life, filtered: thoughts on instagram and identity

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I’ve made no secret about the fact that Instagram is probably my favorite Internet. Instagram is a happy place, for the most part (unless you’re totally following the wrong people), where folks share the beauty and joy and interesting things in their lives. There’s no BuzzFeed Quizzes. No weird out-there political rants. No ugly. No mean. Just all of my favorite things: food, babies, nature, pets, scenery. It’s the first thing I check when I fire up my phone in the mornings, and often the last thing I scroll through before bed.

Which is why it confuses me when people feel the need to “expose” the reality behind the filtered world of Instagram, or confess that Instagram makes them feel insecure.

Continue reading “life, filtered: thoughts on instagram and identity”

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Easy DIY: The InstaFridge

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Check out my fridge, covered in pictures of my babies! You, too, can achieve such a cool (ha) fridge!

Here’s the deal: there are companies that will make you magnets out of your Instagrams (and lets be real, the best pictures any of us are taking these days are on Instagram), but they charge $15 bucks for 9 magnets, and they aren’t very big. Meanwhile, I was recently informed by a friend that Walgreens has a cool new app that, among other things, connects directly to your Instagram and prints 4×4 prints at your nearest store for you to pick up in just an hour or two. For 39 cents a pop. So, using my rudimentary math skills (aka a calculator, because I am an English and Poli Sci major, and math makes me cry), that’s $1.27 cheaper than the pre-made magnets per picture. The savings shrinks a tiny bit when you take the added step of turning the prints into DIY magnets, but bear with me:

Supplies:

1 sheet foam board, or, if you’re extra thrifty, 1 cardboard box

A bunch of Instagram prints

Photo Corners (like these, which are less than $5 for 250)

Craft magnets (Amazon sells bazillions for like a nickel each) + glue gun if you don’t get the magnets with adhesive backing

Scissors

Steps:

  1. Affix pictures to cardboard or foam board using photo corners
  2. Cut out squares
  3. Glue and/or affix the magnets to the back of said squares
  4. Stick all over your fridge
  5. Laugh at schmucks paying $1.20 more per magnet for their StickyGrams that look tiny and puny next to your awesome creations

The bonus of using the photo corners as opposed to gluing the pictures directly to the foam/card board is that you can easily change out the pictures and reuse the magnets over and over again! Which will work great for me as my whole fridge is pictures of the Bufflo Gals, and they tend to do this pesky growing up thing, which means I need to update the pictures regularly.

5 months

Technically the gals turned 5 months on August 28. So this may not be the most timely of posts, but I wanted to share the results of my little photoshoot with them (I’m going to eventually have a photo book of their monthly photos). I have zero photography skills and usually end up using my iPhone, so I’m lucky my subjects are adorable.

lovin’ spoonful: the bufflogals meet solid food

Recently, our doctor told us it was time to start feeding the gals some rice cereal, to let them practice eating from a spoon and start them off on a solid least-likely to cause an allergic reaction (food allergies may be an issue with Claire’s spina bifida). Claire, who is already our happiest eater when it comes to bottles, took to the rice cereal immediately. Etta seemed to think we had devised a fun new way to kill her. The results were pretty funny:

“What do you think that stuff is for?” “I dunno, man.”

I think she’s looking rather Most Interesting Man In The World here. “I don’t always eat solid food, but when I do, it’s rice cereal.”

And for my friend Stacy who said Etta needed to be a meme:

Major side-eye here.

 

 

seeing life through a rose colored filter

I have literally thousands of photos on my iPhone at any given moment. It’s become second nature to use it to constantly document my life as I go about my day– the sweet, the surprising, the routine, the beautiful–it all gets snapped. And a tiny fraction of those photos gets sent through what is probably my most favorite app: Instagram, where photos are cropped into squares, run through filters that mimic the look of old-fashioned film, and shared on a timeline among similar photos from all of my friends.

I know it might seem silly to say this about an app, but Instagram literally makes my life better. I’ve said it before when talking to fans who also love the app, but I feel that going through my day, looking for moments to Instagram, forces me to be more aware of the beauty and amazement all around me. And being able to see similar moments shared by people I care about? Super special.

It’s why I mostly loved this piece on Huffington Post from another mom about how Instagram serves as sort of a light in the midst of a lot of the difficulties of parenting. However, the author feels like the filter of Instagram– both the literal filters of the film and the way we each filter what we decide to share– necessitates a kind of confessional, a disclaimer that her life isn’t always as pretty as it may appear onscreen. I guess I’m just not sure that’s necessary. After all, and I’m only half-joking, isn’t the sharing what’s hard what Twitter is for?

I don’t think I or my friends are somehow being false or one-sided by choosing to mostly share beauty and interest and humor through our Instagram feeds. Instead, we’re looking on the bright side of life. Heck, sometimes we’re clinging to it. And that’s OK. It’s necessary, even, in a world where we have dozens of outlets that give us negativity and bad news, to have one that focuses on the good and beautiful.

All photos above from my Instagram feed, where you will find me as erniebufflo.

fly away home

Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home; your house is on fire and your children are gone!

Last week my husband and I flew away home to Colorado because his grandfather passed away.  On our first day there, we decided to take a drive to the mountains; my husband thought it would be a fitting tribute to his grandfather who loved to drive in the mountains, though he assured me that our drive would be less terrifying than a typical drive with Grandpa, who enjoyed driving quite fast on mountain roads.  We had initially planned to drive up to Mount Evans, only to get there and realize it was closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in July for road work.  So we turned around and headed back to Denver.

On the highway back to Denver is a sign that says “Buffalo Herd Overlook.”  Naturally, this lil Bufflo wanted to see some buffalos.  So we got off at the exit and drove around looking for a spot to spy some bison.  This really meant driving all over Genesee Mountain, as the signs for the overlook were somewhat less than clear.  We’d drive up the mountain a while, and then get out and look around and try to see some big brown, wooly beasts, then strike out, get back in the car, drive some more, and repeat.

DSC05254Finally, we got to the top of the mountain, and we still hadn’t seen any buffalo.  We decided to get out of the car anyway, and headed toward a flag planted on the very top of the mountain.  As we reached it, we noticed that the air was buzzing with small insects.  “Wow, this place has lots of ladybugs!” I said to Jon.  A man wearing overalls and standing on a rock nearby said we should walk over to a nearby tree if we REALLY wanted to see them.  We headed toward the tree, and slowly, what looked like orange bark turned out to be crawling.  Crawling with hundreds of tiny ladybugs.  They were swarming on every surface imaginable.  Another old man, who seemed about a million years old and was hobbling around the mountain with a walking stick, told us that he’s seen this phenomenon a few times before.  He acted like we weren’t seeing the craziest thing ever.

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But seriously folks, millions and millions of LADYBUGS! IT WAS THE CRAZIEST THING EVER! We sat for a while and watched them swarm and crawl over rocks and trees and grass.  Eventually I think they began to accept us as part of the scenery, because they slowly started to land on us! That’s pretty much when what had been the “cutest infestation ever” began to seem creepy.  I imagined my entire body covered in ladybugs.  I had visions of that scene from “The Mummy” where the scarabs swarm out of the mummy’s mouth, only with ladybugs flying out of MY mouth.  My skin began to crawl.  So with that, we snapped a few pictures and headed out.

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The next day, we picked Jon’s sister and her husband and daughter up from the airport after they arrived home from a vacation in Chicago, and we told them about the ladybugs.  “Crazy!” his sister said, “We actually saw that on the national news when we were in Chicago!” Sure enough:

And it gets even crazier! In preparation for Grandpa’s funeral, we all pulled out old family albums and were flipping through them.  And in an album from 1987, we found photos Grandma and Grandpa had taken of the exact same type of ladybug swarm on the exact same location: Genesee Mountain.  So, if you’re curious about seeing millions of ladybugs, and you’re wondering where to go (the hermits in the news reports seem not to want other people to come see them), Genesee Mountain is a public place, and you should go check them out!

And if you’re curious about the nursery rhyme at the beginning of this post, here’s the scoop: “Farmers knew of the Ladybird’s value in reducing the level of pests in their crops and it was traditional for them to cry out the rhyme before they burnt their fields following harvests ( this reduced the level of insects and pests) in deference to the helpful ladybird.”

UPDATE: found a source as to the “why” of the ladybug swarm.

The insects are out in force in the Front Range region of Colorado thanks to increased rainfall during spring and early summer. The additional moisture has made their food supply plentiful so their numbers have increased by 15 to 20 percent.