When I got involved with Bloggers for Movember in 2012, I participated for a few reasons.
- Le Clown asked me, and you don’t tell him no. Unless you like flaming clown poop on your doorstep.
- I love facial hair much more than the average person. I’d take a bearded throw blanket any day.
- It was a great way to get involved with the blogging community and a charitable cause all at the same time.
I slept well every night of Movember 2012 knowing that I had done my part as an upstanding citizen of both the non virtual and virtual worlds of which I was a part. However, this year Bloggers for Movember means much more to me on an intimate level. This year, Movember has sunk into me… deep. BFM isn’t just something I am proud to put my name on. It has made me tap into my appreciation for the men I love, the men I like, and even the ones that I don’t.
This year, BFM is for remembering Jet, who I haven’t spoken of or written about since he died. It is for my lovable friend Jamie, whose untimely funeral I had to attend this month. It’s for spending time with Mr. OB, who has some serious surgeries on his plate in the near future. It’s for trying my best to forgive my brother for all of the drugs, the lies, and the betrayal. It’s is for comforting my exhausted dad. It’s for making peace with ex boyfriends and mending friendships that have been neglected. It’s for surprising the man I love with new razors and butt wipes from Dollar Shave Club. It’s for celebrating, mourning, and mending.
Point blank. This year is for appreciating the mens, embracing their lives, and giving them the time they deserve. More of my time, more time to recover, more time to laugh, more time to forgive, and most importantly, more time to live.
At the end of the day, no one has complete control of their fate, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t fight with iron fists to hold some of the reigns. And THAT’S why I support and appreciate Movember. Because I support and appreciate the men in my life.
I want to extend some huge thank yous to the backstage team at this time.
Jason Wommack (The Life of JWo): You have worked your beard off (literally) to help me get things rolling for this year’s BFM campaign. As I am typing this, you are still leagues above everyone else as far as bringing in donations. Your dedication has impressed me beyond belief. Which is why I have decided, as Le Clown did with BFM 2012, to pass the campaign captain hat to you for 2014. Just be sure to tell Tammy that I bruise easy, so to go easy on the punches coming my way. *wink*
Jen Sharp (Sips of Jen and Tonic), Jon Hagar (Brother Jon), Adam Sendek (Chowderhead), Canvas of the Minds, and all my girls Julie and Chiara at The Indie Chicks: Thank you ALL for getting involved. Whether it was a post, a contest, an ad, or avid retweets, you were part of the reason that BFM kept MOving right along this year. And I thank you sincerely. I could NOT have done it without your help.
TJ Lubrano (TJ Lubarno Illustrations): YOU! I don’t even know where to begin with you ma’am. Not only were you one of the first to jump on my side and work with me to plan this year’s campaign and throw around contest ideas, but you worked your butt off to give us not only ONE Movemberrific original art piece, but THREE. I’ll forever be grateful for your undying support, and forever the biggest fan of all of your work. Thank you love.
There are only three days left to make your contribution. Don’t forget that everyone who donates to BFM will be thrown into a drawing for the graphic design artwork below, and the top three highest bidders (donaters) will receive pick of on of the three art pieces painted and donated by TJ Lubrano (also below). Thank you all for opening your hearts (and wallets) this year. You are all honorary Flysters in my book!
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Winners and more thank yous will be announced in a special Vlog at the beginning of December.
- Bloggers for Movember 2013 Begins! (25tofly.com)
- Bloggers for Movember Grand Finale (25tofly.com)
- Official 25toFly BFM Contest (25tofly.com)
- Bloggers for Movember Gets Help From Dollar Shave Club (25tofly.com)
In case you haven’t been able to tell, I’m all about meeting people from the internet. Naturally, I would be the one to organize an event based off of the very idea. I am just glad that Jen agreed to be the backbone of my crazy idea. Even through all of the planning, it never really hit me that it was actually going to happen until I filled up my tank, stocked up on smokes, and hopped on I-10 heading West. A direction I have never driven before. I even made a Vine on the road.
I arrived in Austin, TX alone after a long, but enjoyable 6 hour drive. I love to drive. It’s relaxing to me as long as I don’t get lost. I take one wrong exit and you would swear I just launched myself into outer space without an oxygen tank. I don’t think the La Quinta Inn was ready for me. As I stepped out of my SUV and started to unload my stuff onto a luggage cart, shoes, lanyards, and toiletries were falling everywhere. It was like my luggage sprung a leak.
“Well, I’m here.” I thought.
I didn’t waste much time doodling in the hotel room, as I was ready to meet up with Jen so we could slap each other in the face as a reality check ritual. Little did I know, she had already explored Austin, met up with one of our speakers, Julian Gallo, and played with some bats. Cool. I’m late!
This would be a recurring theme. For some reason I felt totally under prepared the entire weekend.
Walking down Congress, I was looking around waiting for Jen to pop out of the woodwork, or one of the many hipster shops rather. Soon, I came to the restaurant we were to meet. I was right across the street from it. And there they were. Jen and Julian, and in deep conversation too by the looks of it. I thought about jay running directly to them, but I figured it might be best for me to refrain from breaking laws before meeting the rest of the attendees. A few times I actually waved thinking I had made eye contact, only to embarrass myself when I realized I hadn’t.
Too be honest, I was a little more nervous about walking down the wrong street and getting lost, than meeting everyone in person. I’m awkward as fuck on the phone, sure. I don’t enjoy giving speeches, no. But I don’t get nervous to meet people one on one. I’m totally cool and put together. Unless they are nervous. Then it’s like catching poison ivy when you haven’t been outside yet. Confusing.
Regardless of nerves, when I saw the set up that 508 Tequila Bar created for us, I got a huge surge of proud feelings. I knew we had done it right. It only got better after that first night. I don’t think we could have planned this thing better, and I think everyone there meshed in an amazing way. Friendships blasted into hyper mode. It went a step beyond networking. I think they call it bonding.
Jen’s composure and eyebrows wowed me. It was mesmerizing to listen to Jullian talk about pretty much anything. I enjoyed giggling in the bathroom with Michelle as she nonchalantly wiped the counters after washing her hands. Chiara and I snuggled in our La Quinta bed after the speaker session, entertaining ourselves with nothing but some 711 candy and lottery scratchers. I fell in love with John and his wife Lisa who have to be the cutest couple in the history of the internet. So many moments go through my head when I think of the weekend.
Unfortunately, I did have one hang up about the event… me.
I recognized the fact that I had lost touch with much of the blogging community well before BI but way too late for my liking. When I was buzzing around during BI, I felt a bit intimidated. I hadn’t read anyone in so long. Since the beginning of the year when we started planning BI13, I have been so caught up in… well… planning. Blogger Interactive, Kickstarter projects, moving and moving some more, Bachelorette parties, Bloggers for Movember, and a million other things seemed to keep me from participating in the one thing that started it all. Blogging.
When I asked Lauren and Michael of Key + Arrow who they were, I felt like an idiot. Their blog was right there on our Facebook page. Dur. Yet, my mind felt blank. I didn’t get to have the depth of conversations I wanted to, because I wasn’t leading conversation like my normal self. I felt scattered. I felt intimidated. What?!
Luckily for me Vyvy of Vyvacious reminded me of something. Vyvy expressed the same concern to me over Brussels sprouts and calamari before the event even began, yet there at the Hangar Lounge on the second night she was sitting on Red’s wife’s lap, taking pictures, dancing, and chatting up a storm. She reminded me that having everyone memorized wasn’t what mattered. What mattered is that we were all there. We were there for each other. We were there to continue to get to know each other and learn from each other. And most of all, I think we all gained a new excitement and buzz for blogging, writing, and our virtual community while we were there. And I am more than okay with that.
Thank you Jen for ALL of your amazing hard work on this with me. Thank you Julian and Chiara for sharing your sexy brains with us. And finally, thank all of you who came out despite the distance, schedules and nerves. I love you all.
Look out for the official post event write-up on the BI page along with a slideshow of photos that have yet to be shared!
