August 2017 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


I Spent $55 on Diptyque Candles, But Are They Worth it?

Saturday, August 26, 2017

*This post may contain affiliate links.

Diptyque candles were high on my radar for years, but I was too frugal to shovel over money when I hadn't even smelled them before. The candles are available in certain stores, but the closest store was an hour away.

When someone told me that the Diptyque candle set was discounted for the Nordstrom Sale, I bought them immediately. I was on board for the $55 price tag, which Nordstrom says is normally a $75 value. Plus, I had a Nordstrom gift card to use. The timing couldn't be better!

The Diptyque candle set comes with five fragrance favorites:

Baies - featuring notes of blackcurrant & Bulgarian rose
Figuier - featuring notes of the fig tree
Feu de Bois - featuring woody notes
Roses - featuring notes of changing roses
Tubéreuse - featuring notes of the tuberose flower

Size & Value

The 5-count set is an excellent way to test Diptyque candles without committing to the bigger, ultimately more expensive sizes. Each candle is 1.23 oz, about the size of a shot glass, so that's $11 per shot glass-sized candle. For reference, a 2.4 oz Diptyque candle retails at $35, & the 6.5 oz candle retails for $65. So, unless you find a Diptyque sale, the $55 Nordstrom Sale price is a fantastic value.

My candle care tips (for any candle brand)

The first light is the most important; be sure to keep the candle lit until the wax melts across the entire first layer. This will help you avoid the dreaded tunneling effect or memory ring. Once the ring is formed, it doesn't go away. Always burn until the entire top wax layer is melted. Always trim your wick before relighting.

The One Thing to Keep in Mind

There is no denying that Diptyque is a quality candle brand with powerful ingredients. However, don't expect these little guys to fill a big room. Because the candle surface area is small, there is less wax melting & thus, less scent to be dispersed. If I had gotten a larger candle, I believe there would be more scent emanating throughout the room.

The Verdict

The candles smell incredible. When cared for, they burn evenly. The packaging is chic. They last long. They look gorgeous in photos. They make me feel fancy. The set makes a thoughtful gift for a candle lover. If you value candles, this is a great value.

What do you think? Too expensive? Worth it? Have you tried Diptyque? Leave a comment! :]

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I linked to the Diptyque candle set as well as each individual candle. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

July 2017 Income Report: How I Earned $1,664.40 as a Blogger & Digital Nomad

Monday, August 21, 2017

The days blur together when you work for yourself. It doesn't matter if it's a Saturday or Tuesday. It reminds me of school days when we had summers off. You could do anything or you could do nothing. You had blissful freedom for the summer, but eventually you had to go back to school.

But not this time. I graduated from university years ago. It took years to find my path, but that's the truth about life after university. There's no corporate job to go back to; I quit in June! I'm working to build this for the long-term. Sorry, Mom!

At first glance I looked at my July Income Report & was disappointed. For the first time in six months, my income did not increase compared to the previous month. I beat myself up about it. I was bummed out & disappointed. 

But then I truly looked at the numbers. I took out my income spreadsheet & compared everything. Every detail. Income. Expenses. Taxes. Net income. Income stream trends by month. You know what I realized? Because I paid over $300 in product purchases for June, I actually ended up earning more net income in July.

Moral of the story: Look at your results over time, not day to day. Look for trends. Diversify your income. Find both passive & active means of income. Don't beat yourself up. Learn & reflect. Move forward. 

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


Blogging + Social Media Coaching - $1,015
Linqia Sponsored Posts - $361.80
Social Fabric Sponsored Posts - $225
Linqia Referrals - $43
Amazon Associates - $19.60
Total - $1,664.40


Facebook Ads - $24.39
PayPal Fees - $8.46
Total - $32.85


Net Total - $1,631.55

Note: I base my coaching & blogging income report on earnings that were deposited into my bank account during that month. I did a couple projects in July that have yet to be paid out, therefore I will take that into account for my August Income Report.

Want to see more income reports?
January 2017 Income Report

Blogging + Social Media Coaching

I had an epic month for coaching. My absolute best. As a coach, I teach, listen, & empower people one-on-one to enhance their blogs, their social media presence, & their brands. I'm strategizing how I can make coaching a bigger part of my income. Learn more about my coaching & how it could help you!

Linqia Sponsored Posts

Linqia was an enormous part of my blogging income in June, the biggest to date, but July didn't see the same numbers. I received payment for Beauty, Health, & Makeup: New Products I'm Excited About, my second campaign with Grocery Outlet. I worked with Grocery Outlet in March for this post.

