Answers to Questions

for the "Question Game" on my blog

Here are all my answers to the questions from this post.  I had finished all but two of these weeks ago and forgot to post them, so better late than never right!  Oh, and I skipped over some of them that were repeated so if I missed your question let me know. And thanks again to everyone for participating- they were fun to answer, and I really appreciate all of the kind things you guys shared with me.  Happy Sunday and have a great upcoming week! xo

How long have you been blogging for and how did your blog become so popular? Did it just happen on it's own or did you use different strategies to assist with your blog traffic? 

I never ever set out to have a popular blog or to even have people read it.  I came over from livejournal after being there for years and years (I will ALWAYS love livejournal the most!), and I had maybe five readers when I began Sometimes Sweet here on blogspot.  I just started writing and little by little my readership started growing.  I've always stayed very true to myself in this blog- I write about my life, and things I love, and I think that's maybe why people find it enjoyable.  I'm not a business, I'm not selling or crafting anything- it's just me.  Personal blogs like mine are my most favorite to read, because I feel like you really get to know the blogger, and it's always incredibly interesting to me to get a little glimpse into how someone else lives.  Over the years this blog has really evolved into something I'm proud of and I really enjoy writing the more personal posts most of all.  At the same time though it can be a little unnerving putting yourself out there and sharing personal things.  That's why I don't share it all, this is just a small piece of the bigger picture of my life, although a lot of people assume that this is absolutely it.  They mistakenly believe that their perception of the blog IS the only definition of the writer. But wow, I've gotten on a bit of a tangent here!  To answer your question more directly, I've never used any strategies to assist with traffic, it basically happened on its own.

Favorite band(s)? 

My favorite band is The Gaslight Anthem, although I wasn't totally impressed with their newest album.  I really love music though, so it's hard for me to choose just one.  I like everything from The Beach Boys to Tupac, and if you follow my blog I'm sure you've noticed my varied musical taste via my playlists.  I am a huge fan of hip hop but I also like a lot of folk and alt-country.

Do you shop a lot? You seem to have amazing clothes/taste! How much do you think that you spend per year on your clothes?  

Oh thank you!  I don't actually shop a lot at all these days.  I feel like because I haven't worn my clothes in close to a year due to being pregnant it's all new to me again, so I'm enjoying rediscovering my wardrobe.  Before I was pregnant I did shop a little more, but because we live in small town that doesn't have many stores I like (besides Target), I only shop when I visit my family in Phoenix. Saves a lot of money! As far as how much I spend, I have no idea, not a lot.

I'm going to be a first time mama in March and I'm wondering a. what's the best thing about being a new mom b. what's been the most challenging and c. is there a baby item that's been extremely helpful that I should look into getting? (That's more than 1 question, sorry!) 

The absolute best thing for me has been to be able to be home with Henry is spend every single minute with him.  It's amazing, and that smile he flashes at me now gives me the best feeling I've ever had in my life. Totally heart-melting. The most challenging? As of this moment I'd say the no sleep thing. I'm tired but that's no surprise. As far as baby items, check out this post if you already haven't!

You always seem so happy and upbeat. How do you manage any stress in your life?

Well here's the thing about this- yes I am usually pretty happy, but I'm not one to be negative or to dwell in it, so even if I was in the worst mood and hating life (yes it happens), I wouldn't ever post about it here.  I've written before about my struggles with feeling down and because I've gone through that I really have gotten to a point in my life where I make the conscious decision every single morning to have a good day.  There are some days where I could tell myself that ten times and I'd still have a hard time, but 9 times out of 10 I can shake whatever negativity I have floating around in my head.  It also helps to be married to someone like Hank- he's so, so positive and really keeps me in check.  I feel lucky. :)  But as far as managing stress, I workout.  I blog.  I watch bad reality television.  I read! I don't have a lot of stress these days but when I do, I engage in all of those activities I listed above.  Working out is my main source of stress-relief though!

How did you and Hank meet?

Favorite books? (I'm getting a Kindle for Christmas and don't know where to start!) From the books you've mentioned on your blog before we seem to have similar taste... :)  

Oh gosh, where to begin? I've started a post on this subject that I really need to finish up, so I will get to that. My number one favorite book though would have to be The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

I was wondering if you could recommend a good tattoo shop, I'm willing to go anywhere in Arizona. I'm wanting some script on my wrist, but don't know where to go :) 

Immaculate Tattoo in Mesa, AZ!

What is your Christmas wish list this year?  

I know this sounds crazy, but I didn't ask for one thing and Hank and I didn't even exchange gifts. We decided just to enjoy the day without presents for each other, although we did get things for Henry.

