This will be a bit of a lengthier post than usual, because this week I was nominated twice for a Liebster award. TWICE! Once by by Davina Ngei from Business Broken Down and then again by Tracy Ann-Marie Lexton from Conservative Mommy Blog. How freakin’ cool is that! You can find Davina’s award for me here and Tracy’s award here.
If you’ve never heard of a Liebster Award, don’t worry. I’ll explain. A Liebster Award is an award for best upcoming blogger, given by a fellow blogger. It is basically a pat on the back. Bloggers can nominate other bloggers with less than 200 followers who they think are doing a terrific job and deserve a high-five and some extra exposure. The nominator thinks of questions to answer for the nominee. The nominee also adds eleven random facts about themselves and then nominates other bloggers.
Wait, isn’t that exactly what you did two weeks ago?
No, but I see where you’re coming from. Two weeks ago I was tagged by a fellow blogger to answer eleven questions and asked to tag other people as well. This was just a random tag however, not an award. The Liebster Award is specifically reserved for blogs that the nominator think are awesome. And apparently both Davina and Tracy thought that about my blog, which is amazing! I feel very flattered to have been nominated and proudly accept the awards!
So let’s start off with the Davina’s questions:
- Why did you start blogging?
I had the idea of blogging long before I actually started my blog. My whole life I have loved writing, so blogging seemed perfect for me. I never started one though, because I couldn’t decide on a subject to blog about.
Until nine months ago, when I decided to create a 101 in 1001 list, also known as the Day Zero Project. What better way to motivate myself to keep pursuing my goals than to blog about it? In addition, I hoped my journey would inspire other people to pursue their dreams.
- Where do you see your blog in five years?
The final day of my Day Zero Project will be on July 25th, 2017. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging, though! I have wondered which path I would want my blog to follow, since the subjects of my blog seem extremely diverse. There is one great similarity though: They all are related to pursuing my dreams, whether they are big or small. And I love this subject! I have let so many dreams pass by because I didn’t have the courage to pursue them, or because I thought I wasn’t able to, or because I let ‘life get in the way’. But you know what? This is life, this is the one chance we get to follow our dreams. And ever since I have realized that, and created my own paths with clear goals to fulfil my dreams, my life has become so much more rewarding. So this is the path I want my blog to follow. It will be about making goals, about making your plans happen, about acting instead of waiting.
- Married? Kids? Pets?
I am living together with my boyfriend for 2,5 years now. We are not married and we don’t have kids, although we consider our pets to be our little babies. We have two dogs of our own, called Milo and Rikku. They are both 1,5 years old, so they’re quite energetic.
We also have a cat named Jimmy. He’s 17 years old and literally the strongest cat I’ve ever seen. He makes the saying that cat have nine lives actually true. A few years back, the vet said we should put him to sleep, because he had a liver disease and he would not be able to recover anymore. I refused though, because I saw Jimmy still enjoyed being with us. I believe an animal tells you when it’s time to go, not the vet. I didn’t expect him to recover though. But he did! About a year ago, the vet thought again that his time had come. He had tumors growing on his kidneys, on which they operated, but they grew back. The vet told us he only had a few months left to live. But he is still with us, enjoying life and exceeding all expectations.
We also have a ferret, Ariël, which Ruud took with him when he came living with me. She’s a little granny, six years old (or is it seven already?)
And currently we have a third dog living with us, Joxer. He actually belongs to my sister, but due to health reasons she is currently unavailable to take care of him. He’s a little grumpy old man, fourteen years old and still in good health. He has severe trust issues, but I must say he softened up since he lived with us. It’s so nice to see him getting out of his shell.
- What is the worst/best blogging decision you’ve made so far?
The worst would probably be my website theme. In the beginning I kinda liked it having a homepage feel to it, since my blog is very personal. It’s about my life and I wanted it to reflect myself. I am currently working with a free WordPress theme, which kind of limits my possibilities. So I wasn’t really happy with the theme from the beginning, but I personalized it as much as possible and at least I was standing out of the crowd. But I really want to use my blog as a portfolio for writing jobs, plus I want to get less annoyed myself when visiting my blog. So I’m planning on a complete design change! It will look cleaner, brighter and more professional. I won’t be doing it myself, that would end up in complete disaster. A friend of mine, who is also currently designing my company website, will also create a new design for my blog. I will take a few months, since my company website has first priorities, but it will be done. I can’t wait!
