My Favorite Blogs – June 2020

I have been reading so much great content over the past month, so I thought I’d shout out some of my favorite content I discovered in June. Seeing as my blog is an amalgamation of all kinds of creative energy, pretty much any blog can provide insights on goals and hard work.

I thought it would be fun to focus in on newer or smaller creators to give them a little spotlight that they most definitely deserve! Sometimes I fall a little behind on my Reader, so it’s also a nice chance for me to spread the love. So with that, let’s talk about some of my favorite bloggers I found in June:

Reading in the Wildwood

About Megan: Megan is a book blogger. She writes such thought-provoking book reviews. Not to mention, when she does have a book, she takes a beautiful picture of it out in nature. I mean just look at this instagram page! She’s also so sweet and open, be sure to say hello!

Recommended Post: My Most Anticipated Summer Releases

The Madalyn Diaries

About Madalyn: Madalyn tests beauty products and reviews them. She gives her honest thoughts on the different products she uses and she tries to use them completely. So insightful if you’re looking for new products! Plus, it’s just so satisfying to see all of the used make-up in one shot!

Recommended Post: JUNE empties

Unsettled Essence

About Unsettled Essence: If you’ve ever thought of drastically changing your life, but wanted to do it responsibility, Unsettled Essence is for you. She quit her job and is now pursuing the RV life. Reading about her adventures is so inspiring because it’s so evident actual planning went into her journey.

Recommended Post: I Quit My Job and I Feel Great

One in a Million

About Aditi: Aditi is a book blogger, but aside from reviewing books, she writes book-related content. Just in her most recent posts she goes through her Harry Potter house sorting, discussing character archetypes, and short stories. So much creative energy.

Recommended Post: Creating Instagram Feeds for ‘The Raven Cycle’ Characters

Books and Pixels

About Jacob: As you may have guessed, Jacob writes about books and video games mostly. His posts are full of creative energy. There’s a lot of effort that goes into each of his posts and does not go unnoticed. The post I recommended just shows how much work I mean.

Recommended Post: Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Curious Words Blog

About Raven: Raven writes a little bit of everything. While this does include book reviews from time to time, there are so many whimsical thoughts all over that it’s just a breath of fresh air. You just have to read it to believe it.

Recommended Post: Never Bake a Cake in a Hurry

I could honestly go on and on, there’s so much good content out there. But I’d also like to pass the question off to you, what great blogs have you discovered recently? Feel free to shout them out, let’s support those that we admire!

Lastly, I’m thinking of making this a monthly series, what you do think?

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Reflecting on 6 Months of Blogging

It’s official: I’ve been blogging for six months. I’m not sure when I can accurately carry the title of blogger, but seeing as I got up early to write a whole other post and only after I finished realized it was my six months, we can definitely say I’m in the blogger head space.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my experience. Because why not?

What I’ve Written

My content has taken a variety of forms as I learned which direction I was heading. I thought it could be fun to revisit my favorite post from each month and see how I grew.

January: Hello World! – My Very First Project

My first project was technically to CALI a law class – which is basically just earning the highest grade in a class. Since then, the project has evolved into general law school success. I was surprised re-reading my original thoughts. What a long way the project has come.

February: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About a 12(b)(6) Motion

I was really hesitant to write anything about the law because really, what do I know? I was just a first-year. Anyway, I gave it a shot and it was one of my first posts that I was really proud of.

March: Atlas Shrugged – Book No. 6

This was probably my favorite book I’ve read in Project 4. It was so thought-provoking. This was also when I realized that I had to put a bit of work into writing a book review. There was so much to unpack and trying to stay spoiler-free was tough. Book bloggers: much respect.

April: Cleaning Your Closet with Color Theory

This was one of my first posts that involved research. I did a deep dive on why you don’t wear certain shades of color in your closet. It was the first time I’ve developed my own theory about something – something I’ve done more and more of in the past few months.

May: What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

This was a self-reflection post. It’s pretty meta to reflect on a self-reflection post, so I’ll just leave it with that.

June: How To Learn a Basic Calligraphy Alphabet in a Few Hours

It’s always fun to see success. My calligraphy project has been nothing but pure fun and something I didn’t expect to enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project can go.

What I’ve Learned

What I’ve Learned about Blogging

It’s actually way harder than I was expecting. Writing a post in your head always sounds so much better than it does when you read over what actually made it to paper. Coming up with consistent ideas is impossible and finding the motivation to make sure they all go out on time is comically hard.

But I’m not here to be hard on myself. One of the reasons I write about my projects as I complete them is to reflect on the good and the bad. No journey is ever easy. There are setbacks and failures left and right.

On a more positive note, I think my writing has improved. Or at the very least, I think I’ve found a voice. I write much differently on this blog than I do for anything else – I treat this as a quasi-stream of consciousness, I hear myself talking in my head.

