March 18, 2016 By Jillian Owens

Blogging Your Way at PVE

I love blogging more than I love most things in life. It outranks chocolate and ice cream. If I had to choose between blogging, cheese, or wine I’d be in trouble.

When I was invited to Paradise Valley Estates to talk to the residents about blogging, and how they could get involved in writing for the PVE Blog, I was stoked. Blogging is all about telling your story and sharing information, and I was certain the residents of PVE weren’t lacking in either of these categories.

From blogging to Instagram, the residents of PVE are going digital!

Part of my research in preparing for the class involved looking through the PVE Blog. There I found a wealth of resident stories, as well as helpful retirement and health articles by staff members. Most importantly, I saw the residents were already doing something a lot of bloggers struggle with –creating a sense of place and community. I couldn’t wait to meet these people that already felt like friends, just from their writing. And I couldn’t wait to introduce more residents to one of my favorite things.

What am I doing with my hands?

Blog writing is different from other forms of writing, you see. Paragraphs are generally shorter than other styles in order to make content easier to read and digest. Whereas memoirs focus more on the past, blog posts tend to be about current or recent events. Posts are usually shorter than a newspaper article, so being able to express your thoughts concisely is essential.

As my students began to trickle in, I noticed a few familiar faces from the PVE Blog, as well as a good smattering of folks who were new to blogging that I hoped to inspire to start. We went through how blogging began in the mid 90’s, how the platform has evolved, and how the ability to self-publish is changing the literary landscape, as well as best practices to keep in mind when writing a blog post.

We also talked about how blogging can change your life. Whether you want to express yourself to the world, share stories with friends and family, share a fun hobby, make people laugh, or even become a celebrity (Think: Julie and Julia), it’s all possible. I shared my own personal story with how I’ve been able to encourage women all over the world to take a more eco-friendly approach to fashion through my blog, ReFashionista.

As a creative exercise at the end of class, residents each wrote down five potential blog post titles. Popular themes included fashion, making new friends at any age, and retirement advice.  There were even a few bawdier ideas that might be better suited to a different blog than PVE’s (I’m looking at you, Paul and Liz!), but it was all in good fun.

I’ve given plenty of talks for many different types of people, but I have to say this group is quite possibly my favorite. They were inquisitive, extremely smart, and some of the funniest folks I have ever met. I hope I get to revisit the PVE lifestyle someday. In the meantime, I look forward to keeping up with my new friends on the PVE Blog!


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