Category Archives: I blog they blog wouldn’t you like to be a blogger too?

Fare thee well, see you on the flip side

This blog started in April 2007 as a co-blog between me and DB. Before here, I blogged for two years on a Blogger site that I called, “musings from malicious”. Four and 1/2 years of blogging. It’s been a wild ride.

I often get the itch to change things up a bit. Rearrange, redecorate, reinvent. Lucky for me, reinventing yourself on the Internet is quite easy. And the end of 2009, with 2010 looming ahead, has me itching for a new start, a new direction, a new focus.

As  you may have noticed, DB stopped his posting here quite awhile ago. As I’ve continued on here though, it hasn’t quite felt right to me. Just me, posting on a blog meant for two. So if it was going to continue being “just Malia”…then Just Malia it will be.

I hope you like the new site. Even though I’ve been contemplating this move for at least six months (I bought the domain name back in June), I only got around to throwing some graphics together today to get a site up. You are all quite familiar with my procrastination habits by now! My hope is that I will be a bit more consistent in my new space. That I will establish a pattern of posting beyond the whimsy that defined 2009.

This site will stay here. I’m not shutting it down, I just won’t post here anymore. Thank you for reading! And if you decide to follow me to my home, I’ll welcome you with open arms!

P.S. The address of the new site is supposed to be http://www.justmalia.com, however, I’m having issues getting it to redirect. I’ll update here when I get it working.

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Hope is Powerful

Over the summer I had a rather embarrassing, smelly clothing problem. The underarm area of most of my shirts and bras had collected a build-up of deodorant that was harboring body order. I tried everything to get the smell out. I scrubbed and soaked and scrubbed and soaked. In the mean time, I had to go and buy a couple new shirts and bras. It was, in my opinion, an unneeded expense on an already strained budget. And if I couldn’t get the smell out, I would have to get more. I was devastated and really stressed out.

Then as I searched the internet one more time for yet another way to eradicate the odors, I read something in a blurb somewhere that suggested using powdered dishwasher detergent. I pulled out my dishwasher detergent and set to work, scrubbing and soaking.

And it worked.

I had hope.

It seems really silly to be hopeful about such a thing but I learned something about the power of hope. I had been so worried and upset and forlorn about the possibility of not being able to remedy my stinky situation. When I finally found something that would work, the relief, the joy, the hope I felt was utterly indescribable. My entire outlook changed.

Hope, no matter what it’s about or where it comes from, is like dawn breaking through the darkness and making your whole world light and functional again.

Hope is powerful.

Hope heals.

It’s ironic that my simple story of hope revolves around laundry. The folks at Tide have a program called Loads of Hope. The Tide Loads of Hope trucks travel all over the country loaded with washers and dryers and laundry soap. They go to areas affected by natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, weather torn areas where electricity hasn’t been restored; and they let people do laundry.

It’s so simple yet so profound. When you’re having to deal with what nature has handed you, the last thing you want to worry about is how to get  your laundry done and yet there is, stinking up your already stinky situation. Sometimes, people just have the clothes they were wearing left and we all know how long each of can go in one set of clothes before we can’t even stand to smell ourselves!

Life feels much more hopeful when you can put on clean, non smelly clothes. I’m glad Tide knows that.

This week, my friends Megan, Deb and Mishelle are heading down to New Orleans to assist the Tide Loads of Hope people as they set up, once again, in an area that is still recovering from natural disaster. You can join in by posting your story about hope and linking it on the Loads of Hope blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh and by following the stories on Twitter (follow @TideLoadsofHope and the #loadsofhope hashtag, they will be live updating tomorrow, 12/13 and Monday, 12/14). You can also click on the banner below to find other ways to help out.

{I wanted to end this post with Zane Williams‘s song “Hope is a Flame” but I can’t find a way to post it here. Oh, well.}

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Anissa & The Omelet Chef

photo by Mishelle Lane

The morning after the Type-A Mom conference, I was standing in line for a made to order omelet. Anissa Mayhew was ahead of me in that same line. She bantered a bit with the omelet chef and those of us in line waiting for omelets and Belgian waffles. But mostly, she watched the chef with rapt attention as he created her omelet. And when he slid it onto the plate and handed her the steaming hot, perfectly cooked, delicious looking omelet, she looked at him with complete adoration and said, “Will you marry me?” The chef was startled. I have a feeling he’d never been propositioned like that before. He kind of blushed and stammered, “I’m already married.” I was already giggling behind Anissa and blurted out, “Well so is she!” Anissa just sighed, shrugged her shoulders and headed back to her table leaving the omelet chef a little flustered and leaving me with a very funny memory.

That is classic Anissa.

