Tag Archives: See Jane Write

Blog Like Crazy- Third Year is the Charm!

Writing journal, canon camera and a glass of wine…

Today marks the end of a challenge I accepted on November 1st…#bloglikecrazy!!!  This is the third year I have participated in this as part of the See Jane Write network.  As I mentioned on the first day, I wasn’t sure if I’d have “time” to participate this year and that still makes me laugh since I retired from corporate life in July.  Still…my life has been busier than ever since I quit my day-job, as they say!

I spent some time outlining my month and what stories I wanted to tell and write.  I felt like I had a good balance and then life got in the way.  If I had decided earlier in October to participate and not on October 30, I could have gotten ahead of the game.  I did pretty well with the scheduling of stories the week I was at the beach.  That was VERY helpful and I was proud of how that all worked out!

Meanwhile, some of the stories I had planned didn’t get published…at least not yet!  I have several that I want to share but I also make a point to include photos and in these cases, I need to go through old photos in order to publish them.  Those stories are written and just waiting so stay tuned!

Tracy Martin during Flaco Jimenez’s performance!

I always find it interesting to see which posts resonate with people.  My best post this time was about Alabama’s Dia de los Muertos event.  I know that particular post got shared quite a bit so that helped!  My thrifting posts got a lot of attention as well.  At first, I didn’t plan to write much about thrifting but I started on one post and it morphed into several!  Those were fun to write too because I had been photographing everything that I’ve found this year so it was easy to draw from that album.

Mikasa Jamestown Platinum Trim crystal from the Salvation army thrift store!

My Thanksgiving at the Beach post also was pretty popular.  People get nostalgic around the holidays and that’s what I’m attributing the big response for this post to.  Personally, I like to see what others do around the holidays – the family traditions, the fun and games and the decorations all appeal to me so that’s what I try to include in my posts.

Family photo on the beach – we used this for our Christmas card photo that year!

Finally…my She Shack post has really done well!  Who knew the female equivalent of a Man Cave would garner so much attention!  I love my new She Shack and so does my pup, Lucy.  In fact, today I was in our upstairs laundry room when she blew past me and hit the door with her head to open it thinking I was in there!  Let’s be honest…that’s her room as much as it is mine!

My She Shack…my daughter’s daybed is visible when you walk in – displaying my colorful pillows and my grandmother’s brass lamps.

I’m anticipating a lot of “me” time in my She Shack devoted to photo scanning, writing and blog posting in the new year.  This challenge was the perfect way to get myself motivated too.  I’m so glad I decided to participate in #bloglikecrazy again this year, even it if WAS at the last-minute!  They say the third time is the charm and I believe that’s true for me this time!

 

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Blog Like Crazy…Round Three!

If it’s November…it’s Blog Like Crazy month!!!  This is a month-long writing event created by Javacia Bowser, founder of the See Jane Write network, to encourage bloggers to exercise their writing muscles!  I’ve participated in this challenge for the past two years and loved it, but I wasn’t sure about doing it again this year…until yesterday.

I was taking my pup Lucy on her morning walk and thinking about my week.  I had just checked my emails before heading out the door with Lucy and saw one from Javacia with the subject line – “how to make the most of #bloglikecrazy.”  A few months ago I didn’t think I would do this again but the closer it was getting to November, the more I found myself thinking about the challenge.  I also found myself debating the pros and cons of participating and even talking about it out loud on my walk!   Yes, Lucy looked at me like I was nuts but sometimes it helps to hear my thoughts out loud!  Things like…what would I write about?  What if ideas don’t come through for me this year like they have in the past?  What am I afraid of, anyway???

One question kept popping up as I mulled all these questions over… did I have time to plan and write a blog post every single day in November?  Seriously, we have a weekend get-together with friends in two weeks, Thanksgiving planning is underway and we are also planning a trip to the beach…not to mention the Christmas decorating that has to happen at the end of the month before my December cookie swap party.  But the more I rolled that question around in my head the more laughable it became!  I mean, I’m recently RETIRED!  I have all sorts of time now, right?!  Well…

This writing challenge was quickly becoming a personal challenge since I no longer have an 8-5 job and structure has pretty much gone out the window these past four month!  Actually, I began to think that this would be a good way to introduce some sort of structure back into my life while doing something I love…writing and sharing my photography.  So…here I go again…about to blog like crazy for the third time.  You know what they say…third time is the charm!  Here we go…!!!

Cheers to #bloglikecrazy Month!

IMG_0596Today is day 30 of something called “blog like crazy.”  It was a challenge issued by Javacia Harris Bowser, founder of See Jane Write.  The challenge was to write 30 original posts during the month of November.  (You may remember one of my posts this month about meeting “The Janes” back in July 2014 when I was working up the courage to start this blog.)

Javacia issued this challenge last year too but I was just getting started with my blog.  I launched on September 15th and I figured I had better get a few posts under my belt and figure this blogging thing out first!  So I tucked this in the back of my head and decided that if the challenge was issued this year, I would definitely do it!

I’ve learned quite a bit about myself through this process.  I’ve learned that I CAN blog every single day!  At first I thought I would run out things to write about but because I have been doing this consistently this month, ideas started popping up quite frequently.  To say I was excited and pleased would be an understatement.  Javacia said writing is like exercise and she is so right.  It takes practice to get better and I was definitely seeing this.  I also thought that people would get tired of seeing my posts.  Once the post is published, I would add it to my personal Facebook page, the See Jane Write and Alabama bloggers Facebook pages, my twitter account and finally, to my Instagram feed.  I started feeling like I was over saturating social media with my posts, but what I found out is that more people were finding me and commenting or “liking” my posts.

My family was also enjoying my posts and this is very important to me since I am writing a lot about them and our family history.  At first, I was a little worried that I would get some of the stories wrong or mixed up, but then I remembered – this is “my” voice and my recollection of things so once I internalized that, I would write the story.

Finally…since I always include my photographs in each of my posts, I realized just how any photographs I take in a month!  Yikes!!!  And this doesn’t include the old family photos that I have yet to scan, my dad’s slides and the photos I took before digital.  Of course, I have no intention of reducing the number of photos I take…  I really can’t help myself.  When I look at a scene, I’m always composing the picture in my mind when I don’t have a camera handy.  But I also take plenty with my iPhone too!

As I get ready to hit publish on this last post, I want to thank Javacia for the challenge and the encouragement.  If you are a blogger and have never tried this, I encourage you to give it a shot.  I’ve loved every minute of it!

Meeting the Janes…

IMG_9879A few weeks ago I wrote about Scott Dinsmore and how his website and a workbook he published helped lead me into the direction of becoming a blogger.  Part of this planning process involved doing some research and finding people and information on how to do this.

During my research I discovered something wonderful…I discovered See Jane Write. I had heard about this network – and The Janes – through my friend Nicole Thurston (Destination Unknown) a few years ago.  She is a blogger and attended one of the See Jane Write conferences and wrote about it.  I remember tucking that bit of information into the back of my mind for some reason.  Now I know why I did that.

After the self-assessment I did with Scott’s workbook, I went online and looked up See Jane Write and started reading.  I also noted that there was a mini-blog conference coming up at Homewood library.  I couldn’t wait to sign up for this conference!  I signed up and anxiously awaited that Saturday in July 2014…I was ready to meet The Janes and see what I could learn from them!

As I began gathering information about the conference and who the panelist and speakers would be, I dug a little deeper.  I looked up their blogs, took note of their blog design, read through some of their stories/posts. I really wanted to get a feel for what they were saying and how they were saying it. I didn’t know at that point if there was really a specific way to go about blogging. I also found all these bloggers on Instagram. Since I love photography, you know I LOVE Instagram! So I began following the panelist and looking through some of their photos to get a feel for their personalities and their lifestyles.

