Blogs / Life

Big Changes Ahead…

The First Day of School Starts Today!

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A month ago, I was all set for taking on the role of Yearbook Adviser. My syllabus and curriculum were ready to go!

A week ago today, I was asked to take on the role of 8th Grade English Teacher. For the past year, I have subbed in this class, prayed for this spot, and I truly felt led by God to this position. There was only one issue. The job was taken and it did not look like there would be an opening any time soon. In fact, as I mentioned above, I was all set to be working in a different position that I had prepped for over the summer.

Instead, due to God’s direction and working in my life, I am the new 8th Grade English Teacher, starting my first day TODAY! As you’re reading this, I’m teaching my very first classes!

When I was asked to take this role, there was no hesitation. I immediately said yes and felt confident in that decision. However, there was a lot of work to be done and even more yet to do. Due to this unforeseen and extremely work-heavy load, I will unfortunately have to be taking a step back from blogging.

What does this mean exactly?

I still plan on continuing my Alphabet Challenge so make sure you are working on your entries! However, my Alphabet Challenge will most likely be my only entirely new posts in the next few months. I do plan on re-posting old blog posts (with some updated content included).

I will not be able to visit as many other blogs as I usually like to do, but I will do my best to continue the rounds as I can.

Please wish me luck in this new venture and if you pray, I appreciate your prayers!

Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” 

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Alphabet Challenge, Blogs / Life

The Alphabet Challenge

Calling all bloggers, authors, poets, and artist!

Today I am challenging you to engage in The Alphabet Challenge with me!

What is the Alphabet Challenge?

The Alphabet Challenge requires you to focus on one letter of the alphabet every week and to create a blog post concerning that letter. For example, Week One you will need to focus on the letter “A.” For this letter, you can write poetry, flash fiction, or even draw a picture, whatever you choose, as long as it features that specific letter.

For this challenge, I will be posting my response to each letter on every Wednesday of each week. That means that I will be working on completing this challenge from the months of September to December.

However, I do not want to do this alone! I am inviting each of you to join me in this challenge. Every Wednesday when I post my response to the Alphabet Challenge, I encourage YOU to comment a link that leads back to YOUR response to the Alphabet Challenge.

Why should you join the Alphabet Challenge?

  1. Engage in blogging community by leaving links to your response to the Alphabet Challenge and by checking out other bloggers’ links and posts.

  2. Enjoy the challenge of this four-month journey by stretching your writing muscles.

  3. Have a ready to go prompt for a blog post every Wednesday without having to worry about finding an idea

  4. And oh yea, every month, I will be choosing my favorite response to the Alphabet Challenge and sharing it on my blog (bringing more exposure to your blog!)

Happy Writing!

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Credit for this wonderful photo goes to Amador Loureiro https://unsplash.com/@amadorloureiroblanco

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

Five Guidelines for Hosting Your Own Blog Party

Hello bloggers!

One week ago today we had our End of Summer Blog Party! It was a ton of fun, thank you to everyone who participated. Blog Parties are always a great way to get more involved in the blogging community, to meet new people, and read some amazing new blogs. I host a blog party about every two to three months in the hopes of encouraging community and reciprocation among bloggers.

Have you ever considered throwing a blog party?

If so, here’s some advice.

