Behind the Music: My New Original Song about Emotional Intelligence, “Maybe It’s a Dream” by Nick Shell

It might be easy to forget at this point in my life, but when I moved to Nashville back on September 11th, 2005, it was because I wanted to build a career in music; as I have been singing, writing songs, and playing the guitar for over two decades.

However, my focus changed about a year and a half after I moved to Nashville, when I met my wife. Two kids and a decade later, the music thing has been on hiatus.

But this week, I decided to finally record a song I’ve been working on for four years.

It’s called “Maybe It’s a Dream”. The song is about the journey of emotionally intelligence; what it’s like living in the paradox of now understanding how it’s a conscious decision to realize that other people only affect my emotions if I give them permission; and that once I began taking control over that part of my life and I unplugged from that master of puppets system, it made me feel both more alive, yet more isolated from the world.

When I started writing the song, I was 32 years old; I just beginning to learn about emotional intelligence. Now, less than a month away from turning 37, I feel like I am becoming on expert on focusing on what I can control, not on what I can not: including other people.

The opening line of the song, “I am a skeleton with meat on my bones”, is my way of acknowledging the ability to separate others’ perception of who they think I am, versus my own perception of who I think I am. In reality, my identity is somewhere in between.

Later on in the song, I admit, “My perspective of reality will die with me.”

We live in somewhat of an illusion of who we think we are, and we struggle to not worry about what other people think about us; yet in reality, how others collectively perceive us ultimately is part of who we actually are.

So it’s even more groundbreaking of a concept when a person chooses to control their own emotions exclusively; not giving permission to others to “hurt” their feelings or offend them.

This leads to a sense of a confused state of being for a guy like me: “Maybe it’s a dream. Is this even real?”

In other words, if I can control so much of my life now that I understand only I control the breaker switch of my own emotions, life starts to feel a little bit like I’m part of some grand scheme of a social experiment. Maybe this is my version of The Truman Show.

I hope you enjoy my song and I hope you can personally relate to it in some way. It is truly an extension of my identity. To understand who I am (or at least who I think I am) is to understand this song.

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Social Media Kit for Family Friendly Daddy Blog by Nick Shell

Here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog, I am in a very special niche that allows me to be easily visible from an SEO perspective.

As far as numbers that marketers would be interested in, here is the mid-March 2018 update. Just click on each link to go directly to each account.

Facebook Fan Page for This Blog: 1,110

Personal Facebook Page: 1,328

Twitter: 749

Instagram: 342

Blog YouTube Channel Subscribers: 667

Personal YouTube Channel Subscribers: 3,539

Blog Subscribers: 710

Average monthly: 14,000 views

Average daily: 500 views

While my numbers may not seem amazing, I have learned over the years, that ultimately, companies continue to reach out to me, on their end, to receive publicity from me anyway.

Again, it’s because I am in a niche, with a blog that’s updated weekly and has been around for nearly a decade. People find my blog very easily and very accidentally. That’s why marketers like me enough to reach out to me.

Here are a few examples of companies who reached out to me for publicity on my site:

Lexus (This is one of several examples where they sent a vehicle from Atlanta, to my home in Nashville, for a week, complete with a full tank of gas; so that I would model it with my family.)

Toyota (In addition to also sending me dozens of vehicles over the years, as Lexus has, Toyota recently flew me down to Florida for an all expense-paid road trip to drive their newest model cars to see the MLB Grapefruit League tournament.)

James Avery Artisan Jewelry (They paid me to feature their Valentine’s collection, in addition to giving my wife a gift card to buy their jewelry.)

Additionally, I am bombarded on a weekly basis by fellow bloggers who request to do a “guest blog post” on my site; to boost their own SEO. This happens so often, I had to create a page here on my blog, explaining I now have to charge for that service.

So for me, I am comfortable knowing my numbers aren’t the biggest, but that I am relevant enough as a daddy blogger, that well-known, reputable companies reach out to me, to serve as a social media influencer for them.

If you are interested in working with me, you can contact me at this email address:

nickshell1983@hotmail.com

Google, YouTube, and Amazon: How People are Constantly Making Money from All 3 Forces of the Trifecta of the Modern Day Tower of Babel

Allow me to introduce you to the underworld of the Internet, where people earn passive incomes, thanks to the rest of the world constantly searching for answers on Google, products on Amazon, and education and entertainment on YouTube. These are the 3 forces that help sustain the modern day Tower of Babel.

I think of it as the perfect relationship between creators and consumers.

While it might make us uncomfortable to admit it, these 3 search engines combined serve as a man-made, all-knowing, instantly accessible, god-like entity with instant answers that people can literally see right there on the screen.

