Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I must get back to packing boxes! I might take a sabbatical from blogging while I try to get everything settled in my new home, so don't get too worried if you don't here from me for a dew days.
P.S. GRADUATION IS IN ONE WEEK!!!!!!!!!! AND I AM DONE WITH FINALS!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I am thinking about using the pink and green one for a party invitation and using the little card as an RSVP card.
Monday, April 27, 2009
My wonderful and faithful follower and friend in real life, M, sent me this article about a week ago and I thought I would share it with you all. It was published in the Wall Street Journal, which in my opinion makes it legit!
America's Newest Profession:
Bloggers for Hire
By MARK PENN
In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters.
Paid bloggers fit just about every definition of a microtrend: Their ranks have grown dramatically over the years, blogging is an important social and cultural movement that people care passionately about, and the number of people doing it for at least some income is approaching 1% of American adults.
The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income. That's almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click -- whether on their site or someone else's. And that's nearly half a million of whom it can be said, as Bob Dylan did of Hurricane Carter: "It's my work he'd say, I do it for pay."
Forget about huge, sweeping megaforces. The biggest trends today are micro: small, under-the-radar patterns of behavior which take on real power when propelled by modern communications and an increasingly independent-minded population. In the U.S., one percent of the nation, or three million people, can create new markets for a business, spark a social movement, or produce political change. This column is about identifying these important new niches, and acting on that knowledge.
This could make us the most noisily opinionated nation on earth. The Information Age has spawned many new professions, but blogging could well be the one with the most profound effect on our culture. If journalists were the Fourth Estate, bloggers are becoming the Fifth Estate.
What started as a discussion forum for progressive politics and new technologies has now been applied to motherhood, health care, the arts, fashion, dentistry -- and just about every other imaginable area of life. What started as a hobby and an outlet for volunteers is becoming big business for newly emerging sites, for companies that now depend upon their reviews and for the people who work in this new industry.
All this fits with the trend toward Opinion TV. Less and less of our information flow is devoted to gathering facts, and more and more is going toward popularizing opinion. Twenty-four-hour news channels have been replaced by 24-hour opinion channels. The chatter is the story.
Comparing Job Numbers in America
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Demographically, bloggers are extremely well educated: three out of every four are college graduates. Most are white males reporting above-average incomes. One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall. It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as "spokesbloggers" -- paid by advertisers to blog about products. As a job with zero commuting, blogging could be one of the most environmentally friendly jobs around -- but it can also be quite profitable. For sites at the top, the returns can be substantial. At some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post.
The barriers to entry couldn't be lower. Most bloggers for hire pay $80 to get started, do it for about 35 months, and make a few hundred dollars. But a subgroup of these bloggers are the true professionals who work at corporations, serve as highly paid blogging consultants or write for sites with substantial traffic.
As bloggers have increased in numbers, the number of journalists has significantly declined. In Washington alone, there are now 79% fewer DC-based employees of major newspapers than there were just few years ago. At the same time, Washington is easily the most blogged-about city in America, if not the world.
Almost no blogging is by subscription; rather, it owes it economic model to on-line advertising. Bloggers make money if their consumers click the ads on their sites. Some sites even pay writers by the click, which is of course a system that promotes sensationalism, or doing whatever it takes to get noticed.
The United Kingdom has just had a major scandal in which an official at 10 Downing Street had planned to leak to a friendly blogger all sorts of lurid stories about the Conservatives, complete with descriptions of secret sex tapes. But all of it was to be made up, and the friendly blogger who was going to post it all thought it was an "absolutely brilliant" idea. Someone blew the whistle, but had the plot gone through, this blogstorm could have played a major role in the upcoming election.
As a political pollster, I always observed that the poll that often got the most coverage was the one that was different from the others, regardless of whether it was right, or whether the pollster had any track record. This is true with opinions, too: those on the extreme right or left, or those that are the most titillating, seem to drive the most traffic through their sites. The center doesn't seem to have either the edge or the passion to grab the same kind of traffic.
The implications of bloggers for hire are substantial. While many bloggers probably support unionization in general, they have no union of their own. Most have no benefits, yet they work long hours in front of computer screens which could cause a variety of health ailments. And the owners of the big sites most often pay their bloggers as freelancers, avoiding all of those taxes and benefits that newspapers have to pay for their writers.
