10.30.2013

When Are You Going to Cook Something?

If the way to my husbands heart really was through his stomach we would have never gotten married or we'd be divorced right now.  Thank goodness he loves me for my other stellar qualities.

Last week it dawned on him that I hadn't cooked a single thing outside of Cheese Casadilla's (if you can call that cooking).  And those weren't even for him.

Hey, you haven't cooked since I've been home.  When are you going to cook something?  He's been back from Germany for over a month and even before that I had kinda fallen off the cooking wagon.  Big time.  


I knew this was coming.  I defended myself.  I made chicken breast the day before you got back.  We ate that for dinner.  Then I started whining.  Anyways.  Nothing I make is ever as good as you do it.  Why should I even bother?   I glanced over at our tornado of a kitchen.  In my head I'm also thinking, you seriously expect me to cook in that mess?

He demanded to be fed for 3 days.  By me.  When he insists on something there is usually no point in arguing especially when I know I've been slacking so the next night I picked up Subway on my way home from work.  I just wasn't mentally prepared to cook yet.  My culinary skills are limited.  I can't just whip something up.  I needed more time to wrap my head around the recipe searching, ingredient checking, grocery shopping rigamarole that is cooking.

I'm not the chef and we both know it.  I WANT to enjoy cooking but unfortunately I have never found it to be enjoyable. I actually refused to eat some of his meals.  It just didn't feel fair for me to eat his cooking when I didn't contribute at all.  Is that weird?  The guilt was getting to me but apparently not enough to propel my un Martha Stewart like self into the kitchen.  After six weeks of the non cooking single life I was having some serious motivation issues.  Neither one of us expects me to whip up dinner every night...or every other night...hell not even every week if I'm being realistic.  It's just not going to happen, but I should do it sometimes so he can eat something he didn't have to cook every now and then.  My husband had spoken and it was time to cook again.  But not before having a discussion about the condition of the kitchen.

Dear husband.  How can you expect me to cook when the kitchen has been in an ongoing state of chaos since you got back?  On the occasions that I do cook, 9 times out of 10, I leave the kitchen clean.  He could care less if there are crusty dishes piled in the sink for days, mystery blobs and wayward crumbs scattered across our beautiful granite counter tops but it drives me nuts.  I made it my goal to shut it and not nag about it.  I will allow the kitchen be his domain but I couldn't even think about cooking in there.  Any passing thought about making dinner dies with one look at that dirty kitchen so we have an understanding.  He hasn't promised to clean up after every time he cooks.  I wish.  But if I plan on cooking I have every right to tell him he had better clean up that kitchen or he can forget about it.  At which time he is to dutifully clean the kitchen if he wants me to cook.


Bean foam.  Looks kinda weird but it goes away.
I decided on Chili as my comeback meal because it's easy, yummy, healthy, produces a lot of left overs and perfectly cozy when it's chilly outside.  Chili, chilly.  Get it?  I did complicate matters by using fresh beans but it cuts the sodium in half and it made me feel all domestic to go fresh.  Plus, I just really love beans.  They are packed with fiber and protein.  I want to know how to cook them in the healthiest way possible.  So there I was on Sunday soaking and boiling beans.  I felt like my mom and in fact did call her with a few "bean" questions.


And the thing is.  It makes me feel really good to feed my husband.  I enjoyed watching him sit down to eat a meal that I made.  There is something about feeding people that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I felt like a good wife and when I feel like a good wife I feel better overall in my relationship and as a person.  I like the end result of cooking; I just don't want to DO it and when I fall off the wagon it's really hard to get back on.  It's kind of like going to the gym.  The moral of the story is to get off my arse and cook.  Even if it sucks at first I'll be glad that I did.  Even so, I don't even want to think about what I'm making next.

If you want to cook fresh beans and eat said beans on the same day the best way to do it is to soak them overnight because it really is an 8 1/2 hour process.  I got up Sunday morning, worked out and by the time I got back from the grocery store the beans didn't make it into the pot until 1pm.  I ended up soaking the beans and cooking them along with the meat on Sunday so it would be ready to heat and eat for Monday.

