Falling In and Out of Love…with Blogging

It seems like every month I hit a point when it’s difficult for me to find the words or the time to write. I, obviously not having posted since last week, am currently in one of those phases.

Blogging is ebb and flow for me. There are days when the words and ideas just seamlessly stem from my fingers and I feel like I could write for hours. And there are days that I’m tired and nothing’s coming to me and I have no images and I just feel like an epic fail.

creative_color_pencil

There are also days where I fall into the comparison trap – belittling myself and this space to the point where I think, “What would happen if I just stopped blogging? Would I have more time? Feel more fulfilled?”

Some days the answer is yes. Sometimes it’s a resounding no. The topic was posed to a blogger community and at that point I wanted to scream, “Yes! I’ve wanted to stop blogging – but could I do without it?”

And right now the answer is no. Another day, it could be yes. And then I’ll re-evaluate.

But like any love worth having, blogging and I will have our ups and downs, our good times and bad, our fantastic days and the days I want to just up and quit. Those hard times are when I remember why I started blogging in the first place:

I blog to put a voice to this time and place in my life.
I blog not simply to be heard, but to help.
I blog to be an inspiration and friend to those who need it. To reach out and maybe make someone feel that they are not alone.
I blog because it’s the only way I can get away with posting an excessive amount of pictures of my dog without being labeled crazy. Right, Watson?

It's okay, Mom. Let's take a walk and talk about your feelings.

It’s okay, Mom. Let’s take a walk and talk about your feelings.

I blog to form a relationship with my readers – who cheer me up with their comments, likes, shares, words of encouragement, texts emails, and overall support. Thank you for reading both the good posts and the not-so-great ones.

I blog for you, but selfishly, I also blog for me. Writing keeps me sane. It helps me channel my energy into thoughts and words. It clears my mind and clarifies things that I wouldn’t have thought if I weren’t writing them. It keeps me accountable for my actions, goals, and dreams.

So blogging is not only a relationship for you, my readers, but also a relationship with myself. One that sometimes gets put on the back burner, one that is sometimes shaky and insecure, one that sometimes empowers me and makes sure I’m keeping myself happy.

Blogging and I have been on the outs recently. But writing this post is helping to clean the slate, get the creative juices flowing, and hopefully puts me back on track.

Thanks for sticking around & I hope all’s been well with you!

Five Things That Made Me Think

YAY! It’s Friday! I know I say this often, but this truly felt like a really long week. Maybe it’s because of the snow and cold weather. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that with Daylight Savings this weekend (don’t forget to spring forward!), Mother Nature will get the message and send some consistent spring weather our way.

Regardless, being cooped up inside (both due to the weather and our sick pupalup) gave me time to browse them Internets and present a round-up of articles that made me think this week.

 All images link back to their source.

five things thought

What If Everybody Ran Mizuno Running
Thought #1: I wonder how much research was put into making this.
Thought #2: Amazing.
Side note: I’m totally on board with grabbing a victory beer (or meal) with you if we run together 😉

victory beers


Jessica Alba’s Abs – Then and Now by Women’s Health

Thought #1: Dang, girl!
Thought #2: Way to rock it!

jessica-alba-before-after


This 4-Year-Old Makes Dresses with Her Mom — And They Keep Getting More Amazing by Huffington Post

Thought #1: OMG – how cute and creative! I only hope to be that cool of a parent.
Thought #2: I wonder how they recreated Oscar outfits? (Spoiler alert: they’re awesome.)

fashion by mayhem


10 Minute Baked Banana Bread Doughnut Holes by Sweet C’s Designs

Thought #1: Get in my belly.
Thought #2: Must find a cake pop machine/pan.

10-minute-baked-bananna-bread-doughnut-holes-no-more-waiting-an-hour-for-homemade-bananna-bread1


The PR Pro’s Guide to Producing, Curating and Creating Amazing Content by prTini

Thought #1: Lots of good stuff in here from Andrew Shipp, social media manager for Go Pro.
Thought #2: Great tips not only for PR pros but bloggers, too!

go pro

What’s got you thinking this week?

Steal Like An Artist

I’ll admit it. I’m currently have a bit of a business/self-improvement book problem. In my queue, I’ve got Seth Godin’s Poke the Box, Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and Peter Shankman’s Nice Companies Finish First.

It all started last week, when I picked up Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist: !0 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative. A short read, it’s choc full of ideas to spur creativity, distinguish yourself from others (be it co-workers, friends, or other creative people), and lead a balanced life. I recently read an article that recommended it and decided to pick it up while having another unfruitful fiction experience at the library.

Steal Like An Artist

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring — the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

My Thoughts:
I really liked this book. Perfect for the person-on-the-go, it can be read in one sitting. It’s got a ‘cheat sheet’ on the back that lists the 10 things, but it’s the personal anecdotes, subtext, and artwork that make the book come to life. It inspired me to put down my laptop and do an art project, gave me perspective with my job, and provided the boost I was seeking in my personal and professional life. (Because we all need a kick-in-the-butt motivator sometimes.)

As I said, I borrowed it from the library, but am inclined to buy it because it’s likely that I’ll come back to it at some point for inspiration.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I’ve been reading a lot recently and telling you my thoughts on each book I finish! [You’re so lucky ;)] Check out my Reviews page for additional insight on a variety of stuff, not just books!

O, What A Day

Today is the Orioles home opener and the city of Baltimore is very excited to have one set of its birds back in action!

To commemorate the day, I got a little crafty. Our Easter egg wreath has had its time and what better summer wreath than one for baseball?! I didn’t want something that looked too much like Halloween (the O’s colors are orange and black) and I wanted it to be easy to create. Thus, my DIY ribbon letter wreath was created.

letter wreath

Materials:
2 rolls (approx. 6 yards) of 1.5″ grossgrain ribbon
1 glue gun (and sticks)
1 14″ foam wreath form
1 8″ MDF letter (wood can be used as well)
acrylic paint (any color)
brush for painting (I used an inexpensive foam one)
straight pins (I used the ones from the JA’s dress shirts)

Directions:
Letter
1. Using acrylic paint, cover front and sides of letter with multiple coats of paint.
2. Let dry.

Wreath
1. Pin end of ribbon to underside or back of wreath.
2. Wrap ribbon around wreath form. (I did it at a diagonal to make sure I got maximum polka dot exposure.)
Note: It did take me two rolls of ribbon. I started the second roll on the back of the wreath, securing it with a pin first, then glue later.
ribbon on wreath

3. Once you are happy with your pattern, pin in various places to ensure that ribbon stays secure.
pins in ribbon

5. Seal ends of ribbon with glue gun to prevent fraying.
4. Using glue gun, attach letter to wreath. I used glue in two different places with a fairly decent surface area. This way, there’s less of a chance that the letter falls off!
5. If needed, use leftover ribbon to create a hanging loop at the top of your wreath. I pinned mine in, but you can glue this as well.
ribbon loop

Ta da! Since I had a few of these items on hand, the entire project cost me under $15. Not too shabby!

wreath on door