Getting Personal #32: August Goals Recap


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Hi, everybody!

This post is a recap or review of my August goals! I cannot believe that September starts tomorrow!!

Here’s the link to my August Goals post:


Here we go!

  1. Build up some cash – Accomplished!
  2. Thoroughly enjoy my birthday! – Accomplished!
  3. See Star Trek: Beyond, Jason Bourne, and maybe one other movie with my husband – Semi-achieved.
  4. Prepare for the start of my Trial Prep & Discovery class at the end of the month – Accomplished!
  5. Finalize our first wedding anniversary getaway for November – Did not accomplish.
  6. Read Harry Potter and The Cursed ChildAccomplished!
  7.  Keep blogging! – Accomplished!
  8. Paint as much of the house as possible – Accomplished!
  9. Hopefully move my furniture! – Did not accomplish.
  10. Find at least five new recipes – Semi-achieved.
  11. Start tracking our monthly expenses via spreadsheet – Semi-achieved.
  12. Check out – Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Build up some cash – Accomplished!

  • I took a hard look at my credit card statements from July and almost fell on the floor. Plus, my main credit card was hacked in the beginning of the month, so that sobered me up too.
  • I hardly spent any money on personal items this month, with the exception of some American Girl books that were deeply discounted on Amazon! Currently halfway through one of the new Mysteries, and I love it so far!

Thoroughly enjoy my birthday! – Accomplished!

  • On my actual birthday, Al made cinnamon rolls for breakfast! Yum! I was also treated to an amazing dinner at Olive Garden, celebrating with Al, my parents, Mom’s best friend Debbie D., and our friends Kathy and Perry. Debbie D. gave me this amazing no-bake pie-making kit that came in Mason jars! I’m so excited!
  • I took off work on Monday, August 8th, and enjoyed myself immensely. I didn’t go see a movie solo, but I did purchase Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, stocked up on LUSH items (I love the Ocean Salt scrub!), and went to lunch with Al and his co-worker, Kathryn. We went to this amazing Thai place near where they work. I had their orange chicken that made Al salivate!
  • Then, the big birthday surprise came later in the week – Al bought me my third American Girl doll, Kit Kittredge. She’s the historical doll from the 1930s. I couldn’t believe it! I’m over the moon, and I’m so excited to de-clutter my future office space and make a home for my desk, files, future window seat / reading nook, and permanent haven for Stephanie, Molly, and Kit!

See Star Trek: Beyond, Jason Bourne, and maybe one other movie with my husband – Semi-achieved.

  • We did see Star Trek Beyond on a Tuesday night with Al’s dad. It was an awesome movie! I won’t post any spoilers, but if you’re a fan of the newer movies, this one is a must-see.
  • We decided to wait for Jason Bourne to come out for rent or on the streaming services.
  • We saw Suicide Squad during the Thursday night release. It was good!

Prepare for the start of my Trial Prep & Discovery class at the end of the month – Accomplished!

  • I ordered my textbook as an e-book for my phone and iPad. I got my paper workbook too, through Amazon, well in advance.
  • I’m really enjoying the class so far. The second class of the semester was last night, and I’m actually excited to dive head-first into the Homework Folder and Trial Notebook assignments this weekend. I have to do Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 before the next class. My professor is awesome!

Finalize our first wedding anniversary getaway for November – Did not accomplish.

  • This didn’t happen this month, for multiple reasons. We’ve been so busy with the house, that our weekends just slip away. However, I love the idea of going to Key West, Florida for a few days, so hopefully we’ll book everything very soon!

Read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – Accomplished!

Keep blogging! – Accomplished!

  • I’m super proud of myself. I published a post almost every day in August. I did have a five-day break between the 24th and 29th, but I needed it. I was stressed and overwhelmed. I’m happy to be back at it!
  • I’m currently working on posts containing house updates and book reviews, plus a 30-day challenge series!

Paint as much of the house as possible – Accomplished!

