Friday Faves {July 10, 2015}

This week was a long one after a holiday weekend, but Friday is finally here! Lots of sunshine is in the forecast here, so I’m looking forward to a few good beach days. Here are my Friday Faves to kick it off…

Friday Faves on DailyKaty.com

 

  •  Stylish sandals that don’t hurt. I need to get my hands on these. I’ve had my eyes on gold Birkenstocks for a while now and I’m pretty impressed that comfort-first brand Dr. Scholl’s has equally as on-trend options too (here and here). {via bustle.com}
  • Cold brew coffee. This black coffee addict loves everything about this. And now it’s at Starbucks. As in one block from my office, which is either a really good or bad problem… you decide. {via eonline.com}
  • Nordstrom sale + my favorite lip stain. I’m sure you’ve heard that the Nordstrom sale is on for cardholders and it will soon open up to everyone 7/17. I couldn’t resist buying this set of my favorite lip stain. I wore it on my wedding day and have pretty much every day since in about a million different colors. Grab this – it’s such a deal, you are basically getting one free (they’re not cheap on the reg). I also love everything Kendra Scott and this bracelet goes perfectly with my everyday bangles (I’m an Aquarius, so amethyst everything). More sale finds coming soon… {nordstrom.com}
  • Make your house look guest-ready. Without spending hours cleaning, that’s the key. I’m certainly not a neat freak. In fact, my husband calls me a slob. I’m organized in my own ways, like at work, and I do like a clean kitchen, but when it comes to putting away laundry… not so much. This post has a quick list of ways to make your house look put together if you happen to have a last-minute guest coming over. {via apartmenttherapy.com}

National Best Friends Day

I’ve been a little MIA here on the blog and on social media the past week, but it comes with good reason. My best friends from college have been in town for our friend’s wedding and we had a perfect weekend of catching up and celebrating over lots of food, drinks and everything else that comes with a beautiful weekend in one of my favorite places, the Seacoast of New Hampshire. As I finish recovering from this weekend and missing my girlfriends already, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes in honor of National Best Friends Day. I’ll be back with more wedding fun and other posts this week!

xo,

Katy

Friendship Quotes on DailyKaty.com

 

Friday Faves {May 22, 2015}

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Hope your weekends are filled with sunshine, friends and family, food and drinks and relaxation. Today is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s the start of summer Fridays at work, which means summer is almost here, even if the temps aren’t feeling that way yet. To kick off the long weekend, I’m sharing my Friday Faves… and then I’m heading to catch up with my best girlfriends from high school – can’t wait!

Friday Faves on DailyKaty.com

1. Friendship in your late 20s, early 30s. I came across this post and felt like it was describing my friendships these days. Quick summary: You make your best friends before or during college, you’re with them all the time and friendship, put simply, is easy. You graduate, your friends move here and there for jobs or guys, you all start getting hitched, and then, before you know it, babies are on the way. Whether my girlfriends and I are busy with grad school or we’re a few time zones away from each other, the reality is we can’t see each other as often as we’d like.

But as this post puts it, “scarcity makes time spent with friends even more valuable — a treat I write delightedly into my calendar in hot pink pen so that it stands out among the staffings and the errands,” and we get to look forward to the weddings or our girls weekends where we are all reunited. And I’m sure that it will all come full circle, because “in another ten years, the babies will be older, the marriages will mature, and our friendships will be better nurtured by the increased time and energy we have to give them.” We’ll be getting old together, saying cheers over our favorite Pinot Grigio. {via refinery29.com}

2. Strike a pose. Learn how to work your angles and makeup to easily look better in photos. This post takes you through all of the steps, from using a primer to playing up your best features, and also recommends products to try out. {via intothegloss.com}

3. She shed = life goal. Um, I need one of these. I’ll wait ’til the day comes that we move to the ‘burbs, but if she sheds are really a thing, count me in. It’s described as “an anti-man cave, usually decked out in string lights and a comfy couch.” Perfection. {via brit.co}

4. Half yearly sales. Especially when they’re at Nordstrom, which very rarely offers sales worth mentioning. Get up to 40% off lots of items now through May 31. I’m shopping this sale tonight and so far I have my eyes on these espadrilles and this watch and bag, which also comes in tan and yellow. {nordstrom.com}

DailyKaty & Beginner Photography Tips

Way back when I was finishing up high school, I really wanted to be a full-time photographer, but I just didn’t have the background and expertise for an art-based college education. I was always the girl carrying around a camera, borrowing my mom’s DSLR whenever I had the chance. But the truth is, I never really learned how to take beautiful photos aside from having a nice camera and letting it run on auto mode.

