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Featured Blogger: Juliette Rossant of SUPER CHEF

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

According to Juliette Rossant, “a super chef is an empire-building celebrity chef.” Her blog, SUPER CHEF, highlights the branding and business trends that take an ordinary chef’s career to “super chef” territory. In addition to keeping up-to-date with Rossant’s site, readers can follow her on Twitter @forbie1.

Juliette Rossant of SUPER CHEF

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: I started blogging soon after my book, Super Chef (Simon & Schuster 2004) was published.  I wanted to keep up with my subjects:  six of America’s top chefs.  I was also tracking other celebrity chefs.

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: SUPER CHEF evolved from blog to magazine in 2007-2008.  Contributors include chefs Norman Van Aken, Jody Adams, Kelley Liken and Nora Pouillon.  I have worked as a journalist for magazines like Forbes:  I strive to have SUPER CHEF reflect that professionalism.

Most food-related blogs cover just that:  food, recipes, restaurant reviews and gossip.  SUPER CHEF covers the businesses and brands of celebrity chefs.  SUPER CHEF analyzes their TV shows, their books and their activities outside the kitchen.  SUPER CHEF has expanded to include articles relevant to kids (alternate Thursdays) and videos we call “Food Flicks” (Fridays).  As editor, I look for broadly food-related news, like Hurricane Katrina (in which emergency food helped victims).  When First Lady Laura Bush started looking for a new executive chef at the White House, SUPER CHEF ran a nationwide poll that helped identify candidates—and predicted Mrs. Bush’s choice. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Da Vinci of Your Life After 25

by Paige Wilcox
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Your Life After 25 is a modern survival guide for women navigating through life after turning 25 years old. Blogger Da Vinci provides her readers with helpful and fun tips, including advice for how to dress for a job interview, how to get a guy to notice you and how to make a Chicago hot dog. You can keep up with her on Twitter by following @YourLifeAfter25 along with more than 11,000 others and “Like” her popular Facebook page!

Da Vinci, blogger for Your Life After 25

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: Unofficially, when I was 16 I started a site called Lady Epiphany, but I didn’t really understand the whole dynamic behind running a site. Officially, I started my original blog, Da Vinci’s Blog Log, which was later known as D.V.B.L in 2007.  I like to think of it as the blue print for what Your Life After 25 is, which launched earlier this year. D.V.B.L. was my baby that taught me a lot of lessons in the blogosphere. The blogging world has grown and changed so much for the better. I’m just happy to have a blog that people receive well, can relate to and learn from. I started blogging because I truly wanted to reach and help people.  Whether it’s through physical appearance or just inspiring others, I wanted to help and build a sense of community among women.

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: I like to think of Your Life After 25 as a lifestyle “blogozine”. It stands out because it’s about LIFE; we’re all living life and trying to figure it out, and as our motto states “believe it or not it does go on”. Our name really speaks for itself. So many women experience that pivotal moment in life where they wonder where their lives are going at age 25. For men, it usually happens at 35, lol. We try to address things in life from 25 and over. Our mission is to entertain, educate and inspire. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Summed up by the Green and Clean Mom‘s own tagline, this blog is the prime spot to learn”how being ‘green’ can be sassy, sexy and fun!” As a environmentally conscious mother of two, blogger Sommer Poquette shares her passion and tips with other moms seeking ways to be more Eco-savvy in their lives. In addition to her blog, Sommer stays in touch with her readers via Facebook, and she frequently updates more than 9,000 followers on Twitter.

Sommer Poquette of Green and Clean Mom

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: I started blogging in 2007 when my daughter was four months old. I had no idea what I was doing but I had a vision and went for it! I’ve learned a ton on my own through webinars, books, reading other blogs and attending conferences! It has been fabulous!

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: When I first started blogging, there weren’t too many “green” blogs out there! Now there are hundreds upon hundreds – if not thousands. Green and Clean Mom isn’t about judgement or being just “one shade of green,” but it is meant to be real and inspire, motivate and encourage readers wherever they are in their journey to be more eco-friendly.  I think that sets Green and Clean Mom apart from many blogs.

Q: What does your family think of your blogging?

A: They really like what I do, but I had to write a children’s book to explain it! Ha! Ha! At first they did not understand it but after all of these years, they’ve seen my passion and how I’ve turned it into a business  - they are supportive.

Q: Which blogger most inspires you to keep blogging?

A: Oh my! I’m not sure I can answer this question and limit my zillion page list to just one blogger! I attend many blogging conferences and read dozens of blogs and find so much inspiration from amazing women within the community. I think it is the community that inspires me the most, not just one blogger. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Jillian Madison of Damn You AutoCorrect

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Damn You AutoCorrect’s Jillian Madison has positioned herself as a major player in the world of hilarious blogs. In addition to Damn You AutoCorrect, her hysterical sites include Parent Fails, Food Network Humor, Awkward Names, Parents Shouldn’t Text, My Rough Life, Wrong Number Texts and PopHangover, just to name a few.  Each site highlights one distinctive funny theme, and Damn You AutoCorrect focuses on the weird and amusing miscommunication that occurs when someone’s cell phone accidentally auto corrects the spelling of their text messages.

Jillian Madison of Damn You AutoCorrect

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

A: I started Pophangover, my flagship pop culture humor website, back in 1999 – and that’s before blogging even existed! Blogging’s come a long way! I had to use static HTML pages and update them constantly, and it was such a time consuming process. I actually started the site as a place to make fun of all the ridiculous things I was observing on TV and in pop culture on a daily basis. Over the past 12 years, the network has expanded to over 12 sites like AwkwardNames.com and WhyDidYouBuyMeThat.com, and I’m adding more every year.

Q: How do you think Damn You AutoCorrect stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: Everyone can relate to it! We all carry cell phones around in our pockets these days. Everyone has either been autocorrected, or knows someone who has. That, and I think the content, is universally funny and relatable by people of all ages. (more…)

Featured Bloggers: Matthew Genitempo and Jonathan Standefer of Lamebook

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Have you ever been cruising through your Facebook News Feed and wondered to yourself, “Is it just me, or is this post completely ridiculous?”  It’s not just you. The founders of Lamebook, Matthew Genitempo and Jonathan Standefer, and their strong following are definitely with you. Matthew and Jonathan appreciate the hilarious photos, status updates and conversations that take place on Facebook so much, they decided to document them on Lamebook starting in April 2009.  Since then, these two Texan graphic designers have updated fans with daily posts of the funny–often unintentional– posts that make it onto Facebook. In addition to checking out Lamebook, fans can enjoy join over 19,000 others by “liking” their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter, where they have more than 21,000 current followers.

Lamebook Founders Mathew Genitempo and Jonathan Standefer

Q:  When and why did you start blogging?

A: The idea for Lamebook was born from a few beers and a little bit of
frustration in October of 2008. Matthew and I were just hanging out one
night, talking and joking about all of the dumb content we would see on
our Facebook feeds and decided to start cataloging them just for fun. So
we finally launched the site in April of 2009 and were really happy with
the response.

Q: How do you think your blog stands out amongst blogs of the same genre?

A: We are the original blog to feature all of the funny and bizarre posts
from Facebook and we think the quality of our content and the design of
the website is much better than other copycat sites. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Sara Ost of EcoSalon

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

According to its “About” page, “EcoSalon is the conscious culture and fashion website.” Publisher and Editor, Sara Ost lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she pries herself away from her laptop and EcoSalon just often enough to check out the latest restaurants and hike in the beautiful hills of Marin. She was educated at Pepperdine University and is originally from the Seattle area. Sara and the rest of the Ecosalon crew can be found on Twitter where they are followed by a range of eco-friendly organizations from @WWF to @MotherEarthNews, and on Facebook where they post updates and host contests.

 

Sara Ost, Publisher and Editor of Ecosalon

Q: How did you decide on the name for EcoSalon?  Could you elaborate on the meaning behind the site’s motto “Have a Heart”?

A: The name credit  goes to a flash of brilliance from one of our founders. You know immediately what the perspective will be (“eco”) and the retro concept of an intellectual gathering (“salon”).

“Have a heart” is about living consciously, fearlessly and fully. We believe green will not go mainstream unless we start with the heart. All the problems we face, from social to economic to environmental woes, will only be resolved when we live in a more conscious way. This doesn’t mean touchy-feely or warm-fuzzy. Having a heart takes courage.

Q: Were there any unexpected joys or pains you experienced when you started blogging?

