Monday, October 22, 2012

Adding Exclusive Shelves at Goodreads For Better Organization

I took some time to organize my shelves at Goodreads a bit better after learning that it was possible to create new exclusive shelves. This meant that my To Read shelf could be broken up into smaller shelves! I had actually noticed this possibility months ago but didn't pursue it at the time, and then I forgot all about it.

Anyway, I rediscovered that I could break up my "to read" list into different shelves. There are different opinions about the best way to do this. Many Goodreads members like to use their To Read shelf for books they already own, with a different shelf for those they don't actually have in their hands yet. That's perfectly logical but not how I wanted to organize mine.

I had a pretty long list of books on my To Read shelf. The problem was that it was a mixed bag that included everything from I have to read this!!! to the more uncertain I might want to read this someday, but I might not.

I didn't want to try to renumber them in a futile attempt at prioritizing them, so I decided to make three new exclusive shelves:

1. must read (I really, really want to read this.)

2. to read if time (I want to read this, and although it's not a priority at the moment, that could change.)

3. undecided (I'm not sure about it yet. It could end up on either of the above shelves or neither. Sometimes this is because no summary is included on the book's page.)

Granted, I could have accomplished this by adding non-exclusive shelves instead, but I already have plenty of those. I do wish I'd thought to add an Available on Goodreads shelf for books available directly through the site's e-reader; I'd have to go back through them all again to that.

Did I manage to get all the books exactly where I wanted them? Probably not, but it's pretty close. Considering how many I designated as Must Read--and how many books I'm always adding--I'm sure I'll have to go through this again soon.

Are you on Goodreads? If so, have you divided up your To Read list, or do you like having them all on one shelf?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drinking More Water

Recently, I posted about some health resolutions I made this year and said I would write an update of how they're going. My first resolution was to drink more water.

Until two weeks ago, I was right on track. I had finally gotten to the point where I was drinking two liters of water every day. Then I got sick, and my water intake went down drastically. I did manage to drink ginger ale and Gatorade, but for these purposes, they don't count. I'm only talking about actual water.

Anyway, until then, it was going great. It was definitely a challenge, but at least I could see and feel some results. One piece of advice I've seen repeatedly is to replace one sugary drink a day with water. That doesn't work for people like me, who already drink water instead of pretty much anything else.

There are a lot of different versions of exactly how much is necessary. Some say that everyone should drink 64 ounces (eight glasses) every day, which is almost two liters; others say it varies according to the person's weight. Personally, I think lifestyle and location should be taken into account.

After reaching my goal of two liters a day, I just couldn't increase it any more. I had to stay up late several times just to finish by midnight, because I knew that if I messed up, I'd give up. Then I got sick, so now I'm trying to get back to where I was.

I need to space it out better throughout the day, but I still get too caught up in other things and forget. I'm working on it.

Do you drink as much water as you think you should?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Six, July 15, 2012

Well, last week was even more of a challenge than the one before that. Things kept coming up that needed my attention, so I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to meet my goals.

Last week

1. Created several genre shelves so that I could add at least one to each book listed as "to read" on Goodreads. That way, if I'm in the mood to read something from a particular genre (horror, classic, etc.), I can just pull up the list for that shelf and make my choice. I resisted doing that at first but finally conceded that it's a useful thing to do.

2. Finished reading two books. I finally finished one that I'd started a while back. Before that, I read something else from start to finish; it was pretty short, though.

3. Posted a review of Wheat Belly. This is the one I had intended to post a week earlier but hadn't quite finished the final draft.

This week

1. Post on at least two blogs. I haven't been online much lately, so I'd like to start catching up.

2. Start reading a new book. I don't have any books in progress right now, which means it's time to choose another one and start reading.

3. Finish writing my latest book review.

Do you read in a wide variety of genres, or do you tend to stick to a genre or two?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Six, July 8, 2012

Last week was a challenge. Despite some major time constraints, I did manage to accomplish a few things.

Last week

1. Finished reading The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I'd been meaning to read for years.

2. Wrote and posted a book review of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I actually intended to post a review of a different book, but I wanted to tweak it a bit, so I postponed that one.

3. Revived Diary of a Non-Person with a post about SnackWell's cookie cakes.

That means I did what I set out to do last week.

This week

1. Organize my "to read" shelf at Goodreads. It has almost 200 books right now, so I'd like to add a few genre shelves for classification purposes.

2. Finish reading a book. I'm hoping to finish the other book that I've been reading so that I can finally start another one (or two).

3. Post a book review. This will probably be the one I intended to post last week but replaced at the last minute.

Do you have a long list of books you'd like to read?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Woof Wednesday, July 4, 2012

It's the Fourth of July, and people all across the United States will be celebrating with cookouts and fireworks.

Did you know that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters in the United States? That's when they have more strays than at any other time.

I'm cross-posting this from my pets blog because it's so important. Pets don't like loud noises, and when they see and hear fireworks, they get scared. If they're outside, they run, and it's not easy to catch them.

It doesn't even have to be a major fireworks display to send a dog or cat into panic mode. Backyard fireworks have the same result. That's why it's so important to keep pets inside whenever you know or strongly suspect that fireworks will be set off.

We all know that fireworks aren't limited to just one day a year, but we also know that July 4 is a huge day for fireworks lovers. It's important to keep your pets inside so that when the action starts, they'll be safe and unable to run away in terror.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Six

I've decided to list three things I accomplished last week, followed by three things I'd like to accomplish this coming week. It's not everything on my lists, but it adds up to six!

