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Apr 28, 2020

Today, I'm Grateful For...

i love taking some time to think about the things i'm grateful for, and think that it's an awesome way to start the week!

here's what i'm particularly grateful about today:

fresh-made juice for lunch
my coworkers…i love working at this church!
a few days spent in boston last week with aj & that his summer break is less than 2 weeks away
sunshine and springtime (even if it's going to rain all week)
creativity in all of its forms
this new-found addiction to running
tomorrow is my last ministry class
finally finding a spring jacket after a two-month long search (it's the little things, friends)

emily runs a little grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating!

and just as an added bonus for grateful heart monday….i'm offering all readers a whopping 70% off of any ad space/package from now-may 1 with the code "springhassprung".

what are you grateful for today?

Apr 26, 2020

Blogging 102: Taking it to the Next Level

here it isthe second installment in the blogging faq series!  if you missed the first post (blogging 101:  getting started), check that out here.

today we're talking all about taking your blog to the next level.  in this post, you'll find some answers to questions about crafting great posts, gaining a following, and advertising!  if you've gotten your blog established and now are trying to figure out how to make it grow, then this post is for you!

i've asked a few bloggers to join me in answering some of the questions that have been submitted.  joining in today are meg of rivers & roads and heather of honee bee.  check the end of the post to find them on social media.
What camera do you use?  Who takes your pictures?

I have a Canon Rebel XS and I also use my iPhone. To be honest, I use my iPhone a lot more these days for taking my day to day shots for my posts.  It's a whole lot easier to tote around on a daily basis :)  I do love it when I am able to get my DSLR out for a photo shoot.  There's just something about taking pictures with a real camera.  I take all of my own photos that you see on my blog, unless otherwise noted.  I currently don't have a style post series because I don't have anyone to take those pictures for me! :)  -Meg, Rivers & Roads

i use a nikon d7000 and my most-used lens is a 50mm.  i take the majority of the photos on my blog (basically anything i’m not in), but for the rare outfit post, i either use a tripod or ask someone like my brother or my boyfriend to shoot a few pics for me!  but don't discount your iphone eitheri use a ton of pics from my phone on my blog all the time! -betsy, heavens to betsy

Is there a standard sizing for photos in blog posts?

no, not necessarily, but i’d recommend making all of your photos the same width.  see more of my tips for photography and blogging here. -betsy, heavens to betsy  

the bigger the better! photos and photo quality are the number one drive to your site. make them good, use GREAT lighting, learn more about photography, this will be the biggest thing you can do to make your blog grow! -heather, honee bee

What do you think is the most important thing about a blog post?

the photos, hands down. sometimes photos dont matter but always make sure to include ONE photo, even if it doesn't super apply. but I cannot stress the importance of having GREAT photos. Invest in a nicer camera or teach your self composition tricks, it will do wonders! -heather, honee bee

i’d say 1) having eye-catching photos and 2) making sure your content is well-written and helps your readers connect with you.  ending your post with a question is always a great way to engage your readers! -betsy, heavens to betsy

Good pictures and authentic content.  I'm going to be honest, if your post has a lot of text and zero pictures, there is a high possibility that I will not take time to read all of it. I'm a very visual person, so pretty pictures definitely help.  I will remember your post better as well if you have pictures.  Also, you want to post authentic content. Don't post content that you don't really believe in or support yourself. You want to connect with your readers on a personal level. Be yourself, talk about things that you like, review products you would actually buy, and so on.  -Meg, Rivers & Roads

How do you gain and maintain a readership?
engage, engage, engage!  comment back on comments that people leave on your blog, read others’ blogs and let them know you stopped by, sponsor other blogs, become a great, reliable blog to sponsor, partner with other bloggers on link-ups and giveaways.  consider the bloggers you care about to be your friends and treat them that way! -betsy, heavens to betsy

post often (at least once a week), comment on other blogs, sponsor other blogs, find your favorite bloggers and follow them on twitter and engage in conversation! starting out you need to be willing to make partnerships and friends, and it works best if you are reaching out!! -heather, honee bee

