weekend reads #5

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

It’s easy being green right? I don’t know about you, but I find reduce and reuse much easier than recycle. I want to blame the inconvenience of recycling in my suburb, but it really comes down to personal responsibility. So I won’t blame the city.

I should be better about recycling. But being green, in my humble opinion, isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. Even if you just make a few greener choices a few times a week or month, that’s better than nothing.

No eco-snobbery from me! I admire those who are super green, though, and that includes loads of bloggers I’ve discovered. Three cheers for these three green bloggers!

Alicia’s blog keeps it simple, green and fun. If you’re in Dallas, you should totally check out Alicia at one of the local craft shows sometime. If you aren’t in the area, you should check out her super fun Etsy shop.

She can make all sorts of magical things with paper. And she always has great eco-friendly recommendations. I love her back to school recs.

Her Texture Tuesday posts will make you want to get outside and enjoy nature and her Eco Monday posts share lovely eco-friendly products you will be happy to discover.

Jen and Joey live in Canada and strive to reduce their family’s impact on the environment. Jen is the primary blogger for the site. The posts offer tips, reviews and challenges.

I particularly like the post Jen wrote about focusing on reduce, reuse, recycle. (Maybe because it makes me feel better about my own tendency to do well with the first two and not so much with the last one?) There’s plenty of life in these posts too. Like her 101 in 1001 post which is essentially a really long to-do list. And y’all know I love a to-do list. I happen to have an ongoing list that looks similar, though less organized.

The reviews are great on this site and I love the rating system. I was happy to see that Method All Purpose Cleaner, something we have used at home, got four leaves. Yay!

Amanda writes about green and healthy living on her blog. For me, her levels of greenness are mostly things I can only aspire to so far. Composting? Yes, sign me up. Menstrual cups? Yikes. I had no idea that was even a thing. (More power to you, ladies. I’m not sure my eco-friendliness is quite that friendly.)

This is a seriously green mama. I love her post about Rock Candy Life shower curtains. I hate the weird smell of traditional plastic liners that seems to linger for weeks. I’m so happy to find there’s another option. And it’s eco-friendly!

Amanda has written several posts on cloth diapers. I admire parents who go that route. I’ve known a few who attempted it, but didn’t stick with it throughout their child’s diaper days. Am I the only one who wondered how exactly those green moms and dads were washing cloth diapers? She’s the mom of three young children, so there’s plenty family-oriented content for new parents and young families to check out.

I love her simple and straightforward tips for choosing safe cleaning products. I may never reach Amanda’s level of green living, but I certainly have learned a lot from her posts and discovered some great products.

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

my first blog award + my 15 nominees

Big thank you hearts go out to Marsella’s Book Ends for honoring me with a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I feel all fancy! I’ve never gotten a blogger award so this was a really lovely surprise.

7 random facts about me

1. David Copperfield made me disappear during a performance in Dallas. Sorry, I can’t share what I know.

2. When my wisdom teeth were removed, none of the drugs worked. None. Let’s just say that when they literally touched that first nerve, my entire body arched from the pain. The only things touching the chair were my heels and my head. It was epic pain.

3. My husband, cousin and I were near the Panama border on our way to the airport in Costa Rica, when our bus was stopped by state police. They had these huge guns and made everyone get off the bus and stand in a line along the road. There was an officer (he had a badge on a chain around his neck, anyway) cutting fruit on the back of a parked truck with a machete. They were looking for drug mules. It was a tense 20 minutes or so. Thankfully there were no mules on our bus.

4. I worked five part-time jobs and went to school full time for the first three years of college. Not all at once. I usually had two or three jobs at any given time, though. And I earned an academic scholarship that paid half my tuition for my two years at university. Yes, I went for five years. (I loved college and would have stayed in longer if there was money to pay for it.)

5. Of the places I’ve traveled, my favorite city is Lagos, Portugal.

6. I have a problem with clutter. I’m working on it.

7. I once ran down a car (on foot in a parking lot) after the driver ran into my car and tried to flee. It wasn’t the logical thing to do, but it wasn’t possible for me to turn my car around the way the accident happened. I caught up with her to the applause of people who came out of shops and restaurants to cheer me on. If you know me in real life, you know I don’t run. That was pure adrenaline. Thankfully the driver had insurance, which paid for the damage to my car.

