blog tools: post ideas.

post ideasSo you’ve got pretty pictures. Now the most important part: your content! Coming up with blog posts and ideas is the main part of blogging and is often the reason behind blogger’s block. Here are my tips/resources to come up with blog post ideas.

Don’t wander around the Internet looking for ideas. You’ll be lost there forever, drowning in pins and tweets. While there are tons of great posts out there, the best posts come from a place of interest, something that you really want to talk about. Whether it be an issue you believe in or products/stores that you enjoyed, there should be some passion in it (even if it’s negative) Go outside! Do something!

Answer the questions in Elle & Co’s How to Come Up with 60 Original Blog Post Ideas in 30 Minutes.  (so helpful!)

Create lists. As a list-making fanatic myself, lists are often the easiest way for me to share my ideas and thoughts. And, when you do have blog posts lined up, creating lists of everything can help you stay organized and who know, maybe you’ll find a gem in between those bullet points and strikethroughs.

– Remember, it’s your blog. You can post whatever you want, and posts only have to meet your expectations.

Now go, write some blog posts. The world is already filled so many blogs and bloggers, you are the only thing that makes yours special. Go, go, go!

blogging tools: photos

blogpostphotosPhotos are a huge deal in blog posts. In today’s world, many blogs are excelling beyond magazine-levels of photography and it’s awesome. So, whether you’re just starting out or you need some photos in a pinch, here are my favorite and most used tools for photos.

TAKE THOSE PHOTOS

You hear it a lot in the blog world: shoot in manual. A lot easier said then done, people. A series that I love and have used to figure out photo taking is Photography 101 by Of threes and Hues. Latrina’s blog is one of my favorites and her series is easy to understand and goes into plenty of detail.

BETTER THAN STOCK

Sometimes, other people just do it better. And sometimes, a post just needs a generic backdrop. Unsplash and Death to the Stock Photo share with the world amazing, high quality photos that do the trick. They are stunning, and look hella good. The photo for this post is from Death. My eyes are happy.

ADD SOME WORDS

With Pinterest being a huge influencer on blogs, a good (what I call) title photo is key. That means putting the blog title or topic on the first picture of the post. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is through PicMonkey. Incredibly easy to use and learn. YouTubers use it for their thumbnails, I use it for everything (logo and infographics).

Once you got some nice photos at a title photo, you’re ready to go! Of course, you need to write the blog post too and we’ll cover that next week for part 2 of blogging process/tools/i’ll figure out a name later. 🙂

the new Hey Iris.

It’s finally here you guys, it’s finally here.
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I’ve been talking about rebranding and making my blog a legit space for a long, long time. I finally took the plunge, pushed by the idea of my birthday coming up and from the lull I’ve found myself in coming out of winter break. I first wanted to release it one the day of my birthday, but I just wasn’t ready. Didn’t want to rush something so big.  Hours and hours of learning have been spent on this site and I’d love to share with you some of my favorite things.

the Sidebar

For ages I have been annoyed by the lack of good themes that had both a simplistic, non-tacky look and could hold all the content I wanted in a blog. That led me to a theme with a floating sidebar, one that always stayed on the screen. It was a downside that I could (maybe) live with. Well, no longer! The new sidebar features all the information and navigation a fourteen fifteen year old could want.

the Logo

I’ve wanted a logo ever since I could remember. To me it represented the entirety of one’s brand and image on the internet. If you’ve been around here in the past few months, then you’ll notice I’ve actually paid a designer for a logo (i mean it was only $5 but still) and I didn’t get anything near what I wanted. So, long story short, I gave up.  Turns out the simplest logo is the way to go. Love the one I have.

the About page

I’ve never really had one on the blog, and now I have an about page that is, shall it say, pretty cool. I give a little backstory (as much as you can when you’ve only existed for 15 years and can remember about nine of them clearly) and some multipurpose stuff so that I have something to reference when anyone asks about me.

Just those three things took me a while to learn, to code (and adjust someone else’s code), and ultimately put into place. Now, there have also been some you-related changes. From now on, you can only follow me through Bloglovin’. There’s no other way really, to transfer my wordpress.com followers over. It sucks losing a bunch of readers, people that made my day each time they followed. It really sucks. But hey, change is change and it can’t all be good.

Also, I’ll definitely be adding more (colorful) items to the blog layout and surroundings, but I want to let the photos stand out for now. That leads me to one of my goals for this year: I want to make better content. I really want to step up my blogging game, whether that be more frequently and/or super high quality posts. A good post can make the whole blog look amazing. 🙂

As for the specific details, I took advantage of GoDaddy‘s $1/month hosting and domain and also got the WordPress.com website redirect so y’all would arrive here. Other than that, it’s just been me playing around.

This has been such an exciting and stressful experience.

Here’s to another new-filled year. *cheers*

 

 

favorite blog post of 2014

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New Years is happening and this year has conjured up some (amazing) posts that I love so so much. Here are the favorites from this interesting year, 2014.

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Let’s start with my birthday, and the most popular and most referenced post this year. From my ways to use your planner series, the chronodex!  Seems like people are curious about new organization techniques 🙂

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The big snow came to Seattle min-February and I brought out the camera to capture some of the quiet wonders of the weather.

Possibly my favorite collaboration ever, I truly enjoyed writing this quick little story. Perspective changing, and kinda confusing, it really got me back into writing for the summer. Read the full story, running, and tell me your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

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I never really have done a face/outfit/hair post, but there’s a first time for everything. I think my best posts have been sharing with you guys things I love, and I hope to do that more in ’15.  See the incredibly awkward photos and endless flyaway hairs here.

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This year, making this blog better has been constantly on my mind. Making this blog it’s own is a huge own, and I thought a lot about the whole wordpress.org thing. Read all about my conclusion and my plans for the future.

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I learned so much about using my DSLR and capturing some good photos this year. My road trip this summer was a perfect chance for me to try taking photos in many different situations. My favorites have been the photos I got at the Grand Canyon in the late afternoons. See all of them here.

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As school began, the weather got chilly, and a new job was on the horizon, I took an unplanned break from blogging and only a few posts have graced your screens. But I made sure to come back with a last-minute gift guide for all you procrastinators. I adore the graphics that go along with the post, especially because they were done on an ipad in the middle of a road trip. Yay for making the most of my time. You can find out what those weird drawings are of in the full post.

These favorite posts have reminded me of some goals I have on the back burner that should come out this next year. Look for a 2015 goals post in the coming days!

What are your favorite posts this year, from this blog or any other blog? Share them with me in the comments!

5 tips for new bloggers

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I love that the post marking my return to (trying to) blog once again is a post for the #BundleMarathon. And, it’s about tips for new bloggers.

1. Consistency (I can hear y’all laughing at the hypocrisy)

Ok, speaking as someone who absolutely failed at this, write consistently and constantly. I think that if you are a blogger, you have to at least like writing, because you will be doing a lot of it. Writing and photos are all you have with your blog so you should write as often as possible.

2. Always include a photo.

Speaking of photographs, a post always looks better with a photo. Always.  Now, the whole blogging experience will make you a better photographer, for sure. But if you’re not too confident in your photos (or just don’t have any photos that fit), use unsplash.com: artsy photos without any copyright issues. I even used it for the photo above and PicMonkey for the words.

3. Make friends. 

As much as the internet is vast and wide, it’s easy to make friends in the blogging world. And friends make everything better. Join twitter chats. Join a Facebook group. Don’t be afraid to tweet someone. That’s one of the greatest parts of blogging; it connects everyone on so many levels.

4. Care about what you want.

I know that when I started, I did care about the stats, even though everyone says not to. I cared because seeing that one person read my post made my day. It really did. So care about what you want to care about. Don’t let any advice post tell you otherwise.

5. Take a break (from advice)

Just looking on Pinterest, there are hundreds of blogger advice posts. At some point, those posts wander away from the helpful zone and enter the do-this-do-that zone. Take a break, and make blogging your own.

 

Finally, a post. 🙂 This season, a new #BundleMarathon post will be up every Monday, and hopefully some more throughout the week. 🙂

how i started blogging

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In the past few weeks, opportunities have come up that I could only dream of happening to me when I was out of school. It’s crazy! I am checking off my 101 in (maybe) 1001 days list faster than I thought. 🙂 And you guys all know that those opportunities have mostly come from this blog. This blog, meaning you all fantastic people that I don’t really know that well but sure wish I did. This isn’t going to be a mushy thank you post, I’ve already done some of those, but rather I wanted to share with y’all the story of how I started blogging.

When I was about nine years old, in the summer too, I checked out library books every. single. day. Well, almost. I would go onto the library website and put books on hold that I thought were interesting. Even as a kid I was all about that arts & crafts life. 🙂 I put this one book on hold thinking that it would be another craft book.

Turns out is was a how to start a blog book.

And so I did what it told me, and I started a blog. You can actually still see it here. I posted a few posts, but it wasn’t all that great. Later, when I found cardmaking, I posted pictures of my cards, entered in challenges, and even held my own challenges with bi-weekly prompts and prizes; I learned so much about emailing people, etiquette, and organization ( I also learned how to stop ending every single one of my sentences with an exclamation point).

Soon I no longer had time for crafts and making things, and so I posted less and less on my craft blog. But, I still had things to say. So hello! You’re here. You probably have been here before since many of my few readers are awesome, and come back often to read my posts (thank you). But you’re here. And I’ve been blogging for what? 5 years? That’s my third biggest commitment behind living and going to school (8 years down, 8 more to go).

Yay! for the existence of this blog, you, and a brain that has the occasional good idea.  Grazi.

some great websites

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I spend a lot of time on the Internet. Here are some new one’s that I’ve been loving.

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1. Fohr Card

This blogger outreach platform allows anyone to join and has big brands (like J. effin’ Crew!) and little ones all easily accessible. The brands actually tell you what they are looking for in a collaboration and will actually check the site. (you can see my page here)

2.  Course Craft

It might just be me, but the moment I got a Course Craft account, I practically wrote a whole e-course. So easy and fun and great for bloggers ’cause everyone’s got something to teach. 🙂

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3. WordPress’s Distraction Free writing

Ohmygod. The words just spilled out of me while in this setting. Try it sometime if you use WordPress. You can find it under the “visual” and “text” tabs.

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4. Blogproofer

Being the non-English-degree-holding blogger I am, there are always typos. Always. Autocorrect can catch most of them, but grammar? Yeah, no.

Check all these site out, they’re pretty great.