You Have a Blog! Now What?

You have a blog! Now whatEveryone wants to know how to have a popular blog or how to make money blogging. First of all, if you’re just in it for the money and don’t have any other purpose for doing it; readers will smell it. If I wander over to a blog that is filled only with advertisements and no substantial content, I’m never coming back. Now, this isn’t to say no one will go there. But the thing is, you want people to keep coming back to see more of what you have to say.

Readers will make you or break your blog:

Go into this knowing what you want to do; is it talk about fashion, perhaps makeup, beauty or life in the city. These are all great ideas and they’re already out there, but YOUR take on it is what’s missing. What unique tips or perspective do you have to offer? Are you naturally talented in? I love books and finding new ways to make my life better. That is mostly what I write about. Why? Because I’m passionate about books (you have no idea how many Kindle books I’ve accumulated in 8 months), staying positive and navigating the insanity that is the adult world are relevant to me and my reader demographic.

To read or not to read (other blogs, that is):

Some bloggers say to read other blogs and some say don’t. I say do whatever the hell you want to do; it’s your blog!  Yes, I have a demographic in mind. I also don’t want to write about something that isn’t cohesive with who I am as a person. So, while celebrity gossip may be entertaining to me, I’m not going to dedicate time to it. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, just not what I want to write about.

Walk before you run:

Grow your readers and then worry about making money. Develop as a blogger and find your voice before you start trying to convince companies and other bloggers to work for you. Money is a perk, for some even a short term goal. That’s great, but learn to walk before you run. Nothing wrong with baby steps.

My Productive Mornings

Productive Morning

Productive mornings are made easier by coffee, at least for me. I love sipping on a great cup of coffee to start out my day; it relaxes me and gives me a peaceful start to my day. Another thing I love doing in the mornings is reading positive quotes on Instagram or writing my own (if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know this is my thing). I feel like I’m filling my soul with positivity and inspiration so I can carry on through whatever the day brings.

After checking my social media notifications, I’ll start getting ready for the day. This playlist inspired my post today and I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.

I wish you many productive and happy mornings!

Staying Positive in a Negative World

Staying positive in a negative world

Staying positive in a negative world is not easy.

We are constantly under one kind of stress or anxiety throughout the day. Sure, some days it’s easier to get through the day in a good mood. But what if you aren’t naturally one of the super-happy-positive-people, are you doomed to be cynical forever? No.

When I started this blog, I wanted to share lessons I’ve learned. The wisdom I’ve acquired and give encouragement to others, who, like me, truly needed it. That is why I post so many quotes and inspiration on here and social media. When I need it, I know others out there do too. So I’m challenging you to try it; give inspiration to someone else when you need it and see how you feel. Doing this wasn’t always a habit, it took time, but I taught myself new habits.

I was so cynical and pessimistic a few years ago. I wish I could tell you I just had an “Aha!” Moment, but I didn’t. It took time, changes, even lessons that made me want to rip out my hair. But I did change. I started to appreciate the little things that made me happy. I began to seek out inspirational and motivational quotes, to try to look at the positive things. On days when I felt like everything sucked; I remembered I was fortunate to have air in my lungs, I’m fortunate to be an American woman who can choose her path in life and received a great education. The truth is, there will always be someone whose circumstances are worse than your own. Not to say the pain or misery you feel are any less significant, but dwelling on that won’t help you survive it. It will not offer comfort, if anything, it is draining to dwell on it. Do I still struggle to look at the positive? Absolutely! I’m only human, but I try to be happy with my life and appreciate what I do have.

Follow me on Instagram for inspiration and lifestyle tips.

