I've been seeing a few bloggers here and there doing Q&A type posts recently, and thought now was a good time to put one up! I had you all ask questions on my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and through email (email@example.com) and here are my answers!
1. How do you edit your Instagram photos?
This is a very long process, haha. I could probably write a whole post just about editing Instagram photos! I'll give the shorter version, and you can let me know if you want a longer post on it.
Before the editing even starts, I have to make sure there's good, natural lighting. Harsh fluorescent lights will make the pictures come out yellow and sometimes completely direct sunlight can wash things out. So when I'm taking pictures in my room I make sure to open up all my windows to get as much light as I can. After taking the photos I use a few different apps to edit depending on the photo. Snapseed is my favorite since it allows you to edit individual aspects in the picture. I normally bump up the brightness of my whites here and then add a little contrast and saturation to the colors (but I never go over +25 or it starts looking fake!) For pictures that don't need the individual edits I use A Color Story. I love this app because you can save the editing steps you take if you want so you can use them on future photos! I always add brightness, a little contrast, some clarity (not too much or it looks grainy!), and occasionally I use the "pop" filter or experiment with a few filters that make the whites brighter and colors more vibrant. When I use a filter though I normally drag it down so that the filter is "faded" (Is that the term?) to about the midpoint.
So there you go! I could definitely go into more detail on that, so let me know if thats something y'all would like to read!
2. What's your favorite place to promote blog posts?
Pinterest! I promote on all social media channels, but Pinterest is my favorite because it really brings people into the blog. (Are we Pinterest pals yet? @samimast) Most of my traffic comes from there, and there's a good reason why! It's super visual (duh!) and I just love to see how specific people can react to each image. Twitter is my second favorite since people can directly respond to me, but it doesn't have the wow factor that Pinterest does.
3. Where do you get inspiration for your blog?
The biggest inspiration for blog posts comes from my everyday life. If I'm feeling stressful, I write a post about stress. If I saw one of my friends rocking some killer heels, I'll write about heels that I love. Inspiration always comes when I least expect it, and annoying as it is, a lot of time it comes just as I'm falling asleep! I always keep my phone on my nightstand, so when I get an idea I write it down in the notes section. I also get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers as well, if I see someone doing something like the 101 in 1001 posts or something of that nature where everyone can personalize it, I'll think "Wow that's a cool idea!" and I'll write one of my own. I never steal ideas though, that's just a big no-no in not just the blogging world, but the writing world as a whole.
Outside of that though I will definitely ask my friends and family if they have posts that would interest them or think would interest my audience. Sometimes these ideas pan out, other times they don't, but friends and family are a huge source of inspiration as well.
4. How far ahead do you write posts?
When I have a lot of time on my hands (winter break, summer, etc) I'll write up a few posts that will go over the next few weeks. Other than that though it's mostly a few days before or even the night before! Right now it's 10pm the night after this post was supposed to go live (Midterms!) so sometimes life and time gets away from me, and blog posts don't always get priority!
5. Where is your marble laptop case from?
I get this question all the time!! Probably because I've been putting it on Instagram a lot lately... I actually got it on eBay for pretty cheap! I had seen a lot more expensive versions (there was one with gold corners and I desperately wanted it, but was not okay with spending $75 on it!). So mine is from here and it's color number 22!
6. What's your favorite thing about your school, and what do you suggest high schooler's look for when looking at colleges?
I have to say that my favorite thing about Chapman is how small classes are. I love that the professors know my name and that I can talk openly with them about everything school and personal related. (Shout out to my professor and friend Julye who reads my blog!) That's definitely the best thing because if I do have any issues, or if I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with things, I feel like I can have a real conversation with the professor about what's going on. I know at bigger schools this really isn't a thing, so I'm not sure how the other side feels about this!
The size of Chapman, although great for getting to know teachers, still kind of freaks me out with everything else. What I mean by this is that it almost feels a little like high school at times. I see familiar faces everywhere, this means people I like as well as people that I'm no longer friends with due to a falling out, people I've embarrassed myself in front of, etc. That's really a small negative, but it's definitely a real one!
What I recommend to high schoolers who are looking at colleges are these things:
1. The program of your expected major:
I'll use my own major as an example. I knew going into college that I wanted to be a history major, so I looked at schools that had very good history programs. My school makes history majors write a 50 page senior thesis, present to a conference, and most students get published in an award-winning online journal. The program is hard, but go hard or go home, right? If you don't know what you want to major in, don't sweat! Maybe you're interested in a few different ones, research schools that have those areas of study as an option (some schools don't offer specific majors!) and whichever one you end up at, you'll have those options waiting for you.
2. The Size
The size of your campus will determine what type of community you will have. From what I've read about in my extensive college searches during my senior year of high school as well as what I've heard from friends over the years, the big schools have the most "school spirit." My sister went to UC Berkeley and the school is huge! She had so much school pride, everyone went to the football games in the school's colors, the school had cheers that everyone knew, etc.
At Chapman, this is completely different. Most people I know only go to our school's Homecoming game, and then ignore the majority of the other sports games during the semester. Of course there is variation, but small schools always tend to lean on the lower side of school spirit. Everyone I talk to loves Chapman, but we definitely don't have that big spirit that is shown in basically all college movies. We do however have a bigger sense of community in the way that everyone knows someone who knows someone. If you want a campus where you'll see friendly faces everyday, look into the smaller or medium schools; if you want the spirit and energy of a whole school gathering together to cheer each other on, maybe look at the bigger schools or schools with exceptional sports teams.
Location. Location. Location. I cannot repeat how much I based where I applied on this criteria. I personally wanted to go to school in a bigger city on the East Coast. Funny how I ended up going to a school in a small city in California, right? Maybe you have a favorite city and want to apply to a few schools there, or maybe you want to stay close to home, or if you're feeling like you really need a change of scenery and want to apply to an international school, I say go for it! You really never know what will happen when you're deciding on the schools you actually get into, so apply to the places that interest you, near and far.
4. Price of Tuition
I would love to say this isn't a factor in college decision making, but it most definitely is. If you know you aren't looking to pay that much for school, look into public schools in your state! Private schools are always much more expensive than public schools, but always remember that scholarships are there to help! (Apply to as many as possible, trust me on this, you never know what you will get!) You can't rely on scholarships and grants for everything though, and if ending up with a lot of student debt isn't what you want, it might be time to cross those more expensive schools off your list (Unless it's your dream school, then I give you my full approval!).
These are just a few of the things I looked for when I was applying to college, and my wants and needs were all over the place! Like I said, I wanted a school on the east coast in a big city, so how did I end up at Chapman? For the longest time I had actually decided I was going to go to NYU. It was one of my dream schools, when I got in I cried because I was so happy. But the program they put me into wasn't for me, I had no financial aid or scholarships, and it just ended up being too expensive. This happened again with Boston University (the place I almost transferred to freshman year, but that's a whole other story) where I just didn't have the funds to make it realistic. I chose Chapman because I wanted a campus, which neither NYU nor BU could 100% give me, it was close to my family, and I got generous scholarships. Everything is really up in the air when it comes to making final decisions on colleges, but trust that you'll end up in the right place! And even if you end up transferring, it doesn't mean you've done it all wrong, it just means you're doing what's right for you.
Woo! That was a long one! If there are any questions I didn't answer let me know in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!