18 New Experiences in 2018

18 New Experiences in 2018

I want to do a lot of new things in 2018, but first… did you see my 2018 Goals and Word of the  Year post? If not, this post may not make as much sense. If you didn’t, my 2018 Word of the Year is NEW.

How cliche, right?

One part of being new means having NEW experiences. Here are 18 new experiences I want to do in 2018.

18 NEW Experiences in 2018 - A list of things to do by Aduke Schulist

Visit a place I’ve never been before
– I have a few in mind and they are all out of state.

Create a family vision board
– The kids will get involved with this. It’s always fun to see their ideas and goals for our family.

Hike a new trail
– There are some local ones I have never been to!

Hiking Trail at Boy Scout Camp
Hiking Trail at Boy Scout Camp

Try 18 new recipes
– This one should be easy enough!

Take a spin class
– I am dreading this one. Hard cycling isn’t a workout I enjoy. I’m more of a casual cycler.

Try aerial yoga
– I’m intrigued here, but so nervous! What if I fall on my face?!

Read a classic
– There are so many I’ve never read.

See a show
– Any recommendations?

Write a will
– Is this morbid? I really need to get this one done.

Plant some flowers
– My yard is so ugly. Plus, Abby’s 4-H Project is Gardening & Horticulture. This will help us both out.

Have a cookie party
– Mmm! Cookies! I love baking (and eating) cookies and love sharing them with other people, so I feel like this is a win all around and I’ll even get some new cookie recipes.

Learn meditation
– Guided meditation is probably where I will begin.

Get a massage
– I can feel the stress melting away now.

Massage Table at Rejuvenation Day Spa
Massage Table at Rejuvenation Day Spa

Start a compost pile
– It will probably end up as a chicken food pile.

Try a new restaurant
– A new BBQ place opened up here recently. It will be the first.

Paint something on canvas
– I’m thinking something holiday related so I don’t have to stare at it all year-long and critique my lack of artistic skills.

Climb a mountain
– A little mountain. There’s a mountain near here I’ve never climbed. It would totally count as my “Hike a new trail” goal too.

Play a new game with the family
– I really want to take the kids to an Escape Room, but will probably settle for a new board game. I’m not sure the younger ones would be able to get through an Escape Room.

What are some new experiences you want to have in 2018? Have you created a 2018 Bucket List? 

What We Can Learn From Elle Darby’s Embarrassment

What We Can Learn From Elle Darby’s Embarrassment

If you have spent any time on social media this week you may have come across a post where a blogger was publicly shamed on Facebook.

This blogger, Elle Darby*, pitched a popular hotel company for a free stay. The hotel owner then blasted her on Facebook, causing a lot of drama between bloggers and those who love to hate them.

*I am only naming her here because she has chosen to go public herself.

We have a lot to learn from this.

What We Can Learn From Elle Darby - Bloggers are Social Influencers


In her pitch, Elle boasted about her social media following and a big name company she recently worked with. She focused on herself and who she was. Only one sentence mentioned what she could do for the hotel she was pitching.

It does not appear she researched very much prior to pitching. She didn’t include any information about the brand in her pitch and in her youtube video discussing the issue she mentions them being a “pretty place to stay“. She wasn’t pitching them because she thought her audience would love them. She pitched them because it was a pretty place she came across.

This pitch could have gone to any hotel. There was nothing personal there. There was no attempt to show that she knew the company.

Abandoned Hotel in Bald Knob Arkansas

Overall, it wasn’t a bad pitch, but it was very generic and I think that is where she failed – and ultimately irritated the hotel owner as the first thing he mentioned was that she didn’t even call him by name.

Lesson: When pitching, get to know the brand and make it about what you can do for THEM. Have an idea besides just sharing their product.

The Public’s Perception of Bloggers

The average Joe doesn’t even know what a blogger is or what they actually do.

There are bloggers and then there are social media influencers. Not all bloggers are social media influencers, but most all influencers are bloggers. Social media influencers are typically built around a blog brand.

Anybody can blog. It takes a lot more work to be an influencer. As an influencer you aren’t just writing stuff on the internet. You are more than just a blogger.

Epic Blog Planner - Editorial Blogging Calendar

You are working with big name companies, constantly emailing brands and reps, signing contracts, advertising, creating content, taking pictures, editing them, writing posts, pushing your posts, and filing tax paperwork.

Yes, taxes.

You know who pays taxes? People who work.

Whether or not you like it, blogging is a job and a very viable one for many.

Lesson: The general public is ignorant as to what blogging really entails.

Bloggers Are Relatable

Have you ever seen a friend on social media asking for recommendations for a new X, Y, or Z?

That’s where a blogger (ahem Social Media Influencer) comes into play.

Here’s an example: I follow a dentist on social media. They have a decent amount of followers. But guess what? They aren’t advertising to their followers. The majority of businesses on social media are already doing business with the people who follow them. They are there to gain new customers.

A Bloggers Job - Social Influencer - Getting Botox

People ask for recommendations because they trust their peers.

As an influencer I am paid to work with brands just like this dentist. This gives me real life experience reviewing a service or product, like my Juvederm experience, that I can then choose to share with my audience. Not every review is going to be positive. Not every blogger is authentic either. As with any profession, you will have dishonest people. For the most part, bloggers are trustworthy.

Lesson: Bloggers have value. The average consumer is much more likely to visit a business that somebody they can relate to has visited and recommends. – Additionally, Every blog is comparable to an online magazine.. Companies will pay to advertise their product with good “magazines”.

Adults are Pathetic

After the hotel’s roasting of Elle went viral, bloggers showed up to defend her and her pitch. Some of them were then ripped apart. Some of them even stooped low enough to leave a 1 star review on a place of business they have never stopped foot in.

Full-grown adults were making fun of the looks of other people.

Full-grown adults calling people ridiculous names.

Full-grown adults were telling each other to commit suicide.

Yep, adults are pathetic.

Lesson: Adults are just as juvenile (maybe worse?) than high schoolers who love drama.

And finally, is there really such a thing as bad publicity? 

3 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Pictures

3 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Pictures

If you are like most people with a smart phone or camera, then you have hundreds, or thousands of pictures just sitting around on your devices. It’s time to do something with these!

3 Things You Should Be Doing With Your Pictures by Aduke Schulist

This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.
1. Organize Them

Before you do anything else, stop and organize your pictures. This includes deleting repeats (Who needs the same selfie 50 times?). Delete any out of focus images, or images of scenery that you can’t even begin to place. If a picture doesn’t bring back a memory for you, then let it go.

I recommend consistency with how you organize. I like to organize mine by year first, and then event or date. It is easier to find my daughter’s 9th Birthday if I have it labeled “Aybra’s 9th Birthday” instead of some obscure date.

2. Back Them Up

I learned a hard lesson when my first child was born. My computer system crashed and I lost every single image that I had taken of him. I was only able to recover images that I had sent to my family. Since then I’ve been backing up my images every few months.

Folder Organization for Picture Storage and Backup using Google Drive

Google Drive is a great place to start. You can back up your images and access them from any device. The above image shows a peek inside my 2017 folder on my Google Drive.

If you use Amazon Prime, they offer unlimited photo storage. External drives are great, but I am finding online storage to be best for me.

3. Print & Display Them

As a photographer one of my passions is urging people to print and display their family portraits. Sure, digital pictures that you can share with your friends online are great, but seeing a portrait of your family in your home brings those memories alive.

If your photographer doesn’t offer prints, then you are in luck. Photowall is an online printing company that will let you print any image for display.

Family Picture on Canvas by Photowall

Canvas is one popular option that displays well. I recently used Photowall to print one of my family’s portraits (that I took myself!). I was a little nervous of the DIY frame, but it was a breeze to put together and my family portrait looks great sitting atop our piano. (I need to get some strong muscles to help me move the piano so I can relocate the image and hang it above the piano!)

Family Picture on Canvas by Photowall Review by Aduke Schulist

Yes, it’s large, but Photowall makes printing big affordable. Photowall doesn’t stop at family portraits though.

Photowall Has It

Photowall has all the artwork needed to decorate your bedroom, living room, kitchen, office, or even business. They offer some super cute motifs whether you just want to add a little color with a small canvas, or spice up an entire room with some fun wall paper patterns.

Here are just 6 of the thousands of patterns offered:

Patterns offered by Photowall

All products are made to order, environmentally friendly, fire-retardant, and won’t fade in sunlight. They have a satisfaction guaranteed. So, what are you waiting for? Start printing your pictures now!

When is the last time your had family portraits printed?

Smile Fearlessly with Professional Teeth Whitening at Home

Smile Fearlessly with Professional Teeth Whitening at Home

Long before I was self conscious about my weight, I was self conscious about my smile.  My teeth weren’t as white as they could be, and I had these white spots (from fluorosis) on my two front teeth that were the cause of much embarrassment. I used to cover my mouth when I smiled or talked because I was scared of what other people would think. Now, I can Smile Fearlessly thanks to Smile Brilliant and their Professional Teeth Whitening kits.

Smile Fearlessly with Smile Brilliant a Review by Aduke Schulist

Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening Kit

Each kit comes with everything you need to get a beautiful smile without ever having to step foot outside.

Smile Brilliant Teeth Whitening Kit

Included in the Smile Brilliant kits are two trays with the paste needed to make impressions of your top and bottom teeth. Detailed instructions are provided to help you get the best impression possible. They even include an extra paste in case of a bad impression. Once your impressions are done, simply let them dry overnight and then ship them off in the provided envelope. They go to a lab where your custom dental trays will be made and shipped back to you.

Smile Brilliant Custom Made Dental Whitening TraysThis entire process took about a week. Not only is it quick, it costs about 70% less than the cost of custom dental trays from a dentist. The trays even arrive with a hard shell carrying case.