15 blogs I’m nominating for a VIB Award
(in no particular order)

All my nominees are truly amazing. You should definitely add them to your reading list, especially if you’re an artist or crafter. Enjoy!

http://www.pamplemousse1983.com/
http://www.iamthelab.com/
http://tractorgirl.com.au/
http://www.emilywestlowry.com/
http://etsydallas.blogspot.com/
http://la-alicia.blogspot.com/
http://kesslercraftsmanblog.blogspot.com/
http://christieconeceramics.com/blog/
http://regalcottage.blogspot.com/
http://jenni20designs.blogspot.com/
http://www.onesheepishgirl.blogspot.com/
http://www.ohmyhandmade.com/
http://thispapership.com/blog
http://whileshenaps.typepad.com/
http://www.blushandjelly.com/blog/

There are four requisites to accepting a VIB Award, from what I could find online: Post a link to the blogger who nominated you. Post the award image on your page. Share seven facts about yourself. Nominate 15 other blogs.

weekend reads #4

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

I heart animals. You probably gathered as much from my post about our sweet Jake, a Lab-Retriever (and who knows what else) rescue pup. These are some of my favorite animal blogs. If you are in need of warm fuzzies or just a good laugh, be sure to check these out.

Isaac blog

The SPCA of Texas has a special Isaac blog all about the pets that came to the SPCA from The Humane Society of South Mississippi and The Louisiana SPCA. According to their August 28 post, 181 dogs and cats came to Dallas and McKinney shelters in search of forever homes.

Since that post, the blog has been a steady stream of adorable photos of animals and their new adoptive families. It’s a whooooole lot of cute.

We adopted Jake from the SPCA of Texas and he has been such a joy. I highly recommend adopting a pet, if you’ve been thinking of welcome one into your home.

BlogPaws

Technically BlogPaws is a social media company that connects pet bloggers and animal lovers. If you follow them on twitter, you’ll find out about all sorts of pet blogs.

If you have an Etsy shop for pets, be sure to check out the BlogPaws community group for pet companies. I can’t tell you much about it as I am not a member (notebooks don’t count as pet products, I’m sure), but I’m pretty sure it’s awesome.

The pet-friendly BlogPaws 2013 conference is all set to take place in Virginia, for those of you looking to really dive in. I mean, how many social media/blogging conferences allow pets? I’m guessing not too many.

Dog-shaming

I follow DogShaming on tumblr and I love it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve laughed until I’ve cried looking at the posts.

Essentially people post photos of their dogs with (mostly) handwritten messages explaining why Fido is being shamed. If you have an even remotely mischievous dog (or a cat), you’ll definitely be able to relate.

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

raising a bookworm

Did you love to read when you were a kid? Zach and I grew up with a love of reading. We are proud bookworms and hope to pass that on to our children.

I have always loved Dr. Seuss. So we got a subscription for Dr. Seuss & His Friends books from Early Moments to start a library. We get three new children’s books each month. I remember some of the books we’ve gotten from when I was little and others are new to me.

I’m excited to see which books our son loves. And I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a book nerd just like his mom and dad. What was your favorite book growing up?

weekend reads #3

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

These three blogs are close to my heart. Why? Because all three go above and beyond to build up the creative community. It’s a beautiful thing to see. I love reading something that gives me warm fuzzies, especially after reading the news all day. But it’s not all fluff. These sites offer insights, inspiration and motivation you will love.

Oh My! Handmade

Many people contribute to Oh My! Handmade but the editor and community leader is Jessika. If you are a business owner, crafter or just a lover of all things creative and handmade, you should read the blog and follow Jessika on twitter.

Jessika embodies all the attributes I think of when I envision a community builder. She creates an environment that is both welcoming and truly inspiring. I could go on and on about all of her awesome, but I’ll let you learn more out about her yourself.

If you want to jump right in, I highly recommend checking out the post on Oh My University and marking your calendar for the #omhg twitter chat Sept. 6, 2012. It’s going to be a great one (they always are), particularly after the break in August. Come prepared to expand your community; you’ll meet all sorts of amazing people through Oh My!

I discovered Jenelle through an #omhg chat and I’m so glad. She’s on an amazing mission to create change in the world. She wants people all over the world to repurpose at least one item each day. Jenelle is one of many contributors to Oh My! I especially love her post on the importance of street cred.

As a blogger, crafter and Etsy shop owner, I love what Oh My! provides. Each month, the site focuses on a different theme. And I’ve yet to read a post I didn’t love. The tagline for the site says it all: your creative community and guide to businessy goodness. Amen!

Unicorns for Socialism

I don’t remember how I first stumbled onto Unicorns for Socialism, but I want to say it was through Pinterest.

Alexandra’s site is just as quirktastic as she is. I also follow her on twitter. She writes fun, inspiring posts about everything from determining the theme of your life to mastering confrontation.

I love that her blog shares so many guides, tips and so much motivation to help readers become the beautiful unicorns we all have waiting to burst out of us. Rainbows and unicorns for everyone! Read her posts and complete her questionnaires and you will feel the creative juices really starting to flow.

IAMTHELAB


Brett is the mastermind behind the creative laboratory IAMTHELAB, where you will find postings about all things indie, handmade, design-y and wonderful.

I’ve discovered so many new and amazing artists by reading Brett’s posts as well as following him on twitter. I love his recent feature on James Mattison’s A B Sea poster. IAMTHELAB started with a simple goal – “to serve as a resource to help foster the growth and influence of the handmade community.” I think we can safely say that goal has been met and exceeded.

Full disclosure: Brett and I collaborate on Project #icandoit365. I can assure you, I would have said all these nice things about him before our collab. Promise!

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

weekend reads #2: 3 blogs you should check out

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

This Paper Ship

I adore Joel and Ashley’s blog, This Paper Ship. The artistic duo offer beautifully written posts and beautiful photography. Their posts will make you long for delicious foods, travel and perhaps even a studio cat of your own.

I’m kind of drooling over their recent Flapjack Fridays post. Chocolate chip silver dollars? Yes, please! I’m totally going to try to make a non-dairy version.

Joel and Ashley’s Etsy shop is filled with their creative designs. They use high-quality recycled paper and ship with eco-friendly packaging. Hooray for green goodness! Their Winston Churchill card is my favorite item from their shop.

 

One Sheepish Girl

Meredith is a Dallas-based blogger and knitter. The photography accompanying her posts is stunning. Although she claims to be shy, Meredith’s posts are so honest and open, you will feel like an old friend after reading for just a short time. Her writing is lovely and inspiring.

She recently wrote a post listing her favorite books and tools for those interested in learning how to knit and crochet as well as a little background on how she got started. If her beautiful creations are any indication, the books and tools she recommends must be excellent.

Meredith’s Etsy shop will make you want to run out and buy all those books and needles she recommended. How adorable are her crocheted teacups? I happen to have one of her knitted bows and I love, love, love it!

 

Once Whispered

I love checking in with Emily’s blog, Once Whispered. She posts about all sorts of awesomeness, much of it focused on eco-friendly goodness.

I heart her recent DIY Photo Lanterns post. Y’all know I love a good DIY project. And her lanterns came out so pretty! Emily loves vintage and thrift finds so it’s no surprise these items make it onto her blog. Her post about her map obsession got me thinking about my massive craft stash. I should really do something with alllll that patterned paper …

Emily also has an Etsy shop that puts her love of vintage and upcycled items to use. I especially love her peacock hairclip. So pretty. And she has some exquisite fascinators and headbands for brides. I heart the pricing too.

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

#nestchat swag thanks to today’s nest

Do you participate in twitter chats? I love them. There are a few I join regularly and I love finding out about new ones.

I jumped in with the #nestchat tweeple for the first time last week. I must have had beginner’s luck that day because I won their giveaway. Hooray!

A big thank you to Dallas-based Sam Henderson (@todaysnest) for the swag. Be sure to check out his awesome site: Today’s Nest. The posts feature some gorgeous photography. (The food section is guaranteed to make you hungry.)

weekend reads #1: 3 blogs you should check out

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

 

Abby’s site is inspirational. She’s a published author with a second book on the way in May 2013.

