Cutest Target Products (Plus a $200 Target Giveaway!)

Target is the store that I go into for shampoo and then end up walking out with five things I didn’t even know I needed. Maybe that makes me a “basic bitch” or whatever, but seriously, this store is amazing. I’ve featured a few of my recent target finds in blog posts, like this oversized scarf and fold over boots, but I could easily go back and spend another $200 in a heartbeat.Target Wishlist

  1. Burke Slipper Chair – $159.99
  2. Boho Boutique Ceramic Cereal Bowl Set of 4 – $19.99
  3. Ceramic Stag Head – $5.99
  4. Tri-band 12 Piece Dinnerware Set – $24.99
  5. KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer – $349.99
  6. Oversized Plaid Scarf Multi-colored – $16.99
  7. Vintage Ballroom Deep Teal Rug – $199.99 to $1,299.99
  8. Mossimo Supply Co. Fold Over Boots – $34.99

So you can have the chance to take yourself on your own little Target shopping spree, I joined up with some other awesome bloggers to bring you guys a $200 Target gift card giveaway. I’m sure you guys wouldn’t mind some extra spending cash around the holidays, too. You can enter daily over the next two weeks and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media.

Target Giveaway

Co-hosts: Diary of a Southern Belle // Oddly Lovely // Always Dania // Krystal’s Kitsch // Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog // Bless Her Heart Y’all // WomanlyWoman.com // Southern Girl Ramblings // Thrifty and Frugal Living // Pink Cupcakes & Paper

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 12/2 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hearts and Bows Outfit

Hearts and Bows Outfit 1 Hearts and Bows Outfit 2 Hearts and Bows Outfit 3 Hearts and Bows Outfit 4 Hearts and Bows Outfit 6Hearts and Bows Outfit 5If it’s not clear yet, I’m a sucker for bows. They take a hairstyle from okay to super-adorable and make an outfit look more polished and complete. I typically wear them up with a bun like I did here, but I think it looks pretty darling in a very loose ponytail as well. Plus, they also look pretty fabulous around your neck like I wore my scarf in this outfit.

I recently scored these boots at Target. I’ve needed some new boots with wet weather coming, and normally I’m willing to spend a lot on them, but I just didn’t have a couple of hundred dollars laying around. Last week I went into Target for something like toothpaste and ended up walking out with these $30 boots. Even if they only last me this winter, they’re still totally worth it.

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Take My Reader Survey, Pretty Please?

Cat Portrait

Okay, so I know this post isn’t as fun as a wacky recipe like my bacon caramel popcorn or as interesting as awesome podcasts or as juicy as that time I found out 10 years later my ex cheated on me. That being said, I feel like it’s pretty darn important. I really want to get to know you guys a little better and make sure I’m making content that you really love and want to see.

I’d really, really, REALLY appreciate it if you took 3 minutes to fill out this short survey. It will genuinely influence the direction of this blog, and it would mean so much to me. Feel free to add any additional thoughts you have about ways I can make Oddly Lovely better (as well as what’s working for you, of course!).

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7 Reasons Why I Stop Reading Your Blog

7 Reasons Why I Stop Reading Your Blog

I truly love finding new blogs. I read a lot of them, and I specifically enjoy connecting with smaller or medium sized bloggers who I can form real relationships with. That being said, there are a lot of beginner mistakes bloggers make that turn people off their blog and can be easily avoided. I’m not going to go into my personal preferences, but instead focus on the widely agreed upon, less-than-best practices.

These are the big reasons why I don’t stick around when I land on a new blog and why I might stick around for a while and then leave:

You don’t have a strong blog design

This one isn’t rocket science. The moment I land on your site, I’m making assessments. Part of that assessment is “how professional and skilled this blogger,” and the big way I first determine that is the way your blog looks. #1, for heaven’s sake, implement a white background. Stop reading this post and go do that right now. If you need further evidence, think of all the bloggers who use white backgrounds: Cupcakes and Cashmere, A Beautiful Mess, and Love Taza, just to name a few. White immediately makes your blog look more clean and will help people take you seriously. If you don’t feel confident in your design capabilities (I certainly don’t in mine), either buy a template that comes with an installation or hire an amateur-professional. It’s easy and you’ll be blown away by how much better your blog looks.

