Sunday, March 20, 2016

Putting Your University on Tumblr: Is It Worth It?

This is a mammoth question and in the end will most likely result in deciding if it's something your social media department is willing to take on because, as with all social media platforms, if it isn't run and kept up with properly, it will tank and, for those who aren't aware, a dead page is considered a page that has tanked.  Just because you have a social media presence on a platform does not ensure that your organization is relevant on that platform.  Before we get to that though, let's take a look at what Tumblr is and how Tumblr works.

What is Tumblr?

The Best of Tumblr Facebook page
Tumblr is a social networking website and microblogging platform founded in 2007; it has been owned by Yahoo! since 2013.  It is popular for its quick-witted reblogging capabilities as you can see in its presence on other platforms such as the Facebook page The Best of Tumblr which takes screenshots of popular Tumblr posts and posts them on Facebook.  That works out great for people like me who don't have much personal interest in using Tumblr and can enjoy the "best of" humor without getting sucked into the vast sea of daily Tumblr community posts.

How Universities Are Already Using Tumblr

Brenau presence on Tumblr
Many colleges and universities have already taken the plunge into the world of Tumblr.  Some successfully while others are left with tumbleweeds blowing through their rarely used accounts.  Even if you don't have a main page, you may not realize that your university's name is already in the world of Tumblr.  All sorts of student organizations are probably already utilizing Tumblr in the name of your university.  And that's great; you don't have to lift a finger to get your organization's name onto Tumblr.  There is a flip-side to that in the form of mocking/venting pages but you can't control the Internet and trying to do so only looks worse on you.  So, don't worry about that; just think positively!

The great examples of universities utilizing Tumblr include frequent posts and an ongoing conversation and photos that are worth reblogging.  

Reblog-worthy posts usually include recognizable campus shots or shots with students in recognizable places.

Learning to Survive College Tumblr blog
Another use for universities on Tumblr would be to host a spot for helpful information to get students through college life.  These do require a bit of upkeep so dust doesn't start to gather on the page and the information become obsolete from lack of users.  That's the thing with social media; you can have excellent information but if it is on a platform that is not utilized by the admins often enough, it is in danger of being viewed as outdated.  If your page is not current, your information is not current.

Effectively Use Tumblr

Tumblr has become ubiquitous with viral-seeking, shocking, quick-witted repartee.  Can you keep up?  Are you able and willing to put the social media power behind creating a Tumblr page that won't fall to the wayside?  What tone do you want to set for your university in this constantly spinning conversation wheel?  Are you comfortable with not being able to control the conversation? Through all of this, I see that the most effective ways to utilize Tumblr in a university setting is to keep fresh.  To do that, you must have a person dedicated to your Tumblr page.  You need to make sure you have students engaged in your page, follow current students, reblog student content, reblog relevant posts, and encourage student content, as well as generate original content.

You shouldn't jump into creating a main university page.  You should meet with all departments involved in these types of decisions at your university and see what their take on it is.  It all goes back to the beginning of this post: is Tumblr something your social media department is willing to take on?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Chocolate Avocado Pudding- Yummy!!!

Months ago, I heard someone talking about chocolate pudding made with avocados. It sounded like a neat concept but I had no plans to try it out at the time. Now that I'm looking for baby food ideas for when the time comes to make baby food, I went searching for a recipe to try. I found one that was easy and decided to tweak it for my own sweet taste. It really is super simple and allows for substitutions. For example, it looks like you could replace the brown sugar and cocoa powder with a chocolate protein powder. That might be next on my list to try out.


3 avocados- peeled, pitted, and cubed
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (or to desired sweetness) brown sugar
½ cup coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until chilled. Seriously, that simple. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

At Long Last...

Here is Miss Eveleigh's birth story: On Friday March 13th, I knew it was coming soon. She wasn't due until the 28th, but I just had a feeling. I started having mild contractions that afternoon at work but they died down by midnight. My breasts were tender and I was leaking. Which I loved since my milk didn't come in for 2 days last time. The contractions came every evening that weekend but died down after midnight. Monday night, the mild contractions started when I went to bed and kept me up most of the night. Tuesday at work I was exhausted and ready for the baby. My coworkers took me to get Italian food as a joke to get the labor started (the old wives tale of the eggplant parmigiana- which I knew had more to do with the oregano and basil). But, I felt like she wasn't coming that day though since I had quite a few people rooting for the 17th. I went home and put the car seat in the car- figured I'd get that out of the way. I had a feeling of discomfort that was eerie, like my body knew what was coming but my mind didn't.

