cristina chats with…linnie!

I met Linnie of Linnie at Large at our Night in Raleighwood party. I remember thinking how pretty and friendly she was! Since that party, I’ve seen her at The Raleigh Forum for brown bag lunches, several blog events {including the recent #NCMAPinup event and our wine tasting at The Wine Feed}, and even her birthday party a few days ago! She continually impresses me with her open attitude, constant exploration of Raleigh, her new position as a committee head for Change the Triangle, and most of all, her commitment to “living large.” Can’t wait to have more shenanigans with Linnie 🙂

 “This picture means so much to me because it was taken by one of my best friends, Veronica Sharon, amidst a fun filled day in my favorite city: New York.”

Share your 6 word memoir with me.
Believe. Dreams really do come true.

Tell me a fun fact.
I’ve traveled the world and have lived in all four corners of the country.

Why do you blog?
Blogging is therapy. It gives me a chance to share my new adventures in Raleigh with others. I hope it inspires people to get to know the world around them, dream big, and live LARGE!

How did you come up with your blog title and content?
I love to travel and I’m always on the go. I thought “Linnie at Large” would be the perfect way to capture my personality and passion for exploring new sights.

If you could improve your blog in one way, what would you do?
Over the last few months I’ve spent (way too much) time formatting my blog in a way that fits my personality best. I’m really loving the layout right now. However, in terms of content, I would love to travel more and then introduce others to the world beyond their immediate reach through my blog.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from blogging?
Always check your spelling and grammar! Read your post out loud before you publish to catch simple mistakes. Make sure to give credit where credit is due.

What is the best thing you’ve gotten out of your blog {friend, product, etc}?
I can’t help but thank Cristina for introducing me to the “Triangle Blog Girls.” Shortly after I started “Linnie at Large” she invited me to a blogger event with a bunch of other smart, driven women who are dedicated to their blogs and enriching the lives of others. I’ve made great friends and have been exposed to so many new ideas and opportunities through this one fabulous group of girls.

What’s your favorite post so far? What is your most popular?
My favorite post was my Birthday Fun at Fab’rik, because it captured all of my favorite things: fashion, fun, and friends. It was a representation of the family I have built and grown to love since moving to Raleigh. My most popular post was about the Redress Raleigh Fashion Show were several designers in the Triangle showcased their unique and original designs.

Describe your blog using 6 tags/hashtags.
#fashion #Raleigh #fun #TheCarterBuilding #wine #thebloggirls

If you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which would it be {something other than mine even though that’s a natural first choice haha!}?
I’m still new to this whole blogging thing, but I really enjoy reading fashion blogs. They help satisfy my shopping addiction without spending a dime. Plus, they showcase the latest trends before they go mainstream. I really enjoy keeping up with Tiffany Style and Mollie in Seattle.

What is your favorite part of the Triangle?
The inner loop! On my days off you’ll find me either downtown or Glenwood South. If I’m not there, then I’m usually walking or jogging between the two!

If you could spend the day anywhere in the Triangle, where would it be?
Lately I’ve enjoyed spending the day at the pool when the weather allows, but I also enjoy popping in and out of stores and cafes in downtown Raleigh or along Glenwood South.

What’s one job that you secretly {or not-so-secretly} want?
I love my job. I’ve worked long, hard hours to land the job I have here in Raleigh. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What is your favorite word and why?
I enjoy saying and getting into: shenanigans!

What is your favorite recipe to make {provide a link if you’d like}?
My new year’s resolution was to cook more, and so far I’ve been pretty successful! I absolutely LOVE this salmon recipe that’s super easy to make!

What’s your favorite season? Why?
There’s something about summer that’s so simple and carefree. I enjoy spending my summer days by a lake or pool until the day turns to night. There’s something about a summer sunset that’s absolutely magical.


Blog girls: Want to be featured? Shoot me an email!


public criticism: a do or a don’t?

The idea of public criticism has been tumbling around in my head for many months, but the catalyst for this post was the recent Triangle bloggers’ potluck.

Public criticism of businesses and individuals has become somewhat of a norm as Twitter continues to grow, blogging becomes more mainstream, and small businesses embrace social media.

I myself {what a redundant phrase!} have engaged in this trend. When Maddie was sick, I had a terrible experience with a local vet. After dealing with the situation- including finding a new vet- I reviewed the original vet on Google. I felt it was important for other pet owners to be aware of the negative {and potentially dangerous} experience I had.