Also, I’m pretty proud of how the blog looks. This is something I touched on yesterday, but I’m proud of the style I’ve created around my content. Besides, there’s only so much you can do on a personal plan and I’m not about to upgrade.

My numbers are still small which is fine with me. I’m still under 100 followers and not many people see my content. This doesn’t bother me at all. My numbers are small but mighty. I’ve met some truly amazing and inspiring people by doing this.

What I’ve Learned about Goals

So if you just did the math, you might realize that that means I started my blog on January 1. While it’s true I went live at the beginning of the year, it was not a new year’s resolution. But hey, if it makes you believe that you can follow through on a new year’s resolution, by all means use me as an example.

This actually is something I’ve really learned about goals: they don’t operate on the same calendar we do. I used to start goals when I finished another task or maybe on the first of the month. This is such a mistake. Start goals while you have the motivation, don’t wait until the time’s “right.”

I’m also very proud of the progress I’ve made on some of these goals. Particularly Project 4, before this project, the last time I read a book was in 2014. Now I’m six months in and I’ve read 15. I’m definitely still learning how to pace myself, but I’m getting better by the day.

What I’ve Learned about Relationships

I’ve become a better friend, girlfriend, and daughter since starting the blog. This is done in two ways: 1) experiencing a fire inside of me, and 2) becoming more cognizant and sympathetic to other people’s goals.

With concrete goals, I’ve been more alive in these past few months. Feeling the roller coaster that is trying something new reinvigorates you. It also has made me really want to bring that out in others. The feelings that I’m feeling, I want to share them.

Understanding motivations is something I’ve tuned into a little more too. I wrote about this a little with the post on my and my boyfriend’s different lifestyles. While he’s more interested in completing daily and weekly goals, mine tend to be so much farther in the future. Learning that these goals were just as important to him as mine were to me allowed me to connect with him in a way I couldn’t before.

That’s about all the self-reflection I have in me at the moment. But let me know down in the comments below, how long have you been blogging and how has your journey changed your surroundings? I’m interested in hearing how people have perceived their own journey.

As always, appreciate you all. Thanks for making this experience so enjoyable.

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An Introduction to Visual Branding on Your Blog

Lately I’ve been doing a little studying. I’ve tried to find popular blogs and compare them. What do they all seem to do? What ideas seem universally successful?

One thing I noticed immediately was that all of their posts had the same cohesive look. You could open any post by them and know it was them. They all had strong visual brands.

Why Visual Branding Is Important

For a brief period in my life, I worked with start-ups. It was my responsibility to help them cultivate a target audience and strategize how to reach them. I was a marketing “consultant.”

I used to teach new entrepreneurs how to set up an identity. What’s your target audience? What colors will you consistently use? What emotions do you want those colors to evoke? Which fonts will you consistently use? What does your company’s voice sound like?

Questions like these may seem simple and maybe irrelevant. But it’s crucial that a new company presents themselves in a consistent way for the consumer to learn their brand.

Examples of Blogs with Strong Visual Branding

You probably see where I’m going with this – your blog is your brand. You have an opportunity with your blog to express yourself and make yourself stand out. This was something that quite a successful blogs did. I want to show you a few that I saw that were strong in their voices – and they’re all still active! Send them some love! I linked to posts that I really liked and also showed strong branding.

Caitlin Althea

What She Writes: Caitlin is a book blogger.

Visual Branding: Caitlin’s blog has a light blue and green color scheme. She uses blue and green flowers as separators within her post – something that definitely catches the reader’s eye. Her sidebar contains green watercolor links. There’s something very warm and inviting about her graphics. This is one of the most unique blogs that I’ve come across, you can tell she put effort into showing off her personality.

What We Can Learn from Caitlin: If a reader can tell you’ve put a lot of effort into producing comments, they’re more likely to do a deeper dive on your content.

Forever and Everly

What She Writes: May is also a book blogger.

Visual Branding: I mean, come on, this blog is cute. She focuses on a floral theme, including pink flowers that separate her posts. They look hand drawn. I really recommend checking out the post I linked and just scrolling because you can see so many visual branding elements, and yet it’s not overwhelming.

Side note: I think we use the same font for our signatures, I swear it’s just a coincidence!

What We Can Learn from May: May is creative and she’s come up with graphics that others might not think about. She puts her hand drawn flowers over her picture to hide her face. She also has a “Shall We Chat?” graphic at the bottom of her posts. Think abut graphics that speak to you and your content.

Thoughts Stained with Ink

What She Writes: Pretty much everything. From video game reviews to publishing her own short stories, Nicole’s got a little dose of something for everyone.

