Friday, January 31, 2014

Isaiah 12:2

Sometimes, you just need a few words of Christ and not too many of yourself.

Isaiah 12:2--






















hugging everyone a little tighter,
Meredith

Thursday, January 30, 2014

WHY YOU SHOULD MARRY A BLOGGER

Okay, okay, let me go ahead and tell you that I only put this as the title because I cracked myself up doing it and because there are SO many articles/posts about why you should marry _____. Like come on, marry who you want to marry and not because some random article had 27 reasons on why you should.

ANYWAY, entertainment of the title is over. I just wanted y'all to get excited about why you should marry me (jk jk jk) or get worked up about an article dictating your life. This is really just a post about why I love my blog friends so doggone much. 

When you start a blog, you think it's fun. Putting your thoughts out there and oh heck, it's a blast, it really is. Then... you start to make friends with it. Not just a few mutual Twitter followers, but actual friends that you talk to on the reg. And they're the coolest.

Rachel of Sunshine and Sinatra wrote a post about why blog friends are the coolest a few days ago, but I just had to add on.

They like to blab on and on. Never worry about a lull in conversation because if you've stopped talking, they'll go right ahead and start talking about themselves once again (if we haven't already blogged about it) and you can just listen. We're all used to having people listen to us ramble about our life, so never worry about a lack of self esteem. Every blogger knows why they individually do it, which means they have at least a little bit of self esteem. This may sound like I'm putting it in a negative light, but you've gotta trust me, having someone to always talk and always listen is the best.

Haley knows how excited I am about Europe.

They're excited about literally everything they're doing and everything you're doing. Everyone obviously started their blog because they were passionate or excited about something. Bloggers have to stay excited about their life and your life in order to keep up in all of it.



KATHRYN'S THE BEST.

They know the value of something being blog worthy. Rachel jokes about how she hopes her date goes bad so she has something to blog about. A cute outfit, a cup of coffee, a new restaurant? We eat that right up, no doubt about that.

They're crazy on your social media. They don't even have to know what's going on in your life to favorite a tweet, they just thought it was funny. And you're always guaranteed a like on your Instagram because they know how hard you worked at that editing and caption creativity. On Pinterest, they repin your original pins not necessarily because they like you but because they know it'll give you traffic. It's simple etiquette. They also know of and utilize every new social media. And by the time you get on, they're probably already following you.


Like oh heyyyyy Carolina, Dana, and Kathryn

They're analytic like you and love stats and trial and error. It's hard to be a blogger and not want to look at which posts do well and which don't. They're right there with you in the Google Analytics addiction.

They believe in aesthetics. Not only in real life, but in site design. It's so easy to put up a simple design and start typing away about how it's "just the writing", but everyone knows a pretty, unique site keeps people reading. They know your worries of fonts and colors and lines and symmetry and which widget should go where.

They all understand and respect your level of privacy for your blog.


Giveaways are the best and everyone loves getting together. That's it. We love it.


We know other people think we're crazy but it makes us love each other all that more.

They also live with the anticipation of a post going live.


The coolest blog friends don't care about your numbers/followers on every social media platform. It doesn't take thousands of Twitter followers to be funny or thousands of Instagram followers to be fashionable. A good blog is a good blog and that's all that matters.

There's no limit to creepiness and I don't even think it exists (unless you're a 50+ male blogger without a real name who blogs from inside of his van). They'll openly send you their phone number and email you and tell you they love you. And know their quirks and send them random stuff you see online (the other day I just randomly sent Rachel a picture of dogs playing cards with Frank Sinatra. It's casual). They love it when you tweet them back and comment on their posts and say cute things in Instagram comments. You don't even have to care if they're your blog bestie or not, there's just so much love.

They've always got your back. No matter if you have different types of blogs or are in different niches, they'll stand up for you and the things you blog about because they know you've put in hard work!



And if you haven't understood the backbone of this argument... bloggers care. They are some of the most caring and passionate people in the world and I love them!

love everyone,
Meredith

PS: I literally only put like a few people in here. I have so many more blog friends I care about!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So you want to start a blog

I have had this draft saved for months. I was so scared to post it... like what do I know about blogging to even say anything? But like I'll mention later, blogging is all about being vulnerable, so let's see how this post goes.

