I got your numbers

Remember all those fun facts you helped me gather by filling out this survey? (And if you didn’t fill it out, I’m still accepting responses!) Well, I didn’t really have anything particular to post about today, and rather than just rambling nonsensically, I decided to whip up a little infographic about the results. Neat, huh?

In other news, I’m using my crock pot for the first time AS I’M TYPING THIS. Yup, I plan to return home today to an apartment rich with the wafting scent of chicken taco soup. Or the smell of bitter disappointment if I somehow managed to screw it up. (But crock pots seem nearly fool-proof, so my money is on something at least resembling chicken taco soup.)

Check back tomorrow for the results!


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In which I release my very real emotions about The Hunger Games

Ok, listen, I know what I’m about to say might seem like cheap pandering for support and comments, but you’ll just have to trust me that it’s 100% sincere and true and a big part of what’s on my mind lately.

I am SO excited for The Hunger Games movie.

I know at least 60% of you out there just went, “OMG ROIGHT???!??!?” And those of you that didn’t…well…you can just move along.

The thing is, I read a lot of books. But I don’t get invested in a lot of books. I was invested in the Hunger Games. I was invested in Katniss and whether she would end up with Peeta or Gale. I was invested in the evilness of President Snow. I was invested in the answer to whether or not there should be a line in what you are allowed to do to other human beings. I was invested in whether or not Finnick (or anyone else, for the matter) would ever find happiness.

There was a moment in pretty much every book that I started crying.

I mean, I read the first one in less than four hours. I’m not exaggerating. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I took the longest lunch hour of my life because I just couldn’t tear myself away.

The reason why this is in the forefront of my brain is because I just finished re-reading the third book to my husband. We do this on roadtrips – he’ll drive, I’ll read out loud. Like our own books on tape. I even do voices. I know, I commit.

We started the series when we went to Ohio months ago. And we finished it on our way home from Boston.

I’ve always been the type of person who enjoys re-reading books, and these are no exception. For one, I pick up on things I may have missed the first time (when I was tearing through the pages because I needed to know what happened next. For another, I really like when we’re done reading and we talk about the book. I mean, I was a writing major – I LOVE sitting around talking about characters and plot and motivations. LOVE it. I’m the person who would join a book club to actually talk about the book.

And the third book in this series requires a lot of conversation, for me at least. I’ll put it this way: It was really, really hard to get through the first time I read it. Not because the writing is bad (though I would argue a lot of parts feel rushed because there’s basically an entire war crammed in there), but because there is a lot of heavy stuff going down. People you love die. (Yes, I said love. Welcome to my brain.) And there’s really no time to recover from it before the plot is forced to go on.

Total disclosure (without spoiling anything for those who haven’t read it yet): There is one point in the third book where I literally lose it. I bawled the first time I read it, and I cried AGAIN when I read it to Joey. For some reason, it just hits me in the heart place. Like, even now, I’m thinking about it, and I’m just like, “Ugh…dude. I need a minute.”

I would feel like a total weirdo getting so emotional about something that didn’t actually happen, except for one thing. Literally every person I’ve discussed this “scene” with has looked at me and been like, “Yes. That was the moment that broke me too.”

You have to admit it’s pretty amazing when a book can make a bunch of different people have the exact same emotion in the exact same moment. (Ok, maybe not everyone bawled…like I said, I get invested.)

So anyway. I’m really glad they’re making the books into movies, because apparently I’m not ready to let this one go yet. And the first book is my favorite anyway, so I’m excited to see it played out. (Although I have to admit, I will be pissed if they mess it up. (Looking at you, Lionsgate.)

OMG I’M SO EXCITED.

Anyone else?

Also, in case you missed it yesterday, please click on this link to answer a BRIEF anonymous survey. (Seriously, it takes about 30 seconds.) I will be forever grateful!


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It’s my THIRD blogiversary!

So, remember a gazillion years ago when I hinted that I had some grand plan that I wasn’t ready to reveal yet?

Guess what. It’s time.

Nope, still not pregnant. I am, however, still a proud mother because it’s this little blog’s THIRD birthday!!

cupcake with three candles

Crazy, huh? I vividly remember writing my first post (about hating winter). I was bored and had been thinking about a recent magazine class I had taken the semester before where the professor basically told us that if we don’t have a blog, we’ll never get hired.

