Saturday, December 17, 2011

December Winers Meeting

I was having such a bad day yesterday. I was feeling down as it was, but then I checked my e-mail and saw that Adsense removed my account for "invalid activity". I know that I didn't do anything wrong or against the rules--so I have no idea what it stems from, and they won't be specific.

Most likely, one of my readers was trying to "help me out" by clicking on too many ads or something. I've never clicked my own ads, and I told Jerry and my family not to click the ads. I also posted something on the blog a while ago not to click the ads unless it is something that you are absolutely interested in, because I didn't want to generate any invalid activity. The only other thing I can think of is that I put up a Google search bar a couple of days ago, and I tested it out a few times (although I didn't click on ads). So maybe by testing it out, that constituted "invalid activity"? 

I'm really upset about losing the account. ALL money that I had earned up to this point is GONE. I was just about to receive my first check (for October and November's earnings) and that money is now void. So basically, I've been advertising for free for two months.

I was REALLY hoping to use that income to pay for my surgery, and I've been working hard on my blog because of it. Of course I'm still going to blog, because I love it, but I just might have to cut way back on the amount of blogging I do--and find a paying job. I hate that Jerry works so much so that I can be a stay-at-home mom. It makes me feel so guilty, even though he insists that it's okay. By earning money blogging, I could stay at home AND relieve some burden from Jerry. I know there are other ways of doing paid ads, but I have no clue how to do that or where to start.

Anyways, I spent part of the day feeling sorry for myself, but then decided that that sulking wasn't going to help. I went for an easy 3-mile run, but it felt SO hard. My hips are sore. I feel so slow and sluggish still--I did 11 min. miles, and it still felt tough. I can't wait to get back to feeling how I did pre-surgery.

I was tempted to skip my wine club meeting last night, because I was feeling down, but I'm SO glad that I went--I had a blast with my friends!  Before Rachael picked me up, I had Eli take a picture of Jerry and me in front of the Christmas tree... He's only 5, so all things considered, he did rather well!
A little off-center, and missing the top of Jerry's head :)
Oh, and how cute is this suede coat?! I forgot about it. I actually bought it at a garage sale last summer--the woman said she paid $250 for it. Normally I don't spend more than $5 or so at a garage sale for a coat, but for THIS I made an exception. I paid $50.  It's SO SOFT and cozy!!

Heather hosted the meeting, and she chose a theme of Wine & Chocolate Pairings. YUM!! I was totally looking forward to tasting all the chocolate along with the wine. And really, what could reverse my bad mood better than chocolate and wine?!

She set up the pairings in stations:
#1: Barefoot Chardonnay with Lindt white chocolate
#2: Yellow Tail sparkling wine with Lindt milk chocolate
#3: Mirassou Pinot Noir with Green & Black's Espresso chocolate
#4: Blackstone Cabernet Sauvignon with Lindt dark chocolate
#5: Chocolato wine (wine made with milk and cocoa)
#6: cheap crappy wine with Hershey's milk chocolate (this was to basically see how bad the Hershey's and crappy wine tasted after trying all the good quality chocolate and wine!)

I'm normally a dry red wine drinker and a dark chocolate eater. However, my favorite pairing of the night was actually the first one--Chardonnay and white chocolate!  The two went SO well together--creamy and buttery tasting.  My favorite of the chocolate alone was the Espresso chocolate; and my favorite wine alone was probably the Cabernet.

I was hoping to post pictures, but nobody put them on Facebook yet, so maybe I'll have to edit this post later. Bummer.

A lot of people commented on how skinny I looked, which was fun (but kind of embarrassing, because is that a compliment? I think so...)  When I was losing weight, I was used to hearing that at all the meetings--"Katie, you're skinnier and skinnier every time I see you!" But now that I've been at the same weight for over a year, everyone was used to it. So to hear it again yesterday (post-lower body lift and I've lost about 14 pounds) was different--in a good way.

We had a white elephant gift exchange that we do every year for Winers. I was planning on bringing these ceramic bunnies that I took home from the exchange for the last two years (they've become a running joke among Winers now, because they're SO ugly and the perfect white elephant gift). But at the last minute, Jerry suggested something else that I thought would be hilarious...
This is something Jerry bought online for me for our anniversary a few years ago. It's hideous, right?! And so random. A wine bottle with rose petals and a "message in a bottle"--a cheesy poem that he copy and pasted. And a random key--to his heart? Who knows! All inside this wooden box with a plate engraved with "Punkin Pie" (his nickname for me). I wrapped it up, and threw the bunnies in the gift bag as well :)

I drew #10 to pick a gift, and I ended up stealing a gift from someone else--a hand-knitted scarf that Rachael brought. But it was quickly stolen from me :(  I wound up with some stationary and notepads that Renee brought, and I actually rather like them. They'll do perfectly for shopping lists!

I ate a few snacky things (see food log below), but I didn't gorge myself.


My food log for yesterday:
Breakfast--Snickers protein shake
Lunch--homemade cream of mushroom soup; Kashi Go Lean Crunch with milk; orange
Dinner--salmon fillet, 3 parsley potatoes, more cream of mushroom soup, spoonful of Cookie Butter
Snacks--(All at Winers) chocolate (about 2 ounces?), wine (about 10 ounces), 1/2 piece of cheesecake, one cracker with cheese and salami, one cracker with cheese spread, one mini cream puff

I'm going to tweak the cream of mushroom soup recipe a little, and post it after I do. It's delicious!


Since Google took away my Adsense account, I've been looking into blog stuff online, and I discovered that Blogger can delete my blog anytime for ANY reason. Just like they took away Adsense for no reason, they could just delete my blog without reason. So I've been looking into switching to self-hosting on WordPress.

I'm TERRIFIED of making the switch, because I don't want to screw up my entire blog, and lose followers, and mess up the feed burner thing... I'm not tech savvy at all!  It will also cost me more money--not only to pay for my domain (which I've already done for a year) but to pay for a hosting service (about $7/mo). That doesn't sound like a lot, but considering money is the tightest it's ever been for us right now, $7 is a lot.

But I would die if Google deleted my blog without notice or reason! So I think I'll be making the switch soon. If you notice my blog is gone one day, *hopefully* it'll be back up soon. You can always e-mail me if you're wondering what happened: SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. I can use my recipes blog to relay information too, just in case I can't use Runs for Cookies for a little while during the transfer.

Have any of you made a change from Blogger to WordPress.org? Was it a big mess? Was it worth it? Advice?


34 comments:

  1. I am curious how it would go. Keep us posted on the process. I have only been on blogger for about 2 months and I am so fed up. I can't leave notes for people on blogger with my gmail account, no one leaves me notes, etc. I am really ready to leave. I will say money is too tight to do it right now for me as well. But in the future.

    BTW..how offended would you be if you received a sweater two sizes too big from your father for Christmas? I am an XL, but the sweater is a 3x. No joke. I am returning it tomorrow. I am so offended, and it makes me even feel worse about my weight. :(

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    1. Try not to be offended. Some people, men especially, have no sense of size when it comes to women's clothing. When you go to exchange it for something smaller, try to focus on how good is that you *don't* need the 3x :)

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  2. I can't believe running an 11 min mile makes you feel slow and sluggish. You are amazing!!!! I am running (if you can call it that) a 13 min mile right now at 4 months pregnant. I feel so slow and sluggish too!!! It sucks. I ram my first half marathon at the beginning of this pregnancy in a little over 2 hours and now I can barely bust out 2-3 miles at a time. I can't complain though. My first pregnancy 4 years ago I was over 300 pounds and never exercised, ever!!!! This pregnancy I am half that size and still quite active with plans to run another half marathon 5 months after this baby is born. :) What a difference some weight loss can make.
    LOVE YOUR BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. You look amazing, so cute! I know nothing about switching and am lucky I know what's going on with my Blogger account half the time. That really stinks about the advertising! Way to get you to advertise for free for 2 months. Maybe your blog just exploded after Dr. Oz and the lamos at Adsense couldn't handle it... or.... something!

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  4. Hi Katie,

    I've been following your blog for a long time :) In fact, all the way through my 90 pound weight loss journey. I really, really enjoy it and it has been such an inspiration to me. I am at a healthy BMI now and so excited! Anyways, I have been blogging on SparkPeople during my journey and just made the switch to my own website. My husband bought my domain (www.eliciaross.com) when we got married (he is such a geek!) and I am finally putting it to good use. I found the website www.weebly.com to help me build my site. It is soooo easy and you can have a blog on it and everything! And it is free!! I love it! Anyways, if you want to see what a Weebly site looks like (there are sooo many designs to choose from) you can check mine out.

