Announcement: Official TMinspired Website!

Hello my lovely readers,

I just wanted to send a quick announcement letting you know about my NEW website, !!! I’m so excited for this launch and I’m happy to finally have my own domain name!

Although, there is one issue….
All of my current subscribers will need to RE-subscribe from the blog page!!
(You can find it on the right toolbar at
I’m sorry for the inconvenience and I hope that you will join me on my new adventure.

Thank you so much and I hope to see you there!

Posted in Life in General | Leave a comment

VA Tip of the Week: 9 Beneficial Blogging Tips

Whether you already have a blog, or if you’re just getting started – this post can potentially guide you down the path of quality blog posting that your readers will love!

1. Find your blogging passion!

  • You don’t have to be a professional writer to have a blog, but you do need to be inspired and passionate about what you write about. If you don’t care about your blog, your subscribers won’t, either.
  • You can have a themed blog, (Examples: Business coaches can write about business tips to their readers and potential clients. If you love to cook/bake, you can have a food based blog with posts of new recipes you try with photos included. If you are a photographer, you can post about your journey through photography, and maybe start a 365-day challenge. Posts including “lists” and “how-tos” also receive high amounts of ratings and feedback.) But you don’t need a theme as long as it’s about you!
  • Always remember to keep your blog personal, unique, and authentic to your life. Allow your readers to get to know you. As long as you continue to write about what inspires YOU, the subscribers will follow.

2. Add in videos and photos to your posts.

  • These can be videos you take talking to your readers, (you should also add these to Youtube!) and photos of your day-to-day life. These will make your blog feel personal with an added flare. It’s a fun and exciting way to switch things up a bit in your blogging journey, and a great way to show your readers (literally) that you care!

3. Consistency is key!

  • Having a consistent blog posting to your followers and subscribers is very beneficial to your Social Media “mark.” These posts can range from one post every two weeks, every week, or maybe every day. The more frequently you post with valuable information to your readers, the more subscribers, new readers, and activity you will receive to your page.

4. Make sure your blog is public!

  • Allow search engines to find you, include tags and categories for each post. Post about each new post on your Social Media networks. (This includes: Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, ect.)
  • If your blog is invisible, how will you gain a following?

5. Let others share your work.

  • Don’t let your posts go unnoticed from those outside of your circle! Add in the “share” buttons to each blog post. (Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google+, Email, ect) This will allow others to share the posts they like to their Social Media networks, and potentially give you more active followers – just by your readers clicking a button!

6. Allow others to interact.

  • You can set up a poll, survey, or rating system on your blog to gain interaction with your readers.
  • Ask them to comment on your posts if they have any questions regarding what you wrote, or invite them to think of a topic they would like to read from you in the future.
  • You can invite a “guest blogger” to post on your blog. This will help you gain exposure from their readers and possibly open an opportunity for you to post as a guest on their blog, as well.

7. Follow other blogs.

  • What blogs inspire you? You can pull ideas from these blogs that will help fuel the fire to your topic. In the future, you can ask them to guest post on your blog. Who knows, maybe one day the bloggers that inspire you, will be inspired BY you!

8. Don’t let a good idea go to waste!

  • Sometimes, I am able to think of multiple topics/headlines for future blogs, but I don’t take the time to write them down. I find that later on, I have forgotten the key points I had for those blogs, and sometimes the topic altogether gets lost.
  • A great way to avoid this is to click the “add new post” button and start a mini blog with your key-points, or just the title itself, then save it as a draft. (You can even do this in a word document or notepad on your computer.)
  • This can save you the time wasted of writers block trying to come up with new information in a short time frame.

9. Be patient!

  • Your blogging network will not blow up overnight – and that’s okay! Instead of pushing out your BEST content right away and wringing your writing ability dry, take your time in creating quality content that will benefit your readers and make them return for more.
  • The most popular blogs took years to build a consistent following and a list of content to share… yours may not be any different.
  • Make sure you are prepared for a slow start and stay determined in your journey. As long as you’re having fun, the rest of it is easier to wait for.

Do you have a tip that you would like to share? Post it in the “comment” section below! I would love to hear your blogging strategy and the “do’s & donts” you’ve found along the way!

