So Your Blog Wants a Facebook of its Own?

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The other day, a member of my blogging club asked the group about the benefits of making a Facebook Account specifically for her blog.

“Hey everyone! I was just wondering, how many of you have created a Facebook page just for your blog? I was thinking about making one but I’m not sure if it will be worth the time. How many followers did you have before you made a Facebook page?” – Heather

Heather! That is awesome that you are considering bringing your writing over to Facebook! I was really hesitant at first because I had already been sharing posts on my personal wall. I didn’t want to tick everyone off by doubling up, but I also didn’t want to share only on my Blog Page which would be limited to only the few “Likers”.

I can tell you that I got over those concerns fast! I consider my FB Page an extension of my website. It’s just another creative space that gives me a direct line of communication to my readers, just like the email subscription, only more personalized. Also, I considered how many Facebook Links from my wall I open compared to my email subscriptions.

When someone thinks your post is great through Email, they can enjoy it reading and then it’s done. On Facebook, you can expect a like, comment, or share, which sends your post to their wall. All of a sudden, your work is reaching a whole new audience! Shares in particular can jump start an awesome readership day. Facebook then keeps a count of how many views your post receives. This is so helpful because even if they don’t click through to your post, they might begin recognizing your blog and have more interest in the next post!

Here’s how I boost my posts.

1) Create and publish something Brilliant.
2) Copy link to my blog’s page, From My Blog’s Account, not from my personal account onto the page wall! (This is important if you want a count on views!)
3) Before posting, I click through header photo options for the most interesting/relevant picture. They are automatically generated by the link, but I can also upload an alternative from my files.
4) Write a headline to make it personal, then Share!
5) Click back into my personal account, go to Home, and find my Blog post along my wall. Sharing from here will keep the view count going.
6) Share with a different headline update. This way friends following both accounts don’t see the Same Dang Thing twice in one hour on their feeds. For many, seeing it a second time with a fresh headline reminds them that they enjoyed it and should like/comment/share.
7) Remember – It’s all about the Shares! Shares double, triple, quadruple your audience and connects you to tons of new excited people!

If you asked me my follower count, here’s what I tell you.

WordPress Official Followers (Including Email Subscriptions)+ Bloglovin’ Followers + Facebook Followers = Total

I figure it this way because the majority of my WP official followers are fellow WP bloggers. The Email Subscriptions are various cousins in far away states. My Bloglovin’ followers are either bloggers, or hardcore blog reading fans. Where do I account for all my friends? They love my blog! Do they not count? Well of course they do. And if you have a twitter account just for your blog, you might as well count them too!

If you blog regularly and wish to see your readership grow but you don’t have a Facebook page, stop right there. Drop what you’re doing, and get involved! Your website could have a much larger audience, but you’ve cut off its arm!

If you have/make a Facebook page for your blog, drop a link! We want to see examples, hear success stories, and follow back!

 

No, Seriously – I was Literally Stuck in Europe.

So everyone keeps asking me what I mean when I say I got “stuck in Europe” over spring break. I don’t think they realize how literal I was being. So to make this easy, the following is the actual email that I sent to my professors.

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Bonjourno from Rome,

I am writing in hopes that you could consider changing my exam date.

You see, I am currently in Rome, Italy instead of on my flight back to the States. I fly non-revenue a standby traveler and things didn’t work out for my trip home. First, our flight home was cancelled due to air traffic control strikes during the window of time our flight was scheduled.  Then, unfortunately, this weeks ISIS activity, along with recent threats on Rome, caused nervous  American tourists to book all the States-Bound flights. The next flight from Europe to home is out of Paris on Monday. We are relocating away from downtown for this last night in Rome, then we will try to get to Paris tomorrow, which seems quiet. So, we are safe.

Skipping to the point, should that flight sell out without seats, I will not make it home for the test. As of now, I should be ok, but I wanted you to be aware! Flying standby is very much a game of Roulette. Thank you for understanding and I will keep you updated!

Now For the Photographic Evidence:

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Luckily, I made it home safe and sound for the tests. But not without rerouting to Paris to catch the only flight available to us. I know there’s worse things than getting stuck in Europe for an extra 3 days, but with dissolving funds, creeping exam dates, and work shifts in limbo – the end of our trip was less than restful.

