A Day in the Life of a Blogger

Seeing as I’m really boning up on all things social media and blogging, I thought I would share what a day in the life of this blogger is like. I kept a running list of all the things I did in a single day from social media platforms to writing, to a little html code. I will share the tips that I think you’ll get use out of along the way. Ready?

A Day in the Life of a Blogger with Tips! by @fillpraycloset

Created images for a post. I am contributing to Real Housekeeping due in a few days. I have to create two, one for Pinterest and the other for Facebook. If you don’t know how or what a pinnable image is, come sit by me and I’ll tell you. A pinnable image is a vertical, clear and crisp image, 735 x 1102 in size. I use Canva to upload an image that I take, and then add some text overlay as well as the main site link at the bottom. You can use PicMonkey too, but lately, I’ve been using nothing but Canva, because I prefer their social media ready templates. The parameters for a Facebook, like Pinterest are preset on Canva for you, but Rebekah Radice, a social media strategist (among other things) just put out this article that gives a cheat sheet of all the image sizes required for all social media platforms. If you don’t know the first thing about creating beautiful images, Canva has a design school that you can go through at your own pace for free. I use it to help me pair fonts!

Bulk schedule tweets in Hootsuite. This is great if you are going away on vacation, or if you’re like me, and don’t have the ability to use an “old tweet” plug in or any plug ins for that matter. I used this to bulk upload inspirational quotes said by influential women from a Facebook post I saw. I always advise bloggers to share their content, sure – but not all the time. I like an 80/20 mix. The 80% that you share should be relevant to your niche. The topics I’ve chosen are Catholic, Working Mother, Social Media and Writing. So for every 2 posts of mine that I share (one current and one from the archives) I share 8 pieces of content from other people shared across my topics. For a full breakdown of how to bulk upload, I went right to the source. Hootsuite. Here’s a heads up, spreadsheets! And if you have a hard time trying to get the date and format to work, let me know, I have a trick for that too.

Research for an upcoming post. Every month, I publish a post on saints with Tiffany. We are almost set on a theme for the year and the first for 2015 will be up this Thursday. I don’t know anyone who knows all the saints, so I have to research the life, history and uncommon tidbits before each post. This led us to a conversation on what we would like to do for Lent. I was worried because I hadn’t had an idea after last years’ success. She had one though! I will say this, if you’d like to join us, pick up a copy of the 2015 Magnificat Lenten Companion.

Lent Resources on Filling My Prayer Closet part of a new post by @fillpraycloset A Day in the Life of a Blogger with TipsFreshened up my blog. This started with creating an image for my sidebar that would link to all of the Lent themed posts that I did with Tiffany last year. I found a free image on Unsplash that I fell in love with. That became the inspiration for a color change after visiting design seeds to search for a compatible palette. I then created a new header in Canva with the hex numbers pulled from design seeds, coordinated the social media icons that I picked up for free, and updated the headers of my Google+ and Twitter profiles. That came easy with Canva too because they have preset templates for that as well. Oh the rabbit hole.

Cleaned up Instagram. I like to keep the ratio of followers to following relatively close. I mean, what’s someone going to think if I’m following 456 people and only 8 are following me back? So, for this I use JustUnfollow. Most people know that it can be used with Twitter (for free at 50 unfollows) but it works on Instagram too. Just connect your account and look for the “non-followers”, or people who aren’t following you back. Of course, if you’re following Kraft for example and they’re not following you back, but you want to continue to receive updates from them, you can whitelist them. The best part? I do it all within Hootsuite, so I don’t have to flip back and forth.

Followed profiles on Twitter. They say you should follow at least 10 profiles a day, if you’re looking to grow your twitter platform. Social Media Examiner came out with the Top 10 Social Media Blogs of 2015. I thought it would be good to add them to their own list on Feedly, and then follow those profiles on Twitter. A little extra thang I did was add them to a Twitter list, so whenever I wanted to look at just social media, I can go there. It’s a way to pull a note out of a chord, so to speak. I’m a musician, remember? You can also do this with any top 10 list based on any of your chosen topics.

I also made a full breakfast for the family, and dinner, kept an ongoing conversation over email about a social media sharing plugin that wasn’t working, caught up on all of my favorite blogs that were pushed through on Twitter Feed, had some wine, watched two of my favorite television programs, played a couple of round of Words With Friends (anyone else play?!) and chatted with my tribe about what we’re looking to do this year. Hint: Adding guest posts to our mix! Stay tuned for that, I’m working on parameters, topics, etc.

And that’s a day in the life of this blogger. If you’re a blogger, chime in with what a day in your life looks like, or blog about it and leave the link here in the comments. I’m off to play on Pinterest for a while.