People are always telling me that they wish they were blog famous, Instagram famous, Twitter famous, Pinterest famous, etc. IT’S TOO MUCH FAME. They think that starting a blog makes you instantly famous. It doesn’t. I hate to be annoying about this, because I am most definitely not an expert in any of this. It feels like I just started. But if you want to start a blog, you have to understand that you don’t do it for social media fame or any sort of perk.

When I wanted to start moving my blog up, I read a lot about it. ‘How to start a blog’, ‘Blogging for Beginners’, and on and on. The great thing about it was that I already had a blog, I just wanted to up its game a little bit. Regardless, the biggest tip that they had in all of these how-to guides was that you should never, ever start a blog with the intent to make money. Or in the case of my peers, never start it with the hope to gain fame. (Fame and money go hand in hand, right?) I will say this over and over and I hope that you understand how I mean it-- I do not blog for money or to gain popularity. It’s an odd thing to comprehend, because people ask me, ‘Well, don’t you want something out of it?’ or ‘But don’t you want your blog to be seen?’. The thing is, what I get out of it isn’t money or a sense of achievement correlated with fame. I get personal enjoyment and an outlet. Of course, I love it when people read it. More traffic gets me giddy like a little girl. But I only enjoy it because I don’t expect it. I blog what I enjoy, and if people enjoy it, too, that’s fabulous. If you start your blog with EXPECTATIONS, then don’t count on them getting there.

The reason I say this is because blogging can come with lots of disappointments. It takes a lot of time, a lot of hard work (and a lot of work that’ll go unseen by most), and a heck of a lot of patience. You seriously cannot start it with the hope that you’ll go viral after one or two posts. You have to understand that there will be posts that you think will go great but don’t get as many views as you want. That’s happened to me countless times, whether it’s a recipe I worked really hard on and took great pictures for, or a writing piece that people didn’t go crazy for. Hard work and patience are the two key factors in blogging, and I live by those. Hard work has something that’s always driven me, but patience, not so much. (So when you ask what I get out of blogging, know that my patience skills have grown. Hopefully.)

You have to understand that you won’t have many ‘followers’ like you maybe do on social media and if that bothers you, rethink it a little. You have to know why you’re blogging. If you can’t come up with a reason, then maybe this isn’t the best for you.

And the biggest thing that irks me about this whole thing is that you have to differentiate between people with blogs and bloggers. This is going to sound harsh, and again, I don’t mean for it to. Blogging is hard because it requires fresh and original content on a regular basis. People that want to start a blog always say, ‘But I don’t know what I’d post!’ Oh trust me, I feel you on that. I was a rare poster  until I started to get the hang of it. Coming up with new content is really, really hard, especially during those times where you don’t know exactly what your blog is. For example, I had first mentally categorized my blog as DIY. L-O-L, guys. I don’t post as many how-tos as I wish I do. But the difference between me in March and me now is that I now feel like I’m a blogger. A blogger is someone who, yes, has a blog, but also blogs on the bad days and on the good days. That’s hard stuff. It’s really hard. But when you sit down and think, I have nothing to say, trust me, you probably do have something to say. What’s the funniest thing that you saw on Twitter? What touched your heart on Pinterest, or in real life? What did you do today? What are you lusting after that you saw at the mall? What’s going on in real life? These are the things that make you a blogger. When you can put your heart out there on an online journal, decorating it with the things that you love, then you’re a blogger. Again, it’s alright to not have as many at first. But again comes patience, where you have to love it enough to stick with it. When you stick with it, posts come a little more naturally.

You have to be vulnerable, and you have to be real. That can be pretty hard, too. Some of my most vulnerable posts were really hard to click 'publish' on. And guess what? They’re some of the posts that have the most views. Because they’re true from my heart. I was so scared to post them, but so glad that I did. You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone to keep being real. You can tell when a blogger has BSed their way to get more views.

You have to stay true to who you are. I’ll be honest, if you stick with it, there’ll be a point where you think, I am so good at this. Good for you!! If you’re there and have the confidence to keep doing it, you realize why you love it, then there’s confidence and morale for the next post. You need boosts like that.... but don’t get too big of an ego. Sadly, there are blogs that you can tell where they thought that their posts were invincible because they hit their level of fame, and their remaining posts went downhill. Stay true to keeping your blog as an adequate description of who you are. There shouldn’t be any discrepancy between how your friends see you and how your friends read your blog. Yeah, you should put your best self out there, but don’t fake it. I think one of the posts where I felt like my blog was the best description of who I was in real life is my Polo dress post.

