Resources

Sunday Link Love: Labeling Habits, Healthy Desserts + Virtual Events

May 15, 2016
Sunday Link Love
Health, Fitness + Lifestyle

Labeling a habit as good or bad can add unnecessary pressure and guilt. Here’s a plea to stop the labeling.

I’m sooo guilty of keeping 10,000 tabs open in my browser windows, so I love this post on how to be more intentional with technology.

 

Food + Nutrition

Mmmm.. if you’re looking for healthy desserts to try this week, these sweet potato brownies and baklava bars sound delicious.

Confession: I’ve never made a recipe with rhubarb. I’m not sure I’ve ever even tasted it, actually. But this Strawberry Bluebarb Chia Seed Jam looks amazing.

Continue Reading…

Blogging

6 Killer Free Tools that Make Blogging Easier

May 11, 2016
Free Tools to Make Your Blogging Life Easier

Over the past few years of running this blog, I’ve tried dozens of free tools to try to make the whole process easier.

Some were a waste of time (for me), like Live Writer, which I still don’t understand.

But one of my main goals in blogging and coaching is to make your job easier by learning from my mistakes.

So below you’ll find a collection of the most effective free tools I’ve found to date. I use all of these for every blog post I create.

 

Killer Free Tools that Make Blogging Easier

1 | SumoMe

I haven’t even brushed the surface of everything SumoMe can do, but the social sharing bar alone has increased my blog post shares.

It’s a bar you that floats on the side of your blog as viewers scroll down. You can customize it with your colors and select the buttons you’d like to display. Not only does it make it easier for people to share the post, but seeing the number of shares provides social proof. When someone sees that 3000+ people have shared your post, they can feel more confident that it’s quality content.

SumoMe Floating Share Bar

SumoMe has an amazing collection of tools from social sharing buttons to email signup forms that you can easily integrate into your website and brand as your own. A lot of the tools are free, but there are upgraded versions to give your website an extra boost.

Download the Cheat Sheet for All 6 Free Tools for Easier Blogging Now

2 | Canva

Switching from PicMonkey to Canva for my images was the biggest time-saver I made this year.

Don’t get me wrong, PicMonkey is a great tool, but the ability to create and save templates in Canva is extremely valuable. Just being able to edit the layers of an image has saved me hours. I can’t tell you how many times I realized a mistake on an image at the last minute and would have to re-create it in PicMonkey.

If you need help with inspiration (as I always do), Canva has a selection of beautiful templates for everything from social media channels to print ads. Having a starting-off point always makes it more fun to me. Otherwise I’m left starting at a blank canvas, which is quickly replaced by me scrolling through social media to avoid said blank canvas.

If you opt for Canva For Work ($12.99 per month), you get access to a few extra-handy tools. You can upload your brand colors and fonts, which saves loads of time and helps with brand consistency. There’s also “Magic Resize” which takes your design and resizes it to fit any of the other pre-sized canvases. Imagine taking your blog post image and with the click of a button, having perfectly sized Pinterest and Facebook images.

Canva Benefits Example

Here you’ll see an example of adding folders for clients or projects on the side, using templates to create Pinterest board covers, and a variety of images for social media banners, ebooks and more. It has saved me SO much time. Canva is definitely my favorite tool.

3 | CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Type a blog post headline into The Headline Analyzer and you’ll receive an overall grade with ways you can improve different aspects.

The tool breaks the headline into categories such as word balance, headline type, length analysis, and sentiment.

For example, for this blog post I tested the titles:

  • 6 Killer Free Tools for Easier Blogging
  • 6 Killer Free Tools that Make Blogging Easier
  • 6 Killer Free Tools that Increased My Blog Traffic
  • How Implementing These 6 Tools Grew my Business

CoSchedule Headline Comparisons

You’ll see the middle two had the highest scores. I went with “6 Killer Free Tools that Make Blogging Easier” because it scored higher on some of the other areas that CoSchedule grades.

Aside from choosing the best title for your blog post, you can also use it to choose alternative social media headlines. If you have a list of six possible title, choose the top headline for your blog post and use the next two for social media posts.


Looking for more tools to make your blogging life easier?

 

Download the Cheat Sheet for All 6 Free Tools for Easier Blogging Now

 

In the Comments:

What’s your #1 favorite tool that makes your blogging life easier?

 

Chasing Dreams Interview Series

Chasing Dreams Interview with Dana + Bridget, Founders of Crop Tops & Kale

April 20, 2016
Minimalist Approach to Wellness

This interview is part of the Chasing Dreams interview series. I’ve interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs and small business owners who have chosen a different path in life in order to go after his or her dream career. Have an entrepreneur in mind you’d like to learn more about? Let me know!

