Monday, August 31, 2015

you x modcloth

Peace and Client Dress in Dots
Simply Snuggly Cardigan in Forest
A few weeks ago, I was offered the chance to try out a few new pieces from the new Modcloth label. Coincidentally, I was already eyeing a few of the pieces anyway, so it was perfect timing! The designs are adorable - just enough whimsy to make them special, but still appropriate for every day life. 

I chose the Peace and Client dress to wear to CR's cousin's wedding last week, and it was perfect for a family wedding. It's stretchy, flattering, and with a small stitch put in, appropriate for a night of dancing with parents and cousins. Bonus: it has pockets! I got so many compliments on it that I may just wear it for the next wedding we are going to. 

During last week's fall preview (it was in the 60's for most of the week!), the snuggly cardigan in forest was perfect to keep me comfortable while reading outside at a coffee shop. The fabric is thick and soft, but doesn't feel heavy like some other open cardigans I've tried. I went with the green version of the cardigan because it's CR's favorite color, but they also have a red version that would be super cute during the holidays. 

Simply Snuggly Cardigan in Forest
Peace and Client Dress in Dots
Peace and Client Dress in Dots
outfit one
Dress: c/o Modcloth [exact - I'm wearing a large]
Belt: Gap [very similar]
Shoes: Banana Republic [exact]
Necklace: c/o Rocksbox [use code franishxoxo for 1 free month]

outfit two
Sweater: c/o Modcloth [exact]
Tee: Everlane [exact]
Jeans: Uniqlo [exact]
Shoes: Sperry [exact]
Purse: Madewell [save | exact]

Below are some of my picks from the new Modcloth collection. I've always wanted a bright and cheery skirt, so maybe this yellow one will have to be future purchase. Which of the following is your favorite? 
one | two | three | four
nine | ten | eleven | twelve

Disclosure: thank you to ShopStyle for sponsoring this post!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

top three [08.30.2015]

just a few ways I've worn my ikat dress

  • A backronym is a word that was specifically created to be an acryonm after it's meaning is already established. An example is the APGAR score, which is used to quantify how healthy a baby is at birth. It's name after Virginia Apgar, the anesthesiologist who invented it. She seemed like quite an aspirational lady!
  • There are three stages of labor. The first is when the contractions start and end once the cervix is fully dilated. The second stage is from being fully dilated to the birth of the baby. The third stage of labor is from the birth of the baby until the placenta is delivered. This week we saw a case where the placenta didn't come out on it's own, and we ended up having to take the mother into the OR to remove it. 
  • A lithopedion, also known as a stone baby, occurs when a baby dies in utero, and is too large to be reabsorbed. It calcifies, and stays inside the mother. This is super rare, but there was actually just a case about it last month!

on the internet


on franish

notable sales

  • It was my first week on OB. Like I mentioned a few days ago, I went into school thinking I was going to become an OB, and it's still very much at the top of my list. I'm hoping that these next three weeks will help me decide a bit more one way or another. This week I saw two deliveries, and four surgeries. I had to miss two days due to a shelf exam and an orthodontist appointment (only 9 weeks left!), so I'm excited to see how much we'll see on a full week. Fingers crossed I get to catch a baby!
  • CR is currently at our "home base" hospital for his pysch rotation, so we only get to see each other on the weekends. This weekend he also had to work on Sunday, so we really had to cram in our time together. Once you're so used to having a person around, it's kind of hard to get used to being alone again. That being said, I filled my time with plenty of PLL (addicted!). 
  • Did you guys hear that Adele is possibly coming out with a new album in November?! I can't wait! She is one of my absolute favorites. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

august budget

Loft dress: originally $70, on sale for $50 + 50% off = $25
Banana Republic blouse: originally $80 + 40% off = $45
J.Crew Factory dress: originally $90 + 40% off = $55
Boden top: originally $35 + 20% off + $15 coupon = $13
The Limited pants: originally $70 + 50% off = $35
Loft shirt: originally $30 + 40% off = $18
Banana Republic shorts: $30 + 40% off = $18

August Budget: $209

Quarterly budget: $500 + $150 sold - $209 = $441

I felt like I was super spendy this month. I blame part of it on longer weekends, and having to dress up again every day (that month of wearing scrubs every day did wonders for my budget!). But, in the end, they are all pieces I know will get a lot of wear.

Nothing too crazy was purchased this month, but several closet staples were replaced. Both stripe tops, especially the Loft top, have been in constant rotation since I bought them a few weeks ago. The grey pants and the dress are currently at my tailors, so the costs for that will be included next month.

As you may have noticed, there are a few items that I originally said I was going to keep but decided otherwise. The first is the pair of grey pants from Banana Republic - several of you smart ladies commented on the fit, and after taking another look, I agreed that they weren't the best for me. Second, the Boden coatigan. I really really loved it, but I was feeling really guilty about spending $100+ on a sweater that I knew would get some wear, but not enough to justify it. I don't want to feel guilty about my purchases, no matter how cute they look on, so I sent it back yesterday. Now, say it goes on sale...then it may just come back to me again ;)

Next month I'd really like to save my money for my trips in October. I probably won't buy a lot in Santorini, but a week in NYC won't be as much fun without any money left! That being said, it IS my birthday next month, and I have my "birthday" fund that I save up all year. I'm thinking a bag this year - I just sold my Tory Burch bag because it just wasn't right for me, so I'm back to not having a bag for every day. My ideal bag would be this tote (the inside is killlllling me), but it's a few hundred dollars out of my price range. I'll probably just end up waiting until I can shop in a larger store when I can handle the bags. I'd also like to replace my cognac flats - with almost daily wear for the past two years, they are just getting a little too scuffed up. I'm thinking this Frye pair looks like a worthy replacement!

This month, I received a few great pieces from my sponsors. I received this dress and this cardigan from Modcloth (you'll see them in action next week!), and I used my Shopbop credits to buy a Madewell weekender bag (that you can see here).

I'm excited to see what you guys bought this week! As always, please link back to this post so your readers can read other's budget posts :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

one year ago today: j.crew ikat dress

My ikat dress remains one of my favorite items in my closet. It's kind of one huge statement piece, but with it's neutral colors and simple shape, I think it can easily be mix and matched. One year ago, I wore it with my former favorite cardigan (RIP) to class, and this year I wore it under a white coat with a simple necklace and other black + gold accessories. Next up: with a blazer! While my dress is no longer available in stores, you can always try on eBay (I found several sizes here), or try this more expensive version if you really love it ;)

Dress: J.Crew [similar]
Necklace: Kendra Scott [exact]
Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings [exact]
Shoe: Tory Burch [exact]
Purse: Tory Burch c/o Shopbop [save | exact]
P.S. Previous "One Year Ago Today" posts can be found here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

baby catching

Today was my first day of my first OB rotation this year (I elected to do OB as part of my "core" rotation as well as my scheduled OB rotation) and I am so excited! Going into medical school, I really thought I was going to go into OB. Over the past two years, I've really tried to stay open minded about all the different specialities out there - it makes it hard on the first day of every rotation when the doctor asks, "So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" but it also makes each rotation more fun because I try to picture myself doing it. Right now, OB is definitely in my top five...but so is emergency, GI, peds, and path. I really have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that I'm so ready to catch a baby or two in the next month.

On a completely different, and more sartorial, note, I found some new work pants this weekend! I always come back to The Limited when it comes to pants - for some reason, they always fit me best. I purchased these grey pants, which really are basically the grey version of the pants above. As with all dress pants from The Limited, I have to have my tailor take in the knees, but that's a small price to pay. I would like to eventually also get this bootleg pair of pants too. Maybe next month, as this month's budget is pretty much blowwwwwnnnn.

