Thursday, August 7, 2014

These Are a Few of my Favorite Reads

Three posts in one week is outrageous, isn't it? For someone who at times has gone 1-2 months without posting (I'm going to blame this on wedding planning!), this seems terribly unorthodox.  I always wanted to write a post a day, but it doesn't seem that it's in the cards for me with my weird work schedule.  Maybe someday? I'm finding that blogs are a dime a dozen these days, and the fact that you are taking the time to read mine is something I am so appreciative of.  I've logged into Facebook multiple times recently to find someone I'm friends with announcing that they have decided, against their better judgment, to start a blog.  I admire their ambition, yet always cringe when I read that they are doing it not because they want to but because someone told them they should.  As someone who loves to write, I can't throw myself into that category.  I started my blog because I love writing, have a lot on my mind that I want to share with others, and view it as a small ministry opportunity through which I can encourage others (unless you read on a day when I've gotten up on a soapbox and am ranting about something).  

In any case, I love supporting other writers in their blogging endeavors and sometimes get totally bogged down with all of the blogs I try to keep up with.  I thought I'd share some with you that I find to be truly special.  There's a wide variety of topics that these blogs cover, but I never have discriminated.  My blog is mostly a lifestyle blog-- sometimes I talk about fitness, sometimes random goings on around me, lots of times things that make me happy, sometimes Jesus and coffee (these always seem to go together, don't they? More so than Jesus and wine, even though that's mostly what he drank), sometimes friends and family.  So I tend to like other blogs that talk about a whole lot of small somethings instead of big, scary, specific topics like raising children, financial planning, politics, etc.  I do read some more specific ones (now that I'm thinking about it, I do read a financial planning one.  Oh, rats), but mostly it's the random, day-to-day ramblings of writers that I like to read.  Without further rambling myself, here's a few of the blogs I read and what they're all about.

One: Annie B. Jones.  I call her Annie Buttersworth since this is the address to her blog and her maiden name (I'm pretty sure that's what the B. is for in Annie B. Jones).  Oh, Annie.  I feel like she is one of my best friends, even though we have never spoken.  She writes the way that I think, and I love finding writers who can capture what's going on in my brain.  She writes freely and expresses herself with honest emotion.  I remember reading a comment several months ago by a reader who said that she seemed to be writing about a lot of sadness lately, and I believe they said something about her complaining or whining a lot.  I was offended for Annie when I read this.  At the time, she was contemplating moving to a new place, had just changed careers, and was feeling unsettled with friends moving away and big changes happening in her life.  She wasn't whining, she was just writing to express how she was feeling with all of the change going around.  I love this blog and would consider it to be the one I keep up with most often.  One of her posts was the inspiration for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Book Club (long distance book club), and many of her posts have been comfort for me when I feel like my own life is so mishappen and scattered all over the place.  I'm so thankful that my dear friend, Shannon, introduced me to Annie's blog a couple of years ago.  We both follow this blog and will text each other or e-mail about one of her recent posts (hence, our long-distance book club!).  I made this #1 on my list here because I think it's an important one to check out.

Two: Shauna Niequist.  Oh my gracious.  I have had a girl crush on Shauna since our book club read her book Bread and Wine a year or so ago.  If you haven't read any of her books (Bread and Wine, Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet) GO TO THE BOOKSTORE RIGHT NOW!  Bread and Wine was amazing because it is a GENIUS book idea: a cookbook within a book about life.  It's about fellowship around the table and food memories that she has from growing up, and each chapter includes some sort of recipe related to an event that she wrote about in that chapter.  Her blog is just as amazing as her books, and truthfully, I feel like she is another kindred spirit of writing for me.  She is another free-flowing writer who writes about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I adore writers who share what is going on in their life without all of the fluff.  They tell you how it is, in the most beautifully honest way that they can, and you feel like you share in a part of the joys, sorrows, and uncertainties that they are going through.  I've got her book Bittersweet on my nightstand waiting to be devoured as soon as I finish my current 3 books I'm reading, and I just can't wait.  I know it will be good.  I received the surprise of my life when I opened up Cold Tangerines to read this past Christmas at my grandmother's house.  My mom had given the book to me, as purchased on Amazon, and when I opened it up I found a note from Shauna with her signature inside.  I'm so thankful that my mom is a thrifty girl like me and that she shops Amazon; how else would I have received such a lovely gift?  Read her blog.  She is good for the soul.

