Not Your Average Mom Of 5

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How To Land Paid Collaborations





As an Instagram Influencer I have found so many different things that work and do not work. I am frequently asked so many questions on how I grew my Instagram and how I go about working with companies. Often, I receive emails from people charging to take their class or have them manage my account. This is your first mistake. You should never have to PAY to be an influencer. 

Influencing is not just posting products, it is posting content that draws followers in, that makes it attractive for a company to work with you. 

So here is my list of what to work on and how to get your page paid worthy and land paid collaborations.

1. Do not try to land collaborations until you have your page looking collaboration ready. Find some great accounts to follow! You can try checking out different hashtags in your niche to find follow worthy accounts. 

2. When I started, my photos were GARBAGE. Seriously. I thought so many were amazing and look back now questioning WHY I really posted those photos. You need high quality photos and trust me when I say, angles are everything. I take hundreds of photos before I get the perfect post worthy photo. I know we all want to post real and raw, but try to do real and raw pretty and eye catching. 

3. Use a preset. There are so many amazing presets out there, but Allie Boss are my favorite. Using a preset will help keep your feed "pretty". Some people do consistently use the same one. I have several and tend to use the photo that looks the best regardless of the preset. 

4. Know your worth! Seriously. Do NOT settle for product only. Photography, posting and staying creative and relevant is a TON of work. It is not post and go, its post and constantly interact with your followers. 

5. Engagement. I will write another blog at a later date on this, but I just want to briefly touch on this. You will not gain followers or be relevant without being seen. You have to get people to want to see your page! Go find them! Comment and like and engage on stories of all sorts of people. It is a great way to connect and to make sure you are being seen. 

6. Do not be afraid to approach companies on your own. How will they know you love them already and want to spread the word if you don't tell them?!

7. Pitch. Look, you can't just email a company and say "Hey, lets collaborate". I don't message random brands that I don't know about ahead of time. I research them and let them know why I love them and why I think my followers will love them. 

8. Grammar. DO NOT blog and Influence if you can't properly write. I saw a girl with close to 100k followers who had 5 run on sentences and apparently had no idea what a comma was. This is not the way to be taken seriously. I am not saying I am perfect, I have to go fix my writing all the time, but you should not be actively trying to do a job like this if you can't write or have someone help you edit. Oh, and, use words in the proper tense - their, there, they're, except, accept, and the list goes on. 

9. Captions. You want your captions to say something, but not too much. Find a happy medium. Do NOT post the same things over and over and over again. Do NOT make your captions too long. 

10. Do not give up! Companies have budgets and certain audiences they are looking for. Do not give up if you don't always get a yes. It takes time. 

11. Have a rate sheet and media kit. If you have questions on these please reach out to me and I will help you!

12. Know that all companies have budgets. One may pay 4 figures and one may pay $100. It is your decision how low and high you are willing to go.

I am always available to answer questions and plan to continue to write FREE blogs on my Instagramming and Blogging tips! You can always reach out to me on Instagram with any questions, concerns or topics you would like to see. 

-Laura 

Nano Well Beings - The Intelligent Wellness App

* This is a sponsored post by Nano. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Nano Premium Quarterly Box

Let's take a moment to talk health. It is without a doubt, what we live by. Unhealthy lifestyles lead to shorter lifespan, worse quality of life and can inevitably be handed down to our children. If you had the opportunity to take more control of sharing your health information and taking charge over it, wouldn't you?

I think the answer is simple, YES! In comes Nano Wellness App! We are anxiously awaiting the release, but in the meantime, why don't we talk about what it is all about! Nano App is an intelligent health an well-being network designed to support you and those you care for! Here is some ways it accomplishes that:

  • It is not just an app, but a community -
    • With Well-Beings, you are able to join groups tailored to the issues that matter with you and connect with others! For me this will come in so handy for my hive and autoimmune issues!
  • Trustworthy resources tailored to you!
    •  Ever curious about topic affecting your personal health and wellness? Let them take care of the research for you!
  • Family history -
    • Ever wonder what it all means and how it affects your health or future health? You can easily create your own Nano (shareable snapshot) that you can share with other family members and doctors. 
  • Health Profile -
    • Your personal health information that can be securely stored! Keep doctors records, test results, you name it, all in one secure place! (SO NEEDED FOR ME) Even manage your entire family!
  • Personalized health -
    • Specific recommendations for your personalized health, interest and goals.  
  • So Much More!!!
Sign up here for early access to the Nano Wellness App!

