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

Barbie Makes Women Appear Weak

computer engineer barbie makes women look weak

I loved her as a child. I wanted every doll and playset that Mattel produced, and I thought all of her different personas were beautiful and perfect. Barbie appeared to have her hands in all the metaphorical pots, being portrayed in a multitude of careers and roles. I doubt any woman could rival her list of achievements in a lifetime.

But on a serious note, with her short stints in any one job, I would think she’d be red flagged for her employment longevity–or more like her lack of it.

At any rate, with all of the noise regarding her newest career aspiration to be a Computer Engineer, I decided to blog about it. (Note: She is not actually an engineer yet. Mattel should rename her “I Can Be A Computer Engineer…Once I Finish School and Get My Degree”.)

To summarize the issue about her Computer Engineer fiasco and how it began, Barbie just made women look weak.  Mattel released a short story coinciding with this version of the doll. The story tells of her “designing” a computer game and needing two male classmates to code it. In the meantime, a virus infects her computer but never fear, her stuff is backed up on her necklace/flash drive (it’s on a necklace so she doesn’t forget to back her shit up apparently). How fancy.

She inserts her flash drive into her dear illegitimate daugh–I mean, sister’s computer. You can about imagine what happened then. Yup, Barbie screws up Skipper’s computer because neither were smart enough to have a virus scan on their two inch thick, ten pound, Dell laptops (or maybe it’s an old Gateway).

Barbie, what were you thinking? You could have used your student discount to buy software to protect your precious “Engineer” work.

So, she marches her little fanny to the school to fix her and Skipper’s computers. She asks her teacher (I think it should have been Professor), how she can fix her craptastic machine from 2005. She is told how she can recover her data, and her sister’s precious homework. While attempting to do this, her two male coder buddies show up and the one has the nerve to say, “It’ll go faster if Brian and I help.” Because I guess she can’t get things figured out without males around.

Let me get this straight Mattel, you call Barbie a “Computer Engineer” when she is still a student. Second, you don’t portray her actually engineering anything. Two of her male classmates are doing that part. Barbie is the designer. She can’t even fix her computer. Hm. I see a marketing issue.

Back to the riveting story…Barbie (with the help of her Professor and her two male classmates) saves her sister’s homework and the game designs. Skipper then is able to give her presentation to her class about how she is most inspired by her mom–I mean older sister, Barbie, the “Computer Engineer.”

Cut to Barbie in her class. Ms. Smith is so impressed (by the ability of Barbie to follow instruction). Barbie saved the day with her skills (of following instructions and enabling her sexist male classmates and their chauvinist attitudes by letting them do the tasks that she should have been doing in the first place). She takes the credit for their hard work.

“I guess I can be a Computer Engineer!” Barbie squeals emphatically in her trendy beachy waved, side ponytail.

Fade out.

Um, no Barbie. You can’t. I will tell you why.

First of all, you kind of need to understand coding and how a computer operates. Maybe you should begin by choosing an accredited college for that. Either you have an extreme misunderstanding of what a Computer Engineer does, or you are hoping to just sail through school on your stilettos, while letting your male classmates do the back-end work while you take the credit. Good luck with that!

Second, Mattel, the company that made you has done you and girls everywhere a HUGE disservice. Mattel has consistently made you into a misrepresentation of what real, strong and independent women should be.

Dear Mattel, we are nearly in the year 2015! Yes, women love clothing and makeup. We love looking cute and shopping (not all women, but many…I’m not trying to stereotype), but we also love other things. Some women enjoy getting their hands dirty doing construction, farming, or being rodeo riders. Some prefer to be writers, book editors, or social marketers. We have all types of careers, interests, and skills. Can you stop producing dolls that live in some candy coated world?

I gave you diversity points when you finally recognized the physically challenged population and made a Barbie with a wheelchair. That has long since been a faded memory as you have not made another since. This matter is another blog post though. You definitely don’t win points for sexism.