I’m less proud of other times that I’ve publicly bashed a local company. After perusing a cute retail store, I left in a huff and immediately tweeted about the terrible service I received. To the owner’s credit, they found my email and sent me a message addressing the situation. Guess what I did? Nothing. I was too embarrassed about my behavior to respond. That was almost a year ago and I still think about it.

Several things have made me reconsider my perspective lately: as a small business owner, I know how hurtful it can be to think about negative information circulating about The Raleigh Forum. I know that there are always two sides to the story that a negative review or comment may not address. Additionally, Raleigh is small enough that you are likely to run into the very owner that you publicly chastised, which leads to excessive and unnecessary awkwardness.

But like I said, the blog potluck got me thinking even more. At the potluck, someone mentioned a hate website devoted to mocking big bloggers {I refuse to link to it}.  I think the supposed anonymity of the internet makes people feel more comfortable participating in cyber-bullying without pausing to think about the bloggers’ feelings. Another prime case study on cyber-bullying? The disheartening Juicy Campus fiasco.

I’m torn because it’s a complicated issue but here’s where I think I stand: A good rule of thumb is to first contact the business or individual privately. Admittedly,  some businesses are more responsive when criticism is made public. The idea that their brand is being publicly disparaged is often a more prompt catalyst for change than a private phone call or email, so I do think there are times when it is appropriate to take to social media to leave feedback.

Another good rule of thumb- act under the expectation that your tweet, review, comment, etc will be seen by the owner, CEO, or blogger- and that your name will be attached to it. Does that change the way you interact when your anonymity is taken away and you consider the feelings of the person receiving the feedback? I guarantee you that even the most popular bloggers have feelings too and are affected by hurtful, mean-spirited comments.

But remember my Ask and You Shall Receive post from awhile back? I stated that if you are willing to broadcast negative feedback, you should go out of your way to give positive feedback. For every negative comment I publicize, I’m sure to share my positive experiences too {like my endless love affair with Al Fresco chicken sausages}.

What do you think?  Is public criticism sometimes warranted or should feedback only be given privately?

P.S. Right after I scheduled this post,  I got a reply tweet from Raleigh author Sarah Shaber saying thank you for my tweet complimenting her novel. See? I do give positive feedback 🙂

cristina chats with…sara!

My friend {not my sister!} Sara of Watermelon Roses has been dominating my blog lately. She designed my new blog header, attended the Around the World blogger potluck with me, and really brightened up my day awhile back. As I mentioned in my Ray of Sunshine post, Sara and I met through Twitter and have been blog friends ever since. When I made over an ugly side table, I immediately texted her because I knew she’d love my DIY skills 🙂

I was excited when she agreed to be part of my Cristina Chats blogger interview series- I knew I would learn a thing or two about her 🙂

This picture is from my trip to Italy with my parents after college graduation. I think it shows “me” inside and out – I am quick to laugh, enthusiastic, but also a bit sarcastic (look carefully, you’ll see it). Also despite chopping all that hair off, I still think of myself as the girl with the insane wild and curly hair. It’s part of what makes me, me. Also I love good food and wine, obviously 🙂