  • This could not have happened without Nick and Savy. They came over on Saturday and we powered through two of the bedrooms! It looks amazing. I’m so happy with the color – Monorail Silver – and it looks different than the gray that’s throughout the house. We bought the paint for Al’s office and our master bedroom – Storm Cloud – but we’re going to wait until the weather cools off a little, so we can open the windows and properly ventilate the house!

Hopefully move my furniture! – Did not accomplish.

  • This didn’t happen this month, mainly because the weather has been so stinking hot! Ugh!

Find at least five new recipes – Semi-achieved.

  • I found about three new recipes to make, but not five.
  • I made Honey Balsamic Chicken and Veggies earlier this week, and it was amazing! Thanks to Tony for sharing the link – Perfect timing! I definitely want to make this again, especially for a potluck gathering! So yummy. I’m excited and proud that I prepped everything on Sunday, and I baked it in the oven on Monday night. Lesson learned: I’m definitely marinating meats for at least 24 hours now, if at all possible – So juicy!

Start tracking our monthly expenses via spreadsheet – Semi-achieved.

  • We started this spreadsheet very early on Tuesday morning. We’ll be refining it this weekend, figuring out and tying up all the loose ends. It feels good to see it on paper, but it’s also absolutely terrifying.

Check out – Accomplished!

  • I registered for the site, and looked at it a little bit over the course of one weekend in the middle of the month. I haven’t signed up for a pen pal yet – The site is a bit complicated and overwhelming (So many amazing things!), so I hope to do that soon.

Final Thoughts

  • I was thrilled to be able to put Accomplished next to so many things! 7 out of 12. Yay!
  • The three goals that were Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with the progress!
  • The two goals that were Not Accomplished: That’s okay, too! There were certain circumstances that made these goals nearly impossible to achieve this month.

Did you have any goals for August?

If so, how did you do?

Come back tomorrow to see my September goals!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #39: “‘I Wasn’t Crazy.’ A Homeless Woman’s Long War To Prove The Feds Owe Her $100,000.”

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I found this link somewhere online last week, probably through Facebook. I like The Washington Post, for the most part. This was a fascinating story.

Here’s the link to the original story:

I hung on every word of the story. This woman, Wanda Witter, age 80, is the prime example of perseverance and determination!

She refused to give up. She was convinced that something was wrong, and was determined to fight it tooth and nail!

For me, if I were homeless at the age of 80, I don’t think I would have the same courage, determination, and spirit!

This story also cast a light on the homeless in Washington, D.C. It’s a lot worse than I ever imagined. Yes, I know D.C. is a major city, but seeing the numbers and facts about its homeless population was stark and grim.

However, seeing the story written with both sides of the coin – Good and bad, facts and figures – made it better.

For Wanda, this battle has gone on for 16 YEARS.

That’s completely unacceptable.

But, it was her reality. The story cited the backlog that the Social Security Administration has faced for a long time. It makes me upset and a bit more critical of the U.S. government and its agencies.

But, maybe that’s just me, coming off a long weekend of organizing a mountain of receipts, a wave of bills, tabulating monthly paychecks, plus arguing with agencies such as Social Security and the DMV.

Aside from all of that, I have good news to report.

Right before I published this post, I found an update to Wanda’s story!

Here it is:

I was thrilled that the Post did an update so quickly.

It warmed my heart, and put a tiny little bit of faith back in the system.

I’m celebrating Wanda’s success with her. I’m excited and happy that she persevered, never gave up, and got every single penny that she deserved (and, there’s probably more money down the line). According to the update, she wants to get dental implants to fix her top teeth, then go see her four daughters, plus grandchildren, that live in different states.

And that makes me a happy blogger today.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #31: An Open Letter To My Anxiety

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Dear Anxiety,

Today was one of those days where I felt like you had won.

I was so overwhelmed, stressed, defeated, and just utterly exhausted.

I’ve shed so many tears over the last few days, in every place imaginable. The smallest things made me start to sniffle and tears come to my eyes.

You’ve robbed me of hours of sleep recently. Tossing and turning, over and over, never truly getting comfortable in my bed next to my husband. Feeling so restless, my mind unable to shut down completely and let me sleep peacefully. The best sleep I’ve had in the past two weeks was on Sunday morning, when I was feeling sick from the paint fumes and passed out cold in bed for two solid hours.

But, I have so many people in my corner. I have God in my corner. I lean on my husband, my family, and my faith so much these days.

Waves of relief washed over me as I read a Facebook message from Diana this morning, as I was starting to emerge from your blinding fog, Anxiety. Seeing her words of concern and comfort made me even more determined to keep you at bay, put you behind me.

Immediately after reading that message, I prayed, tears in my eyes. Right at my desk at work. I’m not afraid to pray anymore. I used to be. But, now, I find myself praying everywhere. I know that God is always listening.

As much as I would like to totally get rid of you, Anxiety, I’ve accepted that you will always be with me.

However, I won’t let you control me. I can’t do that. I’ve been controlled before, and I won’t let that happen, not again. I’m not a puppet.

I’m taking back control.

Recently, I’ve realized some things, and that has helped diminish your presence, albeit slowly. Example: I won’t let lingering guilty feelings get in the way of finally realizing that / coming to terms with I was involved in a very toxic relationship with J. over the last year and a half. 18 months is a long time. Too long.

I won’t go back there. I can’t go back there. I’m pushing the guilt aside, feeling stronger with each day, and holding my head up high as I attempt to be the bigger person.

This morning, after watching me break down crying, my manager made me laugh and then said something to the effect of, “Don’t let your past interfere with your present.”

You better believe I’m holding on to that.

Anxiety, you may have claimed a small victory over me recently. But, I’m tired of the stress, overwhelm, sadness, and guilt that you’ve churned inside me. I’m letting go. I’m releasing all of that – It’s been a drag, literally!

I’m devoting every ounce of my energy, henceforth, into my beautiful house, my amazing marriage, my work, and my faith in God.

Thanks for playing, but you can’t win every time. I’m too stubborn and too much of a competitor to let that happen.

Love always, Laura Beth

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Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #11: “The Happiness Tag”

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I was tagged by B.G. again! I love it!

Here’s the link to B.G.’s original post:


Here we go!

Five Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My wonderful, amazing, handsome husband – Al. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together for almost six years, and we’re celebrating our first wedding anniversary in November!
  2. My parents. They are amazing! They both work incredibly hard, and they did an amazing job raising me as their only child. I know that I can call either of them, day or night, for anything!
  3. My circle of friends. I’m incredibly blessed to have many friends, both male and female. I’ve met so many recently through the blogging community as well.
  4. Giving blood and helping with the blood drives at church with my dad. Giving blood is a family affair for me, and Dad helped start the blood drives at our church when I was 11. I started giving blood at the first church blood drive after I turned 17 – September 2005. It’s an incredible feeling to know that giving one pint of blood can help save up to 3 lives!
  5. Reading. I was given this incredible gift by my parents, and family, who read to me since I was born. I consider myself a voracious reader and a bibliophile. I love buying books, borrowing them, discussing them, and (eventually) donating them. I love libraries and bookstores alike. Fun fact: If I hadn’t gotten into Longwood, I wanted to find a school that offered a Library Science degree.
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Five Songs That Make Me Happy:

Before I list my picks, this one was SO HARD! I love music, and trying to narrow down this list to just five was so difficult!

  1. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
  2. Geronimo by Sheppard
  3. Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey
  4. Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
  5. Cruise by Florida Georgia Line

I Tag:

  1. danetigress
  2. booksandbakes1
  3. wwwpalfitness
  4. darlydarly
  5. The Green Onion Blog
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Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #30: “Library, Prague, Czech Republic” (Reblogged)

Here’s another jaw-dropping photo from Just Wunderlust.

As many of you know, I love reading and I love books. Libraries fit into that category as well. This photo has me drooling and lusting for another overseas trip!

Also, I’ve heard Prague is one of the most sophisticated cities in all of Europe. Have any of my readers been to Prague?

I hope everyone’s having a terrific Tuesday!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Library, Prague, Czech Republic

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Getting Personal #29: 200 Followers!

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I learned earlier this week that I surpassed 200 followers.

Wow. Thank you all, so much!

This little blog of mine continues to amaze and astound me.

I’ve gained so much more confidence, spirit, faith, and pleasure in the last two and a half years with my writing and sharing my thoughts with you, my readers, and the world (literally).

I pinch myself every so often, still hardly able to believe that I have people who read this blog of mine that live in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, India, Macau, and a lot of places in between.

In addition, I have met bloggers who write from their hearts in Australia, the U.K., India, Japan, and almost every U.S. state.

I’m grateful for getting to know you, following your blogs, having my email chock-full of fresh blog posts every single day, and conversing with you, whether it’s through comments here on my blog, on yours, or in simple emails.

I’m grateful for every single like, follow, view, and comment.

I write for myself, but it gives me great pleasure to know that so many others like a blog called Hot Shot Headlines and a girl from Portsmouth, Virginia, enough to follow it, like the posts I publish, comment on them, and offer so much incredible insight, encouragement, advice, and amazing stories.

Thank you, all.

Cheers, to all of you.

Here’s to more writing!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #10: “The Harry Potter Book Tag”


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I saw this tag on Thrice Read. This is an amazing blog, all about books, run by three fantastic women! If you’re a bibliophile like I am, I highly recommend them.

Here’s the link to the original post:

The One Rule:

  • I can answer the questions, but none of the answers can be Harry Potter.


Here we go!


Found on Thrice Read.

A book you wish you could have right now:

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You Will Know Me: A Novel by Megan Abbott

I instantly fell in love with this book when I heard the review of it on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast recently. I think it’s fitting with the Olympics wrapping up and the fever that the Final Five of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team has caused.


Found on Thrice Read.

A book that surprised you in a great way, reveals to be more than it is:

The Vacationers

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Having originally abandoned this book, it pleasantly surprised me when I sat down to try it again. Check out my book review from earlier this year. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on her newest book, Modern Lovers.


Found on Thrice Read.

A first book in a series that got you hooked:

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Chosen Ones (Lost Souls) by Tiffany Truitt

I was super excited when Tiffany announced her first publication a few years ago. It’s hard to believe that Chosen Ones was released in 2012. I’m a bit biased, because she is one of my sorority sisters. Regardless, she is an amazing writer! The story of Tess and her world made me desperate to read more!

Chosen Ones is the first in the Lost Souls trilogy: Naturals, and then Creators make up the series. Tiffany has several other published books, and I have read them all!


Found on Thrice Read.

A killer book:

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larson

I was unsure about Steig Larson’s books, at first. I tried the book on CD method from the Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake while driving 15 miles from my house to my high school, and I was engrossed from the beginning. It’s a killer story!


Found on Thrice Read.

A book you found confusing:

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

I remember being assigned this book during my senior year of high school. Our teacher was amazing – One of the best English teachers ever. But the majority of my class hated this book. It was incredibly confusing, and difficult to read. We had lengthy discussions in class. However, due to this book, eventually we all learned about stream-of-consciousness and more about Irish culture!


Found on Thrice Read.

Your spirit animal book:

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Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

I’ve always loved Sarah Dessen’s books, since discovering them while I was in high school. Just Listen is the one I feel the most connection. This one, her seventh, was published in between my junior and senior years of high school. I read it shortly after it was published, and then I re-read it in college, and the connection only deepened. I love the way Dessen creates her characters, and I love the winding path that Annabel and Owen find themselves on throughout the book. It made me think of my own friendships, relationships, domestic violence, and standing up for yourself and others.


Found on Thrice Read.

A book you found interesting but would like to rewrite:


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Rooftop by Paul Volponi

I remember finding this book on a whim at the Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake. I liked it. I liked the characters, the setting, and the drama. I think it was a good attempt, but I also think it could have been written better, with a faster pace.


Found on Thrice Read.

A dark, twisted book:

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The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper

Sharon M. Draper’s twists and turns immediately made me interested in her focus on African-American characters and their struggles. I’ve read all of her books, multiple times now. Initially, I was very skeptical about African-American characters, but this one sucked me in from the beginning and never let me go.

It follows a young man, Jericho, and his friends in their quest to join the Warriors of Distinction at their high school. Along the way, everyone, including the adults, starts to realize that the Warriors are not what they seem, and it’s increasingly dangerous and twisted. The Battle of Jericho is the first in a pulse-pounding, emotional trilogy, which includes November Blues and Just Another Hero.


Found on Thrice Read.

I nominate anyone that’s a Harry Potter fan!

I really enjoyed this tag. It was so different from most of the other tags I’ve done for the blog. It made me realize I want to read more books!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #5: “Summer Award!”


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I was nominated for this Summer Award by Paul, who writes wwwpalfitness. I follow his blog, and he offers some excellent workout posts, creative acrostic poems, and he also re-blogs lots of interesting articles and pieces.

Here’s the link to where I was nominated:

The Rules:

  1. Copy the award in your post and if you like display it on your site.
  2. Thank your nominator and link them to your post
  3. Answer just 3 questions
  4. Simply nominate 3 people, advise them in a post of theirs and set your own questions or copy mine

The questions I was asked:

  1. Tell everyone what your blog is about
  2. Tell people a little bit about yourself that is not on your blog
  3. What is unique about you that we may not know

My Answers:

Tell everyone what your blog is about

  • I created Hot Shot Headlines to publish informational posts about things in the news, share some of my personal experiences, as well as create a platform to publish my own work. I wanted to create a space that combined my loves of journalism, media, fiction, non-fiction, and other forms of creative writing. I’ve met so many amazing people through this little blog in the last two years – So, thank you all!

Tell people a little bit about yourself that is not on your blog

  • I love the American Girl books and dolls. I’ve read every AG book that has been published since the early 1990s. As for the dolls, I started with a Bitty Baby when I was young. I received my first 18-inch doll, Stephanie, for Christmas 1996. I bought Molly before she was archived in 2013. Then, my wonderful husband recently help add Kit to my collection (errr, addiction / obsession). I desperately want to take a trip to one of the stores – The closest one to us is near Washington, D.C. – but I’ve told Al to keep my credit cards under lock and key when we go.

What is unique about you that we may not know

  • This is a challenging question for me. I think I’ve revealed a lot of my uniqueness on the blog already! Let’s see … Something unique about me is that, despite being born prematurely, I tried my hardest in school, and was lucky / fortunate enough to be accepted into the International Baccalaureate (IB) program for my high school years. It was a significant challenge, given my struggles with math and science, but it was a great opportunity. I had some of the best teachers, and I made a great group of friends. When given the chance, I always talk about IB and how great of a program it is. I’m thrilled that one of the young women at my church, Lindsey, is starting the program in September! I helped teach her Sunday School in her elementary school years, and she chose IB over a few other exclusive academies in the Chesapeake area. I’m cheering for you all the way, Lindsey!

My Nominees:

  1. Vinster at vinnieh
  2. Rae at I Will Not Live In Vain
  3. Candace at Literary Dust

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #9: “Inside Out Book Tag”

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I stumbled upon this tag on B.G.’s fantastic blog, Getting Through Anxiety!


Here we go!

I: Inside Flap / Back of Book Summaries. Too much info? Or not enough? Discuss!

  • I love reading the inside flap – It helps me determine whether or not I’ll leave the library or bookstore with that book! I don’t normally read back of book summaries, but it depends!

N: New Book. Be Honest: Which format do you want it in? Audio, hardcover, paperback, or ebook?

  • I prefer paperback.

S: Scribble While You Read? Do you write in your books, or keep them clean? Tell us why.

  • The horror! Never. I keep them clean. B.G.’s response was perfect: “The only writing that should be in a book is the author’s!”

I: In Your Best Written Voice Read Us Your Favorite First Sentence From a Book.

