This past weekend we spent the days exploring Kensington and all that it has to offer. Kensington is a suburb in West London that is known for its expensive houses and famous setting of the movie Notting Hill staring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. These neighborhoods are like something from a dream- colorful exteriors, clean…
Welcome to the Pear Tree Hotel and Pub in Kensington! We had the greatest weekend spent in Kensington for some pre Valentines Day celebration. This charming hotel and pub is one of the oldest surviving in London and rightfully so! We loved our stay in this boutique and historic accommodations and loved the great food even more! The Pear Tree is the best place to stay if you want to fit right in with the locals.
We were so lucky to be at The Pear Tree on Sunday night for the Sunday night roast! The food was absolutely amazinggggg! You know the place is good when its always busy.... and it was! During dinner we got to play "trivia night" with all the locals in the pub. We had so much fun (and completely lost since we don't know any British Trivia😉) and got a great feel for the local culture!
A few things I am happy about right now:
1.Wallpaper is back and trending! WHOOOO!
2. My hair is finally growing
3. This bathroom is too cute
The front patio has a great place to sit outside (also has a bon fire for when its cold) and is such fun place to hang out. One of the most popular things to London is sit outside on the patios and drink coffee and visit with friends.
If you are in Kensington don't forget to check out the main attractions close by! Kensington Palace, Notting Hill, and so much more!
Since I have been getting tons of questions about my camera equipment lately, I decided to give you all the details in one place! The most common questions I am asked are:
- What camera do you use?
- How do you edit your pictures?
- How do you get pictures of you and Gavin together?
- How do you manage your camera around water/rain?
So.... I am going to answer all of these questions (plus a few more) and give you a list of the camera equiptment that is essential to me and my blog!
The camera I use is a Nikon DSLR and we love it! We have had this camera for a couple of years and feel like it has been a great beginner camera for us. It took us about a year to learn how to actually use it and learned how important it is to read the manual and watch videos about how to use the functions of the camera. This camera has been great for us and hopefully we will be ready to upgrade soon! Anyone that is looking for a high quality camera that is easy to use, we highly recommend it!
My Photo Editing Program:
Editing pictures is one of the hardest things to learn how to do. There's photoshop, Instagram, PicMonkey, and about a million other apps and softwares you can download to edit your pictures. For my blog I use Lightroom by Adobe to edit ALL of my pictures. I have tried out a few different ways of editing and have found that Lightroom is the easiest and most efficient for me. The best thing that Lightroom has is called "Presets" which are pre-made filters that make your photos cohesive and cuts down your editing time. Now that I have been playing with Lightroom for over a year I have learned how to edit my pictures by hand, along with create presets for my photos.
Adobe has a pack of editing software that includes Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, In Design, Premiere Pro, Illustrator, and Media Encoder that is called Adobe Creative Cloud. When I bought Lightroom I decided to get the entire pack so that I didn't have to go back and buy the other softwares separately if I decided to do other things!
What I use from the Pack:
Lightroom: Editing all of my photos
Photoshop: To make Pinterest Thumbnails, put writing on pictures, add
In Design: I used this program to write all of my ebooks! This is the software that creates a digital copy and allows you to upload or email it anywhere.
Premiere Pro: I havent used this one much, but this is the video editing program of the pack! It is so easy to use and my goal this year is to make more videos while we are traveling.
The key to getting our pictures together! I feel like a lot of people are like us and have given up on asking strangers to take our picture. Every time we ask someone they zoom in on our faces and cut out the background, they cut off our foreheads, the picture is blurry, their finger is in the picture, blah blah blah. After having this happen time after time we decided to strictly use a tripod. We are able to get the angle we want, the lighting we want, and be super picky about our pictures. People give us funny look sometimes but I have decided I'll take the looks from strangers in order to have great pictures from our once in a lifetime adventures! The tripod we use has a been the longest lasting and most sturdy tripod I have ever seen! We have put it in the ocean, in the sand, in the freezing cold snow and we have never had a problem. We love you tripod!
Add On Equipment:
Battling the water and climate:
For most of our water pictures we use a GoPro Hero with the waterproof case and a selfie stick on it. It seems the most safe to me and is so easy to swim around with! With that being said, the GoPro doesn't always take the most high quality pictures so we have a few things that allow us to use our DSLR in the water and rain.
GoPro Hero: I'm sure you know what a GoPro is so you know why they are so amazing! We have taken them snorkeling underwater for hours, jumped off cliffs into water with them, and done so many other things that with them that wouldn't be possible with anything else! Of course while using a waterproof case and a selfie stick with a wrist strap. My favorite feature is that you can immediately upload the pictures to your phone using the GoPro App. Its fun to see the crazy pictures right after your adventure!
Waterproof Camera Case: We have used this to take pictures mostly in the ocean, near waterfalls, or in heavy rain. Its the best option to use to make sure that your camera won't get wet at all! This product has saved our lives many times.
Camera Rain Coat: When there is a slight rain I hate having to put the camera completely in a case if the rain could stop soon, or we are only taking a couple of pictures. So I love being able to whip out this rain cover for a few shots, quick and easy!
Lens Hood: When shooting in places like Thailand the sun was soooooo bright and direct that our pictures were washed out or very shadowy. We loved using this lens hood to help us out! Of course there are a million ways to use this product, but thats primarily what we use it for!
Happy LOVE Month Everyone!💘
In honor of Valentines Day coming up I am sharing 14 things that I LOVE right now. Products, people, and pieces of my life.
- Obviously my #1 is my #1, Gavin! I love this adventure we are on together and watching each other grow up every day. It's crazy to wake up some days and realize that I have this person who is perfect for me in every way. I picked a good one!
- I said this in one of my recent Instagram posts but I am LOVING all of the girl power going on in the world right now. Right along with all the girl power, I'm loving all of the man power that is supporting this movement of powerful women. I love seeing people supporting people.
- Since I'm so bad at starting and finishing books I've decided to try out Audio Books. Amazon is doing a free 30 day trial to their audibles and I'm obsessed! I love that I can listen to them while I'm flying, working out, riding a bus, walking, working, or doing anything! They also have Big Little Lies on Audible right now (if you don't know what that is you neeeeed to look it up!) which has been made into one of the most popular TV shows right now. If you want to do this free trial I put a link right here> Amazon Audible 30 Day Free Trial.
- In just a few weeks my sister is coming to visit us in England and she'll be the first of our family to visit! She spontaneously bought a plane ticket on Black Friday to come all by herself. I'm hoping that I'm rubbing off on my siblings to get out of their comfort zones and do more things like that!
- Okay this one might seem weird... But I'm loving all of the technology right now. There's the Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and all of these other devices that you can talk to and have as your personal assistant. I wanted to try one of these out that is cheaper and less of a commitment so I'm trying the Amazon Echo Dot. These devices are seriously amazing! I'd totally recommend the Echo to anyone wanting take of of these for a spin.> Amazon Echo Dot
- Who has seen The Greatest Showman?! Now that is something I love! I currently have the soundtrack on repeat and Gavin is about to kill me. But I don't care because.... THIS IS MEEEEEE!
- I think that a lot of people assume that me and Gavin are always just by ourselves since there aren't any pictures or videos of other people in our life. We actually have met the most amazing people while living in England, and while traveling! I'm so grateful for all of the people that we have in our lives right now and I would be going completely crazy with out them. You know who you are!
- Every few months I try to do a 14 day detox tea to clean out my system and get me feeling good again. The first time I did it I had the hardest time taking down the tea because I'm not really a tea drinker. In the end it is always worth it because I feel so good! I finally found one that I love and am going to start it next week! If anyone wants to join me on my 14 day detox please feel free. I don't want to be alone!!> 14 day detox tea
- Right now I am planning my family's trip to Europe in August. This trip is going to be so special because my grandparents are joining the trip and we are going to Paris and Italy to visit the places that my family lived when they were my age and younger! My dad gave me free reign on planning pretty much everything which is a BIG deal. I've been having a blast finding the cheapest flights, best AirBNB's, and most epic activities for us to do! If anyone wants to hire me as their family travel agent you can shoot me an email I'm enjoying it too much!
- Gavin and I are loving learning all of the "British" words from the people here! We didn't realize how different the language was going to be before we moved here. We find ourselves using all of the words at home and it makes us feel so cool like we're true locals!
