Highlights

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I look at this image and it pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment, soon embarking down a new path – while still trying to take in the beauty and enjoy the journey as you walk toward the fog unknown.

So, you might have noticed that I was M.I.A. for two weeks prior to my last post (on what had to be the bright spot since we last caught up, my time at the AFI Film Festival). Rather than go into the details as to why, I’ll leave it at that it’s because they’ve been pretty lousy weeks if I’m at all honest. I’m definitely at a proverbial crossroads in my life. I realize that when things aren’t going so well, it’s probably a good time as ever to sit down and write about it to help give you perspective and get things off your chest, but I often struggle with how much to share and how much to keep private here, particularly when you take into account that once you put something out into the blogosphere, you never know how it might come back to bite you in the ass. As such, I’ve taken the approach of usually writing about the lesson learned, or what the universe is trying to tell me through whatever difficulty, and perhaps my feelings about it, rather than go into specifics. It just works for me.

It didn’t help that I got sick during this time, but as I look back over it now that I’ve (nearly) recovered, it wasn’t a surprise. I don’t get sick too often, but when I do, it typically takes place around a time of immense stress for me. I think my immune system likely takes a bit of a nose dive, I’m likely not eating enough or right, and therefore become more susceptible to not being able to fight off a simple virus that I would otherwise kick the crap out of. Though it always sucks to be home sick, I actually welcomed it with open arms this time around. I was actually grateful to be lying in bed for 3 days straight nursing a cold because it immediately put things in perspective. (It was also a productive time to get through my Netflix queue). It finally got my mind off the things that were bothering me, and forced me to focus on taking care of myself and getting some rest. In other words, it forced me to be present. It also made me realize that while I think the aforementioned situation that’s been bugging me still sucks, it’s not worth further jeopardizing my health over.

Add in the fact that I think anyone who has a passion for blogging (or whatever your choice passion may be), also goes through phases of complete burnout and lack of inspiration, and it’s almost required of you to take a step back and regroup. My only regret was that I didn’t say so before I took that break (sorry!). I’m still here…for the time being.

The good news is that things are starting to turn around for the better, mostly because I’ve learned to accept the situation (after much moping about it) and then because I decided to do something about it (once I stopped moping about it), which is quite empowering. You know that old saying along of the lines of: accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you can?

Well, I’m decidedly changing them.

I’m grateful that I’m at least in a situation where I can. I’m pretty nervous about it, I admit. It’ll be a journey to get where I’m trying to go and likely a bumpy one, but what I know for sure is that it’s time to take it. I’ve gotten my sign. I only hope that I remember to try to see the beauty in it, trust my instincts, and enjoy it. Somehow this black and photo I came across while looking for the perfect image to go with this post makes me feel more confident about taking new paths.

It’s my first weekend back in the swing of things since the last two found me at the festival one weekend, and home sick last weekend. I’m looking forward to it.

Have a nice weekend! x

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 Image credit: “Un instant magique” by Fan.D & Dav.C Photography used under CC BY.

Highlights

5 completely random things I learned this week…

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1. Unfortunately, the “best iced latte in America” is overrated.

As evidenced from the image above, you can see that I’ve been up to my ol’ shenanigans again on the latte front. I told you I’d be back after my first visit to Go Get Em Tiger (yes, that’s the coffee bar’s name) to say hello again to the current reining champion of the “best iced latte in America,” to see if perhaps I misjudged my rather uninspired experience a few weeks ago. I didn’t. I was actually even more underwhelmed this time. I ordered the drink just the way it comes: espresso, their famous almond-macadamia milk, and ice. I deduced that it is, in fact, the almond-macadamia milk itself that I don’t care for. What’s interesting is that I’m a lover of all milk types: almond, soy, whole, non-fat….I guess just not when macadamia nuts are involved. So there you have it boys and girls, I’m breaking up with Go Get Em Tiger’s almond-macadamia/best-latte-in-America for good. However, it still wins my heart for having the most creative business name yet.

2. The irony of “Rich Hill.”

As evidenced from the image above (but not exactly clear), I’m in the lobby of the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood, not only coming to the conclusion noted in #1, but waiting to see what turned out to be an amazing documentary film, Rich Hill. It’s a moving portrait of three young boys and their families as they live day-to-day in Rich Hill, MO – population: 1,393. The irony is that its inhabitants are far from “rich,” monetarily-speaking. The film subtly enters Andrew, Appachey, and Harley’s world sharing the harsh socioeconomic conditions plaguing much of small town America, and how our youth is navigating the journey. I encourage you to see this film. It’s a narrative told so beautifully, so gracefully, it leaves you wanting more. You get to know the boys in such a way that you care about what happens next. This is not a case of it being over once the screen fades to black.

