Recently, I’ve been writing a ton of life-advice and faith-related posts. I’ve been talking about how I found my faith, resources for Christians, and a lot about college. However, because this is an advice blog and a lot of my readers are other bloggers, I love sharing blogging advice with that community. So, today I’m switching gears and talking about where I share my blog posts and why each place matters. Plus, I’ll tell you where most of my viewers come from! (Google analytics is a beautiful thing.) PS: If you click the social media links in each paragraph, you’ll find my social media accounts (which you should follow!) TWITTER The first place I post my newest blog link is on Twitter. I will usually link the post using a bit.ly link and write a short excerpt about the post. The tweet will include a few blogging-related hashtags and the picture I’m using with that blog post. Once tweeted, I’ll pin it to my Twitter page, so that it’s the first thing people see if they want to stalk me. 😉 Twitter is the social media that most bloggers have. If you’re looking to connect with other bloggers, this is where you should be. Don’t be afraid to share your posts, but don’t forget to make it personal, too! Tweet your random thoughts, opinions and beliefs. You’ll find other like-minded people this way! FACEBOOK Next up, I use Facebook! I have a page where I’ll link the post and use the same excerpt as I did on Twitter. This is usually the only time I use that page, because I don’t have a ton of people who “like” the page right now. However, I’ll also share that post to my actual Facebook account, for all of my family and friends to see. (Unless it’s a blogging-related post like this one.) This generates a lot of traffic for me! Don’t be afraid to share what you write with those around you. This website is my second-biggest referrer for traffic. I have a feeling it’s got to do with all of the family & friends I’ve got on my account! PINTEREST I love Pinterest. A while back, I wrote a long, intensive post about this website, where I explain just how to successfully use it for your blog. CLICK HERE TO SEE! I’ll share my post to about 2/3 boards I have on my Pinterest. One of them is a closed board just for bloggers to share their posts & interact with others. Each picture includes a few searchable keywords in the description, instead of a sentence description. You have to write what people are going to search for, so that they’ll find you. Also, make sure your pin links back to not just your website, but to the actual page of that post! Pinterest is also my biggest referrer for traffic. It’s so important to know how use this website correctly for blogging, because it’s going to help you so much once you do. GOOGLE PLUS I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers don’t use this website, but they should. Why? Because people love to interact on Google +, and they’re going to read what you have to say. I share my post on about 4/5 different boards on here, that are specifically aimed to exactly what I blog about (ex: Catholics, Lifestyle Bloggers, etc.). I don’t usually add a description to my links, because one pops up from what I’ve written on the post. This website is my third-biggest referrer for traffic. So, if you aren’t using it, think about it! INSTAGRAM Instagram is probably my favorite of all the social medias. I’ll usually post a new picture whenever I’ve got a new post up, but I try to elaborate a lot more on here. There’s always a link in my bio to my website (and other social medias) but I usually try to remind people of that in each picture I post. I’ve found that the more you elaborate about what you’ve written, the more excited people get to go read it. (As opposed to just saying you have a new post up and not saying anything else.) I also love to add an Insta-story to go along with what I posted. Sometimes, it’ll be a picture of the blog post and other times, it’s just me talking. These are the main things I use to promote my blog, and you should too! Each is super important to me. I have a different crowd of people that follow me on each site and it’s important to be connecting with your followers on a regular basis. Get to know the people in those communities and promote their relevant content just as much as they promote yours (if not more!) It’s a surefire way to grow your audience and be connected to who that audience is. Comment below if you have any other questions related to this topic, or any other blogging topic, and we’ll talk! What’s YOUR favorite social media!?
