FAQ Me My Life The Blog


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.

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    […] somebodyLaunch a decorating serviceDecorate someone else’s home from top to bottomMake enough money to support my familyMake an appearance in five forms of media (book, magazine, television, radio, internet)Have my home […]

  • NB
    September 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Good for you & your family! I think the naysayers are jealous & how you spend your money is your business & no one else’s. Making the transition to being a family with a stay at home parent is a hard one. Especially when it happens against your own choice. I’m so happy that it’s all working out. Your blog has never been more enjoyable!

  • Kia
    September 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

    You go girl.:) You deserve all you get because you are truly talented. You have a goods eye; I know I’ve copied a few of your ideas.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Kia
    September 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Oops i meant good eye.

  • Candice
    September 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I really don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation. Internet folks expect way too much out of people they don’t know. There’s this weird hint of ownership sometimes with blog readers, twitter followers, etc.–forgetting completely that although we enjoy your content, we don’t have the right to curate that content or become abusive if you post things we don’t like.

  • Katherine
    September 25, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Well done, Nicole! Dreams can come true with belief and hard work, even during scary uncertin times.
    We’re working on a few of our own right now.

  • Janet
    September 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Your voice remains authentic even as you’ve taken on more sponsored content — and that is rare in the blogging world. I’m really glad your work supports your family, and appreciate your honesty and transparency about it all. Wishing you even more success down the road. :)

  • PAppel
    September 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I rarely post a comment. That said . . . you go girl. I subscribe to the belief of live and let live. I may not agree with others’ views on a lot of things but would never insult another person.

  • Catherine
    September 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Seconding Janet. You’re an inspiring lady of excellent taste, and entirely deserving of every bit of success that’s come your way. I’d be bankrupt by now if I lived in the US, from buying every single thing in your monthly style posts!

  • Focipresley
    September 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    You are an amazing and strong woman, and an inspiration. Thank you!! (I also agree that you do not owe us any explanation… for goodness sake we are exposed to your talents, advice, wit, coolness, etc etc etc etc for FREE!)

  • Eileen
    September 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

    My first when I read this post was that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for how you live your life. I still think that’s true, but by the end of the post I thought how lovely it is that you choose to share your story as inspiration!

  • my honest answer
    September 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I was secretly hoping you might find a way for it to work with you both at home, because selfishly I figured this would mean more blog content…

    I’m mainly just very happy for you both that you’re no longer in the situation of looking for work in this bad climate though.

    I’m sure it takes A LOT of work to keep this blog up and running, so well done you!

  • Courtney
    September 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Girl Let me just say you’re the cherry on my sundae. Seriously ignore the people who think anything negative. Who cares if you’re fantasy shopping? I do it daily…along with fantasy cleaning, bill paying, & gourmet food eating haha. Keep embracing what YOU want on YOUR blog! People are crazy and when they sometimes hate on me on my blog (alittleglassbox.com) i Just know that what I am doing is right and it fuels me to do even better. Congrats on supporting your family…that’s huge! Now go get awesome with yo’ bad self!

  • miss-susan
    September 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    As the primary breadwinner in our family too (but in a more traditional job) I still struggle with the stress of being the sole supporter, but it gets easier every day with every small victory. You keep doing what you are doing, you are doing awesome!

  • emily @ go haus go
    September 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    We support you 100%! I do appreciate the update. I was wondering what was going on…. I’ve been trying to click on sponsor links of yours more, hoping it provides some help and additional $$! Lol!

    Love personal posts from you. It’s the icing on top of the MIL cake!

    xo, emily

  • Carrie
    September 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Nicole, I am truly inspired and impressed that you are willing to put you and your family’s experiences “out there” and still gracefully brush them haters off. I think that your accomplishments speak for themselves and anyone who has the audacity to criticize needs to step back and do some crucial self-examination. Thank you for being honest and contemplative and managing to find the positive message in our lives and challenges.

  • Heidi
    September 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Haters gonna hate, Nicole, and there ain’t nothing to hate about you ;).

