What’s Next for Us

Brandon has been out of work for nearly six weeks now. He doesn’t have any prospects lined up, but unemployment benefits have finally started coming through. They won’t replace his income, of course, but along with what I’m making, we’ll be able to cover our mortgage and bills. Insurance is my biggest concern because we’re now on COBRA, which is expensive.

I know I haven’t written anything about our situation since I mentioned it upon returning from Alt Summit. It’s been stressful, to be honest, and easier to not dwell on. Our roles, our daily routines, and our financial outlook all changed overnight, and we’re all (the kids, too) still adjusting.

I’ve had an assistant since October, Valerie, coming three days a week for six hours a day. She had been helping with some of the administrative blog work (setting up Facebook giveaways and responding to advertising inquiries), but she also helped me a lot with Eleanor and August. Now, with Brandon home, we need her less (and it was suddenly hard to pay someone for 18 hours a week). Valerie has been great, and happily flexible in regards to hours, so she’s staying on board but mostly working from home.

The kids have benefitted from more time with their daddy, but even though that’s a good thing, it has still been an adjustment. Brandon and I have different parenting styles in some ways. Eleanor and August do well with routines – a fairly predictable structure to their day – and things have shifted all of a sudden. They’re fine (we all are), but it’s something I think about. I’m also working more, and for longer stretches during the day, and my work/life balance feels out of whack.

I had an interview a couple of weeks ago for a copywriting position with a great Chicago-based company. I hadn’t sought it out, but if I were looking for a 9-5 job, it’s exactly the kind of place I’d want to be. Had Brandon still been working, I probably wouldn’t have even considered the opportunity, but with him home it was something that needed to be explored. Ultimately, after a lot of thought, I passed on the position. I’ve worked for years to create this job, this crazy job of being a “professional blogger” for myself that lets me work on the things I love. I started blogging before I had children, but now working from home and being able to spend time with them is something that I wouldn’t give up unless it were truly necessary. If I need to, I could start up my shop again or take on web design work to make more money. Had I taken the job offer, I would have had to cut back on the blog, and that’s not something I want to do. I am more committed than ever to Making it Lovely.

I’m not able to be the sole breadwinner in the family. Not yet, anyway… but things are going well. I have my writing jobs at Family Style on Babble and at My Colortopia. I accept advertising on Making it Lovely directly for small businesses (e.g. Etsy shops), and through Federated Media for larger companies. I also work with sponsors. In fact, I’ll be heading out to San Francisco on Thursday for business. I’ll be lining up new sponsored content for the blog, and also pitching some new ideas with my team at FM.

Sponsorships are a tricky subject for some, I know. It’s something that I’ve written about before, and I’ve done a lot of sponsored content since then. There was one campaign in particular that I don’t feel was executed well, but it’s something that I’ve learned from, and I feel good about how I’m applying those lessons as I move forward. I am proud of the standards I hold myself accountable to, and proud of the partnerships I’ve worked on.

Sometimes a brand’s sponsorship can be looked at as a commercial at the beginning or end of a post, similar to the way you may see a show “brought to you by XYZ.” In those cases, I’m not required to (or even asked to) write about the brand. The topic may be tangentially related, but the post is then completely up to me. The other type of sponsorships that I’m interested in facilitating are more closely tied to the brand involved, but they would allow for some fun projects. I’d love to do more home makeovers for readers (free of charge to the recipient), but for that to happen, we need a budget. I have other ideas in the works as well, and I’ll be doing my best to make them a reality.

We still have a lot of thinking to do. As I mentioned, Brandon is now on unemployment, and it is a lifeboat for us. Our way forward is unclear right now though. He may get another steady job, and life will return to what we knew as normal for all these years. There is a fantastic local store up for sale and we considered buying it, but unfortunately, the details didn’t fall into place for us.

