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easy peasy photoshop: personalized notecards

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September 29, 2013
First off--the winners of the design giveaway are Cara H. and Aimee W. You'll be receiving an email soon! If you did not win, don't cry! Premade templates are on sale for $15 until midnight tonight so don't miss your chance! Or if you're just too unique, how about something custom? I'd love to make some pretty for you!

This post was originally shared on the Whale and Wasp.

Today, I'm going to be sharing an installment in my series: "Easy Peasy Photoshop". I think lots of people get intimidated by Photoshop--but there's lots of fun things you can make with just a few basic skills! So even if you've never touched (/clicked) Photoshop before, I gotchu covered.

Specifically, I'm going to show you how to make personalized stationary. Super, right? I loooove writing letters and notes to people, and I think personalizing it adds a special little touch.

#1. Decide on a size. To keep things simple, I'm gonna make a plain 3x5 notecard. Open up Photoshop, click File>>New. When it gives you size options, it probably says pixels. Change that to inches and put in your desired size. Change your resolution to 111 pixels/inch. This will make 3x5 look pretty true to size on your screen.

EXPERT TIP: If you wanted to make really high quality note cards, you should put your resolution on at least 300 pixels/inch. But that gets a little tricky so don't try that if this is your first project.


#2: Go to View>>Rulers, and check it. Then, press 'T', just the letter on your keyboard. That'll get your text editor going. Line up your cursor just under 275 pixels on your top ruler (i.e. in the middle) and click.

#3: Choose a font + size up on the top leftish. I've recommended some fun free fonts down at the bottom.

#4: On the top of the screen, you'll see a little square that is probably black. If you want to change the color, click the top one and choose a color--this will be your text color. Right to the left of the color chooser, make sure your text is centered.


#5: Type away! You can choose to do your full name, initials, monogram or just a little message! If you need, you can highlight the text and change the size. Or if you need to move the text, hover below the text (your cursor will become and arrow) and drag it around.

#6: If you want, you can make lines by using the type tool again and holding underscore (Shift + -).


#7: Go to your layers manager and click the little arrow on the top right (under the 'x'). Click Merge Visible. Then, click Select>>All and copy the selection. (This is the layers manager.)


#8: Open up a Word document and paste. If you made a 3x5 notecard, you can fit 3 on a page if you make your margins smaller.

#9: Print! That's all there is to it! Well, and cut them out. But you can handle that. For best results, print on cardstock or a slightly heavier paper.

Now admire your pretty skills.
Will you make these personalized notecards? What would you like to learn how to make in photoshop?

I used Contribute font in this tutorial.

5 Design Resources for Bloggers

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September 18, 2013
Hey dollfaces. As you know, I'm on vacation(ish) in the NC mountains and am a little too busy for this blog right now. But don't worry, I've got Kate here to give you some tips on designing your blog. She's giving away all my secrets! :) 

Hey friends! I'm Kate from over at Diaries of an Essex Girl where I talk about travel, health, love and all kinds of random nonsense. I am excited to be sharing something with you all today on Allie's blog, isn't she just a pretty cool lady? I'm pretty sure we can all admit to thinking dinosaurs are pretty rocking - amiright?

Blog designing is something I've actually been into for years but as times have changed, so have blogs and although now it is less time consuming - it requires a lot more tools that just Photoshop and somewhere to code. In fact, you don't need either of those things anymore if you don't want to or know how to use them. I've compiled a list for you of the 5 top resources you need to start using now to make your blog designing that little bit more seamless and the best part is - they are all free!

1. Design Seeds

Design Seeds is an awesome website for designers because it has thousands of colour palettes to choose from. Each palette has six colours that compliment each other beautifully and are inspired by different themes or images. Some of my favourite categories are Flora, Autumn and Nature. No matter your blog niche, writing style or personal colour preferences - you will find the perfect palette on Design Seeds!

2. Browserling

Have you ever coded an awesome layout and then had someone tell you it looks crappy in XYZ browser? No? Well it sucks. Browserling allows for cross-browser testing so all you have to do is type your URL in and it shows you how it looks in all available browsers. This way, you can spot an error BEFORE you share the blog design with the Interwebs and have someone tell you your design sucks for them. Winning.

