Hey, Blogger! You DO NOT Want to Miss My NEW COURSE!

Hey Bloggers! This one is for you! Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your blog noticed by more visitors, influential bloggers, and even magazines? If you’ve been struggling to grow your audience and don’t know where to go from here, I have something just for you that you’re not going to want to miss out on.

I’ve mentioned in a few of my past Weekly Review posts and updates that I have been working on something diligently behind the scenes. That something is a brand new online course called Get Noticed which was created to help you take your blog to the next level!

Get Noticed is for bloggers of all types who really want to work towards being seen. It is a self-paced at home online course that contains over 10 modules and 14 sub-modules, worksheets, tasks, and more! This isn’t your typical “find your blogging voice” type course… it’s much more than that.

In it, I share actual steps for building your reputation online. We’ll cover tons of bases such as setting up your social media for maximum impact, the “hows” and the “whys” of content creation, how to get featured on larger sites, and so much more.

I’m currently finishing up the last of the lessons and putting the final touches on the website, but right now you can register for early access. This means that as soon as enrollment opens, you’ll be the very first to know! There is no obligation to join once it launches if you decide you’d rather just keep on doing what you’re doing. Click the image below to sign up now and you’ll get more information straight to your inbox:

I hope to see some of your lovely faces in the class in the very near future!!! In the meantime, you can check out some of my past blog tips and videos and start getting excited!

Weekly Review // 5

This review is going to include the past 2 weeks because I am a slacking mofo and didn’t publish one last weekend. Let’s see what I got up to…

Blog

I had a slight domain name mishap with the blog last week. I was trying to set up a subdomain on my hosting account and managed to totally redirect my blog away from itself for a few hours. Luckily I figured out my mistake quickly and all was good. I would always have to laugh when past web design clients had some sort of issue with their domain because they would call me, freaking out, thinking their website was gone forever. No, silly, it doesn’t work that way. Your domain name is separate from your hosting… always remember that!

Besides that, I managed to post:

The last one was for a video I created on the Blog Beautician channel which shows you how easy and hassle free it is to set up a self-hosted WordPress blog. If you are thinking about doing it, just watch the video and do it already!

Life

It was my birthday on the 22nd and I ended up just spending the day with some family. I know I had talked about going up to the mountains for the weekend but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We are still planning it for a less-busy (aka non-March break) weekend in the near future though. Now that the snow is melting though, I don’t know how exciting it will be. I remember when I was a kid, my birthday always fell during March break, and it was the worst thing ever. None of my friends were ever able to make it and half of them were on vacation somewhere so I always had to push my party back. Here’s a tip: try not to have your babies on March break. Or Christmas. My brother was born on Christmas and I’ve seen how it can suck.

My nephew came up here with my mom and we had fun hanging out together. She brought over a box full of my grandpa’s old things. It was probably my favourite gift. I learned a bit more about him just through the things he collected. Such as a whole box full of calligraphy nibs, an old vintage box of drawing pencils, and a sweet vintage Brownie movie camera that looks like it’s in mint condition. Hmmm sounds like someone, doesn’t it?  I can’t forget the newspapers from the moon landing! So cool!

My nephew is probably the cutest little 2 year old ever. My mom kept telling him to say “Happy Birthday” to me, but he wouldn’t, and then out of nowhere a little later on he just came up to me, wrapped his little arms around my legs and said “Habby Boobday”. And right then, my heart was mush.

Can I tell you a secret? I think about babies a lot now. I feel like I worry myself about having them though. That I will be too old before I finally feel totally ready. That I’ll never get over being terrified to death of giving birth. That I’ll be a terrible mother with anxiety who isn’t able to do normal things with them. But still, I know I want them. How does one get over that kind of fear? Especially a person with already out of control anxiety?

Work

All I can say about this right now is to be sure to tune in here early next week so I can show you a little peek at what I’ve been putting all of my energy into. I’m really excited about it and have a feeling that it’s going to be the beginning of an ongoing thing.

I just released two new case designs in my Casetify store, available for multiple devices:

I also released a brand new Blogger template that has some cool features and is so easy to install:

Isn’t it pretty? I love the colours and how it turned out!

Instagram

I was a little more snap happy over these past two weeks. I ventured down to the beach again and took pictures of all of the cute cottages. I also played around with some birthday flowers and experimented with some different ideas. I gained 757 followers over these 2 weeks and was featured on the Frends headphones page yesterday. Follow along with me!

I think that’s about it! What did you get up to this week?

Loving: Glo Skincare and Makeup

I’ve recently expanded my collection of Glo products, because I have been absolutely in love with the Glo Therapeutics Renew Serum, as I’ve mentioned in the past. This stuff totally helped fix some skin problems I had been having after nothing else would. It was recommended to me by a friend of mine who owns a skincare spa and I’ve been interested in the brand ever since.

The Glo brand contains these two lines — Glo Therapeutics for skincare and Glo Minerals for makeup. To go along with my Renew Serum, I snagged the Healing Gel, Spot Fix, and the Moist Hydration Mist.

First, let me gloat about this Renew Serum again because it’s truly awesome. About a year or so ago, I was battling the most horrific skin nightmare I had ever experienced. One side of my face would not stop breaking out in blotchy, irritated looking red spots and I tried everything from washing my face with oatmeal to changing the shower heads to ones with special filters. I mean everything you guys.  After my friend saw my face, she recommended the serum and told me to use it a couple of times a week at night. I did just that and my skin started to transform.

I no longer experienced the mystery spots and I’m pretty sure I owe my confidence to go out in public to this serum.

I was eager to try other products after that. I still get the occasional little breakout so I decided to try the Healing Gel for and the Spot Fix. The Spot Fix is just a little solution that you dab onto a bump or a potential zit in the making to tell it to settle down. It’s much like a tea tree oil and is also made with botanicals.

The Healing Gel helps to reduce any redness from a breakout, but I honestly haven’t had to use it that often so my experience is limited.

The mist is like a blast of hydration to your face. I don’t use a
moisturizer so it’s nice to be able to just squirt something at myself
before OR after makeup application to soothe my skin. It just feels
refreshing to do!

I didn’t know that Glo made makeup until recently when I got my hands on the Pressed Base and Lid Primer. It is talc free which my skincare friend also told me to avoid, so, bonus points!

Glo Minerals is (obviously) a mineral makeup line. If you’ve been looking for a new mineral makeup line to try… give this one a go! I’ve been using the lid primer every single day and it’s even taken place of my Urban Decay primer. It feels sort of like a light concealer when you dip your finger into the pot and it works SO well!

The Base is a buildable pressed foundation that goes on smoothly and looks natural. It contains blends of green tea and vitamins A, C, and E. It’s made to help protect your skin and not just cover it up… which is nice because a lot of mineral powders can’t claim the same.

I just wanted to share this brand with you guys because I’ve been so happy with everything and think that they could help many girls with skin issues or minor problems! Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market for some new products.

Tips for a Successful Blog

Having a successful blog takes work and time. Nobody becomes a successful blogger overnight! What is the secret to success? Well, that would depend on what success means to you, but generally bloggers who are on top of their game have these things in common:

They Have a Purpose

Blogging without a purpose is like planning a road trip without a map. You might think that you can just wing it and figure it out as you go along, but having a purpose will keep you on the right track. Thinking about goals for your blog and the genre you fit into will help make the road a less bumpy ride, which ultimately will lead you to success. 

They Have Structure and Discipline

No blogger got anywhere without a little discipline.  It takes time and energy to complete posts which is why it’s important to have a some structure in your life. Think about where blogging fits into your life and plan ahead. Having an editorial calendar helps heaps!

They Post Engaging Content

Being successful means that you are constantly able to attract visitors by posting content they find appealing. Thinking about their experience on your blog instead of solely your own will make your site a happier place for others to gather. Your content plays a huge role in determining whether or not visitors will stay or come back, so making sure that they leave with some kind of takeaway is key.

They Connect with Readers

It’s never nice to be ignored, especially if you’ve left a comment or a question on a post and were hoping for an answer. Replying to your comments is a great way to let your visitors know they are appreciated and that you do indeed read their comments and care what they have to say. Focus on creating a bond with your readers instead of just talking AT them. 

They Go Their Own Way

Instead of trying to do what everyone else is doing, successful bloggers are able to put their own spin on the content they produce. You’ve probably read tons of headlines about “finding your blogging voice” (which are always a little redundant). All you need to really do is be yourself and show your readers who you are through the words you type or photos you share. You don’t have to copy post ideas or formats from other blogs to be successful, you just need to use your own creativity and do what feels right for you.

They Say No

When content doesn’t fit your blog, say no. If a company approaches you hoping for a feature but you are unsure if the product integrates well with your other content, say no. It’s okay to say no to things, and in fact probably better if you did. Otherwise you run the risk of having misplaced content and confusing your visitors. Learning to say no can be hard, but always keep the best interest of your blog and your blog’s purpose in mind.

