Saturday, March 28, 2015

DIY Gift Wrapping Ideas Using Photos

Put a unique spin on gift giving this year.  With today's technology we don't print enough (or any) of the amazing photos we take.  Here's a simple DIY project to change that.

I use to spend a lot of money on wrapping paper, ribbon, bows, and tags.  All for it to get ripped off as soon as the recipient receives it.  People are more interested on what's inside the package.  (Aren't we all?)  Here's an inexpensive way to get them to pause for a moment and appreciate the whole gift (and it's presentation) as they open it.

Personalize the outside of the package/box using a photo.  That's it!  This past Christmas I used brown craft paper, tissue paper for the puppy, photographs, and washi tape for all of my gifts.  They were a huge hit.  And I observed everyone saving the photos as well.  The washi tape peeled off nicely without any tearing.  I chose a Christmas themed tape to compliment the black and white photos.

The possibilities are endless.  Here's a list to inspire you.

* Baby shower gift-Use a baby photo of the Mom-to-be (or Dad)
* Graduation gift-Find a Kindergarten photo.
* Birthday-Use a photo from a previous celebration.
* Mother's Day/Father-Use a photo from the delivery room when you were born.
* Just Because-Chose a random photo of you and the recipient.
* Welcome Package (new neighbor)-Snap a photo of the Sold sign on the house they just bought.
* New Puppy-Attach a photo of your pup with some text suggesting a play-date.
* Wedding Gift-Previous date night photo of the happy couple.

And the list goes on and on.  Be creative and think outside the box.  Photographs aren't limited to a frame only.

There's more ideas coming soon on creative ways to display/use all the photographs we take.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Today's Catnap

When all else fails take a nap.

If your new to this series click here to read how it started.

To be continued next Friday.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easy Tips For Spring Cleaning Your Social Media Presence

Spring has officially arrived and if your like me you're eager to get everything tidy and in order for the upcoming season. While your cleaning out your closets and prepping the flower beds don't forget about your social media presence.  Especially if you run an online business.  Below I'll be sharing tips on how I cleaned up my accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and my personal blog. 

It's also a good time to take a look at how many active social media profiles you have.  I'm as anxious as you are to sign up for the next best thing, later to find out that I let it go stale. This could have a negative impact on your past, present, or future customers.  If you have virtual cobwebs present it's probably best to close that account.  Consider what works best for your business and what you have time for. 

Grab a little snack and let's get this going.


1.  Consider updating your profile photo if you haven't done so in a year or more.  If your using the internet for your business I recommend using the same photo (or similar) on all of your social media sites.  It'll help customers recognize you and build a connection.

2.  Complete/Update your bio.  Let your followers know what they can expect from your feed/page. Make sure your website address is correct.  I recently bought my domain so I had to go back and revise that area.  

3.  Double check that your contact link is connected to an active email.  If not, make the necessary adjustments.

4.  Change your password.  Yes, it's a pain to do, but once you get into a pattern of doing so you won't think twice about doing it.  Just think, the more traffic you generate with your online activity, the greater the opportunity for hackers to target you.


Cover the basics as stated above in numbers 1-4.

5.  Make sure when you upload an image for your header photo that it's centered.  Looking at someone's legs is kinda awkward.  Unless your company sells leggings.

6.  Utilize the option of pinning a tweet.  Read more about that here (#3).  Maybe you have a new eBook you would like to promote.  This is the perfect place for it.

Facebook (for business)

Cover the basics as stated above in numbers 1-4.

5.  Make sure your cover photo is centered.

6.  Complete your About section to reflect your business and relevant information you want people to know.

7.  Take a moment to reevaluate your Facebook business page name.  Recently I requested a name change.  First my page was titled, Eightymillion.  As life evolved I wanted to add Photography to the end of it.  It makes sense to me now as well as those who visit the page. 


Repeat numbers 1-4 above.

5.  Verify your website.  It'll help you brand your business and grow your audience.

6.  Clean up your boards.  Add/edit their descriptions.  Select an appropriate category for each. Choose an appealing cover photo for each board.

7.  Optional.  I like to alphabetize my boards.  Blame it on my OCD, but I like everything neat. However, it does have it's benefits.  When I'm looking back to locate a pin for a recipe or a DIY I can easily locate the board it's on.  And, when I browse through others people's accounts, it's easier to see which of their boards I want to follow if they're in alphabetical order.  It's a time saver!


Repeat numbers 1-4 above.

