I’ve Discovered the Secret to Blogger Success

I’m not joking guys……

This is a top secret classified bit of information that only the best of the best in blogland know and I’m here to share it with you right now!

And no I’m not talking about taking or finding the perfect photo from above with your hand, laptop, and cool phone case all visible. Clearly this is a very important step in the process, but every third grader who dreams of internet fame knows this one. Keep reading for the juicy stuff.

Blogger Success

It’s no secret that I haven’t been writing……….well really anything since the Holidays.

I posted that I got engaged….

And y’all responded with all the happiness and well-wishes.

I posted about the extremely difficult problem of not knowing what to hashtag my wedding…..

And y’all gave me all the best ideas non-stop until I picked one I loved. (#SomethingBarros in case you wanted to stalk me, but like in a non-threatening manner)

Then I had my Life Guru Jess post about making friends in your 20s…..

And y’all ate it up!

So what’s the secret to blogger success then?

Um, duh, it’s YOU! Community.

The Secret to Blogger Success = Community

Cliche maybe, but it’s the truth. I don’t care how wonderful your life is or how well you can craft the perfect post or how much blogging advice you have, without people to read your blog your blog would be just bunch of gibberish posted on the internet.

I mean if we’re all really honest with ourselves, blogs really are just gibberish posted on the internet. But we are Bloggers and we shall not givein to such nonsensical thinking.

Back to the secrets.

If you’re still with me at this point then I know you truly care and aren’t actually looking for the secret to blogging success and therefore proving my point. Sure making side money, or having a full-time blog is cool. I’ve made money off this thing, it’s a pretty cool feeling to be sent free stuff. In full disclosure I just bought a ton of wedding stuff from blog money just chillin in my Paypal account.

But what makes me come back time and again.

The friends and connections I’ve made while writing, not the money made.

So whether you agree with me or not, thank you for reading my words and connecting with me even when I’m not around as often as I used to be. I promise I’m still around and trying to connect with y’all.

What do you think? What’s the secret sauce?

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When You Feel Like Quitting

Hey Friends,

It’s Friday, which means we all just had amazing weeks and are looking forward to the weekend. Except me, I work Saturday’s now so I’ll still be at work while you’re relaxing. Although when you go back to work on Monday I’ll be sleepin in so there’s a big upside lol.

I actually got a special request from a fellow blogging friend to write this post. Either that means I have sage wisdom to bestow on my readers or I’ve been tagged a quitter. I’m not sure, but either way I can relate to the topic so it wasn’t a hard post to write.

This type of quitting is mostly directed towards blogging, but you can take the lessons and apply them to other aspects of your life as well.

Actually the example I give has nothing to do with blogging so it’s really easy to apply to life in general. I guess I do have sage wisdom!

When You Feel Like Quitting

I’ve actually never been called a quitter in my life. When I start something I always finish it, outcome not guaranteed, but I finish.

Let me give you an example of a time when I legitimately was going to quit something though. It was the summer of 2012 and I was working a job from Hell. It was a summer camp so I lived with the campers, working 6 days/week with one day off.

That wasn’t the bad part though, I’ve worked summer camps before, specifically the summer before where I met JB (heart emoji). This summer though, the management was completely incompetent. As in they set rules they didn’t even follow themselves, rewarded staff that didn’t show up for their shifts because they were dating (yes, the management was dating the staff and gave them special treatment), and punished those who actually watched the kids and essentially ran the camp while they slept in till noon every day.

Oh but once I was given a $5 giftcard to a frozen yogurt shop in town so it kinda made up for it I guess…..kidding…..

If you’re wondering if I tried to alert the higher-ups of the problems, I did. They didn’t believe me and basically called me a liar….so that was awesome……

It got so bad one day about 3/4 of the way through the summer that I literally broke down and decided I was going to quit.

I was so upset I was pacing around the quad (the camp was on a college campus) and fuming to JB (he worked that summer with me again. That’s love people) and he said something to me that stuck…

Don’t make an emotional decision that can have long-term consequences

Or something like that, it’s been 3 years give me a break.

Basically he meant don’t make a decision in the heat of the moment that can have a long-lasting impact on my life.

I ended up staying the rest of the summer despite the horrible working conditions because to me, the kids were worth it and I needed the monetary compensation for school.

So what does this have to do with blogging?

Well unless your blog is your main source of income then not much in the monetary realm, but if it’s something that engages you, inspires you, gets the fire in your soul coursing then it does.

See, I have a passion for helping other people and working with kids. For me, the end game of that summer job far out-weighed any incompetence the management could throw my way. I knew I was making a difference in those kids lives and I thrived on the day-to-day operations. It was also only a summer job……So the end was in sight.

So ask yourself, does blogging fulfill those things for you?

[Tweet “Ever feel like quitting blogging? Here’s some tips to figure out if it’s the right move or not”]

Does blogging wake you up inside, inspire you to try new things, live your life in a better way, and satisfy your need to write and engage with others?

Or has it become a mental drain on you? Do you dread having to sit down and write a post? It is emotionally taxing to even think about promotion, SEO, and social media?

Does the end-game out-weigh the things that bugging you?

If the answer is no, then maybe “quitting” isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe it’s actually GOOD for you?

Quitting that summer camp would have elicited a whole slew of what-if’s, doubts, and regrets for me.

Similarly, quitting my blog would do the same thing. And trust me I’ve thought about it, even taken breaks from it, but I always came back.

And maybe that’s what you need to do.

Taking a break from blogging isn’t quitting.

Taking a break from blogging is sometimes necessary to see if it’s a passion or a drain. If it’s actually worth it for your well-being or pulling you down.

So what can we learn from this?

Quitting something isn’t always a bad thing. Quitting something that is emotionally and mentally draining is actually a good thing.

So take that break, step back and evaluate what’s important to you.

Maybe you’ll come back, maybe you won’t, but the important thing is you. Your motivations, your inspirations, your well-being mentally and emotionally.

So now tell me, have you ever felt like quitting something?

Did you quit? Did you not? What made you stick it out?

Let me know in the comments!

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Secret Blogger Club (20)

Y’all, there’s only two more days in October!

What the heck calendar! How we get here?

Oh well, time marches on and I for one am excited because we’re one month closer to Christmas which (not to overlook the Day of Turkey) but my entire family will be home for Christmas for the first time since we all lived at home. I can hardly contain my excitement!! Eeeeeeee!

Considering we have family members spread all up and down the East coast, plus a father in Europe, that’s kinda  big deal.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today is still October 29th and we have some Club business to take care of.

Secret Blogger Club Title

SECRET BLOGGER CLUB

>> Things Only Books Lovers Will Understand by See You in a Porridge. I couldn’t help myself. Books are my only friends some times so I understand all the feels. You will relate if books are your life, but you’ll also relate if you just read occasionally. Go feel the feels people. Feel the feels.

>> No More Disclaimers by The Cunningham Two. I know Stephanie and I aren’t the only ones to do this. Seriously, every time I serve dinner to JB I preface it with a, “it’s not my best work” or a, “idk I hope you like it.” When com’on, JB will eat anything and I’m a pretty dang good cook anyway so what the heck? Here’s to no more disclaimers!

>> How to Show Some Long-Distance Love to Your BFF by Helene in Between. Um, y’all know I move approximately every 2 years (up till now) so I’ve got besties residing in multiple states. That means lots of long-distance love. And it goes both ways too! One of my best friends sent me a flower arrangement for my birthday this year! I meant so much to me, and also got me planning ahead for hers coming up ;D

[Tweet “The #SecretBloggerClub is live with posts from @seeyouporridge @heleneinbetween @OurFoxTales @LindsayLHess @steffski http://buff.ly/1Mkl49e”%5D

>> Six Tips for Decorating Small Spaces and Rental Homes by Our Fox Tales. I not only live in a small space (hello studio apartment I can almost touch all walls at once in) but it’s a rental. Kym is the most adorable anyway so why wouldn’t you take decorating advice from her? I would show you pictures of how I decorate my apartment but I want us to still be friends afterwards….

>> 10 Minute Halloween Costumes by Wife in Training. Um, guys….It’s Halloween this weekend. As in Saturday…like two days…. Are you ready? Got your costume? I’ll be sharing mine tomorrow so be sure to come back. I’ll give you a hint, it involves fringe and flowers. In case you haven’t deemed your Halloween costume as priority numero uno, Lindsay has some awesome ideas for you….

