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Tips for Staining Your Deck: What we Learned Staining our Deck Ourselves

If you have been following along our home building process for the last two years on Instagram (@its.mary.taylor), you probably know that we finally moved it! Although we moved into a brand new home, there were some things we just didn’t have the budget for. This included all of the landscaping and our deck! From building the deck to staining the deck, it’s taken us over a month of everyday work to get it to where we want it to be.

The good news is, the deck is stained! We’re so thrilled that the deck is finally stained to match our flooring inside. We LOVE the color! But much like everything in our building, home buying, and DIY experiences this far, we have learned a lot!

Bad news, it’s not perfect. And, that’s okay. DIY projects are a learning process so if you’re wondering how to stain a deck or how to fix a deck that you stained wrong, we have some tips for you!

If this is your first time staining a deck, check out these tips below to learn from our deck staining mistakes!

  • Stain entire rows of wood, rather than in sections
  • Mix the container as much as possible before starting (if the container says not to create bubbles, do not just roll the container on its side – turn it upside down, mix it by hand, anything to get it to fully mix.
  • Clear the deck 24 hours before you start to let it fully dry out e.g. under pot plants 
  • Sweep the deck before you start to remove any extra debri
  • When staining wood that’s next to something (against your house for example) use some cardboard or painters tape or something so that no stain gets on the house
  • If the stain is turps based, have plenty of bottles of extra turps nearby in case there an accident (stain gets on your house, the tin tips over, etc) so if you need to, you can dilute/clean off the stain
  • If your stain is too dark in some areas (and your stain is turpentine based), you can rub extra turps onto the stained area with a lint-free rag/cloth or your cleaned (not filled with stain) staining brush

You can see two things in the above image:

  1. There’s a water mark where our umbrella was beforehand (we did not remove items the day before staining).
  2. Robbie stained by section not by board. If you scroll above, you’ll see where there are clear sectioned-off marks of stain and we are now having trouble fixing. Don’t be us. Learn from our mistakes!

The water mark has fixed itself by drying out before we applied the second coat of stain. We can try to fix the other mistake by re-staining the parts of the deck that are a bit lighter with a light coat of extra deck stain.

Are you DIYing parts of your home too? I would love to see what you’re doing! Let’s connect on Instagram!

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Cleaning Tips to Reduce Odor

I asked on Instagram stories the other day if you’d like to see some cleaning tips and you voted YES! We (I say we but I mean I) have been doing a lot of cleaning (and organizing) lately in the new house. We’re pretty much organized but the ongoing cleaning (especially from the dust brought in from building the deck and lack of grass) has been overwhelming.

Here's what I did/do!

  • Deep cleaned my Crockpot Express using 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 8 drops of citrus essential oils (lemon and wild orange – you don’t need to be specific on the amount of drops). If you don’t have essential oils you can use half a lemon and one orange’s rind. Turn it on steam for 5 minutes, let it naturally release for 2 minutes, and quick release until it’s able to be removed. Then, drump out the mixture and rinse. This will remove odors from your pressure cooker!
  • Cleaned our garbage disposal using ice. Fill your garbage disposal with ice, turn it on, and run water through it (some say hot water, some say you don’t even need water – try it both ways). The ice is so cold it actually helps sharpen the blades. You can also toss down some citrus peels or a few drops of citrus/Purify oils to eliminate odor and leave a fresh smell.
  • Stinky trash can? If your trash is in a drawer/pulls out and you have room below it, fill a small container with baking soda and drop a few drops of essential oils in the container. Cover with mesh, plastic with holes in it, or another breathable material. Baking soda absorbs nasty smells! You can also put a paper towel underneath your trash bag and drop a few drops of oils onto that (lemon, doTERRA Purify, Young Living Purification, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, etc are great options)
  • My favorite DIY odor reducing spray! This is an all around perfect spray for every day use – musty clothes, smelly bathrooms, stinky trash, room freshener, and so much more. You’ll need doTERRA Purify, doTERRA On Guard, water, and alcohol (optional – great for a hand sanitizer option or to kill more germs). Put them all in a spray bottle and shake before use. Easy as that. You can put as many drops as you want to get the desired smell you would like. This DIY deodorizer is life changing (okay, my opinion but seriously, you have to try it – I use it all the time). 

