Blog Love: Whatever Bright Things

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Welcome to another installment of Blog Love! I’m still featuring bloggers from the wonderful group that is Blogging Boost, and this is the fourth and final lady I’m headlining. She’s the owner of Whatever Bright Things, an intentional and meaningful blog with a positive yet honest, authentic approach to a life well lived. I love her blog posts on the creative process and self-discovery. Get to know her better in this interview!

1. Tell me a bit about yourself, as a woman.

As a woman in my early twenties, I think I’m still trying to figure that out. For a while, I felt like I was selling myself short or being a “bad feminist” for finding joy in stereotypical feminine activities or qualities. But I’ve come to realize that those are the things that make me who I am, and that’s okay. We don’t all have to break the status quo, we just have to support and defend and stand beside our sisters who do.

2.  What made you want to begin ‘Whatever Bright Things’?

More than anything, I think it was a need to create. After graduating from college, I found myself missing that feeling of starting a project and seeing it through. From designing my blog, to writing, photographing, and publishing each post, I found that I loved the combination of creativity and technical knowledge blogging requires.
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3. Let’s talk about your blog’s themes: Why the words “bright things”? What does this mean for you, as a blogger?

I have never shared this online, but “Whatever Bright Things” actually comes from a letter F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter. It’s about finding the bright side even in the darkest times; it’s about not letting the hard times get you down, but rather keep your heart and mind open for “whatever bright things come your way.” While this doesn’t seem to have anything to do with planners or some of the other things I blog about, I find that the general theme of optimism is something I want all my posts to communicate. I’m all about bringing beauty and creativity into everyday life, and to appreciate whatever bright things make life beautiful for you.
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4. What are some challenges you’ve faced as a blogger in your niche?

I think my biggest challenge is that I’m trying to combine two niches, or create my own niche. The Planner Community is very visual – very active on Pinterest and Instagram – while the Writing Community is very word-based (surprise!) – very active on Twitter and Facebook. I find that my “tribe” is kind of all over the place, and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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5. Take us through a typical day (or week) as a blogger?

I try to stick to a blogging schedule, but I also believe in creative spontaneity, so that makes for a very interesting week. On a typical day, I spend the first few hours of the day promoting content like new posts, interacting on Facebook and Twitter, and doing something creative like journaling, lettering, drawing, or playing guitar. Then, I start working on content – creating a planner spread, taking photographs, formatting printables, writing text, or designing graphics. Sometimes I wish my schedule was more routine or organized, but one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is the variety of tasks I get to do on a daily basis and the choice of when to do them.
Another important part of my week is participating in Twitter chats. I love getting to interact with other writers and creatives in real-time and discussing the unique challenges and joys of what we do. Some of my favorites are #craftblogclub and #storycrafter.
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6. What are some of your favorite things to do, outside of the blog?

I love love LOVE to read. As a writer, reading is an experience that feeds my soul in a way that nothing else can. I also love to spend time with my family. I am also currently revising a novel, so I try to work on that as much as I can.

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7. Where do you see your blog, down the road, and what are your hopes for it?

I see my blog as an archive or collection of the things that make me happy. My biggest hope is that through my blog, I would be able to bring joy into the lives of others as well. When I think about how I would like my blog to grow, I think in terms of community. I hope my blog is a positive and encouraging voice into the lives of my readers, and I would love to see a community develop around a common goal of creating a beautiful, creative, organized, bright life.
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Blog Love: Boss Lady Dreams

Blog Love: Boss Lady Dreams

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My guest for today’s Blog Love is a lady who is all about being a fully-equipped and purposeful lady-preneur. Meet Stephanie Williams, a biz coach for women who want to scale their business ideas and grow their empires. I love her mission over on her blog, Boss Lady Dreams! And she is, like me a blog coach and social media consultant. Learn more about her advocacy for female biz owners, and her heart for living (and working) with intention. 

