Monday, March 30, 2015

Promoted Pin Experiment

A few days ago I decided to give in and try promoting a few of my pins on Pinterest since it gives me much of my blog traffic. I chose an image of the Easter jar I made from last week's post since I loved the image of the final product and I figured people would currently be searching for Easter projects on Pinterest. I chose my key words and set my budget. I felt like I was going in blind because they didn't give me any parameters for budget so I set a $5/day limit for 3 days. A small enough budget but one where I thought it may be possible to see some results.

Upon first investigation it seemed to be a dream come true. My pin was repinned 75 times in the first hour but then significantly slowed. I'm figuring maybe I met my budget for that day. Over the three days I spent a total of $15 and had 234 repins. A definite win in my book since those repins led to a huge spike in blog views and we all know the more repins your image has the more likely it is to be repinned again and again.

I jumped on promoting some other pins but unfortunately did not have the same results. I promoted a pin of one of my favorite boho wrap bracelets from my shop with hopes of driving traffic to my Etsy shop. I did $5 budget for one day. This was highly disappointing with only 4 repins. Granted I only ended up getting charged $0.49 so nothing lost.

I decided to play around with this a little more due to the large discrepancy between the two promoted pins. I decided to promote a pin that was the cover photo for my post talking about the Disney Memory Maker. Again I did the $5 for one day. These results were better than the bracelet with 20 repins and 200 clicks on the article.

It appears that this obviously works better for some posts as opposed to others. I think the Easter one did so well because it had to do with the upcoming holiday and many people on Pinterest are looking for holiday projects. I definitely plan on trying to promote several other kinds of pins to see what else may do well especially since you aren't charged if there aren't any repins or clicks. I have a suspicion that fashion pins may do well but I do not have many fashion posts to test this theory. Have you tried promoting any pins? Was it beneficial for you?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Easter Jar

Every year I like to make some sort of Easter basket type thing for some family and friends. This year I decided I wanted to do something a little different. I found these adorable chubby jars in the Target dollar spot for $3 each and they inspired me to make Easter Jars. So I grabbed as many of the jars as I could and picked up some of my favorite Easter candies.

I put the kisses on the bottom and arranged the peeps around the perimeter. I continued to fill the jar with the rest of the candy from largest at the bottom to smallest at the top. This was incredibly easy and I am in love with how it looks. Hope everyone enjoys their treats this year!!

My Ipsy Glam Bag: March

I am obsessed with my Ipsy subscription. For only $10 a month (which includes shipping) I get a super cute cosmetic bag along with 5 sample size or very often full size beauty products.  Even if the products stink one particular month you have an adorable cosmetic bag. And honestly for $10 I am not really sweating it, it's not like it is a $40/month subscription.

Well, let's talk March. I loooooove the cosmetic bag for this month. My favorite yet. The colors just pop. Honestly I loved the bag so much I didn't even care what was inside but i'm sure you'd like to know.

Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Creme Oil - I am excited to try this Argan Oil Blow Dry Creme. I have given up on straightening my hair everyday but when I do I cannot wait to put this to use.

Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Lucky Penny - Another win for me! I love eyeshadows particular in browns and bronzes so this coppery bronze-ish shadow is a color I will actually wear often.

Marsk Mineral Eyeshadow in Luck Penny
Dr. Brandt Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion - Bleh. I am not too thrilled with this product. Nothing against the product itself but I don't really use anti-aging products. I know I should but this is nothing to get excited about.

Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Crayon - Good to have. Do you I use highlighters often. Not really but this will come in handy when I am actually doing a full makeup on myself for a special occasion.

NYX Butter Lipstick - I was so excited for this product but super disappointed in the color. I need like wine and burgundy colors when I am actually going for color on the lips. I tried it and it went on so smooth so that's why I felt extra bummed that the color was no good for me. But at least I know it's a brand I would want to try.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie
Overall I was very happy with this month's glam bag. If you are a makeup junkie like me this is definitely the subscription for you. xoxo

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dark Cloud

My girl waiting in her Gramps' hospital bed
I was going to have a very stressful week due to lots of orders, a deadline for an exciting event for my jewelry (which I'll be talking about next week), doctors appointments for myself and my father plus normal everyday stuff but apparently it wasn't going to be stressful enough. I actually made arrangements for St. Patrick's Day for someone to sit with my dad so myself, Joe and Liv could go to Joe's family's house for their annual St. Patrick's Day dinner. I was really looking forward to this since I don't get out much lately. I almost canceled because myself and Liv were getting over being sick and still were quite under the weather but I was desperate for a night out so we went anyway.