Blouse: Loft [exact in teal]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Necklace: Forever 21 [save | splurge]
Shoes: Tory Burch [save | spend]
Bag: Tory Burch c/o Shopbop [exact]

Sunday, August 23, 2015

top three [08.23.2015]

maybe I need to branch out from how I wear this blazer...

  • Geographic tongue is an interesting (but benign) condition where some of the papillae of your tongue are missing, which gives the tongue an overall map appearance. While this won't lead to any disease, in some people it can lead to discomfort and sensitivity to certain items. 
  • Hereditary Whispering Dysphonia is an extremely rare and genetic condition that has only been document in a few families. These patients can shout at the top of their lungs, and speak completely normal when drunk or while sleeping, but when they try to speak normally (while sober and awake), they can only speak in a very low whisper. If you are interested in learning more about this family, this was an interesting write up about how the family was otherwise medically affected, and how that could possibly be all related to their whispering. 
  • The last fun word from the world of ENT is rhinitis medicamentosa. It's a rebound reaction that happens if you take too many decongestions (often Afrin). While the decongestant initially relieves the congestion, it eventually "rebounds"...and that's rhinitis medicamentosa. 

on the internet

  • I love anything a bit menswear-inspired, so of course I feel that these loafers need to be mine. Red, black, or grey...or metallic?!
  • Since my favorite pair of jeans are from Madewell, maybe it's time to try the same style in olive (a color of pants I've wanted forever!).
  • I'm not really loving my Tory Burch bag, so I'm thinking of selling it and then using that money to buy this tote from Rebecca Minkoff (that is currently on sale). Has anyone see in it real life? 

on franish

notable sales

  • For Step 2 of our boards at the end of this year, we have to do both a written exam and a physical exam. CR and I finally sat down to schedule the physical exam portion - I'm already dreading the entire process, but it's just one step closer to being done!
  • We spent the weekend up in upstate New York for CR's cousin's wedding. He has a huge family (and mine is tiny tiny tiny), so it's always an interesting experience being around so much family! The wedding was beautiful, and we all had so much fun. Plus it's nice to just get out of town once in a while :)
  • Speaking of getting out of town, I just booked my tickets to NYC! We get a month of vacation, so I'm going to Germany/Santorini for 10 days, and then 3 days after returning, I'm flying out to NYC for the week. I'm so excited - any tips of must do/see/eat things to do? 
  • Special hello to CR's grandma and Kailey! (from CR)
  • Go Bills!
  • Try using a "fr-adjective" (Fran Adjective) this week in a sentance. Example: Frangry (Fran hangry) or Frold (Fran World...aka the Blogosphere) or Freaders (Fran readers) but for the love of god they are NOT Frans (Fran fans!) 

Friday, August 21, 2015

review: boden relaxed stitch coatigan + more

My mailman is slowly becoming a huge fan of my house ;) Free shipping is my love language, so here we are, another review of items ordered!

First up is this coatigan from Boden, which I posted about last week. Armed with a 20% off code + a $15 off code from Kimberly, I took the plunge and ordered it. From the pictures above, I LOVE it. Seriously, how comfy does it look? It has a really great weight to it, and fit really well (I'm wearing a size 10). Here's my dilemma: it's quite itchy. The fabric is a wool/nylon/alpaca mix. This adds to the quality of the garment, but it also adds to the itchiness. I couldn't wear this without wearing a long sleeved shirt underneath it. This is a pretty heavy sweater/light coat, so chances are, it'll be cold when I wear it anyway. I'm torn, because like I said, I really really love how it looks. I think I'm going to wear it around the house a bit on a cooler day with a long sleeved shirt - if that doesn't cause any itchiness, it's staying! And if it's still itchy, it's going back, because no matter how cute something is on, if it's not comfortable, I'll never wear it. 

Along with the coatigan, I ordered this classic Breton shirt. I'm actually reviewing (and spoiler: keeping) two striped shirts in this post. In the past 6 months, I have donated/sold two of my favorite striped shirts because they were worn out/ruined. This left a pretty big gap in my closet since I live in striped shirts. So I ordered the long-sleeved Breton top because I love my short sleeve version, which has held up well over the past 1.5 years. Above I'm wearing the ivory/black version in a size 10. I would say this is more white than ivory, but the stripes are definitely black. If you're looking for a the classic striped top, you really can't go wrong with this one

Steph posted about her J.Crew military shirt dress a few weeks ago, and posted to a very similar option that is currently available at J.Crew Factory. I love when the J.Crew style makes it to the Factory, since you really get the same look for less, especially when it's an item I originally missed out on.


I ordered the dress in both a 10 (top left) and a 12 (top right). While the 10 fit me fine in the shoulders and waist, I found that it was a bit too tight and short across my thighs. The 12 fit me better overall, although if you look above, you can see that it has quite a bit of extra fabric around the waist and back. I really like this dress, especially since it seems to be a bit harder to find short sleeved casual dresses, so I'm going to have my tailor take it in on the sides. I got the dress for $50 during a 40% off sale, so while it's a bit pricey to alter it, I know that it will get a lot of mileage the rest of this year, and hopefully many summers to come!

Like I said above, I actually recently ordered two striped shirts. I used to wear my bateau striped shirt at least once a week, but I recently ruined it with some lipstick that just won't come out. I really love this style of shirt because I think it looks just a little bit dressier than a plain t-shirt...but it's really just a t-shirt. When I saw that Loft had a very similar option, plus one of their infamous great sales going on, I ordered both a medium (left) and large (right).

While the medium is fine, I felt it is just a bit too tight across the bust. I much prefer the large, and since it's 100% cotton, it may shrink just a tiny bit during the laundry. As you can see on the picture above of the large, it has a classic boat neckline, a cute slit detail on the sides, and a 3/4 sleeve. I got this shirt for $18, which I think is a great price for a style of shirt I know will get a ton of wear.

Last is this white softened shirt from Loft.  I was drawn to it because it 1. looked great on the model and 2. I don't have a white cotton button up. Unfortunately, it just fits strange. I'm wearing a medium here. It really doesn't look that bad in the pictures, but I was pulling on it the whole time to try to get it to sit right. I found it too loose in the torso, and too short. It is also quite see-through, which the online picture didn't show at all.

I'm up in upstate New York this weekend for a wedding, so I'm going to sneak away Saturday morning to the local mall for a little bit of shopping (and returning). I'm hoping to try on these dress pants from J.Crew, as I've decided to return the grey BR pants I tried on in my last review post. I'd also like to try these d'orsay shoes from Madewell - my black revas have been getting a ton of wear, and I'd really like to mix it up a bit. Any other suggestions of things to try out?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


chambray blazer with black shell and pants
This is my third clinical rotation, and with each rotation so far this year, I've had different clothing requirements. On my first rotation, family medicine, I worked in a very casual environment where I had the choice of scrubs or business casual, no white coat. On my second rotation, general surgery, I was in scrubs all day everyday. Now on ENT, where I spend only two mornings in the week in scrubs, I'm in my most professional office setting yet. I wear a white coat every day, which is the first time I've really had to wear it consistently with professional clothing. 

I have found that I wear less layers because of the constant white coat, so last week when I knew I was going to spend half the day in lecture, sans white coat, I broke out my chambray blazer. I paired it with this new top I got a few weeks ago, and it ended up being the perfect outfit for both parts of the day. During lecture I was comfortable in our very high air conditioned library, and then later during the day, I was comfortable with just the top under my white coat. 

