PARTY: TotallyHoco and Totally Toys (& Tips) for Tots

Hello Howard County bloggers and social media enthusiasts,

You’ve heard of Toys for Tots, right? But have you heard of Tips for Tots?

Tips for Tots is an annual tradition The Greene Turtle staff have held for a number of years where on one day, the staff donate 100% of their tips to Toys for Tots. Last year, across The Green Turtle restaurants, over $60,000 was raised. The goal this year is $90,000.

Come out on December 6th for our next HoCoBlogs and TotallyHoco party, 5-7 p.m. at The Greene Turtle. We’ll have, as a thank you for your help and social media support in sharing news of the December 7th Tips for Tots event, light fare and a buffet provided by the restaurant. Each attendee will get a free drink ticket, too.

And if you bring an unwrapped toy for a child, you’ll get a second drink ticket to use that night.

Even if you can’t attend, will you kindly take a few minutes right now and retweet this tweet, or write your own to promote the event.

There may be a few bloggers from nearby communities and cities, so this is a great opportunity for some holiday cheer, mingling and reaching beyond our own county zone.

RSVP Here.

GT Tips for Tots Bloggers Dec 6.jpg

So, please remember …

  1. Our event is December 6th (food, drink, opportunity to bring an unwrapped toy for a kid)
  2. The Tips for Tots event is December 7th. You can come to that, too, of course. Your help to spread the news locally is much appreciated.
  3. An unwrapped toy will get you a second drink ticket.

See you on the 6th!

Jessie Newburn

Your source for better websites, being found online, mobile apps and technical, challenging digital marketing work


A personal note on social media and individual responsibility:

Regardless of who you voted for in this year’s presidential election, if you are receiving this email or seeing this invitation, I’m going to make a gross generalization and say that you are likely among the social media elite of our country. I believe we all have a choice at this point it ime: to be a part of the “Noise as News” guerrilla warfare or to stand our ground and be a warrior for what we know to be true.

We each and all have responsibility for what we post, share and give attention to. I implore you to think of this not as a moment in time–a duration–but as a fork in the road.


Social media graphic to use in promoting the TIPS FOR TOTS event on December 7th.

Events in support of Historic Ellicott City (and more you can do)


If you’d like to support and attend #ECstrong events, check out and the featured events on top of the calendar.

If you know of events not yet listed, please encourage the event organizer to post their event on It’s free, easy and DIY to post events. Help keep the calendar fresh and updated.

If you’ve got a blog or website where you can add a widget of content and would like to add the list of events to your site, the code is pasted below. Help share the events.

If you’d like to help keep this list going, LMK and I can make you an admin to help with the #ECstrong calendar. (I’m going to Burning Man in a few weeks and won’t have internet access, but someone else can manage the events in my absence.) It’s a couple/few hours of work, at most, for a few weeks.

Check out the HoCo Tourism Council’s site and ways to help.

If anyone would like to scan the events listed here and compare them to the TotallyHoco calendar (and let me know which events to add, or better yet, add them yourself), please do. That will help make the calendar stronger.

If you’d like to help promote these many benefits and fundraisers on @hocoblogs and @totallyhoco’s FB and twitter accounts (and you have the current know-how and skills to schedule FB posts and tweets), LMK and I’ll give you temporary account access. Or go at it using your own social media accounts. You know have the links for the events.

While there are a lot of immediate outpouring of events and fundraisers, this is a long-haul recovery and there will be more events, such as stream cleanups and other community information meetings. I appreciate your help to continue to feed information into the calendar by posting events or encouraging event organizers to get their event published on

Thanks to my anonymous helpers for identifying many of the #ECstrong events and fundraisers that have been scheduled in the aftermath of the devastating flashfloods.

My contact info: Jessie Newburn at totallyhoco at gmail

To contribute directly

Check out the list of GoFundMe pages to send funds to individuals and business impacted by the flash flood, go here. Floria Volynskaya created this list.

You can also contribute at the page.

Where’s the list of stuff for sale?

Floria Volynskaya created a great list of gofundme pages. Has anyone listed all of the tshirts, etsy stores, items for sale to benefit #ECstrong?

Check out the blogs

HoCoRising takes the lead on this subject, though you’ll find other bloggers writing on the flood and aftermath on HoCoBlogs.

Calendar widget code to paste into a blog or website

  (function(){var d=document,s=d.createElement('script'),


A specific way to help Ellicott City

If anyone would be willing to scan the calendar, find all the Ellicott City fundraisers, and put together a list of the event URLs (those on TotallyHoco vs. the actual event URL on Facebook or a website), then I can —

  • Tag all the events in,
  • Feature them on the calendar,
  • Create a calendar widget, which essentially creates a live feed of all the Ellicott City events and fund-raisers that anyone — any blogger, any government, any business — can add to their website or blog.

The result: an organized, aggregated list of events and fundraisers that people can see, share and use for their own planning and support.

Sooner is better as many events are happening now!

Add the information on this spreadsheet.

Extra promotion and event support

If anyone would be interested in tweeting these many events on @TotallyHoCo and @HoCoBlogs’ twitter accounts and/or sharing these events and posts on TotallyHoCo’s FB page (for the purpose of reaching a larger audience), let me know ASAP and I’ll add you as a temporary admin to do so.

