Hi, welcome to another interview for my biweekly interview series. I have been behind due to other projects so I’m having a special edition of my interview series featuring the lovely and talented Shivangi Singh from Minnesota in the United States, on a Sunday. Her blog’s link is here:Stories by Shivangi – Once Upon A Time . . .
1. Please Tell Us About Yourself?
I am Shivangi Singh from ‘Stories by Shivangi’ from Minnesota in the Unites States. I am a stay at home mom and I love to weave stories inspired by my surroundings. If you enjoy stories, films, and kids stuff, visit my blog, you will most definitely enjoy it.
As a child, I aways dreamt of writing books but with the development of technology, I have learned how easy it is to self-publish, now more than ever. I have managed to write, do some illustrating, and be the author of two children’s books that are available on Apple Itunes. They include the books below.
2. Please Tell Us About Your Recent Book? When Did You Begin Blogging and Writing?
My recent book Who Ate The Moon is about two naughty brothers Aala and Uja, who adore the moon. They steal the moon and through stealing it learn about the different phases of the moon. The book is educational as well as entertaining. Through my children’s books, I’m trying to make learning fun for kids.
I began blogging in January 2015 soon after my first little one was born. I have been a copywriter, journalist, and have won several awards in creative writing. The purpose of ‘Stories by Shivangi’ was to maintain my flair for writing. I was also feeling a little disconnected after moving to the USA from India, so I chose to start my blog to establish a connection with fellow bloggers, writers, and friends. Ultimately, my blog showed me the way to my dream of being a published author.
3. How is Writing and Blogging Meaningful for You? Where Do You Find Your Motivation and Inspiration to Write? Why Is Writing Important to You?
My blog and writing my books provide me with a much-needed creative outlet. It is my voice! I use this voice to entertain, advocate, and teach little ones such as my own.
My inspirations are my surroundings, my kids, and the latest news or current events. As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge. This is one of my primary motivations to continue my blog as well as having that creative outlet for myself to write what I would like.
“As a child, I loved story books and I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. Mothers are the first teachers’ of their children so it’s my endeavor to instill the love of reading and writing in them. If I write blogs and books, they too will understand the joy of knowledge.” – Shivangi Singh
4. Do You Have Any Particular Blog or Writing Habits?
I write on the go and on my smartphone. A sentence here and a word there. With two demanding little ones around, it is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.
5. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects On Your Blog or Otherwise?
As of now, I have not planned anything. I will just keep writing one blog a week! My projects have been my two kids books which you can access above. As I said, I try to not commit to too much with my little ones and their demands at the moment.
My book did get reviewed by Ritu ofBut I Smile Anyway, and I wrote a guest post for the site. I was interviewed by Ranjeeta of atrangizindagieksafaras well but have no future plans as of right now beyond blogging.
” [I]t is harrowing to write sometimes and that is why I try not to commit to too much writing at this time. As my kids grow up and depend on me less, I will devote more time to writing books and to blogging.” -Shivangi Singh
6. Can You Briefly Describe Your Writing Process You Went Through Writing Your Books?
It was quite challenging! I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.
Time was a challenge and so were the illustrations, but I did have an illustrator paint my cartoons in the first book (The Princess with Brown Teeth). But in my second book, I illustrated with the help ofPixton.com. My challenged of obtaining a visa was also a challenge so I couldn’t publish my books on Kindle. I was thrilled when my books were published on Apple, but then, I know many people with Android readers don’t have access to my books.
I did, however, put together a video on YouTube and did a voiceover of my books for readers who could not obtain my books through Apple. It did not come out as I had expected and I struggled on each step. I learned an enormous amount of information about putting together a video of my books in the process.
7. What Keeps You Going As a Writer? Do You Prefer Any Writing or Reading Genres?
Persistence and a love for writing are key, a person just has to keep writing no matter what. As well, I am absolutely crazy about fiction! I like to read poetry too!
