30 Before 30 | A Bucket List

30 Before 30 | A Bucket List | theprimarilyinspired.com| Turning 30 doesn’t have to be scary! Just create thirty things you would like to accomplish before your next birthday and live life to the fullest!

Happy Birthday to me! Guys, I am officially within the last year of my twenties and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. There’s a strong part of me that looks back and is quite proud of the woman I’ve become, knowing there’s always improvements to be made. Then there’s another part of me that still finds the big 3-0 to be a little scary. I suppose it’s the uncertainty of what turning thirty will bring. However, it’s coming regardless of how prepared I am for it and something I do that helps me keep focused are making little goals to achieve before my next birthday.

A couple of years ago I wrote something called 28 Before 28, which was a list of 28 goals that I would like to have accomplished before turning 29. Unfortunately I could only cross off a few things and found, upon closer inspection, that my goals were a touch too broad. I also got pregnant that year so the whole hot air balloon ride thing and traveling didn’t really happen. I knew I had to reevaluate the goals I originally set and adapt them to be more realistic and manageable – especially now with a one year old in tow.

So, in celebration of turning 29 today I thought to take a look back on my old list and be more specific with my new goals as I head towards thirty. This time I reflected on where my life is in this moment and where I would like to be next year. A lot of my goals have a lot to do with travel (we just updated my passport and got Greyson his first one!), creating memorable experiences, and a sprinkle of a few personal little goals in between.

Here are my 30 goals before turning 30!

  1. Live more minimally by ridding of material things once a month for a year.
  2. Take Greyson to an aquarium.
  3. Create more photo books of our travels and milestones.
  4. Travel somewhere outside of the U.S.
  5. Visit/discover Northern California.
  6. Visit/discover San Diego.
  7. Volunteer at least once a month at church.
  8. Join a small group at church.
  9. Create and run a successful linkup on the blog.
  10. Keep up with vegan meals during the week.
  11. Finish the Harry Potter series before the 1st day of Summer (June 21st)
  12. Invest in and use an editorial calendar for both blogs!
  13. Take more photos of Greyson and us as a family.
  14. Print and display photos of us and our travels in our home.
  15. Send more happy mail or letters to friends and family.
  16. Take a picture every day for a whole year.
  17. Have a ‘movie on the lawn’ night once this summer.
  18. Enjoy sip & paint nights often.
  19. Actively put into savings.
  20. Learn to trust my intuition & God when He speaks to me.
  21. Keep weekends as sacred time – unplug and enjoy.
  22. Participate in a local 5k.
  23. Visit/hike The Channel Islands.
  24. Purchase bikes and go riding at least once a week.
  25. Begin a personal journal this year.
  26. Get my nails done and #treatyoself this year.
  27. Watch Casablanca from beginning to end.
  28. Spend less on toys for Greyson and more on family experiences.
  29. Do something spontaneous!
  30. Live each day with meaning and purpose.

After drafting up this list I’m actually pretty excited to see what I’ll be able to accomplish. I know I want to do a lot this year and gain more experience in this life I have. I am grateful that I get to spend it with my wonderfully amazing husband and beautiful baby boy, which makes checking off these things that much more enjoyable. So, thank you for being on this wild ride with me and fingers crossed I can get to all 30!

If you could create a bucket list for yourself (whether it be for a birthday or just overall in life) what would be in your top 5? Share with me in the comments!

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Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 9

Scenes From Our Weekend | vol 9 | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Once again a weekend has come and gone and here we are already at the end of March about to head right into April. This is also my birthday week and this year I’m celebrating the last of my twenties. Over the weekend I got to celebrate a little early with friends of mine and I look forward to spending some quality family time for my actual birthday tomorrow. Twenty-nine is going to be a wonderful year, I just know it!

But here is a little bit of life that kept me busy this past weekend.

#NationalPuppyDay

When I saw that it was National Puppy Day I couldn’t help but share this photo of our Murphy who was only 8 weeks old at the time. The hubs and I both walked away from our jobs and only had moved into our studio apartment for a few days before this little guy showed up. Murphy was born three days before our wedding and when we were looking around for a puppy together we knew this guy was the one. I can’t believe he’ll be turning three this year!

