cancer, breast cancer, breast cancer survival, pink fortitude, coconut head, breast cancer awareness products, pink ribbon products, breast cancer blog, home and family blog, self esteem, inspiration for cancer survivors, holly bertone blog, holly bertone book
I’ve been trying to step up my Instagram style game. I didn’t realize how much fun Instagram actually is! Starting today, I will take one day each month and share some Instagram highlights. This month I’m sharing some October style.
You can click on each of the pictures to take you over to the Instagram picture if you wish to like or comment (no covert hints here – nope!).
I’ll start with the official uniform of the 2014 mom…. cardigan, scarf, leggings, and boots. Hello fashionable and comfy!
Tretorn Wellies keep my feet warm and dry in the October rain.
I tried this layering look – long cardigan, white blouse, and yellow vest-blouse, along with leopard print leggings and riding boots.
Last but not least, Hubby and I attended a Gala to support the Breast Cancer Center at INOVA Hospital. How handsome is my Hubby!
Stay tuned for next month… or if you want to catch it live, be sure to follow me on Instagram!
There has been a lot of buzz lately about Hootsuite as the “It-Tool” for social media and bloggers. There seems to be a great mystery around how to upload bulk messages to post to Twitter and other social media accounts. This step-by-step tutorial will look behind the curtain and demystify the confusion.
DISCLAIMER ALERT – I always cringe a little when I decide to write a post on blogging or social media. I’m not an expert. I’m new-ish and small (in comparison) and growing every day. I don’t want anyone to think, “why should I listen to her” or “who does she think she is giving me advice?” It’s not like that at all. I do know that I try and learn something new every week, and I still struggle to put it all together. So today I’m sharing what I learned about uploading bulk messages, because it was always such a mystery for me, and I didn’t find a lot of tutorials out there about it.
There are a few steps involved, but they are easy, and once you get the hang of it, it won’t be as intimidating as it seems at first. Right now, I use Hootsuite only for Twitter, but I will be exploring their enhanced functionality very soon.
Before we get into the tutorial, first, you need to create a plan. What do you want to bulk upload? For me, I bulk upload inspirational quotes and book promotions.
Create Your Spreadsheet Template
1. Open a blank xls document.
2. Enter the date and time in Column A, the message in Column B, and the link (optional) in Column C. The date format should look like 10/09/2014 and the time format should look like 16:30. Use ALT-ENTER on your keyboard to get the time to go directly below the date in the same cell.
3. If you have multiple categories for your bulk uploads, separate them out into your categories.
4. Note – you cannot upload two messages with the same time.
5. Keep this as your working spreadsheet. You will want to save this as your template, and then copy over to Google docs.
Hootsuite Upload Tutorial
1. Open Google Drive in your Google Apps.
2. Click on CREATE and then SPREADSHEET. Note – once you have a working spreadsheet in your Google docs, you can reuse it each time instead of creating a new one.
3. Copy and paste from your xls template the two or three columns into the Google docs spreadsheet.
4. Click on FILE and DOWNLOAD AS and COMMA SEPARATED VALUES (csv).
9. At the bottom of the menu, click on BILK UPLOAD.
10. Click on BROWSE to open up your file.
11. You will want to use your DOWNLOADS folder. You may have to click on DATE MODIFIED to order your files in date order so you know which one was most recent. It should show up as UNTITLED. Click on the file.
12. Click on SUBMIT.
Like I said, it’s a lot of steps, but after you do it a few times, it gets much easier. Keep reading for Hootsuite’s rules, and also what to do if you receive error messages.
Follow Up Logistics
Once I upload, I immediately go back to the template spreadsheet and update the dates and times for the next upload. Since you can’t have duplicate messages, I get them queued up to upload for the next time. I try and follow Twitter’s best practices and schedule my tweets for Monday through Friday.
Format and Rules
According to and copied from Hootsuite, these are the Format and Rules:
Column 1: Date and time. The accepted DATE format is: mm/dd/yyyy hh:mm or dd/mm/yyyy hh:mm Be sure to identify which format you are using above.
Column 2: Your message. For Twitter there is a limit of 140 characters, including the URL (which reserves at most 23 characters)
Column 3: URL (optional): The full URL
Times must be set in the future (at least 10 minutes from upload time).
Posting times should end in either a 5 or a 0, i.e. 10:45 or 10:50.
Define only one message per time slot.
Duplicate messages are not allowed.
There is a maximum of 350 scheduled messages across all social networks.
How to Fix Errors
The great part about errors in your upload, is that Hootsuite will tell you exactly what line the error is on, and what needs to be fixed. Don’t worry if several come up. Just go back to the Google docs spreadsheet, fix the errors, and the re-save and follow the steps again.
Connect and Share
What about you? Do you use Hootsuite? Do you use the bulk upload functionality? What do you use it for?
Love, hugs, and learning functionality in Hootsuite is a… um… hoot!
You are on countdown to host your epic Halloween party, but what about your epic playlist of Haunted tunes to rock out the night?
I received a lot of fun feedback from the playlist I put together for our Patriot’s Palooza party, I thought I would share the Halloween playlist we are playing at our party. A successful Halloween party is all about setting the scene. It needs to be dark and spooky, and the music needs to match the mood. We tried the spooky sounds and other kinds of Halloween music, but found that the din of our party-goers chatting and enjoying themselves drown out the creeks and groans of the traditional Halloween background music. This playlist is a little different than what we normally listen too, but it combines music that comes together for the perfect Halloween party playlist.
The Halloween playlist is over five hours of songs to last through your entire party. While this playlist is best played on random shuffle, for your convenience, I organized the list by category and then in alphabetical order:
Hubby had been asking for pumpkin pancakes, but the day I was ready to make them, he opted for eggs instead. So I made them the following morning, when he and Stepson were out camping. I wanted to make them for the blog post, and figured if they turned out half decent, that I would make them for the boys on another morning.
Since it was just me, I halved the recipe to yield six instead of 12 pancakes. I ate the entire stack. By myself. See the pancakes pictured here? I ate the entire stack. Yup. They were THAT GOOD. I will not confirm nor deny if I licked the plate.
The pumpkin added to the pancake batter makes them moist and scrumptious. I used the cheap syrup (finished off the last of the bottle), added a little butter, and a splash of bourbon. The bourbon is optional of course. But the flavor that it adds to the syrup is AH-MAZING. The butter makes the syrup a little thicker and gives it a deeper flavor.
I hope to have some free time this upcoming weekend to make these for the boys to enjoy. I might have to double the recipe!
Click on the recipe card to open a new window for a printable version.
Connect and Share
What about you? Have you tried pumpkin pancakes yet?
Love, hugs, and Holly Holly Pumpkin Pancake Eater.
Lake Ontario, Canada is tranquil and beautiful. It also holds some pretty interesting secrets I bet you don’t know about. If you are interested in some beautiful pictures and/or a history lesson, keep reading to learn about it’s hidden treasures.
Before the post, I want to take a moment to send some prayers and happy hugs to Canada after the unprecedented events this week. #canadastrong
This is beautiful Lake Ontario, Canada, near Whitby and Oshawa. It’s also the home to Camp X, the secret spy training site for the Canadians, Brits, and Americans SOE and OSS Agents during World War II. Lynn Hodgson, Camp X historian, gave us a two hour tour of the history of WWII spy training. Nothing is left in the location, except for some scrap metal that still washes ashore. Many secrets have been buried there, but thanks to Mr. Hodgson, he regaled us with some great history lessons about Camp X.
After Camp X closed for good, they brought in tons of dirt and grass seed and buried the buildings. This historic marker details the site. Today, it’s known as Intrepid Park. Locals ride their bikes and take walks along the trails and shoreline.
They did build a little monument to commemorate the location of Camp X. It was pretty cool to see pieces of concrete through the grass, which was the roof of the buried bunkers. More pictures are on my Instagram.
Today, it looks like any other field. Even many of the locals don’t know the full history of this place. In a very brief summary, spies were trained here in combat, killing, underwater operations, and it also housed where the codes were sent back and forth to London.
We could have listened to Mr. Hodgson lecture all day. Since Hubby is a Green Beret, which has it’s roots tied to the OSS, it made it that much more special of a walk into history for him.