  • Katy Schamberger
    September 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Hi Nicole. I’ve been a longtime fan of your blog (and your work in general) but have been more of a lurker rather than an engaged commenter. I’d like to give you a big hug for writing this post and for being brave and open enough to share your story. I agree with Candice in that I don’t think you owe anyone an explanation, but it’s nice to be able to keep up with your life so I can send good thoughts your way. It sounds like you have the financial and practical bases covered (insurance, etc.) — that, plus the support of your beautiful and loving family, gives you the foundation you need to continue to grow your business. I wish you all the best and will be cheering you on through the power of the interwebz. Thanks again for sharing, Nicole.

  • Rachel
    September 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I’m so amazed at all you’re accomplishing. I know the stress of having your husband unemployed and not exactly knowing what will happen next. It was definitely character-building for us, that’s for sure!

    Hang in there and big fat boo hiss to nasty commenters. Geez!

  • Saintvictoria
    September 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I have never thought to even ask, it is your life, your blog and your views, which I read because you are interesting, fascinating and well spoken. You owe no explanation.

  • Ali Murray
    September 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Nicole, I recently left my secure corporate job to because a full time photographer. Was it scary? Yes. Was it worth doing what I love with energy and enthusiasm? Yes. Good for you to be able to create a non-traditional job for yourself in a difficult economic climate. You are one of the handful of women that inspires me from the sea of bloggers out there. You are unique and special, I understand why you felt the need to explain yourself, but honestly I read your blog for the amazing content, not to judge your personal life, and I am sorry that you have had that experience with other readers. I know you have enough old-fashioned moxie to be successful at whatever you put your mind to. You are lovely :)

  • jill
    September 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Yes, naysayers be damned. I’ve seen people get angry when bloggers become more and more successful. People seemed to attack the hell out of poor Grace from DesignSponge once her book came out because she was able to get an expensive bottle of NAIL polish. I LOVE hearing about you and your family, and I’m MEGA impressed that you’re the sole breadwinner. Keep up the good work!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Yes, I remember that d*s post. (And thanks.)

  • Lullabelle
    September 25, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Congrats to you. I just want to say that I feel our publications must have editorial content or they are worthless, not to mention boring. Whether you as a blogger share your opinion on a color palette, a brand of kid’s shoes or something as important as equal pay for equal work, it is your opinions that bring us to your blog. I hope this experience of backlash from Friday does not quiet your voice on important issues outside of design once in awhile.

  • CourtneyOutLoud
    September 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    In the immortal words of a drag queen I once met “YOU DO YOU!” You owe people nothing that aren’t supporting, uplifting or inspiring your life or work. How two responsible and loving people and parents raise their family is solely your business, especially in light of how much you DO share. Never let the voice of a naysayer guide your path. Congrats and keep it lovely :)

  • Martha
    September 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I loved that link! How wonderful for your family to have a parent at home with the kids while you work your non-trad job! Sounds like you guys have a great bond.

  • Kim
    September 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Good for you! And good for us, too–we benefit because you’ve made this work. So awesome. And what a great family you have!

  • Catherine
    September 25, 2012 at 10:28 am

    You are inspiring and I am truly happy for you and your family! Congratulations on this very impressive life list item :)

  • Jacky
    September 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Congratulations on making the situation work for your family. In the end, all that matters is what works for your family, not others.

  • ashley
    September 25, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Bravo, Nicole! Don’t let anyone tear you down. I have read your blogs for years, before you had your sweet kiddos! People judge and will continue to do so but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. I love your site! Providing for your family is so essential and amazing… I am awe-struck by your talent. Futhermore, I enjoy your fluff post, all your posts and will continue to do so in the future because I love your voice, creativeness, and integrity. It’s a shame people feel the need to tear others down.

