The Life of Bon: October 2014

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,



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 within a few days I will write a post advertising that product.  Seems simple enough, right?

But then, how do companies like REI 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.


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.

***July 2015 edit- I know longer offer a sponsorship program on my blog.  It's still a great way to make income for those who are interested.


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.

***July 2015 edit- I know longer offer a sponsorship program on my blog. 


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.


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!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Pinterest is Ruining Halloween

I'm getting sponsor stuff ready for November.  
Email me at if you are interested.
Rates can be found here.

It's Halloween Eve eve and I have no idea what I'm dressing up as for Halloween.  I am a mess, people.  I'm absolutely crumbling under the pressure.  I have no creative juices, no great ideas, nothing to aspire to anymore!.  What is happening to me?!?

I've always loved dressing up for Halloween. I don't know why this year it feels so... hard.  I find myself bemoaning the fact that everyone is so dang creative with their costumes.  Can't I dress just dress up like a witch and call it a day?  What, that's good enough for you people anymore?  I can't keep up with your demands!

I blame the internet.  Everyone wasn't all into the crazy creative costumes until we could see everybody's costumes.  Now it's some huge competition.  And don't even get me started on Pinterest.  It makes nothing original!  I have this feeling I'm going to don my most creative costume Friday and just have someone look at me and say, "Oh yah, I saw that on pinterest."  Curse the world!

Being married to a drama teacher does have its perks, you know.  I hit up the costume shop today to see if I couldn't get my creative juices flowing.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I mean, don't get me wrong, there was a box full of "sparkly vests" that got me all sorts of excited, but it didn't do much for me in the way of Halloween costumes. (And answer me this, why does a high school need boxes full of sparkly vests?  Stop spending your money on vests and pay me more, you fools!)

June is going as a watermelon so I thought we could be farmers and go alongside her but then I decided that was lame. I asked Greg if he wanted to dress up together this year and he said he was going rogue. Rude.

Any of you guys got any great ideas?  We're running out of time you know!

Tooth fairy and little boy who lost his tooth.

2011- Zombie bride and groom

2012- Wicked Witch of the West and Monkey

2013- Devil and the kid from The Grudge.
This is the year we started to go our separate ways.

If you really want to feel like a slacker with your Halloween costumes, check out this article.  This family is AMAZING.  It kind of got me all motivated to find a killer Halloween costume.  

Kind of.

And seriously- send me your suggestions.  The clock is ticking!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When your work asks you to "engage only in positive conversations."

This year my school is starting up with a new evaluation system.  Education is kind of weird.  I have only been teaching five years and already I feel like I have gone through several cycles of "THIS IS THE NEXT BIG THING!  THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN WHAT WE WERE DOING BEFORE!  THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING ABOUT EDUCATION!"  I guess I'm getting kind of weary of all the new stuff they are constantly rolling out.  We learn one system just in time for the next "bigger and better".  Kind of like cell phones!

Part of the new evaluation system involves a "self assessment" created by our district.  The questions ask teachers mostly stuff about how we are incorporating the new core, if we try to differentiate instruction based on students' needs, how often we collaborate with peers, etc.

I had no problem with the self assessment and was breezing along just fine.  Then I came to the following statement and was asked to click yes or no.

I promote positive interactions about students and parents, engage in only positive conversations and extinguish negative conversations in the school and outside community.

The question made me uncomfortable.  It felt like 1984 and the thought police in real true life.  Only positive conversation?  Not only that, but I am supposed to be "extinguishing" any negative conversation?  But what if there are problems in the school? (There are!)  What if there are things in our education system that need to be fixed? (There are!)  Why can't we talk about that?

I was a bit insulted by this question, truthfully.  It made me feel like I work for a system that doesn't value honest feedback, that doesn't trust me to say what is really going on, and doesn't care about my ideas for improvement.  Sometimes problems need to be brought into the light, not swept under the rug.  It frustrates me that a self assessment like this makes me feel guilty if I click "no" on that statement.

If I am being totally honest with you, knowing what I can and can not say about my job online has always been an immense struggle for me.  My principal asked me a year ago to be "very careful" about what I write online.  He was especially concerned about this post that I wrote about frustrations with parents. As a result of our conversation, I pulled back considerably with what I wrote about school, but I didn't stop completely.  I respect my principal a great deal, I love my job, and I feel extremely grateful to be teaching at the school where I am.  I also understood his concerns. That being said, I think we both knew that he couldn't exactly order me to not write or voice those frustrations.  That would be a violation of my free speech.  And what good does that do us in the long run, anyway- for me to not write that post and act like everything is fine, when the truth is that educators need a great deal more amount of trust and support than we are currently getting from parents.

I guess what I want to know is how much you think a job can regulate what people say?  Is it unfair for my work to ask that of me?  Obviously there are some jobs that require much more secrecy than others, and, of course, in my field there is the protection of students to think about.  But what should be allowed to discuss?  Would it make you uncomfortable if your employer was asking you to only engage in "positive conversations" about your work?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Don't you tryna cheat on me!

The end of the quarter always brings out every degree of desperation imaginable from my students.  Suddenly kids whom I've literally never laid eyes are are popping up asking for grades and tests and help after school.  Who are you child and why do you think you can pass my class in only two days?  It's a total circus!

"What can I do to pass your class?"  they ask.
"Go back in time to three months ago and actually attend class." I answer.

