Friday, January 10, 2014

In Which I Explain The Title

Hello Joanna. :)

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Ellie.  I'm twenty-five years old and hail from the Midwest.  I like Polaroids and books and glasses and hiking and daydreaming and handheld pies and Switzerland and rain and stop me if you’ve heard this before. No wait, don't, because I want you to get to know me a little!

My first love is sandwiches.  My second love is writing.  It is how I express myself; without writing, I would be a terrible mess, creatively and emotionally.  I also love children, crafting, baking, online shopping, and relaxing in front of a fire until my eyes glaze over and the flames go soft and blurry.

Ultimately, I am who I am because of my family, my faith, and my life experiences. They have shaped where I've been and where I'm going.  It is only in the last few years that I have fully come to realize and appreciate that.  As such I enjoy getting to know people, who they are and what makes them tick. Any way in which I can connect with another person fills me with delight, and that's why I love blogging.  Reading and writing blog posts all over the web has connected me with some truly amazing people.

But let's get to the matter at hand.  Why did I create this blog?  Consider it an open letter to you, Joanna.  You're asking for an editor and this is my answer: let me be your spoon! That illustration could get weird but bear with me because I have a fondness for analogies and wordplay.  You are the main event, the cup of jo(e).  You've expressed a desire to stir things up and make exciting changes--for that, you need a spoon! So here I am, wanting to help you take A Cup of Jo to new heights.  
Where do you want to go?
Who do you want to reach? 
What do you want to find?
I want to help you answer those questions. 

What's in it for me? Well obviously all the reasons you listed in your post: learning how a blog works in the big time, personal exposure, and a chance to be part of an exciting expansion.  Here's what else: I happened upon your blog two years ago and it threw open the doors of my perception of blogging.   Technically, I have been an active blogger since I was thirteen years old.  I wrote my first post about the perils of middle school on a website called Xanga, under the username one_foot_in_the_sand.  I fell in love and kept on writing, switching to the MySpace platform in 2004 and then finally Blogger in 2007.  I've been here ever since, writing about my life under the heading of Hither & YonBut it wasn't until I discovered A Cup of Jo that I realized what blogging could be.  Call me late to the party but suddenly it wasn't just about travel stories and funny personal anecdotes.  It wasn't just my digital diary to fill and then leave floating in cyberspace.  It was about sharing all the other cool things out there in the world and on the Internet, about trying recipes and DIY projects, inspirational quotes and moving photographs, and finding out there are other people in the world with the same hopes, questions, and joys as me.

It was your blog that accomplished that. So by helping you in the next step of your journey, I get to give a little something back.  Call it paying off a debt. Call it a step in fulfilling my dream of blogging as a career. Call it whatever you want, as long as you call me

Ok that was a little too on the nose. But stay with me, I'm almost done! 

What do I have to offer you? Let's start with what I don't.  I'm going to be completely honest here.  I don't have experience in the blogging world as far as loads of readers, industry connections, or knowledge of coding.  In fact, and this may do me in, I don't live in New York City.

BUT I could. I want to. And if I have a chance at this amazing opportunity, I will.

+ I have creativity, a huge sense of humor, wide-eyed enthusiasm, and a very solid grasp on spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  
+ I'm an eager student: everything I know about the mechanics of blogging, online marketing, Photoshop, and html, I've taught myself.
+ I am an amateur photographer, avid Internet consumer, and social media savant (here is my blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube channel, Vimeo, and blog Facebook page).  
+ I'm friends with a very clever graphic artist named Miranda (she's currently working with me on a blog redesign) and a NYC-based photographer and associate photo editor at Food Network Magazine named Anna.
+ I'm excellent at organizing (both physical and digital spaces), written communication, making lattes, arranging flowers, making conversation, running errands, and bringing baked goods to the workplace. 
+ I'm excited about food, design, travel, art, literature, movies, music, fashion, and epic games of hide and seek.  

So there it is.  My application to be your editor/coffee spoon. If you're reading this, then you got my email with my resume attached. If you managed to find this page BEFORE receiving my email, well then it's fate.  The stars are aligned, Joanna.

Well, regardless of the outcome, I thank you for taking the time to explore my life and blog for a little while.  At the very least, it must be interesting to get to know one of your readers. You share so much of yourself and yet hardly know most of us, I imagine. Thank you so much for all you do. 



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Post Ideas: A Veritable Brainstorm!


I was visiting my sister in Texas when I saw your post and immediately spent the first few hours of the the long drive home thinking of potential future posts.

Here are just a few ideas from that brainstorming session that would be fun to pursue for your blog:

+ Series: Interview au pairs/nannies from other countries that work in NYC.  I know this topic is not a new one for your blog, particularly after this article came out (which you shared, along with the essay with the gorgeous photos) but it is a topic of personal interest to me.  Shortly after I graduated college, I spent 8 months in Switzerland as an au pair to two Swiss children.  It was the most incredible experience I've ever had, in which I learned so much about myself and the world.  I think it would be fascinating to learn what it's like from the perspective of someone coming here to work in childcare.

+ A roundup of favorite books from your childhood, ones that you want to share with your children, and asking for suggestions from readers. It could even be made into a series, if you wanted to do everything from picture books (every book by Bill Peet, Brave Irene by William Steig, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola) to chapter books (Charlotte's WebMrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald, The Chronicles of Narnia, everything by Roald Dahl etc.).  Another interpretation would be to ask all of your fellow blogger friends to pick one of their favorite childhood reads and share that in a post.

Review of the best monthly subscription services.  I know you have written about NatureBox in the past but this could be expanded to include the ones for beauty products (Birchbox, GlossyBox, Square Hue, etc.) or pet products (BarkBox or Best Friend Box).

+ Washi tape crafts for kids.  I'm obsessed with washi tape.

Date night: Improv classes at the Magnet Theater.
This is something I could totally see you and your husband doing. You can sign up for regular classes but they also offer "drop-ins", where you can just come by and follow along with the instructor.

10 Best Places to Picnic in NYC. Your idea of a Summer Picnic club, as well as your birthday party picnics for Toby inspired this one. I'm sure you would already know the perfect places, but this is also something I'm completely willing to research. ;)

+ A post on the importance of eyebrows in framing your face, including a brow shaping tutorial. As someone who cannot afford to have them maintained professionally on the regular, I would love to find out how to do this.

+ Camping. I love camping. Beach camping, tent camping, cabin camping, all of it.  It would be fun to do posts on the best places to camp outside the city, a list of ten camping trip essentials for a city slicker, and tips for camping with children.

+ Toby's Perspective. One of my favorite things to do when I spend any length of time with young children is to hand them a disposable or instant film camera with the instruction to take pictures of whatever their heart desires.  It is so fun to develop the pictures and then make a little album with them.  It would be so interesting to see life from Toby's perspective!

+ Best/easiest recipes involving quinoa.  This grain is growing more and more popular as an alternative source of fiber and protein for gluten-free and vegan cooks alike.  In the last year it has become a staple in my diet as a healthy and versatile food, but it has taken me some time to figure out the best ways to prepare it.

I know you only asked for five so I'll stop before this gets wildly out of hand. I promise I know how to respond to direction but I'm just so excited to share my ideas with you!

Have a Lovely Weekend

Hello Joanna, are you happy to see the back of this week? I certainly am.  Due to the "Polar Vortex", I've spent the bulk of my time indoors, but I've been keeping occupied by creating this blog. I've had loads of fun but I'm ready to head north for the weekend to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend. We're going tobogganing at a local state park.

Until then, here is a roundup of links I've enjoyed this week:

Vintage travel posters for Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings 

+ How to pick the best watermelon

+ Charge your phone with your purse 

+ How to turn beloved family recipes into tea towels

+ A mug with a touch of glamour

The perfect grey ankle boot (with a subtle twist)

+ A book on pairing flavors while cooking

+ How to pack for two weeks in a carry-on (cold weather edition)

Take care! xx