Encouragement for Creating a Blog

Last year there was a buzz in the blogging world about: blogs. Will they continue? Are they loosing traction? Is video the way to go? Do people care if they don't comment?

I do see a shift toward blogs as a brand and not just the blog/website itself. Social media has a powerful influence. With that said: blogs and websites are still vital: they are the home base. The place people visit to learn more information, see a full recipe, and learn about the writer. They are where you store your parenting tips, recipes, or marketing strategy. In short it has the potential to be your online portfolio!

have you ever thought of starting a blog? 5 tips for creating a blog and sticking with it!

When I hosted my first Facebook live video a few weeks ago, I received several blog start-up questions. I am here today to give some answers! And if you have more questions I would love to answer those too.

Below are 5 encouraging tips for creating a blog! 

1. Do What You Love

If you are going to write a site dedicated to renovation projects or recipes or marketing tips--make sure you feel a passion for it. And plan to stick with it for a while! It is natural for creativity to evolve into other outlets, but one thing I have definitely noticed in the blogging world is the drop off after a year or two.

Don't drop out!

Consistency is important both to your readers and to Google. So even if that means 1 new, high quality, blog post a week, plan for that! And if you love what you are writing about--that will be easy to accomplish.

2. It Takes Time To Grow

Are you friends with a blogging celebrity? If so your site will likely grow fast! But if you are like most of us, the regular people, it takes TIME and hard work. I recommend jotting down your stats and checking in every month or quarter. Chances are your social stats + analytics will show the site growing! Join some blogging facebook groups related to your interests. Make friends at local blogger meetups. Friends in the industry can give wonderful advice and encouragement.

have you ever thought of starting a blog? 5 tips for creating a blog and sticking with it!

3. Be Bold

If you are a blogger: you are your own PR agent, marketing professional, and designer. In your personal life--absolutely be humble. But, when it comes to the brand you are trying to grow, be bold! Make your social icons large and easy to connect. People will get lost on subtly, especially if they are quickly clicking over from Pinterest.

Want your favorite blog post to get seen on Facebook? Spend $5 to boost the post. it will be worth it. In short: a nicely designed site might get famous on its own, but more likely it has a partnership with a strong marketer who knows what people want. Put on your business hat, read up on trends, and apply them to your site branding.

And don't be afraid to reshare, relevant old content on social media. Consider breaking down content by seasons, for example I reshare lemonade and picnic basket blog posts at the beginning of summer.

4. Be Authentic

Whether you share your sweet parenting stories on your site, or choose to look at your blog as strictly business: being authentic in your voice and writing goes a really long way. It takes practice, but you will find your voice as you continue to write!

Reflecting about your personal life can be a beautiful thing, but beyond your close friends and family you need to think "outward." Consider telling a personal story first, then ask: have you experienced this? How can you relate? And maybe give some tips to people going through a similar situation.

have you ever thought of starting a blog? 5 tips for creating a blog and sticking with it!

5. Engage your Audience

If your site is dedicated to social media tips, you will do well on Twitter. If you are design focused with awesome photography--you'll grow on Instagram. Marketers generally do well on Facebook and Pinterest. Use your strength to drive traffic to your blog.

For me, I connect the most personally through Snapchat and Instagram. They aren't the biggest traffic drivers, but I consider them my "friends" audience. Most of my site traffic comes from Facebook and Pinterest and I see those visitors as newer friends: I don't know them as well, and accordingly try to be more professional with my captions and text.

So be sure to identify your audience, their interests, and what your goals are for your site. Writing a blog is a organic and your experience will be unique, enjoy it!! 

Pavlova Recipe with Bourbon Cherry Sauce

pavlova recipe with whipped cream and a bourbon cherry sauce

It is the week before July 4th and that means food!! And not just any kind of food, when it is hot outside I love a cool dessert: ice cream, pie, and this time I am trying pavlova

Pavlova is a merengue style dessert with fruit and cream, was developed in the 1920s and named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova (there is some controversy over whether it originated in New Zealand or Australia). It is gluten free, light and airy, and paired with fresh whipped cream and bourbon sweet freckles cherries--this pavlova has a unique flavor all its own. It is a perfect summertime dessert, and while it is baked--the temperature stays at 250F so the oven won't warm up the kitchen too much!

learn how to make pavlova: a gluten-free meringue style dessert with fresh whipped cream and a bourbon cherry sauce |  tag&tibby

Pavlova with Whipped Cream and a Bourbon Cherry Sauce

serves 6-8
pavlova recipe adapted from Alton Brown + foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

Pavlova
5 egg whites, room temperature (I used large, range free brown eggs)
Pinch of salt
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 heaping teaspoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Bourbon Cherry Sauce
1 cup fresh Sweet Freckles cherries pitted and halved (about 10)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup water

Directions

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Use a plate and pen to trace a 8-9" circle on parchment paper, then flip over the parchment paper (lines will show through). 

2. Place egg whites and pinch of salt in mixing bowl and whisk at high speed 4-5 minutes until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and slowly add sugar over 2 minutes. Stop and scrape sides of bowl, then mix sugar and egg white mixture on high for 6-7 minutes. Mixture will be smooth and glossy with stiff peaks. Turn off mixer and add vanilla, vinegar, and cornstarch. Mix with spoon just to combine.

3. Sprinkle water onto parchment paper (this will help prevent sticking), then spoon pavlova mixture onto parchment and spread to fit the shape of the circle. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in oven until completely cool and meringue is dry on the outside (at least 3 hours). 

4. Mix whipping cream until fluffy, then stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Spread onto top of pavlova.

5. Add cane sugar, bourbon, water, and fresh cherries to a heavy bottom skillet. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low-medium for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften cherries. Mixture will thicken as it cooks. Pour cherry sauce over whipped cream and pavlova. 


Trace a circle shape onto parchment paper, then flip before covering with pavlova mixture. Adding water to parchment paper will help prevent sticking. 

Trace a circle shape onto parchment paper, then flip before covering with pavlova mixture. Adding water to parchment paper will help prevent sticking. 

how to make a bourbon cherry sauce with sweet freckles cherries

Cooking down the sweet freckles cherries was my favorite part of the process. The fruit is beautiful to look at and pleasantly sweet! 

pavlova recipe with whipped cream and a bourbon cherry sauce

This pavlova recipe is light and fresh, and can easily be modified to use your favorite fresh fruit. The trick is following each step, and allowing the meringue to fully cool.

Have you ever made a pavlova? 

a wonderful summertime recipe! pavlova with whipped cream and a bourbon cherry sauce | tag&tibby

Thoughts on Slowing Down & Old Fashioned Inspiration

old fashioned inspiration -tag&tibby

Every summer things slow down a bit on this blog. It is never planned (though perhaps it should be!), to be honest life just becomes a little crazier than normal.

Crazier you ask? Isn't summer supposed to be more relaxed? No homework, more pool time--In a way it certainly is! But more than ever we recognize our kiddos' need for structure which means part time camps, and me working on freelance projects. Not to mention early morning barks from our goldendoodle! 

Note to self: it is more than okay to slow down in certain areas of life. To leave some unscheduled time on my calendar. To find beauty in a simple summer. And to know that seasons in life are exactly that.

Can you relate?

old fashioned inspiration -tag&tibby

My Mom spent the week with us last week. It was such a sweet visit. By way of my Mom, my Grandma (GGMa to the kids) sent me several decorating magazines, and I went through and pulled out inspiration for our bedrooms, living room, and kitchen. I can not think of the last time I had done that! It brought back memories of filling scrapbooks with inspiration. 

old fashioned inspiration -tag&tibby

Pinterest is a wonderful resource. But looking through magazines gave me the chance to see some design ideas I might not have otherwise considered. Now we are considering painting our 6 year old daughter's bedroom a robin's egg blue! Before, we had always thought pink. I appreciate that we took the time to study things "the old fashioned way" and spot interesting textures, vibrant colors, and home decor trends.

“There is so little to remember of anyone - an anecdote, a conversation at a table. But every memory is turned over and over again, every word, however chance, written in the heart in the hope that memory will fulfill itself, and become flesh...” -Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

Flowers In A Vase: 10 minute gold leaf bud vase

make this 10 minute gold leaf bud for under $10! | tag&tibby

I spotted a few vases recently in the Target dollar section. As all good Target dollar things do, they asked me to buy them. And I gladly did! I gave these vases a little upgrade with gold leaf paint, and the result is beautiful!

Scroll down for direction on how to make your own gold leaf bud vases using a paint pen and fresh flowers (I purchased a huge bouquet last weekend at the Farmer's Market for $10!) The project is super easy and takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

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Supplies

Set of 3 glass bud vases

Krylon 18K Gold Leafing Pen

Fresh Flowers + Water

 

Directions

Shake paint pen according to directions and dab onto scrap cardboard until paint flows. Lightly draw diagonal lines across body of vase, covering the textured part of the vase. Apply a second coat over lines where glass shows through. Keep the pattern a little organic (don't measure or worry if some glass peaks through). Allow paint to dry.


learn how to paint gold leaf onto glass bud vases
learn how to paint gold leaf onto glass bud vases
learn how to paint gold leaf onto glass bud vases
perfect for a wedding or baby shower, learn how to apply gold leaf to dollar bud vases! | tag&tibby

These gold leaf bud vases would be perfect for a wedding or baby shower. Or just to add a little glam to your dining table! I love that the project cost under $15 to make, and is fast--perfect for an afternoon. 

Happy making!

learn how to paint gold leaf onto glass bud vases
make this 10 minute gold leaf bud for under $10!

Homemade Shaving Cream Kit

homemade shaving cream and pre shave oil kit--perfect for Father's Day!

Father's Day is less than 2 weeks away!!

Do you find shopping for men as hard as I do? I am frequently stumped on what to buy for my husband. I know to encourage our two kids to make a card. And I know grilling in the backyard would be nice. But what would make a nice gift?

how to make homemade pre-shave oil

I recently made a homemade shaving cream and pre-shave oil kit for eHow, and it turned out wonderfully! I like knowing exactly what the ingredients are in the oil and cream (olive oil, virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, shea butter) and that they are naturally derived. I added a little essential oil for fragrance, which is completely customizable.

Head over here for the full tutorial, where you can print a free label and learn how to make homemade pre-shave oil and shaving cream. It would make a wonderful (budget friendly) Father's Day gift!

how to make homemade shaving cream
homemade shaving cream kit tutorial--perfect for Father's Day!

5 Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby

One of my favorite things to cook with is a cast iron skillet. They are a steadfast friend that bakes food oh-so-well and even works well on induction cooktops. They do need a little extra TLC (see #5 and skip the soap!), but I promise it will be worth it.

I'm highlighting today a few recipes below previously shared on the blog.  

1 . Skillet Peach Crisp

This is a summer favorite. You can easily substitute peaches for apples, depending on what you have on hand! This recipe was shared as part of a blogger collaboration last summer. Asharae Kroll captured beautiful pictures of the meal, including this peach crisp!

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby

2. Fresh Buttermilk Biscuits

Oh my goodness these are addictive. The special thing about this buttermilk biscuit recipe is the skillet preheats in oil, and when you drop the biscuit dough in it sizzles a bit frying the bottom of the biscuit.

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby

3. Seasonal Strawberry Skillet Cake

This strawberry shortbread cake is mildly sweet. The fresh strawberries roast in butter and sugar first, then the dough is added to the top.

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby

4. Beer Cheese with Gruyère 

This beer cheese is a lot of fun to make and has an awesome flavor thanks to the gruyere cheese and dark beer. Serve at your next party!

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby

5. How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Last but not least: how to season and care for your cast iron skillet. 

5 Classic Cast Iron Skillet Recipes via Tag&Tibby