How can I make money?

it’s not easy!  if you’re looking to get rich quick, blogging isn’t your answer.  the most common way to make money for smaller bloggers is through sponsorships (sites like passionfruit make managing your sponsors really easy!).  some companies also offer affiliate programs for bloggers (like shabby apple and bonlook), where you can earn commission by referring readers through links on your blog.  it’s definitely possible to make money on blogging, but my advice is to not let that be the only reason you blog! -betsy, heavens to betsy

Do I need a button for my blog?  How do I create one?

If you are wanting to do any kind of advertising to grow your blog, then you definitely need a button.  There are a lot of blog button instructions out there as far as creating the html code for yourself. Design-wise you want something that reflects the design elements of your blog. Maybe it has a picture of you or maybe it's just your logo. Designers tend to offer some services a la carte, so if you aren't design minded, it's very possible you could have someone else design a cute button for you at an inexpensive cost.  I am currently offering button design services for $5 per design-Meg, Rivers & Roads

if you want other bloggers to promote you, then yes!  some bloggers will create one for you if you ask really nicely and maybe pay them a little.  but you can also create buttons through basic design software.  every blog will have different, specific dimensions that they’ll need for a button.  not adhering to these dimensions will result in a stretched or distorted button, so pay attention to those guidelines! -betsy, heavens to betsy

Is advertising important?

offering ad spaces and advertising on other blogs are both great ways to build partnerships, discover other bloggers, and gain readers, so yes, advertising is important!  Monetizing your blog and allowing google to put ads on your page is a whole different ball game, and that’s a personal decision you need to make!  -betsy, heavens to betsy 

What if people do not read my blog?

keep at it!  if you’re passionate about what you’re writing, then don’t get discouraged.  start promoting your blog on social media, and then go out and find other bloggers and comment on their blogs!  i try to click around every day and find new sites, so if you’re engaging in the blogging community, chances are you’ll build a readership eventually, it just takes time! -betsy, heavens to betsy

still have questions?  submit them in the comments section!

connect with meg here:
blog // instagram // facebook

connect with heather here:
blog // facebook // twitter

Apr 25, 2020

Things I'm Really Bad At.

i found this journal prompt a few days ago and thought it would make a fun blog post.  it's pretty easy to talk about the things you're good at or know a lot about, but what about things you're really bad at?  i mean, like, comically bad at.

for me, it's drawing.  like, i'm terrible.  when i was student teaching, my supervisor came to observe a math lesson once and gave me the criticism that the roses i drew for my third graders to demonstrate solving a word problem didn't really look like flowers.

and then, i was recently substitute teaching in a preschool classroom and had to draw something for one of my students, and i immediately got nervous.  because you know kids, they don't sugar coat what they think.  and this kid didn't.  when i handed the drawing over and acknowledged it's poor quality, my four-year-old student looked at it, and then up at me and said "yeah, you're not a good draw-er."  i know kid, i know.

fortunately, there are things i'm much better at than drawing.  and if nothing else, i figure my lack of skill in this particular area can lead to some fun stories to tell, however embarrassing.

so what's something that you are really bad at?

Apr 24, 2020

My First StitchFix!

after hearing about a few friends' success with stitchfix, i just had to give it a try!  with it's growing popularity, it feels like stitchfix is everywhere in the blogging world right now.  so i thought, "why not drink the koolaid?!"

how it works // if you've never heard of stitchfix, it's a box subscription service.  you schedule a box (either monthly or as you want them), and fill out a style profile, and your own personal stylist sends you 5 items chosen just for you!  there's a $20 styling fee, but that turns into a credit towards purchasing anything from your box.  (and bonus!  if you purchase all 5 pieces, you get a 25% discount on the whole box)
what i got //  i was so excited to get my box.  when i scheduled it, the wait was about 2 months, so the anticipation had been building!  my initial impression was that the packaging was lovely.  everything was folded and wrapped up and branded with the stitchfix logo.  also inside the box was a note from my stylist with details about each piece she chose and a few ideas on how to style them.  i loved the personal touch!

