Archives for category: DIY

From Wishwishwish blog…

Snap Happy

As I celebrate my 1000th Instagram picture, I thought it was about time I answered all those questions about snapping pictures on your phone! Not a day goes by without an eager commenter asking what I use to edit my Instagram pictures – wonder no more!

My Favourite Apps

None of this is groundbreaking stuff, but regardless, here are the apps I use on a regular basis to keep my Insta snaps looking bright! Even if you just find on new app out of this bunch, my job here will be done. I’d love it if you could share any amazing apps I’ve missed in the comments!

VSCOcam

Duh, I know, you all use VSCO, but it’s the best, right? It’s the only app I use to edit my pictures at the moment. It just does everything I need it to do and has the best filters.

Afterlight

Afterlight is also bloomin’ amazing. It has a tonne of filters, but also lots of fun extras, like putting your picture in a circle, or adding a patterned background. It also has some great light leaks and vintage camera grain. Everything you need in one app!

A Beautiful Mess

Another one I know you’re all going to have already! An amazing app for putting little doodles and writing onto your images. The inspiring ladies over at A Beautiful Mess created this app,  and continue to add really cool features!

Snapseed

Snapseed is a great all-rounder for sorting out the basics. The sliders for brightness, contrast etc give you far more control than VSCO. Perfect for people that want to do a little editing but maintain that #nofilter look.

Fuzel

Fuzel has to be the best collage app! It’s not often I want to collage together images, but if I needed to, this app would be my go-to.

Tips

Click, click, click

My process for Instagramming has to be pretty standard. I shoot around 10 snaps, testing different compositions, and then pick out the best. There is always one less blurry or more vibrant than the rest!

Selfies

I always always use the back camera, even when shooting selfies. It might mean that I have to guess and hope for the best regarding where I’m pointing the camera, but it’s worth it for the better quality.

Don’t forget to tag!

Tag the brands that you’re wearing  in your #ootd’s and there is a chance they’ll regram – this means more people finding your fabulous feed!

Cake!

Things that go down really well on Instagram? Cake, cats, flowers, beautiful cities and…well..any food, really…

collage

My Fave ‘Grammers

You’ve gotta share the love when it comes to Instagram! It’s such a wonderful community. These are the gals whose pictures I like again and again and again…

agirlastyle

Lots of pinks and lots of flowers! My friend Briony lives in Cambridge, and upload the prettiest, sugar-coated snaps from her surroundings.

truelane

If you love coffee, muted tones and beautiful blonde hair, Chelsea is your gal. Her pictures always make me feel so cosy and at home, even if they are shot halfway across the world in Minneapolis.

parisinfourmonths

Carin is super well known and needs no introduction. This Swedish photographer left her country to move to Paris, and documents the beautiful city and everywhere else she travels in her amazing pictures. A total inspiration!

melinwonderland

Melina’s feed might be in Brazilian Portuguese, but that doesn’t mean I appreciate her fun snaps any less. This vlogger and I seem to have a lot in common, and I love the pictures she posts of her dog, Spock!

cocorosas

Chantal is another friend of mine, and her Instagram feed deserves serious love. It’s full of pastels, and a hell of a lot of pink – a total dream world.

o_reilly_s

Another top-notch Instagrammer! This Parisian shares photos of her city, alongside other beautifully curated images in the softest tones. One of my favourites!

Post image for 8 Things To Do Alone… For A ChangeThe idea of solitude has a somber ring to it; the thought of being alone can bring about memories touched with lonely sadness, while thoughts of being surrounded by others can bring memories of joy. But solitude, like all things, truly depends on the way you look at it. 

I, for one, absolutely love being alone. Some of the best times I’ve had are ones where I’ve been in no one else’s company but my own. I always enjoy hanging out with myself at home, and I equally love going shopping alone. I find that I’m productive and relaxed… and I always make sure to remain just as silly as when I’m with others.

There are certain activities, though, that I would never dream of doing alone. Sure, some things are just more fun with others by my side, but maybe sometimes I want those people to be there partly because the idea of them not being there… scares me. I fear I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself (wherever that “there” may be). I fear I’ll have a question and I’ll be forced to ask an unfamiliar face. I fear that others will see me and think, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why is she here by herself?”

But you know what? Please pardon my language, but those fears are complete and total bullshit. Truly. I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself? I’m a pretty smart girl. I’m sure I can figure it out. I’ll have a question and I have to ask an unfamiliar face? Great! Where’s the problem there? Meeting new people is healthy thing to do. People are just people, just as you and I are. People will think there’s something wrong with me? They’ll question why I’m alone? Well, I mean, maybe one or two will wonder why I’m alone, but I have a feeling the conclusion they come to will have nothing to do with there being something wrong with me. And if it does… why should I care? I’ll never even know! Am I really worried about a thought that a person I don’t knowMIGHT have? Silliness. Pure silliness. Madness, even.

