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Entry Re-styling

*This post may contain affiliate links. In fact, it totally does.*

I’m trying something a little different with the blog. I used to do a personal blog & I kinda miss it. So, I’m bringing it back… Prepare yourselves!

I live with my boyfriend & his cat & my dog. His kids are here when they’re not at Mommy’s. With that in mind, I’ll sum up my interior design style as: kid-friendly, easy to clean & comfortable but still cute. Got it? Also, a bit of my “design philosophy” is to work with what I’ve got as much as possible.  I don’t go so far as to make mobiles out of egg cartons but I do like to shop my home before buying new things. (But I also like to really REAL shop too.  Favorite places: IKEA, Target, Home Goods/Marshalls/TJMaxx, Goodwill.)

Just before Thanksgiving we had little bit of a grease fire, so we were forced to re-do a few things.  We redid the kitchen cabinets, had the downstairs ceiling & walls painted, and had new baseboard put down (when your house floods the clean-up guys rip all yours off!). Plus since then we’ve made another trip to IKEA as well & bought plenty of new bits for the house. I still want to go through & “design” or “style” each area though. So that’s what this is…

First project – re-style the entry area of our little villa:

Before pics

It’s lookin’ pretty bland right now, especially in these super dark photos I took.  We took down all the pictures we had hung to get the walls painted. We went with Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige SW 7036 for the walls with plain white on the ceiling.

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Detail of the entry table.  It’s an IKEA sofa table (similar to the Lack)

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I took one shot with the light off so you can appreciate the cool new light my mister put up (from Home Depot). The original one was very OL (old lady).

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My thoughts on what to do next:

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I’m mainly thinking that it needs some style & color, as well as some clutter-hiding bins.  (I love bins!).

  • Move: Relocate the speakers.
  • Keep: the cute orange tray I found in the Target dollar section.
  • Bring: a turquoise lamp from my desk, a grey/black/white striped rug from the kitchen & possibly some decorative items from my bedroom to use instead of the Target items I was considering.
  • Buy: 2 large baskets, 3 smaller matching baskets (maybe these), possibly some decorative figurines like this, this or this.

Hopefully investing a fairly minimal amount of money & time will brighten up this area & make it even more functional.

kindle-books

Recent Reads – April

Non-fiction

Social Media: Social Media Marketing Strategies – A seriously basic overview of social media.  I didn’t pick up any new tips from this one. Avoid unless you don’t know what social media is, then it might be a good, simple explanation for you.

Poor Girl’s Guide to Fame and Fortune: Learn How to Go From Nobody to Somebody On a Shoestring Budget and Prove Your Worth – Eh, this is another one that was pretty basic.  It had a few tips about building your brand & working it on social media.  I can’t say I learned anything new – but, again, if you are new to the idea of online marketing this could be for you. There is a lot of advice on believing in yourself & thinking positively too.  That is never bad advice.

Chasing the Ripper – Behind the scenes information about Patricia Cornwell’s investigation for writing Portrait of a Killer.  Pretty interesting stuff – she is convinced Jack the Ripper was a prominent British artist names Walter Sickert.  This book seems to be defending that position even more since the Ripperologists ripped her a new one for the original book lol.

The Seven Principles of Mastery (The Swordsman’s Quick Guide Book 1) – Mostly about the basics of learning a new skill.  Not so much about fencing in particular.  Still, a good, quick read. FYI: it’s free on Amazon right now, for anyone.

Fiction

The Memory Box – I couldn’t put this one down.  I couldn’t wait to find out what was real & what wasn’t.  A lot of times I felt the writing was a bit confusing & uneven but maybe that was on purpose to add to the schizophrenic feel of the plot. It worked.  Just reading it I felt a little out of control.  Weird right?

Crawlspace – This one was weird but not in the way I was expecting.  At the end of it all I kind of feel like “What was the point?” even though it kept me reading to see what happened next.

Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World – This was refreshingly amusing.  I’m going to go ahead & recommend this one.

kindle-books

Recent Reads – March

Non-fiction

Declutter And Simplify – 33 Proven Ways To Declutter And Simplify Your Life – pretty basic de-cluttering tips. I’m a sucker for anything de-cluttering or organizing though so… I just can’t stop myself. In fact, I just added about 10 more of this type to my Kindle Unlimited reading list.  It’s private to hide my shame.

The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You – This is a truth to live by.  Don’t get wrapped up in how important you are.  It’s true – who cares if we screw up.  Try something!

Leave Your Mark – Some of my favorite non-fiction books are from people that work in fashion magazines.  This one was an extra treat because it went behind the scenes with Aliza Licht, the girl behind the DKNY PR Girl Twitter.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood – Very good read about the ups & downs of parenthood & how we perceive them. A lot about how parenthood itself has evolved in recent years which I found very interesting even though I don’t have kids of my own.

Fiction

The Origin of Dracula – Once I started it I was hooked.  It’s about the past coming back to haunt the characters, in supernatural ways.  I think that’s all I can say without spoiling.  It’s a strange book, lots of twists & turns, some tied up in a bow, some not.

Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside – cute, fast read.  Just helps you realize that everyone has it hard sometimes, even imaginary monsters.

Asylum – billed as “perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” I think it was a good book on its own but I didn’t necessarily feel like it was too similar to Peregrine’s – other than the use of photos throughout the story. I did enjoy it & will read the next one eventually.  I actually have Peregrine’s sequel queued up though so the sequel to Asylum will have to wait a bit.

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One Bite at a Time – Bite #3 – Pimp Your Profile

Pimp Out Your Social Profile

So, last episode your homework was to choose a social platform to focus on. You did realize we were going to do something with that, right?

Yep! It’s time to set it up & make it match your branding

Tip

Pssst: Here is a great & simple online graphics program – Canva. It’s a great idea to get to know this one – it has a lot of the templates specific to social media! You can create from scratch or templates, use their images or your own.

Tip

Pssst: You get an extra tip today!  If you haven’t yet, you should set up a Google Business page.  How-to set up Google Business page

Your Homework:

  • Learn to play with Canva if you so choose.  It can help you with creating graphics for the next step
  • Set up your social profile of choice
  • Bonus points – set up Google Places page for your business

I would love to see your progress!
Drop me a note on my Facebook page. Or comment right below the blog with your social link.

See you in a couple weeks, when we take another bite! In the meantime, contact me if you have questions.

Catch up on the One Bite at a Time series

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Recent Reads – February

Non-Fiction

Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan plus jokes about kids = good stuff.

Fat Girl Truths – Eh, it was OK. I liked that it was from the perspective of someone who’s been there.  Other than that it was pretty similar to most weight loss advice.

First World Problems – Pretty damn funny.  I catch myself having “first world problems” too. I just try to be brave. So brave.  And then I punch myself in the face.

 

Fiction

Bloodman – I heavy, dark read, if you like that kind of thing.  I do sometimes.

On a Hill – Not as scary as I was hoping.  I’m always looking for something so scary that I have to quit reading LOL.  Two books that fit the bill: IT and Dracula.  Both classics.

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One Bite at a Time – Bite #2 – Pinpoint Your Social Media Focus

Which Social Platforms Will Work Best For Your Business?

Let’s decide on just one for now. What are our options?

The most popular social sites:

  • Facebook – The most popular one, everyone seems to be on it, lots of competition, can use mix of content – video, image, text, expect to post 1-2 times per day
  • Google+ – Has large user base, can positively effect your SEO, not sure who all is active on it, post 3-6 times per day, multimedia friendly
  • Twitter – Tech savvy users, thrives on constant stream of content – expect to post 3-6 times per day, best for quick, witty tips/observations, uses hashtags
  • Instagram – Good site for photography or other image driven businesses – design, tattoo, products, etc…, young/hip users, post once or twice a day,
  • LinkedIn – Good for B2B businesses, expect to post 1 time per day on weekdays, can share longer content, lots of professionals on this one
  • Pinterest – Expect to post 3-6 times per day, images are important, infographics do well here too, demographics = a lot of women, food/DIY does really well
  • YouTube – Best for businesses that would promote well with video
Tip

Pssst: Once we have that one social platform under control we’ll add in some automation so we can re-use our content easily on others.

Things to consider

Your Homework:

  • Pick one social media platform to start with.
  • Choose the one that fits your business best based on: demographics, type of content shared, even your own convenience – let’s be real here: if it’s not convenient we probably won’t keep up with it.

Since I’m already consistently active on Facebook, for this exercise I’ll be focusing on Instagram – I need to use it for sneak peeks & design stuff geared toward my biz more often. Another plus – Insta isn’t overwhelming 😉

I would love to know which social site you have chosen!
Drop me a note on my Facebook page.

See you in a couple weeks, when we take another bite! In the meantime, contact me if you have questions.

Catch up on the One Bite at a Time series

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One Bite at a Time – Bite #1 – Set Up a Blog

Set up a blog on your website.

If you have one already go for extra credit & write a post!

Why do I need a blog?

    1. Writing establishes you as an expert in your field.
    2. Your expertise can help your clients.
    3. It humanizes you & your business – tell your story, let your clients know you. It’s a little less personal than showing them photos of the grandkids, but you get the idea!
    4. Search engines LOVE fresh, new content. It tells Google that your site is alive & current & (possibly) interesting!

How do I set up a blog?

The nuts & bolts of setting up a blog can be a little much for the average user. If you feel confident, dive in & do it! If you want help feel free to touch base with me. If you have a newer site, I can probably turn one on for you somewhat quickly. If you are on an older site we should probably be talking re-design anyway to get you current.

Tip

Start cultivating the mind-set to of sharing. As you move through life (online & off), start to be aware of things you might like to write about. Did you read an interesting article? Would others find it interesting as well? Make a note.  We’ll come back to it later.

But it sounds like so much work!

Don’t panic! Right now we are laying the foundation to make all these pieces fit seamlessly together & make your online life run as smoothly as possible. This step is just getting the blog set up. We’ll grow into the actual blogging after a while.

To Sum Up:

  • Get a blog set up on your website.
  • Start paying attention to things you might want to share.

See you in a couple weeks, when we move on to another bite! In the meantime, contact me if you have questions.

