The One Where I Blog About Nothing.

I started blogging a LOOONG time ago, when my daughter was first born, back in 2006. Only back then, I would write fictional short stories about shopping and dating in the city – think a short-form version of the Shopaholic series. It wasn’t too long before I grew tired of writing ‘fantasies’ and started playing around with ‘online journaling’.

Online journaling was quite different – it was private, written behind a pseudonym and an icon that was most definitely not yourself. My pseudonym? ‘Fab Brunette’. Which eventually turned into a “real blog” named Ramblings of a Fab Brunette. It wasn’t until 2009 that I bought my first domain and the rest became history – well, not quite.

Growing up is a funny thing – I have no regrets, and I enjoy looking back at the person I was and seeing how much I’ve grown and changed since then. I think it was about 2011 or 2012 when I became tired of the ‘Fab Brunette’ persona, partially because I had moved across the country to a small mountain town, started doing yoga and embracing ‘hippie’ ways – and I had no where to wear my Manolos.

So I embraced a new identity, West Coast Mama. That was 2013. And guess what? I still flounder about that sometimes. I still worry that it’s not always “me”. But I realized that nothing can fully be “me” all the time, since I change all the time – my mood changes, what I eat changes, it’s a constant ebb and flow of harmonious movement – that’s me.

Do you know what else is totally me? Being an over-thinker. I overthink everything. Even this blog post. Yes, seriously. Being an over-thinker stops me from doing SO MANY THINGS – like blogging on a regular basis. Like posting on my IG. Like taking pictures. Like cooking. Oh yeah – I overthink cooking on a daily. You too? High five!

I’ve recently been on an amazing trip to Israel, with a group of beautiful and inspiring women, all mothers and bloggers – and it was a little life-changing. I hate over-using that term, but I think it really has changed a part of my life, I will never be exactly the same as I was before this trip to Israel. (You’ll hear more about this trip soon, I promise!) One night, just hanging out with this amazing group of ladies, we started brainstorming, building each other up, and identifying our strengths together.

It was incredible to me that this group of women, who were strangers only 5 days prior, had now become friends and confidantes. And that blogging brought us all together. This is why I blog. This is what I love about blogging.

Do you blog? Leave your url in the comments! What do you love about blogging? Do you have a favourite blog? Leave that url too!

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7 Podcasts for Bloggers, Creatives & Entrepreneurs

7 Podcasts for Bloggers, Creatives & Entrepreneurs

I’m made this the year of ‘Get Shit Done!‘ and I’ve been spending some time soul-searching, trying to figure out what really stokes my fire, and how I can bring that passion into my everyday life. How I can create a life that invokes the way I want to feel by doing the things I’m passionate about. (I’ll get to my favourite podcasts for bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs in a second, I promise!)

One of these things that I’m passionate about is blogging. I’ve spent over 20 years online (let that sink in for a second…) and throughout that time I’ve taught myself how to code, mastered Photoshop, I learned how to create websites, I’ve learned the ins and outs of social media, I’ve got a diploma in marketing, and I’ve taken numerous courses over the years to become ‘successful’ at blogging through various income streams, influencer marketing and social media management. Phew. Long run-on sentence, anyone?

 

Want to start your own blog? Here’s a step-by-step way to start a blog!

 

The past couple of years have pulled me away from blogging specifically, but I’ve spent a lot of time working online providing websites, branding, and social media management for various companies, so I decided to turn that into a REAL actual business. Whoa. Electric Pizza Co was born, and I became so busy I didn’t have time to complete the website. Seriously though.

Another passion of mine? Helping others with their blogging and social media problems and questions. I belong to a million and one Facebook groups about blogs, mom blogs, instagram posse groups, pinterest lovers, etc, and I love helping people out when they’re lost and confused. I provide a lot of advice to others, for free, because I just want people to succeed at what they’re doing, and keep it true to themselves.

Don't regret anything you do, because in the end it makes you who you are.

And while one-on-one help is fun, I’ve decided to go One Step Further and create a podcast. Yep. My very own podcast. (I’m super excited and super terrified at the same time!!) I’ve listened to podcasts for bloggers and entrepreneurs for about a year now. It started when a blogging friend actually recommended a few podcasts to me at a conference last year, and I delved into the world of podcasts.

I admit that I can get picky with podcasts – especially the quality of the podcasts and the podcaster’s voice. I’m not even kidding, I listened to a podcast where the host (who was male) was sick, SICK, with a sniffle and a cough and his voice was so scratchy – I turned it off a third of the way through! I listen to podcasts in my car or at the gym, and I love them. That’s why I’m sharing my favourite podcasts for bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs.

Why do I love podcasts? I find them inspiring, encouraging, and I feel like I belong to this amazing, creative group of people who are all trying to find their own way through this world. And all of it’s OKAY. All of it’s awesome. Some people are foodies, some people create niche sites specifically to make money, others are trying to grow tribes, and others want to make courses to teach people how to do things – and it’s all unique to them.

7 Podcasts for Bloggers, Creatives & Entrepreneurs

1. The Biz Chix Podcast
I’m such a huge fan of this podcast, the creator, Natalie Eckdahl, features stories of female entrepreneurs and women in business who are at various points of their journey! The people she interviews share their work-life balance, productivity tips, where they’re at in their business, how they got there, and how to reach the next level. Natalie is a source of such wisdom and helps people focus on their goals – I especially love her “On Air Coaching” calls because I can connect with issues other entrepreneurs have (you will too!). Once you fall in love with her podcast, join her Facebook group to connect with other likeminded women!

2. Being Boss
Each episode of Being Boss is about making things happen in your business, with topics ranging from client management, creativity, productivity, being authentic, and getting your income under control. I especially loved the episode interviewing Marie Forleo on productivity and intuition. Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon run the Being Boss podcast and are super knowledgable ladies who are all about the hustle! Check out their Facebook group too!

3. The How They Blog Podcast
This podcast is super inspiring at any point in your blogging journey – if you’re just starting or a bit of a “senior”, like myself! Kat Lee focuses on how to blog to make a difference, how to push your blog to the next level, and how to stay authentic to your true voice. The episodes are super focused on various topics, so it’s easy to scroll through to find one that will resonate with you!

4. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield
I love this podcast because I’m a marketing nerd – I love it. I swear. Amy Porterfield is a digital marketing whiz, who can easily tell you step-by-step on how to create a successful launch of your next product, how to target Facebook ads, creating a Profitable 5-day challenge, how to deliver value in your next course, and on, and on, and on. She is a cornucopia of knowledge when it comes to online marketing, and she relays it in an easy to understand way!

5. Profit. Power. Pursuit.
This podcast is by Tara Gentile, and it’s something I’m easing into because it’s not a straightforward podcast that gives you instructions on marketing or Facebook groups, it’s not simply interviewing people to see how much money they make – nope, it goes deeper than that. Tara is all about small business strategy, positive mindset, and she’s also the creator of Quiet Power Strategy. This is a good one. Listen to it.

6. Seth Godin’s Startup School
This podcast may or may not blow your mind. It blew my mind. Seth Godin is what they call a thought leader in the marketing and business world. This podcast is a series of live recordings, where Seth guides thirty entrepreneurs through a workshop on exploring how they can build and run their dream business. If you’re looking to make money through entrepreneurship – give this a listen.

7. The Lively Show
Jess Lively podcasts about MORE than just blogging and online entrepreneurship, if you’re unfamiliar with her, check out her website! Jess is about living with intention and creating focus in all parts of your life. This podcast is wonderfully positive and designed to uplift the everyday.

Honorable mentions: The GaryVee Audio Experience and The Smart Passive Income Podcast.

7 Podcasts for Bloggers, Creatives & EntrepreneursDo you listen to podcasts? What are YOUR favourite podcasts? I would love to find some new ones!

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How To Take A Good Selfie – Not!

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

This week I discovered the self-photography is not my forte. Selfies as the young kids call them. Blast them all to hell and bah-humbug.

I recently purchased a fun doo-hickey for my iPhone, a Tripod that acts as a Phone Mount, which can be used for video, photography, and even a selfie-stick. I first saw it on Chalene Johnson’s YouTube videos, and I wanted a tripod/selfie stick that was inexpensive and would help with taking videos for my blog…. Right! Well it turns out that Miss Chalene Johnson must have the most steady freaking hands on earth because every video I take is shaky as hell. The tripod works great as an actual tripod, I get the most use of it when I’m video conferencing or filming video.

Anyway! I realized two things this week. Firstly that every headshot of mine is upwards of 5 years old. Some are two years old, but they’re not my favourite, and the one that’s five years old is a super professional headshot that really doesn’t look like me anymore (or so I feel). The second thing I realized is that I suck at selfies.

I’m trying to take a picture of myself, WITH glasses on since I always wear glasses, something cute and quirky and profesh, something that screams I am a woman, and an entrepreneur, and a mama, and a lady boss, and I’m killing it – but not in an over-achiever way. Not in a way that looks braggy and inauthentic. So of course, self-photography seemed the route to go.

So firstly, I’m sure you’ve taken a picture of yourself with your phone, but I never know where to look. I look at the screen instead of the actual camera. I want to make sure I look good on the screen first, so by the time I take a picture, I either forget to look at the camera or I’m too far above the camera, or I just take the shot at the wrong moment… I think it’s safe to say that I don’t know how to take a good selfie.

