HoCoBlogs Party at Secolari Artisan Oils and Vinegars

Dear Lovely People of Howard County,

Join HoCoBlogs at a fun, tastebud-expanding and delightful party at Secolari Artisan Oils and Vinegars at The Mall in Columbia. Yes, oil and vinegar. Salt, too. Honey and other goodies as well. I love this store and am a regular customer, often stopping in to taste their seasonal oils and vinegars, never failing to walk out without a new bottle of something or other to try.

Our party is Wednesday, July 23rd, and, as always, bloggers and blog readers are invited to attend. The store will be closed for our private party, and the food will be provided by Secolari’s neighbor, Zoe’s Kitchen, right across the way. We’ll have tastings and opportunities to learn; plenty of mingling space and energy; and lots of love and goodness in the air.

Secolari’s is owned by a Clarksville couple and they represent a phenomenon not seen much in The Mall in Columbia in the last couple decades of national-brand dominance in retail: they are a true mom-and-pop shop … and an upscale one at that! Show them some local love. Come by to the party. Bring a social-media savvy friend. Tweet your tastings at the event. Like them on Facebook and write a short review. But most importantly, be there with your love for your community, your belief in our ability to redefine and update the vibe in Columbia and HoCo, and your willingness to try some new tastes and have new experiences.

We won’t be serving alcohol at the event, but Maggiano’s Little Italy a few stores away is open.

Tweet about the party using #HoCoBlogs, #HoCoEvents, #HoCoFood and/or #HoCoParties. :-)

See you soon!


RSVP here.

Welcome, new bloggers

Welcome, new bloggers.

July explodes with excitement…and new bloggers!

Join the HoCo Blogging Community!

Always wanted to have your own blog? Have a blog but want to reach more people? Want to be part of a larger (and local!) blogging community? You can join the Hoco Blogging community by submitting your blog today! It’s free and easy, so go do it now!

Make fun summertime connections by tagging events, tweets, and photos with this neighborly hashtag.

Follow (and use) #SummerofNeighbors on Twitter. Don’t forget to use the hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and more. Thanks to our friend, Bill Santos of @ColumbiaCompass, for creating this community-friendly hashtag!

You can always find our list of local hashtags here.

Welcome, new bloggers

Welcome, new bloggers.

June is bringing on the heat (and the storms!), and we’re bringing on the new bloggers.

Join the HoCo Blogging Community!

Are you a blog author? New to blogging or even new to the area? Want to be a part of your local blogging community? Do the right thing, friend. It’s free to be listed, so submit your blog today!

Like the weather, the local HoCo Political scene is heating up!

Follow (and use) #HoCoElections and #HoCoPolitics on Twitter. Don’t forget to use the hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and more. Click here for more in-depth information on the current HoCo primary elections.

You can always find our list of local hashtags here.

HoCoElections page offers voters insight and perspective via candidates’ social streams

Check out the new HoCoBlogs’ Election 2014 page.

Click the hashtags for race-specific Twitter streams.

And definitely follow and use #HoCoPolitics!


With the primary elections around the corner and early voting starting now, many voters may find themselves shrugging their shoulders, essentially saying, “Eh, I really don’t know who to vote for. All the candidates sound so alike. What if I vote for the wrong person? … I guess I’ll leave the voting to those who are more involved and know better.”

Does this sound like you? It sure is how I was for years; nay, decades. I still find it challenging to differentiate one candidate from another when all I have to go on is their printed election material, which almost always make a candidate look good, reasonable and worthy of my vote.

Sample page from the new site for HoCoElections.

Sample page from the new site for HoCoElections.

So how do you get to know the candidates? How do you get a sense for who someone is? How do you gain insight, perspective and confidence to vote for the person who seems like the best candidate to you?

One way and one angle to gain this perspective is through the candidates’ social media activity in the form of blogs, Facebook updates, tweets and more. In social media, there is usually less vetting of content, more in-the-moment-ness and more opportunity to see into someone’s personality than exists with highly edited and strategic printed campaign mailers.

At HoCoBlogs, we’ve pulled together local candidates’ social media activity in a new website: HoCoBlogs’ Election 2014, which you can find at www.hocoblogs.com/elections2014. Come visit (again and again, we hope) and get to know your candidates. Perhaps, and hopefully, you’ll feel more confident to cast your vote and participate in local elections this year.


PS – Yes, we are aware that many a tweak still needs to be made. We wanted to get this site mostly done before the primaries, and we’ll update it after the primaries to reflect the elections. Feel free to send updates and new or corrected info to jessie@hocoblogs.com.