She’s also done a few fantastic posts on Black Lives Matter and her journey in educating herself on how we can all better combat racial injustice. I’ll link to the first one here – highly recommend them.

Visual Branding: A focus on black, white, and red that gives a little bit of a spooky feel. Her graphics are all cohesive, she maintains the same shade of red in all of her content. Take a look at her sidebar – it’s a cute caricature that has all the personality in the world (did you notice her tattoo?), social media icons that look like medieval banners, and sword-bearing headings.

What We Can Learn from Nicole: Get creative. Find a visual brand that speaks to you. No matter how over-the-top or how intricate, you can incorporate it into the content that you produce.

My Visual Branding

You may have noticed already, but I’ve updated my posts to include a variety of graphics to my blog. I’ll include the ones I chose to make here, maybe to inspire you.

I went with a simpler black and white look. I prefer clean graphics myself, so I wanted to focus on simplicity. Graphics here include: a banner of which project you’re reading about, a featured image (to also tell you which project you’re reading about), a graphic I put at the bottom of our book reviews, a photo for my sidebar, a graphic that links to our list of classics, a social media graphic, and my signature (which is the same as my old one, just bigger).

How You Can Start Developing Branding

Use Canva. If you’re not familiar with the platform, it’s an online, free editing platform. There’s thousands of templates and it makes creating graphics incredibly easy.

If you don’t know where to start at all, I recommend this guide. They walk through statistics on why visual branding is important, how to position elements in a photo, how to pick colors, and more. It’s honestly such a useful resource.

I also would recommend this post, where they walk through step-by-step which graphics they’d create for a fake blog. Getting to see the reasoning can be more than helpful if you’re lost.

Lastly, this post is all about creating images to advertise on social media, so if that’s something you’re doing, check this out.

That’s about all that I’ve got for you today. If this interests you, let me know! I have many more thoughts on all of this and materials I used to give to start-ups I was helping. I’d be happy to write more about how to visually brand or maybe even create a downloadable guide. But also, I pass the question off to you: what do you do to help create an identity for your blog? What did I miss? Let’s talk down below.

As always, thanks for reading!

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What Your Daily Life Says About You

I have a bit of a confession: I’ve always been a daydreamer. A full-blown Capricorn, I thrive on setting goals far into the future – hello, welcome to my blog! When it comes to working towards improving myself in the short-term, I’ve never really understood it.

While I’m not the messiest person on the planet, I don’t make my bed. I never have. The concept of it bewilders me: why tidy up something I’m just going to make a mess later that night? The times I’ve made my bed are strictly limited to when I think there might be evening visitors.

Girl, Bed, Hair, Bedroom, Relax, Person, Indoors

On top of that, I adhere to a strong indoor-outdoor clothing policy. This might sound strange to some people, but I only wear clothes that are a little bit rattier that in the house. The clothes I wear outside of the house are a little higher quality, so I don’t want to wear them out but running them through so many clothing cycles. Seeing as I like many others have been staying at home for the past few months, my appearance hasn’t been the cutest.

My boyfriend is the exact opposite of me. The yin to my yang, he dresses up every single day, cleans his house every night, and spends time working on the little things. While I’m not a slob, my little quirks drive him crazy. He sat me down to explain his reasoning recently and honestly, it finally clicked. I understood.

The Formula That Changed Me

He argued that our daily life is the majority of our life. Most of the time, we’re just doing what we’re doing. He rationalized it as: if you dress like a slob every day, you become a slob. That one line stopped me in my tracks. I quickly realized the formula applied to every aspect of our daily lives: if you don’t do your dishes every day, you’re a person who lives in a house with dirty dishes.

Understanding that extending self-care to the minutiae of your daily life, you see maximum improvements in overall productivity and confidence. It’s really that simple. Living in a clean house just makes you happier. Sometimes these little things make all the difference.

Bed, Bedroom, Closet, Furniture, Lamp, Light, Betstand

As someone who didn’t understand this until recently, I felt like I was experiencing a breakthrough. Seriously, my mind shattered. I focus on the long-term and didn’t realize the short-term can help you get there. I shouldn’t be surprised either. After working on projects like organizing my life, I’ve been feeling the difference. I even wrote a whole post on it a little while ago. I guess I just didn’t connect the dots.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can just be a better partner/friend/family member. Grooming makes you more attractive and confident and a cleaner house is more inviting. Make your loved ones happy!

Edit: My boyfriend read this post and added: “if you’re half a percent better every day, that’s a lot of percents better in a year.” Okay, so he’s not the most eloquent – but you get the point. Maybe he should take on Project 4 with me.

Let’s talk about the little things: what little things make your day a little more productive or happier? I’m curious where else I can improve my daily life – help a girl out here.

