A Few of My Favorite Websites (That *gasp* Aren’t Book-Related)

May 10, 2016 Top Ten Tuesday 60

 

Top Ten Tuesday Favorite

I’m not gonna lie.  This week’s topic? It’s been causing me much angst ever since I first saw it, innocuously blinking at me from The Broke & The Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday page. I read (and reacted to) it in stages.

“Websites i love” – oh, this will be fun!

“that aren’t about books.” – <crickets> <blink blink> I’m sorry…. what? I don’t understand what you mean by “websites that aren’t about books.” <crickets> <blink blink> Does Pinterest count? Facebook? Twitter? What about Etsy?

i don't understand

So then I put up a facebook status, sharing my inner book nerd’s stress level over this upcoming TTT theme, and it immediately sparked much discussion amongst my fellow bloggers and readers. Some of the comments I got were as follows:

Why????????????????????????????????

Is this a trick question?

um, I’m at a loss. What else do people do online besides look up info about books? I seriously don’t know.

Uh …. I don’t understand that prompt.

this is like the most difficult theme ever lol

Oh, wait. Actually, that last one was mine. 🙂

And then we all got into a debate over which sites might count and which sites might be thrown out on a technicality. I really think it was one of my most commented-on statuses on my personal FB page haha! Every comment had its own sub-thread that went on for several replies.

So…. all that to say … I DID IT! Yes, I came with some non-book-related websites and even went over the requisite 10!! High fives all around.

favorite websites title graphic

blogging

These websites are some of my favorites to browse for blogging tutorials and helpful tips, etc. In the interest of full disclosure, I recently became an affiliate of these first two  that I’m going to talk about (as well as The Dating Divas a bit farther down the page) but it’s BECAUSE each of them have helped me so much! In fact, if you like the look and layout of ReadingIsMySuperPower since I moved to the .org site – it’s because of these first two ladies and their websites.

(Being an affiliate just means that I will earn a small commission if you sign up for their services. This is provided at no extra cost to you and keeps ReadingIsMySuperPower sustainable. I will never become an affiliate of, or recommend, a product that I have not tried and which I do not think will benefit you.)

1. DesignYourOwnBlog – Marianne has some amazing tutorials and resources! One of my favorite posts when I was redesigning this site was her information on what to include in the sidebar and what to leave off, as well as how to write an excellent “About” page.  She makes the information accessible and easy to apply to your own situation.

 Turn your blog from ugly to lovely with this fabulous self-paced course in an eBook. Get Blog Beauti

2. Nosegraze – When I started to make the move from wordpress.com to a self-hosted wordpress.org site, I searched for too long trying to find a theme that was “me” or would let me customize the design the way I wanted it – without me having to know a lot of html (because I don’t…and I’d rather read.) I discovered the TweakMe theme from Nosegraze and loved that no two TweakMe sites look the same.  It allowed me to take what I learned from DYOB and apply it to my blog design. Easily. Without tears. lol. Leaving time for reading. 🙂 Ashley is also the brains behind the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin, but I’m not mentioning that right now because it’s book related. Oh… ummm….  Shoot.

Nose Graze - WordPress themes and plugins for the creative blogger

3. Problogger – this is another incredibly useful site for tips and resources and tutorial-type articles. Darren stays up on all the current trends and knows what works and what doesn’t.  I’ve especially found his social media tips helpful as well as his recommended blogging resources.

4. Pixabay – Looking for free-to-use images for your blog? Pixabay is by far the best resource I’ve found.  Be warned, though, it is far too easy to spend hours browsing for pictures on the site instead of actually blogging or reading 😉

life or something like it

This category of websites are people whose posts edify and encourage me in my day-to-day life.  I’ve tried to pick an assortment of “life areas” when choosing these particular sites to spotlight.  Spiritual. Marriage. Home. Stuff to Ponder.

5. A Holy Experience – This is one of my most-visited websites. I adore Ann Voskamp’s way with words – she has been called a modern day psalmist and I completely agree! Everytime an email comes in, telling me that I’ve got a new post of hers to read, I get a little giddy lol. I also grab the tissues because I inevitably get “tearful” while reading Ann’s exquisite posts. She speaks grace so beautifully and it’s inevitably exactly the grace I needed to hear. Some of her most  recent posts include when it feels like everyone else’s life is sorta kinda better than yours, how to love the people who have hurt you, and when you’re finding it hard to keep up.

FaithThanksGodInTheMiddleOfTheStory2[2]

6. Relevant Magazine – Since 2002, RELEVANT has been the leading platform reaching Christian twenty- and thirtysomethings. Covering faith, culture and intentional living, the stories we tell are at the intersection of where a Christ-centered life is really lived. (from the editors) I don’t watch the news anymore. I rarely read our local newspaper.  I do however read Relevant Magazine. (I also follow several news sources on Twitter. Don’t panic.) I like their take on what’s going on in culture, in faith, and in intentional living – as their purpose statement said. I don’t always agree with every article but I’m almost always challenged in some way. A few of their most recent articles include “9 Reasons Harriet Tubman is a Perfect Choice for the New $20 Bill“, “Why Christians Should Create“, and “5 Things Healthy Couples Do When They Fight“.

7. The Inspired Room – I love thinking about decorating my home. I’m terrible at actually executing it. Come to think of it, “executing” is a pretty good descriptor for what happens when I attempt a decorating project. Fortunately, people like Melissa Michaels are stellar at it, and she has put together several resources for people like me.  People for whom the phrase “you killed it!” usually doesn’t come with a positive connotation when paired with a home or garden project 🙂

8. The Dating Divas – I love their date ideas! Particularly, as my autoimmune illness doesn’t allow for a lot of gadding about town, I enjoy perusing their “at-home date ideas“.  I also very much appreciate their “inexpensive date ideas” – super creative! They have a wealth of ideas for special occasions and romantic gifts, as well as marriage tips and practical guides for things like Summer Fun, Couple Photos, etc.

just for fun

These websites don’t really fall into any of the other categories, so I grouped them all together in this “Just For Fun” heading.

9. Bangor, Maine Police Department Facebook Page – Yes, you read that right.  Whoever writes their social media stuff is hysterical. You really must go check it out.

10. Ancestry.com – I am such a history geek and this site is right up my alley! Since researching my family history, I learned that William Shakespeare is my 1st cousin (14x removed, but who’s counting?), one of my ancestors was Abraham Lincoln’s neighbor in KY and used to lend him her books (I LOVE!), and another relative was a colleague of Marie Curie (there’s even a photo!).

george and marie

11. JoshBoothPhoto – My brother is an awesomely talented photographer, and this website showcases some of his work. When I posted that “what do you mean not book related” status to facebook, he so helpfully suggested his page as an option. (Brothers. lol.) But in all honesty, I would have come up with it on my own when I started seriously thinking about this topic. Plus it was his birthday yesterday 😀  Some of my favorite galleries are his Tetons/Yellowstone work as well as his pet photography (you may even see Zuzu a time or two) and everything except the chickens in this Featured collection. Because… chicken phobia.

distantly related

I couldn’t help it! I had to mention these too! And they’re only distantly related to books… kinda like me and William Shakespeare.

12. The Grove Story – The Grove Story is a collection of authors who contribute posts across these four areas: Connect, Grow, Rest, and Prayer. I love their takes on each of these, as well as how “story” fits in.  Notice I didn’t say “book”.  It’s about “story”. There’s a difference 😉 The authors include Beth K. Vogt, Cara Putman, Courtney Walsh, Katherine Reay, Katie Ganshert, Kristy Cambron, Melissa Tagg, and Sarah E. Ladd.  One of the most recent posts (from the adorable Melissa Tagg) is titled “Permed Bangs and When Dreams Let You Down“.

