2019 Blogging Goals

2019 Blogging Goals

Over 2018, For the Sake of Good Taste really started to hit its stride in terms of where it’s going in the future.  As I nailed this down, my ideas for 2019 blogging goals really became crystal clear!  We might not have accomplished all of our (admittedly ambitious) 2018 goals, but I’m confident this year can be bigger and better.

Like last year, I’m sharing my yearly blogging goals (and, later, my personal goals as well!) with all of you.  I hope to be a bit better at updating my progress throughout the year, too, so stay tuned!

Quadruple our traffic

Once again, I’m setting “quadruple our traffic” as a blogging goal for the year.  We didn’t quite reach our target in 2018, but we’ve continued to grow in leaps and bounds and I have no doubt that this year can be even better!  I’m rounding the quadrupled number for simplicity’s sake.

For record-keeping, here are our 2018 stats and, from there, our 2019 goal stats:

Page views:

2018: 9,530

Goal: 38,000

Sessions:

2018: 4,118

Goal: 15,000

Users:

2018: 5,250

Goal: 21,000

And, while these aren’t being tripled exactly, I’d like to improve the average time spent on the site (spend some time delving into the archives!) as well as our bounce rate.

Average Time Spent:

2018: 1:55

Goal: 5:00

Bounce Rate:

2018: 57.94%

Goal: 25%

Increase our retention

Again, this is an important goal for the year.  I love gaining new readers, but I want our already-loyal followers to keep coming back, too!  My goal for this one is 40% returning traffic, 60% new; last year, we ended up at just 4.1% vs. 95.9%.

Social Media

Facebook was a bit of a pain in the neck throughout 2018, but we otherwise did remarkably well on our 2018 social media goals!  With that in mind, I’m hoping to once again blow it out of the water when it comes to our primary social media channels this year.

I’m including LinkedIn and Quora here, too, though they don’t quite fit the standard “social media” profile.  Quora has proved to be a really great source of traffic (the key is to give really helpful answers to relevant questions!).  And while I haven’t really utilised LinkedIn much in terms of blogging growth, I’m hoping to develop it throughout the year.

For LinkedIn, I plan to track how many times I share blog updates, rather than the likes/followers I’m tracking for other networks.

So, our 2019 social media goals:

Facebook: 150 likes

Twitter: 2,000 followers

Instagram: 1,000 followers

Pinterest: 750 followers

BlogLovin’: 100 followers

LinkedIn: 100 updates

Quora: 50 followers

Feature four guest posts

This breaks down to at least one a quarter and doubles our 2018 goal.  Since we were able to share three guest posts in 2018, I’m confident we can have at least four amazing bloggers visit this year!

We’ve already got one guest post lined up for later this month, so so far, so good!

Are you a blogger who’d like to learn more? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Share two guests posts

I didn’t set a goal to guest post on other blogs in 2018, but I’d really like to do so this year.  I actually did share three last year despite the lack of a formal goal, so I’m hoping to keep up that momentum!

Are you a blogger looking for guest posters? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Work with five brands

As our stats continue to improve, I’m confident that we can get even more brands excited to work with For the Sake of Good Taste!

I’m also planning to pitch a few brands directly, something that I have yet to do successfully (I tried once with my last blog, to no avail!).  It’s moderately terrifying, but I’m going to do it!

Are you a brand who’d like to learn more? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Create three original products

With our upcoming ebook and a course already in the works, this one should be relatively painless.  A successful launch on the other hand?  Well, fingers crossed!

Swap It! should be coming your way later this quarter, with the course later in the year. I’m still brainstorming some ideas for a third product, so let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!

Fellow bloggers, what are your 2019 blogging goals?

2019 Blogging Goals

2018 Goals Check-In #1

2018 Goals Check-In #1

Better late than never, right? I promised I’d update you all every few months on our 2018 goals for For the Sake of Good Taste.  While I’d hoped to have 2018 Goals Check-In #1 posted weeks ago, I’m still excited to share our progress (and improve it even further going forward!).

Quadruple our traffic

Personal issues and my final semester of undergrad lowered our stats in March, April, and May but things have already picked up dramatically!

Numerically, progress is there, though slow:

Sessions:

Goal: 6,500

Current: 1,408

Percent of Progress: 22%

Users:

Goal: 5,250

Current: 1,151

Percent of Progress: 22%

Page views:

Goal: 26,000

Current: 3,383

Percent of Progress: 13%

However, a comparison to this time last year is rather inspiring!

Our 1 January – 18 July stats from 2017 vs. 2018, as of this writing:

stats jan-july 17 18

We’re more than on track to meet this goal, if not exceed it, though we do need to work on retention (more on that below).

In fact, 2018 has exceeded the equivalent period prior, despite the months of limited activity!

Increase our retention

Unfortunately, this one’s actually dropped a bit!  I’m hoping that the work I’m putting into our email list (read more below!) will help this, too.

Feature two guest posts

So far, we’ve had one guest post, Generic vs. Brand Name by Amanda of The Happy Arkansan.  I absolutely loved working with Amanda!

We’ve also got another guest post coming to you on Tuesday!

Here’s that upcoming one, as promised!  

That means we’ve reached this goal! Cue the happy dance!

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to feature more of my fellow bloggers! We’ll gladly take more guest posts as the year goes on!

ARE YOU A BLOGGER WITH AN IDEA YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE ON FOR THE SAKE OF GOOD TASTE?  SHOOT US AN EMAIL!

Publish one post a week

Again, those few weeks of unrelated issues complicated things. But with this post, we’re at 22 posts (that count under my original parameters for this goal) for 2018! Not too bad out of 29 weeks, all things considered. A few more weeks with more than one post (like our new monthly favourites series!) and we’ll be back on track in no time.

Launch our veganism course

I haven’t made the progress I’d have liked to on the course, but it’s still moving forward! However, I’m considering launching it in conjunction with this year’s 12 Days of Blogmas! That being said, I’ll still be preparing for the launch throughout 2018, though it will launch a few days after.  I plan to have everything ready before the holidays!

MAKE SURE YOU’VE SIGNED UP FOR OUR EMAIL UPDATES TO BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN OUR COURSE LAUNCHES! YOU’LL EVEN GET SOME EXCLUSIVE FREEBIES ALONG THE WAY!

Build our email list

This is probably the least successful of these goals so far, but there’s still time! Be sure to sign up at the link just above to help us reach this goal (and to snag some exclusive freebies for yourself!). Not convinced? Learn more here.

Our numbers have dropped slightly as we lost a few subscribers after the GDPR update. But it’s okay – we’re focusing on building up the list going forward and it’ll improve without a doubt!

Work with two brands

So far, we’ve got one sponsored post this year, our Self-Care Tips for Working at a Computer All Day with Pure Journi earlier this week!

I’ve been actively applying to more influencer campaigns, so here’s hoping we’ll have more progress on this goal soon.

Are you a brand who’d like to work with For the Sake of Good Taste?  Check out our media kit here, then shoot us an email.

Double our social media following

Our goal stats are as follows:

Facebook: 100 likes

Twitter:  500 followers

Instagram:  150 followers

Pinterest:  150 followers

BlogLovin’: 50 followers

Tumblr:  25 followers

Flipboard:  25 followers

Google+:  25 followers

Currently, these are our stats:

Facebook:  51 likes (51%)

Twitter:   382 followers (76%)

Instagram:   137 followers (91%)

Pinterest:   116 followers (77%)

BlogLovin’:  33 followers (66%)

Tumblr:   0 followers (0%)

Flipboard:  0 followers (0%)

Google+:   0 followers (0%)

I’m focusing on growing the first few, which I consider our “main” platforms, so I won’t be too hard on myself if the last couple don’t grow as much as I hope. Plus, with the announcement of the end of BoardBooster, I expect Pinterest’s growth to slow a bit while I work out an alternative, unfortunately.

Still, there’s progress, slowly but surely.  If you’re willing, we’d love to have you as a follower on some of these platforms!

Have any suggestions for improving our progress between 2018 Goals Check-in #1 and #2? Let us know in the comments!

2018 Goals Check-In #1

Life Update - Where to Now

Life Update: Where to Now?

As you may have seen on Instagram, I recently graduated from college. Since so much of my blogging journey has centred on being a “college blogger,” a life update (and blog update!) seems to be in order.

First of all, the life update, a bit of what’s next for me, personally and professionally, outside of For the Sake of Good Taste:

If you were following along on Twitter or our other social media challenge, you already know that I was applying to several grad schools back in the UK.  In the end, I only applied to my top choice, Bath Spa University (if you’ve read our Traveller’s Guide to Bath or have seen my references to my study abroad programme in the city, you’ll understand).

I did, in fact, receive an offer to enroll in their Creative Writing masters programme this fall, but, after hours of consideration, I’ve decided to decline.

While I won’t be getting my masters right now, I fully intend to keep writing in the meantime!  I’m currently working on a second and third chapbook (have you got your copy of Mistakes Were Made yet? Be sure to check it out before the next two are released!), as well as a novel and biography.  I’ve been regularly submitting poems to literary magazines as well, so stay tuned for updates on potential publications!

I’ll also continue to take on freelance writing and editing projects! Check out my writing website if you’re interested in these services.

I’ve also taken on a job as a transcriptionist, which has proven to be pretty amazing. It’s entirely remote, the hours are flexible, and the pay is excellent.  I can’t complain!

So, what does all of this mean for the blog?

Have no fear:  you’ll see little to no major changes to the blog as I start my postgrad life.  I’ve been transitioning the site from “college blog” to “lifestyle blog” since we first moved to For the Sake of Good Taste, so any remaining transition should be painless.

What this does mean, though, is that I have the flexibility to blog regularly once again.  Despite a plethora of unrelated projects, blogging is a priority once more! From new content to exciting collaborations, I have lots planned for the coming months, so keep an eye out and make sure you’ve signed up for our mailing list for updates.

As always, thank you all for following along and for supporting For the Sake of Good Taste!  I’m eternally grateful for our amazing readers and followers.

Is there something you want to see on the “new and improved” blog? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

Life Update -  Where to Now

2018 Goals

2018 Goals

It’s practically cliché, especially if you’ve been on a blogger’s Twitter lately, but I’ve declared this the year that I buckle down and make things happen when it comes to this blog.  To hold myself accountable and to keep you all in the loop, I’m sharing my 2018 goals for the blog here today and will be updating you quarterly!

Quadruple our traffic

This sounds super ambitious, but hear me out.  Most importantly, For the Sake of Good Taste only existed for the second half of 2017. My first instinct was to aspire to double our traffic, but, technically, that should happen by default!

That being said, I want to account for that natural growth and for the goal in question.  So, quadrupling it is!  As you can see from our Google Analytics below, this translates to 6,296 sessions, 5,020 users, and 25,768 pageviews. For simplicity’s sake, let’s make that a rounded 6,500 sessions, 5,250 users, and 26,000 pageviews!

Ambitious? Yes.  Impossible? No!

2017 traffic

Increase our retention

As you can see in the handy pie chart amid the above analytics, a majority of our traffic comes from new visitors to the site.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE new visitors! But, even better, we’d like to keep them coming back!  In 2018, the goal is to bring that pie chart to at least a 60/40 ratio of new/returning visitors.

Feature two guest posts

As of the start of the year, we’ve featured no guest posts on the blog!  We absolutely love spreading the word about our fellow bloggers (check out some of our favourites here!), so this is unquestionably something we wish to improve upon.

Are you a blogger with an idea you’d like to share on For the Sake of Good Taste?  Shoot us an email!

Publish one post a week

With our current posting schedule, this means a new post will be coming your way every Thursday at 12 pm EST!  Of course, we’re all too aware that life can get in the way, so we’re leaving a bit of flexibility with this one.  As long as we reach 52 posts in total this year, it’s okay if a few weeks hold two posts to catch up.  If a week has more than two (like during our 12 Days of Blogmas!), only two of these will count toward this goal.

Launch our veganism course

Our upcoming course is still in its early stages.  Nevertheless, it’s progressing slowly, but surely!  As of now, I can’t reveal an exact launch date, but I can say with unflinching certainty that it will be this year.

Make sure you’ve signed up for our email updates to be the first to know when our course launches! You’ll even get some exclusive freebies along the way!

On this note. . . .

Build our email list

This is another area that we’ve made little progress on in 2017.  For that, it’s one of our top priorities in 2018! Currently, this list is very, very small.  Increasing it by even a few dozen will be an impressive achievement!

Work with two brands

We’d love to feature a few sponsored posts here on the blog! We’ve had some amazing opportunities in the past and would love to work with some more wonderful brands!

Are you a brand who’d like to work with For the Sake of Good Taste?  Check out our media kit here, then shoot us an email.

Double our social media followings

Currently, these are our social media stats:

Facebook: 49 likes

Twitter:  252 followers

Instagram:  74 followers

Pinterest:  77 followers

BlogLovin’: 19 followers

And the newer accounts, which have not yet had time to grow:

Tumblr

Flipboard

Google+

That being said, here are our goal stats for this time next year:

Facebook: 100 likes

Twitter:  500 followers

Instagram:  150 followers

Pinterest:  150 followers

BlogLovin’: 50 followers

Tumblr:  25 followers

Flipboard:  25 followers

Google+:  25 followers

What are your 2018 goals, blogging or otherwise? Share in the comments!

2018 Goals

Vegan Copycat McDonalds Burger

Vegan Copycat McDonald’s Burger

I’ve been pretty dang lucky in my time as a vegan in that I’ve craved meat approximately once (I contribute this entirely to not enjoying it prior).  Not bad for three year’s time!  However, there is a sense of nostalgia for certain non-vegan-friendly dishes.  That’s where my vegan copycat McDonald’s burger comes in.

Click here to go straight to the recipe!

I have fond memories of stopping with Mom for a sweet tea before a long road trip or after a particularly grueling band practice.  We didn’t go to McDonald’s often, but it was something special—besides, it’s awfully difficult to avoid the ever-present golden arches forever.

Even if you aren’t looking for something to stir up nostalgia, there’s value in this recipe.  Some pre-made veggie burgers are better than others, and homemade tends to be even better than the best of those.  But sometimes even your favourite patty needs a little something extra (and it might even make Uncle Arnold stop teasing you about your “weird, fake sandwich!”).

Try it for yourself and see!

Vegan Copycat McDonald's Burger

Our vegan copycat McDonald's burger is the perfect setup for your favourite veggie burger---kick it up a notch!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 patty your favourite veggie burger
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp white onion, finely minced
  • 3 dill pickle chips
  • 1 hamburger bun of choice

Instructions

  1. Prepare your burger as you wish (I especially like to grill a Boca burger).  

  2. Place patty on lower half of bun.  

  3. Swirl ketchup on top bun, followed by mustard.  Bonus points if you swirl them in opposite directions to make it extra "fancy!"

  4. Top ketchup and mustard with minced onion.  

  5. Place pickle chips evenly on top of burger patty.

  6. Top lower bun half, patty, and pickles with the top half of the bun (with condiments).  

  7. Enjoy!

Add lettuce, tomato, avocado, “cheese,” or whatever you like best to make it the ultimate burger!

Sign up for our email updates to access our exclusive Resource Library and to be the first to hear about our upcoming veganism course!

Vegan Copycat McDonalds Burger

Have you tried our vegan copycat McDonald’s burger? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

Lessons from My Grandmother

Lessons from My Grandmother

This past Saturday was my grandmother’s birthday!  In celebrating, I got to thinking of all the things I’ve learned from her over the years.  What better way to commemorate these than to share with you?  On that note, here are seven lessons from my grandmother.

I’ve since talked about lessons from my grandfather, too!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Walks make every day a little bit better.

When I was little (well, littler…I’m still pretty tiny!), I lived with my grandparents, and I spent countless hours with them beyond that.  One of our favourite pastimes was simply taking a walk.  Even now, Nan doesn’t feel like she’s at her best when she hasn’t taken a walk that day.  As an adult, I prefer to walk rather than drive, take public transport, etc., largely because of these positive experiences as a child.  During the past school year, I walked a mile both ways to work each day. My classmates thought I was crazy, but I loved it!  Now I’ll be living at that distance from campus and can’t wait.

The best way to a heart is through the stomach.

My grandfather is one of the pickiest eaters I know, yet he still has at least a dozen meals that he’ll eat gleefully every time Nanny makes them.  There are countless recipes of hers that stick out in my mind, accompanied by some of my happiest memories.  From cookies and cakes to pasta and hearty mains, she has a recipe to please everyone.

She has folders full of magazine and newspaper clippings featuring recipes she’d love to try–her very own offline Pinterest board!  Sometimes she’ll find one that’s either accidentally vegan or that she’s confident I can make my own and make me a copy.  I’ve found some of my favourite recipes this way!

The reality of beauty.

Growing up, one of my favourite things to do was play with Nanny’s hair.  It was long and beautiful and one of the softest things I’ve touched, even now.  She’d smile and tell me and my sister about how her mom’s hair was the same.  Several years ago, she beat breast cancer, and in the process, she lost most of her hair.  She hates it, but it’s taught me a tremendous lesson:  even the most beautiful features aren’t as beautiful as those who have them.  She’s just as gorgeous without her long hair, and the strength she showed through it all makes her even more beautiful, in my opinion.

There is nothing better than a hand-written letter.

When I first went away to college, I was insistent that I’d write letters to those who were willing.  Plenty of friends rolled their eyes and sent me a Facebook message, but a few special people let me live out my hopelessly romantic dream.  One of these?  Nanny and Pop!  Even when they insist they have nothing to write about, they’ll drop me a line.  Without fail, it puts a smile on my face.

Some friends last a lifetime.

For as long as I can remember, Nan has kept in touch with her friend Marlene.  Whether it be a birthday card or a quick note to catch up, I’ve always been impressed by the longevity of their friendship.  When I fight with a friend at college or lose touch with someone from high school, I think of Nanny and Marlene—not every friendship will last forever, but those that do are worth it.

Books are bloody brilliant.

As an English major, it’s no surprise that I love books.  From a young age, I got a huge part of that love from Nanny.  She introduced me to This Rough Magic*, her all-time favourite, and James Patterson’s complete works.  Coupled with a favourite murder mystery (The Artful Detective is our most recent go-to), she and I must have spent thousands of hours discussing books over the years.  One of our favourite things to do is visit the local used book sales—I can’t recommend it highly enough!  You never know what new favourite may be waiting, and at as low as a quarter in some cases!

Now, stories are a factor here too, and no one said they have to be written down to count.  Over the years, I’ve spent countless hours listening to stories from Nanny’s life.  Whether we’re talking about the layout of a house she lived in as a child or a job she had long before I was born, it’s bound to be entertaining.  While I’m currently working with Pop on a biography, I’d love to sit down and write some of Nanny’s stories out with her, too.

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

 

We hope you enjoyed these lessons from my grandmother!

Lessons from My Grandmother

Salad Stuffed Shells

Salad Stuffed Shells

I love pasta salad.  But I also love veggies and recognise their importance. So, when I saw an image of salad stuffed shells on Pinterest (are you following us yet?), I knew I had to try it.  I got a few strange looks from my family—I’m not going to lie, it does seem strange—but it was so delicious that I didn’t care.

Click here to go straight to the recipe!

Full disclosure:  I finished off the leftovers while writing this post!

I kept the toppings separate so we could mix and match, but you could easily combine them all initially to make the “filling.”  Here, I just used some simple cherry tomatoes.

I used Italian dressing, but feel free to grab your favourite!  I’m sure a creamy dressing would go beautifully with the pasta shells.

Try it for yourself and see!

Salad Stuffed Shells

These salad stuffed shells are a great way to satisfy pasta cravings while getting your veggies in!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1/2 box jumbo shell pasta
  • salad toppings (tomato, cucumber, pepper, or whatever you like best!
  • your favourite salad dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions on box.  Once cooked, drain pasta.  Allow to cool.  

  2. Meanwhile, chop/shred lettuce and prepare toppings as desired.

  3. Add salad mixture to shells individually. Top with dressing to taste.  

Super simple, and great for a hot summer day!

Sign up for our email updates to access our exclusive Resource Library and to be the first to hear about our upcoming veganism course!

Salad Stuffed Shells

vegan buttermilk

Super Simple Vegan Buttermilk

If you’re an avid baker or chef, chances are you have come across recipes calling for buttermilk.  And if you’re coincidentally a vegan (or if you’re cooking for someone who leads a vegan lifestyle), this line in the list of ingredients may stump you.  It seems like you’re destined to never try the recipe.  After all, vegan buttermilk sounds like the ultimate oxymoron.  Farewell, biscuits, pancakes, or whatever it is that you thought looks absolutely delicious (thanks, awesome blogger photos!).

Have no fear:  you can still make it vegan!  Believe it or not, buttermilk one of the easiest things to veganize!

Click here to go straight to the recipe!

This is my go-to for our mega-fluffy easy vegan pancakes, but there are so many potential uses.  Think fried “chicken,” dressings, onion rings, pies, cakes . . . . There are so, so many possibilities!  Let us know in the comments if you use this one for something creative.  We’d love to hear how you use it!

What’s even better is that you can customise this one, too!  My favourite alteration?  Substitute lemon juice for the vinegar in lemony recipes-it’s perfect for a lemon cake!

Whatever you decide to use it for (or whatever it is that brought you to this page in the first place!), this simple vegan buttermilk is bound to make your life easier!

Super Simple Vegan Buttermilk

Vegan buttermilk:  all the fun of buttermilk with none of the guilt!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp vinegar

Instructions

  1. In a medium-large bowl, whisk milk and vinegar.  

  2. Allow mixture to sit for 5--10 minutes before use.  

That’s it!  What’s easier than two-step preparation?

How does this sorcery work?

I was blown away and oh-so-curious, too. The vinegar curdles the milk ever-so-slightly, thickening it.  By mixing together, even the flavour is can’t-believe-it’s-not-buttermilk! No magic spells required.

Now, go make some easy vegan pancakes or whatever you’ve been avoiding because the recipe calls for buttermilk.  You’ve finally found a way to veganize your favourite buttermilk recipe!  The world is your (vegan) oyster!

Sign up for our email updates to access our exclusive Resource Library and to be the first to hear about our upcoming veganism course!

vegan buttermilk

must-have beauty

6 Must-Have Beauty Products

Like so many young women, I’ve got quite the collection of beauty products.  Nevertheless, there are a few I absolutely couldn’t live without.  I’ve been working on making sure my collection is cruelty-free and vegan wherever possible, so my product recommendations are changing fairly often lately.  I’ll be sure to return and update this one regularly.  But, for now, check out my must-have beauty products below!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Moisturiser

I have super sensitive skin and have suffered from eczema throughout my life, so dryness is extra uncomfortable.  A good moisturizer is critical!  Not only is this good for the sake of my skin, but it’s also a key step in my regular beauty routine.  By making sure I moisturise regularly, I’ve noticed that my makeup looks a thousand times better.  A happy, healthy (moisturised!) base is practically guaranteed to improve your overall look.

I always make sure to use my moisturiser on my face, but also on my neck and hands, and even my elbows!

I was lucky enough to test out a few bliss products as part of my work with Her Campus.  I’ve fallen in love with their Drench & Quench moisturiser*!

Red Lipstick

Whatever you may think of Taylor Swift, she’s got one thing right:  red lipstick is the perfect accessory.  It might not go perfectly with everything, but it’s remarkably versatile in general.

Whenever I need a pick-me-up, red lipstick is my go-to.  It instantly makes me feel more put together (even if I’ve done little to nothing with my look otherwise).  I’m convinced that my day becomes infinitely better when I’ve put on a bit of red lipstick.

My go-to brand for most lipstick is wet n wild* (keep an eye out for a post soon to come featuring some of their best products!).  Right now, I have their Raging Red and Hot Red shades on hand.

Brow Brush

When I want the bare minimum of makeup, my brows are my top priority.  I love to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn to make my face just a little more polished.  Simply brushing them makes such a difference!

For months, I used a brush like in this set to save the day, but I recently started using a spoolie, like the one that comes in this EcoTools starter set.

When I have a bit more time and want to put a bit more effort into my brows, I use this clear brow gel from elf, then follow it up with a pencil (I’m currently using this Marc Jacobs Beauty crayon in Earthquake).

Clear Nail Varnish

I can’t stand chipped nail polish, but I love having my nails done.  I’m all for a budget-friendly, at-home manicure, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than a day or two without my polish chipping.  An easy clear coat keeps my nails looking polished (pun intended) without the seemingly immediate disappointment!

Currently, I utilise this wet n wild clear polish more often than not.  If I don’t have the time or energy to use a coloured polish, this is absolutely perfect.

A Great Perfume

My biggest disappointment in returning to the States was the casualty on the plane ride:  my Royal Mist (since unavailable).  Until I can get my hands on a replacement,  I’m currently rationing a bottle of Victoria’s Secret Strawberries and Champagne* (which has also been discontinued since my falling in love with it–apparently I’m just not meant to have a signature scent!).

I picked up a bottle of Victoria’s Secret’s Love Spell Lace not long after first sharing this post…and they no longer carry it.  So, as I use this one up, I’m once again open to suggestions!  What’s your favourite perfume?  Let me know in the comments!

Water Bottle

“Jules, I thought you were listing beauty products…?” I promise, I am!  There are SO MANY beauty benefits of staying hydrated.

Since originally posting this list, I’ve improved my own hydration significantly.  While I’m still far from perfect, I’ve made enough improvements to see a distinct difference.  Like moisturising your skin directly, drinking plenty of water (and having that water on hand in your favourite water bottle) will keep you hydrated and keep your skin healthy and even more moisturised.

Check out our list of ways to stay hydrated to make this just a bit easier!

Makeup Expiration - Email List

What are your must-have beauty products?  Let us know in the comments!

must-have beauty

101 in 1001 take 1

101 in 1,001 Take One

This is my 101 in 1,001 Take One. Check out Take Two here

When I was still at my previous blog, I formed what’s known as a 101 in 1,001 list.  My inspiration came from Kate of Living Colorfully in Copenhagen, who describes it thus:

[101 in 1,001 is] a happy medium between a to-do list and a bucket list. Over the next 1,001 days (or 2.75 years) I will be crossing and checking each item off of my list, making regular progress towards meeting my longer term goals.

After reading her list, I completely fell in love with the idea and have been working on mine ever since!  Naturally, I felt I should share it with you all.

Notice that one of my items is to inspire three others to write lists of their own!  If you find yourself inspired, why not sit down and write one?

101 in 1,001 Take One| For the Sake of Good Taste

Start date: 21 August 2015

End date:  18 May 2018

  1.   Write my 101 in 1,001.
  2. Visit at least five museums I’ve yet to check out in Gettysburg. (1/5; Seminary Ridge Museum)
  3. Try 15 new restaurants.  (15/15 The Ragged Edge (Gettysburg, PA), VLife (New York, NY), White Castle (New York, NY), Waldo’s (Gettysburg, PA), Christine’s Cafe (Gettysburg, PA), The Green Rocket Cafe (Bath, UK), Zizzi Italian (Stratford-Upon-Avon and Cardiff, UK), The Boater (Bath, UK), The Orchard (Frederick, MD), Jane Austen Regency Tearoom (Bath, UK), Acorn (Bath, UK), Boston Tea Party (Bath and Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK), Kazbar (Oxford, UK), The Varsity Club (Oxford, UK), The Swan (London, UK).
  4. Visit a place for the first time.  (About a dozen or so spots throughout the UK!)
  5. Edit a book.
  6. Post 150 blog posts.
  7. Get an internship
  8. Take a dance class.
  9. Try at least 3 new clubs/activities.(3/3; The Mercury Literary Journal, Her Campus, Active Minds)
  10. Update journal at least 60 times.
  11. Take 101 pictures (of actual neat things, not just 50 candid pet shots).
  12. Write 25 letters.  (11/25)
  13. Keep in touch with at least 3 people from freshman year.
  14. Try twenty new recipes.
  15. Get Nanny and Pop back to Gettysburg.
  16. Have a non-journalistic piece published. (Check out my writing website to see for yourself!)
  17. Make Dean’s list again. (Spring 2017)
  18. Make and keep at least five new friends.
  19. But a really nice pair of shoes.
  20. Own something from Tiffany and Co.
  21. See another show on Broadway.
  22. Finish War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
  23. Rewatch the Harry Potter and original Star Wars series.
  24. Finish (or be caught up on) five TV series. (5/5; F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Bob’s Burgers, The Tudors, How I Met Your Mother, Pretty Little Liars)
  25. Help Rachel transition to high school.
  26. Officially declare my public history minor.
  27. Get a smartphone.
  28. Play a game of Monopoly properly.
  29. Have a 21st birthday party.
  30. Find a signature recipe.
  31. Get business cards made.
  32. Have $1,000 or more in savings.
  33. Go on a solo trip.
  34. Get my gun license.
  35. Finish at least 101 books.  (52/101; The Red Pony – John Steinbeck, After the Lost War – Andrew Hudgins, History is in the Land – T.J. Ferguson, Allegiant – Veronica Roth, Social Media – J Wolf, The Hospital on Seminary Ridge at the Battle of Gettysburg, Notes and Views of the War – Dr. James Fulton, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine – Alexandra Kleeman, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling, Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote, Vegetarian Quick & Easy – Jonathan Vine, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child – John Tiffany, Vegan:  Delicious Low Carb Italian Recipes – Sam Kuma, Self Help:  To Be Me at My Best – Odelia Alexandrovitch, Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Adulthood is a Myth – Sarah Anderson, Andrew’s Brain – E.L. Doctorow, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon, Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus – Clifton Crais, The Time Machine – H.G. Wells, Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen, The Two Gentleman of Verona – William Shakespeare, Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen, The Merchant of Venice – William Shakespeare, All Quiet On the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque, Othello – William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew – William Shakespeare, Hamlet – William Shakespeare, King Lear – William Shakespeare, The Tempest – William Shakespeare, Une Tempeste – Aime Cesaire, Draft No. 4 – John McPhee, Storm of Steel – Ernst Junger, Gregor the Overlander [Books 1-5] – Suzanne Collins, New American Best Friend – Olivia Gatwood, This Side of Paradise – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald, How Race is Made – Mark Smith, For Cause and Comrades – James McPherson, The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway, Emily Dickinson is Dead – Jane Langton, Country Sentiment  – Robert Graves, Fairies and Fusiliers – Robert Graves, The Love of the Last Tycoon – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur, Natural Disaster – Ginger Zee, Depression and Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim, Daddy Long Legs – Jean Webster)
  36. Visit the Cashtown Inn.
  37. Go abroad.
  38. Learn a new skill.
  39. Be ready to graduate from Gettysburg College.
  40. Successfully run a 5K.
  41. Meet someone famous.
  42. Take a group of friends on a paranormal investigation.
  43. Make a really good batch of cookies.
  44. Make someone’s day.
  45. See five “must-see” movies for the first time.
  46. Beat a video game.
  47. Stargaze.
  48. Find out my blood type.
  49. Ride a horse.
  50. Take a self-defence class.
  51. Adopt a rescue pet. (read all about my kitten, Fitz!)
  52. Give a waiter a great tip for a job well done.
  53. Make pasta from scratch.
  54. Go to an MLB game.
  55. KonMari my life.
  56. Watch a sunrise.
  57. Buy something without looking at the price tag.
  58. Memorise at least three poems.
  59. Make homemade hummus.
  60. Go to the farmer’s market.
  61. Take a formal tour of the battlefield again.
  62. Visit a new historic site. (Stonehenge, UK)
  63. Feature three guest posts.
  64. Guest post on two other blogs.
  65. Solve a health issue.
  66. Go to church at least 10 times.
  67. Attend a reading at the Ragged Edge.
  68. Write & send thank-you notes.
  69. Be in top 20 of Gettysburg reviewers on Trip Advisor.
  70. Comment on 25 different blogs.
  71. Make homemade salad dressing.
  72. Get a passport.
  73. Go to three Bullets sporting events.
  74. Vary passwords and update log accordingly.
  75. Buy an “actual” lottery ticket.
  76. List items in my dorm and at home.
  77. Send someone flowers.
  78. Tour the Yuengling brewery.
  79. Go to Knoebel’s.
  80. Successfully wear heels.
  81. Back up my computer to an external hard drive.
  82. Read Jane Austen’s complete works.
  83. DIY something.
  84. Get a credit card.
  85. Eat an orchard-fresh apple.
  86. Learn how to ride a bike.
  87. Make a Pinterest recipe (successfully).
  88. Make a (real) will.
  89. Have my name legally changed.
  90. Learn how to play chess.
  91. Return to the Renaissance Faire.
  92. Go to a concert.
  93. Complete photo albums.
  94. Get a period photo taken in town.
  95. Spend a day watching Disney movies.
  96. Pet-sit for someone.
  97. Put $5 into savings for each item crossed off.
  98. Blog about a minimum of 50 of these.
  99. Try five new hairstyles.
  100. Inspire three others to make a 101 in 1,001 list.
  101. Finish all 101 items.

So, ready to make a 101 in 1,001 list of your own?  Let me know!

Want to help me with mine, but don’t feel like writing your own?  If you’re a blogger, why not guest post here on For the Sake of Good Taste, or ask for a post for your site?

101 in 1001 take 1