For now, bloggers say they are overwhelmingly happy in their work, reporting high job satisfaction. But what happens if they, too, lose work; are they covered by unemployment insurance if tastes change and their sites go under? Are they considered journalists under shield laws? Are they subject to libel suits? Are there any limits to the opinions they churn out, or any standards to rein them in? Is there someone to complain to about false blogs or hidden conflicts? At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic outfitted bloggers with free Panasonic equipment; did that affect their opinions about the companies they wrote about? There are more questions than answers about America's Newest Profession.
It is hard to think of another job category that has grown so quickly and become such a force in society without having any tests, degrees, or regulation of virtually any kind. Courses on blogging are now cropping up, and we can't be far away from the Columbia School of Bloggerism. There is a lot of interest now in Twittering and Facebooking -- but those venues don't offer the career opportunities of blogging. Not since eBay opened its doors have so many been able to sit at their computer screens and make some money, or even make a whole living.
And with millions of human-hours now going into writing and recording opinion, we have to wonder whether being the blogging capital of the world will help America compete in the global economy. Maybe all this self-criticism will propel us forward by putting us on the right track and helping us choose the right products. Maybe it will create a resurgence in the art of writing and writing courses. Or serve as a safety net for out of work professionals in the crisis. But for how long can nearly 500,000 people who are gradually replacing whole swaths of journalists survive with no worker protections, no enforced ethics codes, limited standards, and, for most , no formal training? Even the "Wild West" eventually became just the "West."
Mark Penn Responds:
People have raised questions about the calculations on the numbers of bloggers for hire. First, I was surprised at how few studies there are on this and I believe there definitely should be more. So perhaps in the future I will do some original research, but for this piece we took the best we could find and referenced every number so people would know where they came from.
There is no question that the blogosphere, fast-growing as it is, has yet to nail down one way to measure itself or gauge its activity. But the most comprehensive sources we could find, conducted by reputable professionals, say there are over 22 million bloggers out there; and that 2% of bloggers are making their living blogging. Do the math, and you get roughly 450,000. It's a fast-growing group and we ignore their needs, and influence, at our peril.
As far as the $75,000, the Technorati report says that of those bloggers who had 100,000 or more unique visitors, the average income is $75,000. True, it's not the median, but it is the average. We can quibble about how easy it is to make this kind of money -- but the point is, the huge potential is there.
Here are some further details on the sources and calculations:
The Technorati Poll -- The methodology stipulates that in order to qualify for the survey, Technorati "state of the blogosphere" respondents needed to be bloggers over 18 years old. The survey was hosted by Decipher Inc., was in the field from July 28, 2008 through August 4, 2008, and received 1,290 completed responses from 66 countries. Survey design and analysis was conducted by Dr. Michele Madansky and Polly Arenberg. Dr. Michele Madansky runs a media and market research consultancy specializing in online media and Internet startups. From 2003 to 2007, Michele was vice president of global market research for Yahoo! Polly Arenberg is a marketing strategist with more than 20 years of experience; her clients include Yahoo!, Microsoft and Flickr, as well as numerous start-ups.
The 2% of bloggers making a living comes straight from the Technorati Poll. The total number of bloggers--22.6 million--is supported by a research report from eMarketer (2% of 22,6 million is 452,000). This report was written in May 2008 by Paul Verna, a senior analyst there: "The Blogosphere report aggregates the latest data from marketing and communications researchers with eMarketer analysis to provide the information you need to make smart, accurate business decisions."
The question of how much traffic it takes to make a living also comes from the Technorati report. We say it takes "about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year" and Technorati states those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors the average income is $75,000
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Copper Mountain Caramel Cake
- 1 box German Chocolate Cake (and the other ingredients to prepare that cake according to the box's directions)
- 1 12 1/4 oz jar caramel topping
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12 oz container Cool Whip
- 4 Heath bars (regular size)
1. Make cake according to box directions and pour into 9x13" greased pan.
2. While warm pierce with fork (I use a large meet fork).
3. Mix caramel topping with condensed milk and pour over cake (I make sure to pour slowly and allow some of it to seep in the cake, instead of dumping the whole bowl).
5. Frost with Cool Whip and sprinkle crushed Heath Bars on top.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
As school is winding down, so are the days that my honors thesis is due. Thank goodness I will be out of town for the original due date so my professor extended the time that I could turn it in!!! Now I have an extra weekend to finalize everything. To give you a brief summary of it, I am writing about how the media has portrayed and affected the behaviors of Queen Elizabeth II. It really is amazing to see what had been published about her and to see her reactions. Mostly, I am honing in on the change in her emotions pre and post Diana's death. This was the time that most greatly changed the way the Queen's attitudes and emotions were displayed to the public.
If you are interested in learning more about QEII, I have 2 excellent recommendations. First you should read the book Monarch by Robert Lacey. It is a quick read and would be a great book to throw in the beach tote this summer.
Here is the review from Publishers Weekly:
As a child, Princess Elizabeth longed "to live in the country with lots of horses and dogs." That dream came to a crashing end when her uncle, King Edward VII, followed his heart instead of his head, giving up the throne for an American divorcee. The princess's fate was sealed: not only was she destined to become Queen of England, but as Lacey shows in this skillfully constructed biography, nearly every upheaval of her otherwise quiet and dutiful 50-year reign would be the direct consequence of impetuous relatives putting personal needs above royal responsibility. It's all here: the romantic debacles of Di, Fergie, Margaret, Ann, Charles and Andrew, as well as Prince Philip's unfailing ability to insert his foot in his mouth ("How nice to be in a country that is not ruled by its people," he said to Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner in 1969). Through it all, there have been two constants: the Queen is pragmatic and restrained, and the media is all over every mucky story. Lacey, veteran royal historian and biographer (The Queen Mother's Century, etc.), writes with the cooperation of the Palace, and his portrait is sympathetic, but he also offers an incisive analysis of the development of royal media coverage (which started with Queen Victoria and the invention of the camera) and the relationship between the two powerful entities, setting this apart from and far above the average by-the-numbers royal bio.
Next, you should watch the movie The Queen. As soon as I saw this movie in theater, I knew that I would have to buy it when it came out. It focuses in on the Queen and the rest of the family during Diana's death. I thought it was historically accurate is most senses and they also incorporated actually new footage from the event. Even if you are not interested in QEII, you will love to watch Helen Mirren who does an outstanding job with the role!
Friday, April 17, 2009
As promised, I am hosting another giveaway!! This time, Susie at My Flip Flopz has graciously hand painted this custom sign. I have been in love with her signs for quite some time! Seriously, if you haven't seen her signs before you need to checkout her blog or etsy shop.
There is a special story behind this saying...
My dad is determined that this should be my motto for life. Every time that he sees me wearing Lilly [which is quite frequently] [and I cannot believe he actually knows what it is!] he makes sure to remind me that I am "Living in Lilly." I am sure that many of you could say the same thing about yourself :)
I will be running the giveaway until Friday April 24th. In order to enter you need to leave me the following information.
1. If you could only own ONE piece of Lilly Pulitzer, what would it be?
2. Your e-mail, so that I can get in touch with you when you win!!
3. Whether you are a follower or become one [if you want 1 extra entry].
4. If you blogged about it or added the giveaway to your sidebar [if you want 1 extra entry].
Good luck to everyone!!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I really need yall's advice on this one. Cable seems to be the more expensive option, but I know that it is more reliable than the dish. But I can get more channels from satellite and free equipment. Also, you have to keep in mind that I have to get my internet from Comcast anyways, but the bundle package didn't look like it was really going to save me anything except the hassle of paying 2 separate bills. MORE CHANNELS, MOVIES and VALUE!
- Local channels included at no extra charge*
- 200 channels
- One FREE advanced receiver upgrade — HD, DVR or HD DVR — after
instant online rebate
- 65 music channels included
- No equipment to buy or startup costs
- $39.99 for one full year and the regular price of $60.99/month
- A DVR service fee ($6.00/month) is automatically applied to your bill when you upgrade to a DVR receiver.
With Digital Preferred you’ll get more than 100 digital channels. But you’ll also get access to the amazing On Demand library, which includes thousands of movies, kids’ shows, network favorites, music videos and more that are ready to watch when you are.
Get Digital Preferred with On Demand for only $44.99 a month for 6 months for new subscribers! Promotional Rate is $44.99/month for 6 month(s) for eligible customers, ongoing price is $67.90/month. I can't find how much extra DVR service is or whether you have to buy the box!
Have any of you had good or bad experiences with either of these companies?? I think I am leaning towards getting satellite because of the difference in the number of channels (plus I get HBO and a few other movie channels for free over 3 months). Plus, they are very upfront with you on the pricing, unlike Comcast whose website is a nightmare to figure information out.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
My grandmother did this arrangement for our Easter celebration. This arrangement gave a very grand appearance to the center of the buffet table for a fraction of what cut flowers would have cost. The cool thing about using potted plants, instead of fresh cut, is that it can be less expensive and they last much longer. She got this wire flower tower from a local interior design shop, but you can find them at gardening centers as well.
One of the tips that she said is to include plenty of greenery. This gives the arrangement a fresh, spring look. My favorite were the bright green baby ferns that are on the 2nd and 4th layers.
Also, in order to cover up the pots, you can use spanish moss, or any other kind of moss, around the outer edges of the wire rack.
Another idea that I heard recently for bridal showers...
They arranged a large pot with potted plants in the center of the table, which was later given to the couple to plant at their new home. Smaller arrangement were put into terracotta pots and disperse throughout the house. These were the guest's party favor at the end of the day! Another way that you can use potted plants as a less expensive option for entertaining!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sometimes I like to post about happenings in my life, and I feel like I have to tell you all about my near death experience this weekend. This story should prove to you why it is CRUCIAL to have your tires checked often. I used to think that it wasn't that important; but after this experience, I will not be going out on the road without double checking them.
My friend and I were on our way back to school from Easter break. It was getting to be late at night (10ish) and she was too tired to drive so I took over the wheel. Her car drives very differently from mine and vibrates constantly. She assured me that this was normal, but I knew that it shouldn't be. I lost control of the vehicle at 70 mph and swerved off the side of the highway. Thinking that we had just had a flat tire, I look out on my side to notice that the bumper is hanging on the ground!! Here is what we found...
Yes, at first we thought that someone had swerved into us and hit the bumper... but that was not the case. After calling a guy friend that was only 10 miles ahead of us (THANK THE LORD!), he turned around to come to our aid. We were able to make it off the side of the highway and to a gas station were we could better evaluate the situation.
The conclusion was made that our accident had been cause by improper tire care. The entire tread to the back tire is sitting on the highway somewhere in Nashville right now! I am sure you are wondering how we limped back to school?! Well... we had a full spare, so we changed that. Then we needed to address the bumper issue. Duct tape is one of the single best inventions. Check out our body work... and the tape even blends in with the paint color! ha!
Now for the moral of the story. Here is an article that I found from Popular Mechanics on the top 5 reasons that your tires could fail. Please make sure to have your tires maintained and properly inflated so that you don't have to almost loose a bumper (or something worse!).
As the old TV commercial says, there's a lot riding on your tires. Indeed, tires could well be the most important system on your vehicle, given that they affect every performance parameter from handling and acceleration to braking and ride comfort. So it's no surprise that maintenance on your tires should command as much respect, if not more, than on all the other parts and systems of your car. Trouble is, most drivers just don't think about the condition of their tires. As I've mentioned before in discussing the whole Barack Obama tire inflation thing, a Department of Transportation study dating back to 2001 features some pretty eye-popping numbers: 60 to 80 percent of cars on the road are running tires underinflated by as much as 10 percent, 20 to 50 percent of them are driving with tires down in pressure by as much as 20 percent, and 10 to 30 percent of these cars have tires with pressure as low as 30 percent of the recommended pressure. Underinflation is just one reason a tire can fail. Here are four more. —Mike Allen
1. They're OldCheck the tire sidewall for the manufacturer's date code. It will be in the form of a four-digit number, stating the month and year the tire was produced. Unfortunately, there's no equivalent to an expiration date. And it's not a good idea to install tires on your vehicle that have been sitting on a warehouse shelf for many years. A decent rule of thumb is not to purchase tires more than five years old. And five years in service on your vehicle is plenty, totaling 10 years. Your mileage may vary.
2. They're UnderinflatedTires that have too little pressure in them run hot—much hotter than properly inflated ones. The pressure in the tire keeps the tread and sidewalls from flexing. Friction from this flexing generates heat, and that degrades the rubber and the fabric construction of the tire. And don't be fooled by the appearance of the tires. It's impossible to see if your tires are underinflated without using a tire pressure gauge. The proper pressures are printed on a sticker on the driver's door frame or inside the glovebox. They are also in the owner's manual.
3. They're OverinflatedThe tire inflation pressures printed on the tire sidewall are the tire manufacturer's maximum permitted pressure, not necessarily what the vehicle manufacturer recommends. Overinflated tires will have poor grip, and the tread will wear prematurely in the center.
