QUARANTINED! NOW WHAT?

You’re quarantined either by yourself, with a significant other or your kids…now what? If you or your family is anything like mine you are constantly on the go and it’s been a major adjustment to slow down. Six months ago I would still be working in a doctors office going into the lab right now, so I am so very thankful for my current situation to be able to work from home and be here with my son. If you are getting cabin fever and needs some ideas to keep you and the little ones busy, Caden and I came up with a list of mom and kid approved things to do when you get bored!

  1. Hide and go seek! Caden’s number one activity, always!
  2. Resume normal school work. Check your school’s website for activities, also read to your child or have them read at least 20 minutes independently a day. Journaling and writing sentences is also important. Keeping structure and routine is super important for kids!
  3. Take a walk! Keep your distance of course 😉 Now is the time to break out those riding toys and bikes that Santa Clause brought! Take the dog too! Getting outside everyday and getting fresh air will help you feel not so cooped up.
  4. Birdwatching. This may sound boring in itself, but it’s actually pretty fun.
  5. Cook at home. Try a new recipe and have your kids help. Caden feels like the biggest helper when he gets to cook.
  6. Clean your home. I think we all know how important it is to keep things sanitized right now but now would be a good time to clean out those junk drawers, toilets, baseboards, things you normally wouldn’t have time to do. Let the kids help!
  7. Review your closet for items you don’t want and drop them in the thrift store donate bin. That would be a way to get out of the house one day.
  8. Read or listen to a motivating book.
  9. Film that IGTV or tutorial you’ve been putting off.
  10. Do a fun manicure. Get creative!
  11. Delete emails, photos, and old contacts from your phone.
  12. Update your resume.
  13. Binge all the Netflix shows!
  14. Draw, color, paint! Look up step by step how to draw activities and let the kids have  art time.
  15. Shop ONLINE! Small businesses and the economy in general is still counting on us as consumers to continue consuming…things other than food. I’m not saying buy stuff that you don’t need and I do understand that several people are out of work right now and your family and basic needs come first.

The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8

 

Modest Trendy Swimwear AND Beachy Accessories!

I polled my followers and over 80% are planning a beach vacation right now! How exciting! I am so picky about my swimsuits. If they are too cheeky or show too much stomach or chest, it’s a no go for me. So, if you’re anything like me and are searching for a trendy, modest suit here are several I have found! Also, rounded up a few accessories for the beach or being poolside!

swim2020.2

  1. Front Crossover Swimsuit
  2. Vintage One Piece Swimsuit
  3. Wrap Tie Belted One Piece
  4. Scallop Trim High Waist Swimsuit
  5. Tropical Pom Pom High Waisted Swimsuit
  6. Orange and White Bowknot Swimsuit
  7. Retro One Piece Swimsuit
  8. Cutout High Waist Polka Dot Swimsuit
  9. Animal Print Wrap Front Top and High Waisted Bottoms
  10. High Waisted Off the Shoulder Ruffle Bikini
  11. Bandeau Bikini Swimsuit
  12. One Shoulder Ruffle Swimsuit
  13. Ruffled Seersucker OTS One Piece
  14. Cut Out Ruffle Tie Dye One Piece Swimsuit
  15. High Neck Mesh Plunge Swimsuit

 

swimacc

  1. Circle Rattan Bag
  2. Rubber Beach Bag
  3. Bell Sleeve Swimsuit Coverup
  4. Wrap Skirt Swimwear Cover Up
  5. Floppy Sun Hat
  6. Headbands
  7. Travel Jewelry Organizer
  8. Tie Dye Coverup
  9. Buckle Slide Sandals
  10. Beach Sand Coasters

Instagram Growth Tips from the Thrifty Blonde Blogger!

blogtips

My most asked question: How did you grow your Instagram following? I have been blogging a little over a year and there are a several things I have learned and I am here to spill the tea! I will say first that you get out what you put in. Hard work pays off! To be successful, it takes time and work, let me say that again…to be successful, it takes TIME AND WORK but if you really have a passion for it and fun with it, good things will come!

  1. Brand yourself, find your niche- What I mean by brand yourself is, what is your purpose for your Instagram page or your blog?  Once you find your niche, you will be able to find your community and target your followers. For example, my niche is affordable fashion so if I was to post that I just bought a Chanel bag, that would be a little off brand for me, right?? I have actually turned down several collaborations because of the products being to expensive. I can’t expect my followers to purchase something that I would never actually purchase myself.
  2. Cohesive Feed – I mentioned this in my previous blogging tips  post but a feed that is aesthetically pleasing and flows, just catches my eye. Think of yourself as being the person scrolling…would you stop and look at your feed? There are so many presets out there, or you can make your own. My presets are from amalfiboutique.com.au (burnt orange preset pack)
  3. Content Creation- Creating QUALITY content is key! If you are a fashion blogger make sure you are taking clear photos of your outfits, no blurry photos or photos taken in too much sunlight (that’s a whole different blog post)  I am constantly scouting out locations in the city or cool places online where I can take photos or ways I can put outfits together or unique ideas for my feed.  I am a perfectionist so when it comes to the photos I take, I do it until I feel like they are 100%. Don’t post just to have something to post. You should take pride and absolutely LOVE every single photo on your feed. I also feel like it’s good to have a variety of photos…flatlays, mirror photos, full body shots, half body shots. It gives dimension to your feed. It’s also so important for me to prepare my content ahead of time and stay organized.  I take all of my photos on the weekends so I can plan my feed for the week.
  4. Reply to comments and DM’s– Let’s face it, you are not famous so there’s really  no reason why you should not respond when someone comments on your photo. A way to make the reply more personal is to visit that person’s profile and get their name and respond calling them by name. You can also comment on their most recent photo.  After you post your photo, you should at least be active on Instagram for an hour to respond to comments. Responding back also creates a relationship between you and your followers which is so important.
  5. Engagement- Engagement pods are very popular now on Instagram and now most in Telegram and I do personally use them but honestly have been trying to reduce my usage to more organic engagement. To each their own really. I have met some of my very best friends in like pods but I’ve also starting a new thing called “mining.”  I will go to a page of someone I follow and see who is commenting or search a hashtag I use and if I  enjoy their content, I will like and comment on several of their posts and follow them and if they feel the same they will follow me back 🙂 Just take the time to love on each other’s posts!
  6. Giveaways- I know feelings are really all over the place about giveaways but if you want to gain followers quickly, this is the way to do it. The only downside is most giveaways now are pricey and lots of people unfollow when the giveaway is over. I have a few recommendations, but make sure you use a giveaway page that is very well ran! Believe me, it makes a difference! I have recently put together my own giveaway with a very dear blogger friend of mine! Fingers crossed it goes well! **Never buy followers because these are fake accounts!!**
  7. Loops- Instead of a gaining followers with a giveaway page, you can use a loop  page. I personally suggest paying for a ghost spot (ghost meaning you don’t post on your feed). The difference with people involved in loops is that they want to make genuine connections instead of just wanting to win something.
  8. Be consistent- I try and post 5-7 days a week depending on how much content I have prepared and need to get out. Instagram favors active users and also lets your followers know you’re serious about what you’re doing. Even if you’re posting 3-4 days a week or every other day, be consistent with it. A good work ethic is ideal and you must commit to being serious about growing to make it happen.
  9. Blogger Collaborations- One of the best things to come out of this blogging gig is the connections I’ve made with other blogger gals! An example of a blogger collab is getting several of your favorite blogger babes together and all styling the same dress or sharing how to style a certain item, pick a day to do a try on in stories with a giveaway at the end, or come up with something unique all your own. This way you all get exposure to each other’s followers.
  10. Hashtags- I’m not convinced that hashtag views will convert to followers but they are very important and choosing the right ones will impact your post and how many times your post is viewed, so I feel like it’s worth mentioning here. I’ve been doing lots of research and switching out hashtags here and there recently to see what works and what doesn’t. I have found that if I post at a bad time, like really early in the morning as opposed to my normal time 8am-10am then my hashtags basically don’t work. I get around 2 hashtag views! Your hashtags should include what’s relevant to your post. I will go to the explore page for hashtags and search for some there and see what works best for me. Also, change them out often so your post isn’t seen by the same group of people constantly. Stay away from banned hashtags, you can google to see what is temporarily and permanently banned for this year.
  11. Use other social channels- Try branching out of just Instagram and using other social channels such as Pinterest, YoutTube or Facebook to promote yourself and your blog. This year, video is very much trending so YouTube would be a great place if you are a beauty blogger to get your tutorials out there or for fashion bloggers to get try on’s seen. Pinterest is also huge! Create a business account and start pinning your photos and blogs and direct traffic to your blog and Instagram page.
  12. BE YOURSELF!!- Nobody likes a fake. Just be yourself and have fun with it, people will notice. Let your personality shine through your photos and get on stories! This was really hard for me because I am normally a shy person and very much an introvert. I didn’t think that people cared what I had to say but that’s how your audience gets to know you and another way they can interact with you and you with them through questions and polls.
  13. Do your research- If there’s something I’m interested in I’m going to learn all I can about it because I want to understand it. Listen to podcasts, buy books, share and get advice from other bloggers, research different strategies and see what works best for you.

To be blunt about it, it’s hard work. Engagement takes time, taking photos takes time and sometimes, time you don’t have. Believe me, I get it. I have done it with a family and a full time job. You can ask my husband, my son, any member of my family, how much time and effort I put into my blog and Instagram. It’s just like with anything in life, success doesn’t happen over night. Big following or not, starting this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I wouldn’t change a thing! If I can ever help you in any way or answer any questions, please message me! I would love to chat! Remember that we are all learning together!

