Level Up Breakfast Time

Reading time: 2 minutes 22 seconds


Sure, it's been debunked that breakfast is an essential meal, but there's no denying that it's still so damn relaxing to sit down and enjoy some noms - even something as simple as a bagel - with that morning coffee. As a morning person who is also an introvert, I find that my breakfast routine is the perfect time for me to practice self-care and psych myself up for the day ahead, but even a routine lover like me can sometimes get tired of that same old, same old, so here's what I do when I need to shake things up.

Sweet Treats

When I crave something sweet but that Starbucks Cinnamon Morning Bun just isn't cutting it anymore, I tend to want a big bowl of Cookie Crisp or Froot Loops, but your mom is right - sugary cereals are terrible for you. There are so many other options that you can explore that offer many more vitamins and minerals as well as a far more encouraging variation of tastes and textures. The easiest one of those options is to incorporate fresh fruit and grains. They offer the sweet taste and crunchy texture that we crave in sugary cereals, but they make your body way, way happier.

The most frequent way I incorporate the fruits and grains is by adding chopped fruit and nuts or seeds to Greek yogurt. Other times, I throw that whole thing into the blender with ice, cashew milk, and a teeny bit of honey to make a breakfast smoothie. If you have the time, though, you can create your own french toast - bread soaked in whisked egg and some brown sugar and griddled. Throw your fruits and nuts on there and voilร !


Savory Temptations

On the other end of the spectrum is savory breakfast, and this is my go-to on weekend mornings when I can pop on over to Perkins and stuff my face. On weekdays, especially when I teach 8 AM classes, that's just not possible. As delicious as it is, it is not worth waking up at 3 AM for, so what I tend to do is scramble some eggs and make some avocado toast for the perfect protein-filled morning meal. I also recently discovered Mexican scrambled eggs, which is just scrambled eggs with tomato, bell peppers, and chili powder. I don't know why it never occurred to me to do that, especially since these are ingredients I always have on hand. I also recently discovered freshly baked and delivered pretzels from places like https://esprovisions.com. Delicious pretzels delivered to my door? Yes, please!

Leveling up breakfast time doesn't have to be difficult! It's just a matter of giving your body what it craves, be that something sweet or savory, without compromising your health. Think about it: breakfast is the first substantial thing you put in your body for the day. If you put in something unhealthy, that's how you'll feel for the rest of the day, but if you rush to make something elaborate, it'll also throw your entire day off, so hopefully, these simple ideas help you with your breakfast game!

How do you level up your breakfast?
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4 Tools for Social Media Management

Reading time: 3 minutes 56 seconds


In my last post, I shared some blogging tips regarding saving time. This post is no different, except that it deals more specifically with tools for social media management because let's face it: social media is the way to get your brand out there. Engaging frequently with your audience on social media is essential to growing your brand and enhancing your online presence. What's more, to keep on improving, you'll need to track your analytics. The problem is, with so many social media tools available, your campaigns can end up being time-consuming and difficult to monitor. The solution to managing your social media accounts can be achieved easily with any of these four software tools.

Buffer

Buffer is an excellent choice for managing all of your social media content. You’ll no longer need to log in separately on LinkedIn or Facebook or Instagram. Buffer allows you to log in to all accounts via one single platform. With Buffer, you can schedule posts and upload the posts you’ve created with one simple click. Buffer is easily integrated with tools such as Wordpress or RSS readers, should you rely on these for your content needs. With Buffer, you can add any post that you’ve created to a queue, and from here, the app takes control of when to post. You’ll receive some handy analytics features which can help you to see which of your content has been the most popular. Info includes retweets, mentions, and the number of clicks.

Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a great piece of software that allows you to work on your social marketing plans and build relationships via social communication. Using the app, you can access an excellent social media management solution plus helpful analytics. There are plenty of handy features to take advantage of, including social CRM, monitoring, publishing, collaboration, and a smart inbox.


Sendible

Sendible is a business platform to facilitate and manage audience engagement, analytics, and social monitoring, which sounds very 1984 but actually just means analyzing your readers' reactions to what you're publishing and using that information to create more targeted campaigns. Besides that, one of the top benefits of the software is that you can measure ROI straight from the social dashboard. With Sendible, you can drive leads and access marketing automation as well as CRM tools. You can also use the software to assign tasks and approve workflows, which is A+ if you run your blog with a small team. Other key features of Sendible include customer engagement, brand building and monitoring, scheduling posts, and managing clients.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is currently the most popular social media management tool out there, and it's the one that I've been using the longest and most widely. Back when I was in college, there was a time when I was managing social media for my on-campus job; my remote, off-campus internship; my blog network (shoutout to my IHC peepz); and this blog at the same time, and it worked seamlessly on Hootsuite. Using the software, you can gain full control of your social media campaigns - you can connect with clients, review responses, or schedule updates. Social platforms accessible right from Hootsuite include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare. With Hootsuite, you can also connect to third-party apps such as MailChimp, Tumblr, or Evernote. You’ll save yourself lots of time with Hootsuite, and you'll get yourself some actionable data to supercharge your ongoing campaigns.

When it comes to your social media strategy, ensure that you revise your campaigns all the time. Call upon the services of an SEO expert to enhance the quality of your digital marketing. Seek all the blogging tips you can and put real time and effort into designing creative content.

Have you tried these tools? What other tools work for you?
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How to Save Time When Blogging

Reading time: 2 minutes 13 seconds


Blogging is time-consuming. One of the most important lessons I learned from managing this blog is that everything takes way more time than you expect it would, but I also learned that there are ways to save time and increase efficiency, most notably by taking any free time you do have to do two things: create templates and schedule posts.

Create Templates Ahead of Time

If you look through blogs and other social media, you will notice that everything follows a template or a set style. This is because templates make it possible for you to focus just on writing when it comes time to write, and this is also something that survived traditional media's transition to digital media; think house style books.

Websites like templafy.com provide the kind of software that can help you run a blog, especially once it gathers momentum. Alternatively, if you have a Microsoft Suite subscription, explore the programs available to you through that.

Schedule Your Social Media Posts

You can also start scheduling your social media posts to ensure that you maximize the use of your online platform. I used to just publish posts whenever I got done writing, and I would write and send out social media posts the same way, but once I started looking into my analytics and focusing on information like days and times y'all interacted with my content, I was able to tailor my posting times to your schedules without compromising my own schedule.


Of course, the best times to post vary by your niche, the kind of content you provide, your location, and even the platform you're publishing to, so you'll need to check the stats for your own platforms to get the best, most useful information.

Once you have that information, you can easily tailor your timings. For example, if you notice that you have most of your blog views coming in at 8 PM on Thursdays, you know to publish new posts at around that time.

While I'm more of a casual blogger now than I used to be, these two tips have helped me make the most of what little time I can devote to blogging, and they give me the chance to still enjoy blogging as a pastime instead of just giving it up.

How do you save time when you blog?
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Birthday Gift Ideas for the Entire Year

Reading time: 2 minutes 22 seconds


One of the topics that we used in this week's speaking assessment was gifts, and one of the prompts was "the idea that humans are selfish and only give gifts to receive some in return." I watched as my student, one of the sweetest girls in her grade, experienced the complete and utter realization that she may indeed be a bitch. I knew this because I experienced it at the same time. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I have always loved giving gifts to the people I care about because it is how I show them that they matter to me, so I always love giving gifts based on my observations of their daily routines, which, trust me, is not as creepy as it sounds. I have a friend who is constantly cold, and she loves Lord of the Rings. She even made a Tree of Gondor hoodie for herself, so for her birthday one year, I gave her a Tree of Gondor blanket to match her hoodie.

The point is that I think my student and I both do this, but we suddenly realized that we may only be doing it because we want it reciprocated, so take note, Men Who Are Lining Up Around the Block Just to Date Me.

Regardless of your reasons for gifting, be it birthdays or random occasions like Spaghetti Day (which is today, btw), here are some ideas.


Something For Their Home

If your recipient has recently moved, getting them something for their new home would be great. Just make sure it's something unobtrusive and out-of-the-way. Unpacking their own shit is stressful enough without more stuff to have to put away, so think small like wine glasses (because you can never have too many wine glasses) or one of those maps where you can scratch off countries you've visited.

Something For Their Hobbies

If your recipient has an obvious hobby that they either talk a lot about or have shared with more people than just you, a gift that they can use for that hobby is another option. Why I added that disclaimer about it being an obvious hobby is because you don't want to accidentally oust someone's secret hobby, like getting your niece luxury smoking accessories because you want to be the cool aunt, but then she gets in trouble, and you get called an enabler. ๐Ÿ‘€ Some safer bets are those collapsible water bottles for hiking enthusiasts or a sports fanny pack (or whatever they're called) for people who go running on a daily basis.

Something That Creates Memories

If your recipient is going through a Marie Kondo phase, and you don't want to give them more worldly possessions that don't spark joy, give them the gift of experience. Take them to a wine tasting or to a cozy afternoon tea, or go all-out and take them racing on a professional course or take them skydiving! The point is to do something you will both enjoy and remember for much longer than they'll keep a physical gift.


Something Personalized

Personalized gifts, I feel, are the best. It shows that thought and effort were put into the gift and that it didn't come from a last-minute dash through Target (although, let's be honest, it's impossible to dash through Target). The forever-cold friend I was talking about, when I was leaving for China, gave me a fridge magnet she designed herself that features one of the many inside jokes we share. To this day, it is still one of my favorite gifts, despite how simple it may seem on the surface. If that's too intense, you can go the route of getting an engraved thermos for a tea-obsessed friend or a custom eyeshadow palette for a makeup lover.

At the end of the day, regardless of your selfish or otherwise reasons for gifting, it's always nice to get free shit, am I right?

What birthday gifts do you like receiving?
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Shapewear for All Shapes ft. Cosmolle*

Reading time: 1 minute 18 seconds


If there's one thing I love about the holiday season, it's all the free time I get to really invest in dressing up and experimenting with more outrageous outfits (think long, slinking dresses, plunging necklines, and extraextravagant jewelry) that are way too time-consuming for everyday wear. What's annoying about these outfits, though, is the need I feel to wear shapewear in order to get the smooth, seamless lines I want. That's usually fine and dandy, but the problem is that most shapewear products are hella uncomfortable and feel terrible to be in, especially if you have to be seated for extended periods of time. Also, ironically, some shapewear products are chunky, and you end up with more lines than when you started. ๐Ÿ˜‚

This is where Cosmolle Shapewear comes in.

One product range that caught my eye is the tummy control shapewear, not so much for the flat belly but for the way it can keep your belly looking the exact same way before and after a meal. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I don't like looking like a potato after eating, ok, especially if I looked like fresh fries when I walked out the door.

Another product range that targets my list of shapewear pet peeves is the seamless body shaper. This one I find ~revolutionary~ because these shapers smooth out everything you want to smooth out while staying comfortable and breathable. Moreover, they retain their seamless quality even with the lace and mesh detailing.

As the icing on the cake, Cosmolle's philosophy is all about defining your own beauty by shaping your body your way for your shape. They believe that yes, shapewear is body positive because shapewear should not be about hiding imperfections; rather, it should be about enhancing your natural features, and with just a little lift, that inner TLC can shine through. After all, when you feel like you look ๐Ÿ”ฅ, you always actually end up looking ๐Ÿ”ฅ.

  

Cosmolle's offerings may still be small, but their products span multiple categories to meet different needs for different situations, ranging from shorts and panties to bodysuits and slips; hence, they suggest trying out their shapewear for casual outfits as well.

What are your thoughts on shapewear being body positive?
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Last-Minute Gift Ideas ft. Basic Invite*

Reading time: 1 minute 10 seconds


The holiday season is a time when many of us reconnect with family and friends. I know I, for one, reconnected with many a cousin this year as well as an old high school best friend. Because these are last-minute reunions, these folks are not on my holiday shopping list, especially since I prepare my list months in advance, so since time was not on my side, I found a great alternative: Basic Invite.

My rationale is this: cards are the easiest and speediest way to show someone you're thinking of them without breaking the bank, but my gripe with many store-bought cards is that they're generic and don't really communicate my ~aesthetic~ or my brand of humor. Don't get me wrong; premade cards are great for the occasional thought-of-you gift, but for situations like this where you're rebuilding relationships, I personally would prefer something custom and personalized.

That's why I love Basic Invite for their cute holiday cards that are Truly Custom™. What they mean by that is that they offer (almost) unlimited colors. Unlike the majority of online stationery companies out there, Basic Invite allows us to customize every element on each design from a selection of more than 180 colors, including the recipient addresses on each envelope, which is provided at no additional cost. Even the envelopes come with a whopping palette of over 40 different colors like crowd-pleasing pastels (cream cotton and lemonade) or colors that are more my speed (cranberry and peacock). That definitely beats out a rando card from a grocery store.


Besides that, Basic Invite offers other cool products like a company holiday party invitation and clear business cards and even free websites. Y'all should definitely check 'em out for all your invitation needs, especially right now when they're offering 15% off every order with coupon code 15FF51.

Basic Invite is also on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

What last-minute gifts do you usually give?
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Weekly Reading | August 1, 2019


College

It's August, and incoming college freshmen are probably bursting at the seams with excitement, or was 17-year-old me the only one who felt that way? ๐Ÿ˜‚ College is definitely a fun time (except for that twice-a-year panic around Finals Week when you question all the choices you've ever made that landed you in that position), but don't forget that you are still pursuing an education, so here's a post about choosing a career path because it's never too early to start thinking about post-grad life. I also found a post for those of you considering joining sororities and a post about making the most of limited dorm space.

"College Real Talk: Choosing A Career Path" via Living in Full Bloom
"What I Gained from Joining Sorority Life" via The Blonde Lifestyle

Wellness

Of course, while you want to take college seriously, you should also keep your wellbeing in mind because burnout is a real thing, and it can cost you more time and productivity in the long run. This is coming from personal experience because I admit I didn't make the most out of my undergraduate years, so when I was getting my master's, I figured I can sleep when I'm dead and seized every opportunity that came my way. Needless to say, graduating a semester later than planned was the best case scenario, lol.

"5 Ways to Clear Your Head and Get Inspired" via The Classic Brunette

Lifestyle

I also found some lifestyle posts for all y'all incoming freshmen to consider. The first one is my favorite. It's a letter-to-self about embracing your cultural identity. While I'm not bicultural, I can relate in the sense that I struggled in my undergrad years to fit in with the White majority to avoid being other-ed as an Asian woman, so I really think this post can be helpful for my fellow POCs to, if anything, realize that you are not alone in feeling like you've lost your identity. Then, to take it down a notch (or 50 ๐Ÿ˜…), here's a post about becoming a morning person and one about going green.

"Cultural Identity: A Letter to My Younger Self" via Sweating Champagne
"How to (Realistically) Become A Morning Person" via Ampersand
"Beginning Steps for Going Green" via Leslie Nichole

For travel, beauty, and home posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What is or was your favorite part about college?
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Weekly Reading | June 27, 2019


Travel

It's summer, y'all! ๐ŸŒž While I hate summer weather, I still appreciate the break. It's actually low-key one of my favorite parts about being a teacher: you (mostly) get breaks when your students get breaks, and for my school, summer holiday starts in July. I'm definitely going home for the summer, but I haven't decided if I want to do any traveling outside of that, so if you're in the same boat, here are some travel posts.

"How to Get This New Yorker to the Beach" via The Champagne Edit
"My Paris Guide: Eat, Sleep, and See" via Atlantic-Pacific

Beauty

Traveling is fun and all, but that pesky summer weather is inescapable (unless I travel somewhere in the southern hemisphere, I guess), and one reason I hate summer weather is I tend to break out in the heat and humidity, so I looked up some skincare posts.

"8 Reasons Why You Have Bad Skin" via Mally Elizabeth
"What Your Breakouts are Telling You" via The Brunette with A Blog
"How I Treat Breakouts" via Life with Kendal

Home

Then, of course, apart from traveling, some of that free time can go towards the home. Reorganizing and shopping for the home are great and all, but you know what the best part about them is? I can stay my ass indoors! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

"The 8 Best Home Decor Shopping Websites for A Girl on A Budget" by Marian Osrat
"Styling A Living Space with Vintage Thrift Finds" via Style Lullaby

For career, blogging, and wellness posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What are your summer plans?
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Weekly Reading | April 4, 2019


Career

For those of you in the job or internship market, I found a post about not being too quick to accept a job offer. I also found a couple posts about best practices for after you accept and start a job or internship.


Blogging

For my fellow bloggers, I found a post about why you need an email list as well as a post about how you can build one. I also found a post about why it's ok to say no.

"5 Reasons Every Blogger Needs an Email List" via Just a Girl and Her Blog
"It's OK to Say No in Blogging" via It Starts with Coffee

Wellness

Finally, I found some wellness posts, one about how to stop sabotaging yourself, one with a self-care challenge, and one about how to take ten minutes out of your day for yourself.

"10 Ways You're Sabotaging Yourself and How to Stop" via eyeliner wings & pretty things

For college, fashion, and lifestyle posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading.
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Weekly Reading | March 28, 2019


Fashion

It's spring cleaning time, so here's a post about maximizing your closet space. Then, since you have way more closet space now, here's a shopping guide for wearing ruffles and a roundup of some European fashion bloggers to inspire you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

"Ruffles Shopping Guide" via Keep Calm and Chiffon

Lifestyle

Last week, I found a couple of posts about how you can treat yo'self to feel more in love with your life. The first post talks about cheap and easy ways to pamper yourself (including a DIY spa night), and the second post talks about small steps you can take to live a life you love. One of the steps Kiara mentions is unplugging, and I found a post about ways to do that.


Blogging

My fellow bloggers might not want to unplug too much, though, but we can consider fresh ideas for our brands, one of which is podcasting, which seems to be taking the interwebs by storm lately. The first post talks about why podcasting is becoming such a trend, the second post talks about how we can go about starting a podcast, and the third post talks about podcasts for bloggers and other creatives.


For more fashion and lifestyle posts as well as college posts, check out the previous Weekly Reading!

What spring cleaning plans do you have?
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