01 December 2012

The Time My Blog Got Hacked

I spent months… months moving my blog over to Wordpress, redesigning it, working on CSS coding and getting everything to work just as I had envisioned. And then… I lost everything.

Thanks to Blogger, I was able to restore most of my entries and photos from prior to my move over to Wordpress. For that, I must say DEAR BLOGGER, I LOVE YOU SO!

I also don’t hate Wordpress. You see, Wordpress wasn’t the issue. I can tell you what I think the issue was, but that would be speculation. Either way, the whole thing was very disheartening and I’m very sad I lost a lot of hard work (and recent blog entries).

With that said, I will no longer be continuing Hard Corps Love. I will leave the blog online for a awhile, but eventually I will remove it from the interwebs. In its place, I have already been scheming up ideas for a new blog outlet for inspiration… and I’m bringing it back here to Blogger!

It’s where all my friends are, so it only makes sense.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments, shares, encouragement, and love over the past 3 years, dear readers!

19 September 2012

The Best Kind of Mail

I love getting goodies in the mail, don’t you? I’ve been saving up all these wonderful items I’ve purchased over the past 6 months to share with you here on the blog. I also love supporting small businesses, and most of these fun things are from small shops or companies.

Hubby & I just started taking a finance class (Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, whoo hoo!) and with that and the holidays right around the corner, I won’t be shopping much at all in the coming months. But at least I have my goodies to tide me over. So here… check ‘em out!

I adore these stamps I ordered from Elise Joy’s first pop-up stamp shop back in April. Perfect for Project Life, envelopes, whatever. And isn’t the way she packaged her stamps so cute? Love all the washi tape. I’ve been saving these stamps to use for my Project Life albums and I can’t wait to incorporate them now that I’ve been scrapbooking again. Elise just expanded her stamp line and has even more cute stamps in her new stamp shop!

Also in April, I purchased some washi tape on Etsy from PrettyTape (top) and WashiWishes (bottom). Perhaps Elise is part of the reason I recently became obsessed with washi tape! It’s just so darn versatile. I’ve used it in my planner to highlight events and in a couple scrapbook layouts. I totally designed the digital washi tape on my blog around the time I ordered these pretty rolls of tape. Oh, and again… the packing is just too cute!

This past May, I purchased this beautiful chevron set from Goodnight Moon on Etsy:

I met Amber from Goodnight Moon several months ago at the Milblogging conference in Arlington. I thought she looked familiar because it’s been a few years now that I’ve read her blog, but I didn’t know it was her for sure until I saw the adorable bag she carried with her. I recognized it from her shop. And after the conference, I selected a couple items for myself in my favorite color combo (red, white, and black). But Amber also sent an extra item she made, and I just adore it!

Let’s just discuss how pretty this packaging is from Capturing Couture. I love how they wrapped it up like a little present! I also love the camera strap I ordered. It is SO nice. I purchased the “Summer Biss” camera strap from the Bohemian Collection. It’s beautiful, such nice quality, and has a really comfortable strap. My camera needed a little pizazz, and this did the trick! I so recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Last but not least (and I will be totally devoting a separate post for this)… my Erin Condren Life Planner in viva españa – mod floral. I ordered this back in July, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Like, obsessed. So much so that it needs its own show-and-tell. I love that it’s customized with my name! And the EC customer service is excellent. But, again… the packaging is just swoon-worthy. Printed boxes? Color-coordinated stickers? This designers says: it’s to die for.

And yes, I love packaging. In fact, I was a packaging designer for a couple years at one point. I love the way things get wrapped, packaged, shipped, you name it. I also love mail. Mail is great, but pretty mail is even better. Something I try to keep in mind even when mailing out plain ol’ greeting cards.

07 September 2012

Will You Be My Bridesmaid?

I wish I had found a clever way to ask my bridesmaids to be in my wedding party, but I was too impatient and excited, and I called each of them as soon as I decided on it. The only exception was my maid-of-honor— I sent her a bouquet of white roses while she was at work, and the card read, “Will you be my maid-of-honor?”

