5.31.2012

Brevity of Time, Immediacy of Pleasure

{ Image source: La Petit Poulailler on Flickr }
Some days, it feels like life is overwhelming. There's always something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see. On those days I have to ask myself, "Why are we doing this?"

Why indeed.

In recent months, my husband and I have talked about throwing in the corporate towel, moving to a remote island, and raising chickens and livestock. We always come up with reasons why we can't do this, primarily having to do with our kids' education and general standard of living. We would probably have to homeschool (or at least home-supplement), their extracurriculars would be severely truncated, and we wouldn't have the access to Target, Starbucks, and IKEA that I so desperately love.

We also wouldn't have to deal with traffic, the God-awful commute that my husband has to make twice daily, increasingly high taxes (unless we stay in the mid-Atlantic region or move to Hawaii), neighborhood density, and the Corporate Game that makes us both want to slit our wrists (metaphorically, of course). We could work to live, not live to work. It's an intoxicating thought.

The truth is that we're probably not going to pull a complete 180 and go live on a capitalist commune in north Texas. My husband probably isn't going to give his job the Big Finger and leave burn marks in the parking lot as he pulls out, tires squealing. We're probably going to stay in the area at least until the kids are finished with high school, hopefully in a slightly larger house in the same or a similar neighborhood.

Just because we're not giving our lives the overhaul that I wish we could doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the little, simple, immediate pleasures in life. We don't have to have the fastest car or the biggest house; we can be happy with a good piece of cheese or a delicious bottle of wine.

I recently read Debra Ollivier's What French Women Know About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind. One of the lines that stood out to me was Michele Fitoussi's summary of the French woman: "French women have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure."

I want that. I want to enjoy what I like and not worry about the stuff that I don't. I don't want to waste my time, money, and energy on stuff that ultimately does not matter to me.

So, I am. In moderation and graduation, of course, but I'm taking time to enjoy the little things that I so truly enjoy and not giving a damn about everything else. I'm not going to worry about keeping my house in magazine-spread order, meticulously planning every aspect of my day, even keeping a schedule for my writing and blogging. This will take time, as I have an enormous place in my heart for lists, but I've gone without them for the past two days and haven't forgotten anything important. I have read books, decluttered my closet, and found places for those pictures that I haven't hung yet, however, and I'm happier with that progress than I am about getting the dishes done or cleaning my room.

For the record, I've also had five spectacular meals in the last day and a half, and I've lost 2 pounds. These meals included bread, real butter, strong coffee, cured meats, and Brie, so take that for what it's worth.

If you had the option to work to live, not live to work, what would you do?

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5.29.2012

The (R)Evolution of a Blog

{ Image source: Tony Foster on Flickr }
Ver·sa·tile
Adjective. Capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.: a versatile writer (from Dictionary.com)

When I started blogging in 2004, my posts were one-dimensional, sad snippets of a life that I didn't particularly want to live. I was in my early twenties, single, and working 14-hour days at an ill-fitting job in a foreign country. To say that I was Not Happy would be an understatement. (Don't get me wrong, I have some amazing memories of that period of my life, but if I had to do it over again, I would decline.)

I stopped blogging for about eight months for personal reasons, but after that break, the keyboard lured me back with her siren song. I started with a clean slate and once again began blogging about the events in my life. These were happier--I was dating my now-husband, I had a job I enjoyed, I lived in a fun, large, clean, American place, and I was close to the beach. Not that this aspect of life didn't have its challenges, but they seemed to be easier to handle.

That was five years ago, and I've consistently blogged since then. My topics have changed--I spent about two years blogging about blending a family and adopting a child, I spent another two years blogging about family, travel, homemaking, and crafts, and now, we have Rhymes With Tao, a savory blend of the personal and the professional with pinches of Other Stuff.

It's these pinches of Other Stuff that I believe garnered the Versatile Blogger award from Muddy Kinzer. She is the proprietress of the always-entertaining Muddying the Waters and a fellow writer that I met through Robert Lee Brewer's April Platform Challenge. A self-described "Mom Plus," Muddy is a beautiful writer of women's literature and personal essays. Her flair for evoking the senses is unparalleled, and I would be jealous if I didn't appreciate the lessons that she constantly teaches me.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger award are such:
  1. Thank the person that gave you the award and leave a link to their blog. (Thank you, Muddy!)
  2. Select 15 blogs or bloggers that you either have recently discovered or follow regularly as Versatile Blogger recipients.
  3. Tell the person that nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  4. Don't forget to put the Versatile Blogger image on your site!