While Blog Parties are a huge hit, they can also be a lot of work, and they can often fall flat without the proper motivations and engagement. Just like throwing a party in real life, the host/hostess cannot simply provide an atmosphere, ditch out, and then expect his/her guests to have a good time. As a host/hostess, I suggest you follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Create specific rules and invitations
    • It is not enough to yell “Blog Party” and hope the crowds will come. Set up what a blog party is for first time participants. If you have a specific theme, state it! If there is something you want your guests to answer, ask the question, get the party started! Also, if you have specific rules (as most parties should), be upfront with them right away. For instance, my strictest rule is that no one is allowed to comment “I followed you, please follow back.” I don’t accept the “follow game” at my parties and so I make sure to post that in the instructions.
  2. Turn off comment moderation (at least for the duration of the blog party)
    • Many of you may have different comment restrictions on your blog. Maybe you have to approve every comment every single time, or you only have to approve comments from first time posters. While this may be helpful in other areas of your blog, it is detrimental during blog parties. Bloggers cannot actively engage in the party if they are waiting in the queue to become “approved.” For the duration of the blog party, turn off comment moderation.
  3. Engage with every. single. blogger. Write back (you cannot be a silent host!)
    • If you were hosting a party at home and someone came up to you, introduced themselves, and talked about their favorite hobbies, would you simply turn and walk away without saying a word? NO! (At least, I hope not.) Your guests are your responsibility. It is your job to make sure that the are having a good time. If someone comments, for goodness sakes, be kind and respectful enough to comment back!
    • Ask questions to your guests.
      • Just as you should respond to comments, you should engage by asking questions. What does the blogger like to write about? What are they currently working on? This is all about making friends people and the only way that works is through engagement.
  4. Visit every. single. blog. that comments (show reciprocation).
    • I mentioned earlier that I do not play the follow game. Just because someone follows my blog does not mean that I will automatically follow them back. However, I will visit their blog and check it out (especially if they comment during a blog party)! Again, if someone has been kind enough to drop in to your party, be reciprocal. It will take you 30 seconds at most to click on their blog and look around. You may even be pleasantly surprised to find that you love their blog and want to follow! During blog parties, I follow anywhere from 5 – 20 new blogs.
  5. Kick out the trolls.
    • Last, but not least, sorry to say, the bigger your party, the more likely you are to find that the trolls have escaped the dungeon. Be on the lookout for blogger-trolls who are only there to stir up trouble or garner followship without actively engaging in the community.

Well there you have it, my five stress-free, guaranteed guidelines on how to host your very own blog party. If you host a party soon, I hope to receive an invite!

Happy Blogging Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life

End of Summer Blog Party

Hey Everyone! If you’re anything like me, you might be bummed that summer is coming to a close. What better way to end summer than with a BLOG PARTY?

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For those of you who are not aware what a blog party is let me break it down. Generally speaking, a blog party is an online gathering for bloggers of all kinds to meet and engage with one another.

Here are some simple rules:

  1. First off, everyone is welcome to participate in this Blog Party (even if you do not currently follow me, although I would LOVE it if you did!) -> If you are a new follower of my blog, say hi and let me know that you are new so that I remember to drop by your blog and check you out.
  2. Leave a Comment and a Link! Tell us who you are and what your blog is about. Feel free to leave a link connecting back to your blog’s home page or to your favorite or most recent blog post! (Post this only once please.)
  3. Mix and Mingle! This is where the party begins. I am blessed to have over 2,000 followers and this is a great opportunity for many of my friends to meet each other. You guys are amazing and I think a lot of you would enjoy meeting and following one another.
  4. Remember, you never have to follow anyone just because they follow you. However, it is good manners to always return a page visit for a page visit. Did someone stop by your blog, like or leave a comment? Do the same for them! It only takes a minute.
  5. Don’t forget to REBLOG! Spread the fun by encouraging your own followers to join in the party! This is the best way to attract new bloggers by spreading the word.
  6. Lastly, please do not comment “I just followed your blog, please follow back!” or anything similar. You will be booted from the party. Follow the blogs you honestly like, don’t play the “follow game.”

As we are celebrating the end of summer, feel free to include your favorite summer activity! Mine would definitely be the amount of pool time that I get during the summer months.

What about you?

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This Blog Party will be held and moderated exclusively August 7th-8th so don’t miss out! Invite your friends and share with your blogging community!

Also, I am feeling that itch again to hold another contest! In the comments below, please let me know which you would prefer:

Flash Fiction Contest

Poetry Contest (Open form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Form)

Poetry Contest (Specific Theme)

Alphabet Contest

Blogs / Life

Seeking an Illustrator: OPEN

Hello wonderful bloggers, authors, artists, and other creative keyboard warriors!

I realize that for the most part, I engage with fellow bloggers and authors here on WordPress and not many artists (which is truly a shame). While I am waiting on hearing back from the publishing company on the status of The Agency Games, I am working on my next project.

I do not want to give away too much, but I am seeking:

  • a skilled and experienced illustrator
  • preferably someone who specializes in realistic sketching
  • is ready to dedicate serious commitment to a process that could take longer than a year
  • is open to peer review, critique, and editing

If you have any experience in this area, or know someone else who does, please leave a comment below! Also, I would greatly appreciate it if you could reblog this post so that I have a better chance at finding an illustrator, thank you!

***If you are an illustrator and have confidence that you are perfect for the position, send me an email through my Contact page!***

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Blogs / Life

Top 5 Shave Ice in Kauai

Let’s talk about Shave Ice for today’s Kauai-flavored post.

Yes, it is called Shave Ice, not shaved ice and definitely NOT snow cones. My husband (I love that word), my husband and I made it our mission to discover the best shave ice on the island and so we scoured north, east, south, and west shores and put our taste buds to the test. Shave Ice is very different than snow cones as this ice is not crunchy but perfectly shaved (and if done well, it’s almost fluffy!) This shave ice is also often accompanied by a perfect scoop of ice cream sitting on the bottom of the ice that provides the perfect balance to the sweet syrup on top. (I thought it was weird to mix ice cream and shave ice too, but try it, it’s amazing!)

Kauai offers some of the best Shave Ice in the entire northern hemisphere and I’m here to break it down for you.

Number 5: Wailua Shave Ice (East Shore)

One of the coolest things about the Shave Ice industry in Kauai is the fact they are located everywhere: in shops, on the sand, in little trailers and campers. They were everywhere! Wailua Shave Ice was one such trailer stand, located on the side of the road next to a couple of food trucks. We had been directed here by one of our excursion guides. While it was good, it does land toward the bottom of our list (technically Jojo’s is the bottom but we’re not even going to waste time on that). One of our biggest frustrations with Wailua Shave Ice was its “pre-determined” menu. In other words, they had a handful of options (we got a “Lava Flow”), but you could not choose your own flavors. It was good, but not the best!

Number 4: The Fresh Shave (South-West)

The Fresh Shave was another good, not great Shave Ice, but it gets extra points for its creativity! The Fresh Shave is another roadside camper with pre-determined options. The fun part is that all of its options were given the names of mustache styles. We got the Fu Manchu (Strawberry & Banana). The Shave Ice gets props online for having more natural syrups and less sugars than others, but this did reduce the amount of flavor in my opinion. It just depends on whether you want to focus more on healthiness or tastiness. For me, it was more about tastiness all the way! They also did not serve ice cream with their shave ice (which is a plus for others).

Number 3: Uncle’s Shave Ice (South / North Shore)

No, Uncle is not skimpy with his shave ice, I just forgot to take a picture before I dived right in and started eating while my husband paid. Uncle’s Shave Ice is more of “chain” shave ice, meaning that you can find more than one on the island. We went to the location in South Shore. Uncle’s is decorated with sports memorabilia and offers something called shave “snow.” While we did not try the shave snow, which is indeed different than shave ice, we loved the shave ice! The flavors were far more intense than the previously mentioned locations, although the ice cream was your simple run-of-the-mill ice cream. A solid third place!

Number 2: Kalapaki’s Shave Ice (East Shore)

Okay, so unless you read this post, or have a friend who went there before (thank you TShaw), you will never find this shave ice. Some of the locals didn’t even know about it!! Kalapaki’s Shave Ice is located in a small hut, attached to the back of Kalapaki Beach Hut in Lihue. The Beach Hut is a bright yellow building located next to a port town that serves burgers, fries, etc. But the real star is what is located in the back! This little stand (not visible from the road, you need to have faith and walk behind the building) has the fluffiest shave ice I have ever tasted. That’s right, I said fluffy! This shave ice was literally melt-in-your-mouth delicious! If we were just talking shave ice, Kalapaki’s would take number 1, but when we’re talking shave ice and ice cream, there is only one true winner…

Number 1: Brennecke’s Deli Shave Ice (South Shore – Poipu)

Located right behind the popular Poipu Beach Park is Brennecke’s Beach Broiler. This is a two story building that consists of a restaurant (top floor) and a deli, souvenir shop, and shave ice on the bottom floor. (HINT: If you eat upstairs first, they will give you a coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free for shave ice. We utilized those coupons a couple of times!) This shave ice is wonderfully shaved, the flavors are on point (get banana!), the snow coat is the perfect topping, and the ice cream compliments the shave ice in every way. Unlike other ice creams that always seem to melt too quickly, the ice cream at Brennecke’s last well with the shave ice, creating a perfect combo of ice and cream. Additionally, they use the Vanilla Bean ice cream instead of plain vanilla. If you’re feeling adventurous, abandon vanilla altogether and try macadamia nut ice cream (That was my favorite). If you get a chance, go to Brennecke’s, they will not disappoint!

