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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why do I fall in Love with cafes?

When I was back in India Cafe or rather I say the coffee shop was mostly hangout place with the friends. I never went alone to the coffee shop and sat there for hours when I was in India. I moved to the United States in 2013 and so excited to explore the new country. This was the first time I was going to stay for a longer period of time in any country. I was in Seattle back then So you can imagine Starbucks outlets everywhere. I saw many people coming to the cafe with their laptops and books. They take coffee and sit there for hours. I was so curious to know what they do with that?



Why do I fall in Love with cafes?


When I started blogging I was so immature writer and was just writing for my hobby but not a consistent writer. That hobby changed my way of thinking about blogging and gradually I became obsessed with writing an article. Everything changed from last year. I had bought my domain and started my travel blog "Urvi's Travel Journal". My dedication to writing realized me that cafe provides you great atmosphere to write. When you go to the cafe you can see people and you get to see the outside world as well. Ultimately you are getting out of the house which makes you feel much better. I love seeing those smiling face that gives me the motivation to write. You know what I get more ideas about the article when I sit in the cafe and sipping my coffee.



Since Last year I have started concentrating on my blog, I get used to going the cafe and write an article. I was so amazed by my productivity. I was able to write more than one article which includes picture editing and labeling as well. I will definitely agree that cafe has some magical factor which increases the productivity. I think the lively factor, smell of coffee and people around you encourage to work hard.

If you haven't tried yet then at least you should give it a try. Before you go to coffee shop list out the work you have to do so that you don't have to wonder what I will do once you reach there. It's not just blogger work but may be social media work, writing an assignment, drawing etc. It will be fun having peaceful time alone for yourself even though people around you.

Enjoy Blogging



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Recipe of the week Veggie Pesto Pasta

As the weather is getting warmer I am trying to spend more time outdoor. My most of the time spend after cooking and cleaning so I am trying to come up with the easy and quick recipe. That will help me to reduce time with cooking but I also want to eat healthy food. Hence, for April month recipe of the week Veggie Pesto Pasta.


Normally Pasta is known as Italian dish but people incorporating their own taste in those pasta dishes. Pasta comes in different shapes and sizes. Nowadays you will find pasta made up of whole wheat and multi-grain as well. These kinds of pasta considered more healthy than traditional pasta. There are people who make their past at home but you will also find the variety of pasta in stores.


The good thing about pasta is it doesn't have any flavor. Hence. you can add your spices and make it spicy or sweet. I generally like my meal spicy so I add black pepper and chili flakes in my Italian dishes. One of the best thing which I like about pasta dishes is that it will take less time and easy to prep meal. Suppose if you have already boiled pasta with you then add the pasta sauce and meal is ready. Especially when you have the guests are coming over, you can prepare ahead of time. Just Boil your pasta, drain, and refrigerate. You can also make pasta sauce at home or buy ready made. when your guest arrives just mix all together and microwave until it gets hot and your meal is ready. Isn't it quick and easy for any party or get together?

Recipe of the week Veggie Pesto Pasta

I have used spaghetti pasta in my recipe but you can use whichever you like. According to the type of pasta, cooking time will vary. I have used store bought Pesto Sauce but you can make your own at home. I have added bell pepper, onions, and olive but you can also add broccoli, carrots and other colored bell peppers.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Best 15 apps a Blogger must have

Everyone wants to take out more with less time and effort. Finally, I have listed out best apps for bloggers to increase productivity. Why should I use apps? You cannot take your laptop everywhere. Instead of the laptop smartphones, iPad and tablet are easy and handy to use. They are light in weight so you can even carry while traveling. Apps will allow bloggers to blog from anywhere anytime. There are plenty of apps which help you write better and track their website and social media stats.



1. Wordpress / Blogger

This is the basic app you should download, depends on which platform you are using. You can read, write and publish your article from anywhere using this app. You can also check comments and note down your blog post ideas directly to the dashboard. 

2. Social Media app (Instagram, Twitter etc.)

The social media marketing plays a huge role in the success of any business. It's better to have all social media apps handy. I keep Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook on all my devices. These makes easy to share anything on social media and you can share stuff with your readers every now and then. 


3. Evernote

The Evernote is my all time favorite app. These will be the best app for on the go writing because you can write it offline as well. You don't need an internet connection to work with this app. You can list all blog post idea and create a document. It is also easy to add a picture and write the blog post in article format. New updated Evernote app also allows to record audio, make a sketch and attach a file.

4. Dragon Dictation

The Dragon Dictation will give huge relief with the typing pain. This is a revolution in writing world because you don't have to type anymore. It records your voice and once you click done it will translate it to text. You can directly use this text either to publish on facebook and twitter or send as SMS and email. 

5. Planner Pro

The Planner Pro app is just like your Planner but in the digital version. Hence, no worries about carrying your planner diary everywhere. This planner stays in your pocket and you can add any event, task, and notes anywhere. It will also work as a reminder so you don't have to check every time in your diary. 

6. Canva

The Canva is a perfect app to create any kind of design for social media images, brochures, and blog graphics. It has predesigned layouts and if you don't like any of them, then you can create your own. It allows you to upload your own pictures and edit them with different filters. If you don't want to pick predesigned template then you can customize the size, text, frame every single thing.  

7. SocialPilot

The SocialPilot is a post scheduling app for a social media. Now with the use of SocialPilot, you can schedule posts for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Pinterest, Tumbler, VK, Xing. The free plan allows any three social media platform to connect with it. For Facebook post scheduling, you can do it from the Facebook app. Hence try to add other three accounts in SocialPilot. 

8. Google Analytics

After all this writing and marketing work, we need to check does it really pay off? Configure google analytics with your blog by setting up an account. Once the account has been set up, you can track your blog traffic, page views, unique visitors etc on the go. It also gives the detailed analysis of country wise visitors and the specific city as well. This is the best analytic tool. 

9. Google Drive

You must be thinking why you need google drive. The Google drive is best sharing space for all the documents. You can upload all required pictures, write ups and documents in google drive and access that information from anywhere. You don't have to carry hard disk, pen drive or any external device. Just log in to your google drive account and use it.

10. Crowdfire 

I was using this app to find my un-followers and non-followers for Instagram and Twitter. As Instagram had updated their privacy policy this app doesn't show un-followers for Instagram but it still works for twitter. They provide daily prescription which helps to increase your followers and now you can add your Pinterest and facebook account as well.


11. Followers

If you have blogged for a while then you must be knowing many people play follow - unfollow game to gain followers on their social media. If you don't know this game then let me tell you in simple words. They follow you first and once you follow back, they unfollow you. This app will let you know your unfollowers and followers on your Instagram account.

12. MailerLite

The MailerLite is free E-mail marketing service till 2000 subscribers. You can track your subscribers from the app itself. You can design E-mail and send to your subscribers anytime. They also provide facility to schedule your E-mail with a customized template. 

13. Pocket

The Pocket is an app to store things which you want to view later. Suppose you are reading an article and you got few ideas for your blog and you want to use it for reference. Hence, add this article into the pocket, to view whenever you get time. 

14. Google Translate

Google Translate is a life saver when comes to deal with different languages. Sometimes when you want to explain the regional word in English this app can help you a lot. It offers translate options in more than 20 languages. 

15. PhotoCollage

The PhotoCollage is the fun app to play with the pictures. It has a lot of options to choose from different styles of the grid. You can add frame, text, stickers and much more. This is a great app to make picture collage for your blog.

 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

10 things to do on a rainy day

In March, it is 5th Friday and I was wondering what should I write? I had made my game plan for the blog and considered four weeks in every month so it ends up with four Fridays. Hence I have decided to write spontaneously. Since spring has arrived I keep looking opportunities to accomplish my Spring Bucket List activities. It has been raining since last night so I thought to write about 10 things to do on a rainy day. Some people loves rain so much and some just don't. People like me love to play in rain. You can also enjoy the romantic long drive in the rain with soft music. In this article, I will be sharing things which you can do at home. Hence no need to worry about getting wet. Stay at home and still enjoy the rainy day.

10 things to do on a rainy day Indoor

I know few people who feel depressed if the weather is cloudy and rainy. This is the mother nature, so instead of feeling depressed learn to enjoy the season. If you don't like to go out then stay home and pick your favorite activity. You can check my list of activity and pick one or suggest your favorite ones. 






10 things to do on a rainy day Outdoor

Those who love rain don't worry I have a list of things for you as well. Going for a long drive is my most favorite thing to do in the rain. If it's not freezing rain then get out and enjoy the walk. This is a fun thing to do in spring. 



Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday, March 24, 2017

Product review of Fitbit Charge HR

*These post is not sponsored. It was my decision to share my experience with the product.

I hope you all are enjoying spring. As weather getting better I am ready to achieve my new year resolution and same time working towards my spring bucket list. The Fitbit has captured a good amount of market with step counts feature. It provides sleep analysis as well. The Fitbit offers many different models with added features. I have bought Fitbit Charge HR. It helps me to track my activities and calories burned every day. I really like the product and that's why I decided to write a Product review of Fitbit Charge HR.



Product review of Fitbit Charge HR


First of all, I will love to share features of Fitbit Charge HR
  1. Heart rate: - It shows real-time heart rate on your Fitbit, no need to synchronize with an app.
  2. Record All day activity: - It will track your steps, calories burned, floors climbed, active minutes, hourly activity.
  3. Caller ID: - Once you synchronize your Fitbit with the phone you will get call notification even during your workout.
  4. Date & time Display: - With Fitbit, you don't need your watch as it will display date & time both.
  5. Exercise mode: - You can record your workout stats in exercise mode to see post workout summaries.
  6. Record your Sleep: - It records your sleep automatically.
  7. Set a silent alarm: - You can set wake up alarm and it vibrates.
  8. Wireless synchronizing: - No need to attach wire just turn on the Bluetooth and synchronize.



Besides all this features the Fitbit app provides additional feature to focus on your fitness. Setting your goal is very important and this app gives all you required. You can set daily step goal, weight goal and active minutes. They also provide few exercise videos which you can use for your workout. You can keep track of your food and water intake through the app. It will automatically add and subtract your workout calories and calories you intake from food.



You can also add your Fitbit user friends and create a challenge to stay motivated and support each other.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring bucket List of 2017

This year it feels like winter and spring blended together. There was no accumulating snow in January and February. We also enjoyed few warm days with temperatures in the 50s which are a record breaking. I was so happy with the weather and thought spring will start early but a snowstorm hit the Midwest and East this week. Mother nature is unpredictable and you never know when the weather will change. Officially Spring starts from March 20th so I decided to make my "Spring bucket list of 2017". I hope I can get a chance to complete my bucket list because the weather was so unpredictable this year. Let's hope for the best.



Spring bucket List of 2017


The spring is the season for blooming flowers and those dry tree branches regrow the green leaves. As Autumn season approaches leafs dry out and fall from the trees. Even grass also turns brown. So Generally the flowers and leafs live spring to autumn. Get ready to enjoy blossom and grow your own garden.

I am so excited to enjoy spring but you know what my backyard is full of snow. Ultimately first thing will be to do spring cleaning. After spring cleaning only I can think of gardening, tea party, grilling etc. Last year I had planted mint, fenugreek, and green chilies. Except for green chilies, other two herbs came out good. Hence, this year I will work on my green chili plantation and I will also add coriander in my herb garden.

Besides cleaning and partying spring is the only season to see the flower blooming. Look around your neighborhood and you will find cherry blossoms. I know Washington DC is the best place to enjoy Cherry Blossoms but everyone cannot go there. Find a place near you where you can see cherry blossoms. Another type of flower who stole my heart is Tulips. I love the variety of colors they have to offer. The Tulip farms look so pretty with all the colorful flowers. Last year I had visited "Tulip Time" festival in Holland, Michigan




Whats in your bucket list?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Recipe of the week Couscous Fried Rice

This is the second week of March means time to share a recipe of the month. As we know healthy living and healthy eating is in the air. Everyone is trying to eat healthy food. Hence, I thought to start my recipes with some healthy ingredients. Hence, I choose Recipe of the week Couscous fried rice with full of protein and veggies.

