My Favorite FREE Resources for Bloggers

Hey y’all!

If you are just starting out as a blogger or need a little content pick me up, this post is for you! When I started blogging years ago, I remember feeling lost and didn’t know the first place to start. With a few years under my belt and some good advice from others, I have a learned a few great tips for blogging and content creating!

+ Free Stock Photos

There are a lot of great websites to find good quality stock photos that are royalty free, meaning you can use them without paying for them. My go-to websites for free stock photos are Unsplash and Pixabay. I use Pixabay for vector images and illustrations to give posts a little pop of color and something fun. Unsplash has a lot of really good photos and the quality is A+! I have seen some bloggers use images from Unsplash to fill in content gaps on Instagram and while that’s not really my personal style, Unsplash’s high caliber photos look great on all social media.

Tip: make sure you know where you are allowed to use images! Different websites have different rules!

 

+ Editing Websites & Apps

So you are ready to make your own Instagram stories but you aren’t sure where to find free templates that actually look good. Look no further- I gotchu! My top two websites for templates, banners, and a bunch of other projects are Canva and Crello! Canva is what I used from day one and their styles and options have only gotten better. They do have a paid premium subscription option but I still use my free account! I utilize Canva for my Facebook and Instagram stories, post templates, making fun social media quizzes, a a lot more!

Crello also has a paid membership option available but the free account has a lot of access to editing tools and templates. If I can’t find something I like on Canva, I’ll jump on Crello and check out what they have. Their animated post options are really cute and I have used those for a few different posts. If you check out Crello, I recommend looking at their templates for Instagram video stories!

 

+ Photo Editing

Girl, yes throw the filter on that photo! I never used to use filters and sister, let me tell you- filters change the entire game! If you have some dark light, the right filter is going to light everything up and smooth it all over.

VSCO (yes, like the VSCO girl stereotype!) is a wonderful free app for filters that do the job. However, the number of filters is limited for the free version! There are currently 10 filters available for free, but if you want to invest on a paid membership, it is $20 for a full year and that allows complete access to the app and editing tools.

Snapseed is the other app I use! I haven’t played around with it a lot but it is a good resource for editing! I learned most of how it worked by sitting down and trying out all of the options and going by trial and error, but that’s also how I learn best. I’m sure there are other apps out there that are better but Snapped is free so I can’t complain!

 

+ Join Facebook Groups and Instagram Pods!

Facebook groups for bloggers are a fun way to make friends, get some of your blog posts views, and to expand your blog’s followers. It’s completely free to join groups on Facebook and I promise you that you are going to find people you will click with!

Instagram pods/messaging groups are another way to get engagement on your posts, plus you can interact with new and upcoming bloggers or influencers. Supporting fellow bloggers is an awesome way to get out there!

I hope that some of these tips may have helped you and given you some ideas to get started on your blog! Drop your blog links down below! I would love to read some of your posts and support you!

Until next time,

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Featured image by

Nick Morrison on Unsplash

A Letter To My Future Partner

Dear future whoever you are, 

I hope by this point we are settled down into our amazing beach bungalow and can hear the ocean every morning when we wake up. The coffee bar we installed in the kitchen was a great idea! 

After lots of trial and error, here we are. Finally happy and finally settled. Until then, this is what I hope. 

For you: I hope your current partner is treating you well and you are learning from this time in your life. I hope that you are cultivating yourself and growing daily, seeing life as an exciting journey laden with beauty and splendor. Don’t let the bad days get you down and don’t be too pedal to the metal; I want you to make it to me! Right now the world is crazy and people are starting to unite together and talk about things that make them uncomfortable and learning how to grow from them to do better, and I truly hope that you are one of them. Enjoy the moments that are right now, see the joy in where you are now. Please don’t take a single second for granted. Right now, you are turning into the person you are meant to be. I truly hope that you use proper grammar and spelling because that is a big pet peeve of mine. Or if you don’t right now then you do when we are together! 

