Category

Blogging/Writing

Miss me?

Guys! I know I’ve been gone for a few weeks and totally thrown my regular blogging schedule out the window but. . . things are happening right now. Good things. Things I’m not ready to share with the world.

So for now I’ll just say that everyone is great.

You can expect filler posts to pop up for the next little while (if I’m able to throw anything together at all), but I don’t intend to abandon my little internet home.

Bach

2015: A Blog In Reivew

2016My Top 5 Favorite Posts
This is always a hard choice to make and – in general – I wasn’t really feeling my writing this year. All posts published this year and in no particular order.

This is Real Life, Ya’ll!
Confessions of a Binge-Eater
Meet Me in St. Louis (series about our summer vacation)
That Time I Bought Some Bracelets That Turned Out to be a Napkin Ring
My Anti-Bucket List

Your Top 5 Favorite Posts
The individual posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2015, and not counting the home page.

Things You Should Know About Introverts. Yes, still going strong. Every so often this one makes another round on facebook and boosts my stats.
Review: Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Whitening Pen. This review about a toothbrush has been popular since the day I wrote it. Weird.
Things You Should Know About Ambiverts
Things You Should Know About Being An Archivist. The “Things You Should Know” series usually has high stats because they are easily sharable. They get passed around quite a bit.
My Median Sternotomy and Thymectomy: Part V – Home. Yay! I’m glad to see people are finding my posts about this surgery. I really wanted to share my experiences.

Top 5 Most Popular Product Reviews
The individual review posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2015.

Review: Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Whitening Pen
Special Tacky Husband Saturday Review: Phillips hue Lights
Saturday Review: Murad Blackhead and Pore Cleansing Duo
Saturday Review: Dear by Enprani “Dreams Come True” Bounce Cheese Cream
Special Tacky Sister Saturday Review: Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel

Top Ten Search Terms that Led Readers to Playfullytacky.com 

This does not include searches for Playfullytacky.com, specific post titles, or similar.

-Introverts (lots and lots of different phrases, numerous stupid questions)
-Thymectomy
-Birchbox December 2014
-Why you should not become an archivist (want my answer? The job market sucks.)
-Fat babes
-Skinny sticks reviews
-Miraflex glasses reviews
-Murad blackhead remover review
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Median sternotomy recovery

Top Ten Strangest Search Terms
This is the fun part. Misspellings are intentional.

-does an introvert person like watching concerts? (I don’t know. Ask them maybe?)
-lady boxe old
-hugo troll race witch cabin
-historical romance novels, 1985 g alveston
-my.love.our.kajal.love.view.hot couple first night.lover
-how many hours a day do inroverts like it quiet (Really? Come on people.)
-hyperbole candle
-oprah headbands
-tilda swinton weight and height
-how i carry my cash stash

Memoir of an Archivist After Death [Fiction, Part I]

Remember when I said I was writing something for an archival short story contest? Well – unsurprisingly – I didn’t finish it. Since it is 2/3 of the way done however, I’m going to share it here in three parts. And I am absolutely going to write part three. Promise.

Memoir of an Archivist After Death
by Stephanie @ PlayfullyTacky

Have you seen Beetlejuice? You know, that late-80s comedic masterpiece from Tim Burton back before he became just a caricature of himself? A modern classic, for sure. I absolutely loved that movie as a kid. I can remember many a Saturday morning pushing that tape into the VHS player and settling in with a bowl of corn flakes. Always corn flakes, my mom never bought the fun cereal.

One of my favorite scenes was when the distressed Maitlands ventured into the Hades branch of their local DHS to meet with their caseworker. How exactly did the deceased end up working in this underworld office? Could I dye my hair as pink as the receptionist? And most importantly, where did all that paperwork come from and why did no one care that it wasn’t organized in nice piles? How would they ever find what they needed?

Is that weird? Oh my God, was I a weirdo? [Hang on for a minute while I reevaluate my entire existence.] Okay, anyway . . . I like to think that my love of that movie helped land me where I am today. Although I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing so helped might not be the right word. Where exactly am I, you ask? Well, I’m in the real-life version of that underworld DHS. And I’m in charge of all that paper.

