Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When You Just Can't Get Along

I know I won't be friends with everyone.  There will always be those who for whatever reason we just don't really click.  But usually I can get along with most.

That was one thing I loved about BlogHer, being with women with different views but we were able to talk and find common grounds. In fact it hasn't really been since high school since I have encountered someone that I just cannot figure out how to work with (excluding my job as a Foster Care worker- as that is a whole other situation).

Now I am in the thick of it- it is honestly making me feel sick.  I ponder and wonder and worry and even dream about it.  It feels like every step I try and make forward another jab on injury is thrown my way.

Sometimes I wonder if I am overthinking it, sometimes I worry my own bias may be clouding what is all happening, but then another jab another attack, another self-righteous e-mail sent my way.   I have discussed it with others involved and they have all told me I am on the right track and doing right.

But I hate this feeling.

It makes me want to just walk away to give up and quit-- but that decision would affect so many others around me.

So instead, I take a deep breath- praying that I can find common ground, praying that I say the right things, praying that somehow hearts (mine and theirs) will be softened and we will stop making each other miserable, but also know I must stand my ground.

In today's world the anonymity of the internet has made it so much easier for people to belittle and state things that I don't think or I sure hope they would never say to someone's face.  It baffles me when people seem to go out of their way to leave mean and nasty comments.   Why take the time, why bother, why not just click away?

Today I am choosing to take my "battle" in person, no more back and forth e-mails where tones and intentions can be confused and misunderstood, they are going to have to say it to my face.

Sometimes being a grown-up isn't so much fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Accidentally Me: A Book Review

Have you ever had a stalker?  Hopefully the answer is no.  Would you ever hire a stalker?  This is what Sabrina in Accidentally Me by Kim Karras does.  I was given a copy to review.

The Book

 WANTED: Pretend stalker. No experience required. Tall, dark, and quirky preferred. Sabrina is desperate to go to her dream college, but her parents want her to stay close to home. If she wants to maintain her perfect child image, Sabrina must break rules that even her rebel sister keeps...

My Review
  Sabrina has tried to be the perfect child, good grades, obeys all the rules- after all her birth was "an accident" and so she feels like she has something to prove.  When her heart is starting to wish for something that wouldn't be part of the perfect plan, she begins by making on bad decision after another.
   I found myself often quite annoyed with Sabrina at the beginning of the book.  Why would she do that, could she really be so silly an naive?  The answer probably is yes and to see the realizations and growth that she eventually has was very reassuring.  This book often made me cringe for the teenage years.  
   It is a very quick read, finished it in a day and while it didn't totally suck me in, I did enjoy it as it progressed.   
   The characters are fun and unique and well developed and it is a clean book, free from language and graphic imagery.  If you like fun easy to read coming of age stories, then this would be a good book for you. 

Follow the Author
 Twitter  @Kim_Karras  

Purchase Your Own
  Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Books and Things

Monday, August 22, 2016

Best of the Blogosphere: Week 85

Hello and welcome back to the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party.

We know that lots of bloggers take a bit of a break over the summer to spend time with kids so we expect, now that school's in session in many places, that our linky will grow. Do you put blogging on the back burner a bit in the summer?

 My favorite post from last week was the yummy looking S'mores Doughnuts from In the Kitchen With Stacey.  I just kept scrolling back to this post as they look so good! Definitely want to try these.

Here are your favorite posts from last week's Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party!
Learn all about how to stain wood with vinegar and steel wool for a natural alternative to other wood stains; also perfect for that reclaimed-wood look!

blue fit and flare dress - charleston sc

View from the outside of the lobby

Easy and Super Delicious Italian Salad Recipe #TasteofItaly -

Come meet your hosts!

Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party Hosts
Party Rules:
        • Follow your hosts! Take a moment and give us some love! Follow us on social media so we can promote you!
        • Link up your best post of the week. Be sure to add the link for a specific post, not your homepage. Go ahead and link up a couple that you love.
        • Please link up family friendly posts- nothing political or religious. Also, please do not link up posts to promote giveaways, link parties or shops. Guess what? You can link up a sponsored post if you feel it's your best post of the week. We're cool with that.
        • By linking up with the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party, you are giving permission to us to feature your post with a link back to you- either as a weekly winner or our own personal favorite post
        • Take the time to visit a few blogs and vote for your favorite post of the week by giving it a visit.
        • Tweet about us #bestoftheblogosphere
        • Follow the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party board!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday 5: BYU Soccer, Fires and State Testing

Happy Friday everyone!  Every Friday I recap the week with 5 thoughts and 5 pictures- sharing those little things that might not need a post of their own.

5 Thoughts

1. There is another fire in SoCal- this has been all too common lately.  It is close but on the back side of the mountain so we are totally safe.  So much has been destroyed because of this fire.  We are really wishing we could take some of Louisiana's rain from them.

2.  Ryder has started minute readings for school as part of his homework.  On Monday he got hardly any words in the minute.  I read the whole passage to him, just so he could hear it- then didn't test him again until the next day.  It was very apparent he remembered a lot of what I had read him, and tripled the amount of words.  He is so close to just being a really good reader.

3. Speaking of school I have to brag for a minute. We finally got the standardized tests scores from the kids state testing last year- Alex did not miss one questions- 100% on both math and language arts.

4. Eric had to fly to San Jose for an interview with his company, he left early in the morning and was home by dinner time- I like that kind of work trip; the kids didn't even realize he had done that until I said his plane landed.

5. We had a great time watching the BYU women's soccer team play a scrimmage game against UCLA.  We know the goalie and so of course had to get a picture with Alex and BYU's goalie together.

5 Pictures
Sunset in SoCal
Fun after a photo shoot
While I was doing a photoshoot, Eric took the kids to see the hospital he is working at- but they joined me after the shoot
BYU Women's Soccer Goalie
Alex with BYU Goalie Rachel Boaz
Smoke from fire in SoCal
Smoke from the fire

Happy Friday everyone!  What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A First-Timers Experience at BlogHer

For many years now I have wanted to go to BlogHer.  It is one of those big conferences that you always just hear so much about.  The cost and the need to fly across the country always held me back; when I heard it was going to be in L.A. this year, I just had to go.

After going.... let's just say I have mixed feelings.  Here is a first-timers experience at BlogHer.

The absolute best part for me was the friends-old and new.

I have been blogging for a long time, when I started blogging it was so much about the community and friendships; to be able to finally meet some of those people in person was wonderful!

When Elaine of Miss Elaine-ous Life and I found each other, we accidentally took over a spot in one of the expo booths standing there catching up.
Blogging Friends

I also got to meet Samantha of Samantha Amidon Airplane Rides and Guacamole Sides  It is funny when you technically meet someone for the first time who you already kind of know.
BlogHer 2016

I also got to meet some newer blogging friends like Salma of The Write Balance.
Friend at BlogHer

Plus the roommates!  I "knew"  Kendra of Simply Darrling and we planed on rooming together.   We went online to the BlogHer page and found two other ladies who were looking for a room and she chose wisely as I loved our two new roommates Susie of Pins and Procrastination and Megan of Discover Diaries.
Roomates from BlogHer

**Tip** If you are new and coming alone, definitely reach out and find someone to room with; it can make all the difference in feeling alone and feeling like you have someone to tag around with.

Sponsored Events
When I first started getting invites to sponsored events I was beyond excited-they were inviting me!  I quickly agreed to almost every event I was invited to, quickly filling up my entire Friday.
Lamps Plus lunch at BlogHer

Looking back, there were a few events I could have probably skipped, opting for the classes instead.

((All of the classes I really wanted to attend where on Friday, which is the day pretty much all of the sponsored events were-- hardly any sponsored events on Saturday, which felt like bad planning))

While it feels totally exciting to get invited to a sponsored events and some of them were the highlights of my time at BlogHer- definitely just pick ones that are a good fit for you.  Some felt a little bit like here is our company we are the best but then they didn't really tell how you as a blogger could work with them.

