Archives for February 2018

5 Reasons to Attend the Valspar Championship This Year

Last year was my first time going to the Valspar Championship here in Florida. As an athlete, I am always up for watching a sporting event, but then I learned that there is SO MUCH more going on than just the playing of golf itself. There truly is fun for the whole family, so I wanted to highlight five (of many!) reasons you will want to get tickets to the Valspar Championship this year!

1.) Food: This is more than your typical sporting event concession stand food. There will be a food truck rally with local food trucks. There will also be the Gape and Grain, which will house upscale beer, wine, and spirits, as well as Frenchy’s Pool Party which is great for families.

2.) Music: Valspar LIVE! Will take place on Saturday, March 10th, with not one, but TWO country music stars– Jake Owen and Dustin Lynch who will play at the conclusion of the tournament, and YES the concert is FREE with your tournament ticket! Last year, the combination of PGA TOUR golf and Valspar LIVE! produced the first single day sellout in tournament history and a repeat is possible in 2018. I was there (Toby Keith) and it was so much fun.

3.) Activities: Loving the tiny house trend? Then you will love the tiny homes block party behind the 18th green. Fans will be able to check out these homes painted in bright Valspar paint colors. This area will also have complimentary popsicles and autograph sessions on Thursday and Friday. Also be sure to check out chameleon cove, a beach and relaxation zone, featuring a 100-ton sand sculpture which is TWICE as big as last year, with colorful fan seating and concessions. There will also be a family fun zone featuring a 16-foot-tall rock climbing wall, monster putting green, Imagination Playground as well as arts, crafts, and games.

4.) Players/Tournament: Of course there is a golf tournament going on as well! Rory McIlroy, the four-time Major Championship winner will be among the new names joining the tournament. Adam Hadwin is the returning 2017 Valspar Champion and will be back to defend his title.

valspar classic

5.) Charity/Veterans: Last year, Valspar Championship generated $2,412,196 for charity, – an increase of 13% from the previous year. The tournament has now generated just under $39 million for charity since 1977! So amazing! There will also be a Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost — one of the TOUR’s largest Patriots Outposts. The Outpost is a hospitality chalet with complimentary Chick-fil-A, Marco’s Pizza, Michelob ULTRA, and Coke products.

As you can see, there are tons of reasons to get your tickets to the Valspar Championship this year. Just click this link to be taken directly to the page with tons more information. Hope to see you there!

 

Disney’s Toy Story Land

It’s finally coming! The long awaited expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land, will be opening on June 30th! I have been fans of the movies for many many years, and now love that my three year old is obsessed with them as well. It truly spans generations and I’m so pumped Disney is finally adding in some “extra” fun for Toy Story lovers.

5 Things to look for at Disney's Toy Story Land opening at Hollywood Studios on June 30th.

Here are 5 things to look for:

1.) Two new rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers will join Toy Story Mania as fun rides for all guests to enjoy in this new land, where you are “shrunk down” to the size of a toy. Slinky Dog Dash will be a fun filled family coaster, and in Alien Swirling Saucers you climb into a toy rocket and join the aliens on a fun adventure. You may even get chosen by the claw!

2.) A new restaurant called Woody’s Lunchbox: This will feature a walk up quick service window with old fashioned soda floats. I can’t wait to see the full menu, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing.

3.) An expanded Toy Story Mania ride: This ride will go to three tracks so less wait time and more time enjoying the attraction. You will go through a carnival game box as you approach the attraction. I can’t wait to see it this summer!

4.) New characters: Newbies to the area like Rex Jessie and Sarge and others will be able to be seen in Toy Story Land, like in the photo below. How cool is giant Jessie?!?

Toy story land

5.) A Model: A model of the all new Toy Story Land is currently on display in Walt Disney Presents at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be sure to check it out on your next visit in anticipation of the June 30th opening. It’s coming up so soon!

Black Panther Now in Theaters

It’s here! It’s here! Marvel’s Black Panther is now in theaters everywhere! We have been waiting on this one for awhile folks, and it’s going to break some records!

Here is the lowdown:

“After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.”

Pretty awesome right? Here are some fun facts about the film:

-The cast and stunt team practiced with African drums played by musician Jabari
Exum so that their movements would have a musical quality found in many
African-based martial arts.

-The cast did the bulk of the fight work that will be seen on film. Chadwick
Boseman, whose skill set includes a comprehensive martial arts background,
knew what he was in for when he and all the other actors had to attend a “boot
camp” to prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles.

-The majority of the Wakanda sets were constructed on sound stages at
Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council; the Wakandan Design
Group, Shuri’s hive of research and development of the vibranium rich country;
the ancient subterranean Hall of Kings; and most notably Warrior Falls, the
ceremonial heart of Wakanda’s revered traditions.

-Over 25,000 cubic feet of foam was used in the Warrior Falls set, which was
sculpted to match the rocks in Oribi Gorge in South Africa.

-The production team engineered a fully functional flowing waterfall and pool at
the ledge of the cliff with six large submersible pumps feeding over 125,000
gallons of temperature-controlled water piping up through the set at a rate of
30,000 gallons per minute before recirculating through the system.

Black Panther

Check out this awesome clip from the film:

Also be sure to follow Black Panther on Twitter and Facebook, and Marvel Studios on Instagram.

 

5 Reasons To Get Over Your Fear of Starting A Blog

A lot of people have really good things to say. They have knowledge on a topic, or many topics, and have thought about starting a blog. However, that’s as far as it goes for some. For one reason (or maybe many!) they have fears and reasons why they won’t actually take that next step and start a blog. Today I am hoping to ease your mind and get rid of some of those fears for you. Blogging has literally changed my life in so, so many ways and I absolutely love getting to share my life with you, my readers. I want you to have the same excitement and feelings I have as well if that’s something you desire, so let’s get over these fears together!

5 Reasons to get over your fear of starting a blog

Reasons to get over your fears of blogging. If you can do this, you can potentially…

1.) Make Money: Let’s call a spade a spade. A lot of folks get into blogging so they can make money and work from home. Don’t be afraid to speak out if this is your answer. ‘Aint no shame in my game, I definitely like to make money! Granted when I started blogging eight years ago it isn’t why I started…back then I didn’t even know it was possible to make money blogging, but things change and it’s definitely high on the list of motivating factors for me. I love being able to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and work with brands that I really love. It’s very satisfying to be my own boss and make my own decisions!

2.) Have a creative outlet for your thoughts and knowledge: This is kind of why I started. I wanted to start distance running, and decided to blog as a way of holding myself accountable, and a way to share my training with others, in hopes it may inspire them to do the same. Here we are eight years later. Many things have changed, but one thing remains: I love having a place to share and inspire and teach others. I have always loved to write, so this is right up my alley!

3.) Learn and grow as a person: If you asked me to tell you what I have learned about myself and about other topics in the course of the years I have been blogging, it would take me approximately 27 years to tell you all about it! When I look back at a lot of the ways I have grown as a person over the years, so many things stem from my blog and things I have learned, mistakes I have made, and people I have met. Heck, I even owe my husbands CAREER to a friend I met through blogging. It’s so fun and a little unreal to be able to trace back important life milestones, experiences, and decisions to your blog or someone you met via blogging.

4.) Meet great people: Speaking of people I met through blogging…some of my very best friends in the world I met all because of the internet. I love how it connects people from all over the world, and you can share a bond with people you have never met or don’t see that often. I have also made some amazing business contacts, met celebrities, and had mind blowing experiences all because of my blog. It’s awesome, and to think of not having them if I had never started makes me so, so sad.

5.) Have the chance to inspire and change the lives of others: This is definitely my favorite part of blogging. I have a folder in my email titles “happy emails” where I have saved emails from over the years where people have taken the time to write me and tell me that I have helped them, encouraged them, or inspired them in some way to make a change, get over a fear, or try something new. Those emails warm my heart and make me feel like I truly am making a difference in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, some days are hard or frustrating, and it’s not always happy emails, but I wouldn’t change any of it if it means I got to connect with or help someone through my written word. I hope that these reasons to get over your blogging fear have encouraged you to stop being a fence sitter! The best things in life are often the scariest, but come with the greatest reward. Who knows what your life could look like a year from now? You will never know unless you try.

Hey! guess what? Ready to take the plunge and get over your fear of starting a blog but don’t know where to start? You are in luck! I have a completely FREE 5 day email course on how to start a blog of your own. Every day for 5 days I will meet you in your inbox with tips, encouragement, and how to’s for getting your own blog up and running. You can sign up now and get going on that blog!

Tips for Disney’s Pandora With A Preschooler

Disclosure: I was provided with free tickets and fastpasses for Walt Disney World, however all opinions are my own.

When people think of Disney’s Pandora, World of Avatar, they probably think it’s geared more towards adults, since the movie itself was more of a “grown up” film. However, don’t count out this unique land when visiting Walt Disney World with your preschooler. They may enjoy it more than you think! Here arr my top five tips for visiting Pandora with a preschooler:

5 Tips for visiting Disney's Pandora, World of Avatar with your preschooler

1.) Let them Explore: We decided when we arrived to not really have a plan (aside from wanting to ride the rides) and just kind of explored and walked around at Emma Kate’s pace. It was so much fun to see her running around playing with different interactive things like the drums, the spitting water fountains, and more. There is so much to stimulate a young mind, and I loved following her around!

2.) Ride the Navi River Journey: This ride is super tame, my bright color loving daughter loved every minute of it. She pointed out different animals and colors, and it held her attention the entire time. It’s also a great place to sit down and cool off on a hot day.

3.) Check out the adoptable banshees: Really, just check out the gift shop in its entirety. We spent about 20 minutes just walking around looking at all the cool merchandise, including the banshees. She picked up toys, talked to other kids, and generally just had a blast. All of the cast members were so friendly in the store and took time to talk to her as well.

pandora

 

4.) Point out the beauty: Because she was so excited and moving so quickly, it was easy for Emma Kate to miss things. Sometimes we had to back up and point out hidden details or fun plants and colors. Once she knew to look closely, it was fun to watch her look deeply into the plant life and point out unique things herself.

5.) Experience the fun food: Not only is the land itself fun and colorful, but so is the food! Be sure to grab a quick service meal or a snack while visiting Pandora. It brings having fun with your food to a whole new level! Plus, the frozen beverages taste really, really good.

My three year old had a blast visiting Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and I am so glad we decided to take her and just let her roam around. It was so fun to see what caught her attention versus having a strict schedule, and it allowed us to see the beauty and fun through her eyes.

How to Get More Blog Readers

 

After the post I wrote about starting your own blog, I had a lot of questions along the lines of “ok, I started my blog, but how do I get readers?” Great question. Keep in mind it won’t happen overnight. The numbers I used to get excited about for a whole day on my blog are now what I get in an hour. But it took time, and lots of hard work. Here are a few simple things you can do to start building your pageviews.

7 tips and ways to get more blog readers and page views on your site

1.) Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. Pinterest is a great way to get traffic, but you have to use it effectively. That is a whole other post in and of itself, but this free WordPress plugin puts a pin it button on your picture when you hover over it (like on my blog) so readers can easily pin any photo on your post. Don’t forget to put descriptions on your photos so if they do get pinned, there is a better chance or them getting repinned!

2.) Comment on Other People’s Blogs/social media. While you are sitting around waiting for a blog or social media comment…so is everyone else. Take some initiative, and go comment with genuine comments on some blogs or social posts! I try to hit at least 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon/evening, more if time allows. Also I try to read NEW blogs and mix them in with old favorites. You will start to see people clicking over to your site from a comment you wrote on another blog!

3.) Interact with your readers. No one wants to feel like they are talking to an empty void, so try and reply to comments when you can, on your blog and on social media. People want to feel like you are a real person and that their time spend commenting wasn’t for nothing.

4.) Be active on social media. I avoided Twitter like the plague when I was first blogging because I didn’t understand it, but now it’s one of my preferred forms of social media and I get a ton of pageviews from it daily. Don’t just talk about your stuff, but engage in conversation with other people and make some friends! Also, Twitter chats are a great way to get exposure, more followers, and readers. Facebook and it’s every changing algorithm is a different animal all together, but I also try to at least like every comment left for me there. Instagram has become wildly popular, and don’t forget about stories! Interact with people on stories, answer questions, and comment. People will start to notice!

5.) Host a giveaway. This may cost you a little money, but could be worth it. You may even be able to get someone to donate a product. Put a post up on social media announcing your giveaway and have people enter, and share about the giveaway as an additional entry. That way, you get extra exposure! (I use Rafflecoptor, it’s free and so easy!)

6.) Write a guest post. A lot of bloggers will put out a call on their blog or on their Twitter or Facebook asking for guest posters. This is a great opportunity for you to be seen by new readers and get exposure on a more experienced blog. It takes a little time to write that extra post, but is definitely worth it if you are guest posting on more well known blogs! Some companies and brands will even let influencers do an Instagram takeover. This is a great way to get exposure from a new audience.

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7.) Be Yourself: People can sniff out a fake like a bloodhound. Don’t try and mimic your favorite people and blogs that you follow. Sure you can take tips from them and learn the right way to do things, but use your own voice and put your own unique spin on things. You will find your tribe and your following, just keep being consistent with these steps and don’t quit!

don’t forget, I highly recommend becoming self hosted. I use Bluehost, and WordPress is free through them, and the prices are very very reasonable. It’s also pretty user friendly. Click the image below for more info: (affiliate link)


 

QOTD: What is your best tip for getting more pageviews on your blog?

January 2018 Blog Income Report

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I get a small commission.

I have gotten a lot of questions over the years about the income I make from my blog, so I thought I would share an income report for the first time ever. Do I plan to do these every month? Probably not. However I just want to share with you what is POSSIBLE with your blog and social media, and that there are many different avenues to do it. I absolutely do NOT do this to brag, there are a lot of bloggers out there who make way, way, WAY more than me a month. I decided to do this to help people believe it’s possible, and like I said, to show there are so many different wants to monetize online.

income report

For instance, I do a *little* bit of affiliate marketing, not a ton, but I do sell a product and I also do sponsored posts and run ads. It goes to show that there is not one end all be all with blogging, and different things work for different people, and that’s ok.

Before we begin just a little back story for those that don’t know me. (hhhiiiiiii).

I started blogging eight years ago, and had no idea you could make money from it. After a couple of years I started getting pitched by brands and slowly made a little money and got a lot of free products and experiences.

Then about two or so years ago, I started taking things more seriously. I wrote an ebook, and this past year I created an online course teaching people a side hustle, how to be a freelance social media manager (from home) in 21 days or less.

I typically blog twice a week, and am very active on social media. I also have a podcast where I (tend to) create new episodes every other week. I also have been going live on Facebook lately which is a lot of fun as well.


I struggled with how to break up this income report because my job as a social media manager is in direct correlation to my blog. If it were not for my blog and the social media channels associated with it, I would not have social media clients or know how to be a social media manager. So I decided to show you both “sides”, meaning just showing you what I strictly made from my blog + social channels, and also showing you what I made from my clients, which I still feel is “blog related” if that makes sense.

So what do I owe my success to this month? Here are a couple of things I considered:

1.) Spending more time on my email list: I used to hear people talk about creating an email list years ago, and I would roll my eyes. What would I say to these people? I mean, isn’t that what my blog is for, to talk to my readers? I can’t come up with even MORE content in a week than I already do! Who cares if I have their email address on file? Then about two years ago I decided to start my list and if I could go back in time I would kick myself for not starting it YEARS sooner! Being able to speak directly to your audience is so important, especially if/when you start selling your own products or services. Now I spend a little time each week working on my list, creating lead magnets, or sending broadcasts. Sending out links to my posts and podcasts has helped boost my traffic significantly. I love Convert Kit because it is super user friendly and there are so many ways you can keep track of people, and they really helped me visualize getting people into an email sequence. They also host fun webinars and training’s all the time!

2.) Spending way more time on Pinterest and utilizing Tailwind: I have really got to start listening to people, yall. This is another one that I heard people talk about forever, but jumped on the bandwagon later in the game. Sure I liked Pinterest as much as the next guy, but I didn’t see what all the fuss was about as far as using it to get people to come to my blog, or about timing your pins or pinning a certain amount a day. Now, I totally get it, and with the help of Tailwind, Pinterest is now my NUMBER ONE traffic source to my blog. Yes, even more than Google or any other social media site. It truly is amazing! Tailwind makes my life so easy and I can get my pins scheduled in a snap at the beginning of the week.

3.) Getting in Facebook groups that are encouraging and challenging me as a blogger: Ok I admit it, I can be kind of a loner. I was the kid in school who hated group projects because I always ended up doing all the work and I would much rather do my own thing and get it done quickly. This has since translated to me relying on myself and myself alone when it comes to all things blogging and social media. Sure I do tons of reading, but I wasn’t really interacting with or learning from others until the past couple of months. I think this has helped me to up my game and stretch me a little bit!

Ok, so let’s get to it.

First I will break down strictly my blog and social media income, then I will do a separate part for my social media clients. Please note I base these numbers off of payment GIVEN, not work I have done but haven’t gotten paid for yet.

January 2018 blog and social media total: $2,616.47

Ads: $76.86

Social media posts: $285

Blog posts: $1000

affiliate income: $45.07

Online course and eBook sales: $1,209.54


Now for the money I made working as a social media consultant and manager, which is a job I have because of my blog and social media channels. (I freelance for several companies).

January social media consulting and management: $1200. <—–This number is actually about half of what it normally is. I lost two clients at the end of the year. one I knew I was losing because I was just helping for a few months while they got their restaurant open, but the other was a surprise. I was steadily making between $2k and $2,500 a month in 2017. Thankfully I have already added in a new client for February, and have a couple companies in line to hopefully start with me in March to bring that number back up.

*Also keep in mind I do social media management PART TIME. Very part time. Like 15 hours a week. If you are interested in becoming a social media manager but don’t know where to start, I highly recommend checking out my ecourse, Social Side Hustle. It will tell you exactly how and where to get clients, how to pitch them, how to handle/manage accounts, how to automate a lot of your posting, what to do about paperwork, etc. I even give some free templates to help you out!


The numbers above do NOT include expenses, and are before taxes. I had an estimated $100-$150 in fees I had to pay out for things like my email service, and Teachable, where I host my course. I pay for web hosting and tailwind as well as a couple of other things up front for a year so it’s hard to factor those things in.

Posts in January: Here are a list of the blog posts I wrote and published in the month of January.

Occidental Grand Cozumel All Inclusive

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista

How the Fabletics VIP membership Works

Sandals Ochi Beach

Universal Orlando Resort Blue Man Group

Health and Fitness on the Carnival Vista

5 Reasons to Stay at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Christmas Recap 2017

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

Something to keep in mind if you are wanting to grow your blog and not only make money but have fun experiences, is that a lot of the fun things and events don’t include a paycheck, especially in the travel space. For instance, in January I blogged about going to Universal Orlando, Blue Man Group, Staying at Sapphire Falls resort, and my Carnival Cruise from last year. All of these things were amazing experiences, and they were all free but I was not paid to go or blog about them. A lot of these experiences were not cheap, and afforded my family the ability to do super fun things that normally I would have to pay for, so in a way, this can be considered “income” if that makes sense.

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So in total this month, I made $3,816, before expenses, which is down for me considering my social media income was about half of what it normally is. Also keep in mind that with all of my endeavors added together, I probably work around 32ish hours a week. It is entirely possible to be a blogger or work in social media part time and make full time money.

Again, if you are curious about becoming a social media manager, you do NOT have to be a ninja to get started. My course will teach you what you need to know. As long as you have a basic grasp of the platforms, you will do just fine in the course.

Or, if you want to start your own blog but are overwhelmed at where to begin, you can sign up for my free 5 day email course which will teach you how to get started, even with picking a name.

The goal of my blog has always been to help people, motivate, encourage, and inspire, so that was my goal with this post. I am currently working on a guide for bloggers about how to work with brands so be on the lookout for that to release!

Be sure you follow me on Twitter, PinterestInstagram, and Facebook for the latest videos, photos, and news. I can’t wait to connect with you!

Top 5 Things to Do After You Board the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I was provided free cruise fare for myself and my husband from Carnival, however all opinions are my own, and these are my unbiased best embarkation day tips for boarding the Carnival Vista!

I have cruised several times, and have learned a few tricks about how to make the most out of the day we get on board (Embarkation day). However, my tips vary depending on which cruise and cruise line I am on, so check out my best tips for Embarkation day on the Carnival Vista below:

1.) Eat: It’s typically lunchtime when you get on board the ship, and since rooms aren’t ready yet, we may as well eat! It’s a great way to get in the vacation and relaxation mindset. There are a few places to choose from to eat on the Vista, which is great in helping to spread people out.

Pro tip: We opted for Pig and Anchor BBQ, because the majority of people will head to the buffet, AND, this place is only open on certain days! 

2.) Sky Ride: The sky ride is so, so popular, and as you can see from the photo below, only two people can ride at a time. It is the least crowded on embarkation day and on port days when people get off the ship. My tip is to try and go as soon as you get on board, as the line will get longer as the day goes on. How cool is this?!?

Pro tip: Either wear closed toed shoes or pack some in your carry on, as they are required for the Sky Ride.

3.) Dining Reservations: Sometimes you may not have the opportunity to get dining reservations at one of the three specialty locations on the Vista, but you can make them in person at the restaurants when you get on board the ship. We did this and were easily able to get reservations at the two spots we wanted to dine in. Perfect!

Pro Tip: Do this as soon as you get onboard (ok maybe after you grab some grub) for the best selection of times and dates!

4.) Swim: Eat a little lunch, then go for a swim or sunbathe right? That screams VACATION to me! As you can see from the pictures below, the pools were virtually empty on embarkation day (and no it wasn’t cold outside! It was Miami in November!) This is a wonderful time to grab a chair and a towel and soak it all in, or hop in the hot tub and enjoy the afternoon.

 

 

Pro Tip: pack your swimsuit in your carry on, you won’t have access to your luggage until later in the afternoon. 

5.) Relax: You have eaten, done the sky ride, gotten your dining reservations and gone for a swim, now its time to think about nothing else because you are on vacation on this gorgeous ship! Enjoy the ship and all the entertainment, dining, and fun she has to offer. There truly is something for everyone when you board the Carnival Vista.

board the carnival vista