Australia

We visit Australia every year from the states to see Tim’s family and I figured it was about time I start documenting what we do while we’re there. This guide will not cover all of Australia and all it has to offer, it’s simply showcasing the highlights of our trip in Canberra, Coledale and Melbourne.

Each trip includes time in Canberra since that’s where his family is located. I know that the capitol city may not be your first choice to visit but it has some really nice things to do and see. Give it a chance!

CANBERRA

Here’s what I recommend:

Visit the National Gallery of Australia.

There’s a little bit of something for everyone there and usually a great exhibition. You could spend hours exploring this museum and you should!

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Take a walk around Lake Burley Griffin. You can spend several hours walking the paths along the lake, go on a cruise or have a picnic in the grass.

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Go have a drink or eat at Kokomos. This place is extremely photographable and the foods pretty good too! It’s right downtown and next to a ton of shopping, bars, and other restaurants.

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My FAVORITE restaurant is Marvie and Wolfe. Yes, the owners happen to be our very good friends but I promise you the food is exceptional!!

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Another yummy spot to try is Baby Su. Unique food and delicious!

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The last spot I’ll recommend is Hotel Hotel Nishi. More great photo opportunities to be found here, good food, a movie theater and it’s a hotel if you need a place to stay.

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After Canberra we drove to a town just north of Wollongong called Coledale. It’s amongst several small towns along the coast and a perfect quiet getaway.

COLEDALE

Here’s what I recommend:

Enjoy the many many beaches. Very few people around, lots of sunshine.

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We stayed at the perfect Airbnb. Secluded, views of the ocean and decorated nicely. Perfect.

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We ate a several places but this one stood out because of it’s sustainable menu and decor, Earth Walker.

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Enjoy the good hiking trails. We opted for an easy one, the Gibson Track which branches off of Sublime Lookout, it offered a lush and beautiful experience of the plants and trees of Australia.

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Next we flew to Melbourne for the last few days of our trip. The city is known for great shopping, food and graffiti.

MELBOURNE

Here’s what I recommend:

If you’ve never been to Melbourne before I would recommend a walking tour. I know it may seem like a touristy thing to do but it can be a fun way to learn more about the city while on a stroll. Plus I know of a great one: Walk This Way. One of the tour guides, Shanan, is our friend and he offers such a fun and unique experience of the city.

Visit Dejour Jeans. It is such a cool concept. You enter the store which has shelves and shelves of jeans in different sizes, styles and colors. You choose a pair that is close to what you want and then they custom tailor the pants to fit you in 1 hour, all for $50. Great deal and I’m going back for more next time!

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Thrift shopping is also high on my list of recommendations. They are actually called Op Shops and are all over the city. My friend Meg offers a guided thrift tour that offers meals and transportation. I thrifted with her while we were there and found some major scores!

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Visit the The Espy in St. Kilda. It’s a hotel, restaurant, bar and music venue. Endless amounts of photo opportunities await here.

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So, that covers everything that we did on this trip. My last recommendation and possibly the MOST important:

Eat a sausage roll accompanied with chocolate milk.

Enjoy.

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Laundry room before and after

Here’s a quick transformation of my parents laundry room. Total cost less than $60.

Before

Before

Before

Before

The one requirement my mom had was that she wanted the room to be light and bright… So the first thing I did was paint a dark blue wall, I love to make her nervous and also to show how dark walls don’t always mean a room will feel small and dark!

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Next, I hand painted the palm leaf ‘wallpaper’ with regular wall paint we had on hand and switched out the curtain for macrame.

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Behind the washer and dryer I hung up cedar planks and switched out the cupboard hardware.

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A few affordable changes that made a huge impact.

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Flamingo Dining Room

I often reminisce about the homes we used to live in and realized that one of the best transformations we’ve worked on was never documented on here!

So here it is:

Our old home in Portland, Oregon had a small room in the back of the house that was meant to be a laundry room. It was dark, dingy and a complete waste of space. We decided to turn it into a combo laundry and dining nook. Tim and I (with the help of a few friends) did all the work ourselves.

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The first thing we did was replace the solid door with glass french doors to let in more light.

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We moved the washer/dryer to one side of the room, stacked it, and installed sound muffling doors. Lastly, we laid down new bamboo flooring.

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I painted the whole room dark green, hand painted the flamingo wall and voila, a whole new room.

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HGTV Dream Home with Delta Faucet

This post is sponsored by the Delta brand.

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Whitefish, Montana to tour the 2019 HGTV Dream Home, a beautiful house tucked away in the mountains which you can enter to WIN! There are photos all over the internet of this gorgeous space but I’m excited to share the home from my perspective and talk about what I found inspiring and unique.

Starting from the outside in right off the bat I was wowed by the picturesque landscape. Winter is not my favorite season but suddenly standing here it felt like complete bliss. The way the snow clung to every branch of the trees and the sunlight casting a magical glow. I was ready to snuggle down for a long winters nap.

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My first impression to the home really wowed. The bold colors created such a beautiful contrast to the white snow outside.

I love the combination of the moose head and fabric from Faraway Lovely. It was a nice spin on the traditional mountain home decor.

There were also some modern and sculptural touches like these head vases.

The master bedroom was incredibly vibrant and cozy. I loved the unique chandelier which reminds me of a birds nest. My favorite thing of course was the sansevieria print.

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Another favorite item in the master was this gorgeous chair.

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The wood ceilings in the master bath were also stunning and I loved the cross handles of the Cassidy™ Widespread Bathroom faucet.

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My favorite area of the home was the bonus room. The dark blue walls and ceilings were such a great choice and the use of vintage art and skis added to the charm without feeling tacky.

Shadow box details below.

Another guest room in the home with bold paint, perfect patterns and a great alternative to actual animal heads.

I was immediately drawn to the shower pictured below and love how it ties in to the bedding pictured above. Gorgeous and sleek Emerge™ Shower Column and H2Okinetic® Raincan shower head from Delta.

My last favorite moment in the home was this adorable pet nook. They utilized that funny space under the stairs that only kids, or in this case pets, could stand in.

You can read more about the home and see the whole space on the HGTV Dream Home website.

DIY Wall Hanging

I found an amazing vintage wall hanging at the thrift store and was shattered when I found out it was already sold. Not only that but it sold for $80! Come to find out in the world of vintage wall hangings this was a steal of a deal, they usually retail for anywhere from $300 to $1500. I knew my odds of finding another one while thrifting were slim and I definitely didn’t have the budget to buy one form a shop so I decided to make one myself with items I already had at home plus about $30 worth of yarn.

Not pictured is the large stick I collected from my neighborhood walk which everything is attached to in order to hang on the wall. You could also use a wooden dowel or a curtain rod.

Not pictured is the large stick I collected from my neighborhood walk which everything is attached to in order to hang on the wall. You could also use a wooden dowel or a curtain rod.

I found a rug with interesting texture and fringe on the end as the base for the whole thing. I chose this pillow to incorporate because it has a great shape. A blanket (originally from target) that was made of long strands of yarn (huge bonus because it cut down on cost of yarn and time cutting all the long strands), about 8 rolls of yarn and a grass skirt to add some different texture.

You can easily thrift most of these items or may have things laying around your house. I suggest looking for items that already have lots of yarn, tassels, pre-existing woven shapes and using a rug that has fringe on the end makes it easy to tie on the stick.

That takes us to the first step. I attached the rug by tying the fringe around the stick and then wrapped the stick with yarn to hide the fringe.

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I used a needle and thread to hand sew the pillow onto the rug. The fringe on the sides was taken from the blanket that I deconstructed and tied around the stick using a larks head knot.

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The next step was creating these tassels with the rust orange yarn which I attached with a needle and thread. I wrapped the yarn about 25 times around a book that measures 10” and there are 15 tassels.

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I knotted up small bunches of yarn and sewed them on by hand around the rest of the circle to really accentuate the shape.

Detail of knots.

Detail of knots.

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At this point I adjusted the fringe on the sides and added some longer pieces to make it wider. The grass skirt was directly sewn on with needle and thread. The mustard yarn on the side is more tassels sewn onto the rug. I wrapped the yarn 25 times around our pink coffee table which measures 3’ and there are 6 tassels.

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The last thing I added was, yep, more tassels made from the dark brown yarn. I wrapped the yarn about 40 times around a book that measures 12” to make these big tassels and there are 14 of them.

Layers and more layers make it interesting.

Layers and more layers make it interesting.

Here’s how it’s attached to the wall. In a normal home your walls won’t be crumbling away like ours. You should be able to put a plug or  wall anchor  in the wall for additional support.

Here’s how it’s attached to the wall. In a normal home your walls won’t be crumbling away like ours. You should be able to put a plug or wall anchor in the wall for additional support.

That’s it! The whole process took about two days and cost around $30 since I had a lot of the items on hand. Well worth it and now I have an original piece with meaning. Good luck!

ourNOLAwalks

This post is sponsored by Fracture

The beauty and colors of New Orleans

The beauty and colors of New Orleans

One of our favorite things to do in New Orleans is walk around the neighborhoods to look at all the beautiful homes and lush plants and while NOLA may stand out in beauty unlike any other city, it’s no stranger to trash. We dedicate some of our walks to picking up this litter to save it from running into the gutters and the ocean. Once you start to pay attention you’ll probably notice there’s a lot of garbage around your place of residence as well… so what can you do to help? Pick it up!

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I’ve partnered with Fracture to bring awareness to this subject. To show ways that we can help make the world a better place, it doesn’t take much!! Picking up trash is what I’ve chosen to share but they want to see what you are doing to help as well. You can read more about their #FocusOnMoments campaign to see what you can to to help and how to win some of their products.

I had a few moments from our walks printed with them. Each order is made by hand in a carbon neutral factory at its Gainesville headquarters, and safely delivered in environmentally friendly packaging. Use the code LIZKAMARUL10 to save $ on your unique glass print from Fracture.

Fracture  prints on glass! To win one of these prints be sure to check out my  Instagram  for details. Winner will be announced on 10/22.

Fracture prints on glass! To win one of these prints be sure to check out my Instagram for details. Winner will be announced on 10/22.

Now, as promised, some of my favorite homes from #ourNOLAwalks and the neighborhoods they’re located in. I’m not giving exact locations because searching is part of the fun. And don’t forget to bring a garbage bag with you to help keep these streets clean!!

FRENCH QUARTER: It’s no secret the french quarter is full of unique beauties.

FRENCH QUARTER: It’s no secret the french quarter is full of unique beauties.

LOWER GARDEN AND GARDEN DISTRICT: Not to be missed. Full of enormous and ornate homes like this one.

LOWER GARDEN AND GARDEN DISTRICT: Not to be missed. Full of enormous and ornate homes like this one.

CARROLLTON: Has plenty of colorful photo ops.

CARROLLTON: Has plenty of colorful photo ops.

ALGIERS POINT: It’s only a ferry ride away and has plenty of charm on its own.

ALGIERS POINT: It’s only a ferry ride away and has plenty of charm on its own.

IRISH CHANNEL: So close to the garden district just keep walking towards the river and discover all the beauty.

IRISH CHANNEL: So close to the garden district just keep walking towards the river and discover all the beauty.

UPTOWN: Yep, more charm around every corner.

UPTOWN: Yep, more charm around every corner.

CENTRAL CITY: It may be known as a rougher area but has some classic stunners as well.

CENTRAL CITY: It may be known as a rougher area but has some classic stunners as well.

THE BYWATER: Did I save the best for last? In my opinion, yes. The Bywater exudes charm and this home pretty much sums up New Orleans in my mind.

THE BYWATER: Did I save the best for last? In my opinion, yes. The Bywater exudes charm and this home pretty much sums up New Orleans in my mind.

DIY Bench

We made these very easy very simple benches that fit together to make a nice daybed out of 2x4s and plywood for under $50. Here’s the step by step:

What you need: (FOR 1 BENCH. To make a daybed double the amount of items)

2” x 4” x 8’ pine stud (x3)

2’ x 4’ sheet of plywood or OSB board about 1/2” thick (x1)

Box of 4” wood screws (x1)

pocket hole jig

electric screw driver

Directions:

Keep in mind, the measurments we went with were to fit specific pillows that I used for the cushions. You can adjust slightly to make them any size you want.

We left one end of the bench open so that when the two benches slid together the cushions would be flush.

We left one end of the bench open so that when the two benches slid together the cushions would be flush.

Cut the 2x4 stud into the following lengths:

44” (x2)

24” (x6)

10” (x4)

First we created simple square frames for the legs and attached a brace in the middle.

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For the brace in the middle we used a pocket hole jig so the screws went in at an angle.

For the brace in the middle we used a pocket hole jig so the screws went in at an angle.

Once the legs and brace were attached together we flipped it upside-down, placed the legs on 2” blocks (scrap pieces of wood) to elevate it off the ground and screwed the top frame into the legs.

Legs and brace are pictured upside-down. The measuring tape indicates 2” elevated off the ground. This way when the top frame is attached it will create a lip to hold the cushions.

Legs and brace are pictured upside-down. The measuring tape indicates 2” elevated off the ground. This way when the top frame is attached it will create a lip to hold the cushions.

All of the stud, apart from the brace, were attached at the ends with 2 screws.

All of the stud, apart from the brace, were attached at the ends with 2 screws.

View from the top

View from the top

Once the frame is complete the OSB can be cut to size and slide down on top.

Once the frame is complete the OSB can be cut to size and slide down on top.

I know this is a pretty roughly explained DIY but I hope with the photos you can decipher what we did!

2 benches pushed together to make a daybed

2 benches pushed together to make a daybed

Single bench

Single bench

Reconfigured into an L shape

Reconfigured into an L shape

DESIGNliz kamaruldaybed, bench, diy
Q&A making money on Instagram

I’m sharing the information I’ve gained over the past few years in regards to making money on social media. Here is the original post I wrote on Instagram followed by the Q&A:

The subject of instagrammers and bloggers being paid for ads or receiving free products seems to be such a secretive and taboo topic.  It's been going on for so many years but rarely ever talked about! Why aren't we talking and educating others around the subject of getting paid to create beautiful and inspiring content?  I've seen a few people start the conversation and I'm ready to join.
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Instagram started out as a photo-sharing app. Anyone can join and anyone can share. But over time it has evolved into something more. Bloggers and designers are on there and they're making money. How. Why?
So, let's think about it: Why are you on Instagram? Why are you following the people that you follow? Maybe to stay in touch with friends and family, to keep up on news or to find inspiration. People like myself creating this inspiration are spending hours upon hours of time and money doing just that: trying to inspire. Additionally spending so many hours replying to questions, building relationships and trust with people who are following along.
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We are surrounded by ads all the time. On TV, billboards, podcasts, radio etc. It's no different on social media. Except now, you're following someone who is giving inspiration on a daily basis. Giving out DIYs, opening up about personal struggles, bringing awareness to important topics. Plus they're sharing products that they care about and think you might care about and all of it is done in a beautiful thoughtful way. I think it's an amazing opportunity for 'normal' people who may not have been in the industry or have access to it to be able to get paid because of their creativity and talent.
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So, when it comes to promoting a product and being paid for a job, the amazing thing about someone in my position is that I get to choose what I want to share. I get to work with brands who have gorgeous products that I would love to use or currently am using, or who are supporting people in small communities around the world. I also get to say no, I don't want to work with that brand. That is not something that I would put in my own house, not something I would wear, not something I would use in my life or I don't think it's good quality. I get to filter out the good and the bad so you don't have to.
Then, we get to conceptualize an authentic way to talk about that product whatever it may be. If you add up the hours it takes to brainstorm and create content (3-4 hrs per post) and the hours spent engaging by answering questions building relationships, Etc.(3-4 a day) that's a lot of hours! Plus there's the time it takes to write a blog, so consuming!
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I do understand that we are building a relationship of sorts through social media and a relationship is give and take. It's so important to be able to offer more than just a product review and more than just an ad which I think a lot of us really try to do and really try to connect in an authentic way.

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When I started this Instagram account a few years ago I had no idea there was even an opportunity to make money doing this. I was simply sharing our home. Now I get to partner with brands and get paid to do what I love! There's no space here for comparison or competition and I'm happy to share all information that I have to help anyone interested in pursuing this.
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What are your thoughts? Questions? Ask them here and I will answer everything in more detail on my blog!
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As always, thank you so much for your support!

Q: I'd like to know more about the process of collaborating on ads with another business. Do you contact someone because you love the product or do they see you use their product and then they contact you about a collab? 

A: It depends. If I'm starting a new project, like when we renovated the RV or if I'm moving into a new home, occasionally I will reach our to a company if they have a specific product I think will be perfect for our space. I will provide a proposal of what the outcome of the project will be including a design board. Depending on the value of the product I may ask for compensation or offer a trade of product for promotion. It's also important to include a media kit when contacting businesses. It's like a resume, showcasing your work, telling a bit about you and who you have worked with. 

In most cases the brand will contact me directly to collaborate and other times I get jobs through websites that I've signed up with that act like an agency. They have all my information on file and connect me with brands that I would be a good fit with. My favorite companies that provide this service are Collectively and Activate Social.  

Q: What get's you noticed the most amongst businesses?

A: If you want to be noticed by a brand start tagging them when applicable and when you're using their products. Most companies usually have a hashtag associated with their account that they may check on to discover people, start using that as well (example: @Rejuvenation uses #myonepiece) Once they find you, having a consistent portfolio of work is important to businesses, they want to know what to expect if they are going to collaborate with you. 

Q: How did you learn about photography and composition?

A: For me that happened over time and with a lot of practice. I've been on Instagram for about 4 years and have shared over 1265 photos. It's definitely been an evolution. I like to avoid really heavy filters and distorted pictures that create odd angles. It's just my preference but I think a room that is shot at eye level with straight lines is the most appealing. Luckily Instagram makes it very easy to adjust things like that right before you post a picture. Otherwise I use VSCO to edit my photos and most of them are taken with my Canon Rebel T6. I use a tripod and the cannon connect app to take all the photos that have me in them.

Q: What are some things you wish you knew when you started this commercial and creative process on Instagram?

A: I wish I had done less work for free. I find it very frustrating when I see people promoting products that have very little value (socks, watches, etc.) for free (trade) Companies obviously see value in having products showcased on social media and it costs them very little to give these products out. However, the person promoting this product is spending time and sacrificing a space on their page for an ad that they didn't even get paid for. In saying that I have no problems helping out small shops that are just getting started and makers working from home that don't have budgets to be spending on advertising. My frustrations lie with bigger companies taking advantage. 

Q: How can businesses know that working with you was worth it?

A: Usually a business will provide the influencer with a specific link that is associated to them so when traffic is driven to the website they will know where it came from. These links are usually used in story swipe ups and on blogs. Other times they provide a discount code for the influencer to give out (example: LIZK20 which would give a discount to people and also let the brand know how many sales were made)

Q: How did you get started? How do I get started?

A: I was never a social media person, actually disliked it a lot, so it's pretty ironic that I spend most hours of my days on Instagram now. I started my account in 2014 because I was doing home staging and wanted quick access to something that would have all the homes I've worked on so I could easily show prospective clients. Instagram seemed like the thing to do. 

Slowly I started sharing our home on there and that's when things started rolling. I discovered that groups of people had hashtags that they asked people to use (example: #finditstyleit or #currentdesignsituation, those used to be big) As a group they would select a winner to feature amongst all of their accounts. That is a great way to gain exposure (if your are selected and featured). Start paying attention to these hashtags and use them, it really helped my account grow in an authentic way reaching people who are interested in the same things.

You can also submit you home to websites like The Jungalow, Apartment Therapy or Design Sponge and try to get your home featured in their home tours section.

As far as making money goes, start by signing up with the agencies I mentioned above and don't limit yourself to just those. There are a lot of good companies out there that provide this service, do your research and find reputable ones. LIKEtoKNOW.it is also a great one to sign up with. You can make money through them by sharing the products in your home and you get a percentage of all sales made.

Another thing to note: paying for followers or comments is a terrible idea. Businesses can recognize it right away. Plus what is the point? You want real people following and commenting. Some people are into comment pods as well, that's where a group of people all agree to comment on each others posts to boost the activity and visibility of their posts. I don’t participate in these either, I think much like paying for followers comments pods come off as inauthentic and businesses can see that. That is just my opinion though and some people may have seen some success from these pods (I'm not an expert just sharing my thoughts).

Q: Should it be mentioned in your post when you get paid or receive free product?

A: YES it is actually very important according to the FTC you must include #ad or #sponsored and from what I've read recently you can use the brand name followed by partner (example #airbnb_partner) using #partner alone is not enough. These tags can not be hidden amongst other tags where they may not be noticed. You need to be very upfront and clear about paid AND trade collaborations. Really just be honest, and be proud! You've been paid to create something and it's your choice to work with the brands that you want to promote so you should be confident in sharing that with your audience.

Q: How do people gain an audience with all the new algorithms?

A: Ugh, good question. This algorithm makes no sense. Keep trying to get features through hashtags so you show up on multiple accounts maybe? I haven't got any good secrets to spill on this one. Sorry! Stay active on Instagram, comment and like other posts are a few things I've heard... who knows.

Q: If a brand comments on your posts asking you to DM them to work with them is it worth responding or is it spam?

A: I never respond to brands that do this. It's probably just a generic comment left on your post or a brand who doesn't really value you. If they aren't taking the time to properly reach out via email or at very least a DM then they aren't worth working with.

Q: Do you have to have a big following to work with brands?

A: I don't think you need a big following to start partnering with brands. In fact I've read that it's more valuable to have a smaller audience who are more engaged with you than a large audience that doesn't seem to interact.

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I hope you found some value in this and can start making that money!