Category Archives: Blogging

Blogging In A Nutshell



Stop Downgrading Our Work By Mommyifying It

When we say things like “Mommy blogger,” and “mom-fessionals” (professional moms) we work to undo what feminism tries to combat. It defines our work as other. And less than. It’s condescending and cutesy. It’s the pink is for girls mindset for professionals.

Women often get typecast as mommy bloggers or work-from-home-moms, working-moms, or whatever because it also has it’s merits marketing wise. “Mommy blogger” as a brand sells, even if many if us don’t write about our kids. But how can we strive to be taken seriously if we cutesy up our talents by having to define it as a “mom-job,” instead of a job well done. It’s like Roger Maris with that unofficial asterisk beside our work because we’re not playing the same game. We put an asterisk by our work when we phrase our writing, our work, and our positions by defining it not by the work itself, but by the fact that we do it despite being moms.

I’d much rather be called a social media influencer or writer, period-than to be dubbed a mommy blogger or social media mom. and if and when I go back to work, I don’t need to be labelled a working mom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of being a mom. It’s the most important job I do. And my job of mom comes first, yet it doesn’t need to diminish the fact that I can do work that stands on it’s own two feet. It implies that our only value is being a mom- which is far from true.

Plenty of men work from home. Plenty of men blog or write or sell things, yet we don’t feel the need to box them in or to daddy-professional their titles. How about if I didn’t birth you, you don’t need to call me mommy. Own your motherhood ladies, but it doesn’t need to necessarily define and diminish your other accomplishments.


My New Gig

I’m pleased to announce my new blogging position at the D&C.. Which is the same paper I was blogging for already, but I’m now a member of the Editorial Board of Contributors! Basically I’ll still be blogging as usual, just slightly in a better, more visible area in the paper. Woo Hoo!


Can you believe they’re giving me free-reign to yip and yap about any hot topics I want?! Since I typically have plenty of opinions to go around and then some, this should be no problem.


This is what people say under their breath when they read blogs.. I know.

The only downside to this mess is my new headshot is the worst dowdy-ist picture ever of me on social media and it’s not like Facebook where I can just untag myself. It might be a conspiracy to make me appear more important.

Worst headshot ever. *crys*

Worst headshot ever. *crys*


So that just means I’ll have to offset it with more non frumpy shall I dare say sexier, selfies.



This is one I took of myself on the SAME day. If you tilt the ipad just so you can shed 10 pounds, I call it the selfie diet.

Here’s my first post. Click on it so it looks like I’m super popular. Love you guys, and as always, thanks for the support!

Of course I’ll still be posting here as usual.. this is my home- the place where I can let my hair down and put my feet up.

like this.. except mostly in pajamas surrounded by screaming kids.

like this.. except mostly in pajamas surrounded by screaming kids.

Happy Anniversary To Me!

I can’t believe it, I’ve been officially blogging for From Playgrounds To Politics for 1 year!

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Happy Anniversary To Me!

When I started out this blog was actually named Mandreago, but after a few months I changed it to what it is now. Have you checked out my new About The Author page, It’s changed since the beginning, as I’m ever evolving and making this my place.

This was the first post I wrote for this site: Welcome To My Very First Third Blog!

This was probably my funniest: What’s With The Bacon?

This was my most heartfelt and scariest to post: Why I Can’t Enjoy Every Moment

This was the most revealing about my life: So I’m 31 & All of A Sudden, I’m Lactose Intolerant. I had a lot of people say it was too much, as well as a lot of people give me warm wishes when I posted it.

This was another favorite from a while ago: Why You Don’t Want To Date A Disney Prince. I had actually written it before I had this blog, but then I rewrote it to post here.

This is my most viewed.. (a lot of people search for serious info on selling Kirby vacuum cleaners.. unfortunately Google thinks they should read this blog which is mostly making fun of the whole thing: What Not To Do If You’re Selling Kirby Vacuum Cleaners Door To Door.  It just goes to show that it isn’t always the most thought out or personal posts that get traffic.

And this has been my least viewed of all time (well I did just post it a few days ago, and also it might be boring, albeit useful): How To Remove A Connection On LinkedIn.

