Spotlight Awards 2013: Reader’s Picks

Hello everyone!  I still cannot believe that 2013 is almost over.  I couldn’t let 2013 slip away without awarding a round of Spotlight Awards.  Because I’ve been a fair-weather blogger this year, I haven’t spent much time on WordPress. When I did hop on, I mostly visited blog I already followed. Therefore, I turned over the nomination process to my audience.

I want to thank all of you who took time to send me a cool blog to check out. The blogs featured in this round of Spotlight Awards have very unique themes. I’m not sure if I would have come across these blogs on my own.

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Spotlight Nominations

Due to my neglect of this blog in 2013, it has been a long, long time since I’ve done a Spotlight post.  If you are new to the blog, I used to have a monthly post where I’d hand out Spotlight Awards to blogs I thought were cool and might be of interest to others.

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February Spotlight Awards

Happy New Year!  I never did get around to posting a January Spotlight award, so I’ve just decided to skip ahead and start fresh with February.

For those of you new to the party, I spotlight 3-5 blogs at the beginning of each month that I think are deserving of some recognition.  I’ve created a page on my blog that contains the award logo and purpose of the award.  Check it out, especially if you’ve been spotlighted.

Below are the guidelines about the award.

1.  If I pass on the Spotlight Award to you, congratulations!  It means I thought your blog was awesome enough to mention on my blog complete with a short description to my readers about why your blog is awesome.

2. Unlike other blog awards floating around the internet, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO ACCEPT THE AWARD.

3. If you want to paste the logo on your blog and let your readers know you’ve been spotlighted, that’s cool. If you think my award is bunk and you don’t want to mention it to anyone, well that is your choice.  But just know that you have been recognized and you don’t need to do anything else besides bask in the glory of your victory.

Before I head into a new list of awards, don’t forget to visit the blogs of December’s winners:

1. Live Laugh RV

2. A Small Press Life

3. Beyond Print

Without further ado, here are my picks for February 2013:

1. Across the Bored

Tagline: Presumptions and postulations with a twist

Blog Summary: Blogger Ideflex provides almost daily posts which range from amazing photos to contemplation on specific topics.  Forget the Daily Post challenges – Across the Bored finds the more interesting writing and photo challenges that bloggers come up with and participates in these challenges. Across the Bored features a weekly “this year in history” post every Thursday which summarizes the highlights and low-lights of selected years, starting with 1960 and moving in chronological order with each subsequent post.

Excerpt: While 1962 continued the trend in global politics towards civil war, skirmishes and upheaval, it also marked a time where vassal nations were achieving their independence. America felt the world getting just a little bit smaller with the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis yet still managed to look to the stars with their nascent space programme and the launch of the first commercial communications satellite able to transmit a Trans-Atlantic television signal.  

Youth were also starting to expand their horizons with Andy Warhol exhibiting the now infamous Campbell’s Soup Can, 007 getting a hit film with Dr. No and the Beatles recording Love Me Do –  3 convicts figured they could ride the tide of firsts and successfully escaped from Alcatraz.  Many of the ideas and trends put forward in that year have become embedded in our reservoir of cultural consciousness – 50 years later, Booker T. & the M.G.’s crossover hit single shows us exactly how relevant they still are…

One more thing: Tuesdays are reserved for an original Across the Bored challenge – Two Cents Tuesday.  This challenge gives bloggers a chance to interpret a topic however they wish and share it on their blog.

2. Jillian Levi

Tagline: Hello Greece! You ready for adventures?

Blog Summary: The tagline describes Jillian’s year teaching in Greece.  She shares some of those experiences on her blog, but continues to forge new adventures for herself now that she is back home in the U.S. Jillian’s posts on life are always packed with humor and authenticity.


Driving a stick, Day 2
My dad drove us out to a little town nearby. (And when I say ‘little’ I mean population 1,000.)

Lots of back roads, no people. The perfect place to practice.

Needless to say as I got behind the wheel I was petrified.

“There might actually be someone else on the road! What do I do if someone else is driving on the road too?!”

My dad just patiently looked at me.

Oh right. I know how to drive, just not the mechanics of the stick shift yet…

I pushed in the clutch, and started the car.

And everything about day 2 went better!

One more thing: Jillian proudly features a Not Featured on Freshly Pressed badge, but with her wit and humor, I would not be surprised if she has to remove that badge one day.

3. Darla Writes

Tagline: A Blog for New Writers

Blog Summary: Blogger Darla McDavid put together Darla Writes to grow as a writer as well as provide guidance and resources for writers.  In Darla’s own words, her posts can be categorized as follows:

  • to inspire writers to follow their dreams of being published
  • to present resources that will help them write better
  • to explain technology that can promote their work


The weather today was perfect for gardening. Warm rays through patchy fog offered a setting of beauty and a good temperature for sprucing up my neglected vegetable patch.

Especially at noon: Straight-up sunshine over a soggy lawn.

I went outside to the garden that kept me in tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and peppers throughout the summer. I turned to other things once fall arrived. And so I came upon a sad sight of yellows and browns that had once been spring green. Two of the three tomato plants survived, but a family of crabgrass moved up and in through the newspaper layer of the raised bed.

The soil was moist, so it was an easy win as I wrestled with the weeds. Except for one rogue clump. It refused me. I yanked and dug through most of the bed, but the weed was strong.

I scratched through the dirt and touched the worms.

I disturbed ant homes and admired their scurry.

I stepped in spoiled fruit and fresh cat litter.

I noticed the rose and remembered the thorns.

And when I found the root, I worked at it until a tug ended the war.

After, I sat in the soil and thought about how those few minutes in the garden characterized this past year.

It took a while, but I managed to make room in my life — and my soul — for my writing desires. There was a lot to dig up, put aside, rearrange, sacrifice, before I could move along. And entwined through it all was that stubborn weed called Fear.

I pulled it up and out. And tossed it away.

One More Thing: included Darla Writes on the list of 100 Best Blogs for the Modern Writer.

December Spotlight Awards

Holy Cannoli, it’s already December? I’m still adjusting to the long stretch of holiday called Thanksgiving!  While many of you are dealing with snow and cold temperatures, I’m back to pulling out my spring sweaters for work each day. Normally I’d at least need my beige “detective” coat for the mornings and evenings, but the weather has been more mild than usual with highs hovering near the 80 degree Fahrenheit mark.

I also get to celebrate the fact that I lived another year this weekend and kick-start the next year.  Yes, this is my birthday weekend.  With the buildup to Christmas and then New Year’s over the next 30 days I try to stretch my birthday out over the whole month.  Why? Because I can. Now back to the point of this post. Continue reading

November Spotlight Awards

Ah, November.  The weather is cooling, the leaves are falling, writers are furiously typing novels for NaNoWrimo, and stores everywhere are pretending it’s already Christmas.  What better way to celebrate such an awesome month than to spotlight some blogs! Continue reading

July Spotlight

Guess what? It’s time to unveil the NMNPHX Spotlight Awards!  I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering when this will happen and who will be featured in the inaugural round of the Spotlight Awards.  Well, you can all stop chewing your fingernails in anticipation because this is happening NOW! Continue reading