On My Radar: 2018 Edition

Happy 2018!

I can’t believe it’s the start of a new year. In some ways 2017 flew by, but in others it dragged on. I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2018 for a while now, and it is finally HERE. Cue all the praise hands and happy dances.

So many exciting things are bound to happen this year, I can hardly wait.

Although I am still planning and finalizing my “resolutions,” I will share those with you soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share what’s on my radar lately because I’m really excited about them.

On My Radar…

{ONE} “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

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This book! I received it for Christmas because I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. I was always intrigued by the husband & wife duo who flip and design houses, raise four kids, live in Texas, and keep God at the center. However, while reading The Magnolia Story, I became an even bigger fan of the Gaines’.  It’s an easy read, too, so it hasn’t taken me long at all to be almost finished it. I’ll probably finish it tonight and I started reading it a few days ago.

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{TWO} La La Land Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music book is another thing I received for Christmas and I *love* it. I’m always on the search for new songs to learn on the piano to challenge myself and keep my skills sharp. Since I teach piano and no longer take lessons myself, playing for fun usually does not happen on a regular basis. La La Land quickly became one of my favorite movies in early 2017, and the soundtrack is downright ah-maze-ing, so I am excited for the challenge.

{THREE} Fur Vests

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This trendy piece of clothing has stumped me. I love how it looks and received one as a gift this year. I’ve pinned a few outfits on Pinterest that includes this statement piece, but I have yet to test it out. It’s so warm and stylish, I’m excited to wear it soon.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.10.56 PMI discovered Bloom Daily Planners a few years ago while researching the best academic planners to use during my senior year (*cough* my Type A is showing *cough*). Bloom is a Delaware-based company and their founders attended the University of Delaware, so obviously when I found this out, I was hooked and purchased my first of many products from Bloom. This year, I received the Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar and it sits proudly on my desk at work. It’s not only adorable and colorful, but every day features a quote or a challenge – two of my favorite things!

 

Those are a few things on my radar. What’s on yours?

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Guest Post: Courtney Kincaid on Blog Vision

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A few nights a week, I end my day on Pinterest. Yes, yes, I know, so cliche. I go for inspiration and for ideas, especially when it comes to style and blogging. I stumbled across Courtney Kincaid’s blog, The Everyday Elegance, and was immediately hooked. Her posts are engaging and her entire blog is adorable and fantastic. I noticed she also was working on a 101 in 1,001 list, and being the curious individual that I am, I began reading it. One of them was to write a guest post for another blog, and that’s when I decided I wanted to help her check off this item. I emailed her and before I knew it, she had agreed to guest blog for me, and I, in turn, guest blogged for her (another one of her 101s– you can read my post on The Everyday Elegance here).

Pinterest is fantastic and so is the blogosphere. I’m thrilled to have met a new blogging friend and am honored to welcome Courtney as a guest blogger for KeriBetters.com. Enjoy, and make sure to follow The Everyday Elegance on social media!

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Since starting my blog 10 months ago, I have definitely run into some struggles. There were literally days (more like weeks) with 0 page views in the beginning. It wasn’t until about 5 months ago that there were some real issues with my blogging vision. Having a vision is necessary for blogs. Without it, the blogger tends to ramble on and on about nothing. It’s an important foundation when deciding to start or rebrand a blog.

A major part of having a great vision includes two important characteristics: consistency and perseverance. Again, this is something that I struggled with for a long time (Probably May to September of 2014). Unless consistency was structured for me, I wasn’t consistent, and when the comments and page views didn’t happen after a couple of months, I lost my stride.

