Sunshine Bloggers Award

Once again, I’m a bit behind regarding awards.  Oh well!  Better late than never!sunshine-blogger-award-300x300

A while back, Aimee from Pocket Writes nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  It’s always an honor to be considered–especially since this award has to do with being uplifting and encouraging.  Thank you so much, Aimee!

Every award is different and this one involves three things: thank the person who nominated you, answer the given questions, and nominate others.  I’m covering two out of those three things.  (See my Award Policies page for more info on why.)

Now for the questions…

What is your biggest fear?

I can handle most insects, but I’m downright terrified of centipedes.  The way they move with all those legs… ICK.  On a more serious note, I think my biggest fear is mediocrity.  I want so badly to make an impact on the world, to help people and bring light and hope to dark places.  It’s so easy to fall short of dreams for the sake of what is easy and comfortable.  But I’m doing my best to make the most of each day, knowing that big dreams happen in small steps.  I’ll get there someday.

Which one thing are you addicted to?

Nutella.  Oh my gosh.  It’s dangerous how much I love Nutella.  Any jar around me needs to be locked up lest I eat the entire bottle in a terrifyingly short period of time.

Do you have any pet peeves? What are they?

I hate it when people don’t shut doors all the way.  I really dislike anything that glows in the dark when I’m trying to sleep.  Also, it drives me crazy when my parents talk in loud voices early in the morning.  My room is right next to the kitchen and the sound goes right through my door, waking me up.

What is your perfect idea of a ‘relaxation day’?

Lounging on my couch in pajamas drinking tea while reading a book or watching Netflix is absolute heaven.  I also really enjoy shopping, especially this time of year when all the stores are filled with sweaters and scarves.

How do you deal with stress?

I tend to avoid it as much as possible.  For example, in college I rarely procrastinated because the threat of being stressed was too formidable.  Most of my essays were written a week before they were due.  When stress does happen, my worldview tends to shrink to the point where I get tunnel vision.  Everything is suddenly about me, my stress, my problems.  I tend to throw a pity party for myself and forget about other people’s issues and concerns.  I think that I become a pretty icky person to be around–which is why I go to great lengths to avoid being stressed.

Which is one habit of yours you wish to improve/change?

We sell these little pumpkin-shaped chocolates at my family’s apple orchard.  Throughout the day, I constantly snitch them.  I’ve been doing this as long as I can remember.  It’s an awful habit and I sometimes feel guilty… but I also love eating chocolate.

Where’s your favorite ‘hanging out’ spot?

Probably my bedroom.  There’s nothing better than curling up in bed with a book.

How do you prefer to spend your weekends?

I currently work most weekends, but if I had them free, they would be lazy with a few social plans thrown in.  If I’m busy one day, I like to have the other to relax and recharge.  I love sleeping in, reading and drinking tea, spending time painting, or going for a morning bike ride.  Sundays involve church, but the rest of the day is mine.  I like spending afternoons doing non-energetic social things like shopping or hanging one-on-one with a friend.

Are you a movie buff? What are your favorite movies?

I wouldn’t call myself a buff, but I really enjoy watching movies and never miss watching the Oscars.  Favorites include Midnight in Paris, The Princess Bride, Ever After, While You Were Sleeping, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Sound of Music, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and anything from the Disney Renaissance.

Which event do you feel changed your life the most?

There have been several, but my first major life event happened my freshman year of high school.  Believe it or not, up until this point, I was a committed basketball player.  I started playing on teams as early as they were offered.  In middle school, my winters were consumed with multiple practices a night.  But as I got older, the game became more serious and it was evident that I wasn’t able to keep up.  My teammates excelled while I regressed.  I had a coach tell my mom that, “I can’t have your daughter on the court screwing things up while the other girls could be out there winning.  If anyone had been cut this year, it would have been her.  Be thankful she’s out there at all.”

Scarred from a diminishing basketball career, I entered high school and joined the marching band.  There, I made tons of new friends with whom I shared more interests than any of my former teammates.  At the end of the season, all my band friends started talking about how they were joining the Speech team once winter came.  Up until this point, I had planned on staying in sports… but I started to reconsider.  Why stick with a sport I’m not good at with people I don’t like very much when I could be giving speeches and hanging out with my friends?

Long story short, I joined Speech.  Looking back, this decision was absolutely HUGE.  Speech shaped me in ways that sports never would.  It gave me a chance to write and perform my own pieces, to become a comfortable public speaker, and hang out with my friends.  My Speech career was extremely successful–I ended up captaining the team for two years and competing in the State tournament.  In college, I was able to judge meets assist in coaching for the local high school team.  Through Speech, I gained my voice, learned leadership, and picked up critical thinking and analysis skills that I know will play a key role in my future.

What did your ten-years-younger self think you’d be doing right now?

Honestly, I don’t think twelve-year-old Amelia had many lifelong ambitions.  She wanted to go to college and someday get a boyfriend.  She’d be pleased to know that I now have a degree, but probably wouldn’t be too thrilled that her twenty-two year-old self has yet to date anyone.  It’s okay, little Amelia.  There’s still lots of time.

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Thanks, again, Aimee for the nomination!  She answered similar questions to mine, so be sure to visit her Sunshine award post to see her answers.  Check out her blog as well–she’s a really good writer, likes books, and does really cool cross-stitching.

Blogger Recognition Award

After Writing 101 ended, I kind of crashed and spent my free time binge-watching Netflix for a solid week, leaving me a bit behind on the blog.  I’m slowly catching up on awards.

A couple of weeks ago, Shannon from If You Captured Your Life in Snapshots, What Would It Look Like? nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award!  It’s designed to spread love among the blogosphere and recognize sites we love.  Part of the award includes sharing

BloggerRecognitionAwardI don’t know if sharing your blogging story is part of the award, but Shannon did in her post, so I’ll continue the trend.

When I was fifteen, I was deep into the Harry Potter fandom.  This was before Tumblr was a thing and, in order to engage with my fellow nerds, I entered discussions on fan forums.  I ended up becoming a core member of a forum dedicated to a particular podcast and, in the process, made my first online friends.  Anna lived in Chicago and liked to knit.  Cathy, who is a fantastic poet, lived in California.  We were all roughly the same age and would spend hours on the forum talking about life, love, and Harry Potter.

One day, Cathy brought up the subject of blogging.  I was an aspiring fan-fiction novelist at the time, so writing was always on my mind.  Being a fan of my work, Cathy suggested I start a blog.  I thought about it for a while and thought, “… why not?”  Having a corner of the internet to myself sounded like fun.

After doing a bit of research, I ended up getting an account on Blogger.  I stayed there for five years, recording the woes of high school and occasionally posting snippets of my writing.  The only people who read my site were fellow writer friends.  Thank GOODNESS.  Blogging back then was a messy affair.  I used my site as a spewing place for all my thoughts and emotions.  Looking back, I’m thankful to not have a wider readership.

When I studied abroad two years ago, I knew that I wanted to start fresh and make a travel blog.  I also knew that I wanted to switch over to WordPress.  So I did!  In the Bellow and the Uproar was born.  Named for a Virginia Woolf quote, it was home to my travels and adventures in England for three and a half months.

When I came home, I knew I didn’t want to go back to the old Blogger site.  It reminded me too much of my high school self and didn’t reflect where I wanted to go from here.  But I still wanted to write.  So, a year and a half ago, Keep Your Feet was born.  I’ve been here ever since.

That, friends, my blogging story!  Starting young has allowed me to grow into myself as a blogger.  I’ve been told I have a distinctive voice in my writing.  Friends say that, when they read my blog, it’s so me that they hear my voice in their head.  There are a lot of things I wish I could go back and un-say, especially on my first blog, but I’m still thankful for the chance to always learn and grow.

Now for Shannon’s bonus question: If you could go anywhere, would you go to a Where or a Who?

My first impression is to say Where.  There are so many dots on my “To-Visit” map.  But I’ve done a great deal of traveling in the past and, although solo adventures are exhilarating in their own way, they’re also a bit lonely.  Seeing the world isn’t as fun if you don’t have someone to share it with.  So I think my answer is Who.  I don’t have many super close friends–only a few people in the world truly know and appreciate all the corners of me, messy bits and all.  The older I get, these few souls seem to move farther and farther away.  One of my dearest friends lives in Japan, others live in Austria, and I’ve got people all over the United States that I miss so much my heart aches.  Seeing them again would make my month.  We’d drink tea and talk for hours.

Feel like this post is missing something?  Check out my personal rules regarding awards on my Award Policies page.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award (Part II)

Exciting news!  Amanda from Amanda Under Construction was kind enough to nominate me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award!  I met her through Blogging 101 and her site is a real treat–do check it out! sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-014 Since I’ve received this award before (see first post here), I’m going to skip all the hoo-ha and simply answer the questions.  (There’s more to it, but if you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll know that I’m super awkward about the whole nomination business.)

Amanda’s Questions:

1. Favorite social media platform?

Probably Instagram.  It doesn’t suck up a great deal of time and I love all the photos.  (Follow me at ameliab648!)