A bit of an exaggeration (on his part), but even so, it seemed to me that having unedited writing samples on hand (as well as keeping my wordsmithing skills sharp) wasn’t a terrible idea.

So with minor trepidation, I created an account on WordPress.

I can’t tell you why I picked WordPress. I had heard it was super simple. I think I googled “blogs” and it came up. Scientific, I know.

Back then, my header looked like this:

Get it? Because I planned to move to New York some day. (Ohhh 21-year-old self…)

I CAN tell you that I was TERRIFIED to push the “publish” button? Terrified.

I mean, in my rational mind, I knew probably no one would see it. I had no intention of telling anyone about the blog, and it wasn’t like with a single post I would become a must-read. But still. I was putting my writing out there. And that used to terrify me.

Side note: I actually JUST realized that this DOESN’T terrify me anymore. I mean, when it’s for more professional settings, I still get a little jumpy, but I used to belabor turning in manuscripts like I was actually opening a vein. Now, I’m a bit more whatev about the whole thing. (That’s a joke some of you will get. Sorry…no more weird inside jokes.)

Anyway, the point is, I was skerred. I finally just did it though, telling myself it didn’t matter anyway because no one would ever have to know the blog even existed!!!

After I got a few posts under my belt, I became a bit addicted to it. Seriously. I started thinking about things that happened to me in terms of how it would be written in a blog post. I’m really glad no one can read my thoughts (that I know of…?), because I would have sounded really self-possessed. I swear I’m not. I’m just a blogger.

Things changed a bit the day I added the link to my blog to my Facebook page. That was even more difficult that simply starting the blog. I was petrified. What if everyone hated it? What if they thought I was stupid? What if I not only never got a job, I never got a boyfriend, never had friends, and my family disowned me for being a sub-par writer?

Around that time, my header looked like this:

New York is still there, but now I’m a bit more diversified.

In the end, I finally just put the darn link on my profile, telling myself, “You WANT people to read your stuff, right? Then they have to know where to find it!”

The fact that my readership lept about, oh, 20 people should have calmed my fears, but the fact that people were reading at all was still kind of thrilling. (Total disclosure: It still is.)

My next big header change? This:

Clearly I’d begun being drawn by mint-y blue/green hues. How do I know? Because this was the next header:

Anyway, the point of that minor history lesson is that for my third blogiversary, I decided to do something kind of crazy: I’m going to pursue turning this little blog into a business.

Eek. Kind of weird to put it out there like that. I mean, I know I could fail miserably at this. But I still think it will be kind of fun to try.

How am I going about this? First, I’m adding sponsors! They are all super cool people with businesses that I really admire, so definitely check them out in the right-hand column or on the new Sponsors page. If you’re reading this on your phone or Google Reader and can’t see what I’m talking about, fear not. Once a month I’ll be posting a little shout-out to those cool people, and occasionally they’ll be sponsoring giveaways on the blog, too.

I know! Giveaways! Just like a real, grown-up blog.

So anyway. I don’t really know what I expect to happen from this. We all know that I’m only doing this to pursue my dream of working at home so I can finally get a puppy. Y’all should know by now that “so I can have a puppy” is my main motivation for most things in life. This is not something I have kept from you. I guess we’ll see how it all works out.

To my lovely sponsors, thank you. You’re awesome. (And if YOU want to be one of those lovely people, email me at justine[dot]lorelle[at]gmail[dot]com!)

And thank you to you. Yes, YOU. No, not him. YOU. You are my lovely reader, and I am beyond grateful to those of you who tell your friends about my blog, subscribe, or even just check in now and then. You rock AND roll, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.

So excited. And I just can’t fight it.

I’m so annoying when I get an idea stuck in my head.

Like, truly obnoxious. Like, seriously, get away from me because you are driving me bananas.

The thing is, I get excited when I have ideas. Wicked excited. Like, good-GOD-will-you-relax excited.

The effect is only amplified when the idea is also a solution to a problem that has been plaguing me for a while.

You know there’s a story coming along with this revelation, right?

So as you know, I’ve been a bit frustrated with our “office” situation. Namely, in my ideal situation we would have a whole room dedicated to office-y things. But, alas, it turns out one-bedroom apartments are not like houseplants in that they don’t sprout extra limbs willy-nilly. (Limbs equating to rooms here…)(What?)(Moving on.)

