Tipsy Tips: Lesson 1


I am prefacing this series with the information that I am 22, nearly 23, therefore, it is completely and utterly a-okay for me to be tipsy. Also really this should be called tipsy thoughts but that sounds stupid. Also if this prevents me from getting a job I do not care. My goal is to freelance. Pay me to write, please.

So I’m almost 23. My mom got pregnant with me when she was 23. That’s not going to be happening for me at 23, that’s for sure. I can’t get a guy to look at me for more than five seconds and those who do I’m really unfortunately not into. So here’s a tip, if you want to have a kid by 24, be more like my mom and less like me.

Here’s a tip: avoid words that make people cringe. How do you know if they make people cringe? If the cast of Bachelor in Paradise is cringing over it, don’t use it. Guess the word in the comments- Robbie identified himself as it on his date with Raven is a big hint. I don’t want to use it because a person who reads this blog wants to identify as one, and that’s just stupid, I’m sorry.

Okay here’s a tip: everyone wants a friendship like Meredith and Christina. Why? Derrick dies, and Christina doesn’t come back. I want my person to be on my side and not be in a different country for a long time when my husband dies. Just saying, pick someone to stick around.

Here’s another tip, don’t date friends of friends. It makes you not want to talk about anything with your friend when it goes bad. Then it just sits inside you.

Take time for yourself. Don’t let other people bog ya down.

Those are my tipsy tips.

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The War on Free Press

While I work in marketing and have no desire to ever go into journalism, that’s essentially what my communications degree is in. I was editor-in-chief my senior year and I have spent a lot of my time writing and research about new things for my classes. I took almost every journalistic type class offered during college and as Trump began to stick out as a forerunner, then a major candidate, and then finally president elect it became a big topic of discussion in many of our classes.

I don’t care what your political affiliation is, by deeming news to be fake, you are hurting free press. When the president pinpoints specific news outlets to be “fake” he’s hurting one of the major values of our country. I’m sure you all know where I stand with him, but to me, this is one thing we need to be standing up for.

Today, I saw a headline for the NYT (couldn’t read it; reached my max for the month already) and it was about how journalists are not the enemy, and I haven’t seen something that describes this war of free press so perfectly. Everyone has opinions, everyone has thoughts, and that’s the point of living in America, we can share those thoughts and opinions without fear of persecution.

In May, my college made national headlines because of a display that was put up by the Hood College Republicans, many found it offensive, including myself. However, it stayed up because my college honored free speech. Although some tried to deem it hate speech, there was nothing attributed to specific members of the club, but rather big names of the Republican party. I respect that, I respect that my college allowed it to remain standing. I would not say I would have allowed so much discussion over it (giving us some negative right-wing publicity) but it’s the perfect demonstration of why free speech is so important.

I think everyone is willing to admit how biased some news outlets are, especially in today’s political climate. However, by deeming essentially all news other than Fox, an extremely right-winged outlet to be fake we are hurting free speech. When I hear the president call out nearly every basic cable channel as fake news, all I can think about are children all over the country who will turn to Fox as their main source.

There is biased media, CNN, Fox, even the NYT I have recently been perceived as more left-winged recently (maybe it’s because of what one of their reporters said to me but that’s a different story). Just because there are biased media, doesn’t mean there are unbiased media. Do your research, according to the Pew Research Center, everyone seems to equally trust the Wall Street Journal (and no one trusts BuzzFeed big surprise there). Learn what sites you find to be most valuable, but traditionally left and right winged media shouldn’t be trusted. Yes, I’d prefer to go check out CNN over Fox, but really I’m probably not going to go to either, I’m going to check multiple sources, get more than one side of the story.

The thing about a free press is that it’s not just for one party, which is why we shouldn’t be relying on one or few sources like Trump seems to be doing. When people think about America one of the first things they think about is freedom, which includes speech, which guess what, includes the media.

Fake news was not coined to attack CNN, NYT, ABC, and so on, it was coined for those falling for Onion articles shared on Facebook. I found this topic interesting because it’s trending on Twitter, how journalists today aren’t journalists, which frankly I have to disagree with. Journalists today have to work so much harder, they’re fighting not only other news outlets for stories but also the internet, which funny enough you can’t just take someone’s Tweets and call it news (@BuzzFeed). Also consider the fact that many journalists and specific media organizations were banned from Trump rallies, making their jobs even harder.

There’s a lot of freedoms we have in this country, which is a very good thing, but BOTH sides need to stop attacking the media. If we didn’t have a free press our country would be a very dark place. So go ahead and call it fake news or whatever you want, just know that we need a free press. It needs to be protected. Find people in the middle, find outlets that have a fair compromise, I swear they’re out there. If you write off any news outlet that doesn’t align with your political beliefs, you’re only going to get half the story. A lot of problems can be found when people disagree.

