Tag Archives: Blogging

One Lovely Blog Award

28 Jul

I am thrilled to announce that I have received the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you, Laura Maisey, for nominating me. I am so excited and honored! I have been following Laura almost as long as I’ve been blogging. She is witty and smart and her writing encompasses the everyday as well as her life as an academic.

The rules require that I reveal 7 things about myself and nominate 15 other blogs for the award. Hopefully I can think of 7 things of interest…

  1. This is my very first Award and my very first blog… 🙂
  2. I want to be a community college professor after I finish my masters/PhD. Where else can one find such a diverse population of people in all stages of life. Kids just out of high school, older folks returning to school, people planning to transfer, people who don’t yet know what they want to do… Amazing.
  3. Sadly, I’ve never been outside of the United States, something I plan to change as soon as I can.
  4. I dabble a little in drawing and painting. I posted one of my paintings, Bubbles and the Sea. It is also my banner for my blog.
  5. I am extremely afraid of bugs.
  6. I am the world’s worst beer pong player. I’m sure I have an award for that coming soon. I’ve played once in my life while camping with my boyfriend and our friends and I couldn’t make a single cup. Not one! We drank a lot of beer that day.
  7. By the time I die, I want to go on an African Safari, see the Amazon, have a croissant and coffee in Paris, and tea in London.

These are my nominees for the One Lovely Blog Award: (Congratulations!)

  1. Truth and Cake is just a fabulous blog; Rian’s writing is both authentic and eloquent. Her exploration of life is always unique, thoughtful, and fun.
  2. Gaudy is a collection of essays, letters, and other works from two Ivy League alumni. Don’t expect anything less than a delightful mixture of hilarity and what they call a “literary cocktail”.
  3. Words Become Superfluous Amb is a seasoned blogger, celebrating her 100th post coming up. Her blog is bright and full of energy. It reads like you’re talking to your best friend. What’s more lovely than that?
  4. Kristen Lamb’s Blog is a wealth of information from a bestselling author. Her blog is the authority on How-To in the world of social media.
  5. Blissful Basil  I was originally drawn to this blog because of the breathtaking photos of her lavender macaroons, but I stayed for the wealth of recipes, restaurant reviews, and because her site is just gorgeous.
  6. Discoveries in a Letterbox Quirky and original, this blog writes a series of letters to everyone and everything you can imagine. Most recently from an antique phone to an iPhone. It’s creative and fresh, a fun read.
  7. findfabulous The musings of a twenty-something on a journey to find fabulous. She was recently Freshly Pressed and for good reason!
  8. Eideard This guy knows everything! He posts 5+ times a day on current events and politics. His stories are interesting, well-researched, and his commentary, especially regarding Republicans, is always funny. Sometimes, it makes me laugh out loud.
  9. bottledworder When I’m in the mood for a short story, I make my way to this blog. He is truly a wordsmith, creative and talented. His most recent series of posts called The Writer is really worth checking out.
  10. the girl with the blog If you want to laugh, read this. She is hilarious! Sarcastic, biting wit is her specialty.
  11. Welcome to The Motherhood I’m not a mother and I can still appreciate this blog. She’s honest and funny. The blog sheds light on what people don’t tell you about motherhood and marriage.
  12. Tales from the Reading Room is described as “a literary salon where all are welcome”. The Reading Room is an intellectual/book person’s paradise exploring literature in every post.
  13. Lesley Carter‘s blog, Bucket List Publications, is just plain inspiring. If you’re feeling some wanderlust or craving some adventure, live a little through Carter’s jaw-dropping experiences.
  14. Fat Girl PhD follows woman in a PhD literature program on her journey to health and weight loss. She is a wonderful resource for health and diet information.
  15. People, Places, and Bling is a guide to shopping in lovely Paris. Wonderful photos and delicious content. If you are a Francophile like myself, this blog is a must read!

Phew!!

Thank you again for my lovely award!

I have 62 days.

24 Jul

I have 62 days. 62 days of summer. 62 days to my personal best.

Photo by Anthony Delgado

62 days until the beginning of Fall Semester.  Like elementary summers past, when I would lay out my new, shiny school shoes, brand new Jan Sport backpack and freshly sharpened pencils in preparation for the start of the new school year, this summer I’m going to refresh my metaphorical life supplies and be at my best by the first day of school. My 25-year-old definition of “at my best” is improved health, physical and mental fitness, and organization. I am not fat, not unhealthy, or any other extreme opposite that these goals may imply. I simply want to better myself.  These will be my focuses for the next 62 days.

I’m sure my definition of personal best will evolve as I age and change, but for now, these are the salient issues at hand. I’m not unique in my countdown to a personal milestone. I was first inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love along with the rest of the world, and then Gretchen Rubin’s pursuit of her personal best in The Happiness Project, and any number of weight loss and self-improvement shows on MTV, Bravo, etc. But the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back and inspired my personal spin on the docu-journey, the recently Freshly Pressed, Find Fabulous and her post Dirty Thirty: The List, where she outlines her pre-thirty bucket list of sorts. And so, along with many others, tomorrow I will embark on my journey to…me, but a freshly sharpened, shiny, new me.

According to Oliver Burkeman’s article, How long does it really take to change a habit?, instead of the 21 days widely touted by self-help culture, it actually takes on average 66 days to change a habit. Though some might say 62 days is too short a time, the article explains that it really depends on the person. I say, I can! I have nearly the average amount of time recommended, but I make up for it with my enthusiasm. Where many have taken a slow stroll to change; mine will be more like a brisk jog.

Although I think of myself as fairly ambitious and moderately successful in achieving goals I set for myself, I’m focusing on these areas for a reason; they are particularly challenging for me, otherwise I would have already mastered them. That’s why I am enlisting the help of various experts in each area. Tara, is not only my boss, but a fitness and nutrition expert. She has had five kids and still has a better body than most 18-year-olds. She was the personal trainer for the mayor for crying out loud! I will be picking her brain for tips and accountability to aid me in my journey to better physical fitness, and of course sharing her secrets with you! I don’t like to bring numbers into this, because I just want to look better in my clothes and not be self-conscious in a bathing suit, but I think a ten pound weight loss is my goal.

My second expert is my best friend Shayla. Longtime vegetarian and self-taught health know-it-all, she knows things. I don’t know how she knows them or where she read them, but she’s like my own personal Google. I have texted her random questions with no expectation of an answer, only to find the pleasant surprise of a credible response and possible source link. During a recent tussle with my thyroid, I opened an email from her to find a journal article on the links between cruciferous vegetables and hypothyroid issues. Shayla will help me clean up my diet in a way that is sustainable for me.

My third expert is a fun one…it’s you! Yes, you reading this, you behind the keyboard. I can see you! No, I can’t; I’m just kidding. But, really, I will be reading, following, liking, absorbing, all the inspirational blogosphere content I can. I am determined to learn from my blogging peers and develop as a writer significantly by the time the 62 days are up. It was Kristen Lamb and her post, 5 Ways to Get Out of The Comfort Zone and Become A Stronger Writer, who initially inspired me in this area. I’m already an avid reader and academic writer, but before school starts, I want to flex my creative muscles a bit, become a more well-rounded writer and as Kristen says, soon I’ll be “typing with the big kids”. By the end of the 62 days, I’d like to have acquired 100 followers and maybe get a WordPress award under my belt.

Ok, so organizational skills is kind of a euphemism, for I’m disorganized. I always get the job done and I’m a really effective student and person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make a giant mess in the process. We’re talking coffee mugs everywhere, clean laundry in the dryer for a day and a half. It’s not that I’m lazy; I think that my time management and organization skills need a little improvement. I start too many projects, take on too many tasks, underestimate the time it will take me to finish something, and before I know it, I’m 10 minutes behind, the dryer’s still running, and I haven’t packed my lunch. My expert in this area is my lovely, domestic friend Desiree. She bakes, she cooks, her house is always spotless, even her fridge is perfectly organized. I’m not saying I want to morph into Betty Crocker in 62 days, but someday I’d like to be able to feed myself without driving to a restaurant and her tips on scheduling and time management will no doubt be invaluable. Plus, whenever I go to her house, she has snacks. Through her expertise, Desiree will help me create a system that keeps me organized and maybe teach me a thing or two in the kitchen.

So, please join me, inspire me, teach me. Tell me your personal best story below in the comments. I LOVE comments!

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Hairspray and Hemingway

18 Jun

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary” – Sir Cecil Beaton

Why My First Post Took 3 ½ Weeks to Write: A Cultural Analysis

This post has been a labor of several weeks. And not for lack of topics, I have started and stopped over a dozen budding posts. I began writing each brightly and optimistically enough, only to eventually shudder at its stupidity. In a society where every thought is believed to be of enough consequence to compel the individual to tweet, post, text, or otherwise make known to the world that they “just ate the bombest sandwich” or other such amazing insights into the human psyche, what is with my excessive self-critique?

It seems editing and buffering one’s thoughts or the inner monologue has become obsolete, giving way to…the outer monologue, a self-important validation of any and every notion to infiltrate one’s mind. Censorship ironically is the only thing being suppressed.

In fact, in the wake of such wide-spread narcissism, I discovered a virtual revolt seething. Counter culture websites, like Tweeting Too Hard, BlogAntagonist, and StupidAssBlogs.blogspot.com exist purely to satirize such immortalized errors in judgment. The list goes on. Hate sites are popping up just as quickly as crap can twitter out of one’s mouth. This particular little gem comes to us from Tweeting Too Hard on behalf of brettschulte: “I gave my cleaning lady a raise today, even though she didn’t ask, as my own little contribution to fighting the recession”.  (TweetingtooHard).

Ironically the performative nature of identity and the urge to manipulate others’ perception is most certainly the motivation for such trivial proclamations and for my own literary self-consciousness. Through carefully chosen duck face photos and perhaps less carefully chosen status updates, an individual can craft an identity. Brettschulte’s tweet, for example, is a transparent self-identification of the author. Brett, though the name is androgynous, is probably a man. I don’t know any women who refer to a housekeeper as a “cleaning lady”. Clearly, it is very important that the world know that he is not only well off enough to have a “cleaning lady”, but also has enough financial freedom to arbitrarily give her a raise. Thank you, Brett, for your humanitarian contribution with a side of elitist humble brag.

I suppose that it isn’t surprising that with my judgment of others’ questionable contributions to the global dialogue, a fear of that same judgment emerged.  What will my blog say about me? Will my ramblings end up displayed on the likes of blogsarestupid.com, a venue committed to touting the stupidity of…blogs? No, the irony is not lost on me.

In the past, status has been defined by the artifice created by humans: clothing, possessions, housing, etc. Is the new social identifier the status update? If so, what qualifies me to write this blog? I’m a University of California student, who works part-time at a (fantastic) beauty shop with 0 Facebook friends. That’s right, I said it. I’m not on Facebook. Let the genuflecting begin. I am a veritable social media pauper.

It seems we have evolved to include virtual simulacra of social structure. With the democratization of media, comes the inevitable organization of such. You have white-collar bloggers who make money on their pseudo literary ventures. The emerging middle class: those who earn a living off advertising or product endorsements.  How many Facebook friends and Twitter followers one has is increasingly important: for some it is their livelihood, for others it is synonymous with status.  By extension, Brett with his profound influence to the Twitter community, not to mention boundless idiocy, is no doubt of a higher social tier than I, according to this paradoxical social construction. And therein lies the root of my writer’s block and also the premise of my blog.

I want to be a part of the amazing exchange of ideas happening faster and more authentically than ever before through social media; however, I abhor its use to assault the intelligence of innocent readers everywhere. I revolt against MySpace style self portraits, online dating, and tweets that really, no one cares to read. What has happened to the representation of the twenty-something? I refuse to succumb to this homogenized portrait of my generation.

Hairspray and Hemingway is the fulfillment of my personal paradox, a place for my inordinate number of thoughts on topics from politics to beauty to literary criticism. As both a literature major and part-time shampoo peddler, my life is one big inconsistency. One minute, I’m exploring the notions of humanity in The Faerie Queen and King Lear and the next I’m knee deep in bronzer and hairspray, and loving every minute of it.

 

 © Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Henry Jeffreys

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