For ten years now, or so it seems, I have had an unfinished, untitled post in the dusty cupboard of my dashboard. Actually, it was titled, no title, which WordPress automatically assigns to all of those posts you begin to write knowing that you have no intention of finishing but that you begin to write anyway to make yourself feel like you gave it a shot.
The only text it contained read:
This could only mean “1″ of “1″ things.
In my desperation, I attempted to write a list post. I know what I must have been thinking, “I can surely rattle off quickly, raise a few chuckles, and get my groove back”. Yet, apparently I went into the scheme unarmed, save for the numerals that would keep the words in queue. Well, “1″ numeral at least. Today, I finish this list once and for all so that the uncapitalized no title will stop making my brain vibrate with discomfort.
Things That Come In “1′s”
1. 40 oz. beers in paper bags
2. The gummy vitamins that mutated into 1 whole gummy vitamin after I left them in my car in the middle of Summer
3. Kickboxing class
4. Cream cheese packets at Starbucks
5. Becca Cord
Things That Never Come In “1′s:
1. People who play scratch off tickets at the cash register like it’s the casino
4. Overly enthusiastic, borderline creepy smiles at Starbucks
5. 5 for $25 panty deals at Victoria’s Secret
Whew! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have conquered this post. Finally! I can move forward. I’ve been dying to write about so many things, yet I couldn’t stop staring at no title and knowing that there was a list I needed to purge from my brain. I hope we can all get back to normal around here now.
I’d like to get back in the loop a bit, especially with Blogger Interactive right around the corner, and in hopes that it will shake up my creative juices again now that I have a bit of time freed up. If you comment, send me a link to something you have written in the past week, month, whatever. Something important or something you wrote just for fun. Laughs are encouraged. Thanks Flysters.
There isn’t a post that is better fitting to come after my last one on the Blogging Bureaucracy and doing whatever the hell you want with your blog than today’s. I’ve been yammering about it long enough, and now here it is. My first ever Podcast with Peter Dewolf on the Petecast. It was such a cool experience.
We discussed everything short of the meaning of the universe: Blogger Interactive, favorite parts of blogging, walking your cat on a leash, Myspace, internet projects, video editing (big dreams), VEDA, logistics of podcasting, dating Hanson, meeting boyfriends/girlfriends online, Long Distance Relationships, Skype booty, online dating and more. But then again, I guess these things make up the meaning of my universe.
Spread the word. Next week I am going to make an announcement about a give away, but what and why? Guess you will find out in give or take seven days. Cheers.
A blog is a space in which to log entries of any kind. A blogger is one who fills the spaces of his or her web log with such entries. The goal is to produce quality content that we enjoy and love. This should be the reason we begin blogging and why we continue. To produce our passions.
So when did being the spectator become more important than being the producer?
When I began blogging, it was hard to ignore the blogging bureaucracy. Like most, I quickly learned the rules of the trade. They aren’t easy to miss. Guides to blog success are posted at every major intersection of the internet like big electronic billboards: Interact with the right bloggers! Read read read! Don’t forget to comment! Participate in the blogging community! Guest post and reblog!
So, upon the birth of 25toFly and my discovery of WordPress, I immediately found a slew of blogs that I liked and followed. I got to know the people behind them. Friendships were formed and everything was just dandy. It was like being in the popular clique that I was never a part of in high school. And it was fun.
But cliques are exclusive, and exclusivity limits the experience. I started to develop bad habits. My writing was laced with inside jokes that half of my readers couldn’t decipher. I was supporting ideas out of loyalty instead of sincerity. I found myself leaving drive-by comments. I stopped giving new blogs the time of day. I second guessed my own content if I didn’t score a certain number of likes. All of which pointed to the glaring fact that I was caught up in a popularity contest.
None of this was fair of me, because none of it was me.
Reading other works is important. It can inspire us, help us network with other writers and artists, and give us new perspectives, but without balance and authenticity, it can be detrimental to our own growth.