They don’t prepare you for this in library school.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about a typical day here in my post-existence [context, people!]: The alarm goes off at 6am. No, not even the dead get to sleep in. There isn’t any need to shower, exercise, or eat, but a lot of us go through the motions anyway. Personally, I like to stare at a cream cheese bagel and swirl around a cup of coffee before I leave my building. I just can’t give up that coffee. It used to be the thing that made me feel like a living, breathing human every morning. Although I can’t say it does that much for me anymore, I keep up the habit all the same. Supposedly we in-betweeners can still eat the food, but it doesn’t taste quite the same and I prefer to stick with my memories.

My commute is usually uneventful – we don’t have the kind of traffic they do in Hell – and I arrive at work around 8am to be greeted by a way-too-chipper morning person. Her name is Debbie, she works the front desk, and I’m pretty sure she was murdered by her former coworkers. No one can deal with this level of pep in the morning. After escaping from Debbie, I spend the next eight hours alone in the basement sorting through death records, haunting assignments, closed reincarnation requests, and TPS reports (usually without their cover pages).

On a particularly interesting day, I might discover an old exorcism-avoidance training manual or maybe spend an hour lost in the files of Queen Victoria, Jim Morrison, and Tutankhamen. Last week I tackled the records from one of the European plague pandemics. For official records these are pretty scant; Lord knows the orientation lines had to be longs during those years. Literally, Lord knows. The higher-ups want me to build a searchable database and try to fill in the missing information for these and other mass-mortality records, but won’t even give me an intern to help with that one. Not gonna’ happen.

Technically I should only be dealing with the closed records, i.e. those pertaining to people who have moved on to their final destination (informally labeled 9L, for nine lives). It is a misnomer really, as not everybody actually gets nine. The label comes from an old system leftover from the administration of Lytton during his short term as Death in the seventeenth century. He tried to overhaul the records retention plan and really mucked things up with extraneous ledgers and processes that did nothing for standardization and increased the backlog ten-fold. I’m still trying to right things from that misadventure.

But let’s stay away from politics. As I said, I should only be dealing with closed records. However, at least once a week I get a call from some random case-worker trying to determine proper placement for a person mistakenly nine-lived. I’m constantly reminding them not to send me active files. I’m hoping it will sink-in sometime in the next century or so. An ambitious project, I know.

Drop-everything-and-work-on-this-right-now projects aside, this is pretty much what I do every single day. Or at least, what I was doing before everything changed.

To be continued.
Check back on November 20 for part two.

Oh, the Deadlines!

I have a couple of writing deadlines approaching at the end of this week and I’m way behind.
You won’t be hearing from me again until Monday.

Next week = book week! I’ll share the great and not-so-great things I read in March.

[I’m serious. This isn’t some kind of super weak April Fools thing.]
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Giveaway Alert!

Head on over to The Artcademy and check out the March Craft Madness Giveaway. You could win $500 worth of arts-and-craft-supplies-goodness. Plus, you get entries by following me on Instagram and Pinterest. Go check it out!

MMG Slideshow 1B

Here is a full list of the goodies included:
(3) Packs of Polymer Clay
20+ Sheets of Card Stock, Handmade Papers, Holiday Stock, etc.
1.4+ Lbs of Yarn (Mix of colors)
2+ Yards of Pink Poly-Satin Print Fabric
1 Yard of Pennington Wool Flannel Fabric
1/4 Yard Hand Dyed Satin
3 Surprise Me! Scrap Bags
Mannequin Bust Pin Cushion
Cupcake Crochet/Kitting Marker Cushion
Crochet Fork
Hand-painted wooden beaded purse hands (ready to attach to a bag)
1 Pink Stow and Go Canvas Craft Bag
Glitter Glue
Basnik Process
2 Spools of Ribbon
1 Quart bag of felt start, 1/4 inch thickness
2 Packs of acrylic paints
1 Reusable gold broach flower pin

Important Announcement

VintageMegaphoneOkay, not really.

No Saturday review this week or the rest of January.

I’m getting tired of doing them weekly, so I’ll be switching to every other week in February. This will work out better anyway, as I’m in a bit of a no-buy pledge and won’t be bringing new things into the house unless they are necessities. Instead, I’m strictly working through my stash.

