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    New Year, New Goals: My 2021 Blogging/Social Media Goals

    Hello 2021!

    I woke up this morning with a grateful heart feeling overful thankful for making it through the year 2020. What a year it was on SO many levels! I’m thankful me and my family are all healthy, safe and provided for. That’s all that truly matters to me when you put everything else in perspective.

    As I’ve mentioned in previous years, I’ve never been a big New Year’s Resolution person, but rather a goals oriented person. Whenever I set out out to achieve a specific goal, I try not to put too much pressure on myself if don’t hit it. I’ve learned to give myself grace and revisit your visions, habits, and goals at any point during the year if I choose to. We are ever-evolving and we’re allowed to fail, make mistates, make a mess and start all over again.

    This year I am BOLDLY sharing a few of my blogging and social media goals.  I enjoy using the New Year as an excuse to start fresh with a new boost of energy and motivation.  I’m setting several goalsfor myself this year for work, my personal life and my personal development and I’m really excited to see where the year takes me!

    Here are a few of my blogging goals for 2021 as they currently stand (in no particular order):

    • Grow my blog traffic to 50,000+ unique visitors a month (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Upgrade my blog layout (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Increase my podcast downloads to 50,000+ Here Wee Read: A Bookish Podcast (Podcast Goals)
    • Gain 6 podcast sponsorships/brand partners for my podcast Here Wee Read: A Bookish Podcast (Podcast Goals)
    • Be Recognized as Podcast of the Year or win an award for my podcast Here Wee Read: A Bookish Podcast (Podcast Goals)
    • Interview Kadir Nelson on my podcast Here Wee Read: A Bookish Podcast (Podcast Goals)
    • Grow my e-mail subscriber list to 20,000+ subscribers
    • Write blog posts at least 3-4 times per week (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Increase my Instagram followers to 500,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Incorporate more lifestyle, family and travel content into my blog and social posts (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Revive/Refresh my newsletter and publish content more consistently for my subscribers (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Be a guest on at least 4 podcasts (one podcast per quarter)
    • Provide more FREE and PAID content to my audience (printables, worksheets, etc.)
    • Participate in 2 – 3 PAID/sponsored post/brand collaborations per month (Blog Monetization)
    • Sign up for and participate in three additional affiliate programs (Blog Monetization)
    • Create an organized master content list filled with content ideas for blog and social posts (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Focus more on Pinterest to increase and drive more traffic to my blog
    • Increase my Pinterest followers to 5,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Increase my Facebook followers to 10,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Increase my Twitter followers to 8,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Track ALL of my income and expenses so I’ll have a clear picture of how much my blog/social income was this year.

    I already have all of these goals (and more) written down in my 2021 planner from Cultivate What Matters, but sharing them somehow makes me feel even more committed to them.  Note: The goals listed here are just general goals I jotted down, but in my planner each goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal with timelines/deadlines against each one.

    If you have a blog or are thinking of starting one this year, I hope this post inspires you to set some goals for yourself.  Write down your goals somewhere where you’ll see them regularly, for example on your blog notebook or on a memo board in your office. Seeing goals regularly and thinking about them often, will help you stay on top of them.  Cheers to a fantastic and productive 2021!

    Your turn: Do you write all of your goals down at the start of a new year and reflect on them throughout the year?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    $100 Lakeshore Learning Gift Card Giveaway + The Ultimate Fort Builder

    We can’t get enough of the products from Lakeshore Learning. I am consistently impressed with their quality, service and affordability. Through my partnership with them, I am now able to try out products at home with my kids like their awesome Ultimate Fort Builder that my kids are obsessed with.

    The Ultimate Fort Builder includes 45 durable poles and 25 kid-friendly connectors, which can be put together to create an igloo, a castle and other creations. The structures are strong enough to support a sheet or blanket on top, and the kit also includes instructions for easy construction.

    Before the kids started building, it was easy to see that several skills would be needed for success in building their forts:

    • teamwork
    • organization
    • following directions
    • critical thinking

    With zero adult instruction or help, my kids opened up the box, sorted the parts and started building.

    Once their fort was complete, the kids added a blanket on top and a few pillows on the floor. While not sturdy enough to climb on, their fort was well-made and not likely to come down without effort. The kids enjoyed playing inside and there was plenty of room for them to move around comfortably.

    Some other great benefits of building with the Ultimate Fort Builder:

    • encourages imagination and creativity
    • fosters cooperative play
    • helps boost kid’s confidence when they complete each project on their own or working together as a team

    More to Love About Lakeshore Learning
    Did you know Lakeshore has been making award-winning and high-quality educational products for over 60 years? They are a brand my family and I trust for their unique and exclusive products that are designed by teachers. Their products encourage curiosity and imagination and help kids develop a love of learning. Have you seen their 2020 Gifts for Growing Minds collection yet? It has all the gifts and learning toys you need to complete your holiday shopping for kids on your list.

    Save with my Lakeshore Learning Coupon
    You can take advantage of using my unique code if you are shopping on LakeshoreLearning.com this holiday season or in-stores. Use my code 7933 to save 25% off any single non-sale item. Coupon valid ‪through 12/31/20 for one-time use in stores or online. Limit one coupon per customer. Not valid on items with shipping restrictions. Other exclusions may apply. Visit http://bit.ly/3bRGxeZ for details.

    Lakeshore Learning $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

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    The Men of Bookstagram: Up Close and Personal with James Trevino (@James_Trevino)


    Have you ever noticed Instagram is flooded with female bookstagrammers?  I wanted to find out who some of the men are who also share and read books on Instagram.  This ongoing series will feature some of the most well read men on Instagram who also share a passion for all things BOOKS.  Let’s get up close and personal with: James Trevino.  You may have seen his mesmerizing and elaborate photos on his mega popular Instagram account that is a visual bookish feast for your eyes.  His tagline is “Don’t Be Basic” and you can shop his merchandise here.

    What is your name and Instagram handle?

    My name is James and my Instagram handle is @james_trevino.

    When did you start your Instagram account and what was your motivation for starting it?

    I started my account at the beginning of 2016 and back then it was a simple personal account.

    Have you always enjoyed reading?

    No. I used to hate reading as a kid. Then Harry Potter happened when I was around 13. And boom!

    Where do you currently live?

    I currently live in Romania.

    Name 1-2 recent books you’ve really enjoyed reading this year.

    The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry and The Song of Achiles by Madeline Miller.

    Are you currently in a relationship?  It’s okay to plead the 5th if you prefer not to answer!

    I plead the 5th haha.

    Do you have children?  If so, do they love to read as well?

    Oh, God no. I can barely take care of myself. I am not exactly the most responsible person around.

    What advice would you give to parents of children, (specifically parents with boys), who may have reluctant readers or kids who don’t enjoy reading?

    Bring them to a book store and leave them to wander. That’s how my parents convinced me to read. They let me pick any books I wanted.

    What books are on your nightstand right now?

    The second book in the MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO series by D.M. Cornish and another book by Steve Berry.

    On average, how long does it take you to do a photo shoot for your Instagram posts?  How do you come up with the concept for each of your posts?

    It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4-5 hour (not including editing). I get inspiration from my day to day life and especially from books, movies, anime, cartoons.

    How do you choose which books to share on your Instagram page?

    No particular way really. It’s either what I feel like showing or, in case of a sponsored post, that particular book.

    Do you think male bookstagrammers are perceived differently than female bookstagrammers?  If so, in what way(s)?

    I think we are a bit of a rarity, but otherwise I don’t think there’s any difference. Bookstagram is one of the most open and welcoming communities around. That is why I fell in love with it.

    Hard cover, paperback, or e-book when reading a book on your own?

    I love hard covers, but lately I’ve been reading more and more e-books. They are way easier to get.

    Name 1-2 of your favorite authors.

    J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien. Cliche as hell, but they are legends for a reason.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I love french fries. Does that count?

    Connect with James Trevino on Instagram.

    Find all of the men we feature in this series by searching the hashtag #themenofbookstagram on Instagram!

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    Little Likes Kids + An Instagram Giveaway!

    We’re excited to collaborate with Little Likes Kids today and let you know about this kid-friendly company!

    Founded by a mom in 2018, Little Likes Kids™ makes high quality, eco-friendly puzzles, games and other products for kids age 6 and under.  They are bringing to a mass market, beautifully-illustrated and lovingly designed toys inspired by—and truly reflective of—the lives of today’s kids.  Their products feature recognizable and happy scenes which makes it easy for all parents and caregivers to buy toys that celebrate their kids’ world!  Little Likes Kids™ was founded by a mom who wanted toy options for her son that reflected his and his friends’ experiences.

    The Giveaway!

    Little Likes Kids would like to give one (1) lucky US-resident winner:  (1) Splash Park Puzzle and (1) Musical Crossroads Memory Game.

