A contest and a plea!


Since we moved to Virginia, my blogging has gone downhill. I can't say why for sure--I have the time, and I'm still very interested. Be that as it may, though, I am barely squeaking out a few posts a month, and I hate it. With BlogHer looming in the increasingly near future, I feel especially crappy about not providing my readers with any content, or myself with the outlet to write and communicate that I know I need.

So I need a boost. A project. A way to get back into blogging. I've been thinking for a while about what that boost might be, and I'm coming up blank. I started listening to this book, Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant. Basically, she started a blog to document her project of spending an entire year putting all of Oprah Winfrey's advice into practice in her own life (and the project later became a book). It's fascinating. It's not all about Oprah--it touches on all sorts of things. I've always liked stuff like that--people who do something every day and blog about it. The Little Brown Dress Project. All the blogs that post daily outfits. My friend El's husband's hat-a-day blog. Even my own History Making Women series. I like the idea of committing to doing something every day for a set period of time and following through on that commitment--it demands some discipline, which I could frankly use, and the rote-ness of it adds something to what you get out of it.

So, this is where you come in. Give me a project. I'm gonna decide on the time frame, and it's going to depend on what it is, but I want you to task me. Tell me what I should do.

And I'm serious about this, so there's a prize. Whomever gives me the idea I take up gets an extra special sample basket, made up of stuff from the Little Black Box and Out of the Box sampler boxes I get every month. Not just the stuff I didn't want, either--the good stuff. But here's make your suggestions fast, because this contest ends in one week's time, at midnight on Thursday, April 29. My plan will be to start my new task on May 1.



I'm seriously going to get right on thinking about this. THe only thing I know is that it needs photos. Lots and lots of photos.

Every day, you must make up a convincing character background and today's intentions for one random stranger who crosses your path. For example, that young blond girl you pass on the sidewalk when you're walking your dog on Tuesday? Who is she? Where is she headed? Why is she out here at 2:00 on a Tues. afternoon?

That guy at the thrift store Wed.; what was he doing there? He's not your typical thrift store denizen. Flush him out!

Everyone's got a story. I want to hear them!

Draw something every day. At least a brief sketch, but more elaborate on days where the mood hits you just right. Scan and post it on your blog daily, with a short explanation of what you drew, why (if there is a reason), and point out the parts of the drawing you like best. After a set time-period, you'll see a marked improvement in your skills.

Last year (or maybe two years ago) I was part of a site that did a short post about local items of interest. it could be stores, landmarks, current construction, cool tree. Whatever...just take a picture and maybe a few lines about why you're posting. It would be cool to see what makes an impression, PLUS we get the added thrill of spying, I mean, seeing into your soul.

Choose one word (any word) each day and do a blog post about it, including a picture relating to the word.

Lame? hee hee sorry, I'm not very good at suggestions!

Every day, using only items that are CURRENTLY (5/1) in your house, make a new outfit complete with accessories. Blog about what you want to see change in your wardrobe, how to pare it down to a real working wardrobe.

Think of a new super power you wish you had everyday and how you would use it for good OR evil. Occasionally both.

I'd like to hear, daily, one thing that you were proud of/pleased about accomplishing that day.

'm a teacher by trade, so I'm wondering about the local history of your new place. There is so much to learn about VA! Maybe something called Past and Present, where you can find out more about your new home.

For 26 days, take one letter of the alphabet and make it your theme for the day. If you select "G" - then wear green, make food that begins with "G" - do an activity that beings with a "G" (should grocery shopping count?) or read something by an author with the last or first name beginning with a "G." I think it should be okay if you go out of order, as long as you cover all 26 letters. Yeah, you might have trouble with "X" and "Q" but you're creative - I'll bet you could come up with something. :)

Write down a list (say, 30 if you want to do a month long project at first) of Important Things To Me. Be they reproductive rights or the importance of a good cookie. Every day, write a blog post about why you believe in that Important Thing. No apologies, no self deprecation, just hey, this is what I think is Important and this is Why. It would get new readers to know more about you, and you may find our some things about yourself (good things!) you didn't realize before.

You've always been fascinated by religion, and you've gone through periods where you've genuinely wanted to be religious but just couldn't believe.

It'd be interesting to see you jump into a new religion every month for a period of time. Attend their services, read their texts, read about their history, reflect on the things that are unique/valuable/trashy/universal among them. Not just as an observer but as a real participant. I think it'd be too hard emotionally to do this with only one religion, which is why I'd advocate a multi-faith approach. You could conclude with a month dedicated to active disbelief, atheism/agnosticism.

Buy one of those "Today in History" 365 desk calendars or go to a website like history.com's "this day in history".

Then every day, write a little story about the people (real or imagined) and how they may have experienced that event. Or something inspired by that event.

However many days of thrifted outfits/accessories. A picture, a description of where you got the items, prices if possible. I think it mixes up things that you're really passionate about and good at, selecting clothes, and thrifting.

An entry given to me in another forum:

Here's what I think you should do:

1. Get one of those seriously enormous vintage housekeeping hints/domesticity books. The sort of thing filled with instructions on how to do things that you didn't even know people did (I'm supposed to be sunning my rugs?*) I have like six of these books. I could send you a couple. Also, have at least one modern book, just to check against.

2. Choose one thing or category of thing from the book and do it each week.

Sometimes this thing will be ridiculously out-of-date, and you'll have a funny post. You'll acquire skills on keeping your house in order, though, which you do want anyway. Also, I'd be really interested in your blogging your thoughts on gender and housework and such as they come up.

You can illustrate this whole thing with photos of you in cute retro cleaning outfits you get from etsy.

It would be awesome. A feminist stuck in the suburbs decides to undertake mid-century domesticity

A year of spotlighting the faces of why health care reform is needed. Specifically, the children and those forgotten by current health legislation.

Or, pick up a new flylady habit a day or similar. Far more pertinent to real life then!

Okay, thought I posted this before....

This is kinda based on an idea I have for my blog this summer (or starting a new blog for this) about my CSA share. The theme: "Work with what you've got." In my case it would be "Watch me not buy any produce in addition to my share and feed my family."

In your case, howzabout setting the goal that you will not re-wear any item of clothing you own until you have worn every other piece at least once? Underthings obviously excepted -- but special occasions and weather emergencies *not* excepted, so you might wind up with some interesting combinations.

Post a picture of everything as you wear it and you could post your inventory and check things off as you wear them!

Maybe you could start an interview series of all your neighbors?

Just go door to door, introduce yourself, explain that you're doing a blog where each day you try to interview someone in walking distance of your house?

What if you did a voluntary simplicity deal for your project? Everyday you commit to giving or throwing away one item that you don't really need. And for new items that come in, an equivalent amount of items go out - in addition to the one/day you're already doing.

Deciding whether a new item is worth the loss of an old one - and deciding which "old" item has to go - is a fascinating exercise into what makes up our emotional and psychological attachments. You might find, for example, that getting rid of clothing is ridiculously easy, but that getting rid of (insert something else here) is profoundly difficult. Being that naked, psychologically, would be a real challenge.

Pick a project that would change a little part of the world for the better. (My choice would be to start a school vegetable garden, but that's just me.) Blog the many steps along the way. The happy parts, the pitfalls, the sense of accomplishment.

Along the lines of your older Women's History series - but modern movers and shakers. Here's a list from Time's most influential issue that just came out:


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