Wednesday, January 18, 2017

How to Take the Perfect OOTD Picture

Believe it or not, the question that I get asked the most as a blogger is how I take my OOTD pictures.  And if you’re not familiar with OOTD, it stands for outfit of the day.  :o)  Here's an example:


Since I get the question all the time, and I’m constantly emailing the tips to people, I thought I would just summarize it in a post and also let you in on a little behind the scenes. 

Last year, I challenged myself to wear something different every day for the whole year, so I took an OOTD picture all 366 days.  That’s a lot of pictures, so I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert now.  ;o)  Here are my tips!

O N E – Find the Best Lighting… Lighting is Everything

Natural light is the best light, and nothing indoors can compare to the great outdoors, so 99% of my OOTD pictures are taken outside.  The very best weather day you can ever have for these kinds of shots are overcast days when it is not raining.  They are an absolute dream.  That way you get the best natural light without the harshness of the direct sun.  If you live in a place where it is perpetually sunny, then the best thing to do is to find an area outside in the shade.  

In my case, our house faces north, so until around noon every day, our driveway is completely shaded by our house.  Therefore, I always try to take my pictures in the morning.  If I don’t get a chance to take them in the morning, I just head over to the other side of the house that is in the shade in the afternoon.  However, that side of the house is grassy, which isn’t my favorite backdrop, so I try to avoid doing that when possible. 

Here's an example of an indoor picture... while this one isn't too bad, my pants and shoes are so dark that they practically blend in with the carpet.


And here's an example of a picture outside on a sunny day.  While this one isn't in direct sunlight, it's definitely one that is a big no no because there are sun spots on my outfit where the sun was peeking through the fence.


T W O – Find the Best Location… Have a Clean Slate Under Your Feet

The last thing that anyone wants to see is a pile of junk somewhere in the background, or weird discolored ground beneath your feet.  I’ve found that our driveway works best for my pictures, because it’s a nice clean light grey.  It’s a different story when it rains, as the pavement darkens to an almost rust color (yuck) but there’s not much I can do on those days!  But anyway, my best advice is to try to find a place that’s open, consistent in color or pattern, and light in color so your outfit shines.

Here's an example of a bad picture.  It was pouring down rain on this day, so I took the picture in the garage, so the ground is filthy.


And here is another example of a bad picture... it was taken indoors on yet another rainy day, and I took it in my bathroom.  This was probably the worst OOTD picture I took last year.  Yuck!


T H R E E – Find the Best Pose for You

I use my right arm to hold the camera, and I always place my left hand on my hip so my left arm isn’t blocking any of the outfit.  When I'm posing with my little girlfriend, I like to hold her hand... when she lets me!  ;o)

F O U R – Stretch Your Arm as Far as It Will Go

This is the part where a lot of people who email me are stumped.  I have people tell me all the time that their arms just aren’t long enough to get their entire bodies in the frame.  I’m starting to think that maybe I have long arms?  I don’t know.  If you have this problem, you could probably remedy that by using a selfie stick, but I have never used one.

F I V E – Snap Snap Snap

I use my iPhone to take all of the pictures, so I simply hold it in my right hand and snap non-stop while slightly moving my arm all around because this allows me to get lots of different angles.  When it comes to this, practice makes perfect.  Since I’ve taken so many now, I can pretty much get the perfect shot in one take these days.  However, I still take anywhere from five to twenty pictures to achieve finding the best angle.  This takes all of about 30 seconds.  Believe me, if it took any longer than that, I wouldn’t have Olivia in so many of them!  Haha.

For this particular post, I took 16 pictures.  Here are a few of the unedited pictures (with the exception of the watermark that I added).






S I X – Choose the Best Picture

Scroll through all of the pictures you just took.  Delete the blurry ones, delete the ones that cut off part of your body, delete the ones that are taken at an odd angle, and then find your favorite of the ones that remain.  On this particular day, I honestly didn’t have any really bad ones, but I chose the second one from above because I liked the angle, and I liked Olivia's face the best. 


S E V E N – Edit

I use PicMonkey or the built-in Instagram editor to edit my photos.  I always zoom and crop them into a square, lighten, adjust the color, and sharpen them until they look just right.  Look at the difference between the unedited photo and the edited one.  So much brighter and crisper after the edits!

Unedited:

Edited:


Believe it or not, this entire process from start to finish takes all of about five minutes for me since I do it so often.  The more you do it, the faster (and better) you’ll be, too!

And for fun, you normally only get to see this:


But this is what it looks like from the outside:





And that’s it!  And a special thanks to my Instagram Hubs for taking the shots of Olivia and me as I took our OOTD picture this past Sunday.  

If you decide to give it a shot, be sure to tag me in any of your pictures on Instagram @lindsayssweetworld.

And if you want to see how I wore something different every single day last year, the post is here and the links to all 366 looks are below. 



*Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I What I Wore, Life in the Green House and Taz and Belly for Wardrobe WednesdaySydney Fashion Hunter for Fresh Fashion Forum, Pumps & Push Ups for Oh, Hey Girl! Link-Up, The Mummy ChroniclesTucker UpShopping My Closet for Style Me Wednesday, Classy Yet Trendy for Trendy Wednesday Link-Up, The Blended Blog and Jessi's Design and Going the Distance for What's Hap-"Pinning" Wednesday.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Long Technology-Filled Weekend

My brain is completely fried after this weekend, y’all.  It was a good one, but man, was it filled with major technology changes! 

Let’s start from the beginning.  Friday evening was great!  The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we just couldn’t let it go to waste, so we headed downtown to scout out a place to eat outside.  It just so happens that we have a new upscale barbecue restaurant that just opened, and they are on a corner downtown, so they have these large garage-like doors that open on the side of the building, basically making the whole restaurant open-air.  We decided to give it a whirl, and boy was I glad that we did! 

Like I mentioned before, the food is barbecue, but it’s not yo momma’s barbecue… it’s more like frou-frou upscale barbecue as the chef is really into the whole unique culinary experience thing.  We were seated right away thankfully, and B and I kicked our meals off with some drinks – a Blue Moon for me and a local craft beer for him.  We had heard amazing things about one of the appetizers there so we knew we had to try it, and sure enough, it did not disappoint.  Picture this – Pimento Cheese Wontons with Jalapeno and Bacon Dipping Sauce.  They were ridiculous!!!!  Definitely one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

B and I ordered the same thing for the main course because they just sounded so darn good – Brisket over Sweet Potato Waffles and Mac N Cheese.  Everything was amazing, but so very rich that after eating about a quarter of it, I couldn’t possibly eat another bite. 


We finished the evening with a stroll downtown – the kids, of course, had to see the fountain – and then we stopped by our favorite frozen yogurt place for dessert. 



Saturday was spent fighting ants (again), doing mounds of laundry, and fighting with technology.  B and I finally got new iPhones.  We went from the 6 to the 7, and changing over from phone to phone is always a major hassle.  I won’t bore you with too many details as you probably already know the trials, but it involved a ton of syncing, updating operating systems, more syncing, and then getting all of my settings back the way I like them on the new phone.  It was a total success, but it took several (frustrating) hours to get there.  By the time it was time to go to church, I was very thankful because I needed a little bit of Jesus by then.  #TheStruggleIsReal

The kiddos were angels in church, and then we headed to one of our favorite local pubs with my parents for dinner.  A camel rider and some southern potato salad hit the spot!  That evening we put the kids to bed, and then B and I made some Moscow Mules and curled up on the couch with our beloved Netflix.  We started a new show called The OA (it’s a Netflix original) and it was very intriguing, but also very strange.  Jury’s still out on whether or not I’m going to like it… I have a feeling that it might make me feel a little uneasy because I don’t like weird things.  Haha.  Have any of you watched it?



Sunday morning we had breakfast at home, did some laundry, and lazed around.  My little diva got into my closet and walked around in my four-inch heels while I got ready.  We went on a quick Walmart run, and then we headed to B’s moms and step-dad’s for lunch.  It was another gorgeous day so we soaked up the sunshine all afternoon until it was time to go home for naps.






Naptime on Sunday was my time to finally get my blog domain switched over and it was a success, but not without some bumps along the way.  I had studied a tutorial long before I decided to go through with this, and it looked pretty simple, but unfortunately once the time came to implement I realized that the tutorial was slightly out of date, so I ended up having to navigate my way through a lot of the process on my own.  Therefore, it was a bit time consuming, but about five minutes after I finished, I checked direct links, back links, Pinterest links, mobile links and everything had appeared to have gone off without a hitch.

Aaaand then five minutes later, I tried a direct link again and got some crazy error message and the blog wouldn’t load.  Sigh.

I ended up having to call the domain company, but the wait to speak with a representative was going to be 35 minutes, so I had to wait for them to call me back.  The guy who helped me seemed to kind of know what he was doing, but a little part of him seemed unsure, and of course, that scared me.  He ended up having me delete one of the default A-names that was associated with my new domain when it was created, and ever since then, my blog has been up and running.  Let’s hope it stays that way.  Ha!

Sunday evening we had dinner at my parents’ house, and Elsa joined us. ;o)  And it was so wonderful being over there and knowing that we didn’t have to rush home to get ready for school and work the next day.  I heart three-day weekends.



Monday morning we had someone come out to give us an estimate for pest control as well as lawn care, and we went ahead and signed up for both!  Bye bye, ants and weeds!!!!

We followed that up with lunch at one of our favorite pizza spots, and then we took the kiddos to the playground to soak up some more of this crazily warm weather… we’re talking 78 degrees, people!  78 degrees!!  It’s been crazy!






We spent the rest of the day grocery shopping, baking cookies (new blog post coming soon!), and enjoying each other’s company before having to all go our separate ways on Tuesday.  I made Emily's Chicken Poliverde for dinner and it was de-lish!!




And before I go, an update on Olivia’s sleep situation.  As you may remember Olivia was throwing massive tantrums at bedtime and she was running out of her bed the second that we tried to leave her room every night ever since we moved her into a big girl bed last weekend.  We tried many, many things to make her comfortable with the new situation – loads of stuffed animals, new pillows, more blankets, books, music, keeping her door open, putting up a baby gate (she kicked it down, y’all, I kid you not), etc. and nothing worked. 

Well, our OK to Wake clock arrived Saturday so we put it to use promptly that afternoon for naptime.  Y’all, she doesn’t even pay attention to the thing.  It’s like it’s not even in the room.  #MajorFail and I think I’m going to send it back.  However, I seem to have found something else that has worked for the last three nights and two naptimes… I simply tuck her in with her babies, turn on her music, leave her door wide open, and then I tell her every single thing that I’m about to do followed by telling her that I’m going to check on her after all of that is done.  For example, “Ok, Olivia, I’m going to leave your door open, then I’m going to go in my bedroom and get your monitor so I can listen out for you, then I’m going to go tuck Jacob in, then I’m going to go back to my room to put on my pajamas, then I’m going to go downstairs for a few minutes, and then I’m going to come check on you.”  And then I do all those things in the order in which I tell her, and then I simply wait for her to fall asleep before checking on her and then I close her door. 

While she has still been coming in our room in the middle of the night each night (the least of my worries), at least she’s not going crazy at bedtime and requiring us to sit with her for an hour while she falls asleep.  I think the fact that she knows exactly where I’m going to be and the fact that she knows I’m going to come back and check on her is enough for her to feel safe to stay in the bed.  However, I have a feeling that before long, she’s going to be onto us and she’s going to start wondering why I never come back to check on her while she’s still awake.  The process is working for now, though, so that’s what we’re going to stick with. 

Even though it does make me feel a little bit guilty.

Happy Tuesday! 

*Linking up with B Loved Boston for Weekending and Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Still Weekending, But...

Hi friends, I’m taking the day off today for the holiday, but I did want to let you know that…

LindsaysSweetWorld.blogspot.com is now LindsaysSweetWorld.com!!!!



Please be sure to update your blog readers so you don’t lose me!  Supposedly I shouldn’t lose any traffic, but I do always manage to end up in the tiny percentage of people who always have things go wrong… especially for technology.  -_-

Anyway, I made the switch yesterday, and I did have a couple of technical issues along the way, so I’m hoping the website is actually up and running today.  If you ever do notice anything odd, please do let me know!

As always thank you guys so much for your support!  XO


Friday, January 13, 2017

Five on Friday – Favorites

Happy Friday the 13th!  Although, I am a bit superstitious about certain things, these days have never really bothered me.  This week already hasn’t been the greatest, so I’m hoping that this one actually brings good luck. 

I’m still fighting this whole laryngitis nonsense or whatever it is.  My voice is finally back enough to hold a conversation, but I still sound like a frog.  We have also been fighting ants all week again.  You may remember that we had major ant problem back in December… and they just keep coming!  B has been fighting them with all sorts of different things, but they just keep finding new ways (and new areas of the house) to get in.  Time to call an exterminator!

Oh, and did I mention that we’ve had a manhunt going on in our neck of the woods for the last three days?  Some burglary suspect has been on the loose in our area and the police have been trying to hunt him down on foot, on four-wheelers, and by helicopter.  We live in an area surrounded by lots and lots of woods and they believe that he’s hiding out somewhere amongst the trees.  It’s been very unsettling each night going to bed knowing that some crazy person is on the loose somewhere nearby. 

Oh, and let’s not forget that we have also been battling Olivia each evening with this whole not-staying-in-the-bed-and-crying-and-getting-in-our-bed-every-night-nonsense, so it’s been a week, friends.  It’s been a week.

But let’s not focus on the negative today… today is Friday, so it’s time for some favorites!

O N E – First Major New Year’s Resolution Check!

I took a huge leap for this little blog of mine the other night and I purchased my domain!  I will still be using Blogger to host my blog, but my old url (http://lindsayssweetworld.blogspot.com/) will now be www.lindsayssweetworld.com.  I’m really excited because it makes me feel “legit” but I’m also a little worried that I might lose traffic.  Supposedly, this change shouldn’t affect blog readers like Blogger or Bloglovin’ or Pinterest traffic or anything like that, but if you notice that you’re not seeing any posts from me, please go and add the new URL to your blog readers!  I should be making the switch this weekend!



T W O – New Closet Shelving

You may remember that we added an indoor closet, an outdoor closet, and a back porch to our house back in 2015?  Well, the indoor closet has been ah-mazing for storage, but believe it or not, we have already filled the thing up.  We were utilizing some of the wall space to hang seasonal wreaths and such, but there was still a lot of free wall space available, so Brian hung some shelving in there for me over Christmas break.  We used the Rubbermaid Fasttrack Shelving system that we purchased at Lowe’s.  It’s completely customizable, it was easy to install, and the best part is that the shelves are on vertical tracks that will allow us to move them easily down the road if our needs change. 

Right now we have three shelves and we are using the top shelf for things that we rarely use but want to have easy access to if we need it (example, a box fan).  We are using the second shelf for items that we want to sell on Facebook/Craigslist/EBay (books, electronics, etc.).  And we are using the bottom shelf to store all of the kids’ arts and craft supplies.  We constantly had Play-Doh, stickers, coloring books, crayons, kinetic sand, etc. just floating around the house and I wanted to have one space to dedicate to these arts and crafts items.  I went and purchased six bins from Walmart (one for Play-Doh, one for Kinetic Sand, one for stickers, one for learning workbooks, one for coloring books and paper, and one for crayons, markers, and paints), and they are now sitting on that shelf, organized and labeled so the kids can actually see what they have.  I’m telling you, we’ve had that kinetic sand for two years, and they are rekindling their love for it because they finally remembered that they had it.  Lol.


T H R E E – OK to Wake Clock

With all of the problems we have been having with Olivia, I have decided to try something new.  It might be a little premature to have it listed as part of my favorites, but I’m optimistic that it will eventually be a favorite.  Lol.   Have any of you had any success with one of these?

F O U R – New Recipe

My girl Emily at A Little Bit of Emily posted this recipe yesterday and it intrigued me.  I’m going to try to make it next week and I’m really excited!

F I V E – A Dress for the Ball

We attend an annual ball at the end of January so I have been on the hunt for a dress.  I recently found three and I’m still on the fence about which one to use, so I thought that I would ask you ladies your opinions.  And please excuse the bad lighting and grainy photos (oh, and the streaks on the mirror)... a seasoned fashion blogger I am not!

I love option one because it’s sparkly and fitted and dressier than the other two.




I love option two because it’s red.  I have a feeling there will be lots of dark colors there, so red might be a nice way to stand out a bit… and maybe I could try a red lipstick to go along with it??  It’s not quite as dressy as I would like, though.


I love option three because – holy elegance!  That high neck collar and the lace… it’s all very beautiful.  However, I could also picture myself wearing this dress to a funeral, so I’m not sure that it’s ball-worthy.  



Thoughts?

Well, I have almost survived my first five day work week in over a month, and I’m really looking forward to another long weekend this weekend!  Isn’t it grand?  I hope you all have the perfect mixture of relaxation, productivity, and fun for your weekends!  Enjoy, friends!

*Linking up with A Liz Adventures and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday, A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites,  September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for Oh Hey, Friday, Meet @ the Barre for Friday Favorites, and Cup of Tea for High Five for Friday.