Archives for February 2012

How To Break Your Routine (And Why It’s Needed)

This week has been filled with changes to my routine. I’ve slept in, stayed off the computer at night when my husband is home for the most part, and read during the day when I’m supposed to be working. This may sound like the opposite of productivity to you, but it’s the exact opposite. It took me working through my weekend (full 8 hour+ days each day) in order to prepare for the shop launch tomorrow for me to see this as an acceptable work method. But now? I’ve never felt better. Not only that, but I’m actually ahead on my to-do list. So this week I wanted to take some time and share some ideas for breaking out of the routine you’ve slumped into and hopefully spike your creativity.

While most of these tips are geared towards those who are self-employed or have a lot of flexibility with their schedule, most of these tips can be applied to your life in some shape or form!

1. Change up your work hours if you can

This is one of the easiest ways to break out of the daily grind that you’ve fallen into. Maybe you feel like sleeping in one day, or maybe the spark of creativity hits you right before you’d normally crawl into bed. Or maybe you want to take a trip in the middle of the week when the crowds are less busy and you’re able to enjoy yourself more so you work on the weekend. The glory of working for yourself is that you have a massive amount of control over your time and when it’s spent doing things. So use that to your advantage, even if it means working unconventional hours.

2. Allow for time for yourself

Give yourself some slack from time to time and skip the whole to-do list for a day. Do what needs to be done and then call it quits to take some time out for you. Read, watch a movie, get a massage – do something that’s strictly something positive for yourself. Not only do you deserve it, but your customers will appreciate the new, refreshed you that comes back to answer their emails the next day. Give as much as you give to your clients/customers to yourself on a regular basis. Your chores, tasks, emails, posts, etc can all wait a few hours or day. I promise.

3. Do something totally out of the ordinary regularly

Sometimes our routine becomes boring because we lose that sense of wonder. We’re no longer guessing what will happen and now almost exactly how our days will play out. So shake it up! Take a different route to a place you regularly go, visit a new place, do something you’ve been nervous to do, take on a new project, or maybe it’s as simple as doing one of these 5 tips if it’s way out of your regular routine. Break up the repetitiveness by adding something exciting to your business (or even your personal life!)

4. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy

I pride myself on staying pretty organized and maintaining a relatively clean workspace. But that doesn’t mean I’m afraid to get messy. I love pulling out my markers, paints, and whatever else to create something. And when my crafts aren’t enough, I take to the kitchen. I love making a new project or a new dish without a care about how much glitter I spread over our carpet or how many utensils or pots I use for something. When those moments of creativity strike, I rarely use instructions or recipes. It’s much more relaxing to just build as you see fit.

5. Start saying yes or no more often

Some people are prone to saying yes too much and burning themselves out. AKA me. And on the other side of that, some people are likely to say no before the thought is even finished. So start saying the opposite. Turn down opportunities if they aren’t in your best interest if you are over-extending your time. This will give you the time you need to change up your routine. And if you’re prone to saying no, give new things a shot. You never know when you’ll find something you love by just giving it a chance.

* Bonus tip: Don’t have the time to add something into your routine right now? Or maybe you can’t change up your hours? Do your tasks in reverse order for a day to see if something works better in the AM/PM. This is an easy way to change up the daily schedule and add something interesting to your day.

The How-To/5 Tips is a weekly series, dedicated to answering some of the most popular questions I’ve been asked through consulting and on my blog. Want tips on something similar in nature? Or maybe you want more personalized advice? Send me an email at

February Medium Sponsor Love

Looking to advertise your blog or shop next month?
We still have advertising spots available!







February Large Sponsor Love

Looking to advertise your blog or shop next month?
We still have advertising spots available!









Q&A Post: Send Over Your Questions!

When I posted my answers to the Lurker Survey, a lot of you responded back with questions for me. I thought some of you might have the same questions or other ones that I could answer either in a post or in a vlog.

So if you have any questions for me (or my husband for that matter), please leave them in the comments! If you already asked one in the lurker survey post, I’ll be sure to answer those, too. And if it’s not too much trouble, I’d love if you voted in the little poll below. :)

[polldaddy poll=”5976688″]

February Sponsor Giveaway







{Enter after the jump!}

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This Month’s Favorite Post Link-Up

It’s the fourth month of the favorite post link-up! This month there are a couple of new guest hosts joining the mix that will have the link-up on their blogs as well to spread the love even further throughout the blogging community. Be sure to check out their blogs to find out their favorite posts this month!

This month’s hosts include:

Ashley from After Nine To Five / Megan from And Here’s To You, Mrs. Robinson

Tricia from Mama Marchand’s Nest / Andi from The Hollie Rogue

My favorite post of the month is:

How To Grow Your Blog Audience


If you're interested in hosting, please send me an email at and I'll get in contact with you when we have an opening!

Advertising Changes

Over these past couples months, I’ve made a lot of changes to my blog. Most of which allowed me to really focus on what I wanted my blog to be about. I’ve added new series and kinds of posts, I’ve removed the things that no longer inspired me, and have really been able to create a blog I love and want to spend time growing.

However, I didn’t make all of the changes I needed to.

