reasons to step away from your blog

reasons to step away from your blog - jadeoak.com

First off, no, I’m not quitting blogging. But it has taken a backseat lately for sure. My new job has been keeping me busy so I have no downtime during the day to answer emails or check my social media. That means I need to fit all my blogging duties into the evenings and weekends. And I’m just feeling a little burnt out! I still love blogging but it’s hard to keep up with everything and live your life (cue Rihanna). If you’re feeling a little burnt out too, here are some reasons to step away from your blog.

Your dog needs a lap to lay on. If you have pets, they like to be all up in your biznaz at all times. And how can they do that if you’re glued to your laptop/iPad/iPhone? They need your lap and they need it now.

Your DVR is extremely full of episodes of your favorite shows. I am behind on True Blood, Pretty Little Liars and So You Think You Can Dance right now. And that is unacceptable. I love these shows and I need to watch them. Blog, it’s not you, it’s tv.

Your readers will love you more if your content is better. It’s all about quality, not quantity, right? I hate the dips in my pageviews on the days I don’t post but it’s better than me writing a poopy post that no one wants to read. And I feel guilty about taking forever to respond to emails, but again, priorities!

Life is pretty important. As I mentioned above, I’ve been busier lately so I don’t want to spend all my free time blogging. I have a messy house to clean, foods to cook, dogs to snuggle, tv to watch, gyming to do (that’s a word, right?) and a fiance to bug. Lots of life to live.

You need a blogging brain break. I just made that term up but I think it makes sense. Just like your muscles need a break after working out, in order to repair and get stronger, your blogging brain needs a break in order to get awesomer. Having a little break with ignite your creativity and help with the burn out.

Speaking of life, if you’re planning a wedding too, you miiiight need some of your free time to plan that wedding too. My bridal shower was last weekend (which I need to update you guys on soon) and I have lots more wedding planning to finish up.

Summer is here and quickly coming to an end. I feel like I so have not enjoyed the summer enough ugh. Part of that can be blamed on the crappy weather lately, but the rest is my fault. I need to get out there, do summer stuff, take photos of summer stuff and blog about summer stuff. You should do the same.

Similarly, since it’s summer, we all just need a little break, amiright? Kids aren’t in school, people are going on vacation, so us bloggers should take it a little easy too.

How do you give yourself a blogging break? Also tomorrow I’m co-hosting the “Life is Good” linkup with Belinda from Found Love Now What. Write a post about why your life is good right now and link up with us!

must visit european cities

must visit european cities

Remember my “bossy lists”? Well here is another (read what a bossy list is here). I have previously discussed how I was a travel addict (way) back in my early 20s (here, and travel to Switzerland, stalking Harry Potter, and a weird trip to Athens, Greece). So, even though it’s been awhile I wanted to share my bossy list of must visit European cities. Just listen to me. I’m a non expert.

London

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This is the best city on Earth. Fact. I always wanted to travel here when I was a kid so I jumped onto the study abroad bandwagon my junior year of college. My four months abroad let me explore London a bit and was a great jumping off point for traveling to other countries and cities too. After college, I got a job in London and lived there for 9 months and reallllly got to immerse myself in the city. So much love. (And outdoor day drinking isn’t too shabby. Don’t judge me.)

Barcelona

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One of my other fave cities in Europe. I went there twice and love the mix of city/beach that it has going on. And the Gaudi architecture (especially including the Sagrada Familia cathedral above and Park Guell) are amazing must-sees. Also, check out the Picasso museum, drink sangria on tap, hang out on the beach and soak in the gorgeousness.

Mykonos, Greece

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Seriously everyone on this island looked like gorgeous models. MODELS.  (Instead of models, you get to see the above photo of me shoving a crepe in my mouth.) And the architecture looked fake, it was that pretty. I stayed at a resort on one side of the island and subjected myself to the scariest cab rides ever on the narrowest streets ever to get over to Mykonos Town on the other side of the island. The book was sooooo good and there were lots of vegetarian options for me. I went in May and it was too cold to get into the Mediterranean or the pool but we survived.

Interlaken, Switzerland

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In this post I talked about jumping off of a cliff in the Swiss Alps. It was as terrifying and amazing as it sounds. I had never heard of Interlaken before traveling to Europe but it was such a cool and gorgeous place. I flew into Zurich (which was also really pretty!) and took a train into Interlaken. On the train ride back, my friend and I kept accidentally sitting in first class and then feigning American ignorance. Oops. Oh and I took German in high school and thought I could impress the Swiss with my skills but it did not work out.

Venice

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This was never super high on my list to travel to for some unknown reason but I loved it there. The city is so unique, but it’s also small enough that you can walk everywhere. We basically wandered around the streets getting lost and eating our way through the city with pasta and all the gelato we could get. Seriously, like 2-3 orders of gelato a day. Real good.

Brighton, England

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Brighton is so fun and a short drive from London. Luckily my Brit friend drove us down there and we got to watch on the beach and boardwalk. Not what I would expect to see in England but so pretty. And there is a fancy cool old palace too – The Royal Pavilion. Check it out.

Those just a few of my faves. London is my fave place though, so one day I’ll need to share some more photos from there and some of the fun day trips we took too. What’s on your list of must-see European cities? Places you’ve either been or want to visit?

don’t try so hard

Happy Monday everyone! How was the weekend? Mine was super fun since it was my bridal shower weekend – woohoo! I’ll be sharing more details later this week on that. But today is a special day since it’s time for the “Don’t Try So Hard” link up that I am co-hosting with Kate from The “Florkens” and Nicole from Treasure Tromp. This link up was inspired by “Try” by Colbie Caillat. It’s a reminder to all of us to not try so hard, especially with all the “pressures” in blogland. Back in the day you took a photo and had to wait to get your film developed to see how it turned out. Now it’s all about the perfectly posed selfie, apps to touch up your photo and staging a perfect life. Don’t get me wrong – I soooooo do all of that. I love sharing photos where I think I look cute and want my blog photos to show a pretty and clean home, not the dog hair ridden pillows or empty take out containers.

So I was excited (and a little nervous!) when Kate asked me to co-host this link up where we all show our inner beauty. Why nervous? Well because I don’t post a ton of photos of myself on my blog and when I do, it’s usually in a cute outfit with freshly did up hair and makeup. So posting a makeup-free photo was a little nerve-wracking to me. Which meant that I needed to do it. I’m super self conscious and can be critical of my flaws. When Jarrod tells me I’m beautiful when I have no makeup on, my hair is in a ponytail and I’m wearing sweatpants, I roll my eyes. But I shouldn’t. I should take the compliment and feel beautiful because beauty isn’t about my makeup or outfit, it’s about me. He sees the beauty in me whether I’m dressed up or looking like a bum. So I need to remind myself to see that beauty too.

So here is a makeup free photo with dirty hair and the outfit I was bumming around the house in. And a rule of this linkup (read more below) is to say something you think is beautiful about yourself. I’m a total self-deprecating person so this is hard for me, but I will say that I like my smile. I endured nearly 4 years of braces (thanks parents) and love smiling and laughing with my friends and family.  So my toothy smile is a good thing to me. And a bonus one – I have really long arms. As you can see. I was always really self conscious of them as a kid because sleeves would always be too short on me. Always. But now that I dance ballet, I’ve learned to be more graceful and love that my longer arms are a benefit and actually make me look taller too, so that’s another plus. And 3/4 length shirts are a thing now too, thank goodness. So there – I said two nice things about myself so I know you can all be complimentary to yourselves too!

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More about the linkup. I love Kate’s post on why she wanted to do this linkup, so go read that here because her post does a perfect job of explaining what this linkup is all about. I love that blogs encourage us to all show off the best version of ourselves, but we also need to be reminded that we’re all pretty fabulous without the makeup, free clothes, fancy houses and super cute dogs. Wait, no, the super cute dogs are pretty necessary. But everything else? That’s just dressing up an already fantastic package.

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And now it’s time for you all to participate too. Here’s how it works:

1. Take a picture of yourself — without “trying so hard.” Remove the makeup, forget the hair, and let your natural beauty shine through.

2. Let your picture take center stage on your blog and remember to include at least one thing that you find beautiful about yourself. (Use the hashtag #donttrysohardlinkup on Twitter & Instagram to share your pictures and posts!)

3. Follow your hosts and linkup your post below! (And add a button or link back so others can learn more about this link up too.)

4. Click around to others who have linked up and show them some positive feedback in the comment section. Do you love their eyes? Do they have cute freckles? Maybe they naturally have a beautiful glow! Let’s soak the blogosphere in positive thought and self confidence for one day!

5. Sit back and remember that you don’t have to try so hard. While it’s nice to do our makeup and hair, wear trendy outfits, etc., it is so much more important to remember that you are beautiful just as you are! Cheers!


your “start a blog” action plan

You find yourself reading more and more blogs. You feel like you know the bloggers. You nod along with their posts, laugh at their dumb jokes and know who they’re talking about when they refer to their significant others/friends. You’ve read everyone’s about pages, entered a million giveaways and tweeted at your fave bloggers. You love reading what others’ have to say and want to join in on the convo. Basically – you’re ready to start blogging, so here is your “start a blog” action plan, from me to you.

start a blog - jadeoak.com

Decide why you want to blog

You can always change your reason, but it’s good to start with a “why.” If your answer is “so I can quit my job in 6 months and blog full time!” – sorry to burst your bubble, but that proooobably isn’t going to happen. Lots of people are able to blog full time, but it takes quite awhile and a lot of work to get to that point. If that’s what you really want though, that’s good to know from the beginning and you can craft a plan to get there. If you want to blog just for fun, that’s good to know too. There are lots of other reasons too, like wanting to connect with other bloggers, writing about your experience, sharing your favorite recipes, showing off your photography, etc. Figure out your why.

Audience

Next figure out who your audience is. This can be several categories – other bloggers, runners, new moms, single ladies, other pug lovers (hmmm, who would that be…?), college students, whatever. This will help inform the type of posts you’ll be writing.

Your blogging voice

People talk about developing your “blogging voice” and to me, this means your blogging/writing style. I alter my way of talking a little depending on my audience. I’m still myself but just tweaked a little. I’m most “me” with my fiance and closest friends. I’m still “me” with my parents but I don’t swear as much around them and don’t talk about all the same things I talk with my friends about. Same thing with work, acquaintances, new people, career events and even blogging. I’m still myself in all these situations but my speech is a little different. I feel like I’m pretty open on my blog and write sorta how I speak but definitely censor myself a bit, because that’s what makes me comfortable. Figure out your initial comfort zone with your writing style/how much you disclose and you can change it up as you.

Blogging platform

There are several blogging platforms, but Blogger and WordPress are the most popular. Blogger is free and I initially started my blog over there. There are two different WordPress types – WordPress.org which is free but you don’t “own” your content and WordPress self-hosted where you own your content but have to pay for hosting. I switched to WordPress a few months ago and love it. I was intimidated to do the switch, but Lisette at Northern Belle Diaries did my design and transfer and has been wonderful. She is a wealth of knowledge so she definitely helped to ease my concerns. If you start off on Blogger, you can switch over to WordPress later. I think this one kinda goes back to my first tip where you figure out what you want out of your blog. Some professional bloggers use Blogger, but WordPress gives you more customization in my opinion. Just something to think about.

Blog design

It should be all about the content, right? But the internet is a visual place and everyone likes to spend time with something that is visually pleasing. Right off the bat, you don’t need to shell out for a custom design, but having a clean, pretty and easy to read blog design will help you grow your blog. You can find free or cheap templates and add some simple customization, then maybe upgrade to a custom design at a later time.

About Me page

When I find a new blog, I love checking out the About Me page to learn more about the blogger. So put making a fun and unique About Me page high on your list of things to do. People want to get to know you!

Advertising

Passionfruit is super great but I would suggest against accepting ads for awhile. When you’re a newer blogger with a smaller following, you won’t be able to charge much for ads, but managing your sponsor ads will be time consuming. Your time is better spent working on your content and maybe just doing ad swaps for awhile.

Email

I SO wish I had initially set up a separate email address for my blog, but I initially used my personal email address. Then I finally made a blog only email address, but some of my blog-related accounts are still with my old email address. It’s confusing. So just get your blog its own gmail address and you will avoid that trouble.

Social media

I already had my own twitter account when I started my blog, so I just used that. Again, I wish I had set up a separate blog twitter account. Oops. So do that and get your other accounts too – Facebook and Pinterest, at least. You can also get Instagram, Google+, Youtube, Vine and/or Tumblr. I would suggest making all the names match your blog name (or at least have all the same social media account names). This will make it easier for you and for your readers. This is a “do as I say, not as I do” situation since pretty much none of my social media account names are the same and none of them match my blog. Don’t worry, I’m still kicking myself over that. But not enough to change it apparently?

Toast

When you finish all the above, give yourself a toast. As in, with your beverage of choice. Not with toast, as in, burnt bread. Cheers!

New bloggers – any questions? Seasoned bloggers – anything you would add? Oh and check out these past post for some other blog tips – 5 Blogging Resources You Aren’t Using (But Should!) and Blogging Resources I Couldn’t Live Without.
Treasure Tromp