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In Lifestyle on
January 13, 2018

What’s ahead for the Speers in 2018

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA on here lately. I know I had promised at minimum one post a week and had been doing this for a while, but to be honest- I have run into some personal road blocks.

When the new year hit, I would have thought  I would be excited for new content, new material and new exciting things for the blog- but I wasn’t. This was the first time I’ve had this feeling and it’s got me thinkin’ for a bit about what it really means for me and the blog.

It took me a few weeks to realize that I have been putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself to post or create awesome content, that I feel like I’m loosing the joy I felt in doing it. I love to blog- when I can, it is a personal hobby of mine and a way to express myself. I do not want to give it up because I like to write and engage with you all. I felt like I owed it to myself & you all to explain how I have been feeling lately and the reason behind why I haven’t been posting as much.

I will continue to look for new blogging opportunities and continue to post but when I find the time and when I feel inspired to do so. I do not want to put a ‘deadline’ or ‘time frame’ on any posts, if I do not have to. Man, I already feel better getting this out.

On a side note, many of you already know this- but we finally purchased our first home (it’s been quite a journey for us as a family! [Read related post: How to land your dream home on the first try]. With this big time purchase we certainly have had our hands full- between packing + organizing, and all the “fun things” that come with closing on our first house. We are SO EXCITED about this new step as a family and can’t wait to share the whole home-owning process with you all! The good and the bad.

I look forward to sharing what we plan to do with you all, including before and after pictures, sharing my favorite decorating tips and tricks (especially on a budget) and taking you along with us as we transform our house into a cozy farm-style home.

Thank you all for your patience (and bearing with me) during this crazy-exciting time. Feel free to let me know what you love about my blog and what you enjoy seeing, so that I can create some posts centered around those things this coming year!

 

Love you all!

Jess

In Lifestyle on
November 29, 2017

How to take better quality pictures that will capture people’s attention

Hello everyone! Hope you are having a great day! I have had a bunch of people asking me lately about how I take “such great photos.” First, I’d like to thank you for your great compliments. I love that people think and I am a great photographer, enough to leave me sweet comments like that. I LOVE to take photos so this really warms my heart to hear and motives me to keep it up!

I am happy to share with you my ‘secrets”- (not really), but you know what I mean.

1. I put a lot of thought into my photos. Creating an idea for photo isn’t always as simple as it may seem. I have to think about creative ways to capture my audience and engage my readers.

2. I use editing apps to enhance my iPhone photos. Photos taken on my camera are edited after in Lightroom.

3. I have a photographer who I shoot with once a month who shoots pictures of (mainly) myself, but my family as well time to time. 

4. I take a ton and ton of pictures and choose the best one to post to IG.

 

Another question I get asked a lot is, what camera do I shoot with? To be a honest a lot of my photos are taken with my iPhone 6 plus, but my professional camera is my Canon XS Rebel. I switch between my 18-55mm and 50mm prime lens. My favorite lens to shoot with is my 50mm because it gives the nice blurred background (bokeh), is super sharp, offers great lighting and I can shoot at a faster speed.

Since this post was written, I am now shooting with my new Canon EOS 70D. Which I absolutely LOVE!

Here are some helpful tips when shooting:

  1. Use natural light whenever possible. Outside light is the best. You will get crisp, clean photos when you shoot in good lighting. Great lighting is your friend ๐Ÿ˜‰
  2. If shooting with your DSLR camera, shoot in RAW. The image sizes are larger and take up more space on your computer, but you can edit your photos after with more flexibility. For instance, if you get a really dark shot- you can edit the images in Lightroom after, which can drastically change the lighting to help revive your picture.
  3. Don’t be afraid to edit your pictures. Editing is my favorite part about taking photos. Sit me down with my computer, a glass of wine, and some recently captured photos & I’m as happy as can be! Whether you are using apps from your phone or Lightroom on your computer, editing can really help enhance your image!
  4. Get creative. Think outside of the box. Take pictures using different perspectives. I love taking flat lay photos (shots from above looking down on top of an object) – they are my fav!
  5. Try to keep your pictures as straight as possible. Use the grid line feature on your phone. Take pictures using the rule of ‘thirds’ helps to create a well balanced and interesting shot. Example: Take a picture off-center to make it creative, not just directly in the middle of your picture.
  6. If you have an Iphone – use portrait mode for up close pictures of people or objects/nature, it rocks!
  7. Have fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Taking great pictures takes time and practice!

Some of my favorite editing apps:

When using iphone editing apps I almost always sharpen, brighten + boost contrast in my images.

  1. VSCO Cam. This app is one of my favorites for editing photos. I like to edit my exposure in this app, this is how I get my pictures super bright. Also, you can straighten your images here. So don’t worry if you took the picture a bit “off”, you can correct it here. This is the main app that I use. I also save my edits, so that I can copy & paste them to my other photos- to create that consistent look on my insta.
  2. PS Express.  A good blogger friend of mine uses this app and her secret is to brighten the photo, up the contrast, lower the warmth (so they look less yellow and more ‘cool’ blue) and sometimes denoise (which takes out the grain in the photo- when a photo is taken in a dark place or at night)
  3. Snapseed. Great to adjust white balance. If your image appears ‘off white’, you can adjust it here, amongst tons of other options for editing your images.
  4. Camera +. is another great option for some cool filters.

 

What’s your secret to taking great pictures? I would love to hear them! Leave your comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

 

In Lifestyle on
November 27, 2017

It’s beginning to look like a lot like Christmas

This past weekend we went to Wintergreen Tree Farms in Lafayette, NJ. This was our first time trying out a new tree farm, since the last 3 years we went to Hidden Pond in Mendham. It was a nice change of scenery and felt good to change things up a bit. It didn’t take us long to find a tree, mainly because we didn’t want to walk too far ๐Ÿ˜‰ TJ pointed at the first tree we walked up to and jokingly said, “this is it!” We found a tree very close by and that was it. We aren’t picky people. All the trees were beautiful. Here’s a little glimpse into our day! 

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