Niagara Falls

Waterfall and Maid of the Mist Pretty Waterfall Rainbow Weeping Willow

About a week ago, my love and I were headed off to Niagara Falls for a fun day of adventuring. We had a bit of trouble getting there and figuring out where to park, but once we dealt with all of that, we were off.

We had plans to go to the Canadian side, but then we ended up walking all the way around Goat Island. (No, there are no goats there. Yes, I was disappointed.) We were some of the only people to go all the way around, but it was well worth it. We discovered smaller waterfalls and walked past a lot of rapids. Then we found a bench in the shade with a view of the calmer water. It was a wonderful way to relax for a few minutes and just talk.

By the time we were finished, we didn’t have enough time for Canada, so we headed back . . . and got some ice cream. Which was delicious. Like, super good. We were both hot and sweaty and gross, and the ice cream was a delicious (and overpriced) way to cool ourselves down. Totally worth it.

I had a wonderful time, and I’d love to go back again to see the other side. I’ve always heard it’s prettier. 😛

My Top 4 Christian Magazines for Inspiration

4 Inspiring Christian Magazines

A year or two back, I’d been on a hunt to find a solid Christian magazine. There were a couple reasons—

First, I was beginning to think that maybe, as I learned the craft of writing, I could write for some of those magazines. Second, I also wanted to find a place where I could get faith-centered encouragement and inspiration. Third, I thought it would be interesting to see what Christians outside my circle were saying, thinking, and doing about our culture.


RELEVANT was one of the first Christian magazines that I discovered. They’re also the only magazine I pay a subscription for. It’s written by young people, for young people, and ever since I found the magazine, I’ve loved that about them.

We talk about culture and real-life issues that other faith-based magazines might shy away from, because we believe it’s important to address the gritty stuff of life—even when it makes us uncomfortable.

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The Joys of Poetry

The Joys of Poetry
Photo by Annie Spratt

Recently, I picked up writing poetry again. For a while, creative writing (and, sadly, any type of reading) has been off of my radar. Nothing was coming to mind, and I didn’t feel like forcing myself to write.

So I didn’t.

But I picked up a pen and a fancy new notebook and started writing. And I actually liked the words that came to sit on the pages inside. And I have this feeling, deep inside me somewhere, that I’m going to be continuing in my old habits of writing (and hopefully reading).

I’ve just started reading the book If You Feel too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. I like it a lot. It’s so raw and emotional and real. He’s got this style to him, in both his writing and his life, that gives me a strong admiration for him.

He inspires me. To be a better person, to write more, to write better. He’s just one of those people with one of those voices and one of those souls.

He’s reminded me of the thrill I get when I write. Well, not when I write. But when I write my heart.

Robert Frost Quote
Photo by Aliis Sinisalu

There’s a quote by Robert Frost,

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a homesickness or a love sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

I love this quote, especially the beginning. Poems, for me, start as gut feelings or rushes of emotion or lumps in the throat. Quite often, anyway. And I love that. I love the whirlwind and the excitement and the longing. I love seeing a poem stretch itself out, love the idea of creating something, love seeing scribbles and half-stanzas on a page.

Poetry is a dear old friend of mine, and I’m glad I’ve found it again. Creative writing (especially poetry) gives me a special way to express myself and put my emotions onto paper. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I may start posting poetry on here, but I’ll probably just keep it to my personal blog, Found and Cherished.

I’m excited to get back onto the path of writing poetry. Here’s to hoping I stick with it this time. <3

Some of My Poetry


Colors of the Evening

Deep in the Waters

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I Posted on Instagram Every Day this Week

Photo by adrian.

This past week, I decided to up my Instagram game. My main method was by posting every day, along with a few others, like engaging with a lot more users. I had a couple goals and methods (listed below) that I was looking forward to trying.

My Goals for Instagram this Week:

-Get over 100 followers.

Obviously, we all want more followers. I specifically wanted over 100 because I wanted to be able to view my demographics. With a business account, you can view follower demographics if you have 100 followers.

I started with 85 at the beginning of the week, and I made it up to 115 by the end of the week. Now, that may not seem like a lot, but it’s a 35% increase in 7 days. And it’s the best I’ve ever done.

-Drive more people here, to Thoughts.

This worked . . . sort of. The number of people that clicked through to my site from Instagram was very low before this week. I managed to double that amount by the end, but it’s still super low.

-Start talking about Pura Vida on Instagram.

Pura Vida and Instagram Tips

I’m a rep with Pura Vida Bracelets (super cool, right?), so I wanted to start letting people know that and get my promo code out there. If you buy from them, you’re supporting artisans all around the world. And if that’s not enough, many of the bracelets purchased have a portion going back to numerous charities. The company is great.

If you’re going to be making a purchase with them soon, use my code REBEKAHJOAN20 to get 20% off your order.

-Get more engagement on my posts.

This super-duper worked! My impressions (how many times my posts were seen) were up by +469, my reach (how many unique views my posts had) was up by +112, and my profile views were up by +92. I was averaging about 28 likes per post before this past week (all-time). Taking all of my posts from the past 7 days, I averaged 46 likes per post. Again, might not seem like a lot. But it’s a 64% increase in likes per post.

My Methods for Upping my Instagram Game:

-Post more.

I posted once a day (although some post more often than that). You can post more than once day, but from what I read, you need to be careful with that. You don’t want to overwhelm people’s feeds with your posts. That’s annoying and definitely not what you want.

-Engage more.

For this, I went through the hashtags I used on my posts. I’d like a lot of the pictures, and quite often I’d leave a comment. I tried to make those comments meaningful – not just the generic “that’s pretty” comment.

Tip for meaningful comments: Read the caption of the post, and then comment how it resonates with you. Don’t skimp out on putting thought into your comments.

-Create better captions.

Another thing not to skimp out on – your own captions. While your picture does a lot for your post, so does your caption. Never forget that words are important. Use yours wisely.

-Use high-quality pictures.

Posting Every Day on Instagram

Why would someone like your post if you picture is grainy, blurry, or bad quality? I’m not perfect at this one, but for the most part, I don’t post pictures I take on my phone. I take my pictures with my Canon Rebel t7i, edit them on my computer, and then post them on Instagram. I usually try to avoid filters/editing with Instagram as well.

-Find a variety of relevant hashtags.

This one was fun. I already have a few hashtags I always use (#thedailybasic, #photosinbetween, and #thatsdarling), and a few favorites, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to use around 10(ish) for each post.

So I researched. I did Google searches and Pinterest searches and came up with travel hashtags, fashion hashtags, blogging hashtags, etc. And then I incorporated those into my posts.

Tip: only use relevant hashtags. Don’t use travel hashtags for a fashion post, etc.

-Look at demographics.

I hit 100 followers in the middle of the week. For the most part, my followers were on Instagram more often from 3-5 PM and later. So I’d usually try to post within that timeframe. I didn’t one day and posted in the late morning (around 11), and that post didn’t do nearly as well as the others.

Read Instagram Demographics

Lesson learned: listen to what the demographics are telling me.

-Manage time wisely.

This was a tough one. Each day I’d come home somewhere between 2:30-3:30, be exhausted from work, and the last thing I’d want to do would be to come up with a good caption for my post. I had already laid out the picture and the hashtags for each day, but not the actual post. That I left for the day of.

You can read my post (including some tips) on time management here.


Overall, I’m happy with how my Instagram grew this week. Now let’s see if I can keep it up! Have any tips or comments? Leave them below! I’d love to hear from you.

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