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How to Make Your DIY Dreams an Affordable Reality

Do you DIY?… We moved into our house about 2 years ago, and it needed a bit of work. First came the property… It’s got some amazingly good stuff, like a HUMONGO-size 4 bay shop, in ground pool, and big field out back. But it had a lot of amazingly bad stuff too – like no irrigation to water that field, a lot of overgrown weeds and brush, and that pool had to be drained, scrubbed, and refilled again after not being used for years. {There were salamanders living in it… Lol.} But now that we’ve got it under control out there – the veggie garden is planted, flowers are blooming, and things are coming along nicely – it’s been time to tackle the inside of the house. We’re about halfway through a Master Bedroom remodel, planning to redo the Master Bath too, will be fixing up the laundry room, AND a crazy-fun redecorating project for Abby’s new playroom. But, I’m on a budget, and am always looking for creative inspiration to help make my DIY dreams an affordable reality…

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New Social Site: Discover New Places with Dio

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of dio for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

You guys know that I’m a total social media junkie, right? I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest {oh, my love of Pinterest…} I even have a profile on the “New MySpace.” I love to be a part of any new social type of site – to learn, to connect with new people, to share, and to have fun. So, when Social Spark introduced me to a new site called dio, I was super intrigued, and ready to jump in and see what it was all about.

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Social Media 101: Facebook Fundamentals

Facebook may seem complicated to the novice user, but in reality it’s a relatively straightforward experience. Find out about Facebook fundamentals with help from my fave personal tech expert – Carley from Digitwirl!

facebook fundamentals

Can anyone remember a time before Facebook?

The ubiquitous social network has half a billion members and counting, and it’s become the way to share photos, updates and videos with family and friends. But if you haven’t ventured in yet, it can feel like the Facebook phenomenon is passing you by. Well, I’m going back to basics and starting from the beginning in my new series for eHow called Socially Connected. We’ll break this social media juggernaut down step-by-step, and you’ll be “liking” it before you know it.

Facebook Tips for Newbies

Whether you’re a business owner who is just now realizing the power that social media can have to boost your business, a mom or grandma who mistakenly thought Facebook was just for the “kids” – or anyone else who is a little late to the game changing media platform that is – This video should help you jump in with both feet, and quickly learn why for most of us, Facebook is a totally necessary part of our everyday routines. I mean – what other site allows me to hear the latest news about a wildfire burning across town, a power outage on the other side of town, see pics of a friend’s new baby, hear updates on my cousins Hawaiian vacation, and see great deals from my fave brands – all in ONE place?? {Yep, those are all things that I found in my Facebook feed today.} One stop shop for all my news, entertainment, family and friend updates, and fun tidbits of knowledge. Love it.

Tell me – are you already using Facebook? Did you learn anything new in this new video?

Carley from DigitwirlDigitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems. In 3 minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step. Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur. Become a subscriber to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl.


Is Facebook Really Charging for Status Updates?

No, not exactly. But – if you haven’t noticed it yet – there is a new option available to all business page owners when you write your next status update. It’s called Facebook Promoted Posts – “Promote your page posts so more people see them in their news feed.” Sounds great, right? But there’s a catch – you have to PAY to have those posts promoted. That does not sound so great.

mobile facebook use

Did you know… only 16 out of every 100 of your “fans” actually see your status updates?

If you haven’t seen the new update about Promotional Posts yet, you should soon. When you use Facebook as your page, and begin to write your status update, it will show you a pop-up bubble with the option to promote that post. If you click for details, it will then let you know that you’ll be paying for that chance to have your post seen by more of your own fans. This feature started as a test option, where personal users could pay to have their status updates shared more widely, but they quickly realized they would have better luck getting businesses to pay. I had a feeling that Facebook would soon start charging business owners more fees, but this was still pretty surprising. And personally, I think it’s a bad move – Here’s why:

  • First, Facebook said that it wants brands to act more like people – interact with users, not advertise to them. They even have a rule that when you create the large banner image for your Facebook page, you cannot promote sales or deals – because the goal is to have pages to create good content, not ads. So – they will prevent you from using the graphic on your page as an ad, but will now allow you to treat the status updates that you post as ads, by paying to ensure that they are seen? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
  • Why not just show all of my fans my posts anyway? If Facebook is serious about their stated goal of improving the user experience, then why do they hide my posts? When I like a brand or blog page, it’s because I’m interested in following their posts, and learning what they have to say. So why hide things from me that I chose to follow?
  • Right now, Facebook shows your post to a limited amount of your fans – the average is 16%. How do they decide who to show it to? Well, they look at whether someone has interacted with your page before, whether the status update is popular {lots of likes and shares means Facebook will show it to even more people}, and what the content is {picture, video, links, etc}. They do this with a goal of giving you only updates that will be interesting to you. So why would they do the complete opposite, and allow people to pay to show me status updates that Facebook would not have shown me in the first place?

But, this is the way it is now, so I have to adapt. We all do. And, from what I’m hearing around the web, there will be a lot more changes coming soon too. {Isn’t there always a new change coming to Facebook? Ugh.}  While they still guarantee that Facebook will never charge people to use it, they WILL be adding quite a few more features that they can charge business owners to use. I hope the next ones are better than this.

If I wanted to pay for an ad, I would. I shouldn’t have to pay to have my status shown to people who have already chosen to like my page.

Well, now that we know what this new Promoted Posts tool is, let’s take a look at how it works, so you can take advantage of it if you choose to. I mean, like it or not, working on the web means constantly adapting to new changes. So – here’s some basic tips on using the new Promoted Posts function on Facebook.

  1. Switch to use Facebook as your page, and click on the status update box, to start a new post. You’ll see a new button at the bottom of the box, labeled “Promote.”
  2. Click the drop down menu arrow, and you’ll see options to set your price, payment method, and other settings.
  3. Now, you can promote your post. You can also go to other previous posts {from the last 3 days only}, and add them to be promoted as well, within the budget amount that you have set up.

When the post appears in people’s newsfeeds, it will be labeled as sponsored. I’m not sure how bold the label will be, or whether it will appear more spammy looking to people. But – I can see the appeal to this option. We’ve all used Facebook for such a long time, that our eyes are trained to kind of ignore that side of the page where the ads are. Think about it – Can you remember any ads that you’ve seen lately? But you DO notice what’s in your newsfeed, so allowing brands to add their sponsored posts right into the stream you’re reading – right in between an announcement about your best friend’s new baby, and an upcoming graduation party for a niece, then the sponsored post is pretty darn likely to be actually looked at and read. This also helps with the mobile user problem – a growing percentage of people visit Facebook primarily from their cell phones, totally bypassing ads altogether. But now, brands have a new way to reach them.

What Facebook says about Promoted Posts

“Nothing has changed about how your posts are shared with the people who like your Page.” – A lot of activity happens on Facebook and most people only see some of it in their news feeds. They may miss things when they’re not on Facebook, or they may have a lot of friends and Pages, which results in too much activity to show all of it in their news feed. If you don’t promote your post, many of the people connected to your Page may still see it. However, by promoting a post, you’re increasing its potential reach so an even larger percentage of your Page audience and the friends of those interacting with your post will see it.

Facebook like button

Do you “Like” this new update?

Is this tool something that you’ll use to promote your own posts? As a user, do you think you’ll be bothered by these sponsored updates in your newsfeed? I’d love to hear some comments on all sides of this issue – I’m still trying to figure out what I think about it all. And, if you’d like to learn more, you can visit the Facebook Promoted Posts FAQ page, and a little more about Facebook advertising and it’s always changing form.

