Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Daily Reads

Quote by Jessica Hische; Illustration by Chris Piascik 
As a college student, procrastination (and distraction) is a problem that I face from time to time. (Though I must say, having a full work, school and social schedule has taught me to be better than most.. Time management is likely one of my greatest strengths). For most of my friends, Facebook is the procrastination outlet of choice. While I don't seem to mind Twitter, Facebook makes me cringe. I've managed to deactivate and reactivate my personal Facebook at least six times in the past twelve months at the dismay of friends and family. (Sorry guys!) With multiple group projects this semester though, it seems as though unfortuantely Facebook is going nowhere for now.

My first line of work when procrastinating usually includes photography. I am constantly editing photos, organizing marketing efforts, posting prints to Etsy, redesigning my website, and updating photo galleries. Perhaps what college has taught me more than anything else is that photography is the only thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. But, for the sake of my mother's sanity, I suppose I will finish getting a college degree. You know, just in case. 

I'm also known for resorting to culinary distractions when I have real work that needs done - or more often, exams that I need to study for. Unfortunately, I seem to choose sweets like brownies, cupcakes and cookies over making flashcards and that leads to more hours spent at the gym and consequently, even less time studying. As you can see, the cycle is viscous and I simply thank God for my high metabolism and an apartment only six minutes from the gym.

Perhaps my favorite form of procrastination is blogging, though. As you all know by now, I am constantly changing the look of "Live Beautifully". The widgets on the sidebar tend to cycle themselves in and out every few days.  I spend class time scratching "blog post ideas" onto a post-it note list. But even more than I enjoy working on my own blog, I love reading other blogs. I'm constantly finding inspiration for my photography, outfit choices, my own blog, my culinary adventures and for DIY projects, too. I hope to soon add a page of daily reads (read as "my favorite blogs") to my blog permanently but in the mean time, I thought I'd share with you ten of my favorite blogs across various categories. Perhaps you'll find a new daily read to add to your own list!

Just Love.ly Things is a blog that I've been reading longer than most others on this list. I can tell you that the defining moment of love for me was when I read this post - a post about friends and how being a good friend or making new friends isn't always the easiest thing. Just Lovely Things is a blog written by Heather, a girl who's held many jobs like owning her own hair salon, her own photography company and now, her own accessories company. The part of Heather's blog that inspires me most is her honesty. Heather's made it a point to be very true and open with her blog and if you ask me, that's a rare trait to have (plus, the girl makes the cutest headbands I've ever seen. seriously.) With Valentines Day quickly approaching, be sure to check out her series with Dana of Wonder Forest - 14 days of love!

Desire of My Heart: the Blog of Jamie Delaine is my biggest source of drive when it comes to photography. I would tell you that "when I grow up, I want to be Jamie Delaine" but... she's my age! And manages an incredibly successful photography business. Her blog is full of thoughtful writing, wedding photography, fabulous destination photography and a lot of talk about reading and coffee shops. Plus, she doesn't eat gluten, either. Yesterday, Jamie posted a blog on her beginnings as a photographer. Her thoughtfulness constantly inspires me to go take photographs, to go read books, to practice photoshop, to keep trying. And we all know how important that push can be. To be honest with you, I don't think I could explain to you in this little paragraph how much I admire Jamie, her blog and her photography.

Enjoying the Small Things is the blog of blogs. Let's be honest here, who hasn't heard of Kelle Hampton and her beautiful children? If you haven't, you need to click. Now. This blog holds a soft spot in my heart because of my passion for children with Down Syndrome. If you're new to Kelle's blog, you might want to start here, with the birth story of her second daughter, Nella. I think that if I ever am a mom, I'd want to be a Kelle Hampton kind of mom. And let me tell you, her photography? It's worth a blog visit in itself.

A Beautiful Mess is the blog of Elsie Larson - a designer and boutique owner who lives in Springfield, Missouri. I'm obviously a big fan of anything from Missouri and I tried to talk my family into making an adventure of Springfield to visit Elsie's shop, Red Velvet, when we visited the Show Me state over the summer. Elsie's blog is full of fashion posts, DIY projects and today she began a series on photography! It's easily the blog I visit most often because it is constantly updated by Elsie, her adorable sister Emma and other contributors.

Sincerely, Kinsey is a new blog started by Kinsey Mihre, a contributor for A Beautiful Mess and another fabulous Missouri girl. I am enamored with her photography, she captures light in a way that makes me swoon. No, really. Her blog covers a million topics - it reminds me of my own in that aspect. If you like J Crew, thrifting, beautiful photography, and a good love story, you'll easily love "Sincerely, Kinsey" as much as I do. Besides, how great of a name is Kinsey, anyway?

MaieDae is a new blog on my list but it's quickly becoming one of my favorites. To better explain, MaieDae has three parts - a graphic design company, a shop of handmade items and my favorite part, the lifestyle blog of a 23 year old, Georgia resident, named Savannah. It'd be an understatement to say that I'm obsessed with the design of Savannah's blog. But the content of her posts? Equally fabulous. Some of my favorite features include her weekly wrap up and the various interviews she does with other bloggers and small-business owners.

Oh, Sweet Joy! is the light-hearted and fun lifestyle blog of Kim - a personal shopper for Anthropologie (so so so jealous!), seamstress, and blogger. I knew I'd love Kim's blog because she loves robins egg blue, Dr.Pepper and crafts of all sorts. If she lived in York rather than Colorado, we'd be friends, I just know it. As for her blog, it's full of sewing advice, recipes, DIY projects and fun interviews with other shop owners.

City Lights is a blog thats slowly fueling in me a love for the city of Chicago, and let's be honest, I've never even been to the Windy City. But I think if I were to visit, I'd already know the best places for cupcakes and coffee in the city. Ashley is an incredible writer, a lover of good books and she's quickly becoming an impressive photographer, too!

How About Orange? is the newest blog on my list but it was obviously meant to be. Rarely do I meet anyone who loves the color orange like I do. Jessica is a designer so obviously her blog is gorgeous but it also means great resources for those of you working on a small business, your own website or blog, or any other creative venture. I could waste hours reading through posts on How About Orange? - they're inspirational, well-written and fun. What else do you need?

Wonder Forest is a blog that I found through Just Lovely Things and the 14 days of love series! Lucky for you, Dana just wrote an "about me" post today! But before you check it out, you should be prepared for another blog full of inspiration and DIY. Can you tell I have a thing for crafty people?! I also love Dana for her honesty about her struggles with overcoming anxiety.

Hopefully you'll find a few new inspirational reads for your blog list. Each blog on this list has helped me to write, to photograph, to be creative. (And, it gives me something to read while not paying attention in class, waiting at the doctors office and when I can't sleep at night.) What are some of your favorite blogs I should know about?  


  1. you have a beautiful blog, jennifer! thank you for writing about me!

  2. Thank you so much for including my blog!! So sweet of you!! :)


  3. i'm so honored to be a part of this group! thanks, Jen :)

  4. Hi Jen! Thanks for including City Lights, such fun! I'm excited to check out all the other blogs you listed too :) Thanks, and come to the Windy City soon!!