For myself: I hope you are able to see past your current hardships and sorrows. Things haven’t been easy lately but you are strong and you are growing every day; I am so proud of us. Please keep fighting for your dreams because I promise someday you are going to get there. Don’t ever stop fighting for what you believe in. You are someone’s dream and hope, so please don’t settle. Enjoy life and the things that make you happy. Seek joy and trust in His plan for you. It’s a beautiful plan! Everything is a stepping stone to where you are going to be in the future. Trust in that. 

By whatever point we are at in the future wherever we are, I hope that we are happy and that we have finally found our Person in each other. I pray that we wake up every morning thankful for each other and that even when we get into arguments, we look past them and still go to bed happy.  I probably haven’t met you yet and that’s okay. It’ll happen someday. Until then, please find wonder in the sunshine and rainbows and please don’t be intimidated by mine. My dreams are big and I want you to be in them. 

I’ll meet you at the coffee bar or the porch swing! 

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What’s The Big Deal About Dating Apps?

Hey y’all!

In today’s day and age, there is a dating app for everyone. If you want a sugar daddy/mama, there are plenty of apps to choose from. Like distinguished gentlemen? You’re in luck, there’s apps for that too!

Since I have been single for a hot minute now, I thought it would be a good idea to get back out there and see what’s up. I’m still not sure if it was a mistake or not, but I ended up downloading two of the App Store’s most popular dating apps: Bumble and Tinder. If you don’t know about the two apps, Bumble is a bit different from other apps, as the female has to initiate contact with the man. It’s not a bad idea, because it does save your inbox from being assaulted with invitations for quick hook ups as soon as you make a match. That takes us to Tinder! I have gotten way more interest on Tinder than on Bumble, but only 1 out of the 20 something men I matched with/talked to was sincere about starting a relationship.

A lot of what blows my mind with dating apps (more specifically Tinder) is how easy it makes the hookup culture. Send a few good messages and you may have someone coming over. Coffee and a good conversation to get to know each other feels like it is no longer there. I’m not shaming hooking up, it’s up to everyone to figure out if it is for them! Sometimes no strings attached is the way to go if we are being honest. But sometimes it would be nice to try to be wooed before jumping straight into bed!

So the big question is: what’s the big deal about dating apps?! You have to make an assessment on someone based off of their pictures, bio, and, if you match, a good opener. It’s the window shopping of the dating scene. I’ve always started out as friends with anyone I was going to date, so just sending a quick “hey” and talking completely over a chat is still a bit foreign to me. However, there are pros to the list. If you end up not liking someone, you can unmatch with them and boom, you don’t have to talk to them anymore. Ghosting people is so easy to do and typically neither party gets hurt. We just go back to swiping for more fish in the sea. And speaking of swiping, it gets addicting so you should probably limit how much time you spend on dating apps. I’ll jump on and look up a second later and an hour has already gone by. It’s dangerous!

Dating apps have helped with the boredom that comes from quarantining from the COVID pandemic. It kills a bunch of time throughout the day and you can spark mini conversations with people and stay connected. So while it may be a scary business to talk to random strangers on the internet, it is still a little thrill to be hit up and poured with compliments, even if they are just trying to crack your shell for a good time.

If you decide to download a dating app, just be safe! There are some creepy people but there are way more good guys and girls out there!

Happy dating!

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T-Town and U-Haul Rentals

Hey y’all! 

Life update: I am leaving the small town life behind and am headed for the big city! This journey has been sad, happy, exciting, and heartbreaking all rolled into one package, but I am ready for what the future holds. Being able to spend time with my girlfriends has made the transition a lot easier and having the ability to come back and see them is relieving and a blessing! Trying to make new friends is a scary idea and I am grateful that I have my circle from home! 

“After all, seasons change, so do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart, and if you’re very lucky, a plane ride away.” – Carrie

So with all that going on, going back to my hometown of Tulsa with my best friend and basically other half to spend some girl time has been a savior. If you know me at all, you know I am known to stress out (any meditation tips are welcome, y’all!), and getting away to have some fun time is the best way to kill stress! 

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One of my favorite things about Tulsa is their art! If you go to downtown, there are murals on buildings that pop out and show you the love people have for expression! One of my favorite murals is a Star Wars themed wall with Princess Leia and Boba Fett! The creativity is endless and all of the local artists make Tulsa pop with color! 

After countless moving boxes getting packed up, a few shed tears, and lots of questioning, tomorrow is the day for a new adventure and the power to make the best out of what has felt like a frustrating and brick wall of a situation. To all the friends who have taken a minute to check on me, ask if I am okay, and put up with me while I vent a few things out, thank you! You mean the world to me and I am thankful for you every day that I wake up. 

Once things are settled and I have an office space to work in, Glitz and Glitter is getting a new makeover and touched up. It’s only a little piece of the adventure pie I have in store! Get ready for fun things! 

Until the U-Haul gets returned and the boxes are unpacked,

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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Happy Life

Hey y’all!

It’s no secret that I have been in and out in the past few months and a lot of that is because I have been searching. I have felt so lost since I started college way back in August and it only got worse after I left school in October. I’ve had four jobs since college, no idea where I’m going, and lots of flipping and flopping around. Finally, I’ve started having a step to what I have been searching for.

I’m finally in a work environment that I love and where the people love you back, and let me tell you, for me personally, that means so much. If you think about it, you will probably spend more time at work interacting with co-workers than you do at home during the week. That’s a lot of time to be around people and I hope you enjoy their company. Having friends at work is amazing and having ones that support you and make your day better by just being there is the best.

My dream for years has been to join a school where I can eventually work in conservation to help sea turtles and rehabilitate them. I talked with a school for a few months and after talking with my awesome advisor more, I made the jump and applied- and was accepted! Another step to chasing my dream.

I talk a lot about fitness, eating good foods, and trying to be overall healthier to my body and mind. Losing weight is something I would love to be able to do in the blink of an eye but I cannot do that. However, after consistently going to the gym and making better decisions, I have finally started to lose some weight and I feel so much healthier! Something I love to help me keep track of my day is Lifesum (yes, we have been through this before, I know!).

Lifesum is a free app that helps count your calories, keep track of drinking water, find yummy recipes, and so much more. I would love to be a Super Human and be able to drink only water, but I love a good Diet Coke every now and then, too! Lifesum helps me keep track of all of that! A feature that I love is the barcode scanner! When you eat something, all you have to do is scan the barcode on the packaging and it will probably have it in the system already so all you have to do is add it to your daily food log! It’s easy and quick!

I feel so much healthier than I used to and staying with a routine has been one of the best things I have done. My tip: use all the resources you can, drink lots of water, and find a workout buddy to keep you (and them!) accountable. I work out with my lovely boyfriend Caleb at least 3 times a week and we are stronger for it!

Your body holds deep wisdom. Trust in it. Learn from it. Nourish it. Watch your life transform and be healthy.” – Bella Bleue

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*This post is not sponsored by Lifesum or their affiliates. I just love the app!
*Feature cover photo Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Let’s Talk Feminine Health!

Hi, friends!

One of my new favorite brands that I have been trying out over the past two months is Queen V. Queen V is a company that was started by women who wanted the best products to maintain their vaginal health. All Queen V products are ph-balanced, latex free, and made with ingredients that are better for your health! I used a different brand for years and when I made the switch, it was great!

The Queen V Wild Berry V Bar has a ph-balanced formula that helps cleanse your most sensitive bits while not stripping your body of oils. The bar smells amazing and I use it daily to stay fresh! I ended up buying two of them, one for my house and one for my boyfriend’s house!

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I take probiotics daily to help out my digestive system and the Queen V DD Probiotic vegetarian capsules do that plus balance bacteria, yeast, and help your immune system. I’ve taken them for a few weeks and I already have been able to notice a difference in my body’s regularity.

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Last but not least of the Queen V products I have is the Spritzer! It’s a perfect on-the-go ph-balanced rosewater spray that helps refresh your V and control odor. I keep it in my purse and will use it as I need it. Instead of spraying it directly on my bits, I spritz a little on the insides of my thighs and towards my V and it has always helped with any odor. With this Queen V trio, my feminine health has been on point!

