Friday, February 5, 2016

St. Lucia Travel Diary (Day One)

Happy Friday, friends! I wanted to share a little bit of my travel diary from yesterday - it was an exhausting day (woke up at 3 a.m. and didn't go to bed until midnight) but I finally made it to St. Lucia! Let's start with my travel outfit... 

Lulu*s sweater (sold out), similar here // similar white jeans // m.Gemi flats // Delsey luggage

I woke up at 3 a.m. yesterday, left my house by 4 a.m. and departed from Charlotte Douglas airport at 6 a.m. I am not a morning person, and I was scared to death I was going to sleep through all my alarms!!! (But I didn't haha.) From Charlotte, we flew to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to St. Lucia... I watched the movie "Martian" on the second plane ride, and it was such an amazing movie that I was crying (both sad and happy tears) while watching it. The people beside me had to think I was crazy!! But seriously if you haven't seen it, go watch it NOW.


Once we touched down in St. Lucia, we went through customs. The drive to our resort is about an hour through winding dirt roads, so we opted to take a helicopter ride (which takes about 15 minutes!). I've never been on a helicopter, and I was feeling pretty anxious before the trip. It's so loud that everyone has to wear headphones/headsets. Once we were up in the air, I calmed down and was simply in awe of the beauty of this island. There were a few scary moments though - at one point, the pilot headed straight towards the mountain (below), and pulled the helicopter up just in time not to run into it - when we had passed the peak, he dove into the valley. It felt like being on a roller coaster!


And we made it! For those wondering, we are staying at Anse Chastanet in Soufriere. I read a ton of reviews beforehand so I was prepared (it's a lot different than most beach hotels I'm used to!) but I'll be sharing a lot of info about the trip as the week goes on.


The best thing (so far), is definitely the view from the room. On one side you can see the ocean and palm trees, and on the other side you can see the tips of the Pitons - it is breathtaking.


Here are some close-ups of the bikini I wore yesterday and the cute tassel cover-up (which is a scarf but I tied as a sarong!).... enjoy!

Ondademar bikini top // bikini bottoms // tassel cover-up (doubles as a scarf!)

Happy weekend, everyone!
xoxo

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

iPhone Snaps...

Happy Thursday, friends! Here are some recent snaps from my iPhone (most were on Instagram) in case you're wondering where something is from!

This outfit is from over the summer, however a striped top is now online that looks almost identical to the one I'm wearing. I seriously love this outfit and still wear the tee all the time!

Pattern mixing: stripes and leopard

Okay... how cute are these pajamas? I just couldn't resist them... they are really comfortable and nice to sleep in. If you don't like the donut theme, they come in a bunch of different colors & patterns!

donut pajamas!
"donut you love me" pajamas (comes as a set) 

My "snow day" outfit when I was snowed in the other weekend :)

cobalt blue sweater // white pants // Stuart Weitzman boots, similar & less expensive here

I love love love the cut and style of this top! They are almost sold out of the purple, but there are a few other colors that are just as pretty. I love it paired with a long necklace like I'm wearing it here.

LOVE this purple top

I have been gravitating towards bright colors lately (probably because winter is so dull) and I absolutely fell in love with the color of this YSL bag! I wish they came in pink, too! 

YSL sac de jour

So... as weird as it feels to say this, I love sneakers now. Especially these Adidas superstars! They are so comfortable and perfect for running around town in. They also go with white jeans or dark jeans... or shorts in the summer.



Another pic of the Adidas sneakers... I can't get enough of them!

Starbucks and sneakers...

A look from NYC last week... 

winter outfit inspo
H&M cardigan // similar white tank (mine is old) // H&M floppy hat (on sale!)
similar faux leather leggings // similar wedge booties // Celine handbag, similar here

And finally, I took these last two pictures while I was packing yesterday. I can't stand the cold weather any longer, so I'm headed somewhere warm this morning! These are a few of the things I packed... my favorite being this bikini top. The design is actually on the front of the suit (not the back) and it is so so gorgeous on. I have zero boobs and it actually makes me look like I have some - haha! :)

packing for a tropical vacation

how to pack for a tropical vacation

I have an EARLY flight this morning - as you're reading this, I'll probably be at an airport or on a plane right now. Be sure to follow along on instagram to see where I'm headed. It's somewhere I've never been but have always wanted to go! :)

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How to Make a Product Collage

How to make a product collage

Hello friends! Today I'm blogging about a question that you guys have asked me over & over... how to make a product collage. Whether you are a student, employee, teacher, blogger, or just curious, knowing how to make a collage is a handy skill to have. Although it can be a complicated process, hopefully I can answer most of the basic questions you have.

First off, let's talk about programs. I use Photoshop Elements to create all of my product collages. I took a class in college that taught me the basic uses of Photoshop Elements and since then I have learned a lot just through trial-and-error and by teaching myself. (The easiest way to learn is just by diving in!) You can also create collages in the full version of Photoshop, although I stick with Photoshop Elements because it's a lot simpler and easier to use. Anyone can learn how to use these programs, however, they do take some effort and a bit of trial and error. If you get stuck on something, try looking it up on YouTube (I've had to do this so many times!). Anyways, I highly recommend Photoshop Elements for collages and photo editing in general... so let's get started on how I make collages using the program.

Step One: Find the images you want to use in your collage
The first step is determining which images you want to include in your collage. I usually pick a theme for my blog posts, whether it is "spring products" or "save vs. splurge items," etc. and then look at different online retailers to find products that fit into my theme. I create a specific folder on my computer for these images, and I title the folder after the name of the blog post I'm working on. Once I find an image online that I want to include in the post, I right click and save it to the dedicated file on my computer. When searching for images, make sure you are paying attention to the background - a white background will make the whole process 20,000 times easier - trust me. 

If you don't want to save the images to your computer, you can also take a screenshot of the product. On a Mac computer, press Command, Shift, and the 3 key at the same time to take a screenshot.

Step Two: Create a Blank File
Next, open up Photoshop Elements and choose File > New > Blank File. Everyone will have a different dimension depending on the width of your blog posts. For example, my blog posts are 640 pixels wide, so I set all of my collages to 640 pixels wide. You can make the length whatever you choose. Make sure the background contents is set to white.


Step Three: Import the Images
Click File > Open and choose the images that you rounded up for your collage. They will each open up in Photoshop Elements as a different document. 

Step Four: Copy and Paste
Remember that blank file you created? Now you're going to copy and paste each image onto that document. Using the rectangular marquee tool, outline the image that you want, copy it (Command + C), then paste it onto the blank file (Command + P).


Once the item is pasted onto the blank file, you can resize them using your mouse - just hover over the corner of the rectangle and it will turn into a resizing tool.

How to make a product collage for your blog

You'll have to play around with the images to get the best arrangement of products. Try making them bigger and smaller, and moving them around until they all "fit" together.

Step Five: Add Text
To add text to your collage, click the horizontal type tool on the left hand side. Above, you can change the font, size and color. I always play around with fonts to determine the best one to fit the collage. Once you've written the text, you can move it around on the page.

How to make a product collage in Photoshop Elements

Step Six: Add Shapes
Adding shapes is pretty simple. Select the custom shape tool on the left. From there, you can select the exact shape you want (circle, arrow, heart, etc.) and draw them onto your collage. You can also select the color of the shape.

How to make a product collage in Photoshop

Step Seven: Save Your Collage
Once you're happy with how the collage looks, it's time to save it! Right now it's still a psd (photoshop file), and you will need to change it to a jpeg in order to put it on a website. Click File > Save As. Under the Save As portion, name your collage. Under Format, make sure that it says JPEG. Then hit save! 


And voila! Your collage is done. This one happens to feature some items I'm loving right now... and most of them are less than $40!

You can purchase Photoshop Elements here. I know that some of those steps can be kind of confusing... If you have any questions about Photoshop Elements or any of the steps, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Are there any other blog-related things you'd like to learn? If you have an idea, let me know!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Feels Like Spring...

B.P. striped pocket tee (less than $35) // AG white jeans // H&M floppy hat (on sale!)
Chloe Drew bag (this dupe is only $36!!) // M.Gemi lace-up flats, less expensive version here

I think my readers in North Carolina will agree with me - for the past few days, it has felt just like spring outside! I even had to turn on the air conditioning in my car yesterday... and I love it. I even busted out my white pants in celebration of the amazing weather. My striped tee is so comfortable for running around town in - mine is a size small - and it is only $35! And speaking of good deals, this handbag is almost an exact dupe for a Chloe bag and it is only $36!!! It is pretty nice quality (although not nearly as nice as the real thing because it's not real leather) however it is definitely worth $36. 

Also - sorry for all the hats I've been wearing lately. The truth is I haven't felt like washing my hair (lazy!) so hats are the perfect alternative. :)

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Monday, February 1, 2016

NYC Winter...

wool hat
winter outfit inspiration
love the wool hat
leather leggings, cardigan, black booties
love this winter outfit


outfit inspo
patterned cardigan and Celine handbag
H&M cardigan // similar white tank (mine is old) // H&M floppy hat (on sale!)

This is one of my favorite looks I've worn all winter... although I can't say exactly why. Maybe it's this patterned cardigan that adds a pop of color to a wintry day, or maybe it's the wool hat (that's on sale right now!). Either way, I plan on being a repeat offender & wearing the cardigan again with jeans and booties this week! 

Also - completely random but if you are looking for a new book to read, I just finished this one & it is SO GOOD. My friend Emily recommended it to me while we were on the way to New York, and I ended up reading it in just two days... I literally couldn't put it down! Emily and I have the same taste in books so we are always giving each other recommendations. If you liked Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you will love this one!

xoxo

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Valentine's Day with Charming Charlie...



all Charming Charlie products c/o

I love Valentine's Day for many reasons, but the main one is because it incorporates two of my favorite colors: pink and red. (Haha that is not a joke!) Seriously, I will take any excuse to wear those colors! So you can bet that I'm in love with this red blouse from Charming Charlie. The best part is that it's only $25 (I'm wearing a size small!). I also love all of the heart jewelry they have online right now... I layered two of their gold necklaces for a trendier look... and these open heart earrings are my absolute fave - there are three different colors in the set! Not only is there stuff so cute, but you SERIOUSLY can't beat the price! Order now in order to receive by Valentine's Day :)

Speaking of Valentine's Day, what are everyone's plans?! 

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*Thanks to Charming Charlie for sponsoring this post