July 25, 2014

Links to Love

I finally had a fantastic week! The energy the in the air was better, I received lots of good news, and I made plans with a lot of my friends for the last few weeks of summer. 

I'm in a good place right now, which is a lot better than I was two-three weeks ago. Phew. I hope all that aggression is over because I don't think my mind, body or spirit can take it.

Aside from it being a good week, there was inspiration everywhere and lots of articles, blog posts and stuff happening that I simply just ate up. Seriously, my bookmarks are all filled to the brim!

Can we start with something simple, something that threw my Thursday for a loop?

YUP. This happened. 50 Shades of Grey is actually going to be on screen, in front of me. I'm not that stoked about who they cast as Christian but the movie looks pretty good. I loved the hoopla over the books and obviously read all three but knew they weren't well written and it's basically Twilight without the vampires.

Nonetheless I'm excited for the movie, it looks so cool and I love a good cult trilogy. 

Now that that's out of the way, here are my favorite links of the week.

I hope next week is just as good as this week! Happy Friday everyone :)

July 24, 2014

Tips for Bloggers: Google Analytics

There is much more to being a blogger than writing a new blog everyday or sharing it across social media. There's a lot more planning and organization involved in that.

It's making sure you're not just sharing your own posts but others as well. It's keeping an editorial calendar, keeping files on hand, media kits and constantly brainstorming. It's taking a thousand photos to get the right one, blog conferences and friends.

There is a lot more to blogging than just writing a draft. I've realized that recently and I kind of love it. I love how there is a whole other side to blogging that I'm coming in touch with.

One of the best and most important tools I've learned about blogging is the importance of analytics. It wasn't until a few months ago when I started to pay a little more attention to my blog analytics and how many page views and monthly visitors I was wracking up.

That stuff was always important to me but I just started to see how freaking cool it was!!

I think it's the coolest thing to be able to see who is looking at your posts, what time they read them and where their located. Seeing the "real time" users is sick--being able to know that at that very moment someone is reading your blog.

Maybe I'm just a complete tech junkie and nerd but I think tracking your analytics is pretty cool but essentially, it's one of the most vital parts of taking your blog to the next level.

Knowing how many people visit your blog each day, how long they stay active and how many pages they view is really important. It's important to your audience, to brands and companies you want to work with, and to you as an owner.

Having a better understanding of analytics will help you become a better blogger.

Analytics is confusing, don't get me wrong. I'm by no means an expert but after playing around with it, I've become a little more knowledgable and it makes things a little easier.

Google Analytics is the platform I use and most bloggers I've spoken with use this one as well. It's easy to hook up to your blog if you have Blogger and a Gmail account. I've been playing around with this baby really well for the past few weeks but have had it installed for months.

Google Analytics as a whole is really useful and beneficial, once you get the hang of it. There are definitely some highlights that I think are the most useful to bloggers who are just starting out or want to take their blog to the next level.

1. Audience Overview: This is probably the most basic part of Google Analytics and the part that is most simple to understand. Basically it shows your page views and other statistics for any given date. Initially it'll start off as a monthly view but you could alter it for any day.

Here it tells you your page views which is how many times your blog was viewed; users, which is how many physical people clicked on your blog, and sessions, which is the period of time a user was actively engaged in your blog.

Aside from those statistics, it's also reported how many pages were viewed during a session, how long the average session lasted, locations and the number of new and returning visitors. 

I don't think I have my analytics installed correctly because it won't let me view the next categories such as age, gender, and basic demographics such as that.

2. Behavior: Behavior is useful for a variety of reasons; it shows you the flow of your readers (what pages they went to first, second, third) which is something I discovered while researching this blog post. Another great, useful part of 'behavior' is that you can see which pages and posts were most viewed during a certain period. 

It also shows how long it takes your site to load (woah, eyeopener) which can help you in the long run.

3. Technology: (Under Audience) This is pretty straight forward and simple. It shows you which browsers and operating systems people are viewing your blog under. I think this is super cool #nerdalert

4. Acquisition: This might be the most important part of analytics in my opinion. This shows how readers get to your site, whether it was a direct search, social media or a referral. It also shows which keywords they used to find your site(the coolest part). This is the most important to me because it's something you can control (sort of).

It breaks these different platforms down to really give you an inside look as to where your most traffic is coming from, showing which areas are pretty good and where you need improvement.

Like I said before, there are a lot of parts that don't work for me, for some strange reason (I need to look into that). Those parts that don't work would be really useful because you'll know exactly who you're targeting and whose reading.

I'm going to do another post on how to apply all these useful analytic tips because this post will be super long and confusing if I put it all together.

These definitely aren't the only parts of Google Analytics but the parts I focus on and find the most useful. Like I said, I'll do another post on how to apply all of this information but I hoped this helped or you found it interesting!!

Do you fellow bloggers have any tips and tricks when it comes to analytics? Please tell me in the comments !!

July 23, 2014

Book Review Time: One and Only

In my complimentary June PopSugar Must Have box, I received the lovely new beach read, "One and Only" by Emily Giffin.

Giffin is a fantastic chick-lit writer (chick lit is basically fluffy, easy beach reads for women and my favorite kind). She wrote "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue", both great beachy reads. 

You can always spot an Emily Giffin novel on the shelves of your local book store because they always look exactly the same, but in a good way. They have the same simple cover and I love how uniform it is. That is such a cool thing for an author to do.

This time around, the cover was deathly different. The title print was big and bold, very in your face. I wouldn't be able to walk past this at the book store.

I hadn't heard that Emily Giffin was coming out with a new novel so I was really excited to break into this book when it arrived in my Must Have box. I immediately started reading and was entranced. I finished it within two or three days. 

It was one of those easy reading books that was light, airy but just enough intensity to make you want to keep turning pages. Every time I would stop a chapter, I just had to figure out what was going to happen next. 

I couldn't put it down. 

I won't reveal too much about the plot because you could find that anywhere and I don't want to spoil it but I'll give you a little tidbit.

Shea Rigsby, the main character, has lived in Walker, Texas her entire life. Her life there revolves around her best friend Lucy and college football. This is a very football centric novel which I loved (even though I'm not a true football fan), it was a very nice added element. 

The novel starts off with Lucy's mother dying and that carries the entire novel. It is the main reason everything else occurs. It's a domino effect and that is apparent from very early on. 

Even though you might not be able to tell which direction the book is going to go in, or where Shea is going to end up, it's still fun to read along and feel the anxiousness that you know Shea feels.

I get very in tune with the main characters of the book, especially when it's written in the first person point of view. 

I'm usually very able to tell where a book is going to end up. I can read an authors mind only because I've read so many books. I know how an author thinks because it's something I'd like to achieve one day.

This was sort of different because I didn't know what Emily was going to have happen. It could've gone in so many directions. How the book ended was very predictable, however. It didn't make me like the book any less though.

I adored this book, I really did. 

I will say this, it was a little cringe worthy at times and made me shake my head. If you read it, you'll see why.

This was a fantastic beach read. I keep saying beach read and it may be confusing as to what I mean but basically it's the perfect summer/vacation book. It's something light, easy to follow and fun to read--a guilty pleasure if you would.

It's a fantastically written novel about love, friendship, career and hard decision making. Shea is a unique character and truly has to choose between love and friendship--not an ideal decision. She is relatable, oh my god, SO relatable. She's an anxious, nervous but also strong woman who doesn't really know what she wants out of life.

"One and Only" really is a great book. It definitely is one of the best books of the summer and I can't recommend it enough. If you're going on vacation or due for a light hearted read, pick this baby up!

Have you read "One and Only? What did you think of it? What are your other favorite beach reads?

PS: Did you like this book review? Would you like to see more of these on Royally Pink? Let me know all these answers in the comments :)

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July 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Prince George!

Do you remember where you were a year ago? I do. 

I was in Manhattan, sitting in a Starbucks, awaiting my day at interning. As I was sitting down, enjoying my Skinny Vanilla Latte and blueberry scone, the news broke that Kate Middleton was in labor. Actually, it had broken hours before, in the middle of the night but I was just seeing it plastered across every news and social media outlet.

