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500 Posts Later

By blogs, lists, lj, memories, milestones, ruling at life 15 Comments

I realized this week that the next time I updated this blog, it would be my 500th post. Five hundred posts. My mind started racing with how I was going to celebrate this milestone in my life, and I just started thinking…

One day, I started a LiveJournal. I wrote a few posts about some random crap, and used it to plot out my New Year’s resolutions a few weeks later. It was the dawn of a new era. I went to California. I got a new laptop. I started running. I made fun of my brother. Twice. I pondered the validity Bermuda Triangle theories. I began to discover my blunt, satirical writing style. I fought with my brother about music, and decided once and for all I liked blogging about conversations. My best friend turned 21, and I wrote my first drunken post. I moved to Las Vegas (and spent 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 days driving there with my mom, which would later serve as inspiration for this blog’s road trip theme). I spent my first night in Vegas in the emergency room. Fabio the hamster made his debut. I took my cousins to the movies. I started to love Las Vegas. I found a lucky charm (which I still bring with me on all job interviews). I attended an alcohol management class, where I watched a video narrated by a talking Jim Beam bottle. I took my little cousins to the mall. I saw a rainbow. I began having bad luck with bananas (this has continued for years — everyone knows I can never find a decent banana, and if I do, something bad happens). Fabio the hamster officially got his name. I started thinking I was cool. I wrote about food, exercise and tumbleweeds. My little cousins found a sex toy in the street. I sent a guy to jail at work. Fabio the hamster feared for his life. I started searching for a new job. My aunt almost burned the house down. I got my first freelance writing gig. I wrote a really pointless post in the form of a screenplay. I posted a photo of Fabio the hamster. I described myself in one word as irresolute, which is ironic if you consider the fact that I spent the next seven years tracking my resolutions on this blog. Fabio the hamster feared for his life again. My cousins took a day off school. My cousins got punished. I turned 23. I left Las Vegas (a changed person for having lived there with my little cousins for 2.5 months), and spent 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days driving back to New Jersey with my mom. I missed my cousins. I missed Las Vegas. I missed Fabio the hamster. I formulated a new plan (which never actually happened). I took myself out for hibachi. Rich wrote a letter to the mayor of Belmar. Four things irritated me. I went to a diner with some random ass people. I found new ways to lose weight. I made a short-lived attempt to give up beer, which lasted through at least one trip to Bar A by myself. I was happy. I was a waitress. Memorial Day came to the Jersey Shore. A semi-colon possessed my friend’s TV. I made some cool friends at work. I partied like a rock star. A quiz educated me that I was a “consummate hipster.” I realized I was having the best summer ever. I went to a lot of bars. I moved to Howell (with my parents). I crashed and burned. I fielded dumb questions working in restaurants, and I started to get sick of waitressing. I scrambled to find a new job. I figured out why I would never meet a guy in New Jersey — because I decided I was totally against boys shaving/waxing their arm hair. I took a short break from posting. I moved to Virginia Beach. I settled in. I got writer’s block. I discovered Wawa. I enjoyed my new job. I moved into my first apartment with two roommates — Robbie and Allison. I decided I was “ruling at life.” I was happy again. I licked a CD. I made a drunken list while I was home for Thanksgiving, and then decided I was ready to go. I was baffled by the weather. I tried to be more fun. I posted a recap of my 2004 resolutions. I created a soundtrack for my life. I made my 2005 resolutions. Robbie got on a plane. I got on a plane (a C-5). Allison and I tried to steal soda from Arby’s. I played poker. Allison and I became lazy. I started to embrace texting. I texted Tom. I boarded a submarine. Robbie and I went to Vegas. I went to New Jersey. I daydreamed about the lead singer of Maroon 5 rescuing my from my boring job. Robbie and I went to Las Vegas again. I turned 24. Allison and I scored tickets to see Green Day. I listened to the President on TV. I drank wine at work. I had a bad hair day. Allison and I got free Munchkins. I decided to win the lottery. We met some idiots. I forced my roommates to play the “Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego” board game. I spent a weekend alone (during which I sang karaoke, washed my car, and ate sloppy joes on hot dog buns). I got caught up after a little break. I did a bunch of stuff I’d never done before. I hung out on my porch. I let Allison convince me to enter a mini-skirt contest…on the wrong night. Mark came to New Jersey with me for Thanksgiving. I went to Las Vegas again. Allison and I stole a Christmas wreath. I hung out on a destroyer. I got a Tumi purse. I posted a recap of my2005 resolutions. I made my 2006 resolutions. Allison became obsessed with The Sims. I made $20 without even trying. I indulged in a hot bath. A bunch of random crap happened. Allison moved out, and Tom moved in. Tom had trouble communicating with Kristina’s boyfriend. I proposed to the lead singer of Jack’s Mannequin. I bought a condo. I wrote a letter to Santa. I bought a machine gun necklace. I posted a recap of my 2006 resolutions. I made my 2007 resolutions. Amy made her 2007 resolution. I bought a new car, which I would later name “The Spacepod” and hate with a passion for the next three years. My favorite author died. A tragedy happened at my alma mater. I drank beer at work. I pondered the future of technology, and reminisced about how I developed my computer skills. I ate Krispy Kremes with a fork and knife. I painted the master bedroom in my condo. I posted a recap of my 2007 resolutions. I made my 2008 resolutions. I voted. I ruined my dinner. I celebrated my one-year anniversary with my pet fish. I formulated opinions about the financial crisis. I posted a recap of my 2008 resolutions. I made my 2009 resolutions. I started looking for a new job because I realized that my company was being run by idiots. I started a new style blog. My fish died. I posted a recap of my 2009 resolutions. I made my 2010 resolutions. I complained about the weather. I remembered I was funny. I compared kids to cats. I gave Heather diet advice. I considered fishing a mint out of a public trash can. I bought a teapot. I formulated an opinion on healthcare. I figured out how to get rid of wrinkles. My cat puked on the carpet. I was allergic. I got self-tanner on my chin. I criticized The New York Times, people who cause oil spills, and Facebook. I celebrated Cinco de Mayo. I Googled myself. I bought a pork loin, and then finally got around to cooking it. I had hopes the economy was improving. I fell. I got mad at LiveJournal. I got mad at my mortgage company. I got mad at my neighbor. A hurricane was named after me. I moved to WordPress. I tried to refinance my condo. I got a haircut. I made a mess in the kitchen. I traveled back in time. I posted a decade’s worth of Halloween photos, and then a few from this year. I discovered Arby’s Prime Cut chicken tenders. I made a gingerbread house. I was snowed in…for a long time. I wrote a letter to the governor of Pennsylvania. I posted a recap of my 2010 resolutions. I made my 2011 resolutions. I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal. I saw a guy’s ass crack at yoga. I got mad at my mortgage company again. I got the worst fortune cookies ever. I wrote an HTML tutorial. I held out hope that I might still be able to refinance my condo…and then I gave up because I realized it just wasn’t going to happen. I found a new roommate. I exaggerated the growth of my fig tree. I had a nice Valentine’s Day. I went on an amazing vacation in St. Maarten. I failed at snacking. I took a day off work. I argued with a pharmacist. I admitted that I Google everything. I created an amazing form. And finally, the other day, I complained about the weather some more.

