So You Want to be a Virtual Assistant?

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So You Want to Be a Virtual Assistant-

I became interested in the concept of being a virtual assistant about two years ago, but I had a really good full time job that I loved-at the time-and it just wasn’t all that important then. Sure, making money from home writing and managing things online sounded awesome, but what if I quit my job and then never made money??? Well, businesses go downhill sometimes and the one I was with pretty much went to hell, and after I got pregnant, I started having really bad issues with my back and sciatica, to the point I couldn’t walk sometimes, and in the midst of trying to take care of myself and the baby, I ended up losing my job. Worse came to worse, and I remembered the virtual assistant gig, and started looking into it more and more to help my boyfriend make ends meet. There was a course I had been interesting in for a long time-the Rockin’ Virtual Assistants course by Sadie Roach (formerly Sadie Langford) of Slap Dash Mom, and I realized that you have to spend money to make money from home in almost all cases, and the course had just gone up in price, so I had to put it on the back burner while we struggled, but somehow found a way all the time, to get by. I hated having to wait, but it made finally being able to get and use the course that much better, because it is awesome.

A lot of courses out there charge you a buttload, and hit on some really great and crucial topics to get your virtual assistant business off and running, but they lack the depth and usable experience and detail that the Rockin’ VAs course has. You leave with more questions that need answering, thus spending more money on another hit and miss course over and over, whereas with Rockin’ VAs, all of your questions are answered in the course, and if there is anything that needs further explaining or you need help with any aspect of the business, you also get free mentoring access FOR LIFE, and not just from Sadie, but from an entire group of virtual assistance, freelance, and tech savvy people, beginner to expert alike! And you only pay $247 ONCE. That’s it, and they guarantee you to make your money back quickly plus some if you do your part and work it.

So, the course in itself is AMAZING, even and especially for the price it is normally. But right now, and part of the reason why I interrupted my own schedule to post this today, you can get the Rockin’ VAs course AND SO MUCH MORE for way less than that. How does $47 sound???

The Ultimate Work From Home Bundle is on sale now today through June 12th, so you have a narrow window of opportunity to take advantage of this better than amazing deal! You get 30 eBooks, 1 audiobook, 14 eCourses, 5 printable packs, and 9 awesome free bonuses, all encompassing the work from home topics of virtual assistance, freelance, selling on Etsy, motivation and time management, business growth, balancing work and life, and the legal aspects of working from home! The total value of all these offerings is over $2000 separately, and you can see from checking out the exact offerings that $47 is overly reasonable. 50 awesome resources, including the Rockin’ Virtual Assistants course! Why are you still reading? I bought it, and you should, too! Remember this deal ends after June 12th, and after that, the Rockin’ VAs course will go back to $247 ON ITS OWN!

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The product list and normal retail value outside the bundle timeframe is:

Etsy & Product Sales

Building a Business: How to Dream, Plan, Make, Sell, and Share Your Online Shop by Maggie Whitley ($12.00)
Crafting a Business 101: The Creative Business Plan by Janet LeBlanc ($21.00)
Earn $1,000/Month on Etsy by Maria Oliveira ($197.00)
Get Retail Ready by Melissa Bolton ($37.00)
The Art of Audience Building for Etsy Sellers by The Hunting Handmade Collective ($4.99)
The Etsy Seller’s Simple Guide to Taxes: A Time and Money Saving Guide for Makers and Crafters by Sarah Korhnak ($12.00)

Freelancing

Freelance Design Freedom by Jessica Safko ($29.00)
Hell to Pay 2: A Freelancer’s Guide to Money, Taxes, and More! by Clients From Hell ($38.00)
How to Get Great Freelance Clients by Carol Tice ($9.99)
Services Superhero: Create a Set of Services That Clients LITERALLY Can’t Say No To by Lizzie Davey ($79.00)
The Business of Writing & Editing Deluxe Package: Start Your Career as a Freelance Writer/Editor TODAY by Sagan Morrow ($39.00)

General

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Ten Strategies To Stop Feeling Like a Fraud at Work by Elizabeth Harrin ($12.15)
The Accidental Entrepreneur: The Juicy Bits by Janine Allis ($9.99)
Jeff Goin’s Work at Home Package by Jeff Goins ($13.49)
The Official Master Your Game® Planner Pack by Nereeda McInnes ($29.95)
The Work-at-Home Survival Guide by Caitlin Pyle ($17.00)

Getting Things Done

More in Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives by Hilary Sutton ($2.99)
Project Management for Creatives: Principles to Simplify and Streamline Creative Work by Sarah Parsons ($9.99)
Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule so You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews ($2.99)
The Personal Productivity Handbook: A Step-by-Step Program to Supercharge Your Productivity by Paul Minors ($19.00)
Work Less, Spend Less by Loralee Hutton ($17.00)

Growing a Business

Brand Your Small Business: Create a Brand That Connects! by Emma Bates ($29.00)
Business ePlanner: Big Business Planning for Small Businesses by Martin Jakubec ($15.00)
Busy Moms Building: 12 Steps to Running Your Own Online Business for Busy Moms by Monica Froese ($147.00)
FindMe: An SEO Cookbook For Busy Entrepreneur by Rachel Brenke ($129.00)
How to Network Like a Boss from Home by Amy Bellgardt ($29.97)
How to Succeed in 12 Months: Creating a Life You Love by Serena Star-Leonard ($15.19)
Lead Generation Academy: A System to Attract the RIGHT Clients by Cloris Kylie ($297.00)
Mom Boss on a Budget by Holly Chubb ($79.00)
Promotions Planning Kit by Stephanie Morgan ($29.99)
Simple Goal Setting Strategies: Create A Plan, One Step at a Time by Christina Lerchen ($14.99)

Job Opportunities

How to Find Real Work From Home Jobs, Plus 150 Companies That Hire! by Anna Thurman ($5.99)
How to Start a Home Cake Business in 30 Days: Turning your Cake Dreams into Reality! by Rebekah Allan ($73.65)
I Got Scammed So You Don’t Have To: How to Find Legitimate Work at Home Jobs in a Scamming Economy by Bethany Mooradian ($19.99)
Jump-Start Your Work at Home General Transcription Career: The Fast and Easy Way to Get Started! by Lisa Mills ($2.99)
The Mystery Shopper Training Program: All You Ever Wanted to Know About the Best Part-Time Job by Bethany Mooradian ($19.99)

Legal & Accounting

Business Management Spreadsheets by Rachael Wynn ($47.00)
Conquer Cash Flow: Get Paid Faster and Increase Cash Flow by Carrie Smith ($59.00)
From Entrepreneur to CEO by Shahara Wright ($19.95)
Smart Cents: Financial and Legal Tips as You Launch and Grow Your Dream Business by Natalie Joy ($196.00)

Virtual Assistants

E-Marketing Essentials for Virtual Assistants: How to Grow Your Business Online in Less Time and with Less Effort by Lisa Wells ($47.00)
Rockin’ Virtual Assistants eCourse by David Murphy and Sadie Roach ($247.00)
The Bootstrap VA: The Go-Getter’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant, Getting and Keeping Clients, and More! by Lisa Morosky ($9.99)
VA Prep School by Lydia Senn ($45.00)

Work + Life Balance

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines: A Busy Mom’s Guide to Minimizing Decisions, Integrating Kids, and Getting More Done by Lisa Tanner ($47.00)
Live: Creating a Life You Love by Mandi Ehman ($67.00)
Stand Out: A Real World Guide to Get Clear, Find Purpose and Become the Boss of Busy by Alison Hill ($7.99)
Summer Sanity Savers for the Work-at-Home Mom: Sanity-Boosting Systems and Strategies So you Can Have a Peaceful, Productive AND Profitable Summer! by Prerna Malik ($9.00)
The Great Life Redesign: Change How You Work, Live How You Dream and Make It Happen … Today by Caroline Cameron ($14.95)

Bonuses

Artsy Couture – $25 sitewide credit (international shipping available, shipping fees will vary by order size)
Atlas Coffee Club – $15 credit towards a subscription (shipping within the US only, $3.95 shipping fee required on all orders)
SquareHue – BoxNo. 3, $21 value (shipping within the US only, $5 shipping fee required)
Businessese – Website Disclaimer Template ($99 value), digital offer
Focuster – 3 months FREE ($30 value), digital offer
ListPlanIt – 3 month Pro membership FREE ($30 value), digital offer
Meet Edgar – 1 month FREE ($75 value), digital offer; (existing monthly subscribers can redeem a 25% off credit; existing annual subscribers at 10% off credit)
SaneBox – $25 subscription credit, digital offer

The Bad Birth Experience

The Bad Birth Experience

My first experience with childbirth was not a pleasant one. I had prepared for a lot of things and made a birth plan way ahead of time, but once the time got there, almost none of it happened, and lots of avoidable things happened during the five days we were in the hospital.

We got there around 5 or 6 PM on Wednesday, March 22nd, because I thought my water broke. After testing, it was determined it hadn’t, but I was already 41 weeks, so they decided to keep me and start the process of induction the next morning when my ob/gyn would be there. I really hadn’t wanted to be induced, but I had been stuck at 2 centimeters for almost a month, and I figured I was already there, so we might as well get the process going.

After constant, insane fetal monitoring all night, during which I got no sleep, they started me on pitocin and broke my water a little after 9 AM. I had already been having contractions all night, but BOY they picked up intensity fast. Within a couple hours, I was having them every few minutes, and for almost the last hour and a half, I had them every minute. At 7 centimeters, I decided I was going to get a very small dose of IV pain relief because I had started shaking really hard and was getting a little worried about that. It didn’t help with anything, not even taking the edge off. It just got worse. I kept holding out, because I really didn’t want an epidural, but by 8 centimeters, I was shaking so bad and so pale, they thought I was going to pass out and so did I, and they told me the chance of cesarean increased if I became unconscious, so I begrudgingly agreed to the epidural. IT NEVER WORKED. The anesthesiologist even came back in to adjust the dose, and I still felt everything. Apparently, I am immune to really strong pain relief, including morphine and delaudid. How lucky am I? And let me tell you, the worst part of the epidural wasn’t even the needle, although that sucked too. The worst part was having to bend over and hold still while having back to back contractions!!!

After the epidural, things picked up an even greater intensity, and pretty soon, I felt the awesome feeling we all just love so much-like I had to poop. BAD. I yelled to everyone that I was going to have to start pushing because the pressure was too intense and I couldn’t stop it, and that was the truth. They checked and I was 10 centimeters, and the birthing process really began. I remember hearing a nurse say, “Oh this is her first child. She will be pushing for a long time.” Well, eleven pushes and maybe 20 minutes later, Draven Xavier Dennis came into the world at 2:53 PM, much like a birth on a cartoon, because I pushed so hard, he basically flew out. He had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times, but my ob/gyn had that under control very quickly. Then, the bad news started coming in.

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I couldn’t hold him immediately because he was really cold and not breathing as well as he should, so they had him under a warming light and were clearing his nose and making sure his lungs were okay while I was getting sewn up because I tore and bled really bad. Like almost passed out bad. I could feel all the stitches I got and the shots they gave me to “numb the pain.” Once again, how lucky. They finally brought him to me for skin to skin and his first feeding, and he latched perfectly and all the bad stuff just melted away. Or so I thought.

The doctor and nurses said when my placenta came out, it wasn’t in very good shape and had actually started dying because it was apparent that my due date had been wrong and instead of being 41 weeks, I was actually probably closer to 44. Because of that, Draven had IUGR-intrauterine growth restriction-because my placenta was inadequate and he was kept smaller to get enough nutrition before he was born. The human body is an amazing thing with all its defense mechanisms, but that broke my heart. He was born at 6 pounds, 8.5 ounces, so he wasn’t that small thank God, but we started worrying if other symptoms of IUGR would present themselves as time went on.

They took him to the nursery a lot after that, even though I didn’t want them to, because they said hi temperature wasn’t regulating like it should (so what is the point of skin to skin again???), and they wanted me to pump for him since he would be gone so much. I pumped as often as I was told to, but I wasn’t making very much because my milk hadn’t come in yet, and they made a huge deal about that, basically saying my son was starving and he needed to supplement with formula. From the day he was born! They started taking him to the nursery all the time, especially when we were finally sleeping, giving him formula in the nursery, and I still wasn’t getting much out during feedings, so I started supplementing after each feeding with a little formula because we noticed he was pooping well, but didn’t pee his diaper until well into the second day after he was born. So many scare tactics on an overly tired brand new mom who still hadn’t slept after nearly two days. We were finally able to leave after five days of sadness and unwanted separation over and over.

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The formula thing ended up being its own nightmare that we are still dealing with, and that will be discussed in a future post, because not only did we have to switch formula five times because Draven has a severe milk allergy, but it eventually led to me not being able to breast feed at all. I tried and tried, but I never was able to regulate my supply, and it eventually went out altogether a few weeks ago. Needless to say, this all was not what I wanted at all, and sometimes I still have a hard time dealing with it, especially since Draven now weighs right at 15 pounds and is 26 inches long at 11 weeks old and not only can he regulate his temperature very well, but he hates being very warm at all!

One thing I will say for moms-first time or veteran-SPEAK UP. Let the doctors and nurses know what you want, and also what you don’t want. I still beat myself up because I feel if I had just told them off more, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But deep down, I know that I was exhausted and scared to death, and I thought they had my best interests at heart, but the more I tell my story, in even greater detail, most people tend to agree that the nurses seemed like they just wanted their way and to make it easy on themselves instead of me. And I’ve never had issues with any nurses before ever, except the few in charge of the nursery. If I am lucky enough to have another child, I will at least have this memory so that I can try my hardest to make my next experience a good one.

