Liebster Award


How about something a little fun and different for a change? I was nominated for a Liebster Award from the Casual Readers book club recently and I graciously accept this because it’s not every day that one gets nominated for something.

Wondering what a Liebster Award is? Well, it’s something given from blogger to blogger … it’s kinda like a chain letter or a meme. Basically, I answer the questions, nominate some others, they accept, and then answer the questions and the circle continues.

What do you LOVE about blogging? Give us all the steamy details

I love all the connections that I have made through blogging. The friendships I have made are priceless.

What do you HATE about blogging? Be honest!

I hate competition… there always seems to be this numbers game going on and those with the highest numbers win. It kinda sucks.

Have you ever had a star-struck moment? Tell us about the time you met one of your favorite celebrities.

Absolutely! This year while I was at BlogHer I was able to meet Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman! She was going to be at the Land O’ Lakes booth chatting and taking pics with people. You can bet that I hovered around until she was going to be there and I was right at the front of the meet & greet line.

Ree Drummond

Blogger or WordPress? Tell us how and why you chose your blog’s platform.

When I first started out blogging I was on Blogger and then I won a Blogger to WP conversion (not sure how or any of that) and the amazing Ashley made it all happen. I love it too!

Have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so, tell us about it or name those on your to-go wish list.

Sure have! I’ve been to a couple of local conference right here in Michigan that were so much fun because I was able to finally connect with some amazing Michigan bloggers. I’ve also been to Bloggy Bootcamp in Chicago and BlogHer this past summer.

I’d love to check out a few more…. Type A and Mom 2.0 are on my list. Blissdom was on the list but it’s over with and who knows what will happen with BlogHer.

Traditional blogging or micro-blogging? Tell us which one you prefer and why.

Traditional… I’ve never really tried micro-blogging.

What is the best way to engage with your readers? From comments to contests, tell us what works for you.

Engagement depends on what you’re looking for really… For me it’s comments. Replying to the ones that are left on my blog and then asking leading questions on Facebook that encourage my fans to answer or ask something in return.

What are your favorite blogging tools? Tell us what they are and why you dig ’em.

I use several tools. Stats Counter & Google Analytics to track numbers, Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule Tweets and Facebook updates, Google Docs to write and share posts that I have written for other blogs, and Evernote.

Did you keep a diary/journal as a child? Explain how that impacted your adult desire to blog.

Nope, I never kept a diary or a journal as I child. I wish that I would have though so I could go back and read what I was thinking, going through, and doing at various stages of my life. I’m sure that it’d be pretty entertaining!

Do you vlog? Tell us why video is special or why you’re beyond terrified just by the thought of it.

I don’t vlog… I have in the past and if there was a reason to do it again I would. Honestly, I hate the way I look & sound on camera.

So, now on to the nominations!!

Fleur De Aleta

Shana Norris


Oh, My Marta

Hearts & Laserbeams

Heck Awesome


  • Each nominee must link back to the person who nominated them.
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.


  1. What do you LOVE about blogging? Give us all the steamy details.
  2. What do you HATE about blogging? Be honest!
  3. Have you ever had a star-struck moment? Tell us about the time you met one of your favorite celebrities.
  4. Blogger or WordPress? Tell us how and why you chose your blog’s platform.
  5. Have you ever been to a blogging conference? If so, tell us about it or name those on your to-go wish list.
  6. Traditional blogging or micro-blogging? Tell us which one you prefer and why.
  7. What is the best way to engage with your readers? From comments to contests, tell us what works for you.
  8. What are your favorite blogging tools? Tell us what they are and why you dig ’em.
  9. Did you keep a diary/journal as a child? Explain how that impacted your adult desire to blog.
  10. Do you vlog? Tell us why video is special or why you’re beyond terrified just by the thought of it.

I know… I know…. I didn’t nominate 10. But that’s because I don’t know a lot of new bloggers. I should… I’m sorry.


Lately it feels like I’ve been running in circles… like a crazy little dog chasing my tail while the family sits there laughing, pointing, and worse yet … encouraging it. So in this analogy I am the dog and everyone else around me is the family… online and in real life friends, family, co-workers, and everyone else around me. It kinda sucks and something has to give.

I’m starting to think that it’s blogging.

How I feel right now about blogging is totally different than when I first started. Then it was new, shiny, fun, and there wasn’t as much stress surrounding it. But now… now it’s not new, it’s not shiny, and there is a lot of stress that goes along with it. There is so much pressure and stress from it that I’m considering quitting all together.

The stress & pressure come from what feels like a requirement to build your numbers whether it’s your social media following (Twitter, FB fan page, Instagram, Pinterest, G+, and the list goes on and on), increase your Google Analytics numbers, lower your bounce rate, get a good Alexa rating and Google Page Rank, make sure that your site shows up towards the top of a Google search, post on a regular basis, create unique and searchable content, create pinnable images, witty updates to Facebook and Twitter, keeping up with what’s going on in the social media world, participating in various groups (FB, G+, etc) creating valuable conversation, and most important … comment, comment, comment!


So, this on top of my day job, being a wife, and a mom to four busy kids is just too much.

I don’t know if I can do this anymore.

Honestly… I don’t know if I even want to.

The pressure to succeed and do something with blogging can be immense at times. Really, it’s a full time job to keep it all going and as soon as you take a little bit of time off your numbers start to drop….  Now, this could just be me. It’s possible that I’m not alone in this and there are others that feel the same way or it’s all just in my head.

This is what I know for sure and it something has to change and soon. It can be something as easy as scaling back on blogging, giving it up all together, or it could be something drastic as quitting my day job to really focus on blogging/writing. Of course we all that quitting our day jobs, that provides 1/2 the household income & all of the health insurance for the family, to go after our hopes & dreams is ridiculous.

There are days that I wonder what it’s all for and I don’t look forward to writing another post, reading another post, trying to find or start a real conversation on Twitter. This is heartbreaking because it’s all stuff that I used to love dearly.

Want in on a little secret? Part of the reason that I stick with it is because of the wonderful friendships that I’ve made. I have met so many wonderful people that I don’t want to lose those friendships and I worry that if I quit I’ll lose those friendships. Silly, isn’t it?

I also worry that without a solid social media presence that I will never be able to quit my day job and really focus on what I really want to do… work in social media.

Maybe I’m just frustrated with the way the blogging community has changed so much and it’s a big numbers game and everyone is out to make money with it. Me included… I’m guilty.

Have you thought about giving up blogging? What stopped you?

Old School Blogging – April Edition

This has to be my favorite post of the week! Why? Well, because it’s so incredibly easy and it’s a lot of fun kickin’ it old school style with everyone! I was pretty excited when I was tagged last month by Heather and immediately wrote my post and linked up.

Don’t forget to check out all the other great bloggers who are taking part in Old School Blogging with Heather from Theta Mom and  Elaine from  The Miss Elaine-ous Life.


old school blogging


How did your husband pop the big question?

There was a restaurant next to the office that we worked in and my husband had borrowed the keys from them for an evening. I knew nothing of what he had planned but I did suspect that something was going on because he refused to tell me what we were doing that evening. He pulled in some friends of ours and she came and picked me up… of course I couldn’t look where we were going and with my eyes closed she led me into a building.

I opened my eyes to a rose petal path that led to a table with a huge vase of roses with my husband standing next to it. It was then that he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

After that we all went out to eat together to celebrate.

What are the three most surprising things about married life?

When you first start dating you try your best to look good all the time and are conscious of just about everything. Then time passes and you start to get comfortable with one another until there is barely nothing that you don’t do in front of one another. Except going to the bathroom…. I draw the lines there.

Patience. It takes a lot of patience not only to deal with kids but a husband too. Oh… and a sick one on top of that!


How did you find out you were preggers for the first time?

Really?!?! You expect me to remember over 18 years ago? I’ll be honest… I don’t remember the exact details. I’m sure that I missed my period and started to worry. I was young… a mere 22 years old and went to a pregnancy resource center where they confirmed it. I was shocked to say the least.

How did you choose your first baby’s name?

I poured though book after book searching for the right name. I finally settled on Caitlin which is the Irish form of Catherine which is my mother’s name.

Describe where you see yourself 10 years from now…

Chances are I’ll be in the exact same spot that I am now. On the couch, watching TV with my husband while we both surf the internet, work, and/or read! I

We’ll still have one kid left at home who will be 13 while the other ones will be 27, 23, and 21. God forbid I’ll be a grandparent….

I know… it’s an exciting life that I lead.

Describe how you find bliss either by using words or images.

Diet Coke…

Diet Dr. Pepper…


Image courtesy of Pinterest

Books & baking. Two of my absolute favorite things ever.

I can always get lost in a book and find my escape from every day life and the craziness that it can be. Baking is the same for me… it’s something that brings me joy, happiness, and it’s another way to relax.

Have you linked up yet? Come on…. you know you want to! Old School Blogging is a lot of fun!

Link up and don’t forget to use the #OSBlog hash tag and start some conversation on Twitter!

The End is Near ~ Save Our Subscriptions

As you may have heard Google Friend Connect is going away for all of us using WordPress. Now, if you’re using Blogger there is no need to worry… you can still use it. But the rest of us need to Save our Subscriptions!

Save our Subscriptions

Back in November Google announced that they were discontinuing several of their products, Google Friend Connect being one of them.

Google Friend Connect—Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We’re retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.

The end is near…. March 1, 2012 as a matter of fact and for many of us that means that we’ll be losing hundreds of followers and that we need to find other ways for them to follow our blogs.

So what are your options?

RSS – This is my favorite option because then all of your favorite blogs will be in your reader and you can read right from there. You can click on a link and it will take you to the post you were reading and then you can leave wonderful, heartfelt comments. Subscribe to With Just a Bit of Magic here.

Facebook -This is another good option where you can follow all of the blog updates as well as see some other great posts that I share from other bloggers. Like me here!

Google+ -This is Google’s preferred method for following blogs. With Just a Bit of Magic does have it’s own Google+ page but it’s not updated with every post but please feel free to add me to your circles! This is where you can find me…. right here.

Twitter -Now who doesn’t love Twitter? It’s one of the best ways to engage with your friends, meeting new ones, and share information. You can find me there just about every day. Follow me.

Email – You can find me in your email inbox a few times a week! Now wouldn’t that be great! Fill out the form below and you will get posts from With Just a Bit of Magic delivered to you…. almost like magic!

Enter your email address:

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Oh… you can also find me on another addiction, Pinterest. Or even Instagram.

I also have a Tumblr blog too where you can check out a day in my life! Follow that here!

Please make sure to pick one of the many choices to follow your favorite blogs before March 1st. You wouldn’t want to miss out on anything great!

Have you subscribed to your favorite blogs yet?

My first #BlogBoycottDay!

I have to tell you all that I am really excited to be co-hosting with the incredible Liz from A Belle, a Bean, & a Chicago Dog for #BlogBoycottDay!

During the last #BlogBoycottDay Liz said that she was ready to give it up and asked if anyone was interested in taking it over! I quickly raised my hand and here I am!


So what is #BlogBoycottDay you ask? Well, it’s a day dedicated to social media! Spend your day Tweeting and engaging with your community instead of writing posts for your blog or reading and commenting on others. Reach out to all those people who you haven’t spoken with in a while or that one person you’ve always wanted to talk to.

#BlogBoycottDay is the 2nd Friday every month and all you have to do is link up!

In order to find others who are taking part in the boycott, include your Twitter handle in the Linky below.  Also, grab the code for the button from my sidebar over there on the right —>

I broke up with Klout

I tweeted, retweeted, engaged, and so on.

Every day I would check the numbers…. Were they higher, lower, or was I maintaining the status quo?

I’d check for awesome perks and see what I qualified for (we all did/do it).

And then it all changed. A simple algorithm (alright… algorithms aren’t simple I know that) to make it so that the scores were more accurate and it was said that scores would stay the same of go up. Ahhh…. Not so simple my friends… not at all.

In fact, the truth is that most of us saw a huge drop, upwards of 10 -12 points. And some even saw two of their accounts move to within a number or two of each other.

This is what I did. I broke up with Klout. I kicked them to the curb.

Why? Well, here’s the thing. Blogging isn’t about numbers, keeping up with the Jones’, or what cool stuff you can get for free. At least it isn’t for me. I write because I want to share, learn, grow, because I like writing, and well… it connected me to a large group of people that I consider friends.

I’m not a power blogger or tweeter and while I engage with my friends (community) daily I do it because I want to not because I need to increase a score or anything like that.

I love chatting with everyone, sharing information with them and learning from what they share with me. We are all friends and we are there to support one another, cheer each other on, and be there when a shoulder to cry on is needed. That is what engaging with my community is all about.

I am happy to say that I have not looked at my Klout score since the end of October and honestly…. I don’t care what it is.

I do however like the idea of giving out the +K because if you do something that influences me then it’s kind of cool that I can let you and others know about that. So, I will continue to do that but it will be in the form of #ImaginaryKlout.

#ImaginaryKlout is more fun because I can pick and choose the topic where as Klout only lets me pick from what they think you’re influential about. How silly is that?

Imaginary Klout

Want some #ImaginaryKlout? Just let me know and you can snag my awesome image!

Do you check your Klout score still? What do you think about the new changes that Klout has implemented?

Stolen Content

Control copyright icon

Image via Wikipedia

On Thursday something happened that I never thought would happen to me. My content was stolen.

I always thought why would someone take my stuff? It’s not that good. Seriously.

But it happened. Not once, but twice in the same day and then it got me wondering how many other times has it happened that I don’t know about. How many times has this happened to other bloggers out there and how many of them don’t even know it.

When I found out I was shocked. Annoyed. Angry. I wanted to do everything I could to get my content removed from those sites. I spent the better part of the afternoon working on it and with the help of some wonderful people and one in particular, Ashley, I was able to start making some headway.

Alright, I’m going to share with you a few things that I found out.

  • Look at your spam comments because that’s how I found out. There were trackbacks in there that needed to be approved and I didn’t recognize the sites so I checked them out first. Both sites grabbed my entire post… images and all… and had a link back to my blog at the end of it (this doesn’t make it right).
  • Copyright your content! I use a service called My Free Copyright and ever post I make is copyrighted. I get an email that I save for each post. By registering you get a public record of all your content that is saved on their databases.
  • If you find that your content has been stolen then contact them and tell that you want it removed. Don’t ask.
  • For me I went around in circles. For the first site I found I found who was hosting it, called them, and was told to email their copyright claims department. Which I did. I then found out that they don’t really host that site so I was pretty much out of luck.
  • Find information on some sites that steal content is like finding a needle in a haystack. There is nothing on them! No about, no contact, nothing.
  • Sites that are hosted by seem to be harder to turn in. I’m still working on that one!

Now I’m not going to go into everything that I learned. Instead I’m just going to share with you all the links that were shared with me.

Lorelle on WordPress has a lot of great information and even more helpful links.

Problogger, of course, has a list of his own.

BlogHer also shares some tips on protecting your content.

I hope that this never happens again and I hope that it doesn’t happen to you either. It’s wrong for anyone to take your content that you worked so hard on, something you put your heart & soul into.

Hopefully I’ve helped you!

A New Beginning

Last weekend I went to Bloogy Bootcamp in Chicago and it was one of the best experiences that I’ve had this year when it comes to blogging and social media. I’m still trying to process everything I’ve learned, follow up with all the wonderful people I had met, and narrow down the three things I’m going to focus on.

There are few things that Tiffany said between speakers that has really been sticking with me this past week.

  • Only pick 3 things to work on after the conference.
  • You’ll do really well on those 3 things.
  • Where you put your attention you get results.

So why is it that those things are sticking with me? Well, it’s because I have this issue with wanting to help here or there, joining various causes, and when it comes down to it spreading my self way to thin. I end up overwhelmed and not able to give things the attention that they deserve and then I end up letting myself and others down. This isn’t fair to anyone involved.

I want to be able to make an impact and inspire people through my blog. I want it to be well known and like throughout the blogosphere. There are so many things that I want, but without focus and starting here at home I won’t be able to reach any of those things.

I’ve cleared my plate.

From now on my focus needs to be on this blog, my social media presence, and the goals that I want to obtain in the next few months. That alone is a lot of work considering that I work full time, have four children, and a husband who owns his own business and is always busy.

For now I have some ideas of where I want to start and what I need to do.

Tomorrow starts a new beginning.


It’s my SITS day!!

Alright so if you didn’t guess by the title of my post today then I’ll say it again…. It’s my SITS day!! That deserves a double #WOOHOO and then some! To say that I’m pretty excited about this is an understatement! I’m above the top excited! Doing flips excited! Screaming from the rooftops excited!

You know what SITS is right??? They’re a community of over 9000 women bloggers who support one another through their blogs (commenting…. and lots of it), education, and of course by being the featured blogger or by being the SITS girl in the spotlight. If you’re unsure of which community you should join when first starting out in the blogging world I would highly recommend this one!

A huge thank you goes out to the SITS girls behind the scenes running the entire show, Tiffany, Francesca, Kat, and Angie for all the hard work they do and for celebrating all of us bloggers out there.

Thank you for featuring me today!

How to Blog

So, if you’ve never been here before then welcome to my little corner of the world and thank you for stopping by! Now, if you have been here before then thanks for coming by again dear friends!

Hmm…. what can I tell you? I know… I’ll make a list!

  1. I’m a wife to a pretty great guy and we’ve been married for just over 4 years. It’s been an amazing ride so far and I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives brings us.
  2. I am a mom to 4 pretty amazing kids! 3 girls… Caitlin 15, Natalie 11, Lauren 9, and Andrew 18 months (Yup, I started over again!)
  3. I work full time outside the house as a product owner managing projects in a software development company….. Yes, I work with programmers all day long.
  4. My dream job is doing something in social media where I can work from home where I can spend more time with my kids.
  5. Blogging is awesome…. actually it’s more the interacting with all the great people that I’ve met through blogging. I’ve learned that no matter what I’m not alone and that there is always someone there to help me out.
  6. I love to cook and bake. A lot. I don’t focus very much on that here on my blog, but I have just started posting a new recipe regularly on Monday’s.
  7. I love #wineparty on Twitter every Friday night!
  8. I dislike #TwitterJail
  9. I just like Twitter in general… Do you follow me?

There are all sort of odds and ends you’ll see posted around here! Anything from reviews, giveaways, pictures of my kids, complaints, rants, and of course a few meme’s! Oh, speaking of that my favorite one is The Red Dress Writing Club and I usually post something based on their prompt every Friday. So if you’re looking to try some fiction or a twist on some non-fiction check them out!

Alright, guess that all I can think of right now! Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you come back and visit me soon!

What I wish I knew

It’s Friday and I’m linking up again for the #SummerBlogSocial!

I read over the prompts again and again, undecided which one to pick. And finally a few thoughts came to me and I knew which I wanted to do.

** If a real life friend approached you and said, “I want to start a blog. Can you give me a list of helpful tips?“, what 10 (or more) things would you tell your friend? **

Yes, I know that almost everyone has done that one but hoping mine will have a bit of information that someone will find useful. Of course now that I think about it some of my thoughts pertain to this prompt as well.

** Finish the phrase, “Before I began blogging, I wish I had known…“. Feel free to substitute “blogging” with “joined Twitter” or whatever other social media phrase is appropriate. **

So when I started blogging there is a lot that I wish I knew and these are things that I would pass on to anyone who told me that they were interested in starting a blog of their own.

So lets get this list started!

1. If you don’t have any knowledge of HTML or CSS then read! There are a lot of great resources out there for you to learn and a good one that I’ve used when in college is the W3 Schools Online Tutorials. Making buttons, header images, and adding widgets to you blog can all require some knowledge of basic web development skills. So read up!

2. Find your color palette. By this I mean figure out the main color that you want to use in your blog and then use a color palette finder like Big Huge Labs.  With a tool like this you can be sure that all the colors that you use coordinate really well.

3.  Pay attention to the layout & design of you blog because if it’s to busy or have contrasting colors/patterns you will start to turn your readers away. Do a little research on layout, design, and some basic usability practices. This is a great article by Jakob Nielsen, a leader in the usability field.

4. Plan. Planning is important and knowing what you want to write about and what your want your blog to be about. Otherwise you can end up aimless and won’t have the direction you need to help you grow your blog the way you want it.

5. Don’t expect miracles. It takes time and hard work to get lots of followers and comments. This is something that I’ve struggled with and was worried about on and off time and again… because I was never sure if I did something wrong or said something to offend people. What I learned is that it’s not always me or what I write and that I just have to put forth a bit more effort.

6. This one naturally follows the previous one. Content is really important. You need to post on a regular schedule and what you write needs to be good. A good subject that is well thought out and well written will get noticed. This is an area that I feel that I’m lacking in and have really made it priority to work on it.

7. Now this one is really important. Be honest. Be true to yourself. And most of all do not steal other peoples content! This will get you shunned and pretty much kicked out of the blogging world faster than you can blink.

8. Find a community that you like and fits what your blog is about. There are so many great ones out there than are really supportive of bloggers that picking one will actually be the most difficult part! I know that at first I joined all sorts of them left and right and tried to keep up and take part in all of them. I quickly found out that it was nearly impossible to do that so I sorted out the ones that helped & the ones that didn’t and today I’m part of the SITS Girls, Blog Frog, and a couple others.

9. Have fun!! Blogging and social media is a ton of fun even with all of the work that’s involved with it. Take the time to enjoy it, make friends, and if you need to take a break once in a while. It’ll all still be there when you come back and you’ll be welcomed with open arms again.

10. Ask for help if you need it. Chances are there will be someone out there that knows the answer or can help you solve your problem. There are countless number of times that I’ve asked for help, offered to help others, and been asked to help. It’s great knowing that you’ve solved someone’s issue and that they’ll return the favor in the future.

So there you have it. What do you think?