Partying in the spam files

I’ve been ROFL ever since reading Jenny Hansen’s post about things she’s learned from her spam files and search terms. I instantly headed off to visit and play in mine. I’ve been having a grand time ever since; a little ego feeding is good for the soul, isn’t it?! Even if it’s poorly written flattery…

Dive into your comment section…

Andressa got a lot out of my Just shut up and cuddle post. She says:

this really is an awesome post, i’m happy i came across this. i will be back to look at out more of your articles later.

Well Andressa, you are welcome back anytime girl! Even with your poor grammar. Perhaps you should consider signing up for David Walker’s grammar series.

I loved Elisete’s comment:

great blog! the information you provide is quiet helpful, why i was not able to find it earlier. anyways i’ve subscribed to your feeds, keep the good work up.

I don’t know why you hadn’t found me till now. It’s not like I’ve been in hiding. It is a public blog after all. Regardless, thanks so much for subscribing to my feeds because it is the best way to be sure to get my uberlicious posts every single week (hint hint y’all…click the “Sign Me Up Baby” button on the side and you can join Elisete and get my posts emailed to you)! I will definitely keep up the great work. For you…anything! BTW, you may want to consider joining Andressa in checking out David’s grammar series.

I couldn’t agree more UAE escort when he (or she) wrote:

I think other site proprietors should take as an model, very clean and excellent user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

I gotta say, I kind of like my ultra pink layout as well so I’m glad to hear I am not alone. And an expert. Wow, here I thought I was just writing about the first thing that came to mind. I had no idea that made me an expert. Squeeee!!!

And…last but not least, Aniele says:

your blog happens to be not just informative but also very stimulating too.

Well now…Stimulating?!??! That’s new! I had no idea….I’m kind of speechless on that one.

Search Terms Insanity!

The search terms that bring readers to me was quite enlightening and entertaining. In this last quarter, the top way people found me….

  • women peeing

I’ve become the place to go when you want to know about women peeing. Hmmm…not quite the brand I was going for but hey…I’ll take it.

Other top search terms:

  • natalie hartford blog (Phew….)
  • duck dynasty
  • womenpeeing (more of this, eh?!?!)
  • women peeing outdoors (Ok…this is starting to get strange…)

Looks like I might want to consider doing some more posts on…women peeing. Gotta please the readers, right?

Ever spend anytime in your spam folder? What fun things have you found? Any outlandish search terms bringing the readers to you? Come on…share the wealth….

More blog deliciousness here:


5 things I’ll never apologize for

Embracing my love of slightly slutty clothes while on vacation…those are my skin-tight pleather pants!!

I’ll say what I think. I believe in being honest and authentic while respecting other people’s feelings. It’s not about being blunt and having no filter or being mean for no reason but at the same time, expressing my thoughts and feelings is about expressing who I am as a person. If I lie or hide what I think, I feel like I am essentially hiding me. It can be a tough balancing act; being honest while not purposefully hurting someone. Blurting out “are you fawking studid??? Seriously???” is not helpful even if it’s what I am thinking (count to ten before speaking Natalie…). Sometimes I don’t get it right but when that happens, I am quick to apologize for being too harsh. But I won’t apologize for shooting straight from the hip. If you don’t want to know what I really think, don’t ask.

I’m a bit of a party girl. Nothing crazy and not every weekend but I do love to get my party on periodically. It can be a fire in the backyard with friends or a night out on the town dancing but every few weekends, I love to just let my hair down and crack open a few beers.

I swear…a lot…and I like it. Now, let’s be clear. It’s not like I have no control over my potty mouth. I keep a leash on my inner sailor at work and around kids but my naturally tendency is to swear…a lot! I know at times it makes people around me uncomfortable so I do try to respect the present company but again…it’s just me. And I quite like it. Probably another reason why I’d have never made it as a beauty queen.

I think I can handle myself. Growing up, I was a bit of a bad ass and got into some physical confrontations. In a few, I came out the victor. In a few, I came out less fortunate. Those few occasions taught me how fragile I was. I didn’t like feeling helpless and vulnerable given the circles I was running in. So I spent a few years studying street boxing and kickboxing. And I loved it. I loved how empowered and confident it made me feel. Funny thing, I never got into another physical confrontation once I started training. Regardless, as a woman, I like knowing that those lessons are stored in my brain…just in case!

I love to dress a little slutty. Ok, so I don’t dress THAT slutty but I’d love to. I’d wear just about every outfit featured in Frederick’s of Hollywood if I had the body and was younger. I think Hubby sometimes gets scared when we are out shopping and sees the things I am drawn to and would LOVE to wear. Backless, short, and BLINGED up. I’d let it all hang out if I thought for one second people wouldn’t snicker, point and laugh. So I keep my inner slut in her place and admire from afar. And when we go on our Dominican vacation, I let her out of the cage just a wee bit…pleather keeps her happy!

What things will you not apologize for? Do you relate to any of mine? Come on…share the wealth….

More blog deliciousness here:

Breaking in spring with fling and flare

As May comes to a close, Hubby and I have been diligently celebrating our most revered month. It’s a month of celebration and glory; a month of happiness; a month of pure JOY; and a month of skipping, hand-in-hand through the tulips. Everything looks brighter, better, more jubilant in May.

Why do we love May so much?

Gardening starts? Nope

Spring is in the air? Nope

Flowers and trees are in bloom? Lovely…but that’s not it….

BBQ season begins? Well…that is a definite bonus but…nope

Golf? Ok, well that is quite yummy!!!! But no…

May 1st marks the official start of outdoor sex season (OSS). Yeahhhhh!!!!

That’s right folks. It’s time to get your groove on in the big bad outdoors. And today, I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks that I’ve tried and tested (the things I do for my readers…) to make sure you get the most out of this year’s OSS!

Location Location Location

I can’t say it enough. It’s true in real estate and it’s true for OSS. You gotta get the right spot. First, you must be on the same page as to your goals. Is it the risk of getting caught that gets you fired up or do you prefer a little privacy? By making sure you are the same page, you and your partner can find the perfect local.

For those exhibitionist types, why not try a quiet park at dusk or a dark alley late at night. Perhaps an evening beach walk to cool off (and heat up), or slip away from the party to find a quiet spot just in the tree line.

If you’d prefer to enjoy OSS without the fear of public observation or police intervention, try the rooftop of your apartment building or perhaps take a little off-trail exploration on your next hiking trip. Why not your own backyard (hubby and I have a very private back deck)? No privacy…no problem! You can make a private area in your backyard with the careful placement of a BBQ, some chairs and a beach umbrella. Get creative people.

Planning for spontaneity = tons of fun

Although you want your OSS to be fun and spontaneous, a little planning will ensure things go smoothly. Make sure to have OSS kits in all the key places; the truck, the camp, the RV, the Rhino etc. You get the idea. OSS kits should contain sunblock, bug spray, lube, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer. I also highly recommend keeping small travel blankets here and there since they come in mighty handy for OSS. Nothing kills the mood more than sand in all the wrong places or a burn from a hot car hood.

The right clothing makes all the difference

For those interludes that are more private, clothing is less of an issue since there’s nothing quite as liberating as frolicking totally buck in the bush. But for those outdoor escapades that might be a wee bit more risky (the beach in the DR, for example), wearing the right apparel will only enhance your overall experience. You want to wear items that grants access that can be hidden just as quickly as shown. For men, it’s less of an issue but for the ladies, try a flowing dress to hide a multitude of sins. Apparel that has stretch is your new BFF so skirts with a little bit of Spandex work wonderfully.

There you have it people, my tried, tested and true tips and tricks to getting your nasty on in the great outdoors. OSS only lasts so long so get out there and get busy!

What’s your take on outdoor sex season? Are you game or do you turn your nose up at such ideas? Any tips and tricks to share with my readers who dare to try it? What’s your favorite or craziest OSS spot? Come on…share the wealth…

More blog deliciousness here:

ROW80 – Round 1 – check-in 8

Time for Sunday’s ROW80 progress update.

Writing Goals:

  • Complete outline of WIP
  • Write 1750 words a week, on average 250 words a day (can be on WIP or other writings like flash fiction, character development, world building etc)
    1866 words total for this week
  • Finish James Scott Bell book
  • Read 2 other writing craft books
    Save the Cat arrived and Will Write for Shoes: How to Write a ChickLit Novel is on its way (thanks Nicole!)

Social Media Goals:

  • Blog – post 4 times a week
    4 posts – total word count:1959
  • Blog – post ROW80 progress reports twice a week (Sunday and Wednesday)
  • Tweet/Comment on at least 10 blogs a week
  • Comment on 1 new blog per week (ROW80 or otherwise)

Healthy Lifestyle Goals:

  • Cardio – 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
  • BowFlex – 3 times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)
    2 this week
  • Maintain a daily food/migraine journal

The wins:

  • Met my writing goals.
  • Finalized my next two craft books – although not sure if I’ll get them read in this round?!?!?
  • Rocked the social media.
  • Nearly killed all my fitness/healthy living goals.

Where to improve:

  • Gotta find a balance between reading fiction and reading craft books.
  • Gotta make sure I get my weights in 3 times!

How are you making out with your ROW80 goals?

Doing what you love & living your passion

I’ve heard it said (likely from Oprah) that the key to happiness is to doing what you love for a living. And if you are doing what you love for a living, you will be successful.

My beautiful BFF is on a quest to do just that. She “likes” her current job (and has enjoyed much success in the field thus far) but she has a sense that she’s meant for something more. She isn’t interested in doing what she likes for the rest of her life. She doesn’t want to settle for doing what she’s good at. She wants to live her best life and that means a career she loves, is passionate about it and that fulfills her.

Love that! What an inspiration!

Her problem; she doesn’t know exactly what that is…yet.

Doing what you like instead of what you love

After I finished high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a career. I worked for a year or so before going to college and university. I knew I was good at English and enjoyed writing so I used that as a guide post in choosing to study journalism in my post secondary education.

My first college class, our bad-ass journalism instructor (a hardened, cynical reporter type) asked us to do a round table about why we were there. With about a dozen students, he got mostly typical answers. My answer:

“I want to write novels and I figure this course will give me a great foundation for that.”

He was surprised. So was I. I had never really voiced it that way.

After 4 years of study, I think journalism did just that. But instead of following my passion to be an author, I took a safer route and opted for a career in communications; a close and relatable career choice but not necessarily my passion. Now mind you, I enjoy it, I find it fulfilling, and I am happy for the most part. But am I doing what I love and am passionate about!?!?! Probably not.

My BFF said this isn’t surprising. Based on the books she’s reading and the workshops she’s taken, it’s not uncommon for people to choose a career that taps into part of their passion but to be off just a smidge, making the difference between liking and loving your career choice.

Interesting. Since communications has a huge writing component to it, it has enough of my passion to keep me checked-in and “in like” with my job but it’s not enough of my passion to tip the scales to an all out love affair. I’d have to agree with that.

So, how do we figure out what our passion is if we aren’t necessarily sure? And how do we move from like to love? Well, of course I took that question to Mom (AKA: The Oracle) who I knew would have the answers for me.

1. Use your childhood to clue into your passion

Mom suggested I look back to my childhood for answers and clues to what my passion would be now. What did I loved to play at as a child? What interested me most? What did I seem interested in year after year? She said this would give the best indication of what I would love to do as an adult.

I know when I was 14, I had a personal journal that I wrote in daily for nearly 10 years, and I used to write a lot of poetry as a teenager. I did gymnastics for a number of years but…sadly wasn’t much good no matter how hard I tried. I did dance and swimming but neither tweaked my fancy “that” much. Still not seeing it yet?!?!?

She suggested I go further back; what did I play at as a child at 5, 7, 10 years old? All I could remember was mud pies and Barbies; how did that related to an adult’s passion?

Mom said that even as a young child I loved writing. She said I wrote countless plays and acted them out for the family. And with a childhood friend, we would write news reports and would act out entire news programs for the family. 

Seriously?! It seems like writing has been a part of my life longer than I even realized.

With that information, Mom had another suggestion. 

2. Have a vision

She suggested I sit down, clear my mind, think loosely about doing what I love and just see what visions pop up.

I envision a comfortable “writing” room with a window overlooking some water. My room has a great writing desk (dark wood but old), fantastic lighting, notebooks and pens, a fabulous laptop and monitor, paintings with my favorite quotes, a corkboard wall for storyboarding, a comfortable chair for reading, and shelves holding tons of my favorite reads.

I can almost taste days spent researching and writing, falling in and out of love with characters, creating new and wondrous worlds and drama that no one else understands but me…until we go to print.

I can feel the sun on my face coming through the window as I close my eyes and hear my character’s voices. I can smell the warm cup of coffee sitting next to me. The dog is sleeping under my desk. Maybe some instrumental music playing softly. I am here to create. I am here to write. I can almost FEEL what it would be like to be doing this day in and day out. I feel the passion and excitement stir. But at the same time, it feels so….natural.

More than what it physically looked like, I am left in awe of how it FELT! Amazing!

3. Start to take steps to live your passion

I think being in “like” with my day job has made me somewhat complacent and less willing and hungry to risk everything to do what I’d love. A compromise I am sure a lot of people make.

Mom suggested that anyone on a passion quest start with small steps. Things like ROW80, setting up a writing room in the house, and working towards writing that first book move me more towards my passion. And closer to the day when I can follow my passion full-time. They are also small ways to try on the writing life for size and see if it’s a fit; if it’s truly my passion.

Mom also suggested that people can use volunteering at different organizations doing different task as a great way to try on new jobs to see what strikes a chord with their passion. Or take courses, not just academic but artistic as well, to try out different aspects of the world.

All I know is that watching my BFF on her quest is inspiring me. She’s brave and determined to do find and do what she loves. Whatever the cost. Whatever the sacrifice. She’s made a commitment to do whatever it takes to live her best life. No complacency. No compromise.

Now that rocks! 

2012 for me will be all about taking steps towards making my passion my dream-come-true day job!

Do you love your day job? How did you discover your passion? What steps do you take to live your passion every day? What did you love to play at as a child and do you think that ties into what you’d love to do as an adult?

Great bloggers are writing FAB stuff – check it out!

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to share the blog luv.

Blog Out Loud:

  • Kristen Lamb (yes…I have a hero complex) did a fantastic post this week on why writers need a platform. It didn’t touch just on blogging but on the need to essentially build our brand by connecting with people so that no matter what “platform” you are on, people will always follow you. Writer, blogger, Facebook person. If you are interested in creating a following for any reason, this post is a must read!
  • I found this great post by Neil Patel on ProBlogger about the 6 laws every blogger needs to obey so they don’t get sued. I don’t know about you, but the title really caught my eye. It’s easy to understand and I always say it’s better to be informed and safe rather than sorry!
  • The ever beautiful Lena Corazon wrote a stunning post about the joys she’s experienced from blogging. The post touched my heart deeply as I could relate to her on so many levels. So beautifully said Lena!! My gratitude for the blogging family I’ve found swells my heart – each of you is a gift! Lena recognized that to and handed out some BLOG awards!!

Write Out Loud:

  • Last week, I pointed to Jennifer Eaton who did a fab job on explaining point of view. She followed up with two more fab posts that bring the concept that much clearer and answers the question of how many POVs are acceptable.
  • Have you been reading any craft books?! Most of you know I am in the midst of James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure. This week Nicole Basaraba did a wonderful review of Larry Brook’s Story Engineering. She got a LOT out of it! Would you?
  • Ever heard of a plot wheel? Kathy Owen did a fantastic post with a ton of visuals on plot wheels that Erle Stanley Gardner used in writing his novels. Hmmmm…this is NEAT stuff!
  • I’ve read about storyboards. I took a writing workshop a few years ago and the instructor used an entire wall in his apartment and yellow stickies to create a large storyboard. This week, Elena Aitken did a fantastic post on Wordbitches with GREAT PICTURES of her and Trish Loye’s storyboards. I loved it. It’s like your plot outline gone visual! Do you use storyboards?

Laugh Out Loud:

  • Menopausal cougars: the title says it all. Telling Dad did a hilarious post on how he will not write about menopausal cougars on his blog for anything less than $75000. I marvel at his morals!
  • I couldn’t stop chuckling at Noa Gavin’s post on stuff she hides from her husband. Hubby busted me this week singing Amazing Grace while the tub was filling up. Thankfully I caught HIM just before he got it recorded.
  • Y’all know I’ve been struggling with weight. Well this week Paige Kellerman broke up with Oreos with a heartfelt letter. O.M.G. I nearly died! I might use this as a template to breakup with numerous fast food restaurants and Kraft Dinner!

Life Out Loud:

  • The Hack Novelist has a dream manager. Shut the front door?!?! I KNOW, eh?!? Coolest thing ever. It’s someone who is helping him articulate and reach his dreams. I could definitely use one of those.
  • Earlier this month, Jenny Hansen guest posted at Marcia Richards’ with her 3 rules in writing and life. They were poignant and true. Check em’ out. And then Jenny guest posted over at Stacy Green’s (yes, she’s everywhere lately…) on how to avoid dating disasters and find “the” one. Her advice is dead on! I used her tactics to make sure hubby found me!
  • I loved Jillian Dodd’s post on the way a man smells. It was a great way to think about all the ways we can bring more intimacy into our characters lives and our writing but also made me think of the million things that made me fall in love with hubby.
  • Claire LeGrand touched on one my major pet peeves; the importance of etiquette! There’s nothing more annoying than going with someone to an event where they then seemingly refuse to introduce you to groups of people they know leaving you standing there like a douche! You go Claire – loved it!
  • Read a simply astounding guest post by Heather Marie Adkins on Shéa MacLeod’s blog about an author’s journey on finding herself. Heather is one the 24 women featured in the Indie Chicks anthology and the story is inspirational and empowering. Go. Read it now.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s line-up of fantabulous blog posts. Stay tuned for next week’s. I promise to go and spend oodles of time (time away from friends and family I’ll have you know…) to bring you this do-or-die information…My god…you guys must really love me!!

Got any ditties of your own to share? Let me know and maybe they’ll be featured as part of next week’s line-up…

Thursday’s Links Out Loud…

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to share the blog luv.

Blog Out Loud:

  • When I saw Roni Loren’s post “Is Blogging Dead?” I will admit, I nearly had a heart attack. What? It’s dead? But I just got to the party?!?! In essence, she actually points out that yes, the blogosphere is crowded. And yes, the blogosphere for writers is a wall-to-wall crowded room. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a blog or keep going with your own blog if it’s something you enjoy! Phew…good news cause I really didn’t want to give all THIS up quite yet!!

Write Out Loud:

  • Yesterday, I was at the dentist office listening to CBC Radio. One of the things I love about CBC is the nice, drawn out interviews that allow you to be distracted while someone shoves pointy instruments into your mouth. And low and behold, I got to hear a great interview with authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith who were there talking about whether young-adult fiction is intolerant of gay characters. These two caused a stir this month with an open letter calling on their colleagues to speak up about an unspoken rule in their corner of the publishing world: that gay characters aren’t particularly welcome. What’s your experience?
  • Jenny Hansen is rocking out over at her blog cause she knows the party is coming! She’s talking about how, in less than one week, the #ROW80 hashtag is going to light up like the stage at a rock concert. If you’re scratching your head, wondering what the hell ROW80 is, check out her blog and JOIN in the fun. I am!
  • Marcia Richards is excited because K.M. Weiland just released her new book, Outline Your Novel…Map Your Way To Success, and she’s having a contest to make the launch successful! Woot woot – who doesn’t love a contest! You could win a Kindle and over $100 in writing craft books. Sweet! Now, as a Canadian I don’t qualify (boohoo!!!) but that didn’t stop me from buying her new book anyway. Given that I am joining the ROW80 party and one of my goals will be to do an outline, this is what I like to call, perfect timing!!

Laugh Out Loud:

  • This week Piper Bayard decided to step up to the plate in a big way. In her post, Ok. I’ll do it. I’ll run for President, she spills the dirty deets on her campaign platform. My favorite line of the entire post: “And remember, great things grow in dirt and manure.” WAHAHAHA!!! Loved it and I am totally going to use it!!! And Piper, I’d vote for ya!
  • Have you visited the ever charming and hilarious Tawna Fenske lately? I nearly died when I read her post on her cat being a filthy pervert. Having been a cat owner for a number of years I can attest that they are all filthy perverts!
  • You all know that I’ve put my foot in my mouth a couple of times. Well Jenny from the blog makes my little “mishap” look like child’s play! She had the Freudian slip of all slips…in a VERY PUBLIC place….in front of children no less! SHE’s my freaking hero! LOL!

Life Out Loud:

  • Ever take on a major home renovation on your own? HGTV meet Jillian Dodd! She’s been working night and day to make her 17-year-old daughters dream room that included requests that it be comfortable, ethnic, casual, trippy, beachy, Asian and bohemian influenced room with black lights and a disco ball that looks grown up (who is this girl…I love her already!) And let me tell you, Jillian delivered in spades! The room is uberlicious and every teenage girl’s DREAM come true – way to go Jillian – you rock!
  • Ever felt overwhelmed by everything on your to do list? How do you make sure you get it all done AND write? Susan Bischoff wrote a great post this week on how a control journal worked for her in the past. I am in awe. I love it. This is totally something that would work for me (cause I am a wee bit of a control freak…I know…shocking?!?!?)! I mean, the name alone…control journal….come on…I must have one!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s line-up of fantabulous blog posts. Stay tuned for next week’s. I promise to go and spend oodles of time (time away from friends and family I’ll have you know…) to bring you this do-or-die information…My god…you guys must really love me!!

Got any ditties of your own to share? Let me know and maybe they’ll be featured as part of next week’s line-up…

Links Out Loud…more on blogging, writing, laughing and living

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to share the blog luv.

Blog Out Loud:

  • In my wana711 group, we have been talking about the time commitment of blogging. For most, it seems to take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to write a post (not a cutesy YouTube post…duh…I am talking about our 500-1000 word posts). And that is precious time away from the WIP (Work In Progress…keep up people…) In comes Michael Hyatt to save us all. His post on how to write a blog post in less than 70 minutes offers practical and useful suggestions that I am definitely going to implement in my blogging practices. And he’d know…he’s written like over 1000 posts. Talk about keener, eh?!
  • A great resource for all bloggers is the ProBlogger site. Check out this great post by Kiera Pedley on running a contest in 5 steps on your blog as a great way to generate new readership, reactivate stagnant subscribers, and increase the engagement of readers.

Write Out Loud:

  • Jenny Hansen featured a guest post by NakedEditor Tiffany Lawson Inman about the importance of finding your character’s voice and slammin’ it hard right out of the gate. I loved it and plan to run home and create the appropriate yellow stickies for my office.
  • Roz Morris touched on a fear of mine with her blog post on a critique group gone rogue. I am a real people pleaser with some self-doubts about my writing so my fear working with a critique group is that I would assume everyone knows better than I and that I should (and would want to) incorporate every suggestion into my writing; even at its own peril. Roz has some great advice.
  • If you hadn’t already heard (and if you were following me on twitter you’d have heards…right hand menu folks…click FOLLOW…duh?!?!!?) Steena Holmes is doing a FAB series of posts dedicated to formatting for self-publishing. The first installment on how easy it is does make it sound straight forward and it will help you start things off in the right direction. Follow her blog to get the rest of her installments or heck, click on her design tab and hire her to do your formatting.
  • And you’ve all heard me yang on and on and on about taking Kristen Lamb’s Blogging to Build a Brand course and how freaking incredible it was and continues to be. She’s going to be given the 2-month course again, starting Oct 1, 2011, and I highly recommend it (even to non-author bloggers – seriously – tons of good stuff to learn!) Check out her blog post and comments for tons of great info. Just to note, since taking and applying her course my blog stats have doubled (and are still climbing).

Laugh Out Loud:

  • Poor Laural from Laural Out Loud (yes…nice blog name, eh?!?!) is having a heck of a time at her house with mothagedon. An unfortunate incident that included rotten potatoes, maggots (god, anytime I write or say that word my skin crawls…eewww…) and a dryer vent venting directly into the laundry room/pantry. Go and lend her some supportive comments. Honestly…I think I would have just sold the house! LOL!
  • Have you been back to visit Jenny from the Blog? If you haven’t, you should. Her feature last week on how her husband is a metrophobic and her father is a metrosexualhad me in tears! Alas, the challenges we face in life! (Pppssttt…Jenny…yes this blog post is ALL about you girl…shhh…don’t tell anyone, I hate having people go into jealous temper tantrums – it’s between you and me girl! muah!)
  • And again Noa Gavin delivered up a stellar post that had me in hysterics. Seriously. I hate bad drivers and have been known to suffer from bouts of road rage at said stupid drivers. So her letter to death wish drivers was an absolute riot. I want to print it out and let it fly out my truck window!

Life Out Loud:

  • Amber West wrote a fantastic post about how not everyone likes you (what??? Shut up??? Seriously???) In all seriousness, it was a wonderful read on how standing up for what you believe in and who are you means that not everyone is going to like you…and that’s OK!
  • Life is what we make it. You are in charge of your destiny. Last week Marcia Richards wrote a gorgeous post about life being akin to one of those choose-your-own-adventure stories. She gave her readers three great tips on taking control of your life and making it your own best-seller.
  • Forgiveness, it’s a word that slides easily off the tongue but not always so easily from the heart. Read Diana Murdock’s gut-wrenching post on her battle with forgiveness.
  • Traci Bell is a year away from a big milestone birthday so this year she reflected on how she views life today versus when she was in her twenties and the lessons she’s learned. It is a great reminder to keep these things front of mind – we are only here once after all. I loved her note that nobody likes perfect people (what????) and that “this too shall pass” (an oldie but a goodie)!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s line-up of fantabulous blog posts. Stay tuned for next week’s. I promise to go and spend oodles of time (time away from friends and family I’ll have you know…) to bring you this do-or-die information…My god…you guys must really love me!!

Got any ditties of your own to share? Let me know and maybe they’ll be featured as part of next week’s line-up…

Links Out Loud…Blog, Write, Laugh & Live

It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to share the blog luv.

Blog Out Loud:

  • God love Carrie Spencer and her Woodie Knows WordPress series. For all of us in the blogosphere using WordPress, these installments are easy-to-understand tech life savers; helping us grow and master our blogs. This week, Woodie helps us all master our widgets. Thanks Woodie!

Write Out Loud:

Since I seem to be reading and following a lot more writer blogs lately, I apologies to my non-writer readers (that’s a mouthful) for the heavy accent on write out loud links. There’s just so much GOOD stuff out there that I must share. Even my non-writers friends will enjoy – trust me – you should totally try it. Yes, this is peer pressure…I am not above that.

  • Are you setting out to write a book like I am? Then you have to read Jenny Hansen’s post on building a writing team. Can you say ahhhhmazing. I had no idea. I thought I’d just shut myself in my office for a year or two and write a book but I can actually create and have my OWN TEAM?!?! Team Natalie?!?!?! I am IN like FLIN!!
  • Since I am planning on starting my book writing journey this fall, I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on about “the process”. Check out Chuck Wendig’s post on 25 ways to plot, plan, and prep your story. O.M.G. the CHOICES?!?! I am analytical and pragmatic. I am organized. I like lists, rules, and guidelines. I assume that I’ll take to outlining and detailed plotting like a Koala bear to a tree. When I read Chuck’s post, the Beginning, Middle and End spoke to me but not quite enough. Then I read the bit on Chapter-by-Chapter, definitely getting warming. THEN, I read Beat Sheet and felt like I was home. But I am not sure. This has always been the crux of the issue for me; HOW do you get started? What’s the best way? What I am quickly realizing is that for every single writer, it’s DIFFERENT. I am going to have to put on my big girl panties and find my own way. My fav saying in this post “Dialogue is like Astroglide: it lubricates the tale.” LMAO!
  • And as Piper Bayard quickly pointed out in her GREAT advice post on what’s she’s learned over the last seven years writing (seriously, some GREAT advice – go read it now!), my first book is going to suck anyway so I should accept and embrace it as a learning curve, jump in and get it over with already. Like my first marriage, my first book will teach me how to do it right the next time. Afterwards, I can move on to my best sellers.
  • And last but certainly not least, writers’ social media guru, Kristen Lamb (have I mentioned this woman is my freaking hero!!! She teaches a GREAT blogging class– go – sign up now) wrote a fantastic post on how being a social butterfly trumps being a worker bee when it comes to social media. She introduces us to….the “connector”! Dang…I want to be a connector. I want to know everyone and be the popular twitter kid everyone wants to follow and talk to. Kristen’s Twitter rule is to tweet 1/3 info, 1/3 ReTweets, and 1/3 chat. So far, I feel like I have mastered being a level or two (I think) above being a spam bot. I have the info and RT tweets down and a little chat but I need to work on chatting more with other tweeps. I mean, of course they’ll love my charming, dynamic, vivacious self…right?!?! Be warned @mywana tweeps, I am about to invade!

Laugh Out Loud:

  • I nearly died reading Jenny from the blog’s post about her husband being cocky, stubborn and relentless. Can you imagine if your hubby argued with a COP telling him he had the WRONG CAR?!?! O.M.G. I nearly died!
  • This post by Noa Gavin on the guide to being the best at marriage is HILARIOUS. No seriously. I cried. Tears came down my cheek. I. Nearly. Died. Laughing. O.M.G! Perhaps not for the faint of heart (this means she likes to swear and I love that…gal after my own heart!).

Life Out Loud:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s line-up of fantabulous blog posts. Stay tuned for next week’s. I promise to go and spend oodles of time (time away from friends and family I’ll have you know…) to bring you this do-or-die information…My god…you guys must really love me!!

Got any ditties of your own to share? Let me know and maybe they’ll be featured as part of next week’s line-up…

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