Posted in Life in General, Virtual Assistance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VA Tip of the Week: Be Yourself

The biggest mistake in Social Media is to try to be someone you’re not.

If someone wants to friend you, follow you, or subscribe to you, they want the real you in return. You can tell when someone is trying too hard. It makes them suddenly uninteresting – that’s not what you want!

Even if you have a Virtual Assistant helping you, make sure that they are equipped with the right wording and content to be prepared to talk for you. The should know how you respond to comments, posts and tweets. This includes posting for you and conversing for you to your network and clients. You don’t want a clear division of content when you vs. your VA are online!

Remember to always have fun – even if it’s on a professional level! You don’t need to have a strict format of what to say, when to say it, or who you can talk to/be friends with. Social Media is open for everyone and is supposed to be Social. Never waste an opportunity for it!

Subscribe to my blog via email to receive the newest posts of the new section of my blog: VA Tip of the Week!

Posted in Life in General, Virtual Assistance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Manzo Family – Christmas Portraits

A few days away from Christmas, I was privileged to shoot the Manzo Family Portraits. They are a Military family based in Camp Pendleton, family of three; Robert, Melina, and adorable little Sadie.

There were a lot of “firsts” included with this shoot: A family I have never met before, professionally taking photos of a child, working outdoors in the midst of a LOT of people, working at night with Christmas lights, and more! This was such a huge learning experience for me, and a photo session that I will not forget! I had a lot of fun and loved connecting with this incredibly kind family.

All of these were shot at The Mission Inn in Riverside – it’s beautiful and at the time, was filled with Christmas lights for their annual, “Festival of Lights” display.

Thank you for everything you do for our Country.

“Follow the way of love”    1 Corinthians 14:1a

Posted in Life in General, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VA Tip of the Week: What is a Virtual Assistant?

Have you met someone who is a “Virtual Assistant” but never knew what exactly they did? I was the same way until I made it my job title.

A Virtual Assistant is a self-employed professional working in their own home. They provide administrative, technical, or Social Media assistance to clients such as entrepreneurs, large businesses, small business professionals, coaches, authors, ect. They help any business or person that is too busy to take care of their own work load themselves, and each Virtual Assistant has their own areas of experience and expertise that make each one unique.

Everything we do is Virtual. (Hence the job title!) Where we are able to work from our own home, on our own schedule, but we’re usually extremely flexible to yours! This means we can work weekends, in the evenings, and have a very fast turn around time for any of your needs.

Personally, I focus on the Social Media side of Virtual Assistance, and that is what I offer my clients. (This includes Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, email, event planning, scheduling, file organization, editing, proof reading, blog posting, shopping cart maintenance, website building and maintenance, ect.) Although, you can find some that will keep your personal or business financial bookkeeping in order, as well. Our job is to help your business grow. We have the ability to learn programs and websites quickly to meet your exact needs.

Virtual Assistants are usually hired by companies/entrepreneurs who want to save money. (VA’s provide their own insurance, equipment, and office space.) Usually, we charge on an hourly based rate. These can be a flat rate package or hour-by-hour for the time period given for each payment. (I charge by month, but some will charge bi-weekly or take a retainer up front, or sometimes even charge by project.)

So – Do you need a Virtual Assistant? If you aren’t sure, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Where do you want your business to go?
  • What would you need their help with, exactly? (Bookkeeping, administrative assistance, or more?)
  • What types of tasks would you give your Virtual Assistant? Those are the skills you are looking for.
  • What is your budget? (Research the services they provide vs. the ones you need. You don’t want to pay for a Virtual Assistant at a much higher rate if you only need them for the most simple tasks. Find one where it would be fair financially for the both of you!)

Other tips if you are hiring:

  • Make sure you check out their personal websites and networks.
  • Get to know them before hiring – and they should want to get to know you!
  • Make sure they know what you want from them! We can’t yet read your mind.
  • Do your research! Ask those you know who have hired Virtual Assistants for themselves.

Subscribe to my blog via email to receive the newest posts of the new section of my blog: VA Tip of the Week!