She recently participated in a video chat about effective blogging with some excellent tips for budding bloggers. In the chat, Abby shares how her blog turned into an eventual book deal and more. If you’re a blogger, especially a crafty blogger, this is a must watch. Seriously.

Her On Rejection post offers real examples of why it’s so important to never give up. From the post: “Rejection is a part of being a sole entrepreneur. It’s a part of being a designer and an artist. It’s a part of life.” So true!

Abby’s collection of free tutorials is sure to make you swoon. I’m kind of in love with her Shelley the Snail. My sewing machine might have to come down this week for that one! She also has an adorable Etsy shop, if you would rather buy the magic than try to sew it yourself.

Maryam’s site is so much fun. She’s a Dallas-based professional photographer with some stunning work. You can see some examples of her beautiful photography on her Etsy shop or book her to shoot for you.

This former art teacher offers a variety of free tutorials on her blog from DIY dip-dye to mini layer cakes to easy summer beauty. The variety is part of what makes following Maryam so much fun. And, of course, the photography in her posts is always fantastic.

Maryam recently posted a great How To for bloggers who are going on vacation. I have to say I got some great ideas from that post. Although I haven’t taken a real vacation from my blog since I started posting regularly, I know that day will come and her tips are really going to help.

Lisa is a graphic designer with a beautiful blog. Her love of color is contagious, so prepare to get lost in all the loveliness. And if you want more, be sure to check out her Tumblr.

Her blogkeeping posts are bursting with wonderful tips, tricks and examples of ways to improve/grow/expand your blog.  I heart her Editorial Calendar post. There’s a beautiful downloadable calendar linked at the end of the post. I’ve clipped the topics page into sections and pasted them in my #icandoit365 journal. Love!

I also really love Lisa’s new Working Girl series with lessons from her own experience as a business owner. If you’re obsessed with to do lists (I know I am), check out her On Task Management post, which features recommendations for great organizational resources.

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

author promotes outdoors with ‘Adventures with Jonny’ series

Michael A. DiLorenzo created the “Adventures with Jonny” series to promote outdoor activities for children and parents. He is a father of one son (the inspiration for Jonny) and two daughters.

“Adventures with Jonny: Road Trip to the Parks!” focuses on family road trips to national parks. It includes guides, camping tips and road games to keep readers entertained.

DiLorenzo hopes parents will encourage children, already immersed in technology, to enjoy the outdoors. “The greatest family memories are created in shared adventure,” he said. “Outdoor recreation is filled with these memories just looking for a family to bring them home.”

Photo courtesy of Michael DiLorenzo

For those planning to hit the road, DiLorenzo offers these tips:

• Games: There is ample entertainment for drivers and passengers in cars these days. But the goal is to bond with the family, so consider a fun, albeit off-color game such as “Road Kill Round-Up.” A point system might break down like this: two points for the first to spot a poor critter; three for whoever first correctly identifies the species; two points subtracted for a false road-kill call; three points subtracted for misidentifying the kind.

• Beware of dairy drinks (and other smelly snacks): A spill in the backseat can eventually create quite a stink during a summer road trip. Pack plenty of healthy snacks to save on pricey pit stops and avoid all the sugar and salt in junk food.

• Avoid city rush hours: When traveling through metropolitan areas, consider the busiest traffic periods. Whether you plan to stop and check out the city or simply zip through it, bumper-to-bumper traffic is something to avoid. A bit of consideration can save your family hours of gridlocked misery.

• Tech help: Various apps and websites can help drivers find the cheapest gas prices, food options, hotel rates and travel routes. Also, don’t forget a music mix that appeals to the entire family on one of these devices. (Leave work at home – forget about work-related calls, texts and emails.)

• Schedule pit stops: Being in a hurry should be left for the morning commute. Vacation should be different. When traveling across states and provinces, consider local culture. For example, barbecue in South Carolina is very different from Missouri’s version. Enjoy diners and unique attractions, and don’t be afraid to take notes.