3. Image Maps

If you already know how to Image Map, that's awesome. If you don't, let me tell you how and welcome you to the world of prettier designs! All you need to do is upload your image, create a shape around the part you want to link, enter the link and then move on to the next shape. Done. This can create lots of different links on one image without them overlapping - great for pretty navigational bars and social media icons.

4. Design Your Way

When browsing Google one day, I stumbled across an incredible page - Big fat collection of free resources for designers. I mean, the name alone sells it right? This page is full of textures, patterns, brushes, themes, fonts, social media icons, vectors, EVERYTHING you could possibly want. All for free to download right this very second. Happy browsing!

5. Pic Monkey

Maybe I'm a little late to the party with this one, as I believe Pic Monkey is pretty popular with bloggers. However, I really think it's an important one to share because it shows that you do not need Photoshop to create pretty images for your blog. I've seen some amazing tutorials online for Pic Monkey on how to make navigational bars (with Image Maps!), advertising buttons, bio images and page headers. On their blog, Pic Monkey shared the Top Ten Tutorials for using their service to pretty much design your whole blog. Can't ask for more than that can you?
Here's hoping I've shared at least one tool with you today you didn't know about - unless you are a total blog designing superstar and in that case, lets hear about your favourite design tools!

What tools do you use to design your blog? Sharing is caring!


| On
September 13, 2013
Hi friends.

Happy Friday! I hope you all have had productive and happy weeks and that you're ready for your two days of rest! My week was cahh-razy getting all my makeup work done before my trip next week but I did it! Go me.

I've also been doing lots of design lately, which just makes me so super happy! Most recently, I did a full redo for Poverty Luxe this past week--a design featuring mustard yellows and charcoal greys with cute scallop details. It's simple but I'm loving how it turned out!

On that note, if you're looking for design, I may be your girl! The next FIVE people who order the Tango blog redesign (includes a custom header, social media buttons, an ad button, size of your choosing, a signature/follow bar + a welcome blurb!) can get it for $25. And yes, they're usually $50. Go crazy folks. (Use code fiveonfriday.)

In the process of my design, I've become acquainted with close to a hundred different fonts that I use. The nice things is that the right font can convey a whole different feeling than another one might. And lots of fonts are completely free! So every two or three weeks, I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite free fonts!

And of course, I had to sneak in a little Marie Curie in there. Y'all know I love her. You go Marie.

free font friday 1

To install:

  1. Click the image to download.

  2. Click show in folder, or open up whatever folder your downloads go into. Hint: it might be called downloads.

  3. If zipped, right-click and click Extract, then enter.

  4. When that opens, right click on the file (either TrueType or OpenType) and click install. Done!

That's all there is too it! I hope you all enjoy this font and make oodles of noodles of pretty things!

As always, if you liked this, please pin it! That would make me one happy girl.

What fonts do you love? What pretty things do you make with fonts?

3 weird music genres that aren't actually that weird.

| On
September 11, 2013
This post was originally posted on Amanda K by the Bay.

So if you hang out around these parts, you know I'm all about owning my quirks (and you owning yours!), whether that includes my obsession with dinosaurs or tendency to sing really loud in the car!

One of said quirks is that I listen to weird music. But like good weird! When it comes to music, don't restrict yourself to a genre. Don't say, "I like rap!" or "I like pop" when there's so much more you probably haven't given a chance yet! So today for example, I'm gonna give you three kinds of music and I challenge you to give them a try. They sounded weird to me at first too, but there's beauty in trying something new!

Example one. Celtic rock. Wanted to feel classy and badass and dramatic all at the same time? This is for you. And I don't drink, but these sure would make a heck of a drinking song. Bagpipes can be awesome, man. Especially with those electric guitars. (More here.)



Example two. Electro-swing. Stick with me guys, just try them once! This is 1920s style swing, remixed with some techno. I don't like techno, but I love this kind of music. Start off easy with a cover of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and go on from there. The first two both have rad, retro videos too.



Example three, the weirdest of them all: Gregorian chants. So maybe this isn't music, but it's so relaxing to listen to, especially after a long stressful day. Like all of the above, give it a chance!

Gregorian Chants How about that! Very La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc, right?

So what did you think? Weird/worthless or weird/wonderful? Do you have any weird music likes? If you like things like this (or I do post "normal" music too), head over to my blog! You can see more playlists herehere and here. And be sure to know you're coming from here--leave your blog and I'll check you out!

This is what an INTJ looks like.

| On
September 09, 2013
I didn't know I was an introvert until maybe a year ago.

I suppose I knew what I was like, but I didn't know that was the name for it. I always thought introverts were quiet and didn't have many friends--that's not me. 

But I've found out that introvert means, according to my favorite definition, that I draw my energy from being alone, not with people. And that is so me.

Once I found out I was an introvert, I actually wasn't too happy. Introverts are supposed to be awkward and loners, right? But I'm not like that. Well actually I might be awkward. But endearingly so, possibly?

Anyways, I'm owning my INTJ status.

Need more proof that I'm awesome? Marie Curie, Jane Austen, and Michelle Obama are all INTJs. Take that, world.
(This post is part of Blogtember. Read more about INTJs and find out your personality here.)



Weekly Wishes #14: positivity + giraffes + sisters

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September 08, 2013
giraffe weekly wishes

Today, I’m linking up with The Nectar Collective for Weekly Wishes.  The Weekly Wishes is where we all can share our posts about goals, challenges, and wishes for the week! 

Last week, I wished to work on exercising more and make good progress on my big project with Aukele. Kele and I hit a setback on our project but we're still trucking and I'm so excited to share it with you all very soon! Get excited!! However...exercising...I have had the weirdest/most annoying bout of the flu since Monday night (still have it!) and that kind of puts exercise in its place. But I'm putting it back on the list again for this week!

I'm buried under makeup work but I've got a new week ahead of me! Here are my weekly wishes for this coming week:

Exercise! Just...yes. This needs to happen.

Do my makeup work, promptly. I’ve got soo much makeup work to do because I missed all of my classes last week. I really need to carve out time to get back on track!

Schedule blog posts for next week! Exciting thing--I'm going to the mountains next Sunday through Wednesday. But don't worry, I totally will have fun things ready for you! Side note, if you're interested in guest posting, shoot me an email or tweet at me!

Choose positivity. Whoa Allie, four goals?! You're crazy. Anyways, this is a new one for me. I'm a bit of a pessimist to be honest, but I just want to take time in the midst of the stress this week to be happy. Any tips?!


One way to choose positivity--linking up with Erika for Grad-itude again! Grad-itude is a link up about being grateful! I loved looking through everyone else’s happy thoughts last week so I’m in it again. Here are three things I’m grateful for right now.

My health. I'm still under the weather right now but it first off makes me thankful that I'm not sick all the time! Like, I never appreciate being able to keep food down or breathe through my nose until I can't anymore. Secondly, my flu is so not a big deal compared to how sick some others are. I got a good life.

My sister! This weekend I visited my sister at school and we hung out all weekend. My sister and I are polar opposites, but I'm appreciating that more as an okay thing the older we get. Love my sis!

Good music. So in the middle of all my crazy makeup work and travels and busyness, I listened to some really great music this weekend. I had my Pandora set between Jim Croce, Avett Bros and Barcelona and it was just awesome. No thumbs down over here!

Now head on over to The Nectar Collective & Chimerikal and join the link-ups.

What do you wish for this week? What are you grateful for?

freebie background: "be the best you can be"

| On
September 08, 2013
Hey friends! I hope you all had a super lovely restful weekend!

I've really had this phrase on my mind lately. And what better reminder to have on your screen! I made you a desktop background from it--you're welcome! If anyone's interested in an iphone/ipad sized background, comment below and I'll add it! To download the image, click the laptop!

free desktop background

What's your favorite life-advice? Share it!

life-changing advice.

| On
September 06, 2013
Hi y'all. So I know this was yesterday's Blogtember prompt but I've been sick so I'm allowed to be behind on things, right? Please say yes.

