How to Make a Blog: 101 Free Blogging Resources

blogging, tutorials, resources, how-to, seo, blogging photography,

So things look a little different here at CK. Over the last week or so I’ve made some appearance changes, gearing up towards some rebranding.

In keeping with wanting to spend as little money as possible, I’ve done everything via Google. It’s really easy to find tips on setting up a blog, and how to design a blog for free. And lucky for everyone else, I saved all the tutorials I’ve used on my own blog to my Pinterest:

I’ve been working on everything from improving my photography skills, changes to my blog format, how to improve SEO, and anything else I can find.  And I’m still going through ideas and tutorials, so the boards are being updated constantly.  
And as I am currently on my death bed thanks to a killer summer cold, I thought now would be a great time to share it with you.
Do you have any blogging resources you’d love to share? Let me know! I love knowledge.

xo, kelsey (2)

NEW LOOK: Welcome to Candidly Kelsey!

Different look, same weird sense of humor.

Say hello to my new header, new name, and new AMAZING NEW SOCIAL MEDIA SIDE ICONS THAT I INSTALLED ALL BY MYSELF, BUT WHO’S BRAGGING? (HINT: ME, I’M BRAGGING.)

Please don’t forget me now that I’ve decided to capitalize on the name my parents gave me.

xo, kelsey (2)

SIX MONTHS: Things I’ve Learned About Blogging



A mere six months ago, I hit rock bottom in my loneliness “Publish” on my first blog post.  I ran out to the back porch in the dark with my laptop, and read it out loud to my mom– watching her face carefully for a flicker of a smile or laugh.  Special thanks to her for being my only reader for the first month and a half.

Funnily enough, six months ago doesn’t seem that far off at all, and now suddenly here we are.  I’ve tried a lot, failed at a few things, and am still struggling to find my “niche” but I’m happy to report that I am still here, and I plan to stay here.

And here is what I have learned:

1.  You never know what will be popular.

Don’t bother having expectations because you’ll probably be disappointed.  There have been posts I thought would be super cool that have fallen completely flat, and things I spent 10 minutes on get more comments and views than I could have imagined.  You never know what people will care about.

2.  Blogging is super social.

I thought blogging was just you, alone in your own little URL in cyberspace.  And then I stumbled upon blogging Twitter accounts, and then Instagrams, and then on Facebook groups.  Now, suddenly, I’m in a Facebook group with other bloggers, and am talking back and forth on Twitter with total strangers who also happen to also enjoy typing out their opinions to share with the internet.  It’s not nearly as solitary as I originally thought.

And, as an added bonus: It’s socializing from home.  PANTS OPTIONAL SOCIAL INTERACTION.

3.  It’s harder than you think.

See: Blogmas Fail.  Posts take time to plan, to write, to edit, to photograph for, to edit the photographs for, to plan, to promote, and to talk about.  With blogging remember this: If you like it, put a ring on it.  It’s a commitment, baby.

4. It takes longer than you think.

I defer back to #3.

5. You will become crazy inspired by everything around you, and begin self-improving.

See a pretty building? Wow, that’d be a cute blog post… somehow.  I just made a funny joke about naked old ladies in the locker room at the gym– can I turn this into a blog post?  I did a really good job painting my nails– should I blog this?  I went to Sephora today and swatched a new eye shadow color… THE BEAUTY BLOGGERS SHOULD PROBABLY KNOW ABOUT IT.

I am also more inspired to dress better, do my make-up better, and live healthier.  For some reason, I have started caring more about making my bed in the morning (Thank you, Apartment Therapy), and wearing lipstick.  These are the things I want to read about, therefore I want to be in the conversation as well. And I must experience it in order to have something to say back. Somehow, blogging has improved my life without even trying.

Especially my skin.  Holy crap, has my skin gotten better.  Thank you, beauty bloggers!

6.  It’s scary as crap, but exhilarating.

It took almost a full month before I was able to post the link to my blog on any of my social media.  What if they thought I was stupid?  Or that my blog is stupid?  Or my opinions are wrong?  I wanted so badly to retain my anonymity on this online forum, but also speak candidly about my life, thoughts, and experiences.  I mean, I know I’m a genius, but what if they don’t know?

Now that I’ve crossed that terrifying hump of posting it online (even on Facebook– where all my friends and frenemies can see it and make fun of it), it feels strangely liberating.  My goal for a long time has been to stop being so self conscious, and this was an amazing step in that direction.  It’s amazing what putting your life story online will do for your confidence.  The phrase “F*ck it” has become a staple in my vocabulary, and I love it.

So. Happy six months, little blog.  And cheers to [at least] six more!

xo, kelsey (2)

BLOGMAS + Why I Blog

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, about that.

