Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Ways to Combat Writer's Block

Everyone who has written anything has hit writer's block at some point in their life. Writers of essays, poems, short stories, novels, articles, and, well, anything have experienced it. (Psst - if you've experienced writer's block when it comes to blogging, check out my 40 blog post ideas.) I've written all of the above, and over my time you can better believe that I've hit writer's block. Today I'm bringing you 7 ways to deal with it!

writer's block

1. Change your scenery. Sit outside, move from the couch to the dining room table, go somewhere new ... basically just change your perspective in any way.

2. Take a 15 minute break from all work. Set an alarm, maybe even set a backup alarm, and seriously just stop your break after 15 minutes. But clearing your head for that time will help you.

3. Free write. For 5 minutes, write non-stop about your topic or just about anything that's in your head. It may seem forced for the beginning, but by the end your mind will work clearer.

4. Outline. If you haven't already, jot down the key points you're writing to say. And then ...

5. Skip around in your writing! Know what you want to say a paragraph or a page later? Skip ahead to that part, and later write the connecting part. Once you know exactly what you're working towards, it will be easier to write the connections.

6. Snack break! Try one of these superfoods for concentration and memory: coffee, fruit, fish, nuts, chocolate, avocado, and whole grains. (Shoutout to WebMD for the information!)

7. Work on something else for a while. If you're like me, there is always something else that needs to be done. Take a productive break to focus on something else and go back to it later. (Yes, I know this is similar to #2. What's the difference? This one involves still working - just working on something else.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Use Semicolons

My favorite type of punctuation (is it weird to have a favorite type of punctuation?) is the semicolon. Sadly, I see many people using it incorrectly. So I'm here to help! Reminder - I'm an English teacher trained in grammar. I know my stuff.

how to use semicolons

1. Use a semicolon in a list

When you are writing a list, but need to include additional information for the items, you use a semicolon in between them. For example:

I emailed Ashley, who blogs at The Grist Blog; Jenn, who blogs at Hello Rigby; and Sierra, who blogs at Sierra's View.


When you go grocery shopping, make sure you get tomato sauce, which is for the pizza; apples, which are for apple pie; and Gatorade.

See how that last example didn't have multiple parts to it? That happens sometimes. But you need a semicolon to separate the appositive (that's the fancy word for the word or phrase that gives more information about something but isn't necessary to the sentence) from the rest of the list.

2. Use a semicolon to connect two independent clauses.

These could also stand alone as separate sentences. For example:

I'm really tired I need some coffee - That's a run-on. Your first option is: "I'm really tired. I need some coffee." Your semicolon option is: "I'm really tired; I need some coffee."

You do not put semicolons to connect every sentence. They need to be related.

Any questions? Feel free to send em to me!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chronic Illness Tag, OOTD, and Makeup

I make new videos every Wednesday, so subscribe to my channel! Today I'm answering some questions from the chronic illness tag.


Dress - H&M
Necklace - Similar


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Inspirational Bible Quotes

I just wanted to leave you with some of my favorite Bible verses today. I'm getting better at Photoshop, but I'm not great at it yet, so these are all over stock images. (I get mine from Unsplash!)

Exodus 14 14
"The Lord Himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still." - Exodus 14:14

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3

Proverbs 3:6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of Him, and He will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:6

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?" - Psalm 27:1

Hope does not disappoint
"Hope does not disappoint." - Romans 5:5

Monday, July 21, 2014

How Do You Change to Positive Thinking?

I've have planned on writing this post for weeks, but every time I try to write about it, I stop and write about something else. I'm going to do a little stream of consciousness about this topic, because coherent thought isn't really happening. Here's the question -

How do you change to positive thinking while dealing with a serious health concern?

Whenever my health isn't awful, I have a great answer for this. God, yoga, good food, books, writing, good friends ... you get the picture. My health hasn't been "good" in a couple of years, but there are moments - days, weeks, but no more than that - where it isn't as bad as the rest of it. In those times, all of the above are wonderful ways to keep my spirits up. Even during those better times, I have doubts and concerns and worries for my future. So I try and focus on the things that make my life better and remind myself that somehow things will all work out.

Right now ... well, let's just say that things haven't been anywhere near easy recently. To be 100% honest - which is something I always abide by on here, although I do keep some things off of here to keep them to myself - I'm really seriously questioning every aspect of my life right now. I need a life makeover, you know? But it's so easy to get all caught up in all the things I want to be different and then think so negatively about the life I do have.

I have a job. I have wonderful friends who support me so much. I have an incredible family who supports me and tries to help me in any way possible. I have amazing doctors and medical providers.

And yet, I still struggle with keeping my head above water.

I journal. I meditate. I do yoga. I cook. I clean (I really like cleaning it helps me feel better about life). I spend time with friends. I talk to my family. I pray. I write. I make videos and edit them. I try and, like I said, just keep my head above water. Some days and nights and weeks and months it feels like I'm constantly trying to keep my head up high. But I have to remind myself that there is a reason I'm going through this - even if I don't like the reason - and that it won't be like this forever.

Unfortunately, I can't see into the future. This means that I can't confirm that it won't be like this forever or that it won't get a lot worse. But I have to tell myself that things will be okay eventually, and I have to live my life like it will. And that is partially how I change to positive thinking.

In completely unrelated news - 

I added another ad spot! My largest spot (Grande Peppermint Mocha) is booked until 12/26, so I added a miniature version of it. The Grande Iced Latte spot comes with weekly Twitter promotions, a spotlight in one of my posts, and the opportunity to participate in monthly giveaways. The monthly giveaway is new and will be starting in the next couple of weeks. It's only $7, has medium placement, has has a 300x200 ad space. Go check it out!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Free Sponsor Form Printable

I've been trying to get my blog stuff in order recently, and I am pulling together a binder to keep track of everything. Most free printables out there have great things in them. There are calendars, to-do lists, goal sheets, sheets to keep track of the people who are sponsoring you, and more. One thing that I wasn't finding - or finding a version that I liked - was a way to keep track of the people who you are sponsoring. After getting frustrated with Pinterest and Google, I ended up making my own.

free downloadable blog binder printables

The first version has 2 on each page. It is the quick and dirty version, designed to just keep track of everything.

free downloadable blog binder printables

SPONSOR FORM LINK (Without the watermark)

Fill out all the information on it, including circling if you bought social media shout-outs or participating in a giveaway. There's a place for the straight ad price and one for you to write down any extra giveaway costs. Then at the end of your sponsorship, you can write down how many visitors the sponsor sent your way (this involves math from looking at your traffic sources).

The second version has 1 on each page. It is more detailed as also doubles as an evaluation of your sponsor to determine if it is worth renewing it or not. You can also use this evaluate yourself and see if you're living up to your cost!

free downloadable blog binder printables

Download it here! (Without the watermark)

Like the other version, you fill it out with the usual information. But you can also write out how may social media shout-outs you were promised, how many you received, the number of followers you gained from each link in a giveaway, any other notes you want to write down, and circle if it was worth it or not. The notes section might be used to write things like, "Great to work with," "I had to email them asking for some of the information," "Death in the family took them offline for a week," or "Gave me coupon code 'Thank you' to use later."

I'm trying to be very deliberate with my sponsors (especially for those spots that cost more than $5), and so I'm planning to use this to help me decide where is best to spend my money in the future. I'd rather spend $20 on one ad that brings me a lot of traffic and helps me to grow as a blog and a brand than $5 on 4-5 ads ($20-25 total) that don't bring me much at all.


Today, I also bring you the awesome Jenn from Hello Rigby!

Hi Kate the (Almost) Great readers! I'm Jenn, and I blog over at hellorigby!, a lifestyle and fashion blog that's named after my silly dog, Rigby. He's a one-and-a-half year old Shiba Inu who runs my life most days. I mostly write about fashion and life, but I also enjoy beauty and reading so I write about those topics sometimes too. I'm a little bit sarcastic, and a lot in love with my hometown, Seattle. You'll probably see some shots of some of my favorite places and local events from time to time too. I'd love for you to come say hi anytime

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Favorite Books + Easy Eye Makeup

I'm trying something new today. On Wednesdays, I upload videos to my YouTube channel (psst - go subscribe to me!). Today's post has that video as well as details on my makeup and outfit for it. If this is something y'all would be interested in, let me know and I'll keep doing it!

Outfit and Makeup Details

J. Crew outfit of the day

Shirt - J.Crew
(Sold out, but this is similar!)
Jeans - Rich & Skinny

Naked 2 Urban Decay

Closer view of makeup 
Naked 2 eye pallette
Naked 2

easy eye shadow

easy eye shadow