That’s about it. I’m not going to include any photos or proofread this eight million times. I’m just going to post it like I usually do, and keep my fingers crossed that one or two people will be able to read through that entire run-on paragraph and find something entertaining in there.

Whether you’ve been along for the ride for seven years or seven days, I hope you’ve enjoyed this crazy blog.

And now I’m going to go start working on my next 500 posts while you start clicking on those links. =)

HTML Tutorial for Sidebar Badges

By being a computer genius, blogs, skills, you might learn something 7 Comments

Back in the day (2003), I bought a huge book on HTML code and read about 29 pages of it to improve my blogging skills. I’ve recently been helping out several of my fellow bloggers via e-mail answering some simple HTML questions. I noticed on Twitter today that lots of bloggers were inquiring about badges after Linley’s success installing a very cute one (that I can’t wait to put on my revised blog roll very soon!).

At first, I wasn’t going to create this tutorial because I thought I wouldn’t have time, but it kept popping into my head all day that I should really just take a few minutes and type it up. Plus, after I responded to a few different e-mails with the same info, I figured it would be more efficient to explain it this way, right? Duh.

Turns out, I had to learn even more HTML to get these codes to come out as text for you all to see, so that was super exciting.

Anyway, here it goes.

Note: Where I use CAPITAL LETTERS in this tutorial, that’s the text you should replace with your web addresses.

Creating Your Own Badge

1. Create an image that you’d like to use for your badge. I’d recommend making an image that is larger than your average sidebar — that way people can resize it up or down without it getting pixelated or fuzzy. Then you can change the width in the HTML code when you post it on your blog.

2. Upload it to your favorite place to keep your photos – Flickr, etc.

3. Grab the HTML code for your badge. If you’re in Flickr, you’ll want to choose “Grab the HTML/BBC Code” from the “Share This” drop-down menu. Only copy the tag that starts with “img src=” as shown below in step 4. Outside of Flickr, you find the image’s location by right clicking on the photo wherever you’ve uploaded it and selecting “View Image Info.” See where it says “Location”? Highlight that text and copy it.

4. Add aText/HTML widget to your sidebar, and create the following image source HTML tag for your image. If you need the image to be a certain width in pixels, you can write that into the code. (For example, this code would size the image to 150px wide.)

If you copied HTML from Flickr, you may have additional text in there (like height) — you can delete all that to keep your code simple. Just keep the image source and the width. (If you leave the height, the image may become distorted.)

5. Hit Enter, and type something like, “Copy and paste this text to add this badge to your blog!”

6. Below that, put in the following HTML:

The HTML above will create a 150px wide badge for whoever copies and pastes it. I think that’s a reasonable width for most sidebars — it won’t be too big and confuse whoever is using it if they don’t know HTML. If they do know HTML, they can always resize it.

7. You can can customize the height and width of your text area box in pixels, just like with images. Like this:

Or you can customize the height and width of your text area box by inserting numbers for rows and columns in the tag for text area. You can fiddle with the numbers until you get the size you want. For example, the text area box below is 2 rows by 50 columns. But the HTML in it is for a text area box 2 rows by 20 columns.

That’s it! Go test it out and make sure it works. And then leave me a comment, so I can go check it out!

Adding Someone Else’s Badge to Your Page

1. Copy the HTML provided from their page.

2. Create a new Text/HTML widget (or add to an existing one) on your sidebar.

3. Paste the copied HTML code.

4. To change the width of their badge to fit your sidebar, you can either change the width provided or add one right after the link to their image location (inside the img src tag). For example, if you want their badge to be 150px wide, do this:

Good luck! Let me know if you have questions or if you found this tutorial helpful!

Want to see my badge? (It belongs to my other blog.)


Copy and paste the text below
to grab a badge for your blog!

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: smart
And I’m singin’ along to: Close to You – The Cure

Around the World

By blogs, boats, extreme sports No Comments


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While I was doing a little research on St. Maarten last night, I stumbled upon this article about 15-year-old Laura Dekker — a Dutch sailor attempting the youngest solo sail around the world. She’s in port in St. Maarten right now! After I read the article, I found her website and blog here.

Laura set sail in her yacht, Guppy, from Gibraltar on August 21, heading south to the Canary Islands and then further to the Cape Verde Islands. She embarked on her most recent leg (the longest so far), sailing west from the Cape Verde Islands 2,200 nautical miles west across the Atlantic to St. Maarten.

What an amazing feat. I can’t imagine trying to sail around the world. Alone. At 15! That’s pretty impressive.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: admiring
And I’m singin’ along to: Holiday from Real – Jack’s Mannequin

Beach Bound

By blogs, employment, ruling at life, the coastal chicster, weather No Comments

This whole jet stream phenomenon has got me shivering  in my boots, so I resorted to listening to Jimmy Buffett radio on Pandora today. I sat back in my chair at work, and got to formatting some presentations, and along the way (somewhere between “Coast of Carolina” and “One Particular Harbor”), I was inspired to start a travel segment on my other blog.