Well, there you have it! There were many more Shave Ice stands that we would have loved to visit (like Wishing Well in North Shore, but unfortunately they were closed by the time we got there). We are already planning our next trip to Kauai and looking forward to finding more Shave Ice places to check out. I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if you ever get the chance to visit Kauai, make sure you treat your taste buds to some delicious Shave Ice!

Blogs / Life

MRS.KaylaAnnAuthor

Did you miss me?

While I did miss some of you awesome bloggers, these past three weeks off have been an absolute, magical dream.

Married life is… WONDERFUL!!! After waiting seven and a half years to get married, I sometimes worried that I hyped up the idea of “marriage” too much in my mind, but both the wedding and the marriage lived up to every expectation and surpassed some.

I’ve tried to write poetry about my wedding day and maybe one day I’ll be able to post something but my words never seem to be enough. For once, words fail me and I cannot describe the joy that I felt and still feel. How can I adequately describe the way my stomach fluttered and twisted those moments leading up to the ceremony, not out of nervousness but out of excitement? How can I explain the way my eyes locked on his over the heads of our friends and family as if there was no one else there? How can I convey the way my own eyes filled with tears when I saw the way he was looking at me, looking at me like there was no other woman in the world he would rather marry? Or how do I detail the precious intimacy of laying down next to someone and waking up to their bright blue eyes the next morning…

I’ll keep working on those poems, and for now I’ll just smile at my own memories. I have hundreds of notifications to read and respond to. I will be doing my best to see, read, and respond to every one of them! Please be patient as I am still going to be getting back into the blogging groove slowly as I place my focus first and foremost on making home with my husband.

Over the next few days, you may notice different types of blog posts than I normally post. Here’s the deal guys, I’m an author and blogger; normally, my posts deal with those topics but for this next week, please have some grace with me as I dip into the “travel” side of blogging. For our honeymoon, we traveled to Kauai and there are some posts that I’m dying to write about. If those posts don’t tickle your fancy, that’s alright with me, come back next week when I dive back into “author” posts!

Blogs / Life

Getting Married! (and Signing Off)

My fiancee and I began dating in late 2011. I first met him on a blind date that had been set up by our best friends (who were also dating at the time and are now married with their own little girl). When I think back to the night, I remember how I did not even want to go out, and how my best friend forced me to go on the double date. God knows I have a lot to thank her for.

When I first met him in person, he was so shy, he barely said a word to me, preferring to talk to his best friend instead of me. I remember being frustrated and asking my best friend if he remembered that he was going on a date with me and not his best friend. But as the night went on he came out of his shell and I realized he was sweet, funny, a little crazy (driving at least) and immensely kind. One of my favorite things about our first few dates is that he never pressured me to hold hands, to kiss, or anything else. When we had our first kiss it was because I asked him.

He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first love. It only took three months for us to realize that we wanted to get married, but we were still so young. He gave me a promise ring and told me that one day he would marry me.

Well, it’s been seven and a half years since then and I am grateful for every moment: the good times and the hard times. Don’t let this world fool you, true love DOES exist, but it is nothing like the movies. True love is deciding to stay in love every single day. True love requires active participation on both sides. We stay in love with each other because we choose to. I can honestly say that I love him more today than I did yesterday and the day before that.

Now seven and a half years later, I finally get to marry the love of my life. In the next week, I will be married and the weeks following I will be going on my honeymoon. Having waited for this moment for so long, I want to be able to focus on us without any outside distractions. And so, it is an easy decision for me to say that I will be off WordPress until the end of June.

I know that all of my friends and followers will understand my absence and I am grateful for them. During the next month or so that I am gone, I will be reposting my older blog posts. Please feel free to comment, but know that I will not see them or be able to respond to them until the end of June.

Until then . . .

I’m off to get married!

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