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Kyla Roma Podcast: Make The Most Of Your Conference Experience

Make The Most of your Blogging, Business or Social Media Conference Experience (What to do before, during & after)That’s right, there’s a new episode of my subscriber only podcast!

I’m heading to Portland for a conference for creative entrepreneurs and it means conferences, travel and face to face networking are all on my mind.

Conferences are a huge part of blogging, online business and our normal 9 to 5 work lives – and they’re sizzling with possibility!

But they can also be stressful and be hard to bring your authentic self to.

In this episode I share my personal prep for attending a conference, and how to find sanity in the chaos of a conference.

I also share what you should never say to a border agent when travelling out of country to a blogging or business related event.

It’s an important secret that could save you dozens of hours, stress and lost income if you own your own business. And if you don’t have a background in human resources like I do, it’s a trap you could walk right into. Let me save you the trouble!

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The newsletter is the only place to get my podcast, and occasional insider deals and announcements classes that I’ve dreamed up just for you.

My Secret “Reset” Button (or How To Create Your Own at Home Personal Retreat)

Taking dedicated personal time for ourselves is hard. We put our friends, family and things we dread on our calendars. But if I look back at my calendar from two years ago, there wasn’t a lot in it dedicated to taking care of myself.

I used to feel like I was running to catch up… but I could never get there! That frantic state is the worst not just because it’s a hard place to live, but because when you’re in it it’s hard to even know what will make it better.

Last year I made the idea of “living with intention” into an active part of my life by taking dedicated personal time every two weeks to think, take care of myself, process my feelings and what was or wasn’t working in my life. It was also one of the best years I’ve ever experienced, and I  don’t think for a second that’s a coincidence

Now I get it: If I want to have a sane life that feels great, I have to schedule time to actively focus on what I need. So I’ve started creating personal retreats for myself through the year.

This might sound complicated, but it’s dead easy!

A retreat can be whatever you’d like it to be. It’s dedicated time for you to do what you need, care for yourself, and come away feeling refreshed.

Completely Biased List of A Retreat’s Fabulous Benefits:

  • It lets you reclaim your brain, by actually addressing the thoughts and feelings that take up your energy when they’re constantly on repeat in the background of your life.
  • It pulls you out of your head so you can focus on action – which is where the living happens!
  • It’s a perfectly legitimate excuse to stay in your PJ’s all day, or have breakfast food for every meal.
  • It puts you back on your priority list, so you have energy to offer people around you instead of radiating how you feel drained and worried. That switch of mindset might as well be a superpower.

Feeling convinced? Enough to tweet about it even? Then let’s talk scheduling!

Craft an at home personal retreat

How to Craft Your Own Personal Retreat

A personal retreat can be as elaborate or simple as you want it to be. At its core, it’s simply time intentionally set aside for taking care of yourself and getting centered again. Simple? Sure. But it has a big impact.

Choose an amount of time that feels right to you

Your perfect retreat might be two hours in your bedroom, a lazy morning with your journal followed by an inspiration gathering afternoon at the library, or a weekend dedicated to reflection, journaling, champagne and spa treatments.

Chances are you know exactly what you’re craving and what would feel great now, so use that as a jumping off point! There’s no wrong way to do this, just make sure you set the time aside in your calendar.


Brainstorm ideas for comfort

Comfort is anything that feels soothing, or like you’re pampering yourself. Comfort can set the mood for your retreat and help you feel like you’re enjoying a rare treat.

Ways to add comfort into your retreat:

  • Wake up without an alarm
  • Take a bubble bath before breakfast
  • Take an afternoon nap
  • Get a massage
  • Treat yourself to your favourite meal


Brainstorm ideas for self care

Where comfort is lovely, it’s a temporary treat. Self care is something that helps you on a level that chocolate can’t (scandalous, I know!) and will help you recharge in a lasting, meaningful way.

Ways to add self care into your retreat:

  • Practice yoga, meditation or prayer
  • Try taking an unplugged day, or turning off all your smartphone notifications
  • Do a “brain dump” where you list out all the things that have been on your mind & that you’ve tried to remember
  • Set up a call with a friend who can help you talk through something that’s tripping you up
  • Journal about anything that’s been upsetting or worrying you
  • Write out your current challenges, successes & what you’re craving. Ask yourself how you can make for more of what you’re craving to the coming week and month.
  • Do a calendar audit to make sure your schedule matches your priorities

What it REALLY looks like when I teach online!

Behind the scenes in teaching online with Kyla Roma

Last week I had the opportunity to teach in a video course for the first time. It was really fun, and I shared about everything from how I started working online, and how I use my work day to support sane hours and having a great life alongside owning an online business.

During the session, I brought up some thoughts I’ve had lately around perfectionism. Mainly about how our experiences, values and insecurities can completely shape what we actually take away when the look at other bloggers and businesses online. You know that moment I’m talking about, right?

We’ve all had moments when we look at someone else’s blog or social media and think, “Their life is so perfect.”

It happens in our work too. In my web design work, clients always come to the table with inspiration from people they admire. They’d like to have their newsletter opt in forms in similar placements, or a banner in a style that worked for someone else. Because more than anything we want some corner of certainty that our crazy passion project or dream online shop will resonate with people who love what we love.

As a designer, part of my job is helping them see how their goals are different, so we should use their site in its own unique way. It’s a fun process, but just like posting for the first time, or the moment you’re about to step on stage before a performance, it’s also scary.

I think that our perfection impulse also comes from part of us wanting to know that we’re not doing it wrong.

We want someone to give us that stamp of approval, which is why it’s so scary to launch any kind of creative products, or speak up in our unique voice.

I don’t like to think of myself as a perfectionist, but I see it at work when I look for it. I really want to spend more time expanding my design skills. I crave getting to know some more creative people and talking about what we do.

How to get back to kicking ass if the year is getting away from you

I have a confession I’m embarrassed to admit: the calendar on my office wall is still set to January.

It’s not a secret that I love being organized and having a good system. But unsurprisingly, one of the reasons I spend time creating strategies that work for me is that I actually need them! Especially when work gets crazy.

Wasn’t it just New Year’s Eve? I feel like I blinked and now we’re months in.

Getting out of this mindset has meant recognizing that I have some un-helpful ideas about what this “Shiny New Year!” would look like that I need to bust through so I can have real, genuine fun in the mess, craziness, and beauty of everyday life.

So if you’re feeling pressure of goals that are off to a wobbly start, or are still at the part where you haven’t set goals for the year because you haven’t made time, you’re not alone – and there’s help.

get on top of this year and chase down your dreams!


1. Get out of your head and get present!

When you’re caught up in the story of how things should be or constantly running through what you’re going to do later, it’s easy to tune out of what you can do now that will get you a step closer to the life you want.

It’s important for us to have time to dream, but your life takes is shaped entirely by your actions.

When you’re living in your head instead of in the moment, it’s easy to get distracted by things that don’t matter, get derailed by your worries, and be less than present in your life. And who wants to live on autopilot?

How to practice mindfulness: Wherever you are, tune into the sights, sounds, and feelings you’re experiencing at this very moment. Breathe deeply and slowly, and when you get caught up in your thoughts, catch yourself and guide your focus back to your senses (without beating yourself up!).

2. Get real with your calendar

It’s draining to live when we aren’t doing things we really love. If you think of the last day you spent running from commitment to commitment, and doing things that were on your “Things I Have to Do But Wish I Could Skip” list, chances are that day felt like a chore from the moment it started.

But even when you’re seeing people you like and doing things you enjoy, you may not be investing time in the things that will get you closer to your goals. When you look at your calendar, does is reflect your priorities and highest goals for this year?

If not, you’ve absolutely got to get that under control!

Our habits are persistent, and how you’ve lived the last six weeks is likely to be how you live the next six weeks… unless you take action to change that.

How to give your calendar some tough love: Look at your commitments coming up over the next month – where do they line up with what you want the year to be about? What are you doing that you don’t adore? Cancel what doesn’t serve you (cancel, not reschedule!) and find a way to say no that you can marry yourself to. Your dreams will take time, so protect yours.


3. Schedule time to get big picture

There’s a saying that “You can’t work on your business when you’re working in your business” and it’s not just for business owners. If you’re in a boat that’s caught in a storm, that’s not the time to discuss plans for next year’s fishing season! You need to batten the hatches, take care of yourself, and get big picture once you’re in safe harbor.

Creative Life Interview with Kam from Campfire Chic

I’m passionate about normal people intentionally creating a unique life that they love. The Creative Life interviews are a place to dive into the stories of people in the process of creating inspired lives for themselves- whatever that means to them.

Campfire Kam Interview Title

Today I have an interview with Kam from Campfire Chic. Kam is a talented blogger and crafter who loves the outdoors. I’ve been following her for years now, and I love how she mixes all these areas of her life on her blog. And the amount she gets done every day, all on top of taking care of business at her day job, is truly inspiring! Ready to get to know her?


Please tell us about yourself, your blog, and how blogging at Campfire Chic became part of your life.

Campfire Chic is my story as a crafty camper. I share my story as a 9-5er looking for adventure and a handmade life. The posts I share encourage readers to take risks and try new things, like camping, rock climbing, and yoga, while maintaining their current interests and responsibilities. Campfire Chic is about accepting challenges, setting achievable goals, and documenting the journey toward the finish line.

The posts I share encourage my readers to take risks and try new things, like campingrock climbing, and yoga, while maintaining their current interests and responsibilities. Campfire Chic is about accepting challenges, setting achievable goals, and documenting the journey toward the finish line.

I started Campfire Chic after a weekend camping in Sequoia National Park in 2010. I didn’t have a job lined up after graduate school and needed something to keep me sane while I filled out job applications and watched my bank account dwindle. What started out as a way to promote my Etsy shop turned into something much more.


How did you start to discover your passion for blogging and social media? Was there a turning point or “Ah-Ha” moment for you? 

I think I knew I was going to love blogging and social media when I was able to find a community of like-minded individuals who weren’t concerned with what I was “doing next” once I was out of graduate school. I love that I am inspired by others and can help others find their inspiration and motivation.


Take us through a day in your life.

My weekdays are pretty average for any cubicle-dweller: Wake up, go to work, go to lunch, go back to work, head home/run errands/be active/stay up too late. And repeat. It’s not glamorous, but it allows me the flexibility to go on trips and try new things.

When I’m at home, I am attached to my computer/phone for an embarrassing amount of time responding to emails, refreshing Twitter, drafting blog posts, rearranging my editorial calendar, updating social media accounts, and slowly working on new products. I’m usually watching TV at the same time. I go to bed later than I should, and I repeat.


How do you reward yourself?

I try to scale my rewards – I plan on ordering a bunch of fabric for a quilt once I launch my next ebook! But if I’m bribing myself to do the dishes and clean the bathroom, I’m probably going to reward myself by listening to a podcast specifically set aside for boring housework.

I have the bad habit of rewarding myself with food – it’s not something I’m proud of, so hopefully admitting it will help me kick that habit.


How do you stay balanced, or get back to centre when life happens?

I think that giving myself permission to be a human being helps me stay centered – If I’m not able to schedule all 5 blog posts for the week on Sunday night, maybe I don’t have a blog post go up one of those days that week. When I’m getting ready to launch a product/class, I am usually hunkered down in front of my computer for weeks on end and once I hit “publish” I leave the house and leave my phone behind.

It's about setting priorities and making sure my actions reflect those priorities

It’s about setting priorities and making sure my actions reflect those priorities – If my schedule is to blog on Sunday nights then making plans for that night shouldn’t be an option, BUT because my relationships are more important to me than producing free content, I make the plans and adjust my blogging schedule accordingly. When all else fails, I ditch the internet for a few hours, start a Firefly marathon, and make lists and lists of things that are on my mind and get back to square one.


