A couple of months back, I stumbled across a website that rated blogs. As there are bajillions of them out there, I particularly enjoyed this one seeing as though a) The old template used to be girly and sassy and pink, and b) The reviewers seemed very likeable with constructive criticism. And I really like constructive criticism, both at work and on a personal level.

My review went live today, and my overall score was a 5. Out of 10. It was definitely... interesting... to read the comments about my blog, coming from an outsider's point of view. You can read it for yourself here. Constructive criticism and whinging (!) aside, I have to ask - is this really what my writing looks like to you? Because if it does, I think I'll gouge my own eyeballs out.

"I went to the store today! I bought some milk! They didn't
have the kind I wanted, so I got a different brand! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! "

That excerpt is what my blog writing was compared to, and it's the main part of the review that strikes a nerve with me. Anyhoo, because I like the feedback, I'm putting the question out there; Is this blog 'too young' for you? Does this particular template make your eyeballs bleed? Do I use exclamation marks with too much fervour? I'd appreciate any feedback... if my blog website isn't so unappealing that it turns you completely off, of course.

(And do you think an onslought of exclamation marks would be appropriate right about now? Woo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

In other news, Zandria has created a post about long distance relationships on her blog which you should check out if you're interested. The fact that my thoughts on the subject are mentioned there is just an added bonus.

Now let's finish this post off with a flourish, and pretend that I am busy 'out partying with all my friends'. (Because damn, that sounds much more appealing than freezing my arse off in an old school classroom stressing about kidlet report cards.)

Oh, and because I'm all template-phobic now, I'm going back to basics. Black and white, can't go wrong with that. Or can I?

36 Comments • Labels:  


Viviane said...

Ah yes, whinging. A word I was first introduced to by my Aussie ex. Definitely an Aussie thing.
I love your blog, Aly. I also love exclamation points!!! And it is not too young for me at all, but we are the same age, so that might be why. ;)

janet said...

wow you have some guts to ask for a review...I'm off to read it now, I had never heard of such a thing before!

Congrats on getting the star treatment from Ms. Z :)

janet said...

ps we love you and that's what matters, right?

alana said...

Firstly, I adore you. Secondly, I don't think your site is too young, but that's probably because you are actually older than me.

The reviewer may have said that she might not be in a rush to add you to her blogroll, but at the same time, that might not be a bad thing depending on what her blogroll looks like. My guess is that you probably don't/wouldn't want to read the blogs on there, because people write about the kind of stuff that appeals to them most, and most of the blogs on your own blogroll look like they are sites similar to yours.

It's just occurred to me that that may have made no sense at all, but it is currently 3:18 on Wednesday in England, and I haven't slept since....oh....Sunday night? Could that be right?

Anyway, we all love your blog, and that is why we keep coming back. And I may not be an Aussie, but I totally know that whinging is, in fact, totally a word.

Operation Pink Herring said...

Ouch... something about the tone of that review made me cringe. I'd cry if anyone reviewed my blog. I CANNOT take constructive criticism. Do you hear that, internet? Please don't review me. I'll cry.

I don't think your site is too "young", and I am older than you (I think) and I am about as crotchety as they come. Also, one of my biggest peeves is overuse of the exclamation point, and I have never seen you engage in such punctuation abuse.

And grainy header? Who called the graphics police?

angela said...

Ugh, no reviews for me either, please. I don't think my precious little ego can handle it.

And don't worry about what the reviewers say -- we obviously come here and read for a reason!

Jen said...

You go out partying with you friends? What? I'm wondering if she actually read your blog. It's all about weekends in with the boyfriend, movies and nights in watching tv *high five*

Your blog isn't too young, she is just too old. I think you're quite mature.

I love you moo! (!!!!)

And yes, your header is grainy. But you were blind until a few weeks ago, gosh.

Jen said...

Oh, and getting my blog reviewed would make me cry. I would hate any criticism.

Lady M said...

I hadn't particularly noticed an excess of exclamation points. I could add some, I suppose!!!!!!!

You're younger than me, but not too young. I like hearing about your school and holiday adventures. Exclamation point.

Lara said...

your site is young, but that's because you're young. it would be strange to come read you talking about mutual funds and the state of the world today. :-P

and by the way? i totally submitted my site to be reviewed. :)

Christine said...

Hey! In case you don't see it, here's what I wrote on the review my blog site:

Hey Alynda, fancy seeing you here! :) Yep, I'm opening myself up to criticism as well (sent in my site's addy a few weeks ago), not sure why we do it, but sometimes we have to humor our inner masochist huh? hehe And btw, my two cents worth, I wouldn't still be stalking and lurking your blog if I thought it was just a 5. It's one of the most fun blogs out there! Now wish me luck! :)

Sarah said...

Aly, I love your blog and I'm hoping that that review isn't making you all blog paranoid. Although I don't comment that much, I read through a feed reader everyday. I love your writing style and I love hearing about your life. After looking at some of their other reviews I wouldn't take it personally, I think that being catty and not making too much sense is what they do. Don't change! Well if you want to, go ahead, but I don't know about a black and white template (were you serious?) seems like you have too much personality for that! Let me know if I can help with anything. I know one or two things about template design...

nancypearlwannabe said...

This is one of the few blogs that I read every day, and I love both your writing and your template. So boo to the mean lady.

Siany said...

I read your blog daily and I love it! I dont normally read blogs without photos in the post, but I find you funny and I love the way you write. I never skip over paragraphs like I do in some other blogs, so whatever youre doing, dont stop!! I think youre great ;) lol
xx Siany

reformattingmybrain said...

We love reading your posts! And that's that! I'd probably be told I use too many...... hmmm...... oh yeah periods! Do people actually phase and think like I do right there? haha I've never been a writer.

VirginiaGal said...

What was she smoking because what she saw and what I see - totally different! I'm a few (just a few) years older than you and I enjoy your writing. Your enjoyment of life really comes through and reminds me to look for the good stuff in my own life.

I also love the colors in your header - if I dared I would decorate my house in only those colors. Alas, dog and cat fur hiding neutrals it is...

julie said...

Oh god.
I hate constructive criticism.
It makes me nervous.

But I love you and your ramblings :).


~Kathryn~ said...

i wonder was she actually reading your blog - firstly your header isn't grainy ? maybe her monitor needs reviewing

while i liked your last template better - this is cute and fun

and did she actually READ your blog - cos if you've been out partying all night with your friends - i musta missed it ???

of course we want everyone to read our blogs - that is why we have them (check me out at - oops sorry how'd that get in there) - and you're posts are witty and funny and whiny - just like you !!!

i wouldn't call that review constructive criticism - it just sounds plain 'picky' to me
take it with a grain of salt

PS there is so such thing as too many !!!! or even ...... for that matter

Laurel said...

Um... I think that reviewer is on crack. Especially because he / she acknowledges that you are not in his / her peer group, and then proceeds to critique you as if you are!

You have guts, girl. I would never submit my stupid little blog to a critique. I know that many of my entries are self-indulgent, not that well thought out, etc... The whole point of writing a blog is to write something every day--and also to communicate with new and different people. I'm not out there to appeal to the widest audience possible, just to share my thoughts with a few interesting people.

Just my two (American) cents.

Lia said...

You're just great the way you are. I haven't noticed the exclamation points, and you're not too young for me. Then again, you're practically the same age as me, so that might contribute.

heidikins said...

Hi, LOVE the new header! I actually audibly gasped when your page came up! Fab!

Also - the blog review thing is kind of a scary idea! I had initially thought it'd be a good idea, but now I am all sorts of frightened of it.... must revamp blog before submitting it for criticism.

You're fabulous, and you DO NOT use too much punctuation!!!!(??!!??&@#*#$*^@$*@#*!!!!!!!!!)

Audrey said...

I am often paranoid about the ! overuse, but I generally don't care. And therefore don't really notice it in other people's blogs, either. My name is Audrey and I'm an exclamation-aholic. There I said it. (Although I save the multiple !!'s for only the most exciting things in the world. [unless i'm drunk. then who knows what i'll type.] As do you, I think.)

And I actually have no idea, but I think we're around the same age, so your blog is not too young for me at all. I love reading everything you write. I love mommyblogs with adorable kid pictures as much as the next girl, but my favorite blogs on my feed reader are in the "non-parent" category because I can identify with that a little more at this point in my life. And I also love reading about your teaching adventures since Tim is going to be teaching in a year.

I think your blog is tons of fun, and when it comes to templates (and pretty much anything decorative, really) my taste tends to lean towards simplicity. So I, of course, love your simple-yet-fun template. It's easy to read and shows a bit of your personality.

To sum up: Love your blog! Would give it way more than a 5!

Audrey said...

Just hit refresh and am now seeing the new design. I miss the color a little, but I think the awesomeness of the new header makes it worth it!

Aimee said...

I always thought whinging was mispelled too. BAH! I'm funny. Or something.

You're totally brave to let those broads near your blog. LOL I'd be way to scared. And they'd hate my LOLing and my hahaing I'm sure. But, I type as I speak - and I giggle. A lot. So whatever.

Also, I missed the partying thing too. Were you partying and not telling us? Perhaps the reviewing just "assumed" you partied since you're younger than she it. You're younger than me too - and I can relate. Particularly to the "pets in place of kids" part of your blog. hehe.

::Hugs:: I totally heart you!

Desiree said...

Hmmm, never thought you were too young. I appreciate your taste in shoes and your good natured response to the spider ribbing I gave you on my now defunct blog. Would I have sent candy corn if I only thought you were a five? I would totally give you at least a 5.5!


Jersey621 said...

i don't think the exclamation thing is a problem at all. i always overuse them!!! (see?) haha. But here's something for your young mind. Go to and check it out. FREE e-cards where you can put your own head on animated characters. I swear it's the coolest thing ever. Perfect for birthdays, Father's Day, get well, etc. You sound like someone who may be interested in that kind of stuff..haha.

cady said...

i have to echo the comments by others that you had guts to have your blog reviewed. personally, i think the reviewer was insane. i liked your old layout (and love the new header), and i love your writing. and i think our opinions matter more anyway. :)

Lara said...

why no more linky love? :(

B said...

You rock girl! You've got guts to submit your site for review. I got upset the other day by some comments I didn't agree with, I can only imagine what a full site review would be like.
I heart you, your ramblings and your exclamation points!!!!

Teacher A said...

Like the new header! The old one was a bit grainy. Of course, I use a feed and don't actually see your site regularly, so the old one didn't bother me. Also, the reviewer? Seems to have taken a glance at you, perceived you as a hyper cheerleader-type (which you aren't at all), and judged accordingly. Your exclamation point usage is quite moderate, in my opinion.

Sassy Belle said...

Whatever, you don't overexclaim.

PS: I love the new header! clever, clever girl!

Sassy Belle said...

Whatever, you don't overexclaim.

PS: I love the new header! clever, clever girl!

velocibadgergirl said...

I don't find you too "young." Adorable, yes...too young, no.

The header does looks slightly grainy, but I had the same problem too when I first started mucking around with my template. It's a blogspot problem, I think, and I don't really know why she chose to be SO emphatic about it.

Also, I think that the reviewer was more ribbing herself for feeling old than ribbing you for being young, if that makes sense. (I'm also sort of glad that my page got reviewed by one of the other girls on that site, because this one is sort of intimidating!)

All in all, I think the review was a little bit over the top with the !!!! stuff, but to each her own. I'll still read everything you post! xoxo (!!!)

Diva Dee said...

First of all, I did read through many random posts in this blog before writing my review. I always do that with every review. I am sure that since the review site we chose to start is a free site, and something we do for fun and entertainment on our own time--- you certainly cannot expect any of us to take the time to read through every single post you've written in the last year. We take random posts (which I did) and form our opnion from that. One of the posts that I RANDOMLY looked at was from September 10, 2006. The post where you spent paragraph upon paragraph and picture upon endless picture giving every minute detail about your evening with your friends. I guess maybe that wasn't considered partying? I stand corrected.

I'm sure you've said this already, but the review site is for fun-- ENTERTAINMENT. And most importantly, its one small group of people's opinion-- a mere drop in the bucket of the internet world. For you to get worried about what MY opinion is of YOUR blog? Don't waste your time on it. I didn't care for the blog, and I stated my opinion. And I'm one person in the MILLIONS of bloggers out there. So why get worked up about it? You've obviously got readers that enjoy reading, and you seem to get plenty of traffic, so why bother submitting your site in the first place? You don't need the spotlight on you when you've already got a following, right?

We don't force people to submit their sites to us, and we don't review anything without the blog author telling us to. With that being said, surely you've seen the reviews we've done in the past, so you should have known what to expect. Not every review will be a good one, and that is stated very clearly when you submit your site. Everyone that submits to us assumes they will be the exception to that.

Like your readers have said, move on and don't worry about what this one "old lady" thinks. (I'm only 34 by the way). But please don't accuse me of not actually reading your posts. We don't play that way. Sorry hun.

P.S. I am most definitely NOT on crack. It gives me a good laugh to see how many comments people left on here about how I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, yet several of them have just submitted to us for review. Pfft. Whateva.

Isabel said...

You are a brave soul for putting yourself and your blog out there like that.

Alison Shearer said...

It's simple for me - it's your blog - do what you like, say what you like (as long as it's not going to get you into legal trouble!), have whatever layout you like and blog about going to the shops for milk if you like. Unless you are specifically out to attract an audience - a particular audience even - then does it really matter?


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