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Show + Tell

Today’s post pretty much sums up the name of my blog. I have lots of little things to share with you so I thought today’s post can be a compilation of all sorts of things. First of all, I thought I’d share what I got my in Good & Lovely box this month. It definitely is my favorite box so far. Chapstick, chocolate, body wash, tea + more! I also thought I’d share Adam’s Dollar Shave Club razor. For $1/month he gets a razor (with multiple blades) delivered to our apartment! It’s one of the best razors he’s ever used and he hasn’t even changed the razor yet! He compared to Gillette Fusion. ONE DOLLAR! You can use his referral link if you think you (or your significant other) might like it. I think I’m going to sign up too. I love their marketing and branding.

I also thought it would be fun to share some of things that I’ve been loving lately. Blogging can tend to feel very materialistic and there are non-things that bring me happiness over thing-things. You get it.

1. I read this interview with Dana Tanamachi twice. It’s that good. My favorite quote (it pretty much spoke directly to me and my situation now):

“…when you still have your job you don’t have to obsess about the consequences of saying no [unpaid bills, going hungry, etc…]. You can instead focus on the benefits of saying yes to the right opportunities. When you keep your day job, all opportunities become surplus propositions rather than deficit remedies. You only have to take the ones that suit your dream best.”

2. The Joy of Quiet. Something I need to embrace.

3. I’m registered for Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Why aren’t you? 20 speakers. 20 Designers. Musicians. Cleveland. So excited.

4. I’ve been catching up on Let’s Make Mistakes since I got a little tired of podcasts at the end of last year. I’m also listening to Stuff You Should Know, Comedy Bang Bang, The Dave Ramsey Show, This American Life and The Jillian Michaels show. What podcasts do you listen to?

*Oh and congrats to Lolo Holmes for winning my Kitten Bear necklace giveaway! I’ll be contacting you by email to get your mailing information! Thanks to all who entered the giveaway. Be on the lookout for my next one soon!

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CITY GUIDE: Raleigh & Durham

Today’s City Guide is brought to you by Zac of Durham!

Visiting Raleigh-Durham (aka RalDur, Durleigh, the better 2/3 of the triangle) is really the best of both worlds. The burgeoning city and emerging social scene abound at both locations in fun and distinct ways.

Durham

The best way to start your day in Bull City is with brunch. Whether it is after an early jaunt with your running club or a sleepy late start with your significant other, good eclectic breakfast food is the most Durham way to start your weekend. There are a lot of great choices, but my personal favorite is Fosters’ Market. For over 20 years Sarah Foster and crew have been creatively preparing some of the best food in the Triangle. There are new specials all the time so every visit is  treat. Make sure to do yourself a favor and sample some of the most delectable bread pudding in the Piedmont.

After you get your fill at Fosters’ Market, you have to make your way over to Durham Farmer’s Market. Though there are two, the one in central park seems to be the local favorite. The farmer’s market is family friendly and loaded with all kinds of fresh produce and local products for you, him, her, and the little ones.

After all that food and sundry shopping the thing you are going to want to do most is eat again. One of best spots to grab a late and light lunch has got to be Parker and Otis. P&O is located in the Brightleaf district, just south of the Farmer’s Market, and is kind of like a hipster/reverse Cracker Barrel. Which means it is the kind of place you will force your grandma to go check out when she comes to visit. Here at P&O the pimento cheese sandwich and sweet peach tea are tops, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the sandwich or salad options.

If you would rather opt out of the tea and sandwich choose something more sweet then head west and stop in at Scratch Bakery to get a slice, or a whole, of lavender pie or chocolate chess. Although if you want my opinion, the mexican chocolate cream pie is the best. Also this place easily wins for best cup of coffee in Durham so double win for you!

By the far the most adorable place in Durham is Ox & Rabbit. This old-timey soda and malt shop is located in the middle of Durham’s Ninth Street and is managed by a super sweet couple that ooze indie kindness and have an impeccable eye for vintage goods and local finds. Make sure to get an Italian cream soda or a Dr. Pepper milkshake, along with a handful of homemade caramels, before you leave.

