3 Quotes, 3 Day Challenge: Golden Olympic Fun

My theme for the 3 quotes challenge is the Olympics. Have you been watching them? I’m sure there is a sport that appeals to everyone. Every four years, I gleefully anticipate the 17 days of the summer Olympic games. This is my idea of fun!

I was nominated by my lovely gal pal from Australia, Sue Loncaric at Sizzling Toward SixtyPlease pay a visit to her wonderful blog!

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is Fun so I will be incorporating both challenges into this post!

I managed to “pirate” a couple of images off the TV (captured with my phone). I’m sure NBC won’t mind, nor will the Olympic committee. I’m sure they are too busy to chase me down (crosses fingers).

I know I’m breaking the rules I have featured in my e-book (sorry, shameless plug, I know) but it’s FUN just to say out loud that I am a self-published, indie author and wrote a book. If you are a writer (you are a blogger aren’t you??) you may have a book inside you ready to be written and self-published.

Here is a quote about the fun of self-publishing:

“Self-publishing isn’t easy, but it’s fun and sometimes even lucrative.” Guy Kawasaki.

Self-publishing isn't easy, but it's fun and sometimes even lucrative. Guy Kawasaki

But I digress.

Back to the fun of the Olympics.

Last week, the “Simones,” both incredible athletes who happen to be black, earned gold medals in swimming and gymnastics. We have seen other black medalists in women’s gymnastics.

Diversity in Women’s Gymnastics

At the 1996 games in Atlanta, Dominique Dawes was part of the Magnificent Seven that won the gold in the women’s team competition. She became the first African-American to earn an individual (bronze) medal in women’s gymnastics. At the 2012 London Games, Gabby Douglas became the first African-American gymnast to win the All-Around Gold Medal.

Simone Biles, who won the gold in 2016’s All-Around competition, was expected to win, but her doing so is still ground-breaking. Her Olympic medal haul includes four gold and one bronze.

Simone Biles wins the gold in 2016’s All-Around gymnastics competition

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps, I’m the first Simone Biles.”

Diversity in the Swimming Pool

Simone Manuel, American swimmer and Stanford University student, is the first-ever black woman to garner a gold medal in an individual swimming event. She tied for the honor, but the feat was incredible nonetheless.

Simone Manuel is the first-ever black woman to medal in an individual swimming event. Click To Tweet

“The gold medal wasn’t just for me. It was for people that came before me and inspired me to stay in the sport,” she said. “For people who believe that they can’t do it. I hope I’m an inspiration to others to get out there and try swimming.”

Another black athlete of note is Ashleigh Johnson, the first African American to play on the U.S. women’s Olympic water polo team. The 6’1″ goalkeeper plays for Princeton’s Tigers water polo team. The Olympic team plays for the gold medal later this week! Read more about her influence in this Washington Post article.

“Like Manuel in swimming, Johnson hopes her success inspires other African Americans to take up her sport.” David Sheinin, for the Washington Post. 

“Water polo is fun.” Ashleigh Johnson

Why are these particular gold medals so significant?

Because gymnastics, swimming, water polo, tennis and golf are known as “country club” sports where it has been rare to see diverse athletes excel, let alone participate.

Although slavery, a scourge that plagued America for 245 years, was abolished by President Abe Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, white folks in the South still were not willing to share their spaces with blacks or any other persons of color. Not only did segregation rear its ugly head for many more years, the barriers it created are still evident in this century.

I wrote more about this subject in a post Why Inner City Kids Need Black Lifeguards.

In terms of recreation and leisure, seeing a black person play golf or tennis just did not happen in the late 1880s and into the early 1900s. These sports, including swimming, water polo, and equestrian polo, were only available to people with money–mostly people that could afford the clean facilities that country clubs offered. If you were not a member of the club, you were not going to find a clean, safe swimming pool or manicured lawns on which to play.

Segregation meant that if children of color wanted to cool off in water on a sweltering summer day, they would have to go to a filthy drainage ditch, or play in fields of dry weeds, or in the streets. Their leisure spaces were simply not available, much less safe.

Water Envelops Child at Play

Original image by Kimberly Glaster. Used by permission

Generations of racially diverse families did not take swimming lessons, or go out for tennis or play golf. Where would they engage in these sports? Few family traditions were established to engage in these sports on a regular basis.

In professional sports, we have seen the success of Tiger Woods in golf; Arthur Ash and sisters Venus and Serena Williams in tennis. In amateur sports such as gymnastics and swimming, racial diversity is slow to catch on.

Enter Simone Manuel and Ashleigh Johnson into the world of swimming, and Simone Biles into world class gymnastics. Sure, both used the university platform to compete, but what athlete doesn’t?

