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Friday, May 31, 2019

One Year Vegan

A few days ago was the one year anniversary of the start of my vegan journey. Although it took me a couple months to fully settle into this lifestyle (trying to use up products in our house that were not vegan, we keep a lot of backups haha), this was the start of it all.

Salad with romaine lettuce, hummus dressing, Morning Star nuggets, & fresh dill. 
What have I learned this year?
  • It's not like you lose your vegan status if you mess up. Even though it might seem like it online, there really aren't any vegan police. You'll learn as you go and trying your best to be vegan is still doing a hell of a lot better than all of the standard American dieters out there. 
  • Not to get worked up about mistakes. Go out to eat and your only option is salad? But you forgot to ask for no croutons because the brand of croutons you buy are vegan and it doesn't occur to you that every other freaking crouton on the planet has milk in it, until it shows up on your plate.
  • There are animal products in everything. Legit, just when you think you've got it all figured out, you'll come across some stupid loaf of bread with an egg wash on top.
  • Produce can be coated in shellac (not vegan, bug stuff). And you get all these people online saying, just go to the farmers market, they don't coat their stuff because it's fresh. Okay, maybe that works in California where you can grow shit year round, but here in the Midwest, we only have farmers markets like four months of the year.
  • When in doubt, just don't eat it. At a family gathering and there's a tray of cookies? Just don't think about them, you know there's egg in there.
  • Food is fun! I look forward to every meal now. I can't wait to try something new. I love cooking different things.
  • Speaking of trying new things: I try new things! I don't get afraid of something I've never had. I'll retry something I know I didn't like last time. I am way more open to different flavors. I love trying new recipes and figuring out creative ways to veganize things.
  • In the rural place I live, nobody knows what the hell vegan is. Even my dad still gets confused. Went to a restaurant just a couple weeks ago, asked the waitress if there was milk or egg in the fried pickle breading, she told me they came out of a bag... lady, that's not helpful and doesn't answer the question... I really question how people with allergies survive eating out.
  • There are different levels of vegan. Some people won't even eat a vegan thing fried in the same oil as a non -vegan thing. That blows my mind. These people must never go out to eat.
  • Check all the labels. See a snack you really want, you never know! Check the label. And when you already assume it's not vegan, but it actually ends up to be okay, you'll be even more excited!
  • Buy any new vegan products you see. At the store and there's a new vegan hot dog? Buy it. Even if you're not super excited about just another veggie dog, you still want to show there's a demand for vegan stuff. Also, if there's a new vegan item you super love, buy all of the boxes on the shelf because it might not be there next week. :( Like our favorite teriyaki tofu from Aldi. :(
  • When in doubt, french fries. But even check those too! Frozen Rally's brand fries are not vegan. 
  • Vegan ice cream is just as freaking delicious as dairy ice cream. Yes, it gets more expensive, not gonna lie, but ice cream is supposed to be a treat anyway, right?
  • Being vegan can be super cheap. Some of the cheapest items ever are vegan (think rice and beans). But if you get into the fancy stuff (vegan dairy products first come to mind), it can be a little more expensive. Like my husband says anytime we go to the grocery store together, "why is all the healthy stuff cheaper than the junk food?!" Good question, dear, good question. 
  • I actually pay attention to nutrition now. I know what vitamins and minerals I typically miss out on and how to fix that. I take a multivitamin plus extras like calcium and omegas. I've taken a multi before, but never did I actually care or know what I was lacking.
  • Being vegan really is easy until you try to go out for dinner. Seriously, going out to eat can be a pain in the ass. For this reason, I always try to figure out where we're going beforehand and get online to find their ingredients or allergen menus so I can decide what I'm having ahead of time.
  • Finding vegan makeup isn't hard, a lot of brands have vegan sections on their websites these days. You can't just shop for the hell of it as much though (which I've been trying to avoid anyway).
  • Avoiding leather is easy when you're a cheapskate and only buy $20 purses.
  • I own way too many lip balms. I still have non-vegan ones that I'm trying to get through. Lip balm can be a tough one, so many have beeswax, then just when you think you're clear, you'll find one with lanolin! 
  • I'm very lucky to have an accommodating family. My sister has been vegetarian for a few years now. And my mom even went vegetarian just recently! So when we have family gatherings, things are really easy for me. I don't have anyone trying to force me to eat something I don't want to, everyone's very supportive (at least to my face ha).
So that's all of my new vegan knowledge from this past year.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Stay at Home Mom/YouTuber Life

What's it like to be a stay at home mom/YouTube content creator?

I film whenever inspiration strikes AND I get a free moment. Most of the time I can plan ahead. I take notes on my phone or on a couple notepads and plan video topics and talking points. Then when I actually get a minute, like everyone seems to be having a good day, no moody kiddos, everyone's been fed or is napping, then I'll sit down to film the video. 

Editing is almost always a weekend night thing. My husband likes to spend one night of the weekend playing video games online with his friends, so I take that opportunity to do my Youtube work. 

It's hard to put an exact number on hours I work. I just wait for inspiration to strike. Editing is really what takes up the most time. I'd safely say I spend about 3-4 hours on editing each weekend. And editing is not something I can do with the kids around. I have to be totally focused on it. I spend about equal time on brainstorming and filming, maybe only a couple hours each week. So let's say I put in eight hours each week. If I could just have one day to myself without the kids, I could get all of my work done in that one 8 hour day. However, my approach isn't like that. I don't feel comfortable filming when I'm not inspired. I don't want to feel forced to film. I have to wait for the stars to align to get my work done. I churn out 4 videos a week (3 on this channel, 1 on my beauty channel) and I'm currently something like six weeks ahead. I don't always get a chance to film each and every week, so I like to have a good buffer or backlog of videos saved and ready to go. But this is just how it all averages out.

I don't make a lot of money. And there's not really a good way to tell you how much I'm making anyway. And I've been doing this for YEARS. I started my beauty channel in the fall of 2012 and I have made over 800 videos between my two channels. I do this because I love it and it's my hobby. And yes, because I hope that one day it will pay off and actually bring in some kind of income for my family.

LainasLife (mommy channel):
lainamarie91 (beauty channel):

WAHM Balance
It can be very frustrating when I come up with a video idea, write out all my talking points, and am so ready to film, but the kids are in bad moods that day, or even worse, they were in perfectly fine moods until I turn on the camera to start filming and then shit hits the fan. But that's all of momlife, isn't it?


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I Am Feeling Lost

Today, let's talk about feeling lost.

I started feeling what I referred to as some seasonal depression in February, but it took me until the end of April to finally come to terms with the fact that it maybe wasn't that "seasonal." Even with spring in full swing, I still wasn't feeling any happier.

I've been working outside the house very part time (once every 10 days or so), while babysitting a friend's little girl since mid-November.

So I was trying to narrow down what was causing the depression and my husband and I both felt like I needed a change. So I decided to start with the babysitting. It was just getting to be too much for me. Three under three is no joke. And the two littlest are only six months apart. Being surrounded by babies, unable to leave the house while I was babysitting (because we don't have a car to accommodate everyone), I felt like a prisoner in my own home.

Then, someone at work went on vacation, so they asked me to come in a little more. That week, I worked three days, still babysitting on my two days off. And let's just say that week sucked. But it taught me that I definitely didn't want to go back to working outside the home full time.

But since telling my friend I was ready to stop watching her daughter at the end of April, I've felt this huge weight off my shoulders. I don't feel like I'm back to normal, but I definitely feel better. So at least I know I'm taking steps in the right direction here.

So I'm stuck in this limbo. I don't want to work full time. I don't want to babysit anymore.

And to make things more confusing, things at work are changing too.

And my husband and I are so close to having our house paid off. Every single dollar counts and the more you work, the more money you make, right? So I feel conflicted about how much to work outside the home.

All I hope is that I'm able to find a good middle path where I can still be with my babies more than not, and work enough for some adult interaction without neglecting my household responsibilities.