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The Happy Type
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The Happy Type
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The Page Girls

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It’s not every day that I get introduced to an amazing site featuring and run by a talented group of women who are literary powerhouses, so you can imagine my excitement when The Page Girls came along and reached out to me. If you love thoughtful and creative writing, but haven’t heard about The Page Girls then get ready to fall in love with The Page Girls’ female driven and focused content. On The Page Girls website you’ll come across not only well-written musings on life, friendships, love, amazing cocktail recipes, and womanhood, but will also be treated to thought provoking fiction and essays.

Get your feet wet with these writing samples The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

I’m a fan of empowered women who know what they want and are willing to work to make their dreams a reality and for me that makes The Page Girls a winning combination. This week is The Page Girls birthday week and to kick it off and spread the word all kinds of giveaways are going down and I even get to help hand out some of the literary swag!

Page-Girls-PrizesHere’s a calendar so you can totally stalk what The Page Girls have going on in terms of birthday celebrations.

Btw, the prize I’m talking about was written by one of the founders of The Page Girls. As a matter of fact all of the founding women of The Page Girls have written a book. How freaking cool is that? Like I said, women making it happen.

So join me in showing The Page Girls some love and let’s get this giveaway underway!

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Book Description:

There are days that you can’t believe, and then there days that are unbelievable.

Juniper has been on the edge of social circles all her life, skirting the line between being a normal teenage girl and an all-too-aware young adult. Always armed with a camera, Juni expresses herself through her photos, with her current favorite subjects being Carrie, her best friend, and Darius, a mysteriously charming boy on the soccer team.

When she accidentally stumbles across something that wasn’t meant to be photographed, her once somewhat normal life is suddenly ripped from her. Now, fitting in with the crowd is a matter of survival.

And when Carrie goes missing, Juni turns to Darius for help. But as they grow closer, a bigger mystery starts to unfold – one involving conspiracy, the paranormal, and an impending war for the souls of everyone she knows.

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A peek at the letterpress goodies up for grabs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Rules:

1. Winner will be notified within 24 hours of winning and will have 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond  a new winner will be chosen. 2. All entries will be thoroughly checked. If entries are falsified a new winner will be chosen. 3. Letterpress coasters will be mailed by The Page Girls from NYC as soon as winner is verified.

 

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Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


How To Pack For Australia

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Today is an awesome day for any of my readers who are international travelers with an eye on Australia, because Shane from Whispering Sweet Nothings is hooking us up with the ultimate packing list for going to Oz. Shane is about to embark on a big move to Australia and has been there before so her advice is solid and tested. If you enjoy Shane’s list of packing do’s and don’ts then I hope you swing by her blog, Whispering Sweet Nothings. Shane’s blog is full of her daily musings on life, recipes, and details her adventures both abroad and at home. I love Shane’s writing style because she’s got a great sense of humor and it really comes across in her writing, but Shane isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and incredibly candid as well so if you’re looking to add to your blogroll Whispering Sweet Nothings is a must.
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How is it possible for this girl to fit 4 seasons and 12 months of clothes in a couple suitcases when I move to Australia? Heck, I could barely remember the essentials for a week in Nicaragua! Forgetting toothpaste, hair brush, cash, and sunscreen…you know, the necessities. Yet managed to remember ten sundresses, 5 rompers, 4 swimsuits, and my fedora. My lesson has been learned, it pays to be prepared!
 

Basic rule of thumb: Less is more!

Travel blogs are telling me to pack my bags “half-full” so I will have plenty of room to fill my suitcases with all the clothes and souvenirs I acquire throughout the year. The mindset is that you are coming to a country to “fill yourself up” and it will all be there when you get back. You are going to have to carry whatever you pack by yourself, so leave behind half of what you think you need.

My list may vary from a typical traveler, as I need business attire for my 9-5 and I will be taking an extended year long stay (but still consider it traveling since I still have a home in Ohio)

In the office

 

Let practicality be your guide!

If you plan carefully so that all articles of clothing mix and match, you can create plenty of different outfits from a minimum number of items.  Lay out everything you
want to pack on the bed before packing the suitcase, making sure that each piece of clothing can be worn with at least 2 other items. Then fill in the
holes with bold, colorful accessories (scarves, 
jewelry, hats, bags).

