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Mid-Winter Inspiration

I’m so excited to kick off this Friday with a little mid-winter inspiration.

Winter Photography Inspiration - Fox in the Snow | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Picturesque Chicago Winter | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - River in the Snowy Woods | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Winter Bokeh | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Bridge in the Mountains | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Winter Photography Inspiration - Westminster Bridge London | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Winter in New York | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Ski Lift in Winter | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Winter Berries | http://www.roseclearfield.comWinter Photography Inspiration - Winter A Frame | http://www.roseclearfield.comI share seasonal inspiration posts once a month or so on the blog. You can also follow along with all of my seasonal inspiration and save your favorites on Pinterest! I have a Pinterest winter photography board right here.

Have a great weekend!

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Foggy Winter Beach Vibes

I talk frequently about how one of my favorite things about living near Lake Michigan is seeing how different the lake looks from day to day and even hour to hour. I enjoy the lake views all year round, which is why I created the hashtag #LakeMichigan365 (check it out on Instagram!) Many people live for perfect weather beach days with warm temperatures, clear skies, and great sand. But some of my favorite beach days are days with less than perfect weather. I took this set of winter beach pictures on a particularly foggy, slightly warmer than normal January day.

Foggy Winter Beach Vibes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Foggy Winter Beach Vibes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

 

Foggy Winter Beach Vibes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Rock Cairn on the Beach | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Sliver of Ice on the Rocky Beach | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Foggy Winter Beach Vibes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Rocks and a Leaf on the Beach | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I took this last shot on the way back to my house. When it’s clear, you can see the lake perfectly from our house. When it’s really cloudy, the lake blends right into the sky. While I love seeing a brilliant blue lake, I also love winter days that are 40 degrees and foggy. I’d rather have 40 degrees and foggy than 0 degrees and icy any day. Anyone else?

Warm Foggy Winter Day | http://www.roseclearfield.com

More Lake Michigan views!

Snowfall on the Lake Michigan Beachfront
Morning at the Beach
A Rainbow Over Lake Michigan

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Blog Organization Tips and Tools

Blog Organization Tips and Tools. Includes a FREE 2017 Editorial Blog Calendar Download! | http://www.roseclearfield.com

[Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links. Thanks for your support!]

Staying organized is key for success as a blogger. Without organizational tools, you can waste hours figuring out what to post, when to post your content, and how to best use your social media time. There is no single magic tool that will help you stay organized. You must figure out which tools are the best fit for your blogging needs and organizational preferences. I’m sharing the tools I use and discussing exactly how I use them to stay organized and work efficiently.

2017 Blog Editorial Calendar | http://www.roseclearfield.com

The January page of my 2017 blog editorial calendar.

Editorial calendar

First and foremost, every blogger should have an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar helps you keep track of all of your blog content so you know what you’re publishing when and can plan accordingly to get it published. In the past, I’ve kept a paper editorial calendar. For 2017, I’m using a digital editorial calendar. I’m sharing my blog editorial calendar template right here. As much as I love paper organization, I think the digital format will be better suited for moving content around as I finalize my publishing schedule. It will also be helpful for color coding the current state of my content. I’m using different colors for posts in idea, draft, scheduled, and published stages. Additionally, the digital format allows me to pull up the same calendar in Dropbox on different computers and even on my phone, which has already been extremely convenient. (You can also do the same thing with Google Drive!)

Keep your blog organized! Click through to get your FREE 2017 blog editorial calendar today! | http://www.roseclearfield.com[Please note: You may have to adjust the page spacing slightly depending on the fonts you use for the calendar. Feel free to edit the notes section at the end of each monthly page as well.]

Social media scheduling: Boardbooster and Later

Social media scheduling tools allow you to schedule Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram content in advance, freeing up the bulk of your day for other tasks. I’ve spent several months researching and experimenting with varying social media scheduling tools. Most social media tools cost money, and I want to make sure I’m using my funds as efficiently as possible to meet my blogging goals. Ultimately, I decided on Boardbooster and Later. Currently, I’m paying for the Boardbooster 500 pins/month plan ($5/month), and Later Plus plan ($9/month, or $7.50/month if you pay for the entire year upfront.)

Boardbooster | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I’ve only been using Boardbooster and Later for a couple months but have been so happy with them already. Boardbooster is exclusively a Pinterest tool. I know there are more powerful Pinterest tools available, but you can’t beat the price of Boardbooster. If you’re serious about boosting your Pinterest presence and driving significant Pinterest traffic to your blog, a pin scheduler is a must. Spending a few hours each month scheduling pins enables you to publish 15-20 pins per day, spread out so followers aren’t overwhelmed with all 20 pins at once. I’ve been using Boardbooster alongside multiple Facebook promo groups, which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly how much traffic has come just from Boardbooster. But the combination has yielded huge results. Over the last few months, my Pinterest likes and traffic have more than quadrupled and continue to increase each week. I’ll talk more about my specific numbers as I provide updates for my 2017 goals.

Later.com | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I use Later primarily for Instagram and Twitter. I’ve just started using it for my own Pinterest content. You can also use it to schedule Facebook content. Later has been a game changer for Instagram. I absolutely love being able to schedule Instagram posts right from my computer without having to transfer photos to my phone and type out long descriptions and a couple dozen hashtags on a tiny phone keyboard. The ability to schedule content and increase my descriptions and hashtags with ease doubled my Instagram likes and engagement instantly. It’s only been increasing from there. I’ll also talk more about my Instagram progress and pinning with BoardBooster versus Later as I give goal progress updates.

If you’re considering either of these programs, please give them a try. They’re both absolutely free to try with no upfront credit card information provided.

To-Do List Minted Notebook | http://www.roseclearfield.com

To-do lists / ongoing brainstorming

I have a regular composition notebook for my client freelance jobs and other freelance work (i.e. Constant Content). I have a smaller notebook (pictured above) for my daily blog to-do lists (i.e. social media sharing, FB group commitments, pictures to take for an upcoming post) and ongoing brainstorming for new post ideas, general blog ideas (i.e. new ad networks, email campaign strategies), and much more. For example, since I started Michelle’s affiliate course, I’ve devoted a page to affiliate marketing ideas.

I cannot stress the importance of ongoing brainstorming enough. When you create any type of content on a regular basis, you have to keep the ideas flowing. There will be weeks that your content will come together easily, and there will be weeks that you’re racking your brain trying to figure out what to publish. When you’ve been brainstorming, you always have somewhere to turn for that next idea and won’t spend hours staring at a blank computer screen. You won’t ever use all of your ideas, which is fine. Find a system for brainstorming that works best for you so you’ll stick with it.

Since I started my blog, I’ve been using a Shutterfly notebook, which I really love. If you want to design your own notebook cover, Shutterfly is a great option. Watch for a promotion, and you’ll be able to get one for 30-50% off. I also love the small notebooks from Minted. I recently got a couple with some blog giveaway winnings (more on that soon) and will be using them after I fill up my Shutterfly notebook.

Filofax Finsbury Planner | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Paper planner

Finally, a couple years ago, I quit using my Google Calendar and started using a paper planner. I know that seems crazy, but it’s worked pretty well for me. There are so many people who use their paper planners for everything. If you can do that, more power to you. Clearly, given the other organizational systems I have in place, I don’t. I have a Filofax Finsbury. There are numerous free and for purchase Filofax resources as well as tons of general Filofax inspiration online. The only resources I use consistently are the monthly and daily pages.

I use my paper planner for keeping track of calendar commitments (i.e. appointments, meetings) and super exciting household tasks I don’t want to forget (i.e. replacing the furnace filters). I also use it as my wallet. I hope as I wrap up my big household projects this year and finally establish a more regular household routine (i.e. cleaning, errands, etc), I’ll be able to to use it to organize all of my household tasks. If all goes as planned, I’ll be sharing more about it.

My paper planner helps me stay organized as a blogger because it helps me keep other aspects of my life organized and efficient. You have to determine if you want to keep track of blogging tasks in your regular planner or in a separate planning tool. There is no single system that works for everyone.

What blogging tips and tools help you stay organized?
Leave your input in the comments!

 

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Upcycled Christmas Card Books Tutorial

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I absolutely love receiving Christmas cards. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday season and something I look forward to all year. But then what do you do with them when the holidays are over? I hung onto my cards for years, not wanting to get rid of them but not knowing what to do with them. Then one day, I found an image online for upcycled Christmas card books. SOLD. I made my backlog of cards into books and have been making Christmas card books ever since.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a few techniques for my books to preserve the cards as well as the letters and photos for years to come. As you finish transitioning out of the holiday season and taking down the Christmas decorations (yes, some of us are still doing that in mid-January), think about upcycling your cards into a cute little book for the living room bookshelves or coffee table.