5.  Check your social media icons links to make sure they're working properly.  Those buttons generate a lot of traffic and you don't want a broken link.

6.  Make sure all of the clickable links in the sidebar are working.  Make sure your subscription sign up is working properly. Selling ad space?  Check those also.

7.  Optional.  Have you ever considered giving your blog a new look?  I outsourced this job last December and couldn't be happier.  If you know code you deserve a big hug!  I attempted to teach myself, but ended up spending too much time on it and got absolutely nowhere.  Outsourcing is no longer scary for me.  It frees up my time to do what I love.  There are so many talented graphic designers out there that do a great job.  Here's three of my favorite designers.  Kate, Sarah, and Reese.

Make a note in your calendar to run through this process at least once/twice a year to keep everything online nice and tidy! Of course as things change, you can always revisit to make the necessary updates.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Today's Catnap

Yesterday I announced a new series that my boyfriend and I are working on.  If you missed that introduction click here.  

Every Friday a new image will be released.  This project is solely for fun, but we hope that it encourages you to get out and take more photographs.  Especially those in which you're enjoying a quick "catnap". 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Today's Catnap: Introduction

Define catnap.

It's a short, light sleep; a doze.

Studies have shown that taking catnaps will help you live longer.  Additional health benefits are explained in this article.  You don't necessarily have to be in bed to take a quick snooze.  Read more here on how to squeeze in a quick nap.

Adam and I are working on this project together.  I'm behind the camera and he's my subject.  The whole idea is to show you, with images, various locations that you can sneak in a few minutes of rest and enjoy the scenery around you.  Keep in mind we want you to think outside the box. 

*My brother is pictured above.  I've been going through some family photos and thought this would be a good way to kick off the series.  The first catnap photo will be released tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kurt Cobain Documentary: Montage of Heck

Image Source,
During my last year of high school I discovered the band Nirvana.  I can still remember where I was when MTV's Kurt Loder first broke the news of Kurt Cobain's passing.  It was a sad day for music fans all around the world. Is the release of Montage of Heck going to be another sad day?  Let me explain.

Last week the first trailer from the upcoming documentary was released.

Viewers will get a glimpse inside of never before seen personal home movies, auto recordings, unreleased Nirvana music, artwork, and so much more.  It's been said that a book will follow the film, bearing the same title. 

I stumbled upon another good read discussing the upcoming film.   

So, why do I ask if this will be another sad day?  Because, if your in my age category, it'll open up a tragic event we experienced growing up, musically speaking.  Will this bring closure to all the mysteries behind Kurt Cobain's lyrics?  His musical talents influenced a lot of the music I listen to today and has had a lasting impact on people, myself included.  A legacy in which will be revived for only just a moment.

Until then, May 5th is marked on my calendar.

"Music calms all the chaos in the world."  ~something I tell myself frequently.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Movie Night: Finding Vivian Maier (Documentary)

Finding Vivian Maier.  An excellent documentary for those who love photography.  I screamed (really loud) when I saw that the DVD was available through Netflix.  The film has been nominated for several awards and yet another one tonight.

Finding Vivian Maier is up for an Oscar, in the Documentary Feature category, at the 87th Annual Award Ceremony. Take a moment to view the trailer if you already haven't.

A couple of my photo enthusiast friends recommended it to me.  There were some live screenings in the Quad Cities, but my work schedule never matched up.  I knew nothing about it, except for the fact that the subject was photography.  That one word is all it took to get my attention.  Little did I know that I would be getting so much more.  There are moments of inspiration, sadness, and silence.  I don't want to give away to much about the film therefore leaving some elements of surprise for you to discover on your own.  

The DVD sleeve reads...When longtime nanny Vivian Maier died in 2009, she left behind thousands of photo negatives that she'd produced over the years.  But the now-famous shutterbug's unique body of work lay in storage until an amateur historian uncovered the trove.

My boyfriend and I planned a movie night, turned on the surround sound, and enjoyed some popcorn. I was glued to the screen and his review was good as well.  To read more about Vivian and her work click here.

The bad news.  There is an ongoing legal battle over Vivian's work.  It's quite sad actually.  Read more about it here.  John Maloof bought one of her storage boxes at an auction.  He's dedicated years (and hours) of research into this mysterious nanny.  The most current article that I found was from the Chicago Tribune and it states that John has put any future plans of distribution on hold.  It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds.

Until then I will enjoy this book I received for Christmas.  Highly recommended if your into street photography.  And I have high hopes that there will be more books.

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