The worst, though, is the students who have shown up to class every freaking day, but haven't done a lick of work.  They have spent 50-60 hours using their rear ends to warm a seat in my class and STILL have nothing to show for it.

"What can I do to pass your class?" they ask.
"Not much at this point.  You've literally missed every big assignment." I answer.
" Please!  I'll do anything!" they ask.
"Okay. You can read The Crucible and take the test on it and then write those three essays that you never wrote.  If you do those things by Monday you'll probably have enough points to pass." I answer.
"Oh damn!  I'm not going to do all that!"

One student was failing pretty miserably about a week ago, but swore to me that he didn't want to fail.

"What's your game plan for passing the quarter?"  I asked last week.  (I am trying to get them to approach me with ideas of how they can pass instead of approaching me asking me to figure it out for them.  It kind of works.  Sometimes.)
"Well... I'm finishing up that essay that was due a few weeks ago."
"Good.  What else?  That won't be enough points to pass."
"Um... I was going to do the extra assignment you said we could do too."
"Great. That just might be enough.  You gotta put the pedal to the medal these last few days, though, you know?"
"Oh, I know, Mrs. Larsen.  I know."
"I need that essay before I leave today at 3:00."
"I'll get it to you, I promise!"

Well, he farted around all class period, not working on the essay I said he had to finish by 3:00.  By the time the bell had rung, he had written one sentence. ONE SENTENCE IN EIGHTY FIVE MINUTES.  I mean, if they had anti-olympics in writing essays, this kid would be gold medalist.

And yet, somehow, at the end of the day I had a beautifully, full written essay sitting in my late basket.

Naturally, I was skeptical.

I read the essay and it took anywhere from seven to eight seconds for me to figure out that he had copied the essay.  Oh, children, your cheating ways are way too amateur for me.  Challenge me a little bit!

You want me to teach you the fine art of catching high school cheaters?
It's easy!
And strangely fun!
And I am very good at it!

Eighty percent of the time the essay is copied word for word from the internet.  Kids ain't too bright sometimes.  They don't realize that it is as easy for me to find already written analyses on their topics as it is for them.  Take our most recent essay for example.  Students were supposed to write an analysis on Jonathon Edward's Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  Students can easily google "analysis Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."  Many well written essays on the topic will come up.  Then, while I'm grading their essay, I may come across a sentence like the following:   "This way of portraying 'sinners' emphasizes their helpless, precarious position, but also the nastiness and corruption of their ways."    There are several things that tip me off that this has been plagiarized; it is well written, well explained and correctly uses words that I rarely see eleventh graders handle so well. (portray, precarious, emphasize, corruption- all in the same sentence!)  I google the sentence and the exact sentence comes up as well as the site from where the material was copied.  Piece of cake!

(Disclaimer:  Some students are very much so capable of writing a sentence like the copied one above.  Those students always reveal themselves within the first two weeks of school and then consistently hand in that level of work.  Therefore, they are not suspected of cheating.)

(Fast Fact:  Most often plagiarized sites:  wikipedia, wikihow, yahooanswers, sparknotes.  I mean, they're not even kind of trying to cover their tracks.)

Every once in a while I will come across an essay that I know is not written by the student, but nothing is coming up on the internet.  I can't prove the student is cheating because I can't find the source.  In this case I circle a few of the higher level vocabulary words that the student used and then quiz him or her on it.

This is what happened to my darling student last who wasted his entire class period I had given him to write the essay, but at the end of the day managed to have a flawless paper for me.  I knew he couldn't have written it, but it wasn't pulling up anywhere on the internet.  He sauntered into my classroom after school, ready to hear that he was indeed passing the class.

"Hey Mrs. Larsen.  Did you grade that essay?  I notice I still have zero points on it."
"I did grade it.  Let's talk about it."  I pulled the essay out of a stack of papers.
He looked nervous.  Just the way I like my cheating high schoolers.
"Tell me, what does the word 'zealot' mean?" I quizzed, referring to one of the words I had circled in the paper.
"Uh... zealot... Let's see... Uh... So I'm not totally one hundred percent sure on that one."
"Then how'd you use it in your paper?"
"I'll be honest, I got a friend to help me with some of the wording on that, but I really did write it."
"You did?"
"Yes.  I promise."
"Then what were the main points in your essay?"

Busted, sucker.

The vocabulary trick and/or tell me the main point of your essay tricks work every time. (Kids never even bother to read the essay they are handing in as their own.)  Last year I had a student who could barely work his way around the English language use the phrase "bureaucratic nightmare" when trying to explain illegal immigration in our country.  Yah, sorry, dude.  You have no idea what that means.

I'm embarrassed to admit that the devil in me likes to watch the kids squirm just a little bit when they get caught trying to cheat.  That moment when they know I know they cheated and I know they know I know but neither of us say anything is absolute gold.  It's like the anticipation that comes before Christmas morning or a long awaited first kiss.  It just feels so good.

And then, when I start writing stuff like that, I know it's time for me to take a long weekend, soak in the tub, and coo at my baby.

Those kids- they'll make the nicest of women turn in to a straight up sadist

Sunday, October 26, 2014

It's all about those boots, bout those boots...

It's fall!  

I hereby declare that October has been the absolutely most beautiful month that I have ever lived.  

The month has been unseasonably warm for us this year, but you ain't gonna hear no complaining from me.  Temps have been in the seventies or higher fifteen days this month.  Wowzers.  I know that the insane weather won't last forever and that with every day that passes on the calendar it only brings us that much closer to dreaded winter, but I keep that thought locked away in the very back of my head. 

