The Lovely Liebster Award (s)

one-lovely-blog-1I’m rather chuffed over here as I’ve been nominated for not one, but two blogging awards by two great new blogs I have been lucky enough to discover recently.

I thought I’d be time savvy and combine the two, so I hope that my nominators are cool with this. I’m being purely sensible as I haven’t had much time to sit down and write the things I want to this week due to a jam-packed schedule. I didn’t want to go too long without responding though.untitled

The awards are One Lovely Blog Award and The Liebster Award and they both have their own rules. Since I’m combining the two, my rules are a bit of a mish mash:

  • Post the award(s) on your blog
  • Thank the blogger(s) who presented this award and link back to their blog
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions (the last one is via The Liebster)

First up, thank you to both Hayley Margaret of A Stitch to Scratch and Jillian of The Pink Panther Snipes Again. Both of these great blogs have come to me via the Blogging 101’s Class of September ’14 and I’m really happy about it.

Hayley is a crafty little sew-er with a healthy respect for Taylor Swift (me too) and a talent for just about anything creative it seems, while Jillian has a snarky tongue that I very much appreciate, that and her ongoing relationship with Netflix and film reviewing (read this, it’s so far up my street, you don’t even know). Check out both blogs ‘cos they’re ace.

Blogging 101 has been great for getting communication flowing between new bloggers and I love it for that. But on to the rest of this post!

I nominate the following blogs for my hybrid award, The Lovely Leibster Award:

  1. #TinaWays
  2. Not Simply Red
  3. Fannie Frankfurter
  4. What If I Fall?
  5. The Bohemian Within
  6. Shrewd Health
  7. MashHead
  8. Almost Erica
  9. Berryduchess
  10. Movin’ it with Michelle
  11. Random Daydreaming

My answers to 11 Questions from My Nominator:

  1. What was the last thing you borrowed from a library (or from a friend)?
    My husband recently railroaded me into reading a sci-fi novel he loves, called Altered Carbon. I’ve not really into reading Sci-fi/Fantasy but this is really good. A kind of futuristic, steam-punky detective novel.
  2. Which ‘80s pop culture icon are you? Or, if you aren’t as addicted to online quizzes as I am, which ‘80s pop culture icon would you invite to a party?
    I bloody love a Buzz Feed quiz and I’m Madonna, baby!
  3. Favorite book? Or, if too difficult, favorite book you’ve read recently?
    I am obsessed with the Millenium Trilogy but I think my favourite book (today) is A Confederacy of Dunces. I just really love Ignatius J. Reilly.
  4. Cake or pie (and why)?
    Cake, all day every day. Because it’s cake, why else?
  5. Favorite post you’ve written or are at least somewhat proud of?
    I was very proud of the one I wrote about my brother.
  6. A Youtube video that always makes you laugh?
    Well, this is my happy place. But I love this video. And this one. And this one. And… must. stop.
  7. One thing you love? Food
  8. One thing you hate? Negativity
  9. The best thing on TV (or Netflix, Hulu, etc.) right now is American Horror Story Freakshow.
    If you don’t watch TV, favorite movie?
    I love TV obvs, but my favourite film is True Romance.
    If you don’t watch any of the above (as if!), how do you unwind after a long day?
    Wouldn’t you like to know?! (Sit on the sofa, drinking tea).
  10. A song you always pump up when it plays on the radio (or on shuffle).
    King of Wishful Thinking by Go West (listening to it RIGHT NOW). Also see: Under Pressure.
  11. This is really for my own purposes: any bad (or good) movie recommendations?
    Martyrs, Prisoners, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman, Enemy,The Vengeance Trilogy… I could go on and on and on.

My 11 Questions for my 11 Nominees:

  1. Why do you think Britney sings Scream & Shout in a British accent?
  2. Do you prefer Serious Nicholas Cage or Action Hero Nicholas Cage?
  3. Which Tom Hanks would you be most likely to sleep with? (This question came up in the pub last night, mine is older Hanks or You Got Mail Hanks)
  4. What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?
  5. Which of your blog posts has been your favourite, yet not very well received by your ‘public’?
  6. Do you care about followers and likes and reblogs, etc? If no, why not? If yes, why?
  7. Which three websites are your most visited on an average day?
  8. If you could start your own business, what would it be?
  9. Who’s your favourite Batman?
  10. Text, Facebook messenger, Whats App, snail mail, old school face-to-face; which is your favourite way to stay in touch with loved ones, and why?
  11. What’s the meaning of life?

Have fun anyone who chooses to do this! If you’re on my list it means I’m into you and your blog… thanks for brightening my days ❤

high-five-amy-tina

NB: The original rules for both of these awards says you have to share facts about yourself. I know it’s lame but I skipped this bit and removed it from the list. It’s because I’ve done it here and I couldn’t think of 11 brand new ones… If you want to give me 11 of your own, please do. I love facts.

Truth Serum

You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask? Via The Daily Post (30th September 2014) (This is also today’s Blogging 101 prompt: Make a Prompt Personal)

Lasso of Truth Innit
Lasso of Truth Innit

There are so many truths I would love to uncover but I think it’s important to preface this post with a dash of realism.

The truth can often hurt and, while they say it can also set you free, sometimes I’m not so sure.

I mean, it’s okay, for instance, not to know exactly what someone you work with really thinks of you because who does it really help, unless you actually care? It’s okay to have small secrets.

Even in relationships, I don’t think you have to play your entire hand always. My husband doesn’t need to know just how much I love my time alone when he goes out with the boys, does he? (He does know but for the sake of this post, let’s say he’s clueless, ok?)

What I’m trying to say is this: lies, or the omission of truth rather, are sometimes designed for the greater good, to protect the ones we care about or it doesn’t matter in the long run.

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t need all the details. I’m happy to trust that I know what I need to. Life is hard enough without being cut up over every little truth nugget people choose to lay on you, and these same folk can be very generous with their opinions when you’re not asking for them.

If I’m really honest here, I would say that the one person who would most gain from drinking the serum in this scenario, is me. I’m not honest all the time, hide my true feelings and trip over my words where I should be expressive.

I turn a blind eye to the fact that I don’t know what I really want out of life, professionally and creatively. I could do with having a stern talking to myself, no holds barred.

So, while I’d love to know the truth about whether Beyoncé was ever pregnant (from the lady herself), I’m going to drink the truth juice myself and get busy with the results.

Good time to ask me anything at all that you like, guys…

 

Love Your Theme

Today’s assignment: try out at least three other themes — even if you’re happy with yours. Try one you’re drawn to, and one you’d never use. Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (17th September 2014)

I’m not doing this today and I shall tell you why. It’s not just because I’m a stubborn one.

I love my theme at the moment. I try new ones most weekends when I’m faffing about on my blog and I’ll always try the newest one for size. I always revert back to this one or the classic, Runo Light. I also have a soft spot for Greyzed and Elegant Grunge.

I love crisp minimalism on my blog and I love to see that on the blogs I read. Some of the blogs I adore most are just very simple in their design which means that their words and images stand out all the more. No smoke and mirrors, just crisp pale backgrounds and sharp words.

My blogging pet hate is having to strain my eyes to make out a sentence. Block coloured backgrounds and white writing just give me a migraine.

So, I’m staying as I am for now thank you. This theme is like my current favourite dress and I’m working it like Bey.

Here’s this picture of The Goose being encouraging though. That’s something, right?

Hey-Girl-Ryan-Gosling-Blogger

UPDATE: I did actually go away and think about this and ended up clearing my sidebars of junk. Much as I love Instagram and Goodreads, people don’t necessarily care what I’m currently reading or what I ate for breakfast last Saturday. So I had a clear out and I think it looks better. Yey!

Dream Reader

Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it. Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (16th September 2014)

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My dream reader is YOU!

My dream reader is anyone who wants to read me! I‘ve never really thought about it before this morning.

Sure, I fantasise about the moment I receive the call from a well-known publication (Elle or Things & Ink magazine for example) and am offered a regular column within their pages. I think that’s a job I’d be really good at you know; regular columnist. Of course, this is just a pipe dream and the reality of it is, I’m happy if one person likes what I say. Even if that one person is my gloriously biased mother.

I must admit that I have received some really nice feedback lately from people I would never have expected would be into my writing; and that feels bloody fantastic. I will never tire of hearing that something I have constructed has touched someone, or made them nod in agreement, or fist pump the air in triumph because they’ve been there too. It’s the best feeling in the world.

So today I’m to write for my dream reader and maybe try something new. I’m useless at that and I don’t think the post I am thinking about is that much of a departure from my usual style but let’s see shall we?

What is bravery?

All too often the word is thrown around like confetti and I wonder is it always valid? I’ve been called brave before, mainly for stepping outside my comfort zone or doing an activity alone. A few months back a couple of middle-aged ladies praised me on my courage in turning up to Zumba class on my own.

You’d think I’d slayed a dragon with my nail file that day and although it’s nice to be commended for anything even slightly out of the ordinary, in that scenario I don’t think I deserved it. I hadn’t even thought twice about going it alone, in fact even though I live with someone, I often do things solo and insist on it being that way.

Bravery to me is far bolder. It’s impulsive, two feet first shit. Clicking your fingers to Destiny Child’s Survivor as you smash life against the odds; being ill and fighting back. Being ill and letting go.

Bravery is dancing to your own beat whatever the rhythm. Picking your life up off the kitchen floor seconds after it’s exploded there and piecing in back together.

Bravery is moving to another country to give another life a chance. Putting yourself out there with new people, fighting against your self-consciousness to make new friends.

Bravery is risking it all for a boy you once knew. It’s trust and hope and faith, in yourself and others. Maybe I am brave after all. Maybe we’re all brave people, making brave choices every single day.

Maybe brave will always be ambiguous; one man’s lion taming is another man’s dining out alone.

That’s it I think. Right there.

She says bravely pressing ‘Publish’ on her imperfect waffle.

What do you think is the definition of bravery, Dream Reader?

NB: The new-to-me element in this post? Picture of two kittens on their smartphones? Does that count?

Say Your Name

For no other reason than woman with a dinosaur head!

Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline. Make your readers’ first impression a good one!
Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (15th September 2014)

I’ve decided not to do the assignment today because that’s just how I roll (not really).

I have good reason to excuse myself and it’s not just because I’m being pig headed. I genuinely love both my title and my tagline, and it took me a good while to arrive at them. I will, however, talk more about them and why I am sticking to my guns.

In yesterday’s Introduction, I explained why I chose the blog name I did and what it means to me.

My tagline is a little different, in that I just like it. I saw the term ‘force majeure’ in the Terms & Conditions of something and I liked it immediately, even though I didn’t know what it really meant. It was listed in a segment talking about ‘forces of nature’ and ‘acts of God’ so I knew it would be something big and it is!

Force majeure in the dictionary is defined like so:

Noun

  • Law
    Unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract
  • Irresistible compulsion or superior strength

Wikipedia goes into even more detail, if you like law and law talk.

Anyway, as soon as I had wrapped my tiny brain around what it meant, I decided it would work well on my blog. I mentioned it to my mum and she thought it was very humble of me (not). Of course it’s meant to be tongue in cheek. I don’t honestly consider myself a superior being or strength, but it’s kind of cute, right?

A few months ago though, I found out that good old Eddie Izzard (who grew up in my hometown) called his tour by the same name. I like to think he stole it from right under my nose since mine’s been in print since March, but the truth is, he was already on the road in 2013 and I’m just not that original.

Still, originality (or lack thereof) aside, I’m not changing it and I can’t imagine that I ever will. I have this thing where I can get very angsty if my blog doesn’t look exactly as I think it should.

I’m not driven by what other people say (although I love feedback), it’s just a very personal thing. I think I’m there are the moment, aesthetically speaking.

So there we are. I’m not changing for the foreseeable future and you can’t make me!

See you tomorrow for Day 3.

Introduce Yourself

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Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.
Via The Daily Post’s Blogging 101 program (14th September 2014)

It feels a little funny to be writing an introduction since this blog isn’t brand new and most of you know a little bit about me already. But I’ve signed up for this as a ‘creative fresh start’ so I’m game.

I’m Christa and I started A Voluptuous Mind because I wanted a place where I could showcase my writing without worrying about upsetting anybody. I’m not convinced I’m the best writer in the world but I do think I have potential and I wanted to be able to explore it without having to worry about who I’ve slagged off at work, or anywhere else for that matter (not that I do, you understand).

In fact, work had a lot to do with my new blog. I started a new job in February, as a Marketing Assistant for the company I had been with for over two years. Although it might not be where I am meant to be forever, I am proud that I started by answering complaint calls and then worked my way upwards (or sideways, depending on how you look at it).

My role has been interesting and again I am pleased that I have been able to wrap it around myself and mould it into something more fulfilling than it was originally intended to be. I think so anyway. Where I expected to be just an Admin Girl (nothing wrong with that, I love Admin), I’ve ended up putting myself forward as the department copy writer and being more involved in the production side of the business.

Sure I don’t have a proper title (yet) but I am getting the experience and that’s what I am focusing on now. So when it started to become clear that I would like to be doing something with my writing, professionally, I thought about having a clean blog that I could give to my bosses, or share publicly, without fear of what would come back to bite me on the arse.

(I allow myself to swear and say ‘arse’ as I feel it’s expressive and a valid form of language, I just try to keep it to a minimum so my mother doesn’t bollock me too much).

However, I feel I should say here that I’ve been doing quite a few writing exercises over the last month, which have brought out personal things I thought I had buried long ago. I’ve been honest to a fault about a lot of past experiences, which may render the plan to share this blog with my bosses a little ambitious. I’m not sure my manager wants to hear about the time I lost my virginity in Thornton Heath.

I chose the name of my blog because I wanted something that was all ‘me’ but also vaguely intellectual (pseudo, one might argue). I think ‘voluptuous’ is a pretty accurate way to describe me.

I like the way the word is spelt, the way it looks and is balanced; and I love the fact that it hints at a broad and rich waste ground of ideas. Plus it was inspired by A Beautiful Mind which hopefully suggests that I am much more than I first appear to be, much like the protagonist in the film.

I write because I genuinely enjoy crafting words into something bold and beautiful (hopefully). I think about everything I write as much as possible, even my work emails are little works of art (as far as I’m concerned). I do judge people on their grammar (silently, nobody likes a smart arse) but I’m not perfect, especially when tired and tip tapping on an Android keyboard.

That’s me really. I love reading, films and painting my nails. I love my friends but am a hermit at heart. I’m married to the greatest man and I have a nine-year-old stepson. I definitely watch too much Netflix.

I love food and eating (hence ‘voluptuous’), am on the eternal search for the perfect handbag and I blog too much about old boyfriends, because they haven given me such great material.

Welcome to A Voluptuous Mind!

Blogging 101

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I’ve decided to register for the September Blogging 101 course via The Daily Post, which starts on Monday.

I’ve found a lot of worth in both the DP and Writing Exercises, so I think it might churn up some interesting stuff.

The goal is to have six or more (I’m hoping more) good posts and drafts by the end of the 30 day run  and maybe a few more followers and friends. I’ve never been that bothered about gaining millions of followers, I have to admit, but it is lovely to meet people who are like-minded and appreciate what I am trying to say. Which sometimes isn’t all that much!

I have made some friends for life through my blog (and former blogs), so I know it can be done.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the challenge and am really going to pull my finger out. I have a busy week next week, so I will have to be conscious about how I manage my time. If in doubt I’ll do some at work on my lunch break (and maybe when things are quiet – naughty!).

Watch this space.

Also, if anyone else wants to get involved, there’s still time to register (here). They’ll send you an email which outlines the course and what you can gain from it. I think you should do it and keep me company, just saying.

Good luck everybody else doing it. See you in the community!