Wednesday Bullets

Cone Dog can't play with his toy.  (Cone Dog also has a hilarious shadow, but I'm not going to tell him that.) Poor Guy!

*My little Honey Boo Boo Dog got his teeth cleaned on Monday and had a little surgical procedure to biopsy his nose so we can see how severe his autoimmune situation is. You guys I WAS A WRECK. Both Garrett and I slept terribly the night before knowing that I’d be dropping him off in the morning to eventually get put under for a period of time, and man it was a dark time until our fluffy white dog was back home dominating the couch and providing snuggles free of charge. I’m so glad we did both procedures but I NEVER want to do that again. It was a long 8 hours to be away from our little pooch, not knowing his status and when they finally called to say that he was awake and groggy (but wagging his tail, YAY!) I felt like I had dropped a 100 lb sandbag off my back. Of course he has to wear the cone when we aren’t around until he gets his nose stitches out, which is the saddest thing ever. But we are just GLAD HE IS HOME AND OK!

*The other day I found myself longing for the days when I was reading the Twilight series. How sad is that, you guys? I’ve read some good books since, of course, but I have not been fully WRAPPED UP in a set of books since that damn Twilight series and I miss it. This is the perfect time of year to hang a “Don’t Bother Me, I’m Reading” sign around my neck and curl up under a blanket or in a piping hot bathtub. I want to read a cliff hanging series of books that I can’t put down! I’m all for suggestions.

*So the other night I had a totally spiritual moment while watching Dawson’s Creek. I KNOW. Bear with me for a second. So Garrett and I have been slowly making our way through the series for months now and we have officially reached the college years. Dawson’s Dad just…uh, well…you know if you have already watched it (the fact that I feel compelled to not spoil a 15 year old series is probably stupid, but I do) and Katie Holmes is off at college and there is this scene where her roommate walks in and is bitching about the boys who like her vs. the boys who like Katie Holmes and she makes the comparison that Katie Holmes has all these Tom Cruise type gentlemen who are into her.

You guys, it was 2001. How freaky weird is it that in 5 years she would be MARRIED TO HIM? I mean, so weird, right? She had no idea! Both Garrett and I kind of looked at each other like man, I bet it was not even a possible thought in her mind. So then of course I went down this giant rabbit hole of thought about what will happen to all of us in the future that we CAN’T EVEN FATHOM right now. Obsessive planners like me need to have these Dawson’s Creek moments every once in a while, just to give ourselves permission to just let life happen you know? It’s all unfolding as it should. Should we do a group Om or something?

Nah, let’s skip it. :)

*So on the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum, I need some good leggings, you all. I have some cheapy $8 Target leggins but they are flimsy and not that warm and sort of for looks only and seem like they are one wash away from completely unraveling even though they are not that old, so I wonder: Where does one buy some good, warm-ass leggings? You people who live in cold weather states have to have suggestions. I don’t even mind if it’s a bit of an investment.

*On the non-investment spectrum, you guys NEED NEED NEED these sweatpants. They are about the most comfortable, soft, awesome sweatpants known to man. There is my PSA. I am not even joking, they are PERFECT.

*If you don’t eat dairy, please disregard this message. If you do, please eat this Jalapeno Popper Chicken Chili. I don’t eat beans and corn so I omitted those ingredients and then served it over a giant bowl of roasted kale and it was Tasty Town!

*Lame Technology Question Alert: We are looking into getting some sort of tablet, is this what they are called? Basically I want an iPad but I don’t want to spend a million dollars because I am primarily going to use it for looking at recipes while cooking in the kitchen. Also, I’d like to be able to read Kindle books. IMPART YOUR WISDOM ON ME PLEASE! Do you have one? Do you love it? Did you buy an iPad and want to convince me it totes worth the cash to just have an iPhone with a bigger screen? Let’s discuss!

*I have more down vests than a normal person should but I really want one with a fur hood and I just wanted to let you know so that you won’t be shocked next season when I show up on Real Housewives of New Jersey with huge hair wearing one. Where I would belong.

And how are YOU?

