My Daily Dose

blogs-to-read-daily_thumb(Image from someecards.com)

After cleaning up my actual desk at work, I decided I should clean up my desktop as well. And while sorting electronic files doesn’t quite have the same rewarding feeling as physical files – I still get enjoyment out of it (yup, I realize that is weird).

One thing that I decided to clean up/clean out are the blogs that I read on a somewhat daily basis. Over the past year, I’ve accumulated quite a list of sites that I’ve bookmarked and try to visit a few times a week.

Most of these blogs are incredible and inspirational; however, I’ve decided to fine tune my list.

After my wedding I decided to stop reading wedding blogs. It was a hard adjustment but I think I can say I successfully cut that chapter out of my life.

[That sounds harsh – I didn’t cut out the chapter of my life where I got married… just my strange obsession with things like place cards, first dance choices and flower arrangements. It had to happen – I was becoming ridiculous]

So with the exception of occasionally peaking at Snippet & Ink or seeing some ideas that my engaged coworkers send over, I don’t follow any wedding blogs.

Up next: home improvement blogs. I’ve decided to limit the number of blogs that I read that focus on home improvement. I don’t need a daily reminder that Matt and I live in a one bedroom apartment – which we rent. Between the home improvement blogs and HGTV, I’m about ready to rip up the floor boards and start gutting my bathroom. Somehow I don’t think my landlord would approve. Thankfully I’ve decided that I can keep a few of these blogs on my list because one day, I hope to own a house and this is research for the future. Plus the family from Young House Love is just too cute to quite.

I’ve also decided to stop following blogs written by folks who are vegan, addicted to yoga or are master chefs. Let’s face it – that’s never going to be me.

So here it is: my favorite blogs for 2013

Apartment 34

Bohemian Gypsy Jane

Butter Me Up Brooklyn

Coco & Kelley

A Cup of Joe

Cupcakes and Cashmere

Design Love Fest

The Kitchn

Oh Happy Day!

Making It Lovely

Pink Briefcase

Say Yes To Hoboken

SF Girl by Bay

Simply Lovely

Smitten Kitchen

A Subtle Revelry

Suri’s Burn Book (don’t judge me)

Wit & Whistle

You Are My Fav

Young House Love

Comments and suggestions welcome! Here’s to another year of great blogs!

Campus Taps

After Facebook’s worse than expected performance this week, I think everyone is a little more suspicious of internet websites and their valuation. However, I think we would all agree that even though Facebook’s stock has dropped 15 percent, their 80-90 billion dollar market value is definitely impressive. And while Mark Zuckerberg and I went to the same school, I am sad to report that I did not know him, the Winklevoss twins or anyone else involved with the creation of Facebook.

Believe me when I say, that is upsetting. While I was hanging out with my friends on the swim team, people were developing a multi-billion dollar website right next door. Well, I am not about to let that happened again – which is why I am happily promoting the newest college website out there: Campus Taps.

Matt and I both agree that the summer of 2010 was one of our best, as it was when we met the incredible Ryan Phillips. His most obvious contribution to our life are his unbelievable dance skills. In one fluid motion, he can turn a boring evening into a riotous dance battle. He gave us the gift of dance, first at Matt’s bachelor party and then during our wedding. Matt and I were so excited to share his skills with our closest friends and family!

However, while Ryan’s dance skills are impressive, we have realized very quickly that they are non-transferable (Although, he did give us a few VERY helpful pointers for our first dance; however, beyond a few spins and twirls, Matt and I are unable to replicate Ryan’s skills). But one thing that Matt has been able to replicate is Ryan’s sweet sense of style.

Ryan captured the “All American Gentleman” style with his Sperry boat shoes, J.Crew shorts and his croakies — apparently when you are a true gentleman you are always ready for yachting. Even in the middle of New York City. Matt’s (and Kinsella’s) sense of style has been fine-tuned as a result of their friendship.

And now, Ryan is applying his wealth of “bro” knowledge and sharing it with the world – while also providing a calendar of events for young “bros-in-training.”

Taken from their website, Campus Taps is described below:

“Campus Taps is a free online nightlife directory that provides access to bar events, bar and liquor store specials, and late night eats in the Baltimore-area. In addition, the site was created to be an open forum for students and young professionals to connect with their friends and favorite nightlife spots. The directory is free for businesses and users to join. Currently we are serving the greater Baltimore-area but we will be expanding to other major cities and college towns soon.”

The website had a soft launch this spring and hopes to expand to more bars and colleges next fall.

And who knows, maybe Mark will start reading Campus Taps — he really could use the advice, because let’s face it, while he may be a multi-billionaire, he is no bro. “Time to trade up those Adidas sandals for some Rainbows, bro!”


Talent Show

In fourth grade, my school put on a talent show. Auditions were held within each of the classes and the students voted on the top two acts. These acts would then get to participate in the school-wide performance where  audience was made up of the entire 3rd and 4th grade, along with parents and family members. While my true talents ultimately developed in the swimming pool and on the field hockey field, in 4th grade, I still considered myself a pretty well-rounded child. I was a member of the chorus, which entailed participating in the grade-wide musical and was even given a solo my 4th grade year (although, my family still mocks my fast-paced singing of “wild geese that fly with the moon on my wings, these are a few of my favorite things; the main point to focus on here is that I was awarded a solo!). And in my fourth grade class’ performance of A Christmas Carol (wow, we were NOT a PC school at all!) I played the part of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a pretty solid role if I do remember correctly. Anyway, when I decided to audition for the fourth grade talent show, it wasn’t that surprising. However, it was a bit surprising what I decided to showcase as my talent.

At first, I told my mom that I wanted to try out two different acts. Now this was right around the time that my grandparents bought Abby and me a karaoke machine for Christmas. The system had two tape players so that you could play one tape to sing along to, and record your amazing vocals on another blank cassette. Needless to say, I went through a lot of blank tapes during this phase. The machine also came with a sample karaoke tape; it had one side with songs that contained the lyrics and another side that contained the same songs, only minus the lyrics. You could practice the words on the first side, and once you mastered those you could flip the tape over and become a star!

The songs that were on this tape were a bit “off the beaten path” especially for me, who was a child of Rosenshontz and Disney music for FAR too long. One of my favorite songs on the tape was “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” I had practiced this song countless times and thought it would be perfect for the talent show; it was far and away my best! While I knew the lyrics by heart, I had no idea what this song was about. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this song, please see below:

While this isn’t the worst song ever written (or even close to the worst song), for a fourth grade talent show, it wasn’t the best idea. Couple that with the fact that my singing abilities weren’t amazing, I am EXTREMELY thankful that my mom talked me out of that idea. I ended up doing a comedy skit (I know, that isn’t much better) from the Free to Be You and Me record. That’s right, I just said record. No, I am not that old, my parents were hippie-ish and just liked living in the past (please reference previous posts about growing up in a cable free household for more evidence of that.) The skit, and pretty much the entire record, broke the mold of traditional gender stereotypes. It was deep for fourth graders and I blame my classmates’ inability to grasp such complex and forward-thinking ideas as the reason why were weren’t voted through to the final performance. Either that, or the fact that I forgot half of my lines. Either way, my musical and theatrical career came to a screeching halt after that experience. Although I continued to lay down some pretty serious tracks on the karaoke machine in our basement.

Thankfully, some children didn’t have their dreams of stardom trounced as easily as I did. The Mickey Mouse Club skyrocketed kids like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera into world-wide stars.

Miley, Hil-Duff and the Jo-Bros have The Disney Channel to thank. And Fergie got her start on the 80’s classic show, Kids Incorporated where she stole the show for 5 years straight.

And now, children around the world have the wonders of YouTube and Ellen to thank. After conducting a search for the most talented children featured on YouTube, Ellen came across the likes of Greyson Chance, a 13-year-old boy from Edmond, Oklahoma. His performance of Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi won him the attention of millions, but most importantly, of Ellen. She featured him live on her show earlier this year, with his unbelievable performance of that song:

Then two weeks later, it was announced that Greyson won the 10,000 dollar prize from the Ellen contest AND the backing of Ellen’s new record label, eleveneleven. Today Greyson released his first single Waiting Outside the Lines.

Man, must be nice to be a YouTube sensation. And talented.

Greyson’s story has inspired me to re-think my career as a performer. Let’s be honest, I missed my chance at the Olympics and I am never going to be a professional crafter (besides Martha, I don’t think there is much money is that field). I am going to devote the next chapter of my life to perfecting my rendition of “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About.” I will then buy a flip camera and record my “unknown” talents and post it to YouTube. I will then received 100,000 hits in a single day and be invited to LA where I will inevitably become a star.

How’s that for a life plan?

My Webmaster

In 2005,  I got the idea in my head that I should start my own company. Armed with my sewing machine and yards and yard of grosgrain ribbon, I started upon the journey now known as “Prep By Molly.”

I turned my parents’ basement into a sweat shop and spent all hours of the day (and night) sewing belts, watches, dog collars, and bags. I would sell these preppy creations to my mother’s friends, my team mates and of course, my sister (who was a frequent buyer). I didn’t create the booming business that I dreamed about, but it was fun and kept me busy (which is hard to do in Bedford, NH).

I soon took my business to the internet and created a website to support the “countless” shoppers that I anticipated.  I my mind, I would be the next J.Crew! I set up a photo shoot in the basement by draping a white bed sheet over our ping-pong table, and started taking pictures of all of my merchandise. After that point, I was stuck. I knew what I wanted my website to look like, but I had no idea how to actually create it. I needed to enlist the help of a “webmaster.”

Thankfully, I found someone who was exactly what I needed. He had the skills to create a basic html website, was used to me ordering him around, and was the right price (free!). Matt”happily” took on the role. As my own personal webmaster, Matt spent a number of weekends creating page after page of brightly colored accessories. At the end of it all, I think I received 5 orders via email. All of the other ones continued to be people who I interacted with face-to-face. While Matt’s efforts didn’t actually pay off, I loved having my own website, and even more, I loved having my own Webmaster!

Sadly, Prep by Molly is only a distance memory, as is the website.

When Matt and I got engaged, I decided that he should be given a few “wedding responsibilities” so that he could feel involved. I tasked him with finding a band and setting up our “wedding website.” Now that our band is signed off on, the role of webmaster has returned!

If anyone has any suggestions for templates or sites that we should look into, let us know! Or should I say, please let me webmaster know.