Friday, March 25, 2011

15 Qualities of 20 Juicy Blogs + a Giveaway

"My takeaways so far: 1. write what I want to read, 2. keep it simple."
- Juicy Blogging e-course student

One of the first homework assignments my Juicy Blogging e-course students have is to share blogs that they think are juicy, like the 20 blogs listed below that my February class recommended:
  1. Cheerio Road: making peace with the laundry, the kitchen, the yard
  2. Colorlines: news for action
  3. decor8: fresh finds for hip spaces
  4. Feministing: young feminists blogging, organizing, kicking ass
  5. Film in the Fridge: modern quilts, clothing, fabric and photos
  6. Finslippy: the life and work of Alice Bradley. 
  7. From Here to Autonomy: an entrepreneur's journey
  8. Gwen Bell: reverberate
  9. mizzFIT: your guide to radiant style and a strong life
  10. Motherlode: adventures in parenting
  11. The Business Yogini: turn the overwhelm of inspiration into action
  12. Ordinary Courage by Brene Brown 
  13. poppytalk: the beautiful, the decayed the handmade
  14. Posie Gets Cozy by Alicia Paulson
  15. Racialicious: the intersection of race and pop culture
  16. Soulemama by Amanda Blake Soule
  17. Spiritual Cowgirl by Sera Beak 
  18. sweet | salty by  Kate Inglis
  19. three highlights: a different way to view each day - around the globe
  20. zen habits: smile, breathe and go slow
Then, they're asked to explain why their favorite blogs are juicy. Below is a list of 15 qualities that draw them into these juicy blogs, and make them go back again and again:
  1. authentic voice
  2. fun 
  3. funny
  4. gorgeous prose
  5. informative
  6. immediately relevant to my life
  7. inspirational
  8. intriguing title
  9. make me think
  10. resources
  11. short
  12. simple
  13. topics I'm interested in
  14. unique voice
  15. visually rich

I'd love to hear what blogs you think are juicy, and why.  Between now and April 25th, when you share your favorite juicy blog picks in the comments, along with why you think they're juicy, you'll be entered into a raffle to win a spot in my next Juicy Blogging E-course (June 1-22, 2011) for yourself, or to give as a gift to someone you love (:

I'm looking looking forward to checking our your recommendations!

Collage, gift wrap and photos by me.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Connecting Homeless Youth and Shelter Animals: 20-Year-Old Rachel Cohen, Hand2Paw

"It's a novel idea that homeless youth have so much to offer, and that these youth could really make the difference at this shelter.  As it turns out, so many of these youth absolutely love animals."
- Rachel Cohen

Twenty-year-old Rachel Cohen is the Founder and Executive Director of Hand2Paw. Hand2Paw's mission is to connect homeless teens and shelter animals in a mutually beneficial way. They provide homeless teens with professional skills training and therapeutic experiences. They also  ensure that thousands of homeless and abandoned animals get the socialization and training they deserve.

Rachel has loved animals since her parents got her the Eyewitness Companion Guide to Dogs for her 8th birthday. This fateful Hanukkah present, they now realize, was wholly responsible for her career trajectory. She is also a Penn student and a current Top 15 National Finalist for the Washington Campus Compact's Students in Service Awards, as well as the winner of a DoSomething Grant.

You can listen and subscribe to the Big Vision Podcast via iTunes, or on the player above.  If you have suggestions for people I should interview (especially new, young big visionaries), please email me at britt AT brittbravo DOT com.

Show Notes

I have three workshops coming up:
Learn more about Rachel and Hand2Paw:
        Connect with me

          "Mango Delight," by Kenya Masala.  You can connect with Kenya through CD Baby, Source Consulting Group, and Facebook.

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          Saturday, March 12, 2011

          Mindfulness, Unplugging and Social Media Envy

          Last weekend, from sundown, March 4th to sundown, March 5th, I turned off my cell phone, laptop, and TV as part of the National Day of Unplugging.

          It was awesome.

          My head was clearer.

          I felt less stressed.

          Pockets of time opened up.

          And my husband and I had so much fun.  We went out and saw friends, went for a walk around the lake near our house, read books while listening to music, worked on creative projects we're often "too busy" to do, and went to sleep early.

          As a blog and social media coach, it's probably not a good idea for me to tell you to spend less time on your computer and cell phone, but honestly, it was one of the best things I've done in years.

