Thursday, February 27, 2014

the time i tried to wear my wedding dress to disneyland (+ what we did this year for dapper day)

so, this past sunday was dapper day at disneyland. but before i tell you about this years spring dapper day, i thought id take a few minutes to tell a rather hilarious story from last years dapper day that i just remembered that i never actually told here:

see, at the beginning of last year was when i first found out about dapper day (which, if youre not familiar with it, is an unofficial disneyland event where people go to disneyland in formal/vintage attire and its amazing), and obviously WE HAD TO GO. my mom even offered to watch alice so that james and i (plus my sister and one of her friends) could chill out and go on big rides and stuff. awesome. 

then i got to thinking about vintagey formal wear. and you know what i had in a giant ziploc bag in my closet that probably still fit and needed to be put to some kind of use? my wedding dress. (oh, come on, im really supposed to just wear it once and just begrudgingly store it for the rest of my life, oh please) so my mom and i spent an afternoon sewing a bustle into it (since it wasnt a wedding wedding dress it didnt have one in there already) so it wouldnt drag and it was decided that i was going to wear it to dapper day. 

then when the day came we got all fancy and snapped a quick family photo before dropping alice off (please notice how she is NOT amused that we were going to disneyland without her):

but unfortunately thats the only photo we got while i was still wearing my wedding dress. 

because as soon as we got inside the park, i was made VERY aware that wedding dresses are NOT allowed inside disneyland. like, at all. as in, a security guard escorted my sister and i out of the park to the outside bathrooms so that i could change, to the locker room to be SURE that it was locked in a locker, and back inside the park. 

so obviously we made a big fuss about how they totally ruined our wedding day (a lie) and that it was totally illogical that ALL OF THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS that saw me outside of the park didnt say anything (that part was true). and then they gave us two eight-person fast passes for any ride we wanted. (and then we got to ride the cars ride without waiting in line which should be a lessons as to why its always a good idea to lie to disneyland cast members)

and since i totally anticipated something of this sort happening, i did bring a back up dress:

and really everything after that was awesome. obviously we were SUPER stoked for when dapper day rolled around again (and, this time i planned an outfit that would not get me sternly escorted out of the park). 

so we got all fancied up and went to disneyland. unfortunately though, i was still EXTREMELY drained from the previous days blogger brunch, so instead of a super exciting do-all-the-things disneyland day, it was more of a relaxed lets-just-people-watch-and-have-a-nice-lunch disneyland day. and those are nice too. 

actually, I'm really glad we decided our intentions for the day ahead of time, because sunday was seriously THE crowdedest that I've EVER seen disneyland, EVER. it took us about a half hour to park, IN THE MOST PERFECT, EFFICIENT, WELL DESIGNED PARKING STRUCTURE EVER. it was insane. 

anyway, once we FINALLY got into the park (and a nice gentleman gave us his fast passes for indiana jones), we decided to take pictures. they're doing a bunch of construction in new orleans square right now so my normal photo spot wasnt accessible, so we decided the next best place would be the mark twain. 

here we are separately:


and then together:

next we tried to do a proper outfit shoot, but it turns out thats a difficult thing to do when youre on a steam powered riverboat, but we did our best (also, a stranger lady was TOTALLY taking pictures of me too, which was totally weird):

outfit details:

top, skirt, stole, and bag: vintage
tights: target
shoes: urban outfitters
glasses: zenni optical

so, it was about 80 degrees out on sunday, and i was wearing a fox fur stole it got uncomfortable a couple times, but, i mean, how often do i get to wear, as alice calls it, my "puppy scarf" (no joke, when she woke up sunday morning and saw my outfit the first thing out of her mouth was "mommy! i like your puppy scarf!". the stole has a funny story: one day a friend of mine sent me a facebook message asking me if i wanted some old furs his friend was getting rid of, and i answered (somewhat facetiously) "only if they're the kinds with the heads and legs still attached", to which he answered "even better, the glass eyes dont even match", and i was like "sold!". and now alice calls it my "puppy scarf" which is equal parts adorable and observant and sad and gross all at the same time and i love it. 