The point is, I have accepted that the office dream is put on hold. I HAVE ACCEPTED IT. What I have not accepted? Living with the messy desk that we have currently.

Which brings me to my point. Finally.

I should point out that the credit actually goes to a commenter who suggested we get ourselves some built-in shelves.

That happened on Thursday.

On Thursday night, I spent a good ten minutes staring at the desk imagining it with floating shelves on the wall.

On Friday morning, I started googling floating shelves to compare prices.

On Friday afternoon, I searched “desk shelves” and “floating shelves” on Pinterest. Just to see.

Around 2:00 p.m., I casually mentioned to the hubs over gchat that I was thinking about adding shelves above the desk. He was receptive to the idea.

Around 2:05, I told him that Home Depot seemed to have the best price, especially since I wouldn’t have to buy them online and pay shipping. He agreed that was a good system.

At approximately 2:15, I told him I was going to stop at Home Depot on the way home.

Want to know why? Because I literally COULDN’T wait to get crackin’ on this idea. I’m like the home decor equivalent of these kids:

I would be embarrassed. If floating shelves and marshmallows weren’t so awesome.

The point is, I got to it. I bought the shelves that night. (Though I actually bought mine at Target. I would link to them, but they are apparently no longer available online. Just go to Target, find floating shelves, and they’re probably the ones I bought.)

I came home that night, cleared everything off of the wall behind the desk, and started drilling holes. Then I hit a road block.

The shelves came with a set of anchor screws and regular screws. You’re supposed to drill the anchor screws into the wall, then attach this piece of metal that the shelves themselves hook onto with the regular screws. Unfortunately, the anchor screws that came with the shelves were not what you would call…sturdy.

In fact, they split right down the middle when met with the slightest bit of pressure. Which left me with four GAPING holes in my wall and no way of covering them up.

And enter my temper tantrum.

The fact is, the biggest downside to getting “toddler going to Disney” excited about things is that when it doesn’t happen, you respond with an equally toddler-esque pout fest. I mean, I got over it. But I was majorly bummed for a while. Plus, I had just torn my living room apart making room for the shelves, and now it would have to stay that way until I could get to the hardware store to buy new anchor screws. Le sigh.

Anyway, eventually, it got done. Here’s a quick reminder of what it looked like before:

Blaaaghhhhh.

I mean, right? Disaster. There is so much going on there, it stresses me out just looking at the photo.

Now here’s how it looked after I had installed the shelves:

Ok, ok. I see where we’re going now. There’s definitely more white space, which is nice. (The eye needs resting place, yo.) Then I got to work whipping everything into shape. Which left me with this:

So much better, right? Ugh, I feel like I can actually breathe looking at that. Although…

What?

It’s just…it’s nothing.

No, what is it?

It just seems a little…bare. Right?

Hmm…I see your point. What do you think we should do?

Well…I was thinking something like….THIS:

Whoooaaa! Where did all that come from??

Well, that’s a bit of a story. And our lovely audience has already sat through a rather long post. So let’s save it for later, shall we?

Side note: I really need to start taking pictures during the day. The lighting in my apartment is obviously awful. The trials of being a “housewife” who works full-time. Womp.


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The 3 Most Annoying Things About Pinterest

You guys know I love Pinterest, right?

I mean, I bring it up an embarrassing amount. But fact is, it’s a genius idea, and I can literally wastespend hours on there.

But despite it’s usually wonderfulness, I have a few grievances to share.

1. I don’t want to see pictures of your grandchildren.

Listen. I get it. They’re the joy of your life. They light up your days. And I’m sure they are very sweet. But the fact is, I don’t want to see their sweet little faces sprinkled in between my pretty pictures.

I go to Pinterest to get inspired. That’s what it’s for. You’re turning it into a personal Facebook album. Except, by “personal” I mean “shared with the Internet.” That is the exact opposite of personal.

Pinterest is not an online album service. It’s an online pin board service. That you share with the seven million other people who are on there. Please don’t forget this.

2. No, it’s not adorable. It’s creepy as hell.

That Peter Pan shadow wall decal? That would give me nightmares. Those long-distance relationship pillows? That’s not romantic. That interrupts my REM cycle.

***Side note: I actually sent this idea to my friend Jaimie who writes a really funny/touching blog with her long-distance boyfriend and she did a post about it. Check it here.

What is the deal with people thinking weird things are awesome? Or “sweet”? Nope. Not sweet. NOT SWEET.

3. I forgot to change the caption…and now I sound like an idiot.

So Pinterest allows (requires actually) that you write a brief caption under each image you pin. This is fine. IN THEORY.

The problem is, there are a lot of people out there who think…well…dumb thoughts. Lord knows I do. But the trouble comes when they put them into words. (See any dumb post I’ve ever written.)

In this case, people are putting their dumb thoughts into the captions. So they sound really ditzy. Or really…out of touch. With reality.

This would all be fine, except when I re-pin something, if I forget to change the caption, it makes it look like I said that dumb thing.

I say enough dumb things on my own, thank you very much. I don’t need your dumbness gumming up the works.

So there you have it. The three most annoying things about Pinterest.

Does this mean I’m going to stop pinning? NEVER. I just needed to get that out of my system.


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Fortune favors the nerds

So yesterday was a bit…harrowing. For me, mostly. Because I’m a total spaz…mostly.

As you know, yesterday I made the oh-so-bold leap into self-hosting. And I did it all by myself.

Why is this a big deal? Here’s the thing (confession time): I’m not that great with computers.

I’m really good at using things that someone already set up. But actually setting them up myself? Building things from scratch? My mind tends to get a bit jumbled.

I mean, I know basic HTML. I can code an article or insert photos or whatnot. Several online jobs and simply writing a blog have given me the basic skills to get by. I usually phrase it that: I’m really good with computers as long as everything works how it should. But if something goes wrong? Yikes. Yikes. A. Doo.

And a lot of things did not go the way I expected them to yesterday as I was migrating my site. I didn’t really calm down until I realized that EVERYTHING from the old blog still exists on my old WordPress account, meaning I always have access to that code. Phew.

In the end, everything worked out. And I felt like a TOTAL genius for figuring it out. Even though I was probably just kind of lucky in all my bumbling. Meaning I’m just kind of dumb enough to believe I’m a genius. I won’t tell me if you won’t.

There are really only three negatives to the whole process:

1. As I mentioned, I lose all my old subscribers. Well, technically they’re all still subscribed to the old blog. But they won’t get anymore updates unless they RE-subscribe to the new blog. (Which I would really love for you to do. It’s the big grey “Subscribe!” button in the right-hand column on the home page. Sorry for the inconvenience…again.)

2. Any links I’ve made in old articles to other posts will take you back to that post original blog. And then if you comment on the original blog, it won’t be on the new blog. And it’s especially confusing because they look exactly the same. But there is zero chance that I am going to go through every post ever and change all the links. (This has been going on for almost three YEARS people.) So it’s just an irritation I have to live with. Grumph.

3. I “lose” all my old stats. You know how I love stats. Well, when I check my daily readers on the new blog, it tells me I’ve only had about 246 total views. (As of this morning.) THIS JUST ISN’T TRUE. In reality, I’m probably going to break 80,000 total views by the end of the month. Unless you all suddenly stop reading…please don’t do that.

I mean, I guess I can just keep adding whatever the current number is to whatever the old number left off at, but it’s just annoying. And it will be mildly annoying FOREVER. (Unless anyone knows a way to migrate my old numbers to the new site. Anyone out there who is smarter than me about these things? I know you’re out there…)

But anyway. Other than that, there aren’t really any negatives. And now I have a bigger say in everything about the blog, which is nice. Who knows, I might even bust out a super cool, personalized design on you one of these days. Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned!

A big thank-you to all the people who liked me enough to actually switch their google readers and re-sign up for the blog subscription. Sending a mental high five to all of you today!

The Perfect Host

You feel that? Feels a little different, right? That’s because this is my first post as a self-hosted blogger.

Anyone else get a little chill? Just me? Ok, moving on.

There is one annoying detail…if you were subscribed to my blog before, you will need to resubscribe. I know, I think it’s beyond lame.

BUT. It would be beyond COOL of you to do so. Because I like my subscribers. Like, LIKE-like. Like, I want to hold your hand sometimes. But I’m nervous. Because this is all happening so fast. And you look really pretty. And-an…I LOVE YOU.

But seriously. Lurrrve.

(And if you’ve never subscribed, now’s your chance!)