Friday, March 29, 2013

March Meet & Greet + Giveaway!!

Hey ya'll!  It is time to meet the ladies of my sidebar!  I have had great joy in reading and supporting their blogs this month.  I hope you can take some time to visit a few of them!!!

Onto the meeting and greeting, shall we? :)  I thought of some utterly fascinating questions this month, hope you enjoy!

I asked Meghan,

What is your name, and where do you blog?
I'm Meghan & I blog over at My blog is my safe haven so to say, I can be myself there & I love writing.  I have made great friends and I love the outlet it gives me!
Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
Home is about an hour north of the Twin Cities in good ol' Minnesota. I live just far enough in the sticks to be country, but not enough in the sticks to be redneck :P I live with my dad and stepmom, stepsister(read best friend), and my brother. I have two furbabies, Cooper who is a weimaraner & Chloe is a (very dense) golden retriever.
If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
Strait Country Girl.. George Strait is my favorite singer & I'm a definite country girl through and through!
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
Does my sister count? She can be pretty embarrassing at times! (note, to my knowledge, Meghan does not condone slavery) ;)

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?
I'm fine with washing and drying and folding, but putting away clothes? HA! I can have a mountain of clothes on my couch in my room on any given day!
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
Probably the 90's, sounds like it was a pretty awesome decade! (smart gal, the 90's were AWESOME!)
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
 I wouldn't be caught dead wearing leggings under a skirt like I see some people do!

I asked Amanda,
What is your name, and where do you blog?
My name is Amanda, and I blog at Life Since You
Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
My home is in the gorgeous pacific northwest! Near Mt. Hood to be more specific. I live with my husband, and my almost-2-year-old daughter. We have a black lab named Twister, and a black cat named Bagheirah (Like the panther from Jungle Book).
If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
The Anna Marie. It was my Grandma's name and I've always thought it had a pretty ring to it.
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
Haha. I had to think about this one for a while. I would have to say my couch. It's old, worn out, and ugly. I hate it.

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?Dishes!! I hate HATE doing dishes. And with my husband and toddler, I have to do a load of dishes every single day, or they will pile up fast.
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?The 1950s for sure. They had the cutest dresses, and the cars were fantastic.
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________? Leggings for pants! That trend frustrates me to no end. If your top isn't long enough to cover your whole butt, then you should not be wearing leggings.
I asked Laura,

What is your name, and where do you blog?
Howdy, I'm Laura and I blog over at Howdy Girl.

Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
Home is the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but right now, I live Huntsville, TX, where I'm studying school

If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
I still own cassette tapes, that's pretty embarrassing! (more like awesome!!)

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
The 60s or 70s. My parents grew up then and they didn't seem to turn out too bad. That and the politics back then were so interesting!
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________? 

 I asked Krys,

What is your name, and where do you blog?
I'm Krys & I blog over at
Sunshine&Rain, formally named Keeping Plus.

Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
 I currently live in southeastern Pennsylvania with my Fiance Mr. B, our two cats Apollo & Kora, & our Saint Bernard Border Collie mix Odin.

If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
Hmm, that's a tough one. I honestly would leave the naming of it up to Mr. B. Otherwise it might end up something silly like "If you can read this, you're too close to my yacht". ;) (The yacht naming contest is over, Krys wins.)

What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
Our almost 4 year old IKEA futon. It's broken in like four places, but we are stuck with it until we can afford a real couch. I throw a blanket over it when company comes over. Classy. lol.

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

Folding & putting away laundry! I can't stand it. I put it in the washer, I move it to the dryer, & there it stays until I need to either run a new load or Mr. B is out of socks. It's terrible I know. I like to think I am getting better though. Now I fold it & place it in our clean wash baskets & that's where it stays. lol.

If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
I'm thinking I would have loved the late 60's early 70's as a teenager. I can totally see myself as a hippie. Mr. B & I want to buy a bus & travel the country... I'm pretty sure we are already hippies at heart. :)

Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
I wouldn't be caught dead wearing animal print or leggings as pants. I just don't find them flattering.

I asked Megan,

What is your name, and where do you blog?
Hello! I am Megan and I blog at Just a Small Town Girl.

Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
 Home is difficult to define for me. I am from a small town in Alabama (which inspires my blog name). I am currently living near Raleigh, NC while my husband attends seminary. After he finishes...who knows? As you now know, I am married to a seminary student and part time youth minister, Lee. At this time, we don't have any kids or pets. If someone knows where to get a robot butler, please let me know. I could use one.

