Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Burn out

Burn out is a real thing. Especially when you are having a million different great ideas and you can't keep them all organized. This summer really burned me out with the unlimited amounts of events that popped up along with some depression that hit me half way through. I came to my blog and posted, but I don't think they were my best pieces.

Today I am starting a 6 week writing course in effort to help me better focus on my writing. Once I get that under control I think the ideas will come to the paper (err uh screen) better. In the meantime I am going to take a brief hiatus from the blog. I want to be able to really focus on what I'm doing and maybe even post some of it here. It's about to get rough.. draft that is.

I am going to commit to a week and a half away initially. I will re-evaluate if that's enough time on September 28th when I plan to post again. Expect a fresh feel when I fully return in October! There is also a rumor of a giveaway..

In the meantime take a look around. Discover some of my older posts. Let me know if you want me to revisit anything you see here. As always this blog is always a work in progress as I find my voice and place in this community. I want to be able to connect with you all in the best way possible. That means not only writing for me, but writing what keeps you all coming back.

While I will not be essentially blogging, I will be posting here and there on social media. Mostly on my Instagram account and maybe showing my Facebook a little love. It's on the list of things to get work in this progress. If you aren't already following me on those accounts, would you do me the honor of giving me a follow?

Thank you again for all of your support and comments. It is what keeps me coming back to share my world with you all. See you all soon!

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Blog Staycation Link-Up Wrap Up

Happy Tuesday! Today is the day to link up your Blog Staycation posts! Didn't participate? That's okay! You can also link up your favorite blogging tips and then join us in January for our winter Staycation! We will be hosting the 4 day event January 14-17, 2016. It will be here before we know it!

I didn't get as much time to work on my to do list as I had hoped, but I did get inspired to start making things happen. I already had set up a goal to work on my writing in September and that is something that I think will take me a long way with my blog plans. I wrote down a lot of ideas and thought on what I want to do this fall on the blog. I also signed up today for a 6 week writing class that starts tomorrow!

I have been pondering one of the questions that was asked during a chat this time around, and I was wondering if you all could help me out.. If you want to monetize your blog, who would be your top 5 dream brand/company to work with? List your answers in the comments! I am on the struggle bus for this one!

Have a great day! Can't wait to read all of your posts! :)

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Why I Approve Comments

I don't know about you, but I always wondered why bloggers would hold comments for approval. I thought it seemed like a bad idea. What if you forgot to approve them? What if you missed something? It all seemed pretty weird to me. That is until I found myself in a situation where a negative comment was posted and I was not a happy camper about it. Now it completely made sense to me. Today I want to talk about other reasons why approving comments can really be a God send.

The main reason for approving comments would be the obvious reason: To keep negative and hateful comments off of your positive space. This can also help from a full on brawl happening on your blog for the whole world to see. I don't know about you, but that can't be fun for anyone. If your blog is your business or something you do to earn a means of income, keeping it positive and clean is the best way to go.

The next reason I found very helpful is that I DON'T miss any comments anymore. I have to physically approve all of them. To make sure I don't miss them I normally reply to them before I go on to the next. It makes it so much easier and less time consuming for me to get back in touch with everyone.

The last reason I believe helps when approving comments is the ability to have all the info in front of you. You can see all of the negative comments, which includes e-mail address and ip address, so if you want to report it you have it all right there without having to weed through all of your comments to find them. You can also see all of your happy positive comments right in front of you. I don't know about you, but that sure makes my day!

Do you approve your comments? Why or why not? I'd love to hear your comments on this! 

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Building Your Brand: Social Media

Do you ever feel like you are in blogging limbo? You know that place where you aren't exactly a new blogger anymore, but you also aren't well enough known yet to have a larger readership? That's where I am at the moment. I feel like I am on the verge of bigger and better things but I need to take a few more steps to completely get there. This is where it gets hard and sometimes confusing. Ever feel like that? After participating in Helene's from Helene in Between "Get Paid to Blog" webinar I have had this constant urge to push myself harder to reach my goals.

After some brainstorming of my own and listening to Helene's topics, I have narrowed down some of the things I want to work on to reach my goals. Listing them here will help me remember them and hopefully inspire some of you to leave feedback of your own. These topics don't have to be just for my blogger readers. You can use these topics to build any business. Today I am going to touch on social media.

Social Media: Any business owner can take advantage of social media as an outlet. We can use it to get our message across, engage with our audience, and gain visibility for new ventures. As bloggers we need all of these things to get our content in front of people. We don't only build an audience of readers, we also build community and professional contacts.

I personally need to work on my blogs Facebook page. I have had the hardest time getting it off the ground, lingering in the 400's for likes. It is the place I struggle the most and wish I could have more visibility. Any suggestions?

I do my best with Twitter and Instagram. I watch my followers grow there which makes me happy. It is a slow steady pace, but I do see it growing. I intend to step up my game this fall and really engage. Instagram is my favorite past time these days and I am working to improve my images so it will become a favorite to view. Not such a bad goal right?

