Monday, September 15, 2014

The Consultation

Helene from Helene in Between is a genius when it comes to blogging and marketing and social media and stuff.

So when she announced last month that she was going to start offering blog consultations, I knew I had to jump at the chance.

And I did.

I met with her via Google Hangout last week to talk about my blogging goals, what I'm doing well, and areas that I can improve.

First, I have to say that she is just delightful. I mean, I figured she would be because you can tell from her writing and her photos that she is funny and fun-loving and awesome. And she really is all of those things.

She's also right down to business, which I appreciated.

For an hour, we talked about my blog and what I can do to make it a better, more engaging experience for you, my beloved readers.

Within minutes of ending the call, I started implementing her suggestions, switching over to Hootsuite, figuring out LinkWithin--

(Sorry that it's showing up at the top of my posts...I'm waiting to hear back from Tech Support because I can't get the links to move to the bottom.)

--and a couple of other things that will probably be more obvious in the next few weeks.

One suggestion she made that really jumped out at me was to clean out my reader.

I follow A LOT OF BLOGS.


And I try to comment on just about every blog I follow. Not necessarily every post, but often enough that I'm a familiar face and a familiar name.

Because commenting on blogs has always been the tried and true way of gaining new followers.

And I follow a lot of REALLY AWESOME BLOGS.

Except that a good, huge portion of them have never even visited my blog one single time.

Now, I don't mean that to sound the way it just did.

I follow blogs I like. I don't follow just to get people to follow me back. If I follow your blog, it's because I like it. If I comment, I like it and want you to know I do.

But the point is that I've been reading a lot of really similar blogs that I originally followed in the vague hope that we could become blog friends. And it just hasn't happened.

Helene helped me realize that those relationships are totally one-sided and not serving any real purpose.

So I went through my Bloglovin' reader and I purged a bunch of blogs.

And it was freeing.

FREEING, I tell ya!

I mean, I wasn't suddenly met with an abundance of free time, and I almost immediately replaced them with new blogs that I've just discovered. And I'll see where it goes. The point of the exercise wasn't just to find new people that will follow me. The point was to find new people that I can connect with. To build my tribe. To engage with other bloggers.

It was helpful. So, so helpful.

I would encourage all of you to do the same thing. If you're in a lot of one-sided blogging relationships--

(Obviously Super Popular Bloggers don't count because Jenny Lawson has plenty of BFFs already, and so does Dooce...)

--but there are one-sided relationships. A lot of them. And if you're in some, then feel free to just click that little button and unfollow them. It's really okay. No one is going to be mad at you. In all honesty, some of them won't even notice that you've gone.

Unless, of course, it's ME in which case, let me know that you're thinking of leaving because I don't want you to go. I love you.

Overall, I loved my consultation with Helene and if you've got some goals for your blog and are looking at taking things to the next level, whatever that next level may be for you, I would seriously recommend talking to her. She knows her stuff.

And if you tell her I sent you, there's something in it for both of us! You get 10% off, I get cash, and we both get the knowledge that the blogoverse just got a little brighter. Win-win-WIN.

Helene Consultation

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bloggers, Soldiers, and Athletes--The Weekly Roundup

The Weekly Round-Up

Lies Bloggers Tell Themselves--Shane from Whispering Sweet Nothings shared this list of lies we bloggers tell ourselves and what questions we should be asking instead. It's funny cuz it's true.

The Referral Program--Helene from Helene in Between is now offering Blog Consultation services. She has one-on-one and group sessions. I did a one-on-one session and will be sharing my experience on Monday, but I just wanted to share this post now because if you tell her I sent you, you'll get a discount and I'll get cold, hard, cash. Win-win. Right?

The Lone Soldiers--Janna from Perception is Everything wrote about welcoming her soldier home from deployment. And what really touched my heart and made me want to share this post was the homecoming she gave one of their friends who didn't have any family to come home to. I know a lot of soldiers don't get letters or care packages, but it never really occurred to me that some of them don't even have families to come back to and what Janna and her friends did for one soldier really warmed my heart.

The Story Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity, NFL--Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars shared the story of Devon Still, a player for the Cincinnati Bengals whose daughter was diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer. Even though he was released from the roster, the team rallied around him and did something amazing.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

My Football, I said that wrong...

It started when my friend Ryan posted on Facebook that his Fantasy Football league was looking for a few more people.

Knowing that my old league was essentially disbanded and not getting back together this year, I told Ryan I would be interesting in joining. I've learned a lot over the past couple of years and felt confident that I could hold my own against him and his football-loving comrades.

And then Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars announced a Fantasy Football contest thing with four separate leagues and the potential to win cold, hard cash. And, before I knew what I was getting myself into, I was signing up to join Nadine's league.

I named both of my teams Kaeptain America, in honor of my current fave QB (because he represents my 49ers), Colin Kaepernick.

(I'm just SO clever!)

So we had our drafts. In one league I was able to get my Kaepernick. Not so lucky in the other. But that's okay because I felt like I had two pretty good teams. Not the best, of course, but pretty good. And I actually recognized a lot of the names of the players I had drafted. So, bonus!

And then.

Then Sam, one of the writers from The Awards Circuit, suggested we have an Awards Circuit league.

And before I knew what I was doing, I found myself joining in and declaring it "a Great Idea!"

So I have three fantasy football teams. My Awards Circuit name is different because I wanted it to be something related to movies. So I went with the Rockford Peaches because, when it comes to fantasy football, I am definitely in a league of my own.

(See what I did there?)

Anyway, it makes Sundays very interesting. Because I have a LOT of players and a lot of vested interests. And every single week I have players on my fantasy teams that are playing against each other and I have no idea who to root for because I need ALL THE PLAYERS to win.

Except the Cowboys.

I don't need the Cowboys to win anything.

And, really, I'd be happy losing it all if Kaepernick takes my 49ers to the Superbowl this year. That kid's ready for a big, fat ring.

Also, in completely unrelated news, I've signed up to participate in the Chaotic Goddess Swaps Swapoween! I've done it a couple of times in the past and it is SO MUCH FUN.

If you're at all interested in a great swap, go check it out!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014


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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Discovering Essential Oils. And Incentives for Ordering this Month.

I've been using essential oils for a couple of months now, and I love them.

So, so much.

There's Thieves, which has helped me avoid getting sick on more than one occasion; and Lemon, which makes an excellent household cleaner; Lavender, which helps with a whole host of afflictions; Joy, which helps me feel cheerful and happy; and PanAway, which eased sore muscles after my half marathon back in June.

I didn't dive right in and start using these oils immediately. It's been a process of getting used to reaching for them first, before relying on other remedies and methods that involve a lot of chemicals and whatnot.

But, I'm slowly getting used to them and getting more and more excited about all the things that these essential oils can do.

My mood, for one, has never been better. There are a few things going into that, of course. I would never say that an essential oil is solely responsible for such a significant change. However, I think they make a great supplement to medicines and other external forces.

Last weekend, one of my friends injured her back and was in severe pain. She was taking Vicodin here and there, but trying to use it sparingly. I suggested we try some oils to see if there was a more natural remedy for her ailment.

I searched Pinterest, I googled home pain remedies, and I checked out the oils I had on my own shelf and put together a box of potential treatments to try.

First, we used Copaiba, an oil that is supposed to help with inflammation.

Within minutes, she said she could feel it working. The pain was still there, but she could feel the inflammation going down.

So then I mixed up a pain cream, using a combination of coconut oil, PanAway, Valor, and Peppermint.

Again, it didn't take the pain away, but it helped and her range of motion improved.

The next day, she told me she was feeling so much better and credited it to a combination of a decent night of sleep and my "elixirs."

I am trying not to be one of those annoying Oils People that discovers Essential Oils and then loses the ability to talk about anything else in life. And I don't want to turn my blog into one giant sales pitch. Nor do I want to start a whole NEW blog all about essential oils, because I just don't have that kind of time nor inclination.

But, from time to time, when I find something that really works, I'm going to share it. Because I think you need to know about this stuff and how amazing it can be.

If you're interested in learning more about Essential Oils, I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also read this post I wrote about How to Order Essential Oils.

It's really simple. And so awesome.

In fact, if you sign up and place an order in September, I'll send you a free oil.

And, if you sign up to become a distributor in September, I'll send you a free oil AND a guide to using essential oils.

But there's no pressure at all. Because I'm not one of those Pushy Oil People.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Currently, September 2014

I haven't done one of these updates since May, so I thought, why not today? It's funny how things can change so much over the summer, and yet, so many things can stay the same.


So, here's what I'm into. Currently.

Current Books
The Song of Ice and Fire series. Which, let's face it, is just better known as the Game of Thrones books.

I'm on Number 3. Still. I was on Number 3 the last time I did a Currently post. In fact, I didn't even need to update the image.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure
It WAS Bachelor in Paradise, but I stopped watching, and then I think it ended. I think. Does anyone know?

Okay, FINE. I totally watched it last night. But before that I hadn't watched it in weeks, I swears!

Current Drink
Dr. Pepper. And Blackberry Lemonade Crystal Light. Yummy!

Current Songs
"Angel in Blue Jeans" by Train
"Secrets" by Mary Lambert
"Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift. I KNOW.

Current Wish-List
A job closer to home.
For the summer to keep going.
Current Needs
A job closer to home.

Current Triumph
Can't really think of one...I guess being on time to work two days in a row?

Current Favorite Film
I haven't seen much in the theater lately, so I guess I'll just go with Guardians of the Galaxy, since that's the most recent good flick I saw...

Current TV Show
The Killing. I've been watching it on Netflix and I'm totally hooked.

Current Celebrity Crush
I don't need a celebrity crush...

Current Indulgence
Bingewatching TV shows on Netflix.

Current Outfit
Pajamas. I need to get some sleep!

Current Banes of My Existence
People who aren't careful with their work.

Current Excitement
Can't say. It's a secret. Shhhhhhhhh.....

Current Mood
Ridiculously happy.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Movies I'm Looking Forward to This Fall

While all of you are out there salivating over riding boots and cardigans and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, there's just one thing that makes me exciting for the advent of fall.

The movies.

Just kidding. There's also the return of TV. But for today's post, we're talking movies.

And here are just a few that I'm looking forward to this fall:

This is Where I Leave You

Kill the Messenger

The Drop


Men, Women, & Children


Into the Woods


Gone Girl


For a look at some other great movies heading to theaters in the coming months, visit The Awards Circuit (disclosure: I write for them) and read up on the Top 50 Movies You Need to See for Fall.

What films are you most looking forward to??

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