What skincare products do you use? You have gorgeous skin! 

Thank you so much! My skin is super sensitive so I have to be really careful about what I use or I'll break out right away.  I'd love to switch to all-natural products but I've tried a million things under the sun and the only things that have worked for me are the Aveeno's Positively Radiant facial cleanser and Purpose's SPF15 Facial Moisturizer.  I also use Oil of Olay eye cream- I used to use Strivectin but it's harmful during pregnancy and breastfeeding so I switched to what I'm using now.

Are you going to keep your hair dark? I think it fits you so well, you re s pretty <3  

Dark always. I don't like the way I look with light hair.

Makeup products and skin care products you use? Your skin is always so perfect! 

See above for the skin products, but for everyday makeup I use Almay's TLC foundation  in Buff, Almay's Eye Brights concealer in Light and CoverGirl's Lashblast (orange tube).  I have other makeup I'll use when I go out, from MAC and Laura Mercier, but overall I prefer to keep it really simple.

Next MBMJ purchase? =)  

Oh I have no idea, I'm totally content with what I have now!  I haven't really kept on top of what he's come out with lately though, maybe that's a good thing! haha.

Do you work out your abs? Because I was so impressed after baby Henry was born of how much you've lost already!! Are you going to work out at home now? You are so inspiring by the way!! Thank you for being out there :) 

Yes before I was pregnant I always worked out my abs, but I haven't yet.  I'll probably wait a few more weeks until I do crunches or anything, although I'm sure they're getting "worked" from the cardio I've been doing.  I kind of wrote about this in previous posts, but yes, I'm going to do a mix of working out at home and at the gym.  Henry sleeps a lot right now, so I'm able to do yoga or a video while he's napping and at night I can go to the gym for an hour or so while Hank gets some Daddy time.  I'm so thankful that Hank supports me in my fitness goals because it really makes for a happier me when I am able to be active and have me-time. And a happy mama equals a happy family, right? ;)

Im with Alli... I want your wedding story (with pics) :-)  

I will absolutely do that- maybe on our anniversary this year!  But until then, here's a feature post I did on my friend Melissa's blog all about our wedding.  M. also featured our honeymoon here.

what is your family background like? I know you have talked about how close you are to your mom and sister, but that you live a distance from them? 

I grew up in NJ until I was in the 8th grade, then we moved to AZ due to my Dad's job being transferred.  My Mom grew up in NJ and is a 3rd-grade teacher, and my Dad grew up in South America (Bolivia) and works for the government/national security.  They're still happily married and live down in Phoenix.  My sister is 26 and is also a teacher, and she teaches 6th-grade Science. She played soccer at University of Wyoming, then moved home to teach.  She's engaged to be married in a couple of months to a wonderful guy and they plan on continuing to live down in Phoenix! :)  So yes, I live a distance from them, about two hours.

Oh sorry, another one. How do you choose people for tattoo tuesday? Do they have to have a blog? 

People will usually email me (see my contact link above in my header) or I will seek them out and send them a message/comment/etc.  You don't have to have a blog!  

Do you have a plan for getting your post baby body back? You look amazing already, however! What's the biggest change you see to your body now? 

Thank you so much! I don't really have a plan outside of just getting back to my normal routine. I'm most looking forward to getting a BOB jogging stroller in the spring so I can exercise with Henry everyday!  The biggest change I see is with my stomach, it's softer and squishier, but I don't mind because the only person who sees it loves me anyway. :)  My goal isn't to look like a super model, I just want to feel good in my own skin and have fun staying active.

favorite store to shop at? (online or brick and mortar)  


Someone already asked the book question... but I'd like to know why if you will be having Henry attend public school or homeschool him? Too soon of a question? Too personal? I hope not! Just curious! 

Public school for sure. I have nothing against home schooling but it's just not for us.

How long did you teach before Henry arrived? Do you ever think you'll go back to teaching? Maybe when Henry is in school himself? 

I student taught for half of a year at the school I ended up getting hired at, and then taught there for five wonderful years. I don't anticipate ever going back (I love taking care of my family full time), but it's nice to have the option there if I ever wanted to.  It was an amazing five years of my life though, and I do miss it a little everyday, especially my awesome kiddos.

So I've been toying with an idea of getting something tattooed. It'd be on my wrist, and it'd be something that reminds me to be kind. I had a tough childhood and can be extremely abrasive, but deep down that's not me. I literally need a constant reminder. (FYI I already do have 1 tattoo, so it wouldn't be my first one). What do you think?  

I say do it! But I may be the wrong person to ask! haha. 

I've read a few times that you were going to discuss your sleeve, yet I haven't seen a post about it! I'm so incredibly curious! You have such beautiful art, and I loved reading your 'Tattoo Story'.

I will be doing my own Tattoo Tuesday sometime soon and I'll explain it all. And thank you so much! 

I'd love to know more about your fitness and eating habits. Not any specific question, actually... But maybe some upcoming posts about it/both? Even at the end of your pregnancy, you still looked amazing!  

Oh thanks! And absolutely, I'm actually going to be posting about at-home workouts pretty soon! 

Are you vegan/vegetarian?

No, but because Hank is I eat like I am a lot. I was vegan for awhile, and I still love eating at vegan restaurants and trying new items that Hank gets excited about, but I LOVE meat and I don't know if I could ever give it up. I don't eat it often and we rarely have meat in our home, but when I go to my parents' you can bet I am eating steak right there along with my Dad!  

will you ever come to juneau, ak? ;) luves you!!! :) :) 

Oh Erin I wish! One day!

How long did it take you to get pregnant with Henry? My husband and I have been trying well over a year and it's hard to keep my patience! But it's nice to have others like you to share their baby stories to help hold me over :) 

It happened right away but I will suggest the Clear Blue Easy Ovulation Monitor.  I think it's a bit pricey ($45 maybe?) but a lot of my friends have had success using that!  Yay for babies and for yay for you!

Do you have any favorite hobbies or collections that you haven't blogged about yet? 

Hmm no I don't think so!  I'm not much of a collector- I actually HATE clutter and having too many things around.  It's funny because Hank collects vinyl toys which is a huge collecting kinda thing.  And as far as hobbies, I think I've shared pretty much everything I like to do in my spare time.

How is the southern region? I'm a Wisconsin girl looking to get out of here as soon as I graduate because the cold weather and snow are just about enough to kill me. I'm going to school to be an elementary school teacher and was wondering how's the area for teaching and cost of living? Oh, and the weather and the people too :) 

I love it out here!  I think the cost of living may be cheaper than where you are but honestly I'm not sure.  I wish I could help you out more with that. As far as weather, we live in Northern AZ so we get all the seasons, a good temperature range, and even snow. Down south in Phoenix is obviously a LOT warmer all of the time!  The people are great, but I think that may be a matter of perspective although I could be wrong! Good luck with school and your possible move! :)

How much money do you spend on Henry? Do you think it's right to have a baby when you don't have a full time job? Or you should wait until you've got a lot of money? 

We don't spend much outside of diapers because he's breastfeeding.  I think that it's all a really personal choice- I don't think it's right or wrong to wait until you have money to have a baby.  I'm sure it makes it easier to have more money than less, but I think people can make anything work.

What's your advice for someone who's thinking about going into teaching? Pros and cons of the job?

Oh gosh there are SO many pros, and mainly the pros have to do with the kids. It's so fun to come to work and know that each day will be completely different than the day before- it's always an adventure and there's always something new...especially when dealing with 15-year olds!  I found myself laughing throughout most of every day, and even though some days were SO hard and it can be rough dealing with teens, at the end of the day I typically loved my job.  The downfalls? Dealing with dramatic coworkers (sometimes I swear some teachers acted more "high school" than the students), curriculum mapping, teaching to the test (even though we weren't supposed to be doing that), standardized testing, meetings, micro-management,  being told what to teach and the idea that we should all be teaching the same thing, the same way.  That kind of thinking makes me upset because I went into teaching so I could be creative with the kids- I'm all about the teachable moment and being IN the moment, having fun while at the same time, teaching them everything they need to know. I think it may be easier in different districts, but in ours the focus was really turning towards assimilating all of our lessons and what not. Frustrating. Oh and speaking of frustrating, teachers don't get paid much. So if you have plans to make a lot you may be disappointed.

did you ever feel awkward dating a man younger than you? i am experiencing a little crushing on a guy who is a couple years younger than me, and i can't quite wrap my brain around it yet!  

Hank being a couple of years younger isn't a big deal to us at all.  I have to admit though that at first those couple of years did weird me out but I got over that really quickly when I realized I was being silly. We met in our twenties, when that kind of thing isn't a big deal, and I don't think you should worry about it in your situation either.  I'd just let it go and allow yourself to just relax! :)

What is your view on organized religion? 

It's absolutely 110% not for me!  But I say to each their own. 

How do you get ideas for your blog? I started my blog a few months ago and I fell like it's so lame. I'm not happy with it. Any tips?  

Oh my gosh I'm sure you are not lame at all!  I'd suggest you make a list of things in YOUR life you find interesting or that you're passionate about and go from there.  Do you like movies? Maybe make a top ten movie list.  Like to cook? Post a recipe.  Tell a story from your childhood, share a photo post of your daily routine.  Just keep that brain going and I'm sure it will start to flow for you! Good luck!

