A Grace Full Life


Everything You Wanted To Know About Blogging But Were Afraid To Ask.

blogging tips for beginners

Since starting a blog in 2010, I have learned so much.
When I first began, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging except just enough to go to Blogger and begin writing.
I literally Googled, "how to start a blog", picked the first entry THIS IS WHY SEO IS IMPORTANT and followed the directions.
That was it.
But my blog was basic.
I mean that in the best possible way.
A blog, by definition, is:

1- a personal website or web page on which an individual records opinions, links to other sites, etc. on a regular basis.

Yes, blogs were meant to be a personal log, journal, entry.
Like an online diary.
So who cares what your blog looks like to others.
It most matters what it looks like to YOU.
If you love it, the others will learn to love it as well.

A few years ago, I started a board on Pinterest dedicated to all things blogging.
I have said before that if my fellow bloggers went to this board and saw what exactly I was pinning, they would be shaking their heads.
There is a lot I still don't know but that is honestly what I love most about blogging.
There is always something new to learn.
A new way to edit HTML, that is the language your blog's alter ego speaks.
A new way to add a button to your blog, the pretty little blog jewelry on the side of the blog.
A new way to change up your header, that is the top part of the blog that has the name.

Here is my board if you want to head there now and learn something new.
Or learn something old.
Its up to you.

Follow Kari @ A Grace Full Life's board Everyday I'm Blogging on Pinterest.

I have found some really helpful tutorials for people like me.
People who in all honesty have no business running a public website yet here we are!
Tutorials that read at a second grade level so as not to confuse us.
That is an insult to second graders everywhere because I am pretty sure they probably know more about adjusting the width on a blog than I do.

So I have gathered my most helpful blogging tips from amazing bloggers all over the web in one place.
Because I want to create a world where there are more bloggers than there are non-bloggers.
And these tutorials will help you create a supafly blog.

How to Get Started 

 Let me start by saying, when I Googled "how to start a blog" four years ago, a lot less people were blogging back then.
Now when I Google it, a lot of HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOGGING WHICH DOMAIN YOU NEED TO BUY blah blah blah comes up.

Here is my personal opinion: I like Blogger.
I hear all the doomsday bloggers out there letting out a collective sigh.
Because on Blogger, I don't "own" my content.
Blogger does.
Which is owned by Google.
Now, I don't see Google going away any time soon and I have backed up my blog (tutorial will be included in this post) so I am not worried.
Wordpress is fine.
So is Tumblr.
But because I have written my blog with Blogger for the past four years, it is Blogger where my alliance lies.

Here is my five minute tutorial on starting a blog:

The first entry will be Google-Blogger.
Click on that.
If you already have a Google account, half the battle is mounted.
If not, you will need to create one.
Easy peasy.

 The hardest part for me was coming up with a blog name.
In fact, before you even Google "how to create a blog", figure out your blog name.
I originally wanted to call my blog Ducks in a Row.
But I Googled Ducks In A Row and found two blogs and four small businesses with that name.
That's a heck of a lot of ducks.
So I gave it some thought and after a few days, I had this brain storm.

A Grace Full Life.

My girls middle names are Grace.
Our life is very FULL.
I ran to the computer and Googled it.
Not a one.
I immediately named it and boom, my blog was live.
Now you will want to learn how to write a blog post, add pages (those tabs at the top up there that says things like About Me or Contact), go here to learn how to do all of those things and more. 

So now you have a blog!
All you need to do is add the words.
But if you are looking to make your blog a little prettier on the eyes, follow these amazing tutorials below.

How to Create a Cool About Me Page

Whether you are creating a public blog or a private one, an About Me page is nice to have so that your readers get a sense of who you are before even reading your words. 
If you want to make money, this is a key player on your blog.
It should reflect who you are so that businesses will know what you represent.
Otherwise you will be getting emails from Nigeria asking for a million dollars.
Or from companies asking for free publicity. 
Or maybe that is just me. 

How to Create a Header on Pic Monkey 

 You don't need a degree in web design to create a cool header.
A header is where your blog name will be and it doesn't just have to be words and a tan background.
Unless that is your thing, then you have one less tutorial to read! 
It is free, easy, and can be done in the same amount of time you do a small load of laundry. 

Another Amazing Header Tutorial 

This is the header tutorial that helped me create mine.
If it can help me, it can help anyone.

How to Make a Blogger Blog Look Supafly 

Blogger is a great platform but when you start, your space can look a little sad.
This tutorial is geared toward Blogger exclusively and is the tutorial that helped me get rid of my old About Me paragraph on the side bar. 
That is the space to the right of the posts on my blog.
Side bars, by the way, can be on the left, right or on both sides depending on your taste. 
But you will find that out if you follow the tutorial all the way at the top when you start your blog. 

How to Embed a Tweet in Your Blog Post

I didn't know how to do this for the longest time.
That is the only reason I am including it.
Because everyone was able to do it but no one was willing to share how.
Here you go.

How to Back Up Your Blogger Blog 

According to the doomsday bloggers, Blogger is going to run away in the night with your blog.
Its not.
But if it did?
I got a back up plan.
Click above to get yours. 

How to Install a Scroll to Top Button 

 I just did this last week!
I love it so much and it took me five minutes. 
When your readers get to the bottom of the page, or the middle for that matter, they can press this floating button and BOOM.
Back at the top.
Look at you creating a supafly blog!!!

Tips to Make Your Blog Look Better

This is my all time favorite post.
I learned so much from this blogger and I have her to thank for getting my blog FINALLY to where I absolutely adore it. 

Blogging Checklist

I like this one a lot.
A little less than the one above but it is very helpful.
Not all the tips will work for you so pick and choose. 
Trust me, I know from experience.
It is a way for your blog to show up first in search engine, well, searches.
And that is good for pageviews.
Now, if you are wanting to create a personal or family blog, you can skip this.
Want to make money?
Read this.

Blogging Tips

I wrote this tutorial last year in hopes of helping others.
These tips are usually not talked about on blogs or tutorial blogs.
Like a mod podge of information packed into a single post.
And there was some controversy as well.
So now you HAVE to read it.

What To Write About

You have a blog, now what?
There are millions of writing prompts out there but this one looks pretty cool to me.
Especially if the blog you are starting is a personal blog or one you want to leave as a legacy to your children. 

I hope this helped you a little and if any of you decide to start a blog, please leave a comment!
I would love to go visit your new supafly blogs! 


Kari's Terrible No Good Very Bad Day = Why I Won't Be Starting a Resume Writing Service

 It started with a bad day.
It always does, doesn't it?
I woke up a little late, greeted a friend at the front door in a white tee shirt with no bra, visible nipple and bed head.
Not sure which was more mortifying.
It was humid.
Like HU mid.
I got my period after breakfast.
Fruit loops.
That I told myself I shouldn't really eat.
But it was in those little multi-pack boxes so you reason, well it is diet sized.

mini cereal is diet sized

I almost got hit by a car as it was speeding out of a parking space.
There was no good music on the radio.
Then I tried to place a 13 dollar order for Scholastic books online.
And my credit card wouldn't go through.
Because, as I would soon find out, TWO of our credit/debit cards were hacked.
Because TARGET.
Then Adele came on the iPod, singing about how life is so unfair.


You know, a typical Adele song.
And I lost it.
I put my head down on the keyboard of my computer and sobbed.
After ten minutes, I pulled myself together and Googled PART TIME JOBS BLOGGING.
Apparently, I felt I needed to get a job because of all of the above. 
Including my period.

After some investigative searching, I found two jobs and applied to them without a second thought. 
One was for a freelance writing position.
The pay sucked but the job sounded amazing because I love to write and feel like it is the only thing I am qualified to do any more.
The other was a retail stocking position for a major department store.
The hours are very early morning, weekdays.
The pay is good, it is perfect in every way except that it isn't what my heart would want.
But it would bring money in and I do have 14 years of retail experience.
That ended in 2002. 

I hit the submit button for the writing job at 12:25.
I got the rejection email at 2:15.

Unfortunately, we are unable to bring you aboard at this time. We base our criteria for acceptance on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, quality of writing and knowledge of topic.

Yes it says quality of writing.

For the application, I submitted some of my "work".
From my blog.
So they were responding to my writing.
The writing I was so proud of, that I even told a friend " I think I will get the job".
I was cocky.
I got this.
I didn't "got this". 
I wanted to leave the world's most public break up letter to the company on every form of social media known to man.
I didn't.


So it started with a bad day, the grumbling, the rumbles.
Of my insecurities.
Why am I still doing this?
 I have said for years, I am paying my dues, earning the right to become a decent, respected writer or blogger.
Someone who will get paid for this gig.
Because as much as I love what I do, I wish I were getting paid.

I have people (outside of the blogging world) ask me all the time about how much money I make blogging.
Oh, occasionally I would get paid ops here and there.
VERY here and there.
But nothing to make me say, I get "paid".
I have tried, believe me, without trying to sell out.
I don't want to sell you all out here.
I believe what you have to look at on this page, besides my words, is important and I just don't want my blog to start looking like the blog equivalent of Times Square.

Times Square

And it is by now that I naively thought I would be making some money, when I started in 2010.
Nothing big.
Nothing to keep me in jewels or furs.
I don't wear jewels or furs, by the way.
It's an expression.
Just enough to pay for all the cheer leading fees and the OT visits.
Or so that we could finally save for college.
Or go on a vacation that involves a plane.
Or get the good mac and cheese.


By the way, 86 bucks for a weekly co pay to an OT.
Because it falls under mental health.
Because of stupid high deductibles.
That is why. 

This glaring reject letter/email is the first of many, I am afraid.
I knew they would come, I have delved myself into motherhood for too long I fear.
I am not relevant anymore.
I get it.
I tried not to let the rejection email get me down but it did.

I make a good impression in person.
NOT on paper.
Which is pretty hilarious considering that I write a blog.
If you read my resume, you would laugh.
Or giggle.
Titter for sure.
I know people who bulk up their resume and have not had a job in years.
Yet their resumes look amazing.
I need someone to do that for me.
Because mine is a who's who of useless information.

For example, I wanted to apply for a job at my daughter's elementary school.
It is a temporary position filling in for maternity leave.
Just a few months to get my feet in the pool, make some money and be close to my child so I don't have to worry about transportation etc.
The computer application process wants to know the supervisor of my latest job.

My latest job was in 2007.
Do you think she is still there?
In fact, I have no idea what her name even was!
Maybe I could just put THAT on the application.

Yes, her name was Kim something or other.
She was really nice, liked me a lot but she could stand to smile more.

It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I am screwed.
Royally screwed.
I have an Associates Degree in quasi Education/Pre-Nursing/ Kickball.
I haven't worked full time since 2000.
I haven't worked part time since 2007.
I have no skills worth writing on a resume.
Yet I have been toiling at this blogging realm for four solid years.

I can help you design a blog.
Edit HTML in a pinch.
I am kick ass at editing a picture on Pic Monkey.
And I FINALLY learned how to take a screenshot. 
Can I put that under certifications??

I can write a piece about your business, corporation, doggy day care in less than a half hour and it will be funny without selling you or myself out.
I could write a mission statement that would make Jerry Maguire pick up the goldfish and come work for ME.

I can also keep a house clean, get all the laundry for the week done in three days and have a casserole in the oven at the same time.
I can menu plan and coordinate meals, snacks and lunches for our entire family for two solid weeks in a matter of 15 minutes.
I schedule our families lives down to the minute with a calendar system that would make SOMEONE HIGHLY ORGANIZED piss their pants.
My kids are happy, well adjusted, smell good, and have clean clothes every day.
Can I write all THAT somewhere on a resume? 

Yet I am irrelevant when you look at my life's work on a piece of paper.
Such is the story for a lot of you out there, I am sure.
So I am at this crossroads.
I might look good in person, but on paper?
I am a hot, steaming mess.

So if you know of someone who is looking for a humor writing blogger who can wipe butts while checking on her smartphone how to defrost chicken in a crock pot?
Let them know I am their girl.
Just don't give them my resume first. 


Flat Kari at College, Doing the Irish Jig and PHOTO SHOOT!!

When the editor at Chicago Parent wanted to take Flat Kari for the week, I was excited!
And a little nervous that I wouldn't do this post justice.
I love Tamara, she is such a cool person and her son just left for college, so can we give her a virtual hug?

Here is my visit with Tamara in her words......

Kari headed back to college on college move-in day and got a little caught
up in all the goodbyes. And yes, cried big flat tears, yes she did.

I did cry. But I give really good hugs too. And tell him to go to the candy store in nearby Washington. He won't regret it.

Kari didn't get enough crying at college so the next day, Sunday, she sobbed
more flat tears at the tween hit "If I Stay." The girls sobbing next to her
were a little embarrassed and puzzled seeing Flat Kari crying, too.


Kari had cuteness overload when she headed to a photo shoot at TK
Photography where Photographer Thomas Kubik shot the cover of the new baby
magazine, Hey Baby. She tried to get in on the fun but the babies made a
grab for her so she took refuge by the giraffe.


 Flat Kari had her first lesson on a Celtic harp but got a little tangled up. No no Flat Kari, you only use your fingers!

Harp is HARD. Maybe I will just listen to it.

Kari gets her Irish on styling a head full of curls. Doesn't she look pretty? She is planning to woo Chicago's own, Michael Flatley

Ooh LORD OF THE DANCE?? Where is my lipstick......

 Flat Kari discovered that Irish dance is harder than it looks. She landed in the ER with a possible broken ankle.

There goes my chance at Riverdance......

Thank you so much for hosting me for a very big week, Tamara!
I actually can't keep track of me anymore.
I think I am in three places in Illinois as I write this.
One is in Ohio and another is being made by my friend Kari.
I need to get a paper secretary.

Want to see where else I have been?
Check out these former posts!


Individual Seven Layer Salads. So If I Make Four, That's Like One Big 28 Layer Salad. That Is How It Works.

I love seven layer salad's more than my husband loves ESPN.
I said it.
It isn't something I like to admit to readily.
I mean, it isn't like admitting that you love cheesecake more than your children.
Moving on.......

When I was ordering food for my daughter's 8th grade graduation party, I ordered from our favorite grocery store.
Or "The Jewel" as it is affectionately called.
They have this amazing catering section that we have loved for years.
Fried chicken, wings, salads, you name it, we have eaten it.
So when we have parties for over 20 people, we call out the big guns.
"The Jewel". 

One of such salads that was always a go-to was the illustrious SEVEN LAYER SALAD.
With all of its cheesy, bacon-y. egg-y. pea-y goodness?
Oh yeah and there is lettuce too.
Oops, forgot that part.
Heh. Heh. 

First I should mention that my love for seven layer salad started as a young girl.
My mom made an amazing seven layer salad that would put "The Jewel" to shame.
Make it want to stand in a corner with shades on, a Bud Light in it's shameful little hands and with its head down.
If you want the recipe and you are personal friends with me on Facebook, please go to my mama's wall and ask her about it.
She will give you the recipe.
If you are not, email me and I will give it to you.
I have a feeling most seven layer salads are the same though and I don't know why I gave above ^^^ "shame" a Bud Light.
BUT the Seven Layer Salad takes time to create.
Which for a gathering is fine but for my family, which only two of us will eat?
It's too much work.
Hence the "The Jewel" seven layer became a STAPLE in our family over the years. 

Then out of the blue a few years ago, "The Jewel" just stopped carrying the elusive seven layer salad.


What kind of jacked up marketing ploy is that?

I still look.
I search in the deli aisle.
Then I check the imported cheese section.
Then I head over to the deli counter.

I do it every single time.
You would think I learn my lesson after five years.

As I was ordering online for the aforementioned 8th grade graduation party, I looked under the salads section, you know, just in case.


There was my beloved seven layer salad.
For only $26.99 I could order enough layer salad to feed our party AND stuff my face with it before guests got there.
You do it too.

But when I want to have seven layer salad on say, a Sunday night with a cookout?
Yeah, $26.99 layer salad that serves 16 people doesn't help me out.
But if I am having a bad week?
TOTALLY ORDERING IT and eating it in front of a DVR full of Botched, Housewives and Teen Mom.
Don't judge.

The hubs and I were recently in "The Jewel" and I found an off brand layer salad.
At first I was excited!!
Then I looked at the fat grams.
In one serving.
1/2 cup.
64 grams of fat in a half of a cup.
No sir.
It was on the spot that I said out loud, I am making my own individual layer salad dammit.
I got looks.
 I am good at embarrassing myself in public.
My kids love me.

So here is what I came up with in the aisles of "The Jewel" at 6 pm on a Sunday night.
Food Network, here I come.

Don't they look yummy????

Here is what you will need:

- a bag of salad. (use whatever you like, I used bagged salad because it is just easier to pull out each serving. But again I AM LAZY) 

- hard boiled eggs (they have these pre-boiled in bags now!! LAZY)

- bacon bits

- mayo (low fat is fine too)

- shredded sharp cheddar

- red onion (sliced ) I forgot to add this but this is essential!! OK not really. But essential to me!

Take out how many bowls as people who will be devouring.
In our case it was only two because the girls weren't interested.

In each bowl, place a little of the lettuce, as much as you like but leave enough room for the other ingredients.
On top of the lettuce, you can add your eggs, bacon, cheddar and onion.
Top off with the mayo.
No one said this is a healthy dish but it won't be 64 grams of fat.
By the way, you can make this Weight Watchers friendly by using low fat cheese OR string cheese, low fat mayo etc. The onion and lettuce are 0 points and the bacon bits are only 1 point per tablespoon.
But I did not make this healthy because it was my cheat day.

Serve as is and then mix all the ingredients together as you eat it.
Holy balls this is so good.
You will want seconds.
Make enough so you can have seconds.

Or thirds.

Or fourths.


Changes. I Won't Say Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes Because That Title Has Been Done To Death.

You may or may not have noticed something different about my blog.
Something is missing.
That something is the absence of my Blogher ads that used to be right over there >>>>

A few months ago, I decided that I needed to make a change.
I had been a part of the Blogher Advertising Network since February of 2012.
It was such an honor to be chosen, such an ego boost for a small blogger like myself.
It made me feel straight up legit.
Like, SEE? Blogging IS a real thing.

I got amazing opportunities because of Blogher.
I met amazing people who became my friends because of Blogher.

Then I met more amazing people who became my friends because of meeting those original friends because of Blogher.

But for me, it wasn't a good fit anymore.
In a nutshell, I want to be able to write about anything I want.
I don't want "restrictions on the content that I write".
A friend told me to say that because I couldn't write it as professional.

I am not at all upset or leaving Blogher with a bad feeling.
I am grateful.
Grateful that I got chosen to go to a blogging event in 2012 that connected me to amazing women that I now call friends.
Because of those women, I have friendships that have lifted me up, validated me as a writer and made me proud to say "I am a blogger" instead of saying "I am JUST a stay at home mom".
Because of these women, I have learned how to create a business card, how to use SEO in a blog post and how to talk to companies without sounding like a dork.
Well, I haven't nailed that down completely but I am getting there.
Very very slowly.
Because of these women, I realize that it is OK to have a bad parenting day, to yell at your kids for eating your last candy bar and to be real.
It is OK.
It is always OK.
Because of these women I have gotten opportunities that I never thought I would ever be able to do....Chicago Parent, Listen to Your Mother, Erma Bombeck, Bethenny in NYC.

To be honest, at first I was scared to make the ads go away.
It was like this security blanket.
Like it was the reason all of the above happened.
Then I realized, no, don't be silly.
Having those ads on my blog didn't make the above happen.
I made it happen.

So I no longer run ads for Blogher and I can now control what I write on my blog which is so exciting to me.
I feel like the kid whose parents went away for the weekend, planning a kegger.

So keep on hanging in there with me and I promise it will be good.
Because hello, KEGGER.


"Kiddy Table Re-Do" RE-DO. Do Be Do Be Do.

Almost three years to the day, I published a post about overhauling an old Ikea kid's table.
This table has been around since my now 14 year old was a toddler.
It was starting to show some wear even though my oldest was pretty gentle on things like miniature furniture.
I was pretty proud of my re-creation, if I did say so myself!

Fast forward three years later.

OK in fairness to my DIY skills or lack thereof, my sweet, adorable youngest child was like the Godzilla's of toddlers.
Stomping on furniture, toys and small towns in her path to get to her destination.
Which usually involved food.

It looked so sad.
I wanted to bring it back to life.
It had one last show left in it within this household before it would be either saved for my grandchildren or sent to live with another Godzilla.
And I wanted it to shine.

I decided to sand off the numbers on the edges of the table.
Easy enough, right?
Hellz no.
It took me three days on and off of sanding with a sanding block and finally a power sander to get some of the adhesive off.
I was sweating.
Seething by the time I got some of the adhesive off. 
Apparently it isn't a good idea to put numbers or letters that are meant for mailboxes onto wood furniture.
It was still on there when I went to paint the table.
So instead of keeping at it, giving it some more elbow grease, giving it the ole' 1-2, I did what I do best.
Half-a@# it. 

I pulled out some wall decals that I got at Dollar Tree three years ago.
I found them in my basement with my craft supplies.
That I no longer use.
I don't know why I don't use them.
All the creativity is sucked out of me.
Since I turned 40, I don't have one creative bone in my body when it comes to artsy fartsy stuff.
But I can half- a@# with the best of them. 

I decided to put the decals OVER the areas where the letters from Hell used to be.
It's time for me to turn in my DIY license isnt it?
Be honest.
Just a little? 
I know.

I spray painted the table white.
Plain old white.
99 cent white spray paint.
Paint that ran all over the place, left drip marks left and right and made me swear and sweat some more.
I sanded the drip marks and re-spray painted the table again.

I painted the chairs Blue Ocean Breeze by Krylon.
Much better paint meant no drips.
Well except for the drip doin' the project.

After the table dried, I added the decals.
You can totally see the remnants of the numbers.

If you need hurricane proof letters and numbers for your mailbox, come see me.

It was like a glaring neon sign.

I am essentially, the Gilligan of the do it yourself blogging genre.

But it does look better than this:

So I am takin' what I can get.


From Cali to Maryland. Flat Kari Gets Around. Wink Wink. Nudge Nudge.

I know, I know.
These posts aren't as regular as I thought they would be. 
It is hard getting them done because people are having so much gosh darn fun with "me".
I AM fun.
Pass it on.

I started my latest adventure when my friend Jen took me to Blogher in San Jose the end of July!

Chillin' at the hotel


For those who don't know who The Bloggess is, go here.
For those who do, THAT IS THE BLOGGESS!

photo courtesy of Blogher

That's right.
I got in a picture at Blogher with The Bloggess AND I DIDN'T EVEN LEAVE THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.

My friend Julie knows how I like to party.

Thank you for taking care of me Jen!
The "hand off" apparently took place right before the keg stand above.
So I might have been a little hungover for the first part of Julie's time with me.
It's all good.
I took some paper Advil and slept the whole way home on the plane.

Here is my visit to Maryland in the words of my friend:

 Upon returning home from BlogHer. Flat Kari was NOT impressed with my messy desk.

 Checking out my Wantable box. She tried to convince me that my two new bracelets looked WAY cuter on her, but I won. Because I’m big and she’s flat.

Julie always gets cool, cute things like this in the mail.
I get things like bills and free key chains from the local dealership.

Flat Kari totally helped out and worked the camera for my latest Stitch Fix photo shoot. I mean, she kind of made fun of my poses, but I would have made fun of me too.

What is that new fangled camera stand thing?? 

Even though she is dressed super cute in her little strapless dress, Flat Kari was totally on board with working the staple gun for a DIY project.

What is that new fangled staple apparatus thingy?? 

We celebrated finishing the project with a gigantic glass of wine. Go Flat Kari, Go!

This is my favorite part of any week....oooh cute place mats!!! 

But then I totally caught her snuggling up with Ollie and I think he might have tried to slip her some tongue. Which is gross.

I told you, we were spooning SPOONING. Must've been the wine......

Flat Kari found my marshmallow stash… which means it’s time for her to go home.  

No. No No No! Marshmallows?? Nobody said there was gonna be marshmallows! I don't wanna go home!!!! 

Thank you Jen and Julie for taking good care of "me" for a few weeks.
Right now, "I" am in three places.
At once.
It's good to be "me". 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...