Fun Things To Read On A Friday

#truth
Haven’t had any wine this week. Please make your own inferences. :)

Howdy folks! Friday is where it’s at! I have a hot coffee in hand, a flexible schedule, and an agenda for the weekend that I can’t wait to get to. (Good friends, good food, cute babies and fun errands. Great stuff, actually.) It’s been an interesting week physically, as I’ve been tweaking my diet (I think I mentioned that earlier in the week) and boy have I really felt some effects. More to come on this little bio-hack experiment when I have a coherent brain! Hope you all have great weekends — what say we get into some links?

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*Successful relationships don’t have a secret formula, but I thought these 20 Questions To Ask Before You Get Married had a lot of great food for thought for building a lasting foundation in a relationship.

*Here is your permission to add these to The No List: 4 Exercises That Are A Complete Waste of Time.

*The difference between Inspiration vs. Motivation is small, but IMPORTANT!

*I’m always suspicious of “Must Have” lists, but I totally agree with these 3 Must Have Boots for Fall.

*Stars and their dogs! The Most Adorable Dogs In Hollywood History. The Frank Sinatra dog melted my heart! And that entire Audrey Hepburn picture was PERFECTION!

*Alison is throwing down some knowledge this week with 8 Easy Paleo Swaps for those of you just starting Paleo.

*In “Is the hype worth it?” news, I tried the Bulletproof coffee recipe this week fully expecting to roll my eyes. Instead, it was DELICIOUS! Here’s a little primer.

*Things I plan on cooking this weekend:
Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Biscotti
Thyme Braised Short Ribs
Roast Salmon and Broccoli with Chili Caper Vinaigrette

*Did you see this Open Letter to the President and CEO of Costco? Melted my heart and is totally helping me justify my next large Costco purchase: A Sous Vide Supreme!

*How interesting is this? The Surprising Passions of 11 Brilliant People. Edith Wharton would have LOVED Pinterest.

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Here’s to your weekend treating you RIGHT!

My Best Tip For Improving Your Health

2011 Run to Feed the Hungry

One of the things you hear people just go on and on about when they are talking about why they love CrossFit is the commuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunity. Of course the fun workouts, fat loss, and extra energy are also super awesome, but today I want to talk a little bit about the element of community. If I had to pick one thing that has had the most impact on the changes in my health over the last three years it would be finding that community.

The Single Best Thing I Have Done For My Health + Fitness Is Find Friends Who Are Healthy + Fit

This may sound like no big deal, but having healthy it has helped me in so many ways.

1. Giving in to Peer Pressure has helped me try new things

I have tried so many awesome things at the suggestion of some of my super fit friends: Running my first 5k (and my second and my third) happened because a bunch of folks at my gym were doing it. Running my first half marathon was because Sarah suggested it might be fun! I push myself to lift heavier and heavier because I have other awesome lady friends who are doing it, so why wouldn’t I try?

2. Healthy Friends Also Usually Have Healthy Habits

Every once in a while I have a wild night out with friends that goes a little too late with a little too much wine. But you know what? The bulk of my friends get up early, don’t want to feel like shit on a Saturday, and make time to exercise. So their socializing? Has to support that. It’s pretty awesome to have a core group of people to do fun things with that don’t force me to choose fun or fitness.

3. Who Can’t Use A Dose of Healthy Competition?

There is nothing I love more than seeing friends succeed at goals they’ve been working toward, and a consequence of that is that it lights a fire under me. I have always had a competitive streak, so there is nothing more motivating to me than having friends who are LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than me! It gives me inspiration to set and crush my own goals. And nothing feels better than that!

4. You Always Have A Partner in Crime

Sometimes I want to try new things that sound scary — a new spin studio, a new yoga class, a Relay race — and it’s nice to have pals you can call on who like a good fitness adventure.

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The thing about improving your health is that a quick fix won’t work, right? You have to find something that works for your LIFESTYLE. So to me, mixing my fitness life and my social life has been the thing that has kept me going and motivated through all of my hurdles in the past few years. I can’t imagine I’d have the same success doing it alone! What do you think? Does an element of friendship and community motivate you in your efforts to maintain your health?

Celery Salad with Dates, Walnuts and Pecorino

Post Wod-A-Thon potluck @arcfit today and I am already excited to dig into the dish I'm bringing! #selfish

This weekend at the gym was the Annual ARCFit Wod-A-Thon which, as you may have seen in year’s past, involves some dressing up in costumes, some workouts and some general hijinks. Afterward comes my favorite part: THE BBQ + POTLUCK, duh. :)

I love a good pot luck, and have some go-to favorites I like to bring, but I am adding a new one to the list so I thought I would share it.

