Bloggers and Compensation: I Asked and They Blew Me Off

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I'm still stewing over something so I'm hoping to write about it and move on. Back in April, I got a private message on Twitter from the marketing people behind an app I use. I had asked a question on their Facebook page, and, despite my not having my blog information on my personal Facebook page, they must have followed the internet rabbit trail back to this site. They said they would love to work with me and asked that I get in touch.

I sent an email saying I enjoy using their app and I'd be happy to work with them on sponsored content. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Crickets. I never heard from them again. Had I gone to them to ask how to get my client as one of their in-app ads, they would have responded with rates. Because they are a business. Well, guess what? So am I.

After I sent my email I jotted down some ideas to present to them beyond a general review that would have crossed all budget levels. I know this won't be the last time a company blows me off after I respond to their soft pitch with my rates, but it's still really disappointing. I used their app yesterday and today, which is probably why I'm still a little bitter. Who better to help a brand increase their social profile than its loyal users?

Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "maybe they don't have any money." It's possible, and it's something PR says all the time. But. I can pull up links to other posts about this app, and the links the writers used are all affiliate links. So there's money somewhere. Not responding to me at all was a bit unprofessional and it prevented us from being able to come up with an alternate form of compensation beyond a straight paycheck. While cash is king, I am open to other ideas if they make sense.

I think I've been pretty clear about how I want to work with brands. My About Me pages are the most visited on my site. But just in case, I copied the snippet below from my Policies and Procedures:

Sponsored Content: If your pitch involves 'sharing information with my readers,' be prepared to receive a response with my rates. Let's work together to create a program for your client/brand. Whether it's one post or an entire campaign across platforms (video, Pinterest, Facebook,Twitter), I want to help you create exposure for brands that fit my site.

Yes, I do make exceptions and this may have been a time I was willing to do so, but now I'll never know. Even though I used the app today, this situation has colored my opinion of them. I'm not sorry I mentioned money. They wanted me to provide a service (and use my trust capitol to provide that service); I told them the service came with a price. It's too bad, because I think we could have put together something really fun and I think it would have tied in nicely with the posts I've done before about the apps I like and the app board I have on Pinterest. I'm wondering if I should send one last email or just let it go.

Though this situation was a little discouraging, I'll be sticking to my guns when it comes to pay and sponsored content. Hopefully me maintaining my principles will attract the kinds of brands and businesses that see the value in what bloggers can provide. 

What about you: have you heard crickets when you mentioned your rates? How did you handle the situation? 

Photo credit

House Proud | Our Home Renovation Story

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I got an email from someone who watched one of my YouTube videos and it totally made my day. He message wasn't about the content in the video, but rather a request for the name of the paint color in my kitchen. I'm sure it seems silly to you, but I took it as a compliment.

Our house is a fixer. Though there was another, more move-in ready model with the same floor plan for sale at the same time, we chose this one because it's on a cul de sac and had a tiny patch of grass in the front. We were naive enough to think we could renovate room by room and be finished within five years. I've watched enough HGTV and DIY Network that I should have known better. We've been here six years and the kitchen is the only room we've touched.

When we bought the house, I was working for a builder. Part of my job was to scope out the model homes of our competitors. I had a ton of ideas of what I wanted my first house to look like, all based on the gorgeous model homes I visited. I had a very specific vision inspired by one of the homes my former company designed. What a wake up call it was when it came time to price the stuff for our kitchen! Some of the the things I wanted cost the same as a compact car.

Still, I wanted to get as close to my vision as possible. Phil and I visited every home, hardware, flooring, lighting, appliance and window covering store within a 20 mile radius to choose the kitchen components. We had less than a month and only $10,000 (including labor) to pull it all together. We did go over budget but barely so. We made it happen for a lot less than a kitchen usually costs and we're so happy with the results.

Getting the email made me happy because someone else took note of our hard work and efforts. Our kitchen is a labor of love, patience and Phil's handyman skills. It definitely looks and feels like 'us.' If you're ever at my house, now you know why I won't offer to take you on a tour but I will ask if you want coffee.

Patti, the color you're asking about is Sherwin Williams #6270 in Soul Mate. Thank you for noticing.

Pinterest Test Drive | DIY for Cleaning Oven Racks

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apologies for not taking 'before' pictures for this post.

I found a list on Pinterest for easy DIY cleaning solutions and decided to test one out this past weekend. Since I've only removed our racks once since we've owned the stove, I figured it was past time they got a good cleaning.

Source: via Jordan on Pinterest Pinned to my Green Living board

The directions call for overnight soaking. We had plans to spend the night away so the timing was great. I already had the dryer sheets (Target Up and Up brand) and Phil picked up the Dawn brand of diswashing liquid for me. At the last minute, I also put my stovetop racks in the tub hoping the formula would work for both.

We left home around 4:30pm this past Saturday and didn't return home until around 2:45 Sunday so the four racks were soaking much longer than required.

This method definitely worked on both types of racks but not quite as easily as the directions indicate. If your oven racks have been cleaned more often than mine, meaning more than once in the past five years, your results will probably be better.

After the soaking, I used the dryer sheets to scrub the racks but also had to use a sponge for some really stubborn debris. The racks left rust spots on the bottom of the tub, but elbow grease removed them. When it's time to do this again, I will put the dryer sheets on the bottom of the tub and lie the oven racks on top of them and see if it helps keep the rust away.

I still had to give the corners of the stovetop racks a good scrubbing with a coarse sponge, but the grease was a lot easier to remove than it has been in the past. My only complaint with this method would be that I had some silver flakes on my fingers that came from the coating to my oven racks. Since I left the racks soaking for so long, that could be my fault but it's something to be aware of.

Since the oven racks were out, I smeared baking soda paste on the bottom of the oven, too. It worked like a charm. While the racks aren't in like new condition, this is the cleanest they've been in five years. My oven looks great and hopefully this will help eliminate the burning smell we sometimes get. Pinterest success!

San Diego Supports the Kings! | Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Summer Reading Lists for Kids | 8 Links To Get You Started

Monday, June 4, 2012

We feel very blessed that Tyler has embraced reading the way he has. He was one of the top readers in his grade and last week he got to go on a special FroYo date with his school principal and the other top readers. This morning before school, we talked about whether he wants to participate in the summer reading programs from our local library and Barnes and Noble. 

Since so many of our friends have been mentioning how hard it has been for them to get their kids to read, I asked if he'd be willing to help motivate some of his friends, too. So, we're going to ask if anyone wants to do a summer reading challenge. I haven't decided on a prize, but I think it will be along the lines of an afternoon at our local water park or mini golf course.

I tell our friends that, at first, I had to let Tyler choose the books he wanted to read even if the titles were things I thought were ridiculous like the Captain Underpants series. Then, once he decided he enjoyed reading, we started to suggest books for him. He seems to have found his genre, sci fi/fantasy, but he does read general fiction, too. Tyler trusts my tastes now (for the most part), though he did raise an eyebrow when I brought home A Wrinkle in Time.

To help our friends participate in the challenge, I spent all morning on Google searching for good book lists. Most of the lists are really long. I haven't looked through all of them but the few I did read have books across genres and of different lengths.

If you have an e-reader, check out a site I love, Pixel of Ink. They find several free Kindle books per day and have separate site just for kids and young adults.

Happy reading! 

8 Lists for Summer Reading for Kids

*My Pinterest board of books my 10-year old son likes has 3 links to book lists, including a list of suggestions for boys.

*This user generated list from Goodreads has over 5,000 titles in it!

*This list on's section on children's books has 12 links to reading lists for kids, tweens and teens (most links open as PDF's).

*The Salt Lake City Library created a list of 36 titles for boys.

*'s young adult choices listed from 1998-2012 (open as PDF's).

* has titles broken down by age range.

*A multicultural book list from Reading is Fundamental for grades K-5.

*26 young adult titles from the LA Times 2012 Summer Reading List

ETA: After I put this post up I spent some time going through my RSS feeds. Fellow blogger Kelly of Mocha Momma posted this book list for teens and adults a few days ago.
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