Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flying foxes, slow internet & high prices, oh my!

Hi Whispering Sweet Nothings readers! I'm Becca, and I blog over at Becoming Adorrable. Shane was nice enough to ask me to take over today. By now you know that Shane is working in Australia, and I have to say that she is BRAVE. Australia's a scary place! I'm hoping Shane will let me know if she's encountered any of these terrifying things in Australia: (See my answers in italics)

1. Huge spiders 

spiders
I'm not usually one to be really scared of spiders, but these are huge. So huge they eat birds, you guys. THE SPIDERS ARE EATING THE BIRDS. I can't deal. What if they find their way into your house/hotel room?
screaming 
Lucky for me, I'm not in the Outback. There must be a huge net cast over the city to keep us safe from harm because I've yet to see these buggers. Cockroaches do run rampant in my apartment, however. #citylife

2. Slow internet 

internet
(Is it telling that I had to search the above image to get the full version because I thought it just wasn't loading for me? Tricky, Becca) Apparently this is the case in much of the world outside of the USA, but I'm still waiting on Google fiber. I can't imagine downgrading at this point. 

THE STRUGGLE IS SO REAL. Blogging has become few and far between due to this which makes my heart so sad. Don't worry, if there's a will there's a way! Also very few free WiFi joints here.

  

3. Koalas 

via






















Yes, they look adorable, but apparently most of them carry chlamydia, and even gave One Direction a bit of a scare a few years ago. Stay away from those claws.

I 've been dying to get that cliche koala pic since day one. Discovered it was recently made illegal to hold a koala in New South Wales (the state Sydney is located). Making a trip up to the zoo in Queensland very soon to make this dream a reality. ps. Fun Fact: Why do koalas sleep 22 hours/day? They get high off the eucalyptus leaves! 


4. Driving

driving
Australians drive on the left side of the road. This may not be terrifying to you, but I have a hard enough time driving on the right side.     

I would die too. Heck, I missed 24 out of a possible 25 you could miss to fail your drivers test at the ripe 'ol age of 16.  I consider it a blessing in disguise that I don't have a car here. I've almost gotten taken out by buses crossing the street in oncoming traffic. 


5. Crocodiles 

croc
They're everywhere. And they sort of have a lot of teeth. If I lived in Australia, I'd have a fenced in yard. But don't worry, giant pythons will hunt them down for you. Snake-eating-crocodile-2


6. Prices 

tacos
Everything in Australia is more expensive. Call me stingy, but I hate the idea of spending more money on Taco Bell.

By far the most sobering reality. Get ready to spend $100 on a sleeveless blouse, $50 on a tiny bottle of liqour, and $700 a week on rent.  McD's has no dollar menu, or $2 for that matter. Ps. Australia has no Taco Bell...or Chipotle...or really Mexican for that matter. Mad Mex is about the extent of it. Hold me while I cry.


7. Flying foxes

flyingfoxes
This is the stuff of nightmares. And every reason to lock yourself in a cage where these things can't get to you. Oh, but wait. Actually, they're kind of cute. via 
Have not yet come across these, thank goodness. But surely will on my grad camping trip next month!



8. No Sephora 

YES THIS IS THE MOST TERRIFYING.

No Forever 21, no Francesca's. They do have Target but it is an entirely different company.

What do you guys think, can I survive in Australia for a year? Maybe longer? 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Operation Beautiful V.30

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 As expected, I received overwhelming interest in my Operation Beautiful project. Thus, the showcase will roll out 3 lovely ladies each Monday as long as I recieve entries.

This project is to make you think, ponder, appreciate the simple things about yourself, that add up and make you truly beautiful. The smaller qualities that you adore about yourself, like your lips or eyes, that make you feel pretty on the worst of days.

This project is about your talents, your secret hidden abilities, your amazing personalities. Those quirks which make you, uniquely you. And, I sincerely hope that after you read through the finished product to discover how these other ladies feel about themselves, you can spend the rest of the day, sincerely feeling great about yourself.

