Archives for November 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Tips

 

I’ve been in the blogging world now for almost NINE years.  Yep.  I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging and today I’ve taken a look at my favorite blogs and compiled of list of things that make me love them.  AND things that have made me hit that awful Unsubscribe button in my reader. I’m learning too even after 9 years so I’m taking notes on my notes!

  1. Don’t apologize for your content.  I’ve done it and seen people do it.  Don’t start a heavy post by saying, “Sorry this is so heavy today”.  Just let it be heavy.  Same for funny.  If you’re posts are normally heavy but you throw in a light-hearted fun one, don’t say “Sorry this is so frivolous”.  Just let it be funny.  However, if you have offended someone and realize your content was hurtful or not written with the right heart DO apologize. It’s ok to make mistakes in blogging.
  2. Speaking of the funny, BE funny sometimes.  I truly believe God has a sense of humor and even if you write spiritual posts, you CAN have a sense of humor about some things.  BooMama and The McMommy Chronicles ALWAYS make me laugh.
  3. Use quality pictures.  Well, first USE pictures.  If The Pioneer Woman has taught us anything it is that you need pictures in your posts.  I’m always more drawn in when I get a sense of the post from the pictures.  If you’re not a photographer, use a stock photo rather than a bad personal photo.  If you’re looking for a blog with fantastic pictures, look no further than The American Mum.  Beautiful!
  4. Write consistently. This does not equate to write every day.  Even if it’s once a week, do that all the time.  In fact, some might argue that readers look forward to your posts more if they are infrequent, but consistent.  Anne Jackson has started blogging only twice a week and I look forward to those days!  However, it’s almost a guarantee that Pete will have a blog post up every morning and I look forward to those too!
  5. Share you.  Whether you write a personal blog or niche blog, always share your heart.  But be wise when you’re angry, frustrated, mad or sad.  You don’t want hurtful words written in the blogosphere for everyone to read forever.  There is a reason for the DRAFT mode of posts.   Sometimes they need to stay right there in your draft folder!  However, I find that opening your soul lets the best blogging happen.  Moosh In Indy and Ministry So Fabulous both share the good and bad and I love them for it.
  6. Change it up.  To be honest I get tired of reading the same type of content on personal blogs (niche blogs are defined by the same stuff over and over so I don’t mean them).  Show me all sides of you.  I DO want to hear about your kids, the music you love, what’s eating at your soul, etc, etc.  OhAmanda and Musings of a Housewife are two people that have a great range of posts.
  7. Be creative.  In life or in your posts.  There is not much else I appreciate more than seeing someone use their talents in a creative way.  Carlos Whittaker and his wife Heather are both fantastically creative.
  8. Be inspired by and link to others.  I love when I read a post and they mention they were inspired by another blog or book that I read.  I think it really enhances the connection to that person through that 3rd party.  Just this morning, Mommy on Fire linked to Jesus Needs New PR and I couldn’t help but get a little excited someone saw the same thing as me!  A caveat to this…don’t make every post a rehash of someone else’s posts.
  9. Offer tutorials or solutions.  Even if you’re not an expert at anything (like me) and can’t post wonderful food blogs like The Pioneer Woman, you DO have something that you do well.  Share it so others can do it too.  Works for me Wednesday hosted by The Diaper Diaries is a great way to start sharing (and promoting) your tips. (Update: Not sure what I did to mix this up but it’s hosted by We are That Family!  thx Alicia!)
  10. Write what you’re passionate about.  And be honest about it.  If you’re passionate about a pair of jeans, then by golly, post about them.  If you’re passionate about what God showed you in your quiet time, then share that.  I think the key to someone connecting to you is if you are PASSIONATE about your topic.

So there you go, ten simple steps to a better blog.

What did I miss?  What makes you go back to a blog every day or makes you hit that unsubscribe button?

