June 2015 / Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant


The San Diego County Fair Tradition

Monday, June 29, 2015

It's that time of year again! My birthday? No. Christmas? No. It's fair time!! One of the most highly anticipated things to do in San Diego during the summer is to attend the San Diego County Fair. Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the SD Fair is over 100 years old. I'm a weirdo & still call it the Del Mar Fair even though they changed the name about 10 years ago. This year's theme is A Fair to Remember: a Celebration of World's Fairs & Balboa Park. Clever, no? 

san diego fair
san diego fair

The San Diego County Fair is something I've frequented ever since I was a wee lass; now it's an honored tradition with my boyfriend. We go at least once a year & 2015 was our third year. The Fair opened on June 5 & its last day is July 5. The Fair is closed Mondays as well as the first two Tuesdays. There's so much to do but not much time to do so!

san diego fair
san diego fair

It's nostalgic traipsing around, eyeing the carnival rides, & looking at all the amusing games to play. There's the hoop toss or basketball throw or that thing where you shoot a squirt gun at a target. You can win enormous stuffed animals of Minions (it's so fluffy I'm going to die!!!) , Pokémon, giant donuts or whatever your heart desires. 

san diego fair
san diego fair

Of course it wouldn't be the County Fair if you didn't indulge in a little junk food. It's known for its plethora of fried foods. This time we only got a seemingly simple yet sinfully satiating cinnamon roll smothered in cream cheese frosting. In other years I tried fried Oreos. I was surprised that they actually were pretty appetizing. Obviously, fair food isn't something to indulge in on the regular, but at the fair it's absolutely worth a shot. 

san diego fair
san diego fair

Take a spin at the crazy rides. Look at the different animals. Jam out to the live bands. Peruse the woodworking. Browse the gallery of paintings & photography. The Fair is basically a museum, amusement park, & food court all at once with a tiny hint of Disneyland to do your share of people watching. I love seeing all the old couples holding hands, the middle school kids with their crew, & the parents pushing around a stroller while simultaneously chasing after their rambunctious toddler. 

san diego fair
san diego fair

The Fair is a longstanding tradition in San Diego. Tickets are $15 but there are a variety of deals if you know where to look. One of my favorite things to do is head over to SD Fair on Friday for the Friday Night Funnies, a comedy show. Do you have a fair local to you? What's it called? What's your favorite thing to do? Which of these photos is your favorite? :]

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Carmen's Summer Mini Giveaway! (Closed)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Giveaway time!! I just wanted to do a mini giveaway for my dear readers!! This is open to everyone located in the United States, as this is not a sponsored post. These were purchased by me & postage will be paid by me. Sorry international friends. :[ Simply enter via the Rafflecopter box down below. This is a mini giveaway but a giveaway none the less! You'll win a pair of Forever 21 chevron cutout hoop earrings as well as a cool arrow necklace! :]

arrow necklace

arrow necklace

chevron hoops

What you'll win:
+ Arrow necklace. Chain necklace with arrow pendant. High polish finish. Lobster clasp. Lightweight.
+ Chevron cutout hoops. Pair of faceted hoops featuring cutout chevron pattern. Post backs. High polish finish. Medium weight.

1. Please enter by choosing one, any or all of the options below.
2. To enter, you must be located in the U.S.A.
3. No giveaway accounts.

This summer giveaway ends at 12 a.m. on July 3.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for reading & supporting my blog. I love hearing from all of you. Writing has always been a passion of mine & it's so wonderful to share my world with you. I thank you for reading, following along, adding your insight, & simply being there for the ride. Stay tuned for more! :]

Please answer me this: what's something you'd like to see/see more of on the blog? :]

Dark vs. Light || A poem

Friday, June 19, 2015

Look, I don't want to see you
in any kind of vision.
You're haunting, taunting my mind
treating it like a prison.
Well, let me tell you something
you probably ought to know.
You executed me once,
Truth is you softened the blow.
I dream about it often:
I'm flying high in the air,
escaping from what kills me,
but you greet me with despair.
Seems it's inevitable
that you'd stir up a terror.
Karma will get you, I know.
Call it trial & error.
I admit there's no denying
You may have won the first fight
That was then, this is now &
darkness always falls to light.
I am illuminated
by the ghost of the prior.
Consider me as a sun
Burning noble ball of fire.
I shall triumph past darkness,
shining like the brightest star.
My journey doesn't stop here
I'll continue to go far.
Bid adieu to all evil,
the wicked & the corrupt.
This is a revolution;
The intent is to disrupt
you from your malignant plot.
One sip from the holy grail
& it acknowledges that
the good will always prevail.

A poem by Carmen Varner

ferris wheel


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8 Tips to Help You Land a Job Interview

Monday, June 15, 2015

Getting a job can be an arduous task. There's the résumé, the applying, the job interview, & then finally, obtaining a job. It may take several résumé drafts, hundreds of applications, & countless interviews to finally nail a career. Keep trying. It's a rough world out there, but the only person standing in your way is you. You can do it. Try & try & then try again. Take a look at these tips on how to land a job interview & see what you can work on. :]

land a job interview

This is a photo of my very first day as social media director. After applying, I got a call for an interview. I went in a couple days later for the interview & then got a call I landed the job! These tips on how to get a job interview are based on personal experience, the experience of others, research, & common knowledge. I hope you get the career of your dreams. :]

1. Change the verbs on your résumé - Instead of boring words like "helped" or "created," switch the verbs to something more powerful. "Spearheaded" & "maximized" sound superior. Hopefully you already have a résumé. If not, you really need to do that. Reference 185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome for some word inspiration.

2. Research the company - Sending a general email with your résumé won't help you stand out. Do your research on the company. Learn the basics & then some. Yep, that takes time but that could help land you an interview & possibly a job. Who is the CEO? What does the company do? Check out their social media pages to understand their everyday presence. Add some of those details into your initial query.

3. Do a mock interview - Practice your skills answering job-related questions. Take a look at 100 Potential Interview Questions & then create some answers. Have a friend or family member randomly pick questions for a mock interview. Do your best to answer them appropriately. Practicing can alleviate some of the stress & help you appear more put together in emails, phone conversations, & once you head to the real interview.

4. Apply, apply, apply - Cast a wide net. Don't apply to your one dream job & call it a day. Apply to many jobs & then apply to some more. Check multiple websites to view their available job options. Try CareerBuilderCraigslistIndeedMonster, & even browse your own city's job boards. 

land a job interview

5. Use your connections - Ask friends or family if they know of any gigs. Post a Facebook status with your qualifications. "Hey friends. I'm looking for a job in the social media, writing, or editing field. Please message me if you know of anything." Sometimes people are aware of things that you never thought of. Doesn't hurt to try.

6. Clean up your social media profiles - Employers will undoubtedly search for your online presence. Make sure your Facebook profile is private. You may want to temporarily make your Instagram & Twitter accounts private as well. If not, delete those crazy party Facebook photos & profanity ridden Tweets. Your would-be boss may see them & choose to interview another applicant instead. Delete, edit, or make your social media profiles private.

7. Follow up - Did you apply to a job last week & never heard anything back? Email your contact once more with a follow up. It shows perseverance & your proactive attitude. Obviously, don't hound them or be obnoxious. Inquire about the status of your application, thank them for their time, & that's it. Just one follow up email will do.

8. Try something new - If you're still having a hard time landing an interview, you should think outside the box. Do something offbeat compared to what you've been doing. Maybe you need to reformat your résumé, search for a job on foot rather than online, or redo your cover letter. Don't give up!

