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My Blog Staycation Wrap Up

Oh Em Gee this week has been B-U-S-Y! I just wrapped up the Blog Staycation 2014 with my lovely co-hosts Julie, Jen, and Farrah. Make sure you stop by their pages and show them some love, because they truly are amazing! The Blog Staycation was an event to bring together bloggers and help them get their blogs organized as we truck into the Fall.

I had a little bit of a conflict when I realized the planned dates for the staycation was inter-twining with my vacation. I was going to be out of town for the grunt of it and I had a little panic attack trying to get everything together and ready for the launch and then the 4 days of events. (I ended up having more time when events went on then I though, which was AWESOME!)

With that being said, the most important things I learned during the Blog Staycation was time management and multi-tasking. I could plan ahead with great content AND enjoy my time away knowing everything was taken care of. This is such a great goal for me. Time management has been hard lately, and I nailed it this past week!

I connected with some great bloggers. So many creative minds in one place really got the ideas flowing. This motivated me to get my September schedule planned. A new series is in the works, which will ultimately lead to some other plans for the Fall. I also toyed around with some other ideas which I am really excited about. I couldn't have asked for a better group to explore my blogging goals with. I cannot wait to do this again soon! Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on when the next event will be!

Have you ever participated in a blogger event? Did you enjoy it? What do you think about the online events? Tell me below! 

Don't forget to link up if you participated in the event! We would love to see what you accomplished!

Stayed tuned for my Maine Recap. I had a great time with some amazing photos! You can expect to see that early next week! Happy Thursday!  


Blog Staycation: Photos

Hello there! Welcome back to Blog Staycation 2014! Are we having fun yet? There have been some fun topics already! I know I am learning a lot! Yesterday I wrote about scheduled posts and why they are a blessing! Today I want to talk about the importance of using photos in your posts.

Bloggers come to the internet to talk about a variety of topics. Anything from experiences to DIY tutorials. With our words, we create a picture. Because we all think differently, we all create different pictures in our minds. This is where inserting a photo would be helpful. We want to create a picture of our topic, but we also want to show what it is we are talking about.

If I were going to write about a crafting project and I told you all about it, how to make it, and what it SHOULD look like at the end, do you think you could do it? You probably could. But if I added some photos, you would be able to see the finished project. You would know what it was supposed to look like at the end.

Same thing goes for an experience. Anyone can write about their experience at a concert, but would you want to read it if there were no photos to go along with the story? Humans are very visual creatures and we enjoy to see what you saw in those moments. A good writer can create that picture for you, but in certain scenarios when you are talking about something that happened, it is best to provides photos.

When deciding to use photos, it is best to use your own. You do not want to get yourself into a situation where you used someone else's work and did not give credit for it. There are sites out there that allow you to use their photos for free, but they don't always have what you want. I suggest taking your own photos and editing them from there. You are probably thinking,  "Really? I don't know how to take photos!" That's okay. It is really easy to take a basic photo for your blog.

First thing you want to do is make sure you have enough light. Natural light is best. This is why you see a lot of bloggers outside when they are using photos in their posts. The natural light will show true colors and won't make everything look yellow. If you absolutely can not go outdoors, open up your curtains and blinds and let the light come in. Turn on an overhead light and use a backdrop. You can create a backdrop easily if you are just photographing small items. Use white paper. The white paper brightens up your photos which eliminates the yellow cast you tend to get indoors.

If you are photographing yourself it is easiest if you have someone to take the photo for you, or invest in a tripod for your camera. The same rules apply here as above. Move on outdoors or come inside and stand in the natural light. See the difference below?

Left photo there was no natural light, right picture I stood in a well lit area with a white background

Once you are done creating your photo, if any editing needs to be done I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. They both offer free options that have basic options for your needs. Both programs are user friendly and help you along the way. I suggest playing with the options to get a feel of what they offer and what you want. You can change colors, add text, add icons, and the list goes on.

Now you are all set to add photos to your writing. Paint that picture and then show it to us. I hope this was helpful and it gives you an idea of why using photos are important and why good photos matter. You do not have to run out and buy a fancy camera right away. I took both photos above with my smartphone. Just play around and see what you get!

Are you using photos now? How do you take them? Do you enjoy mini photo shoots? Tell me below!

Although Blog Staycation 2014 is nearing the end, that doesn't mean you can't continue to learn new things for your blog. I hope to see you all around again! I have enjoyed sharing content with all of you!

Blog Staycation: Scheduled Posts

Welcome back to another day of Blog Staycation 2014! Yesterday I talked about why it is so important to interact with your readers. Today I want to talk about how to manage a blog with a full time life. For me personally, it is REALLY hard to post everyday on top of social media to go along with it.. I work a very demanding job that keeps me in the office about 10 hours a day. However, I still manage to get my post live AND social media in all day while I am working. I do this with scheduled posts.

Scheduling your posts ahead of time does not work for everyone, but I find it to be a blessing When I get free time I sit and write all of my thoughts down. Those thoughts become my blog posts for the next week. Now that I have blogs ready to go, all I have to do is schedule them to go live on the specified day. Easy peasy!

We all know social media is a HUGE part of blogging today. We need social media to alert readers of new postings and projects, to inspire, to gain new readers, and the list goes on. If you manage a full time job, have children, other responsibilities, or just want to have a real life outside of your blog, scheduling social media posts is the way to go. It allows you to have a social media presence without having to spend all day at your computer.

Facebook now allows scheduled posts. You have to have a fan page for this option. The option is easy and before you know it all of your posts are ready to go. All you have to do is click on the clock (Diagram below) and choose your date and time. Voila! You are all set. No more sitting on Facebook all day!

There are a bunch of programs out there to help you manage Twitter. I personally have used Twuffer and Tweet Deck. I prefer Twuffer, but Tweet Deck also helps you manage all of your tweets on top of scheduled tweets. I have also heard good things about HootSuite. These programs are similar to scheduling posts on Facebook. You type in your post, pick a date and time and it saves it and schedules it. The picture below shows how to schedule a post using Twuffer.

 Now that you know how to schedule all of your blogging needs, get out there and live your life! I really hope this helps, because I know for me if these options were not available I would not be able to stay up to date with everything. 

Do you schedule your posts? What do you use? What techniques have you came up with that works?  Share them all below!

Thanks for stopping by for Blog Staycation 2014! I hope you are enjoying it! Follow along on Twitter with #blogstaycation. See you tomorrow!

Weekly Wrap

Hey loves! Sorry I have been a little MIA this week. It has been one of those crazy weeks where anything that could of went awry did. I started training my replacement so I can move on to my new position.

  • I started the week off reviewing some pretty great organic beauty products! I am a fan, and I'm sure you will love them to! Check it out if you are looking for some new healthy products for your skin.
  • I just wrapped up a month hanging out on The Gits Blog where I guest posted on Tuesday. I really wanted to do the 5 photos that make me feel beautiful challenge, so I did it!. I had a great stay and would recommend her sponsorship to anyone looking to try one out. She was very helpful and answers all my questions promptly. She gave my blog some nice exposure and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
  •  I had a lot of guest posts this week, which helped out a lot with my crazy week. My new blogging buddy Trish (Us Trish girl stick together!) over at Beyond the Khaki Pants asked me to guest post while she was on a much needed Hawaiian vacation. I posted about the transition aftermath of accepting a promotion in the workplace. I am so proud of that one! Please stop by and say Hello to Trish and check out that post!
  • Now just as one sponsorship is ending, I also started a new sponsorship this week over at Becoming Adorrable. I am so excited to be hanging out over there and can't wait to give you all the fun details when my time is up! 
  • Blog Staycation 2014 is right around the corner and I want to use this moment to remind you all to get signed up! We have a lot of stuff planned to help you get yourself organized and ready for a fall full of blogging! It will be a good time and lots of learning! Hope to see you there!
I hope you all had an amazing week and even better weekend! See you back here on Monday, where things start to get even more hectic!

Blog Staycation 2014

Wow wow wow.. I can not believe this blog is 3 months old already! I feel like I just started yesterday and here I am 90 days in..  I have learned so much and yet I feel like I could still learn tons more.  I could spend weeks reading all the things I think I need to read to get my blog viewed, liked, followed, ect. So now that I have come this far I figured, why not join up with some wonderful ladies and help you all while helping myself. Yep you heard me right. I want to introduce you to something special. Something that came out of a normal chat with some inspired blogging ladies. Ladies (and gentleman respectively) welcome to Blog Staycation 2014!!

Here are the important details that you need to know!

Who Can Join? ANY bloggers…doesn’t matter where you live or what kind of blog you have!

When Is It? The Blog Staycation will launch with a Twitter party on August 21 at 5pm PST.  Then the fun continues all weekend long and here’s the great thing…you can do as much or as little as you want!

What Will Happen? We’ll kick the party off with a Twitter chat and then from there you can decide how you want to participate.  You can stay in your house all weekend and just work to your hearts content on your blog.  You can join in a few Facebook chats over the week to get support and ideas for some of the things on your to do list.  You can choose to just set aside one hour a day during the weekend and work on  your blog.  Do what works best for YOU!

Anything Else?  We can’t tell you everything, because there needs to be a few surprises!

I Have a Few Questions…We’d love to answer those for you!  Comment below or email me!

We’d love to have you share about this with your blogging friends, and you can use #blogstaycation on social media when you share this post!

Grab the button and join in the fun!

Are you convinced you need to join us for this awesome time?  Then sign up HERE
We can’t wait to go on a blog staycation with YOU!

Trish, Julie, Jenn & Farrah