Friday 30 November 2012

Fine Tuning: Elliott Brood - Lindsay

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Good Blogging with Sarah from Well And Cheaply

Your friendly Guest Poster for today is the wonderful Sarah from Well And Cheaply. We were kinda "introduced" by my friend Amy. I have not known Sarah very long, but in the few weeks I have been reading her blog, she has impressed me big time. Not only is she a talented writer, she also manages to build an amazing community on her blog, with a lovely atmosphere of interesting conversation and exchange.

I was stoked when Sarah agreed to write something for my blog while I'm out gallivanting, and when she asked what the post should be about, I naturally suggested she tell us her secrets of how to be a fantastic blogger. Luckily, Sarah obliged. And here we go:

Hello All the Live Long Day readers! My name is Sarah and I blog over at Well and Cheaply. I'm so happy to guest post for Annika while she's enjoying her vacation. Ahhh yay vacation! Annika sweetly suggested that I write a guest post about blogging (I know, totally meta) since I have a lot of interaction with my readers. So I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not an expert or full time blogger or even have that many followers, but I've been blogging since November of 2008- which is so crazy to me! So I guess I've learned some things along the way. Let me try to tell you about them in a somewhat organized manner. 

First off, although I've been blogging since 2008, this is my second blog.  I started Well and Cheaply in May after deciding to take my first blog down.  To make a long story short, by using my first and last name, I lost some privacy on that blog.  I work at a school and students ended up finding it.  Although I had never written anything inappropriate, I just didn't feel comfortable knowing that they were reading it, so I took it down and eventually started fresh with a new blog using just my first name.  By doing this, I lost some old readers because I didn't have a link up on my old blog leading to the new one, but it was a good lesson to learn.  So my first suggestion is to really think about what you are putting out on the internet when you blog and decide how you want to do it.  By using my first name only, if you google me, my blog does not come up.  A lot of readers know my first and last name (in real life and virtual friends) but they have respected my privacy by not mentioning it on my blog. 

Although I sort of learned my lesson the hard way, starting a brand new blog after almost four years of blogging was really invigorating and refreshing! I definitely recommend it if you're feeling like blogging is becoming a little stale for you. When I initially took my old blog down, I was really turned off about sharing my life online.  But after a few months of not blogging and really thinking about how to share what I wanted and keep other things private, I realized how much joy blogging brings to my life. Writing is a great way for me to sort through my feelings and personal issues and connecting with readers makes it all the more valuable, which is why it's so different from just writing in a personal journal every day. So when I made the choice to start a new blog, I knew it was the right one, and it was really exciting to think about exactly where I wanted my new blog to go. Which brings me to what I blog about.  

I love writing about deeper issues and label those posts under my "things I'm afraid to tell you" category. These blog posts are the most fulfilling for me as a writer, but I'm not sure how much my audience likes them. On certain posts I will get an amazing response in  the comments, but others not so much. I have a feeling though that these posts might not always provoke comments. They're either talking about heavier things that readers might not want to share, or do not leave room for a response. I think that mostly, readers will read these posts and think, "I liked that," but not necessarily comment.  It's hit or miss with the comments on these posts, but I write them because I enjoy it - it keeps me more sane, helps me work through my own issues and I usually will have at least one person write that they enjoyed the post and that always means a lot to me. 

The most interaction I usually get with my readers is when I pose a question at the end of a blog post asking them to weigh in.  These posts are usually about lighter subjects and I enjoy writing them just as much as I enjoy writing about the heavier things.  Two very highly commented past posts of mine include a vlog about what's in my make up bag and a post I did where I wrote about sleeping better without my husband and asked if readers slept better alone. I think if you write about a topic that a lot of people can form a quick opinion on, they will most likely comment on it, and then a really good discussion can get started in the comments.  

To come up with good blog post ideas like that, I try to pay attention to fun conversations I've had with friends.  This post about Clair Huxtable was totally one of them.  Usually if it's good friend conversation material, it's going to be a good blog topic, because isn't reading people's blogs like talking to a friend anyway? 

When it comes to comments I have two rules of thumb. The first is to try and not get obsessed with them (this is easier said then done) and the second is to try and interact with my blog commenters as much as possible. This one is really easy.  I try to reply to almost all of my comments, even if it's just to say "thanks!" and find that this makes making new blog pals super easy and rewarding.  I know Annika because she's commented on my blog! 

