April 2018 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


3 Reasons Why I'm Grateful to Be My Own Boss

Thursday, April 26, 2018

This post is sponsored by My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream but the content & opinions expressed here are my own.

I’ve been blogging for 7 years but went professional in June of 2017. I'm grateful to be my own boss as a blogger, influencer, & social media consultant. I'm thankful for the successes, growth, & strength it has given me, but also for the challenges, loss, & struggle I've been able to overcome. Here are 3 things that come mind after 11 months of being my own boss.

Working with Cool Brands

As a San Diego blogger, I get the opportunity to work with amazing brands. Today I styled a photo shoot, took photos, edited them, & created content to share on social media all while I munched on My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream. Just a part of the job! Gotta love it.

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is the cutest snack with flavors for any tastebud: Double Chocolate,  Sweet Mango, Green Tea, Ripe Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, & Vanilla. My tip: cut one in half to share with a friend — that way you can sample multiple flavors hehehe. Fred said his favorites are Sweet Mango & Ripe Strawberry. I adored My/Mo Green Tea the most!

Make My Own Hours

I'm thankful I create my own hours. I can work from wherever, a convenient benefit to the laptop lifestyle. Sometimes I need Wi-Fi, but sometimes I can go without it. I can take the time to go on an afternoon walk by the duck pond. I can take a moment to hear the birds chirp happily amongst one another or see a matinee movie on a Tuesday. It's something I don't take for granted.

Connect to People 

I connect to people daily when I share bits of my life, my work, & things I've learned along the way. I connect one-on-one with my clients. I'm grateful to make an impact in their day, to get them to think deeper, get them to try something different, get them to understand their comfort zone & how to navigate outside of it, after all that’s when life happens — just beyond the borders of our zones of familiarity, of comfort. 

So which My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream flavor sounds the best to you? Are you a blogger? Do you want to go pro? Feel free to ask a question in the comment section!

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

Thoughts on Turning 28 + Plastic Wrap Hacks to Make Life Easier

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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

Eeek! Another birthday for the books. I'm 28!

If I could say something to my younger self it would be: identify your passion & listen to your heart, regardless of what society says. After all, you know yourself & your potential better than anyone else out there. 

If you're new to my blog, heyyyy! I'm Carmen, a full-time San Diego lifestyle blogger, social media consultant, & entrepreneur. I quit my corporate job as a social media coordinator for a timeshare company in June of 2017. I left behind a stable 40-hour per week job for the completely sporadic world of self-employment.

Buttttt I love it! 

I often spend my days traveling as part of an assignment, a paid campaign, to work with a client, or simply to create content. In the past few weeks, I've hopped throughout Southern California visiting cities like Fallbrook, Oceanside, Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Monica, Venice. 

It's hectic most of the time, so thank you Reynolds KITCHENS® for sending a victory box to help me remember those little victories. Even if that victory is as small as parking further away to get some extra steps in. 

The victory box included some sparkling apple juice, confetti, & their new Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap. Extra steps means confetti, right?! Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap comes with a built-in slide cutter to ensure a clean cut every time as well as a Starter edge™ to make it easy to find the start of the roll. It's the little things.

Use plastic wrap strategically & it can help you in more ways than one. Here are three of my favorite plastic wraps hacks to make life easier.

1. Cover your phone or tablet in plastic wrap to guard it against splatter, liquid, or residue when cooking. The touchscreen is fully functional even with the plastic wrap around it. This will save you the hassle of cleaning flour from your phone after trying to make fresh bread for the first time in four years.

2. Have you ever traveled a long flight only to find that your shampoo leaked all over your toiletries & now it's just a gross, sticky mess? Place a piece of plastic wrap under the caps of your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or any liquid to prevent leaks & spills while traveling. This one is a lifesaver!

3. Wrap the stem of a banana in plastic wrap to slow down its ripening process. Bananas naturally produce ethylene gas while they ripen. The plastic wrap almost acts as a greenhouse to contain  the ethylene gas. Without the plastic wrap, the ethylene gas spreads to the rest of the fruit, ripening it that much faster.

Check out the store locator so you can experience Reynolds KITCHENS® Quick Cut™ Plastic Wrap for yourself. Which tip was the most useful to you? Do you have other plastic wrap tips? 

28-year-old Carmen loves dogs & blogging & writing. Although some things have changed, I am very much myself - just older, more experienced, more memories. What are your thoughts on birthdays? I'd absolutely love to hear your thoughts!

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

That Time I Spent the Night at London Gatwick Airport

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I'm only 4 hours into my 24-hour+ airport adventure at London Gatwick. I'm sipping on my Costa Coffee. People order food, eat, then head off to their flight. Must be nice. I'll be chilling here for a couple dozen hours.

I'm writing a blog post for a sponsored ad campaign, but little do I know the Wi-Fi expires after 90 minutes. After those brief 90 minutes of glorious but slow freeeee Wi-Fi, I'm forced to sign up for a Boingo account to pay for Wi-Fi to get my work done by deadline. 

Ah, the joys of the laptop lifestyle. 

Here's the kicker, I forgot to cancel my account & paid for another month. Oops. 

I will eventually spend the night tossing & turning on a lumpy loveseat with my lovebug Fred, as terrible Christmas covers blast overhead. We're running off a high from 9 exciting days of exploring London. We found a prime spot at the upstairs Caffè Nero, one of the only spots I saw that had couches without armrests (better if you want to fully lie down).

The hustle & bustle of the airport lulls for a bit from 11 PM - 4 AM, I would know, I was up. The flights slow down & people start to congregate by couches & seats. A couple of guys speaking Arabic play cards on my left. A few ladies from New Zealand laugh over a cup of 2 AM coffee. I watch something available on British Netflix.

I inhale the beautiful range of people & languages. I love travel. Even though I have a sexy batch of pimples festering from my 36 minutes of sleep on the arm of the couch, I am grateful for this experience, to travel, & most importantly, to be alive. 

We toss & turn our way through the night until our flight the next morning. We grab breakfast at Pret-A-Manger, a staple during our trip. We love their affordable pricing & vegetarian options. Then board our flight on Norwegian Airlines to head back to San Diego. Back home to the real world, back to the sobering reality.

But yeah, that was the time I spent the night at London Gatwick Airport. It took two weeks to recover from the lack of sleep at the airport & then lack of sleep on the flight home. Not a good time, but the travel memories are worth it now. 

Have you ever spent the night at an airport? I'd love to hear your story. Leave a comment! :]


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