Saturday, January 31, 2015

Styling Heels With Jeans

I've always loved the jeans + heels combo. It creates a nice, dressed-up look while still maintaining a casual vibe. This look works for dinner, date night, work, etc. And how cute is that Dooney and Bourke bag? The second I saw it in the store I knew I had to have it. It matches everything and is the perfect addition to any outfit.

What are your weekend plans?


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Take a Better Instagram

Instagram is arguably one of the most popular social media platforms out there currently, and its especially important for bloggers like myself to connect with others outside of our blogs. It's personally my favorite social media platform, simply because I love photography and it's a fun way to glimpse into what others are doing with their lives at the moment.

Recently, I've gotten a lot of requests to write a post on how to take/edit pictures for Instagram. So, here it is!

To make things simpler, I'll break it up into three different kinds of "typical" Instagram posts: food, friends, and things.


Food can be very tricky to capture at times, and there are a few reasons as to why that's true. The main idea is that you need good lighting, interesting placement, and the right editing.

Lighting//Natural lighting is your best friend. If you feel like you're going to want to take a picture of your meal that day, sit by a window! (Seriously.) The lighting should be soft, and not harsh, otherwise you'll have awkward shadows all over your picture of your cappuccino artfully placed next to your sunglasses, and no one wants that.

Placement//This is something you'll really have to play around with until you get the right feeling. My best tip: have someone place their hand somewhere, such as in the picture above. I've found that having someone interacting with the food in one way or another totally fixes any placement issues I'm having. Also, play around with the silverware! Make sure to grab napkins/other eating accessories to complement the food, as well. More often than not, it's the smallest, seemingly meaningless details that can pull a picture together.

Also, don't be afraid to stand up in the middle of a restaurant to get that overhead view! It makes for great photos. I also like to focus picture on one food item from where I'm sitting so that the person opposite of me is in the photo, but out of focus. (Click here for an example.) 

Editing//Unless it's coffee or tea, a lot of contrast is usually not your friend here. Play around with filters that have more softness to them, as in they add a faded effect to the photo. I wait until after I've applied a filter to do any further edits, since they usually take care of things like exposure and contrast. After you've chosen a filter, use the exposure tool first if the photo needs it, and then move on to other tweaks. 

If you use VSCO (my favorite editing app), definitely mess with the "fade" tool. Also try out the highlights tinting tool (it's all the way at the end of the editing options) and the temperature tool, both of which will allow you to change the entire tone of the photo and create the "vibe" you might be going for.


I rarely will post a picture where my friends and I are smiling into the camera. The candid photo, as cliche and tacky as it can sound, really does the trick here (even if it's not actually "candid.")

Posing//Normally, I'll try to find a unique area to take the photo in. That means a place where there won't be anyone crowding the background, and somewhere that complements whoever is in the picture. My friends and I will casually "laugh" and do funny things/different poses until we have the perfect candid. As tedious as it sounds, it makes all the difference.

Lighting//Never, ever take a picture in direct sunlight. It'll create harsh shadows on your faces and it just won't be pretty. Stick to shade, or have the sun behind you if it's rising/setting. Indoors is good if you're near a window.

Framing//Remember that every photo of you and your friends doesn't have to have you all perfectly centered in the middle. Try taking one (or cropping it later) where you are in the corner of the photo, as in the one above, or to the side. Different framing can make for a very interesting photo.

Props//Wear sunglasses. Hold ice cream cones. Carry a dog. Do something to make the photo more interesting!

Editing//When editing people in general, I stick to warmer tints/filters, simply because I feel like it makes skin tones appear better. But a bluer filter is sometimes more favorable if your photo already has a yellowish tint to it. Playing around with different filters is the best thing to do here. Adding a sun flare can be good too! Afterlight has a good array of options for things like sun flares and light leaks.


Taking a photo of a thing can be the hardest thing to do, especially because you have to make an inanimate object appear extremely interesting. This can all happen with just a few things.

Angles and Placement//Unless you're taking a photo like the one above, you're going to want to play around with numerous angles. This could mean hovering above the object, shooting from the bottom right and then left, moving it so the background is more interesting (lights of any kind make a background great - click here for an example), and so on.

In terms of placement, keep messing with the details until you have what you like. Add more things, take some away. Switch up the background. Add conflicting details while sticking to one color palette, as I did above where I chose a harsh metal and paired it with pearls all while sticking to a blue and white color scheme. Consistency is important, but always make sure to have a detail that stands out and allows the viewer to have something to look at.

Also, you don't need to see all aspects of the object. Focus in on the most interesting part, and leave the rest to imagination, such as with the pearls and part of the anchor bracelet above.

Editing//I highly recommend VSCO's filters for editing photos of objects. They draw out the right colors and tones of a photo to emphasize parts of it you wouldn't even realize were there. If you haven't bought any filter packs, I would say to definitely invest in a few because they are game changers.

Is there anything I missed? Leave a comment and I'll reply!

Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinmarie17


P.S. What would you all think of a general photography tips guide?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Instagram vs. Reality: Part Two

I absolutely loved writing my first Instagram vs. Reality post (view it here), so I thought I would do another one! These really are much too fun to write because of the ridiculous lengths I sometimes have to go to to take the "perfect" Instagram picture. Here we go!

Instagram//Oh, don't mind me- just getting a casual ice cream cone! The sprinkles were so delightfully placed upon such a perfect swirl of ice cream that I just had to snap a quick picture before digging in.

Reality//It took me approximately 14.8 tries to get this picture. What you don't see is the part of the ice cream that started to melt on the back of the cone... And the lady at the window was definitely judging me for this.

Instagram//Don't you just love the mountains, fresh air, and a delightfully hung pair of Bean Boots? Not kidding when I say this, I threw off my Bean Boots after a long, but refreshing, hike, and they landed like this on the railing, really!

Reality//I spent about 30 minutes walking around the outside of my friend's mountain house in freezing cold weather while barefoot until I could find the best spot for a picture. I'm pretty sure I tried around 8 different locations before choosing this one.

Instagram//Don't you just love it when your server places your fresh-squeezed honey lemonade in perfect position with your sunglasses that just happen to be lying in the middle of the table? I know I do, which is why I had to take this for Instagram.

Reality//I played with so, so many different angles/setups for this picture that it's almost to the point of insanity. I almost didn't post this because of how unsure of the picture I was. But, I knew I had to in the end because of how cute the tablecloth was!

Instagram//Just making cookies with the fam! Look how casually everything just falls into place. The flour really is such a perfect touch. Good thing it was already sprinkled everywhere!

Reality//I spent so long setting this picture up that the dough got really gooey to the point where we had to put it back in the freezer before being able to bake them. Plus, I made a mess throwing flour everywhere thinking it would be the "perfect" touch for the photo.

Instagram//Don't you just love it when you happen to accidentally take a picture while taking your sunglasses off? And it just so happens that the sun was setting! What a nice view. #nofilter

Reality//Holding up my sunglasses for approximately 20 minutes was the struggle. My arm started getting sore and I had a "What am I thinking?" moment in the middle. Plus, I spent much too long editing this photo because of how severely underexposed it was when I took it. But, I love how it turned out! #worthit

View more of my Instagrams here.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Pinspiration

It's been a whirlwind of a week! Although I may have ridiculous amounts of homework every night, I still seem to find time for Pinterest. With that being said, here are some of my favorite pins from the week! {Check out my Pinterest here.}

Colorful crew


Knit Dress

Jack Is The Face of America

Canoe Trip

Of hearth and home

What are your weekend plans?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nantucket Brand

When I first saw this sweater on Nantucket Brand's website, I immediately fell in love with it and the endless possibilities that come with wearing it. I see myself throwing it over a swimsuit on a chilly day at the beach, pairing it with colorful shorts, or wearing it with jeans and L.L. Bean Boots.

