Category Archives: Blogging

Fashion Bloggers’ Envy

I’ve got a serious case of blogging envy. Serious. And I think it’s getting worse. Why is that? Oh, you can be sure I’ll tell you. In full detail. Here goes.

I’ve talked before about following fashion blogs. Some of them have really let me down recently, because the looks are either a) completely weather-inappropriate for H-town, b) not my style at all – hell0, pleated skirts and clutch handbags? and most recently c) rippin’ expensive.

And my biggest beef with fashion blogs? They keep showing me things and trying to convince me that I need to buy them. Really! And that’s a huge problem when these items are way out of my budget. So that started me on a little detective quest…

How in the world do these bloggers afford all of this stuff??

Simple. Their status as fashion bloggers gets them ‘gifted’ stuff from companies who want them to promote it, use it or review it.

Ok, I’m in. I wanna be a fashion blogger. I mean, one of the women I’ve recently started following has a kick-ass LinkedIn page. Let’s see what it says:

Current position: professional blogger

Past positions: co-founder, content creator, freelance fashion and arts journalism, online editorial intern, communications coordinator, public relations intern.

And she’s got a sweet little apartment, with one of those double-door-opening-out balconies that look over a treelined urban street. That’s her OFFICE, y’all!! She’s been featured in other blogs and online articles. Sounds a lot like My Dream Life! Well, admittedly I’m not sure I would like being tied into writing about fashion 24/7. But if it was a choice between that and NOT writing for a living, I’d take it in a heartbeat!

The kicker? The real throat-punch to this story?

SHE’S 25 YEARS OLD!! 25! AT 25 I WAS STILL IN COLLEGE LEARNING HOW TO BE A TEACHER!!! And most all of the pieces she uses in her posts to put together her ‘looks’ are WAY out of my budget. SO not fair. Maybe I need to reread Outliers to find out where my opportunities went wrong. Or where hers went right.

Sigh. It’s not the stuff I envy, folks. Really. It’s the opportunity and the lifestyle. Guess I need to work on my five year plan!

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Filed under Bloggers, Blogging, Fashion, writing

Seriously??

Ok, ok. I fully admit that today’s earlier blog was a pretty craptastic piece of writing. But really? No comments? No arguments? Didn’t I get your juices flowing one way or the other?

At this point I’d welcome a good throat punch if it meant that someone was reading!! And taking the time to express their opinion!

Come on, y’all! Say something!

And if you hated it, tell me what you’d RATHER read about and I will happily oblige!

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Filed under Blogging, Comments, Opinions, Readers, Topics

Inspiration, STAT!

So you’d think, seeing that I’m headed for some serious reading/writing/reflection time this weekend, that I’d be chock-full of topics and ideas to write about. Know what? I have zero. Absolutely zero. Well, not absolutely zero. Trouble is that the topics I’d really like to vent discuss are way too personal for a blog. As in, specific people and situations, We’re talking names, folks! And that’s just not appropriate for this blog. It would be one thing if I wanted to talk about (insert celebrity name here) or the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Which I haven’t seen yet, by the way, but I HAVE heard enough spoilers to get the gist of what happened. Not happy about that.

But I digress. I’m getting really irritated that I’ve got all of this time coming up over the next couple of days but no inspiration. I mean, almost two days? To myself? That’s a gold mine to this working mom. You’d think I could at least write the Next Great Novel or something! That’s a joke, folks – I have trouble writing fiction. Funny, since when I was younger that’s pretty much all that I wrote. My problem is that I get an idea for fiction but get bogged down in the actual writing. As in, I know the basic plot outline and have good ideas for specific events – along with really good descriptions in my head. But it all tries to explode onto the page like a big glop of a verbal explosion. When my youngest minion gets his stream-of-consciousness talking going (and he’s been known to keep going for up to 45 minutes at a stretch) we call it Verbal Diarrhea at our house. Same basic concept with me and fiction.
If I were smart, I’d actually follow the writing process and do an outline first. But I’ve always hated outlines. Why waste time organizing ideas when you could just write them? See my problem? It’s that kind of ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ approach that’s keeping me from writing fiction.
And, like I said, my nonfiction ideas are way too specific – and, at the moment too positively negative – to even think about posting.
So what should I do folks?? Ima be hoppin’ mad if I spend the weekend staring at a blank page!

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Filed under Blogging, inspiration, Moms, Self time, writing

OOOPS!

So I can’t help but notice that hits on the blog have been abysmally low since yesterday. It’s either a) Some of you read the rant I briefly posted and took down or b) The last couple of posts haven’t been up to the standards of my usual repartee (Downtonism alert!)

If the rant turned you off to my writing – I apologize. Everyone has a bad day now and then, and Sunday/Monday was a doozy. Venting done, and removed permanently from this forum.

If the lack of interesting content turned you off – COMMENT and tell me what you’d like to read about. I’m very flexible and more than willing to accommodate – especially if it means more readers!

Finally – if you like what you read – SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Remember, I’m trying to get exposure here. And wouldn’t you help out the starving artist on the college campus? Sure you would. You’re a nice, philanthropically-minded soul. So do me a solid and share my posts!! I’m begging here!!

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Filed under Blogging, Comments, Downton Abbey, Post content, Venting

The Scoop on Fashion Blogs

I apologize if this post is more editorial than anecdotal, but it is what it is. Guess I’m feeling opinionated today. And since this is my outlet, I’m just going to dive right in.

People who know me would tend to say I’m definitely not a slave to fashion. Friends of mine go all out. As in actually looking forward to, planning for, attending and spending lots of money at Fashion’s Night Out events. That’s not me. For one thing my budget won’t allow it. And for another, I’d rather do other things with my (rare) free time. Generally I avoid anything too trendy in favor of pieces that are more classic, relaxed and with the ability to be worn more than a few weeks out of one season. That being said, I do have an interest in fashion. I read Elle, Vogue, InStyle, etc. I do. Not gonna lie. And, while the piece on each page that I like is inevitably the most expensive (but just because I like it – I never look at price until afterwards) I really don’t shop by brand or designer. Well, except for handbags. That’s a whole other issue and one better addressed as a character defect.

Anyway, since I do enjoy reading about fashion, there are a few fashion blogs I follow on a pretty regular basis. But honestly, this is coming to a screeching halt due to a few factors that are really bugging me lately with said blogs.

·         One blog I follow, written by a chick in Vancouver, has started featuring cocktail dresses with stillettos and lightweight jackets. In Vancouver. In the winter. And apparently this is her regular work attire. She would fit right in down the hall. Of course, there is the random hair or skin care product review. These products never fit in with my Walgreens budget, so that doesn’t help me.

·         Another blog, from New York this time, has started featuring winter outfits that are both stylish and warm. Trouble is if I wore that many layers in H-town – even on a rare ‘cold’ day – I’d wind up with heat stroke in a matter of minutes. And even if I did live in a cold climate, if I wore a blouse, sweater, vest, blazer and coat, I’d look more like Randy from A Christmas Story than any kind of stylish. Wish she’d branch out a bit to include ‘warm climate’ winter ideas.

·         Still a third blog I check out, sadly, is totally out of my price range. Took me a week or so to realize that. So I’ve quit looking at that one. Budget restrictions aside, in my opinion it’s totally ridiculous to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes. I’m the kind of klutz that would scuff them on my way out of the store and get ticked. Really.

·         And finally, one of my favorites tends to feature classic pieces in black, white and shades of gray. Definitely my go-tos. Problem is, she only features clothing from her line, which is pretty limiting.

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing at all. Honestly, the women in my life I most admire are the ones who honestly don’t try to ‘put together’ a look – and always look fabulous. Natural hair, natural skin, livable clothes. I don’t have that gift. My natural look tends to come off as sloppy bedhead. Maybe it’s the attitude I’m missing. Hmmm.

And fashion don’ts? I’ve only got two that I live by stringently. Ready for my wisdom? (Insert sarcasm here – the combination of me and fashion wisdom in the same sentence is just funny.) But regardless, here they are:

1.       If you’re over the age of 25, you should not shop at – or look like you buy most of your clothes at – Hot Topic. It screams of a need to be noticed for some kind of anti-mainstream-society  rebellion. Believe me, the Goth black, skater boy beanie, Converse look was a fave of mine. In college. Not now. Same with the granola Birkenstocks and ponchos. Once you enter grownup land those things need to go.

2.       Hot pants. I think it was Brad Goreski who gave me my motto here: If you are old enough to remember when they were in style the last time, you shouldn’t be wearing them now. Agreed. But they were everywhere last month. They actually appeared at the office holiday party – in shiny black leather. Seriously. Granted, they were on someone’s date – who was within the approved age range, but still…

What are your fashion go-tos? Do’s and don’ts? Any ‘real women’ blogs I should check out? Ones that fall into my Target-Old Navy-Gap-occasional-splurge-at-Loft budget?? I’d love to hear!

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Filed under Blogging, Budget, Fashion, Mom Style, Trends

"You Need a Hobby"

So I have been told – more than once – that I need to get a hobby. Sure. Easy enough, right? Just get a hobby. Right. Just pick one up and do it. Easier said than done. To me a hobby needs to be something for which I have a passion and truly enjoy – not just something to do. And that’s a real problem because I have this nasty tendency to overthink everything. Yes, everything. Well, ok, not everything. Certain decisions, like what kind of toilet paper or laundry detergent to get, are just no-brainers in my book. But everything else? Big problem. Lots of overthinking going on. And overanalyzing too.

So, hobbies. Right. That’s where I was going with this. You’ll have to excuse me today – brain is still coming back from the fog of Christmas and a few days of vacation with the entire boy-clan at home. Anyhoo, I started thinking about my past hobbies. Aerobics. Weight lifting. Running. Pilates. Yoga. I spent years doing those. But, really, shouldn’t a hobby be something you like doing? Yup. And I really hated most of those – except when I was able to tell someone that I ran X miles the day before. That felt kind of good. But still not really enjoyable.
About the only kind of exercise I ever really looked forward to was Zumba. Yes, Zumba. Even though I’m sure watching my uncoordinated self try to do some of those moves was pretty entertaining for everyone else in the class, I loved it. But the budget wouldn’t hold up to the gym fees, so that went out the window. The Spouse even got me Zumba for the Wii. Have I cracked open that box yet? Heck no. Maybe it’s time.
I know plenty of people with hobbies. I do. One of my friends designs and screen prints t-shirts. Yep – you read that right. She actually went out and bought a real live screen printing machine to speed up her work. And she won’t go into business with it, because she says she wouldn’t enjoy it then. Makes sense. But I definitely don’t need a hobby that would bring lots more stuff into my house. There’s too much crap and clutter there as it is.
Last year around the holidays I spent lots of time with a group of women who crocheted. Couldn’t be too hard, right? If that many people were able to do it and talk/listen/carry on entire conversations and watch TV while doing it?
Wrong. I tried. Something about the little bitty needle, written directions that made no sense and YouTube videos that all seemed to feature right-handed people. I’m a lefty. The world is made for right-handers and it stinks. Plus, just when I thought I was getting the hang of it, my cat decided to jump right in and gnaw through my yarn. Another bust.
I’ve talked with knitters. I used to knit. My mom taught me as a kid, and we had a rocking collection of handmade potholders if I do say so myself. But just reading about charts and repeats and numbers – that sounds too much like math for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like math – on my own terms. But we didn’t get along well in school. At. All. So that kind of takes away the enjoyment factor that should be important in a hobby.
Tennis? I used to teach at a school with a large population of ‘tennis moms.’ These were a rare breed. I never knew that it took so much time and effort to get all made up with full hair to go and play tennis. Not to mention the designer shoes and sportswear. Who knew? But apparently it’s fun. A colleague’s husband was a tennis pro at one of the clubs frequented by these mommies, and he always said they were the easiest to teach. Show them a few tips, and then spend the rest of the hour listening to their gossip about who was doing what on Facebook. Seriously. Not sure that fits my budget or idea of a good time either.
So that brings me back to writing. Sadly, I get most of my ideas on the drive to the office. So I want to immediately get them down in writing when I get in. Bad idea. Not sure the office people would understand about that one. But I do carry a journal and write stuff down when it hits me.
Ok, so I’ve got a hobby. But writing is also a dream of mine. To Write For a Living. To Be Published. I’ve sent off a couple of things here and there. I have. I’ve got the rejection emails to prove it. One online site told me that ‘personal statement essays’ are not considered by their firm. Personal Statement Essay? Never learned that genre in school. Somehow I think it’s a made-up name, kind of like ‘literary nonfiction’ in the district where I taught. Hmmm…
I’ve looked at other options too. Wrote a piece that – in my opinion – was at least as good as some of the junk I’ve read in magazines, and looked for contact information to send it in. I found these guidelines on a popular women’s magazine site. They look for:


Marriage articles with an emphasis on strengthening the relationship

Short parenting features on how to deal with universal health and behavioral issues

Reporting on exciting trends in women’s lives

“Writers are advised to read at least the last six issues of the magazine (available in most libraries) to get a better understanding of appropriate subject matter and treatment. We prefer to see detailed queries rather than completed manuscripts, and suggest that you provide us with some ideas for sources/experts. Please enclose two or more samples of your writing, as well as a stamped, self-addressed envelope. “

What’s a query? No clue. So I guess my piece about a woman trying to escape her abusive polygamist husband while battling an addiction and searching for her soul mate wouldn’t be a good fit. Dang it. And I thought I had a good hook, too. And other web sites have been just as discouraging. Apparently you have to be published in order to get published. Kind of like looking for entry-level jobs that require experience when you have to work the job in order to get the experience.
Guess I’ve got a LOT of learning to do. But hey, at least I’ve got a hobby now, right? All I need is unlimited time to explore it…

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Filed under Blogging, Careers, Hobbies, Moms, Publishing, writing

Writing

I take my journal to lunch with me. It’s my regular noontime companion. Why? BecauseI have this romantic notion that lunch in the park will invariably inspire me to write something profound.

It hasn’t.

That’s a problem, because I insist on having this dream of writing. Being a Writer. Yes, a Writer with a capital W. But lately I’ve been doing much more reading than writing. I’ve been completely uninspired. So much that yesterday I actually wrote five pages in said journal bemoaning the experience of having nothing to write about. Seriously. You’d think that somewhere in all of my moaning and groaning there would be a kernel of inspiration.

Not even a speck. I’m confounded. Not only that, I’m stymied. See? I’ve got all of these really good words and nowhere to use them. And what makes it worse is that I’ve had plenty of time to write this week due to the glacial pace of Big Real Estate lately.

Lots of time plus an absence of ideas equals a frustrated me. And right now the irony of this isn’t lost on me, truly. I mean how much more ironic could this get? Blogging about the absence of any ideas to write about? Really? Only in my head, I’m sure.

Hopefully Some Great Inspiration will pop up immediately after posting this. Hopefully. Maybe. What about you? How do you deal with mental blocks and frustration?

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Filed under Blogging, creativity, Writer's Block, writing