Love, babies, caramel, rusty cars, scary bears, scarier graveyards, skydiving, mom hair, Mongolia.
In case you missed it, I’ve been hosting a “Freshly Press Yourself” over the last week, a chance for bloggers to share their best posts and find new subscribers and friends. I read every one of your funny, inspiring, thought provoking, yummy posts and here’s what I learned:
Downton Abbey doesn’t have a “w” in it. And here I thought everyone was just being pretentious when they said, “DownTON.”
There are people in this world who will drive 1,500 miles for ice cream. I salute those people.
You can date, kiss and, one year later, comfort a crying man whose name you (still) do not know.
We should all catch the next plane to Zurich.
Grown ups think other grown ups wet the bed.
Sock divorce is on the rise.
Neil Young is not dead.
I’ve been following a fantastic blog called Broadside for several months now. It’s written by journalist Caitlin Kelly, whose candor, intelligence and breadth of knowledge continually impress me. This week she was Freshly Pressed for the sixth! time, and yesterday she wrote a post full of tips for those who are hoping the Freshly Pressed fairy will favor them.
Among many useful ideas–tag your posts, choose your tone, pick timely topics–she mentioned something that struck me as worth sharing here:
Mix the personal with the universal
Many people overlook, or don’t even realize, the importance of this potent little cocktail. But potent it is. It isn’t easy, but if you can find a way to relate your personal experiences to broader universal themes, you will probably have a succesful blog. As Caitlin so astutely notes: Too personal is confessional and tedious. Too universal is too vague and no one can relate to it.
What I love about the three “Freshly Press Yourself” bloggers I chose to feature today is that they all have strong, clear voices and they each attempt that potent little mix of the personal and universal. Take a read. I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I do.

Jane has a bit of southern sass. If you’re into that sort of thing (and, really, who isn’t?), you’re going to love her special blend of humor, poignancy and lemon pie. She really shines when it comes to the small, take your breath away details:
His mother and grandmother live together, mostly unhappily. I think they try to love one another, but years of scars and tears welt up all ugly and raw and keep them from seeing each other clearly. That’s mostly the nature of family. I just hug them both a ton, especially Grandma, and try to cover all those sorry disgraces with love.
If you like this one, you’ll also want to read The One About Being a Grown Up and The One About a Little Piece of Farmland. And then, you know, everything else she’s ever written…

I am a gal who loves honesty and Ashley is a gal who delivers plenty of it. She recently ran a half marathon (congrats!) and, in this post, she writes about the very real process of training: junk food, missed runs and tantrums frustration. But in the end, the training, the race, the huffing and puffing are about teaching herself an important lesson: she can do hard things.
And what she’s really saying is: we can all do hard things, if we’re willing to repeatedly push through our own discomfort to get at the prize.

Amber took a difficult story–the end of her marriage–and turned it into a fairytale. By stripping away most of the details, she invited us to see ourselves in her tale. What may have been too personal and painful to read in a traditional format was transformed into….Tada!….the universal.
Thanks to everyone who participated! I hope you gained something (new subscribers, new blogs to read). I had a lot of fun reading and commenting on your posts!
So, tell me, what draws you into a blog post? Is it the mix of personal and universal I described above? Or something else? A great title? Beautiful photos? A strong voice? What specific elements would make you want to “Freshly Press” a post?