Monday, March 23, 2015

Inspiration Monday: Productivity

Let's face it, my productivity levels have bottomed out. If there was an actual chart showing my productivity levels within the past year, these past few weeks probably would be in the "below zero" category. It's not to say that I've been lazy, because I think for the first time in well, forever, I've been very NOT lazy. Waking up early, working a 9 to 5 job and kind of sort of still running this blog qualifies as not lazy in my book. The problem is I know that I can certainly be doing more. I know that I have been slacking. I know that I haven't been able to accomplish anything that I've wanted to by this time, even the short-term goals I had set for myself. I haven't been productive, especially when it comes to this blog, and that is not okay with me!

So as I racked my brain for what to focus on for my Inspiration Monday this week, I decided that productivity would be a great way to not only inspire others to be more productive in their lives but also kind of give myself a kick in the right direction. Everyone has their own ways of getting to a more productive level in their life (or you're still trying to figure that out, like me). I already have a blog post in my drafts on ways to be more productive in the morning. I'm a firm believer that how you start off your day can very much effect how the rest of your day goes. But I'm also a firm believer in the fact that life throws you curveballs 24/7, so you need to stay sharp and focused pretty much the entire day. Of course, waking up on the right side of the bed in the morning can help with that.

There's also a fine line between "being productive" and being so busy that your brain hurts. It's super important to find a balance here. What I though was a "productive" phase for me a few weeks ago, actually ended up being one of those "crash and burn" kind of moments in my life. There's only SO much you can do and nothing good will come from doing too much all at once. My goal isn't just to be more productive, but to find that balance so I don't run myself dry and end up back to zero productivity because I've juiced out my brain. As with most things in life, balance is key.

I'd love to hear from you! What is your best productivity tip? What do you struggle with most when it comes to being more productive?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Beauty of Online Communities

Sometimes we find help in the strangest places. A lot of people wonder why blogging has become such a “fad” and I believe one of the reasons behind this is due to the community and support that comes with being a committed blogger. It’s no secret that one of the best things you can do as a blogger is become parts of social network groups that cater specifically to bloggers. Most of these groups can be found on Facebook (some open, some private) but there are also plenty of Twitter “chats” that occur in which anyone can join. It’s a great way to build connections and find people to talk to and network with.

When I first started blogging, I joined several of these types of online communities. My sole purpose for doing so was to expand my blog, build my following and just generally get blogging tips from other bloggers. Little did I know what I was truly getting myself into. I established online friendships and also became an online presence for others to rely on, which as the caring and helpful kind of person I am, was genuinely a great moment for me. 

The best part about all of this is that the online communities I now rely on the most, and have become my favorites, aren’t even specially related to blogging. I have found comfort in #fireworkpeople and great motivational advice in The Entrepreneur Incubator. Even through blogging itself, I was able to make connections that led me to the Indie Chicks Writer Network and helped me become a part of Blogger PJ Parties (that I have co-hosted a few times and always had a blast with). Not to mention the role I now play in Northeast Bloggers Network as one of the NJ state reps and the start of my own blogger’s Facebook group, All Bloggers United.

I’ve heard it plenty of times, that the internet (more specifically, technology) will become society’s downfall. Maybe that’s true in some sense. For example, I don’t believe children should be getting iPhones. I don’t believe that we should be doing all our communicating via social media. I also don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to hide behind a computer screen all the time. It’s important to get out there and LIVE. Have adventures, disconnect from technology every so often. Back. away. from. the. email. I do, however, believe that the internet is able to provide us with the beauty of online communities. There are so many out there and most of the time you will be able to find the kind of support that you can’t really get anywhere else. Family and friends can certainly give you support, but there’s something different and special about the advice and reassurance you get from strangers on the internet. And if you’re lucky, some of these “strangers” may become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. 

What are your favorite online communities?
Have there been any instances where an online community has really helped you out?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hello, I'm Still Here

I have somehow gone on an unplanned blogging hiatus that has left me feeling totally empty and useless (and I'm sure other bloggers know the feeling). I'm not quite sure WHY I got into a blogging rut and I'm also not quite sure HOW to get out of it. I think working full-time finally caught up with me and all the eagerness and excitement I was running on for the past 2 months or so finally fizzled out. All I've really been doing lately is working, sleeping and watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

If this was just a hobby, I might not feel as guilty (who are we kidding, I'd feel just as guilty) but since I'm trying to turn my blog into a small business of sorts, I feel like I've neglected a big dream of mine. I'm trying not to pressure myself and get down in the dumps for this brain fog I'm in. I've had the support of so many other bloggers, though, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this community. If you've ever thought of starting a blog of your own, do it just so you can be a part of this wonderful group of people online supporting each other. Seriously, it's unlike any other.

To update everyone on this month's happenings:

  • I turned 24 on March 7th, which means I am officially in my "mid-twenties" AHHH! Sometimes I still feel five. Sometimes I feel 75.
  • I finally met my blog soulmate, Corinne from The Feminist Feline! She was in NYC for a week so I took a train in to hang out for a little bit. Yay for blog friends :)
  • I've hired a professional designer to re-do my blog's design and I'm SO excited and happy with how it's coming along. I'm hoping it will be up by next week! Maybe that will get me out of the blog rut, ha.
  • I am 100% done with winter. I've never been a fan of winter, but right now it really feels like it's dragging out. It's supposed to snow AGAIN on Friday, which is the first day of spring!
  • I'm trying to get back into yoga again in hopes it will help me balance myself, physically and mentally. I also currently have the strength of a jelly bean, so I'm hoping yoga will help me start getting back into shape. I bought 10 online yoga videos from my favorite yogi, Rachel Brathen, which I highly recommend! 
That's pretty much the run down on my life lately. I'm working hard to get back into my A game. I just want to let my readers know that I am still here and I am still fully committed to In-Between Life. Also - thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing to read and support me. Whether you're a blogger or not, whether you leave comments or not - I truly appreciate every single bit of love and support I get.

xo, Val <3

Friday, March 6, 2015

If you could...

Who doesn't love taking random/fun surveys? This one in particular has been one of my favorites because it had some unique questions and I loved the "if you could" aspect for each one. So if you want to learn a little bit more about the blogger behind the blog, check out this "If You Could..." survey ;)

  1. Travel anywhere, where would it be? PARIS! I've been wanting to go since I was a little girl and I would buy all these travel books and all those learn to speak French books. It's looking like a very real possibility this November thanks to my college friend who has moved there and I cannot even express my excitement :) 
  2. Meet anyone, who would it be? Leonardo DiCaprio...
  3. Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? My grandpa.
  4. Be anyone for a day, who would it be? I think I would want to be a famous actress currently filming something just so I could experience what that would be like. I've always had a weird fascination with wanting to become an actress, but I know it's a totally far-fetched idea for me. 
  5. Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? Money? Hahaha, I wish. I guess I would really enjoy getting free Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks. I spend too much money on coffee.
  6. Change one thing about your life what would it be? I hate to say it, but I do wish I was more financially stable. On a positive note, it means I am okay (and for some things even GREAT) as to where I'm at in life when it comes to everything else. But having more money would really just change a lot of things in my life that would eliminate stress and help me live a life that is more of what I want.
  7. Have any superpower what would it be? Fly. I want to be like the birds. There's just so much freedom involved. No restraints. I could just flap, flap away.
  8. Be any animal for a day which would you be? Thought I'd say cat? Nope. I would want to be  a wolf. They fascinate me. Beautiful creatures and I love their loyalty.
  9. Date anyone who would it be? If only this survey could capture the face I just made. I don't know. I don't have a particular person and I'm not going to give a celebrity name because that's just silly. I just want to date someone who I connect with and who respects me and wants to make a serious commitment.
  10. Change one thing about the world what would it be? Less violence, all around. 
  11. Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? How can I choose! I was about to say the Vampire Diaries/The Originals world, but I've been on a Gilmore Girls kick lately and I've always wanted to live in a town like Stars Hollow, so I think I'll go with that.
  12. Eliminate one of your human needs which would you get rid of? The need to eat. I love food, but it's just getting annoying at this point. (I realize this is a total first world problem...)
  13. Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? I've always wanted to be at least a couple inches taller, but hey... I've embraced my shortness at this point.
  14. Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? I guess I would like to change how often I get aggravated at minor things. 
  15. Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? Singing. I wish so badly that I had an amazing voice. Or at least an okay voice, haha.
  16. Forget one event in your life which would you choose? None, because I believe everything I've experienced thus far has made me into the person I am today. I don't mind experiencing the bad, as long as there's some good thrown in there as well.
  17. Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? World War II.
  18. Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? Dark blonde hair and green eyes :-x But I'm actually learning to love the skin I'm in ;)
  19. Be any weight/body type, which would you choose? I guess I shall go with the cliche answer: more fit and skinny
  20. Live in any country/city, where would you choose?have too many and I can't make an accurate decision until I've visited them all. But so far it's: Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston
  21. Change one law in your country, which would you change? HA just one?! Maybe just create a law that says all student loans are forgiven. Please...
  22. Be any height, which would you choose? 5'4
  23. Have any job in the world, which would you choose? A business entrepreneur 
  24. Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? A million dollars...
  25. Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be? I'm in my PJs looking like a hot mess, so I prefer to have this alone time for right now
If you've done this survey before or plan to do it on your own blog, leave your link below so I can check it out!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

End of the Week Faves (and the first link up!)

Can you believe it's already March? It certainly doesn't feel like it. We're expecting yet another snow storm today and potentially another on Tuesday. Isn't Spring supposed to be coming soon?! Ugh! Since my birthday is in March, it naturally has to be one of my favorites, but I also enjoy this month because we start to see the weather get warmer (let's just hope that happens this year...) Anyway, here are some of my favorites things from this week!

Check out:
-->The article I wrote for The Indie Chicks
-->This recipe for Cake Batter Blondies I somewhat failed at
-->This awesome '90s throw back Buzzfeed article
-->How to prepare financially when starting your own business
-->Crazy Game of Thrones theories that make me want to read the books

Favorite Photos:

Your weekly reminder:

And now, drum roll please... I'm finally starting my end of the week link up! I've been planning this for weeks now but haven't had the time to really put it together and I wanted to make sure it was as perfect as possible since it is the first link up I'm hosting. I'm hoping that this weekly link up will help expose bloggers, especially since they'll be sharing their favorite posts which generally tend to be their best work!

Here's the breakdown:
  • Every Sunday around 3 p.m. EST, I will be posting my "End of the Week Faves" which includes the link up. You'll be able to share your post until the link up closes on the following Monday at 6 p.m. EST. 
  • You can share any post made from the week leading up to that Sunday. So for example, for this week's link up you can share posts made between February 23rd (Monday) and today, March 1st (Sunday). Any posts that were not posted in that time frame will be deleted. 
  • The purpose of the link up is to share your favorite post from that week. That means limit to ONE per blog!!!
  • If you leave a link, please try to visit a few other blogs and leave them an engaging comment. Spread the blogger love!