We’ve talked about reopening Pink Loves Brown, with Brandon running it, or having him contribute more heavily to Making it Lovely. There are benefits to both, but clear drawbacks and concerns as well. If we pursue those options, we would lose the financial stability we used to have, and at the same time, we would need to secure independent health insurance. We would also no longer be able (in good conscience) to receive unemployment benefits, and that would be a further difficulty for us right now.

I do want to thank you all for the support you’ve shown us. Especially as we figure out our direction in the wake of Brandon’s job loss, but before that, too. I want you to know that it’s greatly appreciated. I’m lucky, even in the more difficult times, to have such an amazing community, and to have been able to craft this life with my family.

160 Responses to “What’s Next for Us”

  1. kris February 27, 2012 at 10:46 am #


    Do you profit from having ads on your site and/or also with “click-throughs”?

    I visit your site daily and if clicking an ad each day would benifit you guys I’d be glad to do that.

    • kris February 27, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      benefit. ugh…it’s monday.

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Not directly, but thanks. (You should check them out though if you see something that catches your eye — I’m appreciative of my advertisers.)

  2. Dottie February 27, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Lady! As I mentioned before, I totally understand all of the feelings/issues you are facing right now as my sweetie has been unemployed for a bit. It’s tough! But hey–since you are coming to SF, I hope to see you Thursday night (wink wink) and hopefully we can chat about it in person.

  3. Marlena February 27, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Thank you for your honesty in all aspects. I wish you the best!

  4. Tanya from Dans le Townhouse February 27, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing such personal details. Sometimes folks gloss over the hard stuff and then it makes me feel like I’m the only one with an imperfect life. I wish the best for you and your family and, with talent like yours, I know you’ll figure out some amazing situation.

    • casacaudill February 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      I definitely concur with Tanya’s thoughts. It can sometimes be hard for readers of lifestyle blogs when everything that is posted is all unicorns and rainbows. While I am very sorry to hear what your family is struggling with, I feel that by honestly and openly talking about it, you’re giving your readers a better sense of the real you and that’s something we all appreciate in the blogs that keep us coming back.

      • Jessica February 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

        I completely agree! I appreciate your honest, open post. I’ve been a longtime reader of making it lovely and love so much of what you do. Seeing this post takes it to a new level though. I actually feel more of a connection to your words and situation. I totally understand that it’s incredibly hard to share when you’re dealing with it, but thank you for sharing it Nicole!

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      It’s hard, for me, to talk about difficult situations while I’m living through them. It helps to have a little distance to reflect and process things, and that’s why I hadn’t updated everyone on our situation until now.

  5. Danielle February 27, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Life can stink some times. I am glad to see you have your head above water and are tredding along fine. The most important thing to see right now, which you do, is there is food on the table, roof over your head, and the love of your family. Nicole, your blog is one of my favorites because of the stories you tell and ideas you share. Keep up the good work!

  6. Linnea February 27, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I sure enjoy reading the blog you’ve taken so much time to craft! Be encouraged: you and your hubby will get through this time. DH & I were each unemployed in the past three years – me for a year, and he for six months. We know how hard this is! You can do it. I’m happy to pray for you, if that would be encouraging to you! Let me know.

  7. jbhat February 27, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    I’m glad to hear that you are adjusting and figuring it all out. For stability’s sake, I want the “normal” to come back for you, but in a new and better way. Brandon is sure to get a good gig before too long.


  8. Nuit February 27, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    good luck with everything sweetie :)

  9. stephanie February 27, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    wow. i was really moved by how open and honest you are with your readers about your current situation. it made me love your blog even more than i already do! I am in agreement with many of the other commenters that you will make it through this uncertain time based on how creative, clever, and candid you are. best of luck:)

  10. Emily @ Peck Life February 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I truly think all things happen for a reason…something wonderful and great will come of this!! PS – I wanted to take your March 13 analytics class on the AltSummit page but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore?

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

      I asked about that today, and was told the class would be up again sometime tomorrow. I hope to see you there!

  11. Lora February 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I’m sure you’ll get a hundred suggestions about things you’ve mentioned here but one that I’d like to put forth is to check online for health insurance. You can try esurance or just google “health insurance plans”. My husband was out of work for 6 months a while ago and that’s how we handled our medical insurance. COBRA is great – if you can afford it. And not many people can long term. We were able to get a bare-bones policy (we were concerned about my husband having a heart attack from the stress of unemployment) for a family of 3 for $400/month. Far less than the $2600 for COBRA at the time. Of course the coverage wasn’t as good but it was what we needed to cover a catastrophic event should it have happened. Best wishes!

    • Kati February 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      I second this idea! For some reason, I had always assumed that having private health insurance would be more expensive than COBRA, but boy was I wrong! We were able to save $250/month by getting insurance privately and the coverage was comparable to what we had before. We talked to a family friend who reps for different insurance companies in our state and he was able to make recommendations on the plan that would be best for us.

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

      Thanks. I did look into it briefly, and you’re right. A separate health insurance plan may be less expensive than COBRA. I have concerns though because there is a preexisting condition for one of us. I know we can’t be denied because of it with the new health care reform laws, but it will still be more expensive, and we need fairly comprehensive coverage.

  12. Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet February 27, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    I completely feel for you and your family. My husband was laid off 2 years ago, and we were forced to move in with my parents. Best of luck to all of you. I’m sure that the rest of your readers would agree with me in saying that we can’t wait to hear some good news for you and Brandon.

  13. Katie Anderson February 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    I hope that your SF trip is successful and profitable. You’re very talented and I hope more and more brands want to collaborate with you. I am really enjoying all these authentic and transparent posts from fellow bloggers recently. I think oftentimes readers think we have it all together, but really we’re just as terrified as everyone else. Best of luck!

  14. Cat (from FM!) February 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Nicole,

    I hope everything works out for you and Brandon. Your blog is beautiful, and we love pitching your site to clients over here at FM. Rooting for you!


  15. Deidre February 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm #


    You’ve contributed so much to my life with your talents. Your creativity and your integrity is simply from the divine. Take heart and be encouraged.

    Please feel free to email me and let’s talk about what connections I have on the East Coast for you and Brandon. I believe there’s a purpose for everything even when we don’t see it.

    Mwah! Love, Deedums

  16. Leah February 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi Nicole! Just want to thank you for your honesty and wish your family the best! So many of us can relate to your concerns right now. Your blog was one of the 1st I started following years ago and I’ve continued to enjoy it! Change is always a bit (or a lot!) scarey, but I know things will work out bc we all support you!

  17. Emily February 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I hope things work out for you and Brandon. I have been unemployed for almost 7 months and reading your blog is one of the things that keeps me going.

  18. Mandy@Cre8iveMotives February 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I just came across your blog on (Apartment Therapy’s best home design blogs nominations). I am soooo glad I found you. I will be voting for you:) Love your blog

    On another note, I hope things work out for you and your family. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your personal life with us. We all have our problems. Best of luck!


  19. Katie February 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm #


    Thank you so much for sharing that! Since losing my job after having my son, I know how hard it can be to talk about things like this, especially so publicly. I really appreciate your honest well-thought-out post on such a tough and life changing event. Good luck! It’s weird to say since I don’t know you but I feel like you guys will come out way on top of this.

  20. Reesa February 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Thank you for sharing on such a personal topic. I really enjoy the content you provide on this blog and other fora. I hope things quickly turn around for the better for you and your family!

  21. Amy February 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    My husband retired early from Microsoft, and we thought our biggest monthly expenditure would be health insurance, but we found it to be quite affordable. WAY less than the cobra we were going to do until it ran out. Find an insurance broker and get some quotes for personal insurance, it can’t hurt!

    And good luck!