Then the night before the conference, a photo popped up from panelist – Chic in Academia (aka Bertha Hidalgo) and I commented on it.  She mentioned how excited she was to be a panelist at the conference.  Now, how many times have you commented on an IG photo of someone who has thousands of followers and you get a reply right back? That had never happened to me but it did with Bertha!  I commented that I would be attending and she immediately followed up and said to come see her and say hello!  Wow!  I was fascinated!

So….I did!  I got to the conference fairly early – I’m always an early bird and I quickly took a seat on the front row.  Can you tell I was eager?  I was excited to see Chanda Temple (Chanda Temple Writes) there and we sat next to one another on the front row.  I took a walk around the room a little bit later to explore, checked out the vendor tables and hen there she was…Bertha was sitting with two other panelist.  As I remember it, we made eye contact and it’s as if we already knew one another.  She jumped up and hugged me and I tell you, it made me feel wonderful!  We chatted for a bit, she  asked me about my blog – which I hadn’t launched yet – and I told her my ideas and what I hoped to accomplish.  She was so encouraging to me that day and continues to be as I take this journey.

Meeting Chic in Academia - Bertha Hidalgo - at the See Jane Write Mini-Conference.

Meeting Chic in Academia – Bertha Hidalgo – at the See Jane Write Mini-Conference.

As I met and spoke to other bloggers that day and shared my vision for Southern Senora, they were all so encouraging and liked my blog concept saying there really wasn’t anything like that “out there.”  I still had work to do to narrow things down but it made me feel good that everyone was so willing to share their experiences and offer advice.  I had come to the right place, for sure!

Morning panelist...

Morning panelist…

That day I learned so much and the mini-con also confirmed a lot of things that I had researched and discovered about blogging and myself in the process.  In addition to hearing from Bertha, I loved hearing from panelists Erica Bunker (Erica B’s DIY Style), Vanessa Culpepper (Budding Fashionista) and Heather Brown (My Life Well Loved).  Later in the day a great panel discussion took place featuring Carla Jean Whitley of Birmingham magazine, Tanya Sylvan of All in Stride, Williesha Morris of My Freelance Life, and Alexis Barton of Same Chic Different Day.  Alexis also gave the opening keynote speech and then Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Southern Femme closed the conference out by sharing her success story.  What a day!

Afternoon panelist

Afternoon panelist

And all this was possible because of the vision of one woman – Javacia Harris Browser – founder of See Jane Write.  Javacia is quite simply a rock star!  I am forever grateful to her for creating this organization that has given me access to such wonderful and encouraging people.  Thank you, Javacia!

Meeting the Janes has been a highlight in my blogging journey…

 

Sugar Skulls are a Girls Best Friends!

Day of the Dead sugar skull red earrings found at Charming Charlie - they had red ribbons on them but I took those off!

Day of the Dead sugar skull red earrings found at Charming Charlie – they had red ribbons on them but I took those off!

I am always on the lookout for cool and interesting Day of the Dead jewelry.  I have a  growing collection at this point and pull it out every October to wear a few pieces through Day of the Dead.  Not that I haven’t worn some of these pieces throughout the year…I just like to preserve most for the actual celebration period to keep them special.

Turqoise calavera earrings with fuchsia floral eyes...found at Charming Charlie.

Turqoise calavera earrings with fuchsia floral eyes…found at Charming Charlie.

Interestingly, the first place I began finding sugar skull jewelry was at Charming Charlie.  I found a pair of red skull earrings with the small dangling silver chains.  They had red bows on them too but I removed those – that made them a little TOO over the top for me!  I also found a small pair of turquoise sugar skull earrings with fuchsia flowers for eyes.  I wore these last year with a sugar skull scarf I found at Claire’s Boutique many years ago.  Finding DOD items at Claire’s Boutique was another surprise store!

Brown sugar skull with rhinestone and yellow accents....makes the sugar skull look like he can fly!

