My Favorite Things: May

My Favorite Things: MayYou guys. This is serious. I forgot to say “rabbit rabbit” when I woke up yesterday morning. If you grew up in the 90’s watching Nickelodeon you know exactly what a travesty this is. My June is doomed!! (Does anyone else still stress the eff out about saying “rabbit rabbit” the first of each month?)

Luckily I did remember to say it on May 1st and, as one would expect based on the scientific nature of the “rabbit rabbit” phenomenon, it was a wonderful month.

Favorite Products & Services

Got Almond Milk? Tank from House of Lily Rose

I actually was served this tank as an ad while scrolling through Instagram and I’ve gotta give kudos to their target marketing because I bought it instantly like the good little sheep consumer I am. 😉 No regrets!

Botanics Organic Facial Oil

My Favorite Things: May - Botanics rosehip face oilI love facial oils—I use them instead of a traditional moisturizer most days. My go-to is a rosehip seed oil (I like this one from Radha) so I was excited when Botanics gifted me their facial oil blend with rosehip among other essential oils. I love it!

Peapod Grocery Delivery

Check out a simple berry smoothie bowl recipe and get Peapod discount codes for your first grocery delivery or pick-up order!I did a sponsored post with Peapod earlier this month, but want to mention them again (not sponsored!) because getting my groceries delivered has been a game changer this month. We were out of town almost every weekend in May so I’d schedule a delivery upon our arrival to help me maintain some normalcy with meals. When summer rolls around I tend to get lazy with grocery shopping and cooking my own meals because I’m out of town so frequently—anyone else struggle with this??

TIEM Spin Shoes

My Favorite Things: May - TIEM spin shoesI had seen these a bunch around social media and decided to buy myself a pair—I’m obsessed. The look is so sleek and functionally they’re great. It’s so convenient being able to wear my spin shoes right out the door to walk home.

Favorite Eats

5-Minute Magic Green Sauce from Pinch of Yum

Avocado Green Sauce from Pinch of Yum

It doesn’t always happen, but I try to make a recipe from another blog I follow once a week. It’s a fun way to switch things up, plus I like supporting other bloggers (not that Pinch of Yum needs support from lil’ old me lollol). Anyway, this versatile green sauce made with avocado is delicious. I used it as a dressing on salads and Buddha bowls, with scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast and as a snack dip.

Mint Chip NadaMoo Dairy-Free Ice Cream

My Favorite Things: May - Nada Moo Mint Chip Ice Cream

I’ve tried a few dairy-free ice creams recently, but Nada Moo’s mint chip is currently my #1.

Chipotle Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

These flavor-packed chipotle roasted cauliflower tacos are absolutely delicious!

Simple, delicious plant-based tacos with a flavorful chipotle sauce. One of my favorite recipes from this month/year!

Favorite Things I Read & Listened To

[BOOK] Fortify Your Life by Tieraona Low Dog

This book is all about vitamins and minerals and what to consider when taking supplements. If you’re a fellow health nerd, it’s a great read! I made a video with MegaFood for my YouTube channel sharing five (of the many) tidbits I took away from the book:

[PODCAST] Crimetown

I mentioned Crimetown in a previous edition of Favorite Things, but season 1 wrapped up this month and its worth mentioning again. If you haven’t listened to it, it covers the history of corruption in Providence, RI and it’s SO GOOD. I can’t wait to see which city they tackle in season 2!

Favorite Moments

Life Time Fitness Blogger Trip

My Favorite Things: May - yoga at Life Time Fitness My Favorite Things: May - Class at Life Time FitnessLife Time Fitness treated me and a group of local health bloggers/Instagrammers to a day at their Westwood location. I was blown away at how massive the club is! Group fitness rooms, spa, outdoor pool, indoor pool, massive equipment floor, childcare center, cafeteria with an amazing healthy menu—the place needs its own zipcode! We did a 30-minute strength class followed by some yoga (I was so sore the next day!), enjoyed a facial at the spa and were treated to a delicious lunch. If I lived in the ‘burbs and had kids I would join Life Time in a heartbeat.

Long Weekend on Nantucket

My Favorite Things: May -- riding bikes on Nantucket My Favorite Things: May - Nantucket HarborWe rented a house with friends on Nantucket for Wine Festival weekend and while we didn’t go to a single Wine Fest event, it was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had there in years. We just hung out with friends with no agenda, ate good food and rode bikes around. We also ended up at the Chicken Box Thursday, Friday AND Saturday night so you know it was a successful weekend (either that or we’re just degenerates—maybe a little of both haha).

Because it was the weekend before Memorial Day/Figawi, the island was still on the cusp of being in its off season. So while the downtown and brewery were lively with the Wine Fest visitors, it wasn’t packed with lines down the street to get into bars. It was the perfect balance!

Hitting 200,000 Followers on Bloglovin’

Say whaaaaat?! Thank you so much to everyone who follows this blog and any of my social platforms. You make what I do possible!

Memorial Day Weekend on the Vineyard

My Favorite Things: May - Cedar Tree Neck, MV My Favorite Things: May - Cedar Tree NeckMost of the time when I bring Joe home to the Vineyard, we’re with a big group of people and tend to stick to the more tourist-y activities to keep things easy. With just the two of us down this time, I got to bring him to some of the beautiful spots off the beaten path (aka deep in the woods and down long dirt roads). It was so good to be home and see my high school friends and their families!

Another plus to being home is that my parents get Showtime so Joe and I could binge watch the latest season of Shameless (best show ever). 😉

Favorite Sales

  • 25% off Exhale class packs purchased in the month of June with code packsale. The Battery Wharf location in Boston does outdoor yoga classes from June to October which I LOVE so I’m going to stock up on discounted classes!
  • Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale (up to 40% off)—I’m thinking ripped boyfriend jeans paired with slides and a casual crop tee. Also my dream over-the-knee boot, the Stewart Weitzman Highland, is 30% off. I’ve wanted a pair for YEARS but just can’t bring myself to pull the trigger.
  • These Seychelles ankle boots I’ve been eyeing are on sale. More of a fall/winter shoe but could totally be worn this summer with ripped jean shorts and a cute top or a fun romper for a night out.
  • Love this metallic track jacket from Scotch & Soda and it’s currently 30% off.

What made your highlight reel in May?

My monthly favorites posts are never sponsored, however they typically contain a few affiliate links. I get sent a lot of free products, and the first section of this post might highlight a couple of my favorites. I’m never required to or being paid to feature these freebies and only share the ones I truly love and think my readers will enjoy as well.

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers & Small Business Owners

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers | Pumps & Iron @nicoleperrPinterest can be a powerful—and I mean POWERFUL—tool for growing a blog or online business. It’s actually my number one driver of traffic to P&I, even before Google search. Crazy! Its power will of course depend on what type of blog or business you have, but if visuals are a key component (that could mean professional photography, graphic collages, product photos, pictorials, etc.) then this blog post is definitely worth a read. These are all the Pinterest tips for bloggers and small business owners I can think of, but feel free to leave a comment with any questions remaining!

Create Pin-Worthy Images

Long images (portrait orientation) perform best.

Because width is limited in Pinterest’s gallery layout, landscape orientation images will appear very small. Long images, on the other hand, will take up more of their column and catch the eye of those scrolling through.

A lot of agencies will say 2:3 is the preferred ratio for image size on Pinterest, but in my experience, I’d say it’s more like at least 2:3. Longer images still perform really well, but don’t go any shorter than that 2:3 ratio. One thing to consider if you’re going longer than 2:3 is the placement of text, if any. Beyond a certain length, users have to click to expand to see the rest of the pin so keep in mind the bottom may be hidden from initial view.

Add (aesthetically pleasing) text to images so that the topic is clear.

image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

It might seem redundant because you’re (hopefully) filling in a descriptive caption to the pin that explains what it is, but when it comes to the internet, everyone is skimming. Pinterest only shows the first line or so of image captions, and when scrolling through, not everyone is going to do that extra click to expand the description.

I don’t think adding text is necessary in all cases—depends on the content of the blog post. If, for example, you pin a gorgeous image or image collage of blueberry pancakes, users can easily assume that if they click that pin, they’re going to a blueberry pancake recipe. Same goes if you’re pinning product images for an online retail store. If it’s an image of a tank top, users can assume they’re going to be taken to a site where they can buy that tank top.

But if you’re trying to get exposure for a blog post that isn’t so easily visually represented, text is key. Using the image above as an example, the food pins don’t need the text to convey the content (although I’d argue it adds to the visual quality of the overall pin). If, however, “Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee” and “7 Ways to Take Viral Food Photos” weren’t written on the other two images, you’d have no idea what was waiting for you on the other side of that pin click unless you read the pin description.

Combine multiple images with text to show details or the “how to”.

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - combine multiple images and text to create how-to pictorials

image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

If the content of your blog post/webpage involves any sort of step-by-step instruction, DIY or how-to, I find images perform really well when you combine the previous two points I discussed: long image(s) + text. Visually showing a recipe in progress and then finished, a DIY project step-by-step, or all the exercises in a workout gives users a full picture of what to expect at just one glance. Because they clearly paint a picture of what to expect on the other side of that pin click, they’re also really “shareable”. My workout pictorials and long recipe collages get far more repins than a single picture.

To make pictorials, I use Adobe Photoshop (affiliate link). There are other apps out there but I’ve been using Adobe products since high school so I stick with what I know (and what I think, in my biased opinion, is best). 😉 A little tip about picking the font color if you’re going to add text to your graphic: match it to the images. For workout tutorials, I’ll use the eyedropper tool in Photoshop to lift the color from an article of clothing I’m wearing in the pictures and then use that as my font color.

Optimize Your Site for Pinning

The cool thing about Pinterest is that you don’t need to necessarily have a huge following on your Pinterest account to reap the benefits of it. Because other people pinning your content can be just as powerful as you doing so, you can start to see big increases of traffic to your blog or site from Pinterest even if you only have a small following on the platform. To see this happen, you need to make it as easy as possible for visitors to your blog/website to pin your content.

Add a Pin It button to appear when you hover over images.

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers — how to add a Pin It button when users hover over images on your blogYou want to make it as easy as possible for people to pin images from your site. While some users may have a Pin It tool installed in their browser’s toolbar for easy pinning as they browse the web, certainly not everyone will. By installing a plugin, a Pin It button will appear when readers hover over an image on your site. All they have to do is click it to open a small window that allows them to pick a board on which to pin the image.

I use the jQuery Pin It Button for Images plugin (I have a WordPress site). It’s easy to set up and I like that it allows you to customize the Pin It button. Right now I’m just using the default look, but you can create your own button image to match the theme and style of your blog layout.

Activate rich pins.

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - activate rich pinsThis is especially important if you have a Shopify site (but good for bloggers to do as well!). If rich pins are activated, it means that Pinterest will use the available metadata to populate the pin description and give it a bolded title (shown above). If you’re pinning images of products for sale on your Shopify site, it’ll display the price as well.

Instructions for activating rich pins can be found here.

Add alt text to your images.

This is good practice for your blog’s SEO so even if you have no interest in Pinterest, you should be doing this! I’m not sure what the workflow is like with Squarespace, but in WordPress, when you upload an image to a blog post, you’ll see this:

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - add Alt Text to your images

You want to make it as easy as possible for people to pin images from your site. Filling in an engaging Alt Text that uses keywords relevant to the blog post/web page (think of it as your elevator pitch) will help. It depends on what you’re using to pin an image (Pinterest hovering button, bookmarklet, third party app), but typically when you go to pin an image, the pin description will autofill with whatever Alt Text has been specified.

If the Alt Text is blank, typically the pin will autofill with the Title instead, but not always. Sometimes it autofills with the file name (deck-cards-workout-dumbell-exercises-23.jpg), which is no bueno. If that’s the case, pinners have to go in and edit the description. Yes, it’s only one more little step, but you’d be surprised how many people that will deter.

Pin Strategically to Increase Traffic and Grow Your Pinterest Following

Ok this section is going to sound like an ad for Tailwind but it’s in no way sponsored by them—I just seriously love the tool and would recommend it to all bloggers. Not only does it streamline the content pinning process, but I attribute much of my follower growth on Pinterest to using the platform. In the year since I’ve been using Tailwind, I’ve gone from about 15k followers to 50k followers on Pinterest, a MUCH bigger jump than I’ve seen in years past.

This referral link will give you a $30 Tailwind account credit if used today (after May 31st it’s a $15 credit).

All the tips I’m about to cover on pinning strategically are either automated or made much easier by using Tailwind. I was asked for time-saving Pinterest tips and it pretty much all comes down to this tool!

Pin quality content from both your site and other sites.

You of course what to pin content from your site, but to truly grow your Pinterest following, you need to pin quality content from other sites as well. Think about it: If the only content you pin is from your blog, then there’s not much of a need to follow your blog and Pinterest account—they’re the same thing! As your Pinterest following grows, you’ll get more exposure for your content when you do pin from your site. So this is a great place to start if you’re new to blogging and don’t have a ton of your own content to pin. Focus on growing an engaged Pinterest following for when you do.

My work flow for keeping a constant stream of pins is as follows: Each morning I open up Bloglovin’ and scroll through all the new posts from my favorite blogs. I open the posts that catch my eye and use Tailwind to pin images. Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - Tailwind for scheduling pins ($15 discount)

After you select a board (or multiple boards) on which to pin it, Tailwind will generate some similar pin suggestions from its other users. I. Love. This. Feature. If anything catches my eye, I’ll pin that as well. Not only does the suggested pins feature make it easier to keep my queue of pins topped off, but it gains more exposure for MY blog. If other Tailwind users pin something related to the content I post, Tailwind will be serving up images from Pumps & Iron in their suggested pins. Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - Tailwind for scheduling pins ($15 discount)

In addition to pinning from the blogs I follow, I’ll also go to Pinterest occasionally (a couple times a month) and load up a bunch of repins into my Tailwind queue. When you’re on Pinterest, you’ll notice a Tailwind button when you hover over images so that you can easily schedule with their tool rather than immediately pinning directly to a board.

Pin regularly, at the right times.

Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - Tailwind for scheduling pins ($15 discount)In general, Pinterest users are more active in the evening after work, so that’s when you want your pins to go live. Tailwind will create an optimized pinning schedule so you don’t have to think about this. You pick how many pins you want to go live each day, and they’ll calculate the ideal times to publish them. When you go to your Tailwind dashboard, you can see the queue and easily drag and drop pins to different days and times as needed.

Pin the same content to multiple boards—but not all at once.

Increase the lifespan of your content by pinning an image multiple times to different boards. Tailwind makes this easy. You select all the boards to which you want to pin the image and then click “Use Interval.” This will allow you to choose how much time you want in between each pinning of the image. I usually go with three weeks to a month in between each pin. Pinterest Tips for Bloggers - Tailwind for scheduling pins ($15 discount)

I should note that I only do this with pins from Pumps & Iron—I don’t repeat post other people’s content.

Speaking of multiple boards, another great way to increase exposure of your content is to join group boards with other bloggers, influencers and business owners in your content area. I admittedly don’t do this as much as I should, but it gives anything you pin to that board exposure to all the other group members’ followers as well.

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Phew. That was a lot of info! If you have any questions or your own Pinterest tips to add, do so in the comments. And if you don’t already, follow me on Pinterest. 🙂

Simple Berry Smoothie Bowl & Grocery Delivery with Peapod

This post was sponsored by Peapod and links are affiliate. All opinions—as always—are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible!

It’s not uncommon for me to go to the grocery store almost every single day in a week. Living carless in the city, I can only carry so much at at time on foot back to my apartment. And if I’m making recipes for the blog that week, forget about it. Sometimes I make multiple trips to the grocery store in a single day. So remind me again why I haven’t been using Peapod for years?!

Peapod is an online grocery store via Stop & Shop. Just like browsing your favorite online clothing retailer, you can browse the site by category (aisle) or use their search bar to find specific items. One feature I love is that Peapod remembers your orders so that you can browse past purchases and easily add those favorite items to your cart the next time you shop. And they have a whole section dedicated to organic. *jazz hands emoji*

Once you’ve added everything on your grocery list to your cart you can choose a pick-up time or, my option of choice, a delivery date and time. Delivery is available as soon as next-day and then you can pick a two-hour window during which to have your groceries arrive. It’s so convenient! And new Peapod customers get free delivery and pick-up for the first 60 days with code 60DAYSFREE (enter into promotional code box at checkout). You better believe I’m taking advantage of that! 😉

The first thing I made in the kitchen from my Peapod delivery was a simple smoothie bowl with some not-so-simple toppings. Guys. I chopped up a peanut butter cookie Larabar to top my smoothie bowl and now life will never be the same.

Simple Berry Smoothie Bowl

Simple Berry Smoothie Bowl

Yield: 1 bowl

Simple Berry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond milk (additional 1/3 cup if needed to achieve desired consistency)
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • You pick the toppings:
  • 1 peanut butter cookie Larabar, chopped
  • Small handful granola
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a blender and combine until smooth.
  2. Add desired toppings.
http://pumpsandiron.com/2017/05/15/berry-smoothie-bowl-peapod-discounts/

Peapod Discounts for Your First Delivery

I already mentioned the 60 days free delivery and pick-up (60DAYSFREE promo code entered at checkout) but wait wait I’ve got MORE savings for you! Get $15 off your first order with THIS LINK (or any of the links to Peapod used throughout this post). When you head to the Peapod site, they’ll have you enter your zip code to make sure the service is available in your area (Boston friends, you’re good to go!). 

To answer my shirt‘s question: I do now. 😉