Tuesday, December 30, 2014

6 Best Blog Tips for Beginners & Giveaway Announcement

Alanna & Company: Best Blog Tips for Beginners

Starting and kicking off a blog is slightly daunting. There's tons opinions on how to start blogs and what/when you need to post but overall I think you just need to feel it out and see what is right for you. I actually had a blog way before this when I was in high school! I was super into it but got sucked into what other people wanted versus what it meant to me. In the end, I got sick of it after a year and quit entirely. Sorry followers.

Coming back into blogging eight years later, the scene has entirely changed. I'm glad Wordpress is still a popular blog platform because that is what I'm familiar with, but there's a whole new addition of tumblr, squarespace, blogger, etc. It's been really fun plunging headfirst into something new, seeing what else people like and what they write about (uh hello fitness and mommy blogs!), and how blogging has evolved. Below is a list of the most influential and helpful blog tips that have helped me acclimate myself.

  1. Why I Blog by Hello Rigby. A great starter post from one of my favorite bloggers. She's actually a fashion/lifestyle blogger but even though I'm not huge on fashion she has a great voice. This post outlines some positives and negatives that come with blogging and gives a very personal take on why she blogs.

  2. The Secret to Successful Blogging by the Private Life of a Girl. Read it to find out!

  3. 10 Pieces of Advice for Starting a Blog by Jenny Purr. A MUST read for any and all new bloggers. I've actually "favorited" a ton of her posts, but this is probably one of the most helpful for new bloggers or people who are looking to start a blog soon. What I will say about this post is that I definitely do not have a manifesto. Frankly, I just start writing and see where it goes. I have tons of draft posts of ideas I started but didn't have the inspiration to finish it and I'll completely scrap a posts if I don't like it. I'm still finding out what I like to write about and what people like reading the most but I'm sure I can build my manifesto by the end of next year. Maybe, we'll see. ha, whoops sorry Jenny!

  4. Photography Tips from I Heart Organizing. Another addition to blog land that I never noticed when I was previously  blogging is the influx of photos and graphics! Even though I don't have a fancy DSLR or a whole lighting system, this blog post gives some good information about taking (good or not so good) photos and how to edit them using PicMonkey and iPiccy (both free!). It also has a list of great apps to use on iPhone for photo editing.

  5. Blogging Tips: What I Wish I Had Known by Somewhat Simple. I really like #3. She mentions blog swaps (yet to do), Linkups (love them), and gets into social media for blogging.

  6. 11 Tips to Increase Your Blog's Traffic by Helene in Between. I have to admit that I am a person who is big on numbers and stats. It makes me want to post and share more if people are listening, so these tips are really helpful to get yourself out there.

I love all the beginning stages and getting to re-learn everything in a new way.

Do you have any great tips that helped you out as a new blogger? Or is there anything you disagree with? I'd love to hear back from you!

Lastly, check back later in a couple days for a cash giveaway opportunity!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

2015 Resolutions

2014, as many would agree with me, was a wild year. Typically, I have liked to live day to day with no overall goals or any "5-year plans" (cue-eye roll), but this year that's all changed. I've never really written down a resolution list other than the general "I will lose weight this year." So let's change that too!

1. Go to the gym three times, EVERY WEEK. Along with this comes, stop making excuses, you lazy bum.
2. Every time I think "I can't do that!" To challenge myself to try to do that.
3. Be more outspoken at work about my ideas and to not let one or two denials shut me down for future ideas.
4. Stop letting my dog think she's the alpha. Sorry Starla, it's time to crack down.
5. Read 100 books! I think I read about 50 or so this year, but in all my free time that I waste on reality tv, video games, or stuffing my face for no reason other than boredom, I think I can squeeze in some time for reading.
6. I think this has been kind of carried along for years now, but I want to define it. Be a better friend. To keep in touch more, to pay attention to details more, to call more, and to always pick up.
7. Stop double-guessing myself.
8. Devote time to developing this blog as a creative outlet, and be proud of my new found online voice. (Aka share with friends more and make a Facebook for it!!)

I think this is a good start, I might add more in the days coming up to New Years. That being said, do you share any of the same resolutions for 2015? Or maybe any tips?

Sidenote: blogging on vacation is hard. I tried scheduling some posts before I left but the creative juices just weren't flowing until I literally set foot in our hotel. I'm currently typing this out on my iPhone on Wordpress mobile! Could use some improvement but it works just well enough. Also if you don't know html at least a little bit this would be really confusing. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

10 Ways my Dog Embarasses Me

  1. Trying to lift her leg to pee where the boy dogs just peed. I don't think she gets the fact that she just can't do some things.

  2. Not understanding fetch one bit. I have tried everything. Cutting open balls and putting treats in them, putting peanut butter on balls, basically anything the internet has suggested. She just simply looks at me when I throw a ball. In addition to this, when we go to the dog park she thinks that other dogs chasing balls are just asking for her to chase them.

  3. She decides to misbehave as soon as she sees my parents. Of course, the strongest skeptics of me getting a dog, she decides that whenever she sees them, she has to walk in complete zig-zags, chew her leash, and absolutely not pay attention to me. Why, dog, why?

  4. Obsessing over squirrels or cats. This sunday was a true case in point, as soon as I open my front door to take Starla for a walk, our neighbors cat was lounging on our door mat. Of course she went apesh*t crazy and refused to stop pacing around my apartment for at least 30 minutes. Ever since that day, as soon as I get her out of my condo door she relentlessly tries to drag me around looking for that cat.

  5. Being the loudest dog at the dog park. For reasons unbeknownst to me she turns into the most talkative dog at the dog park. Does she want me to look at her? Does she want another dog to play with her? Does she smell fresh air? Did she sniff another dog's butt? All of the above cause my dog to go into loud barking fits.

  6. Trying to herd me. No explanation needed here. I am your human, not a cow, Starla!

  7. Spread-eagles. She is such a tummy-rub slut.


  8. Being just as stubborn as her owner. If anyone knows anything about Cattle Dogs you'll understand. Trying to teach your dog to sit and wait at curbs is only slightly embarrassing when you're asking her at least 30 times while oncoming traffic and a squad of joggers are watching you.

  9. Eating too fast and then making awful vomit noises for the next fifteen minutes.

  10. Being the best begger known to man-kind. Wherever you look, she will be there. Wherever you drop something, she will have been there at least 10 seconds before. And she will eat anything.

Overall, she truly is my best friend and I love her even with all her embarrassing quirks. Thank you to Hello Rigby for this post inspiration. Does your dog do any of the same things? Or how does your dog embarrass you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2015 Upcoming Travels and Review of 2014 Travels

I am very lucky to have an amazing job that send me all across the country! I've had a mix of personal travel and work travel but they've all been great experiences so far.

  1. Scottsdale, Ariz. One of the best work trips so far! All rooms in the hotel that we stayed in were suites! My suite was two stories,had a full kitchen, and two bathrooms. Unfortunately, I barely spent even 6 hours a day and at that I was only sleeping there. I'm also super thankful that we went in February. I was able to go out to the pool and play tennis in shorts and a tank top when I was there! I can't imagine what it would be like in the summer. I get to go back there in 2016 and it can't come soon enough. Fun fact: Arizona doesn't have daylight saving time changes. 

  2. New Orleans/Mardi Gras. Let me just say that Mardi Gras was fun, and I'll probably not go again. It was just a giant cluster of ages 16-60 drinking tons of hurricanes. For some reason I was picturing something else, but I am not sure what I was imagining it to be. Unfortuantely, we missed a lot of the parades because we got snowed in and our flight was delayed one whole day :( We did however get to go on a swamp tour, meet up with friends in the city, explore lots in the French Quarter, and eat many beignets. 

  3. Puerto Rico. One of our most active vacations so far. The boy and I went with another couple and were able to stay with his aunt. We visited the biolumenescent bay, the El Yunque, Old San Juan, and went to a ton of the beaches. Drank a ton, partied a lot, and had a blast. One thing though is the food! So rich and heavy! I loved it at first but by the third day I was dying for a salad and there were none in sight. How Puerto Rican women stay in shape is a mystery to me.

  4. Charleston. Just a quick trip for July 4th. Not many good photos, but we visited with friends, brought our pup, and watched fireworks.

  5. San Francisco. So I've been to San Francisco before actually but we mostly stayed out in Marin County for a family vacation. I however did a bunch of sight-seeing like going to see the Golden Gate Bridge, went to the Presidio, went to Fisherman's Wharf and the Ghiradelli Square. This time I was able to go to the Off The Grid food truck festival (I love food trucks) which was awesome, we briefly visited the SF Jazz Center, went to Pier 39, went to this neat lounge that you had to slide down to get into, had some sketchy moments walking to reception parties, and I lived in the Moscone Center (with the rats...). This next time I go back I need to go to Alcatraz! It's a beautiful city that has tons of places to explore. 

  6. Chicago. I really wish I had more time to visit the city. I stayed around the Magnificent Mile.  I was able to visit Millennium Park and see the bean, go to the Riverwalk, and go shopping, but there are so many museums and sightseeing opportunities that I missed out on. It's a must to go back, and maybe sometime when it doesn't snow or have 30 ft. waves.

  7. Miami (leaving this week!)

They've all been great and I always wish I have more time to explore the cities than I actually end up having, but now I have a great excuse to go back and spend more time there!

Next year's trips, that I know of, include San Francisco (again) and Santa Cruz, New Orleans (again), Las Vegas, San Antonio, and San Diego. I'm definitely ready for 2015!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A new hairstyle changes everything

So, this Saturday I got the first new hairstyle cut in years. It's always been long, straight, sometimes layered, and sometimes highlighted. This is the first time I've changed my style since maybe my freshman year of college. What do you think?


Circa 2011


Sidenote: I'm really bad at selfies. I think I need a selfie stick for my birthday.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Currently Listening To

The Best Songs Of 2014

This year has been chock-full of great songs. I definitely like listening to catchy songs over and over, so my way of doing this is making seasonal playlists of the best hits. Recently I've been making playlists twice a season. Since this is the first time I'm doing this, please be aware that I have a crazy music taste and listen to anything and everything except country (no offense to you country lovers, but my Canadian blood prohibits me). So here's what I'm listening to now:

  1. Touchin, Lovin - Trey Songz

  2. L.A. LOVE - Fergie

  3. Baby Don't Lie - Gwen Stefani

  4. Undressed - Kim Cesarion

  5. Take Me to Church - Hozier

  6. Jealous - Nick Jonas

  7. #icanteven - French Montana & the Neighborhood

  8. i - Kendrick Lamar

  9. Blame - Calvis Harris

  10. Habits - Tov Lo

  11. Beg for it (feat. Mo) - Iggy Azalea

  12. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars

  13. Love Me Harder - Ariana Grande

  14. I Don't Fuck With You (feat E-40) - Big Sean

  15. 7/11 - Beyonce

Side-note, I end up liking music so much better when it has a good music video. I can spend hours watching music videos. #9 has a really interest music video, very movie-like. My boyfriend keeps catching me watching this video and listening to the song and he keeps saying that "I'm turning ghetto", whatever.

Beyonce always has great music videos, but I just watched this recently and I swear she has to be on some sort of drugs. But, whatever drugs they are, she needs to share with me!

What songs are you jamming out to right now? Where do you usually find your new music?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

If It Barks Martingale Collar Review

This is one of my favorite products that Starla has, it is her martingale collar from If It Barks.com. They have completely customizable collars, leashes, and accessories for dog parents! I found them when I was looking for a good martingale collar. If you don't know what it is, they have a great video describing what it is and showing how it works, which is actually how I found them!

Not only do they have tons of styles, sizes, materials, and design features to choose from, you can always completely design a collar from scratch! I opted to go for a premade style that I was able to customize. I chose the "Layered Dance Party" martingale collar with a plastic buckle. I changed the base color to hot pink and added an extra D-ring so that I could put her tags on a separate loop from where I hook her leash to. Doesn't she look stunning?

Martingale Collar

Right on that page, you also have the option to add on a matching leash or matching wrist chain! Price-wise, they are a great deal for all the customization you are able to get. Each add-on (extra D-ring, aluminum buckle upgrade, width, etc.) is a nominal fee of $1-2 more dollars. Overall the collar cost me $34 before shipping & handling.

Since customer service is a huge deal to me, I give them major props for being one of the best customer service I've had in a while! I had actually chosen a pre-set size based on their size chart and it was unfortunately too small for how the martingale collars work. I received an email back the same day from Nicole and they were more than happy to make a custom size collar for the exact measurement of my dog's neck! I was able to get the right size collar within a week of the original shipment date.

I've now had the collar for two months and there is virtually no wear-and-tear on it. I've had to wash it a couple times but the collar is very sturdy and will most likely have a long lifetime with Starla. I have to say, I definitely will be coming back to them for more products in due time.

Lastly, they give great discounts! For the first person to comments I will give you a coupon code for 20% off your first order.

So let me know if you have any more questions about the product, martingale collars, or just to tell me how beautiful my dog is.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rain in Winter should not exist

Let me say this again. Rain in winter should not exist. If you have ever lived in the DC metro area you know the craziness of the weather here. Like Katt Williams once said, specifically about DC might I add, "We need to talk about the m*therf*cking weather. You greedy motherf*ckers cannot have all the goddamn weather...I've been here 24 hours, it's been hot, mild, rainy, cloudy, sleeting, snowing. This is bullsh*t. A pimp don't know what to wear in this motherfucker. I'm in the hotel lobby with a fur coat, swim trunks, timberlands, and a umbrella, 'cause I don't know what may happen in this raggedy bitch this evening."

He's so ratched but he's so accurate. Not only does the weather change on a day to day basis, it changes on an hourly basis. Don't even bother looking at weather channel. I've basically learnt to buy clothes that will work in all weather situations while still looking cute because you can't just rock the rain boot look when it's sunny outside.

My poor dog has also decided that she now wants to be an indoor dog. I'm pretty sure she will try using our bathroom soon.


I have actually even gotten to the point that I would just prefer it to snow. Snow here shuts everything down. I could work from home, my puppy will decide she likes the outdoors again, I would have an extra hour of my life to workout due to no commuting.

Also if you hate small talk or talk of weather, don't move to this area. As a result of this crazy weather, the small talk about weather is extremely prevalent.


After all my bitching and moaning about the weather, I have forgotten about the fact that the holidays are upon us! Channukah starts in a week (haven't bought any presents or found my menorah from storage...), I leave for my winter vacation in a week and a half, and I've only bought one Christmas present (not wrapped). Hmm, maybe this is why I need a snow day...Yikes!

Now off to go get presents...maybe. Ciao Ciao!

Last but not least, I changed my URL and name to something that makes a bit more sense to me. So if you were following the old URL on Blogloving or directly. Switch it to this one! http://alannaandco.wordpress.com or click this link Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Love Mornings

I wasn't always a morning person, but I swear by it now! It's a fresh start to a brand new day and why waste it?  Make your morning your best friend, make a routine, and become more productive. Of course, I'm making this sound a lot easier than it was to transition to being a morning person than it truly was. I was a complete grouch in the mornings. But each year, I started waking up earlier and adding more to my morning routine and now I love my morning routine.

Even now I'm even transitioning to be an even earlier morning person. I give myself an hour and a half each morning starting at 6. Here's a snapshot of my daily morning routine.

At 6:00 a.m.
Wake up and don't snooze (or cheat your snooze!). I cheat by setting my alarm to 5:51 a.m. (iPhone's snooze time is 9 minutes) so even if I'm tempted to roll over and snooze, I'm still getting up at 6.

At 6:00 - 6:30 a.m.Get up and get moving. I take my dog for runs or walks each morning. If you don't currently have any morning activity, I highly suggest you try it! Even if its a walk to take the trash out or to grab your laundry from the basement. It gets your blood moving and limbers up your body. Also, if you are a culprit of skipping gym sessions after work (myself included), this is a great way to make sure you get in your activity before it falls of your to-do list.

At 6:30 a.m.Get ready, shower, dress, etc. Eat a good breakfast. Fuel yourself for your day with your favorite breakfast. Breakfast is pretty easy and fast to cook. So take some "me" time, cook and enjoy your breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day.

At 7:00 a.m.
On your way to work visualize your day. Think of the most important things you need to accomplish without any interruptions before you get to work. Pump yourself up for the day. Spotify has great playlists that fit every mood and music genre taste, but also sometimes silence is golden.

At 7:30 a.m. (I start work early! I know)
You're ready for your day! I already feel like I've accomplished a ton by this point and starting off my day productive helps keep me productive and motivated for the rest of the day.

Of course, everyone has their own morning routines. I'm sure not everyone wakes up as early as me or their "getting ready" time only includes drinking coffee and checking social media. For example, Anna Wintour starts her day at 5:45 a.m. with an hour long tennis match! No thank you.

Whatever it is, I have to say that having a dedicated morning routine really helps you be a more productive and organized person.

Do you have a morning routine? What gets you going in the mornings?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Daily Work Make-up Routine (and a little picture editing!)

Alanna & Company: Daily Work Make-up Routine

I'm pretty simple when it comes to makeup. I often keep to this simple daily regime but I'm really trying to start experimenting with more make-up while keeping a fresh and simple look.

1. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer. I always start with this daily moisturizer after washing my face. I have a pretty oily complexion and have to use anti-acne medicine daily but that in turn dries my skin out a lot! The Aveeno is a very thick formula that also has SPF and it keeps my skin hydrated and protected through the evening.

2. Dove Go Fresh Restore. I'm not sure about you but I tend not to wear perfume every day. Tons of my coworkers are super sensitive/allergic to perfumes and I really don't feel like I need to impress anyone with tons of fancy smells daily. This Dove deodorant has a great scent to it and I often feel like I can just apply this and not need any perfume at all.

3. L'oreal True Match Naturale Foundation.So I'm really bad with picking foundations, blushes, or anything that I need to match with my skin color (any tips are appreciated!). This foundation is very simple and light. I usually only wear it during fall and winter when I'm paler and my complexion isn't as even as it is when I'm tan. This also has SPF 19.  It comes with a built in brush, although I tend to use my own brushes. This foundation is great for me  because it truly doesn't feel or look like I'm wearing foundation when I put it on but it does I great job covering up blemishes and evening out my skin tone.
daily base makeup

4. Maybelline Colossal Volum' Mascara in Glam Black. This product is tested, tried, and true! Beware there are tons of different options with this mascara. The one I use is the Glam Black washable. There is a cat-eye option which has an awful brush and did not work well with my eyelashes at all. This one that I use (pictured above) has a great plump brush and thickens without clumping! It is also pretty easy to remove with oil-free makeup remover. In addition, I always need to use my eyelash curler. I have long eyelashes that are very straight. The eyelash curler works miracles to make my eyelashes curl and look much longer.

5. Maybelline Line Express Eyeliner. This is a nice simple eyeliner that goes on easily and doesn't look to harsh. I opt for pencil eyeliners since I wear contacts and the pencil is much better than gel or cream liners that can dry and flake into my eyes. This also has a great smudger that I use if I want to make a dark cat-eye that, again, isn't too harsh.

6. Lastly, EOS lip balm. I rarely wear lipstick or gloss at work or during the days. This lip balm is great for dry, cracking winter lips. These are 100% natural so no artificial chemicals. Personally my two favorite flavors are strawberry and mint. Mint has a slight tingle to it too! My favorite part about these lip balms are they are super easy to find in my purse and they also have a flat bottom so they don't roll off my desk like my other chapsticks.


