Productivity: instagram pro tips

Hey pixels!! Well, maybe not that pro… My Instagram could be better than it is…. But I’m trying to improve it, so I want to share with you all the tips and tricks I’m using. I hope they will be useful for you!!

street cat

All the pictures I’m showing here are from my Instagram. Recently I removed some old photos that weren’t so good. I changed my profile info. I changed my profile picture. It’s (again) my blog logo, so this way people can be sure that this is actually my official account.

I know there are lots of tips and tricks, and not all of them are useful for everyone. Just read and choose the best for you. This is not a mandatory guide, just some options that you have to improve your account. But don’t forget the most important: having fun!!

Instagram Pro Tips

PROFILE

The main components of your profile are:

Username: it should be easy to type and emoji free

Profile photo: a cool one. It should show people something about you or about your business.

Bio: a few (but well chosen) words can explain a lot about you. Tell people who you are and what they can find on your pictures. If you add your email it will be easier for people to contact you. Again, don’t over use emojis.

Link: to your blog, business web…. Where do you want to send your Instagram visitors?

Make your account public. It sounds pretty obvious, I know. But Instagram allows you to keep your photos privately. This is good if you’re sharing them just with friends and family, but not if you want to be popular. I don’t know what do you do, but I don’t follow private accounts. I don’t want to follow someone who is not showing what she/he is doing.

local shop

FEED AESTHETIC

Find a focus, a main subject for your photos. It can be: food, landscapes, buildings, selfies… will help you gain targeted followers.

Colour scheme.  The key is to balance colour and space. Edit all your photos in a similar way. I use VSCO, a free photo edition app (not sponsored). Add a filter, change exposure, temperature, brightness, sharpen…. Try to stick to a colour palette that matches your brand/personal style.

Plan your posts. And tell a visual story. This is important. Share with your followers the story behind every picture. Take lots of photos, but decide which one you’re sharing. But don’t get obsessed with planning. A bit of spontaneous activity is funnier and acceptable.

TAKING PICTURES

Use different backgrounds, natural light, try nice compositions using objects that you have at home… Don’t forget our happy tips to improve your travel photos. Maybe you’ll find them useful if you’re taking photos outside or during your adventures.

local red building

HASHTAGS & BRAND TAGS

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags for each picture. I don’t use them all, but make sure that you use at least 4-5 hashtags. Use active hashtags, if more people are looking for them or using them is better. Creating your own hashtag is safe if your account is already popular, but if you have just a few followers is not worth it.

Tag brands: Instagram will  notify the people you tagged, but also expand the reach of your photo. Maybe the person you tagged will want to re-share the photo on their feed and tag YOU back! This will result in even more exposure and credibility for your business. If your business has a physical location, tag it, too. Or at least, tag your city. This can be useful, too.

my daily coffee

CALL TO ACTION

Ask something  to your followers and they will answer. Create conversations. People want to join in and feel like they are part of the discussion.

Think about what your audience might respond to. By asking questions, it shows that you care about your audience, and they aren’t just numbers. Some examples of how to do it are: ask a question, leave a comment below, tag a friend, visit our link/shop, share your next experience using the following hashtag….

OTHERS

Post consistently: maybe not everyday, but keep posting. There isn’t a rule about how often you should post, just pick a schedule that works for you.

Socialise with your audience: always answer the comments (unless you have thousands of them); keep the conversation going. Visit your followers accounts and engage with their posts too.

Be nice: visit pages and give likes. Leave comments. Be honest. If you see a lovely account, follow it.

Post videos: share the insides of your business, the how to of a pretty photo…. People watch videos and sometimes they share them…

Use Instagram stories, host a giveaway or a photo contests, give and get shoutouts….

What do you think about my tips, my happy pixels? Do you have a good one to share with us? Do you love Instagram? Or not? Please, let me know in the comments below.

 

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Butter & cinnamon cookies

Hey pixels!! At least autumn temperatures are here. Today it’s raining. I felt so happy while I was coming back home after my crochet classes. I wanted to make something special to celebrate this amazing day. What about baking some cookies?

cinnamon cookies

This recipe is awesome. I love cinnamon; it tastes great, and all the house smells like heaven while you’re baking. I am eating my cookies with a glass of warm milk while writing. They are still a bit warm, so yummy!! I couldn’t resist the temptation of start eating…. Sorry not sorry…

I have no self control, at least with food. That’s a fact, my happy pixels. But the cookies are worth it. Still eating… I can’t stop. Maybe they will taste even better if I add some dark chocolate. Yes, better. That’s what I’m thinking right now; just in case you want to try them here is the recipe!!

cinnamon cookies & dark chocolate

Ingredients ( 40 units):

  • 200g flour
  • 90g cornstarch
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 30g honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Directions:

Sift flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, honey and the egg. In two times, add the dry ingredients. Knead until you have a firm dough.