Posting goals for the following week should help hold me accountable and make me actually do something. At this point, I don't know whether or not I'll make this a regular Sunday topic.

Last week

1. Put up new posts at four of my blogs, including this one. The topics included writing contests, animal welfare, and personal goals.

2. Finished reading Wheat Belly. It had taken a while because once I got to the recipes, I pretty much lost interest. I finally decided to read them and actually saw a couple I might have to try.

3. Reorganized the freezer. Older items were getting shoved to the back when new ones arrived, causing me to forget what we had, so it was past time to deal with the situation.

This week

1. Finish reading another book. Even though I finished one last week, I'm in the middle of two others.

2. Write at least one book review to post at Goodreads. I don't expect to write a long review, but I'd like at least a few sentences.

3. Revive another one of my blogs. I have six but let them all go for too long. Now that I'm posting at four of them again, I'd like to revive another one.

Does posting your goals help you, or do you tend to let them go?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Better Health

Image by Ingvar-fed. Public domain.

In December, I wrote an article detailing five things I would do this year to improve my health. It was an assignment I decided to claim as a little experiment and personal challenge.

Now that 2012 is about halfway over, I'm preparing a post about how well I did with my resolutions. The article is background for the update, which I'll be posting soon.

[The following was originally published as a Display Only (D.O.) article on Yahoo! Voices, December 15, 2011.]

Five Ways to Better Health in the New Year

Every December, I write down some generic New Year's resolutions, such as "get more exercise" or "eat better." This is a good starting point, but it doesn't hold me as accountable as I'd like. As someone with more than one health problem, I know that there are several things I can do to help myself. That's why I've begun to take a more active role in my health. In addition to getting more exercise and changing my diet in general, I've come up with some specific ways to improve my situation. I have five health resolutions for 2012, along with details on how to follow through.

1. Drink more water. Although I drink water almost exclusively, I still don't drink enough. In 2012, I would like to drink eight glasses every day. This is something I'm working up to slowly. Over the last month, I've increased my daily water intake to six glasses. The many benefits include its ability to curb my hunger and keep me from grabbing a high-calorie snack. If eight glasses proves too much for me, I'll back off until I find out what works best for my body.

2. Consume more calcium. I don't get enough calcium in my diet. Unfortunately, increasing my calcium intake is no longer merely an option; it became a necessity after a bone density scan revealed that I have osteopenia, a possible precursor to osteoporosis. On the advice of my doctor, I plan to take a calcium citrate supplement in addition to eating foods rich in calcium.

3. Eat less wheat. Wheat is my downfall, whether it's in the form of bread, cake, pasta, or something else. Although I do have self-control--I can stop after a bite or two--I like it far too much. With that in mind, I've resolved to do without wheat at least three days a week in 2012. I've already experimented by having an occasional wheat-free day, and I can do it as long as I have a variety of the right foods available.

4. Get more vitamin D. After learning that I have a serious vitamin D deficiency, my doctor advised me to start taking a supplement. I did that for a while but slacked off, and now it's time to renew my commitment to taking this essential hormone.

5. Track my lab reports. My doctor typically doesn't say much about my test results, other than to indicate that everything is fine or that a particular result is slightly outside the normal range. From now on, I'm going to ask for copies of my lab reports. Once I start getting my own copies, I can track my progress all year and be prepared with any questions I may have.

I'm determined to follow through with these health resolutions in 2012. After all, the benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience.

Did you make any health resolutions for this year?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Woof Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

List After List After List

As part of my ongoing effort to restructure my time, I've made quite a few lists. Most people would probably think I'm spending too much time on this, but it's just how I manage to get things done. I thoroughly enjoy this task, and I know that it works for me in the long run.

For this particular project, my lists are helping me organize my thoughts and figure some things out, and they go far beyond shopping and daily "to do" lists. Here are a few of the ones I've been working on:

- titles of books to read
- ideas for each room (organizing, etc.)
- subjects I want to learn more about
- tasks that should be on a regular schedule

Obviously, some of them will always never be complete; my running list of books keeps growing faster than I can add the titles to my shelves at Goodreads. That's okay, though. At least I'm getting somewhere by narrowing down what I want. Not everything I've written down will be accomplished, but writing it all out is an important step toward my goal because it helps me prioritize.

Since I've been at this for a while, I'm almost ready to start working on a schedule. I'm awfully curious to see how it turns out.

Do you make many lists?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Favorites, June 22, 2012

I've decided to try posting some of my favorite things for the week, so here are a few of the best images I've come across. I hope you enjoy them!

This would be an amazing travel destination.

This is a great photo for animal lovers in general, and duck lovers in particular.

These banana bread bars with brown sugar frosting look really yummy!

I don't have many summer shows, but Pretty Little Liars is always good.

Seriously, how sweet is this?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Here's a great image for the first day of summer, which happens to fall on both Wordless Wednesday and Woof Wednesday.

Okay, so it's a set of images, but they go together.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If Only I Had Listened

If I could live my life over, I would--wait a minute. Just hold it right there.

I'm not going to get all philosophical or "if I could go back and change things" wistful or weepy; I'm just going to state a simple fact.

I wish I'd listened to my husband sooner.

There. I said it.

I have to give him credit for finally persuading me to try almond milk.

As far back as I can remember, I've thought milk tasted sour. Chocolate milk is only slightly more palatable. Cooking with milk is fine, and I like many other dairy products. I just don't like milk.