Someone is learning to feed himself

Greyson is just continuing to grow like a wildflower and these moments are getting more and more surreal that he’s become this little person. Just this weekend did I try my second attempt at letting him begin feeding himself and to my surprise he did really well! He’s starting to understand how to bring the spoon to his mouth and dip in the bow to get more food. It’s messy, yes, but a lot of fun to watch him learn to be a little bit more independent!

Brunch with my babes

There’s a fun new restaurant in town called Wicked’s Brew and we only just discovered it a couple of weeks ago. Everything on their menu from coffee to food is locally sourced and artisan made, which makes me happy because we love supporting local businesses and farmers. I have yet to find another place that brews a latte as good as this one and I know I am guaranteed a beautiful cup every time we go. They’re in the process of getting their liquor license so enjoying a glass of wine is in my future here and soon they’ll be open for dinner. I know we’re in for a treat considering how delicious their breakfast/lunch menu is!

A Painted Cabernet Birthday

I love this idea of getting girlfriends together and relax by doing something fun like painting. In our area we have a little place called The Painted Cabernet where you pick a painting when you register for your class and an instructor leads you through recreating that picture. Best yet they provide a complimentary glass of wine, Bellinis, or champagne and you get to sip while you paint! I had such a great time and can definitely foresee me doing this many more times.

The painting we chose to do is a sunset of Anacapa Island, which is one island out of eight and make up the Channel Islands. We have the luxury of seeing a couple of these islands right off the Ventura coastline so it was nice to paint something close to home.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! What were some of the things that kept you busy? Anything fun going on?

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The Martian | A Book Review

The Martian | A Book Review | theprimarilyinspired.com |

This book was provided by Blogging For Books, but my review and opinions expressed are 100% my own.

You may have heard of this little title if not for the film starring Matt Damon but perhaps the novel written by Andy Weir. I read this book in preparation for the film (of which I was also a huge fan of) and was amazed at how well the director was able to capture the feeling of isolation and a desperate need for survival that I personally felt while reading. From beginning to end I was completely engaged with the story, rooting for Mark, meanwhile learning a little more about space in the process.

For those not familiar with the plot, Mark Watney is an astronaut that is part of a research team to Mars. During one of their EVAs (Extra-Vehicular Activity, which is pretty much any excursion on the surface of Mars) the team is caught in a strong dust storm which forces their evacuation. During the chaos of trying to evacuate during this storm, Mark is picked up and thrown and his crew, thinking him dead, evacuates without him; leaving him stranded on Mars’ surface alone and with limited resources. OMG, right?! The Martian chronicles his inventive attempts at survival and it’s in his humor that both the reader and the character finds strength to keep going.

I don’t know about you, but space is something that is equally fascinating yet terrifying at the same time. To know how deep, dark, and desolate space is, but yet here I sit in awe and wonder about it’s beauty and creation. Something so vast is still so terrifying and I feel as though Andy Weir captured that for me as a reader. And yes this book is filled with quite a bit of NASA/engineering jargon, but what made it digestible for me was Andy Weir’s choice to make this story a first person narrative. I really enjoyed the aspect of experiencing and thinking everything Mark was as things were happening to him during his mission to Mars. The best kind of storytelling, in my opinion, is one to which I feel transplanted right in the middle of the action and The Martian did that for me. Plus the humor Mark found in many of his harrowing circumstances kept him down-to-earth (no pun intended) and highly relatable.

“If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side” (pg. 369).

Reading this story is also a reminder of the tremendous work people do every day to help those in need – even if it is a fictional story. Here was a guy who, drifting between literal life and death situations, found many nations, space organizations, as well as the public around the world, working together in an effort to bring this man back to Earth. I would like to believe these efforts occur all the time; and in a climate like today I personally wouldn’t mind if a little fiction became reality.

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How To Succeed As A Linqia Newbie

 How To Succeed As A Linqia Newbie | theprimarilyinspired.com |
Referral links are included in this post. I will earn a small commission for any blogger who is accepted to Linqia that goes towards funding this blog. So, thank you!

As a relatively new blogger, I’ve only been at it for almost three years in October, I am always looking for new ways to take my blog farther. I know it all starts with authenticity and an inspiration to bring quality content to my readers. With that said, it’s sometimes more daunting to think about all that goes in to running a successful blog and eventually reaching a point where I can begin to make a few dollars in the process.

