Good Citizens of Blogland

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Whether you are a blogger, or simply a reader of blogs, you are an integral part of the blogging community – which we often affectionately refer to around here as “Blogland”. As with any healthy community, there are some things that we all can do to help it flourish and grow. And today I thought I’d share with you just a few things that will help us all earn the title of: Good Citizen of Blogland.

I guess I could start out with a one-word summary:

Support!

If that’s as far as you read, you’ll still have gotten the message I want to convey! So often I think as bloggers, we see other blogs (and their creators) as our competition – not as our support system. But who knows better the ins and outs of what we go through to produce posts everyday? Find your blogging kindred, surround yourselves with like-minded encouragers, and then support the heck out of each others blogs! – Why do some blogs grow, and others don’t? I think it’s directly tied to the kind of active support they have around them.

Then there is the big “C” word: commenting. No matter how many great posts I see on commenting, they just don’t seem to spur people on to action! Most people will pussyfoot around saying this, but here is the honest truth in black and white: we blog for comments. Blogs are not magazines. We don’t desire to just broadcast our content out there into outer space and hope people somewhere, sometime enjoy it. We want to hear from you. Comments make our world go ’round. When we don’t get many (or any) comments, we can get depressed, and wonder why we even blog… Comments are a virtual pat on the back, and the encouragement we need to continue to spend many unpaid hours of our days keeping our blog up and running! Commenting is also a bonafide way to assure that you are encouraging the kind of content you want to see more of! No need to comment on someone’s coffee date if you couldn’t really care less – but if you see an idea or recipe or tutorial that inspires you? Comment away! I guarantee that the blogger will produce more of what you respond to!

We blog to connect with our readers. See paragraph above. If you’re not commenting, we’re not connecting.

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Perhaps the very best thing you could do as a good citizen, is to share a post that you enjoyed. Be it a recipe, home decor idea, outfit inspiration, a party theme, an encouraging or thought-provoking post… If you liked what you read, share it with your friends. Chances are they will enjoy it too! Most blogs have super-easy ways to share their content. Look for “Pin-It” buttons, or “Facebook Share” or “Tweet This”… it literally takes seconds of your day. Yet your contribution to promoting someone’s content is priceless.

Are you sensing a theme here? We are all interconnected! We all help each other to grow, thrive, stay motivated. Don’t think of reading a blog as a drive-thru where you can come- read- leave; think of it as a co-op where you are an integral part of its nurture, care, direction, and success!

And the best thing? What goes around, comes around. So be lavish with your support, be lavish with your encouragement, be lavish with your love, be lavish with your thanks, be lavish with your comments, be lavish with your sharing…

The one who is freely a blessing to others always ends up being blessed themselves. Now let’s all get out there and be good citizens!

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Home Style – a Winter Centerpiece

I can’t believe I’ve gone two months without sharing any of my winter home decor here on the blog! Although it’s probably too late for this year (spring is just around the corner!!!), I still wanted to share at least a few little vignettes…you can always pin them for future reference if you happen to be inspired by anything you see.

Today I’m showing you my dining room table centerpiece. Warm and rustic, yet cool and snowy. Elegant and vintage, yet simple and plain. A good summation of my current style!

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Do you decorate for winter? When do you start adding touches of spring to your home?

 

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

IMG_7591 I have a new favorite White Chicken Chili recipe ya’ll! What makes it so great? The crockpot cooks it for you! All hail to the almighty crock pot. Inspired by this recipe, I’ve tweaked it just a bit, made it slow-cooker friendly, and have it here to share with you today. Better give it a try soon before warm weather is upon us!

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 carton of low sodium chicken broth
3 (15-1/2 ounces) cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed (other white beans can be substituted like cannellini or navy)
1 1/2-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 minced  garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Plain Greek yogurt and Parmesan cheese for garnish

Place all ingredients except for the yogurt and cheese into a crockpot – chicken on the bottom, beans on the top – cover, and place on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8. Shred chicken, stir, and garnish with yogurt and cheese right before serving.

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For a printable version CLICK HERE.

The Beauty of a Handwritten Letter

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Is it just me, or is there a gentle, pleasant, comforting, sentimental aura evoked by a beautifully written letter? A real letter. The kind that comes by post and is scripted in ink…

I’m often accused of being old fashioned. Of bucking technology (ironic that I’m a blogger, isn’t it?). But part of my heart is old. The part that loves pearls and lace and peonies. The part that adores antique stores and old books. The part that delights at the sound of a Victrola playing. That same part thrills at the sight of a hand written envelope sitting in my mailbox.

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There is such romance attached to the thought of a tactile object making long journeys to find its intended recipient. How much of the world that prosaic little folded rectangle of paper has seen! Sometimes crossing oceans, mountains, countries; sometimes just rumbling across town.

But no matter how far it has traveled, it always carries with it, beneath the carefully sealed flap, a small part of the heart of the sender. And in this world of electronic everything, I often crave the tangible. Something to hold in my hand; a little piece of paper that connects you to a someone as an e-mail never could. I love slowly soaking in the words, then displaying it on my nightstand- to catch glimpses of and smile, and later tucking it away in my letter box… And because such things are so rare these days, they have become priceless treasures.

I was talking to a friend recently about how, in our ideal world, we would sit by the fire after dinner every night; sipping tea, and catching up with all our friends via post. But that just doesn’t happen nowadays, does it? Sad. What can we rearrange in our lives to allow more time for this “vintage” form of communication? Will we who love words, who love pen and ink, who love gorgeous stationary, who love connection, revive it? Or is it really just going the way of the dinosaur…

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I’ve recently been conscious of making sure I’m able to spend a little time each day with some pen and paper. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, and truly, it’s almost like therapy! Something about slowing down, meticulously forming letters, letting your thoughts drift toward the person to whom you are writing as you catch them up on the latest goings on…it’s good for the soul.~

Do you enjoy “snail mail”? Do you still send/receive it?

 

Fashion and Fabulous Finds Friday

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Fashion

This week for the fashion portion of the post, I thought I’d share about the 30×30 Challenge. Have you heard of it before? It’s been around for quite a few years now, but I think it’s just a fabulous, fun way to start rethinking/re-mixing your wardrobe! The concept originated with Kendi from Kendi Everyday, and you can read a more detailed explanation of the challenge HERE and HERE.

Recently, Kate from The Small Things Blog did a 30×30 with her sister. HERE is her starting post where she shares all the pieces she chose to use, and HERE is her ending post where you can see a collage of all 30 outfits she came up with.

So if you’re feeling like you want to dive head first into this world of re-mixing, or perhaps you just want to go a whole month without buying an article of clothing, or maybe you need that extra push to wear certain neglected pieces that you love, but for whatever reason always pass over when it’s time to get dressed, why not challenge yourself with a 30×30?!

Fabulous Finds

I am dying over this darling office space, and the newly built DIY floating bookshelves! Houndstooth stenciling? Yes please :-). Go check out Aimee’s post – you’re sure to be inspired…

Everyone should pause to read this beautiful, simple post about Lent from Amanda. It will make you stop and reflect on the beautiful soul of this season.

Comparison. We’ll all struggle with it at one time or another. It can truly eat you alive, can’t it? But this post from Aunie was so encouraging – just like a virtual pat on the back! Go read it. And today? Be proud of being you.

 

 

One Item – Six Ways

Time for our next installment of “One Item, Six Ways”. Ready? Today we’re checking out the versatility of the ubiquitous button down shirt. The one I’m wearing in these photographs is pretty middle-of-the-road as far as dressiness goes: an all-season light cotton, in a feminine calico print.

IMG_7527 Style #1: -All American Girl- throwing on a jean jacket and some interesting-yet-still-neutral cords makes this button up ready to head out shopping or to a meet up with your girlfriends at the coffee shop.

IMG_7518 Style #2: -Classically Casual- this outfit is totally me. Old comfy jeans, a soft pullover scoop neck sweater, leather booties, and a touch of classic jewelry to add some polish. Perhaps my favorite way to wear a button-down.

IMG_7553 Style #3: –A Little Bit Country- Yet another way to make a sleeveless sundress last all year long. Shown here with the button-down knotted at the waist, and some boots for warmth.

IMG_7571 Style #4: -Sunny Days- In the warmer months, use your long sleeved button-down as a light jacket to fend off morning and evening chill.

IMG_7581 Style #5: -Belted Blues- This time, the jeans are a dressier dark wash, and our button-down is tucked in and belted. Because it is winter, I added an ivory scarf to the ensemble. This is perhaps the most versatile of the styles. Wear it anywhere!

IMG_7545Style #6: -Dressed Up With No Place to Go- Taking the cotton shirt to the next level by pairing it with a high-waisted leather skirt, wide belt, and ever ladylike pearls; your everyday shirt, just got its fancy on!

So there you have it. Six different ways to style your favorite button-down. Variety is the spice of life (and the key to a fresh and endlessly remixable wardrobe too incidentally)!

If you’d like to see more One Item – Six Ways posts, CLICK HERE.

And if you’re still not convinced that a button-down shirt (or two or three) are a very practical addition to your remixable wardrobe, you can watch the video I made with even more button-down ideas HERE!

I’m so glad you stopped by today! Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to share it with your friends using the buttons below, and you may want to follow Vignettes so you never miss another!

ISFJ Seeking Other SFJs or IFs

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You may have seen this test circulating around the internet of late. It’s the Jung Typology Test: there are 70-some questions that you answer with a simple yes/no, and then *poof* there magically appears a detailed description of yourself appear on the screen! Your strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, talents, etc.

I’ve had my extended family (which is full of strong personalities) take it, and they were all spot on. Eerily so sometimes. I will say though, if you have a mild personality, you may struggle a bit more with seeing your reflection in the description the site provides.

Once you’ve seen the Jung description, then click over to The Personality Page, and look up your Portrait and Relationship profiles (scroll all the way down, and click on your letter title).

Me? I’m an ISFJ. And I married an ISFP. Jesse and I always knew that we were more alike than most married couples we interact with (unusually so), and this pretty much proved it- all official like. Ha! It seems that we are the exception to the “opposites attract” rule. 🙂

And if you don’t know me in real life, and want a little window into my world, here are some snippets from my portrait description that are startlingly accurate:

“ISFJs have a very clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive to attain. They value security and kindness. More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people’s feelings. The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty, and has a difficult time saying “no” when asked to do something, and may easily become over-burdened. ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. ISFJs have intense difficulty with conflict situations. Friends of the ISFJ will value them for their warmth, dependability, depth of emotional awareness and understanding.”

So here I am: an ISFJ, seeking other SFJs or IFs.

That’s who the test says are often an ISFJ’s kindred spirits. Of course any well-rounded mature personality type can get along well with any other, but it’s always so fun when you just so easily connect with someone who understands how you tick, because, well, that’s how they tick too!

 Now tell me: which personality type are you?

 *Linking up with Richella for Grace at Home