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Three Tips to Improve Your SEO

Ya'll may not know this, but SEO is one of the most important things for your blog. It's one of the reasons a lot of bloggers switch to Wordpress, but it's important for Blogger too. I know very little about SEO so I enlisted the help of my Tips & Tricks contributor, Carly. I hope you all learn a thing or two today!

Hi guys! I'm Carly -- firefighter wife, 7th grade teacher turned stay at home mama and a full blown Dr. Pepper addict. I'll be sharing different topics that fit under the "TIPS & TRICKS" category, so if you have something that you'd like me to cover, email Danielle about it with the subject "ASK CARLY" I'd love to address any topics that you guys are specifically interested in or are wondering about.

3 Tips to Improve Your SEO Today!

Today, we're talking about SEO. If you don't already know, SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your blog or website to improve your visibility and natural search result position. SEO addresses this question -- When someone searches a topic or a question on the big world wide web, what is the probability that your blog post will come up in that search? If you're utilizing SEO correctly, you can guarantee that your post will come up in that search. More searches pulling up your blog/posts = more potential readers coming across your site.

First, you must know that having great content or an awesome blog design does not mean that you'll have great search ratings. Why? Because when Google (and all other search engines) reads a site, all it sees is coding. The coding of my blog looks like this...
3 Tips to Improve Your SEO Today!

Not so pretty is it? Now, if you're like me, you don't care much about what the Google bots see, you just want to know how you can optimize your SEO...and fast!

Luckily, today I am sharing three simple things you can do for your SEO right now. These things are super easy to do and don't take much time to complete. I've been implementing these three things since I began my SEO research and I have seen major improvement in my numbers and traffic. So, let's get to it!


Think of a keyword or a few keywords that your blog post is about. Try to keep it short and to the point. Try to use your selected keywords within the title of your post and within the first paragraph of the post. It also helps to think of something that might often be searched. 

To this day, one of my most visited posts is this post I wrote over a year ago about Gunner being transverse when I was pregnant. Why? Because many women search for information when they find out their baby is in the transverse position. I wrote that post way before I even knew what SEO stood for but it included a commonly searched term in the post title and within the first paragraph; thus, it still draws a lot of readers to my blog.

Chances are that most of your images from your camera are saved with a file name similar to 145.JPG, and this is okay if it's a picture you never plan to use on your blog; however, if you'll be uploading it to your blog save the picture with a much more descriptive image title. For example, if you're sharing a post that includes your favorite pasta recipe, title images something like "Bow Tie Pasta In Creamy Italian Sauce." 

This is especially important if you're hoping people will "pin" your images, because the images will automatically be titled with whatever you save them as. A lot of people are careless about captions when pinning, so providing a title for your image guarantees that an accurate description will show up when people are pinning.

Remember, search engines can't see images, so you need to describe the image for them. Just like the process of choosing a keyword, you want to keep them brief and to the point, yet still descriptive. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to use a few keywords in your Alt text too. If you're on Blogger, the process for adding Alt text is simple. I'm not sure how to go about adding Alt text on WordPress but I'm sure you could find it through an easy Google search.

Here's how to add it if you're on Blogger...

3 Tips to Improve Your SEO Today!

3 Tips to Improve Your SEO Today!

I often add the same description in my title text, but sometimes vary them. A lot of people discourage using the same words for title text and alt text, because they are different in some ways. If you're interested in learning more about their differences, you can read about that in this article.

So there you have it, three quick and easy things you can do to help optimize your SEO! There are many more things you can do and I'm still learning.


Turning Twenty

If you follow me on Instagram, then you're well aware that Saturday was my 20th birthday. I apologize for clogging up your feed with all those birthday photos. However, for those of you who don't follow me, I thought I'd share a few pieces from my weekend...

My weekend started off great with the two snow days we had on Thursday and Friday. Our apartment complex was covered in snow so naturally I stayed inside and kept warm with a cup of cocoa in my gold polka dot mug. My roommate and I made crepes for breakfast and spent both days watching old seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

We then went out for dinner at one of my favorite mexican restaurants and grabbed frozen yogurt afterwards. I then opened an amazing gift from her which included an OPI hand lotion I've been wanting, a gorgeous striped scarf from Target, and chocolate, of course!!

I'm sure you'll be seeing a photo with me in that scarf sooner or later. It's absolutely gorgeous and perfect for spring! {Speaking of anyone else addicted like I am?} Oh and don't even get me started on the adorable card she included. It looked like this...

The next day I headed home to spend time with my family. We ate dinner at a mongolian grill and finished up the night with some birthday cheesecake topped with cherry pie filling. One of my favorite desserts! Then I headed over to Q's house where his mom had prepared the most amazing scavenger hunt for me.

I followed 8 clues (some of which were quite difficult) which led me to find my birthday present...Grey's Anatomy season 7 on DVD. How appropriate, eh? We spent the rest of the night watching the Daniel Craig James Bond movies. I must admit, I might be hooked!

Overall, the weekend was absolutely perfect! It was filled with lots of good food, time with family and friends, and even a little shopping before heading back to school. Not to mention that any weekend I get to hang out with this handsome man is just amazing by itself.

He ordered most of my birthday (and anniversary) presents online which was so sweet but with the huge snow storm we got, they didn't get here in time! I'm sure you'll be seeing a few photos of those as soon as I get them. I got him a Datevitation book which he totally loved and I'm so glad he liked it!

How was your weekend?

I'm linking up with this gal.


How My New Design Came to Be

I was planning on writing a blog post yesterday and well...that didn't happen. My life has been pretty busy lately as my classes are finally picking up, I have homework daily, and two exams this week. Well now that's only one exam since our campus is closed today for a SNOW DAY. Yep, we're supposed to get between 10-14 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow. I couldn't be happier!

Anyways...last night I was feeling guilty about not posting and then I realized I shouldn't be. It's okay to have a life outside of blogging and trust me when I say being a full-time student isn't easy. Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want them to. And you know what? That's completely okay. This blog is mine. It's my space to share what I want, when I want.

After doing some thinking, I decided to create a Reader Survey. I want to know how my posts affect all of you. Although I write for me, you are the ones who come here and read what I have to say. I want to know...Which posts do you like the most? How often do you read my blog? What do you think of my new contributors? {You must leave your e-mail AND answer all 10 questions to be eligible for the random prize!}

Speaking of dear friend, blog-designer, and Printables contributor Melissa is here to share an amazing post with all of you. I think I'm bias when it comes to this post but I am SO thrilled with the custom design Melissa made me. If you're in need of a new blog design THIS is your girl!! I mean have you SEEN by new design? It's absolutely everything I wanted and fits me perfectly.

I'm Melissa and I blog over at Design Eat Repeat, where I post my latest kitchen success & failures, free printables, design tips, and obsession with peanut butter. (True life.) I'm a soon-to-be college grad (3. More. Months) and when I'm not in class, I run my blog design studio, Melissa Rose Design

I'm excited to be the printables contributor here at Framed Frosting and am excited to share my graphic design goodies with you every month! I recently had the opportunity to work with Danielle on her blog design/rebrand, and today I'm going to give you a little sneak peek at how I created it from start to finish!

Gorgeous blog design! via Framed Frosting
When Danielle first came to me, she had a lot of ideas on what she wanted it to look like. Whimsical, watercolor, polka dots, use of glittery gold, were a few things she had mentioned she liked. 

So I set off to find a way to bring all these different elements together into one unified design. Like most of my designs, I began sketching on paper. With design so much geared toward computers these days, it's important for me to take a step back and conceptualize before jumping into a design. Sketching can not only lead to other great ideas, but it can also be the first step to creating organic & natural typography and graphics. Many sheets of paper later, I had a few "winning" sketches that I wanted to work with. I scanned them into the computer, where I vectorized them, and worked with them from there.

Hand drawn floral accents
After laying down the "mood" of the design with the hand drawn elements, I then set off to incorporate watercolor into the design. I was unhappy with the watercolor images I was finding online, and knew that the only way to achieve the form, color, and quality I wanted was to produce it myself. So I whipped out my sophomore year watercolor set and began painting. I set off to achieve a shape that would fit well as a header and frame the top of the blog.

using a watercolor for a blog design
After producing the main graphic elements, the next step was to move to the computer. At this point, I sat down and figured out what types of fonts & colors would work well with the whimsical & organic feel I was trying to achieve. A mix of whimsical script & both clean cut serif and sans serif fonts turned out to be a great mix for a fun, young, and organic feel. Danielle had a certain color palette in mind, and after incorporating it throughout the design, everything came together! I loved working with Danielle to make her vision come to life and am so happy with how it turned out!

gorgeous design elements via Framed Frosting

And because I love making printables (hence, the printables contributor), I decided to create one for you all that matches the new Framed Frosting design! It's also one of my favorite little quotes :)

"Belive in the Power of Your Dreams" - FREE 8x10 Printable



Six Steps to Clean Up Your Life

Happy  Tuesday everyone! I am so happy to have Leigh Anne, my new Clean & Fit contributor, here today to share a few tips with all of you. Today she is sharing her SIX easy tips to clean up your life. Take it away girl!

Hi friends, I'm Leigh Anne and I blog at Hart to Heart. I'm so glad to be here as a contributor! Over a year ago I began my journey down the road of health and fitness when my husband deployed to Afghanistan for a 10 month tour of duty. I could go into my in-depth story of how I've been a dancer my whole life or how I have been blessed miracualsely with the metabolism of a baby, however we can save that for a later date (or you can read about it here)! Today I am here to tell you some simple steps that you can clean up your life.
  1. Cut the crap: no, seriously cut out the pop, the junk food, and the fast food! I have nothing good to say about pop even in moderation. The things that companies are putting into processed foods these days are horrific. So your best step is to " cut-it-out" (Full house anyone?). 
  2. Drink up: not the booze, but water! The best key to a healthy lifestyle is drinking plenty of water! My suggestion, invest in a cute water bottle that motivates you to drink plenty of that H2o every day! 
  3. Stop using the "D" word: Diet....ugh. Everyone has a diet-- it is what you eat on a daily basis. However it seems like everyone now days is on a "diet". Fad diets do not work, so stop throwing that word around like a baseball! 
  4. Step away from the scale: Scales are stressful things. My best piece of advice is take one week at a time, and only weigh yourself at the same time of day. Weight fluctuates from morning to evening, so pick a happy medium somewhere between noon and 2pm! 
  5. Find your soulmate workout: Although diet is 80%, exercise is a huge contributor to a healthy lifestyle. The best thing you can do for yourself is find a workout that you love and stick with it! If you need to get some cardio in, and hate running... then don't run! Try a Zumba class, or spinning! If you need to do some weight training and hate working out alone, then try Crossfit! 
  6. Stop waiting until 'Monday': Haven't we all done it? I'll start eating right next Monday.... or I'll workout next Monday and stick with it! Stop procrastinating and start now! 
Six Steps to Clean Up Your Life

Although very generalized, by following those 6 steps-- any 'newbie' to health and fitness can clean up their act! I am passionate about what I believe in and know that now is the time to take control of your body! Over the past 3 months I have been struggling with sickness, and new food allergies I am suddenly learning about. I know best that you are the only person who can take care of yourself, and you surly do not want to wait until it is too late! 


My New Keurig + Mug Swap

Disclosure: The Coffee Mix sent me some Keurig k-cups in exchange for mention in this post.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I purchased a Keurig brewer last weekend as an early birthday present to myself. I had been researching the different models and k-cup varieties for awhile before I decided to get serious about it. Everyone I talked to on ranted and raved about how much they loved theirs so when I came across this awesome deal at Sam's Club, I went for it.

Keurig Signature

Let me just tell you that I can't believe I waited this long to buy one. Yes, I really do love it that much and totally understand how a few of you called it "life changing". I've used my Keurig every morning this week and take my drink with me to campus. I also love that it has the auto-on feature so it warms up as I get ready in the morning and the auto-off is great in case I forget to turn it off on my rush out the door.

As for drinks, I'm totally loving how I can have a chai latte one morning and a caramel cappuccino the next. I purchased an 18 count "You Pick" k-cup variety pack from The Coffee Mix and am SO happy I did. {Check their FB page for deals and coupons!} As a newbie, I was so overwhelmed by all of the flavors and didn't know which one I would like and which ones I wouldn't. By building my own variety pack I was able to try a bunch of different varieties and find out the ones I really love.

Use code: FRAMEDFROSTING10 to save 10% on ANY purchase from The Coffee Mix!

Keurig Signature and my coffee station!
54 count K-Cup holder via Amazon

Speaking of cute mugs...last month I signed up for a #VDAYMUGSWAP hosted by Rags to Stitches and Sew Caroline. This was wayyyyy before I did my DIY polka dot coffee mug {seen above} but I've always wanted to do a mug swap. I love coffee and I love mugs, so why wouldn't I love a mug swap?

I was paired up with Melis from Mila Rose Designs and was so thrilled to make a new friend in the blogging community. Not to mention a gal who loves caramel and Reese's as much as I do. After stalking her blog for a few weeks, I finally set out to find her the perfect mug and include some edible goodies too. Be sure to pop over to her blog to see what I sent her!

As for what Melis sent me, she did such an amazing job! Wait a minute, Hot Tamales, Reese's, AND Blow Pops all in one made. She also picked up a gorgeous polka dot mug from Anthropologie that I haven't stopped using. Isn't it adorable? I am in love with the bright yellow color and I own absolutely nothing like it. She was also so sweet to include a headband from her handmade shop!


DIY Heart-Shaped Ribbon Tee

I'm great at giving gifts and am THAT girl who buys her Christmas gifts almost a year in advance. I know you already think I'm crazy but I just love having plenty of time to find that perfect gift for that special someone. I also love coming up with cute mushy-gushy love gifts that I can bust out at any given time, but for some reason Valentine's Day just really isn't my holiday.

You see, February is a busy month for Q and I as we celebrate my birthday and our anniversary...adding Valentine's Day to that mix is just too much for us. So instead of exchanging gifts, we agreed on going to see Safe Haven in the theaters and then grabbing ice cream afterwards. Oh, and you bet I'll be hitting up the stores Friday morning with my roommate to buy some vday chocolate at 70% off. It's kind of our tradition and one we make sure not to miss out on!

Although, I won't be sharing any creative Valentines ideas doesn't mean I'm going to leave you all hanging. Breanna from My Beautiful, Crazy Life is my new DIY contributor and today she's got an easy project to share with all of you. Go on now, gather up those supplies and make yourself a cute valentines t-shirt!

DIY Heart-Shaped Ribbon Tee

-Plain T-shirt (color of your choice)
-Ribbon (color of your choice)
Heart Stencil
-Measuring Tape

>> Step 1- First thing you'll want to do once you have a heart stencil (I just went online and found a heart to my liking and printed it) is cut it out and place it on your t-shirt in the desired location and begin tracing the heart by using dashed lines spread about 1 inch apart.

>> Step 2- Once you have finished tracing and getting your lines how you want them then you will use your scissors to snip tiny holes along the dashed line in the direction that your heart outline is going.

>> Step 3- Next get your ribbon, find what spot you want the two end ribbon pieces to meet (I chose the right side of my heart as depicted above), and begin weaving it starting from the top side of the shirt to the bottom (this will ensure that your first ribbon end is above the shirt) all the way around the heart until you have ran out of holes to weave through making sure that your end ribbon is above the shirt as well.

>> Step 4- If both ends of the ribbon are on top of the shirt then you can now tie yourself a pretty bow. Don't worry if you weren't able to use the last hole during the weaving process for it caused your ribbon to be inside of the shirt because you'll be hiding that hole with your bow :)

>> Step 5- Enjoy your easy Valentine's DIY Heart Tee.

DIY Heart-Shaped Ribbon Tee


Keep Calm and Light a Candle

There are a few things that calm and relax me when I'm stressed out. If you've read my About Me page, then you already know two of them...Grey's Anatomy and dark chocolate. There's also these amazing things called candles that glow and flicker when you light them. Oh yes, I love those a lot. What's a lot you ask? Well, how about you judge for yourself.

Personally, I think every girl should own at least four candles. One of each category: relaxing, tutti fruity, home-sweet-homey, and romantic floral. Betcha didn't know candles didn't have categories, eh? Look at that, you learned something! Some girls would stop at just those four candles, but I like variety. I have about three candles for EACH of those categories.

gorgeous candle collection

Now, I'll admit, I probably own wayyy more candles than I'll ever need but I love changing up the scents. Sometimes when I'm feeling crazy I'll even light two at a time and let the scents mix together. Speaking of "light", let's talk about how I like my candles. I'm a crazy girl who loves her MacBookPro, Hulu shows, and other high-tech things. But sometimes, I like to kick it old school. Like "we don't have electricity so we have to light our candles with matchbooks" kind of old school.

Yep, I'm THAT girl who uses matchboxes to light her candles. There's just something so cool about being able to strike a match and light your candle rather than using a lighter or candle warmer. Now, I don't use just any kind of matchbooks, I use these ones...

adorable matchbooks via Design Darling
Umm yeah...check out all of that cuteness. I may be lighting my candles the old fashioned way but I'm doing it with serious style. Palm trees, dragonflies, and bumble bees with color-coded match tips. I've never seen anything so adorable. If you're in the need of some new matchbooks, check out the entire collection here. After all, the shop is called Design Darling for a reason. Oh and if you're a big fan of Bath & Body Works 3-wick candles like I am, these are perfect and can light all three wicks without burning out!

Here are my favorite candles and scents...
1 // relaxing :: Bath & Body Works Moonlight Path
2 // tutti fruity :: Bath & Body Works Peach Bellini
3 // home-sweet-homey :: Nature Wick Tranquil Waters
4 // romantic floral :: Diamond Candles Orchid Meadow

What about you...are you a candle addict?
Do you prefer a lighter, candle warmer, or old-school matchbooks?


Lasagna Soup

This week has been cold and windy practically every day. I'm from Canada so you think I'd be used to the cold, but after living here for so long that kind of wears off. Now I'm just cold all the time and we've got the heat cranked up most nights. So what do you do when it's cold and you don't want to leave the house?

You eat a big heaping bowl of comfort least that's what I do. That food for me is usually a warm bowl of chocolate cake with ice cream on top, but we all know that's not a meal. As much as I wished cake and ice cream were their own food groups, I've been told they're not.

And that's where my girl Karly comes in...She'll be joining my team in the upcoming months as my Recipes contributor. Today she's sharing one of her favorite comfort foods, lasagna soup. If you have any leftovers, which I doubt you will, maybe send some my way?

Lasagna Soup

I am weird about soups. Very picky. It has to have the perfect taste and texture to win my vote, so when you see a soup recipe from me, you can trust that it's tried and true and absolutely delish!

What I love about this soup is how versatile it is. It's easy to substitute italian sausage for the ground beef, or change out the diced tomatoes for something a little more..."kid friendly" such as petite diced or crushed tomatoes. My eldest hates tomatoes, so the smaller I can make the pieces, the more she'll likely miss seeing them and eat without complaint. Bah ha ha.

Now, this recipe may look a little demanding when you see the ingredient list, but trust me, it comes together very quickly and easily. No need to be a pro chef to master this bowl of awesome!

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup

Printable Recipe

For the Soup:
2 tsp. olive oil
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
3 c. chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. fusilli pasta
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Cheese Mixture:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper

chopped fresh basil leaves
shredded mozzarella

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the ground beef and brown until cooked. Add the onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 6 minutes.

Next, add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and stir, cooking for about 1 minute. Then add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a rusty brown color.

Once the tomato paste is fully incorporated, add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock and bay leaves, stirring gently. Turn up the heat and bring the whole pot to a rolling boil for a good minute, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes.

Now, when it comes to the chicken stock, you can feel free to use bouillon cubes if that's what you have on hand. I personally use Better Than Bouillon, the refrigerated stuff. I love the taste and it doesn't seem watered down or chalky like some other brands, which is always a plus. If you plan on leaving the soup to simmer for longer than 30 minutes, add more stock to the pot, because it will slowly evaporate, and you need the extra liquid for the noodles. I tend to leave mine on the stove for a good few hours, so I generally add an extra 3 or so cups of stock. You can always just watch the liquid level and add more stock as needed.

After 30 minutes, or whenever you are ready, toss in the pasta and let it cook until al dente. You don't want to bring the pot back up to boiling, just stir in the noodles and let it sit. It'll take probably double the cook time on the box, so check on it now and again.

For a helpful tip, this is a fairly large batch of soup, so if you think you may have leftovers, I suggest cooking the pasta in a separate pot, that way you can just add the pasta to the bowls and ladle the soup on top of it. No mushy pasta leftovers!

During the downtime as the soup simmers, you can very quickly whip up the cheese mixture. Seriously, you don't want to miss out on the cheese. Toss the ricotta and parmesan together and sprinkle it with some salt and pepper and mix well. Just toss a heaping dollop in the bottom of each bowl before serving the soup, that way the noodles and soup will melt it to the most perfect gooey-ness.

Yes, that's right, I just said gooey-ness.

Once you've served up the soup, garnish with some freshly chopped basil and shredded mozzarella and you are ready to enjoy a soup you won't soon forget!

Lasagna Soup

I hope you all enjoy this soup as much as I do. Just typing all this makes me want to whip up a new batch, especially since it will be cool and rainy here in Phoenix this weekend. Let me know what you think if you try it! {For the simple, printable recipe, click HERE!}


WIWW: Red and White Stripes

striped cardigan + skinny jeans
striped cardigan + skinny jeans
neutral nails + starfish ring + striped cardigan
striped cardigan + skinny jeans
Cardigan: c/o Sammydress | T-shirt: Victoria's Secret | Jeans: XXI 
Pearl Earrings: Target | Starfish ring c/o Chicnova | Boots: Target

I don't know about all of you but I am sick of it being so cold and windy around here. Lucky for me, the past few days have been pretty nice out. It's still a little windy, but the sun is shining and the temperatures are slowly heating up. Who knows, maybe hot, summer weather will be here sooner than we know it! Yes, I just started a blog post by talking about the weather. That was awkward.

Anyways...with all this crazy weather, I've really found cardigans to be the perfect piece of clothing! I've always had a thing for them but lately my obsession has grown to a whole new level. I've discovered patterned caridgans. Whether it be stripes, floral, polka dots...I love them all! I'm still on the lookout for an amazing aztec/tribal caridgan though. Haven't found that gem quite yet.

This red + white striped cardigan from Sammydress was only $7 {totally not kidding} and it fits and looks amazing! Secondly, let's just talk about these stripes for a minute. I love how the pattern is bright and bold without making too much of a statement. Needless to say, I'll be buying a few more patterned cardigans in the future. Maybe if I'm brave enough, I'll mix a patterned cardigan with my new polka dots jeans from Target. {Wait, is that even legal?}


Then There Were Six...

Well, hey there! What do you think of the new look? My blog had a huge makeover this weekend thanks to the amazing and oh-so-talented Melissa Rose Design. I told her I wanted a look that was sophisticated, brightly colored, and something with a few floral accents. First of all, she knocked the floral accents out of the park and they're all hand-drawn. Umm...pretty amazing, right? I am still blown away with what she designed for me and am SO thrilled with the way everything turned out. I really adore my new social media buttons up above and the new, clean layout.

So please, take a look around and see what's new! {Hello outfits} While you're at it, be sure to check out the five amazing ladies that you'll be seeing around here very soon. Each of the gals below will be posting once a month as my contributors to offer up some amazing content for all of you. Everything from fitness and clean eating to DIY and crafts. These ladies have it all!

Please, please, please get to know these ladies. Welcome them to the Framed Frosting team and be sure to check out each of their blogs! Also, if you have a topic you'd like Carly to do a "Tips & Tricks" post on, please e-mail me with ASK CARLY in the subject line.

Oh, and be sure to check out their favorite Starbucks drinks at the very bottom...

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