If you like sipping on sweet tea and snacking on comfort food—and looking effortlessly cool while doing so—then Southern Made Simple is your essential one-stop-shop! The stylish woman behind the southern-infused lifestyle destination is Laura Tucker, CLEVER’s Featured Influencer for September, and we have behind-the-scenes details for you to check out! At Southern Made Simple, you’ll find everything you need to keep the whole family well-fed, entertained, and looking fly. Need a few ideas for delicious, no-hassle snacks you can whip up in a pinch? Look no further. Maybe you want some #styleinspo for your next nursery makeover? Laura’s got you covered—and it’s oh-so-chic, yet totally approachable. We love working with Laura because she works her CLEVER magic by sprinkling each post with a unique, authentic, and personal touch.

Want to learn more about Laura’s stylish southern charm? Keep reading!

What is your favorite topic to blog about and why?

While I was on maternity leave two years ago, I made the decision to leave my full time job and stay at home with my daughter. As I was adjusting to the change, I found myself longing for a creative outlet where I could be vocal about things that I really love—food, home décor, DIY projects, etc. Growing up in the deep South, I’ve always had a strong love and appreciation for the simple southern lifestyle, thus the idea for my own spot of the Internet called Southern Made Simple was born! I also loved toying with the idea of putting my marketing degree to use in a not-so traditional way and being a creative voice for brands and their products, and getting the opportunity to work directly with many of my favorite brands on a weekly basis has given me so much life!

What are some of your favorite blogs to read?  

One of my favorite blogs of all time to read (and one of the biggest inspirations behind me starting my own blog) is StuffParentsNeed.com. Tiffany has been blogging since 2009, and her honest, genuine and often hilarious response to the many topics she covers is such a breath of fresh air to me. I consider her to be a true pioneer in the blogging industry, and I often seek her advice on blog related topics several times a week. She also has some lovely genes that she happens to share with me, as she’s the coolest big sis a girl could ever ask for!

What social media outlet do you use most frequently and why?

I am all about Instagram these days! I’m a very visual person, and I feel that so often a picture can paint a more vivid dimension to a story than any caption underneath could. I feel that seeing pictures of the things that make my friends happy makes me feel like I can connect with them on a deeper level, and I think the overall vibe on Instagram is happier in general. I feel that there’s much less negativity circulating there than on other social outlets.

What is your inspiration for such fun, creative recipes, and DIY projects?

When I’m developing most of my recipes or DIY projects, I try to think of the woman who loves to cook and create, but doesn’t love dealing with a ton of ingredients or steps. I think of the woman on the go who doesn’t have time to bake a homemade apple pie from scratch for her family at any given point of the week, but would sure love to be able to whip up something quick, easy and delicious for her family to enjoy as a special treat. I love to keep things simple, fun and realistic in my own personal life, so I try to reflect that through my work on Southern Made Simple as much as possible!

What are some CLEVER tips for planning out/organizing your posts every week?

I’d love to tell you that I’m a supremely organized person, but that simply isn’t true. I just keep my editorial calendar at my right hand at all times and write everything down as soon as the thought passes through my mind, including any ideas I have for potential blog posts. I try to keep my inbox clutter free and keep things super simple at all times!

How do you put your own unique and personal twist on sponsored posts?

Weaving a product into a post without it sounding totally obvious that it’s sponsored can be a tricky and delicate dance, but I’ve found that the best way to avoid my posts giving off the sponsored feel is to really be intentional about the storytelling. I try to grab the reader’s attention by giving them something they can relate to from the very first sentence. I aim to keep their attention by being open, honest and candid about how the product being discussed made your day totally awesome in a way that you just had to tell them about it!

Check out some highlights from Laura’s work with CLEVER here:  Bob’s 50 States of Cookies, Bob’s Red Mill Holiday Recipes, Amazon Dash Buttons, Stouffer’s Family Size Macaroni & Cheese

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