Imagine my delight when I received this adorable package in the mail from my recently engaged girlfriend, Megan.

Talk about a way to “pop the question!” Megan is so creative and crafty, and she sent these cute little bottles of bubbly to her bridesmaids with a handmade card that read, “Will you be my…” on the outside, and a heartfelt note on the inside. It got me thinking back to when Megs and I were younger, and how long I’ve known her. We met back in the 5th or 6th grade, when my family moved to the town where I would finish elementary, middle, & high school. It was kind of an instant bond. We both shared so many similar interests, like craft projects and baking… and many of the same values, like friendship and honesty.

So let’s take a little trip down memory lane, shall we?

There was once a time when Meg and I thought we were going to be fashion designers. We even made these horrible matching shiny satin polyester shirts that had purple fronts and black backs… we spent hours on the sewing matching perfecting them. When they were done, we named our fashion company “megandani,” pronounced mee-ghan-dahn-ee, for you simple folk. Obviously.

Oh, and then I scrapbooked it, as I did many of the older memories below.

Meg was always so thoughtful. One year, she & another close friend baked me this birthday cake before school, and surprised me at home!

Yes, I know I was so skinny then. Let’s call it a goal and move on.

Megs and I are great travel companions. Even in high school, we went cross country to visit her family in California together during our spring break. We spent more of our time there taking photos and shopping for Birkenstocks.

Even with all the wonderful childhood memories we shared, we were pretty excited to graduate high school and move onto college, though.

Especially me! Oh dear.

We may have also been in a pageant of sorts… the sort of which neither of us won, but still had tons of fun participating in together. Didyaknow? It was totally televised and I never in my life watched it.

But you know, then college happened and we grew up. Which brings us to the last 5 years or so. We’ve watched our friends get married, and Megs was even a bridesmaid in my wedding last year.

I’m so excited to be part of Megan’s special day next May. I adore weddings, I adore this girl, and I can’t wait to share it all here! I really wish I had been blogging more during my other BFF’s weddings last year. I think I will have to go back down memory lane to take a few trips with Nikki and Felice, and share their wedding details as well! 

For now though… gotta love the cute way Meg asked!

05 September 2012


Sooo… as it turns out, I’ve made a mess of my RSS feeds. I guess I had one when I started with Blogger, then I got a new one when I moved it to a .com, then I thought I had one when I moved to WordPress, but somehow I ended up with two more.

Do you use an RSS reader (like Google Reader) to keep up with the blogs you read? If you do… and mine is one of the blogs you follow… please update your feeds to this RSS:

As of right now, I have all these feeds with different “followers” or subscribers in all different places. Talk about a mess! The correct feed has the fewest subscribers… we’re talking close to 200 followers versus 6.





All of the above are going kaput. Or… they’re staying there, but they won’t be updated. I totally recommend checking out your own RSS feeds too! #ineverknew

Why is RSS so confusing?!

03 September 2012

BlogHer’12: Part II

Now that I’ve filled you in on the first impressions of a BlogHer newbie, I’d like to share what I learned at each of the 6 sessions I attended over the 2 days of the conference. Believe it or not, I’m going to have to do a Part III next to share all the keynote speakers, parties, and fun NYC things we did! Information overload? I think so!

The sessions at BlogHer were really good. Though I didn’t know any of the panel speakers, I came away with a new appreciation for women bloggers as a whole, especially those who are influential in some way or another.

These are the sessions I attended. They were broken down into several different paths: The Personal, The Political, The Professional, The Technical, The Visual, and Room of Your Own.

It was recommended at the Newbie Breakfast that we choose at least one session out of our comfort zone. For me, that was “Erotica Out in the Open.” And no, I won’t be blogging anything erotica anytime soon, but please read on for more details about my thoughts on that sesh.

I’m just going to share a couple notes and quotes I took from each session. Oh, and I’m giving each session a rating out of 5 stars, so look for that below too. Here we go!

The Personal: Blogging for the Love of It
Panelists: Bon Stewart at Crib Chronicles, Dorothy Snarker at Dorothy Surrenders, & Alexandra Rosas at Good Day, Regular People
My rating: ★★★★

•“If I were a doctor, every prescription I wrote would say, ‘start a blog.’” Alexandra Rosas
• Look 2 steps ahead of where you are now and envision where you want to go with your blog. Recognizing when you’re not getting what you need out of blogging is a pivotal point. Bon Stewart
• Questions to think about: What validates you? What constrains you? Bon Stewart
Alexandra Rosas asks her husband & kids first before posting about them, and she only ever makes fun of herself.
Dorothy Snarker blogs under a pseudonym. Being anonymous gave her the freedom to build her identity from the ground up.
• There is a big difference between being an anonymous blogger or a pseudonymous blogger.
• Can you be a little bit anonymous? Or is that like being a little bit pregnant?
• How we choose to connect our personal and professional self is a conversation that is coming to everyone. Bon Stewart
• Be aware that your online identity is an extension of your offline identity. Where are they different? How do they intersect? Bon Stewart
• “If anyone is going to judge me, let them judge me and get it over with.” Alexandra Rosas
• Make the decision to tell the truth through your blogging.
• We life in a culture that values & validates economy. There is economic & social capital. When blogging for the love of it and not making money, you earn social capital. Bon Stewart
• Don’t look outside for someone to tell you you’re good. If you keep looking out there for numbers to tell you you’re good, you’re never going to think much of yourself. Alexandra Rosas
• “No matter what your opinion, as soon as you have one someone will dislike it.” Dorothy Snarker 

My overall takeaway from this session was that it’s okay to be yourself. Blogging can be healthy, therapeutic, and a wonderful way to get to know yourself and be comfortable sharing that with others. 

The Personal: Blogging the Fine Line Between Your Identity & the Issues 
Panelists: Deb Rox at Deb on the Rocks, Faiqa Khan at Native Born, & Kelly Wickham at Mocha Momma
My rating: ★★★

• “Hot” issues: The things you aren’t supposed to talk about at dinner parties (religion, gender, race, etc.) Faiqa Khan
• “When are we going to stop pretending people don’t exist? It robs them of their humanity.” Faiqa Khan
• Speaking about issues should be a conversation, not one-sided. Kelly Wickham
• Visibility creates comfort and connection. Deb Rox
• Being awkward and uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing. We’ve become a society that only wants comfort. Sometimes you have to put yourself in an awkward or uncomfortable situation so you can grow. Faiqa Khan
• There are parts of stories that we own and parts of stories that we don’t own, and we need to be cognizant of that. Faiqa Khan
• You don’t have to publish everything you write. It’s okay to write it out, let it sit overnight, and then decide to publish it. Kelly Wickham 

I walked away from this session feeling empowered about things I didn’t even know I cared about, haha. Like— “hot” issues, and why it’s important to voice my thoughts on them. Clearly, I’m not a political blogger… but I do care about things going on in the world. I’ve done this in the past with posts about OPSEC and 9-11, and I think I’ll try to do that more.

Room of Your Own: Table for One
Panelists: Cari Bee at Busy Bee Blogger, Karen Malone Wright at The Not Mom, Kim Trimble at Live from the 205, and Robin Mills at Bella Venta
My rating: ★★

• As single/childless bloggers, we are not a brand’s one-night-stand. Robin Mills
• Our income is more disposable than bloggers with children so we can spend more money on product and/or advertising. • We don’t have kids, but we still love Disney movies. Plus, we have Platinum credit cards. • 1 in 5 women in America will not or do not have children. Karen Malone Wright 
• Your blog can have a business plan like any other business.
• Check out Single Edition Media, Social Course, and Savvy Auntie for advertising opportunities.
• Know your blog, understand your audience, and be prepared to fight for it. Robin Mills
• Be prepared to use unorthodox methods to get sponsors. Karen Malone Wright
• You have to be proactive. Make a list of your dream team celebs and brands. Robin Mills
• DINKS: Double Income No Kids, PANK: Professional Aunt No Kids

Okay, so while this session was interesting, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I felt that most of it was geared toward advertising, which I’m not interested in at this time. For anyone wanting to monetize, it would have been a kick-ass session. I will say that I didn’t realize that single bloggers get the shaft when it comes to deals with PR companies and advertisers.

The Personal: Erotica Out in the Open
Panelists: Twanna Hines at Funky Brown Chick, Arielle Loren at Corset Magazine, Lauren Fleming @ Queerie Bradshaw, & Sienna Jae Fein at Dating Senior Men
My rating: ★★★★

• Write about what you know. Your audience will appreciate it. Sienna Jae Fein
• “Sex is something that happens to you, not something you do. We tend to speak about it passively.” Why? Sienna Jae Fein 
• Writing as if no one will ever read what you write might make you more emotionally honest. Twanna Hines
• Blogging implies an audience. If you are writing for yourself, that’s a diary. Think of your audience. Sienna Jae Fein
• When dealing with haters… life is full of them and it comes with the package.
• For more on this session, check out this blogger who live blogged the whole thing! This was the session I took that was “out of my comfort zone.” I’m so glad I went to it! The panelists were hilarious and cool. The room was laughing so hard throughout the session that people came in from other sessions to see what the fuss was all about. They gave away sex books and vibrators to people that asked questions or contributed… I was not one of these people. I must say though… this is the most you’ll probably every see or read the words “erotic” and “sex” on my blog… despite what the name Hard Corps Love might be mistaken for!

The Professional: Protecting Your Blogging Rights, Respecting Those of Others
Panelists: Lisen Stromberg at PrismWork, Liza Barry-Kessler at Liza Barry-Kessler, Lindsay LaVine at Ehilarity, Divya Jayachandran at Heavy Browsing
My rating: ★★★

• Purchase your domain name so no one else can take it.
• If someone is impersonating you, go to whois.com to find out who it is and to send a cease & desist letter, if necessary. Lindsay LaVine
• Set up reminders for auto-renewal so you’ll never lose your domain name.
• Trademark: source of goods (i.e. logo), copyright: protects what you create (i.e. book). Divya Jayachandran
www.copyright.gov, www.creativecommons.org
• You are protected by common law rights the minute you start using your logo. Use the trademark™ symbol now, and the registered ® symbol after it’s registered. Divya Jayachandran
• Use Pinterest at your own risk. Lindsay LaVine
• Focus on websites that encourage pinning and always credit the original source.
The Style Confessions has an excellent copyright page.
• Put a copyright or disclaimer on each blog page or individual post.
Creative Commons encourages sharing with lawyer terms.
• Recipes are explicitly excluded from copyright laws. They must have “substantial literary expression” to be copyrightable.
• Defamation: public declaration that damages someone’s character. Lindsay LaVine
• FTC Guidelines prevent against deceptive advertising.
• Compensation = disclosure. You must include a clear and conspicuous disclosure when being compensated for anything you blog about, whether you are paid with money or product.
• Use a hashtag like #paidad or other on Twitter for disclosure.
• Imputed income: know that freebies can be taxed.

Check out the slideshow with all the links to resources provided from this panel here. Also, I found a great recap here with additional notes. Lot of info in this panel. My fave was learning that I can use a TM symbol, and that such a thing exists as common law rights. Who knew?

The Professional: How to Price & Value Your Services
Panelists: Monica Barnett at Blueprint for Style, Amy Bradley-Hole at Freaky Perfect, Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco at Latina Lifestyle Bloggers, & Cecily Kellogg at Uppercase Woman
My rating: ★★★

• PR is not where the money is. Marketing is.
• Earned media is when someone asks you to do a review. Paid media is advertising.
• Until you can speak the language of ROI, there is no money in it. Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco
• Try Alexa and Quantcast to find out your numbers. Pay attention to your demographic, not just analytics. Amy Bradley-Hole
• Use Klout and Kred, depending on your industry. This is what advertisers are looking for. Know your numbers before you call.
• Take screenshots or copy/paste when others buy a product you’ve talked about or endorsed.
• Get or make a media kit, pronto!
• Track your Twitter analytics on Tweetreach or Hashtracking.
• End your post with a question to get engagement. Cecily Kellogg
• To make money, show that you are an influencer in your area. Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco
• Pay attention to your audience. Also pay attention to your competition.
• Be familiar with the term “added value” and let brands know about it.
• If you want attention, be worth it, stand out from the crowd, own it, and sell it. Amy Bradley-Hole
• Know yourself, your focus, what your audience wants to read, and what sets you apart from the others. • Sometimes the prestige is worth more than the pay.
• Price it so that it hurts a little. Monica Barnett
• Another great recap from another blogger found here.

This was another panel that was totally not what I expected. I was thinking, “Oh cool, I’ll learn how to price my freelance design work.” Um, no. Not so much. It was basically just how much to price for ads on your blog. Again… not my cup of tea. But I am already on Klout and Kred, if any of you are interested!

10 August 2012

BlogHer’12: Part I

BlogHer’12. But where, oh where to begin? In a nutshell, it was not what I expected, but it was pretty freaking cool.

I’ve contemplated writing this post because I truthfully just needed a couple days (or a week?) afterwards to decompress and gather my thoughts. Because let me tell you— it’s a lot of information. Not only that, but it’s a lot of people. I haven’t been as interactive and open as I was required to be at BlogHer since college, and it’s funny what 5 years away from it can do to you.

I decided to go to BlogHer because I love blogging (cough-which you would probably never guess due to how infrequently I post-cough), and I thought it would be a fun weekend away to focus on something “just for me.”

For me, the weekend of BlogHer’12 started on Wednesday evening. I spent entirely too long over-packing (which I’m queen of, by the way), then another large gap of time debating whether or not I should bring my laptop or my iPad, or both, and weather or not I should bring my Canon Rebel XTi or Powershot Elph, or both. I ended up brining all four. Needless to say, my luggage weighed a thousand pounds, but I did use all 4 at some point or other during the trip.

This was my first year attending the BlogHer conference, and it was in New York City. Once upon a time during a summer internship, I lived in NYC. I had a roommate on the Upper West Side and I worked at a design agency at Union Square. A non-secret: I hated living in NYC. I hated the heat, I hated the smell, I hated the cost of living. I took a train home almost every weekend to Lake George to lounge on my family’s boat. But visiting NYC isn’t so bad.

NYC for a day trip = awesome
NYC for a weekend visit = tolerable
NYC to live = never in my life

After my late night of packing, my BlogHer date Shannon and I left for Union Station around 8:30am. Shannon’s husband Matt dropped us off, and our bus left the station at 11:15am. It was a not a bad four-hour trip, and even included a quick rest stop. But then the bus dropped us off at some random spot in NYC, and I had no clue where we were. When we attempted to hail a cab, the only driver who stopped quickly sped away when we told him our destination. So we figured, “Well, it must be close then!” and started walking.

Half an hour later, dripping in sweat and sore from overpacked luggage, we finally made it up to our room. A big shout-out to my daddy dearest for gifting me the most fabulous hotel room for my birthday— it was on the 33rd floor of the Marriott Marquis right in the heart of New York City: Times Square! What a perfect location for Shannon’s first time to New York.

After drying off and freshening up, we knew we would be cutting it close to make it up to the Hilton hotel (the conference site) in time to hear President Obama’s speech to the BlogHer attendees. And since it was via satellite and being recorded, we weren’t too worried about catching it later. For those of you who are also interested, check it out here! Instead, we caught a taxi up to the Hilton, checked in with the conference and got our badges, then got a quick bite to eat at Au Bon Pain.

Our first official BlogHer event was called Evening at the Expo. What a first impression. It consisted of several big rooms filled with brands, sponsors, and products. We're talking everything from cookies to condoms. It was probably a sponsor-happy blog’s dream, but for me, it was a little overwhelming. Were I interested in advertising on my blog, it would have been a great opportunity to make connections and trade contact info. I mean, just look at this mob of eager women when I first walked in!

Instead… I focused on the swag. “Swag” is what the attendees affectionately refer to as free products that the sponsors pass out. I quickly learned that there were different “levels” of sponsors. The higher the level, the better the swag. It was fun bouncing around to pick up whatever I found fun or interesting, without the pressure of having to “sell” myself to the brands. Not to mention, the conference also had a Swag Exchange room to drop off or trade any of the items we got that we didn’t want. Great way to assure you don’t come home with a bunch of stuff you’ll never use!

After a long day of traveling and being bombarded with sponsors and people, that was it for Shannon and I. We took a cab back to our hotel room, went through all our goodies, and called it a night!

Friday morning, we woke up and went to breakfast in the concierge lounge at the Marriott. Thanks for that too, Dad! And for the complimentary Wifi. Then we headed out to the Hilton for our first full day of BlogHer sessions.

Our first stop was the Newbie Breakfast, but since we had already eaten, we didn’t stay very long. Welcome and Speed Dating immediately followed it with BlogHer co-founders Elisa Camahort and Lisa Stone. The speed dating part was a little cray cray. Basically, the entire room (not sure how many of the 5,000+ attendees were there, but you can imagine how big this BALLROOM had to be) lined up around the room in 2 circles facing each other. The inner circle moved every couple of minutes to the next person in the outer circle. This was where the whole “blog pitch” was necessary. You quickly say hi, describe your blog, listen to the other person’s blog (or in many cases, business), swap business cards, and then awkwardly stand there until it’s time for the next exchange. Unless of course you meet someone cool, like this awesome blogger who just moved to NYC from Australia. I’m a new fan of her blog, and she was pretty darn awesome. Although… she hasn’t posted since before the conference, so I’m hoping she hasn’t been scared away by all the crazy New Yorkers.

Finally, it was time for the first session! And this is where I break off into Part II so I can tell you all the things I learned, didn’t learn, wanted to know, and didn’t want to know. Hehe.

What do you think so far? I told you it was cool! Though pretty intense.

*Like the digital washi tape I used in this post? It's a free download from Pugly Pixel. Too cute!

02 August 2012

I'll Be at BlogHer!

I'll be geeking out at BlogHer '12 

Well blogland, I'm off to geek out at the 2012 BlogHer conference in New York City these next few days! Even though I worked my butt off to move my blog to Wordpress before now, there is still too much to do. Rather than rush it and stress out about it, I'm just going to work on it when I get back home on Sunday. I'm just ready to have fun, make new friends, and learn more about one of my favorite ways to record life!

Joshua will be home with Lady this weekend, and even though I'm only going to be in NYC, I'm going to miss them both like crazy! I know my BlogHer date will understand, though, since she is also leaving her husband & doggie behind. I convinced my newest friend, Shannon at Anchors Aweigh, to come to BlogHer with me... and she is!

I was originally supposed to be going with my awesome friend *Bleep* at Bleeping Amazing... but she & her family just PCS'd and she wasn't able to come. So then then I met Shannon online, through blogging, and asked her if she wanted to go... I was so excited she said yes! We've hung out a bunch of times since we first met online a couple months ago. Not only is her husband also stationed here at Quantico, but they don't have kids yet— just a fur baby, Macy. Match made in heaven? In military life, I think so!

So this is where my new blog stands, as of today. What do you think so far?

{click to make bigger}

Can't wait for the conference! I'll be back soon with all kinds of fun updates.

01 August 2012

August Already?

Is it really the end of summer already? Really, seriously?

 In August, I plan to:

+ Buy a bicycle & take a bike ride 
+ Embrace my inner geek at the BlogHer conference 
+ Write more 
+ Eat less 
+ Be okay with the fact that I'm still as pale as I was in the middle of winter 
+ Get the piano tuned 
+ Do something nice, but unexpected, for my husband 
+ Take some time to scrapbook 
+ Run 
+ Organize my office 
+ Really make the effort to eat gluten-free  
+ Update my portfolio website 
+ Get a "pupcake" with Lady 

I was looking back at the goals I made in June, most of which I did end up completing… although it took both June & July to do so.

I did give my house that good cleaning, I wrapped up my freelance projects, I stuck to the budget, I read more, I blogged a bit, I was nicer to my husband, we celebrated our 1-Year anniversary, and I backed up every last one of my digital photos onto CDs & my external hard drive.

I didn't completely catch up on Project Life, but I did do 2 layouts. I didn't lose 10 pounds, but I did lose 2. I didn't create a family management binder, but if I have time I'd love to do so this month!

27 July 2012

A Work in Progress + New RSS Feed!

If you’re a follower of this little blog, you know that my posts lately have been few and far between. While yes, I’ve been busy putting in my 40 hours a week at my day job, and yes, I’ve spent many nights doing freelance design work for Graphic Grace… there are more reasons to why I haven’t been writing.

I struggle with the need to feel that everything is “complete.” I want my blog’s style, design, and content to reflect that. When things don’t feel complete, I don’t want to invite people in. This is much like my home— I want our home to feel clean, organized, and welcoming. When it isn’t, I keep our blinds closed and don’t invite people over. This is starting to sound like one of those “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You” posts, yeah? But it is what it is. I’m private about my “work in progress” projects, and I don’t like people to see the messy path I stumble down to get to an end result I’m proud of.

Here’s the thing. Nothing in my life is ever complete. Life is a work in progress. I am finally, finally coming to the realization that this is okay.

I’m not exactly sure at what point I started taking my blog too seriously, because sometime in the past year, blogging stopped being fun for me. Instead of just being a way to make new friends, keep family updated, and get my creative fix via writing, it became work. I learned what a “niche” was, and suddenly became obsessed with figuring out where my blog “fit in.” Hello Danielle, this is not the fifth grade. Stop it with the peer pressure already.

Side note: My full name is Danielle. My nickname is Dani. I get such a kick out of it when new friends don’t know this. Joshua will call me “Danielle” whenever, and our friends will say “Danielle? Who’s Danielle?” It’s me, silly. My family & close friends call me Danielle or Dani interchangeably, but I started introducing myself as Dani when I got married (because Ploscik is so much more complicated than my maiden name). It made the whole thing shorter, easier and… well, moving on.

So it was suddenly a question of what my niche was. And like I said, I became obsessed with finding the picture perfect niche for my blog.

I started blogging as a Marine fiancée when Joshua left for the Afghanistan deployment. Military blog?

Then, when he returned home, I left my design job in New York to move down to North Carolina to be with him, and I started blogging about starting my own freelance design business. Business/design blog?

Soon enough, we were planning our wedding, and my focus centered around wedding gowns, flowers, cakes, favors, invitations, photographers, etc. Wedding blog?

After the wedding, business started dying down. Freelance became my side job when I went back to corporate work. I started sharing bits of our lives (lifestyle blog?), but that’s around when I became too focused on what my blog was supposed to be instead of just enjoying it.

And while I may or may not have stayed up until 3am every night the past 2 weeks attempting to create a new blog for that “fresh start” feeling, and I may or may not have ditched it last minute to instead focus on building upon what I already have (Hard Corps Love), like it or not— I’m going to work at being okay if things are messy.

That’s right! Hard Corps Love is staying, but moving. To Wordpress. In the next few days. I’m making some small tweaks— changing the colors and a few things in my design to make it brighter & more “me,” thanks to your comments.

The biggest issue about moving to Wordpress is that Google Friend Connect can’t be used there, so if you’d like to keep following Hard Corps Love, please add us to your RSS feed (I personally use Google Reader) and update our feed address to the following:

Note this is a NEW RSS feed, and the current one will no longer be updated. What this means is, if you're already following in a Reader, you won't receive new blog posts from us anymore unless you update to the above feed address.

