Saturday, August 30, 2014

Happy Saturday!

Happy Saturday, my friends! With my first week of classes finished, I'm excited for the weekend, including football and friends and fun. Short but sweet post, but I just feel like I had to express a love of life right now-- everything seems to be going well and I feel so incredibly grateful and lucky that I get to be here. I saw this quote the other day and just loved it.

Be confident. Be compassionate. Be intelligent. Be humble. Be generous. The universe returns to you what you put out.

Not sure where it's from, but I love it. I wish I had more outfit posts to share, but they tend to have been somewhat boring. This is what I wore the other night after not knowing what on earth to wear, but I really loved it. My shirt is from Target and skirt is really old from Rue 21, both completely inexpensive places! A little tuck and a pearl necklace, and you're good to go.



Today I'm rooting for my UK Cats and my UR Spiders, so I have a post planned for gameday wear to publish soon, but stay tuned on Insta for today's gameday wear!

Happy football season and happy weekend,
Meredith

Friday, August 29, 2014

Making the most out of your college visit

The other day we were walking around campus and we saw high schoolers touring campus, which was a very weird feeling considering it was just us. I mean, I visited Richmond for the very first time in April and made my decision basically while I was there that I was going to go to school here, so the fact that I'm now a college student seeing people on tours seems surreal, but also makes it real that college visits are so important, so these are some of the things I've thought about.

I think there's a lot about touring colleges that people don't seem to think about, and it's a little overwhelming if you're just now getting into it. I had a lot of friends that started visiting during sophomore year, but I made my first real visits during fall break of junior year. There's really no bad time to start, but you have to keep context in your head. When I was a sophomore and junior, I was set on really small, liberal arts schools in the south and nothing else, but I still visited bigger schools, which I'm grateful for. No matter what grade you're in, your mind will change about college. I cannot stress this enough to my sister who's only a sophomore and to my friends who are seniors. You may have the perfect idea of the kind of school (or even the particular school) you want, but almost every single person I know ended up somewhere differently than they had thought they would. Yes, that's scary to think about (especially when you're someone like me who has to know everything in advance), but that's why I'm trying to stress that you should visit every school you have a chance to and not turn any away. My family's biggest thing was always just visiting a school even if you know you're not going to apply (especially if you're going to be near it anyways) so you at least have something to compare it to and you know what you do and don't want.

That being said, knowing what you want in a school is extremely difficult when you're just getting started. I was even talking to my 17 year old brother the other day about him visiting schools and he said, "I just don't know what I want", and oh, how that's such the classic statement of everyone trying to decide on college. The only thing you really can do to combat that is visit lots of schools and have a personal experience each time you go, and here are a few of the things I've gathered from college tours.

Set up an actual tour and visit. Most times, there'll be a tour and an information session. A lot of people think about driving by and touring on their own, and while that's a good idea if there's no other option, your opinion on the school differs greatly if it's not an official visit. For example, I visited Clemson while the school was on fall break and there wasn't anyone there, and it didn't have as good of an impression as it would have if I had gone to the official stuff. Also, some schools count interest as a point of admission, meaning that when you visit, it's marked in their records for them when you apply and gives you a leg up.

The information session is important because they'll tell you what they want you to know about the school and how to apply and get in and is the perfect chance to ask questions... but only questions that an admissions office can answer. Please, for the love of everything good, don't ask questions that are on their website or that are only personal to your situation, ie, "Are you on the Common App?" or "If I want to play soccer at your school, how can I get a scholarship?" It's completely frustrating to others there and also makes you look like you don't know your facts about the school. But don't let that stop you from asking questions!

The tour is also important, but again, they're going to show you the absolute best parts of campus in order to get you to attend. What you need to think about during this is "Can I see myself here?" Look at the people walking around campus, in the library, and think about if you could see yourself as a student walking around. It's a hard way to explain it, but if you have no clue what you're looking for, this is a good way to help you. I most definitely felt that about lots of schools I visited, and of course, when I visited Richmond, I knew that it just felt like home.