The best decision probably is the subject I blog about. I tend to see so many blogs all on the same subjects. It’s all lifestyle, fashion and food (and I’m very grateful for food blogs, don’t get me wrong!). In this current era, with so many bloggers in the world, I think it’s very important to stand out of the crowd. I actually had expected way more bloggers blogging furiously about their experience in the Day Zero Project, but in fact there aren’t so many. Most of the bloggers who have taken on the project, blog about it once a month, if at all. I think it’s a pity, because I would love to follow bloggers who write about their project, but on the other hand, it means I’m standing out a bit more in that department. My blog is about my personal life, a bit like a diary. I think that attracts a certain crowd. Plus, my blog articles really help me actually fulfilling my goals, which was one of my reasons to blog in the first place.
It will be harder for me to actually make money out of my blog, because I’m not reviewing projects or working with companies in any other way, like many bloggers do. But that’s okay. It wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to succeed in my goals and inspire others.
- How do you keep up with everything that is happening in your industry?
Let’s see… Do I have an industry? Because my blogs are very personal, it’s not really something I have to worry about, I guess. I do write book reviews and movie reviews from time to time, because I have goals that state to read and watch a certain amount of them. But amongst those reviews are the Harry Potter books and movies, Bambi and Toy Story. There’s not a person in the world who hasn’t seen these movies yet, except for me, but I don’t care. I don’t need to write reviews about the latest books and movies, because it’s not my intention to be commercial and up to date. I just want to enjoy my life to the fullest and let others tag along the ride with me. So I just discovered the amazing world of Harry Potter, so what? It meant a lot to me and it helped me reach a goal, so I proudly blog about it.
Of course, on the technical side there is a lot of stuff I have to keep up with. I mean, I might not have the intention on earning thousands of dollars by blogging, but every writer is longing for readers, right? So lately I have been researching ways to promote my blog and to let the world know I exist. I am kind of overwhelmed in the world of Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and Tumblr. And then there’s SEO, Google Analytics and what more. That’s a lot to keep up with! I decided to do it in steps. I am promoting my blog a lot on Facebook (thank you for all the lovely blogging groups!) and I am currently working on getting my Pinterest Board up to date. The rest will follow shortly. I kind of regret not having made social network accounts from the beginning, but I will find a way to catch up!
- What do you do with your weekends?
On most Saturdays I am working as an intern at my dog school Hondenschool de Laar. It’s the only force free dog school in the neighborhood and I’m very proud to be working there. I get to help with puppy training, so my Saturday mornings are filled with a lot of cuteness and fuzziness.
The rest of the weekend is different every week. I love to use the weekends for my travel goals or walking with the dogs some place new, but apparently it’s very hard to actually get to do these things in the weekends. A lot of weekends have been reserved for either helping people move, catching up with people or being tired and staying at home, doing some crafts and writing letters (which by the way, I absolutely enjoy doing, but I’d love to have the energy to go places more often).
A few months ago almost every weekend was filled with practicing for the play I wrote. These were very memorable weekends and I loved every inch of it, but it kind of stood in the way of me-time, obviously. I hope to have more time in the weekends the next few months to actually go outside and travel the world (read: The Netherlands and the occasional city in Germany and Belgium).
- If you had a paid week off, where would you go and what would you do?
Am I get paid a lot? Because then I would go to Island. I can only imagine it being one of the most beautiful places in the world. (I would also love to go to New Zealand, Australia and Canada, but with only a week off, I’d spend most of my time in the plane.)
If I just get paid my regular salary, I would find a cheap flight to Tuscany and spend the week there. I have been there once and I was in awe everywhere I went.
- Who do you admire most in this world?
That’s a difficult question, because there’s not one person I admire most of all. I admire multiple people for various reasons. But if I had to choose, I’d go for J.K. Rowling. For your very first novel to be that great of a success, that is something I could only dream about. (Or maybe not, let me first write my first novel and see what happens. Stop laughing.) She truly is one of the greatest examples in the world to show following your dreams can lead to things you couldn’t even imagine.
- Who was/were your role model(s) when you were growing up?
