Home » blogging

Tag: blogging

Friday Favorites

friday favorites

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely spring weather all around the country this week! It was nice to ditch the sweaters for a few days, but alas, we’re back to chilly temperatures for a while.

Here are a few things I enjoyed online this week:

  • Chelsea Clinton was a guest writer this week on Well + Good, where she discussed the importance of talking about periods and breastfeeding, and how both of those things make it tough for women to succeed all over the world. A great read if you are interested in the recent news from states who are finally ending unfair taxes on women’s hygiene products! (Well + Good)
  • I guess in his new-found spare time, Barack Obama has become another Instagram husband. Man Repeller has determined he’s pretty damn good at it, too. (Man Repeller)
  • Apparently jaw tension can cause breakouts? Great. Add it to the list of things I need to stop doing, from eating dairy to letting my face rest of anything while I sleep. (The Chalkboard Mag)
  • I’ve gotten hooked on watching The Sorry Girls, a DIY duo from Canada, on YouTube. They started out mainly doing DIY Halloween costumes, but branched out into tons of other cool things. Definitely check them out if you want to learn some cheap and easy tricks to update your space! (The Sorry Girls)
  • Now that LeafTV is officially sold off, Geri Hirsch is now blogging full-time at because im addicted! Check out the blog for even more amazing content for the lifestyle junkies out there. This week she came up with a comprehensive spring cleaning list that anyone can conquer! (because im addicted)
  • I’ll file this one away for whenever I’m back to living on my own, because lord knows I’ll never get my parents to try these! Check out Hello Glow’s 5 vegan macaroni and cheese recipes – they all look amazing! (Hello Glow)

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m planning to catch up with some friends who are visiting BG, and working on some more blog posts for you in the near future!

 

bb7a03c90ebc4b719ed7c89ede162989c490c8d3f7e848bfa7

Welcome Back

welcome back

Welcome back to Afternoon Glow!

While I wrote a few times since I took a break, this marks my official return to the blog on a regular basis. I think I’m ready now to come back for real. Let’s see if it sticks this time.

The past few months were busy, to say the least. We made a trip back home to Ohio in December. It was my first time back in over 2 years. It wasn’t relaxing at all, but it was nice to see everyone we managed to see. I can’t say I will do that again for another couple years, though – it was exhausting!

The holidays were good. I ate way too much, and stayed up too late getting drunk and playing euchre with our in-laws. I also helped my nephew put together a few Lego sets (a tradition we started recently). By New Year’s Eve, I think we were all ready to end 2016 and move on!

2017 so far has not let up. We moved unexpectedly in February, which meant we (and by “we” I mean mostly myself) spent January scrambling to find a new place and get everything ready to go on short notice. It was a mad dash, but we got it all done. Life didn’t really get back to “normal” until last week.

Over my hiatus, I thought a lot about the future of Afternoon Glow. After watching several blogs fold last year, I almost followed suit. In a last-ditch effort to keep this going, I am making a few changes to how I do things from here on out.

A Relaxed Schedule

In the past, I felt a lot of pressure to stick to a Monday – Friday schedule. Even when I cut back to a MWF schedule, it sucked. I could never live up to posting 5 days a week. Something about scheduling it all out kills the fun for me. It didn’t help that I was doing everything on my own.

For now, I am going to post when I can. That might mean 5 days a week; it might mean only once. I want this to be spontaneous and fun again – and I can’t do that if everything is regimented.

Less Social Media

Another part of keeping things casual means less social media. Keeping all of that coordinated also kills the fun of blogging. I will do my best to let you know when I post (mostly on Twitter), but I can’t guarantee that I get it right every time. I may also post less frequently, and I’m probably shutting down the Facebook page (I never use it). You can still find me on Instagram and Twitter, though!

If you want to guarantee you’ll get my new posts, follow me on Bloglovin’!

Ditching Comments

You may find that I shut off the comments on some posts. Sometimes, I write posts that aren’t meant to be responded to – and yet people do (not nicely, I might add). I still maintain the power to remove comments I don’t like, but I also learned there are times I shouldn’t allow people to comment at all. It’s for my sanity, really.

No More Food and Home Posts

The focus of the blog is something I want to clarify for myself. The two categories I write about the least are food and home. Frankly, they are boring as shit to write about.

I plan to replace those posts with more beauty, style, life, travel, and personal content. Instead of writing about topics I don’t care about, I need to move on to topics I do. That might mean losing readers, but hopefully it also means gaining new ones!

So welcome back, and I hope you enjoy what’s to come!

Being Alone vs Being Lonely

alone vs lonely

A popular topic online lately is the notion of being alone vs being lonely. It seems that even though we’re permanently connected to the world via technology, people still struggle with loneliness. We grapple with how to deal with both in a healthy manner, or if we even can at all.

In the blogosphere, I read several articles aimed at trying to answer this question. I recently read Darling Magazine’s “Loneliness vs. Being Alone: What You Need to Know” and found it a great starting point if you’re not sure where you fall. Also, I found articles devoted to embracing being alone, like Darling Magazine’s “5 Signs You Were Made for Solo Travel,” Travel on the Brain’s “How to Not Feel Awkward When Eating Alone,” and LifeHacker’s “What to Do If You Start Choking When You’re Alone” (a nod to Liz Lemon’s greatest fear of living solo). Even my “The Year of the Work” letter from Kayley this month focused on the idea of being okay with living solo.

This notion is also flooding into the wellness industry. There are articles, apps, and videos focusing on meditation, self-awareness, self-care, and mindfulness. People are opening up to the idea that being alone can be positive and healthy. Taking a break from technology is also more common as a way to re-connect with oneself.

In my own life, I find myself focusing on whether I’m lonely or just cool with solitude. I think with all the messages I’m seeing around, it’s hard to ignore.

Am I lonely, or just a loner?

As a child and teenager, I spent a lot of time alone riding my bike, listening to music, reading, and just staring at the sky. I was still a social kid, between school, sports, and hanging out with my sister – but being alone was cool too. When I started college, I did what many of us do – I got wrapped up in being busy. I spent all my time in classes, volunteering, working, and being with friends.

Then I graduated, started working 40+ hours a week, and got married. The notion of doing things alone (or for myself) faded away for a long time. After a few years of this, my mind and body started to fight back. I was unhappy and unhealthy. So I bought a bicycle, started hiking and biking alone, started a blog, and spent time in coffee shops grading papers. I loved it at first.

Unfortunately, even in these times I spent alone, I never embraced it. Grading papers is still an obligation to someone else, which wasn’t a healthy use of my alone time. I hiked or biked when I was “allowed” to, and bargained with myself whether I had the time before being home to cook dinner, teach a class, or spend time with my husband. I would rush through hikes, race home on the bike, or give up entirely and just go home.

It took moving here for me to embrace being alone. I started hiking longer and going to coffee shops to work on the blog. Sometimes, I wander around the library, thrift shop, and have the cleanest house I’ve ever had. I read more, sleep more, and started meditating. Also, I use a Bullet Journal to stay on track, so I spend time doing things I want instead of getting distracted by dirty laundry or dishes.

But does doing these things make me less lonely?

I want to believe I’m not a lonely person, just cool with being alone. I am also really hoping that these small life changes I’m making will help in the long run, by establishing good habits I can carry with me through both lonely and not lonely times.

Happy Blogiversary!

Happy Blogiversary

Happy Blogiversary!

Today is Afternoon Glow’s 1 year blogiversary! I almost forgot about it completely, to be honest. I’ve been so busy lately with job hunting, blog planning, and doing about a zillion loads of laundry (does it ever end?). To celebrate the occasion, I’m sitting in my new favorite coffee shop and reflecting on the past year.

The blog started out as a space for me to share everything going on with my life. It’s included posts about cooking, home decor, beauty, hiking, and the occasional “reflective rant.” I worked with amazing brands, was featured on a few different sites, and made connections with people that will hopefully stick around for years to come. I had insanely inspiring runs mixed with weeks  of silence. There are things on here that I’m proud of, and some that I’m not. While I sit here and look back on it all, though, I’m more proud than not!

I’m looking forward to sitting down soon and narrowing down the blog’s focus, and figuring out what I want to accomplish (besides free stuff…though I’d hardly turn it down). I am inspired by my usual online haunts, and some of the amazing things they’re doing in the online and offline lives – and I want to join in the fun! This next year on Afternoon Glow is going to be a big one…I can feel it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend, and a safe and amazing 4th of July! I don’t have any plans yet, but I’m sure it’ll involve a trip to the beach for some fireworks!

 

Coming Back, Moving On

Twin Falls, WA

Hiking in Twin Falls, WA

Welcome back.

These past two months have been…enlightening. I should start off by saying that I had no intention of taking this long off from the blog. Time got away from me a bit.

It’s not that I haven’t been working on the blog – I’ve just been working on things that you can’t necessarily see (yet) or won’t ever see. I’m trying to figure out a blog redesign, which for my old-fart brain has been tough. Learning how to code has been the worst experience because, for some reason, I just can’t. I’ve never had a problem learning new things before, and it bothers me like crazy that no matter what I do, this shit still makes no sense to me. I could learn to speak fluent Russian faster than I could learn even the most basic html. So for now, the site will stay how it is until I can figure this shit out (or figure out a way around it, or find the money to pay someone else to do it for me…haha).

Failed Posts Collage

A lovely collage of photos I’ve taken for posts I’m never writing…

The other reason I haven’t posted for two months is that I felt incredibly uninspired to write the posts I’d been working on in April and May. I have hundreds of photos like the ones above that will probably never make it to the blog, and posts I’ve trashed after they were already done because I didn’t like how they turned out. Sometimes, you can start out with a good idea and it just doesn’t work – and for some reason, every post I worked on in May came out that way, so I scrapped them all. Having writer’s block would have been a better use of my time, to be honest.

So where do I go from here?

I’m going to let go of the 5-day posting schedule, and post whenever I feel like it. In addition to that, I want to mix in more personal posts with the usual “Top 5 Places To Drink Rosé” types of posts (note to self: write a post where I get to drink rosé in 5 different places). While I understand that might mean the blog’s focus will change a bit, I’m not happy with only writing things I think are “fluff” pieces – I have more to say than that.

I’ve also spent time lately getting more involved in the blogging community, and trying to form better connections with others in the same boat. A lot of bloggers have written about feeling stuck or uninspired lately, and sometimes it’s nice to cheer each other on for a change. There are amazing things happening out there, but sometimes it’s hard to see that when you’re stuck on your computer editing the hundredth hiking photo into submission.

I’m also considering starting a letter-writing club of some kind – like a pen pal program for bloggers. So many of us got our love for writing blogs from being pen pals as kids, and I think it would be cool to interact with other bloggers on paper, rather than always online. I miss that sometimes – and getting mail that isn’t bills is always welcome!

Anyway, before I go insane and keep writing for another hour, I should go.

I’ve got work to do.

Friday Favorites (with a twist)

Friday Favorites

It’s been a rough week.

Last week, I shared with you my feelings about the relationship between authenticity and audience as a blogger (click the link to read more). It was one of those rare moments where I finally felt comfortable with myself, and trusting of you, to share something a little more personal. After not getting the best response afterward, and add to that some major allergy headaches, it’s been a long path to get to Friday.

So instead of sharing my favorite links from the internet this week, I thought I would do something different. Today, I share with you a few quotes from some of my favorite bloggers who are fighting tooth and nail to keep things real around here:

“Shame on me for giving someone else that power. Shame on me for allowing some hypocritical jerk to make me question a decision I have not doubted for ONE SECOND since Henry was conceived…Should I stop sharing as much personal stuff to protect myself? Maybe.  But nothing truly great has ever happened from being cautious and scared off by criticism.”
~Erin Gates

“I’m the daughter of loving parents, Chris and Elaine, I’m a blogger, a Southerner, a hopeless lover of animals, patterns and anything shiny- and I’m also gay. That fact may make no difference to some of you reading, but being able to be 100% myself here means the world to me.”
~Grace Bonney

  • Whenever I think of an example of the risk of opening up to our audience, I think of Grace Bonney’s post in 2013 where she came out to her readers. It takes a lot of strength to take that leap – even more so when you realize she was potentially alienating herself from the very readers who help keep her blog (and business) up and running.

“My purpose is to share and to connect with you, those that choose to come here and read it. And damn, I’m lucky to be able to say I can do that. I would fear the day I’m not allowed to express myself the way I do now because someone told me it wasn’t “brand-friendly.” 

So, don’t conform. 
Don’t seek acceptance in the dark.
Don’t look for approval in every move you make. ”
~Christina Topacio

  • Christina, aka Profresh Style, has often written about her life unabashedly and candidly for her readers – offended be damned. Her post, “Conformity Is For The Stupid” is one I refer back to from time to time when I need a reminder of why we all got into this in the first place. That, and we share a birthday – how cool is that?

“To be honest, it’s hard to put into words; clean, sparkling words that live on blogs. Especially, especially on a style blog. I’ve wanted to share so many times but fear stops me. “Shut up and wear clothes” it says…Maybe it’s not about the clothes that bring you here (meh, or maybe it is) but maybe it’s about life. Everyone has a story and maybe you just want to hear mine.”
~Kendi Skeen 

  • Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday is one of the first bloggers I followed. I appreciate her writing about her history with anxiety and depression, and how it affects her life now. She’s also open about the struggle to be honest with readers and maintain a fashion-based blog, which are not always known for praising openness.

“…I just want to mention that in today’s final hours I’m making the choice not to label it as a “bad day”. It’s served as a reminder to accept these unexpected challenges as a motivation to keep fighting and to appreciate the encouraging people in my life who cherish my investment and never fail to give back.”
~Kayley Vandenberg

  • Kayley Vandenberg of That’s Your Gold (formerly Sidewalk Ready) is another blogger I’ve been following for years. She’s unabashedly honest about her feelings, love, and life – and has been an inspiration for me over the years to share, even when it hurts. Maybe it’s the midwestern connection (we both grew up in MI), but I’ve always come back to her blog, even after she or I have been away for a while.

I genuinely hope that whether you like the blog or not, you have a great weekend. 

I, for one, will hopefully spend my weekend outside, among the trees (if my allergies aren’t too bad), or near the water, trying to let go of the previous week while looking ahead to the next.

Authenticity and Audience

authenticity_quote

Authenticity and Audience

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the connection between authenticity and audience in the blogging world. It’s a complicated topic for both bloggers and readers, and there is no singular answer for staying true to ourselves while keeping readers satisfied. Many others have tackled this recently, whether it means being more open with readers, reducing sponsored posts, or quitting entirely.

From my own experiences as a blogger, authenticity and audience are undeniably linked. The ability for me to be honest and open with my readers is entirely dependent on audience.

In the past, I wrote for a mostly anonymous audience. I kept my identity a secret, but the rest of my life was fair game. Those blogs were a place where I could openly share my passions, fears, dreams, and frustrations with readers who were mostly bloggers themselves. I loved being able to write when the mood hit me about any topic that was important to me at the time. It was an amazing time to be a blogger.

Now, I write for a combination of anonymous readers and people I know. The problem with knowing your reader in person is that content can easily suffer. Even posts where I feel I’m being more authentic sound like a watered-down version of my real life. My life is far from perfect, but if you read this blog you may not know that. I wish that I could share more about the things in my life that worry, frustrate, or motivate me – but fear often wins out, and I hit delete.

So from here on out, I’m making the decision to try. No one is perfect, least of all me, so I’m going to make an effort to include more posts about things that aren’t always perfectly edited to death. I need to learn how to write like I used to, and not worry so much about how people will take it. I also want to make this more of a community again – so here’s where you guys come in:

Comment!

Comment about what you read, about your own lives, questions you have, links you want to share, stories to tell, how terrible you think I am…whatever you want! I’ll even take some good-natured trolling if it means I get to read something other than the obligatory comments from my mom. She’s great and all, but I’m craving a community – not just one cheerleader who only says I’m great because she has to (she likes my sister more). 

A New Year…and I’m already behind

A_New_Year_2016

(A new planner for a new year. Thanks to Profresh Style for the inspiration!)

I might be the last blogger to get on board with 2016. After ringing in the new year with family, I feel like I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep ever since – and I’m failing woefully! If I could have one decent night’s sleep, I’d be in heaven right now!

I decided to take the first week of the year to think hard about what I wanted to accomplish in 2016. I’ve tried resolutions in the past, and never live up to them (except that one year in college when I gave up soda). I’ve also tried a quote or mantra, but I rarely live up to those too – and even if I do, it’s due to coincidence more than intention. So for 2016, I’m trying something new:

I’m not doing any of it this year.

No goals, resolutions, declarations, mantras, or laundry lists of things to do – I can’t do it this year. I think after having such a rough 2015, I’m ready for whatever 2016 brings. My life is still very much in flux, and it doesn’t seem right to start setting goals for a future that is still uncertain. I’m still trying to find a job, trying to blog on a regular basis, and we’re moving in a couple months – and these things will impact where things go in the coming year.

The blog is one thing that I’m hoping to work on in the next year. While I learned a ton by blogging 5x/week about a wide variety of topics, I find myself burnt out from it. Creating quality content is a lot more work than I ever imagined, and I worry this blog will turn into a carbon-copy of everything else I read. How many posts about holiday cookies or Target hauls does one really need, honestly? So for the near future, I have to think about where I want the blog to head in the next year.

Sigh…more to think about, right?

2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

Meal Planning 101 / Summer Nail Polish / Sweat List / Home Office Makeover

I thought it would be nice to end the year looking back at some of my favorite posts from 2015!

While this blog has only been around for 6 months, it has been a busy second half of the year. 85 posts in, and I still feel like I’m finding my legs. After looking back at this blog and my old one, I’m starting to figure out what I need to do in 2016. Here are just a few goals I have set for the coming year:

Add more personal style and home-related posts

I realized my “Style” section was mainly just beauty product reviews. I’m not great at taking photos of myself, so I will work to get better at that in 2016. I also didn’t get to do many home projects this year (thanks to having no budget), so I want to do more of those next year too.

Choose a visual style I actually like and stick with it

I’ve come a long way with my photography skills over the past year (thanks to a new camera), but I really want to start toying with a more consistent visual style. Right now, I mainly do clear, mildly saturated photos – which are great, but not the “look” I want the blog to have.

I also want to nail down the look of the blog, rather than using a standard theme – but that may be a while down the road. I learned a ton in graduate school about creating style guides and all that…and it’s time I put all that to good use.

Interact more with the blogging community

I’ve enjoyed getting to know people through blogging, and interacting with many of you who comment on the blog, but I can do more. I want to start meeting people who blog (particularly in the Seattle area), and find more ways to broaden my circle of internet friends! I also want to do more work with brands, and getting myself out there will definitely help me with that!

Get on a better schedule

I’m writing this the night before it’s posted, which is not smart. I’ve toyed with different schedules in the past, and I need to find one that actually works. I don’t know if this means I’ll post every day, every other day, or whenever I feel like it. I’ve abandoned a lot of posts over the last 6 months because I just couldn’t get them done, or by the time I sat down to write, they didn’t interest me anymore. I want to make sure I’m writing about things I enjoy, even if that means taking Afternoon Glow down to a few posts each week.

So, for the rest of the year, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite posts from my Food, Home, Life, and Style sections – as well as where I want each section to head in the coming year!

Well, I’m off to make some truffles and get things finalized for the holidays! Have a great rest of the year, and I’ll see you back here with amazing new content in 2016!

Featured on IFB!

Featured on IFB!

Yay!!

I was featured in the Independent Fashion Blogger’s “Links a la Mode” post from last week! If you’re looking for some amazing inspiration for your winter or holiday wardrobe, check out some of the links below!

Links à la Mode, December 10

SPONSOR: Shopbop Holiday Gift Guide, MM6, Madewell Dresses, Veronica Beard Jackets, MDS Stripes, SAME SWIM, Emerson Road, Infinity Scarves, Vests, Men’s Accessories