Update: The deadline to enter this giveaway has passed. The winner was reader Denise. Thanks to all who entered!
Well, another year is almost over. Nancy and I will be taking some time off, so we can focus on our families. I will still be available via email and Twitter, so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. We should be back to regular publishing schedule on January 2nd, possibly sooner. But before we sign off for the year, we wanted to say a few things and do a small giveaway. If you are only interested in the latter (perfectly understandable), skip to the end of the post.
A note from Nancy
Thank you to the Miles For Family readers for welcoming me into your community! I appreciate the diverse and respectful audience that reads and comments on this site. I have enjoyed contributing posts and figuring out some technical stuff along the way, and I’ve learned a lot this year!
This job has been a perfect fit for me and has allowed me to do something I love while still having time for my family. Thank you, Leana, for taking a chance on me and for making me laugh with your sense of humor! I appreciate your patience and generosity.
A rant from Leana
I don’t do notes! ‘Tis the season for navel-gazing. Well, first of all, I’m pretty sure Nancy is the one who took a chance on me. Here is what I essentially told her: “I’m asking you to put in many hours creating quality content and there is a decent chance you won’t get paid for any of it. In the event you do get paid, it will most certainly be a modest amount. So fun, yes?”
Yeah, hardly a dream job, but she agreed anyway. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this blog is still around in part due to Nancy’s efforts. She has been a terrific partner, everything I could ever hope for, and then some. Fortunately, thanks to your support, I have been able to reward her monetarily, though probably not in a way she deserves.
We are deeply grateful to all of you who chose to use our credit card affiliate links. If you are a new reader, this is the main source of revenue for the blog. Any card you apply for by going through this link (or banner at the top of the site) will pay us commission. If you are having a hard time finding the offer you are looking for, see this post for instructions. Applications come at no cost to you, but allow us to pay website-related expenses and keep content free of charge.
They also show us that you value our work and help explain to our husbands why we are spending so much time on this crazy blogging endeavor. Of course, we always want you to get the best possible deal even if it doesn’t pay us a cent. That’s why I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure about a specific offer. But enough about that.
Last year has been busy, terrifying and exciting, all at the same time. I added Nancy as a permanent contributor, something I wish I would have done 3.5 years ago. We also made a switch to a new host and faced major issues, which were quite puzzling to an IT simpleton such as myself. Most importantly, we are still here, still plugging away, hoping y’all are benefiting from our nonsense.
At this point it’s quite obvious that the blog will always be a mom-and-pop shop or more accurately, mom-and-mom shop. And that’s OK. Speaking of, just wanted to make something crystal clear to a certain segment of our readership as well as few of our colleagues. We are not lady/mommy bloggers. We are miles and points bloggers who just happen to be ladies/mommies. Big difference. Yuuuge!
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Though I admit, Nancy is much more of a lady than I am.
It’s easy to get discouraged and focus on what could have been. What if I joined a big network? What if I didn’t publish those controversial posts? What if I changed everything about my personality just so I would fit in? Of course, life doesn’t work that way. It’s important to focus on the “now” and be grateful for what I DO have: a wonderful collaborator who isn’t in it only for the money, and a small community of like-minded folks who appreciate all of our efforts.
If I started dwelling on the fact that others’ blogs are much more successful than mine, I would be crying myself to sleep. Every night. But I don’t. I’m still having fun blogging, and money is just the icing on the cake. Obviously, circumstances change and frequency of posting may change as a result. But for now, we keep on chugging along. The little engine that could.
To those of you who are thinking about giving blogging a shot, I recommend you work on developing humility. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, there will always be someone smarter than you. You also need to be good at dealing with rejection. As a blogger, I face rejection on a daily basis. Someone unsubscribed from my site? Rejected. Google update just wiped out 50% of our organic traffic? Rejected yet again. I have to keep on writing even when it feels like nobody cares.
The trick is not to take any of it too seriously. A post ended up being a dud? I write another one and try to make it better than the last one. Oh no, I made a serious mistake in my analysis! How will the readers survive? They will. People, I’m imperfect, so please, don’t take my advice as a gospel.
And ultimately, that’s what I hope to encourage you (and myself) to do. As in, not take any of it too seriously. Miles and points, travel and yes, Hyatt Diamond status, those are all fun. But they won’t compensate for lousy parenting or lack of quality time with your spouse. Those things are more of a bandaid, a temporary fix. They won’t solve whatever it is that’s wrong in your life. Sadly.
So don’t obsess over making few trips per year super duper perfect, but be there for your loved ones on a daily basis. Mundane and boring? Maybe so. But those are the moments that truly matter in the long run.
Of course, as hobbies go, you could do far worse. But please, try to keep it at the “hobby” level. It’s too late for me, but save yourselves!!! When I started this blog, my goal was to cut through all the noise and deliver useful, actionable content for busy middle-class families. And let’s face it, what family isn’t busy these days?
That’s why you won’t find a lot of posts on status chasing, mileage running or manufactured spending. Not that there is anything wrong with those strategies, but they have very little bearing on life of regular folks like us. Nancy and I are NOT here to try to sell meat to vegetarians, figuratively speaking. So I hope that our mostly “vanilla” content is relevant to your needs.
On to the giveaway. Please, leave one comment on the blog telling us about your favorite miles and points redemption in the year 2016. If you are new and don’t yet have a miles and points redemption, leave a comment about one you hope to make in 2017. You can do so and be eligible for the drawing as long as the comment posts by 8 PM Eastern on Friday, December 23rd. If you have a question, please leave it in the section Ask a Question or just email me. I promise, we’ll get to it as soon as we can.
Thanks again, guys. See y’all in 2017!
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.