          Synchronistically, later in the week I listened to a free call with Jennifer Louden, Bridget Piloud, Marianne Elliott, Tara Gentile, and Tara Sophia Mohr, about Self-Care, Mindfulness and Social Media.  Some of my favorite takeaways from the call were:

          • Marianne takes a moment to get centered before opening her computer.
          • Jen uses a timer and sets an intention before using social media.
          • Tara Sophia stays aware that social media can be addictive.
          • Bridget keeps a Post-It reminder on her computer that asks, "What is social media doing for me emotionally?"

          My number one mindfulness tip is to be aware of social media envy.  Social media has made it incredibly easy for people to share their creations and build their organizations.  Witnessing their evolution can inspire you, and, if you put on your comparison glasses, bite you with the envy bug.

          My favorite cure for social media envy is to use the Jealous Map exercise from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way:
          1. Ask yourself, "Why am I envious of this person?" (e.g. their blog is soooo beautiful).
          2. Take an action that incorporates what you envy into your own life (e.g. spruce up your own blog's design, use more photos in your posts).
          Given my experiences last week, and the rise of events like the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, I have to ask myself, as a social media coach and heavy user:

          Should I be using, and teaching people to use, social media more, or less?

          What do you think? How do you feel about the role of social media in your personal and professional life?

          Photo by me and made pretty with Instagram.

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          Thursday, March 10, 2011

          Mary Mulliken, Intentional Motherhood: How I Have Fun, Do Good

          The eighth guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Mary Mulliken 

          Mary is a coach, a writer, a contemporary ceremonialist, and a mom to baby Orlis Blackbird. She works with individuals through relationship and live-cycle transitions and creates and leads public and sacred rituals of all kinds, while cultivating intentional motherhood one day at a time. You can learn more about Mary at

          Mary Mulliken, Intentional Motherhood: How I Have Fun, Do Good

          While I was pregnant, I heard one of my favorite writers, Eco-philosopher Joanna Macy say, "we treat our planet like a supply closet and a garbage dump." I remember thinking that was (sadly) a very apt description for what I have come to witness as the process of having a baby -- the expectation that you need lots of [big, plastic and electronic] stuff that will end up in a landfill just a few short years later.

          The work I do as a Coach and as a Ceremonialist has everything to do with helping people hone their personal values and then bring them to life. I see this motherhood track as a continuous opportunity to do just that for myself, and I've come to realize how deeply I care about the vitality of this planet that is inseparable from our physical and emotional health as human beings.

          With all my mixed feelings about procreating when the world doesn't really need any more people, I realized that I'd only be able to have a baby in good conscience if I could find fun ways to do it really, really gently...for everyone involved, including Mother May I.

          With an eye towards a lighter footprint, my thinking went immediately towards diapers. The problem is this: each and every disposable diaper a baby fills with pee or poop will go on to outlive her in the landfill by about 400 years. I'm sorry, but that's just gross.

          What I've discovered is there are actually lots and lots of reasons to make the choice to use cloth diapers, besides the all-important environmental one. They are much cheaper, more comfy, cleaner and safer for baby's skin, and lend themselves to earlier and easier potty training.

          But let's be honest, what's really fun about them is how darn cute they are! Endless colors and styles that simply delight me and have me reaching for my camera during diaper changes. And don't get me started about laundry day -- even schlepping to the coin-operated machines in the basement of our building -- has come to be a savored ritual for me. My partner and I have even dipped our toe into the world of Elimination Communication to some astonishing results, reducing our diaper impact even further. Who knew doing things the "old-fashioned way" could be so enjoyable?

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          Wednesday, March 09, 2011

          Jamie Ridler, Creative Living: How I Have Fun, Do Good

           The seventh guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Jamie Ridler. 

          Jamie is a creative living coach and the director of Jamie Ridler Studios. Through coaching, workshops and a variety of online events, Jamie helps women find the confidence and courage to discover and express their creative spirit, whether that means exploring their artistic self, or bringing more of their creative capacity to their life and business. 

          She is the host of the popular podcast Creative Living with Jamie and will soon launch Sparkles, an e-course designed to bring your creativity to life in 5 minutes (or less!) a day. You can follow Jamie on Twitter at @starshyne.

          Jamie Ridler, Creative Living: How I Have Fun, Do Good

          I’ve always been kind of like Mary Poppins. I’m an idealist at heart, I love to get things done and make things happen, especially with a “spoonful of sugar.”

