Web Time Wasters

Happy Memorial weekend, fellow Americans! This week, I (along with 90% of Minneapolis, apparently) attended Beyonce’s concert – severe weather evacuation and all. The rest of the week was devoted to walking around the lake with friends, grilling everything ever, sending a friend off to her new life in The Netherlands and lots of kubb! And what I mean when I say that is “friends played kubb in my vicinity while I ate elote salad and cuddled a toy poodle.”

Links for yoouuuu!


“This Skillshare Class was better than my $1,000-a-credit college business course.”

Friends, here are two things you should know about me:
1. I don’t enjoy unnecessary spending
2. I love learning stuff

This means that pretty much all my Google searches start with “How to …..” or “What’s the deal with ……”  I watch/read tutorials like it’s my job and I’m tempted to sign up for EVERY SINGLE online course that’s marketed to me.

But, uh, most online courses run $75-500. So that would be a preeeeeeetty expensive hobby.


Let’s talk about why Skillshare is better than watching a million Youtube tutorials

  • They bring in experts who haven’t taught elsewhere. Kate Arends of Wit & Delight fame teaches a course on personal + lifestyle branding, author and artist Elle Luna teaches how to use illustration to find your passions, Seth Godin (!!!) teaches a three-hour class on modern marketing!
  • Each course includes class projects and community – so you’re not just half-watching a Youtube video while scribbling notes on the back of a receipt.
  • Skillshare breaks up videos into bite-sized chunks so you won’t get overwhelmed. (How many times have you bought an online class but gotten overwhelmed by the density of the content and given up? I know I have!)

Now, I can’t promise that a one-hour Skillshare class about Pinterest will provide the same depth of knowledge as an 11-module, $350 class on Pinterest. BUT THE SKILLSHARE CLASS COSTS 99 CENTS WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE.

To test Skillshare’s catalog, I took a few courses myself and asked my “team” (aka my VA Cara and my awesome food writer Ben) to join me and tell us what they thought. 

Cara’s reviews of Skillshare’s business-y classes

 Create Your Social Media Content Strategy in Under 90 Minutes

“Dana Malstaff’s course on social media content strategy is incredibly comprehensive and easily digestible in an hour and a half. The course helps you start thinking about your business starting with yourself, your customers and their needs, and ending with your social media goals. Dana helps give some examples of reasonable goals and expectations to set which helped eliminate some of my initial ‘I’m not doing enough’ anxiety towards my current social media strategy.
The downloadable worksheets are my favorite part of the course. I enjoy having them to work through and look back on to remind myself what I’m doing and what my goals are for each social media platform.”

 The Modern Marketing Workshop

“Seth Godin is one of my business idols, when I saw him on Skillshare I was thrilled. After sitting down for almost three hours of content (break this one up by its sections!) I had taken more notes than I had from an entire business course last semester at a college that costs nearly $1,000 per credit!! You can imagine my delightful outrage.
This course presents you with tons of thought-provoking questions; I had an entire list of AHA! moments next to my general notes. I can easily see myself coming back to reference this course again each time I’m working through and developing new marketing strategies for my business.”

Ben’s reviews of Skillshare’s food + photography courses

The Perfect Grilled Cheese

“I loved this super short course! Enjoyed the set up by the Chef. Loved the layout of the recipe before starting. Learned something about cheese that I did not know! Very much appreciated the links to alternate recipe choices, the engagement by doing a contest, and the knife safety dork in me LOVED the safety piece at the end as a refresher. Totally plan on looking into other lessons by this group.” 

 Lifestyle photography

“I do not consider myself a photographer in any way, shape, or form so this course was super interesting to me. Again, I appreciated the background information of the teacher. Loved that she laid out what the objective of the lesson was and immediately gave out homework which instantly got me thinking about what I am shooting next for my own blog post. And as someone with little-to-no photography budget I loved her suggestions for alternatives. Length of the lesson was good. Would very much consider coming back for an additional lesson by this teacher!”

 My reviews of Skillshare’s lifestyle-y courses

Decluttering for creatives – Fuel your dreams and ditch distractions

“Now, getting rid of physical clutter is pretty much my second-biggest hobby, but there are more mental and emotional distractions in my life than I’d like. (Stuck on a blog post? Clearly now is the time to clean the fridge!) Kelly Jo encourages you to define and limit yourself to three big creative projects, define your project milestones, actually – you know – do the work. My work space is already quite spare and organized but I imagine those modules would be quite helpful for people with a less monk-like aesthetic. ;)”

 Flower arranging

“Lately I’ve gotten really into gardening (?!) and of course am determined to make The Absolute Most of every thing I grow. So I obviously needed to take this course. The videos are beautifully shot and I loved her ‘recipe’ for choosing colors, greenery, and bloom sizes. And the actual nitty gritty of arranging the flowers was super helpful. You’re not supposed to just cut everything to same length and shove it in a mason jar! Who knew?!”

To be totally transparent, the quality of Skillshare courses varies greatly. Some courses are insaaaanely useful, taught by industry leaders, and professionally filmed. Some are super basic and poorly designed PowerPoint presentations with monotone monologues dictated on top of them.

But you can sort the classes by ‘best,’ check out their reviews, and for 99 cents for 3 months – what have you got to lose? Why not take a few classes on Skillshare before you drop $300 on an SEO ecourse? You never know what you might learn!

This is a sponsored post but you guys know I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I mean, I’d tell you which Skillshare classes to avoid but that just seems mean.  😉

7 Types of Content That Do The Networking + Community-Building For You

blog community building tips
When I’m Secret Weapon-ing with clients, I hear the same two thing over and over and over:

1. “Are you following Pumpkin The Raccoon on Instagram?”
2. “How do I build community around my work? How do I network with other people in my field?”

To which I say:

2.  “There are lots of different things you can do to create community around your work and writing! And lots of non-gross ways to network with peers! In fact, you can create awesome content that does all the community-building and networking for you!”

7 types of content that network + build community for you!


How To Bank Happiness For Tough Times

bank happiness

How often have you seen “This too shall pass” embroidered onto a throw pillow?

It’s one of my family’s favorite sayings, something to be intoned after a layoff or a breakup and I find myself reciting it on the regular – usually while stuck in traffic.

But realistically, ‘This too shall pass’ applies to the good stuff, too. This season of life when my friends and I have free time and discretionary income, when everyone in my family is healthy, when my husband and I like our jobs and home … it won’t last forever. That’s okay! Smooth seas never made for a skillful sailor.

I’d like to make the argument for banking our happiness.


Mornings In: The Netherlands

dutch beauty routine
Those Dutch girls are gorgeous, aren’t they? All that blond hair and flawless skin – what’s their secret? Today Laura is telling us all about her Dutch beauty + breakfast routine, including what she sprinkles on top of her toast and the Dutch makeup line she swears by! (Don’t worry, us non-Dutch ladies can buy it online.)