Okay, I know this sounds fairly mainstream, but you have to go to Durham Bulls game if you come to Durham (yes I know the ones from the Kevin Costner movie). Playing ball since 1902, the Durham Bulls are the embodiment of the spirit of America’s favorite pastime. This triple AAA ball club is community and excellence at its finest. Perennial winners and champions of community involvement and charity a game with the Durham Bulls is a treat for all ages. There is still a little diamond magic and cosmic truth for those that believe.

The best way to polish off a Durham “Bulldog” (an all beef hot dog baked in pretzel dough with bacon and cheese!) is with some of the best local brew. Luckily, Durham has a great venue for you and all of your friends at Fullsteam Brewery. Great brew, big tables, ping pong, darts, and pinball would be enough, but right outside their front door is even more delicious food to be served out of a… truck? Yes, welcome to the incarnation of the Durham entrepreneurial spirit. Where Raleigh says No! to food service trucks Durham says C’mon! There are over 40 different and diverse food trucks that swim in the streams of Durham’s local commerce. Try them all and then patronize your favorite. You can load up on all kinds of hot or cold tasty treats. It’s an allegiance war out there, but I will go ahead and bravely suggest Pie Pushers and Parlour as my two favorites.

Well that should hopefully be enough to fill up a day in Durham, but we need you to come back for a day well spent in Durham’s sibling city, Raleigh.

Raleigh

Though Durham may be quite the arts-ville of independent spirit its sibling city Raleigh is no slouch. There are three places in particular that make my cut for for a well spent day in Raleigh.

If you are ever in Raleigh you have got to try Lilly’s Pizza. I know that every town has their own version of a local pizza pie shop run by guys that are alternative, cluttered, and brilliant at making pizza. It may not be the best pizza you have ever had, but I dare you to eat better. My recommendation, the Buddha, but really you can’t go wrong. Also, Vegans welcome, so that is a plus.

If there is one thing that Raleigh-ians know, it is how to class up an otherwise mundane activity. The North Carolina Art Museum is not only home to world-renowned art exhibitions, but also home to a fabulous sculpture park that serves as a running track [download] that offers various tracks and terrains. If you are a casual to intermediate runner looking to move with inspiration, there really is no better place you go.

Now there is quite the coffee turf war going on Raleigh. So to pick any one of the fine establishments would be an encroachment but I will go ahead and make my case and also provide the alternatives. My recommendation is Jubala, though it is the baby of the top three and it has already garnered a couple of shop awards and several top baristas. Set in the newly established european shopping experience of Layfayette Village, Jubala serves not only some speciality food goods (you have to, have to try the Belgian Waffle) but is the first manual brew coffee shop in North Carolina. It is delicious all around and the extra area for seating makes it easy to find your favorite spot to settle in and read or study. Other great contenders would be Cafe Helios and The Morning Times. Both of these fine shops are located close to downtown Raleigh so for those that work and live in that neighborhood these are the easy favorites.

Thanks for the read and for Allie’s enthusiasm for local fare and fun. If you are ever in the Triangle let me know and I would be happy to show the sites myself! Thanks. [Be sure to follow Zac on Twitter!]

Featured image by tracktwentynine.

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Here We Go: Domains and Hosting

Whether you want to or not, you need to learn about domains and hosting. It might not be the most exciting part about blogging but it’s necessary and one of the first steps in setting up your blog. To break it down simply: your domain name is like your home address. You can put it on a business card or post it anywhere and anyone can visit. Simple as that. Your hosting account is like your actual house. If you have a domain name (or in our analogy…an address) but not hosting (a home), people are going to be quite surprised when they go to visit and there’s nothing to see. Your hosting account stores all of your site’s files, images, databases, email accounts + more. It’s technical. It’s complicated. But here are the basics:

