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Little Miss Momma: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Do You Smell That??

It's over 100 degrees outside today--and it's nearly October.
But inside my home, we're in denial.

The air conditioning is on, the Halloween decor is out, we're making soup and the fireplace wishes it was lit.

You see, while the weather is having a bit of an identity crisis, indoors we have welcomed the Fall season with open arms.

And we're pulling out all the stops to welcome the season of falling leaves, light rains, wet pavement, chilly breezes, candy corn and turkey dinners. 

If you stopped by my home to say hi today, you would be greeted with delicious wafts of warm apple pie {and I'm not even baking}. 

You would step into my living room and be enchanted by the woodsy fragrance of Christmas trees.

Need to use the water closet while you're visiting? No problem.
Enjoy the fresh scent of crisp California waves crashing on the beach while you freshen up.

And I have the savvy and beautiful Cyndi Broadhead to thank for all this smell-good awesomeness!
Doesn't this picture make you want to be her BFF?! 

Cyndi is a very knowledgeable independent consultant with Scentsy, and she recently introduced me to a whole new world of happiness!

That's right ladies--apparently I am the last woman on Earth to hear about Scentsy--and boy have I been missing out!

Cyndi was sweet enough to send me a generous package so that I could give Scentsy products a try for myself!

Want to see what I picked out?

This lovely Lisbon full-size warmer for my entry way table.

This Sand Dollar Plug-In warmer for my beach themed guest bathroom.

And three of my most favorite fragrances EVER:
Christmas Tree, Apple Pie and the Beach!

People, I am in LOVE!
My house smells like a home thanks to Scentsy!
And the BEST part--there's NO FLAME, so I don't need to worry about my monster baby knocking over a candle and setting the house on fire.

I am already drooling over a bunch of other designs in Cyndi's shop--I'm thinking a warmer for every room, right?!

And how great would these be for holiday gifts?!!!

And then of course a warmer for EVERY holiday and season!

Perfect for Fall:

I am already drooling over a ton of new fragrances that I MUST have.
And Cyndi was kind enough to suggest a few of her favorites such as:
Perfectly Pomegranate

Pumpkin Pie

Black Raspberry Vanilla

Satin Sheets

and the most intriguing--Autumn Sunset!

As a new Little Miss Momma sponsor, Cyndi wants to spoil all of you with some extra awesome specials!

Click HERE to learn how to you can receive FREE Scentsy products with your order!

And be prepared to get lost in Cyndi's world of Scensty as you plan out the fragrances that will best define your home!

What fragrance defines your home?

Maple Syrup
Satin Sheets
Skinny Dipping
Sugar Cookies...

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blog Tips Part Two: The techy behind the scenes stuff

Blogging Tips Part Two:
The techy behind the scenes mumbo jumbo.

Button Up:
Give your readers the option to wear your badge proudly--to let others know that they think your blog rocks! Just think of how many fab blogs you have discovered by clicking a button on someone else's blog. I even suggest having two buttons: one with your blog logo and a featured button. 

Now the important part--how to GET a button.
Option #1: You can design your own button and create your own html in a few fairly simple steps. You can thank Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous for putting together step-by-step instructions HERELinda also has a great tutorial to help you design your very own blog header, click HERE.

Option #2: Or you can hire a professional to make you a button.
I had Dumplin Design Studio create my button for me for a mere $10. Not only does she design the button, but she also provides you with the html code.

Make it Pretty:
There are some great places out there to find FREE blog templates, backgrounds, dividers, bling, etc. Here are a few of my favorite:
The Cutest Blog on the Block
Shabby Blogs
Leelou Blogs

And if you want a completely unique and super rad layout that screams "YOU", head over to Dumplin Design Studio and she will design you a blog you're sure to love {for a very reasonable price, might I add}.

