Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Week In Pictures: 8.30.13 | Santorini

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

On Monday afternoon, I had my first EasyJet experience (So. Much. Orange.) as we flew from London to Santorini. The island is extremely rocky and mountainous (you’d kill yourself in heels). Our cab parked at the base of the town square and a very sweet man, Visillus lugged our luggage up the hill and then down dozens of tiny, uneven, winding stairs to our villa. And thank god for him — we’d never have made it on our own!

Week in Pictures

The villa was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Encased in the side of a hill, it was equal distance from the ocean as it was the top of the town. Our private balcony gave us a crystal clear view of Oia, made up of mostly white-washed buildings.

Week in Pictures

Many of the restaurants have a few flights of stairs and it’s always worth the climb for the view you’ll get. If you order anything with cheese, be prepared for massive blocks of feta placed on top!

Week in Pictures

We ate at so many great restaurants. One of our favorite spots for dinner was King Neptune, which has been around since the 1950s but we also enjoyed the smaller cafes all around town. I loved Pelekanos in particular which had jars and colanders as light fixtures (and a very strong wifi signal, which is hard to come by on the island). Plus, their food was great; check out this fruit and yogurt combo!

If sweets are more your style, there are tons of dessert places with crepes, ice cream, gelato and coffee drinks. The real star of the show when it came to sweets though was Lolita’s Gelato. Modern, stylish and with a killer identity to boot, we ended up here at least once a day.

Week in Pictures

This was our view from one of the restaurants — pretty amazing, right? Ironically, the clock on the side of this tower doesn’t work which basically sums up the pace of island life. Prepare to slow down. A lot.

Week in Pictures

The white buildings are meant to reflect the intense sun. The mornings and evenings are breezy but mid-day, prepare to roast! Drinking tap water is not recommended so remember to carry your own.

Week in Pictures

While most of the buildings are white, there are some surprises, mostly in pastel tones. And colorful doors are everywhere.

Week in Pictures

There are a ton of small, private resorts tucked away down side alleys.

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

The signs and menus in Santorini are a mix of Greek and English. None of us knew any Greek and still, we didn’t have any trouble getting around or ordering food.

Week in Pictures

Week in Pictures

There’s a richness of textures, patterns and typography everywhere. Even with all the tourists, shops and roadside stands, nothing felt overly commercial or Americanized. I didn’t notice any chain shops at all and that made me appreciate the island even more.

Week in Pictures

Santorini is somewhere that was never on my radar to visit but I came along because Gala wanted to experience it for her 30th birthday. And, I am beyond glad that I did. It’s one of those places that transports you to a different time and place and out of all the traveling I’ve done, this rates in my mind as the most unique. If there’s a way you can make it happen, go. Believe me when I say that there’s magic around every corner.

Week in Pictures

Not content to just experience the magic on land, we set out on the Aegean Sea last night on a sailboat. Five hours later, as we watched the sun set, I felt incredibly thankful to be experiencing this trip with two of my BFF’s.

I have more to share about Santorini but in the meantime, you can follow along with my adventures in real time on Instagram and Twitter.

Link Love: 8.29.13

link love

Link Love

• A great reminder that comparison is the thief of joy.

• 20 creative and useful about page examples.

• Here’s how to create a launch strategy that does the selling for you.

• A foreign correspondent shares his culture shock of going between London and New York.

• Here’s a look back at what the very first issues of 19 magazines looked like.

• Artist Lisa Hanawalt sketches big company logos with alternate slogans and the results are hilarious.

• The Movie Stills Collection documents the intro titles of films from 1920 onwards.

• DIY your own leather studded bracelets.

• The world’s best mugshots are from Australia.

• There’s a trend of selling houses with everything and the kitchen sink.

• If you had to write a book, what would you title it?

• Joy shares her thoughts on keeping up with social media.

• These four sisters were photographed every year for 36 years.

Image: HUF Worldwide.

Blog Log #10: How Often Should You Post?

Blog Log

One of the questions we get asked every time at The Blogcademy is, “How often should I post?” And, I’m not surprised that it gets brought up so often because it’s an important one. But there’s a lot more that comes into play before you can land on that magic number. So today, we’re going to cover the ins and outs of determining a posting schedule that works for you.

Set Attainable Goals

When it comes to setting goals, a lot of us (including myself) tend to set the bar so high that it’s nearly impossible to reach. And when we don’t reach it, we feel like we’ve let ourselves (and our readers) down. Remember, it’s much easier to start out slowly and build your blogging empire in small but achievable increments than the alternative, which is to post so frequently that burnout sets in.

Think of it this way: how would you feel if you fell in love with a new blog that posted once a day and a month after your discovery, it suddenly dropped down to once a week with no explanation? Even if the content was still really high quality-wise, you’d probably wonder what happened. But, if your favorite blog that consistently posted once a week announced that it was growing and would now be posting once a day, you’d probably be over the moon.

The mistake a lot of bloggers make in the beginning is to set goals that they’ll never have the time for. It’s better to just dive in with a schedule that you can manage now (even if it isn’t that often) and roll with it — as you grow and are able to carve out more time for your blog, you’ll already have a solid foundation to build on.

Also remember, posting too much can be as bad as posting too little! If your frequency is too often, it can leave your readers feeling overwhelmed. So finding that balance is key.

Define Your Blog’s Purpose

Some people blog strictly as a creative outlet while others blog for income. Still, others like me blog to support our businesses. A lot of business consultants claim that blogging once a week is enough for a business to post and then, when it comes to personality-based blogging, it’s common to post much more often (3 to 5 times per week). The more often you post, the more potential “doorways” people have to discover your site — but frequency depends heavily on your goals and niche.

Be Aware But Don’t Obsess

A lot of bloggers observe peers in their niche posting every day (sometimes twice) and consistently making the rounds on their social media accounts. Competitiveness starts to sink in and they think that they have to do the same to climb the ladder.

But when it comes to blogging, you need to step back and remember it’s not about them, it’s about you. If your current schedule allows you to post three times a week, that’s perfectly fine. If it only allows you to post once a week at the moment, that’s fine, too. The point is work at a pace that fits into your life and not dig yourself into an obsessive, friendless, lifeless hole in the process!

Some of my friends including Kat post twice daily and sometimes even on the weekends. I usually only have time to post once every weekday. But instead of beating myself up for not posting more, I remind myself that full-time blogging is her job whereas I’m a full time graphic designer (and most of my day is dedicated to my clients). I’m aware that some bloggers post much more than I do. And others post less. I just do the best I can, when I can and focus on keeping my routine steady.

Create Regular Features

While some bloggers feel that setting a regular rotation of features is creatively stifling, think of them instead as a framework to give your ideas structure and cut back on stress. What are you already posting a lot of or really interested in? Define it and create a column. For instance, in 2008 I realized I was taking a lot of photos of my projects, surroundings and daily life but most of them went unused. I thought, why not round them up every Friday and share my Week in Pictures? Now, it’s one of my most popular columns and I never have to scramble to come up with a post idea for that day of the week. If you post multiple times a week, it’s easy to start feeling the drain of ideas a few years in — but those staple columns keep your regular readers coming back and allow you the opportunity to fill in your other days with exciting, unique content.

Stay Consistent

If you announce that you’re going to post three days a week, do everything in your power to hold up your end of the deal. If your posting becomes too spotty, your diehard readers will probably stick around but the influx of new readers will probably move on. Building an audience for your blog is based on trust. Just like you’d show up to school or work, show up to your blog. Of course, sometimes life’s circumstances get in the way and we’re all human — some things are just out of our control. But if you do have to take an extended absence, make an announcement so your readers don’t think you fell off the face of the earth!

In Closing

As a blogger, there is no right answer when it comes to your posting frequency — it comes down to what works for your lifestyle. It’s much more important to stay consistent. It takes time to build an audience and brand you believe in and there’s no one posting schedule that will work for everyone. Make blogging work for your lifestyle — not the other way around.

I want to know: How often do you post new content and how did you determine that number for yourself?

Tools of the Trade #12: Visual Inspiration Resources

Tools of the Trade

Searching the depths of the internet for design inspiration is one of my favorite pastimes. And over the last few years, I’ve definitely honed in on a handful of places to mine when I need a quick fix. Today, I’m sharing my top five sources for creative imagery:

1. Designspiration: This site is great because as the name implies, it specifically drills down to just design-related inspiration. While there are occasionally some interiors and lifestyle shots in the mix, for the most part, you’ll find beautifully curated examples of identities, posters, typography and websites. Unlike FFFFOUND!, it’s nudity-free which is especially helpful if you’re researching while at work.

2. FFFFOUND!: A bit more random, FFFFOUND is an oddly enticing brew of design, morbid humor and scantily clad women. It’s definitely NSFW but if you’re burnt out on the same old shiny, perfectly curated Pinterest boards and looking for images that are a bit off the beaten path, you’ll love it here.

3. Dribbble: Brimming with screenshots of projects-in-progress from some of the most talented designers in the industry, Dribbble allows you to peek into the creative processes of icon artists, typographers, illustrators and more. It’s a fantastic resource for discovering new talent while also keeping a pulse on what’s currently happening in the design community.

4. Pinterest: These days, when it comes to pulling together design inspiration, I spend most of my time on Pinterest. I pin all of my favorite design finds here and love the ease of being able to gather it quickly in one place.