Thankfully, my sweet boss Jayne was flexible for me. My partner in crime, Mr.S kept me from freaking out, and my exams went by without a hitch! Thank you everyone for sending prayers and well wishes on our travels back. I honestly think they carried my plane home.

Expect a Spring Break Report coming very soon – right after I knock out this massive pile of vacation laundry!

The Lilly Pulitzer Paradigm Shift

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Originally, I wanted to brag on Lilly Pulitzer for continuing to impress, not only through fashion, but for their new collection at Target. This partnership will make products 1) More Affordable and 2) More Accessible, which is right my alley, as a young woman in college. Lilly Pulitzer products have been adored for quite sometime. In fact, you can find pictures of Jackie O. dawning LP styles. Today, LP fans are dying to get their hands on the fresh line, and I don’t blame them. Have you seen the Lookbook yet?

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But here’s what caught my attention. Beautiful patterns. Beautiful styles. Beautiful models. Of all sizes! Surely the brand has always offered larger sizes. But until the recent “all-sizes-advertising” revolution, apparel companies considered the curvy girls in ads a taboo. Lilly Pulitzer however, is just one of the many brands challenging the old ways. And why not? All these girls look like complete babes! Unfortunately, Target’s not quite ready for a full-fledged paradigm shift. The collections plus sized will only be available online, and for that they can expect to catch some flack. However, we can only turn so many stones at once. The ads are gorgeous, the designs are gorgeous, and Lilly Pulitzer will not leave her girls hanging!

All this time, when I thought of today’s  Lilly Pulitzer products, I pictured classic, tiny, sorority girls decked in LP monogrammed apparel/notebooks/koozies. You can’t deny, it’s an intimidating picture and you see it every day on campus. As a classic, GDI, broke college student, (and frankly a little bigger in size), how could I pull it off? I’m not small, Greek, or Jackie O. I felt like Lilly Pulitzer wasn’t right for me.

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But not anymore! While some brands are successful as a status symbol brand, I think it’s a very tactful move for Lilly Pulitzer to adapt for a larger consumer base. I love that this company is redefining the idea of “exclusive”. See, instead of limiting their target consumers, it seems like they’re saying that they are “exclusive to confident beautiful women of all sizes and price points” – who appreciate beachy and floral patterns of course.

For an article with Elle Magazine, Jane Schoenborn, the brand’s creative communication VP said:

“Lilly’s attitude and overall approach to her designs has always been about inclusivity…We saw a collaboration with Target, a retailer that strives to make style accessible to everyone, as the perfect opportunity to amplify this message and bring Lilly’s story to a broader audience.”

The Target collection features 250 items including clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories, home décor and beauty. 15 prints – I know, I’m dying too – and the prices range from $2-$150. You can expect about 200 items in the collection under $30.

Lilly Pulitzer will be in a Target Store near you mid-April of this year. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! See you soon, New Lilly Loves!

The Breastfeeding Photo That Made Me Cringe.

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The moment I saw Sara’s breastfeeding photo, I cringed.

Frankly, I was taken aback. It’s not every day you see a mother and child exposed in such an intimate way. The question is why not? See, I didn’t cringe because I was offended or uncomfortable. I cringed because I knew my dear friend was about to catch some grief for breaking the norms. I didn’t want to see this sweet family under attack.

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But as a young woman, and someday a future wife and mother, I find this topic so curious. Do we actually live in a time where mothers can’t comfort their infants when and where they want? Yet, bare-all models for Hooters and Victoria’s Secret are plastered along highways and in media to no end? Why is Sara’s photo considered inappropriate?  Society calls the intimacy of motherhood beautiful, but why are non-mothers the ones drawing the line between beauty and offensive? I don’t understand the rules here, people.

I respect that nursing in public and online may make some people feel uncomfortable. But doesn’t it also make you feel uncomfortable when you sit down at a restaurant and the mother won’t comfort her crying child? Oh wait, we challenge mothers here too. You want her to 1) comfort her child so you can enjoy your night. 2) But don’t comfort the child by nursing at the table. It makes you feel uncomfortable and you can’t enjoy your night. 3) comfort the child, but do it out of your sight. 4) Stop her evening plans, and stop mothering in a natural way.

