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Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Welcome Autumn! What to Look Forward to This Season

Chicago in the Fall

Hello Fall!

The weather is turning, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte came out yesterday, decorations on my shelves, and I’m in the mood to bake. We’re coming upon my favorite season.

Technically the first day of Autumn doesn’t start until Tuesday, September 22, but I like to start celebrating the day the pumpkin spice latte comes out. I tried the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew yesterday and it was so good!

I feel so blessed to have been able to experience 3 seasons of autumn this past year between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

As we embark again on the beautiful season, here’s some incredible things to anticipate in the next few months.

Change in Landscape

I love the autumn landscape.

Desert grasses and tree foliage of sage brush, mesquites, palo verdes, or broad leaf deciduous maple, oaks, and aspen. Deeper greens, yellows, reds, and oranges.

I embraced the contrast of this shot where warm meets cool.

Arizona Desert
Cornfields of Nebraska
Autumn Leaves in Arizona
Mushrooms of North Carolina
Mushrooms of Malawi, Africa

Creatures Calling a New Home

Pollinators such as bees start to huddle in their hives, while butterflies migrate south.

Bee of the Midwest
Butterly of the Midwest
Butterfly Dance

Baked Goods

Fall baking is the best. Cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg. Incorporating seasonal fruits as they ripen, varieties like peaches followed apples, cranberry, and orange.

A Crumb Topped Muffin I Made (recipe coming soon)
Delicious Breads of Jordan

Scents of Autumn

Though the following scent of has notes of a bright and tangy summer, the sweet and sour of the classic drink, I’m still using it for the tail of summer as we transition into colder temperatures and for those days when gloomy weather becomes too much.

Philosophy’s Señorita Margarita Shampoo, Shower Gel, and Bubble Bath

Opening my candle drawer and seeing all the goodies to choose from brings me so much joy.

The glow through the glass, the scent of sugar cookies, juniper, berries, apples, and sandalwood.

Perfumes go from light, crisp, floral scents to deep notes of amber that still have a mild citrusy characteristic.

One of my favorites below (from a lifetime collection of samples) has key notes of Italian bergamot, orange flower, lavender.

Collection of Perfume Samples

Other Edible Treats

Layering plain yogurt, honey, seasonal fruits, topped with crunchy oats and shredded coconut makes for a delicious breakfast or a quick snack. I used grapefruit and huckleberries most recently.

It’s pineapple season on the islands and if you don’t have access to a fresh one, right now Maui Gold Pineapple is shipping throughout the U.S. (except Alaska).

2-day delivery straight from the gorgeous pineapple plantation.

Huckleberry and Grapefruit Yogurt Parfait
Maui Gold Pineapple Plantation

Sounds of Autumn

Imagine relaxing, ASMR, sounds of rain as you sip coffee in a coffee shop, nature sounds, and rustling leaves.

Check out the YouTube Channel Autumn Cozy for a serene, happy, and rich experience while watching an animated fall scene.

Upcoming Book Releases

There are so many exciting publications coming out.

I like to read mysteries, thrillers, and a bit of horror during this time of year.

One I’m really looking forward to is called The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen. Such a beautiful cover!

The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen

Movie Releases

I can’t wait to see Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s available on demand and showing in theatres this Friday, August 28.

Bill & Ted Face the Music (promo website photo)

What are you looking forward to this season?

I hope you enjoyed my photos along with the visual of amazing things that appeal to all the senses.

Let me know about your favorites and if you participate in the Jibber Jabber with Sue word prompt challenge “picture” by tagging me or linking your posts in the comments below!

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Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Switching to the New WP Block Editor: Late Adaptor to Gutenberg 2.0

Welcome to Gutenberg

I’m not sure what the official name of the newest version of Gutenberg is or how WP ambassadors are distinguishing the two “block” editors. All I know is that I was one of those very reluctant, old school WP users who was using Classic up until today.

The initial version of the block editor had many glitches, it was bulky and cumbersome to use. It didn’t feel ready for prime time to me and it was time consuming for me, so I had a delay in switching over.

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And I Really Liked Classic

I actually liked typing my posts out in one large paragraph with bits of code in it. It was fast, easy, no-fuss.

I didn’t mind having to switch between the two interfaces, the main and the admin dashboards.

I could accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. There were limitations of course and I didn’t really know the full extent of what the new editor could offer.

I didn’t know what the advantages of the new block editor were. It seemed to be a round-about way of doing something I was already used to doing and I could do it with less clicks, in less amount of time.

My First Post

On January 28, 2918, my first post, Road Trip to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico, was the first post I ever created. It took me a little while to get it down, to learn a bit of code, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, using Classic all the way long.

So far I have published 286 posts.

I hadn’t given the new editor a second thought though for a while.

A New Era in Website Building

However after an opportunity to participate in a bit of beta testing with the newest block editor recently, it appeared that most of my troubles with the first version had been fixed. So I decided to give it another try and have since switched over.

I have also changed themes, cleaned up a few posts.

It’s actually not half as bad as what I thought it would be now that the main bugs have been worked out. The discovery of some pretty neat features and shortcuts have also been a treasure.

It’s a learning curve for sure and has created a totally different workflow for me. A few minor buggy things and quirks still have to be worked out but they’re not a deal breaker for me any longer.

The two interfaces haven’t gone away but the tasks have been solidified in their assigned allottment, with admin view being the dominant, post builder, which is ok, I’m getting used to it.

Navigation is much more intuitive and user friendly this second time around. I’m getting faster at building these blocks.

Still Learning

I have a ways to go before I feel completely comfortable and up to speed compared to my usual process.

After perusing a few posts from the WP Reader where some members mentioned bailing on the platform, I was a little bummed to hear that because I really enjoy our WP community. It is unique to the website building world out there.

I hope you, like me, are able to revisit the latest version of the editor and find a little joy in this.

I just finished a cute book called Beach Read by Emily Henry, so when I saw the option to create a clickable button, Amazon embed, I thought, ok this is pretty awesome.

Overall Thoughts

It took me a couple of hours to convert my site content to the new theme I picked out, Twenty Twenty. About 2 hours to create this post, but it worked!

Take a moment to look around my new style of website, I hope you can appreciate the blocks I used for a more simplified, clean, modern look.

I like how my newly accommodating site uses the full width of the screen, expanded covers as seen on my Photography page, and perfect side-by-side posts like I built on my Recipes page.

There are quite a few options you can make and modifications within those options that allow a lot of visual creativity at first glance.

To know and understand code is an amazing skill and the possibility to use it is still there. The CSS modifier is still there. Both the Visual and HTML Code editors remain. I definitely don’t want to forget what I’ve learned.

I’m still testing it all out. Making tweaks here and there. Deciding if I even need to add any CSS.

I think the amazing thing is, is that I actually have no code in my CSS box at the moment. Below are the codes I embedded to better customize my site before I switched over from Classic. I was using the Rosalie theme at the time.

CSS


/*
Welcome to Custom CSS!
 
To learn how this works, see http://wp.me/PEmnE-Bt
*/
.site-content a:link {
                                    color: #53808a;
}
 
.site-content a:visited {
                                    color: #53808a;
}
 
.site-content a:active {
                                    color: #3364FF;
}
 
.site-content a:hover {
                                    color: #6D6A59;
}
/*Change color of certain text inside recipes #10600201-hc*/
 
div.jetpack-recipe-notes {
                                    color: black;
}
 
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > h3 {
                                    color: black;
}
 
div.hrecipe.jetpack-recipe > ul {
                                    color: black;
}
 
/* hide header image everywhere except home page | 11968709-hc */
.page-id-4938 .image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: inherit !important
}
 
/* Hide the site logo / #12026071-HC JB */
 
.site-logo {
                                    display: none;
}
 
.image-header-flexible.container img {
                                    display: none;
}
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the main content font */
p {
  color: black;
}
 
.site-title a {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
}
 
.site-description {
color: black !important;
border: none;
font-weight: lighter !important;
font-size: 25px !important;
font-family: Montserrat !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the color of the diamond element throughout the Rosalie theme | 10453438-hc */
.site-description:before, .entry-title:before {
  background-color: #53808a;
}
.site-description:after, .entry-title:after {
  border: 1px solid #53808a;
}
 
/*Hide all meta except date*/
.entry-meta .reading-time {
                                    display: none;
}
 
.single-post .entry-meta {
                                    display: none;
}
 
/* Change Slider Max Height to 500px */
.flexslider .slides>li {
                                    max-height: 500px;
}
 
.flexslider .slides > li .hentry.has-post-thumbnail h1 {
color: white !important;
font-size: 20px;
font-family: Arimo!important;
}
 
.flexslider .slides .entry-meta span.posted-on time {
color: white !important;
font-family: Arimo
!important;
font-size: 18px !important;
}
/* Reduce additional margin/padding space at the top of website — 20049005-hc */
.site {
                                    padding-top: unset !important;
}
.image-header {
                                    margin-top: unset;
}
/* remove gray background of menu | SKO #10440350-hc */
 
.navbar {
  background: #EDE7E3;
}
 
/* widget background white | SKO  #10440350-hc */
 
wf-active .widget-title {
    font-weight: 400;
    font-style: Arimo;
    background: black;
}
 
/*— removes opacity from the related posts / #10440350-HC-PK —*/
#jp-relatedposts .jp-relatedposts-items-visual .jp-relatedposts-post {
    filter: alpha(opacity=100);
    -moz-opacity: 1;
    opacity: 1;
}
 
.site-header {
                                    background-color: #cc0000;
}
 
.widget-title::after {
                                    border-color: #53808a transparent;
}
 
.widget-title {
                                    background-color: #53808a;
}
 
/* Adjust the font and box colors of the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link {
background: black !important;
color: white !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the color of the arrow element on the read more box */
.entry-summary a.more-link:after {
color: white !important;
font-size: 35px !important;
}
 
/* Adjust the font of the front page post’s dates */
span.posted-on time {
color: black !important;
font-size: 16px !important;
font-family: Arimo;
}
 
/* Change color of the font of the footer */
.site-footer a {
  color: #688D93;
}
 
footer#colophon {
background: black;
}
.site-info {
background-color: black;
}
 
/*Center Bottom Footer Links*/
/* Center text on 3rd footer widget area | 10542998-hc EH */
#footerthird {
    text-align: center;
}
/* Remove period from date of posting and centering date*/
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
}
    .image-header-flexible {
        padding-left: 0;
        padding-right: 0;
        width: 100%;
}
.image-header-flexible {
    padding-left: 0;
    padding-right: 0;
    width: 100%;
}
 
.image-header-flexible.container img {
    min-width: 100%;
}
.entry-meta span.posted-on {
    margin: 0 !important;
    position: relative;
    display: inline-block;
}
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”goodreads.”]:before {
    content: “\g”;
}
.jetpack-social-navigation-genericons a[href*=”redbubble.”]:before {
    content: “\RB”;
}
/* — enhanced widget title / 13537906-HC (MI) — */
 
.enhanced-text-widget h2.widget-title a {
                                    color:#000;
}

Let Me Know About Your Thoughts

Have you made the switch yet?

Categories
Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Summer is that You? 9 Things I’m Looking Forward To

It’s so hard to believe it’s almost June!

Yet it also feels like it took forever to get here at the same time. Things are opening back up again and it’s such a good feeling. It really felt like summer out today.

1. Yard sales

I don’t really shop a whole lot, nor do I need anything. However yard sales mark the beginning of summer and I visited a really good estate sale this morning and boy was it packed! It was nice to look around, nice to get out. I ended up buying 2 concho belts and some silver turquoise rings.

I came across these antique dishes, aren’t they gorgeous?

IMG_6335

2. Caterpillars in the garden

Posing for my camera, what a cutie!

DSC04389

3. Flowers

My mother always has the most beautiful roses growing in her yard.

DSC06508

4. Summer lipsticks

Underneath my mask, you’ll find me wearing Lisa Eldridge’s Summer Pinks Collection. You can read more about these lipsticks on my post here.

Such a soft, fun, summery color range. Pictured below is Go Lightly Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour, one of my most favorite go-to colors for the season, it really brightens my day.

Lisa Eldridge Summer Pinks Collection © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

5. Ice cream

My favorite summer treat! The recipe to my Rose Petal Syrup can be found here.

Rose Petal Syrup | Erica Robbin

And it’s awesome to know that there are parts of the world that still celebrate summer with ice cream trucks going through the neighborhood.

IMG_7794

 

 

6. The ocean

Oh my goodness, my summer will not be complete without it.

What places are you wanting to visit this summer?

IMG_1153

7. Summer scents

My favorite summer scent. Bobbi Brown Beach Body Oil. It’s glorious. Totally sold out, I don’t think they are making it anymore, so I’ll be savoring my last little bit. #bringbackbobbibrownbeachbodyoil

What’s your favorite summer scent?'beach' Body Oil by Bobbi Brown © 2019 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

8. Summer reads

I just received this one in the mail and I’m so looking forward to reading it.

The Secret Seaside Escape by Heidi Swain.

IMG_6353

The Secret Seaside Escape  is the perfect read this summer, promising sandy beaches, stunning rockpools and breath-taking romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Sarah Morgan.

***THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR***

Escape to the seaside with the brand new novel from Heidi Swain, the Sunday Times bestselling author of feel-good women’s fiction!

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all.

With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her . . .

Check it out on: Goodreads, Amazon, Libro.com audiobook

9. Ice cream

I think this one is worth mentioning again.

Cotton Candy Dipped Cone from Dairy Queen! Oh my, sounds so yummy! Not my photo on this one, but hopefully you’ll see one in my hand soon with an update as to how it tastes. I usually get the butterscotch one. I’m so curious. Have you tried it yet?

 

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 11.25.51 AM

I hope you enjoyed this post, all the things I’m looking forward to this summer, in response to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, with the theme being “delicate colors.”

Let me know what you are most looking forward to and if you participated in this challenge in the comments below!

Categories
Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Finding Inspiration

According to a study conducted by Adobe, almost two-thirds of those surveyed felt creativity was valuable to society, yet surprisingly, only 25% of people believe they are living up to their potential to be creative. Why do you think that is? Have you personally felt you lack the time, productivity, talent, or resources to create things of value? Or perhaps you’ve hit a dry spell and are having difficulty finding inspiration. Maybe you’re like me and most moments of creativity come in like waves of the ocean.

Today marks Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday! He’s one of the most recognizable characters in the world, having been created by Walt Disney and his dear friend, Ub Iwerks, in 1928. When talking about Disneyland, which he claimed to be his most important work, Walt Disney stated “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” I love that.

Mickey Mouse is especially close to my heart because he’s actually the same age as my grandma. And wow does she love the rides at Disneyland! She even enjoys riding the most daring ones with me! Last year I had the chance to visit Walt Disney’s hometown in Marceline, Missouri. It’s a charming town that is full of nostalgia and Disneyesque architecture. It definitely left me in awe and wonder and full of inspiration. You can find out more at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.

Do you feel like you’re living up to your fullest creative potential? What holds you back and what inspires you move forward?

Here are a few ways that help me find inspiration and I hope they help you too. And be sure to keep reading for a special announcement.

      1. Volunteer your time and talents. “The greatest moments in life are not concerned with selfish achievements but rather with the things we do for the people we love and esteem” ~Walt Disney. Get involved in activities where you are doing things for other people. Ask yourself, “What can I do to add to other peoples’ happiness and bring them joy?” Check out your local community center, nursing home, or the bulletin board at your favorite coffee shop. There is always someone who would just be blessed by what you have to offer.
      2. Don’t scrap your less than ideal pieces of work. Photography has evolved so much in the last couple years and it has sparked a renewed interest for me. Because I started on film, I found that I have a terrible habit of getting rid of photos that are less than perfect. When I initially took up photography, there weren’t many options to fix problems because of constraints in technology, whether the horizon wasn’t level, the exposure was off, or someone’s shoulder was in the way. Nowadays these types of issues can be remedied much more easily. This has changed my way of thinking and it has given me more freedom to create that beloved image. Furthermore did you know that an ugly broken cake roll can be made into a beautiful and yummy Gingerbread Trifle? Look for opportunities to make the most of your less than ideal creations before you decide they won’t work.
      3. Try a new craft or medium. Learning a new hobby or skill and gaining a better appreciation for it can help you grow as an artist. I’ve really enjoyed painting along with Bob Ross videos. But before I started in oils, I decided to try acrylics. However I’ve learned that painting with acrylics is not my forte but I have great respect for people who do. The acrylic paints weren’t blending properly, the bristles were lifting the paint off the canvas, I pretty much got tired of looking at it. So I’m going to wrap it up and take it to my next white elephant gift exchange party. Can you can relate to the expectation and reality memes like I do?

        Check out online educational resources such as The Great Courses Plus which offers online study courses for professional development, hobbies, travel, history, literature, art, writing, and various languages. I’ve taken quite a few of them and they’ve all been incredibly insightful. Modern States also has excellent study courses for various topics which allow you to prepare for advanced placement or examinations for college credit, for free.

      4. Live in the present. It’s easy to get stuck in the past or the future. “If I only had this… If I only had more… ” Whether it’s advantages, disadvantages, failures, potentials, or attestations, it’s what you do with your lot in life that tells you not only what you are but who you are as a person.
      5. Spend time with nature. Get outside. Go for a walk, run, do some yard work, or plant a garden. Choose an activity that benefits you in more than one way. It’s amazing how easy it is to get distracted while focusing on something else. Take advantage of that distraction because that’s when many creative ideas often come to mind. Be sure to check out my latest YouTube video Flower Blossom Compilation Time-lapse. FLower blossom compilation thumbnail
      6. Write your thoughts down. Keep a notebook or have your device handy and write down thoughts as they come to mind. I find that writing down a few key words right away helps to develop my ideas on a deeper level and in more abundance.Write your thoughts down © 2018 ericarobbin.comOn that same note, take into consideration your device wallpapers and notebook covers. Choose ones that inspire you.DSC02126
      7. Have a dedicated creative space. Whether a craft room, studio, an office, or a cozy nook, having a space that is set aside just for your work will allow you to be ready to create. It can be any place where you can leave your tools and equipment out. It’s a real bummer when you want to create something but lose that inspiration because everything you need is in boxes, it takes too much time and effort to get things set up, and then you start to dread having to clean up afterward. Look for a place with natural light and decorate it with positivity and have at least one plant.
      8. Incorporate your other senses. Whether it’s listening to beautiful music or an encouraging radio broadcast show, lighting a candle, wearing a reminiscent fragrance, or eating one of your most favorite snacks, take delight in all that life has to offer. Chex Muddy Buddies, photo courtesy of General Mills
      9. Stay organized. Maintaining a tidy work space will allow you to go straight to work without having to spend an unnecessary amount of time looking for misplaced brushes or scissors. Keeping your personal life organized can also help you remain focused and lessen the burden when committing your time toward a project. It can be rather difficult to dedicate yourself fully to a project and enjoy the process of creating when you have messes and errands looming over your head.
      10. Plan but don’t over plan. Perhaps you are a person who is motivated by deadlines. Welcome to my life, where most of my best ideas come when my mind is under pressure. This type of creative spirit has its advantages and disadvantages. As a child, I always felt like I needed a rigid schedule, to work ahead, and finish early. However as an adult, I find myself thriving on last minute energy. There is a way to avoid the pitfalls and celebrate the successes of both. By choosing to do simple things early on like getting ingredients out, writing an outline, or choosing paint colors, you can still feel the inertia of accomplishment without becoming overly stressed when you’re up against time. Things are happening, ideas are coming © 2018 ericarobbin.com
      11. And that person you’ve been meaning to get together with? Call or meet up with them. Have a laugh, have a cry, share some cheer. A lot of creative projects are done as solitary activities which can be quite isolating, so be sure you don’t neglect your social life.
      12. And that person you’ve been meaning to get together with? Call or meet up with them. Have a laugh, have a cry, share some cheer. A lot of creative projects are done as solitary activities which can be quite isolating, so be sure you don’t neglect your social life.
      13. Join a creative workgroup. Surround yourself with like-minded people. We live in an age when accessibility and connectivity is easier than ever. Maybe you don’t live in a creative community that celebrates your niche within your particular demographic or area. Perhaps it’s time you start one!
      14. Know that creativity is incredibly personal. In a time where preset filters and fan art have become more popular than ever among the creative industry, remember that it’s still you taking the photograph and it’s still you drawing up the draft. Creativity is an expression of you. Take the time to learn about yourself. 
  1. Mickey's 90th Birthday Spectacular oil painting © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

    1. How do you go about finding inspiration? Let me know in the comments below or respond to my recent posts on my other social media sites, YouTube or Instagram as part of your entry for a giveaway! I believe that art brings a lot of joy, wonder, and inspiration into the home and workspace. As a thank you for all your support in all my creative endeavors, I’d like to show my appreciation by giving away a 10.7″ x 8.0″ lustre finish, color photographic print of my most popular photo (Florida Sunset pictured below). One winner (UPDATE: GIVEAWAY CLOSED) will be chosen at random on Wednesday, November 21st at 12 midnight EST. Since the print will be processed through Redbubble, domestic and international shipping restrictions will apply. Go to Rafflecopter to enter. Please also review my Terms and Conditions page for further details and rules related to the giveaway.
      Florida sunset © 2018 ericarobbin.com
      “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller

      If you don’t win or are interested in purchasing additional prints or other products featuring my latest creatives check out my Redbubble shop for more as well as my Teespring shop which is currently offering a $2 purchase discount (some product restrictions apply) through Cyber Monday. And don’t forget to check out my Resources page for more information to help you live up to your full creative potential and inspire others in the process. Have a lovely and inspiration filled day!

Categories
Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

4 Months of Blogging, 4 Things I Learned

Sunday, January 28, 2018 was when I decided to create a website. I had a moment of inspiration and creativity following an injury the previous week that left me on strict bedrest with casts on both legs. I wanted to share about the things I love, while also taking on the challenge of my technical computer skills. Honestly, I was partly kind of bored and had a difficult time being idle. I wanted to keep my mind busy and keep my cheer and enthusiasm going. At first I didn’t know if I wanted my website to be a more personalized blog or simply a business website. So I opted for a bit of both. What I did know is how much I appreciated other people’s creative writing and photography skillset depicting their adventurous spirit while I was lying in bed, longing to just be able to take photos with the new camera I bought. Prior to my injury; however, I had taken several photos from recent travels. So I decided to curate them and up went my first post, Road Trip to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico.

From a technical standpoint, after a few days, I learned so much. I made several revisions and modified my theme, layout, photos, fonts, color schemes, and content. Not to mention editing a gazillion times over for proper spelling, grammar, context, and style. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I expected that of myself and tried to narrow down my focus. I soon realized that my website will always be a work in progress. I’m continually learning new codes and shortcuts, and as a creative, it’s hard to know when done is done. That’s something to be celebrated though. The journey, the more personal things I’ve learned along the way.

So here are four things I learned during my first four months of blogging.

    1. I have learned a lot about myself. For one thing, I knew my interests were eclectic but putting them in both text and visual form has made my ideas more tangible to me. Even having added the books on my TBR list to my newly created Goodreads account for my sidebar widget was confirmation. In grade school I pretty much always chose the word “eager to describe my work ethic when choosing a description about myself based on the first letter of my name. I wouldn’t necessarily describe my entire persona as eclectic though, but my tastes definitely are. It infiltrates my blog and social media posts as a style of randomness, Here’s a surprise, hope you enjoy, haha. I like it though, keeps me humble and happy.Bee painted flower pot © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.
    2. We live in a society. There have been times I’ve been indifferent toward various forms of social media. Some of it for personal and professional reasons, sometimes out of concerns about reliability, credibility, privacy, safety, fear of being misunderstood, choosing to be authentic but not oversharing, confidence and self-doubt, balancing quality and quantity, conflict of interest, image and branding, technical ability, pressure, and engagement. Two reasons:
      1. It’s risky to put your creative soul out there on display and not only wanting to be proud of your accomplishments on a personal level but also hoping others gain interest, inspiration, and appreciate your craft. Fluctuations in the amount of followers and engagement hasn’t concerned me as much as I thought it would, perhaps because I know for myself, there are seasons in life and circumstances that make me subscribe and unsubscribe, and later resubscribe, for various reasons like when my interests or life stage changes. However getting my first dislikes on Youtube as a creator was sad. How could anyone outright dislike my particular videos? And why? They didn’t even comment with a reason. My videos come from a place of lightheartedness. Do they realize how many hours it took to compose and edit? Should I blame it on a simple misclick? On the YouTube algorithm? Am I in a state of denial to think anyone would appreciate my talent and hard work? Nobody likes me.
      2. Ok I’m totally exaggerating on the last ones, but the internal struggle of sharing artistry and discouragement is real. Then I remembered a line from Seinfeld “You know we’re living in a SOCIETY!” Being a contributor rather than a consumer of content has taught me a lot about that and to not get caught up in thinking all my initiatives will be everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the dislike button is there, and some are going to be more vocal about their disappointment and disapproval. And then there’s trolls and spam.
    3. Have no fear in creativity. I’ve always liked the quote by Dita Von Teese “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” In recovering from my injury with a lot of down time, I realized that there is so much delight in sharing about what you love without the constraint of fear. The interpersonal connections and personal growth with an “I can do this” mentality have been wonderful. It’s also brought a lot of experiential insight into other people’s joys and struggles. As I reflect back, I think of my blog and other social media sites as a creative outlet and a form of expression that says “This was really fun for me” and also “I made this for you!” It has brought me much needed laughter at a time when I was bummed about my injury. It’s funny though because whenever I hear the line “I made this for you” I can’t help but to think about one of early creators on Youtube, Julian Smith. He produced an over-the-top skit about hot Kool-Aid (see video below). It’s definitely an example of being fearless on multiple levels when it comes to expressing creativity.
    4. Share the joy. Building upon a hobby out of an entrepreneurial spirit brings a compelling aspect to allowing others to take part in that same pleasure. But it’s not about having a bazillion people to influence, measuring your worth in likes and dislikes, or being famous on the social internet. Aside from personal satisfaction, it’s about those who may find joy, value, encouragement, and inspiration in what you have to offer. You may never know how you might impact one person’s life in a positive, meaningful way. This morning someone took the time to write a message on the road using chalk. It was a pleasant surprise to me and many others to come across a note that read “You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are appreciated. You are called for a specific purpose in this world.”You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are appreciated. You are called for a specific purpose in this world. Encouraging photo © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

I actually enjoy the creative process just as much as I do admiring a finished project. With that, I’d like to share with you not only individual posts as part of my social internet endeavor, but also provide resources for you to be able to create and further develop your own website and perhaps other social media sites as well.

I compiled a list of helps and services on my Resources page. I hope you find them useful.

What have you learned along the way? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear!


*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!

Categories
Beauty Featured Inspiration Photography Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Wow! That’s Beautiful!

“Wow! That’s beautiful!” was the enthusiastic and highly animated response that my dear friend’s four-year-old daughter would say to just about anything she found even remotely exciting, cute, adorable, or beautiful. Whether it was her little brother reaching a developmental milestone or the floral cushions on my couch.

In celebration of this week’s photo challenge Rise/Set, I couldn’t help but think about not only the brilliant colors and light refractions that define the beauty of sunrises and sunsets, but the beautiful representation of another day gone and another day to come.

In trying to pick out a beautiful photo, I also found it rather difficult to separate the aesthetic appeal from the personal value attached to it. Value in the form of awe-inspiring moments and places shared with family and friends while watching the sun’s disappearance or emergence from the horizon.

In celebration of beauty, I’d like to first present various definitions of the word. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says “beauty is the quality of being physically attractive, the qualities in a person or a thing that give pleasure to the senses or the mind. “The example provided is described as being full of beauty, such as a beautiful woman.

Fabio © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Interestingly enough when beautiful first became a part of the English language, it was used to describe men as much as it was of women. Nowadays, handsome is the adjective of appreciation most commonly used of men.

Ancient Greek Society used the word kalos (“beautiful”) to describe the aesthetic viewing pleasure of objects and people in addition to morally admirable character. Translations describe it as an adjective meaning “good” or “of fine quality.” Saint Augustine ascribed the origin of beauty, goodness, and existence, as coming from the Creator alone. Plato attributed beauty, goodness, and justice as divine existences and of divine realm.

Alexander G. Baumgarten coined the term “aesthetics” in the 18th century and the literal meaning was a study of human sensibility. Later, in the 19th century, French philosopher Victor Cousin would state “Moral beauty is the basis of all true beauty.”

More recently, Forbes magazine published an article in Spring of 2017 about the estimated $445 billion in sales from at least 40 new beauty companies that were founded by women. While this astronomical amount of value on beautifying products and services may raise some eyebrows, I don’t think it’s a surprise that many of the beautifying marketing terms and techniques are geared towards youthfulness.

It’s a significant contrast; however, to the Koine Greek roots for the word beauty which means “hour” as in the literal appeal of “being of one’s hour.”

Sunset in the Pines © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

One of my all-time favorite films about life and culture is Fiddler on the Roof. I remember listening to the song “Sunrise, Sunset” and being intrigued by it’s hypnotic tune while attending my 4th grade music class. The song is quite subdued and was performed at the wedding of Tevye and Golde’s eldest daughter. It’s a beautiful song about time passing by as depicted by the sunrise and sunset.

TEVYE:
Is this the little girl i carried,
Is this the little boy at play?

GOLDE:
I don’t remember growing older, when did they?

TEVYE:
When did she get to be a beauty,
When did he grow to be so tall?

GOLDE:
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

MEN:
Sunrise sunset, sunrise sunset
Swiftly flow the days.

WOMEN:
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.

EVERYONE:
Sunrise sunset, sunrise sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.

TEVYE:
What words of wisdom can i give them,
How can i help to ease their way?

GOLDE:
Now they must learn from one another, day by day.

PERCHIK:
They look so natural together.

HODEL:
Just like two newlyweds should be.

PERCHIK & HODEL:
Is there a canopy in store for me?

EVERYONE:
Sunrise sunset, sunrise sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness, and tears

Collection of Sample Perfumes © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Here’s about a quarter of my collection of sample perfumes, many of which are impart due to product substitutions from Sephora. Interestingly enough, the name Sephora comes from the Greek spelling of Zipporah, which can mean “little bird,” likely from the beautiful phonetic sound of chirping. Zipporah was also the wife to Moses from the Bible. Scholars have described her as having positively beautiful traits both physically and in her influential social disposition.

But there is one very memorable perfume that debuted in 1985. I remember my grandma wearing it and being gifted to me when it made its reemergence in the 90s. Estée Lauder’s vision, carried out by Evelyn Lauder, was to create a fragrance that made every woman feel she was the most beautiful woman in the room. Beautiful is represented by a bride and is said to be a perfume of a thousand flowers. It’s described as romantic, feminine, and memorable with a rich blend of rose, lily, tuberose, and orange flower. It has notes of brightness due to citrus and warm base notes of sandalwood, vetiver, and amber. It’s very nostalgic for me.

In this post I’d also like to introduce you to a few things, in different forms of media, that I have found to be beautiful and I hope you can enjoy them as much as I have.

Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.I have a great appreciation for the celebration of beauty through makeup. One book that I’ve been reading (though it’s taken me forever to finish because of what I like to call “Wikipedia spiral”), is Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge. She’s a talented makeup artist who put together a well-curated historical timeline of people and events through the use of different makeup mediums and applications.

It’s interesting to read about the extremes people went to in order to achieve and maintain an aesthetically-pleasing appearance which was often thought of as charm, elegance, nobility, importance, high social status, and power. Cosmetics of the past were often laden with arsenic or lead, such as in the Venetian ceruse. And there were transition periods between ignorance of such ill-effects and outright denial and defiance for the sake of beauty at the expense of one’s health. Interestingly enough, we can still see practice of this concept in mainstream culture to a certain degree today.

With this, I can’t help but think about a beautiful sermon which Martin Luther King Jr. gave called The Drum Major Instinct. The sermon was an adaptation of the 1952 discourse “Drum-Major Instincts” by J. Wallace Hamilton. King brought up the familiar phrase keeping up with the Joneses and the human desire for importance, among many other social inferences.

I will also note that 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and it’s amazing how his sermons are still relevant today. He didn’t necessarily self-depreciate, but instead, celebrated his life accomplishments using a very different standard. “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice… Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

I think the celebration of beauty, talents, and accomplishments appreciated by other people from this aspect are often undervalued. Some people may have a distorted view of humility and hence a hard time responding to compliments at times. They refute them instead of simply saying “Thank you” or dumb them down for the sake of reciprocity.

I think it’s important to learn how to better acknowledge someone else’s appreciation. After watching too many episodes of Shark Tank, it’s actually become an ongoing joke in my family that after someone compliments you or after sharing something you did well, we follow it up with the words “That’s one thing I really like about myself.” It brings a comical, yet subtle satirical, humble tone to something that someone else has appreciated. On that side note, wouldn’t you love to see a Mr. Wonderful doll be made where you pull a string and out comes some of Kevin’s most self-acknowledging phrases?

In attempt to gain a better appreciation of the arts in the form of writing, painting, language, and photography, I’ve been enjoying all that The Great Courses Plus has to offer. I highly recommend you check out their courses. It’s a great way to feed your passion for lifelong learning and give you a fresh perspective of beauty and inspiration.

Stefan Kunz is amazing at lettering art. I like his motto “Create something today even if it sucks!”

Lately I’ve been listening to the beautiful and relaxing sounds of piano music from a composer named Peder B. Helland. He posts his songs on his Youtube livestream account Soothing Relaxation.

On that same note, there is a young man from Kazakhstan named Dimash Kudaibergen whose voice has been declared as having the most amazing in the world. He sings with beautiful resonance and it’s amazing how he can control his voice, spanning 5 octaves, 4 tones, and a half tone, effortlessly. From lower baritone to whistle, when you think he’s done tagging the chorus and showcasing the max of his talent range, he takes it up not only a key, but a full octave at times.

Butterfly © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Idealistic proportions, such as the form of the golden ratio in creative design, makes for beautiful architecture. This is done in attempt to find universal validity by applying various mathematical equations. Near perfect symmetry contributes to the mesmerizing fascination of beautiful butterfly wings like this one I shot a while back.

A beautiful story, The Broccoli Tree: A Parable, John Green tells about a tree famously photographed by Patrik Svedberg.

 

Fiery Sunset © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Sunrises and sunsets. I’m always in awe of them.

This was a long one but I hope you enjoyed it.

Let me know about your appreciation of beautiful things that you’d like to share, something that has made you say “Wow! That’s beautiful!”

*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!

Categories
Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

The Silent Musician

The Silent Musician

The Silent Musician © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Categories
Book Blog Books Featured Inspiration Thoughts for a Rainy Day ☂

Why is it that books that have pictures of people on the front so boring?

This question comes from a conversation that I had with my brother recently when we were discussing the books on my reading list.

So I looked through my collection which is an assortment of genres. I started with the basic categories. Fiction, nonfiction, hard covers, soft covers, and digital.

Moving Through Molasses by Erica Robbin book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

I tried to remember what I liked and didn’t like. I checked out the comment sections of Amazon and Goodreads on books I have yet to read.

Majority of books with people on them were memoirs and autobiographies, many of which were written by famous people, in addition to self-improvement and personal development.

Could it be true that books featuring people on the cover of them, no matter the genre, whether fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, scientific, thriller, romance, mystery, action… are… boring?

Sure enough, and I have mixed feelings in saying this, but I see the correlation and I think it may be so.

Now I’m not just pointing out books with depictions of silhouettes of people, animations like those seen on children’s books, highly stylized conceptual portraits, or the ones with the only photo of a historical figure known to exist. Most often it’s in reference to those with studio quality self-promoting portraits on the front of them. The traditional focus on the face, heavily posed, “look into the lens” or “act like you’re in a deep thought,” type of photo, whether it’s a head-shot or full body framing, a single person or multiple people.

100 Ways by Erica Robbin book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved

And of course the question and answer is very subjective to the reader and evidence to support this claim is anecdotal to say the least.

I’ve met plenty of authors who have strategically placed pictures of themselves on the front cover of their book. And I have to say there are some talented people that are definitely interesting in person and tell amazing stories, just not in writing. I don’t want to offend anyone by calling them out by name; nonetheless, I can safely say that after looking over my collection, not one of these types of books are among my most favorite and it’s strictly because of the “boring” factor.

It’s widely known that people sell. However could the intentional or unintentional display of people on the cover of a book also be an ineffective attempt to compensate for the lack of content that’s actually inside or is it just coincidence? Looking back at when I purchased these books, did I fail to heed to the warning signs of advertising tactics that led to the over-promise and under-delivery of my reading experience? Certainly they weren’t always the most horrible books I’ve ever read, but low-ranking and just plain boring, as in the very definition of tiresome, persistently slow, and dull.

Find Your Inner Monotony © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Association techniques have been used in the visual marketing industry for years. You only get a couple of seconds to capture an onlooker’s attention with a single image cover design and title. It’s a great way of showcasing your work and gain publicity among those who already know your face. It works really well in a lot of types of media.

On the contrary are books with people on the cover a good indication of a poorly closed gap between the cover and the content, akin to modern-day clickbait, leaving you feeling deceived and robbed of your investment of time, money, and joy? What I’d like to know is how a writer and publisher decide that a glamour pose from a moderately famous person should be used instead of a really cool graphic, outdoor scene, or animal?

Get the Real Tea book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

If it’s about the money that can be made on book sales, then where is the line drawn to include or not include a self-portrait so they can cash in on their appearance? Oh the conscience of a publisher, to be torn in the moment of decision-making. How can I tell this well-known, enthusiastic person that their book is like a lullaby, but if we put their photo on it, front and center, we’ll be golden?

As an optimistic approach, a self-portrait could simply help observers know that the book is likely written in first person, includes real stories based off their personal experience and values, and is possibly more opinion oriented than the others on the shelves. I can understand the desire to send a friendly message connecting the reader to the author by reaching out in a humanly way, and faces can easily do that. On the other hand, I’ve read books without people displayed on the cover that have been incredibly boring, but in exploring this concept, it’s definitely the exception.

If you’ve seen a really neat graphic on what looks like an amazing novel, but then see a person on the front, does it change your perception and drive you away or draw you closer? And in any case, have book covers with people on them created a false expectation of a personal connection and good entertainment only to leave you disappointed?

Tatooine Final Frontier by Erica Robbin book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Or even worse, did their serial publications resulting in your serial purchases really help build the literary collection you were hoping for? Successions of repetitive themes like a broken record, drawn out sentences without any substantiative, usable information. Like random ideas written down on paper, torn into pieces, tossed in the air, collected, slightly embellished, and cleverly repackaged just in time for the top selling season. They go on and on and I can go on and on because I have a lot of experience reading them. Rigid, chronological details of every personal encounter and conversation. Book fillers. Vague hints at half-formulated concepts coupled with overly descriptive character traits. Life lessons learned, but they leave me asking “What’s the point?” and “What time is it?”

It’s a very different approach compared to the reasons behind using pen names. The vulnerability of known authorship goes both ways and there’s no hiding from it. Even if a book cover leads to a better sale, the ratings tell the truth of the story from cover to cover. Some ratings even go above and beyond by including details about the “delivery.” Reading one-star reviews (“because no stars wasn’t a choice”) on books that had pictures of people on the cover was hilarious. I typically don’t read them because I’m afraid they’ll give the ending away. It’s pure reading entertainment though in itself and just like other product reviews on Amazon, a collection of them would make a great coffee table book.

Take a look at your own books. You don’t have to perform a comprehensive book review or become an expert literary critic. Just ask yourself, “Have the books you read with people on the cover fall on the boring side of the spectrum compared to other books you’ve read?”

Did they tell a super compelling story or contain interesting information? Were they insightful and influential? Were they engaging to the point that you found yourself pondering over it or did they change your life in an amazing way? Apart from emotional appeal, did you like the writing styles? Were they dynamic and intriguing or mostly gibberish? And ultimately, did you find yourself feeling like you’ve wasted your time, dredging through to the end even though you didn’t really want to continue reading, then glanced at the cover, only to feel conflicted and even more sorry?

I’m really curious to see if you’ve ever looked through your books, saw the correlation, and can relate. Maybe you disagree and have read several books that fall completely outside of the proposed question.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green book dust jacket © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

I recently finished John Green’s latest book Turtles All the Way Down. Much like the rest of his books, I enjoyed reading it. I won’t go into details about the plot because I’ll end up giving everything away. It’s very different from his usual style and I appreciated his writing expression for purposes of the story.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Take notice that it doesn’t have people on the cover of it, yet it’s a very personal story. It’s been ranked #1 New York Times Bestseller, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller, and #1 International Bestseller, amongst other positive recognitions. I highly recommend it and I also think it should get double the stars for the little gem of a tuatara debossing on the main cover of the book.

Let me know what books you most and least enjoyed and your thoughts about them in relation to the question “Why is it that books that have pictures of people on the front so boring?”

I look forward to seeing if you noticed some of these things or gained insight into the question and what your answer is. I know I can’t be bitter or read too much into it. I’m just sorely disappointed that I never made the connection before and used my energy and time pushing through books that had an obvious clue of boredom attached to them. Perhaps in the future I’ll be better discerning about not judging a book by its cover. Tell me what do you think. After all, it’s just a thought for a rainy day! If anything this post was a fun opportunity to practice my newly developed image editing skills and post in response to A Face in the Crowd and I hope you enjoyed it!

Check out Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green which will be coming out Fall 2018 and is available for preorder. It actually doesn’t have a cover yet, so the anticipation is real in more ways than one *UPDATE- The book has been released now and the cover is beautiful!

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green book © 2018 ericarobbin.com | All rights reserved.

Also don’t forget to support your local library and local bookstore, you might find some treasures there you can’t find in big box brick and mortar and online retail stores. Subscribe so you don’t miss out on upcoming adventures! Have a great day and happy reading!


*Some links may be affiliates which means I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase using them at no additional cost to you. If you choose to use them I would like to say thank you and I appreciate the support!