Another option is for readers to receive updates via email. I was skeptical about doing this at first, but it seems pretty streamlined in the blogging world. So if you'd like to receive new posts from Hard Corps Love to your email, this one is for you.

Enter your email address:

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I also created accounts with both BlogLovin’ and Networked Blogs, depending on your following preferences. If I missed any that you use, please let me know & I’ll try to add it there as well.

Follow on Bloglovin


Last but not least, Hard Corps Love finally has a Facebook page! I’ll love you forever if you’re my first few “fans.” Let’s be Facebook buds, if we aren’t already.

So what you can expect from us? Never forced writing. Always a genuine account of what we’ve been up to. Chapters of our love story as they unfold. Photos. Maybe some vlogs. Tips and tricks in life we pick up along the way. Stories of family, friends, and people we love. Military life, since it’s a huge part of who and where we are as long as Joshua is enlisted and I’m working for the government. Perhaps a guest post or two from my sweet husband.

The biggest reason I blog is to connect. With you. I have made some incredible friends through blogging, especially in the milspouse community, but also with all kinds of—

wait for it


Might I also add that it took me like, 6 months to figure out how to say that word? Nishay? Neesh? Finally, a dear friend told me— “Dani, just say *bitch* with an n instead of a b.”

Which really, couldn’t be more fitting. Niche, you little biche, you!

Hope to see you all on the flip side!

25 July 2012

Hey, I just met you...

I just wrote a really long, awesome blog post... detailing where I've been, the direction my blog is going in, & more.

And then...

I lost the post.

So instead, because I'm totally annoyed and frustrated now...

I'll leave you with this email photo my hubby sent me the other day.

Call me obsessed.

Listen to the song here.

27 June 2012

One Year Later

Last week, Joshua and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. One year. Wow! So much has happened in the past year since we said our vows on Lake George.

We were in not one— but two more weddings. Felice & Christian and Nikki & Anthony.

We traveled— a lot. New York, Utah, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio.

We moved— again. We went from a 3rd story apartment building to base housing here in Virginia.

We cut up all our credit cards— then got two new ones.

We got older— his 25th birthday last July and my 27th this past May.

He got promoted to Sergeant— and transitioned into a new position as infantry instructor to officers.

I started working for with a new company as a graphic designer— then switched positions to become a social media strategist.

He continued taking online courses toward his Bachelors— and changed his major to Homeland Security when he transferred to a new online school.

I designed six wedding invitation suites— two for close friends, four for new clients.

We gave our first puppy, Gypsy, to a family friend— and Ladybug turned one year old.

We got news that we might be moving— again.

We went to Kings Dominion— a bunch of times.

We ran through our new neighborhood late at night when everyone's Christmas lights were up— for a whole month.

We discovered a mutual love— for Pirate's Booty, Spartacus, creating new nicknames for Lady, nature walks, charcoal grills, and wedding cake.

We celebrated 9 holidays— together. No deployments, no training evolutions, no classes. 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Memorial Day.

We welcomed 4 baby girls of close friends & family into the world— Sage, Ari, Mia, and Zoe.

We went to the Marine Corps Birthday Ball— and saw Justin Timberlake there.

Firsts: I got my first tattoo— he got his first archery bow.

We ate a lot of Moes— on Mondays.

We figured out the best way to share our schedules & sync our calendars— after much trial and error.

He shaved his head— and I dyed mine platinum.

We got our first Christmas tree— and forgot to water it.

We downloaded Foursquare— and continue fighting to be the first to "check in."

We upgraded to a queen size bed— with a pillow top, and it's heavenly.

We drank too much Starbucks— and not enough margaritas.

Joshua: Cheers to another year, and dozens more after that. You're my best friend & my better half, and I couldn't imagine my life without you in it. I love you, baby!

*Wedding photography by the extremely talented Mitch Wojnarowicz.