When a Stranger Changes Your Life [& a blog crush]

27 Jun

I’m an avid blog follower. I’ve been reading other people’s blogs for about a year (yeah, I know I jumped on that bandwagon WAY too late in the game… I just didn’t know what I was missing) and every single day I look forward to seeing what is new with my favorite bloggers. I’ve got about 50 subscriptions in my Google Reader… I’m not sure if that’s high, low, or average… but it definitely keeps me busy!  I love it so much that sometimes I get caught up and completely forget what I’m supposed to be doing.  I wish I could be a professional blog reader – there’s got to be a job like that out there somewhere right? Working for a magazine or HGTV or something and just seeking out the next “big” blog success? It. Would. Be. Awesome.

Anyways, since that job simply doesn’t exist in the world I live in, I decided to start my own blog.  I’m still trying to figure out my little “niche” in the blogosphere, but after only a handful of posts, I think that’s still completely acceptable.

What I love about blogs in general is that they allow people from all over the world to connect on a very personal level over a shared passion or interest. I love that there is so much inspiration and encouragement and beauty; and that sometimes you feel like you’ve met your new best friend before you even realize you haven’t actually spoken to this person before.

Most of you probably know that this past weekend was the Haven Conference in Atlanta.  I honestly don’t know much about blog conferences, but I would have TOTALLY gone if it weren’t so gosh darn expensive to fly, stay in a hotel, and buy tickets to the conference itself.  Anyway, I have been thoroughly enjoying recap after recap from all my favorites, and it is the Keynote speech (presented by John & Sherry Petersik of YoungHouseLove) that has not so much CHANGED my perspective on my own blog, but has most definitely refined it.

YHL is the first blog I ever really, truly followed. As in: “woke up, came to work, and opened Google Reader in its own tab just waiting to see the (1) unread item, followed” (aka “stalked”).  I honestly don’t even remember what it was that led me to their page, but I am eternally grateful that it happened because those first few days were like pure magic.  Since that time, I have obviously discovered numerous other blogs covering topics from DIY to Design to general life randomness. I love them all, but I will always love YHL most (don’t be jelly).

When I found out John & Sherry were the keynote speakers at Haven, I cursed the cosmos (while drowning my sorrows in some cosmos) for my inability to attend. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Kitty for a great Keynote summary (YHL’s 11 Biggest “Decisions”) that, even though I was unable to attend, made me feel as if I had been in the room soaking up these gems of wisdom from some seriously seasoned – and successful – idols/bloggers.

The bullet point that stuck with me the most was item #6 – Unleashing Some Personality.  Miss Kitty’s summary says that when Sherry began writing posts for the blog, they had an almost business-like feel due to her professional copywriter background.  When people who knew her in real life noted that she is way funnier in person, she decided to tone down the formalities and just write as if she were talking aloud – letting her “freak flag fly”.

This revelation truly struck a chord deep inside me. I have always tried so hard to be what I admire in others – witty, thought-provoking, exciting – but that’s really an awful lot of pressure… and it’s not always the best representation of who I am, both as a person and as a writer.  I want to know that when people react to my blog – in any way – that they are reacting to me and not to who I am portraying. This community is not about being perfect, it’s about having an outlet to be exactly who you are and being accepted (and sometimes even adored) for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable.

So, here it is: I’m a girl who lives in Iowa, works in a job that she likes but wishes she could love, has a two year old daughter and a wedding only a year away, does really really stupid and clumsy things on pretty much an hourly basis, is obsessed with bad television & movies, sings at the top of her lungs in the car, is really bad at telling stories, makes jokes that tend to get lost on her audience, swears way too much, and wants to meet as many interesting people and have as many new experiences as possible in this short life. I can’t be what I think others want me to be – I can only be who I want me to be, or who I already am. This is me in all my glory:

One time we went tailgating and I tripped and spilled my beer a little… but it looked like I peed… so I laughed. A lot. And almost spilled more.

With that said – I’m warning you now.  Shit’s about to get real. And probably a little more profane… just because that’s who I am. Love me or leave me. {Which, coincidentally is also a song title by the band Rooney… check it out.}

For anyone interested in blog recommendations, here’s the short list of my favorite craft, DIY, and design blogs:

The Hunted Interior, Lucite + Lavender, Designlovefest, A Little Glass Box, Kara Paslay Designs, Centsational Girl, & IHeart Organizing

I can’t forget about the hysterical Katie Bower over at Bower Power, who further inspires me to be myself on my blog. She shamelessly uses phrases like “after I stopped humping my bag…” and “cuter than a room full of baby buttcheeks” (both extracted from her most recent update about Haven & visiting with the aforementioned Petersik family), which make me literally laugh [loudly] out loud regardless of my location when I read her post.

And then there’s Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, who gets her own category of pure awesomeness (profanity warning – in the best possible way). I’m an official member of the Unicorn Success Club  and chalk full of Lawsbian Pride.

Also, I feel compelled to give a shout-out to fellow Iowa homegirl, Kristin over at Iowa Girl Eats. Her blog is FULL of inspiration and Ama-ha-hazing recipes. Girl is a genius. We’re kind of kindred spirits. Even though I’m not a cook. And we’ve never really talked. It doesn’t even feel creepy. 🙂

Seriously… how amazing does that meal look? Just click the photo for the recipe!

How about you? Anybody have some awesome under-the-radar blog action that I should know about? Anybody hate me for what I just said (or rambled about)? I can take it. Promise.

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