Venus Trapped in Mars

30 June 2015

The Best Handwritten Script Fonts for Your Blog

I have an addiction, a serious addiction. I am obsessed with fonts. I of course love free fonts, but as a designer you can only get away with free fonts for so long. The handwritten, scripted fonts are really popular right now, so I thought I'd make a list of my current favorite script fonts. Some listed below are free, and some cost money. 
A good tip for purchasing fonts is to look for sales and bundles. I personally only use two sites to buy fonts: Creative Market and My Fonts. Just like with most things in my life, I never buy a font that isn't on some kind of special. 
For me to buy a font, it either needs to be half off, like these, or bundled, like these, where you get several fonts for the price of one. I also follow Creative Market on Pinterest, because they often pin the specials and promotions they have going on. This post isn't sponsored, I've just had great luck with finding amazing deals on both sites, and would highly recommend them to any blogger. 
With that said, here are the fonts I'm loving right now. Looking for even more free fonts? Click here for fonts I'd recommend for your blog, and one list of fonts I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole! That's a little dramatic, maybe a 5 foot pole.  
Surprise | Abstra   :::   Glitz | Alek   :::   Lovely | Away
Vintage | Bachelor Script   :::   Blooms | Brannboll   :::   Fabulous | Ciao Bella
  Adorable | Coalhand Luke   :::   Electric | Elizabeth   :::   Beautiful | Hitz
Entice | KatieRose   :::   Skyscraper | Manhattan Darling   :::   Sail | Mots
Dashing | Quickpen   :::   Poppy | SignPainter   :::   Obsessed | Smitten
Bestie | Stringfellows   :::   Party | Bushcraft One   :::   Cocktail | Carolyna

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26 June 2015

Drink On Fleek: Strawberry Basil Gimlet




No you're not lost. You're still visiting Venus Trapped in Mars, and thank the good lord it is indeed still Friday. The sporting world will have to wait for today because I'm currently working on rebranding Fan Friday.  This previous sentence could also be translated as: IT IS LATE JUNE... AIN'T NOTHIN GOIN ON

BUT you should support AMERICA and watch the US Women's Soccer Team take on China tonight at 6:30pm CST on FOX. Here are some reasons that I've decided I like Soccer and you should too. Ok there we go, Fan Friday fulfilled! Yay sports. With that said, thank you to Erin who so kindly pointed out to me that we have 48 days until Football. 

Ok next topic, let's talk about cocktails.  I don't know about you, but I love drinking cocktails, making cocktails, ordering cocktails, watching people make cocktails, Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, 5 o'clock, gin.... etc and so on. Luckily, I have a boyfriend who likes all those things too -- well, I'm not sure he knows what Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee is, but yes to all the other things. 

CB and I decided to start a new tradition where we try our hand at making a cocktail each week. I thought I would share the recipes on the blog, in a new series called "Drink on Fleek." CB did indeed asked what fleek meant, so I told him it was a word that you're only allowed to use if your picture is posted on the internet. 

I picked the drink for the first round, a Strawberry Basil Gimlet. 

Traditionally, a gimlet is one part lime to four parts gin, and generally served straight up in a martini glass. Mine has the gin and the lime... but then a bunch of other stuff too. I also didn't use a martini glass because I'm not that fancy on weekdays --- translation: I hate cleaning them. 











I had a bottle of St. Germain on the shelf with a little over 2oz left in it, so I threw that in there too. A good rule of thumb when mixing a cocktail, throw some St. Germain in it. 

Ingredients 

2 oz. Gin
1 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
2 Strawberries 
A few basil leaves 
Club Soda (optional) 

Muddle your basil and strawberry. 
That black tool pictured above, that's a cheap muddler I got from Kroger. Every self-respecting cocktail chef should have a muddler. Note- I bought mine about 4 days ago because I had never had the need for a muddler, ever, in my life.


In a cocktail shaker, combine muddled basil and strawberries, Gin, St. Germain and Lime Juice
Shake, serve over ice. 
I personally topped mine with bit of club soda for a little extra fizz.
 

Beware, it's delicious but very potent. This is coming from the girl whose drink of choice is a strong dirty gin martini or old fashioned. This drink will have you feeling reeeeeaaaal gooooood about life. A second serving will have you feeling reeeeeaaaal baaaaaad about life. Don't say I didn't warn you! 

So that is my very first Drink On Fleek! Or, if you read yesterday's post and want to join in the fun on Instagram, use #drinkonfleek if you end up recreating this! Or just use it for any cocktail pictures, I'm flexible.


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25 June 2015

Instagram Hashtags for Bloggers That Will Triple Likes

As I was working on this post, all I could say to myself, over and over again was, "FASCINATING!" I'm going to get right into it because I really think you'll agree. This post is all about Instagram Hashtags for Bloggers to use, that will skyrocket likes. 

Instagram Hashtags for Bloggers that will Triple Likes


There are hashtags that I have been using lately to boost my instagram posts, and I had no idea the origin of the hashtag. I wanted to compile a list of the best hashtags for bloggers to use to increase their likes, find the person/account who created the hashtag, and then test the hashtags for effectiveness. Throughout the duration of this experiment, if you could refer to me as Bill Nye that would be great, thanks. Childhood goals ✓

You might also like:
The Best Instagram Hashtags for bloggers that will triple likes






Hashtag Set Number One
#thatsdarling || 831k
#darlingmovement || 106k
#darlingweekend || 209k
Hashtag Creator: @darling || 152k followers
 
Website: Darling Magazine
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  YES!

Images appropriate for this category?
 Styled Shots, Beach, Travel, Lifestyle, Cooking, Pups
So anything other than a gym selfie (unless you can make that artsy)

Hashtag Set Number Two
#thehappynow || 94k
Hashtag Creator: @thehappyhunters || 8k followers

Blog: The Happy Hunters 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  YES!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything that makes you happy and puts a smile on your face! 
Flowers, Beaches, Bicycles, Morning Coffee... etc. 

Hashtag Set Number Three
#pursuepretty || 77k
Hashtag Creator: @jemmacraig || 117k followers

Blog: Rusty Break 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Not that I could tell

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything soft, feminine, beautiful, colorful 


Hashtag Set Number Four
#Wandeleurspark || 711
Hashtag Creator: @wandeleur || 3.8k

Blog: Wandeleur 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Travel, Architecture, Flowers, Cooking, Cocktails, Home

Hashtag Set Number Five
#ABMlifeissweet || 13k
#ABMtravelbug || 17k
#ABMlifeiscolorful || 105k
#ABMlovesmurals || 2.8k
#ABMHappyLife || 14k
#ABMHappyHour || 386
#ABMSummer || 1.3k
#ABMathome || 10k
#ABMpatternlove || 1.7k
Hashtag Creator: @abeautifulmessofficial || 225k

Blog: A Beautiful Mess
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
They are pretty self explanatory, and widely used.
 I'll save time and energy on this one! 

Hashtag Set Number Six
#Flashesofdelight || 84k
Hashtag Creator: @glitterguide || 349k

Blog: The Glitter Guide 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Flowers, Cooking, Cocktails, Home, Pretty, Colorful, Pets, Friends, Beaches
Anything that makes you smile

Hashtag Set Number Seven
#dametraveler || 82k
Hashtag Creator: @dametraveler || 65k

Blog: Dame Traveler 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Nastasia, the creator of Dame Traveler was kind enough to say what she looks for when curating photos for the #dametraveler gallery! 

"Uniqueness. Anyone can take a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower but what angle is it taken from? How is it framed? Is it natural? Is the lighting creating a magical effect? I also look for high resolution/crisp, non-filtered photos that take you straight to dream world. These are things to consider when taking a Dame Traveler shot!

The definition of the word ‘Dame’ in the dictionary is: 
“The title of a woman who has been awarded of high ranking or of an empire.”

I chose #DameTraveler because I wanted to exemplify strength, fearlessness and courage. When a female travels solo, she throws caution to the wind and she trusts the universe to protect her while she uses her instincts to make strong decisions and that to me is very brave."

Hashtag Set Number Eight
#petitejoys || 17k
Hashtag Creator: co-founded @allieseidel + @rougeandwhimsy

Blog: Allie Seidel + Rouge and Whimsy
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

 Allie, the co-founder of the #petitejoys hashtag was kind enough to say what she looks for when curating photos for the Instagram gallery!

