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Category: Yep, I’m a Geek

It May Not Sparkle, But It Is Shiny and Bright

Welcome to the all new! If you are new here or have landed here from one of my other sites, please hit the orange button on the left to subscribe by RSS or e-mail so you don’t miss future posts.

This site has been a long time coming. I’ve been blogging since sometime in 2003 (I think, maybe 2002?). During that time I’ve had several different blogs, but the one that has always remained fairly consistent is my personal blog. For the last five years, my home base on the internet has been at Voices In My Mind.

Somewhere along the way, I was told that niche blogs were the way to go and started up a craft blog, a recipe blog, and a product review blog. I felt like each of these topics should be separate from my personal, diary-like blog. I had grand intentions for all of these, but the problem was that I was just too spread out. With a full-time job and two kids at home there was just no way I could keep them all updated.

So, my solution? To put them all back together in one spot, with a couple of exceptions. My recipe blog will stay put. I use it as my own personal cookbook and don’t want to have to search through tons of other posts to find my favorite recipes. Product review posts (for now) are pulled back in, but you won’t see them on the main page. They are included in the feed, but feel free to scan right on past if that isn’t your thing.

Another big change is that I decided not to put BlogHer ads on this site. I’ve had them for years on my other site, but to be perfectly honest, the restrictions they put on my posts just aren’t worth it for the pennies that I make from them. I will most likely bring in some type of ads in the future (they help pay for my camera equipment), I just have to decide what I want to do. The blocks you see under “Things That Rock My {Online} World” to the left are truly things that I use and love online, not ads. Some of them do have affiliate links attached though, so if you are interested in any of these, please click through my site to get there.

I’ve been working on this whole deal in my head for over a year now, so it is pretty exciting for me to see it all come together. The hardest part was coming up with a domain name that I felt comfortable with. I wanted something cute and memorable, but coming up with names is definitely not my strong point. I decided to go with because, well, it’s who I am and I couldn’t think of anything better.

I really hope everyone will keep following along over here. If you subscribe by e-mail or RSS, you’ll need to re-subscribe (just click that shiny orange button on the left) It means the world to me that I can share myself with you all here and each comment is deeply appreciated.

Please click around, check things out, and let me know what you think of the new place! I’ll still be tweaking things for a while I’m sure, so please let me know if there is anything not working correctly or you are missing something that should be here.

Lastly, that you all so much for making this little hobby of mine so much fun!

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Time For Change

I’ve been having some thoughts about this little space here on the web.  I’ve been thinking about these things for a while, but haven’t really been able to make any decisions so I haven’t moved forward.  I really want to make some changes but (besides being indecisive) I haven’t had the time to put into it.  However, I’m also really tired of all this stuff bouncing around in my head so I’m putting it out here.  I’d love any feedback/ideas anyone has that they would like to share.

  • I want a new name for my little space on the web.  Voices In My Mind was just something I threw out there because it happened to be in my head at the time I was searching for domain names, but it just isn’t me anymore.  I want something catchy, something that is me – not just some random lyric that I came up with.
  • While I’ve always kept this mainly as a personal/mommy blog, I want to start including more photography/craft type of posts rather than putting them in separate blogs.  I kind of want all of me in one place, if you will.  My recipe blog will stay where it is, but everything else is going to merge together.
  • I need a new design/look.  I like what I have now, but it just all feels a little stale.  Sprucing things up always seems to motivate me again (at least for a while) and I need that right now.  I also want to clean up the sidebars while I’m at it.
  • I’m re-considering the ads on my blog.  I’ve had BlogHer ads for a long time, but I’m not sure how much they actually benefit me.  The small amount of traffic I get from them is nice, but the pennies I make from them don’t necessarily make all of the restrictions worth it.  I’m not really sure yet which way I’m going to go with this, but it is something I’m thinking about.
  • I want to revise all of my categories – consolidating some and expanding others, but the thought of going through and re-categorizing every post kind of makes me sick…and extremely tired.  Not sure if that one will actually happen.

I think that’s it.  As I said, these ideas are still bouncing around but at least this gets them out of my head.  Please feel free to add any input in the comments below.

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Do You Follow?

When I first started blogging years ago, I never imagined that it would be what it is today. I started up a little online journal and really had nothing much to say on it. I posted things like “My job sucks” “so and so irritated me today” “I wish I had more money” and on and on. It was pretty much just something for me to waste a little time on when I was bored and to practice my html skills.

Then something happened. People started reading it. Suddenly my private little journal became public. And I liked it. I became addicted to comments. I started writing in hopes of getting a reaction. I started reading other people’s blogs and became part of a community that I didn’t know even existed. Before I really knew what was happening, I had all of these online friends. People that I had never met cared about me and came by daily to see just what was going on in my life. I have to admit, I liked the attention (and I started being a little more positive in what I posted).

