Friday, March 30, 2012

warm kale salad with andouille sausage

Happy Friday! It's been a busy week around here, but I had to share this recipe my husband put together the other night. It was quick and easy and change from our usual dinners. Plus, I'm a fan of one pot meals or at least having your whole meal served in one bowl.
ingredients:
1 potato (1/4 inch cubed)
1/2 onion (diced)
5 stalks kale, chopped (remove stems)
2 chicken andouille sausages (Trader Joe's)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt (to taste)

directions:
heat oil in non-stick skillet, brown potatoes for 3 min, add onion, cook until translucent/soft
remove from heat, set aside
saute chopped kale in same pan
remove from heat, combine kale and potato/onion in bowl and salt to taste
cook sausage using gas grill
slice cooked sausages
serve each sausage over half kale/potato/onion mixture

What was your favorite dinner this week?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

blog lessons {5}

Today, is the final installment in the series but here's a quick recap from the earlier posts in the series:
Blog Lessons {1} // Blog Lessons {2} // Blog Lessons {3} // Blog Lessons {4}
Today, I'm talking about managing time when it comes to blogging and here are three areas that are helpful to keep in mind. Blogging can be quite an adventure and  as I already mentioned, the relationships you make with other bloggers are fun, but can quickly become important. Just as in in any relationship, they'll require some time. I've broken it into three portions for you.

{1} Create content for your on blog. There are several ways to go about blogging. Some do it on a daily basis, while others blog ahead (over the weekend or at another time in the week) and schedule their posts. Choose the one that works for you. For me, there are weeks that I spend a weekend afternoon getting all my posts in order and scheduling ahead, while other weeks I simply squeeze it into my evening for the next day. It does take some work, but I love scheduling ahead or at least choosing a topic for each day of the week.

{2} Communication is not overrated. I don't want to repeat myself since I talk about how I feel about replying to comments last week. But I do think it can be broken into a few areas. In addition to scheduling time for writing blog posts, it can be necessary to schedule time for the other pieces that go along with blogging such as email and Twitter. I don't often "schedule" time, but I do try to spend 15-20 minutes per day on the two combined.
  • Email -create an account for your blog. Use it for sponsorships, comments, and more. I only check this email two times per day (and I don't typically access it on my phone), but I force myself to reply to emails.
  • Twitter -Schedule tweets for your blog posts at least one day ahead. Interact with other bloggers by joining the conversation and contributing.

{3} Plan for the deadlines. You may be asked to write a guest post or explore a sponsorship, so it's necessary to be aware of deadlines. Create them for yourself and adhere to ones given by other bloggers. Consider making a blog calendar for yourself to stay organized. This can be as simple as an excel document or as pretty as making color-coded a calendar posted by the space you blog in. Be sure to be aware of your own schedule so you can factor in others.

How do you use your time when it comes to blogging?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

what I love wednesday {tech}

I took an unintentional hiatus from Pinterest. But logged in this past weekend to find a new format when I look at my boards. I'm not sure how efficient it is, or if I even like it, but I was actually surprised that I was surprised by a change to such a popular sharing network. After all, it's fast growing and driving more traffic to blogs than Twitter (source). Just take a look at it's growth in less than a year in the image below.

As I was looking around Pinterest, I came across several tips that I typically don't run into. I'll admit I easily get pulled in by Pinterests' beautiful images of homes, clothing and so many items I'll never own or even see in person. In an effort to use Pinterest in a different way than usual, I decided to try and see what else I could find via Pinterest. I  don't often use it for a search engine. Do you? This time, I made a conscious effort to look for things I haven't looked for on the site before as a way of branching out of my world of the boards I follow. I searched using terms like "tech," "technology" and "favorite apps." The list below isn't comprehensive, but it gives a taste of some of the discoveries I made using the social medium in a different way than usual.

You may have noticed in yesterday's post I mentioned I'm getting an iPad. I don't yet have it, but I jumped for joy when I got the shipping notification. In the mean time I'm "studying up" and found these 50 really useful tips. Do you have any iPad tips for me? If so, please leave them in the comments section.

I actually ran across this app a few weeks back just perusing the app market on my Droid. But I've been using Any.DO and love the simplicity of this to-do list app. It's quickly become this list-maker's best friend! And the best part is that it's free ((and available to iPhone and Android)).

I think I read about this on Facebook first, but it came up quickly in my "technology" search on Pinterest. If you're an Android user or have iPhone envy, you may relate. Half of the reason I want an iPhone and another reason why I'm ecstatic to be getting an iPad is because of the Instagram app. Did you know you can sign up to be first in line for it? It's coming!

What have you run across on Pinterest lately? Tell me what's surprised you.
 Image Sources: Pinterest Stats // iPad // Any.DO // Droid
lollipops

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

tickle me tuesday {think spring}

As spring blooms, I've been keeping an eye on these handmade lovelies. Each one reminds me of spring in its own way, whether its the texture, colors or things I'm drawn to wear this time of year.
1 - I've been on the lookout for a handmade iPad sleeve and this one from Handmade Haberdasher caught my eye with its sweet ruffles and understated linen. I love the simplicity yet femininity of it. I'm still awaiting the arrival of my iPad, but figured I should begin the process of finding a "home" for it.

2 - In the past month, I've developed a new appreciation for this art print from Yellow Heart Art because I've been wearing my hair in some version of a bun almost every day. I used to be a low pony-tail kind of gal, but have recently been won over by the sock-bun. I find it the perfect up-do for my "day 2" hair.

3 - These TOMS are so fun with the layered fabric by Jage in a Cage. I love the polkadots in a subtle color, yet bursting with various colors underneath. They seem perfect for spring weather and in the last week it's been warm enough to sport my solid black TOMS.

I'm linked up with Sarah for another Tickle Me Tuesday. Are you?

What's tickling your fancy lately?

Monday, March 26, 2012

11 things

Lauren tagged me earlier this month, so here I am with 11 things about me and answering Lauren's questions.
11 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME:
1. I have to have coffee in the morning.
2. In 3+ years of knowing my husband, The Hunger Games is the first book I have read completely ((I'm so bad about finishing books)).
3. I used to hate all things pink. I still don't own many clothes that are pink, but I can finally tolerate it.
4. I love flying.
5. I like listening to talk radio in the car in the morning on my way to work.
6. I lived in Baltimore for three years after grad school and I miss being close to DC.
7. I only cook at home about 20% of the time, my husband is the cook in our house.
8. If there's one type of clothing you can never own too many of it's jackets. I love blazers, denim jackets, rain coats, etc.
9. I sat on the floor of my gymnasium during my college graduation ceremony ((long story, but it snowed in May and they had a very poor backup plan))
10. My favorite meal for one is a baked sweet potato.
11. In the summer, my favorite thing to do is go for ice cream.
QUESTIONS FROM LAUREN:
1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
 Coffee, fresh fruit and Trader Joe's O's

2. Would you rather stay up late or wake up early?
  Wake up early ((but too often I end up doing both))

3. If you had to suddenly leave your house and only take three items with you, what would they be?
  I'd grab a photo book I put together of my mom, 

4. What was your favorite thing to do as a child?
  Play alone in my backyard

5. How do you see your life in five years?
  Hopefully as a mother to at least one kiddo and possibly living in Chicago or Denver

6. Where is your favorite place in the world?
  Snuggled in a cabin in Breckenridge, Colorado  

7. Would you rather be spontaneous, or do you like to have a plan?
  I'm usually a planner.

8. Who do you admire the most? 
  I have a lot of admiration for my parents.

9. What is your all time favorite song that you would never get tired of listening to?
  Kingdom Come by Coldplay ((fun fact: I walked down the aisle to it at our wedding))

10. Chocolate or vanilla?
  Chocolate

11. If you were a superhero, what would your power be?
  I've always said I wanted to be able to teleport myself with my family spread across the country.

