Tag Archives: Facebook

@ShannonSKL: The “newest” member of Twitter

As I shared last week, I gave up Facebook for Lent. One week in, and I’m going strong.

With my Facebook-free time, I have written 2x more blog posts than in a typical week, started a new book, The Fault in Our Stars, and reactivated my previously neglected Twitter account.

I know you’re probably thinking that I’ve defeated the purpose of giving up Facebook (and you may be right), but I disagree and here’s why:

  1. Twitter is a surprisingly reliable avenue for news if you follow the credible news sources. I feel more connected to what’s going on around the world than I ever have before. Full disclosure: I also follow E! News and Perez Hilton, so some of the news I’m consuming is meaningless.
  2. I find it strangely fun to challenge my OCD for description, grammar, and punctuation when compiling a message in 160 characters or less.
  3. It’s an excellent resource for quick tips or links to articles on parenting, health, and more.
  4. As is with Facebook, I have found that I’m not wasting time reading the narration of a high school classmate’s daily life, but instead that Kristen Stewart was voted the least sexy actress in a list published in Britain and Fergie is loving her new #lovelyladybump.

Now that I’m officially a tweeter, I invite you to follow me @shannonskl. If you aren’t signed up, join me and we can figure out this #hashtagthing together.

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Facebook-free for 40 days

Lent is the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter that people of some faiths commit to fasting or giving up certain luxuries as a form of penance.

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have given up pop or chocolate for Lent. It’s not that I drink that much pop, but I really, really enjoy it when I do. On the contrary, I eat a lot of chocolate. Some may even consider my consumption of chocolate a form of addiction. 

This year, I have decided not to give up either. To be frank, between having the appetite of a growing teenage boy (thank you, Bridget) and preparing for our move in March, I will need the spurts of pleasure that both pop and chocolate provide. 

Back to the drawing board…

Source: Google
Source: Google

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have challenged myself to make better use of my not-so-much spare time: spend less time on my phone, read more, etc. Bingo! What is the greatest distraction of achieving this goal? Facebook. While I don’t consider Facebook to be a “luxury” (more like a bad habit one can’t kick), giving it up for 40 days would be a challenge. So, challenge accepted and no Facebook it is.

I have permitted myself three exceptions:

  1. If I receive a message, I can read it and respond. Come on, I don’t want to be rude.
  2. If I receive a notification from a group to which I belong, I can review it. I get frequent notifications from our HOA, work groups, etc. In many cases, Facebook is my only method of receiving this news.
  3. Brian can relay to me important news shared via Facebook and comment on my behalf if I deem appropriate. What if a friend of mine announces a pregnancy or has a baby? Again, I don’t want to be rude.

If you don’t receive a thumbs up from me on your next Facebook status or photo, now you know why.

So long, Facebook. See you in 40 days. Until then, I’ll be drinking a Pepsi, enjoying a Snickers, and cruising Pinterest.

Organizing my most cherished possessions: Pictures

If you had to leave your house suddenly and could only grab one possession, what would it be? The common answer is photographs (aside from family members and pets, of course).

I hope that I am never faced with that dilemma, but if I was, I found it unacceptable that, thanks to organization inspiration from Pinterest and months of nesting, I would know exactly where to grab the hand towels and brown sugar but wouldn’t even know where to begin for my pictures. My pictures are everywhere: albums, frames, phone, storage containers, Facebook, and flash drives. I needed to dedicate the same effort to organizing my pictures as I did to my laundry room and pantry. Especially now that another life is depending on me to document it.

Below is how I got organized for day forward (older pictures will have to wait until I come up with a plan for them).

  1. Organize the digital mess: Previously, I would save pictures in a folder consistent with its Facebook album name. However, I don’t post all my pictures to Facebook (even less so lately), so this naming convention wasn’t sufficient. After moving the pictures worth keeping from my phone to our computer (via email), I created very specific folder names (event, date, etc.), so I could easily locate pictures when needed.
  2. Clean up: As difficult as it was, I deleted all the “so-so” pictures. I decided that it was better to have a small number of quality pictures than dozens of average ones.
  3. Create the album: I dabbled in scrapbooking in high school and college, and while I appreciate the time and effort that goes into making one (a few of my best friends are scrapbooking experts and have beautiful books to show for it), it’s just not realistic for me.
    Custom Path by Shutterfly

    I opt to archive my pictures in a photo book. I created a few photo books in the past using Shutterfly but fell behind. Thanks to a LivingSocial deal for 60% off an 8×11 photo book, I revisited the site and was pleasantly surprised to find that they recently upgraded the experience with a new tool called “Custom Path” that offers thousands of digital scrapbooking assets: themes, pages of all colors and patterns, fonts, stickers, frames, etc. It’s just like scrapbooking without the add-up-quickly costs for embellishments and mess to clean up.

    I created my first photo book using the new tool to share the story of Bridget and absolutely love how it turned out. I am already onto the next one.

    Tip: Since May, Shutterfly has offered two LivingSocial deals for the Cleveland area. A hard cover, 20-page full color photo book is regularly $34.99 plus shipping. The deal is $14 and the only additional cost is $8.99 for shipping. I encourage you to sign up if you haven’t already.

  4. Associate the album with the digital files: The size of the photo book is great for a coffee table to share with guests or a bookshelf to have on hand for reminiscing. But then I thought about what I would do when Bridget’s class is hosting a “Guess the classmate by their baby picture” game. How would I get a physical copy of a picture without cutting it out of the book or “digging” through folders of pictures on a computer we may no longer have? (Yes, these are the type of questions that go through my mind.) So, I transferred all of the digital files that were used to create the photo book to a flash drive. Again, because I named the folders very specifically and only kept the pictures worth putting in the photo book, this was quite simple. I then put a small label sticker in the back of the photo book with a number and put the same numbered label on the flash drive to associate one with the other.
  5. Secure the pictures: Finally, I store the flash drives in a fire safe box for safe keeping.

The good stuff – Week of 8.5.12

Cheers to another week! Here’s the “good stuff” from last week:

– Bridget and I visited Brian at work for lunch. It was the first time I had been to Brian’s office and it was neat to see his workspace and meet his co-workers. Seeing Brian proudly show off Bridget never gets old.

– Brian’s former housemate from college, Randy, got married this past Friday. Thanks to Grams, Brian and I enjoyed a date night. It was so much fun catching up with Brian’s college friends and their significant others. There is never a dull moment when those guys get together. And, Bridget’s night with Grams was much more successful than the first. I’ve learned a lot these last few months, and one lesson is to celebrate the little victories!

Brian with his college friends

– My in-laws live about three hours west of Cleveland so it’s been difficult to visit as often as we’d like since Bridget was born. We finally made it back this weekend and had a wonderful time visiting with Brian’s parents and his oldest sister, Amy, and her family. My niece, Madison, and nephew, Mason, are so cute with Bridget. Having cousins of my own with whom I share so many fond memories, I am grateful that she will have cousins to go through life with as well.

BONUS: My mother-in-law made my absolute favorite dessert (well, maybe second favorite; French Silk pie still tops the list): Butterscotch Pecan Dessert, and we ate the whole dish. The. Whole. Dish. I was too busy eating to take a picture for this post, but the recipe is worth sharing. Even if you’re not crazy about butterscotch (which I’m not), give it a try:

BUTTERSCOTCH PECAN DESSERT:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup of chopped pecans, divided
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
1 8 oz. carton frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
3 1/2 cups of milk
2 packages (3.4 or 3.5 oz. each) instant butterscotch pudding mix

In a bowl, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Stir in 1/2 cup of pecans. Press into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Fold in one cup of whipped topping; spread over crust. Combine milk and pudding mix until smooth; pour over cream cheese layer. refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until set. Top with remaining whipped topping and pecans. refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

– I snapped this photo tonight and got a good laugh from it. For anyone on Facebook or Pinterest, it seems like there should be some funny quote attached to it but I’m not creative enough to think of one. If you can, feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Five Minute Friday: Here

It’s Friday and time for another Five Minute Friday. As I shared last week, this is a brief writing exercise prompted by one word.

This week’s word is here.

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It’s funny how such a small word can be so powerful: love, pray, here.

In this fast-paced world, I fear that we’re not doing enough of enjoying here, and I’m guilty of this too.

We’re cruising Pinterest, pinning images of bigger, better houses instead of enjoying here; the home we have filled with our memories and our photos. We’re at a party surrounded by family and friends, yet we’re more focused on who is doing what on Facebook. We’re Instagram-ing photos to post there instead of to remember here. And we’re too busy planning for next week and next month to truly enjoy the here and now…the only time we’re actually guaranteed.

Yes, it is funny how such a small word can be so powerful. Here I go; making a greater effort to enjoy my here: my home, my family, my friends, my photos, my time.