Novice Journal

A little this – a little that!

I’ve Been Waiting All Year for This! (2012 in Review)

….And by all year, I mean all year. After accidentally deleting the report from last year, I couldn’t wait to get this year’s copy. I love reading through the report and getting inspired by all the facts/maps and whatnot. As I promised, I took a bunch of pictures and am working to make them into Photo Op posts. Happy New Year to all of you, and I can’t wait to see how this report looks next year!! 🙂

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


Beautiful Blogger Award! (yes!)

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these award posts. Hey, at least this gives me more time to choose my next photo op!

Novice Journal can slap another award on it’s Award Board (be looking for it soon!) It’s always encouraging to be honored by other bloggers. I view every award as a reason to “keep up the good work.” At least, I hope the work is good – good enough to keep readers coming back for more!

And now, a little bit about the blogger who nominated me: stickyquote (wasn’t sure if I should capitalize the “s” or not…) is an expert quote finder who happens to run a pretty inspirational blog – of which I am a recent follower. Being someone who loves quotes, I really enjoy browsing through stickynotesandquotes. Yes, you read that right. Sticky Notes AND quotes. There aren’t too many combos that can beat that one. I hope you all get the chance to check it out, plus, clicking the follow button wouldn’t hurt either.

For those of you about to get nominated, here are the rules:

  1. Write a little something about the blogger who nominated you with the award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself

Consider the first rule vanquished! Now it’s on to sharing seven things about myself…hmm

  1. Green is the best color ever! I feel lucky that practically half of the globe is my favorite color.
  2. I’m three months shy of running Novice Journal for a full year. (Come on November!)
  3.  Kermit the Frog is one of my all-time favorite “people.” Plus, he’s green so…mega props to him.
  4. I prefer cold weather, rather than hot.
  5. I love the rain.
  6. I’m a die-hard Steelers fan. I bleed black and gold (sorry, stickyquote!)
  7. If I were a planet in our solar system, I’d be Mercury. Front row seats to the sun? Sign me up.

No number of bloggers was specified in the directions I was given, so I’ll pick a random number. These are all people who have been closely following my blog, and I appreciate the “likes” on my posts! It’s just…well…beautiful. See how I awkwardly snuck that in?


dave (he’s got a cool blog name!)

livingsimplyfree (couldn’t find the link to the blog, but here’s her gravatar)

Don’t be offended if I didn’t post your name and you’ve been following me for what seems a millennia. I still appreciate your support, but I’ve only got time to post up three names!

Blogs, peace, and rough draft sheets!


 EDIT: Not long after I wrote this post, I was nominated for the same award by changeforbetterme. Thanks so much! She’s got a lot of fun posts so make sure to check out her blog!


I Have Been Tagged (Part 2)

For those of you just joining us, start here. Don’t fall subject to reading things backwards.

Q & A time!

Q: Are you allergic to anything? What?

A: Umm, while I’m not really allergic to anything, I am sensitive. I know, it sounds weird but it’s true. I’m gluten and melon sensitive. Wow, now that I’ve read over that last sentence I see how peculiar it sounds. I get a headache from eating (or even smelling) melons, and gluten gives me cold-like symptoms. Nobody enjoys having a cold.

Q: Favorite book, album, and television show?

A: My favorite book is The Tale of Desperaux which is why one of my favorite words is Chiaroscuro. My favorite album is Every Man For Himself by Hoobastank – mainly because I grew up listening to it on a daily basis. And my favorite television show is a tie between Psych and Monk.

Q: What are your thoughts on teddy bears?

A: They’re amazing. I collect them from different parts of the world. Since my parents travel a lot, they sometimes bring one back for me. So far, I’ve one from each place: Britain, Washington D.C., The Ukraine, Australia….and a few others.

Q: Your favorite art form(s) to create? That you love to read/look at/evaluate?

A: Poetry and photography. And maybe some photography and poetry. Oh, and a picture with poetry on it! And if the opposite were possible, I’d be stoked. Plus, while I don’t create these, I love those Japanese watercolor type paintings. The way waves are drawn is so beautiful. It reminds me of calligraphy.

Q: In 5 words, explain your relationship with cereal.

A: Snack on this all day.

Q: What were you wearing yesterday afternoon?

A: T-shirt and capris! And flip-flops! And fun sunglasses!

Q: Boy bands? Angry Punk Girl Bands?

A: What about waist bands? Arm bands? Ray-Ban is pretty cool, even if there’s no “d” at the end. I was never really one for marching bands. But to answer the question, I’ll go with Angry Punk Girl Bands because they have a variety of things to be angry about. Boy bands seem to all sing about the same thing – with different lyrics, and different “winking” styles. 😉

Q: Where is the nearest window to where you are sitting and what can you see out of it?

A: It’s to my right. There’s another “vacation home” thingy right across from the one I’m in. Plus, there’s a random duck outside.

Q: Pens or pencils?

A: Pencils. For some reason, my handwriting gets really bad when I use a pen.

Q: If you made a mix CD for your best friend what would be one or two of the songs in it be?

A: Hello Sunshine by Barlowgirl and The Chicken Dance (juuuuuust to be spontaneous) – I’m not sure who came up with it first.

Q: Excellent band name that never was, hasn’t been, and should be?

A: Toejam or Liquid Fuchsia or Crocodillion

Now I’ve got to tag some bloggers! I’ll just choose a select few for this go-around.

Christy B.


Julie Catherine

Annnnnnd maybe I’ll think of some more later. Here are the 11 questions that need answering!

1. Sea monkeys or sea horses?

2. If you had to choose between either an hour of hopscotch or pin the tail on the donkey, which would you do?

3. Is searching for a needle in a haystack really worth it?

4. Which is better – tall tales or true stories?

5. If you had to lose a finger, which would it be? Pointer, middle, ring, or pinky? Remember, the thumb doesn’t count.

6. What is the craziest thing you would do to get 1,000 dollars?

7. What would you name a pet rock?

8. Red or green apples?

9. Do you believe in coincidences?

10. Cats, dogs, or baby elephants?

11. Describe your best day ever using the phrase “hot digitty-dog”


I Have Been Tagged (and I’m summing up the week about two days early)

Hello Bloggians!

So I’ll admit I’ve been slacking. And no, I don’t mean making trousers, I mean full-out-hibernation kind of slacking. But trust me, there is a method to my madness. You’ll be the first to know what that method is once my mind and actions sync-up. I’ve been on break! And one of my favorite things to do on break is to empty my mind of all thoughts, simply relax. I spent a few days sunbathing. I went on a walk or two and took some snap shots of the lovely duckies. I even had mint chocolate chip icecream and managed to spill some on my super old shirt. (Come to think of it, it might be time to say goodbye to that old dinosaur.)

Before I left home, I did some major spring cleaning. I got rid of goo-gobs of unnecessary papers and old clothes (minus that one shirt) and made a bag to give to charity. It literally took me two full days, U2, and my cleaning cape. Don’t ask me why I have a cleaning cape. Anyway, after throwing away all that stuff, I realized that I did indeed have a wooden floor, and that my desk had drawers. While it was hard to throw stuff away, I gotta admit – there was a sense of freedom. I sat on my clean floor for about an hour and soaked in the freeness. So to anyone still considering spring cleaning, trust me it’s worth it! Plus, you can eat some ice cream afterwards. Yum.

My humblest apologies to those of you used to getting something everyday.  While I can’t attest the delay to business, I can say that I have had exactly zero motivation. I’d rather give you awesome posts than a bunch of mindless drivel. See the logic? It’s possible that I may have time to post something on Sunday, but I’ll be back home that day and out for the greater part of it. So just in case I can’t access a computer, I’m summing things up today. Come to think of it, maybe this is novice-like logic.

Song of the week (or maybe even the past two weeks…) 3:42 am by MercyMe

And just when you thought I was done…..

The hilarious wreakinghavoc14 has tagged me. Yup. The deed has been done. This is one of those award posts where I answer and ask questions. Yes! But first, the rules:

~You must post the rules
~Post eleven facts about yourself on the blog post
~Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
~Tag eleven bloggers, however, you can break the rules and tag fewer  people if you want. Make sure you hyperlink their names/blogs.
~Let them know you’ve tagged them!
~Have fun!

That last rule is always a keeper in my blogosphere. So now I have to post 11 things about myself…yipee….

1. To this day, I still haven’t seen the Wizard of Oz. I did see a play that was mainly in Spanish and had a dancing competition. According to my friends and family though, that still doesn’t count.

2. I never really measure stuff when I cook. I eye-ball everything. At least like my cooking, and no major explosions have occurred yet.

3. I think Jedi garb never goes out of style.

4. Lollipops are my sugary nemesis. I could spend all this time licking them, only to feel compelled to take a huge bite and get it over with. I will conquer the lollipop one day, and when I do, the ghost of  Sir Hugh Beaver will appear. (At least, that’s what happens every time I imagine it in my head.)

5. Batman is my all-time favorite superhero (although most of you probably knew that already)

6. At one time, it was my dream to master the pogo-stick. The dream would have lasted longer if I hadn’t started out on the concrete. Note to self: the sidewalk is a dangerous pogo ground.

7. I find it hard to talk about myself, and typing up this post is taking longer than anticipated. Anyone ever feel the same way?

8. I think that everything in or having to do with Australia is amazingly stupendous. That includes Australians.

9. I’ve always found skipping rocks fascinating, but have never been able to accomplish it. All mine sunk to the bottom before they had a chance to catch some air.

10. Water has got to be one of my favorite drinks. (And for this, I am extremely grateful.)

11. I think Rottweilers are gorgeous, and once had a dream about riding one the size of a T-Rex. That was some of the best sleep I’ve gotten in months.

And now to confess to answer some questions… the following post! Click here to continue


Mrs. Sparkly Sure Asks a lot of Questions…

I’m pretty late in posting this! BUT as the saying goes, better late than never 🙂 The fabulous, Julie Catherine, has tagged me to answer some questions from a lass named…. Mrs. Sparkly. Hmm, I’ll just leave the skeptics about the name in my head for now. So, who is this sparkly character, and what does she want? Julie explains it best on her blog, so here’s an excerpt:

“Mrs. Sparkly is a very elegant woman of high expectations, commitment and integrity; and is all about manners and behaviour, and words beyond reproach.  But, Mrs. Sparkly, behind her high fashion sense and impeccable manners, is not without a rich sense of humour … especially behind closed doors. This is why she wears such huge hats – to hide the mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments are ten questions that must be answered with complete honesty – and if you are tempted to stray from the truth, she will know it. (You don’t want to know what happens to those who fail to answer with complete honesty.) Once you have completed the Ten Commandments, Mrs. Sparkly requests you tag five other people.”

Sounds like I’d better stick to telling the truth! Ah, here goes nothing…

1) Describe yourself in seven words. Pensive, chill, funny, melodious, empathetic, wordy, talkative.

2) What keeps you up at Night?  Lyric/poetry ideas. Sometimes I won’t go to sleep until I write it down. Right about then is where I think why couldn’t I have thought of this in the morning???? 

3) Who would I like to be?  I’m pretty okay with being, Ray, but if I had to be someone else, I’d choose Christy from Afro Blue. She’s got such a wonderful voice, and sings effortlessly!

4) What am I wearing right now?  Jean capris, a quarter sleeve sweater and huge headphones!

5) What scares me?  This is really weird so bear with me here. What scares me is the thought of falling off an escalator. Ever since I fell onto the spiky stairs of one when I was a kid, the thing has haunted me. Every time I get on one I envision myself falling off. I’m the crazy person taking deep breaths on the escalator. hahahahahaha 🙂

6) The best and worst of blogging.  The best – having a space to write online and meet other writers!! The worst – the constant wonder about “blog activity.” I think since it’s my first year, I’m completely invested – probably more so than I should be. I’ll quit worrying by year two – I promise.

7) The last website I visited:

8) What is the one thing I would change about myself.  I’d probably like tons of good-for-you foods. I’m getting there, but it’s a slow process.

9) Slankets yes or no? I had to google these. The answer- no. Nope. No.

10) Tell us something about the person who tagged you: Julie is a fellow blogger who loves humor! She’s even created an award. She’s got over 100 followers on her blog, and even has some published works! Oh, and while you’re over at her blog, be sure to check out her art. It’s incredible!

Now that I’ve answered all these questions (truthfully, mind you!) I’ve got to tag 5 other people to do the same. This is a tough one!






This is Mrs. Sparkly 🙂

Yay for tagging people! Enjoy the rest of your Saturday, and I’ll see all of you tomorrow for the Week Sum-Up! 🙂


You Bring the Sunshine….and so does this blog!

Yay for awards! A HUGE thanks to DanIrene for the Sunshine Award! Let’s go over the rules for receiving this award…

Rules (because cool people follow them):

Thank the blogger who gave you the award (check!)

