Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Techie Tuesday: Improve Your Images with Three Free Resources

You don’t know what you have. 

This phrase is usually mentioned in regards to someone being ungrateful. However, from working with bloggers, I’ve discovered that most bloggers aren’t using all the tools they can, and opting to pay for tools they necessarily don’t need. Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite free resources for photo composition and editing.

One of the most common questions I get from bloggers is, “should I buy photoshop”? My answer is no in most cases. The only real exception would be if you have a photography blog.



Product Collages - Canva: Bloggers can spend a lot of time finding the perfect images and products for collages. Canva is great because you can include any images/products that you want. It also provides some built in templates and graphics that you can customize. Any graphics or illustrations that you want to arrange for your blog, social media profiles, or promotions, you can definitely do in Canva.




Photo Editing - iPhoto: You can only do so much with a photograph if it was taken on a bad camera. I suggest that people opt to purchase a good camera and lens, instead of Photoshop. By using a high-quality camera, you will have to do less photo editing. With iPhoto, you can crop and resize images quite easily, adjust the photo filters and lighting (with moderation). iPhoto allows you to bulk-export images to the sizes and specs you need (tutorial I wrote for on White Oak). You can read more iPhoto tutorials here.


Photo Collages - Picasa: Picasa is through Google. It allows you to organize, store, and edit your photos. It is not as smooth as iPhoto, but it works very well to put together photo collages - i.e. two vertical photos together, etc. If photo editing and collages are not that intuitive to you, I would recommend going through the tutorials that each piece of software provides. You can also view youtube videos online.

If you have specific questions about any of these products or a question for “Techie Tuesday”, either leave a comment below or you can write me at hello (a) whiteoakcreative (dot) com.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Iowa Blogger's Holiday Party


We are so excited to host a Midwest Bloggers holiday soirée in Iowa to catch up, meet new friends, network and celebrate this jolly time of the year. We'd love to invite you to sip, chat and be glam at Penelopie Beauty Bar on Friday, December 12th from 7-10pm. Penelopie Beauty Bar will be offering complimentary makeup demos and snacks and drinks will be provides. To give back, please bring an unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots to enter to win a free blowout. Please RSVP back to KatalinaGirlBlog@gmail.com by Friday so we can figure out how much food and drink is need.  We hope to see you all there. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

FRIDAY FAVORITES LINK UP, V36


Hey there, new friends and strangers! I'm Hannah; I'm a former homeschooler and current stay at ­home­ daughter living in Wisconsin. I like thrifting, artsy stuff, and am basically the reincarnation of an 80s valley girl.

On my personal style blog An Old Story, I write my firsthand stories while wearing secondhand clothes. So today, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some fellow chicks that thrift.


Dacy of The Mindful Closet is a personal stylist and has her own distinct look that I love. Girl knows how to work with the basics!

Katie has a killer personal style that makes my jealousy grow stronger with every outfit post on Katie Like Me.

Thriftanista In The City is run by the incredibly stylish Troy. I'm beginning to think she's from outer space because her thrift finds are out of this world!

Marlen and her blog Messages On A Napkin is a must­read (or browse) if your closet is in need of some serious inspiration. Be sure to keep an eye out for her "SIX OUTFITS TO TRY THIS WEEKEND" series chocked full of great tips & local happenings in the Chicago area.

Make sure to link up below!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Techie Tuesday: WordPress Categories

Today’s question is from Hillary of Style in a Small Town: I use WordPress and am starting to develop several different categories of blog posts. I'd like to have a "Styled" page just for my outfit posts and a "Beauty" page, for my beauty posts, etc. How do I do this? I've seen where other bloggers have those pages to click on and at the top of the page is says something about "these posts are labeled x". Can you help me with this?! 

In order to have pages dedicated just to certain types of post, you need to make sure you are categorizing them accordingly. In WordPress, you can assign keywords to posts using both Categories and Tags. I recommend that bloggers use categories for series and larger ideas, and use tag for post specific content. You should have no more than 30 categories. For my White Oak Creative website, I have four categories - Client Work, Font Friday, Tutorials, and Company Updates. Just because I say you should have no more than 30 categories means that you should have a ton. Categories should be focused on the content you regularly post.

Here’s two examples:

  • Fashion Blogger - Jennie Wold - features outfits and styling tips. 
    • Categories (6): Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Styling Tips, and Personal* 
    • Tags (unlimited): Brands and trends she featured in those specific posts, i.e. “midi-skirt, Asos, etc). 
  •  Food Blogger - Cookin Cowgirl - features recipes and diy food projects 
    • Categories: Separated by meal component as well as holidays (over 30) i.e. See Recipe Box and Other 
    • Tags (unlimited): related to the ingredients incorporated i.e. corn, flour, brown sugar, etc.    
Often when I do a redesign, clients go through their content and clean it up. This isn’t ideal. If you are producing deliberate, purposeful content, you should have a clear idea of your entire site’s organization. Whether or not getting a redesign, I suggest going through your posts and cleaning up your tags and categories. If your categories are in pretty bleak shape (assess this by going to ALL POSTS < CATEGORIES in your site’s DASHBOARD), create an outline of your post content.

When creating categories, you want to make sure you have at least 5 posts per category. The only exception is new bloggers or new series that you are starting. I’ve had clients create a category outline to realize that only 1 or 2 posts would fall into those categories. Then, it’s truly not a category. Also remember, you can always add categories.

