How to Paddleboard and What I Learned

Venice gondolierThe first time I saw paddleboarders, they reminded me of the Venice gondoliers without the striped shirts and skinny, long canoes. Then I learned it builds core, leg, and upper body strength. I’m all about exercising while outdoors. Being landlocked in Colorado, adopting a new water sport intrigued me so I reserved a paddleboard. I wondered if I would spend more time in the water than on the board. I didn’t know I would learn some life lessons too.

Union Reservoir in Longmont only allows power boats to put around and fish, so it’s a paddleboarders’ paradise. I rented a board and grabbed a paddle. I set the lifepreserver on top of the board where it taunted me. I wondered how many times I would spill and if I should put it on. I looked around at the graceful paddleboarders gliding across the lake and tensed, knowing grace was a gift given to other people. I must have been sick that day.

Paddleboarding Paridise Continue reading

Viewing the Eclipse by Looking Down!

While everyone else looked up in the sky, I looked down and made an amazing discovery.

When I learned the total eclipse could be experienced by traveling for under three hours to Wyoming, I mapped it out. Predicted traffic woes changed my view. I decided to stay in my own backyard. Experts explained that even with 94% of the sun blocked out, 6% would be enough to ruin the blackout effect. They were right and yet I discovered something else by looking down.

First I setup my camera since I wanted to record anything weird that happened, like a freak migration of owls or a coyote stampede. When that didn’t happen, I slacklined during the beginning of the eclipse.

FullSizeRender (56)

I couldn’t view anything in those black lenses, so I kept my head up for once.

Note to Self: Wear blackout shades when slacklining from now on.

The scientists were right and the eclipse dimmed the light and cooled the temperature, but it wasn’t super dark.

But this discovery really excited me. I looked down and viewed thousands of eclipses. They danced upon my patio!

eclipse leaf patterns from tree

Click below to watch them dance: Continue reading

18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

After six years of blogging, I’ve compiled eighteen of my best blog tips for you including how to promote blog posts and ways to increase traffic. I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Maybe this will help keep you going until 2023!Blog tips from six years of blogging. New ways to promote, increase traffic, grow community, and more.

The first time I hit publish was in spring of 2011 as an attempt to build an author’s platform. I had an idea for a snarky book about living in Boulder and was told I needed to blog. Back then I was a hunter who pecked each key with her index finger and spent days typing each post. Editing killed me.

18 best blog tips learned through six years of blogging:

All of these tips may help you to engage readers and increase traffic. Most of them I learned by trial and error. I’m still learning, believe me.

Write in your own voice.

I write the way I talk. This includes slang when appropriate which is pretty much in every dang post. I have omitted profanity where I didn’t think it would add anything to the story and have *included cuss words when I needed to be truthful about how I felt.

Try not to over polish your writing since it kills the natural tone. Your readers will find it harder to get to know you if your words sound like an encyclopedia.

“What’s that?”

I mean, Wikipedia.

There will be highs and lows.

Highs:

I started high by winning three Freshly Pressed the first year and another two years later. For you new bloggers out there, Freshly Pressed was the original WordPress editor’s pick before Discover replaced it. The rush of comments and views exhilarated and inspired me. The awards gave me confidence in my writing.

Featured on Freshly Pressed

Low: At the end of December 2014, my views were exactly the same as 2013’s. The year’s top post was An Open Letter to My Boobs, and of all time was What’s in Your Future? Both won Freshly Pressed. I wrote a satirical post combining them with the complaint about my flat views called, I Predict More Stories about Boobs in 2015.

High: When I awoke the New Year’s Eve morning, I already had 100 views. I wondered if my lurid title drew readers. I felt guilty about the bait and switch title until I checked my top posts. The new one had less than twenty hits, but an old post about the song, Happy Birthday being owned by Time Warner was shared on Reddit in the TIL (Today I learned) category and blew up with 49,000 views in one day. It went viral!

An entire year worth of views on the day I complained about it. Ironic or what?

Then came the resounding sound of crickets.

The lows:

WordPress blew up with millions of new bloggers. Everyone has a blog. The number of editor picks diminished. I have yet to be Discovered. *drums fingers on keyboard*

The spotlight swung from blogging to Pinterest, Snap Chat, and Instagram. Podcasts and YouTube share the stage. With so much quick entertainment out there, bloggers have to throw an elbow to compete for time.