Pack neutrals.

This can expand belong just black and white. Think grey, olive green, navy
blue, and tan with a layering tank or tee in a color with some zing. 
Build from there using a handful of foundation pieces. Add patterns and prints in the same tones so everything isn’t boring and monotone.  Use the same pieces in every outfit to maximize space, but wear them in different ways so that no one really notices.

Layer up!

Weather can vary quite a bit throughout the day and from town to town.  Bring lots of layers to
fill in the gaps and stay warm. They are thin, and easily roll up and fit into
the crevices in your bag. Long tanks, short sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, and
cardigans are great for staying cozy. Plus, layering gives you the versatility
to change up your outfits by swapping out different pieces for a totally new
style each time.
 
 

 

Weekend Chill


Pre-travel

✓ Check individual airlines for international limits on weight, size, and number of bags. Typically, you are allowed two checked pieces + one carry on item, with a small purse/camera/laptop.


✓ Clearly identify your luggage with your name, US and overseas address. Colored makes it easy to identify among similar baggage.

 

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Carry On

Should contain all the necessities to live for two days in the event the airline loses your luggage. 
✓ A change of clothes

✓ Toiletries in TSA approved 3 oz sizes.

✓ Prescriptions

✓ Gum: avoid the ear popping

✓ Important documents (passports, ID’s, visas, arrival instructions) along with copies in case they go missing

✓ Kindle Fire: rather than hauling bulky books, have hundreds of books right at your fingertips!

✓ Laptop (transfer all your important documents and photos to a hardrive you leave at home in case your computer breaks down)

✓ Digital camera

✓ Travel size stain remover

✓ Chargers (phone, camera, Kindle, laptop)

✓ $100 in local currency for when you first arrive

 

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Check it!

✓ 10 pairs of underwear and socks. I’m the kind of girl that will do laundry based on my underwear supply.

✓ 6 bras- 2 everyday, a strapless, a backless, a convertible, a push-up

✓ 2 swimsuits- I’ll be living on Manly Beach, after all.

✓ One business suit

✓ 10 business casual outfits

✓ 2 pairs of shorts

✓ 5 sundresses

✓ Shoes: One tennis shoes, two sandals, one heels, two flats

✓ Sunglasses

✓ One pair of jeans

✓ 3 pairs of leggings/yoga pants

✓ One set of PJ’s (honestly, I prefer to sleep in the nude)

✓ One lightweight jacket. I won’t need much winter gear as weather in Sydney is fairly temperate.

✓ Makeup. Buy all other toiletries there to avoid taking up space

✓ Bold statement accessories to make your limited wardrobe more versatile
✓ Electric outlet adapters 

✓ International voltage convertors (laptop)

Space Saving Tips

✓ Bring expendable items that you can pitch before heading back to the states (think old workout shirts)
 

✓ Fold your shirts in half, then roll them up with a rubber band. They will stay wrinkle free and take up half the space. Win/win!
✓ Pack thin knits and light cottons which don’t add much weight
 

✓ Pack in the nooks and crannies between fragile items and roll socks and scarves in shoes
 

✓ Use a purse with a cross-body strap to prevent pick pocketing  
 

✓ Choose light weight luggage so you aren’t burdened with overweight bag fees every time you travel. 
 

 

Leave Behind!

✖ Hairdryer and flat iron. The electrical current in Australia is 240/250 volts, in the US, it is 110 volts. You will not only need an adapter to plug in your appliance, you will also need either a transformer and adapter plug, or a dual voltage appliance which can be switched from 110 to 240 volts. 

✖ Bedding, linens, kitchenware
✖ Industrial size shampoo and body wash
Dry clean only clothing
✖ Phone cards (less expensive in Australia)

Find a customized packing list no matter your destination!

This is beginning to feel all to real. Hold me while I sob tears of excitement and anxiousness. There is no doubt I will acquire a lifetime worth of memories in 12 short months.

Keep up with Shane’s adventure down under!
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Start The Week Strong

Starting the week strong isn’t easy because on the real Mondays are hard. I’m a firm believer in the power of words and whenever I’m in need of a boost reading, speaking, and even thinking positive mantras are the first step of me getting down to business. There’s something about a new week that can be rejuvenating but also daunting when you’ve got a to-do list a mile long and because of that I wanted to share some inspiration sure to give you the boost you needs to hit the week running. Take a minute and remember to breath because with some perseverance and a few reminders you’ve got all the tools you need to knock this week out.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of inspiration and that in some small way it’ll put the extra something in your step that you need to not only persevere through the week, but to accomplish everything you set out to do with passion and drive. If you are intentional in your actions then your life will follow suit. Let these words be the fuel that gets you going on the right track this week!

Say Yes

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Today I just wanted to send out a little reminder to everyone to say yes to themselves today. Right now I’m working through a lot of uncertainty and I have found myself saying no, putting things off and being more cautious about things which is very unlike me. Somehow I started limiting myself unnecessarily in the name of waiting for the “right” time.

No time is the right time. You have to take a chance and MAKE it the right time, otherwise you’ll be left with a whole lot of unspent potential and should-haves. Don’t limit yourself. Say yes more to yourself and get out there. There’s nothing wrong about caution or prudence, but you aren’t meant to be on the sidelines of things. Sometimes you just have to take that chance and go after not only what you want but also what must be done.

Bye-bye, procrastination because that really is just a way of telling yourself no. Nobody has time to wait for tomorrow because it might not come so let’s take a deep breath and tell ourself yes, even when it comes to doing the things we don’t want to do. If we get through the things we have to do, the things that we don’t think are fun, then we’ll be able to move on to the things we do enjoy. I always feel like I’m in a funk when I have a list a mile long weighing me down and the relief that I have when I actually get everything out of the way is amazing. I sleep better, I write better, I’m nicer, heck, even food tastes better.

I’m saying yes today (even to the really not so fun stuff) and I hope you will too. You’ve got a lot to offer the world, all you have to do is stop holding yourself back, so say yes and let’s get a move on this.

Tips For Planning A Staycation

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Summer is all about amazing warm weather, enjoying a little break from the daily grind with vacation trips with your loved ones, but what about when money is tight or your just isn’t giving you the vacation days you need for that European whirlwind of a trip you’ve been daydreaming about? That’s when it’s time to look local and plan a staycation, my vacation starved homie. Today I’m teaming up with Kim from A Moving Story and we are sharing our best tips for making the most out of summer with a relaxing and fun-filled staycation that will help you enjoy all that summer has to offer.

Explore Historic Districts

I’m a sucker for history and with my husband being in the service we have moved around quite a bit and one thing that has been consistent is that every place we live has a “historic” district in town or somewhere nearby. I usually hit Trip Advisor to see what other people have flagged around me or I visit the National Park Service website and check out their directory especially for places and tips for travelers. I have found some of the best stuff that I never knew was just a 10 or so minutes down the road from my new home.

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Ever heard of the Ava Maria Grotto? Neither had I but it’s hanging out in the middle of Alabama and is some of the coolest handmade art that I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Go on a Treasure Hunt Geocache Style

Ok, so when I used to do a lot of outdoor running I used to find these little tags on trees way out in the middle of no where or little notices on rocks way out in the prairie and I never knew what they were for until one of my running partners let me know they were geocache nodes. If you’ve never heard of geocaching its pretty much a giant treasure hunt that is free and open for ANYONE to play, whenever they want. It goes like this: You first nee a GPS enabled device so your smartphone will do just fine, then you download the geocache app particular to your area which will have a set of coordinates all ready for you to start with. You then navigate to these coordinates and look for the geocache container that has more coordinates for you to continue on your treasure hunt. What’s fun is that you can even create your own geocache and see how people do finding it. I’m kind of a nerd so going Harrison Ford while out on a run was pretty much perfect for me and this thing is FREE and fun for any size of group that’s ready for a local adventure. Here’s a guide on getting down and dirty with your first geocache outing. Sidenote: You can usually just google geocaching in your area and the great thing is that most of them come with apps connected to the national parks that they might be in which can be super helpful.

Pig Out With An Indoor Picnic

One of my husband and my favorite things to do is to have an indoor picnic where we just round-up every single thing that we could want. Think like a YOLO meal on steroids. (Yes, I said YOLO) We then make room in the living room and get our set up just right with cushions and blankets while we lay out all the goodies and just spend a while eating and laughing with each other because I’ll take climate-controlled picnics over fighting with hungry ants and crazed bees any day of the week.

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Chicken, beer, oreos, grapes and kimbop make for a the best indoor picnic ever.

Book a Massage

I can’t say enough about massages because they make the world go around and my heart happy. A family friend owns their own massage place and dear lord we keep them in business with our visits. You’ll be surprised at how rejuvenated and relaxed an hour with a trained masseur will leave you feeling. So book your massage and relax part of the day away because you deserved it!

Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

Usually when we move to a new place I’m on the look out for classes to try, farmer’s markets to visit, or well- reviewed restaurants to try so I encourage you to break out of your routine because it’s the routine of things that is bogging you down and making your city seem like the same old, same old. The first thing I did when I got to my new home in Georgia was find the nearest Korean restaurant and get directions to the Asian market in town and man that was a great day trip. We made new friends, got cooking tips, and even got some info on where we could get Korean food on the go during the weekends. Approaching grocery shopping like it was more than just a rush to get in and out really made the whole experience worth it and just what my day needed.

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I am after finding my local Asian market with as much Gochujang that I can carry.

And now I get to introduce Kim to y’all and get her thoughts on how she makes a Staycation work with a family! Kim is a wonderful wife, mother and blogger. Her blog A Moving Story is packed full of great travel destinations both domestic and abroad. Check out how Kim makes the summer memorable and happy with her family even when she isn’t leaving her city.

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I was so excited when Crystal suggested the idea of a story on “Staycations”—inexpensive vacations that you can enjoy right where you are. The truth is, there’s no place like home, and one of the most fun things you can do is be a tourist in your own hometown!

Sometimes, it’s important to abandon the routine and rigor of our everyday lives and take a moment to be purposeful and enjoy the activities and adventures in our own backward. Below, are my tips for an awesome staycation. Please feel free to suggest your own! I’d love to add to the list!

 Get Your Groupon On!

Your staycation shouldn’t break the bank—and it should also encourage you to explore areas that you wouldn’t usually visit. I like to leverage deals from Groupon and Living Social to consider activities and opportunities in the area that you haven’t explored before. Leveraging published discounts can encourage you to explore activities outside your comfort zone at a reasonable price! It’s a low-cost way to experience a new adventure and support a local business too!

Incredibly, Groupon is promoting staycations now. They’re running a promotion offering a contest entry for every local Groupon you buy or redeem between now and 8/24, you’ll get one automatic entry. Each week, 15 lucky winners will receive a $500 cash prize and one luckier winner will receive a $50,000 Grand Prize!! How cool is that?

 Pack A Picnic

My hometown is full of parks and picnic shelters. Many of our area parks rent boats, sailboats, kayaks and canoes. Area parks and picnic shelters are an affordable way to enjoy the natural beauty of your community.

Normally, I’m pretty busy and don’t make the time to pack a picnic–even if I make time to visit the park. But here’s the deal: it’s summer, and shame on you if you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to eat outside and enjoy the beauty of your area parks! We recently packed a picnic dinner and attended an outdoor concert—it was a fun opportunity to do something different and gather up some of the food from our fridge and make a purposeful effort to eat it! We had a blast and you will too!

Check Out Your Library!

My mom is a librarian, so I had to tell you to go to the library. BUT— her library, and many others like it across the country offer awesome, low-cost or free access to area museums and art galleries if you have a library card! Her program is called the, “The Michigan Activity Pass” program (MAP). This program is a statewide partnership that offers enhanced access to arts and cultural organizations in Michigan, and all you need to take advantage of it is a library card!

The other cool thing?

You don’t have to leave home to use it! From your home you can easily print a pass to one of the nearly 60 participating institutions. We had a similar program with the library system when I lived in Minneapolis, and I suggest checking with your library to see if you have one too! Some partners offer complimentary or reduced price admission; others, discounts in their gift shop. To keep things fair, the passes do have an end date, but with advance planning you should be able to plan an exciting adventure at a reasonable cost!

Disconnect To Better Connect

My husband doesn’t like this philosophy, but I’m inflexible on this point: when we’re on a staycation, all phones must go into airplane mode! I prefer a device-free holiday (although admittedly, from time-to-time you do need Google Maps or the camera feature on your phone to capture the moment). Often, the hardest part of reconnecting while vacationing at home is disconnecting from the technology and chaos of our everyday lives. But a staycation only works when you ignore the distractions of your otherwise crazy and busy everyday life.

Enjoy A Movie Without Leaving The House!

In our home, we love to watch first-run movies in our living room. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy a first-run film. We love the smorgasbord of of favorite snacks, and watching movies in our pajamas and sweats! And while purchasing a movie for $14.99 on iTunes may seem steep, it’s much cheaper than movie tickets and treats at the theatre!

Keep up with A Moving Story

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My Blogging Essentials

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When it comes to blogging there are a few things that I would be lost without and today I wanted to share my blogging essentials with you. Seriously, without these babies I’d be a hot mess afloat in blog land. I made sure to include my absolute favorite things covering blog ads, images, keeping up with blogs I love, and of course getting my social media organized. You might not be struck by anything particularly revolutionary but I’ve been asked more than a few times which resources I’ve found to be useful so I thought why not share them in one handy post.

After all sharing is caring, right?

Blogs Ads

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When it comes to handling blog ads I am an unabashed Passionfruit Ads devotee and I can’t even begin to tell you how much time Passionfruit has saved me. Without Passionfruit Ads I would have never made the leap and offered blog sponsorships because the whole business of rotating ads, getting the html just right, and getting my payment options all in a row just seemed daunting. Now with one copy past and a click I’ve got all my ads just how I want them and all appropriately scheduled to go. If you’ve been debating wether or not to jump on the Passionfruit bandwagon stop wondering and jump on board. I swear that you’ll never look back and the great thing is that if you’re a smaller blogger and looking to get your feet wet Passionfruit offers an affordable price option (we are talking 3 bucks a month!) perfect for starting out.

Images

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Ok, so when it comes to images I usually try and take my own because it’s just so much easier that way. I get to inject some of my personality and vision into my blog, plus I don’t have to deal with copyright infringement. However, I like to peruse other websites for inspiration and there are a couple of instances where I was struck by an image that was just too perfect so Death To Stock Photo and Little Visuals have become my go-to image sources when I’m not making camera magic. The great thing about Death To Stock Photo and Little Visuals is that with a sign up you can get 7 awesome images delivered to your inbox. These images are yours to play with and get just right for your blog without having to worry about breaking a copyright law. YAY. Sidenote: Death To Stock Photo delivers photos monthly and Little Visuals weekly and you can access all of Little Visuals photos on the website if you want more of a selection.

Keeping With My Favorite Blogs

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This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but Bloglovin’ has my heart always and forever, but that was to be expected. After rolling my eyes at GFC and making the switch to WordPress I really don’t see why any other blog RSS is needed. Plus, it has an app that actually works like it should so GAME OVER.

Social Media

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For a time I was all about Hootsuite, but then I got my hands on Buffer and its been a revelation. I love Buffer because I’m able to schedule out things throughout the day while attaching photos. I used to be paranoid that I was going to run that fine line of spamming on my twitter so the automatic time spacing of Buffer puts my mind at ease. Also, I love the feedback that it gives you which is critical in determining your best times for social media interactions.

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Revive Old Post is kind of a magical little fairy of a WordPress plugin that I wonder how I got along without before I stumbled on it. All you do is install this handy plugin and it automatically cycles through your old content at random and posts it periodically throughout the day. I set my own to repost every 4 hours and since I’ve utilized it my twitter has been seeing a lot more traffic and interaction. I love that it shares at random because sometimes it’s hard to remember everything I’ve blogged.

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Hello Bar is one of those snazzy things that you see on a lot of blogs, but no one really mentions and it took me some digging to figure out how people got that sweet little bar at the top of their blog. The great thing about Hello Bar is that not only can you change the color scheme and look to match your blog, but you can also set it to take your reader anywhere and I used mine to direct readers straight to my Bloglovin’. Hello Bar is completely free, looks professional, and allows you to draw attention to an area of your web presence that you feel deserves a second look so what’s not to love?

Text + Photos

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Anything that I’ve ever tried to make with photoshop resembles a stick figure crudely made in MS Paint and that is my curse to bear. So praise the Lord for anything that will let me put some snappy text on an image or get my giveaway photos all in order because holy heck that stuff is TIME CONSUMING. Picmonkey is my saving grace and I know a lot of bloggers use it and that it is sometimes looked down on by the more design savvy, but it’s really useful. I love Picmonkey and I have no shame.

Comments

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There’s a wide variety to chose from when it comes to commenting systems and that means that with a little digging you’ll be able to select the system best suited for your blog and personality. I personally love to encourage discussion between not only myself and readers, but amongst readers and that makes Disqus the obvious choice for me. Not only is Disqus perfect for getting a discussion going in the comment section it’s also pretty to look at and lets you see who has replied to you on any previous comments you’ve left on the Disqus system.

SEO

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Ok, so I’m not claiming to understand SEO on the whole, but what I do know is that Yoast is helpful. As in really, really, really helpful in making sense of SEO and making it work for you. I got turned on to Yoast by my awesome web designer Melyssa from The Nectar Collective and I can’t thank her enough. Yoast takes a look at your blog post and basically gives you a grade for your SEO and offers suggestions for making your SEO more effective. Since I’ve really been trying to use Yoast I’ve noticed more traffic and now I’m kicking myself for shrugging this plugin off for as long as I did. Learn from my mistake and get your Yoast on.

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Well, that list was much longer than it was when I was thinking about putting this together, but I hope it offers a little direction if you are wondering which online resources to make use of with your own blog. I use each and every single one of these online resources as a blogger and I know what it’s like to wonder how to do something in the most effective manner and I hope this list offers a little something new for you to consider as a blogger.

If you’ve got any resources that you are in love with please share them! I’m always looking for the next great thing so any suggestions on resources that I didn’t name are totally welcome, especially if it helps me make the most my time online.

Why My Sponsors Are Rad: July Edition

I decided to add a little something extra to my blog sponsorships and today is the maiden voyage of what will become a monthly nod to why my sponsors are rad. Having blog sponsors has been my absolute favorite part of blogging and I am so glad that I took the plunge and started offering spots on my blog. When I first started toying with the idea of offering blog ads I was really nervous about no one wanting to be on my sidebar, which sucks, because no one wants to be the kid with no one at their birthday party.

Since my blog sponsorships started I’ve learned a lot and I’m happy with where my sponsorship program is currently at. I feel like I’ve hit my groove when it comes to blog sponsorships but like anything else in life you have to keep working to keep improving, and that brings us to Why My Sponsors Are Rad. Each month I’m going to highlight a little something from each of my sponsors to help all of y’all get to know my sponsors a little better because my sponsors really are the greatest.  Let’s kick of the July edition with this months group of rockin’ sponsors!

 

PositiveSelfImage

Morgan from the Misadventures of Morgan was recently living in Australia so her blog is filled full of great snapshots from down under, but Morgan also caught my attention with this wonderful post on positive self-image. Morgan’s story telling abilities really take center stages and her own experiences on self-image drive home the reason that a positive self-image is critical for women.

 

IMG_2869Laura is one-third of the amazing family that takes center stage in Side Street Style based in Wales. Laura’s writing centers around her family and their comings and goings both local and international. I loved Laura’s recent post on how to age gracefully and if 60 was the new 40. I am all for living the life you want and I think it’s vital to realize that as you get older it doesn’t mean that your life has to become stale. With increased age why should life diminish?

 

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Shane is the lady behind Whispering Sweet Nothings and her post on getting real and baring it all on her blog was amazing to read. She was motivated to share her secrets and flaws because of the all too polished veneer that bloggers tend to put on their life via social media and their blogs. I think Shane’s post was really brave and definitely does get you acquainted with her within the span of a single post so bravo!

 

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Kelley blogs at Move By Yourself and her blog is smacked full of interesting stories from her time in the Peace Corps. in Paraguay and beyond. I’m a sucker for legends and myths so when I read Kelley’s post on Paraguayan legends and myths I was sold! Who doesn’t love to read about other culture’s myths? I feel like myths really give you some insight into the cultural thinking of a country because they say so much about how people think on a subconscious level. 

 

Untitled-design-31Anastasia runs the positive lifestyle blog Stardust and her recent post on what defines beauty was a great read. She offers her thoughts on a project a woman undertook to be photoshopped to beautiful across the globe and I think Anastasia raises some very important and thought provoking questions especially in relation to the use of photoshop and altering images to achieve “perfection”.

 

photoA Moving Story is the result of Kim’s time abroad in Mexico and her continuing adventures stateside. Kim’s blog is a great read for anyone who loves travel, good eating, and the good life, plus it’s a plethora of information for anyone making a move to Mexico. I loved Kim’s recent post on what she’s learned with age which really resonated with me because life is all about discovering and learning not just about the world, but yourself. 

 

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Alys is the powerhouse behind Mundane Ecstasy and her blog is all about finding the beauty in the everyday occurrences. She’s a real gem and her letter to her 16-year old self had me nodding my head in agreement when I thought back to myself at 16. If you’ve ever just wanted to go back and have a sit down with your younger self then this post is for you and maybe inspire you to write your own post to yourself, because why not?

 

$205 Paypal Cash Giveaway!

I teamed up with a great group of ladies to bring you a big ‘ol cash giveaway! Big thanks to Amanda from Living in Another Language who put this whole thing together. Giveaways are hard to get just right and I think she did a great job with this one. I haven’t been a part of a cash giveaway in a while but they are one of my favorite to do because who can’t use a little extra money in their lives? While it can’t buy you happiness money can make things a whole heck of a lot easier, right? RIGHT. I hope you like this giveaway because I know that $205 bucks is a nice chunk of change that can help anyone get by a little easier.

Have a great weekend and good luck!

giveawayjuly

1.True Colours || 2. Found Love Now What || 3. The Misadventures of Morgan || 4. Jillian Lorraine || 5. Guten Blog Y’all || 6. Move By Yourself || 7. Sky Envy || 8. The Happy Type || 9. Lot 48 || 10. So Much Sunshine || 11. Eat, See, Do || 12. Living in Another Language

The first entry is (always) free, just by clicking ‘enter!’ Remember you can add new entries every day by tweeting about the giveaway on twitter then recording your tweet in the Rafflecopter. Now for a few fun rules of the giveaway:

1. Giveaway is open internationally.
2. Be sure to actually do what the giveaway prompts say, because I check the winning entry thoroughly to be sure the entry is valid.
3. If the entry isn’t valid I will pick a new winner.
4. Once the winner is validated and emailed, he/she has 48 hours to reply and accept the prize. If he/she does not reply within 48 hours a new winner will be selected.
5. The winner must have Paypal. Once the prize money has been transferred via Paypal, it is no longer Living in Another Language’s responsibility.
6. Enter away! HAVE FUN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Spot A Hater

myrtle snow haterAmen, Myrtle Snow.

I wanted to talk about habits of a hater and how you can be a pro at identifying one. Recognizing hater tendencies is critical to having a good life, because no one likes a hater (except for maybe other haters or maybe their mom?). It’s a slippery slope to befriending a hater and if you aren’t careful you could find yourself saddled with your very own toxic frenemy. No one has time for constantly being brought down by someone especially when are in the guise of a friend so let’s get to cracking on identifying the common habits of a hater.

Do you know someone who cannot stand to hear about other people’s good news? Are the first words out of their mouth “Really? Them?” or do their eyes go rolling into the back of their head like they’re having some kind of seizure? Does your little Negative Nancy always have something to say about everyone but at the same time heaven forbid if anyone has something to say about them? If so they might be a hater, because haters love dishing it out but cannot take it in return. Plus, they think their opinions on everyone trump all.

rhony-luann-eyerollThe Countess knows all about the art of the hater eye roll.

Whenever Debbie Downer hurts someone’s feelings but are confronted is the go-to response that they are, “just keeping it real.” If the hater in question repeatedly lets people know that they’re just keeping it real, then they might be a hater. Haters often confuse realness with spewing hate and their own brand of “truth”. Trying to disguise hate as truth is just another tactic of people looking to spread their own harmful influence a little further in the world.

giphyMajor points if you recognized Chapelle from his When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong skit.

Does Hater Harry constantly give unsolicited advice, because well, they just know better? This kind of goes in line with thinking that their opinion is the end-all-be-all authority on life, but haters have a tendency to try and “help” other people in the form of telling them what to do and how to live. You’ll be able to tell the difference between helpful advice and hater advice due to the fact that haters very rarely encourage you to do anything that might improve your situation. You’ll never find a hater telling someone to go after their dreams. Instead the offered advice will be along the lines of something that will only serve to push you into a quiet corner because haters don’t like to share the spotlight.

tumblr_inline_mq7yk9mO4d1qz4rgp (1)Keep that unsolicited advice to yourself.

Pouting Pete can’t ever seem to find the bright side of anything, like, EVER. Haters do not enjoy celebrating things, occasions, or people. Nope. They prefer to point out the bad and constantly dwell on the imperfect both in life and with people. On the topic of fixating on the negative haters thrive on drama but will constantly claim that they cannot stand it. It’s odd that people who dislike drama so much seem to attract it.

tumblr_mqq9xxvD9f1ql5yr7o2_500You said it, Honey Boo-Boo.

All of these things together do not make someone a hater, but cumulatively they can help you identify one. Anyone at anytime can turn into a hater, myself included. I know for a fact that it’s happened to me on occasion and it’s a horrible feeling. If we are all honest, we’ve all got a little hater in us, but the key is not to feed that mini-hater. No one is perfect, but with self-examination we can recognize when we’ve become the Mayor of Haterville and change it. There will always be some people that refuse to change and find a certain amount of strength and satisfaction in being a hater, so I hope this little post on how to spot a hater might help you avoid your next frenemy.

Mean-Girls-GIF-Kevin-G-Dont-Let-The-Haters-Stop-You-From-Doing-Your-Thang1

Because no post on haters would be complete without ONE Mean Girls reference.

Take care to celebrate others, look beyond your own opinions, and above all truly shun drama because there are enough difficult things in life without us adding to the mix. Also, never forget the one simple and inevitable truth that no matter what you do haters gonna hate so you may as well live the life you want. Do what makes you happy and always choose your own happiness over what someone else may think because who are they to judge your life and your decisions.

 

Just Try

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I couldn’t agree with Mae West more.

Have you ever found yourself dissatisfied with the direction of your life or plagued with thoughts of, “When will things turn around?”, “Why can’t I just catch a break?”, or “When will things come together for me?” When things are bad it’s easy and heck even normal to look around and blame our situation on our circumstances. Despite our gut reaction to blame what’s going on around us for the reason of our unhappiness, we have to take a step back to take back the direction of our life. Often times things have gotten away from us because we have stopped trying. We’ve become so comfortable not trying that we don’t even realize we have accepted a mediocre and unsatisfying life.

Mediocrity isn’t living it’s merely existing.

I used to be a wallflower with paralyzing social anxiety and nothing much to say. I never dreamed big or thought that I would go beyond the small town I was born into and then I started to try. It’s a little startling how easy it is to settle into a life of not trying and just accepting the minimum that life has to offer. Things won’t change in your life if you don’t put forth the effort to change and that requires a real commitment to make a change.

motivational quote 2

Everyone has to start somewhere.

I’ve known countless people who always seem upset by life, or never seem to be able to make their dreams come into being. These people always have big dreams, but all they ever seem to do is talk and dream. There comes a time when the time to talk is over. It’s never easy to keep going forward, every single day working towards making the life you want, but it can be done. My own life is a testament that you don’t have to settle so long as you try. All you have to do is not give up and really, truly, admit that you have been accepting mediocrity. I know it sounds corny, but the first step is seriously, admitting that you have a problem and that’s exactly what a mediocre life is. You only have one life to live, so why waste it by not trying?

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Even if you are scared just fake it till you make it. Eventually things will get easier.

Trying is scary because the threat of failure, but failing isn’t the end of the world. Failing teaches you something and if you learn from your mistakes and failures then you’ve lost nothing. Doing the same thing over and over again, though, that’s a different story and the only way to break that cycle is to be vulnerable and try.

When I first started trying things didn’t initially get better. Things actually got worse for a while and that’s normal because for once I was pushing myself past my comfort zone. Growth is uncomfortable and leaving our safe zones hurts. I promise you that the discomfort you feel when you make the decision to try is temporary and wouldn’t you rather fight to create the life you want instead of to keep an unfulfilling one? Remember you can do anything that you commit to, so dream big and take chances because you are worth it.