Dreams Are Made At Dog Bars

Thursday, February 11, 2016

So things got a little hairy yesterday.

It all started with a vodka tour at 2:00 afternoon at CH Distillery. It was a work thing, I swear. Sometimes I really like "my work," I'll admit it. The distillery was gorgeous, the drinks were amazing, and the people were great. A good time was had by all. Local and non-locals, if you're in the area I highly suggest you take this tour.

Expect a full recap in a few days.

For now let's focus on what happened after the tour. It was 4:30, Claire and I were a little buzzed, so we figured what the hell, let's ride this out. We went to my house and grabbed Harlow and decided to have a few drinks at my neighborhood dog bar. It's a real dive. It's always dark, a little bit smelly, and the bathroom graffiti is Pulitzer worthy.

Anyway. One thing led to another and suddenly Harlow is on the bar, strutting his stuff back and forth like he's the cute Russian girl in Coyote Ugly. I think if I would have asked him for water he would have sprayed me with it and then kicked me with his jeweled cowboy boots. Harlow's antics are getting more ridiculous by the day, and I certainly don't help the cause.

At the time, it was hilarious. But looking back, I'm wondering why on earth the owner let this happen. Then again, the owner is almost always drunk. So I assure you, he didn't mind. He loves Harlow.

At this point it's 5:30 p.m., Claire and I have had one too many, and we're having in depth conversations about the indie movie we're going to film this summer in Nebraska, which will obviously get us into Sundance 2017. Maybe 2018? WHY NOT. Dreams are made at dog bars.

We parted ways around 6:00 p.m. and the first thing I did when I walked in my house was heat up a bucket of leftover super bowl dip and bathe myself in it. I can still taste the regret in my mouth today.

It was a random fun Wednesday to say the least.

But now I have to go because I have a screenplay to finish and I think my friend Jimmy John just got here. Byeeeeeeee.

In Response To Judgy Assholes

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

I feel like for the most part I know the people who stop by here every day to read my ramblings. And I think you're good people. You're animals lovers, you can take a joke, and you're not crazy irrational internet readers. I genuinely like you.

So today's post is basically a self indulgent rant aimed at people who won't even read it. I'll make it quick, I promise.

We all have our triggers. Things that we care deeply about that might set us off, in one direction or the other.

Let's talk about Harlow. More specifically Harlow in his booties.

I've been judged online (and in person) for the fact Harlow wears snow boots. These are actually his fancy booties. Some times he just wears his purple rubbers.

A popular Vizsla Instagram page regrammed this photo of Harlow and I had to stop myself from getting into an internet fight with a man who criticized me for putting my dog in "shoes" and for also "raising a dog in Chicago."

He's the authority of where you can raise dogs and clearly I don't meet his expectations.

Internet fights are tempting, aren't they? Every single day I have to fight the angry troll inside of me who so badly wants to speak up and yell back at the ignorant comments I see floating around everywhere. But then I'm no better than they are, so I resist. Instead, I spend about five minutes in my head having a fake argument with these fake people. Sometimes I even write the response, think about it a little more, then always delete. It's not worth it.

And then I write a blog post...

So let me clear this up. I don't make Harlow wear boots because I think it's fun. It's the opposite actually. Getting these orange monsters on his feet is like putting a toddler in ski boots. I've never actually put a toddler in ski boots, but I imagine it's difficult.

And he doesn't wear boots because it's cute. Well let's admit it, he does look pretty stinkin cute, but that's not the reason.

Harlow wears boots and dog-rubbers on his feet because the salt that Chicago puts down in the winter burns his paw pads. It gets in the crevices and it's very painful for him. I know, because he's told me. When I'm being a bad/lazy dog mom and we go out when there's salt on the ground he'll either limp on three legs, alternating between which foot hurts the worst. Or he'll simply say screw it and he won't walk at all.

I've carried him home more than a few times and it's not easy. He is heavy AF. And maybe it's just a ploy on his part to be carried, he's such a diva baby I wouldn't put it past him.

I've met other dog owners who tell me the salt doesn't bother their dogs, so it's different for everyone. I'm quite sure Harlow has a very low pain tolerance since he's never known discomfort in his entire life. He takes after his dad... jk jk, Chris won't read this post for months so it's okay.

So in conclusion, to the man on the internet who is angry Harlow wears boots and lives in a city, please stop being such a judgmental dbag. Yes, I wish I could give Harlow a country life where he could run in open fields as long as he pleases, chasing deer and eating fish straight from a creek, but I can't. So instead I'll do the best I can here. And that means 4 walks a day, 3 dog park visits per day, and snow boots in the winter.

I think if you ask him he'll tell you he's got a pretty good life. But right now he's snoring next to me wrapped in his faux fur white blanket, so I'll have to get back to you.

Let's make an effort to be a little less judgy of each other. We're all just trying our best here.

Using Facebook Ads To Gain Followers & Boost Traffic

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Last month more than 85,000 views landed on my blog directly from Facebook.

So it should come as no surprise that I'm a big fan of using Facebook advertising to send traffic toward my blog and also toward my other site, nebrowse.com.

I've talked about writing this post for several weeks now and have put it off mostly because I'm not sure where to start. So I'm just going to jump right in.

*Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be an expert on anything, I'm just sharing with you what has worked for me. I've learned through experience, reading tutorials, and watching videos. All the info is out there, you just have to take the time to find it.

Other than using Facebook to bring traffic to my blog, I also credit it with building my entire line, Talk Herbie To Me. Facebook is how I run every giveaway, promo and deal for my Talk Herbie line and I always see an increase in sales after I post something. The young kids might not be on Facebook like the research apparently says, but the people who are my target demographic certainly are.

Speaking of,  who is your target demographic? You need to know this. The more specific the better. We'll get more into this in a bit.

Let's start with the basics:

Why did my post only reach 52 people?

Isn't that the worst? When you write something great but then Facebook tells you they only showed it to 52 people. WHY?

From what I've read, there's a few reasons.

First of all, what time did you post? This matters.

For me, I've learned my key posting times are Monday-Thursday between 8:30 p.m.- 10:30 p.m. 

Be careful of over posting. 

The way the Facebook algorithm works (from what I've been told and also read) is like this:

If you post several things in a row that no one "LIKES," then there's a very good chance hardly anyone will even get the opportunity to see your next post. It's almost like it's hidden.

An active newsfeed full of posts with like and comments makes Facebook happy. A quiet one makes them not happy.

On the flip side. If your posts are garnering a lot of attention and LIKES, then Facebook rewards you and puts it in everyone's newsfeed. They'll keep pushing your posts out there until they stop getting attention. Until we're back to only 52 people...

Does this make sense? Is it even true? I don't know! I just read it somewhere and then carefully monitored my posts and it seemed to make sense.

So how do you change this?

Post things people want to see. Duh, Taylor, you're probably thinking.

But for real. Don't just use your Facebook work/blog page for your own content. Post viral articles and videos that you know will get comments and shares. Facebook will give you a little pat on the back when you publish your next personal post, I promise.

If all else fails, post dog videos. I WILL LIKE THEM. I like all dog videos. Or just write about dogs. A few weeks ago this post got 30,000 hits in 24 hours and it made me oh so happy.

Another way to get your posts in front of more people: ask people to share them! Ask fellow blog pals, your mom, your sister, whoever!

Hey blog reader, will you share this (or pin it) if you found it helpful? Cool, thanks. No, you won't? That's okay, too. I'll keep living anyway. See how easy that was?

Fun fact: the algorithm is always changing...

So how do you get around this?

Pay for ads and boosts. 

We're not talking  hundreds of dollars here. I usually only do $5-$10 per week.

*When I "pay for ads" I go about it two ways. 

I'll get into this in part two. (It's really coming this time, I swear!) This has just gotten too long and I need to break it up.

If you have specific questions, please ask them below!

Check out The Daily Tay on Facebook here! Spoiler: my latest post totally tanked because I published it at 9:00 a.m. which is a terrible time for me. Do as I say, not as I do... Tonight I'm reposting an older post and also boosting it. Why? To get more traffic!

And if you want more info about growing your followers and gaining more readers, I'm sitting in on this FREE webinar tomorrow tonight and I already know it's going to be very helpful!

This was exhausting. Please tell me someone found it useful.

10 Reasons I Kinda Like Valentine's Day

Do you remember Valentine Boxes? As in the shoeboxes you used to decorate in grade school with lace and glitter and then cut a hole in the top so the other kids in your class could drop their Valentines in?

I made this vending machine candy box in 4th grade and it was the best ever... jk! I actually just found this on Pinterest and was reminded how much kids (moms) have stepped up their game in EVERYTHING. I would have gone nuts for this as a kid....err also as an adult.

I've never been a crafty person, details aren't really my thing, so no matter how hard I tried I always had the ugliest box in class. (I'll resist the urge to make a box joke here, but if you've got your own don't let me hold you back.)

Regardless, I took so much delight in creating those little Valentine boxes. They were a highlight of my year.

I was thinking about that today when I heard someone mention how much they hate Valentines Day. Other than a brief stint in college, I've always kinda liked Valentines Day.

Thus I present to you, Ten Reasons I Kinda Like Valentines Day.

Also, I'd just like to go ahead and apologize for the abundance of lists posts I'm throwing your way this week. I know, I know, they're crappy writing. I'm not happy about it either. Honestly, I've just got a lot on my plate right now and my ability to focus is at an all time low.

So let's just embrace it until I'm able to focus long enough to actually construct a well written post. Your patience is very much appreciated! After all, I'm dying to tell you about my audition yesterday and how I'm probably going to be booked in 100 movies this year. Never mind the fact that the casting director cut me off half way through my very intense monologue about my politician father killing an intern he was sleeping with. I was showing my RANGE!

Anyway, what was I saying? I'm having trouble focusing. Oh yes, I like Valentines Day. Here's just a few reasons why.

1. Valentine Boxes.
I kinda covered this one above. Because they're fun, that's why.

2. Candy hearts with words on them.
These things may taste like shit, but you have to admit they're pretty cute!

3. Valentine style.
Clothes with red or pink or hearts on them. Stuff I'd never normally wear, but on Valentines Day it feels okay.

Oh who am I kidding? I've worn this red striped shirt 100 times since I bought it. Get ready for three very very cool fashion photos coming your way in 3.2.1... Jacket casually thrown over the back. YES!

The walking one. So hard to nail. So hard. This pic is definitely going on Insta later because yasss flares. 

4. Flowers.
And by flowers I mean wine. Which is what I tell Chris every year. "Please don't spend money on roses, but if you insist on buying flowers just go to Trader Joes and get me a $7 bunch and top it off with a couple of bottles of wine."

5. Valentine cards/grams.
Like the cheap ones that kids buy to pass out in class and drop in Valentine boxes. Those are my favs.

6. Gummy hearts.
My teeth are rotting just thinking about all of the candy I used to consume as a kid on Valentines Day.

7. This scene from Billy Madison.

8. Mushy Valentine movies.
The good ones, not the 50 Shade ones. I still haven't seen that entire movie. I've started it but just can't finish it. I just think it's SO BAD. I can only watch Dakota Johnson bite her lip so many times before I've had enough.

9. Spending a day with my Valentines, Chris and Harlow, doing what we love most- eating too much food and being lazy on the couch. Ahh I can't wait.

10. Valentine presents.
For myself: this mug. (But with Harlow's face, duh.)

For Chris: probably his standard Arnold Palmer six pack and beef jerky.
For Harlow: a giant heart sized bone like last year.

And there we go. I've met my Valentine post quota for the year. What are your thoughts on this day? Are we fans? Or no not at all?

Blogging and Taxes

Monday, February 8, 2016

A post sponsored by TurboTax, but all opinions and anxiety are my own!

Tax season makes me nervous.

Once upon a time when life was simple and I was only sent one clean 1099 to submit to the Gods at the IRS and was then able move on the down the road, this time of year didn't make me so itchy. But those times are no more.

As a blogger/small business owner/hustler of all things, tax season can get a little messy for me. Let's just say I've got a lot going on. Thus the nerves. Typically, I like to dwell on the daunting thought of doing my taxes for weeks, and sometimes even months. I find it fun to torture myself with the anxiety of it all, when in reality it would be so much easier to just them.

It's really as simple as that. Stop thinking about taxes so much and just do them so then you can enjoy the nice spring weather when April rolls around. (Just kidding, it's still winter in Chicago in April. But you know what I mean.)

But that's my tax mantra this year, just get them done.  I'm going to take charge and knock them out of the way asap so I can move on with life and not have that hanging over my head for the next couple months. And TurboTax is going to help me do it.

I've been a longtime user of TurboTax for more than a few reasons. First and foremost, because their system is easy to use. I'm not great at managing my books or finances, so when it comes to taxes I need someone to hold my hand every step of the way and that's exactly what TurboTax does.

Here's a few other features I love that they offer:

*W2 Snap: The ability to take photos of your W2s with your smartphone or tablet! I have at least ten W2s to submit so this is music to my ears! Sometimes technology is wonderful.

*ExplainWhy: As your submitting your taxes online, TurboTax gives customers personalized, bite-sized explanations behind the "whys" when it comes to deductions, credits, and refunds to make sure you're getting the most back that you can.

*SmartLook: a new feature that connects customers with live TurboTax experts using one-way video technology. Experts answer questions in real time for FREE and highlight key fields and next steps so customers can complete their return with ease!

*They're Mobile: So I can start my taxes on the train, at the dog park, wherever I want! And then I'm able to pick right back up on any of my other devices.

If you're like me and want to get your taxes out of the way and out of your mind, start by signing up here. You'll thank yourself when you get to enjoy a nice leisurely Sunday on the couch like Harlow.

Yay tax season.

24 Thoughts I Had During The Super Bowl This Year

Sunday, February 7, 2016

found here.

Who cares about football, I have Super Bowl dip in my lap!
*Super Bowl dip in our house = Velveeta, beans, and hamburger melted together in the crock pot... super fancy. 

I'm so glad we decided to stay home so I can watch the game in my grossest sweatpants while looking like a total garbage person! WIN!

I'm about to go way overboard on food for the next five hours.

Wow, NFL wives are pretty. I bet they don't wear gross sweats while eating melted cheese in a bowl.

I really have no talent whatsoever. (While watching Lady Gaga.)

Puppy Monkey Baby is creepy. And also kind of catchy, damn it.

I really do love Paul Rudd. Why wouldn't you? Paul is great.

Clete Blakeman (the ref) IS kind of cute. I never realized it until everyone on Twitter was buzzing about it. He's from my hometown and his mom taught me in 6th grade.

Why is it NOT the half time performance yet?

Super Bowl dip kind of hurts. Better stop after my next plate.

Yay halftime finally.

Coldplay was good .... until Bruno and Bey came on.

I need to see Bruno Mars in concert. What a performer that guy!

OMG BEYONCE. Please don't ever stop doing what you're doing. Also, I've watched this video 100 times since yesterday.

She can literally do no wrong.

Less football. More Beyonce.

What a joyful halftime performance!

Dip run. Glad/sad I only eat this rubbery cheese mixed with beans once a year.

Second half. Time to play on my phone for the remainder of the game.

Okay, let's speed things up. My phone is dying.

Could Peyton Manning BE any more of an American golden boy? He mentioned his family, God, and Budweiser in literally every speech.

Shit. Now I have to clean a crock pot. The worst kitchen task ever.

It's going to be kale smoothies all week. Gross.

Tomorrow is Monday. Even grosser.

found here.
What did you think of the game? And by game I mean commercials. I missed this one about domestic violence but watched it online and it was definitely one of my favorites, what a powerful message.

On a lighter note there was also Amy and Seth with the Budweiser Party, and of course scary Puppy Monkey Baby... otherwise not a strong commercial year in my opinion. I could have used more dogs and babies dressed as adults.

Finding the Perfect Custom Prints

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone! I can't wait to play on my phone and drown myself in cheese dip for the entire game...

Keeping up with my weekend tradition, today I'm introducing you to another awesome seller on nebrowse. With Valentines Day around the corner, I wanted to show off some of the beautiful custom prints from CuteZPrints. The designer in incredibly talented and offers unique personalized invitations and announcements for a VERY affordable price. (The one below is only $5.00)

Perfect for showers and graduation announcements!

1. What prompted you to start your own store?

I started my own store after creating invitations for my daughters baby shower and also making invitations and announcements for events at my former job. I was strongly encouraged to start my business and after quitting my job to become a stay at home mom I decided to give it a shot! I have loved being able to create unique designs for people without charging a lot of money!

2. All of your items are so cute, where do you get inspiration to create them?

A lot of my designs come out of finding an inspiration item and playing around with different layouts. I also do research on what is popular from my competitors and try and come up with my own unique designs from that.

3. What has been your favorite part of running your own business?

My favorite part has definitely been the flexibility to work as little or as much as I want. Being a stay at home mom definitely has some challenges and with expecting my 2nd child soon it has afforded me the ability to work when and where I can!

4. What has been your most popular item?

My most popular item has been my “Dear Baby” instant download printables. People have loved to have them for baby showers so that the mom-to-be has some fun things to read to her baby! It’s a simple design and can be downloaded instantly, which people seem to love!

5. What are your current favorites you have listed?

I have really enjoyed expanding my baby shower section to include games that match invitations I have listed. These have probably been the most fun for me to create and so would happen to be my favorite items right now.

Next time you're in the market for invites our announcements, consider working directly with an artist! Check out CuteZPrints here.

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