My love/hate relationship with IG

When I started on instagram my daughter had to teach me how to post! I knew nothing. I basically linked it to my facebook and uploaded fun events so my friends could see. I soon realized I LOVE taking photos, and beach photos I started another instagram called Naplesmermaid , I would post pics of the beach and pretty much do nothing other than look at other pretty pics too. Soon my account grew to 5000 followers. Then I was asked by a friend to take over her instagram which was a hashtag IG , people tagged the page and we featured someone daily. So that was fun, I took the page when we had 6000 followers, within a year we had 30, 000 followers!! Just by sharing pretty photos!!! Well, then life got crazy for me ( I’ll spare you the gory details)

With a new home and a place in Florida , I decided share my other love, decorating! Started a new IG and quickly got that going real nice…..soon I was getting DMs to become brand ambassador!! Free Stuff?? sign me up!! lol, But honestly not really, I only accept collaborations for products that fit my niche and I think will bring value to my followers. I have turned down collabs for watches because that doesn’t go at all with my niche….and I have been so excited to be “wanted” for a collab only too be told I have to PAY to buy their product . I am sorry but even at a discount my time and photography and free advertising is at least worth the price of a free, my advice, say no to those.

Once you get a decent following your can find you worth and if a brand has the budget you can ask for money! one site I visit to check that out is who knew?? well I was so thrilled to get to 8700 followers …then my page sort of DIED……why?? The tricky and somewhat crazy ALGORITHM.. it changes daily!! suddenly I need to be making videos for stories..WAAAY outside my comfort zone……I am a behind the lense gal….. so what can you do?

The Algorithm

This may be irrelevant in a day, but this is what I’m figuring out. As an Influencer I NEED to have good engagement, without it you won’t get any jobs.

We also need content to be able to post each day….I try to look up my analytics to see what time are most of my followers active, and then I post. I go back to a post that performed really well and try to duplicate that…again, instagram wants you to use their service and be regular….

Before, I would to scroll IG and if I likes something I might leave a happy face emoji….well….I didn’t know, but you have to comment with at LEAST 4 words or IG doesn’t recognize it as a comment. Instagram loves community and having people talk and exchange ideas, not just drop emojis.

I learned was you have to step up the photos you take , they need to be GOOD. I enjoy the Snapseed app to adjust mine if I need to, there is also lightroom with tons of presets. You photo is what stops people to look at your square..take the time to make it a good one. I prefer my photos to have a cohesive look in my squares, so generally I am using the same amount of light for each one…and LIGHT is key…natural Is best, no flash! Nikon D70 is my camera, but my iPhone x takes almost as good photos and I can upload on the go. Also be sure to geo-tag your location because people in that area may find you…

Instagram likes us to not only like and comment but also hit the SAVE button, and sometimes tap on the airplane symbol and send a post to a friend.. IG gives us these tools and likes for us to use them.

Go the the search button and visit the explore page, and look for new accounts, not just the people you know..get inspired or learn something new…

When creating content, try to ask a question so that people will answer…this “forces” a genuine conversation and Brands can tell if people comment about something completely different, they didn’t read your post and they may not be REAL, which brings me to …DO NOT BUY FOLLOWERS, LIKES, OR SHOUT OUTS .., Brands can tell and this will hurt you in the long run. Fake followers will not engage with you and just be dead weight. Also not to use 3rd party apps that follow and unfollow, Instagram does not approve of these and some very great accounts have lost their accounts and been shut down by simply using these apps. Let people follow and if they don’t want to, who cares. there are a billion other people out there.

COMMENT PODS are groups you can go to and basically put your name in and everyone in that “community” will like and or comment on your square. Its a great way to feel popular! However, Instagram can tell if the same people are commenting everyday and that’s not “real” So get found through hashtags and liking and commenting on the feed and let things happen and grow organically. I play around with this one, I’ve made some great connections on comment pods, But my Reach seems to suffer , the days I do not participate my reach doubles…..not sure if this is a” thing” but its working for me.

HASHTAGS are so important! I thought they just cluttered up my nice little square and look like spam. Instagram WANTS us to use them, and gives us the opportunity to use all 30 if we like. I personally use about 15-20. Instagram also knows if you use the same hashtags everyday and thinks its spam if you use them over and over again. I make lists on my phone, I created about 6 lists of relevant hashtags, and I change them up each day., trying not to repeat within a week. Search for a few really popular hashtags with hundreds of thousands and then search out mostly smaller ones .I like ones that have between 2-10K, that way my post at least has a chance of seeing seen. Its still a process figuring this out…My reach expands when I do this so Im sticking with it! Beware, there are hashtags that are BANNED~ and if you use them you may not be seen by anyone, or you may be seen as a spammer and shut down, Don’t take chances!! These change almost daily , some are quite ordinary looking words like #Boho or #dogsofinstagram…Google banned hashtags since they change so often .