          Over the years, I got lots of messages that this wasn’t the way to be. As a downtown Toronto girl who went to theatre school, I can tell you that focusing on “goodness” wasn’t considered terribly hip. As someone who used to sing at her day job, I discovered that when you have fun, people think you’re not taking your work terribly seriously.

          This isn’t the truth at all!

          Despite my missing ‘hip factor’, it was really theatre that showed me the power of having fun and doing good. Putting on a show demands extraordinary time and energy, most often with little, or no financial reward. There has to be a reason for actors, designers, and stage managers to show up, stay late and put their heart into it. With a “have fun, do good” attitude, the rewards are plenty:

          • Instead of a group, we have a community.
          • People’s true selves come out to play (and we’re shiny!)
          • Creative sparks fly.
          • What we create together is unique and extraordinary.
          • When everyone shares their gifts, there’s more for us all to enjoy.
          • We know our impact. We know we make a difference.
          • We create unforgettable moments.
          • We experience the sheer delight of being alive.
          • We create a microcosm of what’s possible.
            Where can you bring fun and goodness together? Look for ways of squeaking them into the unlikeliest of places. I remember being in Emergency with my sister; the nurses came in to see what we were giggling about! Even in the hardest places, you can shine a light.

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            Tuesday, March 08, 2011

            Desiree Adaway, Global Service and Leadership: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            The sixth guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Desiree Adaway. 

            Desiree is a consultant, strategist, coach, storyteller and explorer.  She uses her superpowers-her voice, sense of adventure and belief in the transformative power of community-to help organizations design programs that create unrestricted revenue, volunteers and advocates.

            You can find out more about her at, or follow her on Twitter at @desireeadaway.

            Desiree Adaway, Global Service and Leadership: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            How do I have fun and do “good”?

            I volunteer!

            Most days I talk to organizations about volunteer management and the creation of volunteer programs. It’s what I love.

            Despite having this be my business, it is still my passion. Every year I commit to leading a global volunteer trip. It keeps me in touch with why I do this work. It’s a way for me to walk my walk and put my faith into action. It’s a great combination of all the things I love and adore—good food, good people-community-culture-travel – and fun!

            During the day we move bricks, dig ditches, sift sand and mix mortar. Extremely. Hard. Work.

            Yet, these trips are not only about the work. Some of my greatest memories are off the worksite. I have danced with an entire village in Ghana. I have watched Buddhist monks pray at Ta Prohm in Cambodia. I have watched the sun set as I sailed the Nile on a felucca.
            Ta Prohm Temple, Angkor, Cambodia

            Seriously awesome, right? Yet it goes deeper than an exotic location.

            Service for me is HOLY. Unselfish compassion and love for another human being is beautiful, and it’s my religion. My personal problems, pain, issues and petty worries are swept away as virtual strangers come together to build community. There is joy on the work site and prayers of love lifted as houses are created. I see life and humanity at its best. Strangers laugh, and talk, connect and encourage.

            Community is powerful.

            I am always proud of what we achieve, proud to be a part of something bigger than my everyday existence. The communities are my church and every day is Sunday.

            Dancing in Ghana
            Just writing this post has broken my heart open and I feel the familiar ache. It’s time to plan the next trip.

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            Monday, March 07, 2011

            Emily Goligoski, The SanFranista: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            The fifth guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Emily Goligoski. 

            Emily is a
            writer and digital strategist who blogs as TheSanFranista. She produces tech entrepreneurship content for the organization Women 2.0 and teaches yoga in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter at @emgollie.

            When I moved to San Francisco five years ago, I couldn't have known how important yoga would become to me. I had gone to classes on and off before coming to California but regularly left before savasana, the rest period at the end of class where the mind is invited to be still. Waste of time, I would think to myself.

            I found a studio with the right mix of music, intensity, and spirituality soon after moving to SF and quickly found myself hooked (though still rolling up my mat early). Soon after, I had the opportunity to write about a Bay Area non-profit, the Art of Yoga Project, that brings yoga, writing, and arts to girls in juvenile hall. While interviewing the organizers for a magazine, I heard how they worked with young women who had rarely or never felt good about their bodies and were in detention on charges related to prostitution and drug sales. They told me how they worked with area facilities to bring regular yoga practices and writing workshops to the 14 to 18-year-olds, and I saw the feedback that some of the girls had given about the massive difference the instruction had made for them.