Yet I’m sure I’m not alone in these worries. If you’re with me, let’s do something about it. Together… yet separately. I challenge you to go somewhere alone. Somewhere you’ve never before dreamt of going alone. Go. Just go. Even if it’s for four and a half minutes. Do it. You might just find out you like it better that way.

Drive

Go for a drive. Grab your film camera and take yourself for a scenic drive, with no destination in sight. Roll down the windows, blast that song again and again, and truly experience the freedom you’ve been given. Stop often, or not at all. If something you see sparks your interest, pull over. Maybe it’s a retro-looking diner up ahead, or a field of flowers you spot in the distance. Go there, be there, and take it all in.

Cafe

Hang out at a cafe. You know that cafe, the one with an atmosphere so cozy you could just live in it. Go there, sans computer. Bring a book or some watercolors , bring your headphones… or not. Sip slowly, taking in not just the beautiful flavor and aroma, but also the warm, calming energy around you. Allow yourself to sink into that perfectly worn-in cushion, and stay all afternoon.

Book on ladder

Relax at the library. Choose the oldest looking fiction book you can find, and open it midway. Sit on the floor, crossed-legged, between two bookcases. Maybe even take your shoes off. Start reading and don’t stop. Make up the first half of the book in your mind. Pretend you’re one of the characters. Feel her emotions. Experience her experiences. Cry if you need to. Allow yourself to get lost in the world that exists on those pages before your eyes

Garlic painting

Wander through a museum. It could be an old favorite, or one you’ve never before experienced. In either case, go with a fresh perspective. Seek to learn something new and to be inspired to think, make, or do in a brand new way. Don’t feel the need to visit every room or stay for a certain amount of time. Go to experience it as it comes, and when you come to a point where you feel fulfilled, head on home.

Jeffery Campbell heels on towel

Treat yourself to a fancy meal. Get dressed up for a date with no one but yourself. Feel confident, and go. Order something you can’t pronounce. Save room for dessert. Take every bite as if it were your first. Learn your waiter’s name. When you say “thank you,” mean it. Feel gratitude for all of those who partook in making this meal possible, from the person who planted that tomato seed that became part of your salad, all the way to the one who delivered the chair on which you sit. Marvel at the incredible skills possessed by each of those people, and then marvel at all of your own.

Blood Orange Purple

Go to a show. Music is a powerful thing. Choose a band that you know will make you feel something. Go alone and ready to dance. Close your eyes, let the beautiful vibrations move you, internally and externally. Make a new friend, just for the night. Leave feeling refreshed and full of positivity.

Painting, crochet

Take an art class. Be it painting, pottery, improv, or anything else, put yourself in a situation that teaches you to harness your creativity in new ways. Use your hands, your eyes, your brain, and your soul. Let creative energy flow through you, and express it in ways you never thought possible. Let it in, let it out, and never think twice about it.

Popcorn on black

See a movie. Get a huge bucket of popcorn (or sneak in your own). Get there early. Find the best seat. Watch every preview. Look around from time to time, at this room filled with strangers who are all sharing a similar experience at once. Feel comfort in this sense of community, as you all laugh and cry together. Realize that, while you may be by yourself, you’re certainly not alone.

What will you venture off to do on your own?

Source: Inspiration: 8 Things To Do Alone… For A Change | Free People Blog http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/02/change-2/#ixzz2uiEMACcF

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I realize that my photos DO NOT in any way do justice to the deliciousness that this Asian inspired Turkey Meatloaf was, but trust me, its one of the best dishes I have eaten in a long time, and the best part was that I came up with it!  Score!

Basically, I was trying to come up with a more healthy version of my go-to ‘Saucy Meatloaf’ (From Georgia on my Mind Cookbook).  I bought ground turkey, but then I was thinking about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Thai Chicken Burgers (I use turkey) from her “Its All Good” cookbook that I throw on the grill pretty often and I merged the two together, sort of.  The results were seriously spectacular, so flavorful and moist, and reasonably healthy too…you will love it!

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Anne’s Asian (Turkey) Meatloaf

*1 pkg. ground turkey 1-1 1/2 lbs. *1/2 onion, chopped fine *2 large scallions, sliced *1 T. grated ginger *1 small grated carrot *1 T. Sesame oil *1 T. SWEET soy sauce *1-2 minced jalapeños, seeded *2 beaten eggs *scant cup of Japanese Panko crumbs or Gluten Free bread crumbs

Glaze: *1/4c. dark brown sugar  *2-3 T. ketchup (you can substitute Sriracha if you like it hotter *1 T. sesame oil *1 T. SWEET soy sauce *1 T. Thai Fish sauce

Mix all the ingredients for the meatloaf together and put into a greased loaf pan.  Mix glaze ingredients together and top meatloaf with all the sauce.  Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Now for the UNHEALTHY DECADENT part of the week.  My daughter had some friends over so I whipped up this Green Tea Honeysuckle Cake from Southern Living.  With 3, count ’em, 3 sticks of butter, it is not for the faint of heart.

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I used more matcha powder than the recipe called for and didn’t swirl it because I wanted a GREEN cake.  It’s a lovely appetizing pale green, not a scary gooey one…

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Well, this picture makes it look chartreuse yellow, but you get the idea…my photography skills could be WAY better, I know.  Its a moist cake packed with flavor…enjoy!

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Normally I am not a fan of Rachel Ray, but this dish rocks!  It is a vaguely greek inspired grilled chicken with romaine, tomato, cukes, kalamata olives and feta. There is a very light lemony oregano dressing on it.  I forego the red onions because I don’t care for them, and I use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders.  Seriously, who wants to pay $5.99 for the privilege of only a portion of a chicken breast instead of $1.99 for the whole butcher’s cut?  I planned for leftovers so that the next night I made (leftover) chicken and spinach risotto.

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Now, if you’re scared of making risotto because the directions seem bewildering (soffrito, brodo, condiment, riso), let me start by saying not to let the fancy phraseology scare you from trying what I consider to be the most insanely wonderful Italian comfort foods on the planet (and its gluten free, since its rice, not pasta).

Let me break it down for you…

1.Soffritto…just saute chopped up onions in butter or butter/olive oil

2. Riso…Then add the arborio rice, usually 1-1 1/2 cups for 4 people and stir in thoroughly to coat the grains.

3. Brodo…first add about 1/2 cup white wine, then have a pot of simmering broth (I always use homemade chicken stock) and add a ladle at a time, as the liquid soaks into the rice.

4.  This is the most important tip…KEEP STIRRING and DO NOT walk away from the stove for 18-20 minutes while doing #3 over and over until the risotto has a soft, but not mushy bite (taste after about 15-16 minutes).  I have a glass of wine already poured for me during this phase of the recipe.

5. Condimenti…at the very end, add whatever you like into the risotto, like my chicken and spinach (right from the bag is fine).  I recently made a ground beef and carrot version that I blogged about which was lovely.  My other fav is ham and pea.  There are umpteen iterations to try…use your imagination.  Just make sure whatever you add is already cooked (like chicken, beef, etc. BEFORE you add it to the risotto).

6.  To finish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, a splash of cream and freshly ground pepper.

You will thank me…

 

More than 4 years ago, I was in Amsterdam on a business trip (yes, shopping for apparel samples) and we stopped for dinner at this little ‘boite’ called Van Kerkwijk on a street named Nes 41, right behind Dam Square (we had lots of jokes about that location…time to go to the Dam Square, etc).  I have no idea how to pronounce the name of the restaurant, not even close.  Anyway, the place had no menus, they just told us what the kitchen had that evening.  I don’t remember exactly what I had to eat, EXCEPT for dessert.  There was a huge round dense cake that everyone was ordering.  The waiter called it a pear cake, and it was served with a dollop of sour cream.  Strange, but surprisingly good.  So good, that I can not get it out of my head.  I am desperate to recreate it at home, and I have scoured the Internet repeatedly to find a similar recipe but so far, have been unsuccessful.

I have written to Bon Appetit begging them to try and persuade the elderly sisters who own the place to spill the beans.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I made this over the weekend…

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The recipe is from the lovely blog, Manger.  Hers is called ‘Italian Pear Cake’ and was light and delicious, but not remotely similar to the cake I had in Amsterdam.  I used white peaches instead of pears (since they’re not in season now) and the recipe called for corn starch, which I thought a bit odd, but it made for a delicate texture.  I cooked it wrapped in parchment, which is the same way the cake was baked in Amsterdam.  This would make a wonderful breakfast ‘coffee’ cake of sorts as its not dreadfully sweet.

If anyone out there knows of a very dense, rich Dutch ‘perentaart’ recipe, I would be forever grateful!!  Until then, I’ll keep trying…

http://www.dailycandy.com/everywhere/flipbook/150204/Linda-Rodins-Beauty-Secrets?vwink=DC:Email:EDIT:EW:20130617:6:962166:41&eid=150096&dcsid=1726211&et_cid=26530&et_rid=558102#slide=1

I normally don’t read DailyCandy much any more, but this interview with Linda Rodin, the creator of Rodin oils, is priceless.  I want to be just like her when I am ‘of a certain age’…

Love this mass customization idea!!

Blue Sky Daze

Personalised Coke bottles have only arrived in Ireland in the last few weeks and they’re already incredibly popular. Whoever came up with the idea is a very smart employee — it’s such a simple yet effective way to really grab people’s attention. I’d been on the look-out for my own name ever since I found out about these so I was pretty excited to finally come across it today!

coke pic

It’s lovely that they’re featuring Irish names and that they’re even including the ‘fada’. The best way to explain this to my non-Irish readers is that ‘fada’ literally means ‘long’ in Irish. In the Irish language, the fada goes over certain vowels to lengthen the pronunciation of that letter so in this case, the ‘e’ is pronounced like ‘eahh’ (I hope this makes sense. It’s been a while since I spoke as Gaeilge!).

Anyway, moving on from the Irish grammar lesson, I was really pleased to…

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