If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
I would probably name my yacht something Harry Potter related like Lily Evan (Harry Potter's mom's name). I like that name a lot, but don't know if I'd ever want to name a child that. So, why not name my imaginary yacht that instead?
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
I can't really think of anything. I've become quite the opposite of a hoarder. I like to get rid of things that are not necessary. I probably have some songs on my itunes that might be a little embarrassing for some people to see.

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

 I hate cleaning the bathroom. It's one of those things that I make out to be worse than it actually is, but it always takes me a while to getting around to cleaning it. Then, when I do it, it takes me like 10 minutes or less. I also hate the smell. I want to start making natural cleaning products.
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
I think it would be great to go back to a simpler time where our lives weren't ruled by our calendar and the internet and extracurriculars, etc. etc. There's something very interesting about the 20's. The way they dressed, the flappers, the jazz music. It's all very romanticized on TV and movies. I'd want to live in that romanticized version and not have to deal with the Great Depression that follows.
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
I wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything too uncomfortable. If it's too tight or made out of itchy, scratchy material, I will not wear it. I am about comfort above all else. (Sometimes I think Megan and I are the same person)

I asked Natalie,
Why is it that gals named Natalie are so extraordinarily beautiful, talented, intelligent and all around wonderful?  How can that be fair to others? :)
What is your name, and where do you blog?
The name is Natalie and I blog over at Beauty & Brains with Brown Eyes
Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
I was born in a small town in Northeast Texas, but I currently reside in Aggieland, better known as College Station. I'm not married yet--but my boyfriend, Andrew, and I have been together for almost 4 years! I might talk about him all the time on my blog...
If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
 Since I'm very uncreative when it comes to cool names, we're gonna go with Titanic! Just kidding, maybe something like Barbara Jean.
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
I don't think I have anything embarrassing in my house, but my grandma has these two figurines made of green ivory on display in the bathroom, specifically the bathtub. The figurines are nude, and it's just awkward.

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

 I absolutely HATE cleaning the shower/bathtub. Such a pain!
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
I would want to be a teen in the 1950s. Poodle skirts, sock hops, and the beginning of rock and roll! Pretty sweet if you ask me!
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
Ugg boots with shorts. I see college girls wearing that all the time around campus! If you're cold, wear pants, not fuzzy boots. You look ridiculous. Uggs are for wintertime, something that Texas rarely sees, and I know that they are warm and comfortable, but at least put on leggings instead.

I asked Rachel,

What is your name, and where do you blog?
I'm Rachel and I blog over at Swell and Stylish.
Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
I live just north of the Twin Cities in Minnesota with my husband, 4 year old son and our little old weiner dog, Oscar. In 4 months, Arizona will be our home. (OMG, she and Meghan are neighbors I think, I should tell them!)
If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
Carmel -- that would work for me. 
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
Well, I wouldn't say embarrassed but I get the most grief about my Mona Lisa print that I keep in my kitchen. Everyone wants it to go but I LOVE it!

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

 Since we don't have a dishwasher, I would say handwashing dishes because I'm anal with my dishes and spend like 5 minutes on each plate.
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
I would choose the 70's! Disco, plaid and platforms --what's not to love?
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
stirrup leggings (HA!  I so remember those!!!)

I asked myself,
Me!  I wanted to participate too...
What is your name, and where do you blog?
Natalie, and I blog here.  Literally here, there is no link to click.
Where is home? Spouse/Significant Other/Pets/Kids/Robot Butlers?
I would say Texas.  San Antonio is my home, like birthplace, where all my extended family childhood memories are, Houston is my real childhood home since age 3 (and current home), and Denton/DFW is my young adult home where I went to college and a whole bunch of my friends live.
If you owned a huge yacht, what would you name it?
Maybe the Gilded Lady, after the boat in the movie Step Brothers - the one they wrecked then made into a treehouse!
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed about owning?
I am embarrassed on behalf of Aaron and his color faded, cat clawed up comforter that is a billion years old.  It is totes ugly.  It is very comfy though, I will give him that.

Cleaning is a pain. What is the worst household chore?

 I hate cleaning out the fridge.  9 times out of 10 there is something smelly/mushy/moldy in the back and I have to try not to gag.
If you had to be a teenager in a different decade than the one you were stuck with, which would you choose and why?
I think the 80's because I really dig 80s music.
Fill in the blank - I wouldn't be caught dead wearing ________?
I am going with Megan and saying itchy uncomfortable things.  Or anything over the top sparkly.  Not my style. 

