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“It’s in My Blood” Feature #5: Kelly Hodgkins

"It's in My Blood" Feature #5: Kelly Hodgkins |

Featuring Kelly Hodgkins of “moonglotexas”

Having followed Kelly’s blog for a few months now, it’s obvious that she’s an avid reader. She does lots of book reviews, and I’m always amazed by how much this girl can read. Apart from reading, her horse, dog and job bring her great joy in life. Her upbeat personality radiates throughout this interview, so let’s get started!

*Click here to submit your own entry.

Kelly and her German Shepherd, Teddy
Kelly and her German Shepherd, Teddy


  • What about books do you love?
    From as early as I can remember, my mom read to me. She instilled in me a deep love of books and this was expanded upon by my school who had an awesome librarian and a fantastic collection of books. I have always had a book on the go and have been known to walk all over the place, including into the swimming pool, reading.

    I love the immersion into an entirely new world, with a new perspective, new people and a new adventure. As I bend back that front cover (or now open my kindle), I get transported leaving my cares behind and being able to understand and live in someone else’s mind. It’s fabulous and it’s a great relaxation. Before my pain level was reduced to a point where I could return to work, reading was my escape and today it continues to be a refuge and a comfort.

  • What’s your reading speed like, and are you able to absorb everything at that speed?
    I can read the average novel in about 3-4 hours and absorb it all. Reading speed is a funny thing, the more you read, the faster you get! So, I make sure I read every day for at least 30 minutes.
  • Is your reading speed different for novels vs say, a more scientific one or non-fiction?
    My reading speed for novels is definitely faster than with a non-fiction. When I’m reading non-fiction, I’m trying to absorb as much information as possible and note what I need to remember from it so I’m often highlighting the book. Whereas when I’m reading fiction, I’m highlighting phrases that strike me.
  • Kelly reading outdoors.
    Kelly enjoying an e-book outdoors
  • All time favourite books/authors? (1 – 5 titles)
    HARD question this – says every book lover! I’ll list those I find I can return to often, in the fiction category:

    • “Emma” by Jane Austen – I love Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion.
    • “Crocodile on the Sandback” by Elizabeth Peter – this is the start of a fantastic series about Amelia Peabody, I’ve reread it so many times. I particularly recommend the audio version by Barbara Rosenblat – she brings this book to life!
    • The “Harry Potter Series” by J.K. Rowling – so absorbing and compelling!
    • “Soulless” by Gail Carriger – this is steampunk in the 19th century with many laughs and twists!
    • Denise Hunter and Irene Hannon both tie in this one for a great Christian thriller romance – I don’t reread these but get completely sucked into the series, you can’t go wrong with either of these!
  • Least favourite books/authors? (1 – 5 titles)
    Some classics on this list but these weren’t my cup of tea:

    • Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries – loved the tv series, not so much with the books.
    • “The Shack” by William Young.
    • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – I didn’t get the point of this ending!
    • “Room” by Emma Donoghue – SO sad but also, so slow.
    • “Born a Crime” – too graphically violent for me.
  • Favourite genres?
    • Christian romance – historical or modern day – so long as it doesn’t get too syrupy, I like reality to remain in place!
    • Fantasy is awesome – Laini Taylor, Christopher Paolini, Michelle Sagara etc. all build amazing worlds to explore and adventure in.
    • Great classics – the “not boring” ones like Austen, Forster and Bronte – the writing style is exquisite and my vocabulary expands!
    • Least favourite genres?
    • Biographicals – oh my, have I tried!
    • Romances that focus on the physical – I need a plot line and an adventure.
    • Characterisations – these books focus on describing their characters more than moving along in a story and just aren’t for me.
    • Kelly's book collection 2.
      Just some of Kelly’s massive book collection!
      Kelly's book collection 1.
    • Do you only read genres that interest you, or do you try pushing yourself to read stuff out of your interest and comfort zone? Why or why not?
      I do try and push my comfort zone. My English teacher explained the value of good literature as being able to teach us more about ourselves and humanity so I strive to pick up an award-winner like “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy or “Saturday” by Ian McEwan. Some I just can’t get into so have to abandon but it’s worth trying.

      I also try plays and poems to expand my way of reading and have found some gems on my journey! I read somewhere you should have a number of books going at one time: one for relaxation, one for development, one for adventure and so on, I tend to have four going at any one time.

