Thursday, 26 April 2012

Links Loved #3

Aprils 'Links Loved,' a smidgen of iPhoneographie & a little update from me!

This month seems to have consisted of a lot of work; endings and new beginnings. I'm in the final stretch of my degree - literally, I have three classes left until exam period starts and then all will be over by the 22nd May! (argh!) - and although my dissertation is complete, the work load hasn't exactly lightened. My three exams will be interpreting, English to Spanish translation (the hardest way round, if you ask me) and yet another speaking exam about a text we get given a week before...

...Excuse me while I panic slightly.

Anyway, I can only do my best! In the mean time I have a PGCE interview to worry about :) fingers & toes crossed for the 1st May would be wonderful, if you could! Then I may be on my way to being a 'Miss' or 'Señorita' of high school Spanish teaching. Can you imagine? I can't.

Either way, these next couple of weeks will be dedicated to working hard, playing harder and hopefully passing my degree in the mean time!

Dog butt // Krispy Kreme // Spot the bird // Mugshot // Uni library // Smash book sketches // follow me @sammi_x on instagram!

This months 'links loved' include (again) a variety of wonderful things I've found that the internet has to offer. From making your own handwriting font - to fifty people you'd love to know in real life. Hope you like them!

Creative Bits

DIY Handwriting font : so tempted to do this.
Instagram Mosaic Maker : as seen above!
Animus Paper Textures : new background :)
Free Arrow Download : tried & tested.

Life & Health Inspiration

Candice's London Marathon Report : the most beautifully written race report.
Gala Darlings Radical Self Love Project : everyone should read these.

Fun Stuff

50 People You Wish You Knew In Real Life : (I was laughing the whole way through)
Sloth Photobomb! : need I say more?
DIY Embellished Friendship Bracelets
Sassy Embroidery : ' no she is not wearing two scrunchies.'

 How is your month shaping up?



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Guest Post: Fakin' It!

My names Samantha. I'm 23 years old. And I've never used fake tan.

Yes, you really did read that right.

I'm a fake tan virgin. About as pale as they come and quite frankly the words 'fake' and 'tan' scare the living daylights out of me. I instantly think ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE and have since avoided it my whole life.

I'm a throw it on and go kinda girl. Fake tanning and all the meticulous care that comes with it has never seemed like it was for me - until today!

Read more here...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Smash*ing Stuff!


Now if you're wondering 'what the hells a smash* book?' and 'why is she so excited?' have a little look at this video, and tell me you don't instantly want one!

I have been missing getting creative lately. I studied A Levels in Fine Art, Graphics & Photography at college and since starting my degree in Spanish, those skills have gone MIA - and at points, are terribly missed.  So as soon as I clapped eyes on this brilliant junk journal I thought it was about time for it to be mine.

I'm a hoarder of all things interesting and wonderful, that possibly only make sense to me, but I will keep them anyway. I had a whole pile of things in Spain that are now sat in a box, probably never to be seen until I go through it again.

So this time, I thought it would be a nice little idea to keep them all, date them all and just get cutting & sticking! And in the end, hopefully have a great book of things that I can keep forever, on a shelf, rather than in a box hidden away & collecting dust.

My book literally arrived this morning, and it felt like love at first sight!

I bought a little bit of everything essentially, I couldn't resist, at such cheap prices I thought it was well worth it. Stickers, tabs, flags, pockets, clips! I bought them all from Craft Obsessions  (which have free UK postage too!) and I am [possibly too] excited about all of it.

I also bought myself some more graphic fineliners to get back into drawing. I think it's really going to be a great outlet for me. Drawing & painting are without doubt my best ways of relaxing and feeling completely calm, so with all my exams coming up, I think a little bit of scrap-booking everyday is going to be a great thing!

I know there are a few people out there that will think 'if you're so creative, why don't you just make a book?' - and I can see their point. However, what K & Company offers in my opinion is a fantastic starter point. I've never made a book before, nor do I plan on it. But this smash* book will encourage me to get creative and in my eyes, anything that does that, is a bonus. I think it also encourages people who may have never generally liked art-y things before but want to give it a go, again, all positives in my eyes!

As far as I'm aware you can buy Smash books from here, here & here. They're not officially available in the UK yet so some supplies seem pretty limited. So get them while you can! :)

What do you think of Smash* Books? Will you be giving them a go?

Let me know! X


Monday, 16 April 2012

Finger on the Pulse.

Before my Year Abroad in Spain, I'd never considered a blog.

I didn't know what they were or what they did. I'd never even read any other blogs, never-mind considered starting my own.

I knew I wanted to document my time there; and with it I tried Travelblog (which I literally just found and looked through for the first time in over a year! Emotional!) then onto Blogger and finally settled here, with Wordpress.

I love wordpress and all the blogs I've found through it, but I think the 'Read Blogs' option can be really quite slow sometimes and a little difficult to group together all the blogs I want to catch up on. So as soon as I got my iPad - also available for iPhone/Touch - I downloaded 'Pulse News'.

[I also put a sloth as my background quicker than you can say - 'how cute?']

And, it's possibly the best app in the world!

You can add generic 'top stories' for all beauty, fashion, technology etc updates, but you can also add your own columns and search for blogs to add to your reading list!

Every time they post a new blog, that little column will be updated. No matter what platform that blog is on, you can add it. Tumblr, Blogger, Wordpress - the lot!

It really is fantastic (for people who like to stalk others) to keep up to date on whats happening with your favourite blogs, news & youtubers.

Click here for more info! 

What is your favourite app / way of catching up with your most loved blogs?

I'd also love to add some new ones to my list, so feel free to send me some links!


PS. I apologise for the state of my 'apartment pants' - whilst reading blogs, I should add I am generally lounging around, dressed like someone that should be on Jeremy Kyle. 


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sugar & Spice

And all things nice.

A [very] belated Happy Easter to you all!

It doesn't exactly feel like Easter is over, as I seem to have acquired more chocolate than any chubby girl could have ever dreamt of. So here I am, four days later, still munching through Easter eggs.

It was a very lazy Bank Holiday for me; eating, eating, drinking, more eating and sleeping. All my favourite things! It's back to Uni shortly, and as I keep being (not so) gratefully reminded; I have even more exams coming up.

In fact, my whole four year university slog will be completely over with in six weeks! - I think my heart skipped several beats typing that. We've been receiving emails of graduation, exam timetables, deadlines; cue me, panicking - and shoving more chocolate in.

It's all very exciting, but really strange and worrying all at the same time. After four years of an extremely challenging, fun & developing stage in my life; to not have to attend or have that support group of friends around will be, I suppose, pretty weird.

But anyway, I'm sure I'll blog about that more later (when I'm having a breakdown).

I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday & aren't panicking about all that chocolate you've eaten ;)

I know I'm not.

*chocolate face*


♥ Resources usedBebas font // Fuzzimo old typewriter // Spring Pastels Action // Pugly Pixel Templates

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Links Loved #2

I've spotted lots of lovely things since I did my first 'links loved' in February, so here are this months lists of wonderful things, blogs, ideas & products!

Creative bits.

Smash Book : I must thank @PamperedSparrow for this, as I now have the urge to get creative with this lovely notebook and get sticking & doodling with everything I see! Definitely on the 'soon to buy' list.
Paint the Moon Actions : If you like them on Facebook & share their site you get some lovely freebies inc. actions, watermark brush & FB timeline templates. Get clicking!
Water Colour Brushes : A free Photoshop brush than can add instant loveliness to any collage.

Health & Fitness Inspiration

Amsterdam Half Marathon : 2012 goal? You in? I know I want to be, and at 25 euros, I'm not sure what I'm waiting for. It may also be the next RDC location - so running with company would be amazing!
BLN Race Report : This girl kicks so much ass with a new PB I could only dream of -
And so does this lady too, you couldn't possibly read and not be inspired. (Also inspiring me further to register for Amsterdam!)

