out of sync, again.

August 1, 2013 |  Category:   life rambling



Woke up in an unexplained bad mood today which totally derailed our plans for the day – and I did have some grand plans for us that involved geeky gadgetry and beehives (ok, it wasn’t as interesting as that sounds, but I had plans). I spent part of the day feeling bad about it, struggling to keep it contained and not taking it out on the girls. I don’t know if I was successful or not, but sometimes you just have to remove yourself from people when moods like that strike. So I did what I usually do when I’m in a bad mood. I cleaned. This is when the best cleaning happens. Not just surface dusting stuff, but scrubbing the grout with an old toothbrush kind of clean. You know, suddenly feeling the need to put that micro hose attachment on the vacuum cleaner and sucking up dust bunnies that you know are all balled up in the corners of rooms, under furniture. Yeah, that felt good.


I’m in one of those cycles where I’m feeling a bit out of sync with people again. Summer schedules can be so different from the norm that it’s not uncommon to go the whole summer without seeing our neighbors. Maybe it’s also because I’ve made a real effort in breaking the habit of constantly being on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, which is really easy to do when you’re on the computer working all day because let me tell you, internet ADD is REAL. For the most part, it’s been great to break that habit and it’s helped me to filter out the noise and just focus on what’s going on in my life, but the downside is feeling disconnected from the friends that I do like to converse with everyday online. It’s like missing out on all the water cooler office banter and then not getting all the inside jokes later when I do log on. Meh, I don’t know. Where’s the balance?
I’ve been blogging less this summer too. I admit I’ve grown a bit disenchanted with how commercial blogging has become and I know that I am grossly overgeneralizing with that statement, but I suspect you know what I mean. I’ve just about stopped reading most blogs altogether and I can’t help but wonder where it’s all headed. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with sponsored content, events, ads, affiliate links and the like (I’ve been using some affiliate links for about a year myself), but are we headed toward some kind of reality where everything is co-branded, sponsored and product placed? I know in the past I have considered putting up ads and I did go as far as have a phone call and some email exchanges with a few ad networks, but in the end it was still not something I was comfortable with yet (and I decided that I would only do it if I was completely comfortable with it). This makes me either a loser for over-thinking things (as usual) or some kind of insufferable snob for not being able to blog about, oh I don’t know, air fresheners sponsored by Glade. You take your pick. I mean, isn’t money just money? What’s wrong with me? But the more I hear from PR firms inquiring about a possible working relationship and asking to see my traffic numbers, the more I realize that if I did go down that road, blogging would become a numbers game in which I would have to start paying attention to page views and stats.
I really don’t want to obsess about my blog traffic.

PS – This is so not a dig at anyone who blogs for a living. I’ve just concluded for now that I would really suck as a professional blogger. I’m just really crabby, that’s all. It’s also 3am right now so obviously way past my bedtime.
PPS. Wouldn’t it be ironic if this post was sponsored by Midol?

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  • Jane August 1, 2013 at 3:39 am

    You are fabulous! Love your thinking and totally get it.
    Now go to bed…

  • Jen August 1, 2013 at 5:15 am

    “…but are we headed toward some kind of reality where everything is co-branded, sponsored and product placed?”

    This is what gets me. I’ve stopped reading a lot of blogs that are heavy on sponsored content because I personally am disconcerted by the phenomena of people sort of…sponsoring their lives, and the lives of their kids, I guess? I mean, here you are reading a nice little post about a family picnic, and you notice that there are lots of perfectly placed sparkling water bottles throughout the pictures, and at the end of the post you see that it was sponsored by the sparkling water company. It’s like, did you manufacture that picnic for the sake of that sponsor? I dunno, maybe for most people it’s a big “who cares” whether it’s manufactured or not. And maybe it doesn’t matter. But for some reason it bugs me.

    – signed, another over-thinker who is in a bad mood and up way past her bedtime

  • Katie August 1, 2013 at 5:18 am

    Isn’t it funny how the disclaimers say “all opinions are my own” when they mean “all opinions are my own but I’m getting paid for this content so I’m leaving out my less-than-positive opinions.”

    One prolific Australian blogger was offered money from an alcohol company for a sponsored post. She said sure! For $1000, no $2000! To her surprise, they agreed. She then declined as she was a recovering alcoholic, something she’d blogged about extensively but that they’d obviously missed.

    The immediacy of Instagram seems to be eating up some of the need for show-and-tell blogs like mine.

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      You may be right about instagram, but that has lost its luster a bit for me as well. If I’m out and about I might post a few photos, but more likely than not, these days I’ll post a photo every 2 days or so. I guess I am no longer finding any appeal in documenting so many tiny details of my life? I don’t know…

  • nina August 1, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I share your thoughts/concerns about commercial blogging. I do a lot of travel and so my own (daily) blog *looks* like a travel blog. People have asked why I don’t get sponsors from the travel industry. I think it would entirely undermine my feeling of ownership and control over the blog. I would think about the responsibility I would have toward sponsors. Not worth it. Some trips are not worth taking.
    (I also share your cleaning mania when the mood gets shaky. Win win. Brisk movement helps too!)

  • s August 1, 2013 at 8:38 am

    i think you should be sponsored by new york city since you promote it with all your beautiful pictures of the place…

    • Alison August 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I agree. Such beautiful pictures.

      • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:14 pm

        thanks guys!

        • Gracie August 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

          Ditto, ditto… your pictures almost have me in tears because I miss NYC so much… lived there for 3 years but now back home in SF… your pictures capture so much of NYC… enjoy your blog just the way it is!

  • Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine August 1, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Those flowers are so lovely! I just love New York City!

  • Kate August 1, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Oh this is why I still read this blog. All the “these words are my own” posts I read around the place sound so hollow, especially when they come from previously authentic voices. What gets me, is that every time, the blogger is most likely getting ripped off without really knowing it. What does the average sponsor pay a blogger? A weekend hotel stay? A pram? Some kids clothes? Paint for the new reno? All these things are like a couple of hundred dollars at most. It is advertising at its cheapest, and it totally damages the authenticity of the blogger who takes the dangled carrot. I have dropped many blogs this year, but yours is one that I still love.

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      I think for the most part you’re right, but I suspect select bloggers do get paid quite well for sponsored content.

  • Kate August 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Midol – lol! I’ve stopped following a lot of blogs that turned commercial. Everything they blog about just seems so….. fake. Your blog has a lot of great qualities but most important (to me) it’s real.

  • Marlena August 1, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I hear you. I read you. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Mery August 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

    midol! …hilarious!

  • Emy Shin August 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I don’t mind a few sponsored posts here and there, but when sponsored contents crowd out real content — what I imagine most readers are there for — it’s when I stop reading.

  • Susan August 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I was at the highline yesterday and there was the bee event for kids. They were doing some fun messy activities with something that looked like chalky gooey substance. There were some honey/ propolis vendors there as well. Its amazing how much this park has developed. I saw that geek street fair from afar but didn’t see too many people in there so skipped it. Maybe I shoulda stopped in.
    Hope you have a good weekend. This tapering off of summer is making me feel kinda crappy. Summer is too short.

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      Ha, Susan! Yes, those were the 2 events we were planning to go to until the day just went south with my bad mood. Funny you were able to figure that out!

  • Lani August 1, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I like that Midol line, too. Glad you find the humor in the midst of soul-searching.

    Also I really appreciate your phrase…”out of sync” with people. It perfectly describes when I just don’t want to be around anyone. It’s not anger or really anything negative at all. Out of sync is the best way to describe it…thanks.

  • Karyn August 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Love the last line re: Midol; always love this blog. Thanks so much for the gift of it!

  • nichole August 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    I think a lot of people feel out of sync in the summer. I am right there with you. We have been entirely focused on our business and the kids, and that leaves very little time for anything else. It’s crazy, but I don’t even see our friends who live two blocks away!

    We tried to schedule a birthday party for Liam this weekend, and NO one could make it. We had to cancel.

    You know my thoughts on social media and blogging these days. I spend a fraction of the time now than I used to, but I do miss the banter sometimes. That said, so much has changed, that not many people use it in the same way. Especially twitter. Even when I am on, I feel like I can hear crickets chirping … not many people around or interacting. Remember tweeting during LOST or engaging with ten people at a time? Those days are gone, I think.

    I’ve been struggling with my blog for a long time. I just lost all interest in blogging, and these days it’s just a space to update people. I don’t really like what it’s become, but I don’t really have the time to blog.

    It’s tough because I used to love to blog. Now? Not so much, though I can’t put my finger on why. I rarely read blogs (yours aside!) because there is so much fakery and sponsored crap. And at least with a magazine you have professional writing and ethics. With blogs, it’s the worst of both worlds.

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      the whole Lost era was probably the height of twitter fun. Now you can’t really tweet about TV shows anymore because people get so upset about posting spoilers! Award show tweeting is still kind of fun though.

  • Lynn Ewing August 1, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I love your Midol remark. I love your blog too and believe you have such strength, that you could have a sponsor and you would still remain true to yourself. Just please keep writing.

  • jen August 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    uh, internet ADD, why do you think I’m here 😉 i’m supposed to be illustrator pumping right this moment but i’m commenting on someone’s blog. i did however do a clean up of my blog bookmarks recently. i realized that i wasn’t reading most of them and was just adding clutter.

  • jj August 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Yeah, those sponsored posts always say “it’s my own opinion” but have you ever read a truly negative comment about the product?

    It’s just hard to recognize genuine enthusiasm once a blog is more advertising-oriented.

  • Emily August 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    You are in company with those assailing moods. Thanks for sharing! I was plagued today and it feels like my newish town has me in an isolation tank. I love soaking in summer days and all, but the relief of a good face to face chat with a kindred spirit seems to have eluded me this week and I am feeling it.

  • Myla August 1, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I totally agree with you about blogging. I have lost so much interest in a lot of the bloggers because there is no depth or substance in their blogs. I also get a headache from all the clutter of all the ads they have on their page. It’s very distracting and also takes away from their credibility. Like many commenters mentioned, I like your blog because it is thought-provoking and “human.” It does not try to paint a perfect picture of your life, just shows the real deal. Summers are hard. We are away most of the summer. I love not dealing with the routine of the school year but a part of me craves the routine of the usual and the comfort of seeing familiar faces.

  • Mary Anne August 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I adore your blog Jenna! Your honesty and personal posts are what I love about it!!! i only read a few blogs too … I understand what you mean about being sponsored blog…. Stay true to yourself and if in the future you want sponsors that’s fine … If not that’s fine too.

    It’s also ok to be in a crabby mood – when my husband and I fight the house usually gets a good clean up too!!

    PS. Had to look up Midol as I didn’t know what it was… We don’t have that particular brand in Australia! LOL !!!

    Take care!

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      That’s funny about Midol – forgot for a minute there that it might just be an American brand.

  • Pink Ronnie August 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    LOL, I just looked up what Midol is as well.
    Oh, I love those sort of cleans. The absolute best.
    I totally agree that internet addiction is real. What are your tips for cutting back?
    (Ironically, I just realised you are on FB and have just clicked ‘like.’)
    Ronnie xo

    • Jenna August 1, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Oh, I don’t have any tips Ronnie. I think you just reach a saturation point where it doesn’t feel good to be on social media anymore – know what I mean? Whether that means it doesn’t add anything to your life, or it makes you feel insecure about yourself because of all the stuff that people are posting about – whatever that saturation point it. Then you realize that it’s time to pull back.

  • Angel Y. August 1, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I think I’m in a mood because I’m exhausted. It’s summer, I’m way busier than I thought I would be, and I spend 90% of my day on the computer so when I get frustrated (bad design, lack of blogging ideas) I clean as many thing as possible.

    I share your sentiments with falling away from reading so many blogs. There are a few things that have definitely turned me off from the blogging world, including a one too many sponsored by posts, but I do love finding the new gems. I love reading new blogs by people who have such interesting views on the world. Anyway I am rambling but I just wanted to say, I am where you are right now.

  • Rachel August 1, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    These posts are why I love your blog. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: you are so real, and that’s what makes your blog so enjoyable to read. I recently went through my blogroll and cut out a good 20 that either made me feel bad about myself and my life or were just WAY too pretty and glossy to be real. I get really tired of the blogosphere sometimes, even though for the most part, I love being a part of it. I don’t want to have to think too much about what I’m writing; I am so tired of wondering if how I am blogging fits into my “brand” (which is the awful issue that crops up when you mix your creative business – in my case, photography – with your blog). Sometimes it’s just too much.

  • Inge August 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    It’s so nice to read something I’ve been struggling with too. I’m totally with you on the sponsored blog content! But I’m relieved to read about feeling out of sync in summer, because everybody seems to just love summer (although that might be the internet fooling me again). I also feel disconnected when I try to stay away from social media, finding the balance is pretty hard. Good thing you’re at least thinking about it.

  • Sarah Lee August 2, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Oh god, advertise, don’t advertise, does it really matter? I know you resonate with a lot of people and that’s great, I genuinely like your content and photos however …

    I just don’t get your middle class hand-wringing about stuff like this. If people want to sponsor or advertise, well why shouldn’t they? If you’re offering entertaining content, decent photos or recipes, I’m happy to visit a blog which advertises a bit. If a blog seems phony, well I don’t go there.

    I always get the feeling that you want so much attention from these types of posts, but only the good kind.

    Also, you’re exaggerating somewhat. I know loads of lovely blogs (elephantine, bawk bawk bawk, Susannah Conway, wonderings and wanderings, tales of a junkaholic, just to name a few) which don’t advertise, maybe you should go off the beaten track a bit if you want to read something a bit more sincere.

    Sorry to be the fly in the ointment.

    • Jenna August 2, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Yes, I guess it does matter to me, sarah. I didn’t say that there was anything necessarily wrong with ads, sponsored content and the like and I’m only writing about how I feel about it personally, not making a judgement on those who do. Of course there are great blogs out there – I’m not talking about all blogs; but as more and more content on other blogs get sponsored, I do wonder where it’s all headed, as a media form and as an industry that works with brands. Perhaps I should just keep these things to myself – I know I often think out loud. Seeking attention? Hmm, well, I have written about the more narcissistic aspects of blogging, so who knows. I certainly didn’t think about it when I wrote the post late at night, but isn’t blogging somewhat narcissistic in general? I always welcome any and all comments. I have never deleted comments negative or otherwise except for a rare few that have been particularly egregious towards other readers, and I welcome any and all discussion, so don’t apologize. Everyone has their own opinions. You just decided to comment, but I’m sure you’re not alone in your thoughts. Trust me, I have no illusions that everyone out there agrees with me or likes what I have to say.

  • Rita August 2, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Have always loved you and your family. Wondering if you are a bit burned out and have some adrenal fatigue causing the moods. Might be worth seeing a naturopath to get some adrenal support. Life is challenging for all of us. Forgive me if I’m being too nosey. Peace.

    • Jenna August 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Rita, appreciate your suggestion and I might look into it. I’m pretty sure my mood that day, however, was PMS and lack of sleep, nothing more! Hence the midol comment 🙂

  • jennifer August 2, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Hi Jenna,

    This post was like reading a reflection of myself this week. You are not alone!

