Featured Post: 6 Widgets + Plugins You Need for Your Blog


Making the switch to a self-hosted blog is a big step– but one of the best perks is all the freedom to add in widgets and plugins to help increase the effectiveness of your site + boost its usability. Bianca from Elle B Styles is sharing her top 6 list of plugins + widgets you need; head on over and check ’em out!

6 Widgets + Plugins You Need for Your Blog

Blogger Babe of the Week: Alix of A Pint-Sized Life

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alixAlix of A Pint-Sized Life

Alix is a 20 something aspiring author/blogger at A Pint-Sized Life. When not working her blog, she is a mass communications student with an emphasis on PR and advertising. She is a born-and-raised Texas girl, and loves cuddling with her Shih Tzu.


What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Writing and creating things! I don’t mind spending hours on a project, as long as I’m being creative.


What do you find the most challenging about blogging/being a blogger?
Growing my audience and social media following for A Pint-Sized Life.


If you had to eat only one food for an entire year, what would it be?
Just one?! I guess bread or pasta, or pizza. 🙂


If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Flying– so I could go anywhere.


Thank so much, Alix!

Blogger Babe of the Week: Stephenie of Phantasm

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stephenie-phantasmStephenie of Phantasm

Stephenie Kang (that’s Stephenie with an “e” instead of an “a,” by the way!) is a bookish sartorialist and traveler blogging at Phantasm. You can mostly find her stalking other book/fashion/travel/lifestyle blogs or scuttling rapidly toward her local library, scaring off small children with her perpetual presence in the literature section.


What is your favorite thing about blogging?
Ahh, this is such a difficult question! I love almost everything about blogging, but if I really had to choose one thing I loved, it would probably be the writing. I want to earn an English BA once I get out of high school and try to break into the publishing industry, so on top of enjoying taking pictures and tinkering with my theme, keeping a blog is something I’m hoping will really help to develop that sense for writing I think will help me further along the road.


What do you find the most challenging about blogging/being a blogger?
For me, I find that the most challenging thing about being a blogger is simply promoting my blog. Especially because I chose to use my name as the URL, I feel sort of hesitant putting my blog out there, even though the official title of the blog is, well, Phantasm. It concerns me whether people think I’m too self-promotional when I attempt to spread the word. I haven’t even told my closest friends about the fact that I run a blog yet! But, you know, I suck it up, and WordPress’ automatic Publicize option really helps with promotion, too.


stephenie-phantasm2If you had to eat only one food for an entire year, what would it be?
Oh my gosh, I don’t even have to think about this one! I would eat pizza all day, every day for an entire year if I really could. Unfortunately, I’m still a minor and living with my mom, so I have restrictions as to what I can eat, but a girl can dream, right?
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
It would be the ability to conjure a small loan of one million dollars out of thin air. I would kill to be able to invest in business ventures without worrying about my own personal finances!




Thanks for being this week’s babe, Stephenie!

Prep Series: Food Post

Earlier this month, we covered how to prep for an outfit post– check it out if you missed it– and now we’ve got Alyssa from Runway Chef giving us a lesson in how to prep for a food post. Take it away, Alyssa!


Way back when I first started blogging, my food posts went a little something like this: open the fridge, see what I’ve got to work with, throw something together, snap a couple of photos and voilá. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with throwing together a meal from whatever is in your kitchen (I still do it all the time), but as far as food blogging is concerned, it doesn’t make the most appetizing or SEO-friendly posts. Now, my process includes a bit more planning and organization and looks like this:


I loosely plan my editorial calendar about a month out. To decide what to make, I first, always look to see if there are any holidays coming up (i.e. Cinco de Mayo in May), as certain things (like tacos) will be more popular around those times. I also make note of things that have caught my eye in magazines, on other blogs, on Pinterest, out at restaurants or on a trip to use as inspiration. Another thing that I do is keep a Google doc going at all times so that anytime an idea pops into my head, I can add it to the doc. I’m then able to easily reference my ideas when I sit down to plan my monthly calendar.  Using all of those things combined, I then write out a list of all the recipes, flavor combinations, ingredients I want to use or ideas that I have for the month, see which I think would do best and then cross the rest out/save them for a later date. When I’m planning, I also make note of recipes that need to be tested so I can schedule those into the calendar.


I typically shoot my food on Thursdays or Fridays, but I meal plan and grocery shop on the weekends (unless there’s an emergency/I forget something/run out of something, which happens more frequently than I’d like). I try to work whatever I’m making on the blog into our meal plan so as not to be wasteful. I then make a checklist of everything I need for the week’s blog recipes. I cross of anything I already have or anything I’m getting for our other meals, and add whatever is left to the grocery list.

Shoot Day

I like to start with a clean kitchen before pulling out all of my ingredients, the utensils I need, my notebook where I write my recipes, and the items I think I might like to use to style the recipe. I shoot my photos in another room so I also like to get that all set-up with my camera, reflector, backdrop and step stool. I usually do a few test shots with different dishes and towels to see what pairings I like, as well as to test the lighting and camera settings. Additionally, I’ll pull out a few other tools depending on what I’m shooting. For example, if I know I’m shooting produce, I like to have cooking spray on hand as a light misting of it can help make produce pop. If I’m shooting something that involves sauce, I’ll have q-tips handy to make it easier to clean up the edge of a bowl or plate.


After that, it’s time to cook, style, shoot and, my favorite part, eat the goods! After all, hard work needs to be rewarded, right?!


Alyssa blogs at Runway Chef and is a member of The Blogger Collective.