No praying required, no real faith involved here. Just type a few words and immediately become more enlightened.

It’s like we’re climbing the stairs to the top of the Tower of Babel, like finding our own way to Heaven; or at least to a more convenient version of life. But hey, if that thought really makes you feel bad; that in theory, we’re all participating in the the modern day Tower of Babel, just promise to never use Google, YouTube, or Amazon again.

Do you want to instantly know how to predict if a young man is going to go bald? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to know what the best yet affordable espresso machine is on the market? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Do you want to instantly know how to be cured of dyshidrotic eczema without depending on prescriptions from a doctor? Just Google it, and you’ll get to me.

Okay, so maybe you personally aren’t currently looking for answers to these questions. That’s okay. Because somebody else is. All the time. And I am getting a piece of the pie.

How so? This is a glimpse at the way it works.

Having an SEO rich website, for people to stumble upon while searching something on Google:

I own the equivalent of real estate here on the Internet. I have this blog you’re reading now, which has been around since May 2009, which contains over 2400 different articles, all of which contain a minimum of 300 words each. This serves as my dragnet to “capture” a decent portion of a great number of things people might be searching at any giving moment on the Internet. Every second of every day.

Because of this, and other secret reasons, my blog (this website) has good SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Therefore, companies realize this when they themselves search for certain keywords (which I carefully implanted here on my website). They obviously want their product featured on easy-to-find platforms like mine, so they reach out to me; offering a free product and/or payment in exchange for being featured here on my “real estate”.

Having a YouTube channel with a decent amount of subscribers:

I have come to the realization that most people don’t realize YouTubers actually make money every time someone clicks on an ad that shows before a YouTuber’s video. With over 2,000 videos, and each one averaging at least 4 minutes long, I have a steady stream of newcomers landing on my YouTube channel each day.

The more who subscribe, the more views I get, the more money I make. From there, I make videos to coincide with certain blog topics that I write about here on my blog. That way, I can use both my blog and YouTube channel in connection with one another; potentially bringing my audiences together.

Having an Amazon Affiliate account to earn a commission from any items sold, from links I plant on my website and YouTube videos:

Fathom this truth… anytime you click on a link that takes you to Amazon and you end up buying anything, the person who put that link there gets a portion of that sale. The link you clicked may have been for a children’s booster car seat, but after clicking the link, you may have wandered off and instead, ended up buying organic vegan Ramen noodles. 

It doesn’t matter. Amazon rewards people like me who have popular enough platforms to usher people over to Amazon and buy a product.

So obviously, in each of my most popular blog posts and YouTube videos, as well as most of my newest ones, there is at least one link to an Amazon product; as I capitalize on the fact I have a decent sized blog, with an accompanying YouTube channel.

Now knowing this about me, do you think differently of this family friendly daddy blogger?

Am I a sneaky guy who preys on unassuming people who are casually searching things on the Internet?

Or am I just another business-minded creative personality who understands how the system works; that consumers are constantly searching for answers and that I might as well be the one with some of those answers. I have just enough answers to get more than a thousand people to stumble upon my website and YouTube channel each day.

So the next time you Google something random end up on someone’s website, think, “I’m improving their power and presence on the Internet.”

The next time you need to learn something by watching a YouTube video and click on the ad that shows before it, think, “I just made that person a fraction of a penny.”

And the next time you click on a link on a website than transports you to Amazon and you buy something, think, “Somebody somewhere is getting a percentage of this sale.”

You now understand the basics of the business model of the modern day Tower of Babel.

After Nearly 10 Years of Marriage, My Wife and I Have Decided to Get a Dinnerware Set (Melange Nantucket Weave) to Replace Our Original One

A decade ago, I had just proposed to the love of my life. We hadn’t even been dating for a year yet, but I was already feeling at that point that my proposal was past due. That’s how much I knew she was the one.

I proposed on January 14th, and our wedding day was less than 6 months away, on July 5th. I suppose that’s just how our story goes. We didn’t need a long time together to decide to get married, nor did we require a long time to be engaged.

The entire year of 2008 is a blur to me. In early January we were just dating, and by early December, we had already been married 5 months. That really puts things in perspective now, in hindsight, what a big year that was for us.

At some point that year, my wife and I spent a day at Bed Bath & Beyond where we had registered for our wedding. When it came time to pick out the dinnerware set, she found a red set that she really liked.

Then we realized that for some mysterious reason, the same set in blue was half the price. So we went with blue.

Amazingly now, after nearly 10 years of using that dinnerware set, from Bush to Obama to Trump, and with two new smaller human members joining our family, all pieces of that set have survived other than a bowl and a cup. That even includes a move to Alabama and back.

Ten is a big number. Just a couple of weeks ago, my wife got to pick out new jewelry from James Avery for Valentine’s Day. That’s the only new jewelry she has gotten (or said she’s wanted) since her engagement and wedding rings back in 2008. So it was a big deal.

So while we’re in the spirit of my wife getting new things, in convenient accordance to our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary, we now have a brand-new set of dinnerware:

Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave

It was not a rash decision. My wife obsessed over, I mean, carefully studied, dozens of sets online through the course of a week.

She then requested my opinion, as well as our son’s, to give her further direction after she had finalized her selection to the top 3.

I have learned over all these years that often, when she asks which one I like the best, whatever the thing is I’m helping her to decide, my answer only reinforces her own decision; which is never the same one I chose.

Amazingly, this time it was different.

Even though she was leaning towards another set, our son and I both chose Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave, and apparently we swayed the vote!

Now obviously, with me being a man, you can imagine that in the end, my choice in our new dinnerware set was not a passionate one.

But now that the new set is here, I have to say, I am very pleased with our decision!

It’s like a crossroads of both Country and Class, which is how I think of my wife. Yeah, she’s from northern California but she loves Country music and grew up on a 5 acre farm with sheep, pigs, cows, chickens, and rabbits. She’s arguably more Southern than I am, yet I was born and raised in Alabama!

Soon, when you see pictures of our kids eating at the dinner table, you won’t see the decade old blue cups and plates anymore; as we start phasing in our white wicker-looking ones.

I never would have thought that picking out a new dinnerware set would be worth writing about, and on your end, reading about.

Yet here we are.

Now let’s see, so far this year, my wife has gotten a new set of jewelry and dinnerware. Meanwhile, I’m still driving my 2004 Honda Element that I’ve owned since January 2006.

Hey, I wonder if I will finally get my Jeep Wrangler I’ve been wishing for all these years?

Nah, probably not. Old Hondas just never die.

By the way, if you’re reading this because you are already actively looking for the Melange Dinnerware Nantucket Weave set, just click here:

Melange Dinnerware, Nantucket Weave

That link will take you straight to Amazon, where you’ll likely find the best deal on it, like we found.

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: My Hourly Work Schedule

Just binge-watching Netflix all day and letting my daughter enjoy “independent play” with her toys at my feet while I scroll through Facebook on my phone and scarf down whatever the vegan equivalent of Totino’s Pizza Rolls is?

Yeah, that’s totally not what I do all day…

Here’s my reality:

6:07 AM – 6:58 AM

Get woken up by both kids after having likely gotten up in the middle of the night to help my daughter back to sleep who is currently teething. Feed and dress both children, while uploading a new video to one of my 3 current YouTube channels.

7:28

Engage both kids in playing with their toys and/or each other while I unload the dishwasher, or quickly take a shower, or even attempt to feed myself.

8:20

Walk my son across the street to where his school bus picks him up, while holding my daughter who is wrapped up in a blanket.

8:21 – 9:15

Practice Johnny Cash songs for one of my upcoming YouTube channels while my daughter plays with her toys.

9:16

Get interrupted when my daughter walks up to me, places her tiny hand on the neck of my guitar, and says, “No.”

9:17

Spend the next 20 minutes getting her to sleep for her morning nap. Shoot new YouTube videos the entire time she’s asleep.

10:40

Take her back downstairs, start uploading another video to another one of my YouTube channels, and play with my daughter.

11:15

Feed my daughter yogurt and oatmeal, which makes a disastrous mess that I have to clean up. Try to eat Ramen noodles while feeding her.

12:03 PM

While uploading another new video, possibly take her out for a ride to go run a tedious errand like picking up bananas from Publix. Let her ride in the kiddie cart which allows her to believe she’s actually steering.

1:07

Arrive home and feed my daughter again. Attempt to give her another nap. If successful, begin shooting more YouTube videos, or write a blog post like the one you’re reading now.

3:00

Answer the phone as my wife calls to check in, while barely keeping my daughter from curiously pressing the “end” button on my phone the whole time.

3:23

Upload a new video while rolling around on the carpet, gently wrestling with my daughter.

4:08

Go outside to meet my son, who just arrived home from school from his bus.

4:09 – 4:23

Force my son to eat something before his blood sugar level causes him to “misbehave.” Feed my daughter again, while I’m at it.

4:24

Welcome my wife home from work, help her prepare dinner or take the kids upstairs to play while she takes care of dinner.

