Shameless Self Promotion

The hardest part about taking a vacation is definitely adjustng to real life when you get back. Joey and I spent yesterday pretty much doing nothing. Watching TV, napping, eating ravioli and cookies — for some reason we were way too shot to do anything else. Not that I’m complaining.

But it does mean I don’t have anything to post about. (Besides, anything I could think up would probably be pretty boring compared to adventures around the world.)

Fortunately, I do have another guest post to share! Through Twitter and blogging, I’ve made friends with a girl named Madison Mayberry (cutest name ever, right?) who lives in Des Moines. She writes a cooking blog called Espresso and Cream where she shares her original recipes and occassional posts about life. (Remember? I got my kale chip recipe from her?)

Anyway, she’s basically adorable and brilliant in the kitchen, and she made a New Year’s resolution this year to cut “fat talk” out of her life. You know what Fat Talk is. Fat Talk is what happens every time a girl looks in the mirror and instantly sees everything that is “wrong” with her body, and then proceeds to voice the issues out loud. Not fun.

Madison’s resolution has sparked a movement, and she reached out to her readers to share their stories of how they’ve cut Fat Talk out of their own lives. Since she had read my post about my own journey to weight happiness here, she was happy to let me contribute.

So without further ado, here is my No Fat Talk Tuesday post.

After you read it, be sure to click around Madison’s site and show her some love!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some real life to re-adjust to.

Ever wonder what I do when I’m not blogging? Today I visit The Post-Graduate Flail to talk about changing my career path and figuring out what I want to do when I grow up. Check it out here!



By the way, I just told one of my credit cards to eff off.

I mean…I paid it the eff off?

I mean…

One of my credit cards is paid OFF, y’all!!

I mean, sure, it was the one with the much lower balance, but it also had the higher interest rate…so basically…I’m awesome.

Doing the happy financial dance this morning :) Think I’ll celebrate with some new boots! (I know, I make ZERO sense.)

Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to treat yo’ self :)

Oh, almost forgot to tell you! I received a lovely little shout-out yesterday from Crafterminds.com. Apparently I’m not the only one driven batty by Pinterest on occasion.

Check it out and share your Pinterest rants!

Every year I post my Top Ten Posts of the Year. I do this mostly because it’s kind of interesting to see what you all like to read, or what just seems to spark your interest.

As you know, this year I made the leap into self-hosting, which unfortunately, meant losing all my old stats. So this year I’m going to pull the top ten from the old stats, since most of the year’s figures are on the old blog anyway.

What I’m saying is, it might not be EXACTLY accurate this year, but it will be pretty close.

So, without any further ado, THE TOP TEN POSTS OF 2011.

10. How to quit your job I really like this post. I think it’s one of those times I was able to put into words exactly what I was feeling at the time. And plus, it was the post that brought my blog soul mate Stacey and I together. So you can’t argue with that.

9. Can’t sleep; won’t sleep This is the second post to make the list two years in a row. Wanna know why? A lot of people image search “sleeping person drooling” or “embarrassing sleeping man”. I can’t tell you why, but I guess I’m grateful all the same.

8. Dear blog troll… Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I let my irritation get the best of me on this one. In the future, I’ll just be sticking to my “be nice or you’re not allowed to play” rule in terms of which comments are allowed to stay. Seriously, guys.

7. How not to rent an apartment on Craigslist I’m really happy to see this was a popular post. Because you know what I lot of people suck at? Renting apartments on Craigslist. Learn, people. Learn.

6. Hey there, sweet potato It’s entirely possible this post was so popular because people like Mad Men. Or sweet potatoes. I’m fine with either option being true.

5. That time I was a model This post was really fun to write. Plus, my hair still looked really good when I wrote it. Win-win.

4. The breakdown and building up of me I think we can officially identify this as the scariest thing I’ve ever published. For those of you who have never worked in the industry, journalists aren’t supposed to talk about hating their jobs. If they do, it’s supposed to be with a cavalier, joking tone about how it just means we’re so much stronger than everyone else. Which might be true. But it also might mean we’re just unkind to ourselves. I’m still undecided, but this was one of the only posts I’ve ever gotten texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years about. So you be the judge.

3. Repeat. And again. I’m really hoping this story was popular because you all know bad story tellers and not because you all think I’m a bad story teller. Oh well, I guess either way, you’re reading.

2. Check me out! I’m so humbled by everyone’s support over this. As anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can attest, it is scary as hell to discuss out loud. Everyone was so nice and I feel truly blessed to have so many people on my side. And if anyone was inspired by my story, well, that’s just icing on the cake. (Because yes, I still endorse cake. Read my story, people!)

1. Narwhals. Seriously. I don’t know about you, but I find it mildly hilarious that this wins year after year. But I have sad news. Because all of the search engine traffic for this post goes to the original on the old blog, my self-hosted blog gets zero benefit from it’s popularity. Guess now I’ll just have to get page views on the merit of my writing…gulp.

So there you have it.

I feel like I don’t say this enough, but I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. We topped out over 80,000 total views this year. That’s insane. Mostly because there’s no way my dad is responsible for that kind of figure, and lord knows I don’t have that many friends, so there must be people out there who I don’t even know who read this. And I just think you’re all pretty amazing for that.

So thank you. Thank you to my sponsors. Thank you to the people who subscribe. The people who like the blog on Facebook. Who follow me on Twitter. And a huge thank-you to anyone who ever tells their friends about something they read on here. That’s pretty much the greatest gift you can give me.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. I’ll be posting once more tomorrow, and then you won’t hear from me until the new year! The hubs and I made an impromtu decision to spend the weekend in Boston, and I have zero intention of writing anything while I’m there. But don’t worry, you know I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

So, remember a gazillion years ago when I hinted that I had some grand plan that I wasn’t ready to reveal yet?

Guess what. It’s time.

Nope, still not pregnant. I am, however, still a proud mother because it’s this little blog’s THIRD birthday!!

cupcake with three candles

Crazy, huh? I vividly remember writing my first post (about hating winter). I was bored and had been thinking about a recent magazine class I had taken the semester before where the professor basically told us that if we don’t have a blog, we’ll never get hired.

A bit of an exaggeration (on his part), but even so, it seemed to me that having unedited writing samples on hand (as well as keeping my wordsmithing skills sharp) wasn’t a terrible idea.

So with minor trepidation, I created an account on WordPress.

I can’t tell you why I picked WordPress. I had heard it was super simple. I think I googled “blogs” and it came up. Scientific, I know.

Back then, my header looked like this:

Get it? Because I planned to move to New York some day. (Ohhh 21-year-old self…)

I CAN tell you that I was TERRIFIED to push the “publish” button? Terrified.

I mean, in my rational mind, I knew probably no one would see it. I had no intention of telling anyone about the blog, and it wasn’t like with a single post I would become a must-read. But still. I was putting my writing out there. And that used to terrify me.

Side note: I actually JUST realized that this DOESN’T terrify me anymore. I mean, when it’s for more professional settings, I still get a little jumpy, but I used to belabor turning in manuscripts like I was actually opening a vein. Now, I’m a bit more whatev about the whole thing. (That’s a joke some of you will get. Sorry…no more weird inside jokes.)

Anyway, the point is, I was skerred. I finally just did it though, telling myself it didn’t matter anyway because no one would ever have to know the blog even existed!!!

After I got a few posts under my belt, I became a bit addicted to it. Seriously. I started thinking about things that happened to me in terms of how it would be written in a blog post. I’m really glad no one can read my thoughts (that I know of…?), because I would have sounded really self-possessed. I swear I’m not. I’m just a blogger.

Things changed a bit the day I added the link to my blog to my Facebook page. That was even more difficult that simply starting the blog. I was petrified. What if everyone hated it? What if they thought I was stupid? What if I not only never got a job, I never got a boyfriend, never had friends, and my family disowned me for being a sub-par writer?

Around that time, my header looked like this:

New York is still there, but now I’m a bit more diversified.

In the end, I finally just put the darn link on my profile, telling myself, “You WANT people to read your stuff, right? Then they have to know where to find it!”

The fact that my readership lept about, oh, 20 people should have calmed my fears, but the fact that people were reading at all was still kind of thrilling. (Total disclosure: It still is.)

My next big header change? This:

Clearly I’d begun being drawn by mint-y blue/green hues. How do I know? Because this was the next header:

Anyway, the point of that minor history lesson is that for my third blogiversary, I decided to do something kind of crazy: I’m going to pursue turning this little blog into a business.

Eek. Kind of weird to put it out there like that. I mean, I know I could fail miserably at this. But I still think it will be kind of fun to try.

How am I going about this? First, I’m adding sponsors! They are all super cool people with businesses that I really admire, so definitely check them out in the right-hand column or on the new Sponsors page. If you’re reading this on your phone or Google Reader and can’t see what I’m talking about, fear not. Once a month I’ll be posting a little shout-out to those cool people, and occasionally they’ll be sponsoring giveaways on the blog, too.

I know! Giveaways! Just like a real, grown-up blog.

So anyway. I don’t really know what I expect to happen from this. We all know that I’m only doing this to pursue my dream of working at home so I can finally get a puppy. Y’all should know by now that “so I can have a puppy” is my main motivation for most things in life. This is not something I have kept from you. I guess we’ll see how it all works out.

To my lovely sponsors, thank you. You’re awesome. (And if YOU want to be one of those lovely people, email me at justine[dot]lorelle[at]gmail[dot]com!)

And thank you to you. Yes, YOU. No, not him. YOU. You are my lovely reader, and I am beyond grateful to those of you who tell your friends about my blog, subscribe, or even just check in now and then. You rock AND roll, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.