  • Share your 6 word memoir with me. Make stuff and talk about it.
  • Tell me a fun fact. I was almost named Serafina for a great-grandmother, and often wish my mom had taken the more ethnic route. “Sara” or “Sarah” are 2 of the 100 most popular girl names of all time (or at least recent decades).
  • Why do you blog?  I blog because I love to write and have no “professional” outlet in which to do so. It started out more personal (Sara Sassy Pants for some oldies) and turned into an outlet for my hobbies and passions and potential future profession(s). Also I’m a share-er, despite being an only child. Sometimes I overshare, and I’m not sorry. 
  • How did you come up with your blog title and content? I wanted a title that was intriguing, interestingly vague, and fun. Also I wanted it to be easy to remember and spell for practical reasons. I still struggle with NOT renaming and rebranding every time I get a new idea. The main inspiration of my blog is my grandmother, whom I called Miss Rose – she was a special lady and was always doing something creative, both in life and with her sewing machine.
  • If you could improve your blog in one way, what would you do? Quit my day job and spend a solid month adding all the features and pages I want for it. So many ideas, so little time! 
  • What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from blogging? Not everyone agrees with me! I like for people to like me (who doesn’t?) and struggled early on with writing things that would please everyone (and I mean, EVERYONE) so I would have TONS of fans. I have since come to my senses and really try to stick to my own unique voice.
  • What is the best thing you’ve gotten out of your blog {friend, product, etc}? Awesome new friends and connections, especially since moving to Raleigh. I met YOU {Cristina} indirectly because of my blog, so that’s pretty cool 🙂 I have been so inspired by the people (and blogs) that I never would have found if it weren’t for my blog.
  • What’s your favorite post so far? What is your most popular? My favorite post – or series of posts, are the ones I did on my chair reupholstery {Chair Upholstery Prep, Yummy Dressing, It’s All Legs & Bums, and Ottoman, Hookah, & Coffee Maker. I am most proud of that project so far and love how the chair turned out, though I expect to say the same thing for the next chair on my list to reupholster. My most popular so far seems to be the post I did on painting my kitchen and struggling with my color choice {Highlighters in the Kitchen}.
  • Describe your blog using 6 tags/hashtags. #do-it-yourself, #ThrifyHomeImprovement, #design, #Raleigh, #create #thriftydesign
  • If you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which would it be {something other than mine even though that’s a natural first choice haha!}? Without question Grace Bonney’s Design Sponge. Ever since finding it, I read every post without fail. She is an inspiration for young women wanting to be creative entrepreneurs, and also is a great gateway into the home and etc. design world. I always find cute things to covet and awesome ideas for home and life on her blog. It is my dream to be featured on her blog, plus she’s from VA like me (and I totally geeked out when I met her at a book signing! 🙂 Editor’s note: Sara is also obsessed with Young House Love and mentions it every time I see her}.
  • What is your favorite part of the Triangle? I’m in love with pretty much all of downtown Raleigh. SPECIAL favorites might be Glenwood South area (because I live there and love it), Warehouse District (tons of new awesome things and two of my fav Raleigh eateries), and Capitol District /Fayetteville St. area. 
  • If you could spend the day anywhere in the Triangle, where would it be? I would hop from Raleigh Times to Morning Times to Helios to Busy Bee to the Humble Pie patio to Capitol Lawn to Sitti to Hibernian and then hit a concert at the Raleigh Amphitheater. 
  • What’s one job that you secretly {or not-so-secretly} want?  I secretly want to do graphic design and interior design. I can’t decide and thus started a blog where I am attempting to foster and grow both skills.
  • What is your favorite word and why? TRIFE. Because it’s not actually a word. In college, one of my roommates said it all the time and I adopted it for my own – it’s fun to say, and almost anything can be designated as “trife”. As in, “all this pollen is trife!” or “it’s trife that I copied someone else and say this word all the time.” We have since lost touch but I still use it…it reminds me of good times in college and lots of laughs with my girlfriends. Also the Italian city of “Civitavecchia” is insanely fun to say: “chee-vee-tah-VECK-eeh-ah” …it means something similar to “really old city”.
  • What is your favorite recipe to make {provide a link if you’d like}? Lucky Charms with 1% milk… I don’t cook very often.
  • What’s your favorite season? Summer, without a doubt, and then early fall. Because I love warm weather, wearing dresses and wedges, summer concerts outside, the beach, the pool, and football.

recap: around the world potluck

Last night we had another meeting of the Triangle blog girls, like I mentioned in my Highlights of the Week post.

Laura of Taking Back My Twenties offered to host, even though she hadn’t met any of us before! Kudos to her for being daring and letting a group of crazy girls invade her apartment 🙂

A few of the Raleigh girls carpooled out to Durham to Laura’s amazing apartment. There was about a 20 minute round of oohs and ahs as soon as we stepped through the door. I am constantly struck by how much Durham has evolved since I left- these apartments are just one example.

The theme of the potluck was Around the World, which we somewhat achieved haha!A good start to any potluck!

The whole spread! My corn quinoa black bean salad, Laura’s banana split bites {from Oh She Glows}, Callie’s curry dill tuna salad, Elisabeth’s Lebanese food from Neomonde, Carrrie’s mojitos, Heather’s baguettes with French brie, and…

Sara’s crazy four layer funfetti cake!

From left: Carrie, Heather, me, Elisabeth, Callie, Sara, Laura

 I made them throw up the Bull City sign since we were in Durham!

It’s always interesting to see how a group of very different people meshes, but the blog events always end up being fun. Although we blog on different topics, there’s a lot to the world of blogging which we can connect on. We got into an in-depth conversation on cyber-bullying, which I’m planning to write a post about soon.

Thank you to Laura for hosting and to all the other girls for coming from Raleigh and Chapel Hill 🙂

highlights of the week

Finishing up taxes

Photo credit

In spite of the fact that I hate managing financials {or I suppose because I hate managing financials} I felt incredibly empowered going through the process, learning about income and deductions, and mailing off my forms.

