Author Archives: Genevieve

A Holiday Gift Guide for the College Student on a Budget

Now I know it is only November…but it’s never too early to get a head start on that holiday shopping list! I know we all have those people in our lives that are just way too hard to shop for, so I have compiled a fool-proof list of holiday gifts that are sure to make your loved ones smile and won’t break your bank!

For the foodie:

Homemade cookies/treats

Image result for christmas cookies
From: Home $: Priceless 🙂

For the sentimental:

A framed photo

IKEA KAXHOLMEN Frame
From: Ikea $: 3.99

A Christmas ornament

Letter S Monogram Girls Name Christmas Ornament First Last Name S" Initial Holiday Present to Daughter Mom Lady Teacher Coworker Neighbor 3 inches Flat Ceramic Keepsake
From: Amazon $: 12.99

For the self-care junkie:

Bath Products

From: Lush $: 18.95

Scented Candles

 Winter 3-Wick Candle - Bath And Body Works

From: Bath and Body Works $: 24.50

Fun Face Masks

zoomed image

From: Walmart $: 3.77 each

For the Type A:

A journal/notebook

zoomed image

From: Walmart $: 6.99

A Calendar/Planner

2020 12-MONTH PLANNER GREENERY

From: Chapters $: 29.99

For the “gamer“:

A cool board game

CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY 2.0 (ADULT CONTENT)

From: Chapters $: 35.00

For the sustainer:

Reusable coffee cups/straws/tote bags

From: Amazon $: 19.99

I hope some of these suggestions help you out with your holiday shopping this year. If you have any other options for inexpensive holiday gifts that you would like to share, then please let me know 🙂

*The photos used in this post are not my own

A Playlist for the Commuter Student

This week I thought I would try something different.

I have created a playlist that of some songs I’ve been listening to on my commute to school and wanted to share. Just like my taste in music, this playlist is a little all over the place, but I think that’s what keeps things interesting.

I’ve always loved indie music that you don’t hear everywhere, so I hope that I can introduce you to some new songs and artists that you will like as well 🙂

While you can listen to this playlist anywhere you go, I have found these songs to be especially impactful when I’m on the road.

And I have to admit that this playlist is a little melancholic, but play it when you’re on your way to that early morning lecture, looking out the window of the bus as if you’re in one of those teen movies. Trust me.

If you have any song recommendations, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Week 12: Process Post

This week, I have been tasked with creating the community guidelines for this blog. Below are the new community guidelines that I have come up with.

Creation

I figured that these guidelines would work best for my blog. My number one rule is that people are respectful of one another while on my site. Not only do I not tolerate hate in my daily life, but I also do not want to be responsible for facilitating hateful discussions on my blog. I also want to make sure that comments that are posted on my site are actually relevant to the content and are free from any spam or advertisements. I also want to make it clear that I do not have an issue with my content being shared on other platforms; however, this could become an issue if I am not being recognized and credited for my work, which is indicated in rule #3. This space is also meant to be inclusive and rated G, so I do not encourage inappropriate language to be posted on my site.

Implementation

I have decided to locate these guidelines under the “About” tab on my site. I figured that this would be a visible enough place for readers to access the guidelines without overwhelming them by having them thrown at them as soon as they get to the homepage.

I am hoping that with the integration of these community guidelines to my site that I can encourage readers to share insightful comments and engage in pleasant discussions while in this space.

Knowing Your Resources at School

One of the most beneficial things that you can do for yourself as a student is get to know the resources that are available to you at your school. There are likely many more than you thought and many that you will want to use.

Clubs

I’m not sure what it is like at every school, but most schools have an extensive list of clubs that are available for students to join. In the case that you don’t find a club that you like, start your own club and meet new people that have similar interests to you! Being involved on campus is also impressive to future employers.

Volunteer Opportunities

Many schools are connected with outside organizations that are looking for students to volunteer for them. Eliminate the tedious task of googling volunteer opportunities online, and check out what is available for you from your school. Of course, volunteer opportunities are great for building up your resume.

Career-Building Opportunities

Speaking of resume-building opportunities, many schools offer career fairs and events in which organizations will send a representative to a booth at your campus to inform students about possible career opportunities. This is a great way for you to figure out what is available in your field, ask questions, and make important connections with future employers.

Health Resources

Check out what health resources your school offers its students. There are many different resources that can be offered including mental health counselling, doctor services, dental services, women’s centres that offer sanitary products, counselling for sexual assault survivors, and safe sex information.

Sports/School Spirit

Of course, there are often many options for athletes in university. Whether you are trying out for a team or interested in joining in on some fun intramurals, there should be an option for you. If you’re not much of a sporty person (like me), get some friends together and attend a sporting event to show your school spirit!

Social Media

Get connected with your school on social media. A lot of schools keep up with their social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to announce upcoming events or opportunities at the school. This is also a great way for you to engage online with some fellow classmates and potentially meet new friends.

If you have anything else to add to this list, let me know in the comments!

Week 11: Process Post

This week was dedicated to discussing transmedia integration and how we can incorporate it into the online presence.

I have already created an Instagram account for my website that I have been updating every so often. Below is a screenshot of the way I have set up my site. I have not yet worked at gaining more followers for my account as I wanted to wait until I had more content on my website in order to promote it further.

Instagram is the only other channel that I have been focusing on specifically for my website 1) because I am most comfortable using Instagram for promotion and personal reasons, and 2) because I feel like it is the most relevant channel to market to my audience. Being a personal kind of blogger, I have often seen other personal bloggers running an Instagram account alongside their blog content. I believe it has something to do with the visual part of IG that draws in followers. Below are some examples of IG posts that I have made. I try to shuffle between posts that update readers about my blog content & try to direct them back to my blog or engagement posts that try to encourage user comments & interactions.

Example of a content post
Example of an engagement post

On top of the Instagram that I have created for my website, I have attached my personal social media accounts onto my website (FB, Twitter, and LinkedIn). These are accounts that I use in my personal life and not necessarily just for my blog content. These social media accounts are presented to my blog readers as social media icons at the top bar of my website above my site logo.

A more recent addition to my blog is a widget that I found called, Instagram Widget by WPZOOM. This widget allows me to display my Instagram feed on the homepage of my blog, along with a “Follow” button that users can easily click to follow my account.

Overall, I think that I will keep up with the Instagram account for my blog, but I don’t think there are any other channels that I will be exploring right now. A Pinterest account may be a possible addition in the future, but I am not sure how many university students are still using Pinterest.

Essay 2

The Creation of an Online Presence

Throughout this semester, I have worked at creating a distinct and coherent online presence. My online presence that has developed through the creation of my blog is quite personal. My publications are written from my own point of view about my own experiences and tips for university students. However, it has still proven to be difficult curating an online presence that is believable and marketable. Channeling aspects of my personality and turning it into an online space, took a fair bit of time and effort. Through various design changes, thinking about my intended audience, and marketing my content to satisfy readers, my online self has come a long way and will continue to grow every time I post.

In order to create an audience for my blog, I needed to think about who they are and what they would like to see from me. My intended audience was clear to me from the beginning. It was young people, particularly women, who are in university and can learn and engage with the tips and experiences that I am writing about.

Also, I knew that when I started my blog, I wanted it to be personal enough that readers get a good understanding of who I am. As explained by McQuarrie, Miller, and Phillips in The Megaphone Effect: Taste ad Audience in Fashion Blogging, “early in the blog, [bloggers]…[should] adopt a community orientation toward those who browse the blog” by opening their blog up “to receive comments and answer questions and suggestions” (2013, page 146). I decided to allow comments on my blog for this reason. It is not meant to be a podium where I am talking down to others. It is an open playing field where I want readers to also post comments to engage with the content I am posting. My audience is meant to consist of university students, so as Liz Spayd discusses in her article “Want to Attract More Readers? Try Listening to Them,” “younger readers…want to feel a sense of being close to the action,” meaning that allowing for readers to comment on the content will allow for young readers to be much more engaged (2016). Spayd states that “this is arguably the most elemental way…[to] let [the] audience engage,” so I will certainly be keeping the comment section open on my blog and encouraging engagement from my readers (2016).

My blog started out quite simple and monochromatic. There was very little colour and vibrancy to the blog, which I later decided was working against me. Mid-semester I decided to completely revamp the theme of my blog to one that was more customizable. Settling on the theme was not easy, but after awhile of playing around with the customizations, I decided I was much happier with it. I needed something bright and feminine, something that would draw the attention of young women and make them believe the content that they were reading. I chose the primary colour (for my tagline, buttons, links etc) to be hot pink for just this reason. It makes the blog more fun and light-hearted, matching the theme of the content that I am publishing.

The value that my blog provides users with is through my tips and stories about what I have learned during my time as a university student. Jesse Thorn expresses in his article “Make Your Thing” that “rather than defining yourself by the medium you create, define yourself by what you offer to your audience” (2012). I have created an online space in which readers can come to my site to find a young woman writing about being in a similar situation as them, and engage with the content as if they are talking with a best friend or sister.

My thoughts about publication have changed throughout this semester as I have continued to learn about the ways in which publishers struggle to catch and retain the attention of readers. I found it very interesting to learn about all the resources, like Google Analytics, that afford publishers the ability to know all about their readers and curate content that will best satisfy their audience. Thinking about what my audience wants is how I chose to make many design and content changes that has lead to the way my blog looks and reads today.

Beyond this course, I plan to continue my blog. Jesse Thorn argues that “the difference between the successful [blogs] and the unsuccessful ones is that the successful ones do it, then do it again and again, ” meaning that continuing to blog and post more content is the only way to reach success (2012). I think; however, my content will likely shift from solely focusing on university content to being more of a personal blog about several interests in my life. I have recently included a “Portfolio” section of my website, which I am treating almost like a virtual resume in hopes that I can show my blog to future employers in the industry. Posting more personal content is not necessarily to draw a larger audience, but I have come to enjoy the space that I have created for myself online and find it almost therapeutic to put my thoughts into published words.

References

Spayd, L., (2016, July 9) Want to attract more readers? Try listening to them. New York Times. Retrieved on November 6, 2019 from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/public-editor/liz-spayd-new-york-times-public-editor.html

McQuarrie, E. F., Miller, J., & Phillips, B. J. (2013). The Megaphone Effect: Taste ad Audience in Fashion Blogging. Journal of Consumer Research40(1), 136–158. https://doi-org.proxy.lib.sfu.ca/10.1086/669042

Thorn, J., (2012, November 11) Make your thing: 12 point program for absolutely, positively 1000% no-fail guaranteed. Transom. Retrieved on November 6, 2019 from https://transom.org/2012/jesse-thorn-make-your-thing/

A Simple (& Affordable) Makeup Routine for University

This week I’ve decided to let you all in my makeup routine that I do for school. Now, this is not to say that you need to wear makeup or that I wear makeup to class everyday, but when I decide that I want to put a little extra effort into my appearance, this is my go-to look.

Step 1: Moisturizer

Always start with a good moisturizer. I have dry skin, especially this time of year, so it is absolutely essential that I apply a good coat of moisturizer before the rest of my makeup.

Find at Sephora

Step 2: Foundation/tinted moisturizer

Depending on how my skin is looking, I like to apply a foundation or a tinted moisturizer next to give me some coverage.

Find at Revlon.com

Step 3: Powder

Always set your look with powder, so it lasts all day! I’ve made the mistake of skipping this step and having my makeup rub off about 30 minutes after I applied it. Don’t forget this!

Find at Walmart

Step 4: Bronzer/Blush

Then, I like to put on a little bronzer or blush to my cheeks, or sometimes both! I find that it makes me look more alive and awake. Tip: apply some bronzer in the creases of your eyes to act as eye shadow – it makes for one less product needed in your routine and looks great!

Find at Ulta

Step 5: Eyebrows

If you weren’t blessed with naturally full eyebrows like me, then next step is to fill them in. Your eyebrows can really change the appearance of your face, so try playing around with a few different shapes/styles until you find what you like.

Find at Sephora

Step 6: Mascara

Probably my favourite step in my makeup routine is mascara. I think it brings the whole look together. All of my favourite mascaras that I have tried are also from the drugstore, which is great for saving you some extra cash!

