blog

Westfield Diner

Last week I met Danielle and Christine at the Westfield Diner (careful if you click, a chorus of music will blast your computer).  Easy enough, the Westfield diner is located in Westfield, NJ.  I wanted to see both of them and since I had the day off, I made the trek up North.  I had the day off but honestly with all the wedding planning stuff I needed to accomplish, I was more busy than work LOL.

Atmosphere: B

The outside is cute with a good amount of parking.  We arrived at 5:30 on Friday and it actually wasn’t that crowded.  I was surprised!  The outside is a nice cobblestone building.  It’s nothing too unusual or crazy but it is nice and really cute.

The inside has rows of booths and has a nice small town feel.  It reminds a little bit of the Westmont Diner, nice and cozy.

The staff was friendly and took all of the special requests we had for food and drink (coffee with whipped cream…salad with falafel…).  The food came out pretty quickly once we had ordered too.  There was nothing too unusual or crazy.

Coffee: A

I ordered coffee with whipped cream like I always do.  It was good.   The waiter brought me back several refills and each time with whipped cream.  The coffee was good and the whipped cream was good so it was perfect.

Westfield Diner coffee (1)

Food: B

Like any diner, they had plenty of options.  It looked like they had a whole Greek night in the middle of the week (which is something I would want to come do sometime!).

I ordered the Greek salad with salmon.  Something I thought was strange was if you ordered the Greek salad with salmon (or any other meat), it didn’t come with anchovies (stated on the menu).  If you ordered the greek salad “plain” then it did come with anchoives.  I really like anchovies but I like salmon more.  I could have requested both but I didn’t feel like it.  I’ve never had that happen before.

Westfield Diner coffee (2)

The dressing came in a large container where the oil and vinegar (Greek dressing) had separated.  It made it extremely hard to pour on because I was pouring oil.  It was good dressing though.  I prefer my dressing to already be on the salad but I can see why some people prefer that way.

This is probably the most I’ve written about a single salad but in cliff notes, the portion was smaller than I would have liked but still decent.

Price: $$

For my salmon salad and coffee it was 17.  It was certainly not the cheapest diner meal I’ve had but not the most expensive either.  For the amount of food, however, I would say it was a little bit above average cost.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?

It’s a little bit of a drive for me but close to Christine.  I would go back if Christine wanted but I would not drive out of my way to go.

Cliff notes:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Price: $10-20
Would I come back?

Probably but only if a friend living close by wanted to go.   It’s a good diner but I’m not sure it’s worth the drive “just to go”.

Questions for you:

Do you like anchovies?

Insert Sunshine Here

Where to even begin this post?

I spent the weekend in Phoenix, Arizona.  After a horror story with travel (as of now we are not receiving anything), we made it on Friday morning at 3 am East Coast time.

Here is a brief recap of everything outside of the race.

We enjoyed the Scenic views that New Jersey does not offer.   I kept thinking I was in a movie because they were so nice!

Phoenix View

Phoenix View

Lots and lots of blogging meetups…

Meet with Matt V

Matt V.

 

 

Party foul...my eyes are closed but everyone else looks nice so this photo won!

Party foul…my eyes are closed but everyone else looks nice so this photo won!

(Why did we not take a photo Adam?)

 

RunEMZRunEmz and I

With one of my favorite bloggers and people, Kevin!

IMG_1539

I had a great time in Phoenix.  It was nice to escape the cold of New Jersey and enjoy some warm weather.  Outside of running the actual marathon, I did a lot of fun and cool things.  Tim and I explored Phoenix and explored the entire city.

One thing I did learn was going to a destination race is tough. I wanted to go hiking and enjoy the views but didn’t want to hike before the marathon (and couldn’t hike after).

Would hiking a few miles the day before a marathon be smart?  No, probably not.

I had a great time and Phoenix is a lovely city.  I would recommend this race to any of my East Coast friends for the fact that you get out of the cold weather for a few months.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to Phoenix? 

Have you ever done a destination race? 

 

The Hard Truths of Blogging

The last 4.5 years of blogging have been enjoyable.  I’ve learned a lot about social media, blogging, running and of course myself.  I’ve started friendships with people across the country. Simply through blogging I’ve met incredible people and done incredible things.

If that isn’t the most cliché and kissass introduction, I don’t know what is.

blogging1

Obviously I’ve grown as a person since blogging.  I started LOLZ blog as a 20 year old junior in college. I was beginning my first season of cross country and was still swimming.  I was competing in two very different competitive sports.  As any college student, I was confused with life, with sports and with training.  I began blogging as a way to seek advice from others as well as document my personal journey.

In 2010...one of my first blogging photos!

