A Happy Birthday To ME! – Smudged Thoughts’ 5th Blogiversary!

good morning, cyberspace!

I have some VERY exciting news for you all today, my friends! Smudged Thoughts–this precious bean of a child which I have painstakingly nurtured since 2016–is having a BIRTHDAY! We’re turning 5 years old this month, folks. FIVE. YEARS. OLD. That’s half of a decade. (if I didn’t feel like a hobbled old blog witch before, I certainly do now. XD) And since this is clearly a momentous occasion, I wanted to do something EXTRA special to celebrate! None of this would ever have been possible without you guys, so this month, we’re doing something extra special to give back to this beautiful community which has accepted me as one of its own…


August is officially a month of celebration, my friends, and I’m asking you to bop along with me for this beautiful, magical, wonderful ride!

>>> <<<


For the first few years of Smudged Thoughts’ existence, I didn’t really know how to celebrate a blogiversary. I tried, of course (assuming I remembered it was happening in the first place), but I didn’t know how to make it an event to remember. Then 2019–my third Bloggy Birthday–happened, and we celebrated with a giveaway and short story contest!! It was a wild, slightly manic time–and the notebook I made was, I’ll admit, a wee bit rusty in regards to skill level XD–but goodness, it was fun. It was the only blogiversary I can remember that I really, truly put effort and time into, and that was only for my 3rd year of blogging.

This time, at 5 years old, I really want this to be a blogiversary to remember. Which is why, in a similar vein to two years ago, we’re going to be hosting a giveaway here on Smudged Thoughts!

Notice, however, that I said we. For this giveaway, my dear peasants, is also a collab.

I am so, so, SO extremely excited to announce that my Five Year Bloggy Birthday is going to be in partnership with my dear friend AND favorite sister, Marissa from @hodgeandpodgestudio!

Marissa Keene is a dream-chasing, convention-crushing creative with a passion for making her mark on the world. Her obsessions include any variant of fiber arts, crafting, and other such wabi-sabi-ness, and she uses her many skills to weave handmade creations for her Etsy shop, Hodge & Podge Studio!

I’ll hopefully be tormenting interviewing Marissa here on Smudged Thoughts later this month in a deep dive expose about all of her creative talents, so if you’re interested in getting to know more about the maker of our giveaway prize, please keep your eyeballs peeled for this exclusive Meet The Maker coming soon!

And speaking of the prize, I just so happen to have a sneakety peakety of the VERY THING you could win!

Ready to see what it is? Ah? AHHHHHHHH?

MEEP! I am so unbelievably excited about this giveaway, you guys! I personally have one of Marissa’s notebooks on my own shelf (it’s Alice In Wonderland themed. Yes, I squealed. XD), and I can tell you from experience that these notebooks are otherworldly. The fact that she was willing to create a Smudged Thoughts themed notebook for my smol little blog is just … I’m over the moon happy, you guys. The colors are perfect. The details are perfect. I am just so so excited for one of you to win this. I promise you won’t be disappointed. <3

So now, without any further ado, HERE’S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY! Technically this giveaway is a two-parter–you can enter both here and over on instagram–so if you want optimal prize winning potential, I highly suggest checking us out on Instagram after you’re done here! Meep!

>>> <<<



  • follow this blog–Smudged Thoughts (you can follow either via email or through the handy dandy blue button over on the side!)
  • like this post and leave a comment!
  • follow me (@thesmudgedthoughts) and Marissa (@hodgeandpodgestudio) over on instagram


And that’s it, folks! The winner of the giveaway will be announced on the 17th both here and on Instagram, so make sure to check back to see who wins! (and for an EXTRA chance to win, don’t forget to enter over on Instagram, too! Not only will it give you a better chance to win this beautiful handcrafted notebook, but it also helps two very smol creators in a very big way! XD)

talk to me, peasants!

And that, my lovelies, is all I’ve got for you today! Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we? Answer my question down in the comments below and get a headstart on entering our splendorific blogospherical giveaway! Are you ready? On your marks … get set … GOOOOOO!


