Bloggiesta Finish Line


There it is!  No longer a mirage…. it is… it is…

the finish line.

So what happened here?

I cleaned up my sidebars, uncluttered and put into storage the old challenges, seasonal links, and tossed the outdated.

I took part in all the mini challenges which are always such fun

I prepped posts for upcoming reviews with cover pictures and synopsis of book to give me a jump-start when writing the reviews

I took the vacuum cleaner attachment to my tag list and blew away all the unused and no purpose

I created a scrolling blogroll of my favorite blogs to read – thank you Hannah at Wordlily for walking me through the process!

I prepped “rainy day” posts – fun topics, bookish thoughts for the days my brain says “you got nothin’!”

For a brief moment I thought I would color tweak again as that has become a Bloggiesta tradition but I am happy to say that I changed my mind and feel I have finally come up with just the look I want for this blog and I am happy to stick with it.

My only task I thought I would accomplish and I did not was I wanted to visit all the participants.  I did this the last Bloggiestas but there was no way this time.  The participants list is huge and I just did not get there.  😀

Total hours invested:  27

I am thrilled with the outcome.  It was nice to set aside a weekend and dig into the things that have really been bugging me but I did not have time to do anything about.

And so…. until we the next Bloggiesta…. So long, farewell….

Morning Meanderings… Bloggiesta Day Three

Good Morning! Hello to my little friend – COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE  😎

Yesterday was a pretty good day as well as I continued work on the Bloggiesta.  Between house cleaning, a little reading, and an afternoon movie – I managed to put in 6 hours for a total of 16 hours in the past two days.

Today being the big finale what I most want to do is visit other participants.  I love visiting new blogs.  I have a little more sidebar work to do and a couple of post ideas to finalize but I feel good about what has been accomplished.  I will post my wrap up tonight before I put up the Monday, What Are You Reading meme.

I hope everyone who has participated this time is having a lot of fun!  I think this time around is the first time I didn’t have a lot of internal work to do…. mainly, I have spent this Bloggiesta working on updating and future posts.  Two things I have wanted to be working on for a while now but did not have the time.

Now here is my early morning funny happening.  At 6:03 a, my cell phone rings.  It is in the kitchen on the counter but I can hear it from my bedroom.  I drag myself out of bed and fumble my way to the phone .  I check to see whose call I missed and it was my Pastor.  I dial back thinking something must be going on, first service starts at 8:15, maybe something is needed, there was an accident (my imagination is vivid!).  He answers the phone and I ask him what’s up.

He says, “Did I call you?”

“You did.”  I say.

“That’s weird,” he says, “this phone rarely does that, did I wake you?”

“Yes, but that’s ok, I thought maybe something happened.”

He laughs, “Nope…. sorry about that.”

I laugh and in a strained high-pitched voice I say, “Are you calling everyone?”

“Yes,” he responds.  “Just trying to drum up some first service attendees.”

LOL.  I LOVE my church.

Have a great morning everyone.  I am up now and going to make the most of it 😀



Morning Meanderings… Day Two… Bloggiesta Update

Good morning!  Day two!  I had a great Bloggiesta day yesterday.  I managed 10 hours of updates and maintenance… I had on my workman overalls and I was right down in the midst of the blog engine…. tinkering, cleaning, a fresh oil change, tweaking the carburetor and I think I actually accomplished a lot.

Sure, when I was all done putting it back together I had a few parts left over… but I don’t think they are really needed… I am pretty sure in fact they are extra pieces…

which I just put under the rug.


Today I will continue on catching up on post writing and a few planned posts that I have been thinking about for awhile….I am hoping by the end of the weekend I will have Wordshakers up and running again too.

Game on!  😀

Morning Meanderings: BLOGGIESTA STYLE!

Good morning!  25 below zero this morning in Brainerd Minnesota …. a perfect day to BLOGGIESTA!!!!

This morning kicks off the 4th Bloggiesta weekend and I have participated every time Natasha at Maw Books has hosted this.  I have said this before but I feel it is worth repeating…  Bloggiesta is probably why I am still blogging today and loving it so much.