Can’t beat ’em? Join the fun!

Share your blog on social media.

Join Facebook blog promotion groups, Pinterest group boards, and Twitter hashtags and that’s only naming a few ways to promote your blog. Make sure you have your social media linked up to share when you post, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.

Be sure to link up your social media under Sharing in your dashboard, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.

Ask to join Continue reading

Social Media Saturday!

Good morning, Wild Riders! Are you on social media? Do you have a Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook Page? Would you like to increase your views and followers? Here’s your chance.

Drop ONE link from ONE social media account, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook in the comment section and follow at least THREE more. This is a great way to increase your traffic and build your platform. More about that on Wednesday…

If you’re on Pinterest and you’d like to join a group board, let me know. Follow my boards and include your user name, and I’ll add you!

We can all use the support. Let’s have some fun!

Click for more posts from the Wild Ride.

A Day in London with Charles Dickens: Photo Essay

A day in London exploring Charles Dickens and his haunts.

A visit with Charles Dickens made the top of my list as I traveled by train from Gatwick to London. So far, the trip to Europe had exceeded anything in my crazy imagination. I brought comfy shoes and planned to walk everywhere. After recent terror attacks, I hoped it would be enjoyable and police presence wouldn’t spoil the mood. Quite the opposite happened. I discussed how Londoners fight terrorism. So very simple, isn’t it? (Adopting the English manner of speaking to get you in the mood.) Instead, the city was filled with families enjoying the day. Any sort of trepidation melted away in the London sunshine.

The Grange Wellington Hotel, chosen by the crew from the Bloggers Bash, proved to be a great location for sightseeing. Many tourist attractions were located nearby.

First stop: Buckingham Palace.

The timing couldn’t have been better. As my husband, Danny, and I approached the Palace, the Changing of the Guard began. I didn’t know they had a marching band too. Very cool! I walked by the gate and snapped a photo while security kept me moving.

I wonder what that little boy is thinking. Did toilet paper stick to my shoe?

This photo needs a caption: Continue reading

Brainstormed Design Ideas for the Future

I’m a writer, illustrator, and child of the 1960’s. What do I know about designing for the future? I grew up with Star Trek and could relate to its creator, Gene Roddenberry. What we have in common is imagination. When I was a kid, I used to have a recurring dream where a Polaroid picture would move like a video for about five seconds. When I saw Harry Potter for the first time, I loved seeing the wizards’ newspapers. Moving photos on paper. I’m still waiting for that.

All technological breakthroughs start with an idea.

Creative people are the indispensable cogs which jump start the design engine. With the ignorance of engineering and technology, they can brainstorm all kinds of crazy ideas. I am the queen of crazy. There are no rules for imagination. So here goes.

Windows for the World

We all love windows. I can’t imagine living in a home without them. What if you had to create a livable environment in an undesirable location? It may not be cost effective to have windows. Homes built in extreme climates like in the Antarctic, Arctic, desert, or Mars could have live feed windows. A camera mounted outside could project the image inside on a faux window/television screen. This would provide the link to the outdoors needed for mental health. Mine especially. It could be programmed to provide a completely different picture if the environment wasn’t so great like in heavily polluted areas or looking at a building’s brick wall.

The creators of LG Ultra put their screens to the test. Continue reading

Back in the Water for #SharkWeek

Kelly and Susie Santa Monica Beach

The crashing of the sea drowned out my beating heart as I stepped into the waves with my surfboard. I would share this massive body of water with all kinds of sea creatures including sharks. The last time I surfed, the rhythmic waves in Costa Rica made standing up on a board as simple as standing on a picnic table. That board’s width and length helped too. This time would be different. The foam board would be gentle on my knee if I smacked it, but its narrow width and my still wimpy left leg would make balance squirrelly. I was stoked for the challenge. 

I have never been at ease when black water swirled around my body. I’ve spent a lot of time in lakes and had been nibbled several times. But a lifeguard stood on the Santa Monica beach while helicopters watched from their perch in the sky. I had no fear of sharks. 

What happened here? Continue reading