I’m speaking at my first blog panel on July 22nd, and the first way I’m keeping calm is through my sheer and utter excitement. Yes, for the first time in my life, nervous excitement feels amazing, and it’s like I’m standing at the edge of a tall building I’ve been itching to jump off of for months, and an unexpected stranger has finally agreed to give me a push.

6 Ways Bloggers and Brands Use Pic Monkey_2

If you love editing photos on the web, but learning Photoshop was never in the cards for you (and you’ve made your peace with it), Pic Monkey is a brilliant alternative. I learned how to use Pic Monkey the day I asked myself, “How do I put text on pictures?” It was different from all of the other photo editors out there because it was so easy to use, and it seemed to offer more editing capabilities than the average free photo editing site. Since then, I’ve used it to liven up my blog posts, and even to create my ebook cover earlier this year. 



This blog photo made lovingly with PicMonkey

After many long months, I’m happy to say that I finally have something to give away: a book! A book for writers, and writing is my favorite sort of subject.


I’m giving away a book by Geraldine Solon called Authorpreneur in Pajamas. I read it a couple of weeks ago, and posted the review on Examiner. The title hooked me from the beginning, because I’d love to sit at home and write all day in my pajamas. And be an entrepreneur about it. Plus, I’ve really been itching to get back to fiction. (Or should I say clawing?)




Below is a guest post by Sheri, this month’s content contest winner! She blogs over at 50×50 about her intent to lose 50lbs by her 50th birthday. Please settle in and enjoy this very delicious story she has written about handmaking plum preserves. It will leave you in stitches. I guarantee it. And thanks to everyone who participated! I will be tweeting all of your awesomely lovely posts throughout the week!


Settle in.  I have a little summer story for you.I am not a good cook.  You would not want to come to my dinner party because you would be served food that was beige.  And not in a good way.
read more

November 28, 2013

Lost Subscriber Post Picture 3

Photo credit: Kendi Skeen

I haven’t blogged in awhile. It’s because I lost a subscriber. When I lose a subscriber, I get in this weird funk for about a week. It’s not that I don’t want to blog, but I feel afraid to because I feel like something I’m doing isn’t right.

I’m calling it the Lost Subscriber Syndrome, or LSS.

After about a week I get over it. This must be what it feels like when writers get bad reviews on their books. They feel eh about the whole thing for a bit. They go back to binge-watching Dexter on Netflix, and they go back to their dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joes. Then a week passes and they go back to writing anyway because nothing else gives them the same feeling. Nothing else fills them up. So without question, without even thinking about it, they’re back on their laptops, typing away.

That’s what happened here. So, that’s it. I’m back.

Oh yeah. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I’m in bed right now and my room is a mess. There’s a foam roller in the middle of the floor, jewelry on the desk, spilling out of its box, and a lot, I mean A LOT of clothes lying around the room.But I’m happy it’s Thanksgiving, and I’m happy I get to spend some time with my family, gossiping about celebrities and the crazy people in our lives.

This also means that Christmas is officially here, meaning the budgeting can finally begin. I honestly have not even started my shopping. I always say I’ll start early but I never feel like it. Today I’m going to make a list of everything and get moving.

I’m also going to be listing some cool stuff in the sidebar of my blog in case you want to do some holiday shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’m an affiliate for Mod Cloth, a super cute online store that sells dresses, office/apartment decorations, and a bunch of other awesome vintage stuff I can’t afford, which means I’ve got the inside scoop on all the sales their having. They’re giving 50% off on a metric shit ton of stuff, but I’m more obsessed with stuff for my apartment. Luckily ModCloth is doing an excellent job at catering to this obsession. I mean who wouldn’t want a bird door mat?

ModCloth Fav 1
ModCloth Fav 2
Seriously. Map pillows? Kill me.
ModCloth Fav 3
How’s your holiday shopping going? Have you started? And how in the hell do you organize it all? I’m using Evernote hardcore this year. And hopefully not going over budget.

Alright. I’m late to Thanksgiving. I really hope you guys have an awesome day, and if you’re into the whole Black Friday madness…good luck to you!
Blog Signature


 (Disclaimer: this blog post goes on and on about how excited Monique is about her new design. You’ve been warned).

Right now I feel like a kid in a candy store. Better. Like a kid in a candy store who’s walking away with the whole damn shop.

I got my blog re-designed. Professionally. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I cannot believe something that I’ve been wanting to do for over 2 years finally came to fruition in the most perfect way.

Ever since I started blogging back in 2011, I’ve been wanting a professional-looking blog design. The fact that I had to go out and actually hire someone to make it look nice was what always stopped me. I didn’t have the money, and I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted. The fact that I couldn’t just find a cool template through WordPress and install it in a matter of minutes is what stopped me from blogging back in 2009 and 2010. (Full disclosure: this is my third blog). I never wanted to stick with either of them because I was always so frustrated with not having a purdy dress for it.

Well, it’s got a purdy dress on now. Now, I feel more capable and motivated than ever to blog, write, and even tell more people about it. It’s like I have more confidence in it now because it looks better. I feel like I just opened up the front door to a new car on Christmas morning. Or like when you really, really like someone and they talk to you while you’re wearing your ugliest sweater. I am so, so happy. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s delicious. I want to just print it out and post it all over my room and my office and my car.

Pardon me while I gush. And didn’t I say I’d try and get this up by the 18th? Check me out, stickin to plans! The next step now is to invite people to sponsor, and also try and hold more give aways. And also more blogging about cool stuff (always).

I’m still also working on my other website project. I’m almost done writing another article for that one, but lately it’s been bumming me out because the design got so botched (in my opinion). I haven’t really talked about it, but I’m not 100% happy with the development work I paid for. What’s been preventing me from starting over with that whole thing is the fact that I paid so much money for it to look the way it does, so I’m still trying to decide whether to start over, or just have someone go in and pretty it up a bit. This week I’ll get moving on that. It’s been on hold since I’ve been obsessed with this whole blog re-design (and also Dexter. Damn that show. Damn it to hell).

Blog Post.Plans

You know how I feel about plans. I’m horrible with them. The moment I start talking about something I’m planning to do, it falls into the ether, and stretches out to the stars. But today I really feel like telling you about some cool things I’m working on, and my small plan for this blog in the next few weeks. I’m just too excited not to share it, and if you blog, you might find some good stuff here too.

Blog Design

First, the blog looks different! I changed the template this morning because I’m in the process of getting a complete redesign for DIRT cheap by a wonderful designer I found on Etsy. However, my rent is due this week, meaning I only have enough dough for absolute necessities, and as much as I can probably write a book explaining why this new design is an absolute necessity, I have a hard time justifying the need for it right now. So I have to wait a couple of weeks. And waiting is like madness when you know the awesome that’s coming, so the change you see on the blog today is a little something to tide me over until this awesome blog redesign can happen. I can’t wait for you to see it! It’s going to have my little logo and easier places for me to put sponsors and links to some of my favorite blogs. Let’s put a launch date on this so we know it’s happening and it’s not just talk. How about November 18th? (Hold me to that please.)


I have finally, FINALLY figured out what I want the first giveaway to be, and it’s going to be a book. Not just any book, but a damn good book, and it’s perfect for both readers AND non-readers alike. It’s short, with big, blunt letters, and it’s motivational as all hell.

Now, being that I want this giveaway to go as smoothly as possible, there are a few things I need to set up in order for it happen.

One: I need to get a promotional picture done, so I can share it on social networks. This is important because sharing it will allow more people to subscribe and participate. I’ll be employing someone through the awesomeness that is Fiverr (affiliate link) to get that done.

Two: There’s an AWESOME service out there for bloggers doing giveaways called Promo Simple. Promo Simple makes it SUPER easy for anyone to create a giveaway form, and even easier for participants to enter once or even multiple times to increase their chances of winning.

So clearly I have a little bit of work to do. But I’m estimating that the first giveaway will happen on November 11th. Woo hoo for establishing actual dates for these kinds of things.

Guest Posts

I’m just about finished with the third guest post I’ve written since September. This is kind of like when you approach different websites/blogs and see if they will let you publish a guest blog post or article to get some recognition for your writing or blog. I’ve been fortunate to have made a few connections these past couple months, so before this month is over, my guest posts should be published at the following websites:



Clearly I’ll let you know when each of these goes live. I get so excited about things.


In other news, I’m still working on that side website project, and if it didn’t look like an absolute mess I’d give you the link to it. There’s only 6 articles up for now, and I’m not ready to even let family see it until I have at least 10-15. I’m also already feeling like I want a different design for that too, so I’m aiming for the new year before that can be launched. But I DO want to tell you what this new website is going to be about.


This website is going to be entirely dedicated to helping people find direction. It’s going to be a hub of discovery where smart and creative people can go to find helpful tools to figure out what they want to do with their lives. I have so many tools in my arsenal that I would LOVE to share with you guys and the world, and I just can’t let them sit in a notebook on Evernote–so that’s why I am building this site. We need happiness in our lives, and we need love. The only way we’re going to have any of that is by continually doing things that we lovingly take interest in. And I know way too many smart people out there who would love to be doing something different with their lives, but are unsure of where to start.


So that’s what’s coming. Because living should feel good.

September 27, 2013

Sun Dress

If I learn nothing else from blogging about my quest to be something great, it’s that the quest is the best part. I can’t stress to you how much my anxiety has dissipated on this path to a mysterious future since I’ve embraced the journey (slowly but surely of course). I’ve put absolute faith in the fact that the projects on my plate will one day empower and inspire people to realize their own greatness, and for that reason I’m no longer filled with anxiety the moment I get home from work. I’m not longer gripped by fear when I think about my purpose in life, and whether or not I’m fulfilling it. I’m alive, I’m awake, and I am present. And most of the time, I am really, really hungry.

That being said, I thought I’d update you on everything! Lately I’ve been writing a bunch of introspective blog posts about my experiences with the world. And while those are cool too, I’m ready to write a few posts on the awesomeness that has been going on behind the scenes.

First off, I created a couple of new pictures in my Art section. Nothing fancy, nothing awe-inspiring, but I’m proud of them. I’m sort of dabbling in the combination of words/pictures to create a feeling. Sort of like those memes that get burned into your brain on a daily basis, but I want them to be a bit weirder.  And more artsy maybe. Something to make you think.

Secondly, I added a new Mursa Pie to the videos section. It’s the last one in the bunch, and it’s on a slice of my life in Australia. It’s such a small sliver of the fun I had there, and I’m slowly but surely compiling more, but I wanted to let you know it was there in case you wanted to see some of the shenanigans that went on.

Thirdly, publicity. Lately I’ve been really into guest posting opportunities and interview features. The other day le blog and I were featured in something called the Heart of Blogging Series on Blogger Effect. Blogger Effect is a new platform for bloggers that is still in beta, but they were looking for bloggers to feature for their blog series so of course I jumped at the opportunity. After all, it’s just like my Passion Series!

Oddly enough, that very same week, an old colleague of mine introduced me to one of the ladies from LoveFabu.com, a site for women to discuss everything from love and death, to relationships and spirituality. They were seeking contributors, and after a brief introduction via email, I knocked out a 500 word piece on business school rejection and voila! Guest post nailed. It hasn’t been posted yet because they are still building out their site, but when it is you will surely be the first to know. Additionally, I’m working ANOTHER guest post for a great blog I discovered through Linkedin called A Caffeinated Brunette. Is that not the most awesome title for a blog? That is totally a blog I should have created. At any rate, it’s run by a gal who writes about travel, recipes, and any other pretty thought that enters her mind. She was looking for guest posters the other day and I offered one up that I think might fit for her “If you ever” series. It’s kind of like “If you ever want to eat a great pizza in LA” sort of stuff, so I’ll keep you posted if it all works out.

Lastly, I’m developing a website. Okay, I’m hiring someone to develop a website for me. And they’re almost done. I haven’t really talked about it because I’m waiting for the wisdom of hindsight to set in, if you know what I mean. A lot of times I talk about projects that just don’t happen, and I really want to talk about this one after I’ve made some actual progress, so I can share what I’ve learned. It’s the project I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that really takes off because I feel the message behind it is so important. I’ll tell you ALL about it when it’s launched!

Well, that’s the latest. You heard it here first. I hope you have a magnatastical weekend (magnanimous + fantastical if you didn’t guess). It’s Friday, and it’s FALL! Talk about two great ‘F’ words (although I’m sure we can think of at least one more that gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling.) Time to whip out the pumpkin ales and scary movies. I’m hoping I get to go to Septemberfest tomorrow with the BF, but we’ll see how that pans out.

Till next time, peace, pitstops, and pumpkin everything…