  • jodi inkenbrandt
    September 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I rarely ever comment, and I really should because your blog one of my all time favorites, but I just wanted to tell you how inspiring and encouraging it is to read your story. I love that you guys have been able to find what works best for your situation and it’s disheartening to hear that the blog world threw out some insensitive comments to you. But way to go on keeping it positive and sharing your story. :)

  • Helen
    September 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Wow! Great work! Your blog is always constistantly awesome. I was really happy for you when you started getting sponsored posts. Congrats to you and your family on figuring out a way to make it work!

  • Krysta
    September 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I think it is awesome that you can do what you love and with your talent and hard work are able to support your family! Other people, and women especially, should be more supportive of the success and independence of creative women out there.

    No one ever asks me how much money I or my husband make, how much I contribute to our household, or how much money I spend when I go shopping, yet they feel totally comfortable commenting on your personal life/money here — it is so bizaare!

    And the comments about what topics you should stick to on your blog… it is your personal blog. Yes, you tend to write about design and style but at the end of the day this is your personal, self driven blog and you should feel comfortable posting what you want. People can freely choose to click on a link or ignore it. If they want to discuss the topic you linked to with a dissenting opinion that is one thing, but to personally attack you is ridiculous.

    Keep on keeping on girl- I, personally, very much enjoy your content and enjoy seeing what you write about!

  • Annie
    September 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    When I read your post last week and saw the political link, I knew it would “rile” people. I have to admit I was surprised (but happy) it was included. It is unfortunate that things have gotten so divisive that people can’t post an opinion without being attacked. Congrats on the success of your blog and for being the breadwinner. Good for you and keep up the fantastic work!!!!

  • Lynell
    September 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I don’t think you should need to justify yourself or your families lifestyle choices to anyone, but bravo, it sounds like you are becoming a very successful business yourself. :) You should be proud, and it’s fantastic that you can support your family doing what you love!! As someone who is working toward (hopefully) a freelance career in art, I understand that it’s not easy to make it, so congrats for making it! ;)

  • Jen
    September 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Nicole, can you explain how advertising works? I read your blog regularly, in my RSS reader. I rarely click on advertisements, partly because I don’t see them. I’d love to support you, and if that meant clicking through to your site and visiting a few sponsor links I’d be more than happy to do that. I think you do a great job of integrating sponsored content and I don’t mind it at all. I hope everything works out for you and your lovely family!

    • Making it Lovely
      September 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

      There are a lot of different types of ads out there, but the way they work for me is by page views, not clicks. So the more people I have visiting my site each month, the more page views I would have, and the more ad revenue I would bring in. It’s the reason so many blogs like to rely on slideshows (they help tremendously with page views), but that’s not my thing.

  • Shoshana
    September 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I agree with all the support offered by previous commenters. What is ideal anyway? I say, whatever works for your family. I’ve learned that that evolves and it is best to be open to new ideas, ideals and opportunities.
    This might seem like a silly addendum–but have you ever considered unloading your old clothing/accessories on a website like Copious? I love your style and it would be nice to see someone on that site that’s not a size 2.

    • Making it Lovely
      September 25, 2012 at 11:38 am

      I hadn’t heard of that site before! I tend to pass my clothes down to my mom and my sister when I’m done with them though. They’re always happy to come and raid my closet, and then I donate the rest.

  • Katie Clegg
    September 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I really enjoy visiting your blog daily and I’m so glad to see the success you are having, Nicole. It’s such good news that you are able to live a happy life, doing work you enjoy and paying the bills. Keep up the good work, and I’ll keep enjoying seeing your stuff around! :)

    Haters be damned.

  • Isabel
    September 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Congratulations on making a dream a great effort and providing for your family. Ignore the negative since that only slows you down. Creativity always dreams higher and you made it right. This is actually the first post I read from your blog but I think it is very commendable to maintain a blog, since I just started as well a few months ago. It requires discipline and a good mind.

  • Monica
    September 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I support you and your blog and your decisions 100%. It’s your blog to do with what you will and I for one will continue to read and enjoy it. There will always be trolls on the internet so just ignore them. Sticks and stones…

  • Abby
    September 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

    You should be proud that you’ve built something from the ground up that supports your family. That is what America is all about! I’m sure that a lot of readers disagree with your political views, but that’s beside the point. THAT’S what America is all about, too. I’ve been reading for many years, and I love your ideas and all the little links you alert us to. Keep it up!

  • kris
    September 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Girl you don’t have to explain yourself to ANYONE! There are some really nasty people out there…I learned this by reading comments to onine news articles. LOL. People will say some terrible things.

    You have an adorable blog and an adorable family…keep on keepin’ on!

  • jessica
    September 25, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I must have missed the political link. I’m happy for the update though, because we’re in a similar situation. Though I’m only making pennies with my blog, I am making concentrated efforts to increase my ‘bread winning power’ while my husband is out of work – and has taken on all the house husband duties I used to handle.

    It’s nerve wracking… and hard to post about. I try, but I fear nothing brings out the judge-brigade like people prioritizing your spending for you.

    I’m glad things are working for you guys, it gives me some hope that this is possible, and that we maybe won’t be spending our anniversary in a cardboard box. :)

  • Heather
    September 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Good for you! You shouldn’t feel that you have to justify yourself in terms of how you make money, and how you spend it. Your blog speaks for itself, and you definitely do not come across as frivolous or flighty. Don’t let mean people throw you off course.

  • Lauren
    September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    [Pat on the back]Great job, Nicole! That’s a huge accomplishment. Sadly, there will always be hateful people who love to hurl nasty comments, especially at those who obviously work hard for what they have. Cheers to your bravery and dedicated spirit!

  • Boston Mamas
    September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I hear you on this one and am sending you lots of good vibes on striking a balance between earning and feeling responsible for, well, everything, and everything else. I struggled a lot with this this summer (way, way too much work) and am FINALLY feeling the tides shifting a little. xo

  • Christine
    September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for the update (which I agree with other comments that you didn’t owe us). I’ve been following your blog for a while and it is one of a handful of blogs that has gotten me thinking about starting my own blog as a creative outlet. Maybe someday it will allow me to officially become a recovering lobbyist instead of thinking about becoming one. Congratulations on crossing this off your life list.

  • Janet
    September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I loved the link, because it’s awesome and I didn’t know about it, but also because you had the guts to put it up. Too many bloggers pretend there isn’t even an election happening, especially such an important one, because they’re worried about the reactions of crazy people. We won’t all agree, but it’s important to TALK about things, which is the problem with our country of late. Anyway, kudos to you!

  • Jessica
    September 25, 2012 at 10:45 am

    In short, Nicole, you got this. ;-)

    Like everyone alluded to, people are always going to look for inappropriate ways to project their self-esteem issues onto you. The fact of the matter is that in the internet age, people think they somehow have the right to inquire about your financial situations and your home life. Can you imagine walking up to a perfect stranger and asking them this kind of information? How terribly uncouth!

    In any case, I love you for this post and every other post. I know it’s easier said than done, but do not let the turkeys get you down.

  • Melanie
    September 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Congratulations, Nicole! It’s so weird what people think about bloggers sometimes. Uncle Beefy and I have laughed about it. “We’re all rich and fancy!” Like it’s all so easy. It takes SO much work and SO much courage to do the things that you’ve done. Even though you hadn’t planned on how it’s gone with Brandon’s job, YOU DID IT. And that’s awesome. xoxo

  • Sarah
    September 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Hi Nicole,
    As a mother/freelance designer/health insurance worrier, I know just how tough it can be. it is amazing and awesome that you are making it work, and well enough to support your whole family at that! I am insulted on your behalf, that anyone would question your personal finances, or whether it was appropriate for you to be shopping, that is just absurd! I love what you do, your eye for style, and I appreciate that you share so much of your personal life. Congratulations and good luck to you and your family (not that you need it)!

