A chit's yearly list of nonsense

31 Parks: The Steven-Coolidge Place


An elegant estate with trails and gardens

Its History
As the summer home of Helen Stevens Coolidge and her husband, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Isabella Stewart Gardner’s nephew, it was transformed from a family farm into a beautiful country estate. I can’t imagine the summer parties they had during its heyday.

The Stevens-Coolidge Place via Annuarychit.com. Park part of my 31 bucket list!

The Stevens-Coolidge Place is managed by The Trustees of Reservations and while the house with it’s amazing architectural features like the ballroom aren’t open to the public right now I’d love to do a house tour some day. There are plenty of things you can do outdoors though. From picking your own flowers in the summer, wandering through the formal gardens or enjoying a relaxing picnic it is the perfect spot for a relaxed day.

Rose #quotes at The Stevens-Coolidge Place in Massachusetts via AnnuaryChit.com

Our Day
We went on a September afternoon. Somehow, I convinced my family to come with me to explore the grounds for the first time and none of us were disappointed. The formal gardens, the lily pond, and the outside of the lovely old house were all enchanting. According to the Trustees website the gardens are best enjoyed for their lush colors from mid-June to September so we caught the tale end before the flowers slept.

There were other people milling around. Two sisters chased their children around trying to capture their delight across the fields and there were quite a few buying flower bouquets in the late afternoon. I can’t wait to go back again later this year maybe when it’s not so cold!

Stevens-Coolidge Place in Summer via AnnuaryChit.com. A park my 31 bucket list!

This was another park for my 31@31 bucket list. To see more parks I’m visiting this year you can subscribe by email or click on the 31 parks tag here.

PicMonkey Adds Annual Membership

I don’t usually post on Tuesdays but I woke up from a nap to the awesome news that PicMonkey started up their annual membership today.

Picmonkey adds Annual Plan. Read about it at AnnuaryChit.com

Earlier today on Facebook

“We’ve tweaked Royale just for you by adding an Annual plan for $33/year…that’s $2.75/month…or as you professional savers like to say, a 45% discount!!

If Royale’s not for you, we’re still rockin’ 60% of our features for free. Speaking of FREE, you can now add Your Own Overlays & Textures for free. And Tranquil? That’s free too!”

Yesterday they tweeted

Adding your own Overlays are a BIG deal to a lot of bloggers. Check out Yara’s response:

Previously posted

In the comments of last weeks post, PicMonkey’s Premium: Is Royale too high for you?people varied from paying monthly, being interested in the annual membership, or happy to continue using it for free. Everyone had something in common though; they all love the photo editor.

What about you? Does the new annual membership change your mind?

Write 1 Sub 1 2013

I’ve already written 31 short stories for my 31@31 bucket list but I don’t want to stop there.

Write and Submit Short Stories

I have boxes full of short stories but only a small fraction have ever been submitted and every time I did submit it was when I was participating in the W1S1 challenge.

What is W1S1?

I mentioned it on my old writing blog but to get a great overview is from the challenge’s blog itself. You choose a weekly or monthly goal of writing and submitting a short story.

How I’m doing it

Write 1 Sub 1 2013 Monthly Challenge

I’m trying the monthly version out again. Right now I’m using Joe Bunting’s 15 Days to Write and Submit a Short Story workbook. If I can handle that once a month- BAM I reach my goal. I figure if I get that far why polish old shorts and submit them to.

Can you tell my eyes are glazing over just thinking about the piles and piles of unfinished stories? Woah, I have to remember to do one step at a time!

How you can do it too

Start with the Write 1 Sub 1 blog. Follow the site and if you have a blog grab a badge.
Plus, they have quite a few social media handles but if it seems like overload to you just check in on the blog. I’ve found a lot of support and encouragement in the Absolute Write forums too.

Are you ready to jump on this book-laden wagon?

Tweet this
I’m challenging myself to #w1s1 short story a week

or this
I’m challenging myself to #w1s1 short story a month

My First Cruise

I went on my first cruise this past December though it feels like I’ve been talking about it for over a year (oh wait, I have). I was so fortunate to go with well-seasoned cruisers but even then there are things you just have to discover on your own.

Seven Nights on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship

An overview of my first cruise. http://www.annuarychit.com/

And it took me almost all seven nights to figure out aft and rear. By the end I knew the ship and had the rhythm of cruise life almost down pat. Naturally, it was at the end of the adventure.

There is so much to see and do on a cruise

I tend to babble and gush so I’m going to break this post down into a four or five part series. I’m sifting through my 2200+ pictures now and every picture brings me back to the balmy sea days. I’ll add links to each post here as they go live but here’s a preview of what to expect.

Review of the Mariner of the Seas

I was utterly spoiled with my first cruise and am still in awe at the sheer size of the floating city. Read my review of the Mariner of the Seas later this month.

Port of Call: Cozumel, Mexico

I don’t have too many pictures from Mexico since I spent most of it snorkeling. But I can share my fun-filled day with you. It was fun even if I didn’t get to swim with sharks!

Port of Call: Grand Cayman

We toured the colorful island from land and sea.

Port of Call: Grand Cayman via @cmckane


Port of Call: Falmouth, Trewanly, Jamaica

Another long day on a bus, then on a raft, and even pulled around by a tractor!

Port of Call: Falmouth, Trewanly, Jamaica on my first cruise via http://www.annuarychit.com/

I am spacing the posts out so I can add some pictures to each and later will share some tips even though I’m a newbie cruiser. Tell me about your first cruise!

PicMonkey’s Premium: Is Royale too high for you?

I’ve mentioned here numerous times and to anyone I talk to about editing how much I love PicMonkey. In fact, I love even more than it’s predecessor, Picnik. But I haven’t made my mind up yet if I love it so much I need to upgrade.

PicMonkey Finally Starts Charging for Royale Features

PicMonkey's Royale Features

We were given more than ample time to get used to, not to mention become completely reliant, on all the awesome features of the online photo editor. It was a great strategy from the company because I think it has quickly become a tool that many, especially bloggers, quickly incorporated into their photo routines.

I just got back from my first cruise and went to make a quick collage when I noticed the change had gone into effect. No! How was I going to get rid of those telephone poles? What about my favorite fonts?

My first instinct was to upgrade immediately. I checked to see how much the upgrade would be since I was willing to pay a yearly or even monthly fee.

What is your limit?

The $4.99 monthly fee is very reasonable but I had to sit back and really think about it. In my mind I had already rationalized that if it was the same price as a Flickr pro account I would get it. Flickr used to cost me $25 dollars a year while PicMonkey would add up to $60.

When I compared the two I knew I couldn’t justify it. At least not right now. After all I have GIMP and Lightroom 3. Do I really need another monthly payment?

Great comparison of features

Check out City Mom’s post that breaks down the free versus paid features especially if you’re on the fence about upgrading.

An Annual membership in the works?

There’s been a lot of talk about an annual membership in the works. I’m interested to see what kind of discounted fee it is and am curiously waiting for news.

What would you spend five dollars on?

A coffee, a lunch or monthly memberships to services like Duotrope and PicMonkey? How much are you willing to pay for convenience?

I’m absolutely thrilled with the program and will continue to shout about it’s awesomeness but for right now I will dodge and burn my pictures another way.

Here are a few pictures I’ve edited with their free features to show how much you can still do! Though I usually use PicMonkey to make collages or add text to photos that I’ve already edited.

What one man can invent, another can discover. Sherlock #quotes
My favorite PicMonkey feature is collage!