Why you should blog for yourself and how to do so.

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow. Like I said that’s how my mind works in terms of blogging topics. Some weeks I can hardly come up with a single post and others inspiration almost jumps at me on every corner. The latter has been the case for this post which you’ll notice so let’s not wait any longer but think out loud.

Let's talk

We hear it all of the time as bloggers: first and foremost you have to blog for yourself. And most likely we rolled our eyes a little at least one of those thinking “tell me another story – everybody wants clicks and readers!” It’s one of the big [and hard to process at the beginning] lessons every blogger has to learn. Those frustration-filled first months of blogging when nobody will read and much less comment. Or only your mum, friends and relatives. I’d be lying if I said quitting hadn’t sounded intriguing at times back then. What ultimately kept me going was my passion to write and too many thoughts in my mind needing an outlet.

Now I’m not one of the “big” bloggers so can in most cases only talk from my perspective as an observing reader. But then again it’s for readers’ pleasure we write and even as bloggers we’re part of somebody else’s audience every day, too, so it’s a topic everyone can chime in on. Here are my [obviously subjective] ideas on how to fuse writing for yourself while also for readers:

Time and blog post frequency: Writing when you’re not feeling it doesn’t work. Plants, animals and humans all need water to grow and flourish. A blog requires its author’s brain to be a source of inspiration. If the latter doesn’t flow [good, enjoyable] posts don’t happen.

If you’re a mum, busy working in a full-time + job or lead a stressful life due to any other reasons post as often as works and feels good to you. Unless jobbing is indeed your job it should add joy not stress to your life.

Easter_flowers on the table

 

Product Reviews and sponsored posts: That’s something that occasionally gets me annoyed when visiting other blogs, at worst it makes me quit reading a blog for good. Let me stress that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these posts to begin with . Integrity’s the keyword again.
I get that a) it’s exciting when a brand reaches out to you for a collaboration or b) you’re a full-time blogger and depend on making money from your blog. However, there should be a limit to how many and which offers you accept. At least for myself I can say I’ll visit your blog less and less the more inauthentic product reviews I see. If your readers know you as a recipe blogger how in line with this image is promoting ladies’ hygiene products [aside from the fact you might be lady but never talked about these things before]? Or if you’re into healthy living but all of a sudden declare your life-long fondness of a popular brand’s sugar-laden cereals? #sponsoredpost

Recipes

Confession time again. This specifically has been on my mind for a while and was one of the reasons to write this post. It’s no secret recipes are what draws us to blogs. We all like to talk about and [I don’t like using this word myself but will replicate it due to popularity] drool over food. Knowing what’s popular in the healthy living blog world I was tempted to let others’ preferences lead my recipe creations and – for a second or two – considered if to get into that no-bake ball bite game. However, that wouldn’t be true to myself. I’m simply not rolling – literally – that way. As nutritious as they are I simply don’t fancy these and luckily there’s no lack of other delicious foods to create and share.

Cauliflower Nuggets_vegan

Blogging niches

Then there’s the other side: Let’s say you’re – like many of us – a healthy living blogger. Naturally, you deliver dozens of delicious recipes for flourless cookies, oil-free fries and green smoothies containing every superfood known to man**. But maybe you still enjoy a good cheese-filled enchilada casserole with – the horrors! – white flour tortillas once in a while. To post or not to post said recipe? Yes, yes and yes! Because while some people might be surprised to see this kind of dish on your blog there will likely be just as many [or more?] readers who are all up for it. Seeing that hey, that girl/guy has balance down to a pat, doesn’t let a label define her and is likely very fun to hang around.

The same would go if you’re usually a [insert niche] blogger but feel the urge to get your thoughts on a topic dear to your heart but not conforming with your niche out there. I’d say go for it because these posts are what truly shape our blogs to be a representation of who we are.

**please note I’m not actually hating on any of these foods. Mmmh, cookies.

In the end, blogging for yourself is blogging for your readers. Because they come back to find out what you think, create, like, dislike, your quirks and funny stories. Not for you pretending to fit into a certain mold of paleo/clean eating/smoothie drinking/running/lifting bloggers. What all of this comes down to is one statute will always lead any choices I make related to my blog – be it in terms of topics, recipes, sponsored posts or reviews:

Writing the blog I want to read. And I hope it’s one you enjoy reading, too.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Another spontaneous after-work walk with my dad and winning another game of yathzee. Hello, lucky strike [not of the smoking variety].

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No specific questions.  Let me know any of your  thoughts on the topic!

 

Week in review: Walking, working, blogging.