Take notes, get the literature, and keep the names. I know taking notes can sometimes come across as overeager, but it's insanely crucial to take notes while you're in the info session and immediately after. Sometimes you'll visit several schools on one trip and you'll think you can remember each of them, but you won't- they'll all blend together. I had these papers that I would fill out after each visit where I wrote down interesting facts they brought up in the info session and then ranked my thoughts on random parts of the school, such as culture, food, campus, admissions, etc. They'll also have lots of different pamphlets for different aspects of the school (admissions, financial aid, different schools within the school, etc), and get all of them. You're not committed to each thing, but it's nice to have a quick overview of what they're saying is important and great.

There will be lots of people leading different sessions and tours and people you get in contact with, so be sure to keep track of who's who (especially your regional director- the person that'll most likely be overlooking your application) and get the email addresses. It's always nice to follow up after you visit or keep in case you have a question about your application. Feel free to talk to them after and ask questions and just simply talk to them about the school. This is their job and they love the school they're at and want to share their enthusiasm about it!

Try to see a dorm, the dining hall, and the gym. I'm kind of nosy person and just absolutely love looking at the dorms. Housing wasn't really a make or break thing for me in a school, but it definitely helped when we got to see a dorm room and I could see myself living there. Funny enough, I toured the dorm I currently live in when I visited UR! Eating in the dining hall is also a cool experience I think people should have. Considering you'll be there a lot, it helps ease your mind about actually being a student at that school. Take that with a grain of salt, though, acknowledging that bigger schools aren't as focused on their dining halls. I specifically remember Davidson, Furman, Emory, and UR for their dining halls, and even got to eat with a student at Emory, which helped solidify my thoughts on it. The gym/recreation center can also be a large part of your school, so try to check it out if you can.

TALK TO PEOPLE. I know it'll feel weird, but you have to remember that when you visit a school, they're going to tell you about the things they can actually tell. Not that there are secrets, but an admissions office isn't going to tell you about the culture of their school or their experiences, so if you get a chance to talk to a current student, TAKE IT. Students that are signed up for events with the admissions office are doing it because they love the school (and if they aren't, then that's a sign of the school itself) and want to tell you all about it. Don't be afraid to ask questions about how they chose their school, what they're studying, what they do there, and just about their personal experiences. In my opinion, it's the best way to get to know what the students of the school are like. Also, if you get the opportunity to, try to do an overnight. I didn't do one anywhere, but one of my friends did one at every school she was considering and she said it helped her make up her mind a lot. Plus, it can build communications if you have questions later on or if you actually end up attending.

Explore the city around. I usually visited schools with my whole family, but when my mom and I visited a few in the spring, we would get there the night before our tour and just drive around to see what the city has. I think that early on in my college process, I didn't pay attention to the city, but it's a huge factor into where you decide to go. Do you want a college town where most of the campus is the whole city, or a school that's more closed, or a school in a big city? It's totally a personal opinion, but something to consider when you'll be thinking about career or volunteer opportunities, plus the social aspects. Do most people go off campus to eat at restaurants? Are there concerts in the city? Try to get a feel for the city and see how it correlates with the campus- this'll help you think about how you could see yourself there.

I also get a lot of questions about what to wear on college visits. I was someone who always dressed up for tours, simply because you never know who you're going to meet. It doesn't really matter for your application what you wear (they're not going to look at your app and think, "Oh, that girl wore a t-shirt, we're going to reject her"), but if you do happen to meet someone, you want them to remember you for your dedication to looking presentable. Dress comfortably, but also cute. For visits when it was warm, I wore simple dresses and ballet flats (sandals will make your feet hurt so badly.... the Jacks aren't worth it), and when it was cooler, casual dresses/skirts, cable knit sweaters, riding boots, and tights. Sometimes I would wear ballet flats with tights, but everyone knows how much warmer boots are. Bring a coat, because you'll be walking a lot and even if it's not completely fashionable, your impression of the school will be altered if you're freezing.

Here are a few photos I've found that would be good for college visits! Some of these are pants, which are just as fine, too, I just dressed them up as much as I could!