This one was another post that was pretty popular and got a lot of shares: The Privilege And The Problem Of Not Seeing Race.

I make it a point of not being too Mommy-Bloggish, but I do have a handful of parenting posts on here.. Here’s one: Taking Turns.. And Taking Your Turn.

Here’s a post about why I don’t really want to be a Mommy-Blogger and why I hesitate to blab about my kids too much: The Consequences of the Internet Parenting Over-Share. That one is actually pretty important to remember while raising kids in a social media centered world and a good one to read every now and then to remember not to get too carried away.

Here’s another post about unplugging: Sorry, I’m Not Sharing Today. It’s a good reminder that not everything has to be a blog post.

Here’s a post that is super long, that I did a lot of research for about gun control and why I think we miss the point on banning assault weapons instead of creating government programs to stop violence: Gun Control and Why Are We Always Barking Up The Wrong Tree?

The two things that surprise me the most is that I’ve had people from 98 different countries visit my blog and almost 200 people subscribe to receive it by email. It sort of blows my mind that people actually want to tune in repeatedly; but I thank you. It’s been fun! I feel like I’m ever evolving in finding my way & I’m certainly not done yet. Thank you my friends 🙂

Here’s some of my favorite pictures from the past year:

Top Tens Ways to Draw Traffic To Your Blog

Tuesday Top Ten is BACK!

Top Tens Ways to Draw Traffic To Your Blog.

  1. Create a Facebook Page For Your Blog:  So many bloggers and businesses complain about Facebook’s unfair way of hiding some of the content you follow.  This is true and the system is flawed towards favoring paying customers.  That being said, Facebook is often my highest source of clicks.  Make your account a place worth “liking.”  Post commentary, pictures and interact with followers.
  2. Tweet It.. and Pin it and Link it, etc.:  A strong social media presence is a must-have accessory for any blogger wishing to have a decent following.  Twitter is a goldmine of opportunity with potential of retweets from friends and followers.  Don’t just post your blog, but interact with followers.  Nobody wants to just see tweets of your blog all day long.  Space it out and have at least 10 interactions in-between each blog post.  Be sure to post several times a day and mix it up.  You may draw some readers in with one catchy title, someone else may be drawn in by another.  Find creative ways to intro your material.  This doesn’t just go for twitter, make sure you are on every major social media site out there: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon and even Google+.  Don’t underestimate sites like LinkedIn just because you aren’t a “business type.”  Your blog is your business!  Take advantage of the unsaturated market and get clicks from people in the workplace that aren’t able to use sites like Facebook, but can scroll through LinkedIn while at the office.
  3. Comment on other blogs:  I visit every blog site that comments on my work and often get follow-up responses to other sites that I make comments on.  This is a great way to discover other writers that like your stuff and bring the traffic back to you.  And don’t just go through and say, “nice blog” on every site you see.  The words you write is a little sample of your work.  This will signal to people if they want to waste time reading what you have to say.  Think of it as advertising what a great writer you are and your unique style.
  4. Keep It Coming:  Whether it’s an ongoing theme or posting regularly, you will draw people’s attention if they know your site is frequently updated and a place to visit over and over again.
  5. Participate in Groups That Your Audience is Likely To Be:  If you’re a Mom Blog, find other moms online, if you are a business blog, LinkedIn may be a place to join groups, if you are a gamers blog, find the gamers.  There are groups and clubs for every genre out there.  Find yours and make friends.  If you don’t find a group, create one.
  6. Tag Your Posts: Don’t underestimate the power of visitors via search engines.  Research tops tags and categories and tag your posts with things that are likely to draw readers.
  7. Guest Blog:  This is one of the number one ways to increase your readership, and basically a form of free advertising.  Solicit and seek out blogs to write guest posts for, as well as accept quality guest posts to your site.  Now you have two people tweeting and sharing the link to your posts.  Imagine if you guest post on ten sites.  Make sure your posts link back to your site so your new readers can find you.
  8. Add Pictures:  When you post your blog onto social media sites a thumbnail will be displayed next to your link.  A catchy picture or illustration is just as important as a catchy title, which will entice people to take the click plunge.  This is also useful to be used in conjunction with Pinterest.  Everytime someone repins your awesome picture, it’s another opportunity for a blog post to be shared and reshared.
  9. Catchy Title:  Yes, I’m talking about link baiting.  This is the first and possibly the only impression your readers will get of your blog posts.  No one may be interested in clicking a post that is poorly and boringly titled  (yawn) because it blends in with the other 5 billion posts that we scroll by each day.  Someone may be more apt to clicking on a catchy title or a fun play on words.
  10. Make Sure Your Site Is Easily Navigable and Easy To Comment On:  If I can’t find my way around a website and it isn’t visually pleasing the first time I visit, I will not return.  It’s as simple as that.  Make your space a place worth looking at, as well as an easy to use menus and sidebars.  Make sure you are blogging from a site that is easy to comment on and that we can actually find the comment and share buttons very simply.  I am not going to beg a blogger to make it easier to share and comment on their blogs, and most readers will just give up if they can’t find something within a short time.  I often will not comment on a blog written on Google Blogger because it is just too annoying to have to fill in the CAPTCHA thing over and over again.  Everyone on the internet is lazy, accommodate them.


