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Thursday, June 02, 2011

10 Things I Hate About Your Blog

I found this post on Hope Studios and it brought up some very good points.  She points out a site, 10 Things I Hate About Your Site, that gives critiques on websites and blogs.  It’s a fun site to look through without having to publically have your own site blasted to bits.  Anyway, Hope Studios wrote up her own version of top peeves she experiences in the blog world.  And I’m going to add my two-cents here.


10 Ways to Make Your Blog More Reader Friendly:

1)  Auto-play music.  Turn it off.  Get rid of it.  Especially on a craft or food or other general topic blog.  I do have music on my family’s blog.  If you insist on music, put the player at the top of the page so viewers can easily turn it off if they want.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate music.  I love music, but I often blog surf while watching TV with my hubby… he’s not so fond of having his current TV show or movie interrupted by blaring strains of the Dixie Chicks or anyone else.


2)  CAPTCHA or word verification.  Turn it off, please.  I promise you will get more comments if you do.  Blogger has a pretty good spam filter that catches almost all spam.  If you want to monitor comments, turn that feature on.  But turn CAPTCHA off.  Pah-leeze.  Pretty, pretty please.  It’s on by default in Blogger, so double check your settings.  There’s a full tutorial HERE.


3)   Too many font sizes and colors.  Stick to three or four different fonts through out your entire blog.  You should also stick to three or four font colors through out your blog.  All the colors should be easily legible.  Black backgrounds with neon green font are not kind to eyes.  Majority consensus is a light background with black text is preferred. 

4)  No personalization.  Your blog should reflect several things.  First, whatever it is that you blog about.  Second, it should reflect you.  What makes you stand out as a person?  As a blogger?  Why should I read your blog?  There are millions and millions of blogs out there.  What’s special about yours?  Personally I prefer a blog that has a distinct look.  One that I click on and, as the page loads, I know exactly where I am.  Cookie cutter templates are easy and convenient.  But, when I’ve visited seven other blogs today that look just like yours… they all just kinda meld together.  Stand out.  Custom backgrounds and headers are a great way to do this.  If you need help, ask for it.  I’m more than willing to help you out.  For a small fee, I and many talented others offer to do it for you.


5)  No button code.  If you want me, or anyone else, to post your button, make it easy for us.  If you don’t provide the button code it’s a lot more work for me to post it on my site.  Especially if I have to resize it to fit my blog.  With the code I plug in one more line of text and BAM!  It’s good to go.  Don’t know how to make a button code box?  This is a great step-by-step tutorial.


6)  Enable your email.  Or at least post contact information somewhere.  Enabling your email is the easiest way to connect to other bloggers.  I get every single comment in my email.  If you ask a question, and your email is enabled, I simply answer it and send it flying through cyberspace to your inbox.  If you don’t have your email enabled, I may answer it in the comments, but who knows if you’ll ever see it.  For example, I got a super sweet comment from a lady about one of my printables.  Unfortunately, the date on it was wrong.  Had I been able to find her email address, I would’ve made one up with the right date and she would have had the printable she wanted, with the correct year.  Just like that.  But I didn’t know how to get it to her, so… If you don’t want your personal email address floating around cyberspace (and I don’t blame you), take 5 minutes and set up an email specifically for your blog.  If you want to be a successful blogger, you will need one eventually.  Just set it up now.


7)  No Navigation.  I will stick around your site longer if I can easily find your content.  Blogger offers a list of popular posts.  You can choose how many posts show up, most popular of all time or recently popular.  The drop down menus that list the months aren’t helpful.  How do I know if anything you wrote in June 2010 will interest me?  I don’t have time to sift through every single one of your posts, so show me what your got!

8)  Photoless Tutorials.  It’s hard to explain things perfectly for everyone to understand.  Photos will usually help people get the idea, even if you don’t explain it perfectly.  That being said, you don’t need to include photos of every single little step.  I don’t need to see the salt in the teaspoon and then in the bowl and then as you mix it up.  I know how to measure out salt.  Now, beating meringue until stiff is something not everyone will know what that looks like.  Take a picture of that.

