xtra xtra would like to welcome Sara Lambert to our staff! Sara is a recent graduate of UMass Amherst and the newest member of the xtra xtra team. Sara’s role is to assist with editor recruitment and promote the transformed site. Her excellent written and verbal communication skills paired with a “can do” attitude make her an asset to the team. Sara has already brought in a number of potential editors and we look forward to seeing what she will accomplish. Sara took some time to fill out our get-to-know-you quiz. Take a look at what she had to say!
Communities you’ve called home: I lived in Millis, MA until I was 2 years old. Since then, I’ve lived in the same house in Needham, MA with my parents and 2 younger brothers, Mike and Chris.
Schools you’ve attended: I attended Needham High School and then headed to western MA where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
How long you’ve been working with xtra xtra: At this point, only 2 weeks! I started working here on 6/11/2012.
How did you get involved with xtra xtra: My dad is good friends with Paul Rooney who told him that xtra xtra had been looking for someone to join the team to help launch the new and improved site. I became really interested in the site’s initiative and quickly set up an interview.
What do you do with xtra xtra: I search for possible leads who would make great town editors for the site and get the word out about what we’re doing here at xtra xtra in any way possible.
xtra xtra is all about milestones, so tell us about a special milestone in your life (i.e. graduation, wedding, getting a job, etc.): My favorite milestone was the trip I made to South Africa in high school to help improve preschools and high schools in Durban. Before this trip I hadn’t even been out of the country so I really loved learning about a culture so different from the one I’d grown up in.
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Exciting new things are happening here at xtraxtra.com! We’ve come a long way since our launch in 2009, when our site consisted primarily of milestone announcements. Today, we’re evolving with the hyperlocal news movement to allow town members to add local news stories, photos, upcoming events, and so much more to our site. Realizing that our world is becoming more digitally-based every day, we know that the web is the best way to get the most news out to the most people as quickly as possible. We also know that no one has a deeper knowledge of what’s going on in a community than those who live and work there. That’s why we’re looking for citizen journalists to become the voice of their towns.
These voices, known as editors, will bring their towns to life over the internet. Becoming a town editor doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be the sole news provider for your community. Editors have the ability to enlist the help of contributors who can also post photos, news stories, and upcoming events related to their town. Utilizing these writers will ultimately diversify the site’s content as well as expand readership. Aside from being a great way to give back to the community, our site also offers editors the opportunity to gain revenue by granting area businesses ad spaces to promote themselves.
We want xtra xtra readers to experience the most relevant, specialized, up to date content that the web can offer. Fans of our milestone based site don’t need to worry. Our inclusion of the news is in addition to community generated announcements, meant solely to enhance the site and user experience. With the local news came additional interactive elements, which will allow users to comment on, share, and save news articles. As always, you can upload and share your milestones- academic, athletic, and professional achievements; weddings and birth announcements; graduations; birthdays; etc. If you want to contribute more in the local news space consider signing on as an editor, and become the voice of your town. Or, become a contributor and periodically lend your voice to the site. This is a great opportunity to stay involved in your town and provide family and friends with intimate news stories written for the community, by the community.
Not sure what is considered news-worthy? The possibilities are truly endless but can include: town meeting notes, school bulletins, opinion pieces, administrative news, local politics, charity and community organization updates, citizen profiles, youth sports recaps, fundraisers, upcoming fairs, class reunions, school plays, scholarship opportunities, and more.
Help us get this network going! If you want to become an editor, or know someone who would be great, please contact Stephanie Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any and all of your questions!
We look forward to hearing from you!
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You may have noticed that we’ve been a little quiet lately. We have been working on some changes to the site and we’re finally ready to share with you what we’ve been up to.
Traditionally we have focused on milestones- weddings, births, graduations, awards and achievements- but now we are opening up the site to all types of news from your community. xtra xtra will now be a one-stop-shop for all of your local news. We are even going to give YOU the chance to be the voice of your town or region. More details to come…
In the meantime, check out some drafts of what the new site will look like and leave your comments below!
