Hello From The Other Side

It just took me 10 minutes to figure out how to log in to wordpress because it’s been so long. So, that’s embarrassing. I guess that means we are probably overdue here.

The other problem I’m having is that I just stared at the screen for over an hour trying to figure out what to say. The blogging muscle is REALLY atrophied, y’all.

It makes sense: my Ad Network canned me (rightfully so for not posting in 5 months!) and my Amazon Affiliates account was shut down. It’s like the universe is saying that this website is just primed (see what I did there?) to just go softly into the night.

But the thing is — I am just not ready to stop sharing.
I’m also not ready to stop writing.

The community and landscape of blogging has definitely changed –so much so that just writing “community and landscape” just made me feel a little bit silly. The internet is vast and full of so many platforms from which to shout that it’s hard to know what, if anything, is left to be said.

I feel like I’ve outgrown this home.
Well, maybe not the house itself, but the decor?
I don’t know why I am turning to metaphor here.
The easiest way to put it is that I am not ready to move on, but I definitely need to spruce some things up around here.
I need a little refresh, but I know that I am not done sharing here.

I’m going to ease back into what feels right, and I think that starts by just showing up here. I’ll be puttering around and changing things to more accurately reflect who I am and what I’m doing here. I don’t know how long that will take or what it’s going to look like in the end. I don’t even know if I remember how to do any of it. All I know is that I miss sharing food, fitness, random thoughts and daily life. So maybe we’ll just start with that.

I’m just not sure how to best do these days between Instagram (love), Twitter (is this dead?), Snapchat (hoo boy someone explain that to me), You Tube (seems intriguing.) But what I do know is that now that I’ve survived the majority of 2015, gotten married and finished most of my thank you notes (:)) and not gone completely insane — I finally have some time to think about all of the things I’ve been missing.

And writing here is one of them. I’m looking forward to sharing the new normal.

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Blogging Nostalgia

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So, do we remember when NaBloPoMo was like, a thing? Now it has been bought and sold and is run by BlogHer and blah blah blah — none of that is really important.

What I do remember fondly though was that back in the day, November was when bloggers made an effort to post Every. Single. Day. I tried a few times and failed, usually on a technicality — forgetting to post something on Thanksgiving or tiring out by the end of the month — but it was fun.

Anyway, I’m feeling a little old school. Also, maybe just a little old — I turned 36 a couple of weeks ago and while I’m not having a crisis over it or anything, I’ll admit to it feeling a little surreal. Aging — such a weird thing. Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, posting everyday in November.

So I’m going to give that a whirl this month. Not in any official NaBloPoMo capacity or whatever, just going to try and pop on here once a day with something to say. The other day I made a list (YAY, lists!) of all the things I’ve been meaning to tell the internet (I’m behind, SO WOEFULLY BEHIND it doesn’t even matter anymore) and there were like, way more than 30 things — so I think I can actually do this thing.

Of course, I may totally forget tomorrow and just fail right out the gate (I’m out of the habit you know plus we are going to look at a wedding venue and I’m sure I’ll be all discombobulated what with the time change and all) but it’s cool. I’ll just pop in and write the next day. Or the day after that.

Point is: I’m making an effort to show up here and babble some in November. On purpose. Not promising it will be cohesive, just promising I’ll be here…mmmkay? You’ve been warned. :)

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A Note About Sponsored Posts

This afternoon I posted my third sponsored post/giveaway/sweepstakes post in a short time. In the last few weeks, I have run more sponsored posts that usual and I haven’t really loved the timing of all of them, if we’re being honest. I was lamenting to a friend about this over drinks last week and I said that I wished I had a way to explain it, like I was doing with her.

And then it dawned on me — I CAN. I’ve never really explicitly stated my stance on sponsored posts or advertising or giveaways and I probably should. This is my website and — hey look at that, I get to decide what gets written — and I feel like we are all friends here so why not just sit down and have a chat about it like I would with anyone I was having drinks with.

The History of This Blog

Almost 8 years ago I started this blog as a place to write. I mostly just wanted to have a place to do that and I’m lazy and type faster than I write. An online journal! How novel! And that is just what the archives of this blog look like from that long ago — sort of embarrassing and very journal-y. Also, sort of boring and narcissistic, but it’s cool because no one was really reading it. In fact most people I knew were like “A blog? WHAT’S A BLOG?” So, no harm no foul you know.

Three years ago I began writing for a health + fitness site about my own personal health journey and most of that changed. All of a sudden I had lots of traffic, people were interested in what was happening with my health, I was writing a lot about CrossFit and Paleo, and that seemed to resonate with people.

This Blog Currently

While I guess you could say that my health journey helped me “find my niche” I still don’t consider this to be a Healthy Living/Paleo/CrossFit blog. This is a website about my life. This is a personal blog. My life just happens to include a lot of things that fall under those 3 umbrellas. I write about weight loss, but this is not a Healthy Living blog. I share recipes, but this sure as hell isn’t a food blog. I write about my food philosophies, but I wouldn’t even call this a 100% Paleo-centric blog because I also freely post pictures of me eating gluten. THE HORROR! So in some ways, I consider myself to not really have any “niche.”

Why Do You Keep Saying Niche — That Is Annoying Word

So, why do I keep talking about niches? Well, mostly because this is also a For Profit Blog. I make money here. As my traffic began to increase 3 years ago, I, like everyone else on the internet who has ever had an interest in NOT working in a cubicle for the rest of their lives, began to think: “Hmm…maybe I could make a part time income from this website.” Garrett and I were talking a lot about having kids at the time, and I thought that tinkering around with making money from a blog might be a fun little project. I’m an entrepreneurial sort, I enjoy projects, so I learned a few things about how to make money blogging. But here is the honest truth: I’M NOT SUPER GREAT ABOUT IT. Making money from a blog takes a lot of time, energy and dedication and there are lots of short term and long term strategies to think about. Also: You sort of need a niche. And damn it to heck, I didn’t want to box myself into one niche. I still enjoyed writing creatively. Without a niche — and a brand (gag!) — it used to be much harder to really make an income, even part time.

The Changing Landscape of Blogging

What has been interesting though is that over the last 3 years, the entire blogging landscape has changed for those who have considered doing it professionally. People who I talk to these days don’t think it’s weird that I have a blog, they know what they are, and coincidentally companies understand the power of viral content and campaigns in a way that I think wasn’t quite as organized 5-8 years ago. Basically things have changed. While making money from an online platform is still the Wild West, things are a little more organized these days. So while it is not currently my focus to make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS (or even a liveable income — as you know, I have a FULL TIME JOB that I enjoy and don’t have any plans of leaving) I still manage this platform as a “professional” one.

What That Means For You

1. I aim to write regular content. Obviously life circumstances get in the way sometimes, but if I am suggesting this is a professional blog, I think it is fair that I acknowledge it as a responsibilty — and one that I take seriously, frankly. It has been YEARS since I have not planned out my week and also included what kind of content I will write here. YEARS.

But I also think it is important to note that I still consider it a personal blog, and fully understand that because of that it is less viable as far as income goes. No niche = No Brand, really and that is alright! I am purposeful about that decision. I don’t want to worry about things like life updates are “Diluting My Brand” (again, gag.) I want to be able to post too much about my dog or my boyfriend or whatever. This blog is about my life, honestly, and I NEVER think about packaging my life into something more marketable. EVER

2. But because I don’t have a niche, I also come across opportunities for profit that are more lifestyle related — and I kind of like it that way. I see a variety of opportunities to work with brands because I write about a variety of topics. But it is important to me to ONLY write about things that fit within my life, and I take that into consideration. There is no amount of money that is worth writing about a product or a brand that I don’t believe in. I don’t agree to sample crap food and write about it. I don’t even agree to sample crap coffee actually. In fact I recently turned down an offer for $1500 freaking dollars. But it involved a coffee brand I despise. It hurt you guys, because that is A LOT OF DOUGH. But writing about stuff you don’t really like for money makes you a douchebag, and that hurts more, I think.

