Mom’s Holiday Party Prep Tips for the Busy Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MerrySpritzmas #CollectiveBias

Though I really do try to stick to our family motto and keep things simple during the holidays, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the season. That means events, activities and parties just about every weekend in December. The holidays are a time of parties – I have two each weekend this season! I love it all, I really do. But wow, does it get busy! Seems I hardly have time to use the bathroom (we’ll get to that issue later!)

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Ready for a night on the town!

My husband’s work Christmas party was this past weekend. With four kids at home, I didn’t have a lot of time to get myself primped. But I still wanted to look good, right?! I’m sharing my tips for getting prepped for a night out, including what to pack in your holiday evening bag. Keep reading and I’ll give you all the details on why Poo~Pourri is a party MUST HAVE!

Hover over this photo and click on the images to visit Bed Bath and Beyond’s website, where you can order directly!

Time Management

When you’re getting ready to go out for the night, plan ahead and make a list of what needs to be done.

  • I chose my outfit the week before the Christmas party. I made sure to try on my outfit with the shoes that I was planning to wear. If you need to pick up stockings or tummy support briefs this will give you a few days time to grab those necessities.
  • I did my nails the day before so I wouldn’t feel rushed the morning of the party.
  • I needed a haircut before the party so I scheduled it for that afternoon. This way I was able to get the wash, cut and style and save time on not having to do my hair myself.
  • Have the babysitter arrive early so that will give you time to put your make-up on and get dressed so you aren’t running around, tending to the kids.

Packing Your Holiday Evening Bag

Just before before the party, I pack up my holiday evening bag. Once I’ve decided on my outfit, I match the bag with what I’m wearing. You won’t need a lot, so your evening bag can be really small – Unless you’re like me and your husband tends to hand you everything out of his pockets to carry in your purse. These are my handbag must-haves for a night on the town.

  • Wallet. Include at least a few dollars, just in case you need to tip or the parking lot only takes cash.
  • Drivers license or ID. You might get carded!
  • Make-up refreshers. This may include blotting papers to get rid of excess oil, finishing powder and lipstick or gloss.
  • A small mirror. Use it quickly to check your teeth and make sure there’s no holiday food left there after your meal.
  • Compact hair brush.
  • Fully charged cell phone. And just in case you get into a selfie mood and post a ton of pictures to social media, bring a back-up charger and cord.
  • Antacids. After eating a rich dinner & having a few drinks, my tummy needed some relief.
  • Car and house keys.
  • Poo~Pourri.

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

Don’t be the Party Pooper

Time to get real. Think about the last party you went to. Seems like there is always someone waiting outside the bathroom door to use the facilities after you, right? With so many holiday parties at friends’ houses and the bathroom line down the hall, nobody wants to the be the “party pooper” – leaving a stink behind for the next guest!

Have you heard of Poo~Pourri? If you haven’t, this video is a must watch.

Simply spritz Poo~Pourri into the toilet bowl before you go. Poo~Pourri’s pure blend of natural essential oils creates a film on the surface of the water. The protective barrier traps odor under the surface – which means no stink! All you’ll leave behind is a light refreshing scent. When you leave the bathroom for the next person in line, nobody will be the wiser!

Give the Gift That Doesn’t Stink

I was recently at Bed Bath and Beyond and found a large collection of Poo~Pourri. It was located at a kiosk towards the front of the store. There were more Poo~Pourri products on an end cap (including a gift box that looks like a toilet!)

I have Original Citrus in the bathroom at home, which is a blend of lemon, bergamot and lemongrass natural essential oils. Merry Spritzmas® and Secret Santa scents are sold in this clever holiday pull-apart gift set (the text on the box makes me giggle!)

I kept Poo~Pourri Merry Spritzmas® in my evening hand bag. The blend of peppermint, vanilla and citrus is a spritz of holiday magic! And it was a relief to know I had the Poo~Pourri with me on the chance that I needed to use it at the party. Did I use it? I’ll never tell!

I already know whom I’ll be gifting Poo~Pourri Secret Santa to! Poo~Pourri is actually the perfect item for the holiday gift exchange –  It’s funny to give but it really works!

Don’t forget to look out for special coupons on one item at Bed Bath and Beyond’s website before heading out to shop or shopping online. And check out these other fun ideas on how to give the gift of Poo~Pourri this holiday season!

These practical tips will help Mom holiday party prep for an evening out! Ideas for time management & evening bag packing. #MerrySpritzmas #AD

5 Tips for Looking Your Best in Holiday Family Photos

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf®. #HolidayHairCare #sponsored

The holidays are fast approaching! That means fun with family and friends, as well as parties and pictures that come along with the season. Last year my family and I had a weekend vacation and took this photo together. I loved how cute we all looked…that is until I looked closer and realized how my roots were showing and how GRAY my hair was! Ugh, seeing that photo with my gray hairs made me so upset.

Dozens of ideas for taking special holiday photos at Disneyland Resort

Photo Credit: Disney PhotoPass

I’m all for women who aren’t bothered by the gray. But I still have a toddler and I’m just not ready to go gray yet. Coloring my hair makes me feel so much better about my overall look! I don’t have the time or money for a salon so I’m glad there are at-home kits like Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color that give me a professional style. With family photos coming along with the holidays, I’m sharing my tips for creating a head-to-toe beautiful look that’s perfect for lasting photo memories!

Coordinating family outfits while still putting together a beautiful look for yourself takes some preparation! You can’t just throw on your favorite outfit because you want a cohesive look for the entire family. And you don’t want to look back in ten or twenty years and say, “What in the world was I wearing?!” These are a few ideas for creating a flattering, timeless look for family photos.

1. Pick a Theme Around Your Location

Are you going to be taking photos at the beach? Then knee-high boots and chunky sweaters probably aren’t the best fashion choice. And vice versa if you’re planning a snowy mountain photo shoot wearing all white cotton sundresses! Once you know your photo location, you can decide on a direction for your outfits.

2. Start with One Thing

Who is the most particular person in your family when it comes to getting dressed? Start by choosing their outfit first. Once you have that picked, it’s going to be easier to design a look around the color scheme and style of that first outfit.

Is there an outfit that the rest of the clothes can be built around? A plaid or a pattern with multiple colors is a good place to start. From there you can choose clothing with the colors that coordinate (like this floral dress below).

3. Picking a Color Scheme

To create a cohesive look, choose a color scheme that unites the family and doesn’t clash. Things like blue jeans, khaki and white are neutral and can be mixed in with the colors you choose as you see fit.

For this family photo, I wanted to choose from clothes that we already had in the closet. I started with my husband’s plaid shirt. The rest of the family was easy to match, with navy blue, burgundy, khaki and white.

Photo Credit: Amber Barley Photography

4. Mixing Patterns

While it’s okay to choose similar styles, try to avoid anything too matchy-matchy. For instance, instead of having the kids all wear matching sweaters, choose a similar design in varying colors. As in the family photo above, my son had a plaid shirt in his closet that had similar colors to what his dad is wearing. The plaids aren’t matching but they don’t clash either.

Choose patterns that are classic in design instead of trendy so your photo looks timeless and not dated to a particular time period. Same with hair styles!

You could also choose patterns that are coordinating but not identical. I found this trio of outfits for my little ones a few years ago. They are coordinated because the colors unite them, but are not wearing the same outfit.

5. Making Sure Mom Looks Her Best

After the gray root debacle last year, I’m determined to stay on top of my coloring! Once I’ve decided on a location and color scheme for the family photo shoot, I make sure I have my nails done, make-up ready and hair colored. Naturally, I want my hair to look its best during family photos.

Having Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color on hand has been my secret weapon! I’ve already used Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color several times and love my results. It’s been so easy to use and my hair is shiny and soft, even weeks after coloring.

I found Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color at Walmart. The line offers a good variety of intense colors, including my favorite shade, Chestnut. Be sure to do your patch test before coloring! And of course don’t forget to put on the included gloves to protect your hands.

At-Home Hair Coloring Tips

  • Wear your oldest clothes and use your oldest towel that you don’t mind getting stained.
  • Wear a plastic cape to protect your neck and clothes.
  • Rub a small amount of petroleum jelly around your ears and neckline to prevent staining.
  • I prep my bathroom so I don’t drip hair coloring on the rub or splash it on the shower curtain! I put away everything from off the counter, move the shower curtain and put away the bathmat so no errant drips get on anything.

BEFORE (look at that gray!)

Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color has a pre-treatment included that helps give you an even color result. I love this extra step and experienced no dry ends after coloring. The color is thick and stays put, which makes application so much easier.

