Archive for June, 2013

High Five for Friday: Summer Reading and a Career Change!

Friday, June 28th, 2013

It’s Friday again! Lately I feel like all I do is blink and a whole week has gone by. Linking up with Lauren again for High Five for Friday!

glindaofoz

1. I just wrapped up this series with one of the kids I nanny. I used to LOVE the Oz books when I was young. It’s been so fun reading all 14 of them again! It does not feel like work.

2. No picture for this, but this week I officially made the decision that I am going to go back to school to become a nurse! More on this later.

chemistry

3. A direct consequence of item #2 – Organic Chemistry and Nutrition on my summer reading list! At least summer quarter is short – only 7 weeks. I can handle that.

4.

This ridiculous video. This little video has gone viral among my family members…

5. 2 articles from Buzzfeed that made me laugh because I relate so well!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/31-unmistakable-signs-that-youre-an-introvert

http://www.buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/the-18-worst-things-for-left-handed-people

How was your week? I’m looking forward to some time to rest, study and prepare for another busy one next week. Hope you have a great weekend!!

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Guest Post: Lauren Elizabeth on Blogging

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Hi everyone! I am SO excited to present today’s guest post, written by Lauren of LaurenElizabeth.

Lauren’s blog has been one of my favorites for awhile now. I enjoy reading because her posts are so relatable – I find inspiration for outfits, healthy eating, and room decor. I asked if she would be willing to answer a few questions about blogging, and she kindly agreed.

Photo on 4-26-13 at 11.59 AM #4

How would you describe your blog?
I would describe my blog as a life and style blog with an emphasis on personal style. I don’t consider myself just a personal style blogger, because I do like to share DIY projects, interior design inspiration, recipes, and whatever else I feel like writing. I like the freedom that comes along with being a “life and style” blogger because I haven’t enclosed myself into one category. I like the variety that comes along with sharing different bits and pieces in my life, and I think my readers like it, too!

Your sister is Kate from The Small Things Blog, which is quite popular. Yet you’ve created a blog that is unique to your own personality and sense of style. What advice do you have for bloggers out there who are trying to find their own voice?
Find what you like and blog about it. Too many people have seen the success that some bloggers have found and think that they can blog about the same things and be just as popular. It doesn’t work like that. Those popular bloggers are popular because they put their whole heart into it. Their blog is about what they’re passionate about and what they love to do, so they don’t get burned out after just a couple of months. It is way too exhausting to try to be something or someone that you’re not, even on the Internet, so don’t try! Not everyone is made to be a blogger, and not everyone will have a successful (depending on what your idea of success is) blog. And that’s ok!

If you’re thinking about starting a blog because you want to have a lot of followers and be popular on the Internet or get clothes for free or make a lot of money, don’t do it. You’ll probably end up hating it and you’ll just be disappointed if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. Be yourself! Write about what you love, what makes you happy, what inspires you, what you’re passionate about. People will see that when they read your blog and they will want to keep reading because they will be getting to know YOU.

 kate

I know you design your own site through Photoshop. How did you learn to take ownership and teach yourself in areas like design? What motivated you to keep going when you bumped into obstacles?
My first introduction to Photoshop came through a fabric design class that I took during undergrad. I knew absolutely nothing about it, but learned most of the basics over the course of the semester. I ended up purchasing Photoshop Elements, which is a great beginner software for anyone looking to design some elements for their blog (and it’s quite a bit cheaper than Photoshop). So, I knew the basics before I started designing for my blog, but didn’t know a thing about HTML/CSS. All of that was learned through good old-fashioned Google work. Unfortunately, I never came across a really great resource for basic Photoshop design (if anyone wants to start a blog about this, you should. You’d be an instant success.), but was able to find most of what I needed. Searching things like “how do I change my post title font in Blogger” and “how do I add my own header to Blogger” usually returns a lot of results and the right ones are in there, you just have to do a little digging. Once you learn HTML (even basic HTML), you know it forever.

My best advice for someone wanting to design their own is to create a “test” blog that is set up just like your actual blog (same width, layout, etc.) and add your newly-created design elements to that one to make sure you like it or make any changes. Once you know it looks how you want it to, then  you can add it to your actual blog and not risk messing up any of the HTML of your real blog.

Do you have advice for bloggers who are trying to decide how much of their personal life should be shared online? What is your own philosophy on this?
Deciding how much and what to share from your personal life is, well, personal. (sorry, had to!) Honestly, it totally depends on what you’re comfortable with and what you’re okay with any stranger coming across on the Internet. I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as an open book, which is funny because I basically have one on the Internet. I tend to be very private, even in my personal life, but I’ve learned that people reading my blog like to be reminded that I’m real and that I struggle with things just like everyone else. There’s a really easy trap to fall into as a blogger that makes you think that you have to have this “cookie-cutter” life and everything has to be Instagram-worthy or your outfit has to be Pinterest-ready. That’s not real life. Real life is having a really messy apartment, not washing your hair for three days, feeling insecure, making mistakes, the list could go on. We’re all human, even bloggers! I think it’s important to share what makes you real and what makes  you like your readers – share some of the hard stuff, the messy stuff but also celebrate the good stuff, the happy stuff. Try to do it with grace and from a standpoint of just wanting to share with your readers.

My readers have almost become a little support group for me. They want to celebrate the good things with me and they want to share in my struggles and pain – that’s amazing! I feel so loved when I share something personal and see the response that it elicits from all the ladies that have been reading my blog for months or years. It’s a really cool, unique thing.

Which social media outlet do you find most useful for marketing? do you market your blog on your personal Facebook?
For my purposes, I’ve found Instagram to be the most popular social media outlet (in terms of number of followers/interactions). I think that people like that they get sort of an “inside look” into my life because I can share pictures of my outfit of the day, what I ate for lunch, or what my cats are doing at any given moment ;) I also really like Twitter because it allows me to engage with my readers and participate in conversations with them, as well as connect with other bloggers. Twitter is probably my best networking tool. I do share on my personal page that I have a blog, but I rarely use it to talk about my blog, that’s what my fan page is for! I like to keep them separate and on their own pages.

Any  general advice for someone just starting out?
My best advice is to blog because it’s something that you want to do. Don’t start blogging in the hopes of turning it into a source of income, or to become popular, or to be given free products in exchange for your opinion about it. You will quickly get burnt out and it won’t last. Blogging isn’t easy. It’s so much fun and such a great community to be a part of, but it’s definitely work. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to stick with it and create a little community. I really feel like I’ve put my heart and soul into my blog – it would be so, so strange to wake up tomorrow and never blog again. So, do it because you love it. That’s my best advice. Oh, and be active on social media! It’s a great way for people to get to know you and to network with other bloggers!

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You can view Lauren’s blog at thelaurenelizabeth.com. She also hosts the High Five for Friday linkups I often participate in. Thanks so much Lauren for taking the time to share your thoughts!

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Red Velvet Oatmeal

Monday, June 24th, 2013

RedVelvetOatmeal

I called this oatmeal Red Velvet Oatmeal, but it could also go by Raspberry Chocolate Oatmeal.

RedVelvet1

The idea came to me while I was stuck in traffic coming home this past Friday afternoon. Red velvet anything is always fun, and I especially enjoy playing around with different oatmeal options.

RedVelvet2

Red velvet often has loads of red food coloring, but this recipe doesn’t include a bit of it. Raspberries are reduced to a sauce bursting with color and flavor.

RedVelvet3

I used plain Greek yogurt as topping, which worked well as it perfectly balanced the  strong raspberry flavor.

RedVelvet4

I just love dark chocolate chips, and couldn’t resist including them. I added a sprinkle of cocoa powder (to stay true to the red velvet concept), but be careful because this can muddy up the red color.

I hope you give this a try! It’s my new favorite oatmeal!

Red Velvet Oatmeal

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
Plain oatmeal of your choice (quick-cooking, steel-cut, etc)
3/4 cup raspberries
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Directions
Prepare oatmeal according to package directions.

Cook raspberries, sugar and water over medium heat in a small saucepan. Cook and stir occasionally for at least 5 minutes, until the raspberries have broken down and the mixture becomes a thick sauce.

Stir sauce into oatmeal. Stir in cocoa powder, and top with dark chocolate chips and Greek yogurt. Enjoy!

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Friday Post: Sunshine, Bluegrass and Ray Bans

Friday, June 21st, 2013

It’s time for another High Five for Friday post. Here are five moments from my past week!

GreenGrass

1. It is pouring down rain as I type this, but earlier this week we had some hints of early summer days with sunshine and birdsong. I’m ready for more!

Chemistry

2. I thoroughly enjoyed making a huge pile of most of my chemistry notes/labs/flashcards and tossing them. Hooray for the end of the quarter!

GreenLakeBlueGrass

3. Bluegrass music at Green Lake.

GreenLake

4. Beautiful twilight (and ducks) at Green Lake. This is why I love running here!

Siblings

5. Me, my brother and our Ray Bans.

How was your week? I’d love to hear about it!

This post is a linkup with Lauren over at www.thelaurenelizabeth.com.

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles