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7.02.2015

We're Going To Nashville

Today Michael and I are boarding a plane, renting a car, and staying at our (one) friend's house in Nashville. While we do plan on attending the biggest fireworks celebration in the NATION (!!) our main goal is to find a place to live.
Finding a place to live when you have basically no idea what you're doing is proving very time consuming and difficult. I sent some homes for rent and asked our friend to check into them. She said three were near gang activity. The problem is Michael wants to live somewhere very cheap. While I like inexpensive, it needs to be safe and somewhat liveable.

It hit me last night that we are moving in one month from yesterday. Sometimes it just doesn't seem real. Sometimes it makes me kinda sad. Sometimes I get really freaking excited. It's safe to say I'm in a glass case of emotion. Or maybe I just have Anchorman on in the background while I was packing last night.

This will be the first time Michael has even stepped foot in the city, so I'm eager to see what he thinks of a place we essentially just pointed to on a map and said, yeah, that one. What if he hates it? What if I hate it? I've only been there twice, both times for work and both times for a quick 3 day conference. I did manage to sneak out one day and walk around the Parthenon replica.

Regardless, cross your fingers we find a place to live! And that someone wants to rent our house. And that the dogs love it. And that we find one million dollars on the street. A girl can dream, right?

I might not have it all figured out, but I think I'm lost in the right direction. 

 Print (and hand drawn notebook!) are from the talented Amber Thomas Makes



P.S. In case you missed it, the July Instagram challenge started yesterday. Follow along with me on instagram @heleneinbetween and use the hashtag on your pictures all this month: #31PhotosInBetween - I always share my favorites!

P.P.S I'll also be Snapchatting. And check out why you need Snapchat for your blog.

P.P.P.S. Is that even allowed? The first issue of the "In Between" (my new newsletter!) goes live today, don't miss out for blogging tips, discounts, and fun stuff! You can sign up here:


7.01.2015

Why Bloggers Need Snapchat

It's a Sunday at 3:15 and I'm sitting on the couch scrolling through my phone. "What are you doing?" My husband asks. "I'm checking the news, the weather, and seeing what people are up to." And I'm doing it all on Snapchat. A year or so ago, maybe even months ago, I thought Snapchat was a way for teens and drug dealers to send pictures that would be untraceable. But now it's become so much more than that. It's THE thing for social media and now I understand why bloggers need Snapchat.
Why Bloggers Need Snapchat


This is (hopefully) going to be a comprehensive guide to show you that if you're a blogger or sell a product, you need to jump on the bandwagon. So here's all you need to know about Snapchat.

What is Snapchat

First, let's break it down, in case you weren't sure about the app. Snapchat is an app you download on your smart phone. You can take pictures or 10 second (or less) videos and send them directly to people or add them to "your story" so all your friends or people that follow you will see it. Essentially, it's a photo messaging app. Once the viewer sees the snap it's gone.

How to use Snapchat

You take a video or picture then choose to add it to your story (everyone can see that your friends with, or that follows you). OR you send it directly to friends. With the second option, you choose which friends will see it. When you start to send and receive a lot of snaps, you get emojis near friend's names.
Here's one thing I learned the hard way. When you get Snapchat your settings are already set that you are private. Meaning, only your friends can see your Snap stories- even if new people are following you. You have to go into your settings to change this and I JUST now realized this. If you intend to use Snapchat to gain followers and use it as a tool to gain readers (which you totally should) then change your settings. Go to Snapchat --> click the yellow Ghost at the top --> click the top right for the settings--> scroll to WHO CAN... Send me Snaps and View My Story. You'll at least want to choose that "View my Story" is set to "Everyone" not just "Friends." You can opt for custom and choose to block some people.
To add users, you can add from your contacts or by username. For example, if you were to add me, you'd go to the app, click the ghost icon at the top, then click the "+Add Friends". Then, you'll click "Add by Username" and type in my username, which is "helenesula" then click the "+" next to my name to add me. 
To view a Snapstory, just click the username of someone and their story will begin! 

Why Bloggers Need Snapchat

There are currently 100 million active users on Snapchat and it's growing every day. When Instagram started, everyone was skeptical: This can't possibly take the place of Facebook! And really, it has ten-fold. Snapchat is trending in that direction.
Okay, stats are great, but WHY? Well, it's 100% engaging. In order for people to view a Snapchat or Snap Story users have to be holding down their finger on their phone. Unlike just scrolling through a feed, they are actively looking at what's going on. This will, I think, pay off later for bloggers to work with brands and advertisers, and ultimately increase traffic to their site.
As for advertisements, Snapchat is starting to offer "filters" (you can swipe for different filters as well as put your location, IE "Greetings from Dallas") that contain an ad.

Why I Love It

Not only does Snapchat allow me to send fun things to friends, I can also peer into the lives of cool people and events. The "Live Event" Snapchats include events from around the world with different people contributing to the story.
Everything disappears after 24 hours so if you miss it, it's gone. But that makes it more fun and totally different from anything else out there. I've been playing around with giving a quick update about what's to come on my blog or if I have something exciting for a new post.

Some of my favorite celebrities and accounts to follow are:
@NowThisNews : For a brief look at the day's news.
@Mashable : For updates (for example, yesterday they told me all about the new Apple Music service).
@Rihanna : For all her crazy antics.
@MileyCyrus : She's just being Miley.
@LivelyBK : Blake Lively.
@DoubleGiForce : Supermodel Gigi Hadid because I like to cry and look at how perfect she is.
@Diplo3000 : World renown DJ Diplo lives an insane life. Private jets, beaches, clubs, and craziness.
@moonlightbae : Ariana Grande, because I'm a pre-teen.
@krispyshorts : He has an instagram account where he makes video shorts and he's equally as funny on snapchat.

How Bloggers can use Snapchat

First, it gives a different, unfiltered view of your life. You are able to update in real-time with what's going on. It seems, at least for now, to be easy, and less pressure than instagram. For me, this is definitely true. I agonize over what one picture to post on instagram while with snapchat I shoot and send.
You can show off what you're up to, hint at what's to come for blog posts, show that you have something new, and so much more. Eventually, there might be opportunities with advertisers. I suggest sending SnapStories (so adding your snaps to your story that everyone can view.) Over 1 billion snap stories are seen every day so now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.

Lastly, you should totally follow me on Snapchat, look up the username: helenesula. 

Do you have Snapchat? Do you think it's important for Bloggers?

Feel free to leave your username in the comments so we can all connect.

6.30.2015

July Instagram Challenge #31PhotosInBetween

I'm so excited!! It's time to announce all the prompts for the second round of my instagram challenge: #31PhotosinBetween. Instagram Challenges are my favorite. When I'm stuck on what to post I feel like I can draw inspiration from a prompt. The April Instagram challenge was my favorite month on instagram. I felt like I started more of a community, gained real followers, and found new accounts to follow. The feedback I heard from you guys was similar, so I knew a second instagram challenge was necessary.
july instagram challenge

Last time we had #30PhotosInBetween, since there are 31 days in July the hashtag is: #31PhotosInBetween

1. Cool, calm, and creative
2. Up, Up, and Away
3. How I See It
4. Let Freedom Ring (not everyone is American, but everyone has some National pride, so show it!)
5.  #HowISummer
6. The Furry Folk
7. The time is now
8. Some Like It Hot
9. #PrettyLittleThings
10. My kind of night
11. Oh Thank Heaven
12. Cozy
13. Monday Motivation
14. What I'm Reading
15. #ThatsDarling
16. Thirsty Thursday
17. I scream, you scream
18.  Hey there, sunshine
19. #NeverStopExploring
20. Caffeine O' Clock
21. Bursts of Blue
22. Eye Can't Believe It
23. Throw Back
24. #FromWhereIStand
25. It's a party
26. Hair of the Dog 
27. Color my world
28. #OnMyDesk
29. Pink your very much
30. Shake it off
31. How Sweet It Is


Some notes about the challenge:
- All prompts are completely up to your interpretation. For example: "Some Like It Hot" could mean a steaming hot cup of tea, a sweaty run, or watching the 1959 Marilyn Monroe movie, Some Like It Hot.

- Do whatever you want! Don't have a photo that matches the prompt for the day? Who cares! You can still use the #31PhotosInBetween Hashtag. The goal is get you to post for 31 days straight and find others in the community. 

- Anyone and everyone can join in, whether you blog or not!

- Make sure your account is public so others can see your photos.

- Stay up-to-date with the challenge by saving the photo above or the prompts below on your phone:

- You don't have to post everyday- jump in and out whenever!


Be sure to follow along with me: @heleneinbetween and I look forward to starting the challenge! I'll be sharing some of my favorite photos every week.

To kick things off, (and because I won the Best Blogger of Dallas yesterday) I'm giving away ya InstaMix camera! These are super handy for taking snapshots of your life. Enter in the rafflecopter (bonus entries on my instagram page! @heleneinbetween!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
Can't wait to see you on instagram for #31PhotosInBetween 

6.29.2015

Best Blogger in Dallas for 2015

As I was checking my blog's Facebook page I noticed I was tagged in a picture. Odd, since this was my page, not my personal profile. I crossed my fingers it didn't have anything to do with the meme that won't go away. Luckily, it was the Dallas A-List naming the winners for the annual Best of Dallas, in which Dallas residents vote on their favorites in several categories.
                             The Dallas skyline taken from the Trinity River after the recent flooding.

For the second year running, I won the best blogger in Dallas for 2015! Thank you to EVERYONE who voted for me and for spreading the word. It really means a lot. I'm shocked and honored and grateful!

Even though I'm moving away from Dallas soon, I will always think of it as my home. So while we're on the Dallas subject, I'll share one of my favorite Dallas memories:

One summer when I was about 8 or 9, my mom and I were in our neighborhood — me on my bike, she was walking. My parents live in Dallas (many people say they live in Dallas when they actually live outside of the 635 loop) in a fairly affluent neighborhood.

We were going along when a man on a horse trotted by. I almost fell off my bike. I looked up, squinting at the man. My mom didn't recognize him at first, but when he spoke, she knew immediately it was Ross Perot, who had run for president just a few years before.

He smiled and said in a high-pitched voice, "How y'all doing this fine afternoon?"
I was shocked to see a horse on my street and I just sat on my bike, bewildered.

Despite what a lot of folks think about Dallas, most of us don't ride horses to work. But you might run into someone who does. Maybe even a former presidential candidate. It's the kind of thing I love about Dallas. You just never can tell.

Again, thank you to the Dallas A-List, and thank you all again for your votes! You can check out the full list of winners here.

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