#HoCoEvents … as IF your May calendar wasn’t already booked

New to the area? Hah! April, May and October can be some crazy-making months with events, galas, parties and more. The other months can be chockful of interesting and social events, but in this area of the world, April, May and October are over the top. Well, here are a few more events you may want to add to your social calendar.

Definitely! The HoCoBlogs party – May 28th, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

A party for bloggers and their readers. DJ, complimentary hors d’houevres, happy hour specials. A wonderful host with Alexandra’s Restaurant. Fun at the shutterbooth photo booth. Mingling. Great conversations. A lovely and welcoming event … if I say so myself. Check out the new tool we’re using and how we can help you meet more interesting people. Bring cash for the bar and download EventJoy on your phone. Please help us share this party announcement in your local network. And, bless your souls, someone come and take great photos and post them on your social network. #HoCoParties #HoCoPeople Deets here.

Wine in the Garden 2014 - May 29th, 5 – 8 pm

This is the Howard County Conservancy’s gala: “Stroll through the garden tasting fine wine and craft beer, sample food from local restaurants/caterers, listen to bluegrass music and browse our large silent auction filled with unique items such as artwork, getaways and more. This event will move inside in bad weather. Event proceeds benefit the Conservancy’s environmental education and preservation programs.” #HoCoNature @HCConservancy Deets here.

Columbia Market Analysis and Economic Development Services – May 29th, 7-9 pm.

Highly recommended! “The fourth and final public meeting of the Columbia Market Analysis and Economic Development Services study. The consultants will discuss their recommendations for the eight village centers and the GE-Dobbin-Snowden River Parkway corridors. The meeting will be at Howard Community College, Rouse Company Foundation Student Services Hall, Room 400.” #CAVillages @ColumbiaAssn Deets here.

Golf to End Cancer … if you dare! June 5th

“Join us Thursday, June 5, for the VersaTech Golf To End Cancer Maryland Golf Outing.  There will be plenty of fun and birdies at a golf outing to benefit two cancer-fighting charities: the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Maryland Chapter (www.lls.org/md) and Marathon of Miracles (www.marathonofmiracles.org).  This will be a great day of fun golf, with an amazing gift bag of healthy items from wellness sponsors.” Creative hole sponsorships available. #HoCoGolf #HoCoCharity Deets here.

Lakefront concerts – Wednesdays, 12 noon – 2 pm

“The concerts are held every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. This year’s performers include series favorites and popular local musicians from a wide variety of musical styles, including blues, electro-acoustic, folk, funk, R&B, reggae, rock, soul and steel drum.” #LakeKit. #HoCoMusic. Deets here.


Welcome, new bloggers

Welcome, new bloggers

The flowers are blooming this May, and so is our list of bloggers!

Join the HoCo Blogging Community!

Have you started a new blog? Has your blog been around for a while but you want to find some new followers? Does your best friend blog? Is your neighbor a blogger? Don’t be shy! It’s free to be listed, so submit your blog today!

Summer is almost on us, and the Arts (and festivals) will be hopping in the community!

Follow (and use) #HoCoArts on Twitter. Don’t forget to use the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and more.

You can always find our list of local hashtags here.

Patio Party at Alexandra’s Restaurant … plus a DJ and Shutterbooth fun

Come on by to our next HoCoBlogs’ party on Wednesday, May 28th, from 5:30-7:30 pm. Each party is a little different and this one coming up is perfect for the season. We’ll be at the outdoor patio for Alexandra’s Restaurant at Turf Valley, with a DJ, some complimentary hors d’houevres and happy-hour drink specials. Plus the good people at Shutterbooth will be bringing their rental photo booth for some fun photo opps.

Mingle with bloggers and blog readers, local politicians and foodies. Enjoy interesting conversation, tasty food and good music at this party for HoCo bloggers and their readers. Alexandra’s Restaurant, the party’s co-host, was generous and awesome when we’re were their last and they’ve invited us back. Good news for wine — and bargain — lovers: Wednesday is also Alexandra’s Wine-down Wednesdays, half-price wine bottles night.

We’re testing EventJoy and mobile/social app functionality. Please download the free app! And play along. There are some polls to answer, plus the whole site design is different, and I encourage you to take a look and see how you might use the tool for your own events. I

Thanks! ~ Jessie

RSVP here
Download the app here


Golf To End Cancer Maryland Golf Outing - June 5th in HoCo