March & April 2017 Blog Goals & Report

March & April Blog Report

About 2 months ago, I shared my first ever blog report. In it, I told you guys how I was coming along with this “new” blog and some of the goals I had for the upcoming months. I’m here today to update again and set some more goals.

March started off strong. I had my plan all laid out and must say I stuck to it pretty well.. and then came April and everything went downhill. I had a plan to update with a new post every 4th day. Between writing and promoting the posts that I updated, I was busy! I definitely saw progress though.

Then in April, I didn’t follow the “post every 4th day” schedule I had intended. I missed posting 5 times that month, but still saw a good amount of engagement considering I had half the amount of posts.

March & April Blog Goals and Report

BY THE NUMBERS:

March’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 8 (+5)
# of comments: 127
# of sponsored posts: 1
# of views: 430 (+128)

April’s Numbers:
# of Posts: 4 (-4)
# of comments: 93
# of sponsored posts: 0
# of views: 306 (-124)

Blog Posts Worth Mentioning

In March, my daughter started attending a weight loss clinic. It has helped our entire family take a look at our choices and make healthier ones.

I attended a sponsored event at the Outlets of Little Rock with some fellow bloggers. Who wouldn’t love to get paid to drink Starbucks and shop?!

Then, in April I posted an informative article about the Fertility Awareness Method and how I use it as birth control.

And finally, I revealed my DIY Laundry Room Reveal using items from the Dollar Tree and Big Lots.

Social Media Followers:

I’m going to be honest here.. I’m a little bummed at the lack of progress across my social media platforms. In fact, I went backwards on some of these! I am mostly bummed about Instagram. I put a lot of effort into my Instagram, sharing some of the best images at the most ideal times, and LOST followers. Ugh!

Regarding Twitter: I used to follow everybody who followed me, but then realized I didn’t want to be spammed with blog links / sponsored content every time I went on there. It ultimately led me to using Twitter less and less because I just wasn’t interested in those who I was following and was no longer enjoying it. I cleaned up my list and “unfollowed” a lot of people which led to them unfollowing me also. I really have no problem with that as I’d rather have those who are truly interested in my content as followers and not those that are just there for a follow.

So, here is what my numbers looked like from the end of February until now.

YouTube: 1,024 / 1069 (+45)
Facebook: 1,141 / 1145 (+4)
Twitter: 759 / 741 (-18)
Instagram: 1,945 / 1935 (-10)
Pinterest: 793 / 794 (+1)

Total gain: 50

March & April Goal Check-Up

My goals were:

  • Post at least 6 times (each month)
    • FAIL. I was *this.close* to making this one.
  • Double my page views (from February)
    • FAIL. I was on track in March, but slacked off in April.
  • Get at least 60 comments (each month)
    • SUCCESS! I went beyond this goal.
  • Increase my social media following
    • SUCCESS! Even though I lost followers, my total amount increased, so I am considering this one a win.
  • Use Pinterest more
    • SUCCESS! I’m not sure if this will show on my next report, but I have been using pinterest more and more.

Additionally, I had a goal to create a media kit, and update my privacy policy and disclosure policy which I completed. All in all, I would say not too bad.

May & June Goals

I know we are already nearing the end of May, but humor me here.. These are the goals I have set for May and June.

  • Make my blog a priority! Life has been super busy in other areas and I haven’t set aside enough time to really do what I’ve wanted to with my blog. Now that some things are taken care of (I’m looking at you chicken coop!) I have more time to give to my blog.
  • Continue working on increasing social media following
  • Reach out to a few brands about collaborating
  • Network with other bloggers
  • Guest post on another blog

That about wraps it up. I can’t say I’m disappointed with my progress, especially given the effort I put into it, but I am hoping that May and June look a little better.

Curious what my blog report from January & February looked like? You can see it here.  

Mommy Med Spa Day – A Day Of Pampering and Pedicures

This post has been sponsored by Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa. All opinions are my own.
Mommy Med Spa Day

You guys want to know a little secret?

I love to be pampered.

Hello?! What girl doesn’t?

When Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa invited me and a few other bloggers to enjoy a day of pampering, I couldn’t say “Yes!” quick enough.

Single mom. Three kids. Need I say more? 

SingleMommyWarrior and AdukeSchulist
Fellow blogger and single mom, SingleMommyWarrior and I on our way to the clinic.

The Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa was the first day spa to open in Little Rock and just so happens to be owned and operated by the first aesthetician licensed in Little Rock, Arkansas, Mrs. Mahvash Kamran and her husband Jim. This clinic has been around since the beginning, so they legit know what they are doing.

Not only is it a day spa, they have a complete med spa side too. The med spa includes treatment performed by board certified doctor Bob Young, MD with the help of registered nurse, Sara Molsbee. Combined, they have over 30 years experience working in the med spa industry, making treatments safe and effective.

Med Spa Treatments

Long gone are the days when only those in their late 30s and beyond got med spa treatments. Med spas these days are geared towards men and women of all ages. Some of the treatments include Botox, Hydrafacials, Chemical Peels, Microneedling, and more.

These treatments erase signs of aging, skin damage, acne scars, and make your skin look and feel as fresh as it should.

Pampering Pedicures and a Med Spa Day

I’m counting down the days until I can schedule my Hydrafacial. The process involves shooting a blast of hydration and moisture into your skin all while simultaneously removing impurities within the skin.

Whether hyper-pigmentation, signs of aging, wrinkles, acne scars, or fine lines are your worry, the Rejuvenation Clinic med spa has a treatment that is just right for your needs.

Exclusive Product Lines

On top of the amazing treatments, they have some incredible product lines to choose from. Some of their product lines are exclusive to the Rejuvenation clinic like Ultraluxe. Ultraluxe is a vegan, non-toxic, natural line of skincare products. They have this amazing Eucalyptus Mud Wash that I highly recommend you try. They also have nourishing complexes like this Omega-3 Repair Complex.

Ultraluxe Omega-3 Repair Complex At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

Along with the Ultraluxe line, Rejuvenation Clinic carries other brands like Natura Bisse (only two spas in Little Rock carry this line), Eminence, and more. If you schedule a massage or facial, you even get a piece of chocolate from Eminence in your own, personal locker.

Chocolate - Yes Please
Chocolate? Yes, please!
Pedicure to Pamper my Feet

The day I went, I took advantage of the day spa side and got treated to a fabulous pedicure. Norma, my nail technician made me feel so comfortable and relaxed through the entire process. It was pure bliss.

Getting My Pedicure On At Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock

I picked out a deep pink color and am happy to say it is still going strong, even two weeks later! I have the cutest feet in town.

Pedicure Courtesy of Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa in Little Rock
Freshly painted nails and wearing my reusable pedicure sandals available for purchase at the clinic.
Gifts to Share

Now for the fun part… Mother’s Day is coming up and I wanted to invite all of you to give the gift of health and pampering. Rejuvenation Clinic and I have teamed up to share their goodness, in the form of a gift card, with one of you. It could be to your own mother, or just a friend in need. To enter in the drawing for a gift card to Rejuvenation Clinic, comment below with your answer to one of the following questions. Be sure to follow me on social media, because there are other opportunities to enter there:

Aduke Schulist on Facebook
@AdukeSchulist on Twitter
@AdukeSchulist on Instagram

How are you pampering your mother this year? 

Have you ever been to a day spa or med spa? If so, what service did you get?

Visit Rejuvenation Clinic Day Spa’s newly updated website and tell me which treatment you would like to get. 

Laundry Room Reveal – DIY Makeover

Laundry Room Reveal

Has it really been four months since I started my laundry room makeover? Yikes! I had intended on having it done a long time ago, but I guess life happened.

The good news is I have been working my booty off these last couple weeks and finished not only the laundry room, but I re-did my bathroom as well.

Today, I’m sharing the laundry room reveal. The bathroom reveal will come later, so keep an eye out for that.

If you remember, my plan was to get some baskets, paint the wall, get some art work, add a mirror and hooks and figure out a new shoe storage system. While I’m not 100% finished, I am done enough to call it for now.

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still need to figure out a new shoe cubby system and paint the trim, but otherwise it’s finished!

The Before

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before:

Laundry Room Before Makeover - Clutter

My laundry room just so happens to be the entry way to my house (or at least the one that EVERYBODY uses), so company seeing this when they first walked in was embarrassing. That is also the reason I wanted to do this room first.

Laundry Room Makeover - Before

It was a cluttered mess. There was no organization and a lot of things that just didn’t belong in there. The first step was to get rid of all the clutter and items that didn’t belong.

Messy Laundry Room - Before Makeover

I debated what color I wanted to paint it. I got the baskets first, so the color had to match the baskets. When I found the art work and hooks at Big Lots, the choice was made easier. I found the paint pre-tinted at Wal-mart.

The Cost

My budget was between $50-$75. The majority was to go towards obtaining baskets. I found those as Dollar Tree and purchased around 20.

Dollar Tree Baskets for Laundry Room

I found the hooks at Big Lots. They were $8 for a package of 3. I purchased two packages.

Anchor Hooks from Big Lots - Mud Room Entryway

The “Joy is Always Possible” sign also came from Big Lots and was around $10.

Joy is Always Possible - Laundry Room Artwork

The full budget breaks down as follows:

Baskets $20
Mirrors $10 ($5 each at Wal-Mart)
Hooks $16
Paint $20
Artwork $10

Total $76

I was slightly over budget, but that is okay because I used the extra paint to do the bathroom. I suppose you could technically take off half the cost of paint making me under budget.

The Laundry Room Reveal

I’m super pleased with how well it turned out. Remember, I still have to finish the trim, so imagine that done in white. I also want to find or build a new shoe cubby that is shorter than the current one. It will sit right under the mirrors and probably be painted white as well.

Laundry Room and Mud Room Combo DIY Makeover

The shelves are now organized and contain the essentials, as well as a few “extras”. My clutter is neatly contained and not falling out of every nook and cranny.

Laundry Room Reveal - DIY Makeover

I am ready for guests to arrive now and be greeted with this sight instead of the horror that was the before.

Organized and Decluttered Laundry Room Makeover

Does your laundry room look like my before or after? 

10 Free Money Management Printables

10 Free Money Management Printables

Raise your hand if you live debt-free…

Notice me over here in the corner with my hand hidden away behind my back. Yeah, that’s right. I have debt.

Student loans make up about 99% of my debt, but creditors don’t care. Debt is debt to them. Because I have plans for my future, I’ve been working on getting rid of my debt. I’ve paid off half of my non-student loan debt in the last year. I credit a majority of that to budgeting.

I use google sheets for my bill and expense tracking. It’s easy, convenient, and I can do it on the go, anywhere, anytime. Previously, I used a printable binder. Both have their advantages. I still store receipts and such in a binder, but as far as tracking expenses and managing bills, I do it online.

If online isn’t your thing, then you are in luck. Here are 10 free money management printables to add to your budget binder.

Free Money Management Printables to Help You Budget

1. Budget Binder Cover (+ more)

You need a binder, right? Abby from Just A Girl And Her Blog has a great budget binder cover (and some filler sheets too). There are plenty of other cover options available, but I’m a big fan of this one. Find one that you like to make using it fun.

2. Budget Binder

Kelli breaks her binder down a little differently, but has everything you need to get started budgeting. Kelli even has a few extra pages available such as Christmas Gift Planner worksheet and an Event Planner Budget worksheet.

3. Password and Transaction Trackers

Included in this family binder is a debt tracking worksheet. I highly recommend adding one of these to your budget binder. Jenn has also created some printables to track passwords, and automatic transaction schedules.

4. Budget Templates

Frugal Fanatic has her budget templates available in a digital format. She offers these in a monthly or yearly package. She also has a 2017 budget binder available with bill tracking, calendars, and everything you need to get your financial future in order starting today.

5. Savings Plan

If saving is a part of your budget, check out this 52 week saving plan. All you have to do it store the money away and tick off a box. It’s super simple, yet will help you reach your goals. When you finish this worksheet, you will have $1,378 dollars in savings.

6. Bill Pay Worksheet

This customizable bill pay worksheet allows you to input your bills before printing and helps you keep track of what has been paid. Just tick a box and never stress over whether or not you paid a bill.

7. Printable Cash Envelope

Queen of Free has a sweet bonus with her monthly budget and expenditure printables. She also offers a printable cash envelope. These envelopes have great quotes on them to inspire us to be better stewards of our money.

8. Debt Snowball

If you are just starting your debt snowball, this worksheet is a must. She also has a cute debt thermometer allowing you to see a visual of your debt being paid off. Simply color in the thermometer as you pay off more and more debt and watch as things start heating up.

