How to get featured on Martha Stewart's Instagram
The title of this post is total clickbait, but I wanted to tell you about a little Instagram experiment I did this past week, that paid off by being featured on Martha Stewart's Instagram account. So here we go:
In the past months I keep hearing people complain about Instagram's new algorithms: you don't see any content from people you are actually love following, Merry Christmas posts pop up in your feed on New Year's Day because there is no chronological order anymore and for some it even became harder to grow their followings. There's a lot of frustration and a lot of "Instagram was better in the old days".
Now, I don't like complaining. Believe me, I'm really good at it (ask my husband!) but I very rarely complain online because venting just for the sake of it, doesn't make the world a better place. In the past months, I sometimes really felt the urge to complain online (somehow Twitter always feels the right place to do that!), so I decided to write these tweets in a textfile that I keep to myself. It's like keeping a journal, it can be helpful to organize your thoughts or just get the anger and frustration out of your system. It made me feel calmer and forget about the futilities that bothered me.
I do agree Instagram changed a lot and at times I'm completely bored by all the superficial stuff people are sharing or the things I don't see anymore. For creatives that rely on Instagram to sell their products or services, it's tough when the engagement suddenly drops. On the other hand I really love Instagram Stories with little raw peeks into people's lives, or complete tutorials and how-to's that learn me new stuff. Some Instagrammers are really good at telling their stories in creative ways, where others just use it to push their new Instagram posts by reminding "new photo on the grid" or "new blogpost, link in profile" kind of stuff. Ughhh.
So instead of giving in to complaining about Instagram and its new rules, I decided to do a little experiment and post 1 photo every day for one week (instead of +/- 3 times a week). No scheduled or old stuff, just taking a photo every day, with a bit more context (photos, videos, Boomerangs) in Stories. It required a little bit of time to take an Instagram worthy photo every day, but I liked it! It got me back in the IG groove and it also worked to get more followers! I gained over 400 new followers in 1 week. Which may not seem like a lot (especially compared to our Urban Jungle Bloggers account that grows twice that per day), but the amount of engagement, likes, comments and DMs grew too. Maybe it's the spontanetiy that shined through, or simply the Instagram algorithm that favors people that upload more content. In any case, it worked and one of my photos went a little bit viral too as it was shared on several accounts, including Martha Stewart's (with a whopping 1.6 million following), the Houseplant Club and A Beautiful Mess.
So my key take aways: create more content, post more often, have fun, be kind (reply to people commenting/asking questions), tag a few brands that are in the photo and share some extra peeks in Stories. And repeat! When you shoot a photo, take a picture from a different angle that you can post a few days later. It may seem boring and repetitive, and it actually is (!!), but remember that we don't see all your photos in our feed anymore because of the new algorithms.
Also: be consistent. If you have been following my Instagram for a while now, you may remember the #joelixruns photos I used to share after all of my runs? After 400 pictures, I stopped for two reasons: it didn't fit the content I wanted to share in my feed anymore (I lost followers every single time too) and it became quite annoying to stop and take a photo when I was simply enjoying the pace of my run.
Hashtags? Some of my most performing posts in 2017 didn't have more than 3 hashtags, so I don't think they are required for a post to be pushed by the Instagram algorithms.
And the most important part: if you don't enjoy Instagram (anymore), then simply don't do it: focus your energy on something else. This little experiment gave me the confidence to continue and set new goals for Instagram. Through Instagram I met some amazing people and it allows me to do and discover new things. With this said... I wanted to finish this blogpost with some of my favorite creative accounts on Instagram that continue to inspire me with their content and/or stories. What are some of your favorite accounts?
@matagalanplantae (Caroline is so talented, she creates the most amazing compositions with her ceramics and plants. And she's lovely in person too!)
@etrine (Eric is hilarious, witty and clever and has the coolest Friday Fancy Dance videos ever)
@storiesbydeepa (Deepa tell stories like no other and always finds the best places to indulge in yummy food)
@amandajanejones (Amanda and her family are the cutest. Simple, slow and her Stories are so easy on the eyes)
@lrnce (Laurence and her team work with the most soothing color palette and sunshine
@mamieboude (LisaLou and Guillaume just moved to Biarritz (from Bordeaux and before Paris) and I love following their adventures in style
@miriam.barrio (Miriam is such a talented interior designer and I really enjoy her videos from contruction sites all around Barcelona and beyond)
@hebdomania (Mister Instagram Story himself: his travel stories capture the best and most delicious spots around the world)
@gnambox (Riccardo & Stefano are such a cute cooking couple and always use the new Instagram features right away)
@padoune (Alex lives on beautiful Corsica <3, need I say more?)
Orto Botanico in Rome part 2
For the last blogpost of the year, I'm taking you inside the greenhouse at the Orto Botanico in Rome. If you liked the little walk around the botanical garden, you are in for a treat: the inside is gorgeous too! It is definitely not the prettiest greenhouse that I ever visited, but I had the place all to myself, the light was amazing, the plants looked healthy and were full of character and uncommon shapes. It was not too perfect, just the way I like it. So let's have a look inside:
In what looks like the entrance hall, grows a couple of very tall Euphorbia, some of which are endangered.
Euphorbia growing towards the light:
An impressive grid look:
Love the heart shaped leaves (and thorns) on this Alluaudia:
In the side wing they grow the cacti, succulents and Caudex, like these Mother in Law's seats:
Playful Babel designs by iBride + giveaway!
It is one of the "design trends" that I spotted (and liked!) a lot in 2017: playfulness. Designs that change shape, that have different uses or that evolve over time. Nothing too serious, nice curves that you want to touch and overall: fun!
Today I would like to introduce you to one of these designs. As you may have seen I spotted these new stackable tableware sets for the first time at Maison & Objet in September. They are designed by French company iBride, that created 3 sleek Babel towers in melamine that consist of cups, bowls, plates and dishes. They look great when stacked, but it's also a lot of fun to create new shapes and turn them into presentation dishes or other surprising combinations: (scroll down for the giveaway details!)
The outsides of the Babel towers have a beautiful matte finish and on the inside the designers Rachel & Benoît Convers added small colorful illustrations that highlight the primary senses connected to food: sight, smell, taste and touch.
iBride is a small design company based in the Bourgogne France Comté region in Eastern France and was founded 20 years ago by Carine Jannin and her sister Rachel Convers and brother-in-law Benoît Convers. They are known for their creative tableware and small furniture. The word "ibride" itself is a French wordplay for "hybrid", and many of iBride's pieces do indeed combine several forms and functions. Like new Babel range.
Through an ingenious and beautiful 3D surface pattern, the bowls and cups fit perfectly into eachother:
The Babel towers are not only playful: their surface pattern also gives a nice haptic feedback on touch:
All three designs are dishwasher safe, made of durable food grade melamine. And they come in nice boxes that emphasise their individual fonctions: drink, eat or make:
And voilà: the inside! green, mustard, mint and black & white illustrations by Rachel Convers:
So my idea was to show you a table full of food and snacks, but when taking pictures it wasn't dinner or apéro time (yet) so instead I gathered the ingredients for our taco dinner. Well, when I say our taco dinner: I mean the dinner Robert prepared for us. Because apart from the occasional baking session, I still never cook. I do love to eat though ;)
And now comes the good news: you can get to play with the Babel tower of your choice too! Together with iBride I get to giveaway a Babel EAT (light grey), Babel DRINK (dark grey) or Babel MAKE (white).
For a chance to win:
► Follow @joelixjoelix and @ibride_design on Instagram
► Leave a comment on this Instagram post with the Babel you would like to win
► Tag two friends in your comment, that would love a Babel too
Giveaway is open to anyone in Europe until December 18th 2017. The winner will be announced on Tuesday December 19th, like an early Christmas gift, in a comment on the Instagram post and via Instagram direct message. Fingers crossed!
This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been contacted. Thank you all for playing!
This blogpost was made in collaboration with iBride. They kindly provided me with the Babel towers, but all photos, opinions and words are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep JOELIX.com going!
Orto Botanico in Rome part 1
Some days feel like you received a precious gift. Not in a monetary way, that you may expect in this month of gift giving, wishlists, giftguides, giving to charity and advent calendars. But more in an "experience" way. Two weeks ago, after spending a wonderful weekend in Rome for #Blago2017 I was lucky to have an extra few hours in the city, all by myself. Now I love to spend time with cool people, but a few hours of calmth and sunshine in the Botanical Gardens of Rome were just wonderful too. Time to get my camera rolling, to soak up all the sunshine I could get before heading home to greyness at home, and to admire the lush palms, cacti, tropical foliage, greenhouses, bamboo and succulents. A true gift!
So let me share my gift with you in this post. Maybe it will inspire you to go visit your local botanical garden, or even visit the one in Rome.
The Orto Botanico of Rome Sapienza University is located at walking distance from the Vatican, on the west bank of the Tiber, outside the boundaries of ancient Rome. It consists of a 12ha parc on the slopes of the Janiculum hill, overlooking the 17th-century Palazzo Corsini, which was from 1659-1689 the residence of Queen Christina of Sweden, now the headquarters of the National Academy of Science and the Corsini Gallery. It looks rather majestic (photo above) I believe.
Two of my alltime faves: palmtrees and Opuntia cacti:
This tall cactus was sunbathing in front of the Palazzo Corsini:
Rome... feels like LA:
The exhibition greenhouse and in the front the "Garden of Simples" with flowerbeds with medicinal plants, structured bricks:
The perfect spot for soaking up sunshine, with a view on palms... and more palms:
One of the unique features of the Orto Botanico, and one of the richest in Europe, is the Bamboo Collection with over 70 different varieties of bamboo!
As the botanical garden is located on the on the slopes of the Janiculum hill, I got a really nice view over the old city of Rome through the autumn foliage:
The French greenhouse was all empty, usually it's full of Haworthia, Lithops and Gasteria, but I loved the detail of the curved window. It was only when editing pictures that I saw there's a large pomelo tree in the background!
Did you like the little walk around the Orto Botanico with me? Check back soon as I'll take you inside the fabulous succulent & cactus greenhouse that you see on the picture below. Look at those blue glass details on the front. Gorgeous, right? Believe me, the inside is really nice too!
Orto Botanico dell'Università di Roma "La Sapienza" /// Largo Cristina di Svezia, 24 /// 00165 Roma /// Italy
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5:30/6:30pm, entry fee 8€
Warm light at home with LZF
While keeping our home as "neutral" as possible for the sake of selling, it is a delight to make it actually look nice and cosy and feel like home while we're still here. Especially now that temperatures are dropping (we had some snow over the weekend!) and the dark days before Xmas are getting close, I'm slightly obsessed with extra blankets and candles. And with good light... because candle light is all cosy and pretty, but it doesn't allow you to properly read a book. Unless you would light a hundred of them ;)
When I think of "warm", I also think of family, friends and even blogfriends. One of the most memorable blog evenings of last year was in Chiva, near Valencia Spain, where my LZF family hosted a garden banquet in their garden, near the LZF Lamps workshop and studio. Under the iconic decorative lighting in wood veneer, they set up a large table with tableware from Sandro's family, invited friends to cook a wonderful meal, and we had a magical evening. It is hard to catch evenings like this in words, but I tried to in this blogpost, together with a lot of photos. Sweet memories!
And like with real family: you keep in touch! I met my LZF family earlier this year in Milan where they launched their new collection, including a beautiful new color for their wood veneer: PINK! And a few weeks ago they sent me an elegant Air lamp for me to try at home. When they asked me which color I would prefer, I instantly thought of this beautiful pink, but finally opted for natural Beech, because this gives a warmer color of light. Just what we need in our cinema room. Look how it compliments the floor lamp and candle light:
What I like about the wood lamps of LZF is that they look great: both on and off. The shape of the Air lamp, designed by Ray Power, pleats and folds into an elegant shape that holds a dimmable LED light. When you turn on the light you can clearly see the structure of the wood veneer and it shines a warm glow into the room. I noticed that it's quite addictive to add a warm light source to a room: the other day I forgot to turn it on in the evening, and wondered why the cinema room looked so gloomy. So the Air is here to stay ;)
Paid partnership with LZF Lamps. They kindly provided me with an Air table lamp, but all photos, opinions and words are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep JOELIX.com going!
@joelixjoelix on instagram