My nominees for the Versatile Blogger award:
  1. As always, Angela Noelle at Tomorrow is Another Day. She is my oldest blog friend (and now a real-life friend, thanks to a flight itinerary that put her through BWI two weeks ago!) and has made the evolution of similiarly young, miserable career girl to world-traveling mommy-to-be with grace and humor.
  2. Karen Bee at Quirks and Smirks. Karen and I have been real-life friends since ... 2005 or 2006. We met because her sister was my boss, and we ended up living in the same metro area from 2007-2009. She is now in the process of reinventing herself, partly through her 101 thing in 1001 days.
  3. Ivy at Unscripted Life. Ivy was part of the April Platform Challenge as well, and she amazes me with her abilities as an attentive mother, a shrewd business woman, and a gifted writer. 
  4. Lara Britt at Writing Space. She spearheaded the #MNINB April Platform Challengers website and is doing a beautiful job of organizing people and evolving the site as both a place to gather and as a showcase for the group's talents and professional services. She is also a mother and an avid volunteer, making her contributions all the more impressive!
  5. Monique Liddle at Bends in the Road. Monique is one of the two moderators of our book discussion group. Despite struggles with multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia, and diabetes, she maintains an active blogging and writing life. She refuses to let her health keep her from living fully.
  6. Magpie Days. Magpie Days' author is a poet, academic, wife, mother, ex-pat, adventurer, and all manner of things that make her versatile. I particularly enjoy her essays on being an American in Switzerland.
  7. CERN Wife. CERN Wife is just what she sounds like: the wife to a physicist working at CERN. She is also an anthropologist, world traveler, writer, and mother. She doesn't post very often, but when she does, her work is concise, informative, and beautifully written.
  8. Krysta at Domestic for Dummies. Krysta started blogging in order to chronicle her attempts to make her home more, well, domestic. Then she up moved to Charleston and switched jobs. The courage that it takes to shed an old life in favor of a better one is awe-inspiring.
  9. De Jackson at WhimsyGizmo. At first glance, all you see on De's blog is poetry. I urge you to look a little deeper and see the variety of topics, forms, and prompts she tackles on a several-times-daily basis. The utter definition of versatility, no?
  10. Lauri Meyers at Your Imagination is the Limit. Lauri often makes me chuckle with her observations on child-rearing and attempting to get published. I like that she was in corporate finance and decided to pull a big "errrk!" to become a children's author.
  11. Mona AlvaradoFrazier at Latina Pen. Every time I read her blog, I find out something new about Mona. She was a corrections officer, is a breast cancer survivor, writer, traveler, mother, and many, many things that I'm sure to learn about in the months and years to come. This is a woman to keep your eye on.
  12. Aly at Breathe Gently. I first stumbled upon Aly through Angela's blog about two years ago. In that time, she's moved from London back to her native Australia, gotten married, continued to work with (or against, depending on the day) her PCOS, and started fertility treatments. Her writing is poignant and draws you into her world.
  13. Linda G. Hatton at the whatnot shop. Linda is another example of a truly versatile blogger: she is the editor at Mouse Tales Press, a former actress, a mother, a former private investigator, a playwright, a novelist ... the list goes on.
  14. Bolton Carley at Bolton Carley's Writing for Adults Who Can Take It. Bolton writes her blog under the premise of giving tough-love lectures to people who need to sack up. And I love it. Her writing is concise and humorous, and I often walk (click?) away giggling at something she said.
  15. Emily McGee at One Trailing Spouse. One Trailing Spouse is the newest addition to my list of blogs to read, and I'm so glad that I caught on when I did! She and her husband are frequent, extreme travelers, hardly a surprise when they met in Vanuatu. They're off to Kenya soon, and I can't wait to follow the adventure!
Instead of telling only Muddy seven things about me, I believe that I'll just share them with all of you here:
  1. Last year in Vegas, I discovered that I really, really like playing Black Jack. Thus, I have to leave the table when I've roughly quadrupled my money or I'll sit there kicking back watery cocktails until I lose the rest of my playing budget.
  2. On a related note, I put myself on a budget while gambling and consider it an entertainment expense. This method is not recommended for people with gambling addictions.
  3. My wine of choice is pinot noir.
  4. I now have a list of forty things I would like to do before I turn 40. This is not to be confused with the twelve things I wanted to do in the last year of my twenties.
  5. While living in St. Petersburg, I spent rainy days in the Hermitage Museum. This was due in part to not wanting to get wet.
  6. I keep my dish soap in an absinthe bottle, mostly for the effect it has on visitors.
  7. I recently bought press-on nails specifically for a trip to the Jersey Shore.
Congratulations to these Versatile Bloggers!