Some of my favorite Pinterest design boards to follow are Jeremy Pruitt, Sarah Tolzmann | Note to Self, Kate | Wit & Delight, Star St. Germain, Logan Ledford | Design Twig and Thea | Design Quixotic.

5. Behance: When it comes to showcasing design projects, Behance does it best. Get ready to scroll forever because part of the appeal of this site is that creatives often share not only the final outcome but their processes and even alternate options. This is where a project’s story is really allowed to come to life in a beautifully curated environment. Beyond discovering awe-inspiring work, you’re bound to learn a thing or two about presentation when it comes to sharing yours.

What are your go-to sources for design inspiration? Please let us know in the comments so we can gather and share resources!

Image sources: Bruce Nauman and M/M Paris.

Teaching Deep in the Heart of Texas: Blogcademy Austin

The Blogcademy Austin

The Blogcademy Austin

Last weekend, while we were teaching in Austin, I felt a shift taking place. There was something different about this class but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it until Kat, Gala and I talked about it afterwards. What we realized is that eight classes in, everything finally clicked and ran without a hitch, from beginning to end. It’s not like there were ever massive fumbles in the previous workshops but when you’re teaching a two day curriculum and fine tuning the presentation after each class, it takes time to hit your stride.

With live events, the only way to iron out any rough spots is to just dive in, learn from feedback and take a whole lot of notes. There is no perfection when it comes to live events but at the same time, having a curriculum that feels dialed is really important to us.

The Blogcademy Austin

What I loved about this class is that many of the women had already bonded before we’d even got there through dinner dates and chats in the forums. And to me, that’s one of the most important parts of the workshops. It reminded me of the importance of having those like-minded folks you can depend on: a blogging posse of sorts.

The Blogcademy Austin

This group was so enthusiastic! Over half of the class ran their own businesses full time and they had such great insights as to how blogging has helped them to get the word out about what they do.

The Blogcademy Austin

We held our workshop at Vuka, a co-working space. It was waaaaay awesome (and a whole lot larger than I think any of us realized!)

The Blogcademy Austin

This time around, we added some turquoise touches with lanterns and tassels by Studio Mucci. I wish I’d had room in my suitcase to take the tassels home — they did such an amazing job.

The Blogcademy Austin

The Blogcademy Austin

Fine Arts Bakery surprised us with stacks of homemade cookies — and they tasted as good as they looked!

The Blogcademy Austin

We spent most of our breaks flipping through WordPress For Beginners.

The Blogcademy Austin

The Blogcademy Austin

Gala always brings the fuschia to class. And, we spent both days guzzling green juice from Soup Box And Juice Peddler to make up for our tex-mex sins.

The Blogcademy Austin

On day two, I wore my punctuation tights.

The Class Photo

The Blogcademy Austin

Just look at our intern, Ed in the front, stealing the show!

Austin Sponsors

The Blogcademy Austin

An extra special thanks goes out to our wonderful Blogcademy Austin sponsors:

• Studio Mucci blew us away with their handmade tassels, balls and goodies.

• We loved the adorable handbag mirrors from The Aviary.

• Strawberry Hedgehog makes some of the cutest, best smelling soaps around.

• Big Jon makes some of the coolest greeting cards I’ve ever seen.

Crown and Glory turned out sparkly ears galore — a workshop necessity!

• The super rad rainbow glitter hair clips were courtesy of GGs Pin Up Couture.

• Reeta Krishna gave each of our students an awesome WordPress For Beginners book that covers the technical side of blogging!

• Cupcakes, cookies and baked treats from Sugarmama’s Bakeshop kept us on a sugar high all afternoon.

Zevia quenched our thirst through the humid weekend with their sodas.

The Blogcademy Austin

Eight classes in, we now realize that The Blogcademy isn’t just about blogging — it’s about empowering women to follow their own paths and to confidently build their online presence. On Sunday night, as we dumped the last of the trash cans and pulled down our backdrop and filed out into the humid night, we felt content. The class was exactly how we’d always imagined it would be. And now, as we’re gearing up for London, I can’t help but think about how lucky we are to have the opportunity to travel the world, sharing the ins and outs of blogging with women and reminding them that their voice is distinctly theirs and they have complete control over the blog, business and lifestyle that they choose to craft for themselves.

The Blogcademy Austin

Love you times a million, Austin. I’m sad that this was our last U.S. date of the year but we still a few seats left in our weekday London class (the weekend is sold out), 2 left for Brisbane, a handful in our weekday Melbourne class (the weekend is sold out) and a few in our Auckland class. Register for all of the dates right here. And don’t forget, we offer one scholarship spot per class (the deadline is one month before the workshop date).

Event Space: Vuka
All Photography: Jessica Monnich

Hitting the Road!