  22. Chris Olson February 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi Nicole,
    Reading your heartfelt post brought tears to my eyes. You are such a strong and upbeat person. Thanks for sharing your lovely blog with us each day. I’m crossing my fingers (and toes) and hoping this tough situation ends up making something even more amazing and prosperous develop for all of you. Thanks again, for all you do. And hugs to you and your family.
    Sending positive vibes your way!
    Chris O.

  23. Molly the Waffler February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Thank you for such an honest and generous post. I find the work/life balance incredibly hard (and I’m sure my part-time job and blogging don’t add up to as many hours you put in) and ditto for the different parenting styles. I’m all about structure (I’m a teacher after all) and my husband is all about fun and spontaneity. On the other hand, I do think it’s good for kids to get used to different styles and different ways of seeing the world. Good luck with your new plans — I’m sure they will come out beautifully.

  24. Carrie Hogan February 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    CHANGE IS ALWAYS GOOD! IT IS HOW YOU GROW! I think you should start in kids fashion. What a fabulous Jacket on E! Can you tell me where you got it? I want in and looked for the dress from Gwen and Targets in LAs VEgas did not have it. I was bumbed! You certainly have style! Thank you.

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

      E’s jacket was a clearance find from Boden, last year. I bought it and held onto it for a year until it fit her.

  25. Cathy February 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story. We are in a similar position. I lost my job 2 years ago and committed to running my jewelry shop full time. Then about 4 months ago my hubby was not offered his full time position at a school district. He’s currently under-employed and receiving unemployment benefits.

    I wish my income could support us both or I could figure out how to have him work on JustJaynes.com with me… but I’m not sure what part he would fill.

    Good luck to you and your family. You are not alone!

  26. Lachelle February 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Ah, Nicole. I feel for you. My employment status has also had its ups and downs over the past few years and I know what it’s like to go without health insurance for extended periods of time. Graphic design is not the stable job it used to be. I have no doubt that you will land on your feet and things will work out. You are amazingly talented and I’m doubly humbled that you accomplish so much while also fulfilling the role of wife and mother. You really are an inspiration to so many people. I think I probably speak for a lot of people when I say our best wishes are with you and your family.

  27. Cathy February 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I forgot to mention… regarding health insurance… we compared rates through e-surance and found rates much better than COBRA.

  28. Deborah Wall February 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Sometimes the bumps in the road are the events that create magic that we couldn’t forsee. Last year we needed to close our business of 9 years and sell our house (in a most unfavourable housing market) to pay for a commerical construction job that didn’t go as planned, my daughter suffered from depression and I had a core-biopsy on my breast.

    Honestly I was terrified and at times couldn’t see how we were going to make it through but we did in ways I could never of imagined. I’m know working three days a week for an upholstery business where I am doing a course and I don’t have to do bookkeeping anymore (a big Yay because I felt like it was sucking the life out of me!), my husband has a lucrative contract on the go, my daughter got to talk to a counseller about feelings she’d buried for years and we are renting a house with a view of the sea… better we learnt how resourceful we can be when we pull together and trust.

    You’re talented and resourceful you I know you will come out the other side of this stronger and more aware of what you are capable of.

  29. susie February 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Wishing you the best of luck with whatever comes next. You are obviously immensely talented and i have no doubt that you and your family will find whats best for you.

  30. Cecilia February 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    kudos to you for sticking with your passion and not feeling like you have to move into a desperation plan (like a 9-5 job). you will make it work. a whole bunch of us are rooting for you. i know it’s not easy being the bread winnner or being in that place of uncertainty. best of luck as you forge your way through it :)

  31. Jill February 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    $2600 / month for insurance, or per year? I am Canadian and don’t know about US costs. I hope everything works out for your family Nicole.

    • Making it Lovely February 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      I think the person that mentioned $2600 was referring to a monthly cost. Ours isn’t that high, but it’s not far behind either.

