Posts filed under ‘Blogging’

All Thanks To You

One problem with blog reading is that you start to pick up habits of other bloggers. You start to eat what they eat and read what they read and like what they like. I recently read a recommendation to try the toffee nut latte at Starbucks with a salted caramel top. Y’all, that thing isn’t even on the menu but someone mentioned it so I tried it and I love it.

Every day you read random thoughts and feelings of strangers on the internet and you learn which opinions to trust.

Bloggers have common hobbies. Most of them cook, knit, or sew. I tried knitting but I wasn’t very good. It took too much concentration for me and I didn’t know how to fix a wrong stitch. I considered taking sewing lessons but realized that I’m not very good at projects that take planning and patience. I like to cook because you get a finished product the same day you start. So now I cook what bloggers tell me to cook. (Thanks P Dub.)

When I was little, I was obsessed with nail polish. I always rode my bike to the local Eckerd and bought bottles of nail polish for 99 cents. I painted designs and alternating colors. I’d even create my own colors in empty bottles. Yes, I was that cool.

But then I grew out of the nail polish phase. I started to embrace my natural nails since they were so thick and had white tips. Plus, I hated the fact that every time I painted my nails, they were stained when I took the polish off. I used to soak my fingernails in hydrogen peroxide to get that stain off!

Unfortunately, bloggers like to paint their nails and they always filled me with nail envy. I’d get my OPI color fix by keeping my toenails painted at all times (a lady should never have unpainted toenails) but you left me wanting more. It’s freezing outside and my tootsies aren’t making much of an appearance these days. So what’s a girl to do?

Last week I painted my nails for the first time in several years. I kind of loved it. It made me feel feminine and pretty, which is helpful to a woman 4.5 months postpartum who is trying to shove into jeans that don’t have an elastic waist. But the problem is that they started chipping two days after I painted them. I’m sorry but I’m a mother of an infant. I don’t have the time to give myself a manicure every three days.

On Friday I asked about those gel manicures. I’d heard they stay on for several weeks and I can find the time to do my nails every few weeks. Unfortunately only professionals can do gel manicures and I’d really rather not shell out $25 and a couple hours of my time. Thankfully, several of you told me about the Seche Vite Top Coat.

I took a trip to Ulta and Sally’s on Saturday and this is my loot. (I am not a photographer, this is from my cell phone.)

The top coat isn’t pictured but I bought that too. I was in search of the new OPI Texas line and in my search, I found the clearance bin. (Is the Texas line released?) Clearance nail polish is one of the great joys in life. I bought two OPIs, three China Glazes, and one Orly.

Thanks to you, I have painted my nails twice in one week. I feel a new Sunday evening hobby coming into my life. I can’t say that I mind, especially if this top coat does what it says it does. I painted them last night and an hour later, I held my wiggly child. No scuffs or imprints at all. To me, that is magical. I’ll update you later in the week about how how long my manicure lasts without chipping, but the quick dry time in addition to the shiny, professional look pretty much makes me a believer in this product!

Thanks friends! Here’s my current look. OPI’s Meet Me On The Star Ferry.

ToT is posted.

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January 24, 2011 at 7:15 am 6 comments

Not So Terrible Twos?

Today is my mom’s birthday, y’all! Isn’t that exciting? And she gets to spend the day with her sisters, babysitting my child. That’s a pretty good set up, if you ask me! And as if it couldn’t get any better, she gets to have dinner with ME tonight. Man, her life is awesome.

You know who else’s birthday it is? Roots & Rings! Yes siree, today this little blog turns two. I have been writing nonsense for two full years. I can hardly believe it. And what’s more, I can hardly believe that people are still reading it. Thank you from the bottom of my overflowing heart for reading and commenting and emailing and tweeting. I still get excited every time I get a comment, I’m in shock every time I get an email saying that one of you has subscribed to my emailed posts.

This past year hasn’t been the best blogging year. Pre-pregnancy I wrote about fun stuff. I wrote daily posts about funny things that happened in my life. I was a lot more creative back then. Once I got pregnant, my blog turned into a whine fest about how tired I was, a place to seek advice from other moms, and details about my lack of sleep and weight gain. Bless you for sticking with me.

I don’t know if I’ll ever make it back to where I was. I liked that blogger… but that blogger spent no less than an hour writing each night. I no longer have that time. We’ll see. Who knows what this year has in store for me.

To celebrate this second blogiversary, I’m hosting a giveaway. Erin (remember her from yesterday?) just reopened her Etsy shop and she’d like to give two of you a little somethin’ somethin’. Her shop is called Gumdrop Greetings (<– link) and she makes the cutest little notecards. They are handmade and affordable and so sweet! We’re bloggers, we like writing and we LOVE mail, so I know you’ll appreciate these.

One winner will receive a set of Hello Pastel Notcards:

And one winner will receive a set of Free Hug Coupon Mini Notecards:

Cute, huh? Told ya!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. However, if you want extra entries you can favor Gumdrop Greetings on Etsy or like the shop on Facebook. Just leave an extra comment for each entry.

I’ll draw a winner on Sunday night sometime. Good luck, I love ya, Amen.

January 5, 2011 at 7:07 am 34 comments

It’s A Christmas Miracle!

I know I’m supposed to be posting the second half of my must-have baby items list today, but we need to put that on hold for a second. I don’t think you’ll mind. Read on…

So yesterday I raved about the Miracle Blanket. I wrote the post and then asked Stephen what he thought the must-have baby items were. His answer, “Definitely the Miracle Blanket!” I’m telling you, this thing is fantastic. So fantastic that we both see it as the #1 Must Have Baby Item. Jansen loves it, he sleeps through the night 99% of the time, and it keeps him warm without any suffocation risks. Seriously y’all, this thing is awesome.

Since so many of you clicked over to their website yesterday, they came to visit me. And by “they” I mean Mike Gatten, the inventor of the Miracle Blanket. See what happens when you click these links? You get rewarded! He wants to give one of you the Miracle Blanket of your choice!

They have several colors to choose from, click here to see the choices. I have a white one with teal trim and this blue one:

I know, I know. It doesn’t look like much. BUT IT IS MUCH!

We started using it when he was like 5 days old, he was teeny tiny. He was so tiny that it didn’t really work to stick his legs in the bottom pocket, so we used to wrap him like this:

So yeah, that’s not technically how you’re supposed to use it… and I’m sure the people at Miracle Blanket are kicking themselves for letting me promote their product. Whatever, it worked for us. Now that Jansen is bigger, we use it the right way.

If you’re curious about the product, watch this video from their website. It’s really not difficult, it takes us all of about 7 seconds to wrap Jansen up now.

Here are the details: one reader will win the Miracle Blanket of their choice. The giveaway begins now and it’ll close Monday evening at 7:00 Texas time. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday. This is how you enter, each option is good for one entry:

-Leave a comment. Just tell me who you’d give the Miracle Blanket to if you won.
-Tweet about the giveaway. Include @rootsandrings and a link to my blog, then come back here and tell me you tweeted.
-Blog about the giveaway, then come back here and tell me you blogged.

Good luck!

December 16, 2010 at 7:25 am 63 comments

Not The Same

My blog has been disappointing me lately. Or more accurately, I have been disappointing my blog lately. Roots & Rings was my happy place for so long and then I got pregnant. Then it seemed like all I could write about was how tired I was or how giant my pillow was. I thought I’d slip out of my boring blogging funk once I had Jansen. (Riiiiight.) But now I’m more tired than I was before.

Here’s the problem. I don’t see anything anymore. I used to see things and turn them into stories. (If you are new to my blog as of about a year ago, then you don’t know this about me.) When I got pregnant, all I saw was my belly. And now? All I see is Jansen.

Now I’m not complaining. This is the season of my life when I’m going to be more tired than I ever imagined that I could be. This is also the season where absolutely nothing in my life can hold a candle to Jansen. Nothing is more important, nothing is funnier or cuter or more entertaining. Nothing. I have forgotten how to relate to the rest of the world.

This is frustrating to me. I used to love my blog. I loved sitting in front of my screen, trying to figure out a fun way to tell you about the boring details of my life. And it’s not that I don’t still have these experiences, and it’s not that I don’t cut out some time in my day to write about them… it’s just that my brain won’t let me develop them. Blog worthy things happen around me every single day but I have yet to remember how to write them down. So I have been sticking to showing you pictures of Jansen and telling you not-so-funny stories.

I’m annoyed. I’m frustrated. I’m sorry. And I’m ready for my creativity to sneak back into my life. But mostly, I’m thankful to those of you who have stuck around. Thank you for your emails and comments and support. One day I will get back to normal and all of my hormones will regulate and then maybe I’ll be able to put together my thoughts.

