I am in University. This means that I have a back to school supply list I make, and then dread buying because school is so expensive. On top of the things I find myself purchasing every year I also have buy once staples. So here are my back to school basics.
One and Dones:
Laptop – This is my baby. I bought an Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop* for school and have used it absolutely every single day. This laptop is lightweight for me to lug around all day. I live off campus so I have it on me my entire time on campus. You definitely don’t need to buy that laptop, but I use mine for everything. I take my notes, type assignments, send emails, and basically live my school life on it.
Bag – This is not necessarily a one and done for everyone. But I bought an expensive bag so I better use it a long time. I purchased a Ralph Lauren handbag which I know fits my laptop. It is genuine leather and gorgeous. This is where I chose to invest. I had a handbag the year before that was not very sturdy and it made carrying my laptop in it a nervous experience. So I upgraded.
Weekly Planner – I use a Moleskine Classic Notebook* for my weekly planner. I like to start fresh with a new one every year. Typically it goes from September – August, or July – June.
Pens – I love pens. Specifically the Staples Strata 0.5 Black Ink Pen. It is so fine and is great in my bullet journal. It also allows me to write very small, which is how I write. And my notes don’t look so bold. I don’t bother with white out. I just scratch it out.
Pencils – I’m taking Statistics and Calculus so a pencil is necessary along with the sharpeners and erasers. Also, I like to have really cheap pencils in my bag in case someone needs to borrow one. I am not lending out my beloved pens. Ever.
Pencil Case – Not necessary. But mine get so messy. It’s actually gross how messy it is by the end of the year. I have tried everything under the sun. Different colours, shapes, sizes, patterns. still nasty.
Misc – This is highlighters, lined paper, ruler, etc.
What are your back to school basics?
*As an Amazon Affiliate if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission.
A large part of university, or college is having assignments. And the best way to deal with them is to make an assignment schedule. I learned this the hard way during my first year, but have a method that once put in place made them a dream. I will give you an outline of the steps, and then 3 examples for time frames. Because some assignments have more notice and some less.
Understand and Analyze Your Assignment – Take a look at the assignment and read it through. Make sure you understand exactly what it is that you need to do. If you have any questions about it this is when you schedule an appointment to see your academic advisor, professor, or teaching assistant.
Narrow an Assigned Topic or Choose and Narrow Your Own Topic – Assignment topics are given to your in broader terms so that you can make it more your own. Those marking it aren’t looking for identical essays from every student. Choose a topic that is of interest to you. This will make it seem less like homework. If you can’t think of anything use lecture topics as an inspiration or textbook chapters. This will be your starting point.
Perform Preliminary Research and Reading -When you enter this stage start making a working bibliography. Be sure to use a variety of sources when researching. Especially physical documents, or peer-reviewed journals. Collect a wider set of notes that you can later narrow once a thesis is developed.
Develop a Thesis – This is a working thesis that may change or evolve. Take the information you have learned about your topic of research and use it to create an argument. It can be the linking of two elements, the negative or positive impacts, even that the event could have been entirely avoided. Remember to do something you find interesting, and most importantly, easier for you to argue.
Create a Strategy for Research and Begin Research – This is when you lay out what sources you will collect, read, and hopefully use. If your library doesn’t have a book you want you might be able to have them order it in so you can read it. The same goes for journals. You should also set aside specific times you plan to research.
Create an Outline – Start by looking at the length of the assignment you are going to be writing, and then figure out approximately how many paragraphs will be needed. From there gather the information you have gathered and group it into similar subjects. Then assign them to paragraphs to establish some flow.
Additional Research – Find the information you need that can link together the paragraphs you plan to write, and new information altogether for ones you have not yet been able to fill.
Write you First Draft – Now that you have an outline and have done your research this should be a lot easier to do. This is when you work more on content than you do on flow. You should already have all the information you need at the point so research is over.
