Wednesday, October 1, 2014

If I Won The Lottery- Blogtober14

And just like that it's October. 

Last night as I was walking to my show at iO in the cold and rain I quickly remembered how much it sucks to walk places in bad weather. My urge to hibernate on my couch all winter is slowing creeping up.

But the upside is that today is officially the first day of Blogtober14 with Helene and I! And honestly, I'm really excited for it. I feel like it's just what I need to revive things around here right now. I can't help but feel like I've gotten a little away from the initial reason I started this blog- simply to write every day because that's what my favorite college writing professor told me I had to do to be a "real writer."

So here I am.

The challenge is to blog each and every day in October. We know that isn't always possible but join in when you want! Just grab the button below and tag #Blogtober14 on Twitter and Instagram so we can all follow along with your pics and posts! 


The Daily Tay

Today the first prompt is "If I Won The Lottery..."

This is an easy one for me. Given my Nebraska roots and love for Doritos and beef jerky, I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that I'm a fan of the lottery. Hell, one summer in college I even worked for the Nebraska Lottery and would travel around Nebraska to all of the best fairs in the smallest towns, right alongside my one-toothed carny friends. But that's a post for another time. That Summer I Was A Carny...

On almost every nine hour car trip from Nebraska to Chicago, Chris and I spend at least two hours of it talking about what we'd do if we won the lottery.  I know people say money can't buy happiness, but I'm pretty sure it could for us. Because we would be really fun rich people.

Sure, in the beginning we'd do some of that superficial stuff, like buy a few homes (a house in the mountains and a house on the coast) and maybe a car or two. Nothing too crazy though, just places a little more comfortable than our current situation.

Then I would immediately go to work on the Harlow Foundation. I haven't figured out the logistics quite yet, but my dream for the Harlow Foundation is a just a huge dog (and cat) ranch somewhere in the boonies where I can rescue as many animals as possible. I'll have vets on site- Chris has actually said that if I ever "make it" someday he'll go back to vet school so he can work on the animals too (that's how seriously we are lol...) and it will just be a huge plot of land where the animals can run their hearts out and have a warm place to sleep at night.

My thought is that the Harlow Foundation will provide jobs for more people, because we'll obviously need people to drive to shelters all over the country to pick up the animals. And then we'll need good people to just play and cuddle the pups too. A part of the Harlow Foundation is also a special task force that is paid specifically to find dog fighting rings and then TORTURE EVERYONE INVOLVED. I'm kidding, kind of. But I have zero sympathy for anyone involved with dog fighting. I know that eye an eye doesn't solve anything blah blah blah, but dog fighting? Really? Who are these sick people?

And yes, I'm aware that it might sound like a ten year just wrote those paragraphs above. But I'm a dreamer, you guys. I'll find a way to get this going. The dogs need me!!!

And most of all, after I win the lottery I'll be a writer. I'll finish the hundreds of novels and screenplays I've written and rest comfortable in the fact I'm back to writing for the pure fun of it like I did when I was a kid (and wrote some of my best stuff I might add, The Ghost of Mary was a huge hit in my house) and not because I'm trying to get rich from it. I'm writing simply for the joy of writing. I can almost feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders just thinking about that moment...

This was fun. What would you do? Below are the rest of the prompts for the month. Join up, you might be surprised how easily the writing starts to flow when you have some direction. I know I was.


And to kick it off, Helene and I have a giveaway for you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Showing Instagram To My 101 Year Old Grandma


Why is this already happening? The leaves falling I mean. It's too soon.

And the blogger-girl inside me wants to photograph ALL OF IT. Everytime I look down and see my booties covered in leaves I have to use all my restraint not to Instagram it immediately #fall #leaves #omgbooties.  Anyone else ever catch themselves trying to snap a photo of something really stupid and cliche and you suddenly think why am I doing this? Why? Because it's trendy and maybe just maybe the people will like it.

The world of Instagram sometimes turns me into a person I'm not. I'm pretty secure with myself (I thought?) yet I find myself seeking validation (likes) from people I don't know... Why? What's wrong with me???

When I was back home a few weeks ago I was visiting my great grandma Grace (she's 101 years old) and I wanted to show her a photo of Harlow so I pulled up Instagram. In doing so, she happened to see some of the photos on my feed.

"What is that? Did you eat that?" she asked as she saw a photo of someone's oh so perfect breakfast parfait or fancy latte. I don't remember exactly. And does it really matter? No, not really.

"Nope, that's someone else's photo." I responded.

"So they just took a photo of their breakfast? Just because?" she asked.

"Uh yea, pretty much." I said.

"And you like to look at it?"

I sheepishly nodded. Because it's true. I do spend a large part of my day looking at.... well dumb photos on Instagram.

And then she looked at me with this expression on her face that still makes me laugh when I think about it. My grandma doesn't swear, but at that moment her face said what the f*&$ is that all about?

And then I realized that trying to explain Instagram to my 101 year old grandma is pointless. Because there isn't a point to it. She's 101 years old for God's sake, she's seen some shit. And not through a filter on an iPhone screen. She's never even been on the internet, but she's doing okay. Life goes on even if you can't see photos of bloggers feet in bed or dogs taking naps on the couch. cough cough Harlow. 

So occasionally when I get caught up in the world of photo sharing and photo liking and life comparing, I can't help but think of great grandma Grace and what she might think of it all. What would she say if I complained that one of my coffee photos didn't get more than 50 likes or a tweet that I thought was super funny didn't get a single RT?

I think of that look. That what the f*&$ is that all about look and I can't help but laugh at the silly world we live in today. Fun, yes. But very very silly.

And on that note FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM so you can see photos of Harlow wrapped in a blanket every single day. Because a dog under a blanket is just cute. I don't care who you are, that's instaworthy.


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Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Weekend At Wonder Lake

For as much as it sometimes sucks to be an adult, occasionally it has its perks too. Like for example when you can just load your car up with food, booze, and dogs and leave Chicago for the weekend to stay at a lake house with friends.

Thanks to the invite from Charlotte and Mike, that's exactly what we did on Friday. We left Chicago around 5 p.m. and made a quick pit stop in Buffalo Grove to grab the essentials: Cool Ranch Doritos, S'mores stuff, and beer, and arrived at our house for the weekend at Wonder Lake around 8:00 p.m. 

What followed that night was a lot of eating and drinking around the campfire before we all hit the hay around 2:00 a.m. 

And then Harlow ever so kindly woke me up around 6:30 a.m. with his face less than an inch from mine as if to say HEY GET UP WE'RE AT THE LAKE REMEMBER?! SO CAN WE GET UP NOW? NOW? HOW BOUT NOW? NOW? NOW? It always sounds like such a fun idea to bring Har. But sometimes he's worse than being on vacation with a toddler...

So here we are at the crack of dawn looking at the lake. Just to make sure it was still there.


And an hour later at 7:30 a.m. we are still sitting on the dock just staring. Or "enjoying" as Har would say.



But I'll admit, I'm kind of a sucker for an early morning by a lake. You just can't beat it.



And look how happy this guy is. We could never leave him behind.


At one point all of the girls took a boat ride (or at least we tried to) and we left the dogs at home with the boys. The dogs did not like this.

You can see George, Addison and Harlow all staring at us from the dock. This was shortly before Addison and Har just jumped in and tried to swim the boat down.


Just a quick "let's pretend we're not posed" posed photo.


And yes, Chris wears this shirt every Saturday. He's very superstitious about Nebraska football and this shirt has been deemed "lucky" this season...


Lake getaways are just the best, aren't they? I think once Chris and I are over the city thing we might move to the boonies and start a dog farm on a lake. I could totally be into that.



Let's just all keep this peaceful last image in our head as we go into another Monday morning... October is knocking on the door.

Hey blogger folk, you ready for Blogtober14 with Helene and I? First prompt on Wednesday is If I Won The Lottery... I'm really excited for this challenge, more excited than I thought I would be to blog every day in October. But I'm doing it! Are you in?




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Tips For Creating Eye-Catching Social Media Strategy


*Sharing some great social media tips from The Print Group.

Being present and active online does wonders for your business. It draws in a larger audience, it makes it easier to form business-oriented relationships (via social networking exchanges on Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and it marks you as being a personable addition to the industry in which you establish yourself. Exposure can be a difficult thing to gain right off the bat, so if you are new to the business world you might try seeking out a few extra hands that can provide you with professional services and material, such as The Print Group. In the meantime, however, here are some tips on how to create eye-catching social media for your business.