XOXO, Lauren

Spring Looks I’m Loving from Amazon

I know, I know, it’s only February, but this cold weather has Spring and warm weather on my mind like something SERIOUS!! Which of course, means Spring fashion which is some of my favorite! Here are a few of my favorite picks from Amazon and all ship free if you have a Prime membership. All of these items and trends will be very popular this season…tie dye, puffed and statement sleeves, camo, florals and bright stripes and I am here for it all!

spring

  1. Off the Shoulder Romper
  2. Tie Dye Top
  3. Rainbow Striped Top
  4. Floral Long Sleeve Dress
  5. Bodycon Dress
  6. Polka Dot Midi Dress
  7. Bell Sleeve Chiffon Top
  8. Basic Pocket Tee
  9. Puffed Sleeve Blouse
  10. Cut out Lantern Sleeve Blouse
  11. Camo Jumpsuit
  12. Off the Shoulder Tie Dye Top

Old Navy Clearance Picks!

It’s time for Old Navy’s Clearance event and here are some of my faves! Several of these items are perfect for now and can be transitioned into Spring. Each photo is numbered, with the corresponding link below. Happy shopping!

ON Clearance

 

  1. Color Block Turtleneck Sweater
  2. Boyfriend Blazer
  3. Fair Isle Sweater
  4. Faux Suede Booties
  5. High Waisted Wide Leg Jeans
  6. Mesh Leggings
  7. Wrap-Front Midi Dress
  8. Sherpa Lined Corduroy Jacket
  9. Crochet Lace Top
  10. Crew Neck Sweater
  11. Lightweight Quilted Vest
  12. Soft-Brushed Crew Neck Sweater
  13. French Terry Joggers
  14. High Waisted Distressed Denim
  15. Rib-Knit Tee Dress

Gift Guide for Men {Todd’s Picks}

So, it’s the most wonderful time of the year again?!  The older we get the faster they seem to come! With Christmas comes the anxiety of gift buying, and if you haven’t noticed yet this isn’t Lauren your usual thrifty blonde writing this. I am her husband Todd. So, my attempt is to get us guys out there something other than more underwear and socks. Now, I know our stuff can get rough looking, so by all means if the man in your life needs socks and underwear don’t deprive him of those necessities! If though, you would like to get him something besides this I am here to help.

Now, I can’t  promise that this is the ultimate gift guide out there, I can promise mediocrity at it’s finest! I’m only kidding. Let’s dive right in to some of the things I like and some things that I wouldn’t mind having.

mens gift guide2

  1. Manscaped Perfect Package 2.0
  2. Harry’s Razor Gift Set
  3. Harry’s Fig Body Wash 2-Pack
  4. 3 in 1 Charging Dock
  5. Oversized Weekender Bag
  6. Apple Airpods with Wireless Charging Case
  7. Airpods Case and Accessories
  8. People’s Choice Old Fashioned Beef Jerkey
  9. Collapsible Cooler
  10. XBOX One S
  11. Loafer Moccasin Slipper

Christmas Gifts for the Kiddos! Babies to Teens!

Hey ya’ll! I’m back again with another gift guide and this time it’s for our babies! All items are either from Walmart or Amazon and offer FREE 2 day shipping or a discount if you pick up in store on certain items! I’m going to break this one down by age group with the first one being for ages 0-5. All items are linked below next to their corresponding number. Happy shopping!

AGES 0-5

kids gift guide 0-5

  1. Baby Einstein Sensory Place Space
  2. Flappy the Elephant
  3. Paw Patrol Lookout Tower
  4. PJ Masks Spiral Playset
  5. Melissa & Doug Play Cleaning Set
  6. Baby Einstein Discovering Music Activity Table
  7. Vtech Spinning Lights Learning Hippo
  8. Bright Starts Rock and Glow Unicorn
  9. Barbie Dream Camper
  10. Toothless Hatchimal
  11. Peppa Pig Ride on Toy
  12. Mega Bloks Build and Learn Table
  13. First 100 Book Set

AGES 6-10

giftguide 6-10

  1. Nintendo Switch
  2. Big Joe Bean Bag Chair
  3. Magnetic Balls
  4. Zelda: Link’s Awakening
  5. Dress Up Trunk
  6. Graver Digger Monster Truck
  7. Frozen Hooded Poncho Bath Towel
  8. NERF Modulus Motorized Toy Blaster
  9. Monkey Bars Climbing Tower
  10. Snuggie Tails Blanket
  11. Skateboard
  12. Beginner’s Acoustic Guitar

AGE 11-TEEN

gift guide teen

  1. LED Light Strips
  2. Retro Bluetooth Speaker w/Cell Phone Stand
  3. The Manual To Manhood
  4. Live Fearless by Sadie Roberson
  5. Inflatable Lounger Air Sofa
  6. Mini Leather Backpack
  7. Do Not Disturb I’m Gaming Socks
  8. Felt Letter Board
  9. Feather Wrap Bracelet
  10. Bluetooth Beanie Hat
  11. MONEY AND GIFT CARDS!!