Sunshine Blogger Award(s)

So, I am a terrible terrible procrastinator. You probably didn’t know that about me, because usually I procrastinate on other things by writing blog posts. However, this time, it just took me a long time to get around to thanking Jessica from Settle Your Finances for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. But! In the meantime two more lovely people — Mandy from Dream Beyond Debt and Amy from Debt Gal — also nominated me, so I’m going to do a massive post and answer all their questions at once 🙂 I enjoy these low-pressure “awards” so much. Thank you all for asking, ladies!

The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award
  • Ask the same number of questions of the other bloggers as you were asked
  • Notify the bloggers whom you nominated

First off, Jessica from Settle Your Finances asked:

  1. Do you drink coffee? If so, how do you take it?
    1. Ohhhhhhhhhhh yes. I take it with milk, though occasionally I’ll have an espresso straight up. When I first started drinking coffee it was about 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk, and 1/3 sugar, but I dialed back the sugar to nothing and cut down on the milk a lot too over time. Ideally, I like whole milk, but I can deal with half-and-half and low-fat milk too. Skim milk is terrible though. And I’d rather drink it black than drink creamer!
  2. If you had to go back in time and pick your college major, what would you choose?
    1. I was an art history major, and that’s still what I’d choose. I loved it, it gave me tremendously valuable skills, and it’s immensely enriched my life. However, I’d probably have minored in religion or history or both instead of in English.
  3. Do you think you could successfully survive a zombie apocalypse?
    1. Oh, hmm, tough one. My best hope would be to remain hidden until most of the carnage was over, and then hook up with a group of survivors that needs someone who can cook and sew and is generally resourceful and good at organizing. I’d have to hope I didn’t break my glasses though or I’d be dead in five seconds.
  4. What was your favorite movie or tv show when you were a kid?
    1. I was totally obsessed with Robin Hood, so any one of a variety of movies and tv shows about him.
  5. What’s your sign?
    1. Aquarius.

Next, Mandy from Dream Beyond Debt:

  1. What made you start blogging about your finances?
    1. I was obsessed with PF blogs when I found them in spring 2014 — for a few weeks I spent almost all my time reading them. It seemed like if I wanted to join in the conversation and get advice/support I had to have my own blog, and I also thought it would be fun. (It has been.)
  2. Have your dreams changed since you started blogging? If so, then how?
    1. I’m not sure I would say changed so much as gained emerging clarity. At first I just wanted to pay off my debt and have more financial stability. But I didn’t really know what I meant by financial stability. I think that over the course of the last 18 months, I’ve gotten a much better idea of what that would look like, and a much better idea of what I want out of the next phase of my life. I wish that particular dream were a little more specific actually; right now I feel more like I’m carving away a sculpture and not quite sure what’s going to emerge, but I know it’s not going to be all those pieces I carved off already, so that’s something.
  3. What’s the most significant change in your life since you started blogging?
    1. I started taking an antidepressant/antianxiety drug and it’s worked really, really well. I had already taken a lot of steps to help myself there (getting my money in order, exercising, spending more time with friends, etc) but I am so glad I realized that I needed more help in order to emerge out of the depression I had sunk into. It’s made a big difference in my ability to focus on tasks instead of spiraling into anxiety about them, which has meant I’m getting more done, which has meant I feel a lot better in general.
  4. What’s the one item in your budget that you just cannot, for whatever reason, seem to shave down or lower? What’s the reason?
    1. Shoes. I try to only buy shoes when I need them — like, I’m not out shopping every weekend — but when I do buy them, I want them to be comfortable and high quality and at the end of the day I buy what works, not what’s cheap. I lived in New York for over a decade and my main criterion for shoes was that I had to be able to walk three or four miles in them without regretting the day I was born. I also have to be able to teach in them, so I like to wear heels, but they have to be comfortable so mostly I have boots and shoes with big chunky heels that are easier to stand in than spikes.
  5. What’s your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix or Hulu?
    1. Changes. I tend to get obsessed with a show and just race through it, but then I’ll pretty rarely go back and rewatch. Most recently I watched Miss Fisher’s Mysteries, because they’re fun and I love the costumes, but it’s been a while. I don’t really watch much tv; I tend to waste time reading blogs instead 🙂

Last up, Amy from Debt Gal.

