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Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, This Blogger's life, blogging, people behind the blogging

This week, I am so proud and excited to welcome Jessica Escobar of Jess in the ATX to This Blogger’s Life. It’s not often that I gush about anyone ( other than my kids) but Jessica truly is my Latina sister from another mister. Aside from being a whip smart lawyer working in a law firm and superhero mom & wife by night, she is an amazing woman who writes from the heart. In her quiet, classy way ( yes, she is my complete opposite in this area) she is fierce and loves and lives BIG. She is an all in kind of woman with a heart as big as Texas. When you talk to her, she is one of those rare people who actually listens and is present. She makes you feel like you matter and this is a gift that many lack.

I don’t know exactly how many years that I have “known” Jessica but it feels like I have known her forever. That’s what it feels like reading her blog, like you are sitting down at the kitchen table with a dear old friend you’ve grown up with and know one another’s secrets. That is the beauty of blogging friends, they know the secrets that you might not tell your in real life friends because it’s just too damn hard to utter the words of weakness or fear but online, for me anyways, I can speak freely and never hold my tongue. I appreciate that in other writers as well because then I feel like I know the real them; flawed and imperfectly awesome. Jessica is so much more to me than what a quick blurb could ever describe so I will leave you with this, please check out her blog Jess in the ATX and see for yourself what a true warrior looks like; quietly stoic and ever pressing on, never giving up. I admire this Jess more than she knows. You will thank me for having the chance to get to know such a truly, strong, amazing and authentic woman. Jess is more than just one of my favorite people on the Internet, she is one of my people in the world. She’s the real deal and you will be a better person for having known her. I dare you to see her smiling avatar and not have a better day. That’s Jess, she lights up the world.

Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

This Blogger’s Life… Jessica Escobar

 

Jessica Escobar, Jess in the ATX, This Blogger's life, blogging, people behind the blogging
Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging a few years ago as a way to share my stories about my daughter. It was a way to share her funny moments and my proud mommy moments. It was less about me and more about her.

What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Don’t make it about trying to be like “that other blogger over there who does that big stuff”. It isn’t about trying to be big. You can’t compare yourself or try to copy their style. You have to have your own voice and speak from your heart.

What are the three words that describe you best?
proud, strong, caring

What is your favorite website?

Hmmm that’s tough. I really don’t have one! I really don’t surf the net. I have a very small list of blogs I love. It’s definitely not the mainstream ones.

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

Running. I’m out of the habit but it’s something that I’m working to get back into it. It’s my release and my me time. Self care is VERY Important and something that often gets neglected as a mama.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

You have to find your voice. It’s easy to be scared of what the people in your “real life” will think of you. It’s so much easier to build a community who truly understand and support you. I’m proud to share my experiences because you never know who is reading and understands what you’re going through.

How do you balance life and blogging?

Right now I’m on “hiatus.” That’s a nice way of saying I’m having a dry spell. And I’m ok with that. Sometimes you just don’t have the words and when you aren’t trying to be the next big thing that’s fine. You can’t be hard on yourself and force the words out or you won’t enjoy yourself. You have to make the time when you want to and it’ll just balance yourself out.

How has blogging changed you or your life?
It has given me an absolutely amazing community of women who have been the most wonderful support system and group of friends that I wish I had in my community. They are the best bunch of women that I’ve never met. It’s so true that some of your best friends can live in your computer.
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

They are definitely similar but not necessarily the same, not to me. A successful blog is the one that gets all the big traffic and the one that people know. They have all the “big sponsors” and they’re the ones that people want to be like. That’s all good and great. And there’s the GREAT blogs. It’s being awesome but more than hits. They’re the ones like Deb who truly speak they’re minds and are real and open and about LIFE. Many bloggers speak from the heart.  Sometimes you blog for the hits. We’ve all done it and it happens. No harm no foul.

If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

I would be fine. I would look back at what I wrote and be proud. But I would never let go of my blogging community.

 

How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

That’s the hard part. I have to balance my true story with the privacy of my family. I struggle with that a lot. I really censor myself because I fight depression and anxiety. I don’t want people in my personal life to read it and judge my husband or my girls and think they are getting less than a wife or a mother. It’s also why I’ve pulled back on what I say about them. It’s a hard road to walk but it really is up to you as a blogger to decide how much you share and who your audience is. I’m very weary of my real life people, and that’s just because I am reserved with them in real life. I’m not one way online and different in person.

Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?

Blogging seemed to be a lot more carefree. Then you go through the phase where you want to really grow and get big. Then you get over it and just want to be.

 

How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I really try to speak from the heart. A lot of that has to do with parenting, because damn that shiz is hard work! I think that’s something a lot of other women struggle with. We question our skills but often we just underestimate ourselves.

If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

OMG, Steve Jobs. I just finished his bio and I’m obsessed. My mom. She passed of cancer in 2006. DEB! Damn I love that girl. She’s so real. Three other computer friends. 🙂 I’m not a star gazer, so no one famous.

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m actually on a social media hiatus and that kind of happened during my depression. I’m just removed from social media and not really interested and that’s ok! The people that I’m connected to know where to find me and I know where to find them. I think that’s why I’m disconnected from the internet right now.

 

What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

The one where I laid it all out about my postpartum anxiety. I was really scared to hit publish because I had to admit that I’m human. What’s more? I sent it to a few people in my family.

https://justjessatx.com/postpartum-depression-maternal-mental-health/

Jess, Thank you so much for letting me interview you on This Blogger’s Life! You truly are one of my favorite people in the world and you know I am not about blowing smoke and rainbows up butts, so you when I say it, you know I mean it. Keep on keeping on, mama! You are an extraordinary woman and I feel blessed to be called your friend. XOXO
If you want to know more about Jess, check out the blog, JESS in the ATX on Facebook and @Jessesco on Twitter.

