Showing posts with label Blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogs. Show all posts

July 8, 2011

The Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent!

As a way to celebrate my blog moving to WordPress, I wanted to host a huge extravaganza celebration. An extravaganza of talent, even. I present to you...


The Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent

So often we're only known to our readers by our words. It's time to step out from the monitor and show off our talents! Whether you sing, dance, read poetry, show off a magic trick, twirl a baton - whatever - share your talent with the blogosphere. It's a great opportunity for your readers to get to know you in a totally new context! And... I'm just looking for an excuse to sing on camera for y'all.

No judges, no prizes... just showing off our talents for the sake of showing off!

Submissions to the Blog Hope Extravaganza of Talent will be open to anyone in the blogosphere - ALI or otherwise - from July 8th to August 3rd.

The entire Talent Show will be featured on August 5th at right here at Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed.

To participate in the Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent, there are 6 simple steps.

Step 1: Sign up below. Let the world know you plan to participate!

Step 2: Film your talent act.
Nothing fancy - even just using your own webcam is perfectly acceptable. No need to jazz it up in iMovie either; just hit record and go to town! That said, take the following into consideration:
  • All talents are welcome: are you a closet ventriloquist? A baton-twirling Olympian? A multi-generational magician? Share it with us!
  • Your video should be no more than 5 minutes long.
  • Nothing obscene or whatnot. Videos should be SFW.

Step 3: Upload your video to Vimeo.
I like Vimeo. It's where I host all of my videos. It's a lot less spammy than YouTube. Don't forget: when you upload your video, make sure to include the name of your blog and a link to it in the video description. Vimeo doesn't accept HTML tags in descriptions, so just copy and paste your blog link right into the description. If you upload your video to any other site, you won't be able to add it to the Vimeo Group below.

Step 4: Add your video to the Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent Vimeo Group.
After you upload your video, head to the dedicated Vimeo Group linked above. Click on "Upload Video to Group" and follow the instructions. Ta da! Added.

Step 5: Tell others that you're performing in the Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent!
Snag the blog badge above and feel free to link up to this post or to the Vimeo Group URL. Tweet about it, Facebook it - share with any and all who might be interested in joining!

To add the badge, copy the following code below:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Blog Hop Extravaganza of Talent" /></a>

Step 6: Come back on Friday, August 5th to see the show!
I'll embed all participating videos into one giant blog post for your viewing pleasure. No judging, no awards - just us stepping from behind all the words on our blogs and sharing our talents with the world!

So... who's in? Who's with me?

July 6, 2011

I'm Moving to WordPress on August 1st

Doesn't get much simpler than that. Blogger has been kind to me these past 2 years, but I've realized that it was time to stop mooching off the freebie arrangement and pony up for self-hosted goodness. That said, Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed will be moving to WordPress on August 1, 2011.

If anything, this has become rather timely, as Google plans to retire both the Blogger and Picasa brands. They won't be deleted or taken down; rather, both will undergo complete rebranding. While I'm sure this won't impact Blogger users too much, Google has said that the rebranding should happen as early as the next 6 weeks, to coincide with the launch of Google+. It all just seems to be falling in place that it's time for me to make the move to WordPress. (For more information about the Blogger/Picasa rebranding, check out this article here at Mashable.)

Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed Transition FAQ

Q: Why the move to WordPress?
A: A few reasons, really. The first is having a more reliable server; I've paid for annual hosting whereas on Blogger, I'm at the mercy of Google. If Blogger goes down, my content goes with it, as it happened during the Great Blogger Blackout of May 2011. At WordPress, I can even schedule my blog backups, whereas with Blogger, I have to do it manually. The second reason is WordPress offers a level of customization and functionality that simply doesn't exist on Blogger. I've been building the new blog over at a mirrored domain and boy howdy, you can do a LOT with WordPress. And thirdly, I'm moving because of this new development about Blogger/Picasa rebranding; it just makes sense to transition.

Q: Wait, what do you mean "new" blog?
A: Well, the name and content is the same, but I've been doing LOTS of redesigning based on feedback from my Blog Survey. While I don't want to give anything away with the new design, I will say this: be ready for a more conservative use of pink and a header image that actually makes sense. (See, I listen to your feedback!)

Q: Speaking of Blog Survey, who won the $25 Visa Gift Card giveaway?
A: I'm glad you asked. I got 81 responses and of those, 58 agreed to participate in the giveaway. Each giveaway participant was assigned a number based on their row number in my spreadsheet. A number was chosen at random via The winner is.... Jo of MoJo Working! Congrats! It's in the mail as soon as I get your mailing address :)

Q: What two things can I do right now as a reader to prepare for the move?
A1. Update ANY of your bookmarks for this website to If you continue to link to, it won't work anymore. This includes anywhere you may have linked to my blog, such as a blogroll. Don't worry about posts you linked to - WP has nifty plugins to (hopefully) redirect those links to my space at WP.

A2. Update ANY feeds to which you're currently subscribed in your Reader of choice to point to (capitalization counts). This is super important because if you're using my old blogspot Atom feed link, it won't show up in your Reader.

Q: Are you deleting your account (or Google Blogs as the Blogger rebrand is anticipated to be called)?
A: Nope. If I do, all of my (hundreds of) darling image links will break. However, it will become delisted from search engines and will no longer be visible. That's why it's super important to make sure you take care of the 2 steps above to make sure you have no lapse in reading.

Q: Are your moving all of your comments over too?
A: You bet! Believe it or not, I've been able to import not only all my posts (including drafts) but each and every single one of my 2600+ comments. The great thing about WP is that I'll have better comment response functionality as well.

Q: What else do I need to know?
A: August 1st is the anticipated launch date. It is very likely that you may see the change as early as July 30th as I'll be making the transition over the weekend. How early you see it will depend on your servers and when my blog was last cached and when they update their server. Seriously though, please update your bookmarks for this blog, including the feed link.

Q: Who inspired the move?
A: Mel from Stirrup Queens was the first blogger to put the bug in my ear last November. Then at the SITS Girls Boston Bloggy Boot Camp Conference, it was basically the #1 piece of repeated advice I heard all day. I finally bought Sharon Hujik's eBook, How to Move from Blogger to WordPress and it's basically been my Bible for the past month in making the big leap.