Hopefully these tips are all okay, let me know if there's anything I didn't answer or anything else I could help with! I asked a few friends and they agreed with these, so hopefully there's nothing I missed! Have any questions or suggestions? I'd love to hear!

xoxo,
Meredith

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Snapshots

As I try to find a routine for blogging and studying and sleeping and eating and basically keeping my life together, I struggle with blog posts. Blogging helps me stay organized with life, but when life isn't organized, it feels wrong to blog about it! Now granted, that's what life is all about, but I figured I'd just share a few things.




I swear, I can never get enough of this skirt. Yesterday after classes, we had some reading to do, so we made ourselves at a table overlooking the lake and it was utter bliss. The weather is perfect and reading about speeches ain't too bad when you can look out and see such beauty. (Thanks to Tori for getting a few shots). 

I'm working on trying to keep everything organized and stay sane, which is a little troublesome at times, but I think it's getting there. I'm also trying to figure out a good way to post about my dorm, so let me know if have any questions in particular! Also, organizing my planner is becoming the focus of my time, so if anyone has any tips on that, I'd be thrilled to hear!

Thanks and much love,
Meredith

Monday, August 25, 2014

~so college~

I HAVE INTERNET!!!!!

Excuse the poor introduction for a very rambly blog post, but I just don't even know where to begin with this. I finally have internet on my computer thanks to the Help Desk here (seriously I will probably need this place a whole lot) and am so thankful for that and to have time. So I'll just go with the random and huge things that have happened since I last posted (last Monday.... wow it makes me cringe). And I know that the new friends I've made will probably laugh if they read this because they haven't experienced the full Monogram Meredith blogging nonstop, but oh well.

So Sunday, I moved in. That was crazy hectic and full of panic and anxiety as we tried to move in and buy everything I needed within just a few hours and then still look presentable to the people I was going to be with for the next four years, but it all went well. I got to move in early for a pre-orientation program and am SO grateful for it because it gave me a good amount of time to get settled in and make friends before everyone else moved in. It was difficult because we had zero free time (and I'm talking 8 AM to midnight busy) and I actually just unpacked yesterday... whoops. I guess this is the time I say that I also don't have a roommate: long story short, I was going to have one but now I don't so it means I'm living in a double by myself. I had been really worried about it at first because then I couldn't even have an automatic friend and was fending for myself and hoping that people didn't hate me, but it's actually pretty peaceful and not lonely at all, seeing as though I just walk into my friends' rooms and then have my own quiet room and place to spread out. All that to say is that I didn't have to keep the whole room clean then, but now that it's put together (for the most part), I feel much better about it. I have a whole slew of things to write about each part of my room, but I'll save that for individual posts later and just show the few photos I have now (that have actually changed in the few days since).



And seriously, guys, I have a billion pictures of my whole family moving in and random tips that we learned along the way, so this is just a very short preview of my room and its decorations! 

Our program was Monday, Tuesday, and the morning of Wednesday, and we had a blast. Wednesday through Saturday was orientation, which was equally as exhausting, but amazing. I feel like I've talked to lots of people older than me and read about people's college experiences and had somewhat of an idea of what to expect, but words cannot begin to describe how different it is than I thought-- or even how much more real it is. Moving in was weird because it was my new home and things I never thought I would need (because they were always at home), I had to actually buy. The only thing that seems to be really similar to home is that I am living in a room by myself and I'm treating it as an escape in that same sense. I'm someone who loves to socialize and be with friends, but I have to be by myself at times, and I got really lucky in that it can be my dorm room. I may have a roommate at another point, but for now, I'm enjoying the intentional solitude at times. 

I also am overwhelmed by the incredible people I've met. I knew I would meet people, but not near as many as I have, and not form as many close friendships as I have in just a short period of time. The University of Richmond has just under 3,000 undergraduate students, which is slightly bigger than my high school, but comparing UR to high school is like comparing apples and oranges. Everyone here seems to be on the same level because they want to be learning and studying at a higher institution, rather than because they're mandated by the law, and every single person I've met has been so kind, genuine, and eager to find friendships, and I could not be more grateful for getting to experience this. What I've also found is that people here tend to be in the same mindset of being mindful of their academics, so it doesn't feel like high school where you're the odd one out for studying and working hard.

