Jan 24, 2015

How To: Editing Food Photos for Instagram

Thanks for letting me take over The Grits Blog for the day Ash, promise to give it back when I am done. Hi all, I'm Andrea from The Pineapple Cake where I write about my daily adventures as an American living in Australia. If there is one thing I love more than eating food, wait, scratch that... If there is one thing I love almost as much as eating food, it's taking photos of food! I share a lot of my meals on my instagram and through my posts have determined how to make my food photos pop on the app using VSCOcam and Instagram

Editing Food Photos for Instagram 

First things first, make sure you have Instagram and VSCOcam downloaded (they are both free), and you've taken the photo you want to edit. VSCOcam has a great camera feature if you want to take your pictures using some special functions not available on your basic phone camera. In this case I am going to edit these grilled chicken thighs and mango salad I took on my iPhone. 

Editing Food Photos for Instagram 

Open up VSCOcam and select the photo you plan on using, by clicking the + symbol at the top. After the image has imported, select it from the home screen and click on the paintbrushes at the bottom. 

Opening and Uploading to VSCOcam 

You now have a number of filters you can use to edit your photo, but my favorite for food photos is C1 which is a filter to adjust vibrancy. With this open you can boost your photo to the desired amount. Play around with what works for your image, but usually something between +3 and +6 gives it just enough boost without going over the top. Hit that checkmark to hold on to your favorite. I used +3 for my photo as it looks most natural.

Vibrancy Boost with VSCOcam

If you'd like to crop your image manually before uploading to Instagram, now is the time to do it. Click the triangle to crop or make other edits. If you'd rather let instagram do the cropping just save your work by selecting the checkmark. Once you've made it back to the homepage, select the up arrow, and click instagram. This will prep the photo to be uploaded to instagram for you, and then
 open in Instagram.

  Opening a Photo in Instagram 

I ignore all the preset filters in Instagram and go straight for the tools up top. Starting with the sunburst, adjust the lux of your image. 50 is usually a great place to be, but adjust as needed to enhance the photo without making it look unreal or too edited. 

Lux Adjustments on Instagram

Once you've saved you're on to the final editing step. Click the wrench symbol to pull up standard photo editing options. For all my food photos (instagram and blog) I increase the brightness and contrast by just a few notches. Brightness about a 3-4 and contrast under 10. 

Brightness and Contrast Editing Instagram 

To determine the best contrast, slide the meter to the right to where the picture starts to look funny. Now pull it back until your eyes balance it out and it looks right again. You're ready to share your image with your friends and followers. Be sure to add about five hashtags that work for your photo. #yum #delicious are two hashtags that get a lot of "likes" as well as #paleo #glutenfree #dessert if your food fits into one of those categories. 

Share on Instagram 

Before and After Instagram Editing

Doesn't that chicken on the right look so much more appetizing? To see more food photos check out my instagram, and be sure to stop by my blog, The Pineapple Cake to say hello!

The Pineapple Cake blog

What are your secret, or not so secret tips for Instagram?

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Jan 22, 2015

I Got Nothin' + Little Friday

This week has been so crazy that I literally have nothin' for ya. However, what I do have is awesome blog friends that save the day. Have you met Andrea from The Pineapple Cake? Andrea is the US and is currently living in Australia blogging about her adventures in life and baking.

A couple of my personal favorite posts from her are her Pear Pie recipe (oh em gee yum!), People That Do Christmas Lights Right, and finally - How To Start a Blog.

Andrea Portrait - 650x660 
You have one free day off - but there are a couple of limitations. (1) it's snowing and (2) you can't drive anywhere. What do you with your time? 

I grew up in Florida, and now live in Australia… so if I have a day off and it’s snowing I am in heaven!! I would start the day off with a cup of hot chocolate then play in the snow all morning! I’ve never made a proper snowman or gone sledding before. Then I would spend the rest of the afternoon watching movies on the couch in my favorite pair of flannel pjs drinking more hot chocolate… and eating cookies. With all that chocolate it’s probably a good thing I don’t live where it snows. 

(2) If you could have any pet in the world what you have? 

I am obsessed with kangaroos. I know, stereotypical that I live in Australia and I love kangaroos… but it’s true. I may have looked into adopting one and keeping it in my backyard.

Dree and Roo via The Pineapple Cake blog 

(3) YOU MADE IT! 2015 is here! What are your top five goals for the year? 

1. Make money…. and save it. 

2. Practice yoga more often. 

3. Complete two Whole30 Challenges

4. Visit America twice. 

5. Actually be organized when it comes to blogging… you know with a calendar, spreadsheets, etc. Not just sticky notes and random pieces of paper with ideas written down. Oh, and I would love to change my header…. Thinking that’s something I may be asking Ash for help with. Check out the rest of my 2015 goals here

(4) If you could have a beer with any one person in the world, who would it be with? 

I don’t drink beer that often (cider, yes) but I’m more of a wine kind of girl. I would love a glass with Kate Middleton. I feel like I would get along with her fairly well, and she seems pretty normal (hello eye rolling princess). Plus, I would love to check out her collection of fascinators. I just can’t figure out how her hair always looks so good with these hats on her head. 

Horse Races via The Pineapple Cake blog 

(5) What are YOUR three favorite blog posts? 

The time I learned to shear a sheep

This recipe for Almond Basil Pesto Grilled Cheese

The one where I surprised Ben with his very first Thanksgiving.

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The Grits Blog (Follow Here)     //     Alycia (Follow Here)     //     Kristen (Follow Here)

Rules are there are no rules! 

Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

Jan 19, 2015

Makeup Tips for Glasses

I love glasses. I have always loved glasses and always WISHED and YEARNED to wear glasses. I know, I know you are probably thinking ASHLEY STOP IT - but it's true! They make so many pairs of cute frames now a days, they have become a cool accessory...and finally socially acceptable to wear without prescription lenses! *jumping for joy over here*

The deal about accessories is that you don't want other things to take over the accessories so that you don't even notice the entire ensemble. This is true of hair and makeup and glasses. My personal favorite style when I wear glasses is  either simple loose curls or a bun with very simple makeup and bold lips.  

Quick side-note - are these not the cutest frames EVER?! I got them off of Firmoo. When I started looking I knew I wanted something that would show my personality as well as still be somewhat chic. SO what I was looking for was color, patterns, and funkyish frames.

These frames #delivered. I LOVE them. They fit great, they have all the colors and patterns I love, annnd the shape of the frames is retro.

So for these frames, since they are so busy, I wanted to go for a simple look so that the frames made their statement. This is what I chose for my makeup options:

I wore Revlon Nearly Naked foundation, Fakeup concealer, Rimmel powder, Becca blush, Laura Gellar eyeshadow (the shimmery color on the left), Falsies mascara, MAC liner on my lower lash line, and Revlon Just Bitten lip crayon.

Overall, it's such a simple, fresh look. I even like it without glasses! I think I may have just found my new makeup routine...

If you are in the market for some frames, check out these FREE frames from Firmoo! Worried about how you will look in the frames?? No need to, they have this really cool interactive app that allows you to "try on" different frames. My personal favorite free frames were these:

Make sure you check out Firmoo for your next set of frames!

What are some of your favorite makeup tips for glasses? Share with me below!

*Firmoo sent me glasses in exchange for review. All opinions are my own. 

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Jan 16, 2015

Top Ten Bloggers from 2014 - Part 2

Back for part two! Check out part one here. If you are cool with it, I am just going to jump right into the final five!

Meet the bloggers - Kate and Adam!

Kate and Adam are unique - they are a married couple that blog together! How many blogs do you see that are like that?! If I remember correctly, I found their blog through an ad on Karly Kim - she mysteriously disappeared and just quit blogging...that's another story for another day. She needs to come back though. ANYWAYS, when I clicked on over to their blog it was like stumbling onto a bag of skittles in your purse when you are realllllly craving skittles. They are just sweet and flavorful.

A few of my favorite posts are:

New? Start Here
Our Internet Footprint
Why We Aren't Buying Gifts This Year

Meet the blogger - Cassie!

I met Cassie through twitter. She kept tweeting all my posts and I was like whoooo isss tthiiisss tweet master?! So I went to her blog and got to exploring. After that I never looked back, #dailyreader over here. Her blog is like a breathe of fresh air - it's full of positive energy and stories about REAL life. I honestly can't describe her blog well enough - however these posts will, just read then and I promise you will become a #dailyreader too:

Meet the blogger - Christina!

I thiiiiink I stumbled across Christina on an in post feature over at Jade & Oak. Christina's blog is just ah-mazing. She is so positive and tries to find the silver lining in everything. i think that's what I like most about her blog - her silver lining attitude. It can be easy to get mired down in the bad of a situation instead of finding the good - Christina has been my go-to lately when I need to read something positive, something to pull me out of my own funk.

Here are a few of my favorites from her:

A Birth Story
Acupressure for Stress Relief
Morning Water

Meet the blogger - Tay!

Tay found me! She reached out to me for a blog design and while, yes I did work for her - during that time a great friendship formed. Tay is so inventive and really puts herself out there. Her energy just shines through on her blog. To me, Tay is a go-getter with a great attitude and a blogger that consistently keeps her posts fresh and informative!

A few of my favorite posts from her are:

Why I Chose to Live With My BF Before Marriage
Back to the 90's
More Storage Please

Meet the blogger - Brita!

I can't remember who met who first or when we met in blogland - it feels like I have known her since the very beginning. Either way you slice it, we met, we fell into blogger best friends, and that was all she wrote. OKAY. So just because she's my friend that's not why she get's this spot - she get's this spot because she is my favorite food blogger. Brita's blog is my first go-to when I need a recipe for dinner or dessert or for a treat for my dogs.

Here are a few of my favorites from Brita:

Eggs in Clouds
Healthy Pumpkin Dog Treats
Chia Seed Pudding - 4 Different Ways

So that's it! That's my top ten form 2014! What were some of your favorite blogs from 2014?

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Jan 15, 2015

Blogging 101: Top 5 Apps That Every Blogger Needs + Little Friday

5 Apps That Every Blogger Needs To Have #bloggingtips #howtoblog #bloggingapps

Blogging can be a hard job...so why not make it easier?! These are my top five blogging apps that have made my blog life and stat tracking life so much easier.

Just Unfollow is the bomb. It lets you see who is following you back that you follow on twitter, who is not following you that you follow, and who unfollows you. It's been amazing to me how many "blogger friends" I have that unfollowed me, one in particular after getting a free design.

Either way, it's good information to have and allows you to see who follows for a follow. There are some people that will follow me for a day and then unfollow - then there are others that follow me that I email back and forth with and thought I followed and then realized I didn't, so that's been an added bonus!

This one is just like above for but for instagram. I think what I love most about this app is what I see when giveaways are going on. It AH-MAZES me the amount of followers that I get one day and then the next are gone. Again, this is another that has shown me "blogger friends" that unfollow. Maybe I am being sensitive but it kind of stings when someone unfollows me that I thought I was friends with, kind of feels like high school all over again sometimes. Again, either way - good information to have!

Bloglovin is the only way I can keep up with all of the blogs I read. Sure, some come to my email because I am a email subscriber but nine times outta ten I am tappin' on that little bloglovin' app on my phone.

If you are a blogger and haven't signed up for bloglovin' do you your blog readers a favor and do so! It allows for all blogs to be in one place which means EASIER reading. If you don't like how disorganized bloglovin' can get - check out my tutorial on how to get that fixed up quick!

If you want to promote your posts but don't have time - then SCHEDULE them. Hootsuite is the app that I use to get this DONE. Originally, I started out on buffer but my issue with that was that you could only schedule out five posts at a time unless you wanted to pay for pro. Bleh. Another thing to pay for - NO THANK YOU.

Hootsuite is great because you can schedule out AS MANY posts as you want to - AND if you want to have analytics on each post then you can upgrade to pro. I personally don't want the analytics - but if you are into heavy statistical tracking then I suggest you upgrade!

If you aren't on instagram, you NEED to be. It's becoming everyone's favorite way to keep up with each-other. I think it's mainly because we have gotten so lazy and so nosy - we just want to see pictures and not really have to read a lot. Agree?? I mean no shame or anything, that's why I love insta.

Also, can I ask a favor?? If you are a blogger and are on instagram and have instagram on your side-bar - make your profile public instead of private. If you want a private instagram account for your family and friends instead of the whole world, then have a separate one just for that.

So that's it! Those are my top 5 apps that EVERY blogger needs to have. What are some of yours?? Share with me in the comments below!

Now wait! Before you go! YOU HAVE TO check out Becca from Becoming Adorrable. If you haven't heard of her you need to. She shares her infertility struggles - thank you Becca for sharing by the way, so many women feel so alone in this battle! She shares fantastic blogging tips. And most importantly she shares other bloggers on her own blog - something that I specifically look for in other bloggers.

timbecca031 1) You have one free day off - but there are a couple of limitations. (1) it's snowing and (2) you can't drive anywhere. What do you with your time? 

 This is easy. I watch Netflix (probably One Tree Hill), drink Angry Orchard, and end the day with a good game of We Didn't Playtest This At All. 

(2) If you could have any pet in the world what you have? 

I would loooove to have a puppy again -- a Sheltie, specifically. I need another fluffy dog in my life. 

(3) YOU MADE IT! 2015 is here! What are your top five goals for the year? 

1- Stay postiive 
2- Start our family 
3- Attend a blog conference 
4- Improve my writing skills 
5 - Be more intentional with my time 

(4) What are YOUR three favorite blog posts? 

Why Was I in Such a Hurry? 
The Best Netflix Binges 
Why Tina Belcher is My Hero

You can check out Becca's blog here! Make sure to check out her bloglovin' and twitter too!

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The Grits Blog (Follow Here)     //     Libby (Follow Here)

Rules are there are no rules! 

Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

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