Long live October!

Of course, one of the best parts of fall is dressing for fall!  Light jackets and ankle booties for the win, am I right?  I like me a good pair of knee high boots, don't get me wrong, but lately I have been all about the ankle boots.  They are a bit cooler and definitely not so heavy on your feet.  I got this pair from ShoeMint this season and I have been wearing them every day- they are my absolute favorite.

Picture disclaimer:  I just got back from the dentist when Aubrey took these.
I didn't think you'd be able to notice my numb mouth as much as you can.
The right side is definitely hanging a bit low.

I have gotten TONS of compliments on these shoes since I got them.  Everyone wants to know where they're from and I gladly tell them about ShoeMint.  Do you know about ShoeMint?  It's a free website that gives you personal style recommendations based on shoes you typically like.  The shoes change every month, and they've always got a great variety of timeless classics and the newest trends.  The shoes are anywhere from $70-$150 and are made from refined materials like real leather and suede.  Oh, and shipping and returns are always free.  Boo-yah!

And because ShoeMint is so awesome they are giving a discount for all readers. Click here to get $40 off of your first pair.  (The shoes I am wearing are the Ellen shoes).  

AND just to make the whole thing a little sweeter, let's give away a pair of shoes, whaddya say?  To enter all you have to do is go to ShoeMint, sign up (totally free- there is no obligation to buy) and then comment on this post what your favorite pair of shoe is.  

Giveaway is open to US and Canada only. Winner will be announced on Friday, October 31.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why Parents Overshare about their Children

Somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain I am aware that not everybody in the world may think my baby is as awesome as I do.  Parents, by nature, are overzealous when it comes to the creatures they created.  Before I had children, I was easily annoyed by parents- especially the type who thought everything their child did was a miracle.  Yes, your baby is a human.  Yes, your child acts like a human.  Whoop-dee-freaking-do  I thought.  I hate to admit how many times I rolled my eyes at a parent sharing that their child rolled over for the first time/ went potty in the toilet/ slept through the night/ laughed during peek a boo.  These are all very unextraordinary feats for humans.  After all, I know a lot of people who can go potty in the toilet and that just doesn't impress me much.

Since having June I have begun to understand this weird habit of parents, and I feel like a public apology is in order.  Here goes:  I am very sorry for all the times I was annoyed at parents marveling over their babies.  I spend a lot of my free time now days just staring at June- pretty freaking amazed by everything she does.  Sometimes I wonder why I am so impressed by such ordinary things and I think I may have figured it out.

I think parents love watching their children learn and grow because I think it is our way of experiencing it for our own very first time.  Take June for example- lately she's been really into moving her hands around, and I just can't get me enough of June figuring out her hands.  The thing is I never remember when I discovered my hands- when I figured out that I could put my hand in my mouth if I wanted, move my individual fingers one by one, and (gasp!) even grab something and hold on to it. As long as I can remember, I have always known my hand could do these things which is why it is fascinating for me to watch June figure out.  It's the first time I've ever experienced discovering what hands can do.

The same with learning to hold her head up.  And figuring out how to smile and coo and laugh.  In some crazy roundabout way when I watch her learn it for the first time I am experiencing learning it it for the first time too.

One of the best parts about being a parent is undoubtedly being there when your child discovers the simple pleasures of life.  Seeing June enjoy a hot bath is so rewarding.  I like hot baths too!  And so does my baby!  And I get to watch her enjoy it for the first time!  In the car the other day she was moving her head around with the beat and it just blew my mind.  Oh my gosh!  My baby likes music like I do!  She feels instinctively a desire to move her body when there is a beat.  And there I was, totally in awe at my baby enjoying the music.

It makes me so excited for all the simple pleasures ahead- the first time she hears the sound of the ocean waves, the first time she tastes chocolate ice cream, the first time she sees a summer rain storm.  I get to re experience all these things for the first time through her.

So next time you want to get annoyed at that parent over sharing her baby experiencing the most basic of human activities just remember that we are all experiencing that activity for the first time together.  And it's awesome.

Bon's Book Club: Z by Therese Ann Fowler

Hello and welcome to book club!

(If you are new around here and want to join in for book club, it's super easy!  Just read the book and then come back here on the last Thursday of the month to discuss.  Full details are here.)

 (If you link up I'd love you to slap this image on your post somewhere.  Please and thank you!)

2014 Book Club Schedule:

January: The Husband's Secret by Liane Mortiary (January 30)  Discussion here.
February:  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (February 27) Discussion here.
March: Divergent by Veronica Roth (March 27) Discussion here.
April:  Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern (April 24) Discussion here.
May:  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (May 29). Discussion here.
June:  Matilda by Roald Dahl (June 26). Discussion here.
July:  In Cold Blood  by Truman Capote (July 31).  Discussion here.
August:  Brain on Fire: by Susannah Cahalan (August 27).  Discussion here.
September:  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

October:  Z by Therese Ann Fowler (October 23)

November:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio (November 20)
December: My Story by Elizabeth Smart (December 30)

Alrighty folks!  I hereby declare that I officially LOVED a book that we read for book club this year.  Up until this month I was pretty sure that Book club 2014 was going to be a total bust for me and then Z came along and changed it all for me.