    • Have you written any books yourself?
      Not yet no, I do hope to co-author a marketing book in the future but that’s as far as I’ve got so far!
    • If yes, would you like to share about the experience? If no, why not?
      No just because of time! With a limited amount of working hours with my CRPS (but I would imagine healthy people too), this one just hasn’t got to the top of the pile yet!
    • How do you think reading can benefit everyone?
      The saying goes if you don’t like reading, you haven’t found the right book! I couldn’t agree more. It is a great relaxation technique, an education and an adventure all in one! And, if words aren’t your thing there are amazing graphic novels now even for classics like Pride and Prejudice.

    Kelly and Texas
    Kelly and her horse, Texas


    • How many pets do you have, what are the breeds and what are their names?
      I have two. My baby Texas (and namesake of my blog), an American Quarter Horse, born in 2005 brings me more joy and happiness than I thought was possible. He was an unintended purchase, one of those moments I look back on and am grateful I followed my heart. I went looking for a six year old fully trained horse and bought a six month old foal instead.

      Teddy, my three year old German Shepherd who is a goofball, makes me giggle and goes everywhere with me. He is really attuned to my CRPS and warns me of moving barometric pressure about 15 minutes before I feel ill. He also knows when I’m feeling flat and curls up with me.

    • Any secret favourites? 😉
      Well, I have grown up with German Shepherd so personally believe they are the most awesome of dogs! Texie was a surprise entirely, I had never even heard of an American Quarter horse when I bought him but have grown to see them as one of the most fun and reliable of the horse breeds. He has energy but is so trustworthy.
    • The best and worst personality trait in each of them?
      Texie mimics me so is SO stubborn and opinionated – we have the occasional disagreement of exactly who is directing whom at times. Teddy can stress a little too much at times, I dislike thunderstorms as it flares up my CRPS so he hates them and is a bag of nerves. He takes some encouraging to overcome fears.
    • Kelly and Teddy
      Kelly and Teddy

    • Interesting life lessons you’ve learnt from them?
      Texas is my life lesson, he lives in the moment. Tomorrow’s worries belong to tomorrow and yesterday is in the past. He gives his love freely and unconditionally and is happy just to be around me. I aim to be that serene, playful and joyful. He gives me my reason to fight, to live, to get out of bed. He gives me my hope.

      Teddy reminds me to love wholeheartedly. He explodes with joy when I get home, is thrilled to do anything with me and just embraces every moment. He’s taught me not to hold back but to share my heart and love.

    • How much work is involved in caring for a horse or dog?
      Fortunately, most of the work around Texie is done by the stables – he’s in livery with an awesome team. They do the feeding, grooming, trough cleaning and field maintenance. There is a lot of responsibility in owning any animal but mostly, I think it’s like a person, if you know them you know what they need from you.

      My mum is a huge help with the day to day care for Teddy, she does his feeding, brushing and helps out if I’m not able to take him out for his walks. They both need annual vaccinations and check-ups and are on medical aid for any unexpected expenses. CRPS is a challenge when taking on pets, and I know it can seem daunting but if you can share that responsibility with someone, it really helps.

    • Kelly and Texas
      Kelly and Texie

    • How much space is required to have one?
      My Texie is a live out so they say he needs about a hectare, again, having him in livery really helps here. The farm he is on is 32 hectares for 50 horses most of whom live in a stable overnight so he has plenty of room. Teddy is happy in our garden of about 2000 square meters. We take him to the farm for a run to really get the energy out.
    • Are there any other kinds of animals you’d like to have for a pet?
      I’ve always had a cat, they are amazing and I just love their independance. My cat passed away earlier this year and I’m just not up for welcoming a new family member at the moment.
    • Any wild animals you admire as well and why?
      I have always loved dolphins, I think they are just magical and the it’s the big cats – lions, cheetah, leopards – beautiful and magestic!

    Kelly on set at work
    Kelly on set at work


    • You say you have your own business. What is this about?
      My mum had a background in corporate marketing when she moved to the small city of Pietermaritzburg. She saw a gap in the market and started her own business in 1995 called Integrated Marketing Strategies. I was eight at the time and knew, when out of school, I was joining the business.

