Monday, September 28, 2015

Why Blogging Webinars Rock

A few weeks back I saw a tweet for a free blogging webinar about how to better optimize social media for your blog. Not wanting to be left out I signed up to see what it was all about and I'm so glad I did. I've now watched 3 blogging webinars; I'm totally sold on their worth and looking for more. I never thought I'd like webinars because I get bored with podcasts and thought the experience would be the same. Clearly I'm a visual learner because I had no problem following along and staying engaged until the end. Webinars are such a great resource that I can't believe I wan't taking advantage of before. So why should you watch blogging webinars? Here's 3 reasons why blogging webinars rock

3 reasons every blogger and creative needs to participate in webinars

1. Great Tips - This is probably the most obvious reason to watch these blogging webinars. They're hosted by really successful bloggers and business owners who are sharing their tips and tricks for success. Everything they share might not be something you're interested in doing, but I promise you'll come away with at least one really great new idea to try. Keep a notebook and jot down notes of anything that sounds like it could work for you and your audience. Then use these ideas to brain storm how to make them your own.

2. Great Community - The blogging webinars I've watched have included a live chat feature plus a hashtag to use on social media so you get an interactive experience with others watching. Use these interactions to make a connection and network with other bloggers. I'm always looking for new people to add to my "tribe" and blogging webinars are great places to find these people.

3. Great Motivation - Blogging webinars are hosted by people who want you to succeed. In an industry that is so saturated by people trying to make it big it's awesome to find someone who wants to help you grow and kick butt. After watching these webinars I've been left on a total blogging high and felt like I can totally become the next big blogger. Like anything in life no matter how much we love something sometimes we get discouraged and need a little pick me up, blogging webinars totally give me that.

Want to give webinars a try? Helene is offering a free one this Wednesday night! And the best part is if you sign up she'll send you a free replay so even if you can't make it live you can still participate. So go sign up, you have no excuse not to.

What blogging webinars do you love?

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Friday, September 25, 2015

In VS Out linkup

I'm so excited to linkup today with Allison of Because I Said So! Every Friday she recaps what's In vs Out for the week and it's one of my favorite posts all week. She's decided to let everyone join in the fun and is now making it into a linkup the last Friday of every month!

Pumpkin flavored everything! #basic
Taking a leap of faith and doing things outside my comfort zone
The Acoustic Covers Spotify playlist; I'm not even a little ashamed how much I love it
Being a blogger, I just really feel like I'm getting my act together this month and it's showing
This most popular Instagram post of all time

Going to bed at a reasonable time; when Zenon comes on you watch it no matter what time it is
Eating healthy. Y'all I've been so so bad this month and it has got to stop
Reading other blogs, I'm a couple of days away from having to hit read all and call it a total loss
Alabama football. Did you hear they lost to Ole Miss last week? Hotty Toddy!
Buying work clothes. I keep starting out to buy black pants and end up with a fall dress instead

Go link up your In vs Out too to join the fun!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3 tips for your first credit card

One of my 50 in 500 goals was to get a credit card with benefits I'll actually use. I've had a credit card in some form or fashion since high school, but up until July it was only for emergencies and my parents always paid that bill. But in July I gave that up as I try to become more of an adult. Since I was now paying the bill and money doesn't grow on trees I wanted to make sure I was taking advantage of every perk I could. Even though my financial obligations are minimal I find that I spend a ton of my time thinking about money. My most popular post of all time is a financial post, so this is clearly something you're thinking about too. I know I had so many questions when I was trying to decide which card to apply for and I just couldn't find any information that I felt applied to me. In the end I realized there were 3 essential questions I had to ask myself before I could decide on one.

1. What fees are associated with this credit card? - I knew I absolutely did not want a card with an annual fee ever. You have to be careful because some cards waive the annual fee for your first year, but then charge you close to $100 a year. You want me to pay a fee so that I can pay you money each month? No thank you. Also it's important to know if you'll be charged an inactive fee or a canceling fee.

2. What type of rewards will this credit card give me? - This is when it's really important to be honest with yourself and what you'll actually use. A card that allows you to earn a million travel miles does you no good if you don't travel much. The card I had before this one was a Disney Visa that gave really generous points, however you could only use those points at Disney World/Land or in a Disney Store. It was great when my family went to Disney World and was able to cash in all those points to eat in the parks each day, but since that the points were just sitting there until being spent on random things in the Disney Store.

3. Will I actually qualify for this credit card? - Being young with a very limited credit history means not just anyone was going to give me a credit card. I was lucky in that I didn't have bad credit, I just didn't have much history to be based upon. Most major credit card companies offer a "student" credit card that is fairly easy to qualify for because it is designed to be for young 20 somethings either still in school or who have recently graduated. Also my bank has a student credit card, so that's a good option to look into as well.

Ultimately I decided to go with the DiscoverIt card because I felt like it met all my needs. I've been using it since June and I couldn't be happier. I've yet to find a place that didn't accept it, I'll never be charged an annual fee, and the rewards are really great (either statement credit or gift cards to places I actually got). Every quarter there is a special category that gives you 5% back and you receive 1% back on everything else. Plus they have something called Discover Deals which functions a lot like Ebates. They have a great app, easy to use website that let's you view your balance and pay, and even give you your credit score with each statement. Plus they have a refer a friend bonus! If you click this link to apply and are approved you and I both get a $50 bonus after your first purchase.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Tweet Responsibly

Did you watch the Emmy's last night? I totally forgot they were coming on until the last award of the night so I clearly missed out. I did see Viola Davis' acceptance speech this morning and yes what she said was very powerful, but can we just talk about how really beautiful she looked. Annalise Keating isn't exactly a glamour girl, so it was really nice to see her looking so effortlessly elegant.

Speaking of television, today I want to talk about something that's been on my chest for awhile. A ton of fall TV is starting back this week and I could not be more excited! I'm excited for the returns of Nashville, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder and looking forward to the new shows Scream Queen and Muppets. But you know what I'm not excited about, having to stay off social media while these shows run for fear of seeing a spoiler.

You see, not everyone gets to watch shows when they first come on. Thanks to my new work schedule I'm finally able to watch a couple of my shows as they air, but for all of last season I lived in fear of seeing a spoiler. I realize that sounds a little dramatic, but it really isn't. Nothing is worse than to be casually scrolling Twitter minding your own business and see a major spoiler. You're already mad you're not watching your show and now you know who died, or came back from the dead, or slept with whom, or whatever other plot twist they're throwing you that week.

So this is just my little reminder to tweet responsibly and don't share spoilers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Top 3 Wednesday

Becca does a post on Tuesdays called "Top 3 Tuesday" where she shares the top 3 things that are making her happy that week. I really love and look forward to these posts because they're filled with nothing but positivity. I'm really trying to be a more positive person and have decided that for the rest of the month I'm not going to snapchat a single negative thing. I realized I was using it as my main outlet of complaining and as such certain friends were having my negativity thrust upon them, and that's just not fair.

I don't post on Tuesdays so I decided to make this Top 3 Wednesday and share the 3 things making me happy this week!

1. The tremendous growth I've seen in all my blog accounts lately. I now have over 600 Instagram followers and last week had my first post to reach over 150 likes! If you aren't already, go follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin now!

2. I finally got my Kendra Scott Kay Stud earrings! I ordered them a month ago, FedEx/USPS lost them, and last week they were finally resent to me arriving on Monday. I am absolutely in love with them and don't mind the extra long wait time now.

3. Spotify's Acoustic Covers playlist is my current favorite playlist. It's the perfect mixture for when I need to get some writing done. Speaking of writing, today my first post of my free-lance writing was published and I'm so excited this new venture is officially real!

So there's my top 3, well really 4 things from this week. Share your top 3 with me down below!

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Easy Tailgate Cookies

Happy Football Season! How did everyone's team do this weekend? My Rebels head into week three still undefeated! Confession I actually wrote that sentence Friday afternoon and I've been terrified from the minute I wrote it to the last tick of the game clock that I'd jinx them. If you aren't an Ole Miss fan this is probably confusing seeing as we've scored over 70 points in both of our games, but any other Rebel fans will totally understand what I mean. Next week we head to Tuscaloosa to play the Tide and I'm afraid there just aren't enough prayers in the world for us to come back home with that win.

With tailgate season now in full swing I want to share an easy recipe that you can customize for your team. Tailgating is HUGE at Ole Miss and one of the things I most miss about college. My sorority always did a catered tent so I never had to worry about bringing a dish because I knew our tent chairwoman had arranged for platters of chicken salad sandwiches and Mississippi Sin dip or Chic-fil-A minis and sausage balls depending on the time of kick-off. But I realize the Ole Miss version of tailgating and the normal version of tailgating are vastly different, so that isn't most people's experience. When attending a tailgate, or home viewing party, most people are expected to make something to share, and today's post is for you.

These easy tailgate cookies are not only really delicious, but customizable for your team colors ensuring they'll be a hit at your tailgate!

Combine 1 box white cake mix and 1 box Jello instant vanilla pudding in a large bowl plus 1 stick softened butter and 2 eggs. It should now be very thick

Roll the dough into balls depending on how large or small you want your cookies. Roll the dough balls in decorating sugar. I obviously used red and blue for Ole Miss, but you can use whatever your team colors are! Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, this is important or else the sugar on the bottom of your cookies will stick, and bake for 9 minutes at 350.

I ended up with 20 cookies, but I'll probably make them a little smaller next time because they're a little rich. I love these cookies because they have a unique vanilla flavor that you don't get in normal sugar cookies and because they start with a cake mix the insides are more fluffy like a cupcake while the outside will be like a cookie. These cookies are so good and easy that they shouldn't just be reserved for tailgates; change up the decorating sugars to match holidays or baby shower or birthday colors!

What's your favorite tailgate recipe?

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Friday, September 11, 2015

How to set the Medical ID on iPhone

If you're Facebook friends with anyone over the age of 40 chances are they fill your newsfeed with numerous irrelevant posts filled with silly warnings and tips. I usually read them, shake my head thinking "no, duh you shouldn't walk through a dark parking lot alone at midnight after someone's been following you throughout the entire store." but yesterday I actually saw one that was useful.

Did you know that you can set your emergency medical information on your iPhone so that it's visible even when your phone is locked? I sure didn't. This is such an awesome feature that I had no idea was not only available, but so easy to do. We probably all have an ICE contact in our phones, but with all our phones being locked that labeled contact is really doing no good.

One of the automatic, can't' get rid of apps on your iPhone is a health app. Open that app and on the bottom right there is an option for the Medical ID. Here it lets you add all types of important information such as emergency contacts, medications, blood type, allergies, basically everything a hospital or first responder would need to administer the best care to you.

Once you've added this information it can be accessed by using the emergency feature on your lock screen and then clicking the Medical ID at the bottom left.

You can add as much or as little information as you want. Just remember this information will be available to anyone who picks up your phone. But if you do have any urgent medical information you'll be thankful you added it.

Hopefully you'll never have to use it, but now you're prepared just incase!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015


This is the 400th post I've published. I remember how excited I was to reach 25 posts, and while I'm not going to write a post of 400 facts about me (you're welcome) to celebrate, this is still a really big deal. Honestly I think I'm a littler prouder of this than of any yearly anniversary because this celebrates that I came back to this space 400 times to put down my thoughts. They weren't always the most articulate and well thought out, but there have been more than a few that I'm really proud to call mine.

I'm feeling at an all time high about my blogging. I don't know if it's my renewed professional writing or an increase in stats or simply that I really love my new MacBook, but I've seriously never been more sure that I love this hobby. During the past week I've watched two webinars that have seriously helped to amplify this feeling. If you ever get the chance to watch a blogging webinar, seriously do it! Not only did I come away with notes full of helpful hints and new tricks to try, but I was so encouraged to see how strong this community is. So with that in mind I knew I wanted to celebrate this 400th post with some piece of advice that I'd pass to other bloggers who maybe are looking to renew that spark. I gave a lot of thought to what profound piece of wisdom I wanted to share and ultimately I decided this was the most important thing to remember.

Not only is this the most important lesson I've learned in blogging, but probably in my entire 20s. Blogging and social media are great but they also aren't because they make comparison so easy. I don't know that I fully believe in that "comparison is the thief of joy" saying, but I do know that we are all unique with our own set of talents and shouldn't be judged against one another. 100 years ago we couldn't get jealous that the local clothing store gave Sally a bunch of free outfits because she didn't have an Instagram to on which to remind us daily. But today it seems like every other post is a humblebrag with someone showing how #blessed that are, and believe it or not everyone of us is guilty of this. So no matter how many followers or likes or viral posts you have, just remember you and what you create have worth.

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Monday, September 7, 2015

10 signs you're a blogger

The other night I had a nightmare about affiliate links. Like an actual nightmare. I had forgotten to disclose one in a tweet and this scary person started yelling at me about being shady and money hungry. After waking up and quickly double checking all forms of social media to confirm that this was just a nightmare and not real life I had the realization that this little hobby is taking over my life. I don't blog full time so I feel awkward calling myself a blogger, but I've come to realize that is what I am. Like a dad who spends his Sunday afternoons on the golf course is a golfer, I am blogger. How do you know when you've officially become a blogger? Here are a few hints

1. You have a designated spot in your home to take all your #flatlay Instagram photos 
2. You have a running list of post topics saved
3. You have a list of dream companies to sponsor your blog
4. You have a camera roll filled with the same picture from 30 slightly different angles
5. You have a strange love/hate relationship with GOMI and are ashamed to admit it
6. You talk about fellow bloggers that you've never met like they're your best friends
7. You have a set collection of items around your home to use as photo props
8. You've ever justified doing something or buying something because "it's for the blog"
9. You have at least a basic understanding of SEO and coding and graphic design
10. You don't think it's weird to host giveaways, unless they're loop giveaways

Speaking of giveaways, I've got one for you today! I've teamed up with some other fun bloggers to giveaway an Amazon gift card. You can buy just about anything on Amazon, and $180 will buy you a lot of it! Enter using the rafflecopter below, and in the box that asks what blog you're coming from make sure you enter Salsa.

BeccaLindsayVivianJaeHeleneRachelSabrina KellyRebekahHillaryMichelleKrista
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to enter my giveaway from Friday!

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Travel Beauty Essentials + Giveaway

I really love to travel, I don't get to do near enough of it, but I have a travel bucket list I'm hopeful I'll get to cross off slowly. But one thing I don't love about traveling is packing. I'm always nervous I'm going to forget something or lose my luggage or the weather will suddenly be way different than the Weather Channel told me it would be. Whenever I'm going anywhere, even if just for the night, I always make a list to double check that I'm packing everything I need. One list that never changes is my beauty list, well really my toiletries but I really hate that word. I have a set collection of beauty essentials that I always bring with me when I travel. Having this set collection takes away a lot of stress while packing so I have more time to worry about important things like if I need nude heels and nude wedges.

  1. chapstick - I hate having dry lips. If I'm doing a lot of sightseeing or other casual activities while traveling I probably don't want to bother with lipgloss so chapstick is my best friend
  2. hand lotion - My skin always feels so dry when I stay in a hotel. I love this hand lotion because it's perfect travel size and really sinks into your skin well
  3. neutral nail polish - Nobody wants to spend their vacation redoing their nails, but accidents happen and sometimes you need a touchup. This Essie Topless and Barefoot is a favorite because it goes with everything and doesn't show wear easily 
  4. nail buffer - Try to get on an airplane with a nail file with a pointed tip and you can count on that getting taken away, but with this I'm still prepared for any broken nail emergencies 
  5. bobby pins - Can you ever have enough bobby pins? No you can't because it never fails when you need one they're no where to be found. I always bring way more than I should need to be safe
  6. individual bottles for shampoo, conditioner, and face wash - I always use the hotel provided body wash, but I only use the shampoo and conditioner if times are dire. My hair is already not going to be happy with a different type of water so I try to use my regular shampoo and conditioner. And I'm really picky about what goes on my face; I'm using my own face wash or not washing my face
  7. hair ties - I don't know why but I always seem to lose these while traveling. Even though I'll probably only use it to tie my hair back while washing my face and sleeping they're a necessity 
  8. travel perfume - This is one of my very favorite products! I don't want to take my entire bottle of perfume when I travel because I probably won't get it through TSA and it could break. You just spray your favorite perfume in this and you have your own travel sized perfume. Plus now you can spray it on your clothes so they don't have that "trapped in a suitcase all day" smell, something you can't do with those travel roller balls
  9. makeup remover wipes - If you sleep in your makeup all vacation you're going to come home with a fresh face of breakouts, but nobody wants to pack an entire bottle of makeup remover plus cotton rounds. These wipes do the trick plus they aren't a liquid that's going to count against you with TSA. 
  10. cute pouch - I had a really bad experience with a bottle of shampoo opening up in my suitcase when I went to a leadership camp in high school. I spent the entire weekend with slightly sticky very fresh smelling clothes, and I've made sure to ALWAYS pack liquids in a sealed bag since. I mean you could use a large ziplock, but isn't this Lilly Pulitzer pouch a million times cuter? 

I've been planning this post for awhile and had hoped to have it coincide with a trip of my own, but that trip doesn't seem to be in the cards any time soon. So I figured with this being a long holiday weekend there were probably some of you planning to head out of town for one last summer trip. But my loss is your gain, because I'm giving one of you all the products featured above! Enter the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

7 Easy Instagram Tips

I, along with just about every other person between the ages of 13 and 35, love Instagram. If you had told me that this little photo sharing app would grow to be so popular and into the form of social media it is today I never would have believed you. What has made it so popular however is the carefully curated and edited photos we upload. Sure some people still upload their vacation photos, but if you're a blogger or business you're not doing that. When I first started an Instagram account specifically for my blog I really didn't have any strategy, and now when I go back and look at those photos I literally cringe. My carefully curated shots have come a long way from those original posts complete with the border.

I am by no means an expert on Instagram, nor do I pretend to be. While I would love to one day work in social media, right now I know this evolving platform still has much for me to learn about. I want today's post to be about sharing what we all have come to learn about using Instagram. These are some of the easy Instagram tips I've learned along the way, and I hope you'll share yours. At the beginning of the summer I set a goal of reaching 500 followers; I never would have reached that if it hadn't been for these tips.

easy Instagram tips to grow your following and get more likes ; social media

1. Natural light makes a HUGE difference! I never thought it made that much of a difference until I started taking my photos in spots with natural light. So find that place in your house or office (or wherever you take the majority of your photos) and use it! In my bedroom I have a white bench window seat that I use. If you're going to post a selfie the lighting in your car is fabulous.

2. While white is universally a good background color, sometimes it can get boring. Try to mix it up occasionally with different colors, especially when your photo is just of one item. I bought a bunch of scrapbooking paper (in the photo above) on sale at Hobby Lobby that I use for this. This is also helpful because it helps me ensure I fill the frame of my shot. Along those same lines, try mixing it up with different textures, think plush rugs, brick walls, or wood tables.

3. Being consistent with content is key; it doesn't matter what you share as long as you're sharing related things all the time. Before I post any photo I always think, does this match with my blog brand? I think having an Instagram account solely for my blog helps this tremendously, but I'd say I'm in the minority when it comes to this; most bloggers use the same account for personal and blog use. Your followers are looking to you to post a certain type of photo and when all of a sudden you post something totally random it throws them off. It'll be easy to tell which photos these are because they'll receive the fewest amounts of "likes."

4. I also find being consistent about when I post makes a big difference. During the week I try to post between noon and 2pm, and on the weekends I either post in the morning as soon as I get to work (10am) or wait and post later at night. I first got this idea when Helene posted a list of the best times to post to Instagram. Obviously sometimes something will happen and I'll post at a different time, but for the most part I've taken the photo I'm going to use either the day before or earlier in the day when the lighting is best so it's ready to go.

5. USE HASHTAGS! If you think I'm being overdramatic my using caps lock for that, you're so wrong. Using the correct hashtags is vital to getting Instagram likes, unless you're famous and have 12.5 million followers. Sarah made the absolute best cheat sheet with great hashtags for bloggers to use. I've gone through this list and made a note on my phone of the hashtags that most fit with my content so they're ready to go when I want to post. If you pay attention to no other tip, pay attention to this one!

6. I'm probably in the vast minority again but I only use the Instagram editing tools. I haven't really experimented with other apps to know what's the best, but I really like the ones Instagram gives you. I don't use the preset ones, but instead manually edit every photo. As a general rule I bump up the brightness, slightly increase the saturation, and adjust the shadows/highlights depending on my background.

7. Relax, it's just social media. Okay maybe I lied before and this is the most important tip. It's so easy to get caught up in number of followers and likes and who's featured on the search page, but it's important to remember that honestly none of that matters. At the end of the day it's just Instagram, a form of social media. It is not life or death. Just have fun with it.

What are your favorite easy Instagram tips? Leave me a comment with your Instagram handle so I can follow, and make sure to follow me too!

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