Category Archives: Business

My Visit to P&G Headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio (Lots of Photos!)

Note to readers: I was hosted by P&G (Proctor & Gamble) for this blogger conference.   Accommodations and travel expenses were paid for by P&G.  I am so appreciative that I was able to attend Access P&G and have recapped my visit to the P&G headquarters in Cincinnati for you below.

I was thrilled to be invited to attend P&G’s first Access P&G Blogger Conference this summer, in Cincinnati Ohio. I have used P&G products since I can remember and enjoyed learning more about the brand who brings consumers so many fabulous products from shampoo to mascara and dog food to Tampax. I left the conference feeling more knowledgeable about P&G, Cincinnati Ohio, and social media.

When I arrived at the airport I met a fabulous blogger named Alyson Labarge who writes on Mom Start, and enjoyed talking to her during the car ride to the hotel. That was a great start to the trip!

This post will take you through the Access P&G conference in the order things happened. If you want to jump to the conference sessions scroll down.

21C Museum Hotel & Cincinnati

Speaking of the hotel.. we were taken to the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati where we would stay the next few nights. 21C Museum Hotel is a gorgeous contemporary art museum and boutique hotel. When I walked into the hotel I wondered for just a moment if I entered through a museum entrance. I know.. the name of the hotel is 21c Museum Hotel. I should have known. The lobby of the hotel consisted of one check-in desk and open beautiful space otherwise. The check-in desk neither cluttered with papers, computers, printers, or other gadgets, allowing for a simple, elegant guest check-in experience. That was perhaps the most enjoyable hotel check-in experience I’ve ever had.

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati OhioI said hello to a few other bloggers who I recognized in the hotel lobby then headed up to my room. Entering my room was like entering a museum. Imagine that. The pristine decor, white bedding, and art on the walls and even the pillows gave me the peaceful retreat I needed before a night out with bloggers and P&G PR. Imagine my surprise when I walked into my bathroom and took a look at the shower only to see an ear protruding out of the tile as if it was there to catch up on the latest gossip. I made sure not to sing in that shower. 😉

Access P&G Blogger Conference - Cincinnati Ohio

But, lucky for me, a blogger from Canada named Jody, who’s blog is Mommy Moment, and I met up and took a walk to the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge where I was in awe of the design of the bridge as well as how much Cincinnati has embraced the importance of green space inside the city. Did you know that when the first pedestrians crossed the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge on December 1, 1866, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet? Imagine being one of those people in 1866, crossing the longest suspension bridge in the world!

Yoga, Lessons from Twitter, and How Strong is Bounty DuraTowel, Really?

The first morning, after a great yoga session, J.B. Kropp a Strategic Partnerships fellow at Twitter talked to us about Optimizing Your Blog through Social Media. I learned things like what days and times of day are best to tweet, how to effectively use hashtags, and he even presented some great Vine videos to us. I couldn’t have been more pleased with J.B.’s session at the Access P&G Conference.

Access P&G conference in Cincinnati, Ohio

After the great forum with J.B. Kropp we moved on to the P&G Headquarters just a few blocks from our hotel.

There, we kicked off our visit to the headquarters with a cooking demonstration and lunch with Bounty and Top Chef Stephanie Izard. Stephanie created a couple of beautiful dishes for us and a fabulous chocolatey goodness desert.  That ensured that we all had the energy we needed to continue with the day. Not like we needed any more energy. I think all the bloggers and I were so thrilled to be there, talking to each other and learning more about P&G that we didn’t need any more energy.

Before lunch we watched a demonstration during which two paper towels were secured by clamps hanging from a bar as seen in the photo above.  Each paper towel had a weight added to the bottom of it and was sprayed with water until the paper towel ripped and fell. We counted the seconds until the first paper towel ripped and fell from the rod.  Several of us held our breath because watching the DuraTowel paper towel hang from the rod with weighs on it while it was being sprayed continuosly with water, was one of those situations when you are nervous that things aren’t going to turn out as you hope, but the DuraTowel paper towel held strong and didn’t tear like the other paper towel did. Hooray! You can read my review of Bounty DuraTowel here.

P&G Archives

Perhaps my favorite part of Access P&G was our visit to the P&G Archives Room.   Walking into the archives room was like walking into a time machine dating back to 1837!  We were surrounded by some of P&G’s most well-known products including Vicks Vapor Rub, Tide, Downy, and Ivory and saw how the packaging has changed over the years.   To be honest, I like the old Ivory bar soap packaging better than the current.  We were given a wonderful overview of P&G’s history.  We were not allowed to photograph many of the products but some of those that we could photograph are shown below.

P&G Proctor and Gamble Archives in Cincinnati


IAMS by P&GIAMS So Good!

We had a special guest around mid-day.  His name is Pawl Griffin and he is very hairy, slobbers, and practically convinced me that getting a dog might not be so bad.. one day.  Maybe 30 years from now.  Pawl Griffin, the face of IAMS, is a super sweet dog and very tolerant.  You wouldn’t believe how people coo over him.   The IAMS representatives that spoke with us were not only animal lovers, but know just about everything there is to know about a dog’s digestive system, hair coat, and breeds. I got a tip or two about what to look for if we ever decide to get a dog.


Hair and Makeup

The last stop of the day before dinner was to the hair and makeup ‘studio’ in the P&G headquarters.

Oh my goodness, talk about fun!  I have never been confident with applying eye liner and makeup in general.  That all changed, thanks to celebrity makeup artist and Olay Skincare Ambassador in attendance, Bruce Grayson.  I now know the correct way to apply eyeliner and foundation, even without using an official primer like I’ve done for years.  We used Olay Regenerist as a sort of primer then applied P&G’s Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation. Click the link to read my review of the foundation.

Next, we got a lesson in hair styling from the fabulous David Reposar, hair stylist extraordinaire.  One thing I learned from him is that it doesn’t take an hour to create an amazing hair style… little did I know.  He sat me down in a chair, sprayed a heat protecting spray on my hair then went at it with a curling iron.  How fun!

Access P&G makeup and hair

Balancing Blog and Home

This was the topic of our final conversation as a group, moderated by Danielle Smith, Access P&G attendee and author of Social Media Engagement For Dummies.  We shared stories about how we balance our blog/business and home life.. or don’t.  I shared a few of my secrets to balancing my business and home life.. shut the office door, don’t work at the kitchen table, give the kids the attention they need and deserve, and set boundaries.

Vanessa Lachey P&GOh, one last thing.  Vanessa Lachey.

The night of our arrival we enjoyed dinner at Contemporary Arts Center, next door to our hotel, where P&G “Have You Tried It  Yet” program spokesperson Vanessa Lachey spent the evening with us.  Vanessa is down to earth, nice, fun, funny, and of course.. gorgeous!  But what impressed me the most about her is that she spoke about her husband (Nick Lachey) and son just like you and I would talk about our husband and kids, with pride and humor.  She even suggested that she does her own laundry. Huh?   She sat down at our table and told us about her son and showed us photos.  It was adorable, really.

I hope you enjoyed this recap of my trip to Cincinnati Ohio for the first Access P&G blogger conference!

Alicia, The Mommy Insider blog author

Personal: The Kids Are Back In School.. What That Means For Work From Home Moms

Hallalujah, the kids are back in school!   Don’t tell me that you’re not thinking the same thing.

Luckily, my kids were just as excited about going back to school as I was that they were going back.  Why such the excitement?  I can finally work 5-6 hours straight again!

I am a work from home mom.  I started my business, Atlanta Moms®, 12 years ago and have worked from home since.  Some people think that because I work from home, I live a relaxing, carefree life.

work from home mom

Working from home = a relaxing, carefree life, right?

  • You can work when you want
  • You can play with the kids when you want
  • You can hang out at the local coffee shop for hours if you want
  • You can get a massage while the kids are in school
  • You can get comfy on the couch and read a good book before answering emails

Those are some things that people have suggested that I must do since I work from home.

Like, duh, I just sit around all day wondering what to do with the time.

On that note, here is what working from home (with kids) means to me.. especially during the summer school break months:

  • Working from home = rarely getting to complete a work related task from start to finish at one sitting
  • Working from home = risking having a child telling you about the hawk eating the squirrel in the backyard while you’re on a conference call
  • Working from home = not having normal work hours
  • Working from home = people expecting you to be able to leave the house to have lunch whenever you want
  • Working from home = typing up a rush proposal while teaching your 7-year-old multiplication
  • Working from home = often reading and responding to emails while parked at your child’s evening activity
  • Working from home = technically getting to make your own hours and do what you want when you want while being responsible and holding yourself accountable and most importantly
  • Working from home = working extra hard to keep your promises to your kids, employees, and clients

Now that the kids are back in school, today is day #2, I have 5-6 solid hours a day when I can work in peace and quiet again!

I am unbelievably grateful that I am able to work from home.
I never imagined that my business would allow me to make a full-time income while being able to take care of my kids and home, travel across the country, work with local and national businesses every day, work with companies like Six Flags, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola, but it has and I am so appreciative.
I learned early on in my work from home days that when someone says that they work from home, we should say “wow, you are brave, generous, and must have your sh*t together enough to maintain an income while raising happy, healthy, smart children”.  Enough said.

What does working from home mean to you, whether you work from home or not?

12 Blogging & Life Tips and Techniques I’ve Learned from 12 Years of Online Publishing

kids grow up fastMy kids have been out of school for a few weeks.  Enough said, right?

While I LOVE having my kids home with me and wouldn’t change that for anything, I run my business, and this blog, from home, and have for 12 years.  Summer break can be a bit stressful because I have to make sure the kids are entertained while I work.

Each year toward the end of the school year, I feel a sense of relief that summer break is approaching.   After all, with summer break comes fun family travel, and less chaotic days, right?  Wrong!!  Well, I suppose the fun family travel is right, but the days are not less chaotic when the kids are out of school, that’s for sure.

In the 3 weeks that the kids have been out of school, we’ve been to Florida and Indiana, and home for 1 week.  I worked about a total of two hours during each trip which odd as it sounds, stressed me out more than when I work a long work day.

Why is that, you ask?

When I’m working, I know that I am moving my business forward and being productive.  When I’m not working, I think about the emails I should be answering, the ads I should be publishing, the newsletter I should be editing, and the blog posts I should be proofing.

I worked very hard to create and build my business,, 12 years ago and like many business owners I had a difficult time giving up control of any part of the business so that I didn’t have to do it all.  The lack of desire to give up control of some aspects of the business didn’t last long though.  Within 2 years of launching, I had a full-time advertising sales representative who made tons of money, more than me it seemed (you know.. businesses expenses.. and all that), and she stayed with Atlanta Moms® for 8 years.  Giving up complete control was the best thing I could do for my business and I recommend that all business owners hire someone to take care of some tasks as soon as they can.  I was less stressed almost immediately after hiring my first employee and I couldn’t do without help now.  I thought surely no one would represent my business as well as I did, but I was wrong.

Having employees has given me the opportunity to spend more time with my kids.   My son was a year old when I started and I am so glad I’ve been able to watch him grow up and be with him every day to be there for moments like these..

my son growing up

No matter what, I will always want to keep tabs on my business even when I’m on vacation, but I know now that I don’t have to answer every email within 15 minutes and that it’s not a big deal to have over 30k emails in my inbox.  Speaking of email, I’ve known bloggers and other business colleagues to say a lot about having soo many emails in their inbox, but why is it a big deal?  No matter what, the emails are going to be stored somewhere so why not just keep them in your inbox?  Doesn’t everyone just use search to find an email? Who labels emails or puts them in folders anymore?

I expanded my business when I started this site,, in 2006.  I am equally proud of both sites and can’t imagine not having either of them.  It’s like having a second child.  You don’t think you could love another website as much as the first, but you do.

On that note, here are a few photos of my daughter, starting in 2007 and ending with a photo of the two of us taken just about a week ago, in June 2013.

my daughter growing up

This summer, I accept that there will be times when I can not check email more than once a day and I am not going to stress about it.   Please don’t quote me.

That is just one way I am going to make this summer less stressful than past summers.