Find at Maybelline

Step 7: Highlight

A fun way to finish up your look is by applying some highlight. I like to put some on the tip of my nose, cheekbones, and under my eyebrows. It makes even my dry skin look glowy, and I love the look.

Find at Milani

Step 8: Chapstick

End off with your favourite chapstick, and you’re out the door!

Find at Walmart

If you have any makeup tips or questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Peer Review #3

This week, I will be reviewing Carol’s blog, Nihon Shoku. Another food blog that I am excited to explore!

Content

Looking at Carol’s content, I was overall really pleased and excited by it. She does a great job at being informative but keeping the content interesting. She includes nice, appealing photos to each of her blog posts which really caught my attention. The photos that she includes, especially from the restaurants that she visits, could act as great marketing material for the mentioned restaurants.

I would suggest that she consider maybe including some point-form versions of what she is trying to say (either at the beginning or the end of each blog post) or maybe she could bold some of the key words in her posts. I think that the while the paragraphs that she includes in her posts are informative and interesting, it may make it easier for impatient readers to understand what she is trying to say by pointing out the key topics. It may be nice to conclude her posts about the different restaurants with a rating system so that readers can understand her overall opinion of each place without needing to read the entire post.

I would also recommend that she try linking the restaurants’ websites or social media pages to the blog posts that she writes about them. It may make it more reader-friendly for people who decide they would like to actually visit the restaurant.

Design

Overall, the design theme that Carol has chosen is easy to navigate and coherent. The simplistic design looks nice and clean when you first navigate to the site. I particularly like the logo that she has created for her site because it is quite cute and definitely depicts what the blog is all about.

I would suggest that she also add something else to the home page that will make the reader think more about Japanese food. Right now it is simplistic, which is nice and easy for navigation purposes, but she could maybe add a header image or some interesting widgets. Perhaps, it may be a good idea to change up the header navigation menu to separate “Restaurants” and “Food Intro” out from the “Blog” category. For her particular site, I don’t really think it is necessary to have a “Blog” page because all her posts exist on the homepage anyway. It may also fit better with her theme for the first thing users read in the header to be “Restaurants” and “Food Intros” instead of only “Blog” and “Posiel”.

Marketability

Overall, I really like Carol’s blog concept. It is super interesting for people who may be looking to get into Japanese cuisine, or even for people who are travelling to Japan and looking for some great restaurants to check out. I think there is a lot of potential for her to get involved with the restaurants that she mentions and receive compensation for advertising their business to her readers. I am excited to read more posts from Carol’s site.

Week 9: Process Post

In the digital age, analytics tools have become indispensable for advertisers, marketers and content creators. An abundance of knowledge that could have never been accessed before the Internet is now available for use. Targeting Internet users and curating content that will drive the best results has never been easier, and it is all thanks to analytics tools such as Google Analytics.

In class this week, we took a deeper dive into our own Google Analytics accounts for our blogs. It was super interesting to see all the information that is available to content creators, such as number of viewers, audience demographics, the specific paths that people follow on your website, and the duration of their session on the site (see below for my current blog analytics). As a content creator, I can take this information into account when I am creating future content (what type of content is most successful, who are my readers, etc).

However, after looking at our analytics, we also took a look at Google Ads Settings, which is a site that allows you to see the information that Google “knows” about you and the information that they use to better target you with ads. When I opened up this site, I was surprised to see this…

Google thinks I’m a middle-aged man?! At first I laughed and thought that this must be wrong, but then, I was just plain confused. I have used this Google account since I was in middle school, and if you haven’t guessed, I am female, so I really don’t know where Google got this information from me. My interests are also pretty off. While I do like “beauty and fitness” content, I have never been one to look at “autos & vehicles” or “computer and video games”. This is just weird.

I was pretty put-off by this information that Google thought they knew about me, so I decided to turn off my ad personalization (an option that Google does allow you to do – does not mean they don’t collect your data, but they just won’t send you targeted ads). However, I think I might have been even more put-off if the data that Google had about me was true.

Overall, I think that companies that are collecting data on Internet users need to be more upfront about the data that they are collecting. Whether or not they choose to include an opt-out option is up to them, but I do think users need to be better informed about the surveillance that is going on online. If I was not in this class, I probably would not have understood the extent to which content creators know what we are doing online.