What do you think makes for a successful blog?

Awesome Online Courses for Creatives

I love the internet because the knowledge in it is seemingly never-ending. With such a huge variety of learning tools and expert advice at our fingertips, I would definitely say that I am a little bit addicted to it. I probably spend more time on here looking up how to do things than playing around with games or scrolling mindlessly through gossip sites!

Some of my most recommended courses have been created by people by people just like you and me, who have a passion and some experience with certain topics. I love to see other people’s perspectives and how they do things. Here are a few courses I’ve taken that I recommend checking out if you’re eager to learn a new skill:

The Art of Modern Calligraphy – Molly Jacques is someone I hadn’t heard of before but when I was interested in picking up an old fashioned pen and some ink, someone on Instagram recommended this course to me. It was really helpful in learning a few techniques and I became obsessed with practicing. If you’re interested in learning the basics of modern calligraphy, check it out!

The Modern Marketing Workshop –  This course was created by Seth Godin, who (if you didn’t know) is a marketing genius. If you have a product or service that you want to sell and market, this course covers so many things that you probably hadn’t thought of before! It teaches you why some of your past attempts may have failed and offers tons of insight from the master himself!

Creating Compelling Tutorials for Your Blog – Brittni of Paper & Stitch gives some awesome advice about creating DIY projects and tutorials for your blog. She goes over how she comes up with ideas, how you can get noticed, and even how to pitch your project to editors.

Street Photography: Capture The Life in Your City – This was a course made in collaboration with VSCOcam and follows photographer Trashhand as he shares his best tips for photographing in the city. I learned some really valuable techniques for capturing motion and just feeling more confident with shooting in public in general. Being someone who shies away from taking photos of people for fear of being seen as a creep, something he said really made me feel more comfortable, which was along the lines of “you have every right to be taking photos of people if they are out in public.” You’ll have to watch the rest to see more of his advice!

The Possibilities of Instagram: Sharing Your Best Photos – While this course covered a lot of stuff I already knew, I think that it would be great for someone who is “newer” to Instagram and using apps to edit photos. Tyson uses his iPhone for the shots he shows you and points out ways to make your photos more unique with a variety of apps.

Photography Challenge: Capture The Beauty of an Everyday Object – This class is short but teaches you some basics of using a DSLR. Again, something that would be great to watch if you are new to photography! It shares some tips on looking at an everyday object differently and taking photos to show that object’s beauty.

I’m constantly joining more courses and will be sure to let you guys know if I come across more worth mentioning in the future. Have you taken online courses? What ones have you loved/hated?

What You Love About Blogging

Firstly, thank you all for the birthday wishes yesterday! Secondly, thank you all for your amazing entries for the 365 Blog Topic Ideas giveaway! I had a blast going through them all and I loved seeing what you all, individually, love about blogging. I love that blogging is such a diverse thing, and all of your comments prove that!  That said, the two winners have been chosen! Here they are:

“I love pouring my heart out in a post and having someone tell me it helped them in some way. That makes all of the time and effort worth it!” – Kimberley Tobin

“I think what I love most about blogging is showing off my neck of the woods that so many people may not know about or have the chance to visit in person and how cool it is! Plus I love talking / sharing my passion for things other bloggers might not be discussing… like vinyl & craft beer!! And of course it’s so awesome meeting other bloggers ;-)” – Krista

Here are some of the other amazing comments you guys left:

“I love to educate and inspire others, to help them recover something they have within’ but need that inspiration and assistance to acknowledge it themselves. “Anything is possible but we already knew that.” Being able to help others bring what they know into their daily lives is what I love about blogging xx” – Suze Bryan

“I love blogging because it encourages me to be creative and think a bit more about the world around me and the way I see things. It also is a way for me to be able to chat with people and also have a little space where I can escape to when I’ve had a stressful day of academia!” – Laura

“Blogging is my OUTLET ( share my excitement, my experiences) – my PORTAL ( my connection to the world in the swipe or click of a key) – my Time Machine ( I can scan back to previous posts and have a record to look back on) – it’s ME ( in a few scans of my pages , I am personified and understood, my passion speaks through images and my wanderlust for traveling, love for cooking and commitment to fashion are catalogued and shared with all.” – Gemine Bezuidenhout

“What I love about blogging: I can explore my creative through words and photos and share this with like minded people. I have “met” new idols and friends from ever corner on the earth who give me ideas and continue to inspire and motivate me in my blogging journey. It gives me something to be proud of, allows me to set achievable goals and most importantly – blogging has taught me more about myself than I would be able to learn anywhere else!” – Laura Flint