Thanks for reading along and getting to know everyone a little better!  A few generous gals have banded together to give away some wonderful prizes to a lucky reader!!!  Best of luck and thank you again for supporting our blogs! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carabox Reveal

This was my first month to participate in the Carabox exchange organized by Kaitlyn @ Wifessionals.  It was really fun to meet two new bloggers and go shopping for fun things.  I love anything with a theme!  Toga party, anyone?  lol.
My Carabox partners were Nichole @ Isn't She Beautiful who sent me an awesome box of letter "N" for Natalie things!  When I got my box I totally tore into everything before remembering I needed to photograph it all for the blog.  Whoops.  I gathered and reboxed everything up for this lovely display!

She did good! :)
I got Nutty Bars and Nips, yum! Nailpolish and nailclippers which were totally cute, and I loved the bright nail colors!  A cute notepad, and 'new' scent of bodyspray which smells like springtime and is the perfect size for carrying around with me.  My favorite were the Nike stretchy headbands!  Super cute and they have little grippy things so they will stay in your hair.  Totally awesome!! 
My other Carabox partner was Natalie @ Priceless Overdose.  Her blog is really fun too, you can check by there to see the N themed things I sent her!
All in all, I really enjoyed participating in the exchange/meeting new awesome blog friends and plan to do it again in the future!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Defense of Negativity and How I Enjoyed High School

I once wrote a post defending intolerance, because at the time people really steamed my beans about the issue.  I have come across another one of those times.  Now I am going to defend negativity.

You cannot be a critical thinker without negativity.  Sorry, you just can't. 

Never will I understand those who run from negativity.  Don't get me wrong, no one likes a negative Nancy who just complains all the time.  I am not defending complainers.  I know how to tell the difference though.

A complainer always has a problem du jour.  It is usually the same poo, different day and doesn't change.  The problems are based normally in opinion (and a poor one of themselves) and they don't want to fix anything.  They just want to talk and talk about it like it is interesting.  Yes, these people will drain your energy, they will never take your advice to solve their problem.  Do I think you should write them off?  I can't say, it depends.  If you are their friend, you should be there for them if they are just down in the dumps because it is the right thing to do.  If this is just a personality trait of this person, then maybe reconsider who you surround yourself with.  Complainers are tough.  I'm not talking about them.

I am talking about people with opinions about things.  I blog to be part of a dialogue, and I am sorry that sometimes not everything is sunshine and rainbows.  Personally I can't stand stuff that is hunky dory all the time.  It is boring and seems so disconnected from reality.  I don't want to read the blog of a Stepford wife.  That story only gets good when it is uncovered that they are all robots.

Here is a wonderful post on the topic that I'd like to share

"When you’re 100% focused on being positive, you miss room for growth. You see, every important thing that’s ever been accomplished is because someone was pissed off or frustrated at something. They saw something that was wrong, or evil, or broken, or just annoying, and they found a way to fix it. Every person who’s every quit an awful job, every person who’s left an abusive relationship, and every person who’s ever blocked “Glee” on their Direct TV so their wife wouldn’t make them watch it were driven to do so because they were rightfully being negative. They didn’t discount the negative in the world. They acknowledged it and worked to do something about it."

The thing that really steams my beans is that the people who want to try and preach at you all day about how blogging is this supportive and uplifting thing, then turn on you the moment you disagree with them about something.  I think they take the disagreement as a personal attack, which goes to show how truly narcissistic and self important they think they are.  A wise person knows that a respectful dissenting opinion is one of the most useful things someone can give to you.  A wise person also knows how to read something negative and can think about it for what it is and not internalize it.  I like to think this little space is for those wise/smart people out there. 

We all know this hullabaloo is all about Blissdom weekend and some mean girls who were less than nice and accepting to all attendees.  I know who the upset people are, so I can only guess the mean ones are among the ones who had a fabulous time.  Holler for deductive reasoning.

I'll tell you what, if I were the Blissdom organizer I'd be mad/sad that people had a bad time and figure out how to improve.  If it were me, my personal action plan would be to improve my sessions, brainstorm some ideas/icebreakers to get people to talk to more than who they came with, and discourage those who want to have private invite only things.  I also think managing expectations needs to happen on behalf of the attendees, which is why I was so glad to read both good AND bad experiences to widen my own knowledge base.  But seriously, the way people were talking I thought Jesus himself was going to be showing up.  It is just a conference, people. 

Secondly, I don't think it is true that blogging is about being uplifting and supportive.  Who said that?  I don't think that it can't be those things, but them as a rule I disagree with.  I signed up for the 'blogger' label because I wanted to write.  I don't owe anyone anything and likewise goes for them.  If you feel uplifted by something I said or supported by a nice comment I left you, wonderful.  But I did those things because I wanted to and not because that is what blogging is.  All I expect is to be treated respectfully, and that is all I owe anyone else.  If I don't like what you have to say about something, why can't we talk about it?  Why do we have to just be nice? 

