Thursday, August 27, 2015

INSTAGRAM SUMMER CATCH UP

It's been a long, hot, productive summer. I'd be lying if I said this wasn't if not the best summer ever, the best summer in a very long time. What's even better is that I have an even more exciting schoolyear to look forward to. The only word I can use to describe these past couple months is BLESSED! So, heres my summer recap. Please comment or tweet me (@n_vergako) or post yours on my facebook wall. I'd love to know yours. Even better, if you make your own recap tweet it to me and I'll share it!

Remember...


When David and I waited through a Never Shout Never-esque set (with sweaty, pubescent scene girls surrounding us) just so we could be FRONT AND CENTER FOR AARON WEST AND THE ROARING TWENTIES at warped tour...




When I got a really uneven sunburn at the beach thanks to aerosol spray sunscreen...


When I saw Say Anything and Modern Baseball at the House of Blues #WhateverForever....


When I spent four hours scouring the NEWSEUM in DC...


When I got a tour on Boston Harbor Cruises...


When I made Summer Sessions my new favorite spot on Route 1A in New Hampshire.


When I ran a 5K in memory of my best friends grandfather...


When I walked on the Boston Common to WAGE HOPE for an end to pancreatic cancer...


When I came across the Lilly Pulitzer truck and the Vineyard Vines whale on Nantucket... #ACKCity


When I relaxed at my favorite spot on Cape Cod, the Judah Baker Windmill...


When we all twinned with our vegan dishes at Life Alive...


When my fellow PRSSA Eboard members and I pulled off a killer Paint Nite fundraiser and raised SO MUCH money for National Conference!


When I got up close and personal with Niagara Falls...




When I fell in love with Toronto...


When Dom and I took too many cute intern pictures at the State House...

Share with me your summer adventures!





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Friday, August 21, 2015

TALK SHOP: SPONSORED POSTS


Last up on the "Talk Shop" series was blogger networks. I was very impressed with the amount of data I gathered and the opinions I got. I'm hoping to get the same amount this time! So, what's next for my number-crunching laboratory? "Dee Dee, get OUT of my LABORATORYYY"

No, not Dexters's Laboratory, but it's sponsored posts! I want to find out what us bloggers are getting paid or if, how their relationships with brands are, and more. I asked how often they do sponsored posts, if they only do monetary compensations, how their experience with brands has been and what their favorite brands to work with were.
I've been paid to do sidebar advertisements and social media posts (instagram/pinterest), but not a blog post. I have two other jobs, so my main income isn't blogging. However, If I could make blogging my main income one day that would be absolutely fabulous. I'm very happy, and blessed, to have been granted the gift of receiving product compensation. I've received clothes, makeup, a Keurig, and more. I've also gotten to try two teatoxes. 

My goal is to get a big fan base so I can create a big-time media kit with prices. Maybe I should just make one so it looks legit, right? That's for another talk shop.

For a reference for these results, my small but sturdy sample was 6 bloggers.


Three bloggers do sponsored posts every two months, three of them do them more than twice a month. This could average out to once a month. This can depend on many things including how often bloggers reach out to brands, how often brands reach out to bloggers, and how picky bloggers are. As for me, I'm definitely on the every two months scale. It;s safe to say that bloggers with bigger fan bases do more sponsored posts, simply because there's more people to be exposed to the product and that's what outreach employees like to see.



It appears that my sample had bloggers with differing readership numbers! This shows, just like the one above, that more influential bloggers not only do more sponsored posts, but get paid. Turnigngyour blog into a business is NO easy feat. Props to those that have!


I dream of the day that I only do paid opportunities. However, you have to do some freebies here and there to build trust and relationships. It seems here that the majority of the bloggers surveyed only did paid sponsorships.


It looks like there aren't any bad experiences here!

Thanks to all my lovely participants!

Adriana Renee http://alaskarenee.com



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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

SUMMER HAIR SURVIVAL GUIDE

Training for a half marathon is hard enough, doing it with long, gnarly hair is even harder. We all know that it's healthier for your hair to be washed every other day or less. However, with my running schedule this summer I had to shower every day. I know this doesn't mean washing your hair every day, but  my fellow long-haired girls know that showering is a PROJECT with long hair. It takes forever to blow dry, and if you let it air dry it comes out ratty and snarly (or maybe that's just mine).

Basically, by the end of this summer, I was tired of my messy waves and ombre from last July. It was time for a change.



