Monday, October 20, 2014

Life :: Advice Question / I'm Still in Love With my Ex...

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Anonymous asks,

"I recently went through a complicated and messy break up. I still have feelings for my ex, but I know they'll fade in time. I still have occasional communication with my ex and it's just complicated. Like life. Am I obligated to fill in my current boyfriend? When is the right time to share stories about messy exes? If I'm not cheating, is it really anyone's business?"

When Brandon and I met, we had both been single for about two years, casually dating people on and off. But before that, he was engaged and I was in a long-term, live-in relationship. We actually discussed these exes the first night we talked. It wasn't that we wanted to dwell on the past or trash-talk our old flames; we simply wanted to be open and honest with what we had both been through. This allowed us to gain some perspective on each other and find out what we were both looking for.

Now, I'm not saying you have to bring up your ex on the first date -- for us, the conversation just naturally flowed in that direction -- but I think it's healthy to be honest about your past. I wouldn't go through the details of every hook-up and one-night stand, but if you had any relationships that were long-term, significant, or recent, those should be mentioned. It also helps for you to know about his past as well so that you can pick up on any red flags that could occur in your own relationship. Of course, humans are constantly changing and hopefully he learned from his mistakes. However, love is embracing everything about the person you're with -- who they were, who they are now, and who they will be in the future.

In your specific situation, I would strongly suggest cutting off all communication with your ex. If you still have feelings for this person, and things are still messy, it could definitely interfere with your current relationship. Even if you're not doing anything sexual with your ex, I do believe there's such a thing as emotional cheating. If you're still thinking about your ex, it's not fair to your boyfriend. Even if he never finds out, you will never be able to give yourself fully to him until you lose those feelings. And the best way to do that is to stop talking to him! Get some closure and move forward.

I personally think that exes are exes for a reason. If it didn't work out, there's no point in keeping in touch. As for telling your boyfriend about this guy -- like I said, honesty is the best policy. You could say something like: "Just so you know, my ex is still in my life, but I'm trying to cut him out of it. Because of that, I think that we should take things slow. I really like what we have and I want to start this relationship with an honest foundation." If my boyfriend were hiding something from me, I would rather know. If he really cares about you, he'll respect you for telling the truth and give you the time you need to move on.

My top advice posts are listed here, and questions for future posts can be sent here!

*Photo found via Pinterest (original source unknown).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Loves :: A Glimpse at my Glasses Collection

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I've been wearing prescription glasses since the fourth grade. Yeah, it's been a few years.

Back then, they weren't known as sexy, stylish, "hipster" or cool -- but rather, a nerdy nuisance. Add my spectacles to the metal braces and frizzy hair I sported daily, and I looked like your typical dork (think pre-makeover Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries). Over the years, however, I've learned to love my lenses, and I've recently compiled quite the collection. Today I'm going to introduce you to six of my favorite pairs, one of them being my go-to sunnies.

Of course, I had to include the Hello Kitty plush that Brandon got me for my birthday when we were first dating. Could I be any more of a dweeb? I don't think so.

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Clockwise from top right:

1) Jack & Norma SUN in Noir from BonLook || best sunglasses (see them on me here)

2) Roosevelt in Revolver Black Matte from Warby Parker || favorite everyday frame (see them on me here)

3) Cat Eye #F038 in Black c/o Firmoo || best retro look (brand new!)

4) Jack & Norma in Champagne from BonLook || best party pair (see them on me here)

5) Scout Festival in Brown c/o Glasses Direct || best color for autumn (see them on me here)

6) X-Ray BS23 in Tortoise c/o GlassesUSA || most versatile pair (see them on me here)

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Listen :: Country vs. Pop / What's the Difference? (Guest Post)

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A friend of mine is a hater of country music. I mean, absolute hater. Hates being in bars where country might play and will go on and on about how country music is no different from pop, except in some instrumentation...seems to hate it based on its lack of originality. So that got me thinking...what IS the difference between country and pop?

Well, we can start with Wikipedia, where we all start our research and see the definitions : country music vs. pop music. Wiki pretty much sums it up by classifying country music as a form of pop music. But what about what I think?

Take, for instance, Taylor Swift:

Even from the beginning, with "Tim McGraw," she was still labeled "pop country" and certainly through her evolution to songs like "22," she feels very much more pop and dance than country. Even including a banjo in "Mean," doesn't make it feel quite as country as say, Kacey Musgraves.

Nevertheless, both ladies are played on country music stations and Taylor continues to win awards within the country music industry. In fact, over time, plenty of "pop" artists have crossed over into country or vice versa, I'm thinking about Darius Rucker and Ray Charles, but I'm sure there are other examples as well.

So what is the difference?

For me, I would argue a feel. Taylor's latest album, "RED", comes just before Kacey Musgrave's album in my car. One will switch into the other, and I can feel a difference. Some of that is Taylor's using different producers and instrumentation to make some of her songs feel more like rock or dance pop. Some of that is Musgrave's voice, so mellow and cool. But there is a feel for me.

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To me, country music centers around a good story. (And Taylor has that one down.) Some of the stories are sad, but they have a lot of things in common, like a setting (the actual country!), or the ideals (lots of tradition), or their general leaning toward God or America. A really great country song, in my mind, has a clear beginning, middle, and end to the story. It's got a better structure than a lot of pop, with a verse and a chorus and probably a bridge, instead of a verse and a half and a chorus repeatedly, seemingly endlessly, 'til the end. There is the instrumentation too : a harmonica, steel guitar, banjo, or a fiddle will enhance the feel of a country song. To me, a country song could be played acoustically without losing the feeling of the song. All of these things help me categorize country beyond a distinction in radio stations and billboard charts.

But that's just me, and I love all music. What do you think distinguishes country from pop...or is there no difference nowadays?

Fenna Blue is a NEOhio native. She's an avid geocacher and photographer. Her favorite pastimes are snuggling with her fluffy kitties and cussing like a sailor! She writes for her personal blog, The Honest Badger, and TV review blog, Gotta Watch It.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Life :: Blog Tips / The Best Cure for Blogger's Block

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I love being a lifestyle blogger. It's my dream job. But like all jobs, it does come with challenges. For example, I'm forced to attempt a balance -- between living my life and writing about my life, taking care of my baby and writing about my baby. I recently wrote about this struggle and I don't think I'm alone. We don't want to neglect our blogs, but we also can't ignore other responsibilities, people, and passions.

Learning to navigate it all is a constant process, and if we get too caught up in it, we can experience a creative resistance. During my last few weeks of pregnancy, I jotted down at least 30 blog post ideas -- but once I sat down to write, it was hard to find the motivation. Because of the big life change I was about to experience, I had other things on my mind that were more important than my career (which, contrary to what I used to believe, do exist). Once I was no longer pregnant, I could no longer concentrate on "normal" topics like cute outfits and pretty food platters. The ideas that did light me up inside took three days to write about instead of my old three hour time limit. My priorities had changed and therefore, so did my schedule. (Making sure my son gets fed is more crucial than curating content. Duh.)

There are plenty of articles out there (and even books) about beating blogger's block and how to come up with ideas -- I even wrote about how to find inspiration for your posts in the past. But what if you already have the ideas and inspiration? What if, instead, we're lacking time and motivation? I haven't been able to find many resources that address this, but I can tell you what has worked for me.

When I'm experiencing blogger's block, the best thing for me to do is to STOP blogging.

That may seem like an oxymoron, but it works -- and not just for momtrepreneurs.

Hear me out. In the spring of 2013, I was single, working 60 hours a week at a corporate job, going out every weekend, and going to the gym every night. Things have drastically changed since then, but at the time, I loved my life and felt that my blog was a distraction from it. I couldn't justify the effort I put into it, and though I enjoyed writing, I wanted to try other creative pursuits as well such as acting and modeling. I truly couldn't juggle it all, and after experiencing a big of internet drama, I felt that all signs were telling me to step away for a bit. It was the best thing I could have done!

During my month off, I got promoted at work, celebrated my birthday, and started dating Brandon -- who eventually became the father of my child and future husband. These things may have happened even if I had kept blogging, but because I had chosen to take that break, I was able to stay more present at these events and experience them more fully. I also started honing in on my skills and readjusting my priorities. I was able to think more clearly about how and why and what I wanted to blog, without all the internet noise. Sometimes we get so lost in something that we forget to stop and think about it.

You don't have to stop forever, but take a day or a week or a month off. Take a vacation and "forget" your laptop. Spend a weekend away by yourself, or a few hours at a park with your phone in the car. Blogging is supposed to be fun, and it shouldn't feel forced. Take a step back, and then return with a vengeance! If you're waiting for the right moment, consider this your sign. I'm giving you permission.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my "real" life -- but I know that it will make my blog life more rich, more fresh, more fabulous and fruitful. Enjoy your week!

I am currently on maternity leave and won't be around as often for the next couple months. Fortunately, I have some great guest posters helping me out! If you'd like to contribute, feel free to send an email. Be sure to follow on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Bloglovin' so that you don't miss an update.

*Photo found here.
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