Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Orleans Anniversary Trip // Day 4 // January 2015

We leave for Alaska in TWO DAYS! eeeeeek! 

Here is a post, not about Alaska, and mostly filled with food. #sorrynotsorry

On our last day in New Orleans (see Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 pt. 1, Day 3 pt. 2) we slept in, and then decided to take the bus out to Magazine Street. We visited magazine street on our first trip, but didn't have much time to look around. 

This time we decided to do a little bit more exploring. 

After we finished up at Magazine street, we went out to the Artists Market. It is near the French Market, and is full of fun handmade and vintage items. It is a great place for souvenirs and even has it's own bead shop. No pictures were allowed inside, but it did take one of the entrance.

Our last stop before we packed up was The Kitchen Witch bookstore. We had stopped here on our first trip, but didn't buy a kitchen witch. We were hoping to buy one this time... but they were sold out. Perhaps a future trip! :) 

Breakfast: Slept through it....

Lunch: Dat Dog. We ate here on our first trip as well, we had to go back to try it again. I love how colorful and fun it is. The food is amazing. Also, that it caters to many diets. Yes they have veggie options! :) 

Out & About: Walked through Magazine Street, we visited different shops and picked up a few souvenirs. Including the rings on my hand in the pictures above. We also checked out the Artists Market. It's lovely, so many great souvenirs there as well. I also loved looking at all the different beads. I bought a few strands of moonstones... my alternate birthstone. Who knew?

Weather: Cooler than the rest of the week, but luckily I packed this giant turquoise pareo. :) 

Lots of: shopping.

Tried: Sucre's macarons. Yum. & the bus system - much less exciting.

Dinner: Something at the airport... whomp whomp.

Surprise: our hotel calling us a luxury car as our taxi. Whaaat? 

Love of the day: The Kitchen Witch bookstore. It's so cute. & sparkly macarons.

Wearing: Skinnies + Black Tee +  Blue Moto Jacket + Turquoise Pareo + Teeny Red Crossbody. Flats + New Souvenir Rings. Little turquoise flies on my ears.

Tried Very Hard To: See as much as we could before we had to catch our plane. :) 

Favorite Street: Royal.

My Souvenirs: Two pairs of  "peepers" readers, New Orleans Style Book (read it on the plane!), Handmade clay crescent magnet, Mermaid print, Iron Mermaid figure, Evangeline postcard, Corset letterpress stationery, Botticelli and Pearl painted oyster shell magnet, turquoise stacking rings, strands of moonstones.

See Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 part 1 and Day 3 part 2. See our first trip to New Orleans here.

What are your favorite souvenirs to bring back for your friends and family? 

What are your favorite souvenirs to keep for yourself? 

I would love to hear your ideas! :) 

Thank you for reading!



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge 2015 - Preliminary List & Link Up

This summer I really really really want to read. A lot. So I am trying to push myself into it by joining some linkups and book clubs. I am hoping this is ridiculously successful... but I would settle for somewhat successful. Haha #Iaintnevergottimeforthat 

I decided to join Kristen, Kari, and Krystal in their Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge. 

My list is subject to change, but here we have it!

1. A YA book (mandatory!) 

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

2. Non US Author  (mandatory!) 

The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger  (mandatory!) 
The Kitchen House by 
4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more 
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett - currently reading!

5. A book with a kickass female character 

Etta - Gerald Kolpan

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) 

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoir if neither of those are your jam. 

True - Hilary Duff - I loved the other two. :) 

8. A book with a one word title. 

Son - Lois Lowery

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge! 

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins

10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge! Summer - Edith Wharton

What are you going to read this summer? 

Consider linking up/joining in! :) (you don't have to be a blogger to participate!)

If possible, I will also read the book club book for this group, Saint Anything - Sarah Dessen.

Progress: Check in 1, Check in 2.



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Simply Summer Mix Vol. II

Ah, summer. Road trips, lemonade, stormy skies, and fireworks. S'mores and Sandals, lots of time by the water....

One of my favorite things to do with KC in the summer is take drives at night. I like to turn the music up, put the windows down, with my feet on the dash. Soaking up the summer night air.

Last year I posted this summer mix, and I still love it. So much so, that it expanded to make a volume II.

This mix is pretty eclectic and fueled by catchy indie pop. It has some broods, a little Vance Joy, glass animals... It's got a bohemian feel, like summer does, and it's perfect for a day at your desk when you really want to be outside. Or maybe a night drive of your own. :)

I have published this mix to Spotify, you can listen to/follow it here. 

Give the playlist a listen and let me know what you think!

What are your favorite tracks this summer?

What is your favorite thing to do in the summertime?



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

5 Steps To More Beautiful Instagram Photos

It's no secret that I love Instagram. It is definitely my favorite form of social media. It's visual, inspiring, and easy to connect with others. So in the past six months I have been working on my iPhone photo editing skills. I have been getting a lot of lovely feedback on my photos here on the blog and also on Instagram. I've also been getting requests for my method.... So here is my tutorial for editing iPhone photos. Specifically, this is compatible with Instagram, but it also is great for full sized pictures.

Here we go!