I'm tagging these sponsoring bloggers:

Friday, March 23, 2012

instaFriday

What a week! I spent six days with colleagues putting on an amazing conference in Boston. It was exciting to be part of the host team and showcase my favorite American city to 900+ colleagues from around the world. The weather was perfect, which made it even better.
showcasing the city: Copley Plaza just after dawn // view from my hotel room at dusk // group assembling in front of the Boston Public Library for a 5k run
St. Patrick's Day: festive socks // setting up the conference concierge desk on St. Patty's Day // the top of my socks
tours + service: delegates tour Paramount Center // tour of Emerson College Campus Center // service at Campus Kitchen Project at UMass Boston ((we made 246 sandwiches))
some of the food we ate: clam chowder appetizer // grilled white pizza with spinach // lobster roll + chips for lunch // dessert plate
friends: me and Katie at the closing banquet // the whole conference planning team, an amazing group of colleagues
Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend?
life rearranged

Thursday, March 22, 2012

blog lessons {4}

In case you missed earlier posts in the series, you can read them here: Blog Lessons {1} // Blog Lessons {2} // Blog Lessons {3}

Today, I want to talk about engagement, I'm not talking about the kind that means there's a ring on your finger and a promise between you and your lover (although that's a fun topic indeed). I'm talking about how to engage in the blog community. As both a blog writer and reader, it's important to consider.
Blogging can be about more than the blogger. As I mentioned before, blogging is often about relationships and engaging your audience is a necessary element if you want readers to hang around. So, I have a few questions you can ask yourself as you think about engagement on your own blog.
  1. Who is my intended audience?
  2. How do I end my posts? Does it encourage a response?

Your blog layout can also invite or deter engagement. I find blogs that have these features are ones I am more likely to comment on, share via Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or even email the blogger.
  1. The comment window pops up in a new window and doesn't make me enter an encryption code
  2. Want readers to be able to share your blog post with others? Make it easy and add a widget that allows readers to Tweet content on share on Facebook.
  3. The blogger's email address is easy to find (either on the about/contact page or on the sidebar)

As a blog reader, I also have some suggestions for how to connect better with bloggers through commenting, email and social media.
  1. Leave a comment...reading blogs is fun, but when you engage with the blogger it makes it even more fun!
  2. Complete your profile on GFC, Wordpress, etc. so that a gravatar is linked to your account (putting a face with a name)
  3. Make sure the blogger can reply to your comment via email. Don't know how to do so? Read this.

How do you like to connect best with your favorite blogs?
 ...by leaving a comment or tweeting them?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Journal Makeover {DIY}


Ever want to spruce up a journal or give the cover a mini-makeover? Sometimes I get freebies that are in need of a minor makeover to give them new life. I love to journal and especially love Moleskine journals. I was given one with a company logo on it, but since I have no affiliation with the company, I gave it a new cover.  
What projects have you been working on lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

thoughts on journaling from Lauren {guest post}

Today, I have a treat for you with a guest post from Lauren. She's sharing her ideas on journaling. 

Hey everyone, I'm Lauren from One of Five! I'm so excited to be doing a guest post for Beth! She asked me to write about something that I love, so today I going to talk about journaling! 
I don't know if anyone else ever did this, but as a child, I always wrote little entries in random little notebooks, got tired of writing, and then never picked up the 'journal' again. Now I have all of these unfinished notebooks that I don't know what to do with. I've always liked the idea of keeping a journal- to have a place to make sense of my thoughts and emotions- but I tend to get bored of the whole "dear diary" format pretty quickly. Anyone else feel that way? I was so caught up in how a journal was supposed to be, that I couldn't think of anything to write that would be 'worthy' of my journal. So instead of following a set of unwritten guidelines for what I thought a journal was supposed to look like, I made my own rules. Or one rule, rather. 
There are no rules. 
Doesn't that just make you relax a little bit? There are no rules. There's no right or wrong way to keep a journal. I don't even call what I have a journal. I call it my expression book! Not as catchy, but whatevs. While some of my entries may be writing, others are filled with doodles, quotes, tickets, or whatever else I can find. Some pages are crumpled and used to vent, others have sweet little nothings to make my day just a little bit better. It doesn't have to be neat or in your best handwriting... its yours! It can be whatever you want.  
Since this discovery, I'm actually using my book. It keeps my creative juices flowing, and I don't feel like I've wasted money on a journal that I'm never going to use! I definitely recommend trying this to anyone looking for an outlet to express yourself. Do you guys have any other methods like this? I'd love to hear about them! I'm always looking for different ideas. Shoot me an email at labrumfield12@gmail{dot}com, or head on over to my page by clicking here! Thanks for reading everyone! :)
xo, Lauren 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Moving On

Over a week ago, the Kony 2012 Film by Invisible Children went viral. While I am not here to comment on the Kony film itself, I want to share a movie with you that talks about the hope there is in Uganda. It's called Moving On, a full-length film (about 85 minutes) that follows an American couple through their experience not only adopting an Ugandan child but living in Uganda. I hope you will take the time to watch it (music feature Josh Garrells). I was only able to embed the trailer below.

Moving On from Matt Katsolis on Vimeo.

Connect with Light Gives Heat: blog // shop //twitter // facebook

Friday, March 16, 2012

finds I fancy {4}

This week's prompt was to use green as the base for the outfit with St. Patrick's Day coming tomorrow. I love this idea, despite not being Irish. At least my husband has some Irish in him, so I will claim that!

wearing of the green

I was in Old Navy earlier this week and was admiring the polka-dot blouse and green jeans. I've also been debating if I could pull off leopard print Toms. What do you think? I don't own anything that's leopard print, but I feel like they'd go with a lot in my closet. However, I have been wearing mint nail polish this week and loving it!

What trends are you loving as the weather is more spring-like?
{linking up for Friday's Fancies}

A few blog posts that inspired me in some way this past week:
  • ((inspiration)) I needed to read these words earlier in the week, and I've been returning to it almost daily. Isaiah 26:3 holds such a beautiful promise that is near to me in times of busy-ness.
  • ((spring cleaning)) Feeling the urge to purge? This post was quite inspiring for me 15 Ways to Restore Order to Your Life
  • ((outfit inspiration)) I'm away for work for the next five days or so and What a Nerd Would Wear inspired me to try to pack lighter than usual and mix and match more than usual too!
  • ((home decor inspiration)) Thanks to the Real Housewives of Bucks County for giving me some ideas to ponder in using Tangerine in the home.
  • ((Easter decorating)) Considering dying eggs for Easter? Check out this natural way to do so from Christine Chitnis.
And don't forget, there's still time to enter the giveaway I'm part of at The Arizona Russums!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

blog lessons {layout + content}

The past two weeks I shared some general blogging tips and relational blogging tips. Today, I'm talking about some tips on the visual element of blogging.

white space is okay. 
Don't feel like you need to fill the space on your page with ads, text and photos. The human eye is drawn to white space (I learned this over many years of working on my high school yearbook), but it's okay to leave white space on blogs. It gives the blog a clean look, versus lots of color/patterns to distract from content. Remember, your content is the star!

a word about photos. 
Using photos in your posts not only makes it more visually appealing, but tells its own story. A picture is worth a thousand words and blog posts should be able 500 (give or take). That being said, I have two comments on photo use. First of all, edit them. There are a number of options for editing photos out there (Kam shared a great post on alternatives to Picnik). Find the one that works for you and use it. It doesn't have to take tons of time, but if you want your photos to tell the story, a little editing goes a long way. My second piece of advice about photos on your blog to use large ones so people can really see them. There's nothing worse than trying to figure out what's going on in an itty-bitty photo.

