Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Create a Relaxing Blogging Space for Yourself

Any blogger knows that you need some peace and quiet if you want to get some work done. You might enjoy listening to music or even blogging in front of the TV. But if you want to get down to it and be productive, you need somewhere that helps you out. Creating a calming atmosphere without distractions is just what you need to do. If you treat your blogging seriously, you surely want a place where you can knuckle down and get some work down. You might think you have nowhere to go, but you can set up a blogging space even in the busiest of homes. Try these ideas to carve out a space for yourself.

Create a Quiet Home Office
Most bloggers think about setting up a home office somewhere in their home first. However, you might believe that there isn't anywhere you can have an office. You don't need a spare room to work in, though. All you need is a bit of space in the house for a desk and chair. Depending on your working style, you might not need any more than a small table for your laptop and a chair to sit at it. That's only a couple of square foot in the corner of a room somewhere. Get imaginative with where you can set up. If you want some more privacy, you can try using a screen to separate yourself from the rest of the room.

Set Up an Outdoor Space
You don't have to be inside to have a relaxing place to sit. In fact, being outside can be inspiring. Of course, you might not be able to be outside all the time. In some places, it will be too cold in winter. But you still might be able to use your outdoor space for much of the year. You can get some furniture to set up an outdoor office, and create a private corner in your yard. Install a pond and buy koi fish to go in it to help you relax and feel inspired. You could put in some tall plants to create more privacy too.

Use a Shed, Garage or Other Outbuilding
If you need to get out of the house but don't want to be exposed to the elements, you can use an external building. Several writers famously wrote or write in their sheds, including Roald Dahl. You could set up your garage as a blogging space or use another building separate from your home. Some people might have a small den or cabin; others may have a trailer or camper they can settle into.

Leave the House
Can't get any work done at home? You should consider finding somewhere else to work. One option is to find a café or other establishment with free WiFi. But keep in mind that it could be busy. Libraries can be useful options if they have wireless internet connections or computer terminals. You can also try hiring a desk in a coworking space. They can be excellent value and give you the space you need to get your work done.

Don't let a lack of space prevent you from blogging. If you need somewhere to work, you have several options to create an inspiring space.

This is a contributed post, written by Laura Scott.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Finding Solutions to the Gender Pay Gap

Most articles or books I've read about the gender pay gap bombard you with statistics to prove that the pay gap acually exists. Hopefully by now people are willing to accept that women make less than men for the same work. But even if we accept this as a real and true issue, nothing changes unless we find tangible ways to do something about it.

This NYT article, "How to Bridge That Stubborn Pay Gap" is great. It doesn't place blame on anyone or anything for the wage gap, it simply acknowledges it's there, and then suggests solutions. It's not long and it's really interesting, so please please just READ it.

I'll outline the solutions below and some of the stats that really stuck out to me.

1. Publish Everyone's Pay

Studies have found that places who already do it, have seen a shrinkage in the pay gap. So, we know it works.

I think it would encourage women to speak up as well, because many may be in denial or just totally unaware of their counterparts' salaries.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What I Learned from Severus Snape

By now you've all heard that Severus Snape died. Well, that's not entirely possible as he's a fictional character, but the man who brought Snape to life, Alan Rickman, has passed.

I don't know much about Alan Rickman or his achievements, but I do know, like so many others, about Severus Snape. The man who made us all hate him for hundred of pages, just to fall in love with him in the end.

I was among the millions who read every word of every book and was the first in line for tickets when the movies debuted. Ironically, I'm currently on book five of my second journey through the world of Harry Potter.

Snape's character and story teaches us an important lesson perhaps better than most: Loyalty.

Snape was loyal to Dumbledore in his efforts to keep Voldemort at bay, to assist the Order, and to keep Harry safe.

It's not easy to devote your life to the safety of a child. Especially when that child is the result of a woman you have always loved choosing someone you despised over you. He never liked Harry for looking and acting so much like James, someone who tormented Snape for many years. He didn't get enjoyment from interacting with Harry. Yet, because of his loyalty to Lily and to Dumbledore's cause, he never wavered.

In the real world, we struggle to be loyal and faithful even to those we love dearly. How many times do you hear about cheating or abuse between people who are suppose to be each other's biggest supporters?

We're so quick to judge, criticize and lash out on those who are closest to us. Those whom we should be loyal to above all else.

So today, let's remember Alan Rickman, the man who brought Severus Snape to life. And let's remember how this character was loyal above all else. To the very end.

Monday, January 11, 2016

7 Ways Bloggers Can Grab A Reader's Attention

Blogs are like newspapers and magazines in many ways. They need to grab a person's attention so they readers spend longer looking at the content. The sad truth is that many blogs don't make for interesting reading.

Some of them might have good content, but it could be the layout of the site that lets things down. The Holy Grail of the blogging world is to find a way that captivates an audience and keeps them hooked. Here are seven ways that can help any blogger achieve that goal:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

DIY Pallet Wall

I'm so excited to share our most recent home project with you today because it has quickly become one of my favorites! (Also - check the end of the post for a giveaway!)

I have to give all the props to Tim on this one. He got the idea, went out and found pallets, and was tearing them apart in the garage before I even knew what was happening. That's how he operates. Once his mind is set on something, it's full steam ahead, as soon as possible. There is no hesitation or delaying. Which is great most of the time! (It only drives me crazy sometimes. :))

So here it is! The pallet wall!


We did this in the water closet of our master bathroom (which is a fancy way to say the toilet room). These rooms are often overlooked. I get it - the only thing in there is the toilet, so why really bother?

But now I'm obsessed with it!! It turned out better than I ever expected.