"#petitejoys started as a collaboration project with my longtime friend Erika (@rougeandwhimsy). We wanted a way to document the little moments of happiness even in the midst of hard things. Both acknowledging that life can be tough, while choosing to find the good. We love seeing how the project has grown and the community of joy-finders it has built. "

Hashtag Set Number Nine
#Livethelittlethings || 315k
Hashtag Creator: @runstylerun || 15k

Blog: Run Style Run 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Not that I could see

Images appropriate for this category?
Flowers, Cooking, Cocktails, Home, Pretty, Colorful, Pets, Friends, Beaches

Hashtag Set Number Ten
#KeepItWild || 285k
Hashtag Creator: @campbrandgoods || 91k

Website: Camp Brand Goods 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything Outdoorsy

Hashtag Set Number Eleven
#MyTinyAtlas || 407k
Hashtag Creator: @tinyatlasquarterly || 60k

Website: Tiny Atlas Quarterly 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Mostly Travel

Hashtag Set Number Twelve
#Calledtobecreative || 14k
Hashtag Creator: @_calledtobecreative || 2k

Instagram Founder: Emily Lind 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything artistic, creative, colorful, handmade or designed

Hashtag Set Number Thirteen
#morningslikethese || 197k
Hashtag Creator: @morningslikethese || 37k

Blog: Mornings Like These 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Joy, the founder of the #morningslikethese hashtag was kind enough to say what she looks for when curating photos for the Instagram gallery!

"The #morningslikethese hashtag was created at a time when I needed it most. It's a daily 'call to action' for me to simply remember to wake and practice gratitude daily. Find a moment each morning to be present and thankful. I am instantly drawn to people's tagged mornings that include thoughtful content and relevant imagery. No two mornings are the same and I embrace our community's diversity."


Hashtag Set Number Fourteen
#DScolor || 108k
#DSpattern || 15k
#DSrainbow || 1.4k
#DStexture || 14k
#DSwallpaper || 1.3k
#DSlettering || 5.8k
Hashtag Creator: @designsponge || 427k

Blog: Design Sponge 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
These are all pretty self explanatory, just like ABM! 
 
Hashtag Set Number Fifteen
#LiveColorfully || 62k
Hashtag Creator: @katespade || 91k

Website: Kate Spade 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Not anymore

Images appropriate for this category?
Girly, colorful, feminine, pretty, home, design, travels, patterns, cockatils

Hashtag Set Number Sixteen
#liveauthentic || 4.4m
Hashtag Creator: @folkmagazine || 610k

Website: Folk Magazine 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything Outdoorsy

Hashtag Set Number Seventeen
#foundforaged || 14k
Hashtag Creator: @laurairion || 50k

Blog: Avery Street Design 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything Interior Design that didn't cost a fortune, home decor developed over the years

Hashtag Set Number Eighteen
#creativityfound || 71k
Hashtag Creator: @trouvemag || 22k

Website: Trouve Mag 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes, If the image includes their magazine

Images appropriate for this category?
Creative and colorful interiors, work spaces, places you find inspiration, crafts, projects, art

Hashtag Set Number Nineteen
#theblogissue || 26k
Hashtag Creator: @theblogissue || 11k

Blog: The Blog Issue 
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Mostly geared toward fashion, but I think anything a blogger would post is good to go

Hashtag Set Number Twenty
#targetdoesitagain || 99k
Hashtag Creator: @targetdoesitagain || 435k

Website: I don't believe they have one
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything from Target (Duh)

Hashtag Set Number Twenty One
#nothingisordinary || 1.9m
Hashtag Creator: @nothingisordinary || 57k

Website: I don't believe they have one, many co-founders
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Absolutely anything beautiful, creative, colorful and pleasing to the eye

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Two
#finditliveit || 505k
Hashtag Creator: @madewithmap || 98k

Website: Made With Map
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Mostly travel, but they have regramed food and decor pictures as well

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Three
#howisummer || 44k
#RSroadtrip || 3.3k
#RSindieshop || 191
#RSreboot || 5.9k
#RSlove || 7.9k
#RSblooms || 2.4k
Hashtag Creator: @real_simple || 225k

Website: Real Simple
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes! Often!

Images appropriate for this category?
Each category is pretty self-explanatory! 