Eventually, I had enough of my free hosting site that was constantly going down and started up my own site. Some of my blogging buddies got lost along the way, but I found more…and more…and more.

The more blogs I read, the more I became interested in this new social arena.

At that point I still didn’t really know what was going on.  I started learning about professional blogging and people that were actually making money off of their personal blogs and I was intrigued.  Eventually I got a paid blogging gig myself and started learning a lot more about blog promotion, SEO, social networks, and how they all worked together.

I ended up quitting the paid blogging gig when I got pregnant with Evie becuase I just wasn’t able to keep up, but a lot of the things I learned there have stuck.  For one thing, I learned that if you want to get anywhere in the world (blogging or otherwise), it is all about having the right contacts.  Perhaps that is why I find the new social media world so interesting.  Even as a little unknown blogger, I can easily strike up a conversation with some of the internet’s finest.  For someone like me, who is greatly intimidated by face to face contact, sites like Twitter or Plurk are fantastic.  I can ask a quick question or post an observation to the general public or I can send a direct message to someone for a more private conversation.

I have to admit though, I have formed a bit of a bad habit of signing up for every new social site that I hear about.  Some of them, like Twitter, stick.  Others, like Pownce,  I try out and then forget about because it just didn’t do anything for me.  If I only had more time in the day, I would be more active on a lot of social sites because I just find them so fun.  It makes me feel like I am part of something bigger in a world where I often feel overlooked.

These days you can find me on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, Brightkite, and MOG, as well as other sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube.  Those are the ones I have yet to abandon anyway.

Of all the social sites I am a part of though, Twitter is by far my favorite and I can pretty much narrow it down to one reason – I have more contacts there than any of the other sites.  For those of you who have never heard of Twitter, it is a micro-blogging site.  The basic premise is that you answer the simple question “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less and it builds a timeline based on your answer to that question.  The fun part is that it has evolved into so much more.  You can “follow” people who you find interesting so that their Tweets show up on your page and it really gives you a much better insight into a person than even reading their blog.

One of the things I really like about Twitter – besides the social part – is the timeline and the fact that I can send Tweets from anywhere using my cell phone.  I recently set up Twitter sites for both Evie and Zach so that I can send a quick message when I want to remember something they have done or said.  My memory is terrible these days and I am really bad about writing things down in the baby books as they happen so Twitter is a way for me to keep up.  Then when I get a chance I can go back and catch up in the baby books.

The only downside to Twitter (and most other social sites) is that I can’t seem to get my real life friends to join me there.  MySpace is about the best that most of them will do (which is the only reason I’m there).  I can see it having a lot more uses if they would join me.

I sit back in amazement today thinking about how much the internet has changed my life over the last 5 years or so.  I never would have imagined that I would be where I am today just because I wanted to find out what those “blog” things were.

I had a lot more to say on this topic, but it is getting entirely to late and my brain is fried so it will have to wait for another time.


Bored and Slightly Crazy

I’m bored with all of my blogs.  I want new designs, new ideas, something to spice things up.  I haven’t been posting much at all.  In fact, other than this blog, I’ve actually gone months without posting which just isn’t like me.  I’ve got a few ideas rolling around up in that noggin of mine, but they will take quite a bit of time and effort to implement.

One thing I’m considering, which will save me a lot of time in the future is switching over to WordPress MU.  It may seem like a bit much to run my personal sites on, but it would really simplify the upgrade process.  Right now I’m running three different blogs on WordPress and have to update each one separately when there is a new version.  I intend to add at least one more to that list in the near future and would like to convert my mom and sister’s sites over as well.  That would be six different sites to maintain and update.  Of course I’ve never used MU, so I may have to play around with it a bit before I’m really ready for the switch.

The technical part actually seems really easy when I compare it to the design part.  While I absolutely love designing it has been quite a while since I’ve actually done it.  I’ve never designed a WordPress site from the ground up, which is what I would like to do.  I usually find a pre-made template that is similar to what I want and then tweak it from there.  That usually ends up in frustration because I can’t get it to do exactly what I want it to do.  The only way to really fix that is to do it myself.  That is going to take a lot of learning and I’m just not sure that I have it in my right now.

Oh, and I would like to have all of this done before the baby comes.  Yeah, right!  I just know that if I wait until after Baby G is born the whole thing may never happen.  For some reason life gets a little hectic when you have a newborn baby around.

Anyone want to help?

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Change Isn't Always Bad

Well, as you can see (if you aren’t using a feed reader), things look a little different around here right now. I upgraded my publishing system to Movable Type 4 and in the process decided to toss out my templates and start from scratch. I figured it was as good a time as any to clean things up around here a bit. It may take a while for me to get all moved back in and get things the way I want them. So, in the meantime, please excuse my mess and let me know if you see anything funky.

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