If you feel vulnerable, insecure, or hesitant to send in an entry, don't be! We're in this together. It will hopefully make you realize a few things about yourself. This will by far be one of my favorite posts I'll ever do on this blog, and I won't even write it, you guys will. Take it away ladies!
I feel most beautiful whenI'm holding my son. He's the first blood related family I've ever had, as a grown up child of adoption myself. When I look at him, and I see traces of myself, it reminds me that I'm beautiful--cause he is!!.
My favorite physical feature is my... Lips. I was teased endlessly for my full lips in school, growing up. However, now that I've worked in the cosmetic industry and as a makeup artist for years, my mind has been changed! It's nice to be complimented most often on something I previously disliked about myself. It changed my whole outlook! And now I wear bright pink and red lipsticks on occasion to show them off. ;)
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...I'm super passionate, about EVERYTHING!! When I'm happy, I'm REALLY happy. When I'm sad, I'm really sad.
I'm happiest when... I'm at home with my son, husband and our two dogs & cats. Even more so when it's snowing or storming outside. Nice to be cozy at home with the ones I love the most. <3.

I feel most beautiful when I am working out. It sounds funny since I am sweating and wearing gym clothes, but it's true! For that hour, I am focusing on myself and nothing else matters. Leaving the gym, I feel refreshed, stronger and overall beautiful.

My favorite physical feature is my...
pale skin. I used to be teased that I am so white, I am practically see-through. Well now, I wouldn't change it. I am not going to damage my skin from tanning just to please someone else! Just look at Nicole Kidman, no one is teasing her, they are envious! 
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...being strong under pressure. There have been a couple of tragic/scary moments in my life, but through all of them I have been strong. I know that stepping up is important in tough situations and I have gladly done so.

I'm happiest when...in my sweats. I call them my comfy clothes:)  I am just so happy lounging at home with my husband and dog. 
Nay
I feel most beautiful whenI smile.  I really like the way my eyes seem to glow when I am genuinely happy about something and am about to laugh.  I think happiness gives off a natural beauty in any of us...
 My favorite physical feature is my...My "girls" - so naughty, Nay!  But really...they may be hard to tame sometimes but they make me feel all-woman.  I feel sexy and good when I have just the right outfit on and it plays up with my curves.  We all need to feel sexy sometimes.  My butt-butt's not that bad either - ha!
 Something non-physical that I love about myself is...my worry and care for others and their well-being.  I don't know why I never discovered this about myself earlier, but I do love making people happy.  I love that with my words (written or spoken) I can make the hurt not so bad, the day a little bit brighter, and show others that they are awesome and great in their own way.

I'm happiest when... my children and hubby are loving on me.  I always craved having this type of love in my life - unconditional.  I have to pinch myself sometimes when I look over at my little family and think, "Wow...and they're all mine!"  Taking a hot bath with a good can't-put-down read comes a close second (wink).

Interested on being featured in future rounds?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

For when the blogging mojo is lacking

We all have those days when the desire to blog is just not there.  Personally, after a long day at work, I want nothing more than to relax and put my feet up with a large goblet of wine. Sound familiar? 
One of the biggest challenges of blogging is figuring out what to write about.  There are days when the ideas seem to flow, and then there are days when I feel like I sit and stare at my computer waiting for inspiration to hit me.  I have found that preparation is key in avoiding those blank moments.  Once or twice a month I will spend time researching posts ideas and planning them.  Some posts get written ahead of time and some posts are merely outlined and ready to be filled in when time allows. Anne is here today to share her tips & tricks on never running out of post ideas!

Notes

I have a notebook in my purse, in my office, in my bedroom, and scraps of paper all over.  If I get an idea I quickly jot it down.  If for some reason paper isn't handy, I add a note on my phone.  I have also used the Blogger app to quickly outline a post idea.  The key is this (if you're anything like me): do not trust that you will remember the idea later.  Record it somehow and somewhere.  You'll avoid frustration in the long run.  You never know when you will get an idea for a great post.  Be ready.


Pinterest

Pinterest gets major points for secret boards.  One of my secret boards is "Post Ideas".    I have the "Pin It" button on my computer toolbar and when I see something I may want to write about later I pin it to that board.  I can't tell you how often I go to this board for some inspiration.

Pinterest is also useful for the sheer fact that you can search "blog topics" and within seconds hundreds of suggestions are at your fingertips.


Link Ups

Joining link ups is a great idea for generating post ideas.  Each link up has its own set of rules and generally a topic to follow.  Using linkups as a springboard for a post is a great way to get rid of writer's block.