What’s On My Summer Reading List

I love reading and lately I’ve been adding a lot of books to my Summer Reading List. I can’t help it! GoodReads makes it so easy to look for new titles and get recommendations, I’m addicted. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m basically in love with my Kindle.  Lately I’ve discovered some new things; New Adult books are a more grown up version of young adult books. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many YA books I like, but it’s nice to have the New Adult genre.These are all kind of mixed together, but you kind of get an idea of the books I like reading.My Summer Reading List

 My Rummer Reading List:

  • Existence (Trilogy) by Abbi Glines: is about a girl Pegan who sees dead spirits who haven’t crossed over. She figures out that if she ignores them, they’ll leave her alone. Until one day she sees a very sexy, mysterious man at her school. She tried to ignore him, but he did something that no other spirit had done before; he spoke. Can she resist this dark stranger? is he everything she’s been waiting for or is he not what he seems?
  • This is Where it Ends by Marike Nijkamp: A day like any other, only it was anything but. The events of this day will forever change you.
  • The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken: She woke up on her tenth birthday, suddenly ill. Her parents locked her away in a facility for children who had the sickness that killed so many before her. To everyone’s amazement, she survives but now has incredible abilities she doesn’t know how to control.
  • A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro: this one I heard about on a YouTube video. It’s about a descendant of Sherlock Holmes and seems like it will be a fun read.
  • The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead: Adelaide is a countess who poses as one of her own servants to escape her life. She runs away to the New World, but in order to succeed she must join the Glittering Court.
  • Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed: This is a collection of quotes about everything from moving your ass when you’re in a rut, to forgiving and letting go of the past. *check back for a review on this one*
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass: One of the many, many dystopian society books in young adult. This is kind of like the idea of the bachelor, where the prince has 55 girls competing for position of his princess. Leaving behind everything they’ve known from birth, they will go through a series of challenges and trainings to reveal the right girl.
  • The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell: A single person can start an epidemic. One trend can become a phenomenon. This book analyzes everything from cigarettes, style, fashion and direct mail. Must read for anyone in business!
  • My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugong: She’s spent 20 years dealing with her sister’s death. She doesn’t believe the man convicted is the killer. Will she find the answers she seeks?
  • The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillerbeau: This book is about a traveler. I started reading it because I have a terrible case of wanderlust right now, and I love living vicariously through the author.
  • Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin: Tessa is found after a traumatic ordeal, can she find the answers to piece it all together?
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling: I’ve heard so much about this book! Hope it’s as good as everyone says it is.
  • Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall: I’ve seen the Amazon series and I absolutely love it! It is hilarious and unbelievably relatable. I’m a musician and about 90% of my friends are musicians, I can’t wait to read the book.

Smart Vacation Planning Tips

I’m in the middle of planning a trip to Cherokee, NC to visit some friends. I am incredibly excited about this trip (for many reasons). One of the main reasons is because I need a vacation, badly! I’m going to share some of my smart vacation planning tips, so you too can get the most for your money.Vacation: Smart vacation planning tips

Ticket Prices

When searching for flights online check the airline websites, not just sites like Expedia, and the like. Sometimes they’re less if you go straight to the horse’s mouth rather than the middle man.

  • Use private browsing or incognito browsing to avoid raising airfare cost. When you browse sites, your computer downloads “cookies” that information tells the site you’ve been searching for the same flight of same days to travel. This makes it so they raise the cost of the ticket to trick you into buying it before the prices “increase” again.
  • Think about what you’re really paying for and look at everything from baggage fees and date changes to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money. I was going to travel on one airline (let’s call it airline A) and the tickets were cheaper than anywhere else. BUT if I took a checked suitcase it would be $60 each way that’s adding an additional $120 I could spend on better and more entertaining things than a suitcase! So I opted for airline B where I pay $149.98 round trip and it includes up to two checked bags (up to 50lbs) and I save myself he hassle of limiting my hair products to a carry on bag and 3oz bottles (which if you have curly hair, like I do, it’s simply impossible to do).

Packing—When it comes to packing I always

make lists. Always! Rarely do I forget important things because I start working on the list the moment I start planning my trip. Why? Because as I’m planning I’m checking the weather deciding which activities I’ll be doing; hiking, swimming, photography, theater, dinner, you get the idea and I’ll know which outfits I want to bring.

  • There is also a great deal of planning I can do on my phone. One of the best ideas is an app called PackPoint. Input your destination, length of trip and activities; the app brings up what you should bring and how many of any particular items. It’s free but you can upgrade if you want access to more features. This will be a time saver, it recommended I bring things I hadn’t thought of yet!

Ride— Wether to or from the airport shop around. I’ve heard friends rave about Uber, but until recently hadn’t tried them out for myself. Uber is an excellent option if you don’t want to park your car in the airport parking garage. I compared their rates to Mears (which is basically the biggest taxi company in my area), it was literally half the price! Uber calculated my fare between $18-$24 and Mears said $54. I know which company I’ll be contacting to take me to the airport: Uber! Additionally, if you have a smartphone (Android or iOS) they have a free app. If you have an iPhone you can download it here.

If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please leave them in the comment box. I love hearing from you guys!

The Path of More Resistance

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The most wonderful and frightening thing is thinking you know exactly which path you’re on and where your destination is. Then, when you achieve the goals you set out for yourself and realize you’re not happy it makes you wonder what the hell you were doing in the first place.I’ve always been the person who knew what her plan was and I stayed on that course and loved the journey I was on; most of the time. It took a lot of work, but I earned my bachelors degree from Rollins College and I was thrilled.

But after taking some time to plan out my future and my next step, I’ve come to the decision that I want to continue my education but I also want to travel. I want to take some chances and experience other places and take incredible photos of the beautiful journey I am on. It may be a small step; but I am going on a trip this summer. It isn’t Paris, London or any European destination (I wish!), but I am going to a place new to me for a few days. I will take my readers with me, of course, but I will also share with you more about the journey I’m on.

In many ways I could say I feel I haven’t grown up quite yet, maybe this feeling is known to every other adult walking around out there. But I don’t know anyone who talks about it, not really with full out honesty. I feel I’m on a journey to becoming who I am meant to be. To grow and expand my views, nourish my artistic voice and fill my soul with the incredible beauty that is present in this big world. I’ll be honest with you; over the last year I’ve learned you don’t have to know all the answers right now, you can take some time. Then “When the path reveals itself, follow it.”

My Lazy Makeup Routine

As much as I wish I didn’t hate mornings; I just do. I am the laziest person when I have to be up in the morning and out the door in a short amount of time. More often than I ‘d like to admit, I have just forgone makeup all together, but I feel at my best when I look great (even when it’s just the most basic makeup). My routine is super simple but lasts all day (my days were about 12-18 hours long), most days I was more into the “natural” look.

LAZY MAKEUP ROUTINE

Mary Kay CC Cream – Is my favorite for a multi-purpose product. It does a bunch of things among them; brigtens, moisturizes, conceals imperfections, doesn’t clog pores, and has SPF. If I’m out and use a foundation, then I will start with my Clinique moisturizing gel (great hydration for oily and combination skin btw) and follow it with a foundation.

Mineral Powder or Mineral Powdered Foundation – I used Sheer Cover for years and really liked what it did for my skin. Especially loved that it blended with my natural oils and gave me a glowing look (who doesn’t want glowing skin?). Then I felt how incredible the Mary Kay version was; it felt like silk on my face. I’ve been using it for about 3 years now because it’s affordable and I haven’t found anything I like more.

Lips – I usually pick a simple and pretty color that is subtle but with a little color. One of my favorites is the Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Red Dahlia. Another is the regular Beeswax lip balm, it has a minty flavor and it always cures my chapped or dry lips (also these are very inexpensive, most places have them for less than $5 dollars. But I also love my Clinique Chubby Stick and you can read all about that in What is ‘nude’ anyway? Nude Lip Shades for You.

Cheeks – If I am really needing some color (ahem, when I’m sick) I use either NYX Orgasm (my favorite) blush or a blush in the berry family. This routine works super well for me because it’s so easy going. Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments! What is your go-to makeup product? I’m always up for recommendations!

What is ‘nude’ Anyway? Nude Lip Shades for You

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What is ‘nude’ anyway? In a world where there is an infinite amount of skin tones there is no ONE nude color for all. There are some companies that claim that, but honestly, I’d guess its just a marketing tactic. What you want to do is find the ‘nude’ version for your lips. For me this is not a beige shade or a pinky beige shade, while they might be perfect for some women it is certainly not for me (I look like a corpse following that advice). My shades are usually in the Berry family of colors, those tend to look great on me and they give me that extra bounce in my step. I encourage you to find the best colors for you. According to Elle’s website; matching a lip color one shade lighter or darker than your complexion is best. Personally, I like matching it to my natural lip color. But to each their own.

My Reason: I like that even if I just put on foundation and powder I have a little color. It doesn’t matter how little time I have before I run out the door; I always have time to apply those three products.

My favorites:

Fancy Nancy by Mary Kay – this color is a lovely pinkish shade with just a bit of shimmer. If you want a go-to color for day or night, this is it. I love how nourishing it is for my lips and how long it lasts!

Café Au Lait by Mary Kay – Is my go to for when I’m rushing out the door and running errands but want to look put together. I like that it isn’t shimmery and gives me a little color without being overly done.

Baby Pink Tint Chubby Stick by Clinique – This color is the sweetest pink. I am not the kind of girl who is very into pink, but this one is a subtle and fun shade of pink. The chubby stick is so rich in moisture that I forget I’m not wearing just lip balm. I seriously love pairing this shade with a subtle pink eye and my NARS Orgasm blush (seriously the most beautiful cheek color ever!).

How I Cut My Own Hair

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I’ve been cutting my hair for the last few months and I love it! Normally I’d go to a salon and let the fabulous salon professionals do it for me. But I’m very picky about my hair and ONLY got to a DevaChan salon about once or twice a year to get a DevaCut (if you want to know more about this or the Curly Girl method, post a comment below to let me know and I’ll write about it) because it’s seriously the best thing I’ve found for my curls. So, the first time I cut my hair I was actually looking for ideas on haircuts, but I’m in a fantastic group for curly women and someone suggested the Unicorn cut aka the ponytail cut.

If you don’t know what that is, don’t feel bad. I had no freaking idea what it was either. I watched two videos on it and decided to try it out. It wasn’t that difficult at all and I was done in like 5 minutes. At the bottom of this post there is a video that explains how to cut your own hair using this method.

What I learned: Cutting your own hair doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience and it can turn out FABULOUS! Seriously, I’m in love with my own hair more than I already was. Now, in my case I wanted a lot of short layers because it showcases my hair the best (in my opinion). I decided to do this in the shower after I cleansed my hair and conditioned, I flipped my hair over my face and combed it with my Tangle-Teezer brush to the top of my head. I decided to do a higher ponytail on my head than the girl in the video because I wanted the short layer I mentioned.

The Results: The results felt great in the shower, but the moment of truth would be when my curls dried. It was hard to not go too scissor happy when doing this, but I decided to take off initially half of what I originally wanted, just to not ruin my hair. After I took my hair down to see how it felt length wise I decided to cut the rest I wanted. It turned out better than I hoped!

 

12998678_10153423364580925_457019978178887016_n     This was about 12 days before I cut my hair the second time.

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This is after the cut. I love how it turned out!

 

Makeup on a College Budget

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While I was in college I developed a bigger fascination with makeup. But the drugstore brands were not usually the best quality. Sometimes I’d test out the makeup my mom used which was higher quality and soon enough I was hooked. As a college student budgets are kind of necessary if you’re living on your own for the first time. One of the things I discovered was that I could buy makeup from Mary Kay and not spend as much as I would buy MAC or makeup from Sephora (as much as I like the colors, the foundations and powders don’t match me perfectly and I’m not walking around with a line on my jaw from the mismatch). Living on a college budget and buying makeup that you love and is good quality is totally possible.

I figured out that Mary Kay was a kind of happy medium for me and it fit in my budget when I needed to restock. I also purchased Clinique products around the holidays; often they had gift sets which had some full-size products in there and free samples! I would buy one item and get the gift set for $25, which was a great deal in my opinion. Amazon also has some awesome deals; if you’re more interested in color and mascara, go to Amazon and search for makeup gift sets. There are amazing deals from Clinique, Estee Lauder, and Elizabeth Arden (yes, good stuff!).

There is nothing wrong with drugstore brands. You can buy Revlon and Cover Girl and be totally happy with it (I buy it once in a while too). But in my experience; I did see a huge improvement in the match of my foundations and concealers, the wear and texture of glosses and lipsticks, as well as the quality of the skin care lines.

Check out some of these amazing deals when I searched for Makeup gift sets on Amazon
(I am not being paid or sponsored by any of these companies, this is just my opinion and my personal experience.)