8 Skillshare Classes To Try

If you’re a regular reader you might remember one of my goals this year is getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. So far I haven’t really been too attentive to this endeavor, I still haven’t tried yoga (work got a little hectic and it got put on the back burner, but it’ll happen, I swear!), but to tide me over until that happens, I hopped over to Skillshare to find a few classes that I could take to help grow this little blog o’ mine. But also to help out with my side hustle situation.

8 Skillshare Classes To Try

If you haven’t heard about Skillshare, it’s essentially a virtual classroom, bringing in experts in all areas of creativity and entrepreneurship to share their skills with the masses. I mean you can take classes about using Instagram to better your brand; learn the art of hand lettering, make a meatball any Italian grandmother would be proud of; you name it, they’ve probably got something close to what you’re after. They offer a basic membership that allows you access to any of their free classes, but you can also sign up for a monthly prime account that gives you unlimited access to over 700 classes.  The prime membership is $10/month, so about the equivalent of one less Chipotle burrito bowl (with guac) a month, so not too terrible! Plus less burritos equals skinner! But if you sign up with this link, you can get your first month FREE! Free is good.

I actually signed up for Skillshare when I was trying out calligraphy for the first time. I signed up for Molly Jacques class Introduction to the Art of Modern Calligraphy and honestly, it was such a great experience. As cliché as it sounds, I felt like I had a friend helping me along. Which is why I think it’s time to give some other classes a try. Here’s what I’m looking forward to signing up for, you can watch their trailers below.

Repeating Pattern Designs


Techniques for Lettering with Illustrator


Beyond the Logo: Crafting a Brand Identity


 

Digital Photography: Tips & Tricks

   

Freelancing for Creatives: Kickstarting your Independence

 

Beginners Guide to Animating Custom GIFs

 

Design Your Own Creative Brush Packs

   

Get Stuff Done Like A Boss: Design Your Workflow and Double Your Productivity in 21 Days

I’m also pretty geeked that I’m getting to take an actual class with Chuck Anderson next week at Soho House. Chuck teaches the popular Skillshare class Everyday Surrealism: Creating Art from Photos. He’s going to be sharing his story, work and process as well as leading a hands-on photography and Photoshop workshop. Yeeyeeyee! You can check out more of Chuck’s work here.

Anyone a Skillshare member? Or even just taken a class? Or if you haven’t, does this sound like something you’d be interested in trying? Gimme your thoughts in the comments below.

L

January Monthly Mantra iPhone Wallpaper

Monthly Mantra Download - Champagne & Chambray

image via

Um ok, so it’s freezing outside. Beyond freezing. Beyond zero. Then sun is just there to tease us. But positive ‘tudes in the new year, right? So I’m just gonna roll with this disgusting display of temperature dipping going on in Chicago right now. Positive thinking for a negative number, it doesn’t even make sense! I love you Chicago, but you’re being a real bitch right now.

Anyway, since we’re on the topic of being positive, remember earlier in the week when we chatted about goals in the new year? If you recall, I decided this year I was going to try and jedi-mindtrick myself into being a better person.

So today I’m sharing my bit of inspiration for the first month of the year. Let’s call it my Monthly Mantra iPhone Wallpaper (for lack of a better name, I’m thinking about this one!). I didn’t have time to create a matching desktop version this week, but I didn’t want it to get so late into the month that you didn’t have anything to motivate and decorate, so we’ll just start the process off slow. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

When I consulted my almighty board of wisdom, I came across this Suzy Kassem quote and it really stuck with me. Doubt is probably one of my biggest enemies. So I prettied up the inspo and made it my lock screen wallpaper. Hopefully by the end of the month, doubt will be the last thing on my mind, and I’ll be doing new things I never thought I could…or would! I think it might even be working already, I’m going on my first yoga date with Max tonight, but I’m legit FREAKING out (even though it’s a class for beginners!), so if any seasoned yogis want to leave me some sage advice in the comments, it would be greatly appreciated!

|| To download the background for yourself, just click the image to download the full size version. ||

L

6 Tips to Simplify Life in 2015

Every year I tell myself that I’m going to get my shit together at the start of the year. And somehow, for reasons clearly unknown to me, it never happens. I continue on my path of non-togetherness. Sure, I keep a Google calendar and pay my bills on time, but I’ve come up with six tech(ish) tips that I can do this month that will more than likely set me up for much smoother sailing in 2015. And I imagine if you do the same thing you’ll probably be in the same boat. It’s a good boat to be in, I checked.