“Blogging is easy to share who you are as a person, and to connect with like minded people. People think they’re alone in their thoughts and feelings, but when you blog people are able to connect with you more personally.” – Cassie

“I absolutely love how blogging gives me an outlet to release all my creativity. I stopped blogging for about three years, and during those three years, I lost every ounce of creativity I once possessed. Now that I started again, I feel it all coming back to me.” – Connie

“I love seeing how I am getting more confident in my writing and I love feeling really proud of something that I have written. I love connecting with new people and learning new things about people. I love having somewhere that I can express my thoughts and feelings.” – Emily

“What I love most about blogging is that it has helped me come out of my anxiety filled shell and given me a new confidence that I’ve noticed not only online but in my everyday life as well. I went from being so scared that someone I knew would find my blog and judge me negatively about it, to someone who is confident enough to write about my own likes and dislikes, even the ones that are far away from fashion and beauty blogging circles, and to voice my opinion on matters I never knew I felt so strongly about. I have found a group of like minded people who are so much kinder and easier to talk to than I ever would have imagined.” – Lana

There were just too many amazing ones to choose from! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on blogging with me and the rest of the WF community!  Be sure to check out 365 Blog Topic Ideas on Amazon!

My Birthday Wishes

Today I turn another page in the book that is my life. Don’t we seem to get older quicker as the years go by? It kind of stinks, but is also an opportunity to take a look at our lives and “check in” with ourselves. I decided to put together a little list of things I want this year. From myself, and from you. Here is what I want for my birthday today:

I want people to be kinder to each other online. To stop assuming that they know somebody based on photos and words they see on a screen, and to stop thinking that just because they are safe behind a computer they can say what they never would in real life.

I want us women to support each other in our ventures instead of feeling bitter or acting catty. We are stronger as a team.

I want to focus on the positive as much as possible and I want others to as well. For irrelevant complaints to be turned into inspiration and negative thoughts to be pushed aside.

I want others to know that learning doesn’t end when you finish schooling, and that there is still so much more knowledge to gain on your own time.

Most of all, I just want all of us to be happy. If that means adjusting our lives to do so, then let’s do it. Life is too short to waste time being unhappy, and in case you didn’t already know: you deserve happiness. All of us do. Every. Single. Person.

Have a happy day for me today!

Scandinavian Inspired Decor

I’ve been really big on bright and clean home decor lately. Scandinavian design in particular has found a huge place in my heart. The style focuses on being pure with slightly understated elements and lots of light!  Floor to ceiling white rooms with pops of colour from the 60’s era, just like the items I pulled above. There’s just something so refreshing about a clutter free minimal design, isn’t there?

Pink, blue and yellow with black and white must be popular this Spring because I managed to easily find three items from completely different places with the exact same colour scheme and geometric design. I wouldn’t have thought to combine those colours myself, but seeing them together makes me love the look so much and I can totally see this becoming a trend.

Are you a fan of the minimal style, or do you like your rooms to feel lived-in?

Shop this post:

What Makes a “Good Design”?

Bloggers, business owners, individuals alike all know by now that a good design for their website, blog, marketing materials, and everything else is important. But what really makes a “good design”?

Since not everybody is artistically inclined, the answer could differ greatly. What looks awesome to somebody without an eye for design might look totally wrong to somebody who knows a good layout when they see it. Without causing too much confusion, here are a few things that I believe constitutes a “good design”.

It is visually pleasing.

State the obvious there, why don’t you, Dana? I know, I know. Obviously a good design has to be visually pleasing, but what exactly does that mean?

1. Text and fonts match and suit the brand
I covered this a bit in my post entitled  How To Create a Blog Header (That Looks Good!), but I’m going to say it again. Choose fonts that work well together. Just because you love a certain font does not mean it will work for your brand image. Fonts are an important part of design and help convey the overall feel of whatever it is you are trying to market. With such a huge variety of fonts to choose from, you have no excuse for using default system ones!

2. Balance, justification and text is cohesive throughout 
The copy on your page or marketing material is an important part of design as well.  Always keep in mind the viewer’s experience! We are trained to read from left to right, not from right to left or centered, so thinking about your justification is always a good idea. Does it read easily? The text should flow throughout the design because our eyes don’t like to have to jump all over the place to try to figure out what to read next.

