Valentine’s Gift Ideas

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Pretty Little Things Review

Pretty Little Things Review

As part of my Fashion Resolution for 2018, I decided to look into buying some new clothes. I wanted to find somewhere with cheap yet cute pieces that I could play around with.  There were a couple places that kept coming up as I was looking, but Pretty Little Things stood out because of its loyal social media following (which I assumed would make them decent) so I decided to place an order.  So, without further ado, here’s my Pretty Little Things review.

The Boutique

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Pretty Little Things is an “online boutique” known for having cute trendy clothes at cheap prices. Admittedly, a lot of the featured outfit on Pretty Little Things were not my style, but I figured I could find some pieces that I could use.

I picked out a couple T-shirts, a pair of denim jeans and a cute jacket that I thought I could mix and match with my existing closet. I put my card info in, clicked “order” and sat back and waited, and waited and waited. Weeks later and I’m still waiting on those pieces from Pretty Little Things.

What Happened?

After I figured out that I wasn’t getting what I had ordered and that my card had still been charged I tried to reach out to the company and not hearing back, I started going to alternative review sites to try and get someone’s attention. Turns out I’m not the only one and my experience is seemingly normal….

Review after review of one stars and two stars with the same story: “I placed an order and waited and waited and never got my clothes so I tried emailing support and never heard back”.

Sites like Trust Pilot, and the BBB give Pretty Little Things a one star review with many individuals leaving comments about the poor customer service- which equated to no customer service, and never getting their orders.

Thankfully, a representative from Pretty Little Things did contact me on Trust Pilot and told me that my items “must have been lost in transit” something a LOT of people were told.  They also told me they were refunding my card. I’m still waiting on that refund, but from the other reviews it sounds like I will get it.

Pretty Little Things Review Final Thoughts

The bottom line for me, is that Pretty Little Things is not somewhere I would ever shop at again and I would caution anyone to do so… At least take some time to read reviews and be prepared for the worst. It really seemed after I read the reviews that they seem to make excuses for not only their poor customer service, but the fact that you never receive your clothes.  With that being said, it’s not a complete scam some people do review their pieces with no problem.. so it’s a gamble.  Be it one I’m not willing to take again.

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How Much Money Do Bloggers Make?

How Much Money Do Bloggers Make?

For some reason, there is this perception that all bloggers who are doing this full time must be making bank, or that you are a lazy millennial who doesn’t want a “real job”… This also seems to be true of social media influencers such as Youtubers and Instagramers. So, perhaps I get asked the question ” So, how much money do you make?”, more than most, but my response is probably not appealing to most people- “I make enough”.

To be honest, I never quite know how to answer this question because the answer is multifaceted. The amount I make every month changes- sometimes drastically-as do my expenses.  Another thing, is that I earn about half my income now from Youtube and Instagram…Because I’ve diversified not only my income, but the way I drive traffic to my blog.

So, I’ll try to break down how much I personally make, in a bit, but first let’s explore how I and others make money in the first place so you can understand why this question is so loaded and so difficult to answer as a whole.

Understanding How Bloggers & Influencers Make Money

To really understand the potential earning for a blogger, you first have to understand how bloggers make money.

1, Google AdSense (or any other display pay per click advertising platform)

These platforms allow you to places ads on your site and you get paid per click.  Now, the average conversion rate is said to be about 3% across the web.  Meaning that 3% of people who visit a website will click on an advertisement and make the website some money.

The amount you get paid per click can vary from a penny to over $5.00, or in super rare cases $10.00 .. I always like to do a conservative number and say that the average click is probably between 25 cents and $1.00.  So, taking that lower number of 25 cents, let’s see how much you could make with various visitors.

1000 visitors= (1000)(3%)= (30)(.25)=$7.50

10,000 visitors= (10000)(3%)= (300)(.25)=$75.00

100,000 visitors= (100000)(3%)=(3000)(.25)=$750

1,000,000 visitors= (1000000)(3%)=(30,000)(.25)=$7,500

Now, obviously this is a VERY rough calculation because every individual website will have a different conversion rate (percent of people that click on ads) and different amounts they make per click. 