I might have the husband contribute some more technology-related reviews too. Everyone seems to like those.

2014 Year in Review

My Top 5 Favorite Posts
This is always a hard choice to make. All posts published this year  and in no particular order.

Your Top 5 Favorite Posts
The individual posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2014, and not counting the home page. [If you’ll notice, quite a few of these posts went live around the time of the introvert post. The increase of traffic meant a lot of extra eyes on them.]

Top 5 Most Popular Product Reviews
The individual review posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2014.

Top Five Search Terms that Led Readers to Playfullytacky.com
This does not include searches for Playfullytacky.com or some variation. Similar terms have been combined into one.

  • things you should know about introverts; things to know about introverts; about introverts
  • introvert; introverts
  • fat babes
  • colgate whitening pen
  • skinny stix reviews

Top Five Search Terms, Not Including Introvert Related

  • fat babes
  • colgate whitening pen
  • skinny stix reviews
  • things you should know
  • alton brown live reviews

Top 10 Strangest Search Terms
Ten terms this time as this is more fun. Misspellings are intentional.

  • cosmpolitan magazine
  • dropping out of therapy by email
  • examples and image of gift presentable to a lovely husband and wife
  • how to hold a red wine glass
  • when did i exist to you
  • define a smidgen of shyness
  • casual tacy cloths
  • dream interpretation rotting deck
  • snooze sack for cat
  • noose nativity

And my favorite search term: “archivist does more than put stuff in boxes.” Damn straight.

Things You Should Know About Surviving When Your Blog Goes Viral

Well, mini-viral anyway.

1) Don’t feed the trolls . . . but maybe poke them a little.
So trolls suck and generally I am very much against feeding them. But. . . a few arguing trolls can really up your comment numbers. I’ll admit that I argued with a few of them to make them keep commenting and fuel the fire a bit.
NOTE: Don’t do this if the horrible comments trolls make bother you. You will just get sucked in to an argument you won’t win. Seriously, you won’t win. Trolls just move on to another comment or part of your statement if they get backed in to a corner. It isn’t legitimate conversation or conflict.

I suggest you develop this attitude if you want to poke your trolls.
Bothers

2) Decide on a comment strategy asap.
Comments are going to start pouring in fairly quickly, so you need to decide how you are going to handle them. It became pretty clear to me that babysitting the comment section was just not going to be an option. I decided to delete violent comments (yes, violence over introverts), but not remove the insults various comments were slinging at each other. I edited my strategy just a bit when a commenter used “retard.” Totally unacceptable on my blog. This laissez-faire attitude might not work for you – especially you have a brand or image you are tying to protect/grow. Try to make your decision early so you remain consistent.

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3) Be prepared to be saying a whole lot more than you thought.
I wrote a silly little blog post about introverts that was humorous and – frankly – not very original. I never expected it to take off the way if did. I was very surprised by the depth people could read into my post. All of a sudden a large group of strangers decided they knew all about me and my intentions from that one post. It was a little odd, to say the least. I’m not saying this is necessarily good or bad . . . just be prepared.

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4) Don’t change your focus, but do think about what you are putting out there.
This especially came up since I’m dealing with a personal blog.
Okay, so my blog is personal and it is probably always going to be personal. I’m not expecting 2 million readers to stay-on long-term, so I wasn’t going to cater to their interests (although obviously you would want to do that if you are blogging for another reason). I did want to consider what I had scheduled to post during the peak. I made the decision to move a couple of more personal posts. Now, you could argue that I’m putting all of this out there for public consumption anyway – which is true, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be smart about it. My stats were very likely to plummet to a more reasonable number and I adjusted my posts accordingly.

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5) Enjoy the ride.
Let’s face it; your popular post probably isn’t going to make you a blogging legend. Remember to enjoy it through all the crazy. I bragged as much as possible on my personal facebook (much to the annoyance of people reading, I’m sure). This probably won’t happen again. When a local radio station talked about my post without knowing a local wrote it? Awesome. I inflicted that brag on my coworkers.
Even if it is stressful, even if you are dealing with trolls, even if you are getting a lost of nasty . . . it is pretty amazing. Something you wrote touched a lot of people. Enjoy it.

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