You and Me & Chasing Little G


Getting Real About Blogging While Pregnant

BloggingSabra GilbertComment

   After years of blogging, I always thought my first pregnancy was going to be one that I was all over. That I had a game plan in the bag and it would just be so easy. Since pregnancy is a plethora of learning new crazy things.

And then I actually got pregnant.

Getting Real AboutWhile Pregnant.jpg

And the first trimester was practically traumatizing. I was constantly nauseous and couldn't eat or drink. So with that, I constantly had migraines and headaches. And I slept constantly. I got up and maybe would have an hour in the morning before work, and then would fall asleep right after dinner (if I could get anything down that is!

So that left no time for blogging.

And even though I started by trying to take photos every week., that eventually tapered off as well while I was so much more distracted by sleep than wanting to look nice for pictures of my bump.

Then I finally started feeling better! Which was amazing and I was so excited about that! So then it was time to buckle down and get baby things done.

Which still left no time for blogging.

Sometimes, I've missed it. Blogging like I used to back in the days of Crazy.College.Life. (yeah that was seriously the name of my first blog.) I would just jump on my laptop whenever I had a spare moment and loved every second of it. I didn't pressure myself to make money on my blog or to have a million readers. I just enjoyed getting my words out there.

And that was the part of me that I thought would blog wonderfully through a pregnancy.

But in the last few years, I've tried to push myself too much in blogging. I tried to schedule ahead of time, make posts actually useful to people, and figure out social media. Which, if I'm being completely honest, I don't really like to do. Sometimes it's fun. But with those things, I put a lot of pressure on myself to follow deadlines that maybe aren't actually that reasonable with the time that I actually have to do these things.

Oy and making sure to have the perfect photo for a post. Oy vey!

Now I'm not saying that I'm not going to do these things anymore. These days, many of these things are what is needed to have a successful blog. One that not only is a wonderful hobby, but one that helps pay the bills as well. Which, if I'm paying to blog, it's nice if the blogging helps by paying for itself back.

What I'm wanting to say is that I don't want these things to dictate when I do or don't blog. I want to make a place full of fun writing and serious writing. I'll still have posts here and there that will be like this one and be completely words and not considered perfect. But I also want to strive for some posts that are useful to you as well, the reader. Which if you are still here reading this, thank you.

Thank you for  your continued patience with my absence. Thank you for sitting through this rambling post. Thank you for being awesome.

Organize Your Blog Giveaway, without loosing your mind!

BloggingSabra GilbertComment

What? An informational post on Becoming Sabra Gilbert? Bet you haven't seen one of these in FOREVER!! Well, I guess my last one was about a month ago, but was puppy related and we all know how much puppy stuff has been on this blog lately. What can I say, I'm an obsessed blog mom. I'll admit it!!

So anyway, onto blog giveaways! Giveaways can be extremely beneficial for you and your blog readers! They get free stuff and you get your posts and name seen by a few more people! It's a win-win for everyone (well, I guess not the people who didn't win :/). But anyway, as much fun as the end of a giveaway can be, the beginning can be a little scary!

Organize your blog giveaway! || Becoming Sabra Gilbert

Before Your Giveaway Begins

1| Ask Yourself

What kind of readers are you trying to attract?

What prize would attract these readers?

You could very easily throw together a cash or general prize giveaway that would attract a TON of new readers! But would those readers actually stick around? If you take the time to figure out who actually enjoys your blog and pick a prize to attract that specific kind of reader!

Who else shares these readers?

While there are plenty of giveaways that you could do on your own, it can be super fun to bring others in on the fun too! This is a great way to share readers with other bloggers who share the same reader demographic. I would suggest finding these bloggers and specifically asking them to be a part of your giveaway! I also think it is best to keep the number of bloggers decently low. No one wants to spend an entire hour filling out entry forms. So stick it to 4 or 5 other bloggers with a limited number of entries each!

2| Get Organized

Put together a spreadsheet!

Things on this spreadsheet should include names and information for your target bloggers, list of names and information of the bloggers who join you, and a list of the items and prices that you want to include in your your prize package!

Hate having to put spreadsheets together? I've done it for you already! Feel free to customize it (once you save your own version  to your Google Drive!) and use it as many times as you want!

Set a date and time for the giveaway!

I usually find it easiest to set a date, time, and prize BEFORE starting to contact people or getting a ton of people to chime in, this way, you can also gouge exactly how many people you need and what buy in each member would have to contribute for the main prize and if you want to add in extras (like how I usually like to purchase a planner and then collect extra for pens, highlighters, stickers, and such), those can be from the money of extra links and not the main gift! 

Then you can also have a due date to have everyone contribute their links and send in their money to your paypal BEFORE the giveaway! 

Get everyone on the same page.

Ok, so by this point, you will have wanted to invite people and have filled out the spreadsheet on everyone who has joined in! Send out a welcome email to everyone who has decided to participate and restate all the main details! You may also want to say when you will be sending the final giveaway images and rafflecopter codes! Just so they can mark it on their calendar and look out for the email.

3| Three Days Before Your Giveaway

This is when you really want to make sure that everyone has the graphics and codes to put up the giveaway on their own blogs! You can also recommend post ideas that would go with the giveaway! That way, if they are scheduling or even writing the post the day before, everyone can be prepped! 

During Your Giveaway

1| Be available for questions & emergencies

While it might look like giveaways are easy to just drop and walk away from, things can actually get a little crazy after you have the giveaway up! People have random questions about the products you are giving away, the rules, and some link always fails to work the day of for some reason! 

2| Double Check EVERY SINGLE Link!

Seriously. Every single time I have thought that I checked all the links and that they are all fine, it always seems like right then I get an email and one of the links is no longer working for some wonky reason.  So check. Then double check. Then check again when someone complains that it isn't working! 

3| Get packaging ready!

Don't forget to prepare and pack up your giveaway prize! I find that it is less flustering for me to do this during the giveaway so then I can just add the address and go after the giveaway! 

4| Promote like CRAZY on social media!

And don't forget to tag all those girls who have joined you! Get them sharing like crazy too and send out a few email reminders to those who aren't, but remember, this is YOUR giveaway! You are expected to do the majority of the heavy lifting! Just send a friendly reminder out and maybe a graphic for Instagram or Pintrest!

5| Keep your new followers interested.

Don't just post a giveaway and walk away! Put your best foot forward with your new content on your blog, be posting Instagram photos a few times a day, and engage on your social media! If people start seeing your gorgeous face right away, they are more likely to stick around than if you randomly pop into their feed a month later and they no longer remember about the giveaway they entered, and probably didn't win. . .  Awkward! 

After Your Giveaway

1| Email your winner!

Do this RIGHT AWAY! If it was a really good prize, people want to know if they have won it before the giveaway is even over. So get in their inbox and squeal with them! 

2| Write another blog post!

After my winner is confirmed, I like to write a quick blog post announcing the winner. Maybe a photo of me mailing off the prize, just to make it super fun! 

3| Mail off the prize!

4| Send a thank you to everyone who participated!

I hope this helps you have a FANTASTIC giveaway!

Blog Buddies Network: Hamburg vs Brookings

BloggingSabra GilbertComment

These last few months, I joined the Blog Buddies Network through the blog, Simply Ashley Nicole! I was partnered with Diana Elle, who is an expat blogger living in Germany! We've been chatting back and forth about our hopes and dreams for our little spaces on the internet.

Hamburg, Germany = HH                              Brookings, SD = BR

What is the population in your city?

HH: Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, it has a population of 1.734 million (2013)

BR: Brookings is actually extremely small for also housing a state school. But it is South Dakota! We only have a population of 22,943. Most of which probably disappear for most of the summer!

How does the election year impact you?

As an expat in Hamburg? It causes anger, sometimes it makes you happy to be away from it.

In a college town like Brookings? College kids always seem to be extremely active in politics. Or not. There is no in between. To be honest, South Dakota has been talking about some serious legislation in our State that Presidential candidates seem to be taking the back burner. All I know is that no one wants Trump.

What is the weather like?

HH: We get four seasons here, all though some may be shorter than others.  Winter is very cold and summer can get hot, but the really hot days last less than a couple of weeks

BR: South Dakota consists of two major seasons, with a few days of other seasons thrown in. Winter last FOREVER here. Think October to April. Actually, my university has only ever had one snow day in 50 years. And it was on a miserable day at the end of April. Then a week later, we were hit with ridiculously hot weather as Summer kicked in and melted all the snow.

How do you get around?

HH: you don’t need a car, public transportation is actually pretty good, and there are special biking lanes for bikers.

BR: South Dakota basically requires that you have a car. We have a small bus system but it doesn’t have exact routes (more of a call ahead kind of thing) and too much winter to really bike around very much. Cars keep you warm and get you to the next big town about an hour away.

What is the garbage situation?

HH: this is a place where we have up to four garbage containers, one for organic, plastic, paper and regular trash. It took some getting used to but now we have everything organized (and special bags for each one).

BR: As much as I would love for my apartment to have recycling, we only have a single dumpster out back. If I want to recycle, I have to sort and take everything to the place myself about an hour away.

How does your area affect your blogging?

In Hamburg? Being an expat is a big part of my blog, so it affects it greatly. our lives here are definitely not the same thing they would be if we were back home. But I don't meet many other (English or German) bloggers.

In Brookings, SD? Sometimes, I feel like living in South Dakota really limits my blogging. It isn’t a really popular thing out here and many people don’t even know what it is when I tell them what I do. Also, the winter thing makes it really hard to get nice photos for blog posts year round. We get very limited light.

What is grocery shopping like?

In Hamburg?  In my case, we have a medium sized fridge, we make one biggish trip on Saturdays and a trip every other day to buy whatever meats we I will be cooking the next two days. I tend to buy the heavy stuff on Saturdays so my husband can help with carrying the groceries (another con to not having a car here) at the grocery store the clerk's scan the items so fast as you try to bag them (or just put them in the cart and bag it after paying)

In Brookings? We stock up every chance that we get! Especially in winter, driving around can be a giant pain so it is better to get as much food at once and stock my cabinets and freezer in case it is a while until I really want to venture through the negative fifty windchill to get more food.

Photography for Bloggers: Stock Photo Checklist

BloggingSabra GilbertComment

Stock photos are all the rage right now! It isn't that hard to go on Pintrest and find at least 5 different graphics that use some form of the same photo from a stock photo site. Free stock photo sites make it even easier for people to have the same photo for different blog posts. Honestly, I'm  not a fan. 

I would rather make my own stock photo pile, which I've talked about before in this post. You have photos to use in a pinch and they are completely unique from what other bloggers are using! I find that you can also easily brand the elements of your photo if you are the one buying the props and setting them up!

But I'm not here today talk about why you should make your own stock photography! I'm here to help give you a checklist of photos that you might like for various topics you can blog about! Many of these photos can be changed for different topics AND you get to make them all your own! 

Photography For Bloggers: Stock Photography Checklist with FREE PRINTABLE

For Business/Blogging Posts

  • Full Desk Shot
  • Top Desk Shot
  • Closed Laptop on White Surface
  •  Keyboard with Desk Supplies
  • Bookshelf
  • Pretty Plant on White Surface
  • Planner with Desk Supplies
  • Legal Pad with Desk Supplies
  • Flowers on Desk


For Novel Writing/Book Reviews

  • Coffee Mug on Table
  • Stack of Books
  • Piles of Notebooks & Pens
  • Candle Burning by a laptop

For Photography Posts

  • Examples of Your Work
  • Your Camera & Laptop
  • Of Someone Taking a Photo

For Cooking/Recipe Posts

  • Pots & Pans on the Stove
  • Close Up of a Pot
  • Cutting Board with Veggies
  • Set Dining Room Table

For Relationship Posts

  • Your Favorite Wedding Photos (with permission)
  • Couple Holding Hands
  • Wedding Bands
  • Flowers in a Vase

For Fitness Posts

  • Workout Gear
  • Yoga Gear
  • Someone doing Yoga
  • Some walking with Workout Duffle bag
  • Healthy Snack and Water bottle with Yoga mat
  • Stack of Workout DVD's

I would love to see what you do with this checklist! Leave your photos in the comments or tag @sabra.gilbert on Instagram!