100K+ Instagram Followers (a loooong reflection)

Hello everyone! This is a pretty overdue blog post as cupsandthoughts actually surpassed 100K+ followers on Instagram more than two week ago!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜ฎ What a milestone! I’m still over the moon about it โค I really wanted to make a post building up to this incredible milestone because.. well, it’s HUGE!! :’)

This blog post will mostly be a reflection on my Instagram journey, such as how I started, why I started, the changes my Instagram account went through, my thoughts on the community and my plans for the future ๐Ÿ™‚ I will also leave all relevant links in this blog post so you can read my full thoughts on some of the topics that I will be discussing today! So without further ado, let’s begin!

How/Why I Started

It all began when I picked up Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins because of a very pretty bookish photo that I saw on Instagram. I remember buying this book with my own money and being super giddy about it because I have NEVER spent my money on books before! It was about 150.000 IDR (~ $10.96 USD/$15.90 AUD), which was a lot of money for 15 year old me. I immediately started reading the book as soon as I got home, and by the time I was finished, I just HAD to fangirl about it to someone.

I did not have any friends who enjoyed reading, so I went through the interwebs to see if I could perhaps search for someone to talk to about the book! I might have sounded super desperate, but finishing and enjoying a book that I bought with my own pocket money felt like some sort of achievement that I just had to share with someone. I came across the same photo that made me purchase the book and saw that the comments were full of people – just like me – raving about how good the book was.

So I started taking pictures of my book using my Samsung Galaxy S3, took WAY too long editing the picture on VSCO, and posted it on my newly made Instagram account called bookishsmaug! I don’t have the picture on my feed anymore (which makes me want to kick myself every single time), but it looked a little something like this:

And that was pretty much what started my account! I posted a ton of photos after, even though I had very little books and only posted photos of the same books over and over again :’) Lots of changes happened! My Instagram account turned 5, my content has changed quite tremendously, the look of my feed went through multiple themes, and most of you may also know that I changed my account name to cupsandthoughts sometime last year (you can read all about why I changed my name here)!

How My Feed Has Changed

My account went through so many theme changes and it’s so interesting to see the fluctuation in colors and consistency!

Here’s how my photos looked like when I first started my account:

Sooo much color! If you guys were wondering, I did not use any filter for the picture in the first column! I started really using VSCO filters when I found out how about Instagram themes! Back then I would always use the HB2 filter on VSCO.

I still love how my photos turned out back then. I worked super hard on each one and tried my very best to keep every photo consistent with my theme! You won’t be able to find any of these pictures on my page anymore sadly. These are just screenshots of some of my old photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

Feed change #2:

I then tried to tone down the colors and aimed for a more neutral look! I love how soft it looks! I also started experimenting on flat-lays a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

Feed change #3:

This was during my first year in Australia! I decided to change up my filters and make my photos look more ‘clean’ because my backdrops were mainly white. I also had a bed and a small table here, so all my photos either had a table/bed setting.

Feed change #4

I travelled back home twice when I had this feed, so I was trying to match how my photos looked each time I shot them in different settings. It was SO hard and frustrating for me. You can see how inconsistent I am with the editing ๐Ÿ™‚ Regardless, I tried incorporating more brown, yellow and red in my pictures because I wanted to create a cozy brown look. This was also when I started using the VSCO filter A6!

Feed change #5

More flat-lays! Not gonna lie, I totally miss this look! I love how warm and autumnal it is. It’s similar to my last feed change, but I feel like this one’s much more consistent!

Feed change #6

Here’s when I first moved into an apartment with my sister! There was potential for a whole lot of new bookish photo set-up, so I definitely went for a broody, dark academia sort of vibe because of all the dark brown furniture that was in the apartment :’) At this point I did not have a bed to take my photos on, so I opt for the tables lying around in the apartment for all my pictures!

Feed change #7

I felt less creative and inspired due to anxiety from my first year of university, so I lost a lot of engagement and posted less. However, things started picking up after my mom came to visit us. I also got a new roommate, which really helped me and my sister financially. I felt this creative slump slowly disappearing and I decided to do yet another feed change! I incorporated more orange here as you can see ๐Ÿ™‚ I also got a spanking new marble desk that I used for all my productive-esque pictures!

Feed change #8

Moved into another apartment the next year and found myself liking the orange tones more and more! I also feel like the color orange has a huge association with my Instagram account now because of how often I use orange post-it notes!

Feed change #9 (final)

And here’s how my feed currently looks like! So much light brown and orange tones. I also shoot my photos outdoors more often (i.e cafes, new places) and I love how it looks. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am proud of all my efforts in shooting and editing each photo! Now I mainly use Lightroom to edit my photos, which has been amazing! If you’re interested in my editing-process, you can read more about it here!

How My Content Has Changed

If you went through my feed change carefully, you would see that I was posting less and less book covers/spins and more opened pages and journals.



I’m not too sure what it was that made me go through this change. Perhaps as I grow as a reader, I learn to cherish reading more. I used to read a TON of ebooks back when the prices of books were beyond my savings. I love to highlight certain phrases and write comments on the characters’ dialogues. I guess I wanted to do the same with physical books! But the thought of staining my uber expensive books was just unacceptable. I wanted my books to remain pristine, as if they have never been read before. And even if I no longer have that kind of mindset, I can definitely see why people still do (I just wish people didn’t attack those who write on their books tho :/)!

I did get into journaling before my annotations became more prominent in my feed. This was the first ever ‘journal’ post in my account:

I haven’t touched that journal ever since! xD And it’s funny because I picked up that ‘Scribd’ journal and starting writing my daily entries in it instead. I had a lot going on when I first moved to Australia in 2016, so I guess writing – in addition to reading – was a means of escape for me.

When I first started journaling, I liked to doodle and and make my pages look very pretty.

But I quickly grew tired of drawing and wrote lots instead!

Writing daily entries always made my day. I would get super excited to go home and write a full two-page entry on my day, regardless of how boring it was. Writing felt like such a relief, and I was always grateful for the fact that I now have a platform to share my stories on. Nowadays I don’t share my entries often on my Instagram anymore, but I still write a ton – mostly for content creating – and it seems that it’s motivating lots of people to either study, journal, and/or write!

I still post all sorts of journaling content on my Instagram and finished three journals ever since my first journal post! I’m finishing my fourth one at the moment and will be well onto my fifth in less than a week. ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from journaling, I annotate almost all my books now! I would like to say that they’re for book reviewing purposes, but annotating a book can also be fun even when I do not intend to review them! Some of the best books I’ve read don’t even get proper reviews from me, but they’re brimming with annotations! I remember I first annotated the book Made You Up by Francesca Zappia and had THE BEST time reading and writing in it. It was so much fun to include commentaries on the cutest little dialogue, or even write out some nasty things on some of the most frustrating scenes. I think annotating made me love the book a whole lot more than I would have if I did not make myself write in the book. Ever since then, annotating has just stuck with me.

So I guess that’s how my content is what it is today; filled with written notes and ink stained pages. I love it so much! It represents the kind of reader and writer I am – and I’m proud ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re interested to read more about annotating books and/or journaling, visit these blogposts:

Annotating Books Part 1

Annotating Books Part 2

Journals and Journaling (2019)

How My Reading Habits Have Changed

I’ve already talked about this one in my Year In Reading blog post , but long story short I now read less than 20 books a year (as compared to 2-3 years ago, where I could read about 50+ books a year). I have too much to do for uni and I’m usually too tired to read a book by the time I reach my bed (where I do most of my reading after finishing my work). However, I’m putting less pressure on myself, which has given me lots of freedom in the types of books I read, when I read them, and how long it takes me to finish them. As a result, I enjoy most of the books I pick up AND I don’t fall into a reading slump!

What I Anticipate In The Future

I actually have lots of plans for cups and thoughts this year! I want to make something out of my account, something that you guys can benefit from too! I appreciate all the support that you’ve all been giving me โค and I wish to continue growing amongst some of the most amazingly creative people I know. I love this community so much – it’s the purest most wholesome place to be in, and I want nothing more than to learn and create ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you all for being here today! And thank you again for 100K+ followers on Instagram! โค

Until next time,

xx Cath


  1. Macey @ Brine and Books

    Happy 100k!! What a milestone & accomplishment; you deserve all the success. I’m still working on evolving my style & seeing what kinds of pictures I like to do best–I’m somewhere in between loving too shot & edit bookstacks &/or flatlays :’) Really enjoyed reading this reflection & seeing just how your style has evolved over time. Again, you’ve become such a huge source of creative & aesthetic inspiration for me, keep up the good work ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cups and Thoughts

      thanks macey!! โค experimenting will take a while, but the important thing is to have fun doing it! i'm so glad you enjoyed this blog post ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for your sweet words! โค

      Liked by 1 person

  2. juli

    Congratulations Cath! You’re one of my favorite accounts on bookstagram and such a huge journaling inspiration! The first jounal photo I ever posted was actually thanks to you and how pretty your writing always looks. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2020 and what amazing content you’ll put out there ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Prashasti Patel

    Hey, Cath
    Congratulations and what to say. I mean I loved your feed from 1st to final. It was so amazing. And It is awesome today. I will follow you right away. ๐Ÿ‘ Also will get inspiration to create flat lays.

    Thanks much.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s