A while back, I bought some coconut milk, thinking it might be the answer. Unfortunately, it seemed very watery to me, so I wasn't crazy about it. My husband, on the other hand, really liked it, so we bought that for a while.

Then I decided to buy a carton of almond milk. Again, he liked it, but I still wasn't sure. Instead, I continued my custom of adding small amounts of regular milk to my granola. One day, I fixed a bowl of granola before remembering we didn't have any regular milk, so I tried the almond milk. After all, my husband had been trying to get me to try it, so I figured I had to at that point.

It was good.

I still haven't cooked with almond milk, but I've had instant breakfasts made with it. (Yes, I know the dry mix contains dairy milk, but I don't notice that.)

So, the point to all this?

I wish I'd listened to my husband and tried almond milk sooner.

Is there a product you wish you'd tried sooner?


This post is a response to this week's GBE 2 writing prompt, "If I Had My Life to Live Over..."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making Time for Some Good Reads

Making time to read is one of the changes I've made recently. As I mentioned briefly as one of a few random facts, I finally signed up at Goodreads. It's something I'd thought about before but never really had a chance to investigate. Once I looked around the site a bit, I knew I had to register.

Reading is something that I'd been neglecting over the last year or two, and that was unacceptable to me. I realized that I needed to do better. Even though I can't devote anywhere near as much time to reading as I did in the past, I can certainly do more than I have been.

I also realized that my reading habits have changed. In the past, I read one book at a time, picking up the next book as soon as I finished one, unless they were required reading for courses I was taking. Now, I generally have at least three books going at any given time. Only one of them is fiction, though; I'm just too forgetful to be able to keep track of what happened where. Right now, I'm in the middle of two health-related books and one classic.

I've come across a few reading challenges but haven't signed up for any of them. I think I'll hold off for a while longer.

Do you read as much as you used to--or even more--or have you slacked off the way I did?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Changing Course

When a friend told me recently that she'd finally gone back to a hobby she's loved since childhood, it made me think. Actually, it did more than that. It made me act.

Well, first, I did have some thinking to do. I thought about how I typically spend my time. I tend to focus on one thing so much that I end up neglecting everything else. For example, when I'm at the computer, I always tell myself I'll be getting up frequently to walk around and get a drink of water. Do I actually follow through? Sometimes, but not nearly as much as I'd like. That bothers me.

As a result of all this introspection, I started making lists of things I want or need to do. They're still incomplete--and probably always will be, since I'm always coming up with new ideas to include--but they're great resources. I've already incorporated some of them, such as more reading and exercise time, into my schedule.

The next step is to prioritize everything and decide how much time to allot each item, as well as how often. This will take a while to figure out, and some items will inevitably be removed or at least placed so far down the list that I'll never get to them. That's okay. The important thing is to figure out exactly what the priorities are and then follow through on what I can. I just need to pay more attention and change how I go about things, so I'll keep plugging away.

Have you ever sat down and completely restructured your time? How did it go?


This post is a response to this week's GBE 2 writing prompt, "Self."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One Lovely Blog and Kreativ Blogger Awards

This was a nice surprise! Lisa at Diary of a Square Toothed Girl honored me with two blogging awards: One Lovely Blog and Kreativ Blogger. Thanks, Lisa! I wholeheartedly recommend following her blog if you haven't yet.

As a condition of accepting these awards, I just need to answer a few questions, provide ten facts about myself, and pass the awards along to seven more blogs. Let's start with the questions and answers.

What is your favorite song?

Favorite song? Are you kidding? That probably changes every time anybody asks me. Instead, how about I tell you which one is in my head right now? It's "Little Talks," by Of Monsters and Men. If you haven't seen the video, I recommend checking it out; it's fantastic.

What is your favorite dessert?

Are you trying to trip me up? All I can say for sure is that chocolate has to be involved--well, unless it's fresh peach or blueberry pie. I prefer fresh peach and blueberry pies to their baked counterparts.

When you are upset, what do you do?

That depends on how upset I am and why. If I can pull it off, the best thing for me to do is just take a nap. I'm usually calmer when I wake up.

What was my favorite pet?

Favorite pet? I can't possibly choose. They've all been special.

What do you prefer to wear, black or white?

Probably black. White clothes get ruined too easily when you tend to spill things.

What is your biggest fear?

I don't even like to type the word, but it's those eight-legged creepy crawlies.

What is your attitude mostly?

I'm pretty realistic most of the time, but I do get my occasional bouts of pessimism.

What is perfection to you?

I guess it would be when everything goes the way I think it should.

What is your guilty pleasure?

All I can think of is when I finally eat something that contains wheat after going a few days without any wheat at all.

Now, for ten random facts about me:

1. I used to be a voracious reader but slacked off considerably, so I recently signed up at Goodreads as an incentive to read more.

2. I'm a listmaker from way back. I even make lists of lists to make!

3. I'm pretty forgetful, so it's a good thing I make all those lists.

4. It really bothers me when I'm watching something and the sound and picture aren't in synch.

5. I'm always surprised when one of my favorite shows gets renewed for another season. Most of my favorites throughout the years didn't last long.

6. I'm never surprised when one of my favorite products gets discontinued or "improved" in a way that makes me hate it.

7. Black plums are probably my favorite fruit, and I'd never even tried one until a few years ago.

8. Broccoli is by far my favorite green veggie. I don't like it raw, though.

9. I like those peanut butter kisses that are only available around Halloween. You know--the chewy peanut butter candies wrapped in wax paper. Some have orange wrappers and some have black ones.