Orientation was weird because we knew it wasn't going to be like a normal week, but it was nice because we didn't have free time to get homesick or feel lonely-- the girls in my orientation group are all the girls on my hall, so naturally, we've all become close and it's refreshing to have them there, plus all the other people I've met as well.





Here are a few pictures from pre-orientation with my group. We had an excursion and I got to go to the state capitol, which was pretty cool because the city of Richmond is just as beautiful and the history of the building is pretty neat, too. We also had a scavenger hunt (hence the pyramid) and other random things.





Again, the people I've met here are incredible and we've had so much fun!





Saturday night, we had Vegas night, which included costumes brought to you by Goodwill.



Sunday was wonderfully relaxing, seeing as though we didn't have to be up by 7 or sit through any presentations, so my friend Tori and I enjoyed a walk around the lake in the beautiful weather.


And today was my first day of classes! It was a very odd feeling to eat breakfast at 8:30 and then be done for the day at 11:45! I wore my Sarta Designs skirt with a yellow Banana Republic oxford. I'm currently sitting outside in 85 degree weather and can't even believe this is all real. Real to have college classes and spend my time in the dining hall trying desserts and sharing with friends and to actually be here and not in Kentucky. Which is also pretty eye-opening-- even though we're in the South, everyone here is from the Northeast, and about 60% of people here are from New Jersey. Okaaaay, that may be a made up statistic, but that's how it feels! I love it though because it gives so many different perspectives and dialects that you don't notice when you live in the same city your whole life. 

I'm obviously still trying to figure this whole thing out and know I'll have struggles with different things as they come, but for now, I'm really loving every minute of it.  


Any tips or advice?! 

Happy Monday,
Meredith




Monday, August 18, 2014

Favorite back to school posts

As part of back to school, I've linked up some of my favorite posts for DIYs and such! Maybe they're not directly back to school related, but fun DIYs or posts that'll make you feel a little better about the new school year! PSA- These pictures are poor quality because they're old posts before I knew any better... stay with me.


The most popular has always been the monogrammed school supplies and stickers.




Lilly monogram (which is hanging in my dorm)





Enjoy!

Also, this is most definitely a scheduled post, so be following on Instagram (@meredithscroggin) and Twitter (@mlscroggin) for all of the dorm sneak peeks and posts about college as it goes!

xoxo,
Meredith

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What's in my {high school} backpack

This was meant to be posted a while ago, but it's part of a small collaboration with Itunu and I'm sharing a brief thought of what's been in my high school backpack and what I've learned to carry! There are probably a few things I'm forgetting, and a few things I'm leaving out because you already know to bring paper and pens, etc.


I use a North Face backpack and it treated me SO WELL throughout high school. I had been worried at first because it only has one large pocket, as opposed to my old Jansport one that had two, but it's better this way and I live and breathe by my backpack. Especially in hectic years and days, I carried it more than my purse. Also, being able to carry my computer in my backpack is a great feeling too, and North Face has great padding that doesn't make it feel as bad. I've only included a few essentials but decided I would go through them. I used to carry a purse along with my backpack, but junior year decided that it was too much and only carried my backpack. I could easily leave things I didn't need in my car or my locker.

Planner: DUH. I went with small so I could keep it in my front pocket and have it at all times.

Little notebook: I always found myself writing out thoughts and lists and was using too much loose leaf paper for pidly little things, so I found this cute little notebook at Walmart and love it! 

Reading book: You will never find me without a book I'm reading with me, and especially at school! It's easier to be out now and just use my phone to kill time, but when you're in high school, you can't always do that, and I found those times to be the best for catching up on your book!

Scissors: I became known as the girl who had everything, and for some reason, no teacher ever has scissors, but I did.

Tape: SAME exact thing goes for the tape. I used it way more than I thought.

Painkiller: I probably shouldn't have this on my list because it's probably against your school rules. But I posted it anyways, so do what you want with it.