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  1. Write original content. This seems like an obvious one, but you would be surprised that many people are affected by this. I was affected by this. My blog was originally thrown together under the impression that I was “finding what I wanted to do in life and expressing myself in a creative way”, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Until I looked at some of my content and realized that I was simply regurgitating what other bloggers were saying. I was afraid to share my own personal opinions, and because my posts weren’t my own opinions, it was a lot harder for me to come up with content. And because it was a lot harder for me to come up with content, I was less consistent. After a while, I resented my blog because it wasn’t a representation of myself. It wasn’t something I was proud of. This lead to the whole “re-vamping” of my blog. Now I’m getting at least 4 posts up weekly with content that I’m proud of. I’ve found that I’m more inspired and wanting to write posts about things that I love. Find what you love and write about it, whether it be fashion, interior design, social justice, religion. You’ll find that when you write what you’re passionate about, blogging becomes more exciting.
  1. Keep an editorial calendar. It’s necessary. This is coming from someone who was the most disorganized person ever in high school. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most of my life could be categorized as “organized clutter”, but here’s the thing: It’s organized in a way that makes sense for me and in a way I can keep track of it. Here’s why you need one: If you don’t have a place that you set deadlines for yourself, you’ll keep pushing back and pushing back until all of your goals seem unreachable. This is true with a number of other things. I’ve found that writing it down (particularly in pen) I’m more likely to keep the deadline.Honestly, there’s nothing worse than scratched out pen in a Kate Spade Agenda. If you’re a digital person, use Google Calendar (or whichever calendar you please)! There are a number of options to keep yourself organized.
  1. Join networks. I’m not kidding, I have never felt more support than I did when I joined two networks over the winter break. Mid-December, I was accepted to HerCampus Blogger Network, and in January I chose to join The Peony Project, a network for Christian Bloggers. Both of these networks over a variety of things and there are thousands of others that fit different niches. From blog design to follow trains and daily encouragement, don’t even question whether or not I should have started my blog. It just seems like a natural source of community for me, and to be able to talk to bloggers who have more skill than I do in areas and learn from them, it’s been a priceless experience.

When I started my blog 10 months ago, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it. 10 months ago even 5 months ago, I was still afraid to share that I had a blog. I was afraid to open myself to criticism. But as I’ve joined blogging communities and established my personal vision, I’ve grown. My content has grown, my writing and photography quality has grown, and in turn my readership has grown. Having consistency and perseverance with your vision is vital to the life of your blog. Within a week of having a blog, I quickly realized that this was one of the most challenging things I have faced. Maybe you’ve realized this too. Maybe you wish that you could “get the hang of this whole blogging thing” so it would just be easier. But here’s something important to remember:

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–  Courtney Kincaid

Courtney is a junior studying Social Work at The University of North Texas. She’s excited to have the opportunity to share her story at KeriBetters.com and to have made a new blogging friend through this experience. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to see the latest on food, fashion and her kitten, Queen Bee.

The eBay Secret Every Fashionista On a Budget Should Know

I have a confession to make.

I am semi-addicted to eBay.

Seriously. If a product comes with free shipping and there is 5 minutes left, it is mine and I will not let it out of my grip.

Just kidding!

I do not bid on Ebay. I refuse.

In fact, even if there is a cute necklace and there are no bids with 5 minutes left, I will not bid on it.

I do not bid. I will not bid. It’s not worth it.

However… 

The “buy it now” option on eBay is a weakness, and I am admitting that to you today.

It is not a problem. It is a hobby.

A very cheap, very fun hobby.

How can you not want to buy a pair of earrings for 99 cents and free shipping?! It seems too good to be true, but it is not. It is real, and it’s fantastic.

Let me let you in on a few recent purchases… maybe then you will understand my recent fascination with finding a steal and spending literally next to nothing

*Disclaimer: I do not purchase items all the time. I recently discovered how much money I could save with the “buy it now” option and wanted to inform you of this brilliant, brilliant alternative to purchasing accessories.

* Each item below was purchased for $1 on eBay with free shipping. *

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See? So fun. Each accessory comes about 2 weeks after the purchase and by that time, I’ve usually forgotten about the purchase so it’s like a surprise to myself every time!

The more you know. 🙂

The Dash: Part Two, surviving to live

This is Part Two of The Dash blog series. 

If you missed Part One, click here .

Conversation is encouraged for this blog series. Please feel free to share and comment your thoughts and opinions in the coming weeks as I dive more deeply into “The Dash.”  Share the blog link and use the Twitter hashtag: #thedashblogseries to invite others to join the conversation. 

If you have a question that hasn’t been listed, feel free to add it in a comment. 

If you’d rather send me an email, click here. 

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Everyone is passionate about something. 

Whether it’s sports, sleeping, pursuing a career, love, music, coffee, a person…

Everyone is passionate about something.

Throughout my life, I’ve wondered what I’m passionate about.

I’ve thought about it and written about it. I’ve prayed about it, talked about it, dreamed about it.

If everyone has a passion, what was mine?