Regardless of how these black athletes entered these sports, their Olympic efforts have broken barriers and will inspire youngsters to BE like them someday.

The very spirit of the world stage of the Olympics is to encourage diversity and good will among athletes of all nations.

The spirit of the Olympics encourages diversity and good will among athletes of all nations. Click To Tweet

 

Simone Manuel, American swimmer, is the first-ever black woman to garner a gold medal in an individual Olympic swimming event.

And you thought I was going to talk about fun. Well, this is how leisure education works.

For these black athletes, and the future generations they will inspire, the fun is just beginning!

 


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7 Ways Blogging Changed My Life

Blogging has changed my life in many ways.  Blogging allows me to follow and read impeccable writing and interesting topics.
Blogging has changed my life in many ways. A few weeks ago, I was part of a blog series that asked this question: Why did I wait until midlife to start writing a blog? I answered that question here, but that question sparked the concept for this post. How has blogging changed my life?

Here are the seven ways blogging changed my life:

#1. Blogging introduced me to people from all over the world. 

  • I have met people who I now consider friends who live in Australia, UK, South Africa, Europe, Philippines, not to mention new friends in the states.
  • My new friends, despite their distance, are as important to me as if they were my local neighbors. I can’t imagine leaving the blogosphere. However, many bloggers are friends on social media, with whom I can stay in touch outside of blogging.

#2. Blogging allows me to follow and read impeccable writing and interesting topics.

  • I no longer subscribe to magazines; I can simply read great blogs!
Blogging allows me to follow and read impeccable writing and interesting topics. Click To Tweet

#3.  Blogging honed and sharpened my writing skills.

  • When writers publish articles online, our work is forever under scrutiny.
  • Editing your work is gold! Don’t let poor grammar or typos loose on the world!

#4.  Blogging ignited the fire of creativity in my life and motivated me to take writing more seriously.

  • One by one, I have witnessed fellow bloggers self-publish their own books.
  • I self-published my first e-book in July with three others in progress!

#5.  Blogging introduced me to a vast number of resources available to writers and bloggers.

  • Between my Kindle and Pinterest, I spend time reading the newest trends in blogging, writing, photography, and self-publishing.
Blogging introduced me to a vast number of resources available to writers and bloggers. Click To Tweet

#6.  Blogging opened up social media channels, allowing me to connect and maintain valuable relationships. I first used Facebook to engage with family and friends (and even met my future hubby there—read this post). I am becoming more proficient at these social networking sites:

  • Twitter. I had this account even before I had Facebook, but rarely used it. Now I have well over 1200 followers.
  • LinkedIn. This is mostly used for making professional contacts.
  • Pinterest. I played around with this before I started blogging. I love to save great posts for later reading, as well as share my own.
  • Instagram. Since I love photography, using Instagram to post photos and share my blog post photos makes good sense.
  • I read about newer social media sites all the time and have experimented with Medium, Quora and StumbleUpon.

#7. Blogging gave me self-confidence to start an online business focused on writing and consulting.

  • I am developing plans to do some more freelance work that includes writing for publications, developing web content, as well as writing blog posts for businesses.

I have been at this blogging journey consistently since 2014. These two questions keep coming up:

What is in store for my future in blogging? The simple answer is, I love to write. I enjoy creating blog posts that are informative and share my love of photography and leisure.

Will I make money as a result of blogging? Who knows? I wouldn’t mind making a few bucks, but I don’t want to work that hard! My preference is to continue the writing journey for fun rather than for profit on the blog.

What I do know is that this little blog has already opened the door to fabulous writing opportunities. And that IS life-changing!

Coincidentally, Suzie, the well-known blogger of Suzie Speaks, published the following post the day before mine. Take a look at “What I’ve Learned About Blogging.” This is a perfect example of how bloggers work together and demonstrates our similar journeys into writing.

How has blogging changed YOUR life? Please leave me a comment; I would love to hear all about your experience!

 


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3 Quotes, 3 Day Challenge: Olympic Morning Inspirations

It's the Olympics. If you can't get up to swim in the early morning, don't go. M. Phelps

Nothing is more inspiring in the world of athletics than the Summer Olympic Games. I have been faithfully watching Olympic competition since I can remember. I vividly recall sitting in front of our black and white TV watching swimmer Mark Spitz win his gold medals during the 1972 Olympics.

Growing up in San Diego, I loved swimming at the beach and in swimming pools. I was naturally athletic and I literally learned how to swim the butterfly just by watching Mark Spitz swim. I admit I didn’t get the hang of the stroke until I watched my fellow high school team mates under the water to get that undulating dolphin-kick rhythm just right.

I fell in love with gymnastics when I saw gymnast Olga Korbet (USSR) bend herself backwards over the balance beam in 1972, then witnessed the athletic perfection of Romanian gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, in 1976.

I also love the Winter Olympics and have recently been inspired by the disabled athletes in the Paralympic Games.

To this day I watch track and field events, beach volleyball, and diving, to name a few, included with those mentioned above. New Olympic athletes continue to inspire.

New Olympic athletes continue to inspire. Click To Tweet

I have been nominated to participate in the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge. We can choose a different topic for each day. In honor of the Summer Olympics games, this will be my theme over the three days.

For my first day of the challenge, I am using the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge as inspiration for my three quotations. This week’s theme is Morning.

“It’s the Olympics. If you can’t get up to swim early in the morning, don’t go.” – Michael Phelps

As I write this post, swimmer Michael Phelps won his 21st gold medal in his fourth Olympics. He is the oldest swimmer in history to win gold… and he ought to know.

 

If drinking coffee was an Olympic sport, I'd be a gold medalist!

Yes, I love my coffee! At least the mug sports a windsurfer in mid-jump. Windsurfing is STILL an Olympic sport.

Last but not least, is this motivational quote that all of us can relate to.

Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning!

 

Here are the rules for joining the 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge!

Provide three new quotes on topics of your choice each day for three days. I am choosing to spread my days out over two weeks.

  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day for three days.
  • Thank the lovely writer who challenged you.
  • Let the bloggers you have challenged know about it.

I was nominated by my lovely gal pal from Australia, Sue Loncaric at Sizzling Toward Sixty
Please pay a visit to her wonderful blog!

Here are the three bloggers I nominate for the challenge. Even if they choose not to participate, please take a quick visit to their blogs and show them some love!

Lynn at Encore Voyage
April Sutton at April’s Perspectives
Marsha Lee’s blog

Which Olympic athletes inspire you?


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Narrow is the Road to Leisure

Windsurfer walks the narrow path to the beach

When we form our leisure habits, we do so from our positive experiences within that pastime. Sometimes obstacles get in the way of our outdoor experiences which may prevent us from fully participating.

In the above photo, you can see the way to this beach is not only Narrow but precarious. These obstacles do NOT deter these windsurfers from having their day in the wind and water. Isn’t this nice of my hubby to carry my windsurf board back to the truck after a long day in the water?

Some of the obstacles we might face in our leisure pastimes are related to time and location. Click To Tweet

Some of the obstacles we might face in our leisure pastimes are related to time and location. Other obstacles might be our perceptions of leisure and whether we have worked hard enough to earn the time. Still others experience fear when trying something new and that path to experiential learning becomes too narrow.

Climbers face a narrow path up the face of Lembert Dome

I like to think that these women climbers in this photo, not only earned their leisure time, but conquered their fears as they climbed this narrow way up the face of Lembert Dome in the Yosemite high country.

Why do we choose a narrow path to our leisure?

Abraham Maslow places the concept of “self-actualization” at the top of the “hierarchy of needs.”

Hungarian Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, popularized the concept of “flow,” a highly focused mental state that can occur both in leisure and work. Flow is the sense of effortless action people feel in moments that stand out as the best in their lives.

Achieving flow is often referred to as being “in the zone.”

Subconsciously, we want to achieve “flow” or self-actualization when participating in any form of leisure activity, whether it is something relaxing like reading, or whether it is participating in an active sport or game

The physical and mental challenges afforded by both windsurfing and climbing, depicted in these photos, paves that narrow path with gold, so that flow can be achieved.

When crafting this post, I came upon this quote from Matthew 7:14:

Narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few find it.

When I read this, I understand how true this is. If we equate leisure with life, we let too many obstacles get in the way of living our lives to the fullest. The path to happiness and fulfillment may indeed be narrow, but it is one worth taking.

The Weekly Photo Challenge is available to all bloggers and posts every Friday.

narrow road to windsurfing

What obstacles prevent you from experiencing your well-earned leisure time?

Thanks for reading!


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Commemorative Cherry on Top

Tioga Pass Entrance

If you are a fan of the US National Parks, 2016 marks to 100th Anniversary of the NPS (National Park Service). Without these national treasures, visited by people worldwide, our planet would be a sorry place indeed.

“The Centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks through recreation, conservation and historic preservation programs.” (Yosemite Guide 6/22-7/26, 2016)

August 25th is the official anniversary date! If you happen to be in Yosemite, there will be activities and events commemorating the event. Visit Yosemite Guide online for more information.

These photos were submitted for two photography challenges: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Cherry On Top and for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.

What makes this a “cherry on top” moment is the mere fact that National Parks are vitally important to our heritage as Americans. The flag in the photo is a symbol of America and its positive influence on society.

My love for the national parks and Yosemite, in particular, can be attributed to this man, my dad! His “cherry on top” moment was not only catching this fish in the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River in Tuolumne Meadows, but celebrating his 80th birthday here!

Still Fishing at 80

Without his love for the outdoors and our summer vacations to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, our family would not have been exposed to camping, recreation and the need to be present in nature.

And these photos were taken by my new,  “cherry-colored” Canon Digital CameraCanon digital camera.

 

 

I would love to hear about any visits you might have made to a National Park this year.

Thank you for visiting today!


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The Bugs of Summer

The Bugs of Summer WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

(Not to be confused with the “Boys of Summer” for you baseball fans)

I have this collection of macro photos of insects and spiders (hey, they make great subjects!) This post was “planned” (lurking on my editorial calendar), waiting for the right moment in which to create the post.

The WordPress weekly photo challenge theme was Details, highlighting the fun of macro photography, and lo and behold, my collection of bugs now sees the light of day!

Scared of bugs, you say? Naaah, not of these guys! While not cute or cuddly, they each have a certain character.

Please let me introduce each of them to you.

The first image is of the praying mantis I discovered languishing on my windsurf board. He was very patient while I photographed him.

Mantis praying for wind, as it sits on my windsurf board

Mantises are distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks. All mantis’ have forelegs that are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey.

Crazy fact: sometimes the females decapitate the males just before or during mating.

Here is a large, (at least ½ inch long) Sierra Nevada Carpenter ant. He kept trying to crawl onto my shoe, and while shooting him, I nearly stepped on him!

Sierra Carpenter Ant

They scuttle over the granite rocks and live in nests made in old logs and stumps. Ants are beneficial and eat destructive forest beetles.

Crazy fact: The queens have been known to have lived as many as 27 years. Simple worker ants can live for several years.

caterpillar stage of Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

We all know why caterpillars cross the road like this one in the photo…to go become a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly! The dark, blue-black butterflies can be seen along the American River Bike Trail, IF their caterpillar selves were lucky enough to cross without being squished by cyclists’ tires.

pipevine swallowtail butterfly

image courtesy of National Fish & Wildlife Service

Crazy fact: Pipevine Swallowtails can have a wingspan to up to three and a half inches.

Summer is just not the same without a friendly spider or two.

Orbweaver spider

This 2-inch, cross orb-weaver spider’s legs are specialized for spinning orb webs. The webs are built by the larger females who hang head down in the center of the web or remain hidden in nearby foliage, with one claw hooked to a signal line connected to the main orb waiting for a disturbance to signal the arrival of prey. (Wikipedia)

This little gem was found hanging right outside our trailer front window. Doesn’t she look irritated? (Tell me if you see a face here).

Crazy fact: They are known to recycle their webs by disassembling and eating them.

Unless you live in the sub-tropics, you may not have seen this exciting specimen. He was found hiding in my husband’s rolled up sail last winter in Baja, Mexico

whip spider

Whip spiders are quite unusual looking arachnids, with their first pair of legs very thin and elongated to several times the length of their body, resembling whips. These long appendages are used like feelers and resemble antennae. They are nocturnal and fairly large; this guy was about 4 inches wide and scuttled sideways, making both my hubby and I jump!

Crazy fact(s): whip spiders do not possess silk glands or venom glands. They subdue their prey by means of raptorial pincers. Eeek!

For more information on unusual spiders, check out this website.

Since we are still in Baja, Mexico, where winter has summer-like temperatures, I would like to introduce you to this feller, a desert scorpion. They like to hide in woodpiles, so be careful if you are preparing to build a fire.

desert scorpion

Most scorpions’ venom is NOT lethal to humans. Its function is primarily to subdue prey.

Crazy fact: Scorpions glow a vibrant blue-green, lighting up like beacons against the darkness under ultraviolet (UV) light. No one knows why scorpions glow. Some have suggested that it’s accidental – the two chemicals responsible for the glow could be by-products of normal chemical reactions.
The Green Shield Bug is a cute little critter that also was very patient as I took his picture.

green beetle

Beetles are among largest family of the insect kingdom. These beetles have a hard shell that, in this case, looks like a bright green leaf. He was right at home on the white rug of our friend’s Baja home.

Crazy fact: This beetle is close cousin to the stink bug, so be careful how you handle it!

If you haven’t had enough of bug close-ups yet, please check out a fellow blogger at ChosenPerspectives!


I took these photos with my Samsung Galaxy phone and edited them with PicMonkey. If you are interested in more photo tips for blogging, please check out my affordable e-book, Better Blogging with Photography.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the bugs of summer. What are your favorite bugs? Thanks for reading!