I am working on my Pinterest page. I have had a Pinterest page for 4 years and used to pin like crazy before it became a popular social media outlet. When it started picking up and my feeds got super clogged with advertisements and recommendations I stopped using it. I know that was a mistake as it has become very useful for bloggers. Wedding planning has taken me back to pinning so we will see where that takes me.

Periscope has really grown in the last few months. I have an account but my phone is in desperate need of being updated so I don't do the best with it currently. I do team up from time to time with one of my friends to offer some TV commentary on shows like The Bachelorette which turns into a night of laughs and wine. I will announce the next time we are doing one and hopefully you will all join in!

Over the next few months I am going to work on a business plan for myself. I have decided to take my blog to the next level. I want to make it my own, yet a place where people want to come back and read. Join me in the next few weeks as I talk more about my goals in individual topics like this one. It would be to more overwhelming then it's worth ti post them all at the same time. Social media was a good place to start as it is one of the easiest ways to get your name out there.

How are you utilizing social media to get your name out there? What can you recommend that works for you?

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Fall 2015 Blog Staycation Announcement!

It's that time again.. and by "that time" I mean Blog Staycation time! If you remember, back in August of 2014 I joined a group of bloggers to bring you the first ever blog staycation. It was such a hit we are now in our third session! I am so excited to announce the Fall 2015 Blog Staycation will take place:

Thursday, September 10th through Sunday, September 13th!

This time around we have so many things to share with you! More giveaways. More expert speakers. More blog help. As always we want to make this event simple for you to participate in with as much help as we can offer. The Blog Staycation was founded as a way to help all bloggers (new and old) work on to-do lists and grow their blogs. We have built a community of such great bloggers, it's almost worth joining just for that!

As always we will be sending out daily emails with the days events, along with updates and any announcements. We will also be hosting fun Twitter parties and Facebook chats. 

So on to the important details:

Who can join? Anyone who wants to connect and grow their blogs! There is no requirement!

How can I join? You can sign up and will be included in all emails moving forward!

When is it? September 10th through September 13th! (That's a Thursday through Sunday)

What's New?

This session we are excited to announce that we are bringing in some experts to answer some of your questions in the chats! We have Karianne, a blogger who earns six figures a year with her blog, to host a chat on Monetizing Your Blog and Kristen, a Periscope expert! I'm getting excited just thinking about those 2 topics! What about you?

We have a new graphic! Thanks to Jenn over at Jenn Wells Design we have an official banner and button for you all to share! Make sure you grab our lovely new button and share the heck out of it!

Need To Knows:

We will kickoff the Blog Staycation on Thursday, September 10th at 9:30pm EST with a Twitter Party! Make sure to follow along using the hashtag #BlogStaycation. Make sure to also follow your hosts Trish, Jen, and Julie!

Make sure to join the Blog Staycation Facebook Group! It it such a great community of bloggers! You won't want to miss any chats or last minute announcements!

We are hosting multiple giveaways! One in particular is the new referral giveaway. The person who refers the most new friends will win an Amazon gift card! So get out there and share!

As always we are here to help eachother grow! Please take a moment to visit my co-host's Jen and Julie! They have amazing blogs and between the 3 of us you will get 3 different tastes if you will :)

Visit Jen!: Jenerally Informed
Visit Julie!: Girl on the Move

Wrap it up:

Before you go make sure you SIGN UP for emails and join the Facebook Group!

We hope to see you there!!

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August Goals

I really like making goals for myself. They show me that even through the hard times I am accomplishing things, even if they are small. July was kind of a wash with goals, but this month I want to focus on forgiveness. There are so many things I have held onto that aren't doing me any good. I want to finish the summer on a happier note and start Fall with a clean slate.

My happiness project is more than halfway complete for 2015 and I can honestly say they have really pushed me to try new things and set goals that normally would have been left on the back burner. I have had so much personal growth thanks to my commitment to this project. Not only is is helping me focus on me as a person, it helps me focus on this blog. I have some big plans, so let's see what I want to accomplish this month:

  • Sponsor 3 new blogs: I was on a roll for a while and I had my ad all over, but things changed and I stopped sponsoring. I really want to get things back in order and start introducing my blog and content to new people. 
  • Pin more!: I keep saying I am going to use Pinterest more, and then I forget about it. I know it will only help me to be more involved. I am going to make a good effort to be more visible this month. Wish me luck! (and add me on Pinterest :)
  • Series: I have a series I have been itching to get moving. I am going to get everything in place this month to debut it in September. I am really excited and out of all the goals I am hoping this is one of the ones I accomplish. 
  • Media kit: One of the most valuable things I learned at BlogHer 2015 was that I needed a media kit. I have since created one, but have been shy to share it with anyone. I am going to start putting some miles on that baby starting now! 
I'll let you all know how I do next month! Have a great Monday!

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Conference Essentials

After attending my first blogging conference in a big city (NYC) I came up with a list of things to pack to make the experience that much better. These items don't only apply for blogging conferences. You can use these items for any type of conference you are attending.

  • Comfy shoes: I know you want to look fashionable and pretty thought out the conference, but if you are planning to do a lot of walking, especially if you are not staying at the conference hotel, having comfy shoes to put on is a must. I picked a pair that were light in weight, yet still comfy and fashionable.
  • Deodorant: Conferences make for a long day, especially when they fall in the summer. Having a good deodorant that works all day is highly recommended. I was glad I packed my Dove Advanced Care 48 Hour anti-perspirant. It kept me dry and smelling good even after running around NYC in 90 degree weather.
  •  Sunscreen: I am pretty white. If I don't wear sunscreen I end up looking like a good ol' fashioned Coca Cola can. It ain't pretty! I rubbed on some SPF 60 sunscreen and off I went. Even while sweating like there is no tomorrow, it stayed on and did the job. Remember, even if your conference is in the winter, you can still get sunburn! Be safe and pack it regardless. 
  • Collapsible Bag: You never know what kind of swag you are going to come across at a conference. Sometimes you are provided with plenty of bags, and sometimes you only have 1. I always carry a bag that can easily fit in my purse just in case. This also comes in handy if you are exploring the city and decide to buy a few souvenirs.
  • Business Cards: Always, always make sure you have business cards on you at a conference. You are going to be mingling with not only other bloggers (or others in your field if this is a work related conference) but sponsors and brands. You don't want to be caught off guard when someone asks for your card. Make sure to bring at least 250 just in case. 
  • Portable Power Charger: Guys can I say how much of a life saver this is? This day in age EVERYONE has a smartphone, so everyone is looking for a place to plug in. To help ease the panic mode when you phone goes into power saving mode, invest in a portable charger and save yourself some grief. You can charge right in your purse and have a totally charged phone in less than an hour. 
I hope this list was helpful for your next conference! What do you consider an essential? Share them with me in the comments!

*I received the Dove Advanced Care from Influenster free for review purposes. All opinions are my own.  
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BlogHer Conference Recap - Day 3

Day 3 (Check out Day 1 and Day 2)

I didn't feel as tired today when I woke up. I was however supposed to go do some early yoga and that didn't happen. I also decided missing breakfast wasn't the end of the world and I didn't have as big of an interest to that morning keynote, so I went in a little later. It was Saturday so there was no rush hour to worry about. I arrived at around 10:15 with just enough time to get me to a session I was interested in attending; You As a Brand: Brands on Bloggers.

This was an interesting panel. So much insight was given on what brands are looking for and what they avoid. I learned a lot about what I should be doing moving forward to help me connect with brands better. Very informative and glad I attended.

I had a lunch time private event with Good Health. I was really excited about this one because I am all about living a healthier life these days and any tips I can get works for me. I sat with some pretty great ladies and we laughed together as we all attempted some yoga in the crowded room. Lunch was pretty yummy and we sat and learned some food tips.

After lunch I headed to another session that was set up once again as a round table discussion. Building a Media Kit with Erin Baynham was one of the top sessions on my list to attend. It was apparently on top of lots of peoples lists because it was PACKED! I was lucky to have a seat close to Erin so I heard everything clearly but others got frustrated and I think next year this type of session needs to be in a bigger setting. I took a lot out of this session with all of the amazing ladies who spoke up and gave insight. I don't currently have a media kit but am working on one this week. I am excited to see what I can come up with and where it can take me. Do you have a media kit?

I ended my conference experience with one last visit to the Expo. In case you are wondering what the Expo is, it is a huge hall where all of the sponsors are set up ready to meet you. You have opportunities to hand out business cards, mingle with fellow bloggers, and sample new products. This is where most of your swag comes from. It can be really overwhelming.

Just a peak at some of the swag I went home with

I unfortunately did not attend the closing party. I really had every intention of doing so but had some insecurities about getting back to my cousins safely at that hour of the night. I ended up heading home and spending more time with my cousin and organizing everything for my trip home. I had a great experience and can't wait to attend more conferences in the future.

Stop back tomorrow to see some of my conference must haves when attending for the first time. These tips could also be helpful for your 100th conference.  I hope you enjoyed the journey with me this week. Now I want to hear about your experiences with conferences. Tell me all about your experiences in the comments!

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BlogHer Conference Recap - Day 2

Day 2 (Check out Day 1!)

Tired does not even begin to describe how I felt when I woke up. I sluggishly made my way to the city and barely made it to breakfast and the morning Keynote. The keynote was amazing with Anna Maria Chavez, Soledad O'Brien and Samantha Skey. I felt so moved and inspired by these ladies stories. I left the keynote feeling pumped as I headed to a private event with Sears Connection. This was a panel of ladies talking about all the new technology Sears has to offer as well as how we can use it in our everyday lives. One of the panelists was Randi Zuckerberg. She had so many great ideas about keeping families grounded in this techno world we live in. We all received a little goody bag along with Randi's book Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives. Looking forward to reading that!

After that amazing panel I ran to lunch where Gwyneth Paltrow was speaking. She spoke about Goop, parenting, her divorce, and dealing with criticism of being in the spotlight. She spoke so candidly and open. I really felt like she was just another blogger/business woman trying to make it in this crazy world. She laughed, she cried, and she inspired. Such a great person to bring into a conference for blogging. 

I felt like she had some pretty good advice on how to deal with life in the spotlight. Even as bloggers we may not be huge celebrities, but we are putting ourselves out there for criticism. Some days it is harder than others to deal with the real dangers that come along with public writing. I have said this before and I will say it again, not everyone will like you or your writing. Gwyneth spoke about how she deals with these issues and how they made her really look at herself. Some of the negativity that comes out of the criticism helps to shape yourself and work on things that may be your own insecurities. 

I left lunch feeling a lot better about some of the stuff going on in my life. It was a great way to remind myself to keep moving even in difficult times. I moved on to my first session since coming to the conference. I attended Humor Writing in 140 Characters and Beyond with Sarah Maizes. This was meant to be a round table discussion but quickly became pretty crowded where it became very hard to hear. I took a little out of this session, but I wish it would have been a little better organized.

Conference OOTD Day 2

After the session there was an Expo break. I used this time to visit with any of the vendors I hadn't already talked to. I had an opportunity to meet country music artist Billy Currington courtesy of Best Buy Wedding Registries.  I also sampled some Coca Cola Life. Tasted yummy to me! Quenched my thirst and got me ready for the Voices of the Year (VOTY) ceremony. It was so inspiring to see what people have been doing this year in the blogging community. They have been inspiring and helping people understand some tough times. Such an amazing ceremony. 

Immediately after the ceremony there was a champagne reception. I was starting to get tired and wanted to spend some time with my cousin, so I decided to head out a little early. I was smart today and did not get to much swag so the trip back to Penn Station went smoother. I was able to take the subway. Much quicker and cheaper than the cab ride. Unfortunately like I mentioned in yesterdays post, you must come prepared for everything. This includes all trains being temporarily suspended due to "police activity" at one of the stations you needed to pass through to get home. 

My idea of getting home earlier to my cousin was delayed and of course this was during rush hour on a Friday when EVERYONE wanted to just get home. It was hot, people were angry, and that just leads to chaos no matter how you look at it. Finally we learned 2 trains had side swiped eachother on the westbound tracks (I was headed eastbound) causing damage and derailment. After a good hour or so they opened the eastbound tracks allowing me and the hundreds of others to finally head home. Saying the train was crowded was an understatement! 

Day 2 Lessons Learned + Tips 
  • Go to bed at a normal time! Being exhausted especially when traveling is never fun.
  • Pack a water bottle. I was pretty thirsty at times and when the train was delayed and the stations were scorching hot, water would of been a good idea to have.
  • Don't forget your comfy shoes. I left with just my sandals and at times my feet were very angry at me!
  • Check news alerts before heading anywhere. I could of stayed at the conference enjoying some champagne while the train situation sorted itself out. 
I  hope you enjoyed Day 2! If you didn't see Day 1 you can recap that here---> Day 1! Also don't forget to come back tomorrow for Day 3!    

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BlogHer Conference Recap - Day 1

What happens when you decide you MUST go to a blogging conference 3 weeks before it happens? Well if you're like me you read every article and post you can find about the previous conferences as well as the one coming up. I jam packed myself with so much information about the BlogHer conferences it's no wonder people start to get anxious. I felt their pain.

When I decided to make the trip to NYC to attend, I also knew I was going to be traveling alone. No big deal right? I read all over the place that even if you attend alone, you will still feel super welcome and everyone is really friendly. I decided it would be okay and I would make due. To make that traveling alone thing even trickier I decided I needed to also save some money so I opted to stay with family on Long Island (about a 50 minute train ride to the city). This did not help my anxiety when it came to meeting new people.

Follow along with me this week as I recap my first ever blogger conference. I will be talking about my experience and offer up tips for newcomers. Everyone has a different experience so I hope one of you can relate to mine. 

Day 1

It was about 12:30pm when I arrived via a Coach bus into New York City. It was hot, sticky, and I had been awake since 5:30am with no coffee. Scary thought, I know. I was meeting my cousin whom I would be staying with for the time I was spending in NYC. Stepping out into the sunlight after emerging from Port Authority showed me the first lesson I learned about attending a conference and NOT staying at the hotel it was being offered at; if you bring bags, you kind of have to carry them with you from that point forward. Thankfully the Hilton where the conference was being held allowed me to "check my bags" for the day. Amen to the Hilton!

I was what I felt like a thousand pounds lighter and starving for lunch. We decided to head out in search of sustenance. Which actually meant I was in search for wine of course. We settled on the Olive Garden in Times Square. They had this pretty amazing deal on a wine flight for $9.00. For Manhattan that is pretty darn cheap. I also figured it would be a good idea to actually eat something so the endless salad and breadsticks sounded like a plan. It was nice to feel full and a little less sweaty. Going back out into the world seemed hard at this point though.

Lunch! I mean my drinks? ;)
We headed off to find the Coffee Bean cause when in Manhattan you can't pass up one of those yummy blended drinks they made. We strolled in during "happy hour" and got our drinks for half off. Not to shabby. It was nearing 4:30 and I still needed to officially check in and meet up a group of ladies for a drink. We headed to the hotel and I realized I really needed to change.

The current condition of my "travel" clothes (capri's and a t-shirt) were wrinkles and sweaty. Not exactly the first impression I wanted to make. Fast forward to me in the lobby bathroom changing my clothes and freshening up. I felt better and was ready to mingle. My cousin joined me for a bit and then headed off to meet up with a friend. I befriended a few ladies and we headed into the Expo together. The Expo was crawling with bloggers and brands. So much to do in so little time! I made my way from booth to booth, eventually losing my new conference buddies (not on purpose!).

I quickly caught on to the fact that I was going to be leaving with quite the swag and not much room for it. Oops! I wandered around a few times trying to avoid more swag that I didn't need and grabbed a glass of wine. There were wine and drink stations set up all through out the 2 floors. I had my picture taken with some sponsors and all in all had a fun experience. I briefly stopped up at the Multi-Culti party before exhaustion completely took over and I needed to call it a night.

My cousin was still in the city so after accessing the swag situation I decided there was no way to walk the 20 blocks to Penn Station or even try to get on a subway so I hailed a cab. After a pretty frightening cab ride I was reunited with K and on the train to Long Island. Whew! What a crazy first day!

Day 1 Lessons Learned + Tips!
  • Stay at the hotel the conference is being held at. This will save you lots of frustration.
  • Pack comfy shoes and be prepared to walk A LOT. 
  • Sunscreen! Needless to say I had a little redness after day 1's adventures.
  • Wear really good deodorant if you won't have time to shower. 
  • Be patient. Things can change quickly in a large city. Be prepared for anything.

I hope you enjoyed day 1! Please come back tomorrow for day 2 and more tips! Follow along all week as I talk about all things conference related!

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Let's Get This Conference Started!

Hello Listers! <--- Is that a thing? Happy Friday! I am currently hanging out at BlogHer 2015 in New York City! Where my conference goers at? For any of you who are unfamiliar with what BlogHer 2015 is, it is an enormous 2.5 day conference that brings bloggers and brands together. It gives bloggers an opportunity to mingle with fellow bloggers, build relationships with brands, learn new things, and have a good time!

After the week I've had I needed this. I arrived in NYC yesterday afternoon where I met up with my cousin for the day. We had lunch and then hung out with some fellow conference goers. The official kick off of the conference started last night at 6pm with The Expo followed by various parties. SO. MUCH. SWAG.

The next 2 days are jam packed with speakers, sessions, parties, and special events. I am hoping to learn some great new things to share with all of you here on the blog, as well as things I can apply to make this blog better.  I have a couple of opportunities to meet up with some brands while I am here and I am looking forward to building relationships for possible partnerships. Really excited about that!

Anyone else at the conference? If you're here, say hello! I want to meet you all :)

Have a great weekend folks! I'll be back Monday with more on how the full experience went. (Okay don't hold me to Monday as I may be sleep deprived, but I will get it out next week!)

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First Impressions: BlogHer 2015

I'm not sure if you heard the news, but... I'M GOING TO BLOGHER 2015! This will be my first time attending and my first blogging conference ever. With that being said, I am beyond excited and beyond nervous all at the same time. I put "attend a blog conference" on my bucket list for 2015 so I am beyond thrilled that I am crossing that off. Now onto more important things.. Because I have never attended any conference I do not have any advice or tips from experience, so I decided to put together my own "first impression" tips and advice from all that I have learned so far.

Conference: BlogHer 2015: Experts Among Us
When: July 16-18
Where: New York City (NYC)
Subject: Tips and Tricks from a Newbie: Comedy Style
*This list is meant to be funny and is not intended to offend anyone. I believe laughing through life can be the best medicine and at a time of being anxious or nervous, this is how I get myself though.

1. First and foremost make sure to pack wine. Lot's of it. If you are not a wine drinker, replace wine with your favorite alcoholic beverage. Consumption can not be avoided.

2. Pack as many people as you can into a hotel room. This will save you money and the hassle of lodging in NYC. It may also cause you extreme anxiety and turn you into an alcoholic as all potential roomies promise lots of wine. (See you will make lots of friends if you follow my first tip!)

3. Bring the largest suitcase and/or bags you own but leave them empty. You must save room for all of the free stuff you will get thrown at you from all the sponsors.

4. As far as the "what to wear" question has to go, make sure you just be yourself girlfriend (Or boyfriend)! But, make sure you read all of the outfit tips. You know.. so you make sure you are in "code" and are "in the know".

5. Make sure to stay connected (to the WiFi that is) at all times. Who are we bloggers fooling? We can't live without our screens and wifi. We must be able to Instagram, Periscope, and Tweet about everything we are doing.

6. Make a plan. There are about 70 million things to do (Okay I exaggerated a little) and it seems impossible to do everything. Between keynotes, sessions, invites, and parties, there is something for everyone, but don't plan on attending everything. That just leads to Stresstown, USA.

7. Meet new people! I hear the hallways are a great place to do this, as this is where the real parties happen. You know with the wine and lots of giggling. This again keeps you in the cool kids club because once again if you followed my first tip, you will be famous already :)

8. Bring business cards. Whether you hand draw your own or spend a small fortune on some professional ones, make sure to proof read them before ordering them/handing them out. The genius I am got so excited when making mine, I put the wrong Twitter handle. Yes folks, I will be advertising someone else's Twitter. (Who am I  kidding, I placed stickers over that mistake with the correct info. So fancy, I know!)

Well there you have it fellow conference goers. That is what I have learned so far in the amazing journey leading up to BlogHer 2015. Truth be told, if you are going.. the best advice I can give as far as someone who has never gone before is, just have fun. Make the conference about learning, socializing, and networking.  This is my plan. I am in introvert to the max but I am going to put myself out there and let the good times roll. I am so excited to meet all the fabulous bloggers, speakers, and sponsors who will all come together to make one heck of a conference.

If you are going, please reach out! I would love to meet you! I promised myself I would come home with a new tribe and friends for life. If you are on that same mission, get in touch! We can do it together! These are the events I am planning to attend:

I'm going to the Voices of the Year Reception at #BlogHer15!I'm going to the Evening at the Expo at #BlogHer15!I'm going to the Multi-Culti Party at #BlogHer15!

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July Goals

Whew we made it! Summer is into full swing and with 4th of July this weekend we can sure look forward to more cookouts, fireworks, bonfires, and drinks on the patio with good friends and family. July is also the month I am getting my butt back into gear. I am finally at a place where I can sit down again and plan out my ideas and plans for the summer both on this blog and in my everyday life.

You may recall my June goals/Happiness Project theme was balance and getting back on track. I revisited things I worked on earlier in the year to touch up some of those skills and practices. It is so important to check in from time to time, and I felt the mid-year point was best for me. I am happy to report that I am working out more, spending more time with friends, and taking some moments for me. These these were so essential for me to feel like a person again, rather than a crazed work horse.

Because a lot of the hard stuff seems to have settled down, I am setting July's theme as Fun. I am going to reconnect with all the things I enjoy. One of those things will certainly be this blog. I enjoy coming here and writing for all of you. I am also attending lots of events with friends this month. All happy things like weddings and parties.

So here are the goals I want to really hit:

  • Laugh often. Whether it be with friends, family, coworkers, or to myself. I am going to keep the good times rolling.
  • Read more. I am pulling out that summer reading list and getting to work. I have about 5 books I absolutely want to get done this month, so cheers to that! What are you reading?
  • Photography: I got a fancy new camera to play with for Christmas and have hardly pulled it out. I love capturing beautiful moments in life, so it's time. No more excuses! Bonus for the blog because the photos will look SO much better!
  • Hiking: Getting my fitness on while seeing some beautiful scenery can never go wrong. I am going to get out there, clear my head, burn some calories, and take photos. Sounds like a dream for me!
  •  Blogging: This month I am going to my first blogging conference. BlogHer15. I am so excited for this. I can't wait to learn new ways to grow this space and connect with new bloggers. Anyone else planning on going? If you are lets plan a get together!
  •  Get involved: I have been wanting to get more involved with my local community. I was on my way to getting there back in May when all kinds of crazy happened and I kind of backed off. July is going to be the month I start getting more involved with local events, hoping to build new relationships!
So there you have it. July may be busy, but it's going to be a fun busy! I cannot wait to see what kind of doors open this month. I am putting myself out there and that alone is huge for me. I want to collaborate. I want to start new projects. I want to grow both on this blog and in my personal life. Who's with me? We can do this together!

Have an amazing 4th of July weekend if you are on holiday! If you aren't I hope it goes great for you anyway!

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I'm a year old!

Whew! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! In case you haven't noticed, The Trish List got a new look over the weekend! (Jenn over at Business, Life & Design did an amazing job!) We grew up.. sorta. May 1st was my 1 year bloggy birthday and with all of the craziness going on in my personal life, I neglected to celebrate my first year of blogging. I am so proud of myself for sticking with this and writing even when things got tough. I would often have moments when I thought "Do I really want to continue on?"

I am so glad I decided to keep writing for you all week after week. I have met so many wonderful people and learned so much from each and every one of you. As all bloggers point out, this can become a full-time job on top of our full-time jobs, whatever they may be. We put lots of sweat and blood into these spaces. Hours are spent on writing, photographing, exploring, editing, and reaching out. I couldn't of done it without all of you! My readers, fellow bloggers, and innocent bi-standers. You all make coming here and writing daily fun and enjoyable!

