Did you go to see "New Years Eve" the movie yet? I must say, I absolutely L-O-V-E-D it! I was apprehensive because there are so many huge stars in it, I thought it would be a bust, but it was soooo worth it. I can't wait for it to hit DVD so I can see it again. Great feel good movie to start your new year off.
So for Christmas this year I requested a few things that would make my life easier. Help me "do it all" if you will. I'm excited about the new techy mommy toys that will help me keep up on this blog and share my projects a bit easier. Also keep up on taking snapshots of my own kiddos and share them easily with friends and families. Even a new toy to help me connect to it all wireless. If you guys are interested I can go into more details on all the tools that keep on top of things while managing three small kiddos and running a business.
I will be the first to say that I did the MAJORITY of my holiday shopping through Sephora online! I LOVE their products. I got amazing fragrances, gorgeous makeup kits, shaving kits for the guys, quality candle sets for the grandmas, and even seriously cute Hello Kitty combs for my nieces! So I'm very excited to be able to tell you how you can win a $20 gift card to Sephora!
It'a all part of Gift Card Weekend. All you need to do is like Gift Card Weeked on Facebook, then fill out the entry form on their sidebar menu. If you choose to Share with your friends that you've Liked them, you gain extra entries into the giveaway for each "like" you influence! The Saphora cards are being given away daily between December 19-23rd. But be sure to check the page often as there are lots of other great things being given away too (all month long!).
So WHAT IS Gift Card Weekend? Some popular (and fun) retailers have gotten together to boost your gift giving power. When you purchase a gift card during the holiday season, the person who recieves that gift card can get even better deals when they redeem their card during Gift Card Weekend (January 6th-8th, 2012)! Want to know who's participating? Of course you do!
-Bass Pro Shops
-Buca di Beppo
There is somewhere for everyone on your list right?! Suddenly there is a little more thought behind giving that gift card ;) Head over to FB and like them today!
Now what board to choose from, probably going to start with the "try this" board! Off to be productive :) I will share what I chose and how it turned out soon!
P.S. Don't forget to enter the PS actions October collection giveaway!
If you haven't, they are like little autopilot bits of goodness that take your images from drab to fab in seconds with very little effort from you! (well, as long as you have a GOOD action! there are lots of options out there)
Actions are a nice way to create consistency when editing your photos (if you don't yet have your own editing style). I know most of you who read this blog aren't pros (although some of you are!), your moms who love to take pictures! Some of you are even serious amateurs. If you are a photoshop CS user, your going to LOVE Alex Beadon. She's so my style!
She has some gorgeous before and afters on her site, but I wanted to show you a couple of my own using nothing more than the actions. The images have not been touch by any other tool than the Alex Beadon actions. I also made sure to use snapshots that I took on auto to further prove that you don't need a fancy image to get stunning results when you use these! It was a chilly day out, so although Alex's actions are stunning on warm, cozy images, they look great on cooler weather images as well!
This first image (below the video) was done exactly as her "how to" video shows you. It's a must watch (even if you don't have the actions, but warning, it will make you want them......BAD!).
Edited as video (without Maracas as this is a cool weather image) using actions from the October collection (which is what we are giving away today!). No other editing was done to this images (notice the cookie on his face! LOL).
Below, edited with Sweet and Dreamy (from the November collection) as well as an edge darkening using the Contours action from October collection.
Clearly these are a distinct style. You may not care for the vintage effect, I love it! All actions are completely adjustable so you can play up (or down) any aspect you choose. Below again is the Sweet and Dreamy.
So many times I end up dumping my snapshots into my computer and not doing any more with them because it takes such a n effort to "edit". But that's because I'm looking at them as I look at my paid sessions, I've come to realize that snapshots can be quickly brought to life with actions I love and I don't need to do a full edit on them, actions have it all worked in there and make my snapshots enjoyable to me!
Want to see another one of Alex's amazing edits? Check out this video!
So much fun! She inspires me to want to play more with color!
Alright, now that your all drooling, let's have a GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will receive the entire October collection of actions from Alex Beadon Photography!
Leave a comment (Be sure your email address is either visible on your profile or leave it in your comment!)
For additional entries:
Twitter it, Facebook it, Blog about it... How ever you choose to spread the word about this giveaway, just leave me a link (or your twitter name) in a separate comment for each way you spread the word!
"Like" Alex Beadon Photography on FB! Leave a seperate comment that you did!
Giveaway ends December 21st. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email. Good luck!!!!
I love how the bottom two use store bought (probably thrifted) large frames and don't worry about custom building one to fit the TV perfectly. I think I will go with that option and switch my frame and frame color up with the season or holiday! Like a orange one for Halloween time and a red one for Christmas. Have fun with it!
Next time your looking to compare a lot of items in one place, check out Wayfair. I've ordered from them several times (they used to be CSN stores) and have always been very happy with my experience!
1. If I could only have one gift for the entire year (I mean, I would throw in birthdays for this baby) it would be an iphone. I'm not even sure it has to be an iphone.... can you use instagram on an android smart phone? Anything that takes decent pictures and would allow me to easily post them to the internet. My pocket camera recently died so I no longer have a camera I can always have on me, and I'm pretty sure an iphone would make keeping up on my blogging 1000 times easier! Like that awesome thing my husband just made me I've been meaning to share with you all! But that means getting out my big camera, shooting, loading, editing down to size for web...... You get what I'm saying, a smart phone would be instant photo, instagram, post, done! Maybe that monthly fee isn't sounding so outrageous anymore LOL.
The rest of my list is in no particular order....
2. Protective case for my tablet. I don't have a fancy tablet, it's an inexpensive generic beginners tablet that I'm completely fine with! It's 7 inches and the perfect size for what I need right now. BUT that means it's hard to find a case to fit it in and the one it came with isn't super durable. Amazon is carrying cases for 7 inch tablets, I kinda need one. There was an amazing pink one.... but it's no longer available. Though I don't think the husband would love the pink one and he has been playing with the tablet lately too.
3. I'm pretty sure I would have as much fun decorating this little house as my daughter would playing with it!
4. I think this may be the cutest way to bake a cake ever!
alarm clock has been on my amazon wish list for YEARS. It gradually increases light waking you up naturally. I always find I wake up in a better mood and more alert, when I think it's daylight out.
6. Lighted mirror. I have no real bathroom vanity right now and the lighting at my desk/makeup area is terrible. I use two mirrors to bounce the light from a lamp onto my face, it's awful. I know Target carries some nice options. This one from Amazon is pretty.
these from amazon (can you tell I'm an amazon shopper? If only they would start taking Paypal!
8. Arthur on DVD, because it's HILARIOUS! I may even want the darth vador mask LOL.
10. I'm in pretty desperate need of a better way to organize my makeup. I have it in drawers right now so some drawer organizers might be nice, maybe? Here are some I like (not necessarily the in drawer kind, but fun!).
14. So many great notepads. This self help (anger management?) one is one of my favorites for sure!
We all have the "impossible to shop for" person on our holiday shopping list. The person who has everything. I usually end up giving those people a nick nack that I know goes with their home or a baked good, but when it's someone you have to buy for year after year even that gets old. We've all heard "not anothe neck tie!" which in my family is kind of funny because I think the men own maybe 2 ties and rotate them between weddings and funerals. Pretty blue collar here ;) BUT one thing I think everyone needs (and can appreciate) is a good pen!
That video is so true. How many of you are walking around with trendy designer bags and wallets, great sunglasses, and CHEAP PENS! Too funny.
Pens may not be a big deal in your home, but in our house there is always the quest for that perfect pen. My mom is the worst, she buys pens like candy trying to find the right one. So I'm excited to find out about Parker Pens. Did I lose you? Some of you are like "Taylor! Why are you talking about pens!" Seriously, a good pen is a big deal, hear me out! You know that person on your list needs to write things down, I mean our phones may be great, but nothing beats pen and paper!
Um, I want to borrow a pen from THAT guy!
If you watched the video above, you may have caught what makes Parker Pens different. Let me re-cap on that:
- Three pens in one- the beauty of a fountain pen (seriously, who won't feel just a little special writing with that tip?), smoothness of a rollerball, and the ease of a ball point.
They look cool! The Parker Ingenuity collection is as beautiful as it is functional. With lots of designs to choose from, there is one for that hard to shop for person!
Plus they come in a beautiful box, ready to give!
Trendy enough for even that nephew you've been struggling over, you know the one that is attached to his smartphone and knows more about technology that you know about...... well, what ever you know a lot about! Don't go with another gift card, get him something that will last!
Even I'm dying to get one of these bad boys for myself. Lucky for me, Parker Pen has 2 upcoming Twitter parties where you can win some amazing prizes such as pens that are valued up to $200! Like Parker on Facebook to keep up on the details!
I think the pen would help me look more professional at client consultations, why would you want to win one?
After all this holiday shopping for everyone else I'm thrilled to give you the chance to win yourself a little something pretty to wear! Shabby Apple is an online boutique specializing in woman's dresses. Their style is sort of vintage fabulous! There is a lot more than just dresses on their site, and even things for young and teen girls, but today we are focusing on dresses because I'm giving away this.....!
Ballerina dress. I love the flow of it and it's knit so I imagine super comfortable! Wear it to your New Years Eve party, or maybe a wedding! What ever you wear it to, you'll look fabulous. Want to win it???
How it came about..... Everything starts on Pinterest these days right? This project certainly did. I fell in love with this tree (click on images for sources)-
I searched high and low, scoured the internet, looked at real tree varieties (as the one above is obviously real) but couldn't find a real one with a slim enough trunk or a fake one that was sparse enough. So I knew if I was going to make it happen, I would have to do it myself! And I did, in about an hour!!!
Here are a few more cute, sparse trees to inspire you before we get started.....
This one (above) I actually pinned for the base. It's a store bought and expensive way to hide the tree stand, BUT flip a thrift store basket upside down, cut out the bottom and you've got it!!!! If I find a basket large enough, I'm going to be doing this for my base.
This one's in a trash can! So fun. I picked up a trash can like this for my deck at True Value Hardware, they had them in a variety of sizes for a good price.
On to the tutorial!!! I decided the easiest way to share was part photos, part video. I'm extremely video shy, so not made for TV ;)
What you need-
At my local True Value I picked up-
4 foot piece of rebar (it's a medal rod made to go inside concrete) Mine is 1/2 inch
Roll of brown plastic tape
2x2 length of wood for base
2 Screws (optional)
On hand I had some 9 gauge wire. But you could probably get that at True Value too! You will also need wired garland, which can be found in any Christmas decor section of your favorite store.
Saw and small chisel to cut base and notch together
Drill and bit (the same size as your rebar)
With your wire cutter, cut your garland into sections for each level of the tree. I wanted my tree to have about 5 levels and three branches per level. The bottom two levels of my tree are the same length and the next two are the same as each other. This is what I cut-
6 branches at 17"
6 branches at 12"
3 branches at 7"
1 branch at 14" (for the top)
Now that you have your branches you need a tree to secure them to. Cut the 2x2 into two 24 inch pieces (a skill saw is handy for this!) Then put a 1 inch notch in the center of each piece so that they fit together to form a flat X base. You may need to use a small chisel along with your saw to make this notch. We used a skill saw, cut some 1 inch slots down into the board, then chiseled them out. Once your base is flat, you may choose to secure it by screwing at a diagonal (so that both boards are caught by your screw) from opposite sides. Drill a hole in the center to fit your rebar.
Now that your base is secure, cur your 9 gauge wire into various lengths (around 2 feet) and wrap around your rebar to create each level. You will want to wear gloves for this part. The rebar is textured so wrapping the wire tight is enough to secure it in place. You can also spiral between your levels to help everything stay put. We used two sections of wire for each level, one to make two branch supports and the second one to make the third branch support and spiral up to the next level.
Photo is of the first (bottom) level It doesn't have to be pretty. We are going to wrap it in tape and cover it in our garland. For the rest of the tree I thought it was easiest to video so you can actually see the technique in motion. Not that there was anything difficult going on, just easier to show this way. Directions for the rest of the steps are written into the video.