Monday, February 29, 2016

11 Easy Ways to Interact With Other Bloggers

Something that I enjoy most about blogging is the community. I have had the pleasure of interacting with so many incredible creatives since I began blogging. As silly as it sounds, when I first started blogging I figured people would just find my posts after I hit publish. I mean- that's how I found all of the blogs that I was reading! Finding a community of others who understand the effort it takes to keep a blog up and running, people who enjoy what you write, and those who will offer constructive criticism takes effort but can be accomplished. How? By putting yourself out there to interact with other bloggers!
11 Easy Ways to Interact With Other Bloggers

Online community is extremely important as a blogger! It can be isolating to sit behind a computer screen putting the necessary time to run a successful blog. You and I both know how time consuming blogging is- and it's very satisfying to know that your hard work is being acknowledged.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but I wanted to share 11 easy ways to interact with other bloggers. One of the keys to creating a successful community is consistency. Consistency with interaction as well as content creation on your part so that others have something to interact with! Everyone has busy seasons of their lives, but if you can commit time to interact with others I guarantee that you will begin to reap the benefits of community. And let me just add, it's absolutely worth the effort! Without further ado, here is my list:

1 Comment on other blogs, regularly.
2 Participate in a Twitter chat.
3 Write a guest post.
4 Share one of your favorite posts on social media.
5 Join a link up.
6 Participate in a photo challenge on Instagram.
7 Send an email to your favorite blogger.
8 Join a Facebook blogging support group.
9 Tweet a response to someone's newest post.
10 Co-write a blog post or series with another blogger.
11 Create a round up of your favorite posts/Instagram/Twitter accounts and let the owners know you've included them.

How do you build your online community? What do you do to connect with other bloggers?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016 Blogging Goals: Update

Hey y'all! Happy Wednesday! I wanted to check in and share an update on my progress with my 2016 blogging goals so far. I know we're only 2 months into the year, but part of putting my goals out there was for accountability- and I want to keep that up! So here's a little update on my goals.
To recap, here are my goals that I made at the beginning of the year:

1 Post consistency. I'd say that I'm doing ok with this so far. I've fallen off the bandwagon 1 week so far, but I've been able to put out quality (in my opinion) content 2-3 times a week so far this year! I definitely want to keep it up!

2 Diversify my content. I haven't made time to shoot for any fashion posts just yet- but it's still on the list. I've shared one recipe so far- but I still need to work out the best way to improve my photography for these posts. My kitchen is far away from any natural light, and makes for a difficult shooting location. That's definitely my greatest challenge thus far.

3 Finish my blogging courses and enroll in more. I haven't even re-opened my courses this calendar year, so I unfortunately have to report no progress here.

4 Increase social media presence. I've been steadily increasing my presence, interactions, and followers across my favorite platforms! I'm excited about my progress with this goal and hope to continue on this trajectory. Please, check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! And don't forget to keep sharing your favorite posts! I appreciate all of your support.

5 Blog Sponsorship. This is another goal with little to show right now, but I do have some items in the works. I need to take some time to research which blogs I want to sponsor myself, and I'd love to hear some feedback if you currently have sponsorship open for your blog or sponsor a blog you love! Any information I can get is helpful for me!

I'm hoping to have more to share next time I check in with y'all, but I feel good about this progress so far. I need to stay focused on the goals that I have and continue to come up with fun, creative ways to accomplish them! If you have any advice on how you'd approach these, let me know in the comments! I always love hearing from y'all.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Wardrobe Wishlist

We got a tease of warm weather over the weekend, and I've officially come down with the sickness. Spring fever, that is. I am NOT a snow bunny by any means. So, visions of spring are a typical occurrence for me when winter starts to wrap up. Even though I'm plagued with allergies I really enjoy springtime. It is such a welcomed change after the drab, cold days of winter! Flowers, greenery, warmth, sunshine... I just love it.

With a change in season, I always think about what additions I want to make to my wardrobe. I've always maintained a fairly classic style, but I've flirted with some trendier pieces over the past year. To be honest- I've really enjoyed mixing in some new styles! I know spring is going to come with its own fashion refresh, but I've already spotted some items that I need to have when springtime rolls around!

silk blouses, gingham, stripes, sandals, wedges, scallops, embroidery

I'm craving lots of light weight materials after being buried under layers of sweaters and coats! Silky camisoles and blouses will definitely be go-tos. I also live in classic prints like stripes and gingham. I'm also really excited about reintroducing white into my wardrobe (read about my stance on that here) after the wintertime! Open-toe shoes are also a fun change, and I'm hoping to pick up some new sandals to show off my favorite bright nail polishes.

