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. 🙂

four things on my wish list.

Leading up to my birthday, I somehow end up gathering a list of fun things I’d love to spend my money on (or maybe make it easier for my folks). Here are six things on my wish list. 

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1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera. I’ve always wanted one. It’s easy to use, small, and most of all, it doesn’t require me to go find a printer to print out my photos. This would make scrapbooking on the go so much easier.

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2. Kate Spade Insulated Tumbler. Ok, ok. What I really want is a tunbler. But come on, this is possible the coolest, punniest one out there.

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3. Cole Haan Zerogrand Oxford. On the expensive side (almost $200), definitely. And on the stunning side too. I saw these when Kelly Purkey mentioned them on her blog and they sound like great traveling shoes that still look great (so perfect for school right?). While I probably won’t be looking into buying these anytime soon, it’s on my list of “things to think about when I grow up”.

4. 365 Blog Topic Ideas (for the lifesyle blogger who as nothing to write about). Um YES. There are plenty of things I could write about and upload on the blog and sometimes I hit a wall. Usually a homework-filled wall. So a book with a blog post idea for every single day of the year will have at least something I can work with. 🙂 And this is one of the books where I think “why didn’t I write this book?”.

 

 

Happy Friday everyone. 

Oh and links to the products are in the photo creds.

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*

 

 

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.

fohr card

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. 🙂

distraction free

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.

blogproof

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.

 

ah. things are gonna change

DSC_81512 It’s been crazy. CRAZY. After getting a blog critique (which I really appreciated!), I kickstarted into a crazy overhaul of everything but the kitchen sink with this baby of mine. This blog is going to change. A lot. The content, maybe, but it’s the blog’s face I’m talking about. I learned that my sidebar was terrible, and I fixed that. But my branding, my logo, my blog name. I am not happy with all of that. I’m content. It’s alright. It’s okay. It’s not amazing. I don’t love it. But I’m getting ideas, I’m thinking, I’m dreaming of how amazing this blog could be, and trying really hard to come up with a branding that I will love. So I’m just letting you know, the blog will look weird in the next few weeks (and let me know if it has some errors or glitches ) and I’d love your feedback for everything. Oh, and while my mind is on blog rebranding, there will probably be some posts about it too, so look out for those. 🙂

100 things to do after you’ve written a blog post

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100 things to do after you’ve written a blog post

1. Drink something. Seriously, stay hydrated people.
2. Publish it, or schedule it if you’ve got an editorial calendar or something
3. Tweet about it.
4. Post it on your other social media.
5. Go through your social media feed.
6. Answer a question someone asked (doesn’t have to be about you or your blog)
7. Learn something new.
8. Make a list of things you want to do today.
9. Check one thing off that list.
10. Do another thing on your list.
11. Go outside.
12. Come back inside.
13. Drink some more,
14. Look at your stats.
15. Start using Google Analytics.
16. Go on Pinterest.
17. Feel inspired.
18. Go do something that would make a good blog post.
19. Take a break.
20. Eat something.
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21. Drink more stuff.
22. If you’re not feeling too tired, write that blog post.
23. Schedule it!
24. Schedule some tweets to go with that.
25. Find out what your audience is really loving recently.
26. Go try it out yourself.
27. Like it? Write a blog post.
28. Don’t like it? Write a blog post.
29. Go on twitter( read: any social media) and wish someone a happy birthday
30. Find a book you want to read.
31. Read it.
32. Or just plan on reading it, someday.
33. Do the laundry or anything like it.
34. Drink and eat.
35. Talk to someone.
36. Go to a blog post of yours.
37. Read it.
38. Sound like you?
39. It should.
40. Do another thing on your to-do list.
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41. Cross or check it off.
42. If anyone has tweeted you or commented with a question, reply.
43. Thank anyone who has retweeted of shared your blog post.
44. Take a power nap.
45. Get up and drink something!
46. Update your profiles.
47. Update anything that needs to be updated.
48. Write a review of something.
49. Write a review on something you like.
50. If possible, give one away to your readers.
51. Listen to some music.
52. Make sure your readers have a way of keeping up with you blog.
53. Use feedly, blog lovin’, or another system like it.
54. Go Google your blog.
55. Near the top?
56. Cool. Read an article on SEO
57. Do one thing on your blog SEO related.
58. Drink some water.
59. Fix a problem that has been sitting around.
60. Make a list of the most important things you want to do in the next few years.

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61. Look at yourself. Is what you are doing right now going to take you a tiny step closer to any of those things?
62. Change something.
63. Get a small notebook.
64. Get a pen you like writing with.
65. Start carrying those two things around with you wherever you go.
66. Go get the mail.
67. Read through the mail.
68. Tweet about the newest blog post again.
69. Water some plants.
70. Do another thing on your to-do list.
71. Find a blogger who writes about similar things as you.
72. Compare it to yours. Lightly.
73. Find a blogger who writes about things totally unrelated to your blog.
74. Read their blog.
75. Make an account with MailChimp or other newsletter company.
76. Add a Sign up button to your blog.
77. Tweet that you now have newsletters.
78. Create some exclusive content that only newsletter members will have access to.
79. When you have members, send the content out!
80. Exercise.
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81. Drink some water.
82. Figure out what the purpose of your blog is.
83. Figure out what needs to be on your blog in order to fulfill the purpose of it.
84. Make sure those things are on your blog.
85. Learn some more about who your readers are.
86. Go through some of your recent posts.
87. Make sure their is no spelling or big grammar issues.
88. Go to a place you’ve never been before.
89. Try drawing a map of it.
90. Get inspired by the new place.
91. Write down some blog post ideas in the notebook you always carry with you
92. Come home and start working on one of the blog post ideas.
93. Go out and eat something someone else made for you.
94. Start reading a book.
95. Make yourself a drink.
96.Sit down at a computer.
97.Feel awesome you have a blog.
98.Write a list with a hundred things on it.
99.Share it with the Internet.
100. Drink something.

omg emails.

20140312-160909.jpgQuick bonus post today!

So on Tuesday, I got about 5 emails that needed long replys or actions. This never happens. I’ve always thought I wanted to have emails like these. There are a bunch of articles out there about “how to reduce the amount of time with emails” and I was like I wish I had that many emails that I needed a way to reduce it. When I actually had a lot of emails (five), I died. Those emails took so long. I don’t even know how I could possibly deal with more (like 6).

If you have any tips, let me know. I’m currently done with 2 of 5 emails and its 3 pm. 😦

 

#tbt can you guess what post this photo was from?