Friendships and Other Perks of Blogging

perks of blogging, soivebeenthinking.comOne of the perks of blogging is meeting other bloggers. Whether at a blog conference or through reading and commenting on each other’s posts – it’s easy to develop a friendship because in addition to the direct interaction via commenting, as you read someone’s stories you get to know them.

When they talk about their families and their lives you remember their names and the things they’ve done. You start to look forward to catching up with them and finding out what’s new. Kind of like a reality show without the commercials and without all of the annoying people that you wish would get voted off already.

I’ve been fortunate to meet and form friendships with several bloggers. I would also say I “meet” someone new almost every week. Different topics, projects, link-ups and mutual friends bring us together and it’s always fun finding a new blog and learning about the person behind it.

Today I’m introducing you to two bloggers I’ve recently met. I wonder if they know each other because they have a lot in common – they both love to read, do crafts and share recipes.

Leila blogs at Life as Leels. She’s been blogging for years (so I may not be introducing you to her at all!) and her blog is definitely a place you want to check out. I mentioned book reviews, crafts and recipes; Leels also writes about eco-friendly products and mental health issues/support.

Leels and I were partnered up through #SpringPolishSwap hosted by Mrs AOK A Work in Progress, MrsTee Love Life Laughter, and The Real Housewife of Caroline County. To celebrate spring we sent each other surprise nail polishes and you could only sign up if you have a blog. I’ll tell you – it’s a little stressful choosing polish for someone you don’t know well. I went with a classic pale pink/purple that was all over the red carpet this season. Leels and her daughters sent me two really fun spring colors. My daughter was all over them as soon as I opened the box. We have one rule: they’re mine!

perks of blogging,

Gifts in the mail – definitely perks of blogging!

Thanks to our #SpringPolishSwap hosts and thanks to Leels (& daughters) for the cool polishes – I’m definitely ready for a mani/pedi!

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You may already know my #AskAwayFriday partner – Stacey Gannett from This Momma’s Ramblings. Stacey is a pro at #AskAwayFriday, I scrolled through her archives and was a little intimidated trying to come up with some original questions for her. Once you read my answers to her questions please jump over to her blog and check out everything she’s got going on over at her place.

Now it’s time for me to be in the hotseat, here are Stacey’s questions for me:

What would your dream vacation be?

I love the beach. The warm sand, sun and waves – it doesn’t get any better. I’ve shared a photo of our summer vacation beach in North Carolina and it’s still one of my favorite places to be.

Ocean Isle Beach, NC

However, if it’s my dream vacation I’d like the water blue-er, the sand whiter, and someone to wait on me so I don’t have to cook, clean or make my own drinks! Maybe Cayman or Turks and Caicos – someplace not too far away and quiet. I’d also like all my family and friends to be there.


What would a pamper day include for you?

I’d get to sleep until I woke up on my own (no alarm, no phone, no children needing my attention) get a massage, soak in a hot tub and then lay by the pool or on the beach reading and listening to music. Also, like above, I’d appreciate it if someone could bring me a meal and a drink!

perks of blogging,


What made you decide to start blogging?

My mind is always spinning and I’ve always wanted to write a book. When I started to become aware of blogging I thought it might be a good outlet. My friend, Michelle, started a blog, we were on the phone talking about it and I said, “You are living my dream.” She said, “I’m an unemployed blogger who isn’t making any money!” I didn’t care, I wanted in.


What is something that blogging has taught you about yourself?

That I still care too much about what other people think. There are some things I want to write about but worry that if I wrote honestly I would hurt someone’s feelings (and I don’t mean someone in a random sense, I mean someone I actually know.) Writing about things helps me sort them out and I don’t think I’m wrong for feeling the way I do but I don’t want to hurt someone else in the process. I also am not sure how vulnerable I want to make myself here in this space.


What is your fondest dream that you have yet to accomplish?

To be the size I was at 28 (yes, I know how sad that statement is) and to write a book that is ridiculously funny and heartbreaking; that gets into your head, takes you away from your here and now and brings you to a place you have a hard time coming back from. Not a lofty dream at all.

perks of blogging,

Obvious wedding photo, I was 28.


What dessert will you go for above any else?

I’m not a sweet-tooth, if I’m going to get dessert I’d choose chocolate/mousse/lava-type things with raspberry or key-lime pie.


What movie would people be surprised that you love to watch over and over?

I don’t know. At one time it was Austin Powers movies (all 3), another time it was The Big Chill, another time Love, Actually. I even went through a You’ve Got Mail/Sleepless in Seattle phase. Of those I’d watch Love, Actually over all the rest. Or The Big Chill. One or the other but I’d seriously regret not choosing the other if I could only choose one for the rest of my life. Wait…that’s not even what you asked is it?

Side note: whether you like Love, Actually or not when I was trying to find a picture I found this rant/review instead. It contains harsh language but if you are familiar with the movie at all…I think you will laugh hysterically.


Do you have a favorite book that you will read over and over? What is it?

I do, it’s still Pillars of the Earth and the sequel World Without End. I would add The Language of Flowers and The Elegance of The Hedgehog. Amazing books, all.


Do you have a favorite recipe from your childhood that you now make for your family?

I do. It’s a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with a creamy chocolate chip filling. My mom would always make them for my birthday and I make them for most of my children’s birthdays, too.


I am a super music junkie…What are the top 5 songs that are rockin out your playlist? 

I guess that depends on what theme Jen gives me. I’m joking, kind of, but thanks to that link-up I have lots of favorite top five playlists already…however, just for today I choose these:

Hymn #101, Joe Pug

Baby Will Raam, Rusted Root

Lost In My Mind, The Head and The Heart

Maybe, Kevin Hammond

Keep My Head High, Echo Movement

Thank you Stacey for a great #AskAwayFriday. I hope, if you are reading this, you take a moment to check out Stacey’s blog and visit the hosts of #AskAwayFriday.



Now I’d like to know what your perks of blogging are, or what are the perks of your job. If you are making buckets of money doing something you love…I’d like to know about that, maybe I’d love to do it too! If you got nothing for me there – I’ll settle for some of your answers to the questions above…your favorite book, movie or song. If you have a beach in mind for my dream vacation…I’d like to know that too. Thanks for checking out my post today – have a great weekend!





  1. Loved being apart of the NailPolish Swap, too and you just reminded me I have to link up my post. Forgot to do so last night. Oh and to be the size I was at 28 and have my pre-baby body would be something special!! 🙂

  2. Love Actually is our go-to Christmas Eve movie of the last 10 years or so! I will check out your link next….

    Your wedding photo is beautiful – I can understand that you want to be that size but is it also about being the person you were right then? We all get so caught up in the day to day of family life I think it’s a good thing to look at those photos and remember some of who we were at that time (the bad and the good!!!) and of course wish that we were a little thinner, our skin a little smoother……. yeah, you know what I mean.
    Happy Friday!

    • I can’t wait to hear back after you read that link. I was laughing out loud last night and putting quotes in an email to my sister.

      For me, right now, it’s about the size. I’m totally being superficial – I want all of the good from then and now. Why can’t just have that?

  3. The Dose of Reality

    I am so with you. The best thing about blogging is definitely the people! (it sure isn’t the money, amiright?!! )
    I am also with you that any dream vacation HAS to include a beach! It just has to!
    MY FAVORITE DESSERT IS KEY LIME PIE! We are like twinsies! We were meant to be friends, Stephanie! –Lisa

  4. Honestly out of my gazillion friends on FB and Twitter (most of whom I’ve known since high school or college) I interact with the fellow bloggers the most. And they’re the most supportive, funniest… just the best people!

    • The support is amazing. Then I wonder if it’s because other bloggers know the support you need and those who don’t might not? Not certain of the answer but I feel very fortunate to have met the people I have through this space and to have them to interact with.

  5. Hahaha! Now I’m an underemployed blogger. I do consulting work on the side. I do love blogging though. When you first said that to me, I had no idea what you were talking about, because I had just been laid off. 🙂 And I know THAT’s not anyone’s dream. 🙂
    Anyway, I love all the people I have met through blogging, and the friends I have made.

    I did not know you liked key lime pie…that is one of my favs too! We will have to indulge poolside this summer. That seems like a good thing to treat ourselves too by the pool, doesn’t it? I am sure you can figure out a good drink to go with that, since you are the drink goddess. Seriously, you need to start sharing more of your recipes. You are amazing.

    Your wedding photo is gorgeous! You look the same!

    • Michelle, you know how I feel about honesty! Thanks though, I love that picture. And yes to the pie by the pool with a cocktail, have your daughter make the pie (haha) and I’ll bring the drink.

      I guess now, we’re both living the underemployed blogging dream. It’s awesome, and I mean that sincerely.

  6. Loved reading this entry…. Great insight on you and totally cool recommendations for books… I asked you a while back what your fave book was…. You are consistent! Thanks for the read.

  7. I really love the amazing connections made through blogging. I’ve been blown away by the support and love meeting new people who share the same hopes, goals, and dreams.

    You MUST go to Turks & Caicos. We stopped there on our cruise last week, and my husband and I went on another cruise years ago. The water is amazing!!

    • I’ll bet…it looks amazing. I didn’t realize that’s where you were headed on your cruise. That’s another thing I’ve not done, glad you had a good experience and you don’t have plumbing or worse stories to tell!

  8. I do so enjoy the connections blogging has brought me. It’s also fun to getting people to connect 🙂 I truly love doing the swaps because sometimes I see great friendships form from it. I love that!
    Those colors are fun!! I could totally see my 12 year old finding away to whisk them away to her room.

    I know Stacey 😉 She’s a sweetheart. I absolutely adore the picture of you and your hubby! I wish I could slim down too…. womp womp.

    Thanks again, for swapping with us! I hope you’ll join us this summer.

  9. I loved reading this and I think I’d go for Turks and Caicos, too! I wanna know what the hype is…But really, anywhere that’s warm and someone would bring me a meal would be just fine!

  10. Love your answers! Thanks again for swapping with me, I have completely enjoyed getting to know you better! I can’t wait to listen to each of the videos that you shared…I have never heard of any of them. I absolutely love to expand my music. I agree with you about trying not to hurt anyone’s feeling or offend anyone…anything that I would do, that would never be what I would want to come out of it. With this winter that we have had…I would love to be on a beach right now! LOL! Maybe the USVI for me! Hope you have a great weekend, Stephanie!

  11. Note to self: if you come to my house, you can lay in the sun and I’ll bring you drinks and food!
    And I love Love, Actually and that rant cracks me up.
    I’ll never understand why we have such different taste in music! I know none of these, yet again!

    • hahaha, I’m all over that invite! It is crazy that we both love music so much and have completely different “knowledge bases” – I guess it’s good because I’m always learning something new from you!

  12. I loved Emerald Isle in NC when I lived there a few years ago. I also am like you if I could go to the beach I would love to go to the Caribbean where the sand is white, the water is clear, and it is an amazing aqua blue color. 😉

  13. Hi! I have definitely had my moments when I allowed my concerns for what others may think, perceive or take away from what I do influence me too much. Like you I never want to hurt anyone but I have learned that I also need to include myself in that scenario. Hurting myself by keeping things in can be just as bad.

    • You are right, of course, I should consider the need to express myself. I’m sure I’ll get there, every day brings a little more confidence and consideration of what I really want to write about – and that’s a good thing.

  14. Hi! Stopping by from #LOBS via Pinterest. Nice to meet you! Thanks for sharing yourself honestly and openly. I’m a fan of Michelle’s at so I look forward to exploring your blog more!

  15. Aw, yeah! Thanks for linking up and glad you liked them! I am actually wearing mine right now – I love it! Thank you! Oh, and thanks for reminding me to do my post and link up! 🙂

    • Thank you again Leila! I put both on right away – yes I walked around for days with two colors on my hands. My daughter kept asking – can I have these now? Can I take them now? No and no. I will share but I’m not relinquishing!

  16. I couldn’t agree more with the comment about blogging being like a reality show without the commercials. It really is, only with the potential for a whole lot more interaction. Like you, I love the opportunity to connect with new and interesting people everyday. It’s so much better than just reading a boring old news site. Great post, thanks Stephanie.

  17. Chocolate Mousse all the way, Love Actually definitely (and I love the site you shared), and blogging is very close to a reality show! I love the connections.

  18. I love the beach! My dream beach vacation outside my country is in Maldives! Gaahh, I can dream about it over and over again. I think what you’ve said about what blogging taught you holds true to most bloggers but I guess for me, it would really just depend on how much of my life will I be comfortable of sharing to others.. and if I’m not really comfortable at all, it’s perfectly fine. And like you, I’d also like to consider other people’s feelings 🙂

    • Yes, getting comfortable with sharing – if I have any twinge of “should I?” I don’t. Maybe someday I will but for now I’m still a little protective.

  19. The blogging community has definitely sustained me like no other. It’s an amazing amalgamation of hearts and souls – and snappy writing. That’s the bonus.

    Favorite book: It’ll always be Sun Also Rises, by Hemingway. That’s my go-to. I’ll read it until I read no more.

    Alligator Point in Florida is my favorite beach. Yes, it’s domestic, but when you’re there, you’re a world away anyway. And you don’t have to wait in customs behind French teenagers trying to backpack in Costa Rica to get there.

    • I’ve never been to Alligator Point but I did feel like that when we went to Amelia Island, just the drive from the airport…felt like we were so far removed and I loved it.

      I just read Sun Also Rises, I had no idea what to expect as I hadn’t read it before now. It is a book I think I could also read over and over and discover something new each time. I also recently read The Paris Wife (I think that’s what it’s called) about being his wife, which would have been difficult to say the least. Hemingway, the man, is a pretty intriguing character.

      • It’s a great feeling when, as you’re getting to your destination, you see less and less development, and fewer and fewer bars on your mobile phone.

        What did you think when you finished Sun Also Rises? I have an old copy, and it finds its way into my bag almost every time I travel.

        Oh, I’d pity the woman who had to be Ernie’s wife, but as a writer? He’s my hero.

  20. Oh this was so lovely to read Stephanie!!! I hate that you even worry at all about what others will think… I think we all do to some extent, don’t we? That Wedding picture took my breath AWAY!!!! GORGEOUS moment!!

    • Thanks Chris. I hate that worry too, my life would be a lot less stressful if I didn’t, but that’s just not where I am right now. Funny you showed up here, I seriously thought, just this AM, I need to head over to The Mom Cafe and find out what’s going on. You beat me to it!

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