Read this book: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)

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Blogging

Let's-Pretend-This-Never-Happened (A-Mostly-True-Memoir)

In preparation for the upcoming Manitoba blogging conference – MBlog, which I’ll be emceeing – I recently read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by the brilliant Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess.

I’ll be chatting with Jenny in one of the conference sessions. She’s this year’s keynote speaker but we’re doing a ‘conversation with’ style session.

If you haven’t read her book, READ IT NOW.

It’s one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read.

It made me cry-laugh uncontrollably in my living room to the point I almost couldn’t breathe. I had to stifle my hysterics on the bus so I didn’t look like one of those people who seem to be talking to themselves and scare other passengers.

Jenny’s stuffed mouse Hamlet von Schnitzel (featured on the book cover) and baby alligator Jean-Louis both deserve a mention. Never has taxidermy been so funny.

I admit I’m a bit late to the party on this one.

The book has been out since 2012 (and was a New York Times #1 bestseller) and Jenny has been blogging since FOREVER.

Such is the enormity of the interwebs, we can’t always be aware of every brilliant blog or writer.

I’m just happy that our paths have finally crossed.

• • •

Check out the MBlog conference which takes place on January 31 in Winnipeg. The whole shebang costs $159 + GST.

I’m moderating Manitoba’s blogging conference this month

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Blogging

MBlog

Manitoba’s blogging conference – MBlog – is back for a second year at the end of this month and I’ll be moderating/emceeing the day.

The conference begins with a networking reception on the evening of Friday, January 31 at The Fort Garry Hotel (Winnipeg, Canada).

I went to the reception last year and it was a super friendly, informal do. We spoke to other bloggers and the expert folks in town for the conference (last year’s keynote speaker was the brilliant Catherine Connors, editor in chief of Disney Interactive Family and author of Her Bad Mother. This year it’s the equally brilliant Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess).

In fact, I get to sit down with Jenny and have a cosy chat for ‘A Conversation With …’ bit of the conference afternoon the following day. I’m currently reading Jenny’s HILARIOUS book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir).

The conference-proper happens on Saturday, February 1 at Convocation Hall at the University of Winnipeg.

The speaker lineup includes writer, iPhonographer and inventor of the Canadian Weblog Awards Elan Morgan (AKA Schmutzie.com a blogger I sincerely respect); Pinterest expert Cynthia Sanchez; Jaeny Baik; along with Kyla Roma, Heidi Reimer-Epp, Ian McCausland, and Brian Bowman.

The whole shebang costs $129 + GST if you register before the early bird deadline on January 10, 2014. After that, it’s $159 + GST.

Jenny Lawson’s about page should be enough to make you want to come to the conference. I quote:

I wrote for the Houston Chronicle, but I needed an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas so I started this blog.  I tweet a lot.  Also, I can balance live cats on my head but no one will pay me for it.  Yet. My book (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) debuted at #1 on the NYT best-seller list. I assure you, no one is more surprised about this than me.

Speaker topics include: anatomy of great content; common sense advice for bloggers; Pinterest strategies for traffic and engagement; blog design; blogging for business; online content and the law; and how not to look nervous on video.

What I’ve been reading this week

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Design

This week I’ve been obsessed with Instagram.

I realise I’m super late to the party but I got my first iPhone in August and I LOVE it.

I rarely used my phone before because it was SO slow – I had a Samsung Galaxy and it drove me crazy.

Consequently, I never spent any time on Instagram and was regularly heard bitching about it to anyone who would listen. Well, I take it all back.

Yesterday I officially switched my Instagram account over to Sadie Shih Tzu‘s name. I was posting only photos and video of her and it just seemed dumb to carry on as me when I was following 500 Shih Tzus!

So, while I’ve been doing a ton of reading as usual, I’ve also been looking at dog photos on my phone. And I’ve become completely addicted to it.

My husband says I need help ;)

In other news this week, I downloaded three excellent, free fonts.

Kräftig by @destrukt_studio

Kraftig-font

Fantasie by Lev Berry

Fantasie-font

Salomé by atipo

Salome-font

And like a zillion other people I watched – and loved – the Jeremy Paxman interview with Russell Brand.

What I’ve been reading this week

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Marketing

 

Every day I read loads of stuff about blogging, marketing and more.

Rather than keep it to myself or share some of it only on Twitter, I figured I’d also start sharing some of those links here on my blog.

Happy reading!

1. I updated my entire resources list today getting rid of super old links and dead links. The list includes tips and advice on social media marketing, Twitter, Facebook and blogging

2. The science of writing headlines for your blog by Iris Shoor

3. 10 things you should know about blogging – by Paloma Contreras

4. Ghost – a new blogging platform – opens to the public

5. Facebook makes status updates from teens public – until now they remained private until a user reached 17

6. Twitter now lets you receive direct messages from any user that follows you – generally, you need to follow someone before they can direct message you. If you check this option (on your settings page), any Twitter user that follows you will be able to send you a DM, regardless of whether you decide to follow them back

Happy Thanksgiving

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Life

Liz Hover and Sadie Shih Tzu

It’s kind of shitty outside today (Thanksgiving weekend in Canada). But I’ve found ways to keep myself amused. Like taking photos of me and Sadie Shih Tzu.

Some of the things I’m grateful for:

– My health

– My home

– My loved ones (including little Sadie)

– My bike which gives me freedom and keeps my heart pumping

– Technology that allows me to amuse myself on a cloudy day

– Autumn and all the colours and changes it brings

Happy Thanksgiving to you and thanks for taking time to read this post.

Things I’ve learned in 2013

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Diary of a Web Gal

Liz-Hover friends and family

Above: friends and family photos from my UK visit

I’m just back from a two-week trip to England. I haven’t seen most of my friends and family since 2006. In fact, I haven’t seen some of the people pictured above in almost 20 years.

The visit taught me much more than I expected. It made me realise some important things about life and who I am.

I turn 40 next year too which might explain why I’m about to go all introspective on you.

CANADA IS HOME

I’ve been in Canada for 10 years. I sound British and still identify with all things British.

I had a real hankering to visit my country of birth. I needed to feed my soul.

But something unexpected happened as soon as I stepped off the plane at Heathrow. I knew England was no longer ‘home.’ I didn’t feel like I belonged there anymore.

Everything looked and felt different. It didn’t feel familiar or comforting. It felt foreign.

It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was travelling on my Canadian passport and treated like a foreigner by UK Border Control.

It was nice to hear British accents everywhere I went but it quickly lost its charm. In fact, the day before I left I was on the train next to two American women (no offense to my Canadian friends) and their voices calmed me. Who’d have thought it!

To use a familiar cliché: home really is where the heart is. I missed my husband and my dog and so much about my life in Canada.

I’M GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING

The mother of a close friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year. I’m sad that such a terrible event is responsible for my personal gratitude but it really helped put things in perspective.

I’ve always tried to live in the moment but it’s easier said than done. For some reason I’ve found myself being more ‘present’ than ever this year.

Most of us battle with inner dialogue that repeatedly tells us we’re not rich enough / pretty enough / clever enough etc. I’ve realised I am. We are.

I’M (MOSTLY) LED BY GUT INSTINCT

I’ve always known this about myself but, for some reason, this year I’ve heard myself saying it out loud to a number of people.

I’m very instinctual and sometimes what I do might not make sense but I know it’s usually the right thing.

BEING A MOTHER IS THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WORLD

I realised quite some time ago that I don’t want to have children but I’ve never been more sure of my decision.

I’m step-monster to twin 13 year old boys and I love them as if they were my own but I have no desire to create one.

Being a mother is the hardest job in the world. I truly believe that.

More and more of my friends have babies or young children and I’m completely in awe of the work they put into raising their families.

I’m astonished that anyone would say a mother doesn’t have a real job. The skill that goes into getting through a day when you have children is immeasurable.

And if that mother is also holding down a full- or part-time job then I’m blown away.

I couldn’t do it.

A DOG IS THE BEST ANTI-DEPRESSANT

My two-week holiday to the UK was the longest I’d ever been away from my dog, Sadie Shih Tzu. And every time I saw a dog in England I asked its owner for a dog-fix and immediately felt better.

I’m sure you’ve read these kinds of studies / articles so you know I’m not just making this stuff up.

THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES TO GIVE YOU THINGS YOU NEED

This is true on so many levels but I’m specifically referring to a new friend I made this year. She’s 10 years older than me and one of the wisest people I know.

She lives in Canada but was also in the UK at the same time as me. We met up for just a couple of hours. And in that time I was so grateful for her perspective on life.

I hope she realises how important she is to me. Who knew a work contact would become so much more at such an important point in my life.

THE SHITTY BITS OF LIFE ARE ESSENTIAL

Earlier this year I read a thing on Facebook which went something like: you know those challenges you face? That’s called living.