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Four
#mystillsundaycompetition || 11k
Hashtag Creator: @kimklassen || 16.7k

Blog: Kim Klassen
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Still Life Photography <-- center="" feed="" incredible="" is="" this="">

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Five
#prettylittlething || 22k
Hashtag Creator: @officialplt || 187k

Website: Pretty Little Thing
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Girly, colorful, feminine, pretty, home, design, travels, patterns, cockatils

*Note there is also a #prettylittlethings tag with 46k, but I couldn't find the creator*
 
Hashtag Set Number Twenty Six
#howyouglow || 8.3k
Hashtag Creator: @howyouglow || 53k

Blog: How You Glow
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Not that I could tell

Images appropriate for this category?
Anything that makes you so happy to photograph,
 someone would say you're glowing.
 I just made that up, maybe they should hire me to curate their feed :) 

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Seven
#colorventures || 11.2k
Hashtag Creator: @colorventures 2.2k

Blog: Amy Chen Design or @amyventures
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Think bright bold color
 
Hashtag Set Number Twenty Eight
#ThatColorProject || 17k
Hashtag Creator: @eslee 78k

Blog: Eslee
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Any picture that makes you say, "But Those Colors Doe..."

Hashtag Set Number Twenty Nine
#makeyousmilestyle || 5.4k
Hashtag Creator: @brightbazaar 101k

Blog: Bright Bazaar
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!

Images appropriate for this category?
Color color color! 
All of the pretty colors that make you happier than holding a 6 week old puppy

Hashtag Set Number Thirty
#myunicornlife || 6.6k
Hashtag Creator: @bourbonandgoose 149k

Blog: Bourbon and Goose
Regrams Images Using Their Hashtag?  Yes!
In fact, they just regrammed my bestie (nbd)

Images appropriate for this category?
Cool, unique, creative, abstract, hip, trendy, colorful... on fleek, if you will
ok sorry... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 
Other Unique-To-You Hashtags I Would Use
example 1. #dallasblogger || 38k
example 2. #bandofun || 12k
1. Take Your City + Add the word Blogger = #dallasblogger

2. If you have a product in your picture, find out the hashtag that company uses
 i.e. If you have a ban.do planner in your image, tag #bandofun to be featured





I created an Instagram account a few days ago for my blog design site, @socialandchic_. I had 0 followers. I repeat, I HAD ZERO FOLLOWERS. I didn't tell anyone to go like my photo, and I didn't link to my photo from my personal Instagram account. I wanted to post a picture and see what kind of likes I could get from using these hashtags. 

I chose 30 hashtags from the list above, the ones I thought most related to my picture. Remember the Hashtag Limit is 30 Tags. I posted my picture and had my hashtags copied and ready to paste. I prefer to post the giant list of hashtags in a comment rather than in my caption. I think most people would agree with that. 

I sat back to watch, thinking I'd get a handful of likes. I'd have been satisfied if I had gotten 12. 
Then this happened. *Insert Jaw Drop

A photo posted by Social + Chic Design Studio (@socialandchic_) on

 

THAT SAYS 150 LIKES.
I GOT 150 LIKES WITH NO FOLLOWERS, SOLELY USING HASHTAGS.
 I'm going to say it again... "Fascinating!!!!


Below are are the hashtags I used in that above image.
I'd recommend making a note in your phone filled with specific hashtag sets, based on the type of photo your posting, so you can easily copy and paste.

#thatsdarling #thehappynow #pursuepretty #wandeleurspark #makeyousmilestyle #abmlifeissweet #abmlifeiscolorful #abmhappyhour #abmsummer #abmathome #dallasblogger #flashesofdelight #petitejoys #livethelittlethings #dscolor #livecolorfully #liveauthentic #foundforaged #theblogissue #nothingisordinary #finditliveit #howisummer #howyouglow #prettylittlething #colorventures #thatcolorproject #myunicornlife #eeeeeats  



That was the hardest I've ever worked on a post, ever. I need a nap. 
Pay it forward, pin it + save it on blogger!
Follow me on insta if you want, I wouldn't hate it. 



You might also like: 30 MORE Instagram Hashtags for Bloggers That Will Triple Likes


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23 June 2015

Love, General

 
I know I've discussed this before, but being a pup mom is hard stuff.  The pup kisses and nightly snuggle sessions, where one dog buries herself under the covers and cuddles into the bend of your back legs, while your other dog makes himself comfortable as the little spoon, that's the easy part of being a pup mom. That's the part I love. 

Being greeted by two tails that look like they might just detach due to sheer force when you walk in the front door.... that's the part I love. 

My two dogs saved my life. That sounds dramatic, I know, but I mean it. If it wasn't for them I never would have stayed in Dallas. I would have been so painfully lonely I would have caved and moved home, or back to Tennessee. If it hadn't been for them, I would have left Texas before I ever had the chance to meet CB. I never would have known just how incredible life really can be when you have a best friend to love. Or in my case, the 3 best friends that anyone could have.
 
I truly owe the life as I know it to my two crazy mutts. 

My life literally revolves around my dogs. P.S. I think I'm about to use literally correctly!!! I can't go anywhere without thinking about them. I have to rush straight home from work to walk them. Saturday mornings, I want to sleep but they have to be walked. I decline out of town trips because boarding is just so damn expensive. Another cocktail? Head to another bar? Ehhhhh, I gotta get home and walk the dogs. Maybe one day in the very near future (foreshadowing??), I'll have a giant yard for General and Veenie to come and go as they please, but for now, as an apartment dweller, the dog's pee schedule rules my life.

So it should come as no surprise that when a Vet says jump, I say how high? Yesterday, General had his 4th surgery since November. Each time, they've had to remove multiple teeth. The good news? Every surgery has been wildly successful, and his jaw continues to heal better than new. The bad news? Since November, I have spent over 2 grand. That is an enormous amount of money for me. 

I told my mom about the $750 I shelled out yesterday. Her response? "Aren't you glad you have that blog of yours to pay for it?" 

Well, if that isn't so true, how do Moms always know the right thing to say? This blog, which I began hoping to get free tickets (guilty as charged, free tickets are life -- also, still hoping for free tickets, k thnx), has become a stress-relieving, General's-tooth-removing supplemental income. 

Can I live off this blog? Oh dear lord, no. BUT, it is just enough to help make Gee feel like a brand new dog again. I just want to thank you guys for reading. 

General wants to thank you guys for reading. 



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22 June 2015

Urban Decay + Too Faced + MAC Giveaway

I'm going to keep this short and sweet today. I've been battling an infection all weekend, and had to call in sick to work which I rarely do. So while I'm trying to take it as easy as possible, in my absence,  I've teamed up on a giveaway with these pretty ladies! A very easy giveaway, with only 4 hosts to follow!

P.S. one of those 4 hosts has a new blog design you should go check out ASAP.

What you win:


1. One Urban Decay palette of the winner's choice


2. The Too Faced Little Black Book of Bronzers


3. One MAC lipstick of your choice


What you have to do:


1. Follow the four hosts on instagram
2. Click the button in the Rafflecopter widget below to verify that you followed all four hosts. That's all! After that, a few more options for entries will appear.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



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19 June 2015

What You Need To Know Before You Watch The US Open

One of the biggest tournaments in the golfing world started yesterday, The US Open. May I be so bold as to make a suggestion for your weekend plans? You with an ice cold beer in your hand + a couch + a golf major on television = your weekend. Since I have plans to do just that  -- post up on the couch all weekend, with the channel flipped to The US Open on Fox and an ice-cold Shiner in my hand -- I bring you The Five Things You Need To Know Before You Go : The US Open Edition!

Chambers Bay Golf Course
Location: Washington State


image via 

This is the first time the US Open has ever been played in the Pacific Northwest. To those of us in the central time zone this is fantastic news because we don't have to pull the "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" card. Golf will be on prime time television (FOX), and it's the very first time FOX has ever landed a major.  




The color and consistency of the greens at Chambers Bay are very controversial. When I first saw the greens yesterday, my initial reaction was, YIKES! That first picture I showed above? Someone filtered the crap out of that image. Here is a more accurate picture of what the greens looked like yesterday. 






 image via
The players are not happy, either. After day one, Sergio Garcia, one of my favorites,  took to Twitter.
 
What do I think about it, you ask? 
Well, they are all playing on the exact same course, no? This is professional golf with a grand prize of about 1.6 million dollars. Figure it out. 

If I can putt through a windmill, up and over a volcano and past a gorilla for a hole in one, they can putt on brown grass. 





 I was wrong. Very wrong. Tiger Woods is not playing us all


Poor little guy. 
There there. 
It'll be ok, buddy. 
Golf isn't for everyone.
I'm sure you'll find something you're good at! 




