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Miss May 2017 – Monika Rued

Hi there! I am Monika Rued, your Miss May 2017. I’ve never really been into pageants but I must say, I like the sound of Miss May. In my mind, I’m wearing a dainty diamond tiara and a satin sash with “Miss May 2017” in a tasteful script font. I also am completely put together like so many of my glorious Southern girlfriends. You know what I’m talking about, right? Showered, shaved, lubed up, hair, make up, eyebrows waxed, eyelashes curled, mani and pedi, and form fitted dress over my Spanx power panty that shows off my curves without making me look like a sausage casing. ALL AT ONCE. Yeah, baby! I said that in my Austin Powers accent too. I’m really feeling this fantasy, y’all!

In reality though, I can’t remember the last time I was completely put together. If we’re being honest, ever really. I’m the kind of girl (yes, girl…it’s all about context) who paints her own nails last minute, runs a polish remover-soaked Q-Tip around the sloppy edges, and tries her best to hold them in front of the car AC vents on the way without hitting a bump and wrecking them before I get there. The kind of girl who has a personal relationship with dry shampoo.

I’m the kind of girl who loves sharing my imperfect life with others, who in return reassure me I’m not alone. That there are other Southern women living among us who have hairy legs and dry feet even into 80 degree hot, humid weather, hiding under pants and closed toe shoes, among other more critical things. Blogging connects us. And I’m happy to connect with all of you this month.

My personal blog is on hiatus right now, but professionally, I’m blogging for Arkansas State Parks. I’m the public information officer, manage our blog, ride herd over our websites, newsletters, and social media. I’ve been with State Parks two years, and am blown away daily by our team and incredible parks.

Our blog is an interesting mix of blogs written by a variety of people about everything from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) legacy to what life would really be like as Scarlett O’Hara. I enjoy graphic design, photography, and videography, and the creativity it allows in storytelling. One of my first vlogs for ASP is about one of my passions, rock climbing. And I shared my authentic experience. No edits to make me look like an unafraid badass! Check out the Arkansas State Parks blog and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can follow me personally @monikarued on social.

I grew up in my career at THV 11, the CBS affiliate in Little Rock, becoming the station’s first online producer and digital manager. I managed a community site for moms and started doing weekly on-air family segments. I stayed about a decade, which is like dog years in TV! But the connection this gave me to our communities and other moms changed my life forever. Not to mention I had my son, Pierce, during this time and loved having so many women in my tribe. Many thanks to Arkansas Women Bloggers for giving me the opportunity to connect to our community again in a personal way as Miss May. Yeah, baby! (I’m doing the pageant wave right now, with that elbow tucked so the only thing waving is my hand. Sorry, not sorry.)

Rebekah Hearn – Miss April 2017

Happy April, y’all! I’m Rebekah & I’m stoked to be your Miss April here on ARWB. I love me some April, because April showers bring May flowers 😉 More like, April is the time of thunderstorms in Arkansas, and I’m a wannabe storm chaser! But really, I thought I would introduce myself and let you get to know me a little bit.

I’m from Northwest Arkansas, and graduated from pharmacy school last year. I’m a nerd, and I love school. That’s probably why I chose to get an MBA as well. I joke that if I could, I would go back to school and study meteorology. You never know! I’m always working! I work in two adorable community pharmacies, and I feel that is where God knew I needed to work when I graduated. I have been blessed to move back to my hometown where I grew up and lived my entire life.

When I’m not working, I try to travel and see as much of the world as possible. I have visited Europe and Asia with my family. I have also traveled to Central & South America on mission trips with my church. While there are several places I want to visit in the US, I love getting to see other cultures in the world. I absolutely loved Germany when I visited. Since my ancestors were from Germany, I felt a tie to that country. It is always so interesting to watch other people and see how they live their everyday lives. I hope to visit all of the 7 continents one day; although, I think Antarctica might be a little difficult 😉

Why did I start blogging? I really don’t have an amazing story like many bloggers, but I knew that I wanted a place to share my life, travels, and obsession with beauty products. I wanted it to be a place where I could keep track of my favorite places I’d been and favorite products I’d been using. I would have never dreamed that I would meet one of my best friends, Ricci, through blogging. We joke all the time, because the second time we ever even saw each other, we were taking a cross-country road trip to see another one of our blogging friends who we had never even met in person. I think God works in mysterious ways. He knew that I would meet some of my best friends through blogging, and I talk to these girls every single day. We have taken several trips with our friend Jenn since then. We have been to Charlotte, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Nashville. And we aren’t done yet! We have several other trips in the works.

I’m super excited to be your Miss April around here 😉 I can’t wait to show you more about my life and how I balance a full-time job and blogging. Since I finally don’t have to study for hard tests anymore, I can’t wait to jump back into blogging more and more. I can’t wait to document my travels and share products from the beauty world that work for me.

As the month progresses, be sure to check back for more posts from me. In the mean time, be sure to follow me on social: Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m really trying to get into the Insta-story game, so be sure to watch those! For more trip reviews/recaps and beauty advice, head over to Rebekah Elizabeth. I’m also on BlogLovin’, so be sure to follow me there as well. Buckle up & enjoy the ride with me!

Miss March 2017 – Jodi Coffee

Hey y’all! I’m so excited to be Arkansas Women Blogger’s (AWB) blogger of the month for March! I want to share a few things about myself, and I hope it will give you a good idea of what Jodi Baker Coffee is all about. I’m full-blooded Arkansan. Born and bred. I grew up in Arkadelphia and was there until I left for graduate school. I attended the University of Central Arkansas for physical therapy school and was in the first graduating class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2003. That same summer I married my hubs, Trevor. We started our lives in his hometown, Hope, and have been here ever since.

We have three beautiful daughters, ages 5, 7, and 9, and two female dogs, Lucy and Pepper. So, yes, my husband is very out-numbered. Our house is a lively buzz of girls laughing, squealing, screaming, singing and crying; dogs barking, snoring, scratching on doors and begging. I am quite accustom to these sounds, but will not deny when everyone is fed and out the door, I’m known to have a cup of coffee and cook a fine breakfast – just for me.

I began my blog years ago as a way to document and journal days and adventures with our first-born. I was at home after spending many years in school and working hard toward building my career. I had no plans of being a stay-at-home mom and quite frankly would give a bit of attitude when the subject matter came about. I didn’t know how to spend those hours “alone” at home. Blogging was a great outlet and I love to look back and enjoy those memories. I returned to work in-between my first and second girls, but stayed at home after our second daughter was born and have been “at home” ever since. Well, as many of you know, once folks know you are at home, they find plenty for you to do.

I was invited to a Hometown Health Coalition meeting one day and within the next several years of involvement, Hope Farmers’ Market was born. I consider it my fourth child and have been at home raising children and working as the farmers market manager ever since.

Also, during my at-home time I would venture to Old Washington Farmers Market. It is there that I met our avid leader, Stephanie Buckley. I remember when she first told me of AWB and the rest is history! I’m so thankful I became involved with AWB. I now know some amazing and talented women (AND men) throughout my participation with this crew. I have so much to learn, but am glad that no matter my skill level in the blogging and writing world, that I’m accepted for who I am. AWB is a diverse group with like-minded goals. We all have something to say, and I love that we have a tribe to help share our voice with others. AWB has strengthened my love and appreciation for our great state of Arkansas, and I truly value the opportunities I’ve had to meet many of our local farmers and makers.

Currently, the majority of my social media outlets are Facebook and Instagram, but I hold on to the hopes of returning to my blog and continuing documenting the stories of our lives. I’m looking forward to sharing more with you all throughout the month of March. Please stop by and say HI!

Miss February 2017 – Ricci Ellis

Hey there y’all! My name is Ricci and I am super pumped to be your Miss February because February is also my birthday month! Happy early birthday to me!! I am turning 34 this year and it’s not freaking me out as much as I thought it would…yet. I’m sure the freakout will come but I will try and contain myself. HA!

I am a single lady with one fur child, my dog Sophie. She’s part drama queen and part bossy pants but don’t you dare tell her she’s not human because that would break her poor little doggy heart. I swear I’m not a crazy dog lady.

I am a Respiratory Therapist at two of Little Rock’s best hospitals and I love my job very much. I love taking care of people and being there at some of life’s most crucial moments for people. But as much as I love my job it is also extremely stressful which is part of the reason I decided to start my blog…I needed a creative outlet and my blog has provided that in the best possible ways!

When I started my blog a little over six years ago it was strictly as a creative outlet and diary/journal. I love going back and looking back at old posts and seeing what I was doing on a particular day or seeing what I loved at the moment. I even chronicled the building of my house on my blog!! It’s fun to look back at those old posts even if my photography skills were extremely lacking. Please don’t go look, it’s shameful!! LOL!!