Will Smith Doesn’t Have To Cuss In His Raps.. But Do I?

Will Smith

Will Smith

Remember that Grammy Awards show a while back where Will Smith was all like, “I don’t gotta cuss in my raps to sell records,” during his acceptance speech. And then Eminem came out with The Real Slim Shady and sang, “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records; but I do, so f**k him, and f**k you too!”

Both entertainers have been great at what they do. Will Smith has the nice family guy persona down pat, and Eminem is the king of the angsty jerk persona. Completely different, they’re both wildely successful. That being said, when you put them side by side Eminem has sold 4 times the amount of albums that Will Smith has, at a little over 37 million versus just over 9 million respectively. At 9 million records, Will Smith is no slouch, and he is positioned at number 17 on the top-selling rappers list of all time; but still light years ahead, Eminem is the number one best-selling rapper of all time. We really like the Jerk.

Whenever I read a really popular blog I think about Will Smith & Eminem and this comparison and wonder if there’s some sort of parallel with these two different rapping styles and bloggers?

Vulgarity sells. In music and in blogs.



It seems like so many popular blogs are “Eminem Blogs;” you know, the ones that swear like vulgar sailors, trash their family and act like they don’t care about anything in the world. There’s definitely a tried and true method that you can do well with: embracing this Eminem style. And I wonder: do you need to cuss in your blog for it to be successful? To be a good comedian?

I mean, I get it: swearing is raw emotion, and tee-hee, giggle giggle, down right funny. Many blogs I enjoy, noticeably women bloggers, (because that’s who I often read) are great comediennes, but often swear incessantly in their writing. If that’s their thing- fine. And really, I’m not saying they aren’t enjoyable.. There’s a place for every genre, but is it really possible to be a popular blogger without being vulgar? And now I sound uptight, but my family and friends read this blog and I just don’t want to go down that route. I am aware that I am not even a fraction as talented or anywhere near the caliber of some of these great women bloggers I see out there. We’re talking apples and small potatoes.. This I know. I’m just curious.

It is possible to write a Will Smith blog and be successful, and be funny or do you have to take on the bitch persona talking about how much you hate everything and want to punch kittens and such and make sure you throw in the F-bomb every couple of lines or so? I’m honestly asking. And I know so many people would respond: be true to your self, don’t worry about popularity, but who are we kidding, of course we want people to read our blogs, enjoy our work, be a popular writer. I’m just not sure if that level of popularity is possible with a Will Smith Blog filled with all sorts of non-cussing banter. Maybe part of the problem is when women have a strong outspoken opinion, they are often called bitches, so maybe my own perception is part of the problem? And I know there are plenty of good blogs that aren’t vulgar out there, but are they popular and successful and passed around the Internet like hot cakes?

