Kate the (Almost) Great
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Friday, March 27, 2015

How I Promote My Blog Posts

So you've written your post and you can't wait for the world to see it. What's next? How can you make sure it's seen? Today I'm sharing how I do it and some tutorials that you might find helpful.

I am only going to talk briefly about how I do it and why. I'm not going to address how to use these tools to the best of your ability because I'm not an expert and I'm always looking for more tips to maximize them. However, I've been blogging for over a year and a half and I have learned a lot, so today I'm sharing my knowledge with you.

Twitter - The day that I publish a new post, I tweet 5 times. I was 3 times a day, but then I had a consultation with Helene and she suggested 5 because of how short the life of a tweet is, and it made a big difference in my page views. On the days I don't publish a new post, I promote an old one that seems relevant and I think my followers will like. In some of these tweets, I tag users who share other tweets, specifically @FemaleBloggerRT, @TheBlogGuideRT, and @RT_Bloggers.
Find me on Twitter

Facebook - I share my posts on my page twice a day. I schedule them so they're in between my Twitter shares. I'm also a member of several Facebook groups where I share my posts: Her Campus Blogger Network, Northeast Bloggers, Boston Bloggers, and BlogHer Network. Some of these groups only admit members of their larger network, like the Her Campus Blogger Network.
Find me on Facebook

Instagram - Honestly, I don't share my posts on Instagram very often. When I do, they're important ones or giveaway. I do this because I try to only post on Instagram twice a day at the max and I don't want my feed to be full of blog posts.
Find me on Instagram

Pinterest - However, I share them on Pinterest all the time. I try to do this during prime time (according to some, 1-4 PM and after 8 PM on weeknights is the best) and I share on multiple boards at different times to try and get the best exposure.
Find me on Pinterest

Google+ - I always submit my posts here once. Every now and then, a few weeks or months later, I'll submit it again to get more exposure.
Find me on Google+

Tumblr - I don't share every post on Tumblr, but I choose the ones that I think might be successful. The focus here is on the pictures, as Tumblr as a whole is more based on pictures than words, so I choose the best picture from a post and caption it with a sentence or more that will make people want to read it. I tag it with as many words or phrases that are relevant to increase the exposure, and I also add it to my queue so it will come up later. (I run my tumblr almost exclusively on a queue, posting 20 times a day over the course of 5 hours.)
Find me on Tumblr

Stumbleupon - Stumbleupon is a great way to reach people beyond your personal networks. But like every other network, you do need to share more than just your own posts. Whenever I add one of my posts, I like to spend a few minutes on the site stumbling and also add some other posts or pages from the Internet.
Find me on Stumblupon

How do your methods of sharing differ from mine? 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Advocacy, Coffee, and Friends

I'm back from an incredible trip to Washington, D. C., where I had the opportunity to connect with others affected by arthritis, to learn about how we can make a difference for the lives of others living with it, and to meet with the staff of members of Congress about 3 key issues for those with arthritis. It was an incredibly busy couple of days, but just overall and awesome trip.


Started off the trip with my wheelchair driver asking me if I wanted to go to Starbucks before my gate

Lunch with Miss Rebecca E. Mill at Taqueria Nacional

I spent the rest of Sunday with one of my oldest friends - we've known each other since we were 7 and I actually introduce his sister as my sister - which was great because he lives in D. C. and I haven't seen him since Thanksgiving.


Started off Monday with an iced coffee with almond milk from Dunkin before heading to the hotel where the summit was.

Monday was all about learning how to be an advocate, learning about the three key issues we would speak about on Tuesday, meeting other advocates, and planning our meetings and talks for Tuesday. It was an incredibly long day - I went pretty much non-stop from 7 AM to 9 PM - but a good one.


Tuesday began with a closing session before we headed to Capitol Hill! I, along with several other members of the Massachusetts delegation, met with the staff of two senators and two representatives. We spoke about them joining the Arthritis Caucus, where they would be able to receive regular information on arthritis and citizens who have arthritis; signing a letter to the Department of Defense asking for allocated funding for arthritis research because it is the second leading cause of discharge from the U. S. Army and 1 in 4 veterans have arthritis; and asking them to co-sign or support the Patients Access to Treatment Act, which will help keep medication costs manageable.

I flew home Tuesday night and spent Wednesday resting and catching up! I plan to speak more about advocacy and what I learned at a later date. Overall, I hope that what I said made a difference and that I helped make life for others with arthritis a little bit better.

Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit Series

Enter to win $20 to DSW!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Planning Your Next Trip: My Top Tips

Is there anything more exciting than planning a trip? I don’t think there is! Traveling and exploring and making memories are some of the best things you can do with your life. My tips aim to help you have the most amazing trips without spending your life savings!

Make a List of Places You’d Like to Go

Start by making a list of places you think you’d like to go. Do your research so you know exactly what you can do there and if the place really appeals to you - it might be different to the way you imagine it. You should then get an idea of where you’d most like to go next.

Decide The Length

You might like to go away for just a weekend, a week, or even a month. By deciding on the length of the trip, you’ll be able to make your plans more actionable. Rather than just saying ‘I’m going to Europe’, you can say ‘I’m going to Italy for 2 weeks’. Then you’ll know how much you can plan and how much you need to save.

Do Your Research

Do your research on the place you’re traveling to, any necessities you need to take, and more. Will you need to dress differently? Will it help to speak the language? Is there anywhere you must visit? Research will help you to decide all of this.

Save as Much as Possible

Save as much as you can for your trip so money isn’t an issue. You could even sell some of your unwanted things on eBay or another site, or even at a yard sale. This will allow you to do something exciting, go somewhere special, and even book luxury accommodation on a site like Venere.com. Every little will help!

Consider Booking a Last Minute Deal

Last minute deals can be the best deals, but you need to snap them up quick. If you have the ability to be flexible, then do so!

picture from Flickr

Make a List of Big Activities

Make a list of big activities you’d like to do. This doesn’t count if you want a relaxing break, but it’s nice to plan some exciting things to do. You could do a skydive, go scuba diving, or explore the desert. There are a ton of things you could do depending on where you’re going.

Inform Your Bank

Tell your bank where you’re going and how long for; this will stop them from blocking your card. This will ruin your trip in ways you can’t imagine. You really don’t want to be left in the lurch!

Always Get Travel Insurance

You should never look at travel insurance as optional. Always get travel insurance, whether you’re relaxing or not. You never know what might happen, and you don’t want to lose any money because of an accident that could have been avoided. Be sensible!

Don’t Panic

Things don’t always go to plan, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Try not to let major issues stress you out. I know how hard it can be: I travel with a chronic illness and traveled across the country multiple times a year for college. If I can do it, then you can too!

Have an amazing time! 

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Advocacy: What It Is and Why I Do It

Ever since I started this blog, I've described myself as an arthritis advocate. This doesn't mean that I support the disease, and it has many different parts to it.

What is advocacy? - Kate the (Almost) Great

To advocate means "to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly" according to Dictionary.com. As you can tell from the definition, its meaning changes depending on the use. A general, colloquial understanding is that advocating is speaking or writing publicly about a cause of some kind. It can be to raise awareness, to change something, or some combination of the two.

Advocacy is "the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending" (Dictionary.com). So advocacy is when the actual act of fighting for someone or something, regardless of if that fighting is big or small. If you post on social media about the statistics of breast cancer or if you participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge, that's advocacy in action.

Advocating for arthritis means that I speak or write in favor of arthritis patients and their rights. I do this on social media, through my blog posts, and by speaking to people in person. I speak about myths and facts of arthritis, the statistics of arthritis, the impacts arthritis has on our society as a whole, and more. I try to calmly correct people when they make incorrect assumptions about my life or say hurtful things like, "She's just faking it." And, for the first time ever, today I'm meeting with members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate to speak about arthritis and specifically how it affects our military.

I do it because I have arthritis. But I don't just advocate because I want a better life for myself; I want to take what I have experienced to improve the lives and circumstances for all the people who have arthritis and don't feel comfortable advocating for themselves or who are unable to do so.

I identify as an advocate because I advocate regularly and advocacy is important to me. Not everyone identifies as an advocate, but they may advocate at one point in time for something. I also say that I'm an advocate because I'm attending this summit and taking this whole advocacy stuff up a notch by meeting with members of Congress. It's a little more than just tweeting about arthritis, right? It may be a little out of my comfort zone (especially physically since I'm still recovering from my knee surgery), but it's worth it if I can make a difference for the lives of others with this annoying/awful/aggravating disease.

Do you advocate for anything? If you do, what would it be?

Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit Series

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Monday, March 23, 2015

How To Travel with Arthritis + DSW Giveaway

If you follow me on social media - especially Twitter and Instagram - then today you'll be seeing a lot about The Arthritis Foundation's Advocacy Summit or #advocateforarthritis. I've been looking forward to this since I learned that I received one of the foundation's travel awards back before my surgery. So yesterday I flew down to DC from Boston, today I'm busy with advocacy training, and tomorrow I have several meetings on Capitol Hill. But, of course, there's the whole "travel" part of this thing. After 5 years of traveling from New England to Nashville multiple times a year, I've pretty much mastered traveling with arthritis, so today I'm sharing my tips with you.

How To Travel with Arthritis - Kate the (Almost) Great

1. Wear comfortable clothing. 

If it's skinny jeans, sweatpants, oversized t-shirts, whatever. If it's comfortable, wear it. You have triggers like turbulent flights, potholes you bus goes over, or stress to add to your pain - you don't need to add uncomfortable clothing to the mix.

2. Keep your medications on hand.

Make sure they are easy to access and do not, whatever you do, forget to take them. I have alarms on my phone to remind me to take my medications on time. And if you have emergency pain meds, never let them out of your sight. Ever. People might try and steal them, which is the last thing you need to deal with right now. 

3. Don't be afraid to ask for help. 

If you need help putting your carry-on in the overhead, if it turns out that you need a wheelchair to navigate the airport, or if you need to board early, do not be afraid to ask for assistance or ashamed to give in. It is not a bad thing. I can't tell you how many times I've arrived at an airport and realized that my gate was on the opposite side and immediately wished I had requested a wheelchair. It's not worth it to avoid asking for help because the only person who will suffer for it is you.

4. Don't overpack

The last thing you want is to add unnecessary weight to your shoulders or arms, especially if you're walking through an airport or bus station. So make sure that what you're carrying really does have to be there and see if you can use something that has wheels so there's less pressure on your joints.

5. Be prepared for officials to doubt your condition

This is an unfortunate thing, but if you don't look sick it's pretty likely that flight attendants, TSA officers, ticket officers, basically anyone could doubt that you need extra help. So don't just mentally prepare yourself: have any documents you might need to prove that you're not lying or just trying to get special treatment If you have a narcotic or controlled substance, make sure it's in its official pharmaceutical packaging and that you have a photo ID like a license or passport to prove that it's yours.

Do any of these surprise you? What would you add?

Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit Series
4 Easy Ways to Advocate

Enter to win $20 to DSW

DSW Giveaway - Kate the (Almost) Great

Kate the (Almost) Great - www.katethealmostgreat.com
Jane Heinrichs: The Art of Living - http://janeheinrichs.blogspot.com/
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