April Photo Challenge Announcement

I can’t believe it’s time for another photo challenge already! Can you see a common theme? April’s challenge is ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. It was inspired by this quote:

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. -C.S. Lewis

Lately I’ve been so tired of shooting things. One can only take so many Instagram photos of their food until they realize it’s…well…sort of lame. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos of my brunch and my ice cream but I also like to be intentional. I’ve been shooting a lot of film portraits lately and I love it. My heart is so happy when I capture souls. (Okay that sounded creepy.) I just feel like the photographs that capture peoples’ personalities, smiles, quirks and insecurities really shine through. Now I’m challenging you to do the same.

The challenge starts Sunday, April 1st but you won’t be sending me your first photo until Sunday, April 8th! Here is the schedule and the themes:

Like my last challenges, you are able to shoot for Week 1 starting April 1st until April 8th. You cannot shoot for Week 2 until April 8th and so on. I plan on shooting film for this challenge so I will probably try to shoot throughout the week and then develop my roll over the weekend. We’ll see how that goes but as of now…that’s my plan. This challenge is open to ALL AND ANY CAMERAS. I obviously would love to see all you talented people using a DSLR or SLR but I really do love seeing how creative people get with point & shoots/iPhones. As usual, I’ll post my submission button on my sidebar next Sunday. It will take you to a page with all of the challenge details and a submission form. Below are the guidelines:

  • Make sure your photos are at least 700 px wide and be a .JPG
  • Please save the photos under the following format: FIRSTNAME_WEEK#.jpg
  • In the comment section of the submission form include (if applicable) your website, the type of camera/lens/film, & your city.
  • No nudity or weird crap. Sorry, my mom reads my blog…I think.
  • All camera types are accepted.
  • You must shoot within the week prior to the due date. That means starting Sunday, April 1 you can start shooting for Week #1.
  • The photo must be submitted Sunday by 8pm EST.
  • Feel free to use the hashtag #snapaphoto for this and all future photo challenges!
  • You MUST submit all 4 weeks in order to win the prize.

Last but not least, here is the prize and your beloved judge:

The lovely Kara Haupt (check out her blog I Just Might Explode) will be your judge this challenge! I adore Kara’s photography/portraits and was excited to see that she’s hosting an e-course about photography in April. (Psst, spots for the class go on sale today!) Your prize is a gorgeous postcard set by Debbie Carlos (another one of my favorite photographers).

If you have any questions or need any explanation, please comment below! I’ll respond and clarify in a comment and then probably add any needed information to the post.

Sponsor Spotlight: Upside Down & Inside Out

Veronica from Upside Down & Inside Out is one of my lovely sponsors this month! I met Veronica through her sister-in-law Jess and I was able to help her get her blog up and going! I love Veronica’s blog. She shares from her heart and I love reading her posts! When asked what her favorite part of March is, she responded, “Birthdays! All my close friends (including my hubsters) have March birthdays- so it feels like one funfetti-filled day after the next. I also LOVE the fact that it’s been 75 degrees and sunny everyday this March :) I feel like I am finally able to emerge from my winter cave.” Below are a few of her favorite things:

  1. Downton Abbey. I want to be Maggie Smith.
  2. Pinterest. It’s actually a problem. I have pinned 10 bathtubs in the last hour.
  3. Oribe Apres Beach Hairspray. It doesn’t leave your hair crunchy! wohoo!
  4. Estate Sales! $5 ornate gold mirrors & garden gnomes, ‘nuf said.
  5. TurboFire Workout Videos. Time to get back into shape for summer!

Connect with Veronica through her blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Etsy! If you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell in April, feel free to contact me this week!

 

Gluten Free, Week 6

This weekend marks the 6th week of my gluten free diet. (For those of you who might not know, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species.) I mentioned it flippantly in a post about a month ago but didn’t really elaborate much. I suppose I felt like if I was going to go into all the details, I might as well see if it was something worth mentioning. At the beginning of February, I was feeling absolutely awful. I was tired all the time, I kept getting the horrible headaches (I’m not sure if I can technically call them migraines but they made me nauseous until I fell asleep). I often would feel sick if we ate out resulting in bloating, stomachaches, and headaches.