I made small changes to my advertising options, hoping it would be enough to satisfy me. Crossing my fingers it would be the right move for me AND everyone else. But it never was enough for me.

I felt like the features I did never came close to showing how wonderful my sponsors were. They were generally skipped over, leaving me feel like I needed to do more for the amazing people that chose me to support and help grow their shops or blogs. I felt like there was more to them than just that paragraph I asked for, but I didn’t have the right methods to show everyone else that.

So I decided to finally change it up entirely. I originally planned to do it in April, but I decided the sooner I got back to blogging the way I wanted to blog the better so things will change next month.

Starting in March . . .

  • Features will no longer be done for large and medium sponsors. Instead, two weekly series will be introduced on the blog that will include bits and pieces from After Nine To Five sponsors (and others): Shop Showcase and a Weekly Links series that is yet to be named.
  • Group giveaways will no longer be a standard part of the sponsorship. Giveaways will be offered for XL sponsors only. Anyone else (sponsors or non-sponsors) will need to contact us directly to set up solo giveaways with product values of $25 or more.

All pricing and sizing has stayed the same. You can view all information on sponsorship here and if you’re interested in sponsoring in March, I do still have all sizes available.

I know that this will discourage some (maybe even a lot) of you from advertising with me and I truly do respect that. However, my main focus for this blog is not the advertising that fills up my sidebar. The income is nice and I love featuring some of my favorite blogs/shops, but my content is my main focus. And by making these changes, I know I’ll be able to refocus my efforts on why I started this blog.

Next week will include the last features and group giveaway on this blog so be sure to check those out!

Secret Week Details

What exactly is Secret Week?

For seven days, I’ll be sharing some of my deepest secrets on the blog as a way to let go of the burdens they have left with me. I’m encouraging others to do the same, be it on their blog or anonymously. For me this week will be all about letting myself be a little bit more vulnerable than usual and hopefully letting others know that they aren’t alone.

How can you participate?

There are a couple of ways to participate, depending on how comfortable you are with your secrets:

Share your secrets on your blog and link-up starting March 12: Starting that Monday (March 12) I’ll have a link-up going for the whole week for anyone to submit their secret posts to. You can post every day, a couple of days, or just one of the days – it’s 100% up to you.

Share your secrets anonymously to be posted on my blog throughout the week: For those that want to share something anonymously, I’ll be having posts with your secrets up throughout the week as well. All you have to do is submit your secret through my Formspring account by March 10 and it’ll be posted. You can do this anonymously so I won’t even know that it’s your secret unless you tell me who you are.

How can you spread the word?

There’s a button on the middle sidebar that you can post on your blog before Secret Week or on your blog posts during Secret week. The more, the merrier so I’d love for you to post it ahead of time even if you don’t plan on participating!

What about the negativity that could come from it?

I can’t promise you that you’ll only receive positive comments and that no one will be a jerk about you opening up. I wish I could, but I can’t since I can’t even guarantee that for myself. However, I do know that the blog world has always been a place for me to find people who support me when I need it most. Especially when opening up about something important. I know it can be kind of intimidating and a bit scary (which is why the option to share your secrets anonymously is there), but my hope for this is for all of us to let go of the things troubling us and find some sort of peace in it by opening up about it. Hopefully everyone will respect that hope for my blog AND yours, too.

Have a question I didn’t answer? Email me!

Otherwise I look forward to sharing my own and reading your secrets
starting on March 12! Don’t forget to spread the love with the button, too!

blog positivity week details will be sent out this weekend as well.

Living The Right Life: Food

In case you missed it last week: A couple of awesome changes are coming to this series! Megan from And Here’s To You, Mrs. Robinson will be joining in each week, sharing how she’s ensuring that she’s living the right life for herself as well. On top of that, this series is becoming a link-up for everyone that we’ll both be hosting! Each Friday (or any other day after that), we encourage you to share your triumphs or struggles with the “shoulds” in your life with us and help push each other in the right direction.

In this past week, I’ve consumed more pizza than I usually do in a month. Along with an assortment of cookies and some rather scrumptious Boston Cream Pie, even. I haven’t exercised. I haven’t counted calories or focused on the right serving size.

And I don’t feel bad about it.

Sure, Monday will come around and I’ll stare at the scale wondering how on Earth is amounts to three+ pounds, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it to take a week off without worrying about every morsel going in my mouth and every step I take. It’s worth it to take a week off from worrying about my waistline. It’s worth it to go back to being like a kid, never caring what weight or size of waist I had. And if it means that it takes a few extra weeks to lose the weight I want to lose because I do this from time to time, so be it.

The responsibilities of being an adult are overwhelming. It’s time to take a step back from some of them – even if temporarily – and just live without a care in the world. Or at least with fewer cares.

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About Me {Response to the Lurker Survey}

If you missed it last week, I asked all of my readers to take a little survey to find out what you’re all about. If you haven’t taken it already, please do! I’ve been making my way through the links this week and I realized something pretty fantastic. I have AWESOME readers. That and you’re going to make me go broke by buying all of your goodies from your fabulous shops.

In that post, I mentioned I’d take the same survey and share some more details about myself for the new readers around here. Below are some random facts about me. {Note: The image is clickable in some areas!}