Your photos are tiny or not consistently sized

This goes along with blog design, yet it seems even people with beautiful, professional looking sites fail to do this. Use big, beautiful photos, people! Download yourself a photo editing tool (I use Photoshop, but people swear by PicMonkey as the freebie option) and make sure your photos are consistently sized and sized large. I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say photos can make or break a blog. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or anything – Helene from Helene in Between and Sarah from Venus Trapped in Mars are both perfect examples of bloggers who aren’t trained photographers, but who still make their photography work for them. Follow their example.

You don’t have complete posts on your page and instead use the “Read More” feature

You know what I’m taking about, when instead of including the full posts on their homepage, a blogger just has the first paragraph and then a “read more” button. I know, I know, it gets you more pageviews, but you know what, it gets me to stop reading. Ain’t no one care enough about your blog when they first arrive to click through all those pages. I might do that if I’m really in love with your blog already, but I think you’re significantly less likely to entice new readers to stay if they can’t just mosey down your homepage and flip through all your most recent posts.

You have massive paragraphs

A good rule of thumb to follow in blogging: paragraphs should be no more than seven sentences, but ideally closer to five. In blog land, giant blocks of text just mean my eyes glaze over the words. I have been known to break this rule (such as in this very post), but you’re more likely to get viewers to actually read if the paragraphs are just bite-sized. Another tip is to break paragraphs up visually with frequent sub-headers (like in this post), photos, or even gifs.

You only share personal posts

I don’t mean you shouldn’t share personal anecdotes and stories, I mean if every post is about what’s going on in your life, I’m just not going to care that much. Sometimes bloggers are incredible at talking about themselves and the simple events of their lives, but most of the time, I also want recipes, DIY projects, movie/book/TV recommendations, etc. Personally, I think a healthy mix is good. Tutorial and recommendation posts are also more likely to get shares on social platforms like Pinterest and thus increase your readers. That being said, the occasional personal post helps us get to know and bond with you.

You don’t respond to my comments (or you don’t use a program that tells me when you do)

Look, unless you’re a rockstar blogger, I expect to form some kind of a relationship if I’m following and commenting on your posts religiously. Frankly, it kind of hurts my feelings if I spend time writing a super thoughtful comment and you can’t even be troubled to respond. It’s like, girl, I know you only got five comments on this post, you definitely have two minutes to respond and connect with me. And on that note, some of you guys are using programs that don’t email me to tell me when you respond! That means all that time you’ve put into thoughtful responses to my comments, I have no idea you even tried. WordPress.Org uses a stupid comment system that does that. I highly recommend switching to Disqus for the sole reason your readers will actually be informed that you commented back.

You’re not on Twitter

It may seem silly, but Twitter is where the bloggerverse goes to connect with each other. We follow each other’s blogs for the essays, but we follow each other on Twitter for the goofy one-on-one conversations and connections. Those are the places we form the real relationships – by connecting in chats, sharing each other’s content, and just checking in on each other. If you want to form real, lasting relationships, Twitter is a place you need to be.

Do you agree or disagree with any of my reasons? What turns you off a blog?

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21 Beauty Hacks That Actually Work

21 Beauty HacksNo one really taught me how to wear makeup. Both my mom and my stepmom are kind of tomboy-ish, and while I’ve seen them both rock lipstick at weddings and big events, they weren’t about to teach me the ins-and-outs of creating an even complexion. When I was 13 and starting to express an interest, my mom took me to the Clinique counter at the mall and had them give me advice. I think I walked away with a nice concealer and mascara (which, interestingly, is still my favorite mascara to this day).

The internet has really changed all of that. It’s so easy for teenage girls to watch Youtube video after video, getting the low down on advice and products. There are so many 16 year olds that blow my meager skills out of the water. Thanks to the plethora of makeup and beauty advice everywhere online, I’ve found a number of really awesome tips over the years, which I think would be worth sharing with those of you who fall more into my “makeup amateur” side of the scale.

Plus, don’t forget these previous posts about how to pick a flattering lipstick shade, five tricks to tame frizz, and four tips to make lipstick stay all day.