**Tip** Just pick sponsored events that really are a good fit for you

My absolute favorite event I went to was a walking tour of L.A. hosted by MixBook.
LA Walking tour

This was actually on Thursday before BlogHer officially began.  We had a guide from Red Line Tours who showed us all around the city, and by all around, I mean all around- we walked for 4 1/2 miles!

We were total tourists with headsets, so we could hear what he was saying and all with our cameras taking pictures, but I loved it, met some great bloggers and learned all sorts of crazy stuff I never knew about L.A.

By the end we were all beyond exhausted but I am so glad I went, it was a great way to start BlogHer.

The Classes
  I only attended a few classes and wish I would have gone to a few more.  What I heard from my friends that did attend more is most of the classes would be great if you were new to blogging. One of the classes I attended was good and I learned some new information, but it didn't light my fire with blogging again like I hoped it would.

I have been to smaller blogging conferences, that when I leave I feel excited about all of these things I want to do with my blog, things I want to write about-- but I honestly left BlogHer feeling just about the same  (I have heard similar feelings from several who attended).

The Expo

The Expo is where all of the sponsors have booths set up; I honestly didn't know what to expect with this.

**Tip** find a friend to go around the expo with, it can feel pretty lonely going around to the booths by yourself.

You definitely have to step in and introduce yourself and be more assertive here.  It made me chuckle how many of the people at the booths asked "So are you a blogger?"  Maybe there are people who don't blog at BlogHer, but I am guessing the majority of us do.
Sabrina Soto at BlogHer
Sabrina Soto at the Velcro booth was SO nice and down to earth! 
Each booth usually had a little small something they were handing out and you could find out about their company and some were better about talking how they work with bloggers than others.
Mixbook both at BlogHer
Me and my roomie at the Mixbook photo booth in the Expo hall
Though one of my favorite booths was Baskin Robins, they weren't giving any pitches but they were handing out free ice-cream!

  Breakfast and lunch were provided during the conference (some sponsored events also included meals), but you are on your own for dinner.  Throughout the expo though there was always appetizers and snacks along the side;  often come dinner time I wasn't even that hungry.   Late night dinners with different friends was definitely a highlight though.

**Tip** Bring Cash as you will be splitting dinner bills a lot.

Friday night after a sponsored event, I was walking back with Salma and her friend Vanessa and one fellow attendee, Carol just randomly said hi, we stopped and talked and ended up all going to dinner together.
Friends at BlogHer

We had a great time enjoying the view and talking and eating at Wolf Gang Puck 24.  I love that if you were open and friendly, you really could just meet new friends that easily.

The KeyNotes
  If you read anything about BlogHer16 I am sure that you heard that Kim Kardashian was a keynote speaker on Friday at lunch, I can't give my feelings about it- as I wasn't there.  I had a sponsored lunch at that time, which I think I am really grateful I went to. It was reported hat everyone wanted to be upfront by Kim so there was pushing and shoving and really long lines for food and that her interview felt like anything you could hear on any entertainment talk show.

I did love the Keynote with Mayim Bialik  She is so real and down to earth, funny, and was openly sharing.  The one negative aspect with her Keynote was the moderator.   Mayim made a comment about a political candidate, nothing charged or fired up, just more of a statement;  the moderator took it upon herself to say and "Yes if you don't support ****- there's the exit"
Mayim Bialik at BlogHer

I honestly, was ready to get up and walk out right then, not because I don't support that candidate (I don't like any of them so I am not trying to start a political debate)-- but at a conference where there are so many different people with so many different views, why would you say something divisive?

Overall Feelings

 Am I glad I went to BlogHer?  Yes.  I am so grateful for the friends I was able to meet, the new friends I was able to make.  I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with some brands and companies that I would love to work with.  I am grateful that now I know what this big BlogHer thing is all about.

It is fun being with a group of people who get it- who understand why we spend the time to create and share content on-line for any and all to see.

If you are a social conservative- while the attendees and other bloggers will be great and wonderful even when you have totally different views-- the overall feeling of BlogHer itself is quite different.

Will I go again?

Probably not.  There are so many conferences out there now, and I believe there are so many that would be a better fit for me, ones that I could learn more and come away with more positive experiences.

Have you ever attended a big blogging conference?