10. I drink more water more than anything else.

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to pass these awards along to the following terrific bloggers:

Becca at Lost in Thought
Betsy at My Five Men
Dana at The Daily Dose
Kate at The Suddenly Kate Show
Janna at Pastry and Poetry
notes4neta at Rabbit Trails
Sherri at Sherri's Graphomania

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wrapping Up the A to Z Challenge

The Blogging From A to Z Challenge wrapped up on Monday, April 30. I took some much-needed downtime for about a week, but now it's time to reflect on how the challenge went for me.

This year, I entered three of my blogs, and each had a theme for the challenge:

Ellie's Blank Book (this blog) - things you'll find on Pinterest
Ellie's Couch - music videos
Help Michigan Pets - pets in urgent need of help

My Self-Imposed Rules

1. Post at all three blogs for every letter.

2. Stick to a naming format. I like looking at the sidebar and seeing the posts in (reverse) alphabetical order by the first letter of the title.

3. Write and post them on the day they're due. In other words, no writing or scheduling posts ahead of time.

4. Make-up posts are not allowed.

What Do I Have Against Doing Posts in Advance?

Absolutely nothing. As someone with three blogs in the challenge, I can certainly understand why it's a good idea. Nevertheless, I didn't do it, for two reasons.

1. It's more of a challenge to me if I write the posts on the days they're actually due. This isn't procrastination; it's just how I choose to challenge myself. For me, the challenge isn't just having a post for every letter of the Roman alphabet but also writing those posts on the days they're due. I do allow myself to research, take detailed notes, and write rough drafts in advance, but not the final posts.

2. For my pets blog, it wouldn't have been possible to write the posts very far in advance, since they were about specific pets in urgent need of adoption. Although some have been designated as "urgent" for a quite a while, others are constantly being added, and some are removed from the list (which we always hope is for happy reasons).


I read an incredible number of fantastic posts. I got many new followers and followed quite a few new blogs myself, with more to come.

Even if I had entered just one blog, I would have had a hard time keeping up with return comments and visits. That's something I'll be working on now that the challenge is over.

Will I Do This Again?

I hope so, although probably with fewer blogs. I've already been thinking about possible themes. In fact, a few days into the challenge, I remembered that I'd chosen and started planning a completely different theme months ago. Oops!


Thanks to Arlee Bird and the rest of the A to Z team for hosting the challenge.

I'd also like to thank everyone who visited, commented, and/or followed any of my blogs.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Zombies are a popular subject these days. After all, many people are preparing for the impending zombie apocalypse we've been hearing about for years. Those who don't believe it's coming are laughing off all the warnings. Both sides are having zombie parties.

Before you laugh, consider this: the CDC recommends being prepared for a zombie apocalypse. Why? It's simple. "If you're ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency."

As you might expect, a lot of Pinterest users maintain pinboards to help them prepare for a zombie apocalypse and other emergencies. A few users also see the fun and humorous side of things; they have boards about zombie parties, zombie balls, and the like.

I have a small but growing board dedicated to the zombie apocalypse. Other users have larger boards with a considerable amount of helpful information. Here are just a few:

Mestisa Cathryne - Zombie Apocalypse

~ Gigi ~ - ~ Zombie Apocalypse ~

Chella's Common Cents - Emergency Prep

Jed Smith - Zombie Apocalypse

Andrew Ward - Zombie Apocalypse

St. Jason Jeansonne - Zombie Apocalypse

Ainakea - Emergency Prepare

Nicki Under - For the Zombie Apocalypse

Austin Brooks - Zombie Apocalypse

WVfrugalmama - Emergency Preparedness

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Every year, as the weather begins to get warmer, most people spend more time outdoors. Those with yards especially seem to enjoy being outside.

If you enjoy spending time in the yard, you'll find plenty of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest, where members pin images to help them set up the perfect space for outdoor living. These images can be useful for landscaping the front or back, designing and decorating a patio or deck, setting up a play area for the kids, and much more.

Yard-related pinboards are very popular. On these boards, you'll find terrific collections of images about gardening, landscaping, and making the most of your yard. Here are just a few of the many pinboards dedicated to yards and outdoor living:

Julie Petersen - Yard Ideas

Sheila Balch - Yard Art

Heather Sams - Garden & Yard

Leslie Gee - Back Yard/Yard

Samantha Knollhoff - In the Yard

Kim Taylor Whitehead - Landscaping

Barbara Evans - gardening

Laura Lefko - Gardening, Gardening, Gardening

Cheri T. - Outdoor Living Sanctuary

Michelene - Play Yard Ideas

Stephanie Wolford - Kids: Yard

Tanya Busch - my dream yard for kids

Friday, April 27, 2012


The word chocolate is generally believed to be derived from the Nahuatl word xocolātl, a bitter drink made from cocoa beans. There is some disagreement over whether this is the true origin of the word, but there's no doubt that xocolātl has come to stand for chocolate.

Chocolate comes in many forms; its sweetness, texture, and usage vary greatly, which probably explains why it appeals to people with drastically different tastes.

Pinterest users are no different from the rest of the population; many of them love chocolate. They love to pin images of chocolate and try new recipes. Here are a few of the pinboards dedicated to chocolate:

Pat Howard - Chocoholic

Sandra Clukey - Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Kay Gilbert - Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!

Whitney Oviatt - Chocolate chocolate chocolate...

