BLOG LOVE: A not entirely comprehensive list of my favorite bloggers.

blog love

I read a lot of blogs. That is an understatement. I read blogs like it’s my job, across a few different genres, and over time I’ve amassed a collection of favorite bloggers who in my opinion are the best of the best, cream of the crop, the [insert your favorite cliche here].

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you guys some of my absolute favorites. If you are looking for a new blog to love fiercely, these are some excellent choices. I’m not listing ALL the blogs I love or else I’ll be here all day so if you don’t see your amazing blog listed, don’t be discouraged – I love you, too, I swear.

If you’re looking for something amazing:

Simple Mom (soon to be The Art of Simple) is one of my favorite bloggers, period. She is the mastermind behind the Simple Kids, Simple Bites, Simple Homeschooling, etc. blogs and an amazing writer. She shares tips for simplifying life and also just tips for bettering yourself. If you are looking for inspirational / educational posts – Tsh is sure to deliver.

The Pioneer Woman – I know you’ve probably heard of Ree’s blog if you aren’t already a sworn follower. She has her own cooking show on Food Network, is married to a cowboy, has a half dozen kids whom she homeschools and makes time to write cookbooks, children’s books and more. I think she’s a super hero.

Chatting at the Sky is a new favorite of mine. It’s written by Emily who is amazing and writes about basically anything you can think of. One of my favorite features on her blog happens around the end of most months when she shares the things she’s learned each month, silly or serious, and encourages her readers to link up and play along.

Modern Mrs. Darcy is another link you need to have in your feed reader. She is always writing something interesting and tends to join a lot of blogging carnival / meme type things that appeal to me, so I have come to consider her a great source of information and inspiration when I need it.

If you’re hungry:

Sally’s Baking Addiction is a new favorite of mine. Her food photography sends me into convulsions and makes me all all drooly and diet wrecky. I’m planning to make her peanut butter bacon dog treats for our puppy’s first birthday this month. Shh don’t tell him! I’d seriously love to just bake my way through her blog someday because seriously.

Our Best Bites is another blog I frequent regularly. Whether you are looking for an easy weeknight dinner or an epic dessert to bring to your next party, this is a great place to look for something yummy.

If you’re looking for a good book:

5 Minutes For Books is a great resource for book reviews and book related blog carnivals, like their monthly What’s On Your Nightstand meme where dozens of bloggers link up to share what books they are and have been reading over the past month.

Chick Lit is Not Dead is written by two authors, Liz and Lisa who review books, interview authors and do a TON of book giveaways. Funny, personable and a great place to find book ideas!

If you need a laugh:

The Bloggess is a great choice for lover’s of dark humor. Not always safe for work, but always good for a laugh (and occasionally a cry). Jenny manages to be hilariously snarky and heartfelt all at the same time.

Mommy Shorts is written by Ilana, a mother of two in New York. She is one of the funniest people I’ve ever encountered and has created a huge name for herself in the blogging world with fun blog events like Baby Mugging, Evil Baby Glare Off Contests and more. Her daughter is about the same age as mine so it’s also been really fun to read about her daughter’s antics as mine is going through all the same things. I think someday BB and Mazzy could be total besties or at least frenemies!

Crappy Pictures is another fun “mommy blog” that breaks the mold through creativity, cleverness and a lot of humor. All Amber’s stories about mothering and, you know, life are illustrated with, you guessed it, crappy pictures drawn by her.

If you like pretty clothes:

Ain’t No Mom Jeans is probably my all time favorite fashion blog – pretty clothes for real women? Love! Shauna is all about helping women find their personal style  and tries to deliver practical fashion advice that works in the real world.

A Beautiful Mess manages to combine a fashion blog with craft ideas, great recipes, photography inspiration and more. It’s frankly just beautiful to look at their blog and you are bound to find something amazing while you are there.

If you’re feeling crafty:

Ana-white is a godsend. Her blog is filled with free plans for making your own furniture and her stuff is so gorgeous. I have a wish list a mile long from this blog and my husband has managed to make a few of those wishes a reality for me. If you are handy in the workshop or have a husband who is? You need to know about this blog.

How About Orange is a handy blog whether you are looking for a great font, desktop wallpaper, craft idea or online style quiz. She’s got all things design in her back pocket and is a good bet for those afternoons that never end where you find yourself needing a distraction badly.