  1. Do not just choose the cheapest company that you can find. It’s not worth it. Ask for recommendations!
  2. Make sure that they’re available 24/7 via phone, chat, and tickets. Give them a call and ask questions at 8am and then again at 11pm. Their customer service should be excellent no matter what the clock says.
  3. Look at their plans. They should make sense to you. Smaller bloggers like myself don’t need 999,999 GB of monthly bandwidth.
  4. Read reviews! Obviously their website is going to boast that they’re the best (but most aren’t).
  5. Check to see if they do free website migration. If you’re not happy with your current host, they will move everything at no extra cost!
  6. Side note: Don’t buy hosting to back up all your files. While many hosting companies claim “unlimited storage” they can ask you to remove it. If they don’t hear from you…I’ve even heard/seen system admins delete content because you’re slowing everyone else down.

Once you’re signed up, utilize their tutorials! The functionality and options that are built into the hosting dashboard (or cPanel) can seem overwhelming. Basic bloggers should only be utilizing a handful. These can include:

  • File manager or unlimited FTP: Allows you to upload or download site files
  • Email settings: Allows you to add email accounts and usually assist in configuring your mail apps
  • Domain Details: It’s best for you (and especially if you are utilizing a web designer or developer) if you have full control over DNS settings. They should also allow you to add subdomains or create redirects.

This is obviously a very short and compressed post about domains and hosting. I would highly encourage you to seek out a designer or developer to assist you in this process. It will save you a lot of headaches. I worked for a hosting company in 2009 and so I feel like I have a pretty big grasp on the subject.

I recently switched over to Eleven2 this past weekend and it’s the first hosting company that has FLOORED ME. I am so impressed with them and cannot stop telling everyone. It costs me $60/year to host all my sites and about $11/domain. Not only did they help me migrate my site, domains and databases but they responded to my tickets and chats almost instantly while I was having issues with one particular database. I was literally communicating with them from 11am on a Saturday (through the night) until Sunday afternoon. Now that everything is back up and running, I can’t believe how much faster my blog performs! Uploading photos, responding to comments, and working in the dashboard is now just a quick task.

If you’re interested in giving them a try (they have a 60 day money back guarantee), feel free to sign up through my affiliate link. If you need assistance, let me know! To top it all off, Eleven2‘s dashboard/cPanel is gorgeous (photos in this post are screenshots from my account) AND they have a free iPhone app.

If you have any other questions related to hosting and setting up your blog feel free to comment below and I’ll get you an answer!

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#snapaphoto April Photo Challenge: Week 1

Look at all these lovely faces! 17 to be exact…plus a few cute pets. I was so excited as submissions started coming in. I was a bit nervous for awhile since my blog was down most of Saturday and Sunday morning. If you tried to submit your photos but realized it wasn’t working, comment below and I’ll definitely add your photos in! As for the submissions that I DID receive, I love them! I would smile every time I opened an email and saw a new, friendly face. My favorite is Kate’s. Oh did it make me laugh! Which portrait is your favorite? I loved seeing the variation of cameras used (shout out to Joel and Elise for using the same one as I did!)

Next week’s challenge is to photograph detail. It could be a smile, an arm, a silhouette, or maybe motion. I would love to see personality come out this week. What makes that person unique? How do you capture that? Submit your photo to me by Sunday at 8pm EST! Even if you didn’t submit this week, you are more than welcome to start week 2 (you just can’t win the prize).

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Film Portraits: Double Feature

About a week ago I was able to take portraits of TWO lovely ladies on a Sunday afternoon. I shot film portraits of Jen Myers (above…oh and hint: you may recognize my April Photo Challenge submission tomorrow after this) at Franklin Park Conservatory with her adorable daughter. The lighting was perfect. It had been an extremely sunny afternoon but by the time we met around 4:15pm, things were looking great. Earlier in the day, I shot only about a 1/3 of a roll of Ektar 100 of my friend Jess Gambacurta (below). It was a bit too sunny (oh my gosh were we sweating!) and so I’ll probably shoot the rest of the roll on her soon. Until then, here are a few! How perfect is her skin?

