Sunday, August 21, 2016

Blogging at DEA this week

Check out how this blog is growing.
This was a big week for Dysfunctional Ever After! After working with Get Polished, my blog design and layout totally changed. (Doesn't it look great?!) There was something about handing my blog off to someone else, even if it was just their design, that made me feel a shift in the way I look at Dysfunctional Ever After. Now that I've invested financially into DEA, it's time I invest personally into it. With financial and personal investment, I'm happy to say DEA had a successful week. 

DEA Post Roundup
Bedroom Reveal -- If we're basing this week's success on page views, this one was the winner. Visually appealing, and was relevant to both bloggers and casual readers. 
Being on my own -- This post meant a lot to me, but didn't receive as many page views or engagement. These are the posts that mean the most to me, though. So tough cookie! One way to get more engagement is to engage on other blogs and rebuild that community. 

Social Media and DEA
I increased my Instagram followers by nearly 50 followers, and my average likes this week more than doubled what I'd been getting in the past. This is, I'm convinced, due to the use of hashtags and just general community engagement. 

Instagram and Facebook brought the most page views to Dysfunctional Ever After. This surprised me, because my Facebook just reopened, doesn't have a lot of likes, and I haven't put any time into it at all. (Time to work on that!) I was also surprised because I don't directly link to my blog in each Instagram post. But it's clear that working on my Facebook and Instagram game will bring Dysfunctional Ever After to a new level. How do you get to Dysfunctional Ever After? Directly or social media?

Blogging Resources
Here are some articles I found helpful this week:
How to Start a Blog for $50 or Less, Webhosting Secret Revealed
Obviously I've had a blog for five years and don't need help starting a blog, but if you do this is a great resource. The part that I found most helpful was toward the end of this lengthy article, keywords. It went through various ways that you can find trending topics for both blog posts and monetization. 

Wonderlass Resource Library,
The obsession with Wonderlass has begun. Wonderlass is clear, concise, fun, and totally approachable for any blogger experience level. If you sign up for her newsletter you get access to her Resource Library (password sent via email). One of the things I'm looking forward to doing this week is upping my Pinterest game, and her Pinterest Checklist is super helpful! 

This is a video/webinar and costs $29 to watch. Paying to learn how to use your iPhone camera and edit the photos obviously isn't ideal. That being said, investing financially into my blog helps me keep Dysfunctional Ever After in the front of my mind, and I learned some helpful tips and tricks that I'm excited to utilize on my Instagram and blog moving forward. I learned enough that I'm recommending you check it out too! 

Goals for Next Week
1) Begin creating Pinterest images for each blog post.
2) Up my Pinterest game, using the Wonderlass checklist.
3) Post three blog posts.
4) Engage more with other blogs, commenting and sharing other posts. 
5) Start using new blog Twitter -- or find a way to merge with my personal Twitter.

What are your blogging goals for the week?
What would you like to see from Dysfunctional Ever After?

If you've liked what you've seen this week, help DEA grow and follow along here: 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

being on my own

I took a job ten and a half hours and a time zone  away in May. Telling my husband, employer, family, and friends was a whirlwind. Before I knew it I was in my car on my way to Northern Michigan. Alone. 

I can honestly say I had never really been alone. I went from living with my parents and having them take care of me, to living with my roommates and soon-to-be husband who all took care of me (#ittakesavillage), to living with my husband. I didn't know what being alone would mean for me. 

But I do now. Now I can say I know what it means to be on my own, in a place where I don't know anyone or where anything is. Now I can say I can do it, I can survive in the unknown. Not only that, but I can thrive. I found myself quickly adjusting to life in Northern Michigan. I had my lunch spot, where the short woman with the short hair knew my order after just going there a handful of times. She was there my first time, and told me all about the restaurant, what was good, what wasn't her favorite. She quickly became a comforting face. I had a place I went when I needed to chill out. I knew the place I could hide my keys and shoes so no one could see them, and I could roam the beach barefoot. I found my local comfort creatures, the most important of which being Target. I got to know my colleagues as me, Samm. I got to be myself. Not the daughter, the wife, or the friend, just me. I was able to define myself, and be my own person, a luxury I'd never had the opportunity to enjoy. 

Being alone is a beautiful thing, especially if it's temporary. (Which, for the record, it always is.) I quite enjoy being married, having a home, and a dog that I'm responsible for. But I also enjoyed being off and alone. It gave me a renewed sense of confidence. In some odd way, it made me whole. I'm more secure in my marriage because I now know I don't need my husband. I want my husband, but I most certainly do not need him. I do not need all my things. I want all my things, but I don't need them. 

I must say, it's quite the relief knowing that at the end of the day, if you have to be alone, you can be. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bedroom Makeover

When we were first looking for homes, we thought we would get a fixer upper. It didn't take long for us to decide a fixer upper was not the best option for two busy people in their twenties. It also didn't take long for us to realize that no matter what house you buy, it will be a fixer upper in some sense if you want to make it your own. Unless you build the home yourself and pick everything from the paint in each room to the water faucets in the bathrooms, you will be making changes to the home and "fixing it up". 

So no, we didn't buy a fixer upper. What we bought was a great home that didn't need work, but we wanted work. Starting with the bedroom. A bedroom is supposed to be your oasis, and the orignal room was anything but. The picture below is how the owners had it. White walls, wood trim, and what we interpreted as no life. It just was not our style. 
The first house project we did was paint the walls, replace the trim, and replace the wood doors with white doors. Just a coat of paint made the world of a difference. Slowly we started replacing our old furniture with new furniture, and what we've found is the perfect place for family cuddles and Netflix binging. 
Paint: Behr Intellectual 

Not too bad for our first room flip, right? 
Now you know why it's so hard to get out bed every morning!

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Going through my Instagram I realized that I really overestimate the attention span and the desires of my friends and family. Much like this blog, my Instagram goes in spurts. I get wrapped up with work, life, and my couch and forget to post and engage with others. Suddenly I decide "hey, let's do something with this" and pick it back up momentarily. 

Today I picked Instagram back up. (I mean, kind of. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.)

I was bored and decided to take a gander over to the "Connect" portion that shows you all your Facebook friends and contacts that are also on Instagram. I found a few old high school friends and almost followed them, but I didn't. 


First I did what any rational human being does, and went through my entire Instagram feed to see if there was anything embarrassing that I would prefer they didn't see. I checked to make sure there wasn't anything that would show I am anything other than the ZOMG TOTES put together pseudo-adult I pretend to be. 

Shocking no one, there was plenty that needed to be deleted. 

This wasn't a lame attempt to impress my long lost friends or erase embarrassing memories. I mean, I guess you could say it started that way. But it ended as a wake up call that not everyone needs to see what the sky looks like today because they too have windows and eyes. Not everyone needs to see the blurry picture of my mediocre lunch, they're eating their own. I deleted at least a dozen pictures that were so blurry I couldn't even make out what they actually were. I deleted some photos that wouldn't make sense to anyone other than myself and the person in them, like the picture of Ryan driving a Uhaul. It was, again, blurry. But it also didn't have a caption. It's almost as if I just impulsively loaded pictures onto Instagram without thinking about the feeds they would be invading, treating Instagram like my own personal camera roll. I deleted at least 50 pictures today. Some of them, like the nearly dozen pictures of snowy trees, are gone for good and will be missed by no one. Most of them were screenshotted and are now saved on my phone for just me to have. 

Just me. 

This is a new concept, oddly enough. I usually take pictures only when I intend to post them somewhere or share them with someone. But today I realized, at twenty something years old, that I can have pictures just for me. I can have pictures for the sake of capturing a moment, not for the sake of sharing it with the world. For some reason, I find this incredibly relieving. 

I'm sure my followers do too. 



Monday, August 1, 2016

Sometimes we make mistakes.

A week after adopting Lola, we found ourselves crying on our staircase looking at her and begging her to forgive us. We had to give her back. She was a puppy we were not ready for. We had been in our new home for two weeks, were not settled, were not prepared. She destroyed pillows, ate toilet paper, bit us, and had a never ending supply of energy. She was not the dog for us. We liked lounging. We liked being free. We liked being independent. We liked being selfish. We liked being together, alone. We had a life and she did not fit in it. We were sorry. We made a mistake.

"We love you so much, honey. This isn't your fault, it's ours." We cried as we looked at her smiling at us, totally oblivious to what we were about to do. Then she laid down on the couch. This new comfy couch we just bought, and she'd already peed on. She looked so comfortable and so at peace. When we adopted her, we made this her home too. It was then that I remembered when we first saw her. She was happy, just as she was now. She was also with her brother. The two of them able to play and keep each other company. Regardless of the company, she was on a cold concrete ground. In a cage surely too small for a dog her size. 

The guilt set in. I started crying harder, imagining her on a concrete floor again. That's not where she belonged. I told Ryan, and he agreed. We cried some more, now it wasn't because we were going to give this dog back, but because we realized we were stuck with her. She was ours. We adopted her into our family. When we brought her home and opened our car door, we told her "This is your home!" We needed to live up to our word, we owed it to our puppy. 
So we kept her. 
Now, on a regular basis, we look at each other and say "can you believe we almost gave her back?" (Ryan without hesitation says "yes.") But we're so happy with her. She is so much work, but so much joy. She still has most of the habits she did as a puppy, despite our best efforts. But she also has a personality we wouldn't have been able to love and discover if we didn't give her the chance. 

We learned that she loves hugs. (Actual hugs, with her paws around our neck.) We learned she loves kisses, and her day isn't quite the same if you don't take her eye goop out every morning. She aggressively jumps all over Ryan in the morning when I first wake up, but if he's the first up she jumps in the bed and gives me tender kisses. Her favorite food is french fries, and she would do anything for a car ride with her two humans. She's brilliant. She knows sit, lay down, stay, wait, go, food, treat, outside, inside, come, ball, drop it, leave it, car ride, and so many other things. She nips at you when she has to poop, and is never one to forget to tell you she needs attention. We learned that she's pretty restless until you get out of her spot, but once you move she'll cuddle with you all night. We learned she not only snores, but also grunts in disapproval anytime you move and interrupt her slumber. 
We learned she loves the same TV shows we do, and will watch just as intently as we do, if not more. We found that she gets quite upset if she's unable to look out our front window at the passerby's and people in the park. We learned she'd love nothing more than to run until her legs fall off, wild and free. We learned she hates being alone, and refuses to do anything useful outside without one of us there to watch her. She loves sticks and destroying any toy given to her. She'll do anything for a treat. 

We found that we like being Lola's dog mom and dog dad. We consider ourselves blessed to be in the place that we are able to give this beautiful dog a home that she seemingly thrives in. We enjoy giving her our love, and receiving hers.  Quite simply, Lola doesn't care what we did that day at work. She doesn't care who we talked to or what mistakes we may have made. She just wants our love. She just wants our attention. At the same time, she just wants to give us her love and her attention, regardless of how we're feeling that day. I can't imagine a better friend, or a better mistake. 
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