CHILI WITH FRESH BEANS
Ingredients:
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, diced
    1 bell pepper, diced
    6 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 pound extra-lean ground beef
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 tbsp Chili Powder
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Salt or Seasoning salt to taste
    1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    2 cups water (optional)
    16 oz bag of beans (black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans or any combination).

Directions:
Rinse and drain beans.  I used black beans and kidney beans.  Pour into a large pot and soak beans in 3 x their volume in water for 6 hours.  Drain beans and return to pan with enough water to cover them.  Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and let simmer for 2 1/2 hours.  Don't worry about the foam that forms on top.  It will go away.  I left most of the "bean juice" in the pan but it's up to you if you want to drain all or some of it and then add water depending upon how thick you want the chili.

Saute diced onions, bell peppers and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft.  Add meat, black pepper and seasoning salt to taste.  Continue to cook until meat is browned and fully cooked.

Add meat, vegetables, crushed tomatoes, cumin, oregano and chili powder to the beans.

Let simmer for another 30 minutes.

Eat.

  photo SignaturececePink.png

10.24.2013

If You Want Something Go Get it

Funny how sometimes you don't even realize that you need a little inspiration until after you get it.  Sports and athleticism is everything that dreams are made of.  Hard work, determination, challenge, pain, fear, victory and defeat.  This video made my eyes tear up and a sticky lump form in my throat.  I can't even pin point exactly why.  I do know that it has nothing to do with my crushed dreams of becoming an Olympic gymnast.  As much as I loved and still love gymnastics I wasn't really that great at it.

I might sound like a pessimist saying this but sometimes it's so annoying to constantly hear that if you work hard enough you can be anything that you want to be and do anything that you want to do.  The people you hear saying it are usually the ones that found that pot at the end of the rainbow.  It feels all nice and fuzzy to say it but the reality is that no matter how hard you try not all dreams come true.  I hate to be a Debbie downer but that's the truth of the matter.  There is absolutely no guarantee etched in stone somewhere that dreams come true.  It is true that it's possible to dream big and accomplish something even bigger but hard work and dreaming it doesn't always make it so.  That's no reason to quit or give up though, and I think you should believe wholeheartedly that it can come true.  Don't stop dreaming.  Don't stop believing.  You kind of have to in order to keep reaching for it but in the end the only thing you can control is whether or not you really and truly did your best and tried your hardest.

Reality TV has gotten so trashy along the way but that's not how it started.  In the beginning most of them seemed to be centered around dream chasing and that's what attracted me to it the most.  The Real World started out with seven strangers with stars in their eyes off to New York City.  A lot of people know Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars.  She was on American Juniors 10 years ago.  I watched every single episode.  And this was before DVR.  I don't watch the show but when I saw that she was on it, I thought to myself.  Wow.  She made it.  I cried like a baby when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol and season after season tears fall down my face when I watch the winner of America's Next Top Model announced.  I even watched a few episodes of Food Court Wars and I can't wait to start watching the first episode of Chasing Nashville.  Against all odds.  Despite the day to day challenges of life.  It's such a beautiful and inspirational thing to see people realize their dreams.  I really can't get enough of it.

My emotional response to this video is without completed fill in the blank answers but at the same time very telling.  True, I cry when fictional characters die in movies and when people win reality TV shows.  And I'm a sucker for beautiful Gymnastics but it was more then that.  It stirred up something else inside of me.  I may not know what's behind it but I can only hope that some day I will figure it out.

Listen to the words.  What do they say to you?



10.21.2013

Date Night with Dave Chappelle


Saturday was date night.  Mj bought tickets to see Dave Chappelle so we made a night of it.   I have restaurant.com credit BUT the restaurant we wanted to go to had a $10.00 for $25.00 offer if you just buy it so that's what I did.   Also, that way I get to "save" the credit for future use.  I like knowing I have things even if I don't use them.  It's all part of my hoarding addiction.  And because it's one of Discover's shopping partners I got 20% cash back on the purchase.  I know it's only $2.00 but it adds up.  Gosh I love deals.  I'm still excited about it.