It seems like a stupid question. If you’re passionate about something, it should be obvious to you what it is. To me, though, when it came right down to it, things that I would consider my passions all had one thing in common.

I realized that my passion is simply living.

Jesus. Living, breathing, memory-making, conversation. Joy, sadness, music, people. Coffee, school, laughter, writing, photography. The things that make up my every day.

Life. 

The thing about life is that no matter how long you have it and no matter how “fully” you’ve lived it, it never is long enough.

It’s become a social trend: How To Live Life To the Fullest. I’ve even had my share of attempts at answering the age-old question. Examples can be found here and here. With the bombardment of trying to make the best of your life and creating bucket lists of places we want to see before we die and things to do, things to experience…. we begin to feel overwhelmed with all the ways we could live life better. We begin to compare our lives to those around us. We begin to try and set goals to make ourselves better, happier, prettier so maybe, if those goals are successfully achieved, then life would be better, too.

Slowly but surely, we begin to drown in the “shoulda woulda coulda” instead of simply living.

We jokingly say “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) and we throw it around in conversation. Usually, people say it when they’re about to do something idiotic or stupid. “YOLO” has become a way of life. It’s become almost an excuse to do things that will help us “live life to the fullest.” But does it?

I think, when it all comes down to it, we’ve lost our passion for life, myself included. We take our days too seriously and we approach each situation with a critical eye, completely unaware that most of the time, we’re looking for the bad and assuming the worst. It almost has become a habit. We forget to look around us, “stopping to smell the roses” so to speak, and we rush through each day with a schedule and our minds running 1,000 miles per hour. We rush through every day, creating lists of things to do, people to see, things to experience. We rush, we rush, we rush…

We are too busy surviving to stop and simply live.

The day that I walked out of the cemetery*, I was overcome with emotion and started thinking more about this small horizontal line.

The Dash between the year of arrival and the year of passing is small. It doesn’t catch every moment you create in this life. It doesn’t even come close to summarizing the life of each individual. It simply is the length of time from when you were born to when you die. You only live once, so what volumes will your Dash speak?

The Dash may not capture every moment we have on Earth, but that doesn’t mean we should stop living.

As cliche as it sounds, each day is a gift. I don’t know when my Dash will end. I don’t know what date is going to bookend that Dash.

We can’t just live our lives to survive. We must live every day, taking in the wonders and the miracles and the trials.

Just because The Dash doesn’t capture every moment doesn’t mean that every moment shouldn’t be captured. 

* Reference to Part One of “The Dash” Series.

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Let’s talk: 

How would you describe the word “passion?” How can a passion effect you mentally/spiritually/emotionally/physically? Would you consider yourself passionate about life– how so? 

4 Ways to Balance Creativity and Work: Article by Made By Meagan’s founder, Meagan Walsh

Keri Note: As part of the new year, I wrote down several resolutions I was determined to keep. One of which was to incorporate guest bloggers into LittleMissKeri on a regular basis.

I am SO very excited to feature Meagan as the first guest. We swapped blogs– I guest wrote on her’s (my article can be found here) and now she is writing on mine! Yay!

Meagan is a fellow college student and the next Martha Stewart (sans jail time). She’s a crafting queen and the nicest person you’ll ever meet. I’ve gotten to know her better through school and extracurricular activities and have always been envious of the way she can make something out of nothing. Through her Instagram and Pinterest pages, it’s easy to tell that she has talent behind the sewing machine. To say it plainly, she puts Pinterest DIYs to shame.

To feature Meagan on this blog is an honor. Not only is she a creative genius, but she also just opened her Etsy shop and you can now buy her creations! Stop by the shop by clicking here and buy something from Meagan today!

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As an upcoming college graduate, I find myself completely terrified of entering the workforce. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed past job experiences, but the notion of spending my entire life behind a desk and missing out on time with friends and family is something that just cuts to the core.

I am then reminded that nearly everyone I know either has, is currently, or will one day go through a very similar situation and I’m faced with the reality of making the best of it. In an ideal situation we would land our dream job with a dream salary in a dream location and we would live out our days happily as contributing members of society.

But frankly it’s not that easy. Working long hours in less-than-desirable pay grade is the norm, especially for first-time employees, but the characteristics reach far-beyond entry-level positions.