6 Tips to Simplify Your Life In 2015

 

1. Reset All Your Passwords
You and I both know that the password gods really are out to ruin our lives. Every website has a different set of criteria for what constitutes a “secure” password. Your go-to password (I know, I know, you shouldn’t have one of these) might not work because it’s missing a capital letter or there aren’t enough characters. So you make up a new one then forget it, just kill me now. Use the new year as a time to go through ALL of your accounts and reset them: emails, banking sites, mobile apps, netflix, spotify, etc. With all the millions of security breaches that occured in 2014, this is more than likely something you should do, rather than just a helpful tip. Just make sure you write down the new passwords and keep them in a secure place. Or try using a password manager app like LastPass.

2. Get On The Cloud
If you’re like me, you probably have a couple different devices in your life. I’ve got my Macbook Air, my new MacMini, my iPhone and my Mac at work. That’s a lot of devices for one lady. And being able to access certain files and documents from any work station is a necessity for me. So I set up iCloud Drive. It let’s you access any files on any device. I just got this set up and it’s actually pretty awesome. If you’ve got devices from a different fruit, look into Google Drive or Dropbox (Apple users, this works great for you too if you’re not running Mavericks or iOS8 yet). In any event, marketplace is currently in what they’re calling a “race to zero”, which is basically a race to see who the first company will be to offer complete cloud storage options for free. Which means you should probably test out the different services and see which works best for you, rather than going strictly price based, since it’s likely your bill will be non-existent at some point.

You should also set up a space online as a secondary backup to wherever you’re currently keeping all your photos. You never know when your boyfriend will spill coffee on your laptop or when your backup hard drive decides to go AWOL. Just maybe keep those not-so-safe-for-work ones away from the cloud…you saw what happened to JLaw.

3. Sign up for Unroll.me
Awhile back I was so sick of all the bullshit emails (a lot of which I never signed up for) landing in my inbox. Then one day while perusing my news feed, my junior high locker partner (yep, you heard me correctly. Hi Justin!) posted a link about Unroll.me. Being the curious creature that I am, I checked it out, and I realized I’d happened upon a goldmine! Unroll.me allows you to unsubscribe from any emails you don’t want to receive anymore in ONE click!! F yeah! Plus you can choose to have all of the emails you DO still want to get, delivered to you in one single email, delivered at the time of your choice. Game changer!

While you’re at it, go through and delete and archive any emails you no longer need, they’re just taking up space in your inbox – believe me, a good purge feels great! Or ya know, just mark all as read and call it a day. (Don’t do that. Well, do it, but I’m not taking responsibility when you have no idea where anything is. But at least you’ll have a zero inbox!)

4. Create a Receipts Folder
Create a folder in your email called “Receipts”. By creating a folder like this, every time you receive a confirmation email from an online purchase of any sort, you can just move it over into this folder and you’ll have all your online purchases for the year in reverse chronological order. It’s helpful when looking for a specific receipt, but also comes in handy during tax season…I think? I really should figure out how to do my own taxes, huh? But that’s what dad’s are for, right?

5. Get your Phone in Order
This is a great idea to do at the start of the year, but honestly, I usually like to do this every month or so. Go through your phone and look at your apps. Do you use them all? Regularly? But seriously? Delete the apps you aren’t using at least once a month to clear up space. If you think you’ll die without it, remember Apple keeps your purchases on the cloud so it’s an easy one-tap download should you need it back. While you’re on the phone, go through your camera roll or albums and delete any photos or screenshots that you no longer deem necessary. Unlink any Spotify offline playlists that you no longer need as well. This should free up a good chunk of space for you to start the new year with, expelling the worry from your mind that you won’t have enough space to take pictures of the winter wonderland on its way.

6. Set Up Auto Bill Pay
This is something that I already have set up for some services while others I haven’t because I’m lazy, which technically doesn’t even make sense logically, but so it goes. Though really, it DOES makes sense to make use of this service if it’s offered. The only thing that I would suggest is keeping an eye on your bank account and the actual bills to make sure that what’s coming out of your account is actually what you owe. Yeah yeah, I know, if you still have to go in and look at it, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Eh, not really. It ensures that you’re paying on time, and in the unlikely event that you are overcharged, you make a phone call. The other thing to be careful of though, is over drafting your account, if you’re worried that could happen to you, I’d probably just suggest paying month to month to be safe.

 

Now obviously not all of these are for everyone. Some people despise the cloud and other people would rather saw off their arm than let a robot pay a bill for them. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Or I guess in this case you can, take what you want from this post and go forth. Let’s have a regroup in about a year or so and see how this all worked out for ya! Or ya know, let me know what you think in the comments. Either way.

