Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Many, many, many thanks to Ileandra Young for this latest award nomination! (Click her name to see her post about the award!)

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, pictured below, is one of those honors bestowed upon you by your fellow blog followers, which I love, because these types of things only strengthen our little community of writers/bloggers!

Here it is (may I add that I LOVE the design work here? Simple but effective!):

So, the rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog. Can do!
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you. Did this! (see above!)
  3. State 7 things about yourself. (See below!)
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award. Working on this!
  5. Notify your 15 chosen bloggers by posting on their blogs so they get the notification via pingback! Working on this as well.

Alrighty… As per rule #3, here are 7 things about myself!

1. I CANNOT stand it when people say “irregardless.” It is not a word. “Regardless” is the word you’re looking for, people! Leave the “ir” for “irresponsible!”

2. I’m very into natural/herbal remedies for sickness/general health and well-being. Currently, I’m testing out the cinnamon and honey tea for weight loss rumor!

3. I could have majored in creative writing in college but didn’t because I am afraid of people telling me I suck. (I’m also afraid of being poor, which may have factored into my major decision too.)

4. I love learning. If I could stay in college forever and just take classes on topics that interest me, I would. Once, when I took a class at a community college in high school, there was this 70 year old guy in my class and he was just there learning about things that sounded interested based on the course catalog description. That’s what I want to do when I retire.

5. My family is in the process of selling my childhood home, and I am excited to move to a new house, but also feel guilty for being excited. As stupid as it sounds, I feel like we are insulting our home by leaving it (Personification, anyone?).

6. I am a pack rat. I keep everything because you never know when you might need something, and for me that reasoning justifies me filling up two closets full of stuff I only look at every once in a while.

7. I’ve decided that I’m going to run a half marathon before I’m 25, and a full marathon before I’m 30. I ran cross country as a high schooler so I do have some running know-how!

Okay… the next thing is to nominate 15 bloggers and post on their blogs to alert them of their nominations! Phew… here goes! Again, sorry if I doubled on anyone who already got this before. It just means you’re twice as inspiring!

  1. Alice (
  2. Richard (
  3. Anna (
  4. Kirsty (
  5. Julia (
  6. Robert (
  7. Katie (
  8. Jade (
  9. Shannon (

Ack! I know that’s only nine, but I will add six more when I get on my laptop later. It has all my favorites saved to my web browser. 🙂 I’ll notify everybody once I have everyone posted here! Thanks again, Ileandra!


CNN Coverage Essentially Replicates Onion Parody of Student Athletes Overcoming Rape Charges

Image from CNN Steubenville coverage

Image from CNN Broadcast via ThoughtCatalog

In case you missed it, I’m referring to the verdicts in the rape case involving two teenage boys who repeatedly raped their classmate while she was passed-out drunk at a party. Not only that, but they took photos and videos, posted them to social media, and bragged about it. One of the boys is even quoted in the videos saying something to the effect of “She’s so rape right now!” As some outlets have reported, the boys could identify their own semen on her body in the photos.

Tried as juveniles, they were found delinquent (a.k.a. guilty) of their crimes and sentenced to one and two years minimum in a juvenile detention/rehab center.

I don’t know about you, but to me, any day that rapists are convicted and made to pay for their crimes is a fan-freaking-tastic one. However, CNN (and as it turns out, an alarmingly large percentage of people online) chose to cover the story and throw their support with the two rapists who were convicted.

Yes, you read that correctly. People actually feel sorry for these two teenagers and blame the girl they raped for “ruining” their “promising futures.”

Like, seriously people?! If someone chooses to rape, then I don’t think their future was ever really that promising to begin with.

As was pointed out earlier at the Comic’s Comic, CNN’s coverage is shockingly similar to a parody produced two years ago by The Onion about student-athletes overcoming their rape convictions. Watch the videos. See for yourself.

Some of the more disgusting responses to the verdict have also been compiled at If you want to completely lose faith in the human race, then I suggest you head over there and check out the not one, but TWO posts filled with rape apologists, victim-blamers, and advocators of rape culture.

What shocks me to the core is that some people believe that this girl, by drinking too much and passing out at a party, was ASKING TO BE RAPED. People actually think SHE GOT WHAT SHE DESERVED. Those boys just did what anyone in their situation would do!

As if this case cannot veer any further off the reality track, it was also reported earlier today that the victim’s name has been released by various new outlets. Not only is this a major violation of journalism ethics, but also one of the human moral code. Honestly. This girl is 16. She’s been forcibly raped and had it not only posted on social media, but also thrown into the national spotlight. Now her name is attached to this horrific incident, shredding and last bit of privacy she may have felt she had.

It’s a sad day in the world, folks. I have no words. It’s just sad.

Women’s History Month: Margaret Fuller and Barbara Means

March is Women’s History Month! I’m picking some influential women to profile here on my blog. Each woman has a connection to my life at the present – be it through careers, interests, or inspiration. This time, I’m profiling Margaret Fuller, and Barbara Means. Keep reading to find out why!

#1. Margaret Fuller – Transcendentalist, Journalist, Writer

Margaret Fuller Image

Margaret Fuller

I first learned of Margaret Fuller in college in an American Literature course, and I could not believe I’d never heard of her prior to that class. Margaret Fuller (a.k.a. Sarah Margaret Fuller) was an American writer back in the 1800s who held a host of important jobs that were unheard of for women in her time. She was a teacher, a writer, a journalist, and she also advocated hardcore for women’s rights. She held meetings for women to gather and talk – not gossip, but talk about important topics, as a way to make up for the fact that women were generally not allowed to attend college during her time.

She is also one of the founders of the Transcendentalist movement, though she doesn’t get as much credit as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, etc. Whenever you learn about the Transcendentalists in high school, you only hear about the men, but Fuller joined the boys’ club and became the first editor of The Dial, the Transcendentalists’ magazine. She also worked for the New York Tribune and went to Europe as their first female correspondent.

Sadly, she died in a shipwreck just off Fire Island in New York (thanks Wikipedia, for this fact!) and her body was never recovered.

I love Margaret Fuller because she has a similar background to me. I am a teacher and a journalist, and I like to think that I stick up for women’s rights when I can. Also, the Transcendentalist movement is my favorite American literary time period. Fuller was breaking barriers that most women didn’t even realize existed at the time. That leads me to my next woman inspiration…

#2. Barbara Means – Educational Psychologist who focuses on how technology can improve education

Barbara Means

Barbara Means

Barbara Means is one of the major players in educational technology. She came up with some of the earliest widely-accepted theories that helped researchers talk about educational technology, and still contributes hugely to the field today. She’s written tons of books and articles about how technology can improve education at all levels, and she’s not even a Millennial.

Right now, she serves at the Director for the Center for Technology in Learning for SRI International, a research and development company. Currently she’s working on a project in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Means is on my list for a variety of reasons. First of all, she’s a major player in technology, a field notorious for its lack of women involvement (though that landscape is starting to change!). Secondly, she’s all about research for education, which is where my major interest also lies. Lastly, she’s an older person (with all due respect, Barbara!) who embraces technology and believes it has a place in education. U.S. education has not yet fully embraced the idea that technology can transform education, largely because the people who are currently teaching and/or making the laws about education aren’t of the Millennial Generation. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m currently studying to be an instructional technologist, and that’s a job that exists solely because of research that Means has contributed to. So thank you, Barbara, for this career I can be passionate about and also break down some barriers for women in the process!

That’s all for this week! To see who I profiled last week, click here! And consider taking some time out of your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to remember your own female inspirations this weekend! Feel free to link to your own posts in the comments!

Critique Blog Hop Week 8

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

This week I’m returning to my highest priority work-in-progress – On The Surface. These are the freshest 250 from what I’ve managed to add to it over the past few weeks… my schedule just has not been kind to my creative side lately. These are also the (current) first lines of the second chapter. I’m considering changing the point of view for the story, as I feel it may be more powerful in the first person POV rather than third. Any comments or thoughts on that are welcome!


Liza wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of cleaning up the house. It would undoubtedly be a huge task, and why did they have to sell it anyway? After all, the house was still filled with Pap’s belongings, and most of his wife’s. She just knew her mother would get emotional, and then her dad would become annoyed and the whole thing would go to hell. Just thinking about the impending hours in the old house was exhausting.

They pulled into the cracked cement driveway between the house and the garage. Liza couldn’t help but notice her grandmother’s rose bush was blooming beautiful, bright pink flowers. They were still somewhat closed, like roses that people get for corsages or in arrangements for special occasions. They weren’t exactly buds, but they still had some time before they would open completely. She sighed as they walked past the bush and underneath the overhang.

“I’m so glad you decided to stay home for school, Liza,” her mother said over her shoulder. “You’ll be able to help us get the house ready.”

Before she could stop herself, she rolled her eyes at her mother’s comment. Luckily, though, her mother was in front of her and wasn’t looking. She knew her parents had been nervous about her college decision, but they were not the sole reason she chose to stay home when she could have gone to the state’s best school – three hours away.


Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!


My Book-less Semester: Halfway Through

English: An Apple MacBook in an aluminium casing.

English: An Apple MacBook in an aluminium casing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my midterm week! Yahoo! Next week is spring break!

The past couple weeks, I haven’t really had outstanding to report on the whole “book-less grad school” topic, but now, after buckling down this last weekend, I have some halfway point reflections on my decision to go paperless this semester.

1. If you have contacts and wear them a lot, either set aside some time in your day to take them out and do your readings, or don’t go 100% paperless. My contacts felt like they were going to fall out of my eyes after a long reading session. Granted, I spend most of my days staring at a computer screen all day long, and when I’m not doing that, I’m popping them in at 5:30 a.m. to teach and then work my night job. Wetting and lubricating drops have become my friends, for sure.

2. Always carry your device charger! You never know when you’ll have downtime to read, and if you’re like me, you don’t keep a running log in your mind of how much battery power is left on your laptop, eReader, etc. I’ve gotten into the habit of plugging everything in every night, but sometimes, depending on the amount of work I have, my MacBook runs out of gas. My Nook battery lasts fairly long, but I only have one textbook on that device. And if you’re an iPhone 5 user, you are familiar with the battery woes that come with actually using that phone.

3. Brightness controls are your friend! I found that a good way to avoid my eyes hurting during reading sessions was to turn down the brightness on my devices. I already do this on my iPhone (to save battery, mainly), but I’ve become very accustomed to dimming my laptop screen for reading and then turning it back up for regular use.

4. Disconnecting from Wi-Fi is the easiest way to get focused on reading. It sucks, because often part of my assignment is to read and respond in an online forum, but I do not have the self control necessary for reading on my laptop when I could be watching talking dog videos or googling job openings.

5. Get familiar with the note taking tools on your platform of choice. NookStudy is awesome, and Kindle for Mac also has highlighting features. They’re useful, especially for grad students who are doing research in their field. My textbooks often explain concepts that are central to my research project, and it’s super easy to highlight the sections and come back to them later on.

That’s all for now. So far, I don’t regret my decision to go paperless. I definitely don’t read assignments like I used to (over a period of four-five days), but that’s just a matter of disciplining myself to work that way again. The temptation of the open web browser is just too much for me after seven hours of work, two hours of coaching, and three+ hours covering meetings and writing articles.

Next week is my spring break, and after that I’ll try to provide intermittent updates (as long as I have something new and interesting to talk about!) throughout the second half of the semester!

Critique Blog Hop Week 7

It’s Sunday, and that means another addition to the Critique Blog Hop! You can click that link for more information, or check out this page on my blog for the details.

HUGE thanks to everyone for the positive feedback I got on my rewrite from week 6. I really dropped the ball on critiques last week — but I also dropped the ball on overall blog maintenance altogether last week. What can I say? It was a rough one for me (but spring break is almost here!) I promise to make up for it this week!

Anyway, here are my next 250 words. This is two excerpts from a WIP where I exercised the double viewpoint narration strategy.  In order for it to make a little bit of sense out of context, I took 125 ish words from Character A’s point of view, and the rest from Character B. It’s a new technique for me, and it might be tough to get the gist of what’s really happening in 250 ish word chunks, but I’m going to try anyway! Thanks all!


He was walking to material sciences when he saw her the first time. Dressed in a black skirt, a dress shirt, and heels, she strutted purposefully up the sidewalk toward him. She was carrying a notebook in her arm and a messenger bag over her shoulder. Her cell phone was clenched in her other hand, but she wasn’t looking at it. They were surely going to cross paths, but this time Trevor didn’t have time to think of the right thing to say. She was getting closer.

He opened his mouth and began to raise his hand to wave, but Aerin wasn’t looking at him. Rather, she was looking in his direction, but her mind was clearly elsewhere. Some things never change, he thought. Within seconds, she had click-clacked past him, off to wherever she was headed so quickly.

Trevor couldn’t believe it. Snubbed by a girl he hadn’t spoken to since sophomore year of high school.

She was late. Well, technically she was right on schedule, but in the journalism world, early is on time, on time is late, and late is… well, you might as well just go home if you’re late.

Aerin was en route to the top of campus, forced to walk after missing the bus outside the downtown office of the campus newspaper. And as she was walking up from the office, she failed to notice the boy coming from the opposite direction toward her. She drew in a sharp breath and exhaled quickly, sweat beading on her forehead. Why did this meeting have to be on the complete opposite end of campus? And her heels – they were not working in her favor at this moment.

Her phone buzzed in her hand. You at the meeting yet?… Was all she could read before the screen went blank again.


Like what you read? Check out these great authors for more 250 word excerpts!

Happy International Women’s Day!

March is Women’s History Month, and today (the 8th) is actually International Women’s Day. How cool is that?

I’ve been super busy all week, getting ALL my work out of the way and dealing with four jobs and grad school — but today is Friday and my schedule has finally eased up, so what better way to celebrate the fact that I didn’t die from stress (or all the commuting I did this week) than to celebrate some amazing women I’ve looked up to in my life? After all, part of the reason I work so much is because I’d like to join their ranks one day!

Each week throughout this month I’m going to share with you all some women who’ve inspired me throughout my 22 years on this planet! I encourage you to share yours too!

So for this week, I’m going to introduce you to two women you might know already, but whose careers are impacting my life right at this moment.

Sonya Richards-Ross

When I was in high school, I was on the track and field team and it was the absolute best part of my high school experience. I would go to school even if I felt ill just so I could go to track practice each day and hang out with my friends. I also happened to have an aptitude for middle distance running, so my events were the 400 meter dash (one full lap sprint on a regulation track) and the 800 meter run (two full laps). Really, I think I was just the only athlete who wouldn’t give my coaches a hard time about my event lineup, but I developed into a competitive mid-distance runner.

Being the impressionable and track-obsessed young high school athlete that I was, when I watched Sonya Richards kicking butt in the 400m at the NCAAs for the Longhorns, I was hooked. She was awesome, she was the best 400 runner in the NCAA! I was in awe of her times, and she was a great sport. You’d never see her acting obnoxious like some atheltes do when they win (okay, she did have her moment in the spotlight at the Olympics, but COME ON, it’s the Olympics!), and she was always graceful in post-race interviews. She became my role model on the track, and I her advice for workouts and competitions always echoed in my head during practice.

I followed her progress throughout her college career. She was my inspiration to work at the 400, which was a race that most (read: all) of my teammates absolutely hated (something about the idea of a full out sprint for anything more than half a lap??). I also had the honor of anchoring the mile relay (four runners, one lap each) and to be a contributing member to the two mile relay (four runners, two laps each).

Now Sonya Richards-Ross is not onnly married, but also an Olympic Champion, and I now coach high school track athletes. Things have worked out nicely for both of us!

Erin Andrews

I know Erin Andrews is a sort of polarizing choice, because many people think she only works on ESPN because she’s an attractive blonde woman and men mainly watch sports, but she is a fantastic reporter and that stereotype is just one of many she  has overcome as a woman in journalism today.

Most people accept that men and women are pretty much equal nowadays (despite data that shows women’s salaries still don’t stack up to men’s, but that’s a rant for another day), but I have to say from experience as a journalist myself that there are inherent setbacks of being a young professional woman — things that I never would have believed would happen to me back when I was in high school.

When I reported in college, I was assigned to cover fraternity and soririty news for a semester. What a hellish experience! Fraternity men said things to me (and things about me that eventually got back to me) that were disrespectful and disgusting. Even today as a freelancer working with other established professionals, I still fight the stereotype that I’m just a young, dumb blonde girl. People have refused to answer my questions and yelled at me at meetings, while men have asked much more scathing questions and reported much more biased and one-sided stories than I could dream of writing. People (mostly men) who attend these meetings question my ability constantly (“Didja get all that, missy?”). I get way more frustrated about it than I should, but I always think back to Erin Andrews’ horror story and tell myself that it could be much worse.

If you were of news-consuming age a few years ago, you’ve heard the story. Erin Andrews was stalked and filmed undressing in her hotel room by a peeping tom, and the video, of course, hit the internet. People actually thought she did it for publicity, because of course, women know that the best way to get people to notice them in their careers is NOT  to work hard and be dedicated to your craft, but to put their bodies on display! (Note my sarcasm) Her stalker was jailed for two years (woopee!) and has since been released. The videos are still online — she can’t get them removed unless she buys the copywright to the original. It’s still the first thing that pops up in Google when you type her name!

But she didn’t quit. She continued reporting for ESPN on national television for the world to see. I can’t say that I would have had the guts to do that.


That’s all for me this week. Please feel free to share your own female inspirations and link your posts in the comments!