Thursday, May 31, 2012

keyword analysis #1

Have you ever checked the 'search keyword' section of your Blogger Dashboard? This can be quite the source of entertainment because people come across my blog using all sorts of keywords I wouldn't think would be associated with this place. I got this idea from Jen, who writes a little keyword analysis every now and then. Here are my examples of the most frequent keywords and why I'm baffled...

herb brooks 1980 AND herb brooks
I've written about ice hockey a handful of times around here, mentioning my younger brother played. I also wrote about Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 US Olympic gold medal team once. I find it most interesting that this is the most frequent search that has led people to this blog. Hmm...maybe I should tell you about my obsession with Miracle so people aren't too disappointed when they land here and I don't have much Herb Brooks love beyond the one post...don't worry, I won't bore you with hockey anytime soon ;)

reusable teal bag
I have no idea about this one. I don't even see where those words fit together around here. I know I've mentioned reusable bags a number of times, but am baffled by the 'teal' part...and I don't even own a teal bag! But maybe it's a sign I should but this one?
{source}
buying groceries
Can it get more boring than this? Sure, I buy groceries, but I don't typically blog about it...or do I? Maybe I need to re-evaluate that one a bit.

name badges bridal shower
Remember when I made these? They were fun and different for a bridal shower accessory, so I'm excited to see they may have brought people to my blog.

cash u coupon
I'm pretty sure this is from a guest post by Alli. So, I googled the same term to see where it led me and it turns out I've been there before. Nearly anytime, I shop online, I check to see if I can find a discount code for shipping or something. But I really don't know how this is related to my blog...do I need to talk about couponing more often around here?

frugal kitchen makeover
Now this is one I can get behind! Yes, I have been recording our renovation progress around here, so thank you for noticing, Google.

twitter
Ha! I love twitter and talk about it quite a bit, so there's no surprise this one came up. Again, I will say well done, Google!

Have you ever noticed the keywords used that bring people to your blog? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

spring mantle + DIY decor

It's been entirely too long since I shared something pretty from our home. But over the long weekend, I did some cleaning and rearranging, which led to a different mantle display just in time for  the end of the season ((shrug)). I know there isn't a rule that tells me I need to change it up monthly or even every season, but there is a part of me that really enjoys the process of making our home pretty. It doesn't need to be fancy or perfect, I just enjoy having our home comfortable and inviting.
Previously, I shared my love for turning glass bottles into home decor, and this project was no different. I was inspired by the cover of the June Better Homes and Gardens to create a twine covered bottle. The project only took me about 20 minutes once I had all my supplies together, including the cleaned and dried the glass bottle. And my favorite part: no need to remove the label on the bottle if you wrap the twine tight enough! Over the weekend, I shared an image of my project via Instagram.

You'll need: used glass bottle, twine, scissors, craft glue

  1. Starting at the bottom, wrap the twine around the glass bottle. Use a small amount of glue to secure the twine to itself. As you continue to wrap the bottle in twine you can cover any overlapping twine so it won't show.
  2. Be patient as you wrap the twine and try not to let it twist too much so it lays flat against the bottle. I ended up pushing the twine rows together to keep them tight.
  3. Once you have the twine up as far as you want it, finish the top by gently tucking the loose end with a dab on glue on it under the wound twine. I recommend using craft glue rather than a glue gun so it's less stringy and can be readjusted as needed.

What's been your inspiration for home decor lately?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

mom style {1983}

Last week, Erika and Heather announced their plans for a photo linkup paying tributes to mother's and their style from the 1970s and 80s. I was so excited to find an old photo showing my mom's style. She always looked pulled together, yet fashionable for the times. As I was looking through photos over the weekend, I noticed a bit of a trend: ruffles. She wore a lot of them in the early eighties or so it seemed based on the number of photos showing them. Here are just two examples of mom rockin the ruffles:
I was also quite surprised ((though not really)) that I couldn't find photos of my mom by herself from that time. As a mom, she is always in a photo with me or my brother once he came along. It's pretty classic because she loved being a mom and there was no reason for her to be in front of a camera unless she was showing off one of her kiddos. She was all about being a mom.

If you couldn't guess from the photos above, we lived in Colorado during the time they were taken. My dad was in the Air Force and when we were new to the area, she loved to drive around and explore the city. She was really great about making anything we did into an adventure so I'd be excited about it. My brother didn't come along until I was five years old, so I have some really precious memories of just me and my mom. One of our favorite things to do, was to pack a picnic lunch and head to one of the overlook areas to watch the cadets parachute from a plane, which I called "shutes!" If we were lucky, my dad would join us on his lunch break.

If you're new around here, you may want to read more about the memories of my incredible mom here and here.

mom stye

Friday, May 25, 2012

road trip {what do I need to know?}

My husband and I are planning a summer road trip and I need your help! We are driving from Massachusetts to Colorado ((that's more than 1900 miles)). We'll drive through eight states and it's been almost seven years since I've driven cross country like that. Here's where you come in. I'm asking you to leave a comment telling me one of the following ((or both)).
  1. Tell me your favorite place in one or more of the following states: Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas
  2. What is your favorite thing to do on a road trip ((do you stop at breweries? pick up magnets from every state?))
  3. Tell me what's on your must pack list ((essential music or road trip games))

Thursday, May 24, 2012

giving up on good {2}

We're giving up on meat. It's not just this week because we've been doing it for a while. My husband and I have been eating less meat for more than a month now. It started out as a financial reason. We need to trim our budget. Then we watched Forks Over Knives which made us consider how we may want to make the lifestyle change in an effort to improve our health long-term. My husband has Type 1 diabetes, but was diagnosed as an adult. We are hopeful this kind of lifestyle change could possibly allow him to go off insulin and control it through his diet. 
{fresh lettuce from our garden}
But you see, we love meat. I love steak, chicken, pork, fish and lamb. When we first started talking about eliminating meat ((and other animal bi-products)), I got kinda scared and sad. I questioned how I could get by without eating cheese. I love cheese! But we decided to do it in moderation. We're eating lentils and fresh vegetables and way fewer carbs ((goodbye pasta and bread, hello quinoa and brown rice)). After several weeks of this, I must admit that I'm feeling pretty good from eating so many more veggies and less dairy. 
{kale + potato soup}
So you're probably wondering what an average week looks like as far as dinners go. Do we eat tofu every night? No way, but maybe once a week. Here's an example of a week's worth of dinners:
{smoothie example}
We're learning to use seasoning and cooking techniques to add flavor. Even though meat tastes great, I think Americans consume far too much of it. By cutting back on the amount we buy, we are able to spend more money on nutrient-rich veggies and fruits. I also love making smoothies and if you follow me on Instagram you've probably noticed I love to share my latest concoction there. It's been challenging at times, but I think the benefits will outweigh those in the end.
Have you made any lifestyle changes recently?
{I'm linking with Jessi and Hayley}

Looking for a way to spread the word about your blog?
I'd love to work together and am currently accepting sponsors for next month.
Affordable rate information can be found here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I love Wednesday {to go}

As summer gets closer, I can't help but daydream of traveling. We're currently planning a road trip for next month, so I think it's on my brain more than usual. Last night, I was perusing Etsy for some fun travel related items and put together this collage.
{1} I have always wanted to record a roadtrip adventure in more than just photos, so this vacation journal, travel journal seems perfect. It includes prompts for writing down your adventures in creative ways. Have you ever kept a travel journal?

{2} I've had a thing for stamps since I was a kid. This little bon voyage heart suitcase hand carved rubber stamp would be perfect to go with the journal, plus I'd find ways to use it on any letters I mail throughout the summer. I always end up sending more mail in the summer, as friends are away at camps or maybe I just find  make more time to send snail mail.

{3} With my hair getting long and having bangs, I've been using scarves more to keep my hair out of my face ((especially with the humidity kicking in)) and I love the colorful chiffon headwrap. It can be worn 7 ways, which certainly makes it a great travel companion!

{4} Cute hair ties that double as a bracelet are popping up everywhere! The mid century package 5 elastic solid hair ties caught my eye and would ensure I'm never without a hairtie while traveling. I always seem to misplace them when I'm traveling, do you?

What are your favorite travel companions?
lollipops

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

soul(s) detox together

Over the weekend, I started seeing a certain hashtag come up in my Twitter feed, then I noticed it on Instagram. It was #SheReadsTruth and after reading some tweets I realized it was a Bible study of sorts. Thanks to Hayley, I learned it started out of YouVersion's Soul Detox reading plan. The idea is to do the 35 day Bible study and share what you're learning through social media ((primarily Twitter and Instagram)) and it was started by Maggie and Kacia last week.

I loved the idea when I learned about it from Hayley's post and as I dug into the Word to see what it was all about, I loved it even more. The content is beautiful with the idea of a soul detox. Why not? We talk about doing a cleanse of our body and eating healthy. This is health food for the soul. It's short and simple enough to get the devotional done daily. So far, the devotionals are one or two passages of Scripture then followed by one or two questions. And from the sound of so many women sharing, it's just what we've been aching for.
It got me thinking about why I am so encouraged by this movement. I think it comes down to two things: community and commitment.

One of the biggest benefits of the blog world for me is the sense of community I feel from networking with so many women from all walks of life and most of whom I have never even met. Yet, I feel a strong sense of connectedness to these people whose blogs I read daily. In several cases, I can tell you their children and/or spouse's names, what they ate for dinner last night and what they are likely to be doing at 9am ((some of this I learn through their blog, but also from following them on Twitter and Instagram)).

And when it comes to commitment, I admit I'm terrible about finishing things like books or devotionals/Bible reading plans. I have great intentions and get excited to start something new. But it often quickly wanes and other things fill my time.

So, by combining a community I feel connected to and invested in, with a somewhat public commitment I am hopeful I can finish this 35 day devotional study. I am excited to be encouraged by other participating and sharing their insights. I am anxious to see what I will learn and how it will increase my faith. I can't wait to see what's next.
Want to join in? Today is Day 6 ((I caught up quickly on all 5 days yesterday)).
1- download the YouVersion app ((available for iPhone and Android))
2- search for Soul Detox reading plan
3- start at the beginning or jump in with us
4- Tweet or Instagram what you're learning and don't forget to add #SheReadsTruth

Monday, May 21, 2012

confessions

Have you seen the Things I'm Afraid to Tell You series? Naturally, it got me thinking about what I would write about. I'm always grateful for a chance to reflect on this blog and the things I share here. Lately, I've been reflecting a lot and it makes me want to write more and less ((weird, but true)). So, here I am telling you some things I'm afraid to share.

I don't exercise regularly. This is a terrible habit and I know it. Years ago, I used to run 3-5 times per week and I even completed a half-marathon. But I've struggled to get back into the grove of running. For the past few weeks with the weather being decent, I've been taking longer walks with the dog and I hope to keep this up. We've also made some recent change sin our eating habits, which I'm thankful for. I really do hope to get back to running over the summer. I miss it.
I lost interest in Pinterest. How dare I admit that I don't even go on Pinterest once a week anymore? My purpose for using it is no longer to find information, but to store or bookmark it for future reference. I pin interesting DIYs or blog tips with some degree of regularity, but I don't pin other's pins within the site as I once did.

I don't own a DSLR. If you've been around here long, this probably isn't a shock since my photos are far from amazing. But I think the bigger shock may be that I don't have any interest in photography. I mean, I appreciate good photographs and know their importance in the blogging world, but I just don't have the interest in taking up another hobby.
{source}
I would rather watch TV than read a book. I haven't kept it a secret that I don't love reading, but sometimes I'm afraid to admit it to my colleagues in the world of higher education, along with my blog friends. Everyone seems to be a reader and I'm just not. I will say,  I read a lot more since I've become a blogger because of reading others' blogs. And let's not dwell on the fact that I haven't finished Mockingjay...I sped through the first two and somehow lost momentum.

I have a fear of basements. I think it's from an episode of Rescue 911 ((did you ever watch that show as a kid?)) Every time I have to go to the basement, my heart beats a bit faster and I hurry every step of the way.

How about you? What are you afraid to let the blog world know?




Friday, May 18, 2012

instaFriday + link love

I'm loving Instagram more and more. I've had it for about 6 weeks and I think I check it more than Twitter. Some days I take 4-5 photos and others I totally forget to do so. But the past week, I snapped quite a few :) You can follow me at bbgoad

Friday, May 11
work: numbering chairs for undergraduate commencement + commencement program....the frapaccino was my reward for a long day at work in preparation for commencement the next day ((thank you Starbucks happy hour))
Over the weekend ((when I wasn't at work))
relaxing at home on Friday night // breaking out my chacos for the first time in 2012 for Saturday dinner with friends // remembering my mom on Mother's Day ((one of my favorite photos of us, taken less than a year before she passed))
During the week...
play date with our neighbor's pooch ((Phoebe and Milton are best pals)) // the mister studying for his summer course: Hebrew // peanut butter chocolate cookies
And the days I remembered to snap a pic of my outfit
I wore this skirt twice because I loved it so much // I tried the dress and jeans look with wedges I've had for years // I wore the purple dress for our rehearsal dinner, but I love pairing it with leggings for work 
I'm linking up with LifeRearranged for instaFriday!

My favorite finds from the internet this past week include:


Have a great weekend & happy Friday!
PS don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sponsor Love + Giveaway {Sassy Lemonade}

Happy Thursday! Who doesn't love a mid-week giveaway?! Today, I'm excited to introduce one of our May sponsors, Shannon, from Sassy Lemonade to you!
Hi there! I'm Shannon a Military Wife and Mother of 4 who loves designing Jewelry.

My Shop Sassy Lemonade has been open for about 9 months and I feel very blessed for all the lovely people I have met along this journey.

Lately I find myself obsessed with making Nautical themed jewelry. Actually I’m obsessed with all jewelry, you will find me making something whenever I have a free moment.

Stop by the blog or shop and say Hi.
And don't miss this opportunity for a discount!
For friends of Beth, get 20% off your next purchase from Sassy Lemonade with code: Dot20

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

summer wishlist {coral, poppy + teal}

The weather is turning warmer and I've had an eye on some summer basics including a v-neck tee, sleeveless vest ((inspired by Kim)), chambray dress, retro swimwear, and a set of colorful bangles. I love to keep my look simple in the summer. These basic pieces can be worn together, layered and create a number of looks, depending on how you accessorize them.
summer fling

{1} J Crew slouchy tee, $30 {2} Splendid drape vest, £39 {3} H M flare dress, £15 {4} Boden tummy control swimwear, $62 {5} Essie nail, $8 {6} Forever 21 jewelry, $9.80 {7} Forever 21 shoes, $23 {8} Essie nail, $8


What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

two years

Today, marks our second wedding anniversary! In some ways it feels like our wedding was just yesterday, though it seems like we've been married for more than two years with all that's happened ((job changes for Brandon, buying our home and moving to a new area)). I can't wait to see what the next two year and beyond hold for us!
Here are two of my favorite photos from the special day:

Photos by Meaghan Elliott

Monday, May 14, 2012

roasted beet + potato soup

Last week, we made this delicious soup. It was the perfect thing for a rainy and cool day. The soup was so full of flavor, we just had to share it!


ingredients
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups diced peeled beets
olive oil, divided
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth or bullion mixed with water
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
directions
The first part can be done ahead of time: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the potatoes and beets into a baking dish, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until tender, about 45 min; allow to cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, and stir in the onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Mix in the cooked vegetables, chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer about 45 minutes.
Remove from heat, and discard the bay leaf. Puree the mixture in the pot with an immersion blender (or pour into regular blender) until very well blended; stir in the milk and lemon juice to serve.
If you have a cool day before summer begins (it certainly hasn't in the Northeast), I hope you can try this filling and flavorful soup. 
What have you been cooking lately?

Friday, May 11, 2012

coffee date {dirty iced chai}

If we met for coffee today, I would order an iced three pump dirty chai ((yes, I know that's not coffee, but you can get them at a coffee shop)). I'd tell you it's been busy at work and I'm exhausted. The semester is finally over. Graduate commencement happened on Wednesday evening and we're waiting for undergraduate commencement tomorrow. Then I'd ask you what's been happening with you this week, while I took a long sip of my drink.

* edit: a "dirty chai" adds a shot of espresso :) 
{source}
I'd also be excited to tell you my husband and I have been spending our evenings working on letters ((think folding, stuffing and licking envelopes)) to send out for raising financial support for him to go on staff at our church, as a pastoral intern. We are so excited he's been given this role while he's in seminary and excited to see where it leads us in the future.

I would also share a less interesting highlight of the week, like how we found a tick on Milton days after our walk through a wooded area. I must have flicked a dozen of them off of him while we were walking that day and then gave him another once over before he was allowed in the house. So, I was mortified to find one attached to his neck nearly 48 hours later! It took both of us and several matches, but thankfully, we got it off completely. I don't think we'll be walking in those woods again soon!

I'd tell you there were a number of blog posts that caught my eye this past week:
Ever consider how to tell new readers who you are? These tips gives some ideas for consideration as your blog grows.

A good reminder about what hospitality should really look like. There are so many great posts coming from the Compassion bloggers in Tanzania this week. I'm loving this trip more than ever since our Compassion child lives there!

Ever want to be able to trim your own bangs? Erika created a vlog about it.

If you're looking for a weekend breakfast treat, these homemade pop tarts look like a good idea!

Consider adding affiliate links on your blog? Momcoomm shares Why Blogger Shouldn't Fear Affiliate Links.

These veggie crumbles had me wanting to run to store and buy some to make my own nachos!

What would you tell me this week? Hope we can have coffee ((or tea)) again soon!
{linking with Alissa today}

Thursday, May 10, 2012

giving up on good

Last week, Jessi and Hayley shared what they call giving up on good, meaning they don't and can't do it all. As women living in the 21st century, especially in North America, there is almost an expectation that we are over-committed and look pulled together. The blog world can exemplify this and make me feel like I have to post perfectly edited photos, make pretty things and dress in the latest fashions. Even if I'm not blogging about the those things, they easily come to mind as I peruse check Twitter, read my favorite blogs and especially if I peruse Pinterest. The messages of apparent perfection are all around.

As I've mentioned before, we are in the midst of renovating our home ((and doing it ourselves)), so there is also a fine layer of dust ((from sanding the walls or ceiling)) that can be found hanging around the house. So for the past few months, I've been giving up on not stressing about the state of our house. We've been in the house for just over a year and jumped right into tearing out the kitchen so it's taken me months to realize I can live with multiple unfinished projects ((and I don't mean this in anyway as a stab at my husband who is renovating our place...messes drive him crazy too)). Life goes on quite easily with an unfinished ceiling and walls that are not completely painted and curtains...who needs those? As long as my neighbors are not peeking through the windows, I'm safe ((or so I tell myself)).
living room and kitchen in the background ((note the unfinished entryway)) // sun room without shades or curtains
We are blessed to be able to live this way. As much as I wish we were parents at this point, I also know we wouldn't be able to do the renovations we are in the process of if there were little ones in our home. It would be near impossible to rip up floors and deal with multiple messes from the projects underway. It's hard enough to keep the dog from finding a stray piece of plaster to chew on. So, I am embracing the present, relishing the finished projects as they come.

And I'm giving up one more thing. I have only shared "what I wore" posts a few times and felt something in between guilt and embarrassment. I wondered if my colleagues would judge me or worse yet, a college student I work with would find my blog and think I am trying to be a fashion blogger. But the truth is, I feel better about myself when I wear a cute outfit and look pulled together. Don't you?

So I'm giving up ((at least trying to)) on calling myself vain for posting a photo of my outfit on Instagram or my blog. I do it to show how I can look fashionable without spending a lot of money. I typically shop at consignment and thrift shops, Old Navy and Target. And lately, we've had a spending freeze, so I've been learning to create "new" outfits out of what I already own. It's a fun challenge at times to update an outfit with an accessory I won from a blog giveaway or a garment I upcycled into something more trendy.


 dress from H&M, tights from Target, Crocks ballet flats // cardigan from J.Crew, blouse from Target, pants unknown, flats from Old Navy // skirt from TJMaxx, ring from Ephemeral Pillages

It may sound like a weird thing to give up on. But for right now, I am giving myself the freedom to look pulled together and feel confident about myself. The reality is, just because I post a photo of my #OOTD, the laundry still has to be done, the dishes are still piled in the sink and the living room is in disarray.

{Linking with Jessi and Hayley}

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what I love Wednesday {color block}

I am still trying to figure out how I can work some color blocking into my wardrobe with what I already own (money is tight these days). I really want to take to make some color block jewelry that might be considered trendy. I had hoped to share a DIY my newly found color blocking skills, but the week got fuller than I expected, so hopefully that will come later in the month when things slow down at work.

I may not successful at incorporating the trend in my clothes or accessories yet, but I've been eyeing some handmade finds recently I just had to share!
1- ((foudre blanche)) yuchi arrow chevron tribal necklace navy, gold and white 2- ((rouge and whimsy)) color block tote bag in yellow and gray 3- ((row house 14)) blank greeting card aqua, teal and yellow 4- ((ike and co.)) vintage blue and green bracelet 5- ((misty aurora)) pastel coral stone earrings 6- ((rellas bellas)) rosette headband pale yellow, mint green and lace

What do you think of color blocking?
lollipops

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DIY gifts for Mom

Need a last minute gift for Mother's Day? Here are 5 tutorials you can use to make a gift for your mom, grandmother or another influential woman in your life just in time for the holiday.

make something to dress up with
gold-dipped earrings
make something she can carry
braided tablecloth bag
make something for her sweet tooth
red wine chocolate sauce and sea salt honey caramel
make something she can look at in her office or home
nature-inspired canvas prints
make something she can wear
fabric flower tutorial
Do you have any handmade ideas for Mother's Day?

Monday, May 7, 2012

over the weekend...

Did you ever have one of those weekends that was nearly perfect? It consisted of balance in things you did for fun, for others and even something for yourself. I'm so grateful to share some snippets from our weekend that struck the right balance of downtime, getting things done around the house and also investing in people.

...watched Forks Over Knives
...used doilies to create a bunch of cards.

...did laundry and cleaned

...started reading Romans as part of the Illuminate challenge
...spent some time in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon

...caught up with one of my college roommates on the phone

...attended a banquet for my husband's seminary program and he graduated from the diploma program ((only two more years to go))
...went to not just any Cinco de Mayo party, it was Cinco de Mustache party!

...relished our relaxed homemade breakfasts

...watched a few episodes of Felicity and of course it made me reminisce about my college days :)

What did you do over the weekend?

Friday, May 4, 2012

flashback Friday {Cosby style}

Have I ever told you how much I love Bill Cosby? I grew up watching The Cosby Show. You know, the one with Rudy and Theo ((and all their other kids))? I was about Rudy's age and in some ways I felt like we grew up together. So, I often reference Bill Cosby and can recite several episodes from memory. When I was in college, my family went to see Bill Cosby in person. It's a fond memory I'll never forget!

Earlier this week, my husband was writing a paper for his Youth Culture class and needed a video clip to illustrate youth and planning for the future. He knew I'd be able to find it as soon as he described part of the scene. Once I realized "it's the one with Monopoly money," I watched it a few times and I thought you'd enjoy it this Friday.
And the more I think about it, the more I realize the wisdom of Mr. Cosby. It's probably because I have become one of the "real people."

Friday Favorites from the web this past week:

  • I want to try making these Peanut Butter Dog Bones for our pooch.
  • I've been trying to figure out how I can use this tutorial to revamp an old necklace
  • These tips are genius and I'm loving the series, "Why Didn't I Think of That?"
  • I'm loving this kitchen renovation ((is it just me, or aren't before and after photos awesome?!))
  • Hayley's post, Giving Up on Good is truly challenging me to reconsider the things I commit to & why
Happy Friday! What are your weekend plans?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

the beauty of HootSuite

Have you heard of HootSuite? If not, I'm about to introduce you to a blogger's best friend and share some secrets. It can make you ((as a blogger)) look so much more on top of your game if you use it to its full potential. I started using it for work about two years ago and have gotten hooked, so I thought I'd share the love with you all.
4 reasons why you'll love it!
  • It allows you to pre-schedule tweets and Facebook messages 
  • You can add multiple streams and view them side by side ((read: you can create a column for tweets, posts that mention you, tweets you've sent, pending tweets, filter your favorite # and more))
  • It allows you to add up to five accounts before you have to buy a pro account ((read: manage your tweets and Facebook posts, plus your Facebook page posts in one place))
  • It syncs with Google Analytics, allowing you to see how Facebook and Twitter drive traffic to your blog/shop 

By spending 5-10 minutes on HootSuite after I schedule a blog post, I'm able to plan out when I want Twitter to share the news of a blog post with my followers. I can also schedule a Facebook post using HootSuite, but don't use it nearly as much as Twitter. Since Twitter yields real-time information and people are on it at all times, it can be extremely helpful to schedule tweets at times you know you wouldn't be near a computer.

you can add up to four streams visible on the screen at once, and then scroll to the right to see the other streams you create. Create a stream by selecting the +add stream button in the upper lect ((under the tabs for the various networks)).

With the help of HootSuite, I can tweet in my sleep! Not really, but it may appear that way. Especially if you notice you have readers in different time zones, schedule tweets when they will see them ((by using the calendar to schedule them, add a pending tweets stream to see them)).

If you have questions or want to talk more in-depth about how I manage my HootSuite account, feel free to email, facebook or tweet me. I'd be happy to help you get started!

1 -compose your message and add your web link ((it also shrinks it for you)) 2 -select the time you want it posted 3 -choose the date you want it posted 4 -select your network 5 -hit schedule to add it to the pending queue
What's your favorite tool for blog or shop promotion?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

vegetarian saag {recipe}

On Friday night, we had a special treat and got Indian food from our favorite restaurant. We live about 30 minutes away from the place, so we don't get it very often. My husband brought the food home after he took his final exam. I got my usual Tikka Masala and he ordered Saag. While eating, my husband commented that he thought he could make saag. On Sunday, he gave it a try and created this vegetarian version that was delicious, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you.
ingredients:
1/2 cup butter*
1 medium onion
5 medium to large garlic cloves
1 pound mixed bitter and mild greens**
1 cup water
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon crushed coriander
1 cup greek yogurt
directions:
+ In a dutch oven or large saucepan, clarify and brown the butter.  Melt the butter over medium heat and simmer.  The butter will froth and the froth will slowly cook away.  It will froth again.  After the second froth is gone, the butter is clarified.  Continue cooking until the butter is amber in color.  This is brown butter.
+ While the butter is cooking, finely chop the onion.  Add chopped onion to the butter and cook until translucent.
+ While onions are cooking, dice garlic.  Add garlic and spices and saute for 2-3 minutes.
+ Add greens and 1 cup water.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until greens are wilted.
+ In a food processor or blender, puree the onion/spice/greens mixture in batches.
+ Return puree to pan/pot and reheat for only a moment.  Mix in yogurt and heat through.  Serve hot over jasmine rice. Yields 4 servings.

*For a healthier option, use 2 tablespoons coconut oil or evoo
**Bitter greens are turnip greens, mustard greens, or collard greens and mild greens are spinach

We also added sliced mushrooms (about 5-6) to ours. Just in case you're wondering what the lump is in the photo above! Next time, I'm going to try making some naan to go along with it.

Have you tried any new-to-you recipes lately?