10 Ways to Save Money On Christmas Decor

If you know me well, you know I hate paying retail price for anything.  I’m one of those annoying people who will tell you how much I paid for something when you compliment me on it because I’m so proud of the price I paid for it.  Sorry, it’s a hereditary condition– I get it from my mother.

As with most things in my home, almost all of my Christmas decor was purchased during a sale or as a second-hand item.  So today I’m sharing 10 ways to save money on Christmas decor.

10 GREAT ways to save money on Christmas decor!

1. Black Friday Sales
Take advantage of Black Friday sales.  JoAnn Fabric is a great place to look.  Most of their Christmas decor is 50-60% off, plus they typically have 20-25% off coupons for Friday and Saturday.  I purchased the garland and bow for my tomato cage Christmas tree (which cost me only $14 to make) a couple years ago during JoAnn’s Black Friday sale.  This year I purchased a few new ornaments at Kohls.  They were 50% off, plus I had a 15% off coupon.  Not a Black Friday brick and mortar shopper?  Many store websites offer the same deals on their websites on Black Friday and you can typically get free shipping.

tomato+cage+christmas+tree+6

2. Shop Small Saturday Sales
Check out your local small businesses on Shop Small Saturday (following Thanksgiving), many offer discounts on certain Christmas merchandise.  The stores I went in this past Shop Small Saturday were offering 20-25% off Christmas decor.  I got a pretty amazing flocked wreath for $25, and I felt good spending my money in a local business.

3. Cyber Monday Sales
As with Black Friday, many stores offer Cyber Monday sales on their Christmas decor.  Be sure to search for additional store coupons to use.  Just do a Google search of the store’s name and “coupon code”.

4. Day After Christmas Sales
I highly recommend getting up early and checking out the sales on December 26th.  Many stores mark down Christmas decor to 50-70% off.  I’ve found some of my most favorite Christmas items during Day After Christmas sales.  Target is usually my first stop.  Back in 2007, I found my glass Christmas ornaments for $2.50 a box (10 ornaments per box) at Target’s day after Christmas sale.  If you’re wanting to change up the look of your Christmas tree and do new ornaments, this is the time to buy new ones.  This is also a great time to stock up on Christmas lights because you know some of the strands that worked this year magically won’t work next year.

jewel-tone-christmas-ornaments-1

5. Thrift Stores
Most thrift stores have holiday sections.  But since the selection changes so frequently, it’s best to hit up your favorite thrift stores often.  Don’t limit yourself to only the holiday section though.  Browse other sections and see what you can think up.  Check out the blanket section– you may be able to find a nice blanket or quilt that can be used as a tree skirt.  Hit up the kitchen section for glass containers and vases to fill with ornaments.

Last year, I found these great vintage stockings at a thrift store outlet.  I purchased the sweaters for my sweater presents at a thrift store, and the books were also thrift store purchases.

christmas-card-catalog

6. Yard & Garage Sales
I’ve seen plenty of Christmas decor for sale at yard and garage sales.  You may not have Christmas on the mind when you’re hitting up sales in the sweltering summer heat, but make a list of things you’d like to have for the upcoming Christmas season so you can keep your eyes peeled.  If you’re a hardcore garage/yard sale aficionado, ask your friends and family if there’s anything special they’re looking for.  I’m sure they would appreciate you looking and perhaps they’ll give you a finders fee tip.

7. Craigslist
I see all kinds of Christmas decor (indoor and outdoor) for sale on Craigslist.  From artificial trees to Christmas plates & serve ware to vintage ornaments, you’ll find just about anything.  I purchased 6 manzanita branches from a lady I found on Craigslist who used them for her wedding reception.  I planned to use them for our wedding but ultimately opted not to use them, so I sold all but one of them.  I use the one branch I kept (and sprayed painted white) for my silver and blue Christmas centerpiece.  While I didn’t purchase the branches with the intention of using them in my Christmas decor it worked out nicely, so keep your mind open when browsing CL.

silver-and-blue-centerpiece-1

Remember to meet in a public place, like a busy store, and take someone with you if you plan to meet with a Craigslist seller.  If the seller refuses to meet you inside a public location like I mentioned, move on.