  • “In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
    ‘Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, he told me, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.‘”
    ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

D: Does It Matter to You Whether the Author is Male or Female when Deciding to Read a Book? What if you’re unsure of author’s gender?

  • That’s a very interesting question! As a child, I was drawn to more female authors. As an adult, I’ve found that it’s been basically a 50-50 split between male and female. Regardless, it doesn’t matter to me whether the author is male or female. As for being unsure of an author’s gender, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a book that I really didn’t like!

E: Ever Read Ahead? Or have you read the last page before you got there?

  • I have read ahead, but just a few books that I had to read for school. Some were just awful!

O: Organized Bookshelves or Outrageous Bookshelves?

  • For me – Organized, as much as possible. However, I like hunting through outrageous bookshelves in second-hand bookstores!

U: Under Oath: Have You Ever Bought a Book Based On the Cover? … The Cover Alone?

  • Yes, a few times when I was younger. Not now, though.

T: Take it Outside or Stay In?

  • I prefer to stay in, especially now, since this summer has been ridiculously hot and humid. However, I’m envious of our neighbors across the street – They have a beautiful front porch with chaise lounges. I would love to have that, at some point. For now, though, once the weather decides to calm down, I’m excited to get some patio furniture and read on our back screened-in porch!

I Tag…

  • EVERYONE! I would love to see your responses!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #4: Bloggers Recognition Award – Number 2!


I don’t have an official credit for this image, but whomever created it, thank you! I love vintage typewriters!!

I’m humbled and honored to have received the Bloggers Recognition Awards for the second time.

Thank you so much, Zia Jane, for the nomination!

Here’s the link to Zia Jane’s original post:

If you haven’t already, go check out Zia Jane’s blog – My Lost Thoughts. She’s a wonderful writer who pours out her heart with every post.

The traditional rules for accepting this nomination are:

  1. Thank the one who nominated you and embed a link to their blog.
  2. Share how you started your blog.
  3. Give a little bit of advice that new bloggers can take away.
  4. Select fifteen other blogs who you think really deserve the award.
  5. Visit the blogs you nominated and let them know.

Thank the one who nominated you and embed a link to their blog

Thank you, Zia Jane, for nominating me. I’m humbled!

Share how you started your blog

I started this blog as a result of a class assignment from Dr. Bill Stuart at Longwood University. When I was first nominated for the Bloggers Recognition Award about a month ago, I was inspired to look for the blog I created for Dr B.’s class.

And, to my amazement, I actually found it!

The last post I made was Tuesday, April 13, 2010.


It was a nice nostalgia trip. I may clean these up and re-post them on here!

Give a little bit of advice that new bloggers can take away

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write and post to your blog on a regular basis. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way, several times. It’s important that you blog for yourself, first and foremost. If you post every day, that’s fantastic! I’m cheering for you!

However, if you don’t post every day, don’t force yourself to do so. Don’t try to keep up with others. Some of the best bloggers that I know have sporadic posts, not a set schedule, and I look forward to each and every one!

For me, I’m happy and thrilled if I get three posts published per week.

Then, if I do more than three in a week, I feel awesome and fantastic! It’s a great motivator.

Select fifteen other blogs who you think really deserve the award

  1. Jay Colby at Jay Colby
  2. Akkshara kiran shetty at Sally Porte
  3. Aubrey at If Mermaids Wore Suspenders
  4. HighLifey
  5. Andrew at Adopting James
  6. Maureen Rose at Sparkle
  7. Alex at Lost in the Midst of Forms
  8. With Love
  9. Suyog at Positivity Unlimited – Re-Imagine The Life!
  10. Kristian W. at Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table
  11. The Lonely Author
  12. Tony Burgess at The Tony Burgess Blog
  13. Un-Break My Heart
  14. Ariel Lynn at Writing Radiation
  15. The Captain at The Captain’s Quarters

One Final Note:

As honored and humbled as I am to accept this award for the second time, I don’t plan to accept this particular one again. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like pressuring people to accept these nominations. Receiving this award twice is enough for me.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