    Like many people have already said, I’ve stopped reading a handful of blogs that have become way over commercialized. I couldn’t tell one from the other anymore.

    I love that you are genuine, and that you stay true to yourself.

    Keep doing what you’re doing.

    wishing you a good end to the week.

  • Natalie August 2, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Jenna, I love your blog and have been following your posts for so many years…i would read what you write regardless of whether or not you monetized things, however, that being said, I admire that you don’t, because that just makes you seem all the more sincere. We have enough of superficial-ness/ fakeness/ commercializaion to deal with on a daily basis. I am glad your blog hasn’t joined the band wagon. Your sincerity is refreshing and genuinely appreciated by your loyal fans. I find your blog is authentic and classy in ways MOST other blogs pretend to be. Please don’t be phased by the nay sayers !!! xo

    • Jenna August 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

      thanks natalie. the naysayers are ok! As long as people keep things civil. I welcome constructive criticism. Just plain mean comments – well, we could do without those, but I would publish those too. Sometimes I do think there is a lot of back patting in the blogosphere and would like to think that we are all mature enough to have a thoughtful discussion on something, whether people agree with something posted or not, you know?

  • Elizabeth August 2, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Ugh, summer schedules have been tough here, and I’m feeling the grump factor too — I WISH I used that energy to clean. And I’ve loved the conversation you’ve started here on whatever’s next for content online. I don’t necessarily think ads or sponsored posts have to compromise authenticity, but when sponsored posts outweigh the real ones, I tend not to come back. As someone who just put up her first ad ever yesterday, this thread has been incredibly timely and informative. I’m such a fan of this space, and your real, honest voice.

    • Jenna August 2, 2013 at 10:31 am

      I remember having the ad discussion with you last month Elizabeth. Good for you for putting up your first ad, really! Listen, we all do what we need to do to provide for our families, right? If that is one viable way to make a bit of money, yes, why not. I don’t really mind ads all that much as long as they are not the ones that pop up in the middle of content and follow you around until you close the window – I saw that recently on a blog and was taken aback, I must admit. One of the reasons why I decided not to put ads up for now is the lack of control on what ads appear. With the industry going the way it is, ad payout is getting lower on blogs which is why we are seeing an increase in sponsored posts which pay more. The sponsored posts are where I struggle the most internally. But as I stressed, this is in no way a judgement against anyone, just an observation that I still have some internal struggles about it that I haven’t overcome yet. It’s kind of stupid, really, but you should feel good about your decision Elizabeth.

      • Sophia August 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm

        It is not stupid Jenna. I think you already know that. Just as it isn’t (and I really hate using this word again) stupid if people decide to go full force with advertising. It’s a personal and business decision period. Thoughtful actions are to be applauded.

        • Jenna August 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

          No, you’re right Sophia, but maybe airing it publicly on a blog as I debate and overthink about it internally is kind of stupid :/

  • MCC August 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Midol – hilarious! It has been completely unintentional but I realized I am reading so many fewer blogs these days. Not blaming the sponsored content per se, I’m just not that interested anymore. I guess it’s like tiring of a magazine after reading it for a few years…

  • Sophia August 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

    It seems completely appropriate to bring up such a topic as blog advertising here. Kudos to Jenna for articulating her feelings that many of her readers can relate to. And for those who don’t, a healthy conversation about different perspectives seems to be encouraged if it isn’t mean spirited. I admire bloggers and writers who can articulate what many feel, but can’t quite express themselves–it is one of the reasons I enjoy coming back here.

  • Tara August 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for keeping it real! We are of the same generation and I share many of your viewpoints and anxieties. Please keep doing what you’re doing for as long as you can without sponsors.

  • Meike August 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Jenna, despite your concerns, please please do keep blogging. I love your photos and texts. So pleasantly different from most other stuff out there. Have you ever read “Supersad true love story”? Such a great read which adresses those same issues.