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!


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!

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.


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.

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.

Dreaming of a Mango Farm

Last week I was feeling nostalgic and a bit sad. My lolo and lola (Filipino grandpa and grandma) have both passed away and I think that as time passes…I start to realize how young they really were. While grieving, I don’t think that I ever fully processed how the change would affect my life or that they would never meet my own children. My lola passed away a little over two years ago and she was only 74. I remember when I was twelve or thirteen she told me that our family’s farm in the Philippines was holding a logo contest and encouraged me to enter. I don’t really remember if I submitted anything but she later decided it wouldn’t be fair since I was family. So last week I decided to Google it. Sure enough, I found Rosa Farms. I figured I wouldn’t find anything interesting but as soon as I clicked over to the About page and I couldn’t help but smile. My great-grandparents! How beautiful were they? It was like a little scrapbook that I never knew about. Photos of their home, their farm, and what it is today. I felt a sense of pride seeing my maiden name, Jocson, and at that moment I wished I could have called my lola to hear more stories. I did, however, text my dad a screenshot and said, “Hey look! That’s your name!”

For some reason, this whole discovery really stuck with me. I was telling Adam that weekend that I tend to embrace independence…moving to Ohio and getting married young, working for myself, and not really digging into where I came from. I’m sort of rambling now but I do think it’s important that we stop and remember that our great grandparents, grandparents, and parents worked really hard to help us get to where we are. I need to take advantage of all the time I do have with my own parents, family and friends. I need to ask questions and listen to stories. It’s enriching.

Here are two photos that I have of my lolo and lola (I even make a cameo in the left photo). Such beautiful people. I want to take a trip to the Philippines with Adam sometime in the near future.

Where do you come from? How do you stay rooted in your heritage? How do you stay connected with family despite distance?

Reminder: April Photo Challenge

Just a little reminder that you can be shooting for week 1 of my April photo challenge! Your first photo is due by Sunday, April 8th at 8pm EST. The submission button is now up on my sidebar and I’m always here if you have any questions! I’m excited to see the results of the first week!

Win Your Spot in a Photography E-Course

I’m so, so, so excited to announce that Kara is giving away a spot in her photography e-course, the M, here on Show + Tell! I love Kara’s work and creativity so much that I asked her to judge my April photo challenge. If you’re someone that wants to really learn how to use their DSLR, I would highly recommend entering into this giveaway (or just paying to take this 2 week e-course) so that you can use the camera and all its potential. Using my cameras correctly really transformed my life. Whether you’re using it to document your life, change the look of your blog, or want to do this professionally someday…it’s for you! Hear what Kara has to say about it:

I’ve heard from too many people how they’re scared to slide their camera’s setting from Auto or Shutter/Aperture Priority over to the the big M. I was too! My settings didn’t move out of Auto until a year after I got a DSLR. But, one day I decided to learn Manual and I haven’t switched it back since!

If you’re a blogger who wants to bring your blog to the next level with its own unique photographs or an Etsy shop owner tired of low quality photography representing your amazing product, The M will be a fantastic resource for you! Or if you just want to take better photos of your family, self, and life!

This class is for anyone who wants to learn the technical aspects of digital photography in an easy to understand and unintimidating setting. The class starts at the very basics– camera and lens recommendations, exposure, composition, lighting, and Photoshop corrections. It ends with basic tips from everything from landscape to portrait photography and includes free Photoshop actions, film photography tips, challenges, critiques, and inspiration. Most of the focus is on portraiture, but other subject matter is covered.

The class material covers two week’s of thorough, daily lessons, tips, and ideas.

In order to enter this giveaway, you must comment below and tell me why you want it! Why do you want to become better? Why do you love taking photographs? What confuses you? A random winner will be chosen and announced Friday. You have until Thursday at 11:59pm EST to enter.

This class is normally $45.00 and is a self-paced e-course that can be purchased and accessed at any time. You don’t need to start the class tomorrow (it’s just available starting tomorrow). You’ll be able to log into a private blog where the e-classes will take place! It’s amazing! Find out more info by visiting Kara’s post about the M or bypass this giveaway and purchase your spot instantly! Good luck!

Desh Has A Twin!

So I “met” Erinn of Bare Intimates last year through Twitter and we instantly became e-pals. I feel like we have a lot in common but it still SHOCKED me when I finally saw a photo of her adorable dog, Toby, about 3 months ago. I remember thinking, “OMG! TOBY LOOKS JUST LIKE DESH!” I’m pretty sure I commented on her Instagram photo. Oh wait…I’m a stalker and actually found the photo with the comments:

I am ridiculous. Anyways, since then Erinn and I always refer to Desh & Toby as twins or BFFs. Naturally. I secretly dream of the day when we can actually meet and the pups can finally see each other after being separated at birth (again, I am ridiculous). While Desh is a cockapoo (bred from two cockapoos), Toby is a top secret combination. He’s considered a daisy dog and the breeder doesn’t share exactly what that means! Kind of fun, huh? Desh and Toby weigh about the same. Toby is 17.5 pounds and Desh is 19 pounds. They both are small for their breed. I loved finding out what else they have in common. It seems that they both can sleep in until after noon (I love that Desh doesn’t wake me up early), their favorite toys are both squirrels, and they both have middle names! Toby’s full name is Toby Baloney Brown (formal name is Tobias). Desh’s full name is Desh James Lehman (formal name Deshua). By the way, this is the most hilarious paragraph I’ve ever written. I’m cracking up.

The rest of this post will pretty much be photos so you can see how awesome this comparison really is. Enjoy!

And last but not least…the best comparison photos ever. The best part about the photos below is that they were taken over the past few years and not planned. The ones of Desh are from 2009 and 2010!

And that, my friends, is the best effing blog post I’ve ever written. Happy weekend!