The recipe below is adapted from an old Food & Wine recipe and it is just perfect for cool weather gatherings or holidays. The prep time is practically nothing, and it can be made up to a day ahead.

I think you’re going to love it!

Celery Salad with Dates, Walnuts and Pecorino
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups walnuts, toasted at 350 for 8 minutes
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 lbs of celery (roughly 1.5-2 bunches), thinly sliced (on the bias if you feel fancy!)
  • 1 cup dried pitted Medjool dates, quartered lengthwise
  • 3 ounces pecorino cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
Instructions
  1. For the dressing: combine the shallot with the sherry vinegar. Whisk in both oils and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. For the salad: In a large bowl toss the toasted walnuts, celery, dates and pecorino. Add the dressing and toss. Serve at once.
  3. A note on storage: The salad and dressing can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day. Store the walnuts in an airtight container and add to the salad just before serving.

 

Renewal

crisp
Source

This weekend it finally happened.

I don’t know if it was because I spent a lot of time outside and got in some great workouts. I don’t know if it was because I cooked good food and hung out with good friends. I don’t know if it is because I made time to read books in a piping hot bubble bath, or because I spent an hour doing a meditative yoga class. I don’t know if it has to do with the weather or the season or the fact that it was just my birthday so the lunar clock is starting all over. Whatever the reason, I am so grateful that this weekend my inspiration and feeling of renewal showed back up with a vengeance and as such I’m feeling the energy to take on some new things.

I’m changing up what I’m eating a little bit.

Well, I shouldn’t say that — I’m eating the same things, I’m just toying with my macronutrient ratios. I love a good food experiment, so I’m diving head first into this one. I’m not actually sure I’ll like it, it will work for me, or I’ll keep doing it so I am going to wait to blog about it, but it has me feeling a little creative in the kitchen.

A Year of Yoga

I bought a year of unlimited yoga classes this weekend as a birthday present to myself. I haven’t been doing much in the last, probably 6 weeks, and I’ve missed it. (And so has my hip flexibility!) There was a special going on at the studio I go to and I thought — WHAT THE HELL? You’re worth it, self! It was a bit of a hefty investment, but class for class it is dirt cheap. Plus something about the convenience of having it paid for and not having to look at my schedule and factor out the most efficient class deal just feels like a relief.

The “Stuff That Makes Me Happy” List

This weekend I sat down and made a very simple list — Stuff that makes me happy. It’s not specific, it includes things like “Learning new things” and “Listening to podcasts” plus “Walking the dog” and “Time to browse pinterest for recipes.” Stupid things, really. But I put it up where I could see it, and I’m going to start using during the zoning hour. Do you have the zoning hour? For me, it’s right after I get dinner on the table. After we eat I’m just so damn happy to be sitting down that I end up watching some crap television for way too long and then lamenting about how I never have time to do the things I want to do. So I thought a few times a week I’d try and pick something off the list each night — something I obviously enjoy doing — and then do that instead. Like an advent calendar of fun crap!

I’m happy to have the energy and drive to get excited about some of this stuff! Hooray fall!

Fun Things To Read On A Friday

#tbt My 23rd birthday dinner I just blogged about the other day. Bonus that it features @ginarb81 and @irishkelly7 - holy shit ladies THAT WAS 13 YEARS AGO!

Happy Friday! I’m sort of excited to put this week behind me. If you were around while I was lamenting my birthday on Tuesday, the above is a picture from that night of my 23rd birthday. Oh man, my brassy red hair. Gotta love it.

This weekend is jam packed, beginning with a fun little Team Wod-a-Thon at the gym. Should be a good time. Also, this weekend I am getting back to doing some yoga. I’ve missed it, so I’m looking forward to that. I can’t believe next week is the last FULL week in October. You guys where is the time going this year? CRAZY town. Hope you all have a good weekend! And now for some links:

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*This week I got a generic piece of junk mail from that company 23andMe. Have you heard of it? I normally throw that stuff away but something made me open it, and all of a sudden I was like, “Hmmm…a genetic test could be fun.” Then yesterday I got my new issue of Fast Company and the cover story was all about Ann Wojcicki, the company’s CEO and it was legitimately the most fascinating thing I’ve read I’ll week and I’m still not sure what I think about it. I am RIVETED by all the moving parts: the idea of accessible preventative health care info, the impact of that on our current health care system, the commodification of health information, their business model, the lofty goals of the company, the PR Machine that clearly surrounds them, RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRES. Fascinating! I definitely want to watch what happens. What do you think about genetic testing? For $99 would you do it?