 


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The Art of Bow-Ties: A Gallery Re-Brands

The Art of Bow-Ties: a Gallery Rebrands

Carey Reddick II, CEO of Above-Time, Inc., makes friends easily. This attribute is a very good thing when one is launching a new and emerging retail business.

Alexander Salazar

Enter Alexander Salazar, art gallery owner, who is having a busy day. While Reddick sets up a store front display of bow-ties, Salazar is multi-tasking. As I interviewed him for this article, he was answering the phone, directing employees as they moved gallery equipment, checking e-mails and commenting on Reddick’s display—all while deftly answering my questions about how he got his start.

His passion is evident in his ability to successfully have multiple conversations at once.

That passion had all but disappeared a few years ago as he operated seven other art galleries, opening his first one in 2009. Recently he opted to close them all down to refocus and re-brand his newest gallery, igniting his creativity once more.

Friends with Reddick, Alexander Salazar Fine Art, became a sponsored brand rep for Above-Time.

Just what is “re-branding” anyway?
Re-branding is the process of giving a product or an organization a new name, image, symbol or design, in order to make it more attractive or successful, using a variety of marketing strategies. Re-branding can be a marketing strategy unto itself.

Re-branding can be a marketing strategy unto itself. Click To Tweet

In this case, for Salazar, it may have been a healing strategy.

What is Salazar’s motive behind the re-brand? Everyone has a backstory. In 1991, an 18-year old Salazar watched his father get shot by young gang members in Houston, Texas. The shooters served time in prison, but Salazar felt lingering guilt and remorse as he went off to college to study art.

An Artist’s Education
Salazar hold a Master’s degree in Theology and Art from Harvard University, and a second Master’s in Sociology and Art from Boston College. While studying at Colorado College as an undergraduate, he lived in London to study modern and contemporary art then moved to Florence, Italy to further his studies.

His college experience taught him something: forgiveness. Later he heard the shooter was doing well in prison and exploring art as a hobby. Years later, spurred on by his father’s passing in 2013, Salazar began collecting prison art.

Thus was born his gallery show “Art Exonerated” in April 2016, where he showed art made by prisoners and from his own collection. All proceeds went to groups helping crime victims.

“The show was Salazar’s hope to expand his own emotional journey and reach out to artists in prison that have passion.”

Community Building
This show is one example of how Salazar has given back to the local San Diego community. Above-Time is also one of those young companies who donates a share of proceeds to better the local community.

Supporting and incorporating Above-Time’s bow-ties and accessories as a retail outlet in his gallery, sits right there in Salazar’s wheelhouse. BowTies on display

“It makes sense to support Above-Time, since some proceeds go to an anti-bullying organization,” says Salazar. “Bullying and crime are connected.”

Salazar included a variety of his art pieces at the Premier Show last August. With the foot traffic into the gallery, Salazar and Reddick worked out an agreement to show and sell Reddick’s bow-ties and accessories right in the gallery itself.

Darn good idea!

The day after Reddick set up the display, Salazar called to tell him that he just sold 4 bow-ties! Not bad, considering Reddick had not even put price tags on the merchandise!

Salazar also shared his idea of using artists’ paintings as patterns for bow-ties, creating a limited edition tie sporting the artists’ work.

Located in the residential area of San Diego’s Marina District at Front and Market Streets, his gallery sees daily visitors. In his first week, he sold over $20K worth of his own paintings and those of other consigned artists.

Sporting one of Above-Time’s bow-ties, he shared that bow-ties offer him a level of comfort and cannot visualize himself wearing anything else.

“Bullying and crime are connected.” Click To Tweet

Salazar’s new lease on life, in the wake of forgiveness and healing, has awakened a new purpose and ignited that creativity that was bound up in knots that needed to be unwound.

Alexander Salazar Art logoHis re-branded gallery shows his love of the European style as art hangs everywhere interspersed with vignettes of competing, yet complimentary styles.

“My new brand is eclectic and contemporary with a little bit of everything.” Salazar admits.

Some of his former clients, with whom relationships fizzled, of course, have contacted him recently, as Salazar rides his new wave of success.

“This gallery is about a new space and new attitude; I’m starting fresh,” Salazar confides.

 

If you are visiting or live in the San Diego area, please stop by the gallery at 225 West Market Street at the corner of Front Street, in the Marina District.


Although this is a sponsored post, the intent of this article is not to sell a product, but to focus attention and awareness on the growth and evolution of the Above-Time brand. Opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading,


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Things are Looking Up: Weekly Photo Challenge

Look up! Weekly Photo Challenge. Seagulls ride the thermals in Baja

For the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, the theme is Look Up. When we take photos, we likely hone in on subjects near or far. This challenge asks us to look up and see what is above our heads.

While we stayed in Baja Mexico, there were multiple opportunities to look up and see what was flying above my head besides kites from kite boarders. Seabirds love the warm thermals and float on them all day long.

Closer to home, near Sacramento State University, is the Guy West Bridge, built to connect the college campus over the American River with Campus Commons and other neighborhoods. Why yes, it does resemble San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This was my perspective one early morning from the bike trail.

Looking up at the Guy West Bridge near Sacramento State

While eating in a restaurant, have you ever looked up at the ceilings? While many modern restaurants seem to have the contemporary look of exposed A/C ducts, my favorite Dim-Sum restaurant in Little Vietnam loves to decorate their ceilings with elaborate chandeliers and other decor.

looking up into a chandelier

While we were there one Saturday morning, the staff was setting up for a large wedding. I guess the bride really liked pink! These bright streamers covered the entire ceiling.

Look up at this ceiling decor

Next time you have your camera or smart phone, look up and shoot what’s there!

Feel free to join the WordPress Weekly photo challenge every Friday!

 


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I Am a Self-Published Author!

Cover Better Blogging with Photography

After several weeks of cobbling together a couple of blog posts and a whole lot more information, I can proudly share that my first self-published e-book, Better Blogging with Photography: Maximize Your Blog Using Your Own Images, hit the Amazon Kindle store!

I want to thank the Academy…woops, wrong dream!

Seriously, I want to acknowledge and thank fellow blogger Jo Robinson,  a self-published author in her own right, for her services, support and encouragement. Check our her page for the launch of her newest book, Writer’s Publishing Workbook!

Let me just say to you, my fellow bloggers and writers, that if I can do this, so can you.

Once you publish on Amazon, you can create an Author’s Central page. And here is the link to Amazon for the book. I would not mind one little bit if you decide to buy my book!

I will share a post in the near future about my self-publishing journey. Now, onto my next book!

 


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Summer Editorial Calendar Round-Up: Choosing the Right Calendar/Planner

Summer editorial calendar round-up. Choosing the right calendar/planner

The doldrums of Summer are here and your blog is feeling the effects. I don’t know about you, but my blogging experience has proven that summer can be a slow season for bloggers. Recently I have read a few posts on how bloggers can enjoy their summers while still maintaining a minimum blogging presence.

One way to accomplish this without losing all your hard-earned followers and readers, is to take this time to critically examine your current editorial calendar.

And what if you do not have one? At the bottom of this post, I will leave a few links to resources you can use now.

Choosing the Right Calendar for your Blogging (or Writing) Needs

While creating this post, I googled “editorial calendars.” Yes, the hits are huge! I wrote a post last summer “What’s On my Editorial Calendar” and in re-reading it, I realized how much my blog has changed just since then. So what do I use? I have a hard-copy notebook-style planner with weekly and monthly calendars, with room for notes.

Features in a calendar that bloggers seem to prefer include:

  • Room to write notes
  • Week-at-a-glance, with spaces on which to write
  • Monthly calendar, with room for notes
  • Access to a yearly calendar
  • Spiral binding for lying flat
  • Dates with holidays or other special days

Why Use a Planner or Editorial Calendar at All?
Blogging is a choice that provides much satisfaction, but bloggers who have been at it a while know how much work it takes to think of, create, write and prepare a fabulous blog post. While some bloggers can write every single day (more power to ya!), many choose to post just once a week. If you are in somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, you are not alone.

The Need for Pre-Planning
For the past several months, due to the demands of lecturing in new courses at a university, I chose to cut my blog posts down to twice a week, with one post dedicated to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. Even with my summers off from teaching, I made a commitment to write daily as I prepare my e-books, which has taken time away my blog.

Recently, a family emergency caught me off guard and an unexpected week-long trip south hampered my ability to spend time on the blog, much less write content for my e-books. This event and another post I read got me thinking about how much pre-planning needs to go into my blog.

Rather than let my blog go completely dark, I tried to read and comment on some others’ posts, but just didn’t have the time given the circumstances. By the end of the week I managed to post for the weekly photo challenge, but emotionally I was drained. And quite honestly, spending face-time with my loved ones was more important than worrying about my blog.

Having an editorial calendar with planned posts would certainly have eliminated the guesswork and emotional turmoil I was experiencing which led to not writing.

Having an editorial calendar with planned posts would certainly have eliminated the guesswork… Click To Tweet

The Kinesthetics of Writing
While down south, I spent a lot of time visiting my mom in her nursing home and away from a computer. I brought a small planner with me that allowed me to write notes and capture ideas. It’s the right size to fit into my small handbag, with plenty of room for notes. I also carry a journal-style notebook for writing down the big ideas and storing loose pages. I just cannot jot notes onto a mobile device, even with the best of One Note or Ever-note at my disposal.