13. Modern Mrs. Darcy – Anne does talk about books, yes, but she also has sections on her own life, “house & home”, “work & family”, “beauty & style”, and “the examined life”. I so enjoy her “Links I love” posts every week as well as her recent “What I Learned in April” post.

14. Amish Wisdom – This website is a radio show-turned-blog, moderated by author Suzanne Woods Fisher. But it’s way more than about Amish fiction.  There’s a Cook’s Corner, Travel Tips, an Ask the Amish section (my favorite!), and much more! Have you ever wondered what holidays the Amish celebrate? Or, do the Amish actually make Amish Friendship Bread? If so, check out Amish Wisdom!

WHEW! That’s pretty much an exhaustive list of all the websites I visit (besides social media) that have nothing (or very little) to do with books. Did anyone else come up with some? I’m eager to expand my website repertoire in case this theme ever returns. Give me some suggestions and/or link to your TTT post in the comments!! 


Carrie

60 Responses to “A Few of My Favorite Websites (That *gasp* Aren’t Book-Related)”

  1. Rachel Dixon

    Number 4….My whole weekend…GONE! Haha haha!!!! This is great! I will definitely be checking out the blogger resources! Thank you!

  2. Winnie Thomas

    Favorite websites not book related: Does not compute! I’m seriously impressed, Carrie! You came up with some good ones. I’ll have to check them out. I’d better wait until I have a block of time before looking at your brother’s photography site–I absolutely adore the Tetons and Yellowstone, and I might have to stare longingly at the pictures for long periods of time. We’ve been there a lot (of course, it’s only 4-5 hours away). I love Ancestry.com, too. Have you tried FamilySearch? It’s a great site for family history/genealogy and totally free.

    • Carrie

      Ohhhh Winnie, you will LOVE those photos!! And yep – I do use FamilySearch from time to time when I’m tooling around Ancestry. I always double and triple check what I find on Ancestry before adding it to my “tree” lol

  3. Beckie B.

    Thanks for the links for blogging help, especially the one with graphics. I need all the help I can get on that front. I will also have to check out the Bangor PD site, sounds like fun from an unusual source. 😉

    • Carrie

      Once you find the image you want to use on pixabay, head to picmonkey to spruce it up 🙂

  4. Kav

    Impressive. I couldn’t come up with that many. Love Amish Wisdom! Miss the radio show. I haven’t heard of Pixabay. I will have to check that out.

    Mine are so few I can list them right here. picmonkey.com — a place where you can gussy up your photos. A couple of dog rescue sites as I’m always trolling for my canine happily-ever-after. Southern Ontario Sheltie Rescue and Sirius K-9 Rescue. And two churches. (I listen to their Sunday messages)Waterloo MB and The Gathering Ottawa. That’s it. Bwahahahaha! I’m such a book nerd.

    • Carrie

      oh yes – picmonkey almost made my list too. I spend a lot of time there as well 😀

  5. Yvonne

    Yay for Ancestry.com! Best non-book site ever 😀 I had a lot of angst over my list, too. I kinda felt like me – books = ???(what else do I do??)

  6. Melony Teague

    You nailed it girl! I never doubted you, not for a millisecond! I will be procras…I mean researching these links. Thank you!

    And may I just say this in all sincerity, you are awesome and so is your blog!

    • Carrie

      Awwww friend <3 You are so sweet to me. Thank you for that encouragement 🙂

  7. Carolyn Astfalk

    I admit when I saw this topic, my thought was that I wouldn’t be linking up this week. You did a great job though. I probably could’ve come up with 10. Maybe. But no books?

    Does a YouTube channel count? If so, I’m going with Pittsburgh Dad at https://www.youtube.com/user/pittsburghdad

    Not sure that it’s as funny if you haven’t lived in Pittsburgh, but if you have, it’s hilarious.

