Friday, June 28, 2013

Perfectionism in blogging

When I was young, I remember hearing the phrase, "If you're going to do something, you should do it right" thrown around quite a bit.  It's a lesson I've taken with me through all aspects of my life thus far, and probably why I've become quite the perfectionist about certain things.

Blogging - of course - fits right in that pocket as well.

Sometimes when I look at other blogs or read content from other bloggers, I see excellent, professional-quality pictures, perfectly composed posts, and content free of spelling or grammatical errors.  Their punctuation is placed just so and the scheduling of their posts is just frequent enough to entertain with great information or opinion but not so frequent that it's in your face.  As I like to be a perfectionist in most areas, I strive for that here on the blog as well.

And then I realize who I am.

While it's tough to admit {because I'd truly love for blogging to be my job}, I'm only a part-timer here.  I blog during random naps if I catch the kids on a well-scheduled nap day.  I blog at night after the house is still and quiet and everyone is asleep, if even only for a few minutes.  I schedule my posts a day or so in advance and proof them while I'm nursing Little Lady.

It's hard sometimes to see my little blog and expect it to run with the big kids, and I think sometimes I need to change my expectations a little bit.  This isn't my full-time job.  I don't have daycare while I write.  I do have another {well, three to be exact} job.  There are many times where I will start, and then have to stop, and start, and have to stop, and start a post all over again because the kids, or the dog, or my husband need something.  There are some times where I just need to walk away so I can get a shower before the clock strikes midnight and Little Lady is up for a night feeding.

My problem doesn't ever seem to be content.  I almost always have something to write or something to say.  It's just finding the time to get those words onto the page that trips me up in most cases.

I think that, in lowering my expectations, it isn't going to make me a poorer-quality blogger.  I don't think it's going to change the general theme of my blog or my content.  I just think it may give me a little leeway sometimes.  If I don't have amazingly professional pictures?  That's fine.  I know most of the people who read the blog just like to see my kids - it doesn't matter if they're super grainy.  If I don't get the number of posts out per week?  It's okay.  I don't need to stay up until 2 a.m. writing a post when I know I'm going to be miserable the next day.  I know my readers are mainly moms, and I know you all will understand.

In this area of my life - as well as many others - I need to practice being a bit more gentle and understanding with myself. 

Anyone going through a similar crunch with blogging lately?

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Daisy & June Blog Organizer Giveaway Winner!

Thanks everyone for entering the giveaway!  I love my blog organizer kit from Daisy & June and am so appreciative of how it keeps my posts so put together!

The winner of the blog organizer kit is.....

Alaka Frolick!

Congratulations, lady!  Message me within 48 hours to claim your prize!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 23 - Cut your own hair!

So you all have seen my previous pictures on the blog, right?  Like this one?

Ugh, now that we've all reminded ourselves, let's quickly forget.  But basically all you need to know is that I'm really bad at remembering to get my hair cut on a regular schedule, and it often ends up looking really bad, like in the above picture.

Recently, something changed, but it wasn't my ability to get to the hair salon.

In the past, I had the confidence to trim my own bangs {when I had them already} but not much else.  If you'd have told me I'd watch a video on the internet and then feel comfortable enough to trim my own hair?  I'd probably have laughed in your face.  But now?  I tried it and I'm hooked!

Here's the tutorial I use, courtesy of

Using this simple technique, I've been keeping my hair looking much more under-control and neat, without salon prices or time away to get out to be able to have someone else trim it!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June Sponsors!

Here's a list of my June sponsors!  Big thanks to all of the businesses that keep me up and running!  Give them a few clicks and a few minutes of perusing if you have a moment?
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Studio 228

Hi All!

 I'm Jodi, the owner of Studio228. I am a mother,wife, lover of all things handmade.  I got my start a few years ago when my husband brought me home a sewing machine. I admittedly let the sewing machine collect a little dust before actually learning to use it!

Studio228 is dear to my heart.  The 228 stands for my firstborn son's birthdate. At Studio228, you will find an array of things. A majority of our items are home decor related, but we do also offer kid/baby items along with custom spots if you have an idea you want us to bring to life! Keep a look out for brand new designs coming this year!

