good Reads?

As an English teacher for fifteen years, I read literally hundreds of books in order to stay abreast of what my students were reading. I would often discuss books and give recommendations not only to my students, but to their parents and fellow teachers. Short of starting a book review … Read More

Valentine’s Day Contest

I spent most of the day following tweets from the SocialFresh conference happening today. I was lucky enough to volunteer at last year’s conference, but couldn’t make it this time around. (To see the type of incredibly valuable social media info people were learning there, just do a search for … Read More

4Square for Books

Since I’m on a social network binge lately, I thought I might as well include FourSquare.com and how I use it to market my projects. FourSquare is a location-based social network, similar to Facebook Places. When you are at a restaurant, movie, boutique, etc., you can “check in” and broadcast … Read More

Why Use Pinterest?

So until lately, I had been on the fence about Pinterest, a new social media site that seems to be the latest craze. For those not in the know, Pinterest is a site that collects images from the web. Users “pin” their favorite images as if hanging them on a … Read More

5 Reasons for Writers to Tweet

By this time most people are familiar with Facebook, even if they don’t use it, but somehow Twitter seems an enigma to many. Well, this writer is here to tell you to stop being afraid and get on there and tweet! 1. Breaking News Communication goes both ways. Have something … Read More

Free Download This Valentine’s Day!

What better way to celebrate (or do away with!) Valentine’s Day than by reading one of the great (and tragic) love stories ever of all time! And when I say “all time” I really mean it! If you don’t already know, Beware the Ex-Varto deals with the idea of immortality … Read More

On Becoming Agentless

My newest novel Beware the Ex-Varto (Holiday Shakespeare Trilogy, Book 1) is only available on the Kindle. This was a deliberate decision made by me and my now-former agent. (No names! I’ll tell you why later.) Many people have asked why I am not making this book available in print … Read More

iPads, Writing and Bruce Lee

So, many of you know I teach in addition to writing. For years I taught English to middle school students, which allowed me a unique insight into the types of books they love and which authors they like to read. However, this year I’ve switched to teaching a “Smart Tech” … Read More

First Official Review

Woot! So thankful for my first review for Beware the Ex-Varto (Holiday Shakespeare Trilogy, Book 1). Be sure to click on the image below for a closer look! Have you read Beware the Ex-Varto? If so, please consider leaving a review – it helps in my Amazon rankings! And, if … Read More

Book Trailer

Yes, there are now movie trailers for books… enjoy this sneak peek at the trailer for Beware the Ex-Varto (Holiday Shakespeare Trilogy, Book 1).

Back to Blogging

Some of you may know me from the Central Florida Top 5, an award-winning blog I started in 2009 and then passed to the very capable hands of Brian Wilson. The reason for passing my blog along? Well, I thought I’d be too busy being a producer for my hubby’s Florida … Read More

7 Steps to Setting Up Class iPads

Great news! You’re being given a class set of iPads! Bad news – several students will have to share, as classes come and go… so how do you set up and maintain all the iPads? Well, here’s what I did and it worked very well. 1. OtterBox it! Kids are … Read More