HubPro Editor: Meet Betty Wang

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Are you a cat or a dog person?

Totally a dog person. I might almost go as far as saying I’m a crazy dog lady. Almost.

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience doing professional editing?

I’ve been involved with the world of professional editing since I was on my high school newspaper committee. I’ve freelanced for several regional newspapers and publications, and my most recent job before joining HubPages was as a writer for a series of Thomson Reuters blogs, where I had to work with editors to have up to 5-6 posts edited on the daily. I’ve also edited thousands of papers as a graduate student instructor during law school where I taught several undergraduate classes at UC Davis.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

I have a BS from the University of the Pacific and a JD from the UC Davis School of Law. I’m also a licensed attorney in California, but my full-time passion lies in the world of writing and editing. :)

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

I love wrangling with words and content, and I also love the fact that I am surrounded by like-minded people who teach me something new every day. I love that we are taking a piece, retaining its main purpose and form, polishing it, and shooting it off into the world (or, Internet) even better than it originally started off. Not to mention, HubPages is unique in that all our content is created by our users, which anyone can sign up to be.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

I love that I learn something new and interesting with every Hub I edit. Hubbers are a diverse group of people from all around the world, all tied together by a love of sharing their experiences, expertise, and lives. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to not only help them boost their Hubs, but to be exposed to something new every time I go into work.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

Whenever I start a Hub, I make sure that I give it a good read and that I understand the author’s primary purpose and get a good sense of his or her voice. If I’m lost on that already, I’ll contact the author directly for clarification. It’s important to me first and foremost that I don’t change a Hub to the point of it being a foreign piece when compared to the original. I don’t want edit a Hub to make it my own, I want to edit a Hub to make it the best it could possibly be, while still respecting and retaining the Hubber’s intentions, and to ensure a smooth reader experience.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I love what I do, and I will likely love reading and editing your Hubs! Please know that I’m here to help you and your potential audience before I help HubPages. This is really important to me, and if you land me as your editor, don’t hesitate to reach out with your concerns at any time. I’m a good listener on top of being a good editor. :)

Heads Up —  New Hub Design Coming Soon!

I’m super excited to announce that the Hub will be sporting a brand new look later this week! Our primary goals with this redesign are to remove ads from the main content area of the Hub and improve the overall reading experience. We also want to give more real estate to Hubbers, like we did with the mobile design roughly a year ago.

Because this will be the first iteration of the new design, we plan to do a few weeks of testing afterward to see how the changes are received by HubPages’ readers. Consequently, the first version will not be permanent and we’ll likely be making refinements based on the data we collect after testing. We would also love to get your feedback on the new design, so make sure to share your thoughts in the announcement forum later this week!

Here’s a list of the major changes you can expect to see on your Hubs:

  • The sidebar will be widened so that the main body of the Hub is 970 pixels (from 728 pixels).
  • The author section will be more prominently displayed at the top of the new sidebar. If you provided it, your real name will be displayed beside your username (like on mobile). Your avatar will also be much larger.
  • A More by the Author content module will be displayed below the first ad in the sidebar. It will look similar to the Hub of the Day module in the Feed and will feature one Hub.
  • A Recommended Content module will be displayed below the second ad in the sidebar.
  • The Hub title will be enlarged and span the width of the entire content area.
  • The Breadcrumb structure on subdomain Hubs will be reverted back to how it was before September 2013 —  it will direct readers to HubPages Topic Pages rather than a filtered view of your Profile.
  • The Ad Program ad layout will be revamped:
    • Ads will be removed from the main Hub content area.
    • The Related Searches unit in the sidebar will be removed.
    • The new sidebar will have three 300×250 ads (separated by the content modules above), two of which will anchor as the reader scrolls down the page.
    • There will be some new ads below the main Hub content area.
  • The AdSense Only ad layout will be updated as well:
    • Ads will be removed from the main Hub content area.
    • The Related Searches unit in the sidebar will be removed.
    • The new sidebar will have two 300×250 ads (separated by the content modules above), one of which will anchor as the reader scrolls down the page.
    • There will be one 520×280 ad below the main Hub content area.
  • The social buttons will remain anchored as the reader scrolls, but they’ll be displayed horizontally.

