Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carabox Reveal

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

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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Defense of Negativity and How I Enjoyed High School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertising with AHH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lent Week #2 - Keeping House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Click
6. Click again

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

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

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Photo an Hour Friday

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

7AM - driving to work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3PM - Bills Bills Bills

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

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

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

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

I love seeing the skyline from my house :)  

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

9PM - Wise words

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

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

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Why you will never meet me at Blissdom...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Win a Giveaway

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

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

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

1.       Get on that social media! 

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

2.       Take the time to enter 

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

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

3.       Be a thankful entrant

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

4.       Your odds are fantastic in a small giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

100x50 = 5000 entries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life lately

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lent Week #1 - Less TV

Well, the first day of lent is here, and I am not organized at all with my plan of attack of my simplifying lent.

I want to take things a week at a time, and make a change per week and they will snowball into something large and meaningful.

I am starting with my #1 vice, TV.  I am not giving up TV, because the point is just to not let worldly things control you, not to make your life miserable.  Plus my DVR will not be able to hold all those shows I would need to catch up on for 7 weeks.


So what I am going to do is not watch TV during the week at all.  I am have picked out my top 12 shows that I really want to see and will save them up to watch over the weekend.  I am really excited about this because I will have so much more free time to do anything I want!  I will keep my apartment all tidy, I will get books read, CPA exams studied for, a nice wholesome dinner made AND have the kitchen cleaned, time with friends, hobbies, endless possibilities.  All of these things get put aside if something worth watching is on.  I have even been known to not take a phone call from my best friend if a TV show I am really into is on.  That, I feel, is the sign of a TV addict in desperate need of recovery.  Plus so much of my life gets mindlessly drained away because even if nothing I care to watch is on, I will find SOMETHING to watch, and it will most likely be dumb or something I have seen 20 times before (Seinfeld reruns, anyone??).

Here are my "Shows that Make the Cut"

1. Teen Mom
2. Body of Proof
3. New Girl
4. The Middle
5. Suburgatory
6. Community
7. Parks and Rec
8. The Office
9. Shark Tank
10. The Suze Orman Show
11. SNL
12. Revenge
13. Misc. shows that may come back for a new season, ie: Catfish, Portlandia, Sisterwives.

What did not make the cut, basically all the TLC shows.  I usually watch Hoarders, and My Strange Addiction, along with all the Friday wedding shows.  Plus hours upon hours of food network on the weekends.  I'll survive!  I did use some forethought and didn't get any new shows started, even though I was really curious of how Myrtle Manor on TLC was going to turn out. 

I looked it up and for each 30 min show, you get 22 mins of programming, and each hour show is 42 mins.  So I will have less commericals in my face telling me to buy things I don't want or need, and will save a bunch of time. I have 6 half hour shows that will clock in at 132 mins, and 210 mins of hour long shows and I'll give SNL about 60 minutes because I usually skip through the musical guest.  402 minutes of TV.  If watching live that is 9.5 hours of TV, but this way it is only approximately 6 hours and 45 mins.  WOW!  If I parlayed those extra 3 hours into a skill I could be an expert at something in 66 years.  Or if I just used it to exercise, I could probably add an extra 5-10 years on my life.  More time to watch TV in my old age!!!  lol. 

The only challenge I foresee is that Aaron did not agree to this challenge with me, so from the 10pm-11pm window when we are usually in bed but not asleep yet, The Daily Show and Colbert Report will be on.  (Sadly this is how I get most of my current events news...)  So in the spirit of compromise, I will probably see both of these shows each night.  Oh well. 

I am willing to bet $ by tonight at 8pm I will be bored out of my mind and regretting this decision, lol.  No pain, no gain!

Any suggestions for how to use my free time?  What would you do with substantially less TV?

Also I am linking up with Lisette and Rachel to spread the Bloglovin' love

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Sky is Falling!

It is funny yet sad when the cancelling of google reader is more of a talking point than a newly elected Pope.  I wonder what historians will say about our time.  Hopefully those people will be worse? lol

When I heard Google reader was going away I didn't think it affected me because I used google friend connect and read everything through my dashboard.  As I am reading more, I suppose the GFC widget is just a connecting tool that links your reader to all the other things.  I don't really know if blogger is going to take away all the connectibility it provided to those who blog here, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.  It is the same story with people getting all up and arms about whenever facebook changes their layout monthly.  You always adapt, right?  Plus it is a free service, so you can't complain all that loudly.  If it is truly ruining your life, your best bet is to just leave.  I thought about what a Google boycott would look like and I may as well unplug myself from the Internet indefinitely.

I feel a bit bummed about it, I'll be honest.  I bought 90% of those GFC readers via sponsorships and giveaways, and have converted approximately 2-4% of you guys into regular readers with my wit and charm.  Thank you!  lol.  Google giveth, and Google taketh away. 

