Grow Your Audience Using Hashtags

From the birth of Instagram, hashtags have existed along with it. Honestly, they have a bad rep… unless you know how to use them.

Yes, we all know how annoying it is when someone takes a picture of their latte and hashtags: #workinggirl #coffeequeen #ootd #sundayfunday or other words that are otherwise infuriating to scroll through. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be like that.

Hashtags are incredibly important for growing your audience. You can be widely successful with them if you understand how they work. Here are some tips to growing your audience on the gram.

  1. Start Local. If you’re a small business, an artist, or another form of entrapeneur, throwing around hashtags such as #business, #boutique or #theatreartist are not going to help you. There are thousands to millions of pictures with these hashtags! You can easily narrow down who sees your posts by making it local. For example #Tulsabusiness #BostonBoutique #DetroitTheatreArtist. Each of these hashtags have MUCH smaller posts attached to them, but the people who you want seeing your posts will be able to find you! Otherwise, your posts will get lost with the other people who claim to be an #actor, #businessowner, or #marketingstrategist.
  2. Be Specific to the Post you Make. If you took a picture of yourself at the beach, would putting the hashtag #catstagram be an ideal choice? I don’t think so. Take this photo below for example! I’m not just on a beach, I’m in Carmel, California, on part of the California State Route 1 drive. That’s so specific, right? Some hashtags I could use here are #carmelcalifornia #californiastateroute1 #californiaroadtrip #carmelbeaches, etc. If I was trying to focus my hashtags on the fashion aspect of this picture, I could include brand names such as #americaneagle #springsweet, etc.
  3. Don’t Use General Hashtags. If I was at the beach, I wouldn’t use #beach or #sun. Again, where are you? Are you on vacation? Can you hashtag a brand of the swimsuit you’re wearing? The more specific, the better! Millions of people have already used #beach and it takes even more work to be found with general hashtags. In addition, many of the #basic #hashtags have many spam accounts attached to them who copy and paste comments on to your post. As a fashion blogger, I used to get tons of comments asking me to collaborate with brands or asking if I wanted a discount on their products which is the most frustrating thing in the world. Be less general to avoid spam! Since I’ve stopped using those general hashtags, I have received barely any spam comments.
  4. Search for Hashtags in Your Niche. You can use the Instagram search bar to see how many posts have used a certain hashtag. I highly recommend doing this as you can see if your post will get lost or not. Now, popular hashtags aren’t all bad. But if you mix up your hashtags with ones that have millions of posts to ones that only have a thousand or a couple hundred, it will widen your chances of your post being seen.
  5. Mix Up Your Hashtags. I had this bad habit of finding some of my favorite hashtags, making a note on my phone, and copy and pasting the same ones to every post… Bad News. If you use the same hashtags for every post you make, Instagram shadow bans you. Shadow banning is when Instagram senses an account is a spam account and hides your posts on the hashtags you’re making. Therefore, all that research you did was for nothing! I suggest making multiple, RELEVANT hashtag groups and switching them up every time you post. This also gives your post the chance to be seen by more people.
  6. You Don’t Need To Use the Maximum. Instagram allows you to use 30 hashtags per post. You don’t have to use all 30! Again, sometimes using all of them just for the sake of using them is not as helpful as using 10 powerful hashtags for your page. Switch up the amount of hashtags you’re using in protection of being shadow banned.
  7. Put Hashtags in the Caption. When you post hashtags in the caption, the hashtags will be just as fresh as the post is. Sometimes hashtags aren’t as useful when you post them in the comment section because your post has already been live for as long as it took you to write the hashtags. If you don’t want your hashtags to be as seen on your post, find a way to put them at the bottom and add a symbol so they are separated between your caption and your hashtag section.

I hope this post was helpful for those who are wondering how the heck to use hashtags! I started as the most ANNOYING hashtagger and after doing my research, hashtags have helped be get up to 45% of my audience engagement from a singular post, none of which followed me at the time. If you’re trying to expand your audience, do the work! I can guarantee it has been so helpful to my growth as blogger.

xo, Brynne

Real Tea: Mixing Patterns is Cool

Ok you guys: skirts are difficult to wear in the winter… They’re cold, the wind blows them in different directions, and they can be so difficult to pair with other winter wear! But guess what? I’ve got the perfect fix for you!