I'm going to school to become a high school English teacher!! I was wondering how your first year went...was it hard to gain student's respect?...get yourself used to the work load..etc...??? Thanks, I loovee your blog and Congratulations on your lovely son!

My first year was so fun and a little crazy.  I was scared for the first few days but then I got used to it pretty quickly- you kind of have to I think.  The workload was never really an issue for me because I refuse to take things home (crazy I know) so I'd just work double time during my prep and at lunch. I'd much rather work at work and relax at home.  My main issue with getting used to being a teacher was the planning.  Although I'm really time oriented and organized in my daily life, I HATED writing out lesson plans and found that I did best when I just kind of went into it and flew by the seat of my pants.  In time that became natural, and I think it made me a better teacher not to be chained to the clipboard, you know? As far as gaining the students' respect, I never had much of an issue with that- or discipline issues at all for the most part.  Because I'm young I think kids respond positively to that, but it's also a fine line to walk- you can't be their friend, but you don't want to overcompensate and be too cold either.  I didn't have a hard time figuring that out at all, and I think that is what helped gain their trust and respect.  I was just me, and I didn't tolerate bullshit...but I also wasn't crazy or condescending.  It worked out well.  I do believe that ALL kids want to be loved, so by showing each and every child love and kindness, and expecting EACH of them to perform at a higher level, I was able to really build a great, positive classroom where kids felt safe and where they felt comfortable being themselves.  I'm so excited for your journey ahead and wish you the best of luck!

Where do you think is the best spot for a wordy tattoo? I think graphics are easier to find a spot for but I'd love my next tattoo to be lyrics (just 3 words) from my favorite hymn and I'm at a total loss of where to put it. My latest thought is on the back of my arm/tricep. 

I like the side of the ribs and also right in between the breast area but a bit lower! 

when are you coming back to san diego? we were gipped last time and i want to meet baby henry :) 

Hopefully this next summer!

What are the brands of baby products you use for Henry? Like wipes, lotion etc..?  

Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers diapers, natural wipes from Costco, and we've been using California Baby body products.  I originally wanted to do the cloth route but we decided against it and I've been happy with the Swaddlers. :)

Do you prefer ebooks or the actual books? why? 

I love both for different reasons. I was SO hesitant about e-readers but then I got my Kindle and fell in love with the portability and convenience of it.  It will never replace real books for me though, and when I read a book on my Kindle and love it, I'll sometimes buy it in print form to add to our library.  I don't think I could ever give up all the things I love about REAL books- the smell, the sound of a page turning, everything.

I realize you are occupied with one baby right now, but how many do you want in the future?

one more at least, maybe two!

Which brand & scent to use for laundry detergent and softener??  

We use a free & clear one, I think All or Tide?

What about you showing us Henry's room? I thought you mentioned something like that... It'd be great! 

I so need to do this- I've been meaning to do it forever. Thanks for the reminder!

Would you ever consider putting your livejournal site up? I would love to see what you went through in college , and your first few years of teaching & your b e a u t i f u l wedding! It would just be cool to see the difference in subject matters :)
Any way hope you have a fantastic weekend with your boys & your adorable little puppy. Keep warm!

I actually don't think I'll ever post the link- it's something a little more private to me and I'll probably keep it that way. However, if I ever do decide to, I will share the link here for sure. :)

what are on your food list? what kind of food do you like to eat? where do you look for recipes? what are your home storage solutions and organization tips for kitchen, bathrooms, and etc? 

I try and eat as many fruits and veggies as possible, and stick to whole foods. We do a lot of vegetarian dishes throughout the week, and I look everywhere for recipes- cookbooks, online, etc!   As for as storage solutions, I try not to have a lot of "stuff" (drives me insane) so it's pretty simple to keep it all organized using labeled bins and what not!  We have a big pantry (first time we've had a proper one!) so food storage has been so great and simplified since we moved into this house.

Do you and Hank ever fight? 

Absolutely!  I think everyone does.  To be honest we don't "fight" per say but just bicker from time to time. We've been together for going on 7 years now so we pretty much know what makes the other get upset and/or pushes their buttons and we can avoid that.  When we were younger we definitely argued a bit more but now they are few and far between, thankfully.  I think that arguing is totally healthy though and I'd be freaked out if we didn't get into an argument now and again.

How old where you when you decided you wanted to have kids? 

Probably right when I fell in love with Hank!  I've always known I wanted to be a Mom and I feel lucky that I am one.  I love it.