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I've seen so many of you asking questions about how to get brand collaborations/partnerships and figured I would share my wisdom with you. I've worked with several dozen brands at this point and will clue you in on some tips & tricks for landing your dream brand deal.

How do I get brands to notice me?
Reach out to them! Find a contact e-mail for the PR/Marketing team and send them a proposal for a blog post, social media post, etc. Share your stats in the first e-mail! How many Instagram followers do you have? How many people read each post on your blog? How many e-mail subscribers do you have? Tell them what you like about their company and why you would make a good fit. There are also sites like BrandBacker, Tapinfluence, Activate, etc. but if you're just starting out, you probably won't make a lot of money that route.

How do I get brands to pay me?
When they respond to your e-mail, ask if they have a budget for working with influencers. Tailor your quote to what they're looking for and what their budget is. If you really like a brand, you can negotiate a trial campaign for slightly less if they agree to a bigger campaign if you reach certain statistics.

How much should I ask for?
This totally depends on what they're asking for. If it's a brand I really love, I'll sometimes offer to post in exchange for just product. In general, for a social media post you should be asking for $10 for every $1000 followers. Social Blue Book is a great resource for figuring out a basic amount for a campaign based on what you're offering the brand and your engagement/following.

A brand offered me a discount or free product, how can I let them know I need to be paid?
Blogging is a lot of work! You have to take and edit high-quality images, write a post, make sure it's seen by your audience, etc. It takes a lot of time and effort! Don't be afraid to let brands know that. A simple "Sorry, but you are asking me to do ____ hours of work for no pay. This is how I pay my bills and though I would love to work with you. This arrangement isn't for me. If you ever have the budget in the future, please keep me in mind." Be polite! PR is a small world!

I was sent a product and I hate it, now what?
Let them know! In your contract make sure that you can back out if you don't like the product. Never promote something you don't believe in!

Do you have any other questions about working with brands you would like answered? Let me know! I'm always here to help out other bloggers!

Getting Paid For Blog Collaborations

Hey, lovelies! I have some exciting news! I am now part of Amazon's Influencer Program which means you can easily shop my favorite items at any time! I've been adding pieces for the past week and a half and will continuously be adding my new favorite products. Below are some of my newest additions. Enjoy! And remember, you can shop my page anytime by going to amazon.com/shop/linelizabeth89.

Tocca Hair Fragrance in 'Cleopatra' (my signature scent, I'm obsessed)

Shop My Favorites on Amazon!

I have always been an early adopter of social media sites. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat...I'm always the first of my friends to try out the newest/greatest thing. I love the little buzz I get when I see a lot of engagement with a post. I can't get over the fact that people actually want to share my words or photos.

Twitter has always been my real baby when it comes to social media. Hello, to the 147k+ of you that follow me! I feel more connected to people on Twitter than on any other platform. However, that doesn't mean I don't hate it a majority of the time.

At this point of my life, I no longer really have any close friends and I often use social media as a crutch. I want to feel like people care about me in some way, but often it makes me feel even more alone.

Last night I deactivated my Instagram.

This might sound crazy because Instagram is one of the ways I make money, but I just needed a break. I hate faking that my life is picture perfect, but that's what people want to see. That's what gains followers and that's what attracts brands.

I already feel a sense of relief. I know it won't be permanent, but I'm learning that social media breaks are a must at this point of my life. I don't need to login to Snapchat everyday. The world will keep spinning even if I'm not watching what everyone is doing.

A few months ago, I deleted my Facebook and made a new one for only family. Having 13 Facebook friends feels a lot better than several thousand.

I am currently at a point where I crave real human connection and want to put the time I was putting into social media into making REAL relationships with people. Spending more time with my boyfriend and dog is more important than posting the perfect photo. 

Have any of you given up social media? Would you?

My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

Like clockwork, people are composing their lists of New Year’s resolutions, and at the same time they’re ending this year with some of the same problems, frustrations or worries of past years.  They want to take a brighter outlook and ride those resolutions to a higher quality of life in the New Year – but inevitably, familiar issues get them down year after year.