It’s interesting how, for instance, the popular Facebook page, I F**king Love Science has 1.9 million fans, and their mirrored page with the clean version name, Science Is Awesome has 73 thousand fans. It speaks volumes that people are more drawn to the page title with the cuss words even though it has similar content. Maybe the Internet is a place where everybody wants to be uncensored, and to prove our stake in this uncensored world we need to mark our territory as a front running cussing shareholder. I appreciate the art of vulgar funny writing, I’ll even laugh out loud myself, I only hope and wonder if it’s not the only method to success in blogging.

If you know any popular and SUCCESSFUL blogs, it doesn’t even have to be blogs you personally even like, that does not use swear words link them below, I’d be interested checking them out and comparing them to popular blogs that do.

Holy Name Change Batman! ‘Mandreago’ is now ‘From Playgrounds To Politics’


O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.


[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?


‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What’s in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d, Retain that dear perfection which he owes Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name, And for that name which is no part of thee Take all myself.


I take thee at thy word: Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized; Henceforth I never will be Romeo.

Maybe Juliet didn’t care that Romeo was a Montague, but in the end, it held them back.  I have been thinking lately about the power of a name, and honestly I think my blog’s nonsense name is holding me back.  I started this blog wanting to be able to write about a  broad range of topics and not be confined by its name.  I still want the same thing, this is still the same blog and I’m still going to write about generally the same sort of things; but I am at a point where I want a name that people can recognize, pronounce, remember, and maybe draw a few unsuspecting readers in from the depths of the internet who would have said, what the heck is a Mandreago, but would be intrigued by what my new name is going to be.  I love the old name, Mandreago, but I love my new name more.  My blog will now be called, From Playgrounds To Politics.  It captures what I am about still, not just one thing, while being a bit more catchy-flowy.  I like to discuss an array of topics, anywhere from kids on the playground to worldwide politics.  If you are familiar with my twitter feed, I talk a lot about public schools and love to get into the mix when it comes to controversial topics and the latest political issues.  I hope this new change will be a positive one and give me some direction and somewhat of a brand identity, something that I felt I was lacking.  Thank you for transitioning with me, I hope it’s not too confusing. I’d also appreciate whatever feedback you have for me and my new name and new look.  I will also be changing the Facebook page accordingly. I’m still kind of playing with the background and design of my site as always I’m not sure I love the mix of images yet and I need to let it digest, so bear with me and throw some feedback my way. Good, bad, ugly or indifferent.  What do you think?

Ten Things To Do When You Have Bloggers Block

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things To Do When You Have Bloggers Block


Read Other Blogs:  Sometimes reading the thoughts of what others deem as funny
or important can spark ideas in yourself.

Talk To A Friend:  Bounce an idea off of someone close to you.  I usually think
of a number of blogging ideas by just talking to my Mom.   Our gossiping and
griping often turn into perfect material for a good post.

Read A Book:  I always get inspired to write by reading books.   The eloquent words of
the masters makes me want to strive to be a better writer.  This sometimes
backfires when I’m trying to read a book, and all I can think about is my own

Just Write:  If this was so easy, then you wouldn’t have bloggers block, right?
It doesn’t have to be full sentences, it doesn’t have to flow or make sense, or
even be one single idea.  Make a list of potential blog titles.  Get anything
that comes to mind out in print.  This will often turn into something great.

Read The News:  Give a good rant and express yout thoughts on the latest current events.
Timely blogs on news stories are sure to bring traffic to your blog.

Go For A Walk:  Walking alone taking in all of nature is peaceful and
therapeutic, it can clear your head and break up some of the nonsense that is
boggling your mind.

Go For A Drive:  I usually daydream when I drive.  Oftentimes while on a long
drive I’ll have written entire blogs in my head.

Take A Shower:  Being in a shower is like being in an alternate universe where
for ten minutes nothing and no body else exists.  It can recharge your brain and
give you a private space to sort your thoughts.

Post A Picture:  A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?  Describe what you
see, start with a caption or write a poem.  Sometimes short posts can say the

Write A Top Ten List:  If all else fails you can probably think of your top
picks in any topic.

