I woke up this morning with a mile long list of things I needed to get done. Most of the things on my list were domestic things like laundry & vacuuming, but other things included blogging, camera shopping and enjoying the amazing weather we are currently getting in St. Louis.
We spent the afternoon driving around with the windows down, jazz music playing in the background a warm sun all around. It was pretty great. The boy said it felt like he was on vacation. We stopped an ate tacos again. I think we’re making taco eating a new Sunday tradition. We also took the pup out on a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Porter James (the pup) turned one year old on Saturday, so it was nice to get him out and about.
I look forward to what this warmer week has to bring. I’m starting to get cabin fever and I’m ready for things to start turning green again. I hope everyone start their weeks with an amazing Valentine Day with their loved ones and enjoy the weather. I have a special GIVEAWAY lined up for tomorrow and I’m really excited about it, so check back in the AM.
Summary of my weekend: HTML hell! I’ve been trying to update some really simple things on my blog this weekend and I’ve realized that WordPress is probably not the best platform for blogging. Yes you can customize the hell out of it if you are an HTMl wizard, but if you are not…then get ready for some painful days trying to code simple elements. Anywho…I’ve updated my daily reads section of the blog. I used to have my daily reads in my sidebar, but I thought they would be better in the top navigation bar.
I’ve also been playing with the sidebar design on my site to make sure it contains all the essentials. If you visit my blog on a regular basis, please scroll down to “FOLLOW” my blog with the newly added Google Friend Connect widget. It’s taken me some time to figure out if I wanted to add the widget, so let’s give it a try.
I’d love your feedback on the new items in the sidebar. Do you find it easy to navigate? Are there things you think should be there, but are missing? General thoughts/comments welcome.
Recently I’ve think I’ve transformed into bit of a dreamer. I find myself standing in the shower saying things to myself like, “wouldn’t it be great if…” or “someday I hope to do …” As a kid and growing up over the past years, I wouldn’t of considered myself a dreamer. I’m more of the plan everything to the T and stick with the plan kind of gal. I’m liking this new side of me, so I’ll roll with it until it decides to evolve into something more, or less.
With that long drawn out explaination, I introduce you to a new themed post on my blog I’d like to call “Wouldn’t It Be Great If/To…” I like the idea of dreaming up great things and then working to make those dreams a reality, so here I go.
Wouldn’t It Be Great…to have this kind of Valentines Day
I’m not usually one to get all giddy over Valentines Day, but this year I’m feeling it. Since this love day happens to fall on a Monday, I envision this Valentines Day being filled with little surprises throughout the day instead of our regular day full of adventures. We’ll both be at work doing our own thing, so I look forward to seeing how all the little surprises end up happening. ( I’ve got some nice little goodies planned! )
*Images were pulled from Pinterest without proper sourcing attached. If you know the true source for the image, let me know please!
What would you like your Valentines Day to look like?
I’m all giddy this week due to the INDIE e-conference that was set up by Tieka of Selective Potential and Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky. This is my first official blogger related event that I’ve been a part of and I’m so grateful that these two gals decided to spread some blogger knowledge with the newbies, like me. This year, the girls were unable to attend the IFB Conference (AKA Independent Fashion Bloggers) in New York (In conjunction with Fashion Week) so they thought it would be a good idea to share what they’ve learned from the previous years of attending as well as years of blogging experience. I’ve also been listening in on all the panel discussions at the IFB Conference via live feed and following the chit chat on Twitter,(#ifbcon). The combination of the two has been like bread and peanut butter.
As someone who has only had a blog for little over a month and a half, I feel like I am learning so much right from the get go. I’m learning the do’s and don’t even before I have the chance to make the mistakes. I know some things I’ll just learn along the way, but it sure is nice to cut through some of the BS right from the beginning.
My favorite take away from today came from Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky. Thanks Elizabeth for the seemingly obvious, not so obvious advice.
I hope to do a little recap at the end of the week session, but I was so excited I needed to share a little bit with you. If you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late and you can always jump back and forth through the content you may have missed. It’s perfect for people like me who have a non-blogging job during the day. If you are attending, I’d love to chit chat with you about the experience and what you are learning.
Iron Stef (a.k.a Stephanie Tolle) was recognized as the “best food blog of 2011″ by the St. Louis’s alternative newsweekly called The Riverfront Times. (St. Louis is on the Mississippi River) Stef’s blog is is pumped full of humor and achievable recipes for any skill level cooker. Stef declared 2010 The Year of the Tator Tot, so look out for some unique and unexpected recipes, like the tater tot pizza recipe below.
