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Happy Hump Day! Is it Memorial Day weekend yet? For some reason, that’s all I can think about. Things have been crazy, and a three day weekend to kick off summer sounds so magical.

I have a few blog posts in the pipeline, but while I organize myself for the 1000th time, today’s post is a little coffee (or wine) talk. Let me know what you have been up to!

stingray boat

boating in Boston

  • I attended the Innovation Conference for Boston Business Women on Monday, and it was amazing. I have pages and pages of notes and quotes and have a blog post planned once life slows down a little. I left absolutely buzzing with positivity and excitement and inspiration. There’s so much I want to do. I just need time and organization.
  • Our boat season also launched on Monday. Talk about buzzing with excitement. Our new boat is named Saoirse (Irish for freedom), and we are in love. She’s smaller and a different style from Ceol na Mara, who is dearly missed. But amazing and fun and I am so excited for summer.
  • Working for yourself can be really up and down. There’s always the chance a client’s budget or needs can change and everything can fall out from under you. It’s happened before, but I am trying to remember that just like with the rest of life, work moves in peaks and valleys. My new daily motto is “If I bend I won’t break.”
  • There’s also the very big chance a client won’t work out for you, and that’s okay too. And making that decision can be nerve wracking and scary and somehow make you feel like you failed, when it’s just a fact of life. I’m still learning to stand up for my own best interests, and that can be hard too.
  • What is up with big PR agencies and dropping the ball in blogger outreach? Maybe it’s just me, but I have had so many odd experiences with big agencies lately, including being invited on press trips (as in emails that say “You’re invited” and then sharing passport details etc.) and never hearing back. Or telling them a product doesn’t fit my blog and receiving it anyway. Or getting the same press release five times.
  • I’m signed up for a half marathon on May 22, and I have run maybe twice in the last month. This keeps me up at night, but ultimately I am trying to position it as “At worst, I run/walk for 2-3 hours by the beach. At best, I run a race I am proud of.” Either way, I am outside, moving, by the sea. Win/win.
  • I’m also going to England on a press trip tomorrow. It’s a trip that’s been in the making for a while but just confirmed this week, and I am excited but also super worried about not running or having time to work . . .
  • I’ve been putting a ton of time into planting seeds for my garden, and lots of them are growing and then dying. I am obsessing over this too.
  • I worry a lot. Any suggestions on how to stop? :)

What’s new with you?

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Blogging is and always has been a hobby for me. I am often asked, in job interviews and by potential clients, how I got into blogging, and the answer is pretty simple. I wanted to do something that I was excited about every day, and I love writing. I was working for a great textbook publishing company when I started; I saw how passionate some people were about the work they were doing in education and thought, what makes me tick?

Food, wine, travel, lifestyle. All of those things interested me, and while never hard-hitting journalism, blogging about them became important. As a fairly anxious worrywart who needs to tune the world out a little at the end of the day, a “brain candy” site sometimes provided the perfect escape for me and hopefully for my readers.

I’ve been blogging for almost seven years, and I have considered quitting  at least five times over the years, but then I remember that this space is mine and it can change and evolve as I want it to. I’ve gone from blogging twice a day some days (How I did that, I do not know.) to a pretty regular schedule of two blog posts a week, which works with my current work situation and makes me happy. Tip one – make sure blogging makes you happy!

quote on consistency - source unknown

 

  • Develop some sort of consistency. Even if it’s just once a week, set aside time for yourself to sit down and work on an editorial calendar and a post. My editorial calendar lives on an index card and includes posts I want to write, recipes I want to try, and a list of any travel, restaurants, wines, etc. that I plan to write about.
  • Learn to say no! When blogging, it’s easy to want to attend every event you are invited to and write every sponsored post offered to you. Who doesn’t want to make money and be recognized? But there’s a line between being an authentic blogger and a product pusher. Say no to products and sponsorships that don’t fit your content or your values. Say no to events that might drain your energy or creativity. Too many blogs have become 365 sponsored posts, and while lucrative for the blogger, no one wants to read a stream of commercials. Hint – forcing the writing isn’t fun for you either.
  • Share what you love, not what you think might get the most traffic. When I first started blogging, I was really into healthy living blogs and tried to emulate them. It turned out writing about running and dieting wasn’t fun for me. My wine blog posts are some of my lesser-viewed posts, but I love writing about wine, so I still share them. Even if just a few dozen people are seeing a post, you never know where it might end up or how you might be helping someone.
  • Let your true colors show. One of the reason blogs took off and became so influential is because they were real. No, you don’t have to share every tiny detail of your life, but being authentic and personable makes you seem like that friend who someone can depend on for recommendations, advice, and a great story. Sometimes, a stream of thought or day in the life post is all you need to add a little of your voice and a sneak peek into your life. I love reading them!
  • Read other blogs and be supportive of other bloggers. Blogging can be a great community builder. I met some wonderful lifelong friends through this blog, and though most of them have stopped blogging, we still stay in touch, and they are very important to me. Whether you’re meeting great friends or professional contacts, blogging makes your world so much bigger.
  • Live to blog, don’t blog to live. Even if your blog IS your living,  blogs written by people having vibrant, hands-on experiences are always the best to read. Again, don’t force it. The more into what you are writing about you are, the more you will shine.
  • Read your own blog. I love my old posts! There are so many recipes, wine recommendations, and travel memories that I can go look back on and that can still be useful to readers. The other day I was rereading a post about a horrible week I’d had, life-changing for sure, but now I can’t even remember what happened. Past writing = perspective.