Over the last 12 years I’ve learned some techniques that have helped me keep my stress levels down, in regards to business.

Here are a 12 blogging and business tips that I’ve learned in the last 12 years:

  1. Don’t try to respond to every email you receive within 15 minutes, or even a few hours
    The people who send you the email have a life too and are probably not expecting a response right away.
  2. Don’t say yes to every blogging opportunity that arrives in your inbox
    If I am not excited about the opportunity or don’t feel like it’s worth my time to travel or write about it, then I say no thanks.  Your time is valuable.  Make sure you are getting paid what you are worth!
  3. Write a blog post and leave it in draft status for a day at least
    Mom bloggers often are distracted while writing a blog post.  Such is the case with me.  I have found that when I check a blog post a day or so after writing it and when I am not going to be interrupted, I catch more errors than if I publish it right away.
  4. Don’t hesitate to invest in products and services that will help you be more productive
    I was stubborn for the first few years of being online. Paying for an ad server and an email newsletter service like Mailchimp were 2 of the best things I have done for my business and myself.  Paying for a good hosting service that will provide 24/7 support is a good idea too.
  5. Have a separate phone number for business calls
    Use a Google number or get a second cell phone or landline that is 100% dedicated to business calls. Enough said.
  6. Use a Social Media Service like Hootsuite to monitor your social media accounts 
    If you use social media for your business, invest in a service like Hootsuite to manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  Hootsuite makes viewing messages that you have sent and received as well as all messages with a specific hashtag or user you’d like to follow, a breeze.
  7. Schedule blog posts and social media posts 
    Write blog posts and social media posts ahead of time when you have extra time and schedule them to publish later.
  8. Limit how many browser tabs you have open
    I have been guilty of having 15-20 tabs open in my browser at a time.  That just sucks productivity like almost nothing else.  If a page was taking a few seconds to load, I would switch to another tab to read something else and forget what I was doing.
  9. Get small tasks done before tackling large tasks
    Getting small tasks done before starting on larger tasks allows you to feel like you’ve accomplished something.  That’s always nice.
  10. Use an app/service like Feedly to keep up with your blogging buddie’s blogs
    Having all the latest posts from your favorite blogs presented to you on a single site/page means you don’t have to visit 20 different blogs every day!
  11. DO NOT compare yourself to other bloggers!
    Just don’t do it..unless you’re into self-torture.
  12. Enjoy your kids
    I can’t believe my kids are 13 and 7 and I started when my son was 1!  They have grown up so fast but I’m happy to be able to say that I haven’t missed any of it.

If you are a blogger or a work from home parent, please share your productivity and blogging tips with me below!



Review + Giveaway – Must Have Gadget for Bloggers Who Travel: WorldCard Link Business Card Reader

Win a WorldCard Link Business Card Reader!
Scroll down to enter.

I’ve been an online publisher since 2001 and I’ve been blogging since 2005.  I have attended a lot of conferences over the years and one thing that I could have used was a business card scanner.

This is one of those must-have gadgets that once you have, you don’t know how you did without.

Bloggers, when you’re at a social media or blogging conference, how many PR and blogger business cards do you collect?  

Most bloggers at a conference will collect anywhere from 100-500+ business cards.   What do you do with all of those business cards when you get back to the office or home?  I’ve heard everything from “stick them in an envelope”, “put them in a notebook”, and “store them in a box”.

Tell me.. how do you easily find a contact when their information is stuffed in a box or envelope somewhere?  It’s not easy and most of us don’t take the time to sift through our office to find business cards from the last conference we attended.

That is why I love WorldCard Link’s business card scanner for the iPhone.  This gadget is as amazing as it is small!

WorldCard Link Business Card Reader for iPhone

Your iPhone plugs in to this incredibly intuitive and useful device.  After that it’s simple to scan every business card you’ve collected at a social media conferences such as BlogHer, or other conferences.  Extremely portable, the WorldCard Link can be stored in just about any small bag such as a purse, briefcase or even a large coat pocket. Easily stowed away in a carry-on bag, the card reader goes wherever it is needed.

The genius of the device extends to how it maintains the information received from the business cards it scans. The WorldCard Link can connect to a preferred cloud based server such as Google Contacts, iCloud or even Dropbox. This makes it immensely easy to sync up with other contacts to maintain a coherent structure to anyone’s databases and client lists. In the fast paced world of business, it allows for a simple means of taking care of something that can quickly become too large for easy organization.

win an iphone business card readerIn the professional world, business cards are handed out by just about everyone. WorldCard Link Business Card Reader can help iPhone users maintain a powerful but simple database to house the information scanned from these cards. Thanks to cloud based servers, it will free up a professional from having to enter contact info themselves, as well as having to carry around all those business cards.

WorldCard Link is a complete business card manager for iPhone users. It comes with an ergonomic iPhone dock and an app. With iPhone on the dock, as soon as you put a business card on the other end of the dock, the app will smoothly capture all contact info for storing on the phone and sharing over the cloud. No more hand type in business cards.

Bloggers, this is a must have for your next blog or social media conference!

WorldCard Link

  • is easy to use
  • is convenient
  • is small
  • is affordable – $39
  • is  master information gatherer
  • can sync contacts to the cloud
  • can search contacts on FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • can scan horizontal and vertical business cards
  • and more!

Learn more about and buy WorldCard Link business card reader here.

See WorldCard Link in action in the video below!



Win a WorldCard Link Business Card Reader!

We are giving a lucky reader a WorldCard Link device to keep!

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post below.

For example, tell us where you would take your WorldCard Link device, how many business cards do you have to scan initially, how would WorldCard Link make your life easier?

Be sure to tell us everything you do in the comments so we can count all of your entries!

Earn extra entries:

Contest rules and terms

  • Entries accepted through 11:59pm EST June 5th, 2013.
  • Open to U.S. residents only. No P.O. Boxes.
  • Your email address may be added to our weekly email newsletter list. We will not send you spam and you can unsubscribe anytime.


I was provided with a sample to review and a unit to give to a lucky reader.  All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.  I only write about products and services that I would buy.

5 Fabulous To-Do and Goal Tracking Applications

remember the milk applicationDuring a fast-paced day, it is easy to forget the countless items on a growing mental to do list much less looming life goals that still cause sleepless nights. Therefore, task manager websites with mobile applications serve as both personal assistants and motivational life coaches. Think of the following sites as anxious applicants vying for the chance to become your favorite organization guru!
42Goals sets itself apart via the icons that you can utilize to plot your accomplishments. The icons serve as a visual record of your progress through smaller goals that lead to a bigger objective. Switch between goal tracking on the site via your Mac or PC, over to their mobile web version at your convenience.
Cost: Free, with upgrades from $5-$30 monthly.
There is a reason Toodledo landed on Apple’s list of Top Paid Apps last year. Users love the sleek interface that seamlessly syncs from Windows and OS X to any smartphone or iOS device without hassles. This to-do app is a lifesaver for parents with active kids as it serves to remind them of their family’s daily agenda.
Cost: Free, with Pro and Pro Plus annual memberships ranging from $14.95 and $29.95 respectively.
Ideal for sharing the overarching goals in your life, 43Things connects your goals to a network of other people’s goals. Do you want to lose weight? Have you had a life-long desire to conquer Mt. Everest? This site’s uncluttered format links you to other like-minded folks. It is available on RSS feed and the iPhone.
Cost: Free.
This straightforward daily reminder site provides cross browser capabilities. Sync from web to iPhone, smartphone, or Android supported device. Bloggers can manage blog posts or meetings and will benefit from the myriad of options for sharing lists and appointments across platforms. Parents can also send reminder lists about groceries, upcoming PTA meetings, etc., via email or text.
Cost: Free, with Pro membership for $25 annually.
A little competition goes a long way with Producteev. Perfect for business teams, Producteev provides incentives for completing tasks. You can prioritize tasks in order of importance and award badges for different levels of completion. It is ideal for business owners trying to get and keep their teams motivated. Use Producteev on PC, Mac or mobile devices.
Cost: Free for a two-member team, $20 per month for larger teams.


Do you have a favorite to-do or goal tracking app?  Share in the comments below!