7.30.2015

Three Apps To Use Along with Instagram

The title of this post should be something like three apps I use everyday or the three apps I talk to death on my blog or something like that.  The truth of the matter is 90% of the time I'm on my phone, I'm on Instagram.  I use Instagram to promote my blog & my shop and to just share parts of my life.  Even if you don't use Instagram in a professional way, these apps are perfect for making a beautiful feed.  
Phonto (free + in app purchases)
I've tooted Phonto's horn for like ages on the blog.  See a full review here.  And I'm back, again, to toot something - text presets.  If you share a lot on Instagram and are worried of your work being shared, reposted, etc with out proper credit, Phonto can help you with a watermark.  The best thing about the presets is that you can set a few and then you don't have to type out your blog address, Instagram name, or shop address.
To add the presets, click on the three lines at the bottom of the edit screen, select Settings, then tap Preset Text.  Select Add New Text and type in your preset.  To add it to your image, tap the scree to add text then use the left arrow to arrow over to the preset you'd like to use.  If you favorite a few of the zillions of fonts offered in the app then you're done with your watermark in like 2 seconds.  This is helpful for me because I tend to put all the words I overlay in all caps and sometimes I forget to double tap the shift and then I have to start over. By the way, I just realized how dumb the previous sentence sounded...but it's true!  I don't want to have to retype!  Phonto is seriously a fun and easy mini design machine for your iPhone or iPad.  (if you want another fun font over photos type app I used to love Phoster! It makes your images into faux-posters...you can add folds, etc....check it out!  You should also check out Text Mask...it's pretty cool for adding text too.  Tutorial here.)

Afterlight (.99 cents + in app purchases)
Here is another app I've boasted about before!  (See the full review here.)  This app I love because it is super easy to design your own filters.  Much like actions would work in a program like Photoshop, you can design and save you're own presets to get consistent photos across the board.  This is called fusion in the app.  I have a specific 'blog' fusion that I use on nearly all my blog photos and my Instagram photos.
It gives them that je ne sais quoi slightly filtered look that I'm in love with.  You can set as many as you'd like (I believe) and even email them to friends or to yourself to install on all your devices.  I have the 'blog' fusion filter on both my phone and iPad incase I'm on one or the other.  You can also add to the fusion later, if you wish.  I emailed myself my blog fusion filter and then added to the original one - bumped up more brightness, etc - because some photos may need a little bit more.  (If you find you'd like to do some detail work - targeted highlights/contrast/etc - try Snapseed.  If ever I find one corner of my photo is a little too dark I run it through Snapseed first.  This app is also super detailed and like a master photo-editing app for your phone.  I'm always impressed.  Oh, and VSCO Cam also is pretty impressive.  In doing research for this post I found that there are some pretty interesting tools you can use now!)

Picframe (.99 cents)
Once again, I have a horn to toot.  Here is the full review of PicFrame but if you're wondering why I choose PicFrame over the hundreds if not thousands of collage apps, here's the reason - it's the first one I downloaded.  Its a damn good collage app!  Nothing is frilly about this app.  there's your standard grid style collages.  Nothing crazy, no diagonals, no star shapes, no funny business.  It is sleek and simple.  I use it in the basic way possible and add none of the minimal extras that are in the app - filters, frame shapes, banners, etc.  I used it to make the screen shot collages above!  I keep it to collage and that's that - square collage, horizontal collage, vertical collage, just collage.  The best part is I can use a simple slider to get rid of the white lines between each image.  Its all in the design of this app for me.  (If you want a free collage app, you'll have to search yourself! I will never leave my beloved PicFrame!)

All of these apps help me keep a professional and well composed image on my Instagram page.  Not all of my pictures are perfect - and I like it that way - but when I want to take one of those pretty pictures this is where I turn!  I can protect my work, add a dreamy filter, and showcase multiple things in one image.  These three apps are my solid go to before I even touch Instagram!

What apps do you use in conjunction with Instagram?  Any others to recommend?

xoxo, Moe

7.28.2015

Achieve Vibrant Purple Hair at Home

I used to have a folder on my phone with images of purple hair pulled from Pinterest.  One day I found a box of deep purple dye at the drugstore (it was Vidal Sassoon London Lilac - which I'd still recommend) and dyed the under layer of my hair purple.  Once I fell in love with it, I then decided to make it official and headed to the salon.  I did that for while then I decided that I didn't really want to pay a zillion dollars to get my hair dyed each month, I tried to find a cheaper alternative.  
The dye I used in the salon was Pravana, I'm pretty sure I used the color Wild Orchid on the bottom layer of my hair and then Violet on the top layer.  You can find Pravana online at places like Ebay and Amazon for about a drug store price.  However, if you don't like to wait, you can head to the actual drugstore and pick up Splat Hair Color.
I found Splat after going to Sally's only to find that the only bright colored hair dye was temporary.  Splat does make temporary color however the range of permanent hair dye colors is great.  I chose the color Lusty Lavender as I thought it would be something different than what I had, however the lavender color closely matched the Wild Orchid color from Pravana.  Eventually I decided to try out the other purple color, Purple Desire.  As of this post, my hair has a layer of Purple Desire on the top layer and then the rest of my hair is Lusty Lavender.

Each box comes with a bleach kit and the color.  If you have medium length or longer hair, you may need two boxes but at about $11.99 at Walgreens (where I buy mine), that's pretty affordable.  The cheapest I've found it was Target, but the shade range is limited.
This is my hair just with Lusty Lavender, you can see it's more pink than purple on bleached hair.  It looks nothing like the box and never did!  It also really sticks to well bleached areas, like my roots.

I would suggest getting a bowl and brush from Sally's as this will make for easier application.  Pick up a box of gloves as well!  The first go round I did not use a bowl and a brush.  I found that my hair did not bleach evenly because I ran out of bleach towards the end (I would recommend getting two boxes to start with if you're hair is shoulder length or longer!)  With good rationing and bowl + brush, I might have been able to make the bleach go through the length of my hair.  I also missed pieces when I was using the dye applicator provided with the box so I used a second box (just the dye) to touch up the places I missed.  The third time I dyed my hair, the bowl and brush helped tremendously.

I recently re-dyed my hair.  I started with the bleach first, just on the roots.  The bowl and the brush were very helpful here because I only needed a little bit of bleach to do all of my roots.  I sectioned my hair into very thin layers and went all the way around bleaching my roots, using a mirror to help me see the back when I needed.  When in doubt, I made the layer of hair very thin to make sure I didn't miss any parts.  Once this is rinsed out you'll need to dry your hair to apply the dye.  I usually do the bleach one night then the dye the next.
When I went in with the dye, I did the same thing - sectioned my hair into very thin layers and then started at the root and pulled the color through with the brush.  Instead of doing my roots first and then the rest of my head, I did each section all at once because it was easier for me.  To get the top layer a different shade of purple I first sectioned a U shape of hair from about my temples back.  Using a clip, I kept this section up an out of the way.  You don't have to have multiple bowls either - I rinsed my bowl & brush between applications and made sure to dry them.

This purple color will stain!! So to be careful I suggest getting all the bathroom rugs and other stuff out of the way.  Use an old towel over your sink and just take it slow.  You won't be a pro the first time you do this but you'll get better, promise.  The water in the shower will continue to run purple for quite a while - even up to the point the next month where you need to dye it again.  So be careful when you're hair is wet that you're not sleeping on the queens sheets!  Make sure you dry your body super well, too, because you don't want purple foot prints on the carpet down the hall.  I'm lucky that we use black towels!  Also don't put your towel on the floor or on something else while it's wet as the purple might leach onto the carpet, tile, pile of dirty clothes.  Wash these towels together too so your other clothes don't end up stained.
To keep my hair color lasting longer I try to shampoo it at most 3 times per week.  When I do shampoo I use the Redken Color Magnetics shampoo and then whatever conditioner I have on hand.  Splat also makes a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner to preserve color.

Overall, I am very impressed with this dye and have gotten many compliments on it.  I will continue to use this brand as I think it lasts long enough & the price is decent.  I highly recommend these kits to anyone who is looking to maintain fun colored hair, permanently, at an affordable price!

I hope this was helpful!  Do you have any fun hair coloring tips?

xoxo, Moe

7.27.2015

Make it Monday // Create Planner Stickers using Cricut Explore

I've been using my Cricut Explore to create stickers for a few months now and have been asked to share how I do so...since the Cricut isn't the go to for sticker making.  I am one of those people that have always found a way to make things work for me.  If something has limitations, you've got to find a way to work around them.  For example, you may know that PicMonkey is my go to for quick designing and photo editing when I don't want to open up Photoshop.  I've learned to make the limited capacity of PicMonkey work for me and found that you can really do a lot with the simple program.  (See all the PicMonkey tutorials here.)
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.  thank you for your support.

That is how I feel about the Cricut Explore and Cricut Design space.  The library of images is expansive, some are free, some are part of yearly or monthly subscription, and some you can purchase individually or as a cartridge (or image collection).  When I purchased my Cricut Explore I got a 3 month trial of the subscription for free but have since purchased my own.  You can subscribe to a monthly plan for $9.99 or a yearly plan for $99.99, both are great deals and totally recommend it! 
Above is a video on how I made simple washing machine stickers using the free images in Design Space!  I also use the slice tool to create my own image using two free images found in the image library.  Super simple to be creative!
The Cricut program doesn't have too much of a learning curve and you can totally make it work for you!  This is how I design a most of my stickers in the shop - I use various images already available and assemble my own.  Take a look here at the stickers already for sale but new stickers will be added this week!

Hope this little screen cast tutorial was helpful!

How do you use Cricut Design Space?  Have you made stickers yet?

xoxo, Moe