2. Favorite movie? Most recent movie you’ve seen?

Most recent: Jurassic World

Favorite: Midnight in Paris

3. What’s been the best day of your life so far?

Describe it! I’ve actually written posts about this!  “An Afternoon in Austria” describes the process of getting to five of the best days I’ve ever had.  On my travel blog, “The Austria Post” gives more of a general impression.  In it, I talk a lot about how visiting my friends impacted my Christian faith at the time.

4. Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal?

Both are attractive, but if pressed to choose…

5. Name a female that you look up to/you see as a mentor/role model! (Celeb, mom, whatever.)

This woman:

Not only is J.K. Rowling an incredible storyteller, but I’m always blown away at her poise in the public sphere.  Her 2008 Harvard Commencement speech is one of my absolute favorites–I’ve listened to her wise words about the importance of failure and benefits of imagination multiple times and they never fail to give me chills.  Her rags-to-riches story has always inspired me greatly.  I also really admire her empathy to those less-fortunate and her incredible ability to send scalding, but still elegant retorts in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

6. Best compliment you’ve ever received?

Four years ago, I spent the summer before my freshman year of college volunteering at my local library.  There was a librarian there I really liked.  Recently, my mother was at a meeting for prominent local business people and ran into her.  The librarian, recognizing my mom, inquired about my current well-being.  When I heard about the encounter, I was shocked that she actually remembered me.  After all, three months of shelving books once a week isn’t enough to really make a lasting impression… or so I thought.  My mom then said something that has stuck with me: “Amelia, you’ll be surprised at the impact that you make on people just by being true to yourself.”

7. What makes you feel better when you’re feeling sad?

Scented candles, hot baths, romantic movies, cuddling my cat, and curling up with a good book.

8. What’s your favorite word?

Nostalgia.  I’m a deeply nostalgic person and find the word’s etymology fascinating.  The two portions in their Greek form, “nostos” and “algia”, literally translate to “the pain of home”.  Just thinking about this definition makes my heart ache for an idealized time-gone-by that can never be found again.

9. Bookstores or libraries?

Bookstores have my heart, but libraries have my soul.

10. What do you most like writing about?

Most of the posts I’ve been the most proud of tend to be musings about the past or future.  Trying to articulate how a place or event shaped me tends to draw out my best thoughts.  Attempting to use words to give shape to the future usually has the same effect.  That aside, I love writing about books.  My weekly On the Shelf posts have been particular favorites lately.

Thanks again, Amanda, for the nomination!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated by Katie from Tick Tock for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  Her blog is absolutely wonderful and worth checking out! I have a tradition of awkwardly not nominating others for awards and such (feels too much like chain mail), so I’m just going to stick to the questions. Katie’s Questions: 1- What is your favorite book? Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.  The first time I read it unabridged, I didn’t know what to do with myself for a week.  I felt like I had lost a very dear friend.  Hugo has crafted a novel that captures the essence of the human existence.  It cuts into places in my heart and mind I didn’t know existed, never failing to deeply move me.  Though the musical is excellent, it doesn’t do the source material justice.  I highly recommend it to any lover of literature (though you may want to go for an abridged version your first time through.) 2-Why did you start blogging? Back in my maniac Potterhead days, I made a friend name Cathy on a forum for a podcast we both listened to.  She was a fellow writer (her poetry was incredible) and had a blog.  I was fifteen at the time and it seemed like a fun/cool thing to do.  I liked the idea of having a corner of the internet of my own.  Cathy and I lost touch, but nearly eight years later, I’m still blogging. 3-What is your favorite part of blogging? On my “About This Blog” page, I state, “I write to know myself. I  write to figure out where I’m going.  And I write to have fun.”  These three elements are what I love most about blogging.  Words help me solidify my identity.  They help me sort through the craziness of being a college graduate with no idea what the future holds. Finally, blogging is fun.  The first blog I ever had was titled “Between the Pages”–I liked to imagine that I was writing my life story, one post at a time.  This idea still appeals to me.  I also love that blogging is a public sphere.  It’s a place where I can share these aspects of my life and growth with others and, in turn, participate in their lives as well. 4-If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Honestly, I’m still figuring this out.  I’d love to live on a lake.  I’d love to live in the mountains.  I’d love to live in a foreign city somewhere in Europe.  Hopefully, I can cover all three before I die! 5-What is your favorite thing to do when you just need some time for yourself? Reading.  Books allow me to retreat within myself while, at the same time, reaching outside of my life.  They allow me to socialize while alone, travel without actually moving, and experience thoughts and emotions I’d never get a taste of on my own.  They are the ultimate form of escapism, pushing me to empathize with people and worldviews that I normally would never encounter.  When I read, I soar.  When I put the book down, I’m left feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Thanks again, Katie, for the nomination!