I colored my hair about 5 weeks ago with the same color, so I applied to the roots for 20 minutes first. Then I applied color to the rest of my head and waited another ten minutes.

20 minutes on the roots first…

Then 10 minutes on the entire head of hair.

  • Don’t just rely on the clock to keep time. Set a timer!
  • I rinsed off in the kitchen sink so I could use the handheld sprayer and really make sure I removed all the color.
  • Any color stains on the skin? Use a cotton pad and rubbing alcohol to gently remove.

I experienced less hair breakage and loss after using Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color and of course, it gave me 100% gray coverage – yippee! Plus my hair is really soft and silky. I’m going to look so great in my holiday family photos this year (no gray getting me down!)

AFTER! Total gray coverage and beautiful Chestnut color.

Want to try Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color for free? Be sure to click through for the rebate!

Dressing for Success

Just like coloring over my gray helps boost my self-esteem, so does wearing clothes that make me feel and look my best. With every purchase of Schwarzkopf® Keratin Color women are getting a fresh start through a partnership with Dress for Success®.

Dress for Success Worldwide provides women education and mentoring, along with revitalized hair and clothing options. This partnership helps women be as successful as they look! Over one million women have been served by this international organization and its programs. I love how Dress for Success encourages and supplies women with the tools they need for confidence and success!

Coloring your hair at home is a great way to save time and money but how can you assure the best results? Check out these tips (along with ideas for looking your best in holiday family photos!) #HolidayHairCare #ad

 

My First Pair of LuLaRoe Leggings (aka: I’ve Opened Pandora’s Box!)

I  resisted jumping on the LuLaRoe bandwagon for a LONG time.

“They’re buttery soft!”, I’d heard.

“They’re SOOOOOO comfy!!”

“LuLaRoe leggings are addicting. Once you try them you’re going to want more!”

I wasn’t swayed at all. I don’t wear my pajamas out of the house. And if I’m wearing yoga pants, then I’m doing yoga. What did I need comfy pants in my closet for?

There was a lady who picked up her kids at the same time as me and occasionally her wildly patterned leggings would catch my eye. “Giant pizza slices on turquoise leggings? Really?!”, I’d think to myself, “I don’t think LuLaRoe is for me”.

And then I saw Mickey.

So yeah, I do love me some Disney, as you know. And these were cute, clever Disney patterns I’d never seen anywhere before. It was my birthday, so I treated myself and bought my first pair. And I tried them on. It was over a hundred degrees that day so I didn’t get to wear them long but ohhhh, I couldn’t wait for the weather to cool down because everything I’d heard was RIGHT.

The leggings slipped on so silky soft. How could leggings feel so buttery soft? But they DO!

I’ve always hated when you can see underpants through the leggings, especially when I bend over. But despite being light and soft, LuLaRoe leggings aren’t transparent.

All that chatter about not wearing comfy pants outside the house? I’ve been wearing the three pair I have (all Mickey print!) around the house and yes, even to the school pick up. I bet Ms. Pizza Leggings is envious of my cute Mickey prints 🙂

Buying your first LuLaRoe clothing? See my LuLaRoe legging review

Not a Leggings Gal?

And LuLaRoe is more than just leggings. There are some awesome skirts of all lengths, t-shirts (can’t wait to scoop up one of the adorable Gigis!), dresses and dusters. In addition to Mickey Mouse, there are tons of other Disney prints like Bambi, Muppets and Beauty and the Beast. Disney Villains and Nightmare Before Christmas patterns are going to be making an appearance!!! There will also be quirky Halloween prints and designs appropriate for fall. And of course if you just like the regular prints, there are colorful LuLaRoe prints and even solid colors in many varieties.

I absolutely LOVE that there are sizes for everyone! Sizes of different styles vary so check the sizing charts. You might be a small in one style and prefer a large in another style.

(Image courtesy of Anastasia Weis)

Okay, I’ll Admit It…They ARE the Coziest Clothes on the Planet!

So… now that I’m officially starting a LuLaRoe closet collection, I’m hosting a party online with my fellow blogger friend and purveyor of LuLaRoe, Anastasia Weis. It’s this Sunday, October 8th at 6 pm pst/9 pm est. I’d love for you to join the party!

Julie’s Not-So-Scary LuLaRoe party

 

 

Tips for Moms to Create a Relaxing Spa Experience at Home

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TimeWithAveeno #CollectiveBias

Getting the Spa Experience at Home

I went to the spa over spring break vacation earlier this year. It was just me, by myself. My husband had the four kids with him so I went into the spa for a few hours alone. I’d like to say it was totally relaxing. I’d like to say that I never wanted to leave. However, I have to admit that while I was sitting in the sauna (alone) and drinking basil cucumber water (alone) and resting inside the salt chamber (alone), I was really actually bored and lonely! I had a hard time relaxing at the spa, is that weird?

Now that’s not to say I don’t like “me time”. All moms need and deserve their own time, spa or not. I think a stroll through the store by myself is bliss. And to have the bathroom alone? Now we’re talking. But the best is having rejuvenating time to recharge – my own spa experience at home with AVEENO® products from Walmart!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Grabbing Mom-Time When You Can

Let’s be honest: How often do you skip steps in your daily care routine to save time? Raise your hand if you’re not shaving your legs, not washing your face or you skip conditioning your hair? I get it, you’re in and out of the bathroom as quick as you can.

But what if those little things that you’re skipping are really the most important things? Here are a few tips for creating your own spa experience at home, reason enough to slow down and enjoy the mom-time whenever you can grab it.

Occupying Little People

To avoid that dreaded knock at the door (or worse, someone barging in!) make sure kids are taken care of. I take my showers after dinner, when everything at home is winding down and I have time to really relax. I also give my husband an approximate length of time I’m going to be busy so he’s not hunting me down!

Realizing That Self Care is a Must

Self care is important for moms. Beyond the full day at the spa, little steps in the daily routine can be relaxing and enjoyable. I find that I actually look forward to them because they just make me feel and look so good! Take the time to shave your legs. Indulge in a facial. Floss your teeth. Clip and file your toenails. Paint them to go the extra step! Those little daily self care steps are so important to your personal health and hygiene and also to your well-being.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Putting Together Your Spa Kit

I have all of my skin care essentials in a small make-up bag. Each morning and again before bedtime, I put my bag on the bathroom counter. It contains a facial cleanser, serum, eye cream and a morning and evening moisturizer. I also have a headband and hair elastic in the bag so I can secure my hair away from my face while cleansing.

It’s great having all the products in one, easily accessible place and not scattered in the medicine cabinet. I take a few minutes to cleanse and treat my skin twice a day. This small task is so relaxing and enjoyable. Plus my skin is looking better than ever from all the extra care and attention!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Ways to Make Your Spa Experience Better

  • Play music (to drown out the noise outside of the bathroom!)
  • Have a special robe or slippers to wear when you’re doing your spa routine
  • Light a candle, use a diffuser or have scented oils in the room to engage your senses
  • Infuse your water with fruits and herbs
  • Indulge in luxurious towels

Turning a Shower into a Spa Experience

I don’t always have the time for an all-day spa event. More often than not I grab my moments when I can, like when I take my shower. I love to transform a quick shower into a relaxing “me time” experience.

For my everyday routines, I frequently use AVEENO® products. I have moisturizers, facial cleansers and shave gel, all by AVEENO®. I was excited to find AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo and Conditioner sulfate-free formulas at my local Walmart.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I LOVE how well the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Shampoo lathers. A fantastic lather really adds to your “mom-time spa experience”! The dye-free, paraben-free and sulfate-free formulas remove impurities but bring hair back to a naturally healthy, more balanced state. These products are also safe for color treated hair.

And the conditioner doesn’t require that you leave it on for any lengthy amount of time. Of course, follow the directions for use on the packaging.

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

I was truly delighted with how shiny and healthy-looking my hair is after using the AVEENO PURE RENEWAL® Hair products. I’d recently cut my hair (about six inches) because I was increasingly upset with how drab and dry my hair had been looking. After several weeks of using these formulas, my hair has literally bounced back to life! The shampoo has been so gentle on my hair and scalp while the lightweight conditioner has softened my hair without weighing it down. Those are my natural curls, air dried after using the AVEENO® hair products!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

Multi-Task to Maximize Time

When you’re ready to up your in-home spa experience, it’s time to incorporate a facial. Maybe you don’t always have time for a twenty minute process but I bet you’ve got a minute! AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL helps moms get the spa experience and multi-task during their normal shower routine!