Some book club questions to get you started if you don't know what to post about:

+ How did you feel about Fowler writing as if she were Zelda?  Did you feel she took liberties with this?
+ Did you feel bad for Zelda?  Why or why not?
+ What did you think of the way Zelda and Scott's marriage was portrayed?
+ Anything surprising that you learned from the book?

A couple of years ago I read The Paris Wife about Ernest Hemingway's marriage to his first wife, Hadley, and I loved it.  Because of that I had high hopes for Z.  I don't think I liked Z quite as much as The Paris Wife (I thought The Paris Wife did a better job at getting the readers inside the head of Hadley and establishing a deeper and more effective emotional connection), but I still really loved it.

The 1920s is an era that totally fascinates me.  I'm also a big The Great Gatsby fan, so I really was pretty stoked about this book.  You get the picture yet?  I was excited to read the book!

First off, I went in knowing that this book was based on fact, but obviously it wasn't 100% fact.  Conversations between characters and certain details had to be fictionalized, but I do feel like Fowler did her best to remain as true as possible to what really happened.  There were a few things I had no idea about-- that Scott and Zelda aborted a baby just a few months after their first child was born, that Zelda tried to become a professional dancer, and I had no idea that Zelda died after being trapped in a building on fire.  I was also surprised to see how young Scott was when he died.  I knew he was young, just didn't fully realize he was that young.

Another thing that surprised me about the book was the attitude toward women.  I don't necessarily consider myself a raging feminist, but then I read something like this and I guess maybe I am?  The thing that drove me the most crazy was how Zelda would act like there was nothing she could do about it when she suspected Scott of fooling around with other women.  There's one part where they get in a fight and then Scott comes home smelling like another woman's perfume and she doesn't say a word about it.  Also, early on in their marriage Scott hits Zelda and she acts like it's no big deal.  Later, after they have the baby, Zelda complains about how bored she is.  Scott works all day on his writing, the baby has a nanny and poor little Zelda is just bored bored bored.  So she goes to the beach and swims all day.  But she's still lonely.  Boo hoo!  These scenes were just really hard for me to read in the sense that it drove me crazy that Zelda didn't want more or expect more from her life or from the people in her life.

I do think that Fowler portrayed Zelda a little more sympathetically than is probably correct.  From reading the book Scott is portrayed as a thoughtless ego-maniac husband, and Zelda just the poor woman who is along for the ride.  I know Scott was alcoholic and erratic in his behavior, but I do think Zelda played into it a lot more.  Z made it seem that Scott was the total partier, and Zelda just kind of got sucked into it.  Any research I've read definitely indicates that Zelda enjoyed the partying and alcoholic lifestyle just as much as Scott did.

I think the real tragedy of the book (and of the Fitzgeralds' lives) is how their family deteriorated.  Toward the end of Scott's life, Zelda has almost no relationship with him even though they are still married, (He lives in California and she lives in Alabama) and almost no relationship with her daughter who is attending college.  It just seems like they sacrificed their family for the fame and the glory.

Oh- that was one other thing I wanted to mention.  I really loved how Fowler portrayed Scott in terms of his ambition.  I know that his desire to be someone great, to be famous, to be the best really motivated him, to the point of obsession oftentimes.  It was so interesting to read how that desire for notability and fame colored every aspect of their lives.  Scott was never satisfied, never happy no matter how many books he was selling or how much money he was making.  He never felt like he had finally arrived.  (Given, he sold many more books after his death.)  I feel like he was almost plagued by his desire for greatness.  I wonder if he does little jumps for joy in his grave now for every eleventh grade class that has to read The Great Gatsby.

What did y'all think of the book?  I hope you liked it as much as I did!  For November we are reading Wonder.  It is geared for a much younger audience, but it supposed to be absolutely terrific.  Pick up a copy and down it before Thanksgiving so you can be ready to book talk.  Ah yah!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Writing a book and other stuff that is HARD.

I have an older sister named Becky who is intelligent and kind and extremely driven.  Sometimes when I am feeling none of those things I like to hang around her and then I feel all of those things again.

Here's my sister and me in all her glory.  She asked me this night if I knew how to take a selfie and I said yes, let me show you the ways of 21st century narcissism.

Below is all three of my sisters and me the day that Becky left to do an 18 month LDS mission in Guatemala.  As you can see, I wasn't handling it well.

Becky (you can read her blog here) and I are a lot alike in that we both love to read and we both love to write.  We are not a lot alike in that she is very brave and I am not.  I have had an idea for a book I've wanted to write for years, so with her encouragement and a lot of pushing from Greg, I finally started to work on it. Then Becky invited me to a writers' conference last spring- there would be agents and editors and lots of published authors that could tell us all about the ins and outs of the biz.  I was terrified to attend.  What if everyone knew I was a fake?  Somehow I worked up the nerve to go, (the night before I was searching frantically for ways out of it) and was absolutely thrilled that I did.  I was totally inspired and motivated.  I felt like I was finally releasing the writer geek within and giving her permission to go find like minded writer geeks.  It was wildly liberating. (Full post on the conference is here.)

Well, all work on the book stopped right after the conference.  May was an absolute whirlwind of buying a house, finishing the school year, and doctor appointments.  We spent June in Europe. In July we had a baby who decided to show up early, August we tried to learn how to be parents, September I went back to work.  Suffice it to say life has been a wee bit crazy the past six months!

Now, deep in the heart of October I finally finally I feel like I can get working on the book again.  I have to finish it, even if only to quiet the voices in my head that keep nagging me to write it.

