As promised in my round up about my first year blogging, I’m sharing tips I wish I had known from the beginning of my blogging journey. Be assured, this post isn’t to dissuade you from starting your blog. In fact, I think you should start a blog before you’re “ready,” and I’ll explain why.
On my Facebook page, I asked if anyone had questions about my first year blogging. One of the questions was: “What was your reason for starting a blog?” Answering this question is the perfect background for why I think you should start blogging before you’re totally sure what you’re doing.
One of the topics I blog about is dealing with chronic illnesses. I have several, and they’ve become progressively worse the last several years. The first one to get diagnosed was thyroid cancer. These illnesses have threatened to squash my dreams of being a published author. I think the first time I said I wanted to write books, I was in kindergarten (and then I promptly wrote a book for a friend and a play that my friend and I acted out while my dad taped us on the camcorder.) It’s been one of my dreams ever since.
Despite becoming more sick, I was (and am) determined to keep writing. As you might have guessed, it’s kind of hard to finish writing a book when you struggle just to function during the day! And while I’ve published a handful of poems, I’ve not yet gotten a book out into the world. I started to feel frustrated. Even when I pushed myself to write, my words just stayed stuck on my computer. I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. No one was reading a single word I wrote, unless it was a kind friend or family member offering to look over a story.
Finding comfortable clothes can be a major challenge, especially when you have a chronic illness (or two, or three…).
I have fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s and asthma, among other things, which all contribute to my needing clothes that don’t cause any of my health conditions to flare up.
And, as I talked about in this post, it helps me to when I wear clothes that look fashionable because looking presentable makes me feel better. As Gretchen Rubin has talked about in her podcast, wearing clothes that look like clothes (vs. pjs) improves your mood.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I receive a small portion of sales, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase.
Here are some of the things I look for in clothes:
Soft/breathable fabric—a must for comfort, as well as to help with my issues with temperature regulation. I’m usually freezing. I aim to buy mostly cotton clothing, but it’s surprising how hard that is to find anymore.
Not too tight or restrictive—I already have pressure points and difficulty breathing—the last thing I need is for my clothes to make this worse! A good, flattering fit helps me to look and feel my best.
Makes me feel my best—for me, this means non-pj shirts. To be honest, I usually wear pajama pants around the house because they don’t hurt my hips, so if I’m wearing a “normal” top, I still feel like I’m “dressed” and ready for the day. (If you’re most comfortable in pjs due to pain/illness/etc., the last thing I want to do is make you feel badly about it! Taking care of yourself with your wardrobe is the most important thing.)
Wow, it’s already been one year since I could start calling myself a blogger! Today is my blogiversary.
I think it’s important to celebrate blogging “firsts” and milestones. I had some trepidation starting this journey due to my chronic illnesses, and I wasn’t sure how much blogging I would be able to do.
I’m not gonna lie—it’s been quite a challenge to keep up, but I’ve enjoyed it so much. I’ve especially loved the connections I’ve made blogging. It’s wonderful when someone lets me know—in a comment, or in person—that they struggle with the same health problem and didn’t realize anyone else understood, that they love that book too, or that they were encouraged by something I wrote.
Blogging, for me, has been a beautiful reminder of how we can use our words to positively impact others, in spite of any challenges or limitations we may be facing.
I’ll be sharing tips in an upcoming post about what I learned over the last year. If you have questions you’d like me to answer in the post, leave them in the comments! I’ll try to answer them all.
I want to try a new style of blog post, and would love to hear what you guys think of it!
I’ve been wanting to get back into gratitude journaling after an unintentional break, as well as just journaling in general. I used to write journal entries fairly regularly, but lately its been…every four months or so.
I noticed a funny trend when I’ve been writing in my gratitude journal lately—I’ve wanted to write something down that made me happy, but it made me feel silly to say I was GRATEFUL for it. So I thought I’d combine gratitude journaling with capturing moments that brought me joy.
I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes with you today! It’s the recipe my friends request from me most often.
Everyone gets really excited when they hear carmelita bars are being made. We’re all kind of obsessed.
You think I’m kidding? I’ve had friends joke that they want carmelitas to be the dessert at their wedding. (I’m actually pretty sure they weren’t joking.)
I once froze a batch of carmelita bars, packed them next to an ice pack in my luggage, and took them to California with me. They were still cold and amazingly delicious after two plane rides and then getting left in a trunk while I ate dinner at a restaurant before visiting the Hollywood walk of fame. (Yes, I forgot about them in my excitement.) My friends’ faces were priceless when I announced I’d brought dessert.
Carmelitas: don’t leave home without them!
I loooove caramel.
I was so sad when I found out I was allergic to dairy in college. Caramel is one of my favorite foods, and it’s usually made with milk. My mom altered this recipe so it is safe for me. And now it’s safe for you! (Thanks Mom!)
We normally use this recipe to make chocolate carmelita bars, which is an all-time favorite around my house.
You can also use this caramel as an ice cream topping or as the filling for German Chocolate Cake (just add chopped pecans and coconut). It also makes a great dip for slices of apple.
I’ll link to the ingredients/brands I use because I know that can be helpful when trying a new recipe. (Note, because of how Amazon sells these products, they may be in packs of 2 or 12, etc.)
The nonfiction books I read this year are a bit of a strange mashup—historical figures, devotionals, and…design inspiration. Despite the odd mix, I think you’ll really enjoy these books.
Any time I recommend a nonfiction book, you know I liked it a lot, because I actually finished it instead of turning to my first love: fiction!
I hope you find some great inspiration and learn something new from these books.
I have some fun reading suggestions for you! I’ve been going through my reading journal from 2018 and picking out which fiction books I most enjoyed.
Not surprisingly, there are quite a few fairy tale retellings on here, and some YA titles I adored. I also stretched myself to read a genre I normally don’t. (Mystery!)
When I tallied my 2018 books, I felt a little bummed out that I read fewer books than last year, until I reminded myself that quality is better than quantity. I’ve gotten better at putting books aside if I’m not enjoying them, something that has been hard for me in the past. (Can anyone relate?)
I also realized that brain fog has frequently made me indecisive when I’m trying to decide what to read. Recognizing this has helped me—I thought for awhile that maybe I was losing my love of reading (gasp!) but now I know it’s just a side effect of chronic illness. I’m hoping my reading goals for this year will help me spend less time deciding what to read, and more time enjoying reading. I hope my suggestions help you too as you decide what books to dive into!