Click above image to enlarge to full size.
Stephanie is a frequent attendee at food blogger meet-up and has even had the opportunity to meet Nigella Lawson! Stephanie loves that here blog is beyond a personal online “journal” and that it is her ticket into a really great community of people who share the same interests. Food Blog Mafia was created as a place for Stef and fellow food bloggers to bounce ideas off each other, cook together, and even write a book together.
Stef’s blog is strictly a creative outlet and she doesn’t see turning her hobby into a paying job. Stef says that as soon as you are doing it as your job, all the fun is taken away. I love finding a blog that you want to go back to daily. Even though I’m a picky eater and don’t eat a lot of the food Stef blogs, I love going to her site for that little bit of humor. I hope you enjoy the blog as much as I do. Feel free to leave Stef a little note in the comments section.
I’m a pretty simple gal when it comes to makeup and my daily beauty routine. SIMPLE. I also have some what sensitive skin, so I have to stay away from all the fancy pants make up and skin care items. I’m also a big fan of SPF, so a lot of the products I use have some sort of sunblock in them. (Yes, I wear SPF 45 in the summer) As most of you ladies know, you can spend a ton of money on make up and skin care products, but I try to stay in the low – mid cost range. I can’t stand paying more than $25 on something that vanishes over time.
1. Lorac Eye Shadow ( Moonstone ) $19.00
2. MAC Cosmetics Eye Shadow ( White Avalanche ) $15.00
3. Clinique Lash Power Mascara ( Long Lasting in Black ) $15.00
4. Sephora Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil-Free ( Light 15 Nude ) $21.00
5. Clinique Face Soap ( Mild for Sensitive Skin ) $12.00
6. Olay Complete Facial SPF 15 Moisturizer $10.00
7. C.O Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint ( Pink Mint ) $8.00
8. St. Ives Apricot Scrub $6.00
9. Cetaphil Daily Advance Ultra Hydrating Body Lotion $10.00
I currently keep all my goodies in aMaruca bagthat I got for Christmas. Maruca bags are 100% handmade bags from Colorado and all bags use fabrics that are made at the Maruca studio. You can buy the bags online or in little boutiques around the US. Small bags, like my make-up bag start at about $37.00 and the prices go up from there. They currently just launched their Spring/Summer collection.
What does your beauty bag look like? Want to know something about me you haven’t seen on the blog? Ask away by clicking the below image.
There are some really great things going on in the blogging community, so I thought I’d share what I’ve found. If you’re a blogger or an indie business owner I’ve gathered up the resources for you to look through. I hope to take part in most of the e-courses and would love to get to a blogger meet-up if there is one close by. Also, if you know of any other goodies out there that I’ve missed, please leave me a note and I can add it to the list. (* all images below were created by the lovely ladies who put the e-courses together)
FOR INDEPENDENT BLOGGERS:
This e-conference is brought to you by the lovely Elizabeth over at Delightfully Tacky and Tieka of Selective Potential. It’s focus is on fashion, but will benefit any style of blogger. E-conference will be full of insights from successful bloggers, personal stories (we all love personal stories), tricks and tips, and fun video blogs and tutorials. Each day there will be 6-7 posts with great amazing content. (taking your own outfit shits, editing your photos, etc!) Click on the image below to sign up. Just by signing up you could win a dress from Shop Ruche or an iFlip video camera!. This course will be the first one I sign up for.
FOR BLOG LOVERS: This e-course is for anyone interested in blogging. Elsie of A Beautiful Mess spent some time compiling tips, stories and ideas for young bloggers. Elsie says “This course was written with new bloggers in mind, but it goes way beyond simply getting started”. Click the image to be redirected to Elsie’s e-course catalogue.
FOR THE BLOG BUSINESS:
This is an 6 week interactive online course that was created/taught by Leigh-Ann Kefferof Freckled Nest, Jill Munro of Lune Vintage and Lisa Leonardof Lisa Leonard Designs.( read their bios here! )There are included sessions, 7 creative business related diy projects and 3 interactive live Q&A sessions to give you all the tools you need to establish yourself and achieve success with your Small Business! Click on the image to learn more about the courses.
LETS GET TOGETHER: (Saturday, March 26th, 2011 in Phoenix, AZ)
If you are going to be in Phoenix, Arizona in March this blogger meet up is a MUST. It’s currently being organized by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, Kelsey of Roofresh and Chelsea of Tea Talk. The weekend event will most likely involve a dinner out on the town and a blog-centered daytime activity. The girls are trying to get a head count so click on the image to let Danielle know you’ll be going. I wish I could attend, but this one might be a little to far away.
FOR THE CRAFTY SORTS:
This e-course was created by Rachel Denbow of Smile and Wave and is a must for anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about fabric projects. The course includes nine patchwork projects withstep-by-step tutorials that build on each other so that even beginning sewers can feel confident in their ability to stitch together a colorful lap quilt and then recover an ugly chair! Click on the above image to dive deeper into course details and projects included. So much fun!
Blogger Meet-Up in Grand Rapids Michigan (FEB 25th)
Blogger meet-up paired with the ‘Bodies of Art’ Art Show on Friday, February 25 in Grand Rapids (Michigan!) Bloggers will meet up beforehand, grab outfit shots, catch the show at 7 pm and head out afterwards for snacks and drinks! RSVP as soon as possible so tickets can be purchased before they sell out. Tickets are $15. Tieka of Selective Potential is accepting payments via Paypal and holding your ticket for you! Click above image for some more details!
Again, if you know of any I may have missed, please share! Enjoy!
Our Story: I’ve been waiting to do a feature on my dear friend and his amazing blog (A Design Mafia) for a while now. Even though we aren’t necessarily working on the same blog anymore, we still talk on a daily basis. Our friendship started in college where we literally had all but one design class together over the 4-year period. We laughed a lot, made fun of each other’s work a lot, made lots of paper cranes, and spent countless hours in the design studio. Such great time. Now we are hundreds of miles apart and connect through the blog land. Good times.
Design is the foundation upon which I build my house. Waking up to a Pantone DS 1-8 C sunrise, I eat typography for breakfast and well…you get the idea. – John @ A Design Mafia
Recently A Design Mafia went under a little site redesign and personally I think it looks lovely. Maybe I’m a little bias, but I think A Design Mafia has to be one of the best blogs for design type inspiration. I know for a fact John lives and breaths design and strives to only share the best content.
I had the chance to ask A Design Mafia a few questions that I thought you’d enjoy knowing the answers to. Let me know if there is something else you’d like to know and I’ll dig the answer out of him. (He’ll do whatever I want. haha. Just kidding)
When did you decide you wanted to start a blog and how has it evolved over the years. I hear adesignmafia.com is going on 3 years?
ADM: The fact that I’ve maintained the blog for three years is actually mind boggling to me, to be completely honest. I’ve tried blogging in the past, but never really had anything interesting to show, so they just faded away into the void that the internet. The blog name started off as a joke between a fellow designer friend (Dante delos Angeles) and myself about how to get people to pay for spec work and it just snowballed from there. It really hasn’t evolved too much (yet). It has always been a place where I can log different things that are interesting in the design sphere.
John & Dante in one of our many design classes.
The look has changed several times, most recently about a week or so ago. I’m trying to get people into the content that seems most relevant or interesting to them, quickly and at a glance. I’ve toyed with a lot of different ideas such as advertising or sponsorships, but I’m not there yet personally. It’s not that we don’t have the readership, but I just don’t want that yet.
Do you use your blog as part of a business or is it used for fun and personal blogging?
ADM: A Design Mafia is all about fun. I’m not going to be a pretentious design snob, I’m not going to sit there and plug my own work constantly (although I may throw a personal project in here or there), and for the most part I keep my personal stuff low key unless it’s a gallery show or a concert or something big. These things may change and evolve over time, but for me it’s all about inspiration. What kind of things do I see out there in the blogosphere that inspire me and push me to learn and create. That’s the content that I want to get out there.
John & I in our glory years at Purdue University.
Since blogging isn’t your actual business, how do you spend your days as a designer? Working on anything we should know about?
ADM: Right now blogging is totally a side thing that I do when I’ve got some time or if I see something that really is like “Wow!” to me. I work as an in-house designer in southern Georgia and take on a few side projects if they’re interesting. Right now I’m working on two side projects for some very close friends of mine. One is for my buddy Ben Hagood, who is recording an acoustic album titled “Losers Ballads and Other Laments.” Uplifting right? It’s an traditional Irish number that he’s doing while his punk band, The Enders, are on hiatus (I did their identity as well). The other is for an future small business that I’m, unfortunately, not able to talk about at this time. Sorry.
I know you can be pretty crafty at time and you can even cook! What kind of personal projects are you currently doing or hope to do? Any favorite things to cook?
