The Producers

I had a freakout yesterday. A “their oranges and my apples” kind of moment not dissimilar to the one I had the day I went to the library looking for permission to become a writer. Then, overwhelmed by the walls surrounding me filled with books and magazines written by a multitude of published people, I wanted to give up. Stop and not try. But I stood there and said,”You’re going to write something too.” And I still am years later.

Yesterday, I opened an email from an organization that is the penultimate of bloggers training and incubation. Alt Summit was looking for guest posters. And the list of subject topics proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a certified know nothing when it comes to the actual practice of blogging. I deemed myself inadequate and that was that. breaking bread on

I’ve been blogging for just about three years. In fact today is that anniversary. And still, I am more than clueless about this process. Like learning a foreign language and simultaneously cruising around in a wheelchair for the first time, I’m dangerously listing to one side about to topple over because my brain can’t handle all the input.

My learning curve keeps expanding out in front of me. Like that pull focus Hitchcock trick in the movies where the hall suddenly gets 30 feet longer and you feel like you’ve been running in place, I’m not getting anywhere and the end of the hall is further than when I started.watching the bird butts on the roof from

I have thought of the bloggers who started ahead of me as the Producers. They’ve been given the magic spells to unlock the secret blog success formula. They progress with capabilities and rate sheets. They have sponsors, followers, methods, platforms. And they’re super nice which makes it better and worse.

As I move from my closet woodwork and befriend my big sisters, I can not help but still feel that my trick bag is empty. The only certainty I have is that I write compelling well written content. This I know. Which is a big something. The rest, the deserving and the wherefores of branding, I’m working on these as I speak. There’s no tidy little package to offer or pill to take to suddenly know it all. Sorry, Charlie.Seagull butt on the roof on

I’m messy and long winded. But I’m inspired every day to share what interests me with a faceless audience. Weird, huh? I may have to act like a buffoon but move on I must. So I puzzle out my place, my worth, my path one day, one post, and one communication at a time.

I am nothing if not ever hopeful. Do I wish my learning curve was less steep? Yes. Do I believe I have less to bring than everyone else? Nope. I just need to do a lot of hard work, see me for me, and ask to receive a little help from the producers.

Facebook Shennanigans : Address Change

As with all computer activities, Facebook has become annoying and necessary. A really good read was my piece called My Face about my initiation by fire into the realms of Facebook. I am more in touch with so many people and find many read my work there. My Shalavee FB address was a really long string of letters and numbers. Once you have 25 followers, you are allowed to change the address to actual words. Except Shalavee or wasn’t available. Seems there’s someone else on Facebook with this name? Slalavee Oneofakind Smith lives in Florida. The only reason my blog is even called Shalavee is because a French restaurant in some vacation spot in Harrogate, England had grabbed Chez La Vie. So in the end, I chose my Facebook page address as Shalagh blogs at Shalavee or ShalaghblogsatShalavee. So anyway.

Flowers in the kitchen from

While I don’t seem to have come face to face with as many of the problems as my friend Jane has using Facebook, I remained perplexed about how I could see my liked pages in my feed. I feel lame if I forget to check in on other bloggers’ pages. I recently read something that suggested making your own lists of the pages you like on the left column of your home page. Do unto others. But this technological stuff will be the death of me. I can see why you don’t want to even muddle your brain with this stuff dear reader. I know who you are.

Kitchen attack from

If you haven’t liked me on the Shalavee Facebook page, would you please do so? I am publishing 3 times weekly, Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Guarantee you’ll not miss my posts by subscribing and have them sent to your mailbox. I adore watching the subscriber number go up.  When I first drafted this post in March, it was only 58. After a recent beg-athon, it rose to 79 ! Would that it would just go to 80.

Again, thanks to all y’all that made that number climb. And as always, I am eternally grateful for you being here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thank you for your visit. My wee fairy friends that live in the hollow tree in my back yard told me to tell you they will move to your house and keep an eye on you.

My First Ask : 50 Asks Project

I endeavored to make a list of life and blog goals this year, here and here. And consequently, I was kickin’ some creative butt in the early months of this year. There was the We Are The Contributors project and the painted Rocking Chair. I took a branding course and planned my attendance to the Blog U ’14 Conference. Plus all the lovely little Instagram challenges and relationship I was creating, I was happy and happening.

vintage cigar boxes and farmer's market flowers for My First Ask on

But the one goal I wrote down privately that I’ve been very keenly aware I have not even begun to achieve is my desire to increase my blog readership by 100 people by July. Now I know that people read stuff online in a myriad of ways. And the subscription number is not an accurate reflection of how many people are actually reading. But fiddle faddle, a goal is a goal. And by golly, with the power of my 50 Asks project driving me, I am ready to ask for what I need.

My First Ask is of you dear readership,

Please help me reach my goal of 100 readers by July 1st.

Share me and encourage others to read my heartfelt well intentioned blog posts.

People can unsubsribe at any time. Just not until I’ve reached 100, OK?  I had never asked for anything here until last October when, while I was putting on a month’s straight of consecutive posts, I found out I was entered into the Circle of Mom’s top 25 Mommy bloggers that blog about family life contest. Craziness. And I asked and asked for support, unsure if anyone really cared at all about me. And I ended up in like 35th place. I was more thrilled people showed up for me daily. And at one point I said, it’s all good people, you can stop voting if you want because I am just glad to know I am loved by so many. That knowledge made the stress entirely worth it to me.

Charlie Fisher-Price floats in his boat from

Now I would like to increase my numbers to create an online resume of a sort. That if I am perused by someone looking to offer me a job opportunity or a future book deal because it seems that a lot of people get what I’m about, well than good for me. And when I do decide to author a book, which seems like one of those inevitabilities, then my readership will already know it’s coming. Discounted advanced sales !!

Nostalgia and #RaggedyAnn from

I have an immensely hard time asking for help. Asking you to like me and friend me and follow me is excruciating. So help me make it easier to do this and show me I’ve had nothing to worry about so I’ll wonder what took me so long. Enter your email address in the sign up box to the right to receive my tri-weekly (that’s Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week) posts of varying inspirational and entertainment values. And ask your friends to do the same. Pretty Please with sugar on top.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

My Blog Goals

I was inspired by a post from Emily Henderson a little while back. She was in her “pre-baby-nesting-I-don’t-know-what-to-do-so-I’ll-be-uber-productive-and-write-lots-of-long-posts-before-the-baby-comes” mode. And she totally inspired me to think about my blog goals. And to be completely honest and vulnerable and hand some accountability to the readership. My inner control freak cringes here.

I may be totally ripping off her content (I like to think of it as being inspired) but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.

Cyclamen and chair from Blog goals post on

I too want/need to grow the blog’s readership. (I’d give you numbers and dates but then I run the risk of failing that.)

So to that end,


 I want every post on Shalavee to be valuable:

- personal

- pretty

- informational

- inspirational

- and as well written as is possible

Posts are posted Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The amount of weekly posts can be added to but not subtracted from.

 Content/subjects of posts include:


- parenting   

-self-discovery and positivity

-creative project show and tells

-creative writing or sharing other people’s work

    Types of Posts may include

- recipes

- a picture or string of pictures with one thought

- Ahas- Life lessons about creativity, family, positivity, or parenting

- Funny posts

- Evergreens (posts that were good and I republish)

- And any other daggone thing I’m in the mood to produce

- Interviews

Cherry blossom branches from

In an effort to find out what you think and like to read, I am committed to generating a questionnaire soon that asks the readership questions, I’m going to be playing with Typeform. Looks like it’ll actually be fun for everyone.

You will get a chance to tell me what you’d like to see more of, what you enjoy, and ask what your favorite posts have been and why. Feedback. But be kind to me dear readers. I’m a sensitive creative you know. I may also have to actually ask people to like me and sign-up for newsletters and stuff. Gulp.

I am inspired by many women including Sandra and Jennifer to work hard to make this blog a place I enjoy and make a difference in my quality of life. And thus maybe yours. Either you like what I’m working on or you don’t I suppose. That is not for me to decide but for my readers. I am committed to supporting others and creating a community for myself. I’m practicing “Intentional In-touchness”. That’s linked to the article.

Thanks for sticking this one out and I do appreciate all your support, feedback, and comments. I’m on the verge of figuring out what I really want to be when I grow up.


Old Blog, New Tricks

I created this blog in the Summer of 2011. I’ve experienced a lot of feelings as a result. And the number one feeling I keep having is that I am not doing this quite as well as anyone/everyone else. The fog may be starting to finally lift as continue to gather my lessons and grow my soul. Let’s start this story with last year’s blog.

I Was Lost

Not feeling like I was full of grace. More like full of it, I was bumbling about on my blog. I didn’t understand any of the instructions I was being given to improve myself and my blog. Confused and unhappy, wanting to know/improve/make a difference, I wasn’t scheduling, I was behind, not inspired. Not wanting to give up but…Stuck.

Stuff was missing from my life and thus my blog and I just felt twitchy and unhappy.

And then a couple of things happened.

Fiona's cake face

Yes, having a baby at 46 will change quite a few things as well.

I had maintained a few connections  from my first Blogging Your Way e-course with Decor8’s Holly Becker. You can read my Dear Holly: A Letter of Gratitude To My Teacher post to understand the positive impact of a good teacher. One of those relationships I kept up with was Raincoast Creative Salon’s Sandra Harris. I watched her like a hawk. On her blog and by way of her friends’ support of her endeavors. I knew I had been missing some very important lessons. On blogging, community, and encouraging my creative soul.

She was boldly up to a lot of stuff and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her progress. Sandra was actively involved in a creative community, activities, events, and a lifestyle that I realized I’d been craving more than a little of too. She was off to the Alt Summit blogging conference as a newbie, scared and crazy and I was right there with her in my heart. She was talking about connections and creative endeavors and elevator speeches and I knew I wanted to be standing with her. Where she led, I followed. And she did the same for me. Turns out we mentor each other.

Two Things Came To Light

Through my friendship with Sandra, I met Jennifer Cooper when I attended an artist meetup held in my hometown of Baltimore. I then began to understand what had been missing in my blogging life. Absolutely, it had been community. Yes one person can make a difference but a bunch of people supporting each other can move mountains. Or at least convince themselves they can because they’ve got a community to rely on. Great stuff that I’d never had that before. I was raised an isolationist.

Shalagh on

As I kept in touch and a watch as Jennifer and Sandra, two amazing inspiring creative women and Moms, I had an opportunity to be involved in the Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You. project. This community was created especially for us to support one another for these times when we need to climb but totally need to borrow courage and be inspired by each other.

And thanks to Holly’s second Blogging Your Way e-course I took in October, 2013, I realized that I was in need of and capable of creating an even better blog. And I wanted to go from a personal place to a more professional place. I could talk and make it pretty simultaneously. For. Real.

I had forgotten that I take nice pictures. I needed to incorporate ‘me the artist’ with ‘me the writer’ to be a ‘whole me’. And that wasn’t too far from where I was. The more I’ve practiced doing my best and letting go of the rest, the better I’ve been feeling.

I’m now scheduling my posts sometimes a week ahead of time. With a baby I can steal time here and there but it’s never a guarantee and I promised I’d keep up my continual streak of posting three times a week. The awesome side effect of interacting with other people and posting regularly is that I feel more creative. I want to write and take pictures. I want to weave these posts from the pretty thread I’ve got out at the moment. And I want to imbue them with wonder and enthusiasm and joy. And I believe I’ve started to do just that.

peek a boo Fiona from

Next up, my blog intentions. A declaration of what I will be doing here and how. Accountability is so very important. State what you want and the Universe will help you get it. Some of us are just a little slower than others is all.

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