Saturday, March 31, 2012

5 Different Blogging Voices

I'm an analyzer by nature - let's just get that one out there - and one of the things I often think about is my writing style, aka blogging voice.  I have often read that you need to find your blogging voice so that you have a unique, authentic, and well-defined style.  Your blogging voice is your online personality that defines how you come across to the reader.  You can read an article about it here (a writer whose blogging voice apparently includes bad words).  

Since I started blogging over two years ago I occasionally often think about what I would like my writing style to be like.  Prior to blogging I had participated in some discussion boards, but I usually found that my contributions were a bit - well - dry and informative, shall we say, rather than chatty and friendly.  So when I started the blog, I really made an effort to try and be more informal, relaxed, and conversational, and dare I say it, even funny.  One of the reasons I wanted to do that was that in real life I feel that I am approachable, chatty, and funny and I didn't think any of those things were coming across in my contributions to the discussion boards.   I worked hard at loosening up my writing style and at the same time I paid attention to how other people were writing on their blogs.  

As I observed different blogs, I started to notice a variety of writing styles and, being who I am, I began to see patterns in the different voices that people used.  Eventually I narrowed down the patterns to five writing styles.  

I thought you might find it interesting to read about the different blogging voices to think about what type of writing style your blog is and what style you admire.   It also seems like a fun way to highlight some of the blogs I read and enjoy (although it is by no means an exhaustive list as I follow over 400 blogs - I know, I know I have a problem!).

It goes without saying that no one writing style is better than another.  They are all just different and even on one blog you may find a variety of writing styles for different types of posts.  By the way, I have linked to a post for each of the blogs listed below that I think is representative of their writing style.  Have fun - I listed lots for your viewing pleasure!

1.  Informative/down-to-earth  - This is the most common writing style.  It gets the job done and lets the audience know the details in a clear and straight-forward manner.   

2. Friendly/chatty - this one is similar to the first, but there is just a little something about it that makes it feel a little more intimate - like you are sitting down for a chat over a cup of coffee.  It's hard to put your finger on the difference, but I think it has to do with being asked questions and involved in some way, being called friend or other terms of endearment, and revealing inside information about the blogger's life.

3.  Humourous - this writing style is one of my personal favourites.  It can range from punny funny to witty funny to sort of verbal slapstick.

4.  Inspirational/story-telling - this writing style is difficult to do and works best for the master writers out there.  While I love reading these type of blogs and find them uplifting and inspiring, it isn't really a style I can do well.

5.  Dreamy/wistful/sentimental - the emotional good and bad of life described in a loving sweet way.  While I admire this style very much it is not something I am capable of writing as it really isn't my personality online or in real life.

Would you add any other writing styles?  Which ones describe your blog?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WISH Wednesday #24

I'm all about bright fresh spring colours now that the weather has warmed up and the flowers are blooming.  This kitchen just seems perfect for a spring WISH (Weekly Inspiration for a Seasonal Home) Wednesday, don't you think.  I'm pretty much smitten with white kitchens and always have been, but this one is extra special with the gray-blue painted floor and the apple green inside the upper cabinets.  I think the wood paneling installed as horizontal boards is an interesting twist that adds a lot of interest to the walls even though they are also painted white.  I love everything about this kitchen and would replicate it in a second.

House Beautiful

And since this is the last WISH Wednesday of the month I've combined all the pictures for March into a mosaic.  It certainly was a month for yellow and green.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

6 Tips for Enjoying Paris

Last summer my husband, Jonathan, and I enjoyed a fantastic two-week holiday in France.  We spent some time with friends in Normandy visiting various places that I wrote about here and here.  We also spent three days by ourselves in Paris.  I know - how romantic, eh!

I thought I would share a few tips of things that worked for us and helped us enjoy Paris.  There are about a million things to do and see in Paris and everyone has their own tastes and agenda when they visit so these are just things that I thought were interesting or worked for us.  

1.  Plan your visit to the Eiffel Tower for late afternoon/early evening.  It was so much fun watching the colour of the metal change as the setting sun bathed it in different shades of orange and gold and to watch as the lights come on as day turned to night.  By the time we left the Eiffel Tower was all lit up against an indigo blue sky.

2.  My tip for a great evening's entertainment is to find a quiet place to stroll.  I've already mentioned one place that is great, but I'm going to tell you about two others that we enjoyed.   There is nothing better than going for a quiet, peaceful, and if you are with the right person - romantic walk.  You can saunter along and watch the setting sun and do some people-watching and chat about the day.

One of the walks we took was along the Seine.  We started at Pont de Sully and then walked along beside the island that Notre Dame is on and finally went across Pont Neuf.  There were people out enjoying the weather, playing their guitars, talking, and drinking wine.  I loved having the view of Notre Dame from across the river and watching as the lights came on.  From Pont Neuf you have a view down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower.

These next photos were from another evening when we enjoyed the Jardin des Tuileries. This garden is right beside the Louvre and is a classic formal French garden with gravel walkways through avenues of trees, sculptures, ponds that reflected the setting sun, and chairs everywhere so you can stop and soak in different views as you walk along.

3.   Go early to the Louvres as line-ups are crazy later in the day.  You can also buy your ticket in advance online although we didn't do this and had no trouble getting in.  We were in line at 8:30 and the doors opened at 9:00 and the line-up was only a fraction of what we had seen the day before mid-afternoon when it snaked around both courtyards and out along the street.

