Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Cleaning For Your Small Business's Online Presence

Spring is now in full bloom! I was doing some spring cleaning over the weekend and wanted to share some tips on how you can spring clean your small business's online presence. These tips will help to optimize your online presence and allow you to excel online. 

Create Shareable Content

Take a look at your content and determine how much of it is really shareable. Look at your online analytics and determine what is it your followers are sharing. Shareable content could include blog post, how-to guide, infographic, image or instructional video. If you want more people to see you online you need to create content that people want to spread. Here are The 7 Secrets to Shareable Content from Entrepreneur.

Tune Up Your Content
What words do your customer use when describing your company? Ask around and create a list of appropriate keywords that match your business and update your content to match. This will help more people to find your business when searching. 

Ask Your Customers For Reviews
Good customer reviews are so important for any business. Good reviews from customers are very meaningful and can help you stand out in the sea of small businesses. This is also a very important step when growing your business because what your existing customer's say about you can make or break a new customer's decision to shop with you.

Build Up Your Social Strategy
Utilizing social media is a great way to be visible to customer and potential customers. Social profiles should be used to interact with customers, list business information and share any content that you might have. As easy as this may sound it is a good idea to put into place a strategy that can help your social media sites excel. Check out this great blog post from Hootsuite on How To Create A Social Media Marketing Plan In 6 Steps!

Place More Value On Building Relationships
Building relationships is a much better tactic than other SEO tactics. SEO is not the main focus when online. Increasing your online visibility needs to involve creating relationships with followers. Ways to build valuable relationships through social media could include being real, not censoring followers, finding your niche and creating brand ambassadors.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Book Club Questions For You Are a Badass by Jen Sinceror & Starting Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Another book down! What did you think of You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero? I really enjoyed this book. Throughout the entire book I was inspired. I loved how honest and raw Jen Sincero is in this book. I had a lot of great takeaways from finishing You Are a Badass.

I have a couple questions for you who are participating. I would love to hear your responses either in the comments or on social media!

1. What were your main takeaways from the book?

2. Did the author’s style of writing appeal to you?

3. Have you made any changes in your own life based on the advice given in the book?

The third book we are going to be reading is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. We will be starting Caraval on April 2nd and ending on May 1st.

Synopsis From Goodreads: "Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever."

A reminder that this is a very relaxed book club. You can read a book than skip a book then come back and read another book with the club. Whatever you want to do. We are super excited to get started and hope you all will join us. :) To learn more visit the 2017 Books Without Borders Tackk!

Let's Get Reading!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Importance Of Transparency

According to Dictionary.com the definition of transparent is.. "allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen." I think that being transparent in business is so important in order to build trust and meaningful relationships with both customers and coworkers. Here are the five reasons that I think transparency is a necessity in business. 

Builds Trust
Trust is everything when trying to gain new clients or trying to understand your coworkers. Without trust a business cannot be sustainable. To excel in business you need to trust the people you are working for and with and they need to trust you. Trust is the backbone for success. Check out this great article that gives ways to build trust inside your business

Creates Better Relationships
This one is similar to building trust. Transparency allows for trust to be built, which in turn allows you to create better more meaningful relationships. Better relationships help you so much in business. Creating solid relationships allows you to gain loyalty, better word-of-mouth and a better image for yourself. Still not convinced that you need to build relationships in the workplace? View this article about why workplace relationships matter

Gains More Engagement
In the 2013 Harvard Business Review employee engagement survey it was found that 70 percent of those surveyed said they’re most engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategy. It is so important to be open so that customers and employees know what is going on and feel like they matter because you take the time to update them. 

Gives High Quality Solutions
By being open and honest you can solve problems faster and with high quality solutions. You know the saying two heads are better than one? This is the concept behind this point about why transparency is import. When you are trying to solve something or do not know what to do try being transparent and asking for advice. The outcome will always be better! 

Allows For Better Alignment
Transparency allows for better alignment because when you are transparant your goals, vision and mission are known and every aspect of your business can align correctly. If you want to reach your goals faster and in a much smoother method be transparent and everyone will be on the same page. 

Enjoy! 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Habits Of The Successful


Everyone wants to be successful at whatever it is they are doing. Success is not always guaranteed and we are all going to fail at some time, but here are some of my top favorite habits I have learned that have helped me to be successful.


