Unselfishly Choosing Myself and My Health

I’ve made it a goal this year to get fit. Why? I think  I’m hilarious. My favorite thing about myself is that I can crack myself up in minutes and laugh about it for days. So what does that have to do with getting fit? Honestly, I’m not always a fan of my body. My body doesn’t make me feel the same way I do when I crack a really good joke.

The Why

The thing about my body though, is it’s what sustains my life. God’s given me one chance (well let’s be real He gave me a really good guardian angel so my clumsy self can get a few more than one) to live a really awesome life. I’ve spent ~23 years avoiding healthy foods, the gym, and really anything else that’s good for me because I didn’t like it. Yeah, that makes sense, I hate the gym and it makes me anxious, so why should I go? Well, I should probably go so I don’t get out of breath when I run up the stairs. I really don’t like salads and make I gross salad face when I eat them, so I haven’t eaten them. Well, they’re full of antioxidants that help me from getting sick, and they help make eating chips slightly more healthy.

Avoidance

The thing about being healthy for me has always been out of pure laziness and snacks taste better than veggies. It’s easier to grab takeout or fast food on my way home from work than it is to cook a healthy meal for one when I get home. It’s easier to heat up some chicken nuggets in the microwave then it is to bake some chicken. It’s easier to eat like crap. 

Acceptance & The Test Group

So to get myself to the gym I pay for I followed some fitness blogger, @DaniPowerYoga to be exact, and she kept posting about this test group. So in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to join. It’s day 12 and honestly, I’m already tired of it but I’m pushing through to day 80. This test

It’s not easy, there are a LOT of rules. I would be lying if I said I was going to follow all of them. I won’t. I’m trying to make myself live a healthier life and I’ve come to the realization that if I only eat what I’m told to for these 80+ days I’m going to go crazy binge eating when I’m done.

So I’m trying my best. I’m getting fit. I’m hopefully going to lose some weight and go on a vacation and feel great in a bikini after this.

Advertisements

2018 Goals

You had to know this was coming, so here are my 2018 goals! I decided to pick just 10 this year (again) so it is more achievable.

  1. Go to the gym a minimum of three times a week
  2. Work on transitioning my blog and online presence to more of what I want it to be and less of just quick fixes.
  3. Start working freelance
  4. Get organized
  5. Open an Etsy shop
  6. A solo-vacation (or maybe with friends who knows)
  7. Read 12 books
  8. Volunteer and be more charitable
  9. Write a book about blogging and publish it for the Amazon Kindle
  10. Eat better!

What are your goals for the new year?

2017 Goals in Review

Every year I review my goals. Normally, I do it twice and this year I didn’t want to do a mid-year review. Mostly because honestly, this is the first time I’ve looked at my goals since last January. L O L. 2017 has been a little rough- some really cool stuff happened and I might do a reflection piece all about that, but at the same time I’ve been creatively bogged down, exhausted, and often generally defeated. However, let’s dive into that as I reflect on my 2017 goals.

  1. Blog at LEAST three times a week. This did not happen. Obviously. I’ve found extremely difficult to manage my work writing and then staying motivated enough to come home and write more often. I did, however, write far more than I did last year, finally broke 500 followers (thank you everyone) and was proud of every piece I published. 
  2. Go self-hosted, break out of .wordpress (eek!!) Done! I thought it would be scarier because that yearly $100 price tag seemed high, but I renewed it this month with no hesitation. I’m content with my domain name and look of my blog (generally). 
  3. Get my first real adult job doing something I love. I’m working in my field- which I love that I’m using my degree. There are parts of my job that I really do love, however, this isn’t my dream job and my boss reassures me that it’s a stepping stone to doing what I really want to do- freelancing. 
  4. Move out of my parent’s house. I did! I *officially* moved to Frederick where I had semi-permanently lived over the four years of college. Now, it’s my home. 
  5. Travel somewhere cool. I didn’t go anywhere super cool and exciting- at least to most people. However, for me, I had a lot of fun going to BloggyCon and spending time with people who love the same things as me. Mostly, having people understand me when I talked was really cool too. After I went there, I took the long way home and visited a friend who is in Kentucky (hi Kellianne) which was just super nice. 
  6. Grow in my relationships with God and Jesus. That’s a personal question goal that I don’t need to delve into on the internet :) One day there will be a whole post on my religious views. 
  7. Learn something new I learned to embroider and knit this year! I’m not advanced at either but I’d say I’m a novice in both. 
  8. Eat better– i.e. eventually no more dairy or soy, the crux of all of my stomach issues I did- it didn’t work. 
  9. Find a therapist wherever I end up post-graduation to continue positively growing with my mental health. I didn’t do this. It turned out I dreading going to therapy. I’m still on medication and one day I hope to find a therapist that I connect with better but overall I’m okay(ish) where I am now anxiety wise. 
  10. Be creative all the time, in thinking, in daily life, constantly expanding my mind in creativity. Obviously, from the first paragraph of this post- this was trying for me. I’ve had creativity-block like others have writer’s block. It has impacted nearly every aspect of my life and has been incredibly annoying. However, this is something to work on again for 2018.

