I Tried Instagress for a Week and This Is What Happened



Even though I don’t blog for money, I can’t help but still be a little obsessed with my Insta numbers.  It feels so good to get a follower notification, and I know I’m not the only one who’s hooked on that feeling.  Some of us try to capture more of that by leaving dozens (hundreds!) of comments and likes, others do the follow/unfollow method, and then there are the serious bloggers–the ones who pay to automate the whole process.

I tried one of those automation services–Instagress–for a week to find out what it was all about.

The Setup

Instagress is a website–not an app–that you can finely tune to like, comment, follow, and unfollow on your behalf.

You link your Instagram account, and from there, you have full control over how much engagement it does for you.  I had mine set up to leave 30 likes/hour and follow 20 people/hour.

You can even schedule when Instagress runs.  See, you can’t run Instagress and use Instagram at the same time.  If you happen to leave comments and likes manually while it’s running, the Insta Police are gonna getcha.

One thing I didn’t do?  Automate comments.  Dear Lord, that is a terrible idea.  We’ve all seen those lame comments that say, “Nice pic!” or just a nonsensical string of emojis–those are automated through things like Instagress.  Guys, if you ever use a service like this, PLEASE don’t automate your comments.  Please.

Anyway, it costs about $10 a month, although it gets pricier if you’re paying week by week or day by day.

The Results

Lackluster.  Really.

First, let’s talk hard numbers.  On a regular day, doing my normal engagement tactics, I was averaging 18 followers on Instagram per day.  With Instagress, it dwindled to a measly 9.

Second–and this was what really killed me–my feed got SO clogged with shitty accounts.  I had it set to follow followers of some big accounts (like New Darlings), and a lot of them are just normal people taking selfies.  Not inspiring.  I never wanted to check my feed because it would be picture after picture of poorly-lit table settings.

The Bottom Line

Honestly, don’t waste your money on something like this.  There is no substitute for the human touch.  If you’re really desperate for followers, even manually following and unfollowing is a better option than Instagress.

Have you guys ever tried something like this?  How did it work out for you?

By the way, since I seem to be doing a lot of these “seedy underbelly of blogging” type posts, let me know if you have any burning questions about the blogging world and I’ll see if I can answer them!


Outfit: Camel Toggle Coat + Striped Top


Something you might not know about this blog is that I’ve stopped monetizing it.  No ads, no affiliate links, no sponsored posts.  Sometimes I do a collaboration, but only if I get to do exactly what I want.


I don’t think there’s anything wrong with monetizing your blog, but it’s something I’m uncomfortable doing.  I could explain why, but I’m afraid of coming off as harsh or judgmental, and that’s not at all how I feel!

I made this decision a little while ago, and I’m still trying to navigate the future of Mox and Socks.  If I’m not making any money, why keep working so hard?  Blogging isn’t always fun, and it’s frequently pretty stressful.

The thing is, I don’t know what I’d do without my blog.  It’s become such a huge part of my identity, and it’s what I turn to when I get home each day.  I love that I’ve developed some fierce photo skills, and I love writing posts that bloggers and fashion lovers can relate to.

I think I’d be remiss if I gave it up entirely, but I may cut back on some things.  I’m not sure what things are going to look like around here, but I hope you’ll stick with me for the ride!


Outfit: Lacy Top + Black Bow



I can’t believe I went three months without a blogging break!  By the beginning of March, I started feeling weirdly stressed out, and I couldn’t figure out why until I looked back and realized that the last time I took a week off was around Christmas.

I got to do some nice, de-stressful things, like:

-taking Moxie for a long hike.  It would have been longer, but we came across a small group of deer, which scared the pants off Moxie.

-dyeing my hair brown.  I’ve been blonde for the last decade, so it was time for a change!  I like this color a lot, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the new color affects my makeup and hairstyles.  Already I’m getting tons of inspiration from Christina of New Darlings.  I might be doing an adapted tutorial of her signature bun soon.

-getting ice cream.  My friend Nic and I have a little sugar challenge going.  Every time one of us has a sweet, we have to pay the other $10.  However, if we have a sweet together, it cancels out.  So we got some good, good ice cream from Jeni’s over the weekend.  I’m still thinking about my Roxbury Road sundae.

-watching the new My Brother, My Brother, and Me show.  I’m a little late to the game, but I finally watched a few episodes of MBMBaM’s new series.  Two things: it’s hilarious and I’m now super attracted to Travis McElroy…or maybe just his beard.

-shopping with my mom.  We spent a day at the mall, mostly at Lush.  That place is a hell of a sensory experience.  I never want to leave.

-inventing games for Moxie.  I tried making an obstacle course for her in my tiny studio apartment, but she didn’t really understand the concept.  I also tried hiding treats all over, but she just sat in the middle of the room until I took them out for her.  Brat.

What have you guys been up to?



Outfit: Red Dress + Black Ankle Straps


One of the things I really dislike about blogging (especially in the winter) is taking my own pictures.



I think a lot of you know this already, but I don’t have professional help with my photos.  It’s always just me, a tripod, and a remote.  It can be tough to run back and forth, adjusting both the camera settings and my poses.  A lot of the time, I wish someone else would do it for me since it would probably save a ton of time!

The thing is, I don’t know if I’ll ever give up creative control over my pictures.  For one thing, it’s pretty convenient.  I don’t have to badger anyone to go outside in the cold and take snaps for me, so I can get a photo shoot done whenever I want…or whenever the sun is cooperating.

Plus, I’ve come to love my own photography style.  I’m certainly not saying that my skills are the best–they’re definitely not–but I do like my own perspective.  I think I’m getting better at telling stories with my pictures, or at least taking them into a little bit of a different world.

Do you take your own pics?

Scarf: Madewell (similar)

Dress: ModCloth (similar here and here)

Tights: c/o Time for Tights

Shoes: DSW (similar)

Bag: ModCloth (similar)


Outfit: Blush Ankle Straps


dsc_0056dsc_0075dsc_0076dsc_0069dsc_0062Here come the spring rains.

Poor Moxie is currently hiding out under the bed.  There’s a storm blustering outside, and she’s terrified of rain.  It’s weird; she loves it when I turn on the shower, but if that water comes from the sky instead of a faucet, there’s no getting through to her.  As soon as she hears the first patters fall, she stops whatever she’s doing to crawl under the bed.

Even today, she was in the middle of her “dessert” bone when she perceived a thunderclap and had to run for the hills.  There’s no getting her out once she’s there.  I’ve tried the Thundershirt, tranquil music, and even my mom’s voice on speakphone, but nothing would calm her down.

There are going to be more nights like this, I know, but at least it means spring is on its way.  As far as winters go, this one was remarkably mild.  I’m normally superstitious about that kind of thing, thinking that it’ll mean a poor summer.  But maybe it’s just making up for the last couple of years of nasty winters and chilly summers?  One can dream.

In any case, I just want to get outside and do the things I love: hike, run, and take pictures.  I’ve already started running after work, and it makes me feel so happy and energetic!  Even when I’m walking Moxie, we sometimes break into a little trot, and she loves it as much as I do.

What are you most excited for this spring?


Outfit: The Rose Sweater

DSC_0015.jpgHaving blogged for a couple of years now, I’d like to think I’m a little seasoned.  Sure, I’m not a pro, but I’ve got some things under my belt, like working with brands.


A lot of the time, it’s a little thrill when I get an email from a brand saying they want to work with me.  It feels good to be recognized for something I put my heart and soul into.  Most brands operate on the same game plan–they send me something for free, I wear it on the blog, and we both go home happy.

But then there are the sneaky brands.  They, too, send an email saying they want to “work with me.”  As I read further into the email, though, it becomes clear that they want something for nothing.

Here’s an example.  A bra company recently contacted me and asked me to do a blog post for them.  I was to include a little quiz they made up and put in a promo code for 30% off one of their products.  I told them that before I could promote their brand, I’d like to receive a free bra–after all, I have to know what I’m talking about!  They said sure.

Kind of.

The company told me I could do a “free trial” and if I liked the bra, I would have to pay for it.

Um, are you kidding?

I sent them back an email politely declining the offer, and I explained that it’s not fair to ask a blogger to take the time to put together a post in return for nothing.  A loss, even, if I decided to purchase the bra after the “free” trial.

How do these brands justify this kind of thing?  Sometimes I imagine they must be thinking, “This blogger should be SO FLATTERED that we reached out to her!”  Maybe they really don’t understand how much work goes into a blog post, or that we totally deserve to be compensated for it.

Clearly, I find this practice super annoying.  Has this ever happened to you?

I’m thinking of putting together a blog post next week that explains how you can politely decline something like this but leave the door open to the brand.  What do you think?


Two Ways to Wear a Red Striped Sweater


I’ll ‘fess up: I have a severe stripes addiction.  I have striped sweaters, tees, shirts, and shoes up the wazoo.  Out of all of them, though, this red one wins.  I can never wait for it to dry when it comes out of the washing machine, so sometimes it’s even a little damp when I put it on.  This thing is just so freaking soft and cozy!

A sweater like this can’t be worn just one way.  It deserves more than that.  Here’s a couple of my favorite ways to style my red sweater–and keep an eye out for more someday soon!

Look One

I’ve dressed it up a little bit by pairing it with a simple black skater skirt, tights, and pointed-toe flats.  My leather bag does a nice job of keeping the outfit from looking tooooo sweet and balances out my (frankly, quite) adorable Book of Deer hat.

Look Two

This one’s a much more casual look.  I’ve swapped out the skirt and tights for jeans and duck boots, and I’m wearing my wool toggle coat for just a little extra coziness (and by a little, I mean a lot).  Still gotta have that hat on, though!

How would you guys style this sweater?


How to Get More Comments on Your Next Post


I was going through some of my old blog posts, and I discovered something quite unexpected: my personal favorite posts were not the most popular.  It seemed so weird at first.  I started questioning myself–didn’t anyone like what I liked?  Was I doing something wrong?

I did some digging, and I noticed a pattern.  The posts that got the most engagement were the ones that gave something of value to the readers.  Things like tips, tutorials, and how-tos.  It totally explains why my post about curating your closet got a lot of comments while my last one was, well, pretty silent.

Now I want to share a little bit about what I learned with you!  Here are a few ways you can get some more comments on your next post:

  1. Come up with a catchy title. Most of the time, when I write up an outfit post, I’ll title it something like this: “Outfit: Obscure 1980s Song Lyrics.”  That’s not really enticing, is it?  Not to mention it’s almost completely unsearchable.  Instead, a great blog post title offers something to the reader–maybe a how-to or a list of tips.  For my last blog post, instead of “Outfit: Blending In,” I bet something like “How to Wear an All-Neutral Outfit” would have gotten a little more noise.
  2. Find a way to help.  Going off the last point, posts that help the reader are the ones that get the most love.  If you can put together a hair tutorial or a review of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) beauty products, I can almost guarantee you’ll see positive results.  Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned inspiration.  Showing off an outfit with amazing pics is also an excellent way to attract readers–just make sure you don’t scare them off with a weird title.
  3. Ask questions.  Don’t just leave your reader hanging at the end of a post!  You’ve just spent a ton of time talking, so let them get a chance to weigh in.  If you’re posting an outfit, ask them what they think or how they’d style the dress you’re wearing.  Make it a conversation–and always try to respond to your comments.
  4. Leave comments of your own.  Nothing brightens my day more than a thoughtful comment.  When a person takes the time to write something nice to me, I always check out their blog, and if I have time, I like to return the favor.  The more you get out and engage with other people, the more likely you’ll see them reciprocating.

So what about you?  What strategies do you use to get more comments?


Outfit: Blending In





Redoing my wardrobe has been marvelously helpful in so many ways: I’ve cleared out all the junk in my closet, I’ve learned to shop with intention, and I really look forward to getting dressed in the morning.

But.  (Yes, there’s a but.)

After spending so much time thinking about the kinds of clothes I want to wear, it’s been another thing altogether to put those wants into action.  I’ve spent a lot of time the last few years in little else but A-line skirts and dresses on the blog, which, while flattering, make it easy to hide the parts of my body I don’t like.  (Whether I think things are too big or too small or too short or too long, I won’t say–that’s not the point!) While I’m still very much in love with a good skater skirt, I’ve also found myself drawn to skinny jeans and pants lately–and you can’t hide anything in those.

Sure, I’m in jeans all the time, but I seldom wear them for the blog.  I always told myself it was because they didn’t look “pretty” enough for a blog post, but I do think that part of me always felt a little uncomfortable with how revealing they are.  I was definitely feeling a little insecure when I took these pictures.  People are going to see the parts of my body I don’t like!

The thing is, I really love outfits that incorporate jeans and pants on other bloggers, so why not me?  Why can’t I rock them too?  They’re essential to my new style, and I love wearing them when I’m not going to be “seen.”

It’s something I’m going to have to work out on my own, but I wanted to get this out there. I’m hoping that spending more and more time getting to know my bod in some new clothes will help–it certainly did in the past.


How Many Blog Post Pictures Do You Need?



love taking pictures for this blog.  On the weekend, I can hardly wait for the sun to start going down so I can grab my tripod, timer, and camera to snap a bunch of pics.  When I’m out, I spend a good 30 minutes to an hour working on different poses and camera angles, and I can really get lost in it.

But here’s the thing–when it comes time to write up a post, how many of those pictures are you supposed to use?  I know how much work goes into each picture, but there has to be a limit.  As a reader, I really don’t like blog posts that feature pretty much the same photo over and over, with slightly different poses.  They don’t add any value, so what’s the point?

For the last year or so, that’s been my rule: make your point and move on.  Some bloggers, like A Robot Heart and A Clothes Horse, use their pictures to tell stories, and every shot has something different and interesting.  Other bloggers are all about the outfit, so they show one or two head-to-toe shots and a few detail pics.

A lot of the time, I like going for that narrative quality, but when I’m not, I honestly don’t think I need more than a handful of pictures.  In fact, because this outfit is so simple, I only needed two.

I think there’s a little fear that fewer pictures is a bad thing, but really, I think it’s better to pare down the number of shots you use.  Use only the best ones–the ones that add the most value to the post.

What do you think?  How do you decide which pictures to use for your posts?