A lot of bloggers have been getting deep today about their aversion to the mean girls out there, and how poorly they were treated in highschool and they have no interest in being back there.  I hear them loud and clear.  But I kind of don't too.  Maybe my perspective can help them through their feelings about all this.

I had a great time in highschool.  If I hadn't had such an even awesomer time in college, this would definitely be the highlight of my 31 years of life.  Being a real adult is way stressful.  lol. 

So my high school days were fun.  According to every stereotype in existence I should have had a horrible time.  I was fat, I had crazy curly hair, glasses, good grades, bad sense of style, the nerdiest extracurricular activities available, socially awkward (still am!), and did I mention fat? (actually I still am all of these things!)

So while I was never accused of trying to steal anyone's boyfriend or anything(obviously.), I was prime for ridicule and being socially outcasted.  But I wasn't.  At least not to my knowledge.

Honest to blog, guys, I rarely if ever thought about the cool kids.  I was busy doing my own thing which was making me happy and getting me the friends that were a good fit for me.  I sure as heck wasn't chasing them around trying to get them to like me. 
So if the popular people wanted to say something about me behind my back, or think I was a gross dweeby nerd, it made no difference.  Because I give their opinions no consideration.  

That, my friends, is the root of almost 100% of girl drama, which is why I have so little of it in my life.
It is a human need per Maslow to feel accepted and loved.  Totally get that.  Find your people that will be that for you.  It isn't going to be everyone.  It may not be the people you want it to be - ie: Regina George ^.  But those are the people who you should consider.  If your legit friend thinks your coral skinny jeans are dumb, maybe think about that a bit.  If Regina George thinks your skinny jeans are dumb, who cares?  What is she gonna do about it? 
I feel torn a little between sides, though I am more on the side of the people who had a less than blissful time at Blissdom because at least it is honest and airing of their concerns.  And if you can't do that on your blog, what is the point?? Also because the people who want blogging to be uplifting and supportive and quick to diss you and your dissenting opinion. 
But too, it was you, sad blogger, who gave these mean girls the power to make you feel bad.  Which is a bummer considering the only draw to this expensive ordeal was to meet blog friends IRL. 
I may not be thin or fashionable or have a whole bunch of blog readers, but I know that I am in fact smart, and generous, and funny, and a handful of people think I am wonderful.  Those are the things that I personally find value in.  If you like me, thank you.  If you don't, that is okay too, but just so you know, you've hurt your chances of me liking you back.  It is perfectly fair.  If you come across people who are jerks to you, roll your eyes at them and move on.  I get it that you may feel a bit rejected after extending an olive branch of friendship, but they don't need or want your friendship, so go give it to someone who does.  And go unfollow those losers and maybe eventually they will see what their behavior yields.  (and that may be the only way to get through because they can't see their own fault when being called out and chalk it up only to people being mean to them)
But yeah 100% of people have opinions on everything under the sun.  I know I do.  I have had opinions of these mean girl bloggers before Blissdom rolled around too.  But I also know that no one cares.  Especially not the mean girls.  Did Regina ever give a damn that the whole school thought she was a b?  heck no.  But who lost sleep over her being a b?  Anyone who thought her opinion mattered.  So silence the mean girls in your life by having them cease to exist in your life.  They will always be there, but you can choose to not see them.  And if you are a Gretchen Weiners type, be leary of who you hitch your wagon to or you might be thought of as mean girl by association. 
Here is how I wish to operate though, and I think(hope) everyone who knows me would agree: 
What I wish that people could take away from this whole TLDR post is that you need to use your brain when you communicate. 
* Not everyone's opinion matters
* Negativity doesn't = bad 100% of the time
* Spend as little time with jerks as possible
* Take responsibility for your feelings and happiness
All my opinionated posts wind up like this...

Advertising with AHH

I have been reading a bunch of things regarding people being unhappy with the blogs they have been sponsoring, and that is kind of a bummer.  I'd like you to consider trying out my sidebar for a bit. 

In addition to being featured to the right of my posts on every page, here is a bit of what I offer:

* I read your blog several times a week and comment on your posts
* Tweet about you more than once a week with you having to seek me out to do so
* I pin your pinnable posts on Pinterest
* I share your facebook posts on my page
* I hold a meet and greet to introduce you to my readers
* I have a monthly giveaway, to which if you are a 200x200 advertiser, you get a free entry without having to donate a thing
* I pay the extra $5 to promote the meet and greet/giveaway post on facebook so lots more people see it.

I may not have the most readers out there, but your advertising dollar goes pretty far here.  I reinvest everything I make from ads into sponsoring other blogs or other opportunities for growth, which means more exposure for you!