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The Savvy Craft

The Savvy Craft is a daily deal site all about support and love of all things handmade.  It is our pledge to feature only handmade craft artisans and their amazing creations.

The MB Diaries

My name is Tiffany, but around here I am the Momma Bear! I am many things, I am Mom, Wife, Blog Designer, etc... This is where I share it all. I may not blog as often as some, but when I do I like to blog about whatever is on my mind, or our most recent adventures!

 photo 4steps250x250button.jpg helps bloggers make money on their blogs by improving their pagerank and content and connecting them with sponsors.  We write SEO content to make your business stand out in a Google search and write email campaigns that get more clicks.  Reasonable rates, excellent relationships with clients, and a dedication to giving back to the global community set us apart from other web editing and marketing companies.  Email to see how we can help you.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

I'm becoming my dad.

I've always been that kind of person who cannot, will not, is incapable of staying up late.  Sleep is something that - as a single person or before parenthood - I highly, highly valued.  As soon as 9 p.m., I was already looking at the clock thinking about bed some nights.  Heck, some nights before parenthood I came home from work, ate dinner, and then immediately went to bed.  After having Little Lady though, something changed.

When Little Man was born, I definitely did the whole sleep-when-they-sleep thing.  Turns out though, that Little Man slept A TON.  Because he slept so well, I was able to still accomplish all of my daily tasks before he woke in the morning, during his nap times, or after he went to bed at night before I went to bed at a still reasonable hour.  But then Little Lady was born.

Not to say she isn't as great of a sleeper as Little Man, because she typically tends to be, but after Little Lady was born, I just don't always get the time I need during the day to accomplish things.  Naps are off-timed to where one is up and one is sleeping, someone needs a little extra love one day, or I was up all night long with a teething baby and just need to nap for a few minutes if I get a chance some days.  It happens. 

But that has the consequence of rendering me now almost incapable of finishing any cleaning, cooking, organizing, etc. during the day.  Sure, sometimes I start tasks.  But the finishing of the task is the hard part.  Either baby wakes up, needs to be held, wants to play, or needs to be fed and all of a sudden it's four hours later and DH is walking in the door and I have nothing done.

Because I'm still massively off-kilter if I don't finish a task before I go to bed, this often means I'm up late into the night trying to just do this or just do that one more thing.

Tonight's task?  I just need to wait to put the diapers on wash after they soaked and rinsed.

Half the time I end up staying up way later than I'd originally intended, mainly because I always find something else to do even after the original task is done.

When I became a parent, my dad told me at one point that his sleeping habits were totally changed by the new lifestyle as well - in this exact same way.  He mentioned that he needed to continue to get some "me time" by working on his cars, building his computers, etc. and the only time he was able was in the middle of the night.  He also mentioned at a certain point that it just seemed to stick as a habit, and he still stays up late into the night now, even though my sister and I are both grown adults ourselves.

I think I'm finally getting to that point and in that habit now as well.  Somebody bring me a coffee tomorrow?

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Babywearing Elitists, or Our Own Little Babywearing Mommy War Rages On....

Now that the cat is out of the bag about my babywearing educator status, I wanted to address something I find to run rampant through the babywearing community that I have personally experienced and with which am very frustrated.

The Mommy Wars.

We see Mommy Wars everywhere, right?  Whether or not you breastfeed, formula feed, co-sleep, use a crib, buy used baby clothes, have a brand new nursery, wear your baby, or use a stroller - there's always someone thinking they're doing it better and judging for it, no matter how sad that is.

But in the babywearing community, there tends to be a specific trend of mommy war where moms even judge those in their own community, typically believing that those who wear their children in wraps are somehow more of a babywearer than those who use more commercially available carriers.

And - honestly?  It really pisses me off.

{Yep, I swore.  Pretty sure that's the first time ever on the blog.  But it makes me that angry.}

Comfy Joey Linen Ring Sling in Maui Sea Glass
For those of us that babywear, we all know the data.  Babies who are worn for three or more hours per day experience 43% less crying overall and 54% less crying in the evening hours.  It is especially helpful for those mothers at risk for PPD due to being able to learn the small quirks and personality traits of the baby as they're so close to you, making the mothers more confident.  One of my main reasons for babywearing is the ability to still do everything I need to accomplish, with two hands!