3. Colours compliment one another and aren’t too crazy
I’ve seen some really bad designs that could be highly improved if they took their colour choices into consideration. When in doubt, go back to the colour wheel (or, just check a site like Design Seeds for inspiration!). Most of us learned about colour matching in elementary school, but for those that didn’t, just Google a colour wheel and take a peek. Do a quick read on analogous and complimentary colours as a starting point. There are certain colours that go really well together, and others you should avoid. That doesn’t mean you absolutely have to stick with colour wheel suggestions, but it is a great way to get started and adjust the tones to your needs.

4. White space — leave some
It’s important to let your design breathe. Too many things going on can really make for a bad viewer experience. You don’t want your design to feel congested and white space helps ease that feeling. It also gives each aspect of your design a little more prominence. Spacing between your main content area and your other info is important, and leaving a little room between each “section” is more visually pleasing than if everything is in close quarters. Nobody likes to feel stuffy!

5. It appeals to people
Most of the time, I feel like a good design is just known when you come across it. Why? because it appeals to the senses. It is aesthetically pleasing and easy for your brain to process. The design explains itself and doesn’t require instructions.

6. No details are untouched
Great designs take every little detail into consideration. In the example of a website or blog — input buttons, line separators, links, and all of those little details are designed to match the overall feel of the entire space. The little things really go a long way!

It is functional.

When speaking in terms of your online space, your design has to be functional. Especially if we’re talking about interactive design. A good design does what it is intended to do. It leads the viewer through your space in just the way you had hoped for. This is highly important if you are trying to sell a product or service or trying to get your visitors to interact with you somehow.

Checking your site for errors on various browsers is something that I always recommend you do. Many times I have come across blogs that do not function or display properly in a certain browser, which is never a good thing! Menus and links should all work properly for everyone, and your design should look the same on each.

So you see, there is more to a good design than just having it look pretty! Pretty helps, but you also need to keep your viewers’ experiences in mind!

Weekly Review // 4

Happy weekend! I feel like these weekly reviews come around so quickly. The snow is finally melting here, so spring should be popping up anytime now. I love when the streets are clear and they have that sand covered vibe just after the snow melts. It reminds me of bike rides and summertime. Here’s what I got up to this week behind the scenes:

Blog

This week in blog-land, I posted the following:

I had one of my highest traffic days this week. Traffic is a funny thing. It could spike randomly, out of nowhere, and totally surprise you. Still, my highest trafficked posts are ones that were created over a year ago. I think that some topics just catch on and some don’t, and as a blogger you don’t really have a say in which ones draw the most attention. I mean, you could try to create some kind of viral type post, but you have no control over whether or not it actually goes viral. It’s out of your hands and in the hands of visitors.

With my recent desire to do more, I started putting together notes for an e-book and a course that I will be working on in the near future. I’ve been asked by a couple of book agents if I want to write a book with them, so that is something I’m thinking about lately as well.

I didn’t make any videos this week. I have still been getting over a cold and didn’t want to cough my way through anything, for my own sake and yours.

Life

What can I say about life lately? We are still finishing up our front room makeover. It’s going slowly because we’ve only really been able to work on it on the weekends. I did, however, order a big fluffy faux sheepskin rug for our main living room which should arrive soon. Besides that, I’ve been shopping for decor whenever I have a moment and photoshopping up my ideas and colour schemes.

I also decided to tear the carpeting off of the stairs, so I have another home project to complete now which involves refinishing them. Lucky for me, the wood underneath is natural oak so it shouldn’t be too hard. Why the builders would cover up gorgeous natural oak stairs with carpet is beyond me. 

Photoshopped ideas. Like or no?

I’ve also started my taxes, which happens to be my favourite time of year. Kidding, obviously. Who enjoys taxes? Last year was a pretty amazing year for the business though — which I am realizing just now after doing all of the number work. This year I am determined to make it even better.

My birthday is next weekend so I’ve been trying to think of something that D and I can do. I was thinking of maybe just going up to the Village in the mountains and spending the night. Something low key, but still SOMETHING. I’m not much of a birthday party girl anymore. If you have any ideas feel free to shout them out!

Work

I finished up those paintings for Coastal Living and also created some new mobile cases — this Camera Collector one in two colour choices and a clear case option.


Instagram

Over on my Instagram, I found a couple of new creative accounts to follow, including @_artistiq, an awesome artist who draws her favourite celebrities, @missenplace_, a girl with a damn good photo design style, and @poshrocha who has a feed that I can’t stop looking at. My follower count was down again this week, due to not being very active again. I really need to pick up the slack! 272 followers gained.

I think that’s all for now! What did you get up to this week?