Gum: Lots of it, but HIDE IT. Gum in your backpack is like a drug that everyone wants a little bit of, so you've gotta keep it hidden so you don't run out in a day. Cures bad breath and hunger before lunch.

Ponytail holders: I need a ponytail holder every single day and the worst feeling is not having any.

Small hairbrush: I hate the feeling of tangled or weird hair and even though it feels somewhat high maintenance, I loved carrying around that little brush (travel aisle!) for when I needed it.

Small cosmetic bag: You still cannot catch me without my catch-all of lipgloss, small mascara, lotion, etc. The bags changed, but the things in it stayed the same! Anything you use, but in the travel size.

Keys and wristlet: Keeping my keys in my backpack makes me feel much better than in my purse or pocket or anything. And I learned the very hard way that you should not EVER put your phone in the mesh pocket on the side because it can be stolen in 30 seconds without your knowledge at all. Just don't put it there- hold onto it or zip it up in your backpack.

Pencil pouch: I hate it when pencils roll around in the bottom of your bag and you can't find them! Get a cute pouch and stay organized all cute, it'll make you feel great!

What do you think?

Also- I move in today! Long trip yesterday, but I'm excited for seeing how my dorm turns out!

xoxo,
Meredith


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Welp...

Today is the day I've dreamed about for so many years. I truly never ever thought it would come and only imagined it- the day I packed up everything I owned and moved into college. How is it that 18 and a half years have passed so quickly and I'm actually at this point?

When you read this, I'm far out of my home state of Kentucky, whether on the road or already in Richmond. Today, I start my new life so far away from home, knowing that it'll soon feel more like home than I ever thought possible. For years and years, I've dreamed of what it would feel like to finally move out, and to be honest, I still don't really even know how it feels. I'm sitting here in my empty room with nothing on the walls and no clothes in my closet and I still can't think about how this is the last time I'm going to live here normally. I won't see this room or even this state for a few more months, and it hurts so badly. Saying goodbye to close friends and people that have made such an impact in my life is absolutely surreal and I really don't know what I'm going to do without them.

The past 18 years have been phenomenal and well done, I mean, heck, how could you not say that about the first 18 years of your life? I've lived a pretty great life and have so much to be thankful for that I can't even fit it into one post. And I didn't know when to post this, but this is what I wrote a week and a half ago:

Here I am, sitting in this little beach cottage by myself, on the verge of a meltdown. I really should be catching up with my family while they're on the beach, but I can't help myself. I did that thing that I tend to do too much and was reflecting, this time it being reading through my blog posts. Sometimes it's going through my camera roll and sometimes it's thinking too much about an event that's passed, but how often I forget that my deepest thoughts and feelings are documented on this little blog I write.

Normally, I would be having a meltdown because of something negative. This one, I'm really not sure. I was looking at my prom and Keeneland posts and how happy I was there, wishing I could go back to those months where everything seemed to be going smoothly and everyone was happy and healthy and I was still in school with my closest friends. And then I kept reading and got to my posts about hearing back from colleges, and boy, was I a basketcase. As soon as I get to thinking about those times, my stomach drops and I start to feel uneasy about how I felt during those days (or weeks? or months? it all really blends together). I used to be afraid to get in my car because I would have what felt like panic attacks about the thoughts of my future and the nearing decisions I would have to make. That was probably the unhealthiest I've ever felt in my whole life- I'm not a big crier and I like to eat a lot, but I knew I wasn't okay when I was crying that often and not eating anything (I just didn't have an appetite and had to force myself to eat). I wasn't depressed (been there), just very anxious about everything. Getting out of my comfort zone while still stuck in high school was very difficult because I was more than just comfortable, I was very very happy with my life. So reading on those posts where I was that happy makes me feel weird, because even though I was happy, it didn't seem to be a healthy happy.

