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 voilà!


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. 😂

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. 👀 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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