now as SOON as i saw these pictures i realized something: i should NOT have been wearing black tights. i TOTALLY needed nude or white stockings but i didnt have any and now i feel really self conscious. 

but otherwise i really loved this outfit (and that i managed to get my hair looking nice), and apparently lots of other people did too, because seriously SO MANY people stopped us to take our picture. like, the only other time id been photographed that much was at my wedding. 

then after pictures we had lunch at cafe orleans, which i cant believe that id never been to before because HOLY CRAP THEY HAVE MY TWO FAVORITE FOODS EVER. garlic fries (with an AMAZING remoulade sauce) and a mixed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette and goat cheese:

 remember how i said it was super crowded? well there was a 45 minute wait for a table. 45 minutes. for lunch. i mean, its not like we had anywhere we needed to be and it was totally worth it, but still. thats forever in waiting for lunch time. 

as we were eating we noticed that the mark twain meet up was starting (and by that i mean, entire boatloads of adorable dapper day folks were on the mark twain waving and shouting), so james and i decided to join them, since last year we missed all the official dapper day activities.

now remember yesterday when i said i made a new friend at the brunch that was going to dapper day too? nikki and i totally hit it off at the blogger brunch and had been tweeting each other about trying to meet up at some point sunday, and we were able to find each other in the line for the mark twain line!:

 and had a grand old time during the meet up itself:

(photo stolen from nikkis instagram)
after the mark twain, we used our star tours fast passes (i think id go so far as to say thats my current favorite "big ride") and james asked my how i was feeling (since he know that two big outings in a row is something that usually doesnt go well for me), i said "im not feeling bad yet, but i definitely dont feel good anymore" and being the gentleman that he is, he suggested that we get going before i actually started to feel bad, and me being me, i replied "ok, but can we get ice cream first?". so we got ice cream. and then went home. 

it was a nice day. 

i really hope we can make it to the fall dapper day too!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

the time i went to a blogger brunch (an outfit post + what its like to have social anxiety)

so, here i am, writing a blog post on a wednesday night. 

and if youve been hanging around for a while, youre probably thinking something like "hey, wait. victoria doesn't blog on wednesdays. also, what the heck happened to monday and tuesdays posts?"

and you would be absolutely right. wednesday is the day i do our meal plan, buy our groceries, and teach at our churchs homeschool co op (right now im teaching color theory and its AWESOME), and for quite some time now poverty luxe has had a very strict monday/tuesday/thursday/saturday posting schedule. 

well, last week, things got weird. 

and by weird i mean james started working again. the last time james had any work was for three days over a month ago, and the last time before that was sometime significantly before christmas. so, i think i can speak for all three of us when i say that NONE OF US were prepared to handle something as completely mundane and normal (i almost said banal but then i remembered that not everybody spent way to long in art school and uses such words in casual conversation) as you know, the head of the household going to work at his normal job all day. to make things even weirder, james is also working out of town this week (and possibly even next week too). 

also, last tuesday james had his third interview for a really neat job opportunity at a local yoga mat company. and three interviews is exactly how many interviews it takes for me to start elaborately constructing a detailed fantasy life revolving around all the things an obsessively thrifty housewife could do with a modest but consistent and reliable income (and not to mention the predictable schedule!). 

well, if youve paid any attention to the things ive been saying on twitter, we found out on monday that james did not get hired at the yoga mat company. and thus i was plunged into a vicious downward spiral of cookies and despair, as i bitterly mourned the fleeting hope of such extravagant luxuries as buying things at target that werent on my list, regular paychecks that are always the same amount, and not having three part time jobs while also attending college. 

a reaction that admittedly would have been much more civil had i not completely overtaxed myself physically, mentally, and emotionally over the weekend by pushing myself SO FAR OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE THAT I WAS BASICALLY ON AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PLANET OF UNCOMFORTABLENESS. and not just once, because that would just be far too reasonable thing for me to do, i did it twice. in a row. 