If the government were to start impeeding on free press, free speech might be next, which then no one will be able to march, either side.

Fake news isn’t what the right wants you to believe, it’s the Onion, and sites like that, not sites that are perpetuating a left-winged agenda. Both exist, so learn about both, learn all the sides. A good journalist will let you know everything.

It’s not Fox or CNN that I feel bad for in this case, it’s newspapers, middle of road news stations, people who are really just trying to share the news. Journalists are so passionate about what they do, it’s a shame to see polictics impeed on a passion like that.

Dating Diaries: The End?

I started a series in the mindset that I would be trying online dating, hopeful, but not expectant of anything. Well shortly after, I fell for someone and I wanted to keep it to myself, it was new, I don’t fall often but when I do I fall hard. I felt giddy like a school girl. I’m sure you can assume it ended. It ended for exactly the reason I wrote about in my second dating diaries post, plus he didn’t know what he wanted.

I did what I normally do when a guy ends things (or pretty much makes me do it) I hop on an online dating site. I made it about four days this time around when I realized how hurt I actually was. I was at work and honestly had a little bit of a melt down. Was it fair for me to talk to boys that were nice to me when I was so unemotionally available? Was it fair for me to make fun of them to their faces unbeknownst to them? No, none of that was fair. So I deactivated my accounts. I said goodbye to two: two that I was supposed to go on dates with this weekend. That’s what did it. Two dates in one weekend, there was no way I would get through one let alone two, so I said goodbye, wished them well.

So why is this the end of dating diaries? Well, it’s not really, it’s just how I’m not dating anymore. When I’m ready I’ll come back; when I’m ready I’ll spill all the juicy gossip of how gross guys are on dating apps.

I think this little mini-heartbreak has taught me a lot. It’s taught me that I know what I want, and I shouldn’t settle for someone who doesn’t. It’s taught me that if someone else is afraid of where it’s going I should be as well. It’s taught me that I can be alone and be okay. It’s also taught me that I shouldn’t let my friends set me up with people because parties from now on might be a little awkward.

Now, I’m going to take myself, pour all of the love I have into hobbies and side hustles. My rebrand will be done before I go to Ohio, and everything will be ready for BloggyCon (anyone else going?!). It’s time for me to focus on me and everything I want out of my own life before I try mixing someone else’s in. So for now, I’m saying goodbye to dating diaries, and hello to something else, who knows what!

When’s the last time your heart was broken? Was it full-blown or just a little tear?

So You Want To Start a Blog? | Where to Start.

Blogging is the single greatest thing I have ever done in my life and I think I will feel that way until I have children. I encourage everyone to start one, but how do you do that? How do you pick a niche? How do you know what you want it to look like? Where do you look for pictures that won’t get you sued? And most importantly how do you consistently come up with content. Well, welcome to my new series where we will explore all of that.

Today we’re going to start at the beginning: how do you start a blog? Well, my friends, my advice would be to pick a host site you’re comfortable with. I chose WordPress because I liked that it was really easy to follow other bloggers, something I could never figure out on Blogger, however that is a very popular platform that I’m sure has its benefits. I am extremely partial to WordPress so I would say go for that, but if you’re more comfortable somewhere else, by all means, do that too.

Then you have to pick a domain. It can be related to what you want to blog about, but not necessarily. Some people go for a username for titles, other a general theme, find something that speaks to you, anything that speaks to you. My good friend from high school called her 9to5 which I really like. It can be as simple or complex as you want within the character limit. After you have your name for your site, you need to decide whether or not you want to register it. Personally, I registered mine after I was one-hundred percent certain blogging was something I was sticking with. Some people do it right off the bat, the only thing with that is you pay for the year– so if you forget about it, you lost some money.

If you decide to take the leap first thing, I would highly recommend paying the yearly $99 for the all access WordPress site. It allows you to have complete control of your content but also the benefits of WordPress hosting. This means your followers will still get updates when you post, you have a really good support team to help you with any problems, and your phone number and address can’t be found through your web address. You can purchase cheaper WordPress plans but honestly, I think the money is worth it.

Once you figure out all of that it’s time for a layout! Back in the early days of my blog, I was constantly changing the layout because it’s really fun. However, not always the best idea for consistency purposes. Find one you like, and what I like to do is make it so it’s something I would want to read. If you aren’t having an easy time reading it no one will.

Now your blog is all set up and it’s time to move on to picking your niche (or maybe not!)