There are wonderful Momma networking blogs and websites out there that will help you connect with future readers and learn about new blogs you may fall in love with. Here are a few of the ones I am a part of:
Mom Bloggers Club
Top Mommy Blogs
Mormon Mommy Blogs

Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog DirectoryMMB


Blog Stats:
Your blog stats tell you way more than how many people are visiting your blog. You can find out what are your most popular posts, what pictures people are clicking on, how long people are staying on your blog, what links people are clicking on {great for sponsors}, and most important--where people are coming from. Every day when I check my stats, I first go see where people are clicking in from. This tells me who is featuring me and what networking blogs are sending me the most readers. These are a few FREE blog stat websites that I have used:
1. Stat Counter {my personal favorite}
2. Google Analytics
3. Whos Amung Us {yes, that's how they spell it}

Blog Conferences:
Now I am certainly not an expert when it comes to blog conferences {I have only attended one}, but I have grand plans to be a regular at many of them one day. They ROCK, because you get to meet all the people you read about. And then you'll get all sweaty and anxious when you finally get the nerve to go introduce yourself to them {kinda how I got when I finally approached Becca from Blue Cricket Design--who is even prettier in person, btw}. You will also meet certain chicas and it will be love at first sight {like when I met this hilarious Momma}. Here is a link to a bunch of Mom Blog Conferences to consider.

I'm Going to the CBC!

I know it seems like a lot of extra work, but I strongly feel that these social networking sites go hand in hand with your blog. Case in point: I get the most hits on my blog from facebook. Every time I have a new post, want to announce a giveaway or let people know about a new item in my Etsy shop, I post a link on my Little Miss Momma facebook page and then people start clicking away.

Now Twitter is another beast entirely, one that still hurts my brain and I haven't yet taken the time to get it all figured out. But, once again, Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous has put together a very helpful Twitter Basics post that will get you set up with what you need to know--click HERE.

Getting Sponsors:
ETSY ETSY ETSY--the happiest place on earth {second to Target of course}! Etsy is the best place to find new sponsors for your blog. The first step, is finding shops you LOVE--if you don't LOVE the shop, don't bother--I don't recommend having a sponsor that you don't personally endorse.

Now, when you contact these shops DO NOT send out a generic email--they hate that. Make it personal. Let them know WHAT you love about their shop and WHY you think they will be a good fit with your blog. Include key information that will help them decide if advertising with you will benefit them: key stats, a brief bio about your blog and information on how you run your promotional programs--perhaps include links to some past giveaways or reviews that you have written so that they can see a sample of your work. {I could go on about this topic forever, so feel free to email me if you have any specific questions}.

Keywords and SEO:
I actually know very little about this topic, BUT I will tell you what I do know. Choose the titles of your blog posts thoughtfully--because those are what get picked up by the search engines {google, yahoo, etc}. For example, I wrote a post on how to make yummy and beautiful cake pops. I would like to have called this post something like "Yummy Awesomeness", but I also want people searching for Cake Pop Recipes in google to be able to find my blog. Soooo, I titled my post "Cake Pop Recipe" and now it shows up in google when people search for a cake pop recipe--YAY!

So that's all I can come up with for now folks.
Puh-Lease let me know if you have ANY questions--if there are enough questions, I will likely write a follow up post with the best answers I can come up with!

For now, if you're hungry for more, head over to Blue Cricket Design and check out her tips on how to Break Into the World of Blogging--she gives super fab and practical advice!

Did you miss Part One? Click here to check it out!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blogging Tips Part One: The Fluffy Stuff

Blogging Tips:
What I wish I knew before I started my blog.

I remember starting this blog with a vague image in my mind of what I hoped it would become. Nothing I imagined ever seemed like a reality, like something I might actually achieve {you know that feeling?}.

One day I woke up and I thought, You know what--I'm going to really do this! I am going to take all those crazy ideas and silly stories swirling around in my head as I lay in bed at night, and I am going to share them with anyone willing to listen to me. And so Little Miss Momma was born.

I had no idea blogging was so complicated--no really! Shortly after starting LMM, I learned that there is way more to this industry {yes, blogging is an industry now} than I ever imagined. Did you know that of the TOP 100 websites in the world, 22 of them are blogs???? {quoted at the Casual Bloggers Conference lecture in 2010, so it must be true}. WOW, right?!

When I jumped head first into the world of blogging I became overwhelmed at all there was to learn. I knew nothing about html, link parties, blog hops, buttons, sponsorships, advertising, followers, subscribers, page rank, unique visitors, page hits, anonymous comments, blah, blah blah.

