How I increased my pinterest followers from 10 to 1000 in 2 weeks




Pinterest is a great way to interact with other and advertise for yourself. A goal of mine was to reach 400 followers within a month. What happened was more than I expected. I now have 1024 followers and counting. It motivates me so much and with the help of Pinterest I can see a slight increase on my blogs traffic as well. Isn't that amazing?

Before I started my new Pinterest account I never thought I would get more than 100 followers.
The steps I followed are actually too easy and you might think that this can't be true, but it is.

If you want to know how to increase your Pinterest followers in 2 weeks, don't stop reading!

Let me tell you: it is possible to get more than that. You just have to put a little effort in this project.
I know how frustrating it can be, so I would like to share my "secrets" with you.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is that you upload a nice picture of yourself and add a description. Thi way, people will get to know you a little better.

Another thing I did to increase my Pinterest followers was to pin about 30 pins each day (I signed up for viralwoot.com if you don't know what viralwoot is: you can schedule pins so you don't have to do all the work). Staying active is a good way to make sure that you get your name out there.

It also pays off to follow a certain amount of people. But only people that are in your niche. I followed about 200 people and then I stopped and people started following me. This was one was the smartest things I did to increase my Pinterest followers. I never thought that this would work, but I did.

Of course, you want to create a couple of boards, including a "best-of board" with all your posts. The title should be clear and you should also add a description (they also function as keywords, so if someone searches for a certain for word, they will find your board).

Something I realized is, that not a lot of people comment on pins. I would highly suggest you do that, not only do you leave a good impression but you can also advertise for yourself. If someone follows you, you could send him/her a nice message, thanking them for following and to check out your blog.

And last but not least, make sure all your boards look alike. You could use Photoshop, Picmonkey or any other program to design board covers. I have started but I am not done yet. Boards that look alike make your Pinterest look nice and clean, and that is what most people like, right?

To summarize the steps you have to take:

  •  upload a picture of yourself and add a description
  • follow people with the same interests
  • create boards that represent your niche
  • create a best-of you board
  • board covers should look alike
  • get involved and stay active (pin, pin, pin)
  • comment on pins/leave a nice message if people follow you
So, you see, the steps I took to reach 1000 Pinterest followers are rather very simple. But you have to be consistent with it. If you don't work for it, you won't see any success ;)

I hope I could help you a little bit and that you found this post helpful.








Pinterest success + free printable

I have finally great news to share. My Pinterest almost has 1000 followers! I am pretty proud. Not only did I get more followers than I expected (my goal this month was to reach 400 followers), but this success also brought more traffic to my blog. It is not a huge increase, but that doesn't really matter :)

If you don't follow me on Pinterest yet, simply click the Pinterest icon in the sidebar or follow this link:


I follow back!

To celebrate my 1000 followers, I created this awesome grocery worksheet. It helps you to keep track of how much you spend each month on your groceries.












Mini series: U.S. Visa, Part 2: K1-Visa (Fiancé-visa)



If you are not married to your U.S. Significant other, the K1-Visa (also called fiancé Visa) would be the right choice for you. Maybe you have seen the show "90-day fiancé"? They are going through the exact same thing, which is very interesting and can prepare you for this important step in your life.

As I have mentioned already, the K1 Visa is for those of you, who want to come to the U.S and get married (and not vacation!, if you decide that the two of you do not want to get married, you have to leave the United States). You have 3 months (90 days) to arrange the wedding and get married. The K1-visa is listed as a Nonimmigrant visa.

I highly suggest you research which documents you need and gather them before you apply for your visa. This way you have everything you need and you won't have to wait longer than necessary (the K1-visa can take up to 6 months).

The visa is not for free. There are certain fees that have to be paid. However, some fees may vary, so there is no fixed amount you have to pay.

The fees include:

  • filing the petition (Form I-129f)
  • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee (Form DS-160)
  • Medical examination (fees vary)
  • you may have to translate certain documents and photocopy them (costs vary)
  • obtain your birth certificate, police certificate, passport etc (costs vary)
  • filing for the application to register permanent residence or to adjust status (Form I-485)

Once you start the process your petition will first be reviewed by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The length varies from case to case. Some have to wait a month or less and some have to wait 2+ months. If they approve your case (yes, they can deny it, or request additional proof of relationship), they will send it to the NVC (National Visa Center).

