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Now We Are Six

The blog, that is. Here’s a look at what I’ve shared over the last six years here on Making it Lovely.

2007

Making it Lovely: 2007

2008

Making it Lovely: 2008

2009

Making it Lovely: 2009

2010

Making it Lovely: 2010

2011

Making it Lovely: 2011

2012

Making it Lovely: 2012

Thank you all for following along, whether you’re brand new here or have been reading since the beginning. I’m fortunate to have such lovely readers — truly.

Breadwinning

I’m the sole provider for our family now. Officially.

I posted a single political link out of a dozen cute and fluffy links in last Friday’s Honor Roll, and it got people all riled up. One person was so incensed that she tried to insult me personally, calling me out for enjoying my “fancy shopping trips” while Brandon was collecting unemployment. That’s not true, but I hadn’t realized the misconception I may have been fostering by not providing an update sooner. It’s hard stuff to write about and I’d been putting it off, but no longer. Here’s what’s going on with us.

Brandon and I met in 1999, when we each worked full-time at Barbara’s Bookstore in Oak Park (making just over $6/hour in the beginning — go us!). We began dating in 2001, moved in together a while after that, and were married in May of 2004. Just before we were married, Brandon left the bookstore for a job in printing that paid more. He was there until he lost his job in January.

I left the bookstore in late 2004. I had already been working a second job which was to continue for a little longer, and I took a seasonal retail job at the first west elm store. When that was over, I decided to pursue my dream of owning a stationery business and I started Pink Loves Brown. I also took on freelance web design projects as Smart & Lovely while the stationery business took off. I started this blog in 2007, and I realized that the blog would eclipse the stationery shop a couple of years into it. The money I made from advertising was a nice bonus at first, and eventually it became enough to call the blog “a job” with a straight face.

Brandon liked the work that he was doing (managing prepress), but the environment was a bad one. We’d always hoped that he could quit eventually, but it helped support our family and provided health insurance. When he unexpectedly lost his job earlier this year, he was on unemployment for a few months while he looked for work. As I took on more projects though, it became clear that we could make it work if he wanted to be a stay-at-home dad. In July, he stopped collecting unemployment. We got rid of COBRA and bought our own health insurance (which was difficult and expensive). It’s scary to be the sole supporter since I have such a non-traditional job, but it’s working right now. If we need to reevaluate in the future, we will.

I make money in advertising and sponsored posts here on Making it Lovely, and I also write for Babble, Better Homes and Gardens, and Glidden. I’m saying yes to a lot more work than I would have before and I’m working a lot, but we’re doing well. Last year was the first year in which I earned more than my husband. This year I’ve been doing even better, and I hope to eventually be able to replace his lost income.

It wasn’t under ideal circumstances, but it seems I’ve managed to cross another item off of my Lovely Life List. A big one.

Life List Item: Make Enough Money to Support My Family

Thank you, everybody, for all of your support over the years. Especially recently. We wouldn’t be able to do this without you, and I’m humbled by you and grateful.

Blog Sponsorship and Advertising

I’d like to talk to you about the monetization of blogs, and specifically of my blog, Making it Lovely. I announced a new sponsored project earlier this week and the responses were mixed. I feel that it’s important to address the negative sentiments that were expressed.

I am approached daily with offers of items for reviews and giveaways, free trips, sponsorships, and various advertising opportunities (such as text links). I politely decline nearly all of them. To imply that I am thoughtlessly and greedily accepting every freebie that comes my way is hurtful and insulting. I have always taken great care to be ethical, honest, true to myself, and true to my readers. I don’t publish anything that I’m not proud of, and I hold myself to a high degree of integrity and accountability. This blog would be very different if I were only in this to make money. I have always been very selective, choosing only to work with companies that I have used or would use personally regardless of compensation. And now that I’m able to work with a sponsor to share a new project with you that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise? I think that’s wonderful.

Many have lamented the fact that so many blogs are being monetized, and they would prefer to see them remain free of advertising. I respect those individuals that blog without any form of payment, but I also have respect for those that have been able to be fairly compensated for the lovely sites that they have created. It takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and money to keep a blog like Making it Lovely going. I pay for childcare so that I have time to write and edit original photos for the blog. I have upgraded my web hosting to ensure that the site loads quickly and without problems for every visitor. I am always taking time to file away ideas, thinking of new ways to share inspiration with you, and documenting projects for the blog. I’m honored and amazed everyday that Making it Lovely has taken off the way it has, but you must know that there is a lot of work involved.

I am lucky to be able to earn an income via my blog. I have been working toward it for years, and I’m proud of all that I have accomplished. I will continue to accept advertising and explore new sponsorship opportunities in a mindful and responsible way, and I thank you for your support.

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