What is your regular daily makeup routine? Like to keep it simple like me? In addition, I would love any and all pointers and suggestions for battling the winter!

Sidenote! I am working on my photo editing. My camera charger has gone missing so I apologize for the bad quality and lighting of the iPhone photos. I've been experimenting with PicMonkey and iPiccy. Can you tell which photos are from which? Thanks go out to Jen at IHeart Organizing, Helene at Helene in Between, and Zoe at SweetElectric for their tutorials!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Giving Thanks

I'm often not huge on making a big public deal about what I'm thankful for. But I thought, what the heck, isn't a blog for these kind of things?

I am thankful for:

living in one of the most exciting cities around! I love Washington D.C. and I love my own city too.  It's the perfect mix of a busy city life and gorgeous, green suburbia. I've been blessed that I've grown up, gone to college, and now live in an area that is so synced with my personality.



my family. Even though I come from a small family (I'm an only child) and a very distant family. I am thankful for having a very caring family who is never more than a phone call away.

my roommates, aka my unphotogenic dog and my boyfriend. They make my life richer and challenge me to be a better person on a daily basis.

my travel opportunities. This past year I've been able to go to Scottsdale, New Orleans (Mardi Gras!), San Francisco, Chicago, Cabo San Lucas, and next to Miami. All places I've never visited before. Many thanks goes to my job and to my family and friends who are willing to jump on extra long flights with me.


and lastly, the 23rd year of my life. It's been very eye-opening and full of new, challenging experiences. This has easily been the most difficult year of my life and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

xoxo and happy (belated) thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Get to Know Me

Hey all! Welcome to my blog! I'm trying to start out blogging, so here is my attempt. I want to blog about technology, my experiments makeup and hairstyles, random hobbies, and life in general. If that sounds even remotely interesting, please consider following me! If you post things along those lines, leave a comment and I will be sure to check your blog out! I will try to post once a week or so to get myself started.

I got this from Ysis, a beauty and lifestyle blogger who has amazing review of beauty products and hairstyles.

Here we go…

1. Are you named after anyone? I'm actually named after my dad but the spelling is different. I'm obviously the female version of his name.

2. When was the last time you cried? Dear god, anytime my dog does something cute, anytime my boyfriend does something adorable, movies, everything.

3. Do you have kids? No.

4. If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? Damn right I would!

5. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Only with people who know me pretty well. Otherwise my resting bitch face just makes me seem like I'm serious.

6. Will you ever bungee-jump? I don’t think so. I'm pretty afraid of heights and don't really have any intention of volunteering myself for whip-lash.

7. What’s your favorite cereal? I love Life.

8. What’s the first thing you notice about people? Behavior and posture are something I really pay attention to.

9. What is your eye color? Brown.

10. Scary movie or happy endings? There's not many good scary movies that come out nowadays. If it's a good scary movie (don't get it confused with gory movies) I'll go with that. Apart from that, give me my happy endings.

11. Favorite smells? Nina by Nina Ricci, Chanel No 5, and smell right after it rains.

12. Summer or winter? Can I choose autumn? I'm a winter baby and I love snow, but I would much prefer if it only lasted two months tops.

13. Computer or television? Tough. Probably television.

14. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Israel.

15. Do you have any special talents? I'm great at picking up new technologies. I'm more of a jack of all trades.

16. Where were you born? Toronto.

17. What are your hobbies? Watching TV shows, video games, trying to be crafty, compulsively online shopping, trying (and failing) to train my dog, relaxing at home.

18. Do you have any pets? STARLA. Get to know her. Follow my insta. This is the one and only time I will command you to do something.


19. Favorite movie? I struggle with favorites. A Knight's Tale, Prometheus, Slumdog Millionaire.

20. Do you have any siblings? Nope. Only Child.

21. What do you want to be when you grow up? Happy.

I tag anyone who hasn’t done this and who wants to do it :)