We decided to try something different and go with an Indian restaurant. Gourmet India had really good food but sadly the service sucked.  I got Chicken Tikka.  Not very adventurous but oh so good.  Mj got Lamb Tikka and we got two orders of piping hot Naan bread which was delicious.  Our waitress came by and took our drink order after a bit of a wait but after that we had to ask her if we could order then ask whomever passed by for whatever else we needed.  It's not even a very big place so I'm not sure why providing us service was such an impossible task.

After that we went to a little shop for dessert.  I got Espresso flavored Gelato and Mj got a Chocolate and Strawberry Crepe.  There is so much energy downtown and I really enjoyed being out in it. 


The comedy show didn't start until 10:30pm.  That's when I'd normally be winding down a night out so it's a good thing we both got naps that day.  Even so I could feel my eyes wanting to shut it down half way through the show.  One of the oddest things about the show is that he smoked cigarettes through the whole thing.  He walked on stage cigarette in hand trailing a plume of smoke behind him and when one burned out he lit up another.  I was thinking that he either has a really bad addiction or he's trying to be cool but I'm going with addiction because I don't think anybody thinks smoking is cool anymore.  And it's really, really odd because there is no indoor smoking in California.  You can't smoke inside anywhere.  His show his rules; I guess.   He's not skinny anymore.  Apparently, he's gone out and gotten all buff and to show it off he performed in his gym clothes.  He had on a black sleeveless T Shirt emphasizing those bulging biceps and grey athletic pants pushed up to his knees.  I found myself wishing there were subtitles like I put on about 90% of the time when we watch movies at home.  I ended up missing a lot of jokes just because I couldn't quite catch what he was saying.  I think I've laughed harder at other comedy shows but he was funny and I did enjoy it. 

That night marks the first time I've ever worn boots and a dress in my life.  Ever.  While I realize it's pretty much a common every day occurrence for me it felt like I was taking a fashion risk.  It's also the first time I've worn that dress.  I've never really considered myself a "dress person" but I'm trying to be.  I got it about 2 years ago for $12.00 at Ross and it's been sitting in the closet with the tags on ever since.  I also have a really cute pair of peep toe red pumps I got a few years ago that probably still have the price sticker on the bottom.  And that's just the half of it.  Like I said, I'm a hoarder.

It was a great date night.


10.17.2013

I Will Not Shop...I Shopped

I've been on a no shopping kick starting in September and it's been good because I know I don't really need anything.  Only 1 1/2 months and I already broke my little streak.  I knew I was going to make one purchase at DSW.  That was a given; because I had a rewards certificate for $10.00 that I earned and it would be just wrong to let it expire.  Then, this Old Navy deal popped up that I couldn't refuse.

I may be terrible at using Grocery Store coupons but I am very strategic about using coupons and taking advantage of deals for everything else.  Getting an amazing deal and saving money is such a rush.  Not only do you get to buy something new which is a rush in itself but then you have the extra high of saving money on top of it.
Source:  Old Navy.com
Anyone ever heard of Restaurant.com?  Well, a really long time ago I had some airline mileage that was set to expire.  I didn't have near enough points for an airline ticket but they offered restaurant.com credit and magazine subscriptions.  I took advantage of both.  A few weeks ago my mom and I were planning to meet up for lunch so I logged on to restaurant.com to see what restaurants were available and found one near us.  It's really easy.  I hit redeem for the restaurant of my choice and printed out my $25.00 off coupon.  It never expires and you can even exchange it if you change your mind.  We didn't end up meeting for lunch that time but I used it last weekend for dinner at Cicotti Trattoria on a double date with my parents.




Anyways.  When I redeemed the restaurant.com gift a bunch of offers popped up that I could choose from.  One of them was a deal from Yub.com to spend $39.99 at Old Navy by a certain date and get a $50 Restaurant.com gift card.  I love eating for free and I love Old Navy so even though I've been on a no shopping thing I went for it.  Just an itty bitty extra shopping trip can't hurt- I mean, what's $40 at Old Navy?  I'm happy to do it.  I signed up the credit card I planned to use for the Old Navy purchase and then got a tip from The Tiny Heart that Old Navy has some girly and not at all ugly sweatshirts that I've been dying to get my hands on.  I went immediately to get my shop on.  So here is the deal.  I got this adorable blingy sweatshirt and this beautiful soft heather grey boyfriend cardigan with sequins elbow patches for $20.00 and $25.00 each when they were $29.94 and $34.94 regular price.  On top of that I got my 10% military discount.  Thank goodness I remembered to ask for it.  I barely squeaked in at my minimum which is exactly the way to maximize deals spending $40.50 + tax.  On top of that it was the LAST DAY to earn Super Cash so I got a $10.00 off on a minimum $25.00 purchase coupon.  They sure know how to get you.  And yes.  I'm going back.  How can I not? I will be there with bells on.