Around mid-February, we spent a weekend in Illinois with my 14 year old sister. She has celiac disease and has been gluten free for three years (my mom also has a gluten sensitivity). I explained exactly how I had been feeling and without hesitation she said, “You should go gluten free. Seriously.” It was like a light flipped on and I immediately felt this twinge of hope. The next day I eliminated gluten from my diet and I haven’t gone back.*

*Okay I had to put that asterisk there because I did cheat one day. About 3 weeks in, I started mentally freaking out. “I want a hamburger. I need REAL pizza.”  These were the thoughts going through my head. Deep, huh? I caved and ended up eating a burger and fries. I felt sick for the next 24 hours. Not dangerously ill…but not exactly how I’d like to live my life. That’s when it hit me. I need to live my life so that I feel best. I don’t need a blood test proving that I have any type of disease, I don’t need to prove to anyone that it’s for the best, and I certainly don’t need  to eat hamburgers. And to be honest, it hasn’t been difficult since that hamburger-nomming day.

So what do I eat? Well I eat a lot of things. Really delicious things. Below is just a sampling of my favorite gluten free brands:

  1. Udi’s granola paired with yogurt
  2. Gluten Free Pantry’s sandwich bread! I make a loaf and freeze half. Lasts me 2 weeks!
  3. Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust. Delicious and we can choose our own toppings.
  4. Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. So so good. Better than regular bagels in my opinion.
  5. Tito’s vodka. Made in a gluten free facility and pretty darn good.
  6. Orange San Pellegrino. My guilty pleasure. Who needs candy or pop?
  7. Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Rolled Oats.
  8. Annie’s Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese. So easy. Comfort food.

And really, these are the only brands I really go out of my way to buy. Besides these, we pretty much eat meat, produce, and eggs. It’s so easy to pick up corn chips (instead of flour) or take an extra minute to make sure the cheese you’re about to buy is all-natural and gluten free. Plus, we’re saving money because we don’t go out to eat as much (I’m thankful that if I’m not up for cooking we have Chipotle, Noodles and Co, and Zpizza are minutes away).

So there’s my story. I feel awesome and I’m being intentional with my diet. I truly hope that when people read this or find out, they don’t feel like I’m trying to convince them to do something. If anything, I’d rather encourage people to really look at what they’re eating. It’s so important. I read a lot of what Dr. Mercola writes and his thoughts on gluten are really interesting.

Feel free to recommend any brands or products! I’m always up for finding and trying new things. I’m hoping that every weekend I can take some photos and share some of my favorite GF recipes here on the blog. I’m weird about getting really good lighting when photographing food so that usually doesn’t happen while I’m cooking dinner during the week. I have a GF coffee cake recipe that is 10x better than ANY other coffee cake in existence. I’ll share it next week.

Sponsor Spotlight: Aveda Columbus

I’m a huge fan of Aveda and their brand! I was so, so excited when Aveda Columbus offered to sponsor my blog! I have worked with and have supported Aveda for years now and always jump at the chance to promote them! Those at Aveda love March because it is one of the months that the institute raises money for the Central Ohio Sierra Club to help keep our water clean.

  1. Light the Way candle
  2. Nourish-Mint Soothing Lip Color
  3. new Full Spectrum Hair Colors
  4. Color Conserve Daily Color Protect
  5. Aveda Comforting Tea

Connect with Aveda Columbus on Twitter and Facebook! If sponsoring Show + Tell sounds like something you’d like to do, contact me!

Film Portrait: Janine

This week I took film portraits of Janine. How gorgeous is she? And how amazing is her dog, Jax? We had so much fun walking around the Arena District here in Columbus. The weather was perfect–80 degrees and slightly overcast. I shot a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 on my Minolta and a roll of black and white film on my Canon A-1. I still need to finish off the roll later today and I should be able to share those next week. I truly love capturing natural beauty on film. They seem to go together so well. When the roll comes back, I don’t even want to alter it. There were a few inconsistencies on a few shots but I touched them up in Photoshop. Other than that, I didn’t alter these at all. Click here to see more.

If you’re local and would like a film portrait shoot – contact me! The weather is phenomenal and I’m inspired.

Sponsor Spotlight: Zomgimbored

I was so excited when Jim (the brains behind Zomgimbored) offered to sponsor my blog for the month of March! Zomgimbored is a blog for aspiring graphic designers as well as working professionals. I love his tutorials and the intentionality behind each post. When I asked Jim what he loves about March he responded, “The change in weather!” He’s shared a few things he recently can’t get enough of:

  1. Good Clients
  2. Lean Protein
  3. Naked Fruit Juices
  4. The Daily Show
  5. Fun Projects

You can visit Jim’s portfolio site here and follow him on Twitter! Also, if you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell in April…message me!

Here We Go: Hacking!

My blog was hacked last week. Sometime between 6am-9am on a Wednesday morning, EVERYTHING WAS DELETED. It’s the worst feeling. At first I was confused. I (like a weirdo, vain person) checked my blog around 9AM to make sure everything looked okay. I got a 404 error. Refresh. 404 error. Refresh. I got sort of annoyed and tried to log into WordPress. 404 error. AH! I called my hosting company and quickly explained what was happening. The customer service rep verified my URL and said those dreaded words, “It looks like you got hacked. All your files are gone.” Say whaaaaat?

Luckily I knew what to do. I worked for a hosting company back in 2009 and handled these kinds of problems daily. Sadly, most people don’t know what to do (or how to prevent it). That is exactly why I wrote this post.

How do they do it?

It’s easy to feel frustrated or personally attacked when your site or blog goes down due to hacking. Usually, it’s not personal. Your arch-nemesis isn’t sitting in their basement deleting all your files. What happens is a hacker runs automated scripts that look for known vulnerabilities in your site (especially outdated WordPress installations) and gains access through those holes. It’s like if you ignore the fact that your window screen has little rips or tears. It seems irrelevant until you wake up with 20 mosquito bites.

If a hacker can’t gain access that way, they can move on to find holes in your plugins, themes, your weak password, email or FTP. Mark wrote an awesome article titled 7 Ways I Could Hack Into Your WordPress Site. I suggest reading it!

How to prevent it.

Now that you know how they do it, it feels a little easier to prevent it. Here is my own checklist:

  1. Make your passwords complicated and make all your logins different. (Comic above found here via @teahousekitten. I laughed.)
  2. Always keep your WordPress install, themes and plugins up to date. When they find holes, they release newer versions.
  3. Keep backups of your blog + files hosted on the server.
  4. If you log into your blog as “Admin.” Change that. Here’s how.
  5. Remove the “Powered by WordPress” link at in your footer. Hackers can do a search for this.
  6. Set up 2-step verification on your Gmail account. (Great tip from Shoogle Designs)

Please note: there are many, many more measures that you can take to prevent being hacked. This article by Mastermind Blogger shared great tips that are a bit more technical and complicated. Be sure to give it a read if you feel comfortable enough to address some of these issues.

“Everything was dumb and then I sobbed.” – Quote from blogger Kara Haupt. Totally sums it up.

Still got hacked? Here’s what I’d do.

First of all, breathe. Freaking out and screaming at your hosting company’s customer service rep isn’t going to speed up the process (believe me, I’ve been there and when customers were swearing at me…I didn’t necessarily feel sorry for them). Here’s what I did (and what I would suggest you do too):

  1. Call your hosting provider. Explain what you think has happened.
  2. Ask them to scan your files for malicious code.
  3. Ask them when the most recent backup of your files has been taken & ask for a clean restore.
  4. Change all your passwords. That means WordPress, FTP, email accounts.
  5. Scan your computer for viruses. I don’t tend to do this with my Macs but I would definitely advise you to!
  6. Go to Google Webmaster and prove ownership of your site/ask for a review if you have the malware warning.