  • Sallyroo (Toronto Canada)
    September 25, 2012 at 10:49 am

    As a long time reader of your blog, I truly admire your ability to maintain a positive outlook and find creativity in the unexpected changes in your working life and the subsequent need for financial survival as a family. It’s usually obvious that when people promote products in blog posts there might be some reason behind it ie payment. Whatevs. It’s easy as a reader to either ignore them or enjoy them. To me bloggers who earn money have found the most wonderful way to be a copy-writer, marketing exec, photographer and stylist. Yay you. And “phhtttt” to anyone who says otherwise.

  • Tena
    September 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Bravo! Bravo! Your success has come by no accident. Through focus and hard work you have been able to accomplish this goal. Congratulations!

    Plus, kudos to Brandon! There are still a lot of men who would struggle with the non-traditional role of stay-home-dad.


  • Mari
    September 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Nicole, I’m so happy for you! You are so inspiring and your transparency on your blog makes you so likable. I’ve been following you for two years now and while I don’t comment often, I read every post. You really do make things lovely. Congratulations on your accomplishments. I will keep reading and rooting for you!

  • Carolyn
    September 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    First of all, I liked that political link. :)
    Second of all, I really feel that you don’t owe anybody an explanation about your personal life. Anybody who feels otherwise is expecting way too much of you.
    Third of all, congratulations on achieving your goal. That truely is something to be proud of!

  • Sarah
    September 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Nicole, you’re an inspiration! It’s not easy but you’re doing it. And nothing wrong with sharing your political beliefs. It made me like you even more :)

  • Natalie
    September 25, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I hate that you even had to write this post. People are dumb, sometimes. But I’ll second the “Bravo!” Being the breadwinner is a huge responsibility, and it’s so great that you can do it!

  • Kelley C.
    September 25, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Nicole, I read your blog pretty much every day and enjoy it very much. I’ve never posted a comment before because I prefer to snoop in the background, but on this I do feel I should say something. GOOD FOR YOU FOR POSTING SOMETHING POLITICAL. Why should anyone care whether or not you do so? There’s this little thing in our country called FREEDOM OF SPEECH, which apparently some people feel is less important than alliance to political party. I happen to agree with you on the politics of what you posted, but even if I didn’t, I would wholeheartedly support your right to post about whatever the heck you please. You don’t need to explain yourself to anyone and the haters can go hate somewhere else. It shouldn’t matter what your politics are to enjoy this blog.

  • Erika
    September 25, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Beautifully written. You are lovely and an inspiration to many of us women who love reading your posts.

  • Gena@BakeAllTheThings!
    September 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Congratulations, I’m so happy for you and your family! You’re doing what works for you and that’s fantastic! Screw the haters, this is your blog and your business and it’s up to you how you want to run them both!

  • Alice
    September 25, 2012 at 11:00 am

    You should never have to justify your choices to a stranger (especially a rude and vindictive one) but I appreciate how willing you are to share personal experiences with your readers. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much. Keep on truckin’!

  • Gigi
    September 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Another lurker who enjoys your blog, feeling compelled to comment this time. Ignore the haters! I read your blog, and others, to see the world from another perspective, whether the topic be design, fashion or heaven forbid, politics. What is a blog without opinions! Your courage, strength and unique voice are an inspiration.

  • Christi
    September 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I’m so excited for you and your family. Way to go! (I’m also pretty proud and inspired by the way you handled this post. Your honesty and directness aren’t lost on me. Much respect! xoxo)

  • Emily
    September 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

    One day, I hope to provide enough for our family so my husband can be a stay at home dad. Thanks for the non-design, non-fashion inspiration!

  • LaDonna
    September 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Just want to say that your time and energy as well as the background cost (domain, servers) you put into this site are appreciated. I don’t know why people expect women to do all the work that goes into a popular blog for free. I also enjoy your Babble post so I click through to read them. I didn’t read the political link because I’d rather read about fashion and design. I respect your right to post it and as with all things online if I’m not interested I won’t read it.