That’s all for now, but I could totally go on if time were of no importance to me!

What are some of your favorite blogs?

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What I’m Into (October 2013)

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer today to share What I’m Into this month.

what I’m reading

Right now I’m reading Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth, the third book in the series. I have been obsessively hooked on this dystopian YA novel since the first book but I have to say, so far this book isn’t quite holding up and I don’t seem to be the only one who thinks so. The book is told from the main character, Tris’s point of view as well as Four’s POV but their “voices” are not super different which means that I frequently forget which one is talking until they mention the other, which is disrupting to say the least.

I’ve been downloading oodles of books onto my kindle lately that I’m eager to read soon, which means that I’m not sure when I’ll get to all those pretty books photographed above that are sitting on my nightstand. I also just won copies of The Good Wife and The Good Daughter by Jane Porter which are currently sitting right next to me being all pretty and tempting. I’m kind of in book overload right now and planning to WRITE a book next month (i.e. tomorrow) which may cut down on my reading time even more. Hold me.

what I’m watching

Anyone else watching Reign? I am seriously hooked on that show. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is but the cast is terrific and I frequently find myself wondering if it’s Thursday yet.
Another Thursday fave is Project Runway – it’s an All Star season right now and I’m hoping it will be slightly less freakishly dramatic than the season that just ended. Anyone else still reeling from all of that?
Our DVR is also in a state of seriously begging for mercy – I think it might be time to start cutting down on shows but I really don’t know where I want to begin with that task. I suppose there are worse problems to have.
Also, major shout out to Emma Approved. If you were hooked on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (or even if you weren’t), you’ll want to check out this web show based off Austen’s Emma. I’m really enjoying it so far.

in my kitchen

My dishwasher is broken. My husband already knows the problem and can fix it (mildly disappointed about that lol) but the part he needs won’t be coming until tomorrow which means I’ve been looking for easy meals with a minimum of dishes. Hello frozen pizza!

Before that happened though, we’d been hooked on the awesome pre-prepped things at the Hy-Vee meat counter. Anyone else discovered their cowgirl chicken? I love to make it when we have company over because it feels like showing off even though all I did was put the pre-dressed chicken breasts on a frying pan and then turned them over halfway through cooking. Hy-Vee makes me feel like I know what I’m doing without making me know what I’m doing. Love that!

I did bake a really delicious bourbon apple pie from scratch this month, using a recipe from A Beautiful Mess and it was amazingly delicious. It was also my first time making pie crust from scratch and I was really thrilled with how it came out and also how easy it was to make. If you are a pie crust beginner like me, I really recommend their recipe.

pinning

How adorable are these princess dress up aprons from Giggleberry Creations? I went to the fabric store over the weekend so I can make BB some Cinderella, Rapunzel and Tiana aprons. And by, me, I mean my husband.

I want to make this cinnamon swirl coffee bread with chocolate chips immediately.

Also: brown sugar & garlic slow cooker chicken. Seriously.

What are you into lately?

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

Weekend Link Love: October 25, 2013

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted links to things I’ve been loving online and today feels like a good day. In need of some entertainment today? Looking for something thought provoking or super useful? I’ve got a little bit of everything today. For the best of the net: Here are my suggestions:

  • 31 Signs You Like Books More Than People: For instance, “17. Your bedside table and coffee table are piled high with books and there are stacks scattered all over your house. They just have a way of invading your life.”
  • The Anxious Parent Daily: On not reading too much into those parenting / baby news headlines like “How Well Do You Know Your Baby?” or “200 Games to Boost Your Baby’s Development
  • How cool are these Princess Dress Up Aprons at Giggleberry Creations? I so want to make some of these for my daughter!
  • Are you participating in Nanowrimo this year (if you are, follow me!)? I’m loving the posts at their blog right now to help us prep for next month. The most recent one on people watching is great.
  • What type of reader are you? Apparently, I’m hard to pin down. And possible the obsessive, creepy lady. I also really enjoyed this and this at The Atlantic Wire.

Photographers take note: How to build your own light box!

And basic set up for self portrait photography:

This made me laugh:

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Finally, anyone else fanatically excited about the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who?

Things I’m Loving: Crowd Tap

Have you heard of Crowd Tap? It’s basically a website that connects the general public (i.e. you and me) with companies and PR agencies like IKEA, Smart Ones, Fig Newtons, etc and gives us a platform to communicate.

crowdtap

The companies post surveys, challenges and group discussions that you can participate in to help them make decisions about their products. In return, your actions on Crowd Tap earn you points which eventually turn into prize entries. At the end of every month the companies draw a certain amount of entries and reward those users with gift certificates. Typically 100 points = 1 entry.

crowdtap4Last month I won a prize from 5 of the companies on Crowd Tap, which equated to $35 in gift certificates to Amazon and Walmart  – just by taking some surveys online! The thing I love about Crowd Tap is that you can really do as little or as much as you want to. Answer ALL the questions or just what you have time for. Do just surveys or compete in challenges – it’s totally up to you. And since it’s all coordinated on one website, it’s super easy to flip through and answer questions from dozens of companies with ease.

Some of the questions are super focused on a product that they are  trying to better market. Some are super silly and seem designed to make you smile. Some are multiple choice, some actually ask for a few sentences of input – others require just a single click. I typically spend about 20 minutes on Crowd Tap in a day and try to log in several times a week, but you could hang out there longer or just check in once a week or for a few minutes at a time.

The gift certificates I’ve earned so far all say that they never expire. I’m planning to try and stock pile the next couple months of certificates that I earn to put towards Christmas presents this year.

I only joined Crowd Tap a couple months ago but I am already hooked! It’ such an easy way to connect with marketing companies and earn some prizes at the same time!

Weekend Link Love: July 5, 2013

linklove

I hope all my American readers had a great 4th of July yesterday. We’ve been celebrating since Tuesday with fireworks and lots of grilling and watching old Die Hard movies (what better way to celebrate, right?).

If you need some fun and / or inspiring things to read while you wait for the weekend to officially arrive, here are some great things I’ve been reading online this week:

  • I was a manic pixie dream girl by Laurie Penny @ New Statesman – the first half of this article is especially good. I don’t entirely agree with the article (I think Doctor Who’s recent companions have been pretty awesome personally) but I did find it interesting.
  • Check out these amazing Disney paper dolls by Cor104 @ Deviant Art – I definitely want to print some of these for my daughter!
  • I will never buy taco seasoning again thanks to Alton Brown’s Taco Potion #19 – I’ve tried a couple homemade taco seasonings and this one is by far the best.
  • The Decline and Fall of the English Major @ The New York Times has been all over the blogosphere lately. I also really enjoyed Alison’s post In Defense of English Majors @ Hardcovers and Heroines.
  • If you are running out of ideas for cheap fun things to do with the kids this summer, make sure you check out Made by Joel’s archives of printable toys. Perhaps a paper circus or Oscillating Bird Science Toy?
  • Normally if I shared a Mommy Shorts post with you guys, it would be side splitting funny but today I want to share her Secret to Enjoying Parenthood. It’s more of a grab a hanky and nod in agreement type post and one of my favorite things I read this week.
  • Still bored? I have been weirdly obsessed with this Facebook game: Lyroke – guess the lyrics to popular (or not so popular) songs. You can compete against  friends or play by yourself.

Weekend Link Love: June 13, 2013

Who’s ready for summer? Enjoy these humble offerings of the best things I’ve seen or read online lately.

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It’s almost uncanny how much this Monster ID photo channels me. Like if I were a monster, I’m pretty sure this would be me, exactly. Wanna make your own?

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Roo @ Neon Fresh made me LOL with this post about the dangers of speaker phone. Come to think of it, she makes me LOL a lot.

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Please enjoy this chronological timeline of River Song – warning to those behind on Doctor Who, potential *spoilers*. Warning to non Who-vians, I am a giant nerd.

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School’s out for summer – sangria, anyone? Deb @ Smitten Kitchen has two delicious recipes to get you through those long summer days nights.

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When you’re done drinking, print out this cute Paper Circus by the genius Joel @ Made By Joel. He’s got loads of other awesome paper printables that can totally pass as both a craft project and a toy for your kids with minimal effort on your part! So if you aren’t familiar with his work, take a few minutes to get acquainted.

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Lastly, please enjoy my favorite photo from the week – taken at my daughter’s last ballet class. You can read more about that at my personal blog.

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Have a great weekend guys!