After that I went right next door to DSW to redeem my $10.00 reward.  I found a pair of cute grey wedge booties.  They are synthetic and I usually go with leather but grey is really hard to find, it's the only color I don't already have and they were too cute and too comfortable to pass up.  I did all of this on a one hour lunch break.  Power shopping at it's finest.

It was like magic.  An hour after my purchase I got an e mail acknowledging that I had completed my Old Navy purchase and then a 2nd e mail with my restaurant.com $50.00 gift card.  I was also given the chance to re activate the offer and do it all over again.  It totally makes sense to do that because I have to spend $25.00 to redeem my $10.00 super cash anyways.  Can you just see how the shopping gods and the stars have aligned in my favor?  This was totally meant to be so I don't feel guilty about any of it.  A slamming good deal is always my best shopping justification.  Plus, although my preference was to divert more to savings I know that my budget can handle this minor relapse.

If you want a $50.00 restaurant.com gift card for spending $39.00 at Old Navy this is the link.  And no this is not a sponsored post.  Unfortunately, I haven't exactly figured out how to get someone to pay me to write a post yet.  And yes, I'll get $1.00 if you follow through on the deal but then you can turn around and do the same thing later.  And you get to shop.  And eat for free.  You can shop and your husband will love you for financing date night.  Win Win Win.    

Wouldn't it be cool if I actually modeled these clothes that I'm so excited about on my blog instead of resorting to pins?  I really, really want to but it just feels like so much work with the camera and the make up and the whole not wanting to look like an awkward fool thing.  It's only been 7 months since my one and only official outfit post and I honestly don't know if or when there will be another.

After this there is no more shopping.  Ideally, for the rest of the year.  Unless I'm on vacation.  There is always a BUT.  I have The Limited, Express and Macy's coupons burning a hole in my purse.  I don't even know why I torture myself by hanging onto them.

I will not shop.  I will not shop. 


10.15.2013

I Don't Go to The Gym

In 2009 I worked out exactly one time. Terrible I know. Even worse, the only reason why I did it was because my mom dragged me to a Yoga class. I didn't work out again until around September of 2010. I started slowly with exercise videos at home. Still not very consistently though. It wasn't until Jan of 2011 that I actually started going back to the gym and working out regularly. We get so little of time to ourselves, especially during the week that I just didn't want to spend it at the gym. Once I accepted that working out might mean I only get a few measly hours at home to myself before bedtime it was all good and I just dealt with it.  For the2 1/2 years the gym had become a regular part of my life with the occasional home exercise DVD at home.  Then I started doing my own at home work out regime.  Doing  Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred changed everything.  I only went to the gym once in a month and a half during that time.  After I finished the shred I trotted back to the gym to get back into my old cardio ways.  It wasn't the same and I just couldn't motivate myself to keep going back.  I don't go to the gym much anymore and here's why.

1) No gym commute and rigamarole.  My gym is on the way home from work and it's a 10 minute drive from my house. It's not out of my way at all but I have to pack a few things the night before, carry the bag to the car, carry the bag into the gym, change, lock up the bag, work out, get the bag and drive home.  If I forget something essential I'm screwed.  Or should I say my work out is screwed because I'm not going back.  When I work out at home I don't have to bother with any of that.  I come home, undress and work out immediately.  Working out during the work week has always been a challenge for me but this makes it so much easier to fit it in.

2) I get to be sexy for my husband.  Sometimes you gotta shake things up a little.  Seeing his wife in her underwear and sports bra doing man push ups might be just the thing.  Mj says he loves it when I work out at home.  He doesn't sit there and watch me like a creepy stalker but he catches some peaks here and there and he likes it.  I also enjoy watching him work out in his undies.  It's win win for everyone. 