For instance, I had a site a couple years ago that made over $3000 a month on ads with only 3000 visitors.  I attribute that to the fact that it was a diet site so the ads paid more because there’s a lot of money in the diet industry. There were also lots of relevant ads to be displayed on the site.  A site about knitting is probably not going to make anywhere near that though… In fact they would probably make something more along the lines of our example.

2.  Promoting Products Through Affiliate Marketing

Once again, the amount of money blogs make with this is very subjective to the type of blog and the products they’re promoting. 

A Classic Affiliate Promotion Picture

Someone who uses Amazon to promote a variety of products will only make 4% commission a sale.  Whereas someone who uses a luxury vacation rental affiliate platform might make 30% a sale.  Like I said above, I like to be conservative with my math when I’m calculating what I (or others) could make with a product.  So, I assume 3% will click on the link and 3% will buy it.  This is REALLY low for most industry standards, because most of the time if someone is clicking, they’re interested in the product. However, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised in my opinion than let down and not able to pay your bills!

So let’s say you have a style site and you’re going to promote a pair of shoes using Amazon. If that pair of shoes cost $40, then you’ll make $1.60 per sale with the 4% commission.  So, If 3% of your visitors click to go look at the shoes and then 3% buy it, you’ll need approximately 1000 visitors to your website to make one sale- which will make you an income of $1.60.

On the other hand, if you have a luxury travel blog and you promote a luxury vacation get away that costs $5,000 and you make 30% commission, you’ll make $1,500 a sale.  So for that same 1,000 visitors we talked about with the Amazon example, you could make $1,500.

Is it starting to become clear why it’s so difficult to answer the question of how much bloggers make?!

3. Selling Their Own Products or Services

The product you sell depend on your site. There are Eproducts and physical products which have different costs to make and sell and various profits.  Even a small site can make a lot of money selling products if they know what their audience wants.

A Blogger Could Sell The Ebook, Or The Cooking Stand…

For instance, the diet site I owned a couple years ago was on vegan diets, so I sold two different vegan diet EBooks.  Those Ebooks were $29.99 and $39.99.  I also bundled them and sold them together for $59.99.  About 50% of my traffic clicked into my Ebook section and 30% of them bought one of the programs… With 4000 visitors a month I sold 600 Ebooks on average a month. Obviously, the total I made varied depending on the particular books sold, but you get the idea.  Even with a small number of visitors, I made some good money.  But, I KNEW what they wanted because I made the site very niche and specifically for them.

A lifestyle blog, such as this one, is a bit harder to define and make products for which means there isn’t as much potential for large profit without large numbers of visitors… so once again, the amount you can make with a product depends on a number of factors!

Along with products, some bloggers sell services which can be in person- such as a fashion styling appointment, or online- such as a website consultation.  Typically, services are charged per hour and bloggers typically charge at least $100 an hour.

4. Sponsorships

Typically, we think of sponsorships as being something only Influencers get, but bloggers can get sponsors as well for reviews, product promotions etc.

  Reviews Of Products Are A Common Way Sponsorhips Work

If you’re unaware of what a sponsorship is, it’s when a business pays you to feature their product or services in a post. The amount you can get paid for a sponsorship varies immensely from blog to blog. The average blog post is probably worth at least a few hundred per sponsored post, but the reality is that it depends on the brand that wants to work with your site and what your site is worth.

It’s impossible to say what a site might make with sponsored posts, but it could be six figures a year in the right industry!

5. Other Ways Bloggers Make Money

This article isn’t about ways to monetize your blog, it’s about how much bloggers make.

So, I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but there are  TONS of creative ways that bloggers also make money besides the normal.

For instance, speaking engagements, are highly profitable.  Pay-per click affiliate marketing is becoming more popular, as is Livestreaming on platforms like YouNow, and making content for loyal fans using Patreon.  You even have people offering paid email newsletters and membership platforms as additional ways to make money on their sites.