3. Don’t leave fresh produce in the car while waiting in the lobby to see Rich Hill, snapping the image above, as you come to said conclusions about lattes.

Clearly, NOT evidenced from the image above, I stopped at the Larchmont Farmers’ Market to buy my favorite type of lettuce to make salads for the week ahead before heading to the movies. Somehow it seemed completely OK to me to leave lettuce in the car…in 100° weather…while I went and saw a movie. I just love throwing away money, especially, just after watching a documentary about poverty in America. This was a total “what the hell was I thinking?” moment.

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4. I’m 3 years behind on the realizing how incredible Beyoncé’s 4 album is.

Sure, I heard the singles released to the public, but after catching Beyoncé’s “Life is But a Dream” documentary on HBO Go earlier this week for the 2nd time, I was enticed to actually listen to the entire album. How did I miss what an incredible record this is? It’s been on repeat all week. Better late, than never I guess.

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5. A change of scenery works.

Like most people, I spend HOURS a day on the computer because of my job…and because that’s how society works these days. I also spend much of my free time blogging. That means, I’m on a computer – ALOT. It was an invigoriatiog change of pace to grab my laptop, headphones, and notebook and head over to a local cafe to sit and blog for almost 4 hours on a warm Saturday afternoon. Though I have a nice, comfortable desk set-up at home  (in front of a large window no less), and a coffee machine on my kitchen counter – I found the change of scenery inspiring as I worked on a post for the week ahead. Forgive yet another photo of a latte, but between you and me…it was better than the one above anyway…and half the cost.

I’m looking forward to some me time this weekend. So, I’m taking myself to the Van Gogh exhibit at the LACMA and then I’m off to see a new indie dramedy that should be right up my alley. Admittedly, I’m more excited for the Q&A than the film itself (and p.s. this never happens, I usually don’t care for Q&As and often skip them, but this one features two of my favorites.). I’m SO EXCITED. I’ll fill you in next week.

Happy weekend to you!

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Two Years.

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Today marks my 2 year blogoversary! And while the 2nd year often has a nasty reputation when it comes to human development, dubbed the “terrible twos,” I’ve found that with blogging this is quite the opposite when it comes to creative life development.  There’s nothing terrible about your 2nd year in the blogosphere. You only get better, so it only gets better! And when you do stumble along the way (as you’re bound to do), you have the perfect outlet to find your way.

When it comes to reflections on why I blog and how it’s changed me, I feel the same way I did when I reached my first milestone this time last year. I won’t rehash what I said there (because I think I said it as eloquently and succinctly as I ever could); but I’ll re-assert the idea that this site, my space among the cosmos as I think of it, still keeps me on my toes, learning and growing, fulfilling myself in creative expression and building a voice that I am proud of.

What I like about All That Glitters is that I don’t think it follows a genre, per say – though many “blogger rules” say this is a no-no. If you’re a fashion blogger, you blog about fashion. If you’re a beauty blogger, beauty. And a travel blogger, well, better keep things as exotic as possible. I hate being put into any kind of a box in my life, so I refuse to do it here.

If I were to characterize myself, I’d say I’m a lifestyle blogger, though I realize that the contradiction here is that I am, in fact, placing myself into a box by simply even calling myself this. I looked up the definition of “lifestyle” and got “the way people live at a particular time and place.” Taking this definition into account and perhaps also adding a spin to it in my mind of “how people live,” makes this particular characterization appeal to me. I think of it simply as blogging about “life.” And “life” is a term that covers every facet involved with it, giving me the freedom to use this space however my imagination chooses.

I choose it all.

In celebration of All That Glitters‘ 2nd birthday – I spent quite a bit a time looking over my blogging journey this last year, re-visiting old posts and smiling fondly at great moments along the way (with admittedly, a few of those “what was I thinking?” moments, too).

These are my most  favorite posts since my 1st blogoversary, not in any particular order. I hope you’ll enjoy looking back on them with me today as I raise a glass and say cheers!


Journey of a Dress: From Princess to Fashion Legend  ·  April 7, 2014
 …to Downtown LA We Go  ·  July 23, 2014
A New Perspective on Stress & A First World Problem  ·  September 17, 2013
Back to the Future, Living in the Past  ·  June 25, 2014
You Can’t Eat Beauty ·  March 5, 2014
A Day in the Garden  ·  October 23, 2013
Highlights  ·  July 11, 2014
Photo Diary: Happy Birthday in Ojai  ·  May 12, 2014
The Big Picture: A Night at the Oscars  ·    September 4, 2013
100 Happy Days: The End  ·  July 9, 2014
Where Bookworms Go To Party · April 14, 2014
3 Years at Bottega Louie   ·  January 30, 2014

Thank you so much for helping me make it to year 2! Onward, my friends…

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*Image credit: “Let’s cheers…” by nImAdestiny, used under CC BY / text added from original.

Highlights & Milestones

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{Screenshot from my phone of when I hit my Twitter milestone.}


I started blogging August 1st, 2012 and it’s been quite a journey. I won’t go into much detail today about what I’ve learned thus far, that’s a post for another day, but I do want to talk about milestones. Suffice to say that for reasons mentioned here, I spent the bulk of my start doubting myself – a really nasty side effect when you’re a total perfectionist like I am. I wanted things to be perfect before I started promoting my site, particularly when you see the competition out there. I mean, there are some really great blogs in the world.

I’ve always been a writer in one form or another since I was really young. I had a passion for words and stories. I fondly recall making outlines for murder mysteries when I was a kid. I even remember sitting at our family computer (on Windows 95!) for hours writing chapters for a fictional novel. I kept journals on-and-off for years, and wrote another private blog just a few years before All That Glitters that I never told anyone about (though I guess I just did now).

When I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist and study journalism in college. I actually ended up in film school, but I that’s a long story. What’s pretty funny thinking back as I write this, is that out of all the cinematography, editing, and technical classes I took in film school, the classes that I loved most where either in screenwriting or film theory (which required a lot of interpretive writing about film – combining my love of writing with my love of cinema).

I had always been consistently told time and time again by my teachers and professors that I was a great writer. (This is not to brag, just to emphasize a point to come.)

So, writing wasn’t what held me back in the beginning, it was more or less learning about the “business” of blogging: how to make yourself stand out in a crowd of millions, how to promote yourself, how to develop an aesthetic and tone, how to shoot and edit more visually appealing photographs, how to create a blogging schedule, and most importantly, how develop engaging content (which takes more than being a good writer). Ultimately, it was these aspects that I was looking to perfect first and then put myself out there – what in the world was I thinking? Learning is all apart of the process when cultivating a hobby. Realistically, I know that there can’t be perfection, but you can learn to fine tune this train of thought into becoming more experienced, rather than perfect.

The point is that it’s an on-going learning process and one, that if you’re doing it right, will always be. If you’re perfect at something, then there’s no where for you to grow and wouldn’t that be kind of boring after a while?

What still surprises me out of the nearly 300 posts that I’ve written, is that the post where I took the plunge, bought a domain name, and shared a bit of my blogging journey at 10 months, is still my most commented post to-date. I got comments from many bloggers saying that they were going through the exact same thing. There’s that gentle reminder again that we’re all more alike than we think.

Yet, I have a confession to make. Yes, I did become more active in networking with other bloggers and building a community after that post – but no I can’t say that I was giving 110%. I started blogging as a hobby and initially, promoting my site after that post felt like work.

(I already have a full-time job, thank you!)

So while I kept blogging and sharing content, loosely networking with other bloggers, a more solid effort could have been made on my part. Some of that was due to my perfectionism trying to make my site more “perfect,” some just due to sheer laziness (it’s A LOT of work to promote anything – I don’t care what it is), some due to time constraints, but mostly because I wasn’t truly using the resources available to me.

I knew I wasn’t where I should be having been blogging for nearly 2 years! Let me preface that this was okay with me because it was (and is) just a hobby for the time being, but for some reason as of late, I wanted to take things to the next level.

So the biggest highlight of my week is blogging-related, when I made the conscious decision to really start networking more strongly and consistently with up-and-coming bloggers. I wanted to educate myself through other bloggers and blogging websites as well. I also set two milestones: 1.) more followers on Twitter, and 2.) more page views on any given day.

I met both milestones.

I doubled my Twitter following in a week and a half! The page views on my site have seen an improvement, and I was a Blogionaire on March 14th making it a great day on All That Glitters.

I hit my goal of 100 Twitter followers (and am now even over that!). To some this may seem pretty laughable, because if I really want to promote my site I need to be in the thousands, but the reason that I’m sharing this milestone is because it’s a testament to what you can do when you set your goal and go for it. No, my Google Analytics aren’t stellar by any means, but baby steps are okay. Blogging is supposed to be fun and it wouldn’t be for me if I got too wrapped up in those types of numbers.

I do often wonder how much further along I would be had I done what my original plan was. That plan was to blog for a month (to test commitment and build content first) and then start actively promoting it. This never happened. It took a year before I REALLY put All That Glitters out there and since I’m still writing about it – it’s taken even longer than that.

What I can tell you as I’m learning how to navigate the world of promotion more seriously on social media specifically, is that Twitter has been the biggest and best resource to meet others and build a following. Facebook is A way, but not THE way. In fact, I only keep a Facebook page for those who prefer to use this medium to follow me, otherwise, I’d likely cancel it. Twitter is much more open and active when it comes to networking – hearing from a complete stranger is common and welcomed, jumping into the middle of  a Twitter chat or Twitter party does wonders, and those annoying hash-tags (#) and retweets actually do something!

Though I consciously realize that there is no such thing as “perfect,” I suppose I have to accept that this is just part of who I am. I’ve been this way my whole life and it won’t likely change overnight. Admittedly, I like this about myself. It pushes me to always want to do and be better. However, I’m aiming to remind myself to seek experience over perfection, while still doing what works for me.

Given where I am in life right now, what works is publishing 3 times a week (as opposed to everyday as I did when I first started…and burned out quickly trying to keep up with others); spending time connecting with other bloggers (more so in consistency than in quantity to really get to know them); using the resources available to me; continuing to learn tips and tricks (because believe it or not, marketing is a game, and you have to learn how to play); and finally, writing about the things that I love.

The best advice I read recently was from another very successful blogger on emerging industries and her advice was to “write the blog you want to read.” I can’t think of a more simple way to alleviate perfectionism in any creative endeavor. If you would read it, then that’s good enough. If you would eat it, then that’s good enough. If you would wear it, then that’s good enough. It’s really all you can do.

I don’t know where the site will take me. Perhaps blogging will always remain just a hobby – though it’s truly growing into an industry onto itself with lots of career opportunities if you can seize them.

No matter what happens, these 2 years so far have taught me skills that will carry me down any path I choose and I think setting milestones is the best way to keep moving forward.

Thanks for indulging a rather lengthy post today and please share a comment on how you deal with the 3 P’s: perfecting, promoting, and publishing in this crazy world we call blogging.

Have a magical weekend!

I’m off to hit my next milestone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Plan to Spend My Summer Vacation

They say youth is wasted on the young. I might also add so are summer vacations. Three months of complete carefree freedom – no bills, no big worries other than your new first day of school outfit, and plenty of opportunities to sleep during a time when 3 months seemed like a really long time. I find that as I get older, I hear myself saying “rent is due again!” more and more frequently.

Year after year of the famed summer vacation as a kid through my college years was always welcomed, though became more and more complicated as I got older (insert summer job/responsibility here), but likely nothing compared to what a summer vacation would look like today as an adult if I had 3 entire months to do whatever, whenever I wanted.

What once was an endless day doing arts and crafts at the Boys & Girls Club when I was 10, ironically would be similar, but on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean. I’d still read books, veg in front of the TV for hours while eating incessantly (not gaining a pound, of course) with the caveat being that I would be in the middle of a 3 month tour of Europe, and this was just how I would choose to unwind after a day exploring the city.

While I’m grateful for being steadily employed, I won’t let a little thing like a full-time job prevent me from having the summer of my life. While I won’t be in the middle of the Mediterranean making art collages, nor will I be stuffing my face with pasta all day while watching re-runs of Friends dubbed in Italian during my European adventure, I do have big plans to enjoy the California sunshine, explore the time of year that LA really comes alive, and make collages all summer long…for my blog. In fact, here’s one now…

How I Plan to Spend My Summer Vacation

How I plan to spend summer

Picnics. Outdoor movies/Cinespia. On the beach. Under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl. Hiking. Reading. At the movies. Yoga. Farmers’ markets. Eating cupcakes. Museums. Blogging. Milkshakes. Bookstores. Fruity inspired everything. LA County Fair. Drive-ins. My favorite grilled cheese joint. Iced lattes, lattes, lattes! A weekend getaway with my guy, place: TBD. The beach again.