“I wrote the children’s books and created illustrations using inspiration by reading other books here and there. I had no professional help whatsoever while publishing and am proud to say I figured it out on my own. I kept reading DIY blog posts and forums and through them, I managed to publish my children’s stories.” – Shivangi Singh
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice For Other Bloggers? Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share With Us Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?
All my blog friends are doing great! I would advise them to be persistent and be better than their last post! As for having anything else to say, well, I think I have said it all😀
9. For Fun, What Are You Three Favorite Blogs You Follow, of Any Kind?
When I first entered the blog world, these were my favourite people. I continue to enjoy reading them.
My grandma is a grand old lady nearing a century. If you look at her, she may appear formidable in the beginning and then a ringing laughter would ensue, dismantling the image you had conjured up in your mind. The fact is, she is both formidable as well as light hearted. A unique, delightful combination!
Born and brought up in a royal family ( Kharsawan, Jharkhand), she has always had that regal bearing. She believes in maintaining distance from her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids as well as recently added a great-great-grand kid. And we are all supposed to behave in her presence. We rise when she enters the room and remain respectful in her presence.
During my childhood years, we lived with her, so, we had the opportunity to observe her from the closest quarters. I discovered her lighter side later in life. Initially, I was apprehensive of her. She commanded and the household ran according to her. But as I grew up, I discovered the lighter, fun side of her personality. There have been many instances when she would have us in splits.
Here is one such incident. One of our cousins was going to meet a prospective bridegroom. In arranged marriages in India, girls and guys are introduced by their families, they meet up, chat and then a decision is taken unanimously.
So, this cousin was both excited as well as scared before her first meeting. Our granny called her and said, “If you like this man, try to do little something to make him fall for you.”
We were seeing another aspect of our grandma. We all asked, “what?”. She immediately showed us how to woo a husband – “Look sideways at him and then look down… blush… look up again at him… look down and blush again. And then smile juuust a little.” We doubled up with laughter!
I don’t know whether my cousin looked sideways at the prospective groom or not but they ended up getting married!
(Sharing a picture of my grandparents)
I look up to my grand old lady because she always had the audacity to laugh at all challenges that came in her life. In her almost 100 years of life, she has seen many ups and downs. All her peers are long gone now, times have changed but she has remained strong.
I adore her because she is quite broad-minded, childlike and her booming laughter lightens the most serious of situations. A great devotee of Krishna, she follows what the playful God says – to celebrate life as it is!
Thanks so much to Shivangi for filling out my interview questions! I even gave Shivangi the wrong interview questions (the one’s for blogs that are causes) and she still did a brilliant job. She is an inspiration as a writer and a mother and I wish her good luck in the future with her family and writing. Here is the link to here homepage one last time: Stories By Shivangi
Thanks for reading this interview and if you are interested in being interviewed as a writer/blogger or you a blogger writing for a specific cause (or both), you can reach out to me on myContact Page. See you on Monday for my regularly scheduled interview 🙂
Good Morning! I’ve been meaning to do this post for awhile as part one was done before Christmas. I have an interesting selection of beauty products since the Fall Beauty Haul and I hope you find this post useful in your own Beauty Product selection.
1. Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara – (www.sephora.ca) – $31.00 CAN
I received this mascara as a sample from Sephora. I adore Make Up Forever products in general so I was excited to try another of their mascaras. As usual, since my mascara never stays on my lashes unless the mascara is waterproof, I put on a coat of a waterproof L’Oreal mascara after applying the sample mascara. I like this Make Up Forever mascara, it’s quite black and the brush does a good job of creating volume for your lashes, but I’m not thrilled by this mascara. It’s a middle-of-the-line mascara and I think if you bought it you would like it, but not be overly impressed. There isn’t a wow factor to it. Honestly, there is not much difference between The Make UpForever Excessive Lash Mascara and the L’Oreal one I put over top. The brush is the same, the opacity of the mascara the same, and the only difference is the L’Oreal mascara is waterproof. I’d say this rates about a three out of five stars for a mascara.
2. Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil – (www.sephora.ca)- $29.00 – Two Pencils: One in Stingray (Jet Black) and Lion Fish (Deep Bronze Sheen)
For the longest time, I always used pencil liners because they were easier to apply than the liquid ones I tried; however, then companies such as Lancome led the way coming out with liquid eyeliners which were easy to apply, they had great foam tipped applicators. I have especially used waterproof eyeliner since makeup brands such as Stila and well everyone else, has come out with wonderful liquid eyeliners which are like fine-tip markers for the eyes (pens). Once you learn to apply these awesome liquid eyeliners, they are usually much more vibrant and remain on your eye better than pencil eyeliners.
Nonetheless, during the Christmas season, I was searching for my trusty Stila liquid eyeliner pen in black and Sephora didn’t have any left except in a Christmas Gift Set that was $44.00 CAN and included Jet Black and Lion Fish eyeliner pencils as well. These eyeliner pencils aren’t’ exactly pencils such as the ones you sharpen. Instead, they’re roll-up, which means the tip remains small and pointed. I love them so much as everyday makeup products, enough to permanently add Jet Black pencil liner to my regular makeup purchases when it runs out.
The reason I love these roll-up pencils so much is that they are similar to smudge pot eyeshadows. They glide onto your eye line smoothly and they leave behind pigmented and rich color which is also waterproof, so it doesn’t rub off as many pencil eyeliners do. They are excellent eyeliners especially if you have trouble lining in your upper water line. The roll-up pencils do a fantastic job coloring in waterlines when you need, and remaining on your waterline, which is an extremely difficult feat for a makeup brand to accomplish.
I love Stila’s Jet Black for use on my waterline and sometimes for regular eyeliner. Lion Fish is a bronzy color which is a great change up for a daytime look from using a black liner. Lion Fish also has a bit of shimmer in it instead of being merely being a matte brown liner.
This gift set was completely worth the purchase for $44.oo because I received both these pencil liners and my black liquid eyeliner pen, a cost of about $96.00 regular price before tax. A definite five out of five stars for the Stila Smudge Sticks.
3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Metallic Luster Liner in Liquid Gold – (www.sephora.ca) – $23.00 CAN
I cannot say Stila is the only pencil eyeliner I was recently impressed with. I had seen that gold eyeliner was a trend for the holiday season. Watching a Pixie Woo’s makeup tutorial on YouTube, I loved how the one Pixie Woo used this Anastasia eyeliner to line her lower waterline and corner of her eyes, it looked fantastic.
But the Anastasia Luster Liner in Liquid Gold was extremely versatile and is a product and I think I will buy again. It works great on waterlines and the liner stays on with a couple of coats, and it appears beautifully on top of black eyeliner as a bit of a fancy touch. But my most favorite use for this eyeliner pencil was using it on Christmas and New years to fill in my entire eyelid area, then blend it out with other eyeshadow.
I had to be careful doing this as once this waterproof liner sets it remains put. It`s not moving except with eye makeup remover. So if you use the Anastasia liquid gold eyeliner this way, put on most of your eyeshadow before applying the gold liner on your lid. It does take a while to blend other eyeshadow colors into the gold eye pencil if you choose to use it this way. I loved this festive product and think it could be used for special occasions or if you want to add a bit of glimmer to your daytime look in the corner or your eye or your bottom waterline for instance.
I used most of the pencil up over two-months and only have a bit left, but it`s not a product too high priced to purchase again. I`m impressed with how well it works for multiple looks for a waterproof gold eyeliner with such bold and vivid gold color, and not a yellowy gold shade (if you know what I mean). The Anastasia eyeliner also comes in the color Liquid Silver. It was easy to sharpen and it never broke even though the pencil was soft and the color bright.I would give this eyeliner pencil five stars.
So it’s Winter which means for many of us in colder climates, we are experiencing dryer skin. I usually have skin oily enough that it doesn’t seem to require much extra moisture, expect maybe applying my Clinique moisturizing gel twice every few days. This year I had a bit a different experience and found at night, I required a solid moisturizer but one that would not cause me to break out. So I used some of my Sephora points and received a large sized sample of the Origins Night cream and it lasted about a month, so I think the product itself even though it’s $55.00 for the smaller size, would last a person the entire winter.