Most Contest are overdone, unless you offer an amazing prize, you have to mdecide if its worth the time. Many people will follow you to try to win, your numbers will go up, and then poof….there they go! It is a very personal decision. I tried a few contests recommended to me .We all “buy in ” to to offer a great prize.. I chose a $1500 Louis Vuitton handbag and a $1000 Homegoods Gift Card and One for $750 PayPal cash. I gained followers and I lost, but the gain was still more than the loss. The few hundred follows I may have gained are really not in my niche and most likely don’t care about just know that going in.

follow me on my insta journey and I will share more tips as I figure them out…

Bambooville baskets

I sure do love the outside patio space- but during all this rain I’m constantly bringing the pillows in – and my living room looks like a pillow fest!! Thanks to– they sent me this massive cotton basket – and now my outdoor pillows are contained during bad weather !! I have this basket linked in my amazon store if you like it – What do you do with your outdoor cushions at night or during rain? .

Outshine Co

Β β€œπ•€π•‘π•π•–π•Ÿπ••π•šπ••π•π•ͺ π• π•£π•šπ•˜π•šπ•Ÿπ•’π•, 𝕁𝕦𝕀π•₯ π•π•šπ•œπ•– π•π•†π•Œβ€

That’s the motto of this amazing female owned small business – I just LOVE that!!!

Β I’ve teamed up with them to spread some love on their products and give YOU a chance to win a set of these ! click on this link to enter

after entering you will be sent a code for a 15% discount

..Let me tell you this recipe box is kind of vintage looking yet it pairs so well with my #raedunncollection – my favorite part of the box is it has a groove on top so you can prop up your recipe while you are making it ! #genius …. the box comes with really cute #farmhouse style recipe cards and dividers – what a perfect gift- my idea would be to buy this for a bridal shower and have everyone write their favorite recipe for the bride- that’s how you create memories πŸ™‚ I also think it’s a great thing to give your kids when they move out on their own – you can write down their favorite dishes and they can cookΒ !


I also got these amazing kraft paper card stock dividers- at first I was like – these are nice – then I really went through the cards- OMG talk about SMART- each card has tips and hacks on it!! Like how to make a perfect hard boiled egg- cooking temps for meats and fish – measurement guides- wineΒ pairings,

Β – too many to list but – you get 24 heavy card dividers and they all have important tips and hacks ! You also get labels if you want to personalize or organize in your own way – I just love this – in an era where we seem to be all digital I am loving the charm and memories of a recipe box and a place to store recipes from friends and family – Don’t forget to enter! Give some love to my friends at #outshineco

Having Fun with Cricut

I use my cricut explore air 2 almost every day. I even went out and purchased a second one for my vacation home because that’s how many times I use it.

At home I like to make labels to organize my pantry, my closet..I make Welcome signs for the door. Recently I have been making word Is like on tieback of my Rae Dunn Pottery for items I know I am just not lucky enough to find!

I sell some of my designs in my etsy shop called NaplesMermaid

I mostly sell initials for laptops and yetis, But I can make most anything . (not bragging, its just that EASY)

I also purchased the crosscut easy press and That opened the door for making iron on items, like this rosary purse I made for a First Communion Gift.

A funny thing that happened was when I was in Florida, I made custom letters for my Dads Boat…then , being a community of carriage homes, on trash and recycling day we all gave the same looking bins, so I made house numbers, and what do you know I had orders from everyone on the street! so, That is what precipitated my purchasing a second machine.

Let me know what you make with your CRICUT, I would love to know

Gladwell Spin Mop

Oh my goodness – when Gladwell offered to send me this mop for review I was so excited – this new home is filled with hardwoods – and with 2 dogs and all the rain lately it is so hard to keep up with the paw prints everywhere ! This was so simple – I just snapped on the handle – charged it ( full. Charge was 15 min ) then I added some floor cleaner ( I used Bruce but I think you can use whatever you like ) then I went at it. -and is it possible that mopping the floors can be fun? Yes! When you see results like I did – I was pretty much dancing with the mop – there is something about the way the pads rotate that truly cleans and polishes! I have that regular back and forth one we all use but this is SOOOO much better !! And the pink pads can be washed and reused – win win for the environment !! Also – there are waxing pads included – but being a new home I don’t need to wax at this time – so the hardwoods cleaned like a dream – then on to the. . Bathrooms which are tile – I put some all purpose disinfecting liquid cleaner in with the water and again – WOW!! Shiny and clean and no germs – so- my husband wanted to “store ” this mop in the garage on a hook – and I said heck no ! It’s staying in the pantry ready at all times ! I seriously use this thing more than once a day ! If you have pets you know πŸ˜‰ and even just loading the dishwasher when water splatters on my floor – it spots – so I give it a quick mop and I’m so happy . I recently hired a crew to come in once a month to do the floors and baseboards because with my bad back I just hurt after that job- I’m sorry but they may be out of this job because even my daughter noticed my floors look better than ever lately πŸ˜‰ Thanks to for making this not fun chore so enjoyable !! i literally DANCE with my spinmop!!Until June 6, 2019 you can get this mop for 25% off with code Gigi25%




Unearthed candles Use code gigi20 for 20% coupon

They sent me gorgeous candles – they are HUGE – 24 ounces but I noticed they burn slowly and I can tell I will have these for a long time

They are soy which is also a cleaner burn. Right now if you want to purchase anything from this company, simply use the code Gigi20 at checkout for 20% off……