What does Nano Premium included? A Quarterly Nano Well-Being box! It includes the best products to support your health and wellness! 
Take a look at what my box included!!











Head over to the Nano site and sign up now!!

-Laura




Our Stay At Hotel Azure Tahoe

**This post is sponsored by Hotel Azure. All words and opinions are my own.**




Tranquil and beautiful is an understatement for not only South Lake Tahoe, but for Hotel Azure. When we arrived at the hotel, I knew immediately, how magical our stay would be! The lake is LITERALLY right across the street from Hotel Azure and the hotel vibe and beauty was so comforting.


Our room was absolutely stunning from the moment we walked in. I was blown away by the size, decor and cleanliness. The room had a living/dining room and separate bedroom which would make it just as perfect for a family to fit in and have comfortable space. The bedroom window offered a generous view of the lake and pine trees as well. From the living room, there was a sliding glass door that led to a patio equipped with furniture and the most amazing view of Lake Tahoe!

The bed was so comfortable! I felt like I was sleeping in my own room. Luxury linens and pillows are not something they skimped on! Waking up refreshed everyday and ready to explore Lake Tahoe was one of my favorite parts of the stay!



Balcony View


Bedroom


Living room

I am not sure about you, but one thing that is important to me when staying away from home is amenities. We love working out so a gym is a must! Hotel Azure has a wonderful workout room with tons of equipment and it overlooks the lake. Who wouldn't want to workout with a beautiful view?! Next to the fitness center is the game room. Air hockey, foosball, books, board games, sitting area and television. My kids would definitely live in the game room or the beautiful pool right outside! The pool and hot tub were so well kept and I noticed the maintenance man checked the pH levels every morning while cleaning them out! The hot tub on a cool night is what my relaxation dreams are made of!







Hotel Azure is located in a perfect part of town. There are restaurants nearby and the casinos are about a 5 minute Uber ride. I even found a TJ Maxx and Goodwill just minutes away (obviously I had to shop). Heavenly Village was just a few miles away and has tons of entertainment including shopping and the gondola! 

My favorite part? Right across the street lies Lake Tahoe. There is a traffic light with a crossing path right in front of the hotel. We found stairs that led down to the lake and crystal blue waters. I am not even kidding when I say you can see right to the bottom! Perfect for summer since there are numerous beaches nearby! 


I am quickly counting down the days to start planning our next vacation to South Lake Tahoe! Hotel Azure is absolutely the place we will stay again and seeing how family friendly it is, we might even take the kids this time! (BIG MIGHT, kids free vacation was so needed!) I would highly recommend them to anyone! Dogs even stay free! 

Can't wait for our next visit!

-Laura 




How Your Super Has Helped My Life

*This is a sponsored post by Your Super. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

As you may or may not know, I recently started the Your Super Fitness Bundle. It includes Energy Bomb, Skinny Protein and Muscle Power superfoods. I am always a bit skeptical trying new proteins so I was nervous, but excited going into it! 


When I initially started researching Your Super, I knew it was something I really wanted to try out. Protein for one, is such an important part of my diet and after recent research, I have found how important it is for not only muscle regrowth, but overall body health. I wanted to try the Your Super line specifically because of it being one of the few brands that is 100% transparent in what is in their products. I have found so many things in general contain things I can't even pronounce! Your Super products are certified organic, non GMO, gluten free, 100% plant based, no additives, dairy free, soy free, and contain no sweeteners. AND for every mix sold, they donate one packet of life-saving food to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition through a partnership with Action Against Hunger. 

