How To Take the Perfect Selfie Using Your iPhone

fashion, how to, mom life, photography, selfie, Technology, tips and tricks

Taking the perfect selfie has become more of a necessity than a passing fad. Profile photos are needed for everything from websites to social media, even many employers are asking for headshots to add to company webpages, business cards, and brochures.

Not everyone has the time or money to hire a professional photographer but thanks to the improved front facing camera and portrait mode, it’s possible to take a professional looking headshot from the comfort of your own home. Here are some tips and tricks to getting publisher quality images.

Choosing your settings

• Portrait mode allows for focus on the face with less background interference.

• Open the camera app on your iPhone and swipe to portrait. Toggle between natural and studio light settings to determine which lighting option creates the least amount of shadow without washing out your features. You can always change your mind later as these settings can be altered even after the photo has been taken.

• Try to avoid using the flash. Opt for well light rooms or outside. If extra light is necessary consider getting a ring light or illuminated phone case.

Positioning Your Phone

• The best position for your phone is slightly elevated above eye level. Aim the front facing camera at your forehead then gently raise your chin so that you’re making eye contact with the lens.

• Since people tend to look their best at a slight angle as opposed to head on try moving your face slightly from one side to the other maintaining eye contact with the lens. You may want to take a few test shots.

• Since it shouldn’t be obvious you’ve taken your own headshot for publication consider propping your phone up on some books or a shelf and setting the timer found at the top of the screen. Helpful investments include a Bluetooth remote, iPhone tripod, or stand attachment such as a popsocket or iRing.

Focus On You

• Avoid patterns such as strips or polka dots.

• Crop out logos unless your photo is designed for a specific business you’re representing.

• Go for solid colors in rich earth tones such as navy blue, forest green, or burgundy. Stay away from black and white.

• Choose a minimalist background such as a textured wall or doorway.

Editing and Exporting

• Tap “Edit” found at the bottom of the screen directly after a photo has been taken or on the top left hand corner of your screen after the photo is sent to your photo album.

• Phones taken in portrait mode have a pre set depth of field of 4.5. This can be altered between 1.4 to 16 after the photo has been taken by running your finger back and forth across the bottom of the screen.

• The iPhone also offers several filters which can be accessed at the bottom of the screen.

If extra edits are required there are several photo apps such as FaceTune and Adobe Photoshop Express.

• Since many websites and print services have a minimal upload size, you may need to know the specifications of the photo you’ve just taken, something Apple doesn’t readily make available. But, by uploading your photos to a third party storage site, such as Dropbox (Free) you can find the pixel size of any phone by clicking the “i” on the bottom right hand corner of any uploaded image.

Having a good headshot is the digital equivalent of making a good first impression. Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos in various settings. Like with anything, taking your own professional quality image takes a bit of practice.

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Ullu iPhone Cases, a Fashion Accessory Worth the Splurge

fashion, Technology

When I find something I like, I tend to become a loyal follower. iPhones over Androids, Chanel wallets, but definitely Louis Vuitton bags and always a mini pochette, Field Notes notebooks accompany me daily and I’m driving my third Honda. I feel like my Dad is to blame for this personality quirk although he’s still loyal to his copy machine and landline so hopefully I’m a variation on the theme.

My iPhone cases are no exception. If you follow my YouTube channel you’ll know that my most used iPhone 7 Plus case was my Ullu Wally case in handcrafted leather. There’s something about a leather case which makes me feel more professional. I always check out what type of case a person has on their phone. I can’t imagine the CEO of a company leading a meeting with some plastic glitter monstrosity designed for a twelve-year-old girl. No. It’s just a no.

When Ullu released their new Strappy case, I desperately wanted to splurge but couldn’t justify the purchase for a phone I knew I was going to upgrade in less than a year. Ullu cases are beautiful, but they come at a price.

PROS:

First of all, here is why I love Ullu as a company regardless of the case you choose:

* All the styles are minimalistic and don’t take away from the aesthetics of the phone.

* They use premium materials: leather, ostrich, alligator.

* The cases are handcrafted so they all have a bit of uniqueness to them.

Why I love the Strappy case:

* If you read my review on the Loopy case, you already know I’m a fan of the hand loop grip, but this beats the Loopy because it also acts as a stand.

* Not only does the Strappy have the loop it also has a pocket for a credit card or cash. It’s the best of both worlds.

* The loop folds flat making it one of The slimmest cases on the market.

CONS:

* Wireless charging isn’t supported.

* There isn’t much protection on the front of the case. Or the corners. Ok, there really isn’t much protection period. Don’t drop your phone. Don’t set your phone face down on a table. Treat your phone as if it were made of glass (that’s a joke, it is made of glass). Apple’s leather case offers more protection although arguably not by much.

* Price. This is a luxury product.

Because you carry your phone with you daily, your phone case is an extension of you, an expression of fashion. Ulla cases send a clear message that you have good taste.

Get In The Loop: Try The Loopycase

fashion, productivity, Technology

Recently I reviewed two alternative ways to hold your phone using add on accessories Popsocket and iRing. I’d like to throw a third contender onto the list: The LoopyCase.

The LoopyCase is a little different because it’s an entire case and not just a case accessory. This means that you have to be fairly committed when choosing a case style because you’ll have to purchase an entirely new case if you want to change things up (the company does offer some alternative loops for $5). I haven’t been able to justify buying a second loop for my case…yet. (I do have my eye on those glittery ones.) I don’t know how easily the loops switch out but it is possible. What I can say is that the loop really feels sturdy and well attached. The concept is similar to the iRing in which you loop (hence the name) your finger(s) through the back of the case for easy access or hands free carrying but because the loop is made from a soft, flexible material, I’ve found it more comfortable. The loop is also adjustable so you can customize the fit.

Unfortunately, the Loopycase has two major drawbacks: First, the case can not be used as a stand. I like to watch Netflix when I unload the dishwasher and a

stand is extremely helpful when you have video calls (ironically, I had one of those “GoToMeeting” calls and I hung the loop over a bottle of Diet Coke, it did the job). The Loopycase can’t be propped up for easy viewing. Secondly, there isn’t a car attachment for the Loopy Case, although there are obviously tons of ways to mount your phone in the car. Finally, the Loopycase is more expensive than both an iRing and a Popsocket combined because it is an actual case and to be quite honest , the price is on par with other cases of similar quality.

Pros:

* Comfortable strap which can be adjusted for size.

* Case protects your phone from drops and dings.

* Malleable loop fits easily into back pocket or small bag.

* Loop is well attached and will not come “unglued” from your phone.

Cons:

* The loop can not be used as a stand.

* Loop is attached to the case and can not be used with another case manufacturer.

I’m still rocking my reliable iPhone 7 Plus but I do plan on getting the next incantation of iPhone, whatever that may be, and the Loopycase has made my short list of cases I plan to repurchase which I believe says something about the product.

The Loopycase retails for about $35

You Better Put A Ring on it…or a Popsocket

fashion, productivity, Technology

Popsockets or iRing: Which accessory should your phone carry.

I’m extremely picky about my accessories. I tend to favor the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci. My bags and small leather goods are on constant rotation (currently I’m using my LV Palm Springs Mini Backpack, LV toiletry 15, coin purse, key cles & a Chanel card holder). It’s no wonder I’ve added accessories to my accessories. I almost always have either a popsocket or an iRing attached to my phone case. I own 4 popsockets and two iRings with car mounts for both. I know some people are very passionate about team popsocket vs team ring (I kid you not, there is a YouTube channel practically devoted to Popsockets, the woman owns over 100 of them) but I’ve found I enjoy using both (I do favor one…slightly) for different reasons.

The common ground:

– Both offer a way to more easily hold your phone.

– Both provide stand functionality.

– Both have an optional car mount (the iRing come with one included, to get one for a popsocket you’ll have to fork out another $10).

– Both have a collapsible state, regardless, when attached to the back of your device neither will allow your phone to sit completely flat.

– Both use adhesive which will not damage your device but can be removed and replaced close to 100 times.

Materials:

A popsocket is made of plastic (although they just came out with a blinged out crystal version which retails for $50) while the iRing is a combination of plastic and metal.

Why I like the Popsocket:

Popsockets are extremely customizable. I have one with my daughter’s photo on it. If you use two popsockets on either end of your phone, you can wrap your headphones around them so they won’t become tangled in your bag. If you’re concerned about having your phone sit on a flat surface, the popsocket does sit flatter than the iRing.

Why I Prefer the iRing:

The iRing is exactly what it says it is, a ring which adheres to the back of your phone. This means that the iRing makes your phone completely hands free, you can literally flip your phone around and wear it like a giant ring (not recommended). But the reason I find the iRing more convenient is because I have small hands (let’s face it, I have small everything) which makes a popsocket slightly uncomfortable to hold for an extended period of time.

I also have an iPhone 7 Plus, and if I use a thicker or heavier case, a popsocket will collapse when I try to use it as a stand. Because the iRing uses a metal loop, it tends to support the phone.

Neither accessory is a major investment and because they’re reusable, I’d suggest trying both and coming to your own conclusion because, you know, you can never have too many accessories.

A Case for Cards

fashion, Organization, Technology

When I think about subjects to write about, I think to myself, what’s important to me or what makes my life easier? One of the more difficult aspects of taking on freelance jobs is that the subject matter is often assigned to me (and my students think I don’t understand their struggle) so although I’ve been given the opportunity to try a product or service out, it’s usually something I’ve only had for a limited time. Here I have space to expand upon things which I actually use and rely on regularly. Which is why I want to talk about phone cases with card slots. Honestly, it’s not something I ever thought I’d use, and yet, since purchasing one last year it has proven to be one of the handiest accessories I own.

My current love is the Wally case from Ullu, which is an investment. I started off with a cheap non label case I found on Amazon for $12 in a beautiful red alligator print…pretty sure it wasn’t real alligator. Once I was able to see how useful the case was I upped my game to the 12 South relaxed leather case (with pockets) and finally, since I didn’t splurge on a new iPhone this year, I went for the ullu, which I think is one of the most beautiful and well designed card holder cases on the market.

I don’t actually use the case as a full time wallet, my cards only reside there when I need easy access or I have limited space. Here are the situations where I find the case to be the most useful:

1. Taking My Daughter to the Doctor:

Sick babies are not fun. Colicky, fussy, sick babies are the worst. You’ve got the baby and the diaper bag, sometimes the stroller, she’s screaming and the front desk needs to see your medical card, her medical card, your ID & you have to pay the copay. My daughter had several digestive issues as an infant and a card case just made my life so much easier. Everything is all laid out on the back of your phone, phone goes in and out of your pocket with ease, no digging through your bag. You can hand the receptionist your cards all while texting your worried husband that you arrived safely. I assume that this would also come in handy at a place like an amusement park (I’m not a big amusement park fan) or anywhere you have some kind of “pass”.

2. Tiny Clutch Bags:

Gentleman, this is probably not an issue for you, or maybe it is, who am I to judge. I don’t need to transfer my stuff to a smaller wallet and then back again. I just add what cards I need to my phone case and go. The next day, I can just put my phone back in my big bag and transfer the cards back into my wallet when I get the chance (which is actually kind of funny, because I don’t carry a wallet, I’ll write more about that later).

3. Travel Time:

I’m notorious for losing hotel keys. Now when I travel I just stick them in the back of my phone. Easy to grab and go to the pool or the vending machine. I’ve never had an issue with the phone demagnetizing the cards. Same for ticket stubs and coupons you’d otherwise forget.

Cracked Screens Aren’t Couture

fashion, productivity, Technology

Cracked screens aren’t couture. Your phone is the one accessory which accompanies you everywhere and it’s important that your phone looks well cared for and professional when you pull it out to enter important dates, add a new contact or scan a business card. Just like you, your phone needs to be dressed for the occasion. Here are my top three choices for dressing your iPhone with style and class in every situation.

Ullu

I’m not even sure how I originally heard about ullu, they aren’t sold in retail stores, but these cases are my go to for a slim and classy design. I have a leather snap on and a wally case. The cases are a bit pricey ranging from $75-$400 depending on the style and materials used (ostrich anyone?) but they’re so beautiful. I’d planned on only using these in my smallest handbags because of the slim form factor and lack of rugged protection. The Wally case with its three card slots (and my monogram) was purchased specifically to use in my Louis Vuitton Palm Springs mini backpack (because pulling out a wallet from that bag is annoying) but the case is so gorgeous I use it almost exclusively & am just careful with my phone. No handing it off to the toddler with this case & I’m not sticking a Popsocket to anything this pretty either, so no stand, but it’s worth it. *As a side note, my phone fell off my night stand last night (about a 3 foot drop) & on to a hardwood floor in the Wally case. It’s fine.

Pros:

– Luxury materials

– Light weight

– Slim

– Stylish

– Open ports/easy access

– Monogramming available ($10)

Velvet Caviar

If you’re looking for a trendy, stylish options which offers a modicum of protection, check out Velvet Caviar. These are my gym and exercise cases. They have a slim enough profile but I feel like my phone could actually survive a spill off the treadmill with this case on. The Velvet Caviar cases also work well with Popsockets (which is a great way to prop your phone up on a spin bike or other machine) the site even features some exclusive styles of those handy little stands. Not only is the selection of styles impressive they’re always adding new designs and have descent sales regularly.

Pros:

– Durable

– Easy to wipe down

– Decent protection against falls

– Trendy styles

– Good value for the price

12 South

So I have a thing for wallet cases. I’ve owned 12 South’s original BookBook case since my first iPhone. The case functions as a wallet and a stand but it also has the ability to remove the inner shell and use that as a slim case without the “wallet” portion (on a side note, Ullu offers a similar option with a magnetic backing, something I’m not a fan of, and a flap closure. Again, not a fan). This case does not offer a closure which, I believe, is a selling point. Having a folio style case adds protection to the screen, but it’s one extra step when trying to capture a quick photo. Any type of extra closure, like a flap, I find to be an annoying hindrance. I like this case for traveling. Essentially you’re getting two cases in one so you don’t have to pack an extra case to use in evening bags, it works well for watching movies on a flight and it has the card slots for whichever cards your using, your ID or hotel room keys.

Pros:

– Unique “book” design

– Two cases in one

– Clear plastic ID holder

– Acts as a stand

– Easy to access all ports

– Folio style protects screen in large bags

Happy New Year! What I’m Bringing From 2017 Into 2018: The Best of 2017

fashion, Technology

Goodbye 2017. Hello 2018. With everyone focused on starting anew, resolutions, and wiping the slate clean, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from 2017 which will be making the transition into the new year with me.

The Bags

Palm Springs Mini Backpack: Hands down my easiest go to bag for running around the neighborhood with my daughter. I’ll be posting my one year review and wear and tear on YouTube this week. I’ve never regretted splurging on this bag.

Gucci SoHo Disco Bag: I love this bag because it’s the crossover between a personal bag and a work bag. I can fit my work keys or a diaper in it and it’s small enough to walk around town or take to the playground.

The Accessories

Louis Vuitton Small Leather Goods:

It took me forever to find a system which worked for me. I change bags a lot and it’s easier when I can grab just a few items to transfer. The winners: a mini pochette (or toiletries 15), a cles, and the round coin purse. Every bag, every time.

Leather iPhone Case(s):

Although not the most protective, they are they most stylish and professional. Right now I’m sporting a snap on case from ullu but I have a soft spot for Twelve South as well. Some of my cases have credit card slots, some don’t , but they all have that soft, lived in, leather look and sleek design.

The Apps

Day One:

I’ve kept my digital journal since 2010 and I’ve never looked back. I started using DayOne back in ‘11 but it’s made my 2017 favorites list because I finally splurged on the subscription service enhancing my experience. Unlimited journals. Lost of photos. A secure server. Password protected.

Awesome Calendar:

Yep, that’s it’s name and that’s what it is, an awesome calendar. I’m not anti paper planner, I use an Erin Condren monthly planner for work and an LV pm agenda next to my bed. I carry a Field Notes notebook with me just about everywhere but my digital calendar is my life line. What I love about Awesome Calendar is how customizable it is. I can add photos, stickers, color code, attach notes, directions, and review what I did on this day in history (because sometimes you’re just curious). This is the closest app to my college planner I’d spend hours decorating with magazine cut outs.

The Beauty

Benefit Hello Flawless Powder Foundation:

I’d heard somewhere that women over 40 shouldn’t use powder because it settles into fine lines and wrinkles. While I’m sure that’s true for some women, I’m still pretty oily and powder foundation helps control that. The formula is light and comfortable while providing complete coverage.

Bangs:

I’m not immune to wrinkles and the saying “bangs or Botox” definitely holds some truth. Besides, ever since my daughter saw Iron Man 3 and said I was Pepper Potts, I have a new affinity for my fringe. As much as I love changing up my look, I think I’ll keep the bangs another year.

The Fashion

Zara:

Zara still dominates my closet for shoes and tops. Unfortunately, the brand has vanity sized me out of pants. In an effort to be more inclusive and diverse the smallest pants size Zara carries in most styles has a 26” waist. But, the brand continues to be innovative, trendy, and affordable so I can spend top dollar on more expensive jeans elsewhere.

The Guilt App:

Speaking of denim, Guilt offers a wide variety of styles, brands, and sizes. I’ve even been able to find a size 22 on occasion. The best part is most of the merchandise is discounted. Guilt carries more than jeans, you can find everything from designer bags to vacation getaways.

Remember, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There’s no need to get caught up in the hype. If you love something, keep it. Happy New Year.

The Gucci Marmont Belt Bag

fashion

It’s a fanny pack. I didn’t exactly want a fanny pack…oh, I’m sorry “belt bag”, but I did want another hands free bag and I THOUGHT I had the perfect solution with the Gucci Marmont belt bag. Side note: I plan on doing a YouTube video on this bag sometime within the week when it’s more convenient. Because the plan was to wear the bag crossbody style. My mistake (huge mistake) was ordering the bag in the smallest size. I should have called the 800 number and asked for assistance in sizing, but I’m so accustom to being small. I made the assumption that the small size would fit crossbody on a small person, no such luck. For reference: I’m 5’2″ tall, weigh 98 (ok, technically 97.6) pounds, with a natural waist of 22.5″ (I’m guessing around 24 or 25″ in the sweatshirt). Crossbody is not really an option unless wearing the bag at this height becomes a “thing”. It’s not really uncomfortable, it just looks weird. 

And the bag is small! I mean really small. I can barely fit the iPhone 7 Plus in there. When looking at the measurements, it appeared to be comparable to a Chanel mini but now that I have the bag in my hands it feels smaller. What the bag can actually hold is:

The iPhone 7 Plus in a very slim case, RayBan aviator sunglasses, my keys (no keychains), an eyeliner, one lip product, a Bobbi Brown corrector, and an LV key cles. That’s it. It’s stuffed. 
How I plan on using this bag this week: for the most part I plan on using it as a bag within a bag for the next four days. In the gym bag in for the morning then take it out and use it alone on walks with my daughter. In my Speedy or Neverfull along with all my computer stuff for two days of work and then again take it out for trips around town with my baby girl. After that…I’m not really sure. I’m not sure this bag will make it into my regular rotation or end up being sold like my WOC. I guess I could try to return it for the larger size strap…but I’m not really much of a returner. I’ll have to think it over. I just hope my experience helps someone else. It makes a nice pouch or clutch without the belt if that’s helpful. If you have any styling suggestions, please let me know. Until then, wish me luck. Looks like I’ll be sporting a fanny pack.