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)

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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

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 

Cold Days, Hot Baths

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It’s late winter here in New Zealand and I’m sitting on my sofa with the dogs, bundled up in multiple tops, fluffy socks, and a scarf, and dreaming about baths. Hot, steamy, gorgeous baths. Few things in life quite spoil us like a long hot soak in a good tub – perhaps with a handful of candles lit, some mineral salts, a bit of music if you like, maybe a good magazine.

Outdoor baths have long been  trend and if you have the space and inclination, it can be very worthwhile to set one up. A glass roof to keep out the rain and allow you to star-gaze is perfection:

Perhaps safari-style is more your cup of tea. This setup needs no more than an outdoor clawfoot tub, some bamboo siding, a generous amount of wood, and a cd of cricket and lion noises:

This Moroccan-inspired stunner makes great use of pretty, painted tiles and texture in the form of greenery, rough-hewn wood, concrete, and a hanging design feature in the ceiling:

outdoor bath 1

Indoor rooms with spectacular baths can be soothing to the soul, too. If you’re anything like me, you are inclined to look inwardly when in a tub but I’d definitely be gazing out the window of this lovely room:

outdoor bath 2

If you’re lucky enough to live in a more tropical clime, you can set your bathroom up to be indoor-outdoor, like this one, looking down onto cat-eyed-green waters and with palms swaying around you. Or perhaps gazing into the blue expanse is more your style? If so, don’t forget to drop a posey of petals into the water before you step in, for an all-out inexpensive spa experience.

outdoor bath 6outdoor bath 5

(all images sourced from Pinterest)

#design #bathtubs #lifestyle

10 End of Summer Must-Have Cocktails

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Even  though summer is drawing to an end, there is still nothing like a cocktail to hand at a brunch, beach, picnic, or BBQ. Many made with crushed and whole fruit and with herbs like mint and basil, you can almost convince yourself they’re good for you. So stir up an elegant vintage cut-glass decanter of one of these delicious cocktails today!

Fancy Fig Cocktail from Lindsey Brunk

Blackberry Margarita from izzieofficial/saloonbox

Boozy Basil Lemonade from whatshouldimakefor.com

Blueberry Mojito from Jenny Chang

Red Currant Caipirinha from Olivia’s Cuisine

Meyer Lemon Lavender Mojito from Lindsey Brunk

Blood Orange Mojito from Chef Savvy

Skinny Blood Orange Pomegranate Margarita from Lindsey Brunk

Blackberry Thyme Sparkling Cocktail from Lark and Linen

Blackberry and Meyer Lemon G+T from Spoon Fork Bacon

And as a final note, for simpler mixed drinks a fun end of summer trick is to freeze edible flowers in ice cubes and use them in your drinks. Enjoy!

The Kitchen Garden

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While I’m on the subject of saving the planet one step at a time, and because summer is warming the horizon of at least one half of the globe, I wanted to blog about gardening and in particular, kitchen gardens.

It is well known that gardens of any type have multiple benefits – attracting the bees critical to the lifecycle of the planet, creating oxygen for us to breathe, providing us with goods to uplift the spirit and body, and providing a repository for our food waste, to be incorporated back into the earth’s cycle again.

boxed garden

Boxed Garden

Here at Design Eye Candy we especially love a good kitchen garden. We’re lucky enough to have a good 8m2 of veggie patch space and a big composting bin for veggie and fruit scraps. There are decks for container gardening – herbs, especially. Being the bower bird that I am, I am bringing home found items such as wooden crates once used to package large plant pots, hoping to one day convert them into handmade greenhouses for lettuces, spinach, and more fragile items.

wine box veggies

Upcycled Vintage Garden

Those of you who grow your own veggies know there’s nothing quite like the feeling of rummaging around in your garden on any given summer’s day, pulling sun-warmed tomatoes from the vine (oh, the scent!), picking lemons for your greek salad or gin and tonic, snipping mint and parsley for your tabbouleh or green smoothie. An over abundance of goods connects us to our immediate community, too – handfuls of courgettes passed to neighbours in thanks for lawn mowing, cut lavender and rosemary wraped in brown twine left on a doorstep.

Not everyone has space for a veggie patch – but can do much with some plant pots on a balcony or even a window sill. I grow microgreens in cleaned tuna tins with holes punched in the bottom, and baby spinach in used grape punnet containers, on my kitchen counter under the conservatory-style windows. Watching them sprout up in short days is a miracle and the ease with which they grow, and the money saved, is so worthwhile. I make sure my gardening is all organic, too – not even snail pellets grace my veggie patch – crushed eggshell ridding the area of snails and slugs, instead.

If I had the get-up-and-go to build something, I would take the discarded pallets I see everywhere and use them to build raised beds for my veggies. One day..

Below are some links to great articles on easy gardening:

25 Foods You Can Re-Grow Yourself from Kitchen Scraps

http://creeksidelearning.com/container-garden-vegetables-2/

http://www.hometalk.com/3400506/5-best-container-vegetables-for-beginning-gardeners

(*note all photos from Pinterest)