I’m ready for my close-up

NormaDesmond_closeupI’ve been a bit out of pocket lately and thought I’d better check in, lest you forget me.

I haven’t forgotten you.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t gone this long between posts since January. Starting a second blog has had its pluses and minuses. Time management has been one of the challenges.

It isn’t that I’m out of ideas. I’ve made several attempts at posts for this space, but for various reasons I haven’t finished. I’ve been:

  1. On deadline (I had to prepare to teach a session on self-editing for Arkansas Women Bloggers University).
  2. Sick.
  3. Tired (so what else is new?).
  4. Out of town for three days (AWBU).
  5. Blogging for Arkansas Women Bloggers, Tweeting from the conference, learning stuff, eating.
  6. Working at my day job.
  7. Running errands on my lunch breaks (when I usually try to write, read or listen to webinars).
  8. Zoning out instead of doing anything productive at home (except for the nights I stayed up late working on my presentation).
  9. Various combinations of the above.

We got home Sunday evening from the conference, and my first post for the Arkansas Women Bloggers site was due. I’m Blogger of the Month for September! I took a little nap first (I was not only tired but sick), then I got up to write the post. I turned it in on deadline: at 11:59 p.m.! 🙂

I’ve been feeling the ARWB love the past few weeks. First, I was honored to be invited to lead a session at the conference, then to be Miss September. (Hence, the headline – a reference to a famous movie line. Did you catch it? Also, since Baptist Health followed me around with cameras a couple of years ago, I’ve been known around the house as Diva. It’s OK, though; Bruce has his own special title: Diva Driver.)

No, I haven’t forgotten you, and I wanted to make sure you knew that I’m committed to being consistent here but just have been close to burnout a few times lately.

I’m tired, but my commitment to Suzy & Spice is still strong.

Stay tuned for an announcement about some things I have in the works. I hope you’ll be as happy as I am about them.


FakingBalanceCoverA special note: If you need a few good laughs, check out fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers member Lela Davidson’s new book, Faking Balance: Adventures in Work and Life. It came out yesterday, and I got a copy (autographed!) when she spoke Friday night at our conference. I’ve been reading her first book, Blacklisted from the PTA (same link as above), because I like to do things in order (I’m weird like that). But I know that Faking Balance is going to be just as good as Blacklisted. (Her second book, Who Peed on my Yoga Mat? is on my nightstand ready to go.)

Happy reading!

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Weekly Wrap-up – 06/27/15

So much has been going on lately – so much to tell. Let’s get started.

Our Farm to Table menu included a yummy salad, chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo with shrimp on the side, summer squash gratin with ricotta and Gruyere, and Arkansas jasmine rice. For dessert, apple, peach and blackberry pie with sweetened sour cream and raw milk vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Last night Bruce and I attended the inaugural Farm to Table Dinner on lower Main Street in Batesville, and it was such a success, I have no doubt there will be a second-annual. About 100 people attended, we ate lots of delicious, locally grown food and listened to some awesome live music … and I took 113 photos. Oh, yeah, and I got to wear my cowboy boots! 🙂

The Main Street Farmers Market is still newish but is flourishing. I’ll be sharing about that in a few days, but for now I’ll just leave you with a teaser: I’m preparing a series featuring the vendors I’ve met on Saturdays at the farmers market, similar to the one I’ve been posting on my other blog, To Well With You. If you haven’t checked that out, head on over and tell me what you think.

First Community Bank President Boris Dover (left) and CEO Dale Cole take a selfie as the bank announces its entry into the world of social media.

My employer, First Community Bank in Batesville, Ark., has launched a Facebook page! We had an official kickoff Thursday as the bank hosted the chamber’s monthly Business After Hours event. Using a selfie stick (no doubt for the first time), our chairman/CEO and president/COO took a selfie with the crowd in the background; it was hilarious to see Mr. Cole ask our marketing director’s help to get the Facebook page open on his phone.

By the way, we’re giving away a cruise. To enter, Like and share our FB page.

Other big things we talked about at the event:

  • The bank donated $20,000 to Main Street Batesville toward an ongoing project. As we revitalize our Main Street, a beautification project has been taking place before our eyes for several months. Lots of exciting things are going on downtown, and I’ll definitely be sharing them here.
  • Impact Independence County – an effort to bring community members (that’s you and me, folks) together to strategize ways to move our county forward – will hold a community meeting and cookout in UACCB’s Independence Hall starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 1. Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be the special guest. The IIC’s community survey will go live on the website after that event.


At the Business After Hours event, I talked to a couple of young women who were interested in blogging (one as a reader and one as a writer). For those of you who have toyed with the idea of starting a blog, there has never been a better time to start! I’ve been blogging at Suzy & Spice since 2007, and if I didn’t love it (besides my family and Jesus, nothing gives me greater joy), I wouldn’t have started a second blog.

I’ve also learned a few things that I’d love to pass along if you’re interested.

In the past year or so, I’ve focused on taking my blog(s) to the next level, and I’ve studied branding, “platform building,” content marketing, social media, search-engine optimization and all sorts of other things, including ways to make my writing and photography better.

Now, don’t let all that that fancy talk scare you off. If you simply love to write, like connecting with others online and just want to share your thoughts in a public space and Facebook isn’t fulfilling that need, you can start a blog. (A side benefit has been the connections I’ve made with other bloggers online and in person.)

It’s so easy, a goober like me can do it, and I would love to show you how.

So many resources are available nowadays, and I’ll be working on a post specific to helping you get started. Meanwhile, if you’re scared at the thought, email, call or text me (if you have my phone number) and we can talk through your fears. 🙂 You can email me at suzy@suzyoakley.com.

SuzyOakleycom_croppedSpeaking of contact information and blogs, Bruce built me a “digital business card” – following my specifications and a bunch of tweaking – a web page to allow folks to get a snippet or two of who I am and click through to either of my blogs. It also includes links to my social media profiles. Click here to visit SuzyOakley.com.

Shhh Dont tell!I’ve been invited to speak at a conference this summer. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, so I don’t feel free to share details online, but I’m excited about it! I’ll give you the lowdown as soon as I can.

That’s it for this week, folks. We had a clogged drain (laundry and kitchen) for 11 days (don’t ask) and just got it fixed Thursday. I’m still catching up on laundry, dishes, floor cleaning, blogging … and sleep. 🙂 And high-fives (no, TENS!) to Lonnie Clark of C&S Plumbing for climbing onto our roof and rooting out the drain from a vent. Who knew?

Now, go out and have an awesome weekend.

Tell us in the comments: What’s one incredible thing that happened to you this week?

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Blogging from A-Z – ready or not, here it comes

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good
“Who’s Tina?” you ask? I have no idea.

I’m about to start another blogging challenge. This time, instead of seven days, it will be a month long. (Yikes!) For the seven-day challenge I completed in January, I had about three days’ notice before it began, and it was a tough (albeit rewarding) week. This time I’ve had three weeks to prepare – but I’ve also been working on my taxes, starting a business and creating a blog for that (plus trying to get a little sleep – oh, yeah, and working at my day job), so my topic list isn’t as full as I would like it.

This time, the challenge is to blog from A-Z during 26 days in April. (We get Sundays off for good behavior.) Here’s how it’s supposed to play out:

“On April 1, blog about a topic that begins with the letter ‘A.’ April 2 is ‘B,’ April 3 is ‘C,’ and so on. No posts on Sundays and we finish with Z on April 30. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.”

I chose to “go random.” I just couldn’t think of a theme that would cover all 26 days. Maybe next year. 🙂

I have half of my topics tentatively picked out, but I have slots open in case you want to make suggestions. Here’s what I’ve got so far (subject to change – for instance, Thursday’s is supposed to a book review, and I’m only about halfway finished with the book):

A-Z Blogging Challenge - April 2015 rev03-27-15

So there you have it. Expect a post from me every day in April except Sundays (if I survive the challenge). And if you have a topic you think might be interesting, feel free make a suggestion in the comment area below. You are also welcome to ask me for more information on something I’ve listed on the calendar. Such as, “Fearless? What do you mean by that?” I might even have an answer for you before I actually sit down to write the post. 🙂

The beauty (and maybe the horror) of this is that it will keep me on my toes. The perfectionist in me wanted to have all 26 topics lined out before I started. But I don’t. Not even close. So that is the beauty and the wonder and the lesson. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 30 days.

So bear with me, people. They don’t call it a challenge for nothin’.

See you tomorrow.

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