• Erin Condren Life Planner: How I Plan My Busy Life

    It’s no secret that I am busy. My schedule is jam-packed with a direct sales company (and a team of nearly a hundred boss babes), a Tuesday-Friday job, planning and facilitating the birth of a business, and my personal blog. I got tired just writing all of that! Everywhere I go, my Erin Condren Life Planner goes too. Here’s how I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to help plan and keep my busy life in order.

    BONUS: from September 18-24, 2018, you can get 25% off all Erin Condren purchases this week for the Erin Condren Friends and Family event – this is the BEST time of year to get the Erin Condren Life Planner – click HERE to shop now! Does it seem early to get your 2019 planner? That’s ok, for $5 extra, you can get the last quarter of 2018 added to your planner.

    I Use My Erin Condren Life Planner to Plan Out My Week

    Each week, I sit down and plan the big events of the week. Any training calls, scheduled events, etc.

    I prefer the column version. Each day is broken into three sections. I use those spaces to use for my to-do lists for each portion of the day; morning, afternoon, and evening. Underneath each day, there are four lines. One way that I remain productive is that each day, I write down the top three things that I MUST accomplish – my non-negotiables for the day. This includes connecting with people, going to the post office, etc. These are the top three things that I simply must get done: the rest is a bonus. The act of writing those things down helps in getting them accomplished.

    daily priorities

    Erin Condren Life Planner Accessories I Love

    Every planner addict knows that planning doesn’t end when you buy the planner. Stickers, dashboards, and changeable covers? Erin Condren has accessories galore. Here’s some of my absolute favorite accessories:

    • Interchangeable Covers – friend, these are a WIN. I don’t necessarily want the same cover all year round. I LOVE being able to change the cover based on the season (Erin Condren has so many amazing choices for the seasons). Additionally, you can customize your own cover to fit your personal brand.
    • Sticker Books – I LOVE that the stickers from Erin Condren have the same color palette as the planners themselves. I enjoy using a wide variety of stickers, and always have at least one of these books available.
    • Snap-in Dashboards – get your erasable markers ready, because these snap-in dashboards are perfect! Dashboards can help you track your monthly bills, meal planning, to-do list – you name it, there is a probably a dashboard for it! Plus, the dashboards can be snapped in and out of the coil, so that you can move it anywhere you like.
    • Planner Folio – carry your planner everywhere and anywhere – this helps protect your planner from getting dinged by your purse and anything you carry around everywhere. Plus, you can keep your pens and accessories close so you always have them available.
    • Bookmark – this is the simplest snap-in dashboard EVER, but it helps me immediately flip my planner open to the current date. If there was ONE accessory to get, this would be the one to choose.

    Why Choose the Erin Condren Life Planner?

    One of my greatest struggles with choosing planners is that they ask too much of me. I don’t currently need a full page for each day (a weekly spread is perfect for my planning needs). I don’t need to be able to remove pages and move them around. The sturdy coil is one of the best and sturdiest I have ever felt in a planner (I customized my planner and got the upgraded rose gold color: you can choose from silver, gold, black, or rose gold).

    The monthly calendar spread plus each weekly spread helps me to have a big picture view of what I need to accomplish.

    Do you LOVE your Erin Condren Life Planner like I do? Do you blog? You should join the Erin Condren affiliate program and earn 10% of all purchases made from your links! Click HERE to apply.

    So tell me…what planner and accessories are YOU getting during the friends and family event? I will be getting a life planner, the colorful sticker pack (to use the yearly two-page spread calendar for tracking), a set of mini metallic snap in bookmarks, and MAYBE another sticker book….I could always use more pretty ways to plan my life!

    life planner

  • Grammarly: Every Blogger’s Editing Friend

    One of the most intimidating aspects of blogging is the fear of being judged for grammar and spelling. In a world where we claim “don’t read the comments,” it’s scary for a blogger to put their thoughts out there, knowing that they are just one comments section away from being ridiculed and belittled. Some of my most eloquent friends are, by their own admission, bad at spelling. Confession: sometimes, I am terrible at spelling. But here’s the thing, I am REALLY good at proofreading. In fact, it’s part of my part-time day job responsibilities. For those who want a little extra spelling and grammar check, there’s Grammarly. Best of all, it has a free option, perfect for every blogger.

    What is Grammarly?

    Grammarly is an AI proofreader. You can download a browser plug-in that checks your spelling and grammar as you type and highlights errors (super helpful if you write blog posts in the WordPress user interface, like I do). You can also copy and paste your work into the in-browser website to check errors after writing (if you draft your work elsewhere, like in Scrivener or Microsoft Word or a Google document).

    How Does Grammarly Work?

    Through the power of AI, Grammarly’s algorithms run your text through the checker, identifying spelling, grammar, and even usage errors. It’s an incredible resource for bloggers, writers, students, and anyone who wants to be a more effective and powerful communicator.

    How Can I Get Grammarly?

    Grammarly has a FREE version and a paid version. The free version performs critical checks – it’s going to help you avoid major spelling an grammar errors. The paid version includes the following, per the Grammarly website:

    • Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure
    • Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
    • Genre-specific writing style checks
    • Plagiarism detector that checks more than 16 billion web pages

    The #1 Writing Tool

    Additionally, you can become a Grammarly affiliate through ShareASale. Once you become a Grammarly affiliate, you can get a month free trial of premium – WIN!

    Finally, the Grammarly blog features fun writing and grammar tips to help everyone become a better communicator: it’s a fun resource.

    I find Grammarly to be one of my favorite blogging resources: find other resource recommendations here!

     

    grammarly edit pen

  • Jojoba Oil: The One Nail and Cuticle Oil You Need

    For any beauty blogger, especially those who work with skin and nails, cuticle oil is always within arm’s reach. Now that I joined Color Street, and am concerned about how to have naturally healthy nails, I have cuticle oil everywhere: in my purse, on my nightstand, at my desk. Cuticle oil everywhere. However, the more different kinds of cuticle oil I have tried, the more convinced I am that pure jojoba oil is the one nail and cuticle oil that everyone needs to have at hand.

    What is Jojoba Oil?

    Jojoba oil comes from the seeds of the Jojoba shrub, a plant that grows in the dry regions of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. Jojoba oil (and wax) are produced from the seeds and used for medicine and cosmetics. Jojoba is used sometimes to treat acne, psoriasis, sunburn, and chapped skin.

    Why Jojoba Oil?

    Jojoba oil is one of the best oils for the skin because it’s a seed-based oil that is most closely related to human sebum; our skin’s naturally-occurring oil. This makes it more easily absorbed by the skin, instead of just resting on the top of the skin and not being absorbed into the skin.

    The organic cold-pressed form of the oil is the best to use. It is a deep golden color when unprocessed, and is in liquid form, rather than a solidified form (like coconut oil can get in cooler temperatures).

    How to Use Jojoba Oil

    I use refillable cuticle oil pens to carry the oil with me everywhere. You can buy them here on Amazon. They are super easy to fill up with the oil and keep handy – getting the multi-pack for the pens is excellent, so you can keep cuticle oil everywhere!

    Keep cuticle oil pens:

    • by the kitchen sink
    • by the bathroom sink
    • on your nightstand
    • in your purse (not guaranteed leakproof; recommend keeping it in a bag)

    With the multi-pack of pens available on Amazon, and the 4oz bottle of jojoba oil, your cuticles are going to look healthier than ever.

    Ready to get some jojoba oil in your life? Order organic cold-pressed Jojoba oil from Amazon, and then check out this post on other ways you can get naturally healthy nails.

    jojoba oil pen

  • Finding My Grit: Why I Blog + What to Expect

    If you have followed any of my journey with this blog, then you have seen the evolution. You’ve seen the tagline “never just a dress,” the transition from LuLaRoe to Color Street, and the addition of affiliate marketing and blogging posts. You may, like me, have a little bit of content whiplash, wondering what in the world is happening here, and what to expect.

    For a while, if I am being honest, I did too.

    I knew what I wanted my personal brand to be: I wanted something that dealt with pearls and grit. After all, a pearl is born of adversity. It’s when an irritation is transformed into something amazing; something beautiful and even priceless. Conversely, grit is determination. That oyster has to be filled with determination to transform that grain of sand, right? While I haven’t had a hard life, I am finding myself facing the future full of grit and determination, with some huge goals, plans, and dreams.

    My favorite blogs have always been those that told an overall story: each post could stand alone easily, but when the reader zooms out, the whole theme is clear. It finally all clicked for me, after a year of this blog being live, and it stopped me in my tracks when I realized that.

    So what does that mean for this blog, and how does that fit? Let’s talk about what you can expect to see here, and why I blog.

    Expect to See Documentation of the Birth of a Business

    This is more than just a “girl with a dream” and some motivation quotes about making your dreams come true. All those “just a girl with a dream” folks know that dreams don’t make themselves come true. Posting a few motivational quotes on Instagram doesn’t pay the bills: it’s just a small piece of a bigger strategy that involves a ton of work. My story is a well-rounded story of a direct sales journey, lessons learned from years of experience, and a moment of realizing precisely what I was made for, and how I am going to work to make that happen.

    Be on the lookout for the social well. That’s all I am going to tell you for the moment, because there’s a lot of aspects of this business that are in development. You’ll see:

    • The process of starting a corporation (yep, we’re skipping an LLC and going incorporated upon the advice of our accountant, who totally rocks! If you’re in the San Diego area, I wholeheartedly recommend Blackbull Accounting)
    • A TON of learning and personal development
    • The development of resources

    Expect to See Posts About Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

    It would be silly to not share all the learning that I am doing on this journey, including tools and processes that work for me. I have many paid plugins on this blog, and I pay for services that make my blogging journey.

    My pie-in-the-sky goal is for affiliate sales from this blog to pay for my dream house. We started our marriage in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and are currently renting a “mother in law house” on someone else’s property. But hey, let’s be real, home ownership is a dream that we are working towards, and we’re working hard towards our dream house (I want waterfront property; Joe wants a fast internet connection: priorities, right?). Bloggers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so it’s not inconceivable that income from the blog could quickly accumulate to pay for a down payment, and then a mortgage.

    Almost every link in this site is monetized, which means that the price does not change for you, but that I get a kick back from the company for sharing this with you. How cool is that? You get products you need, I get a kickback for sharing the products I love with you. That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing.

    Expect to see quarterly income reports. I’m all about transparency and helping people see that blogging is a legitimate form of income. I don’t want to have monthly “humble brag” posts. You can see my first income report here.

    Expect to See Information About Direct Sales

    I love direct sales. Watching friends turn into total boss babes and be able to apply that confidence to everything they do was inspiring. Direct sales is not for everyone, and that’s 100% ok. I have stayed in direct sales because I have found products that I love and use and love to share them. You’ll definitely see posts on this blog about Color Street, including reviews and swatches, and nail care information.

    Why? Because blogging is a way in which I share what I love. It’s part of my personal strategy to help people find me. When people search for “nail care” on Pinterest, I want them to find my blog and my pins like this one. I want them to view me as an expert on my company, and trust that I will take care of them. I want people to join my team of nearly a hundred amazing women who are making extra income for their families. My goal is to provide valuable resources for many people here.

    If you’re following my blog, thank you for being a part of this story. I am honored to be able to share this exciting, big story with all of you, and remind you: it takes grit to be a pearl.

    I send out emails occasionally: join my email list here to get updates.

  • My First Blogging Income Report: One Year In

    One of the fascinating parts of blogging is that there is great potential to make a decent income. However, it’s a long-term game; a proverbial marathon, and most bloggers are not able to successfully monetize their blogs. Many bloggers don’t get past 10 blog posts, and it’s when the number of posts continues to increase that affiliate income begins to really take off. Here’s my first blogging income report, and exactly how I did it.

    Note: I am not including direct sales income on this report, simply because it is not possible to definitively determine what sales came from the blog, and what was from marketing efforts elsewhere.

    Blogging Stats

    First, let me take a moment to tell you about this year in blogging. I launched my blog in August of 2017, after completing SassySuite’s Blogging Boot Camp. In March, I was at nearly 50 published blog posts, and then I announced that I was leaving LuLaRoe to pursue Color Street. That meant that a large number of LuLaRoe-centric posts needed to be deleted, as they had become a misrepresentation of the purpose of my blog.

    I deleted 17 blog posts that were currently funneling people to my now non-existent LuLaRoe business, and began to rebuild to have blog posts that fit more of a lifestyle/affiliate marketing blog. Along with that, I’ve been integrating Color Street posts. As of August 26th, 2018, I have 42 blog posts (this one makes #43).

    Blogging Income Report: Hosting Services

    For my first year, I had hosting through SassyWeb Services, which is powered by GoDaddy. While the services were great, there was not an affiliate program, so that did not fit my personal blogging strategies. I did some research for hosting services, and overwhelmingly, SiteGround was recommended.

    You can read a full blog post about why I made the switch, but so far, SiteGround has been my number one source of affiliate income. I LOVE SiteGround, and highly recommend it to everyone. Their live chat is AMAZING, and they are quick to help me anytime I have a question. 10/10, would recommend.

    Total income earned: $200

    Blogging Income Report: Amazon Affiliate Services

    Amazon is one of my favorite places to shop. In fact, it was the #1 store online, and accounted for 178 BILLION worth of sales in 2017. The convenience of Prime 2-day delivery appeals to all, not to mention, it seems that everything is available on Amazon. Throughout this blog, there are many links to Amazon products, which brings me 5% of the costs of purchases made using my links. I LOVE Amazon because it’s easy, both for shoppers and for affiliates alike.

    Total income earned: $118.40

    Blogging Income Report: Share-a-Sale & Miscellaneous

    Rather than using Google Ads on my blog, I found that Share-a-Sale allowed me to be more strategic with the “ad space” on my blog. I can use the sidebars to place strategic “ads” for services and such that I would like to promote – like SiteGround or Tailwind. Share-a-sale is also great because you can get payouts for each affiliate who joins under you – win for all levels of referrals! Seriously you should go ahead and join here.

    I’m also an affiliate for BluChic themes. These gorgeous themes are delightful and feminine, and perfect for a blogger, especially one who is in any kind of “boss babe” niche, like many of my friends are.

    Outstanding income: $34.98 (Share-a-Sale has a $50 min payout).
    BluChic outstanding income: $19.75 (also has a $50 min payout – I think – I forgot, really. EDIT: I was paid out for this on September 1. Looks like a 90 day wait? Either way, WIN!).

    Blogging Income Report: Google Ads

    Full disclosure: I hated Google Ads. I hated it so much that I disconnected them from my blog. Google ads didn’t fit my blogging strategy, as they’d often automatically show ads for competing products. Imagine, if you will, researching website hosting, and landing on my blog post about why I chose SiteGround. Then, you’d see ads for Bluehost or for GoDaddy hosting. Since one of my reasons for posting about SiteGround is to get people to click my affiliate link and choose SiteGround, then having ads for GoDaddy or Bluehost just doesn’t make sense.

    Total income earned: $0 (I have $28.68 outstanding in my account, but I am uncertain if I will ever reach the $100 minimum required for a payout).

    As you can see, in about a year, I made about $400 in affiliate income. While many bloggers make that kind of income in a month, I am excited about that year’s worth of work. It’s a start, and it feels super special because I had a lot of major changes in my blogging and income strategies. Most of my work up to this point has not been strategic or focused, so any income feels like a win.

    A month ago, I made a bank account specifically for all affiliate payouts. All money earned from the blog is going straight into that account. My crazy big goal is for the blog’s affiliate income to grow to the point where it can pay for our house someday.

    So what do you think? Are you breaking into affiliate marketing? What is your favorite source of affiliate income?

    blogging income report

  • Why I Turned off Social Media Notifications

    A few weeks ago, I turned off social media notifications on my phone. Push notifications on my phone were constantly dinging,  pulling me away from what I was working on in that moment. The reality was, I knew that something had to change in order for me to be able to accomplish more. I turned off social media notifications, and I’m never going back.

    I Now Have a Clear Home Screen on My Phone

    Notifications don’t necessarily bother me: the constant stream of red dots doesn’t give me the anxiety that it does some people. However, each one of those red dots is a call to see what is going on. Red things are meant to draw your attention: stop signs are red; stop lights are red. They are meant to stop you from what you are doing and make you pay attention.

    A clear home screen doesn’t stop me from doing what I picked up my phone to do. Notifications distract me.

    I No Longer am Interrupted by Notifications

    It’s hard to concentrate when constantly interrupted. Many people pride themselves on being master multi-taskers, but I have found that I personally perform better when I am able to complete the tasks uninterrupted. Because I work a part time job, and balance blogging and my direct sales company (Color Street), I must use my time wisely and effectively.

    Studies show that the brain completes tasks more effectively when able to focus on a single task. The two sides of the brain are able to work together in harmony, and get more done. In fact, it gets done better.

    I Become the Master of My Time

    Clearing those red dots becomes a game. Every time I opened my phone, those notifications were a pull to look at the apps with the notification. In fact, the higher the red number, the more likely I was to click on that app first. That changed my productivity habits, because instead of going to post in my VIP group, I would go to clear the notifications.

    Now, I go to apps when I specifically need to go to the app. I go specifically to the place where I need to be, and get the things that I need to get done accomplished. This lends a focus to my work that I have desperately needed.

    How are you working to help increase your productivity? Do you have your notifications still on, or have you taken the plunge to turn them off?

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    social media notifications