The thing is writing a book is really hard.  Have any of you ever written one?  It's a million times harder than writing a blog.  To start with, you don't get constant validation like you do with a blog.  You have no idea if it's brilliant or total crap.  It's also hard to keep it interesting for that long.  I can write a 1000 word blog post, sure, but 100,000 word book?  Ain't nobody going to stay interested for that long!  Also, it's very hard to just invent people and situations out of thin air.  And to make them believeable.  And interesting.  And likeable.  I am telling you, it's the hardest thing in the world!

Basically, if any of you have ever tried writing a book I want you to tell me all your secrets to success.   And while we're talking books, I want to introduce you to a blogging/writing friend of mine.  Jenn, is working on her book, and she is brave enough to share an excerpt of it with you today.  (She's trying to show me how to stop being such a sissy.)  I especially love her dialogue in this excerpt- it is so quick and easy to read.  I hope you enjoy reading what she has worked so hard on- stop over to her blog to tell her your thoughts after you've read it! 

(P.S. Don't forget we are discussing Z by Therese Ann Fowler for book club tomorrow.  Can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!)


so there's this girl, isabel, who likes this boy, reese. she's quite surprised to learn that he likes her, and not prepared--at all--for what comes next. their story begins three years ago, in the fall.

You’ve known him for years, Isabel. You want to know him better. Yall are just talking. She sucked in a breath, then another as she turned into his complex, sat in the lot with the engine running. Waited for Christina Perri’s Arms to conclude. She shut her eyes, rolled her neck, her shoulders. It’ll be fine. You can do this. “Yall are just talking,” she muttered as she shoved the door open and slid out, snatching her purse from the passenger seat as she did so, then slammed the door. Turned to find him waiting for her outside, seated at the base of the steps that lead to his apartment. Smiling. The knot in her stomach—the one that magically appeared every time she thought of him, saw him—tightened. She swallowed, tried a smile. Searched for something intelligent to say as she meandered over to him, but the damned knot had managed to jump into her throat. “Hi.”


She sat next to him, folded her hands in her lap. “What’d you do that for?”


Isabel glanced at him, then down and out, toward the parking lot. “You kissed me. I wanna know why.”

“I’d think that’d be obvious.”

“I’m not your type.”

He arched a brow. “I have a type?”

“Everyone does.”

“No. Not everyone. Take Matt, for example.”

Her lips curled into a sneer. “I’d rather not.”

“I’m curious. That a good enough reason?”

“Curious,” she scoffed. “About what?”

“About you.”

She didn’t say anything. The way he’d said it, the way he’d look at her… there was a ball of warmth at her center that hadn’t been there seconds before. She couldn’t think past it.

“Alright,” he said. “What exactly is my type?”

She focused on the tiny weeds rising up out of the cracks in the concrete. “Someone like August.” Felt guilty for thinking it. For saying it. For being jealous of her best friend. The familiar sensation of inadequacy was a flood washing the warmth away.

“Ah. She’s pretty.”

“Mmhmm.” And fun. And feminine. And comfortable in her skin. And capable of having intelligent conversations with pretty much everyone.

He nudged her knee. “She doesn’t have your strength.”

Her gaze shifted to the point of contact, then briefly to his face though it never quite reached his eyes, then the concrete again. “I’m not that strong.”

“I think you are.”

“You don’t know me.”

“Not as well as I’d like, no. Hence, the curiosity.”

Her brow furrowed. She did look at him then. “Did you just use the word ‘hence’ in a sentence?”

“Well, technically, it was a fragment, but yes.”

“Reese.” She huffed out a breath, frowned. “What do you want?”

“Dinner. With you.”

“People tend to call that a date.”

He nodded. “They do.”



“We can date, or whatever.” Irritation flickered across her face. “I don’t know what I’m doing, though.”


She grimaced. What the hell did I say that for?

Gray eyes peered into black. “Isa?”

“Nothing. Never mind. I’m hungry.”

He waited a beat, kept his gaze steady on hers, even as he rose and held out a hand to take hers and pull her up. He didn’t step back, didn’t make room for her. For the longest moment, they stood there, facing each other, eyes intent, her hand held lightly in his.

She lifted her other hand, pressed it to his chest, near his shoulder, her thumb at the base of his throat. She felt his pulse, the warmth of his skin, the softness of the faded, cotton t-shirt.

But he didn’t try to kiss her. Instead he reached up, fingered the strands that fell near her temple, tucked them behind her ear, then stroked her cheek. Smiled and asked, “Who’s driving? Me or you?”

Isabel lowered her hand and put it to her stomach. Focus. “Mine’s a mess, and you know I’m a horrible driver.”

“Me, then,” he said and stepped onto the parking lot, tugged on her hand so that she walked with him, though she lagged a bit behind. “We could grab some food then catch a movie,” he suggested as they crossed over to his truck. “How’s that sound?”


He turned to grin at her, then lead her to the passenger door, opened it. Finally released her hand when she’d gotten settled.

The contact had unnerved her. But she found she missed it when he’d let go.

Jenn's blog here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Art of Kissing

Today I was looking back at some of this blog's first posts.  Below is the first post I ever did about teaching- four years ago this month.  What a ride it's been!


It seems I may have failed to mention that I am currently spending all day every day with the riff raff of the city. I am officially a full time English teacher. An adult. Responsible. Legitimate. A career woman.