Very much unlike #Blogtober, Blogmas had me feeling quite unprepared.  I thought I would try it and see what happened, even though I have many more things going on at the moment than were happening during #Blogtober.   Though I had some things planned and some cool ideas for this month, there just are not enough hours in the day.

And instead of just putting up something to just to have something to post– which is what I felt like I was doing– I thought I’d just accept defeat.   Ain’t no shame in trying, but there is a bigger shame (in my opinion) of posting sub-par content just for the sake of posting.

That’s not why I started this blog, and that’s not what I want to do with it.

I’m coming up on my 6-month anniversary of my wittle online baby.  And honestly, I did not expect it to last me this long.  I always have good intentions, but follow-through is not one of my strongest qualities.

I started this blog because I was bored, sad and lonely at home.  I was in the middle of my internship, where I worked from home each day.  I had no other job at the time.  I literally would wake up, go running, and then work from the couch all day, until it was time to go to bed at night.  There were weeks where I didn’t leave my house for 3-4 days at a time.   I was super bored, and needed something to do.

Enter: the blog.

I went from “Maybe it’ll be essay style because I do like to write” to “A day-in-my-life” blog, to realizing that there is an actual community of bloggers out there.  It very much can be a social thing, in addition to a way to express yourself creatively (without having to put pants on).  I love my blog, and love the way it lets me experience the world on my own time.

Which is why I’m done with Blogmas (obviously– honestly, that phrase packed a bigger punch when I originally started writing it on Thursday, but now that I am finally posting it on Saturday night, it has become quite clear that I am not finishing Blogmas).

I will continue posting like normal, and have a few great ideas now that I’m not stressed with putting up something everyday.  Get ready, friends.

PS: I am a little bummed because I really loved my Blogmas button.  Seriously– it was a picture of my own tree, and I designed it myself.  I was so proud.  Isn’t it cute?!

xo, kelsey (2)

Blogmas Day 1 + A Holiday Weekend Recap

At last, the month of December is finally upon us! The rest of the world has finally started to embrace the Christmas spirit I have been riding since mid-October.  Christmas music is starting to play in public, lights are going up outside, and I’m no longer getting weird looks for my Christmas tree background on my phone.
Aaaaanddddd it also means it’s time for Blogmas!
Blogmas is essentially blogging everyday leading up to Christmas– 25 days straight!  I did something similar during October (#Blogtober14)!  Some people are linking up their blogs and following prompts, but I prefer to do it my own way: writing about whatever the hell I want!
And to start with, it only seems fair to sum up the Thanksgiving holiday festivities before we get moving onto Christmas:
It started off in the typical my-family fashion: cooking on Thursday morning with mimosas.  It took awhile for the entire family to congregate at my mother’s, but most of us managed to entertain ourselves in various ways until everyone was there and dinner was served:

We even managed to get a little bit creative and inappropriate with the Thanksgiving Turkey-Pear fruit display. Who doesn’t love blue balls blueberries?

With so much fun happening, it’s a shock we didn’t think to take a picture of the beautiful meal, huh?

The night ended early, which was good for me.  Turns out Her Royal Highness Princess Gracie Cat decided that she didn’t like being repeatedly picked up all day, and decided to illustrate her distaste by peeing on my bed.  Three times.  After I spent all day signing her praises to the family that she has never had an accident in the house! So I spent the rest of the evening washing all of my bedding.  Happy Holidays!

On Black Friday I opened at Applebee’s, then joined the family for a fish fry dinner and early Christmas presents at my aunt’s, as we won’t all see another on the actual holiday.  When we were younger, this tradition included a lot of matching presents for all five of us female cousins, but now that we’re old, it mostly includes a lot of $20 bills taped to little trinkets with super cute Christmas cards.

Except this year.  Shoutout to my aunt and uncle for the best present ever: a bacon wall calendar.

The same Aunt and Uncle who got me a bacon cookbook and bacon flavored lip balm last year– clearly they have noticed a pattern in my eating habits.

(Also, can we talk about my fantastic top knot?! That ain’t no sock in that bun, my friend.  That sh*t is au natural, thank you very much!  But please don’t ever ask me to repeat it, as I have no idea how that happened.)

The weekend ended with a brunch made up mostly of left over desserts and deviled eggs on Saturday, and then the family went their separate ways, each with their own load of Thanksgiving leftovers.

And as Sunday was my first real lazy Sunday in awhile, I spent the day nursing the post-holiday food coma hangover, and hanging up my Christmas decorations in my bedroom– which you will see soon enough!

I hope everyone else had a great holiday weekend, and hopefully can still button their pants this morning.  Or, hope you are like me, and can wear yoga pants to work until your body returns to normal!

xo, kelsey (2)