I was recently nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award by my blog friend Beth over at Finding Delight. It’s similar to the Liebster Award that made the round several years ago and similar to some of those Q&A chains you see floating around on social media sometimes, but I really appreciated that the questions Beth asked her nominees dug deeper than normal. I felt like answering and sharing here would be fun way for some of my newer readers to get to know me better.
The Sunshine Blogger Award is an accolade given by one blogger to another in recognition for work that they find creative, inspiring and positive. Here are the rules:
1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
I can’t even remember when I started following Beth’s blog, but I never miss her weekly Mid-Week Round Up posts and love her book and product recommendations. I also love that she’s still one of those “real life” bloggers, sharing her personal life in a way that you feel like you know her even when she’s several hundred miles away!
Now, on to the Q&A!
How did you first get involved with blogging?
My first blog posts came about before I even knew that “blogging” was what I was doing. MySpace became popular my senior year of high school (2004-05) and everyone was rushing to create a profile before we all headed off to college. When I arrived at college that fall, I began using the blog section of my profile to share little happenings and funny stories, thinking my old friends from back home and new college friends may appreciate them as a way to keep up with me and/or get to know me. The post I remember most was me sharing the story of how I flooded our dorm apartment by putting Dawn dish soap in the dishwasher. Bubbles everywhere. Most of those posts are extremely embarrassing to read now, but I did save them in a place where they’re not lost forever for when I’m feeling nostalgic.
Besides the comments section, where do you chat and connect with other bloggers?
I love keeping up with blog friends on Instagram (follow me) through their posts and stories, but I do have more in depth emails going with some of them. Some have even become Facebook friends, so I see a bit more of their real life “behind the curtain.” I’ve even met at least three blog friends in real life which has been so cool to be able to do, like when we stayed with my friend Joke at her home in Belgium while traveling.
What’s the hardest blog post you’ve ever written? Was it worth it?
I think the hardest post I’ve written was the beginning post of my “Overcoming Infertility” series. After years of keeping that struggle to ourselves and quietly between some friends and family, was I really going to write it all down and share it with the world? I think it was totally worth it because I needed to get all of that off my chest; I needed to write it all down and put it out there and doing so literally felt like lifting a weight off of myself. Writing does that for me. I also hope that series can give others some sort of comfort or even just answer questions they may have, but aren’t sure how or who to ask.
What’s your favorite book?
I feel like this question isn’t fair, haha. I have read far too many books in my lifetime to choose just one! One of my favorite books of the past few years was “Between Shades of Grey” by Ruta Sepetys (review), because it punched me right in the gut and I learned so much I hadn’t known about that time in history. A movie based on it titled “Ashes in the Snow” is starting to make the rounds at festivals and will release in the US next year, so keep an eye out for that. My favorite fantasy series lately is the “Shades of Magic” series by V.E. Schwab (review) and I highly recommend that to everyone I know.
What three goals are you focusing on right now?
Baby, baby, and baby…!!! But for real, everything in my life is centered around Baby S right now. 1) Get everything together, cleaned, and organized for his arrival (from his room in general to his clothes to the freezer meals my mom is helping with this week). 2) Prepare myself for a positive birth experience. I have an “optimal birth experience” plan as well as realistic “could happen” ideas in my head, but right now I’m just relaxing and focusing on what I can to center myself and keep myself calm and positive when the time comes. 3) Preparing for that postpartum life. Besides little kits I’m making for myself and leaving all over the house, I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for those first few weeks and months. The “fourth trimester” sounds daunting, but I know we can do it!
Where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?
Honestly, I rarely post anything here that has come from some great “blog planning” or inspiration like I used to. Nowadays I’m just sharing my daily life and thoughts, and somehow people are sticking around and continue to read those posts. While I still work with some partners every once in a while, and have done a few “informative” series like my infertility posts, I’m currently not living a life that is conducive to the fun and helpful travel posts I used to love sharing. Things will change with time; this blog always has.
What are some positive things blogging has brought into your life that you didn’t expect?