Revise and Edit – Print out and go through the assignment to Have your friend or family members read over the assignment to look for mistakes your eyes have missed because you may read it how you meant it to be instead of how it actually is. I like to run my assignments through Google Translate and have it read out loud so I can catch places I need to make corrections.
Write Your Final Draft – You can make as many revisions in between your first and final draft as you think you need. But once this is done your assignment should be ready to submit.
With these steps, I will show you 3 different examples of an assignment schedule.
2 Month Time Frame:
Day 1 – Understand and Analyze Your Assignment.
Day 3 – Narrow an Assigned Topic or Choose and Narrow Your Own Topic.
Day 5 – Perform Preliminary Research and Reading.
Day 7 – Develop a Thesis.
Day 9 – Create a Strategy for Reseach and Begin Research.
Day 33 – Create an Outline.
Day 34 – Additional Research.
Day 40 – Write Your First Draft.
Day 53 – Revise and Edit.
Day 59 – Write Your Final Draft.
1 Month Time Frame:
Day 1 – Understand and Analyze Your Assignment.
Day 2 – Narrow an Assigned Topic or Choose and Narrow Your Own Topic.
Day 3 – Perform Preliminary Research and Reading.
Day 4 – Develop a Thesis.
Day 5 – Create a Strategy for Reseach and Begin Research.
Day 17 – Create an Outline.
Day 17 – Additional Research.
Day 21 – Write Your First Draft.
Day 27 – Revise and Edit.
Day 30 – Write Your Final Draft.
2 Week Time Frame:
Day 1 – Understand and Analyze Your Assignment.
Day 1 – Narrow an Assigned Topic or Choose and Narrow Your Own Topic.
Day 2 – Perform Preliminary Research and Reading.
Day 2 – Develop a Thesis.
Day 3 – Create a Strategy for Reseach and Begin Research.
Day 8 – Create an Outline.
Day 8 – Additional Research.
Day 10 – Write Your First Draft.
Day 12 – Revise and Edit.
Day 14 – Write Your Final Draft.
Now hopefully you won’t be tempted to leave all of your work to the last minute by using an assignment schedule I have suggested. For more university tips check out the #CToHustle Page.
Let’s be honest. I am not one for being makeup obsessed. I am so lazy when it comes to everyday makeup. If you have seen my past makeup collection you know that I don’t go wild with my purchases. I am definitely quality over quantity. Somewhat recently I purchased Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Colour Bronze + Glow in the shade Illumi-Naughty (Not available on Sephora.ca). I have never been so in love with a highlight. So here is my Nudestix review.
I am very dry. So incredibly dry. I strive to have healthy glowy skin. From the first moment I swatched it in Sephora I was in love. This is not an extreme shine. It is not metallic. Nor is it not glittery or chunky. It creates a natural dewy shine. If I had to describe it perfectly it would be that you appear to sweat in the most gorgeous way. Weird, I am aware, but trust me it is so beautiful. I have worn it every day since. This lead me to purchase the Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Colour Matte in Bondi Bae.
I also swatched this one in the store so I knew it was just as creamy. I purchased it online after I fell in love with Illumi-Naughty. It is just a really good colour for bronzer. The shade is definitely meant for fair skin tones, as are most of the products due to the creators being from Canada and fair themselves. It is the perfect balance between neutral and warm shades. It is not too ashy like a lot of shades targeted for the very pale, and not too orange because bronzer is almost always orange on me.
Once I got the bronzer in Bondi Bae I knew I wanted a blush shade. There are three blush shades for my skin tone, Deep Maple Eh is too dark for my taste. So Bare Back was the one I chose. It is a light pink that leans more on the cool side. It is very natural looking. Almost like a flush to the cheeks. The formula is also a matte finish. All of the products have a built in brush on the other end which is detachable so it is easy to clean. Due to laziness, I find myself almost exclusively using the brush attached, and it works way better than I had expected.
I have been using the products for a few weeks now and I am so very pleased with my purchases. My skin looks like me but better. I could tell people I’m not wearing any makeup and they would totally believe me. I use these on top of my Make Up For Ever Water Blend Foundation to round off the very natural makeup look.