Since those early days I have upped my blogging game little by little over the years by going to blogging conferences, attending online workshops, taking photography classes, etc. My little side hobby/creative outlet has now turned into a fairly successful money making side hustle (as Stephanie would say). Who even knew that would ever happen?? It’s taken a lot of hard work and very late nights but I’m pretty proud of it.

Blogging even inspired me to go back to school and obtain my second bachelor’s degree in E-Commerce. I have always loved learning and felt like it was something I needed to do in order to really become successful and I can say that earning that degree really helped me! I took several computer science classes, web design classes, marketing classes, etc that have all helped me a lot with my blog.

Over the years I have also made some of my very best friends through blogging. When I started my blog I was at a point in my life where most of my “real life” friends were all getting married and having kids and I felt like no one I knew really “got” me and I prayed a lot about finding the friends that I needed at that point in my life and I felt like God really pushed me into branching out and talking to people through my blog and from that I have made some of my very best friends. The women that I “met” then are still the women that are in the same stage of life as I am and we still text and talk to each other on a daily basis. I am so thankful that if nothing else, blogging has brought me the friends I needed when I needed friends the most.

Also- how crazy is it to meet people in real like that you met initially online? I remember meeting my best friend Rebekah in person for the first time and then the next time I saw her in person we were going on a road trip to North Carolina to meet more of our blog friends. This was about four years ago and I vividly remember us all up late talking in our hotel room about how glad we were that no one in the group turned out to be a murderer. We were so trusting back then. Would I do that again today? I’m not sure…HA!

Thank you for letting me introduce myself to you and share my blogging story with you. I am looking forward to sharing more with you as the month progresses! Until then you can find me on my blog, Ricci Alexis, talking about beauty products, traveling, blogging, recipes, and life in general or you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and BlogLovin!

Mister January 2017 – James Moore

I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t this supposed to be The Arkansas Women Bloggers, Blogger of the Month? Does this guy have the right… um, qualifications for this?” Well, I’m a fourth generation Arkansan and I’ve been video blogging (vlogging) for nearly seven years. Oh, you mean THAT. I can explain.

About eight years ago, my wife, Jamie, and I were ready for a change. I was an elementary teacher, she was a stay at home mom. Our plan had always been for me to be the stay at home parent and for her to fulfill her dream of working in the health care industry. So she took a job as a nursing assistant and enrolled in nursing school while I adjusted to days at home with a toddler and a preschooler. This was also my opportunity to get my hands dirty on our little farm. Dairy goats, chickens, a large garden and a crash course in canning were on the agenda. But you know what they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men”.

A few months later, we had a goat that should’ve been named Houdini, eggs coming out of our ears and tilled rows that made more of a hay plot than a kitchen garden. Then, as Jamie was about to face the most challenging semester that nursing school had thrown at her yet, we were pregnant… it was twins!

I was home with four kids, ages four and under, we were on a shoestring budget, we only saw Jamie at supper a few times a week and leaving the house to be social was more trouble than it was worth. I needed an outlet; something that allowed me to be creative and social while still being a shut-in. That’s when I discovered YouTube!

I wanted to share our family, our farm and our philosophy of crafting the life you want. Because of the comment section and the natural progression that took place: expanding one’s channel into their ‘brand’ across social media, I gained acquaintances, friends, followers and other creators to collaborate with.

Before long, I built a new channel with four other YouTube friends that were stay at home parents, TheStayatHomes. We took turns posting a video each day of the week around a theme. It meant a lot to the community that formed but it’s season came and went. I’d made lots of “YouTube friends”, many who have gone on to be quite successful; but the more local the subject matter of my videos, the bigger response they often got. That’s when I started to notice more online acquaintances from within The Natural State.

I didn’t have a clue, but most of my online Arkansas folks were Arkansas Woman Bloggers (AWB). I had seen the name TheParkWife (the founder and biggest cheerleader at AWB as it turns out) all over the place, so I decided to give her a follow on Twitter. The rest is history.

The Arkansas Women Bloggers were already my people before I knew it. To be really transparent, standing out in a crowd as THE YouTube guy… or, okay, standing out as THE guy, is an advantage. This group of ladies are so welcoming, innovative and smart; I’d be crazy to try and continue to go it alone! I’ve found my tribe and I couldn’t be more honored to be Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Blogger of the Month. They make my eyes sting in a good way; though I’ve been known to cry at toilet paper commercials since becoming a father.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Busvlogger/

https://www.youtube.com/busvlogger

https://twitter.com/busvlogger

https://www.pinterest.com/busvloggerpins/

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