So set your alarms and mark your calendars. Come August 1st, things are going to look a whole lot different around here!

June 22, 2011

Feminism is Not a Four-Letter Word

Whether I call myself a women's health advocate or Vagina Warrior, it boils down to this:

I'm a feminist.


What a loaded word, right? Images of unshaven armpits, gross looking white-girl dreads, floppy bra-less boobs, a man-hating smirk on my face, my fist raised in the air. Now, granted, if this describes you... um, cool! More power to you. But it's not me. And honestly, that's not what feminism looks like.

Feminism looks like women and men who want to take the world by storm to make the world a safer, better, more empowered place for women and girls. If you want men to stand by your side and advocate with you, feminists can't be man-haters. Are there some feminist man-haters? Sure. But if feminism is going to make any kind of global impact, it's got to be a collaborative effort between both sides.

Why the heck am I talking about feminism? A few reasons, actually. First, to be an advocate for women's health is a pretty fundamental aspect of feminism. It's about leveraging equal access to healthcare. Second. Esperanza at Stumbling Gracefully has a post that asks the question "Do we want too much?" and third, Schmoopy in our Prompt-ly Writing Group posted a link to a Guardian article that asks Why is feminism still so afraid to focus on its flaws?

The two are truly interrelated and it got me thinking about stereotypes that even I've held about what it means to be feminist, who is and is not considered feminist, and what it means to want more than we have.

Me at a campus protest, circle 2003. Photo by Julie K.
I took a few women's and gender studies courses in college. I was both vice-president and then president our of GLBT student alliance. I performed in the Vagina Monologues. As a young empowered woman in my early 20s, I was rockin' the feminist label and damn proud of it.

Like so many things in my early 20s, I wouldn't really appreciate all of it until now, as I approach my (gulp) early 30s. Feminism has become less about the rallies and the petitions and the student activism for me. Feminism for me has now become an active effort to make good in the world for women and girls where I can with the strengths and talents I have to offer. I blog about infertility and women's health. I blog about why we need to care about the cultural norming of misogyny in America. I support and promote the work of the Red Tent Temple Movement. I think very intentionally about the kind of world I want to shape for my niece and hopefully, my own daughter should I be so blessed.

I've been doing the SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (SITS31DBBB). Much like their Bloggy Boot Camp blogging conference I went to in May, I am out of my league here. I'm one of a very small group (as in, you could probably count us all on one hand) of infertility bloggers participating. SITS is a very Mom Blogger focused forum of support. I've stuck with it because I've got a lot still yet to learn about blogging and as I've come to realize from reading both Esperanza's post and the article Schmoopy shared - I've got a lot to learn about feminism too.

Did I turn my nose up at Mom Bloggers? A little, yeah - I'll be honest. Part of it was jealousy - I want what they have. Part of it was being judgemental - how can nothing but reviews and giveaways be good for the blogpsphere? But as I've spent the last 3 weeks interacting and networking with these fabulous ladies, I've realized my stereotypical judgments were wrong. The Mom Blogger niche is just as varied and valuable and has as much to offer as the ALI blogosphere. I'm realizing it's time to stop passing judgment and start taking a closer look at blogs outside of my niche to see what I can learn.

Oh Diane is one of those Mom Bloggers I've met through SITS31DBBB and she posted a fantastic post on why the Mommy Blogger market is so hot right now. What followed in her post comments was a fiery discussion about why Mom Bloggers get all the attention from advertisers while may of us childless folks sit here twiddling our thumbs.

My point is this: Mom Bloggers - and Mom Blogging in general - can be feminist too.

The Guardian article elaborates:
"Women bear the children and, far more often than not, they wish to be the primary carer for those children. At its most strident, feminism can be mistaken for an ideology designed to make women feel they are wrong to want that."

Mom Blogging is not counter-productive or counter-intuitive to feminist ideals. Even when I was in college, I got horrified looks from other college feminists who were shocked - shocked I tell you - that I didn't really care what my degree was in because I eventually just wanted to be a SAHM and pump out babies.

This is the point: it's not about creating an army of empowered career-women. Feminism is about having  equal access to and support for making empowered choices, be it career, motherhood, health or otherwise. Wanting to be a SAHM mom - like my own mom was when me and my sister were kids, a fact that I am so grateful for to this day - doesn't make me any less feminist. The fact that the Mom Blogger market is growing says to me that women's voices in social media and technology are rising, and people (especially advertisers) want to hear what they have to say.

Which brings me to my last point: does feminism want too much? Again, from the Guardian:
Worse, feminism has accidentally promoted the idea that it's pretty easy to work and have children, with the right support in place. On even an average income, it's never easy, even once children are at secondary school (though it's certainly easier then). Your priorities change. Work is no longer the most important thing, for a while anyway. Ambition can dissipate.  
Let me rephrase that: do we want too much? In fact, let's drill that down again:

Do I want too much?

Take a look at what I grew up with: a mom who stayed at home for the most part, picking up seasonal part-time work to pad out Christmas and birthdays. My father still works almost 60 hours a week. He traveled extensively when I was much younger, leaving the brunt of the child-rearing to my mom. I'm stating this as fact, not to pass judgment. This was what worked for my parents and they were in agreement about their roles as caregiver and provider, respectively.

I grew up with a big, two-story house with two cars. My sister and I went to public schools and college. We pretty much got to do just about any lesson or extra-curricular we wanted. We lived in comfortable New Jersey suburbia. For the 18 years I grew up and lived in that house, this is what The American Dream looked like to me.

Is it too much to want the big, single family house? Is it too much to want a husband that brings home the bacon while I stay at home and serve as primary caregiver to our gorgeous genetic children? Is it fair to place that kind of burden on my husband?

Folks, I struggle with this. These are things I want really bad, I can't necessarily have and boy howdy, I don't like taking No for an answer.

But let's step back for a second: in an time of record foreclosures, a flailing economy, and my seriously busted reproductive system, The American Dream I grew up with isn't realistically even possible anymore. 