  • Rena
    September 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Nicole, GO YOU. You are working hard and supporting your family. If anyone gives you grief about that, send them to me :) xoxo

  • Caitlin
    September 25, 2012 at 11:06 am


    Not that you owe anyone an explanation, but I find the mechanics of household income and expenses very interesting, especially since I am slowly learning to better manage my own.

    Thank you and Congratulations again!

  • Kate
    September 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Nicole, just delurking to say that I think you are incredibly generous to defend something to a few that needed no defense. Either way, congratulations on achieving something on your life list. I will continue to read, and enjoy, the full spectrum of what you post.

  • Crystal
    September 25, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Whoo Hoo! Good for you and way to respond to negative comments with grace.

  • Cecilia
    September 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I just have to say, I’m so grateful for all that you share here. Sure, it’s part of your job to blog, but part of the beauty of that is that you get to decide what you “owe” your audience. Those are tough decisions to make and you seem to make them with grace. When I think of your blog I think of beauty and thoughtfulness- two things that are often juxtaposed but which you weave together seamlessly.

  • norah
    September 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

    He EARNED his unemployment and you guys are entitled to live your lives as normally as possible while he received it. It drives me nuts when people transpose unemployment with welfare. Ugh, sorry that people are crazy.

    • cd
      September 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Hear hear. Well put. And correct. There is no shame in collecting unemployment. It’s like what: if you’re in a car accident you should refuse to have your car repaired or get medical help, right?

  • Callie Grayson
    September 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I celebrate in yours and Brandon’s success in making it lovely to allow Brandon to be a stay at home dad! I wish you continued success and look forward to reading your blog, your family is inspirational

  • Nicole
    September 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I am so happy for you, on a million levels. Your bravery, tenacity, SUCCESS, working from home with your two kids, giving your kids a stay-at-home parent, plus all your other amazing talents.

  • Feministy
    September 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Today’s post made me angry – not at you, but at the ignorant people who made you feel like you have to explain yourself. I LOVED the political post earlier this week (I’m a Massachusetts Liberal. Gasp!). Just because your blog is primarily about design doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to talk politics whenever you like, especially since we live in a time when your rights, mine, and our daughters’ are especilly under attack. All the pretty things in the world won’t change that. Only getting active and making a case for what we believe in will.

    Beyond that, workers are entitled to unemployment benefits. You don’t have to feel humble or embarassed or shameful for using benefits that you (in this case, your husband) are entitled to. All this talk about the 47% “victim” class is typical right wing blabber aimed at driving a wedge between people and making them vote against their own interests for fear of being lumped in with the imaginary people who get rich off of public assistance. And it sounds like some of your readers eat that offensive nonsense up.

    If there is a lesson in this, I happen to think it’s this: people like it when women keep their mouths shut about important issues and it’s incredibly important that we do just the opposite! Good for you.

  • keri
    September 25, 2012 at 11:11 am

    It’s so easy to criticize people when you can just type some rude comments and hit send and not have to deliver your words face-to-face. I get worked up all the time but I have found that pausing and rethinking my words make a big difference in what I actually submit. Even typing it out and then deleting it can get your frustrations out- like journaling. Good for you and your family for making it work and being creative and open-minded about making a living. I love your style and approach to life and family and work. You are amazing!

  • Renee
    September 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I’m emerging from lurk mode as well to say you handled this situation in such a classy (and well-written) way. I agree with others that you shouldn’t have had to share such personal stuff in response to a loose cannon but you certainly took the graceful route. Good for you! And of course, it should go without saying that your blog is yours to use in whatever way you choose — that’s one of the benefits of self-employment. I appreciated that you took the risk of posting a political link. Keep up the great work, Nicole. Reading your blog is one of the fun parts of my day.

  • Jayna
    September 25, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Good for you Nicole!! You’re such an inspiration. Your family must be so proud of you! Don’t let the mean people pull you down.

  • michelle
    September 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

    good for you! i thought it was actually refreshing that you included a political link in your round-up.