I’ve always been the creative type. I enjoy spending my days behind my sewing/embroidery combination machine (yes, I’m an old lady stuck in a twenty-something’s body) and there’s a good chance I’ve lost all my fingerprints as a result of my glue gun. I find that I’m at my happiest when I create something with my hands. From hair bows, to purses to scrapbook crafting, I’m into it all.

Mod podge runs through my blood.

I’m finding myself increasingly scared that once I find a full time job and begin working that I’m going to lose the energy to complete a hobby that genuinely fulfills my soul. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a household which thrives on creativity while also balancing strict academic and personal success. My parents raised me to succeed academically while always allowing me to paint, sew, act, and play sports.

I’ve made it my personal pledge to keep that mindset during the beginning of my career. I think that no matter what stage of career you find yourself in, it’s imperative to maintain creative balance.

Here’s my pledge (which I intend to hang up on my wall in some sort of crafty fashion) to help maintain creative balance in a working career.

1. Schedule Time

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Make time at least once per week to indulge in a creative outlet. Whether it be painting, photography, interpretive dance, sewing, or music. Honestly I don’t really care what you do- just do something. Depriving yourself of a hobby that you love for the sake of making money will hurt your soul in the long run (I can’t guarantee the soul-crushing, but go with it). Write down that time in your planner- and actually do it. This time is for YOU and bettering YOU. This isn’t time to skimp out on.

2. Create Something with your Hands. 

It’s my personal belief that there is literally nothing better than the satisfaction you get from creating something. The first time I made a pillow was quite possibly one of the best days of my life. It’s so important that we, as humans, recognize our amazing ability to create beautiful things. walsh3

3. Share

The internet is amazing. Amidst all of the scary corners of the internet, we find spaces where we can share our creative outlets with others. From a simple share on facebook of that Pinterest recipe gone horribly wrong, to a full blown tutorial (check mine out!) to share to everyone, being able to have the work you do inspire someone else to create is an amazing feeling.

4. Reflect

It’s so tempting to come home from work and retreat into yourself. During my summer internship I sometimes worked normal hours and sometimes worked into the night and I found it so hard to just relax. We want to take a nap, watch some TV and interact on social media. Take some time every day to reflect. It doesn’t matter what on, but what it all boils down to is perspective. Work is not your life, your love, happiness, relationships and satisfaction are your life. Reflection can take many forms, but it’s important to find the form you most identify with- from meditation to religion to just writing it all down.

Am I still afraid of losing a little bit of my time and energy when I start working? Of course. As part of my personal pledge, I finally opened my etsy shop, giving myself literally no excuse to slack on taking some creative time to myself- I mean, I have orders to fill!

Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

Am I still going to search for my dream job? Yes.

Am I going to find my dream job? Yes.

Am I going to set aside creative me-time after I have an amazing day at my dream job? Yes.

Do what makes you happy. If you’re lucky enough for your career to be your creative outlet, then that’s amazing, and I can only hope to one day be in your shoes.

What do you do to balance career and creativity? Tweet me and visit me on my blog and on my crafting blog!

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Hump Day Snow Day.

Remember when I said that Delaware weather is extremely unpredictable?

Yesterday, we received 12+ inches of snow.

Yep, not lyin’. That actually happened.

Because of this, my job was cancelled yesterday and today, which means I’m stuck at home finding ways to occupy myself without going completely insane.

If you’re anything like me, you like to stay productive. Having ‘free time’ is weird and I don’t really know what to do with it. I’m used to having a schedule that’s jammed packed with places to go, people to see, things to do. With the weather completely erasing my plans and me now staring at a day that has no pencil markings, I’ve come to the realization that I need something to do.

So, with coffee as my sidekick, this is what I’ve done so far…

I’ve created my own 101 in 1001 list.  You can find more about it if you click the link, but basically it’s 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. I’m slowly, but surely, trying to check items off the list and frankly, thanks to two snow days, I’ve been able to check off a few! I definitely recommend doing this and if you end up joining me on this adventure, let me know and I will add your name and list link below mine.

I began my adventure jar. A mason jar, a little decor, and loose change. It’s as easy as that. Save your loose change and then, when you want to make a purchase or reward yourself in some one, you use your adventure money. Maybe by the end of the year, I’ll have enough money to buy these shoes. (killer, right?!)