because its not like i already knew the extent of my crippling social anxiety that ive had basically my whole life and how doing such a thing would effect my emotions/behavior for the next week or so (sarcasm). 

but really its not my fault that the blogger brunch that melyssa organized just happened to be the day before dapper day, is it? 

now, before i start digging deeper into talking about the (quite lovely) blogger brunch and my anxiety and how the two really didn't mix well, i (obviously) want to talk about what i wore on saturday:

outfit details:

top: urban outfitters (got it on clearance for $6!)
skirt: vintage (purchased at the silver lake art craft and vintage market)
shoes: vintage (purchased at buffalo exchange)
purse: vintage (purchased at an estate sale)
necklace: target (old)
glasses: zenni optical

those pictures were taken before i left for the brunch, and i dont know if you can tell by looking, but i was a fidgety, wiggly, nervous MESS as we tried to do this outfit shoot. james and i can usually shoot an outfit in like 20 frames. this one took at LEAST 50 and most of them were terrible. it was bad. 

now, i started freaking out about what to wear maybe two weeks before the brunch, but by friday i had managed to put together two complete outfits that met the following criteria: cute, comfortable, an accurate representation of who i am both professionally and as a regular person, AND similar to what i would wear on the blog, but not too similar to something id already worn on the blog. and then i made james pick. he definitely made the better choice. 

funny story though: the other outfit involved wearing one of the skirts from my shop. multiple ladies at the brunch asked if i had made my skirt (i didnt). also, that camera shirt is basically my new favorite shirt ever, its SO SOFT and comfortable and fits perfectly and IT WAS ONLY SIX DOLLARS. all in all i felt pretty confident in my appearance that day (excellent choice james!). 

which was great because that was about all the confidence i had for the entire rest of the day. james basically had to force me out the front door to leave. 

but i did eventually leave, and i got to the location (which by the way was the absolutely LOVELY gallery great over good in santa ana) a few minutes early without even getting lost once (which is pretty incredible seeing as i ALWAYS drive past the place im going to if im going to a place for the first time ever). 

and then i sat in my car for like ten minutes seriously trying my darndest to not have a heart attack. 

at first i was afraid to get out of the car because what if i was at the wrong place, then i saw several ladies that were obviously bloggers get out of their cars and forced myself to get out and join them. but i left the bags of clothing i had brought to donate in my car so i had an escape route just in case i needed to leave for a minute. 

when i got inside the gallery i was warmly greeted by several very sweet ladies, and this very lovely chalkboard wall (p.s. this was basically the only picture i took because i was too nervous for any of my photos to come out nice. nicole and justina both wrote wonderful posts about the brunch though if you want to see pictures!):

and was told to join all of the other ladies that were mingling in the other room. 


if there is one thing in life that i CAN NOT do for the life of me, its mingle. 

and then things started to get really embarrassing. 

i started shaking. 

visibly, physically shaking like one of those tiny ugly dogs that i hate so much (really though i just hate all dogs). and i almost started crying. 

then something really surreal happened: julie (of julie ann art, who i first "met" on the etsy forums when we first started selling on etsy, whos blog ive been following basically since it started, who is basically the number one person that inspired me to pursue blogging professionally, but obviously i couldnt say any of that at the brunch because that would have been weird) called me over and introduced me to her nikki (of delovely details) and sort of broke the ice and helped me feel more comfortable talking to all of these new people. 

and im really glad she did, one because if she hadn't i probably would have turned around and drove home, and two, it turns our nikki and i both REALLY love disneyland and were both going to dapper day. so, thanks julie, you totally saved the day. 

after that, i definitely felt better, but it didnt really make me any better at mingling. you see, generally im very timid and dont want to interrupt any existing conversations to introduce myself (even though i know thats how mingling is supposed to work, it just seems... weird). also, i find small talk very unnatural and difficult, i mean, if somebody asks me a direct question i can answer it and maybe even provide a follow up question, but general small talk in a group situation? basically i just mentally shut down. 

and it really doesnt help that i have a very hard time carrying on a conversation when there are other conversations happening nearby at the same time so the small talk i did make was very strained and draining (is that weird, i feel like its weird). 

thankfully it was soon time to eat, and then at least i was sitting with the same group for a while to try and get to know them a bit better (at which point i noticed that i was probably the youngest lady there and i was DEFINITELY the only mom, which made me feel a little weird, but thats an entirely different issue), and after lunch, i started feeling more comfortable talking to different people. it didnt get any easier per se, but it was less terrifying, i guess. 

but i needed a breath of fresh air so i excused myself for a couple minutes to go get those clothes out of my car, and THAT felt really good. i almost started crying there but i regained my composure and returned to the brunch for the craft (we made some AMAZING body scrub), and a little more socializing (i wanted to make sure that i talked to everyone at least once) before i noticed that people were leaving so i should probably leave too. 

now, i realize that the way im talking about this experience may make it seem like i didnt enjoy it or that i wasnt having fun, and that is NOT the case, i DID very much enjoy the brunch. the food was delicious, the people were nice, and over all i had a very good time (in fact, ill probably go to the next event, too). im really glad i went. the thing is though, that the entire experience was terrifying and beyond exhausting (mentally and emotionally), once i got home i was basically ready to go straight to bed for the night. unfortunately i got home at like 2:30 so that was definitely not an option. 

and i guess really what i want to do here is shed some light on what social anxiety is actually like, because i get the feeling that most people just think im a jerk.

going to this brunch was probably the biggest challenge ive faced regarding my anxiety basically the entire time weve lived in california (i had a LOT of bad experiences living in arizona that resulted in me coming back VERY agoraphobic, and im still working on getting out of that bubble), and honestly, if my mom hadn't payed for my ticket, i would have chickened out. but, my mom probably knew that. 

so, thanks mom, for the ticket. thanks melyssa for organizing the lovely event. thanks julie for reaching out and helping me feel welcome. and thanks everyone reading for putting up with this excessively long post.

stay tuned for tomorrows post where i talk about dapper day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

a very special dslr giveaway with the freckled fox (and many more lovely ladies)

hey everyone! hope you had a great weekend! ours was INSANE and due to that and several other factors this weeks blog post schedule has been seriously derailed. obviously yesterdays post didnt happen and maybe todays post will happen sometime later tonight, but honestly i dont know. 


this doesnt mean that i dont have anything for you guys today. actually, quite the opposite:

today im teaming up with emily at the freckled fox for a SUPER AWESOME DLSR GIVEAWAY!!! obviously since emilys the one running this thing ill let her do the talking, but i i really wanted to make sure that all of you guys got a chance to enter (because who doesn't want a shiny new dslr? i know i could really use one):

Well look what we have here! It's another Giveaway Monday here on the blog I could not be more excited about today's post, because not only are you going to have the chance to really get to know the lovely faces that grace my right sidebar and literally help keep this blog a float, but we've all been scheming together to bring you a truly fantastic giveaway!! Here she is (drum roll please):
Holy smokes right!? I get so many emails from lovely people who want to start a blog or a business or even just take things to the next level, and having a great camera can help so much!! I imagine those people when I think of shipping this beauty off in ten days, and it's an amazing feeling to help someone that much. I don't care who you are or where you've progressed too though, even if you have five of these it'd make a great gift, so there.haha Getting my first DSLR was really what spurred me forward in my blogging and in being an entrepreneur in general so I've been wanting to give one away for a long time now:) Thanks to this hugely talented and awesome group of women for helping make it happen. Go pay them a visit and say hi!
 The Freckled Fox     |     I Lay Smiling     |     Justinas Gems     |     Beauty in Your Eyes     |     Behind Blue Eyes
      Yellow Spot Designs     |     Poverty Luxe     |     Run to the Wild     |     Style Honestly     |     Because of Jackie
Notes: Yes this is open internationally! The winner will receive the Canon Rebel T3i in a kit with an 18-55mm lens, a battery and a battery charger. The giveaway will run for ten days, the winner will be selected at random, contacted, and announced shortly after the giveaway concludes. Winner's entries will be verified before the public announcement. If you're interested in checking out all the amazing specifications of the camera, this is a great list though it's not the camera that you'll be receiving:) Here we go! :