ADM: Personal projects include a skateboard art piece that has been years in the making, screenprinting, and polaroids. I’m sure those projects will pop up on the blog at some point. I’m also planning on doing some other wood/lino cuts too. Favorite things to cook? Oh man…that’s tough. That’s like asking me to choose a favorite child (luckily I have just one). I totally love Jamie Oliver’s style of cooking. The simplicity of some of his meals is astounding, but the flavors really stand out. If there is one person I steal recipes from on the daily, it’s him. The only problem is sometimes some of the ingredients are difficult to find in my neck of the woods, so I’m always looking for substitutions. Another problem is that I’m only cooking for one and well prepared meals are really more enjoyable with friends or family.
So the more people around, the more I’m inclined to go all out with the food. In any case, I found a recipe for Indian-style steak, spinach & paneer salad with naan breads and mango dessert. It looks ridiculously delicious. I’m also inclined to try my hand at making Pho, a traditional Vietnamese soup that is A-mazing when done properly. Damn. Now I’m hungry.
The current control center of A Design Mafia (what a mess John!)
As A Design Mafia goes into it’s 3rd year, do you have any fun things planned for this year that we should look out for?
ADM: Like I said…year 3? craaaaaazy. Look for more featured artists. Look for more personal content. A lot is going to happen in the design sphere in 2011…so just keep looking for some more really rad stories to pop up.
John doing his thing.
Lastly and most importantly, What’s in your playlist today?
ADM: Today? Oh man…you know I’m always all over the music map, but I’ll give you an 8 track sample of stuff I listened to today alone: Side A: In the Morning
1. Creedence Clearwater Revival
2. Tom Petty
4. Johnny Cash
Side B: The Afternoon Shift
5. Notorious B.I.G.
I hope all you had a lovely weekend. My weekend was pretty good with just enough activity to keep me busy. Our weekend started with date night at the movie theater. I was able to talk the boy into seeing Blue Valentine because it got a 8.0 /10.0 on IMDB.com (he’ll see anything that gets a 7.5 or higher rating) The movie was everything I hoped for and confirmed the fact that I’m in love with Ryan Gosling.
Our Saturday started off really lazy. I don’t think we left the couch until after noon. I was able to catch up on my blog roll, get in a few chapters of my current book and blog a little for myself. I’ve been spending a lot of my free time researching digital SLR camera and I hope to make a purchase in the near future. If you didn’t get a chance to see what cameras I’m looking into, you can see it here.
Late Saturday afternoon, the boy and I made a taco run to a great restaurant in a part of town called Soulard. It was our first time eating at this restaurant, but they won over my heart by having fried tacos on the menu. I’ll definitely make these amazing tacos a weekly thing (and I’ll be 500 lbs).
Sunday was another lazy day. I was able to catch up on all domestic things and get some “real” work done for the agency. We started to “watch” the Super Bowl and then decided to watch Mad Men instead. I love Netflix streaming. Have a great night everyone!
I’m so thankful for all my lovely readers who shared their camera set-ups with me. Buying an expensive camera can be an extremely intimidating purchase. Getting advice from people who own the devices is definitely a must and helps you tailor your search. After gathering all the information I could, I’ve narrowed it down to 4 digital SLR cameras that I think could work for me, all in different price ranges. I was pleased that the suggestions I was getting also matched Squidoo’s Top Selling and Top Rated lists.
I’ll most likely find the camera body that works for me and buy the lens I need. I think I’ll be able to build a better set-up and save money this way. Once you package the camera into a kit, you lose some quality and the prices go up. Customizing just means a little more time and research. I’ll be looking into 2 kinds of lens, one for low light situations and one for everyday shooting. I’ve got my eye on a could 50mm lens for low-light but need to do some research on best “every day” type lens. Any suggestions?
My next step will be to find a great camera shop in the area and hopefully get my hands on my top pics. I’m a pretty petite gal and I don’t want carrying around my camera to feel like I’m lugging around a small child. I also want a camera that I can build on over the years. I’ve recently landed a freelance web design job that will allow me to buy some extra accessories such as an external flash, tripod and remote. If you have any suggestions for those items, shoot them my way.
Also, if you’re in the market for a new camera and don’t see the one you were looking at in my top 4 selection, let me know. I got a lot of good suggestions from a range of photographers, amateurs and pros. You can also check out the comment section of THIS post.
Have any of you bought a camera accessory that you thought you’d need, but you rarely use?