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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How to Make Friends in Your 20’s

I have such a fun post for y’all today!

Remember Jess? You know, my uber cool friend who somehow still likes me despite my homebody grandma personality? She also wrote here before about Treating Your Self, which if you’re not doing already you need to start Immediately!

Also to answer the wedding questions, no we don’t have a date (but possibly our venue so it’s tbd very soon, eek!) also no I haven’t looked at dresses or caterers or wedding favors or anything else you want to ask me about. Wedding planning is awesome and fun but choosing is hard. First world problems yo….

Anyway, without further ado, take it away Jess!

How to make friends in 20s

Hey Everyone!
It’s been a while since I have written for Kelsey, and to be honest, she asked me to do this in August but I’m such a procrastinator that I didn’t get it done…hence the reason I will never be a real blogger. But anyways, since you’ve last heard from me (a year ago) I have gone from traveling job that had me hopping place to place, to permanent job at an amazing hospital in Seattle, WA. I could not be happier with my decision to land in this city, even with it being so far away from my New England home. Which is what brings us to today’s topic: tips for making new friends in your 20s and beyond.  This can be a hard thing to do, but it is possible, and hopefully this will help!

Disclaimer: I am an extrovert, and kind of pride myself on bringing introverts out of their shells when I can. So if you are an extrovert, these will be tips on how to work it, and for all you introverts, hopefully this will help you feel more comfortable out of your shell.

Focus on your interests

By the time you are 24, most people know what things they are interested in whether it be fitness, reading, outdoor adventures, board games, computer games, dancing, and general debauchery. You at least have an idea of what makes you happy and like to do. And if you like it, I can guarantee that there is someone else out there who likes those things too.  So do your research online, talk about the things you like to do with coworkers, if you see someone doing something you like, go talk to them (if they give you a weird look, who cares, you are just being friendly) Also, I highly recommend the website meetup.com for groups that get together to do said interests.

Say yes

This is my number one go to rule. It’s the most proven (personally at least) way to meet cool people and form amazing friendships. If you get an invitation that sounds interesting, just say yes. Whether it be an invite to a party full of people you may not know, out to a drink with someone you’ve only had a few conversations with before, or for a walk on a nice day (or in the rain too!) just say yes.
Simple right? ( the answer is YES!)

Be yourself

How do you expect to make authentic friendships if you aren’t being your authentic self? This is also a simple one.

Get out there!

Go! Out of your house! Grab someone and go somewhere, or go by yourself. Sit at the bar, eavesdrop and butt into interesting conversations (you know you are listening anyways). Go for a walk or run and stop to pet someone’s dog, social interaction is important. Even if these random encounters don’t go anywhere, they will get you more comfortable with talking to people, I’m looking at you introverts! Even if it’s out of your comfort zone, set a goal for even 1 time a week to get out of the house and do something social.

Use Connections

A friend of a friend could be your next BFF and you just don’t even know it yet. If there’s someone who you think you would hit it off with, don’t be afraid to use you connections, personal or digital, to reach out. I mean come on, I know you are Facebook and Instagram stalking them anyways.

Routine

Did you make a new friend that you want to make sure sticks around? Make dates, see each other, plan things, and then use each other to make even more awesome friends!

Give Zero Craps

Not to be rude here, which I am also not saying you should be, but seriously, the less you stress about what you are doing, or what you look like or are perceived as to other people, the easier it will be to complete any of the other steps. Know that you as you are right now, is an Awesome person, and go share that with the world. If you meet someone and they don’t see it, then it’s their loss.

So those are the general rules, I have been using these a lot recently, and have formed an amazing variety and strong groups of friends in Seattle, in just 7 months. So take the plunge, get yourself out there, and surround yourself with people as amazing as you!

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How to Use Google Analytics to Target Your Audience

Hey Hey Party People!

Right in line with wanting to really focus on growing my blog this Fall, comes with actually finding out who exactly is reading my blog in the first place? I know those who are commenting. Generally speaking they’re my Blog Peeps, my Tribe, my Community. (Hey Alyssa and Kristen! They rock, go check them out.)

Anyway, I really wanted to dive deeper into really understanding my audience and thought you might like to follow along and learn a bit for yourself. So I created a guide on how to use Google Analytics to target your audience.

Want to find out who's really reading your blog? Here's a simple how-to to use Google Analytics to find out exactly who's reading your blog and how to use it to tailor your content to increase your following.

I used Google Analytics to find all this information out, but on a day-to-day basis I really only look at my Jetpack features in WordPress. To be honest, I’m mainly looking at stats to find out which topics are actually being read and seem to create more comments and interest. For the most part I’m gonna write what I want to. Blogger’s gotta blog ya know.

STEP ONE: Who’s Reading Your Blog?

Once in Google Analytics, scroll down on the left side until you find the Demographics tab under Audience. This will show you age, gender, and interests.

Using google analytics to improve your blog

As you can see my main reader falls between 25-34, only slightly edging out the 18-24. This makes perfect sense seeing as how I myself fall into the 25-34 group.

What I found super surprising was that I have a majority of male readers versus female ones?!?!?!?! Say What??? I’m assuming this is because a great many of those readers are clicking over to my Quest Bar post, but maybe they just want to get in touch with their feminine side, who knows lol.

BlonderSide Analytics

Looking at Countries, the US comes in first as no big shocker, with Canada and the UK coming second and third.  Slightly more surprising is that Singapore made the top 10 with China not too far behind. Germany came in ninth, but with a Father living there who reads daily, my guess is he’s my ONLY German reader lol

I also looked more in depth on US geography for kicks and giggles. Apparently I’ve got a fan base in LA? California readers take the cake for the top spot, with New York coming in second and Texas rounding out the third spot.

STEP TWO: How Did They Get Here?

Another important thing to look at is how are people finding your blog? What made them click over to your site? This can be found under Aquisition, then overview and channels.

BlonderSide Analytics

Again, as you can see, most people visiting my blog are coming from an organic search. While this is awesome that I show up so high in the Google Search Results, I haven’t been very good at converting those people into returning readers though. #BlogGoals

You can also find what keywords are bringing people to your blog. Following suite, you can see that it is indeed my Quest Bar post that brings the boys to my yard….

BlonderSide Analytics

I also looked into referral sources, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Even though the bulk of my traffic comes from organic searches, this is still great information to know to focus on growing those referral rates. I looked at overall and then took out organic searches to see the next top sources. As you can see, Kristen is my #10 referral source, thanks girl!

STEP THREE: How Long Are They Staying?

I’m the first to admit that this one is slightly embarrassing to show you. You’ll notice that people aren’t staying around long and they’re really only looking at the first page they land on. More goals to work on anyway.

BlonderSide Analytics

My results are again skewed from the Quest post that brings in hundreds of people to my blog for that very small niche post, but you can still get the gist of finding out for your own blog.

So there ya have it. Now you know who’s reading your blog, where they’re coming from, and how long they’re staying. You can now use this information to focus your content more to fit your reader.

If you’re like me and had a viral post that wasn’t right in line with your content, you can either brainstorm ideas on how to convert those readers (that’s my plan) or just leave it be as a good traffic source (don’t choose this one…lol)

Did you learn anything new? Who’s reading your blog?

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Back to Blogging Supplies

Welcome to Monday Friends!

And the last day in August, say what?

With Back to School upon us, and no school for me to go back to for the first time in my 26 years (second if you count the break I took between undergrad and grad school but it’s less dramatic that way….).

I’m feelin all left out of the back to school fervor and decided to create me own season of excitement! Summer is always a slower time in BlogLandia for most people, myself included. Summer is the season when blogs die and Fall seems to revive them and bring many new ones to fruition.

It’s a great time to breathe a little life back into your blog. Shake out those summer cobwebs and drink all the PSL’s in your sweaters and boots while frolicking through the leaves. Don’t question it, it’s just what we do.

Back to Blogging Supplies

I’ve created a little Back to Blogging Supplies shopping list just for you to make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running this Fall to reach your blogging goals. After all, you only have 4 more months before you’re 2015 resolutions don’t count anymore.

I had entirely way too much fun shopping for “blog” supplies. I searched high and low (ahem, Target) to find everything I needed.

>> First you need a planner.

Back to Blogging Supplies

 

I’ve gone the two planner route where I have a life planner and a blog planner but I end up using only the one planner anyway. My sister gifted me the Ban.do planner for my birthday and I couldn’t love it any more. It’s got a monthly view, weekly view, and plenty of notes sections for me to jot things down. I’ve already filled an entire page for September with the things I want to accomplish during my Blog Staycation. (Join us? Tell em I sent ya)

>> Next you need a small notebook, pad of paper, post-it notes, etc.

IMG_0205

I carry my planner with me to and from work but sometimes when I’m out running errands or something non-work related, I may not have my bag with me but still need something to jot my ideas in. This is the perfect size and slips right down into any purse I may have with me for my adventures.

>> Next up is a cute folder.

Back to blogging supplies

I’m not exactly anti-technology. Duh, I write on the internet everyday. However, I’m definitely old school when it comes to my planning. I like to physically write it down. With that said I like to print things out to write on them. I currently have a monthly stat tracker (I do have on online as well) and a worksheet to brainstorm how to transform my most popular posts into more ideas, a potential series, or an expansion post.