Posted in Life in General, Virtual Assistance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, New Goals

Hello readers! Welcome to 2012, and also my 50th post! 🙂

Currently, my blogging basically consists of only photography posts. Although, if you know me, you know that’s not all I love to do. So, in 2012, I have decided to switch it up a bit! Because of this, I thought I should write up an announcement post for you to know what is changing in 2012!

1.  Weekly Virtual Assistant Tip
Each week I will give you a small tip that will help you with Social Media Networking, Facebook, Twitter, ect. I will share with you what I have learned through trial and error. I will even let you in on some tools and websites you should use to keep track of day-to-day activity! You can expect these posts going up every week.
Do you have a question that you would like for me to answer? Leave in it a comment below or Tweet to me @TMinspired! I would love to help you.

2.  12 Crafts of 2012
I have decided on doing something fun each month, a craft of some sort. I’ve drawn inspiration from fellow bloggers, Tweeters, and Pinterest Pins and would like to recreate certain things for myself. But why not share them with you, too? I will be posting step-by-step tutorials for you to follow along. (Although I’m not going to tell you what I have planned for the months ahead. You are just going to have to subscribe to find out!)

My favorite announcement – 3.  NEW Website!
I am switching up the look of my blog and going professional. My domain name will change, I will have an official home page… And so much more! I’m excited for the launch and VERY excited to see what else 2012 brings!

On top of all of these things, I am also bumping up my Photography and you will see more posts this year of photo shoots. Hopefully filled with a bunch of new faces!

Thank you for your encouragement and support. God Bless!

Posted in Life in General | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heather & Cory – Christmas Portraits

As you may remember… My good friends, Heather and Cory, got married last August. (I was honored to be apart of the photography team photographing their wedding)

This Christmas, they wanted portraits together, and I was ecstatic that they asked me. (And a big thanks to Nathan, my second shooter for this session.)
Here are my favorites from our session at Saddleback Church’s Rancho Campus:

If you have yet to subscribe to my blog, please feel free to do so by entering your email address on the right side of the page. (Near the top!) You will then receive my blogs newest posts directly to your email!

Posted in Life in General, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lil Noodle Bug’s November Giving Back Event!

As you may remember, my most recent post was about Courtney, owner of Lil Noodle Bug’s Etsy Shop.

Today, I would like to let you in on an amazing giving back program she launched today and will continue to go throughout November.

Courtney had the desire to give back, and her heart was lead to ThanksUSA, who fund scholarships for families that have been affected by fallen soldiers who risked their lives for our country. These scholarships allow their spouses and children to have the chance to attend college.

Courtney’s way of supporting, is opening up a special shop that will donate all of the proceeds to ThanksUSA. Every item in the shop is donated from wonderful crafty women. (Myself included!!)  You could also buy an advertising spot on fantastic blogs such as The Wiegand’s Blog, After Nine To Five, Four Flights of Fancy, Gentri Lee’s Blog, Finding Beauty in the Ordinary, and also Polo’s, Pearls, and Pacifiers by Mrs. Stephanie T

So why wait? Shop for a Cause!

This fundraiser will only run for the month of November.  Notice that once the items are gone, they are gone!

Don’t see anything in the shop you specifically want? You can donate directly by heading on over to Lil Noodle Bug’s Blog.

Thanks, Courtney, for being a wonderful woman with the desire to help those who need it. Thank you for gathering together all of these ladies and organizing all of these products to look so beautiful in the shop.  You have such a huge heart and I pray God’s blessings over you.

Posted in Life in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Featured Etsy Shop: Lil Noodle Bug

Today, I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Her name is Courtney, she is a blogger, crafter, and loving mom. She has an adorable Etsy shop that I would like to share with you.

Courtney and I met through a mutual friend at a recent Creative Connections meet up in Orange County.  Creative Connections is a wonderful group of creative women who meet monthly for inspiration and socializing. The talents you will find at a typical meet-up are bloggers and writers, designers, photographers, crafters/online shop owners, event planners, marketers and social media gurus, fashionistas, chefs and bakers, actors… Basically any way you can be creative, you’re more than welcome!

Courtney and I met and instantly clicked. It’s amazing the people that God can put in your life when you least expect it!