Monthly Prompts

These are wonderful.  They are released at the beginning of each month.  You are given a different prompt to write about each day.  It doesn't get simpler than that.  Here's one for August from The SITS Girls.  I have yet to do one of these for a whole month but I have been known to pin them to my  Post Ideas board and use a prompt when needed.

Tutorials

Some of my favorite posts to write and read are tutorials.  Take a moment and think about something that you like to do.  Is it cooking?  Share a recipe.  Are you a DIY person?  Teach us how to make that wreath.  Do you know how to create a button for your sidebar?  Show us how.  Think about your hobbies or your area of expertise.  Now share that with us!  Did you just learn something?  Post about it...chances are you will end up teaching someone something new.  

Step Away from the Computer

This is key.  You can not force it.  Take a walk, clear your head, focus on something else or better yet, nothing at all.  I have found that if I do this, my mind opens and ideas start to flow.



What tips do you have for keeping the ideas flowing when inspiration is lacking?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Operation Beautiful V.29 + Giveaway!

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I apologize for the two month hiatus of this project, I intend to get it back on track for the long haul if it continues to be loved by you ladies! As expected, I received overwhelming interest in my Operation Beautiful project. Thus, the showcase will roll out 3 lovely ladies each Monday until I stop receiving entries...hopefully never!

This project is to make you think, ponder, appreciate the simple things about yourself, that add up and make you truly beautiful. The smaller qualities that you adore about yourself, like your lips or eyes, that make you feel pretty on the worst of days.

This project is about your talents, your secret hidden abilities, your amazing personalities. Those quirks which make you, uniquely you. And, I sincerely hope that after you read through the finished product to discover how these other ladies feel about themselves, you can spend the rest of the day, sincerely feeling great about yourself.

If you feel vulnerable, insecure, or hesitant to send in an entry, don't be! We're in this together. It will hopefully make you realize a few things about yourself. This will by far be one of my favorite posts I'll ever do on this blog, and I won't even write it, you guys will. Take it away ladies!
I feel most beautiful whenHmm, I actually feel most beautiful when I'm getting ready for the day. Whether I'm "painting my face" (putting on make-up) and throwing on my work clothes, or just pulling my hair back with a fresh clean face, and comfort clothes to complete the ensemble. I look at each day as a new beginning, a new start. I always feel beautiful when I'm able to wake up to a new day.
My favorite physical feature is my... Honestly, my crooked smile. I used to be SOOO self conscious about it when I was younger. As I grew older, I began to embrace it because it was different. It's unique and sets me apart from everybody else.
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...My sense of humor. I can honestly say that I am always trying to make people laugh, feel better about themselves, and encouraging them to smile. Laughter is truly the best medicine out there!
I'm happiest when... I'm near a body of water. Whether it's a lake, river, ocean, or my parent's pool... I love being in and around water. I'm a Florida girl and live a couple hours from the coast. Many of my memories as a child revolved around a body of water. It's such a soothing place for me.

I feel most beautiful when "I'm all dressed up. I have a weakness for skirts and dresses and its probably because I feel so good about myself when I wear them. Since they are dressy I feel as though I put effort into my look and I feel like I work to make my hair and make up follow suit.

Oh and I need to add when I'm wearing fake eyelashes. Not the obnoxious Snooki eyelashes, the simple enhance what you already have eyelashes. They enhance the shape of my eye and make them sparkle (not really but I feel like they do). Plus no matter what I'm wearing I feel like those add to my natural beauty."

My favorite physical feature is my...
My eyes! They're big and very blue. I've gotten compliments on them since I was young. I even won a contest when I was 6 months old. 
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...My caring heart. I am a nurse and I got into the profession because I wanted to care for people, especially those that are ill.

I'm happiest when...I'm on the water. I like to get out on the lake because its relaxing and good for the soul. I get to pretend like I have no stress in life and the only thing I have to do is enjoy the breeze and the the sun and the company of those I love. 
I feel most beautiful whenI put my makeup on and it's on a weekend or a day where I really don't have to but I want to. Also when I shop for clothes and put them ON! In my 20's I spent my shopping days feeling like I had to wait 'till I lose weight to buy clothes. No more waiting! I'm going to rock the look now and when I do lose weight, I'm going to pass my clothes on to another sistah to help her feel beautiful! 
  My favorite physical feature is my...lips. I seriously do not need lipliner and I can apply lipstick/gloss with no mirror. Yay!
  Something non-physical that I love about myself is...my friendly personality. I make friends wherever I go! I love people! I love helping and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I'm happiest when... I'm reading a book and sipping on a latte :D

Interested on being featured in future rounds?
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sh*t my boyfriend says

Ever have those nights when you just can't sleep? Tossing and turning, mind racing too and fro? This has happened quite often since I landed down unda' three weeks ago. I could only blame the jetlag for so long. 
 