I tried SO hard to not be giddy as a school girl that the little prince or princess would be born that day! HOW EXCITING! I had been awaiting this birth as if it were my own child because my obsession with the Royal Family is sick and it was finally here.

Fun fact: That night, I had a dream that Kate Middleton went into labor. HOW SCARY AND FREAKY?!

That day at interning, the Levo office was completely buzzing. Most of the conversation that day was occupied with guesses of the gender, name, and everything having to do with that precious future king or queen. 

While I did my best to concentrate and get all my work done (I did because I'm a good intern), I had the "Royal Baby Watch" on mute aka CNN.com. I was also compulsively checking social media to see when the baby news was revealed.

I was indeed, the first person at least on my timeline to break the news that Prince George had arrived. Someone tweeted "IT'S A BOY" and I lost my shit. I really wanted a girl because hey, Kate Middleton dressing up a baby girl has to be the cutest thing ever but also, she would've been Queen. 

There was a law in England that said only the first born boy would be heir to the throne, even if he had an older sister. This law was overturned right before Kate gave birth that way no matter the gender, that baby would rule the United Kingdom. 

I was super happy all day and when I got home from interning, I continued to watch every aspect of coverage. I also spent the whole next day watching the hospital door for a peek at Prince George and his parents. 

The first glimpse of baby George was spectacular. It was historical. It made me cry. This was the future King of England we saw, just a day after he was born.

It doesn't get more bone chilling than that.

It was especially emotional for people like my mom and aunt who had watched Prince William be born the way I was watching Prince George. It was insane.

The Prince's latest official portrait 
For the next year, Prince George fever did not die down. Every time a new picture of him was released to the public, people went insane. I loved getting glimpses of him every few months and with every photo, he got cuter and cuter.

Shit hit the fan in April when baby George went on his first Royal Tour and we got a hefty amount of photos, from playing with mum's hair to throwing toys on the ground and making a fuss when at the zoo. We got a real look at what kind of child George is and even though he's the future King, he's just a baby.

He's a mighty cute baby as well, with cheeks so squeezable and stylish clothes, along with the most famous parents in the world. George has got it made.

Today Prince George turns ONE and I wanted to commemorate in the only way I knew how. Also, I mean...have you looked at my blog's name? It's only right that I honor a true ROYAL on Royally Pink!

Here are my favorite Prince George moments from the past year!!!

The first day we got to see the little prince! But the way Kate looks at Will >>>
One of the few official photos-HOW CUTE IS HE?
George's first Royal Tour and he's not impressed
Snuggles with mummy Middleton

Happy 1st birthday Prince George!! The world celebrates with you :) 

PS: Take a look at all my other posts about the Royals :)

July 21, 2014

July Ipsy Glam Bag

I've been out of the monthly beauty subscription game for a while because I'm a broke, post grad with no job. I can't afford a Starbucks coffee, never  mind $10 a month for beauty products.

Lately, I've been really bored and watching beauty vloggers on Youtube; a lot of them subscribe to a variety of different beauty services so I've been tempted to subscribe again. 

I took the plunge last month and decided to splurge on an Ipsy Glam Bag subscription, at least for a month.

I patiently awaited the arrival of my Glam Bag but not before checking my Glam Room to see what goodies I was going to be receiving. I wasn't too thrilled, there wasn't anything I would die for but it was a nice little selection. 

//Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil: I'm not big on tanning oil but this is a nice little deluxe sample. This is great to throw in a beach bag because it's not too big or clunky. I don't know if I'll ever use it because I don't think I ever tried a tanning oil but hey who knows. It's still something that's nice to have.

//Nailtini in Mango Rita: I've always seen Nailtini in the Ipsy Glam Bags but never received any. This color is gorgeous! It's a natural, peach color with a good amount of shimmer mixed it. The brush is a little longer than most regular nail polishes which will work out well when painting my nails. I haven't tried it out yet so we'll see!

//Elizabeth Mott Tints and Sass: This is cheek and lip tint, similar to Benetint. It's a cherry red color and has a great applicator, similar to a standard lip gloss. The formula doesn't seem sticky so it might work out well. I always get confused as to how to apply this sort of product to your cheeks but maybe this applicator will help out. I shall let you know!

