Good Morning!  Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get my Day 2 recap up.  Before I get to the recap, I have to say I was impressed with our stay at the Moody Gardens Hotel.  The room was beautiful and (more importantly) comfortable.  Especially the bed.  Have you ever noticed how hotel room beds (even nice hotels) are just crummy?  My roomie, Tamara and I both slept like babies, which was much needed considering we left Houston at 6:30am Friday to drive down to the conference.

Ok, back to the recap!  My favorite session of the conference was first thing on Saturday, so I’m going to dive right in and tell you all about it!

Hotel Room at Moody Gardens in Galveton, Texas

Give Yourself a Raise: Practical Ways to Increase your Income Online

The morning keynote was “Give Yourself a Raise: Practical Ways to Increase your Income Online” by Bjork Ostrom.  If you don’t already know, Bjork Ostrom is the COE (Chief Over Eater) over at Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro.  He used to be in a band, which was pretty obvious once he got on stage.  He was totally comfortable and quite hilarious.  This picture is Bjork helping our brains warm up.  It was quite effective, considering everybody was wide awake after laughing at our failed attempts to follow his simple directions.

Bjork Ostrom of Food Blogger Pro and Pinch of Yum at Blog Elevated Conference in Galveston, Texas

To say that Bjork (and Lindsay) are qualified to teach about monetizing your blog would be an understatement.  Three years ago, when they started publishing their monthly income reports, their income for the month was $21.97.  Last month, their monthly income from their blog was over $32,000.  Their secrets?  Blood, Sweat, Tears and Mistakes.

No, but seriously, they gave us a hefty helping of practical advice, with a dollop of humor and motivation on the side.  Their 5 Essential Types of Online Income are:

  1. Advertising
  2. Affiliate Marketing (as an affiliate and merchant)
  3. Products
  4. Sponsorships
  5. Freelancing

They covered the first three in this session.  I wish I could say they had another session to cover the last two, but sadly, that was not the case.  Another day, perhaps!

Here are my notes from the session, which was jam-packed with juicy tidbits.  So, if you have a blog, I highly encourage you to go over the notes and write down a few action items you can take.  Bjork and Lindsay have a way of breaking down complicated topics and making them seem really simple.  And, hey, I’m all about simple, man.  Their teaching style was 4 stars in my book.

That’s one of the reasons I went ahead and signed up for their membership site, Food Blogger Pro, to help take Very Veganish to the next level.  And, in keeping their Bjork’s advice, I also signed up for their affiliate program, so that link there – you guessed it – it’s an affiliate link.  See I’m already checking off action items!  If you click that and sign-up, I will receive a commission.  I’ve already learned so much from Bjork and Lindsay’s sessions and the first few lessons of Food Blogger Pro, that I can wholeheartedly recommend it.  Plus, it’s only $1 to sign-up. Sweet!

Facebook Isn’t Dead

Ok, I’ve gushed enough about Bjork.  Onto Facebook!  I admit I was skeptical about this session.  Working in social media, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  They keep screwing with my clients pages!  Argghhh!  But, Holly Homer told us to let go of our Facebook aggression.  Ok, Holly, I’ll try.  Holly walked us through her 7-step system to resurrecting our Facebook pages and keeping them in Facebook’s good graces.  Holly did this herself, growing her Facebook page to 800,000 likes in 9 months.  Ok, I’m listening.

Holly Homer’s 7 Steps to Resurrecting your Facebook Page:

  1. Turn off RSS feed to Facebook – Only post to Facebook ON Facebook (don’t use 3rd party schedulers, like HootSuite, Buffer, plugins, etc.)
  2. Consistently increase your post frequency + no tagging/hashtags
  3. Look at your Facebook Insights to see what’s working and what’s not working
  4. Do more of what’s working and less of what didn’t work
  5. Determine your goal content and schedule that first.  Then, layer in page boosters (questions, sharable images, videos & posts that attract interaction).  Top it off with a generous amount of other people’s amazing stuff.
  6. Be Consistent with your content (she recommends at least 2-4 times per day).  Make your content an even mix of goal content, page boosters and other people’s amazing stuff.
  7. Repeat. Adjust. Try something. Adjust.

Now you know what to do, chop chop!  Make it happen!  Here are my more detailed notes.  If you need help executing these suggestions, let me know.

Making the Most of Your Camera: An Easy Intro to Manual Settings

Do you want to take better pictures?  [all hands raise] Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Who doesn’t want to take better pictures? That would be a better question. Lindsay Ostrom (Bjork’s better half and the culinary genius behind Pinch of Yum) taught us how she improved her food photography in “Making the Most of Your Camera: An Easy Intro to Manual Settings”.

More blur is sometimes just more blur. Do the "background blur" the right way, using aperture on your DSLR.

She covered the equipment she uses (details in my notes) and some easy adjustments that make a big impact.

The Big Three [settings that make the most difference]

  1. Aperture = Light + Blur
  2. Shutter Speed = Light + Action
  3. ISO = Light Sensitivity


Want to take better pictures? A handy dandy chart to help you out with those manual settings on your DSLR. Pin now, refer to it later!

Personally, I don’t own a DSLR, although I’ve toyed with the idea.  Instead, I now use my iPhone 6 + the Camera+ app, which offers some of these same manual setting options.  I know it probably doesn’t compare, but I’d like to see if I can shoot some really stellar food photography with it.  We shall see!

Ok, that’s all!  There are tons of actionable items in my notes, so share with me.  What’s ONE thing you got from this recap that you’ll be applying this week?  Tell me in the comments!

Abi Cowell is married to a stubborn Yankee gamer and mother to two curious and free-spirited boys, who have impromptu lightsaber battles in her living room. Her hair is rarely blow-dried and size-11 flip flops are her shoe of choice. You’ll find her in the kitchen, if all else fails. And, just in case you’re wondering: She's a Mac.


  1. A recap of the Blog Elevated Conference and the weekend of Houston Roller Derby Championships. A recap of the Blog Elevated Conference and the weekend of Houston Roller Derby Championships.

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