smile

365 Challenge: Day 314 – Smile

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Smile: (a) pleased, kind, or amused facial expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed, or (b) the best word to describe a fellow blogger and her wonderful online store

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As you can see from today’s featured picture, the word is smile and the image contains several types of cards. Today’s post is a bit different, but one that has been a pleasure to pull together. About six months ago, I began chatting with a fellow blogger, Janet, over various posts between both of our sites. Over time, it became clear why her blog name is Janet’s Smiles — she always has one and shares them with others. It’s not often you come across someone with such a wonderful and friendly personality, who not only gives of themselves, but finds ways to go the extra (s)mile! If you’ve never stopped by her blog, please visit @ Blog: Janet’s Smiles. I’m confident you’ll find something you enjoy. But that’s not really the purpose of today’s 365 Daily Challenge post… what is it, you ask?

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As Janet and I interacted more, I kept seeing the link to an Etsy store, but never actually went to it (who knows why, laziness?) for the first few months. At the end of last year, I realized it was time to check it out, and I’m quite glad I did! I discovered that Janet owns an online store at Etsy, which you can shop at via A Smile 4 U from Janet. Janet is a designer, creator, inventor, fabricator and entertainer — that’s the best way to describe it. She makes cards and mini scrapbook albums for all holidays and events, which you can see on her Etsy site. She also loves to design and assemble custom orders, for milestones like birthdays, memories, vacations or any special occasion.

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When I checked out her site earlier this month, I left purchasing 5 new greeting cards, which you see throughout this post. We’re all familiar with these wonderful little gifts or ways of communicating with others. Sometimes it’s for a big holiday, like Christmas or Easter, or maybe it’s someone’s special birthday or anniversary. Perhaps you like sending cards to people for Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving or Arbor Day. Who am I to judge! In truth, cards serve many purposes — perhaps we want someone to know we’re thinking about them, or instead of exchanging gifts, you send a beautiful message in the perfect card. They’re always valuable and have a way of building your relationships and connections with others.

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Let’s chat a bit about the cost and originality of greeting cards… whether you go to a local pharmacy/drug store like CVS or Rite Aid, a higher-end place like Papyrus, or the dollar store for an individual card or a box of your standard greeting cards, it’s likely you’re frequently in need of these little treasures. While you could buy the standard/basic box of twenty and send out those for minor occasions, you’re always in need of something custom, special or unique for the major occasions. When you shop for them, you could spend anywhere from $3 to $8 for each individual card from the big box stores — and they’re always boring. I actually found 3 out 30 useful in a CVS last Christmas. Or you could buy them from an individual / specialty designer like Janet’s shop on Etsy. When I perused her site, I left with 5 unique cards that I can use for a birthday, thank you or thinking of you moment. I can’t explain how easy and fun it was to shop for something so pretty, engaging and different than the norm.

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When the cards arrived, I was quite impressed. Construction was fantastic. Design was beautiful. Presentation was remarkable. It was really fun to open each package and look through each individual card. For me, I’d rather spend my money in a store like Janet’s, where I have custom cards, from a wonderful designer, in a trustworthy sales process… and in the end… it would honestly be less expensive through her than if I had bought these in a Papyrus or another similar store. When you add in all these perks, I think I’ve found a new regular place to shop and buy my specialty greeting cards. It’s even got me thinking about what else I could ask Janet to put together for custom orders around the holidays!

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This is the first time I’ve ever written about another product or service from a fellow blogger, other than books. But in all sincerity, I feel like I found a little goldmine of opportunity to take my card gift-giving up a notch in quality and still spend less money… and I kinda smiled thinking about sharing it with others who may already know Janet, but not about her Etsy shop. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to peruse her blog and her online shop links, then decide for yourself to pick up a few greeting cards for your next holidays or special days.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 70 – A to Z Happy Places

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A to Z Happy Place: A list of 26 places that make you happy — challenge posed to any readers who would like to participate. Maybe it’s the innocence of childhood or that favorite vacation spot…. somewhere that always brings a smile to your face

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As a follow-up to last week’s foods from A to Z, this week we’re focusing on the places that have brought us love and excitement, continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) of sorts that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

