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February 2016

January 2016

Grab A Cup & Blanket: Favorite Blog Reads This Month

Cup_blanket

Since starting Ink & Coffee, I've really gotten into reading blogs again, but not just any blog and not just any post.  I'm bringing my favorite blog reads feature back from Pulp Sushi and giving it a new home here.  I do most of my blog reading in the morning while drinking my coffee and snuggled in my favorite blanket on the couch. Would you like to join me? 

When Did Luxury Become The New Basic? - I can relate so much to what Heidi is talking about at Rowhouse14.  It seems like we are raising a generation of people who feel like they are entitled to everything.  

5 Failures You Need To Experience If You Want to Succeed In Life - Here's a new (to me) blog I just started following.  Failing at something doesn't making an "ending."  I read this post at a critical time of me slowly letting go of Pulp Sushi after resisting for so long. There's no right way to succeed, and it's okay to never feel ready, we're never quite ready so why not just dive in and just go for it! "When you’re feeling a little unconfident and struggling to make progress, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter."

Tips For Driving Traffic To Your New Website - I've been reading and seeing more sellers branch out of Etsy and opening up their own online stores. I've tried this too (twice) but didn't stick with it. That doesn't mean it can't be done! There is a world outside of Etsy and Julie Ann explains how you can be a part of that!

Lessons From Laundry Day - I smiled when I read this post from Nikkiana because I hate doing chores too. I hate cleaning. We all have things we have to do that we don't like to do.  Ever notice that it takes more work avoiding tasks and making excused than to actually just suck it up and do it? 

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Come Jog With Me!

I started writing about Running in my other blog but I'm transferring that over to here.  The holidays sure slowed me down.  Getting back into a regular jogging routine has been a challenge. I'm still slow as a tortoise.  Late last year I was starting to feel some serious pain in my right ankle and shin.  I got a new wrap for a my ankle, compression socks, and compression sleeves for my calves which helps with the shin pain (I'm not sure it's shin splints).  I think they look pretty cool...

Come Walk With Me

I was going almost every morning, not resting enough and I think it finally caught up with me to the point where I just couldn't manage through the pain anymore. I didn't go to a doctor because I didn't feel any pain when walking normal. I just overexerted myself. So after some rest, I'm getting back on it but not forcing myself to go every morning anymore.

Come Walk With Me

You guys, it's not often I take a selfie while exercising. I look 20 years older and my head looks like a potato past the expiration date.  But I was happy with this picture I took back in the Fall - so here's my face.   That Puma jacket is my favorite thing to wear when I'm out walking and jogging.  I always wear a hat, even when it's hot.  I go out early in the morning as the sun is coming up and I don't like having the sun in my eyes.

I walk around my apartment development which alone is 1.15 miles but I also go to the track right next door, isn't that convenient? 

Come Walk With Me

This is my collection of t-shirts to get sweaty in. Great for warmer weather but in the cold, wearing 100% cotton is a big no-no.  You don't want to wear sweaty clothes in the cold. Come Walk With Me

Last Summer was the first Summer of regular outdoor exercise. I fucking hate it.  I definitely prefer the colder weather.  I think the coldest I've ever gone out was 18 degrees (not counting wind chill) and I think that may be the lowest I go out. 

My biggest challenge is getting out the door. This matters more to me than my run time or my weight.  I enjoy the time I have by myself, listening to a podcast or my music, and being outside. It's a great way to start my day and when I don't, I feel like a bum.   It's so hard to do something routinely, having to stop, then picking that routine back up again. The best thing I can do is remind myself that it's a blessing I get to spend this time outside every day and something to be thankful for.  Good plan?

 

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Things To Do On A Snow Day

Snowday

There is a winter storm hitting the mid to north East Coast this weekend.  Where I live, we don't expect to get too much snow compared to other states, we're expecting 2-6 inches but I do love when a snow storm is coming.  I love the first day of a significant snowfall.  It's so peaceful, quiet, and pure.  It is also a good excuse to stay inside all day and not feel guilty about it.  What do I like to do during a snow fall? 

Start the day with my favorite breakfast - Oatmeal! Most mornings I have it with coffee but something about snow makes me want a Chai. If you're looking for some really good tea with global inspired ingredients, check out my review for Joyful Hearts Culturally Inspired Beverages

If you're smart, you're already stocked up with food and the necessities.  By "necessities" I mean cake, coffee, chocolate, some chips, wings and I guess some fruit so you don't feel too guilty.

