Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

SisterhoodThanks to Sara Mutchler of Writing with Bangles for this nomination and for passing the baton in my direction!

Here’s what Sara said about the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award:

I hadn’t heard of this before…And even though I’m not sure who started it, the ultimate result of this award is women nominating other women in a show of support with a potential of making even more connections. So, supporting and connecting with other women–win-win.

So, here are my answers to her 10 questions!

1. Why did you start your blog?

I began writing because I had things to say. It felt like a big step at the time and–though the response was initially less than seismic, indeed still is–I am so glad I started when I did. This summer when I decided to move my blog to a self-hosted site, I had the opportunity to look through what I’ve created so far:

478 posts, 1830 comments, 200+ followers

The most satisfying realization is that those 478 posts represent the 478 authentic, creative, soul-baring pieces of me I’ve shared with the world–whether anyone has looked at them or not–over the last (nearly) 5 years. Wow. The 1830 comments and followers demonstrate the genuine connections I’ve made, the conversations we’ve started together, and the wisdom we’ve shared.

The encouraging feedback I have gotten has sparked a hope that perhaps one day I’ll build on my posts to create a book of essays and stories. In other words, I’m going to keep at it because I’ve still got things to say, and my voice needs this place to speak my truth almost as much as my lungs need to breathe.

2. What is your favorite book?

DaphneThis is easy. One day in the mid 80s, I walked into the library at Smiths Falls District High School and picked up Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I was transfixed by the writing style, the setting (Cornwall, England), and the story. A mere 5 years later I would marry a man whose grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lived in that magical place near the Bodmin Moor.

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… I came upon it suddenly; the approach masked by the unnatural growth of a vast shrub that spread in all directions… There was Manderley, our Manderley, secretive and silent as it had always been, the gray stone shining in the moonlight of my dream, the mullioned windows reflecting the green lawns and terrace. Time could not wreck the perfect symmetry of those walls, nor the site itself, a jewel in the hollow of a hand.

One of the most thoughtful and generous gifts I’ve ever received is the first edition copy of Rebecca that my friend Colleen gave me for my birthday 10 years ago. Isn’t it lovely? Seriously.


First you must read the book, if you haven’t already. And then, you will find this article fascinating:

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the absolute best book I’ve read in my adulthood:

Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions. If you haven’t read it, you must. It’s not a read just for parents, by the way. There’s wisdom in this book for everyone. And Anne really REALLY was sent my way to help propel my faith forward to a new level of maturity and authenticity. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am for her and for her writing.

3. Have you ever colored your hair?

Yes. I get my hair highlighted every 8 to 12 weeks. I really look forward to letting my hair go a little gray in the near future. But having been a blonde most of my life, the aging process so far has simply resulted in hair that has turned a dull dishwater brown. And I need that brightening in one way or another. So I plan to keep highlighting until my crown of gray beauty shows up.

4. What does a perfect morning look like for you?

Coffee, glorious coffee with my Jeremy in our screened in porch (fall + winter) or on our back deck (spring + summer.) Reading and playing a game while we chat, then I don my overalls, put my headphones in, and play in the garden.

5. What was the best vacation you’ve ever been on?

We have had the pleasure of experiencing some lovely vacations together over the years. But, while not actually a vacation–more of a 10-month trial-by-fire adventure in unknown territory–the most transformative trip we’ve ever had was when we lived on a sailboat right after we got married. Traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway to Miami and then the Bahamas for the winter of 1991, this trip set the stage for our lives in so many ways. For one thing, it taught me the following at the ripe old age of 22:

Life expands in proportion to one’s courage. – Anais Nin

You can read more here.

6. What’s a guilty pleasure you have that you’re not too embarrassed to share?

Reality television. Not the shows where everyone is fighting with each other. I enjoy anything focused on a transformation–am addicted to seeing the befores and afters, whether in a person’s looks, lives or artistic output–and especially competitions that involve creative, emotional or entrepreneurial development. So, Project Runway, Top Chef, Love It or List It, Undercover Boss, Kim of Queens–even matchmaking shows like Bachelor in Paradise–are all faves of mine.