The final thing I'd like to share about blogging is my experience with advertising.  It is my personal goal to be able to have sponsors on Well and Cheaply some day, but until I have a higher number of monthly page views I'm not going to even attempt it.  (My goal is 10,000 page views a month to start advertising, right now I'm almost at 6,000 in case you were wondering).  Since my blog is important to me, I justify spending some money every month advertising on other blogs that I love to read.  My experience has been that it always brings more readers to my blog.  However my two very favorite places to advertise with are Sometimes Sweet and Little Chief Honey Bee because they include organic link shout outs in their advertising price. So along with having an ad in their side bar, they will mention you once or twice in a blog post.  These link shout outs are what always bring me the most clicks and usually bring me long term followers.  Of all the blogs I've advertised on, they are the only ones that I've found that include this with their advertising and it has been the most worthwhile for me.  And since I love these blogs anyway, and the bloggers behind them, it's always exciting to be mentioned on them, even if I paid for it.  I think I have a similar readership to both of those blogs so it's a really great way for me to get my writing out to more readers every month. 

So I think those are the big things that I've learned over the years!  I'd love to hear about your own blogging experiences in the comments - do you have any tricks up your sleeves? And if you have any questions, ask in the comments too!  I'll try my best to answer them, or at least just say hello. 

Thanks for reading and thanks Annika for having me as your guest!

xo Sarah

Monday 26 November 2012

Chai with Vanessa from Nifty Thrifty Things

My guest poster for today is Vanessa from Nifty Thrifty Things. You should definitely check out her blog. Vanessa is a graphic designer, and that absolutely shows in her elegant blog design and her eye for all things beautiful. She regularly posts recipes, craft tutorials, and floral inspiration and takes gorgeous photos to boot, and all of this with a focus on being frugal.
Vanessa was kind enough to share one of her recipes. This one is for a chai tea concentrate, which will be wonderful to use during the colder  days here in the Northern Hemisphere. Chai is one of my favourite drinks in winter, and after trying Vanessa's recipe I can vouch for it's yumminess. It tasted like I imagine a spice market in India would smell.
But I'll let her tell you about it herself...


When my mom and I meet up for our (almost) weekly crafting dates, we usually start off the day with a nice and warm cup of chai with steamed milk. It helps us get in the mood for crafting, and during winter, warm up from the cold outside.

While the store brand mix is already pretty delicious, it can get a little pricey and we decided to make our own chai tea mix.

Best decision ever! The homemade chai tea is DELICIOUS!

{chai concentrate}

  • PREP: 5 mins
  • COOK: 60 mins
  • READY IN: 1 hr 5 mins
a delicious, spice infused tea! Yum!


·     4 1/2 cups water
·     10 pods cardamom
·     1/2 — 1 tsp. ground pepper
·     1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
·     3 sticks cinnamon
·     5 pods star anise
·     10 seeds pimento
·     1 vanilla bean
·     1 stalk lemongrass
·     4 in. ginger
·     2 tbsp. brown sugar or honey
·     10 bags black tea
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the spices and tea bags and boil at a low temperature for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the concentrate through a sieve.
  4. Add the brown sugar or honey and stir to combine.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool before filling it in little bottles or jars.
  6.  Mix 1 part of the concentrate with 1 part of milk.
  7. NOTES: Personally I prefer my chai latte with steamed low-fat milk. But you can use regular milk, almond milk, soy milk. Serve your chai hot or on ice. Also, play around with the ingredients to get it perfect for your liking. Stronger, weaker, more spicy.

{nifty button}

Friday 23 November 2012

Fine Tuning: The Civil Wars - Barton Hollow

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Being Spiritual with Amy from Fate-Filled Times

For today, I can give you a very special post from my online friend Amy. Amy and I met through a shared love of tea and have since discovered that we also both like cats, nature and Instagram. I love Amy's blog for the inspiration it gives me and for her earnest approach to art, life, and happiness. In her guest post, Amy is sharing with us what being spiritual means to her and gives some helpful hints on how to bring more spirit into your daily life.

Thanks so much!


Greetings fellow All The Live Long Day readers! 
My name is Amy and I blog over at Fate-Filled Times

Annika and I met through a tea swap online and we've been pals ever since. Annika is beyond sweet* and I am honoured to be a guest blogger while she is away. 

*(Editor's note: you're so kind to say that! x)

Over on my blog, I often write about my life journey with emphasis on art and spirituality. 

Today I'd like to share with you what my spirituality means to me. 
For me, feeling spiritual involves:

*feeling connected to something mysterious and greater than myself
*a feeling there is a greater force at work all around me
*someone or something I can pray to and who I know hears me

I tend to call this force The Universe. 

The reason I like to call my beliefs spiritual is I feel free to create the definition of what I believe in rather than following a prescribed path. I believe in so many aspects of all of religions and belief systems! I can see the benefit of many paths, yet none of them individually and exclusively appeal to me. There are many common threads through various beliefs and I like to think we are all connected through these threads, regardless of our chosen beliefs.   

