Another year of college (or high school) has just started. I thought now would be a great time to write this post to help motivate you to start off your new semester on the right foot. I have always worked really hard at school, and am proud of it. Now that I have graduated and entered the adult world, I wanted to pass down some things I learned during my academic experience. I graduated college with honors, and you can too!
Stock photos can be a blogger’s best friend. But I want to start off this post with a huge disclaimer. Please only use stock photos that you have full rights to and have purchased, or have written permission from the photographer. You can get yourself into some major trouble if you post photos on your blog that you do not have permission to use. I am going to cover the best times to use stock photos, how I like to use them, and my favorite sites to get them.
When to use stock photos & How I use them on my blog
I like to use stock photos for posts that are not fashion based. For example, long articles where I give advice: study tips, how to have a more productive summer etc. I also like to use stock photos for giveaway posts. Often we do not purchase the giveaway item until we have selected a winner, and have it shipped directly to them. Just posting a stock photo of the item with “giveaway” written over it can look kinda bland. With flat lay stock photos I am able to add the giveaway image to the pre-made stock photo and create an eye catching giveaway image (see example below). We were giving away this pretty YSL wallet, so I was able to take the stock photo from the website and insert it into my stock photo flat lay, and tada! You can make any stock photo your own by adding text to help drive traffic to a post on your blog. Some stock photos can be expensive, so invest into a large image that has a lot going on. You can easily crop the original stock photo in may different ways to use on your blog, and each picture will look custom for that particular post.
Where I like to get stock photos
I have several “go to” places to get my stock photos, where I know they fit the aesthetics of my blog. My favorite is site called Haute Chocolate, she has an amazing subscription program where you pay $25 a month (it is $75 for a 3 month service) and have access to her stock photo library that houses hundreds of photos. She has great photos for the price, they are good quality, but not top top notch, if you know what I mean. Since she is constantly adding so many photos to her library, and the subscription is a low price, it is a great starting place if you want to get into some stock photos. My second favorite site SC Stock Shop. Her photos are AMAZING, but pricey. However you are paying for exclusivity. She only sells so many of each stock photo, so you know there will not be 100’s of other images just like yours floating around Pinterest. If you subscribe to her mailing list, she sends out a free photo every month! Here are a few of my favorite stock photo shops from Etsy: Jenna Redfield Designs, Twigy Posts, Kate Danielle.
Summer is here (yay) but it is going to be gone before we know it. Every September, I tend to look back over my summer and think, what did I do for the past 3 months? Nothing? Today, I want to share my 5 tips to ensure you have a productive and memorable summer.
Make a bucket list
Making a list of things you want to do/accomplish this summer is the first step. By creating a list, you have something to reflect on at the end of the summer. Some of the items don’t have to be specific, like: work out more, read a book. Some of the items may be specific like: go to the beach with your family, write 3 blog posts a week. By writing down a list (and not just making one in your head) you can hold yourself accountable for how much you really accomplish.
Start new habits
Summer is a great time to start any new habits. Becoming a morning person, reading a daily devotional, writing letters to old friends, what ever habit you would like to start, go for it! The age old rule is it takes 30 days to make something a habit, so start now and by fall it will be a part of your normal routine. I want to be a healthier person, by creating healthy habits like working out, and cooking at home during the summer, when I have extra time.
Traveling is one of the best ways to make new memories. You don’t need to plan a big fancy trip (but those are always fun), even short day trips will make your summer feel like an actual break. Matt and I love going to Virginia for the weekend to visit his mom. Or even staying in your city but doing tourist activities is also a great way to have fun! There are many free or inexpensive activities you can do in almost any city.
Wake up early
It is so easy to sleep the summer away. I know we all love to sleep in, and I’m not saying you need to wake up with the birds, but set a realistic wakeup time for yourself. I try to wakeup before 8am, even on the weekends. When I wake up earlier I find I am able to get so much more done. Because I don’t get much blogging work done in the evening because I am spending time with Matt, the mornings is my blogging time.
I feel a little guilty about writing this part because I know this is an area I need to work on myself. I tell myself it’s “okay” to always be on my phone aka Instagram because it’s my job.. but still even I need to unplug sometimes. Summer will be gone before you know it, and you want to remember more than the latest snapchat stories you saw. Have fun with social media, but don’t let it control your summer.
ALSO DON’T FORGET! There is still plenty of time to enter in to the Nordstrom gift card GIVEAWAYS! I am currently hosting two a $600 gift card here and a $500 gift card here, enter in to both to increase your chances.