{Photo credits: First photo, second photo.}


There’s a {Facebook} App for that

So….. I want to know what you guys think of this? First, we went from shopping for birthday cards at a local shop, handwriting a heartfelt message – {or at least our signature!} – buying and attaching stamps, and usually remembering to do this all a week BEFORE the recipients big day, so that it would reach them in time. Then we started using ecards, which can still be really cute and personalized, right? Next, it turned into simply sending out an email that included a few birthday wishes. Now – we don’t know it’s someone’s birthday until we log-in to Facebook in the morning so that it can remind us of our supposed loved ones special days. You write a quick, “Hope your day is as awesome as you are!” birthday post, and call it good.

But now, there’s an app for that.

This free Facebook app will automate your birthday messages, so you don’t even have to be bothered with paying attention to those notifications on your homepage, or taking even 30 seconds of effort to tell someone that you care that they’re celebrating an important day. Does that seem super impersonal?

Or, is this the new normal?

Is it because at over 30, I’m clearly too old to know how things work these days? Or is this something helpful, to make sure you never miss any important days in your favorite people’s lives – by writing out personal messages to all of them, all at once, just once a month – and then letting them automatically post out to Facebook at the right time?

Yes. I signed up for the app.

Lol – I had to! I’m a social media junkie here, remember? So I wanted to check it out and see how it worked. Looks cool, and I do see how it could be helpful – but it seems so lazy. I want to hear YOUR thoughts? Share some comments – awesome, or awful? Will you use this? DO you use it already – if so, is it awesome? Chat with me here ladies….


Pinterest 101: Pin Like a Rockstar

Pinterest, Social Media, Blogging

Hi. My name is Meagan, and I’m addicted to Pinterest….

Anyone else here a Pinterest junkie too? It’s such a simple idea, you wonder why no one invented this sooner – and once you start using it, you wonder how we ever lived without it. I’m like a little Magpie on the web each day, collecting new shiny things I find. I used to have huge bookmark lists – But like Amber from Thrifty Ninja shows you in the video below – when you look at your bookmark lists, it’s hard to remember what each link goes to. With Pinterest, I can easily save all of those shiny bits of the web, categorize them into themed boards, and easily find inspiration when I need it. Perfection!

Pinterest, Computer, Procrastinator, Humor

Getting Started on Pinterest

You’ve probably heard the warnings – Beware of joining Pinterest! You’ll get sucked in. You’ll spend hours dreaming and pinning pretty projects to make, organizing strategies you plan to use, recipes you’ll make…. tomorrow. You spend so much time pinning, you don’t have enough time left to DO any of those things you pin. Sometimes you’ll sit down with a glass of wine, to browse, and find yourself on a “pin-binge”, and as you re-pin more and more, you’ll start to hear a Charlie Sheen voice in your head yell, “PINNING!!” It’s ok. We all go off the edge a few times when we first get started. You’ll learn to manage it soon enough. And once you get the hang of it all, it will become one of your most useful tools on the web, guaranteed! Here are a few resources to check out, if you’re new to Pinterest, and need a little help getting started:

Learn to Pin Like a Rockstar

Now that you’ve figured out the basics, you’re ready to pin like a rockstar. Since Pinterest isone of the fastest growing social media sites, ever – it’s definitely something you want to use to the fullest. If you’re a blogger, crafter, designer, or business owner – You can drive huge amounts of traffic to your sites using Pinterest! For many people, it’s now their top traffic referrer – bringing more new faces their way than search engines, StumbleUpon, or any other social media. Here are a few resources to give you some awesome ideas:

  • Seven Cool Ways to Use Pinterest: Once you grasp the basics, this second post from will show you some more interesting ways to maximize your time using it. Love this post.
  • 10 Creative Ways to Use Pinterest for Marketing: Love these ideas. I also like that he talks about cross-promotion between your Pinterest page and your other social media – I have a few tips to share on that too – Keep reading. But the thing I don’t agree with is pinning coupons – I’ll explain that one too.
Pinterest, Pottery Barn, DIY, Social Media, Humor

A Few Tips for Using Pinterest 

Since Pinterest is still new, the “rules” to using it are still being figured out. You can read a little bit about Pinterest Etiquette on their site. And here are a few of my own personal opinions on using Pinterest. There is no real right or wrong, and not everyone will agree with me, but here we go…

  • Only Pin Evergreen Content: Evergreen content is the type that will still be as relevant a year from now as it is today. A cool recipe for lasagna cupcakes is just as awesome next fall as it was when you pinned it today. But a coupon? That pin only has value for a week or two. If we start pinning and re-pinning content that will quickly expire, then we end up spamming up Pinterest with things that turn into junk. Plus – Yes, pinning that coupon from your site might drive some short-term traffic. But what about 6 months from now when someone comes across that old coupon because it’s pinned on someone else’s wall – If they click it, and their first visit to your site brings them to an expired coupon, it’s doubtful that they’ll be back. – Quick tip: Did you know you can pin videos too? Love that!
  • Link to Correct Sources: One thing that I see a lot is when people pin from the homepage of a blog, instead of going to the post itself first. Then when I click that pin a week later to go and check it out – It takes me to the home page, and the post has been buried away. Another problem is when someone pins directly from Google Images – that pin won’t take me back to original content either. And while Pinterest is all about pretty pictures, the whole point is to be able to easily find the original post for reference too, so be sure to “pin it” so that it links back correctly. Thank you in advance :)
  • Learn What People Pin: You can check to see what content on your site is being pinned, to learn what is most popular. The first time I looked this up, I was really surprised at some of things that people were pinning from my old posts. Type this into your browser to check it out: – obviously, type in your site name instead. Very cool tool!
Pinterest, Wine, Humor

Cross Promotion

If you really want to build a following on Pinterest, there are some easy ways to connect it to the other places that you “live” on the web. When I find someone cool online, I always look to see where else I can find them too. Make it easy, since people have short attention spans on the web.

  • Edit Your Profile: On your home page, right under your profile picture, is a button to, yep, you guessed it – “edit profile”. Click it, and link your page to your website, Facebook, and Twitter. Save it, and go back to your profile – See those little social icons under your profile? Now if someone visits your pinterest page and loves it – they can find you everywhere else too. Very cool, right?
  • Add to Facebook: You can also add a Pinterest tab directly to your Facebook page too – If you get confused by her instructions {I did!} read down in the comments, someone left a great tip on installing the tab. If you want to see what it looks like in action – Check it out on my Facebook page.
  • Plugins: Another great way to really maximize your Pinterest page is to add a Plugin – You can see mine, the Pinterest RSS Widget, in my sidebar, under Recent Pins. There are a few others to choose from too, and you’re sure to find one that will be perfect for your site.

Wrapping it up

This is the longest post I’ve written in quite awhile – But heck, when you love something so much, it’s hard to keep it short and sweet, right? I hope I’ve answered some questions, helped you get started, or helped you learn something new. If you have any Pinterest related questions, feel free to ask them here, or on my Facebook page, and I’ll share any answers that I have. Above all, remember – It’s Pinterest – Not Brain Surgery. Have fun with it!

Already pinning? Follow me on Pinterest!


Facebook, Please. I’m Trying to Work!

Does this ever happen to you?

Having a job where you work online, at home where no boss can come sneak in and catch you goofing off, is not as easy as you might think. The internet is a tough place to work… There are so many distractions.  Oooh, a funny cartoon – gotta re-post it to Facebook! Super controversial article – Totally gotta go share it in my blogging group and see what they think of it! Awww, look at that sweet pic of baby kittens – clearly I have to give it a thumbs up on StumbleUpon. Maybe I’ll just hit the stumble button a couple of times too….

Suddenly, it’s 3 hours later, and I still have a pile of work to do.

And that’s why bloggers have messy homes. That’s why it is extremely difficult for us to be productive. The internet is just so full of shiny things, it’s hard to stay focused. I mean heck – How can I get any work done when there are so many pictures of Ryan Reynolds without a shirt on Pinterest??

I mean, seriously.