Blog group potluck

The blog girls and I are having a group potluck on Thursday! Laura of Taking Back My Twenties graciously offered to host, so we’re having the potluck in her chic Durham apartment {I know what it looks like from her blog, of course!}. The theme is Around the World, so I’m excited to see what a group that includes a few food bloggers can come up with!

My stepdad’s birthday

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 Happy happy birthday to the greatest stepdad ever! Thanks for helping us with taxes, storing our random belongings, laughing at our inappropriate jokes, and listening  to the painfully awful songs we create for you {good times were had by all, by all by all by all….}

Home decor

Photo credit

I’m in the home stretch of my self-prescribed home decorating deadline. I made some good progress this week, including hanging corkboards in the kitchen for recipe inspiration; revamping some black and silver end tables {one will go in the entryway for keys, one will stay by the couches as an end table}; painting hooks and a corkboard to hang by the front door; and trying to figure out how to hang napkins as decor on the dining room wall.

Dad visiting

Photo credit

My dad is coming from the faraway land of Costa Rica to visit for the weekend! We have big plans, like going to a Durham Bulls game, picking up a housewarming plan for me at the farmers’ market, brunching, showing off our office, and lots more 🙂

cristina chats with…heather!

The first time Heather Allen emailed us about coworking space, we knew she was exactly the kind of person we wanted as the first founding member of The Raleigh Forum. Over the past 7 months, we’ve spent countless days in the office together, attended numerous downtown Raleigh networking events, joined the same gym, and drank a glass or two of wine together {her boyfriend owns The Wine Feed!}. She’s inspirational, creative, and hilarious- I love the story of the time she insisted on talking like a hillbilly for an entire car ride 🙂

When she launched her blog project, 52 Weeks of Celebrated Imagination, it was obviously time for her to join the blog group!

“This image shows me in my urban element, camera in hand, excited by what’s happening on the other side of my lens!” -Heather

Share your 6 word memoir with me. Creative. Random. Compulsive Yes-er. Visionary. ENFJ.

Tell me a fun fact. I can whistle like nobody’s business.

Why do you blog? I blog to celebrate the creative talents of others, to share small business and marketing know-how with career artists, and to promote the work of those I represent.

How did you come up with your blog title and content? At first I wanted to use the words “Inspirational Fodder” (like food for thought) but it didn’t have a good ring to it. My “52 Weeks” Blog presents a new theme each week in which an interactive conversation starts on the business Facebook page, and is wrapped up in archival form in the Creative Week in Review which is posted on the blog. You never know what can happen in 52 Weeks.

If you could improve your blog in one way, what would you do? I would improve the amount of time I have to devote to it. I’m very excited by and about my company blog, but as mentioned above, I’m a compulsive yes-er/volunteer and have a lot of activities occupying my plate simultaneously. Ideally, I’d like to push out more great content in less time.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from blogging? I’ve learned a lot from other bloggers, particularly about the importance of maintaining my voice and quirks in my text. I just hired a contributing blogger–his voice is very different from mine and should add some zest! Additionally, as my theme is a celebration of the work of others, I avidly cite, credit and fact-check content.

Describe your blog using 6 tags/hashtags. #FineArtsMarketing #Marketing4SmArtBiz #inspiring #celebration! #Dang! #share!

If you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which would it be? Gosh golly, I have no clue! There are so many incredible blogs out there. I suppose I would read one that serves as a digest of a bunch! How about them apples?

If you could spend the day anywhere in the Triangle, where would it be?  Hands down, inside the NCMA and outside in the enormous park behind the NCMA.

What’s one job that you secretly {or not-so-secretly} want?  To be a creativity coach. Just need a few certificates and more time with my clients. I’m halfway there.

What is your favorite word and why? Chicken Sandwich. Seriously. There are a lot of satisfying consonants in that short two-worder. And it makes for a great response to just about any question starting with “What would you like?”

What’s your favorite season? Why? Fall has been my favorite season since I moved to North Carolina. It’s a time of reflection, magic and a still calming that’s only here for a short while.

To connect with Heather, follow her on Twitter and check out her newly launched website

cristina chats…with meredith

For an explanation of my “Cristina Chats” series, click here!

The first person I want to introduce you to is Meredith Stokke of Food for Thought. I’ve known Meredith for a few years because she used to be my sister’s neighbor! She was also one of the first people I thought of for the blog group 🙂

Meredith is a therapist who works with teens, young adults, and families. She specializes in treating eating disorders, so body image is the primary topic covered on her blog.

Meredith is the happy runner in the red shorts!

Share an image that captures YOU.

I ran my first half-marathon this past summer in Chicago with one of my best friends, and her sister snapped this picture of us as we ran by her. When we both saw her in the crowd cheering, we both instinctively reacted the same way. I think this captures me well.

Share your six word memoir with me.

Once was lost; thankful I’m found.

Tell me a fun fact.

I was a ballerina growing up and danced on pointe.

Why do you blog?

I blog because I want to encourage and educate, but I also blog because I want to challenge people to think critically about beauty, self-esteem, weight, the media, dieting, etc. Plus, I love to write and blog because I enjoy it!

How did you come up with your blog title and content?

Honestly, I don’t remember how I came up with the title- but I was asked to start blogging by a former therapist boss about counseling related topics. I…really ended up loving it (and am still going strong almost 2 years after leaving that job!). Because I specialize in treating eating disorders and body image, I have a lot of conversations about the media, beauty ideals, self-esteem… I think this is something that a lot of people think about and wrestle with. My goal with my blog content is to challenge the way that people view the media, and encourage people to have healthy, grounded self-esteem. I also enjoy writing about other things sometimes too– anything positive and encouraging that might inspire people to have hope, or live a better, more full life.

If you could improve your blog in one way, what would you do?

I would love to post more frequently- my lack of posting, especially lately, has everything to do with how busy I am, rather than not having enough content to post. Between running my private practice, seeing clients, doing a few hours a week of work at William Peace University, volunteering, and keeping up with my social and personal life, it’s a lot! I’d also like to get back to interviewing people that inspire me!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from blogging?

That small gestures can make a difference! I’ve always believed this, but blogging has really reinforced that for me. I always assume that my mom is the only one that reads my blog (hi Mom!) and so when I get emails from strangers who read my blog and share with me how a particular post has impacted them, it really touches me and reminds me that simple things can make a difference in another’s life. We all have the power to have a positive impact on others, no matter how great or small the gesture is!

What’s the greatest thing you’ve gotten out of blogging?

There have been so many great things! Connecting with people in the field that I respect is probably near the top of the list. I’ve had the opportunity to interview different people, and friendships have formed as a result.

What are your favorite posts on your blog? 

Hmm. I know this is cheating, but here are 3 that are special to me: Dispelling Eating Disorder Myths, a Girls on the Run re-cap, and a post on my experience at the Children’s Malnutrition Center in Guatemala.

If you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which would it be {something other than mine even though that’s a natural first choice haha!}?

I can’t choose just one- I read so many! I love Amy Hutton’s blog Amstel Life (her story is amazing and every time I read her blog, I cry- true story). I also like a faith based blog that an old roommate of mine writes, called SheWorships.

What is your favorite part of the Triangle?

I might be partial because I live and work in North Raleigh, but I love North Hills. There are lots of great restaurants (Coquette, Mura, Midtown Grill, Vivace, Piola), great shopping (Gena Chandler, Lululemon, Monkee’s), and it’s not too far from downtown either! If I could pick another favorite, it would be Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke in Durham- I love going to Duke basketball games.

What’s your favorite season? 
I love the summer. I went to graduate school in Arizona, and after living there for a few years, I crave blue skies and sunshine. I love being outside, doing summer-like activities, going to the beach. I also think summer just has a more casual, laidback feel to it. And I love that.

To read more from Meredith, visit her blog, Food for Thought!

cristina chats…with cristina!

I recently sent an email to the blog girls asking if I could profile them on my blog. We all have several things in common: being bloggers, being female, being young, being awesome…but it’s a very interesting and diverse group, so I wanted to highlight each person separately. Several girls work in nutrition, some run small businesses, some do {social} media. Some focus on food, some focus on decor, some focus on body image, some focus on everything {ahem, me}.

I thought it was only fair to share my answers with you before making the other girls answer them 🙂 First, I also asked each girl to share an image that they felt captured them.

Describe your image.
Daisies hold a lot of significance for me. My middle name means daisy in Spanish; my mom used to give me a bouquet every year for my birthday. They also represent beautiful simplicity to me {I just looked it up and this is the actual meaning too!}. I love how this image highlights one daisy standing out from the rest of the field.

Share your six word memoir.
Coming sooooon…

Tell me a fun fact.
I can beat pretty much any guy in a shotgunning contest {seriously, challenge me!}.

Why do you blog?
As an outlet for positivity and an escape from negativity.

How did you come up with your blog title and content?
For the full explanation, click here! The simple explanation is that I wanted a phrase to represent “Cristina’s Life.” My life isn’t particularly glamorous or extravagant, but it’s exciting in its unique run-of-the-mill way- in other words, it’s scintillatingly simple 🙂

If you could improve your blog in one way, what would you do?
I would love to complement each one of my posts with a big, beautiful photo that I took! I would also love a redesigned blog {which I’ll have SOON}.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from blogging?
How to strike a balance between showing the real no-holds-barred you and remaining professional.

What’s the best thing you’ve gotten out of blogging?
I’ve ended up challenging myself in new ways; taking time to appreciate everyday life; and gotten perspective on life changes. But the most recent best thing is forming the blogging group!

Describe your blog using 6 tags/hashtags.
#cooking #selfimprovement #randommusings #entrepreneurship #sister #coffee

What is your favorite post so far? Which is your most popular?
My most popular is DIY Sunburst Mirror. It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite- I love all the ones in the “Thought of the Day” category because it’s just a compilation of my random musings 🙂

If you could only read one blog for the rest of your life, which would it be {something other than mine even though that’s a natural first choice haha!}?

What is your favorite part of the Triangle?
From my work article on Raleigh: Cameron Village’s historic charm makes it the perfect place for outdoor shopping. You’ll from everything from a spice store {pick up North Carolina-style dry rubs at Penzey’s Spices} to small boutiques {like Uniquities or Fabrik} to organic specialty food shopping {at  Fresh Market} to southern-style custard {get the Carolina Concrete at Goodberry’s Creamery}. Top the day off with a trip to the local library and a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, where they’re almost guaranteed to know your name if you go enough. If you’re looking for a slightly funkier experience, check out Father & Son, a kitschy four story antique store! It’s where I found a vintage fanny pack for the rap music video I was filming- feel free to ask me about that 😉

What’s one job that you secretly {or not-so-secretly} want?
How about seven?! Awhile back, I wrote a list of seven careers I’d love to have, but I think life coach still tops the list. One day…

What is your favorite recipe to make {provide a link if you’d like}?
Spiced tomato chickpea soup, nom nom nom!

What’s your favorite season? Why?
If you don’t know the answer to this, you don’t read my blog! Haha. FALL! Like I said in my Fall’ Feastin post, I love everything about fall: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, butternut squash, Grateful Dead songs (they remind me of fall), scarves, boots, crisp air, apple picking, hay rides, driving with the windows down and heat up (environmentalists- you didn’t see that part), the colors, the leaves….when I say everything, I mean everything.

Image credit: via Shana on Pinterest

insider blogging info

During the wine tasting event with the blog girls, we discussed the ins and outs of the blog world. Tons of great advice was shared and it seems like it could all be summed up by one common thread and two words: read blogs.What do I mean by that? As a blog reader, you get a feel for what you like and what you don’t like.

You get an idea of what designs you like, including fonts, graphics, layout {I sent Sara a few of my favorites, like this, this, and this}.

You get an idea for what kind of content you like {I like looking at a mix of aesthetically pleasing graphics + personal narratives}.

You get an idea of what blog strategies work for you {I think two posts per day is perfect}.

And then you can implement these ideas on your own blog. Sara is designing a pretty header for me. I’m searching for a photography class so I can provide my readers with images to accompany my writing. And I post an average of two posts per day {one at 9:35am!}.

I’m not saying steal other bloggers’ ideas, of course. For example, I love Anne’s 5 Minute Packable Lunches, but I wouldn’t take that idea and pass it off as my own. Instead, it complements a little series I already do, which I call Lunchbox Meals.

And that, my friends, is your insider blogging info for the day.

Have questions? Ask me and I’ll pass your questions along to the other blog girls!

Source: via Patricia on Pinterest

roundup: wine tasting with the blog girls

What do you expect when you put a bunch of bloggers in a room with wine? Well, lots of girl talk, giddiness, and giggles, for one thing. But also a wholeee buncha blog posts over the course of the next few days!

Here’s a roundup of the blog girls’ blog posts from our Wine Feed event {for mine, here}:

Carolina Gypsy- The Wine Feed

Linnie at Large- Fun: The Wine Buzz

Nutritionella- Leaping to the Library

Fannetastic Food- Triangle Area Blogger Wine Tasting Meetup