instagram fun

i've been pretty hooked to the instagram app ever since i got my iphone a few months ago. i check it all the time, more than facebook and probably as much as twitter. it's different from many other iphone camera apps in that it has it's own network: you have your own account, you can follow others' instagram feeds, and you can even like & comment on photos too. it's like twitter and flickr combined. 

i was excited to see photojojo's newsletter today, 10 Totally New Ways to Play with Instagram. i even decided to check out 2 of the options for viewing and managing your stream online. (that was the one thing i was hoping to find, a way to view instagram stuff on my computer.)

Inkstagram is a great way to view your feed in your browser. you can even like and comment on photos through this web app. pretty cool.

instagrid creates a gallery of your instagram photos. you can view your web gallery in a grid format (like the photo above) or in a list format, showcasing each photo at a larger size. you have your own page, and a link that you can send out to friends and family. here's mine

the newsletter write up offers a ton of cool links for viewing, sharing, and printing your instagram photos. photojojo does a great job with their newsletters, and their shop is awesome!


my first guest post

hey everyone! be sure to check out my birthday (party) guest post over at polly's blog, pixie mama. she just turned 30 yesterday (exciting!) and to celebrate her birthday month, she asked fellow bloggers to write up a birthday themed guest post. she's had some really great posts from many lovely bloggers, so be sure to check those out as well. :)


photoshop fun

i've gathered a few helpful photoshop tips and tricks when it comes to photography, and thought i'd write up a little post and share some helpful links. the photo used in these examples i took last spring for my picture spring online class, "Day 5: Getting Grounded".

i first learned about gradient maps on nick's tutorial is super easy to follow. i use gradient maps on nearly every photo i upload, either here or on flickr. it really adds that little bit of character to a photo.

i really enjoyed ana's diy photoshop processing post. i made a few adjustments in the last step, and i really like how it came out. a similar feel to the gradient map photo, with a little more pop.

one of my favorite sites for all kinds of photography tips and tricks is phototuts. they have really helpful posts about shooting and a ton of posts about post processing too. i came across this post about photoshop actions earlier today and tried a few of them out. this is the first time i've used actions, crazy i know, but hope to develop a few of my own.

below are actions from kalifbananeshareef saadi, and night-fate.

do you have any favorite photoshop tips or tricks? or any favorite actions you've seen around?


city life...for the weekend

this past weekend was another fun one in chicago. i've been going downtown a lot more often over the past few weeks, and have checked out a lot of new places :) my little sister is happy about this slight change in my weekend plans, b/c we're going out around her new place in river north. 

saturday we grabbed dinner at sushi samba. i really liked the atmosphere, the sushi was great, and the bubble tail drinks were amazing! and we scored some free shots b/c it took a while to get seated. pretty good deal ;) if you're ever in the area and love sushi, be sure to check it out. (my apologies for not getting photos of the actual sushi. the lighting at our table wasn't working too well.)

after dinner we stopped by pops for champagne. we only had to wait a bit to snag a table, and the four of us (denny, krystina, chester, and myself) enjoyed a bottle. and we managed to score free shots again! our server insisted that we have a shot with him b/c we were his first "normal" table. another good deal :)

after champagne, we got in a cab and met up with my sister and her friends at english. it was a little loud and pretty crowded, but it was cool to check out a new bar. we hung out for a few drinks, then headed back to the 'burbs. it was a great night out with great friends. and it sounds like this weekend will be another "city" one, i'm already excited. c'mon friday!


new things

i made a few cowls for some friends as christmas gifts, and after completing some glove orders recently, i was finally able to make a cowl for myself :) it's super comfy, and not too thick, which will be nice for the upcoming spring weather. i'm starting on another one already, in a light purple, and i'm trying out some new stitches. i'll post photos here.
i was in Texas for a work video shoot this week, and wasn't supposed to be back til late on st. patrick's day. luckily i got on an earlier flight and was able to meet up with my friends at a local irish bar for a few drinks. it was my friend dana's birthday, and even though the bar was crazy busy, we had a great time :)

there were quite a few march birthdays to celebrate this weekend, and it was a lot of fun. we hung out downtown at social 25 on friday, and had a blast bowling & drinking in the wrigleyville area on saturday. i'll spare you the slightly drunken photos, haha. 

now i'm off to pittsburgh tonight for a video shoot tomorrow. busy busy busy.


miss indie's giveaway!

hello everyone! be sure to check out miss indie's march giveaway! her sponsors are giving away amazing and beautiful things. and included is an original rosette headband by yours truly.

if you aren't already following her, be sure to do so and leave a comment for a chance to win. tweeting and blogging about the giveaway will get you extra entries too :) good luck everyone!


new items in the shop!

finally listed some new rosette headbands in the shop! i plan on listing more later this month, but like i mentioned before, work and the crazy amount of march birthdays are keeping me busy. but my goal this week was to get these new ones created and listed, so now i'll be able to squeeze in a little crochet action :) i still need to finish my cowl, and hopefully before it gets too warm to use it. haha.

my grandfather's cameras

my dad was going through my grandma's old boxes in the basement and found a few of my grandpa's old cameras. they were tucked away in a "garage sale" area! ha, i couldn't believe it. i was so excited when my dad gave me 3 of the cameras: a Spartus Full-Vue Relfex Style Camera, a Baby Brownie, and a Reflekta. they were all in good condition, well taken care of by my grandpa. and the Brownie & the Spartus still had the original boxes, and even instructions! very cool. and it's neat to know that my grandpa and i had similar interests. i wish i could have talked to him about photography and these cameras. i think there might still be a roll of film in the Baby Brownie! i'm going to do some research and figure out if i can still get it developed somewhere.

make-up & skin care

in the last 6 months or so, i've noticed quite a few bloggers post about their make-up recommendations and skincare routines. it's always been interesting to me, and lately i've been wanting to try something new. here are my favorite posts :)

i have combination/oily skin (yuck) and didn't really have much control over it before. and i thought since i had oily skin, that i had no need for moisturizers...and that my skin was only "clean" when it was completely stripped and almost dried out. ha. well, that's not true. i recently blogged about the "oil cleansing method" and i've been doing that for a little over a month now. for the most part it's been a good thing, and my face has evened out a bit. AND i discovered that moisturizer is my friend :) i can't go without it now.

i "wash" with the oil mixture at night and usually moisturize. in the morning, i lightly wash my face with baby wash, since it's super gentle, and before getting out of the shower, i splash my face with cold water to close up the pores. every other day i use a gentle toner and twice a week i wash with st. ives green tea scrub. before applying make-up i moisturize with olay complete for combination skin. this routine has been working pretty good. i still have the occasional break outs, and i haven't really determined if it's from switching up my routine or just stress :/ but overall my face has cleared up and is a lot less oily during the day :)

  1. Bare Minerals - i use the mineral veil, foundation, and concealer
  2. E.l.f. blush & bronzer - great buy at $3!
  3. Clinique Touch Base for Eyes - great primer for eyeshadow, i've never had "creases" using this stuff
  4. L'Oreal H.I.P. Eye Shadow in Forgiven - love this combination
  5. Almay Eyeliner in brown - stays on all day and barely smudges
  6. Maybelline Lash Stiletto in Very Black
  7. Revlon Just Bitten Lip Stain in Forbidden - stays on all night and looks great!

do you have any skincare or make-up recommendations/links? and what works for you? :)


iPhone photo apps

elsie (of a beautiful mess) recently posted about her favorite iPhone camera apps. she has amazing examples and helpful reviews. i was excited that i had already played with all but one of the apps she reviewed, haha. be sure to check it out if you're looking for some iPhone photo fun.

when i first got my iPhone this year, i downloaded A TON of photo apps. i read some reviews, but mostly i just downloaded anything that looked cool. i wish i would have spent a little more time researching, only because a lot of the photo effects offered are overlapped in the apps i purchased. anyway, here are a few of my favorites:

i probably use CrossProcess the most out of all my apps, and i usually use it when uploading photos on twitter. the effects are really great, and it's definitely worth the $1.

after CrossProcess, i use Instagram the most often (username: stephkelly if you'd like to follow me.) the effects are really great, and the best part is it's FREE! usually free apps are sometimes not even worth the download, but this one i would highly recommend :)

Pocketbooth is so much fun! and another inexpensive one at $1. you can easily post to facebook and twitter, and even print your photostrip, right out of the app.

PictureShow offers the most dynamic effects out of my photo apps. sometimes they are a little intense for me, but it's fun to "refresh" and see all the cool options it comes up with. i want to start using this one more often.

i created an iPhone photo set on flickr, so be sure to check that out too if you'd like!

haha, i can't even fit any more downloads into my photography folder. time to start another one ;)


blog things

thanks to alycia of the curious pug, i have a new blog button/code (under the blogs i love section). last november alycia posted a tutorial on creating a blog button and it was super easy :) so feel free to grab a blog button if you'd like!

oh, and this month i'm sponsoring this fabulous gal, miss indie. i love her blog, and when she mentioned having sponsors again, i jumped at the chance. be sure to check out her blog and look for some fabulous sponsor highlights later this month :)

i'm hoping to update my shop this week or next, but work and decorating the apartment are keeping me pretty busy. i'll be sure to update here when the new items are listed.


aaaaaand i'm back

so in my last post here (forever ago), i decided to move my blog from this location to tumblr. tumblr is great, and i'm still keeping up a blog of sorts over there, but i decided that blogger is better for what i'm looking to do now. i still plan on posting on tumblr, but it will probably be more random. i'll post more writing and structured updates here from now on :)

i moved into a new apartment with two of my good friends the last week in february, so this past weekend was my first real weekend in a long time...and it was fabulous. i had a quiet night in with dana and kristin on friday, and finally saw "scott pilgrim vs. the world". great movie! saturday was spent celebrating mig and joy's birthdays downtown. it was so great to see everyone! mig's birthday celebrations are usually a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of people i don't get to see that often. sunday was spent relaxing with the guy, and we managed to sneak in a little shopping ;) we went to anna shea's, and i already want to go back!

and lastly, i have a new favorite iphone app: SmallPlanet. i saw srslyliz upload a photo she generated on her instagram feed, and i had to check it out. it's so fun! the app takes google street view info and wraps it up in a little "planet". ha. below are my favorite edited shots i generated (schaumburg and chicago area):

so that's all for this first post back. as always, i'm hoping to update here a lot more often, so be sure to check back.

oh, i want to thank katrina at pugly pixel for providing the fabulous (and free!) clip art that i used on this blog. i also downloaded her new layout over at powered by pastries. super easy to customize, i love it!