Thursday, September 18, 2014

Planning Your Life: Blog Style

*I received this product complimentary from the company, in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own!*

With all the craziness going on in my life right now between having just coordinated essentially two moves (one to Austin and one to somewhere else), parenting our toddler, packing our house, our going away party at our house, his fini flight (which required me to look cute AND provide food for the squadron), unpacking everything here, getting settled in, finding friends for Matthew, this blog, and all my doTERRA business... Needless to say, planners are my lifeline. I have one that I use for my blog planning, one for my business, one for our home, and one for the rest of my life.

Of course, my love is this. The blog. It's what I do for me, it's my quiet time, my something-not-for-my-family. It's the only space in this home that I reserve specifically for myself. Needless to say, a lot of (although not enough) time goes into it, so why wouldn't I want to make sure it's as successful as possible, while making my life a little easier? The way I do that is to keep a binder with the world's greatest blog planner in it! When Jeannie from ListLab sent me this gorgeous blog planner, I was beyond thrilled. It has everything I want for organizing my little corner of the interwebs!

The most important page for me is the editorial calendar. I color-code it by category so I can see what I've written a ton about and what I've been neglecting (you're welcome, people). It also makes it easy to see how often I've been writing, whether I've been covering what I need to cover, and because it's color-coded, it points out when I've had a giveaway so I remember to post the winner!

I love using the Blog Post Crafter for keeping track of my ideas on the same page as where I plan out the posts themselves. It makes it so much easier than having to have multiple pages. I just fill in my ideas and then go back and fill in the rest of the planner when I'm thinking about actually writing out the post. Then, writing the post is a piece of cake because it's already half-written when it's outlined on paper!

Of course, giveaways are one of the most fun parts for readers, but one of the most time-intensive parts for bloggers. It takes a lot of planning, social media mentioning, and steps to ensure its success. I love the giveaways log so that I can keep track of all of that, as well as the details of the giveaway itself! It also means I have all my giveaway info on one page so if I'm wanting to spotlight the company again, or make sure that I'm giving away different products/services, it's easy to scan the pages and look for what I need.

Any blogger knows that stats are important! Not necessarily the reason we blog (I hope), but it's definitely fun to see your numbers go up and your readership increase. Being able to track those is important not only because it helps with sponsorships, giveaways, reviews, etc. (which is what can help offset the amount of time we bloggers spend on these things!) but also so we know what months are most popular for blog reading and which posts seem to do the best which lets us cater to what YOU want to read! I love that hers is by week as well as month so that I can really tell what posts did the best!

One thing I've been doing my best to avoid doing but definitely need to get on is making a media kit. It's seemed super daunting to me, for whatever reason, but now that I have this pretty, super simple media kit planner, I can actually force myself to sit down and make one! Yay for more organization!

In short, I love love LOVE this blog planner. It's made my life a thousand times easier and my blogging time (little that it is right now) far more efficient, which means I get more written and spend less time doing the nitty gritty, tedious stuff. Worth it? I think so!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Oils Wednesday: Diffuser Edition

One of my favorite ways to use my essential oils is by diffusing them. It freshens our home, kills viruses and bacteria, and improves everyone's moods. I thought I'd share what some of my favorite diffusing combos are so you can enjoy them in your home, too! If you love these, check out the rest of What Oils Wednesday! Wondering how to order some of your own incredible oils? Click here!

I diffuse this one on its own. It's AMAZING for boosting the immune system and killing any germs in the house. I use this constantly during cold and flu season or whenever our kiddo is sick! Plus, it just smells delicious since it has wild orange, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and rosemary oils in it.

This one gets diffused in my bedroom/bathroom when I'm getting ready in the morning. It wakes me up and refreshes me for the day!

I diffuse Serenity at night in all the bedrooms. It helps us sleep well all night long!

Purify has six essential oils in it (lime, lemon, melaleuca, cilantro, citronella, and pine) that clear out the air so quickly! I use it in the kitchen after I cook something that tasted delicious, but I don't want our home smelling like. It's also great in the bathroom, if you know what I mean!

Peppermint is great for waking you up, but it's also amazing for helping with nausea. It gets diffused with our car diffuser on road trips to help with motion sickness and to keep me awake for long drives!

I love using this one anytime Matthew is congested while he sleeps. It makes the whole room smell better and clears out his chest better than Vick's ever did (and it doesn't have all the nasty chemicals in it)!

During allergy season, this one goes in our house constantly. It's one more way to help combat those crazy seasonal issues (and make your home smell delicious while you're at it)!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Next Steps...

This blog post of Jill Duggar sharing that she's a few weeks pregnant (and why more women should) makes me so happy! I completely understand that some women want to handle the loss of a baby in private, but there are so many who want support and love when they're going through one of the most difficult times of their lives. The fact that it's taboo to share your happy news until you're in the "safe" window has always seemed ludicrous to me. If you lost a toddler or a teenager, you'd talk about it and need help. Why should losing another baby be any different, even if you haven't gotten to meet the little one?

I had gotten a positive pregnancy test Friday morning, so we were excited to tell the family on Saturday (since we went down ahead of the family). We just decided that whenever we get pregnant, we're going to share the news. My not drinking would have been a dead giveaway on the beach, anyway! Unfortunately, I started my period on Wednesday. I know technically it was probably a "chemical pregnancy" but I've always hated that phrase. It sure felt real for a few days.

I've found an OB in Austin that I think will be a really amazing fit. His practice is completely aligned with the Catholic faith's ethics and teachings, which is perfect. I won't have to worry about pressure to do something that we don't believe in, and I know he's going to have the best knowledge base for how to hopefully get Matthew a little sibling!

Now we just need to get me into a new PCM...
so he can give me a referral...
so I can see my OB...
so we can figure this stuff out...
(despite the fact that I already had one for my old OB for the same issue... Thanks, TriCare)!