I had tried eye creams and other one or two day samples from Origins and I have always liked their products and how my skin reacts to them. They are great to moisturize dry skin and even though it was a night cream, I did use it in the day sometimes. It felt wonderful and smelled great. As well, I like that the cream is made out of plant minerals. I have always found these type ingredients to be fantastic indicators of a quality cream/lotion/or gel. I completely recommend this product for dry skin, especially at night. I would give the Origins Night Cream four our of five stars. I can use this in the winter, but not in the summer or spring when the weather seems to indicate I need less moisturizer.
5. NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil (Eye Shadow)- 611 Yogurt – (www.ulta.com) – $4.49 US ($6 or $7 CAN at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada)
I’ve heard good things about NYX as a cheaper makeup brand. I adore their matte setting spray for makeup so I thought I would try something else from their line. I wanted a base color that I can put on before my other eyeshadow, which is the reason I bought this pencil.
Unfortunately, I bought the wrong shade, it’s a bit too yellow for me and I should have bought a similar shade with more pink in it. But it’s not bad for a shimmery base color and I’ve worn it a few times. The only problem is, I’ve worn the eye pencil down and would think you could sharpen it, but I do not own a sharpener which can fit the jumbo pencil in.
The eye pencil color stays on your eyelids well and doesn’t come off easily. You can blend other eyeshadows of various types into it as well, and the color is easy to cover up if you don’t like the shade but are using it as a base.
I’m not sure where to find a sharpener which fits the NYX jumbo pencil, or if it even can be sharpened? If you know let me know. I think as with most products in the makeup industry, you get what you pay for and the NYX jumbo eyeshadow pencil is an example of this with only a two-star rating.
6. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Balm With Calming Camomile Extract – Sensitive Skin – MakeUp Remover – (www.thebodyshop.ca) – $16.00 CAN
My last product to share was part of a gift from a friend with many lovely Body Shop Products. They definantly have some nice products and not only lotion and body wash. I was really thrilled with this cleansing balm I received. I wasn’t sure what it was at first.
But, it’s an awesome makeup remover and is also extremely moisturizing at the same time. I have doubts about using it in spring and summer, but right now it’s exactly what my skin needed. I usually use cleansing clothes to remove my makeup and right now I use both. I put the balm all over my face with my hands, including my eyes — it’s awesome at removing any and all eye makeup especially waterproof makeup. The balm feels as if it might be a bit greasy, but it’s not at all. It cleanses your face completely of makeup and works well with the cleansing clothes you can throw away.
The cleansing balm leaves your fast moisturized and feeling great, not to mention, it smells fantastic. If you can get your hands on some I recommend it. Four stars our of five.
If you haven’t read Part 1 of my Beauty Haul it was in December and can be found HERE.
Welcome to another edition of my bi-weekly interview series. I’m excited to share with you a talented and beautiful poet, writer, and interviewee — my friend of many years on WordPress — blogger Ameena K.G. The way her poems flow and the lessons they teach, often amaze me. You can visit Ameena’s blog here: Randoms by a Random.
1.Please Tell Us About Yourself Ameena:
My name is Ameena and I am from Nigeria, although for the past five-years, Sudan has been my home. I am currently studying there.
I am a medical student in my fifth-year. When I’m not busy studying, I love to write poetry and stories. I enjoy watching videos of poetry read out-loud on YouTube and watching documentaries on YouTube as well. Comedy is one of myfavourite genres to watch. Anything which makes me laugh is welcome. My day begins with prayer, then I drink a cup of black coffee to help me make it through the day.
2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I began writing when I was in high school, mostly poetry and short stories, but I didn’t write on a regular basis. My poems are and were, a reflection of how I feel.
Eventually I started a blog here on WordPress, it lasted only a bit before I deleted it. Let’s just say, my state of mind when I wrote on my first blog and on my blog now, are polar opposites. One great thing to come out of my initial short blogging stint was making friends in the WordPress community who motivated me to keep on writing.
My current blog is my second go at blogging. I had no intention of making my second blog a poetry blog (I thought I was done with poetry) but I guess, just because one leaves poetry, doesn’t mean poetry leaves you. On my second try at blogging I found myself writing again and loving it.
“I had no intention of making my second blog a poetry blog . . . but I guess, just because one leaves poetry, doesn’t mean poetry leaves you. On my second try at blogging I found myself writing again and loving it.” – Ameena
3. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean to you? Where Do You Find Your Inspiration For Writing?
Poetry for me is a way of introspection and it’s also the way I deal with life’s curve balls. I feel, I hurt, I write…
My inspiration comes from human beings. We are emotional creatures and I love to channel those feelings into words.Failure, successes, dreams, love, sadness, pain, heartbreak, all of these experiences are part of being human;writing helps me deal with these emotions. Almost all of my poems are inspired by life experiences and those don’t necessarily have to be my experiences.
4. Do You Find There Is a Time of Day You Prefer to Write?
I am a morning person. I love to wake up at dawn, pray, watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee at hand, and write. A lot of people don’t understand how I can wake-up in the morning with a huge smile in my face, but really, my best days are dayswhen I wake up early.
” My inspiration comes from human beings. We are emotional creatures and I love to channel those feelings into words. Failure, successes, dreams, love, sadness, pain, heartbreak, all of these experiences are part of being human; writing helps me deal with these emotions.” – Ameena K.G.
5. Do You Have Any Current or Future Writing Projects?
Right now, unfortunately, blogging has taken a back seat in my life. It wouldn’t be fair to say I am busy; it’s solely a matter of priority. I love blogging and writing but my education comes first for me, and my life over recent months has been stressful.
Still, I’m hoping to revive my Mental Health Friday series on my blog, which even though I’ve shelved it for months now, receives visits and views; I’d like to continue the series. Additionally, I recently ventured into Flash Fiction writing. I enjoy it, and would like to write more Flash Fiction and improve my fiction writing.
6. Have You Published Any Poetry or Writing or Would You Like To?
I only found out a week ago that a poem I submitted was chosen to appear in a poetry anthology.The poem is called, “Imperfect Paths” which will be published on the 30th of September. I would love to publish more poetry and writing someday. Right now my goal is to write as much as I’m able and to improve my writing with every piece.
“I only found out a week ago that a poem I submitted was chosen to appear in a poetry anthology. The poem is called, “Imperfect Paths” which will be published on the 30th of September.” – Ameena K.G.
7. Do You Have A Publishing Process When You Write? What Is Your Writing Process Like?
Currently, I don’t have a process. I have only started submitting some of my works to online magazines. It’s pretty easy to do actually. But I have no experience in the publishing world.
There’s nothing to my writing process. I sit and write even on the days when I don’t feel like it — I still write.When I’m in need of inspiration, I read other poems or Google search images or photographs to help provide me with something to focus on for writing, a kind of writing prompt.
8. Do You Prefer to Read Certain Writing Genres? Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers?
As a reader, I love a bit of mystery. I am a huge crime fiction fan and I also love stories which make me laugh out loud. When it comes to reading poetry, I’m not big on metaphors. I enjoy emotions and description in simple words.
As for advice for other writers: Write no matter what –rainy days, sunny days, even days when your writing muse is AWOL. The best way to get better at writing is to simply do it –write.
Always remember — you’re a writer, so embrace it, hug it, love it. If it is your passion, then nobody has the right to tell you to tame it.
“Write no matter what –rainy days, sunny days, even days when your writing muse is AWOL. The best way to get better at writing is to simply do it –write. Always remember — you’re a writer, so embrace it, hug it, love it. If it is your passion, then nobody has the right to tell you to tame it.” – Ameena K.G.
9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share Which You Believe is Pertinent to Your Writing or Yourself?
When it comes to my writing, I’d say this: Don’t try to interpret what I wrote from my perspective. I believe to different people poetry has different meanings. I remember writing a poem about a father who never stood up for his daughter. The poem was inspired by someone who I’d say broke my trust.
Things aren’t always black and white in poetry and writing. All that matters is that the reader can understand and relate to what you write; it doesn’t matter if the poem is true for the writer, as long as it rings true for the reader.
10. Please Share With Us Some of Your Writing and/or Poetry:
And I told it,
Have a seat,
It wasn’t even dawn,
At least let me have a cup of coffee,
In peace, at least-
I said to my depression.
Depression knocked on my door,
And I welcomed it
With open arms,
We’ve been together
For so long now,
We might as well be friends,
Depression knocked and I welcomed it.
Depression knocked on my door,
And we had a one sided-
While the sky turned golden behind us,
You’ve had your stay
And I have entertained you,
Now- it’s time to take your leave,
I said to my depression.
Depression knocked on my door,
Like an unwanted guest,
Which tends to overstay it’s welcome.
But the birds sung a melodious,
Tune In the background,
And I turned the door knob
To a lock,
With a passion I didn’t think,
Existed within me,
I said to my depression- We are done!
Check-Out Some Links to Some of Ameena’s Other Writing and Poetry Here:
Thank you so much to Ameena for agreeing to be interviewed and sharing with other bloggers and readers your point of view on writing and poetry. Your perspective is inspiring, candid, and honest, that’s a vital aspect to have in writing and in life in general.
If you enjoyed this interview and would like to share with other writers and bloggers your perspective, process on writing, and something unique about yourself and your writing, please reach-out to me on myContact Page here.
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know one of my favourite beauty and lifestyle bloggers is Kate from The Small Things Blog. She does some awesome makeup tutorials as well as her forte, wonderful and easy to follow hairtutorials. Kate used to be a hairstylist before she had her two lovely baby boys.If you have mid- length to longer hair and you have second-day hair, or you want to throw-up your first day hair into a wonderful messy bun, here are a couple of YouTube videos by Kate on how to get the perfect messybun. The second video works best for me, but you might find her most recent method better for your hair. It is up to you 🙂
To make texture in my own hair for a messybun, I will often tease the hair at the crown of my head with a salon brand of dry shampoo (such as Bedhead or Scruples) and a rat-tail comb. I also use Unite Texture Spray to give my hair more volume, texture, and a lived in messy look, followed by more teasing at the sides and underneath of my hair.
You can curl or make waves in your hair before you make your messy bun, as Kate often does, but as long as you make your hair a mess with products, such as the two I suggested, I don’t find curling your hair or making waves before is necessary if you have straight hair. If your hair doesn’t stay in a messy state and begins to fall before you put it up into a bun you might want to use hairspray such as Davon’s Strong Hairspray (which you are still able to comb out) before you put your hair up. A light mist will do. As well as a mist over your hair when you are finished styling your hair into a messy bun.
Generally, the messy bun is a hairstyle you want to be able to do fast, to get the hair out of your face, or to do a hairstyle that still looks nice but is able to be done on hair that won’t do much else. A messy bun is a style that works well if you have small children, but it is also stylish enough to do to go have dinner with a friend or another couple.
Please watch these two wonderful messy bun tutorial videos below by Kate. If you can’t see the videos when you receive my blog in your email, you will have to go into my blog to see the videos, or click the links provided above the videos to go right to Kate’s blog page of the tutorial.
Thanks for reading and watching and make sure to check out more of Kate’s Hair Tutorials on her blog. Kate makes doing pretty looks with your hair look easy and I love that you can actually do the styles she teaches you to do, as compared to some other YouTube or other, hair tutorial videos!
I am a huge Pinterest fan! One of the things I love about Pinterest are all the words of wisdom shared by all the different people I follow. These words often make my day, get me through the day, or make me burst out laughing. Here are a few of my favorites:
These are my favorites. I hope you enjoy. There is a lot of them so you are sure to find something helpful there!