You have to know who you are. When you get comments that aren’t so kind, you have to remember that you are individual, unique, and that it’s okay.

This one’s on more of a light side-- bloggers are annoying. I don’t know how people put up with me sometimes. I joked once on Twitter that my family told me I had to stop taking photos of our Thanksgiving dinner. You have to be annoying to take good photos, to have people take your photos, to stay on your computer working on something, and something that I’m still working on the balance of is social media. If you want your blog out there, utilize your social media to the best of your ability (there’ll be another post on that). Know that your blog is who you are, so if you’re sharing yourself on social media, it’s okay to share your blog on it, too. Know that blogging can be annoying to take photos of your food before you eat it, in between steps of your DIY project, and to take quotes. (It’s almost like journalism.)

Another FYI with being vulnerable-- sometimes, too much is too much. I’ve been very careful about what I post in the context of professionalism and relationships. Don’t post what you want a college admissions counselor or possible employer to read. I’m hesitant to ever write about college choices (think about it: if I were to write that College A is my number one choice over and over, College B might not want to accept me. And it’s embarrassing if College A doesn’t accept me. Or, you shouldn’t bash College Z, because College A might think that it’s tacky). And if you’re going to write about your friends, that’s a totally personal choice. I have most definitely written about or mentioned my friends in my posts, but because I cleared it with them first. Assume that whatever you’re going to write, everyone will read. Not everyone wants their information out there. And if you do take a more anonymous approach (ie, not putting it on Facebook and Twitter and signing your real name with everything), that’s totally fine, too! Just know the differences.


Some of you might read this and go, ‘Wow, what a *mean word*. I can do what I want! What does she know?!’  I’m sorry if I’ve come across this way. It’s just that blogging can be so hard and it took me a while to realize that and not take it to heart. And I say all of this because blogging has changed my life, absolutely and completely. It is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I am 100% proud of it and the things that have come from it. I hope that I am always staying true to myself through it, and that maybe, somewhere along the way, it’s touched someone else, just the way that I’ve felt welcomed and comforted in the blogging world. I say all of this because if you want to start a blog, GO FOR IT. I hope that it brings you the same joy and escape that it’s brought me and many others!


Have any questions? Let me know! 
And a more lighthearted post tomorrow about why bloggers are the coolest.

LOVE EVERYONE LOTS,
Meredith

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

life snapshots

I'm lacking in a super creative blog post right now. Mostly because it's going to be so cold today and because I'm tired of wearing the same basic outfit and ya know how the weather can just get you down? I know I swore to not complaining about it, but when the windchill is -6 when you're leaving for school and it's probably breaking records, there's a little wiggle room. 

I mean... look how warm it looks here.

{cruise in Nassau, 2012}

Is there any other relationship to have other than the one you have with your Jacks?



Last week when I was in my pajamas most of the time and there were still bloggers posting their adorable OOTDs that consisted of flats (skin? on your feet? that can be seen?) and one layer of pants, I was jealous and took a photo of my favorite OOTD. It was a joke....... but it's real. 


My mom made the BEST red velvet crinkle cookies of all time. They looked like little meat balls here, but trust me, they were good.


Oh jeez oh jeez can you go to brunch with your fam without getting a pic?!


THIS IS TOTALLY CREDS TO SETH HIX. It was on his Snapchat story and I loved it so much that I had to save it.


You can't tell me that you don't sometimes feel like Mr. Rogers wearing cardigans. 


GUYS you have no clue how badly I wish I knew who this were from and could give credits all around. They deserve it. Like so badly. But I'm obsessed with this and obviously with Beyoncé...


Come on, who isn't obsessed with her?


And I'm really obsessed with my little brother, my Sloaney Baloney. He's one of my best friends, yest at 11 years old, and I love him so much.

xoxo,
Meredith

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lilly-Monogram craft

I've gotten a little stir crazy being in my house so long and I've also been tired of sitting on my phone and computer so long, so I decided to actually do something with all those pins on my crafts board! After merging several ideas, I made my Lilly monogram!


This really didn't take that long to make, but it did take a little bit of planning out.

I cringe every time I see a craft about tearing the pages out of your Lilly agenda... like I paid SO much for that and even if it's old, I couldn't imagine tearing apart such a beautiful thing! If you're feeling the same way, my solution is to print out Lilly prints on paper-- easily the exact same thing. It's how I made my Lilly coasters and pencil can!




Anyway, my mom had found two large, brand new Lilly agendas from last year from a garage sale for A DOLLAR A PIECE. She grabbed them right up and knew I'd have a blast crafting with them when I didn't need to worry about paying for it. (I have such a good mom)


The next thing I got was an old poster board. I'm not kidding, this is one of my old volleyball posters that I had made and knew I could use it for something some day (#craftinghoarder), and you really don't need it to look pretty.


And of course, the necessity: Mod Podge.


I've seen all the crafts about it, but never really knew which parts of the agenda they used. So I went through and ripped out (*shudders*) the month pages, mostly just the pages with the prints where they said the month's name.


The ones with the cute little quotes-- I didn't use those only because they were cute and didn't have many prints. But I did save them because I think it could be such a cute alternative craft in the future!

I went through and stacked up the printed ones and cut them into strips and then into squares, making sure to get rid of the perforated edges before. It really helped that I stacked them and then cut them so they mixed well.


Now, my mom would kill me if she knew I were using Mod Podge in my room.... but it's way too cold to do anything outside or in my garage. (I swear, I bet she reads this in a few hours or days and comes up to my room and asks about it. I would be the girl to get in trouble and only for using Mod Podge in my room.)

I used my lap board (thank you, Michaels!) to keep the pieces on and just put the poster board on my floor. 

I'm telling you this and I'm going to tell you all of these odd details because I know that when I read DIY guides, I need these for logistics. It's easy to go, just Mod Podge it! and still be frustrated why there are differences in peoples' crafts.

I just went through and started Mod Podging, though! It's important to know that not all of the pieces have to be the same size and it doesn't have to be perfect patchwork. The only rules I really had were minimal white space and trying to keep similar prints apart from each other. That's why it was helpful that they were already mixed up-- when your Mod Podge is wet, you need to go ahead and just start putting stuff down. Don't worry too much if there's a spot or two missing or if there are are inconsistencies. At the end of the day, it's going to be in a weird shape, so you'll barely notice it. 

I used just a normal paint brush and dipped it in the bottle, then went on top of the poster board, a few sections at a time.



I was so fortunate to have such a cute little helper!

Make sure that when you're doing it, you're going back over it again with the brush. That seals it and keeps it a little bit more pushed down. And trust me, it'll scare you to see all that white, but I promise, it dries clear. 


And of course, this is the point where you have to add it to your Snapchat story and drool over all of the Lilly. It was so pretty and my sister had thought I was just going to leave it like that and frame it, and heck, it's not a bad idea. 


This is where the semi-challenging part comes, but you've just gotta be calm. 

I've doodled my little heart out in AP Spanish with my monogram... my teacher will attest that it's one of my finer skills, rather than my fine Spanish speaking skills. But monogram after monogram, I'd have to say that I'm pretty okay at drawing circle monograms now. And I'll tell you that it IS one of the most important skills a girl can have-- put it on your resume and you've got the job in no time. 

But really, the biggest challenge with this is drawing your monogram backwards. What you're going to do is flip the poster board over, draw a circle as large as you want your letters, and begin. You can try to think of it and do it, or it may be easier to print your monogram out and flip it over so you can draw it backwards. I'd suggest doing it as normal on the front, but it's really difficult to see that way. After it's drawn, simply cut them out, ensuring that you're giving enough space for each letter. Much better for it to be too large and you have to trim it than tiny and you have wasted all that time. 


Oh.... sorry, I love my Devils, but I really love crafting as well. You can't see it, but I had drawn my letters and begun to cut them out.


After the first letter was cut out. I was SO EXCITED. This was something I had come up with and wasn't really sure how it'd turn out and I still lived with that fear of me wasting an entire agenda, but it was just... pretty! Be sure, too, that you're keeping your scissors very wide and going slowly. Some pieces may not be completely glued down and you don't want to rip any.

After you have your letters, feel free to do any thing with them! I have a lot of free hanging letters on my wall, so I decided to glue them onto another piece of poster board, add a bow, and hang it up! I can't wait to show you my wall of pretty things that I Instagrammed the other day! 

How do you not love your (monogrammed) letters in Lilly? 

I think it was really fun using the planner as well because you could see the months clearly, which was originally something I didn't want seen, but now I love. It kind of feels like I took my year last year and was able to condense it into what my last year was, ya know? Being sentimental about crafts is my specialty.



Monograms for all!

xoxo,
Meredith




Sunday, January 26, 2014

photobombed by the sunset

You know that feeling of walking into Old Navy, finding something really cute, and then realizing it's on super-super sale? No? Okay you're missing out, because that is one of my favorite feelings in the world.

I love Old Navy, and yes, to that 3rd grader, who asks why I don't marry it if I love it so much. Oh, I would. 

I found this shirt for a whopping $6 and was so excited, not only because it's cute, but also because it reminds me of the J. Crew embellished sweater that everyone else seems to have

I know there's a lot going on in this look, but sometimes you just need that, ya know? I get a little crazy with more than one 'thing', so I feel so risky when I wear more than one big thing. Cheetah print flats, an embellished top, and a bow? Going crazy over here.


hello, beautiful sunset


this picture was really only because I wanted my shoes to be seen... yeah, problem not fixed



tbh this really was just a candid pic.... but I love how it focused on the sunset

Shirt: Old Navy | Skirt: Old Navy | Shoes: American Eagle | Necklace: H&M 

xoxo,
Meredith

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dreaming of Europe

I feel like this is going to be a big component of my blog in the next few months... but I'm so excited for it, because, yes, I am going to Europe! My family is going on vacation this summer; London for a week and Paris for a week. My dad's been planning this trip for years, it feels, and we wanted to make sure we went at the right time (when my littlest brother was old enough). It's weird that it's finally real and within a reachable grasp. When a lot of our Christmas gifts to each other were Europe-focused, it started to get really exciting! Because this is such a big trip and unfortunately I'm not one of those people that has traveled the world a million times around, I'm excited to bring it to my blog! ....Which means I've already been bringing it to Pinterest and Tumblr  and saving pictures to my phone to send to my family. (Also, trying to figure out the new location feature on Pinterest so if anyone has any advice, let me know!!)

We have lots of books laying around my house and I got a book about French food for Christmas... do you even understand how excited I am to eat lots and lots? So many things about going to both London and Paris are getting me pumped. My favorite kind of conversation is the one where my dad pulls us in to the room to show us a video of the Eiffel Tower or ask about train rides. It just reminds me of how blessed I am to have such a loving family and opportunities to travel. It'll be especially cool because this is the summer before I leave for college!

I had a lot of fun preparing for my adventures last summer with this blog (my first one, about Boston!) I mean, my Boston post is how I met Eleanor, who's now a great friend, and get this- studying abroad in Paris right now! So, I ask the blog world, what do you think? Where should I go, what should I do, eat, wear, and learn?! Isn't this the beauty of blogging? Knowing that there are bloggers from all over the world and can give real insight into these kinds of things? Anywaaaaay, let me know if you have anything on England or France!

London, via Pinterest

via Etsy (I might have to order this!)

xoxo,
Meredith

Friday, January 24, 2014

lots of pics and lots of coffee

We.... have another snow day. I have not been to school since last Friday. I had wanted to publish one blog post but decided against it, so in the name of 'snow pics' (and some that aren't)--

My friend Logan jokes about it and sends me random pics to put on my blog and so when I asked him for the good ones he sent about 20... so a few of these are his and a few aren't of the snow. Whatevs. 

introducing Marta Scroggin and her fancy new camera















































okay, I'm absolutely obsessed with this one because you can see the tree's shadow

very Mammoth Cave-esque, no?

two photos above are c/o Mr. Fancy Pants Logan Ziegler



























love love love my church, Calvary Baptist


























this is by far my favorite photo, thanks to Adam Kiser and his beautiful backyard




I have had so much coffee these past few days. Totes obligated to take a pic of it because I can drink it out of a cute mug and not a crappy cup

And a last one, with a little bit of a story. My name in Spanish class is Yolanda, only because it cracked me up when we had to choose from the list. And the teacher I had last year is the same one I have this year... so I'm just forever Yolanda in her mind and everyone teases me. Whatever. I love it. Anyway, I found out that there's a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills named Yolanda and was so excited about it that I tweeted about it. My dad, on a business trip then, apparently does read all of my tweets.


I laughed so hard and my day was so made.

And sometimes, you just have to put random things on your blog simply because you can.


Clearly, I haven't been doing much if I'm posting screenshots and pics of coffee. But it's the life. And life is short, so I'll continue drinking too much coffee and talking about boogers.

xoxo,
Meredith

Psalm 48:14 | For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.