Maybe this is a good thing, and more of an equalizer.  Sort of like school uniforms?  There are times, for the life of me, that I cannot understand why I or others (thousands of others!) follow a blog that just isn't very good.  But I see the elusive 5000K GFC friends and I think, I need to follow this gal because she is doin' something right!  And I secretly hope to hone in on the secret to being so popular and wind up even more confused.  I shouldn't be so caught up in numbers, and more about driving traffic because people like to be here and not just to quickly enter a giveaway.  I am totally guilty of that as I can NOT turn my back on a giveaway.  No joke, I win!  Kind of a lot it seems, I would say maybe 5% of the giveaways I enter I win.  It's all a numbers game, and numbers are my bag, baby.(Austin Powers, anyone? ok.)  If I made big bucks, I'm certain I'd invest in my blog more, because I like to be if not the best, very good at things I spend my time on.  Just know, like Ludacris, I am coming for that #1 spot.  Unfortunately at this point I am only making the medium bucks, so I do what I can.
I digress.
However, this situation is not okay.
Seriously guys, that is insane.  

I already feel overwhelmed reading and commenting on my sidebar blogs along with my blogfriends I have grown to love reading due to thoughtful interactions and such.  And I entertain the thought that 930 is a reasonable amount of blogs to peruse?  Girl, please.

Enter 7

7 was recommended by Megan over on her blog and it looked super interesting to me.  Mostly because I have basically nothing going on aside from being required to show up to work from 8-5 during the week yet I constantly feel busy, over-extended and drained.  I mean, I know I am old and tired, but if this is 31, I don't look forward to 41, and every other year after that.

I am reminded of a story I once read about a US Marine who suffered from PTSD, and had a breakdown in the cereal aisle of a grocery store. 
From where I stood, I could understand why anyone would freak out in a cereal aisle, and thought it odd that more people didn't.

It is overwhelming.

The options, all the colors, the sheer volume of what amounts to somewhere near 100 options of something so simple and mostly meaningless: the sugary garbage you will eat for breakfast for a week.  Sadly, this breakfast cereal example is replicated amongst every facet of our lives.  The amount of websites we read, information we gather, places to shop, places to eat, things to buy, TV to watch.  The staggering amount of options, while amazing, I think it really stresses us out!  Is this freedom?

7 is the story of Jen Hatmaker's quest to simplify against excess.  Not to criticize right off the bat, but the whole idea of the book is more of 7 separate temporary fasts, rather than a quest for permanent change for the better which wasn't entirely what I was expecting.  I still find the story very insightful, heartwarming and funny.  Jen seems like someone I would be friends with.  I guess I just would rather be inspired by someone who says no to society and gives up owning hundreds of items of clothing forever, because it is good for them.  I am not finished with the book though, so I don't know for sure what sticks and what doesn't.

We are fast approaching Orthodox Lent (we are Orthodox Christians and go by a different (Gregorian, maybe?) calendar than the rest of the world in regards to Easter) and since we are hardcore, we fast.  Until Pascha (Orthodox Easter - pronounced pah-ska) we don't eat meat, dairy, fish or oil.  It is a struggle to come up with non-boring food to eat, and no doubt we falter several times during by eating cheese, or a filet-o-fish from McDonalds.  We are sinners, what can ya do?! ;)  I really dig the whole meaning behind fasting before a feast.  In our church Pascha is the most important day/feast of the year, and you don't really get the joy of the feast without the fast coming first. 

When I was Catholic I was always giving up soda or chocolate for lent - a sacrifice I would make to emulate the sacrifice Jesus made for me.  I want to sort of make a hybrid of East meets West Lenten practices this year, and I want to fast from everything that makes my brain feel wired.  I want to unplug a little, practice more moderation and quiet my mind so that God can find His way in a little better.  I want to be calm and still and quiet for a little while, and learn some self-control skills that I can apply to life in general and its vastness. 

A start is these 930 blogs.  We are going to drop down to an even 900 at once!  LOL.  I just wanted to make a quick point while I am on my tyrade , I see a new blogger every week who proclaims 'enough is enough' and swear off link-ups and giveaways and this that and the other.  I feel them, because when you follow nearly a thousand blogs, there are all of these things every single day and people compelling you to join.  I can't even begin to get them all straight!  But on the same point, I think if you aren't sick of it, then do your thing!  It frustrates me that these giant bloggers upon doing their 45th giveaway decide it is over and they are tired of them.  Yeah, great, you can sit back and relax and enjoy your thousands of followers and hundreds of comments you get on your posts.  Some of us just started blogging yesterday and we want opportunities to give stuff away and link up and meet people and not feel like we are being a loser because Big Blogger Gal says giveaways aren't cool anymore.  That stuff just really rubs me the wrong way.  We aren't all you and we are gonna do what we want until our blog is where we want it- your opinion, while valid on your blog - I think is singling out people who were just like you and doing what you did when you were starting out, and I find that uncool and pretty unfair.    

I digress, again.

I haven't quite figured out my plan of attack yet, but I need to get on it - Lent starts Monday!

Oh, and if you want to do the blog lovin' thing, great, I am here.  I've never been much of an alarmist, rather a giant procrastinator, so I will be pimping out all my bloglovin' junk around June

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