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Have you had your own bad birth experience? Was your first birth a good one? What do you wish would have or would not have happened? Let me know in the comments all about your magic moments!

Newborn Diapers: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Newborn Diapers-The Good,The Bad,&The Ugly

Diapers are a necessary, but costly and space-consuming (think garbage in the landfill), evil. With so many options on the market, how do you know what to choose? Price equals quality, right? Not always. With my personal reviews below, let me take some of the guesswork out of this nasty (literally) business. All of these opinions are my own and do not represent any particular performance. Take into consideration, my son was 8 weeks old when he outgrew newborn diapers at 11 pounds and 23 inches long. He is a very long (95th percentile!!!), slightly chunky baby, so his experiences may differ from a lot of other babies!

We started off with Pampers Swaddlers newborn diapers in the hospital I gave birth in, as most hospitals offer them as their choice of newborn diapers. They served us really well for the first couple weeks of Draven’s life, but once he really started gaining weight, they slowly but surely started losing their holding power-on wet AND dirty diapers. I would say they are ideal for babies under 8 pounds, but this is just from my own personal experience. We have since moved on to size 1 since Draven is now about 12.5 pounds, and they seem to be doing very well now for his size, so the brand itself is very good. They are scented like baby powder, so if you’re worried about unnecessary chemicals on your newborn, then you might want to look at a more natural brand (keep reading this post for the natural brands we have tried so far), but Draven never had an issue with them, so this is again personal experience only. They always have really good deals for Pampers Swaddlers of all sizes on Amazon, so if you want to get a box for home use after you use the ones from the hospital, you can get an amazing deal here costing about 8 cents per diaper with an Amazon Prime membership! Altogether, I would say Pampers gets:
Design-4.5/5 stars-they are really cute and very appropriate for babies
Sensitivity-2/5-with a baby powder scent and wetness indicator, they are more likely to cause diaper rash and other skin issues
Fit-3.5/5-they fit smaller, so expect baby to outgrow them before the standard 10 pound limit, but also expect smaller babies to fit them well at the start
Absorbency-3/5-they did great while Draven was tiny, but after that, his onesies would be SOAKED in pee and leak out poop (and we change his diapers immediately unless he’s asleep or we’re driving)
Dryness-4/5-they seemed to do really well on keeping his skin dry unless he had a leak
Overall-3.5/5-not worth the price tag, but they give a ton out at the hospital, which is the absolute best time to use them, so do it then!

After we got done with the Pampers diapers, we moved on to what is quite possibly my favorite brand of diapers period, Cuties. They hold up SO WELL. The design is really well thought out, and stands up to infant weights of 10+ pounds, as we used them past that point on Draven. They don’t have a scent, so they are quite a bit less chemically intrusive to newborn skin, and they don’t have a wetness indicator either. There are a few ways to get Cuties at a decent price, as even though they work better than any diaper I have used so far, they have a much lower pricing point than Pampers retail value. You can get a free sample from Aeroflow Diaper Club, and you can also get a great deal subscribing to the club itself for the first month, getting four packs of diapers and three packs of wipes for only $24!
Design-4/5-they are pretty basic, with cute hearts, so they’re not uber creative or cutesy, but they definitely impress in other areas
Sensitivity-4.5/5-not scented and without a wetness indicator, so they should be fairly good for sensitive and non-sensitive alike!
Fit-5/5-I can’t get over how well these diapers fit. Seriously, you will have to see it for yourself.
Absorbency-5/5-we almost NEVER had a blowout-in urine or poop
Dryness-5/5-he was always dry, I had no complaints
Overall-4.5/5-you honestly just don’t know how good these diapers are!

Another brand I liked, but Draven grew out of very quickly, is the Honest Co. newborn diapers. They add a boost of cuteness to diapers with all the designs they offer, and they are one of the best natural diapers out there. They are a bit smaller than other diapers on the market, but their price tag is not small at all. Draven grew out of newborns around 8 pounds or so, but he is doing well in the size 1 diapers now. They hold his pee and poop really well, and of course have no scent or wetness indicator. You can buy the diapers and plenty of other natural products offered from The Honest Co., or get the girls’ newborn variety pack and boys’ newborn variety pack from Amazon.
Design-5/5-if I could give a higher score, I would. They have all kinds of designs and they are 95% cute.
Sensitivity-5/5-one of the few diapers able to boast being natural and lacking chemicals, they should be great for your sensitive baby
Fit-3.5/5-these diapers are a bit smaller than average, so take that into consideration. Besides that, the fit is great.
Absorbency-4/5-we had some leakage, and I’ve read a lot of reviews where leaking was a big problem for some users, but it could be worse.
Dryness-5/5-he was almost always dry so all good here!
Overall-4.5/5-you have to take into account the smallness of the diapers but once you’re over that learning curve, they perform really well and look darn cute doing it!

