I’ve Got a Disclosure Statement For You.

You can never make everyone happy. This is true.

And yet, I try. I try in person. I try on this blog. I try with loved ones and with strangers, and with my kids and with the store employee at Best Buy who sold me new RAM memory an hour ago. I’m a people pleaser. I have thin skin and I take criticism horribly. I fear rejection and confrontation to such an extent that I won’t even get very into watching sports, because.. I’m nearly too squeamish for all of it. It’s so hard to care so much sometimes. It can be easier to hide away. But why never try?

This is a controversy-free blog, and it probably always will be. Squeamish about confrontation, I’m also open and I like people to feel welcome here. I don’t talk about politics or religion, or lack thereof, but most people can sort of tell which ways I lean. I read well-informed conversations and views all the time. I read and I take them in and I think. Occasionally I might send a private message about something that concerns me, but that’s as far as it goes. With privacy and a delicate touch.

This blog started merely as a way to share my children with their relatives and friends. It grew to share my family life with more than just my loved ones. It grew into a way to showcase writing and photography, no matter what form that would take.

That’s how I began. Remember this.

Last winter, I took on a pretty big data entry job in my town, and the income changed the way I live. It changed the way I thought. The dead of winter is a tough time for photography, and for me in general, and I began thinking about this blog more and how my writing could become a source of income, the way I always intended for it to be. I majored in Journalism with the sole intention to write my life away, and of course, make money. I realize that writing isn’t necessarily a moneymaking endeavor, but combined with photography, data entry, and odd jobs here and there, I thought it could help. Just the way it was when I was in college and taking assignments, there are a number of things to write about. I can be choosy, to a strong extent, but I’m not exactly expecting to spend my life getting paid to write solely about my brain. Does anyone?

No. We pick and choose our stories, of course, and we choose our own spins. That’s powerful.

I hope you always feel warm and welcomed here. I’ve had very little troubles here, if at all. Lately I’ve wanted to tell you that this blog will ALWAYS be full of writing from my heart. Even when it’s sponsored, I’m still writing about my family, my photography, our lives, and our happiness. And you know what? That was my original target. That was my original endgame. Researching products for my family – that make our lives easier and healthier – is an amazing thing. A surprising bonus.

It’s something I do anyway – in person, on Facebook, or here. I share products, services and experiences. And cookies.

So this is my one giant personal disclosure statement to tell you, that things here will never change dramatically. EVERY post is sponsored by love. I may change with the times. I used to write three heartfelt posts a WEEK. And then one day, personal blogging trended differently. I trended differently. My kids grew up and shed long naps and needed more of my time. I needed more of my time. Sometimes, changing times make you pause and look at your place in the blogging world.

I don’t always have the time to write like that these days, but there will be weeks in which I will. Maybe even MONTHS. There will also be weeks in which I’ve saved up three sponsored posts at the last minute because I’m all cool like that.

And if that’s not your bag, don’t read those. It’s ok.

I have loved and supported so many blogging friends, and they have done the same for me. As you go on with blogging, have heart, empathy, and understanding about your fellow bloggers. There are factors that change what we do. Sometimes we change the way we write and post, because our page views, our incomes, our loved ones, & our inner voices are changing too.

I found a way to be me and to gain income. That’s important to me.

We really are all in this together. And I appreciate you all incredibly.

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  1. Aw, absolutely beautifully and perfectly said as it is the perfect blend for us writers to not only write what we love and know about, but also make an income from it, as well. You are truly preaching to me and honestly just couldn’t agree more with you as we are totally in this together <3 xoxo

    1. Thanks again for your help with this piece. I rarely seek out editing help and you were the PERFECT person for the job. I owe you a cookie and a coffee date. When???

  2. This is my kind of disclosure statement, Tamara. True to you and your family and all you strive to make this space be. I admire the way you handle sponsored posts; I would do them if I could weave a story from them as you do.

    Keep doing what you’re doing, my friend. <3

    1. Thank you so much! I have no doubt you’d have a knack for them if you did them, but I love anything you write so.. it’s not a stretch.

  3. Well said, Tamara. If our blogs stayed the same all the time, then I think it would be boring and not like real life at all. I’ve struggled to keep up with writing and reading blogs. But I’m still here. I’m still writing and publishing. Making money when I can through it, because why shouldn’t we be compensated? All of your posts are sponsored by love. That is for sure!

    p.s. Can’t wait to see you next week!

    1. You’re still here! I love that. And you’re working on amazing things.

      I can’t wait to see you either! We’ll have to buy our tickets soon. They’re cheaper online!

  4. I love all your posts because I know they are written well and from you. You take the simplest of subjects and make all of us swoon. Love ya!

    1. Aw, that totally made my day!
      I really do take every post seriously – no matter what it’s about.
      I think you do too! Love ya back!

  5. Tara I love your heart, blog, your cute kids, and your passion for photography. And sometimes we are lucky and get Cassidy too. 🙂

    The conference today said put up those haterms blockers and click ignore. There are some out there that are downright mean and are looking to stir the pot so to speak. Don’t let them. Your blog = Same rules as your home 🙂

    1. Christy – thank you endlessly for that! And the people have spoken – maybe there will be some Cassidy coming up soon.
      I don’t have much trouble with haters, but wow if I did, all of these comments would ease that right up.

  6. Not only do I feel warm and welcomed when I visit your blogs I feel warm and welcomed by you,Tamara! Just as I feel Lindsay’s warmth and cheerfulness as she blows out the last candle on her Night Space cake that she shared with all of at 11:40 tonight. I feel the love that you mentioned from your words and feelings in every blog, and from all the happy and funny pictures of your family. I appreciate you too Tamara,and I smile each time I read “We really are all in this together.”

  7. I fully support your right to be paid for the writing I enjoy, the same way I pay for a book or a magazine. There are blogs out there that consist solely of marketing content and are poorly written, which I find insulting and refuse to read. This blog, your blog, has never insulted me. On the contrary, I take your writing to heart and look forward to your words because they always make me think. I don’t know who said what to you but your response is spot-on and full of grace.

    1. This is my favorite comment, or it’s right up there! I even saved up the email.
      It’s so nice to hear from thoughtful readers. Obviously I worry about turning people off, but ultimately, I have to think about myself too!

  8. This post is fabulous and shows just how fabulous that you are, too! I love that you write what you feel and feel with your heart. This is your corner of the universe, and yours to share as you choose, and I love that you do. I definitely think that most of us hope to make a few dollars, here and there, and that is just as it should be. Supporting and caring for our families is part of what brings us all together! Have a great weekend, my friend!

    1. I never really saw myself making money this way, but I’ve been so happy with it. It’s so different from what I used to do – which was syndicated posts. That was more stressful and for less money!

  9. Oh no have you had complaints for doing sponsored posts? I hope not! I write about it all or blogging just wouldn’t be fun. I love that through blogging I have met good friends who are very different from me in this world. I think it shows that we really can all get along if we try, and that maybe we aren’t so different after all. And with just a little money coming in from blogging, well that definitely helps to pay for the hosting which then makes blogging even better. Oh and it also helps to buy the occasional doughnut or two or three. It would be too expensive of my time and my family’s time not to take sponsored posts.

    1. Not really, actually! I’ve been doing pretty well in the complaints department, but I had a week with only sponsored content last week. I still really felt like I was having conversations with you all, but it totally stirred up this post. Someone once suggested I have a separate blog for sponsored stuff and I was like, “Um.. you know it took me 5.5 years to build this blog, right?”
      I heartily agree with the occasional doughnut..or three.

  10. Tamara, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being paid for something you spend so much time and effort doing. I love your writing and appreciate it so much. I don’t monetize much of my content anymore, but it does support the products and services that I’ve released and added since my rebrand in March. Blogging is hard work, no matter the reason you do it for and you should be compensated for that handwork. Just because we don’t make an income in a traditional sense doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to. Its legal, safe, and makes us happy. That’s all that matters!

  11. Of all the many blogs I read regularly, yours is always the most heartfelt and genuine, no matter what you’re writing about. You and your blog are amazing!

    1. Thank you so much! My blog and I thank you. I definitely have posts and even weeks in which I’m a bit “off” but I don’t think that is because of what I’m writing about – it’s just the tides of change!

  12. Yes to this! You deserve to make money doing something you love, and the fact that you are able to make a sponsored post still sound exactly like you takes talent. If it weren’t for the disclosure statements at the top (which obviously you need) many times you would barely even realize it was a such because they are so authentically you.

    1. Aw, thank you! I’d love to leave all my disclosure statements at the bottoms of the posts, and see if people knew the difference!
      You’re the best! See ya soon!

  13. I love your positive and honest posts, and know that if anyone is going to write from the heart when it comes to sponsors, it’s going to be you 🙂

    1. It’s so true. I do! I really love to mix it up. For a long time, I posted three times a week and each post was emotion and photo heavy. I really loved doing that, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t winning me any rewards – not for money and not with my poor family who missed me a lot.
      If I can do one of those a week these days? I’m happy. One is great.

  14. I give you MASSIVE kudos for being able to do what you’re passionate about and making money, too! Living the dream, Tamara, and your love for your family, photography, (and let’s be honest) MOOSE shines through in every post! xo!

    1. MOOSE and COOKIES!
      Thank you so much.
      I really feel like this is something big for me. I feel made for it. I foolishly hope it gives me money and travels galore, but it’s a lot of work to get there!

  15. Perfectly said! I love the way you write Tamara, it’s always from the heart, I can feel it! Continue to pursue your passion in writing and if you get paid to do it? All I can say is you deserve every single cent of it and so much more!

    1. Thank you so much! Scarlet would tell you that SHE deserves every cent I earn, and sure enough, most goes to food for her!
      I appreciate this so much.

  16. As always, you said it beautifully and with grace. I just read an interview with Heather Armstrong where she talked about how much blogging has changed. I think you cover the change perfectly.

    1. Yes! Did you post that article? I read it on Facebook. I loved it.
      There was a BIG change last winter. I remember people blaming it on spring break, but then spring break ended. Then people blamed it on summer break, but it wasn’t that either. Something changed!

  17. Your writing always comes from an authentic place, and I don’t think you could change that if you tried!

  18. This is probably the best disclosure statement I’ve ever read! I’ve certainly seen some blogs that go too heavy on the sponsored content, but for the most part when I see it, I recognize it as a way for writers to make a bit of money. I hope that when I do sponsored posts, they come across as genuine too.

    1. Oh man – yours are awesome! You actually inspired me because I think you did a few before me. I once said I’d never do them, but life changed so dramatically in that respect. I didn’t realize how much creative control you actually DO have when doing them.
      That means everything.

  19. Part of me wishes you didn’t feel you had to say this. Another part of me understands. Our Blogs are our spaces to do with as we see fit for whatever motivating factors are important to us at any given time. Some of us, we try new things to see if they fit, others don’t. That’s OK with me. Also, though, as a fellow blogger who does her best for her family, I want to say do what you do, however you do it. I support you and you are awesome no matter what you do with your blog! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much. I wish I didn’t have to say it either, but then I felt that I had to do it. This was the first post I’ve ever written that I sent to a colleague for editing, because I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way.
      I’m glad it didn’t.
      I love your blog!

  20. I feel warm and welcomed, and I’m not going anywhere!! I’ve moved in, found my seat, and I’m here for the long hual- thank you very much 😉
    There is NOTHING wrong with getting paid for doing what you love, especially when you can do it so awesomely.

  21. I always feel warm and welcomed when I come here… and your sponsored posts never “feel” like sponsored posts because you put so much of yourself and your heart in them. I love that you’re getting paid for what you do. That’s awesome and I’ll support you all the way.

    Love, hugs, and a high-five.

    Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

    1. Love, hugs and a high-five to you! As well as good wishes for your weekend. (half over..ugh)
      I try very hard for my sponsored posts to feel like the fully original ones, so thank you for noticing!

  22. Keep on being who you are, Tamara. It’s al good, and I’m thankful that your blogging experience has been a positive one. That’s what makes us keep moving forward:)

    1. Thank you so much! That really means so much because I like you all too. No matter what people write, I love to see their spirits shine through.

    1. Thank you! I find a similar vibe at your place. I love what you write and it comes from the heart, no matter what it’s about. (I love when it’s about food)

  23. “I found a way to be me and to gain income. That’s important to me.”

    So much this. I really dislike the notion that making money from something automatically means you’re selling out or not being true to yourself. It’s completely possible to love doing something, do it with integrity and use it as a tool to provide for yourself and your family.

    1. What you said is so perfect. I need to copy and paste it onto my brain.
      I know that before I started doing this, I wondered if it was “selling out.” And I came to the conclusion that it could never be so, because I have a choice and this is what my heart says.

  24. There is a point and time when you need to do what is best for your family. If this is what you feel is best than that is what you should do 🙂 I use to be told all kinds of things and, like you, take criticism badly. Then in 2011 I was able to quit my day job and have another baby and stay home. All because of blogging. Welcome to the club. I still can’t believe we haven’t bumped into each other yet!

    1. I really can’t believe we haven’t bumped into each other! I remember when we first became Instagram friends and I noticed we were both at NAP on the same day. And sometimes Mt. Tom’s! Our day is soon.
      I’d love to hear one day about what people told you, and how you rose above.

  25. Girl. you DESERVE to make money with your talent!! I have never felt anything but wondrous heart-felt words, images and messages here and I am THRILLED that you can make a bit of money doing just that!! Everyone needs to be supportive of that, of us, of our goals and our dreams.

    If they’re not? Then they were not true followers and friends to begin with.

    I have spent my last few weeks desperately writing and submitting for payment, amidst life’s madness. We are in a financial crisis, so I have dropped the ball dramatically on blog reading and the usual investment I once had. It’s got to be. I worry about losing friends, and I hate that I can’t spend more time and effort supporting other people I know and love…

    But our priorities are sound. Right?

    They must be.

    1. I appreciate that, more than you know! You’re a true gift to everyone.
      I’m so sorry about the financial crisis. We have SO been there. Like.. more than I can even write about. I’m talking not knowing how we’d be able to buy diapers or milk.
      You won’t lose friends. It’s like you said to me – true followers and friends stick around, through thick and thin. Everyone else? It matters very little.

  26. I have been doing paid stuff on my blog for years. Like I said before I pay for my daughters dance stuff with it and other expenses that is facts of life So hope you have great success! 🙂

    1. Actually, you were one of the first bloggers I followed who had sponsored posts. I was intrigued.
      I have another friend who was able to send her kid to camp because of blogging. Now who says we should all be doing this for free? Someone who doesn’t get it.

  27. It is your blog, Tamara, and you can do as you please. For what it’s worth, sponsored post or not, I’ve always felt welcome and warm when reading your words and viewing your beautiful photography. xo

  28. Great disclosure statement! I don’t do the sponsored post just because it’s not my thing, but I totally respect those who do and kind of envy the income. Plus, your sponsored posts are still you and your family and your heart – not everyone has the talent to make them feel that way. Your blog, your choice. Keep doing what you do!

    1. Oh man, same. For a long time, I thought it wasn’t for me. Not that I’m saying you will change your mind, but what I’m saying is that there was a time in which I thought I should do things differently.
      I didn’t have the heart to submit writing to large outlets, and face rejection/criticism. I stopped being able to blog, blog, blog to only my audience with no growth/income.
      So it’s cool to have found my thing, although it took me well over five years!

  29. I love your posts. I don’t care if they are sponsored or not. Your photos are amazing. I do sponsored posts as well and yes, sometimes people complain but it’s my blog. And I’ll have sponsored posts if I want to.

    1. You were also one of the first bloggers I read who did sponsored posts and non-sponsored posts. It seemed like everyone else was one or the other for awhile for me!
      You get some weird complaints, don’t you? I don’t get it. Haters gonna hate, I guess, or they’re VERY bored.

  30. Your sponsored post are great. They are true to what your blog was before you started writing them. I know it’s hard trying to please everyone, but I wouldn’t worry about the haters.

    1. Thank you so much. I really don’t. I come here and I write and I have connections and it’s strong. I will admit that if Cassidy finds fault with my blog, I do cry!!

  31. Oh no Tamara please don’t tell me someone got upset about your sponsored posts…?! What in the world? Your sponsored posts are tasteful and personal. And if someone’s not into it, then they should just skip those.

    And I get it, I swore I wouldn’t do sponsored posts, but now I do. I don’t do every single sponsored post thrown at me, and that’s how I know I stay true to me and my readers. Stick to what works for you and your family. Those extra bucks are what helps keep your blog—sponsored post or ‘regular’ post—up for all to read.

    1. Oh, me too! I swore I’d NEVER do it. Then things changed. I didn’t have the heart to submit writing to large outlets, and face rejection/criticism. I stopped being able to blog, blog, blog to only my audience with no growth/income. So there it is. And like you, I only say yes to good fits that I think I’ll be able to do. Also it’s more like I apply for them, so I can be choosy. As much as I wish brands were knocking my door down..

      Generally, none of you got upset at all. That would definitely register for me because I do care what my friends think!

  32. Wonderful disclosure statement! Isn’t it great that you found your outlet for your creative side (writing and photography) and make it part of your family’s income and well-being? I think it is great. And I am sure that everyone would love to be able to do that. I don’t like it when a site is just plastered with ads and stuff and I pretty sensitive about that. Heck, I have got one banner ad on mine and just got told off for it, slightly. But you know what, at this point I don’t care, it integrates with my site, even if it is not personal like your sponsored posts. You have to do what is right for you and so do I. If people don’t like it – as you say – don’t read it.
    Keep on doing what you love. You do it so well.
    p.s. I hate any kind of confrontation, too – but sometimes you got to learn *sigh*, but I still dread them

    1. I don’t like ads either! I do have one or two because of BlogHer, but I’m not even sure about them at all. Luckily they’re not too slowing.
      Confrontations are the worst!! I’ve come close to them but often take the more gracious road.
      (but not always!)

  33. I will always read your blog! Maybe not comment right away but I still do because I love to! If I have a way or ways to earn money from writing or from my blog, I’d take the opportunity as long as I personally believe in the product or service, why not? We never force people to read our blogs. I hope (some) people understand that if they don’t want to read something, they can definitely skip it.

    1. I kinda love when you are busy with work and life, and then you comment on three at once. It’s like a gift!
      What you said is perfect. We don’t force people to come here. And it’s free!
      If you don’t like it, don’t come. Sheesh.

  34. Hey man we all need money and all have to find our “moneymakers” – Mine just so happens to not be affiliated with my blog and I dig that. Do you, make money – no one judges. 🙂 At least not I. I barely write one heartfelt post a week but that’s all I can ‘pump’ at this time until time becomes a more available resource. We all have to struggle and hussle to survive, you and your family are no exception 🙂 I comment on one blog post a week no matter who you are but that’s again a time constraint. Also, a sanity measure. Lol. 🙂 We all do what we can, no need to judge or be all high and mighty about it. If they are tell them what Beyonce said: to the left, to the left. 🙂 Take Care Tam Tam! -Iva

    1. haha!! To the left, to the left.
      Like I said, I’m pretty controversy-free, but whenever it’s ever come up, once or twice, I’ve had the knowledge that it was WAY more about that person’s mental status than it is mine.
      I mean, really.
      My moneymakers are right here and right with my camera! And I suppose data entry, if I should be lucky or unlucky enough for that to come back in 2016!

  35. I have always struggled with this. What is the point of blogging? For me, I want to share my stories, my pictures, my recipes and I want to help people. I’ve never been able to stay in one mold for my blog. Some months are full of tutorials, some are full of recipes, some are full of everything with no common thread. Sometimes I’ll do three sponsored posts in a month and then go six months without one. That’s the beauty of it! And like you said, if a reader isn’t looking for what you are writing about today, they can come back tomorrow. I’m glad you are happy, after all isn’t that what this whole thing is about?

    1. I love that about your blogging!
      What IS the point indeed? I guess it varies so individually but all has the same heart – we want to reach out somehow.
      I really like sharing and helping people. I do it all the time in person, so it seemed a logical step to get the chance to do it here too. I have big dreams. I still feel like a small fish in a big pond.

  36. Every since I started following your blog, I look forward to seeing what you have to say. Mostly because I enjoy your writing style and your ability for poignancy. This one is no different 🙂

    I’ve liked being an online writer. I never imagined I would do this. I had a liberal arts education with the intent of being a doctor though I took every course I could in other areas such as the social sciences, philosophy, and religion. Nothing in literature or English, though I had to write papers in many courses kicking and screaming. Actually my saying was “Tests come and go, but papers are forever!”