Did I mention that I won a trip to St. Maarten at work?

Well, I did. I’m that cool.

Actually, I worked pretty hard to earn the award that won me the trip — I was nominated by my co-workers and superiors, and apparently I got the most amount of nominations. I was flattered, and now I’m super excited to be spending five sun-soaked days in the Caribbean this February. I’m already day-dreaming about what to pack.

Anyway, the thing is…I don’t really know much about St. Maarten. People are all like, “Are you staying on the French side or the Dutch side?” And I have no clue, so I’m like, “Um, right near the border. Yeah!” (It appears, I wasn’t lying either. After some research, it looks like I really am staying right near the border…on the Dutch side.)

So, I’ve decided to start learning a little about St. Maarten before I go. And I figured what better time than to start a little travel segment on The Coastal Chicster. There’s not much “coastal” going on over there, and this is the perfect opportunity to delve into some topics other than my closet. I think I’d like to kick it off after the new year and do a six-week series on St. Maarten with one post about the island each week. Then I can keep going for a few weeks after that about my trip.

So, yeah. That’s the plan. If nothing else, it’s a plan that’s much more feasible than setting up a beach chair, an umbrella and a space heater at my desk in order to lean back and format presentations in my sunglasses while listening to the sound of relaxing ocean waves on Pandora. Much more feasible. Plus, I’m looking forward to writing some new material.

Stay warm!

Photo courtesy of Wikepedia.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: worldly
And I’m singin’ along to: Boat Drinks – Jimmy Buffett

Good Cook, Bad at Cooking

By blogs, food, not ruling at life 2 Comments

baking

Many of my favorite lifestyle bloggers post about food, like Emily over at cupcakes and cashmere, who is kind of a rockstar in the kitchen. She shares recipes and beautiful photos of her concoctions displayed in some of the cutest measuring cups and dishes I’ve ever seen. When I started my other blog, The Coastal Chicster, I was hoping to share things like fashion and beauty tips, decorating ideas, restaurant reviews, beachy travel stories, and of course, recipes — complete with my own photos.

There are several reasons why I have two blogs, and this is just one of them — I am actually a clumsy mess in the kitchen, and I don’t feel bad about it. Every time I’ve shared a recipe on The Coastal Chicster, I’ve tried desperately to take photos of my food, but I’m usually spilling enough flour all over the place without having to worry about knocking over my wine glass trying to reach for the camera with my buttery fingers, so all I’ve got to show for my efforts is a folder full of pictures of lumpy-looking eclairs, poorly lit bowls of batter, and a pot full of stir-fried vegetables that vaguely resembles a sort of medieval stew. Yum, right?

Then I would start to feel bad, like I had failed at cooking because I didn’t get any good photos for my blog. Whatever. That’s dumb.

Don’t get me wrong. All of my food tastes amazing, but the kitchen is small, the lighting is bad, and my boyfriend’s square, navy blue bowls don’t do much to compliment the colors of what I cook. Neither do his orange measuring cups or the mismatched random bowls I used to mix things up, so I’ve pretty much given up on the food photography.

I made my grandmother’s crumb cake for dessert tonight, and I wasn’t even going to bother with the camera until I turned around and saw my picture-perfect mess on the counter. Picture-perfect for this blog. This is pretty representative of what happens every time I bake something. Every time. We’re talking flour in my hair, butter on the walls, sugar on the floor — you name it, I’ve spilled it.

Despite that, I really do enjoy cooking and baking. J bought me a cute apron for my birthday this year, so that’s really helped (kind of). Sometimes I really screw up — like the day I used four sticks of butter instead of four tablespoons. Or the time I spent hours baking and decorating a chocolate peppermint cake and then dropped the cake carrier on my way out the door, which was the same day I successfully made whipped cream from scratch with a plastic fork at work, I’ll have you know (to cover up the messed up icing, of course).

I guess you could say that I’m a pretty good cook, but I’m kind of awful at the act of cooking. I’d rather that than the other way around though — graceful in the kitchen making horrible food? Nah.

Anyway, I think I have to go clean up now.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: accomplished
And I’m singin’ along to: Na Na Na – My Chemical Romance