I was so caught up in what everyone else was doing, that I severely neglected my blog. There was so much to read and so many opportunities to seize. By the time I finished chiming in on everyone else’s conversations, writing a post of my own felt like trying to backstroke through peanut butter. So I wouldn’t write anything at all. The next day, the cycle would begin again as soon as I opened my reader, spinning me around like my shoestrings were tied to a high speed merry-go-round.
I had enough. I fell hush.
My comments resembled crumbs, and my Gravatar was practically an apparition. At first, I worried. Were all of the people reading my blog only there because I read theirs in return? Is my blog a stinking pile of uncovered cat poop without my comment reciprocation? Will I vanish into an internet black hole never to be “Liked” again? But then, I realized that it didn’t matter, because even if my thoughts rang true, I’d still be blogging.
To my surprise, detaching myself from the noise for a while allowed me to enjoy blogging like I did before the need to be liked took over. When I finally returned to the conversations, I made sure they were the ones I really wanted to be a part of and that my engagement was genuine.
You see, we are all worthy of the Blogger title, whether we are the next Mark Twain or just want to post pictures of our cats. Your blog is yours. Show it some love, and don’t compare it to everyone else’s. Produce what you love, whatever that may be, and make it your priority. Without it, your blog doesn’t exist. So let’s put the blogging bureaucracy to rest. Your blog, your rules.
In honor of my 200th post on this blog, I treated myself to a Safari. In the exotic land of Shreveport, LA at a remote location. My parents’ house. Enjoy.
I am not one to let news tragedies affect me and certainly not the ridiculous media coverage that accompanies them, but the Boston Marathon bombing really jarred me. I’ve never felt such hopelessness in humanity. I cried on and off the whole day. What you are about to read is a re-post from almost a year ago about my first experience with traveling out of the south as an adult. It’s about the city of Boston as a place that holds special importance to me. It is a place where I conquered multiple fears at once, where I ejected myself from my comfort zone, and where I took risks. It is just such a stunning place, and in light of recent events, I just want to share this piece again. Thanks for reading.
I attempt frugality. As well, I pride myself in my research abilities (most of the time). So, when looking for a place to stay in Boston, I luckily found a steal of a crash pad. The place my friend Ellen and I stayed was The Copley House in the Back Bay area of Boston. After my friend in the area convinced me that it was in a safe area and conveniently located in the center of the attractions, I eagerly made a booking.
Instead of a full-blown generic hotel, each room they offered was an individual and unique apartment. After checking in to the main office on Newton St., we drove to our unit around the corner on a different street. Key in hand, we pulled up and grabbed our bags out of the bed of the truck. As I used my key to turn the old rim dead bolt, I felt like I was in a movie scene yet again. You know, the one where I am a successful full-time writer entering her humble city dwelling.
I almost feel like I am cheating readers by making such a lackluster claim, but the apartment we shacked up in was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I am so glad we did not opt for a cookie cutter corporate hotel. Not only would we have spent a fortune, leaving us little money for gorging Lobster and drowning ourselves in Irish car bombs, but the whole experience would have been completely different; think way less traditional character and a lot more generic plastic key card. Read the rest of this entry
I am so cliché right now: barely touching my Japanese takeout, wearing work out pants that I mainly wear when I am not working out, and sitting on the faux wood floor of my soon to be ex apartment. It’s every bit a scene out of a familiar movie. It mimics that one montage scene in which the main character is making some sort of significant transition; picture clips of furniture slowly disappearing from a dwelling as the main character is going through a very obvious and dramatic emotionally reflective period. There is usually some heavy sound track playing in the background for added effect.
Shit. I have my Ipod playing in the back ground right now, and I am sitting on the floor all aloof. Can you surpass cliché? What would that be called?
Although my dumplings are cold, I have to admit that the sound of my favorite Pandora radio station reverberating between my scant living room walls actually feels comforting. It is a good thing I also have 7 layer dip to counteract the cold take-out. I should just go ahead and start making origami piñatas while I am at it. After all, all of my entertaining gadgets are stacked like a failed game of Tetris into a bunch of overpriced boxes at the moment.
There is something incredibly relieving about freeing yourself from material belongings. Read the rest of this entry