Dating Diaries: Waiting Until Marriage

Family who reads my blog– please do not feel obligated by any means to read this post as I will be talking about sex quite candidly.

This is one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever had to write because it’s such an unpopular choice that I have made. I don’t know when I made the conscious decision to do so, it’s just something that I decided I was going to do: I am going to wait until I’m married to have sex.

This makes dating complicated. We live in an extremely sexualized world. There are apps people use for the sole purpose of finding someone to have sex with. Then there’s me, making the extremely unpopular decision to wait. So why have I decided to keep the promise I’ve made to myself? To be quite honest, the decision started because I’m religious but I’m no longer doing it because of that. It is one part because it weeds out a lot of really shitty guys. If he gets annoyed about your wait to want or even tries to convince you to do otherwise you know he’s not even worth the slightest amount of time.

Aside from the benefits of weeding the shits out, it’s still not an easy conversation to have with anyone. There never seems to be a right time or place to blurt out “I’m a virgin and I’m staying like that until my wedding night.” In the past, I’ve found it easiest to say while intoxicated, but that’s just really not bright because it’s more than that. It revolves around boundaries and decisions that you have to be grown up enough to talk about. It’s  not fun, but it’s important.

Here’s my advice to anyone sitting down to have the conversation, just do it. I usually start by saying, “I really like you and I hope this isn’t going to change anything, but I’m waiting to have sex until I’m married.” After that, it’s hopefully a conversation, or at least he’s respectful of your choice. Every now and again you might meet someone who has the same plan, but for me, it’s been few and far between. It’s only impacted a relationship once or twice, but if I’m being honest I like to wait for them to get at least a little attached. The only downside to that is I also get attached. The sooner the better, but it’s also important for you to go with what you are comfortable with.

I’m not writing this post for other people to make the same choice that I have. It’s hard and it’s not for everyone. Due to my anxiety and severe commitment but also extreme attachment issues, it wouldn’t be smart for me to do. So I’m doing what I can for my Lord by saving myself, but that’s not all of it. It’s so much more than that.

What are your thoughts? Any other waiters out there? How do you have the conversation? One, a few, ongoing?

Saying “No” to Brands

I’ve been blogging for several years now and at least once a month I’ll get an email that goes something like this:

Hi Mary,

Wow, we love your blog, and I think that we have a great idea for a post! What would you think about writing about *insert random idea here that probably doesn’t fit in with blog at all*. What do you think? Here are some examples, and let us know if you want more details!

All the best,

Very Generic name here

So I usually reply:

Good *insert time of day* Generic Name!

I’m so happy you like my blog and I really like that idea. I would love more information! I am attaching my media kit so you are aware of my rates.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Mary

Then I usually get a reply that goes like this:

Hi Mary,

Thanks for a prompt response! So happy you like the idea, unfortunately, at this time we are unable to compensate. However, we would love to share your blog (if we like it enough) on our website and with our social media followers.

Please consider our offer and let me know if you decide to go ahead. We would really like to work with you.

*Generic Name*

To which I will respond,

*Generic Name*

I understand, however, as a person who needs an income at this time I unable to give out my services for free. I hope you can understand that. As I love the idea, if you ever find the budget for me, please let me know and I would be more than happy to work with you on this project.

Best,

Mary

Now honestly depending on my mood I’ll just stop responding, however, I’m very tired of offers that will not profit me or my readers. My media kit is actually very generous, I don’t charge nearly as much as I should, and I give the option of NO MONEY! Just a discount code for readers. I don’t want to hurt a startup trying to break into their industry, but that doesn’t mean I should let companies (that definitely have some type of marketing budget) take advantage of me.

Have I fallen for this before? Heck yes. Why? Becuase the people are so nice, they try to make a connection with you- it’s how they get free publicity. Once I started thinking about it though, it didn’t make sense. The only things I give free publicity to are services or products that I know and love. I shouldn’t be giving away my service for free to a company who wouldn’t even give me a sample of their service.

At the end of the day, you have to put you and your dignity above whether or not it will get you free publicity. All of their responses are contingent upon whether or not they like your work enough to share it, and honestly, you might have more “real” followers than them anyway. If a company is trying to use “smaller” bloggers to gain traction and attention, they might be doing some other undignified practices of gaining attention on social media.

Be careful and don’t let people take advantage.

 

Dating Diaries: “Costco Sunglasses”

 

So I’m dating again. As you probably know, I hate dating. It’s the worst. But alas, I would like a boyfriend because one day I’d like to get married and have a family. However, it’s not going real great so far so I thought I would start a new series about dating*. I like to consider myself fairly low maintenance when it comes to men, I don’t want to be paid for (example A bought my own coffee), I’m fine making decisions for myself, and I don’t require excessive amounts of attention, all I ask is for them to be upfront with me.