8. Use Items You Already Own
I used to have a slight obsession with purchasing glass containers and vases.  I always use them in my Christmas decor.  My go-to way of using them is to put ornaments in them.  Have an old blanket or quilt?  Use it as a tree skirt, throw it over a chair, or in a basket.  In the photo of the card catalog above, I used a cake stand and cloche I already had for the pinecone display.  In the photo below, I used my great-grandma’s quilt and a blanket my great aunt knitted for Brad and me in a wire basket below our card catalog.

silver-and-blue-centerpiece

basket-of-blankets

9. Swap with Family and/or Friends
Tired of you Christmas decor?  Swap with a family member or friend!  It’s free and both of you get to enjoy new-to-you decor for a year or more.

10. Do-It-Yourself!
There are so many things you can make– wreaths, ornaments, trees, printables, and more!  There are tons of tutorials in blogland for you to follow.  There’s also an endless amount of free printables that you can print at home and slap in a frame– instant Christmas decor!

peppermint wreath 1

Here are some of my inexpensive Christmas decor tutorials and free printables:
tomato cage Christmas tree
peppermint monogram wreath
sweater presents
“joy” sign
ribbon Christmas card display
“eat drink and be merry” printable
“tis the season to be jolly” printable
“holly jolly” printables

Remember, you can have a beautifully decorated home for Christmastime without breaking the bank.

Stalk away!

12 Things to Know Before Your Wedding Day

Ah, your wedding day.  One of the most special and important days in someone’s life.  If you know anything about my wedding day, you know it wasn’t your typical wedding day.  I’ve already shared that aspect of my big day, so today I wanted to share some other things I learned on my wedding day in hopes that what I share will help another bride-to-be on her special day.

1.  Don’t wear heels for your rehearsal, unless you’re a frequent heel wearer.
I’m not a big heel wearer because I’m tall enough sans shoes.  But I wore 3 inch wedges for our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  HUGE mistake.  I was struggling to walk in my 2 inch heels 3 hours into my wedding day.  If you do wear heels for your rehearsal pop on some flats for the rest of the evening, especially if your feet aren’t conditioned to walk in heels.  Also, bring a separate pair of comfortable shoes to wear on your wedding day– just in case.  I bought some circa 1998 platform flip flops (so my dress wouldn’t drag on the floor and so I wouldn’t trip on my dress) to wear on the dance floor at our reception.

ivory wedding shoes

2.  Baby wipes are your best friend.
We did First Look photos outside before our ceremony which meant that the bottom hem of my dress was dirty even though I picked it up when I walked around.  When my bridal party and I got to our ceremony venue my Maid of Honor busted out some baby wipes and went to town cleaning the hem of my dress.  The baby wipes were magical– taking all the dirt off my dress.  When I walked down the aisle no one could tell how dirty it was 3o minutes earlier.  The baby wipes also came in handy when our caterers spilled barbecue sauce on a food station tablecloth.  And instead of removing the tablecloth they flipped it over.  So when I went to get my food I got barbecue sauce ALL OVER the front of my wedding dress.  Thank goodness for those baby wipes– they got the sauce off in no time.  Note: My dress was satin.  Make sure you can use baby wipes on your dress material.

getting dress cleaned

3.  Take your dress off to use the restroom.
Yep.  When I needed to go to the bathroom I took my Maid of Honor with me.  She unzipped my dress, I stepped out of the dress, she held the dress up like I was still in it, I did my business, washed my hands, jumped back into the dress, she zipped me up, and we were on our way.  SO much easier than having 3-5 bridesmaids hold up your dress while you pee.  Granted this tip works best if you have a dress you can easily get in and out of.  If all else fails pull a Bethenny Frankel and pee in a trashcan.  I won’t judge you.

wedding dress photo

4.  Hair and makeup trials are a must.
I 100% believe in getting your makeup and hair professionally done for your wedding day.  When else will you get the chance to have your makeup professionally airbrushed?  Splurge a little.  Things are stressful enough to be doing your own makeup and hair.  I also strongly believe in having at least one makeup and one hair trial.  This is so important.  Take photo examples to show how you want your hair and makeup to look.  When you get home from your trials, have someone take photos of you from every angle.  I decided I didn’t want my hair pinned up to the side based on how I looked in photos I took after my hair trial.