Day 3. Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

We're gonna keep it short and sweet today. The simplest, smallest piece of advice I try to guide my life around is this: be the best you that you can be.

That's it.

That's something we always here as kids--"you don't have to do the best, just do your best." But I mean it in a different way. I mean that every action you take, take a split-second (our brains are speedy like that) to think, "Is doing this going to make me a better person or a worse person?" Oftentimes, that can put you back on the right path.

But take it a step further--it's not always about right and wrong. Maybe you want to have ice cream. Does ice cream make you a worse person? Possibly. But that advice puts the question on you to decide and weigh the benefits of health versus happiness. And it's totally okay to choose happiness. It really is.

Take life day by day and just be the best that you can be. That's all anyone could ask right?

And to put you in a good mood, here's a pretty picture.


August in Favorites.

| On
September 04, 2013
favorite writes

This month I feel like I wrote a lot, and I've been loving that. But I also did a lot in my real life too! I had a Great Gatsby themed dinner party to celebrate the end of summer. I switched my blog over to self-hosted, which was both excruciating and so great! In the process, I learned how to refrain from verbally stabbing customer service reps. I started a new series about loving your brain and intelligence. I helped some of you lovely bloggers improve your blogs in super simple ways, in less than five minutes (for realz)! I co-hosted the Book Chat with The Tangerine and we talked about required reading books that we've loved and hated. And lots more! What was your favorite post that you wrote in August?

favorite blog reads

Because we all know bloggers love blogging and reading about blogging, Kenzie from Chasing Happy wrote a To Don't List for bloggers on social media. Jasmine wrote a post with cute pictures overload called Six Reasons My Dog is High-Maintenance. M'lady Kayte got engaged!! Woohoo!!

favorite book reads

I'll be honest, school started. Not much book readin' going on in these parts other than school reading. I did read Pride and Prejudice for school (again) and loved it (again). But that's it. Instead, let me share with you what's on my list to be read as soon as I get a spare minute!

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

favorite music listens

Ophelia // The Band
North Side Gal // J.D. McPherson
Uptown Girl // Billy Joel
Sugar, Sugar // The Archies
You Can Call Me Al // Paul Simon
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) // Billy Joel
Walk of Life // Dire Straits

cms fave playlist

Now tell me your favorites this month! What did you blog? What did you read? What music have you been listening to? Share share share!

easy peasy photoshop: make a Pinterest-style collage

| On
September 03, 2013
Hi everyone! Happy Tuesday! I hope you all have been resting well and enjoying your holiday weekend!

Today I'm sharing something new--my first ever Photoshop tutorial--Pinterest style! Now Photoshop can be really complicated and intimidating, but there's also some really great things you can make with really basic skills. Today we're gonna learn a little bit about 'layers' and how to resize and arrange images.

In the end, I'm going to teach you how to make a Pinterest style collage! I've made a few of these for myself recently and they are just so pretty. You can use quotes and put it on your wall or bathroom mirror. Or you can use fitness photos to keep somewhere that will motivate you! I'm sure y'all could come up with more ideas since you're such intelligent people (:



All photos are from my 'Destinations' board on Pinterest.

So we're gonna park on 'layers' for a moment. If you're a little familiar with Photoshop, you can skip these first basics and go to the heading about making the Pinterest-style collage.

Layers in Photoshop is like drawing on a bunch of pieces of transparent papers and then putting them on top of each other. This way you can move around or edit different parts of the pictures fairly easily.

So for instance, the first layer is usually the background, which is plain white. Then, you can put more layers of designs on top. By clicking the little eyeball, you can change which parts of the image are visible. So if you disabled the white background of a picture, it shows a checkered pattern but that means it has a transparent background.

To resize a photo, select the layer you're interested in resizing and go to Edit >> Free Transform. Then you can drag the edges of the picture to make it a different size. This tool is also a great/easy way to drag + drop your pictures.

EXPERT TIP: Watch the percentages of the width and height. You want to make them the same to make sure your picture stays proportional. To resize to a certain dimensions, you can type in the pixels in that little box in the top. Then change your other percentage to make sure it's proportional! Make sure you type in the W/H boxes not X/Y!

And now for the exciting part: making a Pinterest-style collage!

1. Open up a new file in Photoshop. The width should be whatever the width of your text area in your blog is. Mine is 640 pixels for example. The height can be anything, I'd recommend at least 900 pixels and you can crop it later.

2. Select all the pictures you want and copy-paste them into Photoshop. They will all go in separate layers--this is good!


3. In your head (or on a calculator), subtract 30 from your text area width. Then divide it by three. You can round to the nearest whole number; it doesn't have to be that exact. For example: my blog is 640-30 = 610. Divided by 3 is 203. That number is the width that you want all of your pictures to be.

4. Resize all of your photos to that width, using the method above. Don't forget your proportions! I don't want to see stretched pictures. This, below, is bad. Please don't make anyone's eyes look at this.


5. Now, rearrange your pictures (with Edit>>Free Transform) into three columns. Leave a little space between the columns and each picture. If you used my number method, you can have 15 pixels between each column, but you can just eyeball it.

6. Click the little eye next to the BACKGROUND layer. Then click the little arrow on the layer menu and click Merge Visible. And save!

Ta-da!! There you go, your own beautiful Pinterest-style collage.

I think they're prettiest when you mix up vertical and horizontal photographs but it's all up to you!

Get fancy! Make your background a different color! Do not click the little eye (step 6). Instead, select the background layer. Click the little magic wand in your tool box and select magic eraser. Make sure your tolerance box says 1. Click anywhere on the canvas. Press Shift + F5 and select a color!

Now go forth and Photoshop! If you post any to your blog, share the link here so I can see your pretty new skillz! And if you want to be super lovely, you can tweet or pin this lovely tutorial with my icons floating on your left. (:

Weekly Wishes #13: gelato + exercise + antarctica

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September 01, 2013
weekly wishes 13

Is this picture not the most gorgeous thing ever? It's from a NatGeo Expedition to Antarctica. Have you ever seen so many shades of blue? It makes me a bit weak at the knees; I want to see it in person so badly.

Anyways, today, I’m linking up with The Nectar Collective for Weekly Wishes. Yada yada, I do this every week. The Weekly Wishes is where we all can share our posts about goals, challenges, and wishes for the week! 

Last week, I wished for a few things and was fairly. Here’s a recap in order of how successful I was: Basically my goals were to stay on top of my school work and life. I more or less did pretty well! I didn't turn in anything late and even got some decent sleep. I was born to ace this whole school thing.

So it was a pretty good week! I'm not dead yet! Here are my weekly wishes for this coming week:

Exercise! I have gotten really bad about this lately. I'm working on getting my gym membership back up but until then I've been doing Blogilates. That lady is craaaazy! I did Playa del Plank (along with others) and literally had to stop it half way through because my abs were crying. It's sad but it's motivating me to work harder!

Work on my big project with Aukele! I've got something big coming up soon with Aukele and I'm really excited about it! We haven't set a launch date but it'll be up within a few weeks hopefully! We've got some big steps to take this week and I can't wait to see where they'll take us.

I’m just sticking to two goals this week but I think that will be challenging enough!


I’m also linking up with Erika for Grad-itude again, a link up about being grateful! I loved looking through everyone else's happy thoughts last week so I'm in it again. Here are three things I’m grateful for right now.

Again, H. Saturday night, I was all alone and had a terrible migraine and the sweet boy drove to three different grocery stores to find me my favorite pistachio gelato (which is also way expensive) just to surprise me and make me feel better! How nice is he?! I told him it deserved a shout-out on the blog--I think he was excited about that.

The day off! I know this is a bit overdone because it seems to be the thing people are most happy about around here, but still! And I have fun plans for today. H is out hunting so I'm hanging out with my mom to sew a little and then my dad and I are hopefully going to choose my senior trip destination and do a little planning. Woohoo! This girl's excited.

Umm well there's a lot of good food in my house...I'm slightly ashamed about this one, but it's making me quite happy right now. We have good tea, good ice cream (thanks H!), good popcorn and good fruit! Happy Allie.

Now head on over to The Nectar Collective & Chimerikal and join the link-ups.

What do you wish for this week? What are you grateful for?

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