  8. Jen

    I LOVE Nosegraze! Ashley is awesome and amazing and sooooo talented and smart when it comes to coding/blogging! I always find so many answers to my questions just by looking through her post.
    One of my best friends back home is obsessed with Modern Mrs. Darcy and I still haven’t checked out her website, eeks. *hides face* I’m off to do that now! 🙂

  9. Carole Jarvis

    I don’t always have time for TTT posts, but it was that conversation that prompted me to do this theme no matter what, Carrie! I didn’t think of Ann Voskamp when working on my list, but I’m the same way about her as you are. Thanks for a great post, Carrie.

    • Carrie

      hahaha Carole – that was a fun conversation 🙂 Heading over to see what websites you picked momentarily!

    • Carrie

      i’ve been thinking about it for a while – it took me the whole three weeks i knew about it to come up with this list LOL

  10. Kristi

    Great list Carrie!! My site could use an overhaul now that I’ve been blogging a while, thank you so much for sharing your resources!

    And I am really intrigued by that PD page. Will definitely have to check that out for sure! Great list!

  11. Reg @ She Latitude

    This is great! I especially love the blogging-related websites, I can spend hours on those ones. I’ve also heard a lot bout Nosegraze. 🙂

    And at-home date ideas are always good! I’m such a homebody, I sometimes prefer home dates rather than outdoorsy dates… OK, most of the time.

    Also just out of curiosity, how easy was it to migrate from wordpress.com to self-hosted wordpress? I’ve been toying with the idea for a bit but I’m worried that the subscribers won’t migrate, and I’m also worried about losing a lot of views/visitors in the mean time. D:

    • Carrie

      My views actually increased substantially. And Jetpack migrated all my subscribers over. There were very few hiccups!

  12. Jane

    I know have a million new tabs open on my browser and will be redesigning my entire blog, browsing pictures, and reading all the other websites you recommend for the rest of my life 😉

    Haha, seriously great list! Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier 🙂

  13. Allyson Gilmore

    Pixabay is pretty neat, thanks for the heads up on it 🙂 That’s a great resource for pictures! I wish their vector selection was a little more extensive, so that I could give up paying for a subscription to a vector site for our blog :p

    • Carrie

      yeah…. freepik.com has a better selection of vectors but I find pixabay easier to use.

  14. Julia

    This is a great list! I’m so happy to have new resources for blogging – I’ll definitely be stalking their archives for a good while. Thanks!

  15. Rissi

    Pixabay is really helpful. I like that there are sites out there that let us use “stock photos” without fear of copyright issues. It’s been something I had to learn back when I began writing for Silver Petticoat and it was a helpful lesson. (Part of the reason I love blogging: we learn something new all the time!)

    Great post, Carrie.

    • Carrie

      thanks, Rissi. Yes, blogging seems to be a process of continual learning. Perfect for those of us who love to be students! 😀

  16. Lauren

    I may have to check out the dating divas and find some new things for me and my husband to do around the baby 🙂

  17. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    What a fantastic list! This was way harder than I expected. Turns out about 99% of what I do online is book related. Who knew! Yay for Ancestry! I could spend days playing around in the archives. I love the Inspired Room as well and will have to check out the Dating Divas. With little ones it’s hard to get out of the house but I’d like to make evenings at home a little more special sometimes.

  18. Marianne // DYOB

    Hey Carrie thanks so much for the mention and also I’m so happy 5o hear you were able to apply what you learned at DYOB to your Tweak Me theme, so cool! I love Ashley btw so that’s awesome!

  19. Jamie @ Watch Game Read

    I use Pixabay too! DesignYourOwnBlog sounds like something I need. I feel like my blog is hideous at times. Haha. Sadly, I don’t have 24 bucks to spare right now. 🙁

    • Carrie

      You can just browse the articles on the website – no need to buy anything & still very helpful!!! 🙂

  20. Marian

    I definitely agree, Carrie. Tough topic! I liked a lot of your choices. I have fun perusing some of these sites too. (Especially Nosegraze)

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