And then I read my post about God not being an admissions counselor. My post that was actually originally a sermonette that I preached in front of my whole church. My whole church. I know I write literally everything on this blog and that anyone with internet access can read it, but there's something else to be said about actually standing up in front of the people that have raised you and telling them about your perfectionism tendencies and deepest worries. But I wrote something in that post about how when I was rejected from my early decision school, I knew God still had me in His hands and would lead me to wherever I was supposed to be. Holy moly. If there is anything, anything at all, that God's taught me in the past few months, past several months, it's that He will most definitely lead you to where you're supposed to be. Here I am writing this with 11 days until I move into the school of my dreams, only grateful that everything that's happened did happen. Not just about getting rejected from other schools, but so many other things that have happened during senior year that I thought were going to tear me apart. Heck, even things that happened all throughout high school. Maybe I'm being a little dramatic about it, but I think that I'm being brought to this moment, open with complete rejoice and happiness, thanks to everything, good and bad. I'm a perfectionist and feel a lot of pressure sometimes. Publishing my life doings on this blog can make me go a little bit crazy, and I know, I (literally) signed up for this, but I love it. Because I can share to my friends and peers that as someone who's far too into perfectionism that life isn't perfect, scheduled, or okay always. But there is a plan. All the joys and falls and failures will make you grateful and reflective and there's not much else I can say for all the things that one year has brought me. One year has meant so incredibly much in my short-lived life of 18 years, and I'm only looking forward to seeing what the next few will bring me.

Everyone keeps telling me they're excited for me and there are no words to describe how pumped I am, but also no words to describe how melancholy and scared and nervous I am. I am generally a worrisome person, and knowing that I have zero idea where my life is going or how to do college or how to live in a dorm freaks the heck out of me. If there's anything I ask, it's just to keep this anxious girl in your prayers and hope to goodness that I don't have a meltdown about leaving everyone and everything I have ever felt attached to. 

It hurts because it's changing, but it's a good type of change, and I am beyond excited to share each step of my journey with y'all through this blog! I've said it before and I'll say it again-- this blog and the relationships and the support I've gained from blogging has changed my life. I never had a big sister, but I feel like I have several girls (and guys) that are helping me (whether they know it or not) along this weird way and I have blogging to thank for it. Obviously, I have my friends and family that have changed my life in enormous ways, but they've already gotten the long texts with a million emojis. So I guess this sort of a thank you to all, a goodbye to some, and a welcome into the newest part of my life. For what happens, I have no clue, but enjoy the ride with me!


SO MUCH LOVE,
Meredith

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blogging FAQ

I always feel so flattered when people come to me and ask for advice or tips on blogging. It seems like I was just the girl with no thoughts on what blogging was or how big the blogging world was, and being able to help others with their own blog makes me feel so giddy. I wrote this way back in January and I think it all still stands, so here's a good starting point: So you want to start a blog. But every time someone's sent me a question, I try to be as thorough and honest as possible, and then save it all for reference later! 



How did you get started with your blog?
So my blog started two years ago when I got cut from my volleyball team and didn't really have anything else to do, so I started baking and crafting a lot. Crafting included making a monogrammed shirt for myself, and sometime in September, someone asked me to make one for them, and I figured I had a business. I created a Weebly site to have a platform for my shirts, and then people started wanting my recipes, so I created a blog on Weebly, but a few months later, I switched to Blogger, one of the biggest blogging platforms (Blogger and Wordpress are the two main ones- there are good and bad things for each, but I love Blogger!) It continued to be just a few posts, 1 or 2 a week, about baking or crafting recipes/DIYs, but there were a few posts where I shared different things and they got a lot of views or attention and I kept going with it and kept it more constant. I think that that was a good starting point because I had no concept of anything in the blog world- no fashion blogs, no 'preps', no social media crazes, nothing. I simply continued to blog because I liked writing and sharing the things I love. It was nice to feel like I could write or publish anything about my life and that regardless of whether or not people were actually reading it, it was still out there and it was fun to have! I tweeted it when posts when out and my friends read it and that seemed to be about it, but I kept going with it. I read a lot of different blogs and absolutely love the friendships I’ve made through blogs, and they always keep me inspired! I’ve learned a lot about myself through blogging because I’ve written about some of the most personal things in my life-- sometimes this is good and sometimes this is bad, solely because my blog is public to anyone who wants to read it (which means people I do know and people I don’t know all have access to my random thoughts), but I think God blessed me with an ability to write and share my thoughts, so that vulnerability has turned into feeling like I’ve helped others or articulate feelings of someone else and it’s made me a little bit more confident in what I write and how much I share. I like to blog about lots of different things, which categorizes mine more as a ‘lifestyle’ blog, but I like it because it in a way keeps a diary of my life and I love it! 

