Monday, July 21, 2014

What makes a good blogger?

It is incredibly fitting that I have chosen today to bunker down and write this post seeing as I havent published anything since June 18th ( insert shocked face here). Please also note that I had to scroll through about 15 drafts to get to the last published one though, so A+ for that right?


I have been thinking a lot about being a "blogger". I have assumed this label because I have a website I come to and write my feelings when I want to, post recipes every great once in awhile, upload DIY's when I have time and remember to take pictures of it.

I will tell you though, that in "blog world" It is often hard to keep up. You can't read a "How to be a better blogger"  without seeing advise about being more active on social media platforms, or having pinnable images on your posts. As a blogger, you are encouraged to participate in sponsorship opportunities to grow your blog and your readership and the number of twitter followers you have. 

As you start out as a blogger, none of that really makes sense to you, but you do it anyway because the big bloggers told you to. You create a twitter even though you have no idea how you're going to fit anything into 150 characters. You shell out your hard earned cash to other bloggers in hopes that their readers will want to win a $50.00 Target gift card and click over to be your friend.
At this point you have gained a pretty good momentum and maybe you have had a company or two reach out to you to use your blog as a marketing tool for their business and are willing to give you some free stuff, and lets face it, we like free stuff. So we agree to use our sacred space on the internet that we started for our own reasons as a platform for companies to promote themselves based on the readers that have come along and decided to stay.

After you write that post for xyz company and hit publish you are unsure how you feel about it and I think this is a defining moment for you and your blog. It is where you have to choose what you want to use your voice for.

Are you the person that wants to capitoloize on the eagerness of those businesses to use your trusted voice to spread the word in exchange for product or even money, or do you prefer the softer approach to blogging where you don't tweet about toilet paper and fruit smoothies.

Now please oh please don't read this as if I am bashing on ther bloggers that do collaborate with businesses and other bloggers. I actually have a few close friends that are wicked successful at it and I think that it is incredible that our voice on the internet can be used to generate income for our families, but I just wanted to write this out to remind those of you that don't want to take that route with your blog that it is OK, and it doesn't make you any less of a "blogger" because of it.  You can have 1 follower or 1 million followers and still be a blogger.

I really wanted to claim my identity in blog land. As of late I felt like an unsure teenager wandering around the campus of Blog U. I wasnt sure how I wanted to establish myself, I still may not be sure, but I have learned that most things can be figured out if I just sit down and type about it for a little while.

I have decided that it is OK if I don't tweet every day (read: ever)
It is OK if I don't reply to every single comment.
It is OK if I don't post every day, or even every week. I get to decide what to use my blog for and that is a freedom that I am thankful for. I get to have this electronic place I can come to and write whatever I want and hit publish for a couple or hundreds, or dare I say, thousands of people to read.

I am tired of feeling bad that I don't blog as much as I "should".
I get busy and things take precident over this space and that is ok.
I will use it as I see fit.
Sometimes that means every day for a month, and sometimes that means not at all for a month.

So there. That's my soap box and now I'm jumping down. This was stricktly for my benefit to get out my thoughts on this, but I feel like a large amount of my audiance will resonate with this, so yay. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

555 days GONE!

June 9th ended the 555th day of this project.
I had no idea what would happen going in to this list.
I didn't know the way certain things would play out. I am proud to say that most things got done, some were no longer applicable, some will move to the next list since I still want to do them, but either didn't have time or money or drive to complete them in that time frame.

If I have learned anything from this it is that if you set goals and stick to them you will surprise yourself with the new skills you learn, adventures you go on, and so many other things! You can check out the final list HERE and stay tuned in the next week or so for the reveal of the 2nd installment of 50 in 555 project!
Here is a recap of some of the great things that happened in the last 555 days!!!
I very much look forward to accomplishing so much more over the next 555 days, this has been one heck of a journey so far!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The source of kindness

There is a girl I pass in the halls nearly everyday. Most days I try to extend her a courteous smile. You know the one, where you don't know the person well enough to engage in conversation, but you want to be polite? Yup, that one.
It is often unreturned.
I have done a poor job at giving her the benefit of the doubt without assuming that she is just mean, or rude or a number of other not kind things.
I judge her.

For all I know she is rude, but she could also be very kind and is just having a really bad month. Or has had something happen in her life that has hurt her to her very core.
I should have more compassion for her instead of pushing my assumptions onto her and writing her off.

I have been thinking a lot lately about keeping people at arms length in an effort to not get hurt. I have had friends move, friends lie, friends steal and friends be just plain hurtful (all in the not so distant past) and I was over it. I didn't want to let people in because, why should I. Some of the people I had let in so close to my heart had hurt it. And maybe they didn't mean to, but they just did. And it sucks. 
Because of this I have changed as a person lately. I avoid committing to get togethers with people. I reply to texts/comments/status updates with nice, but vague and less than heartfelt words. It has made me less soft. Less mushy. Less me.

It really hurts me to write these words because I have always held an immense amount of pride in the person that I am. I like to be the girl that people can trust. The girl that is nice to everyone. The girl that comes into work with a smile on her face and brightens up the room. That has not been the case in about 6 months.

Whats worse? I blame it on the busy. I justify the lack of human interaction with the amount of new clients I have, and the time investment that comes along with having your own business. I blame it on the dishes and the laundry and the cleaning and the stress.

That's garbage. I have seen a very pretty pin on many boards in the past that reads
If you want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse

That is the absolute freaking truth.

Am I busy? Yes.
Do I have quite a bit of responsibility at home? You bet.
Does that excuse my disregard for the humans that love me and make an effort for me? Never.

I have taken baby steps so far, well baby step. I invited my very best friend from high school out to lunch this weekend to catch up on life and just talk. She is the person that I can literally sit with for hours and spill my guts. There are no details to scary or personal for our conversations and I am so so thankful for her, but she lives further away now so it is not as easy as driving down the street and sitting in her driveway for hours on end. She is good for my soul and gives me a verbal release of stress and current event gossip and life updates. She is the best listener ever and I try to be that for her as well. Anyway, so I made a step. And it was great.

So why did I tell you about the surly girl at work?
Because before I fell into my rut, I would have made an effort for her. I would have used my words to greet her instead of offering her a dull smile at the very least.
In an attempt to bring some light back into my heart, I have left some for hers.

I found out where she sits and left her a kind surprise for when she returns. I hope that it reminds her that she is special, because we all are. We all deserve happiness and I like to be a source of that for other people. I want to stop pretending to be something I haven't shown up to be lately. I want to make an effort. I want to be kind. I want to change the world, and damn it I'm going to.
Kindness {Wow! Yes.}

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Crafty Pants Party :: It all in Photos

Yeah, I know I know. Crafty Pants was in *cough February. But better late than never? No. Mmkay.

This day was really great. I love getting together with this group of women for crafting and talking and eating, oh the eating. I adore them all and am so glad that even though felt flowers may not exactly be their thing, they came out to hang with me and thats really neat.

Ali, I swear I have 3 photos I took in consecutive order and this is the most normal face you made. I just love that about you lol
Same goes for Kymber...
Camille and Jen learning the intricicies of felt flower folding. Please also note the cutest face to the right staring at them in admiration. *big swollen heart.
Hannah was a Crafty Pants rockstar! Her yellow and turquoise wreath was a popular one!
These bright suckers went on my wreath! I love that it is perfect for spring and summer.. uhhh hem because I have had it on my door since I made it... moving on.

Creativity is rarely tidy.

Be still my heart. This sweet thing was my shaddow all day long and gosh I couldnt be happier about it. He was telling me how great my flowers looked and counted them about 6 times and measured everyone elses count to me. Muahaha. I am so thankful to Lydia for having such a fantastic small human .
Not saying any names but, remember how I said felt flowers weren't exactly the most favorite thing of some attendees..
I am so grateful to our gracious hostess for having all of us in her home. I appreciate that Lydia offered up her amazing home for this party and let me bring 20 hot glue guns in to boot!
Hot glue guns were not the only liability risk in the house that day, enter Kymber writing on the white board on a chair... :) Bless her and her great handwriting.
And what you have all been wating for (Mostly Alicia... uhh hmm  :( ) The entire group at Crafty Pants! I cannot tell you how happy these women make me. Like really.
Bottom: Allora, Chrissy, Camille, Kymber & Rigby
Top: Ali, Hope, Jen, Tausha, Hannah, Alicia & Lydia

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elevate Blog Conference :: It all through photos

{I kind of cheated and posted about this already Here & Here #sorryimnotsorry}
I am officially back on Arizona time after coming back from my trip to California for the Elevate Blog Conference. Also the time doesn't change right now from AZ to CA and I already tricked you with this post. ;)
What I meant by that is that I am finally back into my normal routine after the conference. I judge that soley on the fact that I just washed the dress I wore that day and hung it up in the closet.
After taking the last two weeks to think on everything that was said, all of the photos that were taken, all of the amazing new women I met, I am yet again amazed at the power of this conference.
This year was different for me though. This year I had a job to do and I was incredibly excited and happy to do it. I was asked to help photograph the event! It was so great. I was able to pay attention to all of the little details of the day and capture them on film, well digital film, but you get the idea.
 The table settings were absolutely beautiful! There was a unique hoop from Blue Without You at each table that had a different message, all just as good. This one spoke to my heart.
The place settings were delicate and beauiful. Who knew paper plates could be so pretty!
And the infamous snack table, complete with a Dirty Diet Coke station. Now let me take a moment to tell you about that. Dirty.Diet.Coke. There are a thousand tutorials out there, do yourself a favor and google it then do it, despite your initial reaction of not wanting to. Life.changed. just sayin.
The always beautiful garlands from Aidie's Hideaway were for sale this day, I have had my eye on them I just need to decide which one I actually want. Answer: all of them, but I dont think I would get away with that at home.

Sage and Harper bags. Friends. Let me tell you how this bag is going to change my photography game . My camera and 2 extra lenses fit inside of this bad boy along with a bunch of other accesories and it has tons of great pockets and an easy open flap so that im not messing with the clips and velcrow of my current bag. Not to mention they are BEAUTIFUL!

This collage is a hand full of the speakers from the day. Gosh, I just loved listening to these women speak, myself excluded, I was terrified. They all had something different but beautiful to share with us all.

So much swag! I was lucky enough to walk away from this event with a gift card to! I cant wait until the planner release to pick one up for myself!
Then there was this little peace of heaven! The end of the day treat was a glorious doughnut from DK Doughnuts and I inhaled it the second we got to the hotel room. It was devine!
All in all, this conference did not dissapoint. I don't think it could with the amount of talent and heart that the women in attendance posses. I am just happy to be a part of it all and can't wait for next year already!
And of course, none of this would have been possible without these two lovely ladies. They are the most selfless, beautiful, amazing women and they put together this amazing conference and I am so thankful for them and the frienship they give me! Love you lots Jen & Summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

50 in 555 :: The thinks on the list that just aren't going to happen

We are quickly approaching the due date for 50 in 555 to be over. It has been a great experience for me! I have done things that were outside of my comfort zone,  learned new things, I have grown as a person through service to others, and I have had a LOT of fun!
 I have every intention of making another list and sticking to it becuase I am so happy with this list's reasults. As I was looking at it to figure out how to do it all by June I realized that there were a few things that either aren't applicable any more, I don't want to do any more or that need to move to the next list due to time restraints.
I started this list to be more accoutable to do new things, things outside of my comfort zone, or just things I knew I wanted to happen but wanted to write down to ensure execution of them.
I am thrilled with the outcome of what has been completed, but as goes life there have been some things that didnt work out, and that's ok.

Skydiving for instance. It is something I still absolutely want to do. I was even fully prepared to do it as well, but there was some difficulty getting it scheduled and trouble with the company I bought my Groupon with so this will have to be saved for another time.

Attend an NFL game in another state.  This one was again, not in the cards. Football season only lasts so long and with so many other things going on it didnt work out. Again, something we can put on the next list.

Take vitamins consistantly. Who was I kidding putting this on the list in the first place? I knew I would not have the ability to remember to do this every day. I was not wrong. This is not going to happen simply because it was a fail. I bought the vitamins to take them, I just didnt get around to it. Whoops.

Print my blog. I tried so.freaking.hard. to do this. I was willing to spend a pretty decent amount of money on it as well, but I could not find a single user friendly site to do it at! If you have a suggestion on this one please let me know!

Eat organically for a month. This goes hand in hand with the vitamins. Do you know how much easier it is to throw a frozen pizza in the oven for 20 minutes and do an extra load of laundry instead? I do. I will get better about this to have a more healthy lifestyle. Just not today.

Take a trip to Utah/ Visit the 4 corners. This. will. happen. It is also going back on the list. I just didnt plan well enough to make it happen and now it is to late to make those travel plans. Soon friends!

Knit a chevron Blanket. Not only do I not have enought time to do this, I no longer really want one. lets be real, why spend ooodles of time on something you dont really want just to cross it off the list. Im ok with this not happening and thats good enough for me

So if you find yourself browsing the list you will see these things crossed out, that doesn't mean they arent important, just that they arent going to happen lol.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou

upon finding out that Maya Angelou had passed away I was sad because I knew that there were some incredible words she had spoken that literally spoke to my heart. I didn't realize quite how many until I did a search in pinterest for her quotes and poured through them soaking up every word. She was an incredible human being with a spectacular outlook on life. I hope to live these words in my own life and she will continue to serve as an inspiration to me forever. Please enjoy some of my favorite words that she left us with.