Rules

  1. Pick something that starts with that letter and add it to your own list. Don’t think about it… just come up with a couple ideas in under five seconds and choose the best of the bunch.
  2. It can be a named place or a general place. But it has to be an actual physical location; not metaphorical!
  3. This is the final week of the AtoZ items… the next grouping will be revealed in a few days!
  4. It’s a fun game, but if you are nominated and DO NOT want to participate, you don’t have to. Just ignore it! Totally OK.
  5. You may not have been nominated, but you can totally participate by following these rules.
  6. Post it as a reply on the person’s blog where you found it. Also post it on your own blog as a new post.
  7. Should we use a tag so we can see all the responses? Suggestions… AtoZPlaces
  8. This may not go anywhere if there is no participation other than me. And that’s OK. The 365 Daily Challenge was about me to start, so I cannot expect or force anyone else.
  9. Have fun and get to know your online friends. Tell us when you post your 26 items.  Thanks!

A to Z Happy Places to Make Me Smile

A – Attics

B – Bookstores

C – Cotswolds

D – Dos Caminos (Mexican restaurant I eat at on Fridays)

E – Erga Bakery in Bethpage when I was growing up

F – Farms

G – Gardens

H – Home

I – Iceland (never been, but I do love the cold weather)

J – Jubilee (French restaurant I eat at once a week)

K – Kitchens

L – Libraries

M – Museums

N – New York City

O – Ocean

P – Parks

Q – Quality Meats (Steak restaurant in NYC)

R – Restaurants

S – Scotland

T – Trolleys

U – University campuses

V – Vineyards

W – Wishing Wells

X – X-Mas Tree Lots

Y – Yellowstone Park

Z – Zoo

People You Are Tagging

NO ONE! Anyone who wants to participate should… But someone has to or my friend below is gonna come after you!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 26 – Poetic

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Poetic: having an imaginative or sensitively emotional style of expression

Its original source, Latin, generally meant “things created,” as in words or writing. As humankind evolved, it took on a more lyrical definition for shorter works for fiction, sometimes filled with rhyme. We’re all familiar with famous poets, which I won’t note here, as there are too many to remember and too many to include. For the record, Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet, but Anne Bradstreet’s “The Flesh and the Spirit” is my favorite poem. I’ve provided a link below for you to read it when you have time, if it’s of interest. For me, the poem shows the two parts inside of me, as I’ve always felt like two different people. No, not as in split personalities… but as in two distinct driving forces, styles, needs, vibes, personas… co-existing in a single body, representing to the outside world 1 distinct person. I am Flesh. I am Spirit. How can one choose?

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-flesh-and-the-spirit/

I’ve never liked the word “poetic.” It’s been used as a negative word all too often throughout history. Students often struggle with learning the art of poetry, whether writing their own verses or interpreting the poet’s words. It’s such a basic word and can be a simple example of creative writing. It can also be a treasure trove of lyrical beauty and infinite metaphors. But what does it really mean, really imply… when you take it for what it is: a set of words crafted with an intention, short enough to be interpreted in so many different ways.

For me, poetic has always been the way someone thinks about the words they choose. And given that I’m also a writer, as much as a reader and a blogger, it’s important that my prose be poetic, that is, in the beauty of the letters and language being used. A poem can be an expression of a moment’s thought, or it can be a year’s worth of emotional impact. Being poetic to me is about creating a sentiment I’m feeling or thinking about during those moments, and successfully sharing it with the reader at the same time.

It doesn’t mean the author of the poem is the subject in the words, or even has any connection at all — other than it being an expression in their mind of a situation. I stumbled across some poems I wrote a few years ago and spent fifteen minutes reciting them again this morning. I thought to myself on a few… “wow, these are a little awkward…” but soon found a few where I said, “oh, you do have some talent for pairing words and feelings in short verses.”

And since the 365 Daily Challenge is about discovery and expression, I’ve decided to link 6 of the poems to this post. Feel free to comment with how awful or brilliant they are!

By sharing them, I’m putting myself out there with some poems I’ve written several years ago. What I hope to gain from this is an ability to push myself back into dabbling in a little poetry again. Some of these need a little refreshment. Some need an overhaul. Some are good as they are. Perhaps this challenge will push me forward as I focus on my creativity and my pragmatic nature.

And if nothing else, it’s a quiet reminder of a time in my life where I focused diligently on creating and developing expressions of things going on in my life. From pain comes beauty. Whether it’s a break-up, a lost dream or a failure, words can help you maneuver through the situation until you heal. And while these poems were based on some experiences, they also came from pure imagination. Thanks for checking them out.