Next rotation it'll all change again on OB, and the month after that will be another change...a vacation change ;)
Blazer: Loft [similar]
Top: Loft [exact]
Pants: The Limited [exact]
Necklace: Forever 21 [cute similar]
Shoes: J.Crew Factory [exact on sale]
Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings [exact]
Bag: Tory Burch c/o Shopbop [exact]
Blazers are the best part of fall (seriously), and some seriously cute ones are currently being rolled out. Blazers are an item I'm always okay spending a little more on, so below are four blazers in several different price ranges. I absolutely love my schoolboy blazers (with a few sizes on major sale), but this new version (in several fun colors) looks just as flattering. 

one | two

Monday, August 17, 2015


Ann Taylor Sleeveless Eyelet Shirtdress
After a bit of trouble finding the right size, I am now head over heels in love with this dress. I've always wanted a casual white dress for the summer, but I never found one that was exactly right. I love that this version can be dressed up more, or kept casual as well. It, along with cognac leathers and my jean jacket, will definitely be packed in my suitcase for Santorini!
Dress: Ann Taylor [exact on sale!]
Sandals: c/o Nordstrom [exact]
Watch: c/o Larsson Jennings [exact]
Earrings: Kendra Scott c/o Rocksbox [use code franishxoxo for 1 free month]
DSC07672 DSC07702
Ann Taylor is currently offering 50% off all sale items - here are just a few of their cute dresses currently on sale + an extra 50% off (no code needed).
one | two | three | four

Sunday, August 16, 2015

top three [08.16.2015]

I take my crossbody bag everywhere

  • Fracture blisters are something I just learned about this week during an orthopedics lecture. They occur after a severe fracture and look horrible (look at your own risk!). They also complicate treatment, because they interfere with surgery and casting. 
  • Morton neuroma is a fancy word for inflammation between the third and fourth toes. Any guesses what causes this? Our best friend (and worst enemy), high heels, cause the toes to become bunched together (goodbye, beautiful shoes I'd never be able to walk in anyway). Initial treatment is...sensible shoes. Whomp whomp.
  • The Positive Exposure website is something my girlfriend Caitlin introduced me to this week. It's a website dedicated to showing the beauty of various medical conditions, rather than the sterilized pictures we often see in our medical school text books. Make sure you check out the gallery here!

on the internet

  • How beautiful is this leather duffel bag? I've always wanted one, but haven't found one I like or is in my price range (this one unfortunately isn't), so maybe eBay it is!
  • I love these scalloped shorts (in black, obviously. I'm boring).
  • This sweater is comfy from the front, but the back adds a fun twist. Imagine it with skinny jeans and booties *hearteyes*

on franish

notable sales

  • CR and I went and saw The Gift this past weekend. I am a rom-com kinda girl, and have only seen 2 thriller/scary movies in my entire life, so I'll let you guess who chose that movie! It really wasn't that scary, I just wouldn't recommend it. The story line is a bit strange, and just leaves you scratching your head instead. 
  • After Pretty Little Liar's had it's summer finale this week, I realized that I haven't watched since the beginning of the first season, so now it's my guilty pleasure to watch. CR is about to leave for a month for an away rotation, so no one will be around to make me feel guilty for watching "a high school show" ;)
  • It's my last week on ENT, and I think I'm going to really miss it! But after this, I have an elective OB rotation, and I've heard it's really hands on, so I'm excited to catch some babies! For those of you who have already had an OB rotation, any advice for the rotation/books to read? 

Friday, August 14, 2015

prepping for the best time of the year

Fall Fashion

one: a goes-with-everything sweater
two: a girly pair of earrings
three: time to update my outdated sunglasses
four: the most classic of all shirts
five: a flattering pair of dark-wash jeans
six: a scarf to cuddle up in
seven: time to finally wear some booties in my favorite color
eight: don't you just want to go apple picking in this? 
nine: an interesting pair of black flats [similar dual tone shoes here]
ten: my dream crossbody bag

I, like every other cliche blogger on the planet, absolutely love fall. Cooler temperature, college football, all my favorite TV shows coming back, apple pie...what's not to love (besides the impending doom of winter)?. Having a shopping list always keeps me a bit in line when it comes to shopping, so above are some of the things I'm hoping to add to my closet this fall. 

At the top of my list is this open cardigan from Boden (which, PS, if you are looking to buy anything from Boden, Kimberly just posted an exclusive 20% off code on her blog!). My dream bag is the Chloe Marcie bag. It's very much out of my normal price range, but I've hoping to snag a used version on eBay some day. Isn't she beautiful? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

the DO's and DON'Ts of instagram

the do's and don'ts of instagram

Over the last couple weeks, I've been thinking a lot about Instagram [I should probably be thinking a lot more about my surgery shelf coming up, but that's really up for debate ;)]  But really, in recent weeks I've probably unfollowed close to 20 people on instagram for one reason or another. I, of course, also have a general idea of how many numbers of followers I have, so I notice when that number changes. It made me think about why people follow and unfollow others on everyone's favorite social media. I asked you guys on twitter and facebook on your opinions, and loved reading everyone's thoughts that I thought it would make for a fun post. So, here, in very much just my opinion, are the do's and don'ts of instagram. As a disclaimer, these are just my thoughts for those of us who have public instagrams who want to increase our following. I obviously don't have a huge following either, this is really just bits and pieces of thoughts and discussions from the past few weeks :)

DO: have a consistent way of editing pictures. Up until about a year and a half ago, I didn't do this. It wasn't until my good friend Ben really started to get into Instagram. Ben is a graphic designer by trade, so he obviously has a good eye for these kind of things, so I made him give me a little lesson on how he takes pictures and edits them. Many hundreds of pictures later, I have developed my own way of editing pictures (this post is almost a year old about my editing methods, but I've changed things recently so let me know if you are interested in an updated version). This is important for several reasons.

  • It makes your instagram cohesive, which is important for when someone first finds your page. I will decide within about 5 seconds if I want to follow someone based on the 9 pictures that show up first, and if I'm not attracted to how it is presented, I may not follow
  • It makes editing pictures quicker - I know exactly what changes I'm going to make, so I don't have to play around with it anymore. 
  • Once you have a certain way of editing, your followers will always know it's your picture. I think of Laura when I say that - I always know a picture is hers before I even read the caption because she has a specific way of editing her pictures. I love her and her page, so I almost always either like or comment on her pictures. Her consistent style of editing keeps me engaged.

DON'T: overedit. Girl, we see the blur action/slimming app going on! Keep it natural :) I definitely will erase a blemish if I have one, but that's as far as I like to go with my edits. 

DO: stay consistent with what you are sharing. I have a fairly low tolerance for following people - if I come across an instagram that at just a few glances looks like something I'd like to follow, I'll follow. If those same instagram pictures that before were of the normal instagram-like pictures (puppies, cute babies, flowers, blah blah blah, edited in a cohesive way) all of a sudden turn into a bunch of drunk selfies with your besties at the bar, I will more than likely unfollow. I don't know those people, and those pictures aren't the reason I started following you. If you want a public instagram that grows in followers, then keep those moments on your private facebook. If you use your instagram to share the prettier parts of your life with a bunch of strangers on the internet, then stay consistent. This doesn't mean you can't branch out and take different types of pictures - I try not to post the same dog / white coat / flowers pictures every single time, because I do like to branch out and try different things, but I try to same the general types of pictures instead of all of a sudden turning my instagram into a family album.

DON'T: become greedy. This is probably my number one piece of advice, and also based on reader feedback on facebook and twitter, something many followers hate. I personally don't care or not if a person uses Like to Know It. I personally don't use it on my instagram because I'm too lazy, and my instagram doesn't often feature purchasable items (Hans is not for sale!), but I think it's a smart idea for those who often feature items that can be purchased. If someone uses Liketkit, I won't automatically unfollow because there are definitely respectful ways to use it. For example, if someone asks where an item is from, don't give them the schpiel on how they can sign up and receive and email and isn't it great for everyone? No one wants to hear that. Be a normal person, and just tell them. Do you lose out on a dollar or two if they don't sign up? Sure, but you'll gain respect, and I think that's always more important than a few extra cents.

DO: think about how you come across. I was following a fairly popular blogger on instagram because she was pretty to look at and takes nice pictures. After about a month of traveling around Europe, she had an instagram picture about finally getting some time to relax. I was coming off of six straight months of being holed up at the library without a single night off studying for my boards, so that was the last straw for me. This doesn't mean you can't share the most difficult things in life - I know that one of my most popular posts was about sharing a struggle, but if the struggle is being tired after going on a trip around Europe for six weeks, maybe keep that to yourself next time ;) I can be a bit of whiner (right, catladies?), but in general, I like to keep my instagram a happy place because if you are looking to grow your instagram following, being a debbie downer is not going to make that happen.

DON'T: do loop giveaways. I get the temptation, I do. I would love to quickly grow my followers too. As a blogger, more followers = more opportunities = more money. But have you ever heard of anyone say they actually like them? I haven't. I think they are annoying and clutter my feed, and chances are that unless I really like you or have been following you for years, I will unfollow. I think growing your followers organically will always win, plus your current followers will appreciate it too.

DO: mix it up. We all know those instagrams that take pictures in the exact same pose every day (that overhead selfie that I have never figured out how to do). While I know many women have great success with this, I think sometimes it's important to try out something else, or else it becomes forgettable. I think a good example of this is Steph - while she does many layouts, she always mixes up how she presents her outfits. It keeps me interested in what she is showing even though she has a "formula".

DON'T: think you have to post all the time. I don't remember exactly where I read this, but basically, you aren't going to lose followers if you don't post something for a few days, but you will lose followers if you post something just to post something. I never thought about it that way before, because I used to think I had to post at a minimum of once a day, if not more, to keep and gain followers. Now I post five times a week, tops. Sometimes I just don't have anything to take a picture of, sometimes I don't have the time to edit, and sometimes I just am busy doing other things. Now when I post a picture, it's because I love the picture too, and not because I feel obligated to post something. Actually, many people on facebook and twitter said that they unfollow if you post too much. What's the magic number? I'm not sure, but I personally probably will never post more than three pictures in a day.

DO: stay engaged. If you ever ask me a question on instagram, I am almost certain to respond. You took time to write something on my post, and if I didn't want the conversation, I wouldn't have started it by posting the picture in the first place. I am always a bit sad when someone receives a bunch of questions, and doesn't take the time to answer them. Love your followers back :) I think a great example of this is Lynette - I love that she always takes time to write back when people ask a question. She even recently had a Q&A on her instagram, which I think is such a fun idea, and something I am definitely copying in the future.

DON'T: overstylize. We know that you don't keep all of your lipsticks uncovered on your white bed spread, and we also know you don't leave all of your jewelry sitting next to your computer while you type. Just be real...ish. I am guilty of clearing away an area to make it look nice - sure you see the clean desk here, but what you didn't see were the many boxes in the corner waiting to be unpacked. It wasn't a fake picture - that's what my desk looked like, it was just strategically cropped without being overly stylized. Styling a few items in a pretty way is definitely instagram worthy, I'm sure many of us have done so, but it's when it becomes too "this isn't at all real" that I personally may unfollow.

DO: make a custom hashtag or series. I think of Laura from Beauty and the Beard when I say this - have you ever seen her #everythinginrainboworder pictures? I think they are so fun, and I'm always waiting for the next one. I personally use the #frandoesmedschool hashtag as a way to keep track of my four years of school. Sometimes I like to look back through the past two+ years just to see how much has changed - I know others do the same, because I will receive likes on multiple old pictures under that hashtag. I think people like to see the progression too. This doesn't mean you have to start one for every single event of your life (#frandoeswork #frandoesdieting #frandoessleeping), but if you have a recurring theme in a picture, a custom hashtag is a fun way for your followers to look back through them.

DON'T: be afraid to use strategic hashtags and tag brands. Again, I think Laura does a great job of this. She is often featured on other feeds because of her strategic hashtag usage. I've been featured on a few feeds after tagging brands - Hansi is double famous since he was both on the Pottery Barn and Overstock pages recently! A bonus is that if those companies comment on your picture, chances are your picture will show up on the explore page, and you may gain a couple of new followers.

DON'T: go hashtag crazy. I won't be judgey and say keep it to a minimum of 3 hashtags (because that would make me the biggest hypocrite evaaaa), but just don't go overboard and #hashtag #every #object #in #the #picture.

DO: think about if it's instagram or a blog post. This is obviously 100% my opinion, and I'm sure many won't necessarily agree (although many on facebook brought this up), but I don't really like using blog pictures on my instagram as a way of promoting the post. If I follow your blog, I probably already follow your instagram, and if I follow your blog, I follow you on bloglovin, and I will check out your blogpost with that exact picture in it eventually. My solution to still wanting to promote a post without posting exact pictures in that post? Take a picture on your phone of a part of your outfit - this lets you not only promote your post for those follower who may not follow you on bloglovin, and it gives those who follow you on both a new picture to look at. Or, you can do what Grace does, and do a little sneak peak - I always think those are fun as well!

DON'T forget to explore. I have found some of my favorite pages to follow by looking through hashtags and the explore page. I also tend to gain a lot more followers when I'm more active - if I'm leaving more comments (real comments!) and liking pictures with the same hashtag, I tend to gain more followers.

DO: have fun! In the end, this is just social media and for the majority of us, it's all just for fun. If one of my don'ts is a do for you, then keep doing you! If you hate something I love, that's okay too.

I would love to hear your dos and don'ts have instagram! What rules do you live by, and what makes you click unfollow? And if you aren't following me already, my instagram can be found here!

Monday, August 10, 2015

gingham love

gingham dress with cognac accessories
Early last week, I had one of the best days. CR was off on a canoe trip with my dad and his buddies, so I spent the day in Madison. For those of you not familiar with Madison, WI, it's basically the best city in the world. I'm probably biased because I lived there for seven years, but it's seriously the greatest. I always knew I wanted to go to the University of Wisconsin, so my time at the UW, and the couple of years after, will always hold a special place in my heart.

I started my day off by stopping by Loft, "just to look". I don't always have the best luck finding anything in stores, but as I was glancing through the sale section, I found the gingham dress I fell in love months ago, now priced at $50 + 50% off...and the only size left was my own. I was so excited about it that I changed into it in the parking lot! It's now sold out, but this version is very similar, if you are looking for the perfect little gingham dress of your own!

After my dress success, I spent the afternoon studying at the cutest little coffee shop on the square (while consuming a nutella crepe and a flat white...yum!), then met up for drinks with Jessica. We've been following each other's blogs for years now, so it was so great to meet up in person. She was such a delight to be around, and I'm sad that we didn't know each other better when I still lived in the area. For those of you in the Madison area, we went to Gib's Bar on Willy Street - we both had the dark and stormies, which were delicious!

I then met up with one of my college besties, Lizzi. You may remember her from her posts about moving in with her boyfriend. We met in the marching band, and have remained close since our years of wool uniforms. She's one of the smartest (she's an engineer!), kindest, and funniest people I know. She was kind enough to snap a few pictures before we went to eat, and then we continued to spend hours catching up and stuffing our faces with cheesecurds, the true Wisconsin way. 

I miss Madison terribly, but the best part about moving away is getting to come back to visit and seeing all of the highlights :)
Dress: Loft [similar below]
Bag: Michael Kors c/o Shopbop [exact]
Sandals: Jack Rogers [exact]
Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings [exact]
Nail Polish: Essie [exact]
SAM_0111-2 SAM_0127-2
one [on sale + 25% off] | two 
three [my favorite] | four