10.23.2014

Everything You Need to Know About Blogging (and a giveaway!)

Everything you need to know about blogging

Seems kind of weird blogging about blogging, right? :) I love reading about blogging tips and tricks. The SEO, social media, and all the strategies behind it all fascinate me! Over the years I have found some helpful articles about everything you need to know about blogging, so I complied a huge list of all my favorites! Everything from beginner tips to blogging schedules to sponsorship suggestions, all in one place! It’s your ultimate blogging resource guide. If you’re ready to up your blogging game, check out the articles below. (And don’t forget to check out the giveaway below! If you’re a blogger, you don’t want to miss this one!)

Beginners Guide:

-Starting a blog? Here’s the Number One Tip.
-Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, a must read for beginner bloggers.
-These Top Tips for Blogging Success will help you take your blog to the next level.
-Read through these Tips for New Beginners for helpful hints (then find Part 2 here!)
-10 Fabulous Tips for Newbie Bloggers
 

Design Rules:

-Here’s 10 Blog Layout Tips to digest before redesigning your blog.
-Bethany shares why it’s important to Create a Style Guide for your Blog.
-Understand blog design and learn how to work with a designer in this post.
-Learn how to Create an Image Map, this one took me forever to learn!
-Add a Pin It hover button on your images for easy pinning.

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Tidy Desk Printable
Free Tidy Desk Printable Here

Photography Pointers:

-Regardless of what camera you have, these 5 Photography Tips for Bloggers will help you improve your photography.
-How to be Your Own Blog Photographer (aka how to use a tripod!)
-These 5 Photography Tips will improve your blog photography by leaps and bounds.
-Create Quality Blog Photos for your posts by utilizing these tricks.
-Super simple tips for staging your photos.

Social Media Tips:

-Here’s a huge list of ideas for Growing your Pinterest Following
-Learn the Do’s & Don’ts of Social Media from Lauren Conrad.
-How to Use Social Media for your Blog, great tips from Design Love Fest.
-Learn how to Double your Instagram Followers in One Month
-Avoid sounding like an advertisement and use Natural Social Media Marketing.

SEO Basics:

-What is SEO? Find out here, plus tricks on how to use it!
-Don’t know where to begin? How about here: SEO Basics for Bloggers.
-Try these Simple SEO Tricks for bloggers.
-How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog through SEO and social media.
-Discover the SEO of Pinterest to increase traffic through your pins.


Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know about SEO, organization, posting, sponsorships, and more!

Sponsorship Suggestions:

-Learn how to manage your ads with Passionfruit, such an awesome sponsorship resource.
-How to Write a Media Kit that Rocks.
-Master the art of advertising and make your Blog Sponsorships Successful.
-Discover the best secrets on How to Sponsor Other Blogs
-3 Tips for Successful Sponsored Posts

Post Ideas

-The Secret to a Gazillion Post Ideas, seriously.
-In a rut? Here’s 30 Blog Post suggestions.
-How to make your Blog Post go Viral
-20 Types of Blog Posts for Writers Block
-Still stuck? 25 Post Ideas for the Uninspired  

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know about SEO, organization, posting, sponsorships, and more!

Organization Tricks:

-Go big and print off this huge Monthly Calendar.
-Learn how to Organize and Plan Blog Posts in five easy steps.
-Keep your inbox clean, 5 Tips for Managing and Organizing Emails.
-This Printable Monthly Calendar from Emily Ley are perfect for plotting out posts.
-Running behind? Here’s 12 Time Management Tips for Bloggers.

Resources:

-The Blog Life E-course, from my favorite ladies at A Beautiful Mess, is worth every penny.
-Learn how to create Blogging Collages on Photoshop and take other classes through Skillshare.
-Atly offers a variety of classes geared towards bloggers, like the DIY Bloggers Handbook.
-Joy Cho, from Oh Joy, spills her secrets in her book Blog, Inc.
-Learn design, fonts, and color basics for blogging in Blog Design Love 2.0 e-course.

 Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know! A huge list of resources.

Feeling inspired? Ready to spruce up your blogging skills? Today’s your lucky day! These lovely ladies and I have teamed up to offer you a chance to win two of the best blogging resources out there! Joy Cho’s Blog, Inc book is incredible, and the Blog Life E-course from the ladies at A Beautiful Mess is beyond amazing. You can enter the giveaway below. Giveaway ends on October 30 at midnight. All entries will be verified. Good luck!!

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know! A huge list of resources.

Giveaway brought to you by:
He & I | Deidre Emme | Caravan Sonnet | Coco Bands | A Mommy App

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10.21.2014

An afternoon well spent

While in Washington, we ventured to Faye Bainbridge Beach for an afternoon in the sunshine. I have fond memories of this beach, we visited Bainbridge Island a lot when we were little. It smells the exact same! Mmmm. The weather was beautiful and warm. In October! In Washington! It was glorious. Ellie dug in the sand with Grandma Cindy’s spoons, and eventually ran bare bottomed down the beach. ;) Zac convinced me to be brave and jump in the water with him, three times! It was the perfect afternoon. Take me back!

Faye Bainbridge BeachFaye Bainbridge Beach in Washington `Faye Bainbridge Beach in WAFaye Bainbridge Beach in WAWashington Faye Bainbridge BeachWashington Faye Bainbridge BeachWA IMG_9059wawashington wa Faye Bainbridge Beachtrip to Faye Bainbridge BeachFaye Bainbridge Beachwashington beachwashington beach

And a few of my favorites in the internet world this week:

-
Ten dates under ten dollars, bingo!
-
CLICK HERE if you love floral or chevron. Or both! Cutest nails ever.
-If you’re visiting Utah soon, here’s
101 AMAZING things to keep you busy.
-Too busy to carve pumpkins?
These are my favorite don’t-get-your-hand-all-gooey pumpkin ideas.
-If you’re ever wondering why Mormons are SO EAGER to share what they believe, watch this. Explains it perfectly. :)

 

Have a happy day! XO

10.20.2014

Staying Organized | DIY Jewelry Display

DIY jewelry display, jewelry organizer
 
 
When we moved into our house last year, I shoved all my jewelry in my top dresser drawer and there it has stayed for the last year. In fact, I thought I lost it all until the other day when I found it all tangled up in the back of my drawer. I figured it was about time to do something about it! After spending a lot of time untangling, a lot, I laid it all out on the dresser for a week. A week! I knew that it would start to drive me crazy (and Brian too!) so we’d come up with a solution faster. Ha. After popping into our messy, messy garage one afternoon, I spotted this lone, forgotten shelf. I picked it up at a local thrift store last year and since we’ve moved, I haven’t used it at all.  It was perfect for our room!
 
 
DIY jewelry display, jewelry organizer
 
 
While I loved the blue, it didn’t fit our room at all. I chose white so all the colorful jewelry would pop! I picked up some glossy, white spray paint and two tiny dowels at Michael’s and Brian grabbed the small white hooks from Lowes. After painting the shelf and dowels and letting it dry, Brian cut down the dowels to size. He bent two hooks and screwed them into the side of the shelf and from there, we placed the dowel on top. (You can kind of see it in the photos below!) It makes it super handy for the bracelets to be able to remove the dowel and slide a bracelet on and off.
 
 
DIY jewelry display, jewelry organizerDIY jewelry display, jewelry organizer
 
 
The necklaces are hung on just tiny white hooks. No more tangles! And no more broken necklaces! (Ellie, I love you, but you haven’t figured out how to be quite as gentle with mommy’s jewelry as I would like ;)
 
 
DIY jewelry display, jewelry organizerDIY jewelry display, jewelry organizerDIY jewelry display, jewelry organizer
 
 
And there you have it. A simple, easy jewelry organizer! On a random side note, I used to wear earrings every single day. All day long. Now all of the sudden, I can’t wear anything remotely heavy. If I do, my ears get infected and red! So most of these pairs of earrings are saved for date nights and church, where I don’t wear them for very long. Do you have any favorite lightweight earrings? I’d love to hear your favorites and while we’re at it, any of your favorite places to buy cute (affordable!) jewelry. XO

10.17.2014

For Your Sweet Tooth: 2 Easy to Make Desserts for Halloween

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins


Halloween Treats, Snackpack Pudding cups, easy to make desserts

With the exception of mashed potato Thursday, my mom packed our lunches most days during elementary school. Every so often my mom would pack a Snackpack pudding cups in my lunch, and I felt like the luckiest kid in the cafeteria. I recently introduced these to Ellie and she was in heaven. After devouring a few cups, we decided to use some of the leftovers to make a few Halloween treats. If you’re in a hurry, these recipes are for you! They’re quick and easy to make, but taste oh so good. While Ellie had every intention of helping me “make a trweat”, she was too busy eating all my supplies to be much of a help. ;)

Smore's Pudding Pie, Snack pack pudding cups

This first dessert is a must have for the season! Oreos, pudding, and graham cracker crust? Yes, please! Package them individually for friends or neighbors, or make one at home for an afternoon snack. If we’re being perfectly honest here, I’ll admit to devouring one of these for breakfast this week. It totally hit the spot! I mean, a pack of pudding has as much calcium as a glass of milk, score! Plus, the graham cracker crust was like eating crushed cereal, right?! ;)

Mini Oreo S’more Pie
1 Chocolate Pudding Cup
1 Mini Graham Cracker Crust
Crushed Oreos
Mini Marshmallows

oreo smores pudding pie recipe oreo smores pudding pie recipe oreo smores pudding pie recipe oreo smores pudding pie recipe oreo smores pudding pie recipe


Carefully spoon chocolate pudding into mini graham cracker crust. Top with crushed Oreo cookies and mini marshmallows. Softly place pie into small, kraft paper box. Tie with string or twine and top and top with a cute Halloween printable. (You can download all printables below!)

Candy Corn Pudding Parfait and Free Halloween Printable

For all you vanilla pudding lovers, this dessert is for you! In under five minutes, you can make these simple candy corn pudding parfaits and mummy cookies!

Mummy Candy Corn Parfait
Vanilla Pudding Snackpacks
Food Coloring
Nutter Butter Cookies
White Baking Chocolate

Candy Corn Pudding Parfait, nutter butter mummies

In two separate bowls, mix together vanilla pudding and food coloring. Carefully spoon in colored yellow pudding into desired parfait cup, then orange. Top with white vanilla pudding. To make mummy cookies, melt white baking chocolate in microwave. Coat Nutter Butters evenly in chocolate, then place in fridge to set. Once set, drizzle more melted chocolate on front side to make the mummy wrappings. For eyes, use mini chocolate chips (or crumbled Oreo pieces like I did!)

Candy Corn Pudding Parfait, nutter butter mummiessnack pack pudding at walmartsnack pack pudding

You can find all recipe ingredients at Walmart and download all the printables here. What are some of your favorite Halloween treats? Leave me a link below, I’d love to check them out! Happy Friday, XO!

snack pack pudding halloween treats

10.16.2014

Mom Intuition

I am so excited to share this oh so sweet post on motherhood written by Sharlee from My New Lines. I’m not sure I believed in the whole “mom intuition” thing until I actually had Ellie. It’s a real thing! And reminds me of the Tangled song….Mother knows best! ;)

Sharlee writes about marriage, motherhood, her gorgeous daughter on her blog and has an awesome series called Girl Talk (check it out!) Share the love and leave her a comment or check her out on twitter or instagram. XO

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When my daughter was born I had expected to have this feeling of "I know you!" that so many moms describe. I didn't. I was shocked and overcome with the miracle of her and just so surprised with all of it--my love for her, her perfection, all.of.it. When they placed her on my chest and she immediately stopped crying I realized that she knew me.

As the minutes progressed to hours and then days, I did feel like I knew my daughter. I had very spiritual experiences where I realized that she had been with me throughout my pregnancy. I hadn't just carried her body around with me, but her spirit accompanied me as well--I just wasn't aware of her presence until after I'd met her. After I'd felt that spirit--then I knew.

 
I spent those newborn days soaking in all of her. She and I had a dance and it really wasn't too hard to figure out most of the time. We spoke to one another very clearly. Those are treasured days that were such an incredible blessing.

As she outgrew that sweet, sleepy newborn stage she started to develop more and more assertion and personality. Consequently, she stopped sleeping as well. In fact, she turned into an incredibly poor sleeper.

I couldn't put her down for naps. She didn't sleep well at night. Things were a chaotic mess and I was getting advice from everyone I could possibly ask. My own mom gave me a suggestion.

A few weeks into this terrible sleeping pattern,  I expressed my frustration to my mom and her response seemed as though  she was frustrated back at me. She mentioned that I was asking for all this advice but then not trying it. I was reading too much and filling my head. While I agree that I read entirely too much and none of it helped, I was still hurt and upset. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"Have you even tried what I suggested?"

"No." I quietly replied. Feeling bad that of all the advice I was seeking and trying, I didn't try my own mother's. The next day I followed my mother's advice. It didn't work. My daughter responded exactly as I had assumed she would. 

And that's when I realized. I didn't need to feel bad that I didn't take my mom's advice. It wasn't that I didn't respect her opinions or value her input, it was that I knew my daughter.


I have received countless suggestions, some I take--most I don't. There are just certain things I inherently know about my daughter even though we've been together such a short time (at least here on this earth). I know how she will respond to certain situations and so when I'm trying to teach her something, I do it a certain way. I am more gentle with her than some would agree with and that's okay--to each their own. Whether I'm getting her to sleep or trying to get her to calm down when she falls, I approach it in a way that is tailored to her needs. As her mother, I understand her--at least a little.

And so our dance changes...with every stage, we take turns leading, but I ultimately know I am her guide. This understanding about my dance with my daughter and motherhood has given me greater perspective of my Heavenly Father's role in my life. He knows me and my spirit. He knows how I will react to certain things and he has a specific way to approach teaching me things. He may teach someone else a bit (or a lot) differently than he teaches me. Understanding this has given me a chance to look at my struggles and understand that they are, in fact, specific to me and my needs. They are there to help me gain understanding and knowledge that I need. But how great it is to know and understand that as my father, he makes sure that my aide throughout my challenges is also specifically tailored to me.

 

How grateful I am to know that I am known by Him. I'm even more grateful that, through motherhood, I understand just a little about how it feels to know someone the way He knows me.

Today I'm talking about one of my struggles on my blog. I would love it if you'd stop by.

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Thanks for taking over the blog today, Sharlee! Happy Friday Eve, friends! xo, Lex

10.15.2014

Poulsbo and 5 Generations

My Grandma lives in an adorable town called Poulsbo. It’s quaint, colorful, and full of Vikings! (The town was settled by Norwegians, totally reminded me of being in Norway, I loved it!) We spent a morning or two walking the tiny town, eating Viking donuts, and then up the street to visit my 92 year old great grandma, Mimi. Yes, 92! She still walks to the grocery store every day, works in her small garden, and loads us up with treats on our way out the door. Plus, she’s adorable. Two years ago, when Ellie was born, we had talked about getting a five generation photo. Well, we finally got on that! We set up my tripod in Mimi’s yard, Zac jumped up and down behind the camera like a frog to get Ellie to smile, and on the first shot, we got the perfect five generation photo. Bingo! We took a few more, just for kicks and giggles. Betcha can’t tell that we’re related…ha! We all look alike ;)

Poulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonVikings in Poulsbo WashingtonVikings in Poulsbo WashingtonIMG_8614Little Viking Poulsbo WashingtonSluys Bakery in Poulsbo WashingtonIMG_8621Viking Donuts at Sluy's Bakery in Poulsbo WashingtonViking Donuts in Poulsbo WashingtonViking Donuts at Sluys Donut in Poulsbo WashingtonTea Parlor in Poulsbo WashingtonMom and Gram in Poulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonLittle Alley Poulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonTelephone Booth in Poulsbo WashingtonTelephone Booth in Poulsbo WashingtonTelephone BoothPoulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonPoulsbo WashingtonLittle Blue House in Poulsbo Washington5 Generation Family PhotoMom and Mimi5 Generation Family PhotoZac Mom and Mimi4 Generation Photo in Poulsbo Washinton

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