Win a free WordPress theme.

The past few weeks I’ve been POURING MY HEART into blogging. Have you noticed? Can you tell?
As a result, two major things have happened.

#1. I’ve made new blogging friends.
#2. I’ve been toying with my blog theme and design.

That said.

I’m pairing up with one of my new friends, Allie, to give away a wordpress theme to one lucky blogger!

The WordPress Theme search is not an easy one, ESPECIALLY if you’re looking for a clean, bright one. When your blog doesn’t reflect you, it’s hard to keep on keeping on. It’s one of those weird blogger things.

Cornelia theme giveaway

Up for grabs is this wonderful Cornelia theme. As soon as I looked at it in the live preview I was kind of jealous of whoever is going to win it. I LOVE how simple and clean it is.

To find out how to win this free wordpress theme, head over to Sincerely, Bugs and get yourself entered!

Five on Friday

Would you guys hate me if I posted this picture EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY? It makes me happy, but I’m willing to negotiate.

Rebecca Black // Friday // stephanieorefice.net

 

Next week at this time, I’ll be in SAN FRANCISCO! My sweet little Lauren is graduating from high school (WHAT THE HECK!!) and I’m so stoked to be around all of the people I love the very most. It’s been an incredibly rough month or so (and the storm keeps. raging. on. I. don’t. get. it.) and seeing the loves of my life has been the light at the end of the tunnel, the thing I have kept thinking about. and now it’s right around the corner!

MOVING ON.

Fridaaaayyyyyyy!!! Five things, okay?

ONE button // stephanieorefice.net

My sweet friend Allie recently made a post of beautiful wallpapers based off of her favorite songs. Next week you’ll read more about it, but one of the songs is a song I’ve been singing a lot lately. Go check out her wallpapers, tell her I sent you and marvel in how lovely they are.

sincerelybugs.com //

 

 

TWO button // stephanieorefice.net

I was scrolling through my twitter feed when I saw River Maiden had posted pictures of coffee. and I got up and drove to River Maiden. Be forewarned, you’re about to see the same picture over and over.

Imagine how awesome my Monday was when I realized that River Maiden had used my picture on their social media! Just so you know this filename is rivermaidenmademehappy.jpg so that’s how awesome it was. I’m smitten like a kitten who is relaxing with some knittin’. I just made that up, you can borrow it if you want.

River Maiden made me happy // stephanieorefice.net

 

 

THREE button // stephanieorefice.net

Last weekend we had this big annual basketball tournament at our church. My new plan is to insist that their team rosters have a spot for “cute, single guy who wants to talk to the youth pastor all weekend.” because seriously. My church was full of dudes, and even though I PRAYED for a cute Canadian to take an interest in me… nothing.

I digress.

After the Saturday night meeting some of my friends and I were standing around and someone (I think Alexis) said she wanted to go on a hike. and I agreed. and we talked about it, and I created a Facebook event called “Girls hike” (because while I wanted to talk to a cute Canadian, it’s more important for me to be poured into by my girl friends right now)… and it’s happening tomorrow. I’m just excited for all of it.

 

 

FOUR button // stephanieorefice.net

If you are a faith-based blogger, you should know that my friend Susannah (who is like ACTUALLY my friend, like I hung out with her yesterday) hosts a link up on Fridays called Faith & Fellowship. I’ll be linking up my Future|Past post, and I encourage you to hop over there as well!

Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop

 

 

FIVE button // stephanieorefice.net

Me and my bank account and my debt repayment journey would really appreciate it if Swoozie’s could just stop selling the cutest things in the entire world. Since it’s almost summer and the weather’s picking up and we all know that staying hydrated is important, I’m wondering how much longer I can hold out before I buy this water bottle. Also it’s my GOLDEN BIRTHDAY next week, so if anyone wanted to buy it for me, I’d wouldn’t hate it.

kate spade new york Gold Glitter Water Bottle

 

Happy weekending, everyone!

Linking up with:
Bright on a BudgetThat Friday Blog HopThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Five on Friday, Five things Friday

The Unaccepted Gift.

Last Monday I built a fort for myself and a 10-year-old girl I was babysitting. She’s really brilliant. Very straightforward, and I dig that. We brought some pillows in and pushed the dog’s nose out of our face while we laid on the floor of our fort.

I asked her if she would give me some advice, since she seems to be pretty smart. She said sure and I told her what I was thinking about, though not in super great detail because hello she’s 10. I basically told her about how someone I thought was my friend had become kind of mean. What would you do if that happened to you? I asked her.

Vivian, in all of her 10-year-old brilliance, said she’d ask them WHY. WHY were they acting like that? WHY did they stop being my friend? I also might think it’s brilliant because it’s exactly what I want to know.

Then she told me about the kids in her class, how they are sometimes mean to her. She told me that she lets it bounce off of her, and I commended her for that.

I kid you not. Brilliant 10-year-old Vivian then said this:

Let’s say I got you a gift. I got it just for you. and I went to give it to you, but you didn’t want it. You refused my gift. Who does the gift belong to?

The unaccepted gift // stephanieorefice.net

I thought about it for a minute and replied, “well I guess it would belong to you at that point.

That’s what mean things are like. If you don’t accept it, it belongs to the person who was trying to give it to you.

WHAT.

That all really happened. Vivian is really THAT SMART. I told her she was brilliant and I was glad I got to babysit her and have life talks in the fort. Then she said she was bored and asked what we were going to do next.

But man.

Viv’s right. We don’t have to accept the mean things. We don’t have to accept passive aggressive social media interactions, we don’t have to accept bitterness or anger, we don’t have to accept unkind words or judgmental, uninformed opinions. We don’t have to accept any of that. We can turn away as someone holds it out for us, and then the mean things are THEIRS.

and you know what?

I don’t want any of those things, because those things are not my size, style or taste.

Making the most of your social media influence

As bloggers, it can be easy to get stuck in the numbers game. We see a blogger with high numbers and we immediately assume that what they have to say is valuable and is well-received and respected. I’m currently looking at the twitter account of a blogger who has 37.3K followers on twitter. Do you hear me? That. is. a. crap-ton. of. followers. But most of her tweets only have 3-4 engagements. Roughly .008% of the people following her engage with any of her tweets. She DOES post a lot, but still.

For some people the numbers are REALLY important. For example, I’ve been working hard on trying to drive traffic to my blog. Would I like the comments? Yes. Comments to this blog are like applause to Tinkerbell; I need them to keep going. BUT. The thing I daily check for growth isn’t my comment number, it’s my Google Analytics. Well, more specifically my Google Adsense. I’m trying to create posts worth reading and engaging with WHILE convincing people to come look. It’s like being one of fifteen kids who built a volcano at a science fair. Yeah, there are tons of things that are basically the same but does their lava come infused with glitter? Mine is a little different, come look.

ANYWAY.

Numbers and influence aren’t necessarily the same thing. I was recently looking at someone’s Twitter and my first thought was…

Your twitter followers aren’t your fans.

People don’t follow you (unless you’re like the Biebs or Ben Rector or something) because they’re fans of you. They follow you because you paid for them to do so in a giveaway, or they like your blog or think you’re funny or think you’re cool. That doesn’t make you a celebrity, it just makes you a human with a platform for strangers to connect with you. and to them you become a person of influence. How do we make sure we’re being responsible with our influence?

How to make the most of your social media influence // stephanieorefice.net

Five ways, people.

1. Be genuine.
I’ve been encouraging one of my mentors to start a blog for awhile now. She’s brilliant; very in touch with nutrition and very organic in how she lives, she home schools her brilliant little gingers and raises chickens. She finally decided what to blog about, and she was telling me about how she’d read an article about how the biggest appeal of blogs are the authenticity of the blogger. If you are completely honest with yourself on your blog, some people will love you (and really love you!) and you do run the risk of some people not being able to stand you, but who cares. You do you, and do it 100%.

2. Be a little mysterious.
You can be real and you can be protected at the same time. I’ve recently been going through a bit of a rough patch in my life, and I felt like people needed to be encouraged by it so I took to writing about it. Even though this is my little corner of the internet and I have free reign over what I write, I KNEW I needed to be discerning about it. I’m easy to get in touch with via social media. If people needed or wanted more details, I’m available to share them privately. That allows people the opportunity to connect on the personal stuff in a personal way, but still gives the person who stumbled upon your blog the opportunity to put your posts in context.

3. Be a builder.
There was a blogger that I used to LOVE. I thought she was the very best blogger in the world and I wanted to be just like her. So one day I bravely sent her a tweet that I’d been meaning to send for a very long time. Her response came across as being very harsh and dismissive. Guess who was no longer my favorite blogger? Here in blogland, we’re living in a bunch of cafeterias like the school in Mean Girls. There are cliques. and there are plastics. and you could be the “that skirt is so cute” Queen Bee or you could be the “that is the ugliest effing skirt I have ever seen” Queen Bee. Choose one. I vote the former. Don’t leave room for any of your social media interactions to be interpreted as tearing someone down. Only use words that build people up, ESPECIALLY if it’s in direct response to comments or engagements initiated by someone else.

4. Be engaging.
There are a few people I know in real life who boast about a large social media following who do not engage with people AT ALL. They’ve collected their followers by following other people, but they never engage. They never comment on other people’s instagram pictures or reply to tweets unless they’re mentioned or anything. It drives me insane. The best part of social media is the SOCIAL part. I had a coffee shop follow me on Instagram awhile ago. They hadn’t yet opened, but I decided to check out what they were about and I’ve been interacting a lot with them over the past few months and I’m SO excited for them to finally open. I had to step off my high horse and not pretend like they followed me because I am the coolest coffee drinker in the Portland area. You are not too good to interact with people who are interested in you. Unless you’re Justin Bieber, because I’ve been trying to get the Biebs to retweet me for years.

5. Be supportive.
This is something I’m currently working hard on right now. If you love someone’s blog post, share it. If you love their recipe, pin it. If you like their tweet, retweet it. Shout the praises of other people from the top of your lungs. Be known as a builder. Be known as a person who supports stuff, someone who people want to have on their side because you are excited for the things other people are doing. Be constantly on the lookout for who you can lift up. We all know how great it feels when someone shares our blog posts or retweets us or repins a pin that’s important to us. Be that person for other people.

 

This isn’t a formula for how to grow your realm of influence, mind you.
But in my experience, a lot of it recently, I’ve seen that when I use my small realm of social media to build, I receive more interaction and support because when it’s my turn to step up to bat, my team remembers how I cheered for them when it was their turn.

What do you think? How do you make the most of your social media influence?

Why I’m not down with this season of The Bachelorette

It’s time, people.

The Bachelorette has returned. 

and I’m kind of excited because this show is a train wreck and I love it.
but I have a huge issue with this season of The Bachelorette.

Why I'm not down with this season of The Bachelorette // stephanieorefice.net

 

In case you didn’t know, here’s what normally happens: one woman gets 25 dudes that all want to date/marry them.

Here’s what’s happening this season: two women from last season of the Bachelor are starting on The Bachelorette. and then all these guys come… and vote which one of the women stays.

Now that you’re caught up, let me stand up on my soapbox.

This is bull.

These women are more valuable than that. This whole Bachelor franchise already sucks because it sets women up to compare and face potential rejection. and I get it. They signed up for that, and obviously these two signed up for it.. but that doesn’t mean that’s it okay.

Normally at the cocktail party, the Bachelorette would sit around and be evaluating the men and figuring out who they want to stay, but in this case… the men are sitting around CONTINUING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO WOMEN. The power is still in the hands of the men. What’s the point of having The Bachelorette if the men get to choose what woman they want? Isn’t that completely contrary to what the whole point of letting the women have the control is?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not normally all GIRL POWER or anything, but seriously. Not okay.

 

When I watched The Bachelor last season (which was my first time) I was so heartbroken by the way the women acted. I wanted to jump into my TV ALL OF THE TIME and hug them and say “sweet girl, the validation of a man you barely know isn’t valuable. You are better than this.”

and now two of those women – two women that made it fairly far in the show – are back in a place where they are looking for the validation of men they barely know. and it BREAKS MY HEART.

We weren’t created for this. We weren’t created for any part of this franchise. We weren’t created to need to prove ourselves to find love. Not once, and CERTAINLY not twice. and DEFINITELY not for entertainment.

Let me be real: I’m going to be watching this train wreck. But I am absolutely heartbroken that these women are having to endure this AGAIN.

and I just want for women everywhere to remember that they are better than having to prove to someone that they are better than the person next to you. I don’t care how sparkly her dress is, how pretty her hair, how long her legs.. you deserve someone who hypothetically steps out of a limo and sees you and regardless of how sparkly the other dress, how pretty the other hair, how long the other legs… has eyes for you and for you only.

You are the bachelorette. The men of the world are your suitors. It is not your job to out-shine the girl next to you in the sparkly dress.

Don’t forget that.

and please forgive my ultra GIRL POWER post.