Where do you get inspiration for posts?
I think inspiration and writer’s block can be especially hard when you’re not really sure what you plan to blog about or how you want to go about it. The best thing that I always think about is to just go for it as much as you can. Even when you don’t really have much to say, there’s always something going on or some picture I took that day or some quote I saw or some article I read that always makes you think a little. Even if it’s something short, think about how each thing you see or do could be turned into something you share as part of a life story. It’s led me to take more pictures and write more, which is incredibly therapeutic in the long run! I get a lot of inspiration from reading other blogs, talking to other people, going shopping, reading magazines, checking up on social media (Pinterest is the BEST) and news, and staying aware of the things happening around me that could translate into something I could make my own! There are definitely days where I think of a million posts and some where I can’t think of one, but I keep a notebook with me with a list of possible posts, which helps a lot.


How much time/commitment do you put into blogging?
The work and time that you choose to put into it is incredibly up to you and your commitment. I really love blogging and prioritize over other things sometimes (whoops), but it can sometimes be a little bit of work, now that I’m this deep into it (but I wouldn’t have it any other way!) It takes a little bit of time to set up, but when you have a free platform, it’s not too confusing! I decided to invest a little bit more and I had someone design mine after I wanted to keep going with it. I spend a good amount of time each day going through the blogs I read, leaving comments, replying to emails and stuff (sometimes I get a lot about random things, sometimes they’re about opportunities with blogging), writing/scheduling posts, and incorporating social media into it.

What's a good way to make time for blogging?
The thing about blogging is that it really is a lot of work from different sides. It can be a time commitment, but some of the struggles come from coming up with something original all the time and staying focused on it. It's easy to have days where you think you have a ton of things to write about and then plenty of days where you completely neglect it, so you really have to make it a priority in your life- a priority where you sit down each day and write and schedule posts and social media things and think through it, more than just writing. But once you get into a blogger mindset and have it as a priority, it's easy to do that and other things. You just always have to be looking for opportunities for posts and doing things on the side, and then hunkering down and actually doing it. I see blogging as a way to keep my life organized and sometimes seems like less of a hassle and more of a way to feel put together, so it doesn't feel so time-consuming! I guess that's almost a confidence thing, having my blog organized makes me feel confident enough to handle other big things!


I'm not the best at having several scheduled posts at a time, I usually just wait until the day or two days before to write it, but during school, it'll be a little different. If your blog incorporates fashion, when you come home from school and you're looking nice or have on a cute outfit, go ahead and see if you can take pictures and upload them while you work and boom, you have a fashion post you can schedule later for the week. I also think that inspiration lacks a little for me during the school week, so if I have ideas on the weekend, I write them out so I can remember them and write/edit them when I get a chance-- also another great place to kill time. If I know it's going to be more writing-focused, I type it out on Google Docs on my phone while I'm in the car, babysitting, etc. Fun fact- my hip bones blog post was written one night while I was babysitting and the girls had gone to sleep and I was waiting for the parents to come home so I could go out with my friends, completely random for the subject matter, but it works!

What are tips you would give to beginner bloggers?
Like I said, when I started blogging, I had no concept of any other blogs or social media accounts. I had my own personal social media accounts and that was about it. Now, I think about how I read all of these blogs and stay up to date on social media and Tumblr and read a lot more than I did then, and it’s easy to compare myself to others and get down on myself because we’re all portraying reality to be better than it is (and I’m not ashamed to admit this- it’s an escape for me). But my biggest piece of advice is to stay true to what you really enjoy and like to do. Blog about things you care about…if you don’t care about the newest Tory Burch line, don’t feel obligated to blog about it to fit in to a niche of other bloggers. It’s easy to see which blogs don’t truly like what they’re writing about! The blogs that really start to ‘make it’ are ones that are true to themselves and don’t over-glamorize their lives. There are a blue million blogs, so try to make yours original and who YOU are! :)