L

2014 Holiday Gift Guide: The Techie

I’ll say this: the Holiday Gift Guide for The Techie was probably my favorite of the gift guides to create for you guys. It’s pretty obvious if you know me, that I’m a bit of a techie, not to be confused with trekie, of which I am most definitely not. So finding every day items that have been re-invented for the tech lover was right in my wheel house. These are perfect for your ‘rents, your boyfriend or even your best friend!

2014 Holiday Gift Guide for the Techie

 

1. Sony QX30 Smartphone Attachable Lens Style Camera
Yes, this is exactly what it looks/sounds like…a lens from Sony that is compatible with your iPhone. And I don’t necessarily say “attachable” because it doesn’t have to be attached, it uses NFC  (Near Field Communication, same technology that Apple Pay uses) to communicate with your phone, which means you can hold the lens in your hand and use the phone as the shutter. It’s a bit pricy but would make a friggin awesome gift for a snap-happy friend!

2. Tile
We’ve all got that person in our lives who for the life of them cannot keep track of their belongings, no matter how hard they try. So when my mom told me about Tile, I knew I had to share. These little tiles can be stuck to your phone, thrown in your purse, secured on your keychain and then when said things are lost or “misplaced”, you can turn to your Tile App on your phone or computer to find them. It’s actually a lot cooler than what I’m making it out to be, so make sure to visit their site to learn about how great it really is.

3. Skinnydip London Earbud
These super cute headphones aren’t necessarily cutting edge technology-wise, but they sure are fun to look at and apparently engineered to give you a great audio experience. For a $22 pricetag, these babies are sure to please your music loving secret santa.

4. Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Yes, this is a toothbrush. Yes, it costs $220. No, I have not tried it. BUT I have seen it getting phenomenal reviews. I’d probably be careful who you buy this for though, as there is a specific setting for “Whiten”, though I did hear on the radio that people are not offended when they’re gifted teeth whitening sessions, so who knows!

5. Apple TV
I couldn’t think of a more expertly thought out gift for you Apple fanboy friends than an AppleTV. For $99, you’re basically gifting them the world. I swear by AppleTV, we actually have one in the bedroom and the living room. Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and more are constantly being added and you can mirror your desktop too.

6. NomadKey
Giving this gadget will surely bump you up to “angel” status  because it’s a total life saver.  A phone charger that is small enough to fit on a keychain, and cheap enough to gift to all those friends whose phones are always dying at the worst possible moments.

7. OlloClip 4-in-1 Lens
If the Sony lens was a little bit (or a lot bit) too expensive for your budget, maybe this little guy can take its place. This 4-in-1 phone lens includes a Fisheye, Wide Angle, 10x Macro and 15x Macro that clips right over the phone camera lens and voila! I have a feeling whoever you give this to is going to be getting a lot more Instagram followers. Maybe eve  buy one for yourself while you’re at it?

8. CrockPot Slow Cooker with WeMo
I’d just like to say that I actually thought of this idea about two years ago, a slow cooker that I could control with my phone so that I could start it in the morning and then switch it to over to a “warming” setting once I knew it had cooked long enough. After a bit of research, I saw that Belkin was developing their own and it’s finally arrived in time for this Christmas.

9. Mini Jambox
It feels like there are just more and more bluetooth speakers on the market every month, but this pretty little diddy is a great choice and comes in plenty of colors to suit everyones taste. I got one for Max for his birthday and he takes it out on the golf course all the time, so I know it’s a winner. Plus it’s on sale right now, so act fast!

10. Mighty Mug
This mug. It doesn’t spill. Like literally, it cannot spill. You can’t knock it over. I know this makes no sense to you, but trust me, it doesn’t. There’s a great video on their website to help you understand this madness. I got one for Max for Christmas this year because he spills at least once a day on average, so I felt like this would be a great gift. Lucky for him, the mug he was using broke on Sunday night so I gave it to him early, so far only good things to report, like no spills!

11. Cashmere Lined Tech Gloves
These babies from J.Crew are a godsend. And I can speak from experience, Max’s mom got me a pair last Christmas. Some of the tech touch gloves on the market that are supposed to allow you to text in the frigid temperatures suck. Like, really suck. But these ones actually touch the letters you’re trying to touch, not every other letter around it. They’re a bit pricey, but that comes with the territory of cashmere…and J.Crew. But believe me when I say whoever unwraps these will be very pleased!

