Monday, July 7, 2014

You've Arrived at the Next Stop on the Virtual Blog Tour!

The Virtual Blog Tour has come to my blog today!!  My home has never been on a garden or home tour, but that must feel a little like this!  Instead of fluffing cushions and pulling weeds, my preparation for your visit is to write this post.


Welcome! After you read this, I hope you will look around, and then decide to follow/subscribe to my blog -  so you never miss a post.  Being followed is what makes every blogger really happy!  (See right sidebar for ways to follow this blog, using email, RSS, Google+, Facebook, Bloglovin, etc.)

Many, many thanks to Lana from Two Teens and Their Mama and to Rena from The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver, for both inviting me to be on the tour!  

Lana posted a photo of a tour bus in Paris (she is a fashion blogger after all!) in her post about this Virtual tour.  The Red Buses that tour Glacier National Park, MT seem quite appropriate for mine! These buses travel the Going to the Sun Road, which is only about four hours away from where I live.


The Red Buses of Glacier National Park - this photo was taken a few years ago.

Lana and I met through our blogs in cyberspace soon after I began to blog - and our friendship and her support is an example of the best thing about blogging. (Read more about our friendship here.)  Lana writes with humor and insight on a variety of topics, including perimenopause, parenting and fashion.  Her blog has me practically jumping out of bed some mornings - I just can't wait to see what she has written. Her blog is young, but it is catching on fast.  Just this past week she had an article featured on Blogher.  If you haven't yet, you really should hurry right over to Two Teens and Their Mama.

Rena is incredibly supportive - both as a blogger and to her family.  She deals with her own health issues while providing full time care of her mother, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Rena still has somehow managed to find time to create a blog that is both entertaining and a wonderful resource for caregivers, and to provide many comments and encouragement and praise to other bloggers. Rena's blog provides a wealth of information, insight and good sense, with a good dose of humor and patience. Her post The Blog Train Rolls Again is a good example of her warm and amusing writing style, and I feel lucky to know her through her blog.

Tour members are asked to answer some questions. Here they are, along with my answers:

1. What am I working on?
“What don't I need to work on?” might be easier questions to answer! I sort of jumped into blogging a little over three months ago. As a freelance writer, it seemed suddenly important to have a blog!  I bought a very helpful book - Blog INC. Blogging for Passion, Profit and to Create Community, by Joy Deangdeelert Cho (the blogger of Oh Joy!). I read it, cover to cover, in about a day. That same weekend, I thought of my blog name and created my blog.  Since then, I have been trying to learn everything I don't know about blogging. Which is a lot!
  • Time management.  Balancing blogging and life, and getting it all done! 
  • Figuring out the techy stuff.  I need to make sure my blog is searchable, figure out how to add google analytics, make some changes to my layout and template, get better at sharing what I post, understand how to use key words and SEO,  ... .
  • Learn about monetization.  I would love to be able to financially justify the hours I spend blogging by creating some income from it. If only it paid well - writing and blogging would be the perfect job! 
  • Networking.  I love connecting with and supporting other bloggers, and there is a lot that can be learned from visiting other blogs.  However, I need to learn how to be more time efficient doing this! 
  • Developing a niche and brand.  I love to write about so many things.  I feel like my blog is slowly developing a personality, but I am still trying to recognize it!
  • Social media.  This learning curve has been steep.   I am still trying to figure out Pinterest and Twitter, but I am starting to get the hang of Google+ and I love it!  The information, blog hops and linkups shared by Sinea Pies from Ducks 'n a Row has helped me a lot with this!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To answer this question, I would need to know under which genre my blog should be classified!  (If anyone knows the niche / genre where this blog best fits, please let me know!)  Lifestyle blogging describes my blog best, although I also think of myself as a Montana Blogger. We all bring different things to our blog, and mine is heavily influenced by my experiences as a nurse, traveler, mother, and all of my other interests and experiences.

The many topics I blog about include:
  • food, recipes and entertaining
  • leisure activities (books, movies, etc), 
  • glimpses of my travels and life in Montana.
  • household and better living tips 
  • parenting and relationships
  • gardening,crafts and other projects
  • ideas and informational anecdotes 
  • information about products I enjoy
  • health and wellness
  • environmental and social justice / human interest topics
  • A little fiction writing once in a while, just for fun!
See what I mean - I'm all over the map! (I've lived all over the map, so why not blog that way too, I guess!) 

There is an central theme to almost everything I publish, however.  All of my posts relate in some way to "making the most - - of every moment."  I really like a comment Karen from Baking in a Tornado recently left on my blog, "I come here and never know what I'll find, but I know I'll always be entertained."  And hopefully informed. Thanks Karen! 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
Because the words and thoughts are in my head, and I just need to write them down. I publish my writing because I hope it will in some way positively impact anyone who reads it.  I love the creative outlet that writing and particularly blogging provides.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
Truthfully, not as well as I would like! I really need to get a better office set-up, and make better use of organizational tools (my numerous slips of paper just aren't efficient!) 
Learning how to schedule automatic sharing of my posts would be helpful too!
  • Coming up with ideas and writing them down is the easy part.  I am inspired by all sorts of things all through the day, and my photographs are a great vault of memories which often trigger ideas. My writing mind just never shuts off.
  • Too often, I write a post just the day before it is published, often late at night.  For example, I thought of the idea for my Canada Cake after supper and started making the cake about 8:30 pm - and then I still had to take the photos, and write the recipe and the rest of the post! The next morning I shared the post on social media and began to read and comment on other blogs.
  • I write, and then I edit, and edit, and .... 
That is enough about me.  

Now I would love to tell you a little bit about three other bloggers that I have invited to join the tour. It was so hard to choose just three - I have so many favorite blogs! 

My Invitations to the Tour: 

Mangia, Mangia ... No Talk! is such a unique blog that I was immediately smitten.  The old world feel, sepia tones, wonderful recipes, and friendly writing style have me hooked. Marisa, the blogger here, describes herself as a “Writer, Poet, Cook, Wife, Mom, Sister, Aunt and Daughter” and a ”lover of words.” You might be wondering about the blog name. Mangia, Mangia ... No Talk! means ”Eat, Eat, No Talk!” and her Italian grandfather would say this before meals. I encourage you to pay a visit to this blog, as well as Marissa's other blog, SquaareKat!

A Cookie Named Desire is one of my favorite food blogs. The writer behind the blog is Amanda, a recipe developer, photographer and mother of a toddler. I was really surprised to learn that her blog is relatively new. It is so professional looking and (I think) practically perfect.  Her photographs are beautiful, and I want to make nearly every recipe I have seen of hers. I recently made her Strawberry Rhubarb Ice cream recipe and mine turned out so well I had to show a photo of it on my blog!  Reading the posts Amanda writes to accompany her recipes is like talking with a friend.  She is currently on blog vacation, but she may join the tour on her return.  Don't wait for her blog tour post though - you really should just pay a visit to her blog! Amanda's other blog is Subscription Maven.


JENerallyInformed was one of the first blogs I began to follow after I became a blogger. Jennifer's supportive comments on my posts drew me to her site. Her posts, and the “Man Day” posts her husband writes have taught me a lot (and have shown me how much I still need to learn about blogging!) Jennifer Humphries is a public relations specialist, children's book author and Queen Mom to 3 girls and 1 boy. My kids are too old for me to consider myself a true Mommy Blogger (no one calls me Mommy anymore) - but I am impressed by the philosophy behind the #MommyRealityChallenge hosted by Jennifer and bloggers from alavenderlife.com and Leapfrogandlipgloss.com. (You can also find Jennifer on TwitterGoogle+, Instagram, PinterestBloglovin and Facebook. - See more at:http://momitforward.com/old-fashioned-summer-watermelon-bust#sthash.vAM9YEWx.dpuf)

Did you see what I did?  The instructions for the blog tour were to invite two or three other bloggers to join the tour next Monday, and introduce them.  That is exactly what I did - but I used this opportunity to tell you about a few other blogs as well!

When I find something good, I just love to share it!

Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
I hope you enjoyed this blog tour stop, and be sure to visit the blogs I mentioned soon!


Do you have a favorite blog?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog.  Check them out!


18 comments :

  1. Hi Susan I have so enjoyed reading about your writings, I can see why you enjoy writing you have so much to share. I appreciate that you feature other bloggers and that you have found good friends in the cyber world, isnt it great. Thanks for stopping by to share your blog with my readers, IM sure they will take much from it as I. Wishing you a great week, keep writing!!
    Hugs Karren

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Karren! I am glad to have discovered your blog as well!

      Delete
  2. You are one busy girl! Nice to know you a bit more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you stopped by Carol - I always enjoy your writing and your perspective!

      Delete
  3. Susan - this is the BEST blog tour post I've ever read - and I'm not just saying that because I'm in it :) Your answers are so interesting and informative. I will go check out the blogs you nominated and mentioned. Love the pictures - we did Going To The Sun years ago, and I remember the red buses! Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lana - I'm glad you liked it - and thank you for inviting me on the tour!

      Delete
  4. Aww, thanks! Amen to this comment, "I come here and never know what I'll find, but I know I'll always be entertained."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer. I look forward to seeing your post next week on the blog tour!

      Delete
  5. I enjoyed reading this and learning more about you! I like the variety of topics you post about and think you do a good job making them all interesting. I'm totally confused by Google+, so I'll have to check out Ducks 'n a Row!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marie. I enjoyed your past post on the tour as well! I am still confused by the use of all social media, but I seem to understand Google + a little better than the rest!

      Delete
  6. What I have been enjoying most about these Blog Tour posts is learning what makes so many other bloggers "tick". . . or write.
    And to answer your question: yes, also informed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like that about them too! And thank Karen - I hope people leave my blog feeling informed in some way :)

      Delete
  7. You are so sweet to mention our little email-talks! It was my pleasure. I cannot count just how many bloggers have patiently helped me learn on this blogging-journey. So happy to pass some of that knowledge along.
    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The support of other bloggers and willingness to help each other was something I had not anticipated - and it is the best part of blogging! I appreciate all of your help and information Sinea!

      Delete
  8. Great job Susan! Thank you so much for the kind words. I have been struggling with alot of these issues myself. Love the GNP pictures. It's is one of my favorite places in the world! I've probably driven right past you. You're a terrific writer and you always inspire me. Thankyou.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rena - It really is a beautiful park, isn't it? Glad to hear that you have seen it!

      Delete
  9. Oh my goodness Susan look at all the comments before me and you featured me and both of my blogs - I should have commented so much earlier thanking you for your kindness and generosity...I finally have the quietness to read and reflect. I love what you are working on. very similar to what I am trying to learn as well. Your blog is wonderful as is the content. Learning and being presence is key. Thank you for the mentioning by blogs, but also thank you for sharing your favorite blogs....:)
    One more thing I am not getting/understanding Google + someday you need to share this knowledge-
    Have a wonderful evening and week. Next stop the tour comes to my kitchen...all aboard!. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked this post Marisa! I can't wait for the tour stop at your kitchen next Monday! I hope you have a wonderful week as well!

      Delete

Many thanks to everyone who leaves a comment here!