How I Overcome Blogger's Block

You may have noticed a sudden influx in the posts on this blog.  This is because I am currently doing Sarah Arrow's 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  She sends a clever blogging lesson to your inbox and you write a post everyday for thirty days.  Simple, right?  Not always.  Sometimes it is hard to find the time to write.  Sometimes its hard just to think of things to write.  So, today I wanted to share with you some ways I overcome Blogger's Block.

  • I never force myself to write.  I can tell a huge difference in a piece I wrote because I was inspired to do so and one I made my self write.  I'll let you in on a little secret--the latter is never as good.
  • I stay in the know.  I use Newsify and Twitter to follow news stories related to the subject matter I enjoy writing about.  Some days I wake up with no idea what to write about but once I'm on Newsify I find a great story that I have an opinion on and want to share.
  • I use a calendar to plan posts.  Now, this is still not something I'm great at BUT I'm getting better!  I use a calendar to plan what I am going to write for a week or so so then I'm not rushing at the last minute to find something to write.  There are so many websites online where you can find interesting holidays, this day in history, all of that can be a potential post.
  • I think as a blogger.  Now when I travel or go to events I think about them with a Blogger's mind.  How would I write about this?  What would be the best way to represent this event on my blog?  Even if I don't write about that particular event, it helps to exercise my brain and grow as a writer.

Those are just a few ways I avoid Blogger's Block.  What do you do?  Please share in the comments!  And for more posts like this please subscribe and receive each new post in your inbox.


The Best of Week One

As you may have noticed, this blog has had a lot more going on in the past week.  This is due to Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Blogging Challenge.  I am now on the ninth day of the challenge and am so excited about what I’ve learned I want to share it with you.  Below is a roundup of posts used in the challenge and what you will find there.

What do I blog about?

“Let’s begin at the very beginning, its a very good place to start” Many people like the idea of blogging but have no clue what to write about.  This post will help you get some ideas on what you know well and what people may find interesting.

Using Keywords for World Domination

Keywords are hugely important in the world of blogging.  This is how people are going to be drawn into your blog and find it in the first place.  What keywords are you using?

Optimizing Your Posts using WordPress SEO

I’m going to be honest with you, SEO is still really confusing to me.  But this blog did help a lot!

3 Types of Editorial Calendar to Manage Your Business Blog

I LOVE this post!  I love calendars and planners and organization and the like.  This post is AWESOME.  Don’t miss another silly national Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Day type holiday you can write about.

How to Write Faster Blog Posts!

Remember all those outlines you wrote in grade school?  It’s time to bring them back!  This post will give you some excellent tips on how to save time writing blog posts.

How long should a Blog Post be?

The age old question.  How long is long enough?  Is there a such thing as too long?  Whatever happened to short and sweet?  Learn all the answers and more!

Headlines and Your Heart’s Desires

Your title is the first thing people will see regarding your post, you might as well make it AWESOME

I hope this helps any other novice bloggers out there!  Enjoy this week and never want to miss another?  Want to give me an excuse to use that ape they kept talking about on Serial?  Subscribe and get goodies like this sent straight to your inbox!


Brews, Brunch, and Easter Fun: Weekend Recap

I am constantly taking pictures.  My phone is home to over a thousand shots of food, animals, myself, my friends and family.  My whole life is there.  So, as a peek into me, I am posting all of the pictures I took last weekend.  Sure, it is a week later and maybe I should just do this weekend, but roll with me.

My weekend started Thursday night when one of my best friends from college came into town.  While living in Milledgeville, we ate Amici every week and as per usual this is where we ended up tonight.

Before enjoying a pitcher of Budlight, six honey hot wings, and a basket of fries

After a night of wing eating and “Scandal” watching, we needed some fuel for our next day.  As you know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we do not play around with breakfast.  We headed to Athens staple, Mama’s Boy, for some stellar breakfast grub.  I had their daily special, which this day happened to be a split biscuit topped with grilled ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise.  AMAHZING.

After brunch, we headed to Atlanta for the rest of the weekend.  We started at Sweetwater Brewery.  It was the perfect day for a brewery visit, absolutely sunny and beautiful!