Tips for Bloggers

When I first moved my blog over to WordPress, a number of friends asked for my help on doing the same.  It’s not really that difficult, and mostly I just click on everything until I know what button does what.  My best advice would be to just sit down and begin, even if you don’t quite know what you are doing yet.  When in doubt, there is always someone writing a blog on how to do what you don’t know how to do, or even better: posting the tutorial on YouTube.  Your blog should represent who you are.  Anyone can make a blog, so who am I to tell you what you should and shouldn’t start blogging about?  That being said, over and over again I see what doesn’t work, so I do have some good pointers for the bloggily challenged.

Easy on the Eyes:  Your blog should represent your style.  If photographing is your thing: add plenty of pictures.  If you are into food: food it up baby.  Just please, please make it something we can actually look at and read without being entirely distracted by what’s going on all around, behind and through.  Nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY can read orange text on a pink background with swirly things everywhere and polka dots in-between.  Stop doing that.  WordPress makes nice little templates that look pretty darn good by people that actually got paid to make them.  Feel free to customize your blog for your needs and desires.  But screw around with our eyes too much and people will be too turned off to even bother making it to the second paragraph, never mind the last.  If you are thinking about adding blurry pictures and homemade graphics that look weird when stretched out? Don’t bother.  Your audience definitely notices and we’re not pleased.

Which Witch is Which:  I am all for being casual with your words and making the text that you write your very own.  Start your sentences with ‘but:‘ who cares, I do it.  I admit that I have areas that still need some work, but proofreading is essential, so don’t you dare blog without it.  No, you are not being graded here, but let me assure you: THE GRAMMAR POLICE ARE OUT THERE and they are more than happy to let you know just where your shortcomings are.

Keep It Short… Or Interesting:  There is way too much on the Internet to waste time reading long boring blogs.  Shorter is best, and when you can’t trim it down you had better keep my interest without blabbing on and on while not making your point.  At this point it’s become a textbook, and we will have to resort to skimming.  Don’t be that blog everyone has to skim through.

Stay on Topic:  So, your intro is good, and I’m really driving through the post, then all of a sudden we’ve made a wrong turn and we’re discussing your brother’s wife’s cousin’s baby-mama’s gym socks.  Uh, what is this blog about again?  If you ever watch ‘Maury’ you know that only one baby-daddy gets paternity tested each episode, the rest are left behind for a different show.  Reel it in.  Focus.  Save the extras for another blog.  Plus, boom: you a have more to write about next week.

Write Something That Somebody Actually Wants to Read:  I’m going to tread lightly here, and I get how you want to share everything about your story, but sometimes, not everyone is all that interested in every last detail of your life.  You have great things to say, and even the mundane has a place, but give your blog a purpose and know your readers.  If you are blogging to keep distant family involved with your day to day, that’s awesome, but don’t expect anyone else but grandma to care about what color Babies booties are on Tuesday.

Mix it Up:  Try not to post the same thing over and over again every time you blog.  You don’t have to go all multi-personality or anything on us in an effort to be variable, but your readers don’t want to read the same post week after week.  Be consistent without repeating yourself over and over again.  At some point we’re going to say: I’ve already read that a million times, I‘m over it.  I’m not saying don’t have a niche, I’m just saying don’t beat a dead horse after it’s already been sent to the glue factory.  We got it already.

Be Visible:  Be more than a blogger.  Like I said above, there is way to much on the Internet for us fickle surfers to keep up with your story, and certainly nobody is going to be chasing you down to read what you have to say if you don’t kindly direct us towards the light.  If you don’t have an active blog that posts all the time, that’s okay, Suzy down the block does and she’s posting links and answering questions like it’s her job.  Post regularly, be interactive and help us out to find your work.  Everyone pimps their blogs and it does get annoying if that‘s all they do.  Let’s not get carried away and think I want to befriend you and follow you around if that’s your only game.  Interact and follow up on comments.  You may not care what GenericReader123 has to say about their lives being just like yours, but act like you do. Isn’t connecting to others why we’re here in the first place.

Don’t leave us hanging:  Don’t post chapter one and then make us wait for chapter two for two whole months.  We’ll promptly forget the story and never think about it again.  As a mom of three children, I can’t say that I’m going to be able to post several times a week, but don’t be a stranger.  Let us know what you are up to, even it it’s just a picture.  I’ve heard somewhere that they’re worth a thousand words anyway.