Refrigerate your dough for about 2 hours.

Preheat oven at 175ºC.

Using two spoons, drop small amounts of batter in two baking sheets. Give them a cookie-like shape. It’s better if you cover your baking sheets with some parchment paper. Bake for 12-15′.

I had to bake my cookies in two times because I had to many cookies and I didn’t had enough space on my baking sheets. If the same happens to you, watch closely your oven. Maybe the second batch will take less time to be ready.

Do you bake cookies at home, my happy pixels? What do you think about this recipe? Please, let me know in the comments below.

 

Meatless Monday: French onion soup

Hey pixels!! Another Monday is here. A meatless Monday? I don’t know if you eat meat or not, or if you skip meat for at least Mondays. I don’t know if you like soups. But I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this recipe. A French onion soup. Warm, cheesy and yummy.

french onion soup

Soup season is here, my happy pixels!! I love soup! I’ve been eating cold soups during summer, but I wanted a warm one. This is my first autumn soup this year. It’s been wonderful.

This is also my first home made onion soup. It takes some time to caramelize the onions, but after that is so easy and quick!! If someday you want to skip this part, just buy caramelized onions. But I’m sure the soup will be better if you just buy the onions and make the effort.

meatless monday: soups

Today I was cooking just for me, but it’s easy to adjust the ingredient amounts. And the work is almost the same if you make more soup, you just have to chop more onions.

Enjoy your soup, my happy pixels!! Bon appetit!!

a cheesy and warm soup

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • caramelized onions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • salt, to taste (if the stock you’re using it’s salty enough, don’t add extra salt)
  • 3-4 toasted baguette slices
  • grated cheese (Gruyere, Asagio, Swiss, or Mozzarella)

Directions:

Heat caramelized onion in a pot. Add garlic and cook for 1′. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute.

Add the stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10-15′, partially-covered. Discard the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.

Preheat oven to 175ºC.

When ready to serve the soup, place your oven-safe bowl or mugs on a thick baking sheet.  Ladle the soup into each of them, then top with a couple of baguette slices and the grated cheese.

Broil for 5-6′ or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Remove and serve immediately. Be careful, the mug is extremely hot.

What do you think about onion soups, my happy pixels?? I love this recipe! Do you have a favourite soup recipe? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Apple & custard pie

Hey pixels!! What do you think about picking some apples? Or buying some apples???? I love apple pies, and custard pies, too. So, why not making  a pie using both: apples and custard? I think this is a nice recipe. I love it.

apple pie

I thought that I had more apples at home, but I just had two. Two small ones, so my pie doesn’t have a lot of fruit slices on top. But it’s yummy anyway. This is a great autumn dessert.

I’ve made this cake because my mom loves apple cakes and pies and I wanted to try a new recipe for her. Next time with more apple slices, I promise… Anyway this is a nice recipe for a fall brunch. Why not making one for tomorrow? Let’s organize a Sunday brunch!! Yes!!

Ingredients:

Directions:

Preheat oven at 180ºC.

Grease a round mold; cover with your dough. Use a fork to make some holes on the dough.

Pour custard into the mold. Decorate with apple slices.

Bake for 35-40′. Allow to cool completely before eating.

What do you think about this recipe, my happy pixels? Do you make pies using fruit? Please, let me know in the comments below.

 

 

5 Autumn picture ideas

Hey pixels!! Autumn is probably my favourite season. It’s a beautiful one, full of cozy and nice moments and activities to do. Full of  warm recipes, like soups and pumpkin sweets. Knitting. Cups of hot chocolate. Bike rides. Cute garlands.

I love Autumn. Temperatures are still good, so you can go outside and take some great pictures of your surroundings. You can go to a cute place and spend the day there taking pictures. Make the last season picnic with a s’mores cake. Make a bonfire. Enjoy a cup of tea under a blanket.

Do you need some ideas for your photos? I have a couple of good ones. Maybe you have already used them, maybe not. Why not having a look, my happy pixels?

5 Autumn Picture Ideas

Beautiful landscapes. A forest, a lake… Nature is awesome during this season. 

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Time lapse foliage. That’s it, taking a series of photos that captures a single tree at different stages, its leaves from green to brown/orange, and how they fall.

Farmer’s market. Yes, that’s right. The pumpkin and Autumn veggies display can be so beautiful that you’re going to take a thousand pictures. And maybe after that you’ll buy some of them to make your favourite vegetarian soup.

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Pumpkin patch/ corn mazes /pumpkin carving. This. Is. Autumn. Apples, cider, the biggest pumpkin of the patch…. Just start taking pictures.

Autumn food/drinks. Pumpkin spice latte. S’mores. A tea. Hot chocolate. Your coffee. I love food photography. Just display a blanket and a couple of books. Or take the photos during your Autumn picnic.

What do you think about my ideas? Do you take lots of photos during Autumn, my happy pixels? What’s your favourite season? Please, let me know in the comments below.

Photos source: Unsplash

 

 

Plum Clafoutis

Hey pixels!! Clafoutis is a traditional French recipe, with fresh fruit and a sweet and soft dough. I know the traditional one is the cherry clafoutis, but I wanted to use another fruit, so I bought a couple of nice plums, and voilà!! A plum clafoutis!!

plum clafoutis

Actually I think that this recipe is so amazing that you could even try another fruits: pear, for example. I’m not sure if a French chef would aprove it, but I think that part of the joy of cooking is to try new things, to introduce some changes to the already known recipes.

a piece of clafoutis

This sweet is perfect for a brunch or a quick breakfast. I think its texture is lovely, so soft and sweet. Serve it with some tea, a coffee with milk, or even with a  glass of milk. Amazing.

plum clafoutis 2

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large plums, peeled and chopped
  • 85g sugar
  • 100g flour
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 150ml heavy cream
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • decoration: powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven at 180ºC

Cover the bottom of a greased 20cm round mold with parchment paper. Pour the chopped plums as you can see in the picture below.

before baking

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add flour and mix until there are no lumps. Add the next ingredients, beating well after each one: milk, cream, sugar and butter.

Pour this mixture into the mold. Bake for about 40-45′.

Allow to cool before unmolding. Sprinkle some powdered sugar to decorate.

Do you like french food, my happy pixels? Have you ever eaten a clafoutis? Cherry or plum? Or pear? Please, let me know in the comments below.

 

 

School Subject Book Tag

Hey pixels!! I don’t go to school anymore, but I remember my favourite subjects and almost all the things I learnt. I liked the school because I love to learn new stuff, but I don’t remember my school years as the happy years they should have been. Anway, I saw Ann, from Ann the bookmaster do this tag and from the moment I saw it, I knew I wanted to do it. And she has nominated anyone who wants to do it!! Now is the time!!

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MATH:
A BOOK THAT LEFT YOUR HEAD SPINNING IN CIRCLES

The end of The invisible mile. I’m not even sure about if I like it or not… I mean the end, the book is great.

ENGLISH:
A BOOK YOU THINK HAS BEAUTIFUL WRITTEN EXPRESSION

Any book from Haruki Murakami. 1Q84, for example.

PHYSICS:
YOUR FAVORITE SCIENTIFICALLY MINDED CHARACTER FROM A BOOK OR FILM

Sherlock Holmes it’s brilliant. This would be my muggle choice. My magical choice: Hermione Granger.

CHEMISTRY:
YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY COUPLE

Tris&Tobias; Hermione&Ron; the list would be endless. When I have to choose just one, I suddenly remember that I have lots of nice options.

BIOLOGY:
YOUR FAVORITE BOOK/SERIES/FILM CHARACTER

I have a favourite charachter for every book, series or film. I think I can’t choose just one… I don’t know, if I really have to answer, let’s say Legolas.

FRENCH:
YOUR FAVORITE FOREIGN BOOK/FILM/PROGRAM

I like The big bang theory, but the last seasons are not as good as the first ones. The charachters are losing their nerd personalities. This program was funny because it was different; now they are just doing the typical program things, like having children. It’s a bit boring.

ART:
HAVE YOU EVER JUDGED A BOOK BY ITS COVER, EVEN IF YOU WEREN’T MEANT TO?

Yes. If I see a book with a nice cover I pick it up and I read the abstract. I can’t stop doing that… But if I want to read a book for its story I don’t care about the cover.

HISTORY:
THE LAST HISTORICAL BOOK YOU’VE READ

It depends on your concept of historical book. If the story of a family located 100 years ago counts, La familia Karnowsky. If not, I’ve read a couple of comics about World War I.

GEOGRAPHY:
A LITERARY DESTINATION YOU WOULD REALLY LIKE TO VISIT

Just one? Hogwarts, the Shire (I would like to visit one of the cute hobbit houses)….

DRAMA:
A BOOK THAT HAS A LOT OF OVER-DRAMATIC HYPE

Twilight books (and films). Nothing interesting happens, just a girl who falls in love with a schoolmate without knowing that he is not a human being anymore. Bella does not have any real skill or interest.

I TAG:

Anyone who wants to do the tag!! If you want to write about the books, series, characters you love, start now!! It’s so funny!!

Thanks for reading, my happy pixels!! Lots of love,

Sílvia