If my sales pitch enticed you and you'd like to try out advertising on AHH for April, feel free to use code 25OFF for 25% off any ad spot.

Or if you are interested in swapping, I swap my 200x100 spots with the code SWAPME!

and come back tomorrow for the March Meet & Greet + Giveaway!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lent Week #2 - Keeping House

Lent, week #1 has come and gone.  I made it!  I went the whole week (well, weekdays) without TV.  Verdict?  I actually loved it.
I would come home cook dinner, then I had the whole evening wide open to do anything!  I got chores done, I packed my lunch some days, I read books, I caught up on blog things.  It was fabulous.  I knew once Friday/Saturday rolled around I could catch up with everything, so it wasn't a big deal.  And now that it is the weekend, I haven't had anything that needed doing aside from relaxing!  And TV catching up didn't even take very long this week because a lot of things were re-runs.

Now that I have gotten through week 1 with no problems, I am ready to jump on week #2.  This week I want to focus on keeping house.  I am not the best housekeeper out there.  You know those OCD people who can't sit still and always are wiping down counters and putting away clutter.  I could only wish.  I put the blinders on to the pile of mail on the counter, I still have the box of gift wrapping stuff out and my Mom's birthday gift was wrapped a week ago, and the last load of laundry that was done is still sitting on the dryer.  I feel like it is my rebellious streak.  Like, I don't feel like doing that today, so I'm not gonna.  Who is gonna make me?!  Am I weird?  I think I just get really lazy about it.  I want that to end.  My mama didn't raise me that way, that is for sure.
This totally isn't our house, I will show before and after pics next week, lol

I think a big problem that our home has is that we have too much stuff, for starters.  Secondly, a lot of things don't have a 'home'.  SO we end up with piles of stuff that doesn't have anywhere specific to be so that it is 'put away'.  So this week I am going to work on finding a home for everything, having a better organizational plan for our closet and cabinet spaces.  Then once everything has a spot where it is supposed to be, it won't take but a little bit of time to put things away and do maintenance cleaning on a weekly basis.

Our church is always speaking of rhythms in our life.  There is rhythm to the liturgical calendar per year, and they try to teach us to develop one in our home life as well.  This rhythm is mostly centered around prayer and worship (obvs.) but the daily rhythm of your home can be just about anything.  We wake at the same time each day, we have our routines throughout the week.  I just want to incorporate keeping up our living space into the daily rhythm.  Because it is actually the exact same as this hyperbole and a half cartoon.  So maybe I will clean this week so hard that I think I deserve to be off the hook for a month...the cycle continues...
I got rhythm, I got music, I got my man, who could ask for anything more?!  lol.

But yeah, our place is really not very big at all, I should be able to reasonably do it all in 2 days, but I will give myself 5.

Monday - Kitchen Day!  Re-organize the pantry, clean out the fridge, get rid of redundant kitchen utensils.  We are so overloaded with kitchen things.  Does anyone need a spatula, we have like 6 of them!

Tuesday - Dining area.  This is going to be a bit of a job because this is where are the things without homes usually end up.  This day might get swapped to Friday

Wednesday - Livingroom!  This will be pretty easy because I just need to throw away like 25 magazines.  Oh, and dust like 10 shelves of books.  This is what happens when you marry a philosopher :\.

Thursday - Bedroom/Bathroom.  The bedroom is easy, just a quick dusting and then the closet organization.  Need to get the gross bits of the bathroom, like behind the toilet.  ick!

Friday - Office/Misc.  I am just going to dust a bit, Aaron has turned this space into his personal FEMA disaster area (but those books are 'stacked' all over the floor with purpose...uh, right.)  I just try to avert my eyes when I walk past this room.

Aaron is going to continue to be in charge of doing all the laundry and vacuuming.  That man loves to vacuum, it is super weird.  I hate cleaning floors, so everyone wins!  He is basically worthless at organizing though, so that is why I am doing the vast majority.  I never claimed to be a feminist :\.

But yeah, that is the goal for this week, I am going to be a whole transformed person by the time lent is over!  Well here's hoping anyway.  :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Import your Google Reader to Bloglovin' - A Step-by-step Guide

I am one of those people who need super specific instructions on how to do things or I will find the one weirdo way to mess it up.  This is why for the longest time I was horrible at cooking.  A recipe might think it is giving specific enough directions, but not when I am involved!  If the butter needs to be cold or it messes up the whole thing, you need to say so...ugh!  I digress.

