the future of blogging?

the future of blogging

Has anyone else noticed a change in blogging lately? I’ve seen more bloggers taking extended hiatuses, people complaining about the expectation of portraying a “perfect life” (through blogging and especially Instagram), the backlash of impossible Pinterest perfection and just the general over-saturation of information out there. I’ve been blogging now for nearly 3 years and I’m feeling the pressure, writer’s block and even some of the annoyance too.

Which all makes me wonder about the future of blogging.

I know some people have been blogging for maybe a decade or more, so I was late to the game. But I started because I was seeing so much great inspiration out there and I wanted to share some of my own. Having a blog pushed me to try out new recipes or finish house projects I’d been meaning to do or work on my photography skills. But then I feel like I’m falling short of some of the amazing bloggers, home designers, cooks and photographers out there and it’s discouraging to try to keep up.

If I want to share a new recipe or fun diy project, chances are that it’s already been done a million times (and probably better) on Pinterest. So it’s hard to see what I can offer that no one else does. Then there’s the pressure of only posting art gallery worthy photos on Instagram to show that I have a “perfect” life in a little snapshot. (Even though I mainly just post photos of sleeping pugs.) And I’ve been posting so sporadically lately that I feel the pressure to post more or I will lose all of my readers for the rest of time.

Basically I’m feeling blogger burn out and I’m wondering is it just me? Have I said everything I want to say? Are there too many blogs out there and am I just adding to the traffic jam? Are blogs and bloggers even relevant anymore? Or is this just me in a regular ol’ rut that I need to crawl out of? It’s hard to tell.

I have no answers and I’m not sure how my blog will be in the next few months or next few years. But I do know that I love connecting with my readers and sharing my experiences. Maybe it’s time for the blog to evolve a bit so I can feel fully inspired again. What are your favorite topics I’ve posted about? Sometimes being a lifestyle blogger is hard since you can post about “everything” so it’s hard to narrow down your focus… I’ve been reading a lot about how having a more narrowly focused blog can make things easier. Thoughts on that? Others feeling blogger burn out too? Is this post too rambly and deep for a Monday?

Anyways, sorry to get so philosophical on a Monday. Hope I’m not the only one feeling this way, but would love your thoughts on what you think the future of blogging (for blogs in general or for your blog if you’re a blogger too) will be like.

easy ways to streamline blogging

There is so much to do with blogging, so we need to streamline the process any way that we can! Here are a few easy ways to streamline blogging to make it simpler and faster.

easy ways to streamline blogging

Use a content calendar

If you know what you are going to post and when, it makes things so much easier. Create a general calendar with ideas then you just need to write the posts. I keep an Excel spreadsheet full of blog post ideas and review my ideas when I’m in the mood to write, then I can just move my posts around to fit into the calendar. A great way to keep yourself on track!

Batch together tasks

Instead of taking photos for a blog post, editing the photos, writing a post, editing a post, and promoting a post multiple times a week, you can save time by doing the different tasks at once. For example – take all of your photos one day a week, do all of your blog post writing at one time, schedule all your social media promotions all at once, etc.

Use scheduling services

Speaking of scheduling out your social media promotions, there are so many great easy ways to do this. You can use Buffer to schedule on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Hootsuite is another great way to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. I actually use Buffer but have used Hootsuite too – so just figure out which one you prefer. You can even schedule out posts on Instagram by using Schedugram. These are all great timesavers.

Choose a streamlined hosting service

You can get a  great multi-tasking hosting site if you’re on WordPress. HostGator Optimized WordPress is a new hosting platform with packages that handle all of the core, theme, and plugin updates for you. Optimized WordPress allows you to install and access your WordPress sites without needing to access or navigate an extra control panel to do the things you want to do. HostGator helps manage your web hosting for you while you do what you do best – produce content.

wordpress-dashboard

Some benefits and features of HostGator Optimized WordPress include:

  • Automatic updates of plugins/theme/WordPress
  • Sitelock malware scanning and removal
  • Sitelock Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • CodeGuard daily backup and restores (down to the file level)
  • HostGator Optimized WordPress is a new premium product and just a small extension to existing products provided by HostGator

hostgator

HostGator provides:

  • 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email – you’re not alone. We’re here to help.
  • One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
  • One click and start easy to use website builder – drag and drop tools that make building a site super simple.
  • Design services – don’t want to build your site? Let our pros do it for you.
  • Marketing services (SEO and PPC) – want to generate traffic? Our in house experts want to help.
  • Domains – HostGator is your one-stop-shop for domains!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

planning quick weekend trips

How was everyone’s weekend? It’s crazy how fast every weekend goes – I swear summer will be over before we know it! Summer is all about enjoying every weekend and making the most of it. We have a few weekend trips planned that are coming up soon and I can’t wait. So here are my simple tips for planning quick weekend trips.

planning quick weekend trips

Booking Flights

We just booked some upcoming flights and I always try to find a good deal. I like looking for a few days to see if the prices seem to be going up or down and then I plan accordingly. If you have to have a connection, I try to give myself at least an hour for the layover. That way, if your first flight is delayed, you will hopefully still have time to make your connection. If you can choose your seats and have a short connection, try to get a seat close to the front of the plane for your first flight. You’ll get off the plane faster and have more time to make your connecting flight.