Esperanza challenges us:
"The reality is, we might not get to be what we want to be, or we might have to sacrifice greatly to get there, and the same can befall our children. If certain lessons are learned; that frequently life brings disappointment, that sometimes their is no just reward for our efforts, that we must be grateful for what we have and stop continuously looking for more, that sometimes we won’t be happy, maybe, just maybe, we will wake up one day knowing how to be satisfied with our life.And maybe some day, if we’re very lucky, we can learn to be truly happy with what we have."
I counter with this:

If the status quo was okay though, we wouldn't need a feminist movement in the first place. And you know what? After all this, after this huge and rambling post, it's not about feminism anymore.

It's about being active participants in shaping a just world.

Feminist labels aside: where do we fit in to shape that world?

Where do you fit in? How are you helping to shape a just world?

June 20, 2011

Would you like to take a survey? (With Giveaway Goodness)

"Do you like to eat beans? Do you like George Wendt? Would you like to eat beans with George Wendt?"

Oh Animaniacs, you were the silliest. Remember their sketch about the Survey Ladies? (If you don't, here's a brief refresher.) There's something about that sketch that has stayed with me all these years such that now, whenever I think of surveys, I immediately think of Animaniacs.

While I'm not asking you about beans or George Wendt, I am interested in hearing your opinions about this blog. As I wrote about last week, I'm really starting to think about what I'm doing with this blog and how to make it a fab experience for all involved.

To that effect, I'm running a survey about this blog and your experience and interactions with it between now and July 3, 2011.

If you complete this survey, you also have the option of participating in a giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card. Why? Because bribing people to take surveys works, says the incentivist Communications Major. No seriously, though - I'm invested in shelling out a little money to get folks to open up about their experiences with this blog.

Your responses will be kept confidential and, as weird as this sounds, used only for marketing purposes. I'm looking to find out what it is that draws people to my blog, keeps them reading, and what makes them connect with the material.

Giveaway Rules
  1. This giveaway is for one (1) $25.00 USD Visa Gift Card.
  2. Limit one entry per participant.
  3. Valid email address must be provided.
  4. Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm US Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, July 3, 2011.
  5. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, July 4, 2011.
  6. The winner will be contacted via email at the email address they provided during the week of July 3, 2011.
  7. The winner will be announced on Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed during the week of July 3, 2011.
So... would you like to take a survey?

UPDATE: The survey has closed. Thank you to all who participated - your feedback has been tremendously helpful. The winner of the giveaway is Jo from MoJo Working.

June 18, 2011

Blog Tour of Inspired Reading: The Red Tent

Today's post is in conjunction with the Blog-A-Licious Blog Tour: a fantastic blog hop that brings together bloggers of all genres, backgrounds and locations. In today's hop, the blog featured before mine is Karen's But I Digress. The blog featured after me is the captivating Catherine at Idea City. Do stop by and say hello plus some of us are having giveaways and contests. Enjoy!

For this Blog Tour, we were asked to write about the book that inspires us the most. I'm glad I've gotten the  prompt to write about a book that has meant so much to me over the years and has in many ways, shaped the way I view myself as Jewish Woman (yes, with capital J and capital W).

Every woman should read Anita Diamant's The Red Tent. I have often called it Required Reading for Every Woman because it is a remarkable, gorgeous, sensuous work of historical fiction that celebrates both the darkest and most glorious parts of what it means to be Woman.

Seriously? Go read it this weekend.
Very briefly, because I don't want this to feel like a book report - The Red Tent unearths the story of Dinah from the dusts of the Torah, a Biblical figure who receives little more than passing mention in Genesis 34. Jacob is known as one of the great Patriarchs of Judaism with two Matriarchs at his side, Rachel and Leah, and a whole host of a dozen sons who became the Twelve Tribes of Israel. But among his boyish brood exists a lone daughter: Dinah.  Her story is often known as "The Rape of Dinah" as a prince of Shechem "defiles" her, and Dinah's brothers Levi and Simeon avenge her rape by massacring the city of Shechem, leaving no survivors.

And with that, Dinah fades back into the dust of the Torah, never to be mentioned again. This is where Diamant picks up, fleshing out the story of Dinah's youth and relationship to her four mothers: Rachel, Leah, and Jacob's concubines Zilpah and Bilhah, as well has her grandmother, Rebecca. She weaves the tale of Dinah falling in love with the Prince of Shechem and that her brothers' crusade was bent on murderous rage. After the massacre, she flees to Egypt where she gives birth to a son and becomes an devoted and talented midwife.

The Red Tent refers to something we talk about a lot in the infertility community: our menstrual cycles. As happens in many confined living arrangements, the women would often cycle together, in a phenomenon known as menstrual synchrony or the McClintock effect. Ancient tribes of women would gather in a menstrual tent or hut during their blood cycle, often cycling with the moon. Dinah learns of her rich heritage, not just as a third generation of monotheistic Jews, but as a Woman in her place in a Long Line of Women Before Her.

As I've said before, we shouldn't be ashamed or grossed out by our periods, because our menstrual cycles are a vital indicator of women's health. The Red Tent reminds us of this and inspires us to be mindful of the miracle and wonder of our own human forms.

You may have also read posts where I speak of the Red Tent Temple, the women's group I go to every month. The Red Tent Temple movement was born out of Diamant's novel by ALisa Starkweather, a Wise Woman and Women's Empowerment Practitioner. I'm also so pleased to know filmmaker Isadora Leidenfrost who is making a documentary of the Red Tent Temple Movement: Things We Don't Talk About. This one-hour film is slated to be released next year. I have eagerly been awaiting the trailer; hopefully I've made the cut from hundreds of hours of footage that Isadora shot herself at Red Tent Temples all over the country. She's also looking for some more financial support to stay on track with her production and release schedule, so if you know of women-empowered businesses or organizations who'd be willing to help out an empowered woman filmmaker, please head over to her site and drop her a line.

The Red Tent in its modern iteration has become a place of community wisdom and social healing, a sisterhood of empowerment. In reading The Red Tent and participating in the Red Tent Temple in my own community, I've realized that their is indeed power to be had in gathered groups of women. We need more dialogue circles like this, more Red Tents, to share our collective womanhood experiences; there is so much we can learn from one another as women when given the opportunity.

So... have you picked up your copy yet? The Red Tent is an amazingly beautiful, captivating read, and like I said: practically required reader for women everywhere. Now head on over to Catherine's Idea City - she'll tell you about her most inspiring book. Come meet me over there and we can read along together! Want to see what other books are inspiring other bloggers? Follow along on the rest of the Blog Tour this week by stopping by at each of these fabulous blogs for the Blog-a-licious Blog Tour!
  1. Roy: Roy’s Garage Sell and Auction Well
  2. Sulekha: Memoirs
  3. Sora: Peace from Pieces
  4. Shaeeza: My B Words
  5. Mari: Mari Sterling Wilbur Photography
  6. Paula: Hardline Self Help
  7. Karen: ...But I Digress
  8. (You are here) Keiko: Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed
  9. Catherine: Idea City
  10. Kate and Ashley: Back of the Book Reviews
  11. Desiree: Desiree Holt Tells All
  12. Sonia: Sonia
  13. DK Levick: Writing in the Woods
  14. Sarcasm Goddess: For the Love of Writing
  15. Tosh:
  16. Lucy: Life Through Lucylastica's Lense
  17. Leo: Find Peace, Love and God
  18. Dora: Blog-a-licious Blogs

June 15, 2011

What's Shakin?

(Salem Willows Pier, May 2011)
Random update post = random pic.
I've been fishing a bunch lately.
Figured I was overdue for a "What's going on in my life" post. If you're reading my blog in something other than a reader, you may have noticed I've gone a bit... design crazy. I posted a new header a month or so ago, I've been tweaking the background color, and oh, huh, look at that: ads and paid ad space. Right, so... about that. Rather than just making all these changes and hoping no one will notice, I figured it was time to come clean about all the changes happening around here.

So let's see, where to begin? I've been participating in The SITS Girls 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge. We're on day 11 today. So, between now and when this challenge ends sometime mid-July, I'm sure there will be other little tweaks and changes along the way. I'll also be experimenting with post types and content, just to see how I can play with things here a little bit. Whether it's the occasional list post or dabbling in a bit of creative non-fiction, it's the summer. I want to keep things interesting here and spruce up my blog overall.

Right, so the other big thing: ads. Yes, you too can purchase ad space on my blog. You may notice it falls under the creative "Baby Fund" heading. I'm telling it like it is folks: babies ain't cheap and makin' babies with donor eggs ain't any cheaper. Honestly? Every little bit helps. I'm also signing up for Affiliate programs that are a good fit for my blog. I've been running BlogHer Ads for a while now and have been an Amazon Affiliate for ages. I've only recently begun pumping up the Amazon Affiliate profile a little bit. In full disclosure, I'm an affiliate for Circle+Bloom and AttainFertility. And yes, I'm looking to add more and to do so in a way that's a) clear to you as readers and b) not intrusive beyond the sidebar. I realize ads might turn some of you off. If it does, please be honest and lay it on me (in a comment or an email is fine). Your readership is important to me, so if ads are going to send folks away screaming, I want to hear about it.

Let's see, what else... Remember when Blogger died last month? And I was like, hell no I'm not losing two  years' worth of writing? Yeah, about that. I'm moving to self-hosted WordPress sometime this summer. Tentative launch will be August 1st. The big thing you can do to help me? Make sure your bookmarks and reader feeds point to and not my blogspot URL. That will make the transition easier so you don't lose me in the move.

Other random things...
  • Updated my Resources page. Needed some serious updating and dusting off.
  • Sorted my Blogroll into five categories. I did this for a variety of reasons, but the biggest one being I didn't want any of you to click over to a BFP blog and not know about it and then be totally blindsided. It happened to me a bunch so it was time to clean up my list so it's clear to everyone.
    • Infertility Blogs: General blogs that didn't fit into my other categories
    • TTC Blogs: Folks actively working on makin' babies, typically through some kind of treatment
    • BFP Blogs: Mazel tov ladies on your impending arrivals!
    • Adoption Blogs: Folks who are all about adoption or are in the homestudy/waiting process
    • Parenting After IF Blogs: Folks who may or may not still be dealing with IF but who already have children and thus may have posts or pics that mention their children
  • I accidentally spilled the beans and stupidly posted on Twitter that I'm working on a book. JJiraffe has only helped amplify my super secret news ;) For all intents and purposes, let's just stick to the rumor that it's trashy vampire horror/smut and when I'm ready to reveal, it'll be that much cooler.
  • Linking up to some neat infertility-inspired writing groups online. The first is JJiraffe's Pomegranate Society. Basically it's a small writers' workshop where we pair up with other writers with the intent to get our asses in gear about getting our stuff published. The second is Mel's Prompt-ly group. This is more focused on keeping the inspiration juices flowing, to keep our blog content fresh, and to provide support and share resources. It's already awesome.
  • Twitterview with RESOLVE and blogger Alec Ross of I Want to Be a Daddy for a Fathers' Day Twitter Chat this Friday at 2pm EST. I'll be jumping in and retweeting as it goes on. You can follow the dicussion at #tvFD - best way to follow it is through TweetChat.
  • The Hope Award for Best Book nominations are now openHead over to the fabulous Ladies in Waiting Book Club to cast your nominations. Nominations will be accepted until this Friday, June 17th so go swing by and vote for the nominations listed or add your own. It looks like it's going to be a tight race whoever the Top 5 are, so get your nominations in now!
  • Random: I can't stop listening to Beats Antique. Bellydance music has been blasting out of my car anytime I drive. 

So there you have it. Bunches of random things happening around here and little tweaks along the way. Mostly, I'm hoping it's for the better but if you see something and you're like, "Gosh Keiko, what the hell is with all the pink? I mean seriously - is this an infertility blog or Pretty Pretty Princess Land?" please let me know. You can leave me a comment or shoot me an email. Or hound me on Twitter - I'm all over the place.

Ultimately, here's the thing: I'm making changes because I want to make this a better blog experience for everyone - not just for myself, but for you. So if you don't like something I've done around here, I want to hear about it. I can take it :)

And if you love something, well, I want to hear about that too.

June 14, 2011

A Fathers' Day Twitterview with RESOLVE & "I Want to Be a Daddy"

As I mentioned yesterday, even though it's Men's Health Week, we don't often hear the male side of the infertility journey. With Fathers' Day just around the corner, this is especially timely. There are a few elusive male voices out there (emphasis on the few). But the guys who are out there really help to shed some light on what is so often a woman-centric subject.

Take for example, Brittanie's husband Ben, over at Fertilize This! He busted a myth for NIAW about his experience as a man with male-factor infertility. Or Rain's husband at Weathering the Storm - she interviewed him about his experience with male-factor infertility and how it affects their marriage.And then there are awesome guys like my husband, Larry, who wrote a guest post of his perspective of being married to someone with female-factor infertility.

And then there's Alec, over at I Want to Be a Daddy. Are you reading him? You aren't? Well, you should. Alec has become a rising voice in the infertility community from the ever-elusive male perspective. He spells it out exactly right in his blog's description:
My wife JK and I went through a 2 1/2 year odyssey of infertility. It was a painful time. The emotional toll was as real for me as it was for JK. Friends who had survived infertility helped me to cope, and thus I hope that our story will help others.

Now this is the kind of voice we need to hear out there! This Friday, there's a unique opportunity to engage with Alec and RESOLVE, as they host a Twitterview with Alec at 2pm EST. From
On June 17th, leading up to this coming Father’s Day, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and will honor this shared struggle through a personal and informative Twitterview with Alec Ross, blogger at I Want to Be a Daddy and regular contributor at FertilityAuthority. Alec will help to shed light on the all too silent male side of infertility in this one-hour Twitter exchange with executive director of RESOLVE, Barb Collura. He will speak to the two-and-a-half year infertility battle he and his wife faced, and the ups and downs that they continue to face today.

Wait, what's a Twitterview?
It's kind of like a public conversation, but since it's Twitter, it's like having that public conversation in a sea of a million voices. The conversation stands out by using a dedicated hashtag to differentiate this conversation's tweets from all the others. In this case, the dedicated hashtag for the Twitterview is #tvFD (for Father’s Day TwitterView).

How do I follow along?

When is this Twitterview again?
This Friday, June 17th, at 2pm EST. Join in or follow along to hear about the impact that infertility plays on Fathers' Day and the male experience with infertility. I know it's going to be an informative, engaging and emotional conversation. I'm really looking forward to it.

Hope to see folks tweeting and retweeting away on Friday!

May 13, 2011

It's a Fail Whale Kind of Day.

First it was Blogger. Then it was Twitter. I imagine Twitter has been over capacity much of the day because folks took to microblogging their frustrations with Blogger. It's created a ripple effect in the social media realm. And my post from Thursday? With my two videos from Advocacy Day? Still missing. Still in the Blogger ether. Oh, and any comments I've received since Wednesday morning? Gone. Blogger promises they'll be back, but the proof is in the pudding.

I had a truly lovely post to write today, venting some various hormonally-driven frustrations on the baby-makin' (and I do mean makin' when we're talking about IVF) front. Aunt Flo is in town, so I've been feeling particularly rage-tastic today. Oh, and it's Friday the 13th. I can't even promote this post on Twitter right now: it's over capacity, as it has been most of the day today.

It's not all bad, I suppose - but it's been just one of those kinds of days.

I'm super grateful I backed up my blog and downloaded my template on Tuesday. Still, I had done some minor design tweaks- moved around some widgets, added a banner ad for an affiliate program I just joined- and those changes are all gone. It's kind of a pain in the ass. All of this is setting me up to move to WordPress. It's time to self-host and stop milking the freebie blogging.

I imagine in the next month or so, I'll be moving from Blogger to WordPress. What you can do now is make sure your bookmarks and Readers point to and not It's a simple switch. I will update like a fiend so the transition is as smooth as possible for all involved.

What sucks even more is that there is some really exciting news in terms of advocacy, but I'm reticent to share it here because I don't know if my posts are going to get eaten. I'll save it for Monday.

That said, don't break any mirrors, step on any cracks, or walk under any ladders today. This Friday the 13th has turned out to be a beast.

May 10, 2011

How You Can Help the Atlanta Walk of Hope This Weekend

This Saturday, May 14, RESOLVE is hosting a Walk of Hope in Atlanta, Georgia. So often we say to ourselves, "Where's our walk?" Well... here it is! In addition to being a great fundraiser for the folks at RESOLVE, the Walk of Hope provides a chance to very publicly raise awareness for an otherwise very private disease. It's exactly the kind of event the infertility community needs. And if you're feeling brave enough, Kim over at The Ladies in Waiting Book Club has come up with a very creative way for you to participate without having to even go to Atlanta.

Kim and her team will be walking on Saturday in Atlanta, and they want to walk for you too:

May we walk for you?

My team and I would like to collect names from you (first, or last, or even just your screen name - doesn't matter to us!). On the day of the Walk, we'll take this list of names and write them on our t-shirts before the walk begins. We'd love to represent you along with our own families of two, no matter where you are on your journey. We hope to have our t-shirts completely covered in the names of the many infertile families we wish to represent.
To particpate, simply leave your name (however you wish it to be listed) in a comment to Kim's post about their Walk of Hope project here. Once you've added your name - and I hope you will! - why not consider posting about it on Facebook or Twitter? Here's a sample tweet:

@liwbookclub will walk for me & my #infertility at ATL #WalkofHope. I added my name; will you add yours?

You can also help out Kim and her team out by making a donation; see their Ladies in Waiting Team Page for more details. They're only 30% away from their goal of raising $750. It would be amazing if Kim and the Ladies in Waiting Team could have their shirts filled with names, to represent the millions of us living with infertility.

In fact, I'll make this pledge:

If 100 names are added in the comments on Kim's post between now (10am on Wednesday, 5/10) and 10pm Friday night, 5/13: I will donate $50 to the Ladies in Waiting Team for the Walk of Hope. If they reach 500 names or more total, I will donate $100.

If there's anyone willing to match this pledge, let me know in the comments. Be sure to post on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter (hell, you can even just swipe this whole post, I have no shame) to advertise if you'll join me in this pledge.

So, have you left your name for The Ladies in Waiting Walk of Hope Team yet?

May 2, 2011

Nat'l Infertility Awareness Week 2011 Highlight Reel

It's hard to believe that National Infertility Awareness Week is already over. What an incredible week it was! I got to meet so many new people and be exposed to so many more blogs and resources out there... it was really just a phenomenal experience. I can't believe how much more involved I was this year and I have to say, it felt great to make those connections to and to offer that kind of support to others.

After such a whirlwind week, I wanted to share some of those moments, blog posts, and other goodies around the web that stood out for me this week. I present to you my personal Highlight Reel for NIAW 2011:

The Blogosphere
Other Media

...Now what?
Just because National Infertility Awareness Week is over, it doesn't mean the work is done. The next big thing is Advocacy Day this Thursday. Believe it or not, there is still time to sign up. There are over 100 participants and at least 18 states represented... and there's room for more! Find out how you can participate in Advocacy Day either in DC or in your home state. I'll be going to DC for my very first Advocacy Day; I'm so excited! If you're going, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

What other awesome things did you come across on the web this week? Share your resources and great NIAW finds in the comments!

April 28, 2011

RESOLVE's Advocacy Day: A Real Woman's Story

RESOLVE's Advocacy Day is one week from today on Thursday, May 5th and there's still time to sign up and participate. It might seem intimidating and overwhelming to head to our nation's capitol to speak to legislators about our needs as a community, but it can be a powerful, incredible experience for those who participate. I'll be heading down to D.C. Wednesday night to join RESOLVE in advocating on the Hill for infertility awareness a week from today. I'm a newbie to Advocacy Day too, so I wanted to share one woman's story to show you that yes, someone just like you or me can participate in Advocacy Day, with no prior experience with legislators at all.

Folks, meet Susan. You may know her as Donor Diva:

She's the proud mama to a darling boy, a fellow POF-er, and a blogger just like you and me who took the leap and participated in RESOLVE's Advocacy Day in 2009. I asked Susan to talk about her experience with RESOLVE and to tell us what the day was like.

Why did you decide to participate in Advocacy Day? 
My friend and I were both in the middle of our 2ww after our DE cycles. She suggested that we go down to DC for advocacy as a distraction. I live in Maryland so it was easy to get there.

How were you feeling about the day leading up to it? 
I was most nervous about talking with the Congressman and Senators. I was most excited about helping the infertility community. There are so many people in the infertility community that helped me I wanted to help also. RESOLVE provides you with support beforehand. They did a conference call, had papers for you to read through, and did training the morning before meetings. As long as you do your prep you will be ready to go.

Tell us what the Advocacy Day itself was like.  
My friends and I Metro-ed down to DC (we live in MD). When we arrived, we were greeted by many smiling faces. The first part of the morning was spent prepping us for our meetings and also hearing stories about peoples' journeys through infertility.

For me, the meetings were in a great progression. It started off with a big group and my last meeting was just me and one other person. It gave me a chance to warm up and gradually feel more confident. It was very exhilarating to actually speak to the Aides and have them understand our position.

It was hard for me to stay calm since this was the first time for me to do something like this. What helped was knowing that I wasn't the only one meeting with them. Also, you aren't meeting with the actually congressman/women or senator you are meeting with their aid. Also, that we were doing this for a great cause. My proudest moment was talking with other participants of advocacy day.

At the end of the day, how did you feel? 

Any advice you would give to folks going to DC for the first time this year? 
Prepare yourself and read EVERYTHING that RESOLVE provides you with. This way you will be confident in all of you meetings. If you are passionate about infertility then you should go. There were several states not represented when I went and the only way we are going to make change is by getting as many people as possible involved.

Thanks Susan, for sharing your story. I hope your positive experience will inspire others to follow in your footsteps and continue the grassroots advocacy work for the infertility community on Capitol Hill. I know it's certainly made me very excited to take part a week from today!

Worried about making it down to DC? No problem! RESOLVE can prepare you to talk with your local legislators in your own home districts. I wanted to give a special shout-out to Whitney, who had an amazing experience this week meeting with legislators in her home state. Not only did she meet with her legislators, give them plenty of facts, but she actually got their support to co-sponsor a forthcoming infertility tax credit bill. Another real person, another blogger just like you and me - and she's advocated in a huge way for our community.

It is especially critical for constituents from the following states to attend, as you would meet with key members of Congress who could help us in getting the infertility tax credit bill to succeed:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Have you participated in Advocacy Day before? Sound off in the comments and share your experience with us!

If you still have questions about the day and how you can participate, what to expect - even what to wear - check out the comprehensive Advocacy Day FAQ online.

Will you join me in DC this year for Advocacy Day? 

April 21, 2011

ICLW Welcome & Blog Award

Howdy all - if you're here from ICLW, welcome! Looking for the latest ICLW introduction? I've got a two-fer this time around. I'll post some random facts about myself here (and you'll understand why in a moment) but I've also updated my Running ICLW Intro Page as well. And if you've never clicked any of the page tabs above, do that too. Lots of good stuff up there. So yeah - lots of places to get to know me if you're new to these digs.

Also, if you haven't seen the list of goings-on around the blogosphere for National Infertility Awareness Week, do swing by this post!

I received this fabulous blog award from not one but two readers in the past couple of weeks. I've been sitting on them because like most blog awards, it comes with the "tell us about yourself" clause, so it makes ICLW intros that much easier. So first and foremost, thank you to Ashlee at Savor the Moment and Kristin at Dragondreamer's Lair for bestowing me with the Stylish Blogger Award!

To accept this award, the recipient must complete the following:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you the award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Award 15 other bloggers.
  4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.
So let's start with the 7 random facts about myself:
  1. I just started playing Magic: The Gathering last Friday... and I'm hooked. Yes, the nerdy card game that's a mix of DnD meets WoW meets FF. If you understand all of those abbreviations, we should chat... because we're both nerds. I also just built my first deck from scratch. It's an addicting game already! 
  2. I could pretty much eat pizza exclusively for the rest of my life (at great detriment to my health). It just never gets old for me. Artisanal, homemade, Domino's, frozen - pretty much any type/brand of pizza. Bread, cheese, tomato sauce - seriously, how can you go wrong?
  3. I've been keeping a diary, journaling, and blogging in some form or another since fourth grade. I'm 28. Do the math.
  4. 99.9% sure our house is haunted by the original owner from 1846. So far, nothing "bad" has happened, just "weird." Also? Our backyard is a centuries-old Quaker cemetary, so we're not really sure who's walking around the house at night. I live in Salem so this is really nothing out of the ordinary up here.
  5. I converted to Judaism in 2007, and yesterday I turned 4 as a Jew-by-choice. I've been practicing, however, for over a decade at this point. The conversion was honestly just a technicality before we got married.
  6. I drink... a LOT of regular Coca Cola. Like... a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I finally went to the World of Coca Cola Museum in Atlanta while I was traveling for work. Totally worth it.
  7. We don't have cable TV; we watch everything exclusively though the internet on Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Boxee. (Our TV is connected to a media closet with a computer dedicated exclusively to media and our PS3.) Right now we're watching Big Love and 24. We also try to watch the Fox Sunday Night lineup during the week: Bob's Burgers, Simpsons, Family Guy. Bob's Burgers is the clear winner of the three; I absolutely adore the odd humor and comic timing on that show. It took some getting used to but I don't mind watching TV on my own time with "limited commercial interruption" - the savings alone in not having to pay $100+ a month for cable makes it all worth it.
Now, it's time to award 15 other Stylish Bloggers! Many of them are participating in ICLW too, so go swing by and leave them a comment. In no particular order, I award the following bloggers:

Parenthood for Me (PS: Have you voted for them yet today? Do it now!)

Happy commenting this week!

April 20, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week 2011: What's Happening Around the Blogosphere

APRIL 24 - 30, 2011
National Infertility Awareness Week is literally just around the corner! NIAW stands for so many things in our community: support, empowerment, awareness-raising, hope. In many ways, NIAW is about community and how we strengthen each other in our journeys by raising awareness for our disease.

There are many ways you can get involved with NIAW and I encourage you to participate in ways that you're comfortable. Besides the ever-growing list of NIAW events happening all around the country, I wanted to take a minute to highlight some of the various things happening around the infertility blogosphere and what you can do right from the comfort of your own computer. Whether it's raising awareness via social media, an online book club, writing a blog post or entering a giveaway, there are a variety of ways you can get involved as an infertility blogger. Check out what's out there in the list below!


Bust an Infertility Myth: Bloggers Unite!
Sponsored by RESOLVE, bloggers are invited to bust a myth about infertility via a blog post. You can pick from RESOLVE's list of infertility myths or select one of your own. Each participating blog will then be considered for RESOLVE's Night of Hope Award for Best Blog.  Snag a badge and don't forget to add your participating blog post to the list here.

IF We Believe! A Blog Carnival about the Stories and Faces of Infertility
Sponsored by blogger Up, Down and Natural, IF We Believe! is a blog carnival with a mission of tearing down the veil of infertility, and being able to express all the emotions, and daily infertility experience from the highs and lows, and everything in between. IF We Believe! Anything Is Possible... Particpating blogs will be entered into a drawing to win 20 ovulation predictor strips. See Arpita's blog for more info and submit your post online here.

IComLeavWe: April 21-28, 2011
Hosted by blogger Melissa Ford of Stirrup Queens, ICLW is like a blog comment carnival. Bloggers sign up to be added to a list of participating blogs and commit to commenting on at least 5 blogs and returning 1 comment left on their blog each day of ICLW. It's a great way to find new blogs and April's ICLW always lines up with NIAW. Bloggers have until 11:00PM EST on April 21st to sign up for April's ICLW and must add an ICLW badge on their blog. Sign up here.


Share Hope (#sharehope) Twitter Campaign
Sponsored by Clear Passage, the Share Hope campaign seeks to raise awareness in 140 characters or less on Twitter during NIAW. Beginning on April 24, tweet your infertility story with hashtag #sharehope. Each day of NIAW, one tweet will be selected as the daily prize winner and will receive a book by a well-respected fertility professional; each of those winners will be entered into a Grand Prize drawing for 20 hours of free hands on infertility treatment at Clear Passage Physical Therapy. See their website for full details.

NIAW Twibbon Campaign
Sponsored by RESOLVE and, a Twibbon adds a tiny RESOLVE logo to your Twitter or Facebook profile picture. One simple click can help raise awareness for a disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples in the United States. Click the link to add your twibbon today!

Download an Infertility Ribbon
Bloggers Whitney and Erick think it's high time the infertility community has their own ribbon- so they've made one to share online! Snag a version for your blog, your Facebook or Twitter profile pictures, or even add to your email signatures. You can really get creative. Check out Whitney and Erick's blog to snag the codes.


Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Sponsored by the Law Offices of Amy Demma, they'll discuss Jodi Picoult's new book: Sing You Home. They invite all of their friends from within the infertility community (both colleagues and those trying to conceive) as well as friends, families and loved ones who want to support those struggling to build a family. Join in the discussions and posts on their Facebook page today!


Vote for Parenthood for Me!
You have until 11:59 PST on Friday, April 22nd to vote for Parenthood for Me for the 2011 Leading Moms in Business competition, sponsored by Discover. Parenthood for Me is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building families through adoption or medical intervention. They raise funds to award family-building grants to those living with infertility. You can vote once daily, so do it today, tomorrow and Friday!

Save $5 on The IVF Companion During NIAW
Are you about to undergo your first IVF? Your third IVF cycle? Consider organizing yourself with The IVF Companion, a guided personal organizer with tons of resources for making sense of your IVF cycle. Check back after April 23rd to get the promo code.

Blogger Giveaway
Sponsored by blogger In Due Time, she'll be giving away items every day of NIAW. Check back on her blog for all the details.

*If you're hosting an event like these listed above and would like to be added to this list, send me an email to miriamshope {at} gmail {dot} com.

Soundoff! How will you be participating in National Infertility Awareness Week this year?

April 19, 2011

Calling All Health Activist Bloggers

As some of you know, I'm a member of WEGO Health, a community hub for health activists in all areas of health interests, conditions, and diagnoses. It's a pretty nifty community and I highly recommend it if you're in the health industry in any way. I even won their Vlog Contest last year. They have a lot of neat resources for health activists, including a webinar this Thursday that I'll be "at" online.

Here are all the details:

With Health Activist Panel with Lisa E, Erin B, Jenni P, and Amanda D
Thursday April 21st 8-9pm EST
Sign up here and get all the details

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The webinar is for anyone from seasoned bloggers to blog-readers who want to start their own blog. The webinar will cover the basics of blogging and include more advanced tips and tricks for promoting posts, managing your time, and establishing your blog “voice” and how to raise awareness about your condition through blogging. By signing up you’ll also have a chance to ask specific questions for the Health Activist panel that will be answered during the live Q&A portion of the webinar. You’ll also get access to the archived version of the webinar.

I would highly recommend this for both my newest readers who've just started blogging as well as those of you "old pros" reading this out there. From an infertility standpoint, it should be an engaging session to see how we're crafting our own stories to not only benefit ourselves, but hopefully to benefit others who read our blogs, be they friends, family, fellow bloggers, or just the random visitor from a Google search.

And to end in full disclosure: by posting this on my blog, I’m also being entered for a chance to win $100 or a $100 donation to the health charity of my choice. For more information and to find out how you can participate in this blog contest, click here: WEGO Health Blogger Contest.

April 14, 2011

Talking About POF Today on The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Show

Do you have one free hour at 11am PST/2pm EST today? Want to know more about premature ovarian failure? Tune in to Theresa Erickson's The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program today to hear me and Evelina Sterling from Rachel's Well talk about POF, menstrual health, and share a few insights on this PETA thing.

More info about today's show:

Misconceptions abound about the range and limits of female fertility. Despite concerted infertility education efforts, both the public and young women almost always are shocked to learn that female fertility starts to decline at age 27. But one to four percent of women under 40 will be faced with the even more shocking diagnosis of premature ovarian failure (POF). POF is a loss of ovarian function occurring at too young an age to be considered natural, although premature, menopause. Not only will these young women potentially lose their reproductive capabilities, but they also are at greater risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. A variety of medical conditions can cause POF, but doctors can not always identify one.

On the April 14 episode of The Surrogacy Lawyer: Your Guide to IVF and Third Party Family Building, Theresa Erickson, Esq., will be discussing this rare, but devastating condition with Evelina Weidman Sterling, a highly respected health educator and author, and Keiko Zoll, an infertility blogger who was motivated to become an infertility advocate after her own diagnosis of POF several years ago. The show will air on Thursday, April 14 at 11AM PST/2PM EST on Voice America.

April 11, 2011

Reflective thoughts on PETA forthcoming - promise!

Hey folks - I've been meaning to post a nice reflective piece on this whole experience. It has been a whirlwind of a week and weekend, but I'm literally running on empty right now between work and some after work commitments (in addition to getting my house cleaned/organized for visitors in a couple of weeks). My schedule, as it always does in April, has blown up.

I'm hoping to have something up by tomorrow night at the latest, but wanted to share a couple of quick, cool things:

1. The NIAW language that still remained on PETA's directing Features page has been removed as of 12pm EST today. Victory complete!

2. We got media coverage in Canada... under "Weird News." Lol, I'll take it.

3. We got an amazing and inspiring summary of events from Rachel Gurevich from How Blogging, Online Petitions, Phone Calls, and Email Writing Really Can Make a Difference

4. I'll be appearing as a guest with Evelina W. Sterling from Rachel's Well on Theresa Erickson's The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio Program THIS THURSDAY at 11AM PST/2PM EST. Tune in online here!

So stay tuned for (what will hopefully be my last) blog post about PETA and this whole experience tonight or tomorrow.

And now, I'll leave you with another picture of my cats, because they are quite frankly - adorbs.

That's right, our cats hold paws. Behold the cute.

April 10, 2011

A 2nd Open Letter to PETA: Thank You

TO: "Ingrid Newkirk" []
CC: "Carrie Snider" [], "HollyAnne Dame" [], "Tracy Reiman" [], "Dan Mathews" [], "Lisa Lange" []
SUBJECT: A 2nd Open Letter to PETA re: Win a Vasectomy - Thank You
DATE: Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 2:26 AM

Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
CC: Carrie Snider, Special Projects Coordinator; HollyAnn Dame, Membership Correspondent; Tracy Reiman, Executive Vice President; Dan Mathews, Senior Vice President of Campaigns; Lisa Lange, Senior Vice President of Communications
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

Dear Ms. Newkirk,

It was recently brought to my attention that PETA has removed all links to National Infertility Awareness Week for your “Win a Vasectomy” campaign. On behalf of the 7.3 million people who cope with the disease of infertility every day:

Thank you.

Thank you for listening to our voices, our emails, our blog posts, our tweets, our website comments, our media coverage, our phone calls and messages, and our petition with 2,200+ signatures. Thank you for listening to your members and supporters who disagreed with this campaign’s tactics. Thank you for listening and hearing the voice of the infertility community. Believe me when I say we are deeply grateful for your decision to retract the association between these two campaigns.

Thank you for recognizing and acknowledging that infertility is not a joke, not a patient community who can be used to promote your organization’s aims at our expense.

I have asked my readers and followers to consider making a contribution to their local animal shelter as a way to say thank you to your organization in the wake of your decision to remove the link to NIAW. I personally will be making a contribution to the Northeast Animal Shelter in honor of this occasion, a no-kill shelter in my community that brought us our two lovely cats Saba and Toro (see picture below).

I do have one final, minute request of a technical note. While the landing page for the “Win a Vasectomy” campaign has removed all mention of NIAW, it appears the directing page under the Features tab still includes the “in honor of” language ( As someone who has worked with website management before, it appears to be a simple oversight error that this language was listed on this separate page. We would appreciate the immediate removal/updating of this language from the Features page as well if PETA would like to be consistent in honoring its commitment not to further offend our patient community.

Again, I would like to personally thank you, and thank you on behalf of the infertility community for removing the link to your campaign and NIAW.

~Keiko Zoll
(and Saba & Toro)

Thanks, PETA.