bridal makeup 1

5.  Give yourself more than enough time on your wedding day.
Things will run behind schedule.  I was an hour late getting to my First Look because my hair took longer than expected.  And I was a frazzled mess.  (I hate being late.)  In my opinion, the bride should be the first to get her hair or makeup done.  If she’s getting her hair done someone else can be getting their makeup done, but the bride is the number one priority.  If you think it’ll take you 3 hours to get ready plan for 4-5 hours.  Trust me.  If you’re ahead of schedule your photographer can get more bridal shots of you or photos of you and your bridesmaid in your bridal suite.  It’s always best to be ahead of schedule rather than behind schedule.  But remember, if you are running late don’t freak out too much– they can’t start without you.

Brad&Chelsea_W_0265

6.  Something will go wrong.
Face it.  Something will go wrong.  I haven’t met anyone who said everything went perfectly on their wedding day.  If you’re me, your DJ will fail to fully plug in a cable, causing your music to cut out while your wedding party is processing down the aisle.  Your caterer will spill barbecue sauce on a food station table cloth and you’ll get barbecue all over the front of your wedding dress.  Your grandma will pass away the morning of your wedding day.  Not kidding.  True story.  Read all about it here.  But don’t live in fear of what could go wrong on your special day.  Just be prepared to roll with the punches, although nothing can really prepare a person for what I experienced.  So here’s some perspective: when you’re flipping out because your florist used roses instead of peonies for your bouquet, just know that things could be worse.  Way worse.

Brad&Chelsea_W_0124

7.  Have buffers.
This was such a hard lesson I had learn on my wedding day.  You need buffers.  People who will intercept information so you aren’t made aware.  One of your buffers is on phone duty.  It’s their responsibility to intercept all messages and phone calls and relay the information they deem pertinent.  If something catastrophic should arise, they are to discuss the situation with your other buffers and important people (your family, wedding coordinator, etc.) to decide whether or not you should be made aware of the situation.  Read more about why I think brides (and grooms) need buffers here.

8.  Have a wedding day survival kit.
My Maid of Honor had one and so did my Day of Wedding Coordinator.  Google “wedding day survival kit”.  Some things I think you should definitely have in your kit: water, deodorant, mints, aspirin/ibuprofen, antacid, lipgloss/lipstick, dental floss, sewing kit, first aid kit, touch-up powder, bobby pins, mirror, band-aids, baby wipes, white chalk, stain remover, safety pins, smelling salts, hand sanitizer, scissors, Q tips, lint roller.

9.  Hold your bouquet low.
For the love, hold your bouquet low.  I cringe when I see brides holding their bouquets up by their faces.  It may feel weird to hold it low, but trust me, it looks so much better. Before walking down the aisle with my dad and stepdad, I held my bouquet where I wanted it and told them to hook my arms.  Do the same with whoever walks you down the aisle.

bride with two dads walking down aisle

kjgvkgkg

10.  Walk slowly down the aisle.
It’s not a marathon.  Think about it, you get one time (hopefully) to walk down the aisle.  One time.  Savor it.  I told my dad and stepdad to follow my lead.  Do the same with the person or persons who walk you down the aisle– don’t let them speed you up.  So, walk slowly.  Smile.  And carry that bouquet low, sister.  (This goes for bridesmaids, too.)

11.  Have your Maid of Honor practice bustling your dress before the wedding day.
Having your Maid of Honor (or whoever will be bustling your dress) practice bustling your dress before your big day will save time.  If possible, have her accompany you to your last fitting so your seamstress can show her how to do it.  Note: I had a one-point bustle and it held strong all night, never breaking.  I credit my seamstress using Ric-Rac ribbon.

bustlin

12. Have a receiving line.
I know some people hate receiving lines.  I don’t really understand their hatred because I love them.  We had our receiving line as guests came from cocktail hour to pick up their escort cards and head into the reception hall.  I’m a receiving line fan because I was able to see and greet everyone who came to our wedding.  That way, later down the road, I didn’t say with regret, “Oh no, I never said hello and thank you for coming to so-and-so or so-and-so.”  Brad and I covered all 120 of our wedding guests in 15-20 minutes.  It went quickly because people wanted to sit down and eat.  Plus, I think having a line of people behind you kind of puts the pressure on to keep it short and sweet.

receiving line 1

I hope you found at least one of these things to know before your wedding day helpful.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
What’s something that happened on your wedding day that you weren’t prepared for?