When we got home my dad decided to get ready for bed. Long story short, he collapsed and was completely out of it for a good two minutes. He wasn't unconscious but completely unresponsive. I thought I lost him too. I kept thinking this cannot be happening. I cannot be losing both my parents in a 3 month span. I called 911 immediately and they were here within five minutes. Luckily by that time he became coherent again. They took us to the hospital where they ran tons of tests.

After being in emergency for 24 hours and finally getting moved to an actual room we are still waiting for the last test results to trickle in. Thankfully, everything has been coming back good. They are thinking he just got the bad stomach bug myself, my daughter and hubby all had. And of course because of his age and other medical conditions it just hit him harder. We are hoping on him getting released tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

I just feel like all the horrible stuff I've been through the past few years has to be some cruel joke. I truly feel like I have a dark cloud over my head. I know many who like the good old expression "God only gives you as much as you can handle." Well , I'm there. I cannot handle another friggin' thing. Can I please have a break? Can I please have a boring year? That would be fabulous!! Thank you!! xoxo

Me and my girl before all the drama of the week

Monday, March 16, 2015

3 Ridiculous Things I Believed As A Child

As children many of us were gullible especially myself. Because of this fact there were more than a few crazy things I believed were true as a wee one.

1. Underneath all roads was a huge vacant hole to the center of the Earth. I would always panic when I saw a crack in the road. I was afraid it was going to get larger and that people and/or cars would fall down into the center of the Earth. I guess I envisioned the Earth as an egg and it's surface was as thin as an egg shell and and any cracks or holes were direct routes to an unknown abyss.

2.  If I stayed still for too long I would turn to stone. I blame this on my mom and grandma. They told me this when I was little and I believed it until early adolescence. I think their intention was to keep me active but I think it was a harsh thing to say especially since I believed it.  I would be sitting on the couch watching a movie and all of a sudden I would remember I was sitting still for a while and would quickly flail my whole body before I would turn into a statue. I constantly looked like I was having seizures thanks to this little lie.

3. That if perfectly placed in a circle around me in my bed my stuffed animals would protect me from monsters and other evil things. I suppose I had a touch of early OCD. Every night my stuffed animals needed to be placed around me in a certain order to protect me at night. If one fell on the floor while I was still awake I needed to pick it up or I wouldn't be able to relax and fall asleep. I'm embarrassed to say how long this went on for.

I sure hope I'm not the only who believed some nutty things as a child. Did you believe anything ridiculous as a child? If so, please share!! xoxo

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Blogging Break-Up

I love sponsoring other blogs. I think it's a great way to get yourself out there and to have someone promoting you even when you forget to do it yourself.  And my favorite bloggers to sponsor actively read and comment on your posts so you feel like you have your own personal blogging cheerleader.

This is all fabulous but then it just stops. It seriously feels like a blogging breakup. I'll look forward to your daily comments then in the blink of the eye you no longer comment, you no longer sing me praises on twitter, you're just gone. I know I only paid for 30 days of this treatment but it kind of gets my brain churning. Was it disingenuous? Did you really think that post was that great or were you grasping at straws to to find something appropriate to promote?

Many of the bloggers I have sponsored will still come and comment once in a while and it makes me feel good to think they still on occasion check out what I've been up to. This makes me feel as if their promotion was a bit more genuine. They must have liked me because they still read my blog. But on a few occasions I have had someone comment on every single post and then they never return after sponsorship ends and then I feel as if I've been played. I feel like it was all a lie.

Now are they bad bloggers because of this? No. You paid for a service and got what you asked for but something just doesn't sit right with me, especially if I am an active reader and comment"er" of this blog even after my sponsorship is over. I feel like maybe you could drop a comment a month or something of the sort.

I know it is a business and it may sound as if I am taking this too personal but blogging is personal. Someone reads all your thoughts and has active conversations with you about it but then when your paid time is up they're gone. I don't like it.

Will I stop sponsoring blogs? No way. I love it and it gets me a lot of traffic but this whole strange world of bloggers sponsoring other bloggers will continue to pick at my brain. So I am dying to know what are your thoughts on this subject? Am I taking this way to personal and should just view it as a business transaction or have others taken the sponsorship breakup hard?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Who Says Adults Can't Finger Paint?

My finger tip Sunflower painting
Yesterday my daughter saw me scrolling through Pinterest and was like "Mama can we look for a project to do?" I said sure and asked what she had in mind. She said look for "paint projects." We saw several cute ideas that incorporated her hand print into a painting. She ultimately decided she wanted to make a lion out of her hand print.

We got everything together and I decided I wanted to paint as well. After seeing Liv cover her hands in paint I felt like getting a little messy too. I decided I was going to paint a sunflower using only the tip of my right pointer finger.

I looked at a few photographs for a reference and went to town. I swear I was getting way more into this painting project than Liv was. I have to say that considering we only painted for about an hour and I used only my finger tip I was quite impressed with the way my painting above came out. Sunflowers were my mom's favorite so this makes me smile. It's the little things.

I definitely want to try this technique on a few different ideas. I have a feeling it will be me suggesting finger painting to Liv next time. I am such a child. But I guess I am not the only one because look at the "Mickey Loaf" Joey surprised us with for dinner last night. Haha! xoxo

Sunday, March 8, 2015

That Time I Thought We Were Going To Be Abducted

When I was pursuing my makeup artist career it was very important to build a good portfolio both for my website and to show potential clients. I was an active member of a website, that shall remain nameless, that was a way for aspiring models, photographers, makeup artists, and stylists to connect and collaborate. A photographer reached out to me that he was doing a photo shoot one evening and was looking for a makeup artist to do the model's makeup. In exchange, I would get professional photos for my portfolio.

I looked at the photographer's profile which included a lot of his work which was a bit racy. A lot of lingerie and swimsuits but he did say he would take a few head shots of the model to feature my makeup for my photos. I reluctantly agreed because I figured in the closeups nobody would have any idea what was going on for the rest of the photo shoot.

The day of the shoot the photographer had called me that the model canceled but if I wanted to bring a friend and do her makeup he would take photos for me. I was very clear that whoever I brought would not be doing lingerie or swimsuit and that I was really just interested in getting head shots. He agreed but jokingly said have them bring their swimsuit just in case. I laughed it off.

I somehow convinced my sister to model for me and go to this guy's home. Now, we are not completely clueless. I knew potential dangers here and we did bring my husband along. Hooray for common sense! I literally had to drag them both but along they went.

We get to his condo/apartment and inside was his wife sitting on the couch watching America's Next Top Model (go figure!). I thought okay this can't be too bad. He said he studio was in the basement and downstairs we all went. The walls on both sides if the staircase was plastered in photos of half naked girls he had photographed in the past. A bit creepy for a middle aged guy who's married and all the girl's looked in their early 20's. If I was his wife I wouldn't have been okay with this.

We get downstairs and he starts taking photos. After he took a bunch of my sis and I he asked us to change. He had a stack of cartons that served as some sort of pseudo wall that we were to change behind. I knew he couldn't see us but in retrospect I wouldn't at all be surprised if he had a camera rigged back there.

The rest of the shoot was completely awkward. He kept asking my sis to unbutton her pants and pull them down a little and asking if she wanted to model in a swimsuit. We tried to be as friendly and firm as we could be and refused to do anything of the sort and I even reminded him that I was completely up front about only being interested in head shots. I was so glad my husband was there because if this guy was this brazen with my husband there would he have been forceful if he wasn't there?

The whole situation was completely creepy between the unassuming housewife sitting upstairs, the walls plastered with photos of half naked chicks, the creepy basement and pushy photographer. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. What made matters worse was that once we were out we had trouble finding our way out of this gated community. Every gate we got to was completely locked. We saw an arguing couple of an older gentleman and what looked to be a mail order bride on the side of the road and other strange people. We truly started to believe this was some sort of commune for freaks and they locked us in. My husband was even beginning to get a bit unnerved. We finally found an open gate after about 30 minutes of circling this community and sped out of there.

We laugh about this whole experience today but at the time it was quite scary. My sister and husband still will not let me live this down. I am extremely thankful that I was smart enough to bring my husband because if he wasn't there this could have had a different outcome. I am not saying this photographer was going to do anything to us but you never know. I urge others to be smart in their decisions and always let at least one person know where you are going and try to bring someone else if possible. Be safe out there! xoxo

Just Dance

So I seriously need to get my booty in gear and try to get at least a little in shape. It's hard to remember the days where I used to go to the gym at least 5 days a week. I was dedicated and bit obsessed but I looked good. Injuries, tragedy, pregnancy and more tragedy put a damper on my workout regime but I need to do something even if it doesn't involve going to the gym 5 days a week.

That is why I was so excited to have the opportunity to try Dance Lessons Starter Kit by DanceCrazy. I love to dance and have always felt that dance fitness classes were my favorite way to stay in shape. Although, I took dance for many years growing up I never took ballroom so I was excited to try this form of dance. Plus, my obsession with Dancing With The Stars made me want to try it that much more.

The set comes with four DVDs to teach you the basics of the following dances: Salsa, Swing, Merengue and Bachata. I decided to start with Swing because that always looked like so much fun to me. The DVD went slow and explained the basic steps well and took the time out to teach both the male and female parts. It is truly great for beginners who seriously want to learn these dances.

Because of the fact that these DVDs broke everything down so well it wasn't necessarily the workout I was looking for because it did go slow and also taught the male steps. Even though I wouldn't use this for my daily workout I am so happy with having these DVDs to learn these great social dances. I would highly recommend for anyone looking for a true beginner instructional dance program.

These DVDs were sent to me through Tomoson but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5 Things I Need To Do Before Starting a Vlog

Me & the hubs circa 2010ish

I am super duper excited about a venture the hubby and I will be taking on, we are going to be starting our own Vlog!!! We will also have a regular blog that accompanies it and I am so excited. My husband is really funny and charismatic so I think this could be huge. It's still in the works so I am not going to be sharing the details on it yet but soon enough my friends.

In the meanwhile I have several things I need to accomplish before we become Vlog superstars. Especially since I pretty much know nothing about it. That could be a problem.

1- Figure out how to make a Youtube video. This would help right? I have no idea what program to use to edit our videos and then once we figure out what all the cool kids are using we need to learn how to work it. Probably our biggest task.

2- Clean a room in the house. Guess I need at least one room in the house to look tidy and well decorated so we appear to have our sh*t together.

3- Lose Weight. This is sad to say but it is honestly the one reason I don't already have a Vlog. I always wanted one but feel like I am too fat to be on camera. I have gotten over that to a degree but am still trying to lose a little before it becomes official. And if I can one day look like I did above I would be one very happy camper.

4- Get some fabulous clothing. If people are going to be watching me chat on a daily I want them loving my ensemble so I better get to putting some fabulous outfits together. Hey there, shop owners, want me to wear your items in our videos I am here...Wink, wink.

5- Do my homework. I have to obsess over youtube. See who gets tons of views and who doesn't and figure out what works and what doesn't. We already know our concept but as far as editing and things like that.

I have my work cut out for me. Are you a youtuber? If so do you have any advice for me? It's greatly appreciated. xoxo

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I Am A Bad Friend

I am a bad friend. I know I am a bad friend but I promise you I think of you daily and smile about the good times we have had and the friendship I hope we still share. I work from home, am raising a toddler who doesn't sleep and am caretaker for my disabled father. My plate is full.

My days consist of caring for my dad, caring and playing with my demanding 3 year old (whom I love to death) and finding time to work from home with a full time work load. Being productive during the day is almost impossible when someone always seems to need something or my girl is pulling my hand for me to play with her. This means I need to wait until my very supportive husband gets home from work to be truly productive and actually complete the tasks that probably should have been done earlier in the day. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, I work nights. 

My dad and child don't disappear on the weekends and although during this time I have help from the hubby I am still getting caught up with my work and need to do some cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc. Then there is almost always one family event over the weekend. Plus my husband and I try to do something for fun with our daughter and have some "family time" even if it is just a family trip to Target or going to grab some pizza. We don't get the opportunity often so we need to take these little outings when we can.

When I am actually caught up with work, housework and we don't have plans, I am downright exhausted. This rarely happens so if I have a day to do nothing I really want to do nothing. I don't want to have to get dressed or clean for anyone. I want to sit on my couch in my PJs in my cluttered living room in complete bliss until of course my daughter or dad need something. 

And no my daughter doesn't nap. She hasn't napped since she was one. I don't have that time some other parent's have to get stuff done. She also requires very little sleep. Up until about midnight or later and up by 7am. So I do not have the luxury to do stuff after she's in bed or before she gets up unless I want to cut down the 5 hours of sleep I get a night to 3 hours of sleep. And before you lecture me on why my daughter is up until midnight this is an improvement from 2am and believe me I wish I was lucky enough to have her in bed and asleep by 9. Nobody wants that more than me. 

On top of all of this, my father cannot be left alone. So if I want to go out I need to have someone to sit with him which isn't always so easy to find. People don't understand that for my husband and I  to "go out" we need childcare for Liv and someone to take care of my father. It's an ordeal and sometimes not worth the trouble.

Now when I do get that day or two a month where the planets align and I have the free time to go out and am not completely and utterly exhausted I run into my next dilemma. There are a couple of you. I am blessed to have a few really good friends so I need to alternate who I use this time to see.  So I could go a few months without seeing you.

It truly breaks my heart that I cannot spend the time with you that I used to but my days are consumed and I am tired. I meant it when I said I think of you daily and want to make plans but sometimes the reality of that isn't always possible. I didn't write this for you to feel bad for me. I love motherhood, my family and my work but I wanted you to understand that you are still one of my best friends. I just hope I am still one of yours. xoxo