Shop my picks: tank / skirt / scalloped blouse / off-the-shoulder blouse / striped tee / tee / gingham top / embroidered topdress / gingham dress / lace-up wedges / sandals

What's on your spring wishlist? Do you have a favorite part about spring?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

An Open Letter to The Single Girl

An Open Letter to The Single Girl

 My sweet friend,

I know that things are confusing right now. It seems like everyone else is progressing forward towards their goals, and you are too- just in different areas. You have a great job. Your family isn't perfect, but they love you. Your friends are incredible. Your apartment is gorgeous. You don't like to admit it, but you still feel incomplete.

Please stop and hear this: life isn't defined by your relationship status. I know that you have listened to it before and agree, but that doesn't mean that you remember how spectacular the single you is 24 hours a day. You're especially forgetful as you scroll through your social media feeds and are met with pairs of smiling faces. But their lives aren't all smiles simply because they have a significant other. In fact, many of the people on your Instagram feed posting the very photos that make you feel lonely are just as (or sometimes more so) incomplete as you are. Remember that the couple smiling in the photo on your screen posed for that snapshot. Right before that romantic dinner, they may have gotten into the same huge argument yet again. Or afterwards, when they head home, they might struggle to come up with meaningful conversation to have together. Don't let those shiny moments fool you. They are human, just like you.

I hope you know how outrageously amazing you are. You are smart, beautiful, selfless, funny, giving, thoughtful, and so much more. You don't need to be off the market to feel validated. And I hope you don't wait until then to appreciate all that you have to offer.

Just remember: you can't give your best love to anyone unless you are giving it to yourself first. What I mean by that, is that you can't expect to be in a fulfilling relationship with someone else before you are content with who and how you are alone. You will always be looking to your significant other to fill you up and fix you, when that's not their intended purpose in your life. You need to be able to build yourself up and fill your life with love before you can expect to do those things for someone else. You can't fill an empty cup from an empty pitcher, am I right?

Long story short- I hope you take time right now to recenter and appreciate yourself. You are here on this earth for more than just to be someone's +1. I hope that you focus on finding and fulfilling that purpose soon. The people meant to be in your life always find their way in, so stop worrying about that part of your life and enjoy the rest.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Office Decor Inspiration

Hey y'all! I'm happy to be back into the swing of things after some work travel last week. I know I said I'd be better about pre-planning posts, but life got in the way and it just didn't happen for me. I did however have a blast down on my business trip and managed to escape a snow dusting in Atlanta! I am not a fan of the snow. So, it's a win in my book to have been in sunny FL! Even if I was sitting in meetings most of my time down there!

Anywho, I've been in my new apartment for a little over a month now- isn't that crazy?! In the spirit of being completely honest with y'all, I have a confession. I still have 3 boxes full of things that I can't seem to find a home for! The layout of my new apartment is drastically different than my last (more space! yay!) and I've had a hard time figuring out these last few pieces of the puzzle. It'll happen eventually though. And if not- at least I have a head start on my next move!
Office Decor Inspiration
One of the biggest changes with this apartment is that I have a built-in desk with shelving above. My sister is graciously keeping my desk for me in the basement of her house until I have a need for it again. The desk in my new apartment matches the granite in my kitchen and is super spacious. I love it! But it needs some additional flair to truly make it mine. My current desk accessories are still gold and navy- and are the anchors for my design inspiration! I hope to add in a lamp, some fun and inspirational prints, and additional organizational items like the ones featured below:

Thankfully, I have some great bones and just need to fix things up a little bit. How cute are those prints? Although I have an office chair, I love the ones above! I wish that I got a chair with wheels. It's such a small detail, but really makes a difference when you're getting up and down. I also just love having little trinket details on my desk. They really cheer me up when I'm working! A pretty planner or a decadent candle are right up my alley.

What are your favorite desk accessories? What's on your wishlist? Where do you shop for office items?

Monday, February 8, 2016

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Don't you just love indulging your nosy side and learning little details about the people behind the blogs you read regularly? I was inspired by my amazing blogging friend Jordyn's post last week sharing some fun facts about herself. I've never done a post like this before, so whether this is your first time here or 100th- here's a little more information about little ol' me!
10 things you didn't know about me
1. I go by my middle name. This was a decision my parent's made when they named me and has caused so much confusion over the years. From roll call in school, to people confused by my monogram- I've experienced it all. My first name is shared with my Grandmother, who is thankfully still living. It would've caused major confusion at home if we both went by the same name, but I'm honored to be named after her! I love both my first and middle name, but find that my middle name just fits me. It's very unique and something I am proud of now!

2. I am practically a bubble child. I've tested positive for just about every single environmental allergen over the years and still haven't gotten used to it! I love hiking and being outdoors, so this is a huge challenge for me. I've done immunotherapy, prescriptions, and OTC medicine- but am still on the search for relief. In addition to environmental allergies, I'm also allergic to milk. So basically, hives are a regular occurrence in my life and I rarely can breath 100% through my nose.

3. I was a gymnast turned cheerleader for 18 years. I started as a competitive gymnast but realized that I didn't enjoy the whole spread of gymnastics around the start of middle school. I swapped over to competitive cheerleading and continued along that path until I graduated high school. I loved the competitions, people, and training behind both sports. It taught me time management, discipline, and a love for exercise that I will be forever grateful for.

4. I live alone. A little over 2 years ago, I moved to an unfamiliar city for work. I was a little intimidated by being forced to live alone at first, but it's definitely the right fit for me! Although I've moved back by home, I've decided to stay on my own. I feel very blessed to be able to afford it and enjoy where I live!

5. I love to bake and cook. My dad is absolutely the source of this love and I'm thankful to have inherited it! We really connect through cooking together and talking about food, as well as eating it. It's not only a great shared bond for us, but something I love to do on my own. I'd have to say that is one of my least favorite aspects of living alone- I don't have anyone to cook for right now!

6. I have a degree in Biochemistry. I started college with the intention of going to medical school afterwards, but realized my sophomore year that I wasn't interested in continuing school directly after my 4 years of undergrad. I quite literally had the wind sucked out of my sails. I switched from chemistry to biochemistry and am now so happy that I did. I work in a field loosely related to my major but rely heavily on my knowledge of science every single day at work!

7. I adore nature. What girl doesn't love a pretty bouquet of fresh flowers?! Not only do I love the colorful parts, but I can't describe the happiness I get from being immersed in nature. Walking along a scenic beach, hiking up a tall peak, or following trails along a river to a waterfall... There's just something so serene and fundamental to me about the untouched beauty found in those places. God truly is an artist, in my opinion!

8. I'm growing and restrengthening my faith right now. I've considered myself to have faith my whole life, but have definitely been more devout at certain times than others over the years. After going through a really rough patch last year, I have begun to recenter my life and have really enjoyed my journey doing so. Although hitting your low points in life is hard, it gives the most unique kind of perspective on things that you just don't see when life seems to be going well.

9. I love to read. I've totally fallen off the bandwagon as it relates to leisure reading. I was doing a great job of making time for this habit, but haven't been doing so for the past few months. Now that things in my life are settling down again, I've gotten back into it and am very excited about it! I'm reading 'Me Before You' right now and will definitely be sharing my thoughts once I'm finished. It's great so far.

10. I am a family gal. One of the hardest things about my move away was the distance between myself and my family. Unfortunately, proximity does have an effect on emotional closeness and I really, really suffered from the distance. My family is far from picture perfect but they provide a stability that I can't find anywhere else. Being closer to home has drastically changed my emotions  and has been a lovely change since the beginning of the year. Last month was the first in many that I was able to go out to dinner with my whole family to celebrate my birthday. I'm smiling just thinking about it!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better. If there's anything I left unanswered that you'd like to know, please shoot me an email so we can chat further. Also- I'd love to get to know more about you as a reader! Please, leave one fun fact about yourself in a comment below! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats

I'll be the first to admit that I get into a rut with my breakfast routine. I eat the same thing every single day. To be honest, it only bothers me when I think about it (which doesn't happen often). Thankfully I have a few extra breakfast recipes hiding up my sleeve for when those thoughts hit. One of my new favorites has got to be overnight oats. I've been playing with a few different recipes lately, but I wanted to share one of my best go-tos with y'all just in case you're looking for something new!
Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are super easy. You combine everything into a sealed container and let them sit in the refrigerator for atleast 8 hours.It is so simple to throw together a jar and is a perfect activity for Sunday evenings to help the mornings run more smoothly during the week. The base of the recipe is just milk, oats, and a sweetener- so it's easy to dress this breakfast up with whatever flavor you like! These can be eaten cold right out of the refrigerator or heated to mimic a more traditional oatmeal! I would try to eat them within 3 days of preparation, for the sake of food safety. 
Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats
Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats
This particular recipe reminds me of my favorite cookies- oatmeal raisin! They are deliciously sweet and have chewy raisins to mix up the texture of this oatmeal. Also of note- this recipe is based on what I have accessible in my kitchen and could easily be tweaked based on what you have available. For example, if you don't have liquid stevia, sub out agave or honey or even maple syrup. I am sure they will still be delicious! Without further ado, here's my killer oatmeal raisin overnight oats recipe!
Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats
Oatmeal Raisin Overnight Oats
recipe creates one serving

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon liquid stevia
1/8 cup raisins (half of a single-serve box)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in mason jar and stir. Seal jar tightly and place in the refrigerator to chill for 8+ hours. Enjoy hot or cold, and within 3 days of preparing. If re-heating, you may want to add an additional splash of almond milk if everything got absorbed overnight (just to ensure they don't dry out!). Reheat for 1-2 minutes in microwave.

What is your favorite breakfast recipe? Have you ever had overnight oats?

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Monday Glow Experience

Happy Monday, y'all! I feel like those are actually rare, but I'm committed to staying positive this year and want to do what I can to make that statement true. One of the ways I've made my Mondays a little brighter has been with the addition of some lessons learned from my Monday Glow challenge I mentioned on Twitter and Instagram last week. I want to give y'all the whole story today!
Monday Glow Eating Plan
First off, some of you may be wondering what the heck I mean when I say Monday Glow. I was introduced to the concept by my friends Annie and Cat who blog over at Collective Passions. They've come up with this great eating plan to help you "reset" your body on Mondays to start the week out right. I've spoken before about how indulgent I can be over the weekends, which hasn't changed, and I love that this plan is designed to target those habits! I've never tried a healthy eating plan before and have failed to keep up with diets I've attempted in the past but the idea of a one-day plan seemed manageable to me. (Not to mention delicious after I was introduced to the recipes!) I decided to give it a go and was really happy that I did!
Monday Glow Green Juice
I think the best thing about this plan is how easy it was for me. I like eggs, veggies, protein bars, green juice, and smoothies- so why not put them all together for a strong start to my week?! These girls have laid out everything you need for success with this plan in their gorgeous eBook and have not missed a detail! They share every little step- down to how many days in advance you need to order your specialty items from Amazon. And don't worry- the recipes are totally approachable and don't require any special tools.

I've always considered myself a healthy eater, but I was surprised at how great I felt when I packed my day with superfoods. The title explains it all- I felt like you could see my glow by the end of the day! And believe me, that is not something I can typically brag about after a Monday! I learned some yummy recipes that I can't wait to try my own variations of and was introduced to some new smoothie boosters to help make my blends even more potent. All-in-all, this was a great boost for me and I will definitely be incorporating what I've learned into my everyday routine to help glow a little brighter every day!
Monday Glow Eating Plan

Aside from the great food, this plan comes with 2 important components: a "glow journal" to help you be mindful and capture your feelings throughout your Monday Glow day and a private Facebook community for support! Obviously, given the fact that I'm a blogger, I love writing and found the journal to be a great way to keep myself mindful throughout the day. It's easy to get busy, especially on Mondays, and neglect how you're feeling! The community is so helpful to me because I love having people to keep me accountable in my healthy habits and to bounce health ideas off of!

Does this sound as interesting to you as it did to me? Read more about the why behind the plan and have an opportunity to purchase the eBook here. Also, Annie and Cat are graciously giving away a free copy to one lucky reader! Enter using the widget below and GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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