Do you by chance remember the matchmaking show that Eva Longoria tried to get off the ground in 2013? It was called Ready for Love. Well…two of the couples fell apart quickly post-airing and Eva herself even subsequently dated one of those two eligible bachelors, rendering the future of the show less than rosy. But, the lead singer of the Plain White Ts, Tim Lopez was matched with Jenna Reeves–both already lived in Austin TX but had never met–and professed his love at the end of the series through a song written especially for her.  Over a year later, I am still mildly obsessed with watching their lives transform as their relationship grows. How do I continue to do this? Through Jenna’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, of course.

Justin Bieber’s music and the movie Never Say Never. Don’t even start with me and your negative comments about Justin. I harbor a not-so-secret hope that he will mature and get straightened out, and that he and Selena will get married and have a long and happy marriage, showing all of the cynics and haters a thing or two.

Just as with Jenna and Tim–yes I do think that I know them on a first name basis and this is probably the actual guilty pleasure–the romantic in me, the girl who was so happy that Anne of Green Gables ended up with her childhood crush, the girl who fell in love at 18 and never looked back, wants these stories to have a happy ending. Perhaps, as Lori Yang (Mammaste) recommends, I’m simply “unreasonably optimistic.” Plus, I’m a sucker for a guy who writes songs for his girl, for obvious reasons. 

7. What’s the first concert you ever attended?

Beatlemania. I was a crazy Beatles fan in high school; it began with my parents’ awesome taste in music and the Meet the Beatles LP playing on a record player in our farmhouse. Thanks to my mom’s friend Kate Kinloch for putting up with my very loud vocals and girlish excitement for 2+ hours. God bless her.

rachel cloche

Photo: September 2014, Autumn Lee Photography

8. What’s the one thing in your closet you simply could not live without?

I love accessories in general, but hats are the absolute best. When I don’t have time to do my hair, or just need an easy way to pull an outfit together, one of my fedoras or cloches or even a slouchy beanie can make a dramatic difference. And a great hat always boosts my confidence. Scarves and bags are a close 2nd and 3rd. By the way, my friend Colleen–the one who gave me my copy of Rebecca–calls the things in your wardrobe that you can’t live without your “starting lineup.” Apt, don’t you think?

9. What 3 items would you bring with you to a deserted island?

Well, I’m assuming this does not include my beloved Jeremy, because he’s already there.

So I’ll say…an iPad full of books I’m longing to read (yes, I’m counting on it being solar-powered), my double-sized red hammock, and a fan or some other invention that creates a gentle cooling breeze.

Please overlook the fact that I did not list my two boys here. I’m hoping there’s a loophole and that they will swim up to shore soon enough, ready to play an endless game of Skip Bo.

10. What song instantly puts you in a good mood?

There is absolutely no way that I could limit myself to just one song. So, I’ve created a Spotify playlist in answer to this question. If you’re on Spotify, you can listen here. If you’re not, below is the list of tunes.

Wondering Where the Lions Are – Bruce Cockburn * Praise You – Fatboy Slim * Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levigne * Hey Ya! – OutKast * Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield * Tiny Dancer – Elton John * Carry on Wayward Son – Kansas * 1234  – Feist * Home for a Rest – Spirit of the West * Via Con Me – Paolo Conte * U Smile – Justin Bieber * Dancing Daze – The Avett Brothers * The Sound of Sunshine – Michael Franti & Spearhead * Different Kinds of Happy – Sara Groves * Happy – Pharrell Williams * Thought of You – Justin Bieber * Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) – Regina Spektor * Why Don’t You Look Into Jesus – Larry Norman * Not a Bad Thing – Justin Timberlake * Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People * 99 and 1/2 – Mavis Staples * Friday I’m in Love – The Cure *  Lost on Me – Sweet Colleens * Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful – Kellie Pickler * I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – The Jayhawks * Lovers in a Dangerous Time – Barenaked Ladies * Blue – The Jayhawks * Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream) – John Denver * California – Sweet Colleens * I Feel Fine – Sweet Colleens * She Belongs to Me – Bob Dylan * Tangled Up in Blue – Bob Dylan * Forget You – Camilla and the Chickens

Now it’s my turn to nominate some bloggers and to ask the questions.