Saturday, February 22, 2014

ten ways to show love today (guest post by katie of something winnderful)

hello everyone! today i have a really special treat for you. you remember katie, from something winnderful, right? (if not, please take a minute to get to know her here) well, today i am so, so happy to have here here on poverty luxe, talking about the AMAZING new linkup she's started and sharing some great ways to show love to the folks around you, obviously i don't want to spoil too much of katies wonderful post so ill get out of the way now...

take it away, katie: 

Hey there Poverty Luxe readers! I'm Katie from Something Winnderful and I've been hanging out at the bottom of Victoria's posts this past month. I'm excited to have been able to sponsor her this month and I'm even more excited to share this post with everyone today. 

 Question for you all: When was the last time you showed someone love? And I don't mean a hug and a quick, "I love you," I mean something that brings a little bit of sunshine into their day. I started 2014 off with the intention of showing love to my fiance every day. We are getting married this May and I feel as though all marriage advice boils down to always showing love and appreciation for your spouse. 

 Not far into 2014 everything changed. My fiance's grandfather passed away less than two weeks into January. It was sudden and a hard time for the family. His grandfather had a spirit that brightened the day of every person he encountered and was the life of the family. It still saddens me to remember the last time I saw him. My fiance and I had just gotten in town from a long trip and we stopped by to pick up our dog. I wanted the visit to be super short and hurry up and get home because I was tired and cranky. If only I had known I would have taken so much more time and shown so much more love. 

 This experience has taught me the importance of love and positivity. I feel inspired to promote love and not let negativity spread through my interactions. My intention to spread more love has done more than infect my personal life, but has evolved into a bigger movement I am bringing to the blogging world. 

 What if we all chose to spread love in some way through our daily lives? 

 This idea lead to the creation of Love It Forward, a link-up I will be hosting twice a month with Chasing Happy and As Always, Kara. But it's much more than just a link-up. It's a whole idea that each one of us can in some way spread more love into the world. 

 We are working to create a community of bloggers (and anyone else) dedicated to sharing the love and inspiring others to do the same. We are encouraging everyone to do some sort of loving act every two weeks (or more!) and then share it in a post. YOU have the ability to brighten someone's day, whether it be from sharing a smile or paying for their food. The opportunities are endless. We want to encourage you to be creative and help inspire others to take action. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Here are ten easy ways you can share love today.
  10 ways to show love today

1. Cook dinner for your parents or a friend. 

2. Make 52 weeks of dates for you significant other. 

3. Pay for the food of the person behind you in the drive thru. 

4. Put the cell phone and laptop down. The people you are with deserve your full attention. 

5. Leave love notes in places for your loved one to find. 

 6. Make Operation Beautiful notes and leave them in dressing rooms and bathroom mirrors at the mall. 

 7. Fill up the parking meter for the person behind you when you leave your parking spot. 

 8. Offer to babysit your siblings or friends children. Every parent deserves a night out away from the kiddos. 

 9. Write someone a letter. Who doesn't like getting nice mail? 

 10. Don't be so hard on yourself. You owe it to yourself to take a break every now and then.

Spreading love to everyone else is important, but you can't forget how important you are. There are so many ways to spread some love into the world. It can be creative or simple, elaborate or straight forward, time-consuming or only take a second. There's no reason to not spread a little love. If you still need help, we even have a Pinterest board to help inspire you with ideas. Be sure to visit the Love It Forward page to get details on how to participate. Not only is it an effort to spread love from person to person, but also blogger to blogger. We want to keep the love going and create a community of positivity and inspiration.

How will you spread some love today?

Connect with Katie: Blog // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // Pinterest

Thursday, February 20, 2014

three ways to simplify your life (while still getting everything done)

hey everyone! this post originally ran as a guest post over on the art of balance last month, but it got such a huge response, that i thought id share it again over here in case anyone missed it (because i really, truly believe that this is some super helpful information):

hello! today I'm going to share something very near and dear to my heart (and something that I've found to be EXTREMELY helpful in our family life): tips on how to simplify your life and free up more time to relax, without sacrificing a single ounce of productivity. 

why? because I am a TOTAL stress case control freak and SO not a naturally organized person. and for years I've struggled with feeling constantly overwhelmed by everything I need to do and how it wasn't getting done. this usually ended up with me feeling paralyzed and stuck and unable to do anything (which, obviously, only made things work. since the birth of my daughter Alice (she's two now) I've worked really hard to find the right balance of taking care of business, without the constant stress of busy-ness. 

conventional wisdom would say that the key is learning to say no and cutting back on the amount of things you need to do, but let's be real here: we all have crap that needs to get done. 

so today I'd like to share a few tips that have really helped me, and I hope they can help you too:

maintain a datebook.

write down all you commitments (work, school, social events, etc) as soon as you find out about them. this will help you manage your time and simplify your schedule in two ways: 1. it will keep you from double/overbooking yourself (very important when say, you have to schedule a doctor appointment in an already busy week) and 2. helps you see exactly when you have free time so that you can make sure that you get some of it for yourself. 

notice I used the word "maintain" here and not "buy" in reference to the datebook. the reason for this is that in order for this one to work, you need to keep up with it on a weekly basis.

take control of your chores/errands.

it's REALLY easy to feel like you're drowning in all the chores and errands that there's no getting out of (you know, doing laundry, paying bills, buying groceries, etc) that feel like they take up all your free time. at least, that's how I felt for a LONG time, but there are LOTS of ways you can take control of all those little things and get your free time back. things like assigning certain chores to a specific day of the week (we buy our groceries on Wednesdays), making a weekly to-do list (I wrote about this a couple weeks ago), or grouping your errands so that they can all be done on one trip are all great ways to cut down on the the busy-ness of daily life, while still making sure everything's taken care of. 

declutter, everywhere.

this is one that I definitely need to continue working on (thats an actual photo of what my actual closet looks like right now) but it is so, so important when it comes to both relaxation AND productivity. first of all, I don't know about you, but it is impossible for me to relax when I can see all kinds of messes and unfinished projects that I need to take care of, and second, keeping things neat and organized makes it MUCH easier to get things done quickly and efficiently (I mean, think of how fast you could get dressed in the morning if you didn't have to dig through all the clothes you never wear). 

those are my top three tips to managing everything I need to do without going absolutely insane, but I want to know if YOU have anything to add. how do you find your balance of relaxation and productivity?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

how i monetized my blog (and what I've learned so far)

one thing I've been asked a few times by real life friends that aren't into blogging is "so how exactly do you make money from your blog?" which is usually met with a very long and nerdy answer from me and then followed up with, "so, are you making a lot of money?" at which point i start laughing hysterically and they have no idea why. 

but after having this conversation a few different times, i thought id take some time to talk about how I've monetized my blog, how its worked (or not worked) for me, and what I've learned in the process. because, as you probably know, monetizing your blog (that is, using it to make money) is a pretty big thing. 

when i first started blogging, i thought it meant, like, throwing up some adsense ads and could NOT comprehend how so many people were making a living (or even a part-time income) from their blogs. 

well, after spending nearly a year now blogging, and reading a LOT of "how to make money blogging" posts on pinterest, I've learned that this is very much not the case. I've also (obviously) tried to implement some of the expert bloggers suggestions and try to turn this little blog into something that at least justifies how much time i spend on it. and so far, it hasn't been a total failure. 

but it hasn't been easy, and like i said, its almost been a year. and you know what? i haven't made a lot of money (i have made a heck of a lot more than i ever thought i would, though). but I've certainly learned a lot, and since i basically want to learn as much as i can about as many different things as possible, thats fantastic. 

now, I'm not claiming to be an expert here, AT ALL, but i really do want to talk about the different methods that I've used to monetize, because too many of the "how to make money blogging" posts I've read are too broad and overwhelming with the sheer amount of information there is about ALL THE DIFFERENT ways that bloggers can make a little cash, without giving much detail and insight about what exactly has worked well for them. because there are tons and tons and TONS of ways to make money blogging and not everything works for everybody. so far I've really only been using three:

1. google adsense

2. skimlinks

3. passionfruit ads

each of these works differently, and thats important, because apparently the key to making a successful blogging income (just like any other business) is to develop multiple streams of income. sort of like how a person with money to invest would invest it in several different things rather than putting all their eggs in one basket. 

so google, skimlinks, and passionfruit are the three that I've chosen, and i want to take a minute to talk about how each one works and how they've worked out for me. 

lets start with google (because thats what i started with):

google adsense is great because its free and completely passive. meaning, once i put the little widget up on my sidebar i didn't have to do anything every again and the money would start rolling in. but the thing is, i have no freaking idea how it works and why some days i have 90 page views and make 45 cents and other days i have 150 page views and make 3 cents. also, its slow as molasses and I've made about $10 in a year (and they don't pay out until you make $100, so....). i realize that i have a little teeny baby blog and that as it gets more traffic adsense will generate more money (and I've already seen it happen a little bit), and since i don't have to, you know, do anything, ill leave it up there to do its thing. 

now, when i realized that simply slapping up some adsense ads wasn't going to pay our rent anytime soon, i did some research and found out about skimlinks, and it turns out skimlinks is pretty cool:

what Skimlinks does is called affiliate marketing, which is its own whole thing where bloggers talk about things and then make a commission when people buy things through special links. but whats awesome about Skimlinks is that it automatically makes any applicable links into affiliate links. it also crawls my posts for keywords and turns those into shopping links to, but that part is kind of weird. 

also, their affiliate network is HUGE and almost every website I've ever talked about is an affiliate with Skimlinks (amazon, targetmodclothmacys, zenni opticalasos), so i don't have to specifically tailor my content to try and make affiliate income (which is great, because I quickly figured out that I'm just not into writing about product) AND some of the partners even pay per click. specifically modcloth. (always click on the links when i talk about modcloth). 

also also, they have a super rad referral program, where if someone joins through my link, i get 35% of their earnings for a year, AND their minimum payout is only $10. the only thing that sucks though is that commissions take FOREVER to clear (and by forever i mean about two months). really most of the money I've made through Skimlinks is from when my mom remembers to make her amazon purchases through my blog, but hey, I'm not complaining (plus, you know, everyone i know could just start making all their amazon purchases through my links and that would actually be really awesome). 

the most recent addition to my blogging portfolio has been passionfruit ads:

if you don't know what passionfruit ads is then you must not read a lot of blogs so I'm really impressed that you've found yourself here. passionfruit is a company that does ad hosting, so that bloggers can sell ads (or services, or any number of things) through their blogs in a way thats SUPER user friendly for all parties involved. 

this is BY FAR the most difficult and labor intensive way to make money blogging but it turns out that its also been my most rewarding and lucrative channel. why? well mainly because I'm working directly with the people that purchase my ads, and every new sponsor instantly becomes a new friend. even though it is extremely time consuming (and i STILL haven't figured out a good system of keeping everything i need to do straight), offering sponsorships is a CONSTANT learning experience and its almost always fun (except those times when I'm trying to implement some kind of record keeping/organization system). 

now, i do feel the need to clarify that i jumped into offering paid sponsorships COMPLETELY UNPREPARED because i won a free year in a giveaway, so... learning exactly how to do a good job is something that I've been learning very slowly and painfully (and to be completely honest I still don't think I'm very good at it), BUT that doesn't stop passionfruit and paid sponsorships from being my FAVORITE way to make money from blogging. 

so far, i really like what i have going on as far as monetizing is concerned, and i feel like it has a really good balance: adsense is completely passive, Skimlinks is semi-passive (meaning, it does its thing on its own but i can tailor my content to include more affiliate links), and passionfruit is very, very active. but the main lesson that I've learned is that just like everything else in blogging, its a slow and steady thing, I'm not going to become a millionaire overnight, and I'm totally ok with that. 

yes, there are other ways to make money blogging, but most of those revolve around doing product reviews and sponsored posts and (at least right now) i don't feel like that would be a good fit for poverty luxe, so id rather focus on what I've got going now. 

now, I'm curious, blogger friends, have you monetized your blog? if so, how, and whats worked best for you?

Monday, February 17, 2014

valentines day surprises, things that are making me anxious, and weekly wishes.

happy monday everyone! 

so, friday was valentines day. 

and theres something you need to know about james and i: we are NOT the kind of couple thats any good at anything even remotely related to being romantic. i mean, this is how we met. we've been to the movies together exactly four times and half of them were before we got married. we only started going on fancy dress-up dates like a year ago. so, all i really wanted/expected out of valentines day was a stop at our favorite revolving sushi bar, preferably without alice. and that did happen. 

but what i didn't expect, was for james to go completely above and beyond and way uncharacteristically overboard with romantic gestures for basically the entire week. 

first off, he made this:

on the huge, empty wall of our bedroom. 

then, he completely re-arranged the living room, not in some stupid inefficient arrangement just because he was bored, but to give me an awesome and totally functional workspace:

which was basically the most romantic thing i could even ask for, given that i haven't had any kind of workspace since we lived in arizona. 

plus, when i got up friday morning there were roses on the table:

and, you know, he still took me for revolving sushi (which, in my opinion, is the very best kind of sushi). so, that was our valentines day. thanks james, you sure know how to make a lady feel special (and way to make my card look totally pathetic in comparison). 

enough about valentines day though, lets get in to this weeks weekly wishes. basically this week i only have one (besides continuing to work on my monthly goal of deep cleaning the apartment):

don't spend the entire week as an anxious and emotional wreck. 

see, i have two things making me really, really anxious this week, one is kind of silly and the other is a bit more serious/important. lets start with the silly one:

so, my oh so wonderful mother generously bought me a ticket to go to the oc blogger brunch that melyssa of the nectar collective is hosting on saturday. on the one hand, I'm SUPER excited to meet melyssa and all the other bloggers in real life and i know its going to be really fun. on the other hand, i have REALLY bad social anxiety and the fact that I'm going to this thing ALONE is totally freaking me out.

and when i say "really bad social anxiety" i don't mean like i don't enjoy talking to strangers. i mean like i GO OUT OF MY WAY to not have to talk to people i know on the phone (and don't get me started about calling strangers!). i mean like more than once I've had a full blown panic attack at our church christmas party. i mean like one time my mom offered me FIFTY DOLLARS to go to my neighbors halloween party and introduce myself to three people, and i said HELL NO. i mean like the only person i talk to at church (the church I've gone to since i was TEN) is my mom. 

now I'm driving 40+ minutes away to go have brunch with a whole group of strangers (that are all surely cooler and more interesting and have better blogs than me) ALL BY MYSELF and I'm terrified. but obviously I'm going to do it anyway because i need more real life friends. 

also, I'm totally freaking out about what i should wear, but I'm sure ill figure that out...

now for the bigger, more important thing thats making me anxious:

james has a third interview for a really, really, REALLY great job at a fantastic company in our neighborhood. I've mentioned before that james has hardly had any work in the past few months, right? well, this new job would be a totally normal, 40 hour week, every week (plus a shorter bike commute for james), and it would be a HUGE relief to all of us if he were to get hired.  

the thing is though that their hiring process has been painfully slow. his first phone interview was almost a month ago, and his second interview was last thursday. the suspense is killing me because i can not stand suspense. especially when a really awesome job that basically solves all our current problems is on the line. 

and to make things extra weird, today he's working at his regular job (for the first time in over a month). so, prayers in this department would be greatly appreciated. 

thats whats going on over here right now. what are your plans this week?