Doodlekins Cartoon Families - Food: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate!


Thursday, April 26, 2012


The popularity of writing has increased tremendously over the last few years, thanks to the internet. If you're a writer, you're sure to find support, advice, ideas, inspiration, and much more in the online writing community.

One place to find a large community of writers is Pinterest. Many of its members are writers who are interested in various types and aspects of writing. Because writing is such an important part of their lives, they often maintain writing-related pinboards that focus on one of the following:

- writing inspiration
- the writing life
- writing for specific genres
- writing tips
- grammar
- how to teach writing/composition

Here are just a few of the pinboards dedicated to writing:

Tiffany Brown - Inspiration for writing

Breebers T - Writing Necessities

Kathryn Barker - Write, write, write.....

Virginia Allain - Memoir Writing

Julie Schroeder - Writing

Annie Roland - The Art of Letter Writing

Stephanie Abney - Writing Tips

Sandy Thomason - Fantastic Writing Ideas

Dilly Ward - Write Right

Elisa Koranda - Grammar/Writing

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Did you know there are videos on Pinterest? In August 2011, the Pinterest team added the ability to pin videos from YouTube. Earlier this month, videos from Vimeo also became possible. Although no other sources are specifically mentioned, I've noticed videos pinned from many other websites.

Videos have a separate category that brings up all recent video pins. It's also helpful to search for board titles containing the word "videos," although most users don't have boards specifically for videos.

There are many types of videos available on Pinterest. I've come across pins of music videos--which are possibly the majority--as well as animals, activism, humor, and more. The videos are embedded, which means you can watch them without leaving Pinterest.

Here are a few of the pinboards containing videos:

Gerardo Cantu - Must See Videos

Jen Jen - Videos

Liz Paonessa - Favorite Videos

Michelle Wood-Capolino - Videos

Gretchen Devero - Childhood Nostalgia

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Imagine how you'd feel if you finally managed to read everything on your reading list. Wouldn't that be amazing?

The reality is that no matter how good it would feel, it wouldn't last long. Those of us who keep lists of books we want to read tend to be voracious readers. We might read one from the list and then find a dozen more to add.

Ideas for reading lists come from bookstores, libraries, reviews, and websites such as Pinterest, where members have pinboards dedicated to books. The boards include recommendations, unread books they own, and wish lists.

My Recommended Reading pinboard is a small assortment of books I enjoyed. I tried to include an interesting variety so that there would be something for everyone. Obviously, the board is nowhere near complete. I should probably also make a board for books I want to read, but I haven't gotten around to that yet.

Recommended Reading is just one of many pinboards devoted to books and reading. Here are a few more:

Darcy Whiteford - Books, Read, Unread

Courtney Spriggs - Books Read & Unread

nicole s. - reading list

persephone sunset moonstone - books to be read

Sarah Rychart - To Be Read

Monday, April 23, 2012


Do you wish you could clean the house in less time? Prep several meals at once? Stretch shoes that are too small?

We could all use some tips and helpful hints from time to time to make our lives just a little bit--or maybe even a lot--easier. Whether you're interested in information about cleaning, exercising, decorating, or something completely different, you're sure to find some great tips on Pinterest.

When people discover great tips that help them save time and use less effort while providing a better result, they love to share them with others. Pinterest users especially enjoy paying it forward; many of them have pinboards dedicated to tips, helpful hints, and other useful information. Some of these tips have been known for a long time but can be forgotten until they start making the rounds on Pinterest; others are new ways to improve our lives.

While not every tip is right for everyone, you're sure to find some fantastic ways to make your life easier. To get you started, here are a pinboards dedicated to tips and helpful hints:

Tara Rowley - Helpful tips & good ideas

Jana B - Helpful Tips

Sharon - Tips... Tips... Tips

Marcy Boatman - Tips tips tips

Krystle Fletcher - Helpful, Helpful, Helpful

Savannah Criddle - Helpful Hints

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We all have certain styles we tend to appreciate more than we do others. On Pinterest, it's possible to show off our style preferences, discover new products that fit perfectly into our sense of style, and find ways to branch out. Pinterest's style categories include Women's Apparel, Men's Apparel, Home Decor, and Hair & Beauty.

Many people enjoy pinning images of their own personal style. Often, their boards include products they already own and use regularly; others depict a wish list of items that match their style. Some Pinterest members have several style-related boards with each depicting a different aspect, such as clothes or decorating; others have one board that covers them all. Here are a few pinboards dedicated to personal style:

Joy Varnell - My Style

Joel Johnston - My Style

C Hipke - My Style and For the Home

Michelle Smith - Style Style Style!

Stephanie Duffney - My Style-Goth

Kylie Harbin - My Style: Hair, Makeup, Clothes

Elizabeth Geisen - My Style - Hair & Makeup

Friday, April 20, 2012


Retro. The mere word evokes memories of products and styles from the past. By association, it also brings to mind memories of our younger days: games, television, food, and much more.

Most people enjoy reminiscing about the past. Sometimes, these memories are amusing. (I can't believe I wore that!) Sometimes, they're frustrating. (Why don't they make those anymore?) No matter how they make us feel, our memories are part of us.

Many Pinterest users have pinboards dedicated to memories of the past. Most often, they depict happy memories of childhood toys, favorite foods, and the like. Pins showing images of the past trigger our own memories, which come flooding back. Maybe you'll see a pin of an older version of Monopoly and think, That's a newer version than the one we had! Then, you'll find yourself searching for a picture of the one you remember playing.

