Christmas Travels | The TENTH Day of Blogmas!

On the tenth day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me... a Christmas travel story Christmas Travels | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Some years we stay at home for Christmas and some years we travel to my grandparents' in West Virginia. Traveling at a time of year where snow is always possible and crowded highways inevitable always brings adventures. We've had our fair share of traffic jams and snowy slow-downs.

But it was Christmas of 2011 when my family found ourselves in a hotel room come Christmas morning. Hotel stays typically happened well in advance of the holiday. We would be dreaming of sugar plums in a white farmhouse while Santa comes to visit instead of resting in rough hotel sheets without a fireplace in sight.

My high school football team had made it big that year--we went to the state finals! An event that hadn't happened in years, so no one would miss the game , including my freshman sister and senior me. The game that just so happened to fall on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a Thanksgiving we were supposed to spend in West Virginia with my mom's side of the family.

So we stayed in town for Thanksgiving; not a problem since we could celebrate with my dad's family. But it did mean we had to stay for Christmas Eve in Indy and somehow make it to West Virginia for Christmas Day.

My parents are smart when it comes to travel plans. Thanks to my dad's willingness to drive in the middle of the night and my mom's ability to keep him awake, the plan was concocted to celebrate Christmas Eve with Dad's side, leave straight from the party, and then head straight for West Virginia, driving until we were only about three hours away from the farm.

So with Christmas (seafood) chowder warming our bellies and Eloise at Christmastime playing on the portable DVD player positioned between my sister and I, we headed east on the night of Christmas Eve.

That's how I ended up in a double bed in a hotel by the highway with my sister early Christmas morning. Our stockings, at my insistence, hung from the TV cabinet at the end of the bed. I hurried my sister out of bed and the two of us dumped out the cross-stitched, faux socks to see what Santa brought us.

As we sorted through the nail polish, candy, toothbrushes, and Chapstick, my parents worked on packing up the room behind us. We ate a breakfast of cinnamon and pecan rolls carried all the way from Indiana and dressed in our Christmas clothes before straightening up the room. Our Christmas goodies were shoved into plastic bags, the stockings carefully packed away, and anything unpacked overnight tossed back into black and purple suitcases before we rushed back into the car to take on those last three hours to the farm.

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On the tenth day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

A Christmas travel story, six final to-readsdecked halls a-twinkling, a Christmas tag of sorts, two Christmas book reads, FIVEEEE FESTIVE MOVIES! Memories filled with snow, one blog tag, the best study tipsand 10 Christmas songs to sing!

Hillbrook Farm | The FOURTH Day of Blogmas!

Hillbrook Farm | FOURTH Day of Blogmas! | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Even though we were just in the farmhouse parlor, the room felt the same as all the Christmas Eve services before it. Grandma’s vintage tree flushed behind me with its faux-candle lights encircling the branches, casting a shadow of light around our circle. Specks of birthday candle light flickered from person to person. Even the farm participated in our circle, glowing from the reflection of the moonlight on the snow. Dainty icicles like thin drips of candle wax skimmed the bushes and bare tree branches.

A thin skin of slush glazed Turner Road running by outside. Not nearly as treacherous as forecasted, but not likely to be cleared until a dedicated man with a tractor got out to plow. I had to smile, thinking about the powdering of snow that kept us at the farm for Christmas Eve. I couldn't help but thank it.

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On the fourth day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

memories filled with snow, one blog tag, the best study tipsand 10 Christmas songs to sing!

'Bout This Blogger Tag | The THIRD Day of Blogmas!

On the third day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me: one blog tag! Happy third day of Blogmas! I hope you enjoyed the first two :) Today I'm answering the 'Bout this Blogger Tag from the blog Paper Fury. Enjoy!

Bout This Blogger Tag | Scribbling in the Margins

1. Why did you start blogging?

After suffering through a novella class spring semester, I was sick and tired of writing. I had always thought fiction was my one true writing love, and now I couldn't stand it. Writing for fun in the summer needed to happen, and so I decided "why not start a blog?" It gave me the perfect chance to write regularly and whatever I wanted, no fiction required.

2. What’s the story behind your blog’s name?

Oh, the blog name. It took me FOREVER to pick a name. I finally took a poll of my sorority sisters with several selections, most of them related to The Great Gatsby. Yet they overwhelming selected Scribbling in the Margins. I needed a name that was versatile but very me, and since I write in the margins of my school books/love to write in general, the name won.

3. How many designs have you been through since you started blogging? (Pictures! We demand pictures!)

Technically just one, since my first design was never live. I only started blogging in June, so what you see is it!

4. Have you ever switched blog platforms? What made you move? If you haven’t ever changed…why?

I had an old blog on Blogger just for friends and family. I didn't dislike it, and I've seen beautiful Blogger blogs, but my friend Jordan recommended Wordpress as the best option for growth. So here I am! I haven't had any time to dislike it yet.

5. How long does it take you to write a post? What’s your postly process like?

It depends. Book reviews take about 15, 20 minutes to write. Other posts can take anywhere of 10 minutes to an hour. What takes me the longest is photography, since it's not really my thing and I can never seem to make them as beautiful as I want. So typically what I do is write the post, take the pictures, edit the pictures, then insert the pictures. I think that's what the question means by "postly process" :)

6. Have you ever been super nervous about a post? Why?! What was it?

I was nervous about my e-book/real book post. I didn't want to come off as rude, just defending my position in a relatively humorous way. But since so few people read my blog, I figured in the end one little post didn't matter that much.

7. Do you have a blogging schedule?

I used to. Book related posts would be Tuesday and then my college/life/anything I wanted posts were Friday. Now I post whenever I can. My plan for next semester is to post once a week (haven't picked a day yet--suggestions?) and then see if I can get back up to twice. I miss blogging!

8. Do you tell people In-Real-Life about your blog? Their reactions?

Yup. They've been part of the process since I said to my mom and sister "I want to start a blog!" My friends and family aren't really surprised; they know I love to write and most of them knew about my old blog so I think it's a natural continuation for them.

9. Top ten blogs you read/comment on the most! Go! Go!

I have a confession to make... I don't comment on blogs nearly enough. I barely have time to read them, let alone comment on them. So I will list my top five favorite blogs, in no particular order, and get better on the commenting in 2015 :)

  1. Paper Fury (formerly known as Notebook Sisters)
  2. Essiebutton
  3. Unfancy
  4. Sally's Baking Addiction (um food? yes please)
  5. Allison Anderson

10. If you could change/improve things about your blog, what would they be?

I would, you know, post more often... I wish I had a more personal design, one unique to me. But I have no money/skills so that's on hold for now. I'm hoping with the upcoming semester and next summer I'll really be able to make my blog look exactly what I want, but stay tuned on that front.

And so that concludes the third day of Blogmas! I will see you tomorrow.

nameOn the third day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

one blog tag, the best study tipsand 10 Christmas songs to sing!

A Love Letter to Letters

A Love Letter to Letters | Scribbling in the Margins blog Here's a little known fact about me:

I LOVE to write letters.

Thank you notes, life updates scribbling on pages of stationary, simple "thinking of you" sentiments--I love them all. There's something about pen to paper, the etching of one element onto another, that's incredibly personal and intimate to me. It takes time and thought to write a letter, time and thought that allows you to consider the person you're writing to and what they mean to you--even if it's as seemingly impersonal as a thank you for a job interview.

I also love stamps. The USPS offers countless types of stamps- American flags, farmers markets, birds, historical events, Harry Potter, famous people, nativity scenes- that show the personality of the person. They allow you to show who you are, what you like, in the tiniest of ways. Individuality the size of a postage stamp. "Forever," they read. Because mail will never die away.

Arguably my favorite feature of a letter is the stationary. While I love a good Hallmark card, it's the plain, everyday, set-of-10 stationary that captures my heart. My trip to Italy this past January was not complete until I visited a paper store. My favorite aisle in Target is the one lined with boxes of flowers, anchors, thanks yous, and stripes, all tantalizing me as I walk by. When I pull out a fresh card to send to a friend or family member, I gently run my fingers over the soft inside before I begin. The beauty in letter writing isn't always in the words; it's in the presentation.

A Love Letter to Letters | Scribbling in the Margins blog

Pens (never pencils) are important to a good letter experience; yet the element I neglect the most. In my brief moment of free time when I can etch out a note, the closest pen is typically the one chosen. Yet two years ago, when I sat down with my box of 50 thank you cards and a list of graduation presents, it was my fountain pen I chose. The elegant, ink flowing pen stoked each card with gratitude and cursive. An experience; not a chore.

They say the post office is losing money. They say the art of letter writing is dying. They say our world needs immediate gratification, and letters just won't cut it. Yet I check my college mailbox every day, hoping for a note. Ready to respond with a crisp blue card of my own. Because the thoughts that take time to come are often the thoughts worth saying.

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Below the Line:

  • I had an AMAZING fall break at Disney World with my family. We had so much fun riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and exploring the parks. A great place to spend time with my dear family.
  • On that note...three weeks until Thanksgiving Break!
  • Indiana had its first snow this past Friday. I can't believe we're at that point in the year when snow enters the weather forecasts. I can't say I'm excited, but there's nothing like white snow in December (about the only month I appreciate it).