In the blogging community, we all have our “rock stars” that we look up to, admire, fawn over, drool over, and generally get a bit twitterpated by when that person notices us or speaks to us at a conference or responds to something we said on Twitter. In my own blogging/social media universe, one of those rocks stars is Anissa Mayhew.

Right now, Anissa is an ICU in a hospital in the Atlanta area after having suffered a massive stroke Tuesday afternoon. We are all in shock. We are praying. We are determined to be hopeful. We don’t want to lose our rock star, friend, sister, wife, mother.

Get better Anissa. There are more omelets to enjoy and more unsuspecting chefs to proposition. You’re not done bringing laughter and mirth into people’s lives. Your family is counting on it. And so are we.

Updates about Anissa can be found here and here or on her CaringBridge site.

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What happens when a Type-B Mom attends a Type-A Mom conference?

type a mom conferenceOK, that is a blog post title FAIL because I have no punchline for it!

Maybe I’ll come up with one by the time I finish this post. (Nope…not gonna happen as I’ve been trying to finish this post for 2 weeks! Oh, well!)

True Type-A personalities would have been hyperventilating at this conference. The schedule was often fudged, the dress code was lax, the discussions were sometimes messy, the tables were pretty much always messy and the participants (read: bloggers) don’t always like to follow “teh rulez”. So pretty much, it was a perfect fit for me who is so not a type-a personality!

What was “type-a” about it is how efficiently it was planned and how well it was run and organized. Major props, kudos and congratulations to the woman of the hour, Kelby Carr, for putting on a fabulous conference!

Me with Cassie & Nancy (Nancy works for iRobot, makers of the super cool Roomba!)

Me with Cassie & Nancy (Nancy works for iRobot, makers of the super cool Roomba!) Picture from Mishelle Lane

So why would a type-b attend a type-a conference? Because it wasn’t about personality traits or neurosis, it was about growing as a writer, learning new techniques, finding your voice, reconnecting with friends, understanding the ideas and opinions of others, embracing each others differences, picking up a new trick or two, and branching out from four walls to touch a little bit more of humanity.

DSC_5332

Me with the amazing Robin & the fabulous Sugar!

This past February, I attended the BlissDom conference and met some really fabulous people. But, I was mostly a wallflower. I have a really hard time walking up to someone, putting my hand out and saying, “Hi! I’m Malia.” I would much rather stand up in front of everyone as a speaker and address the entire crowd than to interact one on one. I’m just a little neurotic like that. In light of that neurosis, I made myself introduce myself to more people at this conference. And guess what? People were nice! They didn’t bite! They didn’t look at me like I have two heads and then turn walk away! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. It meant I spent most of each day with sweaty palms and feeling rather queasy! But, I did it, go me!

IMG_7406_resizeAnd then there was the post conference meltdown. It was an internal meltdown where I started doubting myself, my abilities, my worth, my credentials, and my justification for being at such a conference. Yes, I have a problem with confidence. I always have. I hope that by continuing on with blogging and attending conferences and putting myself out there, I can eventually grow to be the confident woman that others tell me they see.

But all in all, I absolutely enjoyed myself! I met bloggers that I admire, I reconnected with bloggers that I’ve met before and rejuvenated our relationships.

iblogwsis250I must take this opportunity to thank my sponsor. Without them, I could not have attended. So a BIG thank you to The Sister Project for selecting me as a scholarship winner in the “You know you’re a sister when…” writing contest. I was honored to represent you and humbled to be among such an amazing, lovely group of writers.

A few highlights of the conference were:

  • the Asheville Photowalk led by my dear friend, Mishelle Lane. (My favorite picks of the shots I took on the walk are on my Flickr page.)
  • the speaker dinner with the Room 704 girls. I’m a big admirer of these ladies and spending an evening with them and Thai food and wine was pure bliss.
  • the Blogger Town Hall meeting where we were able to speak our minds and discuss issues that involve all of us was pure genius.
  • an impromptu party at a certain chick‘s villa that will bring smiles and giggles when I think about it for years to come!
  • my a-mazing roommates, Heather & Kathy! Having good roommates makes a conference very enjoyable and I’m glad we got the weekend to be together and reconnect.
meheatherkathy

Me & my uber cool roomies!

If you are a blogger and you’ve ever wondered about attending a conference, I’d encourage you to think now about attending either Type-A next year or the upcoming BlissDom conference in February, or both! You will learn a lot, meet so many wonderful people and have fun along the way.

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Fall Nesting

Yes! My favorite season is here and miraculously, Nashville has had the weather to go with it. I’m in autumnal heaven!

And right about now, I get the itch to pull out my fall decor. I usually try and wait until the first weekend in September and then it comes out in waves.

  • Wave One: general autumn decorations
  • Wave Two: last weekend in September, I add the Halloween decorations
  • Wave Three: November 1, Halloween comes down and Thanksgiving goes up

Over the years I’ve collected a modest, but nice collection of seasonal decorations. I like to add a little something each year (when it all goes on sale!) so that I have a new something to set out the next year.