In the beginning…

When I first began blogging, much like everyone, it blossomed from loneliness and a need to connect. I had just moved with my newly minted husband to a far away land called California from Virginia and I knew absolutely no one. As a teacher, and moving in September, there were no teaching positions open considering the school year had just begun. (Not to mention the whole process of switching my VA teaching license to a CA credential, but that’s a story for another day). So there I was jobless, too.

A lifestyle blog is born…

After a month or so going by and being a stay-at-home-wife, I began reading various blogs (and running my teacher blog) and made the decision to branch out and start a lifestyle blog. I had the inspiration almost instantly and began writing various posts that I found fun to share. I was all over the place! From sharing DIYs to my mere attempts at style posts and keeping up with those weekly What I Wore linkups (OMG, dressing and documenting your outfits takes a lot more effort than it seems). I didn’t have a clear vision for my new blog, but I can say that over the course of the last few years I’ve been able to learn from those early missteps and really make Primarily Inspired my own and more successful.

Disclaimer: I am no Linqia expert – I’m a newbie myself. However, I love sharing my own experiences in hopes that it reaches a fellow newbie and reassures them to never give up on attaining sponsored posts and making their blog successful.

Becoming an influencer with Linqia

I am still in my early journey of lifestyle blogging, as there’s always something new to learn, and the moment I was accepted into Linqia’s network of influencers it was a major milestone for me. Linqia is an influencer platform in which to gain membership your blog must reach a certain amount of readers per day, followers on social media, as well as quality photos and content on a weekly basis. However, finally being accepted took time and rejection.

I had applied once before and received one of those dreaded, “we’ll keep your blog on file, but we cannot accept you at this time” emails and my heart sank. However, I didn’t let that get me down. I really focused on taking quality photos, upped my engagement, and became more of a presence on social media and on a whim I found that old email and contacted them again; crossing my fingers that I had enough followers to be accepted. It was about a day or two later that I received a welcome email. Yes! I did it!

But this is when the real work began for me as a blogger. I was on the cusp of monetizing my blog, pocket change really, but it’s meaningful nonetheless. I knew that one day I would be contacted to join a campaign and I would have my first experience with sponsored posts. After having now completed three campaigns with Linqia, here are a few tips on how you can find success even as a Linqia newbie.

A Newbie

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted into Linqia’s network of influencers and now you have a newfound opportunity to work with top brands to share with your readers! It’s such a thrill, isn’t it?!

Fortunately for you, this is a time where you get to sit and wait for a campaign to come your way which can be an upwards of 30 days, but use this precious time wisely. This is a time for you to spruce up your blog, get it cohesive with your social media, update your cover photos, and continue working on your brand and original content. Eventually you’ll receive an email for a campaign that you might want to be a part of. This is the exciting part!

Like with anything, before you hit the accept button there are a few things you should consider first…

 

“This is a time for you to spruce up your blog, get it cohesive with your social media, update your cover photos, and continue working on your brand and original content.”

Accepting a campaign…or not

Not all Linqia campaigns may resonate with you or your readers, so it’s important to understand that declining a campaign is just as important as accepting one. Keep your published content authentic to your life, which includes these sponsored posts. People aren’t dumb and can spot an inauthentic sponsored post a mile away and may actually drive followers and readers away. I know I’ve stopped following blogs because of that same reason. I personally joined the campaign for Gerber twice because it’s a product I already use and my motherhood posts are amongst the most popular on my blog. Working with Libman on this most recent campaign was an easy choice for me because I’m all about keeping a clean and organized home so I was happy to share with my readers the benefits of the Wonder Mop.

On the flip side, I was just contacted by Linqia  last week to offer a campaign with a paint company. Unfortunately I had to decline because the timing of the post conflicted with when I could authentically use the product. With moving in a few months I know I’ll be doing a lot of painting in our new home, but I also knew that I couldn’t complete the post within the time frame they needed. So, it’s okay to decline a campaign and share with them the reason why you couldn’t accept.

Another tip is to read through the entire email that details what the campaign expects of you. There’s a lot of helpful information included so it’s important to become knowledgable about the timing, sharing, and work required of the post. You’ll even be partnered with a Brand Success Manager to whom you can contact about any questions you may have! Most often you have to purchase the product yourself, then as a part of your payout you’ll be reimbursed. It’s vital to evaluate if you’ll be able to give 100% for the campaign before accepting; otherwise it could really hurt your standing with Linqia to cancel a campaign after you’ve already accepted it.

“[…] it’s important to understand that declining a campaign is just as important as accepting one.”

Creating and sharing your post…

Luckily Linqia does an amazing job at giving you all the information, and some inspiration, for your post. They outline what exactly it is they are looking for in your post (i.e. high quality personal photos using the product, not to show or mention competitors, etc.) and the social hashtags and handles for the company to use when promoting it. This makes drafting and publishing your post a breeze.

But like any blog post, it will take time and effort to pull it all together. It was working on my first sponsored post that I realized that those who blog for a profession truly work hard at it just like any other job. I personally like to break up my writing and polishing across a few days, spending a few hours a day on it. That way I don’t feel overwhelmed and I can edit and re-edit my post before publishing it. Then, scheduling out the marketing piece frees up my non-blogging time and ensures my post continues to be shared without me needing to be on my phone all day.

“But like any blog post, it will take time and effort to pull it all together.”

Seeing and learning with a goal…

As you can see with each campaign I’ve managed to increase my clicks by using the estimate as a guide and goal. Having a goal throughout the active dates of any one campaign helps me see where I am gaining the most reach and by which medium: my blog? Instagram? Facebook? Using video or photos? Getting familiar with my dashboard and reporting pages is crucial for my success with that brand. As you complete campaigns your estimated clicks will grow. For now, it’s estimated that I can reach 50 clicks with a $40 total payout. And as you can see, I’m still working hard to meet that goal!

I really enjoyed working on the Libman Company campaign and had a goal to reach the $40. Although I’m about $10 short of making that goal, the takeaways are that I spread out my marketing, I incorporate the Boomerang feature on Instagram vs photos, and tweet periodically to keep my post fresh on people’s feeds. Using the proper hashtags also help out a lot. In the end, I’ve learned to do the very things I should be doing as a blogger on everyday content.

How To Succeed As A Linqia Newbie | theprimarilyinspired.com |

So, how are the numbers looking?

In reflection, I can see that my very first campaign with Gerber Lil’ Beanies I made more of an effort to promote that post. This also considers how new I was to sponsored posts and the effort that went into it. Then I take a peek and notice that my Gerber Cereals campaign didn’t perform as well. What caused me to only make $8? Well, I had accepted the campaign during the active dates of my first campaign with the Lil’ Beanies. Although I am very happy for the experience, I have learned that I wasn’t prepared to take on two live campaigns at the same time (even though they were the same brand)! I’ve taken this with me and use it to guide me in my next sponsored posts!

“I’ve managed to increase my clicks by using the estimate as a guide and goal.”

Making those dolla-dolla bills…

As a newbie, Linqia limits your total potential earnings based on your blog’s reach and viewership…at first. Once you participate in a few different campaigns and perform higher, they’ll increase how much you can make for each campaign. Some have reported being able to make a few hundred dollars! The one downside people have mentioned about working with Linqia is this very platform. What if I earned more than my potential earnings dollar amount? Sorry, you’re cut off despite the number of clicks you’ve earned for that campaign.

But, as a newbie this won’t be an issue for you just yet. My potential earnings right now is $40. But I personally find that to be a great goal, especially for someone like me who is new to sponsored posts.

Breathe and just have fun…

At the end of the day blogging and promoting the brands and products you use and love should be fun for both you as the storyteller and for your readers. Yes, blogging can become a business, but don’t lose sight of what inspired you to blog in the first place. Enjoy sharing your life, don’t take it too seriously, pray on it, and connect with your audience in meaningful ways. Start small, create ideal goals, accomplish them, then repeat.

If you can make a few bucks per sponsored post – awesome! I personally felt pretty great making that $8 commission because it meant I learned something that in turn helped me earn $30 on the next campaign. My hope is that I can turn $30 into meeting my estimate of $40 and beyond! Your blog will grow regardless because you will have learned a few new things in the process! Enjoy those wins!

“[…] blogging and promoting the brands and products you use and love should be fun for both you as the storyteller and for your readers.”

It’s easy to succeed as a new influencer with Linqia. Here’s how as a newbie, much like me, you can take your blog to new heights with these easy steps! | theprimarilyinspired.com |

Are you an influencer with Linqia? Is there another influencer network you love? What advice would you give me and other newbie influencers out there?

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