Today, or rather yesterday, marks the day of one year of blogging! I can’t believe how much has come from me purchasing a domain name and downloading WordPress for the first time, a year ago. I’ve found opportunities I’d never have heard about otherwise, and gained a worldview that is so different than it used to be. I’m so proud of myself for keeping this blog up consistently, for an entire year. It’s not an easy thing to do (as I’m sure my fellow bloggers can understand). Although my posts on this blog start a few weeks ago, that’s only because of the hosting mishap I went through. In reality, my baby turns one today!!! And I couldn’t be happier! I wanted to share some of the insight and wisdom I’ve gained from keeping with this fantastic pastime for so long. It’s been a rollercoaster and I’ve messed up so much, but I took memorable experiences away from each situation. If you’re reading this right now and you’re not sure whether to start blogging or keep it going, read on. Hopefully, I can inspire you in the same way I was inspired by others. WHAT I LEARNED FROM ONE YEAR OF BLOGGING… Don’t be afraid to share your blog with family & friends. They’ll be your support system and inspiration when you have none. Don’t expect to make a huge following right away, or even after a few months. Those things take time to grow. Don’t share everything about your life. Some things are meant to be kept private. Don’t plagiarize. From other bloggers. From articles. From videos. Nothing. Value every person that you come into contact with on this journey. Put time in effort into what you write. You’ll see the results later on. Don’t spend your entire life on your computer. You need boundaries and you need to know when to just shut it all down. Inspiration can and will strike whenever it feels like it. Be ready. Plan your content out. Don’t listen to anyone else when they tell you what you should be writing on your own blog. If you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters. Other people will see that too. Love what you do. If you don’t, then redirect your passions somewhere better. Don’t be afraid to mess up. It’s going to happen. A lot. You’re not alone & you’ll learn from it. If something isn’t working on your blog, change it. Even if it’s working for someone else. You aren’t them. Don’t be afraid to share your personal beliefs and opinions on here. Be genuine. Love,
A while back, I wrote a post titled: Why I Blog + My Story. I talked about how much I went through to get to this point of blogging, but why it’s all worth it. It almost played out like a timeline of my life, because a lot of it involved having some type of blog I wrote on. Today, I’m going to expand on that post and tell you about some of the awesome benefits of starting a blog. My three biggest reasons!? The People The Experience The Opportunities Although I’m not the biggest blogger or influencer out there, and probably not even remotely close, I still can see so many great things that have come from what I’ve started. People ask me all the time why I continue to spend so much time doing what I do, although I don’t earn money from it (yet!!). That question will really make you think, because you’ll either realize it’s a waste of your time or you’ll decide that your passion exceeds the need for making an income (although it would be nice in the future). However, none of that is meant to scare you away. If you’re truly feeling called to this place on the internet, you should go for it. God will take care of the rest. I’ve found three major reasons why that’s true. THE PEOPLE Blogging can really become a favorite hobby so quickly, especially for those creative people out there like me. The awesome thing about this hobby, though, is that it’s one where you connect with people from all over the world. That, in the best way possible, can become almost addicting. You’ll meet people who share so many of the same beliefs, opinions & passions as you, which will be insanely inspiring. This network of bloggers is a wonderful one. I’ve never seen a group that’s more supportive with each other, because they all know the struggles of the game. Whenever you have questions or concerns, someone is there to help you, no matter the social media platform. I’ve also seen endless amounts of bloggers meet in real life & create long-lasting friendships. Your world can entirely expand beyond the city you live in with this platform. THE EXPERIENCE Having a blog is also wonderful if you’re looking for something extra & exciting to put on your resume or LinkedIn. It shows that you’re ambitious enough to create something as big & important as a website and will showcase your writing/creative skills perfectly. If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours upon hours perfecting your blog & the posts you write on it. At that point, I think the blog will speak for itself, and that’s a great thing. I’ve also found that my writing skills have increased a ton. I know how to write short & concise things, but also how to write longer posts filled with information and stories. Both of those things are important to know. My style of writing has sharpened and I know exactly what voice I have that makes me stand out. Those writing skills will come in handy if you’re looking for freelance work or are applying for a job where there is some kind of writing involved. You’ll know how to “wow” your potential employers, because, for you, writing has kind-of become life (even though it won’t feel like it). I also feel that I’ve gained experience in the social media world & with creative content (think graphics). These things come easily when you start blogging. You might not even realize it’s a talent you’ve now gained. Plus, blogging has really shaped the way I think about schedules and timelines. I’ve never been much of a planner, but now I am. I have a list of things I’d love to write about and when they’ll go up. The best part? I’ve actually stuck to it. I have that little voice in my head that nudges me to get writing, because I’ve got a deadline coming up. It isn’t annoying, rather it’s helpful and has caused me to use that skill in the rest of my life. THE OPPORTUNITIES This is something I’m just starting to see as a result of my blog. However, I have one example that stands out the most for me. I’ve been contacted with the opportunity to write posts this summer for an online magazine called Step Up Magazine. The posts I write there are a little different than what you’d see on this blog, but I’ve grown to love that. It’s challenged me to think outside of my “Lifestyle” niche and see what else I’m capable of writing about. I’ve definitely surprised myself. There have been tons of smaller things I’ve been able to do as well. The list is endless, and I think it will expand even more as time goes on. For some of the bigger bloggers, I’ve heard of them getting the chance to travel, speak around the country, collaborate with companies, etc. One of the opportunities that I recently created for myself was an e-mail newsletter.>>>SUBSCRIBE TO IT HERE! Every Friday, my subscribers receive a devotional about the reading that stood out to me most from the week before. Plus, it’s a place where I can create cute graphics and send them out to be used as lock screens or pins on Pinterest. It’s super fun for me to do, but is something that’s hopefully super useful for others as well. The platform has such a huge influence on the world, and that’s why I feel it’s calling me to it. I’d love to influence people in an immensely positive way, and this is just the place for that. Although this hobby will not be easy to start or maintain, I think it’s completely worth it. As the saying goes, if God is pulling you to it, He’ll pull you through it. PS: Want to get that Friday devotional tomorrow? (Or if you’re reading this later on, next Friday?) You should sign up HERE. It’s free. It’s awesome. I’d love to have you on the list. Why do YOU blog?! Comment below,
Let’s take it back to high school for a minute, during the days when I could eat 3 delicious, warm, gooey cookies from the caf every day—and it wouldn’t make any difference. Plus, being on the swim team kept me in shape without me having to go out of my way and and find that pesky, annoying gym motivation. Fitness and health in high school were easy; I never had to think about them. Now, it’s the complete opposite. Life’s busy no matter who you are or what career goals you’re currently accomplishing. It’s beyond difficult to find a type of fitness you love, but sticking to it is another story in its own. And that’s what I want to talk about today. More specifically, in a society where everything is based on how we feel about things, how can we possibly translate that to fitness? The answer? We can’t, and we shouldn’t. FEELINGS VS. FACT Before I really translate any of this to motivation, I think we need to have a tiny chat about our feelings. You know, those things that everyone tries to avoid at any cost? It’s time we drag them out of the bottom dresser drawer and truly question them for a second. I always used to think faith was this warm, fuzzy, somehow-glowy feeling. I thought that when I had it, God would make me feel all those things, all the time. And that if I wasn’t, something was missing that I need to search for; I thought I wasn’t good enough for God. In reality, I think about that now and realize how ridiculous that is. Faith is built on trust, not on feelings. Feelings change daily, and drastically. We might feel confusion and sadness toward God over a situation, but that doesn’t mean we trust Him any less. At the same time, we might feel happiness toward God, but that doesn’t mean we trust Him. Feelings do not constitute fact. In fact, feelings are so flimsy that not even love is truly built on them. Real love, as Bishop Robert Barron commonly mentions, is willing the good of the other. It’s putting others before ourselves. It’s pledging to always take care of someone, without asking anything in return. Nothing in that definition says anything about feeling. Think about marriage, for example. We get married not based on feelings of infatuation, but because we want to pledge ourselves to another person for the rest of our lives, no matter what happens. And we want this so much that we give ourselves to that person completely, through the sacrament. Thirty years later, we might not have those same feelings of infatuation, but we also know that’s okay because we know that isn’t what defines love at all. All that marriage and sappy-true-love-stuff being said, let’s bring it back to fitness. GYM MOTIVATION IS A MYTH So, if you came here to find some gym motivation, let me start with this: gym motivation is a myth. I think we can all agree that motivation can be classified as a feeling. And that in order to make it to the gym tomorrow morning, we’ve “got to have that feeling”. As soon as I took a step back and realized, actually, I didn’t have to have that feeling to make it to the gym, that’s when I completely changed my outlook. Recently, I’ve been working so much on restructuring everything I’ve built solely based on feelings. I always believed that if motivation didn’t strike, I must not like going to the gym and it must not be my thing. If I kept believing that, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have a burning passion for weightlifting like I do now. And I definitely wouldn’t be finding myself at the gym five or six days a week, after full days of work. My point is that motivation is a myth and it is not what should push you to work out. Instead, create discipline in yourself. The same discipline that gets you up every morning for work. The same discipline that is the reason you brush your teeth every day. The same discipline that keeps you from spending all your money at Target right after pay day. Although the alternative might be nicer, it isn’t going to allow you to grow. First, find something you enjoy doing fitness-wise, whatever that is, and then push yourself to do it until it becomes a habit. Go work out not because you always want to, but because you know you should. And because you know how many great benefits you’re getting from it. Build it into your routine so often that it just becomes another thing you know you have to check off your list. Of course, don’t ever get to the point where you’re forcing yourself to do something you hate, but build that discipline into your fitness routine. A great example of someone who perfectly balances this is Whitney Simmons, my all-time fave fitness YouTuber. I CONCLUDE… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sworn up & down that the gym was going to become a constant in my life, and then I just stopped when I didn’t feel like it. As soon as I changed my thinking, I made fitness truly a constant. And judging by the fact that it’s stayed that way since September 2017, I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon. Have you had a similar experience fitness-wise? Comment below and let’s chat! Love,
A while back, I decided I needed to take a break from life online. Specifically, that meant Instagram and my blog. I was truly reaching the point of exhaustion trying to always be relevant, available and excited to post every single day. All of those things are doable and fun, but when you push yourself to be surrounded by them non-stop, it’s going to ruin you quickly. And I think it almost did for me. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why I honestly felt like I was going to have a panic attack every time I logged onto WordPress and pass out if I had to take another photo for Instagram. It was driving me nuts, and I couldn’t push through it. So, as people do when they get overwhelmed, I swore off of the whole blogging world for good. Yeah, seriously. And now here I am; running back to the one thing that somehow also keeps me sane. Weird. If you couldn’t already tell, I’ve clearly rethought my decision after experiencing life away from this online world (hello again, blog!). Now I’m going to tell you what God told me, why it’s important, and what you can do to make sure this doesn’t also happen to you. Why I Decided to Take a Break As you already saw, the stress was annoyingly prominent; all the time. I would log onto social media or my blog, and worry about numbers (*groans internally & rolls eyes*). It went a little like: Who’s reading this? How many people liked my picture? How can I get more followers on here? Who voted for my poll on Instagram? And beyond those thoughts, I also had things like this going through my mind: What kind of content can I make that this specific person will like? How can I fix my writing to sound like hers? How can I make my pictures look like that person’s? What else can I be doing to reach people? What other services should I offer? How can I be perfect on here? When you’re trying to address all of those thoughts at once, on a wheel that never stops, it’s no wonder why burn-out is a thing. I felt like I was not only a blogger but also trying to fix all of the world’s problems in a day. Jesus didn’t even rebuild his temple in a day. So, what the heck?! Hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake it at all. I didn’t know how to, because I didn’t know where the thoughts were coming from or how to control them. (Spoiler alert: They come from the devil, and prayer is the answer to getting anything bad the heck out of your head.) When you’re living to be another person’s version of perfection instead of God’s, you’re going to end up hating what you become. More than that, I felt like I’d outgrown this little corner of the internet and needed to flee, quickly. The Words God Spoke to Me If you’ve ever been in a stressful situation, you know how hard it is to think about things correctly until you’ve successfully removed yourself from it. Distance is so key. There were tons of mornings driving to work, thinking to myself: Did I just lose a huge part of myself? Why is God removing me from something I felt so called to do? It’s so easy to blame God when you don’t know why you’re going through something. Actually, it’s so easy to blame anyone but yourself. Never mind that He might be trying to teach you a lesson, because all you care about is the fact this once-great-thing became such a nightmare in front of your eyes. However, during one of those mornings, I finally let God speak some sense into me (and dang am I glad whenever He does). What I figured out surprised me, but in the best way possible. I realized I’d been too hung-up on the numbers, on impressing people, on making other people happy, on being perfect, on always being available and engaging, on wanting to live the life that other bloggers do daily…and I wasn’t focusing on what I’d set out to. The goal when I made this blog was to interact with people like me, show them how beautiful God is, and inspire them in some way, just by talking about little life lessons I’ve learned. It was never to have a life of luxury and make a ton of money off of blogging. However, when this online world becomes nothing but that, there’s no wonder why you lose your spark and creativity (in, like, 2.5 seconds flat). I became so obsessed with the lives of people who really looked like they’d made it. I wanted to be them, and I found myself constantly wrapped up in their tiny online worlds. In all seriousness, those little worlds became a huge part of mine. I almost forgot there was a world beyond my phone, one that is so much more meaningful and real. And as soon as I started to value the internet more than what I lived offline, I started losing myself. So, it was no wonder I couldn’t type up something worth reading anymore. Because for a second, I forgot who I was even living for. (PS: Here’s a great articles talking about signs you might need a break from social media!) Why You Need to Take a Break Too All those things God spoke to me after I took a break? I never would’ve heard them if I hadn’t removed myself from the entire situation. Social media, and the internet in general, can become dangerous places when you begin to seek validation from them. And the scary part is that it happens so easily if you aren’t careful. It might seem harmless enough to scroll through Instagram before bed every night, but what are those pictures and videos telling your mind if you aren’t paying attention to it? We all need those stretches