Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Techie Tuesday: Centering Third-Party Media Ads

Today’s question comes for Audrey of Audrey Salutes, “how do I center my third-party media ads in my widget?”  

Third-party media ads are ads you would use from Rewardstyle, Glam or Blogher. Most bloggers express a lot of frustration when trying to set them up. Ads. Often, everything in the sidebar will be centered besides it.

First, you want to make sure you’ve selected an ad that fits your widget sidebar. Most sidebars fit ads that are 300x200px or 160x60px. Pixel height of your ad doesn’t matter as much as width. You don’t want to put an ad that is wider than your sidebar. I should note: if your blog is not built responsively to images and videos, you are going to have a bad time, especially for mobile and tablet versions. You are making these edits in the following areas. If you have WordPress, Appearances < Widgets  (see image below for reference). If you have blogger, in the html/javascript gadgets of Layout in the dashboard.

Most bloggers try to use this method to center their ad:

While it is accurate, it is not the best practice. Your ad is interactive and functioning feature. It needs to be placed in a <div>. This option works most of the time:
<div style="text-align: center;">

Occasionally, ads can be extremely strange and center some of the time. One way to prevent is this is to assign a "display:block" to your <div>. Thus, you would have:
<div style="display: block; text-align: center;">

What is “display: block”? Without getting too complicated, assigning a block level display to an element (your ad) means that the browser will display line breaks before and after the . The will take up the full-width of the available space, and the elements in it with be now centered. If you want to align your elements left or right, simply replace “center” with either/or.

Do you have tech or design questions you would like answered? "Techie Tuesdays" is a weekly series written by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative. In order to make this series as beneficial to Midwest Bloggers, you can email your specific questions to Lindsay at hello@whiteoakcreative.com, and she will answer them in her weekly series.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Love From Wisconsin!

We're excited to feature new business from one of our Midwest Bloggers, Jennifer! She recently started Love From Wisconsin, a subscription box full of local Midwest goodies from Wisconsin! We wanted to share & support her new endeavor.

Love from Wisconsin Boxes

She recently started a kickstarter campaign. Here's how it works:

Missing your Midwest roots? Need a monthly Wisco-pick-me-up?
At the beginning of every month, we will create a unique and charming box filled with Wisconsin’s seasonal best and ship it to you or a recipient of your choosing. Subscribe for Annual*, 6-month, 3-month or monthly recurring delivery! *Enjoy a 20% discount with your Annual subscription to Love From Wisconsin.

Place Your Order We will share a select few of our subscription box goodies – on the website and our social media platforms – the month before they ship, so you have an idea of what you’ll be receiving. But ultimately, it will be a surprise every time! Head over to the shop to order your Annual, 6-month, 3-month or monthly recurring delivery!
We Ship The Goods Your first box of Love From Wisconsin parcel will be delivered to your home the month after you place your order; our cut off is the 28th of every month.  All Subscription boxes are shipped between the 10th and 15th of the following month.

Check out & support Jennifer's kickstarter campaign!

Are you a fellow Midwest business owner? Email us for a chance to be featured on the blog!

Friday, September 26, 2014


If Free People and Madewell had a lovechild, they would name her Cinnamon Girl. Hi! My name is Jordan and I'm the creator of the lifestyle blog Cinnamon Girl. I'm a wife and stay at home mama to my beautiful girls, Penny and Juniper. After a few years of studying Fashion Merchandising in college, I decided what I wanted most in my life was to be a wife, mother, and homemaker. This blog is my creative outlet. I get to share my passion for style, music, and my community while taking care of the most important thing, my family. We live in a day and age where you can be a mother without having to let go of your passions and I'm having fun exploring what that looks like for me. I love this humble life I've been given and I hope you'll share in my joy! http://pennyandjune.wordpress.com/

I have grown to love my home state, Nebraska. I'm keeping it local and sharing four of my favorite Nebraska bloggers.