Here I go!

-Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
-Put the award logo on your blog.
-Answer ten questions.
-Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
-Nominate ten people.

My questions are similar to Sara’s, with a couple of newbies thrown in:

1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What is your favorite book?
3. What does a perfect weekend look like for you?
4. What’s a guilty pleasure you have that you’re not afraid to share? Ok maybe a little afraid…but that’s what makes it fun.
5. Which blog post–that you’ve written so far–is your favorite? Why?
6. If you could do any job–current or historical–what would it be?
7. What song do you think is perfect for a road trip?
8. If you could win a free trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
9. What is a product that you wish someone would invent?
10. What has been one “a-ha!” realization you’ve had in 2014?

Bloggers I’m looking forward to hearing from:

Kimberley Laws

Julia Frey, Vikalinka

Ariella Approach

Michele Bergh

Nikol Gianopoulis

Lori Yang

Susan Shehata

Paula Nancarrow

Jennifer Richardson

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10 Responses to Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

  1. Sara October 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing! I sincerely loved reading your answers & learned so much about you. Plus, I now I have 2 new books on my “to-read” list! From one reality tv-loving, Beatles-obsessed, accessory-wearing woman to another I raise my coffee cup & say “cheers.” 🙂

  2. Ariella October 26, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    I love me a good challenge… And I love sharing personal stuff with the world. So this is perfect. You are just so warm and lovely Rachel. I adore you.
    And, you didn’t ask about coloring hair, so I’ll answer here. I never have, and in 2 Fridays, I’ll be putting a purple streak in the front of my hair. This is a long time coming, and I have no idea how it will look, but it’s part of my LIVING NOW (why wait) attitude! YAY.

  3. Rachel October 26, 2014 at 10:27 pm #

    oh I think the purple streak will be smashing on you! plus, it will match your website, of which I (obviously) approve. ( :

  4. Harmony Harrison October 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    I’ve never read Rebecca, but now it’s on my list! Thank you for the introduction to this book. I adore Anne Lammott’s writing, but haven’t read Operating Instructions, most likely because I don’t have children of my own. So I appreciate that you say it’s not a book just for parents — thank you.

    As for hair dye: Once, when my hair was cropped short. Flaming burgundy with a streak of banana yellow. Oh, college.

    The first songs that come to my mind are What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, the What a Wonderful World/Over the Rainbow combo by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, and Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi.

    • Rachel October 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      Thank you so much for commenting Harmony!

  5. Paula October 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm #

    This is lovely, Rachel, and I’m honored that you’d include me, but I’m not going to be able to participate. I’ve had too much trouble completing awards and blog hops and finding people to pass the baton to. I actually wrote a couple posts about it before I set up an award policy on my blog last month.

    I would encourage anyone who wants to connect with other bloggers on Twitter to participate in one of the hashtag memes – #MondayBlogs for sharing blogs on Mondays, #wwwblogs for women writers, and/or #ArchiveDay on Saturday for getting mileage out of old posts. There are links that explain how all of these work on my social practice page: I also happily follow other bloggers at @prnancarrow.

    Also, anyone who can wear a hat well gets my undying respect and a tinge of envy to boot. 😉

    • Rachel October 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      No problem! Thanks so much for the great information, Paula!

  6. Tat October 28, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    I used to love Daphne du Maurier, but I haven’t read anything by her in years. Thanks for reminding me about an old favourite. Congratulations on your award.

  7. Kelly L McKenzie October 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    This is why I adore blogging. I have never read Rebecca! Thank you for the heads up. I’ll rectify that soon. These are really wonderful, interesting questions to answer. I’ve participated in a couple of these and it was fun to do. Don’t think I’ll do any more as folks would get tired I think of me going on and on however I do love reading other people’s answers. Cool tidbit I will share – my niece’s husband was involved in the filming of Never Say Never. I have yet to see it but it change my daughter’s negative JB feelings to positive ones! I, too, hope that he matures into a happy, responsible soul. His star rose ever so quickly and I suspect that we all would encounter challenges if it happened to us. Especially at such a young age.

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