Keep A Journal
Did you know that historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte kept a journal? Journaling is great to write down thoughts, emotions and ideas. There have even been studies done that show journaling helps us deal with stressful events.
Read
I am a total bookworm. Above is a recent post that I did that showed my top reasons to read more. Reading is essential for building knowledge. Bill Gates is an avid reader and we all know how successful he is. Elon Musk claims that he learned to build rockets by reading books. 

Stick To Morning Routines
If you do not have a morning routine that gives your day structed and energy than you need to create one right away. My morning routine is everything and helps me to be successful all day. I start my day by drinking 24 ounces of water, reading for 20 minutes and drinking my coffee. Check out these morning routines of the most successful people.

Be Conscientious
According to Dictionary.com conscientious can be defined as "wishing to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly". Based off this definition you can see that we all need to be conscientious in order to be successful. Research has found that conscientiousness is the only major personality trait that consistently predicts success.

Practice Gratitude
I feel that a lot of us sometimes forget how far a little bit of gratitude can go. Not only does gratitude help you to make others feel good, it will also make you feel good about yourself. Check out these 29 unique ways to show gratitude

Exercise Regularly
To be successful we need to make sure our bodies are in shape and can function the way they are suppose to. Exercise and eating well are the top ways to do this. When I do not exercise I am less motivated, less inspired and less creative. Need a little more convincing as to why you should exercise? Here is a list of 19 reasons to workout that are beyond having the perfect body

Know When To Say 'No'
We can't do everything and it is important to know when to say no to things that are not going to add value or get us to our goals. A good way to figure out when to say "no" to is to define your main objective and always think about that objective when deciding if you should accept or decline.

Listen To Others
Deependra Dobriyal says, "Listen more, talk less. Be attentive in every meeting. Hear everyone out, no matter how useless you think their ideas are." Having the ability to listen to people is key to winning them over in every aspect of life. Learning to listen more is a great asset to have when on the road to success.

Enjoy! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Healthy Kid Approved Snacks For School

Did you know that nutritional deficiencies can affect brain growth and performance in students? We all know the feeling of being hungry and unmotivated, increase feelings of alertness and motivation to learn with these easy and healthy snacks. My mom and I are going to bring you three of our favorite healthy snacks for school that will help keep your kids learning and focused!

Brianna’s Three Favorite Snacks For School
My first favorite snack for school that helps keep me learning and focused are Chocolate Almond Butter Energy Balls. Not only is this snack delicious, it is also packed with protein to help keep your kids fuller for longer. You wouldn’t know it by tasting them, but there is also a healthy hidden ingredient in them...BLACK BEANS! Coming from someone who hates black beans your kids will have no idea and will think they are eating a yummy chocolate treat.

My second favorite treat for school is Peanut Butter Dip. This snack is super versatile and delicious. It also has greek yogurt to give your kids extra protein, while also giving them good fats and carbs. My favorite way to eat this is with apples, but you can also enjoy it with celery or any other fruit or veggie.

I saved the best for last! My final treat that I am going to share with you is Protein Almond Butter Energy Bites! I eat these every single afternoon to keep me full between lunch and dinner. They have lots of protein and healthy fats that really give you a boost. These are always my go to if I am feeling hungry and in need of a healthy snack.

My mom, Shannon loves to bake too. She always had yummy snacks for us after school and brought great ones to school for our birthdays and special (or everyday) events too. Here are three of her favorites that she loves making for my brothers and I….
My first treat to share is one of Hagan’s new favorites and it is super easy. I cut up a banana and drizzle almond infused honey over the pieces in a bowl. Sometimes I even add a little scoop of Sweet Freedom ice cream which has half the calories of regular ice cream but so good!
My second treat to share and one that I love making for my kids is banana bread. I use a recipe from my hometown church cookbook but make a few changes. One of the biggest changes is that I add applesauce instead of a ½ cup of butter. Hagan, Brady and Brianna have all loved making this with me. It is definitely a family favorite!
The third treat to share is Brianna’s favorite and it is called Hot Buttered O’s. My mom made these too when I was little. You just melt a little coconut oil in a pan and make sure it is hot. Then add a few cups of Cheerios and stir them constantly to toast them in the hot oil. Once they are toasted, you can season them with salt or whatever seasoning you would like. They are more nutritious than popcorn and oh so good!