don't go crazy with font colors/size.
Sure, it's fun to play with the font size and use the various colors offered for blog posts, but it can also have a reverse effect on readers. I'm so turned off by font size changing drastically throughout a post (it makes my eyes jump around) and colors that make me strain my eyes (yellow on white is a no-no). Consider your readers and not just what looks cool to you.

widgets are your friend. 
There are several widgets out there that are simple to add to your blog to make it more reader friendly. Want to share similar blog posts? Setup Link Within and it automatically pulls posts with similar tags, etc. to suggest to readers. You can also add a social media widget to make it easy for readers to share content. I'm must more prone to share a great blog post with a click of a button than a series of copy and past into Twitter/Facebook.

music.
Everyone has different music tastes and I realize some people think it's important to express themselves by sharing their music on their blog. But I have to be honest, nothing turns me off more than going to a blog that automatically plays music. A great option is to keep the music widget, but set it to NOT automatically play when  readers land on your blog. For me it's distracting, usually because I already have my own music/radio on and it conflicts. I would really love it if Bloglovin and/or HelloCotton would kill the music when I visit blogs (just sayin').

What tips do you have for appealing layouts and content?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

{thrifted} for work + play

I haven't done an outfit post in a long time and really don't make them a habit. But I had a successful round at a consignment shop last week (used my store credit of $7 and on a day of 50% sales so I ended up paying nothing), and I just had to share two outfits that came of it.

I love this one because I can wear it to work. It's comfortable and classic. The bow is a little different from my usual taste, but I couldn't pass up the chambray material. I'd been wanting a denim shirt and love my chambray dress for the ease of dressing it up or down.
Gap blouse spied on Pinterest // Loft slacks // shoes + belt (too old to remember)
After reading The No Brainer Wardrobe, I had pinned the photo below and been on the lookout for a utility jacket. I found this one last week and it was $2. I've been loving black skinny jeans, I'm so thankful to Hayley for turning me on to them. I'm pretty sure this outfit will become my springtime weekend go-to!
photo via Pinterest and don't worry the dog is ours
And here's a bonus. It's not thrifted, but I won these gorgeous earrings in a giveaway from AcuteDesigns and I just love them!

What have you loved wearing lately?
I'm linking up with Lindsay and Mandy


PS- I'm hosting my first giveaway over at The Arizona Rassum's. Don't miss your chance to win $15 to Target (my favorite store)!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March sponsors

I'm excited to introduce you to this month's sponsors. I hope you will visit their blogs and connect with them elsewhere, they're a talented group.
blog // pinterest 
Hey everyone, I’m Lauren! With my four brothers and a black belt in karate, I needed somewhere to display all of the girly things that younger brothers could care less about. I use this site to post fashion ideas, DIY’s, the occasional recipe, the daily adventures of being a college student! Come stop by and say hello :)
 blog // etsy // facebook // pinterest // google+
a great big canadian hello, eh!! my name is amber branconier, soon to be enns! i love jesus, the smell of rain, black coffee, growing up on the canadian prairies and homemade cookies. i blog at life...unscripted where i share diy's, recipes, life and faith! you can also find me, or my creations rather, in my shop owls & lilies! i love meeting new people so pop on over and say hi!
blog // twitter // facebook // tumblr // pinterest
Wattlebird is a blog about crafts, fashion, design, and life. I post simple DIY projects and try to integrate handmade and vintage items into outfit posts as often as possible. Sometimes I talk about real life stories and try to be funny, but mostly I'm just a Martha Stewart wannabe. I love spring in general! I'm mostly looking forward to all the ice cream shops opening back up so I can go out for ice cream pretty much every day.
blog // twitter // facebook // bloglovin // pinterest // photography
This spring I'm looking forward to the rain. Oh how I love a good storm. Sitting but the fire, reading a good book, listening to the sound of rain. Doesn't get better than that. Here in California we don't get much of either.
blog // twitter // facebook // pinterest
Hi, I’m Allison, Christ follower, wife and high school biology teacher (among other things). I am a lifestyle blogger who loves to write about faith, books, sewing projects, running advice, and tales of my daily adventures. I blog because I enjoy sharing my life and meeting new people. I hope you will join me as I learn to find joy Whatever the Circumstances. This spring,  I am looking forward to moving into our first house as homeowners! Can't wait to share more about it on the blog this spring and summer as we tackle multiple projects!

Monday, March 12, 2012

hello cotton {review}

With the changes to Google Friend Connect earlier this month, I've noticed a lot of bloggers have been moving away from using it. Even though I use blogger, I did away with the widget on my blog about a month ago and have given readers the option of using Bloglovin or Hello Cotton to follow my blog. Some bloggers may be anxious about change or just don't have time to play around with it on their own, so I thought it would be helpful to introduce Hello Cotton for those who may not be familiar with it.

I've been using Hello Cotton for a few weeks now. About two months ago, I blogged about my experience with Bloglovin' and what I liked about using it to follow blogs. I've been slowly moving away from Google Reader, mostly because I love that these other options allow me to view blogs as they are laid out with fonts and text colors. Sometimes, I felt like I was missing out following along in Google Reader.
My page (shown above) allows you to complete your own page (don't worry there are only four fill-ins plus an image) and it acts as an intro to your blog. It shows a photo (gravatar), your blog name/link, and gives you space to add a tag line or whatever intro you want to give. It also highlights your previous posts in a list with an image and snippet.
Each time you login, the newsfeed shows how many new posts have gone up since the last time you were on Hello Cotton. Within the newsfeed, you can see one image from the blog post and a snippet. As someone who follows a lot of blogs typically, this can be helpful to scan and see what you want to read (if you're pressed for time). Even if you don't view all the blog posts in the newsfeed, they won't appear as 'unread' the next time you are on the site.

Other features worth noting:

  • The categories feature makes it easy to find other blogs based on what categories they're listed under. You can search for other DIY or design blogs or whatever you're interested in. 
  • It's simple to follow other blogs as you're discovering them on the site. Simply click on the follow button and they will be added to your newsfeed.
  • There are also buttons you can easily add to your blog so readers can follow along right from your blog. One is a button (see my right sidebar) and there's a mini-profile that looks similar to the GFC widget.
  • Another one feature I like, allows you to like other posts. It makes it easy to bookmark posts you want to return to. A list of your liked posts shows up on your account page.
  • There's a talents directory which features popular blogs along with newcomers. I really like how they feature new blogs and not just well-known ones. 
  • They also have great social media integration for Twitter and Facebook. You can even link your profile to Facebook. I haven't used this feature, but it is there.
Have you tried Hello Cotton yet?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

weekend cravings

This weekend I'm craving...
more of the moments pictured above I soaked up during the week, plus... 
reading. 
All week, I have been put off starting Mockingjay because I know I will get sucked in and neglect other responsibilities. But this weekend, I say bring it on!
catching up with old friends. 
I am looking forward to spending some quality time with a friend I've known since high school and that means it's one of my longest friendships due to moving around a lot when I was growing up. I can't wait to just chat over a cup of tea.
sleeping in. 
I want to sleep past 7am. It was a long week at work, despite it being spring break on campus and things being somewhat quiet (I can only say it since it's now in the past).
something crafty.
Another one of those things that's perpetually on my to-do list. I've been neglecting a wreath on the front door since Christmas and that drives me crazy. 
being home.
I'm a home body and I have a busy two weeks ahead, so this is my chance to relax a bit. Dare I say it will be (hopefully) the calm before the storm. 

Katy Loves

Friday, March 9, 2012

flashback friday

The other day, I was thinking about what my first piece of technology was and I realized it all started with E.T. I was obsessed with the movie as a two and three year old, weird I know. I was fascinated by the Speak & Spell E.T. used to "phone home," asking for my own. I was pretty disappointed when I ended up with a Speak & Read, which my parents claimed would teach me more.
via
What was your first technology love?


...and some finds I fancy from blogland:
  • ((date night)) Check out Cheap Date Friday from Married Living on a Single's Budget for some date night inspiration.
  • ((organization tips)) I've been struggling with motivation when it comes to tasks around the house and this Monday Motivation on Weekly Management from Morgan at The Tiny Twig was a helpful perspective...one I needed to hear.
  • ((hairstyles)) I also need some inspiration when it comes to trying new things with my long hair (I'm a total slacker when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone with hairstyles + makeup), thanks to Ashley of The Shine Project for posting her cute vlog of the braided top knot. I'm also hoping get brave enough to a few of these hairstyles suggested by The Small Things blog.
  • ((social media)) Thinking about ways to grow your blog? Ashley had a great post earlier this week where she shared some excellent tips for How to Grow Your Blog for Free.
  • ((baby dancing)) Who doesn't want to start their day with a video of super cute baby? And dancing to LMFAO? Bravo, E Tells Tales!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

blog lessons: build relationships

Last week, I shared the start of some lessons learned from blogging for the past 18 months.  I'm back with more lessons learned this week.

Today, I'm gonna share some ideas for how to go about connecting with others.  As much as it's important to focus on your own blog, building good relationships in the blog world should not be overlooked.  So, here are my tips on how to build good relationships with other bloggers.
be generous.
Give nice comments to others, post tweets about other blog posts that encourage you, Facebook share other blogs you like.  Don't focus solely on your own blog and you'll be surprised how easy it is to make friends when you're paying it forward.

connect with others.
The blog world is often a friendly place and if you'r looking to grow your audience, you must connect with other bloggers.  Look for blogs offering button swaps and ask to swap for a month.  Participate in linkups, but do so somewhat sparingly ((avoid having all your posts be linkups so your own ideas shine through)).

reach out.
I believe blogging is about more than just writing your own blog.  Visit other blogs and make connections; use it as a way to make friends.  Of course Twitter and Facebook are great ways to reach out as well.  But who doesn't love getting a kind and thoughtful comment on their blog?

be a thoughtful hostess.
Guest posts are a great way to get to new readers and exposure.  I consider it a win-win when someone asks me to guest post.  They're getting the chance to take a "day off" from blogging and giving me the chance to share something with their readers.  But it's important to be considerate of other's time when asking someone to write a post for you.  Be sure to give a deadline, but also give them enough time to write the post.

plan ahead.
I'm not saying you have to create a whole separate calendar ((but I won't stop you either)) for your blog, but it's very helpful to think about the kinds of posts you want to share throughout the week ahead.  I usually try to at least come up with title/topic of the blog posts I intend to share in the coming week on Saturday or Sunday.

How do you connect with others in the blogging world?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I love Wednesday {greens}

My husband's going to find this somewhat ironic because we just purged our home of mint green. The walls in the entry, stairwell and upstairs landing were painted minty green. And we hated it (the walls were also textured, adding to the dated look). He spent the past weekend deleting the mint that filled our walls and here I am saying it's a color I not just like, but love with What I Love Wednesdays. To be fair, it's a color I like to see in accessories and accents...it screams springtime to me.
1 - I could wear cardigans every day of the week. They're the perfect thing for work since I never know if I'll be too hot or cold. My rule is to always layer! J. Crew had the perfect mint one this season.
2 - I will never turn down an accessory from Pretties by Meg. She has the most beautiful handmade necklaces and earrings. I always love the beads she uses, like this minty necklace made with vintage beads.
3 - Lately, I've been wising I had more skinny belts. They add a touch of color and pull a look together so well (I especially like to layer them over my cardigan). I found this one from Fossil in the perfect mint shade.
4 - Have you seen Erika of Rouge & Whimsy's new purse line? It just launched this week and the design is totally hers. If you follow Erika's blog, you know she likes to color block (a trend I'm not so good at). I'm just crazy about her color block bags, especially this combo of mint and green. It's perfect for spring!
lollipops

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

frosted window {DIY}

Here's our latest quick + easy home project. My husband actually did it, but we were both so impressed with the finished product, I just had to share!

We have a full-size window in the upstairs bathroom, but since it's a somewhat small bathroom, we wanted to let in more light.  The mister had the idea to frost the window. It was one of the easiest home improvement projects yet! You simply clean the glass, use painter's tape to protect the window frame and spray on the Frosted Glass spray paint. What could be easier?! And please excuse window ledge...it's getting a fresh coat of paint soon.
What projects are you working on lately?
lollipops

Monday, March 5, 2012

creating a facebook page {timeline}

Just when I think I'm keeping up with technology and I learn how to make a banner-like view for Facebook brand page using this quick tutorial from Just Lovely Things, Facebook rolls out Timeline for Facebook Pages. And by the end of the month, all pages will be switched over to this format. The layout is visually more appealing in many ways. It looks a bit more like websites we're used to seeing, by offering a space for a cover photo.

At first, I was bummed to have to adapt to the layout...again. It really only means choosing a cover image and then ensuring the page looks appealing (i.e. the image is centered). At first, I just uploaded my blog banner as the cover photo, but quickly realized it wasn't the same size and I could not re-size within Facebook, though they allow you move the image up or down (my issue was about width).

Here are some tips for transitioning your Facebook page to Timeline:
  • When creating a cover image, use the dimensions that are already there so your entire image shows up. I first created the banner to be 680 (wide) x 250 (high). As I said before, you can adjust your image up or down, just not side to side.
  • I added the word "blog" to my cover photo (see above) to make it obvious that the page was for a blog. You could add other words like "shop" as well. 
  • In the description box, I used to have my blog's description, but that doesn't direct people to your blog or shop itself unless you include the URL. I do like this new feature because you can direct people right to your URL (it's hyperlinked). I have mine reading BLOG: http://www.bbgoad.com TWITTER: http://twitter.com/dotinthecity but you can add your shop, or other places people can connect with you online (i.e. Pinterest, Google+).
  • I then moved my blog description from the about box to the description box. No one can see it from the main page, but if they click on the about link, they'll be able to read whatever you write in the description box.

What do you think? Have you transitioned your Facebook Page to Timeline? Do you like it? I hope this is helpful and if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section, email or tweet me.

Friday, March 2, 2012

dear dot

Dearest blog,

I just want to express my thanks for your faithful friendship over the past eighteen months or so. You've been so loyal and helped me make new friends. You listen, even when I'm not sure if anyone else is taking it in.
Thanks, blog, for showcasing our house and many home improvement projects and DIY crafts.  I love that you're not only a creative outlet for me to write, but for sharing photos I take or stumble across online. And talk about creative? You know the mister and I like to get creative in the kitchen, trying new recipes, or making up our own. I've discovered my true love of using the crockpot, thanks to you!

As I already mentioned, you help me make new friends. You're a connector, introducing me to other blogs all the time. It's like I get to make new friends every day! You see, these other bloggers are so friendly and easy to get to know. Remember, how I even met up with one in real life? I haven't made it to a blogger's conference yet, but one day we'll meet even more of our bloggy friends in person!

And what we don't share on our blogs, we tend to chat about on Twitter! And you know how I feel about Twitter since I've written about it more than a few times. This week, I've talked to more people about my current reading obsession via Twitter than in person. And I would have never fallen in love with Downton Abbey if it wasn't for the Twitterverse and blog world! See, they even keep me up on culture?!
You've also been the source of inspiration in so many ways. My blog friends inspired me to take up crochet, though a real life friend really helped me to learn it. I've also gotten a bit more daring in my nail polish choices, since I'm a blogger. I've bonded over thrifting and frugal fashion finds with like-minded bloggers.

So, thank you, blog for helping me make new friends, share my life and attempt to stay hip with culture. You're like a friend to me in so many ways!

Cheers,
Beth

((I'm linking up with Erin @ Living In Yellow today.))