A look back: 10 years of blogging

10YearsOfBloggingHow long have you been blogging? Whenever I answer this question about 70% of the people are a little shocked when I say I started in 2004. Most bloggers seem to be closer to the one to two year range.

Way back in 2004 the internet was a different place. At home, I still had a dial up internet connection and an AOL account. I miss the sound of a modem connecting…so comforting! I didn’t text. I just talked to people on the phone. Yes, that’s how weird life was back then.

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Back to school time…again…

Back to school time!The best thing about being an adult? Not having to go to back to school. Homework was just the worst. I would have hated going to classes more, but I did enjoy some of the social aspects of school.  Don’t get me wrong. I was not popular. I was a nerd and still am a nerd. I never wanted to be popular. Mostly because those whom I perceived as popular were, well, stupid and vain. Granted, I was pre-judging them as all teens do, but I also didn’t have the stress of trying to fit in because I wanted nothing to do with anyone knowing who I was. Sadly, I was more stressed about trying to find a boyfriend. My excuse was the hormones. Puberty pretty much ruined my life until about the age of 35.

But, back to school, I was never excited about it. I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t have to get ready for anything.  If I did, I surely wouldn’t be freaking out about trying to find free range bread for my kids’ sandwiches. Honestly, I don’t think most moms do that. If they do, I kind of feel bad for them. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t freak out about it. It is what it is.

There was a point in my life when I could recite every class I had, in order, from the first semester of seventh grade to the final semester of my senior year.  I think college might have fried that right out of my brain.  That or I just have so many damn passwords floating around in there that they nudged out the trivial crap that doesn’t matter.

Back to school didn’t mean cooler temperatures in California.  It wouldn’t cool off until about mid-October, if we were lucky. I remember some sweaty Halloweens. I guess that’s better than a snowy Halloween.

Either way, the traffic will be hell for the next few weeks. I could never understand how back to school time equates to more people on the roads. I don’t drive by any schools. I don’t get what everyone was doing for the past three months. Plus, don’t schools get out at like 3:00 PM? Why is traffic crappy at 5:00?

How do you Independence Day? July 4th it!

Independence Day: July 4th decor, songs, and food.One week from today is July 4th. Is it just me or does this feel like the summit of summer? After Independence Day it feels like summer is on the down slope. We are all coasting into fall.

Oh the barbeques! In some places they are called cookouts. Whatever you call the gathering of people eating char-grilled meat, it’s a hell of a time. Folks bring out as much red, white, and blue decorations as they can handle. If you’re feeling especially patriotic, check out these July 4th photo booth props I made. Social media and the birth of the United State never looked so good! Continue reading

One thing I love about being a Gen-Xer: MTV Generation

MTVGeneration

One of the best things about my generation is MTV. Remember when MTV played videos?  I think I started watching MTV in 1983…could have been 1982, but it’s a little fuzzy now.  I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I saw my first video.  Not sure what it was, but I distinctly remember when Van Halen’s Jump premiered on the channel.

Back then, it was awesome. There were no commercials. There were no reality shows. It was like watching a radio station. Some VJ would talk about random music news and then introduce a video.  The introduction was pointless because the information was always in the bottom left hand corner.

It was a great way for bands to promote their songs/albums.  I can’t tell you how many tapes I bought after watching the video.

Slowly, but surely, shows made their way into MTV’s programming.  They were all music video based. There was Heavy Metal Mania/Headbangers Ball, 120 Minutes, Yo! MTV Raps, and the ever annoying Club MTV.

While I thoroughly enjoyed it, Remote Control was the death knell of MTV as we knew it.  It was the first non-video show, at least that I remembered.  Soon after more non-video programming found its way into MTV’s daily schedule.

Sadly, now MTV is a shell of its former self.  Last time I checked the guide on the satellite, it was all reality TV all the time.

Even before the internet was a big thing, MTV had almost completely stopped showing music videos.  Now I’m guessing the kids get their music videos on the You Tube.

It’s good and it’s kinda sad.  It used to be a big deal to see your favorite band’s video.  You never really knew when it was coming on and if you were lucky, you had a tape ready in the VCR to record it.  Kids today get things on demand.

One good thing about today is that local bands can produce their own videos and get them on the internet with relative ease.  Of course, I have no idea how one might find those videos, but then again I’m a Gen-Xer who is probably considered an old fogey by now…but I still enjoy the blazing sound of a well played guitar.

You can get a glimpse into MTV’s past by watching Totally 80s on VH1Classic. I get that same thrill of seeing a favorite video or sometimes a video I’ve never seen before for a song I enjoy.  Sometimes you’ll even get the unedited, long form version which is like a mini-short movie.

What was one of your favorite videos?

Wedding technology: websites, social media & more!

bridal, honeymoon, online, social mediaOh how times have changed…When I was out in the dating pool, most of my friends and family couldn’t comprehend the influence technology had on my love life.  Now that I’m preparing for my wedding, I am overwhelmed with the amount of technology available.

I remember when my sister got married about 10 years ago, she had a three ring binder to organize everything and cut out photos from magazines…Now, we have spreadsheets and pinterest. Did you know Google has a template you can use to organize your entire wedding? Seriously. It’s a little out of control, but then again, so are most weddings.

You can use WedKit to create an iPhone app just for your wedding.

I am using a spreadsheet to track things like who RSVP’d, what else needs to be done, how much stuff is costing…ok, I’m not really doing that last one, but I probably should.

To track ideas for the reception, dresses and hairstyles, I’m using Pinterest. I’ve even thought about hiring someone to live stream the wedding…It’s way too expensive. If we do broadcast the wedding, we will use Google Hangout because you know…it’s free.

We will be using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to share various moments. I’m still trying to come up with a hashtag. At first, I thought I was being unique about having a hashtag for the wedding, but apparently, it’s getting a bit mainstream. That’s not going to stop us from having one though. It has to be reflective of ourselves…not just our names with the word wedding jammed at the end. How about #TwitterLoveWed? I mean since that’s how Paul and I met, it seems appropriate.

And yes, we do have a wedding website. I mean we aren’t going to send out actual invitations to people since we aren’t having that many. I did try out this thing called Capsule. It seems pretty interesting. It’s an easy way for your guests who use instagram to have their photos feed to your wedding website. Of course, it’s a way for them to get your photos and then sell them back to you in a book.

Then there is our registry…the honeymoon registry that you can only access online.

Can you imagine what will be available in the next 10 years?  Maybe people can hire robots to do everything for them…and all they would need is some medicine from old people for fuel.

Top 5 things I love about Christmas

Top5Christmas-2103What makes this Yuletide time of year so special? Below are the five things I enjoy…in no particular order.

1) Christmas specials – While I’m not a big fan of Frosty or The Grinch, I do enjoy a Charlie Brown Christmas.  One of the more obscure holiday TV specials I enjoy is the Claymation Christmas special.  It came out back in the late 80s when the California Raisins were a huge marketing hit. The Carol of the Bells bit is my favorite.  I mean Quasimodo is the conductor.

2) Baked goods – While candy at Halloween is nice, my heart will always belong to baked goods. Every year, I make a special batch of cookies to share at Christmastime. For the past few years, my nephew has been in attendance to help.  Usually, his help consists of decorating the sugar cookies.  I think this year, since he’s 7, I might try to convince him to actually help stir up some dough.

3) Cheer – This is what I like to call get-togethers.  I know you don’t really need a reason to hang out with friends and loved ones, but the Yuletide season is a great excuse to down some fancy drinks and have a few laughs.  This is what I really enjoy about the holiday season. I can do without the gifts, but I need to gather with loved ones.

4) Decorations – I love to see people’s homes bedecked in lights. Even the smallest effort is appreciated.  It seems to make that Christmasy energy grow. Living here in Minnesota, it’s even more fun to see a tree covered in snow and lights. Sometimes it’s like looking at a greeting card or a photo on Pinterest. Then of course, there’s the interior decorations.  I love nothing more than to sit in a room lit only by the Christmas tree. It makes me feel cozy and happy.

5) Christmas music – I swear I have heard at least 5 different versions of Baby It’s Cold Outside over the past week.  Why this song is being played so much is beyond me…although, it has been VERY cold outside.  Regardless, Christmas music definitely helps get me in the festive spirit.  I’m not sure what my favorite Christmas song is because it seems to change with my mood.  I do enjoy listening to Nat King Cole sing pretty much anything.  Also, Sleigh Ride, the instrumental version and Christmas Time is Here are always high on my to listen list.

They call it witchcraft

Halloween, costumeAs a child, I never wanted to be a princess. I wanted to be a witch. Needless to say, it’s my go to Halloween costume. And no, I don’t need to sex up my witch costume. I’m sexy and I know it.

Even as a teenager (and yes a little as an adult), I was fascinated by witches. They have magic powers. They get shit done. They don’t take crap. Sure they are sometimes evil, but there are evil princesses too. OK, I can’t think of any fictional versions off the top of my head, but I’m sure the image of a princess doesn’t exactly do wonders for female self-image. I mean they are usually in need of rescuing. Witches almost never have to be rescued. They get themselves out of danger most of the time.

Sure, witches have had a bad rap in the annals of history, but isn’t that really just some form of sexism? Aren’t (or hopefully weren’t) people threatened by the idea of a strong woman? I’m not really sure why men (or other women) are threatened by a confident, independent woman, but that seems to be the case throughout most of recorded history.

My favorite example of witchcraft is in the movie Practical Magic. Yes, I’ve read the book. It’s nothing like the movie. I like the idea of a woman who can conjure up things. I like the idea of a woman being able to defend herself. I also like the idea of a bunch of women coming together to help out one who needs it.

I don’t need a fairy godmother. I need a wand. Well, the really good witches didn’t even need wands.