Here are just a few of the great pinboards where you can find retro images:

Kirsten Ugalde - Retro Vibe

littlespace - Retrograde

Melanie Leavey - Not too old to remember the past

Diane Monger - Memory Lane and When my kids were small

Mindy Golding - Remember? Remember!

Karen Porter - RETRO

Kayla Epting - Childhood memories

Thursday, April 19, 2012


People love quotes. They enjoy reading them, thinking about them, and repeating them.

Quotes are popular because they strike a chord within us. We hear or read them and recognize the truth they contain, even if it hurts to admit it to ourselves.

Quotes can be helpful, inspirational, comforting, admonishing, cautionary, and so much more. They can come from the written or spoken word; common themes include love, life, faith, and loss.

Many Pinterest users have boards dedicated to quotes. Some even have several quote-related boards with specific themes. Here are just a few:

Susan Burdett - Quotes

Erin Jo - Words I Know Are True

Kasanda Vaenuku - Quotes Quotes Quotes

Missoula Public Library - Quotes about Reading

Heather Hanney - Words To Live By

Chris Smith - Quotes, Quotes Quotes, and Quotes Quotes Quotes Quotes

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Most people have favorite products that they tend to buy frequently. Many of them are Pinterest users who enjoy pinning images of their favorites. In addition, products even have their own category.

There are advantages to pinning images of products. These images, along with some information about the products, can spark interest from people who haven't tried them. It's also possible that the manufacturers will notice the show of support, which can't hurt, especially if your favorites tend to be discontinued.

In addition to pinboards of favorite products, other possibilities include:
- favorite discontinued products
- products made locally
- products you wish were available in your area
- essential items for a hobby, new home, new pet, etc.
- products you liked until they were "improved"
- products you'd like to try
- gift ideas
- products you're selling

I recently made a Favorite Products pinboard to showcase some of my favorites. Here are just a few of the many other boards featuring products:

Karen Lagee - Favorite Products

Kylee Wood - Products I Love

deb c. - products i heart

Siv Ottem - products i miss

Haute Hands - My Products

Leah Fung - Crazy about office supplies

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Do you long to get organized but feel overwhelmed, with no idea where to start? Maybe you're already pretty organized but have a trouble spot or two.

No matter how organized you are--or aren't--there are plenty of ideas out there that you haven't thought of, and they just might be better solutions than what you're already doing.

If you want to get your home, office space, or life organized but can't seem to get a handle on the clutter, Pinterest can help. In fact, many users enjoy pinning images of great ideas for organizing various areas of the home and office.

These are just a few of the Pinterest members who have pinboards with fantastic ideas for getting organized:

Collin K - organization ideas

Lori Bolin - Organization=Heaven

Mel C - Office, Workspace

lefa - buckets bins and tins

Bobbie Eakes - Home Organization and Closet

Jodie Parrish - Organization

Anna Hamilton - Office Organization

Meghan McMullen - Organization

Emily Schoemehl Beck - office organization

Monday, April 16, 2012


Welcome to the second half of the alphabet! This year's theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is things you're likely to see on Pinterest. For each letter, I've been highlighting a subject and giving a few follow recommendations.

Although Pinterest isn't the best source for important breaking news, there are some users who enjoy pinning images that link to news stories. The topics and sources vary; the best way to find news pins is to search for boards with the word "news" in the title.

A more roundabout way to find news-related pins is to think of a news source you're interested in and then find out who has pins from that source. The way to find a source is to type and then add a domain name followed by a slash. You can also start with this link to the Weather Channel as a source and then substitute your preferred source.

With most topics, it would be beneficial to search on the word itself, but in this case, results would probably reveal far too many pins that have nothing to do with what you're actually trying to find.

Here are a few Pinterest users who have news-related boards:

Official Lady Haven Magallanes - In the NEWS

Techno Spunky - News

Brenda Moxon - Newsworthy

Eryl Shields - Breaking News

Saturday, April 14, 2012


There's just something about the moon, especially when it's full. Is there anyone who doesn't gaze at it from time to time?

Universe Today, MoonConnection, and National Geographic News have a great deal of information about the moon. MoonConnection also has some cool lunar calendars.

Here are a few interesting facts about the moon:

1. Earth's inhabitants always see the same side of the moon.

2. The surface area of the moon is approximately 14,658,000 square miles.

3. The moon is drifting away from Earth by approximately 4 centimeters per year.

4. The surface gravity on the moon is one-sixth that of Earth, which makes everything weigh much less on the moon despite having the same mass.

5. Many people believe that gazing at the moon improves their eyesight.

Pinterest users frequently pin images of the moon. Some are photos, while others are beautiful works of art. If you're interested in images of the moon, check out these boards:

K e l l y - Moon Me
Shaun Vanclief - THE MOON
Emmalola - moon moon moon
Lynda Dysktra - moon magic
Bev Missing - moon

I place moon images on my Nature's Beauty board.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Lavender plants are beautiful, the fields are stunning, and the scent is incomparable. Just gazing at a photo of a lavender field can be almost as relaxing as the aroma itself.

There's more to lavender than just outer beauty; it's an interesting plant with many beneficial uses. Here are a few facts about this wonderful plant, courtesy of Harvest Moon Farms Lavender and Flower Guide:

1. Lavender is made up of 80 to 90 percent water.

2. Lavender flowers are not harvested until the plant's second or third year.

3. The timing of the harvest depends on the intended use, such as sachets, essential oil, or something else.

4. Lavender has many uses in herbal medicine, including treatment for headaches and insomnia.

5. Not all varieties have purple flowers. In addition to purple, flowers can be pink, yellow, white, or green.

Pinterest users love to pin images of lavender. I put mine on my Nature's Beauty board, but many users have boards dedicated to this plant. Here are a few:

Nancy Kathleen - Lavender Lavender Lavender
Linda Price - Lavender
Dina Wiggins Whitehead - Lavender
Vickie Brown - Lavender
Linda Cooper - Lavender Farm

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Earlier in the A to Z Challenge, I wrote about how images of dogs are very popular on Pinterest. The same is true of images of cats.

As with dogs, photos of cats are hard to resist. This isn't limited to domestic cats, either; there are many images of feline wildlife such as lions, tigers, and cougars.

When I'm pinning or repinning an image of a cat, I have to decide which pinboard is most appropriate. Most of them are on my Cute Animals board, while others are at Posters and Quotes and Animal Welfare.

Many users pin images of cats, so if you're a cat lover, here are a few recommendations:

Veronica Frontz - Cats, Cats and More Cats
Zjanette Culinette - Cats
frances - dame de chats
Dandy Al - Kitty-Kats
Cate - Kittens. Inspired by Kittens
Julia Sweitzer - We Are Siamese

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


If you're looking for a new job, have you checked for job listings on Pinterest?

The popularity of social networking has resulted in many companies advertising their products on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest--but that's not all they do. Some actively recruit new employees.

A quick Pinterest search on "jobs" yielded mixed results. Many of the boards merely had titles containing the word "jobs" and weren't relevant to my search. However, I did notice several recruiters, as well as some pinboards about jobs in specific areas. Although many seemed to be placeholders that didn't have any pins yet, some did.

Finding the right job pinboards will take time and involve some trial and error. Here are a few of the results I found:

Terry's Sourcing & Recruiting Talent
Pyramid Consulting Group's Human Resources Jobs
Camile Growmowski's Jobs and Recruiting Skills
Vincent de Meerleer's Jobs in Belgium (only 1 pin so far)

I didn't delve very far down the page, but it seems that Pinterest may be another source for job leads or at least up-to-date news about the job market, interview skills, and other relevant information.

Even if you're not seeking employment, there are other possibilities for job-related pinboards. You could dedicate boards to positions you've held, your dream jobs, interview skills, and job openings in your area.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Iceland seems to be a popular subject on Pinterest. This is undoubtedly due to its stunning geography and, of course, the Northern Lights mentioned earlier in the challenge. Here are a few interesting facts about Iceland:

1. In the summer, Iceland has almost 24 hours of sunlight. In the winter, it's rare for inhabitants to see the sun at all.

2. Icelandic children start learning both Danish and English at the age of eleven.

3. Some sources indicate that there are no dialects in the Icelandic language, but that isn't quite true; there are a few dialects.

4. Vatnajökull Glacier is the largest glacier in Europe.

5. The city Keflavík is pronounced Keblavik. This is because of the Icelandic language rule stating that the letter "F" sounds like a "B" when followed by an "L."

I've pinned many images of Iceland on my Nature's Beauty pinboard. In addition, I've found many boards dedicated to the country. Here are a few of them:

Design & Things - Photogenic Iceland

Endless Forms Most Beautiful - Iceland

Katherine Lumb - Reasons to Visit Iceland

If you love animals, please visit another of my "I" posts, Incomprehensible: 350+ Dogs in Need. Thank you!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Pinterest is a fantastic source for holiday ideas. Users love to pin images of holiday food, decorations, traditions, and more.

Ainakea has several "Holiday Helpers" boards, including boards for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and birthdays and other special days.

Halloween boards include Crystal Daniel's Halloweeeen!, Julie Telken's Halloween! Ghosts, Goblins and Candy, and Keri Manning's Halloween/Día de los Muertos Food and Crafts.

These are just a few of the holiday pinboards on Pinterest. Many users dedicate boards to specific holidays, while others have one holiday-themed board where they put all relevant images. The best way to find users and boards to follow is to use the search function on Pinterest.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Antoni Gaudí i Cornet was an architect who was born in 1852 in Catalonia (English spelling), which is in northeastern Spain. Gaudís work, most of which is in Barcelona, is fascinating.

Here are a few facts about Gaudí:

1. His first name is often incorrectly written as Antonio. In his native language, it's Antoni.
2. Gaudí was the subject of a concept album by the Alan Parsons Project.
3. He never completed his masterpiece, La Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family). It's still under construction.
4. Gaudí died 3 days after having been hit by a tram at the age of 73.

My pins of Gaudí's work are on Interesting Structures. I also found a cake made to look like his Casa Batlló.

Sheren Ceylon has a Gaudí board, Hanne Way has a board dedicated to Barcelona, and Alena Izotova has a pinboard for Catalunya.

You can also do a Pinterest search on his name to find more pins of his work.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Those interested in fitness are in good company on Pinterest. Many members enjoy pinning fitness-related images and networking to give and receive support and encouragement. Types of images include inspiration, goals, workout plans, and more.

I don't currently have a fitness-related pinboard, but I should. It's on my list of future boards that I haven't gotten around to adding yet (and have no idea when that will happen).

Here are a few follow recommendations for those interested in fitness on Pinterest:

Abbie Swanson's Abbie Swanson Working Out and Eating Right
C Hipke's Healthy fun
Cindy Forrester's Fitness
Donna Renkel's Keep MOVING!
Janelle Hitz's Fitness

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Many Pinterest users enjoy pinning images of their favorite stars, recording artists, movies, music, and television shows. So far, I've been putting all those on My Music and My TV.

Several actors, musicians, filmmakers, and others in the entertainment industry have Pinterest accounts. Here are just a few:

Ashley Benson
Bobbie Eakes
Martha Stewart
Darkrider Studios
RJ Wattenhofer

You can find many more through The Daily Dot, which has a pinboard of Celebrities on Pinterest.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Pinterest is a fantastic source of photos of just about everything. Many of the pins are of dogs.

I've never been able to resist a picture of a cute dog. In fact, I probably pin more images of dogs than anything else. Most of them are on my Cute Animals board. Some of them are on Animal Welfare, and a few are even at Posters and Quotes.

I can't even begin to name all the terrific people who pin and repin images of dogs. Here are just a few recommendations:

Animal Rescues
Dogster & Catster
Donna Renkel
FeeFee, RN

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Photos of cakes are among the most common images I see on Pinterest. Many of them link back to the recipe or decorating instructions, while others are simply beautiful images that can be used as decorating inspiration--or a good reason to rush out to the bakery.

Cake decorators are incredibly talented. On Pinterest alone, I've seen cakes made to look like such things as asparagus, castles, and Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. I've also seen cakes with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nightmare Before Christmas, steampunk, and zombie themes, to name just a few. This is in addition to the many photos of gorgeous wedding cakes with more traditional themes. I shouldn't leave out the cupcakes: teacups, babies, owls, and so much more!

For beautiful images of cakes, I recommend following Lenita's cakes pinboard and Stacie Vaughan's Yummy Desserts board. I've been pinning cakes and other baked goods on Cool Creations.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Look at those faces! Bats, including these white-winged vampire bats, are the subject of many myths and misconceptions that unjustly give them a bad reputation. Here are a few facts about bats:

1. Despite the phrase blind as a bat, bats aren't blind at all. Many species do have small eyes, but they can see.

2. Bats are mammals belonging to the order Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing." They are not rodents.

3. Bats don't attack people. They see humans as predators and therefore avoid them.

4. Vampire bats don't suck blood. They do, however, bite a sleeping animal and then lick its blood. This doesn't harm the animal at all.

5. Some species are in danger of becoming extinct due to White Nose Syndrome, which causes white fungus to grow on their noses and wings during hibernation.

6. Bats are critical to ecosystems worldwide. Organizations such as Bat Conservation International, Bat World Sanctuary, and the Organization for Bat Conservation help bats all over the world.

Since I like bats, I enjoy pinning images of them on Pinterest. Whenever I see one, I have to repin it or at least "like" it so that I can pin it later.

I've also gone out and found a few good bat photos that I didn't see there. I have one of a baby bat that's absolutely adorable.

I probably pin most bat photos on my Nature's Beauty pinboard, but the baby bat was an obvious choice for Cute Animals.

Doing a search of Pinterest, I found that there are many images of bat cupcakes and crafts for Halloween.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Displays of aurora have always fascinated me, which is why I was happy to discover that there are so many images of them on Pinterest. Here are a few facts about these colorful lights in the sky:

1. The term aurora borealis refers to the Northern Lights. It is used when the display is in the northern hemisphere.

2. When these colorful lights are visible in the southern hemisphere (Southern Lights), they're known as aurora australis.

3. The most common colors in aurora displays are pink and pale green.

4. Aurora is Latin for dawn. These beautiful light displays were named for Aurora, the goddess of the dawn.

5. Displays of aurora have been the subject of many legends and superstitions, including the belief that they were spirits.

6. Aurora occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the earth's atmosphere.

I've been pinning and repinning these images on my Nature's Beauty board. I get many of them from Dan Ashbach, who has a pinboard dedicated to them.

For more information about the lights, visit the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre.

Image: Aurora borealis above Bear Lake, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Credit: Senior Airman Joshua Strang, USAF.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Malfunctioning Followers Gadget

I've been having trouble with the followers gadget on one of my blogs, Help Michigan Pets, for months now.

I can't see the followers most of the time; sometimes they briefly show up as it loads, and then they disappear, leaving an empty box where the avatars should be. They show up just fine in the preview (when I'm fiddling with the design), but as soon as I get out of the preview mode, they're gone. So far, nothing I've tried has fixed it.

Some people have reported that their followers gadgets indicate that they don't have any followers yet, but that's a different problem.

One thing I've read is that it has to do with my computer settings. If that were the case, all my blogs would be affected.

Maybe I just need a new template. I'd really like to keep the one I have, but it's looking as if I have no choice. Then again, I have no idea whether that would even fix the problem.

Just a few hours after this post was published, the followers gadget started acting up on this blog too! It comes and goes. This is really discouraging.

Down to the Wire: Blogging from A to Z

If you're interested in joining in on this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge but haven't signed up yet, there's still time. You'll have until Monday night (April 2).

Check Arlee Bird's latest post for a terrific last-minute check list to help you prepare. There's even a cool countdown clock on the right sidebar.

As for my own preparations, for the last few days, I've been devoting most of my online time to getting ready for the challenge. While I don't write the final drafts in advance, I do as much as I can beforehand.

As I previously announced, three of my blogs are participating. The info is here.

Have fun with the challenge, and I hope you enjoy my posts.