I would refer to this article by WordPress if you feel comfortable diving into some of their more technical tips (like server side permissions, changing your secret keys, checking for malware).

I’m not a hacker OR a pro at preventing it, but since it did JUST happen to me I thought I’d share my own tips in a simple, straightforward way. If you have any questions, feel free to leave it in the comments section. If I can’t answer it, I’ll find the answer for you. I also will gladly accept more tips and advice and I’m sure others would appreciate it as well.

Sponsor Spotlight: Eat.Drink.Shop.Love

Jewel–the woman behind Eat.Drink.Shop.Love– is one of my lovely sponsors this month! Eat.Drink.Shop.Love is a place where Jewel can share everything she loves about food, drinks, shopping, travel, and life. When I asked her what she loves about March she responded, “Right now I am loving the weather. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. It’s perfect!” What is Jewel loving lately? Check it out below:

  1. Colored Jeans
  2. GCB
  3. Homemade Veggie Fries (see Jewel’s post here)
  4. Pinterest
  5. Nars Tinted Moisturizer

Be sure to connect with Jewel by visiting her blog and following her on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram. If you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell during the month of April, send me a message!

Nurtur the Salon + Sierra Club

I’m a huge fan of the Aveda brand. I’m hooked on their hair products, I love their values, the stylists are epically talented, and I’ve even worked with one of their salons professionally. A wonderful experience all around. I’m excited to be sharing one of the events that Nurtur (an Aveda salon) will be hosting in honor of Earth Month (in collaboration with the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club)!

On Saturday, March 31st from 2-4pm, Nurtur will be hosting a Stress Fix Beauty Bar! You will be able to experience Aveda’s new Stress Fix products (clinically proven to reduce stress) and learn other techniques to eliminate stress from a Yoga on High stress expert! These techniques include yoga, Reiki, and meditation. You’ll be able to experience a neck & shoulder massage, hand rituals, breathing techniques, while enjoying tea and music. You can also purchase one of their Light the Way candles (more info here). Pretty much exactly what I’ll need. This event is $10 a person and you can RSVP here. All proceeds will benefit their Earth Month partner, the Sierra Club of Central Ohio’s Clean Water Campaign.

Even if you’re not able to attend (or don’t even live anywhere near Columbus) I’d still recommend seeking out an Aveda Institute (very affordable haircuts and services by talented students) or an Aveda salon. I got my haircut last week and before my stylist even touched my hair, I got a complimentary neck/shoulder massage AND a hand/arm massage. You also get to lay down while they shampoo and condition your hair. Needless to say…I was a happy woman. I promise I’m not on their payroll. Just love when I experience quality service and can support an amazing organization like the Sierra Club. Let me know if any of you locals want to attend the event with me!

Sponsor Spotlight: Emily Elizabeth Jewelry

I’ve been a fan and customer of Emily Elizabeth Jewelry for years now! I was so excited when Emily offered to sponsor my blog for the month of March! Her jewelry, which is always gorgeous, can be found featured in magazines and constantly spotted on celebrities. When asked what she loves about March, Emily answered: “I actually dont like March because the weather is usually so transitional- no wintery, not springy, usually kinda cold, kinda wet and blah, but the the weather this year has been fab.” Below are a few things she can’t get enough of:

  1. Green Nail Polish
  2. Her New Cowboy Boots (these aren’t her actual boots, just a suggestion!)
  3. Pineapple
  4. Ice Loves Coco
  5. Good Coffee (mug found on Horne)

Be sure to connect with Emily on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. And if you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell in April, be sure to send me a message and I’ll get you info + rates!