Huge thank you to Nick @decoupageh for the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination. I’m honored and humbled every time someone reads this little website, and to be recognized by a fellow blogger was lovely.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Sunshine Blogger Award, it is essentially an old-fashioned chain-letter, adapted to an online format. Technically, it’s not an award. Bloggers “nominate” fellow bloggers, and then give shout-outs on each other’s sites. As Nick described in his nomination post, it’s peer recognition “for bloggers who inspire, with positivity and joy”.
I’m really touched that someone would include me in that category. It’s a fantastic idea to give recognition to other bloggers, and promote each other’s sites. [In case you didn’t catch the previous two links embedded in this post, don’t forget to check out Nick’s site. Nick is an artist, who lives with Fibromyalgia, and writes a lifestyle blog covering a range of topics.]
The only tricky thing for me is that I’ve never been a fan of the chain-letter format. I’m also not keen on following all the Sunshine Blogger rules, which include:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you (I dig that part – another big thanks to Nick)
- Include the award logo on your site (respectfully, no thank you)
- Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you (see below, if you’re interested)
- Nominate 11 bloggers for the award, and ask them 11 new questions (Not down with chain-letters, but I’m happy to tell you about some bloggers I love – scroll to the end)
Nick’s Nomination Questions for Me
- What was your reaction when you found out you had been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award?
I smiled and said, “Awwwww!” in a really cheesy voice. I likely sounded like a person scrolling through pictures of baby bunnies and kittens on the Interwebs.
- What motivated you to start your blog?
Being a mom is the most fulfilling experience of my life. I’ve learned that I’m my best self, and a more patient mama, when I set aside time to do things I love beyond taking care of my kids. I love reading, and talking about books.
Knowing I geek out on literature, people often ask me for book recommendations. Starting Coffee Then Books was a natural progression from being a stay-at-home mom who loves to read. It was also a bit of a whim. One day, I thought – it might be fun to start a book blog. So I sat down, spent a day figuring out wordpress, and published this site. Later, my brother-in-law helped me refine it, and I’m really happy with the result.
- Who inspires you and why?
Lots of people inspire me. My parents come to mind before anyone else, though. They are undeniably awesome. Whenever I’m faced with a tough parenting decision, I think about what my parents would have done, and I call my mom constantly for advice. They also instilled in me a serious love of reading. Without them, I might never have become the reader I am today.
- What is your best advice for a new blogger?
I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice. Far better bloggers than me have shared advice on this topic. I will say that frequency of posts seems important. The more frequently I post, the better the traffic to my site. It also helps to be present in the blogger community, checking out other websites, and leaving thoughtful comments. I’m bad at this aspect, but I do know that building a community for yourself is vital.
- How has blogging changed you life?
When I was young, I was constantly writing (short stories, plays, poems, songs, journaling). In adulthood, I pretty much stopped writing. Work got in the way, and then I had a family, and eventually I stopped doing all the things that fulfilled me creatively. Blogging has given me a new outlet.
- If you could choose a world leader to answer a question. Who would you choose and what would you ask?
I almost wrote a quippy answer to this question (complete with some choice language for the current U.S. President), but changed my mind. This type of question has the power to lead to political answers, and in my experience, politics and casual online commentary rarely result in productive conversations. I will simply say that the leaders I think are most interesting, are those invested in human rights, animal rights, and environmental conservation.
- How do you think your blog has influenced others?
Influence seems like a very strong word. I don’t think I’m influencing anyone. I hope that someone out there discovered a book they really liked after reading my blog. That thought makes me really happy.
- What is your favourite subject to write about?
In addition to writing about books, I’ve always thought it would be fun to write children’s books, most likely middle readers.
- Why do you think creativity is important?
It’s hard to imagine life without creativity. It leads to imagination and art, which in turn brings people together, and builds community.
- We hear so much negativity. What would you do to encourage peace and harmony in the world?
I think kindness and compassion are essential to peaceful and harmonious living. As a society, we spend a lot of time online. Dropping cheerful and sympathetic comments into each other’s social media feeds, website comments, etc., can go a long way towards making someone else’s day and drowning out trolls. That old saying – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – is especially true of online interactions.
I also think real-life connections are necessary to happy, healthy living. Living life through the lense of our devices, and measuring ourselves in likes and page clicks, is soul-crushing. I think the world is a better place when we take time – in person – to connect with each other. Let’s put down our phones, and go hang out, and I can pretty much guarantee, we’ll go to bed feeling like the world is, essentially, a happy place.
- Create your own question to answer.
If you were limited to reading the complete works of only 5 authors for the rest of your life, which authors would you choose? (I’ll probably change my answers tomorrow, but the first two authors are constants).
Shout Out to Bloggers I Love
I don’t get as much time as I’d like to visit other blogs. There are a handful that I’m especially drawn to, and I do my best to pop over for a visit when I can.
A Mighty Girl
I spend a lot of time on A Mighty Girl. The blog portion of the site is so informative, with high quality content about raising girls, inspirational girls & women throughout history, and fantastic book recommendations. Also check out the truly awesome gift guides, which I frequently reference for birthday present ideas and around the holidays.
Book Nerd Mommy
If you have kids in your life, you’ve got to check out Book Nerd Mommy. She rounds up great collections of picture books each month, offers info on kids literacy, and shares the cutest craft ideas related to the picture books she recommends. I’m in love with her site.
Cassie Stephens is the art teacher you wish you had in elementary school. Even if you are fully grown-up with no little kids in your life, her website will still brighten your day (literally brighten; she’s all about cheerful blasts of color). Check out all the awesome art projects she does in her classroom, advice on how to make your own artsy outfits, a weekly art podcast, and links to her crafting books: Clay Lab for Kids, and coming soon Stitch + String Lab for Kids.
Gimme Some Oven
If you enjoy cooking, Gimme Some Oven is a great site, with easy recipes, that are fantastic for weeknight dinners and casual parties. Check out my favorite butternut squash soup recipe for a great example of the ease and deliciousness of her recipes.
Saturday Night Reader
Saturday Night Reader is a fantastic book blog, with a disco theme (her rating system is disco balls). I dig her aesthetic, and her reviews are spot-on.
Another one of my fave book bloggers is The Bibliophile. You’ll find excellent book reviews here, along with other unique content, like this recent post (which I absolutely loved) about Bookish Board Games.