12 Things to Know Before Your Wedding Day

More about our wedding:
Before the Ceremony
Ceremony
Reception
The Details

Stalk away!

Voicing Grievances with Companies

A month ago I was doing one of my most detested domestic duties– folding and putting away laundry.  As I pulled one of the drawers in our dresser I felt it come off the track.  Right away I knew what happened.  One of the cheapo plastic drawer guides had broken.  Again.  We already had one replaced while we were still under our 1-year warranty… 3 years ago.  Since we’re no longer under warranty, I took my grievance to twitter and sent the company we purchased the dresser from a tweet, letting them know I was disappointed in the plastic drawer guide.  I probably wasn’t the nicest and a little over dramatic, but I was upset– we paid good money for this dresser.

broken drawer guide

The person behind the account said he/she would pass my concern on so they could look into the quality issue.  While that was great, I wanted a solution for my problem.  So I asked if they could send me some plastic guides so I could repair the drawer.  The person told me to send an email to a certain address, and they would see what they could do.  I sent an email asking for drawer guides to repair the broken drawer and some extras for any additional guides that may break in the future.

A week later I received a package.  It contained 20 front and 20 back drawer guides.

drawer guides

I was happy with how the company handled my issue.  They even left me two different voicemails (I was working and couldn’t answer my phone) saying they were shipping the package.

The moral of this story?  Never be afraid to contact a company to voice your grievance and ask for a solution when it comes to a product you paid your hard-earned money for.  Have a reasonable solution in mind when contacting the company.  Would it have been reasonable for me to ask to return the dresser for a full refund after owning it for almost 4 years?  No.  Was it reasonable to ask for replacement drawer guides?  I think so, yes.

Have you had luck contacting a company with a grievance?

In other news, I’m guest posting over on one of the very first blogs I read: Just a Girl.  Stop by and say hi!

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What to Take to a Blog Conference + Printable Checklist

 

In a few weeks I’m heading to SNAP!, a crafts and home DIY blog conference in Salt Lake City.  I’m pretty excited because I had an amazing time at Haven last year.  Blog conferences are downright fun.  You’re with your people.  They get you, and you get them.  Plus, you learn a lot.

Around this time is when bloggers start to freak out a little about what to take to a blog conference, especially newbies.  Do I take my laptop?  Will I need my DSLR?  What will I wear?!  Rest assured, I’m here to clue you in on what to take to a blog conference.

Now, I’m not an expert because I’ve only been to one conference, but I quickly learned what to bring and what not to bring.  So let’s start with your blogger bag.  It’s the bag you’ll carry with you during the conference.

what to put in your blogger bag

1. Bag
In order to have a blogger bag you’ll need a bag.  A nice sized tote is a good choice.  Feel free to splurge and get a smaller bag to curtail the little stuff you’ll put in the bag.

2. Smartphone
This is kind of a no brainer, but you’ll want your smartphone.  You’re going to want to tweet people and post pics of you and your favorite bloggers on Instagram.  You’re also going to want to use your smartphone to take photos.

3. iPad/tablet
An iPad is great for taking notes in breakout sessions, especially if you prefer typing over writing.

4. Notebook
You’ll want a notebook for notes (obviously), especially if you don’t bring a tablet.  I used my notebook and iPad at Haven last year.

5. Pens
Bring more than one pen.  You’re bound to lose one.  Plus it’s nice to have a couple to lend people who forgot or lost theirs.

6. Business Cards & Holder
You’re at a blog conference to network so it’s kind of silly to show up without business cards.  (Read about mine here.)  And you don’t want to fumble around your bag for your cards when someone asks for one, so invest in a business card holder.  There are plenty on Etsy.

