Archives for August 2017

Simplify Your Life with the HP AMP 100

Disclosure: I was provided with the new HP AMP 100 printer from HP, however all options are my own.

Confession time: My printer is old. Like really old. So old that when someone asks me to print, sign, and scan something and then email it back to them, I visibly cringe because it’s such a long process that will take me forever to complete. Time is money, and I like to be efficient. That being said,  I would rejoice when I could fill out a form online and not have to do this long painful task. It was that. Bad.

However, I can honestly now say after geeking out about my new HP AMP 100 printer all week, that my work life has been changed and the whole process is way less painful than it was before. Actually, it’s downright fun now!

This printer is super compact, connects to your wireless network, and has a Bluetooth speaker (say what!) That’s right. You can listen to your music, print and scan, all while also charging your phone (USB port) and even answering a phone call with the built in mic.

Ok, let’s back up a minute and I will walk you through the print/scan/email process, because I just love talking about it.

First of all, you download the free HP Smart app. Right in the app it tells you your ink cartridge levels, and you can order more ink right then and there if needed. So convenient. Next, you push the button to print, and can pick something from your camera roll, or you can choose to print a document. Once you print, go back to the app and hit “scan to email”, and the camera on your phone automatically picks up the size of your photo, and makes it into a document that can be scanned. You can do several sheets at a time, and when you are done, you just enter in the email address you want to send to and you are done! No waiting for the “scanner lamp
to warm up or making sure you put the paper facing the right way on the scanner bed. It’s just like taking a photo from your phone but the format is way better and more professional looking.

Ok so back to the speaker. You can stream music from your favorite apps and enjoy amazing high quality sound, featuring Smart Amp technology. if you pair the printer with your phone, then you can easily answer calls with amazing clarity. So many uses for this printer!

HP amp

The price of the printer is only $129, so I feel it’s super affordable and would be great in a college dorm room, or home office (like mine!). I am all about efficiency and saving time, and the HP AMP 100 fits the bill, and has made me a happy girl boss!

QOTD: What is your favorite feature of this printer? 

Grow Your Instagram Following

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about growing your Instagram following. As I prepare to launch my ecourse next month on making money from home as a social media manager, I want to make sure everyone gets up to speed with their own social profiles, and that you know the basics so you can dive right into my course when it’s ready. Don’t forget to snag the freebie at the bottom of the page. It will also allow you to get updates about my course release!

instagram following

Instagram happens to be my current favorite social media platform. I love it because there are two separate things I can do on the account.

-One, I can post visually appealing photos to grow my following and tell my brand’s story, and

-I can also use Instagram stories to get a little more personal and behind the scenes.

It’s a great way to still post photos without cluttering up your feed with things that just don’t fit. I talk more about Instagram stories in my freebie so be sure to check it out.

Your Feed:

Ok let’s talk about your main feed and things you can do to get more followers. First of all, you want to make sure no one of your photos are blurry, and that they make sense in your feed. If you have a very narrow market, like only posting photos of coffee mugs, don’t randomly throw in a photo of a dog. It just confuses your readers who have come to expect a certain thing. Now if you are a lifestyle blogger like me, you have a little more creative freedom, but that doesn’t mean I just post whatever I feel like.

When people come to your page to decide if they want to follow you or not, they are going to take a peek at your feed as a whole, and if it confuses them or has photos that just don’t make sense, you may get passed over. Think of it this way:

If you went into a shoe store and every time you visited they had lots of shoes, that would make sense right? Then what if one day you went into the store and they were selling school supplies instead of shoes. Wait a minute, but every other time I came in there were shoes? If I had known it was going to be something different than what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have come, right? Think of your feed the same way. If your audience is used to you only posting pictures of your kids, or only posting workout photos, or only posting food photos, and if you all of the sudden start throwing in pictures of cats or rainbows, they may not understand what is going on.

