When I was 20 my skin changed. I broke out more than I did in high school. Perhaps it was the food I was eating or a change in hormones. Either way, it was awful and embarrassing. And it only contin…
… I haven’t blogged in forever. I feel oddly detached from something I once considered ‘mine’—yet here I am. Because, it’s time to write.
This past year has been a struggle.
Oh the Commitments
Last spring I committed myself to a new job, working part-time from home. I could swing it. Both of my boys would be in school three days a week.
And then, in the summer, I was presented with an opportunity to assist as a teacher in my youngest son’s preschool class twice a week. I figured I could find a balance, so I said yes. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my sweet little boy make his first friends. And he’s only four years old once.
But in November, a mini-bomb dropped. (I call it a mini-bomb because my problems are nothing compared to what some go through. I completely acknowledge that. I am very blessed.)
Sayonara Brick and Morter
A series of … shall I say, “unfortunate events” led my husband and I to pulling our oldest son from his school. In the middle of the day.
Yes, it was that bad.
I quickly enrolled my son in a cyber school, trying to make the transition as smooth as possible, and am now responsible for being his 2nd grade teacher (along with my husband and sister-in-law who help on the days I am with my youngest in preschool).
And yes, it was the only option we felt was best.
Cut in Quarters
Being split into four different roles—working mom, teaching preschool mom, teaching second grade mom, and everyday mom/wife—each requiring it’s own specific needs/time, is tough.
I feel I’m giving each role 25 percent, at best. I want to be super mom. I want to give 100 percent to everything—especially as mom and wife.
Yet I’m not. I know I’m not. No one is going to tell me I’m not.
Who would say it anyways? That’s like telling someone they are a terrible person.
But I am ‘quartering it.’ And I dislike it, very much.
On top of all of this, I have a story that is clawing away at my brain. I want to write it down. I want to find the time to write it down. But by the end of the day, I am mentally exhausted. The idea of spending any additional time—either in front of a computer screen or brainstorming in a note book—makes me cringe.
All I want to do is curl up under my down comforter and sleep … so I have enough energy and motivation to do it all over again the next day.
Sadly, “snow days” have become my best friend. I live in the polar vortex. Because of the cold, my youngest’s school has been closed a few times this month. I revel in these days. one.less.thing.to.do.
Grocery shopping? I’d rather not.
Cook dinner? My brain shuts down. I completely lack culinary creativity.
Cleaning? Sheesh, it never ends. So sometimes I just ignore it. But don’t judge. I know you ignore it sometimes too.😉
HOWEVER … There is Light
Church. Faith. Both of which I am thankful.
My priest spoke beautiful words of truth the other Sunday …
So I have been trying my hardest to recall these words every single time I start to feel the “ughs” and the “whys” and the discouragement roll around.
There is a REASON why for everything. I don’t have all the answers right now. And it may not all be perfect. But I need to have faith. I need to trust. I need to love. I will love.
Life is quite the journey. Perspective and faith are essential.
What they don’t tell you in college …
I studied professional writing in college. Lessons on writing resumes, cover letters, and business proposals were covered. However, nothing was ever mentioned about freelancing. (Well, if it was, I wasn’t paying attention.)
Technology has certainly advanced in the past ten years since I graduated. And with these advancements, opportunity sprung forth – opportunity to freelance as a student and as a graduate.
However, I now wonder:
“Are these opportunities being discussed within the walls of the advanced education systems?”
My guess is no.
In a crap economy (yes, I still say it’s crap even though reports predicted otherwise), college grads are emerging from their “me” centered bubbles with high hopes. They expect to find a job in their field, and one that pays well.
This is not always the case. And when it is, those grads are “the lucky ones.”And we all wish that was the reality for all grads. If it were only that easy …
Where I come from, college grads are lucky to find a job that pays more than minimum wage.
Unless they’re willing to move.
Most are stuck with minimum wage jobs. And if they’re lucky, they’ll be hired despite being a now overeducated applicant.
However, there are money-making opportunities right at their fingertips, literally. But, you have to think outside the “college box.”
Money-making opportunities at your fingertips
Freelancing websites allow users to search for field related work. And the work can be done while sitting naked on your own couch. (I don’t recommend sitting naked on a parent’s couch, however, if said grad still lives at home.)
Sites like oDesk provide free user registration. Once an account is created a user can then search job listings by category and go from there. However, if said user is not quite ready to jump into the freelancing pool, and he or she prefers to first get their feet wet, I suggest trying Fiverr.com.
Again, registration is free on Fiverr and one can opt to participate as little or as often as desired. Fiverr allows users to search gigs and buyer requests. The easiest gigs are posting reviews, such as product, book, and site reviews. And while the money isn’t a lot, it does eventually add up. Also, payments can be sent directly to a PayPal account.
Simple. Fast. Perfect.
However, there is a downside to freelancing.
When freelancing, you are not exposed to actual human beings. Therefore, you are alone. You MUST motivate yourself. If you have difficulties with distractions (i.e. Internet browsing, social media sites, online shopping, etc.), then you may have a hard time succeeding as a freelancer.
Why is Jen writing this blog?
I’ll tell you why. Over seven years ago I was an expecting mom with a college English degree. I wanted to work from home, be my own boss, and daycare was out of the question. So, I tried my best to think “outside the box.”
First, I thought I could start my own resume writing service.
Yeah, that didn’t work. I knew nothing about website development and that’s where I thought my business would generate the most customers.
Then, I bought into Mary Kay Cosmetics. I learned I was a terrible sales person. But I LOVED the makeup!
Next, I dabbled in candle making. Too much mess. And good wax is expensive.
So, I then joined a candle selling business (like that of Mary Kay). Apparently I hadn’t learned my lesson the first time. Ha. However, I was lucky because I sold those candles for a year. They were THAT good. Good candles sell themselves. But, I had to leave my home and my kids in order to sell. So in the long run, it wasn’t for me.
Finally, I started my own book blog and decided I was going to write, even if I wasn’t being paid to do so. And as a result of that decision, I broke into freelancing, by accident.
Two years ago I was given an opportunity to edit and I snatched that baby right up (all because someone noticed I was a writer),
I did everything I possibly could to ensure my client was happy with my work. I went nearly two years with less than 5 days off. I worked all the time. And along the way I met some wonderful people and fellow freelancers. Doors opened. Opportunities came my way.
And finally, one day, I had a choice. I had several opportunities floating in my inbox. I chose the one best fit for me. There’s nothing better than having a choice.
Think outside the box. If you’re working a “less than desirable” job, do something on the side. Do anything. Search for work. Create your own work and talk about it. That’s what I did. And one day, it finally got me somewhere.
One day, it may get you somewhere as well.
Tortured (Tortured Soul #1) by Kate Givans
Coming July, 2014
A dark and gritty, contemporary adult novel about loss, healing, and love’s ability to reach beyond scars and secrets, no matter how deep or hidden.
WARNING: Due to sexual content and graphic nature of some scenes, this book is intended for 18+ readers ONLY. Potentially triggering content and concepts in books to follow.
More than a year after the death of his best friend, Josh is still tormented by the past. Everything changes when free-spirited Willow barges into his life. She challenges him, helps him feel something other than the overwhelming pain, sadness, and anger.
There’s just one problem.
Underneath that carefree persona, Willow is elusive and secretive. Josh believes she may be fighting a few demons of her own, but the harder he tries to uncover the truth, the more she pushes him away. Can Josh get her to open up before it’s too late? Or will he discover that some secrets are better left untold?
Quirky, clumsy, and always a little off-key, Kate Givans has always loved books and the words contained within. Now that she’s writing the stories, she’s filling them with broken characters, angst, and even a few of those happily-ever-afters that seem to evade us in real life.
When not writing, this wife and mother of five can be found guzzling coffee, day-dreaming, dancing for no reason at all, playing with the voices in her head, watching her favorite shows (Originals, Grey’s, OUAT, The Following), listening to music, and reminding herself to “breathe.”
You can connect with Kate Givans on:
*Kate Givans is a beautiful person, inside and out. I was blessed to meet her years ago online, when I first began blogging and learning the in’s and out’s of social media. She is such an inspiration as a writer, a mom, and a friend. I am truly excited for her and cannot wait to read her books. Congrats Kate! I wish great success!!! – Jen
This past week I noticed several Facebook updates from friends who purchased their first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (A BIG fan favorite!) for the upcoming Fall season. It makes sense. School started and we all know that once that happens, Fall arrives immediately! (Well, at least where I live it does!)
So what is better than curling up with a great book and pairing it with a warm, pumpkin spice latte? Even better, make it yourself and save yourself A LOT of money!
And so, since I am also a coffee and pumpkin lover (but am not a fan of spending money on things I can make myself), I decided to go recipe exploring for a homemade pumpkin spice latter and I discovered this one.
It’s a great recipe, but I decided to adapt it a bit😉.
Please note, my pumpkin spice latte recipe is HALF the original. I also decreased the amount of canned pumpkin by more than half because I am not a big fan of drinking liquid pumpkin😉. I think the recipe I developed tastes great. It’s not overwhelming in the pumpkin department and you can still taste the coffee–but it also is not overpowering.
AND, the end result is just sweet enough😉. Both my husband and my 3 year-old tried it and loved it. So, I think this pumpkin spice latte recipe is a success!
OK, so below is the recipe that I created.😉 For those interested, I have posted images of the ingredients I used to create this recipe at the bottom of the post, as well as where I purchased them. ENJOY!