- xtra xtra
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Labor Day is straight ahead, and that means it’s Back to School season for kids, teachers, and administrators. The new school year creates the opportunity for dozens of new milestones. Below you’ll find a few milestones from a variety of categories that might be created this fall…
- Spelling Bee Winner (Awards)
- Dean’s List or Honor Roll (Awards)
- Fall Festival (Events)
- Football Champions (Athletics)
- Tenure Awards (Professional)
- ROTC News (Military)
We realize the road to these wonderful milestones can be uphill at times, so here are a few words of wisdom to get you in the right mood as the new school year begins!
- “But there are advantages to being elected President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret.” –Ronald Reagan
- “The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.” -Bill Beattie
- “To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.” –A.A. Milne
- “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” -Aristotle
We also asked a few folks to sum up school in 1-3 words. Here are a few of their responses…
- “Windows, not mirrors.” -Terri
- “Necessary Money Pit.” -Adam
- “Tough, fun, interesting.” -Jenn
- “Necessary, consuming, silly.” -Nicole
One of our followers who is currently in law school sums up education like this: “Windows, not mirrors.”
Good luck, everyone, and don’t forget that apple for the teacher!
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It’s always good to compare notes when it comes to navigating the web. There are lots of services, programs, and applications that can make the web easier to explore, and we thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite tools with you. In this latest installment of the Intern’s Journal, Shikha Raturi provides links and details about a few of our favorite things.
Internet use has increased by 121% in the last five years, according to Forrester Finds, and the average American spends roughly 13 hours per week over the Internet. The web has different uses for different people; for some it can be a place to shop, a place to hang out with friends, a place to research, to learn new things, or a source of entertainment.
Regardless of how you use the internet, you can’t deny that managing your online life has become increasingly important. Whether you’re managing your contacts or juggling lots of documents, the web can be there to help. It’s always good to check out new tools and features, so here are a few of the applications and services that we just can’t live without.
- Gmail: A free email service provided by Google, and one of the most frequently used applications for communication, it provides more than 7 GB of free storage. It can be optimized for both personal and professional purposes. Google has added new and innovative features (voice and video chat, buzz, mail prioritization) to Gmail to make it more interesting and attract new and returning customers. We use it to keep track of our emails and to chat with members of our team both near and far.
- Dropbox: With this service you’ll never need a USB drive or external hard drive. It is a web-based free service that uses cloud computing to enable users to store and share files and folders. Share and sync your files with multiple users without ever buying a program or emailing a folder. It helps us stay connected with interns, associates, consultants, and more, all without ever paying a dime for storage and service.
- Flickr: This is an image and video hosting website that mainly targets amateur photographers and helps them get relevant feedback. As Albert Einstein once said, “Learning by example isn’t the best way to learn-it’s the only way to learn,” and this holds true for Flickr as it provides a great learning platform to budding photographers. We turn to Flickr for ideas and inspiration. Searching a simple phrase like “wedding cake” or “engagement party” can turn up beautiful photos that give us the right frame of mind for tweets, updates, blog entries, and more.
- TweetDeck: This amazing application helps you access Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, MySpace, and Foursquare–all in one screen. Initially it was just aimed at Twitter but now it integrates major social networking services; this, in turn, helps you bring your online network closer. Many social media gurus have recommended TweetDeck for its simplicity and many unique features, and we use it to keep track of the buzz about xtra xtra. It’s a great tool for managing and monitoring your online profiles.
These are just a few the tools that we use to manage our personal and business lives. Do not forget to share tools that you commonly use in a comment below!
- Intern's Journal
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There are lots of different options when it comes to purchasing cards and invitations. Why not save yourself some (or a lot) of money by tapping into your own creative genius?
Invitation possibilities are endless. I’m going to outline a few ideas to get you started but I encourage you to think outside the box and come up with your own variations!
