Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm one!

Check out today's give away and yesterday's winners at the bottom of this post! Go!

Today's the day! The actual birthday of my blog! I got it a new outfit, so if you're checking me out through a reader, you need to click over and tell me what you think. I lurrrrrrves it. Thank you, Mom Babe!

So this is where I tell you what I've learned in the last year, right?

Uh....basic HTML. Thank you, blogging.

Just kidding. The truth is, I started my blog because I read all these articles on writing that said you MUST have an internet presence and if you don't THEN YOU'LL NEVER GET PUBLISHED and the munchkins who run Kristina P.'s blog commenting sweatshop will mock you because you don't have a blog, you BIG DUMMY.

I freaked out and started a blog even though as of the first day I had mine, I had never even read one. I was just scared. I was peer pressured into blogging, stupid how-to articles.

I didn't even know what my blog would be about. I had this vague notion I'd write about my writing journey and hobnob with other people taking the same trip. I didn't really have fun writing those posts. Then I thought I'd use this as a place to develop my voice as a writer, experiment with different styles. But I'm too needy for that.

Because as I started wandering around other people's blogs and making friends, blogging evolved into a whole new thing for me. Let me tell you a little story. It's like one paragraph little.

There was this pretty princess named Melanie (okay, it was me) and she married her handsome prince and moved to a condo, er, castle by the ocean and she was so excited to stay at home with their babies and make lots of new friends. The princess always had lots and lots of friends, mainly because she talked a lot and got it into her head to go do fun stuff all the time and bewitched people into doing them with her, so she was excited for the new friends she would make in this new kingdom. And a year went by and she was losing heart because she wasn't making friends. She accepted every invitation she got, mourned the ones she didn't, kept a cheerful face and showed up at every activity. But the other princesses already had their princess friends and sort of overlooked our princess. A lot. And it made her sad. Then one day, our princess discovered a magic key to a magic room, that when turned, transported her to a place full of other princesses who were funny and smart and talented and liked it when our princess babbled. And she began to hang out with them and get to know them and look forward to seeing them each day. The big old hole where her missing friends used to be was filled and she was happy and her husband was relieved.

So blogging became something totally different than what it started as for me. This has become the place I go to hang out with like-minded people, to take a break from my cares, to be a part of a sisterhood, to laugh, and to think.

And for that, I owe so many of you a huge thank you. I could pick ten blogs a day for weeks that resonate with me for one reason or another, but that might get a little old for all of us, so I'm going to pick a few today and just know that I love YOU, okay? The blogs I want to highlight today are just happy places for me, for very different reasons from each other. But these are all smart, insightful ladies that I would call up to go get manis and pedis any time. (There are some of you who are going to be surprised you're not in today's list but that's because I'm putting you in Friday's spotlight of blogs that make me hurt myself laughing).

Heather of the EO really needs no introduction. Most of you read her and I'm not going to tell you anything you didn't already know when I say that she is smart, and compassionate, and generous and so relateable. And that word never looks right to me. Anyway, she's a heck of a writer and I often find a little bit of peace when I visit her blog. So go.

Lisa at Away From It All is one of the very first blogs I found and that found me. She has fascinating insights about life outside of the U.S. She's thoughtful, sure of her beliefs, has a great sense of humor, and is a great cheerleader. She hasn't been blogging nearly enough for my tastes lately, but it turns out she has a REALLY good excuse, so I'm going to give her a pass on that. Anyway, she's just such a level headed, cool girl and I might get to meet her this month. (Right, Lisa?)

Charrette at Divergent Pathways is simply amazing. She doesn't write often, but everything she produces is this perfectly polished gem, rich and colorful and life affirming. I always feel like a slightly better person after reading one of her posts. I can't do her justice with my own words; you'll have to read her yourself.

Stephanie at Diapers and Divinity inspires me with how incredibly well she stays on message. Her blog name is perfect. She seeks to find the goodness in motherhood and studies diligently in the scriptures and words of modern revelation for direction and clarity. She really does inspire me. It's that simple. I also like her humility in admitting that she struggles too, but she always tries to find a sense of humor about it.

Kimberly at Temporary? Insanity is another blogger I found early on. She's a fellow writer, so I relate to her that way, but her complete transparency about her triumphs and failings is so familiar to me. Sometimes her honesty makes me wince, but I can only respect someone who is so determined to peel back the layers in search of her best self. She's also incredibly generous with her blog knowledge and has helped me out many times.

I'll stop right there although I could go on. I'm always sad when I'm not on other people's lists because I'm a raving ego maniac, but I follow about 150 different feeds and I can't just pick everybody. I mean, I guess I could, but remember what I said about having to go on for days? Yeah...

I'll point out some more blogs I've found along the way tomorrow and Friday, but these were just some I've been hanging around for almost the whole year I've been blogging and they're part of the fabric of my everyday life.

Now, that the suck up section of this blog is over, it's time to move to the bribery section. Just kidding. But it's give away time!