A Day in the Life of a Blogger with Tips! a new post by @fillpraycloset

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#7QT The Whirlwind Edition

The quickest Seven Quick Takes in my history, maybe. The one where I shared the search terms used to find this blog was pretty short, but the hilarity! Here’s a run down of what’s been going on this week – in short, a whirlwind.

–1–

My husband has been in London all week. The time zone makes it so we’re not in touch as often as we’re used to, but we make the best of it. Think early morning phone calls to check in. He never has time to see the sights while working, but that’s ok in London. He’s been there before. I did ask him to get me a tea cup. So let’s hope he remembered, if not, I’ll take a cup of tea made by him!

Big Ben 2007-1
By Alvesgaspar (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 –2–

Of course, I get sick and Alex gets sick while he’s gone. There’s no such thing as a sick day for a Mom, #amirite? I have an upper respiratory infection and Alex has a sinus infection. Gabriel? Gabriel has chocolate chip cookies. Not necessarily an illness to most people, but his obsession with it? AND they’re homemade too. By homemade I mean Toll House pre-packaged chocolate chip cookie roll. BUT, I slice them so they look homemade, which means I still get points.

Guess what's going on with me? Don't hate on the chicken flavored #ramen. I feel too crummy to make the good stuff. #sick #antibiotic

A post shared by cristin∆ trinid∆d (@currentlycristina) on

–3–

Things are in full swing at Real Housekeeping. I contributed an article on Four Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions. Then Tacy chimed in with an article about How to Beat the Winter Blues as a Stay-at-Home-Mom. Add to that, the social media hat that I am wearing for this site, I am all over it like wet t-shirt, or 7 year old, pink velour yoga pants. Don’t ask me why I’ve kept them, you know the answer: nothing like stretched out elastic. Nothing.

   

 But I would love it if you liked the Facebook page, or followed us on Pinterest, and Twitter. What would really knock my socks off is if you signed up for the newsletter, because that’s going to be funny, witty and chockfull of housekeeping goodness of the real variety. Just head over and fill in your email address at the top. We can have virtual spiked hot chocolates together, if you do. 🙂 #gratuitousplug

–4–

Reading this week has been The Art of Social Media by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick. I love Peg Fitzpatrick. She has no idea and I’m comfortable with that, she’ll come around and love me back. In the book she shares all the steps that go into pushing great content out into all social media platforms. And by all I mean, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and even Google Hangouts. Seriously, the book is great for newbies or anyone looking to push their social media strategy to the next level. I loved the straightforward way Guy shared his tips. He uses the rules for amateur boxing as an analogy for dealing with trolls:

The opening bell is when you share a post. Ding Ding!  The opening Round 1: Commenter comments. Round 2: You respond. Round 3: Commenter responds to your response. End of fight.

Isn’t that great?! But, my most favorite part is:

“…if you’re not pissing people off on social media, you’re not using it right. Some people will complain that you share too much or share posts that are not perfect for them. This is what I refer to as “Internet Entitlement syndrome”. Sufferers believe that everything should be free and perfectly tailored to them, because they are the center of the universe – Copernicus be damned.”

If you’re interested in how to put your best foot forward in the crazy world that is social media, I highly recommend the book. I devoured it in less than 2 days so it’s a short, power packed read.

–5–

My husband is now the Tiger Scout leader for little Gabriel’s group. I mean, couldn’t you just squeeze them?! Tonight is the camp in at the parish center. This means, the entire troop (25 kids and 25 adults) bring blankets, pillows and sleeping bags, pitch tents in the parish center of our church and does a mock camping trip. There will be activities AND Mike volunteered to take care of breakfast in the morning.

Can I remind you that he comes home today? Whirlwind to get all of the breakfasty things together, packed up and there by 6PM. Eeek. Gabriel wants all of us to go, but I’m sick, remember? I’m hoping to feel well and perky enough to go. The good doctor said it was up to me, and I really want to help him with the load. He’s such a great Daddy.

–6–

In case you missed it, I also shared the Do’s and Dont’s of Living an Unequally Yoked Marriage, but it can easily be applied to any marriage, I think.

–7–

Hello, favorite novena! Have you started it? You know, the St. Francis de Sales novena? If you haven’t, there’s still time! We’re only on day two. I’ve made it super easy for you, just go here and get to praying. His is January 24th.

While I catch my breath, head over for more quick takes at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

Interview With Working Mother Cristina

I am thrilled to have been interviewed by Erin McCole Cupp to promote her latest release “Working Mother”. She asked some fund questions, where we all realize she should have interviewed my husband instead!

Erin McCole Cupp

Here at Tomato Pie, we’re celebrating the release of my biblical historical fiction ebook “Working Mother” by celebrating the working mothers among us.  Today is the feast of Dominican St. Raymond of Peñafort, so I gotta draw some attention to my sister in St. Dominic, working mother Cristina of Filling My Prayer Closet!

What’s your name?Cristina of Filling my Prayer Closet

Cristina

Tell us a little bit about your family. 

Mike and I have two boys, ages 10 and 7. We moved from NYC to PA 4 years ago so that I could take care of the kids and the loss of my income would not be such a hit. Your dollar stretches a little farther here than in NYC, as you can imagine. While I was at home with the boys, I worked on obtaining my master’s degree to teach high school English. I’m still two classes away from finishing that. In…

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Just Shifting Here

And we’re back! How did you fare over the holidays? Were you stressed, relaxed, a little bit of both? I feel really frazzled on this first day back, but that’s to be expected.

The holidays are always stress-less events at our house. Let me repeat that. There is no stress at my house for the holidays. Usually, we don’t go anywhere and can settle in, watch the snow fall and take the days as they come. In fact, I tried my hand at going off the grid for a while, you know, like that Little Caesar’s commercial?

Off the grid Little Caesars Commercial

Seriously, that’s us, except the “Dad” character, in our house, is bald and we have two boys. But yes, I was cross stitching my face off with a messy bun, like that chick in the commercial, for most of the Christmas break. My husband’s office is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s so he was home and not “plugged in” either.

I had a lot of time to reflect and think about how I wanted this next year to unfold. I couldn’t get the phrase “healthy choices” out of my head. Maybe it was all the frozen dinners. I thought the usual: I want to pray more, attend weekly adoration/mass, and exercise. I also want to write every day; the novel, and the blog, but I also want to be sure I drink more water and be more physically active, too. (I know those last few aren’t related, but that’s how my mind works, so I just go with it.)

I am a meta-thinker, I like to take a step back from the minutiae and look at over arching themes of my thoughts. It’s a lot of thinking, I know. It gets kinda detailed up here. But, all of these “resolutions” could easily be tackled if I just made healthier choices.

For example:

2014 Cristina: Let’s watch 19 episodes of Sons of Anarchy back to back.

2015 Cristina: You should probably cut a few of those, and hit the gym. Maybe you could listen to a social media podcast while you pretend not to sweat, and hey, are you going to mass on Tuesday evening? Then, totally watch a few episodes, but have a 33.8 oz bottle of water with you and make sure you finish it.

Did you notice, there was no mention of writing in the “2015 Cristina”? Well, I am back at it with my accountability partner, Rhonda. We had a long chat over the phone a few days ago (how “old school” of us). I mentioned the shift in my thinking with goals for 2015. Listening to my body more, I am working in seasons, or quarters for the year. For the first three months, I want to work on finishing the novel and begin to edit it. I’ll be honest, going back to it scares me. I worry that I won’t have that “mojo” that I had in November. I also worry that when I go back to read where I left off, I’ll be all, what? Who wrote this? I can’t put my name on this drivel!

Captain Jack ConfusedBut, it won’t stop me. I’m good about ripping the band-aid, and I’m sure it’s not drivel.

I also had many chats with Tiffany about what we’d like to tackle this year. We like to blog together and lately, craft – as in, she knits and I cross stitch. So we’ve got some things on the list. Let’s not even get into Lent! Who knows what we’ll do then. Seriously, we haven’t discussed it. We will though, now that I’ve mentioned it here! Here’s a recent shot of my current project. Looking at this every day definitely shifts your outlook, even if it’s subtle and you don’t consciously realize it.

I did a lot of research on planners thanks mostly to this pin, at the end of the year, and purchased a pretty good one at a significant discount (gift cards and promo codes helped with that). Seeing as I am the Social Media Manager for Real Housekeeping now, writing, mommy-ing and keeping up on this here blog, I needed to get really organized. I also picked up a devotional that has some journaling included that should keep me on track, as it’s also seasonal. And who can’t handle weekly journaling! The devotional is not Catholic specific, but the first chapter had me at “core muscles”. Take a look at the sample and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m sure I’m glossing over a lot of funny little anecdotes that happened while we were all on break. I didn’t always whip out my iPhone to snap a pic – that’s what usually reminds me. I really wanted time away with my boys, I kind of love them.

I think that’s where we’re at. See? Healthy choices. For the new year, I will try to shift my perspective and make the healthiest choice for me at the time. Whether it be for balance, prayer, or something as simple as drinking more water, this is an easy outlook to implement, if I give myself that beat before actually chowing down on nachos and queso (like I did last night after my first day at the gym!). Its all a process, right?

So tell me, what are you shifting towards? Or do you have a whole set of resolutions? Tell me, and maybe we can all have chips, because they’re really good. Try the Totstito’s Cantina ones. Yum, yum! Ok, that’s not healthy talk right now.

😀