I’m Back

Im back Im Back

I would like to say I’ve been on hiatus finding myself, traveling the globe looking for…

You get the picture.

Truth is… I had technical difficulties with my blog. One fine day after my last post in March of 2017, my home page was a blank white nothing. I asked around the internet and consulted a few people. The best I got was maybe a virus, and ghost something or another.

After a while, trying to figure it became less of a priority. From time to time, I’d type in my URL, and you guessed it… the blank page was still there. Funny thing was if I went to the Pinterest board for my blog,  the posts came up. Whatever the mysterious difficulty was, it only affected my home page, therefore blocking my login to the admin page.

This week, while recovering from eye surgery, with nothing but time on my hands, I did the unthinkable. I called my host. And within 15 minutes the lovely lady on the other end knew what was wrong, and had a solution. Within two hours of getting off the phone, my home page was visible again.

Oh, crap. Then it hit me… What am I going to say now? 

I decided to catch you up on what’s been going on with me in the past year in no particular order.

What I’ve been up to… 

  1. I recently hit a major milestone in my life, turning 50 years old. It sounds really crazy saying it out loud, and even more crazy typing it just now. Just yesterday, I was a senior in high school singing to the top of my lungs Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette.’ It sounds cliche’ but where did the time go?!
  2. Just two weeks ago, I had my second cornea transplant. In May of 2016, I wrote Through The Fog of Fuch’s Dystrophy that explained my eye disease, Fuch’s Dystrophy. Yesterday, my doctor said I was “ahead of the curve,” being just two weeks post-op. I am grateful, thankful, and truly blessed!
  3. A little over a month ago, our sixth grandchild was born. She is an absolute doll! I love being Nunnie (grandmother) to my sugababies. I get to spoil them all, and no one can stop me.
  4. Soon, I will publish a brand new picture book, ‘Coon Stew, An Al-the-Gator Tale.’ I am looking forward to sharing more details with you in the near future.
  5. We have an empty nest! Last May, our youngest daughter graduated from high school, giving us at the time three college students. Although they all attended the university in our city, they lived on campus. And this May, one the oldest of those three graduated from college and moved to the DMV, D.C./Maryland/Virginia area.
  6. Since I turned 50, I decided to dedicate the year as a ‘year of giving.’ There will some things I’ll share, and other things that I won’t.
  7. One of the shareable projects of my year of giving is little free libraries. In February I started a Children’s Book Drive to raise books for little free libraries in my town. As of today, we have collected 600 books. I’ll have more news to share really soon.
  8. While moving our daughter to the DMV area, we made our way to the National Mall and the National Portrait Gallery.

Of course, there is so much more to tell about all of the above… and I can’t wait to share it with you!  What have you been up to while I’ve been away?

Vuja De

Vuja De e1486583079933 Vuja De

My morning ritual the past six months consists of listening to a podcast, or TED Talks while getting ready for work. There is something about positive, informative, and uplifting information and people that make a difference in starting my day.

Recently, TED Talks tweeted  Adam Grant’s The surprising habits of original thinkers. I was intrigued by his entire speech. But the one thing that stood out and grabbed me by the… I wanted to say something profound here, but I have no words. Just know it stopped me in my tracks.

I backed the speech up, and played it again. Then paused it so I could run and get my notebook and pen. I wrote it very large and then looked it up.

Vuja De

something familiar viewed with a fresh new perspective. 

Until now, I haven’t posted anything on my blog since December. I’ve attempted twice, but nothing came to me. After hearing about vuja de, I started thinking about my blog and creating content with a fresh perspective.  It has also made me reconsider the things around me.

5 Podcast I love:

 

The #Blogproject – Forward Go

Forward go The #Blogproject   Forward GoI wanted to title this post… I’m done! But it’s just the opposite. Although I’ve completed the project of setting up a brand new blog from start to finish, it’s time to get busy!

It has been both a fun experience, as well as a challenge. Finding information on “how-to” was not difficult at all. There are tons of books, articles, websites… devoted to developing blogs, and websites. I was blessed in finding information I could digest, follow, and implement without too much trouble.

The sense of accomplishment I felt after completing one task after the other was AMAZING!

One of the last tasks I completed was adding social media icons. I started with SitsGirl’s How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Blog. I turned to Youtube when I started experiencing a trouble. Just reading the directions was leaving me disconnected. I needed to see and hear someone go through the process. That’s when I found Monica Stone’s Tutorial: Adding Social Media Icons To Your WordPress Blog.

That was just what I needed!

After downloading icons, moving them to a folder, adding them to the media file, and adding the Crafty Social Buttons plugin… I was stuck again.

Finally, I clicked… clicked… and realized the widget was simple enough without the hoopla. I just added the URL links for each social media account, chose a look… And WALA, social media icons!

To say I’m excited is an understatement! I’m looking forward to sharing with you topics that include Adventure, Blogging, Books, Crafts & DIY, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Writing & Publishing, and who knows what else.

Join me on this new journey, and let’s see where it takes us.

 

 

The #BlogProject – Design & Inspiration

the blog project 2 The #BlogProject   Design & Inspiration

Excited does not begin to explain my feelings for the transformation of my blog thus far. I am most proud of my header. Although it’s temporary, nonetheless I am bubbling over.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very pleased with the header so far. The font, Magnolia Sky, is absolutely me, and of course the picture is me as well. On the second or third header redo there was a tagline. A little blah, and it didn’t really do it’s job. According to Best Blog Designs: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Online Space

“A tagline or slogan will instantly tell people what your blog is about.”

It just wasn’t there yet, so I’m still working on it. Actually I’m trying to decide if I’m going to use a tagline at all.

Second, I’d like a better picture for the header. The first picture I chose was not inviting at all. It was more like a scarecrow, in that it would only keep readers away from my blog instead of drawing them to it. I’m really inspired by a picture of Nikki Giovanni (the one in the middle).

In looking through pictures of myself, mostly selfies, I realized I don’t have a descent picture for my blog. I was planning to have a real photo shoot with makeup, wardrobe, the whole nine yards for my birthday in May. Why wait? A new #blogproject gives me the perfect reason to make it happen.

I am the worst when it comes to posing for pictures, I never know what to do with my hands. My daughter’s friend Being Ella Marie, says she’s not a model, but is my inspiration for this impromptu photo session

Before I move forward and get started on new tasks and  I’m taking to heart Francesca’s advice from How To Create an Inspired Blog Design.

“Find five blogs you can stare at for hours. , Determine what is it about these blogs that you enjoy. Write down what it is you love about these sites and what aspects you’d like to see on your blog.”

My to-do list for the next couple of days:

  • Create Blog Topics. Come up with up to eight blog topics.
  • Evaluate Colors
  • Design a footer

I really have my work cut out for me. Again, come back to check out my progress!

 

The #BlogProject – Getting Started

the blog project getting started The #BlogProject   Getting StartedWelcome to my brand new blog Always LaTonya. My initial plans were to work on the blog until March 15, then launch with major hoopla and fanfare.

Saturday morning I had this great shower idea.

I can still have an “Official Launch,” but why not post about the journey of building my blog along the way. Instead of writing a huge post on how I got to March 15, I’ll post about the process step by step. A #blogproject if you will.

Although I’ve blogged since 2009, I haven’t started a brand new blog since then. At that time I didn’t have a clue at what I was doing. Today, I know a little more than I did six and a half years ago, however so much has changed. I’ve changed. After doing a little research I came across Sits Girls How To Blog: 21 Fundamentals Every Bloggers Need. This was just what I needed!

March 1, I registered my brand new domain name, and purchased hosting services. It was nerve wrecking! It took months to come up with a name for my new blog, and it was important to have the perfect name.  So far I’ve installed several plugins suggested in 15 Best Plugins For Your WordPress Blog.

My to-do list for the next couple of days include:

  • Find a WordPress theme I love.
  • Write a slamming About Page.
  • Create an awesome header.

I’ve narrowed my choice of themes to three… Button, Sugar & Spice, or Twenty Sixteen. I’m not sold on either just yet, but I’m getting there. If you come back, and the look is different, know that I’m still trying to decide.

Sits Girls How to Perfect Your About Page has been my guide while tackling my About Page. Did I mention that site has a ton of great information! My last about page was a little generic, and brief. I’ve grown as a blogger, and I want that page to reflect it.

In looking for a tutorial on how to create a WordPress header I came across Julie Stoian of Fabulous Blogging  Her post Creating A Header Image for Your Blog  is simple and detailed enough that a non-coding person like myself can understand. When I complete this task, I might be feeling myself a little. Although I’m doing all the work on my site myself, it’s important that it doesn’t look like I did it myself. You know, like a wannabe designer threw something together.

With Julie’s tutorial and video Create a Header Without Photoshop, I’m sure to make a statement. It looks like I have enough work to keep me busy for the next few days. Keep coming back to check out my progress.