The kids are out of control.

The first ten minutes of class all kids are supposed to bring their own book and read. Most of them forget. Or just don't bring it. Or prefer to sleep. So I supplied some of my own books so that they don't have an excuse to not read. I guess I should have looked through the books a little more thoroughly before allowing fifteen year olds to let loose on them.

In my stack of books is The Art of Kissing. I stole it from my sister's house a couple of years ago, skimmed through it, found it interesting, and then threw it in a closet, not to be retrieved again until I was desperately looking for books to put in my classroom. I carelessly threw it in a box with other books, not glancing at the title or the scandalous pic of people making out on the cover. I carried the box into the school, the book never surfacing. An aide put the books on my shelves for me.

And that is how, without my knowing, The Art of Kissing successfully maneuvered its way into my classroom and onto my shelf, free for any horny fifteen year old to read.

This morning I was giving a passionate and intense lesson about effective thesis statements. The class was focused. In the zone. I had convinced them that creating a strong thesis would make their whole life complete.

I heard snickering from the corner.

"Yes? Is everything okay?" I asked P, the class clown.

"Ms. Blackburn this book is genius! It is changing my life!" Unlike the rest of the class, P. had not put his book down when the ten free reading minutes were up.(An interesting fact to know is that P had a fat hickey on his neck last week.)

"P., I don't think you need to read any more about that subject. Put it away and get out your notebook."

"But Ms. Blackburn. I mean wow! Why you even got this book?" And then reading out loud "A successful romantic kiss will take you to another world. You will be so involved in the kiss that you can't think about anything else."

 The whole class burst into laughter. I was biting my lip trying to fight the smile.  "P, if you can't be quiet you'll have to go out in to the hall." Usually this threat works. It scares them. Makes them think the hall is evil. Or possessed. Didn't work with P.

"Yah sure I'll go in the hall if I can keep reading this book!"

"Just go!" I demanded. P pranced his way out of the classroom, the book carefully tucked beneath his arm as if a fellow student was going to try to snatch it away from him. He stopped just outside the wide open door and started reading loudly "One of the most sensual places to kiss is behind the ear..."

"P! Close the door!"

At this point the class was gone, their raging hormones causing them to lose it completely in hysterics of giggles.

"Okay guys. Why is it so important that a thesis be debatable?" I tried in vain to get them back. To get them to concentrate. To convince them that they love thesis statements. They were all blushing and smiling and asking if P. could come back in and read more of that book. And then I realized that getting them to refocus on thesis statements was an absolute and utter lost cause.

I mean really... since when has a thesis statement ever been able to compete with the art of kissing?

Originally published November 4, 2010.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marriage Differences: As Defined by the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

An ESFP in love with an INFJ.

There exists something in this world called the Myers-Briggs personality test.

It is a test that measures and breaks down four different parts of your personality.  There are four categories and a person is one of each category.  So you are either:

E- Extroverted- get energy from spending time with people or
I - Introverted- get energy by spending time alone,

S- Sensing- trust five senses to gather information or
N- iNtuitive- rely on intuition to gather information,
(N's are dreamers, S's are more about the here and now.)

T- thinking- make decisions based on logic and reason and not easily hurt or offended or
F- feeling- make decisions based on personal values and emotions, easily hurt.


J- Judging- more comfortable with scheduled, structured environments or
P- Perceiving- flexible and diverse, more comfortable with open, casual environments.

If you want more information (and more accurate information!) go here.  To take the test and see what you are, go here.

Almost every hurdle in my marriage can be traced back to this personality test.  I am an ESFP and I am married to an INFJ.  Greg and I are different in three of the four aspects.  Once I figured this out, it honestly made our marriage a lot easier.  Here's what the breakdown looks like and what it means for our marriage:

I am E (Extroverted) and Greg is I (Introverted).  I would say that this is probably the hardest difference in our marriage and one that we will be trying to reconcile until the day we die.  I don't think it'd be so tough if I weren't such an extreme extrovert.  I absolutely get my energy by being around other people.  Greg does fine around other people, but it drains him of his energy, and he needs alone time to refuel.  When I am alone my energy is depleting.  I never feel less energized than after I've been sitting around all day.  I feel lethargic and bored, whereas Greg feels relaxed and renewed.

What this means for us is a constant battle of how we spend our free time together.  I want to go out, Greg wants to stay in.  I want to throw a party with huge groups of people, Greg wants to hang out with just a few close friends. (Or even better, just watch a movie with the two of us at home).  I want to go to a restaurant, Greg wants to order in.  On our breaks I am constantly wanting to do something active and be surrounded by people- hikes, tennis, walks, museums, ANYTHING.  Greg begs to stay in and relax.  I am pretty sure this will be a perpetual argument of our marriage.  We both make compromises, but it continues to be hard.  Anytime I spend a beautiful Saturday inside I feel like the world is hurrying on without me.  Anytime Greg goes to a crowded venue with me his is worn out and miserable.  The other thing that has made this more difficult recently is that Greg now has an extremely extroverted job teaching rowdy high schoolers.  When he comes home from teaching, his energy is completed depleted for the day.  I, on the otherhand, am dying to get out, especially if it is a day that I have been home with June.  I keep very busy on my days at home managing the house and getting blog stuff done, but it is all introverted activities and by the time Greg gets home I'd do anything for some extroverted excitement.  These are usually the hardest days for us.  I have tried to start making sure that I have one extroverted activity on the days that I am home so that I am not an Energizer Bunny all over Greg by the time he comes home.