12. Tory Burch for Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet
Last but not least, this collaboration between Tory Burch and Fitbit leaves all the fashion forward, step-countin’ ladies giddy with excitement. This gorgeous bracelet that snaps onto your tracker come in gold, rose gold and silver and every time your friend looks at her wrist or meets her steps goal she’ll think of you. Bonus points!

Hopefully this gift guide proved to be helpful in finding something for your gadget guy or your tech-loving teacher, but if not, don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for another handy guide. And don’t forget to share these with your own friends so that maybe they’ll buy YOU something! Never hurts to try!

L

iPhone Tricks for All!

The Best iPhone Tricks & Tips | Champagne & Chambray

I’ve had the iPhone for awhile now, and because I’m a techy geek, I make sure I’m always following along with the live streams whenever apple comes out with a new product or operating system update, so I usually know all of the secrets when it comes to using your iPhone. But every now and again someone shows me something new and I’m blown away! So I today I wanted to share with you my favorite iPhone tricks. Some of them may seem like no brainers, but I promise you I tell people some of these things and they look at me like I just told them the secret to Busch’s Baked Beans (that dog is never going to tell!), so today I figured I’d share the ones I find most useful. Most of these are specific to iOS 7 so make sure you’re updated!

Iphone Tricks & Tips

1. Wish you could see the exact time you sent a specific text? For the longest time you couldn’t, but now you can, only it’s kind of hidden. While in a text thread, slide your finger to the left and timestamps for each message will appear.

2. Need to jump to the beginning of a page (text thread, safari article, email, whatever) real quick or just don’t feel like swiping up a million times? Touch the time up the the top of the screen and you’ll automatically be taken back to the top.

3. Trying to take a landscape photo but your finger can’t quite hit the home button? The side volume buttons work as a shutter too! And if you have your headphones plugged in, you can use the volume control on those too, which means no more arms in your selfies!

4. While we’re talking about taking pictures, are you wondering why everyone else’s phone pics turn out much clearer and sharper than yours? They’re probably using the AE/AF (auto exposure /auto focus) lock. Choose the subject in your photo that you want to be in focus and tap and hold until you see the lock turn on. You can also just give it a tap to focus without locking it in.

5. In a hurry to meet the crew at the bar but your phones low on battery? Switch it over to airplane mode and make sure it’s plugged into an actual wall outlet (not charging through the computer via USB) and it’ll charge muccch faster!

6. Sometimes I don’t care what people are thinking. But I still want my news. Open Safari, click on the bookmark tab down at the bottom (it’s the second from the right) and then tap the @, you’ll see all of the tweets from your Twitter feed that contain a link, booyah!

7. Rather than typing out a period and then a space to start a new sentence, just tap the space bar twice. When you’re typing an email on your phone, this honestly saves so much time, don’t knock it til ya try it.

8. You can easily set up predictive text for your email address (or anything else for that matter) in order to avoid having to type out the whole thing every time. Open Settings > General > Keyboard > Add New Shortcut. You can type in the first few letters or your own short code and whenever you type it, it will give you the option to finish it with a single tap. This also comes in really handy when you want to prank someone that left their phone unlocked. Change common words to random ones, it’s awesome, they have no idea what is going on.

9. Don’t want nosey eyes creeping on every text you get? You can change the settings so that a preview of the text doesn’t show up in the notification. In Settings > Notification Center > Messages scroll down and turn off the “Show Preview” slider.

10. I feel like this is my favorite tip and I’m the only one that uses it. When I’m laying in bed with my phone I’m not always holding it straight up, and a lot of the time it flips into horizontal mode, likely while I’m in the middle of typing something, woooof. Easy way to fix this is to pull up the notification center (just swipe up from the bottom of the screen) and tap the screen lock button (furthest to the right on the top row), this prevents the phone from switching back and forth between portrait and horizontal mode.

11. When you’re in a movie theater sometimes turning down the brightness isn’t enough. Under Settings > General > Accessibility, switch the slider on for Invert Colors. Combine that with turning down the brightness and you’ll never bother anyone ever again while you’re texting during the movie! I’ve even set mine up to invert when I triple click my home button for an even faster way to turn that brightness down. You can do this by scrolling to the bottom of the Accessibility page and clicking “Accessibility Shortcut” and choose “Invert Colors”.

Hope these tips were helpful! Do you have any  iPhone tricks that you use that I didn’t include here? Let me know in the comments below! I’m sure I’ll have another post in the coming months when I get the new iPhone 6 and can share all the new secrets of the new iOS as well!

L