Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Top 7 Favorite Thrift Core Blog Posts. Looking Back on 5 Years of Blogging.

I've spent hours of the past week embroiled in a project I suspended in January/February for being too time-consuming; organizing over 1,000 past Thrift Core blog posts into an easy-to-scan archive. One. By. One. I lost count of the hours 24 in. I want the archive so new and old readers alike can access hundreds of useful articles on topics you can't easily access with my current navigation and it will be helpful as I apply for creative writing work. I have 100 posts left to sort through, I can't wait to share this archive with you! (There are so many subjects, more than I realized!)


An unexpected side affect of archiving was a reflection on my writing style and blog history over the years. I'll have more details later, but I worked well over 65 hours between two jobs when I first started this blog and the earliest posts were rushed. There are times were I cranked out filler posts instead of waiting to release something meaningful. Combine that with some stubborn perfectionism/business OCD and there's not a lot in my blog archive I'm proud of. It's weird, but it encourages me to post more quality into the future.

The following are my favorite posts from the past five years. These are the rare posts where I feel like my "real" voice or writing style shines through, posts that I feel have a great visual look the whole way through or advice that really came from the heart. Each one also has a particular "flow" the pleases me. Out of now 995 posts (posts with lost photos were removed, probably 25 or more early ones) these are the ones I truly love.


# 1. The Spring Cleaning Post: I have a particular funny/sarcastic writing style that I can never tap into while blogging. For this ONE blog post, in the wee morning hours, the writing just flowed exactly like it used to when I felt like my writing was its best. After 10PM, by the way, is when our circadian rhythms dictate we should be sleeping and dreaming, this is when some of our best ideas and work-flow comes. It's bad for you but hey, it worked this time serendipitously. I chatted with a writer who described this flow as when the writing just "falls out of your head"- that's what it did here and hasn't done again since. I wish it was always like this. It's a silly non-sequitur post and I hate the rushed photos, but it's my favorite blog post. It's the only one that reads like I used to write before I was trained into a certain style for copywriting. Give it a read, you may notice the difference.


# 2. The Mexican Fisherman Story: A lesson I've experienced and really believe in. I hate how I edited that first illustration, love the second one though. They're from books I thrifted for their illustrations.


# 3. Why I'm So Passionate About Creativity: A Story of High School Craziness: A Story I'd been dying to tell for years. And I still held back A LOT. I reveal a little of my past crazy side with old pervy drawings and comics while telling the story of my F-Rated "ghetto" (fellow student's word, local legend's word, not mine) school and its impact on my creativity.

# 4. Wake Up and Live. A Story From my Marketing Nadir + Indie Business Help For You: A little choppy, but I was glad to reveal another honest part of my work story. I signed a non-disclosure agreement and I can't talk a lot about my old work legally, but I've been dying to show an honest side of the hard part of the best job I ever had besides Thrift Core. I have to write these I'm-Taking-Clients-and-Advertisers reminders and I wanted to try something that came from a very vulnerable, honest place. This is also one of the rare posts where I love the image I took specifically for the post as much as the content. I often run out of time for it but I want every single post to have a photograph or illustration I made specifically for it that not only fits the theme perfectly but is just as good as the words. Something unique, too.

You're noticing a trend of beating myself up over content, aren't you? My OCD grows worse as I age. Moving on...

# 5. Hoarder Prevention and Purging for Thrifters, Creators, Stuff-Lovers, and You Another post where a bit of my real voice and flow came out, though not nearly to the extent of my number one pick. When I started this blog I was a bit of a hoarder and dreamed of being a minimalist. Since then I took a Buy Nothing New Pledge and sold off hundreds of possessions. I'm finally the minimalist I always wanted to be! This post perfectly articulates the lessons I've learned. I do believe this is the post I share the most. So many Americans and Canadians, especially artists and thrifters, struggle with this one.


# 6. Simplify Your Life in 5 Simple Steps: For Thrifters, Creatives, Busy People and YOU! Another post that "flowed" with just the right amount of non-fluff action steps to help streamline your life. + Organized Home Checklist: Transform Your Messy Life into Streamlined Efficiency Another similar one I hold in equal regard. Looks good, easy to read, practical action steps that work. Another post I share a lot. The photos and their placement all really works in this one, too. Even the colors turned out to be natural ones I use often in my brand.


# 7. 5 Ways to Reboot Creativity for When You Just...Can't...Any...More... This post, like the one above, comes from honest experience and I enjoy how it's non-fluff, all-action. I learned these steps the hard way over the years running my own business, taking on too much, and trashing my life emotionally and physically. It has photos a lot of my favorite things, too. (Bike, my neighborhood, nearby indie businesses, healthy food, etc.)

Honorable Mention 1 Being My Mother's Daughter. Creative Genesis, Culture, and Improving From the Past: I'm distant from my family, but trying to get closer. We live in the same city, I can count the times I've seen them on one hand. I'm sorting through physical/mental abuse from the past. (As most of us are. Former-Catholic tradition?) This post was written to help bridge the gap a little, things will get better. For full disclosure my family is very kind/helpful/patient with me now-a-days.

Honorable Mention 2 The Loudmouth Lifestyle and Thrift Core's 10 Tips for Early Entrepreneur Money Pains: This one is just from last week, but I learned a lot from it. I love how it's honest tips from two struggling entrepreneurs with similar pasts (Steph and I spent hours writing on the computer before-it-was-cool during our middle school days). Not everyone agreed with our advice but I like that it started a conversation and discussed something many are afraid too: money problems. A lot of us are struggling right now. From what friends and e-mails are telling me, even those with amazing careers who are gainfully employed are miserable on the money-front. If we all discussed it more, we could help each other. We're not growing when we're putting up a facade of everything being "okay" when it's not.

There needs to be more honesty, and not everyone's opinions are going to align perfectly. Too many bloggers are afraid to be controversial and "real" with their opinions for fear of shaking up the status quo, getting negative feedback or losing advertisements or readers. I've been in that boat more than once, but not anymore. Things are only going to get more Real into the future. I hope everyone will respond with understanding and compassion instead of immediate abandonment of tact when there's an opinion they don't agree with. I fully believe you won't because you're god damned awesome and I love you for being here!

Honorable Mention 3 Cats, Japan, Cats, Japan. Of course this is a favorite post. Two of my favorite things. I also went through hundreds of photos and was careful about the selection so the textures/colors work well and feel like the copy has just enough on the story of each cat. Perhaps nearly a tie with my Miami Vice Confession. Travel is a favorite thing in life and I'm excited to write more about it.

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I'll have more favorite posts coming sorted by genre (and that sexy new archive, so excited) coming soon.

I highly recommend a scroll through your blog archives, writing, or creative work of any kind, if you haven't already. Choose your favorites. Analyze why these are your favorites. You picked your favorites because this what you love to write about or do the most. It can you help you streamline your goals for the future. This mid-year time is a perfect time for reflection.
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12 comments:

  1. It is interesting and usually beneficial to go back and look at any type of work. You can see progress (hopefully!) which is always encouraging. I'm creeping up on 900 posts-- just checked. I had no idea it was that many.

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    1. It's crazy how it all adds up, huh? :D And yes, looking back I definitely see progress, which is encouraging.

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  2. Wow! I love that you did this. And I like your commentary about the Spring Cleaning Post. I was also trained to write professionally and it changed how my own voice sounds in my writing.

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    1. Aw, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I want to try the techniques I started reading in "The Artist's Way". I hope it helps me get my "real" voice back.

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  3. You're awesome. I love how you are always striving for better and sharing your journeys and internal dialogue as you go. You allow us to ourselves we are the same. I haven't gone through my archives, although it is on my to do list. I know I have a lot of dead wood that could be cleaned out from my earlier days or at re-hashed into something better now.

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    1. I think mine was the first to-do for new years but when it started sucking up hours I abandoned it. Same here with the dead wood. I am not sharing some of the very earliest posts, and not merely because those images are lost now, haha! They were baaaad...

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  4. Thanks for posting these. I've only found you in the last year or so, so it's nice to read some of your older pieces.

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    1. I'm glad you like 'em. The full archive will make it easier, can't wait to have that finished and up for browsing.

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  5. Awesome blog, congrats! Soon I will have a guest post and in the question of 3 fave blogs, I picked yours between :) andddd on my favorites last week I included your Vintage Life Lessons :D Go, go girl, you rock!

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    1. Aw, thanks for the kind words and the link love!

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  6. Your posts are always excellent because they are authentic and genuine. I don't find many bloggers that seem as real and sincere as you do. I feel that most of your blog readers feel that we personally know you. That is your very best trait, I don't think that is easy to do and you have mastered it. Rock on with your fantastic blog posts~always a good read, my friend!

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    1. I try, I'm glad they're enjoyed and I'm considered a friend :) It's much easier to let out my exact feelings when I feel them than to hold back and put up a facade. Cathartic, even. And I know more people can relate to that than the "magazine perfection" that popular to portray these days.

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