Social Fabric Sponsored Posts

I got final payout from my Things To Do in Torrance, California: A 24 Hour Travel Guide post, which was shared by the mayor of Torrance on his Facebook Page!

Linqia Referrals

Linqia has been a consistent part of my blogging income over the course of multiple months. I've included it on my Blogging Income Reports, so some people sign up. I receive $5 for anyone who's accepted into the Linqia network.

Amazon Associates

July was the first month earning anything from Amazon Associates. Amazon Associates is an affiliate network with Amazon. I can include links on my blog/social media to think I'm talking about; if someone buys from I can make a small commission. I earned $19 dollars in 30 days, & it takes 60 days to pay out. Not super lucrative but income is income. Everything counts & this is definitely something I'd like to finesse over time. There is potential to earn more.

Facebook Ads

I haven't done any advertising in quite a while, so I decided to boost a couple posts on my Facebook Page for an additional reach & engagement.

Sooo, that was my July. How do you earn income online? Was this blogger income report useful? Please let me know the comments! :]

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

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My BIGGEST Mistake as a Newbie Entrepreneur & How YOU Can Avoid it

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I had a lightbulb moment today. Ding! Or as Oprah would say, an "aha moment." Here's what I figured out: Even though my blog is my business, I have to live in order to write, to have something to say, to create content, to share something with readers & followers. Ding! Lightbulb moment. So stupid simple, right? 

But first things first, if you're new around here, hello! My name is Carmen. I'm a lifestyle blogger, a blogging + social media coach, & an overall entrepreneur. For more juicy details, take a look at my About Me page!

I quit my corporate job in June 2017, so these past few weeks have been a whirlwind. In between video calls with coaching clients to strategizing content ideas for a new sponsored campaign, I'm hunched over my laptop all the time. 

My lightbulb moment helped me realize that I need to live, experience, eat, read, breathe, meditate, in addition to that laptop life. I should take a walk outside to listen to the birds. I should go on a day trip to explore new-to-me places. I should take a day off to let my brain reboot. I should make time to grab an iced chai latte with a friend

That's why I'm writing this. Not every moment is photo worthy. Not every food is Instagram-friendly. Not every outfit is glam af. Whether you're new around here or you've been reading for years, I want to let you in on those little things, those little details in life. 

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Last Book I Read // Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur

This book is a thought-provoking read. I encourage you to read this if you're contemplating quitting your job to become an entrepreneur, working remotely, or work for yourself. The chapters contain excellent information & exercises to get you thinking strategically about your business moving forward. 

Last Show I Watched // That '70 Show

Normally if Fred & I put on Friends or How I Met Your Mother as our background shows, but we decided to branch out & put something else on for those mindless dishwashing, folding clothes, whatever moments.

Last Thing I Did // 10 Minute Walk

I took a quickie break & did a 10-minute walk around the neighborhood to get blood pumping & brain juices flowing. It's helpful to get some vitamin D, run into a few people walking their cute puppies, & simply breathe in the fresh air.

Last Thing I Made // DIY Body Scrub

Hooray for do-it-yourself sugar body scrubs. Check out this easy recipe. I love customizing the scent by mixing & matching within my essential oil collection. This time I used cinnamon, nutmeg, & a little bit of lavender. 

Have you ever been so busy making a living that you forgot to simply live? Are you a new reader? Longtime reader? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment! :]

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]

Success is a Series of Small Wins

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hey you, 

I know you're a little stressed out lately. I know you've been feeling overworked & overwhelmed. I know you feel like your life is passing by & you're not really sure if you're doing what's best for your mind, body, spirit.

You wake up to the sound of the alarm & dread the rest of the day up until the moment you can come back home again. Then deep inside you still kind of dread it because you know you have to do the same thing again tomorrow. 

Success is a series of small wins. Things don't happen overnight; make sure you chip away at it day by day. 

If your goal is to quit your job by the end of the year, what is something small you can do today to benefit yourself? Maybe it's updating your resume. Maybe it's putting $50 in savings. Maybe it's taking an online class. Maybe it's getting a certification. Maybe it's spending an hour reading. 

If your goal is to lose 10 lbs by November, what can you do today to help with that? Maybe it's planning out your meals for tomorrow. Maybe it's spending 10 minutes doing yoga. Maybe it's going for a walk outside. Maybe it's opting for tea with friends instead of mimosas. 

If your goal is to travel the world, what small step can you accomplish today? Maybe writing down a list of your top destinations. Maybe it's browsing flight deal options in the coming months. Maybe it's sending in your passport application. Maybe it's setting aside $20 each week to build your travel fund.

Remember: success is a series of small wins. Figure out your goal & move forward every day toward it. It may feel frustrating at times, almost like you're not making any progress at all. But just you wait & see.

Do something each day, even if it feels so ridiculously small. Because after a year of daily effort, 365 small things is actually quite enormous.

You can do this.

Your friend, 

A Day in the Life: My Morning Routine as a Professional Blogger & Coach

Sunday, August 06, 2017

This post is sponsored by Aveeno but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.

Mornings are different now than I'm my own boss. I don't have to fight traffic to make it to the corporate office. Instead, I head to my office nook near the living room for an early-morning blogging + social media coaching session with a client from Canada. I've been self-employed for two months. Eek, can you believe it?  I better my processes, rituals, & routines daily and always make sure to take the time for a moment for me. You're probably wondering, "What the heck does the morning of an entrepreneur/blogger/coach look like anyway?" Let me show you a bit of my world!

7:30 A.M.

The day begins with my alarm going off. The alarm isn't as annoying when you get to wake up & work on your own business. I hop out of bed & immediately wash my face & brush my teeth. Taking care of myself is supremely important because it helps me feel beautiful, healthy, & ready to conquer the day. It’s not always easy to make time for ourselves, but it's imperative. When you work for yourself, sometimes you forget to take care of yourself. About two weeks ago, I began implementing at least 15-20 minutes every day to self-care.

7:45 A.M.

After washing my face, I follow up with my Aveeno® Absolutely Ageless™ Intensive Renewal Serum. This anti-aging serum contains a concentration of ACTIVE NATURALS® Blackberry Complex infused with vitamins, antioxidants, & powerful anti-aging ingredients. This is one of my quickest forms of self-care, only takes like 8 seconds to put on. I love the scent & the way it absorbs into the skin. I can save time by using safe & effective products at my fingertips, & then invest that time back into myself.

8:00 A.M.

I quickly check my email to see if there's anything on fire or that needs to be responded to immediately. Nothing too crazy today, so I prep for my 8:30 a.m. coaching session. I read through our emails to each other & open up the client's file which has my session notes, the client's answers to my Discovery Questionnaire, & any talking points for today's session.

8:30 A.M.

BRB. Now I have a one-on-one video session with the client who recently bought her blog domain & set up her website, but said she didn't know what to do from there. Together we outlined her ideal reader, chatted about some of her core blog topics, & identified the next steps of what she should do given her current work situation.

9:00 A.M.

Phew, session is done. I need some water; my throat is parched! I normally have a glass of water right next to my laptop, but I forgot it for this session. Oops. Fred heats up breakfast leftovers from yesterday & makes us some fresh coffee. We eat breakfast together outside on the patio.

9:45 A.M.

The birds chirp happily up in their tree. A green June beetle buzzes around above us. Two butterflies dance together, then fly off into the distance. Rather that get back to work straight away, Fred & I take an extra 15 minutes to listen to a podcast. It’s been proven that self-care makes you more emotionally & physically capable of taking care of others. I know this is true for myself. Renewal serum, vitamin D, & gathering knowledge: these are my self-care investments for the day.

10:00 A.M.

I spend some time publishing content throughout my social media channels. I respond to my emails. I work on a blog post (this blog post!!!), jotting down what I've done thus far. Then I take a look at my planner to see what else is on my task list for today.

11:30 A.M.

I have another coaching session at 12 PM, so I stop what I'm doing to prep for it. This client wants to strategize about her blog content. One of her fears is that she'll run out of things to say & her readers won't be interested. I write down any final notes.

12:00 P.M.

Oh, it's noon now. Time for my second coaching session of the day.

No morning workout today, so I'll make sure to take a walk or hike later this afternoon once it cools down. If I do a morning workout, I take a shower & use my Aveeno® Positively Radiant® 60 Second In-Shower Facial. It makes me feel invigorated & refreshed to keep up with my entrepreneur lifestyle. Okay, gotta keep working.  Talk to you later!

Check out the Aveeno® #MomentForMe contest for a chance to win the ultimate "me time" wellness retreat for two and a year's supply of Aveeno® products.

How was my morning routine is a professional blogger & coach? Was it everything you dreamed of? Glamorous? Dull? 

* Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Aveeno. As always, all opinions are 100% mine aka Carmen's. Learn more about my disclosure. :]


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