Brown sugar skull with rhinestone and yellow accents….makes the sugar skull look like he can fly!

Charming Charlie’s has great sales on their jewelry so I always head to that section first and a few years ago I found these funky brown sugar skull earrings…the rhinestones make the skulls look like they have a body and the yellow pieces remind me of wings.  I picked these up for $4 on sale – actually I bought a few and gifted some to friends who have a special interest in DOD.

The last item I found that particular day was a necklace with white sugar skulls, silver, turquoise and cloisonné beads.  I like it because it’s very subtle and the colors go with a lot of things I own.

Long sugar skull necklace with cloisonné beads, and silver beads.

Long sugar skull necklace with cloisonné beads, and silver beads.

On our way back from a family reunion in New Mexico a few years ago, I hit the gift shop at the airport and found so many interesting things.  The jewelry was kitschy like the black Day of the Dead stretch bracelet I picked up.  I also got a few sugar skull and beaded stretchy bracelets that have turquoise accents.  I generally wear these every year during our local DOD festival.

Day of the Dead bracelet I found at the airport gift shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Day of the Dead bracelet I found at the airport gift shop in Albuquerque, NM.

Earthbound Trading at Brookwood Village Mall always has some unique DOD items.  As for jewelry, I spotted some Sugar Skull lapel pins a few years ago and bought one of each design.  I left with 6 and wore them on my jacket to the DOD festival.  They got a lot of attention that year at the festival!

Sugar Skull (calavera) pins found at Earthbound Trading Company store at Brookwood Mall a few years ago.

Sugar Skull (calavera) pins found at Earthbound Trading Company store at Brookwood Mall a few years ago.

My Frida Kahlo stretch bracelet was discovered in a little shop in Forest Park.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that shop is there anymore…  I love the many faces of Frida on this bracelet.  I used to wear it quite a bit but decided to put it away for a while.  It may be time to “resurrect” Frida…

Frida Kahlo bracelet...

Frida Kahlo bracelet…

These pieces are mainly “novelty” type items however I DO like finding interesting artistic pieces too.  I’ll share those pieces and the stories behind those in a future post.

 

Thank you Scott Dinsmore…

Scott Dinsmore's goal setting workbook that I used in July 2014 that lead me to start my blog...

Scott Dinsmore’s goal setting workbook that I used in July 2014 that lead me to start my blog…

One year ago on September 15th, I launched Southern Senora blog.  It’s exciting to think back on when it started.  I pinch myself that I finally went ahead and started this blog after much hesitation, a little fear and soon discovered how much fun this has been.  Then something happened right around my blog anniversary date that really made me grateful that I took this step…

A few years ago I considered getting into the photography business. I had a few moments when I would get real encouraged and then…blah…the feeling would escape me.  The reality is that I enjoy photography so much I just didn’t really want to get into the true business side of it at that point. I love taking photos – something I believe I inherited from my father. I have his Leica camera in a place of honor in my house – loved seeing him with that camera and his leather pouch with all his equipment most of my young life. He was a civil engineer so you know everything he photographed had to be precise!

I put the photography business idea back on a shelf after doing a self-assessment at the beginning of July 2014.  Let me back up a bit.  In June, I was searching the internet for a goal setting exercise for my son when I landed on Scott Dinsmore’s site called “Live Your Legend” – Change the world by doing the work you love.  On his site I was able to download a goal setting and action plan workbook.  This sounded perfect for my son.  Heck, it sounded perfect for my whole family!  So I downloaded it, made copies for everyone and discussed it with the family.  They all thought it was nice but I don’t think they took it too seriously.  Me, on the otherhand…I got serious about this workbook!

I took a few days off to extend the Fourth of July holiday and decided to do some soul-searching.  My little sister, Kanista and I have always shared our New Year’s resolutions with one another to hold each other accountable.  We didn’t get around to it in 2014 – at least not in any detail.  So, I was floundering a little bit and remembering driving to work one day thinking – “what am I doing?”  I mean, I was driving to work, doing my work, but what was I accomplishing?  I think that was the question that really got to me.  What was I accomplishing?  And, in what direction was I going?

