For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to free stuff. I spend extra money to get free shipping. I go out of my way to pick up things friends and neighbors are getting rid of for a future DIY project that usually never happens. And it’s basically a fact that free food just tastes better.
That being said, I have all the apps. I’ve joined all the mailing lists. I’ve optimized my chances to get the most bang for my buck. It’s all part of my quest to find alternative revenue streams.
But one thing I never thought I’d be qualified to do was be an influencer.
I cringe typing that word because it’s so tainted by negativity in the social media community. So many influencers feel entitled. I just want to game the system for free stuff. If that means I have to post a picture, I’ll do it. But I don’t go out of my way to seek out opportunities.
The size of my social media following makes me a micro-influencer. But as someone who works the company side of things, a lot of times there’s more value in working with smaller creators.
So if you’ve been wondering where to score products (and sometimes even get paid to post), I’m here to share where I get my free stuff.
Influenster is essentially a social network for products. Their app allows you to take surveys in different categories and leave product reviews. As you do this, you earn different badges and ranks. One thing they offer regularly are VoxBoxes, which are packed full of free products for you to test out, review and post about. I’ve gotten boxes that included products from Lancome, Kat Von D and Laura Mercier. A lot of times I receive products I would’ve never purchased because I’m cheap. But it’s nice to feel like you treated yo’ self to something fancy when all you really needed to do was snap a picture for your Instagram.
Heartbeat is a platform brands come to to create campaigns. While you still get free stuff, some campaigns are even paid. Your pay rate is determined by your followers. So the more Instagram followers you’ve got, the better your Heartbeat revenue will be. While this structure might not be right for everyone influencer, it works for me for the time being. I like the fact that you apply to the campaigns you’re interested in and let the other ones slip by. Although I love free stuff, I don’t want to post about products that I haven’t actually tried out. While I don’t think I have that strong of an influence on my friends and followers, it’s nice to keep my credibility intact. I may be a sellout, but I’m a sellout with integrity.
While I haven’t met the 5,000 follower threshold to be accepted, Famebit is a lucrative way I’ve seen many creators and influencers make a living. Like Heartbeat, companies create campaigns with Famebit and the members apply to said campaigns with pitches. This platform is more involved than just Instagram posts, but it also pays better. If you’re a video content creator, this might be something worth looking into if you meet their requirements to apply. I’m looking forward to the day when I hit the threshold so that I can make money off the things I love doing.
A lot of times you don’t even need a platform to apply for free stuff. Just having an email on your blog, YouTube channel or Instagram opens the doors to many opportunities. You can even seek out companies that make sense for your brand or your audience. If you’re going the independent route, you should check your worth on Social Bluebook. It even gives you the option to send your breakdown via email so that you can back your pay rates up with facts and data.
If you of any tips to get free stuff that I didn’t mention, feel free to share them in the comments!
It’s that time of the month to talk about my favorite things. July was a busy month for me. I was playing catch up from my trip to California in June while also planning a bachelorette party and bridal shower for my best friend getting married in October. In addition to that, I found myself working way more hours. Because I knew I had more money coming in this month, I decided to make some purchases that weren’t really budgeted for previously. Or maybe it had to do with the fact that I’m rewatching Parks and Recreation and I got to the “Treat Yo Self” episode. You decide.
Here are my favorites for July!
I have been on a fitness journey for almost a year now. I’ve come to find things that work and things that don’t. But one thing I can always count on is my competitive nature. That’s where the Fitbit Versa comes in.
Before, I was just guessing when it came to my calories burned in order to calculate my daily deficit to lose weight. I was also hoping the iPhone’s step counter was accurate, even though deep down I knew I was missing out on steps each day since I don’t carry my phone everywhere. I chose to treat myself to the Versa because it counts steps, monitors my heart rate and sleep and calculates how many calories I burn each day. Being able to see all these metrics has both given me the chance to make better-informed decisions about my health as well as challenged me to hit my goals each day. Since strapping on my Fitbit, I’ve been more active because I get those reminders to get up and get moving.
Although this isn’t a new purchase this month, I wanted to take the time to shout out EyeBuyDirect. I bought my latest pairs of glasses and sunglasses from them back in October. I’m the type of person who would spend hours at Lenscrafters trying on every pair and hating the way 99% of them looked on me. So needless to say, buying glasses sight unseen was scary. They didn’t disappoint. I didn’t end up sending any of my pairs back (they have a 14-day return/exchange policy).