Sunnies and Selfies

Weimaraners are without a doubt in my top five dog breeds.  It is the result of watching too many William Wegman Sesame Street segments as a child (and adult woman).

After the brewery, we went to dinner at Grindhouse where I saw this gem.  Honestly, the best way to get a tip.

After dinner, we went bar hopping in Virginia Highlands.  I’ve gone out in this area a couple times now and always enjoy it.

The next morning we went to brunch at The Ivy, a total bro bar but the brunch was delish.  I started with this “fully loaded” Bloody Mary complete with celery, olives, lime, bacon, okra, and a chicken wing.

Some of my college loves, three who I know will always have my back.

For brunch, I had the Ivy Eggs Beauregard, a split biscuit topped with pimento cheese, a fried green tomato, bacon, fried eggs, and hollandaise.

Brunch lovin’

I made it back to Athens in time for a wonderful Easter Sunday with my family!  We had our traditional Easter brunch of breakfast casserole, grits, and biscuits.

f course the bunny brought the pups some goodies too.

This was taken after our Grandfather asked us if we had any of “those selfies” on our phones.

(Easter) Selfie Sunday

Playing with the hairy baby

The whole fam damily

Me and my Little Biscuit, check out all of her fashion adventures at Read Between the Hemlines

uppy Snuggles

“But the Easter Bunny brought that to meeeee”

Well, that was my weekend--full of brews, brunch, and Easter fun!

More than just Leotards and Thigh Highs: Feminism in Comics

The comic book industry often gets a lot of flack for its sexism.  Horror stories of too small of waists paired with too large of breasts and pretentious male comic shop owners come to mind, and I am by no means saying this critique is not well deserved, but often overlooked is the celebration of feminism in comic books.  In the recent years, the comic book industry has realized what a large number of their readers are women and begun to cater to this audience.

The Scott Pilgrim series holds a very special place in my heart.  I read devoured these books the summer before my freshman year of college.  I bought the soundtrack on one of the first trips to my small college town’s very large Wal-Mart.  The first time my parents came to visit me at college we went to see the movie.  Seriously, at twenty-three years of age I still have a lot of nostalgia for this series.  One of my favorite things about Bryan Lee O’Malley’s female characters is that they are all different in incredibly relatable (and non-stereotypical) ways.  Not to mention there’s tons of them, from Ramona to Knives to Envy, this is one of the few books I have read where there are as many female characters as there are male.  Kim Pine is my favorite with her blunt, tells it like it is attitude.  Not to mention--great freckles.

From Popmatters

Kelly Sue Deconnick is without a doubt one of the greatest comic writers on the scene today.  Her book Bitch Planet is a diverse female driven narrative without being your typical “women’s story.”  The protagonist reveal in the first issue really flips the switch on the way we look at characters.  Every issue includes a short but sweet essay on feminism and how it is used in that particular issue.

From the Marvel Database

Deconnick also writes Captain Marvel.  Carol Danvers is one of the most relatable super heroes, male or female.  While Wonder Woman was once treated as the secretary of the Justice League, Captain Marvel has just as much say as the rest of the Avengers.  Not only is Captain Marvel hugely inspiring to readers, her fanbase, the Carol Corps, shows one of the most amazing support systems of men and women today.

Miss Marvel, written by Sana Amanat, is one of the best comics of the past year.  Kamala Khan is a regular teenage muslim American girl worried about a social life and living with her strict parents, when she is bestowed super powers.  Kamala looks up to Captain Marvel in a way that is relatable to any young woman who has ever felt inspired by a superhero.  In the first issue Kamala is completely morphed into the original Captain Marvel (long blonde hair, skimpy uniform, and all) and feels uncomfortable in a way that any woman reading comics and questioning the practicality of leotards and thigh high boots totally gets.

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Wonder Woman was my (and many women’s) first comic love.  In the same enthusiastic way my mom played Wonder Woman as a child, I read the series as a high schooler.  When I first read this series it was being written by Gail Simone and Jodi Picoult, some of the greats!  Currently, I work at a preschool and carry my red and blue Wonder Woman water bottle with me everyday waiting to hear the commentary from five and six year old girls.  “My mom loves her.”  “She looks strong.”  And the ultimate, “I think you are her.”  (I will forever be content knowing a very honest kindergartner once compared me to Wonder Woman).  **FEMINISM FUN FACT** Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston was hugely involved in the suffrage movement.  In the early comics, Wonder Woman was almost always depicted in chains of some sort.  This was to represent the way women of the suffrage movement used chains as symbols, whether chaining themselves to the White House gates in protest or marching in parades carrying them as a symbol of enslavement.

From ABC

From ABC

My notes on “Marvel’s Agent Carter” include “Clothes!!!” and “struggle for gender equality on point.”  Technically not a comic, but its a no brainer.  Women had worked throughout World War II (Carter’s roommate is LITERALLY a riveter) and in ways even helped to win it but once the war was over they were pushed back out of the workforce.  I can’t think of a better time period to depict the struggle for gender equality.  Agent Carter is treated like a secretary by her male colleagues, but that doesn’t stop her from being the best in her field.  And how awesome is this shot of her fighting through men standing in her way?!?  For more awesome Agent Carter goodness check out Buzzfeed’s article, 63 Gloriously Feminist Moments from “Agent Carter.”

Who knew one of the greatest teenage girl coming of age narratives would be written by two men?  Sex Criminals is one of the most accurate and honest stories of a young woman growing up from being slut shamed by her mother, “educated” on sex by her peers, and having her body policed by a very unhelpful doctor, Suzie has experiences everyone can relate to.

Princess Leia/Bikini Kill Mash Up Goodness thanks to Feminist Resources

Princess Leia/Bikini Kill Mash Up Goodness thanks to Feminist Resources

Queen (or Princess, rather) of  classic sci-fi, Leia Organa of Alderaan has been treated to her own title this year.  Just try and tell me there’s something better than a pants-clad Princess Leia kicking total butt.


As far as physical depictions of women in comic books, there is still a ways to go but one look at these wonderfully feminist (and popular) titles will have you begging for more.

Athfest 2014

Having recently graduated, I have found myself back in Athens.  Though I still consider Athens my home, a lot has changed while I was away falling in love with the small town life and history of Milledgeville.  I was able to keep in touch with Athens through weekend visits and recent publications claiming its status as one of the south’s best kept secrets.  As I return and begin my adult life where I spent all of my adolescence and childhood, I hope to share my findings here so others may see what a magical the Classic City is.  

I can’t think of a better place to start this journey than with the annual Athfest music festival.  Originally started in 1997 to promote music coming out of Athens, Athfest has always been an important weekend for the community, as well as myself personally.  The glorious Pulaski Street stage is where I saw Perpetual Groove and Reptar play for the first time.  It’s where I, along with many others, celebrated the music the Modern Skirts had given us as they played their final show.

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The Pulaski Street Stage, seated where Washington meets Pulaski, is where I spent most of Friday night.  My friends and I set up camp at Ted’s Most Best to enjoy Reptar, Family and Friends, and Judah and the Lion.  Not being too interested in battling crowds, Ted’s proved to be a great spot.  We were able to hear and see the bands, while enjoying refreshments in the form of Ted’s phenomenal sangria, $2 PBRs and, of course, King of Pops.

I ended the night at the Georgia Theatre for Dead Confederate.  This was just my third or fourth time in the theatre since their reopening in 2011, and I am still amazed by what an incredible building this is.  If you haven’t visited the gallery, located behind the upstairs bar, you really must.  This is my favorite spot and an amazing reminder of all of the history the Theatre holds.

little.jpg

spent most of Saturday hopping from place to place with friends visiting from out of town.  At Little Kings I got the pleasure of seeing Life is a Flower, Life is a Gun (as well as enjoying a pick-up game of cornhole).  These guys are not to be missed.  They’re eclectic mix of instruments make for an amazing sound.  If you, like me, are a sucker for string instruments, this is a must listen.

Much of Saturday was built up around seeing Kishi Bashi that evening.  The once member of Of Montreal, Kaoru Ishibashi, graced Athens with his presence and did not disappoint.  NPR recently had his new album, Lightght, streaming and it was constantly filling the walls of my small Milledgeville apartment.  This album is perfect for a Sunday Summer Drive.

 

Further Reading--For more on Athens and the music scene check out these posts:

Treat Yo Self: Thrifty Finds in Athens, GA

Butch Walker at the 40 Watt

Birthday Weekend

 

Originally written June 29, 2014

Why the world needs more female anti-heroes

With this weeks release of “Maleficent,” we see a rise in popularity of a female anti-hero, someone who is seen as a protagonist though they lack the noble and respectable qualities that make a person such.  Through shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” “Mad Men,” and “Boardwalk Empire,” we have learned to embrace and root for the anti-hero, but only when said character is a man.  In our society, women are taught to be likable and the majority of female protagonists are portrayed this way.  When we see a woman doing the morally corrupt in order to get what she wants, we view her as selfish and entitled.  Though these women are ones we may not want to come across in our own lives, it is important that media portray all sides of women.

An argument could be made for each of the four protagonists (Hannah, Jessa, Marnie, and Shoshana) in HBO’s series “Girls.”  This is a show that resonates with me and many of my twenty-something peers because the characters find themselves in familiar situations--struggling with finding a job in the current economy, awkward dating scenarios, the ups and downs of female friendships--which are depicted more honestly than they usually are in media.  We are used to seeing women in more stylized situations and are often made uncomfortable by seeing these characters more realistic reactions.

Nancy Botwin is perhaps the closest we have, at least on this list, t0 a female Walter White.  The series “Weeds” picks up after the death of Nancy’s husband when she finds herself in a financial rut.  Through the first seasons audiences applauded Nancy for finding a solution to these problems, even if it meant growing and selling marijuana.  Unfortunately for Nancy, society sees mothers as a symbol of morality.  We have a much easier time letting it slide when a male character is depicted as being a bad dad, thus audiences shied away in later seasons when Nancy became more self-focused and was willing to put her family in dangerous situations to better herself.

Having been a high schooler hellbent on being the hippest girl in school (I strongly believed a love of “Garden State” was all there was to it) when “Juno” came out, I was ecstatic several years later to hear Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman would be teaming up once again.  What may be the worst quality of Young Adult’s Mavis Gary, is that she knows how terribly and immature she is acting, but has no plans of changing her ways anytime soon.

“Masters of Sex” was one of my favorite new shows this year and a lot of that had to do with Lizzy Caplan’s portrayal of Virginia Johnson, one half of the groundbreaking team of sexologists Masters and Johnson.  One quality of an anti-hero is that they violate societal norms while continuing to succeed in society.  Though this show is set in the 1950’s, Virginia must overcome many restrictions women in the workplace still battle today.

Originally written June 9, 2014

Butch Walker at the 40 Watt 9/7/13

Last month, I found myself back in the 40 Watt, a venue I don't think I'd been in since high school.  The 40 Watt was originally opened in 1978 by Curtis Crowe who often joked the club was lit by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.  Since, the space has become a staple for Athens bands as well as more well known acts.  In high school, I saw The Whigs, The Modern Skirts, Fun., Band of Skulls, and Motion City Soundtrack play here, just to name a few.  Needless to say, I was very excited to be back there to add Butch Walker to this roster of acts.

Butch opened the show, just him and a keyboard, playing "Joan" and a couple of his heavier songs.  I was taken aback by this, that is sad material to start the night with.  But I quickly saw what he was doing.  By the time his band joined him on stage for "Mixtape," he had the whole crowd in the palm of his hand.  It stayed this way all night, people daring themselves to look away long enough to go to the bar. Granted, half of the crowd was before the social networking generation, but I felt like there was a minimal amount of cell phone use that night.  He played a wonderful high energy "Synthesizers" with pieces of "Come on Eileen" through out.  He covered bits of other songs including "Teenage Wasteland" and "The Ocean," joking that his younger band had never heard them before.  At the end of the night, he came into the crowd.  Everyone gathered around him waiting to see what he would do next.  The show ended with an amazing energy, everyone in the room experiencing a major endorphin release.  All-in-all it was an amazing show.  Now that I've seen Butch Walker once, I can't wait to see him perform again.  There's something about a group of people belting out songs like "Mixtape" and "She Likes Hair Bands" that warms my heart.  It is something everyone must experiences.

Originally written October 17, 2013