Why do you keep on insisting a relatable doll has to be dumbed down and clothed in frilly pink garb?

If the side story would have been left out, it wouldn’t have become as big of a deal as it has. It could have been left up to a girl’s imagination. However, because people are going crazy over the absence of a feminism vibe to the story, Mattel and the actual author the company had hired have both been questioned by the media and that has definitely been some interesting reading.

Mattel released an apology on Barbie’s Facebook page:

The Barbie I Can Be A Computer Engineer book was published in 2010. Since that time we have reworked our Barbie books. The portrayal of Barbie in this specific story doesn’t reflect the Brand’s vision for what Barbie stands for. We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologize that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girl’s imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.

So, even though the publishing date on sites like Amazon (where it has since been pulled) were cited as 2013, Mattel claims it was published in 2010. The company also says they have reworked their Barbie books since. Is this the reworked version then? Isn’t that what their timeline suggests if the publishing date is 2013? Or do they mean they have changed the way they have written all of the books since the Computer Engineer one came out, but they didn’t actually change any of the books that had already been published?

Also, where was the quality control? If it didn’t fit the vision, why go ahead with it?

The author, Susan Marenco, was quoted on the ABC website:

The author, Susan Marenco, who previously worked at Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen for 10 years as an “editor and usability designer specializing in linguistic usability,” told ABC News this afternoon she considers herself a feminist and regrets that she may have let stereotypes slip into the book. But the assignment was to write about Barbie as a “designer,” she added.

“I want people to know I am conscious of that,” she said, referring to stereotypes of women in technology. “If I was on deadline, it’s possible stuff slipped out or I quietly abided by Mattel without questioning it. Maybe I should have pushed back, and I usually I do, but I didn’t this time.”

“Maybe I should have made one of those programmers a female – I wish I did,” said Marenco, who is now a technical editor at a tech firm in San Francisco. Mattel has not responded to ABC News’ attempts to confirm her account.

In a story on the Refinery 29 website, Marenco was also quoted from another source:

“They can’t get out of the groove of ‘she’s nice; she doesn’t show anger; she doesn’t show frustration,'” Marenco continued to KTN. She’s written 40-50 Barbie books, and has received many comments from editors saying that the character “has to be more polite.”

Personally, Barbie seems creepily polite. She shoots an unreal amount of sunshine and daisies out of her ass (not literally).

Why did Mattel name the doll with a title of Computer Engineer when they instructed the author to write about Barbie as a Designer? Communication issues?

I guess there is an entire “I Can Be…” Barbie series of dolls. I wonder if any of the other books are as botched as this particular one was. I’m sure people are feverishly looking through them. As of now, the current “I Can Be…” doll offerings are entrepreneur, pop star, singer, cake baker, cookie chef, ice skater, swim champion, soccer player, tennis player, and nurse (wearing skin tight jeggings…I don’t think that’s the typical nursing uniform).

I did find a list of Barbie’s past careers on Wikipedia. I’m not sure how complete this is. How about producing a lawyer, house flipper, farmer, truck driver, do another round of Barbie in the armed forces like in the early 90’s (not in pink camo), or how about a TV camera woman?

I get it, Barbie is a doll that is supposed to encourage girls to be imaginative and creative in their play. There are certain Barbie lines geared towards the different age groups–some that aren’t all dressed in pink. But those aren’t the ones with all the different careers. Children are pretty smart, and they often want to emulate adults. The kids may not have noticed what was wrong with the scenario in the book, but maybe some subconsciously took something from it. If you are going to try to teach a girl she can be anything she wants, try teaching it in a better way.

Somewhere out there, one little girl learned and has internalized that in a male dominated field, men will always be better at the job. Thanks Mattel!

 

Image Credit: Here

Shit From the Interweb: Youtube Food Tasters

shit from the interweb youtube food tasters

I watch a lot of Youtube, or I try at least. Some of the videos I like are taste test videos where people from one part of the world taste foods from another part of the world, and you get to see the initial reactions of the Youtube Food Tasters! I would love to do something like this for fun one day. I am not too keen to be on video, but I have a curious nature when it comes to food and like trying new things.

Today, I saw a re-posted video pop up on Facebook and I watched it because it relates to a few of the foods in Minnesota that are known to this region. I confess, there are some foods we are known for that I think are not so great. However, I grew up eating some of them.

First up was Jello Salad. If I had laid eyes on it for the first time, I’d be baffled too. If you know any Minnesotans, you probably have tried it. It can be seen it at all major gatherings. This is especially true for Christmases and family reunion potlucks. There are too many versions of it to keep track of, using every different flavor of Jello. The green ones are usually the worst. The worst of the worst are comprised of green Jello, canned pineapple, and cottage cheese (I take that back. Some salads have been known to contain Jello and shredded carrot. Lord knows why anyone thought that was a great idea). The version in the video is one of the better ones. It looks like it has marshmallows and Cool Whip in it.

I can’t believe the tasters were given Lutefisk next! A lot of us might be Norwegian, but I don’t know many families who like to bust this stuff out. Think fish Jello…not to be confused with one of the Jello Salad varieties. Lutefisk is just…so wrong. Of all the things brought from Norway, this is the worst. Maybe Ylvis should write their next song about it!

Then, we have good ‘ol Tater Tot Hotdish. Again, I’m not a fan–just like I’m not a goulash enthusiast. I have never had Tater Tot Hotdish with cheese though. Usually, it’s made up of tater tots, ground beef, cream of mushroom soup, and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. Most often the vegetables are corn, green beans, and carrots. There are variants of this too. It’s similar to the Jello Salad, no two are ever alike!

Fourth is the Juicy Lucy. A cheese stuffed burger…what can I say, it’s a thing. Who wouldn’t love a cheese stuffed burger? You could stuff it with other things too. Maybe some bacon, jalapenos, or give it a twist and stuff it with some french fried onions.

Last up is the Nut Goodie Bar. I didn’t know this was something we were known for. I can’t complain about them. I think the last time I ate one was a couple decades ago. I personally liked Skor and Reese’s.

Here is the video of the taste testing! It was made by Movato Originals!

What food dishes is your area known for? Are there any that you really love or hate?

 

What Book Should I Read Next?

what book should i read next?

This weekend, I just finished the last book in the Game of Thrones series, A Dance With Dragons. Eagerly after I had ingested the last word on the final page, I tore through the interwebs to find a potential release date for George R. R. Martin’s next book. I thought I had read somewhere before there was a Spring 2015 date. It would coincide with the ending of the next show season.

Well…looks like I’ll be waiting until friggin 2016! Ok, I may not be. There are conflicting reports, and you can’t exactly force a person to churn out the rest of a 1000+ page book. These things can’t be rushed. Hopefully, the book is more like 2000 pages so it takes longer for me to read it. I checked Goodreads to see if there were any more official updates. There were none, but there were some comments with responses that made me laugh. Check them out to see what I mean.

Now the question is, what should I read next?

I read the excerpt of Andy Cohen’s new book, The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year. It seems funny, as was his last book–although I am not sure I feel it will be worth the money at the moment.

The next book I was contemplating is The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau. It sounds like an uplifting read that will motivate and inspire. It seems to get high reviews and sounds like a book I might enjoy.

Otherwise…also by Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future. The author interviews a bunch of entrepreneurs and asks them questions about when they first started their businesses, including how much their initial investments were.I am always intrigued about start-ups and how someone can take an idea and run with it.

The Miniaturist by Jessie BurtonThis is a historical novel set in Amsterdam in the 1600’s. A woman marries a merchant, and as a wedding gift he gives her a miniature replica of their home. She commissions an artist to make miniatures of the decor of their home to fill the inside. Apparently, the woman begins to uncover secrets and understand the dangers that could befall them. Oohhh…how mysterious!

So, what shall it be? I’m having a difficulty time deciding.

What are some books you are hoping to read in the future?