The Ideal Phone

With all my back-and-forth switching from BlackBerry to Android to BlackBerry to iPhone to Android to iPhone again, I’ve come to realize what I want in a phone doesn’t exist in one device. So, if I was going to create my ideal phone, here are the features it would have:Read More »

Pixel 2: Great Camera, Not So Great Phone

Now that I’ve had the Pixel 2 for a month, it’s time for a review, and honestly, I’m disappointed. When I first got the phone, I fell in love with the camera and the fantastic pictures it takes. Now, I realize that I may have had blinders on.Read More »

Camera Challenge: Pixel 2 vs iPhone 6S

Since the main reason I bought the Pixel 2 was for the camera, I decided to put photos side-by-side to show the difference in camera quality. These pictures were all taken with automatic settings, flash turned off, and the camera focused itself. Read More »

BREAKING: Lauren Kortbein has switched platforms…again

A long, long time ago, I was a BlackBerry addict. I had numerous devices, from OS 7 all the way up to BlackBerry 10. I was such an addict, that when I switched to iPhone, it became a “thing”. (You can read my reasons to switch here.) Someone actually wrote a blog about why my reasons to switch were invalid and how getting an iPhone made me an “iSheep”. I was hounded on social media for weeks about being a traitor to BlackBerry. So while I would prefer not to live through that experience again, I do have an announcement: I’ve switched platforms yet again. But I’m getting ahead of myself…Read More »

Instagram Photo Tips (Plus My Best Kept Secret!)

As someone who absolutely loves Instagram, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I’m not an expert at Instagram, but I don’t think anyone really is. Social media is constantly changing, as is the way people use and relate to social media. Some people love looking at pictures of carefully organized flat lays, while others only want to see pictures of mountains and wilderness. But whatever Instagram is to you, everyone can benefit from a few tips and tricks to make the best of their Insta-experience! So take one tip or take them all, and let me know what helped you most!

Use what you’ve got. While the easiest way to take a great picture is with a great camera, not everyone has the funds to purchase a fancy camera. I take pictures with my iPhone, and occasionally my iPad, so I rely on apps to make sure these pictures look their best. My favorite editing apps for iPhone are Afterlight, VSCO, and Snapseed, while I use Polarr on my Mac.

Take pictures outside. The outdoors always has the best light, unless you live in a greenhouse. In which case, just take pictures of that. But honestly, I take pictures on my small patio.

Fresh tulips to brighten up the apartment 🌷

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Rearrange items and take multiple pictures. The great thing about digital photography is you can take as many pictures as the storage will allow and then immediately delete whichever ones didn’t turn out very well. And if something still feels “off” about those pictures, try moving the subjects around.

Use an app or a photo folder to keep track of which pictures you still need to post. Along with many other bloggers, I take pictures of multiple photo sets in one day so I have enough content to post throughout the week. I have a separate folder on my phone simply entitled “Pictures to Post”. If good old fashioned pen and paper works better for you, I also use sticky notes on a calendar to keep track of what days I want to post which pictures.

Consider a different perspective. Sometimes the floor or ceiling are the most interesting part of the room! Turn on the front facing camera to get the best ceiling shots, or hold your phone at your waist, parallel to the ground for a cool floor shot.

Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags were created to help people find relevant pictures, so why not take advantage of them? Keep a list of hashtags that bloggers with similar aesthetics use to copy and paste on your pictures later. And here’s a tip for where to add hashtags: If you add them in the caption, you can edit them later. Adding them as a separate comment allows them to be hidden from view.

And finally, my big secret…

Use a simple background. Here it is…The “marble table” that’s the background for many of my pictures…it’s just sticky paper. Seriously. I bought a $3 poster board at Target, left one side blank for a white background, and used this marble adhesive film on the other side. I know. And don’t worry, if you do this too, I won’t tell anyone you didn’t spend thousands on a marble table!

You’re now on your way to creating standout, beautiful content on Instagram, so that’s one social media platform down! Do you have other favorite ideas you use to make sure your Instagram photos stand out from the rest? Leave a comment, or let me know on Twitter!

Blaze It (The Fitbit Way)

At this point, I’ve had almost every edition of Fitbit. Which is strange when you know me. Regardless, I was very curious about the new Fitbit. You know how much I loved the Moto 360 (and if you don’t, go find out now!) so I was looking forward to testing out the Fitbit Blaze. Turns out, it’s a fitness tracker first, smartwatch…later.

My Fitbit judges me. #verizon #spon #fitbitblaze⌚️ #smartwatch #flatlay

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I started off with notifications on. I’m one to leave my phone in another room and be too lazy to grab it when I hear it go off, so notifications on another device are great. Unfortunately, the Blaze only shows about 4 things, and they’re all default apps. I very quickly turned off notifications, because while it showed messages, they wouldn’t go away until you cleared them, even if you’ve read and responded to them on your phone.

So the Blaze isn’t very good as a smartwatch, which isn’t surprising coming from a company that creates fitness trackers. But if I’m going to spend $200 on a fitness tracker, I really don’t want it to just count my steps and tell me my heart rate.

I’m going to be honest here…I stopped wearing the watch on a daily basis about two weeks after I got it. The size of the Blaze is far too big for daily wear, it doesn’t look very good and it was useless as a smartwatch with notifications turned off. I understand that these trackers are designed for people who exercise on a regular basis, or are actual athletes, but I just couldn’t get into this Fitbit. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t rose gold…

50 Things I Love

With all the negativity surrounding the world today, I think it’s very important to remember the good things we have in life. I’m very lucky to have the opportunities I’ve been given, and the support system to keep me sane. So here, in no particular order (except for #1 who is definitely my #1), is a list of 50 things that make me unbelievably happy.Read More »