Let's talk about the current co-leader, Dustin Johnson.


imaga via 
 
That's his fiancee Paulina Gretzky, as in daughter of Wayne Gretzky. These two like to party. Dustin Johnson was suspended from the tour last year for six months after testing positive for cocaine. This was his third positive drug test. It was also reported that he had an affair with at least one wife of a another golfer on the PGA tour.


Dustin is now back on the tour, and he and Paulina even welcomed a little boy into the world. Dustin seems to have a new attitude as a new father, so only time will tell if he can keep it in his pants and out of his nose. 
If this doesn't make you feel old I don't know what will. There is someone on the tour who was born in the 2000s. 
image via

Cole Hammer, from Texas, is just 15 years old. Dear Lord. 

That's all I got for today. 
BRB, going to go pray for Tiger in this difficult time.
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18 June 2015

I Bet You Literally Had No Idea...

As if I would miss a linkup party, or any party for that matter, I'm linking up with Helene to bring you 11 things you probably didn't know about me! 



1. I hate holes
This is number one for a reason. Holes are without a doubt my biggest problem in this world. I wouldn't say i'm scared of holes, it is more like I have a serious allergic reaction to holes. I'm sure you're staring at your computer screen thinking, bitch be crazy, but hear me out. 

Did you ever play Super Mario Kart? You know when you're on that dirt track, and a mole jumps out of a hole in the ground? Then it gets stuck on the front of your car and makes a horrific high-pitched squeal. It would then stay there until you could find a body of water to wash him off?

Well, that is the root of my problem with holes, but only certain holes. 
*Cue everyone pointing to every hole in the room and asking, "What about that hole?" "Or that one?" "Is that hole ok?"* 

If I see a hole that might have something behind it that I can't see, I'm going to break out into hives and my skin will turn beat red. I'm starting to itch just talking about this so I'll have to move on now. 

2. Never say the word embedded around me
Why? Please refer to bullet point number 1. 

Alright cool, now that you guys think I'm a nutcase....

3. I always wanted to be a Real Estate Agent
Most children dream about being a singer or actress, but not me. My childhood dream? Real Estate Agent. I don't feel like this dream is dead. I mean, I watch Million Dollar Listings every single Wednesday, so I'm pretty much a broker already. 

4. I have road rage
And a very bad potty mouth from the hours of 5pm - 5:45pm Monday - Friday. 

5. I think about my next meal while I'm currently eating
CB and I will be at Waffle House and I'll ask him what he'd like to do for dinner. That question is generally answered with a mouth full of hash browns and a furrowed brow. 

"Oh right, sorry. I realize we're currently eating breakfast."
*7 minutes pass*
"So what did you want to do for lunch today?"

6. I have FOMO
I cannot stand to miss out on things. I could go to 100 parties with the exact same people at  the exact same place, but if on the 101st party I couldn't go??  Well, I would feel like my world was crashing down on me and I might never smile again. 

7. Moes beats Chipotle every time
I'll eat Chipotle, don't get me wrong, but Moes is life. There is only one Moes in Dallas and it is located within walking distance from my apartment. Coincidence? I think not. 

8. My dogs are not trained, at all
I simply don't know how to train a dog. Veenie jumps. She growls at strangers. She is territorial. Gee isn't much better, and barks his face off anytime another dog walks by the window. I am totally lost on how to train a dog. I've read article after article, dog training simply isn't my calling in life. 

9. I could live off cauliflower 
There is a Hidden Valley Ranch commercial where this girl is in a movie theatre with what looks to be a popcorn bucket. They zoom in and you realize it's actually a big bucket of cauliflower with ranch dressing. I find myself envying that girl and the life she leads. 

10. I'm obsessed with properly using the word, "literally"
Like the rest of America, I abuse the word "literally." When someone uses it properly, I want to hug them and tell them how smart they are. It's a tough word to use correctly, so I'm genuinely impressed when it happens. I'm fascinated by that word. I literally can't even with that word. Similarly, I have the same obsession with making and recognizing a really good pun. 

11. When I'm petting something really cute, I unconsciously bite down really hard
I can't help but clench my jaw the whole time I'm petting a puppy. I then realize what I'm doing, and that my teeth my break. That's weird. I shouldn't have said typed that one out loud.