What beauty hacks do you swear by?

Face Makeup Hacks

  1. Before applying, wipe mascara clumps from the wand by brushing it on the back of your hand.
  2. After you finish applying your makeup in the morning, use the new lighting in the car to fix anything you missed.
  3. If your foundation is too heavy, mix it with moisturizer before applying.
  4. Pick a natural blush shade by matching it to your lip color.
  5. Apply face powder in a downward motion to smooth down facial hairs.
  6. Look more awake by lining the lower rims of your eyes with a flesh colored liner and dappling a little light eyeshadow in the inner corners.

Skincare Hacks

  1. Keep face wipes next to your bed for the nights you’re too exhausted (or drunk) to bother with washing your face.
  2. Care for dry and cracked feet by smothering them in lotion, covering with socks, and heading to bed for the night.
  3. Exfoliate skin and apply a face mask at least once a week.
  4. If you want healthy and bright skin, drink water. A lot of water. It’s really that simple.

Nail Hacks

  1. Submerge your recently polished nails in very cold water for two minutes to set the polish and decrease the likelihood it will get nicked.
  2. When painting your nails, start with the pinky and move towards the thumb to avoid dragging your hand across wet nails.
  3. Paint the nails on your dominant hand first, so you don’t end up using your weaker hand with we nails.
  4. Instead of shaking your nail polish bottles (which produces bubbles), roll it between the palm of your hands to mix it.

Hair and Shaving Hacks

  1. Run out of shaving cream? Use conditioner instead.
  2. Use dry shampoo for 2nd and 3rd day hair. Just do it.
  3. Stand in a hot shower for at least five minutes before shaving your legs.

Lipstick Hacks

  1. Make lipstick last by dusting it lightly with translucent powder after applying.
  2. Apply concealer around your lips to keep lipstick from bleeding.
  3. Keep lipstick off your teeth after applying lipstick by sticking your finger straight into your mouth and pulling it out.

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Easy Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

Frozen Breakfast SandwichesFrozen Breakfast SandwichesOn weekdays, breakfast is not really a phenomenon in my house. Reg leaves for work at 7am, and I don’t think he has more than a cup of coffee before lunch. I start work at 9am, but I wait until I’m in the office to make some oatmeal or munch on a breakfast bar. It’s usually a lackluster affair, which is ridiculous since breakfast “is the most important meal of the day” and all that. Since our biggest constraint is time, I whipped up these easy frozen breakfast sandwiches that I can prepare ahead of time for a grab-and-go morning meal throughout the week.

What do you eat for breakfast? Do you take your time or do you grab something as you run out the door?

Egg Muffin Sandwich

Easy Frozen Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 5 English muffins
  • 5 slices of bacon or 10 breakfast sausages (or a mix of the two like I did)
  • 5 eggs
  • Cheddar cheese (sliced)
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Toast all 5 English muffins as you're working on the other steps. If you're using sausages, slice open the casings and mold 2 breakfast sausages together to form a patty. Then, put your sausage patties and/or your bacon on the stove under medium heat until cooled through.
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put a pan under medium-low heat and melt a pat of butter. Then, using either a cookie cutter or the outside of a canning jar top, put approximately one scrambled egg inside and let it cook until the bottom is hard and turning brown. Flip the egg over, including the cookie cutter or top, and cook the other side. Remove from the stove and, if necessary, pop the egg out of the cookie-cutter or top. Repeat until all the eggs have been cooked into circles.
  3. Then, just assemble! Put each egg inside an English muffin and top with the slices of cheddar cheese and the bacon/sausage. Put the tops on and wrap each egg sandwich in a square of tinfoil. Put all of the encased sandwiches into a large Ziplock bag or tupperware.
  4. When you're ready to re-heat in the morning, remove tinfoil from sandwich. Get a paper towel, dousing it in water and then squeezing out any excess. Carefully wrap the frozen sandwich entirely in the wet paper towel, then microwave it for approximately 2 minutes. Remove the sandwich, unwrap and discard the paper towel, and enjoy!
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*Blogger’s Note: I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago before I made it my mission to eat more healthy at breakfast. This breakfast is many things including fast, delicious, and filling, but it is not particularly healthy.

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