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Finally More Music – Sugar by Brockhampton

As I’ve been getting used to my job, I’ve also had the opportunity to spend time on parts of me that have been lost to law school. While I use the blog to channel these outlets, it’s been tough to find time for any hobbies or interests outside my scheduled projects. The one thing that law school took from me that hurt the most was music.

Before law school, I was constantly listening to music. My Spotify averaged 6 hours a day. I knew all the new releases, the underground hits, and was known as the girl who could make a mean playlist. It’s was a part of my identity.

But since being in school, I’ve found that I couldn’t listen to music while doing my readings (back when I was an engineer math and music went hand-in-hand). By the time I finished work, I was fried. No time for any enjoyment.

Slowly, I started losing track of what was coming out. When I did have a chance to listen to anything new, I felt out of the loop because I didn’t know the context behind the song’s release. Older favorites seemed tainted with memories of when my friends were around. Every song reminded me of the person I first showed it too. After a while, the fun was gone.

Starting work has given me that sense of fun back. I’m listening to music at my desk, so I can passively listen to music and make new memories with it. It’s become exciting again.

Listening to music made me want to make some myself. One song I’ve really enjoyed lately is Sugar by Brockhampton. I thought I could get the basic beat in the background – using the same steps as I explained in my covering songs post. Here’s what I came up with:

It’s not great. Currently, it’s not a real guitar, but I plan on recording myself playing the guitar part. I also tried to add a bass, but for some reason I’ve always had trouble with 808s.

I’m just excited I actually made some music. This song especially sound lackluster without the vocals, but the weekend is close, so maybe once I’m off work I can fix this beat a little bit. I’ve got some ideas for how to make the guitar part a little different. Who knows, maybe I’ll record vocals too?

Anyway, that’s all for now. What do you think? Are there any songs that have resonated with you lately?

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Can Social Media Grow Your Blog Quickly?

I’m now on social media!

As a part of my learn to blog project, I’ve been reading up about tips and tricks to help make your blog a better experience for your readers. Of course, social media is an integral part of connecting with your community. However, I want to use this opportunity to run a little experiment to find out which platforms are most effective.

So after doing some research, I compiled the most heavily suggested platforms for bloggers and some of the advice successful bloggers have given for using the platforms. My goal is to try these out in the way they recommend and see if it really does drive traffic and engagement on my blog. Without further ado, I present to you my preliminary findings (and handles) for social media platforms for bloggers.

Pinterest

I was shocked to find that Pinterest seems to be the bread and butter for bloggers. As someone who phases in and out of using it personally, I didn’t really understand how I could promote my content there. The best description I found was that Pinterest is a visual search engine that operates outside of the limits of SEO (Search Engine Optimization: the metric that Google uses to decide which results to show first when you search something).

Pinterest has its own internal search algorithm that can give you a shot to be seen. Also, in terms of longevity, your content is even more evergreen. As long as someone searches for something that’s similar to your pin, it has a chance to be seen.

There’s also plenty of data about when and how often to post. The general consensus of what I found was posting 5-10 pins a day was most effective for getting seen and the best time to be seen was between 8-11 PM EST. I found a really useful (and free!) downloadable Pinterest guide linked in this post that told me more than I knew about Pinterest.

I started posting pins I created on Canva twelve hours ago. Each pin has two views and one has one save. I focused on big fonts and clear presentation. Definitely more visibility than I was expecting for someone who doesn’t follow anyone yet.

Would you pin it? I’m still trying to get a feel for what’s “pinnable” and what’s not.

Find me on Pinterest: jacquelineofalltradesblog

Instagram

Instagram is everywhere. It’s not a surprise it’s recommended, although the ways to scale on it seem to be different than Pinterest.

The key to Instagram seems to be 1) a strong hashtag game and, 2) following similar accounts to yours. I still have yet to figure out which hashtags work. Once I find out, I’ll do a deep dive on what I find to help you all too.

Also, stories? I’ve never posted a story on my personal Instagram, so I have no idea what I’m doing there. Let’s find out together.

I made my Instagram so I could post my time lapse of my calligraphy attempts, I expect to put more content there soon!

Find me on Instagram: jacqueline.ofalltrades

Facebook

Okay, so I actually had no idea how to grow a Facebook page besides promoting it. As a broke college student, paying for views is not within the budget. Enter facebook groups.

Facebook groups that promote bloggers are a great way to find similar creators and discover new blogs. They work in a you-scratch-my-back-I-scratch-yours kind of way. Nevertheless, some of these groups are over 30,000 bloggers, so that’s a big audience that can potentially see your content. Here’s a list of recommended blogging groups.

Some pages let you join as your blog page, where others you join as your personal account. I’m having trouble joining any with my blog page at the moment – I wonder if it has to do with the fact I have only 2 likes on the page. Once I figure this out and can join groups, we’ll revisit my findings.

Find me on Facebook: @jacquelineofalltradesblog

Twitter

To me, Twitter is the chaotic evil of social media. I stopped using it about five years ago. I’m going to have to really be convinced it’s worth my time to get one. Sources seem mixed and with other platforms being recommended more heavily, I’m staying away for now until I learn more.

Do any of you have a Twitter for your blog? Does it actually help engagement?

Goodreads

Goodreads is really only relevant to me because of Project 4. It’s basically a virtual book club: you can share what you’re reading, reviews on what you have read, and join chats all about it. Honestly, I’m looking forward to talking about the books I read more with others. I created a bookshelf with my list of classics and I expect to be retroactively posting my reviews.

The only downside is that it can mess with your SEO. Basically if you post the same review on your blog as you do on Goodreads, Google is going to recognize the duplicate content and likely display the Goodreads search result before your blog (since it’s a bigger website Google finds it to be more relevant). There is a solution which is to write different reviews. For me, I think my Goodreads reviews will be shorter and more about how the book made me feel. Here’s an interesting article about this problem.

Find me on Goodreads: jacqueline-of-all-trades

Bloglovin’

I’m very mixed on Bloglovin’. It’s a one-stop-shop for blogs where a reader can read their favorite blogs from a variety of platforms. On one hand, that’s great. Finding people who like to read blogs is perfect for what you’re doing. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure you’ll have the same problem as you do with Goodreads. Will Google recognize the Bloglovin’ content as the original?

I’m not really sure on that. So for that reason, I need to do more research before I can be convinced the platform helps more than it harms.

Do you use Bloglovin’? What’s your experience been? I’d love to know especially since I’ve never used the platform myself.

So with that, I enter my social media journey. I’d love to hear from you guys though: what’s your experience been with using social media?

Also, follow me or drop your usernames in the comments down below! I’m looking for accounts to follow!

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My First Attempt at Calligraphy

This week, I received all my calligraphy supplies for Project 7! There’s no better way to decompress after finishing a massive task than to get a little creative, so upon finishing our law journal writing competition, we decided to blindly test the materials.

The Materials

I chose this set from Amazon (not sponsored!). After redeeming a coupon, the set went from $15 to $9. The set included one pen, eleven nibs, and some ink. While I don’t have anything to compare it to, I did like the pen and thought it was easy to use.

Without any instruction whatsoever, I blindly tested the nibs. Each one is different in both shape and size. Some have a pointier tip where others create a brush effect by a flatter edge. Some also are longer than others, I have yet to figure out what the effect of that is. Here’s what each of the nibs looked like:

As I was using the pen, I realized it was easier to use than I expected. The ink was easily controlled by the nib which surprised me. I thought using a calligraphy pen would be like writing with a needle – scraping the paper. But it really wasn’t. It felt just as natural as any other pen.

I Tried My Best…

From there, I decided to try writing a little bit of print and a little bit of script. I didn’t look up any sort of instructions – I wanted to start at the absolute beginning. While I will learn actual technique, I just wanted to mess around. I’m hoping that as I get better, I can look back on where I started and see some progress.

I also made a time lapse of my first attempt. (Yes, I did have to set up an Instagram just to post this, expect more content there in the future!). Check it out:

All in all, I was not disappointed. I expected more smudging, but I was careful not to overload the pen with ink. I’ve always had decent handwriting, but I’m looking forward to learning calligraphy fonts. I know consistency is the most important part and my handwriting has never been very consistent.

…And Then My Boyfriend Blew Me Out of the Water

My boyfriend also gave it a go. He might have been the underdog being a lefty, but he was able to pull together something very impressive. He’s always been a bit snotty about his pens, always using only a certain kind of pen because he liked the way the ink flowed. Before trying the calligraphy pen, he was already an accomplished doodler. Here’s some of his older stuff using normal roller-ball pens:

Needless to say, he couldn’t wait to get the calligraphy pen in his hands. He managed to make this on his first go:

(To see a time lapse of his work, check out the second slide in the Instagram post above!)

He also had an absolute blast. I made the executive decision to leave the calligraphy materials at his house so he could dabble whenever he wanted.

I’m excited to take on this project and I can’t wait to get into the real stuff! Playing around was fun – but now it’s time to craft an actual skill. We’re looking forward to both learning more and discovering a new world we know nothing about.

How’d we do? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments below!

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The Blogger Recognition Award

I’m excited to announce that Jess over at Beyond the Front Cover has nominated me for The Blogger Recognition Award.

A Little About Jess and Her Friends

Throughout my journey of reading 100 classics, I’ve found plenty of book-review blogs and Jess’s blog is one of my favorites. Her reviews are so well-written and even-handed that it’s hard not to recognize her ability to fairly review books. One of my favorite reviews of hers is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. It was a book that completely missed my list and after reading her opinion, it’ll be one of the first books I read once I finish Project 4.

Not only that, she has a great taste in blogs and the other bloggers she recommended are also fantastic: Alice from Alice and Her Bookshelf, Kate from KateHeartsLife, and Jess from Comfort Reads. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them and their blogs from her and I can’t recommend them enough!

And lastly, I’d be remiss to not give a little shout out to Jess’s instagram. She channels cozy vibes and lazy Sundays so well. (You might even be seeing a slightly more chaotic Jacqueline of All Trades instagram soon… she’s got me inspired!)

If you’re interested in reading books a little bit more than you already do, send some love her way.

The Actual Award and Rules

There’s only six quick things you need to know about the rules behind the award:

  1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select up to fifteen bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment (or pingback) on each blog to let them know that you’ve nominated them, and provide a link to the post you’ve created.

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump right into it.

How Jacqueline of All Trades Started

I’m very new to blogging still; I started in January of this year. However, the concept of working on projects has always been a part of my blood. I have an insatiable curiosity for life. It’s led me down some strange paths of uncertainty like completing degrees in chemical engineering and international studies, all while keeping with the plan to go to law school.

I don’t like the idea of compromise and I believe we should always be exploring and creating anything that catches our attention. So outside of my academics, I found projects like making a cocktail book with my cousin Abbey or dropping an album just to throw the best party of all time. These projects slowly spiraled into a lifestyle – with some being finished and others left to collect dust.

Last fall, I entered law school. I quickly realized that everything around me was all related to law. I lived with other law students, was constantly doing my readings, and had no other hobbies. I was wilting. The blog was a way to salvage my creativity and give me something to work towards.

I almost didn’t even start the blog. I was afraid of possible repercussions for my legal career. Not that I’d be writing anything bad, it’s just it might not be seen as professional. But I realized that if I don’t do it, I would stagnate as a person. Being entirely immersed in law wasn’t something I ever wanted for my life.

So I did it. I started the blog. And oh did it catch my attention. I now live and breathe my blog (for better or worse).

Advice to New Bloggers*

Seeing as I’m a new blogger myself, I’m not sure I’m really qualified here. My blog has a fairly small following and I currently have a project all dedicated about learning how to blog. That being said, I feel like I’m more qualified to give advice to people who have a goal they aren’t chasing. It more accurately represents my story and my journey.

So here’s a few things I’d say to anyone hesitating on a project:

  • Excuses Can Be Contagious: Making an excuse about trying one thing will make you more comfortable to make an excuse about trying a second thing. Pretty soon, you’ll start thinking you’re less and less capable of doing anything. Don’t make it a habit.
  • The “I Don’t Have Time” Line: I once heard something that changed my life: someone who says they don’t have time for something is really just saying that thing is not a priority for them. You’d be surprised how much time you have. I promise you, deleting this sentence from your vocabulary will change your life too.
  • If You Have Something On Your Mind Right Now, Do It: If you’re reading this and a specific thing came to your mind, you obviously want to do it. So why not just start it?
  • Little Steps Are More Valuable Than Big Ones: This was something I implied recently: doing little bits turns into a lot of progress. Spending one day working hard on something will probably lead you to not pick it up again.

My Nominations

The fun part: picking blogs I like to read! I tried to pick a little bit of everything and each one of these blogs continually puts out great content that they pour their heart and soul into:

  • Meredith from Artsy Arrow: This blog is so much fun to read. Meredith does a little bit of everything and when it comes to blogging, she so talented. The website is so user-friendly and so engaging, good luck not getting trapped on it for hours! Also, be sure to check out her art skills if you do visit. Post Recommendation: I Painted a Mural on My Bedroom Wall // Summer 2020
  • Dave from Endless Roaming: Look no further for your daily dose of wanderlust. Posting pictures from his travels, Dave never disappoints. Be careful, endless scrolling abound. Post Recommendation: Cadiz Spain
  • Prerna from Read With Prerna: Another book reviewer I adore. Prerna puts serious effort into each one of her reviews and she flies way under the radar. She picks quotes that make you want to read all the books she does. Would probably be a great reading buddy. Post Recommendation: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • Trisha from Trisha’s Musings: This girl hustles. She posts every single day about anything and everything that catches her attention. She’s new to the community and it’s really inspiring to see her produce better and better content. Not to mention, she’s sweet as can be. Post Recommendation: My Learnings From The 30 Day Blogging Challenge
  • Sarah from The Critiquing Chemist: There’s something I love about reading a book review from someone with an analytical mind. Sarah writes mostly about the books she reads, but she also has insane travel posts every now and then. Post Recommendation: Four Days in Jordan

Lastly, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog. I’m still really new to my journey and am humbled by the gracious outpouring of support I receive. Each of you motivate me so much to continue doing the things I love. So please, don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello! I’m always a comment or e-mail away (jacquelineofalltradesblog@gmail.com).

