Category: NaBloPoMo

Final NaBloPoMo Post!

final nablopomo post

It is the last day of the NaBloPoMo 2014 and I have done it! This is the final NaBloPoMo post! I was away this weekend and had yesterday’s post done the night before thinking that tonight I’d have enough energy to write this celebratory post when I got home.

I was sooooo wrong! I am exhausted and just want to zone out right now…but ok, focus T, focus…just a little bit longer!

This week will be a planning week for the Rangeelichick blog, so it’s going to be a lot quieter than it’s been. I have mentioned needing an editorial calendar a few times now (you’re probably telling me to shut up about the damn calendar already), and I will be brainstorming more content that I can bring to you here (probably expect a post on truffle oil in the near future). I’ll also be catching up on some reading, blog surfing, and Second Life design work I have been wanting to finish.

There are some site tweaks I aim to complete, one of which is to create a static contact page to make it easier for people to get in touch.

I am also planning a little something unexpected, so watch for it in the future!

I’m proud to have completed this blogging challenge. It has given me another sense of purpose and creativity that I hadn’t been fully into before in this capacity. I proved to myself I can write something every day for a month (which is not something I can easily do because I don’t like monotony), and that even when I feel like I have nothing to write about, I can nearly always find something!

This time next year, I’m not sure I will be participating in NaBloPoMo 2015. I feel that doing this was something I really needed to do for myself this year, and it might not have the same kind of purpose for me next time. Ask me in six months! I may just have changed my mind and will have another purpose for doing it.

I had a list of goals when I began, and to review, I am posting them below:

  • Always write like myself. In blogging it isn’t necessary to write as if I’m working on a Master’s thesis.
  • Don’t compare anything I do with anyone who I think has more skill. This includes comparing blog aesthetics, content, writing skill, or post topics.
  • It doesn’t matter if I can’t think of a post topic. If I have no idea, I can post pictures or quotes I find amusing. I don’t always need to write a lot.
  • Always tweet, pin, and share every post no matter how shy I might be to publicize it.
  • Try to start writing longer post ideas on the previous day.
  • If I somehow don’t meet the challenge, I won’t feel like I failed. Everyone learns something from an unmet goal and it is possible to try again!
  • Don’t worry about opinions of others. Nasty comments aren’t constructive and often come from people who have nothing better to do.

In assessing these, I completed all my goals! Woohoo! And I thought it was going to be hard! (I’m certainly not saying it was easy though!) I’d suggest doing a blog challenge to every blogger. It stretches your skills and gets your ideas flowing better. You’re never alone in your challenge, and you will feel good when you have 30 more posts on your blog in the end.

Thank you to everyone who has left a comment, added me on social media, liked something on social media, or shared anything from the Rangeelichick blog. I am thankful for your support and encouragement!

Do you like blog challenges? What has been your biggest struggle with a blog challenge?

 

10 Things I Learned From NaBloPoMo

10 things i learned from nablopomo

I know I am a day early with this post. NaBloPoMo isn’t over for another day–but I kind of have other stuff to do this weekend so I am highlighting the things I learned from NaBloPoMo a bit sooner. I hope you don’t mind!

I had never done a writing challenge before. If you saw me posting at the beginning of November, I talked a bit about how I got sucked into blogging every day for a month. For anyone who might not know, NaBloPoMo stands for National Blog Post Month and while you may do a challenge like this any time on your own, the BlogHer website orchestrates a blog challenge every month. November is the big month however, because there is also another large scale challenge going on. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

I had contemplated NaNoWriMo, but I wasn’t so sure about trying to write a novel. It’s a great ambition, it just seemed a bit too large scale for me. Blogging is more manageable. It allows me to be more creative than I think I would be at trying to write a book. My blog is a venue for me to do a lot of different things. I can communicate my opinions on various topics, take my love for food and turn it into a post to share, review books I have read, create outfit looks that I think are fun–basically, I can use my blog for anything I want.