The Blonder Side of Life
The Blonder Side of Life

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Using Words To Motivate and Inspire

Welcome back to another Monday!

I just spent the weekend in Philly for a wedding and am still recovering from all the warm fuzzies weddings bring. I’m one of those girls that loves weddings and yes I do cry, even when I don’t know the couple. I’ll share some snaps later, or you can always check me out on Insta where I shared a few.

For today’s Blogtember prompt, it’s all about quotes. I’m your typical blogger so of course I love quotes. I write them in my journal, I collect them in my planner, I say them to myself as pep talks, and say them to others when they need it.

As a writer (that’s still weird to say) I of course dream of writing elegant and inspiring words that others can quote. I usually only manage to get out a few slightly giggle-worthy jokes and the occasional punchline. Such is my cross to bear.

Strong enough quote

What really bothers me though, is when people use their words to hurt someone else. Perhaps they simply forget the power that their words can wield. Maybe they are just unaware of the impact a lone phrase can affect the psyche of a person.

[Tweet “Use your words to motivate and inspire, not judge.”]

If I could be there with the perfect quote or encouraging word for anyone who needs it, then my life mission would be complete. But I can’t. Which is why I want to spread the most positive message in this space as possible.

Strong I am quote

I have lots of favorite quotes, but the one above really resonates for a few reasons. One. no one knows exactly the path another person has walked to get where they are. Therefore, no one has all the facts to make a judgement on them. Two. Everyone else has their own struggles. Just because someone else’s struggle may be more visible than yours or is hard for you to understand, doesn’t make them less of a person.

Nothin boils my biscuits more than a close-minded, hate spewing, hypocritical jerk-face who inputs themselves in other people’s business. I just wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat it and be happy. A girl can dream.

So I challenge you all to spread more encouraging and motivational words. Send a card to someone far away. Write a note to someone close. Compliment a stranger, heck even SMILE at a stranger!

Let’s all do a little extra this week to make someone else feel awesome!

What is your favorite quote?

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Creating an Inspiration Mood Board

Happy Sunday Friends.

I know I don’t usually post on the weekends but lucky you, you get two in a row. (be sure to check out Amanda from yesterday, trust me)

I found out about Blogtember from my girl Skylar and while I’m not joinin in every day, I do love the prompts and have written a few here and there. Today’s prompt was all about creating a mood/inspiration board based on the season of your life.

That’s a bit deep for me, but I did create a mood board based on my understanding of whatever the heck the season of your life means.

Need help creating an inspiration mood board? Here's a look at mine. Now go get creating!One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine

1. Sometimes my insides feel all cool and I want my outside to match. Fall is the perfect time for buns, braids, and all sorts of messy, cozy hairstyles. The sunglasses just add a bit of sass. At least when I put on my aviators I feel all mysterious. Just me?

2. With my move to New England comes the excitement of all the leaves! All the feels come with the leaves and I can’t wait to go crunching around in all the fallen soldiers. That actually sounds really, really bad. I’m bad with this writing thing….

3. Next up, cozy sweaters! As a self-confessed non-bikini body, I love when the colder weather rolls in and I get to snuggle up in large tent-sized sweaters that are chic and in style. Also large rings!

4. Don’t jump to any conclusions with this being a wedding bouquet. I’m obsessed with the color scheme of this flower arrangement. Purple is my favorite and this seems rustic and dreamy. I just like to sit and stare at them 🙂 Speaking of which, this just might be my favorite Insta feed lately.

5. PUMPKINS! I don’t actually think the regular orange pumpkins are that pretty but the white versions plus flowers? Yup count me in! I always end up buying some of the tiny guys from the farmer’s Market to decorate my tiny apartment. Speaking of which, every year I get older, my apartment’s seem to get smaller. Shouldn’t I be going in the opposite direction?

6. Stacking up tiny midi rings is one of my favorite things. Summer makes your fingers all sweaty and swell up and drawing attention to chubby swollen fingers with a bunch of rings is not a good look. Fall brings me right back into the mood for all the rings. Anyone else know the struggle of trying to get a ring off a swollen finger? Not cute….

7. Again, wedding themed but it’s all about the waffles. I love breakfast food in general but waffles are my favorite. Call me a brunch sheep if ya want, but anyone who serves me waffles is instantly my best friend. I refrain during the summer because carbs and swim suits and all that, but if you read #3 already, you know carbs don’t scare me in the Fall.

8. Ankle boots. This WILL happen this Fall! Seriously, this is such a great look but somehow I’ve never tried it. Fashion blogger I am not, whomp, whomp….But this is the season it’s happening, trust.

9. Last but not least, this dreamy book nook. #LifeGoals

So what’s inspiring you this Fall?

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The Spirit of Treat Yo Self

Happy Thursday Friends!

Somehow we’ve made it to Thursday, despite Mother Nature’s vindictive ways. I’m calling it Snow Break minus the fun of a real break and instead being trapped inside your apartment b/c your management won’t plow the parking lot and your car can’t get up the hill….But that’s a story for another time…..

I have a very special guest for y’all today. She’s one of my only Massachusetts friends so please be nice to her. I can’t afford to lose any….no but seriously, I can’t. Besides JB, she’s it. I wish I was kidding…..

But ignore my silent laments at my social life, here’s Jess! She’s got the perfect outlook on loving yourself first and foremost! Something we all know I have no trouble with 😉

Treat Yo Self

Hello Everyone! My name is Jess. I am a fellow blonde, so the hair color perspective will be the same here. This is my first blog post and Kelsey has so graciously lent me the platform I needed to share my thoughts with everyone, so here we go!

Every year during this time of year (Valentine’s Day) I always have the same thoughts, so I’ve decided to write them down this time. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Here’s another cynical person who is going to complain about the corporations, or being lonely, etc.” And I promise I am not a cynic, Valentine’s Day has just never really been a big deal to me, single or not.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure I can attribute these feelings from when I was 9 years old. That year, my Mom got me Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and from then on, no other present could ever compare. So why even set myself or someone else up for disappointment? Harry Potter is the O.V. (Original Valentine)

So how do I prefer to spend this day that’s devoted to appreciating the one who you love the most? By appreciating the one that I SHOULD love the most, but sometimes forget…ME!

Text Convo

This is why Kelsey is allowing my to get this to her after Valentine’s Day, because this can really be applicable to any time of the year. Valentine’s Day is just my personal Treat Yo Self Day (this year was my second annual)

Slight background if you’ve never seen Parks & Rec. Two characters, Donna and Tom, go out and spoil the crap out of themselves. If they every question whether then should do something or not, they simply say “Treat Yo Self” and go ahead and do it!

TreatYoSelf

In general, I consider myself a pretty unselfish person. I chose a career that is all about helping others and even in my daily life I like to make other’s happy. So this day is a day I get to make it ALL ABOUT ME! Now, Treat Yo Self Day can be done with others, but I prefer to do it alone as much as possible. This year it was pretty easy because I live alone in a new place.

Here’s what I did this year:

  1. I slept in….simple enough
  2. I went to my favorite coffee shop and got a large Almond Joy Mocha because #treatyoself
  3. Drove 2 hours to go skiing (skiing is my absolute favorite thing to in the whole world)
  4. The afternoon proceeded with a few apres ski beers, a long hot shower, and general relaxation
  5. Then dinner!

Now, as a girl in her mid-20’s, this is something I find that I’m usually the minority with….and ladies….THIS HAS GOT TO CHANGE!! For dinner (on Valentine’s Day don’t forget) I went to a restaurant, sat at the bar, and ordered a delicious meal (app included) of bacon wrapped figs, New York sirloin with asparagus and mashed potatoes, topped off with two glasses of red wine. I ended the night with my favorite chocolate, another glass of wine, and Harry Potter (he’s the O.V. remember)

Steak Dinner

Treat Yo’Self Day in a nutshell is for taking the time to remember you love yourself the most! Do you want flowers? Send yourself some flowers! Do you really want to see that one movie but can’t get anyone to go with you? GO BY YOURSELF! Craving Mexican food? Go and get it! Get a massage or a pedicure, go shopping or hiking, or even pay for that yoga class you’ve been dying to try.