I really love how both sessions turned out. So far, I’ve been really excited every time I shoot film with friends or strangers. Even still, I get this crazy nervous feeling while the rolls are being developed and then right after I send the results to my clients. It’s kind of awesome.

Sidenote: Thanks to those of you who might have tweeted or messaged me this weekend while my blog was down. To clarify, I wasn’t hacked! I was trying to work with my (then) current hosting to resolve a few things and they made a big, big mistake causing my portfolio site and blog to go down. Within the hour I basically said, “Screw it. I’m changing hosting NOW!” Thankfully I had just backed up my files, database and switched my name servers so all I had to wait on was propagation (versus waiting for my domain to completely transfer which can take 5-7 business days). If you are looking for a hosting company, I would HIGHLY recommend Eleven2. They saved my butt this weekend, and although I was freaking out a little, I knew I was in good hands. Show + Tell is now going strong and you can see my updated portfolio site here. Design-related blog posts coming soon here.

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Kitten Bear Giveaway

One of my April sponsors, Dani from Kitten Bear, is graciously giving away one of her necklaces this week here on Show + Tell! How gorgeous is it? Lately I’ve been looking for fun spring accessories and all of Dani’s necklaces are gorgeous. In order to enter into this giveaway you must comment below after doing one (or all) of the following:

If you do all of those things, you can comment up to three times and each comment will count as a separate entry! This giveaway is open until Thursday, April 12th at 11:59 pm EST! The winner will be announced on Friday morning. Good luck!

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Reflection

I call this set REFLECTION. I shot a B&W roll (a REAL black & white roll) during a film portrait session and finished it off while I was sitting outside my favorite coffee shop, Stauf’s. For those of you who don’t know, you can’t just walk into any old shop or Walgreens to develop a real roll of B&W film. If you’ve developed “black & white” film before at a Walgreens then it probably wasn’t real (it was C-41, which their machines can process). I decided to send my roll off to Richard Photo Lab for the first time ever! In my dreams I would just develop film myself but our teeny tiny one bedroom apartment wouldn’t really accommodate my setup. I filled out the form, mailed it along with my roll of film and about a week and a half later, I got an email with the FTP information and downloaded my photos! Pretty awesome. Cost? $37. Obviously it’s more pricey than when I use C-41 but I’m excited to get a color roll or try out a medium format camera and ship off to Richard Photo Lab for processing. You can see the photos from my film session below:

Happy Friday! Don’t forget–your Week 1 photo submission is due by Sunday at 8pm!

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The M Giveaway Winner!

Congrats Halle! You’ve won a spot in the M! I know that you’ll learn SO much in Kara’s class and I can’t wait to see the photos after you push those settings into manual. Thank you to all who entered, I LOVED reading your comments. Just because you didn’t win a free spot doesn’t mean you still can’t take the class! Head on over to register for only $45. It’s a course that you can take at your own pace and will completely change the way you feel about that DSLR.

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CITY GUIDE: Houston

Today’s city guide is brought to you by Nicole of Boston! Enjoy!

Houston may be sprawling, but it’s packed with a little bit of everything. It’s full of culture: outdoor theaters, lots of art (both folk and fine), an incredible variety of food, and some of the best vintage shops around. Houston is quite the city! Here’s the short list of what you should do if you ever have a day in Houston.

Let’s start with some food options because you can’t shop on an empty stomach. If you’re heading out in the morning you have to swing by Christy’s Donuts (photo grabbed from Google maps) or the Breakfast Klub. Be prepared for lines at both; they move quickly. Christy’s has the best donuts and kolaches in town. Don’t know what a kolache is? You can thank the Czech settlers of Texas after you taste these delicious buns filled with goodies (like cheese and jalepeno sausage). For a completely different breakfast experience settle in at the Breakfast Klub for waffles and wings, or catfish and grits.