Unfortunately for me, my sunglasses broke this month. I take pretty good care of my prescription glasses, so for the frame to have cracked was no fault of my own. They were plastic frames, so I think leaving them out while I was swimming on a hot day did them in. I hadn’t even had them for a year, which was crazy to me since my previous pair were almost 10 years old. I contacted EyeBuyDirect to see what they could do for me and they sent me a new pair for free. All I had to do was pay for shipping. I was blown away by their customer service and can’t wait to buy new glasses from them when I update my prescription in the near future.
If you want to try them out, use my link to get $10 off your first order!
Everyone is talking about InstaPots. It’s not a new concept but I’m the type of person who waits until it’s no longer a fad to jump on the trend. And since I was severely disappointed by my air fryer, I was hesitant to buy another kitchen gadget.
Cue Amazon Prime Day. I was getting bombarded with emails (not even from Amazon) about the InstaPot deal. So I begrudgingly added one to my cart. I got distracted and a few hours later, my mom had texted me about the deal as well. If she wanted one, I too needed to finally see what all the fuss was about. I go back to my cart and the deal is gone. We’d missed out. But I’m not one to care about name brands so I found another multi-purpose cooking gadget and we bought a pair of those instead. Yes, it’s Crock Pot brand, which I’ve been too sad to consider since This Is Us made it the ultimate villain. But I like food too much to let those fictional feelings get in my way.
It was my only Prime Day purchase but it was a significant upgrade from last year. All I bought was a giant tub of my cats’ favorite treats. This year was about treating myself.
I bought a few things for my condo before I’d even signed the papers. A comforter was one of those things. In theory, I loved the colors and pattern. Then I moved in. Granted, I did love the look for a while. But the more I bought to furnish my place, the more out of place the comforter started to look. For one, it was dark, which in turn made my room feel darker than it was. The other part that bothered me was the fact that my office area and sleeping area of my room were clashing.
So I was on a quest for something that both brightened and tied the space together. When I’m looking for new sheets and linens, I always go for the all-in-one bed in a bag route. Especially since I order most things online. It’s hard to coordinate comforters, sheets and curtain when you’re only going off of pictures on your computer screen. I fell in love with this set from Walmart because it hit all my needs. The light colors helped brighten the room and the palette coordinated better with my office area. It even helped tie in the teal theme from my living room. It was technically a birthday present from my mom however, I didn’t get around to actually switching my sheets and comforter until this month so it still counts as a July favorite, right?
Will I continue to treat myself next month, or will I be more responsible with the money I have coming in? I guess you’ll have to tune in next month to see what will make my list of favorite things for August!
July is here and that means it’s time to talk about my favorite things from the month of June. Having spent 10 days in California with my internet friends made it quite the chaotic month since I had to get so much work done before I left. While I’ve said I never want to go back to an office, it is very comforting to have built-in vacation time. But I did what I had to do so that I wouldn’t have to work in California.
Here are June favorites!
One thing most people don’t know about me is my sleeping anxieties. Sleepovers were always a struggle for me because I just couldn’t sleep, no matter how tired I might’ve been. As a child, that always meant I’d end up sick after a sleepover party. As an adult, it just means I’d end up crankier than usual.
That is until I discovered earplugs. On top of being an anxious sleeper, I’m also a light sleeper. So any occasion where I have to sleep in a room or bed with other people is a struggle for me. I’ve very self-conscious of moving around in my sleep but I’m also kept up by the tiniest of noises. Therefore, using earplugs has helped me enjoy vacation after vacation.
Although I prefer wax earplugs, I always seem to have these foam ones on hand. They’re uncomfortable for sure, but I think that’s because I have tiny ear holes? But I’d rather have sore ears than a bad attitude when I’m trying to enjoy myself.
I’m the type of person who uses something until it’s in shreds. My backpack was no different. Even though I’d downsized my laptop to a 13″ after my 15″ gave up on life, I always had trouble fitting things in my backpack. But years have gone by with this struggle.
I finally decided enough was enough and purchased a backpack that was actually made for both a laptop and traveling. Game. Changer.
For once, I had compartments and space for all the things I needed for any trip. I’m not one to check a bag so I have all of my belongs on me at all times, so this was a long overdue necessity. Purchasing a bag online is a scary thing because you really can’t judge the size and quality. I lucked out thanks to thorough reviews left on the item. My favorite part (besides all the convenient compartments) was that the straps were padded. With a pack stuffed to the brim with travel crap, it was nice to have some cushion on my shoulders.
My friend Rick mentioned the FTB Burrito from Cali Tacos on his podcast a few weeks before my trip to California, so naturally, we had to go when I was in town. I wouldn’t be able to call myself the burrito queen if I hadn’t.
This was the burrito of all burritos. It was wrapped in a quesadilla, stuffed with all the fixings and even had french fries (which I found out isn’t an uncommon thing in California.) It was the literally the size of my forearm and weighed as much as a newborn baby. Every bite was amazing. And the Cali sauce was to die for.
We honestly didn’t need to have a burrito each but it was nice to have the second half later in the day after I emerged from my burrito food coma. It was hard leaving California knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get another one. At least until next VidCon.
This was my fourth year attending VidCon and it was arguably my best year. With all of the changes that have come to YouTube that have rocked the community over the last year, it was shocking that I had so much fun. My fun, in large part, was due to my friends.
But there was an energy this year that had me supercharged. I found myself enjoying the panels, which I had spent many years rolling my eyes at. The exhibition floor seemed to finally understand who they were targeting. I actually cared about not only participating but also contributing more to the VidCon community.
I got to host a networking event for comedy creators, which was very cool. Networking as a whole disinterests me because it’s such a slimy game. I find it hard to make genuine connections, which makes me sad. But overall, it was a very successful event.
I’m probably going to reflect more on this at a later date, but attending VidCon this month made me fall in love with YouTube all over again. It fulfills something in me that I don’t get in my day-to-day life. The friends I’ve made from the internet understand me in a way that most of my IRL friends do not. And that’s not a dig at my IRL friends who I love dearly. It’s just very hard to explain to people who aren’t part of the YouTube community.
YouTube has gotten a bad rap lately and it genuinely made me sad to see something I loved so much turn into something so widely criticized. But what I’ve learned is that YouTube and the experience as a creator are what you make it. With the right goals and good friends in your corner, you can make it what it once was. I’m really excited to dedicate more time and energy to creating content for my YouTube channel in the future. And on the internet in general.
I know my favorites focused mostly around my trip to Southern California but is that a bad thing? Taking the time to sit down and write this only made me miss my friends more so maybe it was. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me and all my friends after coming to so many realizations during our time together! Is it a cop-out to say after all of these words that my favorite thing about June was my friends?
Another month, another roundup of my favorite things. May is going to be a little different for a few reasons. For one, I’m trying to cut back on my spending overall. I have a real problem when it comes to spending because online shopping makes it so easy. But since I quit my job, it’s been my mission to cut back where I need to so that I can still splurge and treat myself every now and then.
May was an easy month to cut back because May 21st is my birthday. That means lots of birthday coupons and some presents.
Moe’s Birthday Burrito
I go to Moe’s Southwest Grill a lot. Anyone who knows me knows this because I don’t shut up about my burrito obsession. So I’ve racked up quite a few rewards points over the years. However, on your birthday Moe’s gives you a coupon for a free burrito. It doesn’t require you to log your trips. You just get a burrito for being born.
Sign-up for Moe’s Rockin’ Rewards and use my code BrittanyD14. You’ll get 50 points when you sign up and I’ll get 100 points when you scan your first visit. Click https://punchh.com/b/moes to Rock On!
Sunnydale High Mug
Just like with my burrito obsession, anyone who knows me knows Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my all-time favorite television shows. When it comes to tv show memorabilia, I usually just stick to graphic t-shirts. But now I’ve branched out. The Sunnydale High School mug I got for my birthday will get lots of use because I’m also obsessed with coffee. And since I work from home, I brew a lot of coffee each day.
You could call me a wino and you wouldn’t be wrong. There are so many vineyards and wineries in my area. And when the weather starts to warm up, it’s hard to resist sitting outside in the country sipping on wine. In my quest to find something to do for my birthday, I discovered a local winery that I had yet to try out.
On top of being a winery, Terhune is also a farm with fresh produce for purchase year round. But what excited me most about our trip to taste their wines was the fact that they had fresh apple cider donuts for sale. You best believe we snagged a bag to snack on between wine tasting and dinner.
I’m obsessed. I have always stuck with cheap products that I didn’t mind tossing if they didn’t work because they weren’t expensive. But I’d never really found a brow product I was in love with. Luckily Influenster sent me some eyebrow pomade and a brush to try out for free.
Honestly, I would’ve never purchased this one my own because the price tag was too steep. If I hated it, I would’ve hated myself for wasted my hard earned dollars. I hope this product lasts for a while because I love it so much and my brow game will never be stronger.
(Note: I’ve removed the Brow Pomade post from my blog, as well as the name of the brand because the creator came out as an anti-vaxxer and I can’t support that.)
Apple Cider Vinegar
I’ve been working hard to lose weight. I’ve come to realize that weight loss really is 80% diet and 20% working out. I really don’t eat terribly unhealthy so it was hard to not lose any weight for a while. But in my researching to find a diet that fits my lifestyle, I kept stumbling upon apple cider vinegar. I decided to pair ACV with intermittent fasting. I saw a lot of success with my fasting so I figured why not try to supercharge it.
At first, I tried to chug an ACV drink recipe recommended for those fasting. I couldn’t do it. It was disgusting. So instead, I decided to suck it up and just do a straight shot. I’m happy to say the taste does not bother me anymore. And I haven’t had any issues with any burning since I chase the shot with water.
Needless to say, it was a month of celebrating no matter how much or little I spent. Here’s to hoping there’s more weight loss, more burritos and more wine in my future.
I’m not going to lie. I’m a creature of habit. Once I find something that works, I stick with it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have favorites. This month, I may have treated myself to a few new things. Things that I might not have needed and other things that have made my life considerably easier.
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may make a commission.*
I’m usually a very careful shopper. I stick to the necessities and don’t often splurge. Then my friend asked if I could take some headshots for her LinkedIn and I decided to pull the trigger on a somewhat frivolous purchase. I vowed that this year I would take more pictures, so I’d had my eye on a 50mm lens for a while. It was my friend’s request that made me finally pull the trigger (even though I didn’t need the lens to do it.)
The splurge happened when I decided to go for the f1.4 instead of the f1.8. The f1.4 was almost triple the f1.8 but I couldn’t help my self. I wanted that beautiful bokeh and I didn’t want to settle.
And boy am I glad I didn’t. Just look at how stinkin’ cute these pictures came out. (I can’t confirm if they cuteness came from the lens or my handsome boys, but for the purpose of justifying the purchase, we’ll go with the lens.)
I know I’m late to the game on this but I really couldn’t fathom why you would need something like this. All I could picture me doing with it is using it as something to mindlessly fidget with.
And then I got an iPhone 8 Plus.
The phone is huge and my tiny panda hands could not handle the transition from the iPhone 6s to this.
My PopSocket has been a lifesaver and I don’t use that term lightly. Do you know how many times I drop my phone on my face? Yeah, it hurt when I’d drop my 6s but I’m pretty sure the 8 Plus could kill me. I’m not going to back that with science or experimentation but just trust me.
I’ll admit, I purchased a knock-off PopSocket first. It’s just in my nature to go with the generic. Would not recommend. Not only did the knock-off fall off after 1 day but it also didn’t feel like it could’ve supported the phone had it not jumped ship.
So basically this was splurge #2 of the month because I shelled out a whole $10 for the real deal. Hasn’t fallen off and I see no signs of that happening any time soon. (Just know I just knocked on wood after typing that.)
I was going to use the following mirror selfie to demonstrate my expert PopSocket usage, but then I realized I’m not actually using it. But I think you get the picture, right?
While I wouldn’t claim to be a put together person, I love to organize things. It’s a very soothing thing to get things in order. Now that I work from home, I needed a way to get organized without feeling like I was cramping my style. Sure, the paperwork can be easily hidden away in drawers and boxes but the things I need readily on hand were starting to get lost in the shuffle.
My home office is one half of my bedroom so I didn’t want it to feel too much like an office since it’s where I do most of my work and most of my relaxing. So I settled on a hanging grid that I could easily clip things to. When I finished a project, those papers could easily be filed away and the grid would still look cool. When I’m not using it for keeping my projects organized, I can decorate it with pictures or quotes or other textiles that inspire me.
To me, it feels more like a decoration than an office supply. I’m all for getting things done while looking cool.
One of my goals is to drink more water every day. I used to drink a lot more when I was working in an office because it was a chance to get away from my desk. Watercooler conversations are a workplace cliche for a reason. Now that I’m home, it’s felt like more a chore to get up and refill.
But I realized you don’t have to refill as much if you’ve got a larger bottle.
I’ve been shooting to drink a gallon of water each day (and more on the days that I exercise) so with this 32 oz. bottle, I only need to get up 4 times to reach that goal. If I use my brain for one thing, it would be how I can top my laziness each day.
I had to make sure I got one with a straw though. That’s my deal breaker. I know I’ll probably regret this when I’m older and I have excessive wrinkles around the mouth but I don’t think you understand how many times I spill all over myself when I drink from the mouth of the bottle or jar. Yes, I’m an adult but still.
Honestly, I made a lot more purchases in April than I should probably admit, so it’s hard to really narrow down my favorites. Also, I still haven’t washed the clothes I got from Goodwill so I can’t actually tell if they’re my favorite or not. If I thought I was treating myself last month, just wait until May is over. It’s my birthday month so I’m sure I’ll find other ways to pretend I have a disposable income and treat myself.