The Determining factors For How Much A Blog Makes

The amount one makes blogging depends on many factors like:

  • Your niche (The area you blog in- style, beauty, food, home and garden, trucking etc.)
  • How long you’ve been at it and how well known you’ve become
  • If your networking has been effective
  • If you have good content that makes people keep coming back and other websites link to you.
  • If your topic has advertisers who want to pay to work with you (or put ads on your site via Google Adsense)
  • How you’ve monetized your site- are you using multiple income streams (ads, affiliates, sponsorships etc?)
  • How good of a business owner you are
  • How well you know your audience
  • Plus many other factors!

As a broad rule of thumb, the amount you can expect to make is proportional to the time and energy you put into your blog and how targeted the choices you make are.  I made my first $1000 the month I started my blog, but that’s not normal.  Most people go at least 3 months before they even see a penny and at least a year if not longer before they make a full time income.

But, as you’ve seen above, there are many ways to monetize a blog and make a good income, even with a small number of visitors a month- if you have a plan, know your audience, and hustle the opportunities are there!  With that being said, most bloggers who start blogging as a hobby, never turn their blogs into a business- or it takes them years to do so.

How Much I Make As A Blogger

I told you in the beginning of the blog that I would talk about how much I make as a blogger.  Here’s the deal, I honestly can’t say I make a certain amount every month and that there’s a normal for me.

I’ve had months where I’ve made tens of thousands, and months where I’ve been in the hole. I started online with niche sites (essentially blogs focused on one tiny topic).  I used a lot of various ways to monetize those sites- which means when I had traffic I made a good income. I also catered to very specific communities.  But I did one thing extremely wrong. I had only one traffic source- Google.  So, basically I relied on my sites ranking on Google where people could find.  That was my only source of traffic. For the most part I stayed in the top five positions in Google, but, sometimes, Google would knock my site down in rankings and I wouldn’t get the traffic I normally had.  In those months I would make way less money, or even sometimes be in the whole $20 or $50 at the end of the month because I still had the expenses that I had when I was making $3,000 or $10,000 or $30,000…. Ultimately I made a decent profit throughout the year, but I can’t say there was an amount I made that was normal, nor could I say “I make a $100,000” or “$40,000”, it was just too subjective to a bazillion elements.

This year however, I’m focusing on building out this particular site and building out multiple channels of traffic so I can project an amount that’s reasonable to live on and not have to worry so much about how Google feels about my site.  I’m projecting with a lot of hard work to make a minimum of $40,000 this year with this site, and equal amounts with Youtube and Instagram.

Ultimately what you can make as a blogger depends on so many things, with a good plan and a good topic, making a living as a blogger is definitely possible.

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Rosalia Lombardo’s Sister

Rosalia Lombardo’s Sister

If you’ve read or watched me before you’ll know that I love to travel and also have a fascination with strange cultural traditions and religious practices.  Rosalia Lombardo introduced me to a whole world of morbid and strange traditions that result in the preservation of bodies for various purposes.

You see, Rosalia is a two year old little girl who is also a nearly 100 year old mummy.  She is best known for her stunning beauty and sleep-like appearance which has given her the nick name Sleeping Beauty.  The strangest part about her though, is that she was purposely mummified by her grieving father to be placed in the Capuchin Catacombs and displayed for all eternity.

Going to see Rosalia was my first experience walking amongst the dead- literally.  But what’s interesting about these dead, is they desired to be walked amongst.  To them, being displayed in this manner allowed them to spend time with their loved ones, be held at high esteem and have an immortal connection to the living.

I’ve done an entire piece on Rosalia and the  Capuchin Catacombs already and you can read that here.

You can also watch my video about the catacombs here.

But, today, I want to talk about Rosalia Lombardo’s sister whose name also happens to be Rosalia Lombardo.  Why? Because a lot of you have asked if I know anything about her.

The truth is, not many people do.

What We Know

Rosalia Lombardo’s sister was born in 1925, but Rosalia (the first one) died in 1920. Obviously, Rosalia (1925) was named in honor of her deceased sister.  From the time Rosalia was little her parents reportedly took her to visit her sister in her glass casket amongst the other residents of the catacombs.  They would sit with her and visit for sometimes hours.  She is said to have continued those visits on her own coming to the catacombs in Palermo every day from Rome.

This particular account is impossible as in our modern age, it takes over ten hours to drive or an hour to fly from Rome to Palermo.  But, it’s a sort of romantic story isn’t it?  A love so strong that the sister that bears the deceased’s name travels hours every day….

Another, more realistic accounts say that Rosalia went and visited her deceased sister every other weekend from Rome and not only created a bond with her, but with the monks who resided there.

Either way, we know Rosalia was loyal and full of love for her sister whom she never got the chance to meet.

What We Think We Know

Besides, this information, the only other thing we have heard rumors on regarding Rosalia’s sister, is a supposed letter written by her in July of 2011, after National Geographic took pictures of Rosalia (the mummy). This is what it said.

“Dear Sirs, respectable authorities, my name is Rosalia Lombardo, I was born in Gaeta, on September 15, 1925, and i’m sister of Rosalia Lombardo, the famed mummy now kept at the Capuchin catacombs of Palermo.
I have the honor, with this letter, to bring to your attention some facts that, in my humble opinion, are incredible and have deeply touched my sensibilities as a sister of the departed.
Every day I see on different television channels and on every public and private networks, people discussing about my sister with references to events and situations, nothing short of “surreal” and also means using petty, but to audiences, which includes the implementation in wave picture of my deceased parents and my daughter Rosanna La Ferla and this systematically happens without due authorization.To all this I would add that the last time I saw my sister, in 2007, her body looked wonderful, the color of her skin was worthy the reputation that made her famous throughout the world.Unfortunately I have to point out that one day I’ve found out that the creature who seemed asleep for so long, now seems another person: she has different hairs, her eyes are now half open and the beautiful color of her skin has become strange … it seems tarnished!

And you want to know how did all this happen? Want to know who has irreparably ruined my little sister? I know, and when I tried, through my lawyers, to obtain justice on the whole story, have been ignored, threatened, and “invited” to shut up!

But since I have only a few years of life, considering my old age, me and my daughter Rosanna are not afraid of anyone and we have nothing to fear and we want to say the “whole truth” on this sorrowful event that “all”, including institutions, covered up until now.

Sending you all the echo of my pain because i hope to open a gate to the possibility that my sister can return that creature that has been admired from all over the world, and not a victim of poor body experiments that have irreparably compromised her body.
Please, listen to me and to my daughter Rosanna in sign of respect for my family and for little Rosalia!
Thanks for your attention. “

If the letter was truthfully written by the sister, it indicates that she blames National Geographic for ruining her sister’s body by exposing it to air. 

Other records do seem to back this up, but they’re hard to verify.  One official-looking document from 2012, seemed to indicate that Rosalia filed an official complaint against National Geographic with the country.  That same report said that since Rosalia was property of Italy, and was not technically “owned” by her sister, it was unclear what would come of the complaint or if anything would be done.

Now, let me state again, those official-looking documents aren’t verified to be real, but they’re

the only clues I could find on the internet. 

Another thing to note, is that National Geographic supposedly got the right to research Rosalia BECAUSE she was decaying. Supposedly, the glass of her coffin had broken a few times in the past, and unskilled monks and resealed it, but the air that was being let in had begun to affect her preservation.  In 2009 National Geographic got the rights to come in and take pictures and X-Rays and study Rosalia before she was transferred into a new nitrogen chamber to keep her best preserved.  National Geographic has claimed that they never took the glass off of Rosalia or did anything else to damage her.

While I tried to research the genealogy of Rosalia Lombardo to see if she’s still alive (she would be 93) and if she had kids or grand kids that I could learn about, but I couldn’t find much.  Most of the Rosalia Lombardo’s I did find, were born in the 1800’s which was too early. So that’s pretty all we know about Rosalia Lombardo’s sister.

In essence, the only thing we know for sure is that Rosalia existed and that she loved her sister.  The rest is really just speculation at this point.

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20 Easy Ways to Save Money

20 Easy Ways to Save Money

Money Tips

1. Get A New Savings Account

You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind”, and that’s the theory of getting a new savings account at another bank.  By putting your money somewhere you can’t quickly transfer it to checking you’ll be far less likely to spend it.

2. Give Your New Savings Account A Name

What do you want from your saved money? An international trip? To open your own business?  Buy a new car?  Name your savings account after your goal to remind yourself of what you’re saving for.

3. Get  A New Checking Account

My bank recently started charging me $10 because my deposits weren’t $2,000 EACH…. Like sorry I get paid weekly but…. BYE!

If your bank account is charging you ridiculous feeds leave them!

4. Try Using Only Cash For A Month

Anytime I feel like I need a money reality check I like to do an envelope budget for at least a month.  Essentially, you just label some envelopes 1-31 to represent the days of the month and put the money you’ll need in each envelope. If I don’t spend one day’s allowance, it gets passed onto the next day’s envelope.  Otherwise, when I’ve spent it- it’s gone.  No touching the bank (I even make sure big payments are set on autopay so I have no excuse to touch the account).

Eating Tips

5. Make Your Own Fancy Cultured Drinks

If you’re a Kombucha addict or you eat a lot of other cultured foods you’ll know that those foods can be really expensive.  You can save a lot of money by getting your own culture and learning how to make your own fancy Kombucha drinks.

6. Have Friends Over Instead of going out

Instead of going out to eat all the time, try inviting your friends over.  You can always do simple foods so you don’t have to really cook, or even do a potluck style and have everyone bring a dish.

7. Get Yourself Some Damn Tupperware…

Stop eating out.  Invest in some durable and versatile containers to take your own food and drinks with you.  To be honest, I bought the containers I wanted, but never started making the food, so I’m a culprit of not succeeding at this one as well! But, I’m trying to make progress this year and it WILL save me money.

8. Eat Clean

I best you never though eating clean could save you money, but guess what, it can!

Bills & Debt

9. Refinance?

Although I typically don’t recommend refinancing, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and see if you can find any great rates.

10. Getting a New Cash Back Card

If you can manage your money and pay off your cards every month you might want to consider a cash back card with at least a 2% flat amount back and you can be collecting the cash.  However, like I already mentioned this only works if you PAY YOUR CARDS OFF EVERY MONTH.  Otherwise you’re just racking up the bills.

11. Negotiate Your Bills

Any long term recurring monthly bill can be negotiated. Many companies give their sales people the liberty to knock your price down.  I’ve called my cell phone provider about three times in the last month and each time the sales people knock a few bucks off my bill… Which is ironic because it’s not what I called about. But, hey! I’ll take it.

12. Ask About Average Usage Billing

Call your power and gas providers and see if they offer average user billing.  Average user billing means your energy bill won’t fluctuate which will help with budgeting.


13. Sales Only

If you’re looking for a larger item like furniture or a very specific item, you can probably find it on sale at some point as long as you plan ahead and are patient.  For instance, school supplies (which doubles as office supplies) is on sale after school starts in the fall.

14. Book People- I See You!

Books are amazing, I totally feel you on that, but instead of buying books, check out your local library.   In some cases if they don’t’ have the book you want they will order it for you!

15. Netflix &…

I get it, we all like to be entertained, and I don’t have a problem with a cheap Netflix option over cable. However, if you’re signed up to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime… you’re spending too much on entertainment.  All of those little prices add up to BIG prices.

16. Use Kayak Explore

If you love taking vacations, use something like Kayak explore to find the best deals at the best times of the year and don’t be as picky.  You’ll still get to see an amazing part of the world and you’ll save a lot of money.

17. Be Thrifty

Used items can be found everywhere from Facebook, to Craigslist to wait for it… actual thrift stores.  In many cases you can get lots of things used for steep discounts.  The only thing to watch for is that you’re not getting those “vintage” prices.

18. Sell Your Used Goodies

There are many platforms you can sell your used clothes and other items on.  It really only takes a few minutes to list them and you could be MAKING some money.  So don’t be lazy.

19. Use a Cash Back Service

There are many services that offer cash back on your purchases. One of the most famous is Ebates.

20. Repair Your Own Clothes

Most people can learn to sew on a button or patch a small hole…. I may not be one of those people, but for the rest of you, it’s a great money saving tip!

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