I am Trends may come and go, but cheetah print is here to stay. I haven’t seen a pink cheetah print skirt in my fashion discoveries quite yet and this one would definitely takes the cake. It’s super flowy and surprisingly warm for the thin material it’s made from. It’s also lined so you don’t have to worry about layering it with anything.

I adore this white pullover! Chunky knits are my winter weakness and I love how cozy this one is. It’s wool and the simple heart pattern is so fun! I love mixing this bigger pattern with the smaller cheetah print. Mixing different patterns is such a simple way to spice up an outfit.

I also enjoy playing with tucking in the sweater or leaving it untucked. You can play with this style depending on your preference.

That’s all for today folks! Thank you always for reading, and you can get this whole outfit from Urban Found! They have stores in Holland, South Haven, and Saugatuck if you’re looking to do some Holiday shopping!

Have an incredible day!

xo, Brynne

It’s Ok to Wear Orange In the Winter

Oh hey you guys! Look, I get it, orange is a daring color to pull off, ESPECIALLY in the Winter. I am here to tell you that you can pull it off!

These skinny cords are some of my favorite pants! They are super stretchy and comfortable, and I love the button detail and high waist. I definitely recommend getting a pair such as these.

I am obsessed with chunky knits, and I’m absolutely in love with this one! The cream calms the orange down, and has a tint of warmth that goes so well with the cords!

The hair clips are next! Gold is one of my favorite colors to use to accessorize as it goes with just about anything! And this tortoiseshell pattern is very in, and I’m really enjoying the big hair clip trend!

Also… this purse! It’s vegan and has a lot of storage space. I’m usually not the biggest fan of bigger totes but honestly this one is the perfect size and style that it wouldn’t be clunky.

Last but not least, I always like to jazz up an outfit with some bangles! Silver and gold is a great addition to this outfit, and using different kinds of metals brings out the warm and cool colors simultaneously!

Alright folks, that’s all for now! As always I REALLY appreciate you reading my blog, and please let me know if you have any questions for me! Every item is from Urban Found, a super cute West Michigan boutique! I highly recommend checking them out in store or online.

Have the best day ever!

xo, Brynne

Oversized Jackets: SUCH A FAN

Ok, I don’t know about you, but oversized jackets in the Fall are one of my FAVORITE additions to an outfit! You can rock them over a sweater and they don’t make you feel stiff, and they completely pull an outfit together when the weather is so unpredictable!

The jacket that I have on I thrifted and it’s the brand Dressbarn. I almost didn’t get it as I thought it may be too ‘Spring,’ but I think the colors can go for any season. It’s a size Large which is perfect because I’m a size xs/s so it’s great for layering! I’ve linked some of my favorite oversized denim below… Come check out my finds!

  1. Zara: One of my go-to brands as they always have great neutrals and also really funky prints in their products. Their ‘basic’ collection has an awesome black denim jacket that’s perfect for putting on over a cozy sweater!

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2. Levi’s One of the original and best quality brands for denim in my opinion. Not only do they have great options on the website, but Levi’s is now carried at TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack if you’re looking to save some money. Regardless, I think Levi’s is worth every penny.

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3. Shein

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Ok guys… I LOVE the print on this jacket! It’s so fun and also affordable. I’ve heard really good things about the quality of Shein products. If you were going for a neutral outfit, this would be the perfect pop of color!

Friends, I am SO thankful for all of you who read my blog posts… seriously, it’s a gift! Have an amazing Friday, you made it!!!

xo, Brynne

Campus to Real Life: What I’ve Learned

Hey everyone, it’s been awhile! I’ve been transitioning from graduating college into the working world and it’s been crazy thus far! This change from undergrad to regular life can be difficult in a lot of ways, and I’ve definitely struggled with it a lot. It’s taken a lot of time and grace to find ways to navigate this part of my life as I’m sure it has for many of us. Here are some challenges I’ve faced and how I’m working through them.

Money

This is probably one of the bigger ones that many post-grads struggle with. I am the most intimidated by money out of all of these still. When you get your job(s), you suddenly are equipped with a lot of money which is great! No more campus jobs and no more class to keep you from getting more hours! Needless to say, budgeting can be difficult because it’s easy to overspend and important things such as rent, groceries, and gas money go out the window. I try save at least $50 out of each pay check to go to my savings account, and I try to limit myself in expenses I don’t need such as going out for food/drinks or buying coffee in the mornings. I also plan things such as grocery lists, rent, and gas expenses for the month to get a rough estimate of how much I will spend.

Safety Job

Here’s where we have to set our pride aside. Most of us have this idea that once we graduate, we will have our perfect dream job and life… very rarely does this actually happen. Alongside my main job is a dance teacher (yay!), I have a job I enjoy which helps me with student loans and my savings. Very rarely do we get our dream job that allows us to fully fund ourselves right away. I’ve noticed that once graduation happens, we put this heavy expectation that we should have our perfect job right away. Honestly, that RARELY happens. (If it did for you, yay yay yay!) But there’s nothing wrong with hustling for what you need to accomplish, saving money, and not being exactly where you want to be!

Downsizing

When I moved into my apartment, I realized how much crap I have. And I really mean it. Crap. I had so much random stuff that I never use such as: clothing, books, college papers I don’t need, etc. I highly recommend going through everything and asking yourself when the last time you used each item was. It will save you a lot of space! Not to mention, you can sell things on Facebook market or donate to a thrift store help downsize and to allow others to recycle items.

Friendships

College makes friendships super convenient. You can run into people on campus almost anywhere (especially on a small campus). But once everyone has graduated and spread out, you don’t have campus and class to keep connections with others. You need to reach out to others and be good at planning quality time. I’m not much of a planner, and I’ve realized that when I don’t follow through with friendships, they dissipate. Even though it may seem ‘forced’ to make plans, I’ve realized I have to in order to catch up and spend time with those I love! Planning is SO worth it.

These little themes of what ‘real life’ looks like can’t even begin to explain how it really is when you’re working through everything. Transitioning to a new chapter in life is super hard, but things come together slowly. If I have learned anything from this first month of the working world, it’s not to worry so much about making everything work perfectly right away. It takes time to adjust and that’s ok! Whether you have your dream job or you’re still figuring it out, I hope you know you’re not going through it alone! Things will work out. 🙂

xo, Brynne

 

 

Why Do I Love Jesus?

A wise friend asked me a couple days ago why I love Jesus. Honestly, it stopped me dead in my tracks. That’s not something that I think about quite often. Yeah, I love Jesus, I know he died for me, but why? It took a lot of thinking to figure out.

Here’s a disclaimer: I think this answer can change at various points for any person who is trying to answer this question for themselves. If you can’t, I totally get it. It’s a simple, yet difficult question. But I have to know why I love Him in order to tell other people about Him. It would make me a pretty naive Christian to follow blindly.

So I came down to a couple thoughts. The first one is that Christ lets me discover why I love Him. We were not forced to love God the minute we were born. That freedom of choice is beautiful beyond our human knowledge because if God wanted to, He could have forced us to love Him. But truthfully, what would the point of love be if it was forced? It would be slavery, not love.

The second thing I thought of is His sacrifice. It took me a very long time to emotionally understand this and I still need to remind myself of it when I get too focused on my own life. I talked about this in a previous blog I wrote last summer (Check it out here), but it truly came down to my love of the arts, the gift God has blessed me with. I had to be a part of Jesus’s world by being a part of Godspell which made me see the crucifixion night after night. I would leave the stage every night with tears and mascara streaming down my face. I believe the Lord picks the perfect moments to teach us exactly what we need to hear. I also believe He gives us the right people for those times. The incredible cast that I had the honor of doing that show with became family. They were my friends and my fellow disciples. We laughed, cried, hugged, and joked every day together. If it were not for them, I wouldn’t understand the fellowship that Jesus created during His life. And my fellow cast mate that played the role of Jesus led us with such humility and grace that he was truly believable. That experience showed me that Christ was a friend to His disciples and followers. He loved them and gave himself up to save us. To see that before my eyes night after night was such a rare gift.

The third reason is His grace. This is the one that I struggle with a lot as I do not have a lot of grace for myself. I reflect a lot on the mistakes I’ve made, and usually I look back on them in a way that doesn’t allow me to move forward. I’ve been realizing if you let your past haunt you, you’re not giving yourself grace. And if you’re not giving yourself grace, how can you give that properly to others? The beauty of God’s grace is that He gives it to all of us, no matter what you’ve done. In no way does He hold it against you. It’s the balance of knowing you are forgiven and learning from your mess-ups after it’s happened. He loves us so much that He’s always willing to forgive and love us afterward, but loves us too much to want us to make the same mistake again. Wherever you fall into, whether it be lack of grace or understanding the truth, I’ve learned how important it is to learn both aspects of God’s forgiveness in order to understand His love.

I am very thankful for those in my life who ask the difficult questions. I love to get those because not only does it make me think, but I cannot be a witness of Christ unless my thoughts are challenged. If any of you have questions on my faith, please let me know!

Xo, Brynne

 

What I Wore: Outfit #2 in New Orleans

Hello everyone, it’s finally spring! It feels surreal to walk around without a coat on. It’s so beautiful out that I’ve had the urge to go to the beach and get ice cream multiple times this week, can’t deny it any longer!

With warmer weather comes lots of Spring fashion! This is one of my favorite outfits I wore in New Orleans. It was super comfortable and I was able to wear it while I took a cemetery tour and walk all over the French Quarter! It had the perfect lightness to keep me cool, but just enough protection from getting too much sun.

My top is a passed on vintage blouse from my aunt. It’s 100% silk and I absolutely love it because it’s so soft and light! The colors are super fun as well. It kind of reminds me of Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog!

My tank top is also passed on vintage from my aunt, but I found a very similar version on Lulus that I love! (It’s Free People, of course.)

My jeans are from the Gap Outlet, and they are so stretchy and comfy. The high waist is such a cute look with a longer shirt or with something you can partially tuck in.

I got my sunglasses from The Trashy Diva, a vintage inspired boutique store in the French Quarter. I loved their glasses and I had to get this pair!

Lastly, my shoes are the brand Sam Elderman and I got them from Nordstrom Rack! Nordstrom’s shoes are always so cute and I could honestly spend hours in there trying things on! If you ever need a new pair of shoes before you go on vacation, Nordstrom Rack is the place to look.

I’ve linked very similar clothing pieces at the bottom to get the same look as the one I’ve put together in my post.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful spring weather and you’re looking forward to summer as much as I am! Have an incredible day!

Xo, Brynne

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https://www.samedelman.com/en-US/Product/EC0231230-3018173/Sam+Edelman/White+Leather/Lia+Studded+Loafer.aspx
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https://www.johnlewis.com/mint-velvet-stripe-blouse-multi/p3967179
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https://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=455395002&cid=1076535&pcid=5664
https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/quay-womens-hearsay-cat-eye-sunglasses-58mm?ID=3030653&pla_country=US&cm_mmc=Google-PLA-ADC-_-Jewelry%20%26%20Accessories-NA-_-Quay-_-9343963025507USA&CAWELAID=120156070007991656&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=47685648719&CATCI=pla-382928983890&CATARGETID=120156070006241163&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA34w7_4YxtpN4PiprshFDbahfWlcmCrN9LOoa2dSXj4acEVb3iZoqtjhoCfkcQAvD_BwE
https://www.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/quay-womens-hearsay-cat-eye-sunglasses-58mm?ID=3030653&pla_country=US&cm_mmc=Google-PLA-ADC-_-Jewelry%20%26%20Accessories-NA-_-Quay-_-9343963025507USA&CAWELAID=120156070007991656&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=47685648719&CATCI=pla-382928983890&CATARGETID=120156070006241163&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAjwhbHlBRAMEiwAoDA34w7_4YxtpN4PiprshFDbahfWlcmCrN9LOoa2dSXj4acEVb3iZoqtjhoCfkcQAvD_BwE
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https://www.lulus.com/products/sure-thang-black-lace-tank-top/591412.html

 

3 Devotionals You Need To Read

Hey guys! I’ve been on that devotional book lately, and I wanted to share three from the past year that have had a huge impact on my life. I love devotionals because not only do the authors tell an amazing story of God through the lens of their life, but each of these books has changed my perspective on life and the people around me. So here’s a little bit about each of the books that have impacted me.

  1. Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst. 

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This book has really shaped my perspective on self-worth. Terkeurst guides the reader through ways of healing in different kinds of rejections with friends, family, and significant others. She constantly talks about how our image is not made by how others see us, but by the love of Christ. Rejection by other humans does not define our self-worth. The only being in the universe that defines that is Jesus, and He loves us beyond measure. Through reading this book, I’ve been through a lot of healing in the ways I judge myself and I’ve stopped putting pressure on the way I live based on the opinions of others.

2. Everybody Always by Bob Goff. 

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I’ve always been a big fan of Bob’s writing and personality. He writes as if he’s talking to you on the couch, and you can sense his humor and positive spirit like no other. His book has taught me that no matter what the social standards are in this world, every person deserves to be loved. As Christians, we will not be fulfilling the main reason we were put on this earth if we do not love others unconditionally. Everyone is our neighbor, especially the ones who are so incredibly different from us. The hardest people to love are often the ones that need love the most, and our job as Christians is not to be selective with who we give our love to. We are to love everybody, always. Goff writes in a way that doesn’t convict the reader in a negative way, but calls them to action in a positive and exciting spirit.

3. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.

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 Rachel is a businesswoman and blogger who wrote an incredible devotional based on the lies we tell ourselves and talks about how we can overcome them. She reaches topics on comparison, gossip, being a mother, relationships and marriage, and so much more. I’m still in the middle of this book but what I love about Hollis is that she is not afraid to write exactly what she means. She is vulnerable about how she feels and every life situation because she shares them to help her readers grow in their life. I cannot wait to continue reading because her experiences show me that I’m not alone. There are topics I don’t connect to yet as a single college student, but her advice is some that I will definitely store up and treasure when I reach those milestones.

These devotionals have been the pages I take pictures of and put on my Instagram stories because they have had such an impact on my thoughts! If you are in need of some inspiration or have struggled with any of these topics, I highly recommend giving these books a read! I have so many things underlined in my copies and I’ve written in all of the margins! Let me know what you think if you decide to get yourself a copy!

As always, have a lovely day!

xo, Brynne

 

How to Fight Distractions and Motivate Yourself

This past week, I’ve have been so busy with homework. Almost every night I’ve been staying up between 12 am and 3 am finishing assignments and other work when I thought I would have more time to finish them and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Then I realized every night I went to bed late, I was also watching Netflix the second I got home from classes or glued to social media. It made my entire evening SO unproductive. During the day, I also found myself showing up late to important events or not getting ready in time and rushing out the door! It made my days very stressful.

Not to mention, it really effected my spiritual health. I felt so disconnected from God, and I also didn’t take the time out of my day to journal or blog. It felt like a complete waste of my nights when I could have been getting ahead on assignments, balancing my sleep schedule, and taking time for self-care. If you’re like me and have done these things before, I totally get it and I’m trying to figure it out too! This weekend I thought of some ways to keep myself accountable for getting things done and also maintaining a healthy lifestyle!

1) Don’t check your phone when you first wake up. I am the QUEEN of morning phone checks. I see if class is cancelled, if my bosses sent an important email, if I missed a message on Instagram, or if I got a text after I went to bed. Unless you are only shutting off your phone alarm to wake up, do not check your phone! It’s made me late to classes/work before and it always makes me rush my morning routine even if I am on time. Not to mention, starting your day off with social media is an all-too-easy way of opening up your mind for comparison. The first thoughts you have when you wake up should be positive. Getting the phone out of your face is one step towards that. (Also, don’t check your phone when you’re about to do work. You will get sucked into scrolling for hours and lose track of time.)

2) Make a to-do list. I’m not a super organized person. Honestly, one of the few reasons I’ve grabbed onto certain organized habits is truly because of my roomie because that’s natural for her. Otherwise, my belongings are everywhere and I can’t seem to get it together. One of the tactics I’ve learned from my Type-A bestie is making a to-do list. If I do it way before the time I’ve given myself to complete tasks, it really puts me in the mindset of how much work I have to get done. Also, I felt SO accomplished when I crossed something off the list. Crossing things off the list motivates me to get it all done and once I do, I finally know that I can relax.

3) If you have free time, don’t say you’ll do it later. Let me spell it out for you: B-I-G  M-I-S-T-A-K-E. Every time I have an assignment due later in the week and I don’t use my free nights to work, I just want to punch my past self in the face when it’s past midnight and I’m still working. Those spare moments when you’re bored and pull out your phone between classes, you could be saving yourself an hour or too in the evening to relax. Just remember that.

4) Do not watch TV. GIRL DON’T DO IT. I don’t care if you are watching Gossip Girl, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy. I have a secret… they end each episode with a cliff hanger just to get you to watch more. First you watch one episode, and then at some point, you’ve gotten to 10 episodes. It. Is. A. Trap. So shut down your Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Turn away from your TV screen. Part ways with your Fire Stick. You can see if Ross and Rachel end up together after you finished your work.

5) Make your workspace peaceful. You will get things done faster when you put yourself in a calm and relaxing work environment. Personally, I work the best when I’m not around others. Then there’s no excuse for me to talk to someone. If I’m at home, I really like lighting a candle for some ambiance and a nice smell (lavender is great for work and studying). If music doesn’t distract you, I enjoy putting on music without words or relaxing folk music so I don’t get distracted.

6) Reward yourself when you get your work done. Tell yourself beforehand that you will treat yourself ONLY if you get everything done that you anticipated. It might mean a piece of chocolate at the end of the night or finally finishing that season finale of your favorite show. Sometimes telling yourself there’s a light at the end of the tunnel is a great way to push through.

I hope your week is productive and filled with rest and happiness! When I write, part of the reason is so that I follow my own advice! So if you think you’re the only one who needs to follow these things, I am right there with ya. But hey, we can keep each other accountable! Let me know if any of these tips work for you!

xo, Brynne

Grab Your Sweater, It’s Chilly Season!

How’s it going friends? The New Year is off is a crazy start and it’s only been a couple weeks! I feel as if I haven’t gotten a break yet, but as Gloria Gaynor says, “I will survive!” The weather has been chill out and all I’ve wanted to do is to lay in sweat pants and a sweatshirt all day and watch Netflix. It can be so hard to be productive and want to get things done in the winter slump, but I’ve found a fun way to look cute and stay warm!

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My sweater is from Pull and Bear, and I bought it from TJ Maxx! I am in love with this sweater because it is SO soft and cozy! It’s really comfortable and effortless to throw on with a pair of jeans, yet it still looks elegant and put-together. The color is great and looks good on anyone. (Gotta love those jewel tones!)

 

 

My necklace is from Altar’d State and sadly they aren’t selling it anymore but I really love the necklaces that they have. Their jewelry is very affordable, well-made, and super cute! Their longer necklaces would be really cute paired with this outfit.

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My jeans are from American Eagle, and the light wash is a great contrast to the dark shade of blue from the sweater. The rips are a fun use of texture, but it was definitely chilly to wear these during a snowfall! I’m looking forward to using the jeans more in the Spring and Summer.

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My boots are also from TJ Maxx, and I’ve found some very similar pairs on DSW’s website which I will list down below! Honestly, I love these shoes so much because they really continue the line of your leg and they carry over to any season of the year!

As much as the snow is beautiful, I’m really looking forward to some warmer days ahead of me! I can already see the green grass, blue skies, and warm, sandy beaches like mirage in all of these blizzards… We got this!

As always, have a lovely night!

xo, Brynne