Society. Let’s get it together here. Was Sara’s photo really reported for nudity?

Fortunately, Facebook was feeling rational that day. They saw the picture and guess what – the forbidden nipple wasn’t exposed. Just a beautiful mother and her beautiful baby girl sharing a moment.

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After the fact, Sara simply commented, “I posted a picture of my beautiful baby eating the way I naturally supply nourishment… Thank you Facebook for supporting breastfeeding ‪#‎normalizebreastfeeding‬“. Point Blank, World. Go Moms.

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7 Smartphone Photography Tips To Read Before Your Vacation

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It’s almost time to jet off for Spring Break, my friends. And here I am without a nice camera! What’s worse is that vacations mean on-the-go photos, quick clicks and one-chance shots. You don’t have time to go back and retake the fuzzies. Luckily, Rocky Caughron, owner of Rocky’s Photography, has some tips for getting those professional looking photos right from your Smartphone camera.

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It is almost spring and many of you are getting ready for spring break or planning trips over the summer. These days everyone has at least one camera everywhere they go (your smart phone) which makes it very easy to document these memories (assuming you want to). Even if you’re not interested in starting your own photography business there is no reason not to learn some basics and take better vacation photographs or better pictures of your children. Here are 7 tips to get your started on your way to creating images you are proud to show off and hang on your wall.

1. Zoom is not your friend.

Most smart phones use digital zoom and that will reduce the quality and should be avoided. There are a few smart phones now that have optical zoom and if yours does zoom away and it will not reduce the quality of your images. If you’re not sure what I am talking about avoid using your zoom.

2. Don’t be afraid to get close.

With many cameras you have to be at least a few feet away from whatever you’re taking a picture of for your camera to focus. Most smart phones can be within six inches or so of your subject and focus just fine. This is great if you like taking pictures of flowers or any other small objects.

3. Find unique and unusual perspectives.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty by laying on the ground to take pictures of your kids or getting on a ladder to take an interesting group shot. If you’re taking a shot of a building or landscape don’t be afraid to walk or drive around to find a better angle or better light. Also if you are able try taking photos of the same scenes in the morning and then again in the evening to see when the light looks the best.

4. Find good apps.

Even if you’re not interested in learning how to use computer editing software like Photoshop you can still improve your images with an easy to use editing app like Photoshop Express or Iphoto. You will want to be able to do slightly more than just put a filter on your images that everyone else is using to make your work standout. Another thing to consider espesally if you have an iphone is to get a 3rd party camera app like Camera+, ProCapture Free, or Slow Shutter Cam. These apps will give you more control and features then your default camera app that came with your phone.

5. Follow the rules.

There are some standard rules in photography that can be learned and followed (at least when your just starting out) that will make your images better. Once you learn and master the rules it is then time to start getting more creative and break a few of them. One of those rules is the rule of thirds. It simply means to get the subject out of the middle of the image. Just by putting the subject off center can make an ok image a good one. There are many more rules we could talk about here but for now let’s just leave it at the rule of thirds. If you want to learn more look for information on leading lines, golden spiral, posing, lighting, and composition.

6. Learn to take control of your settings.

As with any camera smart phones have an auto mode and most people never take theirs off of this mode. However, if you want to be have more control and be able to be more creative learn how to change and control all the settings in your camera. At the very least play with some of the preset scene modes and learn what they do so you can use them to get the shot you want when the time comes. Also, don’t overlook the HDR mode if your camera has it. You can use the HDR mode to get details in the dark areas as well as the bright areas of the scene and is especially useful outdoors.

7.  Print, Frame, and Hang!

In this new digital age to many people aren’t printing their images. I suggest finding a good lab like Mpix or Adoramapix and getting some of those memories off of your phone and in your hands.

Your vacation memories are in your hands. Cheers to capturing them beautifully! Thank You for stopping by Rocky! I look forward to trying these tips on my trip! Does anyone else have any smartphone photography tips?

Why Is It So Hard To See Black And Blue?

Ask me why I’m passionate about Advertising.

This time last week, the question of the day was, “Is this dress black and blue, or gold and white.”

Today, we’re asking a whole new question, thanks to the brilliant idea from ad agency Ireland Davenport. Immediately, they brought the idea to the Salvation Army South African Branch.

The dress was shared millions of times online last week after it was discovered that some saw the garment as white and gold, while others saw it in blue and black. Now circulating in its place is an advertisement featuring a bruised blonde woman lying on her side wearing a white and gold version of the dress.

The Ireland Davenport team recognized the opportunity to shed some light on Domestic Violence. They remind us that not everything is as it appears. Unlike many online statements, it is no exaggeration that one in six women are victims of abuse. It’s not as simple as the dress dilemma. It’s not just a matter of perception or lighting. “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice,” the photo notes. “One in 6 women are victims of abuse.”

The image then shared the hastag #StopAbuseAgainstWomen.

David Sutherland, an account director for Ireland Davenport told NBC News:

“We were discussing how the dress has become a massive talking point around the world, but it was not saying anything… We tried to figure out a way in which we could leverage off of the popularity of THE dress and actually use it for good.”

The campaign comes just ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

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“Firstly, we hope to raise awareness against the atrocity of women abuse,” says Carin A. Holmes, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army.Holmes said she hopes the campaign will especially bring attention to the Salvation Army’s work with CareHaven, a South African residential shelter for women and children who have been abused or trafficked.

A Personal Note – Agencies like Ireland Davenport keep my passion for advertising alive.

Orange Is The New Black Season 3 Premiere

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Uh Oh Dandelions! I sure hope you didn’t make plans for June 12!

It’s official! I’m now taking RSVP’s for the Premiere Party, and a most anticipated premiere it is. June 12th for the season 3 release of the Netflix Original Series: Orange Is The New Black. I’ve legitimately starved myself of OITNB for the past few months so that the anticipation wouldn’t kill me. I’m a little rocky as to what happened at the end of season 2, but rest assured. I will be glued to my Netflix refreshing my memory as the date draws near. OR Maybe me and the ladies just need a binge watching party…

Regardless, you can expect the following:

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That’s what is so magical about guilty pleasures. Some believe it to be shame-inducing, disgraceful, and completely tasteless…. others bake cakes and bask in the camaraderie that comes with such a life.

Cheers.

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Burlesque At Its Best.

I’m quite pleased my friend Hilary shared this Upworthy video on Facebook a few days ago.

While we all love a good meaningless stupid comedy, It’s ever so refreshing to come across a powerful statement with a comical twist. Now let’s say we combined Comedy, Feminism, and Burlesque. What is the result? Only Nadia Kamil’s ever so charming stage set, where she strips down layer by layer to reveal….

Well, take a look for yourself.

Cream Of Spinach…

Tonight, a crème de la crème Elite member was checking into my hotel. We’re talking Top-Of-The-Line Member. After keeping him waiting (Curse that phone, always ringing off the hook), I suffered through the most award check in of my week. Nothing went wrong, just lots of stuttering, dropping things, plus that damn phone wouldn’t stop ringing – he could tell it had been a night. It was obvious I was trying my best to provide an extra “elite-worthy” experience, and frankly – failing.

Then he asked about our Ruth’s Chris’s coupons we often offer to our guests. I started writing his coupon out, and he asked me if I’d ever been to Ruth’s Chris.

Thinking he would ask for a recommendation, I told him, not yet, and tried to suggest a restaurant I knew, but he cut me off and said, “Well, Why Not Miss Phoebe?” I simply told him that Ruth’s was just outside my budget. He simply stared me down and gave it to me straight.

“Young Lady. Live your life. Quit screwing around and spoil yourself sometime. Go to Ruth’s Chris, get the steak, and then go do amazing things. Life is hard enough. I recommend the Cream of Spinach.”

Needless to say, by the end of the night, I had $15 in my pocket from tips from very sweet guests. My job isn’t that often one for collecting tips. Tonight, I was definitely reminded that hard work shows.

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