Do you like this kind of post and want to see more recipes, hacks, and tips on IG instead of just on my blog? What kinds of things should I focus on next? Let me know on this post on Instagram.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Scheduling Posts Ahead of Time

If you’ve been following on social media for a while (particularly Instagram), you might have seen my content calendar a few times. I am OBSESSED with planning out content. That’s why I am SO excited to teach you more about scheduling posts on social media. P.S. You can free monthly content calendars sent directly to your inbox just by signing up for my newsletter below or in our free social media group on Facebook.

So, why should I schedule out my social media posts?

I love scheduling my social media posts ahead of time because it not only helps save me time in the long run AND plan ahead what I need to get done, it also helps me repurpose content. I believe that repurposing content is essential to long term success on several social media platforms – especially if you’re using Pinterest! Do you need help managing your Pinterest or repurposing your content? Let’s chat!

How do I schedule my social media posts ahead of time?

There are many ways you can schedule social media posts ahead of time. Some apps actually let you do it directly on their website (like Pinterest and Facebook) but I love to use Later because of how easy it is to you. If you use this link you can even get an extra 10 FREE posts per platform per month. With Later, you can link one of each of your accounts including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Then, upload the images you would like to post, drag and drop them into your content calendar (or even pre-set your posting times for each week and organize your grid via the preview section to see what they will look like on Instagram). After writing your caption just push save.

Your posts can automatically be published to Instagram if you have a business account which is linked to a Facebook page! Just change from “notifications” to “auto” at the bottom of the scheduled post.

 

If you need extra help getting set up, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Facebook or make a post into our social media group

BONUS: Something I learned recently!

Recently, I learned an extra bonus tip that helps save even more time! When you’re scheduling your posts on Later, you can hover over an additional “social bubble” at the top of your screen and a plus sign will appear. Click it and you can schedule two posts (the same image and content) to multiple platforms. For Pinterest, you’ll just add in your list, board, and title (it will prompt you). Check out what I mean below.

Did you like this tip for creating and managing several different Instagram accounts? You can learn more in our FREE social media discussion & learning Facebook group! Join here. You can also receive more free tips and tricks as well as a monthly content calendar (with hashtag suggestions), by signing up for our newsletter below.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Why, Which, and How to use All of Your Veggies

Let’s start with the why. Why should you use all of your vegetables? And what does that even mean?

The answer is pretty simple: because it produces less waste and saves you money. What I mean by “use all of your veggies” is to use as much of the vegetable as you can. This means leaving the skin on when possible (potatoes, tomatoes for soups/sauces, carrots – they don’t even have “skin” but lots of people still take off the outer layer – etc.)

Which vegetables can I use entirely?

Lots and tons! I won’t name every single vegetable but here’s some that you might not have thought of using the whole thing:

Broccoli – Yes, even the stem. Chop it up into smaller bite sized pieces or shred it and add it to your dish (salads, roasts, soups, etc). Broccoli is absolutely delicious!

Caulifower – Just like broccoli, you can chop up the stem to use in soup, on the grill, in the oven, or on the stovetop. You can even steam it and just add butter! 

Carrot – There’s no need to shred off the outer layer of a carrot. The only part you shouldn’t eat is the very top (where the leaves normally come from). If there are little strings coming off the bottom, either pull them off or eat them. If you wash the top those, you can use it in a smoothie or soup (especially if you like to make your own veggie broth).

Celery – Try to eat as much of the celery as possible. The leaves of celery you use in soup/broth, a roast, a stir-fry or even eat them in a salad (choppped up or whole). The only part you might not want to eat is the base. Place the base of the celery into a glass container with a little bit of water on the bottom. Continue to water and watch as a new celery grows. Then, you can plant it in a small amount of dirt or keep it growing in your water.

Tomatoes – You don’t really have the cut out or off the top of the tomato. Just chop it up with the rest of the tomato and enjoy! This would be great for salads, soups, and even sandwiches.

Pretty much every vegetable – If there are parts that you don’t want to eat, wash them and freeze them. Once you have enough, boil them in water with your favorite herbs and make your own vegetable broth. This is another great use for your celery leaves!

To make your own vegetable broth with leftover vegetables, simmer your vegetables in a large pot with water and spices for about an hour (really, the longer the better). This will allow the flavor to really develop. Good spices for soups include: mixed herb, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. You can also add tomato paste or a can of tomatoes. 

Pro tip: you may want to sauté garlic and onions in olive oil (additional not just what was leftover) before adding the rest of your vegetables and water.

To read more about my recipes and why I create them the way I do (without specific measurements, times, and temperatures) check out this blog post. Post a picture of your soup and vegetables to your stories on Instagram and tag me (@its.mary.taylor) so I can see and share it to my story too!

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Why Blogs are Powerful for Your Business

Are you thinking about creating a blog or do you already have one? You probably started a blog or want to start a blog because you have some idea of why blogs are powerful for your business. If you’re thinking, “I have heard good things about blogging but don’t REALLY know why exactly I should be blogging regularly,” this is the blog for you! I often see people who start a blog but can’t keep up. If that’s your struggle too, check out my blogging services here.

My favorite reason for starting a blog is because of all the potential to repurpose content. If you know me, you know I love talking about repurposing (and not just in your home products but also, in your business)! Everything that you write in a blog can be repurposed to a bunch of mini posts on the same topic. So when you’re sitting down every week to schedule your social media posts, you can easily head to one of your previous blog posts and pull some of the content you’ve already written.

You can also draw further attention to the blog post by mentioning it within your social media post. Not everyone might have read the blog post yet. It can also encourage people to comment on the social media post with any questions or comments they had when they did read the blog post. Staying engaged with your audience is SO important.

Having a blog also gives people a reason to come to your website more often. Once they’re there, they might have a little wander throughout your site which could lead to more sales, clients, and customers.

You’ve gotten your potential client to your site now (through your blog post). They’re reading along and realize, “Dang! She/he knows what she/he is talking about!” When you blog about topics relevant to your business or brand, you’re building credibility! Having a blog should provide enough value that your reader feels like they’re learning something but not too much value that they now don’t need to hire you. If you’re a product based business, your blog posts should highlight different aspects of your product. For example, if you own a skincare company, you should write about the benefits of the ingredients in your skincare. Once your reader knows about all of these benefits, how could they not want to purchase your skincare? You’re selling without actually having to SELL. Instead, your informing your audience to make educated purchase decisions.

But what about those that don’t follow you yet? Blogs can be helpful for SEO purposes! SEO includes all of the things that you do to increase the visibility of your website and its content (like your blog) on search engine result pages (like when people search on Google). Search engines look at things like if a website is regularly updated, how long people stay on your website, the quality of the content on your website, internal linking, meta descriptions, image tagging, and more! Blogging can help you add more of these features to your website which will end up helping your website to appear higher in search results.

Whether people are coming to your site just for your free content (blog posts) or to purchase from you, you can still make money from everyone who comes to your site! Having a blog is another way that you can make money! Stay tuned for a blog post soon about ways to make money from your blog!

Now that you know all about why blogs are important for your business, are you going to start blogging? Once you write your first blog, don’t forget to tag me in the post when you share it! I can’t wait to read all about what you do. If you need help getting started, let’s chat! I not only offer blogging services but also coaching and editing. I can also help you repurpose your blogs into posts across your social media accounts. Check out my links below to get in touch.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

Do you have multiple Instagram accounts that you want to manage more easily? Maybe you have an account for your business and a personal account. Or maybe your kid or your pet has an account. Or maybe, all of the above! Today you’re going to learn how to manage and store multiple accounts on Instagram.

Check out the instructions below for how to add another account to your Instagram:

 

  1. Go to your profile, click the burger menu (the three lines in the top right-hand corner),  and tap on settings.
  2. Scroll to the very bottom and tap “Add Account.”
  3. Then, add your other account(s) by username and password. You can add up to 5 Instagram accounts at a time. If you run out of space, just logout of one of the accounts and add the new one.

To get between both profiles, hold down your profile picture in the navigation bar to view all connected accounts, then click on the profile you would like to switch to. You can go to your profile, click on your username at the top, and select which profile you’d like to go to.

Sharing a post in several places
Switching between your accounts

Besides easily being able to switch between accounts (which saves time logging in and out of accounts with different passwords), you can also share one post to several different accounts. When you’re making your Instagram post directly onto your profile (a grid post not a story), you’ll see the option to post to other Instagram accounts that you’re looking into also. With your business account, which you can learn how to set up here, you can also post directly to your linked accounts (twitter, tumblr, and Facebook). 

Did you like this tip for creating and managing several different Instagram accounts? You can learn more in our FREE social media discussion & learning Facebook group! Join here. You can also receive more free tips and tricks as well as a monthly content calendar (with hashtag suggestions), by signing up for our newsletter below.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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How to Get Notified When People Post on Instagram

Instagram posts can get cluttered but you know there’s always a few people that you want to make sure you see posts from. Did you know that you can get notifications when your favorite people post? And it’s super easy!

To turn on notifications, go to the user’s profile, click on one of their posts, tap the three small dots in the upper right-hand corner of the post, and choose “Turn on Post Notifications” from the menu that pops up. Later, if you want to stop notifications from this account, follow the same instructions but click “Turn off Notifications.”

Please note you won’t get push notifications unless you have notifications turned on for Instagram on your phone.

📲If you want to allow notifications on iPhone or iPad, go to “Settings,” then “Notifications.” Choose “Instagram” and then turn on the setting to “Allow Notifications.”

📲If you have an Android and would like to turn notifications on for Instagram: Go to “Settings,” then “Apps,” then “Instagram.” Select the option to show notifications.

For more social media tips and tricks, sign up to our email list below and join our FREE social media discussions, engagement, and learning group on Facebook here

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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What questions do you have for a wedding

Where to Find Essential Oil Stock Images

Essential oil stock images images can be hard to find but look no further because I have suggestions on where to download doTERRA stock images!

First off, did you know that I create and sell doTERRA images and graphics? You can purchase them directly from me through my Instagram account @oilyimages or contact me if you’d like me to create something specific or see more images and graphics that I have ready to go.

I not only sell images but also essential oil Instagram stories or other engagement graphics and even essential oil recipe graphics!

If you’re looking at hosting a week long virtual event, we can customize a package of graphics just for you. Ask me what classes I suggest you run to get your audience involved!

If you’re looking to purchase several graphics and images and want to incorporate many different styles, you can sign up for a One Drop subscription here. By using this link, you will get an additional 10% off your first purchase (that means you can save up to $22.20 on their Unlimited Yearly plan)! You can check out my vault of images and graphics here. If you see any images here that you would like to purchase separately (without a subscription), please contact me

The FREE option: The last place I recommend looking into is Pexels. It’s one of my favorite stock sites. However, you won’t find as many options here!

I hope you found this blog helpful! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest to find more essential oil tips, tricks, and recipes.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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How to see all the Posts You’ve Liked on Instagram

Have you ever wanted to see all the posts you’ve liked on Instagram? You might have forgotten the image, quote, or post that you passed earlier but really loved and you want to see it again! Well, you can do that!

All you have to do is go to your profile, click the burger menu (the three lines in the top right-hand corner) if you’re on a mobile device, click settings, then account. Then, you’ll see “Posts you’ve liked” towards the bottom.

If you want to unlike a post all you have to do is click the heart again. Don’t worry, the user will not be notified that you unliked their post.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can also search directly in the search bar.

For more social media tips and tricks, sign up to our email list below and join our FREE social media discussions, engagement, and learning group on Facebook here

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

 

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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How to Add Special Fonts to Your Instagram Bio

Do you want to make your Instagram profile stand out by including fun and different fonts?

 

I’ve got a fun hack for you! Adding emojis is always one thing I suggest adding to your profile (my favorite place to find emojis online is https://getemoji.com/) but you can even take it a step further with new fonts.

Now, you aren’t actually able to do this directly in Instagram but you can use other apps to make it happen!

One program is called LingoJam. All you have to do is type in bio text, scroll through to choose the font you like best, select/highlight the text, hit copy, and paste it into your Instagram bio. This app is perfect if you want to change your bio directly on your phone or your computer.

Why stop at emojis and fonts? Let’s learn how to add special characters to your Instagram bio too! One easy way to do this is actually on Your HTML Source website. You can easily copy and paste symbols into your Instagram bio from there. They have everything from copyright symbols to greek letters and card suits. Here are some examples of the symbols you can copy and paste:

Now you know how to add special fonts and characters to your Instagram bio! Let me know which emojis are your favorite on this post. And if you use special characters or fonts in your bio, here’s how you can let me know: Take a screenshot of your bio/profile, post it to your stories, and tag me so I can reshare. Don’t forget to join my mailing list for free social media tips and tricks every month (fill out the simple form below). You can also join our FREE social media discussions, engagement, and learning group on Facebook here

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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