7 Apps That Every Blogger Needs to Find Success

Hi!

I’ve been getting tons of questions on what apps I use, and what editing techniques I use. So while I love to talk to you guys, it’s easier to just write it all down in one post for reference! I love finding new apps to help make my life a little easier between posting and marketing my writing. While some find it all a hassle and a waste of time, I actually love creating content for marketing and creating new ways to get the word out! So without further ado, here are some of the best apps, that any blogger needs to find success!

1. Snug

A friend of mine actually recommended this one to me. It’s basically an app that allows you to look at your Instagram feed and see how your future photos will look together! It’s great if you want to keep a cohesive theme and don’t know how a photo will complement it. It does cost a small fee of two dollars (I think, don’t quote me on that), which is less than a cup of coffee! Through this app, I can plan future posts, organize photos, and see what photos work and not. I think I’ve probably sent my friends a dozen next messages of screenshots asking them which grid version they like best!

2. Canva

Canva is great for anything. Whether you need a Pinterest cover for your blog post or an Instagram Story advert, it’s perfect. You choose a template for whatever platform you want, throw in your photos, add your text, and you are good to go. I love using it for my stories to market my articles! It creates a clean and cute layout that will have any person clicking the “link in bio.”

3.  VSCO

It may be just me but I absolutely love VSCO. It took me a while to find the type of filters and edits, but once I did, it was easier than ever. VSCO is a photography-posting and editing app but for me, it stores my edited photos and lets me go back and re-edit them, re-download, etc. I love to keep my photos up and edit them all through VSCO, using the same editing style, and having them saved on the app so I can always go back and fix them up if I need to.

To answer the question on how I edit my photos… well it’s by no means fancy. I’m not a pro photographer, and nor am I proficient in Lightroom or Photoshop. I literally go into VSCO and do the same thing over and over:

  • Filter A6
  • -1 Exposure
  • Sometimes a little contrast, depending on the photo.
  • -2 Saturation
  • +5 Highlights
  • +1 Temperature

And that’s it. Feel free to copy it, but it is fun to explore the app and find your own editing style that will fit your theme and who you are as a person.

4. Hype Type

One of my more latest finds, this app is tons of fun! Do you have a new blog post up? An announcement to make? Use Hype Type! You edit the background, add in what you want to say, choose the animations, and it creates a memorable Instagram Story! I use it a lot to promote articles that I write and love to play around with it. It’s one of those apps that gives you those little details that make your account great. And it’s not just for Instagram! You can post it on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc! Great for marketing.

5. Ripl

Like Hype Type, Ripl provides the same features except in different ways. I have both on my phone if I want to mix it up and have different banners. Ripl is a bit more complicated but has more options for your photos and text, while Hype Type is more copy and paste. Between the two, it really just depends on what you want. I love them both!

6. Capture

This app is so much fun. It’s free in the App Store and lets you record your actions on your phone! That way, if you want to demonstrate how to access your blog, or enter a contest, you can show your followers EXACTLY how to.

7. Influenster

This app lets you review products and get the chance to get free boxes of things to review! Just sign up, total up your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, Instagram followers, etc. and start reviewing. It all depends on activity/follower count, but it’s a fun way to try out products and get your name out there!

What are your favorite apps to use? Any favorites on here? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram!

 

 

7 Christmas Gifts for the Last-Minute Shoppers

Christmas is right around the corner (4 days away!) which means if you haven’t already gotten all your gift shopping done, then you should probably get at it. Nobody wants to be standing in line at the mall on Christmas Eve. You’ll be grumpy and disappointed that what you wanted to get, is all out of stock (shocker), and the employees will be annoyed at said disappointment.  Just a lot of grumpiness in one place which is no way to spend Christmas Eve.

So with Christmas being so close, I’ve collected some great last-minute gifts that are thoughtful and a huge hit with anyone! Check them out below.

1. Hot Chocolate in a Jar

This gift is cute and adorable! Plus, it involves things that you can most likely find around the house! Grab a mason jar, fill it with powder sugar, hot chocolate mix, crushed candy canes, marshmallows, and whatever else you like in hot chocolate. Finish it off with a bow and a card and you got yourself a pretty aesthetically pleasing gift. Made in ten minutes and will forever be remembered in the heart.