You will wonder why you didn’t have Jessica Escobar in your life sooner:)

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blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Blogging changed my life. They say the truth will set you free and, boy, is that ever true in my case. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like a fraud; a child living in an adult’s body or vice versa. Even when I appeared to be in the know or popular, I felt like I wasn’t and at any minute I would be found out and revealed for the dork I truly was. I’m very social and I appear to be confident but really, I spent most of my life feeling like I never truly fit in because very few people ever really knew the real me. I had secrets, like we all do, but by not sharing them they were weighting me down, choking me out. This left me feeling like I was living a lie. I needed to be me, in all of my glorious imperfection.

Then I started blogging (like no one was reading because back then no one was) and I decided that I was going to go big or go home and I wrote my truth with no filter and it felt amazing. It only got scary when I realized that people were reading. The first time I went to BlogHer people, strangers by all rights, came up to me and hugged me with knowing looks in their faces. They had read my stories. They knew “Truthful Mommy” more so than some of the people who had known “Deborah” my entire life. That was a humbling and overwhelming feeling for me. I realized that my words were powerful and meant something to somebody because someone else understood and had felt what I felt. We were linked forever by our words.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I used to be afraid to dream too big. I was afraid that letting myself wish too hard would only end in failing catastrophically. This was my life. Sounds sad, right? But after a lot of letting down and disappointment, I learned not to want for more. In all honesty, I was terrified of trying and even more so of failing.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. It was a grandiose, unattainable goal in my mind. It certainly wasn’t practical. I couldn’t allow my heart to want it, though it longed for it with every fiber. I wrote words like I breathed air. I had to, it was compulsory. Words are how I process emotion, without them, it would all be too much.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I take the world and all that’s happened to me in it, I take it inside to my quiet still place and I sort it, making sense of life by spitting it back out onto paper. When I think of the moments of my life that I’ve shared with the universe simply because it was the only way to survive it, I lose my breath. I am exposed and vulnerable. But isn’t that what it’s supposed to feel like when you make the decision to take the blind leap in pursuit of happiness?

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

A couple weeks ago, I went to a the BlogHer conference in New York City. You know those moments when the stars align and you find yourself in this surreal, magical place in the world where fantasy meets reality and you can feel the momentum pushing you forward to chase those dreams? That is what BlogHer is for me.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For some, a blog conference is a place to learn to blog or a place to network with companies, in the hopes of making a hobby a career or for some, a dream a reality. Some people come for the swag and others for the parties. I come for the people.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For me, it’s more than just a place to learn about SEO, social media and translating your metrics. It can be about finding your voice and honing your craft and for some, it’s all about business connections. But for me, it’s a place to be amongst my people, my friends; a place to feel I belong completely.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

The people who held my fragile heart while I tried my hardest to survive my miscarriage, these are the same women who helped me navigate the toddler years and now the tweens. Women who held me in their virtual and real arms as I wearily bared my soul and shared the story of my diagnosis.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Women who look to my stories of surviving eating disorders and embracing forgiveness after years of being abused as a child for their own inspiration. These are people who have read my inner most thoughts and most personal stories and not judged me. My fellow bloggers, my readers, they know me on a level that most people in real life don’t. This is why I go.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

It’s not like going to a conference with a bunch of strangers; it’s like going home. It took me a long time to find my people, years. I didn’t go to my first blog conference until 2013 and when I did, I knew, this was where I belonged. These are my people and even though it might be expensive and inconvenient to travel in the middle of the summer, away from my family, I need those connections with my blogging world. I need to go to this place where people really get me and what I do; a place where I can say I am a blogger and not get dismissive or bewildered looks. Go to a place where other people write their vulnerable truths and understand the power of honesty; the weight of words. It is everything.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Because of blogging, I can answer anyone who asks the question, “What do you do?’ Proudly and with confidence, “I am a writer.” I used to be embarrassed to say it because it was like saying, ” I am an artist or I’m an alien.” People just look at you like you’re touched in the head and not based in reality but because of blogging, I have a resume, I have bylines all over the Internet and I actually get paid to do what I love from the comfort of my own home office. I travel and I work with amazing companies to change the world, in some cases, all because I dared to dream. Blogging gave me the courage to follow my dreams because it allowed me to share my stories and find my people. Blogging changed my life.

Where do you belong? If you’re a blogger, how has blogging changed your life?

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organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

My house is in disarray. It needs tidying up like I need sleep. Desperately. I don’t know about you but when my house is in chaos, my mind is in chaos. When my mind is in disarray, I feel overwhelmed and it’s hard for me to get my bearings.
When my perspective is skewed, it’s hard to stay focused on the positive and when that happens, it’s impossible to hit goals and chase down dreams because you’re too busy chasing your own tail. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo organization method is helping me to organize my life, my home, my mind and my soul. Who knew the KonMari organization method would work for me.

Enter fate and an unlikely Netflix binge, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Not going to lie, I bought the book a couple years ago. I started reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and it made sense but I’m a visual learner. You can tell me but it’s better if you show me.

Friday night, I turned on Netflix to find my next great binge and there it was, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Not normally my cup of tea but as I’m trying to be more positive and I know my method of tidying up is not working, I knew that organization is not my strong suit but it needs to be.

As soon as I saw the look of being lost on the first couples face, I could relate. It’s like one day you look around and you’re asking yourself, how did I get here? Whose life am I living because it’s so off the mark from what you imagined for yourself.
Before we had kids and when the kids were toddlers, my house was immaculate. Organization was my jam. A place for everything and everything in its place. Tidying up was not a problem. Then, the Big Guy lost his job and we had to do the whole commuter marriage thing and I was alone with a 2 & 4 year old.

READ ALSO: What is Commuter Marriage?

I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and if I’m being completely honest, a little depressed. Everything became too much and something had to give. I had to let go of the idea of a perfect house and focus on taking care of 2 small children by myself. The house went on the market and loads of stuff went into conveniently located storage facilities in Melbourne so the house could be shown. A couple temporary moves with stuff in storage and us in small quarters and somehow we acquired more stuff.

Then there was the miscarriage, our dog dying and the year of living with our in laws while stuff was in storage. My goal was just to survive. Tidying up and organization were not my priorities. It was just one more thing to do in an ever growing pile of things to do. Things that were overwhelming and exhausting at a time when I was already buried up to my neck in obligations and in full survival mode.

We’ve been in this house for 6 years and we’re still not fully unpacked and we’ve accumulated so much stuff just to replace stuff that was in storage or unfindable when we needed it. There’s always a holiday, visitors, traveling or some other obligation so we never get the time, or if I’m being honest, have the desire to sift through and sort through our lives so we keep the downstairs clean with help from house cleaning dublin while the attic and garage are bursting at the seams and clean, folded laundry is stacked in all the bedrooms towering over us while we sleep.

READ ALSO: How to Get Your House Company Ready without Killing Yourself

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

It’s embarrassing, all the “stuff” we have. We don’t need it. But I’ve realized, the way some people eat their feelings, I shop to feel better. Then, I feel worse when I get the bill and I feel complete shit when I see my house full of stuff. I feel guilty. I actually feel embarrassed to carry my Louis Vuitton handbag bought for me as a gift by my husband because I feel like it’s just one more possession; a luxury that I either don’t need or don’t deserve. I haven’t quite figured out which.

I saw Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and learned the KonMari method of organization at the right time.

Just as I’ve recently decided that there is no more try only do. I decided we were doing this. Saturday morning, I asked my family to watch the first episode with me so we were all on the same page. We’ve started with the clothes. We’re still sorting through them. I went through so much clothing and moved so much clothing, shoes and bags around my room that after 15 hours, my entire body was aching; buckling under the physical pressure of organizing closets but my mind felt free and light. That is worth as many hours as it takes.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We each went through our own stuff because I feel like only each of us can decide what’s important and sparks joy for us. At 11 and 13-years-old my girls can do that plus, they’re going to be more respectful of how they treat their belongings and how they appreciate the work it takes to tidy up more if they do it themselves. If we do it for them, they can’t fully appreciate what that entails. We all worked all day doing this.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

We started Saturday around noon collected about 15-20 bags of clothing to donate to the women’s shelter. We’re not even done yet. There will be more. I plan to use the KonMari tidying up organization method throughout my entire home over the next month or so. We’re in it as long as it takes. I will keep you all updated on here on Mondays.

How does Marie Kondo’s tidying up method work?

It’s not about throwing out all of your stuff. It’s about keeping what makes you happy and letting the rest go because, after all, it is just stuff.

Does it bring you joy?

Pick it up in your hands and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t give it to someone who it will spark joy for.

For me, there are exceptions, there are articles of clothing like undergarments, socks and pajamas that don’t particularly spark joy but are necessary so I kept them but if they caused annoyance or I just had a dislike for, I threw out.

The goal is not to have to rebuy spanx but to not have clutter and not hold on to stuff just to have stuff.

What to do with the stuff?

It’s hard for me to get rid of stuff because I grew up poor. I tend to want to hold on to things and I form emotional attachments to things, especially where my kids are concerned. Marie Kondo has a sentimental category and it makes you take a moment and consider what things really mean to you.

I’m still going through my clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry in my bedroom but I’m planning on doing the entire house. It may take me a couple months with work and life but purging feels good, folding in threes calms me and the less stuff I have the less overwhelmed I feel. Maybe I’m a minimalist on the inside?

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

Where do I start?

The life changing magic of Tidying up with Marie Kondo and the KonMari organization method should be done in this order;

Clothing

Hold each piece in your hand and decide if it sparks joy in your heart. If it doesn’t, give it away.

Books

She says to give them a little shake to wake them up and then decide what sparks joy. The rest donate to your local library, school or build your own little free library for your neighbors and friends.

Papers

Bills, receipts and etcetera.

Komono

Kitchen, Bathroom, Garage, Attic and everything miscellaneous.

Sentimental Items

Things that have sentimental value to you like photos, videos, heirlooms and things that bring you sentimental joy. It’s personal and only you can decide. It doesn’t have to be logical or make sense to anyone else. Besides, you can always go through your “Stuff” again later.

I fully realize that for some people tidying up and organization is not life changing. Some of you already have a handle on this aspect of your life but some of us are out of control and the chaos of the clutter is an outward reflection of the inner mess we feel; controlling one helps us to reign in the other. So maybe cleaning up and folding in thirds is not your jam, maybe you don’t have “too much stuff”. Maybe you think its crazy to throw out perfectly good stuff. I have a problem with this too. That’s why we’re donating our stuff. Then I can feel like I am controlling my mess, getting the closet organizers and clearing my mind without guilt about waste.

organization, Marie Kondo, clothing organization, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, KonMari Method

 

What are your tips for keeping your house clutter free and making your home feel peaceful?

Are you experiencing the Life changing Magic of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and trying the KonMari organization method as your guide to your closet organizer?

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secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

Do you ever wonder what your pets really do when you leave the house? I do because I have a sneaking suspicion that our Lola is getting into all sorts of mischief. In fact, I got a Petcube camera just to find out for myself.  Surprisingly, at least in front of the Petcube cam, she’s as sweet and lovable as she is when we’re home with her.

Disclosure: My family was provided tickets to see The Secret Life of Pets but all opinions are our own.

Not the case with the gang of Secret Life of Pets 2. The Secret Life of Pets 2 follows 2016’s summer blockbuster hit about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work each day. This time it’s a little different.

secret life of pets 2, paton oswalt, harrison ford, kevin hart, tiffany haddish

The Secret Life of Pets continues the story of Max the terrier (Patton Oswalt) must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. Max’s anxiety suddenly kicks in when he becomes preoccupied with keeping his owner’s toddler safe. He is the ultimate helicopter dog.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

When the family takes a trip to the countryside, anxiety-ridden Max has run-ins with dog-hating cows, aggressive foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon meets Rooster (Harrison Ford), a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses. Rooster is more of a let-them-get-hurt-and-learn kind of canine.

A subplot has Snowball (Kevin Hart) and a new dog Daisy (Tiffany Haddish) working together to rescue an abused tiger from a Russian circus. Hot on their tails are scary wolves and a “cartoonishly villainous” lion tamer.

The dark humor and danger are toned down with more of slapstick violence that’s meant to be funny. Think Wylie Coyote and the Road Runner. Animals punch and throw knives at one another and a bad guy gets hit by a car, but no one is ever fatally injured.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Live Action Aladdin

For me, I saw a lot of myself in Max. I used to be a carefree, thrill seeker before I had children. The moment I had my girls and became a mom, it was no longer just my life. I was living for others. At the moment they were born, my life was irrevocably changed for the better, if not for the milder.

It was so overwhelming to love something, someone, so much that it felt like the thought of any ill ever befalling them would absolutely kill me. Our children are an extension of ourselves. They are the best of us walking around vulnerable in the world. Our children are our kryptonite but such amazing, beautiful gifts of kryptonite they are.

I went from being a “do what feels good” person to a “make good choices” person because it’s not just about me anymore. In the beginning of motherhood, I was a nervous wreck. I have never been able to be one of those parents who can go with the flow and just let things happen as they play out. I was never a “rub some dirt on it” type. I can’t overcome my instinct to protect them and to be honest, I’m okay with that.

READ ALSO: Cirque du Soleil Volta

My name is Debi and I am a recovering helicopter mom. I’m not saying that with any negativity. It was what worked for us. Maybe sometimes I was a bit neurotic in my overprotection but, in the end, as they grew older, I learned to let go little by little. I learned to trust in my own parenting.

I’ll probably never be a Rooster “let-them-get-hurt-and-learn” kind of a mom even though I know plenty of moms who are and it works too. It’s just not what’s comfortable for me. Honestly, my parenting technique was mostly about keeping my girls safe but a lot about preserving my own peace of mind.

Max gets the struggle of every parent everywhere and I loved watching him navigate his way through to the other side. I felt seen. The struggle of living with such immense love for a tiny little person is real.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is a winner for our family.

For kids, the moral of the story is to face and embrace the changes life inevitably throws at you and that’s such an important thing for our children to know. They have to know that change isn’t always bad and really, change is just an opportunity for growth.

Overall, my family loved the movie. My girls are 12 and 14-years-old and they laughed through the entire movie. In fact, the Big Guy said it’s one of the best animated movies he’s seen in a while and that’s saying something coming from him. I found it to be endearing and I absolutely loved Max.

Secret Life of Pets 2 is playing in theaters now, will you be seeing it?

 

 

 

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Have you been thinking about changing your career? Maybe thinking about rejoining the workforce. I did that very thing earlier this year; political scientist, storytelling lifestyle blogger turned preschooler pied piper. I get it. I love a good challenge.If you’ve spent a lot of your working life flitting between jobs or working in one area, choosing to retrain in something different can be a big and sometimes even scary deal!

Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you want; pursuing your passions. Honestly, there are so many benefits to going back to school when you’re older. It shouldn’t matter what your reasons are if you want to do this, then you should make it your priority.

“If you’re bored with life – you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals – Lou Holtz”

If you are considering going back to school or changing career paths, it is never too late. There are always options available to you… no matter what your dreams are.

Stay Motivated.

While it’s true that people who choose to learn a new career or develop their skills later in life have more to lose than someone fresh out of high school. It doesn’t mean you can’t stop and change direction. It’s never too late to pivot in life. I reinvent myself all the time. Life is always moving; you can’t stay stagnant. Even if you have a family, mortgage or other commitments you need to focus on during this change. Instead of letting it stop you, use it as motivation to do and be better; the best you can.

Be positive. Sure, it might be hard but it will be worth it. Focus on the benefits your new changes will give you and your family. The result will be worth it in the long run.

Clear Goals.

Most people don’t really know what they want to do when they go to college. Heading back to school at a later stage in life gives you the chance to know exactly why you are and have the focus and drive to stick the course.

Heading back to the classroom now, whether physical or virtual, could well be the best time for you. So go ahead, embark on a new career completely or branch out into a different area in the same field. You may find that you are more driven, focussed and determined now to reach your goals than younger you were!

Life Experience.

Are you worried you don’t have all the relevant experience for your new career? Instead, look at what other experiences you can draw on. There is a lot to be said about having life skills under your belt.

Don’t underestimate all you have learned so far in life. Look at ways you can work with what you know and have already learned. Look at how you can apply it to your new goal.

Skills such as;

  • Timekeeping
  • Interacting with other people,
  • Budgeting from dealing with household finances,
  • Managing schedules eg, juggling after-school activities.

These are all valuable qualities that a lot of employers look for.

So don’t worry about your life or even your age being detrimental to reaching your goals. Whether this is a new dream or goals just not yet reached, hold your head high, start your new journey and show the world what you’re made of!

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This post is for my fellow Mommy bloggers. I know some of you don’t like to be pigeonholed by the term. I, myself, am pretty proud of it. I have only been writing this blog for about 2 years, but in that time I have surrounded myself with a wonderful community or women and men; mostly parents and bloggers.  I have met amazing women all over the globe. My friend and advice pool has increased exponentially. I have also learned that there is a definite pecking order in the community, as there is in any social circle. People with seniority are obviously going to know more about the field and have more experience and insight. This is nothing new. This is the way of the world.

Last night, I was checking my Twitter stream and I saw a confusing tweet about Top Tier (more seasoned) Mommy Bloggers and it linked to a post. I won’t link that post because I don’t like to give traffic to what I think is a malicious rant. I wasn’t sure if the tweet was in agreement of the post or against it. So, my interest was piqued and I had to read it for myself.The jist was that it was a complaint rant ( a whine, if you will) about how Top Tier Mommy bloggers are aloof and “take” all the opportunities and that the only reason they have the opportunities that they have is because they were here first.She went on to insinuate that the entire “community” that they inundate themselves with is nothing more than a handful of other Top Tier Mommy bloggers. The entire post felt to me like a platform to attack. Of course, it is her blog and she is entitled to say whatever she wants about whatever she wants.It’s her opinion but it really felt like sour grapes to me.

I am NOT a big name blogger, by any means. I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of Mommy bloggers.But I can say this with complete authority, these women are where they are because they are talented writers, they work hard to network, they put themselves out there with their writing and most have been working hard at this for years.YEARS!The writer of the post says that the Top Tier Mommy bloggers “worm” their way into every single internet uproar referencing the Today Moms and Babble.com. These bloggers are the authority because they’ve been doing it the longest and gotten exposure for being pioneers in the field. The Today Show and Babble go to them first because the Top Tier Mommy bloggers are the ones who have been here for the longest. FYI, I know several “new” bloggers (especially int he NYC area) who have several media opportunities. So, it’s not just about being in that elite group. You have to be available and engage in social media. You can’t sit on a Mommy blogger throne and just think you are so special that the world must come to you. We are all moms. We grow babies and share our experience, have opinions..the end. Most are not independently wealthy, they are paid in prestige. They are paid in mattresses, trips and cameras.They write because they love to write. They write to maintain their sanity.They write because they have something to say. They keep writing because we are reading. I admire them for their fortitude and ambition.It’s hard to keep working so diligently on a goal that is almost impossible to reach.Mommy blogging is about as hard as actual Mommying, with much less rewards.

I wonder if the blogger who wrote the post has even ever tried to reach out to these so called Top Tier bloggers? I have. I have networked and chit chatted with just about every single one of them via Twitter, FB, our blogs, email and various other blogging platforms. You know what? The ones I’ve interacted with are very friendly, willing to guide/mentor a new blogger, gracious and smart. They don’t shut new bloggers out. But, as a new blogger, you have to be willing to engage, introduce yourself. They don’t know you. How could they? You’ve never met. It’s common sense, just like in your real life relationships.You have to make an effort. You can’t sit on your ass and expect Mohammad to come to the mountain. Most of us are not that fucking special.In fact, no one is that fucking special. Life is about relationships. You get out what you put in.

It’s ridiculous that I have to defend these ladies for doing nothing wrong. This post I read talks about community and the TOP TIER bloggers keeping it very elite and cliquey when she herself is the one who is attacking; shutting them out. They are not writing about keeping people out. She is. I think this is more a case of sour grapes than anything else. This is where the dysfunction comes from in this community.Not from Top Tier Mommy bloggers shutting people out but from whiny bloggers giving up and looking for someone else to blame for their own shortcomings. Work hard, persist and persevere or give up and shut up. Either way, stop complaining.

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rise of the real, how to blog, blogger, blogging, daddy bloggers, women's rights

Bloggers are full of shit. Some of them anyways. I’ve recently noticed a trend among a few select bloggers who specifically go against the grain just to stir the pot. I am not bashing male bloggers, some of my favorite people on the Internet are dad bloggers but there are a few who have been hitting a nerve. It’s like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern had a devil baby who is a pathological liar. You know who I’m talking about. Bloggers are story tellers, some truth, some fiction and then sometimes a little bit of creative license (bullshitting if you will) mixed in just to keep things interesting.

I not saying that they post on the occasional controversial topic. We all do that. These particular “bloggers” are all drama, all the time. They’re so full of shit, I’m not even sure if they know the difference between what’s real and what’s made up anymore. It’s exhausting just reading. I can’t imagine how taxing it must be to actually be the one trying to keep all that shit straight. Controversial things happen and we have opinions that is natural and hey, if we’re being honest, it’s not being a troll to throw your name in the hat for consideration by the almighty Google. What I am referring to is the intentional and habitual abuse of salacious titles and creating controversy where there is none just for the sheer joy of pissing people off and increasing traffic. Stop fanning the flames of the mommy war or any war for that matter. Matt Walsh I’m looking at you.

We’ve all fallen prey to these sort of blog posts. It either turns out to be the old bait and switch or the post is so outlandish that you think your head might explode Scanners style while reading it, all while assuming that you must be getting punked. Surely, this is not intended to be taken seriously. When did the guy next door turn into a rabid Bill O’Reilly? Maybe he took some bath salts or got a bad batch of Krokodil before sitting down to type, either way, this dude is a little bit batshit crazy.

Look, I don’t mind a little creative license but fuck is any of it true anymore? Is everything just part of the “storyline” , added for effect? Stop superimposing yourself into the “mommy wars”, you don’t belong there. You are not a mommy. Stop creating controversy. We all know it’s bullshit and if you are going to keep writing it, for the love of God, man, can you give us a disclaimer that reads that this piece is fiction? I mean, at least do us the courtesy of not pretending that we are stupid and please stop writing press releases about it. It’s nothing personal guys, I just wish we could get something with a little more meat to it. Give me some of your truth.

It’s like when you are pissed at your sister, you can call her on her bullshit but nobody else better say a word? Well, it’s sort of like that. We women live as women and we may not walk in everyone’s shoes but at least we share the plumbing to have an inkling of what’s going on with other women, men do not; at least not from the firsthand perspective. Men are allowed to have an opinion about anything they want but if you don’t have breasts, a uterus, a vagina and clitoris,

I don’t care what you think I should do with mine because you have no point of personal reference.

*** I am only talking about ME, you are welcome to weigh in on your wives, daughters and loved ones.

Don’t tell me how I should feel about breastfeeding! Don’t tell me whether or not I should have a home birth or one at the hospital. Do NOT even try to give an opinion about whether my labor should be medicated or not. I don’t need your feelings on abortion, transvaginal ultrasounds, date rape, miscarriage, stay-at home, work-at-home or work-out-of-the-home. I don’t care what your opinion is about my breast size, breast augmentation or how, when, why I get pregnant.  I don’t need you to weigh in on what size my ass should be or how often I should be want sex. I don’t need you to intervene on our behalf to other women in the mommy wars. I’ve got it covered. I don’t need you to be my shining knight in this area. I have my husband for that. I don’t need you to tell me that I shouldn’t experience mommy guilt or worry about whether or not my perfect balancing act of helicopter mom and free-range mom are coming dangerously close to falling completely uncrunchy. I don’t need you to tell me how hard being a mother is, I know and I certainly don’t need any commentary from you on how I should feel or behave as a mother, me and my uterus got it covered.Thanks.

If you really want to contribute to the conversation be a more interested husband, engaged father, committed boyfriend. Worry about you. Treat women like people, not china on the highest shelf in the cabinet. Go commiserate with your fellow penis people. Just write about something real that you actually have experience with and if that includes miscarriage, abortion, breasts, stay-at-home parenting, work-at-home parenting or whatever else that may include go for it. But leave the stupid controversy on topics you have no experience with to someone better equipped to understand the situation.

End rant.

Has anyone else noticed this happening? What happens when the blogging veil comes down and you realize that the blogger you used to love is full of shit?

***Update, those of you who know me know that I am not a feminist, angry bitter person and I don’t mind sharing traffic so, per the advice of many dad bloggers, I added the links to those full-of-shit bloggers that I was referring to so you can all know I am not speaking to the general population. In fact, I even linked to a couple of my favorite dad bloggers just so you know they rock. You who have read me before today know that the Big Guy, my husband,  is my favorite person in the world and he is involved in every facet of parenting our children and he is my trusted confidant in all things in life. He gives me his honest opinion about everything because I respect what he thinks and he is usually my voice of reason and when it is something that he cannot personally relate to..like how it feels to give birth or labor for 13 hours or have your body fail you in a pregnancy, he is there to support me and reassure me that it will all be alright, as I am for him. I’m really not the C U Next Thursday, you all believe me to be.

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Vote like your life depends on it, vote, democrats, republicans, coronavirus

I am completely befuddled at what is happening in America right now. How can we live in a country where our own common sense and intelligence is pushed aside to listen to what a politician says? Never mind, science and medicine. People are literally dying while we fight over semantics. Fun fact: Coronavirus is real and it doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or Republican. This is why you must vote like your life depends on it.

As Americans, as human beings, why can’t we all get on the same page and agree that human life is more important than who’s a democrat and who’s a republican? Political parties are supposed to be chosen based upon the candidate whose political ideologies align closest to our own. Everyone has the right to choose for themselves who that is. But somethings are bigger than that, like human life.

Vote like your life depends on it

When I see someone in need, I help them. I don’t ask for credentials first. If someone is desperately in need of help, I don’t care what race, religion, sexual orientation or political party they belong to because that is extraneous information. None of that is relevant when I’m deciding whether or not to help someone in need. So why can’t we all agree that this pandemic needs to be controlled? More importantly, why can’t we all do our small part to stop the spread?

Coronavirus is real. We know this. It has killed 231,000 Americans to date. That’s not a hoax, that’s facts. Just ask the relatives of those who’ve lost their loved ones.

231,000 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters of America dead.

All that is being asked of us, as conscientious Americans, is to social distance, wear masks when in public, stay home when sick and use common sense and yet, some still refuse. People have actually become combative to the point of protesting and refusing to comply with mask mandates. I’ve seen people not only refuse to wear masks but purposely cough at other people. Coronavirus is becoming a weapon of the willfully ignorant. People are brutally fighting and even murdering others over a mask.

READ ALSO: Why I Risked My Life to Vote

I get it, the President of the United States (who has access to the world’s best healthcare and an unlimited budget to get round the clock, top of the line treatment) said it wasn’t too bad. He even said, “Don’t be afraid of CoVid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” I’m glad he didn’t die. I’m happy it wasn’t too bad for him but even if I can accept that, you need to accept the fact that I have several friends who are now CoVid long haulers and I’ve lost family members. Either he’s extremely lucky, extremely well cared for or maybe just completely full of shit. His behavior is not only irresponsible but dangerous to all Americans. What exactly is the point of this continuous gaslighting of the American people?

Coronavirus isn’t a Democratic hoax. These people aren’t coming back after the election. They haven’t been sequestered on some remote tropical island virus and I’m pretty confident they haven’t gone into the Democratic party’s super-secret Coronavirus witness protection program. They are dead forever. There’s no reset button for them. Of course, they also didn’t have the same kind of treatment available to them as the president because they are regular people, like you and I.

READ ALSO: The Consequence of believing your vote doesn’t count.

Everything is opening back up, just in time for the election which happens to coincide with cold and flu season. Hospitals are full and overcapacity here in Indiana, yet, our mask mandate is scheduled to ends in a couple of weeks. Our high school is in Mode 2 but, when the quarter ends and the mask mandate ends, the plan is for the students to come back fully in person, Mode 1. The cases are constantly rising as are the number of kids quarantined at the school, but hey, let’s do like our president and let’s go against common sense, science and modern medicine and just do what the fuck we want to do.

I am at the point that I’m feeling like maybe I’m having some sort of mental break because how can this many people be this fucking ignorant? How can they believe a politician with an agenda over their own fucking eyeballs? It would be comical if it weren’t so frightening.

Vote like your life depends on it because it does. Either way, your way of life is about to change.

I’m a Democrat. I used to be a Republican (when I was in college). I’m also a devout Roman Catholic. My educational background is in political science, history, criminology and sociology. I learned about the branches of government, procedure and law. My politics and my religion may not always be on the same page 100% but you have to weigh the consequences of the many over the benefits of the few. That is free will and I believe that my God gave me free will, intelligence and the capacity to love all people.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Needs to Know about Coronavirus

My lifetime of religious studies has taught me to never judge others and to show compassion, empathy and love to others. I’m supposed to do for others as I would want them to do unto me and I know that no one human is of more value than any other so it is my social responsibility and Christian duty to do my part to put good into the world not spread hate and incite fear-mongering. I believe in truth and honesty.

Let’s say you really, truly, believe that Coronavirus is not a threat and maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones who it doesn’t affect long-term or kill. Fine, you are entitled to your beliefs but why can’t you still wear a mask, just in case, if it makes others feel safe.

If you believe Coronavirus is real but you don’t like wearing a mask, surprise, none of us do but if you could save a life by wearing one, why wouldn’t you? You think it’s your “right” not to wear one, it’s not. Nowhere in the Constitution or the bible does it say you have the right to not wear a mask and intentionally (and maliciously) put others at risk. If we could all adhere to common sense and logic, listen to science and wear the masks, all of this could be controlled and we could go back to a more normal existence.

Right now, I feel like a prisoner in my own house because I have an underlying condition and I can’t count on everyone to do their part to keep me safe even though I do mine. More importantly, I have a president who is gaslighting those of us following the science. I feel like I’m living in an alternate reality.

I’m not here to push a candidate down your throat. All I ask, in any election but especially in this one, is that you please use your own judgment, common sense and intelligence. Your vote is more important than it has ever been.

Vote like your life depends on it because it does and so does your kids’.

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REVOLUTION, word of the year, year of the word, resolution

I originally posted Resolving to Incite a Revolution last January. It was a great reminder of things I wanted to do in the upcoming year. I have been working diligently on this revolution for the past 12 months but I thought I could use the reminder to continue on with enthusiasm. Life is too short to be unhappy. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of that fact. This is your wake up call; our reminder that we’ve got to incite a revolution in this world an fight for what we want out of life.

Resolving to incite a revolution

~I am way past the point of making resolutions.After all, what the hell is a resolution anyways, nothing more than an empty promise, a flimsy threat at the most.Nope this year, I am declaring war. I’m inciting a revolution.I am resigning myself to a little shock and awe!

*No MORE Cheating! You heard me. I don’t mean that I’m cheating on the Big Guy, never! I mean cheating on diets, cheating myself out of life, cheating myself short on opportunities, cheating my girls out of my complete attention and devotion.

*Embracing Exhaustion! Oh yeah, I am about to make it my mission to exhaust every single iota of potential that these bones have in them. No more sitting on the sidelines letting life happen to me or waiting for things to be done for me, this broad is grabbing life by the balls and making him my bitch. I am going to work this potential so hard, its not going to know which way is up. As the old cheer goes, “Be aggressive..B*EE* EE Agressive!” I’m about to be the change I want to see in my world!

Resolving to incite a revolution

*Organization, Organization, Location! I am a planner, a scheduler, a write it down on paper and DOER! Life seems to have gotten out of control.I don’t mean a little bit off kilter, I mean it has spun right the hell off its axis.Well, NO MORE! Hey, life! Guess what? I AM IN CHARGE..NOT YOU! So, I’m putting pen to paper ( yes, I’m old school like that sometimes) and I’m making a schedule. I’m waking up earlier, getting more sleep, not rushing through life because I’ve planned accordingly, and ( because I am still a bit reckless) I’m even allowing copious amounts of free time for spontaneity.

*Love Hard, Love often! I am making sure that the Big Guy and the girls know how much I love them and how important they are to me. I’m not referring to telling them, speaking the words. I do this already, several times a day. In fact, I’ve told the girls ( constantly) since birth “Guess what? I have a secret.Want to know what it is?” They used to get all excited, their eyes like saucers and ask”Yes, Mommy. What is it?” My answer, I’d bend down and whisper in their tiny ear ,” I Love you more than anything.” Now, they just give me a sheepish smile and say, “What is it Mommy? Tell me!” But more than saying the words, I want to show them with my thoughts and actions.I want to be present in every moment with these family and friends that I have been blessed to be surrounded by in my life. I want them to know in their heart that when I say “I love you” it means..forever, for always, for good, for bad, for ups, for downs, for skinny, for fat, for Always. When they speak, I want them to know I am listening and that what they say matters to me. No more decorum.I am loving on my littles, the Big Guy, my family and friends with an embarrassing amount of exuberance. I want them to feel it to their core…I love them.

Resolving to incite a revolution

*Prioritize, Perspective, and Present The only way to get it all done, in conjunction with my handy schedule, I have to prioritize what’s really important to me and my family. This depends on my perspective. I am choosing to utilize my own perspective ..finally. I am not considering all the outside factors, aside from my girls. I’m also willfully choosing to see life as ALWAYS half full and at my dispense because, in reality, it is. My only limitations have been those I’ve set upon myself. No more! Last but not least, I’m living in the moment. I’m embracing every stinking moment as it happens. I’m not planning for next year, next week, tomorrow…I’m living in the now..RIGHT NOW,with my girls and the Big Guy. I want to enjoy the small things of my life as they happen, not in 20 years in retrospect as a memory. I want to feel the full effect of my life.

*Forgiveness I am forgiving myself for not being perfect. I am not the perfect wife. I am not the perfect Mom. I am not the perfect friend or daughter.I don’t have the perfect body. I don’t have the perfect house. My temper leaves something to be desired. I over extend myself. I expect too much from myself and others. I fall short, in a lot of ways. But that doesn’t mean that my efforts do not have merit. I am hitting reset for everyone I know. I’m passing out forgiveness like kool aid at a Jonestown party. NO more Mommy guilt, no more fatty McFatty guilt, no more I’m not the perfect wife.My house is disheveled. My kids aren’t perfect.No more, I wish I was Bree Van De Kamp bullshit. From this moment forward, I am going to try my best at every endeavor that I choose to undertake with my priority being excelling at being a good example of a the kind of woman I want my daughters to see me as. I will never be perfect, and that is perfectly acceptable, as long as I am living my life as the best me. *This is the one that I REALLY have to work hard at!”

*Incite a Revolution I’m initiating a change in my way of life. I am actively taking steps to become the person that I want to be.That woman who lives inside of me and has been too afraid for a long time to take a gamble.The woman who, even though I hate to admit this, I have realized has been so afraid of failure that I have let it stave off success. No More! No more excuses. I’m not afraid of failure anymore.If I fall, I will just pick myself up and try, try again!But today, I am inciting a revolution between the version of myself that I’ve let myself get comfortable with and the woman I know I can be. I’m starting by setting fire to excuses and self doubt and I’m marching forward with self confidence.

What have you resolved to incite revolution about in your New Year? How are you going to go about succeeding? Happiest of New Years to each and everyone of you.Thank you so much for being part of the TRUTH about Motherhood community. 2012 is going to bring great things, I know it! Hang on to your hats ladies, it’s going to be battle of epic proportions but everything worth having in this life is worth fighting for. Are you ready to incite your own revolution in 2012?

The Revolution Starts Today

Happy Holidays

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Mommy brain, forgetfulness. children

Mommy brain, forgetfulness. children

Mommy Brain~ condition that makes everything foggy, forgotten and questionable if it’s really happening, supposed to be happening, or already happened?

I’d bet my reminder list that most of us are in the throes of it at this very moment. Me, I am on the verge of a full-blown case of sundowners of the Mommy Kind. I’m not exaggerating when I say that if it weren’t for my head being attached, I’d have misplaced it by now.

On a cold day in January, I had an OB/GYN check up and was at that point in my pregnancy where I couldn’t see my feet but there was no way I was going in without a little landscaping down below. I refused to look like I had a chia pet in a headlock.

I stepped into the shower and tried to lift my belly out of the way, to get a lay of the land. Impossible. I had to feel my way making a mental note, as I went; Scratch. Bump. Crease. Opening. Labia. Clitoris. Baby! Oops. After much panting, praying and contorting, I started the impossible task. This was a dangerous endeavor. I’m no Helen Keller. I’d never done this before. There was a huge chance that some very important bits could be permanently severed and left behind to circle the drain. That thing’s attached for a reason.  It may look like it’s coming detached but damn it, it’s not.

An hour later, I grabbed the mirror and what was revealed to me was patchy with tufts of what looked like tiny Fu Manchu’s scattered all throughout my groin region. Tiny Fu Manchu’s that you might see on a little person Kung Fu Master with a bad attitude and one eye. Back to the freezing shower I went.

My plan was simple; to walk into that appointment, drop trough, and show my handsome OB/GYN the most impressively landscaped vagina he’d ever seen on a woman. But why stop at just pretty? I grabbed the feminine hygiene spray and after a quick once over, I was not only impeccably groomed but also smelled like a beautiful summer’s day.

After the exam, my doctor looked up and said, “Everything looks great and (with a knowing smile and a wink) very festive.” I was an over cooked, over stuffed, waddling pregnant woman with no time to decipher Dr.Hottie’s riddle. I had no idea what he was talking about. At home after a quick look in the mirror, to my horror and surprise, what I thought was feminine hygiene spray was actually my 2-year-olds Christmas themed Barbie spray. My hairless Chihuahua was now covered with green sparkly glitter spray. Festive, indeed. 

In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, the nonprofit LIFE Foundation is giving away great prizes for the best Life Happens moments. You can enter the contest any time before Friday, October 7th. Make sure to encourage your friends and family to vote for your story as the Life Happens moments with the most votes will win (voting ends Friday, October 14th). First place will receive an Apple iPad® , second place will receive a $350 Apple gift card and third place will receive a $150 Amazon gift card.

Life Happens. And while you can’t control the future, you can take steps to protect the good things in life. Take a look around Scotti Insurance website and learn more about how life insurance can help safeguard a secure financial future for those you love. Truth be told, getting life insurance can be daunting. Good thing that lifeassurancecoa.com offers no medical exam life insurance.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The LIFE Foundation. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Contest Rules

**This post was first published here.

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