Headings

Most business attention starts with a promotional blog, or a blog that causally mentions the name of a company in relation to the topic (cross promoting, for example). But what makes people read these blogs in the first place? Sometimes it can be as simple as a catchy heading, something that will lure an audience in, or at least make them curious enough to click on the link. The heading must say exactly what you want them to hear; metaphors and wordplay will only be misleading and rather disappointing to a reader who was after something else - it won’t make them want to read on. So it must be stressed that the title does absolute justice to the content, and vice versa.

Visuals

Within your blog (or whatever social media platform your business information is placed), you’ll need to include some eye-popping visuals. Anything visual will support your business’s chances at reaching an initial audience—in other words, an audience that takes an interest purely on the basis of catchy photos, artwork or graphics present on your blog. This kind of audience is not an unnecessary one by any means; in fact, these kinds of people are more likely to be open to up and coming establishments such as yours. Media graphics are easy enough to wing if you’re on a budget (with programs such as Pixlr or Canva), but investing in professional services to carry out your design needs might also be worth your time.

Content

While visuals are important for gaining peoples’ initial interest, the content below the title is what gets you a potential customer or business connection. Whether you’re promoting your business via a blog post, a website, or a Facebook status, it is essential that you include the following things: An overview of your company (what it is, what it does, etc.), a short history (to avoid distrust regarding your credentials), what you are promising to customers that others aren’t, and contact details.
Above all, establishing a social media strategy concerns the interest of your potential clients, which is why knowing your target audience is vital. Distinguishing your online market from your offline market is also necessary, for instance your company might attract a vast range of people online (age, gender, etc.), but will only attract a select group of offline buyers. This is namely due to the fact that online users can come to you based on a profile that outlines your specific set of aims and interests, whereas offline promoting is really a case of hit or miss. Kick-off your business endeavors using social media and you’ll find customers lining up to know you.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fragments Jewelry

Hi guys, hope you're having a wonderful Saturday!

Today I'm excited to introduce you to an awesome store I just discovered called Fragments.


Fragments is a fine jewelry boutique that specializes in designer fashion jewelry. They are based out of NYC but they also ship internationally. You can check out their entire online selection here, you should definitely hop over and see what they have!

I think I spent an hour alone just browsing their bracelet selection.  They're just all so different and such great looking pieces! Here's a few of my favs below.



Besides their amazing bracelet selection, they also have a really unique line of necklaces as well. My favorite was probably this Gold Opal Necklace. It features recycled yellow gold, making it not only gorgeous, but also very environmentally friendly as well! My style is pretty simple in regards to what I wear around my neck so this necklace is definitely something I would love.


Fragments also has an incredible line of really amazing rings. I loved all of them but there was one that really stood out to me and it was this stunning Tiger Eye ring. This is a Tigers Eye Stone set in 14k recycled yellow gold. I am just so in love with this ring! It's just so different and unique. 

To see Fragments complete collection, check it out here. 


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Friday, September 26, 2014

My Bad Blogger Habits

Happy Friday everyone, it is finally here. Thank God. Did this week seem killer to anyone else? I felt like it was Wednesday for five days to me. 

Anyway, today I'm teaming up with the always awesome Kiersten from She Is Fierce  to bring you "My Bad Blogger Habits." 


1. Whenever I assume a post will take me less than an hour to write. (It never does.)

2. Waiting until the night before a post goes live to actually WRITE the post.

3. Saying yes to too much... everything. And then complaining when I'm overwhelmed.

4.  Not editing my posts. Like, at all.

5.  When it takes me 30 minutes to choose the perfect filter for Instagram. And then I immediately regret it.

6. Getting excited about too much free stuff. And then hating myself when I have all sponsored posts to write in one week... 

7. Not paying the slightest bit of attention to Google+ and Facebook - does anyone really even USE them?

8.  Not having the slightest idea what SEO means or is.

9.  Using my dog to take fashion pics with me.

10.  Not knowing how to speak the language that is HTML.

11. Never posting at the same time. (I've heard consistently is supposed to be good...)

12. Updating my design constantly - seriously. I just had Whitney from I Wore Yoga Pants to Work do one like two months ago, and I already just had a new one done by Ashley at The Grits Blog.

