A season of change and of blessing

I am officially moved in, or at least mostly, to our new home in Milton, WI!  The place is cozy, quite, spacious, and home.  We only have some things on the walls but everything else in in place.

This is a big season of change for this Calhoun clan and we feel blessed beyond measure!  Our 15-year-old Mazda died but because of the generosity of my Mom and my Grandpa we were able to buy a new car right away – and our new ride gets 42+ mpg!  Our mattresses were damaged by a basement flood but with the insurance money we were able to buy a super cozy brand new one!  Then, with a realization that living in Wisconsin is a possibility due to the status of Citizen Way, we were able to move here to a quieter, slower world where we have found the home we have been hoping and looking for.    And, finally, I was blessed with a part-time job at Craig High School working in the library so we can hunker down on our two year goal to pay off personal loans to family members and save up for a house – all of which would not be possible on the sustainable but not yet reasonably abundant flow of cash I make through photography.

As a part of this season of change I am thinking I’ll drive myself crazy trying to keep up with week day blog posts.  However, I am thinking I can and want to maintain 3 – 4 days/week.  What I would like to know from you is what days are your favorites to check up on my material and why? This will help me gauge what day/s to take of from the blogosphere and focus solely on editing before going to the library.

I would also love to hear what has blessings have entered your life lately?

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We are moving!

Hey friends!

Just wanted to let y’all know that I will be in limbo for a week or so and will not be blogging due to moving!  Yup, you heard it, we are moving!  Our new home will be Milton, WI practically next door to Josh’s parents and 1.5 hours closer to my folks up der in Minnesota.  As such, this week is devoted to catching up speedily with some editing that will be past deadline if I wait until we are moved and unpacked, packing, unpacking, playing catch up… THEN I will get back into my routine blogging.  Please don’t ditch me, I will send loving words and photos your way again very shortly!  Sorry for the brief abandonment 🙂

Love,

Kaia “Sunshine” Calhoun

I want to know YOU

Today I was snooping around one of the blogs I occasionally check in on (http://jamiedelaineblog.com/) and it struck me that I would like to be known by those I follow.  That being said, I have a new passion for getting to know my readership.  So, today’s blog will remain short because I want YOU to share a short story about yourself with me (comment below or shoot me an email with your story at asunshinemoment@gmail.com).  This is especially for all of you who follow me closely – although some of you I already know very well 🙂

I have a couple other questions for you wonderful friends of mine…

As a follower of my blog or other blogs or a potential follower of my blog or other blogs, what sort of correspondence with the blogger would put you over the moon?
I personally like it when a blogger responds to a comment I leave on their blog or likes or comments on my own posts.

This one is kind of random, but I have been intending to change my blog URL for quite some time now but can’t seem to settle on what I want.  Which URL do you think would be best and why?

  1. blog.asunshinemoment.com (or something like it… from what I understand this draws better and more attention to my business as well)
  2. kaiacalhounblog.com (or something like it)
  3. Do you have any better ideas?

Again, make yourself known by me today!  I would love to be friends 🙂

Happy 200th Blog Post Giveaway! (CLOSED)

I HAVE A WINNER! Congratulations Micayla Crosby!  Our 200th comment was “John Lennon wrote ‘Good morning, good morning’ after hearing a Corn Flakes commercial.”  I absolutely loved how all of your rallied and really had fun with this!  Loved your creativity!  And of course I loved all the very kind and thoughtful compliments.  You guys certainly know how to make a girl feel good 🙂  Thanks everyone!!!

February 5th was my 100th blog post.  It’s only May 17th and I’m already at 200!  Crazy!  I guess that’s what committing to Monday-Friday daily posts with the occasional Saturday or Sunday blog post will get ya.  To celebrate I have a few things up my sleeves…

My gift to you:  a GIVEAWAY (more info below) and a few interesting BLOG STATISTICS

Your gift to me:  SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG and COMMENT ON THIS POST

MY INTERESTING BLOG STATISTICS

My second blog post:  My dog (May 16, 2011)

Top 5 blog posts:  

  1. Simple and Eclectic Studio Boudoir Session (308 views)
  2. Please Pray for my Grandma (279 views)
  3. FACT: Col. Chris Hadfield takes pictures from space (258 views)
  4. Studio Boudoir | Will you be my Valentine? (240 views)
  5. The Makings of a Musical Marriage (234 views)

Post Most Commented On:  100th Blog Post Giveaway (CLOSED) (15 comments)

My 200th Comment was my mom on April 27.  Love you mom!  The Man with the Pretty Garden

THE GIVEAWAY:  200 minutes of photography with me! Yes, that’s 3 1/3 hours!
I recommend using it to book me for a party (birthday, baby shower, costume…) or a series of sessions (maternity, newborn, family…)
The 200 minutes may not, however, be used towards birth or wedding photography… sorry.

Click on the image below to read the giveaway details.

200thBlogPostPromo

TO ENTER: comment with these details…

  • say hello
  • favorite color
  • photography service/s desired

Here is how to comment… look for this below…

Screen shot 2013-05-17 at 11.09.15 AM

TO WIN:  you have to be the 200th commenter!
Requiring 200 comments is little risky because the most comments I’ve had on any one given post up to this point is 15 so it’s up to you guys to rock this!  Let’s make it happen!

COMMENTING RULES:

  • You have to comment on this blog post, Facebook comments don’t count
  • You may comment as many times as you like but you have to say something real and different every time
  • contest closes one week from today (May 27 @ 9 am )

I am also running a Senior Portraits deal.  Check it out HERE.

BOOK REVIEW | Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business

I read Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business over the weekend and have already jumped on practicing their recommendations and tips.

1Monday

When I committed to keeping a blog as a means of sharing all of my passions in one place.  So, the first step I always do is jumping in head first.  Although it can be a risky method to start something by sticking your neck out first rather than researching before hand, I find that I learn best by starting then implementing new tools as I go.  Last week I was feeling up for learning some new tricks so I hit up the library and grabbed Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business and How to Start a Home-Based Blogging Business.  This review is about Publish and Prosper, I’m sure the other book with appear as a review soon.

NOTEWORTHY AUTHORS

Publish and Prosper:  Blogging for your Business

By:  DL Byron & Steve Broback

DL Byron works on Boeing’s blogs and works on the Blog Business Summit by rolling out a network of sponsored blogs.

Steve Broback is the co-founder of the Blog Business Summit and the i3forum conferences. He manages the editorial blogs for Avondale’s marketing strategy: rawformat.com and pixelupdate.com.

SUMMARY

According to Publish and Prosper, blogs have a “naturally ‘Google-friendly’ architecture.”  They state that the major benefits to blogging for your business are that you seriously increase your visibility and traffic at a minimal cost.  They state four key points on how blogs can help companies further themselves; through a blog they can research new products, sell their wares, extend their brands, and engage with customers.  With that in mind the authors then address how to go about optimizing your blogging efforts.

REVIEW

First off, I was pleased to have found all the information I was looking for in Publish and Prosper: Blogging for your Business.  I was also impressed with the amount of content and tips they had available.

I was rather unimpressed by the structure.  I found the chapter layout to be confusing; they constantly referenced pointed the reader to other points in the book rather than finishing an idea when they first planted it.  They also tended to repeat the exact same point/s in different chapters of the book, only under a different title or main header. And, even though I found a little bit of everything I needed, I found the section on blogging for profit fairly empty of any real substance.  This was the biggest let down for me because that was one of my primary goals in researching blogging.  But, in the end, this book was geared more towards businesses that use blogs to further their business not small business owners looking to earn a little extra cash from a favored hobby.

CONCLUSION

If you want to learn how to appeal your blog to Google and other search engines and/or utilize yet another free way of marketing your business this book is a great way to go.

And, if you keep a blog, regardless of whether you are seeking to pull in some income from it or seeking to expand your business marketing or simply blog out of personal pleasure, I HIGHLY recommend Publish and Prosper.  If you are keeping a blog I have to assume you want people to read it… well, you WILL get a higher draw by following their recommendations.  Still not convinced?  Yesterday I implemented a handful of new ideas I gleaned from the book and my views tripled, I got 4 new subscribers, and a few new followers on twitter.  It is worth it!

5 helpful key points within my application:

  1.  Successful blogs build on communication by…

  • fostering interaction with other bloggers
  • being easy to use
  • lending great content

2.  Having your blog hosted under your website domain will draw more natural traffic to your standard website.
3.  To get AD buyers you must have…

  • lots of visitors and readers
  • lots of inbound links

4.  10 TIPS TO WRITING YOUR BLOG
5.  5 STEPS TO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHING YOUR BLOG AND GETTING NOTICED