A Blogging Promise

I promise to…

At times, there seems to be something artificial about blogging, and maybe that’s why I’ve been so lax about keeping up with it. I feel like when we write we’re supposed to present our most polished and pristine selves, a glossy highlight reel that is more fiction than fact. There have been studies upon studies about magazines leaving women dissatisfied with their lives and appearances, and I feel that blogs are doing the same thing.

I know that I’ve fallen down the blog/Pinterest rabbit hole where I begin to think that all of my drinks should be served in mason jars, my house has to be white with pops of color and my hair must at all times be perfectly tousled and coiffed. I think that what made blogging so popular in the beginning was that it was supposed to be authentic. Real people sharing real stories. However, on many of the blogs I follow, there is at times a feeling of falseness that permeates everything.
No one wants to read a blog that goes through the minutiae of a person’s day, but I do think that there needs to be some honesty in blogging. Life isn’t pristine, and blogging shouldn’t be either. So, here are my promises as a blogger:

1. I promise to never apologize for the shoes I wear. It seems that many female bloggers talk a lot about wearing heels, that they don’t sport their stilettos as often as they should. What is this should? I wear flats. Badda bing, badda boom.
2. I promise that my house isn’t white walls and white furniture. Who wants a couch they can’t host a Super Bowl party on?

3. I promise to be honest. Not the over-sharing kind of honesty, but I won’t pull any punches.

4. I promise to try my best. I still want to write something worthwhile, but I don’t have a production team or anyone behind the scenes to help me. It’s just me behind the curtain, Oz, and I’m no wonderful web wizard.

5. I promise to be myself. And that includes not understanding how you can curl your hair with a flat iron. Isn’t that an oxymoron any way?

For all of your kind words and emails about my last post, I thank you muchly. I’m excited to tackle new projects,  and I hope you’ll come along for the ride, even if my hair is just messy and not tousled.
With sunshine,

Anna Beth

To my 35% and Beatin’ the Heat

Four months without a post. I am horrified! Life has been busy of late, and so I have let my writing slide. However, I’ve learned that I need to make my fun writing more of a priority, and so here I am, typing away. And it’s in part because of a simple truth I’ve taken to heart. I read an amazing quote on my favorite source for career inspiration, The Everygirl. New York Times best-selling author Melanie Gideon had this gem of wisdom, and it really stuck out to me as a newbie writer:

“Don’t expect everybody will love your work. Rule of thumb is 35% will love it. 35% will hate it. And 35% will be indifferent. I know that adds up to 105%, but I’m a writer precisely because I’m so bad at math. My point is this: your job is to write, or blog, or design, or paint, or pick stocks, or whatever, for the 35% who believe in you and love your work. Forget about the rest. “

In short, thank you, my 35%. These past few months when I haven’t written anything for myself have been tough, and you have gently reminded me in one way or another to keep on keeping on. So, here I am. Thanks for listening.

I did want to share something fun I did this weekend. As those in my hometown have witnessed, it has been in the 100s for the last few days. Nothing says a Southern summer quite like breaking out into an unglamorous sweat as soon as you exit the glorious confines of air conditioning. So, what’s a gal to do for fun with record-high temps being a party pooper? She goes to the movies, of course.

My mom, trusty adventure companion that she is, joined me in something that I’ve always wanted to do; a double feature. Yes, in these recessiony times, we did something decadent and went to the movies twice in one day. But we only bought popcorn once. We’re not Trumps, people.

Our picks? Moonrise Kingdom and Brave. Now, I love me some Pixar, and Brave was sweet and beautiful and further stoked my passion for  flaming locks. But, Moonrise it ain’t.

Folks, I think Moonrise Kingdom might be one of the best movies I have ever seen. Gorgeously composed, full of style and sentiment, it is sincere but not syrupy. Wes Anderson is the king of whimsy, but what could have gotten bogged down in quirk was instead more heartfelt and honest that any movie out right now. My mom put it best: to paraphrase Liz Lemon, I want to go to Moonrise Kingdom. But it’s not just lovely shots, although there are plenty of pauses in the film so that the audience can enjoy vistas of trees and seas. Instead, it is the story of two adolescents who leave home and discover what it means to find your soul mate when you are an outsider in your family, your school and your scout troop. The film’s protagonists aren’t running away; they’re running to something bigger than they could have imagined. I’m not going to ramble and ruin this film for you, but, seriously, do yourself a favor and go see it.

And if you need a little more convincing, here is the trailer:

Hope y’all are staying cool, and thanks again for sticking with me :)

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

Weekly Happy

Hello friends!

I can’t believe we’re already into our first weekend of March! Wasn’t yesterday Christmas? Maybe it’s a side effect of being out of school, but the year seems to go by so much more quickly than it used to! Whether the Earth is spinning faster or not, it’s important to enjoy each and every day. Here’s a link list of what’s made me happy this week:

Matchbook March 2012

  • March Matchbook Madness, y’all! I haven’t gotten to do an in depth reading of my favorite publication’s newest issue, but the skim I did yesterday left me grinning from ear to ear. I love turning (well, clicking) over each new page because it’s always, without fail, something that I would want to read/write. Katie and Jane, you’re too fabulous for your own good!

 

Bacall and Bogey

  • My mantra on love is a simple one: talk nerdy to me. Imagine my good fortune to find a website devoted to nerd significant others everywhere: Nerd Boy Friend. Looking to give your man that classic Humphrey Bogart style and swagger? Peruse NBF for the perfect bowtied ensemble.

 

Image

Look at her!

  • Because I couldn’t send you off for the weekend without some phodography, please check out the blog Maddie On Things. Can you believe the poses this pooch can do? Vogue puppy! I’m going to pitch a new reality show…America’s Next Top Dog Model, and Maddie will definitely be a contestant.

 

I hope everyone has some smashing weekend plans! I hope to get some quality time in with this sweet girl:

Roxie working it!

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

Girl’s Best Friend

Just in case you couldn’t tell, I love my dog Roxie. A lot. I guess that’s probably an understatement to anyone who has sat through a presentation of my iPhone photos of my girl, but she’s just so special to me, and I want for everyone to think so too. I have been charged by friends that my family raises dogs with more quirks and personality than most people, and at times I have to agree. Examples? Roxie will give you a high five, but only to the command of “patty cake.” She also has to play hide and seek before bed, and she likes to inspect all of my magazines for perfume samples (which she then judges with a head shake for no or a lick for yes). She is a funny little dog for sure, and I love her dearly.

Like Yoda and an Ewok...

I’ve never been one for dog clothes. It’s totally up to the parent of the pooch, but I think that a cute collar and leash combo can showcase your canine’s style quite nicely.

Stylish girl

Now, Roxie does have a yellow raincoat and a hot pink fleece coat, but those are for protection when she struts her stuff outside, and she looks so darn cute in them. I’ve been against her having any other clothes, until I saw this pic on my Pinterest:

Oh. My. Goodness.

Are you dying? I’m dying. First, it’s a schnauzer. Adorable. Second, the schnauzer looks like a chic French sailor. Oh la la! Ever since I saw An American in Paris at age 6, all things striped and French have warmed my heart like a cafe au lait and pain au chocolat. Immediately after viewing this picture, I was in a frenzy. If you think that dog is cute, imagine my pup in that ensemble. I scoured the interwebs for longer than I’d care to say, hunting for the perfect nautical topper for Roxie. Sadly, my sleuthing hit a dead end.

For one thing, the photo came from a Japanese blog, and my French minor does not help much in that area. Even Google Translate only made things more confounding. It seemed that everything was written in haiku form, and it all had to do with sweet potatoes and argan oil. As I fell further down the doggy clothes rabbit hole, I learned that Japan has a thriving dog fashion world that I’m sure is only rivaled by ancient Egypt’s doggy deities. While America does have some lovely canine clothes, none echoed the sophisticated simplicity of the sailor tee. I found a few cute coats, but, alas, my striped ship did not come in. However, Roxie looks smashing in anything, and maybe I can make her a tee myself. Where do you find dog clothes patterns?

Are you on a phodography overload? Too much schnauzer schweetness? I understand.

Until tomorrow, friends.

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

Princess Problems

Every day, I try to remind myself how lucky I am. I have a roof over my head, wonderful family, friends that I can count on, and even more that proves how blessed I am. But some days are harder than others to remember what I’ve been given. And those are the days that are filled with what I call “princess problems.” Self-explanatory nomenclature? Uh, duh. But I’ll lay it out for ya. Princess problems are those that only the royally fortunate would actually term as problems for one reason: they aren’t real problems. Behold some the princess problems I’ve had of late that make me cringe in all of their first-world-selfishness:

I miss shopping.

I really need more washi tape. Like, really need it.

I only saw 2 of the films that won Oscars.

I had to return my hot pink TOMS ballet flats. Why didn’t they fit?! $80 shoes should be perfect, right out of the box.

Why can’t Hulu stream episodes of Revenge immediately? I don’t want to wait until Thursday to watch it!

So horrifying. I’m glad we’re friends, and I can share these things with you. But as soon as these thoughts enter my head, I immediately remind myself that this is not a real problem. This is a princess problem. Real problems involve crises, injustices. Not shopping. Not schedules. And not which Zumba class is better.

So how does a fair maiden combat a serious pandemic of princess problems? Gain perspective. Here are a few things that help me change my glasses from cloudy to rose-colored:

  • Talk to a friend. Discuss their problems, princess or not, and lend some support instead of throwing your own sad sap soiree.
  • Lose yourself in a stranger’s problems. Whether it’s by watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU or reading a book, the sky won’t be falling once you remember how bad things are for some people (even if they aren’t real).
  • Find causes to support. My favorite? Thistle Farms in Nashville. They teach women who have had horrible histories of abuse about God’s love and how it can save their lives. Through working a social enterprise, the women make natural body care products and heal from the traumas they’ve sustained.

To find out more about Thistle Farms or buy some of their products (they smell amazing!), you can go to their website here.

Wise words...

Whether your problems have pedigrees or are paupers, life’s trials and tribulations are never so grim that you can’t work your way out of the mire.

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

P.S. I linked the quote photo above to the correct source, but if your haven’t checked out Note to Self, please do. It’s a delightful blog that I read every day, and the author, Sarah, makes the quotation photos herself. So cool!

A Collector’s Quandry

One of my favorite traditions on Sunday mornings is to eat breakfast with my family and watch CBS’ Sunday Morning. I’ve been a fan of this gem of a program for as long as I can remember, and it wouldn’t be the first morning of a new week without it. Last Sunday, one of the journalists did a piece on his need to collect keepsakes and never get rid of them. A corner of his basement is full of plastic bins stacked to the ceiling, containing his precious mementos. Old paper plates, a baseball jersey, and a salt shaker from a special camping trip are just some of his valuables safely stored away. The crux of his story was that one of his keepsakes turned out to be valuable, much to his wife’s chagrin, but it got me thinking about my own habits. I too am a collector of…stuff. Maybe it’s part of being a writer, the need to memorialize thoughts and feelings by putting them into words,  but I love to have something tangible to help me remember a particular experience or a time in my life.

Now, I truly believe that it’s all well and good to hold on to special things if you have the room for them. But I don’t have enough space for everything I’ve collected. I’m in the process of a major stuff overhaul, and I’m unearthing treasures daily. Yesterday, I found a stack of magazine pages on a shelf in my room, dating from 2000 to 2004. It was around the time I realized how much I loved magazines, and I kept every page from what I was reading back then that meant something to me. I went through each and every scrap, remembering why I loved a particular dress or haircut 10 years ago. But, once the stack was examined, I put it all in the recycling bin. That treasure doesn’t have the same value for me as it used to. I’ll always remember falling in love with magazines and wanting to make my career out of them, and I don’t need face mask recipes from the defunct CosmoGirl to prove it.

However, I am holding on to a good deal of what I’m finding simply because I can put it all to use. The old Kate Spade advertorials I found in a binder? I’m keeping those lovelies and framing them for my workspace. I found some of my grandmother’s jewelry, which has resided in a shoe box in a closet since her death over 10 years ago. It has now been put in a jar to be displayed while I figure out what sort of project I’m going to do with it.

A jar of jewels...

Some might call me a paper hoarder, but I think of myself as a stationery sentimentalist. I keep every note and card from friends and family. I want to display them on a big bulletin board, but I am unable to right now. So, I complied them all into a tidy Baggu zipper bag so that they can wait in the wings for their moment to shine.

Some pretty special stuff going on here!

I have also unearthed a vintage postcard collection I didn’t even realize I’d compiled. I’ve bought one here and there, but once I got them all together, I realized that I have a veritable zoo of paper ephemera.

Vintage Mizzou postcards

Far left: German postcard. Top and far right: French postcards circa WWI and 1903.

Each day I’m sure I will find some forgotten relic, some not-so precious treasure from years past. And now I’ve gotten to the point where I can recycle parts of my collection or give it away to someone who can use it. But some mementos will always be saved. And hopefully not in plastic bins in my basement.

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a busy one, and I’d love to share a few fun tidbits. As all of my friends from high school and college know, Friday nights are a tough sell for me to leave the house. I’m usually tired from the past week, and I’ve always been one to prefer PJs and takeout to parties and tequila. My MO is to go to bed before double digits and be ready by 7 on Saturday morning to get some things done. But last Friday, I made an exception for one reason: Journey. That’s right y’all, I got my rock on. They played at TPAC, a much smaller venue than the stadium where I’d previously seen them, and I jumped at the chance for a more intimate setting.

Before the show...

Don't Stop Believing!

In short, the concert was wonderful. All the members of the band are very talented, and I love that each one gets to take a solo during the set to strut their musical stuff. At the concert’s end (the closed with “Don’t Stop Believing,” obviously), confetti and streamers were shot off. What a way to end the show! A fellow concert-goer mentioned something to me about how much I was rocking out; my reply may have indicated that I am the band’s sixth member. Overzealous? You try listening to Journey for 2 hours and see if you see any gray skies ahead.

Saturday, I went to the flea market with a new pal. While treasure hunting is swell, I loved people watching. There were all kinds together in place, and I couldn’t help but observe them in their not-so-natural habitat. I walked away with a few fun finds, but I’m a stickler for a deal, so I didn’t get everything my heart desired.

Today will be spent much like yesterday: cleaning. My poor room is sadly neglected, and I’m taking charge. Tomorrow I’ll post about the treasures I’ve unearthed in my abode.

Hope your week is of to a great start!

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

P.S. In Roxie news, the pup has discovered how much she loves getting her hair dried (cool setting only, please!). Here is a video I got of her in her element:

Welcome to Scam-a-lot

Another week, another 7ish days without writing. Sorry for being such a bad blogger! I don’t call, I don’t write, and now I’m back. I know I don’t deserve it, but can you forgive me? I’m just a girl, sitting in front of a computer, asking you to read my thoughts. Did my Notting Hill reference win you over? Are we friends again? Good! Thank you so much!

I’m mixing it up, so this isn’t going to be my usual Weekly Happy. To be honest, I’ve been busy, but, more importantly, I haven’t been leading a very interesting life. And being uninteresting is bad for writing! However, I do have one tale to share with you. It’s about a journey I took recently to the land of Scam-a-lot.

First, some background. The Holy Grail that most 20-somethings like me spend our days seeking is as elusive as that legendary cup itself: a full-time job. Days spent emailing, scouring Craigslist and Monster, thinking of publishers to submit my resume to are just par for the course. I’ve been keeping out of trouble doing some freelancing and part-time stuff, but I’m still on the hunt for stable, steady employment surrounded by people I like and doing work I enjoy. Sometimes I feel like my quest is futile because no one is going to pay me to see my friends, wear glitter shoes and look at Pinterest and Etsy all day, but I digress. I know that’s a job I already have; it’s called being me!

For me, it's chocolate and Pinterest. A match made in heaven!

I’ve had some great interviews lately, and I know that I just have to keep the  faith and pray for the right opportunity. But yesterday my quest took me into a new kingdom: Scam-a-lot. I’ve been lucky thus far with going to interviews. Granted, I do my homework beforehand; researching online, phone calls and emails to friends, making sure everything is above-board. I try to insure that there is zero chance for any sort of shady or sinister vibes. No Lifetime movies here folks! When I recently submitted my resume to a marketing agency and filled out information to be a copywriter, I was so excited to get a call from the HR department asking me to come in. I checked them out, and everything seemed spit-spot and ship-shape. So,with my portfolio in my hands and my trusty Kate Spade leopard flats on my feet, I made my way to Scam-a-lot.

Like ruby slippers, but better. And I got them on big sale!

Because of this experience, I can give you some pointers for how to tell if you’re in an interview or a scamming cattle call.

  • Is the office incredibly difficult to find?
  • Do 5 other people show up at the same time as your interview slot?
  • Is no one in the office at 3 on a Thursday?
  • Is there a TV on somewhere?

All of these things welcomed me to Scam-a-lot, and I started to feel uneasy. I’d researched the company, but I soon learned that there are certain phrases and words that mean something else in scam land. Marketing? It’s telemarketing, it’s knocking on people’s doors at night. Copywriting? Doesn’t exist. And a training program? I gathered that it was not training to be a copywriter, but rather to work 6 days a week for $10 an hour for a year and then go on to lead a team of other unfortunates whose mission is to bother nice people on the weekends.

I nodded politely as it was explained to me, but all I could think was “run!” So, 15 minutes and a handshake later, I left Scam-a-lot, never to return again.

I can laugh about it now, but some times disappointment is plain old tough. It just felt like a waste of my time, makeup, and leopard shoes. However, I’m not throwing a pity party. If anything, I’ve learned something new, have a great story and an even stronger resolve to keep searching for the perfect job. My new mantra: I am the captain of my destiny. And my destiny does not involve telemarketing.

Hope y’all have a marvelous weekend!

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

P.S. Did you think I forgot to give you a little phodography? No way!

Foxy Roxie doing her thing!

Weekly Happy

Where did the week go? Forgive my lack of posting; things got a bit cray cray around here. I would like to start out this post with a thank you to everyone who is reading and commenting on my musings. I really can’t convey in this rather stark medium how much that means to me. I never intended on having an actual readership when I started this blog; It was just writing for writing’s sake. But once again, my friends, you have risen to the occasion, and your kind words and support have gotten me verklempt. I need a moment…talk amongst yourselves (don’t you love that vintage SNL skit? As a Barbra fan, it resonates deeply with me). So, all that rambling for two simple words: thank you.

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today, so do forgive my lackluster return to blogging. Here are some things that tickled my fancy this week:

  • Part of being sick means watching copious amount of TV and favorite movies. My feel good movies? You’ve Got Mail, North by Northwest and Singing in the Rain. Maybe it’s because I got to meet Debbie Reynolds when I was 9, but this movie is number one on every top ten movie list I’ve ever  made. Behold a glorious snippet from this classic film.

 

 

  • I haven’t ever watched The Voice simply because I know I would tumble down the rabbit hole of reality competitions. I’ve been the victim of Project Runway and Top Chef, and I do not want to once again get sucked in. However, I think I might have to succumb after seeing this picture of Cee Lo:

Not so fast Mr. Bond!

I’m getting a serious Bond villain vibe from this image. And I like it. That’s probably all the convincing I need to start watching The Voice.

  • After seeing Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl commercial, I have decided that, if money were no object and I could pay anyone to do anything, I would like for my buddy Clint to read to me. Anything. The phone book would be riveting. Good Night, Moon? A hard-boiled film noir nail-biter. And if Clint Eastwood’s voice was the one I heard while on hold with my cable company, I wouldn’t mind waiting for an hour.
  • Finally, this sweet short is nominated for an Oscar, and you need to see it. Carve out 15 minutes of your day. Bask in the beauty of a bibliophile’s dream world and witness the healing power of books. It’s worth it, I promise.

Have a wonderful weekend!

With sunshine,

Anna Beth

Musing on Muses: Matchbook Magazine

What an alliterative title, no? Well, I pull out all the stops for my beloved, my favorite, my end-all, be-all publication, Matchbook. If you are not familiar with Matchbook, then sit down with your favorite electronic device and get reading! This online magazine is the ultimate for a gal like me. It is chock-full of charm, whimsy, intelligence and wit. Their one year anniversary issue just went live today, and  it is a gift to all of its loyal readers!

Matchbook February 2012

Why do I love Matchbook so very much? To be frank, as much as I love magazines, I have never read one that is perfect for me. Today’s trend with most popular women’s magazines is to forgo smarts and sweetness and go right for the salacious and celebrity-filled. For many readers, that’s appealing, but I’ve never enjoyed it. Matchbook is a magazine for women about women. There’s pop, personality, and panache in each page of Matchbook. Profiles of artists are snuggled up next to handbags that look like elephants and stunning editorials of fall fashion. There are book recommendations, celebrations of the particular month, and a list of who the Matchbook maven is. Here is February’s list:

The February Matchbook Girl. Describes me to a T!

I only wish that this magazine had been around when I was in high school. Reading about women who find Katherine Hepburn more appealing than the starlets of today, who shop for vintage jewelry and can name every bag in the kate spade arsenal would have been so appealing to younger moi. However, I can appreciate finding a kindred spirit more now that I am an adult, and that’s what makes Matchbook so precious to me. Happy Birthday Matchbook, and thank you for the joy you’ve given me over this past year!

With sunshine,

Anna Beth