    Several years ago, I saw a clairvoyant, and she told me I was meant to be a writer. Didn’t make any sense to me at the time, and it may stop at any time, but here I am, lol

    1. Thank you so much! I don’t even remember how we found each other’s blogs. Maybe through GiGi?
      That clairvoyant was clearly spot-on. Whether she set you forth, or you would have found your way blogging anyway, it’s truly something working.

  37. Keep on keeping on. It’s your blog, and if you’re comfortable with doing sponsored posts then go for it! (I’ve only been asked to do ones based on looking through a catalogue, with no physical product, so I’ve declined them. Oh, there was the bottle of weedkiller…) Your blog still feels like you, so I don’t see any problem at all xx

    1. The weedkiller sounds familiar!
      I’m so glad it still feels like me to you!
      I’d love for someone to come clean my house from top to bottom and then I’d blog about their services. I think that’s my new dream. Or maybe a moose tour sponsored post. Ice cream.. yes.. but that one’s coming.

  38. Your blog is always on my reading list and my not so secret dream is to meet you IRL some day. Until then, I enjoy all of your posts – sponsored or not and I am glad to hear that is not changing. Running a blog costs money so I totally understand and applaud the ability to earn some income with products you already love and use. What a great disclosure statement and look forward to your future posts always!

    1. I have the same dream! We’d eat cookies together, right? Right.
      It totally costs money! And it doesn’t cost money to read it. Sheesh. Some people.

  39. I love that each of your posts is full of love. I watched the movie Still Alice this weekend and even though the main character started to forget due to early onset of Alzheimer’s, then forgot almost everything, she never forgot love. It’s all about love!

  40. I love that you put Don Henley “Boys of Summer.” This song has significance to me and takes me back to a great time. I’m playing from your site now. Thanks.

  41. Amen! and PREFECTLY EXPRESS. And I get it, I really do. Oh the money thing, it’s such a drag. I am thrilled for you that you’ve found away to make money doing what you love. I applaud it! And I will read, and love, whatever you write.

    1. The money thing IS such a drag, so true. And for the first time in a long time, our situation here is getting better. For a number of reasons! I’m doing photography too, of course.
      And thank you so much. I couldn’t do it without you all.

    1. You’re one of my favorite residents.
      And you know I feel the same. I’ve never once felt anything but welcomed at your blog. Keeping it real.

  42. ack – I’ve given up the idea of ever earning a single cent from my blog, and I grew weary of being asked to do posts for companies or persons in exchange for basically nothing. My blog – it’s Mine. It’s also Me. and that’s pretty much what will always be there, unless as you say: I feel a change or need to share. And I own no one an explanation for any of it — and since I never look at page views or stats, I won’t even know if someone doesn’t like it and stops visiting. ha.
    IDK – is that a healthy dose of confidence, or complete utter denial? LOL
    we all search to find our true voice, and once we do, I don’t think any of that other stuff matters. People respond to the genuine and heart of a post: not always just the content. And you have BOTH in spades….
    … and who wouldn’t like you??!! seriously.. gimme one of those Captain America tshirts and I’ll fight them! 🙂

    1. I confess I don’t even know HOW to use Google Analytics. I think sponsored posts do garner more views, but it’s because of the SEO and advertising and whatnot.
      We all search for our voices – YES. My voice can be had for free or for $200 or for whatever I feel like on any given day.
      You have both in spades too, my dear. And I’ll send you a Captain America shirt. I’ve only ever had one not-nice reader and she does live in your country so there’s that!

  43. Tamara, I sincerely hope this post was written just because you’ve started accepting more sponsored content and not because of some kind of backlash. Blogging takes a LOT of time and energy, and accepting a sponsored post here and there is a wonderful thing. I’ve never felt like your sponsored posts felt too advertis-ey (please pardon the pregnancy brain and lack of ability to find the proper term). Keep doing what you must for yourself and your family. You’re doing a great job!

    1. Out of all my years of blogging, I’ve only ever had backlash once or twice – and I’m pretty sure it was the same person both times.
      I appreciate this so much, because most of my blogging friends are just like you.

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