Here is the short version of that story:

When I first started book blogging on June 9th, 2009, my blog looked nothing like what it does today.  I knew how to basically put up a post.  That’s it.  I knew nothing about changing the background color of my blog, linking, copyright,drafting new posts for the future, RSS… basically – if it had to do with blogging, I probably didn’t know it.  😀

The first Bloggiesta (my post here)was 10 days after I became a blogger and I embraced it fully.  I wanted to know how to do the things I had seen on the other blogs.  I literally spent every free hour I had that weekend working on my blog, doing the mini challenges and learning as much as I could.  I came out of that weekend a better blogger and I know that has to do with everyone who participated in Bloggiesta and really helped me with all my questions.

Every Bloggiesta since I have participated and I have learned something new.  If you have not already signed up to participate – pop on over to Natasha’s and learn more about this.  You will not regret it.

My goals going into this challenge will be posted here and I will cross them off as I achieve them.  I am sure I will add to this list as I think of more:

Clean up my sidebars – I have some thoughts on this – just have not taken to time to do it

Participate in all the mini challenges

Go through and update my blog tags

prep posts to books I have started or plan to be reading soon with book cover, basic synopsis and notes to make things quicker when I do write the review

Clean up posts I need to write for book completed

Prep 3 – 5 “rainy day” posts for the days I literally…. got nothing.

Visit all participants – I love seeing the other blogs!

Possible color tweak… it is kind of a Bloggiesta tradition that my blog background changes but I am not sure about that yet. Changed my mind…. I like it the way it is.

On a side note, I was just thinking how I met Natasha at BEA this past May,  She was with Amy from My Friend Amy’s and it was great to meet them both because of what I see them do throughout the year to contribute to my favorite part of all of this:  The Book Blogging Community.  Both of these bloggers invest a ton of time into events like this Bloggiesta, and Amy hosts the BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Award).

Amy (My Friend Amy), me, and Natasha (Maw Books) BEA in May 2010

I will still be doing my regular reviews this weekend as well, I will just start each morning updating you on what is happening with the Bloggiesta!  😀

Ready?  Set?  Bloggiesta!!!!

The Bloggiesta – That’s A Wrap!

*Whew*  I made it.  Bloggiesta this weekend was a lot of fun and while I had big commitments I was able to put in time around them and actually make a bigger dent than I thought I would in blog upkeep, repairs, maintenance…

Here’s the drive through version:

  • I worked on and completed all mini challenges (except the picture one – which would have been fun, but I just didnt get there…..  “Doh!”)

  • I painted – (err…. changed) my blog background color.  (If you were with me through the many hours I spent working on that – thank you for your input and support!)

  • I wrote the 10 reviews I had pending and have them drafted and ready to go… a day at a time

  • I wrote two Rainy Day posts – that are really fun (I think) and can’t wait for it to rain!  😀

  • I sent out two author chats and wanted to do more, and will!

  • I gave my side bars some love – and they need a little more yet….

  • I spent several hours making a new header, deleting it, making a new header, deleting it… until finally at about 1:30 am on Sunday morning I managed to create this one and like it.  *Small victory dance!

  • I went visiting new blogs – which I always enjoy and made my way to 33 new blogs to me, and 72 Bloggiesta participant blog visits over all

  • Blogging Buddy was actually a Fall 09 Bloggiesta challenge but I saw that Lydia at The Lost Entwife was looking for one so we completed the secret blogger handshake.

SO… overall I put in 28 hours in the Bloggiesta which is amazing considering I worked 10 hours on Friday and had dinner plans, had a set up commitment on Saturday and more dinner plans, and Sunday set up beds for 16 people in our homeless program, purchased the food needed for the week,  and helped make dinner for the guests as well.

Oh and winner of the Pinanta hitting challenge (using is:

Samantha (Runner Sami)

Samantha’s comment was:  Great post! I would have to use a lightsaber if I could. If we’re being realistic then I’d use a poker. :)

Samantha – email me your shipping info and I will get the book and chocolates  out to you this week!

