Saturday, November 29, 2014

Plaid Dress for Fall: Customized Dresses Online from eShakti

Customized Dresses Online

Fall is really winding into winter here in Boston, and just in time for my new dress from eShakti to arrive! eShakti is one of my new favorite sites because you have the option of actually customizing each piece. You just send them your measurements, and they send you a custom-fit outfit for a reasonable price. 


Customized Dresses Online

I chose this adorable plaid dress for fall. You get to pick and choose everything from the dress length to whether or not it has pockets. I absolutely love dresses and skirts with pockets, so I opted to have them!

Customized Dresses Online

The waistline ended up a tad big, so I wrapped this red belt around it to cinch the waist a bit. I loved the little details, like the scalloped neckline and cascading skirt portion. It makes each piece truly unique.

Since the material is of such good quality and very thick, and the hem is long, I know I'll be able to wear this dress through the fall and into the winter, which I love!

Comment Challenge: What's your favorite fall outfit right now?

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Easy SEO for Bloggers

Easy SEO for Bloggers

As part of my Blogging Tips series, I thought I'd put out a special post on SEO - after all, it's is a huge driver of organic traffic to your blog. Read on for my top tips!

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how readers find your blog posts in a Google search. The more you work on your SEO, the higher your blog posts can rank! It's great because once you've accomplished the basic steps of SEO, people can find your posts on their own, without your promotion on social media or elsewhere.

Of course, it's still a great idea to promote on social media anyway, but isn't it best to get readers from as many sources as possible?

Easy SEO for Bloggers


Step 1: Choose Your Keyword Phrase

Let's take for example my post on the List of Best Twitter Chats for Bloggers I wanted to make sure any reader who does a Google search on that topic would find my post fairly easily. SEO helps your post rank higher in Google so it shows up right away.

First, think of what you want your post to be searched as. What will readers be typing into Google to find your topic? Possible examples for my Twitter chat post included "best twitter chats for bloggers" or "list of best twitter chats for bloggers."

Whatever phrase you go with, this will be the building block of most other SEO steps.

Step 2: Post Title

Make sure your keyword phrase is in the title of your post. This helps Google know what your post is all about.

Note: Arrangement of the words does matter. "best twitter chats for bloggers" is not the same as "twitter chats for bloggers best." Choose the order you think the most readers will search for, and make sure to use the same exact phrase throughout your post.

Step 3: Post Headers

Google also looks at headers in your post, so make sure to have at least one header, and put your keyword in there. 

In blogger, this can be easily done without HTML by highlighting text and choosing "heading" shown below:

Easy SEO for Bloggers

If you prefer to use HTML:

Headers have a specific HTML code, so this means more than making the text larger and in bold. Here is a basic code for a header:  


 <h2 style="text-align: center;">Easy SEO for Bloggers</h2>  


Step 4: URL

Be sure to put your keyword in your URL as well. Most blogging platforms create each URL from the post title, so as long as your title has your keyword phrase in it, you should be good here.

Step 5: Content of Post

To tell Google what your post is about, it's also important to have your keyword phrase in the body of your post itself. Don't include it too many times, or else it starts to look spammy. General rule of thumb is to include the keyword 3-5 times.

Step 6: Image Name

Save your images with the keyword phrase as their names. For example, instead of  "IMG_001," I could have used "list of best twitter chats for bloggers." Google actually looks at this! If you're uploading pictures from your camera or phone that's fine, you can just rename them before uploading onto your blog.

Step 7: Image Alt Text

Similarly, put your keyword in the image alt text. In blogger you can do this by simply clicking on an image > properties > alt text, as shown below:

Easy SEO for Bloggers


Easy SEO for Bloggers

Step 8: Search Description

Putting your keyword phrase in your post description helps your SEO as well. In blogger, this can be found on the right sidebar when editing a post:

Easy SEO for Bloggers

Step 9: Internal Links

Internal links are simply links to other pages on your own blog. It helps to link back to your other posts or pages, because Google follows those links to see what your blog is about as a whole. 

For instance, if you're writing a post about a new coat or lipstick, you can include a quick sentence saying something like "see my previous coat/lipstick post here," with a link to another post you did on a similar topic. 

Step 10: Referring Links

It really helps your page rank to have other sites linking to you. But you don't want just any site to link to you, you want reputable sites. Best case scenario, the New York Times or CNN somehow discovers your blog, falls in love with it, and links to you. These are highly reputable sources and if they link to you, it tells Google that you are worth ranking higher in search results.

Of course, you probably won't get linked to by CNN or the New York Times too often. The takeaway here is to shoot for people to link back to you, but keep in mind that the more reputable the site is, the better. 

This step is easier said than done. A great place to start is by guest posting on blogs, especially ones with a large following, as they will most likely be seen as more reputable by Google. Also, posting on social media helps because it is seen as being linked by Twitter, Facebook, etc., who are very reputable sites!

Conclusion

These 10 steps are a great starting point to get easy SEO for bloggers. The main things to remember are to keep your keyword phrase consistent and put it throughout your post: in the title, headers, URL, content - even image names count! 

If you liked this post, be sure to check out how to grow your blog on Twitter and how to take amazing iPhone photos!

Comment Challenge: Have you utilized SEO in your blog? What are your top SEO tips for bloggers?

Get more bloggin tips + tricks! Follow along on:

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Wish List from Rosavelt

With the winter holidays just around the corner, I'm getting more and more excited about seeing everyone's holiday outfits. They're always so festive, filled with sequins and great designs. In honor of the season, here are my holiday picks! 

The following pieces are picked from Rosavelt because they make sure to have limited edition clothing - so you don't show up to the party wearing the same thing as everyone else. Love this!


Love the subtle, royal designs in this dress.

The structure of this dress is great because it accentuates your natural curves in the best way, while remaining classy for a holiday party.


This funky velvet skirt looks so soft, and would be great for a Santa's Little Helper look!


This skirt reminds me of winter and snow.


Love the detail in this top. It's something a snow queen or Kate Middleton might wear!


Last, but not least, love this great black top with amazing lace detail!

Comment Challenge: What fun holiday outfits do you have in store this season?

For more fashion and food, follow along on Twitter!

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Best Boston BBQ: Redbones

Best Boston BBQ RedBones
RedBones mural

They say those in Boston hardly ever cross the river. Boston proper lays on one side, with Brookline, Allston, South End, Southie and Jamaica Plain, while Cambridge, Charlestown and Somerville stay on the other side. 

Though I've lived here for over a year now, I can probably count the number of times I've been to the other side on one hand. This is simply because of the distance - it's about an hour commute on two trains to get from one side to the other.

That said, we've heard such great things about Davis Square in Somerville, and we recently got to adventure up there to see what all the fuss was about! We stopped for lunch at Redbones, which I was told by multiple people is the best BBQ in town.

Best Boston BBQ?

Best Boston BBQ RedBones

Before even going inside, I was charmed by the adorable mural and welcome sign on the walls outside.

Best Boston BBQ RedBones

Instead of rolls, we were given complimentary cornbread and water in gigantic mason jars to start. I loved these touches. The waiter never had to refill our waters because the jars were so large.

Best Boston BBQ RedBones

St. Louis Style Ribs: lean and tender smaller pork ribs. This dish came with 2 sides - this time, collard greens and beans. The meat was tender and fell right off the bones. So good!

Best Boston BBQ RedBones

I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich, a plate that comes with 2 sides as if it's not a big enough portion already. I asked for the mac n cheese & steamed broccoli. Everything was delicious, and with some added sweet BBQ sauce the sandwich was perfect - so hearty and packed with flavor.

Best Boston BBQ RedBones

I forgot to ask what was down there! Good excuse to go back and check. Either way, I love the funky decoration. Reminds me of the restaurants you find on Haight Street back home in San Francisco.

Comment Challenge: What's the best BBQ you've ever had?

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That's Amore! Neapolitan Pizza at Mast

Neapolitan Pizza at Mast Boston

Have you ever read Eat, Pray, Love? It's one women's story about finding herself again following a divorce. I never finished it, but I got through the "eat" section, where she gushes over Neapolitan pizza in Naples, Italy. Apparently this is where pizza originated, and is said to be the best pizza in the world (though Chicago and NYC may disagree). We heard about a great Italian spot called Mast that served Neapolitan-style pizzas, and just had to stop in for lunch.

Neapolitan Pizza at Mast


Neapolitan Pizza at Mast Boston

As you can see above, Naopolitan pizzas generally have more sauce than cheese, which makes them more likely to be served as a personal pizza rather than in slices. We still found it weird that we weren't offered a knife to cut the pies with. 

That said, I ordered the margherita pizza and it was devine. It's more of a flatbread style, with thin crust and healthier ingredients. 

Neapolitan Pizza at Mast Boston
Mushroom Pizza

Neapolitan Pizza at Mast Boston
Ceiling Decorations

All in all, we had a good dining experience at Mast. There were a couple of odd moments, like how they have a fully stocked bar but no tea (I ended up asking for hot water), and when they brought out our uncut pizzas with no knife. Even flatbread comes with a knife! But the food itself was delicious. 

Comment Challenge: What's your favorite type of pizza?

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Aquamarine Dream: A Statement Necklace

Aquamarine Statement Necklace

Happy Saturday lovely readers! As a Pisces, my birthstone is the aquamarine, and we all know how much I love a good statement necklace. So naturally when I saw this bold aquamarine statement necklace by DressV, I had to get it to go with my new cozy H&M sweater! 


Aquamarine Statement Necklace



Aquamarine Statement Necklace

As winter creeps closer, it unfailingly brings sweater weather with it. And what better way to class up any sweater than with a shiny statement necklace? 

I love this one in particular because it's big and bold enough to make a statement, while being subtle enough to be wearable in any situation - at work, at brunch, or with an evening dress at a holiday party!


Aquamarine Statement Necklace

The product was sent to me quickly and I had no problems with the shipping, which is a plus when online shopping.


Dress V is actually mainly a site for women's evening dresses, but they have some great affordable accessories as well. Check out some of their dresses below:


Aquamarine Statement Necklace

I love their women's evening dresses because each of them are glamorous and feminine. Maybe one day I'll get one for a winter ball or birthday! I also think it's great how you can get an evening dress, jewelry, and handbags all in one place.


Aquamarine Statement Necklace

Aquamarine Statement Necklace

See more dresses
DressV site



*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boston Sushi: Downtown Lunch at Samurai Restaurant

Boston Sushi Downtown

In honor of all the water that's been pouring down in Boston lately, we had another sushi lunch downtown!

Since it was right at lunchtime, the house was packed, and we had to wait about 10-15 minutes for a table. The good news is that they offered to have us order our food while we waited for a seat. Once we sat down, the food came out almost immediately, so I was pretty impressed with their organization.

Boston Sushi: Downtown Lunch


Boston Sushi Downtown

Spring Rolls - I loved the cute plate they came out on.

Boston Sushi Downtown

Miso Soup - I preferred it to be a bit hotter than it was, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Boston Sushi Downtown

Honda Roll - Salmon and avocado.

Boston Sushi Downtown

Alligator Roll - Eel with eel sauce on top, with shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado inside.

Boston Sushi Downtown

My favorite was the Dragon Maki,which was topped with eel and avocado, with eel sauce, crab stick, avocado, and cucumber on the inside. The sauce was so good and reminded me of thousand island dressing.

Unfortunately we were not brought hot tea or even water, and had to ask for water halfway through our meal.

All in all, we had a great time at Samurai Restaurant. It wasn't mind blowing, but definitely decent sushi and service.

Comment Challenge: I love unagi and avocado! What's your favorite sushi roll?

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Specspost Review: Stylish Glasses from London

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

I've done accessory posts before, but not many of you may know that I'm also a big time glasses wearer. That's why I was so excited to review these stylish prescription glasses from London-based Specspost!

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

For my first pair, I chose these classic black frames with a subtle white highlight. They're light on my face so I don't think they will leave such an indent on my nose which is perfect. 

I really appreciated how Specspost offers smaller frame options. I have a tiny face so a lot of glasses look huge on me, but I can't wear children's glasses either because they are way too tight on the sides. These have a greater width, while having smaller frames around the eyes to perfectly fit a smaller face.

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

I'm absolutely obsessed with these blue prescription sunglasses! I've never actually had prescription sunnies before. Now I can look cool and actually see at the same time.

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

They're such a fun color, and since my favorite color is blue they go with a lot of items in my closet.

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

Prescription Glasses Online Specspost Review

Comment Challenge: I love wayfarers! Do you have a favorite type of glasses frame?


*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Pinterest, Disney Villain, Harry Potter Halloween Party 2014


Best Halloween Party Ideas

I love Halloween because it's a great excuse to dress silly and have fun. This year, my roomies and I decided to go as Disney Villains. We had some people over and decided to look to Pinterest for some spooky decoration ideas. It turned out to be an awesome hodgepodge of Harry Potter/Pinterest/Disney.



We event got a T-Rex costume for our cat, Annie. She was purring!


Best Halloween Party Ideas

Best Halloween Party Ideas

We turned off the lights and strung holiday lights along our super long hallway. 

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Nailed it! We found this genius Harry Potter idea and went for it. It's meant to be the brick wall they run through at platform 9 3/4 to get to Hogwarts. We used red paint and a sponge to get the look just right.

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Balloons and streamers make for some great spooky spiders. We also printed out Harry Potter wanted signs and ripped/burned the edges for effect.

Best Halloween Party Ideas

I made my famous Blueberry Apple Crisp, which I posted a recipe on a while back! It gets better every time.

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Best Halloween Party Ideas

Since we decided on Disney Villain costumes, I chose Maleficent since I love the story of Sleeping Beauty. I picked up this amazing dragon ring in Omaha, Nebraska while on a cross-country roadtrip. It was perfect for the outfit, because Maleficent actually turns into a dragon in the Disney version. Also pictured are my new favorite Target heels (first pointy toe ever)! 


We decided to take adorable old school polaroid pictures for vintage sake. I love how they came out!


Comment Challenge: What did you do for Halloween this year? 
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