As always, let’s talk about EVERYTHING down in the comments below! And until next time…!

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *


The Blogiversary Giveaway — THE FINALE

good morning, cyberspace!!!

I am so, so, so, SO impossibly excited for today’s post, you guys! For the past three months, I’ve been taunting and teasing and poking you all with this smol little giveaway of mine, and finally–FINALLY!!!–I’m able to announce the winner!!!

And YES, I didn’t get all of the blogiversary things done like I wanted to (like that missing short story that I FINALLY FOUND only to throw in the garbage because it was a dumpster fire, or that blog post that revisits my very first smudge. [the beginning is finicky and I am #done with it at this point.]), but we’re just going to ignore all of my procrastinations and failures and focus on the CELEBRATION! On the prizes!! On the one lucky winner who will be selected to be the happy recipient of a glorious pen and notebook combo!

And since even I don’t know who the winner’s going to be at this point, this is bound to be a roller coaster of excitement for us all.

But before we get into the whole “who’s the winner???” bit of this, we first have some short stories to look at! Because HOLY GUACAMOLE, folks! You wrote some killer shorts for this giveaway!

and also I was going to write something, too, but then that completely failed, so whatever. we’re ignoring my failures right now, remember?Read More »

The Blogiversary Giveaway — EXTENDED!

good morning, cyberspace!

Due to an unforeseen glitch with our submission form and our lovely and esteemed writer’s inexplicable infatuation with the number 19, the Three-Year-Blogiversary Giveaway shall be running until the 19th of October, with the winner announced–as previously mentioned–on the 23rd.

Also, our smol writer would like to mention that this extension of the giveaway’s deadline has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that she has not yet managed to write a short story for her own contest. Absolutely not. She is on top of everything and is not panicking at all.

Ahem. Anyway.

Anyone wishing to enter the contest now has until the 19th, and if you so wish to write a short story for 13 extra entries, you may submit that story either within the form below, or email us personally at thewhimsicalbean@gmail.com with a subject title of SHORT STORY ENTRY. Guidelines for short story entries are posted here.

Thank you for your support, and good luck.

Yours Sincerely,

The Smudged Thoughts Team

Happy Blogiversary, Peasants!

good morning, cyberspace!

Oh my, this post is late.

alice in wonderland disney GIF

To be honest, I actually wrote this post up on the 13th of September–which is precisely the day when it was supposed to go live. Buuuut, since I am a complete and utter failure of a person, I wasn’t able to finish the giveaway prize until the 16th. And then life and work and a super secret project (more on that later) got in the way of me taking photos of the prize and polishing this blog post up and figuring out the minor details of the giveaway and . . . yeah. Here we are today. On the 22nd of September.


I guess this is the part where I should apologize and try to explain away my absence or whatever, but in all reality, I’m sure you guys know exactly how this is. Us bloggers are very fickle creatures. I’m not the only one who’s taken an unexplained hiatus, or disappeared from the blogosphere for an odd amount of time only to reappear weeks later with a bang and a clang and a handful of apology cookies. Disappearing during stressful life seasons is normal for bloggers, and I think it’s high time we started accepting that, rather than feeling guilty for not being as “involved” as we usually are.

SO. Even though I am very sorry for disappearing, I know you guys understand and love me anyway, so instead of rambling incessantly about all the reasons why I haven’t been on here, let’s hop right into why I’m very excited to be here today!


Dance Dancing GIF by The .GIFYS


As promised, today I shall be hosting my very first ever blogiversary giveaway! This is something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now, so getting to do it for my third blogiversary feels a little bit surreal.

That, and the prize we’ll be giving away today is something that I never would have dreamed I’d be able to do. I always thought it would be something small–something not all that great, but still cool.

But let me tell you, folks, I am one severely lucky duckling–or rather, you could potentially be–because not only did I make something not very great for this giveaway, but my dad was kind enough to make something absolutely supremely awesome for me, and it is my absolute greatest honor to be able to share it with you all today.

(or one of you. . . one of you is going to get this. oops.)

But anyway. Enough chit-chatter about how amazing this prize is. I’m sure you’re all dying to actually see it (seeing as though I’ve kept it a secret for the past three thousand years). So without any further ado, it’s time for me to finally announce the giveaway prizes!!!!!!

excited clapping GIF by Cheezburger

Blog Divider

First up, we have this kinda funky looking notebook, crafted and loved by Yours Truly. I was initially going to do something a wee bit different (it was a whale, folks. I was painting a whale. [and also props to Jethan for figuring out those were watercolor pencils??? how did you do this???]), but as I mentioned in The Blogiversary Disaster, that kinda took a dump and I had to re-evaluate my options. BUT ANYWHO. We now have this sort of splotchy looking notebook with a happy little quote on the front, and obviously this is the perfect notebook for any creative looking to write–or draw!–magical and whimsical things. SO! You should 10/10 want this, right? Right.


AND LOOK! I drew an extremely pale and wobbly cookie on the back!!! Don’t you just adore it???? (*sweats nervously*)

All right, all right. So that is my contribution to the giveaway. But what, you might be wondering, is the prize that my wonderful father made? What is the icing on this already decadent cake of mediocre painting and calligraphy? Well, my dearest friends, it is something that any writer should be absolutely honored to have in their possession.

It is. . .

. . .a fountain pen!! A hand-turned, 100% magical, absolutely GORGEOUS fountain pen, perfect for slaying dragons or crafting anti-heroes or penning the world’s next literary masterpiece in honor of the authorial legends of yore.

I’m . . . kind of jealous of this portion of the prize, to be honest. Although, I’m not too jealous, because he made me one, too, and it’s blue and swirly and my favorite pen of ever, so. I’m appeased. XD

BUT ANYWAY. If you would like to win this magical fountain pen and add it to your treasure trove of writerly goodness, then read on, fellow creative! If, however, you no longer have any interest in this giveaway, go ahead and click off the page now.

Because I no longer have any interest in you, either. Ahahahahahahahahahahaha.


but not really.



“Okay, Kenzie,” you say, straightening your tie and sniffing dubiously. “So I’ve seen the prizes, and I’m pretty sure I want that. Now, how am I supposed to enter this contest, hm?”

Well, my dear, you have asked a very important question here. Entering the giveaway is simple, easy, and doesn’t even include signing away your firstborn son in goat’s blood on the eve of a full moon. (although this is definitely an option if you’d rather.) In fact, I’ve made it so simple that you might even be entered already . . . and you don’t even know it*.

In order to enter the Smudged Thoughts blogiversary giveaway, you must do the following:

  • have a valid mailing address . . . after tossing and turning and trying to figure out whether this giveaway should be international or not (*cough* horrendous shipping *cough*), I finally talked to my parents, and they agreed that since I have so many wonderful friends who DON’T live in the states (you guys know who you are. <333), we should make it international! (although, I clearly owe a huge thanks to them. they’re the most wonderful humans on the planet and offered to help pay the shipping cost, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. . . so.)
  • be following this blog (obviously)
  • comment down below and tell me your absolute favorite weird or quirky thing about yourself! (because not only do I want this to be a celebration of my blog, I want it to be a celebration of all of you, as well! and in order to do that, I’d love to know something about you guys. So! Tell me about yourself!)
  • ORRRRRR, tell me about your current WIP! (because that’s also interesting and I love talking about writing. So.)
    • kind of an add-on to the last bit, but make sure to include the WordPress username (or email, if you’re not a WordPress member and you followed me through email) you used to follow Smudged Thoughts in your comment, please! Because I WILL be checking to see who’s actually followed the rules, and knowing who’s who will make this process so much easier. . . 

And that’s literally it, folks! Three-ish steps, and you’ll be entered to win this gorgeous pen and notebook by Yours Truly and Yours Truly’s wood magician of a father.

. . .however, there is a slight catch.

You may have noticed, but the prizes for this giveaway are sliiiiightly writer-oriented. You know. Just slightly. And this, my friends, is because this blog is–in case you did not know–a writing blog. Where writers congregate to talk about the joys and woes of writing.

Now, this is not to say that I don’t think non-writers should enter!!! If you’re a non-writer and you’ve been following my blog and want to enter the giveaway, that is 100% perfect and I would never tell you not to enter for the world. HOWEVER. Because the prizes are–for the most part–intended to be used for a writer, I think it’s only fair to make the giveaway a little bit writer specific, as well.

SO! The best way I’ve thought to do this is by giving the writers out there a little bit of an edge on the competition! (or perhaps this will serve to convert the non-writers???) Basically, anyone can enter the giveaway, but if you want to get 13 EXTRA ENTRIES towards your name, you need to write a story.

short story, specifically–a short story that is anywhere between 300-750 words, and includes one of the following words/topics: cookies, bean, pitchfork(s).

(These word choices were absolutely random and have nothing to do with me or my weird obsessions/nicknames. Aha.)

This short story, once written, can then be sent to me–the glorious, most magnificent of Kenzie’s–to be read and squealed over and stashed away in my super secret email folder until October, when I will announce the winner of the giveaway and post ALL of the entries here on the blog. (though they can definitely remain anonymous if that is something you’d prefer!!!)

And you might be thinking . . . “Kenzie . . . why on earth would you post all of the entries? Shouldn’t you just do the actual winner?”

To which I say . . . “No.”

Because here’s the thing: the winner of the giveaway is going to be random no matter what. I won’t be judging story entries–I’m just going to give those who write a story more entries, which will give them a better chance of winning this writing-centered prize–and my personal view for this giveaway is that it doesn’t matter what level of writing you’re currently at. What matters is that you have the passion and drive and desire to write, and no matter what, that love for writing is going to shine through in your work. (otherwise it will look like you just slapped something together to get more entries, and believe me, folks, I WILL KNOW.) So whether you’re a novice or a beginner or one of the great masters themselves, you have just as much a chance of winning as anyone else.

HOWEVER. If you truly do not want your work seen by anyone (other than me, of course), then just put a note at the top of your entry that says something along the lines of >> IF YOU SHOW THIS TO ANYONE I SHALL CURSE YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WITH THE PLAGUE OF A DISEASED SWINE << and I shall know by this polite, simple gesture that you do not want me posting your entry along with everyone else’s in the winner announcement post.

(even though I would absolutely love to post it, but whatever. it’s your work, my friend.)


  • absolutely NO swearing/profanity or explicit content of any kind — this is a family friendly place, folks, and I don’t want to have to filter all that junk out of the writing entries. Keep your stories clean and polite, please. that is literally all I ask.
  • no really. that is literally all I ask of you.
  • oh wait. but also use this form to send me your short stories, if you don’t mind. . . *points down*


  • THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON THE 13TH OF OCTOBER. Short story entries MUST be submitted by this date.
  • Winners will be announced on the 23rd of October.
  • The prize will be shipped as soon as the winners are announced and a shipping address is retrieved through email correspondence.

And that, my friends, is pretty much everything! I am so beyond excited for this giveaway, and I really hope you guys are, too. I know you’ve waited FAR too long for me to finally get to this, but I can assure you that it was not for lack of trying, and–hopefully–now that this giveaway prize conundrum is finally out of the way, we can start settling back into our regularly scheduled programming.

Or perhaps NOT, because as you will learn in my next post . . . I’M ENTERING PITCH WARS, PEASANTS!!!!!

scared boy meets world GIF


All righty, folks! Hopefully I made this giveaway thing easy to understand, but if you have ANY questions at all, feel free to drop me a comment down below! I’m going to start going backwards through my comment list, so hopefully I’ll get to all these beautiful comments I’ve been missing in my inbox.

And as always, thank you all SO MUCH for all of your kindness and support over the years. You guys are the absolute best, and I would never be where I am today without you. <333

And now, without further ado, go ahead and drop a comment down below and tell me a weird fact about yourself or your WIP! Whether you’re writing a story about pirates, or you, yourself, are a pirate king, I’d love to know a little bit more about you and the stuff you write.

Until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_