- I have had so many people ask my about my new Polaroid Camera that I got in December and let me tell you.... I'm having so much fun with it! And YES Polaroids have made a come back people! I got the new Polaroid One Step 2 which is basically one of the original Polaroid cameras now updated. I feel like I need to post some of our Polaroids on here or Instagram! Here's the link to the one that I got! > Polaroid One Step 2 Camera
- Super random but for the past couple months Gavin and I have been eating sweet and salty popcorn almost everyday as a treat. I don't know where it came from... But we're addicted! We can't even stand just butter or salt anymore. Kettle corn all the way!
- I just added a new tab on my menu bar called "Shop My Looks". I'm so excited to finally be doing this because I have thought about doing it for so long! I get so many questions on Instagram about the clothes I am wearing in pictures. Now you can click on the tab, choose a picture, and EVERYTHING I am wearing in that picture will pop up! Whatever you want to shop from that outfit will take you straight to the source. Cool right?!?!
- Right now Gavin and I are planning our trips for all of 2018 and I'm getting so excited! We have a few surprises in store as well happening at the end of the year and I'm not sure if I'll keep them a secret until then. We shall see! All I'm going to say is... We're headed to the tropics for a while😎
Have the most amazing month celebrating those that you love!💘
Over the past few months I have had so many questions about blogging and how to create a successful blog. I do not claim to be a blogging expert because I am new to blogging myself. With that being said, I think that my hard work and perfectionist personality really shows in my blog... So people think I know what I'm talking about!😜 On this post I am going to share the BASIC steps to creating a blog along with the secret weapon that I used while making my blog. Believe me... You'll want the secret weapon too if you are serious about blogging!
Picking a Name and a Niche:
The first thing you need to do is pick a name and a niche! Think of something catchy and memorable. If you're like me and have a hard time committing to a name... Use your own! I knew that when starting my blog I would mostly be sharing travel related posts, and eventually wanted to incorporate lifestyle. Because of this, I decided to use my own name so I am not defined as a specific type of blogger and could branch out someday. If you're creating a blog for a specific niche I would recommend picking a name that goes a long with your theme. That way your blog will be more memorable and easy for people to find again and again!
Building Your Website:
Obviously you need to build a website and have a platform to do so. I personally use WordPress because I like the freedom of being able to customize everything right down to having .com at the end of my URL.
WordPress.com VS. WordPress.org: On WordPress.COM you are not self hosted and have little say in what you can customize which is great for some people that want to build a super easy website and not have to worry about the tech! You will also have ".wordpress.com" at the end of your URL name. On WordPress.ORG you are self hosted and get to create your own website from scratch. You can pick your theme, your host, and everything else that will go into your blog. You will also have ".com" at the end of your URL instead of being tied to WordPress.
Click HERE to learn more about WordPress or sign up to create a blog.
Getting a Host:
To have a website you also will need a "Host" to keep your website live. For my blog I use Bluehost to keep my blog going and I have absolutely loved it! The best thing about Bluehost is that you are able to call in for 24 hour assistance if something happens with your blog. They have saved me soooooo many times when my website has crashed or done crazy things on me.
Click HERE to go to Bluehost's website to learn more or sign up for hosting
Get Your Blog Going:
Now its time to get your blog going! Spend your time creating your blog and perfecting every widget, color, and logo to make the blog of your dreams! Once your blog is ready to go it is time to make your first post! So what do you write about?! In every blogging book that I read they say to first create a "Hello" post. This post should consist of you introducing yourself and your blog to the universe. Say HELLO BLOGGING WORLD THIS IS ME AND I AM HERE TO STAY! After that you can go on writing posts about whatever your little heart desires! Easy enough right?
WRONG! Creating content is so hard especially when you are first starting out. Here are some ideas of things you can start of writing about to get your creative juices flowing:
-Hello/Welcome to my Blog
-Goals for your year of Blogging
-Learning to do something new
-Favorite posts from other blogs
-A book you are reading
-Quotes that inspire you
-Your favorite music playlist
-Your opinion on a popular trend
Our best form of marketing these days is social media... And its free! Once you pick a blog name you need to get on every form of social media and get your username set in stone EVERYWHERE! This way it will be easy for people to find you on other platforms and recognize your name.
I know every time I read a blog post called "How to Start a Blog" all they give me is the information that I just gave you above. Which isn't really that helpful because anyone could figure that out on their own! So this is what you REALLY need to know and what is going to make the biggest difference in the success of your blog:
INVEST IN YOUR EDUCATION:
Education?! I don't want to be back in school! Well peeps, you need to go back to school.... Blogger School! The best thing I have ever done for my blog is ditching the "How to" blog posts and invested. I invested in books, webinars, and online courses.
The online course that will change your life: Building a Framework by Abby Lawson.
Abby's course is an online step by step video course that teaches you everything from building your blog to monetizing it. She starts out with step by step tech tutorials to building a blog and all of the widgets that you need to use to make your blog a success. All of this information that I learned from this course are things that I still haven't seen ANYWHERE on the "How to" blogs.
Topics that are Covered in Building a Framework:
Email Marketing: How to convert readers into email subscribers, writing newsletters, and why email subscribers are the key to making money.
The Tech Side of Blogging: 20 tech videos to help you set up your blog with the widgets, edit pictures using photoshop and other editing softwares, and avoiding common technical issues.
Creating Content: How to use SEO, create viral blog posts, and photo content for your blog.
Building Relationships: Collaborating with brands and why building relationships with readers and other bloggers is important.
Social Media: How to focus your time on different social platforms along with building engagement with your followers on social platforms. This section also covers how to focus your time on different social outlets to help you work smarter not harder.
Monetizing Your Blog: Proven ways to earn money as a blogger including affiliate marketing, selling products, and working with brands.
This course is a FREE 10 day course via email that will teach you the essentials of blogging. Things like branding your blog, blog photography, growing your email list, and 5 ways to make money on your blog.
Another FREE guide that will teach you the types of content you need to boost your blog traffic!
This course is only $10 and will help you define yourself as a blogger! In this course Abby helps you find out YOUR special gifts and talents that you can tap into to make your blog your passion. By honing in on your talents your blog is 100% more likely to be a success!
Sharing the BEST photo spots in Barcelona! Its hard to choose the top spots... Because this city is so amazing! Here are my top 11 photo spots from the amazing city of Barcelona😀
- PARK GÜELL: An amazing public park up on Carmel Hill in Barcelona. Great views of the city, architecture by Gaudí, and walking paths to get a good workout in.
2. CARMEL BUNKERS: Another great place to see views of the city! During the Spanish Civil War the Bunkers were used as housing for anti aircraft guns. The Bunkers are now a great place to relax and catch some rays!
3. THE STREETS OF BARCELONA: The streets of Barcelona are full of colored buildings and picturesque spots for a photo op. Keep your eyes peeled for some unique architecture! One of the best places to take pictures are in the streets of the Gothic Quarter.
4. LA SAGRADA FAMILIA: I think this one speaks for itself for being one of the largest and most famous Cathedrals in the world. Building designed by Antoni Gaudí and construction has been going since 1882. Hopefully we can see this great piece of art finished in our lifetime!
5. CASA BATLLO: This famous mansion is one of Antoni Gaudí's most famous works. The house is known for its colorful mosaic architecture and having almost no straight lines throughout the entire house. The roof is my favorite part of the house with a roof looking very similar to a dragons back!
6. ARC DE TRIOMF: This is the 3rd country that we have been to with a famous Arc. My favorite detail of the Arc de triomf inn Barcelona is the line of palm trees leading up to the Arc.
7. PARK DE LA CIUTADELLA: One of the most incredible parks that I have ever been to! This park has an amazing fountain, walking paths, greenery, and is located right next to the zoo!
8. LA BOQUERIA FOOD MARKET: Who wouldn't want some pictures of aisles and aisles of colorful fruits and candies?
9. BARCELONA CATHEDRAL: Only 3 euros to head up the elevator of the cathedral to see the views from the roof! One of my favorite spots in Barcelona... And I felt like the Quasimodo while on top of the church. Sadly you can't swing from the roof or ring the bell.
10. LA BARCELONETA BEACH: Need I say more? Beaches make for the best photo spots.
11. CASTELL DE MONTJUIC: On top of Montjuic Hill in Barcelona, this castle dates back to being a military fortress in the 1600's. Amazing views of the city, the ocean, the sunset, and castle grounds.