The plan was to do purple and ombre. As I looked on the internet more, I fell in love with the balayage effect.  However, I knew I had to wait until the end of the summer so I didn't go into my work and internship with purple hair. It turns out the store I work at didn't care, but I don't think it would fly at the House of Representatives. I'm glad I waited, because nothing beats going back to school with a new do. Also, the purple will fade in eight weeks, and I want to milk the purple on campus as much as possible. 

So, here is a picture that shows my long, dead-end ridden, lackluster, old ombre hair from this July. It also features a painting I somehow managed not to totally mess up. Yay paint nite!


This was the picture I showed the stylist:


My stylist, Colby form Fantastic Sams in Dracut, MA was AWESOME! He has YEARS of experience and was very knowledgeable about technique. He knew a lot about hair and how it reacts to different treatments, and made sure I had all of my best options for my hair.

To go from my drab to fab, it took four hours. However, it was so worth it. First, he lightened my hair at the tips and did baby highlights. I was blonde at phase one. After a wash and dry, the real color was applied. He dyed my roots and a few inches down from my roots a nice grey/silver with a touch of a smoky purple. Then, he did my tips and some highlights a bright purple. I am in LOVE!


I was so bored of having just my tips done. I had blonde tips for about four years on and off now. I think it's a more mature look.

'

I'm also geeking out about the silver and grey. I chose purple because I wanted to go as bold as I could, however if I also adore the silver and platinum looks that are popular now.



I love the faded purple.



I say switching up your cut and color is the way to beat the summer. However, I always liked to be equipped with the right gear. My friends at Madison Reed have come up with the perfect summer survival checklist:



Have I inspired you to switch up your style yet? If so, I have all of the tools to help you. If I didn't do this crazy purple, I definitely would have done a natural shade either lighter or darker. However, I would've had no idea how to go about that. I would've referred to the Madison Reed color advisor. I did it hypothetically, and got many gorgeous golden brown recommendations. What did you get? Do you think you'll follow through with one? Comment below!

If you choose to dye your hair with their dye, make sure to use these awesome products:




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Thursday, August 13, 2015

RECIPE: SWEET AND SIMPLE BBQ SAUCE

Ever want something to spice up your bbq? I recently did, and I did exactly that. However, I didn't quite SPICE it up, it was more of a sweet upgrade than anything. I love mixing different flavors to see how they react to each other in my cooking. I also love reducing flavors in heat and seeing how they react. These two tricks played out in this BBQ sauce upgrade between the cumin and the cinnamon.


Cumin is native to the Mediterranean near India. Coming from seeds originally, it has a robust flavor that can be described as bitter. It has a strong, warm aroma. Cinnamon, has an equally as strong aroma, however the word to use with cinnamon is obviously sweet. I expected these two to mellow each other out, and the steak rub to add that extra kick. I also love when sweet flavors carmelize out in cooking.


The olive oil made the mixture more fluid so it would be easier to spread, and it would melt into the chicken easier.

We put the BBQ sauce on the chicken for the last ten minutes of cooking time so that it doesn't burn off. We also drizzled some EVOO right before they went on the grill to help the cooking process.



SWEET AND SIMPLE BBQ SAUCE

INGREDIENTS: All ingredients can be your brand of choice. Recipe good for 4 breasts.
  • Bbq sauce, 3 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of steak rub
  • 2 tbsp EVOO 
DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine BBQ sauce, cumin, cinnamon, and rub in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the EVOO in until it is a smooth texture
  3. Drizzle the chicken breasts with EVOO 
  4. Place them on the hot grill and cook them for 10 minutes, flip a few times
  5. Spread the BBQ sauce mixture over the chicken 
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes, flip a few more times
  7. Make sure it is cooked all the way through
  8. Enjoy!







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Monday, August 10, 2015

THE MIND OF A HALF MARATHON RUNNER

I know what you're thinking... the mind of a half marathon runner must be pretty whacky because anyone up for running 13.1 straight miles must be insane. You're absolutely right. Every runner will vouch for me that we don't know why we keep doing it. Sometimes I wake up and 45 minutes later I find myself darting up a hill fifteen minutes unto a 6 mile run and I don't even remember lacing up my trainers. Why do we keep doing something that we say we hate? It's a love/hate relationship. Right now, after my half marathon, I'm in the love stage.

Any runner will also easily tell you that no matter how much training you do, it's 10% physical, and 90% mental. I personally love facing my fears and dissecting the uncomfortable. I find the comfort in the discomfort. So, though we may not want to think about what goes on before and during our races, I thought that explaining my thoughts mile-by-mile would be the only way to do a proper half-marathon reflection. 



First, let's set the scene. My half marathon took place on the upper right hand corner of this map. It started in Rockport, and the halfway point was in Gloucester where it says "Good Harbor Beach". It ended where it began, in Rockport. So, I was lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful beach-y views of Cape Ann, Massachusetts the entire time. I saw beaches, lighthouses, beach cottages, and more.

Two months prior to race day: Well, we better register for a half marathon soon. Let me look online... Oh this one in Rockport looks nice, and it should be fast and flat, just the way I like it! Well, looks like I'm all signed up now.. no turning back now!
One month prior to race day: My 6-8 mile runs left me with more. I felt like I could keep going. If I can do this eight mile run, I can do a half marathon, right?
Five days before race day: Today's the moment of truth. With my internship and job, and my running partner's equally as hectic schedule, it's been hard to coordinate runs. So here we are, running our 10 mile run on the Tuesday before our half marathon. It's at least high 80's and humid. However, we have to suck it up. It may be too hot, it may be too close to the race, and this 10 miles may really be 9. However, we've gotta do it and hope for the best on Sunday. 
Race morning: Pure excited-ness. I'm used to sprinting my ass of for 3.1 miles against other college athletes, so this should be no sweat, right? There's no MASCAC placement riding on this, no time to beat, just a time to make. Let's do this. Also, I wish this was over already so I can celebrate and sleep in, eat and drink as I please for the rest of the summer already. 


Us before all of the sweat.

30 minutes before race: I just gotta get to mile 10 and then I'm golden. What if I run out of energy chews and beans? What if I don't even need them and they're just adding extra weight? What if fumbling with them adds too much time to my time? What if I get bored? What if I end up running alone? What if I don't finish? What if I finish last? Will I stop at every water stop? Can this thing just start already?
Mile 1: Well, here goes nothing. Wow, this pace is kind of fast. However, I can probably keep this up for the first 4 or 5 miles. However, I don't want to die out and have no energy for the end. Wow, mile 1 already? That was fast!
Mile 2: Okay, so I'm trying to keep up with my running buddy here but looks like she's having a great day. I'm feeling good too, however, this is her second half marathon. I want to bolt out, keep up with her, and have a sub-9 mile pace. However, I don't want to die out. She's done this before, I haven't. I'll stick to the plan: 9:30 miles, try to finish for 1:50.
Mile 3: She's gone, but I can do this alone. I'm not the only one running this race, there's hundreds of us. I can listen in on convos, have my thoughts to myself, and can maybe join in on some of the conversations. Oh look at that lighthouse! Here's the downhill of the uphill at mile 10 I was told about. This will be fun at the end...
Mile 4: Oh wow we're out of the beachy neighborhood. This is a downhill that looks like an uphill at the end. However, I hope it's a slight uphill. Oh look, water stop! I took gatorade last time, so water it is. I hope I don't have to pee during this because I am NOT compromising my time.
Mile 5: Looks like we're in Gloucester now! This is going by way faster than expected. It's hotter than expected. I have a pretty solid pace and I get burst of energy here and there.
Mile 6: HOLY HILL! However, I still have a lot of energy so I'm actually running up this hill at an even pace. And my, going down it is great.
Mile 7: MILE 7! That means that if I double this amount, it's more than the whole thing. That means that it's more than halfway done!
Mile 8: Time for a gatorade and an energy gel. I don't feel too tired, but I might as well have it before I do.
Mile 9: To be honest I thought mile 9 was mile 10 until I saw the mile 10 sign later than I expected. Basically my thoughts were being excited about finishing, yet knowing there was over 3 miles to go. So mile 9 was exhaustion and confusion, with a side of perseverance. 
Mile 10: Three more miles to go! I can do this! The end is so close. This is the point that I told myself to get to. I've run this much before, I can keep chugging for three more miles. Okay, maybe I should walk a little and have some energy chews. Just like the girls behind me, they have the right idea.
Mile 11: Wow, that last mile took forever. My butt hurts, my legs hurt, I can feel how sore I'm going to be tomorrow. However, I just need to keep this pace for only two more miles. Wait, where am I? Where's the mile 1 sign that I thought was also going to be the mile 13 sign? They must have changed the course for the ending... those bastards!
Mile 12: YES! One mile left! Hopefully these don't go as slow as the last two have. Okay, this is a cute neighborhood. IM SO CLOSE AND IM IN SO MUCH PAIN. IF THERE'S ANOTHER HILL I DON'T THINK I CAN DO IT. Okay I see downtown, that must mean that the high school and finish are right down the road. OH NO THERE'S ANOTHER HILL. I hate myself for doing this, but I literally cannot run up this hill. I'm trying.. I'm trying so hard... and nothing. I have to walk. At the top of this hill, though I am cruising to the finish line.
Mile 13.1: I DID IT! Oh my gosh I can't breathe... My legs feel weird... I'm drenched in sweat... oh, food and drinks!
After: Pure bliss. I was elated. I was on cloud nine all day. Now, my rest of the summer is smooth sailing. I'M READY FOR THE BEACH!
Four days after: After three days of being more and more sore, it's time to hit the gym at least to bike and lift.
Now: I've ran four time since my half marathon. A 4 mile run, a 3 mile run, a 5 mile run, and a 6 mile run. I still feel the soreness in my legs on my runs. However, I'm looking forward to running club season. I'm also looking forward to the same half marathon next year! It was a gorgeous course and a great opportunity. I think I'm most happy about rocking the 13.1 sticker on my car.