Blogger Babe of the Week: Lulu of Musings Over Mochas

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lulu-musingsovermochasLulu of Musings Over Mochas

My name is Lulu and I’m the girl behind the camera of Musings over Mochas. I started blogging almost a year ago (hard to believe!) as a way to challenge myself to get out and explore my city. Since then, I’ve taken my love for mochas to Los Angeles, Portland, Atlanta, London, and Paris. When I’m not drinking mochas, you’ll most likely find me cuddled with my cat, drinking a gin + tonic, or watching Grey’s Anatomy. (In a perfect world, all three of these things are happening.)

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
The best part about blogging is having a reason to take pictures of things I would normally deem as not picture-worthy. When I look back on my Instagram and blog, I can pinpoint exactly what was happening in my life at that time– which has been really fun. I also started Musings over Mochas because I was losing my love for my city, Washington, DC. To combat this, I decided that once a week I’d find a new coffee shop to try. In doing that, a whole new world opened up to me as I began to discover new areas, connect with exciting people, and learn a thing or two about coffee. It’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me, as my perspective on life was changed by opening my eyes to savor the small things.

lulu2-musingsovermochasWhat do you find the most challenging about blogging/being a blogger?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been “that girl” photographing her food for two minutes before taking a bite, I would be able to buy all the mochas in the world! There’s some outside judgement you have to get over you’re constantly taking photos, but I also have comes to terms with the fact only 60% of the photos I take are usable. This has been tough! But over time, it’s helped me realize how important it is to do things for yourself and realize random people’s opinions of you do not matter.

If you had to eat only one food for an entire year, what would it be?
I recently moved to Paris and I’ve started a morning ritual of enjoying a pain au chocolat and croissant from my local boulangerie. I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon, so if I were forced to only have one thing, it would easily be that.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
As silly as it sounds, I’m serious about my food. So if I could have any super power, it would be the ability to taste something before buying it to know if it’s worth it or not. Weird, I know. But it would probably save me a lot of money and frustration!


Thanks for being this week’s babe, Lulu! Have fun in Paris and everyone go check out Musings over Mochas.

Featured Post: How to Stay Focused + Increase Your Productivity

Who doesn’t want a productivity boost? As bloggers, we could all use more hours in the day. TBC member Kimberly from Sensible Stylista is giving us 10 ways squeeze more focus + productivity out of our day.

1.  Compose a detailed to-do list.

Jot down everything you need to accomplish, but make sure you’re being realistic. If it’s a Monday, include weekly goals as well. Star the most pressing tasks and assign them accordingly. I’m most alert from 7 a.m.-12 p.m. and 4-10 p.m., so I practice piano and study then. I fade around 2:00 and am lethargic until 4:00 so I work on “easier” things during that time- while sipping on tea, of course. Obviously, everyone’s different so it’s important to keep track of your mental state throughout the day. Rate your focus on a scale of 1-5 for every hour to figure out when you’re most productive- do this diligently for a week, and you’ll be good to go.

2.  Form keystone habits.

In essence, these habits create positive ripple effects, which lead to the development of other good habits. For example, exercising daily keeps you focused, motivates you to eat clean, helps with stress management, and does wonders for your self-esteem. Other personal favorites include waking up early, organizing/cleaning, reading, and meditating. If you’d like to learn more, make sure you pick up Charles Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit.” It’s seriously one of the most helpful books I’ve ever read.

3.  Time your breaks.

It’s far too easy to lose track and get sucked into the black hole that is Netflix or YouTube. A 3-minute video or 30-minute show can easily turn into a 4-hour binge sesh, so do yourself a favor and set an alarm. Also, while we’re on the topic of breaks, let’s talk a bit about what you should do to rest your mind. As much as I love trash TV, I’ve discovered that indulging during the day does a number on my brain- it makes me feel lazy and unmotivated. I do, however, reward myself with an episode of my favorite show at the end of the day- if I finish everything, of course. Otherwise, I prefer to take a brisk walk outside with my puppy or catch up with a friend to stay alert.
Check out tips 4-10 over on Sensible Stylista!

Blogger Babe of the Week: Kelly Rosy Outlook

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kelly-rosy-outlookKelly of Rosy Outlook

Kelly is a fashion + beauty blogger for Rosy Outlook. She is a self-proclaimed online shopping and product addict! Her closet has been bursting at the seams since she was in elementary school and her love for fashion trends has only grown with age.

Kelly lives right outside of Washington D.C. and lives with her fiancé and adorable golden retriever-terrier mix, Toby. When she’s not working or blogging, you can find her with a book and Starbucks cup in hand or, well, shopping! The shopping addiction is a real problem, people.

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I started Rosy Outlook back in April of last year, so I still consider myself pretty new to blogging. But it has already added so much to my life! I enjoy my full-time job in human resources, but fashion and beauty are my absolute passion. Getting the opportunity to share my style and my thoughts on topics that I love talking about is so fun and is such a creative outlet for me. Interacting with others who share my interests and who also enjoy connecting through blogging is my absolute favorite part!

kelly-rosy-outlook2What do you find the most challenging about blogging/being a blogger?
At first, it was figuring out how to get a good following, but lately I have been really happy with my progress. There is still so much growth I want to achieve, but I know that will come with time and consistency. I think the hardest part right now is juggling blogging, work, and wedding planning. However, I’ve mastered a posting schedule that seems to really work, and it has been really helpful.

If you had to eat only one food for an entire year, what would it be?
Hands down: pizza. I try to be relatively healthy most of the week but every Friday I have a cheat night and it’s always pizza!

If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I would love to be able to fly. I’m terrified of heights and flying in an airplane but I think that’s because I feel out of control. If I was the one flying, I would be all set!


Thanks so much, Kelly! Go check her out on Rosy Outlook, TBC fam!