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09 October 2015

Jason Witten Is The Man

This weekend, I'll be filming the second part of the Female Fan Gameday Rituals video for the Dallas Cowboys that I talked about last week.  We will be filming at the Patriots vs. Dallas game this weekend. Although CB is a diehard Cowboys fan, let's not forget that he thinks Tom Brady is the GLA. I'm pretty sure he is downright giddy that he gets to go with me on Sunday.

Today though, I want to talk about my favorite Cowboy of all time, a man who I think should be a candidate for the GLA. You guys know that I live sleep eat breathe the Vols on Saturday, and the Cowboys on Sunday, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that my favorite player is Jason Witten. Yup, for those of you that didn't know, Witten was a Tennessee Volunteer from 2000-2002. 

Jason Witten Tennessee Vol and Dallas Cowboys

Jason and me at the ACM Awards

I once wrote a post that Andrew Luck is the new Tim Tebow, but I could have easily written about Jason Witten in that post instead. We all know that Witten is one of the greatest Tight Ends of all time, but let me tell you a little bit about Witten's past. The past that has shaped his present and has absolutely nothing to do with football. 

Witten grew up in an abusive household. His father had an alcohol and drug problem, and Jason, as a little boy, watched his father beat his mother and his siblings. He experienced domestic violence and abuse first hand. When he was 11, his mother fled 400 miles away to her parent's home. It was there that Jason's grandfather changed the course of his life, and introduced him to football. 

Witten has committed his adult life working to break the cycle of domestic violence. Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation has launched numerous outreach programs in both Texas and Tennessee. Five years ago, the SCOREkeepers program was launched, which places full-time, trained male mentors in battered women's shelters. Their goal is to demonstrate positive male behavior to the children living in those shelters, and break the cycle of violence in families plagued by abuse. He also has a program called, "Coaching Boys Into Men" which trains coaches to educate their players on the dangers of dating violence. These are just a couple of his many, many, many programs to END domestic violence. There's a whole E:60 Jason Witten Tough episode you must watch, if you haven't already.

There are about 82 different reasons that Jason Witten is my favorite player (see what I did there?!?) of all time. Ok ok, we'll call him favorite co-player. I'm sure Jason wouldn't mind if I also include this quarterback that plays for the Denver Broncos that you might know, his name is Peyton.

I'll give you a hint for the Cowboys Female Fan video story line, it involves Jason Witten! Don't get too excited though, I'm pretty sure he won't be in said video, but a girl can dream right?

Follow along this weekend when I go to film at the Cowboys game, via Snapchat and Instagram. Plus, don't forget to link up anything sports related using the hashtag #gamedayvibes!


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08 October 2015

5 Tips To Make Your Blogger Blog Load Faster

I recently redesigned my blog and with that redesign, came very slow page load speeds for some reason. CB and my mom have both told me that they've had issues with slow page loading on my blog in the past, but even I started to see it with the new design.  Once Ember left me a comment also noticing slow load speeds, I knew I had to get it fixed ASAP. What I discovered was actually fascinating, but maybe that's just because I'm a big nerd. Here are the changes I've made to make my blog load faster.

How To Make Your Blogger Blog Load Faster

1. Optimize Your Images
This is not the very first thing that I did to increase my page load speed, because I was putting it off. I knew this would be time consuming and quite frankly I was too lazy to do it. I'm listing it first for you guys though, because it is THE BEST thing you can do for your blog's page load speed. If you don't do it for old images, at least do it for all of your images going forward. 

First things first, size your images down to the correct size when editing. 
Although I have a tutorial on how to manually size your blog's images without using a photo editor, using this method will not help the speed at which your images load. There are some pros for that method, I personally like it because I have a Mac with retina display and it's the best way I can get my images really crisp on my screen. I've decided though, that page load speed is more important than a slightly more crisp image. 

JPGs Are Fine For Blog Post Images
For the longest time, I've saved my images as PNGs. PNGs are awesome, but they are a much bigger file size, and that kind if quality really isn't needed on the web, only for print. Here's an example of the two below, you really can't tell much of a difference. 

 How To Optimize Your Images
If you have photoshop, it is quite simple. You just save your file as a jpg, change your quality level to medium, which will decrease file size, then under Format Options, select Baseline Optimized. If you don't have photoshop, here's how you can quickly optimize your images over the internet.

1. I've been using this Online Image Optimizer website, which makes it very easy.

2. Upload the image you'd like to optimize. As an example, I'm going to optimize my images from my old post "25 Fashion Poses for Lifestyle Bloggers to Feel More Comfortable In Front of the Camera.

3. You'll see the original listed first, followed by variations of the image that have been optimized. Save the image that looks the best to you, without giving up your quality.  I'm picking this one, which is a savings of 82% over my original.... 504 kb vs 89 kb. Looks just fine to me.

2. Clean Up Your Sidebar
Take a look at the number of items on your sidebar. Do you absolutely need everything on there? Take Passionfruit Ads for example, I still have some ads running via Passionfruit but I had some code on there for a sponsor spot that I no longer even offer. That code was slowing my speed down, even though I didn't have an ad running. Also be sure to look at anything using JavaScript, if you don't need it, delete it.

3. Run A Speed Test
A speed test will not only tell you how your site's page load speed compares with others on the web, it will also give you solutions to fix it. If you have a blogger blog, I'd recommend using the Google Developer's Page Speed Insights. It'll give you solutions for both mobile and desktop versions of your blog. 

4. Decrease the number of posts shown per page

I now only show 2 posts per page, versus the 6 I used to show. This one is a no brainer, and makes total sense on why it would help with page load speed. Here's how to decrese the number of posts shown per page:

1. Select the Layout Tab in Blogger

 2. Scroll down to the main blog post area, click edit.

3. Change the number of posts shown. I personally only show 2. Then click save. 

5. Choose Your Third Party Content Wisely
Third Party Content is anything on your site that needs information from somewhere else in order to load. For example, I now have a Facebook like gadget on my sidebar. That decreases my page load speed, because the widget needs to go to Facebook to retrieve the information it needs to load. Third Party Content can obviously be very beneficial -- I want more likes on my Facebook page -- so just make sure it is benefitting you in some form if it's on your sidebar. If it's not, ditch it.

These are the easiest things you can go do right now to make your page load faster. If you have any other advice on increasing page load speed, I would LOVE to hear it!

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