Warm Pumpkin Spice Latte
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 1/2 tbsp. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. raw honey
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
6 oz. Brewed Coffee or Expresso
First, prepare your coffee:
I used 2 scoops of Maxwell House Coffee (original roast) and about 1 cup (6 oz.) water. I made my coffee is an Imusa stove top espresso maker (I found one at the Grove City outlets for under $5!!)
But you if have no idea what I’m talking about, you can find the Imusa stove top expresso maker here. Basically, it’s a percolator. It makes your coffee much stronger than a regular old coffee maker.
I love mine!
While coffee is getting ready, combine the almond milk, pumpkin and raw honey in a small saucepan, and cook it on medium heat, stirring until steaming.
Next, remove saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla and spice. Then, grab your whisk and get to it! When a lot of foam is created, you’re ready to transfer to your cup🙂
Pour pumpkin mix into one large mug or two mugs.
Then, add the hot espresso or coffee on top. Once poured, you can top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg or cinnamon on top.
I just left my plain.🙂
Do you have a favorite recipe that you pair with a great book? Feel free to share both recipe and book in the comments below!
- Starbucks Celebrates 10th Anniversary Of Pumpkin Spice Latte With $150 Sparkly Tumbler (consumerist.com)
- Healthy Sugar-free Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe (zumbawithkitkat.wordpress.com)
- Guilt-free Pumpkin Spice Latte & 3+ Ingredient Pumpkin Protein Cookies (thesubtlestatement.com)
- Alert: Starbucks Is Secretly Serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes Today (If You Know The Code) (howaboutwe.com)
- Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte “Code” (ksfm.cbslocal.com)
- Homemade Heaven In A Cup (wynkmama.wordpress.com)
- Can’t wait for pumpkin spice? Try the code (q13fox.com)
- The Horror: Starbucks Has a Pumpkin Spice Latte Problem (theblaze.com)
- Does Whole Foods have a crystal encrusted Pumpkin Spice Latte mug? No. (tallgrandeventi.wordpress.com)
- Secret code will get you Starbucks favorite before released (kfor.com)
The Miley Cyrus of Young Adult Fiction:
Is there One?
Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about (if not seen) the Miley Cyrus “music performance” at the 2013 VMA’s on Sunday, August 25. It’s impossible to miss, especially if you’re active on Facebook.
Various words have been attached to this girl: skank, disgusting, slut, outrageous, vile, repulsive…the list goes on. She is currently the “villain” of our culture. Parents are outraged, reporters are groveling in the coverage and many of us are asking, “What the hell happened to this girl?”
Sadly, here is one chic who clearly does not know who she is and she is trying to figure it out by meshing a load of different characters into one: Britney Spears, Madonna, Pink, Lady Gaga, even KISS. Sorry Miley, but your lack of originality reeks.
Well, of course, this event got me thinking about the young adult books I’ve read over the years, and I asked myself, “Has there been a character, so vile, that has absolutely repulsed me the way Miley Cyrus just did?” Of course I immediately thought of one specific character:
Bellatrix Lestrange from “Harry Potter”
If you have read “Harry Potter” then you probably understand why I made the connection. Bellatrix is pretty hideous to look at. She’s evil. She’s out to get the good guys. Readers hated her. And when I read various parts of “Harry Potter,” I absolutely despised her character. But does she meet the level of “vile” that Miley Cyrus displayed at the VMA’s? I’m not quite sure. Bellatrix was legit. Original. Miley? Not so much.
So then I thought about a book I recently finished reading: “The Opportunist” by Tarryn Fisher.
There is a character in this book that I wanted to stab. She’s beautiful but manipulative. She’s rich with money but lacking in character. She is Leah Smith. Yes, I despised her. I wanted her OUT of the picture. But was she repulsive and vile? I cannot say that she was…and again, she was pretty original. Miley Cyrus, again not so much.
So, my fellow Young Adult book readers, can you point out a character that is so skanky, repulsive and “unoriginal” that we can easily say, “Now SHE is the Miley Cyrus of Young Adult Fiction” ??? I keep trying to pinpoint one character that can easily match up…but I’ve got nothing. What do you think? If anything, Miley could definitely inspire the creation of one!
- Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you (crazyblogginmoms.wordpress.com)
- Miley Cyrus Twerking On Married Robin Thicke (bdentertainment.com)
- Dear daughter, let Miley Cyrus be a lesson to you (ateenagerinthissociety.wordpress.com)
- Justin Timberlake Compares Miley Cyrus at VMAs to Britney Spears (justjared.com)
- 100 Girls Hotter Than Miley Cyrus…Part 1 (charlotte.cbslocal.com)
- Things That Miley Cyrus’ Butt Looks Like (holytaco.com)
- Billy Ray Cyrus: Miley ‘Is Still My Little Girl’ (people.com)
- The Obvious Evil of Miley Cyrus and the Not-So-Obvious Evil of Taylor Swift (thedailybanter.com)