Make it You:  This last tip may make you throw out the aforementioned rules, and that’s okay.  Actually that’s fantastic.  Make your blog your home.  Make it something that you are proud of, and don’t let anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing.  Let your flag fly, whatever kind of flag that may be, and be proud of the material you put out into the world.  We don’t have to get it, and that’s ok, as long as you’re okay with it.  But make sure that you are okay with it.  Google is a brat and has the memory of ten thousand elephants.

I feel like there’s so much I didn’t tell you: timely posting, catchy titles, take risks, being relevant, adding advertisements, joining networks, asking questions, but I have to take my own advice and keep it short and simple and interesting and (hopefully) leaving you thirsty for more.

Tip: Add pictures whenever possible so they can show up when posting links and pinning to pinterest.. This is me when I am blogging, usually with a kid or two on my lap

Welcome to My Very First Third Blog!

Picking a blog name is pretty much the opposite of whatever the cat’s meow is.  Every good simple thing is taken so you’re left with or some such tragic random thing that doesn’t really fit you or isn’t very remarkable anyway.  I want to know who the early birds were that apparently got on the Internet the first fricken day and took all the simple good website names and screen names and wrecked it up for the rest of us jokers who are now stuck with the leftover crap no one wants.  Then there’s the names that seem so nichey and perfect, Hippy Mom, Cooking Mom, Science Guy. I can’t pretend to be any of that crap.  Am I the only who isn’t defined by a single hobby?  I have hobbies, I guess, but really I just like starting projects and not finishing them.  I want all the exhilaration but often lack the follow through.  And this started way before Pinterest was invented.  Hey can I blame this on being a mom?  I didn’t even check, but I bet Random Unfocused Mom is even taken.  Everything’s taken.

So I’m the one zillionth person to start a blog, well, actually this is my third blog, but hey who’s counting, and plus isn’t the fun part designing the thing and making grandiose plans and never following through.  Oh wait, so that’s why nobody can find good screen names; all these bloggers like me, on their third blog already, blogging aimlessly into cyberspace just hogging the good names while the interesting nichey folks twiddle their thumbs waiting for the account to expire.  Does that happen?  What’s the shelf life of an abandoned blog name?  There should really be a thirty-day limit here.  The owner of the Internet should really Peter Walsh that crap right out of cyber-space.  Is that show still on?

I’m getting bored already so let’s move on.  My name is Andrea.  Let’s face it, that Domain name will never be open.  Dammit first Andrea.  And my name isn’t even in the top 100 list.  I feel bad for The dude trying to get  Give up now, your names been on the top 100 list for at least 125 years.  My nickname is Mango- Derp.  Never going to open up.  So there I sat and sat and stared at the blank screen, when what did appear right before my very eyes.  Mandreago.  If you are still trying to figure it out, it’s a word play with the two names combined.  Perfect.  Done.  Plus I was really indecisive with which direction I was going anyway.  Now I don’t have to choose.  Perfect. Mandreago.  I understand this says absolutely nothing about me, but remember, I’m not really going with that route anyway.

So back to these two other blogs, let me explain myself since I know you’re pissed that I’m wasting good names in cyberspace that you’ll never get to choose from, but not to fear, ’cause the first one was on Blogger, sort of a test run, but Blogger is excruciatingly annoying to comment on, so don’t bother signing up over there.  Is WordPress any better?  Who the heck knows.  I like starting new projects, remember.  So I’m just jumping in without checking that out.  The second blog I write for is for a local paper, the D&C.  I love blogging there, and am not planning on giving that up any time soon, but there’s certain restraints like no swearing and I can’t say mean things like “Santa’s not real you little brats,” ‘cause you know, it’s family oriented and stuff.  So here we are, and instead of hemming and hawing about what to narrow my little niche about, I’m going to embrace my indecisiveness and write about any old darn thing that floats my boat.  Maybe some mom stuff, maybe some history, maybe political.  Maybe food.  Whatever.  Buckle up.  So do people pimp out their first third blog?  Of course they do.