Beginner Photography Tips

One of the reasons I started this blog was that I was so drawn to the artistic visuals I saw on other blogs I was following. I never made it to photography school (business and marketing were a better fit for me), but I’m using this blog as an opportunity to learn. My photos have come a long way in the past year or so, but I have so much to learn. I’ve signed up for a few classes and I’m so excited to take this blog to the next level with what I learn.

Beginner Photography Tips

As I build my photography skills, I’m excited to share that Samsung is giving me the opportunity to try out their Samsung NX3000 camera for a few months! I’m already seeing a big difference in my pics and I’ll be sharing more about my experience using this camera in the coming months. I was drawn to this camera for a few reasons:

  • Great feedback from other bloggers and online reviews
  • Nice and compact but doesn’t sacrifice the features – fits right in my bag
  • Screen that flips out for fun selfies or pics taken using a tripod
  • Wifi connection for easy uploading to my computer, Instagram, etc.

And while we’re on the topic of my photography journey, I wanted to share a few beginner photography tips that have already made a huge difference in my pics. Lots more to come – and full disclaimer that I am certainly no expert and have a lot to learn!

Beginner Photography Tips

1. Lighting is important. Trust me, paying attention to this will drastically improve your photos. I’ve been finding it best to stage photos outside, a couple hours within sunrise or sunset, not in direct sunlight. This can be challenging during the winter months or when shooting home decor indoors, so I’ll be purchasing a ring light soon to help with those situations.

2. Aperture = that professional, blurry background look. Aperture is measured in “F numbers” – the lower the number, the more blurry your background will be. When I’m shooting portraits, recipes or products where I want the background to be blurry to focus on the subject, I tend to use f/4.0. If I’m taking a scenic shot, then I have f value higher, so it lets in more light and the whole frame is in focus. And since I haven’t quite learned how to use the manual settings, I’ve been using “Aperture Priority” setting, which allows me to select the aperture and the camera automatically picks the appropriate shutter speed.

3. Composition is where you can get creative. There are a few standard tips to keep in mind, but for the most part, this is how you make your photos your own. Composition basically is how you arrange items in your photo. In general, the rule of thirds will help – picture a 3×3 grid and then position the main subject at one of the corners of the center rectangle. From there, you can get creative and develop your own photography style.

4. Shutter speed + ISO sensitivity are also key. They’re the other 2/3 of what’s called the “exposure triangle,” along with aperture. I’m learning more about these, but I do know that shutter speed controls how quickly the shutter opens and closes – and the amount of light that is let in. ISO sensitivity is a bit more challenging to explain, so I plan on sharing examples in future posts. Usually, you’ll want the ISO to be lower to prevent “noise” in your photo unless you’re shooting at night or in the dark.

5. A little editing can go a long way. This is another area I have a long way to go on, but I started playing around with the basics on my iPhone using the VSCO Cam app and now I have Adobe Lightroom 5. It’s pretty amazing how easily you can transform your photos to make them so much more visually appealing. Changing the contrast and composure are the two things I’ve been focusing on.

Example below! The top photo was taken indoors using Aperture Priority setting on f/4.0 with no photo editing. The bottom was taken with the same aperture setting but was taken outdoors in natural light and then I edited it just a tiny bit in Lightroom.

Beginner Photography Tips

Update: Another great mirrorless camera option is the Sony a5100 or Sony a6000. The a5100 is super small but still gives you great results, and the a6000 is still small in size but has some nice updated features. I’ve been using the a6000 for a few weeks and love it so far!

What photography tips do you live by? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to include links to your favorite tutorial posts!

Friday Faves {April 17, 2015}

It’s been a crazy week and now I’m thankful for a long weekend. The sun is shining, I’m about to head out for a walk on the water with Hank. For now, I’ll leave you with this week’s Friday Faves…

 

4.17.15-FridayFaves

 

1. Stylish sneaks. I’ve been meaning to pick up a pair of Superga sneakers and now I think I might need this pair! Joyus has teamed up with Superga to bring you this suede version with perforated detailing. And you can even get them for 10% off thanks to People with code PEOPLE10. {peoplestylewatch.com}

2. Wine that speaks for itself. One of my girlfriends shared this “12 Honest Wine Labels that Say Why You’re Really Drinking” article with me yesterday and I had to share it here. The bottles that describe my typical wine drinking are “Netflix & Pizza Night” and “Watching ‘Scandal’ in the Dark” (I have a serious addiction to binge-watching that show…). {huffingtonpost.com}

3. Bedside style. How cozy does this bedroom look? I’m working on redecorating our guest bedroom to make it as welcoming for guests as possible. I’ll be sharing this one the blog when it’s done! What are your best tips for guest room decor and hosting guests? {stephaniesterjovski.com}

4. Avocado everything. Especially for breakfast. This round-up of avocado toasts has me craving them all. My favorite thing to do is make some scrambled egg whites and put them on an english muffin with avocado, slices of tomato, cheese and red pepper flakes. {glitterguide.com}

Target x Lilly Pulitzer {Collection Preview & $300 Giveaway!}

When I started hearing the hype over the Target x Lilly Pulitzer launch, which starts on April 19, I admit that I was excited, but not nearly as excited as I was when I saw the actual collection. I had my obsession over Lilly during high school and will pick up a few pieces here and there nowadays, but I’m telling you, I want almost everything in this Target line. Everything is cute, practical, bright and affordable.

I’m sure the Target x Lilly Pulitzer collection is going to sell out quickly, so today I’m sharing a preview of some items I have my eye on. I’ll update it with links once it launches – and in the meantime, you can enter to win a $300 Target gift card below!

For the Beach…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com

 

For the Home…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com

For Everyday Style…

Target x Lilly Pulitzer - Shop the Looks on DailyKaty.com

 

Giveaway Details…

$300 Target Giveaway on DailyKaty.com

Prize: $300 Target Gift Card

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Check the Rafflecopter for the link to our other Target gift card to double your chances of winning! Giveaway ends 5/5 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

**This post is not sponsored by Target**

Friday Faves {April 10, 2015}

Cheers to the weekend, the weather in New England finally starting to feel like spring today. Now time for my Friday Faves…

4.10.15-FridayFaves

1. Home office perfect for city living. Why didn’t I discover this mini desk before I put a not-as-perfect desk into a tiny random room we have that doubles as an office and storage? This desk is both a functional desk and nightstand – great for a spare bedroom. Buy it here in white or chocolate – it’s even on sale. #iwantit {popsugar.com}

2. DIY floral arrangements. Is there anything Blake Lively doesn’t do? She has a trick for creating her own floral arrangements, and all it takes is heading to your local grocery store and picking up a few of their generic, pre-made bouquets. Then you rearrange into prettier bouquets for around the house. {brit.co}

3. Make-ahead Chipotle-style burrito bowls. That says it all, doesn’t it? I’m all about a mexican “bowl” of any type, but mine usually consist of lettuce, taco meat, veggies and the usual toppings. This recipe takes it up a notch but is still pretty easy and can be prepped ahead of time (and it can even be stored in the freezer). You just make chicken, cilantro-lime rice, black beans and corn salsa, then add toppings. {today.com}

4. More habits of organized people. I do a few of these (write everything down… check – I’m a crazy list person)… but I could use some work on others (having a home for everything, having less stuff, etc.). This is a good, realistic list of things that do work if you commit to them. I’m organized when it comes to productivity, but my desk and house certainly don’t look like they belong to an organized person… {refinery29.com}

San Francisco Weekend {Travel}

I have the best group of girlfriends from college and we’ve been trying to plan a girls trip with all eight of us for what seems like forever. We don’t all live in the same state, and the older we get, the busier we all seem to get with that whole us being adults thing (ugh). But we finally pulled it together for a trip to Cali – San Francisco, Sausalito, Sonoma and Healdsburg – after one of the girls moved to Sausalito and her husband happened to be out of town for the weekend.

This trip was more about girls time over (many) bottles of vino, but we managed to do a little sight seeing too (mixed with more food and wine). Read on for some highlights from the mini vaca via pics I took along the way.

IMG_5593

Ferry ride between San Fran and Sausalito is quick and only $10 – so worth it!

IMG_5582

How cute is Sausalito?!

IMG_5570

More Sausalito… wouldn’t mind living here…

IMG_5646

… especially with this view of the city out my window.

IMG_5567

Benefit of staying on East Coast time… catching sunrises like this one.

IMG_5654

Lots of cute restaurants right on the water in Sausalito (shown here: Scoma’s).

IMG_5652

Running around town, loving the nice weather (shop this kimono for under $15!).

IMG_5627

Touring wine country – here at Armida Winery in Healdsburg.

photo 1-21-2

Taking in the views (not pictured: other winery stops at Geyser Peak and Balletto)

photo 2-20-2

Touring around San Fran – had to drive down Lombard Street

photo 4-13-2

… and get a sundae at Ghirardelli.

photo 3-18-2

More food after walking around Fisherman’s Wharf (shown here: Pier Market).

IMG_5662

Catching the seals after lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf before heading to the airport.

Not shown: quality time and lots of laughs with my gfs and plenty more delicious food and drink. Until next time, San Fran!

Friday Faves {April 3, 2015}

TGIF & time for this week’s Friday Faves…

4.3.15-Friday Faves

1. Funfetti everything. What’s better than a round-up of all things funfetti? From the funfetti marshmallows shown above to cupcakes, ice cream, hot chocolate and more, you really can’t go wrong. {popsugar.com}

2. Buzz-worthy dress. One day I was scrolling through my Insta feed and realized I kept seeing the same dress over and over again. Turns out, it was just a smart marketing campaign for Design Lab, a new line at Lord & Taylor. They win, I did exactly what they wanted – I immediately clicked through and checked out the dress on the website and wished I had one of my own. {refinery29.com}

3. Summer reading list. I subscribe to about a million magazines, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in staying up-to-date with them on my daily train rides that I find myself not reading enough books. This is a good list of must-reads that promises to “rekindle your love of reading.” {brit.co}

4. A store I’m in denial about ever getting too old for. I may be reaching my 30’s soon, but I’m not embarrassed at the fact that I still pick up my I-don’t-want-to-spend-much-money-on-trendy-clothes pieces at Forever 21 (I need this maxi shown in the pic above asap). This guide gives you tips on shopping F21 when you’re (sadly) not 21 or under anymore.

Friday Faves {March 27, 2015}

Friday Favorites on DailyKaty.com

1. Target collabs. For a while I felt like there were so many Target collaborations going on that I stopped paying attention to them, but the upcoming Lilly Pulitzer and  Of a Kind shops caught my attention. Just when I thought I had officially outgrown the Lilly trend, they come out with pieces like this perfect pink and white chevron bikini and I’m sold. {popsugar.com & refinery29.com}

2. Celeb lifestyle sites. It can’t be a coincidence that so many of my fav celebs – Gwyneth Paltrow, Blake Lively, Lauren Conrad and now Reese Witherspoon –  all launched lifestyle websites. LC’s has been one of my favorites for a while (this may or may not be an indirect result of my Laguna Beach and Hills obsession) and now I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come on Reese’s new Draper James site, which sounds like it will be more of a shopping experience than editorial. {brit.co}

3. Life tips: how to remove any stain. Real Simple created an infographic that tells you exactly how to get any stain imaginable out – coffee, wine, salad dressing, lipstick, paint and more. I learned from my mother-in-law that Lestoil is one of the best stain removers out there, but I’m no expert, so this will come in handy for sure. {realsimple.com}

4. A Jell-O shot machine. For real. It’s called Jevo and it’s apparently an “automated shot maker that can crank out 20 of your beloved Jell-O shots with the push of a button.” We could have used that in college… or now. {elitedaily.com}