OK BYE. 

Helene in Between

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17 June 2015

Essential Tools Every Blogger and Small Business Owner Needs + A Giveaway

There are certain tools you had no idea you needed when you first started blogging. These tools will make your life easier, will make your blog money, will increase your page views and will take your blog to the next level. If you feel like you're stuck on a blogging plateau, it is time to step up your blogging game with these essential tools that every blogger and small business owner needs.

This graphic below is the perfect example, I made it using images from this site, but more on that in a moment.  






1. Dropbox
I could not function without Dropbox. I have the paid version which offers you a terabyte of space. I'm not sure if you're able to wrap your head around just how much space that is, I know I can't. Here are all of the things that I use Dropbox for, and don't even come close to filling that space. 

       As an External Hard Drive 
I don't keep a single file on my actual computer. Dropbox has an app that allows you to access your account as if it was just another file on your computer. So when you go to open a file, this is what you'll see: 





 As an Automatic Backup for my iPhone Camera Roll
As soon as I take a picture (or video!!) on my iPhone, it is placed in my dropbox. If you're like me, your phone gets full with just one video. With automatic backups, you'll be able to take more pictures and more videos because storage won't be an issue. 

Access Files From any Computer
I have a desktop and a laptop. Anything I do on my laptop is automatically accessible on my desktop at home. 


2. Adobe Photoshop
I'm about to blow your mind. Adobe Creative Suite with Photoshop is no longer over a thousand dollars anymore. You can now get the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, plus Adobe Lightroom for $9.99 a month.

I said, TEN DOLLARS a month. For flipping Photoshop! This previously cost over $1000.

Boom, your blog's graphics and photos are about to go to the next level. 


3. Take a Photography Class, Replace Your Kit Lens
Just like a lot of bloggers, my first purchase to help the blog was a DSLR. The problem though? My pictures looked no different from my iPhone. Two things totally changed my blog's photography. 

I took a Class
Use Groupon or Living Social and take a 4 hour photography class where they'll show you how to use your camera in manual mode. I wouldn't recommend an online class, photography needs to be taught in a hands-on environment. Everything I know about my camera I learned in that 4 hour photo class I spent $49 on. I'd have paid $59 but don't tell them that. 

I Bought this Lens
Now I'm no expert photographer, but I do know this lens never comes off my camera. Your iPhone will NOT compare to the photos that come from using that lens. At $125 (compared to thousands for other lenses) it won't break the bank. Perfect for someone needing to up their blog photo game. 


4. Buy Photoshop Actions
You know the photo editing app for your phone, Afterlight? Well, Photoshop Actions are like that only a million times more powerful. Actions are packs of pre-made filters that will make your pictures look amazing. 

It literally could not be easier to use them in Photoshop. You simply press play. No joke, you buy them, download them, and press play. 

Here is an example. This photo below is the raw image that came from my camera. Looks pretty nice already...






But then you press that play button on the right side of your screen and BAM! Your photo is 100 times better. 


I'll probably work on a slightly more in-depth tutorial on how to use actions, but until then allow me to recommend some you must buy ASAP. I have all of these from A Beautiful Mess! 


5. Graphic Stock
Every single post you write needs a post summary image listed before any other image. Just like the first image on this post, which I made using this site

I don't care if you're writing a post about weight loss, or blogging, or sports, or your weekend, sum it up with an image. That first image will be the picture shown on Bloglovin, and it will be the image your readers Pin on Pinterest

I use a lot of stock photos for my main image, since I don't always own a fitness picture or a nice image of a styled desk. I personally have the paid subscription to Graphic Stock, but they do also offer a free subscription which you can find here

Why I like them over other stock photography sites, is because you get unlimited downloads, and access to over 250,000 graphics, backgrounds, icons and images. The site I used before them required that you pay per image, which added up very quickly. 

I've actually partnered with them to give away a one year membership to Graphic Stock absolutely free to one of my readers.

 To win all you have to do is: 

1. Click Here and check out the 5 categories in the top left

2. Leave a comment telling me which of those five topics you'd use the most on your blog

3. Like this post on Bloglovin



One thing that doesn't cost anything at all is to get a blogging bestie, Helene and I collaborate on posts all the time. Check out her post on this same topic, where she offers 8 totally different tools every blogger needs! 

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