i got three dresses, a tank top, and jersey tee, pictured below.  overall i really liked about 3/5 of the box.  the quality of the items was great, and for the most part, i was prepared for the prices to be around what they were.  (i had heard from friends that their pieces were usually around $40-$60)

what i kept // nothing!  to my disappointment (remember, i was anticipating the box for 2 months!), i decided to send my entire fix back.  the black tank was super cute, but nearly $70 for a tank top was just way too much for me.  i loved the yellow dress, but it was cut a little too narrow for my hips. i didn't totally love the cut-out tee.  the button detailing just wasn't for me and again, it was too expensive for what it was.  i really didn't love the floral dress…way too business casual for me (i wear jeans to work) and i couldn't see myself wearing it enough.  i loved loved loved the red dress.  like really  loved it.  but in the end, it just wasn't quite flattering enough on me to justify dropping $80 on it.  if it had fit perfectly, i would have kept it in a heartbeat.

overall impression //  overall, it was a fun experience.  i liked being surprised with items that were picked just for me.  my stylist wrote that all of the pieces were inspired by my pinterest style board (a personal touch that i loved), but i'm not sure that i see the influence in all five of the pieces.  it was on the pricey side, but i would have been ok with that had i loved a piece and it fit perfectly.  finally, i was a little disappointed that i got three dresses.  while i do love dresses, i didn't specifically mention a need for them and none of them were really casual enough for me to get everyday wear out of them.  upon checkout online, i was able to give feedback on each piece, so that was a plus if i decide to try it again someday!

what i learned // i learned a few things from the stitchfix experience:
1.  i really do like shopping for myself.  i think i would have been more likely to purchase something if i really disliked shopping, but i enjoy it, so that isn't a huge draw for me.
2.  i'm really picky about spring style.  you know how you have that season that you usually find a ton of clothing that you love?  well spring is not that season for me.  it's been particularly difficult for me to find spring clothing that i love this year in general, so that might have something to do with my bad luck on this fix.
3.  i'm cheap.  i definitely have a desire to invest in quality pieces, but i'm not going to do it unless i really love the piece and it fits me perfectly.

would i do it again? // despite my less-than-perfect experience, yes!  i think i would do it again.  maybe in the fall, which is typically a season when i find a lot of clothing that i love.  they do say that the more feedback you give and the more you order boxes, the better they get in terms of matching your style, so i'm definitely not opposed to giving it another try!

if you're on the fence about trying stitch fix, i say go for it!  you can sign up here!  the most you can lose is $20 and it's worth trying it out…maybe you'll love it!  i've seen tons of bloggers & had a bunch of friends get fantastic pieces from their fixes.  and it really was a fun experience.  it was an opportunity to get pieces i might not have chosen for myself and i got to try them on in the comfort of my own home with items that i already owned to see how they paired with my current wardrobe.

Apr 22, 2020

Black & White Striped and Gold Glitter Bridal Shower Games

since it's wedding season, i've been working on designing a few other bridal shower game templates!

aj's cousin nora is getting married next fall and going with a gold & black theme.  personally, i was addicted to this color pairing this winter!  it's fun for a classy wedding or party any time of the year!

these games are fully customizable, just email me at [email protected] to order them!

are you planning any bridal (or baby) showers?  what games are you playing?

