Why is your blog getting less readers now?

I see a lot of bloggers wondering why they are getting less blog vistors/page vists these days. It’s a interesting question and I cannot answer in any authorative way but as reader I can offer a few tips on why I stop reading blogs;

You lose your passion on the topic that initially attracted me to the blog and start posting on another topic. I love seeing a great writer exploring different topics but if I hung off your blog for the latest nail polish swatches and now you post about your interior design tips I might move on to a new blog.

You post less and less often and I lose track of you. I don’t visit every blog on my list regularly, but if I see updated posts it still makes me think of you and you’ll be closer to the top of my mind. Also, boring topic I know, but you slink down the search engine rankings.

I found another blog that does the same thing but in a way I prefer! This is often the case for me when I find a great local blog that covers the brands I have easier ability to access.

I’m less passionate on the topic myself. If I am busily researching a topic like home design, or travel to a certain place I’ll read religiously for a while and then once I’ve completed the project I’ll move on.

The ratio of advertiser/press sample material to standard becomes boring. There is no magic ratio for this, and I understand that bloggers like to get paid, but given how rarely a published review from a press sample or advertisment is negative I am less eager to wade through blogs that become advertiser heavy as I turn to bloggers for a more unbiased view than the traditional media. Again this can depend on the blogger and they deal with issues but it can be a reader turn off.

That’s my list! What turns you off reading a given blog?

beauty blogger, bblogger

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100 (+) follower giveaway

I seem to have reached (and indeed passed) the magic milestone of 100 wordpress followers and *ahem* missed it.

It seems the tradition for a 100 follower celebration is a rafflecopter giveaway and I have gone with the tradition. I have self sponsored this through my app My Makeup Collection. I am offering a prize of either a $50 Sephora voucher or a $50 etsy voucher for the winner. I hope you enjoy and purchase something a bit fab if you win 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Mothers Day (any day you want it to be!)

The first day I went back to work after my maternity leave with my older son I was a mess. I remember walking down a local shopping strip on my lunch break and this little antique store caught my eye. It has three large sapphires, which are my older boys birthstone. The number 3 was pretty significant as we were suddenly a family of three rather than a couple. It’s not that expensive, the sapphires are not that great quality but even great quality sapphires are much cheaper than diamonds.

The reason I was a mess was that I kept hearing that people saying ‘this must be so hard for you’ and it wasn’t that hard. It was a relief in a lot of ways, a way of starting our new life and being able to integrate being a mother into my personality rather than becoming a whole new ‘mummy’ person. Everytime I looked at the ring I thought about how much my family meant to me. Even when I wasn’t with my baby he was with me.

I always get complemented on the ring. My son loves running his fingers over it and asking which stone is him. I think that the ‘best’ fashion is fashion with a story, things that you wear over and over again. It’s just as good to buy something for yourself, and it some ways it’s even better than the jewellery we get as gifts.

One of the class mums has just had a baby and she is a little upset that she didn’t get a push present. I think we should ditch the tradition. Buy yourself a push present ladies, or don’t. It isn’t less meaningful to buy gifts for yourself at all. Image,

No spend May update

The no spend has not gone so well this month. We have had a series of unfortunate (washing machine) events and have had a sick washing machine for the early parts of the month, then some repairs, then the wash-pocalypse where the machine died chewing up a few of my clothes including my favorite tomato red merino wool sweater. This was the perfect sweater. It was the platonic ideal of a fun casual sweater that was warm but not bulky, a pop of colour yet went with nearly everything, a familar yet distinctive shade of red. Obviously it’s not available anymore.

I know many people survive without a washing machine. I am not good at it. I can make excuses in that I have small kids, toilet training age and wet sheets and pants abound as well as messy eating. It’s a phase. The truth is I struggle with the fact that it’s often a lot easier if you don’t have a washing machine handy to buy new clothes, especially if there is an opportunity cost around your time. However I can’t see that this is a good solution overall. It seems on some level we are dealing with the law of the commons, where I am gaining benefits but not necessarily dealing with the lifecycle costs.

Anyway, I went into the store with the aim of buying some underwear and socks for the kiddos and ended up with (4) new shirts and 2 new dresses replacing the one shirt and one shirt that I lost in the washer disaster.

I felt calmer and lulled as I walked around the store. On some level that’s what we want to do. Go out and seek and forage and provide for the family. And we take pride and gained postive feedback when we do it well. ‘The kids look cute’, ‘I love that top’, ‘Is that dress new, it’s cute’ are all things we hear. These days with the labour savings we have available as mothers, as well as the much higher affluence in my community we seem to have less pride in the achievements of home making. So we make new achievements, set higher goals and dwell more on the things we can buy as a sign of how well we are doing as mothers. Yet surely the point of the extra money and the extra leisure was to spend more time together, enjoy each other more and be more fulfilled. Not to have more socks.

Why we need gay marriage rights, not just civil unions (includes obligatory manicure ;)))

HRC

After seeing a lot of blog posts of the issue of gay rights, I decided I should do one as well, with an obligatory manicure. I used Butter London Pillar Box red and added strips of OPI Voodoo Pink on the ring finger. It was a bloody nightmare, Pillar box Red is a wonderful formula for a red creme over the whole nail but a bastard to do a tape manicure on. It took 3 tries to get this right and then I realised I probably needed a strip of red up the top but had not motivation at that point!

Anyway, it seems that a lot of people are leaning towards this idea that there is a simple solution to the issues of gay marriages which is letting churches run religious weddings however they want, and civil unions taking on the role of government/civil weddings.

I don’t think it’s entirely satisfactory though. Imagine if when women where agitating for the vote we were told ‘Look, it’s not that you can’t vote, it’s just people will be very sensitive it we say females can vote. So instead you can have an opinion. We’ll count all the opinions and it totally means the same thing we just won’t call it ‘voting rights.” Words do have meaning and weight, and marriage is one of those. It means something different to many people to say husband/wife/married rather than partner/defacto.

Equally, most couple don’t get married in a church.In Australia only 30% of couples get married in a church these days, it’s about 40% in the UK although as far as I can tell the US has a much higher rate of church based wedding. (I can’t talk to the culture in the US, so my thoughts are really more specific to the Australian context).Marriage is acknowledged as a largely civil institution these days in Australia and it’s wrong to hand ownership of it back to the churches.

Finally, I think that we have to consider how comfortable we are with letting churches make statements that would be discriminatory in other circumstances. What about if the church didn’t allow inter-racial marriages? Would it be something we brushed off as ‘well, it’s what they believe’ or would there be moves to change it? It’s easy to accept it as OK because people choose to join churches but it affects all the related parties, the kids growing up in families having to attend those church services and so on. I think it still comes down to a comfort level people have around whether homosexuality is a choice vs fundamental characteristic.

Seperate but ‘equal’ is not a great solution to civil rights, it’s segregation.

Liebster Award :)

I’m very flattered that the super cute Cuteberry nominated me for a liebster award. The challenge is to answer the 11 questions posed then find 11 new blogs and pose 11new questions. So here goes,
What is your favourite nail polish brand? Ilamasqua by far, on both colour range and formula/wear
What is the worst nail polish mishap you’ve ever had? That would probably be the time I dropped a bottle of OPI Russian Ink in our brand new pale blue bathroom. It shattered and went everywhere. I cried and cried.
When you break a nail, do you cut them all short or do you keep them long? I go short and embraced the freedom!
What nail trends do you like? I like checks and plaits but I’m still perfecting my techniques! I plan to try the cuteberry lace design next actually 🙂
What is your favourite nail art design to do on your own nails? It’s simple but I love glitter gradients.
Do you wear unusual nail colours to work? No, unfortunately I work in pretty conservative places. But unemployment is a lot more open to crazy manicures, probably the best upside to not working!
Which celebrity manicure do you like the most? Oh, well I just saw Oz and the wicked witches mani which was a sort of extreme chevron was great.
Who is your favourite nail polish blogger, or your biggest nail polish inspiration? I really like Jen on Polishaholic
What nail trend do you refuse to try? Fluffy nails. They seem like they’d get gross really easy :{
Show a picture of your best manicure ever!
Would you like to do nails professionally or own a salon? eeek, no way! I’m an enthused amateur only…

I nominate

The Weekly Polish Report – http://weeklypolishreport.wordpress.com

Island Nails – http://islandnails.wordpress.com

My adventures in Nail Art – http://adventuresinnails.wordpress.com

Beauty and Brains – http://beautyandbrainsblogger.wordpress.com

And let’s see,

What is your favourite nail polish that you own?

How many bottles of polish do you own?

How often do you change your nail polish?

What is your dream nail polish that you haven’t gotten your hands on yet?

Favourite top coat?

Glitters yay or nay?

What is your day job?

How do you relax?

What is your favourite thing about painting your nails?

How often do you blog?

How long have you been blogging?

Who is your idol nail blogger?

So what’s the deal with this nail polish obsession?

^ Exact quote from my husband in the post heading. It’s a valid question for him to ask, because up until 5 years ago I definitely tended to wear either no polish or only red/pinks. I think it was largely due to working in a conservative, male-dominated profession. I think the same is true for a lot of women as the zeitgiest has definitely turned back to polished nails.

I think there a few factors that trend together to make nail polish such a thing;

  • The colours are very trend driven, and that encourages a lot more range of nail polish to be own
  • It’s very democratising in a way a lot of fashion isn’t – you can have the latest nail polish if you are old or young, fat or thin, pale or dark skinned.
  • It’s a relatively cheap way to add polish to an outfit (haha, a polish pun!) and make you look well groomed
  • The price outlay is quite low, even at $20 for a ‘designer’ name like a deborah lipmann polish it’s at the lower end of what a new clothing item will buy you, and given you can get 20 or 30 manicures out of one bottle that’s often more wear than I get out of new tops… (where is that embarassed emoticon when I want it!)
  • It’s an activity that can be performed after the work of the day is done, after the kids are in bed and the housework is done. It’s an excuse to sit still for 20 minutes, so popular for carers who are carving out some time for themselves.
  • Equally you can buy nail polish online with out trying it on and check out one of the numerous excellent blogs to see what it looks like and how it performs. This is often trickier with clothing.
  • There is a degree of signalling I think, where having nails coloured in the latest colours says “I’m pulled together. I have spare time and resources. I follow fashion. I’m a cool person”. I see in the interactions with other parents of young kids, also with bonding with other burlesque performers.

Who knows… maybe I’m overthinking! or maybe just procrastinating. What do you think?

The benefits of Burlesque

I mentioned earlier that I love to do burlesque. Often it seems like men get a great commaraderie from sports which women can struggle with, particularly those of us who are a bit girlier/geekier than our sportier friends. I find burleqesue is a really fun option for fitness, particularly amongst those of us that struggle with the whole fitness package. Here is why;

  • It is great exercise, particularly in toning the thighs/butt/tummy region,
  • There is a lot of support in with the other girls in the class; yet
  • There is little pressure, so it doesn’t matter if you struggle to catch the ball do your moves in time,
  • It’s not overly sweaty (hey, it matters to me!),
  • You get to exercise in makeup and fun clothes, and the participants tend to have a cool, retro sensibility,
  • It doesn’t feel like exercise, so much as the daggy dancing in front of the mirror I do for fun anyways.

I encourage you to give it a try if you get the opportunity. I still go the gym as well, but that’s more medicinal. Burlesque is a way of sneaking in some exercise benefits while not really noticing 🙂 and I tell you, these are girls who will appreciate the effort that went into your manicure and outfit.

 

 

 

No spend 2013 in dot points

So it’s time to consider what I want to get from this project;

  1. I want to use up my cosmetics and clothing so that I have space for my stuff.
  2. I want to spend mindfully, so that I can afford what I need/want and don’t end up wasting money on lots of small things.
  3. I want to give back to my community.
  4. I want to write more, take more photos and purchase a better camera.
  5. I want to log which products and clothing I like to wear and use, and what makes me feel good about myself so that I can repurchase.
  6. I want to understand my emotional baggage around spending money on my appearance better.

So the task is;

  1. No spending. I will divert my monthly (estimated average) cosmetics and clothing spend to a donation to the local homeless shelter.
  2. Mindful purchases. At the end of the tax year I’ll use the tax credits from the donations to buy a DSLR.
  3. Reviewing my products on my blog, writing about what I like and what I don’t and why.
  4. Meaningful donations and pay it forward, where I will give away some of my stuff to people who will enjoy it more.

That’s the task. Not so hard when it just looks like a list but no resolution seems that hard on the 4th of January!

A reflective pause on the topic of back seam stockings

Last night I was performing with my burlesque class (burlesque is possibly the world most fun form of exercise) and managed to rip my last pair of backseam tights. My first thought was “I’ll have to get a new pair of back seam tights tomorrow. Gahhh.”

But my second thought, given my challenge of not spending, is  do I need to buy these tight? And, lets call it thought 2a, is why the urgency? I have other tights, other sexy tights, other retro tights, too many damn pairs of tights to work out exactly which other tights I do own at any time. And it’s summer in Australia. It’s been over 40 degrees (+105F) so not exactly tights weather. More lying semi-comatose under cool breeze weather. I won’t start wearing tights regularly for another 4 months.

So there are other emotional issues at play. I don’t think I have a shopping addiction and I can afford all the things I buy. But they aren’t making me feel good, it just make me worried when I don’t have my stash of ‘stuff’ around. I’m like a squirrel stressing over her stockpile of nuts. But when the squirrel stresses it’s because she knows winter is coming and she’ll be using up the nuts. For me I have no such worried. There will be back seam tights this winter!

So I think at least in part this ‘hoarding’ is a bit of a crappy urge that comes growing up poor. I feel like we are living paycheck-to-paycheck when we aren’t and I buy up the little things I like as though this is a glitch, this ability to afford small luxuries. I need to remember that it’s not, and the money I am spending this I can spend on other things. I know that I need to get a healthier relationship with my ‘stuff’ for my own piece of mind.