3) Less laundry.  When I work out at home I'm wearing only a sports bra and my undies.  If it's Yoga I'll add a towel on top of my yoga mat so I don't stick.  I just don't see the point of putting on gym clothes and creating more laundry when I'm in the comfort of my own home and nobody but my husband can see me.  As the weather gets cooler I may have to add bottoms.

4) More variety on my own time.  My gym is open 24/7 so I can go anytime I want to but if I want to do a class then I'm stuck with the schedule that is available.  I'm also stuck with what there is available for me to do at the gym.  Weights, Cardio or Classes.  When your home is your gym and a DVD is your instructor the possibilities are endless.  There are a million at home DVD's to choose from of varying lengths and types and all you have to do is pop in the video whenever you want.  The key is finding workouts that truly are a good work out.  I just bought 4 more DVD's and I'm already scoping out more.  They are relatively inexpensive and if you use them it's worth it.  I used to think I had to go to the gym to really get that good workout but now I know that I don't have to at all.

5) The only sweaty and possibly stinky person I have to deal with is me.  Have you ever been stuck next to a stinky person at the gym?  It sucks.  More then once I've been about 10 minutes into my 60 minute elliptical work out when some stinky person who is either deodorant resistant or forgot to put it on rolls up next to me.  I still have 50 minutes to work out and I don't want to switch machines because it will screw up my numbers.  I hope that he's doing a quick work out and then my heart sinks when I see him enter 45 minutes.  If something stinks it's me and if there is sweat on my mat I know it's mine.

6) No classic "gym smell."  My gym is huge, nice and very well ventilated but after not going there in a while and then going back the first thing I noticed was the smell.  It's not as bad as someone with BO working out next to you but it's just that gym smell.  Well, you don't have that at home.

I got my abs back, built up my biceps and got a lot of my flexibility back all with exercise videos a yoga mat and a few hand weights.  It is possible to get in shape without ever stepping foot in the gym.


It would be harder to mostly quit the gym if I felt like I was wasting money.  I've been on the same gym membership that my mom started for the family since I was in high school.  It's so dirt cheap that I don't even feel bad for letting my parents continue to cover it and I will definitely hold onto the membership.  It's nice to still have the option to go to change things up.  It would also be tough to do without it if I didn't have the space for it or AC when it's hot in the Summer.  I haven't been in 2 months but I'm planning to go back today because I kind of miss the elliptical.  Let's see if I still miss it when it's 5:00pm and I'm on my way there.  Or when I've been on for ONLY 45 minutes and want to die.  When I was going all the time seeing the same people every time and then they dropped off the face of the earth I always wondered what happened to them.  If they come back with obvious weight gain I assume they haven't been working out.  Hopefully, no one will be compelled to assume that about me.  In my case, I'm still working out.  Just not at the gym.

10.09.2013

Watching People Fall Is Funny

What is it about watching people fall that is so funny?  You feel terribly bad about it but at the same time it's just so damn funny that you can't help yourself.  As long as no one gets hurt watching people fall is funny.  Sad but true.  Falling as an adult is always embarrassing.  I wrote a post about a tumble I took down concrete stairs at the front entrance of my job here aptly titled Fall Down Go Boom.   

Well, these ladies fell on the job too when their only assignment was to walk.  I only feel a little bit sorry for them.  It's hard to feel too sorry for a tall, beautiful, thin model who gets to work the runways of New York Fashion Week.  The scary thing about heels is that once those ankles start turning you are in trouble and your fate is solely at the discretion of gravity and momentum.  I tend to stick mostly to flats and 2"-3" max in heels not only because they are more comfortable but they are also safer!!

You will not make it through this 3 minute video without laughing uncontrollably. I promise. It's hilarious in the same way that treadmill accidents are.  If you need a good laugh, and don't we all?  Watch it.

10.07.2013

We Didn't Get the Memo About Fall

Seriously.  I can't even put it into words how perfect Saturday was.  It was like a gift from mother nature.  The high was 91 degrees and it was magnificent.  I sat by the bay and switched between reading magazines and gazing out at the beautiful water.