[Tweet “No School? No worries, here’s a Back to Blogging Supply List for your BEST season of blogging yet!”]

>>This leads me to the most important item….CUTE PENCILS!

Mostly kidding, but I got mine at Target in their dollar section. I’m a bit more cheap when it comes to my pens though. I tend to collect them from hotels and use those forever. Kacey pointed it out in one of my Instagram photos haha.  I’m fancy 😉

>> A cute DIY clipboard is a necessity for those papers you’ll be writing on.

Back to blogging supplies

This is a must for me seeing as how the only real adult piece of furniture I own is a small bar stool height dining table. Sitting at the table isn’t the most comfy all the time so I like to work in bed sometimes. A clipboard makes this possible. #lifegoals

I also suggest a few helpful apps on your phone or tablet, whatever you do your blogging biz on. With my laptop being uncooperative after I poured water on it (how rude) I do most of my work on my ipad. Favorite Apps? VscoCam, WatermarkLite, Buffer, and of course Latergramme.

So there ya have my basic blogging supplies for making this Fall my most productive and awesome season of blogging yet!

What are your must have items for blogging? Anything to add to my list?

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Mint Oreo Baked Donuts

Hello Friends!

Did everyone have a great Easter weekend? I most certainly did! Minus the whole Kentucky losing is a disastrous manner and being horribly upset about it…..I lead a very shallow life.

Anyway, since I don’t like dwelling on negative things, and college basketball games are clearly the most temperamental of things, I decided to bake away my sorrow.

So, today I have another donut recipe for y’all. As if your waistline needed more donuts right before the start of Summer. You’re welcome. 🙂

mint oreo baked donuts

If you remember the last batch of baked donuts I made during a Snowmageddon week,  you’ll know that I absolutely LOVE donuts. Like love, love. Like why don’t ya marry em love. Sorry JB. Because of this great love, I hardly ever eat them. It makes total sense. See if you love something, you shouldn’t eat them. That rule mainly applies to people, but I’ve extended it for my own well-being in this case.

Anyway, once I had my donut pan, I could hardly just let it sit around could I? That’d just be rude. So I broke it out again and possibly one-upped myself in the best way…..Mint Oreo Donuts……

mint oreo baked donuts

Oh yea, only the best for my waistline 🙂

You can completely ignore my poor photos, and just picture them in your head. here, let me help you out a bit……

The most perfect cake donut, filled with Oreo crumbs baked right in, and chunks of the minty creme icing all silky and melty, topped with a mint chocolate frosting and smothered in even More Oreo crumbs……..

[Tweet “Perfect every time Mint Oreo Baked Donuts #baking #donuts #sweettooth”]

Salivating yet? If you’re part of the Taliban and don’t like mint, you can always use your own personal favorite flavor of Oreo as well. Or heck, get crazy with it and use the original you Animal you.

mint oreo baked donuts

Mint Oreo Baked Donuts

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • t tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter (but cooled!!)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 9 Oreos smashed to a pulp!
  • 5-6 other Oreos broken up for topping

For the Icing I used this recipe from last time. You could always use white chocolate for contrast, or white plus green dye to stay in theme. I decided not to simply b/c I wanted as much Oreo on top anyway, so the icing doesn’t hardly show.

First set your oven to 325 F. I didn’t bother spraying my donut pan (teflon) and had zero problems getting the donuts out, but feel free to use your own judgement here. Mix dry ingredients together and then mix the wet ingredients. Add dry to wet and mix well. Next smash your 9 Oreos as finely as you can, unless you’d like some extra chunk in the batter as well, that’s cool too. Mix in.

I simply used a large ziploc bag with the tip cut off because y’all know I’m not that fancy around these parts. Spoon all you batter in, then pipe into donut pan (about 3/4 full just like muffins or cupcakes)

Bake about 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. They’ll be tinted slightly green if you used mint Oreos so you can’t exactly tell when they’re lightly brown on the edges. Slide them right out of the pan and let them cool  for a few minutes before dunking them in your icing bowl, then Oreo crumb bowl to finish them off.

Boom done!

It’s as simple as that folks! You’ve just made your own sinfully delicious donuts to enjoy with your morning cup o’ Joe!

Anyone else every tried donuts before? Have any flavor combos you’d like me to try?

Sound off in the comments below and be sure to share!

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Linkin up with Meatless Mondays & Weekending

Hemp Hearts Review + Giveaway

Why look-ey here, I’m posting on a Thursday!

You can be sure I’m still tucked away in bed reading a book on this snow day in Kentucky. That makes snow day #6 in case you were wondering. Well #6 if you’re only counting weekdays, it’d be snow day #10 if we include weekends. Point Mother Nature.

