Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Starry Night: For my Dad



Five years ago today my dad passed away.

One year ago today I found out I was pregnant with June.

November 19 was such a sad day for me.  And now it is such a happy day, too.

My dad used to love to look up at the nighttime sky.  I remember summer nights in the backyard looking through the telescope, listening to him describe what was going on up there.

"That one is Venus," he'd say.  "You can tell a planet because it doesn't sparkle like a star does."
"Can you find Orion's belt?"
"Here, look in this telescope, Bopper.  You can see Saturn's rings."

One thing that surprised me about the early weeks with June is that I didn't hate the middle of the night feedings as much as I thought I would.  There is something almost magical about being up in the middle of the night when no one else bothers to stay awake.  We bonded while the rest of the world slept.  Just June and me.  No one else to distract us.

There is one night especially that sticks out in my mind.  Greg and I had just moved into our new home.  About 3 am, June cried in the bassinet beside me.  I sat up in bed and held my baby and stared out the window directly in front of me. Outside there were no cars humming down the road, no sounds, no lights.  Greg snored softly beside me.

The stars were terrifically bright.  It was one of those nights where the sky is so black and the stars are so bright that it is almost as if the stars are showing off for you- begging you to pause for a minute and admire their sparkle.

I nestled my baby close to me and admired those stars, and in that moment I felt the overwhelming presence of my dad.  He was there in the stars.  Saying hi.  He was telling me that he could see me there feeding my baby and that he was proud of me and that he loved watching me be a mom to his grand daughter.

Three am.
Just me and June and my dad.

Sometimes I think about November 19 and everything that happened five years ago- the absolute and enormous loss that I felt that day.  I couldn't imagine anything so great being taken from me.  And then I think about that same day a year ago- how I can't imagine anything so great being given to me.  I marvel at God and the way He is in the details of our lives.  How such a day of loss could turn into such a day of gain.  How sorrow transforms to happiness.  How family dies and family is born.

How there is no permanent loss.
How family never stops growing.

---

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Mormon Fast: What it Means

My mission days where I really learned what it means to fast.

One thing that a lot of non Mormon folk don't know about us Mormon folk is that we are totally into "fasting."  Once a month we all fast together.  It is usually the first Sunday of the month.  We call it... wait for it... fast Sunday!

A full fast for us is considered 24 hours.  We believe that fasting combined with prayer can strengthen us spiritually and bring us closer to God.  Usually Mormons fast with a purpose- for help in some way, for understanding, for peace, for comfort, for health.  There are a million reasons why someone would want to fast- it is basically an extra strong prayer going up to God.

In my teenage years I didn't fully understand fasting and struggled with it immensely.  I didn't see the connection- how does me not eating food equal feeling closer to Heavenly Father?  I had a couple of experiences on my mission and since I have been home that have given me a better understanding of it.  Fasting is a sacrifice- we are showing to God that we are willing to sacrifice for Him and to feel closer to Him.  Going without food and water makes us feel humble and vulnerable, often allowing us to be more receptive to the spirit.  Fasting shows Heavenly Father that we are willing to rely on Him for our needs, not on ourselves.  It is a way for us to tell God that our spiritual needs are more important than our physical needs.

We believe that fasting helps in a myriad of other ways as well.  Fasting improves our lives and gives us added strength. It helps us live other principles of the gospel because it draws us nearer to the Lord.  Fasting teaches self control and gives us extra spiritual power.

However, there are times when it is advised not to fast.  When you are pregnant or nursing are some of those times.  My body needs constant nourishment when it is growing a baby or feeding a baby and so for the past year, I have not fasted.  To be honest, the first few months I loved it.  An excuse to stuff my face to my heart's delight while everyone else was going without.  Yipee!

Lately, though, I have started to miss those blessings that come from fasting.  Yesterday our Sunday school lesson was on Esther and how she saved her people from a practical genocide.  We talked about how she and all the Jews fasted for three days before she went in unto the King to ask him to save the Jews.  The fast gave her the strength to be able to complete such a daunting task and softened the heart of the king.

I shared with those ten year old tikes some experiences I have had fasting.  The most recent experience was in July.  The Sunday before I had June Big my brother let me know that my mom, siblings, and siblings' spouses  would be fasting that Sunday for me.  The knew the baby was breech and that there could be some complications.  They fasted for a healthy baby, a safe procedure, and healthy mom.  I had been so nervous about having that baby leading up to that day.  That fast from my family combined with a blessing from Greg left me calm as a cucumber the morning I went to have June.  All the stress, anxiety, worry, was gone.  I was so happy and felt so at peace, and was just so ready to meet my little girl.  I look back on that and think of the power that it gave me to have all of my family fast for me.

All of this to say, that yesterday it struck me especially hard how much I have missed fasting.  I know that it is for sure not a good idea for me to go without food or water for 24 hours while nursing June.  But I have been thinking about doing some kind of modified fast, or in some way still honoring the "spirit of fast."  Any of you out there who have tried to do some kind of fast while you are nursing or pregnant?  I would love some ideas.  I am missing that extra spiritual strength and peace that comes from fasting.

I'd also be interested to know if any of you from other religions fast and what that looks like in your faith.  And even if you don't belong to a certain religion but believe in God, you can still fast, you know.  It is basically a way to gain spiritual strength and show your reliance on God, no matter what you believe.  I'm sure He wouldn't mind.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

20 Things to Expect from your C section



Alright, folks, I write this post not to scare, but to inform!  I had no idea what I was in for when I went in to get my C section, and I wish I had been a bit more prepared- I think it would have made a few things easier on me.  Remember, my experience is not your experience so none of these things listed will necessarily happen to you, but just in case- you can't say I never gave you a heads up!

1.  First and foremost!  Having a C section is a totally acceptable way to have a baby!  Be nice to your body.  It just spent nine months growing a beautiful baby for you and if it isn't in the cards for you to have a vaginal delivery, forgive your body and get on with it.  You don't have to "explain" to anyone why you had a C section.  Your baby, after all, doesn't much care how she gets here, just that she gets here!  And it's the perfect excuse to not vacuum for six weeks!

2.  The surgery in and of itself will most likely be very short.  From the time the incision was started to the time June was hollering at the world was a full six minutes!  The stitching afterward is what takes the most amount of time- 45 minutes to an hour.

3.  The incision is through the skin, abdomen, muscles and then through the uterus.  The first few weeks I couldn't figure out why I had sharp pain coming from places other than my scar until the doctor explained how the abdomen and uterus were cut.  My pains were from the incision on my uterus.

4.  You may not be able to walk or get up the first day.  My c section was at 8:30 am.  At about 4:00 that afternoon the nurses tried to help me stand and I threw up.  I didn't really stand on my own or take any steps until the next day.

