11 February 2016

How I Make Money from Home

Yup - just what it says - how I make money from home. These may not be for you, and it's certainly not intended to be a big ole list. It's the real stuff I do most days so I have walking around money without leaving my darling son.

Blogging - This is frankly not the top of my list, because it generates the least cash for me. I do receive some cash, as well as some things to review or promote. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of info to help you get started with this. The companies I work with for these are relationships I've been in for years, and my understanding is that they approach the blogs they want to work with.

Test Scoring - I originally got started with test scoring (my title is 'Reader,' and I read the essay portion of standardized tests) by working at a live testing center that was near where I lived at the time. When the position was phased out there, the gossip mill sent many of us to Pearson Assessments. I don't recall the exact requirements, but I believe they require a degree, as well as teaching or scoring experience. This is a very part-time position for me, as most scoring of projects (at least the ones I am qualified for) are for just a few months of spring or early summer.

Dog Walking - Hey, this is my story, and the neighbor's dog is a part of it :) I walk the little tyke around the neighborhood twice a day from Monday - Friday. It's part of my list of consistent income, and also gets me some exercise and fresh air. A job that doesn't keep me chained to my computer is a very good thing.

Close To My Heart - I just started in the fall as an independent consultant with Close To My Heart (CTMH). CTMH is primary a scrapbooking and card-making company, with lots of papercrafting supplies, as well as some jewelry making stuff, and frames and things that you can customize for home decor. While I'm really enjoying doing workshops in my home, and making cards and things for samples in my spare time, this is not my biggest source of income. If I devoted the same time to it, it certainly could generate more money for me, but that's not my priority with this venture. There is a start-up cost to this business, but you get a huge kit of stuff in exchange for your investment.

Perfectly Posh - This is my favorite and most lucrative job from home. I am an independent consultant for Perfectly Posh, which offers pampering products which are all naturally based, made in the USA, and $25 or less each. Additionally, when anyone buys 5 items, they get the 6th free! It's a fun shopping experience, with great products. For my job, I share samples of Posh with my friends and family, as well as with people I meet online or in person. SinceI've been in the business for almost a year and a half now, I also have a team which I try to advise, teach, mentor and motivate. This may involve educating on our product and programs, as well as having contests and things and maintaining a team page. I also work closely with other leaders in the company on best practices, and working toward my own growth. The start-up cost is slightly less with Perfectly Posh, and again you get a lot of products to share and use.

10 February 2016

Stitch Fix - Fix #2

Folks, we have a winner! I'm keeping everything from this fix. I requested stuff for warmer weather, since the kids and I are taking a little vacation to Florida. Frances (my stylist for this box) delivered!

Not thrilled with my pictures, incidentally. I had my hair in a pony-tail all day, so when I took it down..ugh. And I think it was close enough to bedtime for the kids that I'm not exactly wearing my happiest face ;) Sorry. On with the fashion show!

Here we have the 41Hawthorn Shalley Split Neck Blouse paired with the Kut From The Kloth Mattie Capri Jean. I have another pair of Kut From The Kloth pants, so I sort of expected to like these. I was not disappointed. Super versatile as a 'jean' can be, but the white dresses them up a smidge and makes them summery. Yay! Hopefully they wash up well - I'm optimistic about keeping them white while being with kids all the time.

I don't think I have many sleeveless tops, but I decided this is flattering on. The bright pink in the pattern is great, while still having a darker navy base which is more in line with most of my wardrobe. I also love that all the tops the stylist picked for me are flowing and cover my 'mummy tummy.' And as stated in my stylist's note, this top would also go well with a pair of denim boyfriend jeans.

Sticking with the Kut From The Kloth pants, I also received the Colette Agather Printed Halter Knit Top. When I first looked at my style cards, I thought this was polka-dotted, and my stylist mentioned that she chose it in part because I have a polka-dotted dress on my Pinterest. But it's a dark blue shirt with little white hearts! Love, love, love! I think I'll wear this outfit for Valentine's day this weekend. This is a knit instead of a blouse, and while I'm not 100% comfortable with my bra strap showing, a quick visit to the local mall shows that nearly everyone else is, so I'm trying to go with the flow and quit being so self-conscious ;)

Again, love the long, flowing length and shape of this top. The halter style also keeps it somewhat flattering to my aging, not-muscular arms. My stylist mentions that it will also easily dress up or down between sandals for the beach, or wedges for a night out.

This last outfit includes a bit of a surprise for me. It's the Collective Concepts Rover Zip Back Racerback Blouse with the Margaret M Felicity Printed Short. The blouse is one I'm surprised I didn't already have one like. Black, and of a length that I may be able to get away with it with my camo leggings too. Comfy and flowing for the win!