Where Do I Find My Spirituality?

It is important for my psyche and for my heart to have meaningful spiritual moments. I've learned in my life that I feel most connected to the sacred when I am:

*Connected to nature, to the earth, to the sky, to the lakes and oceans, streams, fields, trees, sun and moon.


*Expressive in the arts, through writing, blogging, photography, art journaling, painting and creating.

Being in nature and expressing through art and writing unequivocally heal my spirit and connect me to that which is greater than myself.

These are the things that fill me up. These are the places I go when I feel broken down, hollowed out, confused and lost. These are the places where I feel lifted, inspired, connected and content.

These are my pathways to clarity; my spiritual spaces.

Discover what connects you to your spirituality and indulge in it. Treat yourself to adventures, practices, hobbies, spaces and places that are sacred to you.  

Ask Yourself:

Your spirituality can be found anywhere meaningful to you!

Spiritual moments might be felt in:

*a hot bath
*yoga practice
*the light of a full moon
*reading the words of Rilke
*the sounds of a church choir
*a newborn baby sleeping in your arms
*the crunch of fall leaves under your boots
*driving in your car with your favourite music

*or any space or place where you feel the most 
connected to yourself, the world and 
that which is sacred to you

Having reminders of these spiritual connections in my home or that I carry with me make a difference in my days and in my energy. 

How can you make your space sacred?

*Cleanse your space with open windows, intention, and maybe even some sage smoke.
*Collect mementos to remind you of your spirituality and place them in your space. Create an altar.
*Create a blessing for your home. Say it out loud. Hang it up.

Since I prefer to be in the company of nature and art, I like to have plants in my home, to bring nature indoors. I also enjoy paintings and stained glass in my space. I have many natural stones and crystals as well as feathers, shells and salt lamps.

How can you carry sacred items with you?

*Carry small sacred items with you with you when you are on the go. You can also carry items in a pouch and keep in your bag/purse or wear them.
*Keep meaningful quotes and notes with you that you can refer to.
*Take photos of sacred symbols, places or people with your phone and look through them on your commute.

I like to wear jewelry with precious and semi precious stones as well as jewelry that has been passed down through my family. I keep a small pouch with me that I can fill with whatever item speaks to me (such as herbs, stones and shells) and I keep it in my bag. I like to wear natural materials that are protective and calming while I am out in the busy world. Oil blends are also nice to wear for the benefit of aromatherapy.

Our spirits can very easily be depleted by all the negative energy and toxic people/spaces. Fuel up on the good stuff as often as you can. 

And, while you are out in the world, remember...

Thanks so much for reading and a special thanks to Annika for hosting me on your wonderful blog.

Take good care of yourself (and your spirit),

Monday 19 November 2012

Once again...

Remember when I answered a bunch of questions for Sarah recently? Well, guess who's popular? I've only been tagged again! This time by Michelle from Creature Type. Thanks, Hon! These are the questions Michelle asked, and my answers:  

Do you believe in guilty pleasures? Why/why not?

I absolutely do! It's a good thing to indulge in silly, childish or unhealthy pursuits from time to time. I just often have the problem of developing an addiction, be it to TV series like 90201, to Nutella or to buying vintage crockery...

What is your favourite/most-loved souvenir?
 It's a little snow globe I bought in Paris on the weekend my husband proposed to me.

 What’s the worst job you’ve ever had to work?

Erm. I hope nobody I am professionally involved with reads this, but my current job is pretty dull. I'm an office administrator, and a big part of my working routine is about filling in forms. However, I like my colleagues, my office and the pay, so I try not to complain too much.

Even if you don’t generally like pop music, what’s your favourite pop song?

Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves is pretty high up there.

What hobby/subject has made you the most fan-girly or obsessive? Was it a phase?

Have a look here. And yes, it was a phase. I'm over him now. Although I still think he's attractive... 

What’s your favourite kind of cuisine?

That's like asking a mother who her favourite child is! I love all food! But if I had to choose, I think I'd want to eat Thai food for the rest of my life. 

Which is your favourite Harry Potter book? Movie?

I am not massively into Potter, so I cannot really give an answer to this. I've read all the books and enjoyed them, and I've seen some of the movies (cannot remember which ones, though). The cinematography and special effects were pretty neat, but I don't really get all too excited over them.

If you could have any hair colour – naturally and maintenance-free – what would it be?

I would have loved to have sleek, rich dark brown hair like my Mama had when she was young. At this point in my life though, I cannot wait until I go grey completely, as my mousey brown colour combined with grey streaks just doesn't really do it for me. 

What is your favourite drink? Not necessarily boozy!

I'm boring. I like water. And tea. Which is generally made with water.

What musical(s) do you know all the lyrics to?

Not sure if this counts as a musical (even though it's now been adapted for the stage), but I think I can sing every song from Dirty Dancing.

What’s the last movie you saw in a theatre?

I saw Beasts Of The Southern Wild, which was sad and inspiring and very poetic.

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Friday 16 November 2012

Fine Tuning: Jennifer Left - When Doves Cry

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Spending a Day with Jennifer from Grits And Moxie


I am so glad to have this lady be the host on my 
blog for the day! Say hello to Jennifer from Grits And Moxie!

She's cute, her blog is cute, her pets are cute, she takes beautiful pictures and reading her posts is like coming to a happy place.

Jennifer is educating us today on how to do a little thing special for a each day of the month (almost) and will talk about all the quirky days that you might not even know existed. I think her topic goes really well with the name of my blog, too! I'd like to have a reason to celebrate all the live long day, every day!


Hi all!  I'm Jennifer and I'm the lady behind the curtain over at the lifestyle blog Grits And Moxie.  Very nice to meet you!

First, let me say that I'm thrilled to be guest posting for Annika.  I just love her fun and photogenic blog, and I'm so happy to be a part of it today!

Now, let's talk about special days that are coming up in November and December.  Nope, I'm not talking about the well known days of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Solstice, Boxing Day, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, etc, although those are certainly awesome on their own.  I'm talking about waking up to find out that it is World Kindness Day, Homemade Bread Day, Buy Nothing Day or, my personal favorite, Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day.  Yes, these are recognized special days and I am beyond happy that they exist, for real!

I mean, how cool is Take A Hike Day?

I found this hiking trail during our recent camping adventures
in the Pisgah National Forrest.  Whoa!

And Wear Brown Shoes Day?

I love me some oxfords.  But I hate ant bites...yuck.

And Letter Writing Day?

Would anyone like to be pen pals? 

If you'd like to see a complete calendar list of all the upcoming weird, wacky, sweet, funny, important and even kind of mean (Have A Bad Day Day isn't a very nice!) days of the month then you can find more here.

I don't know about you but I can't wait to proudly declare to my friends and co-workers that it's National Ding-A-Ling Day and then proceed to act goofy all day long.  Not that they'd really notice because I tend to do that anyways!  Ha!

So, what do you think?  Would you celebrate one of these days for kicks?  If so, which one?  I'd love to hear which one.  Hey, why don't you stop by m'blog Grits And Moxie and tell me more about it, ok?  I hope to see you there!

Thanks again Annika!

Grits And Moxie

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Autumn Dreaming with Mandy from Chocolate & Cream Cake

Please let me introduce you to my bloggy friend Mandy. She writes an awesome blog called Chocolate & Cream Cake and is my trusted purveyor of all things nerdy. You may remember Mandy from when I guest posted over at hers here and here. She's been great and agreed to write a post for me in return.

Mandy lives in Texas, and even though I love fall and winter and feel slightly weird about getting my summer clothes back out for November during my vacation, at least I know I will come back to a winter that will make me want to cozy up with scarves and gloves and hot chocolate by the fire. So I totally understand Mandy's yearning for colder climates. Take it away, Girl!

Hello All the Live Long Day friends! My name is Mandy and I blog about a variety of things - mostly nerdy - at Chocolate & Cream Cake. Annika has been a good online friend of mine for a while now, and has contributed to C&CC on multiple occasions, so I was only too happy to repay the favor when she asked me if I’d be willing to write up a guest post. I hope you enjoy the post, and do pay me a visit if you’re so inclined? I always love to make new Internet friends!

Although the calendar says it’s Fall (in the upper half of the world, at least), here in Austin, TX, it’s nowhere near it when you walk outside. The weather in the first week of November has been in the 80s (Fahrenheit) (Editor's note: That's the mid-20s, Celsius People!) and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get cooler any time soon. As someone who adores Fall - and the cooler, wetter weather it’s supposed to bring with it - I’m always a bit depressed by the sunny days and blue skies. (Crazy, I know.)

Thankfully, I have the Internet - and the ability to “browser shop” for all the Fall things I, sadly, have no need to buy. (Disclaimer: I might have to buy some of these things, weather be damned.) For example:


(1, 2, 3)


(1, 2, 3)


(1, 2)

Scarves and Beanies:

(1, 2, 3)

Hot-Beverage Ware:

(1, 2)

And iCozies*:

(1, 2)

*Technology is allowed to be cozy, too!

Thanks again for having me, Annika! Hope you’re having a fabulous holiday!