Editing Photos:

I edit every single photo before it goes on Instagram in some way shape or form. Some it’s as simple as cropping in the app, and some get edited on my computer in Picmonkey. Still others get touched up in apps like Snapseed, which is free in the app store. You want your lighting, cropping, and exposure to look the best it can. If I know I’m taking pics for Instagram only, I will set my iPhone camera to “square” so I don’t have to worry about cropping so much or having a photo that doesn’t fit correctly. I also use an app called Isntasize to size down things for me to fit in Instagram. (Snapseed is shown below)

Comment Pods:

Another great way to get better engagement on Instagram is to join comment or like pods. They have gotten very popular since Instagram introduced the new algorithm. Basically, you join a group of people (usually between 10-20), and every time one of you posts a photo, you direct message it to the group in a group chat within Instagram or on an app like Telegraph, then everyone knows to go and like and or comment on the photo to help boost the posts engagement rate. Think of it as a I’ll scratch my back if you scratch yours. It really only works if everyone actually posts and shares and comments, and the best ones have people engage within the first few hours a photo is posted. I am a part of a couple of pods, some have worked and some haven’t. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work they are on the front end and decide they don’t want to do it, but that’s because they don’t see the value in it or don’t take their business seriously enough. I encourage you to find one or two pods to join!

Links:

A great free tool I use to drive traffic to my blog is called Linktree. It’s a website where you can actually add buttons that link to different posts within your blog. So when you click on the link in my profile, you then can choose which of my posts you want to visit. I can update these at any time, whenever I have a new post or what to highlight an old post. Super easy and effective.

Instagram following

 

Hashtags:

hashtags are great for allowing people to find your content, but they can also be a great tool if used in reverse, for you to find people to follow that could potentially become YOUR followers. Search some common hashtags that have to do with your niche, and find some accounts that you like.

When it comes to you using hashtags on your own photos, hashtags with more photos associated with them are not always the way to go. Try to find some hashtags with less than 100k photos and use those. Your photos have a better chance at staying at the tops of those feeds than using hashtags that have been used several million times.

Another tip if you are a social media manager for a brand especially, is to create a branded hashtag that you use when posting, and that you can encourage others to use when posting about your product or service.

Also be sure to use the location/geotagging so that you appear in local searches for photos!

Be nice:

A tried and true way to gain followers on Instagram is to follow other people, and genuinely like and comment on other photos. Don’t be one of those people who thinks they are better than everyone and is only following 11 people. Use hashtags and find people with great content that you like, and go like and comment on some of their photos. To get their attention, I suggest liking about 5 photos so they will see them in their notifications easier and see that it’s all from one person. What I DON’T like is when people do this just to get a like, then they don’t follow you back, or they do but then unfollow you the next day. There will always be people that play games like that, so just try to ignore it and not let it bother you.

I try to set aside time a couple times a day to like my friends photos, and then search for new friends and people to follow. Just be a real person and it will go a long way I promise!

Thanks for following along! If you want to get tons of great info just like this, but ALL about Instagram stories, be sure to download my free printable cheat sheet here!

HEADS UP: I will be doing a post every week for the next month discussing growth hacks for four different social media platforms, all leading up to the pre-launch and launch of my new social media management E-course. If you are interested in news on my course but don’t care for the freebie, I encourage you to follow the link and subscribe anyway (you don’t have to download the cheat sheet), so you will be first to hear news on my pre-sale (which will be when the course is offered at it’s LOWEST PRICE!)

 

Protein on the Go

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

I workout a lot, but for some reason I am constantly struggling to get enough protein in my diet. I don’t eat fish, so am limited to chicken and beef mainly, and well lets face it, that can get old after awhile and hard to eat at every meal. I am also the mom to a busy little girl, and our household is always on the move. A lot of days I just need something quick to eat or drink that requires little effort but is still healthy. Since it’s so hot in Florida for the better part of the year, I had taken to making smoothies a good bit for breakfast or lunch. While this is an easy on the go meal, it can still take a lot of time to prepare.

I was super stoked to see the Premier Protein shakes at Costco, and was shocked to see that the contained 30 grams of protein! That’s a LOT for a small container guys. They are only 160 calories, and have one gram of sugar. The three flavors are Chocolate, vanilla, and bananas and cream (my current fave.)

Even more exciting is that for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of shakes at Costco. Good nutrition and a good deal, now we are speaking my language.

I have been drinking 4-5 of these guys a week now and I can honestly say not only do they taste good, but they keep me full. Since I work from home, I am prone to snack a lot (confession, I know.) But after drinking one of these shakes I don’t even want to go neat the pantry because they fill me up.
Also, after a hard workout I often have a hard time stomaching most food for an hour or so, but KNOW it’s important that I refuel within the first 30 minutes to recover. The liquid nature of the drink is so much easier on my stomach and something I can drink right after a workout without problems.

For those days when I do have time to make a smoothie, I am always looking for new recipes. Check this fruity one out:

TROPICAL SUNRISE SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS OF MANGO SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen mango
• 1 sliced orange
INGREDIENTS OF BERRY SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
• 1 frozen banana
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all mango smoothie ingredients into blender.
2. Blend until smooth and pour into glass.
3. Rinse blender container.
4. Place berry ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour berry layer on top of mango smoothie. Enjoy!

Don’t forget, for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of Premier Protein shakes at Costco.

QOTD: What is your favorite type of protein smoothie? Recipe? 

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

Tea Parties and Disney Junior

Tracking Pixel

This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I’ll admit it – I am obsessed with Disney princesses. When I found out I was having a daughter, I couldn’t wait until she was old enough to enjoy all things girly and princess with me. Now that she is almost three, we are having a blast watching princess shows like Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First. I love sharing these experiences with my daughter, and love that she loves the same things I did as a little girl.

One thing we enjoy doing together is watching her favorite Disney Junior shows. One day recently when we were watching, a lightbulb went off and I thought of something really fun that we could do together. I decided she was now old enough for us to have a proper princess tea party, so we did just that the other day, and had a blast! She loved dressing up in her princess dress and serving me tea.

We talked about her favorite princesses, sang songs, and discussed her favorite shows. She is a big Sofia fan, so no surprise that one made the top five list! Her daddy even showed up and asked for a cup of tea as well.

Did you know that Disney Junior has all new episodes of shows like Elena of Avalor every FriYaY morning on the Disney channel? In the morning (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air on the Disney Channel first. Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer:

FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

 

I think on Friday we will have to watch her favorite shows together, while enjoying a nice hot cup of “tea”. I’ll even do the dishes afterwards.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

 

Back to School with Kohl’s


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I received the included Carter’s clothes as compensation.

Believe it or not, back to school time is upon us. This means new school supplies, new teachers, new memories, and new clothes. Emma Kate is currently growing like a weed, so the clothes she wore last year are getting too small (and are also getting very worn out, she plays hard!) so it was time for some back to school shopping.

Kohl’s has an amazing Carter’s collection at great prices. I couldn’t believe the amount of things I was able to get for Emma Kate for under $200,  two pair of shoes included! Not to mention, between 8/4-8/20, there is a 40-50% off sale on Carter’s playwear.

As Emma Kate has gotten older, she has also gotten more opinionated. Gone are the days of me dressing her in whatever I want, she wants some say in her outfits! With my help, we chose some fun things for back to school. I think you will see a trend here of graphic tees, tunics, and pink. I love the current styles and that I have a trendy kid. I asked her to pick out her three favorite outfits for a photoshoot to showcase the line of back to school clothes at Kohl’s, and this is what we got.

Since it’s warm most of the year in Florida, I did a lot of short sleeve tops, with just a few pants. I love how light and airy this palm tree top is, and the stretchy pink shorts are perfect for mobility in play.

Next we went with something a little more dressed up which would be an adorable first day of school outfit. I love these long tunics in more neutral colors. You can pair any color or pattern of pants or leggings with them to make even more outfits.

When it gets cool we can even put a long sleeve shirt underneath and still wear the tunic. I love versatile clothes!

This little girl loves a fun skirt or dress, so I was excited to find these pants with an attached skirt and an adorable “Daddy’s Girl” shirt that went with it. I chose these grey shoes because again, she can pair them with any color outfit!

In addition to these three outfits, I was able to get so much more. I couldn’t believe I was able to get an entire wardrobe and shoes for so little!

Don’t forget, you can shop Carter’s at Kohl’s August 4th-20th and get 40-50% off their playwear selection. Also, you can get $10 off $50 spent  – Sales Dates are: 8/4 – 8/20 (Promo code: BTS10) Happy shopping!

QOTD: Do you love or loathe back to school shopping?

My blog may contain links to other websites. I am not responsible for the privacy policies of those websites. When you click on a link, your information may be collected by those websites so I encourage you to read their privacy policies.

Affiliate links are not associated with Kohl’s.

August 2017 Goals

And just like that, my birthday month is over. So sad! To keep myself occupied, it’s time to start getting excited about fall! (Even though around here “fall” means temps in the upper 80’s as opposed to the upper 90’s!) I’m so ready for football, a crisp fall breeze, and pumpkin spice lattes (YES I said it. Don’t hate.) Anyway, let’s take a look back at my July goals and see how I made out before looking ahead at this month’s goals:

1.) Work on my e-course at least 4 hours a week: A+ YES! I worked on my social media manager e-course 5-10 hours a week, and got a lot accomplished! I am by no means done, but I am chipping away at it. I can’t wait to release it!

2.) Workout 4-5 times a week: B+ There was one week I only worked out three times because I hurt my back, but otherwise, yes I have been doing much better with this, and planning ahead is what has really helped me so there are no surprises.

3.) Clean up extra room: F Big fat fail. Not only did I not clean it, but my parents brought even more furniture that we stored in there so now I can’t even get in the door. Oy. Another day, another day.


August is going to be a great month, I can already tell. I have a good attitude about my workouts and the possibility of cooler temps coming in the next two months, as well as my course, and then our cruise in September! Here are my goals:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: We are cruising to all new ports, and on a cruise line I haven’t sailed in almost ten years. I hate not knowing things, so I want to make sure I have a plan for the sea days and port days. I know if I’m not prepared and feel in the dark I won’t relax, and I DEFINITELY need to relax on this vacation, so this is a priority.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: That’s right. I’m bumping it up. last month it was 4-5 days, and this month I want 5+ days. I expect a lot from myself and know I can deliver if I really want it, so here goes nothing!

3.) Set a date for my course launch: Setting a date for a course or book launch is very scary, because you are promising people it will be ready by a certain day. I’m not to the point where I am ready to nail down a day, but want to be by the end of the month at the latest. So scary but also exciting!

Looking for a way to help you reach your goals? I have always found that having them printed out and taped to my mirror or refrigerator help me. Click here to access my FREE fitness and goal tracker printables.

QOTD: Do you have any goals for August? Name one!

25 Random Facts

Happy Tuesday friends, and happy August! I saw this fun 25 random facts post on Tina’s blog and thought it would be fun to play along for some of my newer readers that may not know me as well. Feel free to do the survey yourself!

1. Do you make your bed? When company is coming over, yes. Otherwise..er…next question!

2. The first car that was officially yours? Officially mine meaning I paid for it or just “mine” because it was a gift? My first car my parents bought me. It was a new VW lime green new beetle named Lucy. I loved that car and drove it until I graduated college, when I got my 4Runner.

3. Three grocery items you don’t run out of? Milk (because Emma Kate would mutiny), cheese (because I would mutiny), and eggs (because Bobby would mutiny).

4. When did you start doing your own laundry? My senior year of high school my mom started making me do mine since I had to know how to for college.

5. If you could, would you go to high school again? No way. College? Heck yes!

6. Can you parallel park in under three moves? Yup!

7. A job you had which people would be shocked to know about? I don’t know about shocked, but I worked at Best Buy in college in the home theater department. I knew a lot about TV’s back then.

8. Do you think aliens are real? Nah.

9. Can you drive a stick shift? No. Never cared to learn.

10. Guilty TV pleasure? Oh so many. Game of Thrones, Outdaughtered, Counting On.

11 . Would you rather be too hot or too cold? Too hot. Cold is just PAINFUL.

12. If the world ends do you want to be one of the survivors? No way. Take me, Jesus!

13. Sweet or salty? To eat, or my personality? Heh. I love to eat sweets.

14. Do you enjoy soaking in a nice bath? Yes. But I rarely do it because it involves too much work and tub cleaning.

15. Do you consider yourself strong? In both senses yes.

16. Something people do, physically, that drives you crazy? How much time do you have? HA! I get super annoyed by people and I really need to work on it. In general rude people drive me crazy. Not opening doors for people, not saying thank you, little things like that.

 17. Something you do, physically, that you are sure drives people insane?  I say “like” a lot.

18. Do you have any birth marks? Yup I have a large spot on my upper left thigh that is a darker color than the rest of my skin.

19. Favorite childhood game? That’s tough. I played lots of board games but also liked yard games like freeze tag.

20. Do you talk to yourself? Sometimes. I talk to Bella a good bit.

21. Do you like doing jig-saw puzzles? Pre child, yes (back when free time was something I actually had a lot of).

22. Would you go on a reality show? It depends on the topic. Sometimes they portray people in ways I don’t think are fair to the person, so I would be leery of that.

23. Tea or coffee? Is the tea sweet? If not then iced coffee.

24. First thing you remember wanting to be when you grew up? A teacher. Which I was for a few years! I also wanted to be a ballet dancer and thankfully that dream died. I can’t even touch my toes.

25. No matter how much money you have or don’t have, what are you an absolute snob about? Vacation. I would rather save up for longer and stay somewhere nicer as opposed to going RIGHT NOW and being in a dump.

That was fun! Your turn. For the QOTD, answer one (or more) of these questions in the comments.