October 22, 2014

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: DIY Halloween Costume

October 20, 2014

Ross' Rad Reads - Are You Kidding Me?

Writing humor is hard. There are those who can do it well, and those who, well they try. Stacey Gustafson is firmly in the former category.

It's been a while since I've bestowed one of my Ross' Rad Reads awards. I've been so busy lately there hasn't been much time for reading. But I never turn down an opportunity to read a book written by someone I know. In fact, a good 90% of my reading material now comes through my social media connections. And I love it.

So when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Stacey's new book Are You Kidding Me? My Life With An Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, And Crazy Relatives, I jumped at the chance.

There were plenty of reasons to love this book. I could relate to so much of it. Many times, it felt as if Stacey was writing about my own life. And actually, I learned from reading Are You Kidding Me? that we both grew up in St. Louis and experienced very similar childhoods. Her chapter on the 4th of July could have been written about my own neighborhood.

But even when her experiences were different from mine, the laugh-out-loud humor made them relatable and very enjoyable. Stacey is a woman of few words. Her chapters are short, sweet, and to the point. That also made this a really easy read for me.

She's not afraid to make as much fun of herself as she does her loved ones. She spares no one, least of all herself. Those embarrassing moments we tend to keep to ourselves? She puts them out there, and leaves you reaching for a Kleenex to wipe the tears from your cheeks.

I probably gained some new laugh lines, but what's a few more at this point? I'm dubbing this book an official Ross' Rad Read. You'll be left feeling your family is far more normal than you realized. And, if you're like me, you'll be wishing you fell into the former category above, too.

Want a sneak peek? Stacey's post from my Summer Series is one of the chapters of the book. And as good as that was, it's not the best chapter by far.

You can enter to win a free copy of Stacey's book on Goodreads through November 8. If you can't wait that long or don't like your chances, go ahead and order it today!

October 14, 2014

Here and there...

As I shared recently, I have a new writing gig at Mom.me! If you haven't had a chance yet, please stop by and check out my posts there:

I also have a new post up at Purple Clover about the profound experience of being by my father's side as he died.

SB and I are working on a fun project together at the moment.  She has recently shown a budding interest in photography, just like her mama. The National Geographic Your Shot community, which I am a part of, currently has an assignment for parents and children to participate in together! The World Next Door is about exploring and photographing your community alongside your child.

We can each submit three shots. The rules are they should be of the same subject, that we should be photographing the world around us together. We already had two photos I thought would be a perfect fit, so I submitted them as soon as I saw the assignment. They were taken at our local zoo.

SB has loved receiving feedback from the members of the Your Shot community, and has been quite competitive, keeping tabs of which photo has more likes.

I felt these shots met the guidelines, but a recent update from the editor stated he does not want images of animals, and that the adult's photographs should not include their children. I actually offered a little bit of push back on that and am waiting to hear back. It's possible our photos will not be considered for inclusion in the story.

In the meantime, SB and I planned a photo shoot together this week. She took the guidelines and rules very literally, as young kids do, and wanted to go down the street to her best friend's house. There we each shot portraits of her friend, who chose to model her Halloween costume.  Here are the shots we captured:

We have one more submission we are allowed to make to the assignment and are currently discussing what we want to photograph. Whether any of our images end up being featured in the story is irrelevant. It has really been great to be able to explore together and work on developing our shared interest!

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