Finding a job is no easy task, but with a little elbow grease & some tips to help you, you can land a job interview in no time. Which of these tricks can you achieve today? Which was the most helpful? What's your #1 piece of advice on how to get a job interview? Please share your experience! :]

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Apple Blossoms & Florals // OOTD

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Mixing prints can be a daunting task. Every time I see someone pull it off it inspires me to do the same, so I tried my very best. I dusted off a vintage dress I bought at the thrift store several years back. It's been a favorite of mine; I've nearly worn it to death. 

apple blossoms ootd

apple blossoms ootd

There's something so satisfactory about having a piece of clothing else has. Forever 21 is great for basics & staples, but sometimes you walk down the street & see two girls with your same cardigan. After one too many washes, my dress shrunk to an "I can see your butt cheeks" degree. It was then that I decided to make a change, switch it up.

apple blossoms ootd

apple blossoms ootd

I layered the vintage floral dress with an open back Chloe K crop top I got from Nordstrom Rack a couple years ago. That way I could pull the dress down slightly to cover my bum. Yippee! I figured the prints were small enough that the combination wasn't a complete eyesore. The Chloe K apple blossom crop, the tiny yellow floral dress, & the black backgrounds of each made a sensible mixture.

apple blossoms ootd

apple blossoms ootd

apple blossoms ootd
Dress: Vintage // Top: Nordstrom Rack  // Boots: my grandma // Bracelet: Claire's // Ring: Local shop

After my Nana passed away last July, all her stuff had to be sorted through, tossed, donated, or taken. I took many of her clothes, shoes, & jewelries to keep her memory alive. The funky boots are hers. These photos were taken in Santa Ana on my weekend trip. It's nice to get away for a bit, especially since I had a pretty packed adventure. 

What do you think of mixing prints? Did I pull it off? Would you try out this trend? Do you wear any of your older relatives' clothes? :]

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How to Identify Spam Comments & Why You Shouldn't Publish Them on Your Blog

Monday, June 01, 2015

For bloggers, comments are wonderful to receive. It's heartwarming to know people read your blog & have something to say about it. But there's something you should be aware of: spam comments! I want to talk to you about how to identify spam comments & why you shouldn't publish them on your blog.

Now I'm not talking about those generic comments from fellow bloggers that go something like this: Great post! Follow me on Bloglovin. Here's my Facebook page & don't forget to check out my blog! Those comments are pretty annoying too & the author ought to read up on the DOs & DON'Ts of Leaving Blog Comments, but they don't have the same level of harmful spam. Keep reading to learn more!

identify spam comments

What does a spam comment look like?
Spam comments may seem genuine but they are often copied & pasted, can be vague & even plain old dumb. For example the comment below sounds like it could be real. They start out by saying they rarely comment & then making a remark about readers, so it sounds like it could be a genuine comment.

But here's how you know that it's spam: the second part of their comment asks about my social media profiles because they supposedly want to follow me. Well if you actually read my post -- or any of my posts -- I always include a list of my social media profiles, so obviously this is some sort of generic spambot comment with no thought value. Followed by a random link to a strange site. No thanks!

How do I identify a spam comment?
Spam comments are often created by spambots & sometimes humans too. A spambot is an automated computer program designed to send out spam. The first & most obvious way to identify a spammy comment is if it landed in your spam comment area. That's why I make sure to approve every comment before it's published so I can monitor & control the content on my blog. 

The second way to know if it's spam: most spammers use anonymous comments. They don't leave their email, their name or any way to get back to them. 

Now take a look at the comment itself.  It's usually generic, vague, & nonsensical. Does it have any relevance to the post or your blog at all? Do they mention things that don't pertain to you or the post? DELETE IT!

A quickie guide to identifying spam comments:
+ lands in your spam folder
+ anonymous 
+ no email address or name
+ generic, vague, nonsensical comment
+ includes random link or keywords

Why shouldn't I publish spam comments?
You may want to increase the number of comments on your post, but publishing a spammy comment is toxic to your blog. Spam comments are a way of spamdexing. What the heck is spamdexing? It's a way of manipulating search engine indexes. I whited out the spammy links on the comments (uh hello, I don't want to perpetuate their websites!!), but the links are often long, have random keywords, numbers & letters, & overall, don't seem right.

According to Wikipedia, when you publish their comments you indeed help them increase their ranking; the spammer's commercial site gets listed ahead of other sites for certain searches, which increases the number of visitors & possible customers. Don't help them out & don't publish their comments!


Spread the word about spam comments. When you publish these robotic comments, you help spam sites get more views. Blogging should be exciting & engaging. Take note & don't let those spambot comments fool you!  Have you had any spamdexing comments? Did you learn anything new? :]

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