How can this New Year be different? How can you stay more positive and hopeful despite problems that won’t go away when the big ball drops in Times Square?
“Making laughter a part of your every-day life is the answer. When life gets tough, laughter begins,” says Lee Volpe, a humorist and author of Black Sheep Tries Bleach: Humorous Stories to Ease Life’s Growing Pains.
 “We all have humor inside us. It is so healthy to use it in a variety of ways. When you really deconstruct some things in your life that may be problems or annoyances, you can creatively come at them with laughter, and your whole outlook changes.”  
Mentally and physically, the benefits of laughter are many, Volpe says, and she lists four of those benefits that can help you make 2018 a happier New Year:

• Reduces stress. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones. such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), and it boosts the immune system. Science has further shown that after a good laugh, muscles can be relaxed for up to 45 minutes. “Laughter is a free stress-management strategy, and in today’s pressurized, problem-filled world, there’s a big premium on that,” Volpe says. “Laughter is often the best kind of therapy.” 
• Burns calories. Everybody wants to lose weight in the New Year, right? “Laugh hard enough and you may be able to skip some gym visits – and who doesn’t want to do that,” Volpe says. Studies show that a good stream of laughter can burn 40 calories in 30 minutes. “I saw where you really can burn 75 calories in 30 minutes by banging your head against a wall,” Volpe says. “Knock yourself out.” 
• Becomes a coping mechanism. Laughter makes us feel good. Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, trying to laugh about them helps. “Humor helps you keep a positive outlook through difficult situations,” Volpe says. “When something extremely frustrating or depressing occurs, try to take the longer view and envision that one day you’ll be able to look back on it and laugh. But why not laugh right now? You also feel stronger. This approach will also make you better equipped to deal with future negative events less stressfully.”
• Brings people together, strengthens relationships. Laughter connects us with others. You can’t enjoy a laugh with other people unless you take the time to engage with them. “It improves the quality of social interaction you have with your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances,” Volpe says. “The old saying is, ‘Laughter is contagious.’ If you bring more laughter into your life, you can help others around you to laugh more and reap the benefits of humor, which in turns helps them with their problems. It makes other people happy, because it’s very infectious, just like anger is.”

“We all need more laughter with the way the world is these days,” Volpe says. “Maybe you can start by laughing at your own New Year’s resolutions list. For a lot of people it turns out to be a joke anyway. And it doesn’t have to be a new year to start a new day, a new outlook, for yourself.”

About Lee Volpe
Lee Volpe  (www.LeeVolpe.com) is the author of Black Sheep Tries Bleach: Humorous Stories to Ease Life’s Growing Pains. After a short career as an actress, Lee found her voice as a humorist, and has never looked back. Since 2011, she has been making a name for herself professionally as an honest, Laugh Out Loud (LOL) humor writer, dealing with daily life and relatable situations. Applauded for saying what most are thinking, Lee has the unique ability of finding wit in the way and amusement in the angle. Marcia Corbino of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune described Lee as “Erma Bombeck meets Sex and the City.”

4 Benefits of Laughing Your Way Through The New Year

*This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are my own*

If you've watched my Instagram story or Snapchat recently, you already know that I have a new skin obsession. My birthday is this week and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how my skin is already starting to show signs of aging. Hello, little fine lines! And I don't know about you, but this past year I have spent quite a lot of time scowling. Thank you to the news for that one! Exuviance sent me their Performance Peel AP25 and I was so excited to try out a Glycolic Acid peel, since it's one of the few things I hadn't tried to combat my dull skin and fine lines. I have admit I was a little bit apprehensive, could this peel really fix my skin? The pack includes a 6-week supply and at this point I'm only about a week and a half in. What can I tell you about the results? This stuff actually works! I love the feeling of my skin immediately after and I do feel like it's giving me a more even skin tone and a more smooth skin texture. My pores are less noticeable and my little fine lines between my brows are slowly diminishing. 