I can go on and on with tips on keeping blogging fresh and fun, but one of the best things about blogs are the comment sections! Tell me, if you are a blogger, what is your biggest key to maintaining a long-lasting blog? And blog readers, what keeps you a fan for the long haul/what makes you close your laptop and walk away from the screen?

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Good morning! I wish I could say it is a bright and beautiful Monday here in Boston, but it is not. No more snow please! It’s starting to mess everything up, from work to social activities to getting anywhere. Having trash day delays? Also a major problem. I feel like we have way more trash than ever these days, or maybe I am just noticing it more now that it’s so difficult to get rid of? At any rate, I am hoping for a bright, warm, sunny day sometime soon.

One thing that recently made my day in a stretch of gloom was being nominated for a Liebster Award by a blog I love, Boston Chic Party. The Liebster Award is dedicated to sharing blogs you love, all with 3,000 or fewer followers. The questions are a fun little glimpse into the blogger’s thoughts. My answers are below. I nominate Made in Sonoma, Pop Bop Shop, and the Jogging Concierge.

I’d love to hear from all of you though; feel free to answer a couple of the questions in the comments if you would like!

Q: What is your blogging process?

I have a running list of blog topics. It’s always the most fun when I have been busy, whether when I return from a big trip, have been cooking a lot, or have been going to a bunch of events. I try to keep the list a mix of wine reviews, travel posts, restaurant recaps, and my own cooking adventures both to keep it interesting for me and to appeal to readers’ interests. I hope it’s working; it’s been fun for me!

Q: What was the best thing to happen to you this week?

Our new, semi-feral kitten Poppy has started to let me pet her. She was born outside and never had human contact until we rescued her, so she is skittish and afraid. It’s taken a lot of patience, but it’s amazing to see how far she’s come.

Q: If you had one super power what would it be?

I would definitely choose teleportation. I love to visit new places and to see family often, but I hate the whole process of getting there.

Q: Are you a cat person, a dog person or neither?

Both! We’ve had our original cats, Smuckers and Scout, for 10 years. Then, as fate would have it, this past summer, a sweet young cat had four kittens in our yard, so we now have the mama cat and one of her babies. I never imagined having four cats, but these two just happened into our lives, and what is life about, if not making space in your heart for those who need it most?  I do want to adopt a dog someday soon too, probably once the cats are all settled. Above all, I am for adoption of pets ONLY. I volunteered at the MSPCA for years, and there are amazing pets of all ages, sizes, breeds who need loving homes.

Q: What was the last song you listened to?

Waterfalls by TLC! My friend and I just bought tickets to the NKOTB/TLC concert at the Garden in June, and I am SO excited!

Q: Do you prefer morning, afternoon or night?

I am a morning person for work. Any big projects, especially anything analytics-related or content creation/writing-related is best done in morning. I am an afternoon person for working out. My ideal schedule would allow me to run at 2 or 3, then head back to work for a few hours.

Q: Are you extroverted, introverted or a mix of both?

I think I am a mix of both, but more introvert-leaning. I think  I am pretty outgoing a lot of the time, but I am also very much in my head.

Q: What fashion trend can you completely not stand?

Tights as pants. There is a time and place for leggings, but I have seen too many inappropriately worn, thin pairs of tights masquerading as pants. Fabric is your friend!

Q: Name one thing you can’t live without and why.

I take this question to mean inanimate object (as opposed to say, a person), so I definitely would say my iPhone. I love to be connected/am addicted to being connected.

Q: Finally, if you could achieve one thing from blogging, what would it be?

It’s already happened! Blogging for almost six years has connected me with some of the best people I know, both professionally and personally. I honestly can’t imagine my life without all of the opportunities that have come from blogging, whether it be blogger events, meet ups, or travel.

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