I of course had a challenging time getting my Google Reader blogs over to Bloglovin'.  I started in the Google Reader screen which was problem.  I downloaded the file, but couldn't figure out how to covert it into something Bloglovin' could read.  Way too difficult.  Here is the easy way:

1. Log into Bloglovin' (make a new account if needbe)

2.  On the top right where your name is - go to that dropdown menu and choose 'Settings'

3. Then you get to the 'Settings' screen, scroll all the way to the bottom

 4. There is the button you are looking for - Import blogs from Google Reader

5. Click
6. Click again

 7. Then just allow Bloglovin' to access Google and boom, you are done!

I hope you found this little tutorial helpful, but more than likely you are better than me at figuring stuff out :)  Thanks for reading anyway!

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Photo an Hour Friday

I took one photo per hour yesterday to share a little bit of what an average Friday is like for yours truly. If you suffer from insomnia, you are in luck!  lol

7AM - driving to work

8AM Arrive at work - it looks like a paper explosion happened on my desk!

9AM - I'm reading blogs.  Typical.  Have you added me to bloglovin' yet?

10AM - Is this not the ugliest excuse for wall art you've ever seen??

11AM - I did a little bit of work.  Notice the lighting in my office is very depressing.

12 AM - Lunch with Tony.  You really can get a lunch deal here for $2.77!  

1PM - Getting my Carabox ready to mail out, only 2 days after the deadline :\  Our UPS service is fast, it should arrive Monday or Tuesday.  

2PM - Emailing my bestie.  I was mad that it was our co-worker's birthday and he opted not to get a cake (he is usually the cake-buyer) for himself.  Lame.  I wanted cake.

3PM - Bills Bills Bills

4PM - Leaving work for the weekend, hallelujah!!  Check out my tree collection!

5PM - Almost home.  I love passing this place and wondering how they got a piano up there, and if that piano is real.

6PM - At the Office Depot getting a USB mouse for my laptop.  My trackpad isn't behaving itself, so instead of wanting to throw the computer off the balcony, I got a mouse.  Best.decision.ever.  I am 100% content with life now.  lol

7PM - This was technically still in the 6PM hour, but that hour was the only interesting one of the entire day.  Waiting on my PeiWei order.

I love seeing the skyline from my house :)  

8PM - Homecooked meal.  Ignore that bag, and the label on that little sauce container...

9PM - Wise words

The rest of the day was just unloading the TIVO.  Aaron has been a mess of allergies for weeks now, so we just stayed in.  We are wild.  lol

So that was my Friday!  How was your Friday??

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why you will never meet me at Blissdom...

The past two days I have seen that a million people are going to the Blissdom Conference.  Awesome for them!  I am super happy when other people are happy.  It is just contagious to me.  For instance, if you are excited about your new puppy, my heart beams thinking of you giving that little fella a snuggle.  But I know pretty well what social situations I find enjoyable and the educational forums I find most helpful and a blogger conference ain't it. 

As an educational experience:
I am sure you leave a blogger conference with more knowledge than you come in with.  Otherwise the jig would be up real quick.  But I think about growing my blog constantly, so I doubt I would hear anything groundbreaking that hasn't covered in some detail or any of the infographics I have pinned to my 'blogstuff' pinterest board. 
I am pretty resourceful on the internet, so I can go to the Blissdom website, see the topics they are covering and google away any information I might want.  That is a better education for my personal brain.  If I leave with 100 new ideas I am in the same place I am right now, sitting here with 100 ideas and just lacking the time and energy to tackle more than a couple at a time. 

Plus, I don't want to listen to people talk about blogging for days on end.  I love blogging as much as the next guy, but I can only intentionally pay attention to a subject for so long...

So as far as going to a conference to learn stuff, the medium is all wrong for me, and I don't think I will get a whole lot out of it for the money.

As a social experience:
Hell to the no.  First of all, I have no interest in being around that many people for 4 days in a row. 
And with all the self-inflicted pressures of needing to look really cute all the days?  Why?  Because you are going to possibly wind up all over instagram,twitter and blog posts all next week?  If your wardrobe is anything like mine I would have to add in the cost of 4 new outfits so I don't look like some hobo off the street.  (okay, I'm not that bad).  I know I would be too self conscious to even be able to relax, unless I were drinking heavily though, and that is definitely not cute.  I know that people judge you on how you look all the time, but when it is just something that is a known and accepted fact regarding an event...not interested.  

You don't want to meet me.  I promise you I am 1000% cooler online than I am in person, and I wouldn't want to tarnish my image, lol.  I am a total weirdo when I meet new people and it is exponentially worse when the number of people I don't know > people I do know.  I make weird obscure jokes, I laugh at inappropriate times.  I forget everyone's names.  It is my own personal hell.  If I meet you one on one, I am a total delight.  It makes no sense.