Long distance relationships are ridiculously difficult to begin with. Add 10,000 miles and a 14 hour time difference and you find yourself on opposite work/sleep schedules, playing phone tag and rarely finding time to hold a real conversation. And there is no denying that these moments are not the same as physically being together. It is true what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder distance makes the heart grow crazy. 
 
Most nights I find myself lonely and afraid, seeking out other things to occupy my time and my mind. The omnipresent unknowns lurking: What if  love Australia so much that I decide to stay for longer than year? Surely our relationship wouldn't last. What if one of us finds another to fill that void in our hearts?
I lucked out in the boyfriend department. He is the total package: Kind, intelligent, and hot. Not to mention great with kids and great in bed (sorry mom) With our sarcastic personalities and generous souls, we just work together. My mother says: "You should probably marry him, he has good genes. Maybe it will counteract the craziness that runs in our family"
 
Now to lighten the mood a bit on an otherwise somber post, I would like to share with the world some of the quirks of my man that make him so loveable. I suppose I will have to give him my blog login info for a no-filter rebuttal. Apparently I tend to "embellish"?
"There is no reason to freak unless it's about which rompers and fedoras you can fit in your bag" - As I'm busy panicking about everything that could go possibly wrong before my big move to Australia.
 
"There were so many red flags when I first met you...this girl doesn't drink, doesn't have any hobbies, falls asleep ten minutes into the movie." - Before he knew I was a pro blogger and drink like a fish.
"Do you have to take the old polish off before you put new on? Do your toes and fingers have to be painted the same color?"  
 
"What's the different between a dress and a skirt?"
"I have to set an alarm to remember to eat, and to commute to work... to relax."
 
"I lost my credit card again last night, it's okay, I have another."
 
"What's with this indian trend girls are doing?"
 
"I f*ing hate trucks...they should have their own roads."
 
"Iced coffee doesn't wake me up like regular does."
"Your legs feel smooth, did you actually shave for me babe?" - The one and only good thing is never having to shave my legs because, well, who will care?
 
"The spins are like a merry-go-round from hell" - After a wild night on the town where we'd had a few too many
 
 
"#Hashtag...fortheblog" -Making fun of my odd hobby.
 
 
"How is there this much drama on The Bacheolorette with only one woman?"
 
 
"I think hunger comes from a different place than the stomach..."
 
 
"I feel like women just get together to talk about other people. Men don't care. We talk about important things...like sports."
 
 
Me: "Stall your dad by telling him you need to stop and get toilet paper, everyone needs that." E: "Oh are we out...?" - trying to slow down his dad's arrival for a surprise 50th party.
 
"You're wearing boots and colored jeans again?"
 
 
"Milk is good until a week past the expiration date, didn't you know that?" - As I'm conducting my weekly summer clean out of food expired way back to 2012.
 
 
 "Why would you waste room in your suitcase for sunscreen"  - as I'm reading an Australian guidebook "In a sunburned country"
 
 
"Can we retake photos in the same outfit so you can blog this later?"
 
 
"Can I order an OJ & vodka" - so a screwdriver?
 
 
"That one tops the cake." - takes the cake?
 
 
"I know we're at a Ribfest, but I just really want chicken fingers." *Orders salad at skyline, Asian buffet, Greek joint*
 
"What can count as a pin on my map? If I stop at a gas station can it count?" - As he tries to fill up every square inch of his America map.
 
I  wouldn't trade him for anything. We may be worlds apart, but he will be forever in my heart.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Operation Beautiful V.28

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I apologize for the two month hiatus of this project, I intend to get it back on track for the long haul if it continues to be loved by you ladies! As expected, I received overwhelming interest in my Operation Beautiful project. Thus, the showcase will roll out 3 lovely ladies each Monday until I stop receiving entries...hopefully never!

This project is to make you think, ponder, appreciate the simple things about yourself, that add up and make you truly beautiful. The smaller qualities that you adore about yourself, like your lips or eyes, that make you feel pretty on the worst of days.

This project is about your talents, your secret hidden abilities, your amazing personalities. Those quirks which make you, uniquely you. And, I sincerely hope that after you read through the finished product to discover how these other ladies feel about themselves, you can spend the rest of the day, sincerely feeling great about yourself.

If you feel vulnerable, insecure, or hesitant to send in an entry, don't be! We're in this together. It will hopefully make you realize a few things about yourself. This will by far be one of my favorite posts I'll ever do on this blog, and I won't even write it, you guys will. Take it away ladies!
I feel most beautiful whenI'm wearing an outfit I love and some quirky jewellery.
My favorite physical feature is my...my hair and my eyes - my hair is big and wavy, and my eyes are big and blue: I think they distract from the parts of me that I don't like so much!
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...I genuinely want to save the world, however I can. Big or small, it's something I will keep working on.

I'm happiest when...I'm traveling!
I feel most beautiful when I take time in the morning to get ready.  Taking the time to pick out an outfit and straighten my hair makes me feel put together and wide awake for the day.  It gives me the self confidence that I can conquer whatever battles I may face during the day.

My favorite physical feature is my...
fabulous natural red hair!  When I was younger I used to hate it when people would call me a "ginger" or ask why I had "orange" hair, but now I realize what a blessing it actually is!  I cannot picture myself with any other hair color.  I love my freckles and how my hair brightens up my face naturally.  Having red hair makes me feel confident bold and I know that you will be able to find me if you lose me in a crowd!
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...my love to want to get out there and see the whole entire world.  I love being home with my family, but I am very independent and if I could spend every cent of my paycheck on plane tickets and hostel stays, you can guarantee that I would.  I want a full passport, a shelf of vacation photo albums, and a brain full of memories that will never be forgotten.

I'm happiest when...I am relaxing at home at the end of a long day, drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, reading a book, and listening to music.  When I do not have to stress over schoolwork, graduation, work, or graduate school.  It is just me, my music, the characters in my book, and a beverage.  Nothing could be better than that. 
I feel most beautiful whenWhen I'm tanned & have beachy wavy blonde hair.
My favorite physical feature is my...I really love my smile. It's big, bright, & contagious. 
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...I'm the most determined person I have ever met. If I get and idea in my head I will not quit until I have accomplished my goal. I will do whatever it takes to make things happen. And the fact that I don't need much to entertain me. It's the little things.

I'm happiest when... 
I'm working. Seriously, I love my job. I really love making people smile & feel special. When I accomplish that, it's been great day.Also, when I'm hanging out by the water on a hot summer day. Or at a Cardinal's game. I can't choose one time, lots of things make me really happy!
Interested on being featured in future rounds?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I blog on the side.

When you think about it, blogging is quite the paradox. On one hand, we need to be not only present, but active on a bajillion social medial channels, in addition to writing consistently, answering e-mails, and engaging on other blogs. On the other, we must live and experience life in order to have things to blog. 

We are all busy tending to various responsibilities but that doesn't mean our blog has to suffer when real life gets in the way. Last week I touched on balancing the commitments of a full time job and the hobby we all know and love. I'm two weeks into my first big girl job (in a foreign country, mind you) and the guilt is so real, people. If, like me, you have not yet made it to the ranks of a professional blogger, it is time to simplify and keep your sanity intact. So let's pick up right where we left off!
Part One, in case you missed it.

6. Time management

When we spend 9-5 in an office day after day, we have to make the most of the precious hours we have left. Making efficient writing a habit is key to my success. When I feel inspired to write, I draft a few posts, and then go back and edit when I’m not in a writing mood, but have spare time. I write when I’m most passionate and am not forced to be creative when I am lacking the mojo. A post does not have to be perfect in the draft stage, just get your words down, and worry about perfecting them later.