How did you do on your 2017 goals? As you can guess, my 2018 goals are around the corner!

25 Days of Christmas: Day 3

Last weekend when I was home wrapping Christmas presents I needed a Christmas movie to go along with it, I decided to go with the Netflix Original: “A Christmas Prince.”

This review may contain spoilers.

I am a firm believer that everyone loves a good Hallmark/Lifetime movie this year. It’s a great time of year to remember you’re alone and no prince is going to fall in love with you. Well, that’s exactly what happened in this movie. It was very much “The Prince and Me” but with the classic Christmas twist. They’re not in college, and of course, the lead is a struggling journalist. If you aren’t a struggling student, you have to be a struggling writer, that’s the classic plot of a cheesy romantic movie.

The new twist to this movie is that the prince’s sister is disabled. Unsurprisingly, the lead woman befriends the princess as she’s posing as her tutor. The princess is the first to figure it out, and the prince never really does.

As always, the relationship progresses relatively quickly and it ends happily. This is a perfect cheesy and romantic Christmas movie. On my scale, for good Christmas movie, I would give this a solid 7/10, if you’re a movie critic I’d give it a solid 4/10.

Let me know what you think!

25 Days of Christmas: Day 1

Merry 25 Days of Christmas! I know it’s a day late, but December snuck up on me. That just means that one day will have two posts! (Not today).

Today, let’s get into the holiday spirit with my holiday playlist. It’s based on nostalgia and iconic songs from my childhood.

https://music.amazon.com/embed/83d02467583342b4906b8a1dc2efd9b8sune/?id=hY34KVFLCV&marketplaceId=ATVPDKIKX0DER&musicTerritory=US

So these are the songs I would pick. Share yours with me- I’ll add them to the playlist! The ultimate collaborative holiday songs playlist!

So You Want to Start a Blog? | The Content

I’m going to start this off by telling you the opposite of everything else you will read: you do NOT need to choose a niche. Take a look around my blog, it’s been four years and I’ve yet to pick. Don’t worry about it.

What do you like?

The most important thing about blogging is you need to write about things you like. It doesn’t matter if it’s not popular (trust me, you aren’t the only person who likes something), it doesn’t matter if you don’t know everything about it (learn). What matters is that you enjoy what you’re talking about. It shows when bloggers are writing about what’s popular, what they think will sell, it’s not what they care about, they’re doing it for the views.

Find Your Folks

This is the only place you’re going to have trouble when you don’t have a niche- but it’s doable. My folks are for the most part other twenty-somethings generally at the same stage in their life as I am. Each person and I have something different in common, all of my folks are from different “tribes” (a term for another post) if you will.

Finding Your Voice

I don’t like to be professional on my personal blog, these are my thoughts and opinions, and I want to write in a very familiar tone. I want people to know they’re reading Mary’s Average Adventures by a line. I don’t want to be authoritative, I don’t want to lecture, I just want to be, so I use my own voice. A lot of my writing is exactly how I talk– run on sentences and scattered ideas. I’m very scatter-brained- the kind way of saying a mess, but that’s me and that’s what I want my blog to show. My voice is not me showing my best self (did I get tipsy and write the other night, yes), it’s me showing me.

That’s not to say that’s the only way of doing things. If I was talking about business that wouldn’t be okay, but I’m not. You have to figure out what voice fits your blog.

This is you.

A blog isn’t meant to encapsulate anyone but you. It’s meant to house your thoughts or information you think the world should have. It’s you. Don’t worry about what’s popular- it’s easy to fall into the trap of what will get views but at the end of the day it needs to be what’s best for you. Don’t burn out over a blog, that’s silly.

Thoughts? New blogs I should be looking at?

Feel like you could use a hand getting your blog off the ground? Let me know and I’d be more than happy to give a free consultation of my services :)

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!)

Feel like you could use a hand getting your blog off the ground? Let me know and I’d be more than happy to give a free consultation of my services :)

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.

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?