I remember my teacher in the last class of elementary school being a great role model for me. That was only for one year though.
My dad was a role model for me in certain areas, but I didn’t see him very much while I was growing up.
As for famous people… I don’t know. I was a big Backstreet Boys fan, I didn’t think of them as role models though…
I actually think I didn’t have a clear role model. There just wasn’t someone around unconditionally to be a proper role model. I think I’ve figured out most stuff on my own to be honest. Obviously I looked around to see how other people handled stuff, but it never was one clear role model.
- What makes you happy?
Having found a boyfriend who understands me the way he does, cuddling with my puppies and my kitty, crafting, making theater, writing in general, but especially writing for companies that actually pay me and like my work, making music, being in the company of nice friends, WOW-EFFECT, the scent of a freshly mown lawn, accomplishing my goals, getting a letter or package from one of my pen pals, seeing people read and like my blog, spending my time playing a nice computer game, going to see a concert of Distant Worlds, a clean and decluttered house, having a home or garden project finished, ordering 100 random rolls of washi tape on E-Bay.
Actually there’s quite a lot that makes me happy. You might wonder why a good health is not part of the list. Well, a good health would make me happy, but unfortunately I’m not blessed with one. However, I have learned that even without good health I can be happy. In fact, as you can see, there are plenty of things that make me happy! A good health would be amazing and I crave for it at certain times, but I refuse to let my health stand in the way of my happiness. I might be chronically fatigued, but I won’t let it keep me from living my life to the fullest!
Tracy asked me some other questions:
- One thing that is often difficult to evaluate through writing is temperament. What is your temperament type?
It depends strongly on my mood. If I’m feeling well, I’m very calm. I have often been praised for my patience. However, if I am feeling very tired (which tends to happen quite a lot when you’re chronically fatigued), I’ll get angry easily. I regret these anger explosions afterwards, because it’s definitely not how I want to be.
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
The moments I spent with my dad. He and my mom split up when I was one years old, and my stepdad didn’t let me visit him, so I didn’t get to see him very often. But once every two weeks he would come visit me on Wednesday and we’d play games all afternoon, sometimes even video games, we’d go eat ice cream in the city center, we’d create stories together, we’d eat fries and milkshake for dinner and we’d take walks in the park with his dog. During these Wednesdays (which later on became Mondays) we really connected and I was able to forget just for a few hours that he wasn’t part of my daily life.
- Who is one person who has impacted your life the most?
That would be my mom, and unfortunately not in a good way. We get along fairly well by now, but when I was young, she made some serious parenting errors, which left me scarred later on. No need to go into too much detail here, but let’s just say I had my share of mental issues because of my past.
- What do you think is the best way to teach children about morals and values?
To actually live by these morals and values yourself. You can say you are putting a high value in pursuing your dreams and talents, but if you are complaining about work all the time without doing anything about it and being a couch potato in the evening, why would your child believe that pursuing your dreams is even possible? This applies on every value and moral you’d like to teach your child, whether it’s honesty, saying sorry when your wrong or eating healthy. Raising kids is no more different than writing a play or a novel really: show, not tell.
- What is your favorite organized sport?
None? Or does figure skating count? Because I absolutely LOVE figure skating. I also love to watch Lindy Hop competitions. I have never seen it in real life though (a professional competition I mean), but I’ve seen them on YouTube and they are absolutely mind-blowing.
- What is one thing you wish you had the guts to do but just can’t?
Living abroad. Every week when I go to my theater group, I’m surrounded by all these expats and international students. I envy their guts to go live in a completely different country for a few years. I would love to do that and explore a completely different culture, meet new people, have the experience of my lifetime. I could even see myself immigrating completely to an amazing country as Australia or Canada or to Volterra, the most beautiful city in the world I’ve ever seen.
BUT I am too much of a chicken to actually do it. What about all my friends here? I would miss them so much. What about my animals? I would definitely need a place where I can take them with me. Wouldn’t that be too hard to find? What about my home? I can’t just give up my home like that, I waited for nine years to get this place! What about all the things I need to take care of? Insurances, visas, a place to stay, work? My head explodes when even thinking about this stuff. I see so many obstacles, I cannot do this. I almost had, I applied for a spot at a few English universities a few years back. Somehow, I had found this brief moment of courage. However, they didn’t accept me, and I never had the courage afterwards.
