Blogging Skills

Blogging Skills

I’ve been dabbling in the blogging world for years now, and I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously. I’ve learned to read and review the books that I want to review, not just the ones that are trendy. I’ve learned to be more well-rounded in my topics in order to keep me interested in writing. I’ve been thinking of the more tangible skills that I’ve learned, and also the things I really need to work on.

Things I’m Better At:

Using Pictures

While I might be the best at taking great pictures, I’m more aware of the pictures I take. I’m trying to use better backgrounds and occasionally use props (when appropriate). I’m also incorporating manipulated stock images in my posts (like the picture at the beginning). I think they make posts a little more interesting.

Writing Succinctly

My writing style has always been to the point, but I’m consciously doing it more in blog posts. Sometimes you don’t need the flowery stuff, you just need to get to the nitty gritty of it. And I think it works!

Things I Need to Work On:

Scheduling

Life gets in the way of a lot of things, blogging included. I would love to be able to create a schedule where I could post a couple times a week, but it’s hard when I work a full time job and I have a two year old son. He doesn’t let me go to the bathroom alone, let alone try to write!

Time Management

This goes hand in hand with scheduling. I tend to write what I can when I can. I need to use my time more wisely and create meaningful content.

 

What skills have you improved on recently?

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The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

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I love doing posts like this. I found this from Arctic Books, and I thought this would be a fun way for y’all to understand my reading habit and why I pick certain books. Let’s get started!

1. What was the last book you read?

The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One. I really enjoyed that collection. You can see my post about it here.

2. Was it a good one?

I thought so.

3. What made it good?

I loved how it made me think about current social issues.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

I definitely would.

5. How often do you read?

Not as often as I’d like. Having a two-year-old prevents that sometimes.

6. Do you like to read?

LOVE.

7.What was the last bad book you read?

I don’t know if it was bad per se, but I wasn’t the hugest fan of Breaking the Glass Slipper.

8. What made you dislike it?

Just wasn’t my jam.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Eh? I have a book idea in mind, but I don’t really know if I’m going to go through with it. For now, I’m really happy with blogging.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

Some books that have really touched me are The Princess Saves Herself in This One, The Alchemist, and Carry On Warrior.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Nope.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Nope.

13. What’s your favorite book?

Trying to pick a favorite is like trying to pick your favorite child. It’s impossible.

14. What’s your least favorite book?

Moby Dick. I hate Melville.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

I love both for different reasons. Physical books are just so satisfying. My Kindle allows me to read with a kid on my lap.

16. When did you learn to read?

I think a little before kindergarten.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

There were so many! But if I have to choose one, I think it would be The Bell Jar.

18. What is your favorite book series?

Harry Potter for sure.

19. Who is your favorite author?

Fiction: don’t really think I can pick one.

Non fiction: Brittany Gibbons

20. What is your favorite genre?

Either fantasy or historical fiction.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

Hermione and Matilda. I really connected and identified with both of them.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Don’t they all?

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

Everything, Everything. It was so sweet!

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

Twilight or Fifty Shades of Gray. I was never a fan of either series.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

If I can be left alone and read, a couple days. If I have a crazy kid and husband to deal with, it could take FOREVER.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

Sometimes. Some adaptations are amazing, while others are just ok.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

I think Ender’s Game. I wasn’t a fan.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

I feel the Lord of the Rings series were pretty spot on.

29. Do you read newspapers?

No, but I should.

30. Do you read magazines?

From time to time.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Probably magazines.

32. Do you read while in bed?

It’s one of my preferred spots.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

You gotta do what you gotta do.

34. Do you read while in the car?

If it’s a long car ride, yes. Books helped me survive the 13-hour trips to Michigan.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Haven’t tried it.

36. Are you a fast reader?

When a book has really captured my interest, yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

When I have lots of distractions, yes.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

Probably on my couch under a blanket.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Sometimes.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

I would prefer it to be quiet.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

Probably my dad.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I’m currently reading Quackery, but after that I don’t really know.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

Kindergarten.

