Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Blogger Spotlight! CJ's Notebook

As much as I love to talk about myself, I also want to introduce you to some of my fellow bloggers, many of them I consider friends. So today let's meet Chrissy over at CJ's Notebook whom I met when I began listening to Traveling The Vortex. A fellow Whovian, book reader and con attendee, of course we'd be friends!

CJ's Notebook

 Tell us a little about yourself….

            I’m Chrissy from Salt Lake City, Utah. In my responsible-adult-type life, I am a substitute librarian for Salt Lake County Library. I studied English and Literature in college and found that I enjoy analyzing fiction, but not necessarily the kinds of literature that they pick over in academia. I grew up on a cattle ranch in western Utah where we had to create our own entertainment, so I read a lot of books. My voracious love of reading is ultimately where my voracious love of writing started.

What inspired you to first start writing your blog?

            To understand why I started my blog, I have to go back to when I was a kid reading local columnists in the newspaper. I liked their humor and their snarkiness, so I started trying to write my own columns in that style. With the exception of a few that got printed in my middle school “newspaper” - which was little more than a newsletter that my 8th Grade Honors English class put together and distributed twice during a unit on journalism (I actually got called into the principal’s office for something that I wrote because the principal didn’t like what I wrote) - I didn’t really publish those columns. It was mostly just fun to type stuff on the computer. Throughout my time in school, I tried to incorporate that kind of tone in my writing, but I was constantly told it wasn’t professional enough. I tried to write in that boring, bland writing that was prized in “objective” journalism (Ha! Pull the other one!), but I hated it. I’ve never liked keeping my writing in that dry “middle-of-the-fence” crap - I like to pick a side and vehemently defend it (I hasten to add that I never joined the Debate Team. I’m a writer, not a speechifier. I am not clever on my feet.)

When I got to college, I joined the the school newspaper and eventually became the Editor-in-Chief. I gave myself a weekly opinion column that year. The year after, I transferred to a larger university and ended up with a bi-weekly column at that school’s newspaper. I enjoyed having a place to say what’s on my mind and even got some feedback from readers, which I found out that that I liked (even if it was nasty hate mail). But what I didn’t like was the restriction of column space and how often my columns had to be edited down to fit on the page. That’s about the time I discovered LiveJournal and started blogging. And I found my own voice there. I didn’t censor myself or try to be objective and please everybody. I stated my opinion and that was that (I even learned to inject more humor into my writing, which is always fun). My writing style has changed a little over time, but that was where I got my start.

What was your first post? How do you think your blog has changed since you first started blogging?

            My first blog post was on LiveJournal waaaaaaay back in September 2005. It was probably something about “Hey, neat, I have a blog! ... what do I do with it?” It wasn’t very long.  My blog has changed probably as much as the internet has since then. I’ve figured out how to incorporate video and images into it, plus now I have enough of a back catalog to link to other things I’ve written when I want to refer to those things. Plus (and this is key) - I’m on Blogger now, which is a bit more public and less “cliquey” than LiveJournal and it’s more professional. I still have my LiveJournal, but I don’t do anything with it. In fact, my Tumblr probably does what LiveJournal used to do.

            My first post on my current blog was kind of a “Hey, I have this blog too!” It was more of me staking out a claim before really having any plans for it quite yet. I just like to let things evolve as I go along. If an idea for a blog post sounds good and I have enough time to write it, then I’ll do it.

What is something unique about your blog?

            I’m not sure if this is particularly “unique” or not, but my blog is sort of the “core” of all my social media. It’s “home base,” if you will. I wander out onto Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr - but cj’s notebook (in all lowercase) is where I get to do my own “decorating” and make it my own online space. I can personalize the background and headers and fonts and color, plus I can post badges and widgets in the sidebar to let people know what else I’m up to online (it’s kind of funny when I have a list of Sailor Moon manga in my Goodreads sidebar next to my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). My tastes in everything are wide and varied and I go through “phases” of what interests me.

For example, last year (2013) I wrote a series of blog posts under a sub-section (of sorts) “Librarian in the TARDIS.” It was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who where I would talk about Doctor Who stories from TV, audio, and books that I thought were good, but that I didn’t think got enough positive attention. Honestly, I think that blogging project exhibited some of my best writing and I’ve been trying to come up with another similar theme that would command my attention and interest well-enough to generate that kind of writing again. Since then, I haven’t had a regular feature, but just going back to writing whatever I feel like writing about at the time.

CJ's Notebook with a TARDIS and the Tenth Doctor

What is your favorite part about blogging?

            This is going to sound crazy, but I love that I don’t have to answer to an editor or a professor or a boss with my writing. I love to write, but I hate the anxiety that comes with having to write a certain way in order to get a grade or a paycheck. I’ve thought about writing professionally before, but there’s too much stress involved in that. I just love being able to talk about my favorite topics when the fancy strikes me. Sometimes I write a lot, sometimes I write a little. Sometimes all I do is post a video that I think is cool and leave a short paragraph about it and other times I write a long treatise on why it’s stupid that movie studios are splitting up movies based on book series into two parts.

What are your plans for the future of your blog?

            I don’t have any major plans for the immediate future beyond just blogging about whatever I want to talk endlessly about. It’s just a fun thing that I do - a way to express my thoughts and opinions out into the ether and maybe someone will connect with my words, whether in a positive or negative way (and if it’s negative, hope that they aren’t too harsh about it).

If money and time were no object, what is something you’d want to do or somewhere you’d want to go to blog about?

            I would probably blog about the same things I already do, but moreso. Books, movies, TV shows - whatever else strikes my fancy.

Where can we STALK you?

Twitter: @wildcat_media

Goodreads: (Don’t judge my reading choices - working at the library means I get exposed to all kinds of things I probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to otherwise. Hence, my guilty pleasure of reading romance novels ^_^)

CJ's Notebook

Monday, April 21, 2014

OOTD: Kate-esq

Blazer striped tee skinny jeans nautical Kate Middleton inspired
Blazer: Merona (thrifted); Shirt: Bass Outlet; Jeans: Charlotte Russe; Shoes: Naturalizer (thrifted); Earrings and rings: Von Maur/Forever 21; Necklace: vintage; Nail Polish: Essie "Spin The Bottle"

I'll be honest, since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their tour of New Zealand and Australia a few weeks ago, I've been glued to watching what Kate wears to each engagement. I love her sense of style and I want her entire wardrobe (and her hair!) There's only been one look so far I haven't cared for, otherwise she's been fabulous every single time. My look was inspired by the one pictured below when William and Kate visited the Whenuapai Air Force Base in Auckland, New Zealand. You can read and see all of Kate's looks from the tour up to this point at one of my favorite Kate-centric blogs, What Kate Wore.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good Eatin': The Red Lion Grog House, Indianapolis, IN

Tucked away in the corner of downtown Indianapolis, in historic Fountain Square is a restaurant. From the outside it might not look like much, but inside contains some of the best English style pub food in the mid-west. The Red Lion Grog House hasn't been around long, it's only been open since 2009. But that doesn't mean that they don't know what they are doing when it comes to good food. I discovered the Red Lion in 2011 and it quickly became one of my husband and I's favorite places to eat. The menu contains many of the usual bar/pub staples including chicken wings, cheese sticks, salads and burgers; but it's the English influence is where the Red Lion really excels. With choices like Scotch Eggs, Shepherd's Pie, Bangers and Mash, Bubble and Squeak, and of course, Fish and Chips; there is no shortage of dishes that will satisfy your appetite. And their bar is stocked with plenty of both locally crafted beers but also ones from across the pond; and they also stock some wines, spirits and have some signature cocktails.

The Red Lion is small, so eating during off-times work best if you want to avoid crowds. Parking is also limited in the lot behind the building, but there are other lots and street parking within a few blocks. Also, while considered a pub, the atmosphere is family friendly (and they do have a kids menu). Check out their Facebook page for lunch and dinner specials along with pictures of some of the dishes on their menu.

(L) Fried pickle chips with garlic-dijon aioli dipping sauce  (C) Strongbow English Dry Cider  (R) Deep fried Mac & Cheese bites with marinara 
(L) Fried pickle chips with garlic-dijon aioli dipping sauce
(C) Strongbow English Dry Cider
(R) Deep fried Mac & Cheese bites with marinara

 suit of armor
Seriously, any place with a suit of armor on display is A+ in my book!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

OOTD: Not what I ordered!

tie neck blouse jeans riding boots
Top: ASOS (old); Jeans: Old Navy; Boots: Von Maur (really old); Jewelry: Forever 21/Von Maur

So you remember the other day when I was talking about how spring was trying to make a permanent appearance around here...apparently someone got their wires crossed because this is what I woke up to this morning...

snow in April
That my friends, is SNOW!  Really, it's mid-April. And it wasn't just a light dusting either, these were big, fluffy flakes falling out of the sky. Seriously, I'm moving to Florida.....

Saturday, April 12, 2014

OOTD: Almost there....

Floral Dress Knit sweater riding boots
Sweater: Eddie Bauer (thrifted); Dress: Forever 21 (old); Boots: Von Maur (really old); Earrings: Francesa's; Rings and Necklace: Von Maur; Nail Polish: OPI for Sephora "I'm With Brad"

Spring is slowly (and I mean slooooooowly) but surely taking hold here in the mid-west. We'll get a day or two of really nice weather (like today, 70 degrees and sunny!) and then the bottom will drop out and we're back into the 40's and 50's with rain. I'm glad I'm not one of those people who packs away their winter wardrobe once spring and summer roll around, otherwise I'd constantly be unpacking and then repacking!