Discovering Where And How to Travel - Backpacking Style : Samantha Crews

URL: http://totravelthegreatbeyond.com/

This blog was separated into three topics. Each of these had subtopics that appeared to be organized appropriately. For example, in the traveling to England blog post mentions writing about London shortly after, and the directly after this blog post was the one about London. This made continuous reading of the blog flow well.

For each of the traveling blog posts, I noticed that there were links to specific places. This helped me picture each location as it was described, but more images would have been helpful. I think the travel fiction could have benefitted from this as I had a little trouble finding some of the places on google. Images for the travel blog posts appeared to be edited creative commons photos to restate the title. I found this a little redundant, but it was appealing. I am assuming that the purpose for this was to make sharing the blogs on social media simpler as that was likely the image social media sites may be pulling from the page.

The general facts and upbeat tone made the blog feel as if it were a tour of each location. The suggestions also gave the impression that Samantha has actually traveled to these locations, but since she says she has not been to these locations, and in knowing this, it shows that she research each location thoroughly. These destination blogs also tended to not go too much in depth with each location, and described long lists of places to visit. This consistent method of describing destinations made it clear why London was not included in the England blog post.

As a minimalist I enjoyed reading the tips about traveling lightly, and I may use some of these tips even when I am not traveling. Security clearly took priority in these blog posts since there were many mentions of keeping an emergency fund. The tips for researching the area being traveled to often went in hand with this as there were many tips about managing money and preventing identity theft and general theft. It was also mentioned to research the cultures and laws for safety as well. Therefore, I found that the safety tips were strong in these blogs. I think only thing that should be edited was the information about networking back home and managing your home when you travel. This is due to the reason that turning off your heat completely can risk bursting pipes in some houses. I also think it could be emphasized more that the person you are contacting during your trip can be trusted. This is for the reason that I knew someone who vacationed over the winter, and the person they had looking after the place accidentally let it slip that they were not home. When they came back they had a few of their things stolen.

I enjoyed reading the travel fiction. There was a switch between first and third person between the posts, but I think the mixture of writing styles makes them more interesting, and with there only being two posts I am really looking forward to reading a new one. These posts may be fiction, but they are so realistic that it almost feels as if these are actual anecdotes.

Through the Eyes of Adoption : Andy Allison

URL: http://throughtheeyesofadoption.blogspot.com/

The chronological order worked so well for this type of blog that it felt as if I was watching a movie. From the initial page I had to scroll to the bottom of the page and scroll up to read it this way, but I found that the banner at the top of the blog had options to arrange the posts in different views which may have felt more natural for reading. The first post aids this movie like experience as it gave a detailed setting for future posts. The quote, "I was adopted at a very early age, shortly after birth, by a Caucasian couple living in northern Wisconsin", foreshadowed what issues with racism could be expected in future blog posts. The mystery of why Andy was put up for adoption, and not knowing his birth brother or sister, made the rest of the blog posts feel somewhat depressing. Later posts made me question the odds numerous times as he mentioned the chance of being adopted and how his best friends were also adopted by white parents. The lack of diversity in his childhood was emphasized when he stated that him and his best friends made the minority population at his school.

Reading about Andy's adopted family provided some relief for some of the tragic information. At first it felt a little cliche, but it provides a style that I would not change since otherwise I would find it too hard to read. I also think it helps the reader know how Andy was able to make it through traumatic events, such as finding out his birth brother went to prison for murdering his girlfriend. I found that along with knowing information such as laws that were passed, that were always cited, knowing about Andy's family showed what gave him hope.

I had many questions throughout these posts that were answered later on, but I still have a few questions such as why Andy never visited his mother on his birthday. I am not surprised that there are issues with racism on campus due to how it is everywhere, but since I am not much of a fan of football, which where this problem is mentioned to be, I do not know what the exact issue may be. My question is what racial issues are present on campus? I also find that being asked to have "thick skin" is easier said than done, but I also think that it creates blindness to some issues that others may be facing. By this I mean that the racial issues could be in front of my face without my knowledge.

To answer one of Andy's questions, though I may be wrong, I think that races still tend to congregate with peers from the same race or ethnicity since they may have similar beliefs or experiences. Looking at how LGBT groups tend to form as a way to support each other, I think that similarly groups of people of a similar race join together to support each other. However, I also think that diversity is important since we should support each other as a whole. That is why my favorite quote in these blog posts is, "To know diversity is to experience life to the fullest."

Cooking with Jeanna : Jeanna Toninato

URL: https://cookingwithjeannablog.wordpress.com/

I found that this overall blog was organized in a way that made it easy to browse between each topic and recipe. There were also many tags on each post that would be useful to readers looking for a dish that uses a specific ingredient. I think that the ordering the blog posts bottom-up worked well for this blog since that allowed readers to see the reviews of each recipe to see what was in store for them if they chose to follow along. These reviews helped to make the blogs beginner friendly in my opinion. I was surprised to find some info on how to make some of the dishes vegan or gluten-free since the project proposal for this blog mentioned not focusing on substitutes for these groups. The blog does not demonstrate how to make these substitute dishes, but it often does hint at possible replacements such as bean burgers and egg free noodles.

For each week there appeared to be a post for information about the topic for that week. This was either history about the food being made or other interesting facts. This information was often helpful on what ingredients the reader should buy, such as pointing out that noodles with bumps on them hold more sauce and brown eggs being more expensive since they are from larger hens that need more feed.

Each post describes ingredients, what ingredients are of best quality, and how to prepare them. Ingredients and supplies are listed at the start alongside a picture. I found the blog incredibly simple to follow as images were used to aid in describing each step. This combined the clarity of a cooking show with the freedom to go at your own pace that a cookbook offers.

The last blog post had a spring/summer theme talking about food that can be made on a grill. Like with food, information was given about grills. I found that this information seemed to disrupt the flow of the blog a little since some of it seemed to focus on those who did not even have a grill yet. Like with other weeks, hints to what may possibly cause burns were given which I think was a subtle yet strong way that made this blog very beginner friendly.
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