A: Oh, yes, lots. Pains I didn’t expect: the literal physical pain in my hands from very long hours at the laptop. New media is relentless – you don’t put the edition to bed and go to bed, too, you work nonstop and the goalposts are always moving. For me that’s thrilling, but it can also lend itself to things like constantly apologizing to your friend for not returning her phone call…for a week! There are irreplaceable joys, as well. I’ve had the great fortune of becoming connected to so many talented and good people, personally and professionally, who inspire and push me. Blogging creates an ecosystem of ideas, competition, collaboration and creativity that is breathtaking at times. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Matt Jordan of You Ain’t No Picasso

by Paige Wilcox
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Matt Jordan’s passion for quality music and musicians has struck a deep chord with his readers over the past six years of blogging on You Ain’t No Picasso. In addition to the blog, Matt continues to share his passion through outlets like Facebook and Twitter, where his followers range from @arcadefire to @pitchforkmedia. By keeping his visibility and standard of music updates high, Matt has positioned himself as a valuable opinion leader in the music industry.
Matt Jordan

Matt Jordan, author of You Ain't No Picasso

Q:  When did you start blogging, and what was your inspiration?

A: I started blogging in 2004 as a freshman at the University of Kentucky. I was getting into a lot of smaller bands, and the only place to find info about them were music blogs. After reading them for a few months I decided to start one of my own

Q: How did you decide on the name “You Ain’t No Picasso,” and have you ever wished you had chosen a different name?

A: It’s the name of a demo by the band Bishop Allen. Aside from it being a little long, I’m happy with it.
(more…)

Featured Blogger: Ryan Parsons of Trailer Addict

by susie
Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

According to Wikipedia, movie trailers first appeared in 1913. Since then, they have enjoyed nearly 100 years of loyal cinema-goers who purposely arrive 15-20 minutes before the opening scenes to enjoy the clips of coming attractions. Trailer Addict, born in 2008, recognized this loyal following and dedicated a site to hosting hundreds of trailers from 1950-2008. Brothers Ryan Parsons and Shawn Lewis maintain and update the site regularly with HD videos. In their words, “Trailer Addict has been built not for those who like a good trailer now and then, but those who understand that the need to watch trailers is a state of mind.” Their vast Twitter following ranges from @DisneyPixar and @UniversalPics, and over 11,000 self-labeled trailer addicts follow their Facebook page. The following features Ryan’s responses to our questions about Trailer Addict.

ryan-shawn trailer addict
Ryan Parsons and brother Shawn Lewis (right), co-owners of Trailer Addict

Q: Trailer Addict seems to cater to a niche crowd; what was the inspiration behind the site?

A: At the time of TrailerAddict’s launch back in January of 2008, there were not yet any video sites offering embeddable HD or even high-res video. Trailer Addict was one of the first to do so. This of course has changed over the past couple years, though Trailer Addict still works to match up HD bitrates with today’s Internet users.

Q: Do you handle your blog software yourself, or does someone else do it?

A: Trailer Addict was developed from the ground up with no blog software working as the backbone. Each component to the site has a particular purpose with no resources going to mundane functions. Since Trailer Addict is process oriented, it enables the quickest loads possible. The site is now run and edited directly by site admins with all work being done in-house. (more…)

Featured Blogger: Bee Lavender of Hip Mama

by susie
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Bee Lavender heads up the staff at HipMama, a popular and respected parenting magazine. The distinguished writer, publisher, and activist keeps fans updated at her personal site, Foment.net. Her books include Lessons in Taxidermy, Breeder, and Mamaphonic. Although originally from the Pacific Northwest, she currently lives in England with her family.  HipMama enjoys a loyal following of like-minded moms on both Twitter and Facebook.

bee_lavender

Bee Lavender, Publisher of HipMama.com

Q: When did you start blogging, and what inspired you to start?

A: I was a first-generation web designer, and I’ve kept an online journal since about 1995. I was surprised when the word “blog” emerged from the ether. Hipmama.com has been around since 1997. Since 2002 I have also kept a personal blog at www.foment.net, in which I talk about emigrating and starting a life in a new country. (more…)

Aaron Schatz: Keeping score for football fanatics

by susie
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Football Outsiders has provided stats and analysis to football junkies since July 2003. Creator Aaron Schatz has appeared on CNN and NPR, and he currently writes for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. Aaron has also been written The New York Times, Slate, and The Boston Globe. Aaron’s football commentary continues on Twitter @FO_ASchatz, where his followers range from fellow sports writers and other sports bloggers (including Senior Sports Illustrated NFL Writer to Peter King and redskinsblog) Fantasy Football analysts (including CBSSports.com writer Dave Richard) and plenty of NFL fans. The New England Patriots fan currently lives in Framingham, Massachusetts with his wife and daughter.

football outsiders

bio_aaron football outsiders

Q: When and how was Football Outsiders conceived?

