currently + finds

original image via Glamorous on weheartit.com
reading...

// How to Wow by Francis Cole Jones 

writing...

// posts for the {not quite ready to launch yet} project with the lovely Stefani

listening...

// to Muse and lamenting that I will not be attending their concert this weekend

thinking...

// about all of the things that I have on my to do lists {personal and professional} and feeling a little nervous about how busy the next few months will be

wishing...

// that winter would end abruptly 

creating...

// {personal}: blogging schedules, new design ideas, a cohesive branding & marketing plan, post outlines, a gallery wall, personalized stationary

// {professional}: training plans, project outlines & proposals 

buying...

// a new blazer

// black heels {RIP incredibly comfy steve madden pumps. you will be missed!}

// a new font 

loving...

// TED-Ed. No description needed, just check them out!

wanting...

// a new vehicle with a remote starter. It is getting super irritating having to go outside in -40 weather to start my car!

needing...

// a massage

feeling...

// the winter blues

original image via moon on weheartit.com

// Bobbi always has amazing photos of her trips, but her latest batch from Rome take the cake!

// I've only ever had one Pinterest recipe work for me, and it was this one. Spaghetti squash has never tasted so good!

// I am lusting after Bridget's tights.

// Guys, the incredibly talented Joelle is writing a book and I couldn't be more excited!

// Everyone needs to see a beatboxing goat at least once in their lives. 

// The very first place that I visit on my Flipboard is Poppy Magazine. It is eclectic, yet everything just fits, and it doesn't feel super hipster which I appreciate. 

// One day I will have enough time to learn calligraphy, and when I do I'm going to sign up for Melissa's course.

What were your favourite finds on the Internet this week?

and then there was the time that my coworker emailed me an awesome photo AND IT TURNED OUT TO BE MINE

I'm probably a little over-excited about this...But the Chive included one of my pictures in their weekly 'well-put' round up

They didn't link to the original photo, which grinds my gears a little. It's called linking with love, and this is just another reminder why we should do it. It sort of sucks being on the receiving end of it! 

Regardless, it was an exciting moment during my otherwise crazy busy day week. 


Have you ever been surprised to find something you created in
an unexpected place? 


Well, That Escalated Quickly

Every few months, I get this insatiable itch to change something

At first I'll feed this need with small changes: 
a new hair color 
a few blog tweaks 
a new ringtone for my phone. 

I can't count the shadows to keep myself safe; 
 the itch will always catch up with me
just like the vashta nerada will always catch up with those in the shadows.

The night started out innocently enough; 
I was just going to change my navigation bar. 
I had created a new one a few weeks ago, 
and from the second that I installed it I absolutely hated it. 
I've been mulling it over for weeks, 
and finally I decided to get up off my rump and change it. 

Well.

Before I could get to the nav bar, I stared at my font choices. 
The font (Origin Light) that I once loved so much was now making my eye twitch. 
It was decided.
I needed to change my fonts. 

But.

You can't just change your font willy-nilly. 
You have to take your time. 
The font that you choose is an integral part of your design; 
it helps form the basis for your brand. 

DOWNLOAD ALL THE FONTS!

And then...

I sorted through all of my new fonts. 
Some had to be ruled out because they didn't have the ability to type the umlaut in my blog title. 
(the dots on top of the a in rakas kesä is an umlaut.)

So...

I typed.
I switched between fonts. 
I wrote down about thirty font names, 
and I slowly eliminated them
one by one. 

Finally, I was down to two fonts. 
I can work with two. 

So off I went, 
creating a new navigation bar. 
Once that was finished I had another revelation:
my blog header no longer matched. 
Neither did my buttons. 
You know.
The buttons that are everywhere? 

So off I went, 
creating a new header. 
New buttons. 
A new list of sidebar links 
(although the links? Not working at the moment. Fury.) {UPDATE: fixed!}
The new links lead to new widget titles. 

Finally, I had it all installed. 
And boy, did it look pretty. 

I've kept the amazing welcome image that Chelsea created for me earlier this year because it just cannot be topped.

But the rest?

The rest was all painstakingly created by me. 

Did I stop there?

After triumphantly overhauling my entire blog design in one night
did I turn off my laptop and crawl into bed? 

No. 

Because suddenly
I had motivation. 

That 'work with me' page that I've been avoiding finishing for so long? 
I HAD TO FINISH IT. 

The Great Design Beast took over
and I just kept going. 
Creating, 
changing, 
trashing, 
mapping, 
installing. 

When my (Vancouver) best friend texted me to ask why the hell I wasn't asleep yet
I finally looked at the clock. 
Five hours. 
I had spent five consecutive hours 
making all of these changes, 
pausing only to plug my laptop in when it told me to plug in or I'd lose everything. 

This is my random, 
weird, 
rambling 
not-poem 
about that time that I compulsively re-designed my blog 
instead of sleeping. 

Better make it five and a half hours, since I also decided to blog.

Don't judge me. 

Weekly Wrap Up #13

this is my friends' cousin! be kind and share the awesome :) 

So what have I learned this past week?

  • Modern-day witch hunts aren't cool, and far too many people are the internet are blind sheep. See also: stop blowing small crap out of proportion, kay?
  • My faith in 'Merica was restored with the re-election of Obama.  Related: Sir Patrick Stewart is amazing
  • It annoys the crap out of me when people tweet their old posts every. single. hour. on Twitter. Please, calm down with the self-promotion. I follow you because your actual tweets entertain me, not because I want to see old posts from 2010. Maybe choose a post that will draw me in and then I'll keep reading your archives--but seriously, one auto-tweet from your archives per day is more than enough. 
  • Everyone has their own demons, of this I am well aware. But, you know, if one of my demons is that I'm two pounds shy of the weight I was the day that I had my daughter--and you know this--don't bring your demon of "I'm trying to gain weight but I just can't!" to me. Because there is no empathy for you here, lady. 
  • Best quote from The Simpsons EVER: "There is no diagnostic computer for the female mind." Too true, random animated car mechanic.
  • I'm pretty sure that I'm allergic to motivation. Every time I come down with a case of it, I break out in half-finished projects. (See: blog design, the reorganization of my closet, the cleaning of the pantry, my home office for the last year and a half, that stack of frames for my gallery wall that still need photos.}

****

Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people create. What were my favourite finds this week?

  1. The wonderfully sassy Kate survived Sandy! {not that I had any doubts at all}
  2. My newest blog crush is Meg from Across The Pond.
  3. I cosign 90% of Lexa's list
  4. Far too many hours have been sunk into searching the Holidays category on Pinterest
  5. Jasmine has the cutest 'About Me' page that I've seen in a long time, and I freaking love her Twitter background. 

What were your favourite reads this week?

Nanotechnology is Awesome

Inconspicuous absence becomes conspicuous when you start posting without addressing your absence...

When life gets crazy, and I spend many more hours working in a day than originally intended, the first thing to go is blogging. This has happened before.  What can I say? I'm a fan of the bribes.

Just remember that I love your faces. And when this budget is done? I'll spend more time with you. 


{via}
Have you entered Michelle's amazing fall giveaway yet? It's full of goodness-- a gorgeous handmade bracelet, $45 in giftcards, ad space for your blog or shop, a personalized tumbler, and Scentsy goodies! Because I love Michelle and The Vintage Apple dearly, I offered up two months of ad space, a guest post on rakas kesä, and two nail polishes to sweeten the deal! So what are you waiting for?? Go enter! You only have two days left!

It's A Bribe, Charlie Brown.

If it seems like I've fallen off the face of the earth, it's because I have. When life gets busy the first thing that I ax is blogging, not because I don't love your faces but because I love my daughter more. Sorry I'm not sorry, she is ridiculously awesome.

The good news is that when life slows down I will have some awesome posts full of rainbows and unicorns for you. The bad news is that you have to wait. Sad face.

Lucky for y'all, I am a parent which means that I have a gold medal for handing out bribes. So today, enjoy one of my favourite Jenna Marbles videos. If you love the funny bitch as much as I do, you'll also follow her on Twitter.

Miss your faces!


Unsolicited Advice: Too Many Giveaways















Even though my current blog is only a few months old, I've been blogging for three years continuously and in multiple places (Twenties Hacker. Check them out!). In no way am I an expert, but I have learned a thing or two since hitting publish for the first time. I feel a little weird about writing a how-to on blogging, but I feel compelled to complain about blogging pet peeves pass on any wisdom that I might have.
Last time on Unsolicited Advice: The Blogging Community 

Y'all, I love getting awesome free stuff; I also love giving away awesome free stuff. This is something that pretty much everyone I've ever met has in common. Companies know this, so they approach blogs to host giveaways in exchange for some online pimping. I think it's a fantastic way to expand readership, encourage interaction with readers, and introduce people to a company or product that they might not have heard about otherwise. I'm completely open to hosting giveaways

What bugs me, though, is when a blog that I read (and love!) suddenly turns into a contest posting board. There is little to no unique or interesting content, just post after post about some "wonderful" item that they are giving away. Again. I don't follow your blog because I want free stuff--that's why I go to trade shows or Costco on Sundays. I follow your blog because something about your content excited me, or interested me. I've even followed a blog because I loved their design and wanted to be able to reference it later. 