5.  Following the surgery you will be given liquids and will slowly work your way back to a regular diet.  I didn't eat any solid food the first 24 hours after June was born because my stomach was so upset.

6.  Your stomach may feel upset/ you will likely have lots of gas build up.  There is a lot of shifting that takes place inside your body during the C section and one result is trapped gas that can be quite painful.

7.  Stay up on your pain medications!  I was prescribed Perkeset and Ibuprofen.  The nurses switch every twelve hours and their top priority isn't always making sure you have your next pain medicine the second you need it.  So make it your priority!  I kept a chart that told me at exactly what time I could take my next pill.  Usually the hour before I could take more medicine was the hardest- I could start to feel some pain, I was grumpy, emotional, etc.  Take the pill the second you can, even in the night!

8.  It will be hard to roll over or stand up by yourself.  Have someone who can help you get up and down slowly.  It is hard to be so absolutely vulnerable and helpless, but just enjoy it for those few days.  It was very sweet for me to see how Greg helped me with the most basic of human functions.  Most people are very loving when they see someone so pathetic!

9.  Don't drop anything because there ain't no way you'll be able to bend over to pick it up!

10.  Be prepared to not be able to get up by yourself the first few days.  The most frustrating thing for me was that I couldn't get up to lift June out of her little box/ bassinet thing by myself.  One afternoon Greg had gone to run an errand and the nurse was nowhere to be found.  June was crying next to my bed and I couldn't do a dang thing to comfort her.  I sat there, helplessly bawling my eyes out while June was bawling her eyes out too.  If I have another C section I will make sure I'm not left alone with my baby out of reaching distance.

11.  Sneezing, coughing, laughing, even passing gas will hurt!  Put a pillow up to your stomach any time you need to do any of those things because ouch.

12.  The incision will likely be right below your bikini line.  That's great because it means you can still wear a bikini and no one will see the scar!  Because we all know that when we're getting our stomach sliced open our first concern is the next time we will wear a bikini...

13.  Nightgowns are going to save your life.  Pants, pajama bottoms or even underwear put pressure on the incision and hurt it.  My mom got me three little nighties that I wore for two or three straight weeks.  They buttoned at the top to allow for easy nursing and they hung to about my knees.  They were infinitely more comfortable than sweats, flannels, ANYTHING because there wasn't that pressure on my stomach.

Best nightgown ever from my mom.

14.  Take advantage of the hospital disposable underwear.  As per point #8, even underwear (or garment bottoms for you Mormon folk) killed my incision.  The whole time in the hospital I wore the disposable underwear that they provided.  It is mesh and loose so it doesn't put any pressure on the incision.  When I was leaving my angel of a nurse asked me if I wanted more. I said you betcha!  She filled my bag up and I wore them for two extra weeks until it didn't hurt to wear garment bottoms anymore.

15.  This point might be TMI for some people, so just skip over it if you hate any kind of potty talk.  But I really wish I had known this ahead of time, so here goes.  The gas that gets trapped in your stomach can be so painful and you may go days without going to the bathroom.  I went five days before Greg pretty much made me get a laxative.  I didn't want to at all because, well, gross, but I finally listened to him.  What I didn't realize until after a few successful bathroom trips was that the not going to the bathroom for so many days had been putting increased pressure and pain on my incision from the inside.  I thought it was just  a normal part of the pain, but after going to the bathroom there was so much less pain!  So don't wait five days for a laxative.  (Mom if you read that, I'm very sorry.  I know you don't approve.)

16.  Take short walks as soon as you can.  I had June on a Wednesday.  Thursday I didn't leave the hospital room at all.  Friday night Greg and I finally attempted a couple of laps just around the labor and delivery unit of the hospital.  I was amazed at how much better it felt for me to try to walk a little- walking helps the incision heal without getting too stiff.  It also helped the trapped gas.  If I have another c section, I will try to take 2 or 3 short walks a day beginning as soon as the day after surgery.

17.  Your back may hurt.  I didn't realize at the time that this was fairly common, but aside from the pain around my incision the back pain was the thing that bothered me the most.  According to pregnancy-info.net, there is back pain because "There is a type of shifting of balance from the abdominal muscles to the back muscles, overextending the pelvic muscles, and disturbing your fragile spinal bones."  That is another reason why walking as soon as possible was important- it helped relieve that back pain.

18.  There will likely be a slight "overhang" above your scar- basically the just skin and fat that hangs right above the scar.  Mine has gone down since the c section, and the doctor says it will get to the point where it probably disappears completely, but for now it remains.  Boo.



18.  My body temps were totally whack for the 48 hours following surgery.  The first day I was absolutely on fire and made the nurses turn the temps down as low as they would go. (A 60 degree room in the middle of July.)  Then, on the second day I tried to go to the bathroom and was suddenly shivering so hard that I couldn't even walk back to the bed.  It was temperature madness!

19.  You will likely have a catheter inserted before the surgery that will be taken out the day following.  Oh joy!  The plus side to it was I got to drink exorbitant amounts of diet coke without having to get up to go to the bathroom every half hour.

20.  And finally.... holding your little baby in your arms will be more than worth it all.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat for another little June Bug.


And that's a wrap!  From you other ladies who have had c sections- anything I missed?  What did you wish you knew pre surgery?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can you be so stressed you are literally sick? Yes. Greg says yes.



I will admit that I have felt a bit off on this blog lately.

There is something kind of big happening in our lives, and I guess that when that happens it makes sense to kind of quiet up on the internet.  I can't write about it yet, (don't you hate those ultra vague posts like this one?) but in the meantime it is occupying a lot of my thoughts and time and energy so when I come to this blog to write, well, I don't have anything to write.  I can't write what I want to write and what I want to write refuses to let any other thoughts in my brain.  So I write about celebrity crushes and my love for scentsy.  You'll forgive me, right?  Greg has always teased me that I hide my emotions about as well as a three year old, and I guess that carries over to my blog, as well.  The more removed or distant I seem from this space, you can be certain, something is up!

In the meantime, life marches arm with alarming swiftness.  Les Miserables, Greg's musical, opens a week from Thursday.  He has managed to literally stress himself sick over it.  Stress sickness is a real thing!  Last week his tooth started shooting searing amounts of pain through his gums.  He went to the dentist.  Nothing was "wrong" with his mouth- it was a total dental mystery!  Well, I'll solve the mystery for you, babe.  The stress is literally eating away at your mouth!  Then, Sunday evening he said he wasn't feeling too well, and lo and behold, by Monday he was running from his classroom to throw up in the high school toilet. He spent Monday night and all of Tuesday in bed and today he seems to be kind of on the mend. Enough to go to work, anyway.  If he can survive directing his first musical then June and I will, by default, also survive, and it will be a Christmas miracle indeed!  Oh, and I forgot to mention that on Saturday Greg starts rehearsals for a show he will be performing in January.  So for one lovely week he will be directing/opening Les Mis and starting rehearsals for his new show.  Please beer us strength!

