DON’T FORGET: Twitter Chat this Sunday (here are the questions!)

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Don’t forget, our next Twitter chat will be taking place this coming Sunday, July 27, at 1pm eastern time. The topic? Everything blogger etiquette. The chat will last a half an hour. Ready for the questions?

We’ll be covering two main questions related to blogger-to-blogger etiquette:
Q1. What courtesies do you typically provide other bloggers or publishers when working with or linking to them? (A few things to share with your fellow chat participants: how do you handle image crediting? What about emails from other bloggers asking to guest post or asking you to guest post? How do you respond to bloggers who are asking for favors, especially if you don’t want to comply?)

Q2. How do you approach blogger-to-blogger etiquette around social media? Do you respond to everyone who tweets you or leaves a comment on your Instagram? How do you introduce yourself on social? Do you jump in on Twitter conversations between other bloggers?

Then, we’ll look at two big questions related to blogger-to-brand etiquette:
Q3. How do you respond to a brand when you’re not interested in what they’ve pitched? (This could be a simple gifted item, a sponsored post, anything!)

Q4. What are the “polite” business practices you as a blogger should do when working with a brand?

Finally, we’ll open it up to your own stories and experiences:
Q5. Either from your own experiences or from behavior you’ve observed, what’s one etiquette no-no a blogger should NEVER do? What’s one thing a blogger should ALWAYS do?

Now remember, each question is numbered (Q1, Q2, Q3), so during the Twitter chat, we recommend numbering your response tweets A1, A2, A3, etc, as your responses correlate to the questions. This way, other participants can follow the conversation! It also means that if you hop in late, you can still answer a question from early in the chat.

And, don’t forget, we want to be sure we can see your tweets, and that everyone else in the chat can see them too (after all, you are fabulous). So while we definitely appreciate you tagging us at @shopthebbar in your tweets, be sure you include the #BBarHH hashtag. It’s the easiest way for everyone participating to see what you’re sharing!

We’re so excited to connect with you all again on July 27. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please let us know!

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CREATE: WHY YOU SHOULD CREATE YOUR OWN PROJECTS

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When I first started working for myself I wasn’t sure how to organize myself as I was figuring out what exactly my business looked like. I felt like creating projects and scheduling meetings — with myself — was strange. But once I realized that starting and organizing actual projects for myself, even if they weren’t for clients, even if they were just something I wanted to explore in a serious way, making it an actual project helped me get it done and make it more than just some random thing I do sometimes.

For me, some of these projects have turned into actual businesses, some of them were just fun or expanding my creativity, some were for blog content. All were worth it.

You can be as strict or flexible with it as you want with your project, but by scheduling a time to sit down and think about it, naming it, putting deadlines on it, outlining it with goals, and getting to work on your project, it will help you stay on track and actually finish what you are trying to accomplish. And who knows, maybe it will turn into something more.

A few examples:

A lot of people who are trying to hone in on their photography skills will do an Instagram challenge. You can just Google or search for Instagram Photo Challenges and find lists for certain months. There will be a word or phrase for each day of the month and usually a hashtag to go with it. Or you can always make up your own Instagram challenge for yourself! Write it out and follow it. You can even post the details of the challenge on your own Instagram, give it a hashtag and see if any of your followers want to do it with you. For year-long example: Kelly of Design Crush is doing #365quotes on her Instagram.

An example of mine is when Katie and I created to & from gift guide magazine. We had an idea, planned it out, and got to work. We had no idea if it would catch on, or if advertisers would be interested in it, but because of our preparation, planning, and pitching, it worked out and became a business.

The Uniform Project™ started in 2009 by a woman who was bored with her advertising career. Creatively and ethically drained by the corporate world, she came up with an unusual creative challenge; to wear the same dress for an entire year, but this is where the real challenge came in, she’d have to make it look unique every single day. She also vowed to make the challenge more meaningful by turning it into a fundraiser to send less fortunate kids to school. Read more about The Uniform Project™ here. The project caught on, and a year later she was giving a TED talk in Dubai.

Lisa Congdon started a blog in 2010 called A Collection A Day. In December of 2009 she decided to start planning a year-long project that she would document on the internet. Every day (365!) she would post a photograph of one of her own collections or a drawing or painting of an imagined collection on a blog called A Collection a Day. This project ended up getting amazing press and turned into a book published by UPPERCASE.

Talk about a project turning into something amazing! Can you imagine if one of your projects turned into a published book! It’s possible! So start brainstorming your next project! If you feel inclined to share your project with us, please leave a link in the comments!

 

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Image Credit: Death to the Stock Photo

COCKTAIL HOUR // Links from around the web

cocktail hour - photo by o'malley photography

3 Things to Tell Yourself When  You Doubt Your Work // -Elembee

Something is Rotten in the State of Fashion Blogging // – Dressful (sidenote: it’s interesting to me that while this post is well over a year old, it’s recently regained some traction in the blog community. I had it sent to me 3 different times last week!)

The B-Word // – Man Repeller

9 Instinctive Decisions You Will Always Regret // – Inc.

Tips for Project/Flat Rate Invoicing // – Zoe Rooney

Don’t be Perfect, Just be Good // – Betty Red Design

Managing Feedback // – Breanna Rose

A New Instagram Obsession: Russian Women with Many Flowers

Paint Dabbles // – Little White Whale

Female Entrepreneurs Offer Advice on Conquering 7 Career Roadblocks // – Mashable

 

Image Credit: O’Malley Photographers, via Style Me Pretty Living

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CREATE: 5 People Using Instagram Creatively

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A Donald Robertson @drawbertson painting.

There are other ways to do creative things besides on your blog. Some people (like comedians) use twitter for one-liners (Gary Janetti is hilarious). Some people make videos on YouTube. And sometimes these little creative things blow up. Sometimes the creator might not mean for it to (but usually they do). Sometimes they might not realize that one certain type of instagram would become a “thing” but it does.

So if a blog is just too daunting, or you are looking for a different (quicker, easier) outlet for your creativity — maybe try something on Instagram. Please for the love, don’t copy someone, do your own thing.

Here are 5 people sharing their art, creations, ideas, even shoes on Instagram, and it just happened to catch on.

 

Donald Robertson — @donalddrawbertson

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Best known for his paintings and gaffer tape artwork, Donald uses a lot of random things around his home to create artwork. Grocery bags, pizza boxes, anything he can get his hands on. He also is always on top of the current trends, like posting this World Cup artwork while it’s timely.

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Donald shares more than just his artwork on twitter. He’s got 5 kids, and two of them are baby boy twins, and they are the cutest! Read more »

CREATE: Creating Clipping Masks in Photoshop

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Today I wanted to share a fun, simple tutorial that has a ton of uses as you’re creating graphics for your blog in Photoshop. It’s called the Clipping Mask. This particular technique allows you to fill shapes, text, or any other layer in Photoshop with another layer. The result? You can fill text with images, make silhouettes, and change the color of shapes/objects that are imported into Photoshop. And it’s actually very simple! Let’s dive right in.

To illustrate the clipping mask, I first want to show you how to create one using a photo masked over text. Note that in order to complete this tutorial, you’ll need some basic working knowledge of Photoshop, specifically how to use the Move and Type tools, as well as how to open images and adjust image sizes (check out any of those links if you need assistance with those pieces!). To begin:

STEP 1

In Photoshop, open up the background image you plan on adding the text over, and re-size it to your blog’s post column, or the design task at hand. Alternatively, you can also simply create a new document, if you plan on having your masked text on a colored background (including a white background, if you’re creating a collage type graphic). In our example, I’m using the sand picture as my background image:  Read more »