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Get to know a little more about blogger Ashley Mann.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Get to know a little more about me and my background!
Isn’t this a pretty picture?

A few months back, I was tagged for a blogging challenge called “The Versatile Blogger Award” on a blog called Living Tiny in Wisconsin, and I thought I would post my response here at The Blogging About Blogging Blog instead of at RV Inspiration to give my subscribers here a chance to get to know me a little better.  I won’t post all the original rules or tag any specific people, but if you’re interested in playing feel free to consider yourself tagged and take a look at the rules here.

Since the whole point of my blog here is to share blogging advice with other bloggers, I feel I should mention that I’m a bit wary of participating in “Blogger Awards” on a regular basis.  For one thing, I am concerned that Google might view them as a “link scheme” (an organized plan for getting other bloggers to link back to your blog in order to improve your search engine ranking, which is strictly prohibited by Google).  Of course, this risk can be avoided by changing any links to other bloggers in the blogging challenge from a “do-follow” link to a “no-follow” link, which keeps it from “counting” in Google.  (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can learn more about no-follow and do-follow links here.)

The other reason I probably wouldn’t participate in blogging challenges on a regular basis is, quite simply, I primarily blog about specific topics I believe are of interest and value to my readers rather than simply writing about myself.  But once in a while, I think a blogging challenge can be a fun and useful way for bloggers to connect and get to know other bloggers in their niche, which is something I definitely believe in, since partnering with others is one of the keys to blogging success as well as a great way to meet people who are interested in (passionate about, even) the same things you are!  So without further ado….

7 Things About Me

Ashley Mann at Mt. Nebo, Arkansas
Me on top of Mount Nebo in Arkansas on our honeymoon in 2011.

1. I grew up in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks.

When I was 2 years old my parents moved from Valley Center, Kansas, where I was born, to Harrison, Arkansas, and we stayed there for 8 years until my dad’s career as a school band director brought us to Missouri.  We lived in Mansfield, MO while I was in middle school and Waynesville, MO while I was in high school, and eventually my family settled in Springfield, MO my senior year of high school, where I’ve lived off and on for most of my adult life and consider to be my hometown.  I love the natural beauty of the Ozarks, and camping, hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, and swimming at lakes are all activities I’ve enjoyed here over the years.  If you’re ever headed to this part of the country, let me know and I can recommend some of my favorite places to go!

2. I was homeschooled for most of my life.

I did go to public school for a year in elementary, part-time for a few extra-curricular classes in 5th-7th grade, and full time from 8th-10th grade, and I attended a private church school for 1st grade.  People often asked me which I liked best, homeschool or public school, and I think because I was fairly social as a kid I would have to honestly say public school, but only because there weren’t many other homeschooled kids in the towns where we lived.  My brothers both chose to be homeschooled in high school because we lived in Springfield by that time and they had many friends who were also homeschooled.

3. I was an English teacher for over 6 years.

I went to Missouri State University in Springfield mainly because I wanted to be in the marching band (and also because I got an academic scholarship), and I majored in English because I liked writing and literature and couldn’t think of anything else I would rather major in.  I didn’t plan to actually become a teacher, but after graduating there weren’t many other options for English majors, so I that’s what I ended up doing.  Immediately after college I taught ESL in South Korea for a little over a year and in Mexico for 5 months, then in 2011 after I got married and settled back in Springfield, I taught middle school English for 5 years in the nearby rural town of Marionville.  It was extremely challenging for me, but I did come to enjoy it after I got better at it.  However, it took so much time and energy that it kept me from doing anything else, and because I had so many other interests and things I wanted to do in my life, in 2011 I decided to quit teaching and look for a less stressful, more flexible job, which eventually led me to blogging.  I’m still passionate about education, but I think blogging is a much better way for me to channel that passion!

4. I was not athletic as a kid, but as an adult I’ve now come to enjoy quite a few sports.

When I say I wasn’t athletic, I mean I hated gym class so much it made sick to my stomach knowing it was P.E. day, and when I played in a kids softball league I stood out in left field hoping no one would hit a ball to me.  Team sports were the worst – every time it was my turn for anything, I would be overcome with dread so much that the fight-or-flight response would keep me from doing whatever it was I needed to do, which only reinforced my conviction that I was a failure at all sports.  Then I ended up marrying a man who was a naturally gifted, championship-winning athlete, who is also a very patient and encouraging teacher, and he helped me discover over time that I could actually be successful at sports with the right approach to learning.  At various points since we got married, I’ve now taken tennis lessons, ski lessons, classes in judo and Brazilian jujitsu, enjoyed rock climbing and horseback riding as a hobbies, and developed a love for Ashtanga yoga.

Flower beds I built at our first home
Flower beds I built at our first home

5. I love gardening and growing plants.

In our first apartment after we got married, I had a vegetable (yes, vegetable!) and herb garden on our balcony.  When my husband and I bought our first house in 2013, I put flower, herb, and vegetable gardens all over the yard.  And even while living in an RV I have always had plants both inside and out.

6. I’m a musician.

Though oddly enough I often go for months or years without playing or even listening much to music, I grew up in a family of musicians, so I took piano lessons until I was in high school, played the French horn in bands and orchestras throughout high school and college, and at age 32 I started learning to play the cello.  My husband is a singer-songwriter and plays the piano and guitar (though the past few years he’s been taking a hiatus from music while he starts his software business), and occasionally we enjoy playing music together.  That’s something we’d like to do more in the future.

Meet #blogger Ashley Mann of TheBloggingAboutBloggingBlog.com #blog #blogging #bloggers
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7. One of the best words to describe me is “resourceful”.

I enjoy figuring out how to make things to solve problems around the house.  For example, I designed our RV skirting from billboard tarp vinyl, figured out how to cut up a lampshade to fit a lamp I couldn’t find a shade for, figured out how to keep soap and shampoo bottles from falling off our shower shelves while our RV is moving, etc.  That’s the sort of thing I enjoy.  My zodiac sign is Capricorn, and the “key phrase” for Capricorn is “I Use,” which I think is apt in my case.

Well, that’s seven!  If you’ve stuck with me this far, hopefully I’ve helped you get to know me a little better!  I’d love to hear from you, too!  Leave a comment to tell me a little about you!