  32. Malayka February 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    What an honest post! It’s definitely not easy out there at the moment. As well as running my vintage store I am also on the job hunt daily in order to live more comfortably. We complain about a lot of things here in New Zealand but we can count ourselves extremely lucky that we don’t have the same health system is in the USA. Therefore we don’t have the same insurance worries, which seems to be a massive hardship for so many people over there.
    Good luck with everything, I’m sure it’s all going to fall into place. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do. x

  33. Heidi February 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Thank you for sharing such candid comments about your family situation.
    Having been a reader of your blog for so long, I feel connected in a weird way to you and am a huge champion of Making It Lovely’s success.

    I wish you much courage during this difficult time!
    My husband lost his job 6 years ago, a mere two months after we had taken the leap and purchased a new house. It was a scary time.

    6 years later our lives have definitely changed. He went back to school and has started a new career, but of course at a much lesser salary. The funny thing though, is that I wouldn’t trade the last 6 years or where we are at right now for anything. We’ve had to reevaluate a lot in our lives and despite the stresses we are happier people and as a couple, closer than ever.

    I hope that you will continue to do what you love and find a way to keep that work/life balance in check! Your blog is always so inspiring to read and I know that you and Brandon will figure it all out!

  34. Sara @ zaharadessert February 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Nicole, thanks for sharing your very private with us. But it is truly inspirational to read your story.
    I know this sounds corny, but everything happens for a reason. So I am looking forward to hearing about your new adventures over the coming months.
    Good luck

  35. kim February 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    I don’t usually comment, but this post touched me with its openness and honesty. Thank you for sharing your story. I love your blog and read it every day.

  36. kate February 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    It is such a scary time. My husband lost his job almost a year ago and I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cobra is terribly expensive but after reading some of the above comments I think it’s a good idea to check on other insurance options. We bought a bank owned property to fix up- did all the work ourselves, including my getting a realtor’s license to buy and to sell it, and made out really well financially. Now we’re looking for another house to flip and quite happy in our “new life.”

    You’re a fantastic children’s photographer as well as a great designer. I wish you the best!

  37. Flavia February 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I’ve been reading your blog since Sherry and John from Young House Love mentioned you a while back on their blog. Every once in a while I stop by to see what you’re up to, to “steal” some great ideas (like your business card and where you had it print p.s: I live in Chicago too) or just to feel inspired (your blog is very nice to look at). I have to confess and say that I usually don’t read the content, but today, something drew my eyes to your text and as I began reading it, I was hooked. First of all, I’d like to say how much I admire you for leaving your pride behind and sharing a bit of your life struggles with us. It’s very true when people say you learn form others mistake/struggles. So, thank you for your humbleness and generosity. Secondly, you’ve probably heard this several times, but you’re worth repeating this for: you are such a talented girl! I think you (as well as your husband) should do what your heart is telling you to do, no matter what. I understand you have to think of security and your children, but I’m sure many will agree with me, you can do it!!! Whatever it is that you guys want to do, give it a shot! Take a chance! I believe it’s always worth trying something if your heart is invested in. Lastly, I wish you all the luck in this new journey (regardless of what happens from now on). Just now you’ve created something pretty amazing with Making it Lovely and I know you have a brilliant future ahead of yourself.
    xoxo, Flavia.

  38. Nikki February 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    We’re in a similar position, Nicole. My husband (our family’s primary breadwinner) recently left his job. His reasons were different – he’s a musician and decided to leave a rather unhappy position in the insurance business, and sort of try out this “leap and the net will appear” thing. I have my own small etsy shop, and now I’m suddenly looking at this as not just a hobby, but a way to start seriously supplementing my family’s income. As I get busier and have some money to invest back in the business, I would LOVE to advertise on your site! In the meantime, you’re not alone… and I also know it’s a big adjustment to suddenly have so much togetherness and “help” with co-parenting. Big love to you and your family.

  39. Zaida February 27, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I just stumbled upon your blog recently. It’s a wonder! I’m putting you on my prayer list for great solutions and new opportunities to bubble up to the surface soon for you and your family.

