Blogging resources

Just a few great posts I’ve found recently …

P.S. WAY more blogging resources in the BUILD ecourse or on my Pinterest board

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in blogging, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, resources

TravelScrap HQ Launched!

If you were not around last Friday morning, I spent almost 3 hours live online setting up a new little mini site:

TravelScrap HQ

Travel Scrapbooking

My goal is to build a lot of content and let it be a source of leveraged income (affiliate links, ebook sales and non-live courses). I think the site will really start rolling once there’s a ton of content, but that is (of course) immensely time consuming. But, since both travel and memory keeping are subjects I truly love, I’m not that worried about the time spent. I would be making these books and albums anyway, so why not have a focused place to show them off?

I used essentially a big chunk of the info and strategy I have included in the BUILD ecourse. You can visit this page and watch the (long) video and check out my full to do list.

You can follow TravelScrap HQ on Instagram and Pinterest

Those are the only social media I’m using for now, because they are image-centric. I have grabbed TravelScrapHQ on Twitter and FB as well, but don’t have plans to use them very soon.

I am also accepting guest post and you can read guidelines for submission here.

If you have any ideas or suggestions for the site, let me know!

If you are thinking about creating your own tiny niche site, watch how I did it here and register for the BUILD ecourse


in blogging, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, memory keeping, mini-scrapbooks, TELL YOUR STORY

NURTURE: On 6 months of saying No

My One Little Word for this year is NURTURE. I think I’m doing OK with it.

At the beginning of the year I decided I needed to slow down, cut back, get to know my new life without a cubicle job and so much more. I wanted to spend more time saying No than saying Yes. I wanted to see what I could do with the products I already have than just launching a new one.

I’ve been backing away and keeping to myself and doing more or less the bare minimum I needed to do to keep up with everything.

I had more ideas of what I wanted to do this year, but I needed a break. I needed to stop looking forward and start saying No.

At about 6 or 7 months of not looking for the next big thing I feel…

  • Behind. Like everyone else is moving forward and I am being left behind.
  • Relaxed. Mostly.
  • Poor. Made far less money this year than last.
  • Lazy.
  • Productive. But only in writing fiction. L&R feels stagnant (to me).

Finding a common thread? It turns out when I don’t give in to my ambition and extreme work-ethic I feel bad about myself. <sarcasm> That’s healthy. </sarcasm>

To be honest, it IS good that I had planned on pulling back this year. Because Andrew has been working so very much, I need to be available for the house and to do things for him that he just doesn’t have time to do (when he’s only home 20 minutes out of a 6 day period). Also, I did finish some things, like my Scotland Blurb book and a few novel drafts. But overall when I look back at 2014 so far I feel unproductive.

So, that settles it. Not pursuing goals is bad for my self-esteem.

I’m going to be spending the next couple weeks going over my goals and my direction and what I want to accomplish before the end of the year. I’m really excited about setting up a new little niche site on Friday! It’s going to be a fun project for me that can also benefit you all.

I’m going to say Yes to a new opportunity. I’m going to say Yes to taking a new risk. I’m going to say Yes to growth and planning and working hard.

I want all of it to remain in the NURTURing vein, but I need to be working. I need to DO stuff and not just relax.

I can’t wait!

How do you feel about 2014 so far?

SHIFT_free creativity guide


in Amy, BUILD YOUR PLATFORM, productivity



in found

What it means for me to work from home

When I tell people I work from home and I rarely leave the house they look sympathetic. But I love it. The solitude and the comforts of home and not having to commute or wear make-up. My house is the second best part of me quitting my day job.

The best part is the flexibility.

Friday night I was alone at home, camped out in our living room, minibook stuff all over the coffee table, halfway through Friends Season 9. Plus, I am totally counting it as ‘work’ because the minibook was in preparation of the minisite launch this Friday.

I know, I know. You all want my life.

So Friday night … I’m sitting alone, minding my own business when there’s a knock on my door. We live in a quiet suburban neighborhood and it’s almost dark out. Who on earth would be knocking on my door?

Even better? We don’t have a peephole, so I have no way of checking without opening the door.

“Who is it?” I called.

“mmsoudoiin” someone mumbled. Maybe not mumbled, but I didn’t hear what was said.

I open the door and there stands my cousin. Who lives a whole state away. He just appeared on my doorstep.

I love my family. They are awesome and crazy. Turns out he had gone to our uncle’s house (close to me), and they had all hopped in the car and dropped him off on my door step before they went to dinner. And then my uncle drove around the corner so it would appear as though my cousin had appeared from nowhere.

He asked me, “Maria’s or Presidente?” No idea what he meant so I questioned him and harassed him and finally figured out what was going on.