And let me know when you’re done creating the list (

Look for events up to at least Aug 20th if not beyond.

Also, if you know of events that aren’t yet listed, please add them or ask the organizer to add them ASAP.




Welcome, new bloggers

Welcome, new bloggers

Ah, July in Maryland! Filled with farmers’ markets, beach vacations, community events, and days at the pool. For your summer reading pleasure, check out the following blogs.

Terrapin Adventures – @TerrpnAdvntures

Shelovesgoodthings – @shelovesgoodtgs

Next Day Floors – @nextdayfloors1

Spiritual Grit: Thoughts on Counseling, Christ & Soul Care – @commuterstories

#PoshMamaSaidSo: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Everyday Pampering – @PoshAddictsUnt

Andrew Liberman – @andyliberman


Oil & vinegar, music & Uber

Oil & vinegar–another party

Our next hocoblogs party (for Howard County bloggers, their readers and social media enthusiasts) is July 11 at Secolari Artisan Oils & Vinegars at The Mall in Columbia. This is our third time heading there for a party, and, as you can probably guess, it’s one of my favorite places to host our parties. Magianno’s  is providing light fare. Come on by. It’s free to attend. Your tweets, FB posts and reviews, ‘grams and blog posts promoting the party and thanking our sponsors is appreciated. As are RSVPs.

folky fridayMusic, music & more music

As I mentioned in a previous post, there is sooo much live music happening this summer. Check out Sunset Serenades at Centennial Park, for one free option. Turf Valley on Thursdays. Lake Kit many a night. And my new favorite: Folky Fridays at the Little French Market. You can BYOB your night there, get a pizza from RiverHouse Pizza and enjoy a lovely, casual evening with friends while listening to some live music. It’s all rather charming. Make sure to check out for even more live music and local events.


I’m a couple of weeks out from publishing my first ebook, Uber Chronicles: Field Notes from the Front Seat. It’s about my experience driving for Uber. I write about each and every one of my passengers. I’d be most grateful for your support when the book comes out. Some ways that you can help me are to —

  • Download the book. (It’ll be free for the first few days). The more downloads, the better my book’s ranking in Amazon’s eyes and the more likely they’ll promote the book for me.
  • Write a review on Amazon. (FWIW, Amazon gives more weight to reviews that have been written by people who have downloaded the book.)
  • Create a backlink to my book’s page on Amazon. (A backlink is a link on another website that links to a specific URL.) The most legit form of a backlink is from a blog, but a FB post or tweet is good too! Amazon likes backlinks … a lot. (That page doesn’t exist yet; it will soon.)

That’s it for now. If you want to make sure you get an update about my new book, you can like my FB page or sign up for announcements.


Uber Chronicles Final-01 (1)


art, food & music … what else do you need?

Silk Road comes to a close this weekend

The last few Columbia Festival of the Arts summer Silk Road shows, readings and events (including an impressive film festival) come to a close this weekend. Check out the offerings. How about a three-course meal while listening to Hindustani classical music, acoustic Hip-Hop, and Go-Go music. Yep, that’s happening in Columbia. All thanks to the Columbia Festival of the Arts.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 5.25.30 PM.png

MannequArt at Savage Mill on Sunday, June 26

13475078_1741004656112757_8616408600343786195_oOne hundred models transform from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY in one day! Watch the photoshoot live! At this event, 40 Hair and 40 Makeup artists will arrive ready to construct their Hair Sculpture and Special Effects Makeup creations on live models. Wigs, armatures, prosthetics, and other elements can be made beforehand and affixed to the model on the day of the competition.

This is a free event open to the public.

Personal photography by the public is allowed.

Come on by!

Get serenadedSumConcert_RackCard_16_Page_1.jpg

There’s free live music for the enjoying this summer. Check out the Sunset Serenades and Traveling Bands schedules. All offered by the HoCo Rec & Parks and generously supported by some sponsors.

Secolari’s hosts our next party

Secolari’s Oil  & Vinegar hosts our next HoCoBlogs & Totally HoCo party. This will be our third time hosting a party there, and we love/love/love this place. Come on by for many tastings and much mingling. July 11th. Free.

The last McCormick Monday at Nalley Fresh is June 28th.

We love Nalley Fresh! They hosted one of our most successful-ever parties with 122 people attending. It was fantastic. This locally owned operation is on a roll partnering with national, local companies too. They’re introducing new flavors on Mondays in June only. #Flavoricious

Have you signed up for TotallyHoCo updates?

Get weekly updates about what’s happening locally. Events, activities, farmers markets, live music, outdoor movies, jogging groups, book clubs, home-buying workshops and much, much, much more. And remember to post your own events too — even a large neighborhood yard sale. It’s free, easy and DIY to post events. And our local event promotion services start at just $29/event.




Welcome, new bloggers

Welcome, new bloggers

The countdown to summer has begun. Take a break from your vacation planning to check out these new blogs. Enjoy the sunny weather!

HoCo APFO – @HocoApfo
Fresh Balance Nutrition – @fbnutrition
Pilates, Pearls, and Peanut Butter: Fitness, Fashion, and Food
Patapsco River Ramblings – @PatapscoMike
A Chef’s Wife – @atersiguel
United Granite Blog
Grow My Local Biz – @markjayscott
Cap & Sable – >@jemgonzalez_
Wallet Hacks – @wallethacks