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 Remix: Red Dress Revisited


A while back, I did a remix post on this very dress.  I mentioned, then, that I wasn’t very satisfied with the ways I’ve styled it in the past.  However, after getting feedback from you (yes, you!), I started looking at this dress in a new way.  Here are two more ways I’ve styled it, both of which I really love.

Look 1

Taking your suggestions into account, I’ve kept it very simple here.  Just the dress, opaque tights, and black boots.  I like this one, but I do think I went a little too far in paring it down.  It needs a little more oomph, don’t you think?

Look 2

Which is why I love this version the most.  I think I struck a good balance between too many and too few accessories.  All the replacements have a little more personality–a scarf vs. a simple necklace, dotted tights vs. opaque ones, and (my favorite) Parisian-style ankle strap shoes vs. boots.

What do you think?  Which version is your favorite?


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)


How to Deal with Brands that Take Advantage of Bloggers


Not long ago, I wrote a post about a brand that offered to “collaborate” with me–but in a way that didn’t benefit me at all.  They wanted me to put together a post to promote their product, but they wouldn’t give me anything in return.  It’s not fair, and it’s so frustrating when this happens.  Us bloggers pour our hearts and souls into this work, and it’s not right for a company to try to take advantage of our drive and passion.

So what should you do when this happens?  Well, there are a few options.  Let’s dive in.

  1. Ignore it or say no.  If a brand reaches out to you with a collaboration proposal but doesn’t include any mention of compensation or a gift, there’s nothing wrong with deleting that email or responding with a polite “No.”  Write a template so you can have it readily available for this kind of thing.  All you need to say is something like, “Hi, Brand.  Thanks so much for reaching out.  Unfortunately, I don’t think this would be a good fit for me.”  Fluff it up however you want, but keep the sentiment the same.
  2. Explain how it’s unfair.  You can also choose to explain further about why you’re declining the brand’s collaboration.  This is the route I normally take because I want to inform brands that their practice harms bloggers.  Be tactful!  You never know when this brand could become a good partner, and you don’t want to burn any bridges.  If you go this route, you can say, “I’d love a chance to work with you, but since putting together this post requires a bit of work on my end, I would ask that I’m compensated in some way.”  It’s polite, but it’s assertive.
  3. Ask to get in touch with the sponsorship team.  Something I learned about the bra company (referenced in this post) is that their marketing department–the folks who sent the original collab proposal–is separate from their sponsorship department.  The marketing team may have no control over your compensation or freebies, so see if you can get in touch with the right people!  In this case, you can build off of step 2 and ask for some contacts on the brand’s sponsorship team.  You also might want to link to your media kit if you have one.

The only thing I’d strongly caution against is actually taking up the brand’s offer.  Doing so means you will be putting in hard work and getting absolutely no payout.

What do you guys think?  How do you respond to uncompensated collaboration proposals?


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?