Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Going ad-free

Since November of 2007, my website has been monetized. It took a while to be approved by various companies, and I was so thankful when I was!  It made me feel legitimate.

The ads were relatively tasteful and unobtrusive, so I didn’t have a problem putting them in my sidebar. Did I make money from my blog? Yes. Was it a ton? No. I didn’t expect it to be, but it more than covered the cost of hosting, etc…which was nice.

Why did I put ads on my site? I just wanted to see what would happen, and the old sales manager inside me twitched when she thought about “leaving money on the table.” Being “paid” to do what I love doing anyway? Sweet.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling weird about having ads on my site. Everywhere I look, I see ads, and I’m pretty good at tuning them out elsewhere, but this coupled with the “reviews” I’ve been asked to do (which I declined on my own personal principals), and something just wasn’t sitting right with me.

The first thing to go were the reviews. I’m not doing them anymore. Every single review on my site is truthful, but I’m not doing formal reviews anymore. My time is more valuable than what the PR people would have me peddle.

Oddly enough, because of my experiences in online reviews, and even though I never lied in a review, I don’t trust the reviews I read online. There, I said it. There are certain people I trust, so if they write about it, I can tell what is real and what has been suggested wording by a PR person.

I still search online for reviews, but I put different weight on the impromptu reviews. So, in the course of our relatively adventurous lifestyle, if I see something that I like, I’ll tell you about it. If I see something I don’t like, you’ll hear about that, too. That hasn’t changed. To me, those “reviews” mean more than any “review” I read about online, and they’ll still come up in Google when I type in a search phrase.

So, what does this have to do with ads? I think it’s time to break free. I’ve already made enough this year to cover my hosting (or will by the time all the final checks come in), so the twitching sales director in my head is happy. I will be free to focus on my book project, and I won’t have any blog/advertiser publishing requirements hanging over my head.

When I started this writing adventure, I updated the blog every day. Now that I’m working on my book, it’s harder to maintain that level of attention.

So, welcome to the ad-free version of The Casual Perfectionist. Your visit here today hasn’t benefited me monetarily, but I love you anyway. 😉

Featured Elsewhere: Letterboxing at Mile High Mamas

I wrote a piece over at Mile High Mamas today!

Click here to check it out!

Comments are closed here, but I’d love to hear from you over there!

A practical romantic

Engagement Photo - October 2000. We will have been married 11 years this November. (11 in 11 of '11 ...MAKE A WISH!) But, this post isn't about that anniversary. This post is about the original one.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve posted one of our engagement photos taken in October of 2000. (Courtesy of my friend Tara, and blurred upon request of my special valentine.)  But, it’s not just Valentine’s Day that we celebrate this time of year.  Our “original anniversary” is so close to Valentine’s Day that we’ve always combined the two celebrations.  (What?  There is nothing wrong with being a practical romantic!)

This year marks 14 years together!

We’ve never been the traditional type, so we’ve made sure to honor our original anniversary throughout the years.  Yes, yes, the “wedding” anniversary is important, too, but to us, it was purely a formality.  To us, the years before we made our relationship legally binding are just as important as the years after.

True Romantic Traditionalists will gasp out loud at that admission, but it’s true!  And here is where I push them completely over the edge by admitting that roughly 14 years ago, some guy picked me up in a bar…

He picked me up, but he has never let me down, and I think that’s all the romance I really need.

Origami Butterfly Valentines

Last year, Claire and I made the cutest little Valentine cards.  Click here to see them. We came up with a cute picture and poem, and it was fun (AND EASY) to do!

This year, we wanted to do something a little different.  But what?

Claire’s Valentine’s Day Party is tomorrow, so on Tuesday, we started looking online for ideas. Because of all the drifted snow, we were trapped at home, and we were limited to the craft supplies we already had in the house.  We had no pipe-cleaners.  (That ruled out about 97% of the ideas we found.)  We had no candy.  (That ruled out another 2%.)

Then, one thing led to another (as is often the case when you’re poking around online), and we stumbled upon the instructions on how to make Origami Butterflies. This would be perfect! Claire was wanting to personalize each Valentine, which is against the “everybody gets a Valentine, BUT they can’t be personalized” rule. So, I decided to make each butterfly and she worked on writing HER name in little hearts which we attached to each butterfly.

I had butterfly printer paper, so we used that.  It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would to make 16 origami butterflies, and the end results are great!  Plus, I know how to make them now by heart! Bonus points for learning a new skill that will keep someone occupied in a restaurant while we’re waiting for our food!

Something tells me the ancient Japanese Origami Masters didn’t have a butterfly assembly line in place and incorporate a BlackBerry as a paperweight.

Imagine this, times 16.

We even made some tiny ones for ourselves with the scraps we had left over from making the printer paper into squares.

Claire made this one all by herself!

If you’d like to make these yourself, here is a link to the video! (I tried to embed the actual video, but youtube is giving me fits.)

The guy in the video makes things very easy to understand, and we’ll be doing some of his other creations too.

I’ll warn you…once you start making origami butterflies, you may have a hard time stopping…as is evident by the fact that we’ve turned napkins, paper towels, and old grocery lists into beautiful little butterflies already!

Have fun!

What? I think it only fair to warn him.

I won’t lie.  I’m a huge fan of Survivor and have been for a long time.  So, the fact that Jeff Probst responded to my tweet MADE MY DAY.

Claire was so excited, too!

Hopefully this will make her lenient with him when they’re discussing his severance package.  😉

They call it a “snow day” because it’s easier than finding a proper word for “too cold.”

Yesterday, everything outside our door was covered in a sheet of ice.  I had to check to make sure we hadn’t been moved back to Iowa in the middle of the night.

The temps then dipped, and have remained, dangerously low…or as any good Midwesterner would say, “Uh, it’s Winter?”  Seriously though, it’s cold, especially for out here.  Our weather is typically mild, and we love it that way!

Relatively early in the day, our school district canceled school for Tuesday.  Soon, all the surrounding school districts followed suit.

Claire was devastated.  Poor dear.  She doesn’t have school on Mondays anyway, and now this?!  How terrible!

Honestly, I was happy!  I felt like a kid again, breathlessly sitting by the radio tuned to the AM Radio station, listening for our school district to be named.  The lists were always alphabetical order, and by the time they got to the N’s, we could barely contain ourselves.

This time, it’s different.  Twitter was my guide. I knew the news within moments.

Luckily, we also got the official robo-call at a decent hour, so we could sleep in today.

As much as I hate making up “snow” days, the thought of walking to school on May 31st in the sun and watching the butterflies flit on the soft breezes is much preferred to trying to get there today.