I interviewed Courtney recently for this blog post, that helps explain her blogging, her craft, her store, her day-to-day life, as well as a special discount she generously is giving to all of my readers!

Please take a minute to read, and if you would like to connect with her further, I urge you to Tweet her or post on her Facebook Page.

  • Describe yourself in one sentence:
    I am a down to earth mom and wife who Loves Jesus, Dr. Pepper, Shoes, Accessories and is pursuing my dream by living LIFE!
  • Why did you start blogging and how did you start?
    I started blogging years ago to keep my family in other states up to date with my kids growth and pictures.  I am so bad at picking up the phone or emailing frequently so it was my way of being able to update everyone at once.  I literally went onto blogger one day, sat down and started.  There really was no method to the madness at all.
  • Would you say your blog is based on a specific theme of posts?  What is your favorite topic to write about?

    The theme is family…specifically my family.  I love to share pics from activities with the kids,but I am starting to venture into other topics.  I love to write about Life because some days are good and some days are bad.  I have realized that no matter what you write about, there is always someone that can relate and offer a piece of advice.

  • Why did you choose to get started with Etsy? When did you open your shop?
    I chose to get started with etsy because I have been going to that site for years buying things.  Why not start a shop where you buy, right?!?  I opened my shop Dec 2010 when I was on maternity leave with my son.
  • How did you start your craft? Did anyone inspire you?
    I have always been a crafty person and I LOVE felt, so in all honesty I just played around with different ideas and projects for myself.  My Grandma passed away Oct 11, 2011 and it was the memories of the handmade stockings that really lit the fire under my butt to pursue what i love doing.  And of course, wanting my kids to know that anything is possible if you put your heart and mind into it – they are my constant inspiration.

My personal favorite - The Fall Thanksgiving Wreath

  • What does your shop name mean?
    Noodle Bug is my daughter’s nickname around the house, amongst other things.  Somehow it went from lil Monkey, to Monkey Noodle and landed at Noodle Bug.  Since my daughter is one of my main inspirations, I thought it was fitting to name the shop after her 🙂
  • Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full time job?
    This currently is a hobby, but hoping it turns into a part-time or full-time pursuit.  I love meeting new people, I love creating things and putting a smile on others faces.  I think this is what I am meant to do!
  • Are you a one woman show?
    I am a one woman show.  Sometimes it gets tough to balance everything, but in the end I am hoping it pays off.

Mommy & Daughter Matching Accessories

  • What do you love the most about having an Etsy shop?
    I love knowing that people anywhere can connect with me and put their trust in me to make something they will love. I love the friendships I am building and meeting new people daily.
  • What do you find is your biggest challenge owning an online store?
    My biggest challenge is finding time not only to create new items, but the posting process too.  Who needs sleep these days anyway?!?
  • Where do you create your products? Do you have a specific place that gets your creative juices flowing?
    I usually create at night after the kids have gone to bed.  I set up shop in the living room and turn the tv on for background noise and start crafting.
  • What is your top-selling item? Why do you think it’s so popular?
    My wreaths are definitely my top selling item. I think they are popular because there is really no other shop that has similar ones on etsy, so they standout and obviously because they are to die for cute!!!

Valentine's Heart Wreath

  • Do you provide custom ordering for your customers?
    Yes, I LOVE custom orders and actually encourage them.  Some people may not like the flowers or colors on my wreaths or may be looking for a different color/style of accessory, so I really like it when people ask for specific one of a kind items.
  • Have your customers given you any product ideas? If yes, what were they?
    I haven’t had any customers give product ideas, but a couple of my good friends have brainstormed new ideas.  The one that will be coming to my shop soon is a “Build your own Wreath” option where you can buy a solid color ruffle wreath and add as many flowers/accessories you want and pin it to the wreath yourself.  I LOVE this idea because it allows me to continue being creative, but it also allows the customer the ability to use their creative juices and make it how they LOVE it.
  • Are there items in the works

    Fall or Easter Wreath

    you’d like to eventually add to your shop?
    Well as mentioned above a Build your own Wreath section will be debuting soon 🙂 and a hint….flowers won’t be the only accessory to buy.

  • Have you had previous photography experience?  Do you find it a challenge showing off your products to their full potential through photography?
    I have not had any previous photography experience.  I would the LOVE the chance to be better educated because I love looking at photography sites and admiring their work.  I do find it challenging only because of my lack of knowledge.  I don’t know the best lighting, the best angle, the best height, etc…  I think this is something I defintely need to look in to.
  • What strategies, if any, have you found made your shop more successful? (Twitter & Facebook marketing, newsletters, blogging, ect)I have found that Facebook and twitter have made a HUGE impact on the amount of traffic to my shop.  I am learning that it is all about connections and having people do features!!!!  (YAY! Thanks Taylor!)
  • Do you have any advice for other Etsy shop owners?
    Stick with it.  There are days when I feel like throwing in the towel, but just know there will be good days and bad days and sells will fluctuate, but just keep doing what you are doing.  Put yourself out in the world and they will love you.

Lovely Purple Rose Headband

  • Is there anything else you would like for us to know?
    At the end of the day I am just a wife, a mom, and a person wanting to live the dream while pursuing my dreams.  Oh and I am obsessed with Dr. Pepper!

Courtney has created a discount code for all of the TMinspired blog readers to use in her shop. Don’t let this chance pass you by! You can use discount code “BLOGGIVEAWAY” for 10% off anything in the Lil Noodle Bug Etsy shop!

Thank you, Courtney, for taking the time for thoughtfully writing out these answers. I enjoyed interviewing you and I hope to do so again in the future! And thank you, readers, for taking the time for getting know my new friend. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!

Are you an Etsy shop owner and would like to be featured?
Leave a comment below with your email and Etsy shop link!

Posted in Etsy Shop Feature Posts, Life in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sponsoring a Child During Christmas

I am posting this to tell you a little bit about Resa Oktavia Alotodang. As of August 16th this year, I started sponsoring her and making monthly payments through Compassion International that go to this sweet little girl.

The only photo I have of Resa

Resa, (who will be 4 on October 24th,) and her family, live Southwest of Jayapura in Indonesia, in a mountainous community of Sinagma. There are approximately 240,000 residents who live in this area. Typical houses that families live in there are constructed of cement floors, wood walls and tin roofs. Half of the adults in Sinagma are unemployed but some work on plantations and earn about $27 per month.

Resa lives with her parents and one other sibling. Both her mom and dad are sometimes employed as project workers. Resa’s job is to run errands for her family. She’s not even 4 years old yet. She loves playing with dolls and playing games. She attends church regularly and loves joining in their activities.

Even though finances are tight, especially around Christmas.. My heart breaks for her family and her living situation. I have already sent a birthday present of $10 to Resa and would like to send another $10 as a Christmas present. Next year, I would like to send a physical package, but this year instead of sending gifts, I have allowed Compassion to choose what Resa will receive on her birthday as well as on Christmas.

I don’t want Resa to be the only one in her family to have a gift-receiving holiday. I would also like to send her family an extra $20 for them to receive not Christmas presents, but rather much needed items such as blankets, cooking utensils, or food. Things that I know, I take for granted.

Last week, I extended this invitation to my family and friends, asking if any of them would like to contribute to Resa’s family, as well. I added in that every little bit helps – even just $5… Because it really does! If 20 people sent $5, I would have $100 to send to her family. Think about how much that would help them, by only receiving $27 a month, if that?? I can’t even imagine how much that would change their lives.

I asked my family and friends if any of them would like to donate, and the responses were incredible! Now, a week later, I currently have $120 to send Resa’s family this Christmas. This is not including my own, or some of the other money that has yet to be collected.

I just wanted to say thank you from the very bottom of my heart, to those who have donated. You will be apart of drastically changing this family’s life. I couldn’t begin to describe how thankful I am.

For those of you reading, or those who don’t feel financially in a spot where you can donate money, that is no problem. Please just keep Resa and her family on your heart and in your prayers. Anything would help this family.

Thank you for your time and for sharing this experience with me. Have a wonderful day! God Bless.

“You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.'”

– 2 Corinthians 9:7

Posted in Life in General | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments