September 2014 Recap

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hello October! You seem to be a favorite among many including the throwback song we all blared through our speakers as seventh graders - Wake Me Up When September Ends. We however definitely did not sleep through September, here is what the month all consisted of.

Our Midwest Indian Summer shared all of the glory with us and we practically lived outdoors. Jacob and I may or may not have even bought matching shirts with camping gear on them. Every weekend was filled with some form of community, relaxation, and outdoor adventure making each the best weekend ever.

We cheered on the Raiders to many wins in both volleyball and soccer and celebrated a birthday filled with oh so much pink and many ponies for our favorite five year old around. Miss Elle, that certain five year old, and I share a special bond of Alopecia and spent the whole month celebrating this really strange but equally as beautiful disease we have.

The craziest of all falls is well underway as I am traveling 4-6 days every week now through Thanksgiving and Jacob has plenty of out and back trips throughout the Midwest. Among the craziness and sometimes loneliness, we are working on perfecting the art of making time when together. My Wisconsin travel week welcomed me and a few of my finest traveling companions for the brink of changing leaves and magnificent lake shores.

In blogging world, September was a happy month bringing in a record amount of page views and growth. Thank you, this is all because of YOU! Your favorite posts consisted of the perks of living in a small town, getting a behind the scenes look into the blogging world, and making DIY wedding bouquets. There is a lot in store for October at According to Laura Jean and I am bursting with excitement to share with you. Stay tuned for what is ahead!

What were your favorite moments from September?
How do you feel about it already being October?

Wedding Wednesday: Your Questions Answered

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It is with bittersweet feelings that I welcome you to the last official Wedding Wednesday. The past two months have flown by and it has truly been a joy to share all the ins and outs of our day with you. As I have said over and over again what truly matters is marriage and the physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of joining two lives together far greater than wedding plans. I am so thankful for those who held Jacob and I accountable during our engagement and also helped in the practical details.

Without further ado, here are your questions answered in regards to all things engagement, wedding, and marriage. Thank you for all who submitted questions.

What was your favorite moment of the wedding weekend?
Woah - just one? I remember driving from our reception to the hotel and both Jacob and I just glowing with awe and love from all that we had experienced that day. We relived so many moments in that drive and the one that keeps coming back to me is our open mic that gave guests the chance to share a story, piece of encouragement, or remark. We were richly blessed by the words shared.

Is a wedding reception really necessary? It is so expensive. Isn't it enough to celebrate love in front of God in the church with family and friends?
This is an excellent question. Thank you for asking! I by no means think a reception is necessary and hope that I have not portrayed this through my posts. Jacob and I really wanted a reception as one of our biggest priorities was celebrating the people in our lives. We desired a greater time with our guests and made sacrifices in other aspects to afford the reception. It is all a matter or perspective and priorities however and I am not opposed to weddings that don't include one.

What is a funny story from your wedding day?
Well besides me forgetting my handwritten vows which most have heard by now.. we did not really have a plan for leaving the reception other than simply leaving. Easy enough, right? Well our awesome guests created this fun tunnel that we ran through. However our car was parked incredibly far away. As everyone kept chanting our names and we were still in sight, we felt the need to continue running and running and running. By the time we got to the car we were completely out of breath from jogging so far and laughing hysterically.

What is your favorite wedding picture?
I love love love this one. These guys are my brothers and I cannot help but smile every single time I look at it.

How is living with a boy going?
It is a wonderful adventure. We have not had any huge surprises but it has been so fun assimilating two lives into one. I've learned how to relax more in daily life and he's learned how to get a good night's sleep.

What was the most challenging aspect of being engaged?
Living in transition. This is something that is not my strong point and it showed during our year of engagement. It was challenging for me to be in a full time career and Jacob to be a college student, for me to be living in a house and Jacob to be living in the dorms, for me to be traveling all the time and Jacob to be stationary. You get the idea, it was a whole lot of life transitions smashed altogether in one.

Where did you find the bridesmaid dresses?
The one and only Modcloth! The shoes are my favorites and came from Charlotte Russe. All total my bridesmaids paid less than $100 each. We wanted to be as cost effective for everyone possible.

Tell us about your honeymoon!
Oh our honeymoon was so delightful. But before I get to that, a side tangent. One of the best plans we made looking back was departing for our honeymoon on Monday morning rather than Sunday. So many couples I know book the first flight possible the morning after their wedding. In our minds this is one of the only times in our entire lives that everyone we love would be in one place. We took full advantage of that and spent Sunday eating brunch, gift opening, and spending time with those around us. Best idea ever. We felt much more rested and filled and it made our wedding weekend last a day longer.

Anyways, our honeymoon. We went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Great Smokey Mountains. Hello beautiful! We rented a cabin, made meals together, went white water rafting, hiked on the Appalachian Trail, explored downtown, tried new restaurants, and eventually became lonely and wanted to start normal life. Yes, we are those honeymooners - the ones who are too extroverted to be good tourists and not know anyone else. Nonetheless we had a blast and would highly recommend The Smokey Mountains to anyone.

Who is your favorite bridesmaid?
I wonder whose question this is? Cop out answer, but they are all my favorite in their own unique ways.

There you have it friends. Thank you for joining all the wedding fun! 
If you have more questions or would like more information simply comment below or catch up here:

How to Optimize Pinterest for Blogging

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pinterest is one of a kind to say the least. I have a love hate relationship with it that sways between obsessing over beautiful creations and inspirations to the negatives of comparison and unrealistic expectations it easily provides. Nonetheless it is a great resource for bloggers and creative lovers alike.

It was not until recently that I realized just how crucial Pinterest is to the growth of a blogging community and the sharing of ideas. In the past it was easy enough to pin a few images from my blog here and there and hope for the best - some have taken off, others have not. My boards included a smorgasbord of ideas including everything from dorm decorating to wedding plans to cleaning tips and tricks from years ago. There was no consistency and no organization. 

This weekend however Laura's Pinterest underwent a major overhaul and is now more pinner-friendly and optimized for the blogging community. It may seem daunting but here is a place to get started for creating the space to grow your Pinterest presence.

Title Consistency 
Maybe it is the perfectionist within me but I strongly gravitate towards pinners who have consistent board titles. Choose a simple way to organize your titles and stick to it. Almost all of my boards are one to the point word or phrase and are alphabetized giving easy awareness to those looking on. Do not only organize them in a way that makes sense for you but a way that makes sense for others.

Relative Boards & Pins
Previously my boards included pins that were only partially relative to the board itself. For example, my decorating board included 200+ pins of everything from kitchens to laundry rooms to outdoor spaces. Talk about sporadic. By creating more specific boards that are easier to navigate, a pinner can go straight to my // Kitchen // board and know that is exactly what they will find. For better publicity of your pins, be sure to categorize each board and add a fun description.

Board Covers
This one is crucial - first glances and appearances are everything. They always say don't judge a book by its cover but we all know this is true at times. When a pinner approaches your boards for the first time you want their eyes to be drawn in and their fingers to actually click on each board. Choose captivating images for each of your boards that represent what each is about.

Vertical Photos
I was late to the ballgame on this one. For far too long I pinned whatever images came directly from my blog. Did you know vertical photos are pinned at a much higher rate compared to horizontal photos? To truly optimize your photos for Pinterest capitalize on vertical photos. The best sizes for viewing are 736x1128 and 736x2748. Notice how this pin is much more noticeable than the rest surrounding it.

A Blog Specific Board
Finally, create a board specific to your blog containing your original content and images. This gives pinners a go to place to promote and share your pins without having to dig through other boards. I personally created two boards - one including pins from my blog and another with pins and ideas for my blog. Both helpful resources to the blogging community but marketed in a different fashion.

What helps you optimize Pinterest? What pins are most popular from your blog?
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