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 »

How Smart Can a Watch Be?

As with most new technology, people typically don’t understand the need for something new and innovative. Before I got my first smartphone I didn’t understand why you would need to access the Internet wherever you were, at all times. Before I got an iPhone I didn’t understand the appeal of having every app in the world available to you. So when smartwatches first started getting popular, I didn’t understand why you would need your notifications on your wrist. I’ve even had this same smartwatch before! So why would this time be any different?

Well good luck ever getting this back, Verizon. 😉⌚️💕 #smartwatch #moto360 #rosegold

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First off, the Moto 360 now connects to almost any iPhone or Android. This meant I could connect my personal phone to it, and wouldn’t need a second phone like I did the first time around. Second, this 360 is rose gold. I repeat, rose gold. (If you didn’t know how weirdly obsessed with rose gold I am, you clearly aren’t following me on Instagram, so shame on you.) So I decided to give the smartwatch another try. And holy cow, was I impressed. This time around, it surprised me how much I liked being able to look at my wrist instead of pulling my phone out of my pocket. The 360 had no issues at all connecting to my iPhone, and every notification showed up on the watch. I was able to swipe away notifications which also got rid of them on my phone’s Notification Center, and each notification had a particular look to it, which was a nice way to differentiate texts versus Instagram likes versus emails.

The downsides about the Moto 360 were the notifications and the battery life. I didn’t like that I wasn’t able to interact with notifications on the watch. I’m sure this is because it’s a Motorola watch connecting to an Apple phone, so I understand. Although, I would have liked to have been able to respond to texts, because having to pull out your phone defeats the purpose of a smartwatch. I was able to “answer” calls using the watch, but I still had to talk through my phone. Then comes the battery life. I was able to get one full day out of it, but never two full days. I did have the “always on” option turned on, which meant that although the screen went black, the clock face was always on, and I’m sure that drains battery quickly. This wasn’t a huge issue for me, because I took the watch off to sleep anyway, so I just put it on its little charging station and it was good to go for the next day.

I would definitely say I’m a smartwatch convert now. I like what it can do and am interested to see where they go from here. Especially if they keep making them in rose gold!

Mixed metals. ⌚️📱☕️

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(Side note: extra points for you if you counted how many times I said “rose gold” in this post.)

Two Times the Tech

It’s finally the week of Christmas, which means gifts have been advertised for weeks, if not months already. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve seen “for her” and “for him” sections on stores websites. But what about the most important section…”For you”?? They say it’s better to give than to receive, and I agree! Seeing someone’s eyes light up when they open a gift you’ve given them is a fantastic feeling. But it’s also a great feeling to open a gift you’ve given yourself…and knowing what’s inside is exactly what you want. So now that you’ve finished shopping for others (maybe), it’s time to shop for yourself. And what better than some fresh new tech?!

Enter the Droid Turbo 2, the new shatterproof phone from Motorola. I see a ridiculous number of shattered screens on a daily basis, and for those people, this is the perfect phone for you. I’ve tested many an Android, and there is always one or two features on each phone that makes it stand apart from the rest. Besides having a screen that won’t shatter into a million pieces, (don’t worry Verizon, I didn’t test this) the camera is absolutely incredible. If you follow me on instagram, you know just how many pictures I take of all kinds of things. I love my iPhone camera, but one thing it struggles with is taking close-ups without getting blurry. The Turbo 2 does a fantastic job of getting just the right picture every time. I’m just a girl with a cell phone camera, but look at how cool these pictures are:    

Now you’re probably wondering about those beautiful red headphones. No? Well I’m going to tell you about them anyway because it’s Christmas and I’m in the sharing mood. Those little babies are the Beats Solo 2 headphones, obviously in the product Red version. They allow you to hear all the goodness in your music…unless you’re listening to country, then you’re on your own. The cool thing about these is they have a microphone and volume adjustment buttons, so you don’t have to take the headphones off when a call comes in, or take your phone out to turn it up when your jam comes on!

If there is ever a good excuse to get yourself some new technology, the holidays are perfect. Stop into a Verizon store to test out the Droid Turbo 2 and Beats Solo 2 headphones, and remember to check “me” off your “to shop for” list.

 

Workhard Anywhere

Since we take our phones and tablets everywhere we go now, it would only make sense that we would use them for most of our day to day work. But how are we supposed to do said work without good WiFi, comfortable seating and plentiful outlets? If only there was an app that provided all this information…
Enter Workhard Anywhere. If you didn’t guess from the name, the app was created with the idea that it would give people a place to find all this information quickly. The founders, Benson and Cody, created the app while working on projects with each other. Because they didn’t live near each other, they had to meet in places like coffee shops and libraries. They created Workhard Anywhere as a way to keep track of which spots had the best WiFi, seating and outlet options. Today, over 900 people have helped grow the app into a collection of 2400+ workspaces in 50 countries. They believe “work may be hard, but finding a place to work shouldn’t be”.

The app itself is easy to use and understand, opening up by showing you a map of your surrounding location, and any possible workhard spots. Since it would be impossible for just 2 people like Benson and Cody to update every possible coffee shop and location, anyone who downloads the app is able to create new spots and update existing locations. Users can enter ratings of number of outlets and seats. They can also enter whether parking is readily available, whether on the street or in a lot. Once you say WiFi is available, the app will test the connection and show the speed.  And if you’re just looking for somewhere to write a quick blog post, you can pull up information on locations that have already been submitted by others. You’ll get a quick overview of all the information necessary to help you write that blog post about the latest app.

The beta testers have been hard at work making sure the app was absolutely perfect, so once it was officially released, everyone could be up and running, getting their work done in the most ideal locations. While this app was previously only available to those beta testing the app, as of today it’s available on the Apple App Store! Download it today, and add your input to the 2400 workhard locations around the globe!

Fitness Tracker for Lazy People

I am one of the least active people there is, so why would I need a fitness tracker? I don’t. 

Beautiful nails and a cool fitness tracker

I purchased the Fitbit Flex a few years ago, when it was new and there weren’t a ton of options on the market. It was a neat idea, but the app was very buggy on my BlackBerry. That meant I couldn’t check my steps until I got home and was able to connect the Fitbit to my laptop. But when Verizon sent me the Charge HR, I knew this time around would be much different. Not only is the Charge HR a million times better than the Flex, but the app is a super cool way to monitor a bunch of stats. My favorite thing about the Charge is that it’s also a watch, so you don’t need to wear both. When you turn your wrist up to look at the display, the clock automatically shows, which is the most useful feature on any gadget I’ve ever tested.

The app allows you to track not only your steps, but also calories burned, active minutes, flights climbed, water consumed and more. I drank a lot more water while using the Fitbit, because I really liked seeing the little human fill up with water every time I had a bottle. The Charge also automatically tracks your sleep, showing when you were restless, awake and fully asleep. Another handy feature is the Fitbit vibrates when you get an incoming call, and shows the caller ID on the display. My phone is always on silent, so if I ever get a call, I’m guaranteed to miss it. This helped me at least notice I had an incoming call, but whether or not I wanted to answer was up to me.

I definitely don’t need a fitness tracker. I barely take 7,000 steps a day, rarely have more than 5 “active minutes” and I don’t need to constantly know my heart rate. But I love the Charge HR! It’s fun to know these things, and the fact that it’s also a watch makes it that much better. I’m so glad Verizon let me test this out, because otherwise I never would have known how much I wanted one! Because if there was ever a fitness tracker for people who aren’t into fitness, this is it! And I’m sure it does a great job tracking people who actually exercise as well.