Jul 2, 2015

The Little Market Finds

The Little Market Finds

The Little Market came to my attention a few months ago thanks to my love of all things that have to do with my style icon, Lauren Conrad. I follow tons of home decor accounts on Instagram because I like to discover little pieces that will help me in my shabby chic obsession so when I started seeing things from The Little Market I had to find out all that I could about it.

According to their website, "The Little Market works with artisan groups around the world. We provide design insights, helping our artisan partners showcase their skills to a broader audience". That's a pretty cool thing. I love shopping at World Market for little home accents but as far as I know the only thing behind their products is that they're really cute and tend to match my style. I've recently started listening to podcasts about the laws of attraction, positivity, focusing on doing good, and stuff like that, and this site fits into that 100%. Not only does shopping here give me some really unique items for my apartment but I'm doing that doesn't just put money in a major companies pocket. I'm helping to support the talents and financial situation of women around the world in a way that works for me. By shopping!

 I know I'm not going to make an individual rich by purchasing a handmade iPad case or apron but I think every little bit helps and I need to start being more conscious of where my money is going when I choose to spend it. It's really nice to be at a place where I can buy whatever I want but that's nothing to rave about because so many people can do it. But not many people go out of their way to try to make an impact with what they buy. I certainly didn't and if it wasn't constantly on my Instagram feed I probably still wouldn't care today.

I'm really excited to get the candles and apron. I've been meaning to get an apron for months but never committed to one that I liked and this was is perfect. It's simple, I won't get sick of it and it lets me add a bit more pink into my life. The candle is exciting because I've been buying a lot of handmade soy candles lately because they last longer and have a stronger scent so I'm really curious to see what a good rose candle smells like. I'm hoping to get these in before I head out to NYC so be on the lookout for some IG worthy shots of my new gear in the next few weeks.

Jul 1, 2015

Love Affair with Lavender

Lavender is my go-to for 2015. I love the way it smells, tastes and how it looks. I never really paid attention to it until a few months ago and now I want it everywhere. I planted some lavender seeds in April that are starting to smell heavenly. I want to use them to make soap but I read somewhere that in order to do that I also needed to get the oil.

The search for lavender oil began. Unfortunately, it isn't cheap. It's one of the priciest oils I've searched for and it took me a long time to commit to getting it. I not only wanted the oil for soap making but because I really love the smell of glade's lavender vanilla plugin but wanted to try creating my own version.

I've used goPure Naturals oils before and really love them. They're really light, super authentic and there isn't anything synthetic in the way they smell. I started burning this oil for a few hours a day and it really fills my apartment with the most amazing and relaxing scent. I haven't received my vanilla oil yet (I ordered it way later) so I tried mixing this with my peppermint oil and it smells just as good. It gives the lavender a little kick without being overpowering.

I have to resist the urge to burn it all so that I have some for my soaps. I seriously want to put this in everything but I'll save it for some burning and the soap. Now my flowers just need to grow faster!

I Heart Ban.do


ban.do love

I'm obsessed with ban.do. I am. I just am. My friend Jennifer introduced me to them via Instagram a few months ago and I instantly fell in love with their cute girlie products. I'm currently in the process of creating a workspace that will give me some motivation and inspiration and I'm going to get tons of their items. Their color scheme is really great and kinda fits the colors of my theme, which gives me more of an excuse to get as much as I can from them.

I really like their diamond wireless speakers. It looks really cute and I can have it multitask by being a paperweight. For the notes I am going to take with my new notebook. Or something like that. Whatever, I will find a reason to justify every item that I want/get from them. I've been really obsessed with their "I Am Very Busy" notebook for a while now and even though I can use my iPhone or iPad for my calendar there's something special about writing things down. They used to sell an iPad case with that on it but they stopped so I'll have to settle for the datebook.

My dream writing station includes a simple white desk, my Macbook Pro and tons of little pieces that will add a bit of fun and color to my mood. I'm trying not to buy too many things for this apartment since I'm sure I'll be moving once my lease is up but going on a mini ban.do spree won't be too much of a biggie since everything can fit in a box.

If you're a girlie girl that's not afraid to show it check out this brand. I apologize in advanced for the addiction.

Jun 30, 2015

Blog Goals: Taking it to New Heights

                 Paradise of Collectives

As the summer approaches as does the anniversary of my blog finally turning around. I mentioned before how last summer is where things started to kick into high gear and I want to set some really attainable goals for the year to come. I've always wanted to do more with this site but life just kept getting in the way. Or really, i just kept using that as an excuse. With big things happening this fall I want to build some great momentum now that will have writing as second nature. I want it to be something I need to do like eating or sleeping. I've been part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge in the past but haven't even thought about it since forever so now that a new one is beginning tomorrow I want to see if I can write informative, funny and cool content for at least 31 days straight. If I do I will rewards myself with having good momentum and maybe I'll buy myself something nice for my birthday (since it'll be on the last day. Hint Hint!).

Here are my blog goals that I want to get started on this summer. I'm really hoping to focus and not let myself get easily discouraged or distracted. Cross your fingers!

Write More

I don't want to write just for the sake of writing. Nothing is worse than filler posts. I do however have tons of ideas running through my mind and my notes on my iPhone is filled with them. I want to finally give them a try and see if they're actually worth writing about. I need to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and keep things moving along. Plus, the more I write, the higher my confidence in it will be so I want to exercise that part of my brain to help keep my lovely readers entertained. Speaking of which, another goal is to...

Engage with Readers

You know, I get a lot of people reading my posts. A lot! If I didn't I wouldn't have any income to report. But my weakness is getting the engagement. I can easily rope an entire bar into a conversation but I'm having some trouble getting you guys to speak up. So I want to make it more enticing. I don't want people to engage just to make me feel better. It's not happening much because there really isn't a reason for it so I'm going to make an effort to have each post be the start of a conversation.

Create a Newsletter

This will happen in a few months. I want to get into the flow of things before doing this. I don't want to send out newsletters that are boring or when people haven't made this blog worth talking about. I also need to keep this updated with fresh content so that the newsletter isn't just letting someone know that they missed one or two posts. BORING!

Find the Perfect Template

Last but not least, finding a perfect template. I have a vision for how I want this site to look but I haven't found something that works for me yet. Maybe I have template ADHD or something. I've seen a lot that I think are great but there's always something missing. I might bite the bullet and just hire someone to design one for me because I am a bit picky but I just want something that's easy on the eyes, can be navigated through seamlessly and that I am 100% happy with.

Those are the goals that I'll be working towards starting today and I'm hoping to not be derailed. I'll be home for a few weeks so it's not like I can spend 24/7 working on my blog but I will dedicate a few hours a day on this. I want to take this to the next level and that means there is no time to slack off.

***Don't you just LOVE the photo I chose for this blog? My friend Sarai takes some of the most amazing photos ever and I'm so glad she's allowing me to use this pic on my blog. As someone with a minor in photographer I get butterflies when I meet someone who's got an amazing eye so hopefully I'll be featuring a lot of her photos here until I'm ready to get behind the lens again***

May 2015 Income Report- $1383

May. It was a busy month for me in my non blogging world. I worked a lot, I moved back to the first office I was at with my company and I was spending more and more time with the man. The weather finally started to warm up properly and my plants were kicking it into high gear with their growth and...that's about it.

This month was pretty cool in terms of blog income. I only made about $100 more than the preview month but I'm not complaining about that at all! $100 covers my phone bill for a month plus my Spotify and Netflix subscriptions with money to spare for a burrito or two. That's a win! 

The Numbers:

Blogher: $699.85
Bluehost: $130
Sponsored Posts: $175
Adsense: $183.15
Izea: $120
Tap Influence: $75

Blogher- This month with Blogher wasn't as great as the last month but it still isn't bad at all. This doesn't include any campaigns that I am currently part of that end in July and August. My contract with them is up for renewal soon and I decided that, even though my revenue for June is half of what it is for May, I'm going to stick with them for another year. They have been really good in helping earn some extra money and with the changes that they said they're implementing I think they're worth committing to for another year at least.

Sponsored Posts- A bit less than last month but again, I'm not going to complain. I don't take every opportunity that comes my way because if it's something hat doesn't 'fit' me or my blog, I'm not going to write about or promote it.

Adsense- This month was better than the last. Nothing really to report here aside from that.

Bluehost- I started working with Bluehost in April and it's another cool one. I really like their service and like using them. They offer unlimited space (which is going to come in hand when I start adding more photos to my posts), unlimited e-mail accounts, a really easy to use site builder and their hosting fee is pretty low, which kinda rocks. 

Izea- I wrote about Izea on my 4 Ways to Earn Income Blogging post. I really like them. After a week with them and receiving 3 campaigns I decided to pay the $1 a month so that I'd have the option to bid on more opportunities that worked for me and it's paid off.  

Tap Influence- I wrote about this company as well on my 4 Ways to Earn Income Blogging. I had 1 campaign with them in May that earned me $75. Not bad for writing about a product I love from a company that I love (St. Ives). 

So there's May. I'm heading off to NYC this weekend for two weeks and plan on using some of that time to put more energy into this blog and get some momentum going in the direction that I want to take it. I'm excited to not have to deal with my day job during that time so I can really focus on my blog goals. 

Stay tuned for my June report in a few weeks and if you have any questions, just ask!

Jun 29, 2015

5 Indie Songs That Define a Relationship

Break ups are bad. Seriously, they are the worst! They make you want to just sleep until the heartbreak is over. Or lay in bed in total silence until the phone rings and it's that one person. Not your coworker or your cousins, but HIM (or her)! 

I'm dealing with one right now that's threatening to drive me over the edge. After over a week of no sleep or having an appetite I'm finally ready to pick myself up and start getting back into things I enjoy. Like music! I haven't heard a single song voluntarily in so long I don't feel like myself anymore. My showers have been quicker, my walks have me leaving voice memos to myself and my commute to work is just a bore. So I need to get back into the groove but what should I listen to? Everything I've listened to in practically the last year reminds me of him which is a downside of being a total music junkie and dating something with amazing taste. 

But I can't sit at home dwelling on stuff and instead of creating a Spotify playlist filled with Justin Bieber I decided to throw myself into the one I'd to listen to whenever I wanted to think about how happy I was with him. I know it may seem like the worst idea ever and like it'll only bring me down but one thing that's really helping me through this is trying to find the good that came out of that relationship and remembering the times that I was super happy.

So here are the some of the tunes helping me go to that fuzzy place and that are the best ones to dedicate to that indie music lover in your life. 

Pulp-Something Changed

Arctic Monkeys- I Wanna Be Yours

New Order- Thieves Like Us

The Cure- Just Like Heaven

The Pixies- Here Comes Your Man

A week ago I would've died listening to Something Changed or Thieves Like Us. Today, while I still can't listen to a New Order track in its entirety, all of these songs make me smile and I'm sure it's not the last time I'll be sharing these songs. So add these to your 'hanging out with my boyfriend/girlfriend' playlist and enjoy the great mood these will put you in.

Jun 28, 2015

4 Ways to Earn Income Blogging

Photo by libreshot.com

Last summer I went to New York City on vacation to visit my family and friends and instead of constantly day drinks, running around the Lower East Side every night or just leaving my cousins apartment I spent lots and lots of time in front of my computer. I was constantly "working" and while I wasn't doing anything for my day job I like to think that I was. I was working on this blog a lot for the five weeks that I was on vacation and I'm glad I did.

Last summer marked the beginning of income being generated on My Fascination Street. I was super focused, I set a really strong goal for myself and while I did't come close to reaching it (it was too extreme) I laid down some groundwork. Ever since then I've always been able to rely on this blog to help pay a bill or buy a cool pair of shoes. I still have lots of work to do on it but I know that being away from work for two weeks will help kick things into gear and will let me properly refocus.

Over the last year I've hooked up with a lot of companies and networks that have helped give me content and well as earn some money so I'm going list some of them below and give my take on them.

Adsense: Google Adsense is the first company I ever used to help monetize my blog. They're really easy and straightforward. You have content on a blog/website or YouTube video and you want to place some ads so you place them and you wait. And then you wait a bit more. And then...you keep on waiting. This was the case for me at least. When i started my blog I had about 200 page views a day (as opposed to the 20K+ now!) so it was tough to earn anything. People weren't really reading my content, let alone clicking on any of the ads.

With Adsense you don't get paid until you reach $100. It took me about a year to receive my first payment from them but I didn't mind because I'd rather people read what I write than click on an ad and then leave.

Blogher: When I first applied to Blogher in February of 2014 I was rejected and I knew why. I didn't have the readers and I didn't have enough content. At the time of the rejection I was told that I could apply at a later date and it was left at that. I took this as a opportunity to write more and write better. Fast forward to September and I received a congratulations email. They had been keeping track of my blog and when they felt that I would be a good asset tot heir network I was invited to join.

Blogher pays per impression, not click. And they need their ads to be above the fold. Another requirement is that no other ad be visible this way. This gives them prime real estate on any blog that they're featured in. In the past they weren't too keen on blogs that reviewed products because they didn't want any conflicts between the content and the ads that they ran but they recently changed that in their terms of services and have become a bit more lenient in that sense. A lot of blogs that I follow are leaving Blogher because their earnings have practically been slashed in half, something I'm experiencing now in the month of June, but I'm sticking to them. Their ads are well done, they're from companies I like, and because they pay per impression I don't have to worry about it taking up space and hoping that at least one person clicks on an ad. Oh, and they pay based on Net45 so I always get a surprise e-mail from PayPal on the 15th of the month.

Izea: I'm fairly new to Izea and they don't have tons of opportunities for bloggers which isn't a bad thing. They way this works is that once you log onto their site and put all your social media information in, you can receive direct offers from a company to write a blog, or post something on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, or you can bid on one of their offers. A free account gives you the option to place 5 bids a month or you can pay $1 or $5 a month for unlimited bids and lesser thresholds/penalties for withdrawing funds early.

Once you and a company agree on a price you have a certain amount of days to show them exactly what you plan to write and one it gets approved and posted you get paid exactly 30 days later. I've only done a few gigs with them because a lot of the offers they have aren't relevant to me on any medium but if your focus is more well rounded this is a great way to make some extra cash.

Tap Influence: Tap Influence is an influencer marketing program that really makes you work for it. As a blogger, you have no idea who they are partnering with so you really have to work at making your blog as professional, pretty, and up to date as possible in order to hear from them. I was lucky enough to get two offers from them within a week of signing up so as I see it as a great way to get my foot in the door. Just like any other influencer program everything is up front and you have the option to work with a specific advertiser or not. Negotiating on rates doesn't look like something they're very big on but I will say that I haven't felt taken advantage of by them.

Payment from Tap Influence is on a Net30 which is on par with most of the companies that I work with so while it isn't instant, it's nice to know that it'll be in my PayPal account fairy quickly.

So there you have it. Right now those are my four main sources of income for this blog. I wouldn't categorize either one of them as an easy money maker but like I mentioned above and on my income reports, these help to pay a bill or two and support my Starbucks addiction so I'm really happy with them for now. You can't reach the top of a mountain without taking the first step so if you're like me and would like to join the ranks of really high earning blogs you've gotta take the first step and just keep on pushing!

If you have experience with any of these companies I'd love to hear it so leave a comment below.

Jun 16, 2015

Staying Hydrated with St. Ives

Summertime is finally here in SoCal which means it's time for the short shorts, minis and....dryness. EEK! During the super hot months here in LA I take about 2-3 showers a day because of how hot and sweaty I get which means that I then have to apply lotion an equal amount of times to avoid looking like I rolled around in chalk. There are so many great lotions that I've used that keep me hydrated but take too long to apply because of their thickness. Doing it once a day isn't bad, but when you're doing it three times a day, it becomes a bit of a pain!

Thankfully, St. Ives sent me this amazing package with two of their brand new lotions to try out that come in yummy scents and deliver a continuous spray of light lotion that's easy to blend. Along with the lotions I received an awesome beach bag, a sarong and even a cute pair of shades! I received the package the day before I went away to Tulum so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I planned on spending a lot of time on the beach and needed a lotion that was light enough to mix with my sunblock and these were perfect. The St. Ives® Naturally Indulgent Coconut Milk & Orchid Extract Fresh Hydration Lotion was my favorite because it has more of a tropical scent but I like that the St. Ives® Smooth & Glow Apricot Spray Lotion gives off a fruitier scent that's also nice but not my favorite of the two.

What I really like about the lotions are pretty much already said. They smell amazing and are really light. It takes me about 1 minute to rub it all over my arms and legs and my hands aren't left feeling sticky and gross afterwards. I totally plan on using these throughout the summer and will keep one in my new beach bag so that I'm always prepared to fight the dryness before it gets out of control!

Buy St.Ives lotion here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of St.Ives. The opinions and text are all mine.