Naty by Nature diapers start at size 1, with a sizing group of 4 to 11 pounds, but they were WAY too big on Draven til he was around 8 pounds. Even then, they didn’t impress me very much with their performance. Maybe if he was bigger they would have worked better, but as a newborn they didn’t hold up too well for his size at all. They are a natural brand and also have a high price point, but you can get a sample of two diapers here, as well as buying them if you like them after trying them out. You can also get them from Amazon.
Design-2/5-they are plain white, kind of boring, but oh well
Sensitivity-5/5-extremely natural diapers, with a huge price tag to match, but you won’t have to worry about baby’s skin in these
Fit-2/5-very weird. The advertised sizing on the packaging is misleading at best, and they drowned Draven til he was 8 pounds or so. And the way they close is annoying because everything is just so bulky.
Absorbency-4/5-they held everything well-I mean, this kid pees like its a competition with Niagara Falls, so yeah…
Dryness-3/5-he stayed kinda dry sometimes, other times not so much
Overall-3/5-definitely not worth the price unless your baby is a sensitive chunky monkey

One brand that I absolutely love, but didn’t get much experience with in newborn size diapers is Seventh Generation. They have yet to let me down in any of their products, and I am always finding new ones to love. Their diapers seem like they are really good, and being another all natural brand, they have a lot to offer in many aspects to new parents. I highly suggest signing up for Generation Good because you will get opportunities to try out not only diapers, but baby wipes, other baby products, laundry detergent, and much more. You can also get them from Amazon, or get a free trial of a full size pack of diapers and wipes from Seventh Generation directly.
Design-3/5-they have cute little designs on them, so not too bad
Sensitivity-5/5-another natural, chemical free brand, so good for the skin
Fit-4.5/5-they fit well while I used them, and I will have more of a review in subsequent sizes
Absorbency-4.5/5-they hold really well compared to other natural brands on the list, with very few leaks
Dryness-5/5-always dry
Overall-4.5/5-best natural diapers on the market, especially with their Generation Good program!

We will soon have a blog post about our size 1 diaper experiences so stay tuned, and feel free to ask any questions or comment on your own experiences with newborn diapers!

The Deal with Dealspotr

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The Deal with Dealspotr

I wish I had heard of Dealspotr a long time ago. You always hear about ways to save money and make money online, but seldom do you find legitimate ways of doing either, much less both together. That is where Dealspotr comes in. The Wikipedia of online sales and coupon deals is maintained and updated by everyday people just like you and I, keeping things organized and validated. Not only do you get to post, use, and share deals all over the world wide web, but you also get rewarded for doing so! And the more accurate and active you are, the more the rewards increase, incentivizing that accuracy and activity in a way I have yet to see another website do.

Starting off as a new user, you can go to the website itself at dealspotr.com and create an account with referral code CARPE0NOCTEM, but if you run a blog with at least 1,000 views per month, I suggest using a referral link like my own here, and using access code brf116dP, for better payout rewards later on. More on that later. You will start as a Bronze Status user once you verify your email, and will earn 5,000 points from the beginning, leaving just 5,000 more to get your first reward, which is a $10 Amazon gift card. Now, if you have a blog with 1,000+ views per month, the next thing you want to do is promote to Silver Status because you will get a ton of better benefits and access to more ways to earn points and rewards. First, you will want to go to the orange box at the top right corner of your screen, the new user checklist, that is displaying a number, usually a 4. There, you will click, and a drop down list of things to complete will show, and you just go down the list and complete each step until they are all done, and you will receive a point bonus for completion AND your first Silver Status step is done. You can do this list every 24 hours now as well, to get a 200 point bonus on top of whatever points you earn for completing each step or deal post/verification. Second, you want to enter your blog URL into your settings page so you can be listed as a verified influencer on your profile. It is highly worth starting one if you don’t have one yet, so make sure to do that now to get your Silver Status rewards! Third, you will want to place a Dealspotr button on your blog that is visible from your home page. They make this extremely easy to do from your Influencer Tools page, with the graphics preloaded and step by step instructions available on the page for you. Lastly, once all the other steps are completed, you just need to make sure your blog is verified through Dealspotr, and you will achieve Silver Status. What that means for anyone using the referral link and access code above, is you will automatically earn 15,000 points which equals out to $15 in rewards for Amazon gift cards. You will also get a double lifetime points multiplier for every deal you post that earns points, and an affiliate upgrade of 20% commission and $2 upfront paid out. The main goal of this entire list is to achieve the rank of Gold Status, for even better reasons.