Once your trays arrive, the whitening can begin!

This was the most complicated part for me. My first application was messy and my gums were sensitive. It took a couple of uses to figure out what was causing my gums to be so sensitive. I wasn’t using a lot of the product, but the tiny amount that was getting on my gums hurt. I realized that my toothbrush bristles were too hard and my aggressive brushing was causing micro-abrasions on my gums, which were then super sensitive during whitening.

I switched to a toothbrush with soft bristles, brushed my teeth a little more gently, and was careful around my gum lines. The change was fabulous. Where before I could tolerate them only up to 45 minutes, I could now tolerate whitening my teeth for longer periods without any problems. Smile Brilliant recommends 45 minutes to 3 hours, but you may need to work your way up to those times.

Smile Brilliant Whitening Gel

When ordering your kit, you can choose between sensitive or non-sensitive. I recommend the sensitive kit option, even if you don’t have sensitive teeth. The sensitive kit comes with desensitizing gel which is used after the whitening process. This desensitizing gel really helped sooth my gums.

Before / After Photos
Smile before Smile Brilliant at Home Professional Teeth Whitening
Smile before beginning Smile Brilliant
Before Smile Brilliant Whitening System
Before using Smile Brilliant
Aduke Schulist Smile Brilliant Results after 1 Session
Smile Brilliant Results after 1 Whitening Session

Isn’t it amazing how much change is present after just ONE session? This stuff really gets in between my teeth – those places that most whitening systems can’t reach. Imagine what the full process is going to do to my teeth. I can’t wait to show you guys the full results.

In the meantime, you can enter to win your own Smile Brilliant kit below. Be sure to check out my social media channels for more:
Facebook: Aduke Schulist
Instagram: @AdukeSchulist
Twitter: @AdukeSchulist

Are you ready to Smile Fearlessly?

Head on over to Smile Brilliant to enter the giveaway. Entries without an email will not be valid as they need an email to contact the winner.

The Smile Brilliant giveaway is for a $149 Smile Brilliant credit. It is open for 1 week and open to USA, UK, Australia and Canadian residents.

Alternatively, use code adukeschulist15 when checking out for 15% off your order.

Happy Whitening!

Tooth Whitening Gel

NEW – 2018 Goals & Word of the Year

NEW – 2018 Goals & Word of the Year

I may be the most cliche person ever, but for 2018 I have decided my Word of the Year is going to be NEW.

Insert all that New Year, New Me stuff here… 

2018 Goals & Word of the Year by Aduke Schulist

This doesn’t mean I am going to go out and buy all new things, but instead it’s about changing some things to become new.

New habits
New jobs
New routines
New focuses
New resolutions and goals
New priorities
New spending habits
New hobbies
New responses
New experiences
New skills
New body and wardrobe
Even a new smile (stay tuned for how that is happening)

The new me is all about adding to what already works in my life. I don’t really think a person can change – we are who we are, but by adding to our assets, we can really become an improved person, and for me that New person is going to be a great one. One with new ideas, and new outcomes.

2018 Goals

With that in mind, I wanted to also share some of my 2018 goals. I like to make some fun ones and some serious ones, so there is a mix of both here

Fun Goals

Master the splits again – I used to be so flexible, and then I started aging, quit running/doing things that kept me flexible, and got fat. I don’t know if any of you guys are fat like me and into yoga, but let me tell you, it is hard to get your body into some poses when your stomach is in the way! One pose I can master is the splits.

Have beautiful hair – I tried out fun colors, and while I enjoyed them, they damaged my hair. I am working on getting my hair healthier and growing it even longer.

Aduke and Puppy Knight

Wear less t-shirts – My style is t-shirt and bootcut jeans. I tend to wear these because they are easy, but who am I kidding? A dress is just as easy to put on, or cute skinny jeans with a proper blouse.

Practice the Piano more – We were blessed with a piano during the Summer and I started online piano lessons. I have always wanted to learn, so it’s like a dream coming true. I have already learned how to play a few hymns and basic songs, but I want to get better.

Career-ish Goals

Book More Photography Clients – Since venturing into the photography business, I have had very few clients. A part of this is because I don’t advertise myself enough. I’ve already begun booking clients for the new year, so this 2018 goal is off to a great start already.

Family Portrait Photo Session by Aduke Schulist
Recent Family Portrait Session

Meet more Blogger friends – I have so many blogger friends that I adore chatting with online, but have never met in person. I am making it a goal to get out there and meet more blogger friends – and who knows, I may finally attend my first blog convention.

Beautify my Instagram Feed – I always thought I would NOT be the person who has a beautiful Instagram feed, but the more I add styled photos, the more I love it. Follow me @AdukeSchulist to see my Instagram feed become beautiful.

AdukeSchulist Instagram Feed December 2017

Have you started thinking about your Word of the Year or 2018 goals?
Can you do the splits?