Not only does the peel actually work, but it's super easy to use. It's literally two steps and takes about 12 minutes in total. 

To use, apply Step 1 Activator Pad to a cleansed face. Carefully monitor the skin's response by observing any redness or discomfort, including stinging, burning, itching, tightness, tingling and peeling. 
Apply Step 2 Neutralizer Pad to the face after 10 minutes, or sooner if you experience bothersome redness or discomfort. Apply over the entire face, then rinse thoroughly with water. 
Follow with a moisturizer or serum. 

Exuviance is hands down one of my favorite skincare brands. All of their products are developed by a dermatologist and I haven't had any issues even though I have super sensitive skin. You can view my review of their Cleansing Creme by clicking here (linked), I'm also currently obsessed with their Age Reverse Total Correct + Sculpt Serum, which will be receiving a post of its own later in the week. *Spoiler Alert* it is the PERFECT way to end your skincare routine and it helps keep your face tight and toned looking. 

Who is this product good for? Basically anyone who wants brighter/more even skin or wants to fight the signs of aging. 

How much does it cost? A 6-week supply (12 peels) costs $77 

Where can you buy it? Exuviance.com (it's also available at Ulta!)

Have you used this product or any other Exuviance product? Let me know what you think. Did you love it as much as me? I'm always dying to know your opinions!

XO Lindsey

Battle Dull/Aging Skin in the New Year

It's been a few days since my last gift guide, but I have to say that this is one of my favorites. I definitely have a caffeine addiction and black coffee is my drug of choice. Do you have a coffee addict in your life or do you just need some inspiration for what to ask for for Christmas? You've come to the right place! Here are my 10 favorite gift ideas for the coffee addict.

  1. Roses N Rose -- Rosie Cheek Coffee Scrub -- $16.95
  2. Kate Spade -- Hot Beverage Carafe -- $50
  3. The Burlap Bag -- Gimme Coffee Soy Candle -- $20
  4. Uncommon Goods -- Portable Hot/Cold Coffee Maker -- $37
  5. Ban.do -- You Are Gold Tumbler -- $14
  6. Kinto -- To-Go French Press Mug Set -- $39
  7. Anthropolgie -- Agate Coffee Scoop -- $16
  8. Jac Vanek -- "In Memory Of" Coffee Mug -- $16
  9. De Longhi -- Lattissima+ Espresso Maker -- $279.99 (normally $399,99)
  10. Nicola Jewelry -- Caffeine Molecule Necklace -- $18

Lindsey Sparkles Gift Guide :: The Coffee Addict

Lindsey Sparkles Gift Guide :: The Beauty Lover

I'm obsessed with buying fashion illustration prints on Etsy and wanted to share some of my absolute favorites for fall. Let me know which ones are your favorites and if you have a favorite fashion illustrator!

All Things Cozy by Jordan Werre

Breakfast in Bed by Holly Nichols

Back to Fall by Joanna Baker

Fall Friends by Jamel Saliba

Fall Mornings by Jessica Durrant 

The London Girl by Kelsey McNatt

Winter Fashion by Orilis Q

Fall Fashion Illustrations To Swoon Over

It's almost been a year since I've blogged. I was having a hard time with feeling like I had nothing to say. I lost my point of view and felt like a walking advertisement for brands I didn't even necessarily care for. The word I had chosen for this year was AUTHENTICITY and I didn't feel right writing content that wasn't authentic to who I am and my point of view.

We've been living in SoCal since February, which has been a roller coaster. Things have been up and down and sideways. I've had an extremely tough time over the past few weeks and decided to take a break from social media altogether. It was worth it and has definitely helped me clear my head. I'm now slowly re-introducing social media into my life slowly. I've also gone without a phone for the past 2 1/2 weeks and not having to immediately feel the need to answer texts and e-mails is quite refreshing.

I'll delve more into what's been going on over the next few weeks. Welcome to the new, raw, unfiltered version of Lindsey Sparkles.

Things Are About To Get Real...