2. A Book

It may seem simple, but it is a really thoughtful gift! Even if they aren’t a reader, there is something for everyone. It’s a nice gesture when you give someone the gift of your favorite book or spend time looking for something they would like. From poetry books to fiction, to coffee table books,  this gift is universal.

TIP: Don’t go to Barnes and Noble on Christmas Eve. The workers will not sympathize with you when you find out they don’t have the book you want. If you do go on Christmas Eve, be very, very, very nice to them. They deal with a lot.

3. Mug

Another simple gift, but al universally loved by all. Mugs are the ultimate gift and something that everyone likes to receive. Just go to Target, TJ Maax, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, etc. and pick out a unique and fun mug that matches the personality of the person you are giving it to. Add some candy to it, maybe a gift card, and you’ve got yourself a pretty cute gift.

4. Cookies

Everyone likes cookies. Why not give the gift of sugar this year? You can make a large quantity, put them in cute Christmas bags, and send them off.

5. Card

Make someone a card! Grab your paints and blank pieces of paper, turn on Netflix, and make some cute Christmas cards. With handwritten notes going nearly extinct, a simple homemade card is thoughtful and unique. You can add a gift card to it if you want to, but sometimes, just some kind words and wishes are enough.

6. Coffee

Give the gift of caffeine and take your friend out for some coffee and community. Spending time with people is the best gift and they will appreciate it so much. Plus, who doesn’t love free coffee?

7. 

Everyone loves candles! Especially ones from Bath and Body Works.  If you need to quickly snag one just head to TJ Maax, Bath and Body Works, Target, Walmart, etc. It’s a sure winner. Especially for the moms and college students out there.

Coffee Culture: Phoenix Street Guide

There’s no questioning my love for coffee. I started out as a little freshman who loved Caramel Frappuccino’s from  Starbucks to a college student who needs a whole lot of espresso and eight cups of coffee to get her assignments done. Working at a coffee shop probably hasn’t helped my coffee addiction either.

Going to college in Phoenix means getting to adventure to funky places, get a constant tan (just kidding, I’m still pale as ice), and taste some great coffee.  Arizona has some of the best places to grab a coffee and do homework. Whether you’re a college student with deadlines, a coffee aficionado, or just need a caffeine fix, these shops will be right up your alley.

Songbird Coffeehouse

812 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004

This coffeehouse is kept close to my heart because it was the first place in Phoenix I went. I had just gotten out of my last day of school, senior year, and I wanted to explore Phoenix. Therefore, my brother and I found ourselves at this cute coffeehouse which is literally, in a house. With its cute green swing on the front porch and top notch coffee, you’ll fall in love with this quirky home and make it your own.

What to get: A Vanilla Latte with a homemade Nutella Pop Tart.

The Henry

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4455 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

This is the place to be whether studying, having a work meeting, or just catching up with friends. There is a coffee and studying area on one side, and a restaurant on the other. Be sure to take a picture by the infamous arrow or a top-down photo on the marble table-tops. It is great for the gram.

What to get: The Wildflower (Vanilla, espresso, milk, and chai!)

Giant Coffee

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1437 N 1ST ST PHOENIX, AZ

Giant Coffee is a tranquil place with great pastries, coffee, and awesome decor. Near the open glass windows, you can sit and drink your coffee off a stump, or smell the fresh flowers on the table.

What to get: Honey Vanilla Latte or Mocha

Lola Coffee

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1001 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003

Right on Roosevelt Row is a stretch of the best coffee shops you will find, and Lola Coffee is one of them. Try a homemade brownie and sit at the window and people watch. It’s a perfect place to get homework done or take engagement pictures (I have seen this happen there).

What to get: Caramel Machiatto

Union Coffee

6750 W. Thunderbird Rd. Suite B109 Peoria, AZ 85381

Finally a cute and aesthetically pleasing coffee shop on the west side! No more need to drive 40 minutes out of my way just to get some good coffee. Now, I have Union Coffee right down the road.  Their baristas are filled with kindness and the soothing music will drive you to work hard.

What to get: Chai Latte (Best in the valley)

Macy’s Coffee

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14 S. Beaver St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001

This isn’t technically in Phoenix, but in Arizona nonetheless. If you ever find yourself up north, be sure to stop here for a bite to eat and some great coffee. It can get busy at times, but it is WELL worth the wait.

What to get: The Macy’s Special!