Blanket

Blankets! Of course you need a blanket, how else are going to curl up on the couch with a book?  This blanket was given to me as a gift from a coworker when I was working at Newsweek.  This blanket has been with me many years, it's starting to fall apart a little but I don't care, it's sooooo warm and cozy. 

I'm currently reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler.  I've been curious about this book and a lot of people who I respect and admire have read and raved about it so it was time to check it out for myself.  So far I'm enjoying it.  You can still curl with an actual book too, I still love books.  Actually, I can't read my Kindle too close to bedtime because it screws up my sleep so I keep a physical book on my bed stand. Reading helps me fall asleep.

My Roku gets a lot of use on a Snow Day.  There is always something to watch between the WWE Network, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, it is amazing how much the the time will fly by.  I love to watch documentaries.  I already watched Making A Murderer, I'm looking to find the next program I can binge on.  Got any suggestions? 

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Of course there's just admiring the snow coming down.   I took this picture during last year's big snow storm looking out to our patio.  It's fun to look for little animal prints in the snow. 

I can't watch local programming during a snow storm because all the channels will have constant, non-stop news coverage acting like it's the end of the freakin' world. So books, Roku, catching up with blogs, brain storming blog post ideas, stuffing my face while wearing my pajamas is how I love to spend my snow days.  

What kind of things do you like to do when you're snowed in? 

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Having a "George Carlin" Moment

Carlin

I hate feeling censored.  Seems like the only people who get to say what they want are Politically Correct losers or whack jobs like Donald Trump. Oh is my use of the word "Loser" and "Whack Job" offensive?

Facebook gets on my nerves.  It is the only place where I thought I could still rant and let out some frustrations but even there I have to censor myself. I miss the days of LiveJournal.  Everyone just seemed to be cooler with rants.  Or maybe I just had better friends back then? 

I don't want to turn this blog into a "Things Marilyn Finds Wrong With The World" - though it could be funny.  It was easier to share these kinds of thoughts when I first started blogging. Now every little thing you say is under scrutiny and can easily be misinterpreted.  Suddenly, you can be labeled a racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynist, blah blah blah.   There are people out there who just look for something, anything, to be offended by and will jump at the chance to correct you on.  It seems you can't just casually express an opinion anymore without having to be very, very, VERY careful with how you word it or else the point is lost. 

I can't help it if I see stupid things online, on the news, on the street and I have to ask "WTF??" If I didn't, my head might explode.  Unfortunately there is no going back, freedom of expression is pretty much dead unless it's "safe."  It's best that the great George Carlin is no longer with us because I don't think he would be able to handle this butt-hurt society we're living in. 

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Comparison Is The Death Of Joy

Compare

That's a great quote from Mark Twain isn't it? I recently read this article "Don’t Fall Into This Trap That Could Destroy Your Blog" - I know! More blog preaching, but please hear me out.

This is a piggy back on the blog tip I shared recently.  First, this article is from 2013 but the issue is still relevant to blogging today. We get inspired by blogs we enjoy and follow and think how super fun and awesome it would be to just blog for a living right? We would be writing insightful articles while sitting in a swank cafe sipping our latte, taking a picture of that latte, making a difference, changing lives, yeah, thats not what really  happens even if the blogger wants you to believe that.   That's the point of the article, to never take what you perceive at face value. 

I see this at my job sometimes too. I would be working on a Help ticket where the person says "I want my blog to look like www.someonesprettyblog.com." and I roll my eyes. I do!  We try to encourage people not to directly copy another blogger's design but some folks just don't care. They want to be another Seth Godin! Do you know how long Seth has been blogging for?? They think if they copy said big-name blogger, they will instantly gain the readership and notoriety too. 

Works

We compare ourselves to others more than we care to admit.  This does not apply just to blogging, we compare our business, families, appearance, we SAY we don't care what others think, but it still happens.  It happens to me.  It's partly the reason why I am taking a break from Pulp Sushi.  I can't help but compare on the success of other jewelry shops and where I seem to be lacking.  

However, I can't let myself be consumed by this and neglect my other interests.  If something I used to enjoy stops bringing me joy, it may be time to move on. Not saying I won't come back to it, but moving on can be therapeutic and helps with finding a new joy or rediscovering joy that has been buried under other stuff (like blogging!).