At 3 a.m. I woke up to a 10 minute long contraction. An actual contraction. I told myself it was just like the other nights but I knew it was different. They kept coming and by 4 a.m. I knew this was the day. But I wanted to monitor them until hubby left for work because I didn't want to drive all the way to the hospital for false labor. Plus it is more comfortable to do my pacing and breathing in the comfort of my home. At 5:30 a.m., I made the decision to go in but I told hubby to go on to work and let his mom drive me just in case it wasn't it. It's a 40 minute drive from our house but he only works about 10 minutes from the hospital so he could be there in no time if this was go time. The contractions were several minutes apart at this point- good thing we left in time to miss rush hour traffic on the highway.

At 7 a.m., I get admitted as the contractions intensify. I was at 7 cm and coming up fast! I told my mother-in-law to call Alex. I sent a text to my parents who were in Las Vegas at the time. At 7:30, I'm in tears from the pain. I was induced my first pregnancy and was told that would be worse since I still delivered naturally. However, these contractions were 10 times worse than when I was induced. They moved me to a delivery room. By the time Alex got there, I was crying out loud from the pain- which says a lot because I have a high threshold for pain. I felt most comfortable lying on my side for the contractions. I was having cold sweats and laid on my side with my eyes closed between contractions. The urge to push was coming on and the midwife asked if I wanted her to break my water- YES! That felt great at that point. Took a lot of pressure off down there.

At 8:30, my body was telling me to push and I did. The midwife rubbed mineral oils on my perineum and began massaging and stretching my vagina to help with any tearing. By 8:33, baby was out! I didn't even have a chance to object to my mother-in-law being in the room- not that she would have listened, I think she really wanted to be there. Eveleigh had been head down the majority of the pregnancy so she just slid right out- which is also why she had fluid in her lungs. Her body didn't have time to get rid of the fluid before she left the birth canal. I watched her pop out and it was so surreal. After trying for so long to get pregnant and then going through a rough pregnancy, my baby was finally here and I cried tears of joy.

This hospital has the rule that for 1 hour after birth the baby is to remain on the mother's chest before they do any weighing and cleaning. And after that, baby will remain with mommy at all times. Love it! She started breastfeeding immediately. I did have some minor tears caused by the scar tissue from where they sewed me up extra tight the first time but it wasn't bad. The midwife and nurses massaged my stomach a lot which hurt like hell at first but my stomach went back down faster and my bleeding wasn't as bad as after the first pregnancy. One nurse put my hand on my stomach to show me the area where the baby had been. It felt like a little softball. This time around, I felt my uterus cramping while breastfeeding. I didn't feel that the first time. It's interesting to see all the differences and similarities between the two pregnancies.

I had her name picked out for 4 years but Alex wasn't sure about it. We hadn't found any other names either so when the nurse asked him what the name was, he told her Eveleigh Rose- the name I chose. My father-in-law brought Olivia to see us and the look of joy on her sweet face when she saw her baby sister was pure bliss for this momma.

The next 7 days were Hell on Earth but that tale is for another story time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fertility Frustrations: Baby Fever Blues

I’ve been absent for a while. My last post divulged my fertility issues. I laid it out there, short and sweet, yet still raw. And, clearly, therapeutic because several weeks after I put it all out there, I discovered I was pregnant. And it was the most incredible feeling. Nearly 2 years of trying had brought me to a low point. It was a frustrating journey, to say the least. To be frank, I haven’t wanted to sit down and write about it; I’ve talked about it with people but it was too painful to see in writing. I also felt like there are many others who have a bigger struggle and struggle longer and my own journey was insignificant in comparison. But, I am owning my feelings and my journey is my own.  Therefore, I have a story to tell.

It began with the final decision to go off birth control. I finished out the two months of pills I had. (Side note: I am on birth control to regulate my hormones because, without it, I don’t regularly menstruate; it is normal for me to have only four periods a year). Thinking back, I had been off birth control for a year and half before I got pregnant with Olivia. Granted, we weren’t trying to conceive at the time but it was certainly telling information in hindsight.

Shortly after I stopped taking the birth control pills, it became painfully obvious that conception was not going to be easy for us. Within weeks, I started bleeding. For weeks at a time, I would bleed. I tried to give my body the benefit of the doubt. Maybe my body was readjusting its hormones. But irritation turned to frustration and frustration turned to desperation as the breaks between bleeding became shorter and shorter. What do you do when you won’t stop bleeding? How are you supposed to even try to get pregnant if your body won’t let you do thing that causes pregnancy? This went on for months. I spent my free time researching possible causes and sending emails to my doctor all the while my husband doing his best to keep my spirits up.

At my yearly OB/GYN appointment, I discussed the problems with my doctor. She told me to schedule an ultrasound so they could check for abnormalities in my uterus. But, because of my young age (28 at the time), she couldn’t address fertility treatments until we had been trying to conceive for a year. Again, the frustration was boiling over at our inability to even try to conceive since I was bleeding too frequently.

I made the ultrasound appointment. But I knew they wouldn’t find anything. I knew this was all related to my hormones. I almost wished there was something physically wrong that they could point to as the cause because not having answers is a worse condemnation. I knew this had to be done so they could move on to the next step in the process. Unfortunately, the day of the ultrasound, I had to bring Olivia with me. My sweet 3-year-old daughter wanted a sibling more than anything and I knew taking her to this appointment would get her hopes up but I was out of grandparents to watch her. As we left the appointment, she held my hand and looked up at me and asked, “Is there a baby in your tummy now, mommy?” I cried when we got back to the car. And I cried again when I saw my husband.

Of course, they didn’t find anything wrong with my girly parts. The next step was to have a sample of the lining of my uterus taken and tested to see what kind of hormonal issues I was having. But I had had enough of appointments and doctors at that point, so I never made that appointment. Instead, I wanted to sit in the shower, hug my knees and cry. Or, at the very least, not hear from or go to the doctor’s office for a while. I powered through on my own. I let up on my workouts and diet. I have low iron and low blood pressure so I thought maybe the extra workouts and my diet were putting an extra strain on my body. I figured any little bit had to help.

Slowly, the bleeding began to subside over the next month. We spent the next few months trying as often as we could and I tried to take my mind off of why we were jumping in bed every chance we could. I knew putting too much pressure on myself would only stress my body out more. But the question kept creeping up in the back of my mind: What if I can’t have any more children? What if Olivia was my miracle baby? My husband and I always talked about having multiple children and I’ve dreamed of a family since I was a small child. But that dream was slipping away and that was the heartbreaking truth I was trying to not face. I didn’t want to get to the point of fertility medication. I felt if we got to the point that we were spending money on fertility treatments that we would just put that money towards adoption.

By the spring of 2014, I started to refocus myself. We had passed the one year mark and I started emailing my doctor about my options. That was an irritating month or so of back-and-forths with no results. So, I researched and ordered some supplements that were supposed to help naturally balance my hormones. I took those through their cycle and continued clinging to hope that my body just needed to balance itself out. But, summer slowly crept in and still no baby. I read an article on the benefits of drinking 3 liters of water a day. I thought I was drinking enough trying to get in 64 ounces but decided to give it a go. What the hell? It’s not like it could do any harm. I started drinking 3 liters of water a day around the middle of June. The third weekend in June, we left for the Police and Fire Games to watch my husband play in the softball league. Even with Olivia and our dog Daisy in tow, we still managed some hotel hot stuff.

It was 2 weeks after that, that I noticed my body wasn’t quite right. My breasts were gigantic and painfully tender, I was incredibly bloated- six extra pounds of water weight to be uncomfortably exact- and I really just felt off. At which point, I pulled out the extra pregnancy test I had in my desk at work and saw the most beautiful little positive line faintly appear. But that is another story for another time.

I don’t know what finally did the trick. I don’t know if it was anything I did that helped this process along or if it was just time for baby #2 to finally come along. Whatever the case may be, we have a sweet baby girl due at the end of March.

That is my story.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Wow, it has been a while! Over a year. Time flies when you're living life. As a peace offering for the time away, here are 10 things you don't know about me: 

10) I love my mom body- pregnancy marks and all. 
9) I adore my husband but if anything happens to him or our marriage, I have no desire to be married again. 
8) I am Southern and a feminist- shout out to my sister Meagan Honea! 
7) I am painfully introverted but I'm okay with myself. 
6) Miss O isn't an only child by choice. It's been a long troublesome road to conception and she badly wants a sibling. 
5) I have inattentive ADD. 
4) I think farts are hilarious and I burp a lot- loudly!
3) I gave birth sans medication except for being induced, breastfed, made baby food, and used cloth diapers but I support ALL ways of parenting. There is no one way to do things.
2) I have a vivid and overactive imagination. If you see me in public and it looks like I'm ignoring you, I'm actually daydreaming. 
1) I can turn off my emotions on a dime. If someone crosses me in an inexcusable way, I no longer need them in my life. I have a happy bubble around my little family and I like to keep it that way.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Awesome Homemade Chili

I have never been a chili person.  I never tasted a recipe that appealed to me until one autumn day, back when hubby and I were in our first year of marriage, we went to a local Fall festival and taste-tested the chili cook-off entries.  To me, chili was chili and they all tasted the same until we came to one booth that was decorated with trophies and ribbons from past chili cook-off winnings.  The apron-adorned man handed us samples and to my surprise, it was delicious!  Of course, he wouldn't give his award winning recipe out but I knew what was tantalizing my taste buds: the hint of honey.  You heard me right: honey.  The subtle hint of sweet to offset the chili spice was amazing.  We left the Fall festival and went straight to the grocery store because I was making chili that night.  I customized my chili to my own liking because I don't like chunks of tomatoes or onions, so my chili has neither of those.  I am not a huge fan of spicy foods but with the hint of honey, I make my chili a little spicier because the contrasting flavors work so well.  And I can boast that everyone who has tried my chili has gone back for more.
My handy helper

1 lb ground meat (I usually use ground turkey)
1 pack hot chili seasoning
1 pack low sodium chili seasoning
1 can corn
4 cans kidney beans
2 cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey (or to taste; sometimes I add a drop more to my own bowl of chili)

Start by browning the meat in a large stock pot that has been drizzled with olive oil.  Once the meat is browned, add the chili seasoning and the water.  Stir together and let simmer for a few minutes.  Add the honey and let simmer a few more minutes.  Add kidney beans, corn, and tomato sauce and stir together.  Add a little more water if it seems thick.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve and enjoy the awesomeness!  I sometimes even double the recipe and have leftovers or freeze the bulk for later.
Amazing Homemade Chili

Monday, March 25, 2013

Homemade Fish Sticks a.k.a. Breaded Tilapia

I was craving some sort of fish a few weeks back.  I wasn't in the mood for salmon or tuna but tilapia sounded perfect.  I like tilapia because it is light, not too fishy, and you can cook it a variety of ways.  I was feeling fancy that day so I decided to do my version of fish sticks which I adapted from my version of chicken parmigiana (hmmm.... sounds like I have an idea for a future post!).  I also had some green beans and potatoes lying around so I whipped up some side dishes to go along with my fish sticks.

What you'll need:
The yummy finished product!
- Tilapia filets (I found a deal on bulk tilapia so I cooked up A LOT! But, clearly, you just need what you plan on eating)
- whole-wheat bread crumbs
- whole-wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- 3 containers long enough to fit your filets in
- glass casserole dish
- lemon juice
- olive oil

- potatoes, peeled and chopped into small squares
- green beans

optional: Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese to add to bread crumbs for flavor

Make it happen:
Before starting on the tilapia filets, wash, peel, slice and cube the potatoes. Then, place them in a skillet, sprinkle generously with olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook on the stove over medium for about 45 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.  Stir occasionally.

Let the green beans simmer with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt while you're baking the tilapia.

First, pour about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour into one of the containers and pour 1/2 cup breadcrumbs into another container (keep the flour and breadcrumbs handy in case you need to add more later on).  Then, crack your eggs into the last container and beat them until smooth.  Now, you're ready to bread your filets. 
The Breading Station
I've experimented with several different breading methods and looked at many different recipes and I have perfected a technique that works best for me and is great for double breading if you like a thick breaded crust on your fish or chicken (everyone has their own opinion and I refuse to say one way of baking is better than another).  First, roll the filet in the flour, then dip it in the egg, then roll it in the breadcrumbs. If you want to double bread the filets, dip it back in the egg and roll it in the breadcrumbs again.  Then, place the filets in the casserole dish sprayed with olive oil.  Repeat until all the filets are breaded.  Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the filets and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumb coating becomes golden brown.

Serve it all up with your favorite fish condiment.  I like a dollop of cocktail sauce.  These are so yummy that my super picky 3 year old even ate them.  That's a successful meal in my book!