Apr 17, 2020

Discover Etsy // Melissa of Sew What Scarves

this might be the best discover etsy post yet!  i'm so so so excited to introduce you to melissa of sew what scarves.  not only because i know her personally and think she's amazing (she baked a crazy ton of delicious whoopi pies for jen's wedding!), but also because i have one of her scarves and absolutely adore it!
When did you start making scarves?  Has sewing always been a hobby? // A long time ago, I decided to join Pinterest. When I say a long time ago, I mean back in the day when you had to request membership and were placed on a waiting list...a long time ago. Since that day, I have been obsessed with pinning and found that I was drawn to crafts that I could make myself such as crochet patterns and scarves. I BEGGED my incredible parents (I mean Santa)  for a sewing machine two Christmases ago and was blessed to receive one! However, it ended up staying in the box for almost an entire year until last September. After a particularly stressful day at a job that I was struggling to enjoy, I decided that I needed to get my sewing machine out of the box and put it to use. Complaining wasn’t getting me anywhere. I figured that I could channel my energy into something productive by making something that I’ve spent a lot of money on - scarves. My 14 year old sister, Emily, was home and bored so we got in my car, drove to Joann’s. We each picked a fabric that we liked, I found a pattern to make the scarves, and, after a quick lesson on my sewing machine from my sister who just had sewing in Home Ec, we were going to town! The first scarf wasn’t pretty….and the pattern just wasn’t quite right. Nonetheless, I wore my handmade scarf to work the next day and couldn’t stop thinking about how to make it better. After some research, I redid the scarf and it was perfect! I discovered the method I still use today. Without my sister’s eye on fabric tastes and her patience to give me a quick crash course, I wouldn’t have made it this far. While a lot of my experience on my sewing machine comes from the scarves, I’m definitely considering dabbling in some other fun projects, you’ll just have to wait and see :-)
When did you first open your etsy shop & what made you decide to open one? // I first opened my Etsy shop on October 31, 2020 (I only remember because it was Halloween). I was reluctant to open it at first as I was afraid that it would turn a loved hobby into an arduous task. However, after some persuading from friends who admired the work I had been nonchalantly posting on Facebook and Instagram, I decided to give it a go. Apparently I opened at just the right time - the holiday season - because, within a month and a half, I sold over 100 scarves. The sewn scarves were such a hit so I decided to list some of my crocheted pieces as well - they took off! I’m so glad to know that something I love to do in my spare time, something that gives me such peace and joy and helps me escape reality, makes others just as happy. I feel so blessed to have found this passion of mine and am forever thankful to the friends who encouraged me to give Etsy a try.
What inspires you? // I don’t really consider myself “trendy” in any way, but I found scarves to be a way to add just the right amount of that little something extra to an outfit that made me feel more confident and ready to take on the day. I was never much of a scarf person until I noticed the gorgeous scarves a coworker of mine, Briana,  would wear to work. Her collection was quite extensive and I loved how she paired them with her outfits. Scarves are different than jewelry - they’re a fun way to mix patterns, show your mood, and make a statement in one piece. She did all of this with her scarves and I found myself obsessed. When I shop for fabric, I find myself looking for patterns that remind me of happiness - whether that’s in colors, patterns, or the feel of the fabric. I’m also inspired by my little sister, Emily. She has incredible taste in fabric and gave me the idea to pair different pieces together - my half and half scarves. Mostly, though, I’m always on the lookout for something that will make a positive statement. One of the reasons I was so drawn to my coworker's scarves is because I have an allergy to nickel. I can't have as much fun as the general population in buying cheap and fun jewelry. My jewelry is an investment for me. Scarves provided a fun way to spruce up my outfits without having any type of reaction and without draining my bank account! My scarf purchases started to get a little out of control. After that, and realizing that I could make them, I broke out my sewing machine that was sitting in a box for almost a year, grabbed my incredibly talented younger sister, and started down the road of what is now Sew What Scarves. My sister's knack for picking out fun and vibrant patterns inspired me to break out of my normal routine and reminds me every day that just because I don't like something doesn't mean someone else won't. 
Are there season that you particularly enjoy designing/sewing scarves for? // Since I’ve only been in business for a couple of months, I haven’t had the chance to go through all of the seasons yet. Making scarves for the holidays was fun, but I am finding a lot of joy in shopping for fabric for the spring. While fall/winter are mostly scarf seasons, I’m looking for unique ways to make scarves relevant all year round. I’m excited to see what I’ll find and come up with!
What is your creative process like? // I don’t think I can say that I have much of a process. Usually I find myself yearning to look at fabric, wanting to find the newest patterns to keep the styles fresh on my site. I find shopping for fabric very therapeutic and it helps me relieve my stresses of the typical work day. When I get to the store, I get in the zone and go to town touching everything, pairing things together, making a mess :-) I’ve also been asked to create some custom pieces as gifts, which is always a fun task! It even helps inspire me to look for more fabric and branch out. My taste in scarves isn’t always someone else’s tastes so I rely on my family and friends’ opinions.

i can't tell you how happy i am with my scarf from sew what scarves! it's the perfect light scarf for summer and the fact that its an infinity scarf makes it even better.

if you're interested in ordering a scarf from melissa, check out her etsy shop and use the promo code "HEAVENS2BETSY20" to get 20% off of your order! i'm already picking out my next scarf!

and to get updates about melissa's scarves, new patterns, and new fabrics, follow her here:

Apr 16, 2020

Work-It-Out, the App Edition

a few weeks ago, i wrote this post about getting fit and staying motivated.

i'm so excited to say that i didn't just write it and then totally fall off the bandwagon a week later, which to be perfectly honest, would not have surprised me.  but this time was different; this time (so far) i've actually stuck with my goals (woohoo!).

i'm a total geek when it comes to just about anything, but i particularly love tracking my workouts and sometimes what i'm eating.  it keeps me motivated to see myself reaching goals and getting better at this working out stuff.  plus, i like being able to look back and see that i accomplished things!

runkeeper // runkeeper is my all-time favorite workout app.  it's the one i use the most and i love it.  you can manually input workouts (not limited to just runs…they have a ton of different things on here like crossfit, zumba, pilates, you name it!), but you can also allow it to track you.  periodically during a run/walk/bike ride, it will tell you how long you've been running, what your mileage is, and what your current pace is.  it also allows you to play music while running the app and after a workout, it will give you a summary, let you know if you hit a personal record, and save your workout.  you can set goals for yourself like a particular distance you want to run, an amount of weight you'd like to lose, etc., and there are built-in training plans as well.  if you can't tell, i love this app.

myfitnesspal // my fitness pal is one of those apps where you can track what you eat and what you burn.  it keeps a running daily tally of calories in/out and a balance of what you have left for the day.  you can also track your weight and measurements in it, set weight-loss goals, and get data about your nutrition and caloric intake.  it has a social media feature, where you can follow friends and see how they're doing, but what i love the most about this is that it syncs with runkeeper, so when i use that to log a workout, it automatically updates myfitnesspal to reflect my exercise.

nike training club // ntc is my go-to app when i can't get to the gym or don't have time for a run.  it contains tons of workouts (in four different categories: get lean, get toned, get strong, get focused) that all target different things.  many of the workouts can be done with little to no equipment and they range from 15min to 1hour.  the app lets you play music and then start a workout, where it will tell you exactly what move you need to do (planks, burpees, lunges, etc.) and for how long, it then prompts you for each new move.  the greatest thing about this app is that if at any point you don't know what a move is, you can tap the photo and see a video of the move.  it's like having your own personal trainer or a gym on the go.  it even keeps track of how many minutes you've spent working out through the app and also includes bonus workouts from celeb athletes!

what are your favorite fitness apps?

Apr 15, 2020

Discover Etsy // Raellacraft + a Giveaway

i'm so excited to introduce you to another etsy shop today!  this discover etsy feature is making me really happy…i love getting to meet and promote people who are using their creative talents!
rae abigael runs a blog and an etsy shop, where she sells beautiful handmade postcards, prints, and more!  I just love her ink and watercolor designs.

she's also super busy as an avid dancer and designer, so i'm really happy that she's found time in her busyness to partner with heavens to betsy to host a giveaway!

one lucky winner will be able to choose five postcards from her etsy shop!  the giveaway will close on april 21st, so don't miss out!

Apr 14, 2020

This Week on the Blog...

as i'm sure you're all very well aware, next sunday is easter…that means that things are cr-azy at work! (i work on the creative team at my church)

i spent today in meetings and then creating words made out of moss on wooden signs.  super fun, but also super time consuming.

i just wanted to give you all a quick update on some goings on this week:

i'm blogging all week for work (check out the posts here) and writing about what jesus was up to during the week leading up to easter…i'm pretty excited about these posts, so follow along if you can!

an exciting partnership + giveaway with raellacraft starts tomorrow, so don't miss that!

due to my recent working out commitments, i'll be featuring my favorite fitness apps on wednesday

on thursday, i'll be driving to boston and back (to pick up aj) and i'll also be featuring sew what scarves right here on the blog (stay tuned for a promo code to use at the shop!)

enjoy the beginning of your week friends!

Apr 9, 2020

This Week, it's Grateful Wednesday

a few weeks ago, i started linking up with emily (over at ember grey) to start my week with a grateful heart.  i love taking some time to think about the things i'm grateful for.

this week has been particularly crazy and busy.  i'm on staff at a church of about 5,000 people and we're gearing up for our easter services next weekend.  that means having bulletins to the printer this week and finalizing plans and details, and lots of meetings.  this is my first year in my new position as creative arts project coordinator, and my bosses know that i blog, so they asked me to blog through next week.  (so sorry if you've been disappointed by my lack of posting these last few days…i've been writing, just not for heavens to betsy!)  if you're a blogger, you know that it can be really hard to pump out post after post, and i've been busy writing 8 different posts that will walk readers through the week between palm sunday and easter…talk about pressure!

anyway, i still wanted to get in thankful list this week, so here goes!

here's what i'm particularly grateful about today:

new glasses that have been shipped (even though they're reading glasses…which means i'll now wear contacts and glasses at the same time)
archer farms vanilla bean creme brûlée k-cups (from target…go get them now.)
a good report from dad's scans this week!  (his tumor is very small and everything is stable!)
exciting opportunities at work that are stretching and challenging me
one week til aj's home for easter
two weeks til i go to boston for a few days
being a part of an awesome staff
time scheduled to spend with friends this week
another day of subbing on friday (ka-ching!) $$ :)
warm weather & runs outside
achieving my goal of running 10-miles this past sunday!

emily runs a little grateful heart link-up every monday, and it's open all week…i encourage you to go check it out, read some of the other posts, and consider participating! 

what are you grateful for today?

Apr 4, 2020

Chloe + Isabel Giveaway!

have you ever heard of the jewelry line chloe + isabel?  i hadn't until the opportunity to host this giveaway came up and i couldn't believe it took me this long to find it!  besides being featured in magazines like vogue, instyle, and glamour, the philosophy behind the chloe + isabel brand is just cool:    "best friends, both chloe and isabel express themselves in different ways, each with her own point of view. "chloe" is the daring trendsetter, while "isabel" is classic and refined.  the mission of chloe + isabel as a social lifestyle brand is to empower women to be creative, exude confidence, and to be themselves."

what is even cooler is that thuy, the merchandise manager sponsoring this giveaway, has awesome goals for herself and her business:  "my personal goal as a merchandise manager is to be able to grow my business to provide scholarships for female high-school graduates in underprivileged areas to help with their college tuition or costs.  with your help, i hope that i will be able to expand my customer base so that my dream with this company and business will come true and become sustainable. what better than to help women feel beautiful and also empower young women to further their education!"

i'm so on board with the heart behind her personal business!

one lucky winner will receive their choice of the sculpted feather pendant or the owl stud earrings…both customer favorites!

here are some details on the prizes (pictured above):