Here are my 5 Steps to More Beautiful Instagram Photos*:

1) Download the Afterlight App ($.99 in the app store)
2) Adjust the Brightness of Your Photo
3) Adjust the Contrast of Your Photo
4) Adjust the Saturation of Your Photo (overall, and in highlight, mid, and shadow tones)
5) Add Filters & Light Leaks

Step By Step Instructions:

1) Download the Afterlight App for your phone ($.99 on the app store)

This app is really good for photo editing. It is also a great way to brighten up dark, or uninteresting photos. In this example I chose a dark photo to show how much you can improve ANY picture. :)

The more you play with the app, the more you will develop your own "style" of photo editing. There are so many options, have fun with it!

Click on the photos icon (right center) to open up the photos on your phone. (I prefer not to use photo apps to actually take photos, as they tend to have a lower quality resolution).

Select the photo that you like, and click "use" in the bottom right hand corner of your app.

2) Adjust the Brightness of Your Photo

At the bottom of your screen, click on the tool button that looks like three lines. This opens up a sub menu where you will adjust both the brightness and the contrast of your picture (Step 3). 

Click on the button that looks like a sun. This opens up the brightness tool. Slide the circle to the left to decrease the brightness and to the right to increase the brightness. Usually I find that increasing the brightness helps achieve the look I want in my photos. When you are satisfied click the check mark.

3) Adjust the Contrast of Your Photo

Next click on the half black half white circle button. This will open the contrast tool. The same as you did with the brightness drag the circle to increase or decrease the contrast of your photo. I typically find that increasing the contrast helps give my photos more definition. When it looks good, click the check mark.

4) Adjust the Saturation of Your Photo

To adjust the saturation of your photo, start by clicking on the rainbow square button. Just like with Brightness and Contrast you will be able to increase or decrease the saturation. In my everyday photos I usually decrease the saturation. However, with concert photos, I find that increasing the contrast actually works better for me. Click the check mark when you are done.

Next where you clicked on the sun, black and white circle, and rainbow square, scroll that menu to the left. On the right you will start to see new buttons. The three you will use will be the red, blue, green stacks with either an H, M, or S on them. Those letters stand for Highlight Tone, Mid Tone, and Shadow Tone respectively. Open up each one, and drag the circle closer toward the middle until you like how the colors look. I usually leave it on red, but you can certainly play around with the blue and green as well. Click the check marks and adjust all three.

5) Add Filters and Light Leaks

Now comes the fun part, filters, light leaks, and other effects.

Click on the color wheel icon at the bottom of the screen. This will open up your filter menu, I typically stick the original filters. To do that click on the horse icon that says "original". 

You will then be able to scroll through all of the original filters, much like you do in Instagram. I almost always use the same ones: Coral, Captain, Bloom (sometimes), and Relic. Just as you did before you can adjust how strong you want the filter to be. 

When you like how your filters look you will select the icon at the bottom of the page that looks like a film strip, then click the button that says "light leak". 

As with the filters, I usually choose to use the same light leaks every time. My favorites are 01 (applying it twice, once on the left side and once on the right side) and 10. To apply the leak, click on it and adjust the strength of the leak as you did before. In addition to this, you can also change the color of the light leak by clicking on the square rainbow at the top (each click is a new color). You can also use the other buttons at the top to rotate the leak before clicking the check mark. 

Finishing Up:

There are also options in Afterlight to crop, add frames etc. Play around with it and have fun. But I find that these 5 steps are all it takes for me to edit my IG photos. 

Once you are completely done, click on the "done" button in the top right hand corner. I always save my photos at the Max size, so they will stay high quality when I transfer them to my computer! Then I select "Camera Roll" so it will save it to my phone. You can also choose to share it from there, but I typically edit small groups of photos at once and post them from time to time.

Ta-Da! You have gorgeous Instagram photos.

I love how this technique can beautify any photo!

For Black and White Photos:

For black and white photos I use a similar technique, but add a few more steps onto the end. Look for that tutorial soon! :) 

What is your favorite photo editing app? 

Want to be IG friends? Follow me here. :) 

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! 



Friday, June 12, 2015

New Orleans Anniversary Trip // Day 3 - Part 2 // January 2015

We had the best time at the NOMA, Day 3 Part 1 of our anniversary trip. Did you miss the swoon-worthy art? Check it out here.

Once you exit the NOMA, you happen upon their gorgeous Sculpture Garden. We had such an amazing time at the Olympic Sculpture Park and also at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.... that we had to walk through this one as well. Even though our feet were dead, dead, dead... we had a great time! :) 

Favorite Sculpture: Maybe the mother and child, or people on the bench.

The Sculpture Garden Was: Very different from others we have visited... but gorgeous. Very well set up. It was shady and beautiful.

Feet: Dead...

Snack: Beignets at Cafe Beignet. Again.

Evening: Spent lots of time resting, I think we actually went back to our hotel for a long nap!

Dinner: We got a patio table at Cafe Amelie. It was dark and moody, strings of lights, a fire pit, delicious food. We split a veggie pasta (photographed horribly!), we got some fun drinks, and then had dessert. We sat and talked about life and ate slowly for hours. It was so lovely.

Have you ever been to a Sculpture Garden? 

Have you ever had a dinner like this?