      She offered me many opt-outs but I was sure and spent as much time as I could getting involved. Filing, building show stands, going to design meetings, you name it, if I could get in the door I was there. Now, Integrated Marketing Strategies works with small and medium businesses in the KZN Midlands to build the brand story, compile the strategic marketing plan and implement the appropriate strategies and activities, while taking into account their relationship with the market and their current business circumstances.

    • What about marketing do you enjoy?
      Interpreting people. In order to market well, you have to know who you are talking to and how to communicate with them really well. My degree in psychology helps here along with research and observation. I love understanding what makes different groups tick and what visuals, experiences and words will appeal to them.
    • Kelly working in bed
      Kelly working in bed
    • How do you feel it brings value to the lives of others?
      Seth Godin summarises it so well when he says “Marketing changes people. That’s what marketing is for. Marketing is the act of telling a story to an audience that wants to hear it, a story that resonates, a story that leads to action.” I love that! How I frame something will determine if it benefits someone else’s life. It’s a great feeling when you match a great product to just the person who wants and needs it – SUCCESS!
    • One of the hardest things in any job is managing people. How do you handle pesky clients or unreasonable demands?
      It’s, without a doubt, the toughest part of my job. I so dislike disgruntled people but Brene Brown has taught me a lot about boundaries and similarly Seth Godin. Both give great guidance on how to manage people better. A key question shared is “What result are you looking for?” This determines how far you are prepared to be pushed and what your negotiation points are, where you are prepared to compromise. My faith helps here too, when in doubt I prayer and follow the guidelines on how to treat other as best I can.
    • It can be a stressful job. How do you manage your stress levels?
      Balance. At IMS, we are determined to have fun and put people first, setting this as an objective guides the kind of work we take and who work with. Additionally, making sure I have activities I love to do outside of work and rest time keeps the equilibrium.
    • Kelly and Texas napping
      A lazy nap with Texie

    • Projects you are most proud of?
      I think it’s less projects and more relationships, clients have become friends and their businesses’ have flourished – I love being part of the team that makes that happen and going on the journey with them.
    • Biggest failure and what you learned from the experience?
      My biggest failure was when I let work overtake my life. I remember sitting in a printing office, sick with pneumonia, worried about Texie who was ill with a potentially deadly virus and stressing over a research project that was on deadline. The self I am now wants to reach over and tell then-self that she needs to go directly to bed! No project is worth my health, Texie is more important than work and the people I love to work with would understand.

      My CRPS brought clarity here. It completely benched me and around me rallied clients and friends, they loved me for me and what I could bring. Those who didn’t, left and it was hard at the time but I am so grateful for the balance I have now.

    Kelly with her guitar
    Kelly with her guitar


    • You also mentioned a few other things you like such as music and art. Would you like to share a short paragraph or two about them?
      At age 5, I began asking my mum for a piano…she caved in and bought me a small casio. My love affair with the piano began. I trained classically for 10 years and reached Grade 6 under the guidance of an amazing teacher and then injury, followed by CRPS, benched me.

      I never wanted to be performer, music has always been a comfort and a joy for me. Much like reading, when I’m playing the world fades to the background. My CRPS is under enough control now that I can play again and am enjoying learning more modern music like themes from movies and pop stars.

      Art I took to in school, my teacher inspired and guided me and I found a passion for pen, ink and detailed depictions of architecture and landscapes. Once out of school, this grounding has been really helpful in marketing and creative direction is a large part of my work. I still enjoy drawing and am learning manga and watercolour at the moment to keep developing.

    Kelly looking radiant with Texie
    Kelly looking radiant with Texie

    *All images here used with permission from Kelly Hodgkins. Click here to submit your own entry and to check out more people!

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    Kelly Lives with the Following Illnesses:

    Learn more about her experiences living with it on her blog.

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    Kelly Hodgkins sure loves her books! Apart from reading, her horse, dog and job bring her great joy in life. Find out more about this upbeat lady with CRPS. Click to read or pin to save for later. |

    Contributor Bio

    Kelly Hodgkins profile

    I am looking for joy despite the pain and limitations of CRPS. I love being a brand strategist in my own business, Integrated Marketing Strategies, alongside my mum. I find sanity through God and with my horse, MoongloTexas, my beautiful GSD Teddy and my friends. Find her here: blog, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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