The connections! Like I said above, meeting some of my blog friends in real life has been really fun, and I never dreamed I’d connect with some friends on a level where we’d be sending each other baby gifts and exchanging Christmas cards. That has been really awesome, but even the blog friends I have strictly online have been such a blessing. As we’ve moved and changed our lives so much and so often over the past decade, it has been comforting to always have these online friends with me everywhere I’ve gone. They know my story, my background, what I’ve been through, and how I’m currently feeling about my situations, which is sometimes more than I can say for the people I’ve briefly shared my life with in the different cities we’ve lived in.
Is there a post you’ve always wanted to write but never have? What’s holding you back?
Not one post specifically, but sometimes I feel like I hold back on sharing strongly-felt posts on opinion-based things. I try to keep this space positive and don’t want to isolate people because of different beliefs, but sometimes I think about starting a second, anonymous space where I can freely write about current events and thoughts on politics, religion, and other shockingly polarizing things like adoption (from the point of view of an adoptee.) But I think I’ll just leave that to Twitter and keep my blood pressure down haha.
What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?
Instagram, because I feel like that’s how I best keep up with my online friends on a day-to-day basis, through stories and the like. It also hasn’t been taken over by negativity like other platforms (Twitter, FB), or by the sharing of false narratives (mostly FB).
Is there someone who doesn’t have a blog but you would read every thing they published if they did?
This one is hard and initially I couldn’t think of anyone, but I’d have to say some of my real-life friends. I would absolutely read everything Daniel wrote if he had a blog (I can’t imagine what that would be like.) I also miss my friend Joke’s personal blog and my BFF Diana’s, who used to post something very heartfelt every once in a while back in the day. I think my BFFs Chelsea and Nicole should also start one!
What have you recently achieved that you’re super proud of?
I got pregnant, y’all! I mean, biggest most unbelievable accomplishment of my life, honestly. Not only that, but I’ve survived the horror of the first trimester, the major and unfamiliar changes to my body, and the current daily kicks to the ribs. Now I just need to make it through this childbirth experience and we’ll have a fully realized dream in our hands, literally.
Thanks for giving me something entertaining to do this morning, Beth! Now, for my nominations and questions for those nominees. PS, I know some of you guys don’t really do posts like this, so I don’t blame you if you don’t.
1 | Victoria at Through For By
2 | Jae at Scatterbrain
3 | Emelia at Dream Big & Buy the Shoes
4 | Kay at The Kay Times
5 | Olya at The Siberian American
6 | Miriam at Farm Girl
7 | Chelsea at The Girl Who Loved to Write
8 | Catherine at A Short Blonde
9 | Sydni at Bohemian Bright
10 | Steph at Steph the Bookworm
11 | Melissa at Melodramatic Adventures
1 | When it comes to blogging, what makes you keep coming back to your space and sharing your life with the world?
2 | What post has meant a lot to you personally that you wish your readers would read again (or that they maybe missed the first time around due to timing, etc,)?
3 | Have you ever met any of your blog friends in real life? If so, who/how/when?
4 | How have blogs helped you through difficult times/situations in your life? Was that surprising to you at the time?
5 | Have you ever written a post (or series of posts) that you feel could be extremely helpful for others looking for that advice or currently living that experience? Share it here.
6 | Compared to your life when you wrote your first posts, what are three major things that have changed in your life that you couldn’t have predicted back then?
7 | Has blogging ever lead you to any really fun opportunities offline that wouldn’t have been possible without your blog?
8 | Are there people in your “real” life who surprise you by telling you they use your blog as a way to keep up with you? Do you ever write personal posts or life updates with them or that in mind?
9 | What is one of the most spontaneous and/or major things you’ve ever done that changed your life for the better?
10 | What is something you really enjoy that you don’t usually share excitement for openly? (Could be a guilty pleasure TV show, a genre of books you feel are too “something” for you, etc.)
11 | What is a destination you have on your travel bucket list that you feel would have a profound effect on you once you’ve returned?