Tag Archive for blogging

Not Giving Up

Did you think I gave up on this ole blog? Almost. It seems like the time to sit & write & share is nil these days.

I’ve successfully stopped pumping. Which means I have my work lunch break time back to eat, run errands, catch up on work or make up time from being out at doctor’s appointments. But it also means that the 30 minutes I had {at one point three times a day} to sit quietly somewhere & read or blog or play on IG is also gone. My blog writing & reading has suffered. And for that, I’m sorry.

I find writing & sharing on here cathartic, & I miss the blogging community. So blogging, you’re moving up on my night time priority!

Look for posts soon on Christmas, having 19 {almost 20} month olds, {finally} sleep training L, relearning to eat & a few Liberating Working Moms posts too. Happy New Year friends!

Blog Design for Dummies

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Melissa from Momcomm & adventuroo while hanging out with her at Raleigh bloggers nights multiple times in the last few years. I was an e-supporter while she wrote a book! & then I was thrilled when I got the chance to be one of the first to receive a copy to read & review.

Blog Design for Dummies

I’ve taken my time writing & posting this one as I wanted to let Blog Design for Dummies sink in. I devoured it within a week or two while pumping. I love, love, loved that the entire book is done in full color.

It was an easy read even though some of the content delves into more difficult design ideas. But as a ‘for Dummies’ book, this comes across in a way that makes even more complex design ideas doable for even a dummy like myself!

As you can see, I started just turning down pages I wanted to re-review or put in action on here. I quickly realized I needed to add in post its & highlighting as I started to open it up again at night.

Inside Blog Design for Dummies

And yes, within a week of reading, I was inspired to attempt a blog redesign of my own. I’m still not 100% sure of this blog layout/template & haven’t figure out how to switch up the font for my title headings, but I’ve been too busy with sick littles to dig back into coding. Thanks to Blog Design for Dummies, I was able to easily update pages, create & update navigation bars, add footer info, drop some unnecessary plugins, add some better ones & use HTML to do a few of my own side bar widgets!

Blog Design for Dummies is split into sections & chapters that easily flow for someone who wants to read it cover to cover. But if you’re only interested in certain design ideas, the headings & index make it easy to skip around too.

Melissa’s sections of colors/backgrounds, fonts, & using headings caught me first. & they had me rethinking what I’ve been doing. I highlighted & underlined everything on HTML & CSS coding that I should probably know after blogging for 5 years. And yes, I took the photo & shared the page on why & when to save .PNG vs .jpg {sheepishly admitted I didn’t know this!}.

I loved seeing examples throughout Blog Design for Dummies {link to Dummies site} of great blogs who were incorporating the design idea Melissa was highlighting. I loved it even more when I “knew” the author of that particular site.

Blog Design for Dummies {unaffiliated Amazon link} takes the fabulous information Melissa generously shares on Momcomm & takes it up a 1000 notches. In case you don’t love & respect her blog/marketing/design knowledge before, you will after reading it. Anyone interest in blog design {from newbies to old pros} should check it out. Be sure not to miss the last chapter showing full color photos of fabulous blog designs & explaining what helps make them fabulous!

I was thrilled when Melissa offered to send me a copy of Blog Design for Dummies for purpose of this review. My opinions & bad cell photos shared are all my own. But I am hunting Melissa down for an autograph now! ::Fan girl alert::

Bruegger’s Baked Fresh Turns 30

Bruegger’s Bagels officially turns 30 on Feb 7th, but they started the celebration early & in Raleigh to boot {don’t you just love a long celebration?}.

Tuesday morning, I had the awesome pleasure of getting both a behind the scenes tour of a local Bruegger’s bakery & also meeting their executive chef, Philip Smith while he was in town.

Everything was perfect-down to the flowers on our table. Executive Chef Philip Smith introduces himself & Bruegger's bagels. Basic cream cheese versus Bruegger's plain cream cheese. "If it doesn't crunch, it's just a roll with a whole" Chef Smith explains what makes their bagels special.

Everything was perfect-down to the flowers on our table. Executive Chef Philip Smith introduces himself & Bruegger’s bagels. Basic cream cheese versus Bruegger’s plain cream cheese. “If it doesn’t crunch, it’s just a roll with a hole”, Chef Smith explains what makes their bagels special.

If you were following along my twitter & IG feeds, you saw some of the deliciousness. I’d guess a lot of my readers have been to one of Bruegger’s 300 local bakeries. But the bagels are even better when you hear the passion from the chef & see & smell & taste exactly how they’re made. With just five core ingredients: flour, water, barley malt, yeast & salt, Bruegger’s makes great uncomplicated bread. They believe in doing better things with simpler ingredients.

Bruegger's Baked Fresh 2

Baker Denise topping freshly boiled bagels with seasoning. Chef Smith showing us the dough in the freezer. My beloved blueberry bagels slowly fermenting {takes two days}. Pulling bagels out of the kettle boiler. Boiled bagels are arranged on aluminum trays topped with burlap to bake upside down at 470 for 3.5 mins then flipped.

After watching the bagels from cold fermenting dough to baked fresh perfection using the art & science of baker’s fingers, we grabbed a pipping hot bagel to enjoy. I had a sea salt bagel that I covered with strawberry cream cheese on one half & veggie cream cheese on the other. So delicious! Their cream cheeses are all made in VT & very creamy due to them processing it at a very low temperature. The low temperature helps hold the look & flavor of the veggies, fruits, &/or nuts added to their cream cheeses.

Executive Chef Smith & I. Bruegger's selection of baked fresh bagels. My super hot baked fresh from the oven salt bagel. My bagel loaded with veggie cream cheese.

Executive Chef Smith & I. Bruegger’s selection of baked fresh bagels. My super hot baked fresh from the oven salt bagel. My bagel loaded with veggie cream cheese.

We ended the Raleigh Baked Fresh media celebration sampling Chef Philip’s take on what to do with leftover bagels. We rarely have any left over at my house, but if you do, you’ll have to try this Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata.

Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata

Smoked Salmon & Dill Strata

Ingredients

5 plain bagels, cut into thumb sized pieces
6 eggs, cracked into a bowl
1 lb Brugger’s smoked salmon
1 6 oz tub Bruegger’s Chive & Onion Cream Cheese
1 c half & half
1 stick of butter
pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 c fresh dill, end of the branches, picked into tiny pieces
1/4 of a medium red onion, finely chopped
Pam spray

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a 13″ shallow baking dish with Pam.

Melt the butter in your microwave on high for 20 seconds.

In a stainless bowl, beat the eggs until the yolks & whites are blended. Then add the melted butter, half & half, salt & pepper & fresh dill.

Soak the cut bagel pieces in the egg mixture, & using your fingers, work the eggs into the bread, so it is thoroughly soaked & all the custard has been absorbed.

Layer the baking dish with 1/2″ layer of soaked bagels. Top with a layer of smoked salmon {half lb or half the side of salmon}. Dot the smoked salmon with dollops of half of the cream cheese. Repeat a soaked bagel layer & another salmon layer. Dot again with the remaining half of cream cheese. Layer the remaining soaked bagels {this layer will be thinner}.

Top the soaked bagels with the chopped red onions, scattered over the top.

Bake covered for 20 min then an additional 15-20 mins uncovered until the egg dish souffles up & the center is firm.

Bruegger’s recommends serving this with a small salad dressed with lemony vinaigrette. Also note that it can be made the night before, refrigerated overnight then cooked just 10-15 mins longer covered. If you’re like me & not the biggest salmon fan, Chef Smith said you could trade it out for sausage or bacon or even peppers & onions. Enjoy!

Bruegger’s also shares other bagel recipes online. I might have to try the blueberry breakfast casserole at my next big family gathering!

You can take part in the 30th anniversary celebration on Feb 7th by taking advantage of a free bagel with cream cheese until 11a. Download the coupon on their Facebook page or by joining their email club.

Thanks to Bruegger’s for inviting & including me in their 30th anniversary media tour. I loved meeting Chef Philip Smith & the other Bruegger’s representatives. While I was given a great behind-the-scenes tour & bagels, a drink & cream cheese, I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions & thoughts listed as genuinely my own. 

Triangle Mom 2 Mom

I know I just linked y’all to where else I’ve been on the interwebs yesterday. But I have another one today. When it rains good things, it pours right?!

I was contacted by a lady from the local Raleigh newspaper’s Triangle Mom 2 Mom blog a couple weeks ago. They wanted to feature me & Suz’s Treats today. I answered her questions & boom, Meet Suz is the featured story on their blog & is listed on the newspapers website too.

::feeling famous for a day::

Online Friendships {a guest post}

{edit: I wrote this guest post for Diana with our BlogHer11 roomies in mind. But it applies to all online friendships, like ours!}

While Diana’s cruising away {& having so much fun without us!}, she asked if I’d jump on over to Hormonal Imbalances for a day. And of course I said yes!

I ‘met’ Diana online when we decided to become BlogHer 2011 roommates. Then months later, we hugged in person for the first time. One of those ‘life will never be the same’ moments.

There’s something special about online friendships. Since you’re reading this, you probably know what I’m talking about. The best part of social media, & the near obsession my friends & I have with it, is that we’re almost always connected. Whether it’s a tweet how the days going in 140 or less, a silly photo of your child that morning from Instagram, a Facebook update on your night, or a detailed blog post on your dinner, I know how my online friends are & what they’re up to sometimes in more detail & much more frequently than my not-as-social-media-savvy IRL friends.

Meeting Diana, & Miranda & reconnecting with Alena, at BlogHer ’11 solidified them in my mind as making the shift from strictly ‘online friends’ to ‘friend friends’.

The four of us roomies bonded quick in the months leading up to BlogHer thanks to a myriad of emails, texts, a few silly nights Sypking & more Facebook group conversations than I’d be willing to admit. Our relationships only bonded further in person in San Diego. And our goodbyes were certainly tear-filled.

… Jump over to read the rest of my Feeling the Love {online} guest post.