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

How to Take a Good Selfie (not!)

I took a lot of selfies. A ton. I think I had maybe 100 useless shots of my mug. Too blurry, too sketchy, too shiny, too frizzy hair, too flat hair, two many chins… ha ha! I’m hilarious when I’m making fun of myself. Do you think this mama figured out how to take a good selfie? Nope.

Time to find a photographer. Do you know any?

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The Rules of Blogging

blogging-rules

Blogging has changed. There is no doubt about it.

When I first started blogging way back in 2009 with my previous online persona, Fab Brunette, things were quieter. Blog posts were based on stories, thoughts, and opinions. There was hardly the need for ‘pin-worthy’ pictures, as is the claim to fame nowadays. People left comments to add conversation to a blog post – a rebuttal, an agreement, all was welcome.

Perhaps thing were still slower, back then?

Things were slower before Twitter took off, and Pinterest became ‘the thing’ – and now there’s Google+ and Instagram and even more social media platforms, but it makes my head spin to check any other accounts I might have.

I slowly learnt that I’m not as social media savvy as I thought I was. I was constantly forgetting to reply to comments on Instagram, I wasn’t promoting my blog posts on Twitter a minimum of 3x per day, at least 3x per week, I was doing everything wrong – apparently.

But who has the time for that?

I know there are some incredible bloggers who can do it, and who do it. But I don’t think I’ll ever be one of them.

There are so many new rules to blogging. Here are some of my favourite blogging rules and how I typically fail at them:

  • Pin-Worthy Images on Every Post. The insistence that I must create a proper-sized image (600px x 800px – or taller for optimum viewage*!) with an awesome title and a great photo on every. single. blog. post. is exhausting.
  • We’re ALL Photographers Now. I agree that pretty pictures are nice to look at. But the fact that my DSLR was stolen last summer and I still don’t have a replacement means my iPhone takes my pictures for me – which means Instagram is my overly-filtered friend and you will not find amazing photography here…
  • Short Blog Posts with MANY Headers are King (or Queen). Seriously, how short is our attention span that we can’t read 3 or 4 paragraphs straight without headers and quotes? A blog post is not a tweet. I don’t need to make each paragraph 140 characters!… or do I?
  • Find a Niche or become a Lifestyle blogger. This one makes me cringe because I’ve never, EVER fit into one straight box. Mommy blogger. Travel blogger. Interior Design blogger. Can’t I just do it all without being a ‘lifestyle’ blogger? Apparently not because that will make me a bad blogger.
  • Create a type of post for Each Day of the Week. Mondays – recipes. Tuesdays – design. Wednesdays – WORDLESS! etc, etc. I always fail at this because I tried (Foodie Friday, Design Tuesdays) and I may miss one or I might have a blog post that I can’t wait to share and post it on the wrong day.

While there’s nothing wrong with any of these blogging rules, per say, following ALL of the rules can start to make blogging hectic. It takes away from what blogging was intended for originally, which was to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, or tell stories about your life, keeping a journal of your travels or adventures, and having fun with it.

Do you think blogging has changed because the world is changing? Everything seems to be faster, we have less time for everything, is that why blogging has changed into this huge marketing machine that we must all comply with?

I really love blogging even if I fail at all the rules!

* Viewage is not a word. I took Marketing in college but the lingo escapes me every. single. time.

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Procrastination

procrastination

I have a million and one things on my to-do list, yet it feels that I have no time to do it in. Isn’t that always the way? You sit down, focused on your task, and then the phone rings, the kids start screaming or suddenly they’re hungry (didn’t I just feed them?), I need to use the bathroom, then I notice it’s dirty, so I tidy it up, by that point I forget what I’m doing and notice my nail polish is looking a bit lackluster…

It’s a horrible cycle – further made horrible by online activities like pinterest or instagram or twitter or facebook – all things that are meant to keep you ‘social’, all things that you’re ‘supposed to do’ as a blogger, all things that keep you from being productive!

Working from home is tough.

I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, I don’t think it’s any easier to work outside of the home – but there’s times when I think that being away from the house, in an actual office space might make me more focused and effective at my work.

When I’m at home, I’m not only thinking about ‘work’, I’m thinking that we’re out of toilet paper, that I need to text my husband to pick up some milk, I’m thinking about meal plans and grocery lists, about an upcoming event and what I should wear…. all things that are not conducive to working!

I finally, TODAY!, have set up a home office space – notice that I said ‘space’, not a whole room to myself – and I’m hoping that working at a desk (unlike before, working on my lap on the sofa) will help me steer me in the right direction… and away from all the online time suckers that I love so much!

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