Gold Status is achieved by completing another four steps after Silver. First, you need to post or validate at least five of your own deals you have found on Dealspotr, making sure they are accurate and accepted. Second, you use the option of putting a deal sharing widget on your blog for any deal you find on Dealspotr. They make this very simple as well, with step by step instructions and premade graphics so all you have to do is enter basic information and copy and paste a deal that correlates to any certain blog post you have. Third, write an informative article (blog post) of at least 600 words spotlighting Dealspotr and its operations, comparisons to similar websites, etc., and share it with your followers publicly. They give a lot of detailed information to help you out with this as well on your Influencer Tools page. Lastly, submit the article for review and once accepted, you will now be able to cash points out using Amazon OR PayPal, and get a 25,000 point bonus, which means you can get a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal payment! If at first you don’t succeed for some reason, they give you another chance to rewrite and edit your post for resubmission so you can get those amazing Gold benefits.

As long as you maintain consistently accurate posts and/or verifications of deals, you will continue to earn higher and higher points and increase bonus amounts based on that accuracy. Any online deal, and many offline in store deals, can be posted as long as they are active at the time of posting and it is not a repeat of an already posted deal or an affiliate link. Verification of already posted deals earns you points, too, so don’t get down if a deal you find is already listed-just verify its accuracy and you’ll get your points. There are so many ways to earn points and help people find legitimate deals, you won’t run out of things to do and points to earn. I love being a part of a group that encourages honesty and real ways to save money shopping, and rewards those who go above and beyond in sharing and verifying those deals! You can trust that the information is correct, and save yourself time looking through site after site of the same invalid information. If you still haven’t joined yet, do yourself the favor of signing up now, and not only saving money by using the deals found there, but also earning money by helping share and keep these deals accurate!

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5 of the Best Baby Products On Amazon and Owned by Me!

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The Star Projector Sound Machine is a life saver during some difficult bed times. The top has a light-up display that projects different shapes (stars, planets, and the like) onto the ceiling in changing colors to grab baby’s attention, and plays different lullabies and white noise sounds to calm baby and help them sleep through background noises. One of the really cool features is it has a setting to automatically turn on when it hears the baby cry. It works pretty well, although sometimes it will start playing with similar noises it picks up, but it’s not too sensitive. It also has multiple ways to run-battery power (AA), USB cord, and and wall plug-in, so it is great for traveling, too! It has definitely saved us quite a few times, and will in the future for sure.

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A really awesome product I am so glad I got is this personalized baby blanket, which is also an amazing idea for a baby shower or birth gift. It is available in blue or pink, and is fully customizable with baby’s name, birth date, and they offer a cute bunny and scroll design that you can decide to exclude from the overall design if you’d like. It is really soft and thick fleece with satin trim, with perfect stitching, so you can tell it will last a long time. The size is quite impressive as well. Draven will be able to use it long into his toddler years at 36×36 inches. We used it as his coming home blanket and will continue to use it in his crib and until he doesn’t want it anymore. Then it will become a beautiful keepsake!

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One thing I never anticipated needing, but am glad I found is this organic baby pillow. The description says it is for “flat head syndrome”, but I got it to help with Draven’s spit up issues because of his milk allergy. It keeps him propped up more at night, so we don’t have to worry about him choking in his sleep and he seems to love sleeping on it. It is a decent size at 13×9 inches, made of 3D air mesh, and is super easy to clean! We’ll probably hold on to this one, too, until he grows out of it.

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If you’re looking for a cost effective way to carry your baby with you without dropping hundreds on all those expensive baby carriers out there, look no further! This baby carrier officially replaced our Chicco carrier, and is less than half the price. It is way more comfortable for me to wear AND for baby to be in, and we liked it so much, my boyfriend had me buy a second one for him! It adjusts well for you and baby, and we started using ours when he was only a week old, so it fits all sizes of infants even though the description says for 3 months+. We have had zero issues with our carriers, and will use them until he is too big.

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Finally, we have the baby mirror. This thing is absolutely adorable, very different from most baby mirrors you see on the market today with their plain black or grey trim. The cartoon vibe is not only unique, but maybe the kiddos will like it as they get older and learn more. The mirror itself is shatterproof, and it is ridiculously easy to install in your car. I just popped my back seat headrest up, stuck one part under and one part over, velcroed it together, and voila! Now I can see Draven while driving as long as he is rear facing.

I am always finding awesome products to use on Amazon for babies, so there will be more to this series soon! Make sure to sign up for my email list to stay updated on new posts AND get my baby freebie list that saves you the time and hassle of looking them all up yourself!

What are some baby products you have found and are now glad you own? Hit me up in the comments below!

Anatomy of a Name: Making Your Blog or Business 100% You

Anatomy of a Name

Most people would agree that their name is what sets them apart from everyone else and gives them their specific identity and individuality. Life would be a tad confusing and downright boring if we all had similar or identical names. Some names are really common, and others are beautifully rare-unless taken too far. It’s all about finding balance while describing a person in the most important way you can. The same goes for choosing a name for your blog or business.

When I first started toying with the idea of having a blog, I knew it had to revolve around my baby first and foremost. He is the main focal point of my life now, and I love it, so integrating that into my blog just came naturally. I remember thinking through some names and “The Baby Life” just popped into my head, and I knew that was it, much like I knew my baby’s name before I had him. It just fit too well. I checked to make sure that it wasn’t already being used by another blog or across social media-all clear. Then I found a nice neutral background, and added some pretty script font between two photos of my baby-his hand gripping my finger and his cute little feet-and voila! I had my name and my logo all set!

The Baby Life

Choosing your own blog or business name should be similar in that it describes something about you or your services well. You don’t want people questioning too hard the meaning behind it, nor do you want a name that a bunch of other people are already overusing. You want to distinguish yourself, your brand, and your blog or business, and having a descriptive name from the heart does just that. Don’t be another Jennifer or David in the world of blogging or business (although there is nothing wrong with those names!). Take what it is you will be primarily focusing on and things that describe you or your business and aim for the stars!

My business name is Carpe Noctem. I chose that name because it has stuck with me for a while, and it describes my life really well, because I have always been more of a night person (definitely NOT a morning person). I even have a tattoo of the phrase-which is Latin for “seize the night”-on my upper back! I definitely had to add a subtitle to the business name, so that it is easily understood what it is I do and what I have to offer. The name itself is pretty vague on all of that, so it is a vital step in the process. Choose a font that is simple and easy to read for your subtitles. It just looks more professional that way, and makes it easy to read for everyone. Too many swirls or funky doodads just throws the cohesion off. Here is my business brand for example:

Carpe Noctem (1)

Here are the steps I recommend for naming your blog or business.

1. Decide what you are going to be primarily writing about or what you will be offering. For bloggers, I would use a more personal name, whereas with a business I would make sure you point out in an easily understandable way what your business is or offers.

2. Write out a list of things that interest you and scream to the interwebs that you are a unique and meaningful entity. Seriously, something that resonates with you and you are passionate about that sets you apart from all the other Toms, Dicks, and Harrys. Narrow it down to something understandable that can be integrated with your blog or business offerings, and combine it in a way that makes it 100% you, but also 100% easy to get.

3. Make sure to check across all social media, blogs, and even specific domains to make sure no-one else is already using your name! How much would it suck to go through all the work of creating your name, logo, and brand, just to find out it already exists? LOTS.

4. When it comes to designing your logo or your brand, there are a few options, but the easiest and most used are Canva and PicMonkey. Both have free versions, and you can test out the upgraded versions for free as well before paying for it. They allow for all kinds of word and graphic play, so you can see what designs hook you in and which ones are just meh. They also have customisable sizes so you can use them easily across all social media accounts.

5. There are also a crap ton of free font sites to use to further customize your name. 1001 Free Fonts, DaFont, and Font Space all have thousands of free fonts to download at your leisure to really get that extra bit of oomph into your name.

6. Make sure you check out the copyright laws when it comes to graphics and fonts. If you didn’t buy it, chances are you can only use it for personal use, which is fine when creating a name, logo, or brand, but if you ever sell any graphics or anything without a commercial license possessed by you, that is breaking the law and you could have a hefty lawsuit on your hands. Not the way to get publicity for your name!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with textures and backgrounds to find what really calls out to you. Use your own photos to really make it your own. It is your blog or business, and you will be stuck with it for a long time and more importantly, others will see it all over the internet, so make sure it is legible and bearable. If you really put your heart into it, chances are you will find exactly what you want with you written all over it!

So, there it is-a pretty simple plan for creating your blog or business name. What does your blog or business name mean, or what is the story behind the name? What makes it YOU? If you have any questions on how any of it works, please feel free to comment!

20 Things You (Maybe) Didn’t Know About Me

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1. I am adopted. At 5 days old, I went home with my new parents. My birth mom was 14 when she had me, and chose to adopt me to another family. I have talked to my birth mom on social media since, but we have not met in real life. I also have four half sisters. I don’t know much about my birth father or his family.

