Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Links We Read and other daily stuff

Hi, my name is Bree and I'm a list addict. Welcome to my weekly list love. 
  • Ashley does it again with another great post explaining Google Analytics
  • Love this heart felt article about expert shopping at Costco 
  • Have a thing for those subscription boxes? Try Graze
  • Cool idea for content generator
    • Foodie stuff
      • The Kitchn's 20 Magnificent Ways to Eat Peanut Butter
      • I really want to try making these coconut cornbread muffins but without the berries. Think it would still work?

      I am behind on my #30tasks30days challenge. I tackled it like a champ the first week. Did fairly well the second week. Failed miserably the third week. :( Vacation starts next week. I need to kick it into gear to finish list before the 25th.

      This week I found out both my adult children are now unemployed. Oh, the joys. Luckily, they each have enough savings to last several months of unemployment. I guess that's pretty good considering both had jobs that only paid minimum wage.

      I received my first letter from my Secret Sister. Woohoo! Plus I sent out some little gifts to my Secret Sister.

      Expect to see lovely Alaskan photos here every week till November.

      All set to start my vacation next week to Kenai Peninsula, Alaska except one little thing. I need a current driver's license. Oops. Hopefully I pass my test on Thursday.

      Some Black and White Beauties

      Denali Park road

      Braided River

      2nd Week:
      1. Email my parents (said but it has been awhile since I've sent them photos and updates)
      2. Travel interviews
      3. buy new theme or switch   (I bought the amazing Tweak Me 2 by Ashley @NoseGraze)
      4. Mechanical Turks
      5. short codes?
      6. Photo websites
      7. Create logo and brand - urgh, I do not enjoy creating stuff like this.
      3rd Week:
      1. Add feature photo to old posts
      2. Stumbleupon
      3. Add Bloglovin and Feedly buttons
      4. Add author box to posts
      5. Child Theme?
      6. Back up blog
      7. Update newsletter
        This Week:
        1. Tastespotting and other food sites
        2. Expert Experiment update
        3. Reach out for guest posts - any interest in trading, hit me up. 
        4. Create book page
        5. Shutterstock
        6. Update wine notes from Evernote
        7. Add Paypal donation button
        8. Make header photo full length
        9. Make "leave a comment" bigger

        Currently reading:


        How was your week?

        Wednesday, August 19, 2015

        Week Two Update: #30tasks30days Challenge

        Welcome to my daunting challenge! For the next 30 days, I'm going to complete one task a day, kind of like a really long Bloggiesta. Seems simple but each task is computer or blog related. I tend to go off-task when I'm trying to complete my to-do list. I decided if I focus on only one item a day I should be able to finish said item, at least in theory. hahahaha From July 26 to August 24, I will complete this list! I plan to go in order.

        FYI: all these Wordpress nonsense tasks apply to my travel blog The Adventure List.

        Week Two: August 2-8

        Day Eight: Email my parents 

        After two months, I finally updated my parents on what I've been up to this summer along with photos. Thanks to Day Seven's task of downloading, editing and whatnot with pictures.

        Day Nine: Travel interviews

        One of the items I want to do on The Adventure List is start an interview series of people who work and travel but don't document their travels via blog. Most interviews I find on the travel blog circuit are of fellow bloggers. I wanted to bring to life the people who work and travel. On Day Nine, I followed up with some of the interviewees and created drafts of all the interviews.

        Day Ten: Buy new theme or switch 

        I did it. I pulled the plug and purchased Tweak Me2 by Creative Whim. Almost every book blog design that I love is a Tweak Me design. Each is so different. I had a theme that I loved the look on the designer's website but I could not figure out the details myself. Urgh. Yes, it was a free theme but I bought the add-ons so I did pay a little for it. However, I love the ease of Tweak Me2. I loaded it but have only tweaked it a little to my personal preferences. And being an illiterate WP user, I had no idea how to tweak it before making it live get to watch the work-in-progress.

        Day Eleven: Mechanical Turks

        I am always looking for ways to make money online. My goal is to have passive streams of income set up or the ability to work location independently. Awhile back, I read about Mechanical Turks which is an Amazon company. I knew it is not a huge money-maker but thought it would be a way to make a little bit of extra cash. hahahahahahaha. In my opinion, don't bother. As a beginner, I found tasks that paid cents on the dollar for tasks that take a few minutes to do. $.07 for a task that takes 4 minutes = $1.05 per hour. Not worth the effort. I might use this option if I'm seriously getting short on cash and am incredibly bored. However, if I'm that bored and short on cash, I should get a damn job. Right?! Here is the Simple Dollar's take on Mechanical Turks.

        Day Twelve: Shortcodes?

        When I started on this journey with Wordpress, I kept encountering this phrase "shortcodes." WTF are shortcodes? I took the time to finally figure it out. Don't ask me to create one but at least I can identify what the term means. In the words of Wordpress, "shortcode = shortcut." It is a ]tag] (forgive the previous as my keyboard won't let me type the correct bracket) that equals a much longer string of codes to give the program directions. 

        Day Thirteen: Photo websites

        Another attempt to add online income, I decided to check out selling stock photos. I know next to nothing about photography. It is one of my latest hobbies. As a traveler, I feel like I should take full advantage of all the magnificent sights I see and capture them via camera. I signed up with a few sites in order to learn what they were all about. Now, when I do get a photo I consider worthy, I can upload to sell. Ya never know what will take off. Try: iStockShutterstockPicsastock

        Day Fourteen: Create logo and brand

        I purchased The Hungry JPeg's summer bundle in the hopes of using it to create a logo and brand or at least a blog header. Hahahahaha. I suck at this type of stuff. I spent a few hours working on it and gave up frustrated. That is where I stopped in my challenge. A full week ago. Damn it. I tried following Ashley's suggestion for creating a header but gave up because I don't have Photoshop. Well, did you know you can get a free 30 day trial? I didn't but now I do. So I'm going to give it a try and maybe continue for their monthly fee of $10. 

        Whelp, that was Week Two. Bring it, Week Three!

        Tuesday, August 18, 2015

        Life after Winning the Lottery

        Book Stats
        Author: Rosanna Rae
        Published: February 18, 2015
        Genre: Contemporary
        Review Company: iRead Books Tours
        Read: on my Kindle
        New-to-me Author

        "Lola French is stunned when she wins millions on the Lottery, and she is sure all her dreams are about to come true. However, right from the start, before she even claims her winnings, things begin to change and she separates abruptly and acrimoniously from the man she has been living with.

        Lola’s colleagues are initially pleased for her, but eventually begin to resent her new status. One of them, Tom, whom she really likes, asks her out; but he does it on the day that news of her win spreads through the office and she sadly turns him down. She decides to leave her job as a Financial Adviser in Edinburgh and explore the limitless possibilities of her new lifestyle.

        When Lola and her mother excitedly set off on a Mediterranean cruise, it’s not long before they both meet men they are interested in. However, their holiday of a lifetime catapults them into a life-changing sequence of dramatic and terrifying events that neither of them will ever forget. When she has to return to reality, Lola unexpectedly finds herself involved with Tom again! But the storm clouds are looming overhead, and as the recent past catches up with her and forces her to confront violence and danger once more, Lola risks losing Tom forever."

        My Thoughts:

        Why did I want to read Lola's Money? Who hasn't had thoughts of winning the lottery? I remember when married to my second husband, it was my favorite day dream as I drove home from work to yuckiness that was my household. If I was suddenly rich, what would I do? How would I change? What would I buy?

        I wanted to find out what Lola did after winning the lottery. What did she choose to do, change and buy. Well, her life did not turn out like she anticipated. Oh, she planned well enough. Lola is a smart financial planner so she had the best intentions. Technically, she knew what should be done and she tried to follow that path.

        What happened? Life happened. All those unexpected intrusions that you can't anticipate no matter how hard you plan.

        Did she deal with those intrusions well? Not. At. All. At times, you want to reach into the book and shake her. Are you kidding me? Wake up, lady. You are an intelligent individual. What the hell are you doing? Frustration with Lola kept me reading to the end.

        Lola's Money is a perfect novel for those lazy summer days.

        It has a light beachy feel.

        About the Author:
        Rosanna Rae is married with three grown-up sons and lives in Livingston, Scotland. She has a B.A. (Open) in Social Science subjects and also took a writing course with The Writers Bureau some years ago. She spent 16 years at home raising her family and then returned to full-time secretarial employment in Edinburgh.

        Rosanna has wanted to write fiction since she was ten years of age, after reading an abridged version of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. She is delighted to be now fulfilling that early ambition.

        'Lola's Money' is the author's fifth novel; she is currently writing her sixth book.

        Connect with the author:    Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter

        I received a courtesy copy of Lola's Money in exchange for my honest review.

        Story Inspiration

        Guest post from Rosanna Rae, author of Lola's Money

        Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

        by Rosanna Rae

        My main aim in writing books is to entertain. When I sit down to read a book myself, I do not want a history lesson, nor do I want to be lectured to about anything. I try to bear those things in mind when I’m writing. My motivation is to give enjoyment and satisfaction to my readers. My specific inspiration comes mainly from the reason why I feel motivated to write, which is to express the fascination I feel for all aspects of human relationships, particularly the dynamic between those who are in a romantic relationship.

        When I was in High School doing Sixth Year Studies, I did a paper on human relationships in the novels of D. H. Lawrence. I really enjoyed both the writing of it and doing the research, because it made me think deeply about what makes different people tick.
        Also, during my younger years, I used to read very simplistic romantic fiction books and enjoyed them to a certain extent. However, the characters were all like Ken and Barbie and many of the events in them weren’t very realistic. The dialogue was often stilted, also, which tended to make me cringe. These issues bothered me and made me want to produce stories that people can relate to.

        While I was bringing up my family, I took an Open University course, focusing on the subjects of sociology and psychology. I sometimes felt these subjects provided more questions than answers, but my studies consolidated my interest in what motivates people and the dynamics of how human beings relate to each other.

        When I began to write my novels, I did it with the deliberate intention of producing stories that had a strong basis of realism. Obviously they are have to be more dramatic than real life to make them interesting. However, those simple romantic stories that I read when I was young were actually a source of inspiration to me because they made me want to write something better, something people can believe in. When I’m thinking up a new story, I usually choose a theme such as trust issues, infidelity, mental instability, jealousy etc. and the characters and scenes flow into my mind after giving a great deal of consideration to one particular psychological or sociological theme.

        Up next: My thoughts on Lola's Money

        Wednesday, August 5, 2015

        The Bloggers We Read: Bryn @ Gleaningful

        Introducing....Bryn @ Gleaningful

        Why did you start blogging? 
        I got hooked on a blog in January and started to ask myself if I could blog too. Some of my friends mentioned that I should start a blog and then I read a few “How to Start a Blog” posts. One day I just got up the courage to finally jump in and I bought my domain. I chose to do book blogging because there are few things I like to do more than reading. I wanted to write about something that I wouldn’t get tired of writing about and books just seemed to fit into that category well. (books never get old :) )

        Do people in your personal life know about your blog or is it your private spot?
        I tell people who ask, “What are you doing these days?” I’ve invited a lot of my friends in real life who I think would like the blog. Especially, those who often ask me “So what are you reading right now?” My family knows but none of them follow, haha!

        Do you have other blogs? If so, what are they?
        I do not but I’ve been toying with the idea of having more than one. Another passion of mine is cooking and I’d love to start a food blog. (food blogs are cool. I follow several too)

        What are some blogs (bookish or not) people should check out that you enjoy?
        I like Arenda Reads. She writes well, and I like the books she chooses to read. We also seem to have a lot in common.

        Anything you would like to share about yourself, family, etc?
        Here’s something that’s crazy: 9 months after we got married my husband and I had our first baby. And you know what’s even crazier than that!? My husband is his parents’ honeymoon baby too! So my in-laws got pregnant on their honeymoon with my husband and we got pregnant on our honeymoon with our son. (that's pretty crazy and awesome!)

        What do you do for a living?  Anything book related that the rest of us can be jealous about?
        I am a stay-at-home mom at the moment. I call myself “Queen of the House of Hottmans.” You can be jealous of the fact that I get to read all day ;-) (good thing to be jealous about)

        What are your childhood reading memories?
        Reading at Barnes & Noble!! My grandmother would let me roam around the store for as long as I wanted! And if that meant reading in a corner then that was fine. She always bought me a book too. I also remember creating reading nooks everywhere I went. I probably did more creating than reading haha.

        What do you think of forcing students to read certain books especially the classics? Yes or No? Harmful or helpful to their reading life?
        I think it’s helpful. Classics are important for understanding culture. And sometimes being made to read a book may lead you to falling in love with reading which may not have happened otherwise.

        What suggestions or advice do you have for new bloggers?
        Ha! Well…I AM a new blogger. I’d suggest jumping right in. Start posting from the beginning and gradually fix up your blog with all of the bells and whistles. You’ll have time to look at what other blogs are doing and you may change your mind about how you want it to look after finding your writing voice.

        Favorites Section:
        Favorite Author: Harriet Beecher Stowe (but Khaled Hosseini is great too!)
        All time best Book: Gone with the Wind (I would have said Holes by Louis Sachar 10 years ago)
        Blogging event/challenge: Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! I had a blast!
        Food: Sushi, biscuits & gravy, and energy bars (Is chocolate a food?) (yes! Chocolate is a food and I dare anyone to argue)
        Addicted to Drink: I’ve been addicted to coffee for 12 years. And I don’t plan on quitting.
        Item you couldn't do without: My phone. It’s my kindle, email, blog, audiobook, camera, and GPS all in one. Oh and I call people with it too J
        Dream vacation spot: My husband and I often talk about going on one of those Viking River Cruises. We would love to visit many places but this one is definitely on our Bucket List. (that would be an awesome vacation. Post pictures when you get to go)
        TV show: Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown is our current favorite. We go through phases. It was The Office.
        Summer or winter: I was just thinking today the older I get the more I like winter but I’m still a summer girl

        Thanks Bryn for participating!

        You can follow Bryn on:

        The Bloggers We Read is a regular feature on The Things We Read
        If you would like to have the spotlight shine on you, send me an email
        or leave a comment and I'll get ahold of you.
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