            By the time the story ran, I was so in awe of the Art of Yoga Project's work that I enrolled in a yoga teacher training. It took a year of philosophy and anatomy study (and, more than I expected, self study) to earn my certification, but I found that the teaching staff's patience and encouragment made me a better teacher too. I started listening more than I talked. I asked "how can I help?" more than "do I have to do that?" more than I ever had, and there was joy in it.

            But it still didn't prepare me for the nerves I faced when teaching at juvenile hall for the first time. I felt thrown off by how much the girls talked during the class and tried to respond with humor, then seriousness, and finally, acceptance. It wasn't until we came to the end of the class, to savasana,that I saw them relax and really breathe for the first time all night. As we shared our thoughts at the end of the class, they smiled. I couldn't help but smile too.

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            Friday, March 04, 2011

            Jen Louden, Savor and Serve: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            The third guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Jen Louden.

             Jen Louden is a best-selling author, retreat creator, and Comfort Queen turned activity catalyst. She's just started a one year experiment in savoring and serving the world. Join her at and on Twitter at @jenlouden.

            Jen Louden, Savor and Serve: How I Have Fun, Do Good
            After reading my friend Keri Smith's book The Guerilla Art Kit, my 16-year-old daughter Lillian decided it would be delish to write little-bitty love notes and plaster them all over our tiny town. So out came the colored Post-it notes and markers, and we  wrote hundreds of notes saying things like "Do you know how beautiful you are right now?" and "Yes, it will be a better day today" and "You smell good." 

            Then we snuck downtown about 9:30 pm (our town goes to bed at 8) and plastered them everywhere - from the side of the bank to the backdoor of the bakery to neighbor's windshields... it was so delightful to wonder what people's reaction would be the next morning.  We heard gossip later about how pleased and mystified people were!

            We've done this numerous times and it's taken different forms. This picture is from the "Chalk Art Phase" last summer in which we would write loving messages on chalk - Lilly is the artist, I'm the lookout and embellisher. We wrote a sweetness in front of an office for a friend grieving the death of his child, in front of our doc's office saying thanks for being such a great healer, and loud praise for the librarians at the library. What was truly cool was how long some of the messages lasted - in some cases, weeks!

            Since finding cool things to do with your teens can be a challenge (at least for me), consider guerilla art love as your next Savor and Serve project!

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            Thursday, March 03, 2011

            Tara Sophia Mohr, Wise Living: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            The third guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is by Tara Sophia Mohr.

            Tara is a coach, and personal growth teacher. Her work focuses on helping women play big and lead. A regular columnist for Huffington Post, her work has also been featured in USA Today, Forbes, Ode Magazine, and other publications. Tara received her MBA from Stanford University. You can connect with Tara on her blog, Wise Living, and on Twitter at @tarasophia

             Tara Sophia Mohr, Wise Living: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            Every woman has a unique brilliance, an important message to share with the world, a set of gifts the world needs.

            But somewhere along the way in life – most of us end up doubting the value of our ideas, shrinking our voices, and in general, playing small.

            Through coaching, group programs, and my writing, I help women share their voices -- fully and boldly in the world.

            For me, the fun comes in 1) meeting so many remarkable, talented, women 2) hearing about and nurturing their visions – which inspire me and 3) watching them start to play big in their work.

            The doing good part for me is about this: a couple of years ago, the Dalai Lama said, in a public lecture, “The world will be saved by Western women.” I think the world will be saved by all of us – with everyone playing a part. But I do think women in the developed world – women with access to power and resources – have a particularly important role to play, a more critical role than we think.

            The world needs women to come forward with their ideas, critiques, innovations, leadership, contributions, to bring our planet back into balance. By helping other women unleash their own leadership, I’m doing the most high impact thing I could – given my own strengths and abilities – to enrich the world.

            Click here to get Tara's free workbook, "10 Rules for Brilliant Women." 

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            Free E-Book (and I'm in It!): How to be a Morning Goddess

            How do you start your morning?

            That's the question, Leonie Allan, who you may remember from her guest post last fall, asked 20 women in her free e-book, How to Be a Morning Goddess.  The 47-page PDF is beautifully illustrated, and includes each woman's answer, along with photos of her morning routines.