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Let's Wreck This Journal - 2016

Wreck This JournalThis past Christmas, I got a journal but this is a different kind of journal - Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. She has written a few books that are very interactive, encouraging creativity and perhaps, getting some stress out.   This is not a book you take care of, it's a book you scribble in, tear up, dirty up, fold pages, step on, throw across the room, and more!

I started going through Wreck This Journal on January 1st.  Not really going in order either (and that's okay). Here are some of the pages I haven't got to yet.  Will probably share my progress (and possible artwork??) throughout the year.

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And some pages I started or finished, I can always squeeze in a few more words.


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There should be more stickers on this page but I keep forgetting to peel the stickers off or I just throw them away.

When I was younger I kept a traditional journal but since I started blogging, I've been writing in a book less but I still like the idea of doing something with pen and paper as a form of release.

Every page of Wreck This Journal has a different prompt. I plan to go through the entire book in 2016. There are some pages with tasks that I just don't want to do, like rip pages out, rub pages with sticky stuff like honey/gum/syrup - gooiness and I'm just thinking "Ew! I don't want bugs crawling on my book! I keep my place clean!!"

It is still a very fun book so if you want to try something different but not sure what, Wreck This Journal has a little bit of everything. Just let go and have fun!

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And The Stars Look Very Different Today - RIP David Bowie

Bowie

When Lemmy Kilmister died at the end of last month, I got on Facebook and said "Fuck You 2015!!!" because it was just a very rough year of losing many legendary icons I grew up with in music, television, and wrestling.  I was hoping 2016 would be a fresh start, a clean slate. 

I found out David Bowie died 6:30 this morning.  I didn't have a blog post planned for today.   I don't usually write tribute posts after someone dies because the older I get, the more tributes I would be writing.  

Today is different.

And The Stars Look Very Different Today

This is a line from "Space Oddity", I have been quoting this online all morning, because it's true.  

While David Bowie has left this blue world, he will never leave us.  He will live forever in the music he has blessed us with.  Going back to 1967 up until his birthday two days ago with his last album, Blackstar, he has left us with so much to enjoy.

Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?

Oh his voice. That voooooiiiiice!  I loved David Bowie's voice.  There will never be another voice like his - ghostly and trance-inducing, yet smooth and soft like velvet.  I started liking David Bowie when I was 8 years old and I saw the video for "Blue Jean":

I didn't grow up with MTV so I didn't get to see many videos when I was little. I had to rely on the local channels and their weekly (sometimes daily) video shows.  I'm sure I've heard his music before but "Blue Jean" stood out for me.

Many people today are talking about the impact he made in music, fashion and how he transcended genres. He wasn't just a singer, everything he did was "Art" with a capital "A."  He was an Ambassador of Weirdness, not afraid to change his style, try something different, be innovative, and become an icon. Yes he will be missed, let just keep reminding ourselves that he's only moved on to a better realm.

I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years, nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years

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Working From Home - Just What The Hell Do I Do?

This is my view most days... 

I don't always balance a cup of coffee on my laptop, that's just silly.  It's one of my favorite coffee mugs and I like showing it off.

When I first started working from home in 2014, I said I would not be one of those people in my pajamas all day. I still treat each day like I was going to work.  I will get up early, still get dress (maybe not business casual anymore) but I would still get ready like I was going out.  That lasted maybe a couple of months. Now I go from PJ pants to lounge pants or a pair of jeans with holes in them, not cool holes like the young folks wear. Holes in very unflattering places. 

I was also going to go out at least once a week and work from Starbucks or Panera Bread which are both just walking distance from me.  Nope.  That got old pretty quick and I don't like Starbucks as much any more.  I'm so cozy in my home, it's just hard to leave some days, especially if I get out to do my walk/jog first.  Happy to say I still get out of bed at a decent time in the morning. I don't want to waste my day sleeping in.

So what has been keeping me busy at home if I'm not making as much jewelry anymore?

Typepad -  I still work for my blog host.  Some days are crazier than others but I still enjoy it.  I like that I don't start until the afternoon so I can take my time waking up and getting settled in the day. I don't like working on weekends but part of me getting this job was that they need someone for the weekends and my hours are a little more flexible so it's not like I can't make any plans on a weekend.

