Most bloggers that earn income from their site do so through advertisements and paid featured posts. Other than goods and services offered (like ebooks), this really is the only way to make money from a blog. I don’t mind that other bloggers found success in this (actually my checkbook is a tad envious) but after paging through my MIL’s Good Housekeeping pile this weekend I realized I don’t have much of a shot. I don’t have many products I love to use, let alone promote in good conscious.

I won’t tout Tide because I make my own laundry detergent. Kraft and other big food stay away because I hate processed foods. I can’t even really make good from the retail sector because I’m a fashion disaster. I can’t seem to tell the world why we’re better because of a product because, in general, I don’t like products.
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But you know what I love?

Books. Local businesses. People who love doing what they do. Being kind to the earth. Being kind to our bodies. Growing our minds, endorsing creativity and pointing us toward God.

Here is my non-compulsory list of Things, People, Places and Ideas I Love and Think You Should To*.

  1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Just read it and live a better story. If you’re frustrated with life, begin editing (and start with the art of character development).
  2. Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Co. The ingredients for their bread are: flour, water, salt. They buy local and support local causes. When I have the hankering for a good piece of bread, that’s where we turn, even in our gluten free life (the sourdough doesn’t seem to mess with me too bad). We haven’t had a grocery store loaf of bread in this house for 2 years.
  3. Cloth Diapering. Samozrejme and Nell’s Natural Baby are your best resources. If you love to visit a brick & mortor and hear from an expert on all things natural-parenting, visit Allison downtown Troy. You can take a Cloth Diapering Basics class or ask a million questions – she’s great. If online ordering is your style then click over to my friend Jodi at Nell’s. She also has a good variety of natural parenting supplies and she cares about her customers.
  4. The Happy Box at Fulton Farms. Every Friday a box full of fresh, organic produce appears at my door! It’s a little bit like Christmas when I open it to see what I find. They use as much of their local produce as possible and supplement with a supplier, so my box is full every week.
  5. Yellow Tree Yoga. I’m a better person when I leave this studio – or even coffee with Mary. As she says, yoga is like a mirror into the soul, a way to examine without judgment. I feel better and my posture toward the world bends a little deeper after my sun salutations.
  6. The Overfield School. I enrolled us here because they did things like roll pinecones through paint. They have a resident naturalist and a resident studio artist on staff for all students to have access. Nature and art lie at the top of my list of things I value but remain clueless, so we outsource. Now, I love the educational philosophy, I love the teachers, I love the community. We meet monthly for parent discussions and I leave a better person and a more mindful mother. I feel challenged in a healthy way to offer more to my kids – not the “I’m not doing enough” kind of challenge, but a “oh, wow – and then we could!” kind of way.There are still openings for some of the classes next year if you want the same environment for your kids.
  7. Toms Shoes. I didn’t realize that such controversy existed about the philanthropy piece, but truth be told Toms Shoes are the long, ugly-toed girl’s best summertime friend. I own 2 pair.
  8. Ohio University. I went there. I learned about history and grammar and stuff, but I also experienced true, authentic friendships that have set the bar high. I think that if Jesus were to come back to earth for a quick visit, he’ll stop in Athens because it is of His very own essence. And because of Bagel Street Deli.
  9. Aaron Craft. There’s nothing you can buy related to the kid, but I’m just a huge fan. Top notch kid.
  10. Ruby’s Salon. I’ve only made 2 visits but Tara has made me beautiful and she’s a beautiful soul. She believes beauty shouldn’t be limited to those with money and offers a 5th Saturday Free Cuts program (yes, free!) and works on a sliding scale “suggested amount.” I overpay every time because I want her to keep doing this. She’s revitalizing an old downtown salon and serving the people of the community by using her gifts. Also, she’s the Master of the Perfect Bang. And also (again) you can make your appointment without a pesky phone call. WIN.
  11. Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Glow Bronze. It’s the most perfect color ever. Thanks to my amazing MIL, I keep a tube in nearly every bag I own.
  12. Lucy Chapman. She starts my garden from seed every year and is a genius. Not only does she have green thumbs, but also artsy talents. I’ve not purchased any of her other things, but I love what she adds to the world and I think you might, too.
  13. Thai 9. We go there for nearly every date. Get the Pad Sea Ewe and thank me later.
  14. Beer. I just love it. I think it’s in my family genes. I just learned that I’ve never known exactly what is in my beer, which gives me more reason to love and support local breweries – we’re cooperative owners of the 5th Street Brew Pub, so that’s a good start.
  15. Good sermons (*nerd alert*). I regularly listen to my friend Paul at Central and a guy named Jonathon Martin from Renovatus. Also, my friend Trevor from Journey at Christ Church.
  16. Mosquito Creek Farms Sourdough Pizza Crusts. Our grocery co-op used to carry them and ahhh-maaaay-zing. Now we pick them up on Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market.
  17. Local Farmers Markets.
  18. Xochitl Tortilla Chips. Only comes in a box of 9? Don’t worry. It won’t be a problem.
  19. In Defense of Food. It changed the way I looked at what I eat.
  20. Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture. It changed the way I looked at providing for my family.
  21. The Overachievers: The Hidden Lives of Driven Teenagers. It changed the way I looked at “success” for parenting.
  22. Bossypants. It changed the way I look at the art of humor (and the genius behind it).

So, there you go. My unsolicited list of Best Things Ever. Happy day!


*No one paid me to write this post. Full disclosure: some of these people DO pay me to do work for them. However, I work for them because I believe in what they do, not just because they pay me. My recommendations are completely my own. And, if you click on an Amazon link, I do make a small percent if you buy the thing or anything on that visit. It’s like pennies, but Amazon pays me, not the producer, so again – I’m not a paid endorser.

**Popular to contrary belief, I also did not get paid to see how many links I could include into one post. That was just a fun little challenge for myself.

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