I met today’s Ask Away Friday partner during last week’s link up. Jenny is a new blogger and I really love her blog. It is clear that she took a lot of time think about her vision before she started. She blogs at Express Bus Mama. Make sure you check out her answers to my questions!

Express Bus Mama ASk


Wondering what Ask Away Friday is all about? Two bloggers exchange 10 questions and answer them on their blog. We link up with one of the hosts, Tamara from Tamara Like CameraTiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life LaughterChristy from Uplifting FamiliesStacey from This Momma’s Ramblings or Amber from Bold Fit Mom and visit each other. This is a really sweet community and I’m pretty stoked to be meeting some of my Ask Away friends at Blog U this summer!

1. What do you miss about the Midwest? What do you dislike about New England?

My entire family lives in my hometown in Illinois, so they probably the thing I miss most. I also really love the sunsets in Illinois. The land is so flat and you can see for miles and miles.

I hate New England winters. They are beautiful, but I’m not a fan of the cold weather.

2. I love to thrift too! What’s your thrifting mantra?

Go with an open mind. In my purse, I keep a running list of the things that I’m hoping to come across. There are some things that I’m always on the hunt for (patchwork quilts, vintage children’s books, and beautiful coffee mugs). And there are some things that I am actively looking for to fill wardrobe holes for the kids.

Almost all of the kid’s clothing is second hand (except for socks and underwear). To build a child’s wardrobe from second hand clothing means that you really have to think a head a bit. When I go, I look not only for things of the size they are currently in, but also a size or two ahead.

My other piece of advice is this- if you don’t love it, don’t buy it, no matter how great the deal is.

3. Your kids’ names are adorable. Why did you choose them?

Malone was named after Sam Malone from Cheers. Michael and I met in Boston and wanted to have a name that held a piece of our story.

Malone named Lola. His favorite song is Lola by The Kinks. From the second we told him we were going to have a baby (I think I was around six weeks…I was sick and he was worried), he said that it was a sister named Lola. After hearing it for almost nine months, it stuck. We had a few other names we liked better, but she’s our Lola. We often call her Lollie.

4. You’re a match.com success story! Would you encourage others looking for love to go the online route?

We would have likely never met, if it weren’t for match.com. We didn’t share similar circles of friends or live in the same neighborhood. I think that using an online dating service is a great tool to utilize, if you’re looking for love. I say that with caution though. Michael and I met in 2003, when the internet was still an innocent baby. I haven’t been around any dating sites in a long time and I don’t know how that landscape has changed.

5. What’s one thing about blogging that you love, but never expected?

I love that I get to use so many different parts of my brain. When I was in college, I couldn’t settle on a major. I was interested in too many subjects. I eventually dropped out because I couldn’t pick and stick to something.

Blogging allows me to dabble a little bit in to so many different areas and is diverse enough to hold my interest. On the artistic side, I love fooling around with graphic design, learning how to use my big girl camera, and writing outside of my comfort zone.

But I am equally in love with the business side and learning about marketing, networking, taxes for bloggers, and setting long term goals.

[Tweet ” I didn’t expect to fall in love with the diversity of blogging.”]

[Tweet “A writer could blog, but being a blogger is so much more than writing.”]

6. Share a couple time management tips for bloggers.

I just recently started writing in Word and then transferring it over onto my platform. That has really helped me narrow down my focus. When I’m online, I get too distracted by the other things that are happening. I might bounce from writing to Twitter to reading another blog to thinking I should look at their media kit and then hop over to Facebook, back to Twitter, and then finally back to writing again. Writing in Word has eliminated all of that.

I also think that keeping an idea bank or editorial calendar is a great time management idea. My calendar isn’t set in stone, but I love knowing what I am going to write about when I have a chance to come to the computer and do it.

[Tweet “Sometimes the hardest part of blogging is figuring out what to write.”]

7. You’ve just won an obscene amount of money. What are going to change about your life? What will you keep the same?

We are going to buy a house (we rent) and a mini van. We’ll spend a few years making wise investments and planning a trip around the world. I’d love to take a year or two and travel the globe with my kids. I think it would be a great way to bond as a family and expand their world view.

Our family mission statement will always stay the same. This is what guides most of the decisions we make for the future of our family. Our goal is to raise empathetic self sufficient children who make wise decisions and love their neighbors more than themselves.

8. I love magazines but have less and less time to enjoy them. What about you? Do you subscribe to any?

I love People Magazine, but I don’t subscribe to any. I find I’d rather get my inspiration and content from other bloggers. If I had unlimited hours in my day, I’d likely read magazines more frequently. But I just don’t.

9. Describe the perfect pizza.

The perfect pizza is one shared with friends in a kitchen with babies on hips and drinks in hands. It’s hugs hello and kisses on cheeks. It’s laughter on crisp summer nights.

The perfect pizza is eaten between questions.

“How is the new job going?”

“How is your mom recovering from knee surgery?”

“When are you free this week for coffee?”

The perfect pizza is kids running in and out of the house, forgetting to close the slider along the way. They’re not cousins, but they might as well be. They do not know life without each other’s friendship.

It’s climbing up Uncle Josh and yelling at the dogs to stop stealing bread from babies.

The perfect pizza is live well lived, in community with our oldest friends.

I have an AMAZING pizza dough recipe. I’ll be sharing it on the blog very soon!

10. You have beautiful, long hair so of course I’m going to ask you about it. Hair care tips? Would you ever go short?

Funny you should ask that, I just recently cut it! It is much much shorter now, and I have bangs.

In all honesty, I believe that great hair starts from within. Drinking enough water can do amazing things for your body. And I don’t know if there has been a scientific study that proves it, but it certainly can’t help.

I am also not a fan of doing damaging things to my hair. I don’t get it colored or treated. I use flat irons and blow dryers sparingly (I air dry). And I don’t wash it more than a couple times a week if I can help it. I’m a big fan of dry shampoo for the in between, but I’ve also heard a little baby powder will do the trick too.

When I do wash it, I typically use the Tea Tree Oil shampoo and conditioner from Trader Joes. And sometimes, instead of using conditioner in the shower I use a spray on conditioner. I think that if you’re not careful with conditioner, it can really build up and get flaky.

But here is my secret.

[Tweet “Before you get your headshots taken, go for a blow out so it looks fabulous.”]