CrAzY wEeKeNd – but so much fun.  😀

Bloggiesta June 11-13 (Sticky Post – all new posts are below)

Bloggiesta has come and gone.  My wrap up post will be up later on Monday

It is that time of year again and I am ready!  Up until a few days ago I was not planning on participating as I had a weekend bike ride commitment.  Well, life happens and my schedule changed where I needed to work today and could not find enough help to cover my Sunday commitment so I had to take a pass on the bike ride.

What is Bloggiesta? (In Natasha, Maw Books words)

In short, it’s a blogging marathon.  An opportunity to cross those nagging items off of your to-do list and improve your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing.  Break out the nachos, enchiladas, drinks, mariachi music and whack a pinata or two!

In my words?  It is Blog Housekeeping and I am ready!  Below is my list of plans to do this weekend and I will cross them off as I accomplish them.  I will post my updates on Twitter (bookjourney) #Bloggiesta .  On Monday evening I will post my wrap up.

1.  Write reviews and catch up 100% (Reviews completed  1 2 3 4  5 6  7  8  9  10)

2.  Write back up/ rainy day posts (those ideas I have had for a while but have yet to put in print)

3. Prep my Michael Sullivan weekend post idea

4. Contact the authors who have agreed to Author Chats and submit my questions

5.  Prep Author Posts

6. Update my side bar books

7. Update the challenges

8.  Update my giveaways link

9.  If I am brave I am going to change my back ground color of my blog because for me that is Bloggiesta tradition.

10.  Play around with my header a bit (ooh I am loving my new header!)

11.  Visit at least 20 new blogs (40 visited so far)

12.  Bloggiesta – Blog Buddy Time (Hi Lydia – thanks!)

13.  Do all of the mini challenges

Bloggiesta – I can see the finish line!

First of all thank you so much to Natasha at Maw Books for hosting this incredible event!

So it is now time to recap this weekends Bloggiesta.  I had a BLAST!  I love this event and I always learn so much and have so much fun visiting the blogs of others.  On Friday when I started the Bloggiesta I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish.  As I traveled to other participants blogs and seen their goals… my list grew.  So here is my recap:

  • Catch up on writing all the reviews for the books I have completed (Yes!  I have 5 posts written and hope to do a couple more tonight after floor hockey!)
  • Have back up posts ready to go (Yes!  Created 4 conversation/idea posts ready to go when needed)
  • Send out invites for authors chats with a few authors  (3 invites out and one positive response back at this time!)
  • Clean up my Wish List link  (Yes!  Now I just need to add more to it…LOL)
  • Organize all my pages (Yes!  I went through and cleaned up outdated info…)
  • Create a new Blog Badge (Yes and I love it – upper right sidebar)
  • Love a bit on my blog roll…. it needs a face lift! (I cleaned it out and need to enter some new ones)
  • Love a little bit on my blog (Yes!  I actually loved a lot on my blog and the new color is the result of that)
  • Clean up my book related emails (I went through and categorized those I needed to save and eliminated the ones I no longer needed.  I went from 98 to 33)
  • Get out and visit other blogs!  Life has been so busy lately I have not had a lot of time to do this part of blogging which I love! (Yes – I visited all blog participants as well as many others.  I still have some regulars I hope to stop in and sat hi to tonight)
  • Post the awards that I was planning to do at the end of December  (That is my Sunday night task… I hope to do this monthly after this)
  • Revisit last Bloggiesta’s mini challenges to see if there is anything I may have missed (I did and it was fun to do some of them again or to be reminded of where I had learned a particular task to begin with!)

  • Take a look at My Review Policy (written during the last Bloggiesta) is it still current? (Yes – looked at and tweaked)
  • Catch up on the giveaways that I still need to post  (I have two more to go but I have posted three over the weekend so I am getting here.  Trying not to crowd them)
  • Stop in and see and comment on every participants blog (Yes done with the exception of one bad link and two that wouldn’t take a comment)
  • My Blog Buddy is now Esme from Chocolates and Croissants!  Thanks Esme!!!

As for the new Mini Challenges:

Over at Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog I made some blog resolutions.

At Pam from Mother Reader’s Blog I set a goal to visit at least 5 book blogs a day and leave a comment.  I am going to make this goal be that I visit 5 new blogs to me and leave comments.

At There’s A Book blog I discovered a great idea to make a cheat sheet for all the links we use again and again in our posts to save time.  I saved mine to Google Reader and have already put it to use!

At Pam’s blog I was reminded the importance of putting a copyright on our blogs.  This is the one challenge I was unable to finish because I couldn’t figure out how to do it.

At Beth Fish Reads there was a great reminder about labels and for the most part I had this one down but it was agood reminder and I did make a couple corrections.

Thanks to Farm Lane Book Blog I backed my blog up for the first time ever.  🙂

Karin at Karins Book Nook linked me up to a couple places that would check my blog for dead links.

Chelle from Tempting Persephone was probably my favorite challenge because it was such a  great idea!  I chose three of my posts that had a lot of traffic and comments and put them on my sidebar.  I love this!

At Bookworming in the 21st Century I signed up for the Mentor program.  This idea is brilliant!

At Jenn’s Bookshelves I brainstormed a list of future blog ideas…. some of which I have already prepped posts for.

I am ending this Bloggiesta tired and happy.  I invested 23 hours and I think it was time put to good use.  I commented on probably close to 200 blogs over the weekend, all of the participants, all of the mini challenges (old and new) and about 50 others in there.  Because of this event I can relax a bit knowing I have back up posts.  For upcoming reads I have put the initial pieces already into posts for them so I can update them with my thoughts when it is time to post.  My blog once again has a whole new look.

Pedro says , “Good night!”

Next Bloggiesta:  June 2010


Bloggiesta! 2nd Addition Starting Line

It has begun!  Today through Sunday I will be in Bloggiesta mode.  What exactly is Bloggiesta?  Well it is a time to take a closer look at our blogs and do some…. well, let me let Pedro the mascot, explain it.  Pedro?

Plan.  Edit.  Develop.  Review.  Organize.

That’s it.  Through mini challenges this is a time to plan out 2010 and get a little organized.  I want to share with you a few highlights from the first Bloggiesta event:

I had just started seriously book blogging about two weeks prior to this event.  Somehow I heard about the Bloggiesta and thought it would be a great way to perhaps (maybe) learn more about blogging, reviewing, etc….  I created a “to do” list and I participated in everything I could.  I learned so much through that event that my blog came out the other side looking sharper, more effective, and I had a new confidence of how I was going to go forward.  That was over 6 months ago and I cant even believe how much I am enjoying connecting with others through this Blog.  And now thanks to all those who helped me, I am able to help others.  🙂

Here is my weekend to do list:  (I will probably add to this as I go)

  • Catch up on writing all the reviews for the books I have completed
  • Have back up posts ready to go
  • Send out invites for authors chats with a few authors
  • Clean up my Wish List link
  • Organize all my pages
  • Create a new Blog Badge
  • Love a bit on my blog roll…. it needs a facelift!
  • Love a little bit on my blog
  • Clean up my book related emails
  • Get out and visit other blogs!  Life has been so busy lately I have not had a lot of time to do this part of blogging which I love! (and still going!)
  • Post the awards that I was planning to do at the end of December
  • Revisit last Bloggiesta’s mini challenges to see if there is anything I may have missed
  • Take a look at My Review Policy (written during the last Bloggiesta) is it still current?
  • Catch up on the giveaways that I still need to post
  • Stop in and see and comment on every participants blog (currently working on)

Here are the links to the wonderful mini challenges which I hope to participate in every one of them!

If you have time – I would suggest you go and sign up over at Maw Books and join an event that may very well make a positive difference in your blogging experience!

I will be keeping track of the invested Bloggiesta hours here:  as of 1/10/2010 10:07  a.m.   17 hours

Party Time!

Here is my starting line post from the last Bloggiesta.   And here is my finish line post from last time.

Blogiesta : 2nd Edition

I am foregoing the Morning Meandering today to instead, let everyone know about the upcoming Blogiesta this Jan 8,9, and 10th.  The 1st Blogiesta that was held in June 2009 was right when I started blogging and it was not only timely for me – but so helpful.  (I will go more into detail on that this Friday at the kick off.)

If you are not familiar with the Blogiesta, pop over to Maw Books Blog and see what it is all about.  Basically it is a great way to learn more about blogging, meet new people, and make some blog improvements that you may have been putting off or did not know how to do. There are mini challenges as well as prizes.  It is not to late to hop on board and seriously – if you can participate, you wont be sorry.  This is like a blog makeover weekend!

Head over to Maw Books and see all the details on this wonderful event – I would love to do this with all of you!

Bloggiesta Finish Line!!!

“Whew!”  What a great weekend and what a great challenge!  I finished!  I feel a little giddy as I look at blogiestaall that I accomplished during this 48 hour challenge and I an THRILLED with the results!   (Link to the original post)

Here are a few highlights:

  • Totally restyled my entire blog layout
  • Visited many of the other bloggers who were involved in this challenge as well to see their blogs and layouts, how they review, style, etc…. I learned so much!
  • Read all of the Blogging Tips page on Book Blogs and picked up many great ideas – some that I have already applied, some I hope to.
  • Completed all the Mini Challenges!!!  (What an awesome addition to the challenge!)
  • Created several new pages to my blog and learned how to add pages within the pages (very very cool!)
  • Completed my first two Guest Blogger reviews and LOVE the result!
  • Cleaned up my dining room table work space by drafting posts for all the books I am reviewing so I am able to just pop in my review when the book is read.  All the links, hosts, pictures, etc are done!
  • I completed a couple random draft posts to publish whenever
  • I sent interview questions to two different authors I know and hope to have their information back soon so I can get the authors interview page looking super fine!
  • My son took a few pictures of me “in book review” mode for my blog to update the outdated ones.
  • I read a ton of info on blogging thanks to the advice of many of the mini challenge sites, and learned a lot
  • My blog score from the one challenge was 71… I changed some things and did the review again and it went to 77!
  • My side bar has been cleaned up and I am still looking at other things to do by watching what some of the great bloggers out there are doing and what looks good.
  • I went to an authors event Friday evening and purchased her book and sent a letter this weekend to her thanking her and giving her my blog info.  I also sent out 10 other letters to area authors.
  • Caught up on reviews I had not posted yet.
  • I created a business card that I really really like and will use when in book related events.
  • I think I left at least 20 comments on different sites and I am continuing to do “visitations” yet this afternoon
  • Total hours invested in the challenge:  a little over 18 hours
  • *** Update as of 1:01 am on June 22….. I have linked on and left a comment on all the Bloggiesta participants that have logged in as having posted their final Bloggiesta words…. (with the exception of one that would not load even after three attempts…)

Final results:  A great looking blog (I think so anyway), new relationships started with other book bloggers, a better understanding of widgets (although I am still trying to grasp how delicious and mebo work…).

Thoughts for the next Bloggiesta… well I thought this was pretty great.  I don’t really know what I would improve on.  The mini challenges were really fun and I would definitely do that again and wouldn’t mind being considered as one of the host spots for a mini challenge.

I just keep opening up my blog and looking at it!  Pretty cheesy of me…. but I am just loving it!  Thank you again to everyone involved!  Standing ovation and a mental high five to each of you.

Today I am going to try to stop in throughout the day at all Bloggiesta participants blogs to see how they did and what they changed on their blogs.  I really learn a lot just by getting off my own page and going out and visiting!  🙂

Here are some challenge pictures:  Enjoy!

P.S.  as for the book shelf that was on my challenge to do list…. uhhhhh… yeah….. it is still in the box, laying in the library…. guess that will wait for a rainy day…. 😉