That being said, the other two huge pieces of advice for blogging are patience, humility, and consistency. I started my blog without any expectations for what I wanted it to be and where I wanted it to go, which is why I never stressed about followers on anything related to my blog. I know people will say this over and over, but if you’re not blogging because you truly want to, then you will feel miserable doing it because this so-called popularity, or even the opportunity to be paid or sponsoring products, doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not fun to do something if you’re only doing it for followers and views. You have to have patience in that if you blog about what you love, keep true to yourself, eventually your readers will feel a connection to you and stay loyal to your blog! That being said, staying humble is important (but it’s okay to be confident!!!), and blogging consistently, even on the hard days, is a good way to maintain a blog. 

I want to go public with my blog and incorporate social media more, how should I do that?
There are a couple things to think about in terms of social media when going public with your blog. The biggest thing you'll want to consider is whether or not you want a blog account AND a personal account, or just one that's totally encompassing. I have just one Twitter account and one Instagram account, but that's because I started it as a way to share my monogrammed shirts and recipes, there never seemed to be a point early on where I thought I would have readers and followers that I don't know. I've debated it in my head a lot about whether or not I want to start accounts for my blog, but for now (and hopefully for a while), I've kept just one. This is because my blog is more lifestyle and I have nothing to hide from my friends or my readers, which is nice because they all kind of mesh into one big group. My blog is completely who I am and I think my Twitter and Instagram reflect that as well. However, I know that there are lots of bloggers that have two different accounts because they don't want to have personal pictures on their blog Insta, and don't want to overwhelm their friends with blog pictures. It's something I struggle with (the blog to personal pic ratio), but it's what I do and I love it!

Another thing to keep in mind: when you go public with your blog, anyone can read it, and assume that everyone does read it. You'll have the normal people, like your family that'll read it, but you can sometimes forget that your teachers, boyfriend's teachers, grandmother's friends, church pastor, potential employers, college people....anyone can read it. This is great for exposure (and for a resume), but you have to remember that anything you put out there and anything you link to it (including your Twitter) can be read. That's another reason that people choose to have different accounts- posting about funny things in your personal life may not exactly be what you want blog readers to see, and it may not be something that you think about now, but going forward could be an issue. 

Whatever you decide to do, keep it all streamlined. My biggest rule that I try to follow is same profile picture for Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, and maybe even the button on your blog. This makes it easy for people to find you and realize that it's all the same person. You can schedule tweets (I use Hootsuite) so that you can tweet the link to your blog post whenever you want it to (also, I recommend hooking up Bloglovin' to your Twitter so that it sends out a tweet with that link when you publish a post). For Instagram and Twitter, again, it depends on whether or not you choose to have one or two accounts, but keep your blog name and URL in your bio (or make it your username if you're making two). Keeping it streamlined also means keeping your URL and blog title the same thing- it's confusing when the title of someone's blog isn't the same as their URL. For Instagram pictures, keep them fresh and don't post the same sort of thing over and over. If you have an outfit post, you can post a picture the day before about how it's a preview of tomorrow's post (it keeps people wanting to come back), or post a picture the day of and set your URL as the location on your picture. It's all about branding yourself and making sure that people know about your blog, but without being too annoying. Being annoying is my biggest fear as a blogger and simply as a person on social media, but think about it in terms of all of the people that are going to look at it-- "Would both my friends and my blog readers enjoy this?" Also, a HUUUUGE thing to keep in mind when you're starting out with social media is that numbers do not matter. Don't compare your followers or likes to anyone else because that's not what matters. Maybe this sounds too relationship-y, but if you lose followers or don't gain them quickly, don't worry about it, because you really didn't need them to comfort you to begin with. It's about posting quality content, and if you focus on that, then followers, likes, etc. will come naturally. 

Do you have any more questions? You can always feel free to email me at monogrammeredith@gmail.com, or tweet me, or ask on Tumblr... whatever, honestly! Hope this helped some!!

xoxo,
Meredith


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