Thanks for being the BEST running buddy, Devinne! Love you!

What's the longest distance you've ever run?





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Friday, August 7, 2015

AUGUST GOALS


Monthly Goals

This is part of the monthly link-up at mysocalledchaos.com

Finally, I feel like the summer is winding down. I have one day left at work, one day left at my internship, no more half marathon training, and tons of beach days ahead with a week down the Cape and a few days at Saco River coming up. My half marathon went great, and so did all my other goals this week. Just like I mentioned in my last goals post, summer is all about balance. You take the good with the bad.

How This works:
  1. Follow your hosts My So-Called Chaos and A Peek at Karen's World to keep up with this link-up.
  2. Write up a post recapping last month's goals and setting goals for next month.
  3.  Make sure to include the button in your post by grabbing the code above.
  4. Link up your goals post with the monthly linky which goes live on the first Thursday of the month.
  5. Visit other links in the party to show support and offer advice for other goal setters.
  6. Have fun and make some new friends!




June Goals

  • Run a 10 mile run Success
  • Finish the Sarah Dessen book Success
  • Make your inspiration board Fail
  • Work with more brands Success
  • Make a bonus sale at work Success

In case you were wondering, I got a 2:09 for my first half marathon. I was very please with my sub-10 minute pace, my place, and my time. Don't worry, I have a reflection and a how-to post coming up!


August Goals

  • Keep up training for Running Club
  • Finish the other Sarah Dessen book
  • Clear off walls in my room
  • Facilitate a back-to-school giveaway
  • Keep working with brands
  • Dye hair and get nose pierced




Let's hope August is as promising as July was!



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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

RECIPE: CITRUS STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE

One of the most go-to flavors involving fruit is strawberry banana. Tart strawberries and tangy bananas soften each other out. I love having this flavor in things purchased in store or over the counter, however when I make myself a strawberry banana smoothie, I find myself disappointed. Of course, however, I always have strawberries and bananas in the house. I was craving a smoothie the other day, and upon reflection of the ingredients of my fridge, I found the answer to my strawberry banana blues: cut it with citrus! The addition of the lemon raspberry yogurt and the limes really make the flavor of this smoothie special.



When I make my lackluster strawberry banana smoothies I usually use a, you guessed it, strawberry banana yogurt. However, I'm glad I grabbed this one this time. It made me take an adventurous path.





The fruits in question: bananas and strawberries. Get ready to experience them like you never have before.


I really think it was the lime that made the difference in this dish. The acidity of the citrus cut the creamy thickness of the yogurt. I added a refreshing bite. It also added air of tropical-ness. 


Ingredients
  • 2 limes
  • 2 banana
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 package of Chobani 100 raspberry lemon
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk

Directions
1. Slice the banana and strawberries
2. Cut the lime in half
3. Add the yogurt, milk, and berries into the blender
4. Juice the limes over the mixture
5. Blend
6. Enjoy!



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