  40. claire@gibsonking February 27, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    I know it must be so tough for you both right now. There was a period of time when my husband and I were both un employed. Unemployment saved us and now we are both employed and don’t regret a minute of that time of our lives. We learned a lot about what we really needed financially and we also learned a lot about each other. I would have never imagined that by 29 I would have lost 2 jobs, get married, be un employed for about 2 years, change careers completely, buy a home, do a kitchen renovation and now be back on my feet again. Best of luck to you both, it will work, it always does!

  41. Megan Jean February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Hi Nicole
    I’m big fan of your blog and I lived in Chicago for a while in my twenties when I looked cuter in puffy coats. If Brandon is at all interested in a job in advertising (I have no idea what his profession is), my previous agency is hiring a lot of talent right now. Let me know if you’re interested and I will send you some contact info.
    Best of luck,

    • Making it Lovely February 28, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      I love describing oneself as “when I looked cuter in puffy coats.”

      Brandon was in printing, managing prepress (getting files ready to go).

      • Megan Jean February 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

        I looked cuter in puffy coats back then and boots. Now putting on socks just seems like trouble.

        As for Brandon, if he has a resume you’d like to pass along, I would certainly love to send it to Leo Burnett. They do have a studio print department that does a lot of what it sounds like Brandon does. My email is mjsovern@yahoo.com if you’d like to send it my way.


  42. Paisley February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Please shop around for the health insurance! The COBRA premium is based on the age and experience rating of Brandon’s old company. You can probably get it much cheaper on your own. Also, family coverage (at least through employer sponsored plans) tends to cost more than if you dropped one adult and bought a separate individual policy.

  43. claire@gibsonking February 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Ohhhh, and check out http://www.ehealthinsurance.com. It was much cheaper than COBRA for me.

  44. Carol February 27, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Good for you for sticking it out! Time with your kids is precious. I’m desperately trying to get a decent part time job so I can spend more time home with mine. Hang in there we’re all rooting for you!

  45. Zoe February 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    How difficult for you both. I really admire you for sharing this – I would struggle, too, to put to words challenges like these in real time. I know we talked about this briefly at Alt and it didn’t seem like it was high on your list of “want-to-dos” but what about adding some web design and/or development back into your mix? I bet you could do pretty limited amounts and be quite picky about the projects you accepted and it would help the bottom line. Just a thought!

    • Making it Lovely February 28, 2012 at 1:01 am #

      It’s definitely an option. I put a lot of time into my web design projects though, so even just taking one a month would be a big commitment.

  46. Josephine February 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Believe it or not, I was just wondering about you and your family this morning as I drove to work (in Australia). I just wanted to say that I love what you do here, and I hope your family isn’t in limbo for too much longer! I hope the universe sorts it’s s**t out for you soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep sending the good vibes.

  47. Donnie February 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Hey Nicole! I’ve been reading your blog for about three years now and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this story. Your site has always been a source of inspiration but it is even more an inspiration now that I see your spirit and your commitment to your passion. It seems like you now have a mandate to continue to push & reach for your dreams and from the looks of things – it is well within your reach. Blessings to you and your family during this difficult time and remember, “trouble don’t last always!” ;)

  48. Sophia February 27, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    You are amazing for sharing all what you are thinking of or going through in your life! And I’m sure that all the good things will come to people as smart and creative as you are. Keep Being lovely, and keep us believing in making things in our life lovely.

  49. Anonymous February 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    Boo hoo. Wah Wah. We don’t care about your “sad” story. You seriously did a whole blog post about this?? Keep the posts about your home. No one feels sorry for you.

  50. kristin February 28, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    take care, nicole. just wanted to send you a virtual hug. i’m a longtime reader but an infrequent commenter, who loves your blog! i have no wise words, just that i hope it all works out soon and thank you for sharing. best of luck to brandon in his job hunt!

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