Looking back, there is so much I wish I had known before I started, so much that would have made this whole process a bit more smooth--and today I want to begin to share some of those tips with you.

**DISCLAIMER**: I am NOT an expert--in fact, I am far from it! But I know what has worked for me so far--and perhaps it will work for you too *wink*

These "Blogging Tips" will be divided into two separate posts:

Part One: Fluffy Blogging Advice {content related}--TODAY's post
Part Two: Practical Blogging Advice {techy, behind the scenes stuff}

I'll be the first to admit how important it is to understand a bit of the techy stuff and the behind the scenes part of blogging--it's critical to drawing people to your blog. But, I believe that the key to creating a truly successful blog lies in the CONTENT--because once people find you, you want them to stick around, right?!

And now on to the FLUFFY stuff...

Ask WHY, set GOALS, and then define SUCCESS.

WHY: Why did you start this blog? Was it to make money, to make friends, to share ideas, to promote your business, to vent, or to tell your stories. Now, write down your reason {and be specific}--because there will come a day a few months down the road when you will forget why you ever started this whole blogging thingy--you will lose sight of your original vision, your original plan, your reason for doing this in the first place--and on that day you will go back and read what you wrote down today, and you will remember why this is important to you. Let your "reason" be the guiding force behind your blog content--don't lose sight of what's important to you, or your readers will know, and they will stop reading.

GOALS: You know WHY you're blogging--but what do you expect to get out of it? Set clearly defined goals for your blog. What do you want your blog to accomplish? It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Maybe you hope to create a place to store all your family photos and memories, maybe you want to launch the world's most popular craft blog--in either case, create direction for your blog.

SUCCESS: Obviously you want your blog to succeed. But first you must clearly define what success means to you. Maybe you will define success by how many followers you have, by how many hits you get a day or by the number of comments you receive. Maybe you will define success by touching the lives of your readers, by helping Mom's grow their Etsy businesses, by how much money you make, or by how many new friends you make. In my opinion, these are ALL great ways to measure success--but ultimately it's up to you to determine YOUR REASON.

Post Pictures.
They are intriguing. They grab our attention. They keep us interested in what you have to say. I like to put a picture in EVERY post--even if it's completely unrelated. I can't really explain why this works, but it does!

Keep it simple silly! In other words, keep the layout and design of your blog simple, clean and crisp. Clutter makes my eye ball twitch, ya know what I mean. I would rather have all my focus be on your fab tutorial or your hilarious story about your little munchkins, than be distracted by your blinking sidebar craziness. Does this mean you shouldn't have anything on your sidebar? Absolutely not! My sidebar is jam-packed with info and links I think y'all will be interested in--but I do my best to present them to you in an organized and appealing {not distracting} fashion.

Be Honest.
Your readers will know if you're not, and they'll stop reading--immediately. Don't endorse a product you dislike, or readers won't trust your judgment and you won't get the results your sponsors are looking for.

Be Vulnerable, Be YOU
You're human. You have feelings. You have trials. You have bad days. Sometimes you feel fat. And we all like to know that we're not alone. I have discovered that the posts where I show my true colors have been the most popular. Don't want to get all mushy and personal on your blog?--no problem, just don't paint a picture of a woman who doesn't really exist.

Spread the Love, Leave Comments.
I have found some of my most favorite blogs via comments left on my blog. Some of these blogs I may never have found otherwise. For me, comments and feedback are a huge motivating force behind what I write. I admire other bloggers who are self-motivated to write--but that's not me! I'm motivated by you, by what you find interesting about what I have to say, about what touches you. I write to connect with others, to remind myself that I'm not alone in this journey. And when I read a comment about another momma 1,000 miles away going through the exact trial I am experiencing, my heart melts and I am reminded why I started this blog. Leave comments.

This is not a COMPETITION.
There is something gloriously amazing about the blogging world that can't be said about too many industries. You won't get ahead by trying to compete with the blog down the street. Instead, you'll find that the more you support your fellow bloggers, the more YOU will succeed. Take these three crazy popular blogs for example: UCreate, One Pretty Thing and Tip Junkie. These rad blogs focus mainly on promoting the rest of us, on helping us grow, on sharing our wonderful ideas with the world--isn't that sweet of them?! And these blogs have a readership and loyal following that I dream about!

What's in a name?
Chose your blog name wisely. This will become your "second name"--how you are referred to in the blogging world. Do you like the way it sounds? Does it suit the overall goal and theme of your blog?

Find YOUR voice.
Find your writing style and run with it. Don't try to sound like another blogger you know and love--it will come off as forced and ultimately you won't get as much satisfaction out of your writing.

Use Lingo {if it feels right}.
Don't be afraid to use your own lingo--and throw in a few words like "awesomeness", even if it can't be found in the dictionary {this develops character}. A dear blogging friend of mine uses "hair flip" after a sentence describing her hotness--it cracks me up every time!

If you envision having a blog like Tatertots & Jello, or O My Family or the Pleated Poppy--then it's inevitable that you are going to have to give up a few things to make time for your new hobby. Personally, I have given up a few of my favorite TV shows and sleep to keep my posts as up to date as possible. Most of my blogging occurs in the wee hours of the night when my little man is fast asleep.

Be kind to us little people. When I first started blogging I reached out to some of the biggies. I followed them, I read every post they wrote, and I admired their success. Simply put, I wanted to be like them. One day I got up to courage to send them a quick note letting them know about their awesomeness. Imagine my surprise when some of these girls responded to me emails. I was overwhelmed that they would take the time out of their busy schedules to send me a thank you--I mean these girls are like celebrities in my world. And you know the BEST part! They never acted better than me {even though they are}! They treated me likea "new friend", not like a fan! So thank you Jen from Tatertots & Jello, thank you Becca from Blue Cricket Design, and thank you Kari from UCreate--you girls are Down To Earth and REAL, and that's the best compliment I could give!

There is so much more I could share, but I can see that this post is becoming a bit long-winded--so I will step off my soap box and remind you that I am NOT an expert and these are not RULES, just tips according to this Little Miss Momma so take it for what it's worth, and feel free to add your own tips!

Stay tuned for Part Two, which will include...
Blog design info
Html tips
How to find sponsors
How to review products
Blog Stats
Blog Conferences
Facebook and Twiiter
Keywords and SEO
Networking Websites
Helpful Links
and MORE

CLICK HERE to view PART TWO: the techy stuff.


Monday, September 27, 2010

A girl can never have to many...

{that's exactly what you thought I was gonna say, huh}

Allow me to introduce you to my collection:
Knobs, meet my friends...
Friends, meet my knobs...

Let's take a closer look, shall we:


A few of my favorites:

Some of my more "unique" finds:

Vintage inspired:

Until I come up with some ridiculously clever use for these knobs, they will continue to live in vases on my shelves.

{they make me smile}

Any genius suggestions for my collection??

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

True love is...

True love is filling up my water bottle for me every night before we go to bed--without me asking.

True love is taking off of work an hour early to watch Baby W so that I can go to Joann's ALONE.

True love is giving me a kiss first thing in the morning before I have brushed my teeth.

True love is reading every single word of every single post I put up on Little Miss Momma--because he wants to.

True love is changing poopy diapers.

True love is not complaining when I don't shave my legs, for let's say two weeks {hypothetically speaking, of course}.

True love is biting his tongue when I leave my trash in the car.

True love is putting lotion on my feet while we watch TV.

True love is agreeing to watch the Wedding Planner again, for Friday movie night.

True love hides his tears when we watch the Notebook.

True love is giving me the last piece of pizza.

True love is pretending you love my "new" post-baby body.

True love is remembering ALL the toppings I like on my frozen yogurt.

True love is reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar 52 times a day.

True love is surprising me with an extra large diet coke from McDonald's, because you know it's my favorite.

True love is acting interested when we go clothes shopping.

True love is staying up all night to assemble my kitchen table and chairs.

True love has patience to play with his little guy.

True love is supporting me and all of my crazy dreams.

True love is generous with cuddles, kisses, hugs and "I love you's".

True love knows how important all "the little things" are.

True love is AWESOME!

And this is what true love looks like:

Isn't he handsome *wink*

Are you gagging from the overwhelming sentimental mushiness yet?

Sorry about that folks--but I just had to shout from the roof tops that I love this man and his true love makes me the happiest Little Miss Momma ever!

What is your true love?

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