This afternoon I went on a first date. Personally, I thought it went well. I did a lot to prepare, got a new outfit (okay I wanted an excuse for a new outfit), shaved my legs, used a facemask, did my makeup very well. To be honest, most of that was just needed as some mental self-care. Went to meet him at a local coffee shop, he was late and the wait at the place was 30 minutes so we walked to another. We sat in that coffee shop for almost two hours. Then, we walked all over downtown for nearly 3 hours. By the end of the date, it was nearly 5:30. He walked me to the car and said he would definitely text me with plans for another encounter. Well, he did.

However, he said that he didn’t think that we would be good romantically. THEN WHY THE HECK WOULD YOU LET ME GET BLISTERS WHILE WE WALK AROUND FOR THREE HOURS.

Hindsight, I definitely agree that we wouldn’t be good romantically agree. I mean, he showed up in plaid cargo shorts, what the boys in elementary school would wear! Add onto that his Costco sunglasses, he would need a little fashion change, and that’s coming from me who rarely matches. I realize this is something that makes me sound extremely shallow, and that there’s something wrong with all Costco sunglasses, or Costco in general and there isn’t. However, I think the look of the sunglasses, the fact that they were worn inside, and the plaid cargo shorts showed a level of immaturity that I’m passed at this point in my life.

I also had to push all of the conversations, ask so many questions, and just try hard. I definitely am just tired of being single and wanted it to work very badly. However, still a little offended he waited to text me that it wasn’t going to work out. We spent five hours together, plenty of time to tell me!

Be honest people. Dating attempt one: check.

*This segment is the first of an ongoing series about my life dating. I will go into things like waiting until marriage, what I’m looking for in a potential husband, as well as delving into my dates.

Baby Boomers are the Best and Millennials are the Worst

I am a millennial. Now before you try and fight me on it, just let me have it. I have done papers. I fall in the years of millennials so please don’t even go there. I’m not Gen Z. I am the “problem” generation.

I am constantly pulling HR articles for social media posting at work and so many I come across are about millennials in the workplace and essentially what a PIA we are. SHUT UP. PLEASE. SHUT UP.

Fact. I don’t care if a company gives me a t-shirt, lets me wear whatever I want, or has pets in the office. All of those are perks, but not the most prevalent ones. We still want retirement plans we still want benefits.

I don’t know why every person who is not a millennial knows what we want and I’m also very curious how you can generalize a whole generation. You simply can’t. We have Google, Facebook, Amazon, BuzzFeed, and all of the media giants of today influencing people’s opinions of millennials, but in all honesty, they’re just adding icing on the cake. Companies are taking their avant-garde ideas that they add as pluses to their other benefits, but are forgetting to give people the OG benefits that are expected with a salaried job.

Let’s take BuzzFeed for example, ask anyone interested in digital media between the ages of 15 and 25, I would say 80% of them would be willing to work for BuzzFeed and 90% would at least be willing to make an appearance in a video or have a Tweet quoted in an article. Yet, their turnover rate for a lot of their “successful” employees is extremely high. Search “Why I Left BuzzFeed” on YouTube and you will find a million and one reasons. However, most of these are either centered around not having enough money to scrape by, or not having enough control over their personal brand. Their casual dress code, puppies in the office, popular videos, and overall portrayed energy promotes an idea of ideal work/life balance and displays people who seem like they generally want to go to work. This is what people think of millennials

So take away the “millennial wants” from BuzzFeed, you would see the reality of the situation there. Less than thrilled employees, not making enough money, and you would see the reality of a high turnover rate. It’s the idea of the perks that appeal to millennials, but it’s not what keeps them. 

So just a question: Why are millennials treated like we are the glutens, goldfish, and idiots of the workplace? All we’re looking for is someone to leech off of until someone new comes along. We don’t have the focus or attention span to stay with a company very long. And last but not least, we don’t really know anything (on top of literally everything we have ruined like department stores and fancy napkins).

Social media, as much as I love and cherish it, has given baby boomer and gen x to become afraid of the power they do not understand and attack us verbally. Naturally, the hashtags they try to dominate with why we’re the worst are quickly taken over by millennial “trolls.” We are not the snowflake generation, we are just not afraid to stand up for what we believe in. We are not cry babies and whiners, we’re just saying what we think to a larger audience. I’m sure gen x and baby boomer did just as much complaining back in their day, they just didn’t have a platform that would allow it to be so widespread. Back in their day, it was 15 minutes of fame, not the kind of fame we see today and they’re scared.

Back off, let me live tweet your breakdown and go viral because of it. While you continue to complain about how millennials suck (on the internet when we use it too much apparently) you’re going to be missing a lot of success. Stop being a precious snowflake and realize that millennials are starting to dominate the workforce and there’s not much you can do to stop it at this rate. We aren’t taking your jobs, killing industries, or whatever else you want to blame us for. Next time, don’t ruin the housing market and maybe I’ll buy a house as soon as I have a stable job, but too bad you did. If you want something fixed, go shop at more department stores and fix it. 

The One-Size-Fits-All Blogging Method

I’m sure you’ve seen it, heck, maybe even my click bait title got you here, but here’s the thing: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to blogging. According to the “experts”, I’m a failure. I’ve yet to make a dime off of this corner of the internet, so if that’s why you’re here you can click off this page.

Let’s be real, everyone wants to their blog to be successful. Most people would love to quit their job to work from home and make ridiculous amounts of money by blogging, here’s the thing: that’s not the reality.

If you get on Pinterest and look for “blogging tips” or really just anything to do with blogging, it’s all about trying to make $20,000 in the first month. Quite frankly unless you already have a huge online following, like Poppy Dayes, it’s not going to be your reality, well, unless you get super lucky.

So here’s my question: why do so many of those posts exist? How are there blogs dedicated to making money via blogging?

Personally, I believe that it’s because there are a handful of people in the “public” eye making buckets of money via social media, blogging, YouTube, etc. That’s not why people started doing those things though, they did them because they liked it. They fell into the money and now people see it as a get-rich-quick scheme.

It drives me crazy the number of posts I see on how to make $8,000 your first month blogging, or $20,000 your first three, or even “How I quit my six-figure salary full-time job to become a stay at home mom and blogger.” That’s not how it works for everyone. You need your blog to be filled with passion, good content, and it to be what you want it to be. If you formulate your whole blog around someone else’s definition of what a successful blog is, how does that make it any different from the 9-5 job you hate? You still aren’t doing what you love.

There isn’t a one-size fits all blogging method. Plain and simple. If it worked like that we would all be rich. While your content, SEO optimization, keywords, pictures, and outlook is all extremely important to blogging and striving to make money from it, there is an element of luck. The right people need to see your blog and think it’s good enough to be successful. At the end of the day, make it something you love and you’re proud of. Don’t worry if it translates into money or not, don’t count on it is my advice. If it happens, think of it as a happy surprise. If you’re going into it looking to be rich, I just don’t know how successful you will be.

I would be lying if I said that blogging full time isn’t my dream career because it is. There are a few things in life I’m passionate about and blogging is the biggest one. I’ve been doing this for almost four years and I’ve made microscopic amounts of money from it, but it doesn’t matter. I love every second that I’ve poured into my corner of the internet. I treasure every person that I can call a friend because I decided to write a blog. I have a job with benefits because this blog is what made me passionate about the internet. Take those things into account if your blog isn’t literally paying off because psychologically it probably is. There’s no way I would be where I am today without this site.

Blog because you love it. Blog because it will change your life. Blog because you want to. Don’t blog to make six-figures a year.

What do you think?

30 Things Before 30

I’m getting old, my mom won’t like to read it but it’s true. I will be 23 by mid September. I started a big girl job. I’ve been eating salad. You know, adult things. So 30 is just under 7 and a half years away and there’s a lot I would like to do between now and then so I thought I would share my 30 things before 30 list!

  1. See at least 30 states.
  2. Get paid for a freelance gig.
  3. Travel to a new continent.
  4. Develop a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.
  5. Visit 7 new countries.
  6. Start the adoption process.
  7. Read 300 books.
  8. Curate a collection of my own recipes.
  9. Take three random classes just because.
  10. Go vegan for a month.
  11. Take a vacation just to relax.
  12. Buy a house.
  13. Volunteer using talents.
  14. Get Leslie a friend.
  15. Visit somewhere new for at least a month.
  16. Become a blogging “expert”.
  17. Make time for vacation every year.
  18. Create a budget and stick to it, allowing it to fluctuate as finances change.
  19. Learn how to let go of material items.
  20. Strive to spend majority of time with enjoyable tasks.
  21. Find a go-to therapist.
  22. Take a real picture everyday for a year.
  23. Post 700 blog posts.
  24. Take 20 minutes once a week to do nothing.
  25. Face a fear every year.
  26. Figure out how to use the Super 8 camera.
  27. Have a real “Treat Yo’ Self” day every year, but save for it.
  28. Live alone.
  29. Share passion with others.
  30. Make a positive impact on someone’s life.

What do you want to do before you turn 30?