Draw increased traffic with the powerful photo editing app “A Color Story”

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The difference well-edited photos can make to a blog or social media post cannot be overstated. Blog posts with images get 94% more views than those without, and it stands to reason the better quality the image, the more attractive your post will be to readers*.

Toward this, and in my search for powerful yet easy and intuitive photo editing apps, I recently discovered A Color Story app. ACS comes to us via the amazing blog A Beautiful Mess (the app’s creators), whom describe its ability to make colors pop and shine. Knowing my love of photo editing (I have been known to miss multiple meals while engrossed in editing!), I decided to try it and I can honestly say I have not been able to stop gushing about it to all and sundry since! (see the shout outs on my twitter and instagram profiles herehere and here)

Not only does the app come bundled with a range of fabulous preset filters but the ability to save all your steps including any of the sophisticated free tools you used. There are further filter bundles which cost from $1.49 – $2.98 or for a limited time you can purchase all filter packs for $10.

Although the filters are amazing, it is the tool pack I want to talk about here. Most photo editing apps come bundled with standard saturation, brightness, vignette and contrast tools. A color story has all these but also comes bundled with the ability to play with the hue, temperature, tint, high and midtone colors, highlight, shadow, grain, and much more. And it has a ‘curve’ tool which is off the charts fun, easy, and super powerful. 

Below are some before and after edit images I created from my own photos to give you an idea of what the app can do:

Before shot: daisies

After shot: daisies with curve tool, hue, tint, and midtone shifts

Before shot: milliner’s patch star

After shot: milliner’s star patch with curve tool

Before shot: long-stemmed roses

After shot 1: black and white with extra saturation

After shot 2: color added back in from b+w shot using hue shift

Before shot: the almost unuseable palm trees on Takapuna beach photo

After shot 1: curve tool, hue and highlight color shift

After shot 2, palms: further curve tool + hue and highlight shift

Before photo: chandellier

After shot 1: curve, tint and hue shifts

After shot 2: curve, highlight and midtone shifts

I also found the app really beneficial for my flatlay work. It brightens up the white backgrounds and sharpens, smooths and pops the colors so nicely your first flatlay shots look immediately professionally done. See my post “Fun with flatlays” for before and after shots using this app.

Just a final note, I’m not sponsered by the app or ABM 😊, I just love it that much. What editing tools do you use? Would love to hear in the comments below X

Editor’s note: A Color Story is free (with in-app purchases as described) and available on both iTunes and Google Play 
*Hubspot’s interesting article showing the data-driven research of adding images to your blog posts can be found here.

#AColorStory #apps #design #DesignEyeCandy #photoediting, #photography

(*all photos copyright Jennifer Jarvis 2016)

Fun with flatlays

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Hi everyone sorry for the break but I lost my phone and also have been getting ready to launch a new wellness website (more on that in my next post, yay!).
In the meantime, I finally got over my insecurities about flatlay photography. For months I’ve been watching tutorials etc, always loving the idea but never believing I could do it, too. Mainly I felt I didn’t have the nifty props everyone else seemed to have. But boy was I wrong!

I finally thought “just do it” (thank you, Nike!) and gathered some pretty things lying around, dropped them on a large piece of white cardstock near my living room ranch sliders, picked a camellia flower from my tree outside, mercilessly dissected it (all in the name of art, darling), and began snapping.

The real fun comes at the editing stage (but then I’m an app freak). Note the difference between the header image (after editing) and the one just above (original image) – huge difference, right? 

That’s thanks to an easy yet sophisticated app called A Color Story. I don’t have quite enough light so I use the app’s “curve” tool to lighten it, then hit it with the free filters “Everyday” and “Pop”. At this point the white background has a bluish tinge but I really like that so then I’m done!

After one “successful” flatlay I went a little berzerk running around finding new props I could mix n match. My reading glasses, magazines, a travel journal my mom recently gave me for my birthday – all were fun and worked well. Flatlays are supposed to tell a story and although mine stories aren’t specific, I hope a “fun” vibe carries through. 

Comment below if you have been doing flatlay photography! I’d love to hear from you X
#flatlay #photography #lifestyle #blog #blogger #fashion

(*all photos copywrite Design Eye Candy 2016)

How losing your smartphone can open you up to a whole new and better direction in life (or, “dolce far niente”)

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Hi guys, sorry I haven’t been around for nearly a week, hope you’ve all been well. I was gutted early last week to find I’d lost my (expensive) smartphone and a large chunk of my life with it. Thousands of photos, blog writings, and more – gone, baby. No cloud or dropbox (long story), so gone for ever.

I was incredibly upset, as you can imagine. My forward momentum on the blog and social media was huge and I was on a roll. This changed all that, yanking me almost viscerally back. I admit there were more than a few days of lying on the couch eating chocolate and feeling almost defeated. 

However what happened next was this breathing space opened up before me allowing me to regroup, read a positively life changing book (The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau), and take some long walks with the dogs. It also became the fertile ground for a new idea – a website/blog that would be alot more “me” (although I love DEC), would be helpful to people seeking answers on many of life’s problems, and could more easily be monetised once it gained momentum.

Rewatching Eat Pray Love during that time also helped remind me that sometimes taking a deep, long breath can help with what is often a tumultuous and misadventurous life path. It also dropped a pearl of a phrase into my lap: “dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing. It was being able to do nothing that allowed me to reconceive my direction – I am convinced I would not have thought of the idea had I not slowed down enough to hear its quiet whisperings. It also allowed me to gain clarity and resolve on what I wanted for my life – to be able to help people on a large scale and if possible, make even a small living while doing it. 

Now armed with a new Samsung Galaxy S7 (SO excited about the phone – and it’s waterproof!), and brainstorming ideas for the new website with loved ones, I am charged up again. In the end, it was only a week of downtime but what a difference a week can make!

Have you experienced something similar? An “aha” moment especially during a quiet time that helped you refocus and recharge? Would love to hear in the comments below! X
#inspiration #change #life #focus

Design love: Illustration

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What is it about pattern and design or illustration what stirs the creative juices in all of us? Since the dawn of time, illustration and design, especially when it reaches the level of art, has moved mankind to approach something of the mystical. It resonates with the soul and brings us closer to the divine. 

I have started to wonder if I was a tribal rug salesman in another life (joking, but kinda not)(see the glee I have for tribal rugs here: The It Rug: Tribal). I see illustrations or patterns and want to see them woven into rugs:

It could be heavier hand-knotted wool rugs or lighter works of art made from cotton that would be lovely hung on a wall:

Some designers already use Turkomen and other rugs and weavings such as suzanis to decorate walls:

Some illustrations are already incorporated into rug design:

The above designs could be styled in a myriad of ways: floor rugs in the living room, a child’s bedroom, or kitchen, hung on walls in entranceways or offices, or draped over furniture almost like a throw if lighter like cotton ones.

They would also make fabulous tiles, stove backsplashes, wall dots, and more.

How would you use the above designs? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you! X

(*all photos pinterest)

#tribal #illustration #design #carpet #rug #suzani

Get inspired by these 8 must know raw, vegan, or vegetarian Instagram bloggers 

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Eating well in a hectic world can be tough especially if juggling too many commitments ~  work, kids, pets, exercise, and more. It helps immeasurably if you can be super inspired by vegan or vegetarian food bloggers, many of which have instagram accounts with endless miles of drool-worthy photos and recipes of their own clean eating creations.

The following 8 instagram accounts/bloggers are just some of the many gorgeous and inspirational people out there making eating clean and healthy look fabulous! Take a peek at one or all to get inspired to nourish and love your body today! X

1. elsas_wholesomelife

Elsa from elsaswholesomelife.com is a master of food styling and her insta account includes lifestyle photos of her in Santorini, picnic, floral images, regrams and more:

2. earthlytaste

Consuelo of earthlytaste.com creates mesmerizingly beautiful vegan delights including umpteen fruit platters, nice cream concoctions, and sweet treats like vegan turtle brownies and orange raspberry chocolate coffee cake. But it is her smoothie bowl photos that are really off the charts:

3. thecoconutgoddess 

Ashlee at thecoconutgoddess.com is a genii of all things sweet. One glance at her insta and you’ll be craving every single one of her creations or regrams:

4. wifemamafoodie

I have long loved Joscelyn at wifemamafoodie.com for her inspiring recipes and gorgeous food styling and photography. This woman does delicious like nobody’s business:

5. panaceas_pantry

Kath and Jade at Panacaeas Pantry do raw so well, from their “kooka” cookies to bars and slices, smoothie bowls, and more:

6. bos.kitchen

Bo at boskitchen.com makes sweet and savory things look prettier than they ever have before:

7. sobeautifullyraw

Sam at So Beautifully Raw is many things but a cake queen may top the list. Get ready to be amazed by her insta feed: 

8. thefitforkfeed

Lindsay from thefitforkfeed.com serves up lovingly crafted wholesome foods which include a good deal of savoury fare (many vegan bloggers post predominately fuit and smoothie based photos). 

All images subject to their respective owners specified above. 

#clean #raw #vegan #vegetarian #foodporn #cleaneats #inspire

Pretty home office inspo to boost your creative spark

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Nothing dampens the creative spirit quite like having nowhere to create!  If you’re like me and have plenty of ideas for crafting, writing, styling, and other creative pursuits, but no fixed spaced for pursuing them in, then check out these fun and creative home office spaces found on pinterest and instagram, for a big boost of style inspo.

For me, a reasonably sized desk with enough room to sit comfortably under it in a good chair is a must. I have a gorgeous mid century teak table gifted to me when I first moved to New Zealand which makes an excellent desk. I’ve yet to settle on a spot to place it however as, with these images below, I’d like a moodboard nearby and a place to put inspirational books and other items, but all my wallspace is already over-crowded and I can’t quite make up my mind whether I want to be in front of the living room ranch sliders overlooking the orange trees or in my spare room where there is plenty of room for everything I need. Once I figure it out and style it though, you’ll be the first to see what I’ve done with it!

Aside from framing your space with shelves, lights, or colourful and interesting images and items, the desk is the key element that pulls the look together. Trestle table desks are very hot right now, with most offices currently being blogged about using this type. With their combination of sleek design and practicality, they are a great go-to for your home:

I also love the creatives forging their own way with warm wood, sleek white metal, and other types of desks – all work fabulously as long as you love it and it makes you want to sit down and get creating!

Do you have a fun/creative/inspirational office space that you enjoy using? Either at home or in the workplace – what touches have you added to make your space “you”? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! X
#homeoffice #interiors #lifestyle #decor #style #design #inspo #creativity #designeyecandy

Jetset Bohemian: A 4 Part Series  

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Part 1: Adornment

Pretty ring stying from IG:@gypsylovinlight

There’s a very good reason all things Bohemian never seem to go out of style (at least, not for very long!), and that is because they are timeless. From the original gypsies that migrated out of India westward to Romania and beyond a thousand years ago, Bohemians’ refusal to be tied down to anything, even a nation or home, has had a lasting romantic impression upon Western culture. Freedom to roam, wear or style your person/home/office with what pleases you, do what pleases you, and a rebellion of sorts against conservatism all come together to make boho so very attractive.

Pretty stacked rings and fluffy sweater = epic styling

Classic bohemian styling all around

Ring stacking: a popular trend

Gypsies’ Indian roots may explain the abundance of crafted silver, semi-precious stone, and intricate beadwork that typifies bohemian jewellery. Indeed, much of the jewellery for sale today originates there. Especially pretty against tanned skin and a trend that has been around for some years now, white fingernails (thank you Helen Bense of gypsylovinlight.com ~ you can read more about her here: Wild Child) these rings and anklets work well with beachy colours like black, sand, ocean blues, and whites. Crochet, temporary henna and ethnic-inspired tattoos, and long beachy hair work into the style well too:

Boho + tribal temp tattoos = perfection

Tanned skin, silver, and white ~ timeless!

The fascinatingly cool white polish and silver from IG:@gypsylovinlight

More from IG:@gypsylovinlight

Pretty toe rings perfect for the beach

Do you wear boho? If so, what is it you like most about it? Tell me in the comments below, or better yet post links to your insta or blog with your own inspo or images! Look forward to hearing from you! X

#boho #bohemian #style #jewellery #fashion #jewelry #gypsy #summer #love #designeyecandy 

(*all photos origin unknown/pinterest unless specified)

Braidlicious: Emily Rose Hannon

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If you’re like me and struggle to find morning hair and wardrobe style ideas, look no further than Emily Rose Hannon. With a staggering number of followers on Instagram (and even a few haters and copycats), Emily dishes up the prettiest hair and clothing styles daily:

Emily uses hair extensions from Luxy Hair which she twists and braids into an astonishing array of styles. 

What I love about this style queen too is that she talks about her life in her insta posts, including that she drools all over the place when she sleeps. How sweet is that! 
Do visit her soon for a dose of inspo along with your morning cup of joe!

Insta account: emilyrosehannon

#hairgoals #style #hairstyle #braid #fashion #lifestyle

Trending: Rattan

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The other day while at the weekend market I spied an item in a nearby thrift store which got me quite excited: a round rattan and glass coffee table (see bottom for pic).
I stood debating for a good 20 minutes, knowing exactly how I could see it styled: atop a circular pale pink flokati rug, perhaps in a corner by a funky colourful chair, with some framed prints on the wall behind and a hanging rattan light above the chair (in other words, an amalgamation of all the images of bright and colourful interiors I had seen and loved before). 

However, as I already have 3 coffee tables (don’t ask), and as yet none of the other items to style the table, I let it go. I did post a photo on Facebook asking my friends if I should buy it anyway. I know glass and rattan may seem a bit gauche to the uninitiated, but I felt sure that it was going to make a comeback soon. 

A friend posted that I should only buy the table if I had matching papasan chairs to go with it, and added an image of appalling late 80’s burgundy papasans and a circular (but different than mine) rattan table. I assured her rattan was about to trend and, after doing some research, I happily found this to be true (I’m now seeing it everywhere).

The trick is not to have the entire room kitted out in the stuff. As the images below show, a single big piece, or two to three accent pieces, are all that’s needed to achieve a striking effect. And as one design blog said: “if IKEA is bringing back rattan, you know it is trending!”

I guess the lesson learned here is to trust your instincts. And anyway, ultimately you should be styling your home to make yourself happy, so take the plunge and buy that item today, even if you worry others will think you crazy. I recently saw an article on apartmenttherapy.com where a stylish wedding had a “doughnut wall” – honestly, crazy is the new black in this game!

(bottom three images from Gabrielle Savoie/My Domain, rest are Pinterest, below my own)

#design #decor #interiors #trends #rattan 

Cookie Night: 8 Divine Easy-Bake Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies to Share

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Although here in New Zealand we are swinging towards summer, things will be cooling down in the more northern climes so over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you recipes to warm your house, body, and spirit.

Today, I plan to tempt you to stay indoors and fill your house with the aroma of warm, sweet cookies. 

Toasted s’more choc chip from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Browned butter pecan sandies by Julia

Do you prefer fancy cookies like afghans or melting moments or are you a traditionalist who can’t wait to tuck into a meltingly good chocolate chip or chewy oatmeal coconut cookie?

Chocolate chunk cookies

Chewy coconut cookie from Mikeys in my Kitchen

I myself prefer the old fashioned melty-gooey sugary-butter-dissolving-on-the-tongue and crumbling in the mouth type of cookie. Chocolate chip, peanut butter dark chocolate chunk (mine and my co-workers’ favourite!), soft sweet shortbread, and oatmeal raisin spice. Down here in the antipodes, their idea of a cookie is hard and dry enough to use as a home renovation tool. Probably a throw over from British colonial times (tea-dunking and all that), but are slowly warming to the idea of gooey goodness and all that entails. 

Lemon gooey butter cookies from Small Town Woman

Why not bake up a batch for you and your loved ones today!
(all images c/o indicated blogger/owner, otherwise from pinterest)

#cookies #love #foodporn #home #sweet #dessert