7. Mints
Who wants to have rank breath when they meet their blog idol?  No one.  That’s who.

8. Hand Lotion
Sometimes you hug people, sometimes you shake hands.  Which now reminds me that I should have put hand sanitizer on this list.  Anyway, keep your hands moisturized for all the hand shaking with some lotion.

9. Water Bottle
Wet your whistle.  You’ll be talking a lot.

10. Lip Gloss
Sometimes you hug people, sometimes you kiss people.  Hah.  Just kidding.  Keep your smackers looking pretty and hydrated with some lip gloss.

11. Smartphone Backup Battery
Your phone battery will die.  I promise this will happen to you.  Save yourself a headache and invest in a smartphone backup battery.

optional things to bring

1. DSLR camera
I lugged my DSLR all the way to Haven to not use it.  I took photos with my iPhone or if I was in a photo taken with a DSLR I’d ask the DSLR’s owner if she could email me the pic.  Worked out fine for me.

2. Laptop
I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to bring your laptop.  I didn’t take one to Haven since I had an iPad.  You won’t have time to work on blog posts or edit photos at a blog conference.  Leaving your laptop at home means one less thing you have to drag around the airport with you.

3. Duffel Bag
To put the bodies in.  Just kidding.  There’s typically a fair amount of swag at blog conferences.  If you’re flying, I recommend bringing along a durable duffel bag in your checked bag.  When the conference is over, you can put your dirty clothes in the duffel bag and your swag in your suitcase.  This way you’re able to take your swag home with you.  Trust me, it’s no fun leaving swag behind.  Since you’re only flying one way, the checked duffel bag should only cost you an additional $20-$25 to get it home.  Darn airlines making us pay for checked bags nowadays.

4. Media Kits
Your media kit is a piece of paper that tells all about you and your blog.  Some things you’ll find on a media kit are: type of blog, history of the blog, photo of the author, about the author, statistics, some blog photos, advertising policy, brands the author has worked with, etc.  Media kits come in handy when meeting and talking with brand representatives.

5. Power Strip
If you’re going to have 3+ roommates you may want to consider bringing a power strip so there will be enough outlets to charge all of your electronics.  However, I stayed with two other girls at Haven, and I never used the one I brought because there were enough outlets for the three of us.

6. Roommate Gifts
Some bloggers will bring little gifts for their roommates as a preemptive apology for passing gas or hogging the bathroom mirror.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.  It could be a candle, their favorite candy, or some cute stationary.  If this gives you anxiety (will my roommates bring me a gift and I’m the jerk who shows up empty handed?) talk to your roommates about it beforehand and tell them you don’t expect a gift or settle on everyone bringing a bag of dried fruit candy to share.  Or you could take it to the next level and do a white elephant of sorts.

7. E-reader
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time flying or hanging out in airports between flights I recommend bringing your e-reader along.  You won’t need it during the conference.  Unless you’re totally anti-social.  But that won’t happen because you’ll be with your people, remember?

Now, because I’m the nicest person in the world, I created a blog conference packing checklist for you.  Oh, stop it.  You don’t have to tell me how awesome I am.

I added the lines next to the clothing and accessories so you can specifically list which pieces of clothing you want to bring (ex: blue dress, jean jacket, emerald earrings).

Click on the image to download the checklist.

blog conference packing checklist

Do you have to bring everything on the checklist?  No.  Decide what you want to bring based on what you think your needs are.  If you won’t use your laptop, don’t bring it.  But please bring your deodorant.  You’ll definitely need that.

Will I see you at SNAP?
Any blog conference tips for newbies?
Is there something you bring to conference that I left out?

I’m sharing this at the following parties: Home Stories A to ZTatertots and JelloHouse of HepworthsLiz Marie BlogThe Shabby NestPositively SplendidWhipperberryClassy ClutterToday’s Creative BlogUncommon DesignsCraftberry BushDesign, Dining, & DiapersCrafty Scrappy HappySnap Creativity, and Serenity Now.

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Favorite Phone Camera Apps + Tips

Many of you know that I love me some Instagram (I’m twotwentyone).  I often get comments asking about my photos so I thought I’d do a post sharing my favorite phone camera apps and some tips.

How to take better smartphone photos!  Up your Instagram game!

Let’s start with some tips for taking better photos.  Then I’ll answer some of my IG friends’ questions.  I’m going to include photos I’ve taken with my iPhone 4s and posted to IG to keep things interesting and visual for you guys.  I know reading can get boring and what not.

Tip #1
Take your photos with your phone’s camera.  Don’t use the IG camera.  The resolution isn’t the best.  So take the photo with your phone’s camera and import it into IG (at the very least).

Tip #2
Use the focus feature by tapping on what you want to be in focus.  By doing this you can also adjust the light in the photo.

pink roses

Tip #3
Find the light.  If you’re taking a photo of something that can be moved, move it toward some light.  When I take photos of fresh cut flowers in my house, most of the time I move them into my office to get a nice, well lit photo of them because my office is the brightest room in our house.  Call it cheating if you want.  Or say that’s putting too much effort into it, but I love taking photos with my DSLR camera and my phone’s camera so I’ll do what I can to get a better shot.  Even if that means moving a vase of daffodils from my living room to my office.  So sue me.

Tip #4
Hold your phone still.  Much like with a real camera, you’ll get better photos if you’re not moving your phone when trying to take a photo.

daffodils

Tip #5
This may sound silly, but make sure your smartphone camera lens is clean.  This seems to be a problem for people with children.  Of course your photos are going to come out blurry if you have a layer of graham cracker+drool film on the lens.  Just sayin’.

Tip #6
Try your best NOT to use the front-facing camera lens on your phone (the lens where if you’re looking at your phone you can see yourself).  The front-facing lens has a lower resolution than the back-facing camera lens, thus producing lower-quality, less crisp photos.

indiana state fairgrounds normandy barn

Tip #7
Don’t zoom before you take a photo.  The photo will come out pixely and blurry.  Either get closer, or take the photo and then zoom and crop as needed.

Tip #8
Use the grid (open camera app > options > grid > on).  There’s this thing called the Rule of Thirds.  It’s a composition guideline.  You can Google it and read all about it, but basically you use your grid– 9 equal segments (2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines).  When abiding by the Rule of Thirds, you should position the most important objects in your photo along the lines, or where the lines intersect.  Do I always use the Rule of Thirds?  No, but it’s a good guideline for taking more dynamic photos.

Now, on to the question portion!

Do you use your phone’s camera to take your pics?
Yep.  I take all of my IG photos with my iPhone 4s.  If it’s not taken with my iPhone I’ll let you know, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t use my phone to take a pic.

hens and chicks

Do you use any special accessories?  What about an additional flash?
Nope.  I wouldn’t mind getting my paws on an olloclip 3-in-1 lens but I always use an Otterbox defender case (I’m clumsy) and I’d have to take my case off anytime I wanted to use the olloclip.  I never use the flash on my phone to take pics I post on IG.

mezzadaki

Do you use the same Instagram filter?  If so, which one?
Here’s a graph of my most used filters.  As you can see, I use no filter the most, followed by Nashville.

filter usage

If you’re wondering where I got the graphic, it’s from statigram.  It’s a website that tells you all of your IG stats.  Kind of like Google Analytics but for IG.  Pretty cool site.

roses

How do you refrain from posting nonsense on Instagram?
I’m sure I’ve posted plenty of nonsense.  I guess it depends on what you consider nonsense.  In fact, a lot of the time when I think I’m posting something dumb I get more likes or comments than I was expecting.  It’s perplexing.  I thought maybe 30 people would like this photo of Jack, but apparently 126 people thought it was great.  Sometimes I’ll stop and ask myself if whatever I’m thinking about posting is post-worthy.  I will say, I’m not a fan when people post gross things.  Here I am, eating my lunch, scrolling through my feed when a photo of your bloody appendage is staring me in the face.  Ew. Gross. No thank you.

jack

Now, onto the apps I use most often.

Camera+
This is my go to app for basic edits.  I also like using it if I’m shooting something that’s moving or if I’m moving because it has a faster shutter speed than my iPhone camera.

snowy park

Pro HDR
Perfect for landscapes.  I’ll also use this app to brighten photos.  You can use the app two different ways.  You can import a photo you already took with your phone’s camera, or you can use the app’s camera.  The app’s camera takes two photos.  (Now I’ll let the people from Pro HDR explain the rest.)  “Pro HDR captures an image exposed for the highlights and another exposed for the shadows.  It then aligns and merges the images, giving you a gorgeous HDR image…”  Pretty cool, eh?

indiana red barn

XnView Fx
Great all around app.  Tons of editing features: crop, rotate, straighten, mirror.  You can adjust the brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, color balance.  This app also boasts a bunch of cool filters.

vintage thread spools

Diptic
Perfect for collages.

snow collage

To give you an idea of how awesome your iPhone can be, I shot the photos for both of these recipe posts with my iPhone (+ some minor photo editing) when my DSLR was in the shop.

Buttery Cream Cheese Bites
buttery-cream-cheese-bites

Spring Sandwich Cookies
spring-sandwich-cookies

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little phone camera lesson!  If you want to learn about more apps and tips visit my iPhone Pinterest board.

I hope you’ll find me on IG (@twotwentyone) and say hi!

Are you an IG lover?
Did you find this post insightful?
Got any additional questions?

Stalk away!

For All The Big Footed Gals

I’m straying from my home/DIY blogging routine today.  The topic of discussion today is shoes.  Shoes for those of us with tugboats for feet.  This topic came up when I posted a photo of my new black suede wedges on Instagram and Facebook.  All my big footed friends came out of the woodwork.  So I thought I’d bring the topic over to the blog.

big footed collage

I’ve always had big feet.  I’m guessing this is due to the fact that I’ve been 5’10″ since the ripe ole age of 11.  I’m. Not. Kidding.  I wear size 11 wide shoes.  I’ve always worn wide shoes, but they’re more imperative now that I’m an 80 year old woman with a bunion on my right foot.  Seriously.  I’m destined to not be a ‘shoe girl’.

Alright, let’s start with where I buy my mamajama shoes.  I’m not a big in-store shoe shopper because many stores don’t carry my size.  But when I feel up to in-person shoe shopping I’ll hit up Nordstrom or Payless.  I’m a big fan of online shoe shopping.  My VIP Zappos membership may have something to do with that (free 1 business day shipping).  Zappos has a great selection and offers free shipping and free return shipping.  And you have a year to return your shoes (unworn, of course).  Nordstrom has a good selection online as well.  One of my Facebook fans recommended Barefoot Tess, but I’ve never purchased shoes from there.  Another site that carries larger sizes is 6PM, but I haven’t purchased shoes from there yet either.

Here are some shoes I own and wear on a regular basis in case you’re in the market.

It took me a while to find some good knee high boots.  These wide calf Lumiani boots from Zappos are my go-to boots for fall and winter.  They’re great boots but they start to hurt my feet if I walk in them a really long time because of the sole.  They probably just need some inserts for comfort.

lumiani

Every girl needs a nice pair of black heels.  I love my black patent heels by Bella Vita.

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These are the black suede wedges I bought from Payless.  I broke them in on Friday night.  So far, so good.

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I love these wedges by Annie for summertime.  I bought this pair last spring, and I love them.

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I got these leopard ballet flats from Payless last fall.  I wear them all the time.  They don’t have them on their website anymore, here’s a similar pair.

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I recently bought these nude heels by Trotters.  I like them but I’m still deciding.  Have I mentioned how much I love Zappos?

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Looking for wedding shoes?  Here’s mine by Vaneli.  Great wedding shoes.  They probably would have felt more comfortable than they did if I hadn’t worn crazy tall wedges for 8 hours the evening before our wedding.1046733-p-MULTIVIEW

Most of my athletic shoes have been Nikes or Asics.  Both brands make wide width shoes.

I find most of my inexpensive, ‘trendy’ sandals (you know, the ones that last a year or two) at Kohls, Target, or Payless.  I’m a big fan of the Nike Celso sandals.  Yeah, they aren’t the most fashion forward sandals, but they’re super comfy and perfect for running errands or working around the house.  Sandals are easier for us wide feet folks so wide width isn’t always necessary.

Are you a big footed gal?
Where do you find your shoes?

In completely unrelated news, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s (the guys who perform the song “Thrift Shop”) album ‘The Heist’ (MP3 version) is on sale for $3.99 on Amazon.

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