Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Blogging Rules I Break: As Told By Schitt's Creek Gifs

As a kid, I was a rule follower.  As a blogger?  Nothing but a rule breaker.

My little corner of the internet has been going for 10 years now.  While the idea of blogging has evolved over the years, there are some evergreen blog rules that I break. And because I am not done obsessing over Schitt's Creek...the blog rules each have a Schitt's Creek gif to go with them. Because why not?

Rule 1: Choose a blog name related to what you write about.

Heh heh. "Zucchini Summer"  

david rose gif

Rule 2: Use your name


What a stupid name. You shouldn't say it to me because that would be rude and socially awkward but I can say it about myself.
I chose it back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was super focused on finding good deals. Bargains. I like alliteration and am a female. Hence "babe".  

I don't want to use my real name because I'm not tryin' to end up on an episode of Dateline. Thankyouverymuch.

Schitt's Creek Gif

Rule 3: Have a niche.

One major blog rule is to brand yourself as the expert in something fairly specific. Some bloggers specialize in all things travel. Others focus solely on books/reading. Yet other bloggers have found their niche in the world of creating beautiful spaces in their homes.

Then there's me. Zucchini Summer Blog written by The Bargain Babe. Do I write only about bargains or zucchinis or summers?

schitts creek gif

This blog's "niche" is "some of everything". Some posts are about favorite books. One month you might find a more serious toned post about special education. Some posts slant to social justice.  There's even one or two recipes around here.  

Rule 4: Use a photo of yourself.

Articles with blogging tips abound with the same advice to make yourself real to your reader. Use a photo of yourself in your profile. Even better if you have photos of yourself making your recipe or visiting Greece (assuming cooking or travel is your niche blog topic. See #3 above.).

This blog rule is tempting to follow. A few readers know me in real life. (*waves hello*), but most of you don't. I'd love to pop on here with a selfie so you can see the blog-rule-breaking-face behind the scenes. I post photos sometimes, of my dog, of some decor, etc...but never any of the human faces around here. It's a layer of privacy for my family. Besides, if you all knew I was an exact look-a-like for Salma Hayek, you might get jealous.*

Salma Hayak
*Def Salma Hayek and not me.

moira rose schitt's creek
Keeping my face off the 'net gives some privacy.

Rule 5: Use Wordpress or self-host your blog

These days most people have gotten away from the blogger platform and gone to Wordpress or buying their own domain.  Yours truly however is still here hanging with the blogger/blogspot home.  I don't want to have to try to figure out how to change it all over myself.  And don't want to pay a hosting service or pay to have it migrated.  

While it is true that different hosts may offer different/better options for blogging, I'm just hitting the easy button and staying put for now.

Are there any blogging rules that you also break?  

I can't be the only one out here not showing my face, still hanging at Blogspot, and with a wide "niche", can I?

popular blogging mistakes

Monday, February 1, 2021

The 10 Things Saving My Life Right Now

These lists are apparently a thing?  I first saw one from The Lazy Genius (mine doesn't contain Oreos like hers does but there is definitely food involved!) and now Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy has a yearly one?  Yes, please!  Tell me what is getting you through this winter/plague/world right now?

1. Libby app
This is a library app (FREE) that you can connect to your local library and use to check out digital books and magazines.  I've long been in the "physical books only" camp but then Covid19 came around and mucked everything up.  Unable to get to a library in person and without a zillion dollar book budget, what's a girl to do?
Enter: Libby.
libby app

I can place books on hold, read magazines, listen to audio books, or read a book.  Over the months of library shut down, I've gotten pretty fond of reading on my phone. A major advantage is that I always have a book available to read.  When I had a sick kiddo and needed to sleep next to them, I was able to read on my phone while still keeping the room quiet and dark so they could doze.

2. Schwan's Frozen Pizza
You know the Schwan's truck? You order frozen food and they deliver it to your door?  Now they have lots of delicious things and some can be pricey but let me fill you in on the budget saver. Frozen pizza.  Schwan's frozen pizzas are 5 bucks--less than the cost of a frozen pizza from the grocery store and WAY better.  Pro tip: Got teenagers? Get 2 pizzas. 