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Roald Dahl.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

JK Rowling for sure.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

Brittany Gibbons. She’s a badass and super funny.

47. What book have you reread the most?

Either the Harry Potter series or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Books that have stood the test of time and are still relevant today.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

ALL THE BOOKS.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

NONE OF THE BOOKS.

Do you agree/disagree with my answers? Fill this out for yourself!

How Motherhood Has Changed Me

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I’ll admit it: at first, I was not excited to be a mom. My anxiety kicked in hardcore. I could barely take care of myself; how on earth was I supposed to take care of a helpless baby? Two years later, and I still feel like that sometimes. But, I think I’ve learned some things along the way, and I’ve also grown up a ton.

I can survive off much less sleep than I previously thought. 

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I’ve always been the worst when it comes to sleeping. Fun fact: it hasn’t really gotten any better. Nowadays, I usually have a two-year-old in bed with me. He might wiggle around a lot, but I know he’s sleeping and safe, so I can get a few hours sleep too and make it through the day.

Motherhood is a state of being perpetually wet. 

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This has always been a running joke between my husband and I, but it’s proven true. When they’re little, you’re usually covered in spit up, pee, and poop. As time goes on, you’ll be covered in food, drool, and tears. Now that my son is two, it’s shifted to drinks from his sippy cup. It’s something you slowly get used to.

You learn to embrace the chaos. 

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Your house won’t be spotless. You won’t have the opportunity to go to the bathroom by yourself. Sometimes you don’t even get the chance to sleep in your own bed. But, having this little kid happy and healthy makes it worth it. There are times when you need to stop cleaning and play with cars and dinosaurs.

Sometimes, all you need is a cuddle. 

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This kid. He is truly a blessing. This picture was taken in the midst of a 10-hour migraine, and all he wanted to do was cuddle. He’s very intuitive. Whenever I’m having a PMDD-induced depression or anxiety episode, he is the absolute sweetest. Usually when I’m in the middle of these episodes, I want nothing to do with people. But he knows best sometimes. He understands that cuddles sometimes fix everything.

I still have a lot to learn, but I’m glad I have my son to teach me.

Amanda Lovelace Poetry

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Something that I always tell myself I need to read more of is poetry. I love that poetry collections are usually a quick read, but they make you think and feel so many things in not so many words. That takes a great deal of talent, and Amanda Lovelace does a wonderful job of doing just that.

These books have been floating around in my head for a little while, and I don’t know why I didn’t read them sooner. Maybe because I wasn’t meant to have them yet…maybe I needed to be at this point in my life to fully appreciate them.

Both collections are broken into four sections, and each progresses in a logical manner. They both have a clear journey and allow the reader to kind of make their own ending.

The Princess Saves Herself In This One made me feel so many things. Part of me wishes I had this collection when I was in high school and was dealing with far more body image issues. I loved how this book was so empowering. It legitimately made me cry. I also love that Lovelace used the fairy tale archetype to tell her story.

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While Princess made me feel, The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One made me think. This collection is much more “I am woman, hear me roar” than Princess. Lovelace wants women to take control of their own lives and to stand up for themselves, and I feel this collection really captures that feeling.

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I can’t wait to read her new collection, The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in this One. Spring 2019 is so far away!

What poetry should I read next?

Off to the Races!

Off to the Races!

If you remember from one of my older posts, I’ve completed a 5K race. Now I’ve completed two of them, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself! I even did better than my previous time. Going forward, I want to get even better. I want to actually run a 5K. I want to get the best time that I can possibly achieve. I want to participate in some of the fun runs! Here’s a list of the runs I’d like to compete in:

Queso 5K

A local radio station is sponsoring a 5K on Cinco de Mayo where you get chips and queso at the end of the race! How awesome does that sound? If you want to check it out, go to their site.

Reading 5K

I was too late for this race, but this sounds right up my alley. Not only is this a traditional race, but if running isn’t your thing, you can participate in a read-a-thon! Take a look at their race site.

Bubble run

I’ve seen pictures of this on Pinterest, and everyone looks like they’re having such a great time. The one closest to me isn’t until September, which should give me a chance to train up and possibly run it.

Color run

I also love seeing these pictures. Everything is so bright and colorful! I definitely want to do this one. I can’t wait for the event details to be posted.

Mud run

These races would make me feel like a badass. Most of these have some sort of obstacle course to go along with it, and I think that would be a huge challenge for me. I think that might have to be a next year event, so I can do some full body training.

What races have you participated in, and what other races should I look into?

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

In case you’ve been under a rock (or caught by Devil’s Snare), you’ve probably heard that a new Harry Potter mobile game came out. I was so excited to hear about this. I was on the waiting list, I was on the email notification list, I was dedicated. So when it came out, you bet I downloaded it and started playing immediately.

I love that you get to build your character to look like you…but hate the fact that some accessories cost a lot of in-game money. 100 gems for glasses?! I did the best I could with the tools I had.

During the Sorting Ceremony, instead of taking a personality quiz a la Pottermore, you get to pick your house. Naturally, I chose Hufflepuff…and I’m glad I did. The Common Room is exactly how I imagined it to be. It’s so warm and cozy. It reminds me of a hobbit house with the round doors and all the sunlight. I wish this were real so I could actually be in there!

You’ll soon come across the most annoying part of the game. You’re going along, trying to complete missions (you have to tap the screen in order to use energy)…

…and then you’re completely out of energy. You run out rather quickly. Sometimes each activity takes 4 or 5 energy to complete. Energy replenishes itself every 4 minutes, but each activity is timed, so if you run out of time you have to redo the task.

I think I’m willing to deal with the annoying parts of the game just to have another Harry Potter experience.

Have you downloaded the game yet?

Radio Silence

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Sorry for not posting…this year. I’ve been really slacking. BUT…I do have a good reason!

Here’s what’s been going on lately:

I found a new job.

This was a long time in the making. I’d like to say my main reason was money, but it wasn’t. Although money is a great motivator, I really just want to work for a company that values and appreciates me as a person. So now, I’m going to work for a company that I hope treats me like that. It will be a huge increase in my commute (45 minutes as opposed to the 10 I’ve been driving), but the SIGNIFICANT raise will make up for it. J

I’ve been working on myself.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds over the past few months (it was more, but stress got me to eating terribly again). I’m starting to eat better again, but I really need to step it up when it comes to exercise. I’ve recently bought a treadmill and I’m really excited to start using it. I even bought a new bullet journal to keep track of all my workouts! I’ll post about that later.

I’ve been trying to keep up with a two-year-old.

My little boy is TWO. I can’t believe it! He’s grown up so fast.

I haven’t forgotten about book reviews or this site. As a matter of fact, I have a few posts in the works that I hope to have finished soon.

Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope your year has been great!

New Venture

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I’ve been crafting on and off for years. Everything from plastic canvas to drawing to jewelry making. Nowadays, I tend to focus on jewelry. I find it therapeutic to put work into something and see the end result. It’s very satisfying to me.

We had a craft fair at work today, and I brought some of my pieces in. People liked them…and bought a few pieces! This got me thinking…

What do you think of my opening a shop? Either on Etsy or having a page on my blog where you could purchase jewelry pieces? Is that something that people would be interested in?

Please let me know! I’d love any comments and critiques.

Family Movie Night

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Not only is the weather in Georgia more cooperative, it’s the best time to have fun with your family! One thing that my husband and I love to do is watch holiday movies together. Since it’s Halloween time, that means we get to watch movies like Hocus PocusThe Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Addams Family. In a couple years, Noah can pick what he wants to watch…but since he’s only 19 months, he’s stuck with what Mama and Dada wants to watch.


Movie time isn’t really complete without awesome snacks. Since I’ve been trying to eat healthier, I’ve had to change my snacking habits. I’ve been relying on SkinnyPop popcorn  recently to get my salty fix. It’s the perfect addition to my healthyish lifestyle. Each serving has between 30 and 50 calories, which is great when I want to eat a ton and not worry about calories as much.

When I was little, my mom and I would watch a ton of movies together. We’d mostly watch Rogers and Hammerstein musicals; some of my favorites are Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and The King and I. We’d always pop popcorn and eat apples. It sounds like a weird combo, but it works. The apples help get the kernels out of your teeth, and you get a wonderful salty-sweet combo. I’m thinking I want to try SkinnyPop’s sea salt and pepper popcorn with a Golden Delicious apple (my favorite). I have a feeling I’m going to adore that combo!

Another snack that my family loves is Chex Mix. We especially love the cheese mix. I think a fun update to the traditional mix would be to add SkinnyPop Aged White Cheddar with all the yummy pretzels and nuts. It would be lighter and more delicious! Other fun add ins could be dried fruit, jerky, and candy…kind of like a combo of Chex Mix and trail mix. 

Once Noah can eat popcorn, I think he’ll love all these snacks! For now, he loves anything crunchy and made from potatoes. His movie snacks can just be apple slices for now. When he’s a little older, I’d love to make more fun snacks, like popcorn balls and ants on a log.

What are your favorite movie snacks? What movies do you look forward to watching this time of year?

Health and Fitness Tech

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If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to improve my health for some time. As of now, I’ve lost about 25 pounds! I’m really proud of myself for sticking with this, and I owe a lot of it to technology. Fitness and health tech has really improved over the years, and I’ve been using it to my advantage. Here are some apps and sites that have worked for me, and some that I would like to try in the future.

Tried and True Tech that Works for Me

Fitbit

This has been a game changer. Since I got a Fitbit about a year ago, I’ve been focusing on moving more often. I really love the hourly reminders to move. If I’m stuck in my cubicle all day and I feel that buzz on my wrist, I take that opportunity to get more water and walk around the building. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been moving more consistently, my knees definitely hurt less.

MyFitnessPal

I mainly use this app to track my calories. This might sound kinda oblivious, but I really never knew how many calories I was eating…until I tracked it all. Wow. Also, I had no idea that some foods that I thought were “healthy” actually weren’t. MyFitnessPal has really helped me with eating at restaurants. I tend to look at the menu online and try to make a better choice before I go.

Achievemint

I had seen some pins on Pinterest about using your fitness tracker to earn money. Part of me thought it was a scam, and another part of me wanted to try it out. I’m here to tell you that Achievemint is the real deal. You can sync a lot of your fitness apps to it (for me it’s Fitbit and MyFitnessPal) and you accumulate points for doing things like walking and tracking your food and sleep. Once you get 10,000, you get $10. It’s pretty awesome.

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Tech I Want to Try

Pocket Yoga

I’ve noticed recently that I’ve had some intense lower back pain. It’s been bad enough that it’s taken my breath away. The closest thing I can compare it to is back contractions during labor, and those weren’t fun. A friend of mine suggested I look into yoga. I found a few moves that are meant to stretch your back, and those have felt wonderful! Now I’m really interested in trying to do yoga more often. I love that the app seems to be dummy proof; there’s a lot of beginner information that I would definitely use.

Couch to 5k

I’m still debating on if I want to start this program or not. I think it would be the next natural progression in my fitness journey, but I also don’t imagine myself as a runner. The 5k I did a few weeks ago was a fun walk. I don’t know if I could run it. However, the whole point of the app is to train me to do it. I think I’m going to look into it more before I make a concrete decision.

Warby Parker

In case you haven’t noticed before, I wear glasses all the time. When I went to the eye doctor earlier this year, I had the hardest time narrowing down what frames I wanted. Warby Parker has this awesome feature that allows you to pick 5 frames and have them sent to your house so you can try them with your outfits and style. I think this is the coolest idea. I could pick my frames while I’m in my pajamas!

Do you have any favorite sites or apps to try?