5:17

Attempt to make it through dinner, while serving as referee for the kids who are never interested in eating food during dinner, while I desperately am.

5:43

Entertain the kids while my wife cleans up from dinner, or vice-versa.

6:41

Head upstairs with both kids and tag-team getting them both ready for bed.

8:17

Now that the kids are both asleep, spend quality time with my wife.

9:15

After my wife has fallen asleep, lead her downstairs to get ready for bed. Upload a longer YouTube video that will upload during the night.

10:37

Fall asleep, assuming I’ll be woken up by my daughter in a few hours.

That’s my day.

Now granted, on Tuesdays and Thursdays my daughter is at preschool from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but on those days, all I do all day long is make YouTube videos, upload them, and write blog posts.

It’s actually less work when my daughter is with me all day.

I’m not simply staying at home with being a dad. I’m constantly working on my side hustles when I’m not taking care of my daughter.

I can honestly say I didn’t have to work this hard when I still worked full-time in an office.

Yet still, I prefer to do this.

I would choose this even if it were a choice, which it wasn’t.

To be a stay-at-home dad who works from home.

That’s me. And this is what I do.

3 Non-Romantic Reasons I Love My Wife

On the surface, it’s easy to see why I chose to spend the rest of my life with the woman I married over 9 years ago. She’s universally beautiful, she’s unselfishly kind, and she’s humble yet confident in herself.

I am a lucky man. I have the ability of knowing in all confidence, I made the right decision.

Not only did I choose the right person to marry, but I made the right decision that fateful night of October 5, 2006, when I spotted her in a crowded room full of hundreds of people and decided to take a chance: I walked up to her and attempted to woo her with my interesting stories, my charming, yet off-beat personality, and my average looks.

It worked.

Now here we are in our mid-30s, having been married nearly a decade, and having produced two blue-eyed, Dutch-looking children despite our DNA.

So while I could easily write 841 words on the romantic aspects of how much I love my wife, I’m instead going to take a different direction. What about the non-romantic reasons I love her?

What about the reasons that would be symbolized not by a heart emoji, but instead, by a house or a stack of money, or by a clock or even a skull?

If for no other reason than to challenge myself as a writer, I now present to you 3 non-romantic reasons I love my wife.

  1. We make a good business team.

I feel like this isn’t emphasized when a couple becomes engaged, but marriage is a business, and it needs to be ran that way. The longer we are married, the better we become at running our family’s business.

During our first year of marriage, before kids, we were able to pay for my wife to go get her Master’s Degree, without going into further debt. That investment paid off, as my wife has since then, consistently made considerably more money than I have all these years. My wife also handles our family’s weekly budget.

On my end, I have been faithfully building my experience as a writer (thanks to this blog) since 2009, and as a YouTuber for the past 3 years. Now at present day, we are seeing the possibility that my “side hustles” (as a blogger, ghostwriter, SEO expert, social media influencer, and YouTuber) are starting to pay off. I actually speculate that by January 2019, our monthly mortgage payment will be covered from my YouTube earnings alone.

My wife is the detailed accountant and investor. I am the creative entrepreneur. Together, we run a family business.

            2. We make a good parenting team.

In the same way we are counterparts as co-business owners, we function the same way as parents. My wife is the nurturer, the schedule keeper, the travel planner, the head chef, and the laundry engineer.

Meanwhile, I am the disciplinarian, the head of communication, the chauffeur, the before-and-after school program director, and the “wake up at any hour of the night to get our daughter back to sleep” technician.

We are not great at doing each other’s roles. Instead, we embrace our individual parenting strengths as part of our own identities. We’ve got a good system. And we’ve got good kids.

Whereas I see marriage as a business, I see parenting as a talent management agency. We have two young recruits who we are responsible for molding into respectable and independent adults, preparing them for the real world.

        3. I want to be around her even during the predictable, seemingly uneventful, non-                          Facebook-status-worthy moments of life.

For me, it all comes back to the famous line in our wedding vows: for better or for worse.

Yeah, I’m totally cool with slowly aging alongside my wife for the next 40 years as we live happily ever after, until ultimately one of us finally dies first, leaving the other person with the insurance money- and unimaginable sadness.

But what about the in-between of better or worse? Not everyday can be a Michael Bublé song. Many days are more like Huey Lewis, when he sang, “Yes, it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you.”

I love my wife for the moments in our life together that are just normal and forgettable; the B-roll footage that no one would care about watching if our lives were a reality TV show on TLC, called Our Crazy Vegetarian Life. Being grateful for your spouse through all the filler moments, which honestly, make up most of our time on this planet, is what real love is all about.

So maybe I’ve failed to hold true to the title of this article. Maybe there really is something romantic about building a life together, running it like a business, creating and raising mini-me’s, and choosing to love a person until the day you die, even if most of those days don’t have fireworks and champagne.

Maybe there’s something undeniably romantic about the unromantic parts of loving the person you married.

If so, consider me a hopeless romantic.

Photo credit: Mohamad Alaw.

About the Author:

I am an accidental stay-at-home vegan daddy blogger based in Spring Hill, Tennessee. I have no spare time, but by default, my hobbies include playing guitar, singing, songwriting, mountain biking, skateboarding, running, and going on road trips across America with my family in vehicles that Toyota and Lexus provide for free because it’s smart advertising for them.

Additionally, I enjoy making videos for both of my YouTube channels: Nick Shell, which is a mentorship program for younger men who are psychologically dealing with going bald, and Family Friendly Daddy Blog, which celebrates and explores ethnic diversity based on DNA test results.

How to Make Your Family Car Last Longer: Guest Blog Post from Peter of Voice Boks

Having a car is like having another family member – it may not need as much care as a newborn, but it still requires lots of attention. And unless you want to change cars at the end of each year – most of us can’t even dream about it – you need to put in some time and effort into it. Luckily, you won’t have to spend a fortune on regular car maintenance, but if you come up with a viable and sustainable plan, your car will definitely last longer than it would otherwise. Only with proper care can you make the most of your family car, so here are a couple of ways to improve its lifespan significantly.

Clean it regularly

Car hygiene might not sound like the most important thing in the world and most people don’t even clean their cars as often as they should, but it’s definitely one of the things that will make it run longer. The reason for this is corrosion – a simple chemical process that occurs naturally in a car without us even noticing it.

Corrosion is the biggest threat to any car’s health, particularly when it comes to older models, and a continual exposure to water, dirt and snow will speed things up quite a lot. That’s why washing your car is crucial because it not only minimizes corrosion, but also lets you realize whether certain parts of the car are covered in rust. So, hit the nearest carwash or do it on your own – but don’t forget to include the kids, as well!

No more pedal to the metal

Driving a fast car is every man’s fantasy, but if you’re driving a family car, you probably have other priorities in mind. Going 100 miles an hour sounds like a lot of fun, but not when your kids are screaming in the back seat, scared to death. Therefore, put your racing days behind you and slow down when driving your family – it’s not only a safer, but a smarter way to drive.

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or driving on a highway, it’s your job to be somewhere as soon as possible, especially if you’re late for a parent-teacher conference or a football practice. However, if you’re always pushing your car too hard, you’re putting it under an immense amount of pressure and even the most resilient and trustworthy models, such as the amazing 2004 Honda Element, won’t enjoy this. So, take it easy, don’t rush and keep your kids’ and your car’s safety in mind.

Hot and cold

Proper temperature regulation isn’t at the top of everyone’s priority list when it comes to everyday driving, but it should be, particularly when you’re starting a longer drive or planning a road trip with your family. And since most road trips take place in the summer, driving somewhere with your kids without a working A/C makes absolutely no sense. But, there’s more to it than comfort.

There are two huge problems a faulty A/C can cause – an expensive repair that’s going to make your mechanic several hundreds of dollars richer, or, alternatively, a complete engine meltdown, which is an even worse scenario. People who don’t check and repair their cooling systems from time to time are more susceptible to breakdowns, so try to prevent these problems by avoiding potentially dangerous situations and maintaining your cooling system on a regular basis.

Regular checkup

Speaking of proper maintenance, don’t forget to have your car checked by a professional regularly. Even though you can do some of the simpler things on your own – checking the water level, replacing the oil, making sure there’s enough windshield washer fluid, inflating your tires, etc. – you should definitely find a great mechanic who’ll be in charge of your car’s maintenance. And if you manage to find one with some extra experience in family cars, even better!

Maintaining your car can have a couple of surprising benefits, too – you’ll feel safer knowing there’s nothing wrong, while your kids can be sure daddy’s always going to be there to drive them wherever they need to go. The only problem you may have is a lack of time – if you work all day long and try to spend some quality time with your family during the weekend, you won’t have enough time to take your car to a mechanic. That’s why more and more people contact a reliable mobile mechanic who can come to your home, do the checkup and fix whatever needs to be fixed right in your garage!

Other ideas

Some of the other ways to make sure your car is reaching its full potential include packing less weight in the trunk, parking it in the garage during the winter, driving more smoothly than usual and replacing tires as soon as you notice signs of wearing.

Peter is a parenting and lifestyle writer for Voice Boks magazine. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.