Why I’m Such a Crystal Paine Fan Girl

******Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, I will be paid advertising fees. All opinions are my own.*******

When I started my blog, in 2008, I was only in it to provide news of our family to my husband while he was in Iraq for 15 months straight. Blogs provide the perfect spot for photos, stories, and videos, without bombarding your Facebook friends with such a vast amount of footage!

It wasn’t until 2013 that I decided to set the blog to public and go for it.  I was already spending about 7 hours/week on my blog, might as well make a little money off of it, right?

The thing about blogging is that it’s one of those jobs that did not exist yet when I was in high school, or even in college. You couldn’t major in blogging.

Once you begin to blog for profit, you need skills, or people who have skills, in the realm of writing, computers, marketing, and design. That’s an elephant-size amount of skills to learn! And I still have a long way to go!

Learning the ins and outs of blogging, without spending much money at all, has led me to a few inspiring bloggers.

The one who I have learned the ABSOLUTE MOST from is Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom and YourBloggingMentor.com. That’s the perfect name for that website because she is literally my blogging mentor.

Allow me to introduce you to my favorite blogging celebrity: Crystal Paine

My Fan-Girl Confession…

Now, first of all, I have to admit to you that I have never actually met Crystal Paine. I’ve seen about 15 or 30 of her videos (YouTube & Facebook), so I feel like I know her…..the celebrity effect….but in reality she only knows me as yet another obscure little blogger who emails her a lot….

Yes, I admit it. I have emailed her about 20 times over the past few years. Yeah. In fact, I’ve emailed her so much that recently I am getting replies from her people rather than from Crystal herself…

I know. You may be shaking your head at me right now and thinking this sounds awfully stalker-like. I promise I’m not a stalker.  I prefer the term “fan-girl”.

Hello, my name is April, and I am a Crystal Paine fan girl.

I subscribe to two or three of her newsletters, I’ve taken about 4 different online courses that she’s taught, I follow her on ALL of her social medias, AND I’ve read several of her books.

One time, I even got to be on her website. You can see that here: Making Over Your Morning as a Night Owl.

WHY I’m such a Crystal Paine fan girl

You see, in a world where no one teaches you how to be a blogger in school, you have to go hunting down that information for yourself. Crystal has proven to be an excellent resource this past year, as I have attempted to take my blog to the next level.

I love how her blogging products offer practical, actionable advice.

But even before I sought to learn from Crystal as a blogger, I was already an occasional reader of her website, Money Saving Mom. I enjoyed her videos because she pours her personality and work into them.

The biggest reason I am such a fan is that she seems to possess all of the exact skills that I struggle to acquire, and she teaches her strategies in a fun, easily accessible way that I can truly relate to.

Plus, we have so much in common! She’s a writer, a mom of kids similar in age to my own, a Christian, and she strives to live a healthy lifestyle.

My Favorite Crystal Paine Books and Classes

She has so many more than just these. These few are the ones I benefitted the most from because of who I am as a person and where I was in life at the time. I’m also super-stoked to read Say Good-bye to Survival Mode and listen to her FREE WEBINAR about that!

By the way, huge deal alert: Say Good-bye to Survival Mode is only 99 CENTS for Kindle for a limited time!!!

 

Crystal wrote a book about living a disciplined life! I scooped that up in a heartbeat!! Having a plan and a schedule is this huge struggle for me. It’s something I have to work hard at and learn from people like Crystal.

My default is to wake up, tell everyone to leave me alone while I drink my coffee, get the boys ready for school, then tackle my day with little to no plan at all.

Yes, I know. A failure to plan is a plan to fail…yada yada yada. We are trying, okay. There are four growing boys here. It is a j-o-b!

I cannot explain to you how hard I struggle to keep all the balls I juggle up in the air!!

All the kids….the house cleaning….the cooking…MOPS leadership….volunteering at school…teaching Sunday school…..and oh yeah!! The blog!!!

Can I get an amen here? Are there any of you who are just in this ultra-busy phase of life? Sometimes I just want to shut it all down and say, “Nope. From now on, I enforce rules and cook dinner. That’s it.”

That’s why I love Crystal’s books. She is juggling so many of the same things I am, but she brings time-management and discipline skills to the table that I KNOW I can learn from.

Alan is a fan too!

 
When Alan and I got serious about getting out of debt (car payments) back in 2009, we bought the book, The Money Saving Mom’s Budget. I found it quite helpful, and not only that. It was actually realistic!

But my favorite Crystal Paine moment was this….

Our Family’s Major Life-Changing Routine Inspired by Crystal!!!

Do you remember when Alan took over the laundry at our house? That was because of a YouTube video of Crystal’s that I watched where she talked about the strategic ways she and her husband divide up the work of managing their household.

I know. You want the YouTube link so you can show it to your husband too, but I have no idea which video it was!! I’m so sorry! It might have actually been part of her blogging class a while back that is no longer for sale…

I told Alan about it, in a very light, kind way, and I asked him what thing he’d like to make his responsibility. In a perfect world, we’d have a maid and maybe not have this problem, but in reality we can’t afford one right now.

I said something like, “Hey, honey. You know how sometimes I’m bad about not planning through everything? It occurred to me that I’ve never actually asked you what you would like your chore to be at the house. You do a lot, but nothing is like divided up and assigned to you except trash and the lawn. We need to have very specific jobs assigned to all 6 of us in the family to make this work.”

At first, Alan was very deer-in-the-headlights. He apologized, and we agreed that ALL the jobs can’t be mine alone now that there are four children. It’s not possible.

My husband’s decision

Alan thought about it long and hard, and he chose laundry, which was perfect because my doctor had just told me a few weeks ago that I did not need to be carrying baskets of laundry due to my low back and hip arthritis.

Spending less time on laundry was life-changing for me!! Plus, Alan usually does a better job of keeping up with it than I ever did.

Thank you so much for that, Crystal and Alan!!!

My Work Mentor

I enrolled in a one-time blogging course she did last fall where I learned the importance of doing Facebook Lives, which turned out to be an amazing way to grow my Facebook following.

Then this year Crystal opened up a whole new website for bloggers. If you blog, you have to check it out: YourBloggingMentor.com

When Crystal launched the “5 Days to a Successful Blog Launch” course a couple of months ago, I decided to read it. I didn’t think I needed it since my blog was obviously “launched” a long time ago, but eh, why not?

Oh, y’all!! I could write an ENTIRE POST on all the things I learned from this simple little 5 day course.

Spoiler alert: Some of the 5 days have way more practical ideas than you can implement in only a day. I have this huge list that I made from Day 5’s assignments that is going to take me all of September to get through.

So don’t let this fool you. It is not just for blog babies.

If you need to improve your blog traffic, take this course whether you already have a blog or are just starting one.

Link to Blogging University: Blogging University

 

Ya’ll!! I can’t tell you how much I have learned!! But this article has run long, so I’m going to save all of that information. Look for a future post in September, dedicated solely to how much I’ve changed my blog since taking this simple, inexpensive 5 Day Blog Launch Course!!

More good news!

I noticed that she is currently running a special FREE webinar for beginning bloggers, and I could not recommend that highly enough. Here’s the link if you’d like to try it out.

Now I’m just holding my breath and waiting for the intermediate course. You know she will probably do one before the year’s over!

So what about you? Are you a member of my Unofficial Crystal Paine Fan Club?? Do you read MoneySavingMom.com?? Which of her books would you like to read? Leave a comment below to let me know I’m not alone in my fan-girl-ness!

 

 


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Stories is Included in 10exposed.com’s List of Top Mummy Blogs

I just wanted to let you all know that I was so excited to be included in a new list of

“Top Mummy Blogs to Follow in 2017”

Wahoo! Who doesn’t want in on a list like that? Fun! There are a good number of mom bloggers on there who I truly admire.

The best part was looking around at the pictures of the front pages, and wondering why mine looked so…..bare. Granted, you can’t see my sidebar or header in the photo, but I think a re-design is in order yet again. Eventually, I’m going to get this ol’ web page looking like I want it to look!!

Be sure to check out the article here. Thank them for including me, and while I have you here, I’ll leave you with a couple of pretty Israel pictures.

Joffa, also known as Joppa. We’ll talk about this town in my next Israel article.

My Army Wives series has been my most popular posts this year. I’m thinking about bumping the Army Life posts up to twice a week. What do you think? Drop me a comment and let me know. It would be a continuation of my story, dating back to 2002, though I’m still hoping someone will let me share their story too.

Click here to read my funny story from Tel Aviv. It involves discounts and me changing clothes in a back alley while hiding from a man with a camera…

 

Click here to read about our 2002 trip to New York City.

psalm 100

Thanks so much for all of your support!

 

 

All the Articles I’ve Ever Written About Blogging

How to Blog Index: Every article I've ever written about blogging

What? You don’t have huge ink blotches on your desk? No toddler scribbles? I can’t even imagine a world without toddler scribbles….

Lately I’ve had a few different friends email me with questions about starting their own blog, setting up a blog Facebook page, and making all sorts of blogging decisions. I am certainly no blogging expert, but with 3 years of public blogging now under my belt, there are a few good tips that I’ve picked up on.

So whether you are a brand new blogger or an experienced one looking for new ideas, here is a list of all the articles that I can find that I have written on the topic of blogging, websites, and social media.

Now, in case you have already read all my stuff, see this first one, just published March 2017, so chances are you haven’t read it yet:

This one was my biggest lesson of 2017. In January and February alone, my blog saw more traffic from Pinterest than I got in ALL of 2016 total. Lesson learned: never ignore Pinterest.

 

no matter what your blog niche is, Pinterest CAN bring you traffic!

Never ignore Pinterest.

 

If you’re looking for all the basics in one place, this is my most comprehensive how to article.

10 Blogging Tips for Beginners

 

Need to grow your social media following, but don’t know how to go about it? I found Crowdfire app extremely beneficial, especially for Twitter. Read more on that here.

How I used Crowdfire to gain over 50 new, legit followers/month

 

Understanding hashtags and how to use them to grow your blog traffic is also beneficial. I explain that here.

How to Use Hashtags to Grow Your Business

 

Hmmmm…All of those were articles that I wrote for Monterey Premier. Perhaps I should occasionally write some blogging or social media how-to articles right here on Stories of Our Boys. The reason that I haven’t is that it I make more money if I write them for Monterey Premier, and you know money does come in handy…

So I’ll leave you with one last blogging tip. Money. Don’t do it because you love money. Do it because you love writing about your passion or creating images and community online. Then gradually the more time you give it, the more paid opportunities will come your way. The very easiest way to start making money is affiliate marketing.

Next time you want to write about a product or service that you love, go to their website, scroll all the way to the bottom, and look for the word “affiliate.” Then click on it, and sign up to be their affiliate. Insert the link they assign you into your article, and if people buy it, you get a commission fee, usually a small one, but if you do that for each product or service you promote, it will add up. It’s a great way to start.

Psst…Even Etsy and Amazon have affiliate programs! (My serious thanks to whoever bought the Fitbit I recommended. I was about ready to give up on Amazon links.)

Shoot me any blogging questions you have. I will do my best to answer. If I have lots to say on the topic, I might even write my next article in answer to your question. Don’t worry. I won’t use your name in the article….unless you want me to…

You’ve read all my articles and you want MORE info? Here are 3 more articles that I have found helpful, written by other bloggers, more fabulous than me:

Making Photos Pop with Picmonkey— Learn how to use Picmonkey to make awesome photos for your blog from the pros at Just a Touch of Crazy.

5 Blogging Tools You Need Now— by my friend Jen over at JenerallyInformed.com.

and How to Make Money Blogging–by Crystal Paine

 

Happy blogging, y’all!!

 

 

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