Here’s the kicker: Because I was able to quit my day job and work for myself, I just had to change out of my at-home-for-the-night clothes and then I could join them all for dinner with zero notice.

I texted my husband (he was jealous) and I grabbed my purse and I was out the door for the night. Total spur of the moment dinner and ice cream with my aunt, uncle and 2 cousins. I suppose I kind of invited myself, but, hey. It’s family.

We talked about Matt’s recent trip to Europe and about what Lucas would be doing in college and about my aunt’s plans to redo her floor and about how I had a bell pepper for dinner just before they arrived so I wasn’t really hungry. You know. Normal stuff.

And the only reason I could even be there was because I had built myself an online platform that let me design my own life. All because I had quit my day job to work for myself. 14 months earlier I would have been at work on a Friday night when Matt showed up.

That is us in the back of my uncle’s car. Matt (in the left of the photo) is an engineer in Phoenix. Lucas (on the right) will be leaving for college in NYC in just a week or so.

Other things I can do now that I’ve built my online platform and work for myself?

  • Take an afternoon off for a micro-adventure with Kam
  • Be available at any time of day for Andrew. Bringing him home-cooked meals or clean clothes to work because he hadn’t been home in 4 days.
  • Work from wherever Andrew is. I’ve blogged from the control room of a recording studio, recently.
  • Make conference call or meeting scheduling easier on other people because I’m totally flexible
  • Get back to my early-morning schedule and work before Andrew wakes up
  • … and lots of other little things that make my every day so much happier

Are you BUILDing your online platform?

Don’t forget I’ll be setting up a site live this Friday!



July Book Report

Much fewer books read this month — mostly because I started writing a new first draft and because 2 of the books were big, thick, SLOW books.

I’ve adjusted my library list a little to get some fun, faster reads for this next month. And (as always) lots of U.S. History. I am finally moving on to John Tyler this month!

Some of my reads from July:

The Magician King by Lev Grossman: The sequel to The Magicians. I was reading the first part of this book, trying to explain to Andrew why I like this book so much. It has such a clear, entertaining voice that I feel like I could turn to any page and find a sentence I just love. A character described as “almost alarmingly short” or describing the Middle Ages as “some point between when Jesus was alive and when Shakespeare was alive.” At one point the MC mentions feeling like he’s in a Monty Python sketch, and also at different points quoted both Friends and Die Hard (I texted Andrew immediately: ‘I genuinely love this book’). I love this. I want to write like this. The third book in the series comes out this week (I think) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I somewhat enjoyed this book, but I’m kind of surprised it is a best-seller. It’s rather long and slow. Kind of Meh. Good, yes, but rather overdone. I didn’t really care about the characters much or what was happening to them. A good book I think about in between reading and can’t wait to get back to. This one I had to make myself read. It was rather dense and detailed. Not to say that is bad, but it doesn’t strike me as the kind of book that the masses would read. I would be interested to find out how many people bought the book for the hype and never finished reading it. There are plenty of people who love it but you should know, by the way, if you get to page 100 and still don’t like it just give up. It is not any different in the other 600 pages.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan: I read this as part of Kristin’s NovelTea Book Club and really really liked it. I love books. I love the idea of mystery. I love totally normal people finding themselves on a quest of some sort. It’s hard to talk about this book without spoiling it – so I’ll just say that I immediately added it to Andrew’s to-read book pile.

(and others…  including MOST of a John Quincy Adams biography. I love him)

Read anything good lately?


in Amy


Join us in September for another round of 30 Days of Lists. Another quick journaling challenge. Another opportunity to record YOUR STORY.

Not everyone can make a mini scrapbook every week or an art journal page every night.

30 Days of Lists is our encouragement and challenge to you that you CAN journal just something every day- even something as small as a list.

Every day through the month of September 2014 we will be posting a list prompt – anything from weekend goals to celebrity crushes. At the end of the 30 days you’ll have a collection of entries creating a small snapshot of your life right now.

Only 5-10 minutes per day are really needed. While you’re waiting for someone, or when you’re the passenger in the car. You can even download the list topics ahead of time to get a jump start!

That’s all.

Just write.

There’s no wrong way to do this and if you don’t like a prompt on a certain day, just change it.


incudeOnce you register you will receive an automatically downloadable file giving you access to the private blog for September 2014’s 30 Days of Lists as well as exclusive discounts from our sponsors and ambassadors.

The #30Lists challenge blog is open immediately (and will remain available for at least a year).

Upon logging in, you’ll have immediate access to:



ARD-30Lists-0914-Kit PreviewWe have been running 30 Days of Lists now for 10 rounds! 10! We never imagined we would have so many crafters and writers and other creatives clamoring for more listing this long!

So, to celebrate we have something super special for Listers joining us in September 2014.

Created by Alexandra Rae Design, exclusively for 30 Days of Lists, we are so so so very excited to release this exclusive digital kit!!!

BEST PART: Everyone who registers before September 1 will get this 200+MB digital kit.

There ARE Listing prompts included, but you can easily use this kit and elements for any kind of digital memory keeping. Read more details including a list of elements here.



Throughout August, we’ll introduce:

  • tutorial on adding images to the Flickr group
  • tutorial on using the #30Lists hashtag for Instagram
  • tutorial on joining the community
  • introductions to our sponsors
  • introductions to our ambassadors
  • Kam and Amy’s individual 30Lists books
  • ‘your take’ on the #30Lists book covers
  • giveaways from sponsors and ambassadors

Starting September 1st:

  • 1 new list topic will be posted each morning
  • exclusive tutorials
  • additional giveaways
  • list topics hosted by some of our sponsors
  • ‘your take’ posts high-lighting the lists all of you are making

Start stocking up on your sticky-notes, ordering notebooks from your favorite online sellers, or creating a journal of your own to house your lists, September 1st will be here before we know it.

The daily list prompts won’t start until September 1st, but you can trust us when we say that it’s an excellent idea to check the private blog regularly between now and then for tutorials, updates, and maybe a giveaway or two.

Also, it isn’t too early to get to know your fellow Listers!

Speaking of the list prompts, they will be available on a daily basis shortly after 2:00 a.m. Pacific time. If you would rather have all of the lists at once, feel free to print them out in the ‘Printables Section’ of the private blog.



CLICK TO TWEET: Just registered for #30Lists!!  Join in for Listing in September!! So excited!


in 30 Days of Lists, memory keeping, TELL YOUR STORY




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in found

August is for …

  • Marathoning The Killing season 4 today!
  • Registration for 30 Days of Lists opens (!!)
  • Practice my digital scrapbooking as I use Allie’s kit
  • Building a niche site live online
  • Work on more travel albums for content for that site
  • Surprise day trip for Andrew (Lord knows when, though. We keep having to put it off)
  • 2+ day live virtual retreat for BUILDers
  • Finish the first draft of the novel I’m currently working on (Aug 17 is the goal, which gives it 6 weeks total)
  • Brainstorm the next novel to start (planning on starting editing of all these drafts in October or November)
  • Help Maggie start planning for our busy holiday season
  • Help Andrew build out his new studio space (can’t wait to tell you about it!)
  • Finish putting the final touches on my author site (and launch it)
  • repaint a bookshelf
  • teach myself how to use Andrew’s new grill

P.S. I’ll be working on all this, but really all I ever want to do is read


in Uncategorized

Exclusive digital kit with 30Lists in September!

On Monday 30 Days of Lists registration opens!! One week from today you could be registered for September 2014′s 30 Days of Lists, added to the private Facebook group, introduced yourself AND have downloaded our exclusive digital kit!

This kit was designed by our ambassador Allie (who has been part of #30Lists from the very very beginning).

CLICK TO TWEET: Can’t wait to download the digital kit by @abandy ( included with Sept #30Lists registration!

BEST PART: Everyone who registers before September 1 will get this 200+MB digital kit INCLUDED with registration.

There ARE Listing prompts included, but you can easily use this kit and elements for any kind of digital memory keeping.

Full list of elements:

  • 9 patterned papers
  • 3 paper label flags
  • 5 paper flowers
  • 6 buttons
  • 4 paint splatters
  • 3 woodgrain elements
  • 1 heart patch
  • 8 3×4 journaling cards
  • 1 graph shipping tag
  • 2 flair badges
  • 3 label stickers
  • 1 doodled frame sticker
  • 4 journaling tags
  • 1 sequin scatter
  • 3 string elements
  • All 30 List prompts (as labels)
  • 30 Quick Pages with prompts!
  • 96 Numbered round labels (numbers 1-31 + blank labels in 3 colors)
  • Quick Pages, Prompts, and Journaling cards in easy printable form.

The kit would retail for $17.99 — but you get it INCLUDED with registration for September 2014′s 30 Days of Lists challenge (as long as you register before September 1).

We love that Allie has created ‘Quick Pages’ in jpg files with the list prompts which are *perfect* for loading on to your smart phone and editing with A Beautiful Mess app (or other text app) and posting directly to Instagram!

If you are new to digital scrapbooking, Allie wrote this for you: Getting Started with Digital Scrapbooking

Also check out Cathy Zielske’s Vimeo channel or Designer Digitals getting started tips to learn more and get started.

Will you be listing with us?


in 30 Days of Lists, TELL YOUR STORY