After you've created your category outline, you can delete any categories you are not going to use. To do this go into your site’s CATEGORY PAGE. Delete categories you are not going to use (this will just delete the label from the post). If you are adding any categories. Add them here.

Once you’ve got all your categories listed, view ALL POSTS in your DASHBOARD. Hover over the post you would like to edit and select “QUICK EDIT”. Check the CATEGORIES you would like to assign to the post and add in the tags you would like to add (separate with a comma). Check UPDATE and repeat for all posts.

After all your posts have been properly categorized go to APPEARANCE < MENUS. In the left toggle of the page you will see an area with “Pages, Links, Categories” toggle. Select CATEGORIES. Select the categories you would like to add to the MENU. Then drag and drop them to where you would like to see them in the menu. When finished, press “SAVE MENU” to save changes.

Do you have tech or design questions you would like answered? "Techie Tuesdays" is a weekly series written by Lindsay HumesofWhite Oak Creative. In order to make this series as beneficial to Midwest Bloggers, you can email your specific questions to Lindsay at hello@whiteoakcreative.com, and she will answer them in her weekly series.

Friday, November 14, 2014

FRIDAY FAVORITES LINK UP, V35



Hello! We are Kaitlyn & Lisa, sisters (in-law) who share everything from relatives to clothes. We blog about everything from lifestyle inspiration to fashion and home décor, recipes events and more (and we promise to keep the rhyming to a minimum!) We most enjoy our “rock & swap” posts because that idea of swapping clothes with a friend and making something new again is where our business began (We own two websites: Because I Shop Too Much, bistm.com and Because They Grow Too Fast, btgtf.com). Over the past two years, our blog has become our second “home,” a place to share all the moments we experience together. We look forward to all the future readers who will take a peek into our lives (and closets).


101 Things I love: Johanna is not only a good friend but a great Mom who sets the standard for us women who aim to "have it all." The theme of her blog allows a wide range of content so we always look forward to what she will surprise us with next whether it's a fashion post revolving around wide leg trousers (one of her 101 favorite things) or her top beauty picks. 
What Would V Wear: We first started interacting with Vanessa through Instagram because she is extremely diligent and generous with her daily comments, always making us smile! Since then, we have become big fans of her blog, as her style is bright and fun yet always polished and on point. You can definitely tell this girl graduated with a fashion degree ;)

Lake Shore Lady: We love the perfect combination of stye inspiration and tasty recipes Lauren shares - In both categories, the content is both approachable and heartfelt. Most recently, she featured her own (healthy version) of a pumpkin spice syrup which was a great alternative to the Starbucks version and we just couldn't pin it fast enough :) Not to mention, she is so easy to talk to! 

Stylish & Scatterbrained: Megan is one of those girls that you just want to be friends with - She is very honest with her writing by sharing personal life moments in the hopes of helping her readers which is just one thing that makes her relatable and a source of inspiration. Additionally, she can flawlessly pull off menswear just as easily as floor length florals so we always look forward to her style posts. 

Make sure to link up below!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Aftcra Handmade Goods | 4 Ways

We consider bloggers makers. We love creating for our audiences, dreaming up new ideas for outfits, recipes & parties, and growing our blog brands. So, we are fully supportive of the community of makers & independent artists that make up Aftcra! Aftcra is an online marketplace for unique handmade goods, crafted by American hands.
 
Each of us styled a piece from Aftcra in our homes. It makes you smile knowing that you're helping support an artist, who's out their trying to make an impact- just like we are!
 
 
Aftcra Pieces | 4 Ways
 
Another thing we love about Aftcra? They're also headquartered in the Midwest! On their website they  sell everything from home décor to papergoods to jewelry & clothes! Be sure to stop and shop in their online store when you're looking for one of a kind pieces for friends and family this holiday season!
 
Are you planning on buying handmade gifts this year?

Friday, November 7, 2014

FRIDAY FAVORITES LINK UP, V34


Happy Friday y'all! I'm Annica and I blog at Life Modifier, a lifestyle blog for those who enjoy living by their own rules and have a passion for life. I love running and healthy eating but also believe in the balance of eating the "bad" things you love. Chips, salsa, and a glass of red wine are my go-to meal. 

My blog was born in Missouri, but I recently moved to Denver which definitely lacks the midwest charm that I miss so much. Hopefully life will bring me back soon. In the real world, I'm a marketing professional for a utility company. It may not be the most glamorous industry, but every day is new and exciting. 

 When I'm not blogging, trying to meet new people in a new city, traveling back to Missouri or drinking a glass of vino, I'm usually catching up on a few of my favorite midwest blogs.

The Newlywed Notebook(http://thenewlywednotebook.com): Lindsay's blog is one of my favorites to read because she is so real and open about her life and her marriage. There's no fluff and I love that about her blog and her! 

Style In A Small Town(http://www.styleinasmalltown.com): Having moved from a small town in Missouri, I can totally appreciate Hillary's love for fashion on a budget. Her outfits are affordable, adorable and always achievable! 

Eeny Meeny Miny Morgan(http://eenymeenyminymorgan.blogspot.com): Morgan might be one of the most fashionable Missouri girls! I love how spunky her style is and she makes me what to try mixing prints and patterns and new styles that I would have never considered. 

Watcha Makin' Now?(http://whatchamakinnow.blogspot.com): I love to cook, I love looking at photos of food, but more than both of those I love to eat. Chelsea has some amazing recipes and some food photos that will leave you drooling on your desk! 

Make sure to link up below!