And, here is a sneak peak:

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HubPro Editor: Meet Joanna Fonte

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Let’s start with an icebreaker: what is your favorite food?

Well that would have to be cheese. Hard, or creamy, nutty, smoky, or stinky, shaved, fondued, or simply grabbed with fingers and stuffed into mouth.  If you are what you eat, then I am made of cheese. (Either that or Oaxacan or Korean food or anything you can find to eat in New Orleans. Don’t get me started.)

Could you briefly tell us a little bit about your previous experience with editing and publishing?

When I started a blog in 2010, I wanted a place where I could share chapters of my latest novel. Then I began posting personal essays, short stories, poetry, and other literary experiments and today, with more than 4,500 subscribers, it has become more like a literary platform where I get to play the role of writer, editor, designer, promoter, and publisher. This experience has led to me being published various other places, online and in print, and it got me this job as editor at HubPages, as well. I guess the moral of the story is that if you want to do something so much that you’ll do it whether or not you get paid, and if your mania takes you beyond the point of casual pastime into full-time obsession, you may eventually find a way to make it a profession.

Could you also talk about your academic qualifications?

For ten years I taught public high school English. My favorite things to teach were American Literature (Zora Neale Hurston, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ken Kesey, etc.), the short story, poetry, and the personal essay. Of course, my real favorite thing to teach was teenagers. When I tell people I retired from teaching, they usually assume I left because it was hard working with adolescents but nothing could be further from the truth: those delightfully complicated creatures full of intemperate attitudes and hormones and swaggering ideas were what I came for and what kept me going for so long, despite administration upheavals, severe resource shortages, and teetering piles of papers to be graded.

Before teaching—so long ago it feels like a previous life—I got my Ed.M. from Harvard and a B.A. in English at U.C. Berkeley.

If I couldn’t be a writer or an editor, a professional student would be my third choice. I know, I know, there’s no such thing, but can’t a person dream?

What’s your favorite thing about working in the editing industry?

There is a myth that writers don’t need anything but their own genius to publish when, in fact, every book on the shelf is the product of a team of people working together to make it happen. It’s the same for movies only more obviously so, since they list all the contributors in the credits.

The actor Philip Seymour Hoffman said that “The film is made in the editing room. The shooting of the film is about shopping, almost. It’s like going to get all the ingredients together, and you’ve got to make sure before you leave the store that you got all the ingredients. And then you take those ingredients and you can make a good cake—or not.” I like to think of myself as being on the author’s team, standing just behind them and handing them what they need: some sugar, a shake of salt, a pinch of chile, or a sharp knife.
In my own writing, I can’t really be objective about what I’ve written unless I put it in a drawer and ignore it for enough time for me to finally see it with fresh eyes. This process works fine if it’s a literal drawer I’m putting the piece into but when I push “publish” online, that’s the opposite of tucking it away—it’s hanging it on a clothesline for everyone to see (picture undergarments flapping in the breeze). Time and perspective are luxuries that the prevalent online writing model doesn’t afford, and this is why people complain about the quality of writing they find. Most writing you read on the Internet is fast and furious and has not had time to ripen. Most online writing is unedited: we have the thought, press “Publish Now,” and move on.

Every time I read something I’ve written, I notice something I’d like to change and every day, I wish I had an editor.

So that’s what I like best about editing: I get to do for others what I can’t do for myself.

What do you like most about editing Hubs, specifically?

Every day, I get to visit a new idea, meet a different mind, and imagine another world. The HubPages community is an amazing gathering of diverse and fascinating perspectives. One day I’m in the trenches of WWI (or in Wisconsin or Arkansas) learning about cool usernames for girls or the best political protest songs of the ‘60s and the next, I’m in Pakistan (Tibet, Nigeria, or Iceland) learning about dubstep or how to play Pokémon or interpret a dream about a snake. I love British humour, a Southern anecdote, and a lilting Indian cadence. After a day of work, the world feels like a smaller, nicer, richer, and cozier place to be.

Could you tell us a little bit about your personal process for working on Hubs?

First, I read it once through to get a feeling for the overall gist and the author’s personality. I take note of the first visual impression the Hub makes and have custom illustrations made or photos taken if needed. Then, with that author’s point and persona in mind, I start going through, one capsule at a time, to gently comb through the writing (separating ideas that have gotten tangled, tweaking and smoothing grammar and language) to make sure the author’s point is coming through. I usually spend extra time on the first capsule because I know that’s where readers make their snap decision to continue on or press “back” to the search engine to look for something better. I may add lists, tables, or other means of helping the information jump off the page and I may add interactive elements like videos or polls to invite the reader to engage with the writing. I check Google’s webmaster tools to see what search terms are bringing traffic and make sure those words are focal. In some cases, I will add current research or information to help the Hub compete with other articles out there: when this kind of work seems needed, I always email the author beforehand. I try do all this with the Hub’s author’s personality, nationality, philosophy, style, and purpose in mind and always, as I work, I’m remembering every piece of feedback I’ve gotten on my writing in the past, from teachers and readers and publishers and friends, both useful and not, and I’m applying those lessons with every edit I make.

When I do this right and the Hubber likes what I’ve done, that makes my day. And if I miss the mark, a Hubber can simply undo what I’ve done. No harm, no foul.

Is there anything you’d like Hubbers to know about you?

I have a short list:

I am a tea-drinker, a thrift-shopper, and I turn the music up very, very loud.

Every day I take care of of two kids, one cat, a garden full of green things, and the flock of neighborhood crows.

I take my job(s) extremely seriously.

If I’m your editor, I’m on your team.

I work with a phenomenal group of people. They are sharp, funny, and imaginative. If I could afford it, I’d pay them to edit me.

HubPro Photographer Spotlight

As part of HubPro, we’ve contracted with some incredibly talented photographers to help us create the kind of beautiful, high-quality photos that many Hubs need. Today I’d like to introduce you to two of those awesome ladies and share examples of their work in Hubs. The best part? They’re fellow Hubbers!

Meet Julia Eppehimer:

“I recently graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in photography. Why did I choose IWU, you ask? Because they sent me a message in a bottle. Yep, that’s it. Before I graduated, I spent a summer in the Dominican Republic as a media intern for G.O. Ministries. I loved hanging out with the local people and the groups who came down on mission trips and photographing the genuine emotion that ensued from their encounters. But my favorite thing to photograph is food; especially because I get to eat it afterwards! It is sometimes very challenging to wait until I get the right photo before I can start eating. Cookies are the best because you can snag one (or two) freshly baked cookies for yourself and still have plenty left to photograph.”

Here’s a stunning example of Julia’s work (and her cookies): Bacon Bit Chocolate Chip Cookies

Meet Glimmer Twin Fan:

“Basically, I’m a 50-year-old woman who stayed at home to raise my daughter for 12 years. I started writing Hubs about 2 1⁄2 years ago and soon realized that I needed good photos for the types of articles I was writing because the ones I was taking weren’t very good. I dusted off our nice DSLR camera and, after a little research on the internet, started experimenting with it. Based on my results, and the many positive comments from readers about my photos, I think I’ve done pretty well. One of the aspects of photography that I have really enjoyed is making collages using photo software. I still learn something new from every picture I take, and taking photos for the HubPro program has been an inspiring and enjoyable challenge for me.”

This is an excellent example of Glimmer Twin Fan’s fantastic work: How to Make a Felt Hair Clip

You can see more photos by both of these incredible artists if you stop by their Hubs. Prepare to be impressed! :)

HubPro Questions Answered

We recently ran a survey asking the 16% of Hubbers who opted out about why they chose not to participate in HubPro, our free editing service. These Hubbers have concerns about HubPro; we hear you! We want to address the big fears and also clear up some of the misinformation surrounding the program. Ultimately, HubPro is intended to help both individual Hubbers and the HubPages community as a whole by raising the quality of the Hubs that have the most impact on our readers. The survey asked Hubbers to choose the following statements that addressed their concerns:

HubPages hasn’t sold me on the benefits of the program.

There are two major goals of HubPro: to fix up the Hubs that are seen by the most readers in order to improve the overall reader experience on HubPages right now, and to improve the reputation of the site over the long-term by making sure all of our most frequently viewed Hubs are our most beautiful and helpful. In other words, each Hub that gets a makeover is helping both that Hubber and the HubPages community as a whole. But how do we know we’re really making Hubs better? Take a look at the data:

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Displayed above is a chart that shows the reader satisfaction for HubPro Hubs before and after editing. We measure reader satisfaction with a metric similar to NPS (or Net Promoter Score). We ask readers to rate the Hub from 1-10 based on their level of satisfaction. The NPS is found by subtracting the percent Detractors (people who rated the Hub a 6 or less, shown above in red) from the percent Promoters (people who rated the Hub a 9 or 10, shown above in green). As you can see, edited Hubs have about the same number of Passives (people who rated the Hub a 7 or 8, shown above in yellow), but significantly more Promoters and significantly less Detractors, meaning more readers are satisfied with the Hub in general, and less are having a bad experience. Moving the score from 8 to 25 is a huge improvement!

I’m worried that I won’t be told before my Hubs are edited and that I won’t be able to talk to my Editor.

Communication is a very important part of the editing process. If your Hubs are eligible, you will receive an email notification one week before editing begins; plus, there will be a notice in your My Account Page. You will receive a second email on the day that your Editor is scheduled to begin working on your Hubs. The second email introduces your editor and lists the Hub(s) that he or she will be editing.

Once you have received the second email notice, you are encouraged to email your editor directly and let him or her know how involved you would like to be in the process. If you’d prefer not to be bothered, you don’t need to email—we’ll take care of everything for you. If, however, you have concerns that you would like to discuss with your Editor, don’t hesitate to write a note.

I’m afraid the Editor won’t respect my voice as a writer; I’ve heard about some bad experiences like this in the Forums.

Our Editors are primarily concerned with spelling, grammar, formatting, and factual accuracy. They work as hard as possible to maintain the tone and style of the original work.

It’s true that a very small number of Hubbers were not happy with their edits, but it’s also important to keep in mind that our feedback from Hubbers who have been part of the program so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Asking to be kept up to date with the changes your Editor is making can go a long way to make your experience a good one too; the Editors are professionals and want to work with you, not against you.

I’m concerned about the changes going live before I have the chance to look them over.

It’s true that you won’t be able to edit your Hubs for about one week on average while a HubPro Editor is working on them (simply because the HubTool is not built to accommodate more than one user at a time and we don’t want to risk losing any of your Hub’s content), and that the changes to your Hub will go live automatically as the Editor makes them. However, your Hubs will remain published throughout (meaning you will continue to earn from them), and the Editors are careful to always leave your Hubs in a presentable state.

Additionally, you are free to revert any changes you aren’t happy with when the process is over (you’ll be provided with before and after versions of your Hub for comparison), and through close communication with your Editor, you can retain a lot of control over the types of edits that are made and the information that is edited. If you ask, your Editor will be happy to explain the changes made to your text and check with you first for approval before adding content or making factual corrections.

I don’t trust the Editors. What are their qualifications?

Our HubPro Editors are all highly qualified with postgraduate degrees and extensive professional editing experience. We chose the best of the best from a very large pool of candidates, and we think you’ll be impressed with them too. That’s why we’ve decided to start a new HubPages Blog series introducing each of the Editors and taking a more in-depth look at their qualifications starting next week. Stay tuned to meet them! You won’t be disappointed. :)

InnerWriter Study Open to Hubbers

Happy Thursday, Hubbers! I just wanted to pass along an exciting opportunity today. The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania has recently gotten in touch with us to let us know about a new study for writers. Participation is free and open to adults 18 years and older who are native speakers of English. Each participant will receive a personalized Writer Profile at the end, along with a 1 in 25 chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card. If you’re interested, the details are listed below:

What Is InnerWriter?

You are invited to participate in a voluntary research trial to evaluate InnerWriter, an online creative writing intervention led by psychologists from the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The mission of InnerWriter is to help aspiring creative writers discover, understand, and utilize their most valued reasons for writing. While most programs focus on how to write, InnerWriter takes a step back to help you figure out why you write!

Whether you are a casual writer seeking to further stimulate a growing interest, or an experienced author driven to nurture your passion, reflecting on your reasons for writing may help you develop and strengthen your identity as a writer, as well as fulfill your objectives and aspirations.

What does the InnerWriter Research Trial consist of? 

The Positive Psychology Center is currently recruiting participants for a voluntary research trial designed to test the effectiveness of activities included as part of InnerWriter. All participants must be native speakers of English and 18 years or above.

If you participate in the voluntary InnerWriter research trial, you will complete a series of questionnaires and exercises lasting approximately 20-30 minutes, and obtain a personalized Writer Profile at the end summarizing your results! In addition, you will be entered into a raffle with a 1 in 25 chance of winning a $50 amazon.com giftcard (giftcards are only valid for amazon.com, not amazon sites from other countries). All data will remain confidential and kept on a secure server at our research center. The risks associated with this project are minimal, and do not exceed those encountered in everyday life. If you feel uncomfortable completing any portion of the study, feel free to end your participation at anytime.

Please note that we have put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that participants provide valid data for this study. If we have strong reason to believe your data are invalid, you will not be entered into the raffle for a gift certificate and your data will be discarded.

Why Did The Positive Psychology Center Develop InnerWriter?

Several decades of psychological research have shown that that the reasons why we do things affect how we do them. Preliminary research studies have shown that there are a wide range of reasons why individuals might dedicate time to the strange but fascinating task of crafting stories and putting words down on a page. InnerWriter seeks to put this knowledge to use by testing the effectiveness of exercises dedicated to helping you reflect on your reasons for writing, and your identity as a writer.

If this study sounds like a good fit and you’d like to give it a try, please follow this link to sign up. Happy Hubbing!

Announcing the 2014 Hubbie Award Winners!

The results are in! We received a ton of votes this year, but they’ve finally all been counted. The HubPages Community has spoken, and we’re very excited to reveal another year of champions. Below are the winning Hubbers and Hubs chosen by you, their fellow writers. Check them out:

Best of the Best

Best All-Around Hub: The Monkey Puzzle Tree – An Unusual and Endangered Plant by Alicia C

Best All-Around Hubber: billybuc

Awards for Hubbers

Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee: relache

HubPages Class Clown: Mark Ewbie

Best Avatar: spartucusjones

Best Community Activist: janshares

Most Helpful Hubber: Marisa Wright

Most Supportive Hubber: billybuc

Most Cheerful Hubber: Sunshine625

Best Teacher: teaches12345

Most Likely to Go Viral: WryLilt

Best Fiction Writer: WillStarr

Best Poet: Jodah

Funniest Hubber: Mark Ewbie

Most Political Hubber: breakfastpop

Most Religious Hubber: FaithReaper

Most Likely to Become a Millionaire: WryLilt

Forum King: paradigmsearch

Forum Queen: tie between relache and Marisa Wright

Best Photographer: aviannovice

Awards for Hubs

Most Interesting Hub: Sea Monsters Of The Cretaceous by JKenny

Most Useful Hub: Spotlight On: How Do I Tell If Pictures Are Public Domain Or Not? by RachaelOhalloran

Most Beautiful Hub: Other Words of Love: How They Add Meaning by MsDora

Most Informative Hub: 10 Big Science Questions Answered by Natasha Peters

Most Awesome Hub: A Certain Place in the World by Randy Godwin

Funniest Hub: How Many Managers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? by Mark Ewbie

This year, we are also very pleased to announce a brand new Hubbie Award whose winner was voted on by HP Staff: The HubPages Lifetime Award! The Lifetime Award this year goes to a Hubber who has been with us for 7 years, has always written good Hubs on a consistent basis, has actively participated in the community, and has been a positive force on HubPages: Hubber jimmythejock!

Thanks to everyone who voted, and a huge congrats to this year’s winners! You’re the bee’s knees!

The 4th Annual Hubbie Awards: The Polls Are Open!

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Let the voting begin! Voting opens today for the 4th Annual Hubbie Awards, woohoo!

The Prizes:

This year’s Hub-based award winners will receive a stylish and comfy official HubPages t-shirt, and Hubber-based award winners will get a personalized HubPages mug just like the ones the HP staff use in the office. The lucky winners of the Best All-Around Hub and Best All-Around Hubber awards will each receive a mug AND a t-shirt.

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The Rules:

Before you cast your vote, there are a few ground rules to keep in mind. Each Hubber may only vote once, so make sure you’ve got your list of nominees ready to go. Nominations submitted after Monday, September 1st at midnight will not be counted. If you don’t have a Hubber or Hub to nominate for every single category, don’t worry. Just leave those spaces blank when you submit your form.

If you’re ready, you can visit the Official 2014 Hubbie Voting Form, or if you need more time to consider your vote, you can always browse the categories again before making up your mind:

Best of the Best

Best All-Around Hub
Best All-Around Hubber

Awards for Hubbers

Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee
HubPages Class Clown
Best Avatar
Best Community Activist
Most Helpful Hubber
Most Supportive Hubber
Most Cheerful Hubber
Best Teacher
Most Likely to Go Viral
Best Fiction Writer
Best Poet
Funniest Hubber
Most Political Hubber
Most Religious Hubber
Most Likely to Become a Millionaire
Forum King
Forum Queen
Best Photographer

Awards for Hubs

Most Interesting Hub
Most Useful Hub
Most Beautiful Hub
Most Informative Hub
Most Awesome Hub
Funniest Hub

Have your candidates picked out? Visit the Official 2014 Hubbie Voting Form or come back when you’re ready. Happy voting!

Squidoo and HubPages

I have some very exciting news to announce today. HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo, creating the world’s largest site of its kind.

Squidoo and HubPages have been cousins over the years. We shared the same desire to provide a platform for individuals to share their knowledge and passions with the world.

We want to thank Seth, Corey, Gil and the rest of the Squidoo team that  have worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to innovate, adapt, and grow a wonderful community of incredible Lensmasters that have generated millions of lenses and billions of visits. I’ve been a big fan of Squidoo, their mission, their Lensmasters, and their team for many years.

By combining HubPages with the best of Squidoo, we will be able to invest more in our site and community, and make HubPages a place that Hubbers and Lensmasters deserve for years to come.

We have been working together with the Squidoo team to make this transition as smooth as possible. We plan to complete the migration by October 1st. In the meantime, we put together a FAQ on the content acquisition and migration that we plan to update regularly. In addition, there will be a new forum dedicated to Squidoo transition issues, along with more announcements in the near future.

Please welcome the Lensmasters–our new Hubbers–to our community!

Get Ready for the 2014 Hubbie Awards!

August is here again, and in keeping with HubPages tradition, that means it’s almost time for the 4th Annual Hubbies! YOU nominate and vote for your favorite Hubbers and Hubs in a variety of categories. Winners will be awarded the rarest, most coveted Accolade on HubPages; the Hubbie Accolade (plus some really cool prizes).

Voting will begin on Monday, August 18th and last for 2 weeks, ending after Monday, September 1st, so start thinking about the Hubbers and Hubs you’d like to nominate. This year’s awards are listed below:

Best of the Best

  • Best All-Around Hub

  • Best All-Around Hubber

Awards for Hubbers

  • Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee

  • HubPages Class Clown

  • Best Avatar

  • Best Community Activist

  • Most Helpful Hubber

  • Most Supportive Hubber

  • Most Cheerful Hubber

  • Best Teacher

  • Most Likely to Go Viral

  • Best Fiction Writer

  • Best Poet

  • Funniest Hubber

  • Most Political Hubber

  • Most Religious Hubber

  • Most Likely to Become a Millionaire

  • Forum King

  • Forum Queen

  • Best Photographer

Awards for Hubs

  • Most Interesting Hub

  • Most Useful Hub

  • Most Beautiful Hub

  • Most Informative Hub

  • Most Awesome Hub

  • Funniest Hub

Happy Hubbing!