 

Read more Top Ten lists over at OhAmanda

Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

I’m so, so, so glad I took Friday off from work.  A four day weekend is just what I needed.  I finally got a weekend from my busy weekend!  Here are some highlights on what we did (or didn’t do) from the weekend:

Thursday

  • CVS Black Friday deals to start the day which included 5 Reese’s cups and 5 King Size peanut M&M’s.  Totally and completely worth getting up.
  • Macy’s parade.  The girls were in a trance watching the opening number and went around the house kicking their legs as high as they could.
  • Dinner at Mom’s.  The girls wore their hats they made at school and Emma read a few Thanksgiving poems.  BEAMING I was.
  • Tangled.  You know how I feel about that.  Full of WIN.  And Flynn.  Flynn is win.
  • Dinner at Scott’s parents.  Good to get together with a big group of family for Thanksgiving.

Friday

  • You heard about my boots.  We also hit up Chick-fil-a and the mall.
  • Spent the afternoon doing fun things like laundry.
  • Darian came over and we ended up out shopping again.  I couldn’t pass up 50% off at NY&CO for their jeggings.  I have them on as I type this and I keep asking myself why I waited so long to get them.  Seriously.  They have a thick elastic waistband and they are PERFECT for the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Just sayin’.

Saturday

  • Saturday morning I spent serious time cleaning up and doing more laundry.  All weekend, I felt a little like I was spinning my wheels trying to clean but eventually it started looking more clean than not.
  • Saturday afternoon we went to my mom’s for leftovers for lunch and the girls ended up playing for several hours with one of their friends that lives by them.  I did a lot of nothing which I was completely over by the time we left.
  • Saturday evening the girls and I tore the living room apart to wrap all the presents we had so far.  It was killing them that none of them were their presents.  They know about Santa and I had presents for them so they were dying to wrap their presents.  Lexi even told Emma to get the nerf guns out and gave her permission to shoot her if she tried to come in the room while we were doing hers.
  • Saturday night I completely vegged, completely forgetting to wrap their presents after they went to sleep, and caught up on the latest Chuck DVD I got in the mail Saturday.

Sunday

  • Church.  So good.  Apologies for not doing a recap but grace.  God is FOR grace.  Pretty sure God is teaching me a lot about grace.  It’s been in my face like nobody’s business.
  • Dinner at Scott’s parents.
  • We had to return Emma’s pregnant Barbie.  Her arm came out of the socket as soon as we got her out of the box.
  • The girls and I played school for TWO HOURS.  Actually, we played homeschool.  Which meant I was the teacher.  It included being dropped off, sitting in the hall waiting for class to start, craft time, reading time, math, computer time, snack time, related arts.  Serious stuff.  Can we say we were all ready for school to start back today?
  • Last night I spent the whole night finishing a book for the INSPYs.  It is KILLING me not being able to review these books.

So there, I don’t know if that does anything for posterity by blogging our every move but we had a great, relaxing weekend.  Hope you did too!

Movie Review: Tangled

 

Here’s the short version: GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

I felt like the movie deserved a review since I lambasted Princess and the Frog for all the eeevil.  Tangled deserves a review for how GOOD it was.  I would definitely put this up there with my favorites, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.  I’m not sure I’m ready to call it my favorite but, yes, this one I can get behind.  What I loved:

  • Flynn.  Ah, Flynn.  Flynn is voiced by Zachary Levi, better known as NBC’s Chuck.  It is a show that is quickly becoming a favorite as I work through the DVD’s.  He is a crazy talented guy.  Actor, singer, comedian and Christian to boot.  Having him voice Flynn added a layer that my kids couldn’t appreciate but my Chuck friends and I couldn’t ignore.  Flynn was over the top full of himself, clever, caring and funny.  And his character shifted from fully self-focused thief to caring prince.  LOVE when characters can grow, even in an animated movie. 
  • The faux-dog horse was a fantastic comedic element to the movie.  One that had Scott guffawing in the theater.  Trust me, that’s a big deal.  The scene between Flynn and the horse pushing each other on the bridge into town still makes me laugh when I think of it. 
  • I’m torn on this but I think I like that Flynn’s relationship with the horse was more touted than him and Rapunzel’s.  While I was always rooting for more Flynn and Flynn/Rapunzel, I think it was more appropriate for the kids this way.  The romance was there but it wasn’t over the top.  I thought it was pretty smart and amusing of Disney to be self-aware that it was a fairytale and ending by saying we lived happily ever after. 
  • Rapunzel was a wonderful princess.  I loved how innocent, caring and selfless she was.  She was respectful to her mother (even though she didn’t deserve it) and was willing to lay down her life for Flynn.  She was creative and talented.  And yet, she did disobey her mother.  BUT I loved how torn she was about it (one of the best scenes) and how much trouble she got into because of that decision.  Also, through that she was able to uncover her mother’s true identity and follow her heart to her parents.  She also grew, out of innocence and naivity, opening her eyes to the truth and sticking up for herself. 
  • The chameleon was also very funny but also supportive of Rapunzel as her only friend.  He reminded me of the Meeko and Flit in Pocohantas.
  • So there was evil and magic in this movie.  So what’s the difference?  The mother was selfish, greedy, worried about her looks and kidnapped Rapunzel.  All which was looked down upon and eventually led to her death.  These are real struggles that I’m happy to talk to my kids about.  Very appropriate for little princesses.  The only scene that seemed to bother Lexi was when the mother died.  She said it was sad.  And it’s true, no matter anyone’s condition it is sad to see them die.  But in the context of the movie, I can say, yes, but that’s where all her bad decisions led her.  Also, I liked that Rapunzel’s magical hair was used for healing and not evil.

Overall, even though this was an old story, the storyline felt new and unique and special.  Great pacing and turns in the movie.  Action-packed and yet full of heart and comedy. 

Have you seen it yet?  What’d you think?

Black Friday Haul

OK so I didn’t really plan on shopping Black Friday.  There wasn’t anything that jumped out at me like years before.  Christmas trees, flat screens, Nintendo DS’s are all from years past.  BUT there were some awesome deals at Belk for boots.  And I need (ok, need is relative, I know) some more boots.  My Nine West black ones are scuffed at the toe and I think all of them (with the exception of my cowboy boots) were purchased 4 to 5 years ago.  But Belk’s early birds were more like late birds and I was going to have to get up at 3:30.  I hemmed and hawed.  I got dressed, prepared to go out, set my alarm and by 10, I just didn’t feel right about going.  3:30 was just too daunting.  I wasn’t sure what size I was, I wasn’t really sure which style(s) I wanted and it was just overwhelming to shoe shop in the middle of the night with a bunch of tired people.  Plus, Scott had to work today at 8am so I would have had to rush out and rush back home all in hopes of catching a few more hours of sleep.

So I gave another once over of my sales papers and found some I liked even better at Rack Room.  The problem was the store hours were NOWHERE to be found.  I reached out through social media to Rack Room and friends, consulted their web site, even called the store hoping for a message and NOTHING.  So I changed my alarm from 3:30 to 6:30 and decided to call in the morning.

I got no answer at 6:30 and dozed until 7 when I got an answer right away.  Open at 7!  Scott was due for work in an hour, the kids were still asleep.  I flew out of the house in the exercise clothes I had slept in, praying the whole way they’d have my size and that the check-out line wouldn’t be a mile long.  Yes, I was seriously praying over my Black Friday shopping.

Prayers were answered.  There were only a handful of people there and all the Bonus Buys I was looking for were set out front. I flew through the sales racks where every single stack had my size and every single one fit me like a glove.  It was like boot heaven!  I was in and out and back home by 7:45!

I even loaded the girls up and went back for boots for them and some much needed tennis shoes for Lexi.

I got SIX pairs of boots.  Yes, six.  Flats and heels in gray and black, heels in brown and a short boot for work in black.  Did I mention I was in need of some boots?  But guess what?  I paid $115 for ALL of them.  Retail was $320.  I saved over $200!!

So what’d I get?  Let me show you!

Are you a boot lover?  Get any good deals for Black Friday?

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving is off to a great start. Lots of lounging and cooking, even some shopping. I’ve been thinking all morning about how much I have to be thankful for. God has been so good to us.

I’m so thankful for all of you that read this. You make taking the time to blog so worth it! Hope you are enjoying family and friends and have a wonderful day.

Happy Thanksgiving!