Sculpted Feather Pendant Necklace // Delicate feather charm necklace with textured detailing. Hangs from lobster clasp with 2" extender and c+i bird logo tag. // 12k brushed gold plated, nickel-free, 16" approx. length, lobster clasp with 2" extender and c+i bird logo tag
Owl Stud Earrings // Hooting owl stud earrings with black diamond crystal accents and irresistible bright blue sapphire crystal eyes. Post closure with c+i bullet clutch. // brass ox plated // nickel-free // 0.5" diameter

enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

connect with thuy on social media here:

Apr 3, 2020

Bridal Shower Games // Chevron Designs

if you've been following along on heavens to betsy in the past few months, you may know that creating bridal shower games has become a little bit of a hobby for me!   when i was planning my best friend's bridal shower last november, i designed a few bridal shower games that we used during the time that jen was opening her gifts.  since then, i've customized some of my designs for quite a few people and have realized that i definitely need to open an etsy shop, but just don't have the time to dive into that right now.  selling them through email & paypal is working for the time being!

i've always loved chevrons and have been wanting to design some of these games with a chevron theme.  i also have been wanting to use one of my all-time favorite color pairings:  yellow and gray!  so here are a few new bridal shower game designs!

for customization options and to see more of my designs, check out my design page!

Apr 1, 2020

Blogging 101: Getting Started

well you asked, and i listened!  there were so many questions submitted for a blogger faq that it's actually become a series of posts! 

today's topic is blogging 101. these are some great questions to ask if you're just starting out, or considering starting a journey into the blogging world!  blogging can seem intimidating, but trust us, you can do it!  there's a lot of text in this post, but there's also a lot of wisdom, so grab a cup of coffee and join us!

i've asked a few bloggers to join me in answering some of the questions that have been submitted.  joining in today are meg of rivers & roads and elizabeth of oak & oats.  check the end of the post to find them on social media.  these girls have added some great advice from years of blogging experience!

How do I get started?

Start with a brainstorm session! Take a Saturday afternoon to write down your blog thoughts. Names, themes, ideas. Then just start! Read other blogs, reach out to bloggers you admire, and try new things. Blogging is an evolution - If you went back and looked at the first post from all your favorite bloggers I am sure you will notice a difference! It is something that you learn and grow in while you are in the midst of it! You cannot perfect your blog before you start so just dive in! - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

getting started is probably the most daunting part of the process…but i’d say just start writing.  don’t worry too much about finding your voice right away, that stuff will come.  figure out a name that works for you, bounce a few ideas off of friends and family, find something catchy, and then ask yourself why you want to blog.  the answer to that question can be instrumental in helping you figure out what to write about!  -betsy, heavens to betsy

How do you choose a name?

Picking a name is an exciting thing! Before you slap the first thing that pops into your head all over the internet, here are three things you should do first:
1. Figure out what you want your blog purpose or mission statement to be. Find a name that represents that and at the same time is timeless.
2. Google said name and see if any other blogs are using it. If your blog takes off, you don’t want to not be able to own a custom domain name because www.abeautifulmess.com is already taken. Also, you want your readers to easily find you - not search through a list of “Whatever is Lovelies” when they are looking for you.
3. Pick a name that is unique but simple and easier to remember. When you are blogging you are starting a brand. You may end up huge or your may have a smaller influence but either way, it is always important to treat yourself as a brand. Value the work you do and take time to pick a name that can stay with you. - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

I think it's important when choosing a blog name to choose something that encapsulates both your personality and what you want to write about! I love adventures and the outdoors, and I also write about those things a lot. So Rivers and Roads is a name that really fits me and who I am as a person and a blogger.  Also, if you are thinking of starting a small business, etsy shop, etc., that should probably affect your name choice as well.  Create a name that not only is a good blog name but also flows well as a shop name.  Most of all, be creative! It's your space and your name, so make it unique! -Meg, Rivers & Roads

I’m new to blogging…got any tips?

blog for you!  the moment blogging feels forced, that’s when you’ll feel dry creatively and that’s when it’s not fun anymore!  this community has so much to offer, so be sure to invest in other blogs by commenting, sponsoring, reaching out to other bloggers.  most bloggers i’ve worked with have been more than willing to help a sister out, so take advantage of that! -betsy, heavens to betsy

Be you, keep learning, comment on other blogs, and enjoy it! The only blogs worth reading are blogs that are written by people with passion and purpose! - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

What platform do you use?  What’s the difference between blogging platforms?

I do not know a ton about this! I know I use blogger and so do a lot of other people. I know also, that a lot of people use Wordpress. I say, look into both of them and see which one makes more sense to you! - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

i use blogger.  i like the ease of it, but as i’ve grown, i’ve contemplated a switch to wordpress more than once.  both have pros and cons, both can be customized to look like an awesome blog that reflects you, they just look different on the "backend" (the part that you, as the blogger can change and edit).  a lot of careful research can help you figure out what will be best for you!  -betsy, heavens to betsy

What should I blog about?

Take a day and think about this. What do you like to do? What inspires you? Why do you get up in the morning? What things can you not imagine your day/ life without? It is okay if you have a lot of things you want to talk about, they call those blogs “Lifestyle Blogs” and yes, I have a lifestyle blog! Make sure that you blog about what you WANT to blog about not what you feel you NEED to blog about. and also be YOU! There are so many blogs out there but there is only one (or maybe more) written by you! That is what you have to offer! Say you love healthy living and also sweets! Then blog about how you live healthy and still enjoy eating delicious sweets. OR maybe you love to bike to work but also look cute - show us your outfits that travel well and look fab! You can combine your loves into your blog and that is so unique! - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

What are you passionate about?  Chances are, when you answer that question, you’ll know what to blog about!  my best (and favorite) posts have been on topics that I really care about or like to talk about.  if you love fashion, consider blogging about your favorite trends or outfits.  if you love cooking, share some recipes, successes, or failures (these can be really funny posts!).  the options are endless and there’s a niche for everyone.  -betsy, heavens to betsy

What would your advice be to someone who cares about how their blog looks - but has NO background in design (nor do they feel confident throwing anything together)?

there are options for you!  there are tons of bloggers out there that offer design services for small fees, and there are even e-courses out there that can teach you how to make your blog look great, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.  I’m willing to bet that if you look around, you know someone who has basic graphic design skills.  but truth be told, before i became proficient in adobe programs, i created all of my blog banners in Microsoft word!  haha….sounds crazy, but it’s true.  there are also websites out there specifically to help bloggers create elements of their blog like headers and buttons, and there are even bloggers who have created templates and allow you to download them for free (you just have to look hard enough!). -betsy, heavens to betsy

I highly encourage you to look into working with a designer. I tried to design my blog for a while and it was way too overwhelming! I am a writer, not a designer! And that is totally okay! I think that when we all come together and do what we are good at, GREAT things can happen! There are tons of options out there for designs & designers. From really affordable pre made templates to custom designs & brand development one-on-one meetings! Look at your budget and shop around for a design or designer you want to work with. Do not be afraid to ask for quotes and tell people you are looking around. The one you love most might even offer you a discount to keep your business! - Elizabeth, Oak + Oats

Here's the thing, if you're just dipping your toes into the blogging world and you're not sure how much you're going to blog or exactly what direction you even want your blog to take, I'd say to start small. Do you have a friend who is good at design? Ask them if they'd be willing to help you get started with a simple design.  Or check with some beginner designers.  Their prices are always lower ($100-$200 for complete blog design). Maybe you just want to start out with a cute and catchy header and a button so that you can begin advertising.  You can purchase design services a la carte most times, which is helpful if you have a small budget!  If you're looking to make a big splash and dive in head first, then go big or go home, sister. research different designers, compare prices and services, and don't be afraid to ask them questions! they are there to help you. the moral of the story is that a good design is a big part of what makes readers stick around. -Meg, Rivers & Roads

connect with elizabeth on the following social media sites:

connect with meg on the following social media sites:
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