We were there for the 4th annual Dragon Boat Festival at Mission Bay Bay Park.  They have the professional category made up of people who actually train for it and know what they are doing and then they have a corporate category open to the community for amateurs who just want to get out there and have fun.  I have never even heard of Dragon Boat Racing.  Mj had never done it before but if it's athletic and even slightly competitive he's willing to give it a try.  He works for a huge company but it's always the same people that sign up for these things.  It's a really cool group of people that I see over and over at Flag Football or Kick ball or whatever else Mj's signed up for.  I think of them as the unofficial BAH athletic team representatives.


They got to do three races.  Each race had 3 teams, except the last one had 4.  There are 16 people packed into each boat.  Each boat has a drummer who sits in the front and there is a Dragon Head at each end.  Hamburgers and Hotdogs were provided by the company and we brought some snacks of our own.  We were there hanging out in between races from about 9:30am to 3:30pm.  I don't even know what place they got.  If they had won, I'd know so I know they didn't win but I don't know where they placed.  At the end of the day winning is awesome but no one seemed too upset that they didn't.

I love that sun drenched and exhausted feeling that I get after a fun day outside.  I feel all hot and gross and worn out but in a good way and I can't wait to get home and take a shower.  On the way home I said to Mj.  This is why we can never move.  This is why we live here.  This beautiful place is our backyard and I love pretending that it's still Summer in October.

We didn't get the memo about Fall.  The one we got had flip flops and shorts written in all caps and I didn't mind it one bit.

10.04.2013

Breaking Bad and Thongs

A little bit of random...

It really sucks waking up for work on Friday morning when your husband has the day off and is slumbering away in bed.  But such is life.

I'm really proud of myself for breaking the shopping habit.  I was clean and shopping sober all last month and I plan to do it again this month.  Okay, so I did purchase some exercise DVD's but that's essential to my health and well being so it doesn't count.  Save, save save is my mantra until Vacations and The Holiday's show up to kick my financial butt.

Like everyone else I love, love loved the Breaking Bad finale.  I love it how everything was wrapped up and seems to have happened exactly as it should.  On the surface the show was about a Biology teacher with cancer turned big time meth dealer and the twists and turns his life takes as he switches careers.  The take away message was so much more then that and in the end I was able to identify with Walter White the way I had in the beginning before he got all evil and I started hating his guts.  We all want to be successful and good at something.  We want to provide for ourselves and our families, but if you let your desire for money, power and success overcome your morality it will destroy you in the end. It might take a while but evenutually it will.  Not a bad message for a show where eleventy million people were murdered over meth.

Confession Time!!!

I confess that I've never tried a Pumpkin Spice or Pumpkin anything and thanks to blog land it truly feels like a deep dark shameful secret.

I confess that it was 65 degrees on the way to work and expected to get to 81 ish by afternoon and I'm still loving it even though everyone has gone all goo goo ga ga over Fall.  The boots and sweaters are still off duty and I'm totally thrilled.  Thanks to blogland this also feels like a really deep dark shameful secret.

Linking up with Leslie @ A Blonde Ambition
I confess that I can't swim.  I never learned as an itty bitty child and then when I was around middle school age there were a few rounds of swimming lessons but by then I think it was too late.  I can doggy paddle but if I were tossed into the middle of a body of water I would definitely drown.  My dad is the only one in my family who can swim.  I think my bones are too heavy.  We were watching Iron Man 3 and there was this awesome scene where he gets everyone to hook together when they fall out of the plane.  He saved them by dropping them into the ocean when they got close enough.  I was thinking, how cool that he saved all those people-except if I were one of them I'd still die.

I confess that I get really excited when my underwear matches my outfits.  I'm not sure why since no one else can see that I am perfectly coordinated but somehow I feel just that much more "finished" and put together.  While I'm on the topic of underpants are people still wearing thongs?  I just can't.  I never found a thong that didn't feel like something uncomfortably lodged in my butt.  I wore one a few weeks ago for a few hours and it was awful.  Oh the things we do for our husbands!

I confess that my posture is terrible.  I feel like I'm sticking my boobs out if my back is too straight but I think that's just because I'm not as used to sitting up straight as I should be.  Actually, it's gotten a little better as I've tried to be more aware of it.  Having a husband who yells out "posture" like some kind of personal image coach drill sergeant has definitely helped.  If I don't want to hear his mouth I better pull my shoulders back.

I confess that I will be out enjoying our Non Fall weather at Mission Beach on Saturday and chilling at home on the couch on Sunday. 

Happy Friday!!


10.01.2013

Why I Like Being a Small Blog

I haven't been posting a whole lot.  But that's okay.  I can do that.  We don't like to but sometimes we just can't help comparing ourselves to those blogs that earn money, have thousands of page views per day, get a ga-zillion comments or boatloads of free stuff.  That is all well and good but it comes at a price that some of us little blogs don't have to pay.  I realize that "small" or "large" when referring to blogs is subjective but I think we have a general idea of what category our own blog fits into.  Here are some reasons that I really like being a little blog.

1)  Pressure.  In order to keep those page views up and keep the money coming in from advertisers or sponsors or whatever else you have to generate a lot of content and buzz about your blog.  As a smaller blog I simply don't have that pressure.  I don't have sponsor posts, product reviews, link ups or giveaways that have to go up.  I didn't even realize that posting every day was a "thing" until I kept reading posts apologizing for not being able to post everyday.  What? I'm just not that creative and I don't want to post something just to call it a post.  I've never been a daily poster.  Well, except that one time I posted for days on end about my European Vacation which ironically enough is the kind of post that a lot of readers hate.  I don't feel that pressure to come up with the next greatest blog post to keep readers entertained every day.  I don't feel any pressure to compete for top blogger.  When I finally get around to turning that blog draft into a post I do and if there is nothing I feel like blogging about I don't.  I may or may not plan guest posts when I go on vacation.  Don't get me wrong.  I love writing and coming up with great content that people enjoy.  It's such a rush!  But I like not feeling pressured.  My goal is to show proof of life for myself and Blogher with at least one post a week.  I usually do more then that but I like it that I don't feel like I have to. 

2)  Scrutiny.  They say that you know you've really made it when people start talking about you.  And not always in a good way.  Chances are I'm not going to be a GOMI victim or find myself the center of some big controversy because of a blog post that I wrote.  I simply don't have enough page views to attract enough of a buzz for anything I write to go viral.  Not that it's impossible.  Just a whole lot less likely.  All bloggers really put themselves out there and it can be a really scary thing.  As a smaller blog I don't worry as much that everything single thing I write is potential material for trashing.  It's the internet so really it is, but I don't feel it so much.

3)  Hate mail.  Big bloggers are targets for those who are green with blogger envy.  Success breeds jealousy and jealousy very often leads to evil comments, finding yourself caught up in blogger drama or as the target of a website dedicated to bashing you.  People can be so so nasty.  It's really sad to see some of the negativity that has swirled around blogland.  I was so shocked at first because I've always seen it as a supportive and happy place.  Well, nobody is hating on me.  Nobody is jealous of my blog and all of my followers.  I've seen smaller blogs get attacked too but in all my years of blogging I've never gotten a nasty comment.  This could mean I'm really boring or that my life doesn't appear perfect enough or more then likely just that I don't have the visibility to make anybody jealous enough to hate me.  I don't have a thick skin.  I'm not sure how I'd handle it and I'd hate to have to deal with that.

4)  Reader interaction.  I don't know how some of those big bloggers deal with the sheer volume of comments they get.  Unless you have an assistant it's obviously not possible to reply to every single one and still have a life so you don't.  Then you might worry that your readers feel ignored and the truth is they probably do, but there simply isn't anything that you can really do about it.  I got an auto generated reply e mail the other day.  It said thank you for commenting.  I can appreciate the thought but I'm still not sure what's worse.  The generic auto reply or nothing at all.  I don't have to reply to or feel badly about NOT replying to 50 million comments on every blog post.  Life gets busy.  I don't reply to every single one but I would say I get to reply to almost all of them.  If I get a new commenter I'll often pop over to comment on their blog.  If I were getting 50 comments on daily posts there is no way that would be possible.  I'd probably try, not be able to keep up and end up feeling really bad about it. 

5) Blog Reading.  If I was spending every day trying to generate a new blog posts, reply to comments, organize link ups and giveaways, set up sponsored posts, do product reviews, analyze traffic stats and whatever else it is that big bloggers do I wouldn't have half the time I do to actually read and comment on other blogs.  I am addicted to reading blogs.  I read way too many and as it is sometimes I have to hit "mark all as read" because I simply can't keep up.  I can't imagine how little time I'd have for it if a lot more of my blogging time had to be dedicated to blog business.  

6) Social Media and Marketing.  I want people to read my blog but I don't want to spend a lot of money on giveaways or multiple sponsorships every month to try to get my blog noticed.  It has become routine for me to tweet my posts once or twice in a day and post it on my Facebook page.  I've always had a personal Facebook but I started a Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram just for blogging.  I don't schedule tweets.  I don't have sponsors to shout out.  I'm not concerned about my lack of presence.  If I drop off the face of the social media planet it's fine.  Except for the most part I haven't because I started to enjoy twitter and Instagram.  It's such a ridiculous time suck but I like it so I try to limit how much time I spend on it. 

7) Blogger burn out.  I can't tell you how many posts I see apologizing because their heart isn't in it anymore.  It's time to scale back sponsorships and no longer will daily posts be possible.  Many take an extended break because blogging has turned into a dreaded obligation that they no longer have time or desire for.  A very popular blogger totally quit last week-indefinitely.  Bloggers are running themselves into the ground obsessing over numbers and trying to be that awesome gung ho blogger.  I see it over and over again.  There are times that I'm not as motivated to post as others.  Sometimes I just don't feel inspired or I'm too busy but I've never felt burnt out or that blogging was something I "have" to do.   I don't do a lot of things the big bloggers do.  To me a lot of it feels to "businessy" and there are too many strings attached so it becomes work.  I do some of the things that the big blogs do but on a smaller scale.  I  have the freedom to blog or not to blog and I like that.  It keeps me coming back for more because it's on my terms.  I came to a realization that the times I have become most disenchanted with blogging had less to do with actual blogging and more to do with all of the external blogging stuff.  Thinking too much about numbers and comparing myself to other bloggers kills my confidence and overall satisfaction with blogging; but only if I let it.  Once I block out all that noise I'm fine.

If blogging was my full time job that paid me full time job kind of money I'll gladly treat it like work.  I wonder how much of the joy of blogging would be stolen if it was my job but I'd suck it up and consider myself lucky.  For some it falls into their lap and they don't have to try very hard.  Those are the ones you really love to hate but I think the majority work their butts off for it and I can't help but think about the sacrifices that all of them make.  I think about how it might start to feel like work and how much pressure they might be feeling to keep it all going.  I don't want to HAVE to post 5 times a week and spend 25 hours a week on my blog.  I already have one job that doesn't pay me enough.  I don't need two.  For every blogger that is earning a solid income or a decent chunk of change there are thousands upon thousands who work just as hard doing everything they are told they are supposed to and still make little to no money.  That's the kicker; and I just don't know if it's worth it.  And maybe I'm only saying that because my blog hasn't become "successful" by definition of numbers and promotional opportunities.  I've never tried NOT to be a big blogger but I also don't think I've done everything I could to try to be one either.  If blogging on my terms at my pace doesn't translate into a large following that's okay.  Not every small blog is a big blog failure.  That's not necessarily the goal for everyone. 

I started this blog because I love to write.  It works for me. I don't get to quit my "day" job, but then again most don't.  I don't get to be "best" blogger or get a lot of free stuff but I get to spend less time on the business of blogging so I have more time to dedicate to the joy of blogging.  For me that's reading, commenting, engaging with other bloggers and posting about whatever inspires me whenever I feel like it.  I love sharing my writing and I want people to read it.  I get excited when I see page views go up or I get another follower.  I love this community and I love my blog.  I still pour a lot of time, energy and care into blogging but on my terms without a whole lot of strings attached.  And I kinda like it that way. 

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