*So I made a totally life changing decision last week: I’m NO LONGER Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Yep, I deleted the show’s series record from my DVR. I never thought this day would come, but despite being a Bad Reality TV Enthusiast I just can not tolerate them any longer. And seriously, this completely reaffirmed my decision.

*This week Swistle wrote a great post (as she does) that did a great job articulating all the things I love about blogs. But also how they are changing. Personally, I love watching it evolve, but sometimes I do get sad that it isn’t exactly the “coffee talk” it used to be.

*Another great reminder that blog posts are NOT real life.

*This week my friend Caity posted a great round up of photography advice. For some reason fall and winter always make me more apt to pull out my camera.

*This Fall Seasonal Produce Guide from Steph at Stupid Easy Paleo makes me hungry.

*How have I never thought to make Tomato, Olive and Caper Salsa? Chicken breasts: GET READY.

*I am so in love with this infographic: The Most Famous Book Set In Every State. And since we are talking infographics, please enjoy: Jay-Z’s Most Name Dropped Products By Album.

*We’re getting to holiday party season, are you ready? Top 10 Paleo Party Rules has some great tips!

*Please go watch this video and have a good, hysterical laugh. Then check the comments — OMG Friday Afternoon Gold Mine of Distraction!

*Need more entertaining time wasters? Check out 10 Cast Reunions: Then and Now (Seriously, Mystic Pizza gives me hope for aging!)

*Maybe there is a solution to the Post-35 Ass Dropping Syndrome my co-worker warned me about the other day! HALLELUJAH! :)

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That’s all the news that is news. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday Bullets

aging
Source // Print Available Here

*Well I have taken an intermission from freaking out about my age, thank god. I think I just needed a moment, a pep talk (thank you to all who contributed to that) and a bit of perspective. I worked out with some awesome folks last night and I’ll tell you what, I am always inspired at the gym. I work out with so many people who make me say “DAAAAANG, I hope when I’m their age I’m that fit!” Ok, ok also, I did some retail therapy and that didn’t hurt one bit (Lululemon and Athleta LOVE ME right now.) The upside of retail therapy at 35 vs retail therapy at 21 is that you can afford MUCH cooler stuff, right? :)

*Speaking of cool stuff, I still love my Fitbit One. Hot damn, that is a fun little gadget! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a longer review of it because it is rad and I’m finding it useful for a number of things besides being a glorified $100 pedometer, but I don’t know if you guys are all like “Snooze, I’ve had a Fitbit for 20 years already, no need to review it.” If you are interested let me know, otherwise I’ll just go on talking about it at random.

*Speaking of Fitbit awesomeness, I am absolutely obsessed with the sleep measure function and I have made it a game/mission to get more than 8 hours of sleep every night because of it and I totally broke a 7 days streak last night by only getting 7+ hours! WOMP WOMP
photo
Bar graphs, I LOVE YOU!

*So I know I am late to the party on basically everything and this is news to no one, probably – but I hope you all are enjoying the website awesomeness that is Inspiralized. When I was in Des Moines recently having cocktails (and FREAKING AWESOME poutine!) with Jillian we were discussing how inspiring this website is and I totally impulse purchased a spiralizer. It’s a bit of a clunky kitchen gadget so I wasn’t sure I would like it but it is FUN AS HELL! Friday night I’m making butternut squash pasta, and I am already thinking about it!

*Since we are talking kitchen adventures, I’ve been cooking through Well Fed 2 this week and it has been so fun! Last night we had Tod Mun Chicken Cakes and they were THE BOMB! I mixed up the chicken before our workout, cooked em up after and it was such a fun, exotic weeknight dinner. I’d show you a picture, but we ate off of paper plates in our workout clothes while watching Dawson’s Creek on Netflix. (OMG, we are into the College Years and man, that show is so much less realistic than I remember! haha) Luckily, Michelle just posted some GORGEOUS photography of her cooking adventures and talked about that exact recipe. Go check it out! More to come on this cookbook. It makes me so happy when my friends make awesome stuff!