For now? You’re just going to have to be patient.

I used to say that the only way I could consistently come up with good stories is if I just forced myself to write. That may be my problem. I started giving myself outs. “Just show a picture today and then tomorrow you can mention this little fact.” And while I will be infinitely thankful that I kept up with my blog throughout my pregnancy (looking back is so fun!), I’m also disappointed that I didn’t use my situation for creative writing. Pregnancy is constant blog material, and I wasted it.

Be patient with me as I try to find my voice again. I need to figure out how to make this little site more entertaining and less all-in-your-face-baby-time. He’s cute, but there is a time and place for baby pictures… and I’m thinking that every single day may be too often.

October 28, 2010 at 7:17 am 16 comments

Writer’s Block

I love this blog. I’m sure you’ve all figured that out by now. I had a baby and there wasn’t a day that went by without a post. I think of it as my public journal, I can look back and read posts and remember that part of my life. Granted, some portions of my life are dull as dirt, but at least I have full documented proof of it!

This is not boring. My life is exciting right now. I have this precious little baby that I get to spend all day loving and cuddling and staring at. And while it may be the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me, it’s also giving me a serious case of writer’s block. I do have several things to write about but I just can’t seem to actually sit down and write it. That’s my goal today. Today I will, at the very least, start a post about the birth story. Hopefully I’ll get going and be able to finish it, but I’m not going to put money on it.

Baby steps.

While staring at baby chests.

And listening to baby breaths.

September 15, 2010 at 7:30 am 15 comments

Everything I Know, I Learned From Blogging

Yesterday, Lauren from Texas learned that if you have a bee problem, you can call a beekeeper and they’ll come out and take care of it for you. Meanwhile, the rest of her readers learned that if you don’t want to call a beekeeper, another way to rid your yard of bees is by blaring rap music. Apparently the little bugs aren’t too fond of that particular genre. Which may mean that my dad is part bee. The jury is still out.

It made me think about all the things that bloggers teach us. I know that if I ever have a question I can just ask y’all and someone will know the answer. Someone will have advice because they’ve been there or their sister’s boyfriend’s great aunt had that issue last month. It’s amazing, this little blogosphere! You know… they always say that you don’t realize how much you don’t know until you start learning. This is so true. I didn’t realize how much information there is out there until I started reading blogs. You people know a lot of stuff. It makes me think of those posters “Everything I Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” or “…From My Dog” or whatever.

Just think about everything you’ve learned from blogs.

Money Saving Mom taught me that I can get free stuff all the time. It takes a minute every few days and then you’ll start getting a steady stream of samples shipped to your door. At least twice a week I get stuff in the mail. Shampoo, lotion, dish soap, feminine products, etc. It’s like mini-Christmas every time I see a little box!

And then Angela at Craving Cupcakes taught me that it doesn’t have to be an ordeal every time you want to bake something. Just do it. Making homemade cookies and muffins and other delicious goods doesn’t take as long as you might think… and the payoff is high.

And while we’re talking about cooking, there is no way to even tell you how many things Pioneer Woman has taught me. The main thing being: If you roast red potatoes and garlic with butter and white wine, amazing things happen. AMAZING THINGS. This is a life lesson, y’all.

I Am Baker taught me that you can decorate the inside of layered cakes. Crosses and flags and whatever else your little heart dreams up. Then your guests will be amazed by the little surprise on the inside of the cake.

The list could go on and on. Sometimes someone will just say something in passing on their blog and I’ll think, “Wow. Brilliant.” And I can’t even tell you how often I’m in a conversation and have to begin a sentence with, “Well I read on a blog that…” I mean, right? I know it’s not just me.

One of the biggest things I learned happened about two or three months ago. I was reading Big Mama, as I do every morning, and she dropped the bombshell. Apparently Greased Lightening is a pretty dirty song. WHO KNEW?! I started watching Grease in 8th grade with my girlfriends. I think it was some anniversary year of the movie because the media was promoting it pretty heavily. I think they even played a few of the songs on the radio. We’d watch the movie and sing the songs and try the dances. We loved that movie. But let’s face it, at 8th grade, you have no clue what is coming out of your mouth and what it actually means. After Big Mama wrote that post, I immediately looked up the lyrics (as I’m sure many of you will do after reading this) and SURE ENOUGH, dirty.

I felt like a fool! How many times did my parents hear us singing that song at the top of our lungs and cringe at the sound of it. And more importantly, why was I allowed to watch the movie?