But I know that I haven’t found all of the great reads out there: what are some of your favorite blogs? Who should I be reading next?

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A Guide to Organizing Your Entire Life

So, I have a little confession: I’m actually really close to being finished with Project 2. I know that might come as a surprise, seeing as I never post about it… it’s just that I recognize that reading about me cleaning every day is boring.

That being said, it’s not like I haven’t learned anything. I’ve actually learned a lot – both about myself and about how to organize. Reorganizing and decluttering is a much more liberating experience than I ever could have imagined, I really do feel much better having everything in its place. Also, my list extends beyond physical decluttering to mental decluttering in tracking different aspects of my life.

Though I’m not finished with everything on my list, I have begun everything. And it turns out that I wasn’t really able to gauge the difficulty that’d be required for each task. I realized that two things go into cleaning: time and effort. Obviously, time relates to how long it took for me to get something done. Effort refers more to the amount of work required I’d have to put in to get it organized. For example, setting up my photo wall took a lot of time since each picture had to be put up separately, but once I had the measurements all done, it didn’t take much effort on my part. I did most of the project while watching Netflix.

It’s from this premise that I created a bit of a theory. Tasks can be sorted by these two variables, and each of these two variables can be divided further. From there, I propose that there are 9 kinds of tasks as indicated by this fancy graphic.

I thought today I could share with you guys the 9 different types of tasks as they appear on my personal cleaning list with a little insight on what was really required to get things done. That way if you’re looking to clean up something in your life, you can have a better idea of whether you’re in over your head or you can get it done in an afternoon.

The Easy Tasks: Little Time, Little Effort Tasks

These are the easy ones – they don’t really take any time at all. If any of these are on your personal list, start with them because they’re so simple.

  • Keeping Track of Your Passwords: Start a list right now of your computer passwords. Seriously, right now. Every time you go to log in to any website, add it to your list. In less than a month, you’ll have most of your passwords sorted out and you’ll be asking why you didn’t do this sooner.

The Hour Long Tasks: Average Time, Little Effort Tasks

These tasks are easy as pie. On a day off from work, they’ll make you feel like you’ve accomplished something with lots of time to spare.

  • Drawers: You can’t hide from the truth any longer – clean out that junk drawer.

The Quicker Tasks: Little Time, Average Effort Tasks

The tasks that’ll have you saying: “That wasn’t too bad!”

  • Organizing Your Computer Bookmarks: Honestly, this can be fun seeing what corners of the internet you discovered. But beware: distractions are bound to happen.
  • Setting Up Your Calendar: If you already have a calendar system in place, but it hasn’t been updated – this task just requires getting all your ducks in a row. If you don’t have a system that works for you to schedule everything, try looking around. Personally, I use Google calendar and whenever anything comes up it goes straight in. Very easy to maintain it that way.

The Full Day Tasks: Average Time, Average Effort Tasks

I’d recommend you do these on a Saturday so you can enjoy your Sunday and still feel like you had a productive weekend.

  • Organizing Groups of Objects: This is easily one of the most satisfying tasks on the entire list. Think about what you have a lot of. For me, that’s clothes/beauty products and old textbooks/notes. Organizing these individual groups of items by seriously cutting back makes you feel so good. Bonus points if you can make it look aesthetically pleasing!

The Watch-a-Movie Tasks: High Time, Little Effort Tasks

Since these tasks don’t really require you to have your brain present and active, go ahead and watch a movie while you’re doing them!

  • Any Sorting Task: Whenever you have a group of something that needs to be sorted out, you can do it while catching up on TV you’ve been missing. This can be anything from nail polish to fishing bait. Caution: Does not apply to going through photos.

The Thought Provoking Tasks: Little Time, High Effort Tasks

These might not require all that much time, but they requires you to be completely mentally present.

  • Creating a Food Diary: This really doesn’t take too much effort when you start, but it’s certainly high effort to keep it going. I mean logging every. single. time. you eat is definitely a lot to keep track of. But seriously, being able to track your vitamins and minerals is so worth it!
  • Setting Up a Workout Log: Same as above. It’s all in the upkeep.

The Tasks That Require Breaks: High Time, Average Effort Tasks

These aren’t tasks you can get done in one go, but they’re manageable enough to painlessly spread them out over a few days.

  • Cleaning Every Square Inch of Your House: You didn’t think I was going to forget this one, did you? It doesn’t really require all that much effort to get the ol’ spring cleaning done, but it does require that you’re actively thinking about what needs to be cleaned. Like honestly, when was the last time you moved the couch and vacuumed behind there?

The Tasks You’ve Been Putting Off: Average Time, High Effort Tasks

Okay, I’ll say it – these ones are the worst. These projects don’t quite require all day to do, and that’s too bad, because if they did you’d plan a whole weekend for them (see the Advanced, Expert Level tasks below!).

  • Planning a Budget/Checking Your Credit Score: This one is especially painful if it’s your first time since it requires you dissecting your spending habits. If you do have an old budget, it’s painful because you’ve got to look through your old budget to see how accurate it was. No matter what, we all hate looking at just how much money we spend and what our credit looks like.
  • Cleaning Out Social Media Accounts: I’ve found that cleaning out social media accounts requires high dedication to setting the image you want others to see. Those cringe-filled status updates that you posted when you were in high school probably need to be deleted.

The Advanced, Expert Level Tasks: High Time, High Effort Tasks

These are the tasks from your nightmares.

  • Cleaning Out Your E-mail: It’s easy to get rid of spam e-mails. It’s also easy to get rid of promotional e-mails. But oh man is it a lot of work to unsubscribe from e-mail lists. Then sorting which e-mails to trash and which to keep is brutal. Creating folders and reliving moments from the past digs up emotions. Seriously, this isn’t for the faint of heart.
  • Sorting Digital Files: It does not matter what sort of digital files you have, it’s a memory trap. If you stumble across an album of photos you haven’t seen in forever, you can accidentally lose an hour of your day. Plus, they’re everywhere: on your desktop, your google drive, your iCloud, your phone notes, old USBs and more. Hope you don’t find your old Sims CD. Good luck finding a single place to store it all.

What do you think of my list? What tasks are the easiest and most-satisfying for you to get done? Is my method the next KonMari method?

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What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

If it’s your first time stopping by this week, you might have noticed quite a bit has changed around here. I’ve got my own domain and have changed up the actual site! With a new theme and new featured images, it looks much better!

In the midst of these changes, Abbey and I spent a whole day doing nothing but reading in preparation for a week straight of book reviews. It was something we’ve been planning for a while as a way to relax after me finishing school! Originally, I was supposed to go visit her, but given quarantine we did it separately and checked in over the phone.

A week’s worth of consistent content has been a blast. It was tough to prepare so many reviews ahead of time, but I’ve had the opportunity to work on even more content because of it!

Additionally, I have seen a huge spike in engagement on the blog which has been overwhelming! Having the opportunity to meet some new faces and engage with people reading the same books and doing similar projects has been so much fun! On top of people visiting me, I’ve been trying to reach out to creators whose content I enjoy.

Throughout this process there are a few things I’ve picked up on that I thought I’d share. This week has given me insight as a blogger and my place in this whole mess.

Quality Matters

This is something that’s been really noticeable in my book reviews. There are books I really loved reading and others I just couldn’t wait to finish. Sometimes, it was hard to find the motivation to even write the review after and it showed. No wonder those posts didn’t have nearly as much engagement as the ones that I was proud of writing! The key takeaway I discovered was that if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, your readers will notice.

With love and affection, it doesn’t really matter what you’re writing about – it only take one reader to identify with your content. For example, a book I really disliked was A Clockwork Orange. It had mostly to do with the – in my opinion – abhorrent slang that distorted the story line. But I really took the time to flesh out these opinions and unpack it a little more. I spent quite a bit of time writing that post and I was happy when it became one of my most-liked posts. My readers could see the love I had put into it and responded to it.

Quantity Matters Too

This week in particular I’ve been focused on putting out content every single day. It’s been challenging, but I came in with a game plan, so it was very do-able. To no one’s surprise, posting every day brought a lot more traffic.

I’m not sure if it has something to do with the Reader algorithm wanting to suggest me more or if I was creating content on subjects others already followed. Nevertheless, I found that when people visited, they checked out my other content too. Because I have a back-catalog of posts on a variety of topics, I saw that visitors were averaging higher views when I was putting out content every day.

Writing often familiarizes others with your content and gives you more of an opportunity to be seen. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be seen by someone who enjoys your stuff.

Motivation Fluctuation

Just like any habit or hobby, if you’re truly excited about what you’re doing, doing it every day makes you even more excited. I found that I was thinking about content and working on my projects much more this week just because I wanted to.

Motivation is a rarity, so making the most of it is crucial. But exposing myself and quite frankly, some days forcing myself to write, brought more ideas and more of a desire to deliver on material.

There you have it – my thoughts on consistent blogging. It honestly comes down to finding your place and your voice on your blog. But I want to hear your thoughts: What do you think? Do you agree with my observations?

As always, thanks for reading!

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