But the thing is - it doesn't matter what kind of carrier you're using.

Boba 3G in Soho - low riding due to my pregnancy :)
{Sure, sure, there are those carriers I don't typically recommend like the crotch danglers or forward facing carriers.  But if that's what you have and what you're comfortable with using, they are still workable.  So long as baby is SAFE, that's the main goal.}

However, between a wrap or a ring sling or a soft structured carrier like an Ergo - or almost any other type of baby carrier - they're all accomplishing the same goal.  Baby is happy, mama is happy, and in my experience life is just a whole lot easier.  I mean, it's called babywearing, right?  Not babywrapping?  There is a reason why the term is more all-encompassing, in my opinion.

Moby wrap in Orange
I have been wearing Little Man since he was just a few months old, so for almost two full years at this point. I honestly prefer a ring sling and a soft structured carrier for almost all uses, except for a high back carry in a wrap when my baby is still small enough not to be ready for a SSC back carry just yet.  Don't get me wrong, wrapping is absolutely a favorite of a large number of babywearers, and there is nothing wrong with that.  It just doesn't happen to be my personal favorite, and it doesn't happen to make me any less of a babywearer than a wrapper is.  I get too hot with a wrap, it takes me too long to put on {even if it's only a minute more}, and with my OCD I innately really don't like having the tails drag around on the ground in a parking lot or while out on the town.  But this seems to be an anomaly in the babywearing community.

It seems like the general trend of babywearing to those without babywearing friends initially tends to be as follows: buy a crotch dangler, use it for a while, hate it, find something different, begin to use a ssc/stretchy wrap/ring sling, love it, fall even deeper in love with babywearing, buy a woven wrap, go crazy and buy all the woven wraps.

{BUY ALL THE THINGS!!!  Sorry.  Couldn't help myself}

Comfy Joey Toddler Width Silk
For me, I got stuck on loving a few of the intermediate steps, and have for the most part stayed there.  But once a lot of women delve into the world of wraps, there's often this underlying feeling of disgust from some members of the babywearing community that anything but wrapping just isn't good enough.

And that just isn't true.  

I've heard people saying just the silliest things lately, like they won't babywear in something that has a buckle on it.  Or that all other methods of wearing are inferior to wrapping because wrapping takes more skill than other forms of babywearing.  Or that certain types of wraps {stretchy or gauze wraps} aren't the right kind, implying that woven wraps are the only acceptable wraps.  Or that using certain types of carriers isn't actually babywearing.  Um, say again?  Baby is worn on your body, right?  Yes?  Then it's babywearing.

Moby GO
One of the reasons I wanted to become a babywearing educator is to help mothers, fathers, and family members find the carrier that is right for them.  Not based on what the babywearing community elite says, not based on the high cost of a carrier {bigger isn't always better, friends}, and not based on the status of a carrier.  But really based on each person's need.

While I love babywearing and want to continue in my path of learning {which - yes, includes more wrapping}, the main reason I want to teach it is to help those people who don't babywear at all or have very little experience with any kind of carrier.  To find the correct carrier for their child, type of use, and budget.

And if that means someone {Ahem, DH} loves wearing our baby in the $10 used Infantino Mei Tai, then great!  You can still wear your baby just as close to you with a less expensive option as you can with that $500 wrap that costs more than a rent or mortgage payment for a lot of people.

Infantino mei tai style carrier
I don't know that there is any strong solution to the problem of the elitist believing their choice is better than any other mother's choice.  In my experience, trying to change an opinion that someone believes strongly is fighting a losing battle.

The only thing that I can do is go forward in this new role as a strong, positive educator about ALL different carrier types, and - while being upfront about safety and proper use - get parents and caregivers excited about any carrier that holds their child, whether it ties off in a knot, with a buckle, or in a ring.  Because, in my experience, that carrier most always holds a happy, content, snuggled child.

Organic Petunia Pickle Bottom Ergo
Has anyone else ever felt judged regarding their babywearing?  I'd love to chat about it in the comments!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

BlogHer 2013 June Freaking Out About Fashion Link Up!

This edition of the BlogHer 13 link up is all about fashion.  Whether or not we're admitting it, most of the ladies attending the conference have probably thought about what they'll be wearing.  I know I'll be taking a few key pieces from my wardrobe and trying to dress them up a bit, as well as possibly doing some shopping for a few new items.  

This link up we asked you ladies to give us a look into your BlogHer closet {and dream closet!} and show us a few photos.  Here are my entries below:

- Comfortable shoes:
I already own this adorable pair of flats right now, and I will for sure be bringing them to the conference.  They're light, airy, but still significant enough to cover my toes in a cold session.  They're also ridiculously comfortable.  And, at a price point of only $20 from Target, they've already made up for the small price in how much I constantly wear them.

- Current wardrobe item:

I'll be bringing this beauty from ModCloth to the conference as well.  It's SUCH a great dress.  Light, airy, breathable, and still long enough to honor my disdain for my gams.  The 'Breathtaking it Easy' dress is also really well-suited for more well-endowed ladies, which fits my bill perfectly while still nursing.

- Current accessory:

This sweet bracelet is also a ModCloth find.  I just love how dainty and delicate it looks on!

- Shapewear I'll be bringing:

The Spanx High Power Brief is one of my all - time favorite shapers.  I love, love, love this shaper because it doesn't show any lines when you're wearing it under a pair of jeans or typical bottoms.  You also can wear it under practically anything {unless you like to show your midriff, which I do not}, even shorts or shorter skirts.  Because it lands so high on the waist, it fits right under your bra line, so there aren't any visible shaper lines on top either.  I actually just bought a second one of these because the first pair I have is from quite a few years ago and was showing a bit more wear to it.

- Dream outfit to bring:
I so love everything about this outfit from Stylish Eve.  I'm a huge, huge fan of sparkle and glitter, so I think this would be great to wear to one of the BlogHer parties at night.  I also really enjoy the delicate lace of the skirt against the more billowy top.  It's sexy but in an understated, classy kind of way for me.  Love this.

- Bonus picture?  Hair inspiration

 I'm actually fairly decent with braids and buns, so this style is something that I may attempt at BlogHer.  Especially since the conference will be in the end of July - I'm sure I'll be looking to put my long hair up and keep it off of my shoulders and back in the heat!

Add in your link - up below!  We're getting so close ladies!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 22 - Touch Up Your Paint

If you're a follower of TNO's Facebook page, you've probably seen a few posts from me about how I've undertaken about 3,459,281 projects recently - most of them requiring some painting.  One of those projects was recently painting our kitchen walls.

Since moving into our home, we've literally had to paint/repaint every single wall in our home.  Because of this, I've gotten really comfortable with how to make painting easier or more difficult on yourself, leading to tip #22 today:

If you're anything like DH & I, your painting happens at night.  After the kids are in bed, when the chance is most likely that you'll have a few uninterrupted hours to get something done.

But, this leads to missed spots and trouble seeing what you've done due to improper lighting.  We often end up with lots of spots on our walls that need retouched after our initial paint job is finished.

In the past, the main thing that bothered me was that I'd lug the paint can up from our basement, touch up a few spots I'd missed, wash out the brush, and put the supplies back in the basement - and then the next day find one or two more spots that needed to be touched up.  After doing that dance one too many times {and sometimes several days in a row}, I needed a new system.

What I do now makes things much, much easier.

Basically, I give myself one full week before I touch up anything.  The paint can stays downstairs and I leave it alone until at least one full week after the initial painting.  During that time, I keep a small stack of post-its handy and attach one to the spot on the wall that needs attention every time I see a spot.  Over the week, the amount of post-its on the wall gets larger and larger.

Typically, by the time the week ends and I actually do the touch up painting, I've found most - if not all - of the spots that need a bit more color.  It saves me time in the prep and clean up work of painting and makes a whole lot more sense than constantly running the can of paint back up and down the stairs.

What are some tricks you use to make painting easier?

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