    Hugs,

    Elicia

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  5. I switched from blogger to wordpress and it was easy as pie. They import everything for you and make it very easy. Just keep this blog up and you have the option to redirect anyone coming in to the new site.

    adsense is very funny sometimes. They always pull stuff first and then you can appeal. You could consider using your recipe blog and doing foodbuzz for that. I use that to cover the costs of running my blog and it works pretty well. But, if you do foodbuzz ads, you can't run any other ads.

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  6. Just don't quit writing your blog! I would go through such withdrawls! I really enjoy reading, and it has helped me in my weight loss journey! 35 pounds lost! :)

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  7. I just found your blog and love it! If you suddenly were gone that would just plain stink! This gal does wonders! I know she can help you with the blog switch...but I have no idea about the price. http://www.theblogfairy.com/

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  8. I'm sorry to hear about the ads. That sucks. On the other hand, I know hundreds of people with blogger blogs, some of whom have had them for 5+ years, and none of them have ever had a blog removed. I don't think they usually delete unless people complain and report inappropriate content that isn't protected properly, and I'll bet they verify first.

    On the other hand, I DO know about the switch to Wordpress. It takes a LOT of work, and you have to be very computer savvy. With blogger, you can edit your html and format your posts and blog and such. With Wordpress, you're extremely limited in what you can do unless you know some computer coding (particularly CSS). When I made the switch to WP a little over a year ago, it was a nightmare. At the time, Blogger was having a lot of errors, so I thought it was worth it. It wasn't. There were very few things I liked about Wordpress, it was very expensive to self-host and that was money I wasn't getting back, and every time I had to make any change, I had to get Jason to do it for me. The sidebars were the worse because you have to program in everything manually, so you have to be fluent in html as well. After less than a year, as you know, I switched back to Blogger.

    Plus Wordpress can also delete blogs without warning, just like Blogger.

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  9. Katie - I should have you talk to my friend Misty. She is a book blogger (with about 1500 followers) and she switched a few things not so long ago. Hopefully, she can give you some tips.

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  10. OMG Katie I am so sorry that sucks big time, that is crazy they can't give you the money you earned. I wonder it you can do something like and appeal! You have a wonderful blog and I hope you don't stop doing it everyday, I love reading it but I understand! Have a great christmas!!!

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  11. I bought my own domain so I wouldn't lose my blog. $10 and less than 48 hours and it was done. Never noticed a thing. Easy peasy. You do it through blogger.

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  12. What a bummer, they should at least pay you the money earned up until the day they removed your account.

    That coat is adorable! Definitely worth the money and you look amazing!

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  13. That whole adsense thing sounds really hokey... I can't believe they won't pay you for the time you did advertise... that is total CRAP!!! I wonder if other people have had that happen... and maybe that's how adsense makes their money.. by using people for a couple months then deleting them for no specific reason?? I hate that that happened to you.

    On another note, you & Jerry are such a cute couple!! And I love the coat!!

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  14. Hey Katie! I very very recently started blogging too about my love of books and after I started I found this site which walks you through moving from blogger to wordpress. I haven't made the move yet but I saved it for future reference. BTW I would follow you anywhere, you have been such an inspiration to me : )

    http://www.howtomakemyblog.com/popular/move-blogger-blogspot-to-wordpress-guide/

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  15. Katie,
    That SUCKS about adsense. They only ads that popped up for me were for companies or items I'd specifically googled or visited within the last day so they were specifically targeted. I'd assume that would be the same for most people so I wonder how they can determine what is/isn't invalid. You should email some other bloggers out there who are advertising to see who they use. That just really, REALLY sucks!
    I'm sorry :(
    ~Annie

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  16. Hi Katie!

    I agree with the others, you should have at least received earnings for the time the ads ran. Seems like a scam to me as well. Please let us know before you move your blog.

    I was wondering about the white elephant exchange. I have never heard of that before. Why did you lose your gift if that is the number you picked out.

    I think you and Jerry are an adorable couple. I love the coat to, who is it made by?

    Also wanted to say, you really do look amazing, congrats on all your success!

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  17. Katie,

    I agree, that SUCKS about you not getting paid for those ads! Is adsense the only company you can use for this? Please keep doing your blog! There has got to be another way for you to make money with it.

    CUTE photos of you and you and Jerry!

    Dede

    Dede

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  18. I doubt anyone did anything wrong regarding the ads. As you said, you were about to get your first check, and now, without any specific reason, they don't have to pay you. It makes me suspicious. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a common occurrence.

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  19. I'm glad you had fun and you look great by the way! I purchased some of that cookie butter tonight (my boyfriend thought it would be a bad idea). OMG it's blowing my mind!

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  20. I wonder if all of the traffic that Pinterest caused is the "suspicious activity" that Adsense is referring to?

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  21. My son uses google adsense on his website. He had a similar issue, so he wrote to them for further clarification of the issue and then successfully appealed. Try to pursue it and don't give up!

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  22. Katie- I wouldn't just let this ad thing slide, they totally scammed you and that is not right!!!!!
    You and Jerry look great by the tree!!!! The wine and chocolate night sounds fun!!!!!
    ~Laura

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  23. That's really scary that they can just do that. Sounds kind of shady to me.

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  24. Oh, Katie.....don't let them get away with this! It's just not right that they take away your earnings. Appeal!

    I love the picture of you and Jerry......the pic of you in your coat is adorable too!

    Merry Christmas & keep fighting!

    TerryT55 from SP

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  25. Another blog I read just changed to Wordpress....I love the look and she says its great...she was only down a few days during the change...probably some thing worth checking into if you are nervous about blogger.

    Kind of weird with the adsense thing??!!

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  26. OH no!!! so sorry to hear about the ads thing! I bet that they just do that all the time -- cut account off as soon as they need to payout. OR the fact that you talked about ads at all might be against the rules?? Sorry to hear, but everything will work out. -Veronika Smith

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  27. First of all, you look soooo beautiful! Secondly, I think this whole adsense thing was a jerk thing for them to do, they probably just didn't want to pay you. RIDICULOUS! I'm upset about blogger being able to take away your blog, it makes me nervous too. If you change to Wordpress, maybe I'll follow on your coattails.

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  28. can you inquire more with adsense, as to why they did that? Maybe it was something that you can tweek? maybe they thought you were getting too many clicks, because your readership is growing so quickly, and if they look further into it they will see that the numbers are actually accurate. You've done some pretty big things lately that is driving more traffic to your site. This all just seems way too fishy, that they take it away just right before you are finally supposed to get your first check. I wonder how often that happens to people.

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  29. Katie, you have got to appeal your case to adsense. It is not a hard thing to do, or a really confrontational thing to do. This happens to bloggers often in the beginning, especially when their income ramps up. Don't let them get away with all the free advertising though!

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  30. I try to follow a couple of blogs on WordPress but they come through as blank e-mails on my phone -- and I use my phone for the majority of my internet.

    Blogger is easy for me because I just added you to the blogs I follow, which shows up on my blogroll every day. Which is viewable on my phone.

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  31. Kate,
    I hope you do contact Adsense to find out what was happening to pull from you. I think your blog has grown so fast. I just found you in the last month. I have found your story so inspiring. Maybe adding Amazon links to things you like? I am still trying to find the magazine in your posts that you liked for running I think. (I haven't found the post yet) LOL! I hope you find a way to make this work for you and blogging. Your doing a great job!

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  32. You look great in the photo with Jerry. Super skinny!!! That coat is FABULOUS! I'm so jealous. I can never find cute coats. I LOVE it! :)

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  33. It is NOT hard to switch from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. There is a very easy import feature. The most time-consuming thing would be to re-upload all your images so that they are hosted on your new server rather than Blogger -- but there's no rush on that, since the Blogger images will continue to work, I think indefinitely. So it's not even totally necessary.

    I'm not really sure what Amanda means when she says you have to be computer savvy. I think WordPress is FAR more user friendly than Blogger. You can easily format your posts with WordPress and it's very intuitive. The only thing that can be difficult is customizing a theme, but it's just as difficult to do that through Blogger. The sidebars should NOT have to be programmed manually, either. You control them via "widgets," which generally don't require serious technical knowledge.

    There are some really amazing plugins for self-hosted WordPress blogs that make it really worth the switch, in my opinion. They can really boost the functionality of your blog.

    Also, if you are self-hosted, the only way you'd be deleted is if you violate the host's TOS. It has nothing to do with WordPress unless you are hosted on Wordpress.com. And trust me, you won't be violating any TOS unless you get naked (I mean seriously naked).

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I'd love to hear from you! (Sorry about the word verification... the spam comments were just ridiculous!)