Write up a post about it (Check in progress!)

Answer the questions below (that’s coming up)

Pass it along to ten people and let them know they’ve received the award (future check)

Put up the picture of the blog award (check, as soooon as you look below this sentence)

Favorite Color: Green! It’s been my favorite color ever since I was little… I’m a nature girl 🙂

Favorite Animal: Rottweilers! No, Pandas! No, Phoenix!

Favorite Number: 5 – no reason, the number is just amazing.

Favorite Drink: Orange Vitamin Water. I could drink it alllllll day!

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook….well, I used to be addicted, but nowadays I’m considering deleting my account because I have ZERO activity going on 🙂

My Passion(s): writing, singing, photography, having awesome friends, correcting bad grammar with a vengeance

Getting or Giving Presents: I love getting presents, but there’s something about seeing someone else receive a present that brings me joy

Favorite Pattern: polka dots rock, and so does anything that’s super intricate and monochromatic

Favorite Day of the Week: Thursdays!! See my week breakdown here

Favorite Flower: Papaver commutatum or the Plumeria Lurline – both red. I just like red flowers in general (oh and yes I did look them up on Google. Sue me!)

And as ten people…

Tracie Louise



Spiral Dreamer (Francis)


Luv and I Do (and thank you for the Kreativ Blog Award!)


Jessie Jeanine

Todd Materazzi


Enjoy reading through all of these blogs, and enjoy the rest of your sunny Thursday!


7×7 Link Award and the Genuine Blogger Award!

Happy Hump Day, everyone! It’s a day away from my favorite day of the week, the sun is peeking through the clouds (barely), and it’s getting close to the end of January! This month has just flown on by. But I’ll tell you what hasn’t flown by just yet. The feeling I get midday on Wednesdays. I’m so close, but yet so far from the weekend. Hmmmm…

I don’t know if you ever get to feeling this way too. If not, what’s your secret?! I would love to know. BUT if you’re stuck in this slow moving canoe with me, I’ve got a little something to brighten our spirits. Yes, it’s time for some awards! Who’s excited?!

7×7 Link Award

So really, this award is the 49 award, right? Right. Although, whoever came up with this probably didn’t want people thinking there were literally 49 things to do in order to accept it (or that you actually had to be 49 years old.) If that were the case, no one would want to read the posts about the reward – let alone receive it. BUT, if you look at the rules below, you’ll see that it’s really the 7×7+1 award, or the 50 award. It’s only one more thing to do, but there’s something about half of a hundred that intimidates me.  If there was really an award with that many steps involved, it’d be called the “doomsday” award, or the “gotcha!” And now I’m rambling….

Here are the steps. All 50 3 of them:

  1. Write some random fact about yourself. (Posting “I am a blogger” does NOT count.)
  2. List 7 of your posts that you think deserve to be read. (And apparently they’re categorized.)
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

Fact: The longest time I’ve been at a karaoke party is 12 hours. Yup. I’m not kidding. Did I mention it was a bunch of music nerds trying to pull an all-nighter? The following day in a word: crash. (P.S. Yes, I AM a nerd!)

Time to link up to some of my favorite posts!

Most Popular: My Dying Breath. It’s gotten the most likes on my blog – ever. 42 likes? Shock and awe.

Most Controversial: Anti-Superman Enthusiast, hands down. And here’s where you think, um…Ray? There are no likes or comments on it – AT ALL! How can you say that’s controversial? Well, now that you’ve gone and brought back such a PAINFUL truth, let me explain. For a little bit of background, I posted this when I had a hearty 0 followers reading my blog. But it was also around the exact same time I submitted this post to Sparknotes (without all the fancy edits) and it got accepted! This post got a lot of controversy going. I admit, it was a pretty brutal thing to write, but I have some serious angst with Superman. What’s wrong with me?! 🙂

Most Helpful: Week Sum-Up 12/18/11. My two cents on this whole blogging spiel-thingy-ma-jig.

Most Underrated: Invisible. While I nearly pried my pupils out in frustration while writing this, I’d say this poem came out fairly well.

Most Surprisingly Successful: To Think of You. This post was the first one to prove to me that my words were being read. It was the first to actually get “likes,” and that got me really excited.

Most Beautiful: Two Worlds Within One. I loved writing this one!

Most Pride Worthy: Photo Op: Dragonfly. Those pics are my best so far when it comes to trying out “macro.”

I want to thank Eliza for passing this award on to me. Go read her blog, it’s awesome!

Now to nominate 7 other blogs…




Michelle Alzola

Haiku Bear


Tumbleweed & Poppleswamp

The Genuine Blogger Award

Thank you willofheart and Julie Catherine for nominating me for the Genuine Blog Award! There don’t seem to any rules attached to this one, so I’m just going to nominate two wonderful bloggers. Drumroll please! Drrrrrrrrrr…….

Poetry and Works of Stephen M


Defuse your midday/week blues by checking out all of these amazing blogs.

Until Thursday,

-Ray (The Ultimate Boredom Fighter Extraordinaire)


A Hardy Helping of Humor (okay, maybe it’s not THAT funny)

The following poem is one I wrote for Julie’s Medal of Humor. If you want to hoist this trophy around, check out the post here. I promise you, you’ll have a blast coming up with something to write. As for my poem, I wrote it on the fly so I completely understand if your laughter comes softly, and nervously. Okaaaaayyy so maybe it’s not that funny! 😉

Pictures in the Paper:
Cake left alone in an aromatic kitchen
Stare worthy, it sat there, and so finger lickin’
And Eva, poor Eva, enticed by the beaut
It deucedly smiled, played the pied piper’s flute
With her hand extended, she reached for a taste
Hesitating from visions of cake in her waist
She drooled and she trembled, my, it looked so pristine!
Eva sighed to herself, “I should quit magazines.”

And if you still have cold feet, check out the medal! It’s pretty nifty! If you do decide to participate, feel free to let me know in the comments section! I’d love to read your entries!

© Julie Catherine Vigna, 2012


Have a great rest of the day!



One Lovely Blog…

Thank you, christyb from Poetic Parfait (who could not love that blog name?) for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award! While many of you described my blog in different ways in the Not Quiz, the word “lovely” was the last thing I was expecting to see. But here it is – in the form of an award! This was such a sweet lovely surprise!

I’m loving this whole “no rules” thing. It almost feels rebellious not to follow a bunch of rules, considering there are some awards that make you go down a long line of commandments. But not this one! (That’s probably one thing that makes this award so lovely.)

One Lovely Blog Award

Aside from roses, tea, children’s laughter, a million dollars, and the key to the universe, there are several lovely things out there. And while I would love to delve into my chaotic list of nonrelated items, I’m actually going to keep it simple and nominate two other lovely blogs. Hmmm let’s get to it…

Sheila T


Go check out their lovely photography!

Thank you to everyone who follows my blog! I’m crossing my fingers for a wave of inspiration for tomorrow’s poem! 🙂


Candle Lighter Award (try 2)

I apologize to all of you who may be receiving this post in your inbox a few times. There are some glitches to this whole thing that I’ve had to work out. Hopefully, “nth” time’s the charm! 

I’m speechless, guys! I want to send a HUGE thanks to Judy for nominating me! Since I really am speechless, I’m going to take an excerpt from her post on her subject (I’d suggest you guys go and read her blog!)

“The Rules:

Whenever you see a post or blog that you think brings light to the world, put a copy of this post and give them The Candle Lighter Award. What does the recipient have to do to accept it? Just accept it. They can copy and paste the photo on this post onto their blog. What else do recipients have to do? Nothing. If they think someone else is a Candle Lighter, they can surely give them the award anytime and as often as they want. There is no limit to how many blogs you award The Candle Lighter Award to and no limit to how many times someone can receive it.” – Judy

Whoa, so what you’re saying is that there really are no rules to this? I just accept it? Sweeeet! Although, I HAVE to pass this on to a few people, because blog awards are such precious gifts.

Granbee – thank you for being such an encouragement and “light” to my blog! I believe wholeheartedly that you deserve this award. Great blog, keep posting!

Eric – thank you as well for following my blog and for such positive comments! It’s all greatly appreciated! 🙂

Doudou – okay so this blog I nominated for an entirely different reason. Check out the blog – it’s great. There’s just something about those precious little birds that brings me such joy! Yeah, I may just be crazy, but I think the birdies rock!

I’m speechless, AH! Shining a light with my words for people to see is EXACTLY what I had hoped to do with my blog. So I want to rethank Judy, and thank all of you reading this. Thanks, and keep shining your lights!