The Importance of Being Reese

6 Tips For Blogging Success


So you want to start a blog? Welcome to the club. Most bloggers unknowingly enter into the blogosphere completely unaware of what they're up against. In a world where Instagram celebs are a dime a dozen, it's easy to mistakenly believe that it's a simple as it looks. Spoiler alert, it isn't.

If you really want to make it as a blogger and/ or social media maven, you're going to have to do a few things first...



Be Prepared to Put in the Effort

Every blogger everywhere who has ever stated a blog successful blog will probably tell you that they weren't prepared for the amount of time, effort and money they've spent to get to where they are today. Unlike what Hollywood would have you believe, you generally don't gain legitimate followers and readers overnight. It takes quite a bit of time and even more planning to create a successful blog.

If you're looking to monetize your blog, and you're just starting off, you need to instead shift your focus to creating awesome content that people actually want to read. In the beginning, making money shouldn't be your primary focus. If it is, odds are you'll burn out long before you even make your first dollar.



Find your Tribe

Ask a successful blogger what the key to their success is and nine times out of 10 they'll tell you that they have a tribe. This tribe is typically a small group (3-10 people) that they can bounce ideas off of and collaborate with for giveaways and blogging series. Find a tribe that fits your niche and work with them. Promote each other, encourage each other, uplift each other.

Trying to explain blogging to your non-blogging friends and family can often times be a worthless pursuit. It takes someone who is just as eager to run a successful blog to understand what it takes.




All Good Things Take Time

Be prepared to spend long arduous hours in front of your computer screen. Some nights you'll question your ability as a writer. Some days you'll want to give up and press the delete button. Don't. Be prepared to have some stress filled nights, but understand that the reward will be well worth the sacrifice.

Blogging with a family or job can be even more difficult. If you can, try to carve out a hour or two a few times a week to create some great content. Sometimes this means you'll stay up well past your bedtime, but again, all great things come with a little bit of sacrifice. Be willing to put in the time and effort and you may be surprised with how quickly you gain traction.



Be Social

And by social, I don't just mean have a social media presence, I mean actively engage others. If you want people to share your posts, share theirs. If you want people to retweet you, retweet them. And please don't just promote yourself all the time. Nothing is more annoying than scrolling through someones Twitter or Facebook feed, and seeing nothing but links to their posts. Your readers should be your number one priority, and you should have more to offer them than constant self-promotion. You should be sharing links to articles that will be of interest to your readers--even if those articles are not written by you. This shows that you readers are your number one priority and you are a resource of valuable information.

But be warned, never ignore you're followers. If they're leaving comments and socializing with you, make an effort to return the favor. No one likes talking to themselves. If you keep ignoring them, odds are they'll move on and find someone who won't ignore them.



You Can't Buy Success

It so easy to fall victim to the lure of purchasing followers. It's quick, it's easy, and it makes you look attractive to brands you'd like to work with. But it comes with a cost. A few months ago, it became pretty clear that many of those "top bloggers" were purchasing followers on Instagram. During what became known as the great purge of 2015, Instagram removed spam followers overnight. When the smoke cleared, many of us were surprised to see that some of our favorite bloggers literally lost thousands of followers overnight.

Purchasing fake followers is a lot like cheating on your diet and gorging on pizza. You get instant gratification, yet, all you've done is fill yourself up on empty calories. While it's great to have thousands of followers, it does you no good if they're not engaging with you. If you have 2000+ followers on Instagram, but you're only getting 10-15 likes on each photo, it's not good. Not only do brands look to see if you have a decent amount of followers, but they look to see whether or not their engaging with you. And again, this goes back to tip number four, are you being social.

On both Instagram and Twitter, I have special lists of followers I chat with often, If I can see that you're making a concerted effort to engage with me, odds are I'm going to return the favor.



But You Can Invest in It

You may not be able to buy success, but you can certainly invest in it. And that's what blogging is-- an investment. You will likely spend money on your blog layout, your domain, stock photos for your blog, advertisement for your blog, blogging classes or conferences, the list goes on.

Blogging can be an expensive gig, but it can also pay off. Be prepared to spend a bit of money. And if you're consistent, and stick with it, it will be money well spent.

So what are your pro-blogging tips? Sound off in the comment section below. 

Until next time,



6 Children's Books To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day



Happy MLK Day Lovelies,

Martin Luther King Jr Day is a big deal in my home. I grew up with two parents who were alive during the civil rights era. I hear the tales of the race riots they endured. They often talked about how they were some of the first students to be integrated into all-white schools. Those were not easy times. We never shied away from discussing the Civil Right Movement, or slavery and I fully intend to discuss these things with my own daughter. After all, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

If you enjoy celebrating the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, this year, why not let your kids join in the fun? Interested? Here are 6 books that are a great introduction into the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

1. Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 


Ages 5-10

This picture book is the perfect introduction for young readers to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It offers a mix of vivid imagery to go along with some of MLK's most pivotal speeches, essays, and poetry.


2. As Good As Anybody

Ages 5-10

As Good As Anybody follows the story of Abraham Joshua Heschel a Jewish minister preached and marched alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. This classic chronicals how he and Martin Luther King Jr. formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.


3. I Too, Am America 

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Ages 4-8

I Too, Am America is poetry picture book based on Langston Hugh's most celebrated poem. With it's flowing poetry and stunning illustrations, I Too, Am America serves as a reminder to all Americans that we are united despite our differences.


4. Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson 

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Ages 3-7

Nothing But Trouble follows the story of Althea Gibson, the first African American ever to compete in and win the Wimbledon Cup. In addition to the historical significance of Gibson's story, this book also proves that even "troublemakers" can aspire to be great, and that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible.


5. If A Bus Could Talk

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Ages 4-8

If A Bus Could Talk, is the story of how one woman sparked the Civil Rights movement. On her way to school, a young girl named Marcie embarks on a magical bus ride where she meets Rosa Parks and learns about the bus ride that changed America.


6. My Daddy, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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Ages 4-8



Written by Martin Luther King III, this memoir gives an inside look into one of this nation's most beloved leaders. Through the eyes of his son, readers a given an intimate look at the man and leader behind the Civil Rights movement. 


What are your plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year? Do you have any favorites you like to read to your children? Sound off in the comment section below! 

If you liked this post, please feel free to repin this for later on Pinterest or share with friends and family on Twitter!

Until next time!



Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks



These quick and easy Valentines Day Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks look amazing and taste even better.

Valentine's Day is nearly here, and I'm getting started a bit earlier than I typically would. Working a 45+ hour a week job, keeping up with a busy 4 year old, finding the time to blog, and trying to keep my house from falling apart leaves me little time to spend in the kitchen. So when I actually get the chance to experiment and play around with a new recipe, I try to make it count.

So onto the recipe that brought you all here! Today I'm sharing a super simple, but incredibly adorable recipe for Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks, These pretzel sticks are not only pretty to look at, but they taste amazing. Bonus: this is the type of recipe that's requires few ingredients, and is the perfect way to introduce your kiddos to the kitchen. It involves no real heavy lifting or stove-work, so you can rest assured that your kids can't get into too much trouble.


Ingredients

Dipping Chocolate (of your choice, but strawberry or white chocolate will look best)
Pretzel Rods
Sprinkles
Wax Paper



Instructions

Break off a few chunks of chocolate and place in a bowl, the narrower, the better. Heat chocolate according to package instructions. Once your chocolate is done heating, check to make sure it's not too runny. If it's runny, allow it to cool down and stiffen up a bit.

Once your chocolate has reached the constancy you would like, dip and twirl one end of your pretzel stick into the bowl. Apply an even amount of chocolate on the pretzel rod. Shake pretzel rod to remove any excess chocolate.

Holding your pretzel rod over and empty bowl, carefully shake the sprinkles over the chocolate covered pretzel. The empty bowl underneath will catch any excess sprinkles, which can then be used again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to ensure your pretzel is fully covered.

Place pretzel on wax paper and allow to stiffen for at least 15 minutes.

Serve with a smile!



These pretzel sticks are the perfect inexpensive gift for loved ones and friends. They can be packaged up and tied with a matching ribbon. They're incredibly simple to make, but they look and taste amazing, so whoever is on the receiving end of this tasty treat, will cherish the personalized touch.

As always, if you enjoyed this recipe, please feel free to repin it for later, or retweet to share with friends and family!

Until next time,


 


Pineapple and Jasmine Fried Rice

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Success® Rice. I was compensated for my post, however, all thoughts and opinions are uniquely and deliciously mine. Enjoy! 



Throw away your takeout menus! With this super simple Pineapple Jasmine Fried Rice recipe, you'll never have to order takeout again. 

As I've mentioned a time or two before, I'm a big fan of keeping it simple and delicious. If I can find a way to whip it up and serve it in less than 30 minutes, I'm all about it. Enter this Pineapple and Jasmine Fried Rice recipe. It has everything needed to keep my family happy-- ham, pineapples, soy sauce all tossed in Success® Jasmine Rice and topped with a heaping of vegetables.  Fried and cooked to perfection.

Pineapple Fried Rice recipes

This dish takes about 10 minutes once all of your ingredients are chopped and measured, so it's the perfect last minute dinner idea. For this dish, my secret ingredient is the brand of rice. Success® Jasmine Rice has a buttery, nutty fragrance that tastes even more delicious than it smells. It’s comes pre-measure and prepackaged, so all you have to do is toss it into a pot of water, and let the stove do all the work. The best part? It’s a low-cost meal that taste just a great the next day (can anyone say leftovers?!?)

easy Pineapple Fried Rice recipe

Ingredients 

2 packs of Success® Jasmine Rice
1 package of Diced Ham
2 20 oz cans of Pineapple tidbits
1 package of frozen corn, peas and carrots
1 medium onion
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 bunch of green onion
a pinch of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of minced garlic

healthy Pineapple Fried Rice recipe


Instructions 

Cook rice according to package instructions. While the rice is cooking, prep the vegetables.

Add one teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet and turn the stove to medium heat. Once the pan is hot, toss in the garlic. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes, and then, add corn, peas, carrots, onions and diced ham, soy sauce and sesame oil to the pan.

Turn the heat to high and add the rice, stirring carefully. Sprinkle ginger powder on top. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until desired temperature is reached.

Plate and serve with a smile.


I'm a big fan of experimenting, so I've made this recipe with just about every type of rice known to man, Jasmine Rice seems to taste the best. The nutty aftertaste seems to pair perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapples.

Like this recipe? Check out Success® Rice online for more scrumptious dinner and lunch ideas. Be sure to pin this post on Pinterest for later, or retweet and share with friend.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Success® Rice.

Until next time,