1. Tell me a bit about yourself, as a woman.

I’m probably one of the most resilient women you’ll ever meet. I’ve been through a lot, struggled a lot, but I know how to persevere. When others might look at some of my experiences as failures or obstacles, I look at them as opportunities for improvement. I’m creatively driven, and I’m just like you: looking to reach self actualization for a kick ass life. I don’t want to be on my deathbed chanting my regrets… I want to leave this world knowing that I lived an awesome life and gave my kids the same thing.

2. What made you want to begin Boss Lady Dreams?

I started BLD because I was in the midst of running a handmade skincare business, and I was making mistakes left and right… it was unbelievable and I would often be ashamed of making a mistake. At first, I looked at it as if I were failing in my business. Then, I learned that it’s not about actually making mistakes, it’s about what you learn from them and how you bounce back. My blog is dedicated to teaching new female entrepreneurs how to think strategically. I want to give them actionable information that is created specifically for NEW entrepreneurs. When I was brand new, I often found myself running into content that wasn’t tailored for newbies like me, so I want to put my relevant perspective out into the Internet.

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3. We often hear the buzz words “boss lady” and “girl boss” and similar terms of empowerment for women. What makes your blog or message distinct from these?

My version of a bosslady is different, because I’m different. I’m not a millionaire, I don’t even have a product for sale on my site! I named my blog Bosslady Dreams because being a fearless female is what I aim to be. Unlike others, I’m still on my journey to being a bosslady, I’m not there yet. But I want to document my journey so that others know it’s possible. We often see the end of the journey… when people have finally made it big, then they share their success, but not their struggles. I often share some really personal stories with my email list… they know some of the harder times I’ve been through, and they’ll remember them when I have made it big.

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4. What are some challenges you’ve faced as a blogger in your niche?

Oh my gosh, so many! First, the niche is super saturated. This makes me really nervous to sell digital products because I know EVERYONE is selling digital products. Networking is a bit hard for me, too, but I know it’s important so I’ve got to get over it and make it happen.

5. Take us through a typical day (or week) as a blogger?

No day is really typical, but I try to focus the beginning of the week on scheduling tweets, pins, and my newsletters. I really want to have an active presence on Pinterest because it’s my number one source of traffic. I spend about two hours a week on Stumbleupon because that’s given me pretty decent traffic, too. The rest of the week, if I’m not creating content for the blog, I’m reading other marketing blogs or books, or revisiting my strategies to see what is working and what isn’t. I recently started taking my own photos for my blog so that takes up a ton of time!

04Williams_SWP_0346. What are some of your favorite things to do, outside of the blog?

Eat ice cream, swoon over pretty Instagram pages, thumb through a good book, and DIY projects. I’m obsessed with adding glitter to anything I can! I’m actually going to be starting a mason jar garden with my kids soon, too!

7. Where do you see your blog, down the road, and what are your hopes for it?

Honestly, I also see myself becoming a leader in the niche. It’s important for me to try my best to help women who were just like me when I started, because new female entrepreneurs need the help. I love when people email me and say, “Your workbook really helped!” or “This tip you gave was genius… why didn’t I think of that?” I just want to help women see that they can achieve any goals they want! I’m hoping that down the road, my blog will be able to provide me with the income I need to live a good life… I have a small family, two boys and a loving boyfriend, and we deserve to live better lives than we had growing up. Plus, I really want to pay off my student loans!

Connect with Stephanie on her social channels!
Pinterest: bossladydreams
Instagram: @bossladydreams
Twitter: @bossladydreams

Blog Love: Maple Alps

Blog Love: Maple Alps

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I’m excited to share this new issue of Blog Love with you today, because it feels like sharing a rare gem. I came upon Maple Alps — an intentional living blog and community — through the Facebook group, Blogging Boost. I was immediately drawn to what Amanda was trying to achieve through her community, and it spoke to me deeply. I suppose it is because I am going through a new path in my own quest to live intentionally, and Maple Alps gives me such practical tips and resources to help me along. Allow me to introduce you to Amanda, the blogger behind this inspiring community.

MiB (Martine): Tell me a bit about yourself as a woman. What are your passions, interests, and work?

Hi there! I’m Amanda. I am a recent graduate and a newlywed. I am also a Canadian living in the United States with just enough time on my hands to work on my lifelong goal of becoming a ‘domestic goddess.’ Needless to say, my life is taking pretty interesting twists these days!
I always thought being a housewife might be fun, and I was totally right. When I’m not cleaning or cooking, you can usually find me crocheting, taking a run, or practicing a musical instrument.

One day I hope to fulfil another dream of mine and [finally] become a full-time music teacher. If that never happens, I’ll be content as long as I can travel often!

How did you come to begin Maple Alps, and what is the goal for it as a blog? Did you always intend for this to be your blog’s focus?

I have always loved writing, and actually started blogging in 2007 for myself, just to get out some poems and thoughts. When I traveled abroad, I kept a blog to keep my family and friends informed of my crazy (and they were crazy!) adventures. I also actively kept (and still keep) a Tumblr (you can link muspiral.tumblr.com if you like)

Maple Alps came out of a season of uncertainty. Living in a different country, and not being able to work outside of the home created the perfect circumstances for starting a blog. My husband encouraged and reminded me I should be using my talents and time to help others and suggested I start a blog. The more I thought about it, the more the idea became appealing, and Maple Alps was born.
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It has evolved from my first intentions, and is still a work in progress, but it has been fun!

Take us through how you create the content for the blog. What are some best practices you use, maybe tools, communities and resources that you could recommend?

A lot of what I write about is from experience. My content also springs from what I am currently learning about, working on, or things I want to explore.

As for my process, I usually start with a list of brainstormed topics, which eventually turn into drafts. A really great practice I began was keeping an editorial calendar, which keeps me on track and organized.

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I love how you talk and write about intentional living. What is your belief about this way of life, and how do you translate this to content for your blog?

Living intentionally may mean different things to different people, but as a Christian, I believe that I am called to glorify God in all that I do, and that my life truly has purpose. I wish this belief to permeate everything I do. So often, our lives get so busy and it seems like we have no time for anything of value. Sometimes, we allow this to happen for so long, that we don’t even recognize things of value. By consciously deciding how we go through our lives, we decrease the possibility of looking back in regret.
Here are a few intentions I focus on in my own life:
  • Intentionally spending my money to ensure I am a good steward of it
  • Intentionally choosing food that is healthy and in turn betters my life
  • Intentionally choosing to invest in people to build meaningful relationships and help others
  • Intentionally spending time constructively, as to not waste the precious days I’ve been given

Of course this is not a formula to having the perfect life – there are other factors involved – but, I think it’s a good mindset to have. It has helped me have a quality of life that is fulfilling.

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When I write, I write with intention. I share practical things, such as decluttering help and meal planning, that have helped me as I’ve strived to live an intentional life. I do this in hopes that others may try for themselves and find this certain satisfaction.

What are some useful tools, communities and resources you’ve used, as a blogger?

I never knew there was so much out there for bloggers, until I became more serious about it! The first resource I usually go to when I need assistance is Pinterest. It’s really my go-to for life. There are so many great people out there with great advice and who know so much! Who knew?

Community is also a fantastic thing I never knew about. There are some really helpful groups on Facebook, such as Blogging Boost, that are just loaded with knowledge and help from people with experience. The best thing about these groups is that not only can you find others to help you, you can help others!

As for tools, I love using Trello as an idea board, but Google Drive and my planner are my right hand for everything else.

What are your plans for Maple Alps, and where do you see the blog going in the coming years?

I would love it if Maple Alps could develop an awesome community and continue to grow and expand! I’m excited to see how that happens in the future.

Blog Love: Audrey Angcos of Cheerful Journey

Blog Love: Audrey Angcos of Cheerful Journey

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Welcome to another Blog Love edition, where I feature women who have found their bliss through blogging. Let me start off 2016 with one of our own #blissmakers’ blogs: Say hello to Audrey Angcos of the blog, A Cheerful Journey. She was one of my clients last year, but we became good friends, and eventually, she became one of the Make it Blissful collaborators through the Blissmakerie. Get to know what makes her truly cheerful, in today’s feature.

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself, as a woman. Let us get to know you better!

Hello! I’m Audrey. I work full time at the Senate of the Philippines. Aside from my 8:00a.m to 7:00p.m. work, I also serve as one of the board members of the Reading Association of the Philippines. This organization helps promote literacy all over the Philippines. I also blog at cheerfuljourney.com. I love to explore and learn. I want to achieve my full potential as a person. I love beautiful and dainty things.

I was raised in a conservative and loving family. Growing up, my parents always remind me not to compare or compete with anybody. Rather, I should become a better person by competing with myself.

I was trained to give my best in everything that I do. Lately, I discovered that I love to organize meaningful events. It started with the Blissful Blogging workshop that I co-organized last June 2015. Then I became one of Martine’s collaborators on the first public Blissmakerie last September 2015. Then I organized the ‘Make it Blissful with Luminisce” event last November 2015 and the “Skinvestors’ Treat” came last December 2015. Those events are just proofs how God blessed me with the right people, the right situation, and the right determination.

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Whenever I have the time, I do arts and crafts, sing, or read self-help books. I also love trying new restaurants and whenever I’m at home, I am fond of experimenting with new recipes.

2. How did you come to start a blog of your own and why?

I started blogging in 2011 by accident – or let me say it was a coincidence. I love writing poems. However, when I lost my notebooks that contain my original compositions (because of flood), I decided to start a blog where I could put my poems. I initially use a free wordpress domain (sentimentsfromtheheart.wordpress.com). It was a pleasant surprise when my blog started to gain readers. Then I started to get invitations to do product reviews and restaurant reviews. Then last March 2015, I re-launched my blog as cheerfuljourney.com.

3. Tell us what you think is special or valuable about your blog.

I created cheerfuljourney.com with the intention for it to be an oasis on the daily hustle and bustle of life for normal people like me. I want to help others see the beauty of life that no matter what situation we are in, there is a silver lining that we need to see that would help us to keep going.

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I believe that life is a journey. With the saying “Life is like a coin, you can spend it in any way you want, but you can only spend it once” my mantra goes, “Life is a journey and we only have a one way ticket. Hence, we better make it a cheerful journey.”

This lifestyle blog is an amalgamation of authentic and genuine reflections, product and restaurant reviews, events, adventures, and creative pursuits.

4. What comes to mind, for you, when you think of “bliss”, as a blogger? What makes blogging “blissful” for you?

As a blogger, bliss happens when I was able to impart positivity and good will to my readers. My blog is a combination of serious and light articles.

Blogging is not that easy. However, when readers take the time to write or send me an email to let me know how my blog made a difference in their lives or how my blog helped them get through a hard day, then that makes my blogging really blissful!

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5. What are some lessons you’ve learned so far as a blogger? Can you share some with us?

As a blogger you need to know your intention on why you are blogging – you need to have the right intention. Why? Because there are times when you get tired and ask yourself why do you blog, you will go back to your mantra, to your intention, and that will keep you going.

Just like in life, before you do something or make a decision, your need to know your intention for doing certain things or making certain decisions. Life is not a bed of roses, there are bumps and antagonists along the way. However, if you are at peace with yourself and your Creator, no one and no situation can pull you down. Rather, you will use those bumps and negativities to strengthen you as a person, which will eventually make you achieve your full potential.

6. What do you have planned (or in your dreams) down the road for your blog?

Oh, I am such a dreamer! I want to improve my blogging skills. I want my blog readers to look at my blog as an oasis where they could get positivity and authentic reviews, where they could learn and gain friends and be in a positive community.

I want my blog to come to life through meaningful and intentional events in accordance to the different facets of my blog. I know that I still have a long way to go but as I said, we only have a one way ticket in this life’s journey, I would dare to dream, and work on making those dreams come true.

Connect with Audrey! Follow her on her Instagram accounts @audreyangcos and @cheerfuljourney

Blog Love: Denise Rayala of Royal Domesticity

Blissmakerie 2014 at Scarsdale Croughnut

Denise Rayala is one of those ladies you’d keep on your speed dial. She is reliable for a laugh, a shoulder to cry on, and if you needed it, a cup of sugar (literally and figuratively). Her blog, Royal Domesticity, is not your regular mommy blog; it is a respite from the daily grind, like your next door neighbor inviting you over for coffee and cake and a chat. You know you have a friend in her, a confidante, someone who will take you for who you are and celebrate that madness with you. Get to know more about this army wife-mama-homemaker-cook-social media manager mademoiselle, as she guests on Blog Love today.

1. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF, AS A WOMAN. LET US GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER!

Denise Rayala - Royal Domesticity 2I used to be a typical girly girl based on people’s standards: I love pink, can get really insecure on how I look and am always hoping that someone will sweep me off my feet with grand romantic gestures. Now that I am married (to a military guy at that) and has a seven-year-old daughter, my girlishness changed a bit. I still love pink but I now have black and white to pair it with. Insecurity still attacks me at times but God gave me the wisdom to use it as a motivation to strive to be better. Lastly, marriage made me realize that romantic gestures may keep the fire burning but it doesn’t have to always come from the man. *If my husband is reading this, I’m sure he agrees.* I am now more self-assured and I just do what I do without seeking validation from the people who concern it. But who am I fooling? I am made to be a woman and all that jazz. Say, I love shopping for things that I don’t need? LOL.

 

2. HOW DID YOU COME TO START A BLOG OF YOUR OWN AND WHY?

1I was on LiveJournal in early 2000s when it dawned on me that blogging is something that I would truly enjoy doing. When I opened a Blogger account and started rambling my teenage angst-ridden thoughts in 2004, I felt like it’s not meant to be read by the public so I did not share it with anyone. I deleted it a few years after. Then I became a mom and Facebook was invented. One of my friends told me that my funny posts about my daughter are blog-worthy. So in 2012, after a tiring seminar at the office, I made Bebengisms. And the rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

 3. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IS SPECIAL OR VALUABLE ABOUT YOUR BLOG.

I’m not sure if it’s super original but it’s kind of in between substance and lack of it. Although I’m happy to choose to make our lives as blissful as I can, I don’t shun away the fact that life can get pretty sh*tty at times, too. Royal Domesticity is 25% virtual representation of my life and who I am. I can be as intellectual as some of my thoughts on marriage and motherhood but I can also have days when I do nothing but chit-chat away with my randomness. That’s what my blog is.

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4. WHAT COMES TO MIND, FOR YOU, WHEN YOU THINK OF “BLISS”, AS A BLOGGER? WHAT MAKES BLOGGING “BLISSFUL” FOR YOU?

Bliss, in blogging, is that one special place where you can just freely allow your readers to go to. It is where the thoughts you hardly share about offline reside. Blissful blogging is being yourself online as who you are offline.

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5. WHAT ARE SOME LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED SO FAR AS A BLOGGER? CAN YOU SHARE SOME WITH US?

I have learned a lot in my more than three years of mommy blogging and one of it is how to deal with negative comments. Some netizens said that a blogger has “arrived” when one has received hurtful comments and personal attacks from anonymous commenters. Yes, it can somehow make one feel good in a superficial level (like “omg, I’m famous”, haha) but in my opinion, a blogger’s success should not be based on having negatrons as fans in disguise. So I’ve realized that I’d rather be read by few than be followed by many and eventually welcome bashers in my online home. Like what I said, my blog is the virtual version of my house and life and I don’t want anyone ruin what I created beautifully, blissfully for the people I love and care about.

 

6. WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED (OR IN YOUR DREAMS) DOWN THE ROAD FOR YOUR BLOG?

I’d love to see Royal Domesticity grow with me as I go along my life as a millennial mom and wife.

 

Get to know Denise more on her blog, Royal Domesticity. You can also follow her on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK, for updates.