Three: Shannon Weynand. Shannon will be surprised to find herself here; I'm sure of it.  She is one of the most humble people I know, and her writing is incredible.  Shannon is referenced a lot on my blog, so I feel that I would be doing you wrong to not introduce you to her blog.  Her blog was originally created so that she could keep friends and family back home involved in the goings-on of life at college.  I think she still uses it for this purpose, and unlike myself, she rarely self-promotes or announces when she has a new post up.  I think this is part of her humility, and I love her for this.  When she has something particularly important to write about, she'll drop an e-mail to let me know she's written something.  She also writes from the heart and posts about her own big life events, the smaller ones (my favorites to read about!), her interest in speech pathology (now her career!), marriage wisdom, Jesus, coffee, running, books. Oh, how I love this blog.  It's always such a joy when I check my blogs to read in the morning and see that she has a new post.  

Four: Espresso and Cream.  My high school roommate and long-time friend, Lindsay, introduced this one to me a few months ago when Madison posted about her engagement ring.  She wrote about how she has a really gorgeous platinum engagement ring but chooses to wear a plain gold band every day that is somewhat beat up and very worn; she wrote about how she related this to her marriage, and how marriage isn't always shiny and sparkly.  I loved it.  Ever since then, I have followed her through posts about clothes, good recipes, and her struggle with miscarriages more recently (happy update: she is healthy and pregnant right now, which makes me so happy for her and her family!).  She writes about a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and she is entirely lovely.  I started following her in Instagram recently and think that she falls into my "girl crush" category as well.  So adorable and so honest with her writing.

Five: Iowa Girl Eats.  Another one that I've followed for years, Iowa Girl Eats is written by a lovely writer who focuses her blog on running, eating healthy foods, and traveling.  You're in for a treat with her blog, and not just because of the amazing recipes.  I think her blog is similar to Shauna's book, Bread and Wine.  You get amazing recipes that are healthy (sometimes she splurges on some unhealthy ingredients, but everything in moderation, right?) and mixed in with the recipes, you get little bits about her life with her small family.  She has a great recipe archive that is user-friendly, and she also keeps an archive of workouts to do to bust you out of gym boredom.  Her love for new recipes and running are things I relate to, and I have loved this blog since midway through college when someone first sent it my way.  If you're looking for relatively simple, healthy recipes with a dose of happy things from her life in Iowa, I'd highly recommend this one.  Her blog is an oldy but goody in my book.

Six: The Small Things Blog.  This blog is another one that I've followed for a few years after discovering her hair tutorials on Pinterest. Kate is classic and lovely.  Her blog used to primarily focus on beauty, and I used many of her hair tutorials in my year of 9 weddings.  Now, she writes about her 6 month old, David, fashion, beauty, product reviews, etc.  I think I love her because she shares my roots in Durham, NC at the Summit Church.  While I never met her there (it was a large multi-campus church), I always felt connected to her through this.  Her blog is really amazing for hair tutorials, though.  She used to own her own salon and though it has closed down now, she posts a lot of video tutorials for super cute hairstyles.  I feel so invested in her lifestyle posts because I've followed her for so long, and like with Iowa Girl, I felt so happy the day I learned she was pregnant (yesterday I learned she's pregnant again, and felt happy for her all over again!).

Those are the ones I'll share for now.  I'll do a post another day soon about newer blogs that I'm checking out, but for now I'll stick with my classics, the ones I absolutely have to check every day.  Two of my family members have recently started blogs, a handful of friends, and many of my favorite writers (their's are not actually new, but new to me!).  I'll be keeping an eye on those and posting some updates with those links soon, in case you are interested in adding more to your reading list.  

I hope you have time to check some of these out, I find them to be truly lovely.  I consider all of them to be a thousand times more wonderful than my own, which I think is a haphazard concoction of my whole life put into a blender that was never turned on.  You get big chunks of some things, small pieces of the things I put time into preparing or cutting up, and a lot of chaos and unrecognizable things tossed in at the end (Greek yogurt? Sure! Orange juice, why not?).  But I'm thankful for all of you who read and encourage me in my writing.  I appreciate it more than you'll ever truly know.

Lots of love and happy reading!  I just know you'll love these blogs.

Grace & peace,
Cristina

1 comment:

  1. What sweet words! I am surprised but honored. I hope you know I think of my blog as some sort of random smoothie that I put together every so often, too!! Love that we have the same taste in bloggers. I need to add a few of these to my list, I do believe!

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