A: I started goofing around with football stats in December of 2002. I was always a fan of Bill James, the baseball statistician, from way back, and I had read Hidden Game of Football by Carroll, Thorn, and Palmer. I didn’t know why I couldn’t find anyone who did this kind of analysis for the NFL on a regular basis. I had questions, and they needed answering. I started playing around with the stats, and within a few months I had some articles. I shared them with some people I knew at larger websites, and they all agreed that the articles were interesting but were for a small niche audience. I got together with some of my frat brothers from Brown, a programmer and two fantasy football columnists, and we launched the site in July 2003. It turned out to be perfect timing because around that time, Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball was starting to become a big deal, and everyone went onto the Web looking for “the Moneyball of (blank).” And there we were.

Q: How many people write for Football Outsiders? Are they all located in a similar geographic location?

A: No, people are spread all over the country. I’ve never even met some of my writers. There are only two full-time workers, me and Bill Barnwell, and we both live in the Boston area, but none of the other writers are here. We’ve got a couple in Seattle, a couple in Chicago. Mike Tanier is in South Jersey, Ben Muth out in Arizona. The college guys live in good college hotbeds: South Bend, Columbia, MO, Gainesville, and Atlanta. There are about a dozen guys who write for FO in one way or another, plus a couple guys who help out with programming.

One of the best parts of this has been the people coming out of the woodwork to write. I reached out to a couple of guys who had good blogs– that’s how I got the two college statisticians, Brian Fremeau and Bill Connelly– but also people reached out to me. Mike Tanier is the best pure writer on the staff; he approached me after working for a newspaper syndication service that didn’t even put his name on the articles. Ben Muth came to us last year, which now gives us an ex-player on staff; he was an all-Pac-10 left tackle at Stanford. And then people have become successful enough to make this into a career. Doug Farrar now makes a living writing, split between four websites (FO is one of them). Michael David Smith was the first outside writer I hired who wasn’t one of my Brown frat brothers, and he outgrew us and now writes full time for AOL. It’s great to have the opportunity to write about sports for a living, and it’s also great to be able to help other people get that opportunity.

Q: With a staff that large, there must surely be different biases for/against teams among your writers. Do the various team loyalties ever create conflict between your writers? Do you strive to keep your allegiances out of your posts?

A: No, I do think I’m part of the “Bill Simmons Generation” of Internet writers who decided that there was nothing wrong with being honest about fan loyalties. I mean, I did start this *because* I am a fan. I don’t want to ever get so jaded that I’m not actually enjoying sports, which sometimes seems to be the case with some of the local Boston columnists. But the FO writers respect each other. None of us have ever had a fight because our teams were facing each other in a big game. We actually keep a list on our FAQ so that if people are accusing us of bias, at least they can properly accuse the right people. When Ned Macey gets accused of Patriots bias, that’s a little silly since Ned lives in Indianapolis.

Q: What sets Football Outsiders apart from other football blogs?

A: Football is a game that can be enjoyed on a lot of different levels. You can be totally devoted to just one team. You can watch it because you like to watch fat guys beat each other up. You can watch it just to see cheerleaders, or to see a couple amazing athletic feats each week. Or you can enjoy it as a chess game where each team has 11 moving pieces at all times. Until FO came around, that last group was underserved by the media. Thanks to FO and the other sites that have popped up in our wake– plus the smartest NFL analyst, Ron Jaworski, being put on high-profile Monday Night Football– that is no longer the case.

I often say that Football Outsiders features intelligent conversation about football from people who don’t write “MY TEAM RULEZZZZZ!” with five “Z’s” at the end.

I also should point out that FO isn’t really a blog, per se. I agree with Nick Denton of Gawker Media about the development of websites, where blogs and websites that considered themselves “magazine-style” websites are gradually combining to be the same thing. We have a blog, sort of, in that we have a section called Extra Points with small commentaries and links to the biggest news of the day. But the main section of FO is more along the lines of Slate or Salon, with regular articles that hit on a weekly basis during the season. What’s important is that we are independent, and that meant that we needed a way to sell advertising through a central broker, and Blogads fit our needs perfectly. It didn’t matter if we called ourselves a blog or not.

Q: Have you found that your demographic of readers has changed since 2003?

A: As far as I can tell, we’ve got basically the same types of readers as we did back in the beginning, only more of them. One thing I can note about our blog is that we seem to have a higher percentage of international readers than the actual percent of sports fans interested in NFL football overseas. That makes sense– if you live in Peru or Israel, and you want to follow the NFL, you have to go online. And if you are that interested in football, you are likely very passionate about it and would want to visit a website where the writers and other users shared that passion.

Q: Are there any specific game highlights that you have encountered during the tenure of FO that stick out most in your mind?

A: Game highlights? I mean, we’ve been lucky to be doing this during some of the most memorable seasons in NFL history. In particular, we’re lucky we’re not doing Super Bowl previews back in the 80s when Super Bowls all ended up 45-10 or whatever. As a Pats fan, the David Tyree catch in the Super Bowl was a miserable moment for me, but of course it is the greatest Super Bowl play of all time for everyone else. Well, unless you think the Santonio Holmes catch the following year was the greatest Super Bowl play of all time. Fourth-and-2, fourth-and-26, the bomb that set TD records for Tom Brady and Randy Moss, the phantom holding call on Sean Locklear, the Antwaan Randle El trick pass in that same Super Bowl, the Saints’ onside kick in last year’s Super Bowl, the “we want the ball and we’re going to score” pick by Matt Hasselbeck… We’ve had a lot of memorable moments to write about.

(I assume everyone knows fourth-and-2 was the play from last year’s Pats-Colts game. For those who don’t remember, the Eagles had to convert fourth-and-26 to beat Green Bay during the 2003 playoffs, the week after Green Bay picked off Matt Hasselbeck in overtime after he followed the coin toss by saying, “We want the ball and we’re going to score”)

Q: What is something that your readers might not know about you or your staff?

A: Some people know that I was a radio disc jockey earlier in life, but most people don’t know my other claim to fame, which is that I’m one of the people responsible for Creed. I was doing middays and serving as music director for 93.1 WKRO in Daytona Beach, Florida (incidentally, number one on a countdown of “cities where I really do not fit in with anyone”). The morning guys brought me this CD of an unsigned band from Tallahassee, which had been their market before they came to Daytona. I listened to it and thought, “This is horrible, but man our listeners love this crap.” There was this “Florida sound” going on at the time, with heavy rock bands that were kind of “grunge lite”– Creed, Seven Mary Three, Mighty Joe Plum, and Matchbox 20, although they went in a softer direction long-term. Anyway, you program a station for the listeners, not for yourself. I convinced our program director to play them even though it was just a demo, and within a week it was in heavy rotation as the number one most requested song on the station. We were the second station in America to play them, after the Tallahassee station, and that popularity in Daytona helped them get their label deal. As I explain to people, everything I’ve done since has been an attempt to make up for my small part in unleashing the horror that is Scott Stapp upon the world.

Q: FO has some big-name followers on Twitter. What does Tweeting add to your blogging experience?

A: I don’t really think it “adds to our blogging experience.” It’s a good way to share small thoughts with readers. Sometimes I’ll come across an interesting stat, but one that’s not big enough to deserve its own post on FO. During games, I’ll have little thoughts about whatever is happening, or a joke. Blowouts for some reason make me go crazy with jokes. Check out my Twitter feed from Monday night December 6 sometime. Also, I use Twitter to keep up with reporters around the league. When news happens, you find out about it immediately. Twitter just blows up with big news, like when the Vikings cut Randy Moss a few weeks ago.

Q: Do you personally have a go-to blogger either for inspiration or provocation?

A: Not really. My biggest goal is to find really good team-related blogs that I can read on a regular basis, so that I can link to them and give them more attention when they write something good. Among the best: Niners Nation, 18 to 88, Texans Chick, and Brian Bassett’s The Jets Blog.

In celebration of this Super Bowl season, use discount code “neckbeard” to receive 50% off your ad purchase on Football Outsiders for the next week.


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