Upcycled Christmas card books supplies:

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I also use a paper cutter for slicing the cardstock and a three-hole punch for punching the Christmas cards. I personally own both of these items and love them.

Gather your Christmas cards, letters, and photos from the past holiday season.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - Christmas cards, letters, and photos ready for the book. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

You’ll actually be using the three-hole punch to punch two holes in each Christmas card. The way my three-hole punch is designed, you can’t center the holes for most Christmas cards, which is okay with me. If you want perfectly centered cards, use a single hole punch.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - Punched Christmas cards. | http://www.roseclearfield

For smaller cards, you may only be able to punch one hole, which is fine. I place the smaller cards toward the middle of the book so they’ll stay anchored.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - Punch small cards with one hole and place them in the middle of your book so they stay anchored. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Cut the cardstock into two pieces so you have 8″ x 5.5″ pieces of cardstock. The number of pieces you’ll need for the book will depend on the number of letters and photos you’re including in the book. Again, you won’t be able to center the cardstock holes. If you want centered holes, use a single hole punch.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - Red cardstock cut in halves for gluing Christmas photos and letters. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Choose one Christmas card to use for the cover. I like to create a small year label with red cardstock on the cover card.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - I like to use a portrait oriented Christmas card with no photo for the cover. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

There are a couple different ways I add Christmas letters to the book. For single-sided letters, I fold the letter into quarters and glue one quarter to the cardstock so you can open up the letter.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - How I glue a single-sided letter. | http://www.roseclearfield

For the double-sided letters, I glue an envelope to the cardstock, and keep the letter in the envelope. I use my own business-sized envelopes, but you can use the original envelopes. Let the envelopes dry completely before adding the letters.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - I glue an envelope to red cardstock for each double-sided letter. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - I glue an envelope to red cardstock for each double-sided letter. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Typically, I also glue the photos to the cardstock. If there’s a detailed message or other info on the back you want to remember (i.e. the names and ages of the kids), you may want to write the message on the cardstock or punch the photo. Let the glue dry completely.

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books - I glue the photos to red cardstock. If there's a message or info on the back of the photos (i.e. kids' ages), you may want to write it on the cardstock. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

When you’ve finished preparing the letters and photos, arrange all of the cards, letters, and photos in the book rings. Close up the book rings. Enjoy your new upcycled Christmas card books!

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Did you make upcycled Christmas card books? I’d love to see them! Tag your photo #RoseClearfield on Twitter or Instagram, send me a snap on Snapchat (randomcreative), or post a photo to my Facebook page, and I’ll check it out. Thanks!

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Upcycled Christmas Card Books | http://www.roseclearfield.com

[Disclaimer: This post contains a few Amazon affiliate links. Using these links to purchase supplies for this project or anything else on Amazon is a simple way to support my blog without costing you anything extra. Thanks!]

More DIY!

DIY Just a Note Sheet Music Greeting Card Tutorial | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Just a Note Sheet Music Greeting Cards

DIY How to Paint and Makeover a Metal File Cabinet | http://www.roseclearfield.com

How to Paint and Makeover a Metal File Cabinet

DIY Fabric Covered Inspiration Cork Board...create a beautiful space to save inspiration! | http://www.roseclearfield.com

DIY Stylish Fabric Covered Inspiration Cork Board

 

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Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus Dip

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

For years, I made hummus with the standard garbanzo beans or chickpeas. It was good, but I was never really happy with the consistency. I’ve tried taking the skins off, which doesn’t seem to make any difference. Then I made Jessica’s everything white bean hummus. Everything hummus is a brilliant idea, and the white bean texture is fabulous. So I started tweaking my own hummus recipe with white kidney or cannellini beans. The cannellini beans are a total game changer. The consistency is spot on without any tedious, time-consuming bean skin removal. The flavor is just different enough from regular hummus that you’re sure to wow family and friends every time.

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

You do need a food processor to make hummus from scratch, which is a deal breaker for many people. (Please don’t break your blender or immersion blender attempting to make hummus.) I may only use my coffee maker 2-3 times per year, but my food processor lives on the counter and is in regular use for hummus, pesto, and pie crusts. Food processors live a ridiculously long time (think, multiple decades). They are a bit pricey but well worth the investment, considering you’ll only ever have to buy one or two of them in your lifetime. The model I have is about as old as I am, but this version is the updated model.

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

You can make hummus with raw or roasted garlic. Lately, I’ve been making this amazing slow cooker whole roasted chicken. It involves several whole garlic cloves, which get slowly roasted and filled with delicious spices as the chicken cooks. Then you can use the roasted garlic for your hummus! It gives the hummus a slightly warmer garlic flavor. If you switch back and forth between roasted and raw garlic for your hummus, just remember that you can add a lot more roasted garlic than raw garlic. Three raw garlic cloves pack quite a punch. Not that I would know from experience or anything.

Besides substituting cannellini beans for garbanzo beans, the other secret to making this hummus extra creamy is to let the food processor run for a full five minutes. The food processor does all the tough work for you so there’s no reason to skimp on the processing time.

Gluten-free sesame rice crackers are perfect for dipping in hummus. | http://www.roseclearfield.com

When I serve hummus for a social gathering, I always serve it with an assortment of raw veggies and rice crackers. My family and I got hooked on rice crackers years ago and have never really stopped eating them in mass quantities at every possible opportunity. Currently, I buy the Nabisco Good Thins Simply Salt rice crackers. Their poppy seed and sesame variety is also really good. Nabisco makes a bunch of other gluten-free crackers now, too, which is pretty cool. Whole Foods also makes a very similar sesame rice cracker under their 365 brand for a similar price. (I don’t know why it’s listed at such an expensive price on Amazon, but it’s comparable to the Nabisco crackers in store.) If you shop at Whole Foods, it’s another easy option. All of the cracker links are affiliate links, but I was not sponsored or compensated in any way to mention these products. I just really like them.

Chopped veggies ready to pair with homemade hummus. Click through for a fabulous white bean hummus recipe! | http://www.roseclearfield.com

My go-to raw veggies are carrots, celery, and assorted sweet peppers (whatever looks best at the store that day). Peppers are my favorite veggie, and I always have some kind of sweet pepper in the vegetable drawer. Depending on my mood and the time of year, I may also add cucumber, zucchini, tomatoes, and/or broccoli. Of course, you can customize your veggie assortment any way you like. Hummus goes well with basically everything so you can’t go wrong.

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Right before you serve the hummus, add a drizzle of olive oil. It gives the hummus a professional, restaurant-style quality and takes the creaminess factor just a little bit higher. Of course, if you’re eating hummus straight out of the Tupperware container with a box of crackers next to you, you can forgo the restaurant olive oil drizzle. No judgment either way.

Simple. Delicious. Healthy. And it really does come together in just 12 minutes. I roll my eyes when I see 12 minutes prep time on a recipe, too. You’ll have to trust me on this one. Five minutes to get the ingredients in the food processor. Five minutes to blend the hummus. Two minutes to get the hummus transferred out of the food processor into the container of your choosing. Done. Enjoy. You’re welcome.

Print Recipe
Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus Dip Yum
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 12 minutes
Servings
6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 15 oz. cans white kidney or cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic chopped (more if you're using roasted garlic or like your hummus extra garlicky)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 generous tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
Prep Time 12 minutes
Servings
6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 15 oz. cans white kidney or cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic chopped (more if you're using roasted garlic or like your hummus extra garlicky)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 generous tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 tablespoons olive oil
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Empty the two cans of cannellini beans into a pasta strainer. Rinse thoroughly. Transfer to the food processor.
  2. Add the garlic, lemon, tahini, salt, and olive oil to the food processor.
  3. Secure the lid of the food processor. Blend the hummus for a full five minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. I prefer to refrigerate the hummus for at least an hour before serving it. Serve with an assortment of raw vegetables and rice crackers.
Recipe Notes

Hummus keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It also freezes for up to three months. If I'm not making it for a social gathering, I split the hummus into two batches and freeze one batch.

Recipe URL: http://www.roseclearfield.com/recipe/homemade-white-bean-hummus-dip

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Homemade White Bean Cannellini Hummus | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Featured in this post:

chip and dip bowl (similar) | cutting board | spoon

If you made this recipe or any other recipe on my blog, tag it #RoseClearfield on Twitter or Instagram, send me a snap on Snapchat (randomcreative), or post a photo to my Facebook page, and I’ll check it out. If you love this recipe, take a second to share it on Pinterest or Yummly (with the little button that says Yum). Thanks!

[Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links. Thanks for your support!]

Linking up with Running on Happy and The Fit Foodie Mama for Meatless Monday!

More recipes to try:

20-Minute Classic Sloppy Joes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

20-Minute Classic Sloppy Joes

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Chili With Corn | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Chili with Corn

P.F. Chang's Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps | http://www.roseclearfield.com

P.F. Chang’s Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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© 2016, Rose Clearfield.