January 2017 Roundup

Personal Essays:
On Grieving – thoughts on celebrity deaths
Typical Situation – when the words don’t flow
In the News – struggling with results and ramifications
How to Be an Ally – what I’ve learned about standing by people
Politics Is Personal – Rhetoric, fear, and exhaustion…

Kids’ Shows:
Tinker Bell – an origin story
Lilo and Stitch – a family favorite all about family
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure – friendship, adventure, and responsibility
Transformers: Rescue Bots – Autobots, first responders, and gender representation
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue – more friendship and adventure

Vocab:
Then vs. Than – a personal pet peeve
Focus – keeping our eyes on the prize
Ominous Hominy – misheard words
Alternative Facts – a special installment

Grammar Guide:
Get Ready for Grammar – an introduction
Nouns – looking beyond person, place, thing, and idea

Post Potpourri:
How to Utilize Your Facebook Profile – a top 10 for on your personal profile.
Meridian Photography: January 2017 – favorite photos
James McGarvey: Catching Up – looking back at 2016

 

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Resolutions and Reflections

While heartbreaking in many respects, 2016 was still full of wonderful experiences. I found a writing group where I can hone both my writing and editing skills; my husband and I saw FIVE Dave Matthews Band Shows (including three at the Gorge); we took our kids to the polls for both the primary and the general elections; and we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary.

I wrapped up 19 months of photo-a-day challenges, I’m almost three-quarters of the way through my #52WeeksofCreativity challenge, and I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with some talented artists and writers.

This year, I’ll start each month with a quick rundown of my pieces from the previous month. I start today with the end of last year. I’m hoping this will keep me on track with writing more regularly.

Writing Reflections: 

On Writing
On ReWriting

Vocabulary:

A Lot vs Allot
Happy Holidays
Words of the Year

Musings:

The Llama Problem
Christmastime

Children’s Programming:

Criteria of a Good Show
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

ProTip:

Take a Professional Quality Selfie

Photography:

Lake Michigan

ProTip: Make Your Selfie Look Professional

 

If you’re part of the modern world of social media, you know that every platform requires a profile photo. If your business has a logo, it’s easy enough to scale or reconfigure that to a 1:1 ratio that’ll fit the square format required by most apps. But what if your business and brand are you?

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re a judgmental society; we judge books by their covers, and first impressions matter. While content is the most important part of social media, most people browsing through a feed won’t stop if the profile picture doesn’t look professional.

If you can’t afford a professional photographer, and you don’t have a nearby friend who can help you look good, you can absolutely take your own profile photo… without it looking like a Selfie.

Steps for Success

  1. Look your best. This doesn’t have to mean “fancy” or “done up.” Take your time to think about the image you want to project for your business. If you’re a professional (realtor, consultant, etc.) make sure your photo will reflect that. If you’re an artist (musician, poet, etc.), you can (and should) go for a more creative look.
  2. Find the right spot: well lit with a distraction free background. In a pinch, you can create your own backdrop by hanging a sheet from a tree, window, etc. If you need more light, use a mirror (or reflective car sun shade) to bounce more light onto your face.
  3. Don’t use a front facing camera. The quality is usually lower: they have fewer megapixels, most of them don’t have auto-focus, they don’t allow in as much light as the regular camera, and they sometimes force an odd perspective. (Note: you can use the front facing camera to gauge where you should hold the camera.)
  4. Find right angle. For most people, this is a three-quarter pose to camera, leaning forward slightly, with the camera just above eye level. This requires you to lift your chin just enough to make you look just a touch slimmer.
  5. Focus on your face. Look into or just above the lens. Try different expressions: smiling, laughing, thoughtful. This is where to let your personality shine.

 

Pet Peeves (for the love of whatever deity you worship, please don’t):

  1. Wear sunglasses (we need to see your eyes!)
  2. Use extreme makeup (unless that’s part of your brand, e.g. makeup sales)
  3. Take a Selfie in your car (this should be self explanatory)
  4. Wear gym clothes (unless you’re a personal trainer)
  5. Make “duck lips.”

With all that in mind, here’s my take on some of the quintessentially bad selfies I’ve seen.

protip-selfies

The final result:

maggie-mcgarvey-profile-photo

I found a pose which slimmed my jawline without making my eyes look huge. The background (a hedge) works well with the color tones I chose. My hair, while not perfectly styled, is suitable my somewhat whimsical writer/author profile, and the almost smile hints at intrigue.

 

Bottom line: your professional profile photo is your first chance to make a first impression. If it’s an honest reflection of you and your brand, that’s all that matters.

 

The Liebster Award

For Week Two: Missing This of my 52 Weeks of Creativity Challenge, head on over to my writing blog to see my nominees for the Liebster Award. You don’t want to miss out on what they’re saying!

Maggie Writes Stuff

liebster-awardLast week, Laura Roberts of Buttontapper Press nominated me for a Liebster Award because of my homophone pieces from April’s A to Z Challenge, as well as my new 52 Weeks of Creativity Challenge.

Laura, thank you so much for the nomination, I’m honored to be one among your awesome group of nominees!

These are the guidelines to keep the award going when you decide to accept it:

  1. Display an image of the award and write about your nomination.
  2. Thank and link the person who nominated you for this award.
  3. Answer the 11 questions prepared for you by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 5-11 awesome bloggers who you think deserve this award, and create 11 questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
  5. List these guidelines in your blog post.

My Answers to Laura’s Questions:

1. What most inspires you to write?
Observation (and the need to…

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52 Weeks of Creativity

A year ago, I participated in my first Photo-A-Day Challenge. A month later, I created my first photo challenge. Last month, I did the Blogging A to Z Challenge for the first time.

In that spirit, I’ve developed my first Creativity Challenge. I’ve put together 52 Prompts – one for each week of the next year. Each suggestion can be interpreted in multiple ways, across multiple creative or business endeavors.

The lists for each quarter and the whole year are below, and I’ll be posting the individual prompts on Facebook each Sunday. Share links to your creations in the comments here or on Facebook so I can see what you’re up to!

Create on!

52 Weeks

Quarter 1

Quarter 2

Quarter 3

Quarter 4