  1. What has been the highlight of your summer?
    1. Professionally, I pulled together a project I’m really proud of, that I’d wanted to do for many years. I wish I felt like I could talk more about it on the blog! But its “big reveal” to the world has been making me very happy. Personally, the highlight of the summer was either the Great Attic Cleanout of 2015, or all the jam I’ve been making. (Sorry, I’m not good at picking just one thing!)
  2. What has been your greatest challenge this summer?
    1. Oh, that’s easy: getting to the end of the book chapter I’ve been working on since June. There may be some hope on the horizon here: I realized last week that it felt like such a slog partly because it was organized wrong, so I’ve gotten going on that and I think it’ll solve a lot of issues.
  3. If you could change one thing about your blog, what would it be?
    1. I wish I could figure out how to use affiliate links more effectively. That’s the only way I really try to make money off the blog, and so far it hasn’t worked at all 🙂
  4. What book are you currently reading? (Or, what was the last book you read?)
    1. Peter Hessler’s River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. Hessler was The New Yorker‘s China correspondent for a long time and I always loved reading his articles. I knew he’d written a few books and have wanted to read them for a while. My roommate had this one, so I picked it up and started it and it’s very good. It’s about Hessler’s stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in an obscure provincial town — he was one of the first group of Peace Corps workers allowed into China, and one of only two non-Chinese people in his town.
  5. What’s your favorite thing about fall?
    1. The weather! Fall has my favorite weather of the year. I love being able to take long walks without sweating or freezing, the way the air is so crisp, and wearing jeans and a pullover or a vest. Plus, there’s still a lot of good produce available because it’s not too cold yet.

Whew! Now I am going to nominate Kristin from Believe in a Budget, Hannah from Unplanned Finance, and Cindy from Growing Her Worth.

And my questions:

  1. What’s a money disaster you still regret? Can be over-spending, failure to make $$, whatever.
  2. Do you still read magazines in this digital age? If so, which one(s)?
  3. Describe your favorite birthday party you’ve ever had.
  4. What’s a food that you didn’t like when you were younger, but do now?
  5. Where do you see yourself, financially, in five years?

18 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Award(s)

  1. I’m with you on affiliates. I have no idea how some people are making a killing from it. I haven’t been able to unlock the secret. I can imagine with shoes that if you are going to be walking a lot that investing in a good pair would be very worth it!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I was really hoping someone was going to drop the secret in my comments 🙂

  2. I’m totally with you on affiliates! I don’t want to be sales-y or have people resent the presence of links, but, you know, I’d love to be able to make a little money with them, too!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Yeah, it would be nice, wouldn’t it? 🙂 Thanks for the great questions.

  3. Cindy says:

    Thanks for the nomination! I’m really going to have to think about a couple of those…

    I hear you on the shoes. When I was in my 20’s (and apparently thought I was rich!) I had so many shoes! I’ve finally gotten to the point where I just buy what I need, and try to make sure they’re something I’m going to wear the heck out of. But if I were really rich?

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Well, if you were really rich, you could go wild on the shoes 🙂 I still think I’d have a problem with shoes that were uncomfortable though so I’d probably just have like fifty pairs of Frye boots in different colors and styles.

  4. Jason says:

    I also think the same thing about the affiliates. It would be nice, but I am not holding my breath. And good luck on the book chapter. If it makes you feel better I had the same issue and I think I unlocked the secret. I was supposed to have it done last month, but i got some good writing done and should be ready to go soon. Best of luck.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! I decided to tear it down to the studs and start over, reorganizing is going ok. Good luck with yours too!

  5. Working from home has many benefits, but one of my favorites is not having to cram my feet into uncomfortable shoes every day! 🙂 Of course, I still travel a ton, but mostly now I travel in comfy shoes, and just pop into the professional looking ones right before my meeting, and then swap back afterward. Ha. It is amazing how fast bad shoes can ruin your day.

    We’ll add to the chorus of those having trouble with affiliate links. We failed at them on a previous blog, and now don’t even try. Maybe one day we’ll try to monetize our blog, but don’t feel like it’s worth it right now.

    1. thesingledollar says:

      oh man, and wearing yoga pants too! Working at home is fun (though I get stir-crazy and lonely if I do it too much, alas.)

      I definitely don’t have big monetizing ambitions — I’d really just like to make enough to pay for hosting. I might get to my first $100 adsense check some time next year, after getting started with it in January 🙂

  6. Jessica says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only procrastinator. 🙂 I totally love shoes too. I tend to invest in the nicer options and take very good care of them. Worth the “investment” in my opinion!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      I mean, feet are important! Thanks for the questions 🙂

  7. Hannah says:

    If you really want to try affiliate marketing I totally recommend checking out Derek Halpbern. In my previous blog (cooking), I made okay money with affiliates on stuff like Calphalon, rubber scrappers, etc. I haven’t tried making money other than adsense with my current blog since right now the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. Definitely do a favorites around early November and re-promote through November/December. People are much more likely to buy during that time frame than any other.

    Thanks for the nomination!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thanks! I can see how it would be easy to make more money on a cooking blog — the things I find myself linking to are mostly cooking supplies anyway! On a PF blog I don’t exactly want to encourage people to buy things they don’t really need 🙂 The suggestion to do a favorites list in Nov/Dec is good, though, I definitely should. Thanks!

  8. Fun answers! I like how you answered all three sets of questions in one post!! 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      it seemed like the way to go 🙂 Thanks!

  9. Mandy says:

    I love these answers!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you 🙂 Thanks for the great questions!

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