I woke up on July 2, 2014 and headed to IHOP for breakfast alone.  I had my notebook and Scott Dinsmore’s workbook and I got to work.  Several hours later, it was all clear.  I wanted to start a blog.  Better yet, I wanted to start a Hispanic Lifestyle blog!  I even had a name for the blog that popped into my head as I worked through this process.  I kept thinking how fortunate I was to have found this website, how much detail and thought was put into it and how I was benefitting from it!

One of the goals and a few action items I wrote out July 2014 that lead me to Southern Senora blog.

One of the goals and a few action items I wrote out July 2014 that lead me to Southern Senora blog.

Then…on the morning of September 16th, I checked my Twitter account – mind you, this is something I don’t do on a regular basis.  The first post that popped up was someone saying “RIP Scott Dinsmore.”  WHAT?  Was I seeing things???  I thought it was a sick joke!  I started searching more #ripscottdinsmore posts and they were so many.  WHAT had happened?  At that point, all I could find out was that Scott and his wife were hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro and he was killed during the climb by a boulder that had fallen on him.  He was 33 years old and he was in the middle of a year-long world tour as part of his Live Your Legend work.  I was beyond sad hearing this.  As I was celebrating my one year blog-anniversary with my family that evening, I shared this with my husband and children and they couldn’t believe it.  They have been so supportive of my blog and knew this was weighing on me as we celebrated.

I didn’t know Scott Dinsmore but his workbook, his website and his TedX video had been (and continue to be) so encouraging to me.  His mission was to help everyone to “find and do work you love.”  I just know that last July 2014, this young man named played a pivotal role in helping me get my blog started.  #RIPScottDinsmore and #thankyou.

Happy One Year Blogaversary Southern Senora!

IMG_7222

One year ago today I launched Southern Senora – a Hispanic lifestyle blog in Birmingham, Alabama!

Today marks one year since I launched my Hispanic lifestyle blog, Southern Senora!  What a wonderful ride it has been so far!

I remember wondering if blogging was something I should attempt.  So, I began doing some research and working through the ins and outs of blogging.  I attended a blog conference by the incredible Javacia Bowser, founder of See Jane Write, and met some wonderful women bloggers that day.   I’ll share more on that in another post.  Then one day shortly after the conference, I was at an event when I ran into my friend and blogger, Chanda Temple.  She asked if I had launched my blog yet and I said, “not yet,” and she said…”just do it!”  And so I did…and I decided on September 15th, 2014.  That seemed like the perfect date since it’s the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month and this is a Hispanic lifestyle blog, after all!  One thing I know about myself…if I set a goal, I’m going to accomplish it some how, some way!  And so it began…

I’ve met so many terrific people along the way…people who have been encouraging and who tell me they love what I’m writing about.  Some have even suggested things for me to write because they wanted to know more about Hispanic culture.  I love when that happens too!  One exciting invitation occurred recently.  Wade Kwon, long-time Birmingham writer, blogger and communications consultant, contacted me and asked if I would like to participate in his 30-day Wade on Birmingham series called the Future of Birmingham.  He launched this series this month in celebration of the 10th anniversary of his blog – Wade on Birmingham.  A few years ago, I probably would have declined thinking this wasn’t something I could do, but this invitation excited me and gave me a wonderful opportunity to share my voice from a Hispanic perspective.  Thanks much, Wade…or I should probably say, Gracias!

My essay has been included in Wade’s ebook, “The Future of Birmingham.”  You can read it (pages 19-21) by downloading the ebook for free at http://itswa.de/futureofbhamI hope you enjoy it and all the other essays included.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one year blogaversary than to share this news.  Like I said…it’s been a wonderful ride so far!