In 2010…one of my first blogging photos!

With every blogger, I started by blogging for myself.  

As I continued to blog and connect with others, I had a few readers.  I was no longer blogging solely for myself because I had an audience. Whether I knew each individual in real life or not, I had people that read my blog occasionally.  My tone didn’t change but it did make me think more about what I say on the internet (Whether you delete something or not, the internet never forgets).

To make this clear: With or without readers, I blog for myself but I also blog to share my journey in hopes someone can learn from me (both my successes and mistakes).  In blogging, twitter, facebook and social media in general, people enjoy feedback…that is why we do it. 

Quite frankly, I also really enjoy blogging and it’s a fun hobby to have.  Life is to short to do things you don’t like.  Right now I like to blog and run…so I will make time for those. 

This post was semi inspired by a post from T-Rex Runner of how blogging has changed.

I’ve written and rewritten posts like this several times but none were that coherent.  I cut and pasted 3 different posts together so hopefully it makes as much sense to you as it did to me.  It’s all over the place (like my mind is).

The hard truths of blogging:

    1. Not everyone will like you and that is fine. There are a lot of opinions and thoughts I don’t agree with.  This includes thoughts both inside and outside of the blogging world.If I don’t agree with someone offline, I don’t pretend I do.  People mistake not agreeing with hating and that is one of the furthest things from the truth.
    2. I don’t hide my thoughts.  I’m not going to lie and promote something.  If I don’t like peanut butter, I’m not going to say “oh my goodness, this peanut butter recipe looks amazing”.  What’s the point?  If you know me in “real life” then you know I’m that friend that will give you both the positive and negative.  For instance, if you ask me which dress looks better on you….I won’t say both…I’ll tell you which dress does.
    3. People grow apart. I’ve grown apart from several blogs I followed.  There are two blogs that I still follow (or still blog) that were blogging when I began in 2010.  We are in two different places in our lives.  It’s not a good or bad thing but a fact.  There is no need to read every single blog in the “blogging world”.  If a topic doesn’t interest you, then it doesn’t.  I’m sure there are several readers who could care less about diner reviews…and that is fine!  That is still my thing…I never blog with the expectation that people care about any and every post. Believing that only sets us up for failure.
    4. Blogging is not really a profitable thing to do.  Unless you want to shill products that you don’t care about or sell yourself out for trivial items, it’s not worth it.  I’ve been contacted by several companies to promote things as adult diapers, maxi pads, vitamins that aren’t FDA regulated and even pet products.  None of those products match my blog so I don’t promote them.  Sure I turned down money (probably close to 1000 dollars when I add everything up) but I’m not desperate for money. I’m going to use my blog to shill out things that I could care less about. 
    5. Just because you can use google, does not make you an expert. If I am looking for a expert medical advice, I will see someone who is qualified.  I read blogs because they are light hearted and fun.  I don’t read because I expect the blogger to be a medical professional.  Google does not give make you as qualified as a nutritionist, dietitian or medical expert.
    6. Every blogger has chosen to omit something from their personal space online.  It’s smart.  When reading a blog you aren’t seeing the full life picture.  For instance, when T and I chose to live together…it wasn’t as if I woke up and wrote a post titled “I’m moving” and shotgunned a move.  We had discussed it for a while. Maybe a person is struggling because they just broke up with a significant other, maybe they are having financial problems or maybe someone just doesn’t feel like sharing a personal tidbit.  Blogging is a fine line between sharing and oversharing.   Don’t overshare.

For better or for worse blogging as come a long way since 2010.  It’s far more commercialized and people except to be compensated for their “time” blogging.  No one is forcing your to blog and it should be something you truly enjoy.  In any case, I love to blog and I’m not going anywhere. 

A Confession of a Grocery Shopper

I have a confession to make…  

I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Walmart, Target, Wegmans or our local super market Shoprite.   I don’t enjoy grocery shopping that much and I go in on a mission, get my food and leave.  I don’t spend hours scouring each individual aisle.

grocery cart

I’m not a foodie.

I’m not great at cooking.

I don’t spend a small fortune on food.

I use coupons when I remember them.

I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes 3 times a year (if that).

I don’t buy the latest and greatest organic protein powders and nut butters.

I do, however, eat well and take in the proper nutrients (most of the time).  I actually have a public health college degree and have taken multiple college nutrition courses.  In personal experience, those who studied nutrition are the least stressed about it.   They don’t worry about the newest foodie fads or the most expensive gourmet foods.

The majority of our household meals take a maximum of 30 minutes to make. I have no problems eating the standard meat, potatoes and veggies multiple times each week.  It doesn’t bother us and we know it works and is healthy.  We will add variety with different meats, starches and vegetables but we don’t cut out food groups.  We have no need to substitute carbohydrates for more vegetables (such as cauliflower crust pizza).   Our food is simple and identifiable.

It is not that I can’t afford to shop at specialty grocery stores.  If my interest was to try multiple specialty foods, I would.  I don’t have a need to complicate my nutrition.  I don’t have a need to spend 50 dollars on a tub of protein powder that would last me a week.  When did we transition to be “trendy grocery shoppers”?  What makes the Whole Foods brand of cereal O’s better?

As a society, we obsess too much over food.  Whether we are obsessing over the latest fad diet or we are obsessing over the brand of our cereal.  We are obsessed with food.   We complicate food and nutrition.

The bottom line is a common myth and misconception is that it is necessary to shop at a specialty grocery store to eat well.  That is not true and any grocery store is going to provide quality food and nutrients to keep your body healthy (from Walmart or Trader Joes).

Questions for you:

Where do you do most of your grocery shopping?

How long does the average dinner in your house take to cook?

Articles: Jan 23

I alluded to this yesterday but this has been a weird week for me.  It’s hard to believe it’s actually Friday.  That being said, working in retail weekends are just another day.  Thanks to everyone for some great ideas on TV shows to DVR.

I’ll keep my post short and sweet today but here are some articles I’ve found the last week or two.

article meme

Blogging Articles:

4 Ways to Avoid Blogging Burn Out

9 Things only a Blogger Would Understand (So many LOLZ…so little time).

Fashion: 

Stylish People Say How Much They Spent This is so interesting!  There are some clothing options I cannot even imagine spending 5 dollars for!

Running:  

Running in Your 20s

How to get Excited about Training Again  Such a great and timely article, especially training in the winter!

Do Epsom salt baths really work? 

Interesting Articles: 

How to be Imperfect  & Still be Perfectly Happy  No one is perfect but accepting that is key!

25 Ways to Stop Feeling Over worked and Overwhelmed I’ve found this so true.  I’m often guilty of filling my life plate way to full.

From LOLZ:

A Look at my Personal Eating and Marathon Training

Don’t Survive Winter Running…Prosper

Are Paying for Facebook Ads Worth it For Bloggers? 

Questions for you:

What articles are you enjoying this week?

Do you have any weekend plans? 

 

Facebook Ads: Are they Worth it?

Are facebook adverts worth it?

facebook like

On facebook you can pay to have posts and ads inserted into more mini feeds.  You can manipulate the algorithm for more views to your facebook and blog post.  It isn’t a secret either.  Pages that pay to boost posts are labeled as “sponsored” on the mini feed.  On a boosted post, More people will see the post and it will drive awareness to your website and facebook page…but is it worth it? 

I help a personal friend with her coaching page.  She is a great coach and someone I would highly recommend in the South Jersey area.  We have played around with facebook adverts to boost her page and client base.  It has been working rather well.  She has signed more local runners and the page boosts have helped her build her community.  I couldn’t be happier for her!  It made me think, how would a facebook advert post for fueledbyLOLZ blog fare?

Unlike coaching, I’m not really offering anything.  I’m not offering coaching or a product.  I’m not offering the secrets to stay injury free, healthy or breaking news.  By reading my blog you are not eligible to win millions of things.   I just assume people put up with my poor grammar and spelling because they can find a LOL in there somewhere.

FueledbyLOLZ offers morning amusement with your coffee.   That is what I offer and probably will continue to offer. 

I decided to do an experiment and spend a whopping 20 dollars to boost one of my recent posts.  For my experiment, I chose a post many people responded well with without the boost.

Running on the Cheap: 

Basically a post about why Running doesn’t have to be expensive.

There are many cost options but I chose the 20.00 option.  It costed $20.00 for an extra 1000-8,000 people to view the facebook post (not my blog post but the facebook post (with the link attached) to be inserted into the minifeed).

You can pay more for more views.

Just because you boost your post, it doesn’t guarantee will see it or that they will like your page at all.

It doesn’t guarantee they will click the link to your post.  The only thing a paid boost guarantees is that the post will be inserted into at least 1,000 mini feeds (it could even be the same persons mini feed 1,000 times).

For instance (spoiler alert) when I payed 20.00 for a fueledbyLOLZ advert, about 6,000 people viewed the post.  The post itself, received 176 clicks to LOLZ blog.

facebook ad

The post was inserted into 6,082 feeds and I received 172 clicks to my actual blog.  It cost 11 cents for each feed it was inserted in.

The real question: Was it worth it?

First I must ask myself this: What did spending $20 to promote my post get me? It got me 176 extra clicks to my blog.  What did those 176 extra page views get me?  Possibly new readers or possibly readers who like the page but never read the post…it got me 176 clicks.

What did I learn?

I thought a paid boost would receive more interest or “boost” than 176 clicks (I’m not upset or sad, I just thought it would).

Overall Thoughts: 

I can’t tell you if it’s worth it to pay to grow your blog.

If you are offering a product or service, it makes sense to use facebook to advertise.

If you want to grow your blog and following then it makes sense.  Is it the best way to grow your following?  No probably not but if you gave enough money, you could probably gain hundreds of facebook likes and new readers

At the end of the day, having more or less facebook likes, twitter followers, blog readers doesn’t change who you are or your blog.  I might occasionally use facebook adverts again.  I don’t think it’s something I would use frequently but I can see how it would help bloggers trying to “make it big” and make money (FYI: I’m not sure what making it big means in blogging….).  If your main goal is to grow your blog and profit, then perhaps this is a route to experiment with.  For me I have no interest in blogging for a living and main source of income.  I can barely write a coherent 600 word post.

In cliff notes: You’ll probably get a few extra clicks from boosting your posts.  For blogging purposes, it doesn’t make as much sense to use.  If you are offering a product, service or something of value than it makes more sense to use.   For me I’ll spend 20 dollars on a bunch of coffee next time.

Questions for you:

Do you use facebook adverts? 

Facebook users: What do you think about facebook ads?

 

Thinking Out Loud: Mostly Holiday Blogging

Another week, another Thursday.  Last week was Thanksgiving so I skipped posting a Thinking Out Loud post…I didn’t stop thinking though…ha (That was such an embarrassing joke…forget that I said it).

Anyways speaking of Holidays, this will be my first Holidays working in retail.  It’s certainly a difference experience.  I actually don’t mind at all and it makes the day go by quickly when you have dozens of people at the store.

On the blogging front, as the Holiday’s come closer I’ll be the first to admit several companies have reached out for promotion on LOLZ blog. 

Does this mean I’ve made it in the blogging world?  No, probably not but the Holiday season brings lots of businesses to advertise and have more of a budget.  Working in retail I can see that first hand.   I don’t even know what “making it” in the blogging world means.  Is it making it a full time job, becoming twitter and Instagram famous?

blogging meme

While I’m still a member of the Sears Holiday blogger team, I have been approached by a couple of other companies I genuinely have liked beforehand.  I’ve also turned a few companies down that don’t mesh well with my personal believes.  (I won’t be promoting anything I haven’t t tried before or wouldn’t buy myself).

Since I could not make money (this month) without blog readers, I am going to stay completely honest with you!  And as most of you know I don’t rely on blogging for money.  I also work at a local running store.  Blogging will never be my full time job for three reasons.

  1. My spelling and grammar are both awful. It’s important to know your weaknesses and those are mine.  I would need to hire an intern or an editor.  My writing is exactly like my personal voice (in real life).  I write like I talk versus in a professional manner.  (Think if a chicken got it’s head cut off and is running around crazed…that’s how my brain operates sometimes).
  2. I am boring 75% of my life

blogging meme 1

3. I can’t sit still for more than an hour so typing hundreds of posts is not my interest. I would not be able to have a job staring at a computer screen all day.

Kudos to those who use their blogs as full time work but I love my running store job and wouldn’t give it up.  I think I’m doing awesome because I might make 200 dollars from blogging this month.  That’s 200 coffees!

Speaking of Holidays, I haven’t really even started my Christmas Shopping yet.  Sorry family.  I’m waiting for 200 dollars so I can buy you things.  Kidding of course…I do feel like family is the hardest to buy for.

This weekend we are going out to get Holiday lights to decorate.  I’m pretty excited for that.

One thing I’m trying to do on the media front is grow my facebook page.  It seems like facebook pages are their own separate communities.  A lot of people have facebook pages but not blogs, etc.  I normally post daily memes that share my sense of humor, blog posts links (mine or someone elses)…so if you want that to spam your minified (or if you want to link it and then unfollow posts) that would be awesome.

I guess this kind of turned into me thinking out loud with blogging.  I’ve always been completely honest with myself, readers and lurkers.  To me it’s seems silly not to be honest, if you are making money from blogging it wouldn’t happen without readers.  They should be the first to know!  I’ve debated doing a monthly post about it but we will see.  I always enjoy reading about “big blogs” and how they turned it into a full time job (mostly because I’m nosy into people’s lives…).

On that note I’m off to work. 

Questions for you:

Have you worked in retail before?

What is one random thought you have today?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,423 other followers

%d bloggers like this: