08.15.17

How to build your online community and establish your brand. 

So happy to be sharing Part two with the loveliest group of bloggers and social influencers to share a new series I have started here on my blog called #TheMomBlogCollective. Twice a month, a group of 10 of us will be sharing a blog post on the same topic — related to blogging, instagram, working with brands, making money, photography, motherhood and more. More than almost anything else, each of us get asked how we started blogging, what tips we have for someone looking to start, how to work with companies for sponsored posts and more, so those questions are the starting point for our series. 

So today we are talking about “building an online community and establishing your brand.” I have below a little Q&A! Feel free to comment or message me with any other questions you may have. 

How do you define your brand for a blog and instagram and how did you create it?

I think Defining and creating your brand can feel intimidating at first when there are so many directions one can go! When I think of the word “brand” I define it as this: A brand is something that is true to your passions, style, lifestyle, and the way you think. It differentiates you from another because it’s different, fully YOU, and unique in a way that “no one can ever be you, ” so go crazy and define who you are..Having a defined brand in place will attract new and engaged followers to keep coming back because they know what they will get from you each time they come to your feed. 

 When I first started my Instagram and blog I knew I wanted to create a brand that felt true to who I am and my style. I wanted to draw my audience in with writings that would captivate their hearts, and touch something deep inside their souls. I knew I wanted to create beautiful images that showed our love for nature, organic living, decor, and style whether that be for myself or my daughters. My brand started to become more clear the second year of starting my blog and Instagram. I began to see a pattern of what my followers liked out of my posts and the also the types of posts that were not attention grabbing. My advice for anyone starting out with a new blog or Instagram would be to first: establish your brand, write down what makes you “YOU.” Think about what colors/filters will show off your style, creativity, and grab another’s attention. Think about what you could put in your bio that would explain who you are in one short sentence the first time someone comes across your feed. Think about what will be unique and different from others. And go for it!
How did you start gaining followers in an organic way?
Once I started establishing my brand and started to feel more comfortable with the flow and creativity of my feed and blog, I then chose one filter for all images that I felt reflected the tones and colors I wanted portrayed in my feed. When it comes to growing your Instagram organically my best advice to anyone starting out is to ENGAGE. Engage with the followers you already have and engage with new feeds you find inspiring and draw you in. Growing your Instagram organically can feel slow at times but I think it’s definitely worth the effort in the long run. Just like any job it takes time to get to the know the people that love your brand and find your blog inspiring. Make sure to connect with your followers in a genuine and supportive way. 

Why is it important to engage with your following?
Engaging with your followers is going to be the best way to build your brand and set yourself up for success. The best way to do this is very simple: start commenting and liking other people’s photos. When you find someone you connect with and love, make sure you are supporting them by liking and commenting on their posts. As you start to gain new followers a good trick is to save one of their photos so you don’t forget who is following you. That way each week you can go back to the photos you have saved and remember to connect/engage with these creatives. This is also a great way to find support and friendships on Instagram where it becomes more than just a like or comment. You will find genuine relationship where you both are supporting another’s passions and dreams. Because we all have them and want to see them flourish. 

How have I built a community on Instagram

Building a community/support through Instagram is essential if you plan on building a successful brand for yourself, working with other brands, and bringing in an income for your family. I have met so many beautiful women on this social creative space that have taught me beautiful things, reminded me of strength I’d forgotten I had, and lifted my spirits with support and genuine love when I needed it the most. This community of people that stand by and support me has only come with time, engagement, and truly caring about the people that follow along my journey as a mother. As you build your brand remember that you will need to establish a community of like minded women and men that will support you and love you for who you are. Growing an Instagram organically versus buying your followers is so worth it in the end. It’s worth the extra time and energy because you will be creating more than just followers, you are forming a community, a tribe of support, a love for who you are and the dreams you are making come true for you and your family. Remember that each person that takes the time to follow and engage with you on your social media has passions, and feelings too. Be sure to follow along their special journey and provide support and love to them as well. This will in return create more engaging feed and blog for future followers to follow you and again will create that community of trust and support every mother and women needs.

Be sure to check out the other blogs and get some super awesome insight and other perspectives on these same questions!

Blogs and IG handles:

darlingnightingale.com | @darlingnightingale
occasionallyperfect.com | @occasionally_perfect
mrsseacannon.com | @mrsseacannon
britthavens.com | @britthavens
koleimpressions.com | @steph__pollock
cultivatemotherhood.com | @cultivatemotherhood
www.ashleynoel.life | @_ashley_noel_
hellobabybrown.com | @hellobabybrown
www.a-blessed-nest.com | @blessednestblog
thelovedesignedlife.com | @thelovedesignedlife
kristlesclarity.com | @hereyeswereolivegreen
@amylouhawthorne

Xo,
Sophia 

08.04.17

Elouise’s•first•birthday•party

The happiest birthday to my sweet and beloved Elouise! The love we have for you is something fierce and indescribable. I hope you grow up strong and chase the wonder of your imagination. I hope you find this life exceptionally beautiful with many opportunities to show kindness and love towards others. I hope purpose and connection draw you deeper into the places you will go and see and find along the way. You have made me the happiest mama I could ever be! Last weekend we celebrated Elouise birthday in our front yard with lots of friends and family. My theme for her first birthday party was a lemonade stand inspired by all bohemian decor and a natural/organic feel. I foraged many wild flowers and plants and made my own bouquets for the long style table, along with decorating the tiny budnt cakes with delicate white chamomile flowers and fresh greens. The kids had so much fun serving the lemonade and running around in the grass. 

Elouise was very much in love with her vanilla bundt cake topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting that I made myself! Where to find the decorations from Elouise first birthday: 

Rose gold balloons, “one” cupcakes toppers, and the darling hanging tassel strand are from an amazing party shop called @magnoliabloomboutique. She has many colors, themes, and amazing party supplies to make for a beautifully styled party. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MagnoliaBloomBtq
The Floral plates and peach tassel garland come from a beautiful shop named @bellablushco Pictured is the “liberty collection” complete with matching cake plates and scalloped napkins. 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/bellablushco

My talented husband built this table for me with the remains of the decking we have pulled out. He sprayed the lemonade stand and the table give it a fresh look for the party! Thank you honey😘

Thank for stopping by!

Xo,

Sophia 

08.01.17

Top five tips on how to start a Blog and Instagram

So many of you have personally messaged me in regards to starting a blog, instragram feed, and everything in between. In hopes of giving you all the information and advice you’ve hoped for I have joined the loveliest group of bloggers and social influencers to share a new series I am starting here on my blog called #TheMomBlogCollective. Twice a month, a group of 10 of us will be sharing a blog post on the same topic — related to blogging, instagram, working with brands, making money, photography, motherhood and more. More than almost anything else, each of us get asked how we started blogging, what tips we have for someone looking to start, how to work with companies for sponsored posts and more, so those questions are the starting point for our series. 


Each month we will feature different guest bloggers in addition to our core 10. My favorite part is that while we will all be answering the same questions and writing about the same topics, it will give each of you a wide variety of perspectives. We each have a different blogging style, photography style, schedule and more so it will be a great opportunity to read everyone’s posts and then figure out what works best for you. And if you have a topic you’d love to get an answer to in our series, search the hashtag #TheMomBlogCollective on instagram and comment on any one of our photos under that hashtag to let us know! You can also leave comments on our blog posts.

To kick off the series, we’ll each be sharing our Top 5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram Account
#TheMomBlogCollective, where twice a month on our blogs we all answer the same question related to blogging, Instagram, earning money through Instagram, or motherhood and then cross promote it on Instagram. Today’s topic will cover my five personal tips for starting an Instagram and blog: 
My five personal tips:

1) First set up an Instagram handle that is catchy and true to YOU. Think about what you’re passionate about, what type of audience you want to draw in, and what kind of “feel” will your feed have? Write all of those things down and begin to form a name, a cohesive flow with your photos, and give something creative to your followers that will keep them coming back for more.

2) Figure out which hashtags are trending and what ones gain the most attention. Hashtags are very important and should never be repetitive if you want to gain more exposure. Google “top trending” hashtags if you feel you’re not sure where to start. Instagram allows you up to 30 hashtags per post, so go crazy;)

3) Captivate your audience’s attention with meaningful captions for each photo you post! Think of quotes that inspire you, questions you have for your followers, and different things that brighten your day or would encourage another. People are much more likely to engage with you if they have something to respond to like a question or something that feels relatable. This also creates a closer connection with your followers, and allows you to get to know them on a more personal level. 

4) If you are looking to start a blog along with your insta feed you will need to purchase a domain and host for your sight! Purchasing a domain and host is fairly inexpensive and easily set up! If you’re looking to just start something simple and small ‘WordPress’ has a free version for your use. (This is what I started with) As you are new at blogging you may find inspiration and what your going after by checking out other blogs you love and find inspiring. Take note of what you like about their content and what draws in your attention. These details will help you create your own blog that is meaningful and creative. 

5) When creating a blog keep it true to your style and the way your Instagram feels and looks! I set up a template through WordPress that was full of wildflowers and soft tones. Write about what you care about, what inspires you, what brands you love, and whatever your heart tells you. Stay true to YOU and others will be drawn to SOMETHING different and unique. 

You can find all the other blog posts linked below:

A Blessed Nest | @blessednestblog  Ashley Noel | @_ashley_noel_ Britt Havens | @britthavens  Darling Nightingale | @darlingnightingale Kole Impressions Blog | @steph__pollock Hello Baby Brown | @hellobabybrown Mrs Seacannon | @mrsseacannon Occasionally Perfect | @occasionally_perfect The Love Designed Life | @thelovedesignedlife 

Have any questions? Drop a comment or DM me and I’d be happy to give some advice!
Xo,
Sophia

07.31.17

Back•to•school•with•Boomdash

Can you believe summer is almost coming to an end and soon we will be back in the full swing of school schedules and packing lunches? Crazy! If you’re like me back to school shopping sneaks up out of nowhere and I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed with all the different shops out there. Beatrice is such a girly girl, she loves anything sparkly, bedazzled, purses, and pink of course. As her momma I really strive to let her be who she is and let her take part in what she feels her “style” is! I love that she is bold, kind, sassy, and confident since the day she was born. These two outfits that she picked showcase her creative style and love for life. 



Recently we partnered with Boomdash [http://bit.ly/2vGx852], a one-stop shopping and parenting destination for the modern mom and dad to browse their favorite brands and discover new ones, receive customized style recommendations, and complete purchases across multiple stores in one shopping cart. It’s a personalized shopping experience that makes my life easier and allows me to spend more time enjoying the best parts of parenting Beatrice and Elouise! I was so happy with all the different brands of children’s clothes and had such a fun time picking out different styles with Beatrice that fit her sparkly personality. 


If you’re a busy parent and need some help with back to school consider checking out Boomdash!


 You can sign up for an account right on Boomdash by taking a short quiz about your child’s age, size, and style preferences so that they can match his/her personality with the best outfits. When you are logged in and browsing, Boomdash will filter your shopping experience based on what your child likes. How cool is that?!

To shop these styled pictures below click these links:

Petit Bateau, Girls Print Dress: http://bit.ly/2vTNKFA
Splendid, Tie Dye Romper: http://bit.ly/2uqBBdA



Xo,

Sophia 

07.26.17

Herbs {Part-one} Mullein Oil natural ear drops


Good morning beautiful friends, as promised I have documented the process of making homemade mullein oil to support and help ear aches, pain, aid in relaxation, and supper respiratory health. 

What is mullein flower?

Mullein is a biennial herbaceous member of the Scrophulariaceae family, bearing silvery green and extremely fuzzy leaves,3 and growing up to 8 feet in height. In the first year it appears as a basal rosette of leaves, and in the second year, it sends up huge flower spikes with many bright densely clustered yellow flowers which only open for one day

Presently, mullein can be found at health food stores often prepared as soothing leaf tea or an ear oil made of the infused flowers. You can also find mullein plant right in your back yard or on a nature walk if you are familiar with what it looks like! Source: (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/mullein-flower/profile)


How To Make Garlic and Mullein Oil:
What you will need:

2 tablespoons fresh garlic, minced

2 tablespoons mullein flowers

olive oil – enough to cover the garlic and mullein

Equipment Needed:

Slow cooker or double boiler (If you don’t have a double boiler you can use a stainless steel bowl set inside a pot of boiling water) that is what I used!

Glass dropper bottle (find at your local health food store or amazon)


Making the oil:

Place mullein flowers and garlic in a clean, dry glass jar. Next, pour in the olive oil – add enough so that the mixture is covered.

Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid.

Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your slow cooker and place your jar inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting for 2-3 hours.

Strain out the oil using cheesecloth and pour the oil in a clean, glass jar. Store in the fridge or the freezer (to preserve freshness) until needed.

How To Use Mullein And Garlic Oil

Place your glass dropper bottle in warm/hot water until it reaches body temperature, then place “3 or 4 drops into the ear. Massage the outer ear and around the base of the ear after applying the oil. Administer the warm herbal oil every 30 minutes or as often as needed. Any excess oil will drain out on its own within a few minutes.” (Source: https://www.mommypotamus.com/mullein-garlic-oil-recipe/ )



I am not an expert on herbs nor am I schooled in herbalism. This is just something I am intrigued by and care about as a way to take care and better my families health. I hope you enjoy this recipe and will leave any comments or questions for me below:) 

Xo,

Sophia 

06.25.17

Finding•your•Village


Do you have a village? I remember the first time I realized how important it was to have a village around you when raising kids, navigating marriage, and everything life throws your way. You see daring to be a friend is daring to be someone that promises to stick though the heartaches, the triumphs, and the thick or very thin parts of life. Sometimes we want life to show up in all the glittery picture perfect moments, the moments where our kids are behaved, our marriage is on track, and people see our strengths, not our weaknesses . But here’s what I have learned…


Life is not meant to be a picture perfect slide show of the highlights, to be walked through alone, and it sure isn’t meant to leave you feeling lonely and confused. As I look back on the last couple years of my life I remember some really sweet moments with friends but I also remember the LOWS, the pictures that didn’t make it on the perfect slideshow. 


I remember my friend that sat with me in my blue Honda and listened to the me talk about the darkest time in my life, I remember the friend that taught me that HOPE and faith are ONE, I remember mourning with her every negative pregnancy test that came back and wishing so badly I could take the pain away, I remember my friend that taught me/showed me what it means to lay down your life for another, because I know that she truly would for me, I remember the call from my friend who lost one of the most precious gifts at too young of an age, but I remember her strength, her fierce love for her family that she continually stands on and holds true too, I remember my friend that showed up every week with coffee and smoothies when Elouise was born and encouraged me to have grace on myself as I navigated two babies instead of one, I remember my sister who who held me in her arms one too many times growing up and never judged me,  I remember my friend that saw my yearn for connection at my daughters school and has literally made an imprint on my heart already with her generosity, authenticity, and passion for helping others. I remember each and every friend that has left a mark on me, that has surrounded me like a village, poured into my life and has become some of my dearest friends. 


Your village is more than just a friend that tells you everything good about you, these are the people that take you just as you are! Maybe a small and dull tree at the moment, but they help you grow into a big, mature tree with flourishing branches and leaves, blooms that are still hidden but slowly opening and becoming softer. Have you found your “people” your “village?” If not what holds you back?

These matching mother and daughter dresses were handmade by a beautiful friend that is truly one of a kind. She believes children’s clothes should be just as vibrant and creative as their personalities and be true to who they are. You will find so much warmth and talent when you take a moment to read her story and look at her clothing choices.  You can shop her store using the link below: 

https://www.elestory.com/collections/new-arrivals
Instagram handle: @elestory

Xo,

Sophia 

06.15.17

Love•your•face•with•Osea

My mama did a lot of things right with me growing up but one that stands out to me and has stuck is: “never going to bed with makeup on.” From an early age of ten years old my Mama always made sure I had a good moisturizer and cleanser to use morning and night. She talked to us about the benefits of keeping your face clean and hydrated and how later on in life we would thank her. Well thank you MAMA! 😉 

A lot of you sweet friends and mamas have been asking me to share my skin secrets and what products I use daily to take care of my skin. I’m not going to lie it’s not a quick hop and skip but this I why I believe my skin has always treated me with grace unless those pesky hormones are in play, than it seems it’s just a waiting game. 

I’m sharing a few of my favorite skin care products one of them being oSea skin care! This skincare line is plant based seaweed. They combine earth and ocean to nourish and hydrate your skin naturally. I really can’t say enough about the products. They are just that GOOD! 

Here are my tips below for keeping your skin radiant and exfoliated which is a major part to having healthy skin in the first place. Cleansing is so good to remove impurities but we need a good exfoliater to get way down into the pours so we have that fresh dewy feeling after we’ve washed. 



Step one
: Oseamalibu cleanser is an ocean cleanser made of organic algae, this is for dry to normal skin and will remove impurities and maintain your skins natural moisture balance which is so very important. 



Step two
: Oseamalibu probiotic polish that gentle exfoliates the face as you rub about 3/4 teaspoon into the palm and sprinkle a few drops of water to form a paste. This polish has vitamin C, and is infused with probiotics. Begin massaging in circular motion for a couple minutes all over the face. This stuff is the absolute bomb. Leaves your face so smooth and polished 



Step three
: Oseamalibu atmosphere protection cream is 100% natural and lightweight for everyday use and works so well under sunscreen and makeup application. This antioxidant rich moisturizer creates a protective barrier on your skin. 

Step four: Oseamalibu brightening serum is a natural anti aging  for all skin types and even helps with the appearance dark spots which I have and it also helps reduce the appearance of pigmentation! This is a blend of organic seaweed, ferulic acid and vitamin C. 

To purchase Oseamalibu skin care click this link below: 

https://oseamalibu.com/

Lastly here are four other things I use on a weekly basis and almost never forget to incorporate into my skin care regimen. 


Once a week I use the “PMD” personal microdermabrasion that exploites very deep into the pours and leaves your skin silky smooth and dewy. Going to the salon to get this done is very expensive, this little machine will be your best friend!! This is a must! 

I also shave my face once a week, yes I was nervous about this at first too!! But…I promise the hair comes back peachy fuzzy and not wiry. It makes makeup application a breeze and again is just another great way to rid the face of dead skin. You can find a razor like the one pictured on amazon or at any of your local Walmart/Targets. 

Twice a week I use a retinal cream by “Alpha skin care” this is a enhanced wrinkle repair cream that is 15% retinal. This helps to support collagen production and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It’s a must.  Shop this cream here: https://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Hydrox-Optimum-Retinol-Anti-Wrinkle/dp/B0000535VH

Every night and every morning I use under eye cream, and my favorite brand is “Alpha skin care” nourishing eye cream that has vitamin C and hyalronic acid in it. Soothing and really does the job. 

Alright loves I hope that answers some of your questions and feel free to leave comments with any more questions or comments!

Xo,

Sophia 

05.27.17

Waterfalls•and•swimmers by•KortniJeane


Today we ventured out of the house to do something out of the usual! We took a very scenic drive up to Oceola Wisconsin where tall trees and rocks line the winding roads. We took the girls to Cascade falls where the water was freezing but the sun was shining and it was just really fun and sweet. It’s days like these that make my heart full and feel like our purpose as parents is so dang special. Exploring new things with small eyes and such innocence is quite amazing. Our family is wearing Kortni Jean swim wear today and it couldn’t be any cuter in my opinion! As I’ve become a mother I feel it’s been harder to find cute swimwear that I feel comfortable in after having gone through two births. This swimwear feels like it covers me up in all the right places yet I still feel sexy and beautiful. They also make super rad swimmer shorts for men! I love how you can mix and match these swimsuits and it all looks so stylish and eclectic which is decently my family! Shop our suits using the link below: 

https://www.kortnijeane.com/
@kortnijeane



Daddy and his girls 🙂



Xoxo,

Sophia 

05.23.17

Summer•with•Sandgrens•Clogs


It’s been a little over five months that we settled into our new home and have slowly been making it our own. I’ve always longed for a back yard for our little girls to run around in and just be kids free and easy. This is our first year planting a garden, buying flowers, doing yard work and I could just scream it makes me heart so happy. Home is a such a special place to me. It respresents our spirit, our style, our safe haven where we will mess up, make mistakes, find adventure, cry, eat dinner together, watch the trees sway in the rain, and see our girls grow up right in front of our very own eyes. Home is really my heart and soul. 