  • Marlena
    September 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Congratulations! I think this is awesome. And the feminist I am, I am so happy that blogs can now provide (mostly) women with the avenues to care for themselves and her family. Way to go!

  • Abigail
    September 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I’m a long-time reader and I was wondering how you guys were doing since we heard the news that you were becoming a one income household. Thanks for the update, and I’m really glad to hear you are doing well!

    This is one of my very favorite blogs, and I really appreciate the opportunity to read it every day. You are a few life-steps ahead of me, and I really like having this daily inspiration as I look forward to getting married, buying a house, and having children of my own.

  • maja
    September 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Congratulations- this is a big deal! This is the dream I have for my family, too.

  • Jillian
    September 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Congratulations! I find your story very inspiring, and I share your goal of one day being able to support my family with a non-traditional career.

  • cd
    September 25, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Oh, you tell that commenter you referenced to . . . . quietly hold his or her tongue. Unemployment INSURANCE is just that – it’s insurance. Meaning you’re paying for it in every paycheck through a regular job. So your husband was paying into the system and then when he needed it, filing a claim. It’s not money-for-nothing. There is no shame in taking it. It isn’t charity.

    I’m glad you’re able to make things work out. I’m also the sole-breadwinner. Forging this new path in family life isn’t easy in our culture. Best to you and your family.

  • Shelley
    September 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    You should not have to apologize for the choices you and your family make. Congratulations on all you have achieved. I am a big fan!

  • Jaimie
    September 25, 2012 at 11:26 am

    You should be so extremely proud of yourself for being able to make it work in a difficult situation. I don’t really know how people on the internet feel so justified making the accusations that you mentioned about someone they do not know at all (besides what you choose to share online), but you have nothing to prove to them.

  • Maura
    September 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Hi Nicole
    I’ve been a reader for years and love your blog. I don’t share your political views but am never opposed to reading intelligent commentary that might pursued me differently. Please continue to use your platform for whatever inspires you. I’m just grateful be along for the ride.

  • Kristi
    September 25, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Wow, you are inspiring! Don’t let someone’s rudeness get to you–I think it’s awesome you’ve found a non-traditional way to support your family. And being able to do awesome things you love to do it–icing on the cake! For a non-polarizing “political link” check out Kid President http://kidpresident.com/.

  • sassygirl
    September 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I’m also a long time reader and I’ve never commented, but I feel bad that anyone felt the need to try to knock you down. I’ve been following you through decorating your apartment, buying a house and decorating each room, having 2 beautiful children and everything wonderful that you’ve shared with us in between. What I’ve learned from you and your blog is shown in my own home and I thank you for all that inspiration. I honestly love when I see a new post to read on my facebook wall, it’s a little time away from daily life to look at something beautiful. You’re really good at what you do and that’s why your successful and there will always be haters. But those haters can’t take away your success or what you’re showing your children about dreams, being strong and brave enough to follow those dreams. I think you kick ass!!!

  • Megan F
    September 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I have to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the Obama link last week. I opened it, considered each of the statements in order to decide if clicking would enlighten or upset me. For the most part I didn’t click on- my opinions are pretty well set. However, I appreciate that you asked people (me) to think and that, more than anything, is what we all need to do over the next month and a half.
    I also appreciate your post today- your honesty and disclosure help us to understand more about you and your perspective. I am so very happy that this blog has been successful for you. I have made purchases from Pink Love Brown in the past but have gained much more from you in the last few years in free advice. Thanks for giving me reasons to come back week after week and good luck in the coming years!

  • Anna
    September 25, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Nicole, I think you’re rad. Good for you for supporting your family and continuing to publish such an interesting, inspirational blog. The rude comment you alluded to was just that—a rude, anonymous post from an internet troll. If anything, she diminished herself and her party with an ignorant response to your innocent post. I wish you the best of luck.