Fun Stuff

Mole Launch : I can't get enough of the Highland Spring mole with his little wiggle and now you can waste even more precious time by launching him over a field!
HRH Harry the Pygmy Hippo : Just click it. Click the link. And tell me you didn't say 'aww!'
Hula Hooping : I bought one. Yes, really. And it is fun! (And will hopefully help me get a slimmer tum in the meantime) what could be better?!

What are your links loved this month? xo


Monday, 2 April 2012

How I Perk Up My Photos.

There's nothing I love more than learning (loser, yes, yes) - especially when it comes to photography and Photoshop.

In college I studied photography to AS Level but never took it any further until I got my very first DSLR for Christmas in 2010 - a very lovely Canon 550d that came with the 18-55mm standard lens. Since then I've been exploring just what my camera can do and what exactly I can change on Photoshop; from actions, curves & all the tips and tricks that exist within (hint: theres alot).

I have received numerous compliments on my pictures since starting and I think it's only right to share how these things are done.

Disclaimer: I'm in no way a Photoshop expert, and it's probably guaranteed there are quicker ways / better terminology / actions that do it for you. But hey - it works for me!
SO! We start with the fact that I am using Photoshop CS4.

I use this to edit everything, from gifs to adding watermarks and making templates. I love it. But I also know there are also a couple of other alternatives for those that don't!

Right now I'm going to show you some of my quick fixes that will brighten up & make your images stand out but essentially in this post I'm going to share my favourite Photoshop combination that I use quite often in my photos! And just to be extra nice - I've made it into an action - meaning all you really have to do is download, install & press play - et voila! Your image is done - you can thank me later :)

(click to view larger images)

*Firstly you need to make sure you have your layers, history and adjustment tabs open. Click 'window' and select as appropriate.*

1. Method One. Levels & Contrast.

A quick fix that I always, always use before further editing any photo are adjusting the levels & brightness/contrast. Seems pretty simple (it is!) but sometimes that can be all an image really needs to just make it that little bit better.

Firstly, in your layers tab click the 'create new fill or adjustment layer' circle icon. Then select 'Levels' - every image is different and so it is just a matter of playing around with the top set of scales ^ first image above.

Secondly, repeat step one and select 'brightness/contrast' and similarly adjust until you find  the combination you prefer!
2. Method Two. Variations.

Carrying on from the previous image, I would next naturally use 'variations' - this is particularly useful if you envisioned your image in a different colour-scheme, so to speak. You can selectively change the midtone, shadows and highlight colours along with saturation.

Select 'image' - 'adjustments' - 'variations'.

You can then adjust the 'fine - course' option : this will change how strong the colour will appear; I generally have it quite low and unselect the 'show clipping' box.

From here you can add/decrease certain colours. Something I do (I'm not sure how accurate this is) is generally opt for whichever colour my eye is most naturally drawn to. ie. with this picture, it is the 'more yellow' box, so I would click that, and then move on to shadows/highlights etc.
3. Method Three.  Vignette. 

I can take or leave a 'vignette' / gradient / the edges of the pictures that are darker than the rest. But I know some people love them. So, here is how (I) you do them.

Select 'Layer' - 'New Fill Layer' - 'Gradient'

Change 'Mode - Normal' to 'Overlay' and 'Opacity' to 45%

Make sure style is 'Radial', angle 90, scale 150% and also that 'reverse' and 'align with layer' are ticked.

If you're unhappy with how dark the vignette is, you can alter it further still in the layers box by clicking the 'vignette' layer and adjusting the opacity up or down!
4. Method Four. Vintage Action.

This is one of my actions that I use fairly often in my images.

Its a pretty extensive layering method and to save you following a million screen shots I'm going to upload the action so all you have to do is download, double click install and then use the 'action' tab in photoshop and click the play button - it will literally do all the work for you :)

There are so many actions online, a lot of them free but some better ones can cost a fair amount! Check out deviantart for some good freebies!

Free, quick & simple. File size 9.85kb.

Enjoy the action and leave some links in the comments if you like!

I'd love to see what you do with it!

Thanks! xo
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