In other news, our school team got knocked out of the football playoffs on Friday.  I think the final score was 56-14 or something equally embarrassing.  It's a good thing there are more important things in life than football, right?

June bug is rocking my world right now.  I know it's so cliche for parents to be totally gaga over their kids, but sheesh, my kid is really really cool.  She'll just sit there on the couch, cool as a cucumber, and watch Greg and I battle it out in Dr. Mario.  Other times she'll stare at herself in the mirror for literally an hour.  Just sticking her tongue out at the mirror.  And she laughs after she farts, which means that she already has quite the advanced sense of humor, don't you think?  I never knew I could be this mesmerized by such a little person.  She is our everything.

Also, last night Greg and I watched Jumangi and tonight we watched Hook.  We decided watching old classics would be a good way for Greg to forget the stress that eats away at him 14 hours of the day.  It was the first time I have watched any Robin Williams films since his death, and it was weirdly emotional for me.  His opening scene in Jumangi has him running all over his house looking for his dad whom he hasn't seen in 26 years. It is just such a fun movie and Robin Williams is just so fiercely alive
in the film.  There is so much about life I wish I understood better.

And lastly, I really really like Taylor Swift's new musical video.  I mean, come on, those clothes...

AROUND THE WEB:
+ I loved these 10 tips on capturing every day moments with your camera.  Alexa is a genuis behind the lens!  It makes me want to be better about snapping more every day pics.
+ This Venn diagram on whether or not to join Instagram had my inner nerd totally geeking out.  I'll be honest, there are many days I wish I never joined old Insta.  It's just I waste so much time thinking my life is not as cool as everyone else's!
+ I am absolutely trying out this easy pumpkin roll this month.  I haven't done any pumpkin themed baking yet, so this bad boy is definitely a must.
+ This nursery has got me all sorts of motivated to finish June's nursery.  I'm mostly so impressed how she does so much with such little space!
+  I have a former English professor from college who shares the most fascinating links on facebook.  Her most recently shared post, an article from the New York Times, had me thinking- is this the end of tv viewing for millennials?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I am not good at selling things.



Question:  Is it possible to be a “salesperson” and not annoy everyone you meet?
Answer:  I don’t know.  But I’m going to try.

If you hate everything about salespeople, it’s okay.  I still like you and I still like that you read my blog.  You have my permission to exit out now, skip this post, and come back tomorrow for lots of gory details for what it’s like to have a c-section! Fun!  

If, however, you don’t mind salespeople/ need some ideas for Christmas/ love it when your house and car and laundry smells good, stick around!

Last week I made a kind of weird and very spontaneous decision to start selling Scentsy products.  Just for the record, I might be the worst person at selling stuff ever.  My sophomore year of college I desperately wanted to go on a study abroad to London.  My dad, never the give-your-kids-what-they-ask-for type said he wouldn’t shell out the $7,000 for it.  So I said I'd earn it all myself. Only I didn’t have a car so that made getting a job kind of rough. 

My solution, naturally, was to start selling Mary Kay products.  I sold one tube of mascara to myself, walked around in the snow a lot trying to get previous roommates to buy some lipstick, and gave up.  I hated it.  I hated people feeling pressured when they were around me, I hated feeling like I was annoying them, I hated them thinking I was talking to them because I wanted them to buy something. 
And the carting a bag of makeup around in the snow certainly didn’t make it any easier.

So I quit.  After one month.  I quit and vowed to never do sales again.  I also didn't get accepted to the study abroad program, so you know, a lot of failure all the way around.

And here I am, today.  Nine years later, totally emotionally healed from that bad experience and a bonafide scentsy rep!  This decision was made on Halloween day after I spent a bunch of money on yummy new wax melts for winter.  I looked at how much money I had just spent and thought, “Freak, if I’m going to be constantly buying scentsy products I should just be a rep.  Then my friends and family and blog buddies can buy through me too.”  Plus, it was Halloween, and that day always lends itself to rash and sometimes bad decisions, AmIRight?

Soooooooooo here we are! (I don't exactly know why I think my Scentsy experience will be any different than my Mary Kay experience but the thing is I really really love scentsy.  I am obsessed with the product in a way I never was about the makeup.  Also I have a car now.)  If you want to buy some scentsy stuff for Christmas or for yourself, then I’m your gal.  I buy scentsy over the generic wax in grocery stores because scentsy 1) smells better 2) lasts longer and 3) doesn’t make me feel nauseous when it’s been burning all day.  I know you can buy wax at Wal-mart for $2, but this stuff is seriously so much better.  Trust me.  (Says every salesperson ever.  But I really mean it!)

If you don’t have a warmer, then obviously that is your place to start.  



(Very quick fyi- Scentsy is basically a way to have candles that last forever.  You burn the wax in your burner, it lasts much longer, and doesn’t get smoke everywhere. You pay $20-40 for the warmer and then $5 per scent instead of $20 per candle.  Scents last so much longer than candles.  If you are the type of person who likes your house to smell good, scentsys are an investment you need to make!  You will save so much money in the long run.) 

I love that they have so many cute designs for warmers.  They can match any room in your house.  My favorites are this one and this one and this one.

As for wax smells, there are seriously a million amazing scents.  I am sorta blowing my retirement on wax, if you want to know the truth.  (Not really.) (But kind of really.)  My favorite smells for winter are: (Click on the link for a description of what each smell is like.)

Peppermint Dreams (If you like peppermint, you will LOVE this one.)
Iced Pine (Piney buy with a hint of peppermint so it’s not overbearing)
Frosted Gingerbread cookie (This one really has a gingery smell to it.  If you like ginger you’ll love it!)

Overall awesome smells for any occasion are:
Newborn Nursery (this one is a must for a nursery!  I have it in a little nighlight warmer in June’s room and it makes the whole room smell so yummy and baby and warm and clean.  Just like a baby should be!)

If you have questions about any of the scents ask me and I can help you figure out the best ones!
Of course, scentsy has way more products than that.  I kind of love these dryer disks you put in your dryer and it makes your clothes smell SO good.  Or there's lots of different stuff to make your car smell good.  And bath tablets!

Obviously I’m biased, but long before I started selling this stuff, scentsy was my go-to for tough Christmas gifts.  A warmer and a couple of scents is the perfect gift for those hard to shop for people on your list.  Mother in laws, co-workers, neighbor who babysits your kid, etc.!  (Also I love the plug-in warmers.  They’re perfect for bedrooms and less expensive!)



A couple of things about ordering:  if you are ordering a lot of products, check the left sidebar and click on the "specials" link and then the "combine and save".  This will save you money when buying multiple things.  For example if you buy three scents, you get them from $14 and if you buy five scents you get one free.  But you have to click the button that says to get the deal- the site won't give it to you automatically.  There are deals with a warmer and a certain amount of scents, etc, etc.  And if you order $150, shipping is free!


AND... if you live in the Utah Valley area, you are welcome to come to my house Tuesday night, (November 18) at 7:00 for a scentsy par-tay!  We’ll be smelling all the scents and eating cookies and listening to Christmas music, ah yah!  And you’ll save on shipping which is the best part.  If you’re interested in coming, leave your email in the comments and I’ll email you the address and such.  If you can't make it that night but live locally you can still place your order through me to save on shipping.  

And lastly, if you ever thought about selling scentsy you can totally sell with me.  It's great to do if you have a blog or a fairly large social media presence.  Just ask me for details.  Happy shopping!  May you obsess over yummy smelling wax every bit as much as I do!


Monday, November 10, 2014

My six weird celebrity crushes



I think we all have the normal celebrity crushes, right?  Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Chris Hemsworth.  Yada yada yada.  Puh-lease!  Those guys are boring!  Here are six celebrities I totally have small itty bitty weensy teeny crushes on.

1. JESSE PINKMAN



He's a meth head, yes.  But he's my favorite meth head!  I mean, I know he's supposed to be the "bad guy" in the series, but you know every single person is rooting for Jesse the whole way along.  My heart just breaks when I see how much he loves kids and what a good guy he is at the heart of it all. SPOILER ALERT AHEAD:  Sometimes when I am trying to fall asleep at night I think about the Breaking Bad finale and how every single genius, every professional, ends up dead: Gus, Mike, Walt.  And the one who outlives them all is Pinkman.  Jesse freaking Pinkman, screaming at the top of his lungs.  ALL HAIL PINKMAN!

2.  AARON PAUL



I know you might think this is the same as #1, but it's not!  I'm in love with Jesse Pinkman and Aaron Paul!  Two separate people!  The actor who plays Pinkman is just as loveable as Pinkman himself.  Aaron Paul dresses up like Walter White for Halloween, says hi to the people who tour around Hollywood, and even went beserk for almost winning the Price is Right!  "TWELVE HUNDRED BUCKS!"



I'm not saying I would leave Greg for this guy, but if I had the chance... well, I'd have to think about it!  Also, Paul is crazy about his wife, Lauryn.  They are such a great example of a healthy relationship.  She runs the kindness campaign- an anti bullying program.  I follow them on instagram because I'm so nerdy like that and I just love how much they love each other and how much good they try to put into the world.  Successful Hollywood couples ftw!

3.  MITT ROMNEY



I don't know what it is about Romney, but I totally fangirl over him.  When I watched him do the ALS Ice bucket challenge IN A SUIT I almost died of happiness.  Oh, Mitt, of course you did it in a suit you classy son of a gun.  And can I call you Mitt?



4.  ORLANDO BLOOM



I had to include Orlando Bloom in here because I was obsessed with him from the ages of 11-18.  I had a giant poster of him in my room lying on a big bed of all white sheets. (That picture above.  Life sized.  On my wall!)  I have no idea why my parents were cool with that, now that I think about it.  I also named my journal Legolas.  I don't obsess over him anymore, (please I am way too mature for celebrity crushes!) and I actually think he is kind of grungy and gross, but a sliver of the crush must remain somewhere in my heart because I am always extra interested when I hear any news about him.  Out of respect for teenage Bonnie, maybe?

5.  CONAN O'BRIEN



I have a thing for lanky funny red heads, I suppose, what can I say?!  I see Conan and I see my husband in 25 years... a  stand up comedian flipping his wild, red hair!  I love Conan's weird monologues and dances and the way he just owns the out of control hair.  I mean, who can resist a fifty year old ginger?

6. DANIEL RADCLIFFE


He played the greatest wizard of all time, what do you expect from me?  I know he's got the horrific eyebrows and he's lanky and looks like a little boy, but I just dig it.  Plus he's Harry freaking Potter!  I like that he's confident and funny and hasn't dropped off the edge of the planet now that HP is over.  I'm pretty sure we all saw him rapping his little heart out on Jimmy Fallon, right?  Oh, and the British accent...


Sunday, November 09, 2014

20 things you should know about me. AKA: a very narcissistic post


It's time for a reacquaintance.  I haven't introduced myself for some time on this blog and sometimes I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore! 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BON BON



1.  This picture was taken hours after I got two cavities filled and a permanent crown put in.  You may notice one side of my face is drooping just a little bit.  Isn't that just the saddest thing when it's best picture you can find of yourself and half of your face is sagging?!

1.5  I don't really ever refer to myself as Bon Bon except for, strangely enough, when I am writing on this blog.

2.  When I was in seventh grade my brother, Reed, tried to do a wrestling move and about dang near knocked my tooth out.  It was hanging by a string.  The doctor popped it back in and put a brace on it and all was well within a few weeks.  A part of me is still mad at that dentist for fixing that tooth.  If I had had to go through life as a one-toothed woman, I could have sued my brother for big bucks.

3.  I'm working hard on a goal I made a little while ago to make people feel good about themselves.  Sometimes it's easy.  Sometimes it's hard.  Mostly it's hard when the people I am dealing with are idiots.

4.  I suck at:  texting back, calling back, and emailing back.  I think I was happier pre-cell phone days.  I hate that people know that I carry a cell phone and know that they can get a hold of me whenever they want.  Some days I just leave my phone in my purse when I get home from work and don't get it out until I go to work the next morning.  SO SUE ME.

5.  Below you will see the picture of the guy I married.  His name is Greg.  We met when I was reading on a balcony and he was walking across the parking lot.  He told me the pink streak in my hair was looking mighty fine and I told him to come up and make me dinner with his shirt off.  Eight months later I was throwing a bouquet.  We're coming up on four years of marital bliss/ hard work/ frustration/ giddiness/ whatever marriage is and no one's gone running for the hills yet.


6.  For a living I play blackjack.

7.  Just kidding about number six.  I'm a high school English teacher.  I have to teach high school instead of elementary because a) I don't have patience for little uns b) I don't want to have to pretend I like crappy drawings and c) I don't do snot/pee/poo/tears.

8.  Today in class we heard what appeared to be tribal music coming from the classroom next door.  In a moment of poor instinct I yelled, "Quick!  We need a sacrifice!  We must send over a virgin to sacrifice "  I don't know why that came to my mind, why I blurted it out, and why I thought it was appropriate.  The kids laughed anyway because they think I'm psycho and that would be reason d) why I don't teach elementary school.