A Little Beacon Blog -  I started freelancing with this blog back in October. It's about the goings-on in Beacon, NY made for locals and out-of-towners.  I love Beacon, NY and spend a decent amount of time there. So when an opportunity came up to work with them and help out with their Social Media and other tasks, I jumped on it.  When I met editor, Katie, for my "job interview" it was the most casual meeting I've ever had and we hit it off.  ALBB allows me to apply my HTML/social/web know-how that I've learned over the years. I like to help, and it's a fun gig. I see this blog growing a great deal this year so I think I'm going to be busy for a while. :) 

The Hudson Valley Etsy Team - so I've been one of the co-leaders of this team for a couple of years and there's a lot of stuff and discussion going on behind the scenes that the rest of the team does not know about.  Less attention has been paid to Pulp Sushi because I was focusing my energy on this group. I don't mind. I want to see this group grow.   Right now we are in the process of changing our name because more often than not, we are getting mixed up for the Etsy office in Hudson, NY (we're not affiliated).  A lot of emails to be read.

Pulp Sushi - duh!  But there is less pressure now since I decided to scale back a bit.  I still keep my Etsy shop updated and I just posted a new item the other day.  I'm not going to pressure myself with holidays I can capitalize on.  When I have something new to post, I'll just post it.  Unfortunately, my camera has been giving some trouble with this last new item so I may be due for a new camera soon.  Talk about "passive income", it doesn't get more passive than this.  PS stopped bringing money in for me months ago and I still don't have the energy to work myself back up to it. 

All this on top of regular household chores because the laundry is not gonna do itself! So while folks will say I am lucky I get to work from home (I am) it's not all just hanging out, watching Netflix, and just doing whatever my heart desires with no one to answer to.   I still answer to people, I can't make my own hours entirely, and I get lonely.  Getting together with friends is something I am really going to try to work on this year and not just rely on the internet for connecting with people.  I don't think I can go back to a 9 to 5 schedule, hope I never have to!

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Charlie Brown & Peanuts Windows Display (Pictures)

For as long as I could remember, the REAL Santa Claus was at the Macy's in Herald Square, 34th Street in NYC. And every year Macy's would have the best holiday window display in the city.  

I don't always check it out, but I had to, had to, HAD TO this year because the theme was THE PEANUTS!  I didn't get to actually see the windows until New Year's Eve but better late than never! 

Charlie Brown Windows Display

The "Charlie Brown Tree" right over the entrance.  We have one of our own at home. 

Charlie Brown Windows DisplayOh no! What will the others think of this tree??

Charlie Brown Windows Display

Lunch break!

Charlie Brown Windows Display

Even my dog has gone commercial!

Charlie Brown Windows Display

You were able to hear audio from the Christmas Special. Mike and I were reciting the lines along with it. I heard a couple of other people doing the same. :)  How can you not? 

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Here's A Blog Tip: Stop Telling Me What To Do

Stop

It was a slow build but it finally escalated in 2015 and almost turned me off from blogging COMPLETELY.  What is "It" you ask? It was seeing several bloggers telling me how to be a better blogger! 

I miss the days before Social Media where people HAD to read your blog to see what's new with you.  Don't get me wrong, I love Twitter now, but I remember when leaving comments was a form of communicating with friends.  Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, that's no longer needed.

Honestly, how many different ways can someone write the same post?  

  • 10 Things To Improve Your Blog
  • 20 Ways To Be A Better Blogger
  • 30 Things You're Doing Wrong With Your Blog
  • 40 Reasons Why No One Is Reading Your Blog
  • 50 Ways To Please Shut The Hell Up!!

A few blogs I follow were almost regurgitating the same information over and over. Not to mention all the pins on Pinterest, seriously? I just want to look at pretty things, I don't want to think about what I'm doing wrong!  Anyone else seeing this or am I just being crotchety?

I hated that I was getting sucked into this world of "Make Your Blog Perfect and MAKE MONEY!!!!!"  Well I don't care anymore.  I don't care if one person or 5,000 read this. 

My only goal for 2016, and every year going forward, is to do more of what I want to do, do more of what makes me happy. If that means writing a trivial post bitching about bloggers, so be it.   

Can we just get back to showing our true selves on our blog instead of portraying a "personality" and not try so hard? 

 

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