Explaining Where I’ve Been & Thoughts for November

Hello everyone! Wow I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve put up a blog post. I can’t remember the last time I’ve waited that long, honestly. I don’t have a specific plan or structure for this blog post, but I thought back to one of my recent Instagram posts. I asked you guys how you stay motivated and positive when it comes to blogging. I got some great advice from one of my followers to simply be honest, especially when you’re feeling unmotivated because a lot of people can relate to it. Well, that’s what I’m going to do tonight. Just be real with you guys.

Ever since I started my full time job as a graphic designer, I’ve set aside most of my time on weekends for this blog, Instagram, and my various social media. I mostly did this because it’s been the perfect creative outlet for me and I genuinely enjoy creating whatever I want or expressing whatever I’m feeling. The other part of me felt an obligation to continue it and treat it like a second job. Because let’s be real we’d all love for our passions to become profitable, however this should never be your sole motivation. Unexpectedly, the past couple weeks have thrown me for some loops. Not in a bad way, and not in a good way. Just learning opportunities that I didn’t see coming. They’ve definitely been taking time out of my weekends though that are usually dedicated to blogging. I wish I could go into detail for you guys, but recently I’ve been realizing what I want regarding relationships and just people in general. Sometimes life just shoves things in your face or makes you jump through hoops, which in the end confirm what exactly you need and what you don’t. Does that make sense? Maybe not, but I hope you understand the point.

Another thing that I’ve been thinking about nearly everyday (along with every other Californian) is the recent shooting in Thousand Oaks and the multiple fires tearing through the state. It’s been a whirlwind of emotions especially the past week. Both the shooting and the fires have hit very close to my heart. It gives you such a different perspective when disasters affect your personal friends or family. Of course I’m always devastated when anything happens in our country but it really hits you in a different way. Here’s to hoping Malibu, Thousand Oaks, Paradise, and so many more cities will recover from these tragedies and rebuild to create even stronger communities than before.

A few posts ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do during this fall season (you can find that here if you like). While I’ve done a few things on this list, I’m not quite finished yet. I did end up carving a pumpkin at my work’s mini Halloween party and I most definitely ate too many Kit Kats (but what’s new, LOL). I didn’t have an actual Halloween costume this year, which is so out of the norm for me because I ALWAYS have a costume in mind. This year was very chill for me, which I was slightly sad about but there will always be plenty more Halloweens to celebrate! Next year is going to be full of spooks and Halloween makeup looks for you guys, I promise!

So without this post being too long winded, I’ve kind of fell off the blogging bandwagon but honestly sitting down to write this post has gotten me more motivated. Being honest and real with you guys is all I ever want to be. I have some new posts in mind as well as planning out some posts for Blogmas! I haven’t decided if I want to do Blogmas again this year. I posted everyday last Christmas from December 1st to December 25th and it helped my blog grow SO MUCH, not to mention it was very fun! I also loved seeing what other bloggers were posting everyday for the new festive season. With my job I’d have to schedule posts extremely far in advance, but I want to make it work! Let me know if you guys have any specific Blogmas posts, whether that’s some family recipes, how I decorate, movies to watch, Christmas OOTD’s, etc.

Alright that’s about it. I know my explanation was a bit vague but I hope you all understand! I’m feeling re-energized, so more posts to come. Talk to you soon! xx

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How I Edit my Instagram Photos! (Step by Step Tutorial with Apps I Use)

Hey everyone! Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are ready to start a new week. You guys have been leaving me the sweetest comments on my Instagram about how I’m editing my photos. I’ve been using some new processes and loving how they’ve been turning out. I think my photos are getting a fairly similar look, so I thought I’d go step by step with what I’m doing. Some apps I use you must have an Adobe Creative Suite account and others are completely free to use without an account like that. I’ll be editing a photo I took the other day down by the pier. You can find the version I posted here. With that being said, let’s jump right into this edit!

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Alrighty guys so here is the original photo, straight from my camera, untouched by any editing apps. This was taken vertically, which I normally don’t do but wanted to get as many of the palm trees in the shot as possible. PRO TIP: I prefer to take my photos from farther away or zoomed completely out because I can always crop them later. As you can see, the colors are kind of dull and this just seems like an average photo. Until editing comes in of course!!

So to start off this edit, I’m going to open my Lightroom CC app, which is part of the Adobe Creative Suite, but most of these adjustments you can make on any other editing app. I simply use Lightroom for the filter I bought on Etsy, which I have an entire post on. IMG_1564.jpeg

So firstly, I will import the photo into the app. The first thing that I like to adjust is the size of the photo. I normally will do the 1:1 ratio crop, which makes a perfect square and will fit Instagram perfectly. However for this photo, I will customize the crop length and go for something more vertical so the palms will be included. Cropping is something you can do on literally any editing app or even in the Photos app which is configured on your iPhone.

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Next, I will apply the filter I use on every one of my photos. This one is called “Golden” and it’s from a preset pack I bought from Etsy. In the post I linked above, you can learn all about how I got this filter into Lightroom from Etsy. As you can see, once the filter is applied it changes the colors quite a bit. It’s a little less saturated and the tones have shifted a bit. I prefer my colors a little less saturated and tones more on the cool side, which you’ll see later on how I achieve that. The cool thing about the Etsy presets is that you can still adjust aspects like saturation, brightness, contrast, white balance, etc. So what you see here is not set in stone. Every photo is different so the preset will actually be altered depending on the photo.

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So now I will go into detailing. It’s a bit hard to see here, but my skin actually has some red splotches and I look white as a ghost (which yes, I’m not extremely tan right now but don’t @ me, LOL). So I will go into the “Light” section at the bottom of the screen, where you can find shadows, whites, blacks, brightness, and anything to do with lighting. Since this preset makes my skin look extremely white, I usually have to bring down the shadows and exposure. It’s honestly all about playing with these options and figuring out what works best for a specific photo. I probably spend the most time in the “Light” section trying to fix any bugs the preset may have applied. Normally by the time I’m done the odd marks on skin or anywhere else is gone and we can move on to the next step.

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So now I head over to the “Color” tab at the bottom. I usually have to change the luminance in the red tones, which helps fix that reddish color in my skin. Usually the orange tones need adjusting as well, which helps bring a little more color back into your skin tone. I’ll then head over to the teal and blue colors for adjusting. I’ll bring down the hue of both of them, which changes the color of my jeans and the sky quite a bit. I prefer them to be more on the teal side than the navy side. Of course, my jeans aren’t actually that color as you can see in the original, but I personally think it’s a great color and matches my Instagram theme. If you look closely, it changed the hue of anything that was the color of my jeans in the photo. For example the ocean is now more teal as well as the lining of the roof in the background and the blue in my flannel.

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Now for the final step (in the Lightroom app) is to make small adjustments with vibrance and saturation. If I think any of the colors I changed are too much, I simply bring down the saturation or vibrance. Similarly, if I think the colors just aren’t there yet, I’ll bring up the saturation and vibrance. So simple! As I mentioned before, it’s all about playing with these settings and finding what works best for the colors in your photo. I will also keep in mind some of the colors that are already in my feed and try to match them as best I can. Once all of this is done, make sure to SAVE what you’ve just edited.

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Okay guys we’re switching it up and heading over to the Afterlight app. This is where I apply subtle dusty filters, which gives a bit of a vintage effect. It’s something you can see on almost all of my photos on Instagram, as well as many other Instagrammers. These filters in Afterlight are accessible to anyone. At the bottom you’ll see a little film icon, which is where you’ll find dusty filters, light filters, and more! I go to the dusty section, where there’s a ton of different types of “dust.” Some have more specs, some have less, some will apply a faded effect to your photo, others will darken. It honestly all depends on the photo for which dusty filter works best. For today’s edit, I used #9, as I thought the placement of the dust specs looked nice. You can rotate and flip the filters depending on your photo. You can totally skip this effect, but it’s simply an extra step I like to take with my photos.

IMG_1574.JPGIMG_1575.JPGSo here is the final edit and a side by side! As you can tell, a lot of the ones have changed a bit to my preferences. Editing photos in this way definitely takes some time, but I personally find it very fun to watch a photo transform and added to the rest of my theme. It’s all about finding fun in being creative and not simply “doing it for the gram.” Let me know what you think of this edit or if this post was helpful to you! If you guys have any questions regarding editing, please leave them below! Talk to you all soon and have an amazing week! xx

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What You Don’t Know About Me! (Music, Pugs, Anxiety, and More!)

Hey everyone! First off, thank you for all the awesome comments on my last blog post! Reading your stories about sleep paralysis, sleep hallucinations, etc. has been so intriguing to hear about! Although it’s such a crazy thing to go through, I’m glad no one’s alone! Anyways, I just put up a new video last night and I wanted to share it here on the blog on this lovely Wednesday. I’m talking about tons of things no one knows about me online. Some small things, and some bigger ideas that are very important to me and I want to be open about. P.S. I love the turtleneck sweater I’m wearing in the video but it was literally 85 degrees outside! But do it for YouTube, right?? LOL

This is my fifth official video on my YouTube channel so I really hope you guys enjoy it! Feel free to drop a like (if you liked) and subscribe if you’ve never seen my videos before! I’ve genuinely been loving the process of filming, editing, and posting (just like on this blog) even though YouTube is SUCH a different platform. But I’d love as much feedback as possible, so comment away!! Anyways, I’ll let you get to the video. I love you guys very much and I’ll talk to you very soon in another blog post! xx

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A Firsthand Experience with Sleep Paralysis (An Interview)

Hey everyone! Do I have a post for you today! This is a subject I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while, and I feel it’s pretty fitting for this spooky season. Sleep paralysis is experienced by so many people, and since someone very close to me has gone through it multiple times, I’ve been very interested to get into the details and share them with you guys. I decided to sit down with my sister and ask her a few questions about her sleep paralysis experiences. I don’t doubt her in the slightest and believe that this is all very real. If you’d like to check her out, you can follow all her adventures on Instagram @skyepetersen! So, to kick off this interview, I’ll give a brief definition of what exactly sleep paralysis is:

According to Google, sleep paralysis is defined as: a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking.

Scary, right?! When I was in college, I fell down a YouTube hole all about sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. Personally, I think they’re very intriguing topics. So having someone tell me about their firsthand experience was very cool, although I wouldn’t want to experience it myself. So let’s get right on into the questions!

When was your first experience with sleep paralysis?

I believe one of my first experiences was in high school, possibly senior year. (About 18 years old)

Can you tell me what happened during one of your sleep paralysis experiences?

So I remember having one major experience that happened during the summer, at about 2 a.m. in the morning. I woke up very suddenly out of a dream, and I was laying on my back. I was telling myself to roll over and go back to sleep…but it didn’t work. I remember wanting my arm to move, but it was stuck. The best way to describe it is my body felt really heavy, like someone was sitting on me, as if something was holding my entire body down. I started to panic and opened my eyes. At this point, I was fully awake but couldn’t move. I told myself to just go back to sleep! I took a few deep breaths and eventually I fell back asleep.

What was your initial reaction when you were experiencing this and couldn’t move? 

Initially I had panicky feelings and it was scary feeling that pressure. It probably only happened within a minute, but it didn’t go away until I fell back asleep. I remember feeling a pressure in my neck as well.

Has it happened on more than one occasion?

It’s definitely happened once or twice before this specific experience. However, I don’t remember them being as bad or to this extent. The first couple times it happened I shook myself out of it.

How do you cope with it currently? 

Honestly, it hasn’t happened since that one extreme instance. I’m aware of what lucid dreaming is and I avoid doing that.

Has it altered your life in any way? Has it affected your daily routines?

I actually almost forgot it happened! I haven’t had any anxiety or felt sleep deprived during the day. It was definitely scary when it happened, but it hasn’t affected my day to day life, fortunately!

Do you have any final thoughts or advice for my readers?

To anyone who experiences this, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and try not to force yourself to move. Stay very calm and know you’ll get through this experience. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, don’t try to trigger it to happen.

So to sum up this interview, sleep paralysis sounds like a terrifying experience. I personally have never gone through it but after my research and this interview, I truly hope it never happens. Especially on the topic of lucid dreaming, it’s not something I want to try or get involved with. Sleep is meant to refresh your body and mind, so sleeping through the night without disturbance is ideal and what you should aim for. Thank you to my sister for taking some time to answer my questions, being honest about her experience and how she felt! Let me know down in the comments if you’ve had any similar happenings or if you’ve experienced a lucid dream. I’d love to hear about them! Happy Monday and hope you guys have a great start to your week! xx

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Creative Tips from a Graphic Designer! (Tricks to Create an Aesthetically Pleasing Composition)

Hey everyone! Wow, I’m so sorry it’s been almost a week since I’ve made a blog post. I’ve been trying to post at least twice a week but unfortunately, life gets in the way sometimes. However, this weekend has been filled with filming videos for YouTube and planning Instagram posts, so more content is definitely coming your way, I promise! For today’s post, I thought I’d do something a little different. Since I went to school for four years to study Graphic Design and have now become a working Graphic Designer, I realized I could probably be sharing tons of tips that could help all of you creatively. Whether that be with your blog, Instagram, Canva, YouTube, Tumblr, or whatever other platforms you use! That’s all I ever want to do with this blog: help you guys!!! So let’s jump into it!

The Rule of Thirds

Alright so I want to start off with one of the most important rules when it comes to design or art: The Rule of Thirds. This is a very common idea if you’re an art major or involved in any creative community. This is basically a guideline to follow to produce aesthetically pleasing images that fill the space nicely or allow for white space (empty space). Sometimes, having white space in any of your compositions is actually more aesthetically pleasing than completely filling the space.

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For example, here is my most recent Instagram post. In this photo I have three main objects: my hat, the “Stay Spooky” sign, and the pumpkin. Although there are other elements in this photo, those are the three main objects your eye is drawn to. Your eye is drawn from the sign/text, to the hat, and down to the pumpkin, taking your view through the entire composition. At least, that’s how my brain works, LOL. It is also very helpful to think of your image as a grid.

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Now normally, I prefer to use my own photography in a blog post, but I wanted to illustrate this idea clearly. Here is an image from Google illustrating the grid idea. It is best to place subjects where the grid intersects, which is always off center. Notice how the surfer in this photo is placed in the right hand corner. Having something placed directly in the middle will most likely not create an interesting composition or catch someone’s eye.

Take Your Time

Sometimes when you’re doing something creative, you hit a block or things just aren’t turning out how you wanted. Especially in the design world, this happens quite often. I know when it comes to blog photography for me, sometimes I just can’t get the right shot and it’s definitely frustrating. However, I notice when I take my time on something and not simply rushing through it will create better results. Even if you need to step away for a few minutes, you will come to a solution quicker. This is something even I’m trying to get better at. Being a creative person isn’t always easy, but you still must find solutions.

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Instagram Themes

This is another great way to get creative and focus on beautiful compositions. Personally with my Instagram, I like changing up my photos so my overall theme will have a variety visually. What I mean by this is posting a different photo each time. For example, I will try to post a full OOTD, then maybe a close up of an outfit, and after that a flat lay. While this is sometimes hard to accomplish, I always try to keep it in the back of my mind. My Instagram definitely isn’t perfect, but I have a lot of fun with it! Keeping a consistent color theme and working to be better has been such a fun hobby!

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Visual Hierarchy

Another very important aspect of design is visual hierarchy. I touched on this a bit previously but this is especially important if text is included in your photo. When it comes to posting information, you want the title to be larger, in a bold font, or have some quality that makes it stand out from any other text. Any small details should be in a smaller or less heavy font. For example when I’m promoting a new photo from Instagram on my story, I always include a title and some extra information about it. I create this with the Canva app, and it’s been a great addition to my blog/Instagram!

While all of these are very simple tips that I use everyday, I know most people did not go to school for design. So I genuinely hope this helped any of you! Let me know down in the comments if you have any composition tricks that you can share! I’d love to know what you guys love creating! Talk to you all very soon! xx

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My Fall 2018 Bucketlist (Things to do During Autumn)

Hey everyone! I seriously can’t believe it’s already October! Time seems to be flying quicker and quicker each month but October is such a busy and exciting one. Personally, even though I’m so bummed summer is over, I really enjoy the cooler days and all the fall festivities. Even though I live in a place that never gets extremely chilly, we have a few fun traditions that I look forward to every year. Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday (I mentioned this in my 10 random facts about me on Instagram) and I love every spooky movie or T.V. show. So for today’s post I thought I’d put together a fall inspired activities list, including things I’ve done every year and new things I want to try!

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Traditions Never Die

Let’s start out with some things I’ll definitely be doing to kick off the fall season! These have been some of my favorite things to do even as a kid.

  1. Pumpkin carving (my artsy self loves to go all out with pumpkin designs)
  2. Looking for/putting together a Halloween costume
  3. Falling asleep to the rain (when we actually get rain)
  4. Going to see a movie on a rainy night
  5. Going to a pumpkin patch
  6. Walking through a corn maze
  7. Visiting Julian (near San Diego county)
  8. Decorating the house/my room for fall
  9. Watching psychological thrillers/classic Halloween movies (for example one of my favorites, Nightmare Before Christmas)
  10. Go to Knott’s Scary Farm to get a good spook
  11. Watching (and re watching) classic Halloween T.V. episodes from my childhood
  12. Driving through Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte (yes, I do actually really enjoy a PSL once in a while, LOL)
  13. Making a cup of tea or hot chocolate and snuggling up on the couch with a large blanket on a cold/rainy night
  14. Eating too many Kit Kats
  15. Breaking out some Halloween inspired playlists (which always include Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, Rihanna’s “Disturbia”, and Shakira’s “She Wolf”)
  16. Layering fall outfits with knee high boots, long coats, and scarves
  17. Watching fall inspired YouTube videos (especially spooky story times)
  18. Going to the beach on a stormy evening. A choppy and dark sea is actually very beautiful even though it’s very cold.

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Trying Something New!

  1. Bake a pie! I absolutely love apple and pumpkin pies (especially around Thanksgiving) but I’ve never attempted to make one before. I’d love to do more baking in general during the holidays!
  2. Try making a homemade pumpkin spice drink
  3. Make a bullet journal
  4. Create some fall inspired videos for YouTube/the blog!
  5. Visit Solvang (a Danish town in California)
  6. Read some Edgar Allen Poe to get in the Halloween mood

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I need more new fall activities on my bucket list! Let me know down in the comments if you have any unique traditions you think I should try. I’m always up for something new! Hope this post gave you some good ideas, new autumn posts coming very soon to the blog! Talk to you soon xx

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3 Quick & Easy Breakfasts for College Students & Workaholics! (Video)

Good morning everyone! I finally have another video up on YouTube. It’s taken me so long to edit this one even though it’s only a few minutes long, LOL. Life just gets crazy, ya know?? Check out my three simple breakfast recipes for when you’re in a rush in the morning. Life can get so hectic at school or if you’re working, so these three simple meals will definitely get your morning going. It’s always a good idea to start your day with something healthy in order to have a productive afternoon so I hope you all find these recipes helpful!

Let me know down in the comments if you tried any of these or if you’ve had something similar! Honestly, I think the protein shake is my favorite, partly because it tastes like a chocolate shake and it’s VEGAN! I’ve only had vegan protein shakes and I love them so so much. I’m a sucker for sweets, even in the morning so it really curbs my sugar craving for the day. I always try to have it before or after I hit the gym as well to help out my muscles.

I also really love a rice cake with peanut butter and jelly. It’s a healthier alternative to a normal PB & J since you remove any carbs that come from bread. The egg dish is another recipe I normally have after the gym. Combined with spinach and salsa, it is extremely flavorful and packed with good things for your bod! Add half an avocado to this for some healthy fats and deliciousness!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you’re new and drop a like! I love finding new bloggers and YouTubers to connect with so don’t be shy! Talk to you all soon! xx

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