Monday, June 30, 2014

June Favorites

Is it the end of June already? This month seemed to fly by, and we're already four weeks of summer down! Unbelievable. This month had its ups and downs, but all in all, there are few complaints. 

  • I turned nineteen on June 26, yay!
  • I attended the beautiful wedding of my cousin and my gorgeous new cousin-in-law
  • I completed my resume (finally!)
  • I reached 10 followers on Bloglovin which isn't really a big deal in the scheme of things, but to me it was pretty exciting
And now, for my June Favorites: I have quite the selection of things, both beauty and non, so enjoy! 

Beauty: Naked Flushed Palette in Native
Softsoap Body Butter Scrub in Coconut

Non-Beauty: This wallet by Calvin Klein (a bargain steal at Marshalls for $29!)
This candle from Francesca's which was a birthday gift from one of my best friends and which smells heavenly 

Food: This bowl of happiness at Vitality Bowl in Walnut Creek (this one was the Tropical Bowl with extra chocolate chips because why not have chocolate? and it was life changing

Song: End of the Innocence by Don Henley; I've been listening to his albums on Spotify, and this is definitely one of my anthems this summer 

Fashion: This shirt from Target; I'm a huge fan of big, comfy, worn-in and preferably men's t-shirts, especially in the summer when I hate feeling stuffy and constricted...this is one of a few that I have been wearing constantly, both to bed and during the day, it's love

So those are my June favorites! I hope you enjoyed my little collection, and I'd love to hear what your favorites were this month. Post a comment below, shoot me an email, or find me on any of the social networks to the right. Here's to a great past month and an even better July. 

All the best, 

♥︎ Greta Elise

Monday Morning Grind: Take 3

There's something about being on the water, being so close to a seamless infinity, that all the little worries and trials of life momentarily disappear. Never having been to Lake Tahoe before and dealing with a few personal hiccups, I was skeptical about taking a little weekend trip and not necessarily looking forward to the three hour drive with inevitable traffic. After a Target stop (a girl's gotta have her Starbucks) I plugged in my earbuds, blasted some Don Henley and watched the landscape (and altitude) drastically change before me. The weather was perfect, and I developed a sunburn that is quickly turning to a tan so I have no complaints. There were heart-to-hearts, selfies and champagne and, as you can see, endless photo-ops. 

Taking a walk on a pier, no matter where it is, ocean or lake, it makes you feel boundless and on top of the world. It makes you feel in control and like you can do anything. If only there were more piers in life; more moments for instantaneous limitlessness. 

Few things are more beautiful in this world than a sunset, and a sunset over a lake is even more beautiful. 

Patterns, textures and colors. 

The mountains were still covered in snow caps which provided a lovely contrast to the eighty-four degrees by the water. 

No, I do not have a really bad soccer tan, it's just the lighting I promise. The water was so clear and shallow, almost to the end of the pier before dropping off. While I love Clearlake, it's a very different atmosphere, and the clearness of the Tahoe water was a nice change from the dark depths of Clearlake. 

My first meal was an Ahi-Tuna Salad, which, while delicious, was even more delicious on camera. Perks of being an aspiring food're more aware of ordering beautiful food and not just good food. 

What moments did you experience this weekend that gave you a momentary infinity? (I'm going a little TFIOS here- but I have yet to see the movie, so if anyone wants to take me, I'll love you forever) 

"A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature." ~Henry David Thoreau

All the best, 

♥︎ Greta Elise

Friday, June 27, 2014

High-Five For Friday!

Hello everyone, and Happy Friday! I am currently writing this post on a very comfortable bed in a very lovely hotel room on my gorgeous, brand new MacBook Pro (birthday present from dad and mother) in beautiful Lake Tahoe. I've never been here before, but it is definitely the perfect place for a little weekend get-away, and perfect blogging material. 