*And now we have come to the very important question that is on my mind every winter: Do I cut bangs? OH, THE HAND WRINGING!!! :)

Happy Hump Day, Y’all!

I Turned 35 Yesterday + All You Get Is This Lousy Blog Post

1990

I can’t believe I turned 35 yesterday and you know why? Because I can still so vividly remember my 23rd birthday.

I went out to dinner with friends and wore a black and white striped tank (my style choices have clearly remained consistent, ha!) that I hemmed and hawed about in my mind because I thought my arms were too flabby. Ultimately I talked myself into it because “I was too old for this body shaming bullshit.” Ah, yes. Much too old!

My hair was dyed some wonky reddish color, as was the norm in those days, and Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American album was blasting on repeat in my car. I had picked a Cuban restaurant because I was feeling oh-so-very worldly in all of my 23 years, but was shocked when the Pollo Asado I ordered showed up and and was CHICKEN WITH A BONE IN IT!

The horror!

We all were sort of underwhelmed by the food, but mostly I think because it wasn’t Tito’s Tacos or In-n-Out.  I hadn’t really learned to cook yet, you see, or rather I hadn’t learned to cook things that didn’t come out of a box so my palette was limited. But truth be told, in those days I’d rather drink my calories anyway, so no big deal.

It was a good night, with fun folks, but it was also a weird time. Weird because I was living 6 hours from most of my friends and family and had only sort of found my tribe. Weird because it was a month after 9/11 and our entire country was still so confused. Weird because I was super unhappy in my job but hadn’t the slightest idea on what to do. Weird because I was so unhappily single. Weird, because 23 is right smack in the middle of your twenties and there is nothing NOT weird about that entire decade as I look back on it in my rear view mirror.

I am so, so happy to be in my 30s. I want to shout that from the rooftops all day long. But 35. Something about 35 just has a certain sound about it that I am not quite used to just yet.

“Your butt starts to sag when you’re 35, you know” said my hilarious co worker.

“I had an 11 year old when I was 35, you know” said my mother.

“I hope you don’t want to have kids at that age” said a SUPER RUDE person in an elevator recently.

It seems to be an age with so many expectations and yet disappointments waiting around every corner. I’m not quite sure yet what to think, but usually I feel super renewed on my birthday and ready to see what comes. While I had a SUPER FUN birthday weekend, and a great day on my actual birthday shopping with my mom, I’m not quite feeling the zest I usually feel. Am I crazy? If you have a birthday pep talk, I’m all ears.

 

 

Fun Things to Read On A Friday

Dog Party!
We had a dog party this week and thank god no one ended up swinging from the chandeliers!

Hola peeps! Happy Friday!

It’s been a pretty crazy week playing catch up since, between Iowa and our Oktoberfest weekend I have basically been out of town for the past 10 days, but this morning I woke up and felt truly caught up. Well, uh…until Garrett looked into our empty refrigerator and said “What should I take to work for lunch?” Sorry, Garrett! We aren’t COMPLETELY caught up. :) But this afternoon I will be rolling into the weekend with no worries.

This weekend is actually my birthday weekend (on Monday I turn 35! OMG HAVE NOT DECIDED HOW I FEEL ABOUT THAT!) so obviously I plan to do whatever the hell I want all weekend. Hopefully with a few fun little excursions thrown in! Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk links!

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*First can we just talk about the BEST NEWS EVER from this week? AndreAnna is tip-toeing back onto the internet.

*Food I’d like to make this weekend: Baked Chicken with Jalapeno Pesto, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Paleo Caramel Brownies

*Speaking of food, the Top 5 “Health” Foods That Do More Harm Than Good.

*Lots of good looking books on this Fall Reading List. I am so ready for it to get cold so I can feel no guilt when I spend a few extra hours reading in bed! (I’m currently reading this book and it is a PAGE TURNER! I’m obsessed!)

*REALITY CHECK: 6 Helpful Reminders for the Overwhelmed Person. (Hint, the world has been ending since the beginning of time.)

*The jury is still out on how I feel about Gabby Bernstein, but this video did TOTALLY speak to me.