of time where we keep ourselves in check, and make sure we’re doing and thinking things that God would be proud of. Everything is good in moderation, and the internet is no different–even if it’s your full-time job. Furthermore, let this be your reminder to stop comparing yourself to others you see online. I know you might watch vlogs, read posts, see pictures, etc. of someone who you think posts their whole life online, but remember: that’s a lie the devil tells you. (I love what Jeanine Amapola says about that in her latest post.) There are always things people won’t broadcast to the world (and with good reason), but you need to be able to remember that in the culture we live in today. Take yourself away from all of it for a while and never feel like you need to apologize for doing it. Finally, I warn you never to think your fulfillment comes from the internet. You don’t need 2,000 likes to be loved by God, and you don’t need 200 kind comments to be a good person. Love,
About a year ago, I went on a retreat that sought to answer the questions; What is a vocation? and Why is it important? Going into it, I definitely expected the weekend to be an infomercial as to why I should dump my boyfriend, throw away college and become a nun. However, the holy spirit brought me there for a completely different reason. He wanted to de-bunk that myth for me, which is exactly what I’ll be doing for you today. First, though, let me give a bit of an intro. Today’s blog marks the first of what I hope will be an awesome new series. I find that so many people around me call themselves Catholic, want to be Catholic or have just heard about Catholicism, yet they’ve got some (or a lot of) questions about the basics. When I first decided I wanted to really put everything I had into Catholicism and into God’s hands, I knew basically…nothing. I seriously couldn’t have even recited the Hail Mary to you. Awkward as it was to admit, I think it’s important that I do. Being a Catholic is so much more than a title; it’s completely a way of life. There’s a lot to it, and I truly believe it’s all interesting to learn about. My journey has been never-ending since I made that decision, and I feel like I could write novels on how much there is to know about Catholicism (even though there’s still so much I don’t know). It’s such a thorough religion and when you look at the reasonings behind why everything is the way it is–it’s just so cool and rock-solid. So, I created this series to help you on your journey, and possibly just to open your eyes to what Catholics believe. It’s something I wish I’d had in college, so I know it will be of use to my lovely readers. Also, because I want this series to be Q & A style, I need your input! What do you want to know more about? You can leave a comment below, click on any of my social medias or go to my contact page to let me know. What is a vocation? If you do a quick Google search for the definition, you’ll find this: “A strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.” It comes from the Latin word “vocare” which means “to call”. (Via Dictionary.com.) Basically, your vocation is your calling in life. Knowing that, we can debunk the misconception right now that vocation means joining the religious life. Yes, it can mean that, but it can also mean a whole list of others things. In Catholic terms, your vocation is how you devote your life to Christ. Whether that be through becoming a priest, marriage or something else–every person is called to do it somehow. As Pope John Paul II says, “Every life is a vocation.” However, what sets Catholic vocations apart from a worldly vocation is discernment (or perceiving/judging what God is calling us toward). Every person, whether they actually do it or not, is called to discern what God wants them to do in their life. This is very different from just planning for the future, for one very specific reason. As Russell Shaw states in this article, “Typically, people who plan but don’t discern organize their lives in light of goals that promise personal satisfaction.” In other words, they try to figure out what they want to do with their life, rather than what God is asking them to do. One is done to satisfy the self, while the other is done to satisfy a plan larger than self. One is selfish, one is selfless. Whether or not we discern and follow through with whatever we discern, we still all have a vocation. And once we figure out what God is calling us to do, we can be sure that He’ll show us the path. Why are vocations important? Although I touched on this a bit in the last section, I need to reiterate something: God is love. By that I mean; no matter what path God wants you to go down, it’s going to be the path of the most outward love. It’s the exact reason why vocations are important and, more so, why it’s important to discern what yours is. When you go down the path that God has chosen for you, you’ll be choosing love. It will be the vocation that allows you to give that love to others in the best way possible. Although I won’t go into too much detail in this post, look at what you think you’re currently being called to. A way to know it’s your calling is by the fruits that it bears. Does it give you real joy? Does it teach you patience, virtue and responsibility? And, most importantly, does it cause you to constantly be giving love to those around you (no matter who they are)? God wants love to be central in our lives, which is why we need to make sure we’re constantly aligning our plan to meet that goal. It may not be the thing we currently want to do in life, but it’s going to pay off in so many unseen ways. Extra resources about vocations. Click here for an amazing book (that I highly recommend) on discerning God’s will in YOUR life. Click here to hear more about why vocations are important and how to figure out yours, click here! Click here if you’d like to read about how I found one of my smaller callings. Click here to hear Father Mike Schmitz talk about vocation basics! Let’s have a conversation about vocations below! (Or let me know what questions you have and I’ll try and help you figure them out.) Love,