The Seriously Fun Way To Boost Your Blog

By Hipster Mum

There is a brilliant scene in the recent film version of the Great Gatsby where the main character, Nick Carraway, walks through a spectacular celebration. “Gossip columnists alongside gangsters and governors exchanging telephone numbers,” he describes marvelling at trays piled with cocktails, feather-plumed movie stars in shimmering frocks and glitter falling over everyone like snow. “All weekend, every weekend, the whole city ended up at Gatsby's.”

A great party is like that: something that everyone wants to be part of. And looking around at the success of party blogs like Hooray, Party With Lenzo, A Subtle Revelry, 100 Layer Cake and more - it’s clear that right now the pull of a great party is stronger than ever.

But what makes a stunning celebration? And how can you throw one that looks ah-mazing in a teeny space without breaking the bank? This is where bloggers come in. Where magazines and large websites might have big budgets to throw grand soirees, real people don’t. Real people look for inspiration and solutions that are, well, real. As bloggers we’re in the perfect position to experiment and document the secret sauce behind a celebration that works IRL - and thanks to the popularity and timeliness of the topic (hello Christmas and summer holidays!) - any content we create has shareability built-in. I know, because this month it happened to me.

Earlier in October through Instagram I connected with Kate and Ashley Lawrence - two sisters with an expanding tribe keen to launch their own children’s fashion website, billieandkate. When we were brainstorming how to promote their brand I suggested we throw a Halloween party and they jumped right on board. A few key elements to set the scene:

1.    Food

Collaborating via Pinterest, we stumbled across some delish inspiration - props to Kate and Ashley for bringing the ideas to life!

2.    Decorations

decorations - 1.jpg

We put the word out to local party supply shops and were so excited when the brilliant Shannon Kilford from Born to Party  and Alana from Poppies For Grace came on board. These guys are the decoration masters - their work made such a difference to the look and feel of the shoot!

3.    Clothes

I left this one to @billieandkate - and they killed it. Particularly when it came to the accessories. Often it’s the extras - think hats, sunglasses, etc - that take a good shot and make it remarkable, compelling and ultimately, viral.

4.    Photography

It might not be something you think of first, but great photography is an essential ingredient for blogging any party celebration - hell, it’s an essential ingredient to blogging in general! Not only does a good photographer know how to snap the little details that will make great pics on social, they also know how to collaborate and cajole guests, to encourage and coach them to get the best shots possible. That said, while a good photographer will show your amazing work as it is; but a truly rad photographer will make it look even better. I love snapping parties - and have a special fondness for kids celebrations in particular - so if you have a project in mind, get in touch!

Happy Halloween! (With big thanks to Billie (12 months), Valentine (15 months), Winifred (7), Willis (8), Hutch (10) and Eden (11), Kate and Ashley)

Jade Warne is a photographer, writer, mum of two and blogger at Hipster Mum. Through her blog she offers a creative guide to parenting and features two parts Tina Fey, one part Amy Poehler plus a pinch of Louis C.K! Check out Hipster Mum on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and and hit her up for collabs, freelance work & tacos anytime! hipstermum1@gmail.com

How To Turn An Idea Into A Reality

Over the years I've learned (often the hard way) that ideas are a dime a dozen. Everyone has them, a million, wonderful, cool, clever and ideological ideas. But there is one secret weapon that you need to know in order to take that idea and make it a reality.

ACTION

All the words and wishing in the world won't turn that idea into something tangible, results driven and life changing.The journey from taking a burning idea to a blazing reality is an incredible one. You're up, you're down, you question everything and then all of sudden the moment arrives and BOOM - you're ready to share that idea with the rest of the world.

So that's where I'm at today. As you've probably heard, I've been working behind the scenes to launch our 3rd round of our Digital Bravery E-Course and proud to say that we've welcomed students from around the world that have made life-changing decisions about their blog or business as a result of joining us. So I'm popping in to officially let you know -  Digital Bravery is LIVE! 

I get a lot of questions about if this course is for them so if you're ready to start fresh, be bold and be brave when it comes to marketing your business or blog that's what Digital Bravery is all about. I want today to be the last time you feel lost, confused or frustrated when it comes to building your business or career using social media and digital marketing. I speak from personal experience when I say that looking toward the future with clarity and confidence is the best feeling in the world - and I want to help get you there.

So I encourage you to have a look and if you're wondering maybe a little investment in yourself is just what the doctor ordered then I'm here to tell that investing in myself and my business has always been the best decisions I've made for my own growth and success. On a side note, I also didn't want you beautiful souls to miss out on the LIMITED time Early Bird offer. Grab your space in class for a great discount - but it ends Saturday so don't delay.  Ready for a fresh start? Then click here! 

Here's what others are saying about the course:

"I thought I understood marketing well enough...I was wrong. Everything an entrepreneur needs to know about all of the "behind the scenes" work necessary to build and manage a thriving business. This is it. Look no further. Jaclyn Carlson, has created an easy to follow, comprehensive course for all of us that are ready to ditch fear and build our entrepreneurial dreams. She's managed to take what seemed like daunting tasks and turned them into fun and fulfilling business activities. This course is worth every penny and more."
- Bev Barnum, Solar Powered Runner


"Digital Bravery has been the best investment back into my blog/business that I have made. It has given me a new perspective and outlook for how I approach and treat my work & audience and I can't wait to continue actioning all of the content."
- Samantha Dunne, Dunne With Style

"If you have been lacking the time to focus on your business and execute new ideas, before you do anything else take this course.  It will not only give you the insight you need but clearer focus and ability to execute.  Run, don't walk to sign up for the next course."
-Jennifer Margolin, JM Creative

"By far, the most 'on trend' digital marketing course I could of asked for. I can already see a tangible ROI from this course! I needed direction to understand the fast-paced world of digital media. I feel so much more confident now to move my business forward." 
-Kate Pilcher, Globetrotting

Falling Short Of Your Goals & Feeling Stuck?

Time to get honest here...

It's just about the middle of June and while we're all still scratching our heads wondering how that happened it's time to have a good hard look in the mirror and confront some honest truths. 

Let me guess....you find yourself sitting here half way through 2015 and your big, lofty, shiny goals that you proudly declared in January are off to a slow start. Life has been insanely busy, you’ve been dragging your heels, you're going to tackle that list 'next week' and let’s face it, feeling sluggish and a tad bit tired right? I get it.

Sometimes you need a gentle nudge to push you in the right direction when it comes to chasing your dreams so they don't slip into the oblivion of 'what if' or 'I regret..'.  Sometimes you need the support of others, or a guiding voice to make it all less confusing, to make getting organised possible and to finally feel like you're moving forward rather than in circles. I'm a passionate advocate for helping creatives to market and fearlessly conquer business dreams by using social media, branding and marketing know how to kick some major goals. So listen up, if you’re ready for your business to bloom,  I’ve been fielding questions left and right about our next Digital Bravery E-course and happily can announce today that our NEW July class date (with a sweet Early Bird offer) opens for enrolment Monday 15 June! This might be just the kick in the pants you need and remember the year isn't over yet - your dreams are just waiting to happen.

Check out all the details for our course here and just hit reply if you have any questions, I'm here to help decide if this course is right for you. Be brave, x Jaclyn

The Lonely Side Of Blogging: A Guide To Getting Yourself Out There

By Ferg McLean

Good advice isn't always easy to swallow, nor is it easy to act upon. I can personally attest to this as it is something I have struggled to implement this past year. The hope and excitement of my relocation from London to Melbourne in 2013 was, unfortunately, short lived. The sudden illness and subsequent loss of my father last year was heart-wrenching and saw me constantly back & forth between London & Melbourne. Apart from the company of my fiancé, I hadn’t had the chance to make many friends of my own here in Australia. By the end of 2014 I found myself in a pit of sorrow; I became a shadow of my former self, too sad and tired to leave the house. 

However, of all the advice I received, there was one piece that despite my initial groan and rolling of the eyes, turned out to be worth its weight in gold. My fiancé finally managed to snap me out of my self-indulgent wallowing, with a tough love approach: “You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out there! Try new things". I knew he was right but the thought of ‘getting out there’ on my own was terrifying. 

You see the idea of joining a new class, of walking into a room (assuming I would find the building, let alone the room) and being greeted by a sea of unfamiliar faces staring at me, made me shudder. Instantly I would rattle off a list of excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly go. 

Frustration at this notion of frailty I had embodied soon followed. I became angry at whom I had become; it was a vicious cycle. But the seed of change had been planted – I now wanted to try new things, in spite of my fears. 

So how did I do it? I tricked myself. 

Sounds ridiculous, I know. But you see the mind loves routine, it feels safe there; it has very little work to do as you go about your day, doing the same things; you are functioning on autopilot. After hearing this advice almost every day I knew it was time to do something about it. I decided to shake it up a little - to be impulsive. What started with spontaneous small changes to my daily routine became the catalyst for change that I needed to climb out of that hole. 

If you ever find yourself wanting to make changes but don’t know where to start, here are some of my tips and ideas that worked for me:

  • Try a new coffee shop for your morning latte. Whilst you wait for your coffee, look for the café notice board or at any flyers/leaflets usually left near the counter. You never know what might catch your eye.
  • On your way back from the supermarket/bank/work etc. if you pass a shop you have never been into before, pull over and take a look! Ok this is not necessarily purse friendly but it could be the start of a new hobby or interest.
  • Start saying hello to strangers – wave to your neighbour or say hi to the old man that walks his dog past your house every morning; it could be the start of a life-long friendship. Plus you never know when you might need a cup of sugar!
  • Find out if there is a local community centre near you that facilitates classes or events. This is how I found a local circus training class for women only and I tell you, it saved my life. Being local to me meant I couldn’t tell myself it was too far away and talk myself out of going.
  • Join an online community in an area of your interest – such as Blog Society! If you have an event or a place you want to check out but have no one to go with, throw yourself out there and ask online to see if anyone else is interested in going with you. 
  • If you like books, ask your local bookstore if they have a book club – at least you know your way to the bookshop and it won’t be so daunting. And on that note of finding places….
  • When going somewhere new, go for a ‘recce tour’ or exploratory trip first: Go to the place to familiarise yourself with its location and scope out how to get into the building - it’s embarrassing and off-putting when you can’t get in through a door because of some obscure buzzer system! Watch other people going in and out – in a non-creepy way preferably. Then when it is time to go back there for your class or appointment, you will feel so much more confident.
  • Volunteer for the day – you’ll meet lots of new people that are just as nervous as you! Look online for volunteering opportunities or try your local community centre that might need support and participation in local events.
  • Finally, continue to spontaneously break your routine as much as possible – Get lost on purpose and find a new route home, drive to a new town to have your Saturday Brunch or find a course/seminar that interests you and book it in! It’s harder to pull out of something when you have a booking in place. 

The key is not to think about it too much; otherwise you will talk yourself out of going. Once you have tried just one of these things on the list above, you will instantly feel empowered and confident to push your boundaries further. Remember: start small and work your way up. But if you are feeling daring and impulsive act quickly and throw yourself right in at the deep end. Either way you are doing something to make a change and to that I say Bravo!

You can find Ferg writing on H+H, a lifestyle blog covering all aspects of her clumsy life or on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.

The New F-Word

F-Word

By Becky Ejupi 

So, can we talk about the F-word?

No, not that F-word.

The new F-word that’s recently been deemed even more offensive than the 4-letter one: FEMINISM. 

If you haven’t heard, there’s a current movement, backed by men and women alike, from politicians to celebrities to not-so-famous housewives, who have declared war on feminism. Even well educated, professional women have bought into this new anti-feminist strategy hook, line and sinker.

When I first read about it, I was appalled, perplexed, and completely flummoxed. Then I learned about the warped definition of feminism these people were using, and I’ll tell you what, it’s just wrong. It fuels hate-mongering and willful misunderstanding, and doesn’t even bear repeating here for fear of perpetuating the cycle of negativity.

Plain and simple, here’s the real definition of feminism: Men and women should be treated equally. That’s it.  Nothing more.  It’s not rocket science. There’s no man-bashing secret code. There’s no desire on the part of feminist women to dominate the world, kidnap all the men, and stash them in a penile penal colony in Borneo. Simply put, men and women are not superior or inferior to each other, and are entitled to equal political, legal, sexual, educational, economic, social status and cultural treatment, which, by the way, still isn’t happening in our country. Not by a long shot. As a matter of fact, there isn’t a single country in the world that can boast that it has achieved complete gender equality.

This is such a basic human rights concept, that it seems ludicrous to me that we continue discussing its merit in 2014. So, as politically incorrect as it might be these days, let me just say that I consider myself a feminist.  That does not mean I hate nor do I want to suppress men in any way.  I adore men and support them.  I live with three whom I love to the moon and back.  I have a lot of male friends and acquaintances as well, and I think they’re all swell.

I merely support gender equality.

Do some women and even men call themselves feminists and bash men? Yep, and they’re wrong to do it. Do some men and women buy into sexist ideals, ads, and rules that negate women’s dignity and quest for equality? Yep, and they’re wrong to do so too. “Okay, so what can we all do to actively support this equality?” you might ask.

Well, for starters you can:

  • Use your voice. Speak out. Don’t sit back quietly, thereby condoning misogyny. If you remain quiet, it will never go away.
  • Don’t bash men.
  • Teach your children that girls are just as worthy, in every way, as boys, and vice versa.
  • Make sure your kids know that demeaning or disrespecting someone due to his or her gender, or for any reason, frankly, is wrong. (“Quit crying like a little girl.” “Buck up and be a man.”  “Hey, Doll, can you bring us our check when you get a chance?” Sound familiar?)
  • Encourage your daughters and sons to be the best they can be regardless of gender stereotypes. (Girls can and should become engineers if that’s where their interests lie, and boys can and should become elementary school teachers if that’s their calling.)

We’re all equal. Stop the hate. Live with love in your heart. And give every human being every right that you claim for yourself.

You can find Becky blogging over at Pondermom or on Facebook

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