Take the time to give yourself everything you need to remember how awesome you are. We all have those bad days, weeks, or months where we need a reminder, and the best person to bring you back up is YOU!

YOU ARE AWESOME so TREAT YO SELF!!

[Tweet “It’s time to #treatyoself ladies! “]

Isn’t she just the best? I really lucked out by meeting her. I seriously look up to her as an inspiration of being independent and fearless (my word!)

If you’d like to follow along with her be sure to check out her Instagram. Maybe one of these days she’ll jump in the blogging ring as well, who knows!

Now tell us your thoughts on Treat Yo Self Day?

Sig

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Linkin up with Thinkin Out Loud Treat Yo’ Self Thursday

Live Life Off-Balance

I’ve been having some pretty deep existential thoughts floating around my head as of late. I always tease that I’m a pretty shallow person, and it makes for good stories and friendly banter around the office, but if I’m being really honest, I’m a deep thinker, with only the deepest of thoughts of course. An analyzer to a fault.

JB and I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago and I haven’t been able to shake it from my mind. I’ve told y’all numerous stories of me being socially awkward or feeling out of place in large crowds. And I know I’m not the only one who prefers a night in but sometimes I feel as though I let life pass me by a little too much. So I got to thinking (a dangerous thing) and here’s what i came up with.

I want 2015 to be a year of Unbalance.

 

Life Off Balance

Putting deep thoughts of any kind on the internet for strangers to read can be a pretty scary thing. But putting those deep thoughts on the internet when people in your real life read them is absolutely terrifying. Staying surface level is easy and fun and doesn’t require much courage. It’s those deep dives into the darkest parts of you that really shake up your soul.

It’s also in those deeper revelations that I’ve found some of my truest friends, both in real life and online. I’ve felt connected to others that have walked the same road I’m travailing. And in turn, I feel a release of the weight that rests on my heart and holds me captive. It’s inspired me to put more of my words to the page.

It’s in these moments that I’m grateful for summoning the courage to share and connect with y’all on here. I’ll admit I do rather enjoy the lighter topics. My blog is named the Blonder Side for a reason. But what I’m proposing to all of you is to Live Your Life Off-Balance.

step outside your comfort zone

Live your life off-balance.

Sounds pretty strange for a life motto yea?

I’m not saying you should hop around on one foot or cut one leg off all your chairs. That’d just be silly and make getting anywhere really slow and cumbersome. What I’m saying is every now and then step outside of your comfort zone.

I realize it’s called a comfort zone for a reason. Who doesn’t like to be comfy? Yoga pants as acceptable clothing in public was an idea from the Gods afterall. Being warm and toasty under the covers while snuggling with your teddy is the epitome of bliss. Curled up with a giant steaming mug of cocoa or coffee, immersing yourself into your latest book is my ideal evening. If this sounds like you then we’re basically best friends and you didn’t even know it. I love comfort and security, which is why I avoid spontaneity and large crowds.

But when was the last time you read a book that really pulled you in. I’m talking you cried, laughed, and rejoiced with the characters and they became your very dear friends? A book that really pulled you in and you were sad when you had to put it down or it was over b/c it meant leaving that world behind. Was that book about a girl drinking cocoa and reading a book in her comfy pants? I highly doubt it.

Your favorite stories involve a character actually doing something right? Usually something scary or exhilarating and learning and growing in the process. Obviously, we’re not living in a storybook world, but our life is a story. It’s your story.

Rejection sucks. Falling on your face sucks. Making mistakes can hurt. But what about those times that work out?

Sometimes, the answer is yes.

Sometimes, you get what you want.

And sometimes, the beauty is simply in the journey.

What if you fly quote

When you reach for something out of your reach, taking that faithful step off the proverbial ledge, and your fingers finally grasp hold of it. That’s where true exhilaration and happiness exist. That’s the point where I’ve achieved my greatest accomplishments, lived my greatest moments, and felt true joy. It’s the feeling that makes all the failed attempts, rejections, and no’s worth the hurt.

So this new year, instead of making resolutions to eat less or workout more. I challenge you to live off-balance instead. Being uncomfortable is ok. It only lasts but a moment, and maybe, you’ll find greater happiness then you’ve ever known.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tell me something that scares you and how you’re going to make 2015 you’re best year yet?

Sig

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