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WordCamp San Antonio!

Aw, yeah!

Hey there! I’m fresh off a weekend of geeking out over WordPress, so I’m pretty excited to be blogging today.

I’ve had this on my calendar for a few months now, so I was pretty excited when the weekend rolled around. I wasn’t aware of this, but WordPress hold these WordCamps each year, in different cities across the country.

Volunteers come together to make the event very affordable for attendees ($40 got me entry for two days, two free lunches, and a free shirt). It’s a weekend meant to help those of us interested in or who are currently using WordPress – the speakers offered different levels of advice depending where you’re at on your “WordPress Journey”.

I attended several sessions, including: “Start Your Podcast Now: 3 Steps to Launch”, “Marketing: Simplified”, “Get Google to Love Your WordPress Website”, and “Content Ideas for When You’re Stuck”.

I particularly enjoyed one of the keynote speakers, Kori Ashton, who heads a WordPress company in San Antonio. She spoke about how she took her side hustle of building websites to creating an entire team and a thriving business.

I’ll admit, a few of the sessions I attended discussed many things I’ve already discovered – I’ve been using WordPress for almost 10 years. But it’s always nice to get reassurance from other people in the industry that you’re doing something right – even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks – I promise I will write about it soon – but going through the functions of my daily life have proven to be almost too much at times. I’ve struggled to get up, to make it to work, to actually be productive – I’ve been trying to simply get by.

When Friday rolled around, not even the anticipation of WordCamp (!) could get me to San Antonio. I did however, drag my ass out of bed at 5am on Saturday morning though, so I could make it to registration on time.

And it was worth it. Despite a few annoying people who tried to scold me for bringing coffee into all of the classrooms, people were friendly and the campus was nice. Above anything technical I learned, it was a jumpstart that I needed.

I’m able to not only do social media all day for my job, but I get to TEACH WordPress for blogging, and I get to talk to all of YOU through this blog. I don’t know what I would do without it, especially in times like these.

Which reminds me… are you getting the updates on The Bitter Lemon Facebook page? I post links to new blogs and when I have password protected posts, that’s where I’ll post the password. Following me on Instagram (@OrangeJulius7) would also be smart for those reasons 🙂

I’ve still been working in the Etsy shop! I added two new items last week and am working on a few new things this week, so keep your eyes open. I’ll be right back here tomorrow with a recap on “Siesta Key”!

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The Bitter Lemon Shop!

Beads, beads everywhere!

I know I’ve talked a little bit about my recently-opened Etsy shop: The Bitter Lemon Shop, but I wanted to dedicate a post about it. I didn’t really intend to open the shop and fill it with so much STUFF, but it happened that way – once you start creating, I guess I can’t stop!

At first, I just wanted to make some DIY earrings I’d saved on Pinterest. I have always toyed with the idea of having an Etsy shop, because I really like to make cards and have always liked to make beaded jewelry.

But when I made the earrings, they turned out so cute I thought other people might like them. So, I took pictures of them (although I don’t really know if the photos do them justice) and opened my shop. At first, it was a struggle to get 10 listings – but 31 listings later, here I am, with a ton of ideas!

Currently, the shop is mostly bracelets and earrings – I am really into tassel jewelry right now, so there’s lots of those happening. The bracelets are all beaded so far – I am having so much fun with all of the great beads out there!

One thing I think is important to note is that everything I’ve made is something I would wear (and actually have been wearing); I wouldn’t put out a product that I didn’t like myself.

I am also naming each piece after a place, or a thing that is really special to me. As I write this, I’m wearing the “Back to Black” beaded tassel necklace as a tribute to Amy Winehouse; my sisterhood bracelet (sorority vibes), my Charleston bracelet (s/o South Carolina summers), and my “Saints & Sinners” bracelet as a call to New Orleans.

There’s also a keychain and an essential oil blend roller in the shop – keep your eye out for many more of these to come! I’m thinking a sleep blend, focus blend, an immunity blend, and something for allergies. I also have ideas for costumes, clothing, and of course, more jewelry!

It’s not like I all of the sudden have so much time on my hands, but I’ve found that just sitting and watching TV (or rather, listening to it) while I make jewelry is pretty relaxing. I think it’s an easy way to escape – and I like trying to figure out how to make things or how to fix something. And then at the end, I have something cool to wear!

Blanche is also partaking in the shop, of course. I cleaned out my linen closet and set up a table with my printer, along with a little shelf. I organized my beads and put all of my shipping supplies in a handy container. I even have a few pieces of “Bitter Lemon” wall art along with a scented candle to make my craft area fun. The table is big enough for my supplies, but anytime I’m in the “craft closet”, Blanche scrambles to the table and takes a giant nap – and she takes up at least half the table. So, there I am, stringing beads using a small corner of my table.

I’ve had 11 sales so far, after being open for about three weeks, and it’s cool to think that people in other states are wearing things I made.

If you have ideas of things you’d like me to (attempt) to make, I’m always willing to try. Take a look at the shop, ask me questions, or shop awaaaaay! Visit the shop here and let me know what you think!

Watching: ‘Ingrid Goes West’.

…Ingrid goes dark…

Over the long weekend, I did exactly what you’re supposed to do: ate watermelon and burgers (okay, vegan black bean burgers), shopped ’till I dropped, and went to the movies! I finally saw what lots of people have been talking about “Ingrid Goes West”.

“Ingrid Goes West” is the story of Ingrid Thorborn (Aubrey Plaza), who has spent a decent chunk of her life being obsessed with social media.

We’re not talking, oh she likes Instagram or she’s constantly buried in her phone – this is a full blown obsession that leads her to change her entire life, and sometimes, even ruining moments of the lives for whom she’s obsessing over.

Despite her past (in a mental institution), Ingrid discovers a new quest: Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Taylor is the girl we’ve all seen on Instagram – her life appears perfect (in that California vintage way), complete with a wedding, bearded husband, and sponsored Instagram posts to feed her thousands of followers.

So, Ingrid… you guessed it… goes west in order to start a new life and embody Taylor’s. You might have an idea how this ends – but don’t worry, I’m not going to offer any spoilers.

I will say that a clear B plot is here, offering us Ingrid’s landlord and pseudo boyfriend Dan Pinto (O’shea Jackson Jr.), and the banter between them is the sparkle in this otherwise dark flick. Yes, Ingrid goes there.

While those who’ve seen it agree it’s a little…well, psychotic… I have to say that it’s probably a little more real than we’d all like to admit.

Our culture has become obsessed with perfection and this displays itself all over social media, and it has ugly consequences. We’re all comparing ourselves to people we don’t know personally, and trying to be these people, all based on a set of pictures that most likely doesn’t represent their R E A L life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this given a book I read last week (more on this in the coming weeks), so it’s heavy on my mind.

The other bright spot of “Ingrid Goes West”? I saw it at the Drafthouse and they had a split menu specifically for the movie. It had items for Taylor, which were refined and vegan, and options for Ingrid, which were indulgent and sloppy. Obviously I got the Cali fries from Ingrid’s side, and they were a delicious take on In-N-Out’s animal style fries. Fucking YUM.

Should you see this movie? Yep. Recommendations all around – especially if you are an Aubrey Plaza fan.

Also… there’s new items in my Etsy shop! I made several new items over the weekend, and I’m rolling them out a few at a time, but check them out!

Detox Your Dating: Day 7.

The FINAL day!

Whew! It’s the final day of this Dating Detox. Technically, I know it took me longer than 7 days to get through it, but I’m a busy gal, and let’s face it, this was tough.

Day 7 Challenge: Check Yourself!

Today is all about taking a look within. Am I ready for a serious relationship? Can I attract the right man with the way my life is currently?
Here’s what Denise has to say: Relationship-minded men seek women of VALUE. These are the women that men want to marry when they are ready.
Below are just a few of the traits that we all need to strive to possess:
  • She doesn’t need a man, but she wants one.
  • She recognizes that men should be the “head of the household but she is the neck”.
  • She has boundaries, and she sets them in a firm, but in kind way.
  • She will ask very good, often pointed, qualifying questions to men she meets and dates.
  • High Value women don’t let their emotions control their actions when it comes to men. They make decisions based on logic and the man’s actions not intentions or words.
  • She values her body and will not offer sex until the man proves his worth through his actions.
  • She values her body and strives to be healthy and fit. Her body is a temple and she chooses to make educated choices about what she puts into it and what it needs to thrive in life.
  • She knows how to make a man feel special and worthy, like he is the only one.

Well, right off the bat, item #1 I don’t have. Ha! This is what I knew going in to the detox. I’m not really ready for a guy, but more so, I don’t want one.

I think what I’ve learned most through this detox is that I like my life how it is. My days are full with the things I want to do. I don’t have to compromise or share. I don’t have to plan or think about anyone other than myself (and sometimes Blanche).

Sure, I can be strong and please a man and wait for his actions and yadda yadda, but for what? I think I’m good. Maybe I’ll feel differently in a month or a year or five years, but today, I’m good. And oh yeah, I deleted my dating app.

Right now, I’m focused on improving myself for me, not for a man. I’m continuing to work on my dance skill, working on my hobby of making jewelry, reading several books a week, and gearing up to volunteer at the Film Festival. My life is full.

So, yeah – the cleanse worked, because I’m basically free from wanting a man!

Anyway, I’ve also added THREE new styles to my Etsy Shop this week:

I still have lots of items I want to add, but this week, I’ve been cleaning out an area in my apartment to dedicate to my jewelry making. Right now I’ve been just making everything while sitting on the couch, which is fine, but then my living room is a mess. Check out my Instagram Stories @OrangeJulius7 for updates on the craft area organization progress!

‘Siesta Key’: ‘Alex’s Kingdom’.

The saga continues…

Every week I continue to be SHOCKED that this show is still on television. Here we are, again, so let’s get into it!

The episode kicks off with Chloe asking Alex if he really slept with Amanda. He admits it, shockingly, and Chloe is just liiiike, hey could you let me know when you sleep with my friends? And Alex is all, “Well, I don’t plan on it happening AGAIN.”

Already, Amanda has ruined things with Brandon before they even got started, so at least Chloe may have THAT to hang on to (I mean can this chick catch a break?).

Juliet stops by Alex’s house and he tells her that he hooked up with Amanda “a few weeks back”, and shockingly, Juliet is pissed and stands up for herself. Then she’s all, “Bye. I’ll see you. Maybe. I don’t know.”

Later, Kelsey seems pretty bummed about the conversation she had with Garrett.

The fact that Amanda and Alex hooked up is the BIGGEST story of this episode… and I’m really not sure why. Possibly because Alex keeps telling everyone.

Chloe and Juliet… is it Juliet or Juliette? Or do I care? Anyway, they are talking about it and finally Chloe asks what we’re all thinking: “Do you really think you’re not going to hook up with Alex again?” And she has nothing to say because SHE WILL.

Meanwhile, Alex is planning to host a party at his house that will benefit kids with autism (his brother and sister have autism). Good job.

Everyone is talking about how Kelsey is on the verge of breaking up with Brandon… and Alex is eyeing her for a rebound hookup. Ugh!

It’s the day of the party, and they are really sprucing things up at Alex’s house. Madison is helping him and asks him if Juliet AND Amanda RSVP’d – of course they did…

At the party, Chloe tells Alex that Kelsey and Garret are having issues…oh, Lord.

It honestly seems like Brandon is hitting on Madison, then straight up asks her out, and she’s all, uh, what about Amanda? Looks like she’s getting left in the dust.

When Amanda arrives at the party though, all the guys are like DAAAAAAMN. Then Juliet says she needs to go talk to her (meanwhile, we all wish this would end in a fight).

It’s rather calm, and Amanda swears she’s not with Alex, AT ALL.

Later, Alex gives a big speech about why he threw the party and basically everyone is all about him. Kelsey takes him outside and it’s like… romantic. NO. No!!!!!! I really like Garret, and not Alex!

Then, Alex invites her to stay and go swimming… and she’s all “you should open up more”… oh my GOD.

Later, Juliet is all, OMIGOD you guyz, I am so proud of myself for showing up and forgiving Amanda and being the bigger person, now can we just go? And they’re out.

Garret tells Kelsey he’s leaving because she’s not hanging out with him, and it seems super rough. He tells her she’s been with Alex the whole night and he doesn’t want to talk to her… and he leaves. Nooooooooo…

And then the episode is over. From the looks of next week’s episode, it does NOT look good for Garret and Kelsey. Ugh.

Some of my Etsy items!

PS. I opened up an Etsy Shop yesterday!

I have been wanting to do some serious crafting, and I finally had the time to make some things that I really liked.

I’ve been making earrings, and decided to list them after so many people reached out and asked me about them.

Right now, I have 8 fun styles listed, but am already working on more, so keep an eye out!

All of the styles are $15 or under and I’m offering FREE shipping in the US.

Although I have specific colors listed right now, I’m always happy to customize items or make new things just for you. Check it out!

Pic of the Week.

My pic(s) of the week this time just HAD to be about Hangout Fest, since I haven’t even been back home from it for 24 hours! It was a weekend in Gulf Shores, full of fun, sun, sand (it was even in my hair), fried food, drinks, and of course: music!

I will admit, I was really, really sad when Sam Smith didn’t end up making it for his time slot because of vocal chord surgery, but I still enjoyed the acts I did see. Some of the most impressive ones were Paramore, Tove Lo, Skrillex, and Beck.

Aside from the music, Hangout Fest is always full of cool, super-nice people. My friend and I met lots of people on the shuttle rides to and from the festival each day, and we had some particular fun with a group of guys we met that had traveled all the way from New York for the weekend. So, shout out to our new friends Dan, Tim, Chad “JC”, and Doug from New York (with fantastic accents), and also a HELLO to our people from South Atlanta, Jill and Cam! I can’t forget the groups from Buzz in Kansas City! You all made the weekend a great one.

As it goes with these types of things, I get really caught up in the moment and I don’t want to be “that person” with my phone glued to my side. So, unfortunately there aren’t a ton of pictures — but I’ve posted the ones I’ve got. If you’re on Instagram, head on over to my page @OrangeJulius to see videos from the Beck and Skrillex performances.

I made my fellow Hangout Fest-goer and I my custom “Koncert Kits” (available in my Etsy Shop), and they pretty much saved us, from the spare sheets of toilet paper to the hand sanitizer, and okay, the glow sticks and glitter! If you’re heading to an outdoor music fest this summer, I’d highly recommend getting yourself one.

At this point, I feel like I need to post this blog so I can face reality and get back to work — it’s not easy going from the good, beach festival life to the one sitting in front of a computer, but I suppose it’s got to be done. Hope y’all have a fantastic week!

Packing: music fest essentials.

The sandy shores of Hangout Beach!

The sandy shores of Hangout Beach!

I’m heading to Gulf Shores today, in hopes of reliving one of the best weekends of my life at the Hangout Music Festival! Three days of sand, sun, cocktails, and of course, MUSIC! This year’s headliners are Sam Smith, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Foo Fighters, Skrillex and Diplo, along with many other great bands. I’m amped!

But the thing about a weekend like this is, you’ve really got to get the essentials down. And since I went last year, I knew exactly what kind of supplies I needed to add to my bag. They are:

  • Poncho: This year, it’s supposed to rain (let’s hope it doesn’t), but this poncho is small, so it won’t take up any room in my backpack.
  • Insect repelling band: I’m allergic to mosquitos, so I’m always packing bug spray. This bracelet will keep the ‘skitos away while I’m dancing in the sand.
  • Wisps: You never know when you need a dose of fresh breath (they DO have a wedding chapel at Hangout Fest)!
  • Ziplock bags: I packed these mainly for my cell phone just in case it rains, but you never know what else you could use it for.
  • USB Charger: This is a super small charger that will give your phone one-hour of talk-time if you get into a bind. Hangout Fest is cool enough to provide charging stations, but you never know!
  • Kleenex: For sneezing, napkin use, or porta-potty needs if necessary.
  • Glow bracelets: Umm, I need this for all of the night shows!
  • All-purpose wipes: For basically everything.
  • Feminine wipes: I thought these would be good for the porta-potties, but also just for in general freshening up after sitting in sand and wearing a bathing suit for 12 hours.
  • Hand sanitizer: after bathroom and before meals.
  • SPF lip balm: burned lips are the worst!
  • Band-aids: just in case.
  • Q-tips: not really sure, but they’re small and easy to pack.
  • Deodorant: Being outdoors in the sun all day, and into the night, might lead to a stinky situation.
  • Hair ties: Sweatin’ on my blowout.
  • Gum: Again, hot guys.
  • Toilet paper: Porta-potties (I’m telling you that’s the worst part of this whole thing).
  • Glitter: I need glitter to sprinkle all over myself, because I can, and I want to shimmer all weekend.
My Koncert Kit!

My Koncert Kit!

Love my list of essentials? I’m actually selling my “Koncert Kit” (because I can spell Koncert with a “K” and I can like it) in my Etsy shop! It comes with everything I’ve listed above, plus it comes in a cute cosmetic bag to store it all in.

Use it for music festivals, fairs, outdoor events, parties, gifts, camping weekends, etc. The kits are customizable, so just let me know what you need and I’ll be happy to pack it for you.

After these crazy weeks of work, I’m so, so excited to spend a weekend of fun and relaxation in the sand with my great friend, Marcy! We are hitting the road (it’s about a 4-hour drive to Gulf Shores) this afternoon, as the first day of the fest is tomorrow. Tonight, we’ll be loading up our coolers in preparation for tomorrow, and we’re definitely hitting up some sushi and karaoke tonight.

Follow my entire weekend on Instagram, SnapChat, and Twitter @OrangeJulius7 — see you there!