I am S (Sensory) and Greg is an N (Intuitive)  This is the difference in our marriage that I think is most beneficial to us.  Greg is an N- he sees the "bigger picture" while often forgetting about the mundane, every day chores of life.  S's are more caught up in the here and now, getting the stuff done that needs to be done right away, but often don't reach for those big dreams.  I short, N's are dreamers and S's are realists. I am an S to the max.  I get a lot of pleasure out of accomplishing the every day things- getting my oil changed, going grocery shopping, grading papers.  It feels like lots of mini accomplishments to me, and my days are always structured with big long to do lists.  Greg, on the other hand, feels weighed down by to do lists and the trivial chores of every day life.  The truth is, they depress the heck out of him.  He always has some grand vision in front of him, but the actual minute details of how to get to that "bigger picture" bog him down and bore him to death.  Without him I don't think I'd ever push for that big dream off in the distance.  Without me I don't think he'd pay the mortgage.

We are both Fs (Feelers.)  I love that Greg and I have this one in common.  Feelers are sensitive, and they make decisions based on how they feel about something.  Thinkers are much more logical and don't necessarily care about hurting others' feelings.  According to a thinker, if your feelings get hurt, it's your fault for being too sensitive.  Greg can always tell when I'm upset or bothered, and I likewise with him.  Because we are both feelers I think we try extra hard to accommodate each other and to not hurt each other's feelings.  We understand how bad it sucks.  I also love that I don't have to explain to Greg a decision when I say, "I just don't feel good about it."  Or "I know you didn't mean to do that, but it still feels that way."  We understand.  We don't get frustrated one with the other when someone is hurt because we know that's just kind of part of the deal with being an F.

I am a P (perceiver) and Greg is a J (judger).   Js like structure and rules and social protocol.  Ps like spontaneity and craziness and taking people by surprise.  Ps think rules are meant to be broken, Js value rules and feel safe with them.  This one continues to be a bit of a challenge for us, but I feel like we have both come a long ways and have kind of met in the middle.  I come from an entire family full of Ps and Greg comes an entire family full of Js.

I have shared this story before, but it is perfect to illustrate the difference in a P and a J.  A few months after we were married, we went to a movie with my side of the family.  Greg didn't understand why all of my aunts, uncles, and siblings thought it was okay to talk through the whole thing.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," I said, "I think it makes the movie more fun."
"This isn't your living room, Bon.  You are in a public setting."
"So what?  You can still talk when you leave your house."
"No.  Not in a movie theatre.  That's not following social rules.  It bothers the people around you."
"Oh.... I guess I never thought about the people around me."
"Exactly!  And you have to put your legs down too.  You can't just have your feet up on the seat."
"Yes.  And you can't kick the seat either."

He told me this after a movie experience that consisted of every possible thing a J could hate.  FIRST we arrived twenty minutes late because of poor driving directions.  THEN on our way into the theatre we saw my Aunt Reeta pop out of the theatre side door searching for her husband.  THEN we pretty much snuck into the theatre because the line was too long for us to wait for tickets, and we were already late.  THEN my mom kept talking to us in the theatre before remembering Greg's intense desire for silence while watching a movie.  THEN I started falling asleep in the movie.  THEN there was some candy being passed around the group that was a) snuck in from outside the theatre and b) in a very loud plastic bad.  THEN my mom answered a phone call in the theatre.  ("Hi Brother Jensen!  I'm in a movie, that's why I'm whispering!...")  THEN I forgot the rules and put my feet up on the chair in front of me.  Greg was mad that I had ruined the movie for him by not following social protocol, and I was mad that he had ruined the movie for me by being such a grump and not letting me talk through it.

Nowdays Greg has relaxed a little (he is okay with me sneaking treats into the theater) and I have learned not to talk in the theater.  He doesn't get embarrassed by me anymore when I yell obnoxiously in the middle of a grocery store and I have stopped cutting in line.  We're meeting in the middle, baby.

If you haven't already taken this personality test, you totally should.  Then you should make your significant other take it and then you can figure out exactly why you have the issues you do in your relationship.  Then comment and tell me all about it because I'm dying to know!

Fun fact:  My mom is the exact same personality type as me: ESFP.  She's about the easiest person in the world for me to get along with and understands me like no one else.

Another fun fact:  My bestie Amy is almost my exact same personality type which explains why we get along so well.  She's an ESTP.  The only difference is she's a thinker and I'm a feeler which is why I sometimes get my feelings hurt and she never does because she's not into feelings and stuff.  That's why I have Greg to be my feeler.

Some famous ESFPS:  John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Pablo Picasso, Paul McCartney, Steven Spielberg, Katy Perry, Will Smith, Mel Gibson, Beyonce, Leonardo Dicaprio, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Cameron Diaz.  A group of pretty fun people, I must say!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teenagers say the darndest things

I once heard someone say about teaching teenagers, "One minute they shock you with how brilliant they are and the next minute they shock you with how dumb they are."  Ain't that the truth.  My students are constantly amazing me by their level of maturity, their insight, their intelligence only to amaze me in the next moment by their absolute stupidity.

Here are some of the dumbest things my students have said lately: 

When I took her cell phone away for using it in an inappropriate time during class, a student had to write me an apology note to get it back.  The note read: "Sorry I was on my phone during class today. The reason is because I was texting Chandler and telling him why I put glitter and tampons and streamers and googly eyes on his car."  I'd hate to be Chandler.

Another student's apology note:  "Sorry for being on my phone.  I was texting my dad and letting him know where he could find the shovel.  I'm the only one in the family who knows where the shovel is."  Because no, that's not weird.

Another apology note from a student:  "I em sorry for haveing my phone out."  AM.  THE CORRECT SPELLING IS AM.

Listing sources on a research paper:  "Source #1:  Google  Source #2:  My imagination."  I don't know which is worse, the fact that he thinks google in and of itself counts as a source or that he thinks his imagination does.

Closing paragraph on a paper about the treatment of women in The Crucible:  "I am talking about this because I'm fed up with girls.  At this rate they get no rights.  No one is acting like Rosa Parks."  I suppose women in the 1600s are supposed to know to follow the example of Rosa Parks?

Another essay on treatment of women in The Crucible:  "I don't know, I was gone for when we read most of the book and I guessed on most of the test, so there is no way in hell I will be able to write this."  At least he didn't make me read an essay full of b.s.

A third essay on the treatment of women in The Crucible: (You can tell they really hit this one out of the park.)  "Nobody in the book treats the prostitutes very good.  The prostitutes have no respect for themselves and don't aspire to anything.  They are always stirring up trouble."  What prostitutes?!?!  Did we read the same play?

Student, when I ask him why he always talks so much in class when I'm trying to teach: "I just feel like I have so much to share with the world and so little time to share it in."  He was dead serious.

The students were allowed to choose topics for their research papers.  This student chose the topic of sex and violence in video games.  His opening line:  "I know damn well you don't want an STD."

Me:  "Alright students, for your prompt today I want you to tell me all about your moms."
Student yells out:  "My mom's a b****!"
Okay then...

In a discussion on The Crucible, about if the students agree with John Proctor's decision to die for telling the truth:
Student:  "I'm not going to lie... I would lie."

"Wait, is Harvard an actual school?"  Said by a seventeen year old student.  SEVENTEEN.'

A student writing in his journal:  "Jermerl entry #1."  JERMERL?!?  That doesn't even sound a little bit like journal.

A student, answering a prompt on what he did over his summer:  "This summer I made out with a girl in the walk in freezer at work.  Please don't tell my mom.  I'd like to keep that job. (For obvious reasons)."

Another student, answering the same prompt:  "This summer I got fired from my job at Arby's.  They fired me because I didn't show up to work."  Oh, so that's how that works?

And that's a wrap!  Stay tuned for the next edition- there is no end to the nuggets of wisdom that come flying out of their mouths.

On being nice to your body: From the postpartum side

The truth is, I think my body is pretty freaking rad.

A year ago my body started on its hardest task yet- making a baby.  From October to July my body figured out how to take the nourishment I was giving it and then use it to make tiny fingernails, a tiny heart, a tiny brain.  (Some things blew my mind about pregnancy- the fact the my gums would bleed easily because my body was taking any extra calcium and giving it to the growing babe.  How does my body know how to do that?!)  

After nine months of growing that baby, my body so graciously agreed to let itself get sliced open so that the docs could pull my stubborn baby out.  My abdomen muscles, my uterus, layers of fat were all cut through to retrieve the baby.  Now my body is working on healing it back together again.  The only evidence I have of that terrific feat is a five inch red scar across my bikini line.

My body continues to amaze me as now it produces milk for the child that it spent the last year growing.  Sometimes I just think about it all in awe-  how does my body know how to do all those things?  How does it answer my needs?

I have always tried my best to be nice to my body, but especially in the past three months.  I look at the extra roundness and squishiness in my belly, and it is easy to want it gone right away.  I am tempted to be frustrated with my body, to wish it back to its pre-pregnancy state.  But then I remember that the squishiness and the scar and the sometimes sore breasts are all evidence of what my body has done for me, how it has taken care of me and my child.

Because of this, I have gone easy on my body since I had June.  I haven't made it go running, I haven't forced any strict workouts on it.  I have allowed it to heal slowly and in its own way while I have enjoyed a sugar cookie or two.  I have not pressured myself to exercise or eat a strict diet- in a way I feel like my body has been through so much that heck, give it that piece of cake that it wants.

I am, however, finally feeling ready to push my body a little bit.  Yesterday I went for my first run in six months and while it was tough, it felt amazing.  My body has done so much for me that I feel like it is time that I give back to my body- give it proper exercise and start improving my diet a little bit.  My  body doesn't know this, but I'm going to want it to grow me a baby all over again in a few years here.

One of the big things that got me out the door and on a run was my new pair of running shoes.  A bit of advice for you- if you are dragging your feet to start working out, buy some new work out gear.  It always does wonders for me!  

I am especially proud to be wearing these running shoes as they are part of Skechers' campaign to end the fight against breast cancer.  (Notice the pink?)  They have three shoes this season that are all dedicated to raising awareness and lots of other fitness merchandise, too.

The shoe I am wearing is the GOrun Sprint Awareness Shoe and I love it.  It is extremely light weight and comfortable- the sides are made of a lightweight material that is very breathable.  My feet are always on fire when I work out, so I love that these shoes actually keep my feet cool.

Visit here if you are interested in joining in to support the fight to end breast cancer.  Hey, if you've gotta buy new running shoes anyway, why not buy a pair that is supporting such a great cause?

This post is financially supported by Skechers.