            You can download the e-book for free by clicking here.

             The e-book's 20 contributors are:
            I've also created a Twitter list if you'd like to find them on Twitter:

            So, I'd love to know.  How do you start your morning?

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            Wednesday, March 02, 2011

            Wendy Harman, Social Media Maven: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            The second guest blogger in my Have Fun, Do Good series is Wendy Harman.

            Wendy is a listener, innovator, online community member, information synthesizer, big picture thinker, and Director of Social Media for the American Red Cross.

            You can connect with her on Twitter at @wharman

            Wendy Harman, Social Media Maven, How I Have Fun, Do Good

            I am the luckiest. I get to have fun and do good for a living. I spend my time experimenting with social tools to help the American public prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Well, emergencies aren’t fun, but rolling up my sleeves with a huge network of good-hearted people to find the hopeful moments within them sure is. This type of having fun and doing good I expected when I accepted my job, but it has been more rewarding than I imagined.

            Red Crossers Jenny Brennan,
            Wendy Harman, and Seth Spiro checking Twitter
            and other social media in the Disaster Operations Center in Washington, DC
            Photo by American Red Cross.
            What I did not expect was the camaraderie and collaboration I’ve found in the whole nonprofit sector. What an interesting, passionate, smart, and fun-loving group you all are. Thank you for letting me be part of this community.

            @digitalsista, @wharman & @sokunthea. Photo by Geoff Livingston.

            Preparedness is a big part of the mission of the Red Cross. While it can be a gloomy topic, I prefer to take a fun approach to being prepared. For instance, we know that connected communities fare better in emergency situations than ones who don’t know each other, so I make a big effort in my spare time to get to know my neighbors. Not in a “let’s meet to discuss what we’ll do in a catastrophic situation,” but through block parties, dog meetups, contact information sharing, and general friendliness. I’ve made true friends this way and I know we’ll take care of each other should we have an emergency.

            It really paid off during the snowstorms we had in DC last year – we all checked on each other each day, shared shovels, food, toilet paper, and fun. We were lucky not to lose power for too long, so I ended up having the time of my life because I knew I was safe and had a supportive community.

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            Tuesday, March 01, 2011

            Jennifer Lee, Right-Brain Business Plan: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            Last fall, I hosted a Have Fun, Do Good series where 12 bloggers shared how they have fun and do good.  This month, I'll be picking up the series again with new posts by Desiree Adaway, Emily Goligoski, Jamie Ridler, Jennifer Lee, Jennifer Louden, Mary Mulliken, Tara Sophia Mohr, and Wendy Harman.

            The first post is by Jennifer Lee, author of  The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success. Jennifer is a certified coach, writer, artist, yogini, and the founder of Artizen Coaching. Before pursuing her own passions full-time, she consulted for ten years for companies such as Gap Inc., Accenture, Sony, and HP, helping leaders and organizations manage change. 

            Now she is on a mission to empower people to awaken their innate creativity and make a living doing what they love. When she’s not coaching, writing, or leading groups, she’s either painting up a storm, reading in her hammock, practicing yoga, making arts and crafts, or indulging in a midday nap (one of the fabulous perks of being self-employed).  

            You can connect with Jenn on Twitter @artizencoaching, the RBBP Facebook Fan Page, The Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit,  her personal blog, and on Instagram: @jennlee.

            Jennifer Lee, Right-Brain Business Plan: How I Have Fun, Do Good

            Since 2005 I’ve volunteered off and on at a local non-profit called C.E.O. Women here in Oakland. This amazing organization empowers immigrant and low-income women to create economic opportunities for themselves through starting their own business. Whenever I go to an event or meet with women in the program, I’m uplifted by their courage, determination, and creativity! The women are from all over the world and each faces various challenges like language barriers, cultural differences, being a single parent, and more, yet they continue preserve toward their dreams.

            I’ve coached a massage therapist from Japan and a jewelry designer from Peru. I’ve been a guest presenter during their 16-week program where the women learn English and entrepreneurial skills. And I’ve attended their “Storefront Presentations” where the women showcase their business idea and share their plans with people from the community. I love seeing their visual plans (which look quite a bit like a Right-Brain Business Plan!) and talking with them about their work.

            It’s super inspiring to see what these women are creating in their communities and how they’re supporting their families through their entrepreneurial ventures. They are living the American dream and it’s fun and feels good to support

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