13. Staying up too late reading other blogs when I should just go to bed already.

14.  Buying sponsorship packages pretty much indiscriminately, despite knowing that I should pay more attention to what it is that I'm buying.

15. Trying to pose the perfect photos on Instagram that always end up looking dumb anyway.

16.  Resorting to Unsplash for photos rather than going out and taking the photos myself.

17. Scanning the popular posts on Bloglovin and getting annoyed I didn't write those posts.

18.  Saving about a hundred blogging tutorials and tips on Pinterest, and never reading any of them until months later.

19.  Starting a TON of posts in draft format, and never finishing them to publish

20. Worrying too much about everything. This is blogging after all. It's supposed to be fun. I think.

And on that note, I'm skipping town for the next few days to head to cabin up north with some friends, some booze and some dogs. I am so excited. I've packed Harlow's Husker sweater and Bears jersey. It's going to be a great weekend. Hope yours is as well!


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's Popular In Blogging Right Now- According To Bloglovin

Sometimes when I'm lacking inspiration I'll scan the popular posts section of Bloglovin just to see what the cool kids are writing about. And almost always after doing so I'm instantly reminded why my posts rarely show up on the All Category Popular Posts. For starters, I don't have 20k followers on Bloglovin, my photos don't look professional, and I don't enjoy making pumpkin spice funnel cakes from scratch. I enjoy eating funnel cakes, that is true, but only when they're served to me from a one toothed carny named "Tug" at the D.C. Lynch Carnival located in the Sunset Plaza parking lot in Norfolk, Nebraska.

But I digress.



Right now at this very minute, this is what is popular in blogland according to Bloglovin. So take notes, blog friends. Because if you suck, these posts can help.

How To Make Food posts.
About 80% of the popular posts are recipes. Understandably so, people will always love food.  But the thing that gets me is that some of these food posts aren't REAL food. The Perfect Tasting Kale Chip? Nothing about that sentence makes sense. There is no such thing as the perfect tasting kale chip. The Kale Chip That Tastes Least Like Shit would be more applicable.

Pumpkin Pecan Apple Spice Nutmeg Crumbled Granola. Who has time to make their own granola? WHO? Why not save some time and money and invite me over to your house and then I'll just beat you over the head with several granola bars. Within minutes you'll have a nice full bowl of crumbled"homemade" granola.

Chai Latte Sweet Potato Pumpkin Flavored Cupcake. Let's get really crazy and just have a pumpkin flavored pumpkin recipe.

How To Transition To Autumn Makeup posts.
I had no idea these beauty posts were so popular. But according to Bloglovin, they are. Before I transition to autumn, perhaps I should transition to 2014. I'm still using the same eye shadow pack I got in 2012 when it was on sale after summer... I should probably be reading more of these beauty posts.

My makeup look is typically whichever eye shadow looks the least scary. But after I run out of the good solid golds and browns, I'll start using those scary blues and dark greys. I'm not just going to let them go to waste, am I?

How To Wear A Chunky Sweater posts.
You just do, right? Wrong. Turns out there are specific ways this fall to wear a chunky sweater.  My thought process was, hey I'm feeling chunky right now, better put on a chunky sweater. But that's not how it works. You have to wear them with skinny skinny pants and chunky healed ankle boots and a floppy hat with huge sunglasses. The goal is to make yourself completely disappear apparently.

I just bought a great chunky sweater at Urban the other and when I tried it on for Chris he looked at it and said, well it's not very flattering. Duh Chris, that's why it's called chunky. Get with it.

How To Go Apple Picking posts.
Apple picking is all the rage right now. If you haven't done it, just stop blogging right now. Go get some kids and some chunky sweaters and some flannels and go pick some damn apples already.

Run through the fields, kiss some scarecrows and just let your freak flag fly at the apple farm. Apple farms are so hot right now.

How To Wear A Hat posts.
Finally! Am I right? If you were confused like I was, just find one of these great tutorial posts (Bloglovin has quite a few) and let this great mystery stump you no more!

Wearing a hat doesn't have to be like playing a Rubix cube! You can do it. Just face your fear and you'll see how silly it was all along.

There you have it, just a few things that are trending in blogland right now.

And make sure to follow me on Bloglovin here. Duh.

Okay byeeeeee.


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