Catch up on the One Bite at a Time series

Introduction – So You Have a Website… Now What?

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So You Have a Website… Now What?

A lot of clients ask me:

“How do I get my site ‘Out There’?”

Or, worse,  sometimes they don’t ask that at all – they just expect their website to just start bringing in the leads, without any more work on their part.  Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way. Your online presence is not a “set it & forget it” situation. It is something that needs to be built up & fostered, continually engaged in.  Sound exhausting?  It can be if you try to do everything at once! But don’t feel too overwhelmed – I myself am in the same boat & decided my clients needed some guidance (and a little hand holding) to get to where they feel in control of their website & social media accounts.

Thus the “One Bite at a Time” newsletter was born – a bi-weekly email containing bite-size tips for pumping up your web presence.  These will be small, actionable steps that will build up to a good foundation for your online efforts. I’m hoping you’ll follow along with me – sign up below!

A few things we will cover:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – making tweaks on & off your site to make it more interesting to search engines
  • Blogging – writing regular articles on your site to establish expertise & give the search engines more to read
  • Social Media – engaging potential & current clients, keeping your name front and center, providing customer service, even being entertaining
  • Email Marketing – building your email list, sending regular newsletters, updates or special offers, keeping in touch

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Recent Reads – January

My boyfriend surprised me with a subscription to Amazon Unlimited for Christmas.  Super thoughtful!  It doesn’t give you ALL of the books but there are quite a few I’ve been wanted to read plus lots of new suggestions.  Between that & Overdrive (the library’s digital download site) & a couple paperbacks borrowed from a friend this is going to be the Year of Reading for me.

Non-fiction:

David & Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell – such a good read. I also recommend Outliers.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling.  I love Mindy.  Fun fact: I read this in her voice.  At some point I switched over to “…Then Stay Fat” on my Kindle & picked it up the next morning to read, thinking I was still reading “Is Everyone…” and continued reading in Mindy’s voice till I realized pages later that Mindy was not, in fact, giving me tough love weight loss advice.

…Then Just Stay Fat – Straight talking weight loss help.  It’s all up to you (or me, as the case may be).

Fiction:

The Book Does Not Exist – This was suggested to me after I read John Dies at the End, which is a major fave of mine.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – A collection of super weird short stories that are in turns sci-fi, fantasy & horror.

Harvest Home – long & worth it.

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody – Made me laugh out loud. Apparently “parody” is a whole category of books.  I had no idea.

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Efficiency Measures – Part 1

Long story short, last year was a blur for me & I could barely breathe for the majority of it. Some of that was personal stuff but most was dealing with my business suddenly having so many more clients. It was a whirlwind.

Anyway, I happened to grab Less Doing, More Living by Ari Meisel when I was able to squeeze in a library visit.  It’s a fast read about streamlining the mundane parts of life so we can enjoy life more. I highly recommend! A few of the suggestions weren’t great for me but a few worked out really well! I tried to put ALL OF THE THINGS in this post but it’s just too much so I’m breaking it up over 2 posts.

I’m going to start by being negative.  (Not too negative though.)

 

What didn’t work out so great:

Amazon Subscribe & Save

I LURV Amazon but Subscribe & Save didn’t do it for me.  I may not have given it enough time to work out FOR SURE that I would use 4 bottles of shower gel every 2 months exactly but it just felt stressful because I was always thinking “Will 1 tube of toothpaste last for 2 months or 1?  Or 1 and a half?  Then I need to skip it every third month.” Ugh, mental gymnastics – nope!

Automating the necessity of shopping is an AMAZING idea, obviously. While I was still Subscribing & Saving I came across the Shipt grocery shopping app ads on Facebook. I signed on immediately. Since then I have replaced S&S with Shipt.  I’ve used it 4 times now & every time has been great.  It helps me avoid Publix and Target – two places I tend to over-shop in person.  So so good!

If Shipt is available to you & you have better uses for your time than spending 1-2 hours a week shopping & hauling groceries I highly recommend it. I know I get less for my money (because they charge a little bit more per item) but it’s easy to take advantage of the weekly sales & I’m not impulse buying up & down the aisles so I think it shakes out. Also: it buys 1-2 hours back for me each week.  Also also: it creates jobs where there were none before! (I have not been paid for this recommendation ;))

Mint

This is a service that syncs all your accounts – checking, savings, credit cards, loans, what-have-you & it tracks your spending & tries to help with budgeting.  I am obsessive about logging into my bank website & updating my money program manually (like a dinosaur) so I don’t think it helps me as much as it might help others. I can’t deal with just glancing at my bank info.  I must transcribe it so I am forced to look at every entry.  I catch errors best that way.

One Receipt

This is another add-on for your banking. It keeps your receipts all in one place.  I believe it will show you the actual receipt for each entry in your bank account.  I have it but haven’t really used it more than once or twice.  Not a heavy hitter for me.

 

To Sum Up

Amazon lead me to Shipt – I may not have been as open to it before reading this book. So that worked out pretty well.  The others weren’t great for me. Check back for Part 2 about the things that worked like gangbusters!