What are the telltale signs that you've sold out and turned into a giveaway machine? 
  1. You post a giveaway every day. 
  2. Your post announcing the winners of the past weeks' giveaways is longer than your About Me page. 
  3. Every post includes Rafflecopter (or similar)
  4. A reader has to go into your archives for a post that doesn't include a giveaway.
  5. You post multiple giveaways every day. 
  6. The largest tag in your tag cloud is "giveaway"
  7. You classify yourself as a fashion blogger but you're giving away a ShamWow. 
  8. You {finally} post something that doesn't include a giveaway, and vultures comment on how cheap you are for not giving something away. 
  9. You have never turned down a request to give something away, regardless of what the item is.
  10. You are the first result for "free stuff" in Google. 
So how can you ensure that you are being responsible with your giveaways? 
  1. Set goals for your blog. I have two goals when it comes to blogging: producing content that I am proud of, and making connections with new people. Any time I decide to do anything with my blog--whether it's changing the layout or posting something--I ask myself "is this going to help me achieve a goal?" If it doesn't, then it's back to the drawing board for me. 
  2. Create a plan to meet those goals. I offer sponsorships and ad swaps through my blog mostly because it is an excellent way to meet new people while simultaneously sharing the blogs that I enjoy. Through these, I've met lots of amazing people and forged some genuine friendships. The rest of my "plan" for making connections friends is to connect through social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are my favourites). {Word to the wise--Passionfruit Ads makes it ridiculously simple to offer ads and swaps.}
  3. Know your demographic. I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger, and eventually I'd love to branch out into fashion as well. Sephora, Shabby Apple, Mod Cloth, Essie, even Neutrogena--these are all brands that would fit seamlessly into my blogging persona. ShamWow or Hair Club for Men? Not exactly. Stick to hosting giveaways or writing sponsored posts for items or brands that fit your blog--even though you're "writing for yourself", ultimately if you're hosting giveaways then you are also writing for an audience. 
  4. Set limits for yourself--and stick to them. So far, I have chosen not to host giveaways on my blog. I'm still finding my voice and gaining a following, so at this point it just isn't comfortable for me. Once I am comfortable with it, I don't want to host more than two per month. Two will allow me to highlight companies that I really do enjoy and want to share, while still focusing on generating quality content. 
  5. Focus on your content and your following will grow organically. I know of many bloggers that specifically hosted giveaways because they had a 'goal' number of followers that they wanted to achieve; they hit their mark, but unfortunately their content suffered. In the end, isn't successful blogging producing something that others want to read? 
How do you deal with giveaways on your blog?

Weekly Wrap Up #4


There are a few things that I don't ever think that I will understand in this world. I don't understand why people think that it's okay to be derogatory towards me because I'm white. Is it actually considered acceptable to do this, or am I supposed to say something when it happens? I also don't understand--nor do I appreciate--when someone treats me like a second-class citizen simply because I am a woman. "I want to speak to a man" is not something that you will ever get away with saying to me. Lastly, I'm never going to understand why some people have this need to be in charge all of the time. Please, tell me again how I am holding my knife incorrectly. 

It's been a long week, don't judge me for being grumpy.

So what have I learned this week? 

  • You don't have to sit back and take it when someone is being rude towards you. 
  • "Killing them with kindness" takes much more self-control than I possess sometimes.
  • I underestimate the intelligence of my daughter on a far too regular basis, but she has no qualms with publicly shaming me so to remind me of her brilliance. 
  • It is entirely possible to be too organized.
  • I am not allergic to my cats, but I am allergic to the cat that lives at my vet clinic. 
  • Being covered in hives is incredibly uncomfortable when you don't have any allergy pills with you. 
  • Making real fruit smoothies to drink with dinner makes Mr Noodles a healthy meal.
  • Steve Jobs was a man of many quotes, but at last I have discovered my favourite: 
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart you'll know when you find it."
****

Although I'm a big fan of my own work, I also enjoy what other people write. What were my favourite reads this week?
  1. I support a zero-tolerance approach to grammatical errors in the workplace. 
  2. I wish that I had enough space to create this closet for Audrey!
  3. I am absolutely obsessed with Craft Wars.
  4. Sometimes Hollywood gets it {sort of} right
  5.  And a Mythbusters clip, because they are awesome. 


It's a long weekend in Canada, so Audrey and I are doing plenty of family activities! 
How do you spend your long weekends?

Unsolicited Advice: The Blogging Community















Even though my current blog is only a few months old, I've been blogging for three years continuously and in multiple places (Twenties Hacker. Check them out!). In no way am I an expert, but I have learned a thing or two since hitting publish for the first time. I feel a little weird about writing a how-to on blogging, but I feel compelled to complain about blogging pet peeves pass on any wisdom that I might have.  

My very favourite part of blogging is that it is a community. Some of my favourite people in the world (Lorraine Sydney Pia Kate Bobbi Cheryl) I've never actually met in person, which sounds really creepy if you aren't a blogger. Or maybe it is creepy, in which case don't have me arrested.  

There are so many ways to connect: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, email, dedicated communities like 20sb and Studio 30 Plus, and of course by commenting directly on a blog. Some people I only interact with on one platform, some I stalk on all. The key word here is interact.

I totally understand that sometimes a tweet or a comment can be missed here or there, I'm very sure that I've missed some as well. But it drives me absolutely bonkers when people just don't respond. The elite Blog Famous folks get a break on this one--I wouldn't have time to respond to hundreds of comments on multiple platforms either! But for the rest of us mere mortals? It isn't difficult to show some love to your readers, and it's downright rude to ignore the loyal readers that reach out to you on a regular basis.

So respond. Interact. They don't have to be your best friend, but be friendly. It's how you grow your blog, and more importantly, it's how you be a good person.