9)  A cluttered, disorganized sidebar.  Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have anything in your sidebar.  But, you should be selective about what you give priority in your sidebar real estate.  Also, if you are going to have a “Followers” button for me to push, put it near the top of your sidebar.  That makes it easy to find, but it doesn’t look quite so vain as putting it above your posts.  It’s also helpful to group your subscription and follow options together.  That way your readers can see all the choices at once.  And blogs with lots of ads… big turn off for me.  I get why, but again, be selective.  Very selective.

10)  Comment Etiquette.  This isn’t so much your blog, as the way you interact with other’s blogs.  And this may be my biggest peeve…  I read every single comment I get.  Yes, every single one.  And I respond to many of them.  I appreciate people taking the time to comment.  Reading comments on other blogs from someone who points out all the things that are wrong with a project is such a downer and makes the commenter look like a meanie.  And I know from experience, it makes the blog owner feel bad. 

If you don’t have something constructive to say, move on.  I said constructive, that doesn’t mean you can’t disagree.  If you want to express your disagreement, do it politely.  If you have an issue with someone (like finding your photos on their site), send an email.  Can’t find contact info?  Ask for an email address in a comment.  Attacking someone publicly makes you look like a jerk.  People will ALWAYS side with the blog owner.  Regardless of who is at fault.  Other readers are there because they like the blog, and subsequently the blog owner.  They aren’t there to read mean comments.

The great thing about the blogosphere is that there are no rules.  If someone does something differently than you would, it’s not wrong, just different.  A simple suggestion is a great way to suggest a different way to accomplish the project.  Just be nice.  And don’t leave comments that have nothing to do with the post.  Especially “I’m following you.  Now come follow me.” kind of comments.  That is the best way to make sure I won’t come visit you.  I get you-can’t-make-me syndrome.  Stopping by from a blog hop?  Just say something along the lines of “Hey, stopping by from such and such blog hop.  If you’d like to come visit, you can find me here.” and leave your blog address.  If you’d like to share a link, a simple “hey, you might enjoy this post” will get the job done so much more effectively.


Ok, you know my blog peeves, what are yours…?  Is there anything on While He Was Napping you’d like to see changed?  Be honest, but please be gentle and tactful too…
ps… no promises I’ll change anything, but I just might…

Krista

54 comments:

  1. You don't have this on your blog but I'm going to say it so you don't jump on the bandwagon . . .I really dislike the "jump the shark" posts. Meaning, only the first little bit of the post is visable, the reader has to click something to get to the full post. Once done, you have to go back to the home page to read any other posts. I just want to scroll and read :-) Another blog I follow did a survey of her readers and most people said they really disliked that feature on blogs.

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  2. Great post, I had just moved my followers to the top of my blog, it had never been there before, now I am thinking I should move it. How do you enable your email. Is mine already enabled? Would you let me know how to do it if you have the time. Thanks and I agree with the music, I can turn it off quick enough even if it is some I like.

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  3. This was a GREAT post Krista - a lot of commonly shared pet peeves and blogging no-no's here, along with their easy fixes!

    I hope you'll stop by Create With Joy when you have a moment and share your thoughts on Guest Posting and Guest Hosting. And, be sure to drop by this weekend for ideas on what to do RIGHT on your blog! :-)

    Have a fabulous weekend!

    Ramona

    http://www.create-with-joy.com/2011/06/whats-on-your-mind-guest-posting-guest.html

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  4. Great tips! And thank you to the commenter who mentioned the "jump" dislike...that was something I was considering on my blog, but if readers don't like it, I don't want to do it!

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  5. @Jackie- Ooh, I hate that too. I thought about doing that, but realized I hate reading blogs that have that. Doesn't make sense to do something I hate, right? Not on my unpaid blog anyway. Although I do understand the appeal of more posts on the first page. Some people won't click back any further than that. It's good to know others don't like it either.

    @Mindie- Your email isn't enabled, or I would have emailed this. I'll send you one tomorrow with this link, but in case anyone else wants to know, there is a tutorial on enabling your email address HERE.

    @Ramona- Thanks! I'll be honest, I was a little nervous to post it. Hate is a strong word and people have every right to set their blogs up as they wish. But there are just some things that make the blogosphere easier to live it. Can't wait to check out your post!

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  6. Thank you for posting this! I am quite new to blog land and was hoping to catch a few pointers! So far, my blog isn't much, but I'm working to improve it every day. If you have the time, I'd love for you to check it out and give me some feedback. -Laina

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  7. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [03 Jun 03:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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  8. Great tips! I'm new to blogland and having a great time! Plus I am trying to update my blog but it takes time and often I'm "electronic" challenged! I don't like the music either.
    Blessings!

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  9. Along with no photos, one of my peeves is too many photos. Pick one of your mantel redecoration, not 20. What about falling snowflakes? I thought there was something wrong with my computer at first. I don't mind critical comments. I don't always need nice, but I guess my skin might be a bit thicker than most. Bad spelling and grammar. No excuse with spell check.

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  10. Wow, so with you on it all! guess that I do need to add that little sidebar with the top posts, I've been meaning to, just hadn't gotten around to it. As to the "jump" type blogs, they annoy me so much I don't even bother with them. I hate having to click and click and click to get the full story. I absolutely hate music on a blog, most of the time when I am looking at blogs I am already listening the music of my choice or an audio book, I hate it when there are two tracks playing on my computer. My only other "pet peeve" if you are going to show a project, like your mantle, I don't mind the artistic photos taken at different angles, but please show at least ONE photo of the whole thing. I hate when people don't do that, all you get are weird angle photos of parts of the project, leaves me feeling like I missed out.

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  11. I love all of the tips! Such great information. You asked for some feedback for your blog. I must say, the stars can be a bit distracting. They cover up the information as I scroll through your amazing content. You have such a great blog, why cover it up? :)

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  12. @Jan- Blog design absolutely takes time, you hit that one right on the nose. Doing all my own design has helped me learn a lot, but it's definitely taken a good chunk of time.

    @Gail- I agree with the spell check comment. Sometimes typos happen, but if it's consistent, you'll lose readers. Format your writing with paragraphs too.

    @Melissa- I agree. Detail photos are great, but I always want to see the whole thing. Often times I will scroll to the end of a post to see the finished project to help me decide if I want to read the post or not.

    theteo5- Thanks for pointing that out. I'd never noticed before, but now that you mention it, it's driving me crazy! I'll have to move them once nap time rolls around.

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  13. Great tips. Thanks for posting.

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  14. I was going to comment on my biggest pet peeve, and it was already first in the comments. Keep at least your first post fully visible! (Not you, other blogs.) When I go to some other blogs I frequent, I think blog owners think it looks cleaner, but it drives me crazy that I have to click more and wait for it to load. If you want to do that with older posts, fine, but the first post should always be fully visible to readers.

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  15. Just found your blog via Tatertots and Jello so I don't have any critiques of yours but I agree that the "after the jump" part is a bit annoying. I like to browse all the posts and photos at once instead of having to click through so much.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I hope every blogger that has music will take the advice of turning it off. I am up sometimes, late at night, going from blog to blog and I can't tell you how many times I have had to scramble to find the off button for the music or have been startled, not expecting music in the quiet of the night. I love music, but let your readers choose to listen if they want.

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  17. I am bothered by blogs that have all the text centered. My eyes have a hard time finding the beginning of each line.

    Just a rant from a long-time typesetter.

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  18. Oh, I so agree with turning off the music. My dear husband would appreciate it even more as it really startles him when it comes on. Also agree with word verification. Please take it off. Thanks for the good hints.

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  19. Great suggestions. I don't know why so many bloggers make it so difficult to read their posts. Background is too light and printing is too small. No matter how interesting the post might be I go on.

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  20. You rock! :) Thanks for the hints on the ones I hadn't thought of since I started on my own blog and thanks for reminding me of the ones that drive me nuts!!

    tiffany-n-company.blogspot.com

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  21. I hopped on over from Today's Creative Blog and I am glad I did! Thank you so much for these tips. I need to learn how to add popular posts to the side bar. Mine currently lists the months and I appreciate your perspective on that.