*Do you use My Fitness Pal? I found these instructions to re-configure your macros super helpful since I have no desire to eat 300 g of carbs per day or whatever ridiculous amount the default is listed at.

*Things I Am Excited About: Catherine Malandrino made a line for Kohl’s! I think I might need this. While we’re shopping at Kohl’s, I also really want this Lauren Conrad shirt. (Ok this one too.) So cute! Fall has me dying to wear all sorts of black. Usually I get all earthy once autumn rolls in, but this year I feeling all about black and white.

*If you live in a colder climate and are wondering about minimal shoes for winter, Katy Bowman put together a great resource list.

*Loved this: It’s not always easy and transition is uncomfortable, but alas it is essential. Stephanie’s post on Discipline, Patience + Hard Work is on point!

*Have you downloaded your preview of Well Fed 2 yet? I cooked out of it this week and YOU GUYS!!!! I can’t wait to share my thoughts about it with you. (But here’s a hint: I LOVE IT ALREADY!)

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Ok, go forth and have a great weekend everyone! I’m right about to do the same. :)

A Note About Sponsored Posts

This afternoon I posted my third sponsored post/giveaway/sweepstakes post in a short time. In the last few weeks, I have run more sponsored posts that usual and I haven’t really loved the timing of all of them, if we’re being honest. I was lamenting to a friend about this over drinks last week and I said that I wished I had a way to explain it, like I was doing with her.

And then it dawned on me — I CAN. I’ve never really explicitly stated my stance on sponsored posts or advertising or giveaways and I probably should. This is my website and — hey look at that, I get to decide what gets written — and I feel like we are all friends here so why not just sit down and have a chat about it like I would with anyone I was having drinks with.

The History of This Blog

Almost 8 years ago I started this blog as a place to write. I mostly just wanted to have a place to do that and I’m lazy and type faster than I write. An online journal! How novel! And that is just what the archives of this blog look like from that long ago — sort of embarrassing and very journal-y. Also, sort of boring and narcissistic, but it’s cool because no one was really reading it. In fact most people I knew were like “A blog? WHAT’S A BLOG?” So, no harm no foul you know.

Three years ago I began writing for a health + fitness site about my own personal health journey and most of that changed. All of a sudden I had lots of traffic, people were interested in what was happening with my health, I was writing a lot about CrossFit and Paleo, and that seemed to resonate with people.

This Blog Currently

While I guess you could say that my health journey helped me “find my niche” I still don’t consider this to be a Healthy Living/Paleo/CrossFit blog. This is a website about my life. This is a personal blog. My life just happens to include a lot of things that fall under those 3 umbrellas. I write about weight loss, but this is not a Healthy Living blog. I share recipes, but this sure as hell isn’t a food blog. I write about my food philosophies, but I wouldn’t even call this a 100% Paleo-centric blog because I also freely post pictures of me eating gluten. THE HORROR! So in some ways, I consider myself to not really have any “niche.”

Why Do You Keep Saying Niche — That Is Annoying Word

So, why do I keep talking about niches? Well, mostly because this is also a For Profit Blog. I make money here. As my traffic began to increase 3 years ago, I, like everyone else on the internet who has ever had an interest in NOT working in a cubicle for the rest of their lives, began to think: “Hmm…maybe I could make a part time income from this website.” Garrett and I were talking a lot about having kids at the time, and I thought that tinkering around with making money from a blog might be a fun little project. I’m an entrepreneurial sort, I enjoy projects, so I learned a few things about how to make money blogging. But here is the honest truth: I’M NOT SUPER GREAT ABOUT IT. Making money from a blog takes a lot of time, energy and dedication and there are lots of short term and long term strategies to think about. Also: You sort of need a niche. And damn it to heck, I didn’t want to box myself into one niche. I still enjoyed writing creatively. Without a niche — and a brand (gag!) — it used to be much harder to really make an income, even part time.

The Changing Landscape of Blogging

What has been interesting though is that over the last 3 years, the entire blogging landscape has changed for those who have considered doing it professionally. People who I talk to these days don’t think it’s weird that I have a blog, they know what they are, and coincidentally companies understand the power of viral content and campaigns in a way that I think wasn’t quite as organized 5-8 years ago. Basically things have changed. While making money from an online platform is still the Wild West, things are a little more organized these days. So while it is not currently my focus to make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS (or even a liveable income — as you know, I have a FULL TIME JOB that I enjoy and don’t have any plans of leaving) I still manage this platform as a “professional” one.

What That Means For You

1. I aim to write regular content. Obviously life circumstances get in the way sometimes, but if I am suggesting this is a professional blog, I think it is fair that I acknowledge it as a responsibilty — and one that I take seriously, frankly. It has been YEARS since I have not planned out my week and also included what kind of content I will write here. YEARS.

But I also think it is important to note that I still consider it a personal blog, and fully understand that because of that it is less viable as far as income goes. No niche = No Brand, really and that is alright! I am purposeful about that decision. I don’t want to worry about things like life updates are “Diluting My Brand” (again, gag.) I want to be able to post too much about my dog or my boyfriend or whatever. This blog is about my life, honestly, and I NEVER think about packaging my life into something more marketable. EVER

2. But because I don’t have a niche, I also come across opportunities for profit that are more lifestyle related — and I kind of like it that way. I see a variety of opportunities to work with brands because I write about a variety of topics. But it is important to me to ONLY write about things that fit within my life, and I take that into consideration. There is no amount of money that is worth writing about a product or a brand that I don’t believe in. I don’t agree to sample crap food and write about it. I don’t even agree to sample crap coffee actually. In fact I recently turned down an offer for $1500 freaking dollars. But it involved a coffee brand I despise. It hurt you guys, because that is A LOT OF DOUGH. But writing about stuff you don’t really like for money makes you a douchebag, and that hurts more, I think.

The Revenue Breakdown

So let me be really transparent here, I make money three ways: advertising revenue, affiliate links (disclosure info here) and sponsored posts/giveaways. And for the most part, I work mainly with BlogHer. It is easy and streamlined, legit and organized. Could I do it another way (Passion Fruit, Self Managed, Blah blah blah) YES. But again, I have a full time job and so I am not trying to MAXIMIZE EVER RED CENT POSSIBLE OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET. I am trying to provide some income flexibility for Garrett + I because who knows what will happen when we have kids.

Affiliate links are pretty self explanatory and luckily advertising is pretty simple — there are ads in that right column. BOOM. That’s it. :) I get paid based on my traffic here. (It is more complicated than that, but that is the jist of it.) The revenue is small, but it is enough to pay the costs associated with maintaining this website. I opt out of advertisements and brands that I don’t want to represent (GMO foods, politics, etc) and I think that it is awesome that I use an ad network that allows that (BlogHer, btw. I’m a fan.)

Sponsored Posts and Giveaways are also organized through Blog Her and again, it is simple and streamlined and why I participate. It is also where the bulk of revenue is these days for bloggers. So let’s talk about what sponsored posts I’m interested in writing.

I only participate when I feel like it is a campaign that:

a) Features a product I am genuinely curious about or that YOU GUYS may be curious about

b) The compensation for my time is fair.

c) It is information that I find useful to share.

d) It is a giveaway I’d be interested in getting. (I’m not a big giveaway person, so I really only like to do giveaways that I would be excited about receiving.)

Honestly, that is the long and short of it.

The Bottom Line

I love writing, I love the platform of blogging, and most importantly I love connecting with all of you. NONE OF THIS would be worth doing if I didn’t have the friends I’ve made, the awesome people I’ve gotten to know, the emails I’ve read, and the interactions I’ve had. None of it.

But I want to be transparent and it is my goal is to be compensated for the work I do (and it is a responsibility at times) but I don’t plan to do by being a shady douchebag. NOT worth it. The downside of working within an ad network though is that sometimes sponsored posts are scheduled at random times and I actually don’t have control over that exact date when I agree to it. There is a little room to negotiate, but because I usually agree at least a month in advance, there are times (like this week) when a lot of things go live at once.

No Bueno. But it is also the cost of doing business. Or rather, approaching this as a business.

Nothing will please everyone, and I’d never even try — I’m comfortable knowing that my flavor is just not right for everyone, but transparency is important and I want you to know, like I said earlier, I feel like we are all friends here. So this is the scoop. I’m happy to answer questions or address anything further but this has already been long (and probably) a little boring. But worth sharing because I do want you all to know.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

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