I am sitting here watching a movie that I rented from Red Box.. and I already don't know what it is I'm watching. That kind of bugs me when the movie just bombs so quickly I turned to blogging instead, using the movie as background noise. Anywho, that is not what this post is about. The end of August is quickly approaching and that also means this weekend is a 3 day holiday. I just returned from a vacation and I am still not quite back on track with my usual schedule. Because I was just away I am using this long weekend to catch up here, and to relax. So today I wanted to talk to you all about what's going on in September.

First, I want to mention I am hanging out on 2 sidebars in September. You can catch me over at Becoming Adorrable and Helene In Between So excited to be sponsoring those ladies! Some of my favorites reads come from them! I also just finished up sponsoring The Grits Blog, which I recommend 100%! I am not sure I would ever be able to offer sponsorships on my blog due to my life full plate, so I give these ladies credit!

Also equally important: Starting September 1st I am going to be working more on my Facebook page. Please do me a favor and like my page! Much appreciation!

Next up, I am starting a new mini series on Monday (Yes as in Labor Day). I am so excited to bring you all some great new content with the help of a few lovely blogging ladies. Stick around for some fun and good laughs! This series will run through the second week of October.

I just wrapped up Blog Staycation 2014. That was such a fun and educating experience. I really enjoyed collaborating with other bloggers, and these ladies really were awesome to work with. I learned so much about hosting an event, as well as time management. We are hoping to do another one of these soon, so I hope to see more friendly faces next time around!

So there you have it. Updates and goals for next month! Happy Friday everyone!

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!  


Welcome Trish while I am away!

Hey guys! I am currently away and having a blast up in Maine with my love so, Trish over at Beyond the Khaki Pant was ever so kind to stand in. You can't get one Trish, you get another! I am so excited to have her here today! One of my favorite topics is doing things on a budget and Trish sure delivers some great tips today! Enjoy and see you back here on FRIDAY!


Title: Date Night Ideas on a Budget|| Trish @ Beyond the Khaki Pants

Hi Trish List readers, my name is Trish. I blog over at Beyond the Khaki Pants. I know, kind of a funny name. [Check out my blog to find the inspiration behind the name.] Doing things on budget is something that I am passionate about. A big inspiration behind my blog is financial freedom and independence. I am so happy to be filling in for Trish talking about ideas to keep the magic alive...and the savings account! 

Just because you’re married or been together with your spouse for a while, doesn't mean that you can’t still date. Unfortunately, life doesn't always allow for fancy or luxurious dates. I know this. Both my husband and myself have been through graduate school. Those years were especially tough on budget. Even though we were getting by on very little income, we were newly weds and beyond excited and in love. Rather than sitting at home doing nothing, we started to get creative on how we would now date. Gone were the dinners out. Gone were going to concerts and sports events. Even going to the movies was too expensive. Which really isn’t saying a whole lot- movies are stupidly expensive now. An added bonus?? Even though now we are both working (ie, we’re DINKs) we still try to date this way. Hello, savings!

Here are some ideas that we have tried over the years. Many of them are free. The others are minimally expensive ($15 or less). All of them are as fun as you make them to be! 

9 Date Night Ideas on a Budget

Date Night Ideas on a Budget -
//Have a ‘Goals Night’. I know this might not be the most romantic date, but it can be fun and inspiring. Take out something to write on (a notebook, a poster board…whatever) and sit down with your spouse. Brainstorm and then write down your goals, as a couple and an individual. Include personal, relationship and professional goals if you wish. It’s great to do this over a good bottle of wine and dessert. The best part of doing this regularly is that it’s fun to think about things you’ve accomplished and inspiring to think of what’s to come!

//Picnic at a local park. Avoid the high-cost of eating out, pack your own meal and head to the best park in your area. Leave the technology at home (or at least in your bag) and connect with your spouse. Without interruptions. Especially in these last weeks of summer, getting outside to picnic is an easy solution to date night. 

//Find free events in your city. In Seattle, there are nights where the city puts on a free concert or movie showing. Take advantage of these free events. There are more free events happening in your city than you think. Check out your city's website and search for free events.

//Game night in. Channel your inner child and pull out your favorite board game. My husband and I usually try to do game nights as a group date-night, because most games are more entertaining with four people rather than just two. Throw in some good food or a bottle of wine, even better!

//Groupon a couples event. There are such fun ideas on Groupon for date nights. Everything from cooking classes, to pie making classes, and couples massages. Be on the eye for something in your area. These can vary in price, but if this is your only date of the month that costs money, it might be worth it to splurge $40 for the two of you. Groupon rates highly depend on where you live and the cost of living of your city. These events are likely something you otherwise would not have thought to try.

//Make [a new] dinner together. With this pinterest day-and-age, there’s no excuse for not being able to find something new to try. Pin something that looks interesting, go to the store and get the necessary ingredients, make the dish together. Pretty simple. And fun. And when the dish goes south because it’s the first time you tried making it, you can laugh and choke it up to being a funny memory together. Like the time I tried to broil something for the first time… 

//Try a sport together. Easy sports for date night could include a tennis match at the neighborhood park or going to the local golfing range to hit a bucket of balls. Whether you have the equipment or not, renting shouldn’t be too expensive. Usually the more terrible you are at the sport, the more funny it becomes. Like if you saw me with a golf club…

//Start a project together. Carpe diem on that “to do” list. Sometimes, the things we have to do are not that hard, but starting them is. Pick something fun. (ie…don’t pick weeding) Been meaning to refinish that coffee table? Make a date out of it. Added bonus, crossing that project off the ‘todo’ and getting something beautiful out of it. 

What are inexpensive dates you and your significant other like to do?? What would you add to the list?

Connect with Trish from Beyond the Khaki Pants on Twitter, Pintrest, Facebook or Google!


One last thing before I go.. Over the past 4 days I have been co-hosting the Blog Staycation 2014 with some great ladies. I am out of town and did not get a chance to write up my experience yet with the weekend but I want to give you all a chance to link up if you participated. Let us all see what you accomplished!  Expect my post on Wednesday ;)


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!