Christmas at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Christmas at Santa’s Village by the Sea (Blogmas Day 3)

Happy Blogmas Day 3 everyone!!! We’re still going strong! I’m actually really excited about today’s post. Not only because a lot more work went into it, but because this event is sure to get you in the Christmas mood! Living in south Orange County, my city puts on an event every year on December 1st. The city is often referred to as the “Spanish Village by the Sea” but to transform it for Christmas, this event was called “Santa’s Village by the Sea.” Great marketing in my opinion! The shops along downtown are all open with some sales and decorated with Christmas lights. Some of my favorite shops even offered Christmas cookies, champagne, and charcuterie. Everything was so lit up and beautiful. It was also quite the chilly night so us Californians got a little taste of what a cold December night is like, LOL.

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I bundled up in one of my favorite holiday sweaters with some boots and a beanie from Topshop. Downtown was way more busy than I expected but it was awesome seeing so many people out celebrating. Lots of shops had little kiosks that lined the streets. Hot chocolate and coffee was of course being sold (and you know your girl couldn’t pass that up.) If you were in the mood for a snack, kettle corn and cotton candy was also being sold. This event was a great opportunity for small business to sell their jewelry or homemade goods as well. It’s always fun to support a local business! One shop even had a small skate ramp for the kids (you can see that in the video) and was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever set my eyes on.

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It was honestly so fun just walking around, taking in all the sights and shopping around some of my favorite clothing stores. It really did feel like a winter wonderland (minus the snow of course because we’re still in California people!) This would be the perfect date for you and your special someone if you’re ever in the area next year. What would make this event even more special would be a small ice skating rink or fake snow! So without me rambling on about this awesome event, check out the video below to watch all the fun, Christmasy things that went on! Talk to you all tomorrow xx

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Christmas Bucket List (Blogmas Day 2)

Hey guys! Happy Blogmas Day 2!! Hope you all enjoyed my Blogger Gift Guide yesterday. For today, I wanted to put together a little Christmas bucket list! I did this when autumn rolled around and although I definitely didn’t complete everything, it was fun to have some goals! You can check that out here if you like. So here are some things I’m looking forward to during this Christmas season!

Hot chocolate by the fire: One of my absolute favorite things to make during Christmas time is hot chocolate. (Well really, I could drink hot chocolate during any season). Regardless, I go all out with my hot chocolate during the holidays. My family normally has the Nestle hot chocolate packets for quick cups of hot cocoa. I think these are honestly delicious but another great way to make hot chocolate is to put dark chocolate almond milk from the brand “Silk” into a pot on the stove. Heat that up, put it in your favorite Christmas mug, and top it with whipped cream, cinnamon, and a mini candy cane. Extremely unhealthy but hey, it’s Christmas!

Decorating the tree: This is something every family all over the world does during the holidays, but for my family it takes a few hours. We’ve saved so many ornaments throughout the years that range from birthdays, traveling, homemade ornaments, anniversaries, etc. We have a large artificial tree that looks amazing once all the ornaments are placed and the lights are turned on. We also have a smaller Christmas tree that’s beach themed so all the ornaments have little sandmen instead of snowmen with waves and seashells everywhere!

Christmas light sight seeing: Driving around watching all the Christmas lights in different neighborhoods. This is something I have never failed to do. My parents used to drive my sister and I around during the holidays when we were little to see all the fun lights. Some houses sync the movement of the lights to a radio station, so it’s a full on light and audio show. Now that’s Christmas commitment! Whether you’re driving around with your family or your significant other, this is a holiday tradition you can’t miss!

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Watching/reading Blogmas posts & videos: This one may be a little obvious, but I love sitting down and watching Christmas vlogs from some of my favorite YouTubers like Zoella (she slays it with the Christmas vibes). I love watching longer vlogs that will distract me when I’m on the treadmill or need some sound on while I’m working or putting things away. It’s also a great opportunity to find Christmas gift ideas or places to visit during the holidays. They really get me in the mood for this time of year and I always look forward to it!

Christmas makeup looks: Creating more makeup looks for you guys is something I want to get back into. I feel like my creativity with makeup goes in and out but I’d love to create a few different looks and possibly make some videos on them? While I wear makeup everyday, it’s been rare lately when I actually sit down to create something unique. It’s also one of the only times of year when you can own a red or burgundy lip. I tend to move towards the burgundy or wine shades when it comes to lip color so I’d love to play around with that again!

Ice Skating: While I feel like I’m getting more and more uncoordinated every year, I actually really enjoy going to the rink and ice skating. It’s one of my only opportunities to wear something truly winter inspired without worrying about the sun popping out and roasting me alive, LOL. I’m definitely not used to being on the ice but it also makes for an extremely fun date!

What are you guys looking forward to this holiday season?? Do you do anything special where you live? Let me know down in the comments and I’ll see you tomorrow on Blogmas Day 3! xx

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Best Christmas Gifts for Bloggers (Blogmas Day 1)

Well, it’s that time of year again everyone! Not only is it the first of December, but it’s the first day of Blogmas!! I participated last year and consistently posted once everyday from December 1st to December 25th. It was a huge accomplishment when it came to my blog and it helped its growth immensely. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try it again this year though. Since starting my job and graduating college, consistency has still been difficult for me and I don’t want to commit to something I can’t follow through with. However, I remembered how much I enjoyed Blogmas last year and I really don’t want to miss out on that. With that being said, I’m going to try my absolute hardest to post everyday while making content I love.

So kick off the first post of Blogmas, I thought I’d make a little gift guide for the blogger in your life. Whether that’s yourself or someone close to you, these are a few items that I couldn’t create a post without!

Nikon D5500

Where would I be without my Nikon?? I received this camera a few years ago and it has made the biggest difference when it comes to blogging. While it is definitely a big investment, there is no doubt that high quality photography will be an enormous asset to any blog. I personally find photography a great creative outlet, so I love editing photos to add into my blog posts. I took a digital photography class in college, so I got a chance to learn in the ins and outs of my camera. While I’m definitely not close to being a professional, it’s a learning experience with each post and each photo. Taking blog photos with your phone is totally acceptable, but having a DSLR camera simply makes your posts much more impressive. Another great camera brand is Canon. I’ve actually considered switching to Canon in the future. From my research Canon is a better brand when it comes to video creation. So if you or a friend also enjoys creating videos, I’d recommend a Canon.

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Etsy Presets

I have a post dedicated to Etsy photo presets and how to find them, so I’ll link that here. To recap, you can find extremely affordable photo filters on Etsy! This would be such a unique gift to any blogger or Instagrammer in your life. Most of the presets are only $1 to $8. If you know the person’s aesthetic, this could be a gift they really appreciate and actually use. I know I personally would love to have a collection of Etsy presets, especially if they’re being created by other bloggers or creators. Here is the url if you’d like to search some of Etsy’s photo presets.

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Ring Light

This is something I bought a few weeks back for a few reasons. First of all, I’d love to have the perfect lighting when I’m taking product or outfit photos indoors. Secondly since I work all day, it’s nighttime when I get back home so there’s no opportunities for me to take photos outside or in any decent lighting. A ring light will eliminate all issues like these and make your blogger’s life so much easier. If they like to create videos as well, this will be the absolute perfect gift for them. While they also get a bit pricey, there are some cheaper options on Amazon, which is where I got my ring light.

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Notebooks

This is definitely a cheap option when it comes to blogger gifts. From personal experience, some of the best and most popular posts I’ve written have been planned out in my notebook first. I’ll write down all the details to a post or video and allow them to guide me as I create. If it’s a simple lined paper notebook from Michaels, or something a little more ornate, it really doesn’t matter much. The fact that you are encouraging them to write, plan out, and release blog posts is such a huge gesture and sometimes the simplest way to support them is with a little notebook. Even though we live in such a digital age, I still strongly believe in writing things down whether you are studying or being creative.

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Blogger Gift Basket

Jumping from that idea, a blogger gift basket would be such an incredible present. Buying a small wicker basket from a craft store and filling it with small notebooks, pens, and pencils would be incredibly cute and thoughtful. Another blogger hack: Michael’s sells poster board with textures and patterns. For example they have a white wood pattern option. We’ve all had to buy these for projects in middle school and high school and they’re seriously so cheap. I’m talking a buck or two. Including these in a gift basket to be used as lay flat backdrops would be perfect. Maybe throw in some healthy snacks like almonds, protein bars, microwaveable popcorn for your blogger to snack on while they write posts. This is totally customizable and depends on the person but I know I’d love to receive this as a gift this Christmas!

If you have someone in your life that loves to blog, I hope this gift guide was helpful! It can be difficult to find that perfect gift for someone but whether you splurge or create a customizable present, it’s the thought that counts. As someone who is fairly creative, I love receiving anything that will help me with my blog. Even if it’s something so small like a photo backdrop! Let me know what other blogger gifts you’ve found this Christmas! Talk to you all on Blogmas Day 2! xx

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It’s Time to Tell You Guys…

Hello guys! Well, it’s official. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now and I think it’s time to finally announce it…I’m doing Blogmas 2018!!! I was going back and forth on whether or not I wanted to participate this year. With my work schedule and things just being so crazy right now, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it. I never want to commit to anything I can’t follow through with, but I think the thought of failure was holding me back. I successfully posted everyday from December 1st through December 25th last year and it seriously helped my blog. Not only that, I loved seeing everyone take part in this fun online challenge and reading other Christmas posts!

Even though posting everyday can be a bit challenging (especially towards the end) it allows me to do something creative everyday and I think that’s important. This time of year is so special and it’s celebrated so differently around the world. My blog is my little slice of the internet, so I want to share with you every aspect of a California Christmas! Look forward to lots of cozy posts, ideas on fun things to do this holiday season, and much much more! Let me know if there’s anything specific you guys would like to see, as I’m still scheduling out posts in advance. Whether that be makeup looks, Christmas OOTD’s, recipes, or videos. I’m up for anything new!

I’ll admit I’m still a little afraid of missing a day or two, but I’m going to try my absolute hardest to post from December 1st all the way to Christmas Day. Wish me luck and I look forward to reading Blogmas posts from all my blogger friends on WordPress! Talk to you all tomorrow on the first day of Blogmas!! xx

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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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