//Clear Clinic Vanished Clear Spot Treatment: I love getting products like this in subscription services because they're the perfect little sample and something I would never buy. I used this product a few times already because I had a blemish and it really works. It dries up the blemish and brings it to the surface, essentially healing it quicker. This also has a great applicator and I'm kind of obsessed with this.

//BareMinerals 5 in 1 Advanced Performing Cream Eyeshadow: I love cream eyeshadows and it's something I want to really get into. They're a lot easier to apply and the fall out is seriously minimal. This color is a bit harsh, a really dark brown so it's good for the upcoming Fall. It's a serious creamy eyeshadow so I'm excited to really try it out.

This Glam Bag was sub par but it was still a nice little gift to myself. Once I get a job and get paid regularly, I feel like I'll subscribe to Glam Bag on the regular.

Do you subscribe to any beauty subscription services? What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments!

July 20, 2014

#ShareBeauty What's Your Beauty Story? Enter and Win!

This post is sponsored by Regency Beauty but all opinions are my own

Beauty and makeup is something most girls love to experiment and play with. Your first experience with makeup usually comes at a young age and it's so exciting, so thrilling to finally get to play with all this stuff that you've watched older women apply for years.

I used to love sitting on my bathroom floor, watching my mom apply her blush, mascara and lipstick. It was so strange to watch her transform into this other person, the minute she touched a brush to her face.

I think my first taste of makeup came at the age of 12 or 13 when I started hanging out with boys. I was allowed to put on a touch of eyeliner, mascara and lip-gloss. I felt so cool, so old. It was awesome to get my first experience with make-up.

Though, it wasn't until I was much older and in college, around the past two years that I really divulged into the world of beauty. I discovered new products, learned how to apply them correctly and figured out what kind of brands I liked best.

I think the first time I ever really got the true message of make-up was when I was watching "Burlesque" and Cher applies lipstick to Christina Aguilera's lips and gives this whole speech about beauty. It was beautiful and that was the moment that I realized make-up was so much more than products on shelves.

Make-up and beauty products make me feel good about myself, they give me confidence. It has nothing to do with boys, as some may think. I've come to see that boys don't like a lot of makeup on girls so it really isn't about dressing up your face for the male species.

Make-up is about feeling good about yourself and being your best self. It makes me feel womanly and girly. It's so much fun to paint your face and become a different person.

Red lips make me feel powerful. Nude lips and a smokey eye make me feel fierce. Pink blush makes me feel romantic.

There is makeup for every mood and personality. It's so special to be a girl and be able to be whoever you want to be.

That's my beauty story but now Regency and Refinery29 want YOU to share your beauty story!

Regency and Refinery29 have teamed up for the #ShareBeautyContest which runs through Aug. 13th. One lucky winner will be chosen following the end of the contest. Each person who enters will have the opportunity to win a customized VIP beauty treatment worth $2,000.

Try a trend revealed by Regency and Refinery29, take a photo to post on Instagram and make sure to hashtag #ShareBeautyContest to ensure your chance of winning!!

Head to the contest's landing page to find out more!

What's your beauty story? Tell me in the comments!!

July 18, 2014

Links to Love

This was an incredibly long, dragged out, stressful and tiresome week. I'm happy that it's finally Friday and just hoping for a better week ahead of me!

Just like there are every week, there were loads of links, articles and quizzes that kept me sane! Also a nice little surprise in the mail warmed my heart.

I won Preppy Love's May Designs giveaway a few weeks back and my customized notebook arrived in the mail. I chose a nautical themed, lobster print because that seems to be really popular nowadays and I instantly fell in love.

Follow me on Instagram for more pictures like this :)

I was also surprised to see my testimony from a recent Her Campus Blogger Network survey on the homepage. I truly love being part of the HCBN; it has given me so many opportunities and it's such a great place to meet and work with fellow bloggers. 

If you have a blog and want to apply to become part of the HCBN, go to this link and see it all for yourself :)

Here are some of my favorite links from the week!

What did you love this week? Tell me in the comments!!