Blog Hoppin’: All the cool kids are doing it

Blog hops are almost as cute as hopping bunnies.

Blog hops are almost as cute as hopping bunnies.

A couple weeks back, I was asked to participate in a Blog Hop by friend, fellow blogger, (and namesake, for that matter), Jenny Gwinn McGlothern. Her blog, Mama Needs a Refill, is a blog dedicated to helping Moms “refill their cups” when they start to run low. As a life coach, retreat leader, writer, and mom (to name a few of her talents!)- she knows a thing or two about how each of us can refill ourselves, in healthy ways, when we start to run a bit low. And as evidenced by my last post, Coming Unglued, we all run a low on the reserves of patience, compassion, and understanding that are the currency of good parenting.

A Blog Hop is a chance to talk a bit about why you write, to show off a few of your friends, and hopefully introduce them to a wider audience. So, I’ll do the answering a few questions part and then get on to the good part of introducing you to a few of my friends and bragging about them a bit. 🙂

My Writing Life

I love writing- I love the act of it, the challenge of it, and the result of it. I am not gifted with a lot of other creative talents and I believe that the act of creation is an important one. To have made something that stands on its own in the world- whether a physical object, a piece of art, a song, or even the humble blog post- it gives you the kind of satisfaction that little else can.

I started this blog about a year ago as a creative outlet and as a chance to share my thoughts, stories, and observations. My biggest challenge has been with consistently producing content. Even one post per week is a hard volume for me to maintain- though I have recently rededicated myself to doing just that.

What am I currently working on?

Currently, I have a list of about a dozen solid blog post topics that I am working through- from the provocative (I have one on SEX brewing!), to the introspective, to the quick and easy book review- I have a bunch of great content lined up. The trick is to carve out enough uninterrupted time to do the writing. Along those lines, my kids are currently unsupervised in the driveway with the garden hose, a couple of winter sleds, and a galvanized bucket full of ice. Sounds like a party to me.

Why do I write what I do?

As I have said- I write because I love it. I also write because I like the idea of leaving a record of myself. All too conscious of the fact that our time on this beautiful blue marble is fleeting, I want to leave something- however humble it may be, behind. I am arrogant (or confident) enough to hope that my daughters will one day want to wander through my posts. As they grow and mature- there will be posts that offer them insight into the joys and challenges of parenting, how I thought about the world as a woman, as a friend, a partner, and an advocate for equality, tolerance, and decency in the world. When they are ready, I hope that they will see me as something more than a mom- as a whole human being. That kind of insight about your parents doesn’t come until well into adulthood- so let’s just say this is partially a written hope chest for them.

How does your process work?

Nothing fancy here. I keep the ideas for my blogs in Evernote and use WordPress as my publishing platform. I usually mentally compose my posts for a day or two before writing and then write for between 20 minutes and a couple of hours to get something on the page. I average about 500 words in 30 mins, though that’s BEFORE editing. And I could be a better editor. I am working to be as ruthless with the delete key as I am generous with inserting my “voice” into my writing.

Blog Hop Featured Writers

So- enough about me! Let’s move on to the fun part of introducing a couple friends and awesome bloggers that I think you’ll enjoy getting to know! I have added their blogs to the “blogs I love” widget- so it’s easy to check them out anytime.

The two women I am featuring- Gemma and Val represent two different types of friendships- both of which I value and enjoy tremendously. Gemma and I have known each other for nearly 20 years and have been sort of distant friends & acquaintances for most of that time. The thing I love about Gemma is her confidence, her way of seeing the world, and the way she has always carved out a life that is uniquely her own. I am so happy that through recent reconnections and shared interests in blogging, snow sports, and parenting as normal, human beings (vs. chasing the fiction of perfect parenting), we are once again orbiting in the same universe.

Val, on the other hand, has more recently become a friend of mine. Okay, full disclosure: we work together, but I couldn’t be more thrilled by it. Val is warm, thoughtful, creative, smart, funny, and crafty! I have so enjoyed getting to know her both through working together and through her blog.

The final thing I loved about this Blog Hop exercise is that each person needs to write their own bio– which is surprisingly hard to do. For many of us, it can be hard to “toot your own horn” and writing a descriptive, interesting bio for use in someone else’s blog is just the right forum for writing about yourself in a way that is not critical but celebratory! So, here they are, in their own words:

Gemma Alexander (@gemmadeetweet) loves stories wherever she finds them – in picture books, novels, creative nonfiction, in the news, on Twitter. She recently took the plunge from government staff writer to freelance, and currently writes for ParentMap, Three Imaginary Girls, and on her own blog at Whether writing for a client or herself, she tries to contribute to the pool of good stories in the world.

Val Portanova is a newly-(ish)-wed from a small town, putting down roots in a small city. She loves the simple things in life: getting up at sunrise, deep friendships, hitting the open road, and curling up with a cup of tea on cloudy days. When she’s not at the movies with her indie filmmaker husband, she’s at local thrift stores digging for treasure.  She hangs out on the web at There, she strives to create beauty, share grace, and write words of encouragement.

Okay- so, you’ve learned a bit about me and about a couple bloggers who are probably new to you. Check them out and see who they post about in a couple weeks! Thanks so much for reading and supporting me in this endeavor! Hop on, friends!

I can't get enough of that tail!

I can’t get enough of that tail!

About jenlocati

JENNIE LOCATI started her blog, WYS Words as a way to share her experiences as a professional woman, wife, mother, and irrepressible “do-gooder”. Her diverse life experiences have taken her to Kenya as a Peace Corps volunteer, the trading floors of Wall Street, to PATH, and most recently back to Microsoft, where she works in product development. Jennie shares her many misadventures, occasional insights, and unique perspectives in a voice that is self-deprecating, honest, and authentic. Read more at

Posted on July 2, 2014, in Tidbits and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “…our time on this beautiful blue marble is fleeting”….drawn to artistic way you crafted that sentence. Your daughters are going to have the coolest hope chest.


  2. Reblogged this on gemma D. alexander and commented:
    In a rare turn of events, I’m one of the cool kids! Thanks Jennie!


  3. I’m not sure writing is my métier, but I love to dabble in all sorts of media, whichever catches my fancy at the time. First, I did free form fabric paintings, then neddlwwork cross stitch I based on Paletinean ethnic stuff I bought in the Arab quarter of Old Town Jrusalem. In between that I tortured my brains over an article I submitted to a flagship journal in Biblical circles, the sort of journal that normally accepts only from PhDs. Amazingly it was accepted and published. However, at age 67 I’ve decided to hang up my laurels and just read mystery novels. So my advice to all of you out there is this: do what you wish creatively – just as Jennie is doing. But be flexible about it. Your proclivities may change. And until I know what my next will be, I’m content to read mystery novels, as I hope you will do if you find your current interest fading but not sure what to replace it with.


  1. Pingback: A Blog Hop of Her Own | gemma D. alexander

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