Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award!

I've been nominated for the Liebster Award!

The Liebster Award is basically an award that bloggers give to other bloggers whom they enjoy, but who have less than 200 readers. Liebster means “dearest” in German.

The origins of the Liebster Award are elusive, yet some have pointed to this post from the ancient past of 2010 as the earliest record of the Liebster Award (thanks to Sopphey Says for finding it!). The goal of the Liebster Award, in this incredibly poorly translated English, is: “The aim of this action is that we bring unknown, gutte blogs to light, so I would ask you not to blog items that already have been 3,000 readers, but talented beginners and people who, although blogging has been a while, but still not as well known .”

Katia of Audreysglams nominated me. She created the “Pin It” button that you can use when you hover over my pictures. She writes a lovely blog that is on the list of blogs I read! Thank you so much for nominating me, Katia!

So here are the rules: I answer 11 questions that Katia posed, and then list 11 facts about myself. Then I’ll nominate other bloggers, and give them their own set of 11 questions. Here are my answers!

1. Why did you start blogging?

I started my blog way back in July of 2012. At that point, I was working full-time, and the blog was simply a creative outlet. When I moved to Connecticut in August of last year, I began to blog more seriously as a way to share and develop my writing. I also appreciate the ability to share what I am exploring, reading and thinking about with friends back in California. Plus, there is something so fun about hitting the “Publish” button and seeing what I've just written online. I've also really enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about design and HTML through the blog as well.

2. How do you use social media to promote your blog?

I focus on just a few social media platforms to build up a presence on each one. I try to engage with people on each platform, instead of simply plugging my blog. I have accounts on Pinterest, Bloglovin’, and Google+ dedicated to the blog, but I also post each article to my personal Facebook so that friends and family can view it. Occasionally I’ll post to Reddit as well.

3. Do you have a signature make up look?

Confession: I really enjoy makeup, but don’t wear it every day. During college, I stopped wearing makeup because I felt like I was only wearing it to feel accepted, and not because I enjoyed it. I also try to live a natural lifestyle and the no makeup habit fit that ethos. I am interested in beauty, however (I write beauty articles once a week for Bite Size Wellness), and certainly have a lot of fun with my makeup when I do it.

4. If you had to trade all your beauty products for something bigger, what would that be?

Right now I’d have to say a closet. The Hobbit Hole does not have a closet. It’s been tricky! We do have access to the stairwell, however, which is sealed off from the main house, and we’re hoping to make improvements to turn it into a closet.

5. Has blogging affected your personality and your daily life? If yes, in which way?

Ever since I started blogging and promoting Sputnik Prose more, I've struggled to find the perfect balance of online time and offline time. Blogging is fun, but it shouldn't be all-consuming.

However, blogging has helped me write more consistently. When asked what I do for work, I feel more comfortable telling people “I’m a writer.” I rarely, if ever, responded that way in California. Also, I’m less afraid to market myself, which is a useful skill in the business world. I've worked to become less of a bystander and more of an entrepreneur.

6. What is your typical day like?

Three days a week I work at a preschool. On days that I am home, I haven’t yet established a particular routine. Actually, I’m reading an awesome book on this topic titled Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. He describes the rituals of people who have made an impact on the world, whether through art, writing, or ideas. Through studying the varying routines, the book has helped me to think through what a routine could look like for me. My dad gave me the awesome idea to make a list of goals for each day, and when I make a list, that helps.

7. What do you love the most in life?

God is the most important person in my life. His love makes me what I am today.

8. Would you rather be loved, admired, respected or feared?

Loved, because admiration and respect follow love. Most of my life I've worked to rid my motivations of fear, so I’d never want anyone else to fear me. Love can get you farther than any other emotion.

9. What is your best attribute? (mental or physical)

This was a hard one for me! I’d like to say empathy. I try to listen to people and feel what they are feeling alongside them.

10. What is your worst flaw? (mental or physical)

I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be. I think if I was more disciplined, other traits would fall into place as well.

11. How do you react to negative comments both in real life and blogging life?

I wrote a review of the second Hobbit movie and posted it to Reddit. A user commented that my review “suffered from the usual problems”, and then proceeded to list those issues. I was aghast, but then realized that I had been granted an opportunity to explain my review in greater detail. The user made some good points, so I wrote a response, and had Aaron edit it for tone to make sure I was being fair. I never received a response, but I felt better about my review.

My writing is incredibly personal, and it’s hard not to take negative comments personally as well. I will always feel a little hurt after a negative comment. Yet I've realized that they are an opportunity to reexamine my writing, and defend what I have written. They give me a chance to articulate my thoughts in a new way and can ultimately build up my confidence.

These lessons apply to real life, too. It’s hard for me to take criticism. I’m working on hearing what the other person has to say instead of simply feeling defensive. Marriage has been a great way for me to work on this!

11 Facts About Me:

1. Hobbes is the sixth cat I've ever had in my family. However, she’s the first cat I've had on my own, so she’ll always be my cat baby. Yes, I’m obsessed.

2. Besides my friends and family, good Mexican food is what I miss most about the West Coast. Luckily I have a great Mexican rice recipe and a great carnitas recipe, so the Hobbit Hole still has Mexican food. But I miss Lilly’s and Dos Coyotes and Jalisco Grill and Los Agaves like crazy!

3. Aaron and I regularly battle each other and our California friends in rousing games of Dominion. We’re always happy to teach new people how to play!

4. I’m a certified scuba diver. While I was able to receive my certification, I had problems equalizing my ears, and don’t think I’ll be able to dive again. The process was amazing, though!

5. I was a lawn flamingo, a Jedi, and gas station coffee in Spring Sing. Spring Sing is a program at Westmont where all the dorms put together an 8 minute musical skit and compete against each other. My dorm won Best Women twice!

6. My favorite all-time movie is Pride and Prejudice.

7. My favorite all-time band is Coldplay.

8. I can play the guitar and the piano. I loved playing the guitar for my preschoolers back in Santa Barbara, but the piano will always be my first love. I don’t have a piano here in Connecticut, but when I get to play the one at my mom’s house, it still feels magical to me.

9. I have one younger sister, and four sister-in-laws. No brothers…yet! All of my cousins but one are boys, however, so it balances out.

10. Don’t get me started talking about Warby Parker or I’ll talk your ear off. I even wrote an article on them for Lydia Magazine.

11. My wedding ring is my favorite piece of jewelry. Aaron bought it for me in South Africa.

I’d like to nominate these blogs for the Liebster Award:

JenEric Generation


Maria’s Chronicles

Life Unrefined

one brass fox

Here are the questions for you lovely ladies!

1. What is your process for constructing a blog post?

2. Do you blog to music or in silence? If the first, what is your go-to blogging music?

3. How does social media shape the way you blog?

4. What is your favorite aspect of your blog?

5. Where is your favorite place in the world?

6. Do you prefer sunshine or rain/snow?

7. Where would you like to travel in the world?

8. How did your past prepare you for your blog content today?

9. What has motivated you to continue blogging?

10. What is your favorite food?

11. What is your advice for fellow bloggers?

I’m looking forward to your answers! Thank you again, Katia!

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