Freckles in April: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Blog Therapy | Installing Google AdSense

Blogging can be a ridiculously time-consuming hobby. Most of us do it just because we love it and we don't have any real expectation of an income. It is nice, however, to make a few bucks here and there (to, say, cover the cost of your domain). I've tried out a couple different ad networks and Google AdSense was the pretty obvious choice after I tried them out side by side. Over a two month period, my income from my Google ad was triple what I earned from the other publisher. That's THREE chapsticks instead of one!

Like I said, a few bucks here and there. Keep those expectations low, my friends.

One of the nice things about AdSense is that it's super easy to install if Blogger is your platform of choice.

From your dashboard, click "Earnings" over on the left. If you don't already have an AdSense account, this page will look a little different for you. It will have this box-

Click "Sign up for AdSense" to go through the Sign Up Wizard.

After you've signed up, it's really easy to add Google ads to your blog. Navigate back to the Earnings section of your dashboard-

Make sure the "Yes" button is selected for "Show ads on blog" then use the drop down menu to decide if you want ads in your sidebar, below your posts, or both.

Then click "Save Settings" and you're all set up! Mostly.

Click the "View dashboard" link (visible in the screenshot above under "Google AdSense"). A yellow alert will pop up at the top of your dashboard to walk you through the final steps that allow you to get paid. Google has to verify your bank account and address, so make sure you take the time to finish this stuff.

Your dashboard is the gateway to all kinds of awesome functionality. I'm just going to show you real quick how to change the look of your ads so they match your blog design.

From your AdSense dashboard, click "My ads".

This is where you can see your ads and create new ones. Click the title.

And here's where you can edit the appearance of your ad. I like to have mine match my blog's current color scheme. It makes the ads less visually jarring. After you edit your colors, click save.

This, obviously, is barely scratching the surface of AdSense, but it will get you started. I love Google's native AdSense training, called AdSense Academy, for more in-depth information and tutorials on how to get the most of our your AdSense. You should, at the very least, take a look at the program policies as soon as you install so you can make sure you won't get kicked out for rookie mistakes (like clicking your own ad). AdSense Academy is also great if you're wanting greater control over your ads (like blocking ads you don't like) or want to run and analyze performance reports.

Also, note that AdSense pays out when your earnings balance reaches $100.

Questions? Comment away!

You can also find me on:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Think I Speak Korean Now

At the end of July we took our little fam on a road trip up to Utah for Aaron's family reunion and some quality time with my sister and her family. While I was there I met up with two friends from my freshman year who I haven't seen since...freshman year. We've sort of stayed connected through Facebook and blogging though and decided to have lunch.

While we were standing in line at Zupa's they outed themselves as secret bloggers.

THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING. I feel like blogging is my weird little hobby and when I find out that other people have blogs, it makes my lifetime.

When I asked them what their blog was about they kind of laughed then told me about Korean drama. And that they have a blog all about it. And I was like, "...wait, what?"

Korean dramas are kind of like super-extended (15-20 one hour episodes) movies. There's a lot of romantic comedy oriented ones but apparently there's also mystery and maybe even some action? Not sure, I'm new to this.

All I know is that I am totally hooked. And also I think maybe I speak Korean now because I've heard a LOT of Korean over the past few weeks. And I definitely got Erica in on it too and now I'm getting all these texts from her about KDrama. Keep in mind at 9pm Arizona time is midnight in New York.

At least I'm not weird alone, right?

Although, today I was driving by myself in my car and started laughing like a crazy person over something that happened in an episode of Coffee Prince. So maybe I AM weird alone.

Any secret KDrama fans out there?

PS Lie to Me (the Korean one, not the Fox one) is on Netflix. You know. Just in case you're curious.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shop My Closet

Need a little retail therapy? Click on over!

I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately: 

5 Quick Ways to Jazz Up Your Jeans
12 Head-Turning Dresses from ASOS
Clothes for Book Lovers
Kids Clothes for Fall | Oilily 
1 stylish Mama | Elaine of Clothed Much (my new series!!) 
80s Fashion Trends You Can Rock Today 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

First Day

Last Wednesday my little Stinky woke up, put on brand new clothes, picked up his shiny new backpack, and headed off to his first day of kindergarten.

Aaron, Stink and I went to meet his teacher on Monday evening and I ended up wearing my sunglasses around inside the building for a while. I looked like an idiot but better an idiot than the fool mom blubbering her way through Meet the Teacher night. I couldn't even talk to his teacher when we finally met her. I knew if I opened my mouth I would lose it (she was just so nice and so darling) so I smiled and walked awkwardly away so I could sit in the corner and try to get a handle on my emotions.

On Tuesday night we had a little "Yay Kindergarten!" party for Stinky and two of his neighborhood friends who also started kindergarten on Wednesday.

The kids LOVED it. The noise in our house reached pretty epic proportions while the kids had a balloon battle. At one point we realized the dads had removed themselves to Aaron's office and closed the door, leaving the moms to manage the chaos alone. So we "forgot" to tell them when we got out the ice cream and cookies for dessert and they missed out. Oops.

Stinky had a fantastic first day (except for the part where mom didn't realize pick-up was early on the first day. Mom guilt!!) and he adores his teacher. His brother, however, is struggling a bit.

He doesn't know the word "bored" but that's what he is. His brother is his best friend and they are used to playing together all day every day. He's not sure how to entertain himself when Stinky is gone! Poor guy. Fortunately, I had some last-minute luck and found a preschool with openings so he'll have SOMETHING to do with his days.

And that means that BOTH my children are in school at least a couple hours a day.


I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately: 

  • Clothes for Book Lovers
  • Kids Clothes for Fall | Oilily
  • 1 stylish Mama | Elaine of Clothed Much (my new series!!)
  • 80s Fashion Trends You Can Rock Today
  • Fashion Trends: Love It or Leave it?
  • 5 Questions to Ask When Cleaning Your Closet 
  • Back to School Gear for Kids (check out the dino backpack in action in this post!) 
  • How to Wear a Tube Skirt 8 Ways 
  • Monday, August 12, 2013

    Babble Emails

    I've been having a rough time figuring out the best way to get the word out when I have a new Babble post go up. I get a lot of people saying, "I love reading your posts but I never remember to go check!"

    Putting them in my post footers works as long as A. I'm posting here semi-regularly and B. I remember to update my footer (neither are a guarantee with how crazy life has gotten lately). Facebook and Twitter are hit and miss, depending on when readers are online.

    I finally decided to put together an email list. SO, if you like what I'm doing over at Babble and don't want to miss anything, click right here to opt-in. You'll get ONE email a week (probably Friday or Saturday) with links to the posts I wrote that week. Obviously, I won't sell your email address or use it for anything else. Because I am not a jerk.

    Use the link above OR this handy embedded form to subscribe-

    Kayla's Weekly Babble Email

    * indicates required

    And, in case you missed them, here are my Babble posts from last week-

    1 Stylish Mama | Elaine from Clothed Much  (my new series!)
    Kids Clothes for Fall | Oilily
    Clothes for Book Lovers

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    Happy National Book Lovers Day!

    Did you know that August 9th is National Book Lovers Day? It is! And I'm only just now hearing about it, which seems like a waste of a lot of good years. Although, I guess when you really love books then EVERY day is book lovers day.

    Anyway, in honor of the holiday I asked some bloggers to put together an outfit based on their favorite character or book. I LOVE the results.

    Go check it out!!

    I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

    Thursday, August 8, 2013

    My Work Space | Before & After

    For the past however-many years I've been using Aaron's old desk. It was one he bought off Craigslist back when he was living the single life and it was WAY too small. It was always cluttered and crowded and I hated it (except for the part where it had a super convenient crossbar for propping my feet up. I miss that).

    Even worse, in our new house my desk is set up practically in our entryway. If you walk into our house and look to your right you see my workspace. It wasn't very welcoming.

    It was even sadder than it looks. If you can believe that.

    I've wanted a new desk for a loooong time but it wasn't until I started with Babble that I could really justify it. I need space! To do my very important blogging work!

    So I made a trip to Ikea (on a Tuesday so the kids could eat lunch for free, naturally) and dragged my kids and my sister and HER kids all over the place while I made Very Important Desk Decisions. And then I went with the cheapest option. I have my priorities.

    It's still a work in progress. Aaron is drafting up a built-in window seat with storage inside. A new desk chair is on my wishlist. But, for now, I love how it came together.

    Thanks to the bay windows my desk gets lots of natural light. It's wonderful.

    I made these silhouette mirrors of Aaron and I almost 6 years ago but never did anything with them. I originally had plans for hanging them over our bed but then accidentally bought the wrong size of mirror clips and, apparently, this was an insurmountable obstacle because I wrapped the mirrors in a towel and there they stayed through two moves and many years. I managed to haul myself to Home Depot for the proper size a couple weeks ago. The pic above my silhouette is of my grandparents on their wedding day. The one below Aaron's silhouette is of my great grandpa. He was a Harley-riding California highway patrol officer and we named Baby 2 after him.

    In the middle, I've got my Shel Silverstein art project.

    I've left this one at its original size in case you are also a Silverstein fan and want to zoom in

    I bought a 20"x30" foam core board at the dollar store intending to put some kind of quote or scripture on it. However, I had trouble settling on something and Aaron vetoed the couple I was considering (since my desk is out in the open I took his opinion into consideration).

    One afternoon I was helping my boys clean their room when I stumbled upon my destroyed copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends. I have wanted to hang the poem "Invitation" in our entryway since we first got married and I realized this was my chance.

    I pulled all my favorite poems out of the book and taped them to the board. And then, since my work area was becoming perilously monochromatic, I threw some paint at it. My boys thought this was the most genius idea ever and they turned the rest of Where the Sidewalk Ends into a watercolor masterpiece that afternoon.

    I love that I can easily buy another $1 foam core board and put something else there if I get bored and need a change!

    The slide out doohickey under my desk may be my favorite part. With my old desk I stashed my Wacom tablet on the upper level (where it overhung a ton and was always in danger of falling onto my monitor) and then had to push my keyboard back in order to fit it onto my work space. It was incredibly inconvenient. I even instagrammed it a while back-

    Not the best state of affairs. But now! It's safely stashed away under my desk and I can use it without disrupting anything else on my desk.

    Also, I upgraded from this-

    I can't believe I'm showing you this.

    To this-

    SO much better.

    If it looks vaguely familiar, that's because it's my blog background! I inverted the colors (learned my lesson about having a white mousepad) and had it printed over at Cafe Press. Aaron was sad that I got rid of his company branded mousepad buuuut I'm not. Good riddance.

    I'm using a big glass scoop to hold my pens, pencils, eraser, thumb drives, and whatever other small odds and ends. And yes, that is a coconut that I'm using as the other bookend. My in-laws mailed it to us from Hawaii years ago and it was the funniest thing ever to open our door to a coconut sitting on our doorstep. I'm supremely anti-junk and throw stuff away like there's no tomorrow but, somehow, this coconut remains. I figured it deserved a desk spot for a while. I only ever have just a few books on my desk so I don't need anything too fancy holding them in place.

    So there you have it. My new and improved work space. I LOVE working at my desk now. It used to be such a depressing, messy little spot but now I have ROOM to get stuff done.

    I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately:

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    Blog Therapy | Verify Your Blog on Pinterest

    Verifying your Blogger-hosted blog with Pinterest is super quick and easy and it makes it a lot harder for someone to pretend to be you (it happens, unfortunately. Especially as your blog grows!). Here's how to do it:

    (Click any of my screen shots to enlarge, if you need to!)

    Go to your Pinterest account (mine is and click the little gray pencil icon in the header (which you can see grayed out behind the popup window) to edit your profile. Then click "Verify Website."

    You don't want to download the verification file! Click the red link that says "Verify with a meta tag" instead.

    Highlight the meta tag in the grab box and copy it. Don't close this window!

    In another browser tab, go to your Blogger dashboard > Template > edit HTML.

    Search for <head> (do this by clicking within the HTML body and pressing ctrl+f). Right BELOW <head>, paste in the meta tag that Pinterest created for you. Click "Save Template."

    Then, hop back over to your Pinterest window.

    Click "Complete Verification." Nothing happened when I clicked, but when I clicked again it said it was already verified. So I clicked over and, sure enough-

    I'm verified!

    Questions? Go ahead and leave them in the comments.

    You can also find me on:

    Sunday, August 4, 2013

    Baby, it's Your Birthday

    Today, Aaron turns 34.

    Lately I've been feeling the heft of how long we've been together. There's legitimacy that comes with almost 8 years of marriage, you know? We got married so quickly (5 months + 11 days from strangers to spouses) that, for a while, I felt like we were imposters. We were just playing at marriage! And having babies!

    But now we're totally legit.

    Every year on my birthday I congratulate Aaron on marrying someone who has gotten so much more awesome with age. This year it occurred to me that I ought to congratulate myself on the same thing. I can give myself a thorough back pat for marrying someone who works tirelessly to provide for our family. Someone who loves our children unconditionally. Someone who listens to my babbling, validates my concerns and encourages me in my dreams. Someone who has always made me laugh and who laughs at my stupid dirty jokes in return.

    Eight years ago today Aaron asked my dad for permission to marry me. We were so excited to grow old together! A couple weeks ago I noticed some gray creeping into Aaron's beard and some wrinkling around my eyes. I realized, we're doing it. 

    There's no one else I'd rather go gray and wrinkly with.

    Happy Birthday, Old Man!

    I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written recently: 

    Fashion Trends: Love It or Leave it?
    5 Questions to Ask When Cleaning Out Your Closet
    Back to School Gear for Kids
    8 Ways to Wear a Tube Skirt
    15 Trendy Geometric Jewelry Pieces
    How to Wear Faux Leather (and Not Look Like a Biker)

    Friday, August 2, 2013

    Breaking Up with My Chemicals: Using Dr. Bronner's

    I've never been particularly devoted to one body wash or another. Whatever was on sale and smelled nice was good enough for me!

    A while back Aaron heard about Dr. Bronner's and, never one to do things halfway, ordered the largest bottle of the peppermint liquid soap. He loved it from the get-go and uses it for his shampoo AND body wash but it took me longer to climb on board. It's kind of intense if you don't dilute it (you can, but you don't have to) and I was happy with whatever body wash was sitting in my shower at the time.

    Then, I started cutting out chemicals. My body wash was easy to ditch- I already had a much better alternative waiting for me in the shower!

    Unfortunately, Dr. Bronner's is super drying for me (even my coconut oil routine is no match for it) so I've opted for a minimalist washing approach- "pits and bits" is how I've seen it referred to in various beauty forums. I occasionally bust out my loofah for a full body scrub when I feel like I need it but otherwise? Minimal works just fine for me. It certainly cuts down on my shower time and my skin seems healthy and happy.

    The nice thing about Dr. Bronner's is that it's super multi-functional. You can also use it as....


    I know! Gross! It's like washing your mouth with soap!

    But it's actually not so bad, especially since we buy the peppermint soap. The aftertaste takes some getting used to but my teeth feel squeaky clean and I feel good that I'm cutting out two chemical-laden products with one organic stone. One or two drops on your toothbrush, scrub scrub and done!

    Have you used Dr. Bronner's? Have you tried it for laundry? I'm kind of scared to attempt it! I'm having flash backs to our flooded laundry room 6 months ago....

    I also write for Babble! Here's what I've written lately: 
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