Ruze Cake House

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7033 E Main St #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

This place is a goldmine for photographers, bloggers, and Instagrammers alike. With their beautiful and tasty macaroons and cupcakes, you won’t be able to leave without trying everything and photographing everything.

What to get: Hot Chocolate

Berdena’s

7051 E 5th Ave Suite I, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Need a place that has mouth-watering waffles and perfect avocado toast? Berdena’s is the place to go. I love heading over there after church for brunch. The staff is so kind and patient with me (I always have trouble deciding), and make a bomb Latte. Plus everything is so cute and pleasing to the eye how can you not like going there?

What to get: Dirty Chai Almond Milk Latte

Be Coffee + Food + Stuff

214 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Take a picture against the wall of birds and stop by this cute place on one of my favorite roads. This coffee place is perfect for studying, browsing plants at the store next door, and walking around and viewing all the art that Phoenix holds.

What to get: Caramel Latte

Dutch Bros.

 8387 W Thunderbird Rd, Peoria, AZ 85381

Dutch Bros. may be originated from Oregon, but the Arizona locations are legendary. Head over to the Thunderbird shop and see exactly why. You’ll find long lines, but a great community of workers, and amazing coffee.

What to get: Christmas Morning or Chocolate Milk with Creme de Menthe

And there you have it! My favorite Phoenix coffee stops! Which one is your favorite? Any drink suggestions? Or did I miss a coffee shop? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Lily’s Room Tour: 2017

These last two weeks have been filled with unpacking boxes, working at the coffee shop again, school, and balancing life in general.  My Freshman year of college, I decorated my room the day I moved in and had everything to my liking. This year however, I was lazy and it took a few weeks to get fully unpacked and room photo-ready.

This year I got an apartment on campus VS the dorm I had last year and let me say that I can never go back. Freshman year is a good year to experience a classic college experience; but then that’s enough. Apartments are truly the way to go. You get your own room, kitchen, and more than one bathroom. That being said, I had to acquire some more decorations to cover the walls of my room because in my dorm last year, I only had to decorate a small space (I had 2 other roommates in my room with me. And then three suite-mates in the room next to us).

So without further ado, here is my room-tour!

Our living room is filled with fall even though Arizona hasn’t gotten the memo. My dad built the coffee holder and I cut out the letters.  Hooks were bought off Amazon for really cheap while the wood was bought off home depot. It was a fun DIY project to do and the result was even better than the image I got off Pinterest.

All our fall decor was bought for under ten dollars and can easily be found off Amazon or the dollar store. You can decorate your own mason jars and make them ready for fall with simple paint and glitter.

Flowers: Dollar Store

Mason Jars: Amazon 

Vase: Target

Pinecones: Target

Fall sign: Amazon

My bedroom itself focuses on the main colors of brown, gold, pink, and white. I repainted a lot of my old furniture white and tried to focus on the “less is more” concept.

I hung up my black hat on the wall with a cute mini calendar for decoration. At Goodwill I found these old books and a tea cup at a trade show. I keep a photo of my grandmother near the teacup because she and I would have tea parties together when I was little.

Everyone who knows me knows I’m a pillow hoarder so it’s no surprise that I brought nine pillows with me to college (whoops). I also have my favorite tribal blanket from Sedona and a fur throw that I got from Target. The photos that are hung were printed through the app LaLaLab and if you use the code: PG98TS8L then you get a $5 credit towards photos!

Books and Tea Pillow: Amazon

My little desk area is my favorite place to study. With cute pictures and lights, along with a lot of space to spread out and relax, it is the ultimate zone for working. I also put a curtain in front of my closet to hide the mess and clutter.

Letterboard: Amazon

Lights: Amazon

Cactus Photo: Hobby Lobby

Curtains: Amazon

I added photos of close friends using frames from random places. I also took the bridesmaids flowers from my best friend’s wedding an hung them with a little burlap ribbon.

And that’t the room! I think a great way to bond with your new roommates is to go shopping for your apartment. You get to make fun memories and learn more about them while decorating for your new home! I am so grateful to have found some sweet roommates and am excited for the year that is to come.

A reminder to all with roommates: It won’t be perfect, you will fight, but if you keep God alive and in the room, and have Him in all your relationships, His love will prosper and will show in your actions.

(Me and one of my adorable roommates Grace! Who’s just as sweet as her smile)