June Favorites

Hey y'all! June has been an awesome month (Yay summer! Yay move over!)  I'm her to share some of my favorites with you from the past month.  So, I would say, let's get started. (Did anyone else notice that almost every YouTube video starts that way? I've been looking for a reason to say it myself, and this is as close as I can get.)

This post contains affiliate links which means Amazon tosses me some change whenever someone makes a purchase through one of these links.  Please know I only share items that I use and love.  I hope you'll find a new favorite this month! 

My new favorite TV show-Orphan Black.  And the only reason I’m getting any exercising done.

Orphan Black-I. Am. Obsessed.  I'm only on the beginning of season 2-so no spoilers people.  I could binge watch this like nobody's business.  I did get smart and only allow myself to watch it when I'm exercising.  Which means I'm exercising longer and more often.  Before you get too impressed, her is my workout corner.

This little elliptical machine is pretty awesome.  I didn't want to spend a lot on a treadmill or elliptical or get something that took up too much space because I was pretty sure I'd never use it.  I upped my game recently and added in some hand weights.  They're only two pounds, but I'm just trying to keep bus driver arms away not build up my guns.

Did you know you can personalize your own Tervis Tumbler?
Did you know you can personalize Tervis tumblers?  You would have thought it was Christmas in my house the day the Fed Ex man dropped this off.  

Saturday mornings are for breakfast dates.

Breakfast dates are a new thing in our house.  There is a DARLING shopping area that is a five minute bike ride from our new house.  The hubby and I have been going every weekend for a breakfast date.  It's pretty much the cutest place ever.  I feel like Chip and Joanna would approve.

Is it possible this dress from Ann Taylor is THE perfect summer dress?

This dress from Ann Taylor has me swooning.  I go it during their 50% off sale, but it still wasn't cheap.  A dress that is flattering and fits perfectly is priceless though, so I'm glad I snapped it up.

Runaway weekends with friends are the BEST!
Runaway trips are the best!  My girls spent a week at my mother-in-law’s house, and I ran away to Denver with the always a blast Molly from Lucky to Be in First.  We happened to be there during ISTE, so we got to walk around the Expo and see some of the amazing technology resources for classrooms.  So many inspiring ideas and products!

Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Blog Baby Blog Week 1: Make the Most of Your Rich Pins

Hey there! This post is the third in a series on Rich Pins. Make sure you catch the first two posts:

How to Maximize Your Rich Pins: Use image properties to get the most out of your rich pins.

Up Your Image Game

If you followed the tutorial from Part 2 (or you were already on the ball), you have rich pins.  You actually probably don’t have rich pins.  You more likely have middle class pins and the potential for rich pins.  The real richness comes from your ability to set the pin description.  This is important for people to find your pin.  What might they be searching for?  Include those key words in your description.

Unless you have been a very good, responsible blogger, you probably haven’t been using the description option on your images.  Pinterest will only pull the title of your post unless you do some extra work.

Image descriptions
When you insert an image, one of your options is to add an image description.  Now that you have rich pins, Pinterest will pull the description you have added to an image.

**To do this, click on your image-->Properties.  Add the description to the boxes.  Pinterest will pull from either box, but Tailwind pulls from the alt box.  There are other sites that only pull from one or the other, so it’s best to add it to both.

Here’s a before and after for you:

Give it a try.  Go into an old post and add a description to one of the images and update the post.  Now try to pin it.

**FYI-This won’t change pins that are already on Pinterest, but will work on any pins pinned from your site in the future.

Are you panicking a little on the possible hundreds of posts you didn’t add descriptions to?  I was.  I can’t fix all 247 posts unless I quit life.  So, I’m not going to stress about it.  I am going to work my way through my most popular posts and add descriptions to the images most likely to be pinned.  At some point.

Pinterest, like all social media sites, has a favorite size.  This post says that (for now) Pinterest’s optimal size is 736X1104 pixels.

I’m going to work on adding optimal images to those popular posts, also.  Again, at some point.

Any other tips for getting the most out of your images?

Blog Baby Blog Week 1: Setting Up Rich Pins on Pinterest

Hey hey! It's summer time which means it's time for Blog Baby Blog to start back up.  I’m starting this summer’s series with a big topic: Rich Pins.  I tried to make this one tutorial, but it kept getting longer and longer and longer.  I figured people wouldn’t want to need a dinner break before they finished a post, so I broke it up.

How to Add Rich Pins to Your Blog: A step by step tutorial on adding the pin it button, converting your account, confirming your site, and validating your Rich Pins.

Not sure what a rich pin is? Read the previous post, What the Heck Are Rich Pins?, here.

There’s a lot to know about Pinterest, and it's easy to get overwhelmed.  Want to know more about upping your Pinterest game in general?  I recommend the Pinning Perfect Class from Blog Clarity.  (<--Yep.  That’s an affiliate link.)  I put that in the previous post, and I’ll put it in the next because it was definitely worth my time and money.

This post is just going to focus on the mechanics of setting up rich pins.  Most of the tutorials I’ve seen that say it’s “so easy!” to add rich pins assume you’ve done a number of things first.  I pretty much had done zero of them.  There are a number of steps, so I’ve chunked your assignment into three sections.  Once an elementary teacher, always an elementary teacher, right?

Get Your Blog Ready

I’m not going to lie.  Step 1 is THE WORST.  You’re going into your HTML, and it can get scary in there.  But if you can do this, you can do anything.

BEFORE YOU GO ANY FURTHER, PLEASE BACK UP YOUR TEMPLATE.  You’ve been warned.  Not doing this can lead to all sorts of sadness.

1.  Go to Settings-->Search preferences-->Descriptions-->Enable Search Descriptions {Yes}-->Add a brief description-->Save

2.  If you have a custom pin it button, your going to have to get rid of it.  Guess what?  It probably doesn’t work anyway.  The repository where the code was stored is no longer in existence so everyone’s disappeared.  Even though I hate that little red button with every fiber of my being (it’s so tiny! and boring!), there’s not getting around using the official Pin It button if you want to get the most out of your blog.  #sadsville

Go to Template-->Edit HTML
There are several ways to find your old pin it hover button code.  If you click inside the code area and then click CMD+F (or CTRL+F on a PC), your code becomes searchable.  Try searching for the word lava.  That should get you there if you have the old code.  If not, try the way your button was positioned topleft or topright (it will be one word together like that.)

If you have the old, broken code, it will look something like this:

Steps 3-5 will all be added above your </body> tag.  You can find that by using the CMD+F trick.

3.  Grab the new button code from Chalk and Apples.
Look for the section that says "Add the Pin It Button Directly from Pinterest”.
You can get it from Pinterest, but you have to delete a little piece from it to work.  Why Pinterest? Why?:

4. Grab this piece of code from Code It Pretty and paste it directly below your new pin it button code.  This will make the Pin It hover button stay off of your header.  It looks like this:

5.  Pinterest likes to pull rich pins from posts.  If someone pins from your homepage, it sometimes doesn’t work.  Grab this code from Code It Pretty.

It looks like this:

FYI-This does not work on all templates.  If you have the Natasha template from Georgia Lou Studios, this will not work because of the way the post feed is set up.  I’m sure there are others.

6.  Go back to your handy CMD+F trick, and search for the following line of code:

<b:includable id='post' var='post’>

**You’ll probably have a little black arrow next to that code.  You’ll need to click on the black arrow to “open” the full section of code.  It will look like this:
See that ... ? That means the code is not expanded.  Once you click on the black arrow, it will expand the code for you.  You insert the following code below the <b:includable id='post' var='post’> line.

Head over to XOMISSE and grab this code to insert.
Change “BLOG TOPIC” to your blog’s topic-education or teaching or whatever.

**You might already have this code in your blog.  Some templates come with it installed.

Be sure to save all of your changes!

The worst is done, people.

Get Your Pinterest Account Ready

Step 2 is NOTHING compared to Step 1.  If you got through the coding changes, this part will be a breeze.

**Before getting started, make sure you have a favicon installed on your blog.  If you don’t, add your blog button.  Go to layout-->favicon (It’s in the top left corner.)

1.  Go to Pinterest Business account page and click on Convert now.
**A number of bloggers added the info on the business account but not the confirmation.  You can still click on Convert or go to Edit Profile to get to the confirmation part.
2.  After that, you’ll need to confirm your website.  It sounds fancy, but Pinterest does most of the work.  You need to add one line of code your blog.  (After step 1, that’s a walk in the park.)

You can use the CMD+F trick, but you’re looking for <head>  It’s probably the 4th line in your code. You’ll add it directly below that piece of code.  Save.

Head back to that Pinterest page and click finish.  If everything worked correctly, the box will come right back up, and it will look like nothing happened.  It might even look like you haven’t done it yet.  Unless you got an Oops pop up, then there’s a 99% chance everything worked fine.

3.  Finally, you’ll have to validate your site.  Just copy and paste the address of any post (not your home page address-it must be the address of a post.)

**If you run into trouble with this part, it could be because of a funky .com redirect.  If you just masked your site instead of redirection it, then you’re going to have trouble.  Not sure?  Go to your blogger dashboard.  Click view blog.  Does the address show up as your .com or blogspot.com?  If it’s not the .com, you’re probably going to have problems. It only took a few seconds to get validated each time I’ve done it, but others have had a longer wait-as in days.  You might have to be patient.

Go to the Dark Web {Maybe}

That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but that is what it’s going to feel like.  That pin it button is like kudzu.  It takes over everything.  The code you originally added took it off of your header, but it’s going to show up all over your sidebar.  While I like my sidebar photo, I don’t need it pinned to Pinterest.

If you’re feeling super brave, you can try this tutorial to get rid of it: Code It Pretty.  You can definitely mess things up with this though, so back up your template.  When you are editing any of your sidebar gadgets like your Grab button, you’ll want to copy and paste the original piece into a word document.  That way when/if you mess something up, your original is still in tact.

If HTML code makes you nervous, you can purchase Rich Pin installation through my design site, A Bird in Hand Designs.

Come back tomorrow for Part 3: Getting the most out of your rich pins!

Good Luck!

Blog Baby Blog Week 1: What the Heck are Rich Pins?

First off, I didn’t even know what rich pins were.  I knew eeeeeeeeverybody was talking about them.  I was completely sure I wanted them even if I had no clue what they were.

Why you need Rich Pins on your blog (even if you don’t know what they are!)

So, this is by no means a complete Pinterest tutorial.  I thought about naming this post “From One Pinterest Dummy to Another”.  If you're really interested in learning more about Pinterest, I strongly recommend the Pinning Perfect class from Blog Clarity {<--Affiliate Link. I've got to pay for my newly aquired stock photo habit somehow.}  I signed up for the course during the school year and am just now at a point where I'm been really able to focus on the content and start applying it to my blog.

The first reason you’ll want rich pins is an immediate surface level reason.  Take a look at the pins from my site:

Before you can add rich pins, you have to add the official Pinterest button and confirm your site.  Once you do that, your favicon and blog title will be on every single pin from your site.  Even the ones that are already on Pinterest.  Pinterest is slathering your brand all over their site.  That’s a good thing.

The second reason you need rich pins is for better pin control of the descriptions.  Right now if you have a pin it hover button, it is pulling the title of your post and maybe your blog title, and that's it. (FYI-you probably don’t have a button.  The repository where the code was stored is no longer in existence so everyone’s button disappeared.)

Take a look at these two pins:

Why you need Rich Pins on your blog (even if you don’t know what they are!)

Think of Pinterest as a search engine-which is how most of us use it.  If you want to perform well on that search engine, you need to have a good description on your pins.  Rich pins allow you to front load the description with important words that relate to your post.  This gives you a much great chance of being found in a Pinterest search.

Want to know how to set up Rich Pins?  Click here!

Heads up-there is a lot of coding involved. You’ll need to add the official Pinterest button, remove your old one if you have it, add code to confirm your site, more code to force Pinterest to pull rich pins from your homepage, and even more if the Pinterest button hovering over everything like your header and sidebar bothers you.

Not interested in entering the dark side also know as HTML? Head over to my design site, A Bird in Hand Designs.  You can purchase Rich Pin installation for Blogger sites there.  I’ll be adding Wordpress soon.

Happy pinning!

June Desktop Calendar {FREEBIE}

Hey hey! It’s June, AND I AM SO HAPPY TO BE OUT FOR THE SUMMER.  All the strong feelings there.  I love my job, but I sure do love sitting around in my jammies with a second cup of coffee.
New desktop calendar added every month!

This gorgeous tropical clipart is from InnaMoreva.  The font duo (and don’t you love a good font duo?) is called Hello Sunshine, and it’s from Nicky Laatz.  {FYI-Those are affiliate links.  Got a font and clipart addiction to feed.}

Like it? Pin it!

New desktop calendar shared every month!