You'll notice I kept the notebook in my template. It's very me. I love a fresh, clean notebook. You may even remember my ode to office supplies and the famous comment from the American Folder Company Troll. I collect notebooks. It's unintentional. I just see a cute one I love, buy it with every intention of filling it up, and then I desert it within a couple of months for a fresher, tartier upstart. So I have lots of partially filled cute notebooks at my house.

In honor of my new blog template and as a shout out to the original intent of this blog to be about me as a writer (oh, HA HA! It's about Me the Princess now!), I'm giving away a super cute notebook I bought yesterday at Staples (because I love Staples and want to marry it) and a package of my favorite pens and THEY ARE PURPLE and I don't care if that's cheesy. I like them. I can't find my camera for the moment so I have no picture for you. But it's 9.5" x 6" with a yellow cover and gray flowers and it sounds hideous but I love it. It even says "Fashion Notebook" on it in case you aren't sure if it's trendy or not.

Anyway, you can enter with just a comment as usual. I think my blog wouldn't mind if you wished it Happy Blog Birthday if you can't think of what else to say. Tell it you like it's new outfit, if you like.

And lastly but not leastly (Annette is readying her wet noodle for the whupping on that one), yesterday's winners!

Hershey's Chocolate Pretzel bars: Stephanie from Everyone's Excited and Confused (they're only 100 calories!)
Pecan praline fudge: Stephanie from Diapers and Divinity
Mint chocolate fudge: Aubrey (and no, I didn't rig it!)
Tony Chachere's seasoning: Caroly V.


InkMom said...

Just found your blog . . . we have a love of office supplies in common so I would love to win THOSE PURPLE PENS. Please say they're fine point.

Looking forward to reading more!

CaJoh said...

Happy birthday to your blog…
Happy birthday to your blog…
Happy birthday to Write Stuff…
Happy birthday to blog.

Congratulations on one year of posting. I'm very glad to have stumbled upon your blog. I am surprised that I am not that much older than you (in blog years), yet I felt that you were a well established blogger and decided to follow because of it.

I like the story you told and agree that sometimes you cannot connect as well with already established circles of friends, but can form an interesting connection with those who share the same passion.

Luisa Perkins said...

Feliz Blogleanos!

CountessLaurie said...

Happy Birthday to your blog. You are looking great in that new outfit.

I am still laughing that you want to marry Staples. I thought I was the only one with an office supply / notebook obsession. Thank you for sharing with us. Even though I don't comment alot, I do enjoy reading all your posts.

Here's to another great year. I can't wait til the terrible twos!!

LisAway said...

I'm TOTALLY in love with your new makeover. LOVE IT. I also TOTALLY loved your sad/funny Princess story. And I even knew you were actually talking about YOU before you clarified it, just from the "pretty princess named Melanie". I'm quick like that.

Can I just say that you made my day? And can I also say that "she's just such a level headed, cool girl and I might get to meet her this month" is EXACTLY what I would have said about YOU? :) And can I ALSO say that I'm okay about losing out on yesterday's giveaway because I already sort of scored the mint fudge when you gave me the recipe (thanks!) and also because I'm aware that you are a great recipe sharer and I know that any time I ask you'll give me a good recipe. Right? Of course right. (and I'm so excited to make that corn chowder and ginger lime chicken!)

DeNae said...

I'm not the least bit surprised that InkMom found you and also loves office supplies. I sometimes think I'm sharing a brain with that girl.

I, too, love office supplies. I can remember EXACTLY where I was and what I was doing the first time I ever saw an Office Max. Maybe I'll write an ode, too.

And a big Happy Day to the blog! I did start mine to find my writer's voice, but, like you, found something even better: Like-minded friends full of talent and insight. What an awesome place blogland is!

And I'm so happy to have found yours, Princess Melanie! Love reading your stuff!

Anonymous said...

I love the new look! It is so beautiful but simple and classy at the same time. You rock!

Jami said...

That's why I started a blog too! Not Kristina's commenters though. Everybody was looking at me funny over at Elastic Waistband Lady's place.

Emily said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new look! SO sophisticated! So you! Happy first birthday!

Sue said...

Happy Blog Birthday Mel - I'm glad to virtually know you :> The makeover looks really good, btw.

Kristina P. said...

I love the new blog look! It's still so you!

And I do need some pens for my new job. Because their office supply amount sucks.

Kimberly said...

Okay, I just have to say that Luisa's comment made me snort. And I DO NOT snort!

And this post got me all sniffly. Well, the bit about me anyway. The other stuff was nice, but mostly I like the bit about me.

You rock.

Happy Bloggy Birthday!

Amateur Steph said...

Hooray Hooray Hooray! This is my first blog give away win! My address (for the next two weeks) is : 550 E. Maxwell Blvd. #1285
Maxwell, AFB, AL 36112

Happy Blirthday to you! Happy Blirthday to you!
I love it when blogs that I like list their favorite blogs--it helps me feed my addiction to clever, smart writing. Thanks!

Eowyn said...

Purple pens. I'm so there! anything not blue or black is good with me. . .

Not that I have anything against blue and black. In fact, I'm wearing quite a bit of black right now, but purple is such a fabulariffic color!

Happy birthday to your blogging world!

Fiauna said...

Happy blog birthday! I, too, started blogging without ever having read a blog. I just needed a writing outlet. Now it's turned into a social outlet.

Congratulations on all of your success!

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm so happy that you kept the notebook! I love fresh notebooks too, want to have a mad affair with Staples, and purple is my favorite color of all time!!!! Melanie! You're just cooler every time I learn about you!

I do love the blog's new outfit (the pic at the top is just so perfect for you!) and I wish her the very best of birthdays! She may be another year older but she's another year hotter too!

Amber Lynae said...

I understand how hard it is to make friends. I have had the hardest time. I definitely feel more connected to some of my blogger friends than people I know here. And I look forward to each comment. I haven't had many recently and I feel lonely. It is funny how a simple blog can bring so many ups and downs.

Happy Birthday Blog. I hope you get your own cake to dig into.

Erin said...

What a fun blog background!

I love your style of writing. And no, I am not trying to suck up. Really.

Happy birthday to your blog. May it grow younger with every year, just like you.

(25, right?)

Linda said...

I love to read your blog---don't ever stop!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I started blogging for the same reason--to promote my book--and was totally floored by the whole sisterhood thing of it. Now, of course, that's the best part. Congrats on one year of blogging!

Debbie said...

I'm crazy about the new look around here! I'm in line to get a little nip and tuck myself - nothing drastic. I love how clean and fresh it is and especially love that you kept the notebook. It is hard for me when things change too much. As a matter of fact, Heather told me a long time ahead when she was getting her new look so I'd have time to adjust to the idea. I am a high maintenance friend!
Congrats on the birthday. You've accomplished quite a bit in this year, I would say - Mrs. Author!

Carolyn V. said...

Happy Birthday Blog!!!! WHoo Hoo!!!

Thanks for the Tony Chachere's seasoning. Ohhh, delicious seasoning....*drool*

Annette Lyon said...

No wet noodle. Just rig it so I can win something. :D

Andrew & Sarah Clawson said...

Happy Birthday!!! Love the new look!

nano*ink said...

Notebooks are great. I have been checking out cute file folders lately.
+++ Happy Blog B-day!!
I started a blog but haven't done anything with it yet because I put on a design kinda accidentally and want to change it, but I don't know what I am doing. Whenever I get it going, you can be a lurker too.

nano*ink said...

p.s. I like your new's you at the desk!

kelberology 101 said...

I keep blogging in my head. I even have a blog set up maybe one of these days I will actually start. Love the new design.

Aubrey said...

You have no idea how psyched I am about finally getting to try this fudge of yours. I am tres, tres excited.

Happy Blogiversary! (Why am I sure that's not spelled right when it isn't even a real word?)

And you should see my stack of notebooks. We need to find a good twelve-step program or something.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Well, if that just isn't one of the nicest things I've ever heard. Or read, whatever.

That seriously made my day, thank you, especially since I'm getting spanked in the MMB poll.

And I love that the day you wrote about how deep and meaningful I am, I ranted about my delinquent children. Oh well.

Did I see the word FUDGE next to my name. I think your Bloggiversary is my new favorite holiday. It's way more fun than my birthday. I got praise, food, and I didn't even get older. Thanks, Melanie!!!!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

The first sentence of the last paragraph was supposed to be punctuated with a question mark. I really hate making typos on a WRITER's blog. Ugh.

earlfam said...

I love notebooks!

Happy Birthday to your blog!

annie valentine said...

You're so great that I don't even care about your fabulous give-away's. No need to buy my love, my readership comes free.

ps - I'm only nice like this on people's birthdays so don't expect this kind of treatment on any kind of regular basis, lady.

Alison Wonderland said...

Happy birthday to your blog! I treated mine just like I do my children and ignored the first birthday altogether.

Love, love the new look!

Heather of the EO said...

Lady, thank you kindly.

I wish I could smoosh your face.

I've been a chicken with my head cut off and missed this on the day it was written. Now I'm a sad princess. But I'm glad I get to say Happy One Year (late) !!!!!

I'm so glad to know you.

charrette said...

Melanie...Happy birthday! (a day late, sorry...)
So glad to know I'm only a month older than you are!
And that we've been friends for a whole year now. (Although I'm not sure how long I had to stalk you before I persuaded you to stop by my blog....) :)

You are so much fun! This is an awesome party! I am sick, SICK, I tell you, that I missed all that fudge yesterday! I've been reminding myself all week, THIS is why I don't want to be a graphic designer any more...deadlines, deadlines, DEADLINES!

And you have excellent taste in just mentioned 80% of my faves as well. (Thank you ever-so-much for the nod in my direction -- I am HONORED to be in the company of these excellent women!)

Sending lots of love your way --

charrette said...

p.s. I REMEMBER that post when you said you were going to marry Staples! It delighted me no end...