I concentrate on three rooms: kitchen, dining room & living room. Those are the spaces where we spend the most time on a daily basis and I like being surrounded by the sights and scents of fall in those rooms. But there is one area of my home that has been sadly neglected. My front porch. I have a wreath that goes on the front door, that is it. Yet, all the things I’ve read about home decorating suggest making your front porch/stoop/landing/entry areas inviting and welcoming.

This year, I’d really like to do something about that. My friend and fellow Blissfully Domestic editor, Melissa of The Inspired Room is running a contest for a $200 shopping spree at HomeGoods (the TJMaxx store, which I adore and always find lovely things for my home there). Melissa wants us to take a picture of the area of our home we’d like to improve for fall. So, it is with much chagrin and intestinal fortitude that I offer the following pictures of my front porch. (I’m warning you, it’s ugly.)

front porch collage

Now, I’ll break it down for you bit by bit.

front porch

welcome mat

porch and rail

In a nutshell, if I am granted the gift card, the front porch will get a fun makeover! And I won’t be embarrassed to answer the door when you come over for homemade pumpkin bread & hot apple cider!

What about you? Do you decorate for autumn? Is there something in particular that you look forward to setting out to celebrate the season?

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We-are-BDThis post is also part of “We are Blissfully Domestic“, this week on Blissfully Domestic!

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School Memories

Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil has a giveaway post up on her review site. To enter the contest she requested that you leave a comment with your favorite back to school memory. I was trying to think of a specific memory about going back to school, instead of the general feeling of extreme fondness for back to school supplies or the high level of anticipation I experienced as I looked forward to entering each and every grade. From somewhere very far back in my school memories came this:

When I was in first grade, I had a Holly Hobby lunchbox that I had been super excited about when I picked it out at the AFB PX. I couldn’t wait to use my Holly Hobby lunchbox. Yet, when I got a glimpse of Misty M.’s Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox, Holly Hobby was suddenly very old fashioned and not so exciting anymore. I knew I could not get another new lunchbox and I spent the rest of first grade coveting that Strawberry Shortcake lunch box.

Before second grade, I BEGGED my mother for a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox so that I could be like Misty. Much to my delight, she relented and bought me the lunchbox. On the first day of school I excitedly entered the classroom with my heart’s desire of a lunch box (and the self satisfaction of being just like Misty) and low and behold, Misty had a Fox & the Hound lunchbox.

I was crushed and bewildered but I learned a lot that day (though it would take another 15 years or so to really sink in*) about being myself, about not having to always be just like others and of being thankful for what you have.

*Oh, who am I kidding! I’m STILL learning that lesson!

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The Magic of Potluck

I grew up going to church potlucks where dish after dish after dish were lined up on long tables. The aroma was enticing and the waiting was excruciating. The funny thing about potlucks is that none of those dishes really go together. It’s a mish mash of dozens of different meals plus the obligatory bucket of fried chicken. You wouldn’t necessarily pair those recipes when making dinner for your family. But when you get your plate and make your way down the table, taking a dab of this and a dollop of that so that you can try as many of the dishes as you possibly can, that’s when the magic happens. You sit down with your heaping plate of potluck fare, dig in and find that while each dish has a uniqueness of it own, they all inexplicably go together to create a delicious, comforting and satisfying meal.

On a beautiful spring night, a little over two years ago, a group of women bloggers came together for food and fellowship. We all brought a dish or two to share, your typical potluck meal. And again, the magic happened. The dishes ranged in variety from ethnic to vegan to garden fresh to grandmother’s old recipe. I think the only thing missing was a bucket of fried chicken! As I sat back in my chair and relished in the food and laughter and conversation, it occurred to me that we had our own blogger potluck sitting around that table.

If you were to take the blogs of each of the women there that night and place them on a table, you wouldn’t necessarily think that they “went together”. The flavors and aromas, textures and tastes would not, to the unaware palette, seem appealing. The world would want to put labels on us and tell us that we could not get along because of our differences in political views, religious beliefs  and so forth. On the surface, we should have clashed and been unable to even get along.

But we didn’t, because we know the magic of potluck. We’re a sisterhood of bloggers who are as seemingly different as macaroni & cheese and molded jello salads and PB&J sandwiches cut in halves with the crusts removed and a bucket of fried chicken. You wouldn’t think to put us all together around a table and expect there to be laughter and joy and harmony but it happened.

You know you’re a sister when you can come together in a potluck of acceptance and friendship found in the most unlikeliest of all circumstances. Sisterhood is a delicious, satisfying and comforting meal, shared together.

This is my entry for the ‘I Blog With the Sisterhood’ Type-A Mom Conference contest, hosted by The Sister Project.

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