Maddie's blog is all about being creative without having to spend a lot. Her style is one-of-a-kind and I love how she challenges me to be creative with my style. She offers a lot of creative ideas on how to wear thrifted goods in a fresh way. Maddie also features local fashionistas. I think style is worth celebrating and I love that she introduces us to locals from our community.

Mekita has an edgy style that I love and she offers inspiring daily outfit posts. Her feature "9 to 5" touches on how to dress for work in a stylish way. Very practical and so much fun.

Payton's blog is so fabulous. I'm happy that she resides here in Nebraska. Not only are her photos visually appealing, but she encourages the reader to stay inspired and be creative. She shares some killer playlists on her blog and as a fellow music lover I feel a kindred connection with her in that way.

Justine is another style blogger from the city of Omaha. Her blog is full of color and I love it. Her light-hearted outfits have a touch of quirk and she reminds you that fashion should be fun!

Make sure to link up below!

Friday, September 19, 2014


I'm Livia and the voice behind my style and lifestyle blog Love Always, Liv. I am originally from Germany and moved to Wisconsin two years ago to become a nanny and now a full time student! Growing up in a small village never gave me the audience I hoped for, that would share the same passion I have for personal style and magazines, which is why I started this blog a little over a year ago. I am addicted to chocolate everything and like keeping myself busy. My blog is my way to share outfits and personal stories throughout my journey in big America. I am convinced you can achieve everything as long as you set your mind to it and have a positive attitude! Here are some of the bloggers I'm currently loving. 

LaPetite Fashionista: Lauren’s posts are always so versatile and inspirational. Her tips on blogging and creating an editorial calendar to stay organized have been so helpful. I love her series “Try this trendas much as her always colorful and cheery outfit pictures.

Stylish and Scatterbrained: Megan’s blog is special. I have known about it for a while now but started reading it on a more frequent base after she posted her #RealBloggerBeauty story. I admire her strength and love reading her personal posts as well as pulling inspiration from one of her many great outfits.

Charmingly Styled: Maya’s blog is really unique which is what I like about it. Great DIYs, personal thoughts and Monday motivations. She is such a kind, warm hearted lady and by reading her posts she makes me feel like she is sitting right next to me.

Eat It Kansas City: Although I am not from Kansas I enjoy reading Shanley’s blog. The quality of her blog pictures is great and the dishes she posts, always make me super hungry for something delicious! It’s a great inspiration source for future meals I am planning to cook.

Make sure to link up your favorite post from the week below. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Techie Tuesdays: The Great Debate - Blogger vs. WordPress

The goal of today’s post is to very simply and very concretely identify the pros and cons of Blogger and WordPress while touching on some "grey" areas. When referring to WordPress for this post, I'm always referring self-hosted, WordPress.org.

  • Free hosting: Only pay for your domain (which you have to do in WordPress)
  • Connects to Google Plus, Google Analytics, Gmail, and Google Webmasters extremely easy
  • Relatively easy to start writing and creating content
  • Simple format with ability for anyone to easy change colors and fonts
  • Built-in mobile responsiveness (formatted)*

  • Automatic formatting can be a nightmare: adding images and text often get different html code attached to it depending on how the person is entering information. Gets a little clunky and not straightforward to use.
  • Functionality: If you are looking for something more fluid, more website-like, then Blogger can’t provide you with that functionality. It can get close, but it is going to be clunky.
  • Built-in mobile responsiveness (formatted)*
    *This is both a positive and negative because its a formulaic responsiveness so that the entire site looks the same.
  • Content Ownership**
    You own all your content, the copyrights to your content, and if someone is plagiarizing your content, you can contact Google and they will help you deal with it. However, Google owns the storage unit where your content is stored and according to its terms of service:
    When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services. - View the Full Google Terms of Service Here

  • Endless Functionality (relatively): Depends on your designer or template you select
  • You own your content!
  • Categories and Tags: Blogger only has labels, but WordPress has categories and tags. You can use either (categories are recommended) to set up an elaborate system of viewing your previous content. I really recommend this for food, diy, or fashion bloggers who want to showcase their previous work).
  • SEO: With WordPress, you can utilize different plugins as well as have easier access to the back end of your site. The use of h1 tags for supporting content is also very helpful.
  • Plugins: Over 30,000 plugins to choose from. Not all of them are good, and actually I would say probably 10-15% are good. But the good ones are fantastic and can really help take your site to the next level.
  • Cost: With WordPress you have to pay for hosting - approximately $3-$5 dollars a month. I’d recommend Bluehost because I like their custom service. From experience working with my clients, I would definitely recommend against Go Daddy and Host Gator****.
  • Customizing: WordPress is not as easy to customize unless you work with a designer or you buy a premade theme. Even purchasing a premade theme can be a process of trial and error.
  • Security: WordPress is the largest CMS system in the world, and as a result, it is most prone to hacks and security issues. With a WordPress site, owners should make sure that they have a secure password and follow these other site security steps.

OVERALL THOUGHTSFor a while, I thought that Blogger was perfect for all blogs to start out on - simple, easy, straightforward, great for testing the waters. However, my opinion has changed. If you are a person who struggles to follow through on things that you start, start with Blogger. However, if commitment is not something you are concerned about, then you should definitely look to WordPress Take a month to figure out what you want your blog to be, maybe even work with a designer, but then start on WordPress. For the most part, I think that WordPress blogs give the impression that they are “ahead of the curve”, but it’s all personal preference.

 **Content Ownership: This issue is something that I would love to explore more with people. From what I’ve heard certain larger blog affiliate programs own your content when you join them. With the plethora of people joining them, I don’t think content ownership is an issue then. It’s a personal preference. My belief is that I want to own what I create, and I don’t want to give ownership to a corporation.

***With Hostgator, the price doesn’t match what you get from BlueHost or DreamHost. 

 Do you have a tech or design question you would like answered? “Techie Tuesdays” is a weekly series written by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative. In order to make this series beneficial to the Midwest Blogger network, you can email your specific questions to Lindsay at hello@whiteoakcreative.com, and she will answer them in her weekly series.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Hey girl hey! My name is Justine and I’m a twenty-something, Chicago blogger and the voice behind Short is the New Black! I started SITNB as an outlet to express my love for beauty, fashion, and everything in between. If I'm not blogging or working, you can find me shopping with bells on at Nordstrom, Anthropologie and/or Sephora (usually all within the same day) enough that most sales associates know me by name.

As a freelance makeup artist, you will easily find that my blog reflects my love for makeup. One of my favorite blogging segment is my "What's in her bag?" series where I feature other product junkies and give my readers the inside scoop on what's in their makeup bag.

I'd love for you to keep up with me on FacebookTwitterPinterest, + @justinegershak (instagram)

Gold Coast Girl - I love everything about Samantha's style, especially this Fashion Friday feature with Kate Spade Saturday. What I love the most? She's a Chicago girl like me and is always keeping up with new & trendy places in the city. 

P.S. I'm from the Midwest - First off, can we talk about how much I love Hollyn's writing style? I love that she really lays down her Midwest roots even while living in such a big city like New York City. Aside from her writing, I love the pieces that she puts together and the bright colors she incorporates into her style.

Turquoise & Teale - What I love most about Ashley and Turquoise & Teale is she can go from these beautiful OOTD posts to delicious watermelon feta bites. I really love blogs that can touch a range full of topics especially relating to beauty, fashion AND food.

Bright City Brunette - Something I really love about blogger collectives like the Midwest Style Bloggers is that you can network with other bloggers and really get to see some amazing blogs. I've never met Chicago-based blogger, Alexa, but I adore her blog and her overall style! 