If you have tried any Nudestix products I would love to your thoughts.
**As an affiliate if you make a purchase of any of the items below I may receive a small commission.**
Everyone loves getting good things for free. Especially products they wanted to try in the first place. I found a website called Infuenster. You get free products in exchange for reviews. Not even over the top in depth reviews. There is a minimum word count, but the site itself prompts you with questions to easily fill what is maybe 100 words. I discovered this site when individuals on social medias mentioned receiving packages.
What you need to do:
It is so easy. All you have to do is go on to their website and enter an email and password. From there, you answer a few questions about yourself, such as skin, eye, hair colour for tailored beauty products. Or your skin concerns for skincare. They even ask if you own any pets because some of the products are catered to them.
Then you add your social media profiles so they know what your reach is. If you have 500 friends on Facebook and 250 Instagram followers, and 7 people on Pinterest it begins to add up. The company then sends you a package in the mail of free products. Once you receive it you can start the campaign.
The campaign involves writing reviews on the products you received and sometimes posting about it on social medias. The most important thing you need to do is disclose that these products we received complimentary, or free. This is absolutely necessary for their terms or service. Upon signing up you are also in an agreement that you will not sell these products upon being sent them.
What to do if you don’t like the product:
You answer “snaps” or short quizzes for the company to see if you are likely to be interested in the product and if you are suitable for it. Be sure to answer honestly in order to get the best results.
If you receive an item you don’t like write an honest review of why you didn’t like it. Maybe you were sent a foundation with an amazing formula but the colour was too orange. This doesn’t make it a bad product, just a poor colour match.
If you are not willing to put in the necessary effort to make a product you don’t like work for you, then you don’t have to keep it. You can’t sell it, but you don’t have to throw it away. You can easily donate unused products to those who can’t afford it. Makeup is what I often receive, so the unused part is crucial. But, you can absolutely give it to a friend or family member who would love it.
This is the package I received for free from Influenster and Covergirl. It was called the #VitalistLife Box. It contained a COVERGIRL Vitalist Elixir Foundation* in 610 (Classic Ivory) and a COVERGIRL Melting Pout Gel Liquid Lipstick* in the shade 105 (Gel-Ful). I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. Yes, free.
These are new products that the company has recently released and they sent them to me in exchange for reviews and promotion of the product through social media.
If you would like to know how to get free products, then Influenster is for you.
*As an Amazon Affiliate if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission.
At the very beginning of July, 2017 I started my blog. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. If you want to start a blog here is a realistic outlook for the first month blogging. I want to be completely transparent when it comes to running a blog because it can be difficult to trust the numbers other people are telling you. I have seen posts about earning thousands of dollars a month and getting hundreds of thousands of views, but that isn’t my experience. And I strongly doubt that is the same for many first time bloggers. If you are like me and want to know what a real first month looks like at a glance, then please continue reading. Here is everything that I have done so far.
My goals for the first month were as follows:
- Get my Blog Self-Hosted. Mission accomplished. CToSeas.com is officially mine. I signed up with Bluehost and got a 36-month contract, so I will continue to put in the effort for the long-run. This was the key for me to put everything else in place and was my absolute first goal. It costs more money, so if you aren’t sure you can have shorter contracts. Or choose to not be self-hosted.
- Apply for Google Adsense. Technically I did succeed in this goal. However, I have not heard back as of writing this so I don’t have ads on my website yet. What you might not know is that it takes more than just having a website to get Google Adsense. You need enough content on your website to justify them accepting you, as well as having that content desirable for ads to want to run on it. Do not think that you can depend on this immediately after starting. It can also be a long process.
- Get my First Viewer. More specifically I wanted it to be a viewer that was not my mom. Another goal down. Through social media, strangers have been able to find my very new website and read my posts. Some have even returned to my website, which I am very thankful for.
- Post at Least Once a Week. Done. I would have loved to post more but man oh man does life get in the way. Thanks life. I plan to post more often in the future but having a full-time job, and school to keep up with it is more difficult than I would like to admit.
As well as accomplishing goals, I have personalized my website’s theme. Uploaded all of my images to Pinterest, which I would highly recommend you do too. Even if it isn’t a steady stream of viewers for me it is still another way to be found. I have had a few pageviews from this although I would like to work towards getting more. I went through all of my posts with Yoast SEO and updated them in hopes that I could be found organically more than before. Also, I have many blog posts or ideas written in my draft category for the future, so I have more than actually meets the eye. I also successfully applied to Amazon Associates.
These are all positives. But what about the negatives. And I promise there are bound to be some negatives for your first month blogging. I was rejected from Google Adsense because I forgot to actually launch my website before submitting it. Big oops. So now back to the waiting game. This means my website has sat here unmonetized, and unable to make money on views alone. I am still unfamiliar with Amazon Associates so my links were broken, again a silly mistake.
Here are the statistics of my social media accounts and my blog itself. I know that the first month blogging is a slow one, but it can have some progress, I promise. I personally did not focus on Twitter at all, so no surprises there, but I was trying to work on Pinterest and Instagram.
Instagram: July 1 – 335 Followers. August 1 – 343 Followers.
Twitter: July 1 – 0 Followers. August 1 – 0 Followers.
Pinterest: July 1 – 7 Followers. August 1 – 9 Followers.
Pageviews: July 1 – 0 Views. August 1 – 100 Views
Users: July 1 – 0 Users. August 1 – 33 Users.
Google Adsense: $0.00
Amazon Associates: $0.00 While I have had some people click the links to the products I mention in my posts no one has bought anything, which I would have expected.
I didn’t expect any different for my first month blogging, but it is always nice to make a little.
Next Months Goals:
- Write at least one blog post a week. This has been a goal of mine every week since I started writing in January. As always I will create my own featured images for the post, and use SEO to try and optimize it.
- Post on Twitter at least once a week. This is completely new to me, but I can hopefully commit myself to doing the bare minimum of once.
- Post on Instagram at least once a week. I don’t usually post once a week, but in order to grow a following, it is necessary to be consistent. Also, I want to follow similar profiles.
- Gain more pageviews. I would like to grow my blog, so doing these steps will hopefully grow my pageview count.
Another thing I would like, however, have no control over is hearing back from Google Adsense, which is completely out of my control, but if there is an issue the sooner I know about it the better, and if not the sooner I can start monetizing the better.
So there you have it. A brutally honest tell all of my first month blogging experience. If you have any questions please feel free to comment down below or send me a message on my contact me page.
Some days people doubt themselves or feel insecure, I have even though I hate to admit it. Some even feel this way more often than they don’t. I have listed a few ways to naturally optimize your appearance to help counteract those days.
Here are some tips:
Tip #1 Eyebrows. If your eyebrows are looking a little lackluster then I would recommend running a spoolie brush through them in order to give them the groomed look they crave. I somehow draw confidence from my eyebrows. They frame the face and are vital for expressing your emotions. I have bushy eyebrows that love to go wild, do hairspray is my friend. I spray a little onto the spoolie after I have my brows where I want them. In addition to this, you can also remove stray hairs to create a more sleek look.
Tip #2 Glowy Moisturizer. You can give yourself a dewy healthy glow with a moisturizer. You could even opt for a tinted moisturizer if you feel the need for coverage. My skin is dry as a bone. If I want to feel fresh and healthy one of the first things I reach for is my moisturizer. You can also take a more selective approach and only apply it to the areas you would like to highlight. This could be the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, cupid’s bow, above your brow, below your brow, and the center of your chin.
Tip #3 Nails. cuticle cream makes your nails super shiny and healthy. I feel like it makes my nails feel stronger when I have done this. Nail polish can be harsh for your nails but I like to look put together top to bottom. I file my nails to be squared at the tips. This allows my nails to be stronger because of the shape since I like to keep them long.
Tip #4 Lip balm. I do not have enough good things to say about lip balm. Not only will your lips feel amazing, but they will look fuller and very healthy. Lip balms can also add sheer colour for those seeking a rosy sheen. They usually come in a variety of scents so you have an endless number of options.
These are some of my tips for how to naturally optimize your appearance. Any suggestions?
How to Stay Inspired:
When it comes to blogging it can be difficult to stay inspired. Especially if you have other full-time commitments. This can vary from a job to being a stay at home mom. you may wonder how to stay inspired. Or, how others make it look so easy. But in reality, it takes a lot of work as you already know. So this is my story for how to stay inspired.
To combat the cycle of procrastination I start by getting ahead. This post, for example, was written days early so that on the day, or days before I wouldn’t feel rushed. I want to write about things I feel excited about. Helping people for one. I am no expert when it comes to most things. But I myself have lacked inspiration. And now I don’t. Or at least not as often.
The first step towards finding inspiration is blogging about things you find interesting. This sounds simple enough. But, in combination with a desired audience, it may not be. If you love fashion, write about it. However, if people come to you for fashion advice they may not be interested in your grandma’s pie recipe. So it is also important to try and stick to a theme.
For example, I myself am a university student and blogger. I also farm and have a complex personal life. But, I don’t give tips on raising chicken, I give tips on essay writing. Because no one is likely to return to my blog to read related topics for a one off article.
This might also be difficult because it is very easy to write about just yourself. How your day went, or what funny thing your dog did that day. I am not saying don’t write about yourself. I do all the time. It is your blog and you can do as you please with it. But I would recommend having meaning behind your personal stories. If your dog did something that frustrated you, write about how you deal with frustration. This is beneficial for those reading it because they have something to gain from your post.
With this in mind I highly, highly recommend getting ahead of the clock. I post once a week on Saturdays. I start writing my post up to a month in advance. This is when I have a very rough draft or even just an idea. I have many drafts in my pocket at once. This allows for me to choose a topic to write about when I just can’t think of anything else. I am constantly adding to the list of things I want to make a post about.
I knew that with all of my current obligations, such as full-time work, pets, a boyfriend, and a social life my blog takes a back seat some times. This is why I force myself to post once a week, but not more often. I want to continue to love what I do, not turn it into a forced routine. If that happened it would be easy to tell, because the effort I put into it would get worse and worse until I post a paragraph and call it a day.
I find inspiration in everyday life. You could also find inspiration from other bloggers. Keep in mind that you can not copy another bloggers posts. That is illegal and called plagiarism. Plagiarism is not just taking their work word for word. It involves the core content being claimed as your own when it isn’t. “I had a good day” and “My day was good” still have the same meaning despite being slightly altered.
I have a post called “How to Be Happy” Other people may have a similar post. It is almost a guarantee. But I made a list of things that make me happy and wrote about them. I did not use any other posts as a reference or copy another persons work. It is my thoughts and feelings written down for your enjoyment.
Do you have tips for how to stay inspired?
Starting a blog is only the beginning. Since your website is brand new you are not likely to just appear as a search result. So you might ask yourself how to get your blog seen. It is not uncommon to have a blog and wonder when the views are going to start streaming in. I know I did. But I didn’t realize how much work went into it beforehand.
You, much like me, might think that posting quality content with great graphics, or website design will get everyone to fall in love with your blog. But, if they can’t find it they can’t love it. There are some things you can’t avoid when it comes to getting your website seen. Usually, search engines will prefer websites that have existed longer, because it is more substantial. You can counteract this by uploading more content more often, writing longer posts, or like I did, create posts before you launched your site to have more from the start.
So here is how I started outside of my blog:
Tip #1 Sign Up For Google Analytics. In order to properly view the amount of traffic, you are receiving it is important to set your website up to be viewable. I started this immediately in order to have a realistic view count when I launched my blog. I can even see where the views come from. If I am spending all of my effort to get views from Facebook, but most of my views are from Pinterest maybe I’m focusing on the wrong platform.
