7 Years of Blogging Later

It is a phenomenon we can all relate to. Look at a picture of yourself from 10 years ago or watch yourself on video from 8 years ago, and I am sure you might have a reaction such as this: What was I thinking?

You assess what you were wearing, how your hair looked, and how you sounded and compare it to your present state. More often than not, we criticize the earlier version of ourselves.

I do this for my professional pursuits as well. Social media posts I have published, graphics I have created, and communications I sent out in 2013 sure look a lot worse to me in 2018 than they did back then.

The same can be said about a certain hobby of mine—blogging. Today I celebrate my seventh anniversary of Don’t Blink on brentreser.com. Out of the 1,458 posts I have written over the years, I went back to the first one I posted on May 14, 2011.

It was pretty scary.

My first ever blog post was the stereotypical “I am now writing a blog and this is why” bore fest. But before I could even write a word, I had already started off rough by the title I decided to give it. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I titled it “My Coming Out Party.”

Of course my intention was just to write about how I was beginning a new blog but I ignorantly (but not intentionally) used a term that is mostly reserved for people revealing their sexual orientation. But in my defense, back in the day, a “coming out party” was used to announce that someone was bursting out onto a scene, whether it be in an industry or sporting league. Nevertheless, the title has not aged well and doesn’t describe accurately what I was writing about.

I then started actually writing, and it wasn’t very pretty. However, I will give myself credit: I was honest.

“I have marginal writing skills. Sadly, those marginal writing skills have deteriorated over the two years since I have graduated from college. I apologize to everyone in advance for this. When I read the blogs of other people I always marvel at the tremendous voice they are able to express in their posts. Through time I hope my voice shines through just like some of the bloggers I admire. This, I hope, might help cover up my less than perfect writing skills.”

Besides my frank evaluation of where I stood as writer, I managed to use my first blog post to push my Twitter account, mention that I enjoy gambling, enter into a tangent about journaling, and manage to convey nothing of real substance.

As I look back on that post 2,555 days later, I have the same reaction that I have when I look at a photo of myself with braces and shoulder length hair. I think a portion of it is psychological—we are just naturally wired to judge our past selves more harshly than our current selves. But I also like to think that some of my ire toward my debut blog post is justified in the sense that I have actually improved as a writer.

By continuing to write and read on a daily basis, I have expanded my capacity to write content that people actually want to consume. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a knack for producing some Don’t Blink duds, but I think my persistence has paid off and led to other writing opportunities beyond my blog.

To my most loyal blog readers who have been with me for 7 years—thank you! It has been a fun ride. Although I might not write as much as I used to, I will continue to connect with you as time and life allows. I appreciate you putting up with me. Don’t Blink.

Bonus: The blog post I wrote on the second anniversary of Don’t Blink

The Week of Sid Thursday Rundown

Good evening to all! I hope everyone is enjoying a nice week and looking forward to the Mother’s Day weekend. Let’s get started with my latest Thursday Rundown.

Big Shoutout to My Wife – Perhaps they should designate this week as Sidney Reser Week (even though I believe she deserves an entire month) as both Teacher’s Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day fall during it. Simply put, Sidney excels at both roles the two days celebrate. When it comes to being a teacher, she goes to the classroom each day with the goal to help her students – whether it be with academics or life in general. She is the type of teacher I would have loved to have when I was in 2nd grade and the one that parents want for their kids now. Sid is in the teaching profession for all the right reasons and is an inspiration to her students.

The same energy and passion she puts toward being a teacher is also what she uses to be an amazing mom. Selfless and nurturing, Sloan hit the jackpot when God assigned her a mother. I observe in awe as Sid does everything she possibly can to help Sloan grow, thrive, and be happy. She motivates me to be a better dad and I am so thankful I get to be her parenting teammate.

Sid is being celebrated as a teacher and mother this week. She is great at being both.

Attending Mass With a Child – Last night, Sidney and I went to St. Andrew to attend a seminar for tips on how to help your child (and yourself) get the most out of mass. Excuse the lame joke, but it was a godsend. Although we found out that we are already doing some good things when we take Sloan to church each weekend, we also learned some awesome new strategies. Preparing a mass bag, offering non-food incentives for good behavior, and methods for engaging your child with what is going on during the service were just a few of the tips we learned. Jennifer Diaz, the parishioner and parish staff member who ran the evening, also suggested that we take Sloan to church on a weekday when a service is not going on. While there, she said, allow her to freely explore the worship space. While she is looking around, explain how the different elements she comes across play a role during mass. It was a very informative evening and reinforced the point that during church there is no better place for Sloan to be than right there with us in the presence of the Eucharist.

We sure enjoyed the seminar that St. Andrew put on regarding children at mass.

The Week Of – Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about a Netflix-exclusive Adam Sandler movie called “Sandy Wexler.” Tonight, I must write about Sandler’s latest Netflix film, “The Week Of.” The movie tells the story of a lower-class guy (Sandler) who is doing the best he can with limited resources to plan and execute the wedding and reception of his daughter. He must contend with the groom’s wealthy family and his own family to pull it off. Let me say this…the movie is hard to watch. By “hard to watch” I mean it is so full of awkward and fist palm moments that you have to look away from the screen every now and then. With that said, Sidney and I laughed the whole way through. I would actually recommend the movie but this film critic wouldn’t (the most scathing review I have ever read in my life).

I personally thought “The Week Of” was pretty funny.

Graduation Cap Gold – Although most higher education social media professionals would admit that it is cliché to focus on graduation cap designs at commencement ceremonies, you really can’t escape it. However, overdone or not, I saw a cap this past weekend that truly stood out and deserved Instagram attention. This applied physics student put his skills to work to make a “lit” mortarboard.

Kudos to this student for coming up with a pretty clever idea.

Childhood Pizza Parlor Demolished – A pizza place in Spokane that I grew up going to was recently demolished so a Taco Bell could be built in its place. Five Mile Heights Pizza Parlor was a north Spokane icon. I spent many birthday parties, end of season sports gatherings, and general celebrations there. It had a huge arcade, a castle that you could go inside, and pretty decent food. Best of all, it had a ball pit! These days, ball pits are pretty much a thing of the past so for that reason it was tough for me to see this 30-year-old business close its doors (and then get bulldozed).

Bye bye Five Mile Heights Pizza.


Thank you for giving me the time of day! Enjoy the rest of your evening and make sure to wish a “Happy Mother’s Day” to as many moms as possible. Don’t Blink.

The Phases of Sloan

One major thing I have learned about raising an infant? They go through stages. If you think something they do is cute, savor it—the time will come when they will probably stop. If something they do is making you upset or hurting your feelings, don’t get too down—it will most likely cease in a couple weeks or so.

Sloan has went through many phases in her short life.

Yep, I can look back on Sloan’s almost 14 months in this world and piece together her life in stages. Just to name a few…

Shoots her arms straight up in the air after we unswaddle her phase.

Rooting phase.

Wakes up a couple times per night stage, sleeps through the night stage, wakes up once per night stage, sleeps through the night stage (ah yes, back again), wakes up once per night stage (why did we regress?), sleeps through the night stage (I missed you), keeps you guessing throughout the week whether she will wake up that night or not stage, sleeps through the night stage (hopefully it isn’t a stage anymore).

Kicks her little feet stage (so cute).

Throwing up phase (Pyloric Stenosis episode), Mini throwing up phases (lasted through her first year).

Clapping her hands phase.

Mile wide grin when you pick her up out of her crib phase (one of my favorite phases).

Army crawl phase, legitimate baby crawl phase, walking phase (just kidding, she can’t walk yet).

Likes mommy most phase, likes daddy most phase, likes mommy most phase, likes daddy most phase, likes mommy most phase, likes daddy most phase, likes mommy most phase (currently).

Multiple naps per day phase, a couple naps per day phase, one nap per day phase, play hard all day and make mommy and daddy work extremely hard phase.

Bottle phase, baby food phase, introduction of real food phase, I will only eat crackers phase (Ritz preferred), I am a sophisticated baby and will eat chicken nuggets and meatballs phase.

Pulling hair phase (been going strong for about 11 months now).

Clicking her tongue phase, making a noise that sounded like she was saying “yuck” phase, Sloananese phase (she babbles nonstop).

I am inseparable from my stuffed unicorn phase.

Throw food off the table phase, must sit at table with mommy and daddy when they eat phase.

Angel in church phase, Still pretty good in church but might get a little restless phase (she will always sit quietly for the homily).

Sign language phase.

Most loved little girl by her parents phase (forever and always).

Don’t Blink.

Wait, People Actually Shower at Night?

Yesterday on the way home from work, I was listening to an FM radio station. When the song I was listening to ended, the radio personality came on the air before sending the station to a 10 minute commercial break. Usually I skip the DJ banter but this time his hook actually caught me.

He brought up the issue of showering, specifically a question about when it is best to do it. According to scientfic research (and you can never trust these radio people so I actually looked it up to confirm what he said), it is better to shower at night as opposed to in the morning. Although I ended up finding many reasons for why this is the case, the predominant one is that taking a shower at night helps communicate to your senses that it is time to go to sleep. In other words, bathing will help you naturally fall asleep.

I read it and thought “Okay, cool. Obviously it is better to shower at night, neat fact. Not like it is going to make me or everyone else on the planet stop taking our shower in the morning.”

My worldview was about to be crushed. The DJ then said something along the lines of “Most Americans are heeding this advice” by pointing to an ultra-scientific Buzzfeed poll that had 64% of the respondents claiming they take their primary shower at night. What?! I almost swerved off the road.

Seriously?! Over 90,000 people shower at night?

I understand what the scientists and health experts say. It sounds indisputable that it is better to take a shower/bath at night than in the morning. But that doesn’t mean I expected people to actually go along with that routine.

Scientific research be damned, I simply don’t know how people can get out of their bed in the morning and head straight to their office job without taking a quick shower first. Like, doesn’t that feel weird?

Before I start a day, especially when it revolves being around people, I much prefer to take a shower in the morning. To me, it just seems to improve my confidence, comfort, and personal hygeine. Rolling out of bed, throwing on clothes, and jumping in the car seems unnatural to me.

But, one thing I know is this: Just because something seems foreign to me, doesn’t mean it isn’t natural for someone else. In this case, it looks like that “someone else” outnumbers me by over 30%. I just had no clue. As someone who grew up with a family, lived with roommates, and has a wife who all opt to shower at the same time of day as me, I was just a little shocked at how many people prefer to hop in the shower at night.

And please, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing better than taking a hot shower in the evening after a long and sweaty day. During the Carolina summers, I do it a lot – I also shower the next morning too. The point of this blog post is to pick the brains of the people who take their single primary shower at night.

So, this all brings me to my question: To the majority of America – Besides the small issue of scientific evidence saying you should, why do you choose to shower at night?

Don’t know if any of the responses will convert me from my longstanding routine but I am sure as heck curious to know. Don’t Blink.

Still Having Goals

At a previous job, I once knew someone who said we can’t do everything, but we can do anything. Now, this piece of advice is definitely helpful in the professional world. It applies to multiple aspects of any career, whether it be planning a budget, offering services, or identifying target audiences/clients.

However, this advice also rings true for our personal lives.

Things changed for me in my late 20s when my run as a bachelor came to an end. I no longer only had to answer to myself. I got married and a dude named Brent was not the only person I had to make sure was happy. Then Sidney and I had a daughter and things really changed. In a few years, it went from all about me to seldom about me.

(Something most good parents would never change for the world).

Still, it is easy for me and others in my situation to simply say “I don’t have time to accomplish anything anymore” and be completely content with not improving ourselves or pursuing passions. But this isn’t true. Yes, it is 100% accurate that we no longer “have time to accomplish everything” our minds would like to do, but we have the potential to accomplish anything.

It takes time management and it takes sacrifice, but if there is a goal or pursuit that you want to accomplish, I think it is readily achievable even if you have a family. Although sometimes it might seem like your schedule is already booked 24/7, most of us can identify an hour or two either in the wee hours of the morning, during the lunch hour, or late at night to work on a personal goal, project, or hobby. Again, it will never be enough to tackle 34 different items off a checklist (everything) but you will at least be able to work on the item at the top of the list (anything).

I am constantly trying to do a better job at being the best husband/father I can while at the same time resisting the urge to stop growing as a person because “I don’t have time for it.” It takes a lot of power from within, but we really can accomplish anything. 

Unicorn Thursday Rundown

I hope your month of May has started off well. For those of us who work in higher education, the beginning of this month is always extremely busy so best wishes to all my colleagues and counterparts. Let’s get started with the rundown.

Her Unicorn – Sidney wanted to find Sloan a stuffed animal (or “lovey” as Sid calls them) to hold and bring her comfort when she wakes up at night. After cycling through a couple choices, Sloan recently found her new friend. It is not a teddy bear nor a rabbit; it is a unicorn. For those who are familiar with the brand Jellycat, you probably have an idea on why Sloan sided with the mythical creature. Jellycat products are soft and cuddly, a step above your regular stuffed animal. When we present our daughter with her unicorn she will grasp it and bring it to her chest. A permanent resident in Sloan’s crib, we are sure she is enjoying pleasant unicorn dreams at night.

Sloan sure enjoys her jellycat stuffed unicorn.

That’s a Wrap – Yesterday, we had our last #CCUfamily filming of the year. It marked the 92nd interview that Geoff and I gave over the course of the 2017-18 academic calendar. It was a pleasure to meet 92 different CCU students and develop quality, in-depth profiles on each one. What started out as a pitch I presented when I interviewed here, #CCUfamily has transformed from an “amateurish” feature to a polished production. I have Geoff and his team to thank for the added firepower. With this year now in the books, our social media program has profiled over 300 students with this campaign.

Major props to Geoff Insch for all he has done to make #CCUfamily a truly awesome campaign.

The Worst of the Worst – I have written a blog post on my top 5 favorite sodas before. However, I have not tackled the topic of my top 5 least favorite sodas. If I was to write this blog post, I would put Caffeine Free Diet Coke at the top spot. We recently had a supply at our house thanks to Sidney. With the grocery store sold out of her Diet Dr. Pepper, she opted for CFDC (awful acronym, huh?). When I was little, I remember taking a sip of the stuff from a can that was sitting out in the sun. It tasted no better than a chemical. At that point, I told myself never again.

Seriously…what is this? Please don’t tell me it is soda.

Allergies – South Carolina is one of the worst states in the country for allergies. When I moved here, that didn’t concern me. I am now changing my tune. As someone who has never suffered from allergies, that changed this week when I experienced the relentless misery of grass and tree pollen. I thought I was immune but my watery eyes and runny nose suggested differently. After taking some medication and benefitting from a drop in the daily pollen levels, I felt much better today. But man, I was pretty miserable earlier this week.

From the Archives – I thought we would re-visit a couple blog posts I wrote on this date. Two years ago I highlighted the carnival game I was always a sucker for growing up. In fact, I was so addicted to it that my brother and I would set up our own version of the game in my parents’ basement (sorry, you have to follow the link to find out the game). On May 3, 2015, I wrote one of my more popular Don’t Blink blog posts of all-time. I gave my honest opinion of the pros and cons of living in Myrtle Beach. This post still receives up to hundreds of views per day and I constantly get emails from people asking my opinion on whether they should move to the area or not.

Living in Myrtle Beach is awesome, but it has its pros and cons just like any other place.


Congratulations to all the Coastal Carolina students graduating this weekend. I look forward to working the commencement ceremonies and watching several students I know cross the stage. Don’t Blink.

My Top 5 Favorite Childhood Ice Cream Truck Treats

Although the ice cream man comes year-round in South Carolina, we are starting to enter the time of the year where ice cream trucks start visiting neighborhoods across the country. Growing up I loved the ice cream man, even declaring that one day I would like to be one when I grew up. Somehow the marketing industry got in the way.

For tonight’s blog post, in celebration of ice cream truck season, I wanted to countdown my top five favorite ice cream truck treats. Although the offerings of ice cream trucks vary wildly throughout the nation, it seems like most have a portion of universal treats. Those will be the ones I focus on for this post.

Sidney with our niece and nephew making important decisions at the ice cream truck.

5. Drumstick – Every ice cream truck seemed to have a version of the drumstick. As a kid, I viewed it as the “sophisticated” item of the lineup. Even though I didn’t really care for cones at the time, I still got it every now and then because of the coolness factor. With chocolate, nuts, cone, and a fudge bottom, it just seemed like the obvious option as well as what the older kids were getting.

The sophisticated ice cream truck choice.

4. Classic Ice Cream Sandwich – If an ice cream truck doesn’t offer an ice cream sandwich, it really isn’t an ice cream truck. One of the most traditional and affordable selections you can choose from a “frozen dessert factory on wheels” is the classic chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich. If I was in a glum mood on a summer day, I would opt for one. True, it wouldn’t be my first choice but it wouldn’t disappoint. I enjoy the consistency and the fun of peeling away one of the wafers and eating it by itself.

It is a law that all ice cream trucks must carry ice cream sandwiches.

3. Strawberry Shortcake Bar – Eating a strawberry shortcake bar can simply be described as “pleasant.” Honestly, who was the genius who came up with these? Cake pieces cover vanilla ice cream that coats a strawberry flavored center…delicious! When eating one of these bars you didn’t have to worry about a brain freeze and you could bite down without irritating sensitive teeth. You also don’t have to worry about it melting as fast as other selections. But it really all does come down to the taste. Strawberry shortcake bars are sweet and light. Out of all the items on this list, a strawberry shortcake bar is the treat I would most like to enjoy as an adult.

I sure enjoyed these. Sweet and pleasant.

2. Snow Cones – I think we all have a memory of getting a snow cone from an ice cream truck. Sure they were hard as rocks but I think that was part of the appeal. While a friend would devour his popsicle in a few minutes, I would have my snow cone last me throughout the night. After working on it the traditional way, I would usually remove my rainbow block of ice from the cone and place it in a bowl, stabbing at it with a fork. The best part was always the melted “juice” that was left behind.

There is nothing like an ice cream truck snow cone.

1. Character Ice Cream Pops – “Who is it going to be?! Who is it going to be?!” As the ice cream truck grew closer, my friends and I wondered whether it would be a Ninja Turtle, Mario, Power Ranger, or Looney Tunes character. By “it” I mean the special character ice cream pop that would always be offered on the ice cream truck’s menu. Growing up, our truck would only offer one option but it would always rotate, adding to our suspense. The “ice cream” (notice how I used quotation marks?) was yummy and the gumball eyes or nose always added an extra bonus, even if they were more non-edible than the gum you used to get in a pack of baseball cards. These pops were novelty items at their absolute best and I was always a sucker for them.

These were a major part of my youth.


Keep your ears open because that ice cream truck jingle might be audible this weekend. If I am missing out on any frozen confections that should be included on this list, let me know. Don’t Blink.

When They Go Low, We Go…?

For those long time readers of Don’t Blink, you know I don’t get political in this blog. As someone who leans more toward the middle than anywhere else, I don’t find the need to alienate my readers. However, even though I won’t take a position on policy, I will comment from time to time on political trends and controversies.

A lot has been made about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend. The biggest point of contention was when a comedian took the stage and grilled Sarah Sanders, our country’s press secretary. With President Trump opting not to attend such social functions as the WHCD, the target naturally fell on the back of Sanders, who was present at the dinner.

I won’t speak about my personal opinion of whether the comedian’s routine crossed the line. However, I will say this: In Washington these days, no side can lay claim to taking the high road. This isn’t even disputable. Michelle Obama once tried to say “When they go low, we go high.” Nonsense. It doesn’t matter if you support the Democrat or Republican party, both sides resort to the lowest of the low. None of us have a firm grasp on that elusive moral compass.

On the campaign trail, President Trump made it clear that he was not a typical politically correct politician. He made numerous inappropriate comments and offended many. But instead of allowing his missteps to get the best of him, the other side, including the mainstream media, played right into Trump’s strategy and got into the mud with him. Despite Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned speech, no one went high.

The hatred directed at Trump from his political enemies and the mainstream media seemed to have an impact that helped our current president. In addition to other factors that led to the biggest presidential election surprise ever, many people adopted an attitude along the lines of “The more you hate him, the more I like him.”

When I was reading about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a tweet was embedded in one of the articles. It served as a reminder and warning for those who don’t want to see President Trump in the White House through 2024.

Those that don’t want Trump past 2020 (if he makes it that far) must heed this warning.

The venom directed at the current administration is intense. The media, the Left, and Twitter warriors are mad that President Trump is able to employ the same behavior and nonconventional strategy he used on the campaign trail in our country’s highest office. But adding an even stronger layer of poison to their venom is frustration. No one ever anticipated, especially this blogger, that President Trump would enjoy as much success as he has already achieved. It drives so many of us bonkers. He was supposed to be removed from office within his first year, right?

But here is the thing: I don’t think his breakthroughs will be enough to get him re-elected if he continues to throw an unconventional attitude in all of our faces. At the end of his first term, voters could very well be sick of the Trump demeanor.

However, this will only work if people who don’t support Trump heed the warning of Tim Young. Right now, there is no difference between the two sides. Both sectors are guilty of mud-slinging, and the anger from people who despise Trump is threatening once again to have a reverse-effect. To those who want Trump out of office in 2020: Give credit where it is due, don’t let social media get the best of you, and don’t stoop to the level that you profess to hate. Don’t Blink.