I can’t believe 2017 is coming to a close. I mean, isn’t just yesterday that I started my first internship, had to move out and learn how to live on my own?

But here we are, 11 months later. 2017 was a pretty eventful year for me (we’ll discuss this in another post), but I’m super excited for what 2018 has in store!

One thing that has been on my mind a lot lately is the fact that in less than a year, I’ll be a college graduate. And no, I don’t intend on going to grad school. So that means that I’ll have to get out on the market and try to fend for myself. But that also got me into thinking: what will become of my blog? Ever since I’ve been on an internship, I feel less and less connected to the college world, and I think it reflected in my posts. I used to define myself as a “college blogger”, but now I’m not so sure anymore, especially as I’ll be a college graduate in a couple of months. I’m trying to define my new direction, which is why you’ll see (and have seen) new content on this blog leading up to my graduation. I’m trying to figure out what my new focus will be, and while I do have a pretty good idea of where I want to take things after graduation, I need your help in doing so. I want to create content that YOU want to read and that’ll be helpful to YOU.

That’s why I decided to ask for your help directly with this reader survey! The last time I conducted a reader survey, it was super helpful, so I thought who better to help me figure out where to take things next better than the people who actually read this blog? I do have quite a few things in store for AWA in the upcoming year, so I want to make sure that everything that you want to see is taken into consideration and can be made happen.

So without further adieu, please take a few seconds to fill out this survey! I tried to keep it short and sweet, so I would really appreciate it if you took some time to answer the questions truthfully. Your thoughts and opinion mean A LOT. I really want to make sure you guys enjoy the content I’m putting out there, because it’s meant for YOU! I want AWA to be like catching up with your bestie over coffee, whether it is for real talk and advice on anything from college to career or for inspiration on all things travel and books. And then some. I want AWA to be a go-to spot for you. So if it’s not doing its job… PLEASE let me know!

AND, as a thank you for your feedback and support, I decided to give away a $100 gift card to Sephora to one lucky gal who fills out this survey! Just make sure to leave your email address in the form and you’ll be automatically added to the list. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner on January 1st, so make sure you enter before the ball drops in Times Squares! (December 31st at 23:59 EST)

I don’t know why, but lately, I’ve been sharing my blog more and more often with the people I know in real life. Most people in my direct entourage know about it, so it now comes to me more naturally. It’s not this big secret anymore, and I’m talking about it more openly to the people around me (yes, even people that I’ve only just met!). I used to be ashamed of it (I didn’t want to be seen as this weird girl who spends all of her time writing fanfiction in her room), but now I’m proud of what I have accomplished.

More and more people tell me they know about my blog and I always find myself surprised to find out they actually read my posts regularly. Why? Because there’s actually no trace of them doing so!

You have a blogger friend and you're not sure how to show them you care? Click through to find out what are the 10 things you can do as a reader to support bloggers!

Friends and family members have asked me how they can support my blog even though they are not bloggers themselves. While I do appreciate the verbal feedback, there are also tons of ways for non-blogger readers to show their support online! (I actually believe it means even more when the readers are not blogger themselves). Here’s what you can do to support your blogger friends.  View Post

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I’ve hit the biggest creative slump lately. That explains why I’ve barely posted anything on here or on Instagram in almost a month. I tried several times to come up with something, but every time I ended up staring at a blank screen, sighing loudly, and turning off my laptop. Been there?

Feel in a creative rut? Here's what you can do to get through it.

Let’s be honest: this sucks. There’s nothing worse than wanting to get your creative juices out and not having any good ideas. But don’t worry, if I can live through a creative rut, so can you! It happens even to the best of us.

I thought I would make the best out of this situation and try to help you go through a creative rut without losing your mind!  View Post

Today we’re celebrating a big milestone on the blog. After writing over 100 posts, I am proud to say that I’ve been blogging for two years! I honestly find it hard to believe that I’ve had this little corner of the Internet for so long now! It feels like just yesterday that I was deciding that a blog would help get me out of my boredom during the summer break between CEGEP (a Quebec thing) and university. Little did I know that it would turn into what it has become! If you had asked me two years ago if I thought I would be where I am right now, I would have laughed in your face. Me, a blogger? But I’m so happy I didn’t give up after two weeks! I’m proud of what I’ve turned this into, and I cannot wait to continue this adventure with you guys!

One of the things I always want to do as a blogger is to be more opened to my readers. I don’t share that many pictures of myself, and I have to admit that I hate being the center of attention (but I also kind of love it too? It’s hard to explain – I’m complicated).  So I try to compensate by telling you bits and pieces about my life through Instagram and Twitter. But I want to do the same on the blog too! Which is why today, I have decided to answer YOUR questions! All month I’ve been collecting questions from my readers, and I’m happy to be sharing the answer with you today!

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Ah, Instagram. I hold a love-hate relationship with this social media platform. (As most bloggers do.) I love how visual it is and how it allows me to develop my photography skills and express my creativity, but I HATE the new algorithm. I have been struggling with growing my account for months now (probably because I don’t put that much effort into it), but one of the things that I’ve learned is the importance of hashtags. Why? Because it allows you to expose your pictures to a brand new audience! My Instagram account may have a small following (about 600 followers), but I have an engagement rate of about 20-30%, depending on the photo. How do I achieve that? By using the right hashtags!

Want more likes and comments on your Instagram pictures? Click through to find out what my 30 favorite hashtags to generate engagement on Instagram are!

Did you know that you’re allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram? And some people are using only a portion of what they are allowed! To me, it’s like saying a blogger doesn’t use only Twitter or Pinterest when they could be using both. You have to use everything you are given to ensure you get the best reach possible! I know it can look spammy to use 30 hashtags in your caption. So what I suggest is putting only a few in your actual caption, and put the rest of them in a comment. The hashtags in your caption are the ones you want people to click on and interact with the most; the rest can be put in the comments.

I also suggest switching them up every once in a while. Switching them us every once in a while allows you to expose your photos to a brand new audience. Since Instagram changed its algorithm, it has become harder and harder for influencers to get their photos seen. While this new algorithm penalizes accounts who use bots (which is a very good thing), it has also made it nearly impossible for users with a smaller following to grow their account. So my tip? Use the right hashtags for your pictures. It’s okay to use some generic, lifestyle hashtags with all of your pictures, but I also suggest using some that are more specific about what you’re posting. Travel photo? There’s a hashtag for that. Coffee shot? There’s a hashtag for that too. Honestly, I think the best way to do it is to mix it up!

But the best way to generate engagement is… to engage with other users. Interact with other people using the same hashtag. Like their pictures, leave thoughtful comments. Follow your faves if you want to! The thing is, the more you engage with others, the more likely people are to reciprocate the gesture.

So, ready for some hashtags that will boost your engagement? Here are 30 of my favorites:

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