Reviews

April Reads: Lena Dunham + Lauren Oliver

May 4, 2015
april reads

April was a super busy month. I’m shocked that I still only finished two books, though, one of which I had already ready a good chunk of. Oh well!

If you missed my March reads, which included tons of young adult fiction books, check it out here.

Nonfiction

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

lena dunham book coverBook Description:

“In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

“Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she calls her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t F*** Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.”

My Take:

Just like her show Girls, this took me two solid tries to get into, and then I couldn’t stop. There’s something fascinating, yet uncomfortable, about her honesty. I had gotten about 20% into the book before and hated it, but after finishing it, I recommend everyone take a peek.

Interesting Quotes:

“You will find,” she says, “that there’s a certain grace to having your heart broken.”

“The end never comes when you think it will. It’s always ten steps past the worst moment, then a weird turn to the left.”

“I didn’t know why this was happening. The cruel reality of anxiety is that you never quite do. At the moments it should logically strike, I am fit as a fiddle. On a lazy afternoon, I am seized by a cold dread.”

Continue Reading…

Resources

Sunday Link Love: Best Sites for Solopreneurs + Buying Self-Confidence {May v1}

May 3, 2015
Sunday Link Love: Health, Nutrition + Blogging
Health, Fitness + Lifestyle

You Can’t Buy Self-Confidence (But Boy, Have I Tried)
“You can’t buy self-confidence and self-worth.
….But there are a lot of products that are artfully designed and marketed to make you believe that you can.”

The answer to… pretty much every question, ever. <–so, so true!

You Are Not Responsible For Other People’s Happiness

10 Truths About Real Love (It’s Not Always Like the Movies)

This Yoga Sequence Will Loosen Up Insanely Tight Hamstrings
I definitely need this ^^ After traveling in a car and not working out much, my hips and hamstrings are ridiculously tight.

Less Selfies, More Us-ies <–Love, love, LOVE this!

The Secret to a Happy Life

Why Ambivalence Might Be the Key to Your Success

 

Food + Nutrition

Summer’s Delicious Flat-Belly Secret: These 7 Debloating Foods
Nobody likes to feel bloated, right?

A Week of Grab and Go Meals

Easy and Healthy Roasted Broccoli

Continue Reading…

Inspiration

Friday Inspiration: I Welcome Change as a Great Adventure

May 1, 2015
welcome change

“I welcome change as a great adventure.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Honestly this is one of the secrets to my success so far.

Be flexible with your path. There are so many things you can’t control, so be willing to change and don’t get so caught up in things being “perfect” or how you envisioned them.

Social Media

7 Super-Simple Social Media Contest Ideas to Gain More Followers

April 29, 2015
social media contests

I find myself recommending social media contests to clients more and more lately, so I wanted to share some quick ideas.

Social media contests are a great way to gain followers, connect with your audience in a fun way, increase interaction, and promote a new product or service you’re launching. There are apps and websites out there that can help you set up separate Facebook tabs or whatever, but there’s beauty in simplicity too.

Let’s look at some super-simple ideas that can jump start your interaction and following:

Instagram

  • Ask readers to post picture of them reading your content/listening to podcast/etc. and hashtag your customer contest tag or tag your company
  • Like and tag friends for a chance to win
  • Repost photo and tag company

Social Media Examiner has a great round-up of ideas and how-tos for Instagram contests here.

Facebook

  • Caption contest for a photo
  • Likes vs. Shares and choose a random winner

Take a look at this list of 30 Facebook timeline contest ideas, plus how to structure your post for the highest conversion.

Continue Reading…

Resources

Sunday Link Love: Rewriting Your Story + Finding Your Niche {April v3}

April 26, 2015
Sunday Link Love: Health, Nutrition + Blogging
Health, Fitness + Lifestyle

I call all of my power back to me now. I am whole and complete. (Say it with me now.)

This Story Does Not Belong To Me

 

‘Tis the Season for too Much Food: 14 Yoga Poses to Ease Digestion – See more at: http://yoganonymous.com/tis-the-season-for-too-much-food-14-yoga-poses-to-ease-digestion/#sthash.yn8QUDXF.dpuf
Healthy Holiday Articles – Helpful or Negative?
Food + Nutrition

Celebrate Meatless Monday With These High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

7 Best Nutrients for Healthy, Glowing Skin

Just Say Yes- Making Peace With Food

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Mason Jar Healthy Taco Salad Recipe

Strawberry Spinach Mason Jar Salads

 

Continue Reading…
SEO

SEO Basics: How to Create SEO-Friendly URLs

April 22, 2015
seo friendly urls

By popular demand, I’m breaking down the basics of search engine optimization in this series called SEO Basics. If you have any topics you’d like me to cover or any questions, let me know in the comments!

We’re going to start with the very basics to make sure we’re all on the same page. So bear with me.

What is a URL?
  • URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator (maybe you’ll need that for trivia one day?). Moz defines it as, “A URL is human-readable text that was designed to replace the numbers (IP addresses) that computers use to communicate with servers. They also identify the file structure on the given website.”
  • Basically, the URL directs the browser where to go on the internet.
Where is the URL displayed?
Continue Reading…
Inspiration

Friday Inspiration: Diamond is Just a Piece of Charcoal

April 17, 2015
diamond quote

“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” – Unknown

I’m wrapping up an exceptionally challenging week. Each year a client I contract for hosts a huge sales meeting for our 200+ representatives. This is the third year I’ve attended the events. While the meetings are fun, the week typically requires 80+ hours of work, plus constant socializing, which exhausts my introverted self.

What I keep in mind, though, is that everyone has stress. I could complain about how hard my week was, or be thankful for the opportunity and learn from the hard work.

Blogging, Social Media

3 Quick Tips to Keep Readers Engaged With Your Brand

April 15, 2015
keep readers engaged

Once you’ve gotten readers to your blog, you want to keep them engaged. You want them to start clicking around and interacting with you and your content, getting to know you, and getting as much value as possible in each visit.

This list is short and sweet so you can start employing these right away without getting overwhelmed.

1. Link to your other posts in your blog post.
There are three ways you can do this effectively.

  1. Use keywords within your post to link to related blog posts.
  2. Manually add your own in a list at the end of your blog post.
  3. Install a plug-in to do the work for you. I’ve used Yet Another Related Post Plugin, but there are many options out there.

Continue Reading…

Health + Wellness

15 Benefits of Massage Therapy (+ Why Every Entrepreneur Should Get Massages)

April 13, 2015
15 benefits of massage

Growing up, I only heard massages spoken of as luxury services and sometimes even frowned upon as frivolous. I remember for my 20th birthday I decided to treat myself to a massage and facial and thought that was a huge deal.

Over the past few years I’ve been experiencing increased general muscle tension, high levels of stress, and some repetitive stress injuries from working on the computer. Massage therapy has been the only thing that has made a real difference so far, so I’m definitely a firm believer now. I try to go at least once a month. I still haven’t gotten to a maintenance point yet (each therapist shrieks and tells me how bad the knots are….ugh!) but eventually I will.

So today I feel obligated to share the benefits of massage therapy. As entrepreneurs, we deal with high levels of stress from the roller-coaster nature of our trade to the long hours we sit hunched at a computer. If you’re like me, you’ll finally look up from your laptop and realize it’s 9pm and you haven’t eaten and may not even know what day it is. But I digress…

Self-care is absolutely vital to living a healthy life, let alone running a successful business.

If you want to learn more about what massage therapy is and the different types, click here.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

  • Increases blood flow
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves posture
  • Improves circulation
  • Promotes deeper and easier breathing
  • Improves flexibility and range of motion
  • Relieves headaches
  • Strengthens the immune system by increasing white blood cells
  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Increases alertness
  • Reduce symptoms associated with PMS such as bloating and mood swings
  • Improves sleep by affecting delta waves in the brain (those connected with deep sleep)
  • Helps to manage depression and anxiety by lowering the stress hormone cortisol and increasing serotonin and dopamine
  • Relieve symptoms associated with cancer treatment

Benefits pulled from Massage Envy and Huffington Post.

Continue Reading…