Hitting The Road

This year has been a whirlwind of ups and downs and a whole lot of big changes, some of which I’ll be sharing more about soon. One thing I do know for sure is that to to grow, it’s necessary to embrace change. For me, a lot of personal growth has happened this year by allowing myself to step away from my desk (and work) and take off to explore the world. For a creature of habit like me, it’s not always easy letting go of routines that feel set in stone but I know that it’s absolutely necessary to grow as a human being, blogger and business owner and gain some much needed perspective.

My schedule over the next two and a half weeks will look something like this:

Portland to New York.
New York to London.
London to Santorini, Greece.
Santorini to Mykonos.
Mykonos back to London to teach two Blogcademy classes.
London to New York.
And finally, New York back to Portland, just in time for my 32nd birthday.

I’m beyond excited (and let’s be honest — a little bit nervous!) to hit the road again but that also means that blogging will be a little quieter around these parts over these next few weeks. To keep up on all of the adventures in real time, please follow along on Instagram and Twitter.

And with that, I’m off to catch my flight. I’ll have much more to share from New York, London and Greece soon — lots of love!

Photo by Chellise Michael.

The Week in Pictures: 8.23.13 | Austin!

Week In Pictures: Austin

In my mind, I’d always considered Austin to be the “Portland of the South” but after spending four days there, I’ve since realized that I wasn’t giving the city enough credit; while there are a lot of striking similarities, it definitely has a distinct personality all its own.

Week In Pictures: Austin

I arrived last Thursday armed with no real agenda and only a print-out of the address of my Airbnb digs. With two days off before teaching The Blogcademy, I was open to whatever came my way. And boy, was it a good time.

Week In Pictures: Austin

I’d been to Austin once before in 2008 but staying in a hotel along the outskirts of downtown never gave me the full experience I was hoping for — this time, Kat, Gala and I found a cozy 50s bungalow on Airbnb that was a short walk from South Congress and it was such a better time. Our house (this one, if you’re interested) was right up our alley — our living room was decorated with an eclectic mix of letters, vintage movie posters, a green plaid couch and turquoise walls.

Week In Pictures: Austin

And the kitchen was just as fabulous — cherry red and accented with baby blue tile!

Week In Pictures: Austin

Did I mention that there were dinosaur planters, too?! They ended up popping up in a whole lot of our Instagram shots, along with that awesome rug.

Week In Pictures: Austin

On our first night in town, our friend Ellie from the Media Bombshell whisked us away to Henri’s, a quaint little wine and cheese bar which I loved.

Week In Pictures: Austin

Following that, Gala’s friend Jess happened to fly into town the same day as us and as luck would have it, she spends a lot of time in Austin and gave us a restaurant and shopping tour. We definitely had some cultural experiences along the way: Kat & Gala tried queso for the first time and we paid a visit to Cabela’s (and toured their extensive museum of taxidermy). And, we got to see the inside of a Cracker Barrel (I’ve passed them dozens of times but never made my way inside). But my favorite restaurant stop was Kerbey Lane Cafe, which resembled a retro diner and had colorful seating, massive portions (just look at my coffee!) and many vegan friendly options.

Week In Pictures: Austin

Week In Pictures: Austin

On Friday night, we walked down and explored South Congress St. and it was cool seeing so many vintage neon signs and non-chain businesses. Further down the road, we came across Amy’s Ice Cream which has the craziest list of toppings I’ve ever seen. I held off, afraid that I’d get sick but Gala indulged in quite a mixture (they charge the same, no matter how many toppings you ask for!)

On our way home, we stopped at a 24 hour grocery store to fill up our silver B balloons. The morning would creep up soon enough…

Week In Pictures: Austin

Once the weekend rolled around, it was time for our workshop at Vuka, a well-known coworking space. All I have to say is that the enthusiasm inside was contagious. Bakers, psychics and crafters filled the crowd and together, we dug in, corralled branding inspiration, developed new blog post ideas, refined taglines and mapped out our ideal readers. I’ll have a lot more to share about the experience on Monday!

Week In Pictures: Austin

As we were driving to class on Sunday morning, Gala’s friend Ed took us on a scenic route and as we passed by this house, I made him pull over so I could jump out and get some photos. My friend Laurel had just instagrammed a photo of it the week before and isn’t it amazing?!

Week In Pictures: Austin

My time in Austin flew by in a flash but that’s okay because I’ll find an excuse to come back soon enough. Maybe just not in August next time! Have a great weekend, everyone! I’m frantically packing for New York, London and Greece. Having less than a week home between Austin and my trip to Europe has proven trickier than I thought but I know that once I get through this to-do list, big adventures await.

Any awesome weekend plans you’re looking forward to as this summer winds down?