April ’08 Blogtipping – All About the Benjamins

Blogtipping iconWhat with April bringing a close to tax season and lots of people getting those handy rebate checks in, "personal finances" seemed like a really suitable topic for this month’s Blogtipping post.   The Internet is peppered with all kinds of great sites with terrific information about personal finances — far more than I could mention here — but here are 3 blogs I frequent that really have something special to offer:

Generation X Finance by Jeremy Vohwinkle has articles that’re geared towards "Generation X" but I keep coming back because:

  1. While the topics may be geared towards those in their late 20s – 30s, the great info here is applicable to anyone.
  2. Very practical packing tips!
  3. Clean site design!
  • Tip: Hey Jeremy, maybe you need a snazzy logo for your site?

Dumb Little Man from Jay White isn’t strictly a blog about money matters but it’s definitely worth a look because:

  1. Tons of useful articles on healthy living, personal development, organization, & finances.
  2. Easy-to-navigate site design!
  3. DLM Blender scoops up great posts from around the Web.
  • Tip: I’d like to see just a few more images in the posts.

Wise Bread is a fantastic group blog for personal finance & frugal living tips.   There’s lots to like about this community-driven site:

  1. Tons of practical & applicable tips for living large on a small budget.
  2. You’ll definitely want to subscribe via email or RSS feed to keep up with the very frequent updates.
  3. Very active forum provides a place to interact with others amd get even more info on making every penny count.
  • Tip: This is one of my never-miss mainstay blogs — I can’t think of anything that’s missing.

As a bonus, SNL offers a revolutionary debt & money-management program.   Chris Parnell teaches Steve Martin & Amy Poehler the secret to financial success.   Stop whatever you’re doing right now and go watch this hilarious video at Consumerist.com:


Now it’s your turn!   What are some of the personal finance blogs or sites that you frequent?   Post a comment and share the wealth!

More Blogs in the Hood

city blocks

Early last year, I had been nosing around the virtual neighborhood and was pleasantly surprised to find that there were quite a few more Permian Basin area bloggers than I had imagined.   Well, recently I’ve been noticing once again that the ranks of Midland-Odessa area bloggers has continued to grow.   Several of the newer area weblogs have quickly made their way into my Google Reader subscription list and I keep up with them regularly.   Here are just a few:

  Ricë Freeman-Zachery’s "Notes From the Voodoo Cafe"

  Snooty Primadona’s Rants, Raves, & Ramblings

  Bob Westbrook’s "Ran with the Devil, Walked with Angels"

  Blonde Mafia

Of course, that’s just a small sampling.   You can select the "Favorite Sites" tab above to check out the ever-growing list of Permian Basin blog sites.

March ’08 Blogtipping

Blogtipping iconMarch marks the 1st anniversary of Blogtipping here on 2Dolphins.   I’ve enjoyed being able to offer a little tip o’ the hat each month to a few fellow bloggers.   If you know of a blogger who deserves a little extra attention, be sure to post a comment!

Still cruising along on the parental theme, this month’s Blogtipping highlights 3 blogs I’ve discovered recently that’re for dads.   Many of us dads don’t have the advantage of the instinctive parenting know-how that most of our wives seem to have, so we can use all the help we can get!

Dad Balance Digest by Derek Semmler is a resource for , & discussions for Dads who’re struggling to find a healthy balance between career & family.   Derek offers:

  1. Practical tips & advice for making the most of your "family time."
  2. Relatable & funny stories to help drive home key points or ideas.
  3. Easy to navigate site & RSS feed makes it easy to keep up with the latest posts.
  • Tip: I enjoyed the interviews with well-known bloggers like Darren Rowse & Leo Babauta.   I’d like to see more of these!

MetroDad is less about offering advise or pointers but more about sharing stories from the battlefield that is fatherhood:

  1. MD seems to be from that cusp between the "Baby Boomers" and "Generation X," so his stories are very relavent.
  2. MD’s anecdotes are hilarious!
  3. Add the blog’s feed to your RSS reader and you can stay up-to-date easily.
  • Tip: I believe MD is working on some design changes that’ll bring a fresh look to the site.

noodad from Gregory Ng & Mike Schneider is a blog for new dads who’re looking for a little guidance — or just other dads to sympathize with.   With a site logo that’s a baby bottle morphing into a beer bottle, what more do ya need?   It’s worth a look because:

  1. Practical advice & tips for us newbie dads.
  2. Great product reviews!
  3. Hot celebrity mom polls!
  • Tip: Hey guys, please add a category on your sidebar for product reviews to make ’em a bit easier to find those articles!

As a bonus, I’ve just got to mention DadLabs again.   The videoblogs that these crazy dads from Austin crank out are not just insightful & informative, but they’re also freakin’ hilarious!

February ’08 Blogtipping – Parentipping

Blogtipping iconAs prospective new parents, Dede & I tried to do whatever we could to prepare for this new role.   We took classes, read books, subscribed to magazines, and along the way, we also discovered a number of great blogs & web sites that offer loads of parenting innovations, insights, & inspiration.   Since February 1st was our official Gotcha Day, it seemed only appropriate to use this month’s Blogtipping post to showcase parenting blogs…

(Giving credit where it’s rightfully due, "Blogtipping" was coined by Easton Ellsworth over at Business BlogWire as an opportunity to say three nice things — and offer one suggestion for improvement — to three well-deserving fellow bloggers.)

ParentHacks from Asha Dornfest is one of Dede’s favorite blogs that offers, in their own words, "parenting tips from the real experts: actual parents."   I love the fun Swiss Army knife-inspired logo, but what really keeps us coming back is:

  1. The wealth of tips, tricks, & techniques that every parent — seasoned pros & newbies, alike — can use.
  2. Frequent updates means there’s always something fresh & new to discover!
  3. RSS subscription option makes keeping up-to-date with the site a breeze!
  • Tip: I can’t think of a single suggestion for improving this blog, so just get over there & check it out!

FamilyHack from Michael Davis & (naturally) his family features some great parenting tips.   I’ve refered to Michael’s blog before, but it’s worth mentioning again because of:

  1. Great articles with very practical & applicable pointers.
  2. Great travel tips from someone who’s obviously been there &amp back!
  3. Great videos with parenting tips & tricks.
  • Tip: What’s not to like?   I’m hoping that the Davis family has even more opportunities to add great content in ’08.

Healthy Children by Dr. Steven Parker on the WebMD site is a recent discovery but I’m finding that I really like his take on pediatric health issues & child-raising topics because:

  1. He doesn’t just go along with established notions without first doing some in-depth review.
  2. His posts cover a broad range, so there’s a wealth of info in the archives.
  3. You can subscribbe to the weekly articles via RSS feed.
  • Tip: The search feature on Dr. Parker’s blog is a little clunky and sometimes doesn’s seem very effective.

Now it’s your turn!   Is there a parenting or family-related blog site that you love?   Post a comment and share it with us!

January ’08 Blogtripping

Blogtipping iconInspired by our upcoming return trip to Moscow, I chose "travel" as the focal point of January’s Blogtipping post.   While it’s certainly exciting, travel can also sometimes be quite stressful.   But here are just a handful of great travel blogs that can help get you organized, ease some of your worries, and help prep for your next big trip:

Jauntly is a very new blog by Ilana Smith that’s dedicated to frugal, practical travel.   I’m keeping my eye on this blog because:

  1. Unlike some blogs that assume travel means cargo shorts & hiking boots, Jauntly has an "everyman" perspective — y’know, travel for the rest of us.
  2. Very practical packing tips!
  3. Clean site design!
  • Tip: It’s a new blog, so it just needs more posts.

TravelGearBlog from the BootsnAll Travel Network staff covers the world of travel gear & gadgets.   It’s worth a look because:

  1. Previews & reviews of loads of products for travellers.
  2. "How to" articles to make the most of your gadgets on the go.
  3. I really like those Weekly Gear Guides!
  • Tip: There’s lots of info on the gear, but not much yet on what to carry your stuff in — I’d like to see more bags & luggage reviewed.

Travelhacker is another fairly new resource for all types of globetrotters, from business travelers to vacation travelers on a shoestring budget that offers tips on bookings, vacation spots, and perks.   There’s lots to like about this blog:

  1. Tons of useful& very practical tips for travelers.
  2. Posts include a wide variety of tourism & travel topics.
  3. Frequent posts means there’s always fresh and interesting stuff to read on this blog!
  • Tip: The content is great, but could also benefit from a few photos here & there.

As a bonus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Travel category of Michael Davis’ excellent FamilyHack blog.   Michael & gang offer some great practical and (especially for us) very timely advice on traveling with kids.

luggage iconAlso be sure to check out Doug Dyment’s OneBag (formerly "The Compleat Carryon Traveller").   While this is more of a reference site rather than a blog, there’s a wealth of travel packing insights to be found there.   Even if you can’t quite commit to Doug’s philosophy to only ever travel with a single carry-on bag, you’re sure to find tons of useful information that you can use when preparing for your next excursion.

Now it’s your turn!   Have a favorite travel-related blog site you’d like to share?   Post a comment and let us in on it!

December ’07 Blogtipping

Blogtipping iconDecember’s Blogtipping post comes much later in the month than normal but it was delayed for the best of all reasons — we were in Moscow at the first of the month meeting our new son, Liam Matthew!   Anyway, better late than never, right?   In honor of our fellow adoptive parents, our picks for December feature just a few of the many, many great blogs done by other parents who’ve either already adopted, or will soon complete their adoption(s):

A Dad’s Journey Through International Adoption is Steve & Stefanie’s detailed account of their adoption of Andrei from Novosibirsk, Russia.   We love this blog because of:

  1. You get the rare "dad’s perspective" that’s missing from many adoption blogs.
  2. Steve’s a funny guy!
  3. Neat videos!
  • Tip: We’d like to see more photos & videos.

Olive You by Frank & Christen is a rare blog in that they haven’t actually started the adoption process yet:

  1. Christen writes about their experiences as they prepare for their Russian adoption in ’08.
  2. Very pretty site design & layout.
  3. Great sense of humor & variety of topics.
  • Tip: We’d just like to see more of those awesome Cayman Island photos!

Family Reunion from Dave & Debbie Brown is a great launching point for other adoption parents — international or domestic:

  1. Debbie’s frequently-updated sidebar makes it easy to keep up-to-date on the progress of lots of other parents’ adoption journeys.
  2. A great variety of post topics including reviews & little inspirational pieces.
  3. Frequent posts keep the interesting stuff coming.
  • Tip: Hey Deb, more pics please!

Now it’s your turn!   Have a favorite blog site you’d like to share?

An Overdue Gratuity

I’ve been remiss…

Each Sunday, Ed over at The Pisstakers tags 10 of the most recent MyBlogLog bloggers to visit his site prior and gives a nice mini review of one of their most recent articles.   Ed has graciously spotlighted 2Dolphins twice recently in his MyBlogLog Sunday posts and yet it’s taken me this long to jot down a quick "Thanks!"

It’s shameful, really…

Ed’s coverage of quirky stories from around the web is often laced with a stiff dose of humor & sarcasm.   (The term "pisstaker" is actually a British slang phrase meaning "To have a little fun at someone else’s expense.")The Pisstakers logo

So be sure to check out the The Pisstakers blog and maybe even subscribe to the RSS feed so you can keep on top of all the latest witty musings.

October Blogtipping – Get Your "Green" On

Blogtipping iconBlog Action Day, an annual event where bloggers unite to focus on a single important global issue, is October 15th.   Its organizers chose "the environment" as this year’s theme because it’s an issue that can relate to virtually any subject, any blog, and anybody.   So, in honor of this, my Blogtipping picks for October are all about getting your "green" on:

AutoblogGreen is a group blog dedicated to highlighting environmentally-friendly automotive news.

  1. A wide range of car-related topics are covered — from energy-saving tips to alternative fuels to electric cars to hybrid mass transit!
  2. A steady stream of new articles keep things fresh &amp interesting.
  3. Subscribe via RSS to keep up with the latest posts.
  • Tip: I’m eager to see more Smart Car posts!

Ecotality Life covers a variety of "green" products, gadgets, & technologies.   The site’s worth a look because:

  1. Reviews & previews showcasing useful eco-friendly products.
  2. Lots of informative articles about interesting innovations & solutions.
  3. Clean, easy-to-navigate site layout.
  • Tip: I’d like to see more products aimed at the average consumer.

GroovyGreen is a group blog that highlights news, products, & people who’re promoting sustainability, reducing consumption, improving health, & finding cleaner alternatives.   There’s plenty to like at GroovyGreen:

  1. Practical & easy-to-apply tips for "greening" up your daily life.
  2. Very snazzy design makes it a snap to get around on the site.
  3. Up-to-the-minute Breaking News from around the web.
  • Tip: The main page can be a little overwhelming because it’s so packed with content…

Now it’s your turn!   If you know of other great ecologically-minded blog sites, please post a comment to share ’em with us!

A Challenge Answered

Kirk Blanchard at Just Thinkin’ issued a friendly challenge to fellow bloggers who’ve been around for a year or more to republish your first blog post.

Seemed like a fun & nostalgic glimpse at the humble beginnings of 2Dolphins, so I decided to take up the gauntlet…   (Dede just loves it when I dredge up obscure phrases like that!)   Yup, my first official Blogger post from Saturday, March 13th, ’04 is still online & oh-so-exciting:

Update:   Kirk posted a comment wondering if these were still available.   Well, yes they are and here’s a page where you can view the whole lineup of Victorinox SwissMemory multitools.

USB Swiss Army Knife

USB Swiss Army KnifeThe Register is reporting that Victorinox (the Swiss Army Knife people) and Swissbit (the USB memory people) will unveil at the German computer fair CeBIT next week the ultimate pocket tool for geeks…

The USB Swiss Army Knife comes in 64 & 128 megabyte versions.

September Suggestions

Blogtipping iconEaston Ellsworth’s Blogtipping concept is simple:   you link to three unsuspecting blogs with three compliments & one helpful comment or idea for each blog author.   Giving a few fellow bloggers a pat on the back is just a nice way to start the month off on a positive note.

So, here are September’s Blogtipping sites:

I’m an Organizing Junkie by Laura covers a topic that’s near & dear to Dede’s heart – organization.   3 (actually 4) things she loves about this blog (aside from the fact that it’s about her most favorite subject of all time!):

  1. Great pictures that clearly show how to use the organization tips discussed.
  2. Naturally, this blog is very well-organized!   Tips are easy to find since they’re arranged in categories.
  3. Laura offers ideas for organizing things that I’d never thought of organizing (like bad habits, for example).
  4. Lots of links to other sites & creative organizing ideas.
  • Tip: The pages are a bit cluttered with distracting ad banners along the side but that’s probably something that can’t be changed for sponsorship reasons.

Escape Adulthood by Kim & Jason Kotecki is a great way to keep the Summer vibe with ideas to help grown-ups escape adulthood & children have better childhoods:

  1. "Business Wisdoms" & other creative solutions for reducing the stress of Adultitis and keeping your inner child alive & kicking.
  2. The site is chocked full of Jason’s great artwork & fun cartoons!
  3. The Lemonade Stand online store has loads of cool products for the young at heart.
  • Tip: It might be nice to be able to filter the posts by author in addition to the other categories.

Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly showcases tools, gadgets, software, videos, books, websites, or just about anything else that’s useful:

  1. The range of stuff is incredible – where else can you find reviews of Kevlar thread along side a book about pre-Columbian American Indians and a primer on gel pens?
  2. Site is easy to navigate and search.
  3. Subscribe via RSS feed and/or direct email newsletters to keep up-to-date.
  • Tip: I’d like to see a few more categories – books & software, for example.

Now it’s your turn – have a favorite site you’d like to share?   Post a comment!