This Friday, instead of five favorites, I thought I'd talk about what's in my travel makeup bag since I've been on the go quite a bit lately. I don't normally take this much, but since I'm in Tahoe for my cousin's wedding and will be doing full faces of makeup this weekend, I brought a bit more than usual. I also have a few new items, which I'm very excited about! Let's get to it. 

My makeup bag is from H&M and can be found here. It's a nice size, big enough to fit multiple palettes, brushes, etc. and it was only $8.00, so it's a huge win win for me! Speaking of palettes, I brought two with me this weekend, one being the Naked 2 Palette from Urban Decay, and the second being the Naked Flushed Palette in Native, also from Urban Decay, which I purchased at Sephora yesterday. The palette is a beautiful bronzer, blush, and highlighter trio and I feel it's important to purchase myself birthday presents, or just presents in general...loving oneself is a good idea. 

Moving onto single blushers and bronzers, I have the NYX blush in the shade 25, Pinched. It's a very warm pink, bright enough for summer but subtle enough to still look natural on the skin. It gives a healthy looking flush, which I love. Two of my favorite bronzers happen to be the cheapest of cheap drugstore ones, the NYC Sun 'n' Bronze in the shade 706, Hamptons Radiance; the other is an ELF bronzer in the shade 2401, Sun Kissed. Both of these bronzers have really good pigmentation without being orangey, which I find is sometimes difficult to find in a drugstore bronzer, especially the cheaper ones. I've had these bronzers for over a year now and still haven't hit pan on either, though I use them practically every day, so they contain a good amount of product, and for under $4.00 each, I highly recommend them. 

For eyes, I obviously have my Naked 2 Palette, which I use for eyeshadow, highlighter and eyeliner (by dampening a small angled brush and applying Blackout thinly across my lash-line if I so desire) My eyelash curler is from ELF, and works like a dream. To fill in my brows, I use an angled brush from ECO-Tools, and the third color from a quad from L'Oréal in the shade 839, Cupa Joe. I use a clear eyebrow gel from ELF, which I am almost out of, but which works great. The mascara I've currently been using is The Falsies from Maybelline. I am also trying out Make Up For Ever's mascara in Smoky Extravagant which was the free birthday gift from Sephora this year. 

For concealers I have Benefit's Concealer Duo which has Boi-Ing 02 and Eye Bright. I also have my go-to Instant Age Rewind Dark Spot Eraser (now that's a mouthful...) in the shade 210, Light. I use this mostly for under my eyes because it is quite brightening as well, but it does such a good job that I can also use it as an all-over concealer. I have a concealer duo from Physician's Formula, which is half a light-toned creamy concealer especially good for spots and uneven patches, and half a green toned concealer used for redness. 

In the summer I don't like to use a heavy foundation because I like my skin to be able to breathe, so I've been using the Dream Pure BB Cream from Maybelline in the Light/Medium Sheer Tint. For a BB cream, it provides pretty good coverage and doesn't feel heavy on the skin at all. I've been using the Stay Matte Pressed Powder from Rimmel London in the shade 003, Natural. It provides a nice finish over my base and lasts around six hours before needing a light touch-up (but even without any touch-ups, my skin just looks a little more dewey, not shiny) 

My brushes are the same Eco-Tools ones from my previous mini-haul, and I also brought my Merle Norman blush brush which I use for blush and contouring, my Naked 2 eyeshadow brush and two Bare Minerals eyeshadow brushes. I also have my NYX Matte Setting Spray, a whole bunch of EOS lip balms, a NYX butter gloss in Créme Brûlée and Baby Lips lip balm. 

So that's all I have in my travel makeup bag; I do not use all of these products at the same time, but when I'm gone for more than one night, especially when I'm attending an event, I like to have a few different products so I have a nice variety. Also, certain products are better to use depending on how my skin decides to act. It's been pretty clear and tame, but you never know. Being away from home is usually when it decides to flare up. The struggle is real. 

Let me know if you'd like me to do a What's In My Travel Toiletries Bag post. Have a great rest of your Friday night, wherever you may be! 

