What Muffin Top?

This was the last thing I wanted to write about… As funny as I knew this post could be, the more I wrote, the more morbid it became…

muffin-top-w724

3 years ago: I spent an afternoon in a little coffee shop that sold unique gifts, like the muffin holders in the picture above.  I laughed when I saw them… but I’m not laughing any more.

More about 3 years ago: I was in great shape.

Fast forward to today: My muffin top is overflowing.  I’m in terrible shape and can’t believe how far I let myself go.  For the past year, I contemplated joining a gym and working out, but I was lazy and had every excuse not to.  The problem was that my excuses were lame.  I don’t have a full-time job and honestly, being consistent about my blog hadn’t been a priority.  Again, I was just being lazy.

Last Week – Day 1: I signed up for a 14-day free trial at a gym, and went.  At first, I only did cardio.  It was a bike.  Did I mention that I have always hated cardio?  But, I was scared.  I used to love free weights!  The free-weight room at my gym was one of my happy places.

Day 2: I did venture into the free-weight room, but it was filled with young kids and I Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.  I wasn’t ready.  I did do more cardio though.  I tried a different bike.

This Week – Monday: Yup, I did cardio again, but that was AFTER I spent some quality time in the free-weight room.  Monday I decided to work my lats and bi’s (I am all about getting back to my old routine).  I struggled, almost broke a machine, couldn’t lift a quarter of what I used to and even had to stop mid-stream during one of my reps because I had no juice left.  Instead of quitting though, I tucked my tail between my legs, put the weights I was using back on the rack and picked up lighter ones so I could finish. I was embarrassed!  It was hard… but really, nobody cared, and they weren’t even paying attention to me.

Today – Tuesday: Back to the gym I went.  This morning, I got to the gym extra early, saw that it was crowded, and sat in my car.  Yup, I sat there for a good 15 minutes before I went in.  I hated how I felt.  I despise the fear I have.  My emotions were sucking the life out of me, but then I remembered a TEDx talk by Angela Lee Duckworth about GRIT.  Her words:

Grit

She talked about how GRIT is how success is measured.  It’s not necessarily your IQ, or how well you do in school.  It’s your GRIT that counts.  I’m not sure if it was thinking about her talk that helped or simply the word GRIT because it sounds so raw and makes me kind of want to dig in!  At that moment though, it didn’t matter.  I did it.  I got out of my car and went in.  I started in the women’s area today because I wanted to focus on my legs and I have never been comfortable with myself during a full leg work out.  There was a mirror in front of me during my workout (my muffin top was in full-force).  It sucked to look at myself, and how much I let my body go, but that also made me a little stronger, and more sure of what I want.  I want my body back and refuse to let anything get in the way.  After finishing my leg workout, I went back to my trusty bike.  It broke in the middle of my training but at least I got 14 minutes in.

Tomorrow: I’ll be back at the gym for chest and tri’s.  I know all of this is going to get easier.  Each day… a little easier… I have faith.

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Moms On Social Media

My kids are not on social media… yet.  Some of their friends are though… and some of them follow me.

momsocialmediaIt’s a catch 22 when your kids friends follow you on social media.  It can also make for some uncomfortable situations.  With blogging being a profession of mine, using social media is an absolute must.  I have to use it if I want to make money.  I also have to allow people (even strangers) to view my profiles, and follow me if they want.  If I didn’t, I would not have the social media reach that I do, which is part of how I earn a living.

My girls have a few older friends who are allowed to use social media.  Some of their friends follow me on social media, which can make things a little uncomfortable.

My dilemma…

I want to follow them back, and I don’t…  I like knowing who my kids are spending time with.  I want to protect my girls however I can and I know that social media will open my eyes to what they are into and what’s going on in their world.  I also know that I might have a hard time keeping my mouth shut if I see things I don’t want to see.  If I happened to stumble across something on-line that I don’t think should be traveling through cyberspace, or I see that the child of a friend of mine is doing something wrong, as a parent, I would have to let their parents know.  It’s not a place anyone wants to be in.

It’s nice being known as a mom that your kids friends like, but the reality is, I am a mom first.  If that means protecting my own daughters or any other child, I will always pick that over being a mom that kids like.

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Best Website For Parents

Trust Me… You Cannot Live Without This

bestwebsiteforparentsHave you ever wondered if your kids are watching age-appropriate TV shows or movies? What about the books they read? How often do you personally screen these things or do you assume they are ok for your kids because someone else said so?  Fortunately, you don’t have to wonder any more, thanks to Common Sense Media.

I wish I had more time in the day to screen everything for my girls, but the reality is I don’t. I found Common Sense Media through a friend of mine and it has saved me a lot of time and worry.

As their tagline states… They rate, educate, and advocate for kids, families, and schools.

CSM

WHAT YOU GET:

Reviews for Movies, TV Shows, Games, Apps, Books, Websites and Music.

Reviews Include:

  • Whether the content is age-appropriate for your child or not,
  • What the learning potential is,
  • Information about the content like… positive role models, consumerism, ease of play and more,
  • What parents need to know,
  • What the story is about,
  • What you can explore or discuss,
  • Subject and skills,
  • How kids can learn,
  • How parents can help.

Did I mention that there is also a Common Sense Media App?

To sum it up, it’s amazing and takes the guesswork out of common parenting questions about kids and media.

commonsense

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My New Venture

bareboneswriter

I am so excited to share this!

This website has transformed from a mommy technology blog, to a mixture of all things me… and now it’s time. I have finally conceded that it is time to monetize. I always knew it was the right thing to do, so when I was approached to do just that, I jumped!

Going forward, I am excited to share that “This Blog” will still be my blog, but…

It’s a big project, but a great one!  Through years of writing, I have compiled lists of tools I wish I had when I started my career.  I spent hours searching for things on the internet and now, I want to make it easy for you so you don’t have to go through the same things I did.  This is going to be so much more than just tools for you…

It’s going to be ABOUT YOU, THE WRITER!

If there is anything you would love to see on a website dedicated to writers (and I mean all sorts), drop me a comment.  Let me know what YOU need to make your career goals a reality.

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Why People Don’t Read Your Blog

It’s not good enough any more if you simply love to write.  Like everything in life, “just” writing, or doing “just” about anything, is never good enough.

You need to do more… and more.

Your words are only 25% of the equation. Now, to make it in the writing business on-line, you “have to” include images, and of course, you cannot forget about publicizing to all of your social media outlets, and then there is this whole concept of using the perfect keywords and hashtags to get remotely noticed… and the list goes on…

There are days I love it, and days I am sick of it. There are more websites telling you what you should and shouldn’t do, and there are more tools out there, to help you navigate the social media labyrinth we live in, yet, none actually make it easy for you. In fact, they not only complicate matters, but in order for you to be able to use these tools to their fullest potential, you have to pay… and it’s not always cheap.

So here are my thoughts… WRITE. JUST WRITE because you love it. Don’t feel like you always need to comply with the “What You Need To Do To Be Successful” rules the cyber-world tells you about.

Just write because it feels right. Write because you love it. Write without barriers.

… And if, today, you decide not to include an image, or hashtags, or submitting your work to all of your social media outlets, don’t feel bad about it. Don’t give it a second thought. You wrote! That’s what you need to do!

In the past, there were many nights that I didn’t blog because I didn’t feel like putting an image together, or didn’t feel like adding more than what I really wanted to write. I was an idiot. I love my readers, but you are not the only ones I write for. I write for myself too. So, as much as I love to give my readers what makes you happy, I need to give myself a little something that makes me happy too… and sometimes, it’s simply in black and white.

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Bare Bone Writing

nataliegoldbergI kept a notebook because she told me to.
I kept writing, even when I had nothing to write about.
I jotted down thoughts as they came to me (even the totally random ones), because of her.
I just wrote, and wrote, and although a lot of what I wrote I am still not ready to publish, I kept on writing… because Natalie Goldberg told me to in her book.

Its authenticity and honesty on paper is not what I expected, but the good stuff didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took a long time to get here.  I still struggle on-line, but my notebooks… well, those are another story.

When I started my new writing process, thanks to Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down The Bones, I censored everything I wrote. My writing was inhibited… especially in my private journal/notebooks. I was petrified of what other people would think… BUT NOBODY WAS GOING TO READ ANY OF IT! What’s the worst that could happen anyway? Say I died and someone read them… Who gives a shiitake anyway (sorry Marie Forleo, but I totally stole that from you for this post)! I’d be dead!

I kept thinking, “What the hell is wrong with me!” But nothing was wrong with me. I was like a lot of other people. We all live with this awful fear of being judged for who we are. It’s such a tough battle! I struggle with it every day and it absolutely SUCKS! It’s something we are conditioned to do. As a writer, the last thing you want to do is hold back your thoughts, but sometimes, expressing them seems harder. Writing freely only gets easier if you keep doing it. When you do, your authentic voice starts to shine. Only then will you be noticed for you. Even the criticism you get may not be as bad as you expect… Trust me, there are enough lame writers out there without a voice of their own. I was one of them.

If you are a writer, and you haven’t read Writing Down The Bones, do yourself a favor and get the book here. It’s awesome!

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The Best Calendar App

apppocketinf3Do you always feel like you are forgetting something?  Are you always searching for a better way to organize you life?  Do you have trouble deciding between using a day planner or a virtual calendar?  

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are in the right place… and a lot like me!  I have been a planner junkie for years.  I may never get rid of my paper planners/journals, but have found a great solution to A LOT of my organizing problems. It’s a little app called Pocket Informant and it is my saviour!  As stated in the app description:

“Spend less time managing your schedule, and more time living it!  Informant keeps your entire schedule task list and notes collection all in one easy to use place.”  They aren’t kidding!

I love this app because…

  • It syncs with both my Google calendar and my built-in calendar.
  • I needed an app that would sync with Evernote since it’s where I hold every one of my important life-tidbits.
  • Pocket Informant lets me email and message my tasks, notes and events.
  • I can tag anything I add to the app which makes things even more convenient when I need to find something in a pinch.
  • The Rich Notes allow me to use the app as a daily journal too.
  • It allows you to color code… need I say more?
  • I can even toggle between different calendar views based on my preference (my favorite being the week view shown below):

pocket12

… and of course, because it is so easy to add events, tasks, notes, and it’s seamless!  Did I mention that they are working on a release for your Desktop too?!?

Pocket Informant is the first app that I have consistently used for a long time and actually helps organize my life.

 

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Currently 07 : Stuff I Love

These are my favorite posts!  I love when I get to share the things I’m most into, and this week, I have some real goodies for you!

CURRENTLY06

1.  I have searched for great way to organize my jewelry for a long time.  Finally, I found it and can you believe it’s the cheapest solution too!  I found these amazing Black Velvet Jewelry Display Stands and bought a few.  I coordinated with a few other black velvet displays which took my jewelry organization to another level!

2.  I cannot believe it’s taken me this long but I finally watched Parenthood on Netflix and Fell. In. Love.  After a quick marathon watching session, I can proudly say that I am on Parenthood: Season 2 and loving every minute of it!

3.  My new Gold Apple iPhone 6!  Do I need to say more?  LOVE IT!  If you have the chance to upgrade, just do it!

4.  This is for the smoothie lover!  The Garden of Life RAW Organic Meal In Chocolate is super tasty and SOOOO good for you!  It’s a win in my book!

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Weekend Reads For You

weekendbuzz

Without any warm weather in site, this weekend, my goal is to curl up and catch up on some much-needed reading… that said, I decided to share some love-filled goodness from around the web with you.

Here are some of my favorite reads for the weekend:

 

♥ IN BUSINESS
The Story Of Telling always has great and useful posts.  I hop over to Bernadette’s website often because I love her writing style and the information she provides is always useful!  That said, her article, “The Difference Between A Pitch And A Brand Story” is a great read for anyone in the writing business.  Check it out here.

♥ IN LIFESTYLE
Who doesn’t love A House In The Hills?  I fell in love with their “Style Round Up” for the week the moment I popped over to their site!  You’ve got to check out their picks here.  I want it all!

♥ IN DESIGN
IHeart Organizing is one of my favorite websites EVER.  Every post super simple, clean and leaves a lot to be desired!  “Reader Space: A Studio to be Smitten With” made this weeks In Design cut with flying colors.  Check it out here!

♥ IN FOOD
If you haven’t heard of Joy The Baker, then you are in luck!  I met Joy at a retreat last year and know first-hand that not only is her cooking incredible, she is really a beautiful soul. Lucky for us, she shares her beauty in her blog and cooking as well.  This week, I had to share a recent post of hers titled “Joy The Baker’s Best Winter Recipes”.  I just tried her Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla soup and It. Was. AMAZING.  Take a peek at Joy’s Best Winter Recipes here.

♥ IN PHOTOGRAPHY
The Phoblographer has done it again with a great post.  Whether you are a portrait photographer or not, “How To Make the Most Of A Portrait Lens” is a great read for anyone interested it photography.  Check out his thoughts here.

♥ IN INSPIRING CONTENT
If you are a regular reader here, you know I love quotes.  Pick The Brain recently posted “9 Nelson Mandela Quotes That Will Inspire You To Change” and Dan Western was not wrong!  Wow is all I can say for the list of quotes and his thoughts on each.  If you are looking for inspiration, look no further and click here.

That’s it for this weekends reads! Enjoy!

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Do You Want A Career In Freelance?

Are you ready to begin your Freelance Writing career, but don’t know where to start?  You are in the right place and boy do I have some information for you…

freelancecareer
First of all, GOOD FOR YOU! It can be a very lucrative career choice, and if you love to write, then go for it! It wasn’t until recently that I decided to jump-start my Freelance career and take it to the next level. The last few years, I have written for various publications sporadically. Never did I think I would make it a full-time career. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to. It was because I was afraid to, and I didn’t know where to start.

I’m sure I am not the only person out there with these concerns. The internet world can be very daunting, and getting a Freelance writing job is quite different from the traditional interview leading to a job offer. I can honestly say that I have been very lucky since all the work I’ve done so far has been offered to me. Since writing is what makes me happy, I decided to start pursuing it more.

Less than a week ago, I did a few things to help move forward with my career goals…

First, I spent a little time looking through job boards, like the one on ProBlogger.com. Reading the job postings was a great start for me. I got an idea of what different companies were looking for from writers. Through that, I began putting together a better writing resume, and highlighting my work that pertained to what brands expected. Next, I started to apply. I applied to a few jobs I thought would be a good fit. I already got accepted for one.

After submitting my resume, I started to build a few quick on-line profiles that I could send to different job postings. I always thought that I needed a descriptive writing resume to get a great job, but really, every company is different. Some want a quick profile with writing samples. Others want you to go on their site, complete a few questions, or even a writing sample on a topic of their choice.

One of the greatest things I found were Freelance writing sites like oDesk.com and greatcontent.com. Both websites make you fill out an application. Once you complete it, they look over your information and either accept you, or not. If accepted, many more doors could be opened for you pretty fast. Both sites have a ton of listings daily for jobs available for all sorts of Freelance work. Once you complete your profile, you can start applying to the jobs, and even choosing your own rates!

These paths are new to me, but I can’t wait to keep you up to date on my progress. So far, I am amazed with the results. I plan on posting more about different sites and other tools for writers. In the meantime, if you have any questions for me, feel free to leave me a comment below and I will answer them quickly!

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