3. Paper plates
Look. I love the earth and as a global people we're doing a crap job taking care of it.  I also use paper plates most days.  Pretty sure that the billionaires taking trips around the world on private jets all the time are far more damaging to the environment than my family using a paper plate.  Now, if you're hardcore earthy or budget-y and don't want to buy consumable dishes?  Rock on!  Me?  I'm exhausted from teaching / momming / wife-ing in a pandemic so I'm going to serve our frozen pizza (see above) on paper plates without feeling bad.

4. 6 Outfits
Working in a school with confirmed Covid-19 cases, I need to wash my clothes on hot water and dry on high heat.  Not wanting to ruin all of my dress clothes, I have 6 outfits that I wear right now.  No jewelry (too hard to sanitize from school to home). This isn't a forever thing, it's a "just right now" deal.  But you know? Having minimal clothing options really makes laundry and preparing for the week super easy.

UPDATE: I wrote this earlier in the school year and have since transitioned into more dress clothes and accessories but darn if it isn't more stressful.  I'm going to pick out my 10 favorite outfits and just rewear those.

5. Life In Pieces reruns
Super funny show with short episodes that are the perfect escape from the currently...ahem...dark...world we live in.

6. Budgeting for each month and each paycheck
It's kind of a hassle to break down the budget for each paycheck but it really does help to make sure that each monthly category/bill gets the amount it needs.  It helps us track and have more to put towards our mortgage-pay-off goal.

We aren't shopping in person for things right now so instead of cash envelopes (we only have one for drive thrus and one for chore money) we use a google sheet with color coded boxes for each category.  The nice thing about this is that my husband and I can each update it.  If he wants to spend $20 ordering something we need for the house, he just adds it to the Google Sheet tracker and then I know that I can't order $30 worth of widgets because our house budget only has $5 left.

7. Book of the Month
Subscription boxes are available for everything these days. Makeup, kids crafts, clothes, food, and on.  But did you know...there are BOOK subscription boxes? There are multiple companies to choose from.  I chose Book of the Month because each month you get a choice of books. Other companies just send you a pre-selected book. I'm not a horribly picky reader but definitely stay away from some genres (fantasy) or styles (I cannot handle a wordy "classic" right now. Thankyouverymuch.).  With BOTM they have 5 options and I log in on my phone or computer and can read the description and a sample of each. 
book of the month club
(from BookOfTheMonth)

You can do a 12-month subscription (I got it as a gift for Mother's Day!) or a 3-month or 6-month subscription.
Yes, it is more expensive than getting the book through the library but there isn't a waiting list (one of my "to read" books on the Libby app had a 26 week waiting list when I added my own name) and it gives me something in the mail to look FORWARD to.  

If you'd like to try Book of the Month, my referral link might give you a discount. I'm not super sure because I've never done it before. However, I do know it doesn't cost you any extra and it does give me a bonus book pick so, you know, that's cool.

8. Online Grocery / Pick Up
Around late last fall, I discovered that my local grocery stores had online ordering. You order, show up, and they bring it out to your car and load it for you.  We started doing that.  Then Covid hit and we've never stopped!  

Occasionally I miss roaming the grocery aisles myself but it's not often.  Being able to have it loaded in my car is not only a time saver, but it's helping me and the community stay safer too because I'm not roaming around the store potentially exposing others.
Not sure who this guy is but I love him.

Pro tip: I always do the grocery survey that is emailed to me afterwards. I give the employees all 5 stars...I think it helps them get points or rewards or something.  Can anyone confirm?

9. Sojourner's Daily Emails
This ministry sends a daily email with a verse of the day/quote of the day/thought of the day.  The email is short and uplifting.  If you're finding yourself discouraged with the world, with the lack of justice, this will help feed your soul. There's a Sojourners magazine that you can subscribe to, but the emails are free.

10. Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese & Town House Pita Sea Salt Crackers
I bought the cream cheese for a Halloween recipe my son wanted to make.  It was amazing!  Why did I wait so long to eat garden vegetable cream cheese!  You could dip veggies in it but I prefer Maximum Carb Consumption.  I've been eating it with the TownHouse brand pita crackers (sea salt variety).  It's so good I have my own stash at work.  

Pro tip: The Philadelphia brand cream cheese is better than the Walmart brand texture wise but the flavor is comparable.  I've started buying the Walmart brand to save a buck.

Try some flavored cream cheese on your next grocery pick up order (Remember #8?)...and hide it from your family so they don't eat it all.
There are my top ten things saving my life right now....books, food, and tv. That's healthy, right? Let me know if you have a similar list!

10 things saving my life right now 10 things saving my life right now