While waiting in the hospital, I had the opportunity to write with pen and paper which was the therapy I needed to get me through the week. As writers, we never know when inspiration will strike, and I know my midlife brain under stress would not remember a thing.

As writers, we never know when inspiration will strike, and I know my midlife brain under… Click To Tweet

I used this time to plan my next two months of blog posts.

Editorial Calendar Round-Up
The moment you’ve been waiting for…drum roll please! If you are shopping around for a notebook-style planner, please consider visiting these bloggers for ideas.

When you subscribe to my blogging pal Elena at Blog Share Learn, you get access to printable journal pages. Here is her direct subscription link.

Another blogger gal pal, Kimberly at Fifty Jewels created The Choices Notebook. Here is my review of the Choices Notebook.

Jennifer Nichole Wells, a talented blogger who offers photography challenges, recently created a Blogging Challenge Planner & Editorial Calendar. I love my photo challenges and became intrigued that this planner lists each one. Online resources are available, too. Check out her post about how to use the planner.

While Elena’s journal is free to new subscribers, these others can be purchased through their websites for a reasonable cost.

WordPress has a great post explaining the value of using editorial calendars.

Debbie Rodrigues of Debbie In Shape also had tips for handling summer down time.

What is your action plan for summer blog posts? Do you use an editorial calendar or planner? I would love to read your ideas in the comments. Leave a link (in the comments) to your blog so I can come visit!


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Opposites on Display

Old meets new in Salazar Fine Arts Gallery

What comes to mind when you hear the word “opposite?” For today’s weekly photo challenge, Opposites is the theme.

In San Diego this week for a family emergency, once things settled down and improved, I tagged along with my brother-in-law to visit an art gallery in downtown’s Marina District. Carey Reddick II, is owner and CEO of Above-Time, Inc, the new business that creates and sells handmade bow-ties and accessories.

Alexander Salazar Fine Arts Gallery is the new storefront home to Reddick’s creations. The art gallery is one of Above-Time’s sponsored brand reps (stay tuned later this month for an official post) that is committed to the San Diego community by promoting and cultivating an appreciation for fine arts.

While there, Reddick began setting up his corner in the gallery for display. The gallery is home to a variety of eclectic pieces, including Italian Renaissance-style busts. Reddick artfully combined his new bow-ties with this old-style bust, which now sports his own bow-tie!

Above-Time's CEO prepares the bow-tie display

Watching the creative process at work never ceases to amaze me. Using the gallery’s existing art pieces to integrate the bow-tie retail line was a pleasure to behold. Creating three-dimensional displays is an art form unto itself.

Feel free to join WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge any time!

 

 


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Inseparable Partners

 

Gideon and Aero, brothers from a separate litter, are still unseparableMy dogs, both six years old now, are inseparable partners. Gideon, the blonde terrier mix who loves to chase the ball, makes a soft headrest for his younger brother from another litter, Aero. Aero ended up with the Cocker genes.

Although Gideon belongs to my daughter, these two pals go everywhere we go, including the Sacramento delta where we windsurf. In this photo, they lay on the beach, apparently wiped out after a day of hanging out with the windsurfers.

Wiped Out after a long day hanging out with the windsurfers

These next photos depict their pooch partnership!

 

Feel free to join the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge any time. This week’s theme is Partners

Thanks for reading,


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Weekly Photo Challenges: The Calm…After The Rain

 

Lenticular clouds curve over the delta after a summer storm.As a blogger and amateur photographer, I love it when the planets align and I can submit one photo for two photo challenges.

This week, Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views and News, challenges bloggers to depict “after” in a photograph.

If that wasn’t hard enough, trying to find an appropriate photo for WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge theme Curve was much more difficult than I had imagined. So much for a quick post!

I was pleased to find this photo from last year showing the curving levee road near our windsurf camp in the Sacramento Delta. Since this is a windy location, the lenticular clouds form after stormy weather, further shaped by the wind into these curvy, disk-like shapes.

Thanks for reading!


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Between the Lines: Why I Waited Until Midlife to Start a Blog

 

between the lines logo final sidebarKate from Katherine’s Corner is shining the light on bloggers age 50 plus and I am excited to be part of her blog series, “Between The Lines.” There are over 80 midlife bloggers who have shared posts in this series. Stop by and visit when you can.

At midlife, many women (and men!) I know, including myself, take a good long look at themselves, and ask, “What motivates us to embark on new adventures?” For many, blogging can be the adventure of a lifetime!

Why did I wait until midlife to start a blog?

