Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Interesting group vs. an intriguing plus one

Which do you prefer: dinner out with a big group of interesting people or dinner out one-on-one with a friend?

I absolutely LOVE birthdays, and I love to make a really big deal out of mine. Each year, I used to pick a restaurant I’d never been to, send an email to my closest friends and invite them to join me for a birthday dinner. We’d share cocktails, conversations and lots of laughs. Then at the end of the evening, we’d commemorate the occasion with a group photo. It was lots of fun.

My friends all knew each other, but in most cases I was the common denominator. So although I looked forward to the birthday gathering each year, you can imagine what kind of energy drain those two or three hours were for an introverted girl like me.

For me, dinner on the town is all about:

  • the company
  • the atmosphere
  • the food

Believe it or not, I rank them in that order, which means the company is the most important component to me. I could fill “the company” blank with a group or one-on-ones and either option just the same. But the occasion to dedicate my undivided attention to the company of one is my great pleasure. Most of the time, that’s more than enough for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If I could have lunch with any blogger…

If you could have lunch with any blogger, who would it be?

Oh, this is an easy one.

Becky Kopitzke. (Hi Becky!)

If I could have lunch with any blogger, I’d choose Becky Kopitzke from Time Out with Becky Kopitzke. I can’t believe I failed to include her on yesterday’s list of five blogs I love. A crazy oversight, for sure…

Anyhoo, Becky and I met about four years ago. Wow. I can’t believe it’s actually been that long. In July 2011, our worlds collided for a weekend. We’d traveled from near (me) and far (her), with author and speaker dreams in tow, to attend the She Speaks conference in Concord, North Carolina. Becky’s a midwestern girl, and I’m from the south. So, although we connected at our first conversation, we haven’t seen each other since we parted company after the conference adjourned.

It’s been a blessing, though, to follow Becky’s progress as a blogger and published author. I’ve watched her blog space grow, her launch a special e-newsletter and she now awaits the release of her very first book later this year. Wow! So cool.

It would seem that we’re so different. Becky’s been married a while and has two adorable little girls. I’ve been married only a short time and have no children. She braves the midwestern winter snowfall. I survive the southern summer scorch. She’s been wonderfully diligent with growing her blog space, and it shows. I, on the other hand, well let’s just say I have some catching up to do.

She doesn’t know it, but she’s been a mentor from afar. I’ve learned a bunch just from watching her. And sometimes, when I’m not so preoccupied, I’ll even toss a question out here or there. But beyond the business of blogging and writing pursuits, it’s fun to email periodically to play “what’s going on in your neck of the woods.”

Until now, I don’t think I’d realized just how appreciative I am that we’ve remained connected these past few years. So, if I could have lunch with an amazing blogger, any amazing blogger, it would definitely be Becky. I can imagine our time would be filled with simple pleasantries, deep speculations about life, prayer and a whole lot of giggles.

So, if you’re in need of a place of inspiration that flows from the heart of a beautiful writer, skip over to Becky’s place. She writes about parenting. She writes about marriage. She writes about faith. She writes about life. Her work has also been published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books. If that doesn’t tell you the girl has skills, nothing will. Trust me, you’ll love her.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Five blogs I love

The annual BlogHer conference is at the end of the week. If you’re going, let us know in a post what you’re looking forward to doing or hearing. If you’re not, tell us about 5 blogs you love.

Well, the BlogHer conference kicks off Thursday in the big apple. Unfortunately, I won’t be there. I’ve never been to the conference, but it’s on my list of shindigs to attend. One day…

I skimmed the conference agenda today, and I tell you it made me drool. With keynote speakers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Soledad O’Brien, it’s obvious I’ll miss quite a treat. And in New York City… Ok, I’m still drooling.

Well, since I won’t be in the number at BlogHer this year, I guess I’ll share the list of five blogs I enjoy. Not nearly as exciting, but here goes:

Carrots ‘N’ Cake – Tina Haupert’s specialty is fitness/exercise and nutrition, but she manages to mix in a healthy dose of daily life to keep it interesting.  I enjoy her posts because the cake part isn’t in the title just to make it sound cute. Read a few of her posts, and you’ll find she enjoys her sweet treats just like the rest of us. However, she seems to manage a daily balancing act that gives me hope. Her posts make me feel like a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be all protein bars and green smoothies. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate that.

Lisa Terkeurst – She’s a New York Times best-selling author, a speaker and a women’s ministry leader. She does all the things I dream of doing, which is probably why I used to think I wanted to be just like her, when I grow up. I’ve decided being just like me would be a greater accomplishment, but I still  admire Lysa Terkeurst. Her posts provide inspiration and biblically-based wisdom for every day life.

Next Step Speaker Service – If you’ve any aspiration to become a paid speaker, this blog offers good advice and even a coaching service. I’ve had a free consultation with the blog hostess, Amy Carroll. She’s super sweet. One conversation with her will make you want to work with her. And if you can’t afford to do so, then you won’t miss a post until you can work with her.

Ashley Brooke Designs – I love this blog. It’s just so darn visually stimulating. It pops with girly colors – pinks, yellows, greens and purple – and all around girly things I love to gawk at. And the really cool thing is if you need a change of scenery from reading posts and loving pictures, you’re not out of options. You can slip over to the shop space and show some love to those three beautiful words, “add to cart.”

Crystal Lewis Brown – I just stumbled across this blog. If the author’s name seems familiar, it’s because she’s scheduled to speak this weekend at BlogHer. I reaaaaallly wish I could be there for her session on the Editor’s Checklist, in the Writing Lab. Really. From what I’ve read on her blog, so far, she’s transparent, authentic and entertaining. Three things that score on any blog. I’ll definitely visit her site more.