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

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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18 Things I’ve Learned In 18 Years

Hi, friends!

Long time no see! Since I’ve started college and working, I am insanely busy and hardly have time to sleep, so maintaining my blog has been pushed way off to the side. There’s been a lot of change and it has meant I have to roll with the punches. Today, however, is a very happy day. A few weeks ago, I turned 18 and it couldn’t have been here soon enough. I’ve waited for this day for a year!

Being on this planet for 18 years isn’t a lot of time compared to the life of others, but even so, I’ve learned a lot. Here are some things I have learned in the past 18 years.

18 Things I Have Learned In 18 Years

#1. If you know your body can’t process dairy, don’t eat dairy! Yes, cheese is amazing but it isn’t worth it in the end.

#2. Pepto Bismol and Lactaid are amazing (please sponsor this post, Pepto!).

#3. Taking off your makeup before you go to bed is a necessary thing, so just do it.

#4. It’s okay to distance yourself from people, even friends. You gotta do what you gotta do.

#5. Take risks. Whether it’s with love or a job, take risks.

#6. There are things that will scare you and make you want to run away- and that’s okay. But you shouldn’t let the fear rule you.

#7. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Be curious.

#8. Do not let your fear rule your life. It’s okay to be scared but you can’t live your life being afraid.

#9. Sometimes you are going to have to make decisions that will be hard to do. They will break your heart and they will hurt, but it’s what helps us learn and grow.

#10. Embracing your flaws is really hard but it is worth it.

#11. Finding a church family that you can trust helps the soul grow and the spirit thrive.

#12. Don’t underestimate your worth and don’t sell yourself short. You’ve got this, honey!

#13. Sometimes a decision that works for everyone else will not work for you and that is okay!! You will find your right place.

#14. Go out and find a coffee shop that you love and that stills your soul, then go there and grab a book and drink a coffee.

#15. Read some Shakespeare and go to the theater because it is so much fun!

#16. Make time for you!

#17. Plan on a good time to splurge on yourself and do it if you can! Treat yo self!

#18. This last one is so easy but so hard. Love one another. There are going to be times when you do not want to love someone and the last thing on your mind will be to speak words of kindness and not just rip into someone with words. I feel that and I get that. It’s difficult but speak words of kindness instead of anger.

In reality, 18 years isn’t a long time but there is so much I have learned in that time that exceed this list. Life throws some curveballs and in the hard times, remember to go with the flow. It’s all going to work out in this big beautiful life.

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Why I Am a Pro-Adoption Pet Owner & My Journey With an Adopted Pet

Why I Am a Pro-Adoption Pet Owner

Hi, loves! I hope you have had a great week! For those in college, let’s try to survive the upcoming finals! I know I’m stressed out about them! 

Today’s post is one that is near and dear to my heart because it is something that I fully support and that I recommend to others.  Back in 2010, my parents decided to let me adopt a dog from one of our local animal shelters.  A few years before that, I had been given a puppy from a neighbor of a friend of our family but she later died from colic while I was at camp.  It had been around 2 years, if I remember correctly, before my parents considered letting me get another pet.  My mom took me to our local no-kill animal shelter and we looked around for a half an hour before we came to my future dog’s outdoor kennel.  She was a well-behaved dog, a Labrador and Rottweiler mix, who needed a good home and a few extra pounds.  The shelter let us take her out and let her run around for a while and get to socialize with her.  Fast forward 7 years and I’m sitting here on a Monday night with my rescued dog snoring behind me in her bed.  She’s spoiled, a little bit overweight, but well cared for and rather happy with her home and humans.  I remember walking up to her cage and wanting to break down the door to pet her.  Granted, the 10 year old chubby me probably wouldn’t have been able to, but I thought I was the Hulk!

In the past 7 years,  we have had happiness, sadness, and so many good memories.  In 2015, our Chihuahua-Rat Terrier mix dog had to be put to sleep due to a long going battle with an infection that couldn’t be cured.  Lately, I have thought about her a lot lately and I wish she was still here with us.  And though she be but little, she is fierce.  She fought off multiple snakes, survived a few bites and stings, and protected me and my sister on several occasions from slithering pests that worked their way into our yard.  She had gotten bitten once by a venomous snake and ended up so swollen in her jowls that she looked like a baby hippo for a few days! She lived with us for a long time and she was also a dog that we rescued off of the streets, or rather, she rescued us.  

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Roxy, my fur baby, has been my security guard for 7 years.  She has been my cuddle buddy when I get cold and she has been an emotional support when I feel low.  Her weight has fluctuated, her hips now have arthritis, and her chin is going grey, but she still acts like a puppy when you toss her the gross and dingy tennis ball that she won’t seem to give up.  She sleeps with me on my bed (I still say she fights off the monsters while I sleep) and groans when I try to get more bed space back or move the covers, but she cuddles closer to me when she thinks I don’t notice.  When she gets moved to my room while we have company, she pouts and her brown eyes get big and almost child-like.  Some people may think dogs don’t have personalities but I know Roxy does.  She will purposely stay where she is at even when I call her and she will sashay down the hallway when she is through with my company, ignoring my calls for her to come back, so believe me when I say that she has a personality!

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The shelter we adopted her from will always hold a special place in this town for me.  They took care of their animals and made sure that they were adopted into good homes with loving people, they vaccinated them, and they were already spayed or neutered. The adoption, at the time, was completely free (but I think they asked that you made a donation) and after my mother signed the papers, we had adopted Roxy.  

So with 7 years under my belt, I have learned a good bit about dog adoption, what it is like to have an adopted dog, and all that jazz! I love dog adoption because you are taking in an animal that has been taken from a bad home, in most cases.  They may have been abused, mistreated, and have been unloved for a long time.  I know when we adopted Roxy, there were a few things that we learned she wasn’t a fan of.  Anything that made a loud noise that was incredibly close to her, she hated.  To this day, I still can’t use a dryer after giving her a bath.  She doesn’t like hitting, be it playful or other.  Whenever my sister and I would wrestle, Roxy would go bananas and try to break it up.  She has also become extremely protective, especially of me.  I remember one time my neighbor was over and pretended to go to hit me with his cane and Roxy jumped up and barked up a storm, while at the same time getting ready to bite him to bits!

Another plus about certain adoption is that you have a new animal companion that is past the puppy stage.  Roxy was 10 months old when we adopted her and she was already toilet trained and listened well when we would walk her on a leash.  I was also rather happy that I didn’t have to clean up any piddles on the floors!  But the biggest pro is that you get healed by having an adopted pet.  I know that may make no sense at all, but there is something about adopting a pet that heals you.  For an animal, it is that they are finally be chosen, they are finally being loved, and they finally have a family.  They ended up in the shelter because they weren’t picked.  Yes, there are a few cases where they are placed into adoption by owners who can’t take care of them anymore, but the majority of shelter pets have been rescued by the shelter in hopes that they are adopted into a good home.  Adoption rates aren’t typically too high and some shelters are rather accommodating if you have another pet.  You can bring your pet in to meet your potentially future animal to make sure that they get on okay.  Overall, shelters just want their animals to be adopted into a loving home. 

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So 7 years and here we are.  Roxy goes by “booboo”, “pretty girl”, “little bear”, “nugget”, “schmoo”, and just about anything else.  She likes her ears and back to be scratched and she has been sprayed by 2 skunks while in a heated chase.  7 years later and she still makes me smile when she wags her tail in her sleep and sticks out her tongue while dreaming.  Yes, it is annoying when I get comfortable on the couch and she decides that she has to go outside (almost every time when I sit down), but she is my fur baby, my security guard, and my monster repellent while I sleep.  I love her to pieces.

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She let me take 3 decent-ish pictures of her before she ignored me and wouldn’t cooperate..

If you are looking at adopting a pet, check with your local shelter to see if you can schedule a visit and check into their information.  Your next furry best friend is waiting for you to walk around the corner.

I hope you have a great weekend!

 

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