31WriteNow Challenge Day 26: The Home Stretch

WriteNowAs we approach the last week of the 31WriteNow Challenge, I have to admit that I feel like a runner on her last legs during a marathon. Unfortunately, I feel like I’m approaching the finish line WITHOUT that rush of adrenaline most racers seem to exhibit as they come into the home stretch!

This challenge was truly a challenge for me. I had just completed July’s AudioMo challenge – a month of daily audio posts. I confess that during THAT challenge, which was something I had NEVER done before, I thought to myself how interesting it was that I could more easily think of things to say. I also silently thanked God that I didn’t actually have to write on a daily basis! So on July 31, as I prepared my final audio message, I read about Luvvie Ajayi’s blog challenge. It almost felt like a personal punishment for wishing I didn’t have to write! That’s when I knew I HAD to participate in 31WriteNow. I found my inner-voice saying to me, “So you say you can’t do it? Well prove  that you CAN!” Being that it was the day before the blog challenge was to begin, I didn’t have time to contemplate or chicken out. I felt like I had no choice but to participate…and I’m glad that I did! Not only have I experienced tangible benefits (increased subscriptions, comments and other stats), but I have felt an extreme sense of personal accomplishment. A confirmation, if you will, that I have the passion and ability to write!

The road is getting a little rough in the home stretch, but I’m almost there…and I know I’ll make it to the end!

(31WriteNow Challenge Day 26)


#31WriteNow Challenge: Day 1


So I’m just fresh off the AudioMo Challenge, where I posted daily audio clips during the month of July. And just when I had decided to take a few weeks off before I start posting my regular companion podcast to TTWC (Oh yeah, I didn’t tell y’all about that, did I?), here comes another challenge. Never one to back down from a challenge – or at least just be one to cautiously question whether or not I should accept a challenge – I decided to jump back into the flames saddle!

Luvvie Ajayi, one of my favorite bloggers (Awesomely Luvvie), has an annual writing challenge, where bloggers are encouraged to write at least one blog post daily for the month of August. I remember when she had this challenge in October of last year, I laughed, knowing good and well I could never find enough material to write EVERY day. I was challenged enough writing anything close to a weekly post. I enjoyed the freedom of posting sporadically. But this year is different. I’ve grown in my writing over the past year, and even stretched my wings as an amateur podcaster for 27 days (I missed the first 3 days of the AudioMo challenge and had to skip one other day during the month). There was no way I was passing up this opportunity. Personally, I think it was the adrenaline high I felt after finishing my last AudioMo post. Interestingly enough, I read about Luvvie’s challenge a mere 30 minutes after posting my last audio! Surely this challenge was meant to be taken.

All my posts for the challenge will be listed here at TTWC, under the new category “31WriteNow Challenge.” You can also find links to the posts if you follow me on Twitter (@cybranch). To check out other bloggers who are taking part in the challenge, search Twitter using the hashtag #31WriteNow

So…in the words of my fellow blogger/podcaster Mr. Fresh – Let’s Go!


(#31WriteNow Challenge: Day 1)

This and That This Week: Subscription Box Services

Motives Palette

Have you ever signed up for a subscription box service? Basically they are monthly subscriptions for boxes filled with samples, and sometimes full-sized products. Subscriptions range from clothing to jewelry and accessories to makeup and haircare products. It’s a great service if you are looking to try-before-you-buy products. Last year, I subscribed to a new service that specialized in natural haircare products. For $20 each month, I received a nice box of at least 6 samples and 1-2 full-sized products. It was a great way to experience different hair products, without become a product junkie, buying full-sized products and being disappointed after their first use. I currently subscribe to Ipsy, where for $10 a month, I receive a nice little cosmetics bag filled with 5 or 6 makeup goodies. Many of these services include coupons for the products, and some even have their own online stores where you can purchase the products as well.

There are tons of subscription services, with monthly fees ranging from $10 to $60 or more. Subscriptionboxes.com is a nice resource filled with user reviews of various services. I also found a nice blog with first-hand reviews, Must Have Boxes (musthaveboxes.com). Some services allow you to choose brands that you like, as they are trying to profile their customers to help build future box selections. The hair product service I used (Curlkit) often features new companies, which I think is cool, as I often like to support independent companies.

Be careful when choosing a subscription box service. Choose one that allows you to cancel at any time, so make sure you check their cancellation policy before signing up. There should not be any mandatory commitments. At most, you may have to pay for the next month’s box, depending on the timing of their billing cycle. If after a few months, you find that you are only interested in one or two selections from each box, then I would consider cancelling. What to do with the unused products? Give them away to your friends, or if you are a YouTuber or blogger, save a bunch of them for a contest prize box. It’s not that the products are not good, they just might not be your color, style, etc.

Tell us your experience with subscription boxes!

Pilot blog

>Wow – my first blog EVER! This is Calandra and welcome to my blog – “This and That” with Calandra, where we will talk about a little bit of this and a little bit of that! (obviously!)

I just started vlogging (check me out on www.youtube.com/cybranch) and I have finally ventured from “reading others” to “being read by others.” Hopefullly I can keep up. So come with me on my journey and let’s talk about…

…a little bit of this and a little bit of that!!