Today’s interview is with Dana Barron and Bridget Shannon, founders of Crop Tops & Kale. CT&K helps women enhance their wellness, beauty and style in a simple, minimalist way. Their message and work are completely in-line with my values, and we hit it off right away during our first meeting.

Plus, both Bridget and Dana are graduates of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and Bridget was previously the social media director for IIN. I just love how they approach wellness and life in general from a minimalist, approachable perspective.

I had chills while reading this interview because you can feel the passion and dedication they have to their vision. They’re both so honest about the fear and excitement of starting a blog and business that I promise you’ll come away feeling inspired for your own path.

Let’s dig in! (and stay tuned, because you’ll be hearing from them again on my blog in the future.) Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness

4 Benefits of Simplifying Your Life

March 30, 2016
Simplifying Life

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ve probably noticed my attempts at simplifying my life (such as here, here, and here).

For me it’s been an ongoing task that requires frequent reminders and resets. But that’s okay! That’s life.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot again (maybe that urge to spring clean?). Not only in regards to physical objects, but also in regards to my business and obligations, as Jennifer mentions in number two below. Danielle Dowling recently asked, “Of everything on your to-do list, what could you live without?” that really made me stop and think.

So I’m excited to have Jennifer Scott from Spirit Finder on the blog today reminding us of the invaluable benefits of simplifying your life, plus plenty of tips to help us get there.

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Many people tout the benefits of simplifying your life. On the surface, living a minimalist lifestyle may not sound appealing to everyone. But the many benefits to be gained from simplifying your life might just change your mind.

1 | Simplify Your Life to Save Money

Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness

How to Fit Exercise into Your Crazy-Busy Schedule

March 23, 2016
Fit Exercise Into Busy Schedule

Running my own business often requires me to make tough choices about which tasks get the highest priority. Unfortunately, this often results in my health and fitness getting bumped further and further down the list when something urgent rolls in. (and everything business-related feels URGENT, right?)

Being active and fit is not only great for your mental health, happiness, and overall well-being, but in turn benefits your business. This is why I’m so pleased to have Jennifer McGregor on the blog today.

She’s sharing 5 tips for busy entrepreneurs like you and me to manage our time and fit great workouts in on a regular basis. #4 is the tip that’s helped me the most. At the beginning of each week I try to schedule in which CrossFit classes I’ll attend.

Please welcome Jennifer and read on for her super helpful tips.

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Every woman wants to be healthy and fit, but finding the time to work out every day is easier said than done when you’re a busy, working professional. It’s a gripe shared by many working women these days who recognize the value of exercise in their daily routines yet can’t seem to squeeze out a precious extra hour or two each day. We can’t put more hours in a day, but we can find creative ways to burn some calories and fit in a workout despite a busy schedule.

Here are 5 exercise tips for the busy, working woman: Continue Reading…

Inspiration

Friday Inspiration: 14 Quotes to Celebrate Women’s History Month

March 18, 2016
Quotes for Women's History Month

Wow, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a Friday Inspiration post. Six months to the day, actually.

My Instagram account kind of took over for that content, but Women’s History Month seemed like a great reason to share my favorite quotes either by inspirational women or about inspiration for women.

(Confession….it was also a great excuse for me to play around designing the images in Canva.)

14 Quotes to Celebrate Women’s History Month

1 | Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey

"People Who Will Lift You Higher" Oprah Quote

 

2 | “Everything is Figureoutable.” -Marie Forleo Continue Reading…

Resources

Sunday Link Love: Small Victories, Calorie Counting & Blog Titles

March 13, 2016
Sunday Link Love
Health, Fitness + Lifestyle

Why You Should Celebrate Small Victories 

Binge Eating Disorder Facts <–The most common eating disorder in America. Good facts to know.

 

Food + Nutrition

5 Unknown Facts About Counting Calories <–Great post. I don’t believe in counting calories long term.

Carrot Cake Quinoa Flakes

Roasted Potatoes with Maple-Mustard Sauce <– Guys…I have a confession. I eat roasted potatoes like 4 times a week. I can’t stop.

Continue Reading…

Business

8 Often Forgotten Small Business Tax Write-Offs

March 10, 2016
Often Forgotten Small Business Tax Write Offs

I’m not going to lie…dealing with taxes and the legal aspect of running a small business can be a nightmare.

Back in October I registered as an LLC, and elected to be classified as an S-Corp, and I’m still trying to figure it all out. Trying to deal with all of that while working with clients, blogging, redesigning my website and everything else that goes into running a business has my head spinning a little.

And now it’s tax time.

I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on tax write-offs over the past 4 years that I’ve run my business, but I learn new things every year.

As an entrepreneur or small business, you know that taxes can be pretty harsh. Make sure you’re taking advantage of everything you’re able to.

8 Often Forgotten Small Business or Entrepreneur Tax Write-Offs:

Continue Reading…