Supplies you may need:
- Colored construction paper
- Glue (glue sticks and bottled glue)
- Scissors (regular and craft scissors that cut in patterns)
- Scrap-booking paper (comes in all different designs and patterns)
*If your budget is tight, try flipping through some magazines; you’d be surprised what creative patterns and colors you can find!
Start with the details of your party. Create a Word document with all the information about the party and print out as many as you will need. Plan your design out in advance. That way if you don’t want to use white paper you can print onto colored paper that corresponds with your theme. Remember, people need to be able to read these so it’s smart to just use plain colored paper for this step. You should also make sure that it’s a light enough color that people will be able to read your text against it.
*In the next few examples you’re instructed to cut your paper. If you’re having trouble getting straight lines with scissors, try using an X-acto knife and a ruler. Put your paper on a protected surface (cutting board, cardboard, or even an old magazine), place the edge of the ruler where you want to make your cut, then put your X-acto knife up to the ruler and slice along its edge.
Layers are a great way to add detail to your cards. Glue your party details to colored construction paper, then cut that out leaving a little bit showing for a border. Next glue that to a piece of paper with a design or pattern, and instead of cutting in a straight line try using the craft scissors to cut in zig zags. You can then add two more construction paper borders behind that.
Ribbon can be an elegant addition to your cards. Print your details, then mount them on one or two pieces of construction paper, letting the edges hang over as a border. Then glue that to a piece of craft paper with a design (I used polka dots in my example). Cut a strip of paper taller than the height of your ribbon and glue that across the top of your card. Next cut a piece of ribbon double the width of your card. Find the middle of that piece and tie your bow. Center the bow on the strip of paper you just added and glue it down (bottled glue will work better than a glue stick). You can either trim your ribbon at the edges or fold it around and glue it to the back. If you decide to fold over to the back you may want to glue a piece of construction paper over the back of your card to hide the ribbon’s ends.
*Your ribbon doesn’t have to run across the top of your card. Try placing it vertically up the side, or off center on the bottom.
Depending on the theme of your party you may want to add a little glitz and glam to your cards. First you need to find a design or pattern that you want to add your glitter to. Find an image you like online and print it out (printing onto colored paper may look better than printing on white). You may want to bring your image into a Word document so you can control where it will print on your paper. Cut this into the size you want to use for your cards and set it aside. Next print your party details; you may want to use another color for this paper. Mount it on construction paper twice, leaving the edges for a border when you cut. Take your background design you had printed before and glue your details on.
Now you need to deicde where you want your glitter accents to be. Use bottled glue to fill in the shape where you want the glitter to appear (If you don’t have enough control using the bottle you can pour your glue into a bowl and use a small brush to make your shape). When you’re done, pour the glitter onto your card. Make sure to cover all your glue, then flip the card and tap to remove the access glitter. You can once more mount your card onto construction paper or leave it as is.
Now go start creating! Follow my examples or mix and match techniques to create memorable invitations for your milestone-making events!
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The internet can be hard.
We know that, sometimes, learning the functionality of a new site can be challenging. We strive to make xtraxtra.com as easy and user-friendly as possible, and we added instructional videos to our Youtube account for further assistance.
The first video, shown below, teaches you how to register for you free xtra xtra account.
The second video explains how to post a milestone on the site.
The third video details how to share that milestone on your favorite social networks.
**A special thanks to Christine Dolan for narrating the videos for us!
- xtra xtra 101
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Elvis Presley, the King of Rock ‘n Roll, died on this date in 1977. Born in Tupelo, MS and raised in Memphis, Elvis ultimately changed the face of American pop culture with music in the 1950s and 60s. He skyrocketed to the top of music charts with ten #1 albums and eleven hit singles, and he also made frequent appearances in film and television. He also served honorably in the US Army after being drafted in 1957.
While many critics argued that the King’s music would bring about the downfall of America’s youth, it ultimately defined a generation. He recorded over 600 songs, including hits like “Jailhouse Rock,” “Hound Dog,” “Return to Sender,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “All Shook Up.” The King’s rise to fame ushered in a new era of American music, and it also changed the face of our nation’s popular culture forever. Some estimates suggest that there are as many as 85,000 Elvis impersonators working today, which is pretty significant when you remember that Presley died 34 years ago!
In remembering Elvis and the milestone of his death, we’re asking our friends and followers to share their favorite Presley hits (you can find an exhaustive list of the singer’s many songs here). Are you a fan of the revamped “Little Less Conversation” that debuted in 2002, or do you enjoy the classic hits like “Don’t Be Cruel” or “Devil in Disguise”? Let us know in a comment, and play a few of the King’s songs on your iPod today in memory of this extraordinary talent!
Til next time,
The xtra xtra team
- Just for Fun
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Lots of famous faces are celebrating birthday milestones today. We’re bringing back one of our favorite blog games by asking you to match the celebrity to his or her hometown. Today’s celebs—mostly actors and sports stars–come from all corners of the country, so see how many you can guess correctly!
- Derek Fisher—He’s a point guard for the LA Lakers, and he’s won five NBAChampionships in his fourteen year career. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, this basketball great was born in 1974.
- J. James Exon—This statesman made a difference in American politics. He served as a senator from 1979 to 1997 following his term as governor of Nebraska. He served in the US Army during World War II and was born in 1921.
- Whitney Houston—She’s a famous singer and actress. Her hit song, “I Will Always Love You,” remains the top-selling single by a female artist, and Guinness Book of World Records cites her as the world’s most-awarded female artist of all time. She was born in 1963.
- Bob Cousy—He was one of the Celtics’ most legendary players, dedicating twelve years of his NBA career to the Boston team. He also coached the Boston College basketball team and organized the NBA Players Association to organize players’ benefits. He was born in 1928.
- Anna Kendrick—This young actress is famous for her work in the “Twilight” series and “Up in the Air.” She is also the third-youngest actress to ever receive a Tony Award nomination for her work in the 1998 show “High Society.” She was born in 1985.
- Deion Sanders—Nicknamed “Prime Time,” this NFL cornerback scored significant milestones when he played for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Dallas Cowboys. He also played pro baseball before working as an NFL analyst. He was born in 1967.
- Gillian Anderson—Famous for her turn as Agent Dana Scully on “The X-Files,” Anderson received her degree from DePaul University and ultimately earned multiple awards for her work on the FOX drama. She was born in 1968.
- Jason Frasor—This baseball players currently plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s been with the team since 2004, making him the team’s longest-serving player, and he recently became the team’s all-time appearance leader after his 453rd appearance earlier this year. He was born in 1977.
- Jessica Capshaw—This actress is the daughter of Kate Capshaw and stepdaughter to Stephen Spielberg. She is well-known for her television performances on “The Practice” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Capshaw graduated from Brown University, and she was born in 1976.
a. New York, NY
b. Geddes, SD
c. Chicago, IL
d. Columbia, MO
e. Fort Meyers, FL
f. Chicago, IL
g. Newark, NJ
h. Portland, ME
i. Little Rock, AR
Answers below the cut! Read more
- Just for Fun
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We host thousands of milestones on xtraxtra.com, and we’re always excited to help users find and share posts from local towns. If you find a milestone from one of your favorite communities, we encourage you to post it on your Facebook wall to share the news with all of your friends.
The easiest way to do this is to “like” the milestone while you’re logged in with your Facebook account (learn how to login with Facebook here). When you view a milestone, just click the “Like” button above a post. Doing this will make the posting instantly appear on your Facebook wall, insuring that your friends and connections can see the news. It’s a great way to spread the news and bring local headlines to your online community.
You can find additional tips and milestone-related updates by liking xtra xtra. Just go to our Facebook fan page and click “like” to get xtra xtra’s latest news and headlines!
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