The Couscous is African dish. The Couscous name is derived from the word "Seksu". It looks like small balls and texture is just like Tapioca Sago.

Recipe of the week Couscous Fried Rice

Before starting recipe let's understand what is couscous and why to use it? Since I started controlling on my carbs I was looking for the protein sources. I know eggs, yogurt, chicken and other meats are a good source of protein. But being a vegetarian I can not eat those stuff, I don't even eat eggs. Hence, I started searching protein sources for vegetarians. Lentils are the great source of protein, but you cannot eat lentils every day as you have to soak them ahead and then cook it. Finally, I found couscous which is easy to cook and a great source of protein for vegetarians.



Choosing couscous is a tricky task because it comes in three types. The most popular ones are Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. It divided with the size of couscous. The Moroccan once are smallest in size and semolina type of texture. Israeli couscous is also known as pearl couscous. The Israeli once are easy to cook and take less time. Lebanese couscouses are the largest one and almost small peas size. It takes more time to cook.

I have used Israeli couscous in my recipe. You can make it in a different style. I wanted to keep it simple and easy to make. You can add whatever veggies you like. It was my first trial, so I kept it easy with fewer spices in it.



Friday, March 03, 2017

Friday, March 03, 2017

Free Printable Daily Planner for Bloggers 2017

In my comeback post, I have briefly explained the steps for how to get back to blogging after a long break. If you have missed it, you can check the article at Tips for getting back to blogging after a long break. Hence, I decided to share key thing which I am following to get my blog up and running.

Why I have decided to create my own Planner?


I hope you guys remember that I talked about scheduling and stay consistent. Everyone has their own scheduling style. Some people maintain Diary and note everything in it. Nowadays, even blog planners are becoming more famous. As I am getting back to my blogging,  I was searching for a good planner. I had searched so many sites and realize that my requirements are different than what they offer. Hence, I decided to design my own planner.


How I have created my Own Planner?


Before I go to print my version, I bought college ruled 1-subject notebook. I decided to do trial and error method and find out which type of planner works for me and what things I want to add. Now blogging is not just about writing articles. We also have to concentrate on social media marketing and earn the followers. To achieve that I wanted had to record my social media stats and Social media engagement goals.

Blog Planner Format 


Click here to Download

  1. First of all, we need a calendar to schedule anything either it's blog related or something else. So, I started adding each month on an individual page, which helped me to line up the plan in advance.
  2. Secondly, set goals for each month to make it easy to measure your progress and you can divide the yearly goal into small parts. Those goals can be two types, one is blog related and other can be social media stats. Ultimately, both are for the blog, but social media stats will be measured in numbers.
  3. Third and last page, I have created for daily activities log. I generally prepare my to-do list the previous night before I go to bed. Hence, I can start my day right away nothing gets missed out. You can also do time allotment and save time.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

My Ultimate Game plan for the Blog

In my previous article, I have explained " Tips to getting back to blogging after a long break" but you don't have to write random blog posts. I required to serve great articles and attract new readers as well. Hence I decided to make my Ultimate Game plan for the Blog to stay consistent with my work.

My Ultimate Game plan for the Blog


Since I have updated theme and wrote a comeback post, I was thinking to broad my niche and include food and fashion with my travel blog posts. There are few questions in my mind before I have started making my game plan.

  1. How frequent should I publish the post?
  2. Which day should I publish my blog post?
  3. Which topics to include?
  4. Do I have required material (pictures, videos etc.)?
  5. Can I write in advance?



1. How frequent should I publish the post?


Now let's try to answer above five questions. The very first question is about a frequency of the post. That means are you planning to write the post weekly, biweekly or once a month. How to decide that? Technically, if you take a long time then your readers might forget you. Hence better to write frequently, I think once a week is a reasonable time to write a post for you and good for your readers too. I know many people write twice even thrice a week, but you do as per your capacity. Remember focus on quality, not quantity.

2. Which day should I publish my blog post?


The second question is decide which day of the week you want to publish. There are seven days in a week, so you have plenty of option isn't it? Just keep in your mind whatever day you decide to keep it consistent. Try to post on the same day every week, so your reader is aware that when they can get to read the new post.

3. Which topics to include?


Earlier I was writing about travel places and product reviews, but now I am planning to broad my niche and include fashion and food as well, so now the biggest question is how I will manage all three topics on one blog? Hence I have to decide which topic goes on which week.




4. Do I have required material (pictures, videos etc.)?


The next is material required for the blog post, you cannot decide the topics until you are able to generate original content. Also, think about long term. Once you include topic you at least should have content for five - seven post and you will get new ideas as you start writing.Can I write in advance?

5. Can I write in advance?


Once you decide your topics don't wait till last day to write a post. Sometimes you get emergency or maybe you are not able to access the internet then you will not able to write or publish your post. Hence better to schedule it ahead. I generally prefer to schedule at least 2-3 days ahead of the publish date. If you are not able to schedule that early then try to do it at least before one day. That way no last minute hustle and you can start working on next post, so ultimately you are getting ahead of time.







Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Tips to getting back to blogging after a long break

I have been enjoying holidays and taking the vacation to give time to myself. Sometimes I just want to stay alone and think about my past and future. Taking a vacation is good to find yourself. So finally I am getting back to blogging after a long break. Last week when I was checking my blog's control panel I realize I had written the last post in October 2016. Hence, I sat back and decided my 2017 goals for life and decided to start writing again. The big question for me was from where should I start? Hence, I decided to start from the "Tips to getting back to blogging after a long break".

Tips to getting back to blogging after a long break

Before you directly jump on writing an article take a moment and think. Think about in which direction you want to take your blog. I would advise you to follow the steps given below.

1. Decide your goals.

All bloggers and writers have their own goal. Generally, I set goals for the individual year, that way you can stay on track. Your set of goals helps you stay motivated as well. There is no specific time to set goals. I know people say you should set your goals from the day one of January but it's not necessary. In our language, we have motivation thought "Morning starts the moment you woke up." Hence, write your goals in your daily task book and get aboard. 


2. Stay Motivated

Don't think blogging as a work. You are passionate about blogging and that's why you have started it. Don't take the pressure of a quantity of the post rather focus on a quality of the post. Earlier I was considering posting each week, but now I am thinking only 2 posts in a month and giving different content to my reader

3. Give a makeover to your blog/website

Finally, I have changed the theme of my blog successfully and gave a new look to it. You will get plenty of free themes as well. It depends on what type of theme you prefer. I have also updated the plugins and now I will try to focus on analytics of the blog.

4. Set a schedule and stay consistent in blogging

Why set a schedule? The schedule will help you to stay focus on the blog. Before you go to bed take your diary and note down what you are going to do tomorrow. Note down Each and every task. Suppose you have a list of things.
  1. Share a picture on Instagram.
  2. write a tweet and share on twitter.
  3. Note down ideas for a new post.
So even if its small task you should note down. That way you will not miss any task.


5. Clear all pending work

Once you have to update your blog look, go to control panel and check where you left? I mean, check the pending comments, approve if they are suitable and spam the rest of it. Go the pages and posts and update as required. Ultimately, clear your all backlogs and start from fresh.

6. Write ultimate comeback post

You might want to share with your reader where have you been? It's not necessary that you just want to jump on some topic to write about. You can share your feelings with your reader and it can be helpful to them to stay motivated. It's OK to take a break from your work. When I was writing my comeback post I was thinking what should I write and I realize I should share my experience and encourage others to do what they love to do.

7. Share on social media and stay visible  

Now, as you are coming back share on your social media so you readers know you are back to blogging and they can get to read your articles once again. Let them know your plans and how you will be executing them.