Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Pyramid Scheme

After posting about my band's new EP release yesterday, I thought it would be fun to do a week of music on my blog. Music is a huge part of my life. I've been involved in the punk community since I was fourteen years old. I grew up going to local shows every weekend. All of my friends either supported the scene or played in bands. I've played guitar since I was a teenager, played coffee houses growing up, released a solo CD, started a band with Brett and my best friends and have been playing in Circle Maybe ever since. It's a huge part of who I am... and who I'll always be.

The Pyramid Scheme is definitely one of my favorite venues in Grand Rapids. It opened a year ago, re-purposed from an old bar and auto repair shop in the Heartside Neighborhood. It hosts tons of bands and holds some pretty fun dance parties I've attended. Plus, the front area is perfect to grab a drink, play some arcade games and listen to music with no cover. I'm constantly here on the weekends with friends.

Last night, we played here with Homelife, Luther and The Menzingers. Sometimes I get so nervous to play in front of a big crowd, but it turned out to be a great show and I had a lot of fun being up there. Usually for shows, I try to dress comfortable so I can move around on stage. Either dresses with sleeves, or jeans and a top. I asked my friend Nick once what girls should wear to a show... and he said, skinny jeans, a striped or red top, flats, hair in a bun... and for colder weather, a leather jacket. I took his advice. ;)

They have some really great shows coming up, so if you're in the Grand Rapids area, be sure to check it out. I have a few more posts planned for this week that all have to do with music. Trying to come up with posts for a theme has been a fun challenge. I've honestly been trying to save money and pay down some bills lately, so I haven't been traveling all over the state like I normally do. So it's been fun to think about my town and what I can do for blog posts here!

Outfit details:
J Brand jeans c/o Lucky FABB
Forever 21 top
Urban Outfitters flats

Monday, July 30, 2012

Circle Maybe EP Launch

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to announce the launch of Circle Maybe's new EP, The Place That I Called Home. We wrote these songs over the past year and I've been looking forward to finally releasing them. We've gone through a lot of change in this band over the past few months, but we're still a band because we're all amazing friends and have a ton of fun playing together. Also, meet our new bass player, Damian! He's an old friend of ours and it's been a perfect fit. I love all of these guys so much and I'm happy this band allows me to spend so much time with them.

You can download the new EP for free over at our Bandcamp. We also have new t-shirts for sale at our store. Also, if you're in Grand Rapids, be sure to head out to a show and say hi! We're playing a huge show tonight with The Menzingers, Luther and Homelife at The Pyramid Scheme. It starts at 7:00 PM and it's $12.00 at the door.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

ShopSosie Giveaway!

Closed Tuesday, July 31!

This week's giveaway is from ShopSosie!
They are offering one of my lucky readers a $75 gift certificate.
We'll be hosting a contest for whoever creates the best Pinterest board for
Summer frocks (What adorable dresses will you sporting all summer long?)

To enter, you must:
1. Create a Pinterest board and name it "Summer Frocks"
2. Add at least 1 item from ShopSosie
3. Tag #ShopSosie #SelectivePotential
4. Leave a comment linking to your Pinterest board

Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, July 31st at 9 PM EST.

This giveaway is open to U.S. and international readers.

The winner of the Chiche giveaway is... #18 // Rory!
Please email me to claim your prize!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

U-Pick blueberries

Today was the perfect day for some blueberry picking. I headed out west with Eric on my favorite back country road and we came across the Ven Roy Blueberries. It was such a cute little place for u-pick blueberries. I walked up to the stand and this adorable old man explained how you tied the bucket around your waist and sent us off into the fields. We were allowed to eat as many as we could while we were out there and bring as many as we wanted back. We ended up with two pounds of blueberries for only three dollars! Plus, it was perfect weather to enjoy being outside.

I received this amazing skirt from Corilynn. I initially thought I would style this skirt to our annual Coast Guard festival or a nautical event along Lake Michigan , but when I thought about going to pick blueberries... this skirt seemed perfect. Cori is an amazing designer who creates seriously adorable skirts with flawless construction. This skirt maintained its silhouette all the while I romped around the fields. Her chevron skirt is next on my list!

This arrow necklace is from Creature Comfort. Breyell, the girl behind Creature Comfort, is so sweet and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to style up one of her pieces. One of my favorite parts about blogging is the amazing people I get to work with and meet, even if it is just through the internet. I've made some seriously strong connections from people who have reached out over the past few years. It honestly blows me away every day.

If you're ever in the Coopersville area and want to pick your own blueberries, Ven Roy's is the place to come! It opened in 1936 and has been family-owned ever since. Story goes that the crops were struggling until a neighbor of theirs told them that blueberries thrived in the soil. So, they've been planting blueberries ever since and they are delicious. Supposedly Eric makes the best cheesecakes, so I'm expecting a blueberry one soon!

Outfit details:
Forever 21 top
Thrifted belt
Arrow necklace c/o Creature Comfort
Urban Outfitters flats

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photoshop Elements: Vintage Effect

Today I'll be showing you another tutorial from Adobe Photoshop Elements. Many of you know, I teamed up with them for the summer to be an ambassador. It's been a great experience so far and I've really enjoyed learning more about Elements and helping some of my readers learn too! I hope you enjoyed the last tutorial on creating collages and using clipping masks. Another question I frequently get is... how do you put your vintage effect on photos? There are several ways you can do this, but this is one of my favorite effects. It's more of a soft effect. I've tested it in several seasons and I love the way it makes a photo look - no matter the setting. Follow along to give your photos a vintage effect!

1. Choose your photo and open it in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Be sure you're editing in the "full" tab on the right hand side of your window. First, duplicate your layer. You can right-click on your layer and select "Duplicate Layer".

2. Create a "Hue/Saturation" layer. Click on the little half black/half white circle at the bottom to pull up your options, then click "Hue/Saturation...".

3. Change your Master Hue to a negative -35 in the Saturation section. Then change it to Reds and change your Hue to -3 and your Saturation to +11. 

4. Next, we'll want to create a "Levels" layer. Click on the same half black/half white circle at the bottom of your layers pallet to pull up your options. Click on "Levels...".

5. In the Red category, change your middle slider to 1.24. In Green, change your middle slider to 1.20. In Blue, only change your output levels to 29 (255 should be default, but just check to make sure.)

6. Next, let's create a "Solid color" layer. Click on the same half black/half white circle at the bottom of your layers pallet. Select "Solid color...". It will pull up a window where you can select a color. Be sure to choose a blueish/purple color. You can use my RGB codes to use the same exact color, if you wish.

7. Once your solid color layer is created, go to the top of your layers pallet and click the pull down menu where it says "Normal". Change it to Exclusion.

8. Then, set your Exclusion layer to an opacity of 50%. 

9. Personally, I felt like this effect was a bit too strong for my photos. So, I wanted to tone the entire effect down a bit. I grabbed all of my layers that I edited: my background copy and all of my adjustment layers. Then I right-clicked, and selected "Merge Layers". This will create a flattened layer of your vintage effect.

10. Change your new flattened layer to an opacity of 50%. This will tone down your effect by 50%. If you want to keep a stronger effect, use anything above 50%. If you want to weaken the tone a bit, go below 50%.

There you go - an easy 10 step process to putting a vintage effect on your photos! Here are a few examples of how it will look in different lighting. This first photo was taken in autumn sunlight. The second photo is a detail shot of flowers in spring. I love seeing how different, but yet unique they both look. Enjoy and be sure to let me know if you have any questions!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday night with friends

Tonight was a great night filled with wonderful friends. After work, I met up with Andrea of Blonde Bedhead! We met up at the Electric Cheetah for appetizers and cheesecake. I've missed her like crazy and it was so good to see her and catch up. After that, I met up for drinks with an old, high school friend. It's been really refreshing spending time with new and old friends during the past couple of months. The friends that I've kept have been the best ones.

This dress is one I've remixed before at the Ada Covered Bridge. I love the cross-strap back detail, so I wanted an outfit where I could show it off. But at work, I paired it with a mustard cardigan. I love seeing how pieces transition from season to season. As much as I'm loving summer, I always look forward to autumn. The colors I typically wear in my outfits in fall are so much more appealing to me. I feel like the last two outfits I've worn on the blog though have been very autumn inspired. I like that!

I'm really looking forward to the rest of this week and weekend. I have some really fun plans with friends and family. I finally get to see my best friend, Jen, who is visiting from Colorado tomorrow. I can't wait to see her and her pregnant belly! The rest of the week is filled with outdoor concerts, dance parties, a family reunion, baby shower and Circle Maybe is playing an outdoor street festival. How fun, right?

Outfit details:
Stallion dress c/o Sosie
Thrifted belt
Ruche Loxley Mary Jane wedges

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Winchester

So these past few months, I've been going out a lot more. One of my favorite hang out spots has been The Winchester, which is right in my neighborhood. It's a locally-owned (and nationally acclaimed) pub/restaurant with a retro feel and atmosphere. They have amazing food and drinks, with a great open-mic night on Mondays. It has already housed a ton of great memories with new and old friends. If you're ever in Grand Rapids, I'd definitely recommend checking this place out. Be sure to order the polenta fries!

So, this is Eric. You've probably seen him in a few of my Instagram posts. He introduced this place to me, and we've been having a really good time getting to know each other lately. He's also been helping me out with photos and it's been fun having him show me different places in the city. I love spending time with him and I'd hate to not introduce him, especially when my blog has always been a huge reflection of my life.

I've tried to make it a goal this summer to remix some of my older clothes, instead of acquiring new pieces. It's so easy to style up new items, but definitely a bit more of a challenge to rework old items. But it's a great way to try and inspire yourself. I wore this dress a couple of winters ago. It's just a tad too short to wear without tights, so remixing it with a skirt worked super well. With any of my outfits, I always think about where I'm going... and try to create an outfit based on the atmosphere or setting of the location. I just felt like this was a good Winchester outfit. ;)

On Friday, we shared the polenta fries (they are the best). I ordered the spicy chicken lettuce wraps and Eric tried the grilled cheese B.L.T. We absolutely loved both. If you're able to try this place, I'd highly recommend ordering their butternut squash pierogies and fish tacos. So good! All of their produce comes from the garden they grow across the street. They also have a great selection of beers (one of Eric's favorites lately has been the Blue Point Toasted Lager from New York) and I love their homemade sangria.

Outfit details:
Pie in the Window dress c/o ModCloth
Thrifted skirt
Urban Outfitters belt
Llave necklace c/o Honey & Marrow
Champion Bowler hat c/o ModCloth
Urban Outfitters flats