blogging, three things

Three Things.

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I’m not a live and die by the signs kinda gal, but I DO believe the planets affect our moods and decision making. I mean, if the moon can affect the waves, why wouldn’t the position of Earth not affect us in the least bit, ya know? (Sound science right there. ; ) ) In any case, I was a bit concerned when I read that the planets are about to go wild, but don’t worry, this article breaks it down and clears up some misconceptions.

Be mindful and be impeccable with your word whenever you can. The stars will do their best to witness your good intentions and, if they don’t, the people you need in your life will. Finally, it’s always good to enter a Mercury retrograde period with this reminder: Sometimes a bad day is just bad day. It’s hard and then it isn’t.

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An English major analyzed booty call messages she’s received and I can’t stop laughing.

What kind of rhetorical devices did he use? Is there any hidden meaning? I asked myself, scrolling through the stream of messages on my phone. I see some polysyndeton, which contributes to the ambiguity, I answered myself, noting his use of capitalization and his placement of line breaks. Suddenly, I realized my tendency to overcomplicate things had unlocked what just might be the best-kept cryptographic secret of the millennium! I could use my close-reading skills to pick apart every tiny detail of this boy’s message, down to the very letter! And thus, the booty call explication was born.

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I’ll be honest and say that I am 100% guilty of daydreaming about life as a French girl. I love Jean-Luc Godard as much as the next girl, and I went through an Anna Karina phase where I rocked red tights regularly. But after living in Europe now for nearly five years, I see how much of this “French girl” trope Americans have created is so far fetched and kind of obnoxious, to boot. And I know it’s a huge theme in the blogger world which I admit to having contributed to. (Oy.) That’s why I was particularly amused when I came across this article, 97 Things You Can Do Like a French Girl, on The Cut.

Ever want to behave like the cartoonish stereotype of an unnecessarily romanticized nationality? Of course you do. Here are 97 things you can do like a French girl.

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blogging, life updates, october 2015

I’m still here, promise!

Hi all!

I’ve gotten many messages and emails asking if I plan on still blogging and I do! I do! But I’m currently in the throws of building up my new apartment (!) and am quite busy at work. It’s a good busy. A really good busy. I am in a good place and really trying to enjoy it. And sometimes that means going home and not flipping on your computer after staring at a screen for 9 hours already…

But I miss this so much and am really going to write more soon.

Important updates so far:

  • I’ve been in Hamburg a year now. A YEAR! Can you believe it? This is the start of my fourth year in Germany. I’ve spent four of the six years of my twenties living abroad. Insane. 
  • I have my very first, all mine, paid for myself apartment. It’s a beautiful one, and I love it dearly. If only furniture were cheaper. 😉 I will post about it soon. I think you’ll like it. 
  • I update a lot on Instagram if you fancy following along there, and of course, twitter
Thank you for always checking in and being such loyal pals. This blog just turned 7 and I’ve only kept with it thanks to the dear friendships I’ve made along the way. 
Onward & upward. 

“Two February’s ago, all I wanted to do was sleep. I was anchored to my bed with the sadness I was letting myself drown in. Now, I daydream about surviving on 3 hours of sleep, I dread going to bed, I keep my eyes open as long as I can. My heart sinks when the sun sets, I crave daylight; I’ve fallen in love with being alive.” — Madisen Kuhn, January 18, 2014 journal entry

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blogging, december 2014, Hamburg 2014, hope, life updates, read it love it, saw it loved it

Popping in real quick…

Hi dear readers!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to Advent so far… I have been incredibly busy lately with my new job and getting used my new groove in Hamburg. (Read: finding out how to make it to the grocery stores after work before they close at 8 p.m…)

But things are good. Really good. 

For the first time in who knows how long, I am really, really proud of myself. And feel challenged. And am excited to get up in the morning. Oh, how much can change for the wonderful in just a short amount of time.

As for this space, I have no plans of giving it up anytime soon. I just seem to be lost in a sea of chaos at the moment (but the good kind of chaos, the best kind of chaos).

So for those who keep checking in, thank you. I’m working on a few posts for you, and in the meantime, had to share this beautiful comic by Lucy Knisely my friend Mackenzie showed me.

It gives me hope. Truly.

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bloggers, blogging, ethics, growing up, journalism 101, my inner journalist, Summer 2014, writing from the heart

What’s in a blog: An Airing of Grievances (kind of)

 

I started collecting quotes I liked on thinkexist.com around 9th grade. This was pre-tumblr, pre-blogging–or rather, my discovery of. But I loved the inspiration I gathered and filed away into neat little folders on my account. It’s where I would go when wallowing in the throes of whatever highs school heartbreak I was experiencing that week. It was as though those quotes could snap me out of it; a smelling salts of reality, if you will.

Then I discovered blogging.

I happened upon inspirational blogs during what I would argue were “the hay days” of inspirational blogs. I was immediately hooked. So many souls with similar hopes sharing their bits of wisdom and finds as if we were all on a team, cheering each other on with advice and proverbs of sorts.

Then Tumblr came along and things shifted a bit. But this didn’t affect the main blogosphere too much. The two actually coexisted brilliantly–almost complementing one another somehow.

And, of course, Pinterest.

Which may have taken a bit away from the main blog stream, however, I’d say it created a hybrid of mediums, making it easier for people to draw inspiration from multiple sources in one spot. My mom, for instance, can’t manage navigating through a blog roll. Well she can, it’s not that she’s incapable. She just doesn’t have the patience or time to go through them, one by one.

Understandable. Life happens. Blogging is a part of life. It is not your life. 

But I digress. 

In the last few years a shift has occurred in the blogosphere. And not one that is particularly positive. First it was the influx of sponsorships, and, when done ethically (proper acknowledgement of said sponsorship, etc.) it was seen as being a smart, savvy way to make money while running your blog–still is. Still can be.

I get it. The blog world got it. No big deal.

And then, little by little, design blogs became live advertisements for scotch tape, mommy blogs began shelling bleach pens, and salad dressings were being hocked on party planning blogs.

And again, money. I get it.

But then affiliate links starting trickling their way into everyday posts.

I saw a post about a recently passed author which included links to some of her books. Links that, when clicked, earn the blogger money. Besides this being, in my opinion, a bit tacky, there was absolutely no disclosure to the links.

I have seen endless bloggers “curate” gift guides only to provide an endless list of gifts with affiliate links to product after product. 90 percent of the time these links are not disclosed.

My university’s School of Journalism had extensive courses on ethics. In said courses we discussed whether or not you could accept a meal comped as a food critic and had endless debates on accepting gifts of any kind from sources. We listened for hours about the importance of proper sourcing and the importance of your credibility as a writer, editor, etc. I always thought these debates were excessive, often baffled that people couldn’t draw a line between right and wrong–how conflict of interest was such a difficult concept for some, and how it could affect your reputation in media.

Then I looked at, about, ten “big name” blogs. And I was flabbergasted by the numerous things so glaringly unethical. What’s worse, sometimes even illegal.

Do I think the FTC will actually hold these bloggers accountable and we can soon look forward to an “Orange is the New Chevron” miniseries of said violators? No. Do I think it’s still incredibly tacky and a little offensive that some bloggers think I’m dumb enough for such click bait to pad their pockets, literally? Absolutely. 

The problem with this new formula for success — though wildly lucrative for the blogger, from what I have researched — is the fact it dilutes the quality of content, diminishes the trust with readers. Blogs I once looked to for inspiration and new ideas have become one big advertisement.  

Is this post really endorsing X because you liked it? Or did you get $ for a quick mention and photo of your using it? 

It’s become a guessing game.

I understand that these blogs have become self-described brands. There’s no harm in branding your online presence. It’s actually quite a smart move. But if you brand yourself as a business, you have to start acting like one.

I’ve heard the argument many times from these bloggers that “magazines are like one big advertisement!” This is true. But magazines have to follow regulations, pay their writers legally, and are held accountable for their content. Magazines receive endless amounts of negative feedback, as any publication does. It’s part of the game. If you’re selling a product, your consumer will expect a product of quality. Magazines also report their earnings in their taxes. (Which I’d be surprised if many bloggers do this at all, when applicable.)

These magazines, in turn, do not flood to their proverbial twitter soapboxes and cry “bully!” when their product/content is called out.

The difference with these blogger/brands is that they love to toe the line.

One week it’s all sponsored content, because “they’re a business, after all.” The next week they are “just being brave putting their lives out there!” 

Unfortunately, with the internet, some negative comments are neither constructive, nor particularly eloquent. But there are a lot of constructive, poignant comments on many “brand” blogger posts that are deemed “bullying” and that is absolutely ludicrous.

I remember my first creative writing workshop class at college. I remember the tears stinging my cheeks as my writing was ripped apart. And I’ll never forget the comment scribbled in pen across the title page of my first piece: “A lawn mower manual was more exciting than this drivel.” 

I also remember my friend calling my bullshit when I said I was being bullied.

She looked at me across the lunch table and said, “Anna, get used to it. We’re writers. This is what we signed up for. Do you wanna get better? Then remember the comments that stung the most next time you’re writing. If it stung it must have been on to something. Was your story boring as a lawn mower manual?” 

It was. 

And, in fact, while writing this I can already feel it venturing into “lawn mower manual” material…

The point I’m trying to make is this: if you’re in the business of blogging, in the literal sense, take pride in your work. Respect your readers. Don’t put more value on a dollar than your reputation. And, if you are putting it out there, own it. Not everyone will like you. You will get heartless comments sometimes. You will also get comments that are constructive, learn from these.

The good news is this: not everyone has to like you.

But people will respect you a whole hell of a lot more if you respect yourself enough to have pride in what you put out there.

As the brilliant Nuala O’Faolain once stated: “Stand by it.”

That’s the blogging we used to see; That’s the blogging that I miss. 

 

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blogging, career, duchess-at-large, european royals, happiness, hope, joy that little things bring, may 2014, pinterest, royal blog, royals, tumblr, updates

On the time Kate Middleton helped me out of a funk. (Kind of.)

I’ve been in such a funk lately. Everyday tasks seem daunting and each passing day without a reply regarding certain projects leaves me feeling more and more hopeless. But I’m trying. And hoping. And so long as those two things are happening, I think I’m going to be just fine… all in time, right?

In the meantime I’ve had time and inspiration to post almost daily on my royal blog, Duchess-at-Large. Writing and talking about everything royal? Hello happiness.

Also! I’ve updated my tumblr! It looks heaps better. Oh! And I’ve been pinning! Whew, that’s a whole lot of nothing too exciting, but every little bit helps keep my wheels turning and that’s the important thing.

And I love sharing it with you. Because maybe your wheels need a little oil to get going and maybe I can help in that? Or maybe you just like pretty pictures (curated, not taken by me)? Whatever tickles your fancy.

Should you be into royals, or anything Kate Middleton related, well I’ve got some posts that you may enjoy.

I wrote about my favorite of Kate’s Royal Tour looks, and of course, my least favorite. (I’d love to know your thoughts!)

P.S. Remember when I went to Copenhagen and fell in love with the Danish Royals? Well, tomorrow is Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s 10th wedding anniversary. The palace released photos. They’re perfection.

P.P.S. This quote. YES. Yes to this:

I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. -Roald Dahl

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blogging, everything royal, hope, march 2014, random, royals, the office, updates

Just a few things…

I’m pretty stoked to share that I’ve started a “royal news” site. I was going to do it mainly to keep my sisters and friends in the royal-know, but have fallen madly in love with every aspect of the concept. I think royal reporting is my real calling… anyone know of a job opening?

So here’s that, if you’re into that sort of thing… I’m still working on the design/kinks, so please bear with me! (Naturally I’ve made a twitter for it, too: @RoyallyBlogging.)

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March Madness is one of my very favorite times of the year. I’m a Jayhawk after all, we breathe basketball! I’m also a fan of Illinois because my cousin Jon is now playing for them. I was lucky enough to be able to tag along last minute to his game last weekend, where he made the winning 3-point shot. No biggie. It runs in the family. 😉 He was even .gif’d! And you can see us all cheering him on in the background. So I guess, in a way, I’ve been .gif’d, too. Checking that off the bucket list right now. Way to go Jon! We’re cheering you on this week during your tournament!

I also got to snuggle on baby Elliott during the game. She didn’t make a peep the entire game (or trip!). You guys, she’s pretty much perfect.

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I’ve been rewatching The Office and just got to when Pam and Jim finally get together. They give me hope. And so do Dwight and Angela’s relationship. And Michael and Holly. I hope the saying “the right people end up together in the end” is true, because that’s really all that’s keeping my heart hoping these days. Love’s hard.

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❝ If I am lost, it’s only for a little while.
— (via brotherstories)

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blogging, healing heartbreak, life lesson, love, readers, words from my heart, write it out

With a little help from friends.

 
A few weeks ago I received an email from a dear reader who was going through a heartbreak. She asked me for advice–which is beyond flattering–and this is the reply I came up with (after many drafts). I hope it helped her, I know that it managed to helped me.

 

Dearest darling,

First of all, a big BIG hug to you. This heartache your feeling is raw, and you’re such a tender soul right now. Take a second to breath, and know that you are SO loved by so many people. You got that, sister? Ok? Ok. 🙂

Secondly, oh boys. And I say boys because I dated someone who sounds crazy similar to your boy — and that’s exactly how they behaved — like boys. But we accept it, because we think they will turn into men sooner than later and the sad part is, sometimes they take years! Or never even grow up! But you can’t let him stop YOUR growing because of his own issues.
Oh the being in a happier place than your significant other. Such a situation I have found myself in, as well. It’s hard, because you and I are caring, encouraging people. We see them and think: Hey! You’re doing great! Keep climbing! And they see us and hear: Oh hurry up! What’s taking so long! Which is not at all what we mean. But again, they are boys who don’t think like logical men.

This may be the hardest part of all, but I am telling you this from the side of the heartbroken: cut off all communication. Hide his Facebook updates, delete his number from your phone, and try and explain to your friends that  you need to be away from him until you feel better.  In my humble opinion staying friends so fresh after a breakup never, ever works. With two of my exes–both of which I was head-over-heels–they responded to none of my reaching out to them after the breakup. I found this to be cruel cruel cruel. But, three years later, I saw one of them and thanked him for this time of healing. I THANKED HIM! Because he knew that it would just drag the process out longer.  It’s like ripping off a band-aid. You either do it slowly and feel every singe of pain for each individual piece,  or you rip that puppy off and get it over with! I highly recommend the latter.

I also want to point out that when things get serious, it terrifies boys, because they aren’t used to feeling such strong emotions! So, to protect themselves, I am of the opinion that they run from anything to keep themselves from getting hurt. But this is not your fault, nor is it mine. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Take some time for you, let him see that if he really wants space, you’ll give it to him, and let him see that the pain of losing you isn’t worth it! And, if he still is scared, he’s not the one for you. You know that saying “let it go, if it comes back, it’s yours; if not, it never was?” I find that to be quite true sometimes.

I know you and he have a love that is between you two. It will always be there. And it will always be unique to you two. That’s the best part about love, there’s never the same love twice, so you’ll always be in each other’s hearts!

I hope this helps a bit, dear friend. I know this is very hard to believe, but your heart will heal. It really will! And you’ll be stronger for it. But in the meantime, embrace your emotions. Please don’t drink them away, because that only turns them into monsters. And love, eat, and stay healthy. That is so hard to do–ask my friends and they’d tell ya I’m the worst when it comes to these things–but please do. Take a shower everyday and buy yourself a fantastic new nail polish or lipstick. One that reminds you every time you see it that you’re healing!

So much love to you and don’t hesitate if you need to talk!
Big hugs!

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And if you need to talk, I’m always here.
After all, we’re all in this together. 

xoxo

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