Anyway, I was given the opportunity to receive and review Hemp Hearts from Manitoba Harvest through my association with FitApproach (thanks ladies!). When I told my Mom I got some hemp hearts to try, her first reaction was understandably to be worried for my soul since “hemp” is used in the growing of cannabis (if you didn’t know that already just ignore it) I can promise you though that this Hemp, is not That hemp. Well it is a product of that hemp but it’s not involved with cannabis at all and oh my goodness I’m quickly going down a rabbit hole here let’s get back on topic…..

hemp hearts

Hemp hearts, also known as hemp seeds are a great natural source of protein, essential fats, and vitamins while being low in carbs, sugar, and saturated fat. Per serving they have 10grams of plant-based protein and 10grams of Omegas. #fueledbyhemp amiright?

hemp hearts

Science aside, how do they taste? Absolutely delicious is how! Seriously, I went out and bought yogurt just so i could eat more hemp hearts. I don’t even really Eat yogurt!!

Seriously though, they’re kinda nutty and I don’t know, just plain good. Plus they add texture to yogurt which for me is a plus. I’ve also added them to granola I’ve made, or maybe even smoothies?? Not sure on that one.

hemp hearts

So why hemp hearts. Sure they’re good for you and taste delicious, but what else? Benefits have been seen in those with:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol levels
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetics
  • pregnant or lactating mothers
  • low-carb diets

There’s a host of other benefits as well so why not try a bag of your own? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win! Also be sure to check out their website for more details!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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**I received this product for review in association with FitApproach but all opinions are my own**

How to Be a Proper 20-Something

Welcome to the Secret Blogger Club Friends!

I wrote the other day about my Half-Birthday, and amidst the well-wishes (I ate all the half-birthday cake don’t worry) I got to thinkin….

Being half-way through my 20’s, I feel this gives me a fair perspective on the whole 20-something thing. Granted I’m not really your typical 20-something which is pretty plain to everyone. But the fact that I am numerically categorized as one of them, I deduce this gives me all the credit and authority to talk about them like an expert…..Also I blog so am an expert at talking about things, duh.

Being a 20-something really is actually pretty hard. I mean eat, sleep, watch Netflix, repeat every day isn’t the only thing we have to keep track of. There’s a distinct difference between being in your early 20’s and being in your late 20’s. Not to mention the insanity that is 25.

There are a few blanket things that bond all 20-something together however….

Proper 20-something

*Warning, this post is full of lots of sarcasm and shameless links to my own social media accounts. All follows help boost my fragile 20-something ego and self-importance. Thank you in advance.

1. Use Hashtags. Don’t feel limited by social media either. I mean literally say hashtags out loud. Yolo, throwbackthursday, mancrushmonday, ByeFelicia…you get my drift. You will say these things in daily conversation and only a 20-something (or blogger) will be able to decipher it. The more hashtags you use the better and more in-the-know you really are. How else will people know that you’re the Queen of Social Media??

2. Repeat after me…..Leggings Are Pants. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Pants with actual structure and pockets are for old people and you Miss. are neither old nor considered an actual contribution to society yet, so you have no need for those. I have to warn you against not covering your booty though…always cover the booty…..

3. Netflix is your BFF. Or BF for the majority of your early 20’s as well. I realize the euphoria that is Netflix transcends the boundaries of age, but having a full and loving relationship with Netflix is key for a 20-something. It will be one of your longest and most  fulfilling relationships afterall.

4. Selfies are King. You can never take too many selfies. Selfie in the morning. Selfie at lunch. Selfie at your grandmother’s funeral, say what? (this actually happened…..ppl are weird…..and disrespectful…..) Selfies are a lot of hard work and getting the perfect one may take up to several hundreds takes. Don’t let this discourage you…One day it’ll pay-off when you become Instagram famous.

5. Panic That You’re Behind. B/c you are. You’re not married yet? What’s wrong with you, do you want to die alone? Oh you say you are married but don’t have kids yet? You know you’re not getting any younger and neither is your uterus. You’re still living at home you failure? Don’t have a house, job, car, boat, private jet, or platinum selling album at the top of the charts? Think all these thoughts at once and you’ve nailed it! Anxiety-ville here we come!

Oh, and apparently you’re only doing it right if you drink all the wine….Or so I’m told….

[Tweet “Are you being a proper 20-something? Now you can know for sure! #20something”]

I hope this post has helped some of you learn how to be a proper 20-something. I know I feel much better now that I’m gotten my thoughts out into the internet b/c I only have big and important things to say and everyone should read them…… #winning

What’s your best tip on being a 20-something? (sarcastic or otherwise)

Now link up!

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