one click (or clip) away from free

My soccermom-ish tendencies, as I like to call them, astound me by the day as I find myself doing things I never thought I would do. Point and case: rambling on and on about the thrill of saving money with coupons.

Coupon clipping isn’t too soccermom-ish, is it?

I like discounts. Even more than discounts, I like free things. If you were asked, “Would you like to get this at a discount, or would you like it for free?” of course you would say, “For free!” Who wouldn’t? It doesn’t get any better than free. (Unless of course the seller decides for some unknown reason to pay you. If you learn how to pull off this bargaining trick, let me in on it.)

All this to say, it’s not that hard to find discounts or, yes, sometimes even freebies by searching online and in magazines, newspapers, etc. I’m still new at it, and saved more than $15 at the grocery store this week alone. Oh, yea. (One free bag of wheat flour? I’ll take it!)

the challenge

Start a blog about your money-saving tactics and excursions. Give insider advice on saving money for just about anything. Review coupon websites, tell us the best coupon magazines to subscribe to, lead us to the best stores. What’s the deal with Groupon? How do you double coupons? Is it worth it to join a library coupon swap group?

possible blog names

  • CouponMe
  • CoupForChicks
  • GreyCoupon (maybe if your last name is Grey, or Mustard)
  • GetYourCoupOn

summer, meet my bucket list

the summer bucket list

Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Summer, ahh. A great time for swimming, tanning, reading, playing, yardsaling, taking trips, and . . . bucket-listing.

Summer is one of those rare times of the year when you just might have enough time to do some of those things you never have time to do during the other three seasons of the year. So celebrate by starting a blog that documents your undertakings to check off the items on your bucket list.

example blog

Bucket List Publications

 

becoming a blog contributor: shameless cheating

Tell me, dear readers, what’s better than a blog by a great blogger? A blog by great bloggers!

If you’re like me, you know there are too many great ideas to make a blog about and only so little time. I can’t make all the blogs. You can’t make all the blogs. But bloggers the world over are still making blogs, and we can’t let them have all the fun without us.

Becoming a contributor for a not-your-own blog is a great way to get to write about those things you’re still passionate about but that don’t mesh with the atmosphere of your blog. Shameless cheating for (former?) compulsive blog creators like me? I think so.

So show some love to my friend Anthony’s new contributor-oriented blog: fiction/nonfiction

Image

P.S. I will be contributing there. Plug yourself in somewhere, too!

blog posts without any pictures

Right now, I’m camera-less. It’s torturous, nearly. Beautiful summer sunset, new items to sell on eBay, the heightening lettuce in my first garden – I can’t snap shots of any of them. What’s a (at-least-I-pretend-to-be-a) photographer to do? Remind me never to lose my camera again.

But really, it is a time of confession. When I first started blogging, I had my own camera. For a few months. I was always on the lookout for blog-worthy photos to complement my posts. Then I lost it (Take this sentence in every meaning possible.). Ever since, it’s been downhill. Yes, I borrowed my housemate’s camera, but it’s not the same. And recently, I feel increasingly guilty that I haven’t returned it to her yet. I probably should . . .

This all leads me to a little preachiness on the importance of having excellent pictures to go along with your blog posts. I really can’t say enough about it. Honestly, every time I write one of those “the challenge” sections, I end up saying something to the effect of “Include pictures of your _______.” (Fill in the blank with whatever random concept I’m telling you to start a blog about.)

I could say some pithy quote about pictures being worth a 1000 words, but honestly my reasoning is just that people like to look at pictures. Even as adults, we’d rather feast our eyes on books, webpages, instruction manuals, etc. that are filled with illustrations rather than settle for dry, word-only content.

So there you have it. What, did you expect me to include a picture or something?

example blog: hamsterdiaries

In my recent post “fish [and other adorable pets] are friends,” I advocated starting a blog about your pet. Fellow blogger hamsterdiaries liked the post, and thus I was introduced to the epitome of an amazing blog about a pet, a Syrian hamster to be exact.

Photo credit: Hamsterdiaries

Hamsterdiaries has a great “purpose statement,” if you will, on the “About the Blog” page, and I just had to share what this blogger wrote, in case you need more direction for starting your own pet blog:

As I recently got a new hamster, Dexter, I thought why not share the experience and problems that occur with these pets on this blog and share with other readers and owners!
I know so many little tricks and ideas for troubled owners to try on problem hamsters and wanted a place to share all the information as well as videos and photos!

On this blog I will:

– share pictures, videos and experiences from my own hamsters life.

– share tips on training, care and taming Syrian hamsters

– answer questions or worries from new hamster owners*!

– post new toys/products etc designed for hamsters and let you know if they’re any good!

Photo credit: Hamsterdiaries

Genius! I would have never thought of writing product reviews or sharing tips for training. That’s why I can’t write all the blogs; I need your help. So blog on!

“fish [and other adorable pets] are friends”

“Fish are friends, not food.” We remember when the indecisive shark in Finding Nemo said this, and it was a bit hard for him to live up to the deep truth he spoke. But not for us. Fish are our friends! They can be the most genial of friends, undemanding and pleasantly reserved (Communication barriers don’t have to be viewed as all that bad.).

Click if you want this one.

But they aren’t our only friends. No, there all the other adorable pets we’ve grown so fond of in our many years of pet ownership. Perhaps you are the well-seasoned “cat woman” of your neighborhood, housing a range of 10-20 animals (mostly cats) on any given day. Or maybe you’re the more well-rounded owner of a few normal pets mixed in with the occasional exotic creature like a lizard or tarantula. Or perhaps you are the less experienced, naive individual with limited pet access in your life’s history.

Wherever you fall in the pet-keeping range, perhaps you are considering getting a new pet soon? I myself must admit that I’ve given it some consideration. Lots of consideration. Okay, I admit to browsing the “Pets” page on Craigslist every few . . . days (Maybe hours, but let’s not get technical.).

Puppies. Kittens. Bunnies. Chinchillas (Really?). Ferrets. Iguanas. Who can resist browsing these pet posts and photos?

the challenge

Get a new pet. It could be one you’ve never had before, or an old favorite. Start a blog about your time with and care for this pet. Have the frequent photo opp. Pose funny pictures. Share stories and adventures.

Please tell me why this picture was a result when I searched for “turtle eating lettuce.” Someone didn’t get the memo about fish being friends.

possible blog names

  • TheDoInDog
  • MyTurtleIsFasterThanYours
  • AlfredTheHamster
  • WannaIquana

a commentary on Fresh Pressed

Bloggers are like people. Well, in most cases, they are people when you think about it. At least, I like to think so. There are occasional moments when I stumble across those captivating blogs of seemingly larger-than-life people with extraordinary lives. Or, I don’t know, maybe I’m the odd one out. Does everyone just happen to travel to Norway and Cambodia every day, take breathtaking photos, and then upload them to their photo blog for everyone to drool over? (No offense, Casey Arneson. I really just needed an excuse to sneak in a link to your incredible work.) It sure seems like it when you scroll through Fresh Pressed, doesn’t it?

I admit, sometimes Fresh Pressed makes me feel that my life is hypo-ordinary.

Some bloggers have ordinary or perhaps even hypo-ordinary lives, that is lives that are less than ordinary and which can seem to be made a bit more ordinary, at least momentarily, in experiencing the thrill of coining new words (as was recently demonstrated through my use of the word hypo-ordinary). But what makes a blogger’s life or experiences or posts the coveted Fresh-Press-worthy?

the challenge

Start a blog that is a commentary on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed. Make observations about the posts. Why do you think a certain post made it on the homepage? What are some common trends in posts they choose to highlight? Do they refer to pop culture, feature amazing photography, include corny jokes?

possible blog names

  • FreshPressMe
  • FreshPressDontMess
  • BestofFreshPress
  • FreshCommentary

the name of the game: names

There are several conversations that are almost unavoidable when two individuals meet one another for the first time. The name conversation is one of these.

Dear parents, think about the name conversation when picking out that lifelong title for your tot.

Now sometimes, both people have pretty normal names. In this case, the name conversation may not happen, or only to a mild degree, unless one person is for some reason unusually interested in etymology or, to be more exact, the origin of name meanings.

But other times, one person has a less common name and the other person notices and makes the same comments that every person makes about the less common name, but regardless, the person with the less common name decides to humor the common-name holder and pretend like that’s the first time anyone has said that. For example . . .

Howard: Hey, my name is Howard.

Virginia: It’s nice to meet you. I’m Virginia.

Howard: Virginia, that’s a pretty name. Isn’t that the name of a state?

(I’m sure she’s never heard that one before.)

Virginia: Yea, it’s the name of a state.

(She says, pretending she’s just learned something new about her name.)

Howard: I didn’t do that well in school. Where is it exactly?

(Why don’t Americans know geography? I’m guilty, too.)

Virginia: East of West Virginia.

Howard: Oh. That makes sense. (With sort of a chuckle.) So there are really two states named after you?

(“Oh, you’re clever,” Virginia thinks.)

Virginia: Well, I’m pretty sure they were named before me.

the challenge

Start a blog about names. Each day, post about names you’ve heard for the first time recently, your findings on the origins of the name, details, how you think the names describe the people you’ve met, etc. Or blog about your name. Document the things you learn about it. This could even turn into an ancestry project. Maybe you even hope to live up to your name? Blog about that and your efforts.

possible blog names

  • TheNameoftheGame
  • WhatsInAName
  • LivingUpToMyName

blogging is the most technologically-advanced thing i do: a plea to innovators and early adopters!

I still have a cell phone two versions earlier than the razor. Yea, it flips open, but not in the hip-flip-phone-kind-of way. I don’t own an iPod, or even a decent pair of headphones. I don’t have a Twitter account. Blogging is probably the most technologically-advanced thing I do all day (Sorry, it’s been a while. Don’t you hate when all of your posts have to contain apologies?), and it took me years to start a blog. I was the pitiful classmate always waiting for a tech-savior during glitches in my PowerPoint presentation.

Ever since studying the technology adoption lifecycle years ago in my Intro to Mass Comm class, I’ve envied the innovators and even the early adopters. These are the ones who joined Facebook before it was a thing, the ones who know how to use new operating systems before they’re even officially released. They could easily list PhotoShop as their second language.

Oh, why have the gods of technology cursed me so?

The technology adoption lifecycle, modified to include the latest of the late, a.k.a. me.

the challenge

So, if you’re one of those 2.5% of innovators, or even if you’re an early adopter, start a blog about it. Post how-to’s for the rest of us. Share your expertise, your wanderings and explorations in the technology universe. Teach us where to buy, what to look for, how to do cool stuff with our gadgets. Help us out.

possible blog names

  • ForTheLaggards
  • InvitationToInnovation
  • TechnifyUs

inspiration here and there

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I find inspiration everywhere.

In listening to Coldplay CDs. In watching interviews of unknown to famous people. In hearing memorable quotes from the average people I know. In reading. In learning to cook. In driving down the interstate. In walking up and down stairs. In browsing through professional photographers’ websites. In cleaning out the junky drawers in my bedroom. In writing itself.

*Recent inspirations*

Quote // “The life in a graveyard is so beautiful.” – a friend of a friend

Slam poetry // Listener’s “Wooden Heart”

 

Phrase // “and so forth and so on”

Cause // Timestwo

Movie // The Book of Eli

challenge

Start a blog showcasing the small to big things that inspire you every day. It may be a list of words, your description of experiences, photographs, websites, movie clips, graphic images – anything, really.

possible blog names

InspirationStation

AspireInspired

TheOnePercent

InspiringThing