2. I am ambidextrous and double jointed. It comes in very handy dealing with a baby, and many other things! I can’t write as well with my left hand as I can with my right, but I bowl, throw footballs, box, and shoot guns left handed very well. I can turn my legs at the knee with my ankles facing outward, I can pop my hips in and out of joint, and I can turn my arms almost all the way around with my elbows facing out. I know. It’s WEIRD.

3. I was in public school up until 4th grade, and my parents decided to home school my brother and I before the second part of the year began for a myriad of reasons. We will be home schooling our son and any other kids if we are blessed to have more. I just prefer the one-on-one aspect and not worrying about bullying or the other crazy parts of public school, but they won’t be hidden from the world! We had active social lives (I even went to my town’s high school prom three times lol), and will make sure our kids have the same.

4. I am a huge geek and nerd. I absolutely love video games and comics, and I grew up on both. The Legend of Zelda, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, Witcher, The Elder Scrolls, Bioshock, and Fallout are my favorite series to play. I am extremely picky about anime, but I do love all the Dragonball series, Attack on Titan, and Death Note.

5. I love reading books of all kinds. I have a huge book collection, and I am always getting more. My favorite book is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. If you haven’t read it, do so. Now.

6. Before I had baby Draven, and sometimes even now if I’m lucky, I actually loved using makeup. I love experimenting with different colors, and looking different every day. I had a pretty huge obsession with eyeshadow, and I’m sure it will rear its ugly head again one day! lol

7. I have a pretty amazing collection of poetry lurking around on the interwebs. I will probably feature some on here every once in a while, but its permanent home is part of a nice little poetry community located here.

8. I am a Star Wars and Star Trek fan. It is possible, and we do exist. Anyone who says otherwise is just narrow-minded.

9. I have a huge soft spot in my heart for soccer. My brother played for about a decade before moving on to serious guitar playing (he really is good), and I got to play a while myself, so it was a big part of our family for a long time. Hopefully Draven will want to play, but if not, that’s okay, too!

10. I REALLY hate the color pink. And white. Not a huge fan of brown, but it goes well with my skin tone and brings out the green in my hazel eyes, so I tolerate it. Favorite colors would be black, green, and purple, and I have a fascination with yellow for some reason…

11. I have pretty severe, inoperable endometriosis and ovarian cysts, so being a mom is like…a miracle? Sorry for the pun, but seriously, nobody including myself ever thought I’d get this far, so I am extremely thankful and blessed. Who would have thought something so perfect would come from extreme pain every month???

12. I have another geeky thing to divulge…I love collecting stamps and coins. I have a pretty massive stamp collection from all over the world. I’m talking tens of thousands. I haven’t done much with it in recent years, but maybe one day.

13. I am pretty obsessed with cupcakes, Alice in Wonderland, Japanese horror, Batman, Yoshi, Invader Zim, the gothic subculture (I used to be a gothic/punk kid and it’s really hard to let go-don’t judge me lol), James MacAvoy, Tom Hardy, Edgar Allan Poe, and Pablo Neruda.

14. My music interests are absolutely insane. I am a huge rock music fan, loving everything as mainstream as Breaking Benjamin and Green Day, obscure as the Holly Trees, and as weird/dark/totally unexpected as Suicide Silence and Cradle of Filth. I also like some pop, very little rap (Hopsin is the shit!), and classical. I even have a tiny list of country I can stomach.

15. I went to college for psychology, then criminal justice, then business…and never actually graduated. I plan on going back to finish with a degree in history for sure because I am a huge history buff (especially folklore, myths, legends, and religion) and would like to teach history one day.

16. I have only broken one bone in my body in my entire life of trying to outdo my brother when we were younger and being unafraid of pretty much everything-my pinky toe. And it was a total freak accident. Milk DOES do the body good, after all!

17. I hate coffee. Like seriously. The only type of coffee product I can stomach at all is mocha frappuccinos. Otherwise, no. Just no. I also hate donuts, stew, goulash, cooked spinach, cucumbers, all kinds of melon, brisket, and steak unless it is cooked absolutely perfectly at medium rare. I know, I’m sooooo unamerican.

18. I hate reality TV.

19. I am not a shoe or purse person. I love my flip flops, and I have one purse whose whereabouts are completely unknown to me currently. Hmmm…

20. I love movies. All kinds of movies. That’s an even broader range than my music tastes. Memoirs of a Geisha, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Army of Darkness (huge Bruce Campbell fan), Rock of Ages, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Vanilla Sky…those are just a few of my favorites. Oh, but I HATED Avatar. Meh.

Well, now that you know me quite a lot better, what all do we have in common? Is there anything you think is totally unbelievable (I know-the coffee and steak thing hits some people hard)? Let me know in the comments!