10 Things I’ve Learned About Being Single (That I Didn’t Know 10 Years Ago)

August 21, 2014 by Ali

Thought I’d do a little #TBT post today back to 2004. The year I turned 21.

To set the stage…

I was living in Winfield, Kansas, getting ready to graduate early with a music degree from my little Midwestern college, while working as an accompanist to help pay for school, and traveling with a band on the weekends. My parents had just bought me a fancy (and heavy) new thing called an “iPod”, which I dialed to play Maroon5 and Switchfoot incessantly. I knew how to cook a grand total of about 10 things that I learned from allrecipes.com. I used MSN Messenger and a Razr phone to chat it up with all of my friends. It was the year of Ron Burgundy and Napoleon Dynamite, my roommates and I were obsessed with all of the “story” shows on TLC, and we bid farewell to our Friends and cried happy tears when Rachel Green “got off the plane”. A friend had just introduced me to this thing called “The Facebook” at her college. I had just saved up to buy my first (pink) electric guitar. And I was very ready to graduate and dive into a new career and meet that husband who I assumed was waiting just around the corner and get going with the life of my dreams.

Oh, and I was single.

And if you would have asked me then, I would never have dreamed — not for a hot second — that I’d still be single 10 years later.

But guess what 21-year-old me? That’s the way the cookie crumbled. And it turns out that, after decade of (mostly) singleness, it’s not nearly the sob story that I thought it might be. In fact, quite the opposite. Life has turned out to be pretty great, single and all.

But hey, there are always things we wish we would have known “back then”. So since I’m a sucker for those sort of cheesy posts where people dispense sage advice to their younger selves, I thought I’d offer one today to my single self a decade ago. Or better, as a reminder to myself (or anyone else) today. So at age 31, here are my thoughts…

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This Wild and Crazy Miracle We Call…Blogging

August 14, 2014 by Ali

Lately, I’ve been talking with quite a few bloggers who just feel ________ about their blogs right now.

Overwhelmed. Discouraged. Frustrated. Burnt-Out. You fill in the blank.

Basically, not so good.

And my heart goes out to them, because I’ve been there. Frankly, I’m probably “there” at least once a day, whether that’s due to the 5000th “technical difficulty” that feels over my head, or someone leaves a mean comment, or I can’t seem to get past writer’s block, or comparison gets the best of me, or something else just makes me feel less-than. I call it the blogging blues, and they definitely come with the territory.

But as cliche as it may sound, whenever life in general gets me down, I’m a big fan of stepping back and looking at the bigger — especially the much bigger — picture. Because there’s something about escaping out of the teeny tiny corner of the “right now” and into the wide open spaces of “in the grand scheme of things” that always seems to help reset things. And bring perspective. And make life or work or whatever the issue may be seem more manageable. And, if we look for it, remind me of some of the awe and wonder and what I’d even call little “miracles” that are already happening all around.

This week, one of my favorite bloggers wrote about this little change in perspective with regards to her kitchen, and putting on some “perspectacles” to see and appreciate things in a different way. As I was reading it, though, I kept thinking that maybe some of us bloggers could use a new set of perspectacles about blogging, in order to remember some of the magic and wonder and crazy little miracles are part of this new territory we’re exploring.

So this morning, I took a peek around my little corner of the blogosphere. And here’s what I saw…

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How To Make An Animated GIF

August 12, 2014 by Ali

As some of you may have noticed, this seems to have become The Year Of The Animated GIF on my blog. I’m slightly obsessed!

Yes, I know that I’m a few years late to the “graphical interchange format” party. But now that I’ve figured out how to animate these mysterious GIFs, I am totally hooked. They are so much fun! Plus, I’d argue that they are especially fun when it comes to food photos and trying to capture those great “action shots” of a delicious drizzle, or pour, or a step-by-step tutorial.

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August in Movies

August 2, 2014 by sarah

For a nice palette cleanser between action flicks, here are four iconoclastic sleeper hits not to miss in the glare of the blockbuster season.

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July In Photos

August 2, 2014 by Ali

So long, farewell, auf widersehn, adieu, July!

I would say that you flew by, but actually I was the one doing the flying this month. As you may have noticed on Instagram, I spent most of July across the pond in Europe!! We had a fabulous time visiting Austria (picture perfect), Germany (fascinating) and Italy (delicious). And while I intentionally chose not to bring along my big camera and take a zillion photos this trip, I did snap at least a few and will be sharing some of those and restaurant recommendations in an upcoming post. So stay tuned for that.

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10 Safety Tips For Traveling Solo

July 29, 2014 by Ali

Greetings from Florence! I have a few extra minutes between stops around town this morning, so I thought I’d pop in with a little post today about…yes…traveling! Specifically, tips on traveling alone.

This is especially dedicated to all of you single people out there, whom I highly encourage to get out there and travel if you’re not doing so already. (I may even do a follow-up post about my 10 favorite and least favorite things about traveling alone — would there be an interest in that?) But this post also definitely also goes out to anyone who’s going to be traveling alone for an entire trip, or even part of a trip like I’m doing this time around in Europe.

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What Movies Shaped Your Childhood?

July 12, 2014 by sarah

I have several movies that looped in the background of my childhood, creating a mesh of memories and meaning that influenced my life and worldviews in surprisingly profound ways. I’ll tell you about three from my very early days (3 to 5 years)…if you tell me some of yours!

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10 Amazing People I Met In El Salvador

July 10, 2014 by Ali

Wow. It has been a month since I’ve returned home from my trip to El Salvador with Unbound, but the dear people I met are still on my mind often.

I think of my sponsored friend, Josefa, in the morning when I drink my morning coffee from the matching mug I gave her. I think of women like Blanca Estela, who work hard in the El Salvadoran fields each day actually growing and harvesting coffee. I think of Maria, who spends her days in the kitchen cooking food to share with people just as I love to do. I think of Victoria and Kristin, two of the Unbound staff members who traveled to El Salvador with us, working hard each day just a mile or so away from my house in Kansas City.

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