4.  Visit Sainte-Chapelle.  It could well be that I'm the only one who had never heard of this beautiful chapel, but it is definitely worth a visit.  Sainte-Chapelle is like Notre Dame's beautiful, but shy cousin.  Everyone visits Notre Dame, but if you walk just a short distance across the island you can visit this little gem.  It was built in 1248 and has the most extensive collection of 13th century stained glass windows anywhere in the world - and believe me they are amazing.  I loved all the painted designs on the wall which you can see in the photos below.  Every panel and pillar is painted in a different intricate pattern and the ceiling is covered in stars.  Gorgeous!

5.  Decide on what the most important things you want to see are and then book your hotel near there - that way you are sure to see it.  Jonathan's number one thing to see in Paris was the Louvre and mine was to see the Eiffel Tower at dusk.  So we found a hotel that was right near the Louvre so it was no problem getting into the line-up early as it was only a 5 minute walk away.  The hotel was also very near the subway so we could easily get to the Eiffel Tower.  In case you are interested we stayed at the Timhotel Palais Royal and would recommend it if you are looking for a small very quiet hotel.  Our room was comfortable, had an ensuite bathroom, and included breakfast.

6.  Pack clothing that is both comfortable and looks good - especially your shoes and purse.   I only took two pairs of shoes with me - a pair of comfortable walking sandals and some athletic shoes.  We weren't planning on doing anything fancy so I knew that what I was taking would be enough and my feet were comfortable the entire time.  Nothing can make a trip worse than having uncomfortable footwear.  As for a purse - I swear by using a small sized bag so it isn't too heavy and I made sure it was a cross-body style so that your hands are free, you can keep it safe, and it takes the pressure off your shoulders.

Yes folks I sat in the Jardin des Tuileries and took a picture of my feet   

I wish I was going back to Paris this year, but we can't have amazing trips every year now can we?  Maybe next year though.  A girl can dream.

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Linked to Inspiration Friday At the Picket Fence

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easter in a Box

I was inspired by You are My Fave's in a box series (which you can see here and here and here) when it came to thinking what to send to Kate for Easter.  I wanted to do something fun for her to celebrate Easter given that she is off at university and wouldn't be home to engage in the usual chocolatefest.

I started by wrapping a cardboard box in some springy wrapping paper in Kate's favourite colour - turquoise.  I used the same paper to spell out "Easter in a box" on the top.

Then I filled it with goodies so she could have an Easter party in her room.  Here's what I included:
- a spring up and catch game
- glow stick bracelets
- a lollipop made of hair elastics
- egg-shaped lip balm
- a light up chick
- a flowery spring garland
- several packages of chocolate eggs 

Happy Easter Kate!
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Linked to Spring Craft Link Party at Centsational Girl,
and Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring Decorating,
and Tutorials & Tips Party at Home Stories A to Z

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WISH Wednesday #23

It's officially spring - not only does the calendar show it is spring, but we have had lovely warm weather for the past week and the flowers are starting to come out.  I've seen forsythia and daffodils and myrtle in bloom and the grass is already green - all very strange given that it is still March and that NEVER happens here in Ontario.

I have been saving this pretty hallway and stairs for a WISH Wednesday in spring.   I love the soft colours of the wallpaper and the touches of gold in the picture frame and along the top of the window.  I could happily decorate my front hall like this - if my front hall was bigger than about four feet square.

Anyone else happy to be able to throw open their windows and looking forward to dressing the house for spring.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Road Trip with Bob Dylan

William and I just got back from our March Break road trip.  I thought the road trip would be about checking out the universities.  Turns out I was wrong - it was about Bob Dylan.  

We had a lot of fun.  Our road trip went like this ...

We drove four hours the first evening and listened to a couple of Bob Dylan albums.

The next day there were huge Vs of Canada Geese flying overhead migrating north.  I wanted a picture of them so asked William to take one while I was in the washroom at the gas station.  I came back and he told me he had not been able to get a good photo of the Canada Geese, but he did get an awesome photo of a seagull eating garbage.  Impressive!  (by the way, here's his best photo of a seagull minus the garbage - I knew you would appreciate that).

I did manage to get a photo (of sorts) of the Canada Geese.  I couldn't get over how many birds there were flying together in long strings across the sky.

We drove for about five hours (listening to Bob Dylan for much of the drive) to Sherbrooke, a small city in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.   It is such a pretty city with lots of red brick buildings, a few rushing rivers going through the downtown, 

and plenty of gorgeous clapboard houses painted in an array of pastel colours.  

Do you like my rubber-necking-while-driving skills?

Bishop's University is an older university with a mix of old and new red buildings amongst groves of pine trees.

The next day we drove to Ottawa and Hull ... we listened to Bob Dylan albums and William read me some of Bob's poetry (after all this contact I'm totally on first name basis with him).

Parliament Buildings in Ottawa seen from across the river in Gatineau
I had never seen Ottawa in the winter/early spring with ice and snow around so it was fun to see it at a different time of year.

Samuel de Champlain statue in Gatineau/Hull (you can see a photo of where he left from in France in this post)

After taking a tour of Carleton University in Ottawa (sorry - no photos as it was raining and I didn't want to get my camera wet) we drove to my parent's cottage.  And as we drove we listened to Bob Dylan!  

The drive through Algonquin Park was so pretty.  I'd never been there in the winter and the frozen lakes, birch trees, deep green of the evergreens, and soft grey of the deciduous trees were beautiful.

There was still lots of snow around and ice on the lake at the cottage, but the air was warm and the snow and ice were melting rapidly.  

My Dad dug down in the snow and uncovered the daffodils that had already sprouted up several inches in my Mother's garden.  I wonder how they know it is time to start growing when they are covered in a layer of snow.

A few days later William and I drove home from the cottage listening to  - you guessed it - Bob Dylan.  After listening to his first eight albums (and most of them more than once), I have decided that my favourite is "Bringing It All Back Home".  Seems fitting for a road trip, don't you think?

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