It was on television last night. We didn’t get to see the whole thing but we started watching when they were in the diner… about the time of the “a hikey from Kenickie’s like a Hallmark card, we care enough to send the very best” line. My sister, Stephen, and I were watching and we just kept dropping our jaw. Rizzo things she’s pregnant, Danny tries to “grab” Sandy in the drive in and is then heartbroken (and we feel sorry for him) when she walks out on him, the newscaster is hitting on a high school girl, then Sandy changes her lifestyle to make Danny happy… which means that all is right with the world. What. The. Heck?

Regardless, I still love the movie. I was singing along and making my feet dance back and forth while I was relaxing in my recliner. But the point is that, while I knew it wasn’t an entirely wholesome movie, I had no idea that I was singing these dirty lyrics as an 8th grader. And I have a blogger to thank for that awakening.

What have you learned from blogs? Something huge like what car to buy or how to plan a vacation? Or something small like the best way to roast asparagus or where to buy the cutest journals? Spill it. We all want to know. If you know where you learned it, let us know! Otherwise, just give us the goods.

July 22, 2010 at 8:55 am 17 comments

Facelifts

Things are a-changing around Hurst Castle.

After two and a half years of being homeowners, we finally put curtains up in the living room. Amazing, I know. I mentioned it a few weeks ago and I guess that lit a fire under my butt. Stephen and I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick them out last week. Of course the had to be special ordered since we own an old home that has NOTHING standard in it. It’s like they just cut random rectangular holes in the walls and said, “Okay glass company, make that into a window.”

The curtains were delivered over the weekend while we were on vacation so Stephen hung them on Monday night. I was so excited to get them up. Not that they are up, I have mixed feelings. When they are closed, it’s kind of ugly. It’s fabric overload! There really is no way to avoid it though because it’s a ginormous window and we want thick curtains to keep the heat out. So I just have to deal. When they are open they look nice, so I’ll just keep them closed while we’re at work and open them when we get home. No biggie.

With every improvement, I’m feeling more and more like an adult. I feel like our house is coming together and starting to feel like a home. It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’m going to have a hard time focusing today because AS WE SPEAK my mom and sister are painting Jansen’s room! This morning, the room had white, dirty walls. Tonight, it’ll be very bright green! THRILLED! Oh and did I mention the burnt orange closet? Burnt orange makes me happy.

Once the painting is done, we’ll shampoo the carpets and then start moving the furniture from our front living room into Jansen’s room. I’m really hoping that everything fits well. Not that I can really do anything about it if it doesn’t!

My house isn’t the only thing that has changed. This little site here has too. Those little tabs at the top were just not working for me. First of all, the Contact Me tab was practically worthless since it only worked half the time. For some reason WordPress only chose specific messages to send to me. I often got emails from people who said that they’d used the Contact Me tab and hadn’t heard back from me. That’s just not okay.

So that tab is gone. You can now find my contact info on the About Me tab.

Another tab that’s gone? The Book Swap… because, let’s face it, I was seriously slacking on that. I did a good job in getting the books out in a timely manner but nothing really came of that. People read their books. Some people reviewed them, some didn’t. So instead of seeing it everyday and being constantly reminded that I’ve left it incomplete, I’m just going to take it away altogether. It’s my blog, I can do it if I want to.

I need to do some major revisions to the Blogroll. It’s not very accurate or helpful. I didn’t get to it in time for this update, but it’s on my List of Things to Do.

I have added a new tab up there by the request of many of you. I ever-so-uncreatively titled it “Bumptastic.” It includes all of my weekly bump pictures in one spot. Go check it out, I think you’ll like it. It’s kind of shocking to scroll from nothingness to a large bump.

That large bump is an ever-present reminder. It makes my back hurt, my feet hurt, my butt hurt. It weighs me down and makes my clothes too tight. Of course I have maternity clothes but I am so tall that most of the shirts are too short and you can see my belly panel sticking out the bottom. Nobody is really going to judge me, but it’s not very convenient to be tugging on my shirt every time I walk around the office. My solution? A facelift of my own. Monday and Tuesday of this week I wore Stephen’s t-shirts to work.

I’m telling you, people. There are so many changes around here you can hardly keep up! Let me sum it up for you: house updates, blog tab changes, and I wear men’s clothing. Wonderful.

June 30, 2010 at 8:10 am 10 comments

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