After a hearty breakfast you’ll have more than enough energy to hit up some antique shops. Your first stop should be Adkin’s Architectural Antiques and Treasures for salvaged home goods and antiques. Make sure to walk up all the stairs to the attic, it feels like a hidden gold mine. Metro Retro is full of mid-century finds, but if you have to choose one location, go to the warehouse instead of the showroom. For Anthropologie furnishings of the non-mass produced variety go to Installations Antiques. Jur is the man, ask him to make you something (seriously)! Give Saddle (one of the shop cats) a pet for me too. If these three options aren’t enough, browse the stores on Westheimer between Shepherd and Montrose. There is also no shortage of second-hand clothing shops in that area.

You’ll probably be a little famished at this point, so it’s time for some lunch. Chinese, BBQ, Cuban, or Shire-Eats? Houston does all of these well. Have your order ready at Doozo’s (half order of chicken dumplings, mild sauce) and go early to Thelma’s BBQ (chopped BBQ sandwich, eat with a fork). If you don’t, you might not get any. If you’d prefer a more relaxed dining experience, grab some fish tacos from El Ray, or get a table and a Mithril Mix Smoothie at The Hobbit Cafe (photo grabbed from Google maps).

After lunch, it’s time for some folk art (naturally)! Built between 1956 and 1980 by Jeff McKissack, the Orange Show is collection of objects inspired by a love of oranges. Preserved after his death, this quirky monument is like no other. If you prefer your art fine, a trip to the Menil Collection and the Cy Twombly is what you are looking for. Walk over to the Houston Center for Photography too, it’s right next door. After you’ve had your fill of the arts, sneak in to Katz’s Deli to use their photo booth. It’s one of the last authentic film booths left in Houston. Make Kuhl-Linscomb (photo from their website) your last stop before dinner. You could spend days in there, so it’s best to give yourself a time limit. It consists of five buildings and is the largest privately owned design and lifestyle store in Houston. It’s perfectly curated, and there is something for everyone.

If you could possibly eat anything after lunch, there are even more choices for dinner. For the best deep dish outside of Chicago, order the chicken alfredo on wheat at Star Pizza. Paulie’s has great casual Italian food, and delicious cucumber water. For an even more casual dining experience, wear your lederhosen to Rudi Lechners (photo taken from their website) for Polka night, wiener schnitzel, and German beer. If you are wanting to rock your more formal lederhosen (pants perhaps), eat at Shade (photo grabbed from Google maps). It’s in the heart of the Heights, one of the coolest neighborhoods in Houston.

After dinner, look through the racks at Mortar for some killer men’s clothing, lust after some beautiful jewelry at High Gloss, browse through the thought-out selection of records at Sound Exchange, pet some bunnies at Wabash Feed, and flip through the hand-selected collection of books/vinyl toys at Domy (photo found on Flickr). You’ll have a hard time leaving any of these places empty handed.

If you don’t think you can stomach any more food, I’ve done something right here. On the other hand you really should have a few dozen Mexican pastries at El Bolillio, or a smoothie with tapioca at the Teahouse to end your night on the perfect note (or maybe a stomach ache, depending on the days combination).

I would like to extend a HUGE thanks to Nicole for such an awesome, awesome city guide. This (combined with the Austin city guide a few weeks back) makes me want to go to Texas as soon as possible. Be sure to hop over to Nicole’s blog Design Curiosities (which is one of my daily reads) and follow her on Twitter! *All photos are Nicole’s unless noted otherwise!

Featured image by telwink.

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Here We Go: Time Saving Techniques

Today we’re talking about your time (probably something that you value) and how you can fit blogging into your busy schedule. It’s tough. I currently work 60-70 hours a week (juggling my day job and all my freelance work) but I still prioritize blogging. I’m motivated by all your lovely comments, the other incredible bloggers that I’ve met as a blogger myself, and it really is enjoyable. It’s something that I love to do and never feel pressured or tied down by deadlines. I’m going to share a few things that I do that make it a bit easier to fit into my schedule (and PLEASE share your own tips and advice below because there are some weeks where I’m like, “AHHHH.”)

Plan out your posts in a calendar:

Get a calendar. It doesn’t matter what kind. I know bloggers that use an editorial calendar plug-in through WordPress, some have a physical calendar journal, some use iCal. I use my Google Calendar because:

  • I can delete or alter ideas instantly.
  • I can access this calendar anywhere. On someone else’s computer, on my iPhone, etc.
  • I can still use my iCal for my personal life (Adam and I sync ours together) without all of my blog posts clogging up my days
  • I already have too many notebooks and journals with random notes jotted everywhere. It’s clean, easy, and in one place.
  • I can see the variety of my future posts in one glance. No flipping pages or weekly breakdown. I want to see the big picture.

I included a screenshot above with my calendar from March. As you can see, towards the end of March I had two posts per day because of sponsor spotlights. When you’re working with other people (collaborating, allowing people to guest post, or featuring sponsors) it’s really important to stay organized. Be courteous of others’ time and so when I know that I’m going to start featuring sponsors on the 19th, I know that I should probably send them an email asking for content around the 12th (at the latest). Even if I’m not physically writing up the posts and scheduling them all out a month in advance (because I totally don’t do that), I feel better looking at my Google Calendar before the week starts and knowing what I have on my plate.

Schedule your posts ahead of time:

Technology makes it so easy. I can write all of my blog posts on a Sunday night and have them auto post throughout the week! When I first started blogging in college, I remember people asking how I wrote up my post and found time to publish it while in class. I assured them that I wasn’t blogging during class (but I probably was doodling). I tend to only schedule posts a week in advance (and nothing further). Since I’m trying to write and post relevant content, I like to take it a week at a time and not get ahead of myself. If I can’t remember what I’ve physically written and scheduled within WordPress, then I turn to WordPress Editorial Calendar (screenshot below). Unlike my Google Calendar, it’s only showing things scheduled in WordPress.

Document your ideas:

I get ideas for blog posts at the most random times. Sometimes it’s while I’m sifting through my Google Reader, sometimes it’s on Twitter because everyone that I follow is amazing, and sometimes it’s when I’m reading a magazine. I don’t stress about trying to get all my ideas jotted down into one perfect list. I “star” things in Google Reader, I’ll favorite the tweet that sparked the idea, I’ll scribble in my Moleskine but I don’t stress. It’s not worth stressing. If I can guess, you’re probably not making a year’s salary by blogging (I’m definitely not) so let it happen organically.

Once a new month rolls around, I’ll go through everything that I’ve bookmarked and I’ll start really thinking about concepts. Usually half of the stuff doesn’t end up here on my blog at all but processing it is just as useful. Once I get an idea that really sticks…I write. Step away from the computer when you’re creating content. I don’t sit at my computer and design the perfect logo. It starts offline. These concepts might feel like they’re taking up more time but it will lead to less frustration (or writing and re-writing posts several times).

Organize your files and folders:

It probably seems irrelevant but I guarantee you…it’s KEY! If you’re like me, you’re working with a lot of images, content, text, and files. Between the different series that I host here on Show + Tell, sponsors, and collaborations…I’ve acquired quite the file collection. It’s easiest for me if I have folders organized and if I keep the files (even if I feel like I’m done with them). After my blog got hacked last month, I had to re-upload a few days’ worth of content because the image links had been broken. I was so glad I didn’t just trash them. Even my media folder wasn’t displaying them correctly. Here’s a screenshot of how I keep my folders:

Like all my colorful watercolor backgrounds? It makes screenshots look less like ugly screenshots. Needless to say, organization is crucial if you don’t want to feel like you’re swimming in the abyss that can be blogging. I hope those tips helped because they really help me keep this place enjoyable.

If you have ANY other tips, pieces of advice, or methods please comment below! These Here We Go posts are meant to be a great resource and the comments section is an important part.