My blog is me in word form (and I am quite a mish mash of things).

If you were doing the challenge yourself, I bet you have learned some of the same things. If you haven’t yet done a challenge like this, maybe you can utilize something I have found out during the past month.

  1. Before you write for others, you must first be able to write for yourself. You need to be writing about things you are interested in or believe in. Don’t try to blog about something you aren’t very passionate about. Those feelings will show, and your readers will figure it out!
  2. Write in your own voice. Again, this is something readers can easily pick out. When I first started trying to blog, I hadn’t written anything in a long time. I was trying too hard to sound grammatically perfect. What content I ended up with turned out to be stiff and formal sounding. That is totally not me, and those I had asked to read it told me so! If you swear sometimes in every day conversation, do it on your blog (I do). Just be you and write how you would talk.
  3. Practice really does make perfect. The more I have written, the faster I get at writing and posting my blog entries. Granted, I need to have my topic idea, but my speed has increased over these last few weeks.
  4. Quality over quantity is important. There have been some posts I have done that I feel were kind of “cop out” posts. It was so important to me not to miss a day of the challenge that I sacrificed a little quality in favor of quantity. Going forward, I will not be doing that. Yes, sometimes quotes are ok, but I want to invest readers more than that.
  5. An editorial calendar would have been a big help. I am ok at coming up with something to write on the fly when I had to. It also helped me to know that every Friday I was doing a Fantasy Wardrobe Friday post, and almost every Saturday would be a recipe post. Though, some of the other days when I wasn’t in a mood to write, I didn’t know what to write. That made me feel somewhat flustered even though this entire challenge is voluntary!
  6. Write content in advance. This goes hand in hand with keeping an editorial calendar. There will be days you have life to deal with, or you aren’t in a writing mood. If you plan and write some content in advance, you have a little breathing room for when unexpected things come up.
  7. Don’t obsess over your Google Analytics. If you are just beginning, traffic will be slow. It’s good to be aware of your traffic, but don’t keep refreshing your analytics dashboard every five minutes. You will see your traffic increase in time.
  8. Utilize social networking. You don’t need to be a member of every social network, but you should be active on a few. When I post, I have a plugin that publicizes to Tumblr and Google+ when I hit my WordPress publish button. I edit the text in the publicize section before actually posting to my blog. Then I go to Twitter and send a tweet complete with picture when applicable. I schedule a tweet for the following morning via Buffer. I also share with my Facebook and Pinterest.
  9. Try to engage with people on your social networks. I need to work on this. My Twitter followers have grown over the past month, but I know I need to personally be better at adding and engaging as well.
  10. Find blogs you like and leave genuine comments. I need to work on leaving comments and connecting with other bloggers; I haven’t done much of this. I think when I get my blogging schedule figured out I will feel like I have more energy for commenting. At the moment, it seems as if all my time goes into writing. I want to set time to do the social part.

I could keep listing the many things I have learned, but I will leave you with these ten for now. A blog is forever a project of growth. I think I have said that before! It’s true! There is no success overnight, and we all start from the bginning and work our way up. I hope what I have taken from the NaBloPoMo blog challenge will benefit you in some way if you are thinking about doing a challenge, or if you are starting a blog.

What have you learned participating in NaBloPoMo? What have you learned as a blogger? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

Fantasy Wardrobe Friday: Black Friday Shopping Outfit

Black Friday Shopping Outfit

If you’re deciding to brave the stores for some Black Friday shopping, you’ll probably have two things in mind: warmth and comfort. If you live in a cold climate, it is no fun freezing in between stores or in lines. Granted, this outfit may not quite be warm enough for sub-zero temps, but I’ll just pretend for this scenario that it’s not quite that cold.

You’ll also want to be comfortable. You’ll probably want to wear a coat that isn’t too bulky; something you can move around in as you search for your big deals. Also, a cross body bag that isn’t too large will also be beneficial! This outfit is pretty casual with the boots, jeans, scarf, and top. To embellish the look I thought I’d add a bit of glitz with the earrings, and a simple two chevron ring.

Where My Blog Will Be In The Future

where my blog will be in the future

I wasn’t sure what to blog about today. I decided not to do a “Things I’m Thankful For” post because, well, I’m thankful for a lot and being the non-traditionalist I am at times I didn’t want to do what many others were doing. Besides, it’s not a traditional type of day in my home. Instead of turkey and mom’s party potatoes (potatoes are the only thing I care about, forget the rest), I bought a Papa Murphy’s pizza. It was a nice change in food (but I do want potatoes).

The NaBloPoMo daily blog prompt from BlogHer arrived in my inbox this morning, and I thought it was a good choice for a topic. It has me contemplating where my blog will be in the future.

Where do I see my blog in one year? Five years?

Who can see the future? If I dare to dream though, I will have at least over 125 more posts published on this blog by this time next year. The number right now is a bit scary to my eyes. I know I can do 30 days in a row of posting, so 125 spread out over the course of a year shouldn’t be too bad. Right?

At any rate, I’d like to take this blog and make it grow into an eventual part-time job. It might be putting the cart before the horse, but I have had a strong spurt of motivation and creativity through the NaBloPoMo challenge. This blog has been sitting here getting dusty for some time. I believe I first set up WordPress and found a theme in 2011 or 2012. I had also started a Second Life fashion blog around then. However, I wanted a personal one too.

When you first set up a blog, you want it to be perfect right from the start. You want the site to feel comfortable and familiar, like your personal space at home. I learned that yes, you do need to find a look that represents you, but making it feel totally like home takes time. It won’t feel that way if it stays empty.

Once I had found a theme, I needed the name. I was a little stuck there. So my site just sat…again.

I thought about it from time to time, fiddled with plugins, researched tips on what other bloggers deemed essential when beginning to blog. I learned more about SEO, social networking, and how people turn their skills into fun hobbies and careers they enjoy. It was such an appealing idea to get writing. I had blogged on Myspace for awhile in years past, I wanted to do it again; but I kept feeling held back by one reason or another.

Ugh, the excuses our inner selves make for us!

I think however, the time just has to be right for everything to come together. At times it just comes together slower than others. An online friend helped me in finally choosing my domain and site name, he helped me design my logo after I settled on a different theme, then I let the site sit for a little while once again.

I blogged a few times in 2013 and earlier in 2014. I asked a couple people to read my writing and give me feedback. I wasn’t sounding like myself. I was too stiff. They told me it was like I was trying too hard to write correctly, as if I was writing for college assignments. I tended to agree with that. What I was writing sounded exactly like that!

Anyway, now that I have a handle on it and have remedied that particular issue, I feel much better in this space of mine. I am confident enough in my writer’s voice to think blogging could potentially lead to exciting opportunities for personal and perhaps professional growth. I know I still have work to do in many areas. Learning and experimenting are the fun parts of the whole process!

So, in the future I see my blog growing as I do. Getting better and publishing more high quality content in time. Maybe I will share other creative projects here as well. I have some high hopes. When the challenge of NaBloPoMo is over and I get into a regular routine, I will have a better idea of where the blog will go. Five years is a bit far out for me to assess where this all might lead.

I am excited to continue on the journey and to see where this road takes me!

Where do you see your blog in the future? Or if you have been blogging for awhile, how far has your blog come since your first few months? Comment below!

Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t Let Your Food Touch!

thanksgiving food touching

Rather than make the obligatory “Things I Am Thankful For” post (which might actually come tomorrow…haven’t decided), I thought I would post something simple and funny.

Can you relate to the above graphic? I hate it when my foods touch. It is a small peeve of mine and I don’t really like seeing it on other’s plates either. But, to each their own, as I like to say! I can handle the meat or stuffing touching the potatoes and gravy though I’d prefer it not to happen. Definitely no sweet foods should be touching savory. I also don’t like using my dinner plate for pie when dinner is over.

One more thing, keep the cranberry jelly stuff at the other end of the table please!

I know, I’m weird! Anyone else like this? Leave a comment!

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate!

 

Image Credit: Here

A World of Hurt: Rage and Riots

The world is a huge place with millions of residents from every walk of life. It is as diverse as it is populated. I know it will never be possible for everyone on the planet to live in perfect harmony and peace with one another; there are simply too many conflicts. But I will never understand how one judgement can send an entire group of people into rage and riots, destroying their own community and damaging their neighbor’s livelihoods.

I haven’t really been following the situation in Ferguson, MO until this point. I am not writing about the decision that was made, or my opinion on it because…I don’t have an opinion. Since I haven’t been keeping tabs on the case, I don’t have all the facts. I cannot form an adequate stance on the incident. It is not something for me to judge if I don’t know much about the witness accounts or evidence.

Why haven’t I been following the news about this topic? It’s not for lack of caring about justice or current events–it’s simply because, the news is often too sad. I stay pretty current on the major stuff, but I limit myself. It brings me down when I hear what state our society is in and frequently, it pisses me off. I think too much and end up feeling like humanity is a lost cause when I know it doesn’t have to be.

I am daunted by the sheer numbers of people who don’t think before they act, or do things that go against the welfare of others in the name of protest. Our world should be more advanced than this by now. Humans should not be acting like barbarians as a way to display their rebellion to something they don’t agree with. We don’t live in the Dark Ages. This isn’t 1350, it’s 2014. Riots aren’t an appropriate way to take a stance.

More violence is not the answer to another violent act. It displays a complete lack of rationale that sets our society back decades, if not centuries.

How are riots a logical response to anything? I feel bad for the citizens of Ferguson–because people let their rage over a decision made by a jury, whether fair or unfair, control their actions. They thought, “Hey, let’s go burn shit! Let’s go burn these cars and this business, and these homes! Let’s break windows and loot here, there, everywhere! Let’s run down these streets with guns and just shoot because we are angry! It will make people listen! It will make them pay for the injustice!”

It makes a community pay for the injustice.

It makes the livelihoods of neighbors pay for the injustice.

It makes innocent lives pay for the injustice.

Did the owner of that burning business shoot Michael Brown? Or the owner of the parked car that is smoldering? Or how about that person crumpled on the ground in pain from being caught in the chaos? No, but they are paying for it; something they had nothing to do with.

And all of that for what? No positive result will come of it. Is more death and destruction a positive end? This type of violence doesn’t change the past, but it changes the future. For the worse.

It perpetuates a vicious circle of violence that continues to destroy innocent people, instill fear, and fuel stereotypes. This violence works against whatever progress humanitarians and civil rights leaders have struggled so hard to break down over the years.

When are people going to get it? There are other means to show disagreement or prove a point. Peaceful ways. Respectful ways. The only steps to get humanity to go forward is to change behaviors and assess potential outcomes of an action. I don’t know how we can get society to do this, it will likely never happen. But for the sake of our country, and countries everywhere, I wish it would happen soon.

 

Black Friday Deals & Cash Back with Ebates

black friday deals and cash back at ebates

Holiday shopping time is upon us this week! I know everyone is surfing the ads for the big Black Friday Deals. Let’s not forget Cyber Monday either, which I prefer. Who doesn’t love being able to shop from the comfort of their own home? There are a lot of online deals on Black Friday as well, so if you don’t want to take the chance of shortening your life expectancy over a flat screen TV, just stay home and do things the easy way!

For the record, I am not a huge fan of this whole commercialization thing. I don’t like the things greed and a massively crazy sale cause people to do. I mean, when people get trampled just to save money on something like a PS4, something that’s not even a life necessity, that is really sad and disturbing. Possessions are not worth risking yours or anyone’s life or safety. Please, be taking care while out and about this Black Friday! And be conscious of others! Ok, morality public service announcement over.

I am supposed to be talking about a website that will help you avoid such safety risks and give you a little cash back in the end. This website is called Ebates, and by using it you will receive a percentage of what you spent back via PayPal or check.

Admittedly, sometimes I forget to use it. Then I kick myself for not remembering because if I can get 8% cash back on a purchase of $50, I just missed out on a few bucks!

This is how it works:

  1. Sign up for an Ebates account.
  2. On the main page, it will show you the stores offering double the normal percent cash back, featured deals and coupons. Yes, coupons!
  3. Search for the store you’d like to shop at in their search bar (Target, Forever21, Walgreens, Sephora…there are probably thousands of stores listed).
  4. Once you have searched, it will show you the coupons and online codes available to use for that brand.
  5. Choose your code and click the “Shop Now” button beside it. Or, if you don’t see a deal you like now but want to shop, click the same button at the top of the page.
  6. Shop on the brand’s site as normal. When you check out of your shopping cart, a tracking cookie from Ebates records the amount into your Ebates account. It will appear there within 48 hours.
  7. Ebates pays out your cash back quarterly. So, it might be awhile before you have the money in hand so to speak. It DOES pay out though! Also, if you only have an amount of $5.01 or less cash back, it won’t pay you until you have exceeded that minimum. To date, I have received $28.93!

There is also a browser button you can install which will help remind you to use Ebates at checkout so that you don’t miss out on getting some money back (like I often have done, I really need that button)!

I seldom am impressed with sites that offer things like this, but after a good friend had recommended it to me, I decided to try it. I am happy that I did!

So, start preparing for your holiday season shopping by signing up to Ebates and taking a look around. Right now, there is even a promotion to earn up to $75 extra when you refer friends and they use the site!

P.S. I did use my referral link within this post. I am not being sponsored by them, nor do I have any affiliation with them as anything but a user of their service! When you sign up, you will have your own referral link that you can share however you like!

Do you already use Ebates? What do you think about it? Are you signed up to any other savings sites that will be useful this shopping season? Feel free to leave your referral links for them in the comments!

 

Don’t Let the Uncontrollable Control You

maya angelou quote

 “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” -Maya Angelou

In Life, there is much we cannot control. We must always try to find the strength within ourselves to not let what happens destroy us. We must always try to learn and grow from our circumstances in order to come out at the top of our game.

Honey Baked Salmon Recipe for One

honey baked salmon for one

When I make food I always end up making way too much, even when I do cut the recipe in half. A easy meal to portion out is salmon. You can buy a large filet at the grocery store, take it home, and cut it into portions for freezing. That is what I ended up doing for this Honey Baked Salmon recipe.

To freeze, cut your filet into strips about 2-3 inches wide (or however wide you’d like your portions to be. Then, place each piece in the bottom of a freezer bag. Roll the bag up from the bottom to squeeze the air out, then seal the bag. It is now ready for the freezer!

Thawing is simple too. Remove a serving from the freezer and place in a bowl of luke warm water for about 30 minutes.

Read more »

Fantasy Wardrobe Friday: Ode to Cher

Fantasy Wardrobe Friday: Ode to Cher

Today I found out the singing legend, Cher, cancelled the rest of her tour due to needing more recovery time after her illness. My mom and I had tickets to a concert date n October, and then it was postponed, much to our disappointment. The date had been pushed back to January. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s just that the weather here can be really unpredictable in January. So, you never know when plans might be affected by ice, snow, and wind.

Anyway, I wish Cher good health. As much as I wanted to see her in concert, she really had a grueling schedule and health is one of the most important things in life.

Since it’s Fantasy Wardrobe Friday, I decided to do an ode to Cher. If you have followed her career, she has worked a lot with the clothing designer Bob Mackie. I chose some party dresses to feature that are glitzy and glamorous, just like Madame Cher!

Needle Thread boho dress
saksfifthavenue.com

Dress
gilt.com

Sequin dress
societyofchic.com