Fun facts about me and some blogging tips

Hi guys! Yesterday I promised I had something fun to share today. And I do. This is not your average long-winded healthy-living food or fitness post. I’m going to start with a little talk about blogging, then get into some very random facts about me, much like the 25 things you don’t know about me, I shared a while back.

Blogging inspiration straight from the founder of BlogHer 

Recently, I’ve been attending a few blogger events around San Francisco and have had the opportunity to meet so many lovely ladies in real life, then follow them in the blog-world once we all head back to our computers. Last week, I attended an event in the SoMa-neighborhood offices of a big tech company hosted by BlogHer. I knew that two of my favorite local bloggers were attending, but was super excited to see so many familiar faces that I didn’t even know would be there, as well as meet a few new ones.

BlogHer event in SFBay Area bloggers shown above from left to right: Catherine, Sarah, Annie, Carla, Kelly, Me, Alanna and Sarah.

After a little socializing, we heard from one of the founders of BlogHer, Elisa Camahort, who talked about the trends in blogging and shared the following tips:

  • Get to know your audience better, who they are and what they want. Write for them.
  • Small- to medium-sized blogs have an advantage over huge blogs these days, because smaller bloggers can provide a more intimate community for their readers.
  • As a blogger, it’s not all about your audience size, it’s more about your influence with your readers. Do they trust you? People need to trust you. Blogging is a lot about trust.
  • Some of the most successful blogs in the world were started because someone couldn’t find what they were looking for online, so they wrote it themselves.
  • Put yourself out there, because what’s the worst that could happen? Don’t wait for perfection to launch an idea, try out the minimal viable product to get going.
  • And finally, my favorite thought of the night straight from Elisa’s mouth — “There is a world of people out there who will say no to you. Don’t you say no to you.” Amen, sister.

Elisa also talked about the use of each different form of social media and a few more specifics when it comes to sponsorships, advertising and using your blog as a platform to launch a professional career. Needless to say, I walked out of the evening event feeling pretty inspired and so glad that I started blogging. While I like a lot of things in this world, writing and sharing my life with all of you is high up there on the list, and I only wish I had started sooner.

And with that, let’s get to the fun stuff.

Fun facts about the Lady of A Lady Goes West

I saw Brittany post this survey last week and thought it would be a good one to share on A Lady Goes West. So without further ado, here’s some information you probably don’t know about me, and yes, it was VERY difficult to stick to just four things per topic …

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. Pinder (My maiden name.)
  2. APinder (My maiden name with an A in front. Oh, you figured that one out?)
  3. APitt (Got this one too?)
  4. AP (For those who like efficiency.)

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Gift-basket maker at the mall in high school (I can still make a bow from scratch.)
  2. Copywriter at Starwood Hotels (Would you like to see a website I wrote?)
  3. Public relations account director at an agency
  4. Personal trainer at Equinox

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Shag (My favorite movie of ALL TIME!)
  2. Love Actually (Who doesn’t love this one?)
  3. The Mighty Ducks (Had a slight obsession back in the day.)
  4. Old School (One of the most quotable movies ever, outside of Anchorman.)

Four books I’d recommend*:

  1. Gone Girl (Okay, I’m not quite done with it yet, but so close!)
  2. The Poisonwood Bible
  3. Time Traveler’s Wife (The movie is definitely not as good.)
  4. House of Sand and Fog

*This was a tough question because I used to read a lot, but have stopped in the past couple of years. I’m sure I’m neglecting a few favorites.

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Port Charlotte, Florida
  2. Gainesville, Florida
  3. Orlando, Florida
  4. San Francisco, California 

Four places I’ve been:

  1. Florence, Italy (Studied abroad there in college.)
  2. Nice, France (Just for a night on that same study abroad trip.)
  3. Nassau, Bahamas (Cruise and very crazy college trip.)
  4. Cabo, Mexico (My most recent fabulous vacation part one and part two.)

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. On the beach with a cold beverage and the seabreeze blowing in my hair.
  2. In my parent’s kitchen in Florida watching my mom cook.
  3. At the park picnicking on a sunny day with Dave and friends.
  4. Eating cheese and tasting wine in Napa Valley wearing a maxi dress.

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Onion rings
  2. Super hot and spicy dishes
  3. Philly cheesesteaks
  4. Unknown creepy meat hanging from the roof in Chinatown restaurants.

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Sushi
  2. Spaghetti
  3. Carrot cake
  4. Salmon 

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Modern Family
  2. Mad Men (When it’s in season of course.)
  3. Million Dollar Listing (I like all of them and hear a San Francisco one is coming soon.)
  4. Orange is the New Black (When it’s in season of course.)

Four things I’m looking forward to this year: 

  1. Traveling to San Diego for the first time this Thanksgiving.
  2. My birthday in December at home in Florida.
  3. Christmas at home in Florida with my family.
  4. Making a big decision that is looming over me and then celebrating it! (Ohhh so cryptic, but you’ll find out soon.)

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Medium. (To describe how I feel about something: Not good, not bad, but medium.)
  2. I’m tired. (After teaching classes, working out and walking the hills of San Francisco.)
  3. Where should we go for dinner? (The very tough question we ask ourselves a lot.)
  4. Okey dokey. (I’m not as cool as you may think.)

Four people I tag to answer these questions:

  1. Ashley
  2. Becky
  3. Katie
  4. Whitney

Just tagging a few fellow bloggers, in case these ladies want to answer the survey too.

That concludes my very random post today, so I’ll see you guys all back here tomorrow for “Friday Favorites.” 

Questions of the day

What are four places you’ve lived? What’s something that you’ve been saying lately? Do we share any of these facts? If not, tell me a fact about you.

Ashley signature

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    1. Hi Becky! Well you beat me to it – I was going to send you a note, but I guess you see I’ve passed the torch. I love learning facts about people and look forward to your post. Have a great Thursday:)

  1. I love the blogging tips – they are great reminders. I am a blogger who is just starting off and I try to remember that is ins’t necessarily about how many people I get to my site. But it is more about impacting the people that do come to my site 🙂

    I have only lived in three cities my entire life: My hometown (outside of Detroit) till college, South Bend, IN for college, and Chicago after college!

    1. Hi Sara! Well I’ve officially never been to any of the places you’ve lived. But I’ve always wanted to see Chicago. Glad you liked the blogging tips, and I hope you enjoy finding your voice and getting into this big ol’ blogging world. It sure is fun! 🙂 Have a wonderful Thursday.

    1. Hi Christa! Same here – it’s a rare rainy day in SF, so a movie sounds good. Plus it’s almost the holiday season and Love Actually gets me in the Christmas spirit, which I love! Have a good Thursday! 🙂

  2. I have this survey set up for tomorrow- I love it! Modern Fam is by far one of our favorite shows in this household. And you will love San Diego- can’t wait to hear more about it! I am also very jealous of all of the blogging and fitness events San Francisco has to offer- I guess its just another reason why that city so awesome!

    1. Hi Katie!! How funny that you have this one planned. I look forward to learning about you tomorrow! And yes, I’ll be sure to post San Diego pictures after my trip. Happy Thursday:)

  3. Love this post Ashley! I totally signed up for the Blog Her event then ended up up having to work (noooo!!!) so it was awesome to read the recap here! Super salient points, especially the one about not waiting for perfection. This is the best creative outlet! Also glad you love Florence, cuz we’re going in May. Happy Thursday 🙂

    1. Hi Jill! Too bad about the event, but if there are more local things like this we should plan to meet up. Also, there is a larger blogger conference in December which they were promoting, but I’m not attending it. It’s two days and in Redwood Shores — BlogHer PRO is the name I believe. Florence is amazing. Eat and drink and be so very merry (and of course, as any good SF girl would, have some comfortable walking shoes and layers for the evening weather, I was actually stuck in a terrible hale storm in Florence in the month of May). 🙂

    1. Hi Jen! We sure do all have something to offer. And another big thing she reiterated is how blogging started with “reciprocity” — so commenting on each other’s blogs, sharing things that we each write and overall, helping each other a long in this journey. I love that part of the healthy-living blog community for sure. Hope you have a great day!

    1. Hi Kelly! Here’s to little bloggers! 🙂 I definitely go for a tomato sauce over a cheese sauce, so you can keep your mac and cheese! I like how some of the food items are so healthy and some so not. I almost put pizza on the list, but pulled it off. 🙂

    1. A fellow Florida girl? How long did you live in Tallahassee? That’s very much north Florida though, it even gets cold there. Happy Thursday, Sarah! 🙂

  4. Fun fact: the guy who played Gunnar Stahl in Mighty Ducks is the lead singer for a cover band that performs at a beachy bar down near where I grew up in Hermosa Beach on most Saturday nights. Every time I go home I make sure to stop by when the Scott Whyte Band is playing. He’s still really cute too! 😉

  5. I don’t eat any of those 4 things either! Grossss. Well, I’ve never been to Chinatown so never had an excuse to turn mystery meat down, but I’m pretty sure I would, lol.

    Also: I definitely agree that trust is SOOO important with blogging. In my rather esoteric niche, the community is pretty tight-knit and people will positively lynch you for breaking the unspoken (and spoken) “rules” of the community. I’ve worked hard to be a trustworthy, respectful, and respect-worthy member of the community, but sometimes it’s hard. I admit I can be very fearful sometimes when I’m about to publish certain posts, hoping I don’t come across like a used car salesman, hoping I DO sound credible, useful, and knowledgable, etc. Being mindful of trust and credibility can be one of the most stressful things about blogging for me, but I am already a pretty anxious person. 🙂

    Last thing: looking forward to your Lorna Jane post! I just went there Monday for the first time, so interested to see your finds and hear your thoughts!

    1. Thanks, Suzanne! Yes, we HAVE to be careful not to lose trust. Guess that’s why I like to be so honest with both the good and the bad about life. And Lorna Jane recap coming tomorrow. Check back!! 🙂

  6. Awesome blogging tips, how fun that you got to actually hear it straight from Elisa! Love learning more about you too, I read Gone Girl last year…let me know what you think once you’re done 😉

  7. Ashley, I have no idea why I can’t seem to hear about the Bay Area events. I need to get in the loop since I am after all right here in Sonoma 🙂 What a fun event and I wish I had been there to meet you and the others. Let me know how I can find info 🙂

    1. Hi Lynda! Yes, we need to stay in touch. I’ll reach out in the future. And of course, let me know when there’s something fun in your neck of the woods (preferably with wine …)! Happy Thursday!

  8. This was great! I very much struggle with what to call you these days because it’s been APinder for like 12 years! Love the blogging tips (really, tips for real life). I struggle so much with not doing something unless I am 100% totally and completely ready and convinced I will do it perfectly. I keep wanting to start up the blog again, and struggle with what I just mentioned.

    Love the questions and the advice though. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you over the holidays!

    1. Thank you for commenting, my dear Judy! I hope you start blogging again one day, so I can comment on your blog and enjoy your lovely recipes. 🙂

  9. This is such a fun survey! I learned a lot about you I didn’t know 🙂

    Also, those were great blogging tips. Thank you! It’s always good to keep learning more and to reach out to your audience. But I think it’s so key to always be you no matter what 🙂

  10. Thanks for the blogger tips, I love getting some new ideas and inspiration. I’m so new to blogging and feel lost sometimes, but try to take it one step at a time!
    Have fun in San Diego- it’s an awesome city- check out Coronado Island if u have time, you won’t be sorry! 🙂

    1. The good thing about blogging, Marielle, is that you can’t do it wrong, as long as you’re writing about what you care about and having fun with it. Keep it up! And guess what? My husband’s parents live on Coronado, so that’s where we are staying. Can’t wait to explore:)

  11. Greetings from Lake Mary, Florida! Long time reader first time commenting. Found your blog through Heather @ Housewife Glamour. I am probably one of your older readers – but really enjoy your posts! Love your what I ate Wednesdays.

    1. Hi Marianne, Well this comment has made my day! I’m so glad you’ve been reading for a while. I used to teach group fitness classes at the Lake Mary Lifestyles Family Fitness (which is probably an LA Fitness now??) when I lived in Orlando. I’m so glad you’ve stuck around. And I’ll keep sharing my food. Anything else you’d like to see on A Lady Goes West? Have a wonderful day!

    1. Hi Annie! Thanks, that’s so funny. I know you’ve got some far-off spots on your list of places you’ve lived. Glad we now share one: San Francisco!

  12. Oooh I love these kind of fun facts! I’m just going to answer a few in the comments 🙂

    Nick names:
    Suzy Q (I guess it has to do with my middle name)
    I don’t really have any others besides Fancy Nancy, Nance…

    4 jobs I’ve had:
    Tim Hortons (coffee shop) cashier
    Taxation Centre (going through papers)
    Ward Clerk + Housekeeper at the hospital
    Graphic Designer

    4 places I’ve lived:
    St. John’s, Newfoundland Canada
    Guelph Ontario, Canada
    Waterloo Ontario, Canada
    San Jose, California USA! USSSSAA MAN!

    4 places I’ve been:
    British Columbia

    4 things I don’t eat:
    Red meat (k, besides burgers)

    4 of my fav foods:
    Chicken (+ stir fry’s)
    Carrots + asparagus

    1. Hi Nancy! Love it! Is your middle name Suzanne? Mine is Suzanne. My Mom sometimes calls me Ashley Suzi! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your facts. Too bad you don’t like sushi. hehhe.

  13. These are super fun! I love learning little bits and pieces 🙂
    Thanks for the great blog tips – I totally agree about medium sized bloggers being able to cater and feel more personal

    1. Hi Georgie! Thanks for stopping by. And because I’m a small blogger, here is your personal reply. I appreciate that you read today and even took a minute to comment! 🙂 Come on back again soon!

  14. So fun! I love these types of posts. 🙂 My mom once dubbed me the Queen of “Useless Knowledge.” I just like learning – about people I know, people I don’t know, events, etc etc…

    My last name gets used in some of my nicknames too – what started as “B. Leach” on a PE shirt in 6th grade resulted in “Bleach” for years and years to come.

    So fun you’re coming to San Diego! I’m going up to my parents’ for Thanksgiving or I’d see if we could meet in person. Feel free to email me if you need any food, activity, gym recs. 🙂

    1. Hi BLEACH, That’s a great nickname, I like learning fun facts about people too! I’m very excited about exploring San Diego. How about a good restaurant recommendation near or on Coronado?? 🙂

      1. I haven’t eaten at the Hotel Del, but I’m sure anything there would be delicious. Brigantine (seafood) and Il Fornaio (Italian) are both on Coronado and really good. There’s a Brigantine in Del Mar (just north of La Jolla) too. Downtown San Diego is only about 10-15 minutes from Coronado by car or 15 minutes by ferry and there are ton of great restaurants downtown (I personally still have dreams about buffalo fries from barleymash).

  15. *MY* middle name is Susan! Ha! Similarly Middle Named Ladies Unite! 🙂

    Oh, I think you’re going to just LOVE San Diego! I can’t wait to hear about it. So glad we got a chance to hang a bit last week! xo

  16. Great blogging tips! And I was so surprised to see Kelly in that picture! We used to cross paths while out on the town back when she lived in Madison (where I still live). Small world. 🙂

    Ok other things:
    Poisonwood Bible–YES! SO funny that you mention that, I was actually trying to remember the name of that book for my survey and couldn’t think of it. I read it a million years ago but it had a huge impact on me, I still remember loving it!
    Time Traveler’s Wife–I thought the movie was pretty good, so now I HAVE to read the book. 🙂
    YES to wine tasting in Napa!! I should have thought of that, haha. One of my top vacation to-do’s…
    Team Sushi & Salmon!!!!
    Excited to hear about your big decision…I can’t handle the cliffhanger! 🙂

  17. 1. I was so happy to run into you again the other night. I didn’t get to tell you this, but you looked SO FABULOUS. I’m not lying when I say I thought you were the best dressed person in the room – your tan jacket fit like a glove!
    2. “it’s not all about your audience size, it’s more about your influence with your readers” – This advice really resonated with me too and something I always have to remind myself when I get down about the biz side of things.
    3. I’d rather be eating cheese and tasting wine in Napa right now too. A girl after my own heart. I had so much fun reading all about you AP!

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