This summer and still we plan on scaling back with what we have and simplifying life as much as possible. For me I’ve been getting rid of a lot of shoes I no longer wear and investing in shoes that will last and be comfortable for my busy feet. Sandgren clogs brings just that. Style, comfort, and a whole lotta love into these sweet hand made wooden clogs. To shop my nude Madrid clogs click this link below! 

https://sandgrensclogs.com/for-women/sandals-heels-wedges/madrid-low-heel/

“Have faith mama t-shirt” found at:

https://havefaithmama.com/

Here’s to summer! Here’s to green grass, blooms, gardens, clogs, and love for each other🌿🌸🌿

Xo,

Sophia 

05.04.17

Let’s be honest mama’s. All things sleep with aden + anais


Good morning beautiful mamas, today I am joining in on a blog post with “honest mamas” on all things sleep and teaming up with the lovely aden + anais. A big shout out to my friend @thehannahrenee for putting this together. You can find her personal blog here: http://www.hannahreneeblog.com/

Sleep is so important and essential to our health and overal mood as a mama, so I have answered a few questions with how our sweet Elouise sleeps/how we sleep trained her a couple months ago. I hope you enjoy!

How well does your babe(s) sleep?

Sleeping through the night? Elouise is now eight months old and finally sleeping very well during the night unless she is sick or we are traveling somewhere new. She usually wakes up once during the night between 3:30am and 4:30am for a bottle and than puts herself back to sleep till about 6:30am.

Taking good naps?

She is still on a two a day nap schedule, and sleeping for about an hour-two hours tops. Her morning nap starts around 9:30am and her afternoon one starts around 1:30pm.

Have you or are you planning to “sleep train”?

We started sleep training Elouise two months ago now after living off of zero to no sleep. It was incredibly difficult on the whole family, so we worked with The Cradle Coach that put together a gentle approach to sleep training that helped Elouise learn how to sleep and self soothe better. All in all it was a great experience and so needed.


How did you go about it?

We contacted the cradle coach and worked one on one with a baby sleep consultant that created a personalized plan for us and our daughter. We emailed back and forth for three days straight and communicated any good or bad emotions we were feeling. We used a gentle cry it out method where we would keep going into Elouise’s room every three minutes to make sure she knew we were there. After three days she was sleeping through the night except for waking a few times. Beforehand she was up every 45 minutes of the night and it was very difficult.

Describe your baby’s bedtime routine. Are there any products or methods you do to promote sleep?

The cradle coach encouraged us to use a sleeping bag at night time so we received this beautiful one pictured from aden + anais, and it’s just the right amount of softness and warmth for Elouise. Generally i love to rub diluted lavender oil on her after her tubby, and then rock her to sleep with her bottle. We have a sound machine in her room that plays the sound of rain and often times I have a diffuser in her room as well with essential oils.

To purchase this sleep sack visit: https://www.adenandanais.com/?gclid=CM2Yw7eT49MCFVu4wAodgXEIig

Did you try to create a “sleep schedule” or is it more flexible around your day?

I think her naps do depend on our day and what we’re doing since I have a four year old as well. But we try and plan things after her morning nap and after the afternoon nap. I’m also very flexible with her taking one of her naps in the car.

How do you feel about co-sleeping? If you do co-sleep, how and when do you plan to transition to a crib/bed?

I am totally ok with co sleeping! We did this with both girls until they were big enough to feel safe in the crib. As newborns I love the idea of having them as close to you as possible and being able to smell “mama.”

You can find more sleep posts from the other “Honest mamas” Blogs here:

Hannah Renee hannahreneeblog.com // Amanda Krovic amandakrovic.com // Sophia Johnson cultivatemotherhood.com // Mary Salas honeywild.co // Kacie Ellis elementsofellis.com // Victoria Schneider thesoutherntrunk.com // Amber Hill amberlately.com // Tanya Taylor hislittlelady.com // Carla Thompson curiousnatalia.com // Kymberly Janelle lifewithkymberlyjanelle.com // Emily Lindsey happilylindsey.com // Britt Havens britthavens.com // Stephanie Pollock koleimpressions.com //

Instagrams:
@thehannahrenee @honeywild @elementsofellis @happilylindsey @tanyajtaylor @lifewithkymberlyjanelle @govictoria @amberlatelyblog @thecuriousnatalia @amandakrovic @cultivatemotherhood @britthavens @steph__pollock