(Side note: You may have noticed I didn’t mention Ruud as an obstacle. That’s not because I would not be bothered asking him if he’d want to join me, it’s because I know for sure he would. He would do a happy dance and hen pack the car immediately before I’d change my mind.)
- What is your favorite thing about your home town?
That it has WOW-EFFECT, my theater group. WOW-EFFECT to me means having gotten a bunch of new friends, having loads of fun every week, writing plays, fulfilling dreams (not just of my own, but also of others), and having a new family. It means the world to me.
I’m not that city-bound, I think. If WOW-EFFECT were located in a different city, I wouldn’t know what to answer here. I love my city, I love the old buildings, I love the many sushi restaurants, I love the two parks Kronenburgerpark and Goffertpark, but are these things irreplaceable? I think not. I can find these things in other cities as well. Except for WOW-EFFECT. I could find other theater groups for sure, but not WOW-EFFECT.
- What are your blogging goals?
I noticed a lot of bloggers have specific goals to meet, like ‘Have 200 followers on my blog’, or ‘Have 10 new followers on Instagram each week’. I don’t. Not because I don’t care at all. Every blogger cares. Every writer wants readers, obviously. But I don’t write to please my readers, as many other bloggers do. I write so that I can share with the world which goals I have completed, so that I stay motivated in accomplishing my goals and hopefully so I will inspire others to pursue their dreams. Having lots of readers is a nice side-effect, but my intention is to write because I want to write, not because I want to have more followers. That’s why I don’t have specific blogging goals.
I do, however, try to post a blog five times a week. Mainly because I cannot keep up with the progress on my goals otherwise, but also because I want my readers to keep knowing I exist and that I’m still actively working on my goals. I am very thankful for having readers, so I should give you all content in turn, right?
What I also am trying lately is building a social network as a blogger. Because as I said, every writer wants readers. So I try to let people know I exist by actively joining Facebook blogging groups, and sharing my posts on Pinterest and other social networks. Like I said before, this social network thing is something I’m working on now, so I don’t have all my content in the right places yet. But I promise I’ll soon will.
And of course another blogging goal is my design change!
- How do you plan on meeting your blogging goals?
I am doing a little bit every day on getting my profiles done on all the social network platforms. One platform at a time. Because I’m chronically fatigued, it’s not something I just do. It takes a lot of effort, so I’m taking baby steps instead of a big leap. I will get there though. Little progress is progress all the same.
For the new design I actually have someone who will design it for me! I’m so happy, because I’m rubbish at that and she’s really good.
- Can you tell us a secret? Something no one knows?
When I was about 14 years ols, I had a major crush on Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. No big secrets here yet, every girl can relate, right? RIGHT? But here’s the thing no-one knows (aside from my mother and two friends of the past I never see anymore):
I wanted to show my love on Valentine’s Day, 1998ish. Because he would get loads of fan mail, I knew my mail should stand out from all the rest. So I bought a major plush heart which had his arms stretched as if it were to hug someone plus I wrote a poem. Yes, a poem. And not a tiny one, either! I believe it had six verses. You may stop laughing now.
- What is your favorite post? It couldn’t be written by you OR someone else. Link us up!
Initially I wanted to link you up to a post of someone else and a post of my own. The first one is a post that helped me to be confident about this Day Zero Project and actually do it. I couldn’t find it anymore, but it was on Scarlets blog Scarlet Words. If you‘d like to see the blog of a woman who actually completed ALL of her 101 goals, check out her blog. Unfortunately she’s not active anymore, but I really enjoyed reading her 101 updates.
So I’ll just link you up to a post of my own. It’s the thing in my life I am proud of most and the moment I describe in my blog was one of the happiest moments in my life. Of course I’m talking about this post:
Play No. 9 – Bedtime Stories, Living the Dream
Random facts about me
Although this is not done in every Liebster Award nomination (the rules seemed to have morphed a bit over time), it’s quite customary to state 11 random facts about yourself once nominated. So this is for all the people who think I haven’t blabbed about myself enough yet!
- I just got new glasses. I have walked around bad sighted for too many years now. I decided to put a stop on it and finally just put some glasses on my face.
- My favorite perfume at the moment is Naomi Campbell Cat Deluxe, which is cool, because I happen to love cats as well. Fortunately the perfume doesn’t smell like cats at all.
- I just smashed a piñata for the very first time, together with Ruud. It was not as satisfying as it should have been. We felt sorry for the horse.
- Recently I got into the world of pen palling and I absolutely love it. It’s so fun getting all excited again when the mailman arrives, or coming home seeing a bright pink envelope on my doormat. Hurray for nostalgia!
- I’ve got a notebook and a washi tape addiction. I buy some everywhere we cross paths. You can never have too many notebooks or too much washi tape, right?
- I’m dreaming of writing a novel in the future. Let me rephrase that. I’m planning on writing a novel in the future.
- My favorite smell is freshly mown grass. And Rikku’s belly. She smells like steamed rice. Odd, but lovely!
- My favorite sound is a thousand crickets. Just not just after I said something, please.
- I am a hoarder. Not because I am materialistic, but because I get emotional attached to all of my stuff. (‘No, I can’t throw that book away. I used to read it when I had a cold and it made me feel better. No, I can’t throw that stuffed animal away. It used to comfort me to sleep when I was young and I want to pass in on to my own kids once. No, I can’t throw that concert ticket away. Looking at it makes me think back of that wonderful evening. No, I can’t throw that receipt away. It takes me back to our first romantic dinner in our favorite restaurant. Oh, look, here’s he business card of the restaurant as well!) Okay, you get the drill. I recently realized creating a smash book would solve part of this problem.
- I have loads of nail polish, but I hate doing my nails. I have to sit quiet for so long afterwards, I don’t have the patience for that. A day has too few hours as it is.
- You may wake me up for sushi anytime. Seriously, I’d eat it as breakfast.
Thank you for these amazing questions, Davina! Now it’s my turn to nominate bloggers who I find deserving for the Liebster Award. I will nominate five blogs which I recently discovered and amazed me:
- Amanda from Olive, Feta & Ouzo
Because she has some amazing recipes on her blog to start with. But what may be even more interesting, is that she is telling her story of living in Greece. She has some very surprising views about how locals deal with the Greek crisis. I think it’s very interesting to read, since usually we only get to hear the media’s point of view.
- Felicity from Felicious Cupcakes
Come on, the name! How brilliant is that? For that alone she would deserve this award. But besides from a striking blog name, she also happens to write about delicious cupcakes (that’s a definite WIN in my opinion), which she displays beautifully on her blog by very colorful pictures. Food photography is hard, but she nails it! I wanna try every recipe on her blog now.
- Linda from Life of Gray
Because I started reading a blog article and I was immediately hooked. She has such a powerful writing style. Plus, most bloggers are very young women, with kind of the same life experience. Linda is a baby boomer, born in the 50’s, so her blog is written from a completely different point of view than most others. I love that!
- Nitin from A Tid Here a Bit There
Because the blog ‘The Pup That Changed Me… Lucky’ left me in tears. Not just two or three tears randomly escaping my eyes, no, I was sobbing. Any writer who is able to do that to me, deserves a reward and a statue. Oh, and did I mention it is a story blog? I love stories! Especially the tremendously written ones! And they are rare in the random world of internet.
- Samantha from Pearls and Polkadots
Because the blog looks fresh and Samantha has a very catchy writing style. Normally I am not into fashion or lifestyle blogs, but this one caught my eye! This blog is really well styled. I can see Samantha puts a lot of thought into her subjects, her style and her photos. That deserves a reward.
Congratulations to the five of you! My job was to think of eleven questions for you. So here they are:
- What do you want to achieve by blogging?
- Which blogging achievement are you proud of most?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- How do you describe home?
- If you could have any super power, what would it be?
- Write down the lyrics of a song which describe you today.
- What’s your favorite book of all times? Why?
- If you could make the travel of your dreams, where would you go?
- Name five goals you want to have achieved one year from now.
- What is your most important life lesson so far?
- Which dream are you planning on achieving?
I can’t wait to read your answers to my questions!
If you weren’t nominated, but if you are dying to answer these questions as well, please do! You may do so in the comments or on your own blog. If you will use them on your blog, the only thing I ask of you is to tag me in your article, with a link to this blog post. Thanks!