Do you keep an editorial calendar for your blog? If not, do you have a favourite way of capturing & planning post ideas?

My editorial calendar keeps me sane! I have so many ideas and plans and things I’d like to share with my readers that without my editorial calendars…yes, plural…I’m not sure what I would do with myself!

KylaRoma.com Podcast: Episode One

The first podcast is available for the lovely ears of newsletter subscribers!

Episode one is an audio version of my pop culture centered talk about blog design from MBlog 2014. (That’s right, the talk I magically didn’t stress about. Still baffled, but grateful!)

In this podcast I share the top five blog design villains you’ll see out in the wilds of the internet.

Is Your Blog Design Your Superhero Or Your Arch Enemy?

These are the most common things that bloggers and businesses accidentally do to pull readers off track, distract from your goals and can actively prevent great partnerships and opportunities from finding you.

More importantly I share ways to fight back against these villains and get more out of your current design today.

Sign up for instant access to the podcast and to see the full slideshow:

This episode is packed with actionable advice I see holding so many bloggers and business owners back. The best part is that you don’t need a custom design to adjust your blog, just a little savvy and a new perspective!

There’s nothing like some blog love on Valentine’s Day, right?

Not sure what a podcast is? It’s audio you can stream or play, like a radio show only better. Because, the internet. And also, polka dots. If you’ve never listened to one before, it’s easy! Just sign up above and you’ll be emailed a big play button so you can start listening.

Huge thanks to Peter DeWolfe for welcoming me into The Hurray Collective and helping get this project up & running. (He’s such a class act, that one.)


ps – Do you have a passion project you dream of making into a business? Check out the course “Turn Your Hobby Into Your Business” on about making the most of your time & living sanely while chasing your dreams.

It features an amazing slate of bloggers & business savvy ladies, including myself, Abby Kerr & Maggie Whitley from Gussy Sews, and your access works forever!

It’s regularly priced at $150 USD, but because I’m one of the guests I have a special code for you. Use promo code LAUNCHIT to can register for $90 USD. The promotion only lasts until February 18th, so click here to explore ▶▶▶

Anxiety, Depression & Adventures in Public Speaking

I don’t write about my anxiety and depression as much as I’d like to. Mostly because it’s so folded into my experience as a person that I forget other people don’t have the same experience.

But last week I spoke about design at a MBlog, blogging conference in Winnipeg, and the experience shifted the axis of how I think about myself. Why?

I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression, and not a cute amount.

If it’s not treated, it’s a debilitating amount. The kind that puts thoughts into my head that I can’t stop and don’t want to think, makes me so exhausted from just being awake that I have to sleep for long portions of the day, and makes me feel like the stress and emotion of the world is dialed up to 9. And almost anything can tip it over the edge into a 10.

Fast forward to 2014, and last week I spoke at a blogging conference. And I had fun.

I didn’t obsess about it the week before. I didn’t freak out when I go there. I had excited jitters right before, but mostly I genuinely had fun. This isn’t a humble brag, for me it’s a full on tectonic level shift that I’m outright celebrating!

For so long I  thought that I was bad at being a grown up person. No one else reacted to things like me, or felt things like me. I thought they were dealing with what I was feeling, but better. In late 2009, my depression escalated and I spoke with a doctor who told me that my world wasn’t what being a person felt like. What I was feeling is what being mentally ill felt like – and it was probably optional if I explored treatment.

And I was so lucky. I went to therapy, and eventually the first medication I tried started to lift what I had been suffering through off of me. I went to therapy and learned about taking care of myself in deeper ways.

Now, my symptoms are barely part of my life anymore. I take care of myself, and I take a high dosage of medication everyday to make sure that my brain is getting everything it needs to work normally.

Since so much of resistance and static that made everyday so gut wrenchingly difficult has been lifted, I’m one of the happiest people you’ll meet. Not because I’m a Pollyanna, but because I’m incredibly thankful to be fully participating in my life, and feeling all of it.

In 2009, imagining that I could give a talk at a conference would have been impossible. And the idea that I could actually enjoy doing it would be hilarious.

In 2014, I had a great time. I got my ideas across with personality and warmth, and met some really fabulous people.

And yes, I definitely needed to sleep when I got home because I was very tired out. And I felt a little wired from the experience the next day. But mostly I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and astonishment for how much my life has changed.

Behind the Scenes in Diana’s Creative Life

I’m a passionate about normal people intentionally creating a unique life that they love. The Creative Life interviews are a place to dive into the stories of people in the process of creating inspired lives for themselves- whatever that means to them.

Our City Lights

Diana is an incredibly talented blogger & photographer I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with. She’s one of those people who’d just downright fascinating. Her photography is stunning and quirky, she’s always exploring and sharing her adventures, she’s queen of the bookworms, and is blogging through the loss of her sweet son Max with the love and faith of a mama lion. She’s got heart, guts and talent to spare – and I’m thrilled to share a slice of her life with you today.

Please tell us about yourself and how started blogging at Our City Lights. What’s the story of how it’s grown over time into more of a part of your life? And how did Gadchick come to be?

pink summer2My name is Diana, I’m a 32 year reader and blogger. Our City Lights began as a small LiveJournal diary 8 years ago, hoping to grow out of another less “immature” (ha!) LJ diary I grew out of. I moved to Blogger in 2007. The name is a blend of the famous City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (a spot I would frequent most at a crucial part of my growth in life) and Umbrella’s City Lights, one of my favorite songs.

Gadchick is a dream come true for me. Just like anything else, it’s a constant work in progress, but I never thought I’d have a blog with a group of women who love technology, gadgets, all things “geek” as much as I do. It’s a blog with a magazine sublet themed each issue for information. I hope to one day have the resources to keep up as fast as technology moves to update the blog and magazine.

How did you start to discover your passion for writing & building community online? Was there a turning point or “Ah-Ha” moment for you, or has it always been part of your life?

quietI was first published as a writer in junior high with terrible angst-y poetry and later writing to cynical blog posts. Moving from LiveJournal to Blogger gave me a moment of clarity- writing didn’t have to be angry or sad, especially if I wasn’t! Sharing my writing from a toy camera to a visit to the beach with a community of people who loved writing and photography was refreshing. My “Ah-Ha” moment with community began with a photography project with Ana from On Dressing Up, we began a diptych photography project, Miles Apart, inspired by A Year of Mornings book. I was transitioning from a career, school, marriage, weight issues, and friendships all at once and sometimes the only thing that would get me out of bed in the morning was the photography project. I connected for the first time with a friend across the world and it was an opportunity to experience more amazing people in my heart.

Take us through a day in your life. What do you do in a typical morning/afternoon/evening? Or take us through an hour by hour run down, if you’re feeling like sharing :)

bloggingMornings: After (now decaf) coffee, and quiet time, I tackle house chores. I worked from home for years and discovered having a clean home is giving a better quality of life for my family and I don’t mind sharing my mornings with some laundry and scrubbing.

Afternoon: I’ll be online reading emails, twitter, facebook and checking Instagram. I’ll take photos, tackle home projects, edit and prep for blogging. If I don’t have that gusto to blog, or energy for small house renovations, I’ll use my time to refresh and finish a book, try a new recipe, or just leave the house!

You’ve Got a Superpower, You Just Have To Use It

When I was little, I remember looking around at grown ups and thinking that they seemed like superheroes who had forgotten they had powers.

Adults had everything at their fingertips! They could drive cars and travel to anywhere in the world! They could eat whatever they wanted! They didn’t have to spend all day in school! They could dye their hair crazy colours, or go become professional trampoline testers! No one could tell them what to do.

kid heros

(Can you tell I’m a delightfully bossy, first-born kid?)

While it sounds precious, on a basic level the sheer scale of choice that we have is absolutely mind-blowing when you think about it.

But now that I’m an adult, sometimes I forget my superpowers – and I bet you do too.

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