All the best, 

♥︎ Greta Elise

Thursday, June 26, 2014

One Day I Turned Nineteen

Well, it's my 19th birthday today. 

I don't really feel any different, but I never do on my birthdays. Maybe a little more mature, but that might just be because I took myself to Starbucks and got a mani-pedi. Ah, the perks of being a woman. 

I've received many birthday wishes already, from previous employers to cousins to best friends, oh and my favorite sister of course. A birthday is a wonderful time because you are reminded of the many people who care about you. It doesn't come down to the gift cards or presents or tweets, it comes down to who you have influenced in your years here on earth. Another thought I had, while doing my face this morning (I haven't been wearing much makeup when I just sit at home, so it's almost a treat during the summer) was that a birthday is more than a celebration of you... it's a manifestation of the love between two people. That's the only reason I am here today, doing amazing things, and basking in the numerous opportunities that continue to find me... because of my parents. 

A birthday card with fun quote 'a whole year more incrediblerer card' from Paperchase. #cards #greetingcards #birthdaycards

I thought I'd take a minute to reflect on this past year and write about ten things which I am most thankful for, in honor of my twentieth year and nine months on this planet. I'm all about the lists lately, can't you tell? 

  1. I am thankful for my parents who have coached me, comforted me, loved me and supported me throughout the years, through the good, the bad and the ugly
  2. I am thankful for my siblings, from the almost thirty-somethings to the five year old; as much as they drive me crazy and it's a wonder I'm not deaf by now, they definitely add a little color to my life
  3. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to attend a wonderful school and learn all the many things I did; I have to admit there were a few times where I doubted I would graduate, but I finally made it
  4. I am thankful for coffee, because without it, I'm not really sure how I would survive, literally
  5. I am thankful for my amazing friends, who make my life all the more interesting and exciting; they never fail to make me laugh, whip me into shape, and rescue me from reality at the perfect times
  6. I am thankful for the friends I am making in the blogosphere, especially Emily, check out her blog here
  7. I am thankful for my cousins (yes, they deserve their own bullet point) because I really couldn't survive without know who you are
  8. I am thankful for my love of photography and my gorgeous iPhone and camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T3i, which, at three years old, is still going strong) which enable me to capture beauty in everyday life
  9. I am thankful for my wonderful boyfriend, who makes my life complete and who supports and encourages me in everything I do; who makes me smile and spoils me way too much, and who is my better half 
  10. Finally, I am thankful for life itself; yes, it has its hardships, its tears and its trials, but overall, it's a good life 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Wishlist: [Beauty]

With my birthday just a couple days away, I thought I'd indulge myself by actually listing the items that I've had my eye on for a while now. Of course, it would probably require robbing a small bank to purchase all of these things myself, but 1) a woman can dream, 2) what else is summer for, and 3) it's my birthday week, therefore I'm entitled. 

Summer Wishlist [Beauty]

Ray-Ban Classic Wayfarer Sunglasses //  find them here

Sperry Top-Sider Women's Bluefish Suede Boat Shoe //  find them here 

Brandy Melville Layla Hoodie // find it here

Celfie Tee // 

Aerie Lace Racerback Bralette // find it here

San Diego Striped Weekender // find it here

Forever 21 Coffee Understands PJ Set // find it here

Urban Decay's Naked Flushed Palette in Native // find it here

Michael Kors Tri-Colour Ritz Chronograph Watch // find it here

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation in Fair-Light Neutral // find it here

Kate Spade New York Cobble Hill Bee // find it here

What's on your summer wishlist?

All the best, 

♥ Greta Elise

Monday, June 23, 2014

Monday Morning Grind: Take 2

Good morning! It's a lovely morning here in Northern California, and the sun is shining. There are drills and tractor sounds coming from the construction site that is our house. It's over 100 years old and has to be completely renovated before it is livable. Unfortunately, I'll have moved before it's anywhere close to being done, but hopefully I'll have my own room when I return for Christmas break. Emphasis on hopefully. I was awoken this morning by someone crawling into my bed and tucking himself into the baby brother (okay, he's five, but he'll always be the baby) was catching some early morning snuggles. My mother was getting ready for work in the bathroom which opens up into the bedroom and I heard him say to her "but does Greta know how to make pancakes?" He seemed very concerned. Well I would be too if my eating schedule depended on someone else's skills. 

So yes, I do know how to make pancakes. Both from a mix and from scratch. Although with summertime comes a laziness and unwillingness to exert in the morning, so a mix was preferable. My mother bought the Bob's Red Mill Whole Wheat Pancake Mix from wherever she shopped last night, and while I'm not really a fan of whole bit 'o' healthy in the morning, I have to say they were pretty good and definitely insta-worthy. 

I was skeptical of this syrup because it isn't Maple Syrup...what the heck is Table Syrup? The ingredients read:
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown Sugar
Natural Flavor
Xanthan Gum
Citric Acid
I'm not the greatest when it comes to scientific-sounding ingredients (I'm taking pride in being a high school graduate, and I haven't given a single thought to science in any form) but this stuff tastes exactly like normal syrup, and if I didn't know what it was, I wouldn't know the difference. 

Berries make everything better and they are at their peak this time of year. You can't go wrong with strawberries and blueberries, and their vibrant colors provided a lovely contrast for photographing (I know, I know, I'm weird) My mother once said "you eat with your eyes first" and I always laughed, thinking that's great, but I really just want to eat now. Obviously, I'm older and I like to think wiser now, and her words make sense. As an aspiring food blogger, photo journalist or just your average college girl-turned-foodie, I realize the critical importance of presentation and first impression (even if I'm only cooking for myself and three starving siblings) 

So that was breakfast. I also tried to start the day on a positive note by making a point to wash my face before anything else and kissing my brothers. My mother tells me that the key to happiness within the family is more physical affection, especially towards the little ones; as a very affectionate and emotional person myself, I am working on being more conscious of this need, starting in my own home. And as for washing my face, it is the most refreshing way of starting a new day with a clean slate (literally), followed, of course, by coffee in my favorite mug. 

I'm working on formulating some new post ideas for the upcoming week, but I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. What would you like to read this week? Let me know! 

All the best, 

Greta Elise

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Necessary Getaway

Hello all, I apologize for not posting anything yesterday, I was still on my mini-vacation, and to be honest, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. It's a cold, hard truth about being a blogger- our lives aren't perfect, and we don't always wake up with some revolutionary idea that we can't wait to type out. It doesn't quite work that way, though at times I wish it did. Oh well, c'est la vie. 

As I mentioned, I was up at my family's lake house for the weekend with my cousin, aunt and uncle. It was bliss. I didn't want to leave. Wouldn't it be nice if day-to-day responsibilities and stresses and worries could just be put on pause for a week? (or two...) The lake house has a way of making you forget all the not-so-good things in your life, even if just for a weekend. The weather was perfect, and there were hardly any other boats out which is sad in a way, because it's such a beautiful place that should be taken advantage of, but this also meant that we had the water pretty much to ourselves. 

Sweet Salt Air is starting to get good. At first I was skeptical, because, like TFIOS, it was really slow and I didn't really see where the book was headed. I'm still pretty early into it, but I'm starting to love it even more. I received some Amazon cards for graduation, and I'm trying to decide on some books to order. Do you have any suggestions? I'd love to hear what reads are on your summer book lists. 

While I was sad to go (reality hits a bit hard around here) I was so thankful to spend such a lovely weekend with my family. We took our boat and jet ski out and spent hours reading, trying to get our tan on. The process is slow but sure. I hope to spend at least a few more weekends at the lake before I move, so that is definitely on the summer bucket list. 

I know this post is short, but I am trying to unwind and rest up before another long week, which happens to be my birthday week! It's hard to believe I'm approaching being one year away from halfway to forty. I'm getting old. Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday. 

All the best, 

Greta Elise

Friday, June 20, 2014

High-Five For Friday!


This week seemed to go by so incredibly slow, so I'm glad it's finally Friday. I'm off for a little weekend get-away in a bit, but I have five favorites this week that I thought I'd quickly share. 

 Way before summer started, I began to see this trend surface: soft shorts (for lack of a better term!) I added them to my list of items to purchase, and finally did earlier this week. The navy pair are from Marshalls, which opened a few weeks ago, and were only $10.00. The green pair are from Target and were also $10.00, which I think is a great deal. They are both made of a very lightweight and soft material, and they fit very loosely, but still manage to be flattering when on. I thought they'd be perfect for lounging around the house, pool, and our lake house, and I'm sure I'll wear them to bed at least a few times. They are oh so versatile, which I love, especially in the warmer months, and can be paired with a basic tee or tank, a comfy button-down, or a hoodie when it gets chilly in the evenings. 

Two beauty favorites this week have to be the NXY Setting Spray and Clean & Clear's Morning Burst scrub. I got the setting spray from Ulta in early May before Prom, and it was around $7 I want to say. I've been using it more on a daily basis (when I actually put makeup on, obviously) because it's getting hotter now that it's nearing the middle to end of June. I spray it all over my face after I apply my base, and then again after I've set everything with powder and finished the rest of my makeup. It makes my makeup last all day without streaking and I do notice a little shine because I have slightly oily skin, but for the most part it keeps everything matte. I use my Morning Burst every single morning when I wake up, and it's great for feeling more fresh and alive (because I am neither of those when I wake up...I am not a morning person until I've had multiple cups of coffee) It has a pleasant scent and the exfoliating beads help to treat any dry patches I may have. 

I have been obsessed with candles lately, even more than usual. I love to burn them all day long on the kitchen counter; they just help to freshen the place up a bit and they provide a homey, comforting feel. My current favorite is one my dad picked up a few weeks ago from Copperfield's Books. I've seen other scents from this brand at Francesca's and this one is almost gone, as you can see, so I'm sure I'll be grabbing a new one the next time I'm in. The Paddywax brand is all natural, and I believe they are all made from soy wax, but don't quote me on that because I'm not positive. I love this Lavender & Thyme one because it's a powerful scent but it isn't too overbearing or in your face, and it isn't too fruity or perfume-y, which is nice. 

I'm generally pretty good about drinking a lot of water during the day, but I've noticed that I drink four times as much when it's flavored. I guess this could be considered a detox water, but regardless it's super refreshing and easy. I just cut up a few strawberries, squeezed some fresh lemon juice in and added the slices, and filled the mason jar with ice water. Easy! I've been drinking this all week, and it keeps me hydrated and refreshed all day, and I like drinking out of a mason jar because it's nice to have a lid for portability. 

I'd love to hear what your favorites were this week! 

All the best, 

Greta Elise

Thursday, June 19, 2014

My Favorite Bloggers/Tubers

 My friend told me that it sounds nothing short of weird when I call them "Tubers" but what can I say, I'm weird.  I'm a dedicated subscriber to every one of these lovely women, and I probably shouldn't admit this because it's breaching crazy psycho-stalker territory, but I also follow them on Bloglovin' (if they have a blog) Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Embarrassing, yes, but it's what I do. It's my "niche". No judgment is needed, I'm aware of my obsessive tendencies.  

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce (well, actually none of them even know I exist, unfortunately, so there's that) my favorite eight YouTubers and bloggers. 90% of what I have learned about makeup, blogging, writing, and just being more confident as a woman is from these eight beauties. 

Esteé Blog •YouTube •Vlog Channel
Aspyn YouTube •Vlog Channel
Lauren YouTube 
Meghan YouTube •Vlog Channel
Amelia •Blog •YouTube 
Arden YouTube
Claudia YouTube Vlog Channel
Kate Blog •YouTube

Some people, my family included, think it's a little weird that I watch them so religiously, because I often talk about them or mention something I learned or saw as if I know them in real life. I agree, it's probably a little much, but oh well, I'm a creepy individual. I hope you check them out and subscribe, I know they will appreciate it. 

All the best, 

Greta Elise

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-Week Mini Haul

Is it just me or is this week going by way too slowly? I feel like it should be Friday already. As you can probably see...Greta went shopping again. It's fascinating that after graduation I suddenly had this wonderful thing called money. And I had a lot of it. So what am I doing? Am I saving it like the responsible adult I am...awkward silence. No. Well, let's be fair, I am saving a bulk of it only because I locked it away someplace where I can't touch it. Hey, a woman has got to do what a woman's got to do. Anyway. This is not the Dave Ramsey show, and I digress. 
Let's just skip the fluff and get right into it. What did I get?!

EOS Lip Balms: 5 Pack from Costco. I don't even want to explain this purchase because y'all probably know by now that I am addicted, and it's a problem. So after my big sister told me she picked this bad boy up, it just had to happen. And I haven't even opened it yet because I was waiting to write this post. I'm such a dedicated blogger. The set includes Sweet Mint, Strawberry Sorbet, Passion Fruit, Summer Fruit and Honeysuckle Honeydew. It's love, I'm telling you. 

Eco-Tools Mineral Set from Target. I love this brand of brushes. If you're looking for high quality makeup brushes for a fraction of the cost of Sigma or MAC, then these are the way to go. You can buy them at Ulta, Target, or online, and they are a very doable cost. I got these for $8.99 because they were at a discounted price at Target last night. I've used this brand before and they are the best for powder foundation, pressed and loose powders and even blushers. This set is mini, which I love because mini is just adorable, and perfect for traveling or for my on-the-go makeup bag. It came with a Mineral Powder Brush, a Mini Kabuki Brush, a basic Eyeshadow Brush and a Concealer Brush. If you haven't already tried these, go pick them up!

Baby Lips Lip Balm from Target. So I just bought two year's worth of lip balms and what do I do? I buy more lip products. Can you say white girl? I noticed that the Baby Lips brand has a new line- Crystal which seem to be slightly more shimmery and pinky toned, while still containing Shea Butter and Vitamin E which is perfect for summer. This one is in the shade 130, Crystal Kiss and it's a slightly salmon-y, slightly Barbie pink without being too over the top. I love these lip balms and with the exception of probably three or four, have probably purchased every single one. I almost put this back on the shelf because Realist Greta surfaced and "do I really need this?" but my friend (who I love so much!) convinced me and told me I had to buy it. How do you cure an addiction when your friends keep encouraging you? 

Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer from Target. My little travel sized Ponds moisturizer (which has lasted since February) is on it's last leg, so I decided to pick up a new one. I've been wanting to branch out with my skincare routine because let's face it- I don't go anywhere or see anyone in the summer, so it's the perfect time to experiment with products that could potentially either trash my skin or beautify it. (Yes, we just had a little wallowing-in-self-pity-moment there) I like the Clean & Clear line because the products don't dry out my skin or make it too oily. I use the Morning Burst Facial Scrub every morning and it definitely helps to brighten my skin and make me look somewhat alive. This moisturizer has Salicylic Acid which helps to prevent and treat blemishes, and it's oil free which is great for my combination skin. 

Yes To Grapefruit Brightening Facial Wipes from Target. I'm a Target shop-a-holic, have you noticed? I think I've mentioned my love affair with the Say Yes To brand but if I haven't, that's all you need to know. For drugstore products, they tend to wane on the pricier side (think $8-$20 range) but worth the money, in my opinion. I love face wipes to remove my makeup at night before my toner and evening cream, and these are perfect because they not only take everything off, but they brighten and slightly exfoliate at the same time. Why would I only kill one bird when I could kill three? Call me weird, but I love grapefruit anything, and these smell like a cross between grapefruit juice and some kind of girly cocktail. Also, the packaging is great, and you get 25 wipes for about $5.95 (ish) 

And finally, last but certainly not least...

Dream Eau de Toilette from Gap. I'm going to fangirl about a scent. O.M.G. I've been searching for a new summery scent, and I fell in love with this when I discovered it at Macie's house. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find it because our outlets are kind of hit and miss, but I was checking out of Gap on Saturday and I spotted it by the checkout and grabbed it. I want to say it was $10.00, and it's a 30 mL bottle, so it should last a while. The packaging reads "a soft mix of white freesia, orange flower and pure cloud." I didn't know you could package up clouds. So cool. It's a very fresh, light and feminine scent, and I think it's perfect for the warmer months. 

So that's the mini-haul roundup. Let me know what kind of posts you'd like me to write next, and please feel free to leave comments below. I'm on my second cup of coffee in the past hour and a half, and I should probably muster up some energy to get dressed. Ah, summer. I hope your day treats you well, and if it doesn't, well, can I get a high-five for mid-week funks!

All the best, 

Greta Elise 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

App Focus: VSCO Cam

Happy Tuesday! I spent the past hour and a half brainstorming with my coffee cup about what today's post should be about. I had originally planned on blogging Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, however it's almost therapeutic for me and I've enjoyed it so much that I may as well shoot for daily posts- at least this week. Plans may change if and when I find a job, and I have some weekend trips coming up where I'm not sure I'll be able to post, but I'll do my best! 

Anyway, I was catching up on my blog feed on Bloglovin' (follow me by clicking the link to your right) reading over the various posts, drooling over the summer recipes and gathering inspiration from the endless photos when it came to me... App Focus. Which app have I been loving, why, and what makes it unique? I've been asked before what I use to edit my instagrams, and I consider this a great compliment that people want to know because I take pride in each and every one of my pictures. For me, it's more than how many likes I can get or how many filters and hash-tags I can apply (in fact, I rarely, if ever, use hash-tags, and I can't remember the last time I used an actual Instagram filter) So what do I use? 

Enter VSCO Cam

Named the App of the Year by Apple in 2013, this app provides a clean and simple interface and produces gorgeous photos without taking away from the photo's original content. 
I edit all of my instagrams using this app, along with either InstaSize or Squareready for the white edges. I feel like the white edges provide a cleaner and more artistic platform for the photo, and it also enables me to post photos that would not otherwise fit in the standard square crop that Instagram is known for. I will do another post reviewing the other apps in my Photography folder soon, as each one serves as the perfect tool in creating a specific effect I have in mind. 

Here is an overview of what the app looks like once opened; it stores your photos that you have edited within the app in a separate album, though you also have the choice of exporting to your camera roll. I sometimes store them in both my camera roll and the app itself because it is easier to grab them out of camera roll if I am sending the photos or wanting to edit them further in another app, but it is nice to see all of my VSCO photos in one place. 

Once you import a new photo by clicking the + button at the top, you are given a set of gorgeous filters. My personal favorite and the one that I use 90% of the time is F2. F2 increases the photo's contrast but gives it a faded, slightly vintage and "comfy" effect. 

After the filter is applied, there is the option to further edit it by clicking the tools button, which is signified by a wrench, next to the paintbrush which signifies the filters. You are then faced with limitless options for your photo with a broad range of tools including Exposure, Temperature, Contrast, Rotate, Crop, Sharpness and many more. While it may seem overwhelming, this is by far my favorite app for editing because it has a simple and sleek interface and the tools are easy to use, even for photography amateurs. 

After you have your desired image, you have the option of exporting the photo to various social networks, but I usually open it in one of the aforementioned white border apps to prep it for Instagram. 

If you'd like to know how I use Squareready, InstaSize, or any of my other Photography apps, leave a comment below and I will start work on another App(s) Focus post! I hope this post wasn't too confusing, and if it wasn't obvious, I highly recommend VSCO cam (it's free in the App Store!) I am willing to bet you will love it. 

All the best, 

Greta Elise

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday Morning Grind

Good morning! It's a pleasant morning over here; the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. That is becoming way too stereotypical-sounding for me. Anyway! I've been brainstorming on what I want my Monday posts to focus on, and instead of going with the same theme every week (like Makeup Monday or something cliché like that) I came up with this post's title...Monday Morning Grind. I like the sound of it; it sounds very journal-isty. You may have noticed I'm a fan of making up words as I go. It's a problem. 

So basically, Monday Morning Grind will be whatever kind of post I've formulated in my head laying awake the night before. I have a habit of waking up in the middle of the night and then remaining wide awake for anywhere from half an hour to two hours. Again, another problem. Insomnia runs in the family- perhaps it's a sign of genius. 

 As may be obvious, this morning's post is centered on the books I am currently reading. Okay, if we're being completely honest, I haven't started The Longest Ride or Sweet Salt Air yet, but I tend to read multiple books at once, so I wouldn't surprise myself if I start one or both today. I am about halfway through The Fault In Our Stars. I want to finish it before I see the movie, although that is easier said than done because I really really really  want to see it. I feel like the time spent finishing the book however, is also time to prepare my emotions which can be likened to the Matterhorn in Disneyland (up and down and all over the place) I boarded the TFIOS bandwagon last week and I'll never go back. While a bit slow at first, John Green is a literary genius and deserves a pat on the back (or a few hundred) If you haven't read or even heard of this book... who are you?! I highly recommend it and would love to hear your thoughts.
 I am a huge fan of the Nicholas Sparks books and films, so when I spotted this book at Costco on Saturday, I skimmed the back and threw it in the cart. I've never heard of this book, so I can't provide a detailed review, but an excerpt from the back reads: "Epic Sparks... showcases the author's most accomplished work to date... There are moments of perfection." I'll keep you updated! 

To be honest, the cover of Sweet Salt Air caught my attention before I even began reading the summary, but when I did I swear my eyes grew about three sizes their normal diameter. It's a book about two best friends; a food blogger and a travel writer. (Um, can we say YES, PERFECT) This book was obviously written for me. It's a New York Times bestseller and Boston Magazine writes "If the title doesn't put you in a summer mood, the setting will." I have a feeling I will be mentioning this beauty many times in the weeks to come. Also, I thought I'd mention...I'm not an advocate of ebook reading, because I like to feel the book and hear the paper turning and books just have that know what I'm talking about. The only reason I downloaded TFIOS on Kindle is because I couldn't wait any longer for a trip to the bookstore and I didn't really want to count on someone giving me the book as a gift because people don't tend to be very reliable (I'm totally kidding, I really just wanted to read the book ASAP) 

On that note, ebook reading is easy for on the go, and as I mentioned I tend to wake up in the middle of the night and until I move, I still share a room, so the backlight of my phone definitely comes in handy for late-night reading. Another point I have to make (I know this post is starting to bore you, my apologies) is that buying books at Costco is the way to go! I got both of my paperbacks for $8.99 which I think is a great deal, and they have a lot of the trending books, which is nice if you're like me and know you want to read something but you have no idea what. So yeah, go to Costco. 

My last little tidbit is about this wonderful little book. I bought it at Francesca's which I mentioned in my Friday post, and it was a pretty good price for a bulky hard-back, about $17.00. I first saw this journal in a Meghan Rosette video on YouTube (she's one of my favorite Tubers; I'm formulating a blog post about my favorites, but that's for another day) Moral of the story- I saw the journal, immediately wanted it but had no idea where I could find it. I walked into Francesca's on Saturday, spotted it on a corner bottom shelf, freaked out a little bit and bought the darn thing. It's a five-year journal, and I think it's pretty self-explanatory based on the above images. Totally me, so I'm obviously totally in love.

That's it for today's Monday Morning Grind. I hope I didn't ramble too much. My blogging juices really flow in the early morning. Have a beautiful day and please leave comments below if you want more information about these books. I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can also reach me at any of my social media platforms on the right. 

All the best, 

Greta Elise