We were the only “foreigners” on the tour, and since we came all the way from Virginia, we were treated like celebrities. Everyone else on the tour was local. Someone asked us at one point, “So why are you here?”
“No, really, why are you here?”
“Seriously. This tour. We paired it with Niagara Falls, but this tour was the reason we planned our family vacation here.”
Yep, we are the crazy family that drives 10 hours to an empty field to learn about history.
The Forbidden Beach
Igor Gouzenko was a Russian spy who defected to the RCMP. They hid him at Camp X, where he sat on the beach and painted every day. You can see his painting of The Forbidden Beach HERE if you scroll down towards the bottom of the page. It looks the same today as it did 70 years ago.
This is a video that I took of Mr. Hodgson teaching us about Igor Gouzenko. It’s about 3 minutes long, very amateurish camerawork (me) but super cool spy info from Mr. Hodgson and worth the view.
Secrets on the Shores
Today, many locals take walks along the beach, or bring their dogs to play in the lake.
Little do they know about what really happened here 70 years ago.
If the shore could talk, would it spill all of its secrets?
The agents used to run along the beach, put 50 pounds of pebbles in their ruck sacks, and run up these bluffs.
This video is a little longer, about 9 minutes or so. Mr. Hodgson gives more details about the spy training if you are interested in learning more. BTW – this was only the third video that I’ve filmed, and was trying to be “creative.” Ignore the crazy camera lady behind the curtain and focus on the lecture! Oh and PS – you will hear Mr. Hodgson talk about a very familiar name….
After the tour group went back to base, I took my time and enjoyed the beach. I must have sat on the pebbles for 10-15 minutes by myself watching the waves lap against the shoreline. Hubby was yakking Mr. Hodgson’s ear off and Stepson was exploring. It was so peaceful and tranquil, I wanted to capture the moment for my Mom, since I know how much she loves the beach. She can view it any time. And now you can too.
Niagara Falls, Canada
If you want to see more from our trip to Canada, here is the post for Niagara Falls.
Connect and Share
What about you? What did you think of the history lesson and Lake Ontario?
Love, hugs, and history doesn’t have to be boring!
These posh pumpkins can make either your fall or Halloween tablescape a little more special with a white and silver theme. Join me for a combination easy craft tutorial and tablescape all-in-one.
The other two tablescapes for Halloween were a little more.. um… macabre. I wanted to end the Halloween season with a tablescape a little more sophisticated. I used white, silver, and glass.
The pumpkins are your typical white craft pumpkins you can purchase at Michaels or HobLob or any other craft store. I used some acryllic paint and different sized sponge circles and had to do some touch-ups. Overall exceptionally easy. Even for me.
The tablescape mirrors the white and silver pumpkins with the crystal leaded glasses, cake stand, and candlestick holders.
A silver charger serves as the base of the all-white place settings.
I am excited to have my dear friend and interior designer, Nkem, here today to share about how to purchase designer lighting on an Ikea budget.
Nkem is the owner of R.E.S.T by JNO Designs. Her “belief is that every room should be a statement of relaxation, and an escape from the every day grind.” I love having her stop by and say hello and give you some insights into the interior design world!
Nkem, thank you so much for being here today! Without further adieu, I will turn it over to you…
I can’t believe Halloween is around the corner already!
I found myself strolling around in IKEA for a design project that needed to be staged. I was quite intrigued on the intricacies and improvements in the inventory of lighting products at IKEA. And so it dawned on me, why not share this experience! Since it’s not often that I visit IKEA, I know these beautiful decor pendant lights will certainly create a buzz worth exploring. So, why not explore creative, cost effective lighting, that’s sure to be a conversation piece at any social gathering.
Check out these beautiful, yet cost effective lighting options that serves both functional and aesthetic elements:
#1: FILLSTA – Pendant Lamp
#2: BOJA Pendant Lamp – Rattan
#3: IKEA PS Maskros
#4: IKEA PS 2014 Pendant Lamp
Nkem - Thank you so much for your insights! I love all of these ideas, and they can certainly add some charisma to your space.
If you want to read more of Nkem’s guest articles: