Why You Need Blog School by Blog Genie

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Are you new to blogging or thinking of creating a blog, but don’t know where to start? Do you have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to go about putting it out there for others to see? The internet, especially the blogging realm, is a vast place filled with volumes of information that can be overwhelming to sift through just to find simple information and how-to’s. Why not start off on the right foot?

Or, have you been blogging for awhile now, but you need a change? Are you ready to improve your site either by growing traffic, improve your design, mastering social media, creating a profit stream or work with influential brands? Finding information to help you take your blog from big to bigger can be a challenge, especially when you know you’re on the verge of something better, but you just can’t seem to connect all the pieces to make it happen. Why wait a second longer to reach your blogging and maybe even entrepreneurial goals?

If either of these sounds like you, what I am about to share with you will change your life (I’m not kidding, either, because blogging as we know, can really do that).

Blog School by Blog Genie changed has not only changed the way I blog for the better by giving me invaluable tools, resources and ideas to help me succeed; it has also changed my life outside of blogging by helping me become more organized (and, yes, I thought I was organized before), more focused (that’s really harder to narrow down than you think) and more driven (now with a concrete plan in place) to reach my goals than I ever was before.

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What is Blog School?

An online course created by Blog Genie, Blog School is designed to give you a roadmap to help you turn your passion and love of connecting with others into a successful blog [More about Blog School here].

What is Blog Genie?

Blog Genie is run by Rita Barry and she has been working with female healthy living bloggers and fitness professionals since 2009 to help them design and rock their online presence by turning their passions into something more [More about Rita here]. She designed both Words to Run By and Blood Clot Recovery Network and – as my real-life blogging role model – has helped me realize my blogging dreams. If you aren’t connected yet, head on over and subscribe to get in on some free blogging resources, materials, regular tips and blogging insight that you didn’t even know you couldn’t live without.

What do you get?

As a part of Blog School you will receive six core learning modules comprised of a lesson, homework (be prepared to work!) and additional resources. The modules include Foundations, Blog Design, Content, Growth and Traffic, Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) and Media, Money and Income Streams.

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Plus you will get Membership to Blog School’s Private Facebook Group, Blogging Productivity Five Minute WordPress Set  and WordPress How To Videos. Access to the courses are for life you can log-in login 24/7 as well as take them with you since they are digital.

So, why do you need Blog School by Blog Genie?

Last year, I was the grateful recipient of the Blog School by Blog Genie Scholarship and I was ecstatic to be taking the course. I have a big plans for the future and Blog School has first, helped me discover the direction I need to be going and second, given me the tools to get there! There are so many helpful things I learned about productivity, design, traffic, building/finding a target audience, writing worthwhile content and keeping the blogging momentum going. Blog School is a lot of work (I’m not quite done yet!), but if you really take your time and focus on the modules as they are released and do the assignments, you will get a lot out of this course. It’s helped me in blogging and helped me to organize my online presence (and life) to move in the direction of starting my own coaching business.

Where can you find more information?

You can find more information about Blog School here.

The one thing you need to do now

Enroll in the free, 3 part training series Blog School’s Traffic Road Map now. It runs from March 24 – 28, 2014 (delivered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of that week right to your inbox) and will give you an idea of how awesome Blog School will be. You can enroll in this 3 part series without obligation to join Blog School so there is nothing to lose! Also by signing up you’ll be the first to know when Blog School is open for enrollment.

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Dates to remember
  • Sign up today to be a part of the 3 part training course!
  • Blog School opens for enrollment March 31 and closes April 6, 2014 (sign up here to stay informed about the release)
  • The six core learning modules of the Blog School curriculum will be released monthly starting April 7, 2014
You also need to know

I am an affiliate for Blog School, yes, but I am only telling you about this course because I believe in it and it’s power to make a positive impact in your blogging world. It is a significant amount of money to spend ($345 for the basic course and $595 for the intensive course, which comes with with 6 months individual coaching) and I more than anyone understands that not everyone can spend such a large sum of money. I do, however, believe this course and the knowledge gained is worth every cent of that cost and knowing what I do now, I would not hesitate to spend that money on Blog School. Consider it an investment in your future, seriously.

I hope you consider enrolling in Blog School this Spring. Whether you’re just starting out or an old pro, it will be the best blogging decision you have made in a long time.

Until the next mile marker,

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Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!

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I am very exited to be a part of the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway going on right now! For 30 days, 30 bloggers will bring 30 winners a $100 gift certificate to shop for the health products they love. How awesome of a giveaway is that?! I, for one, having reviewed Swanson Health Products in the past, jumped at the chance to be a part of this opportunity because let’s be honest here, I heart Swanson Health Products.

That’s great, Sara, but what is Swanson?

Swanson Vitamins is a family-owned and operated health products company that treats their customers like family and offers the widest selection of health and beauty products in one place for reasonable costs. You can find anything there!

Why not just go to my local store where I always buy my health products?

Swanson offers a huge variety of products, for a low cost and it is one-stop shopping that you can do from anywhere. I love the variety of organic, fair trade and Made in the U.S.A. products.

What can I really get for a $100?

For $100 I got all of this:

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My favorites are the makeup, including lip gloss from Burt’s Bees (what’s not to love) and Alba (it’s like putting Coconut right on your lips) and eye shadow from Honeybee Gardens, which is shimmery and purple:

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Pet Naturals Hip and Joint Chews with glucosamine so these little pups can have healthy joints (they’re major fans of Swanson themselves now that treats came in the box):

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And, Swanson’s own Red Clover Tea, which is deliciously comforting and all organic):

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Also, since I am Vitamin D deficient and love the health benefits of Coconut oil, I can’t wait to try these D-3 vitamins with Coconut oil (they were only $3.69 for 60 soft gels):

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I also got some shave cream for my husband, hand and face lotion, cilantro and propolis. You can fill every stocking with this giveaway.

Is it really worth my time to enter?

A hundred times, yes! All you have to do is click below and it will take you to the entry page. It’s easy, it’s fast and you have several chances to win.

How do I enter the giveaway?

Enter the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway right here:


Can I bookmark it and come back later?

Don’t wait! My entries are only open until Midnight Tonight (12/23/2013) and the last blogger posts tomorrow. That’s not much time to win!

Okay, easiest giveaway ever, but now I’m on this extra page instead of your blog so how do I know if I won?

Go back here to see the winners posted next to the giveaway(s) you entered.

Thank you to Swanson for the $100 credit to shop for my awesome stocking suffers and the opportunity to participate in the #Swanson30DayGiveaway. Good luck in the Swanson 30-Day Healthier Holiday Giveaway!

Until the next mile marker,

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Better Blog Photos for FREE with fotor

It seems like all the rage lately is about making your blog better with photos – quality shots, quality images and quality editing. The internet is alive with captivating snapshots, picture slide shows and pinnable images. In this day and age, it seems for certain that a picture really is worth a thousand words. Smart phone cameras are better than some actual cameras, placing the ability to become an instant photographer at the fingertips of every individual on the planet. There is no such thing as “amateur” if you capture a photo you love, make some quick edits and share it across social media worldwide. The simplest images are rousing a thought, inflicting an emotion and making an impact. But, as we know, photo editing software can often be expensive, time consuming and overwhelming. Now, there you too can have better blog photos for free with fotor.

I was skeptical at first because there are so many photo editing options out there, but decided to give fotor a try yesterday after a visit to the local dog park-

1-Tap Enhance feature

1-Tap Enhance feature

Free Photo Editing Options

Fotor offers a lot of photo editing options – all for free.  I’ve decided to highlight a few of my favorites in this post to give you an idea of what all the editor has to offer. Too bad I couldn’t get these two to stand still for a decent dog photo –

Photo Stitching Feature

Photo Stitching Feature

There was, however, plenty of Ohio scenery to be observed-

Panel Collage Feature

Panel Collage Feature

The ability to see your work as your create

My favorite editing feature is the option to compare photos as you are working on them in fotor-

Compare Photos Feature

Compare Photos Feature

And you are not limited by how many photos you can upload at a time to work on and you can do so from a variety of sources. For example, I uploaded all 15 from our hike at once while I decided what I wanted to do. This makes it easier if you are trying to compare images or working on a collage-

Multiple photos/sources Function

Multiple photos/sources Function

Let your creativity shine with fotor

And, you can make some pretty unique and detailed collages, for example each of these pictures is movable in the editing mode so you can change how they are layered if you choose to-

Shape Collage Feature

Shape Collage Feature

A picture really is worth a thousand words

My all-time favorite feature, though, is the text feature (check out my perfectly pinnable images below, please thank-you)-

Woods are lovely

There are a limitless number of fonts to chose from, colors and the ability to fade text in and out and rotate it as seen above with ‘Robert Frost.’ Even though the text box is a little different from regular photo editors and takes a moment to get used to, I still love it.

You can also add borders as I did on my masterpiece (pin this and I might will love you forever. No, I never stop thinking about Mumford and Sons or my favorite- song by them Thistle & Weeds..yeah, I freaked when I found a thistle in the woods, imagine that…)-

Thistle and weeds

So, go create with fotor now – it’s free, for all the features, all the time! You can use it online, on your desktop or on your smart phone. Also check out fotor cards especially with the holidays coming up.

Tell me about you. Do you have a photo editor you use now? Would you give fotor a try? What are you going to create to make your blog photos better than they have ever been?

Until the next mile marker,

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Please note: While I was compensated for my review of fotor, I was not asked to write a positive one. The opinions, thoughts and images used in the above review are strictly my own from my own experience with the program.

Weigh-In Wednesday: Week 23

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Weigh-In Wednesday Weekly Stats

Weight Watchers Week Number: 23

Lbs Lost this Week: – 3.2

Lbs Lost Total: – 14.0

WW Stars Earned this Week: None

Food of the Week

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 I’ve been eating more raw vegetables and fruits this week – like a salad or fresh apples. I am not sure if it is what helped the weight loss or not. If I’m hungry, I grab a fresh-picked from the farm Honeycrisp apple!

Activity of the Week

Yesterday I had my 16-month follow-up appointment with my hematologist (medical specialist who treats diseases and disorders of the blood and blood-forming organs – sounds scary, right?!). I talked to him about my lack of motivation to exercise ever since I ran the 5K in June. He thinks I may have done too much, too fast and my body wasn’t really ready for that – even though I did it without outwardly hurting myself, even thought it was over a year after my blood clot. I told him I had to do something, but the motivation wasn’t there and it was feeling more like a burden than anything. I told him it wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do or how to do it because I did – it is just a matter of making the commitment.  For some reason this time, either my heart or brain or both isn’t into it. He told me to commit to walking at least 20 minutes a day, even if it is on my treadmill while I am surfing the internet (he showed me how to fashion a desk for my treadmill) or watching TV at night. He asked, “Do you work on the computer for at least 20 minutes a day?” I said, “Oh my gosh yes!” He does the same with his dictation notes every night before he goes home. Just gets on the computer/treadmill and types them up/walks. He said, “Add some running in here and there as you feel like it, but don’t set out to run if it’s stressing you out, just walk and see what happens.” I have made the commitment to walk for at least 30 minutes a day, starting tomorrow. Time goals worked really well for me the very first time I started running to help me weight, health and run a half marathon. I would run for seconds then minutes then miles at a time. My hematologist also agreed to following-up with my other doctors about the current status of my thyroid, which I already have planned.

Personal Weight Loss Goals (crossed off when reached)

I want to lose…

10 lbs
20 lbs
30 lbs
35 lbs
40 lbs
45 lbs
50 lbs
55 lbs
60 lbs
65 lbs
70 lbs

Personal Fitness Goals (crossed off when reached)

I will…

Run a 5K  Read all about it here.
Run a Quarter Marathon or 10K
Run a Mud/Obstacle Race
Run a Half Marathon
Start Strength Training (again)
Backpack (more)
Start Biking

Reflections

Thank you a thousand times for all of the kind things you said last week. It helped more than you know. I feel infinitely better not only having lost this week, but having spoken to my doctor and come up with a set, doable plan in my eyes.

Reader’s Recap

Don’t miss my Pepper Palace Fall Hot Sauce Review. It’s divine.

Blog School Update

I’m in Blog School with Rita over at Blog Genie and for the next six months I’ll be working really hard to make this blog the best it can possibly be. I’m really excited about this, especially since I was the recipient of one of the Fall Scholarships (for which I am extremely grateful). This week’s update: I switched my subscription manager to MailChimp (it’s free too!) and have to rebuild my subscription list from the ground up. If you like reading my blog (or you just like me or want to humor me with my practice at putting a form in a post!) and never want to miss a post by having it delivered weekly to your inbox, please subscribe below:


Photo Recap

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Just because it is fall and I love this.

Question of the Week

How did you first start exercising? What kind of goals did you set?

Until the next mile marker,

‘You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey’

The skies are definitely grey in Central Ohio today, which brings to mind a song my grandmother used to sing to me when I was a child, You Are My Sunshine. It goes, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” I used to love spending long summers with my grandma, we called her Bubba (the Slovak name for Grandma), and she loved the rain. We would spend rainy afternoons splashing barefoot through puddles and then we would warm up with a cup of coffee filled to the brim with sugar and cream. I miss those days and often times, the song comes to mind and I am gently reminded of the things she taught me as a way to remember her. She inspired my passion for cooking, taught me to be generous above all else, take care of those less fortunate than myself (including the four-legged variety) and that hard work always pays off in the end. Recently, my blog was awarded the Sunshine Award from Elle over at Eat Run Sail – one of my favorite bloggers and wonderfully supportive and wise friend. (Go read her post and check out her blog if you haven’t).

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The award is circulated to those bloggers to let them know that their posts brighten your day. Elle certainly has brightened many of mine with her positive outlook, honest advice and generosity. I feel like we have become friends over the last couple of years and I am particularly excited about this award because of the fond memories it stirs in my heart.

The Rules:

  1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog
  2. Link to the person who nominated you
  3. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

Here are the questions Elle asked, and my answers to them:

  1. Best childhood memory? I have a lot, including the one above, but as a collection, I always enjoyed the times I went with my Mom, Dad and sister to pick whatever it was that was seasonal – apples, pumpkins, a Christmas tree. I always looked forward to our adventures in picking out seasonal fair and it is something I will always remember. I also have some pretty fond memories of visiting Disney as a family.
  2. Nicest time of year? Late, late summer. That time when summer isn’t quite gone, but fall is quickly making an entrance. That time when mornings and evenings are cool enough for a sweater, but the days are warm enough for short sleeves. That time when the shadows are long when the sun sets and you can smell autumn in the air with every breath. 
  3. Favorite flower? I actually don’t have a particular flower that I love, but I love wildflowers. I love seeing them on the side of the road, especially the purple ones. My husband said the ones I have mentioned I like are called Asters.
  4. Scary food you would never ever even taste? Nope, nothing. I can’t think of anything I would be too afraid to taste at least once! (I really thought about this one for awhile too!) The only thing I am weird about from time to time is meat so if there is some strange meat dish out there, I might pass due to the meat, but nothing comes immediately to mind.
  5. Zodiac sign? Virgo. Although I have no idea how or if that fits into my life!
  6. What spice would describe you? I think Curry would best describe me because it’s flavors can range from sweet to spicy depending on what you are making and what kind you use. It is very versatile and is warm, a real comfort spice for me. I am like curry because I can be many things, but I stay pretty consistent in who I am and provide comfort to those closest to me.
  7. Snooze button or jump out of bed? Snooze. Like three or four times.
  8. Morning drink? Water on most days, but if I had to pick something special (that’s more like a treat) it would be English Breakfast Tea with Cream and Sugar or [right now] a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks.
  9. Song that means something special to you? Anything Mumford & Sons of course, but just in case you wondered what else mattered to me. Amarillo By Morning by George Strait (think old country) will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my mother’s favorite song. I love the fiddle intro, give it a listen if you haven’t. Mr. Strait is on his farewell tour (Mom would have been so sad) and he’s coming to CBUS in February so I hope to go!
  10. Secret crush? Dang!? I don’t know. I’m attracted to guys who are creative and it changes from time to time. I’ve always thought Wentworth Miller (Prison Break) was hot or, you know, I would go to dinner with Marcus Mumford in a heartbeat (sorry, husband). I’m also still waiting for my dinner invitation from Johnny Depp.

Here are the [only?!] ten bloggers I nominate to receive this award. While I don’t get to them daily, they inspire me to be myself, write better blog posts, take better care of myself, try new things and each one of them definitely makes me a whole lot happier when skies are grey.

  1. Steph – OrangeSpoken
  2. Nanci – This Crazy Life of Mine
  3. Jen – From Fat to Finish Line
  4. Shannon – Live Like A Bunny
  5. Mark – Running, Writing, and Chasing the Dragon
  6. Jenni – Life, Love and Marathons
  7. Vanessa – Her Heart Proclaims
  8. Rebecca – Pretty Little Celiac
  9. Jody – Truth2BeingFit
  10. Heather – Through Heather’s Looking Glass

Here are my ten questions:

  1. Do you prefer to wear jeans/pants or shorts?
  2. When others get discouraged when it comes to fitness/health/weight loss, what is your go-to piece of advice?
  3. Who is your favorite band/musician?
  4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  5. What is your favorite place in the world you have visited?
  6. What is your favorite vegetable?
  7. Do you like spicy food?
  8. Do you have a pet(s)?
  9. How long have you been blogging?
  10. What is your favorite quote?

Tell me about you. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Until the next mile marker,

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