  • Julie
    September 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

    While I am of a different political persuasion, I respect your right to say what you want to say on your blog. I didn’t think it was over the top or offensive in any way. Congratulations on your success and I hope your husband is enjoying his increased time with the kiddos! By the way, I liked your curtain options for the kitchen, but I loved the countertop you were standing on. Now if I can convince the hubby…

  • The Modern Gal
    September 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I can’t believe someone felt it was OK to say that to you. Obviously they have some personal problems that they need to be working out on their own. Plus it’s your blog. You have a right to say or share whatever you want. If they don’t want to read it, they don’t have to.

    Congratulations on being in a place to support your own family. As the primary breadwinner for my own family, I can appreciate how much pressure that brings. The nontraditional side of it just heaps that much more on it. I think you’re a fabulous writer, and I’m glad that you’re able to make it work!

  • stephanie
    September 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    In my opinion, what separates a great blog from a good one is one in which the writer is able to share personal information so we feel a sense of connection. I want to see the fun products, projects, and ideas, but I also want to know what type of person came up with them and find tid-bits of information I can relate to. Well done for being transparent with your life and family – makes me enjoy your blog even more:)

  • YipYip
    September 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Awww, Nicole! That was soo touching. I follow your blog for two years now and I feel like I know your family as if you’re some friends (you’re such sweeties!!!). I was the sole provider for my family, too, while hubby was still at the university.
    Unfortunately I worked harder every day because I thought I wasn’t doing enough yet. In April I had a complete breakdown, with my workload being too much, my mom and dad being ill very seriously (daddy probably won’t make it, we pray for him every day. he had another heart attack today, the second in only a month :'(), my hubby working for his diploma thesis and everything on my shoulders to carry.
    It still is a very hard time and, honestly speaking, without the medication I take these days, I wouldn’t have made it.

    Therefore, please, please, please never let anyone judge you! They’re not walking in your shoes. And take some time for yourself as well, life isn’t all about working. You’re worth it!

    All the best wishes,
    you and your family are amazing!


  • Liz
    September 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

    People who work at regular salary jobs have part of that salary taken away for Unemployment. If we lose those jobs we have every right to collect unemployment no matter how much we have saved up or our spouse makes or whatever. We worked and therefore we deserve to collect unemployment. Maybe this person doesn’t know the difference between unemployment and welfare. They are very different. But regardless it is none of their business anyways.
    Congrats for building a successful business on your own and to your husband for being secure enough to take time for his family! Kuddos!

  • Christine Drumgoole
    September 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I really appreciate this post. The truth is, the more honest you are about yourself and your circumstances (not that you were ever deceiving), the more I adore you and your blog. I feel very much akin to you and your family. I would love to be able to support my family with my blog. You are an inspiration to us all. As for the political post, I was on board, but then again, I agree with your views. I can understand some taking offense. Politics are a scary topic these days. Keep up the great work and congratulations to you and your family!

  • Kristin
    September 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

    rock on!

  • Natalie
    September 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I’m sorry that your had to come out and defend yourself but your post is super inspiring to newbie bloggers like me. Congratulations on your hard won success!

  • Cecilia
    September 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Hi Nicole, I have read your blog for quite some time now. I find it sad that you have to feel that you have to justify yourself, your family income or anything for that matter to a complete stranger who had an issue about something that you wrote on your own blog. I, like so many others, love your blog, we love reading it, so keep up the good work and worry less about someone who is so bitter about their own life they feel they need to lash out about someone elses.

  • Amanda Fellers
    September 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I love reading your blog and I appreciate a hard working lady!

  • Jenny
    September 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Hi Nicole, I think I’ve commented once or twice but I’ve mostly been a lurker. I’ve been reading for most of the time your blog has existed, and it’s been lovely to see your life, your career, your family, and your talents expand. Thank you for sharing. Your blog and readers benefit because you share something about who you are, and don’t entirely ignore the world outside of a few select topics. You’re writing this, you’re creating it, and it makes all the sense in the world for you to authentically be who you are here. Even if you lose a few readers because of that, you can be sure that those you keep – and those you will inevitably gain – will be even more loyal. Great job, and keep it up! Best wishes to you and Brandon. xo

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