Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 7)

4 Podcasts I’m Listening To Right Now

Podcasting by William Iven

I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the podcast party.

Sure, I’ve listened to them before and on occasion, I’ve followed a show or two. But as I’m working, writing, or getting ready in the morning, I find myself wanting to listen to something other than news. Let’s face it – the news right now is anxiety-inducing enough.

I still read and listen to the news, but now I temper my listening with more music and podcasts. I find it keeps me a bit more balanced and focused. Plus, it gives me ideas.

Lately, I’ve felt a bit “stuck” creatively and I’ve been looking for things to loosen my brain up so that it can think through challenges effectively. So far, it’s working – the gears are – slowly – starting to turn again.

As for what I’m listening to right now, let’s take a peek :)

The Minimalists

I’ve read blog posts from The Minimalists and I admire their message. They’re absolutely right: we need to do more with less and focus our energies on what really serves us (hint: it’s not stuff). Earlier this week, I started listening to The Minimalists podcast after a recommendation from my friend Sam (who has a super cool dinosaur blog of his own).  I like how they keep things light in their discussion of some really big issues. And the Q&A they do is also pretty great. If you’re looking for insightful discussion on minimalism and simplifying your life, this is a great one to tune into.

Adulthood Made Easy

I first found this podcast while scrolling through Spotify of all things. As a Real Simple reader who appreciates their rounded approach to content, I was excited to see that their podcast mirrored that same style.

Dealing with difficult people, relationships, happiness, smarter consumption, learning new things, and practical living tips are just a few of the topics tackled. I loved the soup episode as much as I loved the one about wanderlust.

Suddenly, getting your house in order seems a lot more attainable.

Fresh Air

Public radio is awesome. I don’t care if it makes people think I’m 80 years old, but I freaking love it. I listen to NPR in the car all the time and I love the programming they put together.

One of those items I get to tune in to on my ride home on occasion is Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Her interviews with celebrities, politicians, changemakers, and innovators are always interesting. I’ve laughed, cried, gotten angry – you FEEL when you listen to these interviews.

Now, I don’t have to wait until my commute to tune in – I can catch it on Stitcher.

TecBridge Radio

Disclaimer: I’m an active supporter of TecBridge and a member of their marketing committee. When TecBridge Radio launched its first episode, I knew it was the start of something big. In only a few short weeks, this podcast and radio show has grown into an insightful discussion on matters that concern making our region a better place.

Economic growth, education, business, and entrepreneurship get tackled in a dynamic Q&A session. The big idea? Why not us, why not here, and why not now. Good stuff happens in NEPA <3

What are you listening to right now?

Creative Non-Fiction

Over the summer, Brent and I took a creative non-fiction writing workshop. It was awesome.

Not only was it taught by one of my dear friends and colleagues, but it was also an opportunity for me to write consistently and explore a style that I haven’t really played with before.

Being a blogger is sort of like creative non-fiction, I guess. It’s a lot of reflection and storytelling elements get used to talk about thoughts or feelings or events. But there’s an all at once delicate and powerful ZING to it that’s like nothing else.

Each week, we’d be given a prompt to write about. Then, in one page or two, we were to tell our story. I wrote a lot about my childhood, about important moments in my life. Some of my stories were sad. Some were happy. But they were all my moments and getting to share them with others in a writing workshop was such an intimate experience. It was thrilling and therapeutic. And I loved hearing everyone’s stories each week, too!

I’ve been toying with the idea of using this blog as a platform to share some of those pieces of writing – and maybe make some more! Eventually, I’d love to submit something somewhere and get it published. Seeing a byline in print still thrills me and it gives me those little gold stars that I try to tally up in my head when I accomplish something (Type A, much?).

No matter where it appears, I still smile and give my 16 year-old self a big hug when I see my name on a piece of work.

See that, Young and Naive Mandy Who Still Wants to Go To NYU and Live In the Village? You can write and not have to live in New York and have all of that school debt.

Ah, well. I guess I should make her proud and just keep doing it already. It’s one thing to talk about it, er, blog about it. But it’s another to do it. So, let’s give it a whirl. I’ll write some stuff and share it here. Could be fun!

Holy Moly. I’m over on!

I’m knee deep in BlogCon planning (more on that later), but in the meantime, I’m super thrilled to be featured this week in The Electric City/Diamond City/

Finally, I’ve fulfilled my innermost desires to be a librarian for a day (the photos with the piece were done in Marywood’s library – such a cool setting). Any opportunity to chill out with books is a welcome one!

Take a peek:

HOLY WHOA. I haven’t posted in awhile.

In the midst of moving, adulting, working on NEPA BlogCon and The Vintage Advisory Board, teaching, and host of other things, I forgot about you, Bloggy McBloggerson.

Photo By: Victoria Park

I’m so, so sorry.

Well, only kind of. I’m happy that while I was away from you, I was out living, doing great things, and really putting some of my new years resolutions to work.

But, I didn’t take the time to share. Or to hold myself accountable by hitting publish.

And for that, I really truly am sorry.

Because I missed you. I know, I know. You’re upset and feel neglected. I don’t blame you, I would feel that way too.

Let me make it up to you.

The 102 Things I Love

Gini Dietrich posted this on Spin Sucks earlier this week and I was intrigued. I love the idea of taking a few moments to be grateful for all of the things you enjoy, so, I’m going to give it a try.

This post is based on Judy Dunn’s “Can You Name 99 Things You Love in 10 Minutes“?

Setting my timer for 10 minutes – and….go!

  1. Brent, my Mister-to-Be!
  2. Annie
  3. My loving parents – my rocks. 
  4. My sister, Brianna, who is just a firecracker
  5. A job I enjoy
  6. The opportunity to teach
  7. NEPA BlogCon and the Fearsome Foursome
  8. Serving on The Vintage Board
  9. Cooking
  10. Getting the chance to act again as part of The Vintage
  11. Writing
  12. Citrus fruit
  13. Warm blankets
  14. A fantastic group of cousins who are like my brothers and sisters
  15. Being able to turn big ideas into reality with the help of some great people in our community, like TecBridge
  16. Toasted rolls for breakfast
  17. Air conditioning
  18. Wrinkle-free, clean clothes
  19. Green juice
  20. My cast iron dutch oven
  21. Getting letters or surprises in the mail
  22. My aunts and uncles
  23. Having had 25 years with my grandparents and 17 years with my great-grandparents
  24. My Samsung Galaxy SIII
  25. My iPad
  26. My laptop
  27. Our wall of art in our living room
  28. IKEA
  29. Target
  30. my running shoes
  31. Movies
  32. Reading
  33. Libraries
  34. Cafes
  35. The Office
  36. Parks and Recreation
  37. Mad Men
  38. 30 Rock
  39. Tina Fey
  40. Amy Poehler
  41. Reading the work of inspired people
  42. Malcolm Gladwell’s books
  43. Chocolate
  44. Popcorn
  45. Warm beverages
  46. Hard cider
  47. My face moisturizer that I use every day
  48. Fanciful Fox Soaps
  49. Little sample size bottles of fragrance
  50. Autumn leaves
  51. Pumpkin everything during the fall
  52. Macintosh apples
  53. Bacon
  54. Taking hot showers
  55. Waking up and feeling energized
  56. Massages
  57. Yoga
  58. Yoga pants
  59. Warm sweaters
  60. Boots
  61. My American Eagle jeans
  62. YouTube
  63. Sea salt
  64. A clean house
  65. Cuddling
  66. The Neverending Thread
  67. Social media
  68. Going to theater performances
  69. Music
  70. The sound of church bells
  71. Spotify
  72. Twitter
  73. Facebook
  74. Really good software or apps that make life easier
  76. Pinterest
  77. Thrift stores and flea markets
  78. Alexandra Franzen’s blog
  79. New notebooks that haven’t been written in
  80. Typewriters
  81. Old books
  82. Performing random acts of kindness
  83. Going to Wegman’s
  84. Trying new foods
  85. Candles
  86. Cardigans
  87. Really nicely scented rooms
  88. Cinnamon
  89. Jacket weather
  90. My leather jacket
  91. Comfortable shoes
  92. Making people happy
  93. Shopping local
  94. Our favorite restaurants
  95. The chance to make every day an adventure
  96. Having a support network of people I don’t know how I’d do without
  97. Old family photos
  98. Playing games during the holidays
  99. Belly laughs
  100. Mint
  101. Getting my hair washed when I get it cut
  102. Diner conversations

Whew! That was harder than I thought, but a lot of fun – there’s so much to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Support The Vintage Theater

I don’t consider myself to be an artist. I’m not a painter, my drawing skill tapped out in junior high, and I can’t read music. But, I appreciate art and in my life, the arts – particularly the performing arts –  have always held a very special place in my life. In so many ways, performing arts have made me, well, me.

They were there for me to engage with when I felt bored by my other studies. They challenged me to be confident, to have presence, and to form a voice. They allowed for me to be a different person and become a character when there were times in my life when I would have rather been anyone but myself (and in the end, they taught me something about myself that made me return stronger than ever). They introduced me to a world that I fell in love with and people I fell in love with. Some of my greatest friendships are touched by the performing arts.

While I may not be a full time actor, I always make time for theater. I attend performances whenever I can and I can’t tell you how many times I’d look at audition calls and feel this tugging in my gut urging me to go. But I never did until this past February when I stepped onto a stage and into the shoes of Charlotte Lucas in Jane Austen’s masterpiece Pride & Prejudice.  Before P&P, my last performance was when I was in college – more than 6 years ago. There was always a conflict, too much on my plate, or a frightened sensibility thinking that local community theater was a club and I wasn’t a member. Joining such a wonderful cast put  my concerns to rest and opened my eyes to a shimmering, vibrant arts community that I’m honored to now consider myself to be a part of. Scranton’s Vintage Theater made it possible and is the foundation of this community. But The Vintage can’t do it alone – it needs your help to succeed.

In the past few years, I’ve been honored to become a more active part of The Vintage by attending and hosting events, becoming part of it’s theater troupe, and now, serving on its board. The space and its mission mean so, so much. They aren’t just nice to have in the cultural fabric of Northeastern Pennsylvania – they’re necessary in every way. I’ve never met such a passionate group that is so open, understanding, and welcoming. The Vintage wants to cultivate a strong community in support of the arts. It caters to all ages. It welcomes all artists and types of expression. Having something like this in our community is a gift and I hope more people realize that. But, without your support, The Vintage cannot exist.

I’m asking you to do something for me and please, make a donation to The Vintage. If you’ve just read my blog for the first time or if you’ve known me for years, even giving just $1 a month can mean the world to them and to me.

The Vintage has served as a venue for the visual, performing and literary arts in Scranton for nearly five years. In that time, it has:

  • Hosted over 2,000 musicians, actors, playwrights, artists, etc.
  • Held over 1,000 different events / performances / exhibits
  • Given over $200,000.00 in stipends to local artists/ performers
  • Hosted artists/performers from every state in the continental U.S., as well as seven countries

It needs YOU to continue its mission. A stable income for this space will allow for it to continue to do wonderful and (I can’t say this enough) necessary work in our community for the arts.

Here’s where you can go to donate: The Vintage is a member of Fractured Atlas, which means that your donation is 100% tax deductible. A few dollars every month is tremendous gift, not just for me, but for the entire arts community in NEPA.

When I’m not optimizing websites, writing here or in other places, or firmly planting my nerdy roots as a co-founder of NEPA BlogCon, The Vintage is where I’m spending my time. It’s where a large part of my heart is and I hope you can open your heart to it too.


Sleep and My Codependent Relationship with the Snooze Button

This morning, I didn’t want to get up.

It was like most mornings. I’m not a morning person. I never was a morning person. I may never be a morning person.

It’s something about myself that I’ve accepted. Brent can hop out of bed the minute his alarm starts dinging, but I can’t. Instead, I fumble for my phone (it’s my alarm clock) and hit the snooze. That sweet, sultry, sinfully delicious snooze button. I don’t care if it’s only five more minutes. That’s five more minutes I’ll be spending warm and beneath my blankets, free from responsibility.

Boromir snoozes like a pro.

You could say that the snooze button and I are in a long term, codependent relationship. At times, it’s been unhealthy.

In high school, I set three alarm clocks – all of which I would end up either turning off or hitting snooze on. My growing limbs just weren’t listening to the radio, the buzzing, and the ringing all at once. I had to go back to bed. I NEEDED more sleep.

Those who lived with me were none too pleased.

In college, the snooze button and I went on a bit of a break. I had a roommate in my dorm, so I needed to train myself to get up at a decent hour so as not to disturb her. It worked – until I got my own apartment.

The snooze button and I got hot and heavy then. Showing up to my 8:30 a.m. class three minutes late, unshowered and probably looking like hell? Yep. That was me. It was like a drug. I started taking naps then, too.

When Brent and I moved in, that was an adjustment period for sure. Sharing your bed and sleeping habits with someone is incredibly intimate – and challenging – as you try to figure out exactly how this puzzle is going to fit together. There were moments when the snooze button has tried to cut in on my real life relationship. Thankfully, if that’s the worst thing I have to worry about, we’re doing pretty good.

Brent is an early riser, but now with my work schedule, I’m up before him most days. On weekends, Brent is up well before me, out taking photos or hiking to take pictures of the sunrise. But, I still go back to the snooze button.

Oh, Snooze. Why can’t we just unhinge ourselves from each other? You know I love you, but you’re keeping me from having extra time in the morning, time that I could use to go to the gym or make breakfast or spend time actually doing something with my hair.

Snooze button sounds good right about now.

You make me groggy, even though there’s this little voice in the back of my mind that’s telling me that I should indulge in hitting you one more time because I’ll feel more rested.


When I’m with you, you make me want to stay asleep all day. When I try to take a nap, you turn what was a 30 minute siesta into an hour long saga where I feel even more tired than before. You make my life harder – but yet, I keep coming back.

Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll be able to take a vacation from you. I’ll get up on time and actually get to the gym. I’ll make breakfast and have time to do something productive. Maybe I’ll read the newspaper – or at least a blog post or two.

But…as always, I need just five more minutes.


Creativity Tool: Story Starter

Story Starter

I don’t really do much with fiction writing, but on the occasion that I decide to dabble (or if I just want to get my creative juices flowing), I turn to my regular swipe file of things to write about.

But sometimes, I run out of ideas. Or maybe I want to try something different. That’s where Story Starter comes in.

Simple, effective, and outrageously fun to use, Story Starter is a tool that gives you a prompt that you can frame a scene or story around. Just a line to get you going, but that line is chock full of details that can spider outward into a work of art.

Also, if you’re looking for a good laugh, the prompts can be quite funny.

Go ahead, give it a whirl:

Tea Leaves

By: Seba Della y Sole Bossio

I did something really stupid about a week and a half ago.

Instead of giving myself what I wanted (a cup of mint tea), I decided (goodness knows why) to make an herbal blend. I smelled it and I cringed.

I took a sip and I cringed.

This is NOT what I wanted – so why the hell did I sit there, unsatisfied with a cup of tea that I made. No one else made this. I MADE THIS.

You know what you want and you know what you make. The two can and should go together.

Make the goddamn cup of tea you want and it’s easier from there.

10 Ways to Piss Off Your Twitter Followers

Ah, the joys of Twitter. Some days, Twitter can be a great place for information and conversation. On other days, it’s damn annoying. It’s amazing to me how so many people haven’t picked up on what works and what doesn’t work on this social network. As for what doesn’t work, well, here are 10 easy ways to piss off your Twitter followers:

  1. Auto DMs. That’s all I’m going to say.
  2. Only retweeting other people’s tweets. C’mon. Say something! Anything!
  3. Never following anyone back because you a.) don’t know how to use Twitter or b.) are a snob.
  4. Include the words “guru” or “expert” in your bio.
  5. Leave your default user picture as an egg.
  6. Tweet the same message on 6 different accounts.
  7. Make three tweets a year.
  8. Tweet only links. All day, every day.
  9. Retweet something without actually opening the link, watching the video, reading the post, etc.
  10. Only tweet about yourself, your work,  your achievements, you, you, and more you.
Now, we’re all not perfect. In fact, I bet all of us have done at least one of these things at one time or another  – especially retweeting without reading or only making time to retweet without adding to the conversation.
Forget about the Klout score and what the “experts” are telling you to do.The easiest way to succeed (and enjoy yourself) on Twitter is to not over think everything. Just be yourself, have some fun, and actually join in on the conversation. Share things of value. Respond to other people. Ask questions. Take a step into the stream.
Treat Twitter like a party. Don’t be the drunk girl that falls down stairs. Don’t be the guy that tries to sell you something as soon as the handshake is over. Don’t be the person who stands in the corner staring at the punch bowl all night long. I can’t promise that it’ll be a great experience every time, but I can promise that you’ll feel better about Twitter if you make yourself more of a party guest (or a party host) instead of someone who becomes the uninvited later on.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Page 1 of 7

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén