Event Recap: Treat Blogger Meetup

Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger event, sponsored by Treat, a new greeting card company by Shutterfly!  Treat wanted to treat (repetition intentional) some local Cleveland bloggers to a girls night out and share with them us they had to offer. A blogging friend who I just started talking with online, Heather from CafeSMom, was asked to host the event.

What a great event! Heather selected DC Pasta, one of the restaurants by local chef Dante Boccuzzi, and not only was the food amazing, but it was also great to learn all about Treat and meet some other great ladies.

I know, the suspense is killing you.  What is Treat? What did I eat? Here are the details:

What is Treat? Treat is the new brainchild of Shutterfly. Yes, I may be in love with Shutterfly and have used them for the last few photobooks  and other miscellaneous goodies I’ve purchased, but I’m falling in love with Treat as well! They offer customizable greeting cards that you design via their website. After the card (with or without photos) is designed, you pay for the card plus the stamp and they can mail it out for you directly or mail it to you if you want to include a handwritten message. What else is cool about Treat?

  • Your first card is FREE if you use the code FREETREAT! So there’s really no reason not to try it out.
  • You can pre-design and pre-order cards! If you’re like me, you remember friends’ birthdays the week in advance, and then the day of you forget to actually call/mail that card (Sorry Caitlin! Your card is in the mail!) – Treat can help you out! When you design a card, you can select the mailing date – so you could literally design all your birthday cards and select the dates at once and forget about them until they’re mailed out a few months later!
  • You can import your Facebook friends and have Treat remind you when their birthdays are! No more forgotten birthdays. You can also select which friends you want to send cards to so you don’t get a reminder for all 1,000 of your friends. When you log in, it will tell you which birthdays are coming up and give you the option to send a card (or, as you’ll see below, send a belated birthday card… Sorry Katie… but Happy Birthday today!)

A reminder tells you who to send your next card(s) to!

I’ve already made one card and mailed it out and can’t wait to make more! If you want to learn more and try it out for yourself, visit their website, and don’t forget to use the FREETREAT code.

What did I eat? DC Pasta was great, and Brad, our waiter was awesome. He helped many of us choose what to order. We were treated to a variety of appetizers, including  a plate of colorful and delicious olives, some prosciutto, and various marinated vegetables, including sundried tomatoes, eggplant and artichoke. As a bread lover, I appreciated the steady supply of bread, along with a white bean hummus-like dip.

For my meal I ordered one meatball plus two taste size pastas. That’s right – for $5, they give you a “taste” which is actually a perfect child’s size meal. It was great – I’m always debating between multiple menu items, and this time I didn’t have to settle – I got both! I ordered the Lunache  e Polipo (toasted garlic, snails, octopus, parsley, chile flakes, broccoli) and the Ruote alla Puttanesca (wagon wheels, olives, anchovies, capers, peperoncino, tomatoes), along with a side of a Ricotta Meatball (a meatless, roasted ricotta ball). Everything was delicious – the Lunache was spicy and the Puttanesca was salty, both qualities I love in a meal. Oh, and for dessert? A tall helping of pistachio gelato!

Thanks so much to Treat for treating us ladies to a great night out and thanks to Heather for organizing!

Photos, below – top left, Heather shares with us some info about treat. Second row, my awesome food and the great menu. Third row, a treat from Treat – my goodie bag with some free cards and stationary.

Disclosure: Treat provided me with a free meal and will be providing me with a complimentary year-long subscription to their site. As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% all mine.

Mom Bloggers Participate in PR Blackout

Being in PR and often working with companies that target moms and families, I’ve done my fair share of work with mom bloggers. Whether it’s providing a product to review, a giveaway, or simply building a relationship, I’ve worked with Mom bloggers on quite a few occasions.

Because we’re strategic with our blogger outreach, including researching, targeting and pitching them accordingly as you would with any media (PR 101 anyone?), I can’t recall an incident when I’ve gotten any negative reaction or feedback from the bloggers. I have noticed, however, that recently there have been more and more mom bloggers out there. Some bloggers are being paid. Some are not. More and more of them are providing product reviews and even posting “PR info” on their website to provide tips for PR pros on how to get in touch with them.

So when I saw this posted last week in MomDot, one of the mom sites I’ve interacted with before, I can’t say wasn’t surprised:

MomDot Encourages Mom Bloggers to Join PR Blackout Challenge: From August 10-16, the PR Blackout campaign will encourage mom bloggers to go back to basics.

On Friday Night Live this week we dissected and discussed what we are affectionately calling “bloggy burnout.’ After a lengthy 90 minute conversation with bloggers around the web, we came to one conclusion:

Mom Bloggers are simply doing too much.

With the allure of giveaways, reviews, and blog trips, Mom Bloggers have turned from what they love the most, their family, into working directly as public relations for their captive audience. It boils down to knowing your worth and then standing up for it.

While we adore many of our fabulous PR reps and treat them like bloggy friends, our site, and many others, are inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of product requests each year resulting in massive obligations and deadline stress equivalent to what the General Motors CEO must feel every time he drives into work. We watch our blog friends strive for the next big review or the next big giveaway, but all the while practically losing

MomDot is challenging bloggers to participate for one week in August in a PR BLACKOUT challenge where you do not blog ANY giveaways, ANY reviews, and Zero press releases. In fact, we dont want you to talk to PR at ALL that whole week.  We want to see your blog naked, raw, and back to basics. Talk about your kids, your marriage, your college, your hopes, your dreams, your house and whatever you can come up with for one week.

We will host a linky during that week for you to link up every post you do. We will also provide some topic suggestions for each day of the week to get your blog blood flowing again.

We feel this is an important challenge to show mom bloggers that what they are doing, the stress they feel, the deadlines, the time away from their family, it has to be worth it. So grab the picture, link to MomDot for PR BLACKOUT week and COMMIT to blogging for YOU and about you for one week this year.

Let us know if you will be participating along side us. We have scheduled it far enough in advance for you to wrap up all your current obligations and look forward to meeting more of our audience, sharing more of our personal selves, and having the TIME to be much more involved with our own community.


I’m not surprised about the burnout. After all, these bloggers ARE moms, which on its own is a full time job. I WAS surprised, however, about the call to avoid PR pros. Do we really contribute to the burnout? Or is blogging in itself becoming too laborsome a task for many? I’ve always felt that PR people and mom bloggers were in some sort of symbiotic relationship — more specifically, a mutually beneficial relationship. We provide a benefit (products to review, prizes for contests, new information for their readers) for them, and they in turn help us out (promoting our products and providing an honest and impartial mom’s review).

What are your thoughts — Do you think many mom bloggers will participate? What implications does this have for the future of the relationship between mom bloggers and PR pros? What can PR people do to ensure the relationship remains a positive one and help prevent future burnout?