Hotel

Figure out what’s most important to you in a hotel – usually price or location. If you want a cheaper hotel, you’ll probably be further from a lot of the attractions. But if you want to be in the heart of the action, it will probably be pricier. Sometimes it’s worth it to be closer if you will only be in a location for a few days. Just figure out what’s most important to you. Check booking sites or sites like Airbnb to find a great deal and location.

Packing

This is always the worst part about trip planning. If you’re flying, I think it’s always best to avoid checking a bag. For long weekends, you shouldn’t need a ton of stuff, so definitely try to limit how much you’re bringing. You’ll save time (not having to wait for your checked bag) and money (not having to pay checked bag fees. Check out some of my past packing tips here.

Weather

Plan your trip according to the weather. This is probably a duh, but make sure you double check what the weather will be like at your destination. For example, it might not be the best idea to go to Florida or Mexico during hurricane season. I’ve been to Mexico (Cancun) in September twice. One time was beautiful perfect weather. The other time it rained every day. Oops.

Planning activities

If you are traveling for just a long weekend, you want to make the most of your time. It will be worth it to look into activities and attractions before you travel. Make reservations so you don’t waste time. See if your destination has good apps for tourists. I actually like paper maps too – it’s sometimes nice to see everything on one paper instead of looking at the tiny map on your phone.

Shipping large items

If you’re going somewhere and need equipment (like golf clubs or skis), you can ship them ahead of time. That’ll save time so you don’t have to check them and sometimes it’s usually cheaper too.

What are your tips for making planning  a long weekend trip easier? Any weekend trips coming up for you soon? We’re going to Florida at the end of July then going to visit my friend in L.A. in August for my birthday. Excited for a couple fun getaways soon!!

me as a kid

jadeoak.com

I was just reminiscing about how, as a second child, there are way less photos of me than there are of my sister. But I should also point out that my sister was the cutest kid ever with her long pretty straight hair. I, on the other hand, had many many awkward years, especially with the glasses, braces and perms. So lemme share some of my childhood awkwardness with you guys (and I swear I will find embarrassing photos once I find them at my parents’ house).

I had braces for nearly 4 years because my stupid first orthodontist never tightened my braces so they weren’t doing anything. Jerk.

I got glasses at the age of 7 and my mom started perming my hair when I was about 8 or 9. So I had glasses and perms and then when I finally got contacts, I then had braces for 80 years. I was as awkward looking as it sounds.

When I was about 3 years old, I fell on an iron that was on its highest setting because my mom was ironing my dad’s Army fatigues. I had a second degree burn on my calf and for the longest time, I had a teardrop shaped scar that covered most of my calf. It’s finally faded enough now you can barely see it.

I was a huge nerd as a kid and was put in the gifted program in second grade. I’m thinking my little baby eyeglasses must’ve made me look smart.

The first time I was on a plane was when I flew to South Korea with my mom when I was 10 years old. And, randomly, the last time I was on a plane back in May was flying back from Korea.

My mom is great but does not have the best sense of style. There are photos of me as a kid where I am totally mismatched. In my pre-school photo, I am wearing a blue and white dress with bright red tights.

I was fully bald until I was 3 years old. Like absolutely no hair. So when I did finally have hair, my mom kept it in that little Asian kid short haircut with bangs. That’s obviously before the perms started.

My sister is 8 years older than me, so I wanted to be just like her. I distinctly remember sneaking into her room and borrowing clothes. Imagine a little fourth grader wearing a sweater belonging to a 17 year old.

I got my ears pierced when I was around 5. I was allergic to crappy earrings but I kept wearing them so my ears were always infected. Yet I somehow tricked my mom into letting me get a second ear piercing when I was around 10.

I was sick every single holiday when I was a child. There are photos or videos of Christmas where I’m all sick and pouty. (Not sure if the above photo was a holiday, but that’s what I look like in most photos as a kid.) I like to think that since I was always sick as a kid, that’s why I rarely get sick now.

I took gymnastics and dance for a few years as a kid and I was awful. Luckily I found dance again as an adult and am slightly less awful.

Mmkay that’s enough embarrassment for this Friday afternoon! Share some of your embarrassing stories or photos with me now too!