I can't wait to see what year 2 has in store for me and for all of you. I have lots of ideas and things I keep promising and then push back, but now that things seem to be slowing down for a few weeks I can get some of this stuff rolling! I am always looking for ways to collaborate so please feel free to reach out if you have any ideas!

I hope you all have an amazing Monday and week to follow. I will see you back here Wednesday! Keep on keepin' on folks!

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That's a Wrap! - Blog Staycation Edition

I don't know about you, but I had a lot going on this weekend. And when I say a lot, I mean I spent a lot of time on my couch. Now you are probably thinking, "How did you have a lot going on if you spent it all on your couch Trish?" Let me explain.

I just wrapped up the Blog Staycation. If you aren't familiar with it, it is a blogging event that I co-host where you get your blog to do list taken care of. You make lists, meet new people, and get tips and ideas on how to make your blog grow.

Last year when we launched the event, I was out of town for most of it, so I was no able to host any of the events. This year I made sure I was free and hosted my first Facebook chat. I have to say it was amazing. I enjoyed connecting with fellow bloggers while engaging conversation about informative topics.

If you did not participate this time around, we will be hosting another event later this year! Make sure to join our Facebook Group for all kinds of blogging help along with filling out this form so we can update you on any upcoming events!


Now a couple of announcements and reminders:

I know it seems like I forgot about this, but I am hosting an e-reader reading challenge that launched March 1st. It goes through to the end of May. I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky participant who completes the challenge! There's still time to get involved!

I am starting a new series! Thanks to the staycation for getting my butt in motion on this one. Expect to see it launch next Thursday, April 9th. This series is going to focus on a day in a life of a short girl. I define short girl as anyone under 5'4". I will bring weekly tips and inspiration to all the shorties of the world :). Send me a message if you have a story to share! I want this to be a group effort used to inspire!

I launched a reader survey a few weeks back and I am still looking for your feedback! Please take a moment to fill out this short 5 question survey that will take you a minute at most!

Now last but certainly not least, please link up your Blog Staycation experience! We would love to hear how it went and what you accomplished!

I am so grateful for all of you who participated in the Spring 2015 Blog Staycation! Stay connected and you will always have backup! :)

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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Blogging for you

Sometimes it is really easy to forget why you started to blog. You forget you had a passion to write and have your voice heard. Instead you stress over every post because it isn't as good as so and so's. You see a trend and now you need to do that too. Gotta keep up with the Blones' (haha like Jones').

Starting today I want  you to forget about everything else you are reading and focus on you. Come back to center and really engage in the vision you had with then you started your blog. Ask yourself these 3 questions:

What is the main reason I started my blog?

Am I proud of the content I am putting out?

What is it that I am really good at and can bring more great content to my readers?

Were these questions easy to answer or did you get stuck? Chances are if you got stuck you are not being true to what you really wanted to do with your blog. You are to hung up on what everyone else is doing to stop and write for you.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean writing for you in a way that you shouldn't try and engage with your readers, but writing for you so your readers know the real you. Does that make sense?
Write what you are passionate about. Let your readers see you get excited over something you love. Make them want to come back for more so every time is something new and exciting. Once you get that you are golden.

I hope if you didn't take anything else out of this post, you will stop and check in with your goals. Make sure you are on the path you set out to be on. If you aren't start fresh tomorrow and let your greatness shine through.

Make it a good one and always remember being YOU is the best trend you can follow.

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The Blog Staycation Resources!

Happy Friday! We made it. Today's post is geared towards my fellow bloggers and those who may be interested in starting a blog. If you follow me on Twitter, you have probably noticed me using a hash tag a lot lately. That hash tag is #BlogStaycation. If you're like me you probably get curious and click on it to see what it is. Maybe you didn't but are still think, "what the heck is #BlogStaycation?!" Well my friends you are in luck. Today I am offering up an explanation. An ultimate Blog Staycation Resource if you will. Here we go!

Trish @ The Trish List
Julie @ Girl on the Move
Jen @ Jenerally Informed
Farrah @ The Reflective Mama (Not participating this time around)

How did the Blog Staycation come to be?
It all started last summer (2014) in a SITS Girls Saturday Morning Twitter chat. There were some comments about wishing there were a better way to stay organized in blogging and a time to set aside to get it all done. Julie chimed in about taking a Staycation just for the blog. All 4 of us joined forces and threw around ideas. In August 2014 the first Blog Staycation was launched!

We had about 50 participants in the first  4 day staycation. We have doubled our attendees in just 7 short months. The Spring edition of the Blog Staycation has just over 100 participants! 

Okay, so you told us how it started, explain exactly what it is we must do?
The Blog Staycation is 4 days dedicated to getting your blog "to do" list done. We offer daily emails, chats and guidance to help you achieve your goals. You can participate in as many days as you'd like moving at your own pace! There is no pressure to attend any events and you can stay completely anonymous if you'd prefer. At the end of the 4 days we wrap it all up and offer a link-up where you can show everyone what you have achieved and connect with new bloggers! It's really a win-win all the way around if you ask me!

Okay I decided I need to participate. How much does it cost?
Absolutely NOTHING! It's free! The Blog Staycation is an online event where you can choose your own adventure if you will. We are all here as support and idea sparkers, but ultimately it is you who is doing all the work on your to do lists.

Now what?
I want to offer up some of my links from last year's events to get an idea of what to expect when you are participating in the event. 

The first Blog Staycation Announcement
Interacting with your Readers
Scheduled Posts

This year we are doing things a little bit different, but this happens when you start to grow something. We are still offering up daily e-mails and chats, but we will only feature 1 blog post a day to keep it less confusing! That's not to say we won't be throwing in some bonus links and surprises here and there!

4 Day Schedule
March 26th - Blogstaycation Kickoff Twitter Party
March 27th - Facebook Chat #1 - 11am Eastern Time  (Join!)
March 28th - Facebook Chat #2 - TBD (Join!)
March 29th - Twitter Party Wrap Up - 9:30pm Eastern

For the Twitter Parties make sure you are following all of us on Twitter!
Trish @TrishListBlog
Julie @jmdenouden
Jen @QueenMomJen

Also find us with the hashtag #BlogStaycation. You can post there throughout the event to connect with other fabulous bloggers we well!

Well guys there you have it. The run down of what to expect and when to expect it during this installment of the Blog Staycation! Stay tuned more for inspiring posts of ideas and ways to get you motivated all weekend long! I hope to see you all around! Have a wondeful Friday!

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Reader Survey

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to conduct a quick reader survey. I have been gracing the internet now for a year and it would be awesome to get some feedback! If you could take a moment to answer these 5 quick questions I would love you for life! Thanks again and have a great Wednesday!

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Saturday Extra: Link Love

Happy Saturday folks! I have been so busy this week I rarely got time to catch up on all of my favorite reads. Today I wanted to share with you my favorite posts of the week and hope you all find them as great as I do.

Julia over at Grace Makes New wrote about one of my favorite subject this week! 5 Ways to Earn Free Giftcard. Love me some freebie advice! Be sure to check out Julia's post!

Kaelyn over at My Fair Daily wrote about The Beauty Sleep Challenge and I fell in love with her pajama pants! I found someone else who enjoys a cute pair of skull pj's!

 Anne over at Love the Here and Now always knows how to brighten my day with her inspirational posts. She didn't disappoint in her post on 10 Ways to Brighten Someone's Day. Great advice!

Hello Natural has been one of my favorite reads lately. Stephanie does a great job at bring some pretty amazing articles. 101 Reasons Why Coconut Oil is Miracle Stuff is awesome! It has great ideas when it comes to this stuff that I just can't get enough of already!

Christine over at The So Called Homemaker is doing a series on Real Estate for Real People. I really enjoyed her segment on renting because this is going to be me soon! Great tips if you are looking for real estate!

I hope you find some good reads folks!

I also wanted to talk quickly about my decision to start offering one sponsorship option on my blog. The only reason I am interested in doing 1 option, is I do not want to commit right yet to a full on sidebar full of sponsors that I may or may not be able to promote.

I have noticed my blog gets quite a bit of traffic on Saturday and Sunday's and I rarely post on these days. I am thinking about offering a blog takeover on one of those days each week. This way I will be able to promote you each week and only have one person to commit to weekly instead of 5 or 10. Once I get the hang of it I may offer more options, but I think this is the best way to start off and not make anyone upset with me. What do you all think? Does this interest you?

Lemme know and have a great weekend!

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2015 Blog Updates

Hi all. As we make our way into the first full week of 2015, most of us back to work and school, this is a time where we all try to get back on routine. Routine can be exactly as you left it in 2014, or a new one you want to acclimate in 2015. Personally, I have come up with 2 sets of goals this year. One for this blog and one for my own personal development.

I will talk about my blog goals and updates today because they easy said and to the point. The first thing I want to point out if you had not already noticed, the blog has a new look. With the new look came new categories on my side bar. I decided to better plan out my content and make it easier for you all to find. I feel these 4 categories sum up The Trish List the best:

Central NY

I consider myself a Lifestyle blog so you can find all things "do it yourself", personal stories, recipes, and anything else life related under the category Life.

I have always been pretty good at talking about being healthier and following wellness plans. I decided this year to focus more on that and add it as a category. You can find everything health, fitness, and wellness under the category Wellness.

I talk about free stuff a lot. I am pretty thrifty as well. This was definitely something I needed to categorize on my blog. You can find anything free, thrifty, or just plain shopping awesomeness under the category Thrifty.

Last but not least, I am working on a Happiness Project this year so anything happy and fun related will be under the category Fun.

The new look and the categories are helping me get organized. I feel like this will make a huge difference as I continue my blog journey.

The second goal I want to focus on here is growing. More promotion. More interacting. More great content. I have learned so much in 2014 and hope to learn tons more this year. I want to start applying these skills to make you want to come back for more!

With these 2 goals I feel 2015 will be a great year for growth and new opportunities!

Come back tomorrow to see my personal goals for the year!

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