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.

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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.

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.

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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!

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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.




82, yes, 82 #HoCoEvents are listed this weekend alone!

This is a record-breaker for us, and may it portend a trend that will only grow. Eighty-two, yes, 82 #HoCoEvents are listed for this weekend alone.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 4.21.42 PM.pngYou, me, I, we and us* live in a place with a lot going on, though for me it has not always been that easy to find out what’s happening locally. That’s why I’ve put together, an online calendar. There you can find many local events (many of which are free, to boot). Also, I think the calendar helps people have a sense of where they live, which can, I hope, engender even more appreciation for this great community where you, I and us live. You did see the Happiest Places in America results, right?

So, I encourage you to check out the TotallyHoCo calendar this week! From farmers markets, to local theater, to free outdoor bootcamps, to beer tastings and art shows, there is so much happening locally.

silk road stories - columbia festival of the artsTake note, too, of the upcoming Columbia Festival of the Arts’ schedule. There’s new leadership and a new vibe with the festival. So, so much more is happening in the local arts scene in the past couple-few years. This summer’s festival is themed Stories from the Silk Road. There’s some world-class, top-notch talent coming through. For example, check out this promotional video of Mystic India! Get your tickets now!

Weekend in the Woods - Columbia Festival of the ArtsIf simple and easy, free and relaxed is more your style, check out the Howard County Rec and Parks’ FREE Sunset Serenades at Centennial Park. And tune in the Rec-n-Park’s Traveling Bands concerts, too! The FREE Weekend in the Woods event is  another one of the many Columbia Festival of the Arts events you can enjoy.

Looking to get into better shape? There’s a huge free family wellness day this Saturday at Centennial Park. And check out the free boot camp each Saturday morning.

Well, I could go on, but you get the picture …

See you around!

Jessie Newburn

PS — Big thanks to the team at Beth Allen Enterprises, a local accounting and admin support company, for helping out with event approval and communications. Each and every event is manually approved to ensure that it is indeed a #HoCoEvent. Beth is also seeking a 30 hours/week administrative assistant to work during school hours at her local office.

PPS — Here’s how you can help the calendar be even better, if you feel so inclined–

  1. Encourage friends and neighbors to sign up for the TotallyHoco weekly updates.
  2. Follow TotallyHoCo on Twitter.
  3. Post events! It’s free, easy and DIY to post!
  4. Write reviews. Give some love to local venues and groups. Write reviews on FB, Google Places, Yelp and more.
  5. And when you engage on social media, add local hashtags, e.g. #HoCoEvents, #HoCoArts, #HoCoFood, #HoCoFitness … you get the drift.

It takes a village and then some: HoCoBlogs and TotallyHoCo

Earlier this afternoon, I was looking for something online and — BAM! There was a picture of me. Wow! That was an unexpected find. It was an article that will be published in the May Howard MagazineIt’s titled, Meet the woman behind Howard County’s thriving online community, and it’s about the robust ‪#‎HoCoMd‬ social media scene.

With any accolade or recognition, there is always the story behind the story. The short version is this: a community website is an ecosystem with many players. In my case, hundreds. I can’t thank everyone but I can say this:

Shout outs aplenty to Robin Abello for his help and support with Hocoblogs these many years, for being the quiet behind-the-scenes person who made our technology work.

Shout outs, too, to Bradley Roulston, my stalwart, steady and dedicated support at (Get a calendar, loves, for your biz, org, church, group, etc. is the best!)

And thanks to the many bloggers– past, present and future; the many blog readers and commenters; and the many HoCo social media enthusiasts who participate in our thriving online (and IRL) community. Most importantly, big thanks to Cherie Beck, whom in 2006 sat me down at her kitchen table and said, “we can do this; we can figure this blogging thing out;” and for her continued behind-the-scenes support to hold the vision of what was possible.

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Jessie Newburn. Photo credit: Nate Pesce / Baltimore Sun Media Group

Many thanks to Scott Ewart, Summer Romack, Jinal Contractor, Julie Brown, Rida Allen, Sana Waheed, Annie Rie, Duane StClair, Elizabeth Brunetti and everyone else who has helped HoCoBlogs behind the scenes and helped promote the parties.

Thanks to The White Oak Tavern, Secolari Artisan Oils and VinegarsWaxuality, Second Chance Saloon, Nalley Fresh Columbia, Nottingham’s,Stanford Grill, Petit Louis Bistro – Columbia, Seasons 52, Still Life Gallery Fine Art & Custom Framing, Alexandra’s American Fusion, Union Jack’s of Columbia, Rams Head Tavern Savage Mill, Pure Wine Cafe and more for hosting our many parties.

REMEMBER TO USE YOUR ‪#‎HoCoHashtags‬! Use them well and wisely without being spammy.

noodles and company, columbia mall, party

#HoCoFood Sunday Social at Noodles & Co in The Mall in Columbia

Calling all #HoCoFood lovers!

Help us spread the word about Howard County’s newest Noodles & Company — coming to the food court at The Mall in Columbia (opening April 25th).

We are inviting #HoCoFood bloggers and social media enthusiasts to try us out before we we open, with an invitation-only SNEAK PREVIEW Sunday Social on SUNDAY, APRIL 24TH featuring FREE lunch (includes any entrée and a drink). Check out our globally-inspired menu at to start thinking about what sounds good.

Families and #futurefoodies welcome! RSVP is required (See link below.EVENT CODE: HoCoFood) and only a limited number of spots are available. For faster check-in, please make sure to bring your registration confirmation when you attend.

Guests are encouraged to share their #HoCoFood comments and photos with @noodlescompany on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or post a review to Yelp, Google, and

See you soon and thank you for helping us welcome our newest restaurant to Howard County!

Register here – You MUST RSVP!

And for the love of all that is respectful to business owners, SHOW UP if you RSVP! Taking a spot that someone else could use (and enjoy!) is not, imo, the best cause for creating an effect. 🙂


PS – Check out for hundreds of upcoming local events. And add your own local events, too! It’s free, easy and DIY to post events.

PPS – Know any other restaurants that would like to host a hocoblogs party for hoco bloggers, readers and social media enthusiasts? Contact for details.

See you Sunday!

Tix to the show – 10 available

Hello! Join me and ten others as a free guest of the upcoming Columbia Festival of the Arts spring season show, Dos Por Uno. Get one ticket and see two bands on Saturday, April 16th: Las Cafeteras and La Santa Cecilia. Both of these bands are sell-outs across the country. Plus, not only do you get two shows for one ticket, but Whole Foods will be providing some food at the intermission. Come listen, come mingle and come enjoy some high-calibre entertainment locally in your home zone. You might even find yourself dancing spontaneously.

wendy columbia festival of the artsHere’s how to get your free CFA Dos-Por-Uno ticket —

  1. Write a short blog post or a lengthy Facebook post about the upcoming concert and/or the Columbia Festival of the Arts spring shows.
  2. Include at least one photo with your post.
  3. Include at least one link to the CFA website
  4. For Facebook posts, 1) tag CFA and 2) send a screen shot of your post.
  5. Send a link to your blog post to  with a cc to
  6. Do all this before April 12th.

Tickets will be held at will call. One ticket per person. But feel free to encourage a spouse, SO, friend or family member to do their own social media promotion and receive their own ticket.

Interested in buying tickets to this or other events, as a member of the HoCoBlogs and TotallyHoCo network, you can use totallyhoco as a promo code to get 20 percent off your ticket price.

Remember: The next hocoblogs party is at HorseSpirit Arts Gallery on April 15th. RSVPs appreciated.

And check out TotallyHoCo for local events. New events are added almost daily. Speaking of which, YOU can add events. Yes, you. It’s free, easy and DIY to add events to the calendar. Have you signed up to get our weekly update of local events?

Hope to see you April 15th and/or April 16th!


PS – Wendy Scherer, you’re already in! A ticket awaits you (at will call, that is.)