Tip #2 Show Your Friends and Family. These people should be kinder and more personally invested in you. Show them your content for advice. And if they like it they can share it with their friends and family. It can have a ripple effect. If you ask them to be completely honest about your site they can also make suggestions that strangers would in the future in a more polite and sensitive manner.
Tip #3 Join Facebook Groups. This is how I got the first page views that were not from my family and friends. I joined a group on Facebook focused on improving their blogs and others. It can be a really supportive environment of people with similar goals in mind. You could even end up making good friends in these groups.
Tip #4 Join Social Media. Set up a page for you and your blog on everything. If you gain followers on one, but not another it still leaves them a way to find you and your content. Be sure to link and advertise yourself and your other social media pages on each site. If you don’t let people know you have Instagram they won’t know that the have the option to follow you.
Tips for your blog itself:
Tip #1 Download Yoast SEO. This WordPress plugin is a real life saver. Before I installed it on my website I didn’t notice the potential I was missing. It allows you to choose keywords you want people to be able to search your article by, which is so helpful. I also know the readability of my articles to see if it is a good fit.
Tip #2 Use Smart Keywords. On the Yoast SEO section of the post where you choose keywords, you want to make sure you choose them well. If you wouldn’t look up “My First Day of College” then don’t use that, use “What You Need to Know for Your First Day of College”. If people don’t search it, they won’t find it. My title is “How to Get Your Blog Seen” This is the number one way people will organically find you.
Tip #3 Have Relevant Keywords. My title is “How to Get Your Blog Seen” but I could have bananas as a keyword despite it being irrelevant to my post, or blog in general.
Check out “How to Start a Blog” to see more content like this.
I have an exclusively high-end makeup collection at the moment. I don’t use makeup every day, therefore, I can afford to splurge on more expensive products. There is absolutely nothing wrong with drugstore makeup, however, I typically aim for quality over quantity in the items I own like makeup and clothes. I am very fair in complexion, so sometimes my options are quite limited. I shop at Sephora because their online shipping is easy and the Beauty Insider account is a bonus.
- Face Primer. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer was a birthday gift from my sister, and I have used it every time I wear makeup since. It is moisturizing and feels really good on the skin. It has a gentle scent that is not chemically.
- Foundation. I use Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation. It is a light coverage buildable product that gives me the moisture I crave in face products. The finish is more on the dewy side, and can almost appear as a tinted moisturizer when applied with a sponge. I use shade Y215.
- Concealer. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly is perfect for me. It is basically the colour of my skin and is more of a medium coverage when applied with a sponge making it easy to cover my very dark undereye area.
- Eyeshadow. My very first Sephora purchase was the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. I to this day love it. I am not very adventurous when it comes to makeup, so this palette has everything I need.
- Eyeliner. I got Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer. I don’t use eyeliner often so I don’t have much of an opinion on it.
- Eyebrows. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Blonde is perfect for taming my crazy brows and filling in the patchy spots in a way that is not overly dramatic.
- Pink Lipstick. Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien is a gorgeous satin pink with a gold iridescence. I first got this for a birthday present from Sephora.
- Rose Lipstick. Marc Jacobs Beauty Le Marc Lip Creme Lipstick in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has gone unused so far because I am saving it for an occasion.
- Red Lipstick. The birthday gift in 2015 included Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella. It is not drying compared to other matte lipsticks I have tried, but I look like snow white with such a bright colour so save it for Halloween.
- Setting Powder. My setting powder is almost a very subtle highlighter. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Etherial Light provides an almost-white glow that compliments my complexion more than any other I have tried.
- Setting Spray. It’s more of a face mist that I use to set my makeup. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist is perfect for natural makeup for those with dry skin.
**As an affiliate if you make a purchase of any of the items below I may receive a small commission.**