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5.26.2012

Repea-pea-pea-pea-peat

I wish everyday could be my birthday.

I woke up with coffee and manapua--a Hawaiian steamed bun filled with seasoned pork--in bed and my almost-two-year-old jumping on me and saying, "Happy burpday, Mommy!"


The morning was relaxing: I received phone calls from friends and my brother, the girls watched cartoons, and one of my preschooler's friends came over to collect her for a two-hour playdate, leaving me free to go to the library and hang with my toddler. She was sleepy, though, so I put her down early and enjoyed a delicious hour of near-silence.

My husband came home early to pick up our eight-year-old from school and get dinner ready, leaving me free to ... well, do whatever I wanted. Which was play around on the Internet, catch up on Glee, and receive more phone calls.

We sat down to my favorite meal--steak, my mom's macaroni and cheese, and broccoli--and topped off the meal with an adorable cake that the kids helped frost.


And then the topper? They got me the bracelet that I wanted.


And some pretty yellow flowers.


I know that every day can't be my birthday; if it was, I wouldn't appreciate all of the nice things that my family did for me. It's so nice to be taken care of instead of caring for everyone else, though, that I wish I could hit "repeat" at least once before getting back to the grind.

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5.23.2012

The Big THREE-OH

{ Lynn, West Berlin, East Germany, 1982 }
A year ago today, I made a list of stuff that I was going to do during the last year of my twenties. The plan was to spend one month on each of the twelve tasks and to complete the list before, well, today.

A year later, I have to ask myself, "WTF was I thinking?"

Some of these goals required a considerable time investment. Others required a monetary investment that we were just not able to make. If you look at it objectively, I failed, big time.

But, like I said in my guest post at Unscripted Life on Saturday, I didn't fail. I changed this year. I became a better person. I accomplished things that I couldn't have even dreamed of a year ago. This year was awesome.

I lost thirty pounds. I got published. I got a job. I went to Delaware, Vegas, and Hawaii. I ran my first race and finished a Level 5 floor routine. I got shit done.

This doesn't really cover how I did on the tasks themselves. Shall we examine them?

1. Do a Level 5 floor routine. I can't believe that I did this one. I started in adult classes in January (when I realized that I needed to get cracking or it was NOT going to happen), and faithfully went as long as my health and pocketbook held out. Lo and behold, on May 21, I completed the damn Level 5 floor routine. We celebrated with wine in the parking lot afterwards.

2. See 5 new places of national or international historical or commercial significance. I managed to get to one new place, the U.S. Naval Academy. And it's gorgeous. See?

{ Houses across the bay from USNA }
I also went to the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii this year, but I'm not totally sure if that counts. It's culturally important for sure, and it does have an impact on our nation ... okay, I'm counting it. I made it to two places of national or international significance.

3. Whistle through 2 fingers. I spent a month trying to figure out how to do this, and for the life of me, I could not get my stupid lips to form the right way. So you know what? Screw it. I can yell louder than I can whistle anyway.

4. Get a piece "audition ready" on the oboe. I almost did this. For three weeks, I played three times a week for an hour at a time. But nine hours does not make you audition-ready after not playing regularly since 2000.

5. Play roulette in Vegas. Done, done, and DONE. I put $20 on 29 black ... and promptly lost it. So I went to the blackjack table and quadrupled my remaining $20.

6. Run a 5K. Also done, done, and DONE. I ran a random 5K at the end of March, and came in 179th overall. What's up now?

7. Travel to 5 new states. If only. We went to Delaware in September and made plans to go to Boston in March (with stops in Connecticut and Rhode Island and a possible side trip to New Hampshire). Then a family friend moved his wedding date up and we had to divert our travel funds. It was worth it, though--the wedding was fun, the bride was gorgeous, and the couple is very, very happy. We were glad to do it. (But I still want to go to Boston.)

8. Refinish 2 chairs. I made it about 7/8 of the way through the first chair and called it quits. I'm a little disappointed with this one, because I really did want those chairs. However, we moved shortly after I started this project, and the new chairs didn't really go with our new decor. If only I had made the goal "refinish a piece of furniture." Maybe then I would have tackled the girls' chifferobe.

9. Learn to play the piano. Ha. Ha ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay, now that that's out of my system, no, I did not learn how to do this. My piano repertoire still consists of "Heart and Soul." Interestingly, I'm okay with this.

10. Take a hot air balloon ride. This is my favorite so far, even though it hasn't happened yet. I started to plan it, and we ran into successive problems of high winds and childcare. Then winter happened, and we couldn't go anyway. This year, during my quest to get published, I pitched an idea to a magazine about hot air ballooning. They want it. So this is on hold until they finish drawing up my contract. But it's happening.

11. Decorate a cake nicely. I did this one! I took a class in July and learned the basics of decorating a cake nicely. Now, I haven't totally proved that I can do it--humidity is a beeyotch, I tell you--but I've gotten much better. And practice makes perfect, yo. (Read about it here.)

12. Be in a play, commercial, or other dramatic production. Sadly, this is one that I actually tried to do and just couldn't make happen. I had grand plans--be an extra in a show filming locally, audition for community theater, take an acting class--but I just couldn't find the time and money to do it. Not with everything else going on this year. So, perhaps later in life, when I can leave the kids alone for a while, or at least trust them with a babysitter for more than just a morning or afternoon.

So that's it. My twenties are over. I'm officially in my 30s. And I'm glad to be here. The only question that remains is what kind of list to make next. Forty Before 40? 101 (Things) in 1001 (Days)? This upcoming year? I don't know yet. But I'm going to take a few days off to think about it (and celebrate!) and be back next week with an answer.

Until then, my friends.

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5.22.2012

On Writing: Solutions to the Research Problem

{ Image source: Daniel Catt on Flickr }
A few weeks ago, I was having problems with conducting research beyond what I could do at my local library with popular non-fiction books. I'm happy to say that the problem is solved! Or, I have some solutions.

The first is courtesy of a fellow writer friend, Twitter handle @magpiedays. She wrote:
Are you familiar with JSTOR? One-stop shopping for academic research. I used it all the time as a grad student and I think they might have opened up access so you no longer need to be affiliated with a university to gain at least limited access. I'm not sure what an individual account might cost, but worth looking into...
It's at www.jstor.org.
Until that moment, no, I was not familiar with JSTOR. As it turns out, limited-use accounts are free (free! FREE!), and I was able to get the abstract to one of the articles I needed. Not the whole article, unfortunately, but enough to suffice for citation purposes.

The second solution comes from both trial and error and a helpful hint from Monique Liddle at Bends in the Road. She wrote:
Another option is to check out the main branch of your local library and tell them what you need in terms of resources. Again, they may be able to get a copy of the resource for a small fee or free (it depends).
She was right. I submitted a request through our Ask a Librarian program through my local library, and they were able to get the article within a day. (For free!) The book I needed took a little bit longer, especially because it went to the wrong branch, but I picked it up yesterday. They charge a nominal fee that the patron sets, making it an affordable option. (And cheaper than gas to go out to the university.)

I'm so thrilled to have these new resources at hand; it's going to make writing articles much easier. Now it's just a matter of buckling down and doing the work ...

Are there any other research methods that you use? What are they? I'm still taking recommendations.

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5.21.2012

Bookshelf Poetry Challenge 002

If you're just joining us for the Bookshelf Poetry Challenge, welcome! The BPC sprung from an idea from Brain Pickings found on Pinterest and grew from there. Last week, we had 12 participants. Won't you join us this week?

For this week, the form is the same as last: free form, open topic. The rules are the same as well: only use books from your bookshelf. (No library books allowed.) Once you've created your poem, leave us a link in the Mister Linky box and a note in the comments section!

"The Toddler Years," by Lynn Daue

   What to expect
   the toddler years:
                             chaos,
   unholy war,
         fear and trembling.
            The days are just packed
        where the wild things are.
The next thing on my list?
      Baby proof.



(In case you're wondering, I stole the idea of lining up the poem's lines with the alignment on the book spines from De Jackson at WhimsyGizmo. I liked the way hers looked so much that I had to try it out!)

The Books

Next week, we'll take a break for Memorial Day in the U.S. The week after that, however, be prepared to bring your best haiku!


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5.19.2012

Life, Unscripted

I'm guest blogging at UnscriptedLife.com today about the last year of my twenties. While you'll get a full report here within the next week or so (hey, I have four more days to finish things), go check it out now.

Need some incentive? Here's an excerpt:

I learned a lot about myself and my priorities this year. I confirmed that I don't like running and will therefore not race anytime soon; however, if it's for a charity or something to do with friends, I know now that I can do it. It's probably time to let go of my oboe—as much as I enjoy playing it, playing it well requires a time commitment that I simply cannot make at the present time. Travel is still a passion, and I can't wait to have the freedom to do more of it.

For the rest of the post, go visit Ivy at UnscriptedLife.com.

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5.18.2012

Book and Booze Reviews: The Mother-Daughter Book Club

I've been on a bit of a young adult (YA) literature kick recently, I think because I'm in the process of doing some rather dry, heavy research for an article I'm writing. For pleasure reading, I want something lighter and more fun.

Enter The Mother-Daughter Book Club, by Heather Vogel Frederick.

I found this series while browsing the juvenile literature section of our local library for the last book of The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. The fourth book of the series, Pies and Prejudice, was on display, and I was so tickled by the title that I had to pick it up. (As with all of my YA reads, I chose it under the guise of previewing it for my eight-year-old.) I read it in less than a day, and I was hooked. I had to go back to the beginning to find out how this club and these characters got started.

I wasn't disappointed. The Mother-Daughter Book Club is about, you guessed it, a book club for mothers and daughters. It's set in Concord, Massachusetts, and is comprised of four mother-daughter pairs: Emma and Phoebe Hawthorne, club bookworm and town librarian; Jessica and Shannon Delaney, animal lover and soap star; Megan and Lily Wong, Concord's fashionista and crunchy do-gooder; and Cassidy and Clementine Sloane, Girl Jock and former supermodel.

After being roped into the book club by their mothers, the girls set out to read Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Over the course of the year, their lives unfold eerily similarly to the lives of the March girls, from boy trouble to dealing with queen bee Becca Chadwick and her battle ax mother Calliope. Each of the daughters find a literary companion in the March sisters, and use the lessons they learn from the novel to solve problems in their own lives.

The Mother-Daughter Book Club is a light, engaging read appropriate for girls 10-14 or for lovers of YA literature. It aptly shows that art reflects life, and that there's more to books than just words strung together.

I give this: 4 out of 5 books.

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5.14.2012

Bookshelf Poetry Challenge 001: The Opener

I wish I could lie and say that the Bookshelf Poetry Challenge was my idea, but it's not. I saw a pin on Pinterest and was so intrigued by the idea of forming free verse based on book titles that I had to give it a shot. And then I posed the idea to a few others, and they wanted to give it a shot, and things kind of took off from there. So now, we're doing a series.

For the BPC, the rules are very simple: create a poem based on book from your bookshelf. The topic is open, the form is open, the only restriction is that the books must come from your own shelf. In addition to creating some amazing poetry, you may also find something new to read!

Once you've created your poem, take a picture and upload it to your website, blog, Facebook page, Instagram, whatever, and then leave the link in the Mister Linky box at the bottom of this post.

And now, my short poem about adultery:

The other woman 'tis
stepping on the cracks beyond good and evil.
The day awaits a very easy death
That others may live.


The books:

UPDATE: I found the post from Brain Pickings that inspired this series. They have curated four volumes thus far; be sweet and visit the other three: "Get Smarter," "New York," and "Music."



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5.07.2012

On Writing: The Problem of Research

{ Original image from Christopher John. Remixed by Lynn Daue }
{ Used under License CC BY 2.0 }
I started research for one of my articles this past week, and I ran into the problem of doing academic-level research.

Because I originally got the idea for this article from reading the pop-anthropology book Manthropology, by Peter McAllister, I started my research there. I spent about two hours going through the chapter that was my inspiration, making notes and marking every original source that he used in his research. Upon finishing, I started to look for the original sources.

That's when I ran into trouble, as well I should have: McAllister used sources to which I don't have access. They're all academic-level sources, either published theses or pieces in academic journals.

I'm not entirely sure how to gain access to these sources. The University of Maryland has a Community Borrowers program for which I'm eligible, but I'm not sure if I need to join the program simply to poke around and make a few photocopies. Our local library has an Ask a Librarian program, through which I can gain access to materials that I normally wouldn't, but I haven't looked into the program fully enough to know how to use it.

For me (and, I'm sure, for many people), there's also the issue of time. I can't drag my kids to the library to do research, and I'm not positive that I want to hire a babysitter for the time I would need to go out to College Park, learn my way around, and get home. Plus, everyone has been sick lately, ranging from snotty noses to mid-grade fevers, and it's really been hindering my progress.

How do you overcome the pitfalls of research? I'm taking any and all tips.

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5.04.2012

Book and Booze Reviews: Homemade Kahlua

{Image source: Merve Coskun on Pinterest }
Holy amazeballs, I'm never buying Kahlua again. I'm going to make my own from now on.

I stumbled upon The Cupcake Project last week while looking for recipes for Homemade Irish Cream. I found one there, as well as a recipe for Homemade Kahlua.

I guess it's technically "homemade coffee liqueur," as Kahlua is the brand name, but it doesn't matter in the slightest. What matters is that THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. I take back what I said about Pimm's being the most amazing liquor ever. This is. (BTW, how many times can I say "amazing" in one post?)

Anyway. It's a Saturday afternoon, my husband is away on work, and it's raining outside. What else was I going to be besides make my own booze?

I modified the original recipe to accommodate for the fact that I don't need 1.5 liters of coffee liqueur. I only needed 750ml, so I cut everything in half. (Ish.)

Homemade Coffee Liqueur (modified from this recipe at The Cupcake Project)

Ingredients
Directions
  1. Brew coffee. Stir in brown sugar and let cool.
  2. Pour vanilla extract, vodka, and coffee mixture into a clean bottle. Shake to mix.
  3. Serve over ice or in a mixed drink.
I tested out a small dram of this on its own, and again, HOLY AMAZEBALLS. It's sweet, it's smooth, and it's not overpowering. I'm not exactly sure how to store it; logic tells me that it should be okay in the bar as long as it is tightly sealed, but it's been in the refrigerator for almost a week now and is delightful. I'm not going to mess with that works.

This recipe actually made about 1 L of liqueur, so I ended up with one slightly less alcoholic bottle. I suppose the downside of making your own is that you don't know the exact alcohol percentage, but that's a downside I'm willing to take.

I give this: five of five bottles. (Like stars, but not.)

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5.03.2012

Danke fuer die Liebster

Since rearranging my posting schedule, I've decided to only post on RWT on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (and some Saturdays, if life warrants it). But I have to throw in a special Thursday post as a THANK YOU to Sarah Negovetich for bestowing the Liebster award on me! I received it for my "awesome work in the MNINB [April Platform] Challenge."

Do I still get it if I didn't technically do everything and just rode the coattails of previously accomplishing some of the tasks?

The Liebster is a pay-it-forward kind of award, meaning that once you receive the award, you pass it on to others. The rules are as follows:

  • Thank the person that gave you the award in a post on your own site
  • Nominate up to five blogs with less than 200 followers
  • Let the nominees know they've won by leaving a comment on one of their posts
  • Add the Liebster image below so all your readers know that you are generally awesome

So without further ado, here are my nominees:
  1. Quirks and Smirks, by Karen Bee, for chronicling an honest representation of her fascinating life and  current job search through both words and pictures
  2. Tomorrow is Another Day, by Angela Noelle, for being a part of my Internet life since we were both very, very green lieutenants in the Air Force and hating life (and being an amazing writer, of course!)
  3. CERN Wife, by Karen Lee Pliskin, for writing beautiful essays and living an exciting life.
  4. Creative Idea Gal, by Amanda Socci, for being free with her faith and having an engaging, personable writing style
  5. Misk Cooks, by Misky, for her amazing photography, excellent recipes, and beautiful poetry.

Go visit these amazing women!

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