9.  I was born into a family of eight kids.  This means I have learned to fight for attention.  I can put on a show with the best of them.  One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to tell acquaintances and friends not smart enough to know better that it was my birthday and soak in the attention all day long.  I'm messed up.  I know.



10.  I can be bossy.  I blame it on the 16 year olds.  I get used to bossing them around all day that I come home and think I have the right to tell everybody else what to do, too.  It's weird, but people don't like being bossed around.

11.  I have had close to 20 traffic citations.  And that's not even touching the boots, the towings, or the parking tickets.  Or the two cars I totaled.  I don't say this because I'm bragging about my bad driving record, but because I am bragging that it has been 19 months since my last ticket.  NINETEEN MONTHS.  I have been reformed.

This was the day I got two tickets 20 minutes apart.  
One was for going 26 over the speed limit- a $540 fine.  
My lead foot is was expensive!

12.  People always make fun of me for my bad driving and if we're ever going somewhere in a group they say I'm not allowed to drive.  This hurts my feelings.  I mean, come on, if you had 20 traffic tickets I wouldn't rub it in your face like that!

13.  The best part of my day is the hour at night before I have to go to bed and I cuddle up with Greg and watch TV and giggle and flirt and drift off to sleep.  

14.  The worst part of my day is 5:40 am when my alarm clock rings.  If I had known as a college student that I would be waking up at 5:40 am when I had a full time job you better believe I never even would have considered graduating.

15.  The picture below is what my husband looks like when I leave for work in the morning.  Some kind of praying demon?  What think ye?!?


16.  A couple of days ago I was passing out copies of Les Miserables for my seniors to read.  One girl looked at the title and then exclaimed, "Ah, man!  My copy is in Spanish!"  That's been making me smile for going on six days now.

17.  I once had a friend who called me Bonahrrea.  I am warning you now if you call me that name I will hold it against you forever.  Sally I'm talking to you.

18.  Every year I invest hundreds of hours watching my favorite basketball team, the Utah Jazz disappoint me.   It's not the healthiest thing I've got going on in my life.


19.  I make Greg late.  All the time.  Oops. I HATE THIS ABOUT ME.  MY GOAL FOR 2015 IS TO NOT BE LATE FOR ANYTHING. EVER.

20.  I like ladybugs and roses and anything girly.  I eat bowls of cereal with the milk overflowing.  I've got a hot head and a sharp tongue that is rarely controlled.  I've been known to burst into tears for no reason.  I am passionate about reading and writing and reality TV.  Long eyelashes are my guilty pleasure.  On Saturdays I do my best to sleep until noon and when I see old couples holding hands my heart completely melts.  I think painted fingernails are the epitome of femininity and a diet coke the cure to every curve ball life throws at you.  Take it or leave it, folks!

The bulk of this post was originally written in December 2012.

Friday, November 07, 2014

When I want to feel pretty

I am a recovering eyelash extension addict.

I first got eyelash extensions for my wedding pictures.  Then I never stopped.  For four years.

The first three years I traded eyelashes for piano lessons.  But then with my pregnancy and every other insane thing that was going on last year I couldn't keep up with the piano lessons.  But I still wanted the lashes!

So I forked over the $40 every month for eyelashes.  (And my girl is seriously soooooo inexpensive compared to others around.  Most places you can't find a set for under $80.)  I hated to see that money go every month on something as vain as eyelashes but 1) my eyelashes were totally shot after four years of extensions and 2) I love feeling pretttttttyyyy.

Enter Younique mascara.  It is essentially eyelash extensions in bottle form.  The difference is you have to put it on every day, like mascara.  A set costs $30 and lasts you three to four months- so that puts you at $10 a month for fabulous lashes.  Win win!

Let's take a closer look, shall we?


No mascara....



Regular mascara...



Younique fiberlash mascara...


Here's how it works.  It really is like you are putting on extensions.  You put a "gel" on first that is basically like regular mascara.  Then you put the fibers on.  These are what are like the extensions.  They are very soft and stick right on the gel.  Here's what the fiber wand looks like:


It's just a bunch of dry fibers that stick to your lashes.  After you put the fibers on, you seal it with the gel.  Presto!  Fabulous looking eyelashes!


This mascara is seriously a game changer for me.  If you have weak or short eyelashes at all, it is everything.  My good friend Amanda can answer any questions you have about the mascara at amandaruthwinegar@gmail.com or you can order from her here.  I know Amanda will take good care of you and do you right- we spent many nights together serving steaks to the senior citizens of Sizzler (Wow!  Alliteration!) so we've basically been to hell and back together.  I mean, we even dated the same guy who also worked at Sizzler!  Talk about been through it all!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Announcement: We are quitting on the pacifier


Am I okay to just give up on the pacifier?

I tried.  I really did.  Every single part of me wanted June to take a pacifier.

June had other plans, though.  As a newborn she would kind- of- sort- of- if- I'm- in- the- exact- right- mood take it.  Sometimes I could force it in there when she was extra tired and she'd give a few sucks.

At three and a half months all she does now is spit, spit, spit, it out. She doesn't even pretend to give a single suck.  I have tried different kinds.  She hates them all.  Instead she throws her fists into her mouth and gnaws away.  She'll suck on just about anything but a pacifier.  It's like she knows.

The other day I brought a new pacifier to daycare for June to try out.  The daycare lady looked at June then the pacifier then back at June.

"Oh, pacifiers make her mad!"  She told me.

"Ha, yah, I know, we're working on it..." I replied.

"No.  She hates it!  She screams.  She really doesn't like those!"

So at what point can I just call it a loss?  There are things I need June to do and things I would like June to do.  Take a bottle falls into the need category.  Take a pacifier goes into the "would like" category.  Any suggestions out there or are some babies just not destined for a bink and am I best to use my energy on other things?

(Also, while we're on the topic, my best friend calls a pacifier a "nookie".  No further comment necessary.)

A day in the life: School Edition

Alright, folks.  As promised, here is a "day in the life" on the days I go to school.  These days are wild, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

5:40  School mornings start early!  I go get June out of her crib and pull her into bed with me so she can nurse.  I usually fall back asleep during most of this.

6:15  Greg and I both get up and get ready while June falls back asleep on the bed.  We both get ready and then Greg changes June's diaper and gets her dressed and loaded in the car seat while I take Maverick out to go potty, get our instant breakfasts ready and pack our lunch.



6:45  On our way to school.  For right now we drive separately because Greg has musical rehearsals after school.

7:00  I drop June off at daycare downstairs and then make my way upstairs to start the day.  From 7- 7:45 is teacher prep time.  I check my email, write objectives and homework on the board, pick up copies from the library, get books I need, etc during this time.

7:50  First period starts.  Juniors baby!  I'm going to do another "What we did in class" blog post soon, but right now we are working on rhetoric.  Today I assigned three different scenarios to groups of students and they had to identify what ethos, logos, and pathos would be used to use that argument.  Then they had to choose two students to act it out and as a class we all tried to find the ethos, pathos, logos.  My favorite was the "wife trying to convince a husband that it's time to start a family."



9:19  Bells rings and I sneak downstairs to try to pump while second period files in.  I finally just told second period that I was going to be a couple of minutes late because I had to pump.  I think some boys were like, "Say whhaaaa?"  but after a few days of "Hey guys, sorry I'm late again!" it was just getting weird.

9:25  Second period starts and we do the same thing as first period.  My second period group is my favorite- they are just a killer group of kids.

10:49  Bell rings for lunch.  Greg usually drops into my room at the end of second (it's his prep) and we walk to the faculty room together.  I really love lunch.  It is such a great break from the students and I love chilling with the other teachers.  We have a great lunch group that is loud and passionate and makes me laugh every day.

11:25  Third period starts.  This is my prep so I go to my room first to pump and then I take all pumped milk down to daycare where Junebug is ready to eat.  I get to hold her and feed her and usually will put her down before I leave.



12:15  I head back up to my room to salvage what is left of my prep period.  I grade essays, put scores in the computer, and plan my lesson for the next day.

1:00  Fourth period, baby!  I have all juniors this year which makes it SO easy because I only have to do one prep.  I have an ideal schedule.

2:25  The bell rings and school is over!  My after school time is when I end up getting the majority of school work since my prep period isn't super productive with going down to visit June.  I make sure everything is ready for the next day, send copies I need, put in grades, etc.



3:30-4:00  I pick up June from daycare and we leave school.

4:00  June usually eats as soon as we get home and I veg out on reality tv or stare mindlessly at my cell phone.

4:30  Take Maverick for a walk.  At this point everybody needs a little fresh air and exercise.



5:30  Start getting dinner ready

6:00 Greg gets home and we eat.

6:30  Bath time and one last feeding for June.  She goes down by seven.

7:00-10:00  The hardest part about my school days is that by this point I haven't done an ounce of blog stuff.  Usually I try to at least crank out a blog post, but I don't often get to emails and comments because I'm just too exhausted.  Some days, like yesterday, I can't even manage to write a blog post and then I just decide to go to bed and do it first thing in the morning.  Greg and I watch TV or I catch up on blogs while Greg plays a video game.  These days where we have both worked we are usually pretty wiped out by 7:00!


And that's a wrap!  Thank goodness that the next day I get to sleep in a little bit and catch up on the stuff at home.

Monday, November 03, 2014

A Day in the Life: Home Edition

Yesterday a reader asked me how I balance blog, school, mom, wife, friend, etc, etc, etc.  So I decided to show you!  Here's what a day looks like for me at home.  Tomorrow you'll get to see what a day looks like for me at school.

6:45 am.  Greg kisses me goodbye.  I continue sleeping.  Winning!

8:30- 9:00 am June starts to stir.  June's wake up times vary greatly.  Sometimes she wakes up about 6:00 and wants to eat but then she falls right back to sleep.  In that case she wakes up "for the day" about 9:00 or 9:30.  Sometimes, like today, she wakes up for the day at 8:30.  Those days are perfect.  As soon as she wakes up she wants to nurse.  I lie in bed while she nurses and check social media and emails.  I am trying to get into the habit of using this first nursing period to read scriptures and have a little bit of time for reflection, but my mind is always going a million miles an hour in the morning thinking about everything I have to do so it is a struggle.

9:30 am  I shower, get ready, and clean up the house a bit while June plays in her swing.

9:30 am

10:00 am June goes down for nap #1.  I get to work on my blog.  My priorities are as follows:

1- Write blog post for the next day.
2- Promote any sponsors/ campaigns I am working on.
3- Return emails.
4- Respond to comments.
5- Apply for new campaigns.

Depending on how busy the day is and how much time I have I can get any variation of those done.  I always at least get #1 done.  On an ideal day I get to all five of them.


10:00 am

12:00 pm June wakes up and nurses.  Again, I usually fart around on social media while she nurses, but I am trying to be better at using that time to read.

12:30 pm  In the afternoon during June's awake period is usually when I get out of the house.  I try to leave the house no matter what because otherwise I go stir crazy.  About once a week I usually meet up with a friend or my mom to do something.  Otherwise I just do errands by myself.  99% of the time I go to Swig for a dirty Dr. Pepper (Dr. Pepper with coconut.  I'm addicted in a bad way.)

Possible "outings" I may do:
- Go to the library
- Return something (I have serious buyer's remorse.  Always.)
- Meet up with a friend for lunch
- Stop by my mom's to say hi
- Go grocery shopping
- Hit up Swig
- Go to Carter's
- In-n-out for a hamburger.

Today my "outing" looked like this:
1- Go to Wal-mart to reprint pictures and ask for money back
2- Pick up stuff for dinner at Wal-mart
3- Swig for dirty Dr. Pepper
4- Check out Carter's for long sleeved/ warm clothes for June

June will often fall asleep while running errands if we are not home within an hour or so, which we usually aren't.  If she is asleep when we get home I just put her car seat in her room and let her finish her nap in there.  If she hasn't fallen asleep yet, I swaddle her and put her down.  She usually falls asleep for her afternoon nap about 2:00.

2:00 pm

3:00 pm  I get home and finish up blog stuff that I didn't get done in the morning.  I am trying to write a book so if I have extra time in the afternoon that's when I try to work on that as well.

4:00 pm June wakes up and nurses and plays.  I usually use her late afternoon feeding to totally relax and watch trashy reality television.  My latest guilty pleasure is 16 and Pregnant.  Today, though, I am really into the book I am reading, Breaking Night, so I read that instead.

4:00 pm

4:30 pm  Late afternoon is when June and I will usually take Maverick for a walk.  It helps June to get out of the house and get some fresh air, too.  She will often fall asleep on this walk for 30 min to an hour.

5:00 pm

5:00-5:30 pm I start getting dinner ready.

6:00 pm Greg gets home and we eat.  (Yes, he has LONG days at the school.)  Today I didn't make dinner- instead we met Greg's parents for dinnersto celebrate Greg's mom's birthday.

6:00 pm

6:30 pm  Bath time for June bug.  She doesn't really need a bath every night, but she loves baths and this is her cranky time.  It's about the only thing that sees us through until 7:00.

7:00 pm

7:00 pm  June nurses and goes to bed. She is at the point where we can just lay her down and most nights she will fall asleep within ten or twenty minutes.  Boom baby!

7:30 pm  7:30-9:30 is my favorite part of the day.  It is the time when Greg is home and we get to relax for a couple of hours without any other worries or demands on us.  We usually watch a show or two- we watch Shark Tank, New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, Modern Family, and The Following. Sometimes we will watch a movie.  Lately we've been playing a lot of games on the Wii- we just downloaded the old school version of Dr. Mario and have spent probably a little bit too much time battling it out with each other on that.

Of course there are variations to our nights.  About once a week we go out to eat.  Sometimes we will have friends over to play cards or meet up with Greg's parents for dinner. (Like tonight!)  Every other Wednesday night I have a writing group and sometimes I go to blogging get togethers.

9:30 pm  Greg takes Maverick out for one last potty break while I pump so that June has milk for the next day at daycare.

10:00 pm Prayers and bed time!  Sometimes Greg and I will watch an episode on the iPad before bed.  A lot of times we will both just read until we fall asleep, which usually doesn't take long.

That's a typical "home day" for me.  School days are much different- I'll show you what that looks like tomorrow.  Oh, I bet you can hardly contain your excitement!


AROUND THE WEB:
+ I am absolutely fascinated by this mama's routine and "me time".  She stays up until 1 am to get her personal time.  Any other night owls out there?
+ In yesterday's post I asked for some new recipes.  All of your recipes sound so good and I can't wait to get started.  This cream cheese chicken chili is first on my list!
+ Are you a TV geek?  Check out Lindsay's important lessons she learned from watching tv.  She nails it!
+ I am absolutely dying over this baby in a pumpkin.  I didn't know such cuteness existed.  Looks like June's got plans next Halloween! (Also, I love this blog design.  One of my favorites!)
+ I laughed out loud at this "Five Reasons Why Halloween is a Teacher's Least Favorite Holiday." (And parents, too, maybe?)  "My ears cannot take any more loudness."  Amen, sister!

Stuff! Stuff! Stuff!



Stuff #1:  I loved Halloween!  It was awesome!  But I am strangely relieved that it is over.  Now it is socially acceptable for me to wear sweats all day and hibernate in my home for the next five months, riiiiiiiiiiiight?  Right!  Also I love Halloween costumes so much all throughout October!  And then on November 1, I never want to see another Halloween costume again.  It's the weirdest.

Stuff #2: Winner of the Halloween $150 giveaway- Amanda Bode.  Yippee!

Stuff #3:  Winner of the ShoeMint giveaway- Andrea Darst.  Wahoo!

Stuff #4:  I did something very weird this weekend and signed up to sell scentsy.  I'm very aware that I might totally regret it in the immediate future.  But for now I'm excited.  It's just I'm kind of obsessed with scented wax, so I figured why not sell it to other people?  Click here if you are interested in buying some wax to melt.  Way cheaper than candles!  And last longer!  And safer!  I'll explain more later, but for now just know that the yummiest flavors for winter are iced pine, silver bells, eskimo kiss, and peppermint dreams.  The best all around scents are satin sheets, french lavendar, and luna.  I told you I'm obsessed.  (P.S. Anyone else out love scentsy as much as I do?  Tell me your favorite scents so I can try them all!)


Stuff #5:  The first day of January I set some goals for 2014.  Resolutions, if you will.  I thought I was real smart because instead of setting a bunch of goals that would overwhelm me, I set one goal per month.  Certainly it can't be too hard to only work on ONE GOAL at a time, right?

This system worked amazingly for me the first four months or so.  By about May it got trickier to keep with my goals.  For example, May's goal was to save money and life landed us in a place where we were in a position to buy a house.  So instead of saving money we spent every cent we ever earned.  Fun!  And not at all stressful!

From there on it was pretty much impossible to keep any of my monthly goals because life went a million different ways I never saw it going when I set the goals in January.  The baby came earlier than we thought throwing and of July's goals out the window, August was a total blur and in September I couldn't have cared less about "taking care of my body" like I thought I would.  All I wanted to do was relax and get moved in to my new home and try to regain some kind of routine.  In October the goal was to become a better photographer.  I took an amazing photography class from Alexa in August so I kind of felt like that one was covered so I ignored October's goal completely.

Which brings me to today- NOVEMBER.  I am recommitting myself to my monthly goals because this month's goal is one I still really want to try to work on- COOK!  My sub goals are to try two new recipes a month and to invite another couple/family to eat with us once a week.  I don't know if the inviting someone else over to eat is going to happen because Greg's life is going to get absolutely insane this month as he is teaching full time, directing Les Mis, and starting rehearsals for a show he will be acting in this winter.  I don't know if I'll even eat dinner with him, much less another family.  BUT.  I still really want to learn some new yummy recipes, so I am going to give it a go.  I think I finally finally have my motivation and some semblance of a routine back.  (Having a baby just rocks you for a few months, doesn't it?)

Now is the time where you tell me your favorite family recipe.  You know, the one you make over and over and everyone loves?  My two favorite recipes are both soups-Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana and Italian Sausage Zucchini.  Both are amazing and fairly easy to make- and perfect for the winter months coming up!  Now tell me your favorites!  I need to try two new recipes every week!

Stuff #6:  Let's do another giveaway!  Nordstrom's half yearly sale is coming up so I've teamed up with these hottie ladies to give one lucky reader a $300 gift card!  Enter below!


It's almost that time again.......the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale is rapidly approaching, and these fashionistas have teamed up to give one lucky reader a $300 Nordstrom Gift Card. The Half-Yearly Sale is the perfect chance to stock up on wardrobe staples plus fun extras and no one does fun extras like these ladies.....looking for some style inspiration? Stop by each of their blogs.....and enter away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Bloggers Make Money (An Explanation for Non-bloggers.)



I know that there are a lot of bloggers who sometimes read this blog.  I also know that there are a lot of people who read who know absolutely nothing about blogging.  This post is for the latter group.

Most people are very surprised when the find out that I make money blogging.  In the spring, when Greg and I were applying for a home loan (and we had to explain to a lot of strangers why we bought an $.89 pack of gum four months ago) our loan guys were all sorts of confused by the money coming in from my blog.

"Wait you make money on your blog?"
"Yes, sir."
"Who pays you?"
"Companies pay me."
"To write blog posts?"
"They don't pay me to write.  They pay me to advertise their product."
"So you work in advertising?"
"No.  I write a blog."
"About what?"
"Nothing really.  My life."
"What makes your life so interesting?"
"That's a good question!"
"But people read it?"
"Some do, yes."
"And you make an actual income from them reading?"
"Yes, sir."
"How much do you make?"
"It varies every month."

Usually about that point people stop trying to figure it out and just give up.  I can't say I blame them.

Blogging is a relatively new "job field" (if you want to call it that) so there is a lot that the majority of the population does not know or understand about blogging.  There is no blogging major at school, no book that teaches you the ins and outs of how to do it.  My entire blogging career has been a lot of trial and error, figuring it out as we go.

I have been blogging consistently for three years.  This year I make enough money that I can stay home part time and still make the same amount as I would working part time.  So, basically I make half of a teacher's salary.  After three pain-staking years.  It is definitely not a get rich quick plan!  I love it though, and the part time income from my blog allows me to stay home every other day so I am beyond grateful.

And now,

HOW I MAKE THAT BLOGGING DOUGH:

1.  CAMPAIGNS- AKA TELLING YOU ABOUT STUFF

The majority of my blogging income comes from doing a "campaign."  That means I am working to sell a product or create awareness about a product through my blog.  For example, this is a campaign I am currently working on and this is the blog post I wrote about it.  Seems simple enough, right?

But then, how do companies like Skechers know to find a blogger like me to help them get the word out about their product?  They work through a media group.  A media group to me is basically what an agency is for an actor.  I apply to be a part of a media group and I am accepted based on the size of my blog, the content of my blog, etc.  Brands like Target or Skechers will tell a media group that they want x amount of bloggers to write about a product and that they are willing to pay x amount of money for it.  The media group will then match the brand with bloggers who are part of its group.  The media group chooses the bloggers who it thinks will best fit the campaign.  Right now I mainly work with three different media groups- Linqia, Pollinate, and Social Fabric.  With Social Fabric and Pollinate I am notified when there is a possible campaign that I can "apply" for.  To apply for a campaign I'm usually required to state what monthly traffic is to my blog, what my following is on social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and leave a link of a blog post on a campaign I have recently been involved in.  I am also required to "pitch" an idea for how I would promote the product.  With Linqia, I am given a campaign when they think my blog matches it- no application necessary!

Payment is different depending on the media group.  Pollinate and Social Fabric both pay a flat fee- usually around $100-200 for a campaign.  This entails a blog post and corresponding social media posts.  (Usually I am required to post about a product on my blog, my facebook page, my twitter, and my instagram.)  Linqia pays per click.  That means the more successful I am at advertising their product, the more I get paid.  This is the campaign I am currently doing for Linqia- if you see me sharing it a lot that's because I am trying to meet my click quota!  If I exceed my click quota, then I have a higher earning potential for the next campaign.

2.  SPONSORS- AKA SOMEONE ELSE PAYS TO WRITE ON MY BLOG

Why would anybody pay to write on someone else's blog, right?  That seems like a lot of work.  What it is, though, is that someone who is willing to pay to write on my blog wants access to my blog audience- aka you guys.  The people who read the blog.  Essentially, they are hoping that by writing on my blog a percentage of the people that read my blog will visit their blog, and ideally, become life long readers on their own space.  (This is an example of someone else writing on my blog.  In the blogging world, we affectionately call them "guest posts".)

So then why does it matter how many people read your blog?  Well, you can't get campaigns like the ones I talked about above unless you have a certain sized audience.  If there are 1,000 pageviews a month on your blog, that's great for you, but it doesn't mean much to advertisers.  If there are 100,000 pageviews on your blog a month, however, advertisers will be much more interested in working with you.  The bigger the size of your blog audience the more you can make per campaign and the more advertisers will want to work with you.  I dream of a day where I could do one campaign a month and make a full time blogging income that way.  Yah, it's never going to happen.

My information for sponsoring can be found here.  I have cut down considerably on what I am willing to offer people with the eventual hope of phasing sponsors out completely.  I love the relationships I gain from doing a sponsorship program, but it is a lot of little details to remember for not a big chunk of money.  Also, I think my readers appreciate it more when all posts on the blog are written by me.  That being said, I still rely on the income from sponsors for now.

3.  SIDEBAR ADS- AKA PEOPLE'S FACE ON MY BLOG

See those faces that are on the sides of my blog?  They paid to be there.  For bloggers, that usually comes with whatever sponsorship choice they elected.  I do have some ads from BlogHer and AdSense.  These are both paid per click deals, so when you click on a sidebar ad, that is helping my income.  I don't make a ton from this, usually around $50-100 a month, but it is awesome because it is a totally passive income.  I don't have to do a thing after I install the blog code and yet I get $50 a month.  A few years ago sidebar ads were much more expensive than they are now and a blogger with a huge audience could support herself through sidebar ads alone.  Nowadays sidebar ads aren't quite so profitable.

4.  AFFILIATE LINKS- AKA YOU BUY SOMETHING I TALK ABOUT

If I put a link to Amazon and you click on that link and then buy something from Amazon that day, I get a percentage of it.  That's the idea anyway.  Truthfully, I am not a part of any affiliate programs right now because I have never sat down and figured out the coding and how to do it.  I have tried many times, gotten frustrated, and then given up.  I don't talk about enough products on my blog to feel like I would really make that much anyway.  This, however, is how the big fashion bloggers make bank.  Every single day they are showing off tons of things that they are wearing and buying.  If I click on one of their links and buy the $75 sweater they are showing from J.Crew, they get a percentage.  For those fashion bloggers who have thousands of pageviews a day, you can imagine that it does start to add up.

5.  NO ONE PAYS ME TO ACTUALLY "WRITE"!

The thing I don't like about blogging is that no one pays me for my actual writing.  That is because blogging is free for the consumer.  You right now are reading this particular post for free.  80% of the posts I do are non paid posts- I am getting absolutely zero monetary compensation for writing.  So why do I write so many freaking posts?  By consistently posting, I have established a readership.  I can rely on a certain amount of people visiting my blog each day, and therefore qualify for some of the bigger campaigns like this one.  Those campaigns bring in enough money for me that I don't mind not getting paid for most of the posts I write.

The dream would be to work for a magazine or internet site that pays me per article.  But that's not what blogging is.  And to be 100% honest with you, I'm not real sure how that process even works.  I know a lot of bloggers write for sites such as babble or thoughtcatalog and get paid to do it, I just don't know how.  Someone want to enlighten me on that?

And that's it, folks!  That's how I can write about not having a Halloween costume ready and the stupid things my students say and somehow in a roundabout way get paid a little bit for it.  It was so so so much work in the beginning, when I was constantly trying to grow my audience.  Now I am comfortable with the size of my blog and the place it is at, and it doesn't take as much maintaining.  I'd say I devote about 10-15 hours a week on my blog.  Considering that I make the same blogging as I do teaching and I work 20-25 hours a week teaching, I'm not complaining!

I tried to explain this all as simply as possible because I know it's kind of a weird blogger world.  I would be happy to answer any questions you have for me in the comments.  (And if any of you out there are making a buck some other way through your blog, please, share with us!)