I don't really want to meet you.  That sounds harsh, but I don't mean it to be...  I have my top 900 blogs that I try to keep up with and I wouldn't know you from Adam.  I see your picture on your blog, have interacted with you numerous times over email and I probably couldn't pick you out of a lineup of similarly looking people.  People just never look like their pictures to me.  So I would feel super weird being like "Hey I'm Natalie" to Sarah K for instance and not even knowing it was her - who is one of my best blog friends.  Or what if I meet you in line for the bathroom and come to find out later that I really don't care for the stuff you write.  Will I be stuck pretending that I like your blog just because I know you in real life now?  I don't want to walk into that sort of obligation!  Plus I really don't much care for superficially meeting people.  That being said, having 'friends' however superficial your relationship may be, takes time, and I already feel guilty for not logging enough time with my IRL friends.  I don't want to be adding a whole bunch of new people to the mix, I already try to keep tabs with enough bloggers whom I like.  I feel like I am at capacity.  Plus as I said before, I wouldn't leave with too many new friends because I am socially awkward. lol 

Adding to obligations, the financial one is a huge one!  Just your ticket in is $400!?!  I will never be at a point where I take my blog so seriously that I would lay down that kind of dough to learn about blogging and meet bloggers.  I can do that for free.  I could go right to my Texas bloggers facebook group and get 10 people to meet for brunch on Saturday morning.  All for the cost of a plate of eggs, and fits within my length of time I would care to talk about blogging, lol. 
Add to that hotel for three nights, transportation to the city it is in, 4 new outfits.  You are looking at an easy $1000 bucks.  When my blog is bringing in approximately -$20 a month (you read that right, minus $20) this seems like a horrible waste.  Plus I have debt, student loans, and a bucketlist loaded with vacations I have been meaning to take, it doesn't look like I will ever fit blog conferences into the budget. 

So if you are at Blissdom, I wish you all the best times, I hope you get your money's worth and make stellar new memories.  As for me, I will stay here behind the computer screen where I like it :)

The other title I had for this was 'the ramblings of a socially awkward and anxiety prone woman.'

What about you?  Is Blissdom or other blogger conferences in your future? (or are you there now??)  I'd love to hear your take!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It is the first day of spring, yes, but it is also the birthday of my Mom!  Yay!!!
My Mom with the cake I made.  Apparently you have to appreciate your kids' art well into their 30's.
We (my brother and Aaron and I) got her a Keurig!  She loves it!!
Here is a better shot of the ugly cake I made.  I should have left it alone after the sprinkles, but NO, I had to write Mom on it and couldn't tell how badly that pink frosting clashed with the color scheme. 
Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom!  Thank you for being so awesome, being my blog's #1 fan, being my BFF, always giving me good advice and all the other great Mom things that you do.  I am so lucky the stork dropped me off at your house! :)  May you have an excellent day! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Win a Giveaway

So I won the motherload of giveaways a few weeks ago and won a complete blog design from Lisette!!  How do you like the new look??  I think it is fantastic, and I feel like I have graduated to a legit fancy blogger.  I even have a bar on the top where you can find things?!  I am indebted to Lisette for her awesomeness, it would have been a bit down the road before I was willing to shell out for a whole custom design.  Every time I look here, I think “is this really my blog?!” 

If you want to check out more of her work, or get a design of your very own, check here for details!

I don’t really get ‘paid’ to blog, as in most of my ads are swaps, and I spend more advertising than I take in.  But if I count the stuff I win from blog giveaways I am totes coming out ahead.  In addition to this sweet blog design I have won hundreds of dollars worth of adspace, probably around a few hundred dollars in giftcards to Target, Starbucks, Sephora, Charming Charlies, Etsy several pieces of jewelry, makeup, a $1000 handbag(?!?), and a bunch of other cool stuff. So since fortune has smiled upon me fairly frequently in blogger land, I decided to pay it forward and share the secrets to winning a blogger giveaway!

1.       Get on that social media! 

If I don’t have a heads up about a giveaway, I 100% of the time find it via facebook and/or twitter.  Knowing the giveaway is happening is paramount to entering and then winning. If you don’t have one of the social media accounts, it is going to hurt your odds.  Go ahead and make one just for entering giveaways and then ignore it.  That is why I got an instagram account, lol!

2.       Take the time to enter 

This won’t work for you unless you don’t mind following a TON of blogs and twitter accounts and facebook pages.  If there is something I really want to win, I take half an hour and follow each blog, each twitter account, etc.  It pays off!  Day one is when the major time commitment is apparent, but when you enter enough of them you can get it done fairly quickly.  And eventually you will be at a point where you are already following most of the bloggers giving away things!         

**I think it is also important to do all the entries, or at very least follow everyone in some form.  I don’t know how everyone goes about choosing/verifying a winner but especially if it is a large prize that everyone pitched in for, they may not be too keen on giving a $500 prize paid for by 20 bloggers to the guy who is only following 3 of the hosting blogs...just something to think about.

3.       Be a thankful entrant

This is sound advice if you would like to parlay your efforts of entering giveaways into more followers for your own blog.  I try (unsuccessfully at times) to leave a comment when I am a new follower from a giveaway, and about half the time the person will visit me back and leave a comment or subscribe.  Win-win! 

4.       Your odds are fantastic in a small giveaway!

Don’t pass by that little giveaway for a $25 amazon card.  Everyone passes those by, so your odds are really good.  Usually they only take about a 3 minute time commitment to enter – a smart statistician wouldn’t bother with the giant ones and only enter small ones for a maximum amount of wins per time spent entering.

5.       Re-tweet Re-tweet Re-tweet (and be organized)

I eventually want to be better organized about my giveaway entering, but for a while I was very proud of myself.  When I found a new giveaway I would bookmark it and go back everyday and re-tweet for extra entries.  This is the #1 thing you can do to boost your odds and win more.  If you want to take it to the next level of organizing, you can compile a whole directory of bloggers who host these monthly giveaways and be on the lookout for them.

6.       As always, be a gracious winner. 
       Did you get your Starbucks card in the mail today?  Why not post a tweet thanking that blogger?  Did your new purse arrive? – Share a quick post on facebook or tag them on an instagram pic.  Bloggers shell out their hard earned dollars to get their name out there and hopefully get some new readers.  If you help them out it perpetuates the cycle and there will always be really awesome things to win.  Kind of like the circle of life.
Simba gets it.

That is really all I do when I enter, and it has been quite fruitful! 

For the non-math people, here is a quick look at how you can tell your odds in a giveaway:
This giveaway has 2286 entries and each person can earn up to 71 entries by subscribing to all the things.  If all of the people that have entered thus far have maxed out their entries you can assume 2286/71 - approx 32 people have entered.  Usually people don't do EVERY entry, so at this point I'd say maybe 40-45 people have entered.  If you are 1 person doing the average number entries you have about a 1/45 or about a 2.5% chance of winning.  (this is the story with most giveaways, so statistically you should win 1 out of 45 giveaways you enter)

 Only about 11 people have entered this giveaway! (394/35) That is close to a 10% chance of winning!!!

This is precisely what I was talking about with the tweeting.  If I tweet for this giveaway I get 10 entries!!  And I can do this daily!

Try to follow me, I am not a math teacher, lol:

Say this tweeting example is for that Starbucks Verismo giveaway.  Maybe 100 people will enter and the average entries will be 50. 

100x50 = 5000 entries

You read this post and knew to get all those entries.  You really love coffee.

so you have 71 entries
plus you tweeted for 10 entries the remaining 6 days of the giveaway = 60 entries

The average Jo has a 50/5000 chance to win - or 1/100 = 1%

You have 71+60 = 131/5000 chance of winning or a 2.62% chance to win

That is more than double the odds.  In fact you are 262% more likely to win.

Can you taste your freshly brewed single serve coffee yet?? :)

So that is my advice on winning big, I hope you enjoy all your prizes!!!
Aaron and his poker winnings on our Honeymoon cruise

Life lately

Here are some things that have been going on lately, I hope you enjoy! :)

I was behind this truck the whole way home yesterday.  They looked like bronze(?) statues of reindeer and the truck's final turn was into the Barnes and Noble parking lot.  Interesting.

My car hit a milestone over the weekend.  She isn't a spring chicken anymore.
I took a big hunk out of my finger with a potato peeler this weekend.  It really hurts :( 

This tasty dinner was the devil in disguise.  Costco sushi decided to wake me up in the middle of the night with stomach distress.  I feel much better now, thanks for asking.  Not making that mistake again...

This video is more just an example as to why I don't make videos than something worth watching.  There is a middle aged gentleman who is still rollerblading in the year 2013, and he has his ipod on and he goes back and forth on the corner of my block and he does all the twirls and dips and is putting on this display for all the people driving by.  It is hysterical!  So I can never get a good pic or video up close because I am driving by and would crash my car into something if I tried.  Well I saw him there on Saturday and thought, YES!  I can totally video this from the parking garage!!  So I got up there, videoed my little heart out, and this was the result.  You see nothing.  lol.  Le sigh. 
So that is what is going on over here, what's new with you?

PS - some really awesome stuff is being given away on Carly's blog and Rachel's blog