Make sure to link up below. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Techie Tuesdays: WordPress 4.0 "Benny"

Last week, WordPress launched its latest update - WordPress 4.0 - aptly titled "Benny" after American jazz clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman. Amongst developers, this update is significantly underwhelming. The expectation was set from WordPress 2.0 to 3.0, that most people expect big things from 4.0. What exists is nothing near a major release, but there are some significant improvements that as bloggers you will notice and probably greatly appreciate.


When you upload media files and view media files, you can now have a much smoother grid view as well as the more traditional option. This makes previewing much quicker, as well as internal searching.


When you add a youtube URL or Tweet to you post, you will be able to see it in the visual editor. In the past, you had to “preview” the post to see how the video would display. Embedded Content Previews include CollegeHumor, Youtube Playlists and TED, but you can view the full list here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Embeds


In the past, writing and editing content would not fit to your window as you wrote. With WordPress 4.0, they’ve greatly improved this functionality so that it is easier to navigate a post dashboard. They’ve also made it so that the visual editor toolbar stays fixed to that window.


WordPress 4.0 comes with improved metrics and visibility of searching for the correct plugin. With over 30,000 free plugins, it can be exhausting finding the one you need. Therefore, this improvement to viewing and selecting plugins is a huge help!

When WordPress updates, often plugins and themes go through updates. You should make sure you complete these updates as well. After you’ve updated your site, test your site in different browsers and devices to make sure everything works as it should.

Do you have a tech or design question you would like answered? “Techie Tuesdays” is a weekly series written by Lindsay Humes of White Oak Creative. In order to make this series beneficial to the Midwest Blogger network, you can email your specific questions to Lindsay at lindsay@whiteoakcreative.com, and she will answer them in her weekly series.

Friday, September 5, 2014


I'm Kelly!  What Love Does is a blog about everything I find interesting and inspirational, with a little bit of everyday life sprinkled on top.  I am a College English Instructor, business-owner, and design-lover with a heart for Jesus, my husband, and helping to make the world a better place.  In December 2013, my husband and I relocated to a new community in western Wisconsin.  I created What Love Does to stay connected and to share everything we are experiencing along the way! 

Lake Shore Lady: Lake Shore Lady is a one-stop-shop for everything style and recipe-related. Lauren has the best style -- She is always upbeat and does so much to keep readers up-to-date on the latest deals and sales -- which I appreciate so much!

Bow & Arrow Magazine: Bow & Arrow Magazine is so wonderful!  I recently moved to western Wisconsin, so I am getting to know Minneapolis and St. Paul little by little. BAM is such an amazing resource for shopping, dining, and exploring the Twin Cities.

Love Always, Liv: Liv is blogging in southeastern Wisconsin - where I used to call home!  Her style is amazing, and reading each blog post is like talking to a friend you've known forever.  She is so open and honest, which I really admire.

To Live for Style:  Katie of To Live for Style is also a founder of Bow and Arrow Magazine.  Since discovering her blog, I have always been so impressed by her sense of style and sense of self.  I have been so excited to read about her adventures, travels, and day-to-day life in Minneapolis.  

Make sure to link up below!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Win a Ticket to Chicago's #GoBlogSocial Pop Up!

Happy Hump Day Midwest Bloggers! 

To celebrate fall, we're excited to be partnering with Go Blog Social to giveaway a ticket to their Chicago Pop Up conference on October 11th! There will be tons of Midwest Bloggers there, and we would love to see there {and meet you if we haven't already!} 

A few of the fabulous speakers this year!
{From Left to Right: Martiza of Beauty for Bloggers, Danielle of The Everygirl, Helena Swyter of Sweeter CPA, Cait of Pretty & Fun, Alison of Sassy Moms in the City, Farissa of WhatRUWearing.Net}

If you're interested, enter below via Rafflecopter {and good luck!}

Check out the full schedule here and grab your tickets here! Plus for all Midwest Bloggers, you'll recieve 15% off using code MIDWESTBLOG until September 19th!