9. Weekly Ledger

This one is one of my favorite budget binders. It’s beautifully designed, making budgeting less of a chore. I also like this one because Marie has included a weekly ledger which helped keep me on track with those impulse purchases.

10. Meal Planning Printable

Technically not a budget sheet, but without a meal plan, you will find yourself spending more than needed. I’ve been using a weekly or monthly menu plan for my family for years and it helps me cut a lot of costs in the kitchen. There is a monthly or weekly meal planning printable available to help make your dollars stretch.

What are some ways that you make budgeting fun? 

Places to Take Pictures in White County Arkansas

Places to Take Pictures in White County Arkansas

Next to lighting, location is the second most important part of photography. One secret most photographers don’t want to share is the location where they take pictures. Well, I’m letting out some of my secrets today. Why? Simple. There is more to a gorgeous picture than just a fun location.

It’s all about how you work your equipment.

Here are some of my top picks for pics in White County, Arkansas:

Judsonia, Arkansas

Judsonia Bridge
– Located in Judsonia, Arkansas near the Judsonia Post Office, this bridge is open to traffic so keep that in mind when planning your shoot. This is a pretty popular place for family portraits in Judsonia.

Family Portraits Judsonia Bridge White County Arkansas Friendly Acres Park in Judsonia Arkansas Photography by Aduke Schulist

Judsonia Friendly Acres Park
Friendly Acres Park is a quaint little park located off of Missile Base Road in Judsonia. There are geese present year-round, play ground equipment for the kids, a lake, and a firework show every 4th of July, giving you plenty of options to photograph.

Friendly Acres Park in Judsonia Arkansas Photography by Aduke Schulist

Gillam Farms
Gillam Farms is a fruit and produce farm open year-round. This is a great place for bridals, or to practice some macro photography with all the greenery.

Searcy, Arkansas

Searcy Downtown Courthouse Square
– The courthouse itself is gorgeous. At night time, the newly updated Rialto in all its lighted glory is a beautiful capture. There are many textured walls, doorways, and hidden spaces to explore around the downtown Searcy area.

Riverside Park
– Nestled near the Little Red River in Searcy, this park features walking trails, caves, cliffs, and greenery making it a great place for Senior pictures or family portraits.

Riverside Park in Searcy Arkansas Photography by Aduke Schulist

Harding University
Harding University is gorgeous year-round. There is plenty of shade and short paths loaded with flowers. Christmas lights during the Winter make it a great place to shoot at night.

Berryhill Bike Trail
– Paved trails make this a great place for exploring the surrounding nature. There is a small bridge about half a mile north of Berryhill Park on the path perfect for family portraits.

Pioneer Village
– This is another location popular among photographers. The Pioneer Village is a small historical site filled with 19th century pieces including architecture, farm equipment, and more.

Ink-PioneerVillage

Smyrna Church
– Smyrna Church, located off of Hwy 36 is another historical piece in Searcy. This church is known as being the oldest church in Arkansas and is a great place to capture sunsets, portraits, or the building itself.

Searcy Art Gallery
– The Searcy Art Gallery, located in the historic Black House is a beautiful place for bridals, architecture, or just plain ole’ art.

Bald Knob, Arkansas:

Wildlife Refuge Bald Knob
– The Bald Knob Wildlife Refuge sits on over 15,000 acres and is a favorite amongst birders. Migrating birds, or static insects make great captures here.

Downtown Courtyard Bald Knob
– The Downtown Bald Knob Courtyard has been updated within the past few years and offers some similar details as the Searcy downtown area with textured walls, hidden nooks, and is perfect for senior pictures.

Downtown Bald Knob Photography by Aduke Schulist

Bald Knob Lake
– This is one of my favorites for sunsets. The water is also perfect for wading into to capture portraits.

Bald Knob Lake in Bald Knob Arkansas Photography by Aduke Schulist

Bald Knob Train Depot
– If trains are your thing, then add this to your must-see list. The train depot has plenty to photograph indoors or outdoors and it just a short walk from the downtown courtyard.

Pangburn, Arkansas

The Wedding Barn
– The Wedding Barn is a barn and event center located about 25 miles from Searcy. It sits atop a mountain, making it great for landscape, or bridal portraits.

So, there you have it. Some of my favorite places to take pictures in White County, Arkansas. What one would be your favorite place to take pictures?

*Please keep in mind that permission must be granted in order to utilize some of these locations.