Enjoy!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Tips To Staying Healthy At Work

For those of who do not know, I love personal health and wellness! I believe that even when at work it is essential to take care of yourself. Staying healthy at work will lead to fewer missed workdays, greater productivity and less stress. Below are five tips to staying healthy at work. 

1. Move Around
One of the most important things you can do during your day to stay healthy is to exercise. This could be as simple as walking around during your lunch. Getting up and moving around helps to not only burn calories, but also helps to de-stress and refresh your body for the rest of your day. I like to get up and move around at least every hour and then I do a workout in the afternoon. Allowing myself this time helps me to stay focused and not get overwhelmed. 

2. Drink Enough Water
Drinking enough water is a must! You should be drinking at least eight to ten glasses of water everyday. This will help you stay hydrated, which will help to beat the afternoon lull that many people feel. It is also good to eat foods that have a good source of water, such as oranges, grapes, and apples. An easy way to make sure you are getting enough water is to bring a 16 ounce water bottle to work and try to finish it by lunch, then finish two more in the afternoon. Also, setting reminders is a good way to make sure you are staying hydrated. 

3. Eat A Healthy Lunch
Eating a healthy lunch at work is an important part of a balanced diet. Packing a lunch beforehand and insuring you are practicing portion control is a great way to make sure you are not eating too many calories and then sitting all afternoon. Meal prepping on Sunday is how I make sure I have healthy lunches on hand that are the correct portions. 

4. Limit Caffeine Intake
Morning coffee is a must for me, but remember, everything needs to be in moderation. I have my morning coffee and then I do not have any more caffeine for the day. I like to drink decaffeinated tea in the afternoon, then I do not have an afternoon caffeine crash. If you are needing an afternoon boost try green tea or matcha, both will give you some energy without the crash. 

5. Be Self-Aware
Being self-aware is my #1 tip. In order to really stay healthy you need to be self-aware and know yourself and your limits. Knowing when to take breaks and when to take a vacation is very important. It is also important to get in a mindset that recognizes that exercise is a must. Exercise will help you both physically and mentally in all facets of your life. 

Go Get Healthy! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Book Club Questions For 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster & Starting You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero


I can't believe we are already onto the next book for Books Without Borders! The first book that we read was 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. Honestly, I could not finish this book. I got 30% of the way through, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. The writing in this book was amazing and for you out there that like this style of book, I am sure you loved it!

Based on what I read, I have a couple questions for you who are participating. I would love to hear your responses either in the comments or on social media! 


1. Of the three (longer) lives of Archibald Ferguson—a journalist, a memoirist, a novelist—which do you prefer? Which engaged you more, which has a preferable outcome in your estimation?

2. To what degree, in terms of an irreducible identity, are the Archies similar? Are they sometimes too similar, making it hard to distinguish one life from another? Or do you find each Archid distinct from the other?

3. Archie's "sole ambition" is to "become the hero of his own life." Does he achieve this goal in any of his incarnations? What does that ambition say about someone?
The second book we are going to be reading is You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. We will be starting You Are A Badass on March 1st and ending on April 1st.

Synopsis From Goodreads: "Bestselling author, speaker, and success coach Jen Sincero cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her own verbal meat cleaver. Full of blunt humor, sage advice, and the occasional swear word, You are a Badass offers its readers new opportunities for growth through 35 chapters of exercises, suggestions, and hilariously inspiring stories.

From "Fear is for Suckers" to "Your Brain is Your Bitch" these chapters provide enlightening lessons: How to stop doubting your greatness, how to love what you don't love about yourself, and how to tap into source energy to live a bigger life than you've ever imagined."

A reminder that this is a very relaxed book club. You can read a book than skip a book then come back and read another book with the club. Whatever you want to do. We are super excited to get started and hope you all will join us. :) To learn more visit the 2017 Books Without Borders Tackk!

Let's Get Reading!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tips For Starting A Blog

Blogging is a great way to get your content out to the world. I started Living Light and Breezy almost two years ago. I started blogging because of my passion for creating healthy recipes. I wanted to get the recipes I create out for people to read and try.

Starting a blog may seem a bit daunting, but it does not have to be. By looking back on my experience as a blogger I will give you my top five steps for starting a blog.

1.Choose A Blogging Platform
This one may seem a little straightforward, but there are many options when choosing a blogging platform. Living Light and Breezy is hosted on Blogger. I love how straightforward Blogger is. For my business Engaged Media Solutions I use Wix. Wix is my new found love. Wix is easy to use and I love all the customization options it offers.

Check out this comparison chart of the best blogging platforms to find the best blogging platform for you.

2. Pick A Simple Theme
The theme is going to be the bones of your entire blog. A good theme will allow you to get the right feel you are wanting for your blog, while still allowing you to customize and make your blog exactly how you want it.

When choosing a theme make sure that it offers high readability for your views. Some things to keep in mind are simple fonts such as Arial, Courier, Verdana, and Times New Roman, white spaces that allow the reader to give their eyes a break, and make sure to double space your paragraphs rather than indent.

3.Make The Blog Your Own
Personally, this is my favorite step. When building my blogs I spent hours modifying and making my blog exactly how I wanted it. During this step take as much time as you need to customize your blog and make the blog your own. While I was customizing my blog I found it helpful to look at blogs I loved for inspiration.

4.Add Plugins To Your Blog
Plugins are a must for your blog.They help to extend and expand the functionality of your blog. I like to use Google Analytics and Social Media share-button plugins on my blog. A simple Google search can give you a great list of plugins for the type of blog you are creating. 


5. Start Writing
Now that your blog is set up it is time to start writing compelling content for your readers. During this step make sure to add sections such as an About Page, Contact Page, and Archives Page.

To find compelling topics to write about I like to keep a notebook with me at all times, so when I have an idea I just write it down. I have more tips on how to actually start writing for your blog, but I think I will save them for another post. :) 

Enjoy! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ten Ways To Stay Creative

Creativity is a must for every single one of us! Being an entrepreneur means that I need to continually be creative and authentic to myself. When I am in need of a boost of creativity I have found these ten ways to be very effective.

Enjoy this list and if you have any ways that keep you creativity please share! 

1. Keep An Idea Journal 
I have an idea journal with me at all times. I use both a physically journal and I have a journal app on my phone. I seem to come up with my best ideas when I am just getting ready to go to sleep or while being active. I love being able to write these ideas down to make sure I do not forget or abandon them.

2. Get moving
I workout or go for a walk everyday. Being active is one of the most important aspects of my health and my creativity. If I don't do some sort of movement in a day I am left feeling drained and not creative at all. This doesn't mean you have to workout for an hour, just get out and go for a 20 minute walk. Trust me it helps! 

3. Read Books 
I love reading! This week I started reading Girl Code and I have to say the creativity I am gaining from this book is insane. I love to pick books that inspire me and make me learn more about myself. There is always something that we can learn from a book.

4. Listen To Podcasts 
Podcasts are a must for when I am feeling down or just not motivated or creative. A good podcast can get your creative juices flowing in no time! 

5. Let Go Of Fear 
Putting your ideas out into the world can be a scary thing. I understand this and it can be hard sometimes to put yourself out there. You need to let go of this fear and share your ideas. You never know what will happen until you try it. 

6. Create An Inspiration Board
I have a bulletin board in my office that I put anything and everything that I find inspirational. My new favorite thing is to put quotes from inspirational women on my board. I also like to put pictures of things I want to accomplish and places I want to go. 

7. Travel 
Last month I traveled alone to a city I did not know in a country that is not my own. I was scared, but I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life. I gained confidence, creativity, and strength from this trip. It was actually the main idea starter for my new business. 

8. Collaborate With Others 
Having a group of people that lift you up is a must in order to be creative. Everyone needs help from others at some point and it is great to have a group of like minded people that can help you complete your goals. 

9. Break Your Routine 
Routine is everything to me. Sometimes this can be harmful though. One day just decide to do something spontaneous and break your routine. Do something you have never done before. Your creativity will be through the roof! 

10. Listen To Music
Music has been proven to boost your mood and make you more creativity. I like to create playlists on my Spotify account to help me work, help me be creative, and help me play. Music is an amazing thing and should be taken advantage of. 

I would love to hear any ways that keep you creativity.

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

5 Social Media Marketing Tips To Boost Your Business

Over the past couple weeks at my new job as Director of Social Marketing at Maker Maven and Literacy for Texas I have learned so much! I wanted to share five of my favorite takeaways that I have learned so far.

1. Push Your Handles

Sharing your handles is great for boosting followers! You should include your handle anywhere and anyhow you can. Yes, it may seem a bit overt at times but the pushing of your handles will gain you serious followers. 

2. Use Weekly Hashtag Themes

I absolutely love using hashtag themes for the week. It helps to build social media following by showing your active in the community. You may be pleasantly surprised by the loyal audience that social media traditions have. 

3. Hold Contests And Giveaways

Who doesn't love free stuff? Bring some friendly competition to your followers by offering fun contests and giveaways. 

4. Pin Your Own Images

I absolutely love Pinterest and think that it is sometimes underestimated. Posting things such as templates, infographics, and other awesome content on Pinterest is great to reach a large audience. Make sure to link pictures to your webpages for some serious traffic.

5. Know What Your Competitors Are Posting

As with everything be sure to know what your competitors are doing. Do things such as look for patterns and test similar materials to see what works best for your business. 

Have any favorite social media marketing tips? I would love to hear them! Share them in the comments below. 

Enjoy! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Post Workout Fuel - Turkey, Italian Hummus and Kale Wrap

I have doing more strength training latley in an attempt to gain some muscle. But, I have found that strength training leaves me extremely hungry and a protein shake just doesn't cut it! 

I got some organic turkey breast from the grocery store yesterday but wanted to spice it up a bit. I came up with a super easy and yummy recipe for italian hummus and added a bit of kale. It turned out to be the perfect little snack for after my workout and I feel much more satisfied! 

Here is the recipe for the italian hummus:
Ingredients:
-1 Can Garbanzo Beans
-1/4 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
-1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano  

Directions:
Start by rinsing and drying the garbanzo beans, then combine everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.

If you want the consistency to be thinner add about 1 tablespoon of water. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Books Without Borders 2017 Kickoff


Welcome to the second year of Books Without Borders! This year we are going to be reading 11 books old and new that will be completed in 2017. We will read one book per month that the book club can read at the same time. There will be a start date and end date as to when the book should be completed. After the book is read I will post a blog post where the book club members can comment and reply about their thoughts on the book.

This is going to be a very relaxed book club. You can read a book than skip a book then come back and read another book with the club. Whatever you want to do. We are super excited to get started and hope you all will join us. :)

The first book we will be reading is 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster. We will be starting the book today February 1st and ending on March 1st.

Below is the full list of books and to learn more visit the 2017 Books Without Borders Tackk!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Protein Almond Butter Energy Bites

Happy Sunday! I love to use my Sunday to make some snacks and food prep for the week. One of our new favorite snacks are these Protein Almond Butter Energy Bites. They are perfect in the afternoon to help tide you over until dinner and beat the afternoon crash! :) 

Ingredients: 

1/2 Cup Almond Butter
1/4 Cup Honey 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/3 Cup Protein Powder of Choice (I use 
Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate)
1/3 Cup Flaxseed Meal
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/2 Cup Rolled Oats 

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together almond butter, honey and vanilla extract until well combined. I like to put the mixture into the microwave for about 20-30 seconds to make it easier to mix.

Add in protein powder, coconut, flaxseed meal, and oats. Mix until well combined. 

I usually have to use my hands to mix and work with the dough. At this point you should be able to form balls that stick together. If not add a bit more almond butter or honey.

Form into 12 balls and place in an airtight container. 

Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2017

2017 Books Without Borders Brainstorm

Hi Friends! I hope that everyone had an amazing holiday season. I apologize for being MIA. I went on vacation to Key West, Florida for the holidays and got very ill. When we got home I was sick for two more weeks. Happy to say that I am feeling better now and I am excited to get started with my 2017! 

This year I would love to get more people involved with Books Without Boards. I am going to share this post with you all on Social Media in a hope to get your ideas and learn what books you would like to see in the 2017 line up!

This year I am going to be choosing between 12-15 books for our book club. Your book ideas can be old, new or upcoming titles. I will be releasing the official list at the end of January and we will be starting the book club then.

I am so excited for this years book club and I cannot wait to see what you guys are wanting to read this year with Books Without Borders! 

Leave your ideas either on Social Media or add a comment below this post. :)