4. They're DeterioratedOzone, road chemicals and ultraviolet light degrade the rubber. But this is probably more of a problem for RV and trailer tires mounted on vehicles that are stored outside in the sun, especially in the Southwest. Tire covers will keep the UV rays at bay longer. Avoid ozone damage by not storing unused tires near any ozone sources like electrical equipment or motors, pool chemicals or the like—especially indoors. Tire sidewall rubber is permeated with oils that are designed to leach out slowly and protect the rubber. Detergents or aftermarket protectants will remove these oils prematurely. A certain amount of weather-checking (alligator-like cracks in the sidewalls) is normal. If the cracks are down to the fabric sidewall plies, it's time to retire that tire.
5. They're DamagedAny foreign object that penetrates the tire far enough to cause a leak is sufficient reason to require the tire to be removed from the rim and inspected by a tire technician for damage to the inside of the carcass. An externally applied plug or worm should be considered a temporary repair. A proper repair involves patching the tire from the inside with a plug that not only holds air but prevents water from infiltrating into the carcass's belt plies. Water in this part of the tire will make it weaker. It's not really possible to repair a tire sidewall.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I found these little chicks at the checkout at Michael's yesterday (for around a dollar), and I just could resist. They are nestled throughout the tree an just give it a little bit of whimsy. These are the best upclose picture of the actual finished eggs. You can see that the holes don't even show at all (yes, the perfectionist in me was worried about that)!
Of course, I had to finish it off with a big hot pink bow! Although... the craft store kind of ripped me off. I got home and the ribbon had been cut about a yard from the end and stapled back together?! No clue what happened there but the bow turned out to be fine with only 2 yards.
Here are my ribbon choices. Originally, I was just going to do pink and green; but I decided that it would look really cute with all of the spring colors. I would make sure to use at least 5 different ribbon choices so that it adds enough variety to your tree. Also, the yellow ribbon (50 cent kind from the craft store) you will probably need more than one spool. To make the tie you just loop the ribbon around 4 of your fingers and tie a knot. Then tie a little bow. I cut the ends of the ribbon on a diagonal to add a little visual interest. You will hot glue the bow to the egg and then hang by the loop. To attach the ribbon around your egg, I just used hot glue on both ends and made sure that the ribbon was tight and straight around the egg.
This was the first batch of blown eggs (notice the ones missing?! they went to chocolate chip cookies!). I had to go back to the grocery when I realized that this many eggs would only decorate one side of my tree! Just make that you make the top hole fairly small and that the bottom hole punch allows all the "guts" of the egg to come out. Also, I used a paper clip to break the shell, and it worked just fine.
Monday, April 6, 2009
As simple as it gets: pick your dot color and place tiny dot stickers on a white or dyed egg.
Flower Power Egg
Dye egg desired shade; glue ribbon around its middle. Insert small tag or charm in blow hole and affix with hot glue gun. (The charm in this egg says, "Thank You!")
Dye and dry a blown egg. Dilute craft glue with an equal amount of water and paint on egg. Roll in superfine glitter and let dry.
Broken eggshell? Don't throw it away: dye the entire shell. With a hot glue gun, affix fuzzy chick figurine inside.
Die-cut stickers come in many different word themes. Mix and match words and themes to cover a plain egg.
Beads aren't just for clothes anymore! Dye egg in a bright color; glue faceted bedazzle beads in rows on half of the egg.
Using a hot glue gun, place glue dots all over egg. Let dry, then dye.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Fill an ice bucket with floral foam, then insert grass and pussy willow branches. Or place pebbles and water into a vase, and make an arrangement using any type of fresh-cut branches, such as flowering quince, magnolia, forsythia or cherry blossom.
Friday, April 3, 2009
And the winner of the My Pair Tree giveaway is A Prep in the Big Apple!! Thanks to everyone for getting your entries in. I was overwhelmed with the number of people that said Rainbows and Reefs were their favorites. Neither of those brands are part of my flip flop collection, and I am convinced to give both of them a try!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I am a firm believer that you can never own too many polo shirts. Recently, I discovered that one of my favorite companies, Southern Proper, now carries women's polos!! Their description of the shirts are "blending classic style with casual sophistication, our proper polo collection presents a charming take on this southern staple. The unique, tailored fit and high quality craftmanship will make each shirt seem like like it was designed personally for you." Southern Proper... you sold me! I cannot wait to give these a try.
I am currently contemplating between which to choose... I have all of these colors in my closet already, but I think my navy is looking a little dingy (because I wear it all the time!) so I may start there!