WARNING. This is a very long post. It has a ton of links and if you and I have too much in common, you could end up getting sucked into this addiction if you aren't already. Proceed with caution.
My friend, Angela, and I have a shared addiction. We love to talk about it. We love to talk about how we manage it, categorize it, our favorites... Here it is. We LOVE to read blogs. Reading blogs is totally different from keeping a blog. There are tons of blog readers who'd never thinking of having their own site. Honestly, if I had to choose between my DVR and Google Reader, I think my husband would be surprised, but I really would give up my TV shows. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, I don't WANT to choose, but if I had to, that would be my choice.
The first blogs I started reading were Dooce, Cool Mom and Pioneer Woman. I'd go to their sites every few days perusing their photos, daily entries and reading older submittals to catch me up. Soon, I discovered Google Reader - and then my world opened up. I ditched Dooce even though I love her photography, she was too negative and although I liked Cool Mom I didn't always jive with her politics. I was still reading PW, but my list was slowing filling up...
Three years later, I'm still at it. So, here are some of my favorite sites:
Whatever. This blog is hands-down my favorite. I LOVE Meg. I would absolutely be friends with her. Or, is it weird that I feel like I know her? She is a great wife, loving Mama of a large family, decorator of a beautiful older home, has a strong Christian heart, is an amazing photographer and fills her home and life with bright color. LOVE her.
Enjoying the Small Things. My friend, Kim, just told me about this one and I've only been following about a month. I LOVE IT. Kelle is the mother of two beautiful little girls. Her story of the birth of her youngest daughter, Nella. How she had This Woman's Work by Kate Bush playing during labor, the moment she knew her daughter had Down's Syndrome... Oh, my. I love her heart as a mother and her gift as a photographer. Definitely a good find.
My Life in Transition. This is Julia's blog. Her little guy Truman was born just before Elyse. I originally found her site as she cloth diapers her son and it was nice to find a "normal" Mom trying something I was also interested in. I learned along with her about the world of cloth diapers - varieties, laundry, etc. She is so honest about everything and I love watching her little son, Truman grow up. Sadly, Julia just had a miscarriage. My heart breaks for her.
Young House Love. This couple has become incredibly popular with their ability to DIY just about anything. I loved all the changes they did to their previous home. They just moved into a new one and I'm not exactly connecting with their new sense of style, but still like to see what they are up to. Plus, they also have a little girl a few months older than Elyse, so it is fun to see what they are doing with her.
With Two Cats. Lauren is a decorator and stylist with GREAT taste. I found her blog when I was looking for nursery ideas. She has a beautiful daughter named Violet (Side note: I was in love with this name, but Bill said NO). I'd love her blog anyway, but definitely am proud to say Lauren featured Elyse's nursery on her site back in August! That was huge for me!
Kerianne Brown Photography. Too bad this gal lives in Nova Scotia. She is an amazing photographer. I just ADORE her photos of the day of her little guy, Will. Oh, how I wish I could capture her technique - the focused, detailed eyes and the buttery backgrounds. I love this site and don't miss a post.
Making It Lovely. This gal is super-creative and has a clean and beautiful sense of style.
And So She Blogs. Carrisa is spunky and honest. She talks about issues with weight, working on home improvements, her wish to have a child and her favorite TV shows. I don't know - there's something about her that definitely is endearing to me. I keep tuning back in to see what she is up to.
The Jennifer Recession Diaries. I found this blog because she is a friend of a friend - she actually adopted the brother of my friend's adopted son (wow, I hope that makes sense). The blog is about how Jennifer and her family have been hit by the recession. She was living the high life during the construction boom and talks about her family's experiences from facing the threat of losing their home to visiting a pawn shop between paychecks. She shares advice and lessons all of us can learn from, no matter what our financial situation.
Eat, Drink, Live. This is my friend's blog, but it is also a HUGE resource for me. It is a pure recipe/cooking site and I literally use it each week. She takes the thinking out of preparing meals and her recipes provide healthy, balanced meals - main course and a side (or two). It is a Godsend.
Sunny Side Up. This may very well be the happiest and cutest family you'll ever see. I found this blog right after Erin gave birth to her son, Cole. Her story was plastered on blogs everywhere as Erin almost died. It was a sad and scary story, but she is great now and I've been following her family ever since. They are super cute and I do love her passion for organizing!
Resolved to Worship - This family can be described in one word - beautiful. She is a photographer and captures her gorgeous family in to-die-for photo shoots. She and her husband are both amazingly gorgeous as are each and every one of her SEVEN children with one on the way (wow)! I like to get ideas from her photography as well as how she does everything on such a limited budget!
Tales From the Motherhood. This Mom is just too dang funny! She was a childhood actress from the 80s and does a post each Wednesday on stories from her experiences. She is the parent of the three kids and loves to show the reality of life with her little ones. I like that her site is fun and positive.
Dream Book Design. I just discovered this site. It is another DIY'er couple. I feel like I need to keep reading as she and her husband met on the same day Bill and I did in 2004. Love that.
The Osborne Family. I found Michelle's blog on one of my sleepless nights of pregnancy. I Google'd "Baby D", which you might remember was our name for Elyse before she was born. I found this sweet site chronicling Michelle's pregnancy - she was just a few months behind me. It has been fun to watch another Baby D, later named Amelia, change and grow.
Western Washington Weedons. I love that I found Chelsi in a roundabout way with our connection being that we're from the same town and we both like to blog! She is a cutie-pie and it was super fun to actually meet her in person recently. We have a shared mutual friend whom we both adore - what's not to love about that?
I'm embarrassed to say, there are a TON more on my list. Of course blogs from people I actually know like: Annie, Jessica, Kim, Ann, Stephanie, Carin, Shannon...
Then, there are the sites I keep on the list that I almost never read all of their posts. I like to keep them full of unread entries so I can have them there if I ever have free time to just look around. Here are some (definitely not all) of those categories of reading:
PHOTOGRAPHY. There are tons of photography sites I read for information on products, tips and techniques like Digital Photography School, Me Ra Koh and Texas Chicks Blogs and Pics.
MONEY. Financial/discount sites for information on budgeting, coupons and savings like Freebies 4 Mom, Moneywise Moms and the Simple Dollar.
STYLE. The tons of style, decorating and crafting sites I keep loaded to peruse when I have time to just look like Tip Junkie, Nesting Place, Thrifty Decor Chick and Tatertots and Jello.
FOOD. Cooking and recipe sites like Cooking During Stolen Moments, Weelicious and PW's Tasty Kitchen.
BABIES. OK, so obviously you've seen a theme above. I do like keeping up with some of favorite bloggers and their kiddos. There are other blogs I read mostly to watch the growth of their little ones like: The Macs, We're Finally Three and Loyal, Loving and Learning.
Sometimes Google Reader ends up like a big stack of magazines. I look at the pile with great intentions of reading them. Let's just say a blog list is a lot easier to sort through than books or magazines. Google has this great function called "mark all as read". Ta-dah. Cleaned out!
So, that summarizes my list. What makes a blog you've just found get sent to your trash? For me, I read for fun, pleasure, inspiration, as well as to provoke thought and challenge my thinking and faith. Mainly I ditch blogs that are too negative or harsh, poorly written or get too much into pushing their views or politics.
What works for you? What do you like to read? What inspires YOU?