Nantucket Brand has an array of equally adorable items, including these totes, this dress, this skirt, and these carved wall-maps. Check them out on Twitter and Instagram, too!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Graduation Thoughts

I'm graduating from high school this year. I know I've said it before, but it still feels so surreal. It hadn't hit me as to what it really meant until only recently, honestly. I ended up compiling my thoughts into some sort of poem, which is below the quote. I chose the quote to go with what I wrote because I really felt like it summed up my feelings about finally graduating.

Anyway, I'm a little nervous about publishing this here on my blog, but a few of my blogging friends convinced me to. (I originally posted it to my tumblr.) So, here it is!

Graduation Day
by Caitlin Cooper

She'll remember her proud dad with the Polaroid camera, 
Her Proud mom with the smile that never seemed to fade,
Their pure joy when she suddenly spouted "tank too" one sunny afternoon. 

She'll remember holding her baby sister in the rocking chair, 
Wondering who the tiny child was,
Slowly realizing that she'd have a best friend for life.

She'll remember kindergarten where she made her first friend, 
Whispering about how they would spend free time, 
Running from swing to seesaw, 
Laughing until their bellies hurt. 

She'll remember going to a new school in sixth grade, 
Having the same binder as the girl she sat next to in history, 
Not knowing she was sitting next to her future maid of honor. 

She'll remember her first day of high school, 
Thinking the seniors seemed so tall,
Getting lost in the winding halls, 
Unaware of the what the next four years would hold. 

She'll remember that first football game, 
Standing under the bright lights, 
Cheering on the team alongside all the intimidating upperclassmen. 

She'll remember her last football game,
Shouting like the intimidating upperclassmen she watched just a few years back, 
The surreal feeling that it was the first last of many.

She'll remember falling for that boy, 
Feeling her heart twist and turn, 
Finally going to the school dance with him, 
Only to have her heart broken. 

She'll remember the long nights with friends, 
Sharing dreams, thoughts, and fears about the future, 
Wondering what might come next for them. 

She'll remember that first acceptance letter, 
Finally feeling like her four years of work were worth something, 
Realizing that she'll be leaving in the fall,
Not wanting to leave behind her sister.

She'll remember laughing, 

She'll remember crying, 

And as she walks across the stage in May, she'll remember the journey she's left behind as she starts the one ahead.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Currenlty Coveting

currenlty coveting

I know I haven't done a Wednesday Whims post in a while (see the last one here), so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've had my eye on recently! I'm a sucker for cute belts, as well as adorable notebooks like the ones above. I also really want a large bag for spring/summer, so I plan to purchase one of the two I featured!

Shop the post here:


Monday, January 12, 2015

Friends and Fresh Air

In the last weekend of winter break, my friends and I spent some time at a mountain house to stay away from stress before school started up again. We did a secret santa, played games, and watched way too many movies. (I saw Footloose for the first time, and now I'm in love.) Some pictures:

What's your favorite non-stressful getaway?


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Warm Weather Wishes

The low is 2 degrees today. Since I live in Georgia, you can imagine how much of an unhappy camper that makes me. I knew the unusually warm winter weather was too good, and sadly, it has come to a halt, leaving me buried in blankets and surrounded by space heaters. In hopes of warmer times, I thought I'd share some of my favorite warm-weather pictures (from Pinterest, of course!).

Summer needs

Culture Club


Preppy Essentials – New England « The Preppy Leopard

JFK sailing a Wianno Sr.

White Shoal, MI

Click here to check out more pictures like these on my Pinterest!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Never Enough Navy

Winter has been unusually warm here in Atlanta, so layers have been extremely important. I've probably worn a button-down too many times to count since they layer very well with sweaters and jackets. It was 60 degrees out when I took these pictures, so the J. Crew Field Jacket that I wore was perfect.

I decided for a more laid back look with this outfit, especially in terms of the jewelry and shoes. Normally I would wear a statement necklace, but I opted for the adorable Baublebar necklace that I'm wearing above. To dress up the outfit, I might have worn tan heels.

What's your go-to laid back look?