One of the things that I *should* be ashamed of, but am soooo not is the fact that I created a Pinterest board called My Happy Place. Truth be told, I love desks, stationary, and brightly colored everything. (I mean, it IS #8). It may be the Type-A nerd in me or the girl who couldn’t wait for the first day of school just so I could buy a new notebook, but this inspirational board inspired me to reorganize my desk and spruce it up. I added a few pictures, a small whiteboard for writing down inspirational quotes, and cleaned out my desk drawers. Nothing says Happy Keri more than a clean, organized desk. I know… I’m weird.

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I read “Heaven Is For Real.” It’s a true story about a little boy who had a near-death experience and went to Heaven for 3 minutes. The real reason why I began reading it is because the movie is coming out in a few months. When possible, I try to read the book before the movie so with a few days to spare, I decided this was a good time to do it. I read it in 3 hours– it’s that good. I definitely recommend it!

I began knitting a scarf. When cleaning out my room, I found a ball of yarn and my knitting needles. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I used them. It’s been that long. So, why not start a new hobby? Maybe I’ll actually be able to check off #81. 

Well, that’s about it. So far, I haven’t done too too much with the free time. Besides planning for a few events in spring and keeping myself busy with odds and ends, the two days have been relaxing and I haven’t lost all sanity yet. There’s still hope.

However.

I really can’t wait to get back into being busy.

What are some things you’re doing during this break? Any ideas, suggestions, foods to try, or DIYs you’d like to share? Comment below or send me a tweet! 

 

Spring into Spring: Top 5 Favorites from the Pinterest Closet

It’s about that time in January where I begin to long for spring.

I am not the kind of girl who enjoys the freezing cold weather with negative wind chills and lots of snow on the ground. Not that this is actually happening right now… it is Delaware after all. We are known for our crazy and bipolar weather. The other day it was 60 degrees, yesterday it was in the 40s…last week, we had snow. What is this.

Anyways, because my mind longs for warmer temperatures and sunny days and happy birds chirping from tree branches, I’ve begun to escape to the land of Pinterest for some spring inspiration.

These 5 are my favorites and I thought I’d share them with you!

1.
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I have to admit, one of the reasons why I pinned this is because there is a Starbucks cup in the picture. No shame. I’m a helpless Starbucks addict with no hope in ever quitting. However, besides the coffee cup, I love this outfit because of the soft green and floral combination. It’s not too frilly and not too girly, but has a hint of laid-back, let’s study in the library and go on a picnic on Saturday kind of feel. I dig it, especially with the neutral bag, shoes, and watch.
To purchase items from this outfit, click here.

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I guess I should probably admit this now, because you’ll find out eventually. I have a slight obsession with trench coats. My mom bought me a grey one a few years ago and it is, by far, my favorite coat ever. I love this tan one with the classic polka dot shirt and forest green accent sweater. To me, this screams “Weekend Outfit in the City” and I don’t really know why. What I do know, however, is that those mustard yellow flats are to die for. Yellow has become sort of like a neutral, because it can go with everything. You can wear them in every season and make each outfit look new and refreshed. Paired with jeans, a trench, polka dots, and green? Perfect.
To purchase items from this outfit, click here.

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Nautical stripes, red pants, and a gold chain. Simple, elegant, a hint of the sea. Need I say more?
To pin this to your own Pinterest board, click here.

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Starbucks in the picture. The fact that I pinned this because of that is a weakness and a problem, I think. The thing I like about this outfit is that it’s accessory-based. The scarf, the ring, the boots, the bag… the accessories make the outfit. The outfit, in itself, is casual– a long sweater, leggings, a tank top. What makes a statement is the boldness of the light, spring-colored accents. And the Starbucks cup helps, too. 😉
To purchase items from this outfit, click here.

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I couldn’t havae a fashion blog post without posting at least one dress. Coral and sky blue is my favorite combination, especially for spring. For practicality reasons, I like this outfit because the dress can be worn with heels or flats. It can be made new with different accessories like studs or pearls and worn with a denim jacket and a different bag. It’s elegant, classic, girly, and screams spring.
To purchase items from this outfit, click here.

These five outfits make me so excited for spring. Although there are still several months left of winter, at least I know that spring is coming. Until then, I’ll keep pinning beautiful outfits! To follow my Pinterest closet, click here.