As I went to pull the shorts on, I saw there was no zip/button/fastener, just a lot of stretch and a bit of a panel to help it all lay flat in the front. Yay for old lady shorts!! They're a little high-wasted, but so comfortable and flattering! The black and white pattern could go with nearly any solid-colored top that goes at least to the top of my hips. A little longer than I'm used to, but the fit is great, and the stretch lends itself to doing anything casual or a bit dressed up in these!

Are you not a Stitch Fix customer yet? Get on board! You pay a $20 styling fee, but that then applies to anything you purchase from your box. There are no postage charges for you getting the box to you, or anything you don't like being sent back. For someone like me who has a hard time shopping with kids always in tow, it's a great way to try on some new clothes, and even style them with what's already in your closet, since you're at home ;) I don't expect to always keep all five items, but I got lucky this time, and half the packing for my Florida trip is DONE!

08 February 2016

Bombfell Review


I do a popular clothing subscription-type service for me, and LOVE it. Since my husband also leads a very busy life and doesn't especially enjoy clothes shopping, I talked him into trying Bombfell.com for his wardrobe needs.

I'm sorry, honey.

Their sign-up process was pretty much what I expected. They asked him about his measurements/sizes, style preferences, and what brands he already usually wore. Luckily there was no styling fee, so once he'd completed the survey questions, we eagerly waited for his box.

I was so excited when his box arrived. I quickly texted him that it was at home, and asked if he'd be coming home at the regular time so we could do a fashion show, like we do when my clothing boxes arrive. Once he got home, the fashion show commenced.

He received a pair of jeans and two button-down shirts - one long-sleeved, and one short-sleeved.
Overall, it was really good for a laugh. And laugh I did. Sorry again, honey. The pants were labeled as a 4" shorter inseam than he requested. Really? Who thought that would be a good idea?? Other than the ridiculously short length, they were all right, I supposed. As an aside, who really wears button-fly jeans anymore? Sort of a flashback to high school for us...

The shirt completely did not fit. My husband wears an XLT for shirts. The 'T' there stands for tall. Because he is. The shirt that Bombfell.com sent him? Is not tall. It's short. And tight. He's standing with his shoulders almost hunched over so he doesn't pop the buttons. I do the man's laundry. Every other shirt he owns is either an XL or an XLT, and they all fit around him comfortably. I have no idea how this shirt is an XL, and it definitely is not an XLT.

By the way - that's also not his happy face.

This picture shows his confused face, while modeling the same short pants, and another XL shirt that isn't. The lack of tall-ness shows really well in the sleeves of this one. I have no idea how a stylist looked at his previous sizes and measurements, and thought these things would fit him.

As my husband said in his follow-up review while telling them he wouldn't be keeping any of the three pieces they sent him - "This may be XL for my co-workers when I was working in Korea, but I am a 6'4", 245 lb autoworker from Detroit."

We really, really wanted a service for hubby that would be as convenient and fun as the one I've been using, but Bombfell.com is definitely not it.

01 February 2016

Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic

Disney truly is magical. Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney's unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You'll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, and many Disney Princesses. Experience a skating spectacular you'll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!

My kids love the Disney on Ice shows (maybe as much as I do! ;) ). From the costumes and sets, to the mad skills of the skaters, it's a performance that always ranks among the best you can see. Disney on Ice presents 100 Years of Magic is coming to the Palace of Auburn Hills for several shows March 10 - 13, 2016. Opening night tickets are available for as little as $15 (some restrictions apply).

Join the Disney on Ice Facebook page and Twitter page to stay in the loop with the latest shows and info!

Hope to see you there!

I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts/opinions are my own.

31 January 2016

Reading Challenge - Book 3

The third book I finished this year satisified the 13th category on the reading challenge list - a self-improvement book. I sincerely wanted to be improved by this book. I was on the library waiting list for probably a couple months before I received this book as a gift. It was not all I hoped it would be.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo mostly sounded just ridiculous to me. I wanted to like it. I wanted that 'aha' moment when I would suddenly throw down the book and run to start tidying. I got as far as my shoes, which are primarily mixed with the rest of my family's shoes. I got rid of a lot of my old shoes that didn't bring me joy. I got rid of my children's shoes that didn't bring me joy. But I didn't feel right doing anything with hubby's shoes, so the ones that didn't have a match in the shoe closet ended up in the clothes closet, and his sandals are still in the shoe closet with everyone else's winter boots.

See, the author is obviously single. Tidying just my stuff? Sounds like fun, actually. Tidying four people's stuff, because if I just tidy mine nothing will look any different? No, thanks.