…And exploring my beloved LA as much as I can.

Happy Summer!

🙂

Highlights

Blend

I started All That Glitters 10 months ago this week, as a way to express myself creatively, to share what I love, to find the beauty in everything, to simply celebrate life.

It has been such a great learning experience and totally fulfilling. At the same time it’s been equally time-consuming and challenging. Since I love a challenge, I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the first 6 months of All That Glitters, I wrote it in secret; focusing purely on building content, finding my voice, ensuring that I had the drive to be consistent with my readers, experimenting with the aesthetics of the site, and seeing if I had what it takes among the millions of blogs out there. It wasn’t until February of this year that I officially introduced my blog to everyone I knew, the day I started my What I’m Lovin’ Right Now series.

I’m sure many bloggers can identify that the hardest part of blogging is not in the development, the writing (though writer’s block is a bitch, excuse my French), and while finding the time can be tricky; it’s the promotion that can be the most challenging – getting your blog out there and making it stand out.

Looking back, there were many reasons that I chose to take on this passion project of mine, but keep it to myself. It was something to pour all this built up creative energy into. While I was at least lucky enough to have viewers and followers since its inception, I essentially lost out on 6 months of building a solid blogging community because of the approach I took by sharing it publicly, but not actively putting it out there. Somehow, I kept telling myself that I wanted it to be perfect before I took the plunge and then my perfectionist disposition realized that there would always be room for improvement, SO JUST GO FOR IT.

And thus begins the promotion aspect of my site and connecting with other blogger nerds like myself. I promise not to be too obnoxious. 🙂

This week I spent countless hours playing catch-up by networking with other bloggers, setting up my social media sites, and finally registering a domain name.

All That Glitters can now officially be found on:

Website: allthatglittersla.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LAGlitterGirl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllThatGlittersLA

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/candiantoinette/

If you’re a blogger, please connect with me on any of these networks and share your site’s links. Next week, I’d like to dedicate a post to pure link love where I’ll post as many sites to other blogs as I can to spread the good cheer! (Because promotion is a bitch – please excuse my French, again).

Thank you so much for your likes, comments, follows, and support. Keep in touch!

love & light,

Candice

Highlights

This week has been pretty high and low for me. Things have been going very well at work. I had an amazing performance review a few days ago and feel like I’ve gotten to a place professionally where I’ve worked my booty off enough to prove I’m ready to take it up a notch and my boss is in complete support of that. Yay!

However, physically I’ve been extremely lethargic. I just haven’t had any energy lately. Simply put, I’ve been dragging. Headaches keep coming and going, my allergies are insane thanks to all the pollen in the air, and I wake up tired most mornings. No bueno. So I’ve been spending the last few days trying to figure out what’s off balance with myself and my life lately that’s causing this prolonged fatigue.

Well, I try to get to bed at a decent time and usually get my 8 hours. Admittedly though, I’m the lightest sleeper ever. Every noise wakes me up and there are times I’ll wake up 3 times in the middle the night – but this hasn’t been too much of an issue lately. I make a good effort to eat well, though there’s always room for improvement. And off the bat, I’ll admit where I have been the absolute worst is in my exercise habits lately. Outside of my yoga classes, I know I should be doing more cardio. I try not to stress myself out too much, but this is a weaker area for me and my perfectionist disposition. I drink plenty of water, but something that I stopped doing that seems to make a difference is taking vitamins. This has been my train of thinking on the issue.

So I did what any normal person would do and Google’d it. 🙂

I read WebMD’s Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy and instantly found areas where I have been having no-no behavior (like skipping meals). 😦

So the long holiday weekend will be spent resetting some my behaviors to work on my energy levels; seeing the most anticipated summer blockbuster on my list, Fast 6 (no laughing!), and getting some errands done. I hope you all have a relaxing and fun-filled Memorial Day weekend! xx

Here are some of my week’s highlights:

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{ Mindy Kaling’s book has been making life a bit funnier.}

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{Seeing Sarah Polley’s New Documentary, Stories We Tell.}

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{New changes coming on my blog. Doing a little research first.}