… and just like that the first week of February is in the books. That one went down fast. No? Just me. Either way, it’s Monday and time to take a leaf from Meg’s book and be at least a smidgen proud of not drowning completely in the hurdles of everyday life

[Also: did anybody catch the song reference in th title?]

Week in review

 

Starting with one of the last things checked off my to-do list and then going on in no particular order I …

  • Called my grandma. We had a good strike of talking about bi-weekly the past months of 2015 but it somehow fizzled out with the start of the new year. Our conversation included me trying to explain what exactly I do when I mention blogging [the umpteenth attempt but we have to forgive our grandparents for being confused, no?]. Despite my efforts to rectify this belief she still thinks that a) every one of you commenting is some sort of pen pal of mine [hiiii!] and b) suggested that I should move in with one of you to live overseas for a few months. I won’t deny I think she’s onto something with that last idea ;)
  • Published three posts again. I will admit this was a bit of a struggle for a few reasons but I’m happy I kept up with this kind-of-schedule from past weeks. A regular posting schedule is one of my unwritten goals of 2016 after I was inconsistent during the past months and I’m happy it worked so far.

current view_writing

  • Worked in my regular job and taught German three times**. Two of those lessons went down pretty well, the third … not so much. Being the over thinker I am it’s hard to combat considering a failed lesson or children not making much progress as my fault. The brief consideration of becoming a teacher is an issue of the past now for sure.

**these two jobs do not amount to as many hours as a full-time job – I wouldn’t want to make my working life sound as stressful as some other people’s. I have huge respect for people working 40+ hour-weeks and still getting a lot done on the side.

  • Replied to comments on the past week’s posts. Aside from a more regular blogging schedule I’m trying to improve my replying game because I want to show you how much I appreciate your comments – because I really do. If only I didn’t get distracted so easily online. Repeat after me: multi-tasking is not the way to go.
  • Did a second photo shoot for these vegan and paleo Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups. I wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the first picture  – I promise they taste better than they look –  but stressed myself about getting the post up on Friday still. Otherwise it’d have resulted in me posting three days in a row – Saturday, Sunday and today – and that messes with my OCD traits.

2_Chocolate Caramel Cups

  • Worked on two (three?) blog post drafts. Inspiration is an ebb and flow varying weekly. I’d prefer a consistent stream of inspiration but we’ve got to work with what your brains churn out, right? Though maybe those more regular walks again will help …?
  • Cleaned my apartment. Oh, those spider webs. Pesky, pesky spider webs. They’re everywhere. And did I mention I have slight arachnophobia? Fun times. Only not.
  • Washed my dad’s car. Questions coming up: 1. Who buys a silver-coloured car i.e. one that ? It’ll look dirty again in no time. 2. How many nooks and crannies attracting and collecting dirt does a car have? 1. Answer: people who prefer function over appearance. 2. Too many. Way too many. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job in making the car look more presentable again which – not quite altruistic, are we? – will benefit me, too, when I use it.
  • Painted my nails. For some reason I’d been putting this off because it seemed to take too much time (yes, I know: really??) but I’m happy I did. Colourful nails brighten my days.

Nails_Essie

  • Went on several walks. The past weeks’ nasty weather kept me mostly inside but recent almost spring-like days have provided excellent conditions for getting my daily dose of fresh air in. Mood change for the better? Check.
  • Survived an almost-attack of three geese on one of said walks yesterday. No, it’s not as funny as it sounds. They can be aggressive when they feel threatened and trying to walk past them in a few metres distance is enough. My legs felt like jello for a few minutes and I hope no neighbor heard my high-pitched scream. Actually, I wouldn’t have minded the geese’s owner to hear it so he’d finally fix his fence for good.
  • Kept up my “workout” routine which honestly is just a 25-minute-circuit without any jumps [does anybody else avoid those in at-home workouts?] but did take break from it on Monday. If you’re feeling unwell there’s no sense in pushing yourself and working out. Not at all. Mental progress is progress still.

And with that It’s a wrap as they say though having worked at Subway I should probably say: it’s a sub! No charge for extra tomatoes and cucumbers today.

Have a great start to your fresh new week!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Reading in an amazing new book I just started.

 

Stay in touch!

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

How do you combat feeling stressed about keeping a blogging routine up? Or is it just me worrying unnecccessarily?

Random question: what colour is your car?

 

 

 

Good good links #128

I’m a German girl, lost in a football world. <- sung to the tunes of this song. If you’re in a funky mood watch this video – I’d actually never seen it before searching it this very second – for a guaranteed laughter.

Onto the meaning of this, though, I contemplated if there was any specific way to open a post on Super Bowl Sunday [I’m still none the wiser]. Then, however, I have the excuse of living overseas and lacking any knowledge of football [or any kind of sports rules] and get excused, yes? If you’re browsing around today I guess you’re not watching it, either, or are waiting for kickoff.  There have been many great posts around the web again so waiting  clearly won’t get boring. The food offered will probably help, too. For any of you worried about that this could make you feel better :).

Super Bowl or not: enjoy your Sunday!


Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

It all matters. via Alexandra Franzen

Don’t ever think you couldn’t make a difference in somebody else’s life.

When you don’t fit the body image mold via Hungry for Balance

Is it possible to protect children from comments hurting their body image and raise them with a positive outlook on themselves in today’s society? A post that touches on many interesting aspects of the body image conversaion.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

9 Little Hacks That’ll Turn Your Crappy Day Into A Happy One via Huffington Post

You’re only allowed to call a day truly crappy if none of these helped.

I Went on the “Gilmore Girls Diet”—and I Lost Two Pounds via Marie Claire

Likely not intended this way the article serves as proof for the intuitive eating principles [i.e.: eat whatever you crave, no good or bad labeling and you’ll find balance naturally.]

How I Knew When I Was at My Natural Weight via Healthy Hits The Spot

The size of your clothes doesn’t tell you. “At your natural weight, you feel natural. You feel normal with food. You feel healed.”

How to Get Back on Track After Overeating via Ambitious Kitchen

With a title like that I was skeptical of what this post would entail but Monique encourages a very gentle way to feel better again after going overboard a  little.

How To Spend Less Time On Your Phone And More Time On Becoming Successful via Career Girl Daily

Ignoring the advertising parts this post offers some good ideas on how to stay focused and not get distracted by your  phone.

 

 

Health

If you crave this, your body is lacking that via Love, Health and Home

No more guessing around about when you want to eat all the cheese and ways to even out any deficiencies we might be dealing with.

 

Blogging

8 Ways to Deal with Social Media Trolls via The SITS Girls

Avoiding them is nearly impossible but these are some great ways to handle the trolls – I especially like #5, 7 and 8.

7 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic via Thirteen Thoughts

Reminders that are worth repeating time and time again.

5 Ways to Find Blogging Inspiration via Foodiecology

Where to look on those days when inspiration doesn’t strike  naturally.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs]

If you’re living in the US and like good food you shouldn’t miss these news. Colour me jealous.

Good good [food]

Chocolate Cashew Butter Swirled Candy Cups {Paleo & Vegan} via Paleo Running Momma

Is cashew + chocolate the new combination giving the latter + PB a r un for its money? Either way, these candies look dangerously delicious.

Vegan Conversation Hearts via Mayhem in the Kitchen

Would it be super obnoxious if my comment on these ended with: <3 <3 ?!

Vegan BBQ Wings via Katalyst Health

Just how real do they look?! I’ve never had actual wings but would happily join any Superbowl party for these alone.

Mushroom Bourguignon via The Iron You

If an omnivore attests a vegetarian dish its delicious heartiness you know it’s good. Mmmh. meaty mushrooms.

Savory Moroccan Spiced Oatmeal via Dietitan Jess

I’m a huge fan of savoury oats [for breakfast, that is] and this recipe is packed with interesting flavours.

Sweet Potato Noodles with Basil Cheese Sauce via In It 4 the Long Run

Not your average “noodles” but rather an upscale grain-free dish of cheesy deliciousness.

 

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Going on two short walks. Fresh air never fails to brighten my mood.

 

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Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups [vegan & paleo]

Rich dark chocolate encloses a layer of slightly sweet coconut crumbles mingling with naturally sweet date caramel. An easy and quick to prepare treat suitable for vegans, gluten-free and paleo eaters alike – there’s a refined sugar-free option, too.

Another chocolate creation already again? Why, yes. Valentine’s Day is around the corner after all so you can never have enough chocolate on hand. Though if you’re like me – or any other normal human – you don’t need a special occasion to eat chocolate. Its existence is reason enough to eat it. In fact, I don’t care much about Valentine’s Day. If you love somebody you shouldn’t need a special day dedicated to prooving just that. I’d much prefer to be surprised rather than either well, not surprised as it’s a given on that date or disappointed if my significant other forgot about Valentine’s Day while every other lady was showered with treats. A sweet letter, homecooked dinner or any other little treat saying “I love you” throughout the year would make feel much more loved. Bonus points if that surprise involves chocolate.

Chocolate Caramel Cups_6

Okay, onto the star of this post now. After trying date caramel for the first time here it made my mind spin for other uses of it. The same goes for my rediscovery of coconut butter. When I saw the cutest silicone molds at a store the decision was pretty much made. Side note: I’m awful at resisting cute kitchen accessoires, plates, towels/you name it. At least I used them right away …? It’s my excuse to postpone working on this bad habit. Don’t judge.

What these Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups are? Naturally sweet date caramel layered with crumbly coconut filling for a tropical touch enrobed in deep dark chocolate. They are the perfect balance of sweetness with some crunch from the coconut leaving you satisfied without the sugar shock. A no-fuss little treat made in almost no time.

Chocolate Caramel Cups_8_

The recipe below yields three chocolate caramel cups – perfect for savouring all by yourself sharing with your valentine?! – but is easily doubled or tripled for a larger get-together. Many of my recipes result in small batches as I’ve found this to be a rarity. A large yield is awesome if you’re feeding a crowd but I’d personally would rather double a recipe than eat one and the same thing for a week. More room for further experimentation … mmmh.

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups

  • 1/4 batch of this date caramel
  • 1 1/4 oz/35 g of dark chocolate  [unsweetened for a sugar-free version]
  • 1 1/2 tbsps coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1-2 tsps agave (adjust to taste)
  1. Melt the coconut butter.
  2. Stir in the agave sirup, adjusting the sweetness to your preference. Mix in the shredded coconut.
  3. Melt dark chocolate.
  4. Add a teaspoon of melted chocolate on the bottom of each cupcake liner. Spread well. Let the chocolate harden in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Place a generous teaspoon of date caramel on top of the chocolate and pat down to even it out.
  6. Add a teaspoon of coconut filling on top and smoothen out as good as you can. No need for perfection here.
    Finish off with enough melted chocolate to completely cover the filling. Let harden in the fridge again before serving.

 

Chocolate Coconut Caramel Cups_10

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Getting a little walking in right in the morning. No day can feel completely bad if you start it with a bit of movement and fresh air.

 

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Do you prefer recipes yielding larger or smaller batches?

What are you thoughts on Valentine’s Day?

 

Week in review: The Self-Care Edition

Hi there, February! Don’t you like it when Monday doesn’t just start the week but month, too? No? Just me?

Either way, Monday once again marks the time to get listing and link up with Meg again. Admitting this afterThurday’s post is ironical but I didn’t feel iike I’d done a lot during the past week. Taking my own advice, though, I reevaluated my days and noticed that long work days were balanced by lots of self-care.

Week in review

Starting with one thing I didn’t do:  celebrate my birthday [yet*] – say what?? Instead, however, I had an amazing first: I finally met the latest addition to our family on my birthday. I happened to have the day off from work and my sister expected other visitor the next day so it worked a charm. I’m not resentful about forgoing a celebration or even just a dinner out as meeting my nephew was the best gift. If I was excited about becoming an aunt last week I’m completely obsessed now. Yes, this is what every aunt or mum will say but he’s so flipping cute. [Insert endless gushing about tiny baby hands and awwwr here.]

And here’s where I owe you a sorry: I won’t post any of them. Trust me, I would be happy to share but I also respect the privacy of my sister and especially her little one. I hope all of you will understand.

*I intend on celebrating later this year when more friends are around. January is never a good month to gather people from all over the country.

That aside I …

Published three blog posts again. One of them related to the very topic the Week in Review is centered around and I was happy to see so many of you shared their thoughts and/or could relate.

Set up a flower bouquet my mum gave me on my birthday. It’s probably no secret I like flowers even though I’m bad at keeping them. Honestl, they’re better off outside in the wild than sharing the same four walls with me …

Birthday flowers

Went on a walk with my dad. This deserves its spot in here for numerous reasons one of them being it only happens once in a blue moon. He actually asked me to join very randomly when he saw me heading out yesterday and we had a good conversation, too. All of this only makes sense when I let you in on the fact that we don’t have the best relationship.

Remembered to up my moisturizing game. No ewwws here. The story behind this is that I can get pretty bad about using lotion because I’m a bit iffy after a few of my clothes were ruined by not so nice greasy stains. My legs and feet don’t like this so I’m trying to get back into the habit. It helps when your lotion smells like candy.

Lotion_Sweet Apple Pie Hugs

Freed up space on my laptop by deleting old pictures. Fellow bloggers will probably know the pain of taking millions of pictures of one and the same thing and forgetting to delete them. It’s okay for a while but then your computer starts acting up …. Or is this just mine?

Baked? no-baked? Prepared lactation bites for my sister. Basically all kinds of nutritious ingredients (various grains, cooked brown rice, coconut, …) rolled into balls And yes, they’re called balls in the original recipe but since a) that’s not blog-appropriate ;) and b) I tinkered around with it to create my own recipe I changed it here. Confession: I was skeptical of how well these would turn out as they tasted very healthy at first. Low and behold, though, they got my sister’s sign of approval so if she asks for another batch I’ll share the recipe. Not just for any pregnant or breast-feeding women but anybody needing a healthy nutrient-dense snack. [No visual proof here as I prepared them at night and they looked like raw meat balls in the only picture I snapped.]

While I didn’t celebrate my birthday my mum treated myself to a little health food store haul as a small birthday gift. She knows me well. I went very basic but with some items I can’t find where I live: puffed buckwheat, oat bran, coconut flour and – ! – Chocolate Chili Yogi Tea. Seriously, if you can find this where you live: buy it! I used to be a huge fan of their Chocolate tea, switched to the Sweet Chili variety – you’re not surprised by this one, are you? – and then discovered this amazing blend. It’s so good. Sadly also so expensive but worth it as a treat.

Food haul_Schoko Chili-Tee_yogi tea

Took a rest day. I told you I’m only working out very lightly with workout videos but one day this past week my mind said yes, my legs no. So no it was. This is still hard when I feel like I’m not doing anything strenuous at all but it’s about healing my mind to develop a healthier attitude towards workouts in general.

Played a game of Yathzee with my parents yesterday and – won again. I have no explanation for this but I’m not complaining. It might have been due to the birthday bonus my dad granted me through throwing the dice an additional time when I’d had bad luck. Birthday week after all ;).

Happiness-inducing today: The current overall good atmosphere between me and my dad.

 

Stay in touch!

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
 Random question: how do you feel about posting pictures of babies or children? It’s the first time I had to handle this situation and I’m curious about others’ approach.

 

Good good links #127

Hello there, last day of January! That happened fast. In fact, too fast for me to do any kind of January goal post or a recap of what happened. Slow down, 2016!

Since I can’t convince the year to take it a little slower I will instead offer you a few ideas for a nice afternoon reading relaxation. Know the limits of what you can do, right?! No matter which day you’re reading this: I hope it’s a good one in your life.

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

How We Train Our Brains to Hate Our Bodies by Jessie Kneeland via Greatist

Is it possible to re-train our minds to see the true beauty others can see in us and value ourselves for achievements rather than appearance?

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

Treat Yourself Like a Toddler. via Ember Grey

Giving yourself the same love and care you’d give a child is one of the best pieces of advice for everyday life.

5 Things To Remember When You’re Having A Bad Body Day via Peaceful Dumpling

These might not make the discomfort fade away in an instant but are great reminders nonetheless.

3 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen a “Thank You.” via Elephant Journal

Great ideas to give even more meaning to the two words all of us should say more often.

Always Late? 9 Tips for Overcoming Chronic Lateness. via Gretchen Rubin

Determining the ‘why’ behind this bad habit is key in finding solutions for a change.

10 Life Lessons That Can Only Be Learned Through Tough Times via Anastasia Amour

As much as we dislike struggles it’s so true these times are when we learn our biggest life lessons.

6 Simple Strategies for Being Happy Alone via Psychology Today

Even if we’re not truly alone these are some good ideas to develop a deeper relationship with ourselves.

12 Ways to Reduce Household Trash via Om Nom Herbivore

Reusable bags are a must for me and all of the other tips listed here are very clever, too.

 

Health

9 Practical Ways to Lower Your Sugar Intake via Oatmeal with a Fork

While I’m not against sugar I like to be mindful about how much I consume and these tricks will help with that.

 

 

Good good [food]

Whipped Marshmallow Cream via Floral Frosting

She had me at “fluffy clouds of melted marshmallow”. Who wouldn’t want to top everything with this?!

Almond Joy Almond Butter via Amy’s Healthy Baking

What happens when the craving for a popular candy bar turns into every blogger’s favourite spread – sugar-free, too.

Vegan Banana Creme Brulée via Feating on Fruit

… and there you already head over to Natalie’s site before I can even say more. Understandly so with a recipe title like that. 

Healthy Buddha Bowl Recipes via Fit Foodie Finds

It’s no secret food eaten from bowls is immediately more comforting and these dishes deliver all the colours and nutrients.

Broccoli Potato White Bean Soup via Healthy. Happy. Life

Creamy, packed with vegetables and beans: Simple and good good food for those [not-so?] cold winter days.

 

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Going for a short walk in the morning before a constant rain set in.

 

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