Switching over to products that are better for health is something that I have been adding to my daily routine for a year now. Adding a small new product into your routine will make a difference! Try it!

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*This post is not sponsored or paid for by Queen V. All comments and opinions are my own.

Current Favorite Influencers

Hey, guys! Happy Monday!

I don’t know about you, but I love finding new influencers with amazing content and sometimes I just want to give them the recognition that they deserve! I’m coming at you with a list of amazing women that you should follow!

Jessica Kelley @therealmrskelley

Not only is Jessica a body positive role model in my life, but she is a positively fearless and confident woman who is  unapologetically herself. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes to have someone on your feed who is showing that they love themself. I used to hate what I saw in the mirror and I have slowly started to change my view on myself. If I could copy anyone’s style, it would be hers!  Jessica also has a lot of cool content on plants, DIYs, and makeup, so check her out on Instagram and give her a follow!

 

Bekah Martinez @whats_ur_sign

Bekah is another strong woman who shows the world that women are a force to be reckoned with! I first saw Bekah when she was on The Bachelor and she was instantly my favorite! There’s something about her spirit that is so calming and peaceful and I love the presence she has. She recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and watching her entire pregnancy journey was stunning. Bekah has such a positive attitude and all of the products that she endorses are from good brands that I always end up loving. Another fun fact? She and her friend Jess have a really cool podcast called Chatty Broads!

Malori Clark @malorisclark & A Walk Through My Closet

Y’all, I have known Mal for a while now and her sassy spirit and good heart are infectious. She was one of my first blogging friends and it is such a joy to see her grow and get the audience she deserves! It’s so exciting to see a friend get more features and recognition and Malori deserves it! I love her content and fashion style and I love trying to recreate her outfits with items I have in my closet. If you want to follow someone with great style, go follow Mal on Instagram and read her blog A Walk Through My Closet!

These three ladies are some of my favorite influencers and I hope you check them out! Who is your favorite influencer? Let me know in the comments below!

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Fear, Coffee, and the Art of Letting Go

LET IT GO: three words that I hate! Being told to just “let it go” is frustrating, especially when the “it” that must be let go is driven by my fear. However, I’ve learned that letting it go is necessary for the mind and soul. How can I waste my time and energy on something that isn’t beneficial to me? When bad feelings and bad vibes linger, it only hurts me and the ones around me because I allow those energies to change my attitude- and that isn’t good! By holding onto negativity, I’ve risked pushing the ones I love away. Starting 2019 in a moody mindset when I strive for a fresh start is harmful and it’s time to change that.

A medicine for me is coffee. There is simply nothing like a good breve or vanilla latte to hug your soul. Coffee brought my best friend and I together and it smacked some glue in our lives. Taylor, my best friend, and I used to work at the same coffee shop, slinging coffee and espresso day in and day out. Granted, I am leaving for a different coffee shop, but we started out loving coffee together. I can never look at coffee as just another beverage again. It’s more than grinding beans, making brew, and pulling shots of espresso. How many times have people sat around after a long day and enjoyed time with each other while bonding over a pot of fresh coffee? A lot- the answer is a lot!

Fear wraps into coffee with me. Fear is telling me I won’t make it at my new job, that I am not cut out for it, and they made a mistake hiring me because I will fail. But at the end of the day my confidence is in myself. I have found an art that I love and I am invested in. Coffee is my ministry. I love people through my coffee. My art is what I take confidence and try to squash my fears.

In this new season of life, I’m learning to let it go. What I cannot change must be acknowledged and then released. Today, let’s recognize areas where we can let things go, eliminate our fears, and drink a good breve.

 

What’s New

Life is a crazy and beautiful trip. Some destinations are hectic and a wild mess, but the next stop is beautiful and breathtaking. I started a new chapter of my life in August when I left for college and I thought I had everything figured out. I was going into art School, I had a stable university job, and my life was playing out how I thought it would. I was going to be successful and my life was great. It’s funny how when I think it is all rainbows and sunshine things change and I am in the middle of a hurricane. I had almost everything I thought I had wanted. But as life goes, things changed. I fell back into my depression, I did not want to be at college, and all I wanted was to be at my escaping place back at home. I hated my life. What I thought my major was going to be changed and I began to do the confused jump of “well maybe I will like this degree” and back and forth on what I wanted to do.

Cut to the end of October and I’m talking to my parents in a mess of tears and uncertainty. The decision I made that day will effect me for a while and it took some time to realize that it would be okay. My decision: I was going to completely withdraw from my university. I let my university know and despite their prompting for me to stay and seek counseling on my situation, I packed up up my room and belongings and moved back home. In a week of being home, I had the job that I had wanted since June lined up and I was making my way.

It took a lot of tears and tough choices, but I am finally in a spot where I am happy, I am at peace, and I love how my life is going. Out of all of this, people have kept telling me to go back to school and not to give up on that, but the truth is, I am living my life and not theirs. I do want to go back to school eventually but right now I am living for today and saving up for my future. College isn’t for everyone and that is okay. You don’t have to be in college and taking exams to know your future will be “good”. I learned that by realizing I hate college right now.

So make decisions for yourself. Make choices that will make you happy. It is your life and it’s okay to ask others on their opinions but you can’t live your life based on them. If I did that, I would still be in college, I would be in a dorm, and I would be on my way to a career where I would not be happy. It is insane for me to tell people that I left college to be a barista back in my hometown but the fact of it is that I am so much happier now than I was. This is the life I have wanted for a long time. I have peace now.

So even in the hard times, just keep in mind that it will be okay and things will play out. There were nights where I silently cried myself to sleep and all I wanted was to be at home with my best friend and our family. I’m sitting here on a Tuesday afternoon in a coffee shop while people drive by and come in for a cup of coffee and I am

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

-Carol Burnett

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Current Acne Routine & Products

Hi, babes!

With more time on my hands now, I’m hoping to start up Glitz and Glitter in full force and get back into the swing of things! In the past month, my face has been so confused and I have been getting breakouts like crazy! It is frustrating because I am embarrassed of my acne and I can’t cover them with makeup because it makes my skin break out even more so I have been looking for different solutions to help maintain my skin or at least limit my skin breaking out.

After a lot of looking, I think I have finally found the answer!

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I have three products that I use to help with my acne: Acne Free oil free acne cleanser, Proactiv refining mask, and Neutrogena blackhead eliminating cleanser/mask. These three products have saved my face and they are worth the investment!

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I found the Acne Free cleanser at Walmart a few weeks ago and I am already able to tell the difference in my skin. Right now there are only two pimples on my face and they are there because I wore makeup all day for two consecutive days. My skin hates makeup so there was no stopping the breakout! The cleanser is fragrance free, it treats acne, and helps prevent new acne breakouts. This product contains micronized benzoyl peroxide to treat in fighting acne. My skin feels so refreshed after using the cleanser and it doesn’t leave a residue like other washes I have used. I paid $2 at Walmart for the Acne Free cleanser in the clearance section but it typically retails for under $10, so it is really affordable!

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Once I cleanse my face, I go in with Neutrogena’s blackhead eliminating cleanser on my chin and nose. I also use it as a mask a few times a week and that alone helps get rid of my blackheads rapidly. With the Microclear technology in the cleanser, my blackheads have stayed away and don’t come back for a few days. My skin looks best when I use the cleanser every day, but sometimes I skip this step and just use the Acne Free cleanser. I found the Neutrogena cleanser/mask at Ross for $5.

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The Proactiv refining mask is a bit pricey but well worth it! It’s a sulfur treatment that I pop right onto my zits for 10 minutes and then wash off. My pimples always look better and less “angry” after I use the mask and it has become a routine part of my week when I have breakouts. I used to use the mask overnight on really bad breakouts and that worked fine for me, too. The mask retails for $38 dollars on the Proactiv website.

Makeup, dirt, oils, and hormones all factor into my acne and my skin breaking out but these three products are my life savers! Links for these products are below!

I hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween!

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Shopping:

Proactiv Mask

AcneFree Cleanser

Neutrogena Cleanser/Mask