A huge deciding factor for me in partnering with Your Super, was reading about how their superfood powders are harvested and created. All of the ingredients are tested by third party labs to ensure they are of the highest quality.
The process is as follows:
1. Ingredients are sourced by local farmers
2. Everything is grown 100% certified organic and GMO free
3. All products are harvested with sustainability and love
4. Then they are tested right away for heavy metals, pesticides and microbiology
5. Next, it is naturally dried or freeze dried to preserve nutrients
6. And then, all ingredients are milled softly into powders before being sent to Your Super
7. They are all 3rd party lab tested to ensure quality
8. Powders are then mixed together then filled into recyclable cans

Since you are likely reading this because you follow me, you know that I had a hip replacement in April and was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune thyroid disease, Hoshimoto's. A key factor in all of this is regulating what I put into my body. Your Super checked off everything I was looking for in a superfood addition to my diet. 


Now that you know why I picked Your Super, let me tell you about how the superfoods I tried, worked for me. I am not one to go out of my way to get my nutrients. I don't come up with super cool recipes or bake cookies with protein in them. I mixed mine in smoothies and almond/coconut milk. I am not sure why I prefer this, but I do. I love coconut/almond milk for my on the go mixes. All 3 (Energy Bomb, Skinny Protein and Muscle Power) mixed so well these ways which was a huge win for me. 

The one I noticed right away was Energy Bomb. It gave me the boost I needed to get through the day without a crash or jitters. I tend to be super sensitive to any type of energy drinks so I always get nervous trying anything that reads energy. Energy Bomb contains only 5 ingredients - Acai, Guarana, Maca, Lucuma and Banana Powder. I absolutely love it!



With Muscle Power and Skinny Protein, it took a bit of time to completely feel it working. Within a week, I felt a pretty big difference in the way I was feeling. Sore post workout muscles were not sore as long, healing in my hip was definitely feeling much better. My overall feeling of well being started changing.

Skinny Protein contains 5 ingredients, 2 protons and 3 green superfoods - Hemp Protein, Pea Protein, Moringa, Spirulina and Alfalfa. It contains all essential amino acids and only 1.4 carbs per serving! What is not to love?



Let me tell you a bit about the Muscle Power. It contains 2 proteins and 3 energizing superfoods (no sweeteners). This is perfectly formulated to help build lean muscles. The superfoods contain Vitamin C, B6, Iron, Niacin and Copper as well as all essential amino acids.



I am now almost a month in and am actually able to work out daily without being sore in my hip for a few days. I am feeling GOOD! You guys, it has been MONTHS since I have felt good. Months since I felt like a normal person. I have healthy energy, healthy body healing and am happier in all because of this! I am so pleased with the Your Super Fitness Bundle, I absolutely plan on trying the other superfood options! Next on my list is the Super Green Mix and Forever Beautiful Mix.

Tell me which one you want to try! Tag me on Instagram when you do!

-Laura

Why I love my Cate & Chloe earrings

*This is sponsored post for Cate & Chloe. All thoughts and opinions are my own*



I can't be the only woman out there who has a hard time finding a quality pair of earrings that isn't too expensive. From the moment I discovered Cate &Chloe, I knew their jewelry was something special. They have so many beautiful options, it can be difficult to select one. 

As soon as I saw the Ivy "Faithful" 18k Gold Princess Cut CZ Crystal Halo Drop Earrings, I knew they were perfect for me. I have never been the type to like too over the top jewelry or too boring jewelry. The Ivy earrings are so perfect for any occasion! I can wear theme casually during the day or dress them up for a special occasion. 






The wonderful thing about these Cate & Chloe earrings is the quality. My Ivy earrings come in the option of 18k White Gold, 18k Rose Gold, 18k Yellow Gold, Black Rhodium Plating. The stones are all AAA grade CZ stones and shine absolutely beautifully. The detail in these earrings are absolutely amazing and you can see how wonderfully they are made. 





I have never been one to wear earrings around on a casual day, but the Ivy earrings were perfect with a nice shirt and jeans. I got so many compliments. When I was younger, I frequently wore heavy earrings on nights out so my hole drags down a bit (please tell me I am not the only one lol). I LOVE that my new Ivy earrings are not too heavy. They put no additional stretching to the current piercing. 

All in all, it is safe to say that this will not be the last piece of Cate & Chloe jewelry added to my options! I have already been checking out their sets page and necklaces! I can't believe all of the gorgeous options I have to pick from! They even offer a jewelry subscription box! How perfect for yourself or even a gift for someone!


Be sure to check out the Cate & Chloe website for yourself! Tag my in your favorite pieces! I am dying to know what all of your favorite earrings are!

-Laura


15 Must Haves For A Work From Mom Blogger

Most of you know that before my hip replacement, I worked full time in an office. I decided to dive full time into blogging and influencing and see if the income was enough to stay home. In working from home, I have learned so many things. Read along to find out my 15 must haves for me to be a working from home blogger!

1. Organization
You guys, I can not stress how important it is so be organized if you are going to try to be a stay at hone bloggers. Time management, money organization and time organization are a must. It is easy to say "I will do it later" and never go back and do it.

2. A Planner
I would go insane without my planner. Not only do I use the planner on my phone, I have TWO paper, yearly planners. I carry my planners everywhere and update them multiple times a day. This is literally the first thing you need to get if you decide to start blogging full time.

3. A Good Computer
I started with a not so great laptop and eventually had to upgrade. I am actually already looking to upgrade again. The quality of your computer is so important when you are constantly writing and editing. Don't cut corners.

4. A Quiet Place
I literally have to stress this, especially if you are a mom, find a nice quiet place to write! Writing with your kids in the background watching TV is not easy. I wake up early or stay up late to work. I also work when they are at school.

5. A Good Phone
Working doesn't end for me. I have driven down the road and seen a flower that I know would be perfect in a picture so I stop to take one. Make sure your phone camera is up to par! I work during practices, in waiting rooms, you name it.

6. Spreadsheets
Spreadsheets to keep track of your projects is something you shouldn't forget about. Excel really allows you to tailor spreadsheets to whatever you need them to be.

7. A Blog
Ok, this should be an obvious, right? I love Blogger, but there are many other sites to use!

8. Subjects
You can't blog without subjects to blog about. I work with companies on different posts to promote their products, but only work with products I love. I have a list of about 100 other blog ideas. Some I have even started! Make sure you find ways to connect with people so you have people reading your blogs.

9. Google Analytics
You have to have this if you want to be successful. Google analytics gives you all the insights you and companies need to see.

10. Patience
Sometimes blogging can be frustrating, tiring and stressful. Deadlines, companies and changing audiences can be very stressful. A successful blog doesn't happen overnight. Keep writing, keep organized and keep growing - always remain patient.

11. Creativity
No one wants to see the same photos over and over in your blogs. Be creative, think outside of the box!

12. A Proofreader
Writers tend to read over their mistakes. Spell check doesn't check your grammar. Have someone else read your blogs.

13. A template
I love unique blogs! I personally bought a template on Etsy and LOVE it!

14. Snacks
Don't write on an empty stomach. Make sure you have healthy snacks throughout the day!

15. A Supportive Family
I could NOT do this without the amazing support that I have from Payton. He is such an amazing person to have in my corner supporting me, helping me and cheering me on. There is no way I would be where I am without him.

Good luck!

-Laura

My Struggle With Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety. It is like this dark cloud that can follow you around. Few want to admit or acknowledged it's existence, but there it is, looming. Admitting we have it gives us even more anxiety and ignoring it can make it difficult to do anything.


It wasn't easy to admit that I suffer from social anxiety. It started as just flat out anxiety. I had never suffered from it and didn't even realize what it was. I noticed my issues with anxiety after Makenzee was born, my first child. I was a single mom and was terrified of everything. I couldn't stand the thought of someone else driving her in a car, struggled with working and a social life because I was afraid to leave her with anyone and slept near her all the time. I had read too many books on SIDs. Spiders, scorpions, and anything and everything terrified me. Lets face it, I was literally insane and had no idea.

Fast forward a eleven years, I have 5 total kids now. I am divorced. My marriage was toxic and controlling. I have met an amazing man now who supports me to the max. I am happy. 

I don't have daily anxiety anymore, been there, seen that at this point. What I have now is social anxiety. At one point I was fun. I enjoyed socializing, going out on the town and talking to my friends. Now, I really keep to myself an prefer spending time with my family.

The social anxiety comes in hit or miss. I frequently feel like I am going to be judged. I spent many years in a marriage with someone who convinced me that I would never be good enough and with 4 kids with 2 dads, no one would like me or want me. That has stuck in my head more than anyone reading this can fathom. Imagine upping it to 5 kids, 3 dads and an amazing man that you most times, you can't understand why he picked you. I guess my anxiety revolves around what others think of me. I know I shouldn't worry or care and I should let things go, but lets face it, we all read and hear when people have terrible things to say about a situation like this.

My feelings of anxiety and insecurity really tie together and make it difficult for me. Some days, I could care less. Some days, aren't easy and I really worry and keep to myself. I wish it was easier and I wish people were not SO DANG JUDGMENTAL. Unfortunately, that is life. I have been better lately at coming to terms with my life. I don't want this to make me seem unhappy, because that is NOT the case. I couldn't ask for more happiness or love than I have at this point in my life. When I am having a bad day and really feeling down, I find that taking deep breaths, taking a shower, getting ready and reminding myself how awesome I am really helps me.

One thing that has helped me is some of the friendships that I have made with a few fellow blogger friends. I find that we have a connection that is different and non judgmental! I really try to surround myself with people who are positive and uplifting, people who are caring and HAPPY. It has made such a difference in my life, but in the end, social anxiety isn't going to just go away. It is something I have to deal with day by day, moment by moment.

Here is to any other ladies dealing with it...I don't have answers for you. I don't have tips. It is something we all have to deal with and embrace in our own ways. Know that not everyone is out to judge you and know that you are doing the best, most amazing that you can possibly do for yourself and your loved ones!



-Laura

A Letter To My Younger Self

If you could go back in time, would you change anything? I feel like that is a statement we often use "I wish I would have...." "I wish I didn't". It haunts us sometimes. I have spent years thinking and pestering over decisions I have and haven't made. I have been so hard on myself at times.

Since I met Payton, I realized that I wouldn't change a thing. If things didn't happen the way they did, I never would never have met him, I wouldn't have found this amazing love, and I possibly could be without my sweet family. The decisions that I made have led to some really tough lessons, but they were lessons that had to be learned to get to where I am. 

Even though I wouldn't change a thing, I wish I could have a letter from older me, guiding me on some things. So here goes guys. 





Dear Laura,

I know life has been hard on you, but always remember who you are and where you came from. Don't stress so hard on earning your father's love, in the end, he won't be there for you. Taking everything to heart is something you will always do and trying to find the love he didn't give you will end in a lot of heartache. Your strength will get you through the times, but many tears will still fall. 
Moving from a large city to a small town may be scary, but it will be worth it. In the small town, you will meet the friends who stand by your side for a lifetime, learn your love of horses and make some of your favorite memories. 



As a child, you and your dad will be close, but as you grow older, your bond will fade and eventually disappear as you grow into adulthood. Don't let the hurt emotions rule your decision making. Hold tight to the memories he gave you and character he gave you, they mean so much throughout your life and will come into play as an adult and when you find real love. 



Preteen Laura will have some tough lessons. Eighth grade is full of bullying and you will take it with you for a long time. You will learn that being friends with popular kids is not fun and when some are jealous of you, they will go to any extent to hurt you. I am sure some of them are still huge bitches, so let it go. Don't let it make you feel so self conscious throughout life. Also, this is when you hurt your hip in cheer. Go to the doctor, don't tough out the pain. A hip replacement in your 30's will be the result. 

Teenager Laura is a nightmare. Drinking and partying is super unnecessary, give it a break ok? You are so smart and drop all of your honors classes and eventually school, please don't go down that path. This is when you give up on something that will haunt you through life, riding horses. Don't do it. Your talent is a once in a lifetime talent, don't let it go to waste. You will ALWAYS regret this decision. 


And teenage Laura, don't be so hard on your mom. Someday, you will be very close. Do not push her away when you need her the most. 


Becoming a mother will be so hard for you. Shortly after you find out you are pregnant, you will find out about your boyfriend's drug addiction. You cannot save him. You should know this ahead of time, or maybe no, you wouldn't have Makenzee if you would have known. Just know that you CAN do it on your own and you will. 


Let's talk about married Laura. I always say if i could change one thing, it would be to not have been dumb enough to be in such a controlling and emotionally abusive marriage, but I know without it, I wouldn't have Caleb, Connor and Keegan. One thing I would tell myself is to not settle on joint custody during the divorce just to escape. It will come back to get you in the future. Know that no matter how low someone makes you feel, you are always enough. 




Finally, current Laura. Gosh, what to tell myself at this point in life. It is complicated and difficult, but never forget how much love you are surrounded by. You have the love and support of the most amazing man in the world, you have 5 beautiful children and an amazing family. Keep on the path you are on, everything is working out amazing. 

Love, 
You







Otamot Pizza Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes

*This is a sponsored post by Otamot. All words and opinions are my own.*



Let's face it, easy family meals, that contain enough vegetables to keep parents happy, can be so difficult to find and make! I was so excited when I read about Otamot! It is designed by a parent specifically for picky eaters and ensuring that they get the proper vitamins and nutrients without disturbing the flavor. Otamot is packed with vegetables, vitamins and antioxidants with NO added sugar! It is an easy win win for any family.

My kids are all huge spaghetti fans so making them spaghetti with Otamot sauce was the first thing that we did. Then I started messing around trying to think of new ways to put Otamot into different meals so maximize that benefits of it more often. In our home, pizza and baked potatoes are a huge hit so I figured why not combine them? A twice baked potato that is stuffed with pizza yumminess and Otamot sauce was my answer! Even better, pizza stuffed potato that contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, D, E, Lycopene and HEALTHY fats.





My favorite part of this recipe was the fact that I didn't have to shop for a ton of ingredients. All I used was russet potatoes, butter, oregano, Otamot Sauce, Mozzarella cheese and pepperonis. Simple right? AND I wasn't slaving away in the kitchen! Throw the potatoes in the oven, go on with whatever else and then mix everything up and heat it all quickly! The longest part was the oven time, but I was able to do laundry and cleaning while they baked. Some people do make baked potatoes in the microwave so this is always an option, I personally don't because I have read that microwaving food drains nutrients from it.



Ingredients

  •  6 Russet Potatoes
  • 1/2 stick of butter (I use grassfed, unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 jar of Otamot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Cup Mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperonis
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Wash all potatoes and use a fork to poke holes in them
  3. Bake for 45 minutes
  4. Remove potatoes from the oven (do not turn it off) and let cool. Once they are cool, cut in half lengthwise and spoon insides into a bowl. 
  5. Mix potato insides with your butter, oregano and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Add about 1/2 a jar of Otamot and stir everything until combined.
  6. Spoon your mixture back into the potato skins. 
  7. Spoon a small spoonful of sauce on to the top and sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of cheese over tops.
  8. Place pepperonis on top
  9. Bake for 15 min
  10. ENJOY!!
I couldn't believe how much my kids LOVED these Pizza Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes! They are now a regular in our home! Try them out for yourself and let me know how your family likes them!!

-Laura