After divorcing at age 35 and raising two daughters alone, with no monetary help, and often with a side hustle thrown on top of a demanding career, it took 12 years for everything to fall into place in my 47th year.

I went back to school and started a master’s program. Click To Tweet

Welcome to My Side Hustles

Other than some multi-level marketing scams and some seasonal retail, my best side hustle was my freelance proofreading and copy-editing business “In Other Words Editorial Services.” I worked this part-time for several years and enjoyed the old school method of marking up paper copy. I also got referrals for other proofreading and copy-editing gigs during that time.

However, all good things must come to an end. The editor sold her business and technology advanced with something called spell check (although I’m here to tell you I am better than ANY spell checker out there). The need for proofreaders drastically diminished and it still shows to this day!

Tired of working random side hustles, I needed a part-time gig that paid well but took less time.

Tired of working random side hustles, I needed a part-time gig that paid well but took less… Click To Tweet

In my career field of Parks and Recreation (yes, Leslie Knope and I are kindred spirits), I knew several colleagues that lectured part-time at a nearby university. The Recreation, Parks and Tourism department always needed lecturers to teach night classes. Intrigued, I began researching what it would take to go for a master’s degree. Two hurdles stared me in the face: time and money, so I did not pursue this right away.

In late 2006, the light bulb went on. By this time, my oldest daughter was out of college and my youngest was nearing the end of high school. I had been successfully training my recreation and lifeguard staff for several years and enjoyed teaching high school and college-aged young people.

Pursuing a Master’s Degree

My work provided tuition reimbursement. That’s all I needed to know. With my boss’ blessing, I went back to school in January 2007.

Students studying for exams

free image from Hubspot

I told the professors that I was there so I could eventually teach part-time. They supported the idea and encouraged me stating that having long-time practitioners teaching the craft and best practices were needed in this profession. Taking two classes per semester was painless, but challenging. The master’s program at the state university wasn’t expensive (yet) and I funded school with that tuition reimbursement, a new credit card and two scholarships.

I chose to write a master’s thesis instead of taking the easy route with a project. I finished my coursework in 2009 and published my thesis in December 2010. At age 51, walking at the graduation ceremony (with honors) in front of my grown daughters and boyfriend (now my hubby), was truly an incredible experience.

I had opportunities with several national organizations and businesses to present training on the subject of the Four Generations. I became somewhat of an expert and still present to this day, also teaching elements of this subject in my university classes.

Starting a Blog

One day, while concluding a presentation, someone asked me if I wrote a blog about this subject. Intrigued, I took stock of my extensive arsenal of research, gathered it up and signed up with WordPress in October, 2011 and started blogging about the Four Generations. Click here for a post about Baby Boomers.

Why I Waited Until Midlife to Start a BlogSadly, I became bored with the extensive writing and research I felt compelled to include for each post and stopped. Plus, I only had two followers.

I gradually changed the blog to cover general, professional development subjects, including temperament assessments and some re-blogged articles about women in leadership.

Bored again, and too busy at work, I wrote my last post in May 2014. In September of that year, for some unknown reason, I logged into WordPress and saw an opportunity to join Blogging University 101.

A New Blog is Born

That’s when I changed the blog to Perspectives On…Life, Work and Leisure. To this day, after connecting with bloggers from that September 2014 blogging course, I am still following several who started at the same time. What is notable about the start of my blog, is that it coincided with my decision to retire shortly after.

With the decision to self-host and one more blog title change to Second Wind Leisure Perspectives, I am happily blogging.

With the decision to self-host and one more blog title change to Second Wind Leisure… Click To Tweet

Meeting and connecting with uncountable midlife women on this journey has been richly rewarding. After meeting many of my blogging heroes in Las Vegas at BAM2016 and other face-to-face meetings, I have continued my calling as a blogger and writer.

If you are a midlife blogger, I would love to know how you started blogging!


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The Purity of Growing Your Own Veggies

Pure is the theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge. I racked my brain and looked through older photos trying to find images that depicted “pure.”

Purity of growing tomatos

Then I walked into my own backyard garden today and saw the baby veggies growing in the garden. Nothing says purity than planting your own veggies, watching them sprout and grow into mature, robust, healthy vegetables.

growing grape tomato ready for its close-up

We planted two tomatoes, one grape tomato, a yellow squash and a zucchini squash. These plants love the warm Sacramento nights and many hot days.

pure gladness comes to me from my garden

Bonus One: I get to eat my own fresh, organic veggies.

Bonus Two: According to Weight Watchers (lost 23 lbs so far) most veggies have zero points.

Bonus Three?: Watch out…if you live close, you may find a bounty of these on your doorstep!

Photos taken with my Samsung Galaxy 5 phone.

What’s in your garden?


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