The Revenue Breakdown

So let me be really transparent here, I make money three ways: advertising revenue, affiliate links (disclosure info here) and sponsored posts/giveaways. And for the most part, I work mainly with BlogHer. It is easy and streamlined, legit and organized. Could I do it another way (Passion Fruit, Self Managed, Blah blah blah) YES. But again, I have a full time job and so I am not trying to MAXIMIZE EVER RED CENT POSSIBLE OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET. I am trying to provide some income flexibility for Garrett + I because who knows what will happen when we have kids.

Affiliate links are pretty self explanatory and luckily advertising is pretty simple — there are ads in that right column. BOOM. That’s it. :) I get paid based on my traffic here. (It is more complicated than that, but that is the jist of it.) The revenue is small, but it is enough to pay the costs associated with maintaining this website. I opt out of advertisements and brands that I don’t want to represent (GMO foods, politics, etc) and I think that it is awesome that I use an ad network that allows that (BlogHer, btw. I’m a fan.)

Sponsored Posts and Giveaways are also organized through Blog Her and again, it is simple and streamlined and why I participate. It is also where the bulk of revenue is these days for bloggers. So let’s talk about what sponsored posts I’m interested in writing.

I only participate when I feel like it is a campaign that:

a) Features a product I am genuinely curious about or that YOU GUYS may be curious about

b) The compensation for my time is fair.

c) It is information that I find useful to share.

d) It is a giveaway I’d be interested in getting. (I’m not a big giveaway person, so I really only like to do giveaways that I would be excited about receiving.)

Honestly, that is the long and short of it.

The Bottom Line

I love writing, I love the platform of blogging, and most importantly I love connecting with all of you. NONE OF THIS would be worth doing if I didn’t have the friends I’ve made, the awesome people I’ve gotten to know, the emails I’ve read, and the interactions I’ve had. None of it.

But I want to be transparent and it is my goal is to be compensated for the work I do (and it is a responsibility at times) but I don’t plan to do by being a shady douchebag. NOT worth it. The downside of working within an ad network though is that sometimes sponsored posts are scheduled at random times and I actually don’t have control over that exact date when I agree to it. There is a little room to negotiate, but because I usually agree at least a month in advance, there are times (like this week) when a lot of things go live at once.

No Bueno. But it is also the cost of doing business. Or rather, approaching this as a business.

Nothing will please everyone, and I’d never even try — I’m comfortable knowing that my flavor is just not right for everyone, but transparency is important and I want you to know, like I said earlier, I feel like we are all friends here. So this is the scoop. I’m happy to answer questions or address anything further but this has already been long (and probably) a little boring. But worth sharing because I do want you all to know.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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Summer Survey Time!

You guys, would you be willing to do me a favor? It’s not a big favor, I promise. You see, I’m trying to get to know all of you a little better because for a long time this audience used to consist of, well…my mother. (Hi Mom!) But now there are many more of you out there with thoughts and opinions, and I would like to hear those.

The growth of this little site over the last few years is FREAKING AMAZING TO ME. You people. All coming here and reading what I have to say. I appreciate that so much! I can’t really put it into words even thought I keep trying. Anyway, I would like to keep writing things that you want to continue reading, so I feel it’s about time I asked you what you want.

I thought an anonymous survey would be the easiest, so I put one together in google docs and since it’s the first time I’m using google docs for something like this – HEY-O let’s all cross our fingers that it works. I’m a rookie here. So really, fingers crossed. It’s a short survey, only 9 questions, and if it takes you more than 5 minutes then I will know that you have a future as a novel writer. Which is cool. I will totally buy your book! But mostly the questions are really easy.

I’m interested first to get to know some SUPER basic info about you all — don’t worry, no asking for your Social Security Number — but mostly I hope that your answers and opinions will give me an idea of how I can better tailor the stuff I write around here. If you’ve ever sat through a super boring meeting at work that had nothing to do with your job (ahem) you KNOW how important tailoring to your audience is! :)

It’s Performance Review time at my day job (YAY!) so I think I’m just in the feedback mindset you know? I’d like to make sure I am not blabbering on like an idiot. So talk to me! I appreciate any and all feedback. And also, I’ve got a pretty thick skin — so give it to me straight, friends. It’s totally anonymous, so speak from your heart! I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Thanks, y’all!

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Why I Made A Facebook Page For My “Personal Blog”

First I want to tell you what it feels like to make a Facebook page for your Personal Blog. You know when you throw a party and about five minutes before it starts you have a full frontal freakout that no one will even show up and you will be forced to drown your sorrows alone and eat appetizers for dinner for a week because no one came?

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

Putting yourself out there and waiting for people to “Like” you is an odd feeling. But I’ve been thinking about this experiment for a while, and I decided to try and temporarily put my fear of that aside, and go ahead and made a Facebook Page for Holly Would If She Could. That said, I thought it might be nice to take a minute to tell you why.

It’s no surprise when a business or a niche blog set up a Facebook page, right? It’s just goes along with the territory these days: if you sell stuff and you are not on Facebook — YOU DON’T EXIST. MUAHAHAHAHA (insert maniacal laughter of choice.) But for a personal blog, the area is a bit gray. Since some do it and others can’t even fathom the need I wanted to clarify my intentions, and you know I love intentions.

1. Facebook is convenient for “Community”

Love it or hate it, Facebook is a gathering place. People are there in droves posting, talking, liking and commenting. Many of you read blogs and subcribe via RSS but there are many people who don’t, and I wanted to put the blog out there for those who like to get their content on Facebook.

Also, community is built in with Facebook. It’s like the world’s biggest virtual coffee shop where we are all sitting around shooting the breeze. And I WANT to shoot the breeze with the people who read this blog! That’s YOU! And I want you to grab that latte and sit down and chat and it seems that Facebook has the most comfy chairs and the wi-fi.

2. Facebook allows for communication in real time

This is the best thing about Facebook, in my opinion. Warp speed communication! Obviously I love to blog and I can’t imagine ever stopping, but it is nice to be able to talk about stuff, share interesting things I come across or have conversations without having to come up with an entire coherent post, then wait for comments, and then respond. That is a lot of steps, and honestly it has it’s place. But to me it is like having a phone conversation vs. text messaging. And you’d agree it’s nice to have the option to do both, right?

3. Somewhat Related: Facebook is quick and dirty

I love thinking up new post idea and it’s one of my favorite parts of blogging. But I also love spur of the moment ideas and would like a place to tell you what’s on my mind and hear what’s on yours. Twitter is awesome for that (and of course you can follow me there) but ideas don’t always happen in 140 characters. Sometimes you just want to put something out there and get feedback instantly, you know?

********Which then, of course, leads to the question:

Why can’t you just do this on your personal Facebook page?

The truth, I probably could.

But in short, I don’t think it would be as effective or create as much community — and that is my goal here. I blog because I enjoy writing and LOVE the ideas that get shared, the people I get to talk to (and meet!) and the joy that it brings to my daily life. Truly. I don’t make money off of this blog, it is currently a labor of love that I do because it is SO WORTH IT!

While my personal Facebook page definitely has overlap with the community here at the blog, the style of content IS different. That doesn’t mean that I am a different person on my personal Facebook page, but there is definitely more narrow curation of content when it comes to the blog — and I like that. I think it’s kind of nice to know what you are going to get when you come here.

While Holly Would If She Could is definitely not a “niche blog”, I talk a lot about food, fitness, body image, CrossFit and cooking. Not everyone on my personal Facebook wants to hear about all of that so much. On the flip side, sometimes on my Personal Facebook I talk about local events or getting my tires changed or the amazing frappucino I just bought at the Howe Bout Arden Starbucks. Not that useful to blog readers who aren’t local.

While I think there is a lot of overlap, I truly think it is time to separate the audiences and I’m not a fan of just choosing what I want to share with who, Mark Zuckerberg. I feel like it is a courtesy to all involved to separate blog stuff completely, so that’s what I’m doing. Not that I wouldn’t be Facebook friends with blog readers, but I just think it’s a nice thing to do — to offer an opt-in rather than I an opt-out. For now, I like this solution.

*****************So now that we’ve clarified that:

What kind of content can you expect to see over there?

1. Interesting articles I find from around the web
I like the phone-it-in Friday links post just as much as the next person, but for me, I like instant gratification more. File it under ‘F’ for Flaws. Sure I share items from my google reader (and you can follow those if you like) but there isn’t a lot of space for discussion and Facebook does it better, I think.

2. More thoughts/goals/motivations/process discussions from daily life
Life happens in between well written posts with an introduction and a nicely wrapped up conclusion. I want to capture more of THAT.

What will you NOT see:

1. A page full of auto-feed blog posts for weeks on end
I want this to be A Place, not a list. Expect my voice over there, not just an RSS feed. So even if you already subscribe, hopefully you will still find some useful/entertaining stuff. And if not, well maybe I will change my approach. We will see.

So I hope you will come by and LIKE ME (cue party planning panic) because I really don’t want to eat all these appetizers myself. And if you have already, thanks friend — you’re a real pal!

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Please Excuse The Dust…

So hey — welcome to my new site.  Yep, that’s right after 5 years I thought it was about time to venture into the blogging world without the help of Blogger.

(If you are reading this in a reader, click through and Check it out!)

It got a bit of a face lift and everything…just in time for Kim Kardashian’s wedding. SQUEE!

A few things worth mentioning:

*First, none of this would have been possible without the fabulous Lisa! I have a serious lack of technical skills and to say she was the wind beneath my wings wouldn’t even be a tiny exaggeration. Got a project up your sleeve with no idea how to make it happen? Drop by and check her out. She was a rockstar!

*Second, I will definitely need a minute to get my bearings over here so expect a little bit of experimenting. But if things look a little wonky or don’t work quite like they used to — drop me a line and let me know: hawoodcock{at}gmail{dot}com

*Third, thanks for stopping by and being a part of my little ol’ website. You make my little corner of the internet feel like home, so keep that up, would ya?

Hope you all have a great weekend, and thanks for being patient while I redecorate! You’re the best!

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Random Updates + Bloggy Stuff

I’ll Have the Pancakes in the Age of Enlightenment 

In various forms this week I have seen/heard/read the Voltaire quote that deals with the idea of all of us only being able to tend our own gardens.  I don’t really believe in coincidences so I kind of feel like maybe The Universe (dun dun duuuun!) is slamming me over the head with the idea that I need to quit worrying about everyone else and just do my own thing.  Or, in the wise words of Ronnie and Sammy from the Jersey Shore —  “You do you and I’ll do me.”  I feel like I should win some sort of prize for discussing Voltaire and The Jersey Shore in the same paragraph, no?  The Universe could also just be telling me to finish fertilizing my garden beds too, which I have added to my To-Do List this weekend. 

What the World Needs Now is Another Celeb Memoir

Speaking of things I am planning on doing, since I love talking books with you all so much that I’ve decided to start something new around here.  It’s going to be called I Read Celebrity Memoirs So You Don’t Have To — I will let you connect the dots on what that is going to be about.  I figure it will make me feel slightly less guilty about all the trashy celebrity books that I read if I can tell you about them.  I will consider it a noble deed, eradicating the need for others to read bad celebrity memoirs.  This is the cross I will bear for you, dear reader.  And since we are on the topics of books and reading, I’ll be posting my monthly book list on Monday, and there were some interesting ones this month — even a celebrity memoir (or two…Jeez, I’ve got a problem.)

Coming Soon to an Unambitious Blog Near You

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately and some of the things I feel like doing with it.  Don’t worry, this it isn’t anything conceptual.  I’m not “changing my niche”.  I don’t plan to “build a brand”.  I don’t need this blog to “take me places.”  This will not be a platform for my future “world domination”.  I also do not plan to overuse quotation marks (though I can make no promises about Caps Lock.)  None of that is what this marination is about.  I’m talking more on the superficial front.  I have a bazillion ideas that run through my head each day about things I should post.  But then my brain starts to short circuit or I think — dude, you don’t even have a category for that, you can’t post that — and then I don’t.  Which is dumb, so I plan to stop that.  

I read a lovely quote this morning via a link on Making it Lovely and it the following line struck me:

If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strick you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.  All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.

This was meant for “artists” but I consider writing to be under that umbrella and I just loved hearing this idea again.  It’s not about waiting for inspiration, it’s about churning out garbage and finding the gem.  In my mind I consider this website a journal of my life, but there is just so much that I forget about, miss the opportunity to post about, or just plain get lazy about documenting for fear that it will look out of place or people won’t get it or won’t care.  But you know what?  The truth is that I look out of place sometimes and in that way it would be the most accurate portrayal. 

Don’t worry I’m just talking about doing some fun voyeuristic things like A Day in the Life — don’t you love those sort of fascinating looks into other people’s lives?  Or I might jump on Sarah’s bandwagon and do 30 LittleThings.  Maybe I’ll start photographing what I wear again — it’s been a while and I basically have nothing to wear so maybe that will reinvigorate my creative side.  Who knows.  Like I said, superficial stuff that makes me happy.  This is a blog, not a branding document. 

I hope you will stick around for the ride!
______________________

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Well would you look at that…

I’m interrupting your regular broadcast here to point out a few features of our Boeing…

….wait, where is this metaphor going?  Oh right, Blog Navigation!

So I’ve updated a few things here and there for better-ish navigation.  It was about time, really.  Frankly it is about time for me to burn this baby to the ground and head over to wordpress but there are just so many steps to that in my mind, so that is coming eventually.  But for now — a few quick fixes. 

1.  A New About Page — Who the hell am I?  What the hell am I doing here?  All of these deep metaphysical questions are answered there.  Also — my email address! For love notes!  I am currently accepting them.

2.  A Recipes Tab — As it says, there is not a lot in there right now.  This is sad considering how much I actually cook.  I’m hoping to add some more original recipes in the near future so stay tuned for that.  

3.  My 2011 Goals —  Because who doesn’t like to look at the things other people are pushing themselves to do?  Isn’t that the best inspiration?  Anyway, this is what I’m up to and thinking about this year — have any solutions?  I’m all ears.  

4.  My Cooking Bucket List — I hate the phrase “Bucket List” almost as much as I hate the phrase…well, let’s not even go there.  But how else do you say “A List of Stuff  That I Would Like To Cook At Some Point In My Lifetime” in 3 words without it?  Necessary Evil I guess.  

So that’s the story, morning glories.  Take a look around, stay awhile.  And while you’re at it, let me know what you think!

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Time Flies When You’re Having…Well, let’s just say time flies, shall we?

The last couple of weeks…oh lordy, the last couple of weeks…can I tell you?  They have been interesting.  Lots of work-ish stuff going on, which of course keeps me from blogging.  You know the feeling, all you want to talk about is what’s happening with this GIANT UNBLOGGABLE TOPIC, and then all of a sudden time passes and you realize that this all consuming things has made you utterly boring and you have nary an interesting thing to say.

Yeah, that’s been me as of late.  Life is good though, no need to worry, I’ve just sort of been out of the loop.   And I hate that.

So I just wanted to pop in and say hello for a minute and let you know that on Monday I will be back with some regularly scheduled programming.  People are often curious why I write here since it’s mostly just my personal drivel, and many can’t quite understand how I could possibly call it a hobby…but seriously, when I don’t write here — I MISS IT!!  (And of course I miss you guys, duh.) 

I had a friend once who ran marathons and I just could not wrap my brain around marathons as a hobby because it sounds like torture but then she said, “I just feel gross if I’m not running regularly.”   And that, I understand.  If I’m not writing, I just kind of feel gross.  Life sort of isn’t in balance. 

So I hope you are all doing well, and are planning to have a nice relaxing weekend, and here’s to next week, catching up, writing some stuff down, and nixing The Gross! 

Toodles!

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My So-Called Blogging Life

(This post is a part of Gwen Bell’s The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Thanks for the great inspiration idea, Amy!)

Blogfind of 09

A single find? Well that is a tall order.

I’ll start by saying this. I’ve always been kind of a joiner. Growing up I was super involved in dance and when I say involved I mean, IN-VOLVED. Man, I did so much tap, jazz, and ballet from the age of 3 on, that you would never have doubted my commitment to Sparkle Motion. It felt like breathing, it was just what I was meant to do pretty much every day and I loved it. I always knew what was expected of me and I pushed myself until I succeeded. If nothing else it certainly taught me a lot about discipline and spandex — and frankly both have come in handy in my adult life. I danced right up until high school when I had to make the OMG-HUGE-HUGE-LIFE-CHANGING-DECISION (ha!) of whether to quit dance to join the cheerleading squad at my high school. And whew! Were those some sleepless adolescent nights.

In the end I did quit dancing, but I basically just replaced it with the sort of high school shenanigans that inspired pretty much all 97 incarnations of the Bring It On franchise (and for the record, I want you all to know I never dropped The Spirit Stick.) — but as cheesy as it sounds, those are some of the best memories of my life. There really is a little bit of magic that happens when a group of like minded gals get together to do something that brings them joy. It’s why in college I ended up going the sorority route (though that ended up totally NOT being for me), and it’s why as an adult I pretty much love everything about being a card carrying member of Junior League…it’s nothing like the pearl wearing housewives club that you would imagine, and I have met some of the coolest gals on the planet.

Now of course when you are talking about groups of women, there is always the possibility of that magic turning into that of the “Mean Girls” variety, but as I get older I find myself encountering that a lot less frequently. I think as my age has increased, my tolerance for catty bullshit and exclusiveness has decreased — especially since I’ve gotten much less afraid to express myself — and as a consequence I find it seems to happen so infrequently. Well, I take that back, I definitely still see it, but I guess more accurately it just doesn’t have the same effect. I sort of roll my eyes and move on.

I guess all of this is to say that this year — 2009 — my “blog-find” is not just a single link. Sadly, part of the reason for that is that my favorite blogger EVER decided to quit blogging (so sad!). But more importantly, my “blogfind” this year was really so much than I can portray in just a few links (Plus, I’d hate to leave someone out, because there goes that exclusive thing again). For me, it was more of a shift in perspective. This year I realized that blogging is more of a community for me than I ever thought it would be. That I’m not just some random gal sitting in my office, or on my couch typing away alone. I’m in a HUGE room (that spans the globe!) full of a bunch of other like minded gals (and guys, of course too!) who are just putting their thoughts and ideas into words trying to make sense of it all. I kind of feel like that iPhone commercial….”Need to know how many calories are in your dinner? There’s an app for that.”

Want some advice about how to decorate your house? “There’s a blog for that”
Need some inspiration for continuing to write your novel? “There’s a blog for that”
Garrett’s job is moving to Denver, who the hell do I even know in Denver? “There’s a blog for that”

And behind every blog is someone fabulous and helpful. Someone who understands the power of a friendly email or comment. Who realizes that sometimes words from strangers are more meaningful than advice you get from people in real life. Who will tweet things that make you laugh so hard you snort when you are having a bad day. Who will provide you with inspiration when you aren’t finding much. These are people who understand how awesome it is to have broad network. We’ve got a community here, us bloggers — and the whole is so much great than the sum of its parts! And really feeling this in a tactile way this year — that is my best blog find.

And in my humble opinion, that realization is much more powerful than a little link love.

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