Find specific times of day when you have a 30-60 minute chunk of time to blog. Do you commute by train or bus to work? Can you set the alarm a bit earlier and write with your morning cup o' joe? How about trading that hour of TV before bed for a little one-on-one pillow talk with your blog? I vow right now to use my weekends to blog instead of being hungover or sitting in front of the TV. 
Keep your priorities in line with ToDoistAny.doWunderlistFocus Booster or even take notes in the shower. I've realized if I blog sitting at a table, I am 5x more productive than lounging around (ie. in bed, on the couch) Ironically enough, multi-tasking can do more harm than good. Attack one thing at a time, your productivity will thank you.

7. Organization: Email

You know how it goes: an e-mail comes in, you read it, know the follow up action necessary, yet still click back to the inbox and tell yourself you’ll deal with it later. And sometime later never happens. Set aside time during the day to check your email but be sure you have enough time to respond, delete, or save each before opening. Experts suggest limiting yourself to twice a day: in the morning and at the end of the day. Realize that few notifications need an immediate response or else the sender would have called or tweeted you, right? 

My Type A self is super anal about having inbox zero and unroll.me is a great tool to unsubscribe, keep or roll up all those newsletters and sales alerts into one concise daily e-mail. (Perfect for my online shopping addiction). Create a Todoist task for e-mails that require a more lengthy response. I also swear by Gmail filters which have all comments skip the inbox and go directly to a "Comment" folder where I can respond at my earliest convenience. 

Feeling overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox? Try e-mail game, a Gmail plugin that turns your inbox into a speed drill to delete, archive, or respond to your hundreds of messages. Lastly, Inbox pause helps my OCD refreshing of e-mail by putting new messages on hold, so they won't appear in my Inbox until I am ready for them. 

Have you ever been out to dinner and remember you need to do something when you get to the office the next morning? With  Boomerang you can have an email arrive exactly when you need reminded, like 8am the next morning. If you respond to emails with an almost identical response (think sponsor e-mails), canned responses are a lifesaver. Insert your canned response and adjust the email to personalize it.

Side note: Separate your personal, business and blog emails from one another. I am an idiot and e-mailed my work from my personal e-mail which so happens to have my blog signature. Cue anxiety attack. ps. If you don't have "undo" installed on Gmail, do it for your sanity. Yet they could go ahead and Google my name, and you know what would pop up as the first search result. 


8. Carry an inspiration journal

Rather than spending hours researching that perfect blog topic, "Be inspired by your own life, let your ideas marinate, tap into that beautiful brain of yours. It can get really noisy online. Seeking too much information from external sources can be counterproductive to creating your own work. Give yourself some space to see what brilliant ideas come from within. Tap into your own dreams and desires"-via

Carry a notebook with you everywhere, because you never know when inspiration may strike! I spend my entire train ride into work writing and the time flies by. Keep a running list of post ideas so when it’s time to sit down and write, there’s never a moment without actual post writing happening. Writing offline helps to keep you free from distractions so you can focus on the words you are putting together, instead of checking notifications on social media.

Alternatively, Dragon Dictation App is a voice-recognition software which allows you to write posts or brainstorm ideas while driving, walking down the street, or anytime you have a few minutes to spare. You can also dictate status updates directly to Facebook and Twitter, send texts and emails. The only downfall is you need an Internet connection for it to perform.

9. Recruit Help

Free: Guest contributors 
This is a win/win situation. The guest poster guest exposure to a new audience while you get fresh content quickly. Give the writer a prompt and be specific with what you want out of the collaboration. I would use this option sparingly, as your readers come to your blog for you, not some ghost writer. Lastly, don't be afraid to say no if you don't feel a guest post fits with your style.

Paid: Hire a virtual assistant
Take weight off your own shoulders while maintaining authenticity by outsourcing the more tedious tasks of blogging: 

✓ Optimize your sponsorship program
✓ Promote your posts and giveaways
✓ Manage social media accounts
✓ Pimp out sponsors on twitter
✓ Create template emails for welcoming new sponsors, giveway posts, reaching out to brands, etc.
✓ Find blogs for you to sponsor
✓ Create pin-able images
✓ Create a contact sheet of relevant brands to work with and reach out to them

The one thing you should never outsource (besides the occasional guest post) is the creation of your content.

10. Stay connected  

I believe the most important part of blogging is engaging with your readers. I have made an effort in the past to respond to each of my comments (minus giveaway entries), but this is less realistic while I am working full time. I apologize in advance, but will connect with my readers through different outlets, I assure you this!

I will also have far less time to read my Bloglovin' feed so have created a "Favorites" folder to skim through when I have time, along with a Food, Style, and Beauty category for when I am in need of inspiration. When I come across great posts, I pin or pocket them to refer to later. If your reader is chock-full of of posts waiting for your attention, start over. Declare blog reading bankruptcy and hit “clear all.” It's a liberating feeling.

I belong to several Facebook groups which are a great place to interact and build a community of fellow bloggers: Simply BloggingShare the Blog LoveBlogging to SuccessFBLBloggersSits GirlsBlog Life Chose MeHer Campus are a few of my favorites. Send out a thoughtful weekly newsletter of your posts since you have less time to promote on social media.

*Bonus: Let it go! 

Quit stressing about stats, writing, offers, and money for a while. The moment blogging becomes a chore is the moment you will feel burnt out and give up for good. Don't be too hard on yourself and don't be afraid to take a break. Make sure that you are blogging because you are passionate, not because you feel obligated to appease you readers. Learn to say no to yourself and to others. It can be a freeing feeling. 

As difficult as it may be, time away from your blog coupled with a little rest & relaxation can give you the extra boost you need to pump out that next amazing post. Just remember, you never need to apologize for living your life outside of your blog! 

Any additional tips or tricks you would like to add on balancing the work/life/blog commitments?


Monday, August 11, 2014

Why you should read my blog + Sbux Giveaway

Yesterday, I had someone ask me: "Why do you even blog? It seems pointless."

It definitely had me thinking. I blog because I love to write, I love to escape, and I love the bonds and friendships I have made from it. I love that I have a space of my own to express my creativity and to do what I love.

But then it had me thinking, well, why would anyone want to read MY blog? There are a million different blogs out there. What is it about my blog that would keep them coming back? Well, new friends, I am here to tell you! 

Oh, whoops, I forgot to introduce myself. Hi. I'm Sierra. I blog at Sierra's View. (I already forgot my manners. So rude). My blog is lifestyle blog. I originally started it many years ago to document my travels to Kenya and Fiji. 
1. I'm a teacher. I know, you're probably thinking, "Ugh a teacher. Soooo boring. Why would anyone want to read about a teacher's life?" Except here's the thing. I post the hilarious things that my students say, do, etc. I talk about touching stories and the hardships. I talk about teaching in different countries. Plus, I teach 6th grade, so let's just say that the BO and drama is almost worth the minimal amount of money I make in a year. 

2. What you see is what you get. No, you may think I am kidding. But I am not. I am one of the most raw, genuine people you will ever meet. I am sarcastic. I can be rude. I talk about my trials. I just write what I know. I don't try to be someone I'm not. And I try to convey that in my blog. 

3. I'm really pretty. See. 
4. No, seriously. I'm better looking than that. Sometimes. That helps, right? I read an article about how babies look more at people who are more attractive. I am hoping I can reel you in with a pretty photo of me. 
5. Since we are on this road, I have a husband named Tanner. But, I refer to him as T Money. He's freaking hilarious. And he writes me the sweetest love letters on my blog. And since we are on this shallow roll, he's super hot. (He has single brothers…) 
6. I love to travel. I talk about all of my experiences of teaching in Kenya, Fiji, Puerto Rico, etc. I travel throughout the country. T Money and I love to go for adventures and get away so there are usually very cool pictures.
7. I write really embarrassing stories that will make you feel better about yourself. No, really. Like last week I posted about having to pee on the side of the road. Yea…. 

8. I'm super funny. 
I wish I had something to back this up. But I don't. Just trust me on this one. (See…sarcasm). I even linked that to a post about 10 types of people to stop following on social media. Let's hope I don't become one of those for you. Haha. 

9. I try my hardest to communicate, respond, send emails, get to know my readers. I genuinely appreciate you reading my blog and I will do my best to get to know you and your blog!

10. The last and final reason is: I can buy your love. 
If I haven't convinced you enough…hopefully this next part will. 
I am giving away a 20$ Starbucks Gift Card to one of you lucky people. You have to become my friend. See, I'm literally buying your love. I bet you don't hate that, right? :) 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway Rules: Must be 18+ or older to enter. Must be a resident of the United States 

Good luck! 
Come on over. I can't wait to meet you!