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  22. Great advice for a newbie blogger like me! Anyone who would like to visit my new blog, and give me constructive advice, I would be honored to hear it! Thank you for the post!
    www.woohoogal.blogspot.com

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  23. Visiting from Works for Me Wednesday. Excellent points. I can check off almost all of them and am about to go make a couple changes. . . thank you!

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  24. Great post! I couldn't agree more!

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  25. I just turned off 'word verification' so I'm curious to see if I get more comments. The few I get don't 'mesh' with the 17 or so followers I have. I feel so lonely...
    And music--UGH! Please! You might like Country/Western but I hate it (sorry) and I don't want it playing over my Ella Fitzgerald or Beatles or whatever. (Okay, in all fairness, I like plenty of Country music but you don't know my tastes.)
    Thanks so much for a great list! It has given me plenty to think about!

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  26. Great tips, Krista. Luckily I follow most of them. However, I cannot find out how to add the popular blog posts to my blog. I don't even have the archive, because I can't find it. Maybe you can help me out. My email is enabled. :)
    xo,
    Sena

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  27. Thanks for the info. As a new blogger, I need to know what ticks people off. I am going to add

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  28. Thanks for the code box tutorial. Three years of blogging and the technical stuff is still hard. Probably the distraction of a 5 year old and a 3 year old. No that couldn't have anything to do with it. :-)

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  29. Ha! I had to laugh about this post because it's so true, yet people keep doing it! :) Hopefully, my blogs do not have many (if any!) of these! ;)

    Thanks a bunch for posting the tutorial link for blog buttons. I have one designed, but haven't had the time yet to figure it out. (I'm in the process of re-doing my blogs)

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  30. Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above. Can I also add that there are isles in the sea and aisles in Walmart? And, in the name of all that is holy, it is "voila" not "viola" or "wah-lah."

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  31. This is hilarious and awesome! I couldn't agree MORE with everything you said! Especially the auto playing music....that annoys me so much!! If it takes longer than a couple seconds to figure out how to make it stop, I will just close the window. So annoying! I listen to my own music on itunes, so I don't want conflicting music.

    Hopefully other bloggers will take your advice!

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  32. Thumbs up. I had one of these posts all written out and ready to publish. I deleted it at the last minute!

    I'm glad to see that other readers do not like having to "click" to read a whole post. I was beginning to feel like I was the only one. Yet, it seems all the "big" blogs are set up that way.

    For you, you can make all your links open another tab for the reader instead of it taking them away from your blog. I personally prefer it, it keeps me from getting distracted, and forgetting all about where I started 4-5 clicks later. I'm curious how other readers feel though.

    Jo @ SmileMonsters

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  33. Agreed! Thanks for writing this out! The music one kills me!

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  34. I agree whole heartedly with the no auto-music and no word verification. I always have to fill those out like 2 or 3 times. I also really dislike posts with a million crooked pictures. It makes me sea sick!

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  35. @Rosie- That's something I've never thought of, but a very good point.

    @Meg- I agree. "Your" and "you're" drive me crazy. Proof-reading is ALWAYS a good idea! =]

    @Jo @ SmileMonsters- Thanks! I'll have to get on that. I'm in such a habit of right clicking and telling links to open in a new tab (so I don't lose my original place, just like you said) that I hadn't thought about formatting my links to do that. Thanks again!

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  36. Dear Lord, I am so glad you said that about the music! All it takes for me to never visit a blog again is to be blasted by someone else's theme song. We aren't friends yet, so don't impose your taste in music on me. If I wanted music, I'd go to Pandora. Thank you for speaking for all our ears!

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  37. This was a very helpful post, Thanks! Could you tell how to enable email?

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  38. ha! I feel the same way when it comes to that damn music! ahh! I feel bad but I will un-follow a blog I like for that reason because it seriously startles me! the music HAS to go! and the "i followed you, now follow me" is offensive for real. I blog because I like to, I never comment on peoples blog and leave my url just because they can see my picture, they know they can click on it and visit my blog any time they like! When people do that on my blog its SCREAMS desperation, I follow blogs I like and I hope that people will follow me for that same reason...not because they feel as if they have to

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  39. Love your post! I'm not a blogger, just a reader. But I wish so many more bloggers would follow these suggestions! I can't stand garrish blogs, playlists, or poor spelling/grammar.

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  40. Thanks for all the great tips! I enjoy being a blogger but it really is hard work. Just remember no one is perfect and most people are just trying their best.

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  41. Love this! Thanks for posting - and I have to agree with the other comments about the "read more" option. Grrrrr!

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  42. Love it!!!

    I think one of my biggest pet peeves is the "plug" comments. It annoys me when I get a comment or two or three from the same person and it says "That looks good. I'm following you. You should come check out and follow my blog"

    I typically will go back and check the blog/blogs of the commenters WITHOUT prompting. Without seeming like a giant witch, I follow blogs that I am interested in following. I don't follow just because someone follows me. That's silly.

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  43. Wow! Lots of comments! I have to say that number 1 is my least favorite too.

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  44. I completely agree about the music! Nothing makes me leave a blog faster. And the fonts...neon on a black background is the worst!

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  45. Thank you so much. I am in the process of doing a complete overhaul on my blog so it is a mess right now. I am laying it all out on paper first and plan to have it totally revamped by mid-month. This is helping me think through things to make it better.

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  46. Thank you for this. I must admit, we're guilty of one of the 10 things on your list (just 1) and we've got to fix it! Thanks again.

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  47. Great tips, thank you! Off to make my blog a little more reader friendly.

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  48. I hate music on blogs, too...either they take forever to load, or the music suddenly come on and scares the be-Jesus out of you!

    Visiting from cafemom...

    I would love for you to check out The Blogging Buddies Social Network
    ...you can create a profile, and add your blog, Twitter and Facebook links in the appropriate groups.

    We also have featured members each week, which are promoted on 2 twitter and facebook accounts, and on the site itself. And they get a FREE week of advertising on the site and in my newsletter.


    If you want, you can go to the Get visitors page and request to join a dedicated group. These groups have up to 10 bloggers that visit each others blogs and leave comments.
    Hope to "see" you there!

    Carolee
    Come on home - mom blog
    Working at home advice

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  49. Not having products used on DIY posts mentioned by name and where they were purchased drives me wild. I have spent hours searching the web for products that the blogger may have had for years and which are no longer available. Even when I leave a comment asking for more info, rarely am I answered. Aaaggghhh!

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  50. One thing that I really hate is when links do not open new tabs or windows. It never fails...I click on something that is being reviewed, mosey around the site a bit and then have to back up a zillion clicks just to get back to the blog I came from.

    It's been about a year since I've actually used blogger, but I'm pretty sure that is an option when you make a link. I know it is for Wordpress and I'm especially anal to make sure I click the happy little box that means a new tab or window will be opened if someone clicks on a link in one of my posts.

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  51. Love your blog and love this post. I read above and it seems we are all in agreement with the music thing. I almost always have my volume on mute just so i don't chance hearing someones music. Great post!

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  52. GREAT post and checklist to refer to!! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    xo Lynda

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  53. I totally agree with you on the music! I'm usually listening to something else already, so rather than have both playing at the same time while I try to figure out how to turn off the blog's music, I just immediately leave the blog.

    I definitely agree about the lack of navigation, too. If I can't find my way around the blog, how am I supposed to read more than the one page?

    I'm glad to hear that no one likes to "read more after the jump" because I was thinking about doing that on my blog. Guess I won't!

    --Jill
    from Jill Made It

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  54. Hi there!
    How do you make it so a new window pops up every time someone click on a link on your site??

    Thanks a bunch!
    Heather
    @ www.made-famous-by.com

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"If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all." -Thumper, Bambi, 1942

Please keep your comments kind. I don't expect everyone to always agree with me or the way I do things, but if you can't be kind, please keep your comments to yourself and move on.

If you're a "no-reply blogger", I can't respond to your comments and that makes me sad. Enable your email and I'll get right back to you! Otherwise, it might take me a couple days to respond here.

Thanks for taking time to comment, it totally makes my day!

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