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Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

Lilac Girls | Book Review + Currently Reading

HELLO! I’m back with another book review, this time for Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.

  • Why I read this: A trip to my local library after dropping off some books. I was looking for something new and this was literally the first book I picked up after I went up the stairs to the 2nd floor where the adult section is. (I believe it was the “Top Picks” section).
  • Summary: The story of three separate women during World War II who all have a tie with Ravensbruck, an all-women’s concentration camp in Poland. Each woman’s story is split up by chapter and it goes back and forth between the three women.
  • Relating to the story: One of the big reasons I HAD to read this book as soon as I saw it was because it was about Ravensbruck.  Another book I read recently for my book club had a character that was at Ravenbruck, so it struck my interest right away. I loved how strong + amazing {some} of the women were in this story.  (A reminder of the bravery I would like to achieve one day).
  • Likes: I love stories that go back + forth between characters (ha, I said that in my last book review too).  And I’m becoming so fascinated with the subject of WWII.  I also really loved reading a book with strong female characters (which I believe is a first for me!)
  • Dislikes: Obviously, the subject is hard. It’s WWII and also about a concentration camp. At times, it was hard to read because of the torture and lifestyle of the inmates as well as the physicians at the camp.  Even though I loved this from beginning to end, I had to take a break a few times because it was just too much for me.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5.  This is one of the best books I have ever read, and is definitely on my Top Books list.  The author did a great job of mixing fiction with real events and I loved the tale soooo much.
Thanks for reading this book review!!  Have you read this one?  Let me know in the comments!
Next up for me is Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (which has been on my To Be Read list for a long time) and I’m also currently reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides for my book club.
Happy reading!

the five people you meet in heaven | book review

(This is a post that’s been in draft form for a while).

“We move through places every day that would never have been if not for those who came before us.”

I recently finished The Five People You Meet in Heaven. After peeling my eyes off of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (and feeling a significant hole in my life that only finishing a good book can create), I decided it was time to move on to something else.

  • Why I read this: I found this book in a box while I was unpacking. It’s not very long and it’s moved from place to place with me for a while, so I decided to give it a shot.
  • Summary: Eddie, a veteran and employee at an amusement park, dies from a tragic accident on his 83rd birthday. He awakens not in heaven, but in a place where he is re-connected with five people from his former life, one at a time.

SPOILER ALERT: The 5 people Eddie meets along the way are: 1) the blue man from the carnival he worked at as a kid, 2) his army captain from when he was deployed, 3) the woman who (with her husband) were the founders of the amusement park Eddie worked at, 4) his wife, and 5) the little girl he always though he saw in a fire during the war.

  • Relating to the story: The idea of heaven and the afterlife fascinates me, maybe because I am always on a search to define my own beliefs. This story made me think about 5 people I might meet in heaven, (which I share below). I also loved the idea of being pain and worry-free after I leave this earth, which is something expressed throughout the book by Eddie’s character.
  • Likes: I really liked the author’s writing style and how he flipped between the past and present without much confusion. I also loved how he began each chapter telling the story of one of Eddie’s birthdays.
  • Dislikes: (I didn’t document any dislikes, so I guess I didn’t have any!)
  • Rating: 5 out of 5. I loved this book soooo much.
The Five People I Meet in Heaven

After reading this, I thought alot about who I’d like to meet in heaven. I immediately thought of Alex, my grandparents. Immediate family and friends. But the book portrays meeting “unexpected” people, so I tried to think of people I’d like to meet throughout my life that I maybe wouldn’t be expecting.

  • #1: My friend Rebecca from my early 20s, who was the coolest person I had ever met, and who introduced me to punk rock music, being adventurous, and living free.
  • #2: Colonel Wargo, my JROTC Commander from high school, who was tough but loving.
  • #3: Mimi, the mom of one of my high school boyfriends, who was like a Mom to me, and loved with her whole heart.
  • #4: Ms. DeChatle, my second grade teacher. I remember her being fun and nice, and loving her students and teaching.
  • #5 – I couldn’t come up with one person for #5, so I chose a few: the singer from my FAV band, Bayside. Ali Edwards, Mike, a cop that used to say “Good Morning” to me every day when I arrived at the train station, or some of our past furries and friends who are gone now. Maybe #5 could be a big group of people I knew + loved, which would be super amazing + fun!
So there you have it! Definitely read this book if you can.
PS: You can view a shorter version of this book review on my Good Reads profile. Also, see what other people thought of this book here.

Wish You Were Here | book review

One of the books I recently finished is Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan (sadly, no references to the Pink Floyd song).

I’ll start out by saying first: it took me a freaking long time to finish this book…like 2 months. I picked it at the beginning of December. Yeah, it was bad. Not the book, just finishing it!

  • Why I read this: I wanted to read a book I already had and found Emily Alone, which is apparently a follow-up to this one, so I decided to pick this one up to read first. And I wanted something “light” to read.

  • Summary: This book is about a family that returns to their summer house for the last time for a week-long vacation, right after their beloved husband/father/grandfather passes away. The story is broken down one day at a time through each character’s eyes.

  • Relating to the story: I’ve never had the experience of going away somewhere for the summer, but the location in the story reminded me of the lake community where my in-laws live. Combine that with the craziness + drama that each of the family members had going on and it’s my kinda tale!

  • Likes: I really liked the switch in character views! If there’s not too many to keep track of, this is one of my FAV types of reading. Also the struggle the family had with divvy-ing up the personal belongings of the father that passed away was something I could definitely relate to.

  • Dislikes: As I said, this took FOREVER to read. I found the writing to be really overly detailed. Also, there really were no cliffhangers or climaxes to the book, which kinda made it go on and on.

  • Rating: 3 out of 5. I definitely will read the next book, Emily Alone. But more because I already have it.

Thanks for reading this book review! Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments.


PS: You can view a shorter version of this book review on my Good Reads profile. Also, see what other people thought of this book here.

back at it again | my love for books

Let’s talk books! I’m back to the days where I’m glued to books, like when I was a teenager, reading Harry Potter in my room on summer vacay + hiding from the real world. (Well, sorta…except I have responsibilities + a job + adulting to do now).

Traveling on the train to + from Chicago, I have about an hour each way to do whatever I choose. I often get asked about my long commute, but truthfully I love it since it is at least two hours of uninterrupted me time a day (surrounded by dozens of strangers).

So since I haven’t had lots of time for my FAV hobby, memorykeeping, I’ve been filling it with reading. I used to read avidly when I was younger, then there was a period recently where I didn’t read a book for a year or two. But now I’m consistently reading again and I love it!

Here’s a look at what’s on my “currently reading” list:

  • Robin by Dave Itzkoff
  • Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan
  • The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Club by Darien Gee
I love all kinds of books (with the exception of romance novels…ugh). I’ve been frequenting Good Reads a lot, where I share my currents, my ratings on books, and my want to reads. (Are you on Good Reads? Let’s be friends!).
I’ve been enjoying reading so much that I’m thinking I might create a mini album with my book reviews + what I’ve read. Of course, that’ll be on the back burner for a while, so in the meantime, I think I’ll share my reviews + opinions in this space, as a home, until I can move them into something more tangible.
Until then, back to reading!

this year, I…

(Happy new year!! Meant to post this before new years, but oh well!)

this year I…

 …paid for lots of cuddle time with my favorite bear dog.

…did a lot more yoga than any year past! (YAH!)

…was a date to this hot, rad guy for four weddings.

 …went to a ton of concerts (yah for making up for last year!), including driving to Milwaukee on a Sunday night to see Bishop Briggs.

…danced + sang at the top of my lungs at {probably} my favorite show ever. (also got on hubby’s shoulders during one song!)

…saw Beartooth and Shane from Silverstein/River Oaks twice! BONUS!

…went to the 20 year anniversary tour of 3EB with my sister (one of my FAV memories with my sister ever!) and got to experience them play their self-titled album front to back.
soooo epic!!

…took {what we thought was} a year-long hiatus from IVF procedures, only to find ourselves doing other procedures (that story will be in another post).

…welcomed my new niece and learned to be an aunt for the first time!

…also had lots of cuddle time with my favorite bunny princess.

…became an amateur photographer, with a lovely assistant.

…participated (and was successful in finishing) my first Week in the Life ever!

…learned a lot about “embracing the mess.”

…realized what it was like to be on the other side of a fertility procedure (not being the patient, but being the supporter).


…did more yoga.

…got me some bangs and a new ‘do!

…took lots and lots of lovely, wonderful, magical, sweet, memorable photos.

…gave a beautiful new girl a good home!

…developed a bit of PTSD when our dog Cocoa was attacked by another dog.
…realized just how easy it is for anxiety to get out of control and take over your whole life.
…also realized how hard it can be to get out of that hole and push yourself. 
…remembered (over and over) just how amazing and supportive friends can be.

And finally…

…lived another year that was hard, wonderful, sweet, tragic, and magical with the greatest man in the world.


PS: This post was inspired by Kaelah’s “This Year I…” post, which you can find here.

PPS: Happy new year!