The NVC reviews your case once again and if everything looks good, you are able to schedule your interview appointment at your closest U.S. Embassy.

The interview itself is usually very easy and there is no need to be nervous (I was very nervous).
They ask you a few simple questions and you have to answer them truthfully (obviously).
It took me about an hour and a half from entering the embassy to leaving it. Also, you don't have to bring your documents, they already have them in their system (unless you get a mail from the NVC to bring a certain document to the appointment).

If they approve your Visa, you will get a sealed envelope which you are under no circumstances allowed to open. I am not exaggerating. If you open the envelope, your visa wouldn't be valid anymore and you would have to start the process all over again (and pay all the fees again).

Once the big day has arrived and you landed in the U.S., make sure that you have your passport and the sealed envelope ready. One thing you need to know is, that a visa does not guarantee you entry into the United states. The Customs and Border Protection, as well as the Homeland Security, make the final decision.

If you got your visa stamp, WELCOME to your new home! It is going to be an awesome journey and you will learn a lot of things and have to adjust yourself to the new culture. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend you read my post about culture shock. This might help you to ease the anxiety that comes with moving abroad and living in a foreign culture!

 


Please note that all the information listed above are by no means complete. If you need more information please visiti the following website.


 

Blog goals July 2016 + free printable



Jut a quick update before I post part 2 of my Mini-series. If you missed it, here is the link  U.S. Visa Mini Series Part 1.

I thought it might be a good idea to post my goals at the beginning of each month and the results at the end of the month. This way I can keep track of my progress and it might help other (new) bloggers, too. I know I am a little bit too late but hey, it's still the beginning of the month.

So, my goals for this month are:

  • reach 600 pageviews on one day
  • I want to write at least 2 posts a week
  • get 50 followers

I also want to get 400 followers on PInterest. It's going to be a real challenge but I think I can reach my goals!

I also have Twitter for my Blog, but I rarely use it. That's why I want to follow more people that are in my niche and tweet more. It would be nice if I could get 100 followers.

I am not really sure if I should pay more attention to my Blog's Facebook, I feel like not a lot of people "want" to like my page. As of right now, I have 106 likes. My goal is to reach 200 this month. I think it would also be a good idea to share more interesting articles and news.

In order to stay organized and have something for my files, I created this printable. This is my very first printable and I hope you like it. And who doesn't love free printables?

Click the following link to download the free printable and keep track of your goals!





If you like the free printable, please feel free to leave a comment, share & pin!




Mini Series: U.S. Visa, Part 1: General Information about the U.S. Visa




Today I want to talk about the U.S. Visa.

It can be very intimidating and a bit confusing if you start looking into the Visa process. I know that feeling. There are so many thinks you have to think about, not to mention all the documents you have to obtain. All in all, the Visa process is/can be nerve-wracking.

Today's post is about the why's, when's and how's.

There are many reasons why you want to come to the U.S.A

  • you want to work and live here
  • you want to study here and learn more about the culture
  • you are engaged or married
  • you have a Business here
  • vacation

etc. etc. etc. As you can see. There are probably a million reason why you want to come to the U.S.
No matter what your reason is, before you can even think about hopping on a plane, you have to apply for a Visa. But what kind of Visa do you need? Well, simply put, it all depends on how long you want to stay and the reason.

There are 2 main categories and a lot of subcategories.


Nonimmigrant Visa 
Immigrant Visa



Let's start with the           Nonimmigrant Visa

 The nonimmigrant Visa has about 35 subcategories. The most commonly known are probably

  • J-Visa (Au-pairs, exchange Visitors)  SEVIS
  • B1-Visa (Business Visitors)                (NA)
  • B2-Visa (Tourism, vacation)               (NA)

Other Visa in this category include a Visa for Crew Members (D) (NA) and for Foreign military personnel stationed in the U.S. (A-2, NATO1-6) (NA).

If you are wondering what the red letters in the brackets mean: before you can apply for a Visa you need to send a petition or application to either:

  • DOL: a U.S. Employer must obtain a foreign labor certification from the Department of Labor, prior to filing with
  • USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS needs to approve your petition or application.
  • SEVIS: Program approval entered in the Student and Exchange Visitior Information System.
  • NA: Not Applicable. You don't need additional approval by a U.S. government agency prior to applying for a Visa.





Immigrant Visa

There are 13 subcategories in the Immigrant Visa category.

The most commonly known Visa are:

IR-1 and CR-1: Spouse of a U.S. Citizen
K-1: Fiancé(e) of a U.S. Citizen (just to marry)
IR-2 and CR-2: certain family members of a U.S. citizen

Other examples in this category are the employer-sponsored Visa and the Diversity Visa, also known as the Green Card Lottery.

You should be aware that the whole Visa process, from filing a petition to getting the Visa can take up to a year, sometimes even longer.

There is another category which I want to introduce to you.

The ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization

If you live in one of these VISA WAIVER PROGRAM (VWP) countries and are a citizen of one of these, then you can apply for the ESTA.

There are certain restrictions for this category as well:

if you have a regular visitor's Visa, you can not apply for ESTA
your stay is 90 days or less
this Visa is for business and travel only

All you need is a valid passport, a credit card or Paypal and your contact information.

If you plan to visit the U.S. I highly recommend you visit this website: travel.state.gov.


The next post is going to be about the K-1 Visa (fiancé(e) ).

I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any further question, message me :)













Culture Shock - How to cope with it + strategies to prepare yourself before you move abroad



Today I want to talk about a topic, which is very important but often overlooked.
So you made the decision to move abroad or to study in another country for a couple of semesters. Congratulations!

The tickets are booked, the bags are packed, you are more than ready to begin a new chapter in your life.

But are you really prepared for this important step in your life?

Many people think that moving abroad is just about packing your belongings, hopping on the next plane and start living your new life. But that is not true. Do you really know the country you want to live in the next couple of years? Do you know the country's history? Do you know about the social customs, religions and even political structures? If not, now is the best time to prepare yourself for it.

Now, what is "culture shock" exactly?

Culture shock is defined as "the feeling of confusion, doubt or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as a foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to."¹ Or you also could say a "mismatch of cultural attitudes."

So, how can you prevent this feeling of confusion, doubt or nervousness? You might think it is impossible to prepare yourself or you might even think that you won't suffer from a culture shock. This not entirely true. Keep on reading.
In order to overcome this emotional rollercoaster (emotions can vary from excitement in the beginning to a depression while you are adjusting yourself in a new country), you should start way before you even think about buying plane tickets. Try to read as much as you can about this country. Google pictures, try to get to know people from there (there are usually communities from different countries in bigger cities), go to a restaurant and try the food. There are a lot of different options for you to explore.

You have to try to change your attitude towards other cultures and way of lives. If you are not willing to do that, you certainly won't "survive" in a different country. And don't forget that preparing yourself for this big step in your life will broaden your horizon and you will have an experience, no one will never be able to take away from you. If you are not willing to prepare yourself or change your attitude you should probably reconsider your wish to live in another country.

If you are going to another country it is easy to judge the culture or anything that is different than what we are used to. You need to be open-minded. Try to get rid of certain stereotypes. But you should know that no matter how well prepared you think you are, it is almost inevitable that you experience at least one symptom of culture shock. But that is okay.

What are the phases of culture shock?

You are probably thinking to yourself why there are different stages of culture shock. Isn't it just one stage (being homesick for example). The answer is no. Everyone who experiences culture shock goes through 6 different stages. The first stage starts way before you are even leaving to plane in your new country.

Preliminary stage: you are learning things about the country you want to live in. Preparation is important at this stage. This also includes preparing your family and friends for the day of your departure.

Initial euphoria: this stage begins when you arrive in your new country and usually ends after a couple of weeks.

Irritability: during this stage, you are acclimating to your surroundings. You will most likely have some feelings of frustration. This is due to the fact that you are still getting used to the everyday life. It is usually because most things will be still foreign to you. You will focus on the differences between your home and the new country. Even the smallest things can be challenging and frustrating. If you don't want to lengthen the process of getting used to a new culture you should not avoid meeting locals.

Gradual adjustment: The new culture will become more and more familiar with you. You will begin to orient yourself and frustration won't be a major part of your daily life anymore.

Adaptation and biculturalism: at this stage, you will feel more and more part of the new culture. You will also feel less foreign and your ability to function well in your daily life increases significantly.

Re-entry phase: this is for the people who do not want to immigrate to another country. But students or people who work and travel fall in this category. The re-entry phase begins as soon as you enter your home country. Once you are there, you can't wait to share your experiences with your family and friends. Your stay in another country has changed you. You gained an amazing experience no one will ever be able to take away from you.

You should keep in mind that the above-mentioned stages of culture shock don't have a specific timeframe. Some people might have a shorter time of adjustment than others. But that is okay. We are all different and there is no need to panic if you have difficulties adjusting to another culture.

What can I do to cope with culture shock?

Here are my 8 tips for you how to survive a culture shock

1. Make friends with a local. Yes. This is very important. Someone who knows the city/culture/country is a great help for your first days after your arrival and who knows, maybe he/she will be a life-long friend?

2. Find someone from your country. Or if you can't find someone, try to find someone who speaks your language. It can ease your anxiety. People who are going through the same are a great support.

3. Be a tourist. This sounds so cheesy but how do you want to get to know a different culture if you don't go out there and explore? Try the food, visit famous sites, get a haircut. Anything that brings you closer to the citizens is a good way to get to know your new country.

4. Challenge yourself. You can cooperate this step with step #3. Like I mentioned earlier, especially in the beginning, even the smallest tasks can seem pretty overwhelming. Go to the grocery store, a museum, a gym. Everything that seems normal at home might be tricky in another country. But if you mastered these steps, you can tap yourself on the shoulder and be proud of yourself.

5. Do something you already can or know. Do familiar things like cooking your favorite meal, reading your favorite book or something as simple as playing a music instrument.

6. Write a journal, make youtube videos or start a blog. Everything that helps you keep memories alive is worth a lot. And who knows. Maybe you'll get many followers who are going through the same like you did a couple of months ago?

7. Care packages from home. I can't stretch this enough. Isn't is nice to receive a package from your loved ones back home? Receiving candy you love, or a magazine? Ask your family or friends to send you a care package (and you can send them one in return as well)

8. Learn the language! Even if you are already pretty fluent in the language, it doesn't hurt to idioms and phrases. If you can master these, you are pretty close to being just as good as a native speaker. Plus, speaking a language fluently helps you to communicate with the locals and you won't have any problems if there is an emergency. You never know what could happen!

It took me about 5 months to reach stage 4&5. Right now I would say I am in a transition from stage 4 to 5. I think a major part of this is because I just got my drivers license. I now have the freedom to go wherever and whenever I want. I am not as dependent on my husband as I was before. And I already "challenged" myself. I went to my first trip to Walmart, alone! I was very proud of myself and it definitely made me feel like a part of this culture (even though I have to admit that except for a couple of things the German and North American culture are pretty much alike).

I really hope that this post was helpful and that you are now ready to conquer the world (or at least the country you are going to ;) ).






Source: ¹ www. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/culture shock

I passed my road test!




After almost 5 months in America, I finally got my drivers license!

I wanted to get my drivers license before I moved here, but unfortunately I failed my road test in Germany, which, is a lot more expensive than here in America. A drivers license in Germany costs around 1100 € - 2000 € and up. It all depends on how fast you can learn and your driving skills in general. You also have to go to a driving school, no matter how old you are (you can get your german drivers license with 16 but with certain restrictions).

So, before I could even think about driving here we had to go to the DMV. If you want to learn how to drive, you need a Learner's Permit. So you go to your nearest DMV, pay a small fee and then you take the written exam (obviously you should get the drivers manual before you take the written test and study, study, study). They will also take a picture and test your vision (which is pretty easy).

After you passed the vision screening and the written test, you get a temporary Learner's Permit and you should get your Learner's Permit (plastic card) within 10 days.

I had to wait 60 days until I could take the actual road test. But I needed this time to get used to the american streets.

I was very nervous before I took the road test. I didn't know that it was going to be sooooo easy. I mean, I knew that it was easier than in Germany (road tests are 45 minutes in Germany, sometimes up to 60 minutes).

First, I had to fill out some paperwork and then wait for the DMV representative. These were the most nerve-wrecking minutes of my life.

I had a pretty nice lady. First, she asked me to show me roll down my window, then I had to show her some of the cars lights, blinkers, wipers, the emergency blinker etc.

The time we spent on the road was ridiculously short: 5 minutes (remember...the road test in Germany is min. 45 minutes long?)

So I had to turn left a couple of times, then right and park.

I am so happy that I finally have more freedom and don't have to wait for my husband to come home.

It is a necessity to have a drivers license here in America, especially if you don't live in a bigger city, let alone a major city like New York City.

 When did you get your drivers license and what was your experience?