Looking for a spa experience at home? Here are the tips for mom to get beautified and rested in her own bathroom! #ad #TimeWithAveeno

This oil-free, non-comedogenic formula contains soy and lemon peel extract that reveal radiant skin in just one minute. The facial works with the steam of your shower to deeply but gently exfoliate dirt, oil and dead skin. My skin has been wonderfully soft and noticeably brighter after using the AVEENO® POSITIVELY RADIANT® 60 SECOND IN-SHOWER FACIAL.

Click here to download a coupon and save $2.00 on AVEENO® products!

Taking Mom-Time in your own at-home spa experience is a little thing that makes a big difference. Share how you’re going to create your own spa experience at home!

“I Used To…”

I used to paint. I painted elaborate designs on cute denim overalls for kids. I painted detailed wooden purses, including tiny wooden beads for the handles. I used to watercolor paint. And sketch and draw pictures. And I used to take art classes.

I used to dance. I took every dance class at the junior college, performing in their annual stage production. I took ballet, pointe, stretching, jazz, tap, modern, I took it all. I probably danced in classes 20 hours a week. And then I’d go out at night with my friends and dance in the clubs.

I used to go out with friends. As long as someone called me before 10:30 pm, I was game to hang-out, whether it be clubbing, bonfires at the beach, drinks and nachos or even just watching TV at a friend’s house. I’d stay out till 3 am and still get up at 6 am for class the next day.

I used to stay up late and get up early. Well, to be honest, I still do that but the intention is different now. I get the early wake up call either by the baby or by my alarm clock. And I stay up late because after everyone else is in bed, the wee hours are the only time I have to myself.

I Used To

There’s are emotions in me to feel sad and reminiscent about my “former life”. To daydream about when I used to have boundless energy. To wish for the days when I used to have endless amounts of time for family, friends and just to hang out. To look back fondly on when I used to be able to do whatever I wanted without having to worry about repercussions of missed naps, excess weight from late night snacks, or an overabundance of wrinkles because I went to bed with my make-up on.

It’s far too easy to slip down that rabbit hole. To call up those fond feelings and and reflections of youth. Now, let me be clear, I’m not afraid of aging. With age comes wisdom and a few gray hairs and wrinkles don’t scare me. But the “I used to” has been getting under my skin lately. I feel like all the things that I love to do are stifled in the curse of time.

This photo is only a year old but looking at it so much has changed!

The Real Me

I truly feel that I’ve had to put the REAL ME on the back burner for so many years. I think there are a lot of people in my life who don’t even know the real, creative me because I haven’t done the things I love in so long! The real me that likes going to parties (and I don’t mean dropping my kid off at yet-another classmate’s house). The real me that likes spending hours behind the sewing machine creating something fabulous (and I don’t mean the forced construction like “The hem of my pants needs to be taken up, honey”). The real me that would love to pick out a half dozen packages of candy and park at the drive-in to watch movies all night.

The real me that doesn’t want to have to worry about whether diapers need to be changed, if it’s time for the boy to get another haircut or if the sheets need to be washed. The real me doesn’t want to be jumping out of bed when she realizes the dishwasher didn’t get started. The real me just wants to be on vacation, sleeping in a comfy hotel bed with a full night of uninterrupted rest and a day of adventure ahead. Don’t we all?

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

As the mom of teenagers, I’m all too aware of how quickly the time slips by. “What the hell, where’d my baby go?”, I think to myself when my teenager stands next to me and he’s now several inches taller. Even with the baby, as she’s gaining more independence I realize that babies don’t stay helpless for very long. She’s feeding herself with a fork, chattering to herself as she climbs into a chair with a book and requests from me a snack. This is just a season, I remind myself. Seasons come. Seasons go. The things I used to do will return. Or maybe not.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What If This Moment IS the Real Me?

In my lost-ness of losing out on the things I used to do, I’m brought back to the feeling of, “What if THIS is really it?” What if making sure that the kindergartner is wearing underpants before he goes to school is really what I’m meant to be doing right now? Perhaps the real me should accept the blessings that I’m currently supposed to be meal planning, folding laundry and complying to multiple snack requests.

Should I be agonizing over missed opportunities because I have to be home by 8 pm to rock and nurse the baby to sleep? I have a new awareness after praying about it with this verse that this IS my season. Sitting in a dark room at 3 am with a teething fussy little one is my current calling. The time will pass, just like seasons do. It’s in turning my perspective a little. I’m not denying the real me at all by not doing what I used to do. I’m expanding, stretching and delighting in what I GET to do NOW!

Returning

There are certainly some things I used to do that I have no desire to revisit. I don’t even need to rehash them, but “I used to” do plenty of things I’ll never do again. And the things I’m doing now will soon be things “I used to” do.

In a few months, I’ll say, “I used to nurse my baby but now she’s weaned”. And in a few years, I’ll say, “I used to read her a bedtime story, but now she’s reading to me!” And in a decade, I’ll say, “I used to get so tense with the chaos of four kids in the house, but now that the older two have moved out, I sort of miss the craziness”.

Or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll love the extra time that change brings. Maybe I’ll return back to the the things I used to do. Or maybe I’ll find new things to learn and all of what I’ve been yearning for will truly just be things I used to do.

And as I answered the nap time cries of my toddler literally four times while trying to complete this post, I sat, un-rushed with her in my arms. I brushed my lips across her cheek in a comforting kiss. Ran my fingers through her tangled curls. Held her until she relaxed. This is the real me. This is my season. And soon, it will only be something I used to do.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Phone Camera Tips for Capturing Your Best Shots

Everyone’s taking lots of pictures with their phone cameras. Naturally your phone is easy to carry with you, especially when traveling. And you can share images immediately on social media which is always fun! When traveling light, I leave my bulky DSLR camera at home and rely solely on my phone camera to take pictures. Here are a few tips for capturing your best shots on your phone camera.

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking through and making a purchase helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Taking the Best Shots on Your Phone Camera

We’ve all seen some truly fantastic phone camera shots that look like they were taken with a “fancy camera”. And we’ve seen the out of focus, smudgy and too dark/overly bright cell phone shares too. Here are some phone camera tips for taking the best shots! All of these pictures were taken with my Android, Samsung Galaxy S6.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

So happy I had my camera with me to capture this first taste of a Dole Whip at the Polynesian!

Clean the Lens

That’s a no-brainer when using your regular camera, but often forgotten with your phone camera. Use a lens cloth to clean up smudges for the most crisp images. In a pinch, the edge of your shirt will do.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Celebrating Dia de los Muertos at Disneyland during Halloween time.

Getting in Focus

Getting that beautiful bokeh (or blurred background) is easy with your cell phone camera! Simply tap the spot on the screen that you want to be in the most clear focus before you snap the picture. Having the item close to the camera will create that lovely bokeh in the background.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Adjust Brightness Manually Before You Shoot

Things looking too dark or overly bright? Just before taking a photo, adjust the brightness manually. Simply touch your cell phone screen and slide your finger either right or left to brighten or darken your shot. My phone has a little light bulb icon that pops up on the screen to indicate brightness.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

The sun was overly bright on this day at the Wyndham in Disney World. I adjusted brightness before taking the shot.

Turn Off the Flash (or Diffuse It)

Sometimes lighting is lower than you like but always try to resist using your cell phone camera flash. The flash can create some intense shadows, hot spots and maybe even completely blacken out the background of the image. Instead of using your flash, concentrate on holding the camera very still by propping your arms or using a travel tripod.

Another option is to diffuse the flash (especially helpful when photographing food in a dimly lit restaurant). Hold a paper napkin over the flash on the camera to lessen the strength.

Dozens of ways how to save money on food at Disney!

I wanted to capture the entire scene behind the Dole Whip cup so I didn’t use the manual focus for this shot inside the Polynesian.

Night Shots

I find that I can capture better night shots with my cell phone camera than I can with my regular camera. One tip is to hold your phone very steady. For this shot of the Disneyland Hotel pool area at night, I held my elbows on a railing so I didn’t wiggle the camera when I took the picture. Use the brightness feature sparingly to lighten things up as you wish.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Dark scenes that are far away aren’t going to show up well. You’ll need to get up close to the item and make sure that it’s fairly well lit. Also items that are moving quickly in the dark are going to blur if you try to photograph them. Aim to shoot items that are still or moving slowly and very well lit, like the float in the Paint the Night Parade (featured image at the top).

 

Crop Later Instead of Using Zoom

Zooming on your cell phone camera is going to make you photo look very pixilated and/or blurry. Better to take the photo as you see it and then crop later.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.

Don’t zoom! Better to crop the image later.

Sharing on Instagram

If you’re taking a photo specifically for Instagram, set up the shot ahead of time to best fit their square frame. You don’t want to have to crop out your favorite part of the picture to make it fit into the frame for Instagram. I wanted to capture not only my kids in this photo but the sandy beach and the hotel behind them so I took a wide shot and then cropped for Instagram.

 

Snapseed

Rather than using the same ol’ filters on Instagram that everyone else is using, edit your photos in Snapseed. This free app allows you to simply crop, brighten or sharpen images. Or you can get as complicated as you would in Photoshop on your desktop with curves and healing tools. Except that Snapseed is totally easy to use!

I used Snapseed on this shot at Port Orleans Riverside, including white balance and brightness.

Want to take the best cell phone pictures? These tips for phone cameras will have you capturing the best images.


For more Disney photo tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Win a Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Castle Vacation Giveaway

Win a Disney's Beauty and the Beast Castle Vacation Giveaway

Have you ever been to Scotland? Ever slept in a castle? No, me neither.  How about a vacation with 20 of your closest friends? Well that sounds like a lot of fun already, doesn’t it?! Keep reading to find out more about this amazing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast vacation giveaway from HomeAway.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. #partner

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Castle Vacation Giveaway

The grand prize is absolutely mind-boggling – One winner will win a five night stay in the HomeAway castle holiday property “Duns Castle” in Scotland for the winner and up to 20 guests, including the costs of economy airfare & ground transport to and from the Castle Holiday Rental. Also included are some meals, entertainment and cash to off-set the taxes. I’m already plotting which of my 20 friends I’d invite!

Win a Disney's Beauty and the Beast Castle Vacation Giveaway

Imagine the fantastic conversations we’d have over dinner around this table!

And if you aren’t the lucky grand prize winner, HomeAway has other vacation giveaways in this contest to five runner-ups. Wow, wouldn’t I love to take my family to Italy. Or Australia. Or Hawaii, I can’t decide!

You have until the end of the month (March 31st, 2017) to enter. You can only enter once so your odds are as good as anyone else! Good luck 🙂

ENTER THE HOMEAWAY BEAUTY AND THE BEAST VACATION GIVEAWAY HERE

 

 

 

ALL the Disney Princesses in a Disney Collection by Jamberry GIVEAWAY!

 I’ve been in LOVE with the Disney Collection by Jamberry wraps! Truly, I love these amazing designs that feature my favorite Disney characters and have enjoyed wearing them on my Disney vacations. Now ALL of the Disney Princesses are being featured in this next round of wraps in the Disney Collection by Jamberry, Volume 5.
Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Disney Princesses in the Disney Collection by Jamberry

What a dream come true! This new collection features ALL eleven Disney Princesses, including Disney Princess Belle. Naturally these arrive just in time for the premiere of the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie! See all of the wraps here!
Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast
Yes, Buy 3 Get 1 Free applies to the Disney Collection by Jamberry! You can get four for the price of one, including Jamberry Junior wraps for little fingers.
Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

JAMBERRY GIVEAWAY!

I’m hosting a giveaway here on my blog of a $25 Jamberry gift card that you can use to purchase any Jamberry products on the website, including the Disney Collection by Jamberry wraps, Going, Going, Gone styles or anything else on the website that makes your Princess dreams come true.

Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

If you can’t WAIT for the giveaway to end and just HAVE to buy them now, these Disney Collection by Jamberry wraps are available NOW through my link.

I am a Jamberry Independent Consultant so please email me if you have any questions about Jamberry wraps, the Disney Collection by Jamberry or if you are interested in hosting your own Jamberry party in-home or online!

Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

“Save Up for Disney” as a Jamberry Independent Consultant

If you’ve been considering becoming a Jamberry Independent Consultant there is no better time than NOW!!! In the month of February, you’ll receive a discount off the cost of your consultant kit.  If you’ve been on the fence, now’s the time to JOIN Jamberry!! (P.S. The 30-40% commission is lovely too!!)

Message me or email at savingupfordisney@yahoo.com for more info. You can also join up via this link.

Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast Disney Collection by Jamberry featuring All the Disney Princesses including Disney Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Enter the Giveaway HERE!