My real laughing started in chapter four - "Storing your things to make your life shine." She recommends that you 'Empty your bag everyday.' Yeah. Like come home (usually five minutes later than I'm supposed to be leaving on my next errand) and take out your identification, your bus pass, your company identification, and put them in a special box. Then put your bag away as well so it can rest. Huh?

Later on the same page, she says it's all right if you can't empty your bag sometimes, and admits, "...there have been times when I came home and fell asleep on the floor without even changing my clothes." Seriously? My bag may only get emptied once a year or so (to get the receipts out of the bottom for tax time..), but I sleep in a bed every night.

Sorry, I digress. Anyway, this book was obviously not for me. I know it was very popular when it came out, and I've heard people swear by her methods, but I just really couldn't take it seriously. She'd probably say it's some defensive flaw deep in my psyche, but I'm okay with that.

If you read this book and didn't enjoy it, let me know I'm not alone! If you sincerely did like this book, please let me know what your favorite positive take-away was. :)

Monster Jam!

Monster Jam was a fabulous show once again. It's continually one of my favorite family shows. I think this was the first time that Jack even stayed awake for the whole show! We all had ear protection (a must!) and the only thing too loud for the little guy was the fireworks during the national anthem at the beginning.

We did not attend the pit party before the event this time. We've been before, and it's a great chance to get up close with your favorite trucks and drivers. Pay attention to your local media venues leading up to events - free pit passes were available through Metro PCS.

The first event was the regular races. The elimination series pitted the trucks against each other just one at a time, and it was no surprise to anyone after all the brackets were done that Grave Digger won.

Next up was an event that was new to us - a donut competition. While my daughter and I were hoping there would be real donuts involved, of course it was trucks..and dirt. We were plenty close to the dirt, as you can see from this picture taken from our seats. Luckily the donut competition was at the other end of the arena. Hubby and I are comparing notes, and we're pretty sure Black Ops won the donut competition. If we're wrong, please let us know.

After the donut competition, we were ready for freestyle. But it was not to be, yet. They had another new event - a pairs thing where two of the Monster Truck teams actually drove dune buggy looking things. I didn't really get what was going on there. Thankfully it was just a couple rounds before we moved on to everyone's favorite - freestyle!

Hubby and I discussed the fact that maybe the drivers have to have permission before they can do the really fancy backward flip. The first few drivers did well enough, but never even approached the giant wall of dirt that only a couple trucks used to attempt the flip. My favorite at this event was the incredible performance from Bounty Hunter (driven by Jim Creten). It looked like his score of 30 was going to hold til the end, but of course they saved Grave Digger and Son Uva Digger til last.
Grave Digger was not meant to win this event, but Son Uva Digger put on a spectacular performance to pull ahead. I'm not sure how much luck is involved, but Son Uva Digger flipped completely from one side - like lying on its side with the wheels and body of the truck flat on the ground - to the entire other side! It was definitely impressive, and earned him the trophy for this event.

If you're local to the Detroit area, it looks like you have one more chance this year to attend Monster Jam at Ford Field on February 27. Don't miss it!

I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts/opinions are my own.

28 January 2016

Supercross 2016

I'm so busy being excited about Monster Jam this weekend, I almost forgot that Supercross is right around the corner! For those of you in the Detroit area, it's Saturday, March 19 at Ford Field. Doors open at noon for practice and qualifying, with the main event starting at 6:30pm.

Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, is the world's premier indoor motocross circuit, comprised of 17 races of heart-stopping action in some of the largest venues in North America. Every week, the best riders from across the globe, like champions Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey seek to outrace each other on the sport’s most challenging courses. Featuring tight corners, fast straightaways, challenging rhythm sections, and vertigo-inducing jumps, these tracks pack excitement into every inch of dirt. You can visit the official website here.

Tickets are available now through Ford Field. Kids' tickets are half-price! (not valid on TAP or $15 value seats) Hope to see you there!

I have been compensated for this post, but all thoughts/opinions are my own.

26 January 2016

Reading Challenge - Book 2

I chose to read this book as my 'National Book Award winner,' number two on the reading challenge list. It won the National Book Award in 2012.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich was definitely a powerful book. It is told from the perspective of Joe, a 13-year-old Native American boy whose mother is viciously attacked. The adults on the reservation understandably don't want Joe to hear about the details of the attack, and most of them just don't want to speak out loud of the horrible act. His mother survives, but life is never the same.

What really struck me was the clarifications in the afterword of how many laws about activity in or around the reservation impeded the capture and punishment of the monster who committed the crime. The reservation could not charge a non-Native American for the crime if it was committed on the reservation. What?!?

The moral dilemmas throughout the story can still be pondered more than a week after finishing the book.  I would definitely recommend this book both as a captivating story, and a commentary on an aspect of social justice.