    To enter:

    1. Follow @littlelikeskids on Instagram
    2. Like any post on the @littlelikeskids Instagram page, tag two friends and leave hashtag #hereforfun (Note: Be sure to include the hashtag so they’ll know you’re responding to our giveaway.)  Contest ends on Thursday, February 28th at 11:59 PM EST  Good Luck!

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    New Year, New Goals: My 2019 Blogging and Social Media Goals


    Hello 2019!

    I’m claiming this right now…2019 will be the year I take my blog and social media presence to the next level!  I have no idea how this will happen, but I’m stepping out on faith and trusting it will.  I am determined to CRUSH it and grow in all areas of my life this year.

    I’ve never been a big New Year’s Resolution person, but rather a goals oriented person.  I don’t think you should have to wait for a new year in order to make changes in your life.  If you know without a shadow of a doubt you want to make a change you just do it and figure out a way to get it done.  Am I right?  At any point in the year you can revisit your vision, habits, and goals, and set some intentions for what you want to improve.

    This year I’ve decided try something new and BOLDLY share my list of goals for my blog.  While I don’t really subscribe to making New Year’s Resolutions, I do I love using the New Year as an excuse to start a fresh with a new boost of energy and motivation.  I’m setting myself a lot of goals this year for work, my personal life and my personal development and I’m really excited to see where the year takes me!

    Here are my blogging goals for 2019 as they currently stand (in no particular order):

    • Grow my blog traffic to 20,000+ unique visitors a month (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Attend 2-3 blogging or book conferences or events for FREE that I don’t have to pay for
    • Be a guest on 4 podcasts (one podcast per quarter)
    • Launch an e-book (Topic to be determined)
    • Work on 1-2 Instagram social media takeover for major brands/companies
    • Provide more useful content to my audience (printables, worksheets, etc.)
    • Participate in more PAID/sponsored post/brand collaborations (Blog Monetization)
    • Sign up for and participate in additional affiliate programs (Blog Monetization)
    • Create an organized master content list filled with content ideas for blog and social posts (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Focus more on Pinterest to increase and drive more traffic to my blog
    • Incorporate more lifestyle, family and travel content into my blog and social posts (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Revive my newsletter and publish content more consistently for my subscribers (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Write blog posts at least 2-3 times per week (or more when my schedule permits) (Content Creation/Organization)
    • Reach 50,000+ Instagram followers (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Increase my Pinterest followers to 2,500+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Increase my Facebook followers to 2,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Increase my Twitter followers to 5,000+ (Blog Traffic/Followers)
    • Track ALL of my income and expenses so I’ll have a clear picture of how much my blog/social income was this year.
    • Connect with a small tribe of like-minded, goal oriented bloggers to share ideas with and support
    • Use a photographer for some of my photos

    I already have all of these goals (and more) written down in my 2019 journal, but sharing them somehow makes me feel even more committed to them.  Note: The goals listed here are just general goals I jotted down, but in my journal each goal is a S.M.A.R.T. goal with timelines/deadlines against each one.

    If you have a blog or are thinking of starting one this year, I hope this post inspires you to set some goals for yourself.  Go on, give it a try.  Write down your goals somewhere where you’ll see them regularly, for example on your blog notebook or on a memo board in your office. Seeing goals regularly and thinking about them often, will help you stay on top of them.  Cheers to a fantastic and productive 2019!

    Your turn: Do you write all of your goals down at the start of a new year and reflect on them throughout the year?  Feel free to share in the comments.

     

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    Book Expo America: My First-Time BEA Adventure!

    Last year I made it a goal to attend Book Expo America (BEA) in New York City.  I’m so thrilled I achieved my goal and was able to go just a few weeks ago – it was fantastic!

    What is Book Expo America?

    Book Expo America or BEA is basically book heaven for book lovers and nerds like me.  Here is the formal description taken from the Book Expo America website:

    BookExpo provides a focused professional environment to discover emerging authors and the next blockbuster titles, engage with the world’s most influential publishers and learn from industry leaders and peers.  BookExpo culminates with BookCon, our two day Fan event where storytelling and pop culture collide.

    My Experience

    Overall, my first-time experience at BEA was great.  I opted to drive into the city since I live one state over from New York.  If you’re local and plan to either drive or take the train or other local transportation be sure to budget accordinglythat’s my first tip. Have enough money for parking, tolls, gas, or other fees like food.  Of course if you’re staying at a local hotel you’ll also want to ensure you include those expenses into your budget as well.

    Upon my arrival at the Jacob Javits Center I was impressed with how smoothly the registration and check-in process went.  The line to check-in was a bit long, but it moved very quickly.  Once I received my badge, I immediately took my suitcase to the baggage claim area.  Yes, I brought a suitcase with me.  I was told to bring a suitcase so it will be easier to carry all of the free books you’ll receive.  So that’s my second tip: bring a rolling suitcase.  Trust me, you’ll be happy that you did.  Also, be sure to have a few single dollars on hand to check your suitcase.  I paid $3.00, but that price may increase for next year and beyond.

    After my suitcase was checked I made my way up the escalator to the main floor.  I was initially overwhelmed with how huge it was – there was so much to see!  However, once I scoped out the main publishers (big publishers and smaller independent ones too) I wanted to network with on the map it was less confusing and overwhelming.  Also, it was easy to spot many of the publishers from their banners and signage.

    It was great to meet so many publishers and subscription box owners who I connect with on a regular basis in person!  I also enjoyed making some new connections, networking with other bloggers, meeting celebrities and well-known authors.  It was also interesting to see all of ARCs (advance review copies) of books being signed and handed out as freebies to attendees.  My suitcase was filled to the brim with nothing but books and publisher catalogs!

    In addition to networking with different publishers, there were also various author discussions taking place on the main stage and at other areas.  The one thing I didn’t notice was a session that specifically targeted to book bloggers. I would have loved to see something like this on the agenda.

    Hanging out with the creators of the Lit Joy Crate subscription box at one of the BEA after parties.

    My two final tips are:

    1) Wear comfortable shoes – preferably flats.  You’ll be doing a ton of walking!  And if you wear a Fitbit like me – bring it with you.  I racked up over 20,000 steps on the day I attended BEA.

    2. Bring your phone charger – This is crucial especially if you’re a blogger.  Although I brought my charger with me, I left it in the car like a moron!  I was not about to walk all the way back to the garage where I parked so I had to make due without it for the day while at the expo.  Luckily, a few people were nice enough to share their chargers with me, but not everyone I asked was so friendly and willing to share.  Long story short, bring your own charger with you.  There are plenty of charging stations located throughout the Javits Center on the main floor.

    Here are a few other tips from the BEA website to make your experience more enjoyable:

    WATER—bring either a Camel-Bak or refillable water bottle to have on the go, all of that walking builds up quite a thirst!

    EXTRA LAYERS—pack a light sweatshirt or sweater, running around the exhibit floor may make you hot, but once you enter a conference or leave the exhibit floor, you may get a bit chilly.

    PACE YOURSELF!—don’t rush! You have three days to walk the floor. Take a break every few hours to relax and calm down from the hustle and bustle of the exhibit floor and Autographing Area.

    BREAKFAST—be sure to have breakfast before heading to BookExpo even the smallest amount of food will give you hours of energy to carry you till lunch.

    EAT ON-SITE—scope out the food court for food allergies, budget, and acquired taste options. Be sure to grab lunch so you are energized for the afternoon.

    Interested in attending BookExpo or BookCon next year?
     It will be held in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center on May 30 – June 1, 2018.  I look forward to hopefully attending again next year!

    Your turn: Have you ever attended BookExpo or BookCon?  What was your experience like?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    Coming Soon: A One-On-One Conversation with Myleik Teele!

    The countdown to my interview with Myleik Teele is on!  Don’t know who Myleik is?  Well you SHOULD!  She’s my second favorite role model next to Oprah so having the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with her is major!  At least to me anyway.  Eeek!  I was so geeked when I entered a meeting with Myleik on my calendar – I could definitely get used to penciling in stuff like this on my calendar!
    Myleik is the creator of CurlBox, one of the top-selling beauty subscription boxes for natural haired curly girls. She also recently started a second mentoring business called MyTaughtYou.

    Over the years, she’s acquired a huge social media following, not only due to the success of her businesses, but also her tough-love advice she’s been giving to women (and men), like myself, through her podcast.  I love Myleik’s “tell it like it is” attitude.  She uses just the right words and tone of voice without sounding too “preachy” or “bossy”.  She discusses everything from how get out of a slump to offering practical (and realistic relationship advice) to sharing how she started earning over seven figures working for herself over the last few years.
    During our interview we’ll be talking about her new podcast companion worksheets and of course books!  I also plan to ask her some additional questions too.

    Your turn:  I’d love to know what questions you think I should ask Myleik.  Dish!

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