April 25, 2007

Google & Me: The Story

A couple months ago I got an email from my dear blogging friend Jaymi aka FlipFlop Mamma telling me how I might get a call from someone at Google to go to some thing about moms in Chicago. She had been contacted and wouldn't be able to go, but recommended me. Ok, how nice is that?

Sure enough I got a phone call from the nicest gal ever at Google asking a bunch of questions and wanting to know if I could be a part of a special panel of moms at
an upcoming presentation. Of course! It's Google! Sign me up!

I had really been excited about it and was kept in contact with Jen (the nicest gal ever at Google)- she would keep me updated on what kind of questions we'd be asked, what to expect, etc. Over 140 rsvp's had come in for the event including big name brands, PR people, marketing people, etc. There were 3 other Mommy bloggers on the panel and two other moms that don't have blogs but who also consider the Internet as a big part of their life.

Last week as the big day was approaching, I had a lot to think about. Mainly- what was I going to wear? Seriously. I asked Jen what we should wear and she said most would be in business casual or suits. Oh, so usual mom attire of a cute shirt (with or without snot stain on the shoulder) and jeans was probably not appropriate. I wasn't going to wear a dress or be too dressed up, and still wanted to look like a mom to represent myself as a mom, but not look so much like a mom that I looked too much like a mom. Get that? Anyway, I went shopping at- where else?- Marshall's. Turns out there were some business-suited people, but also many in the "Google casual" wear that could be jeans and a nice shirt. So a mom like me would fit right in... oh, and I still wore my Crocs!

I had a wonderful drive into the city. I must admit it was really nice to be alone in my car, all by myself, driving along, alone (did I say that already?) I got there a little early and was just so glad I wasn't late. I found the building, gave my name and who I was meeting, and then was escorted up to the Google office. Upon exiting the elevator I felt like I was entering FAO Shwartz and not a business office! There were lava lamps and colorful exercise balls everywhere. And everything was Google-colored. You know, white, blue, red, yellow. Fun.

First I had to sign into a computer and a name tag was printed out for me. Then I met Jen and went into the "green room" for us moms. They had lunch for us while we talked over what
we'd be doing that day.

Here is probably my favorite part of the day: Jen tells me she read on my blog that I was vegan, so she googled for vegan Chicago pizza and found me the most heavenly vegan veggie deep-dish Chicago-style pizza! I am still dreaming about it. I wish I would have taken a picture... What an awesome first impression, Google!!

Over lunch, all the moms arrived. We chatted and got to know each other and I just felt at home. Everyone there at Google was so nice. Nicer than nice.

Pretty soon we were heading in to take our seats for the presentation. There were a couple slide shows and speakers before our part at the end (us moms were the 'carrot' to the audience and we were saved for last.) The speakers and presentations were so interesting - mainly accentuating how important opinions of moms as consumers are, and what we're talking about, what's important to us, and what role the Internet and technology plays in our lives and also how it works for us as moms. To see it all in more detail, you can check it out here. One of the moms there was Sara from Self-Made Mom and she live-blogged during the day. She also posted about our whole Google experience way better than I am trying to do right now.

Soon it was our turn to go up front- microphones and all- and answer questions like How Does The Internet Fit In To Your Daily Life, How Do You Find Time To Blog
(My answer: My husband has his Xbox and I have my blog for therapy) and How Has The Internet Played A Role In Various Ways? We talked about how we used the Internet during pregnancy, caring for newborns & toddlers, shopping, communicating with other moms, meal planning & recipes... pretty much everything!

MJ from I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl was hilarious and pretty much talked about breastfeeding the whole time. Of course I loved that! Sara from Self-Made Mom was really cool and had a neat perspective as a working mom. Amy from LadyBug Picnic had a lot to say about life always online with her little girl. The two other moms that didn't have blogs were so personable and fun- Madeleine was a sweetheart and Jessica has teen boys and was just downright entertaining.

When our panel was finished, questions were fielded from the audience. Representatives from big name brands like
Kelloggs, Kraft, and Proctor & Gamble, and marketing research companies asked questions like How Can Companies Market Their Products To Us? and What Do You Blog About?

One person asked if we spend any time researching little purchases like laundry detergent or breakfast cereal, to which I answered those
are the things we spend most of our time researching! Moms of today are reading labels and want what is best for their kids and good for the environment, and we're researching products online before we head to the store with two toddlers and a baby!

After the last question was taken, we all went into a different room where we could each stand by a computer station and talk to the audience members as they came by. I was at the
YouTube station and really ended up showing videos of my kids, and before long had people just looking at my blog. Hubby had made me some cute little business cards to pass out and I had many people asking for them. I hope to start getting some emails about my ideas and free products in the mail! I love telling my ideas and getting free stuff!

I left my computer station briefly to go take pictures with the other moms and when I came back I found one of the Google guys looking at my blog post of my mom in her swimsuit!! Everyone there was a hoot. Did I just say hoot? Yeah, I guess I did.

The whole day really went by very quickly and before I knew it I'd been away almost 7 hours from home (the longest I've ever been away from Gray in his 18 months of life!) I checked my cell phone periodically and there were no messages all day! Here is when I started to wonder if they even missed me!

When the event was winding down, the moms started saying their goodbyes and the Google people assured us we'd done a great job. Jen and Denise (another way cool and super nice
vegan Google gal) expressed that they'd love to have us come back to do more Mom Panel things for them. There's also a possibility they'll help me go to BlogHer this summer! We all got some nice Google swag as we left and a generous compensation for our participation in the panel. Google is just as how you'd imagine it!

I made it home in record time- I am still amazed that I didn't have one bit of traffic on the way! And when I got home, I expected Gray to go straight for my you-know-whats (for which he fondly now calls "Boo") but instead he wanted to show me how he and his big brothers were playing with their light sabers and then he was off playing with them. He didn't even want to nurse until after dinner,
much later to my surprise! And maybe I stuck out my bottom lip once or twice at the fact that no one seemed to miss me...

So, there you have it. Now for your patience I feel like I should have a contest to give away some of my free Google stuff... I'll think of something and post about that tomorrow!! And of course I'm going to think of how I can thank
Jaymi for passing this opportunity along to me as well. I promise to at least knit her baby a sweater (and I do think she'll be having a boy, but will wait just in case!)

Be sure to check out the other moms to read about their take on the Google Day and tune in tomorrow for fun contest information!! Whee!!!

Thank you to Amy for the pics!


  1. Great post!! You're awesome. And your Crocs rock! So glad to meet you.

  2. yesterday was great and one of my highlights was meeting you, of course! =) your outfit was fabulous! i will be requesting fashion tips from you from now on.

    i suppose i should get my post going...last but not least, right?

  3. Wow! What a dream day for a mom blogger!

  4. Cool! That sounds like so much fun and so cool! That is about all I can say, cool!

    And your outfit, not a mom outfit, just a cool outfit!

  5. What an amazing trip! And it's so great that you got so much credit for writing about your real life. Where was all the interest in moms before the internet?!?

  6. Wow, you're famous! Sounds like a great experience. You go!

  7. Ok, so I'm a total green-eyed monster right now!!! Why do I have to live so far away???!!!! I'm so glad you had such a great time!!!

  8. sounds like a wonderful day!!!!

  9. HOW COOL!!! That would of been so fun. BTW you look so stylish :-)
    free stuff rocks btw. I just got a FREE Peekaboo Pouch Sling and a Wubbanub pacifier from www.babydagny.com for writing a few post for them. HOW awesome are they.Oh and im going to my 1st baby wearing meeting soon on may 11th! its a new group in my town

  10. You were indeed the perfect panelist for the job, Stephanie! I am so jealous of that entire Google experience! You'll have to tell us all the stuff you got. I am glad they paid you too! Just awesome! So proud of you!

  11. Steph, this is soooo cool. I'm so glad you had this experience!

    I have had some intense love for Google ever since I learned about their corporate culture and philosophy. They have a childcare center on-site. And?! As a part of their maternity leave, moms or dads can expense up to $500 for take-out meals.

    Oh, sweet Google.

  12. Sounds like great fun, Steph!

  13. Sounds like a great experience, how exciting!

  14. Very exciting! Sounds like an awesome experience!

  15. Lucky you! That sounds like a wonderful day.

  16. Sounds like a lot of fun!!!

  17. Wow, sounds like an awesome day!! :o) I loved reading about it!

  18. That was so thoughtful to have Vegan food there for you! That was really above an d beyond. Man, I wish I could go to something like that. I feel like I live on the computer. It's now becoming easier to shop on here too, rather than lug all 3 kids to the store. Lucky dawg...

  19. Wow, good for you! Sounds like a fun, exciting, and VERY memorable day for you!!

  20. Awe that is awesome!!!!!! And I am so glad you got to wear your crocs!!!

    I just got my maryjanes after seeing yours and love them to death!!!

    Glad you got to have that experience.. It is amazing!

  21. Wow - what a fabulous experience!!! I am so thrilled you got to have such a great opportunity!

  22. What an awesome day -- and an awesome opporunity. And you are seriously the best person to do something like that. Glad you got a Mommy day away and got to do something "grown-up." We need that once in a while (although those light sabers sound pretty fun!!!)

  23. Wow..what a treat. I'm jealous. and that was cool that they took the time to notice your that you're a vegan, and made arrangments for that. How great. Sounds like you had a really great time!

  24. How fun but I'm most impressed by your outfit.

    I forgot about Blogher...I decided against it but might be a good excuse to go to Chicago again.

  25. Girl, I'm straight up jealous. And you know anytime you can't make it to your little board meeting at Google I'll be happy to go in your place. Seriously, how cool for you. Can I say I'm proud of you? ;)

  26. Oh, that's so cool! And you look hot! I'm sure you were a great representative on the panel.

  27. I'm so jealous! I love Google and I would have jumped at the chance to go! Glad you had a good time and thanks for representing us moms so well!

  28. Sounds like a great day! Glad you were able to go and enjoy the experience!
    Of course I have to mention, if you live close enough to drive to Chicago and not have it take very long, there is a chance we might live near to each other!

  29. BIG FUN!!!! What a very cool experience.

  30. Hey Stephanie! I just wanted to drop in and say hello. I LOVE Flip Flop Momma and MJ! Any friend of theirs is a friend of mine! :)

    Glad you got to hang out with such cool women!

  31. Wow, Steph! It really sounds like such a fun and exciting day! And hooray for no traffic!

    P.S. I LOVE the picture of your mom! She's SO cute! (and daring!)


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