Most of what you see on Burghologie comes from my perspective. I'm always the one behind the camera. Everything you see here comes from me, my amateur photography skills, and my Nikon. But a couple of weeks ago, I stepped out from behind the lens and put the photo taking into the hands of a very talented photographer.
Going into this photoshoot my goals were clear, but not exactly simple. I want a fun, light-hearted photoshoot that captured me, my personality, and the tone of Burghologie. I was completely blown away by Ashley's talent and ability to capture exactly what I asked for.
Ashley is a local Pittsburgh creative and the owner and mastermind behind Ash K Captures, her own photography brand. From engagement sessions and senior portraits to nature photography and branding, this girl knows exactly how to capture the most important details. In my opinion, that's what makes a truly great session.
Ashley is such a kind soul and I can't wait to work with her again in the future. Check out her website and give her a follow on Instagram. It won't be long before you're booking your own shoot.
I love the local coffee scene in Pittsburgh and grabbing a hot caffeinated treat from time to time is great, but a daily latte can hit your wallet pretty hard. When you're cutting back, here's the fix:
First off, I would like to thank my brand new milk frother for making this all possible. My $40 Amazon purchase works great. Pour in your milk, press the button, and you've got hot and frothy milk in less than a minute.
My first experiment was a Chai Latte. I'm not patient enough to brew real chai tea, so Oregon Chai concentrate from Trader Joes was my go-to. The process was a piece of cake. Step 1: Measure out some chai concentrate. (Suggested portions are included on the packaging.) Step 2: Warm/froth your milk of choice. Step 3: Mix together the chai and milk and dust with cinnamon. Step 4: Call yourself a barista.
My second experiment was a matcha latte. I snagged some sweetened matcha latte mix from TJs and I give it 4 stars. It was subtly sweet, but not overbearing.
The process is the same as above. 1. Measure. 2. Warm and froth. 3. Mix. 4. Enjoy!
I'm semi-new to the lifestyle blogging scene, but in the past six months I've found some really helpful tools and apps that have made my life much easier. Here are some of my recommendations:
PicMonkey is great for drag and drop design. I built my logo and some elements of my website on this platform. There's limited functionality in the free version, so I pay $7.99 for a premium subscription. I think it's more than worth it. I don't have any true graphic design skills and this is a great alternative.
Web app + mobile app | Available for iOS and Android devices. | Free download
Canva is very similar to PicMonkey, but there's some notable differences. I really love Canva's template options and they have some unique text and photo elements. Canva has great Instagram story templates that are easy to throw together on their mobile app. Their platform is also a bit more user-friendly than PicMonkey. The free version is all I've ever needed. However, there is a "Canva for Work" subscription with enhanced features that may be worth exploring.
Web app + mobile app | Available for iOS and Android devices | Free download
I use VSCO for almost every single photo I edit. Their filters are great and I've even developed my own preset. (My little secret: it's "A4" with a bunch of tweaks.) It's important to note that VSCO has recently changed their platform. You used to be able to purchase filter "packs" for a couple bucks each, but they've migrated to a full subscription-based concept. Their tools are available for $19.99 a year.
Mobile app | Available for iOS and Android devices. | $19.99
4. RNI Films
I just recently discovered RNI Films. RNI aims to give digital photos an old-school film vibe. The app itself has a lot of different editing functions, but I use it solely for its "grain" and "dust" filters. I add my preset in VSCO, save to my camera roll, upload the edited photo to the RNI editor for the final touches, and then re-save the final version back to my camera roll. I give this app a 10/10. It adds an extra touch to my feed.
Mobile app | Only available for iOS devices | Free download
I'm really into the vintage-y, old-school film trend that has made its way to Instagram, so that's why the 8mm Vintage Camera is also on my list. This app allows you to record videos with 8 different lenses and 13 aged film looks. My favorite feature of this app is that you can apply effects to existing videos in your photo library, so those after-thoughts can still come to life.
Mobile app | Only available for iOS devices. | $1.99
Unfold is an app entirely dedicated to Instagram story templates. There's a basic package available for free plus several different design packs you can purchase for a small fee (around 2 bucks). "FF1" is my favorite because it ties in more of that vintage film look.
Mobile app | Only available for iOS devices. | Free download
For my fellow detail-oriented, borderline OCD people out there, Preview is both a blessing and a curse. Preview features a drag and drop grid that allows you to "preview" the look of your feed before actually posting your content live to Instagram. You can even draft captions and search ideas for hashtags. My piece of advice: Don't spend too much time rearranging photos on this app, it is a battle against perfection and you will never win.
Mobile app | Available for iOS and Android devices | Free download
8. Camera Stuff
When it comes to shooting photos for my blog, I've got the basics. I have a Nikon D3400 and I have my handy dandy iPhone Xs. In addition to the electronics, I have a tripod for my camera, a tripod for my phone, a wireless camera remote, and an amazing invention called SnapBridge for Nikon. This allows me automatically download shots from my Nikon to my phone's camera roll.
What are some of your can't-live-without tools for blogging or social media? Drop me a comment, shoot me a DM, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can buy lovely macrame pieces from Etsy and just about any home goods store, but the great thing about this DIY is the fact that you can customize your design to match any room, any fabric, or any color scheme. Here's what you'll need to get started:
1. A variety of yarn
2. A small treated tree branch
4. A flat workspace
It's best to pick out different colors, sizes, and types of yarn. This adds some variety to the pattern and adds depth to your design.
Pictured here: A mixture of warm oranges, browns, and ivory colors
I buy all of my yarn from the Pittsburgh Center For Creative Reuse. It's inexpensive and I like to support the reuse movement.
When it comes to supplies, the other important thing to note is the tree branch. You'll need to properly prepare it. Check out this blog for a full how-to.
Once that's out of the way, the fun part begins:
Pick out a variety of yarn that matches your desired color scheme.
Cut one piece of yarn at your desired length then use that as a template to cut the remaining pieces. Plan out how you would like your hanging to look by laying out clusters of colors on a table.
Step 3 + 4:
Group your threads together and fold each bundle of yarn in half; creating a loop at the top. Wrap the bundle around the branch and pull the ends through the loop; tightening the yarn like a knot (as pictured above).
Continue tying yarn clusters onto your branch; working from the center out. To add a little something extra, I braided the middle three clusters and used a short piece of yarn to tie secure the braid at the bottom.
When finished tying, select a piece of yarn to use as the "hanger" and tie each end to the branch. Hang your creation from a hook (or anything that is available around your home) and grab some scissors. Trim the bottom of the hanging to be even.
Once you've shaped it as you like, you're officially done! I'd love to see your creations. Tag me on Facebook or Instagram or shoot me a picture to email@example.com.
What You’ll Need:
I can’t explain when and why I developed a hatred for tacky Christmas wrapping paper, but for the past three years I have wrapped all of my Christmas gifts in a simple, plain Kraft paper and styled it up with some ribbon and trinkets.
This year, I of course stuck with my Kraft paper tradition but got a little more personal. I ditched the name tags and added a sentimental touch with polaroid prints. You can get polaroid style prints from hundreds of online printing companies, but these came from Inkifi. I was very happy with the quality, price, and experience. They were delivered in less than a week. For a truly sentimental approach, you could also use real polaroids or old photos.
This look turned out great and was pretty simple. Here's the rundown:
1. Wrap your gift/gift box in Kraft paper
2. Tie up the box with twine or ribbon
3. Clip a clothes pin onto the twin/ribbon
4. Clip in the polaroid photo
5. Add any extra trinkets
I’m also gifting a couple bottles of wine. For those, I threw on a ribbon and one of my homemade cork Christmas tree ornaments. What are your gift wrapping tricks, trips, and ideas? Drop them in a comment below!
I stumbled upon the idea for these ornaments on Sutter Home’s Instagram and fell in love. These cork trees are simple, inexpensive, and make for a great gift. I personally love gifts with a homemade touch.
Check out these step-by-step instructions:
What You'll Need:
11 corks per ornament
A hot glue gun
Lots of extra glue sticks
An assortment of string or ribbon
A flat workspace
TIP: I bought a huge bag of wine corks from The Center For Creative Reuse for just $7. I made 9 ornaments (that's 99 corks!) and still had plenty of corks left over. The assortment of corks was perfect for this project. Wine stains, logos, script, and branding made each ornament unique.
1. Arrange your corks:
To start the process, arrange your corks in layers. Pick out corks that are about the same length and width for each row. (4-3-2-1). Hot glue each row and then wait a few minutes to let the glue fully set.
2. Build a pyramid:
Once you've built each row, you're ready to construct the tree. Glue each row on top of one another in a pyramid shape. Take your time and glue one row at a time. It's best to let the glue fully dry before moving on. It also helps to apply some pressure with your hand.
3. Add the tree trunk:
Now that you have the body of the tree it's time to give it a trunk. Pick out a cork (smaller corks work best for this) and outline the bottom of the cork with hot glue. Put the trunk in place on the bottom of your tree and hold it there until the glue fully sets. It may take multiple attempts/lots of glue. This is the most fragile part of the ornament.
4. Glue ribbon to the top:
Once you've built your tree and you're confident the glue is fully set, you can now add a ribbon or string to the top of the ornament. Just add a line of glue to the seem between the top layers of the tree and press and hold the ends of the ribbon in place.
5. Admire your work:
Your cork tree is officially complete. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Keep it going. One for everyone on your list.